THE KILLING POWER OF THE LAW.
Rom. 7. 9.
IN these words the Apostle shewes* Two things; First, What a jolly man he thought himself to be whilst he was a Pharisee, before the Lord wrought upon him by the Law: Secondly, What a miserable wretched crea∣ture he saw himself to be when the Lord took him Page 2 in hand, and discovered his sins unto him, before the Law came home unto him, and convinced his Conscience; he thought himself to be alive, but when the commandment came, sin revived, and he died.
1. In the former we may observe Two things:
First, The jolliness of the Apostle, he thought himself to be alive; I was alive without the Law, I was a Pharisee, and thought my self to be alive, I fasted twice a week, and prayed every day, and made long prayers each day; when he considered how he walked thus in all the Ordinances of God, he thought if this was not to be alive, he knew not what it was to be alive; I was alive once without the Law.
Secondly, We have here the cause why he had this good conceit of himself, it was because he was without the law, the law of God had not convin∣ced him, it had not discovered his miserable and wretched estate unto him; though he had some understanding in the literal sense of the Law, yet the Law was not yet come home unto him, he was as yet without the law, and that was the reason of that good conceit he had of himself, he did esteem himself to be alive.
And then again in the latter part; When the commandment came, sin revived, but I died. There we may also observe Two things.
First, The law shewed him what a wretched e∣state and condition he was in, for all his self con∣ceitednesse, sin revived and I died: though I thought before I was alive, yet when the comman∣dement came, sin revived, and I died; I saw I was a dead man, when the Lord took me in hand, to Page 3 deal with me, and let me see how my case stood before him. Howsoever I thought my self to be in a good case before, now I saw I was but a dead man; I did not see such evil, and such a masse of corruption before; but when the Lord discovered my self unto my self, and when I saw the Spiritual∣nesse of the law, then I saw that sin was alive in me, and I died; when I saw how I ought to be∣have my self in my affections, and in my inward man, then sin revived, and I for my part was a dead man, I was fain to come down from those high conceits, and imaginations I had before.
Secondly. We have here the cause why he was thus brought down, it was because of the com∣mandment of God which came home unto him, the law of God came home unto his conscience, and discovered unto him, how it was with him, and it made him to shake in the apprehension of his own estate, that he was but a dead man, and that he had gone to hell, and perished everlasting∣ly, if he had continued in that estate and condi∣tion.
I intend at this time to treat of the former part, Without the law I was once alive: and here Two things must be opened: First, what doth the A∣postle mean, by without the Law: Secondly, What doth he mean when he saith, I was once a∣live.
1. For the first, When the Apostle saith he was without the law, he doth not mean simply, that he did think himself without the Law, that is, without the binding Authority of the Law, for so no reasonable creature is, yea, indeed no crea∣ture at all is without the law of God, for there is a Page 4 Law of Obedience imposed upon all the creatures and the unreasonable creatures do keep the Law that is imposed upon them by God; and howso∣ever reasonable creatures depart from this law and break it, yet they are under the binding power of this Law; therefore the Apostle doth not thus mean that he was without the Law, therefore we must know, that to be without the law is taken Four wayes:
First, To be without the Law, is meant, to be without the promulgation and publishing of the Law, and so the Heathen only are said to be with∣out the Law, as we may see Rom. 2. 12. there the Heathen are said to be without the Law: that is, without the promulgation of the Law, it was pub∣lished only to the Jewes upon Mount Sinai, and so Paul was not without the law.
Secondly, It is taken in regard of the literal knowledge of the Law, and so ignorant people are said to be without the law of God; they know not the Law of God; and in this sense Paul was not without the law, he was trained up in the law, he was learned in the law, for he was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, Acts 22. 3. so that he had the logical meaning of the law, and was able to speak of the points of Religion, better then a thousand millions of carnal men, he had the literal knowledge of the law.
Thirdly, It is taken in regard of the moral obe∣dience to the law, and so wicked men are said to be without the law, as we may see, 1 Tim. 1. 9. The law is not given to a righteous man, but to the lawless and disobedient; wicked men are lawless, they live as if there were no law, drun∣kards Page 5 and prophane persons, as they are said to live without God in the world, so they are said to live without law, as if there were no law to bind them; they are people that are not to be held within any compasse, they take notice of no command to rule in their hearts, and rectifie their lives; and in this sense Paul was not without the law neither, for he lived after the most strict and exact sect of the Pharisees, Phil. 3. 4, 5. If any man think he hath whereof he may trust in the flesh, I much more, circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews, as touching the Law, a Pharisee; he was one that fasted and curbed himself, yea, he kept two Fasts a week, (as those Pharisees did, that were of the better rank) he prayed daily, and performed the duties of Religion, and there was no outward or∣dinance of the Law, which he performed not; he was one that was conformable to the letter of the law, according as he understood the Law; he was morally obedient to the Law; he was no extortio∣ner, nor unjust person; no, he did the works of the Law, and those things contained in the Law; nay, there was no body that could challenge him with any blame; none that were familiar with him, could say any thing to tax him withal, when he was in his ignorance, and blindness; therefore in this sense he was not without the Law.
Fourthly, Therefore in the Fourth place, we are said to be without the Law in regard of the spiritu∣al sense of the law, and so Paul was without the law; he did not clearly understand the divine and spiritual sense of the law; he did not see the glory and the beauty of the law of God, how it did dis∣cover Page 6 all the breaches of righteousness, how it reached to all the inner parts, how contrary the law of God was to all his nature; thus Paul un∣derstood not the spiritual nature of the law, he had not the spiritual understanding of the law, and thus he was without the law.
2. Now for the other words, I was alive once;
1. It is meant here spiritually towards God; he doth not mean naturally, for he was alive natural∣ly, both before and after the commandment came; but the meaning is, he did not think himself to be such a wretched cursed creature as he was; he thought he had the fear of God in him, and true obedience in him; he thought he had a spiri∣tual kinde of life, as we may see Rom. 6. 11. Ye are dead (saith the Apostle) to sin, but are alive to God in Jesus Christ. And, Rom. 7. 13. Give not your members as weapons unto sin, but give your selves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead. i.e. As those that have the pure and spiritual life of grace in them: so Luk. 15. 24. This my son was dead, and is alive again; that is, spiritually a∣live again; he was a dead creature, he was de∣parted from his father, which is the fountain of life; he was dead in sins and trespasses, he was a dead man, but now he is alive again, he hath spiritual life again.
2. To be alive is taken to be conceitedly so, alive in his own conceit, he hath not true life in him, yet he doth imagine that he hath life in him, he thinks he hath life, and is dead, Rev. 3. 1. I know thy works, thou hast a name thou livest, but thou art dead: Here the Church of Sardis did imagine Page 7 she was alive, and others conceived so; she seem∣ed to be alive, and yet notwithstanding was dead, she had no true life in her: she seemed to be alive, not only in the sight of others, but in her own apprehension; she seemed to be alive, and yet was dead; now this is the meaning of the words, with∣out the law I was alive once; that is, I thought my self to be alive; I apprehended my self to be no dead man, no damned man; I thought not my self to be under the wrath of God, and one that should perish evermore, if I continued in that e∣state wherein I was; I hoped better things of my self, I saw these signs of grace and life in me, and I thought I was alive indeed, till the commandment came, till the law of God was pressed upon my conscience, and shewed me the contrary; I thought my self to be a very live man, and one that had some hope of eternal happiness, and one that might enter into glory, I took my self to be alive; thus we see the meaning of the words.
Now the Point I intend at this time to insist up∣on,* is the liveliness of a carnal mans heart, before the law comes home to him, and is pressed to him, and shews him his damnable estate, and that he is dead in sins and trespasses, he hath some colour of righteousness, that he is moral and civil, and or∣derly, and he hath somthing that is like grace and life, he hath some hope towards God, and hath some kind of obedience, he seems to be obedient to the commandment of God; before he is hum∣bled by the law of God, he is a live creature. Here St. Paul shews it by his own example, Without the law I was once alive, noting out unto us, how it is with every unhumbled man, with every un∣mortified Page 8 man, that is not yet converted to God, he hath many things to say for himself, but he doth not understand the purenesse of the law, the law hath not yet killed him, it hath not yet pulled him flat down before almighty God: a man that is un∣humbled by the law of God is a live man, he will not be perswaded, that he is a dead, damned crea∣ture; he doth apprehend and hope he hath life, it is so with men, before their conversion, they will not believe that they are damned creatures, and they think it uncharitablenesse in any to say they are damned creatures, and dead creatures, they will not believe it; so long as the law is not char∣ged upon their consciences, so long as they see not how it is with them, they do verily apprehend that they have life in them, their hearts are not killed, their spirits are not dead within them, they are not pulled down in the apprehension of their own cursed estates before Almighty God: this is the thing I intend to insist upon.
2. For the Proof of the point, we may see, 1 Tim. 5. 5. there the Apostle speaking of Wi∣dows that lived in pleasure, saith, She that liveth in pleasure, is dead while she is alive; that is, dead in pleasure, dead in sin, dead in the vanity of her own heart, and yet such a Widow liveth, she li∣veth not only a natural life, but she is alive in her own conceit in regard of a spiritual life; for if she conceived she were a dead creature, a damned creature, it would kill all her pleasure, it would kill the heart of any creature under heaven, it would break the neck of all her pleasure, but in that she took her pleasure, it was a plain token that she was not killed.
Page 9Now for the Opening of the Point, I will do these Three things:
First, I will shew what this livelinesse is, and wherein it consists.
Secondly, I will shew what the effects of it are.
Thirdly the Uses.
First I will shew what this livelinesse is, and it consists in these Three things; I could branch them into Four, but I will reduce them into Three Heads.
1. First, It consists in the non-appearance of a mans dead, and damned estate: So long as a mans dead and damned estate doth not appear un∣to him, so long a man thinks he is alive, and that he is not a dead man, he is not a man that hath the sentence of condemnation lying upon him, so long as the law hath not come, and shewed a man his wretched estate, and made his damnable estate ap∣pear in its own colours unto him, why he is a live man, he conceives himself to be alive because the law of God hath not convinced him of the con∣trary: if the law of God doth seise upon a mans heart, and in its own colours appear to a mans eyes, and hold it self as a glasse to a mans under∣standing, and shews him his wretchednesse, and what a cursed estate he is in before God, this will kill his very heart, and break the livelinesse that is in him, and make him burst out into out-cries, Oh! I am a dead man, I am a damned man; so that the livelinesse that is here spoken of, consists in the non-appearance of a mans dead and dam∣nable estate: As for example, an Adulterer, his damnable estate doth not appear to him, he knows Page 10 not that he is a dead man, as Prov. 9. 18. He knows not that the dead are there, and that her guests are in the depth of hell: when he goes to lie with his Whore, and commit his wickednesse, he doth not think that they are dead and damned men that are there, nor that they are in the pit of Hell. Though his Conscience may tell him, that he is wicked, and sinful, and wretched, and that he is half dead; yet he is not a dead man, he is not ab∣solutely a dead man, he doth not know this: It may be he will confesse it, Lord, I am a dead man, Lord, I am a damned man; it may be he will con∣fesse this in his prayer, because he hath some light, but yet his heart is not taken down, the liveliness of his heart is not killed. I will prove it to you: for let another man, a Minister of God, or a child of God, say he is a dead man, a damned man, one that lies under the wrath of God, he will deny it, and say he is uncharitable, and judgeth hardly, and why may he not be a live man, and a good Christi∣an? he hopes he is, he doth not know that he is a dead man; as the wise-man speaks, Prov. 14. 12. There is a way that seemeth right to a man, but the issues thereof are death: that is, there is a way that seems to be a way of life, and a man seems to be alive that walks in that way; but the truth is, it is a way of death, and a man that goeth in that way is a dead man, and a damned man; but yet in the mean time, while he walks in that way, it seems to be a way of life unto him; there is a non-ap∣pearance of the deadnesse, and damnednesse of a mans estate and condition that walks in that way, and therefore it seems to him to be a right way, and a way of life, and there is great hope in him Page 11 that he shall live for evermore, and many men do walk in that way, and therefore it seems to him to be a right way, and a way of life; it seems right to a man, but the end thereof is death: and this is the First thing, wherein this liveliness consists, the non-appearance of a mans dead and damned estate.
2. Secondly, It consists in Performance; he is able, as he conceives, to do the duties that God commands; he hath wisdom and ability at home to go about his affairs; he hath understanding and supply at home; he hath life, and sufficiency to go about these and these duties and perfor∣mances; let the law tell him, he must be sober, he hath life to avoid the Ale-house, and if he commit a Drunken Act, he would have you think he hath grace to be sorry for it; and let a man tell him, he is a dead man, he hath no grace in him, no life in him; he will tell you, he doth thus and thus, he hears Gods Word, and he Prayes to God, and he Trusts in God, and he Believes in God; your tel∣ling of him this, doth not kill his heart, he thinks he is alive for all this; nay, let the law of God, come and tell him, He is a dead man for all his doing; this will not kill him neither, so long as the Lord himself doth not open his eyes, and clear his eye-sight, and discover his sins, and convince his Conscience; though the law say he is a dead man, and a damned man, this doth not kill him, he can wait upon God and perform these and these du∣ties. Then let the law of God say, He is a dead man for all this, he must deny himself: why so he will; I confesse, Lord, I am an unrighteous man, a wretched man, a sinful creature, and all my righ∣teousnesse is as menstruous raggs; and now he Page 12 thinks all is well, but the law of God, hath not yet come home unto him, and shewed him his heavie estate, but he is alive in regard of the per∣formance of the duty, and thinks verily he hath life at home in him; whereas, if the law of God did come home and charge his estate upon him, and shew him, what obedience the law requires, what severity, and truth in the inward parts, it would break a mans heart, and kill him, notwith∣standing all performance: but in the mean time that a mans heart is not killed, and the law hath not given him his deaths wound, he thinks he is a∣live: Cry aloud, (saith God) lift up thy voice like a trumpet, shew my people their transgressions, and the house of Israel their sins, Isai. 58. 1. there the Lord looks upon the people as dead, wretched sin∣ners, and abominable people, but yet notwith∣standing they thought they were alive in perfor∣mances, as we may see, vers. 2. Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my wayes, even as a na∣tion that did righteously, and had not forsaken the statutes of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of Justice, they draw near to me, saying▪ We have fasted, and thou regardest it not. We see here they take delight in approaching unto God, they take delight in Gods Ordinances, and seek God early, they can do thus, and thus, and are alive in all per∣formances; but that man whose spirit the law hath pulled down, and the Lord hath convinced him of his infinite inability to perform the law, he cannot see any livelinesse in him, unto any performance. Let any duty come, it kills his heart: I should now hear the Word of God, but my heart is unpre∣pared, and my ear uncircumcised, and I cannot Page 13 hear aright. Let an opportunity be offered to pray, it kills his heart; I should now call upon the Name of the Lord, but I have such a cursed heart I can∣not pray, I cannot speak one right word before God. Let an occasion be offered of holy con∣ference, it kills his heart; alas, saith he, I want pure language, my tongue was never touched with a coal from the Altar, my lips have not ability to drop forth savoury speeches, I am not able to speak one syllable aright to Gods glory; it kills his heart, he sees no life at all in him, unlesse he can have life from without, and ability from without, he is dead, all is nothing to him, the law hath ta∣ken away the livelinesse that was in him: But he that is not humbled by the law, he is alive, he hath life in himself, it is nothing with him to Pray, and go to Church, and hear Gods Word, it is no∣thing, but thrusting to do the duty; he hath life in him to do duties, and wait upon God in his or∣dinances, but when the law comes home to him, it plainly lets him see that he hath no life in him∣self to do any good, he must seek for life and abi∣lity from without, else he is a dead man, he can do nothing in this case: David in this case can∣not lookup: Mine iniquities are gone over my head, I cannot look up, Psal. 40. Moses, he is a man of uncircumcised lips, and cannot speak unto Pharaoh; Paul cannot do any thing that is good, In me dwelleth no good thing, Rom. 7. And so for the rest of Gods people, when the law hath killed them and laid them dead, in regard of any per∣formance, they must have life from without, there is no life at home, no grace at home, no under∣standing at home, they must go out for all: but a Page 14 carnal man, he is alive unto all performances. Many a man is like unsavoury salt, good for no∣thing, but to throw upon the dung-hill. He ne∣ver received the Holy Ghost, and yet he will be inducted into a living, and take Pastoral Charge upon him, as if he were able to performe the Du∣ty of a Minister, and take the Charge of Souls up∣on him. So Ananias will be a husband, and Saphira a wife, Athalia will be a Queen, and Nimrod a King, and Abimelech a Judge; they are alive to dis∣charge all these duties: thus men are alive, the Law of God hath not killed their hearts, & pulled down their spirits; it hath not made it appear unto them, what wretched, cursed creatures they are. This is the second thing, wherein this livelynesse consists.
Thirdly, This livelynesse consists in a presum∣ptuous hope; he conceives that he is justified be∣fore God, and that God will not damn him, but forgive him his sins. There is nothing can make a mans heart more full of life, then to think that he is righteous before God, and that God will not impute his sins unto him: there is nothing can make a man more alive, then this. If they think they are justified before God, they have then a lively hope, 1 Pet. 1. 3. blessed be God, saith the A∣postle, even the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy, hath be∣gotten us again, to a lively hope, by the Resurrecti∣on of Christ from the dead. So these men have a hope, that makes them lively, and full of life; as a poor man that hath some grounded hope of an Earthly inheritance, it makes the heart lively: Poverty deads the heart; he that hath no∣thing to maintain himself, and those that belongs Page 15 unto him, it deads his heart; but if he hath some hopes of an hundred pound a year, and his hope is grounded, if he hath sure hope of it, and he makes no doubt of it; it makes his heart full of life: so when a man doth believe that he is in a good case, that he is delivered from death, that he is in the estate of grace, when he hath some probability that God hath justified him from sin; this breeds an hope in him of an eternal Inhe∣ritance, and this hope, the consideration of it, makes the soul full of life; There is nothing can make a man more lively, then a hope that he is ju∣stified before God, and that God will not impute his sins unto him. Now when a carnal man con∣ceives he is righteous before God, and that God will forgive him his iniquities, that God will not damn him, nor count him a dead & a damned man; so long as a man doth imagin this, he must needs be a lively man; he is alive in his own apprehension; nay all the delights in the world, cannot make a man so ful of life, as this hope. It is not mens following their pleasure, that makes their hearts so full of life; as to have hope that the Lord doth not account them dead men, that they are justified men, and righteous men, that they have salvation to shew for, heaven and Eternall happinesse to shew for, that they shall go to heaven. But if now the Law were charged upon a man, if he knew that he were a dead man, a damned man, it would pluck down his spirits, and make his spirits dead, for all his pleasures. It is the conceit that men are justified, that makes them so full of life; so long as the Law doth not come home to a man, and point him out in his colours, and make it ap∣pear Page 16 to him, that he lyeth under the wrath of Almighty God, that the Lord doth account him an abominable, wretched creature, so long as he doth not apprehend this; especially if he have any good gifts, and parts, and qualities, and mo∣ral obedience to the Law; doing good duties, and a general laying hold upon the promises, and a hope they belong to him; this makes him alive, Phil. 3. 9. Paul when he was a Pharisee, and did Moral Duties, and performed Moral Obedience to the Law of God, he thought he had righteous∣nesse of his own; he calls it there, his own righte∣ousnesse, he so apprehended of himself; now this is that which makes men alive, when they con∣ceive, that they have some Religion, and some Grace. You shall have many men and women that hate the Servants of God, and yet think they are godly men, and have Grace and Life in them. We may see it Acts 13. 50. there it is said that the Jews stirred up certain devout and ho∣nourable women, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their Coasts: Though they hated Paul and Barnabas, yet they are said to be devout, and honourable wo∣men. They imagined they were very Devout, they conceived they were Religious; How many men and women are there, that think they are righteous, and they will do many duties, and take many good courses; in so much, that it would pity a man to think they should goe to hell? they will be very Zealous, they will be very Earnest a∣gainst Drunkennesse, and cry out against the abo∣minations of the times; they are marvellous de∣vout and godly, and yet a man that is Devout and Page 17 godly in truth and in deed, they cannot abide him, but hate him. Now if the Law should come home unto them, and discover how indeed it is with them; it would humble their souls, and pull down their spirits, and make them dead; so that this presumptuous hope, that men are in good terms with God, and that God will be merciful to them, and forgive them their sins; this makes them to be alive.
2. We come now to the Second thing, and that is the Effect of this livelynesse, what Effects it works in the heart; and the Effects of this Live∣lynesse are Four.
1. First, It makes them sound and heart-whole, like a boyl unlaunched, it is yet sound. The true sight of sin, and wrath of God in the soul, is able to break the heart of any man; it is able to dead his spirit, and kill all the livelynesse that is in him, and make him have little life to go on as he doth. But so long as the Law of God is not come home to a man, though he have no title to heaven, though hell be the portion of his cup, yet he is as sound as can be, as heart-whole as may be: let carnal comfort come, he can take it; let pleasures come, he is able to delight himself therewith, and go on in his course as if he ailed nothing, Prov. 18. 14. the Wise man saith, the spirit of a man will su∣stain his infirmities, but a wounded spirit, who can bear? When the Lord comes to wound a mans heart with the sight of his sins, and the fearful condition he is in, what a cursed creature he is, ha∣ving no mercy, and being out of Christ; having no pardon, no grace, no holinesse, but lyeth un∣der the curse of God: If the Law thus come Page 18 home, and wounds his Conscience, he is not able to bear it; this man, let carnal comforts come, he is not able to take them; it kills the heart. Look as it is with the Stomack, if it can take meat, and digest it, it must needs be alive; for if the Stomack be dead, it can digest nothing. So for the tast, if a mans palat, and all the instruments of the tast be dead, he takes no delight in any meats; so there is a kind of soundnesse in the Soul, that is the reason why a man can delight in carnal plea∣sures, in Drinking, and Sporting, and in Profit, and Gain. There is a kind of soundnesse, and live∣linesse in the heart; the heart is not yet broken: If the Law come, and take the hearts life away, this wil pull down the heart, it will make a mans heart e∣ven break, it will pull down his spirit: But a man whom the Law hath not yet humbled, and shew∣ed him his damned estate, his heart is yet whole, and sound. When the Law of God had but a little killed Ahabs heart, you might see it in his very gate; he went softly, he could not tread so confidently upon the ground, as he was wont to do; it tamed his very steps, it is wonderful how his heart was broken; it appeared in his very go∣ing up and down. When the Law comes home to a man, it is able to kill his heart, and makes him Soul-sick, and makes him cry out, O the wretchednesse of my heart; it makes a man sick at the heart, it lyes like a heavy Plague upon the heart and conscience, it will make a man sick of his sins, it will make him even at deaths door with his sins; it will make him say with Paul, when the Commandment came, sin revived, and I dyed. But another man though he hath evident demon∣stration, Page 19 that he is a dead man, yet the Law of God hath not pulled down his heart; sicknesse will pull down a mans Stomack; so when the Law of God comes home to a mans Conscience, and makes him sick, it makes him yield, and pulls down his Stomack. Many men are crazy, and sickly; and yet they lye not by it, but walk up and down, and go abroad; but if they were heart sick, it would pull them down, and make them lye by it. So many a carnal man, may have some qualms of sin, but yet their hearts can go abroad after pro∣fits, and pleasures, after vanities, and delights; they can goe abroad for all this. But when the Law comes home, it will pull down a mans spirit, and make him heart-sick. This is the meaning of that place, The whole need not a Physician, but the sick, Mat. 9. 12. Every carnal man, so long as he is not humbled, and broken under the sight of his sins; his heart is yet whole, his spirit is yet sound, he is not yet wounded; as the Prophet Isaiah speaks, Isa. 1. 6. from the crown of the head, to the sole of the foot, there is nothing but wounds, and swellings, and sores full of corrupti∣on; there is no soundnesse in him: He is indeed full of wounds, but the skin is yet sound, it is not bro∣ken, he feels it not; the Law hath not yet disco∣vered his estate unto him. This is the first effect of this livelynesse, it makes men to be sound, and heart-whole.
2. The Second effect of this livelynesse, when a man is alive in the non-appearance of his dead and damned estate; alive in performance, alive in presumption, and self-justifying, and self-hopes; The effect of it is, that he is fearless; the more Page 20 lively, the more fearless. First, the Object must dead the heart, before it can make the heart fear; so long as the heart is stout, the livelynesse that is in the heart, is able to keep out fear: So the live∣linesse of a sinner, makes the heart fearlesse and secure. A man would wonder how any creature durst provoke God; it is almost beyond the reach of true reason, how any creature should dare to provoke God; to consider what infinite danger he is in, to have the wrath of the God of heaven and earth to hang over his head, to be under the hand of revenging Justice, to pull down all the Woes, and Plagues, and Comminations of God up∣on the Soul; that a man should do this, and yet be secure, it would make a man wonder at it. But a man that hath this livelynesse, he can provoke God, and yet be secure, as Job 12. 6. those that pro∣voke God are secure, the reason is, the Law of God hath not taken down their hearts, the Law of God hath not deaded their spirits; they are alive in presumption, and imagination, and therefore though they provoke God, they are secure, and fear nothing. It is the disquietnesse of a mans heart, that makes him fear; therefore so long as a mans mind is quiet, and is not disturbed, he is fearlesse: So long as the Law hath not disquieted a mans mind, nor broken the rest of a mans Soul, nor disturbed his conscience, but tells him, go on in quiet; he spends his dayes in security, he fears no∣thing; whereas, fearfulness, and trembling, and hor∣rible dread, would overwhelm him, if the Law of God should come and take away his life: it is fear that deads a mans heart, as we may see Matth. 28. 4. when the Angel of the Lord ro∣led Page 21 away the stone from Christs Sepulchre, it is said, For fear of the Angel, the Keepers trembled, and became as dead men: There is the effect of fear; if the law did but open mens eyes, and paint out before them how it is with them; how they are liable to Gods wrath, and under the sentence of condemnation: if they were once thus feared, it would make them seem as dead men: the drun∣kards would be so afraid, that they would become as dead men: All wretched men, all ungrounded Christians, all that are not truly alive towards God, it would make them become as dead men; and it is the deadnesse of the heart that makes men fear, and such a man cannot be secure. Care∣lesnesse and fear, are two contraries, as Ezek. 30. 9. In that day shall Messengers go forth from me in Ships, to make the carelesse Ethiopian afraid, and great pain shall come upon them: The Prophet there makes these two contraries; they shall be full of fear, to rouze them out of security: so the cause why men are carlesse to get repentance, care∣lesse to get deliverance from sin, carlesse of their walking with God; the reason is, because of this damnable livelinesse that is in their hearts, they are not yet deaded by the law.
3. Thirdly, Another effect of this livelinesse is this, it makes the heart stiffe; what a deal of stiffnesse is in the hearts of carnal men; let God forbid sin, they are stiffe, and will still continue in their sins, as the Prophet speaks, the hearts of this people is waxed stiffe, their hearts are marvellous stiffe; the reason of it is, because the law of God hath not taken away their livelinesse, it hath nor humbled their hearts, and pull'd down their spi∣rits, Page 22 whereas if the law had past upon them, and the consideration of their estate were rooted in their minds, it would make their stoutness to yield, and their stiffenesse to come down; infinite is the stiffnesse of a man for want of this work of the law: tell a vain gallant of his locks, how stiffly will he reason for it? Tell a prophane person of the lewdnesse of his course, how stiffly will he ar∣gue for it? This is for want of this killing work of the law.
4. Fourthly, The last effect of this livelinesse is this, it makes the heart peark, and brisk; what a deal of brisknesse, and pearknesse do we see every day in the hearts of men, because their hearts are not taken down? I will give you two or three Instances, If a man have a little knowledge more then others, he is proud, and brisk, and peark, and he will be some-body, he will be talking, and thinks he hath such a deal of knowledge: what is the reason of this, that he is so peark? It is be∣cause the law hath not made it known unto him, that he knows nothing as he ought to know, 1 Cor. 8. 2. there saith the Apostle, If a man thinks he knows any thing, he knowes nothing as he ought to know. If the law of God did shew him he were a beast, and a bruit for all his understanding; if it did discover unto him, his blockishnesse, and blindnesse, and ignorance, that he knows nothing of the mysteries of Grace and Salvation, this would pull down his pearknesse; take another man that hath more knowledge, and can speak better a thousand times, if the law hath shewed him his estate, and truly humbled him, all his brisknesse is taken away, the law hath taught him such a lesson, Page 23 that he cannot be peark, Oh! saith he, I know nothing, there is no man more foolish then I, I have not the knowledge of the most high in me; though he have never so much knowledge, and gifts, and parts, yet the law hath discovered his estate unto him, and pulled down the pearknesse of his spirit. Again, another man is ready to carp at every word, every little occasion will make him on the top of the house, his heart is so brisk, that it is up upon every little occasion, but when the law comes home unto him, this will pull down all his pearknesse; alas, he angry at a word speaking? The law hath told him how he hath offended God, and provoked his Spirit from time to time, he is now cooled, from being so peark, to be an∣gry at every word. So take a man that is full of pleasure and voluptuousnesse, and is ready to be vain and foolish, every pleasure puts life into him, but now let the law come, and be charged upon his conscience, and then all his pearknesse is pre∣sently down, he is not able to look up, he seeth so many sins, discovered by the law, that he is not able to look up: Jam. 5. 1. Go to now ye rich men (saith the Apostle) weep and howle for the misery that shall come upon you. If the law were charged upon rich men, it would make them weep and howle, rich men are fullest of pleasure and delight, and farthest from weeping and howling, but if the law were charged upon their consciences, it would make them weep and howle, and have little heart to be so pleasant.
I come now to the Uses, and the First Ʋse is* for Instruction, to shew us the reason, why there are so many men and women among us, that Page 24 think themselves alive, that are so secure, and fearlesse, and carelesse, that have their hearts so sound, and their spirits so unbroaken, the reason is, because the law hath not yet come home, and killed their hearts, 2 Cor. 3. 6. The very letter of the law is able to kill as many of us as are in this estate and condition; therefore the cause of this livelinesse, and security, is because we are strangers from the law of God, our eyes were never open to behold it, the law of God never came home unto our hearts.
The Second Ʋse is this, When we find our* hearts to be brisk and peark, let us pray unto God, that he would be pleased to charge his law upon our Consciences: Let us buy precious eye-salve, that we may be able to look into the law of God, this will make our hearts that they will not be so wanton, and our spirits, that they will not be so brisk; though they would never so fain mind earthly things, they cannot. If the Lord would be pleased but to charge his law upon the heart, it would make the stoutest spirit to yield.
Thirdly, This takes away the imputation that* is laid upon the Word of God; many think hard∣ly of the Word of God, it takes away the spirits of men: the preaching of the Law, it pulls down the spirits of men, and breaks mens hearts, it makes men have no spirits, as they said of Jeremy, thou makest the knees feeble: so the law infeebles the knees, and takes away the spirits of a man; why here we see that the law of God will do so, it is the property of the law to do so, wheresoever it comes, it kills the heart, and pulls down all the pearknesse of it. The law, it will ever break a mans Page 25 bones, as David speakes, Let me hear of joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoyce, Psal. 51. The Lord had broken his very back bone by the law, and now he could not re∣joyce, Isai. 57. 15. I the Lord dwell with him that is of an humble & contrite spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble: when the law of God hath broken a mans heart, and made him contrite, he is a dead man, till the Lord comes to revive him, and raise up his spirit.
I come now to the Second part of the Text,*When the Commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
Here also, as in the former part are two things to be expounded:
First, What doth the Apostle here mean by reviving? When the Commandment came, sin re∣vived.
Secondly, What doth he mean by dying; I died?
When the Law and Commandment came, and discovered me to my self, and shewed me what a damnable thing sin was, and what a wretch∣ed dead creature I was for committing the same, and how I lay under the guilt thereof, sinne re∣vived, and I died. Therefore, what doth the Apostle mean by sin revived? I Answer, The Apostle doth not mean here, as if sin were indeed dead in him, before the commandment came: for sin is alive in every carnal mans heart, before the command∣ment comes, and therefore he cannot mean thus, when the commandment came sin revived, as if it were truly, and really dead before; for his sins were not dead in him, when he was Pharisee, his Page 26 sins were not mortified, when he was in his unre∣generated estate and condition sin was not dead in him, that cannot be the meaning, as if sin were dead before, and now revived: But he speaks of the Appearance of the death of sin, though it were not dead before, yet it did appear to be dead; as a Snake in cold weather, though it be alive, yet it appears to be dead, the life of it is in a swound; though it hath life, yet the cold benums it, and keeps it from appearing: So before the com∣mandment came, sin was in Paul, but it seemed to have no life but when the commandment came, and discovered plainly, what a dead creature he was, then the life of sin came indeed to be mani∣fested.
Now the Law of God doth manifest the life of sin Three wayes; it manifests three lifes of sin: There are three lifes of sin, that appear to the soul, when the law comes.
1. First, There is the life of Aggravation; the Law of God doth aggravate and point out sinne to the full life of it; it makes sinne appear in the true nature of it: the true nature of every thing is the life of the thing: the nature of a man is the life of a man: Now the law did shew him the na∣ture of his sins, it painted them out to the very life, in their lively colours; this made him see how his sins were aggravated: what a cursed and dam∣ned thing sin was, and what a person it was com∣mitted against, this made sin appear unto him in the very life of it; therefore in the 13. vers. of this Chapter, the Apostle saith, Sin, that it might appear si•, wrought death in me, that sin might be 〈◊◊〉 measure sinful by the commandment: that is, Page 27 when the commandment comes, and is manifested to the soul, it makes the life of sin appear, the life of sin is then manifested, the Law of God like a glasse, doth shew the life of the Command∣ment, and the very nature of all sinning, and trans∣gressing. Now before the Law came thus home unto him, he could not thus see sin; he could say, he was a sinner, and had committed these, and these sins: But what these sins were, and the ex∣ceeding sinfulnesse of these sins, he did not see that. He had a dead kind of picture of his sins before, but the life thereof was not manifested; but the Law of God did make his sin revive, and made him see his sinnes in the life of them.
2. Secondly, There is the life of irritation, as I may so call it; or of itching, and egging a man. This is another life of sin, whereby it is full of o∣peration, and working in the Soul; the operati∣on of a thing, is the life of a thing. Now before the Commandment came, sin seemed dead, it wrought indeed many evils in him, but he did not think his heart had been so full of life, and so full of activity against Gods Law and command∣ments. Sin seemed to lye dead before, but now when the Commandment came, and set upon his heart, and began to charge him with better obe∣dience; now his heart grew itching, and marvel∣lous full of life unto lust. Hereupon sin egged him the more on to lust: It is like water, when a man goes about to stop it, it runs the more vi∣olently. So it is with sin in the heart, the more the Law of God goes about to stop it, and hinder it, the more eager it is, and the more full of life Page 28 and working, as the Apostle speaks, ver. 8. with∣out the Law, sin was dead: there was no such wor∣king of sin in my mortal body then: but when the Commandment came, when the Law was charged upon my heart, then sin took occasion hereby to be the more violent, and work in me all manner of Concupiscence: before I committed sin with∣out any check, I had vain thoughts, and foolish courses, and many a lust in my soul, and I went to it as if it had been a good thing, not as if it had been evil: But when the Law of God came to shew me the slacknesse of my obedience, and to controle me, and convince me, and to stop the course of sin, it wrought all manner of Con∣cupiscence in me; it wrought before in Paul, for it wrought all his security, and all his hard∣nesse of heart, and all his vain thoughts and ima∣ginations: but this was but a dead kind of work∣ing, in comparison of that which it wrought af∣ter the Commandment came. There are none that have such active Rebellions against the Law and Commandment of God, as those to whom the Law comes; it eggs a man forward, and maks him itch unto Rebellion. If a man had asked Paul before, whether he had such a devillish heart against God; he saw no such matter, he never meant God any hurt when he went on in his course, he thought not that he was so stub∣born and rebellious, he did not feel this stubborn∣nesse and rebellion; But when the Law came once, it shewed him the venome, and cursed na∣ture of his sins.
3. The Third life of sin is the worst of all; and that is, the life of Imputation; for here sin is Page 29 so full of life, that it is not only able to discover unto him, that he is a sinful wretch, and an abo∣minable creature; but to bind him over to wrath and send him to hell, and everlasting destructi∣on. Now it is the Law of God that discovers this life of sinne: before the Law comes, a man hath many vain hopes, that God is merciful, and Christ dyed for sinners, and that God will forgive him his sins; he doth not see the imputation of sin: the imputation of sin lying upon the Soul is not clearly discovered, before the Law come; for where there is no Law, there is no imputation of sin, Rom. 5. 13. there saith the Apostle, unto the time of the Law, was sin in the world; but sin is not imputed, while there is no Law. Before the Law is charged upon the heart, the heart never dreams of the imputation of sin, as if he should answer for sin, and be damned for sin for ever: He thought the contrary before, but now the Law discovers the life of sin unto him, and sin revives, and appears to have life to damn him for evermore. Sin now appears to have life to cast him off from God, and to bind him over to Everlasting vengeance. Thus it was with Paul, when the Commandment came, sin revived; I saw sin was alive indeed, and I saw the life of aggra∣vation, I saw the hellish nature of sin, it was painted out to the full; I saw the life of irrita∣tion, I saw the infinite egging, and itching of sin, how it did work in me; I saw the life of imputation, how all my sins were imputed unto me, and did all lye upon my conscience, and so sin revived, that is the meaning.
Now for the meaning of the Second word, IPage 30dyed, that is, I saw I was a dead man; I saw plain∣ly, and clearly, that I was but a dead man; I thought I was alive before, because I did good duties, and walked in the Ordinances of God; and I thought that I might goe for a Christian, and servant of God, as well as another. I did not think I was a dead man, I thought I had some goodnesse in me, some hope of eternal life in me; I did not conclude that I was a dead man. But when the Law of God humbled me, and dis∣covered my estate plainly unto me; then I saw I was a dead man indeed, my heart failed me, and the livelynesse that was in me before, departed from me. I saw I was a dead man, and had not the Spirit of Christ come and quickned me, I had been a dead man to all eternity; I now saw that sin began to revive in me, and I began to be a dead man. Thus we see the meaning of the words.
Now the Theame I propounded to you was this, namely, how the Lord converts the will; and the first work that prepares a man hereunto, is the work of pulling down the will, and the pul∣ling down of a mans heart; for the will of man is full of obstinacy, full of livelynesse against the truth, and Commandment of God; full of live∣lynesse in sin, and conceives it self to be in a bet∣ter estate and condition, and so the will is obsti∣nate still. Now when it pleaseth God to convert a man, first he pulls down the will of a man, and pulls down his Spirit; now here is a Doctrine to make way for this.
Namely, that when the Lord takes a man in* hand to pull him down, to pull down his will, he Page 31 doth shew him what a dead Creature he is. The Lord by pronouncing a man in his own Bosom, a dead man, a damned man, one that can no way help himself; he is dead, absolutely dead in his own estate, and in Gods account, all his hopes are rotten; he is meerly, a dead, damned man: hereby the Lord pulls down his will. We may see this in Paul, before his Conversion; his will was full of obstinacy and rebellion against God, he would go and make havock of the Church, he would not submit to the will of God; but when the Lord came to work upon him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks: What wilt thou that I shall do Lord, saith he, Act. 9. 6? Now his will is come down: but mark how the Lord puts him off; go to such a place, (saith he) and there it shall be told thee what thou shalt do. The Lord puts him off, and would not give him an answer presently, what he should do; as who should say, thou hast as yet an obstinate will, thou wilt not do as I command thee: I will not tell thee as yet, what I will have thee to do; but go to such a place, and I will Arrest thee there, and charge my Law upon thy Conscience, and shew thee thy dead, and damned estate. And now his will is come down; he bids him be Baptized, and he was so; he bids him go and Preach the Gospel, and he did so; now his will is come down. So the prodigal, his heart was marvellous obstinate against his Fathers commandement; he would be gone from his father, he could not abide to stay in a house where there were such strict cour∣ses, he would have his goods and patrimony in Page 32 his own hand, (as it is the property of every carnal man) he would have his Inheritance in his own hand; he would have power, and strength, and ability, and these gifts and parts in his own hand. But when he is humbled by the Law, he is content to have all in Gods hand, he is content to have all his wisdom there, that he may come thither for it; he is content to have all his righteousnesse there, and all his ability, strength, and sufficiency there, that he may come thither for it; all is there, and he sees himself a beggar, if he comes not to God, and keeps close to God, and keeps fast to his Co∣venant, he is a very beggar. But this man would have all in his own hands, and goe and squander away all upon his lusts and pleasures, and he would not stay at home with his father. Now when the Law of God came home to him, to shew this man to himself, when he came to him∣self, as the Text saith (his father did esteem him a dead man before,) But when he came to himself, and saw he was a dead man for going away from his father, the Father of life; Now his will is come down, I will go to my father, and say, Father I have sinned against Heaven and a∣gainst thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy Son, make me as one of thy hired servants. Luke 15. 17. Here his will is come down; he would be gone from his father before, he could not a∣bide to be held in so strictly, he would fain be gone, and be at liberty; he had no mind to stay in his fathers house: But when he came to him∣self, when the Law shewed him, he was but a dead man, for going from his father; and going Page 33 after his lusts and pleasures; now his will is brought down, and it submits, and yields; and now he will go to his father, and humble him∣self before his father, aud say, Father, I have sin∣ned against heaven, and against thee, &c. Now I desire here to shew you Three things, as I did in the former point.
First, Wherein this deadnesse consists.
Secondly, What be the effects of this deadness, and how it pulls down the heart. And
Thirdly, The Uses we are to make of it.
1. For the First, Wherein this deadnesse con∣sists: and it consists in Three things.
First, In deadnesse in being.
Secondly, In deadnesse in Gods account.
Thirdly, In deadness to all doing.
1. First, It consists in deadnesse in being. When the Law comes, it shews a man indeed to be a dead man, 2 Cor. 3. 6. the letter killeth, saith the Apostle: the very letter of the Law; with∣out the Spirit of life, which Christ doth inform it with, when he comes to work upon his chil∣dren; The letter alone, without the Spirit of God, kills a man: now when a man is killed, he is a dead man; he is then fully dead, he hath the very being of a dead man, he is a dead man; that is his Estate and Condition. So when the Law of God comes home to a man, it shews him indeed that he is a dead man. The property of the Law, when it is let in to work upon the heart, is to slay a man, I have flain them by the words of my mouth, Hos. 6. 5. The Law which proceeds from Gods mouth, is able to slay a poor sinner, and kill him at the heart, and lay him for dead before Page 34 Almighty God, that he can strive no more; the reason is, because the Law doth charge the truth of God upon a man. Now the Truth is, that eve∣ry sinner is a dead man, this is the very Truth of it, Rom. 8. 6. To be carnally-minded is death: That man is a dead man; there is the very death of sin, and hell, and condemnation in that man, that is a Carnal-minded man. Now the Law of God when it comes, doth Charge this Truth upon the Soul, it discovers a man to be in this e∣state and condition, wherein in truth he is.
2. Secondly, It consists in deadnesse in Gods account. For all a mans presumptions, for all a mans vain hopes that he is justified; for this is the nature of man, before he is convinced by the Law of God, to justifie himself, (you are*they that justifie your selves,) not that he is in∣deed justified; but he falsly applies justification to himself, and he hopes he is justified before God, he is apt to pronounce this hope unto himself, let a Minister tell him of his sins, here is his Salve, God is merciful, and Christ came to save sinners. Let Sermons beat upon him from day to day, to humble him, he cannot imagine that he is in a damnable estate; Preachers are too harsh, and censorious, and the like. But when the Law comes, it shuts up a man that he cannot get out, as the Apostle speaks, Gal. 3. 22. The Law hath concluded all under sin: that is the nature of the word of God, to shut up a man, that a man is not able to get out: before the law is charged, the heart hath a thousand starting-holes. De∣nounce hell, and damnation against it, it hath this starting-hole, that Christ dyed for sinners: Page 35 discover plainly that he is a dead man, he hath these starting-holes, he hopes he shall have peace, and he hopes he is not so vile before Almighty God, and he hopes he hath better righteousnesse then you would bear him down with; and so he hath an evasion to get out: but when the Law comes, and shuts him up, this will tame him. As we use to tame Lions, and Bears, and such like fierce and cruel creatures, by shutting of them up, so the Lord tames the heart of a poor crea∣ture, when he would pull him down, he shuts him up, and layes him in the prison, and in the Gaole, and he hath no way to get out; he is a dead man, and there is no way to get out, no e∣vasion to escape; but still he is a dead man, and a damned man, he cannot open his mouth any more, Ezek. 16. 63. That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more, when I am pacified towards thee, for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God. The Law indeed works thus in the Regenerate, though the Lord be pacified towards them, yet they shall never open their mouths, never cavil against Gods precepts more, never be so brisk any more. But so long as a man is in his sins, the Law doth not only convince him that he is dead in him∣self, but that he is also dead towards God; that God accounts him a dead man, that God is not pa∣cified towards him, but he lies under the wrath of God, and this pulls him down, and stops his mouth. A carnal mans mouth will not be stop∣ed, but he will have some thing to say, some vain hope, or confidence or other, some plead∣ing, or excusing or other. His mouth will ne∣ver Page 36 be stoped, till the Law of God comes; and when that comes, that will stop his mouth, and make it appear, that he is guilty before God, Rom. 3. 19. the Apostle saith, Now we know, that what∣soever the Law saith, it saith to them that are un∣der the Law, that every mouth might be stopped, and all the world may be culpable before God. But before the Law comes, a mans mouth will not be stopped. Gen. 20. 3. God came to Abimilech by night, and said, Thou art but a dead man, because of the woman which thou hast taken, for she is a mans wife: He was a dead man, but he little thought it; he would not believe that he was a dead man; As the Text there speaks of temporal death. So it is true of the other, carnal men are indeed dead men, but they will not believe that they are dead men, and damned men; they hope for mercy, and cry, peace, peace to their souls; but when the Law comes, that knocks off all mens hopes, and layes them for dead in Gods account.
3. Thirdly, This deadnesse I here speak of, it consists in regard of all manner of doing; when the Law of God hath charged it self upon the con∣science, and discovered to a man, that he is a dead, and a damned man. It makes it now ap∣pear unto him, that he is utterly unable to do any thing; he is in the depth of misery, and he is un∣able to cry mercy aright, he is not able to make a prayer, no more then a dead man: he seeth he can no more keep a Sabboth as he ought, than a dead man. So for any duty of Religion, he seeth he hath no more life to do it, then a dead man hath to do the actions of the living: as the Apo∣stle Page 37 speaks, Gal. 2. 19. I am dead to the Law, that I might live unto God. God made St. Paul alive unto him, but first he charged his Law upon his Conscience, and made him seem to be a dead man to the Law: That he had no life or activity to do any thing pleasing to God: but when the Lord made him alive to himself, then he could do some∣thing, nay, he was able to do all things, through the Lord Jesus Christ that strengthned him. But in himself, both still, and before, he was altoge∣ther dead to the Law of God; so that when the Law comes, and shews a mans estate unto him, it shews him his utter inability to the perfor∣mance of any good duty. The Pharisee will to the Temple as well as the Publican, Saul will sa∣crifice as well as Samuel; Prophane people will take up the Ordinances of God, as if they had life to go through them, as well as the people of God. But when the Law comes, it plainly con∣vinceth a man; it makes him feel and understand, that he hath no activity, or life to performe any thing pleasing to Almighty God; a dead man can do nothing, he is cut off from all the actions of the living; dead men they cannot devise ought, they cannot purpose ought, they cannot work ought. So when the Law of God is charged up∣on a man, and shews him that he is but a dead man, and a damned man, now he seeth, he can as well create a world, as make a prayer; he can as well remove a Mountain, as do any thing acceptable to God. Such a man will say, I am a dry tree, and cannot grow; I am lost in the wildernesse of sinne, and cannot get out again. Thus we see wherein this deadness consists.
Page 382. Now I come to shew you the Effects of this Deadnesse, how it pulls down the heart: this will pull down the heart of a man marvellously, when the Law chargeth this upon him, that he is but a dead man; though the will of man be infinitely unruly, it is wild, it is like the mad man in the Gospel, that the Divil was in, no man was able to bind him, no Chains were able to hold him, no Creature could tame him, Mark 5. 34. So it is with the will of an unregenerate man, his will is marvellous wild, he breaks all bonds, and snaps all cords in pieces, and casts off the yoak from him. Let God bid him do this, he will not do it; let him be in a good mood, he is presently out of it again; let him be convinced of his vain hopes, and let him see what a wretched creature he is, he will have vain hopes again; his will is infinitely un∣ruly, and desperately wild, the very Divel in hell hath the rule of it; it is full of life against God and his Commandments, and will never yield while the world stands, till now the Lord comes with his Law, and shews a man, that he is a dead man, and a damned man, and shews him that he is under the wrath of God: the Law is able to do this, as the Apostle speaks, Rom. 4. 15. The Law causeth wrath, It makes a man appear to lie under the wrath of God, under Gods everlasting displeasure, and in the mouth of hell and dam∣nation; and if God be not merciful to him, and more merciful then to a world of men, he seeth he is a dead man, utterly lost, and undone for e∣ver; now this will make his spirit yield, and make his heart begin to come in; as the Psalmist speaks concerning Princes, He shall cut off thePage 39spirit of Prince, he is terrible to the Kings of the earth, Psal. 76. 12. Kings and Princes have stout Spirits; now when the Lord sends but a lit∣tle terrour into their hearts, he is able to snib their spirits, for all their security, and for all the height of their magnanimity; he is able to cut off all, by sending his terrour into their hearts, so the Law sends terrour into the heart. Can there be a greater terrour then to have the Law denounce a man to be a dead man? and that the wrath of God is gone out against him? and that he lyeth in the very mouth of all the Canons of the fury of the most High? This will break the heart of a man, if his heart were made of brass, this would break it. Look as it was with the Moabites 2 Sam. 8. 2. They were stout against David, and would not yield and submit unto him; but when David smote them, and measured them with a cord, and cast them down to the ground; when he mea∣sured them with two cords to put them to death, and with one full cord to keep them alive; then saith the Text, the Moabites became Davids ser∣vants, and brought him gifts. So it is with a pro∣phane creature, whilest God lets him goe on, he is stout, and will not serve God, but his will is altogether crosse, and contrary to Gods will and Commandements; he will not take up those cour∣ses that God commands, he will not submit him∣self to the precisenesse of the Gospel, his will is infinitely crosse in this kind, and marvellous ob∣stinate. But if the Lord takes him in hand, and charge his Law upon his conscience, he puts such terrours into his heart, that he is willing to sub∣mit unto God upon any tearms. I confesse thePage 40Law cannot do this of it self; it cannot thus bring down the will of a man, and mortifie a mans sins: For if the damned in hell were let loose again, to live here upon earth, they would forget all their former Plagues, and Torments, and sin would re∣vive again in them. The Law of it self, can only lay some in a swound, it will up again if it be loose: the law cannot do this of it self; but I speak now of the law, as it is Gods Instrument. Hereby he pulls down the heart of a man, and pulls down his Spirit; labour will pull down any mans spirit: when a man is in labour, and pain, and affliction, it will make a mans Stomack come down; as we may see, Psal. 107. 11, 12. Because they rebelled against the words of the Lord, there∣fore he humbled their heart with labour and hea∣vinesse; then they fell down, but there was no hel∣per: Before they were stout against the Lord, and would not hearken unto him, and obey his Commandments; now the Lord brought down their heart. But how did he bring them down? he pulld them down by laying labours upon them; labour, and torment, and heavinesse pulled down their hearts. So when the law makes the heart labour under the wrath of God, it lyes labouring, and quaking, and shaking, and weltring, and bleeding under the wrath of God; this pulls down the will. And now I come to speak of the Effects it works, in doing of it.
1. The First Effect is this, it casts the heart into those woful privations we read of; there are abundance of comfortable things, which the man which is alive in his own conceit, thinks him∣self Page 41 to have. Now when the law comes to dead him, it knocks him off from all those comforta∣ble things he seemed to have; whereas he seemed to have some admittance to God in prayer, he could pray to him before, but now he sees he is an out-cast, and dares not lift up his eyes to hea∣ven: Before he hoped that God would have mer∣ey on him, and that he had some interest in Christ, and hope of salvation; but now he seeth he is lost: Before he seemed to have liberty, and freedom; he could do this, and that, and had a thousand evasions; but now he sees himself a meer captive: before he thought he had some rich∣es, some goodnesse, but now he seeth he is but a poor begger; before he had some Fig-leaves to cover him, but now he seeth he is altogether na∣ked; before he was heart-whole and sound, he had peace, and comfort, and quietnesse within him, but now he is altogether broken. This is the effect of this deadnesse, it brings all these pri∣vations into the soul; death is a privation it self; and it brings a hundred privations with it; even a privation of all the priviledges of the living: this the Law doth when it comes. All this while the Soul is lost, and captived, and poor, and blind, and miserable, and naked, and an out-cast; it is utterly undone, and altogether unable to help it self; and this, as it doth make a man an object of the Gospel, one for whom Christ dyed, as it points out such a man; so there is a Finger of the Gospel in it also, when the soul understands the goodnesse of the Gospel, and sees it self to be lost for want thereof; yet notwithstanding the Page 42 first stroke is given by the Law; the first stroke that casts the soul into this privation is done by the Law, and if the Lord means to convert, there the Gospel begins, Luke 4. 18. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath annointed me, that I should preach the Gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deli∣verance to the Captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, that I should set at liberty them that are bruised. When the Law hath humbled a man, and thus brought down his will, then be∣gins the work of the Gospel. As we use to say of natural Philosophy, where natural Philosphy ends, there Physick begins; So where the Law ends, the Gospel begins. Thus we see the first Ef∣fect of this deadnesse.
2. Secondly, When the Law hath done this, when the deadnesse the Law hath wrought, hath produced this effect; then the next Effect is this, the Law holds the heart there: when a man is dead, the effect of death is to hold a man there. There is no redresse, no return, without the Al∣mighty power of God: there is no return to his former life. So when the Law hath deaded a man, it holds a man there, though a man would never so fain get out, he cannot; he will be snatch∣ing at a Christ, and looking at the promises, and be presuming that there is mercy for him; he would fain be brisk again. But if the Law hath killed him, and made him a dead man, he cannot get out. Rom. 7. 6. the Apostle saith, We are delivered from the Law, being dead unto that wherein we were holden. St. Paul could not get out to his livelynesse again, but the Law held Page 43 him. So it is with the Law, when the Law of God hath humbled a man, and made him a dead man, it holds him there; let the Divel come with all the comforts he can, there is no evasion; let his vain neighbors bring what Scriptures they can to cheer him, there is nothing can lift that soul up: let all profits and pleasures come, they cannot take off his heart, they cannot make him alive again, unlesse it please the Lord to quicken and revive him.
2. The next Effect of this deadnesse is, that it makes the heart stiff: when the body is dead, all the members are stiff, the beatings of the pulses cease, and all are stiff. So when a man is killed by the Law, it makes his head stiff, it breaks off all his arguing, and reasoning, and disputing against the Law of God; That is against my profit, and that is against my pleasure and that is against my credit; thus the heart is full of life & activity before. But when the Law comes, and shews him he is a dead man: now he is not able to stir, now he can say, what if it be against my profit, and plea∣sure? what if it be against my credit? what if men make a mock at me? I am a dead man if I live not in this course, Psal. 36. 12. there saith the Text, They are fallen that work iniquity, they are cast down and shall not be able to rise. So when the Law of God comes, and preacheth righteousnesse to a man, and shews him against whom he hath sinned, it makes him a dead man, he cannot stir any more; if the Divel bids him reason for his lusts, he dares not do it; if his old company perswade him to his former life and conversation, he dares not do it, Isai. 41. 21.Page 44Stand to your cause saith the Lord, bring forth your strong reasons, saith the God of Jacob. You could be reasoning, and pleading for your lusts, let us now hear your strong reasons, and argu∣ments. Now this man is a dead man, and a damned man; he hath no reason, no plea to al∣ledge, to go on in his former course, this man is killed now.
4. Fourthly. This deadnesse makes the heart yield; before the Law comes, the heart is mar∣vellous obstinate, but now when the stiffnesse of it is gone, and the Law hath made him a dead man, now he will yield, 2 Chron. 30. 8. As He∣zekiah speaks; Be not now stiff-necked as your fa∣thers, but give the hand to the Lord, and come in∣to his Sanctuary. So when the Lord hath broken the neck of a mans stiffnesse, and hath broken his back-bone, that he cannot stand stiffly out, and hath taken away his livelynesse, which was his whale-bone as it were, to uphold him in his strength, and courage, and in his sins. Now his heart is made to yield to God, he cannot now but yield to the Lord. Thus it is with a poor creature, when the law works upon him, he can∣not stand out any longer: It is most true, before the Lord converts a man, he doth take away his stiffnesse, and make a man a dead man. But you will say, when a man is dead, all his joynts are stiff, his body is cold, and grows stiff, but when a man is alive, his joynts are lithe and lively. I Answer, It is true, the law of God cannot take away a mans natural stiffnesse, but his voluntary stiffness is taken away. The voluntary stiffnesse is taken away when he is dead; when a man was alive, he Page 45 could shut his hand, and hold it so; he could stretch out his arm, and hold it so: but when a man is dead, he cannot do so. So it is in this case, although the stiffnesse of nature remain still, yet the voluntary stiffnesse is taken away; the will and heart of a man is out of life; It cannot be stiff towards God. I confesse the Lord doth not take away all stiffnesse, no not out of his Saints; but he takes so much stiffnesse out of the heart, as to make it a prtient, he shall not be voluntarily stiff, he shall not be overcomingly resisting. Di∣vines use to say, That in the first conversion of a sinner, he is meerly a Patient; first the Lord makes him a patient, and then converts him, Jer. 31. 19. After I was converted, I repented, after I was instructed, I smote upon the thigh, &c. first God made him a patient, and instructed him, and afterwards converted him.
The Use of the Point is this, Is it so that the law of God doth make a man a dead man? Then here we may observe the wonderful power of the law; a man hath so much livlinesse in him, so much life and activity, and so many strong conceits, that it is wonderful hard to make him dead; therefore the word of God is mighty. It is said of Apollo, that he did mightily convince the Jewes, Acts, 18. 28. for he was mighty in the Scriptures, there had need be might in the Scriptures to do this. What strong reasons had they in regard of flesh and blood that Jesus was not the Christ? What, he the Christ that was born in a manger, and hath none but a beggarly company to his kin∣dred? Are not his brethren and kinsfolk with us? None but the tag-rag and refuse of the Coun∣try Page 46 follow him. What, he that had no form or beauty in him, the Saviour of the world? The Word of God was marvellous powerful, that could convince them of this; so a man that goeth on in his sinful estate and condition, it is a marvellous hard thing to convince him that he is a dead man: he hears the Word constantly, and goes on in his Calling diligently, and he hopes that Christ died for him; he is afraid of sin, and his heart trembles to commit sin, and he is sorry for his sins, he is thus, and thus: he that hath so many things to plead for himself, what, he a dead man? It is im∣possible. Therefore if the law of God be able to convince a man, and make a man a dead man that is so full of life, the law must needs be mighty that can do this; to dead this man, and kill this man, is a mighty work. So that we may say, as the Psalmist saith of the Sea and the Mountains, Psal. 114. 5, 6. What ayled thee, O Sea, that thou fleddest? O Jordan, why wert thou turned back? Ye Mountains, why leaped ye as Rams, and ye Hills as Lambs? So I may say, What ayleth this poor man that he is now driven from his former courses, and like the Sea, out of his own Channel? what ayls those Mountains of lusts and corrupti∣ons, that were settled upon his soul, as a Moun∣tain upon his Base, what ayle these to move, and stir, and fall away? What ayls the man that was so full of life before, that at one Sermon he is killed? What ayls the man? he came brisk and peark into the Church, and who but he? He was immoveable from his sinful lusts, and corruptions, and he had this Plea, and that confidence, and was full of life, but by one hours discourse (which it Page 47 may be another heard as well as he, and went a∣way as brisk as before, but this mans spirit is dead∣ed, and his heart taken down; what ayls the man now? why the law of God hath done it: See therefore the marvellous power of the law.
I told you formerly, That when the Law comes home to a mans soul, and is charged upon his Conscience, it casts the heart into all those woful privations we read of in Scripture; a man before he is thus deaded by the law, thinks himself to be possessed of abundance of comforts, but now he seeth himself to be an out-cast, and utterly lost, to be a captive, and poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked; he lies under all these privations: And as the Philosopher saith, That Privation is one of the Principles of Nature: Every body (saith he) hath Three Principles, Matter, Form, and Privation: No natural thing can have this or that Form put into it, but it must be deprived of all other Forms, as if fire be turned into air, first the form of fire must be taken away, before it can be turned into air, so it is in Grace, Privation is one of the Principles of Religion; before the life of Christ can be brought into a man, there must first be a Privation of all other contrary lifes: the life of the flesh, that cursed livelinesse of the flesh, the life of sin, and the life of the world, whereby a man lives unto the world, and the things of the world. A man must be deprived of all other lifes, of all other forms, he must have a Privation of all other forms, before the life of Christ can be for∣med in him. As for example, Take a man that is wordly wise, put him upon civil Affairs, he is wise Page 48 enough to order all his businesse; in eating, and drinking, he is wise enough not to distemper him∣self, wise enough to keep a good diet: Put him upon matters of Religion, he is wise there too, he will not be so precise as some are, that are more nice then wise; he will be moderate, and wise in the Service of God: Tell him, that he is one that doth not please God, that he walks to hell-ward, that he hath no care of his Salvation; he thinks that he is wiser then so. Would you make this man a wise man indeed? you can never make him truly a wise man, till you bring a Privation upon him, till he be first deprived of all that wordly wisdom that is in him; If any man among you seem to be wise (saith the Apostle) let him become a fool that he may be wise, 1 Cor. 3. 18. Let him have first a Privation of all the seeming wisdom he hath, of all the wisdom of the flesh and carnal reason, he must first be a fool, or else true wisdome is not able to enter into him: So if a man would be high, he must be first humbled, and brought low; before he can be truly high; a man must be naked; before he can be cloathed; a man must be lost; be∣fore he can be found; there are none of you that live in your sins, but you must be stripped of all the forms that are in you; there must be a Priva∣tion come into you, before true Grace can be for∣med in you. Privation is one of the Principles of Religion, and unlesse you be deprived of all other forms, you cannot have the essential form of Re∣ligion come into you; it is the poor that receive the Gospel: when a man is deprived of all other forms, then is he fit to receive the form of the Gospel. When a man is deprived of his own wis∣dom, Page 49 he may then receive the wisdom of the Gospel; when a man is deprived of his own self∣confidence, of his own strength, and sufficiency, then he may receive the strength of the Gospel; when a man is deprived of all other contrary live∣linesse, and contrary forms that are opposite to all these, when a man is deprived of all these, he is capable of the true life of Christ, and the Gospel. I will Instance only in one thing which I named before, and that is poverty: a man can never re∣ceive Christ, or any impression of the true form of Christianity, till first his Heart be emptied, and his Will and his Mind be emptied, and his Con∣science be emptied, till all other forms be voyded out, and he begins to be made poor and nothing in himself, till every room in the soul be naked, and empty, there is never a room for the kingdom of God to come into the soul; the kingdom of God is a great thing, and will take up a great deal of room where it comes, therefore the Heart, and the Mind, and the Will, and the Affections must be emptied: the soul must be rid and void of all other things, or else there is no room for the Kingdom of God. As our Saviour saith Mat. 5. 3. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall receive the Kingdom of God: Then there is room for the Kingdom of God, when the heart is made poor, and all is voided out, the world, and the flesh, and all carnal delights, and pleasures, and all self-conceitednesse, which the heart was full of. When it was full of the world, there was no room for Gods Kingdom; but when a man is made poor in Spirit, when he hath a Privation of these things, wherewith his soul was filled; now Page 50 there is room for the Kingdom of God; the rea∣son is, because a man can never be brought to Christ, till he is pinched with these Privations; before he can never come to Christ, his heart can never be brought to bid so much and stake down so much for Christ, as he must do, if ever he come to attain him: unlesse his heart be pinched with poverty, unlesse his heart be void of all these high imaginations he had of himself, he will never come to Christ. It is plenty that brings down the mar∣ket, and scarcity that makes it rise: plentiful years, will make Corn of no price almost, but if there be famine, and scarcity, and no bread al∣most to be had, but men are ready to dye for hunger, then they wil give any thing, they will give ten shillings a bushel, twenty, nay fourty shil∣lings hath been given for a bushel of Corn, as I have read in Chronicles; it is poverty that makes men come to a price. So must the heart be pinch∣ed with Spiritual poverty, else it will not come to Christ; men will give nothing for the King∣dom of God, they will not part with a single groat for Christ; the prophane Gallant will not part with a lock for Christ; the proud vain fool, will not part with a foolish lace, a foolish fashion for Christ; the drunkard will not fore∣goe a pot for Christ, men will not part with any thing for Christ; they will not part with a paul∣try lust, or base affection for Christ: People will not stir, they will not open their purses, they will not open their hearts to give any thing for Christ; the reason is, their hearts are full al∣ready. People count their profits, and pleasures, and lusts, and vanities, and delights, their Jewels; Page 51 a man must be poor, before he will part with his Jewels; but if a man be throughly pinched with poverty he will part with his old Gold, and Rings, and Jewels, and all; but he will never part with his Jewels, till he be forced to it by extremity. So all the lusts of the heart, all the things of the world, that the mind and affections run upon, men account them their Jewels, and they will not part with them, till they be pinched with poverty. Thus it was with the Jaylor, Acts 16. 30 when he was pinched with this poverty, he cryes out, Men and brethren, what shall I do to be saved? When his heart was pinched with this poverty, he was content to part with any thing, he was willing to do any thing, to hear∣ken to any terms that he might have mercy: So that it is necessary for a man to have all these Privations wrought in his heart, and be made poor, else he will never take Christ upon those terms whereupon he is offered.
Secondly, Suppose a man should conceive worth to be in Christ; suppose he should put a great price upon him, yet if a man be not under these Privations, if he be not pinched with poverty, with Spiritual need and want; he will never use all means for the attaining of the Kingdome of God. He will never take himself to all those courses that God hath commanded himself to be sought in. It was need that made Ahab send up and down all Countries, and Soiles for water; it was need that made the rich Woman of S•u∣nem, to hazard her self, and her family, and houshold in a forraign Country; she would not have gone a mile of that Journey, but for her po∣verty, Page 52 as Divines use to speak. Let two men go to the Market, the one hath need, the other hath not; he that hath need, will go whatsoever the weather be, though the weather be never so foul, he will go; bread he wants, and bread he must have, and bread he will have; and if he cannot have it at an easie rate, he will part with any thing; he will pawn his very cloaths from his back for it. Why? because he, and his wife, and his children want it. But the other, he will go ac∣cording as he likes the weather; if the weather be answerable to his mind, it may be he will go, it may be not; and when he is there, it may be he will buy, and it may be not; according as the price goeth, because he hath no need of it. So it is in Grace, let two men be called upon to seek out for Grace; one doth not feel any great need, he is not pinched with the want of Faith and Repentance, and Pardon, and Peace of Con∣science: though he want these, yet he is not pinched with the want, his heart is yet full, he is not yet come to this Spiritual poverty. It may be he will come to a Sermon, it may be not; it may be he will part with a Lust, and it may be not; it is according as the bargain pleaseth him; he will never use all means, nor take up all cour∣ses that are prescribed: But a man that is rea∣dy to starve for want of Christ; as Sisera said, Give me drink or else I perish: so, give me Christ or else I perish: This man will take any course, use any means, he must have Christ, and will have him; when he comes to the Word, Christ he wants, and Christ he will have, and must have; all Sermons, and all hearing, are but as Oile to Page 53 the fire, they do but pinch his Soul so much the more, till Christ comes; he must have Christ in his Ordinances, because he is sensible of his Spi∣ritual poverty. So that it is he which is lost that will be found, it is he which is a captive that will be freed, it is he that is blind that must have his sight, and it is he that is naked that must be cloa∣thed; he that lies under these woful Privations, he must have the form, he looks after it, he can∣not be without it. Thus we see that Privation is ne∣cessary for Religion, the true life of Religion can never come into a man, till he be layed under all these woful Privations we read of in Scrip∣ture.
But now here is a question which will arise,* which those that are godly would be glad to have resolved, and that is this: Whether these Pri∣vations that the Apostle here speaks of, makes a man the formal Object of mercy? St. Paul was alive once before the Law came, but when the law came, and was charged upon his Con∣science, it deprived him of his livelynesse, and made him a dead man; I dyed saith he. Now the Question is this, Whether is such a man the formal Object of mercy? When the Law hath deprived a man of his conceited riches, and made him a poor man, and hath proclaimed him a bank∣rupt, and a begger, and made him a captive, that he is not able to stir one foot, he is not able so much as to think a good thought; but he ly∣eth under wrath, and is not able to get out: Whe∣ther is such a man the formal Object of mercy? I mean, whether is he such a one, as the Gospel hath promised deliverance unto? When a man Page 54 by the law is made a dead Creature, and is alto∣gether deprived of life and health; he hath no life actually, and there is no life actually to be had for him, (for so the law leaves him without any hope of getting any life.) Whether is this man the formal Object of mercy? whether is he such a one as the Gospel doth make promise to of quickning, and enriching, and gathering, and finding, and saving, and comforting, and the like? whether is this man the formal Object of mercy? Every man is the Object of mercy, but whether hath this man got those properties that belong to the actual Object of mercy? The rea∣son why I propound this Question, is this, Be∣cause the Scripture seems to make such a one the formal Object of mercy, such a one as mercy is promised to, such a one as the Gospel looks up∣on, as the proper and actual Object of mercy; for the Gospel is said to quicken the dead, and to give them life, it is the Letter that killeth, and the Spirit that giveth life, 2 Cor. 3. 6. It giveth life to him that was before a dead man, to him that was killed by the letter. So for poverty, Luke 4. 18. To the poor the Gospel is preached, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath annointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor, he hath sent me that I should heal the broken hear∣ted, and preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind: So that when the law hath made a man a poor man, & hath stripped him of all his conceited riches, and hath made him a begger, it seems that Christ is anointed to preach mercy to such a one; it seems that such a one is the formal Object of the Gospel. See Page 55Psalm 147. 2. He gathers the out-casts of Israel: when the Law hath made a man an out-cast, it seems he is the formal Object of mercy: The Gospel undertakes to gather such people so far lost. The Son of man is come to save that which is lost, Matth. 18. 11. he is come for that pur∣pose, it is his Commission, he is sent to save that which is lost; when the law hath made a man to be a lost man, that he seeth he is utterly undone without mercy, Christ is come to save such peo∣ple, and to look upon them as the formal Object of mercy.
So for death it self, when a man is made dead by the Law; The hour shall come saith our Saviour, and now is, that the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that do hear it shall live, John 5. 25. It seems that the Scripture makes such as are made dead by the law, and poor, and blind, and naked, and wretched, and miserable, by reason of the Law being pressed upon them, and pulling them down with terrours and con∣viction; it seems such a one is the formal Object of mercy, such a one to whom mercy is promi∣sed. I do not mean that he is the formal Object of the invitations of the Gospel, that is most certain, there is no question of that, Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and you shall find rest to your souls. Come unto me, all you that are poor, and blind, and naked, and dead, and I will give you life; have you a hard heart, that you cannot free your selves from, come unto me, and I will free you from it; have you no power to repent and believe, come unto me, and take mercy upon my terms, and believe Page 56 in me, whatsoever weaknesse is in you, I will strengthen you; whatever discomforts and wants lye upon you, I will relieve and chear you. This is certain, the more a man seeth himself a dead man, the more he is the formal Object of the in∣vitation of the Gospel. But the Question is, Whether he is the formal Object of the promises of the Gospel.
I Answer No; There is a great deal of diffe∣rence* between legal Privations, and these Privati∣ons as they are evangelical, as the Gospel makes them before it quickens a man: there is a great deal of difference between a man that is dead, and poor, and blind, and naked, and miserable by rea∣son of the law; and a man that hath these priva∣tions wrought in him by the power of the Gospel: when a man is made dead by the law, and sees him∣self a lost creature by reason that the law plainly shews him his estate and condition, this man may be a reprobate for all this, and go to hell; there is no promise in the Word that God will quicken him, and raise him up; Christ is free from any promise in this kind, he may quicken him if he will, and not quicken him if he please. I may say in this sense, as Christ himself saith, Joh. 5. The Son of man quickens whom he will; He is free to quicken whom he will, though a man be made a dead man by the law, and cry out he is a dead man, and a damned man, though he hath the works of the law, and be terrified, and gastered, and humbled by the law, yet Christ is free from any promise he hath made to these people; there is never a promise in all the Word, that Christ hath bound himself by to these people to quicken Page 57 them: they cannot say there is such a promise in the Word, that Christ will quicken them. There are plain places in the Scripture, wherein the Lord invites such people, upon condition they will come and believe, and submit to the Gospel; there is a conditional invitation upon these terms: But that these people shall be quickned, and shall have eternal life given them, there is no such promise; the Lord is free, the Lord hath not bound himself to it; but when a man is dead according as the Gospel makes a man dead before it quickens him, and when a man is poor according as the Gospel makes him poor, and when a man is blind accor∣ding as the Gospel makes him blind, now a man is within the compass of Gods promises, he is one that is the formal object of Mercy, he is one that shall have Mercy, and shall have Salvation, and Redemption by Jesus Christ; these dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and shall live; the tongue of these stammerers shall speak plain, the eyes of these blind shall see, these out-casts shall be gathered, these naked shall be cloathed, these lost shall be found, these poor shall be enriched; when a man is dead, so as the Gospel deads a man, before it quickens a man (for the Lord damns a man before he saves a man, and kills a man before he quickens him) like a good Surgeon, that cuts be∣fore he cures; or like a good Physician, that kills a man almost with Physick, so the Lord doth bring a man to deaths door before he quickens him; it is the Gospel that truly humbles him, and works these privations; and now he is within the com∣passe of the promise: now he hath a promise that he shall be quickned, and have supply in regard of Page 58 all these Privations, but so long as these Privati∣ons are only legal, he hath no promise that he shall be quickned, for many are humbled and made dead as it were by the law, and yet shake it off a∣gain, and go to their pro••ts, and pleasures, and delights, and hardnesse of heart again; many a man hath been gastered by the law, and cryed out of his damned estate and condition, and yet hath got up again, and recovered himself by the world and the things of the world; and it was ever so of old, as we may see in Cain, the law had dis∣covered him to himself to be a dead man, and a damned man: I see my sins are greater then can be forgiven, or are forgiven, or shall be forgiven: he saw his punishment was intolerable, his con∣demnation was more then he was able to bear; From thy presence am I cast out, and a Vagabond shall I be upon the face of the earth, Gen. 4. 14. Yet he was not the formal Object of mercy; the Gospel did not quicken him, nor convert him: he was not the formal Object of mercy, for he shook off these terrours again, as we may see in the very same Chapter, and went to building of Cities, and inventing of musick, and other arts and sciences; and this quickned, and revived him again: but he never came to true life. So it is with many men, though they be terrified, and gastered, and humbled, and cast down by the law, yet they get up again, and run after the world, and after security, and hardnesse of heart again; so that such a man is not the formal Ob∣ject of mercy.
2. Again, we see that many, though they be wrought upon thus by the law, and their eyes be Page 59 enlightned, and their Consciences awaked, and they see that they are in a wretched and damned estate; yet they scrape together a company of vain hopes, and so heal themselves again. When they have been terrified by the law, they seek pre∣sently for promises, and how they may get up a∣gain, and they would fain get up; and they lye at catch at every Sermon, and at every Chapter, and at every Word which a good man speaks; and if they can get any hold they catch at it, and so get up a gain and go on: And when they have got a little comfort, and think they shall do well, they are as carelesse, and as stubborn, and as se∣cure as ever they were; they may go on in the profession of Religion, but yet their latter end is worse then their beginning: The unclean Di∣vel may be cast out, but the Divel transforms himself into an angel of light, and enters into them, and they go on in doing good du∣ties, but they never have the power of Re∣ligion.
Again Thirdly, Many that are humbled by the law, they run away, and never come to Christ, as Judas when he saw he was condemned, he went and hanged himself, Matth. 27. 3, 5. Some ex∣pound it of Christ, when he saw Christ was con∣demned; but others expound it of himself, when Judas saw himself was condemned, and that seems to be the meaning of the place; for Christ was not condemned, nor so much as accused; there came not any witnesse against him, till Judas had hang∣ed himself, as we may see if we read that Chap∣ter. But whether that be the meaning or no, this is true and certain, he saw he was a dead Page 60 man, he saw he lay under the guilt of his sins, and he despaired of mercy, and went and hang∣ed himself.
Again Lastly, If such a man were the Object of mercy, then all the damned in hell were the formal Objects of mercy; for there is never a man in hell, but the law hath its work to the utter∣most upon him; it can work a man no lower, it can sink a man no deeper, it can make a man no more miserable, then those that are in hell. Now if a dead man by the law should be the for∣mal Object of mercy, then the damned in hell should be the formal Object of mercy, which cannot be; for from thence there is no Redem∣ption, Go ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared*for the Divel and his angels; there is no quench∣ing of that fire. So that we see, the legal killing of the law, doth not make a man the formal Ob∣ject of mercy. But yet such a man hath a great deal of advantage, he is before a world of other men, that live secure; if men were in this estate, they were in a thousand times more likelyhood to be saved. If I could hear of people that were gastered, and cast down by the law; that saw themselves without Christ, and without mercy, in the power of Satan, and in the bond of ini∣quity; if they cryed out, I am a dead man, and a damned man, if I dye now at this present, I shall go to hell; if people were in this estate and condition, there were more hopes of them a thou∣sand times: there is no hope of people that doe live secure in their sins; so long as the Trumpet of the Law hath not sounded in their ears, so long as the Hammer of the Law hath not sounded Page 61 upon their hearts, there is no hope of mercy for them. Therefore now for the clearing of this a little more, let me shew you
First, What it is to be dead, according as the Gospell makes a man to be a dead man.
Secondly, What is the difference between Le∣gal Privation, and Evangelical; and when these Privations are Evangelical, and put a man under the actual Title to mercy, under an actual interest in the promises.
Thirdly, What Use we are to make of it.
For the First, What it is to be Evangelically dead: To be legally dead, is not to be half a quarter so much dead, as to be Evangelically dead, so as the Gospel makes a man dead before it quickens him. When a man is Evangelically dead, it makes him more dead by a thousand de∣grees, then all the law in the world can make him, it makes him more dead by odds; when a man is Legally dead, and sees himself to be a damned creature, and whereas he hoped to have mercy, he seeth now he hath none, and whereas he hoped to go to heaven, he now seeth the gates are shut against him; and whereas he hoped he had some good in him, now he sees he hath nothing in him: a man would think this were a dead man, but his livelynesse is only in a swound, the law ly∣ing upon him, will not let his livelynesse appear, and if the law should lie upon him for ever, it would never let his livelynesse actually appear; but yet he is not throughly dead all this while: as for example.
1. Self-conceitednesse, it is not deaded Page 62 when a man is killed by the law, you would think his conceitednesse were gone: he was con∣ceited he was a good Christian; but now he sees no such matter: he was conceited before, that he would repent, and God would be merciful to him, but now he seeth, he is utterly deprived of mercy, and lies under the wrath of God; you would think now that all his conceitednesse was gone; but it is but only in a swound all this while, he lies for dead as it were, but he is not dead. So take a man that is in hell, all his good conceits of mercy, and of himself and his profits, and pleasures, and vanities, and delights, they are all gone now. What doth pride profit me? what good do riches do me? what have all my pleasures, and delights, done me good? all my labour is vanity, and all my delights folly; one would think all his conceits were clean gone; but they are only in a swound. If a damned man were out of hell, if the Lord should take off the lash of his law from him, he would have as good a conceit of his profits, and pleasures, and riches again, as ever he had; and he would have his carnal reasons against the strictnesse of Religion again, as rief as ever he had; they are only laid in a swound, indeed there they shall lie: a man can never get up again, because the law lies continually upon him, he is conti∣nually under the lash of the law; and the law holds this picture before his eyes, and shews him his damned estate and condition: but upon such a supposition, that he might come out of hell, his conceits would rise up again. Prov. 5. 12, 13. Solomon there brings in a man wrought Page 63 upon by the law, the law discovered him to be a dead man. How have I hated instruction, and despised correction, and have not obeyed the voice of them that taught me, nor inclined my eare to them that instructed me? His carnal reasons are now all gone, they are in a swound; they were true instructions that I have hated, they were true reports that I have despised, and they were base and damned courses which I have followed. How have I lived? one would think all his foolish con∣ceits now were gone, they are in a swound indeed, and cannot get up. But the Gospel will give a man his deaths wound; a man can never have that good conceit of himself he had before; nor of his lusts, and vanities, and profits, and de∣lights; his self-conceitedness hath now got his deaths wound.
Secondly For self-confidence, when the law hath humbled a man, his self-confidence is only in a swound; when he lyeth in hell under the lash of the law, he seemeth to have no power in him∣self, no life, or activity to any duty. He sees that he is poor, and weak, and rotten, and wretch∣ed. A poor creature he is, he seeth it plainly, and all his self-confidence seems to be gone, but yet there is a great deal of self-confidence actually in hell, for though they are in hell, yet they think if they were alive again, what they would do; I would hear the Word, and call upon God; I would repent and not live insin, and not do as I have done; they think they would do thus, and thus, as it was with Dives, Luke 16. 30. I have five brethren saith he, if one should come to them from the dead, they would repent, and not comePage 64where I am. If they knew but as much as I know, they would repent; I am sure if they were in my case, they would, if they were in hell where I am, if they knew how certain it is, that they shall come to hell where I am when they dye, unless they doe repent at the preaching of the Prophets, and hearken to the voice of Gods Ministers, and yield and submit to God; they would do it: I would, if it were my case. This is self-confi∣dence; for self-confidence is only laid asleep in hell, and it cannot rise again. It is true, the law may dead a man, and give him three▪ deaths wounds. There are three wounds that the law gives a man.
First, It makes it appear that a man is worthy of death, and guilty of death; the law makes him see his guiltiness.
Secondly, The law pronounceth upon a sinner the sentence of death, as Paul saith of natural death, I received the sentence of death, 2 Cor. 1. 9. that is, I was a dead man, I took my self to be a dead man. So the law doth make a man to be a dead man, it pronounceth the sentence of death upon him; it doth not only make it appear that he is worthy of death, (for so it may do, and yet he may have hope of mercy) but it makes a man re∣ceive the sentence of death, and to be a dead man: if a man be once condemned, if the sentence of death be passed upon him, then he is without hope that the Judg will save him, because the sentence of condemnation is passed upon him. A man may see himself worthy of death, and yet hope for mercy, Rom. 1. 31. Therefore the law doth pronounce the sentence of death upon him, and Page 65 makes a man in a second degree dead.
Nay, Thirdly, The law makes a man see there is no hope of return; as it is with a dead man, when a man is truly dead, there is no return from death, there is no rising again: as the Wise-man speaks of the strange women, Prov. 2. 18, 19. Surely her house tendeth to death, and her paths unto the dead, they that go unto her return not a∣gain, neither take they hold of the wayes of life. Here the Wise-man sets forth the infinite misery, and damnable estate of such a creature, and the irrecoverableness of such a person, without the extraordinary mercy of God. Ordinarily, such persons are seldom, or never brought to repen∣tance: ordinarily they are irrecoverable. So the Law makes a man see he is guilty of death, and it passeth the sentence of condemnation upon him, and it makes him see there is no repeal of that sen∣tence: thus the law leaves him. Now a man would think, Can a man be more dead then thus? How can a man be more dead? Yet he may be a thousand times more dead; for the livelynesse of a man is but in a swound all this while: a man cannot be brisk, and peark, and self-conceited, he is now laid in a swound, but is not stark dead. But when a man comes to be Evangelically dead, he is more dead a great deale. And I will shew you it in these three things.
1. First, He is most dead that is hardest to re∣cover: Now when a man is legally dead, it is easie to recover that man; let but the lash of the law be taken off, let but God let him alone; and the profits and pleasures of the world, will make him alive again; his friends, and vanities, Page 66 and delights, will put life into him again, it is an easie matter to recover this man; but let a man be evangellically dead, when the Gospel hath deaded a man, he is a thousand times more dead and a great deal harder to recover, nothing can recover that man but Christ; let all the profits in the world come, they cannot chear him without Christ; if the devil should come and put into his minde all good conceits, and the good opinion of the world: If the Ministers should tell him he is in a good estate, they cannot quicken his heart, he is dead still, he is harder a thousand times to be revived then the other, as the Apostle saith, Col. 3. 2. 3. Set your affections on things that be above, not on things that are on earth; for ye are dead, and your life is hid in Christ. The Gospel hath made you dead, and you cannot be revived by any thing but Christ, your life is hid with Christ; do not you set your affections on things that are below, they can never put life into you, therefore let not them take up your minds and af∣fections any more, for your life is in Christ alone.
2. Secondly, He is most dead that life it self, cannot make alive: When a man is but legally dead, the law hath made him a dead man, and killed him, and shewed him he is a damned crea∣ture; this man, let him have but a little life, or any thought of life come into him, let him have a∣ny affections towards God, any seeming desires, it will make him think I am alive: But if the Gospel once have made a man a dead man, life it self can∣not quicken him, Christ himself cannot make this man a live man in himself, though life come into Page 67 him, and though he hath life from God, yet he himself is dead. I am dead through the law, (saith Paul) that I might live unto God; thus I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and that life I now live in the flesh, I live by Faith in the Son of God, Gal. 2. 19, 20. When the Gospel had made him dead (for that is the meaning of the words) he was not only dead by the law, but by the power of the Gospel working by the law: Now, saith he, though I have life, and Christ be come into me, and lives in me, yet I do not live: I live, but not I, but it is Christ that liveth in me: I live, yet do not mistake me, I am a dead man, I have no life, it is Christ that liveth in me: when a man is evangelically dead, it makes a man content, that God should keep life in his hand, and keep the purse in his hand, and all in his hand, it makes him content to be without strength and ability, and to have nothing in his own hand, but to have all from the Lord; and he saith, I am a dead man, and if I ever have comfort, I have none in my self, I must go to Christ for comfort, and life, and strength, and ability: and so for power and activity, and riches, and means, & maintenance, and every thing; it is not my parts and gifts that can help me to them, but I must go to Christ to fetch them; now it is the desire of mans heart to have life at home, he cannot abide to have life in ano∣thers hands: and though the law, and hell it self proclaim a man a dead man, and make a man see himself a dead man, yet it cannot kill this Principle, a man would have life and strength in his own hand, and ability, and sufficiency in his own cu∣stody; we may see this Principle in Gods own Page 68 Children, though this Principle be begun to be killed, yet it rests partly in Gods children, there is still a secret lust in their hearts, to have life, and grace, and strength in their own keeping; and if any child of God be negligent in coming to God, it is because of this Principle that remains in him.
3. Thirdly, He is most dead that death hath most power over: Now when a man is legally dead, and the law hath made him a dead man, though he be a dead man, yet death hath no power over him, his heart is stubborn still, and will not look toward Christ and the Gospel, he is still as stubborn as ever he was; he will roar and howl, and hear every Sermon, but still he hath a hard heart, the law hath not power to break his heart to powder, and to soften his heart: but when a man is evangelically dead, when the Gospel hath made him dead, as it doth before it quickens a man, it breaks the sturdinesse of a mans heart, and shatters a man all to pieces; that is the mean∣ing of that place, Psal. 147. 3. He healeth those that are broken in heart, and bindeth up their sores: Now he is thus made a dead man, it makes his heart to burst under the weight of his sins, and it beats him to powder: but a man that is onely legally dead, he is heart-whole still, and his spirit is as stout against the kind working of the Gospel as ever it was, nay, worse a great deal; there are none more hardened then those that see them∣selves dead, damned creatures, by the power of the law, without the power of the Gospel. But when the Gospel comes, it breaks the heart to powder, Isa. 57. 15. Thus saith the high and lofty one, HePage 69that inhabiteth Eternity, whose name is Holy, I dwell in the high and holy place, and with him who is of an humble and contrite spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to give life to them that are of a contrite heart. This man is the object of Mercy that is evangelically dead, he is the formal object of mercy: why? because he is dead with such a kind of death as hath gotten power over him, power to break his heart, to make it an humble and contrite heart: now saith the Lord, I will revive such a man. This man is the formal object of mercy▪ and into him eternal life will come.
2. The Second thing I promised to shew you, is the difference between these two, between le∣gal and evangelical Privation. Between one that is legally dead, and one that is dead as the Gospel deads a man before it quickens him.
1. First, He that is legally dead lies all along in his death: but when the Gospel makes a man a dead man, it makes him stand up that he might have life, Ephes. 5. 14. Awake thou that sleepest, and stand up from the dead, and Christ shall give thee life: He doth not mean, stand up from being dead, but stand up from the dead, and then Christ shall give thee life; he means such a standing up from the dead, as before Christ gives him life: the Gospel doth thus far awaken a man, though he be more dead a thousand times, then he that is dead by the law, yet thus far it quickens him, that he stands up from his secure estate: when the law comes and shews a man that he is a dead man, he still lies under his sins, he is a dead man, and can∣not Page 70 stand up that Christ may give him life. That is the First thing.
2. Secondly, He that is legally dead, made dead only by the law, he is deaf to the Gospel: but when a man is evangelically dead, it boors his ears and makes him hear the voice of the Word, and not only so, but the voice of Christ in the Word, Isa. 55. 3. Incline your ears and come un∣to me, hear and your soul shall live: He calls those that were evangelically dead, hear, and your soul shall live; they are made able to hear: Let their profits, and old courses, and old companions come and tempt them to walk as they have done, they are deaf of that ear, they cannot go that way to work, no, now their ears are open heaven∣wards, seek the Lord, and you shall live, Amos 5. 6. They are made to seek the Lord, thus much life they have: though they are more dead in regard of their own misery, then one that is dead by the law; yet thus much life they have put into them, that they will go and seek unto God in the use of the means, and follow him up and down, and no∣thing will satisfy the heart but Christ, they leave no stone unroled, they seek up and down everywhere.
3. Thirdly, He that is legally dead, it is a kind of death to love; but he that is evangelically dead, it is a death of love; when the Church in the Canticles was but sensible of the countenance of Christ, she was presently sick of love, I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my wel beloved, tell him that I am sick of love, Cant. 5. There is a great deal of difference between sick∣nesse and death, death is a total privation of life; sicknesse is but a partial privation: now when the Page 71 Gospel hath wrought upon a man that he hath some of Christ, and is not deprived of all, that privation makes him sick of love; but when the Gospel makes a man see he is dead, and altogether deprived of Christ, now he is dead of love: when a man is legally dead, this is his death that he is damned, and must go to hell; this is his death that he hath no mercy, not that he hath not grace, and holiness, and Christ; but if a man be evangelically dead, this is his death, that he hath not Christ.
The Use is this, If there be any that the law* hath made dead, rest not there but labour that the Gospel may make you dead also; when thou art humbled by the law, thou mayest think that mer∣cy is prepared for thee, but thy lusts may recover again, and that damned life that is in thee may re∣cover again; therefore labour to be more deaded by the Gospel, that thou mayest have a total death begun in thee, that thou mayest have thy deaths wound given thee deep, not only to be in a swoond, but to be dead indeed. Joh. 11. Christ staid four dayes after Lazarus was dead be∣fore he would raise him, because he would have him irrecoverably dead before he would raise him: Lord, (saith Martha) he stin∣stinketh, for he hath been dead four dayes, vers. 39. If he had raised him sooner, his glory had not been so great, so thou must labour to be dead in∣deed, and to be buried, and to be loathsome and abominable, and then Christ will quicken thee: It is certain that Gods Children have some of this death wrought in them, before they are quickned at all; for death is before quickning in order of Page 72 nature: there must be a corruption of one thing before there can be a generation of another; there must be a privation of one form, before there can be an introduction of another: A child of God must be dead before he can be quickned. Now then, if he will have more life, he must labour to be dead more and more: now thou must labour to have this death truly begun to be wrought in thee, thou must labour to have the love of this world and self-conceitednesse altogether dead in thee. Hos. 6. 2. After two dayes will he revive us, and the third day will he raise us up, and we shall live in his sight: A man may be alive, though he have been seemingly dead twenty four hours; therefore it is a good custom among us to keep men near two dayes before we bury them, that we may be sure they are throughly dead; for there are many have been buried alive: so after two dayes he will revive us, and the third day he will raise us up: when a man is dead indeed, and hath his liveliness throughly killed in him, then God will revive him; if he should revive him be∣fore, his glory would not be so great, if he should revive him before he were quite dead; when Ahab* humbled himself, and put on sackcloth, and went softly, a man would have thought he had been dead; but in the next Chapter we may see he is alive again. So Ananias, and Sapphira, one would* have thought their covetousnesse had been dead, (whether they were any of the three thousand that were pricked at Peters Sermon, I dispute not) but they were pricked and made sensible of their damned estate, and pretended to lay down all at the Apostles feet, one would have thought their Page 73 covetousness had been dead, but yet it was alive: therefore labour that the Gospel may make thee throughly dead.
The Spiritual Watch.
2 Tim. 4. 5.
IN the verses going before we have 1. The charge that the Apostle gives to Timothy, ver. 1. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Je∣sus Christ, that shall judge the quick and the dead. There are many duties we are loath to come unto, and are tempted from; so that we have need of all strong cords to draw us to them.
2. We have the thing he gives him this charge for; and that is, ver. 2. Preach the word in season, and out of season, &c. which duty strongly lyeth upon the Ministers of the Gospel, to hold forth the Word of God, to edifie and convert mens souls.
3. Here is the reason why he gives him this charge, and that is in the third and fourth verses, For the time will come, when they will not endure sound Doctrine, &c. The more danger there is among people, the more instant should Ministers Page 74 be, to preach the Word unto the conscience. Now in the verse I have read unto you, the Apostle perswades Timothy to watchfulnesse; as who should say, Though others be careless and negli∣gent, yet I would have thee to be watchful, con∣sider, thou art a Watchman. Every Christian is to watch over his own wayes, and those that are committed to his charge: but Ministers are watchmen over their people, therefore here is a double reason to move him to watchfulness; both in regard of his own soul, and the people he was set over, Mark. 13. 37. our Saviour saith, What I say to you, I say to all, Watch. And what Paul saith here to Timothy, I may say to all Christians, Watch in all things.
For the better handling of this point, I will shew you,
First, What it is to watch.
Secondly, The things we must watch.
Thirdly, The reasons of it.
First, What it is to watch. And to watch in* Scripture is taken two wayes, Literally, and Spi∣ritually.
First, Watching sometimes is taken Literally, and then it signifies a waking, when the time, or nature calls not for sleep; for there is a difference between watching, and waking: we are all awake at this time, or else ought to be, but yet we can∣not be said to watch; but this is to watch, when time or nature calls for sleep. When a man awa∣keth all night, or the greatest part of the night, as Luke 2. 8. The Shepherds were watching their flocks by night: And this is two fold, either Ordi∣nary, or Extraordinary,
Page 75Ordinary watching is contrary to immoderate∣nesse* in sleeping. As when a man is sober in ea∣ting, and drinking, and other lawful things; so we ought to be sober in our sleep, for it is a dan∣gerous thing, if we suffer immoderate sleep to fall upon us.
Now Extraordinary watching is contrary to* sleep it self, as ordinary watching is contrary to sleepinesse; for it takes away our natural sleep, which otherwise we are to have. And this is for two reasons:
The first is for a Civil end, when we watch with* those that are sick, as a duty of Charity; it is fit that those that are well, should break their natu∣ral sleep and rest, to be helpful to those that are sick; this is a Civil end.
Secondly, There is a Spiritual end of extraor∣dinary* watching, and that is, when a man is not only moderate in sleeping, but abates himself of that rest he may lawfully take, for a Spiritual end. As Saint Peter saith, Watch unto prayer, 1 Pet. 4. 7. and the Church, Lament. 2. 19. watched to humble their souls under Gods hand. For some∣times we have need to break our very natural rest, for the good of our souls. Though we be never so careful, and conscionable in the day time, yet it may so fall out, that the day will not be enough, but we must entrench upon the night also, to seek the Lord extraordinarily; but this watching is not here meant, though it be sometimes required. But a Spiritual watching is specially meant, which* includes three things in it.
First, It doth note a readinesse of minde to be* drowzy; for as in natural and literal watching, Page 76 it doth note a natural proneness to be drowzy, ei∣ther through the darknesse of the night, or the heat of the weather, or the like; so this spiritual watching signifieth unto us, that we are naturally subject to be secure spiritually, and vain, and idle, and negligent, and have need to be rouzed up: for indeed all Commandments since the Fall, are such as do not agree with our nature: as when he commands us to seek the Lord while he may be found, that intimates, that we are by nature apt to put it off, and to be careless of making our peace with God; and when the Lord saith, pray al∣wayes, it doth imply, how backward we are to that duty, how apt to neglect it, or to shuffle it over, and to be luke-warm in it: before the Fall when God did bid man do any thing, the bidding of him did imply, that if he were not careful, he was in a possibility of breaking the command∣ments; it did not argue a proneness to break them: but since the Fall, the commandements of God, whatsoever God hath commanded us to do, either for matter or manner of it, it implyeth, how backward to, and untoward we are in doing it.
Secondly, Watchfulnesse doth imply a labour* and endeavour in our selves, to take off this sinful pronenesse to evil that is in us, and to be seriously stirred up, to look after our duty whatsoever it is, both towards God, and towards man, we ought to shake off all untowardnesse of spirit, whereby we are unfit to watch; watchfulnesse im∣plyeth this also, Ephes. 5. 14. Awake thou that sleepest, and stand up from the dead: as who should say, Shake off thy drowzinesse, and labour to Page 77 break off this folly of heart, whereby thou goest dreaming on, and rouze up thy spirit, and stand upon thy guard.
The Third and main thing: This watchfulness* doth include some further businesse or duty to be∣done that is not yet performed; for watchfulnesse is an act to help forward some further act: As for example, We are bound to remember God in all our wayes; the want of this, is the reason we so often sin against God; now if we did remember God, if we did remember his Holinesse, if we did remember the greatnesse of his Power, and the strictnesse of his Justice against Sin, if we did re∣member our Death, and what account we are to make before him, this would be a great help to keep us from sin; now if we would remember this, a special way to help us, is to watch, as Acts 20. 31. Watch and remember, saith the Apo∣stle; he being desirous that they should remem∣ber the admonitions and exhortations which he had propounded, he layes down this as a special means to help them hereunto, to watch: So we are to be watchful, that we may be sober in eating and drinking, and all lawful things; for how sud∣denly do distempers break in upon us, unlesse a man look to himself? now watchfulnesse is an ex∣cellent help to Sobriety, 1 Thess. 5. 6. Let us watch and be sober: We had need to watch what∣soever we go about, that we may be sober in it; whatsoever wordly businesse we go about in our Callings, we had need to have this watchfulnesse, that we be not over-whelmed, and over head and ears in the world, that we may not be intemperate in our eating and drinking, that we may not give Page 78 our selves too much liberty and freedom in talking and discoursing of the things here below; so we are bound to keep our garments, that our naked∣nesse may not be seen, that the sins that are up and down in the world do not defile them, that the temptations, and alurements, and occasions we meet withal, and the examples of the times, and such like, do not take away our righteousnesse from us: now watchfulnesse is an help hereunto, as we may see, Rev. 16. 15. the text saith, Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments: So that watchfulnesse is an excellent help for a fur∣ther act to be done: when a man hath some duty or other to be done, which the Lord requires should be done with care and diligence, watchful∣nesse is a help thereunto, as Hab. 2. 1. the Pro∣phet knowing there was some Prophecy to be be∣stowed upon them, the Prophet laboured to be in a fit case to receive it; and that he might so be, I will watch saith he: in a word, watchfulnesse, is an intentive consideratenesse of the heart, when a man doth consider how he is to do every thing, lest he be surprised either by Satan, or the world, or by his own subtil flesh; when a man is considerative, and takes heed to himself, to his thoughts, and his words, and all his actions, as our Saviour saith, Take heed, Watch, and Pray, Mark. 13. 33. When he would describe watchfulnesse, what it is, he sets another phrase by it to open it to us, take heed, watch, and pray. There is a kind of heedlesse∣nesse that is apt to cleave to the heart, whereby the heart is carelesse what snares are before it: now watchfulnesse doth take off this, and maketh a man to take more heed in whatsoever he doth, so Page 79 that there can be no opportunity of doing good, but he takes it; no good motion is suggested, but he lyeth at catch to receive it, for this is watch∣fulnesse. Prov. 8. 33. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates: here you may see watchfulness is expressed, when a man comes into the presence of Christ, waiting to hear whatsoever shall come from Christ, and there is nothing that drops from the Minister that con∣cerns him, but he is ready to receive it; when a man waits to be ready to obey whatsoever com∣mandment the Lord delivers, and to take heed to avoid whatsoever the Lord forbids. This is watch∣fulness.
Now the second thing is, what we must watch?* I Answer, We must watch our selves, and all the duties of Religion, and time.
First we must watch over our selves. Ponder*thy pathes, saith the Wise man, Prov. 4. 26. as who should say, Look to thy self; take heed to every step that it be ordered aright: How soon may a man be turned out of the way? How soon was David carried away into those two great sins of Murther and Adultery? How soon was Peter put besids his Resolution in the high Priests Hall, for want of watchfulness? If he had watched and remembred our Saviours item, he had never de∣nied his Master: A man is marvellous ready to be carried away, therefore we must watch our selves.
First, And in particular we must watch our own*thoughts: naturally all our thoughts are idle and unprofitable, our minds are apt to spend them∣selves upon that which will do us no good: we Page 80 had need therefore to watch over our thoughts, Deut. 15. 9. Beware (saith the text) that there be not an evil thought in thy heart: Take heed that vain thoughts come not into thy mind, idle thoughts, or wordly thoughts will dead us, and dull us to the service of God, and poyson the heart, and no good thing can dwell in us; if we do not look unto our thoughts, the eyes of the Lord are upon our thoughts, therefore watch over thy thoughts.
Secondly, We should watch over the Heart it*self: The heart is the very spring, there be the very issues of Life and Death, the actions flow from thence; therefore, Prov. 4. 23. the wise∣man saith, Keep thy heart with all keeping: as who should say, Thy heart is deceitful and des∣perate, it will make thee believe thou art going to heaven, when it leads thee to hell; if thou be never so well affected for a time, this heart will fly off, it is naturally so naught and reprobate to what is good; Therefore keep thy heart with all diligence.
Thirdly, Watch over thy Words: Psal. 141. 3.*Set a watch, O Lord, before the door of my lips. We must watch our lips, and have a care that our words be agreeable to Gods Word, and seasoned with salt, and that we shun all manner of com∣munication, that doth not minister grace to the hearers; we must take heed lest idle words pro∣ceed out of our mouths, for which we must give an account at the day of Judgement; how many times do such words proceed out of our mouths that we would give a world to recal again? only because we do not watch over our words, that Page 81 they may be such as may tend to edifying, and expresse the grace that is within?
Fourthly, Again, we should watch over our Senses, we should make a covenant with our eyes,* as Job speaks chap. 31. 1. not to look upon a maid; when our eyes are looking up and down, though they be not caught with adultery, or such grosssins, yet there is danger to be caught one vvay or other; for when a man looks upon the objects of the world, as good, and the like, how ready is his mind to be carryed after it? men are led by their eyes, they carry the mind and heart with them, there∣fore we should have a care, that whatsoe∣ver comes to our eyes, we make a good use of.
Fiftly, Again, we should set a watch before our*Ears, we should take heed what we hear, when we come in company, left we be infected by what is spoken; we should have an hedge about our ears, to stop them from unsavoury things. Doth not the ear taste words, saith Job? we should have tasting ears, that should be able to tast and relish the good words that are spoken, and hate the contrary, and distast them.
Lastly, We should watch our selves, over the*whole man: Only take heed to thy selfe, Deut. 4. 9. As who should say, This is the only thing; have a care of, watch over thy self, lest thy self undoe thy self; there is no enemie so dangerous unto us as our selves: the Divel in hell cannot do us so much mischief. How many corruptions are there in us, to draw us from God, and incite us unto sin? There are abundance of corruptions lying in the heart of man, to make a man unfit for a∣ny Page 82 thing that is good; that is, idlenesse in the understanding, it cannot abide to take pains, and exercise it self in Divine matters. There is in the will and affections, covetousness, and abundance of corrupt inclinations, that if a man look not to, it will break forth: So that this is the thing we must watch over, our selves.
Secondly, We are to watch over the duties of Religion; as for example, we are to watch unto*prayer, as the Apostle speaks, 1 Pet. 4. 7. we are to watch to meditating, and reading, and hea∣ring of the Word of God. Otherwise though we do them for the matter of them, yet we cannot for the right form, and manner of them: though our hearts be in a pretty good tune for the present, yet we cannot hold this frame, if we watch not thereunto. Rev. 3. 3. is an excellent place, If you will not watch, saith the Text, and hold fast, I will come against thee as a thief in the night: As who should say, Stir up thy self and watch, that thou maist hold fast; if thou hast got any hatred of sin in thy heart, hold it fast; if strength against corruption, hold it fast. How shall I do that? why watch saith he, or else Christ wil come against thee as a thief. If a book be in a mans hand when he is drowzy, it will fall out, he cannot hold it fast; So when a mans heart is drowzy, and se∣cure it will let go comfort, and any thing that God hath bestowed for the good of the soul; therefore we ought to watch: if we have any sweet disposition of heart, to go on in the Service of God, and in the duties of Religion, we may go on if we be watchful. And now to branch this into particulars.
Page 83First, We must watch before the Duty.
Secondly, We must watch in the Duty.
Thirdly, We must watch after the Duty.*
First, We must watch before the Duty. Re∣member the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, Exod. 20. 8 So I may say, remember Prayer, to keep it holy; remember Meditation, to keep it holy; remem∣ber all the duties of Religion, to keep them holy, and perform them in an holy manner: think of them before you go about the performance of them; we cannot pray unless we watch un∣to prayer, unless we be careful, and have our eyes in our heads, before we go about the du∣ty.
In the morning as soon as we awake, we should think of prayer; and when tempted to sin, we should think of prayer. If I sin, how can I pray unto God? I have ever and anon need to poure out my prayers before God; now if I commit these and these sins, how can I look up to heaven, when my conscience doth reproach me for sin? So when we hear the word of God, look to thy foot when thou comest into the house of God, Eccles. 5. 1. that is, Before thou goest into the House of God to hear the Word of Salvati∣on, see into thine own heart, think whose word it is thou hearest; and that thou goest to hear the Word, that shall judge thee at the last day. When thou comest into the presence of God, take heed lest thou hearest as fools hear; and take heed lest thou prayest as fools pray; and comest to the Sacrament, as fools use to come; we should watch before the duty, that all things may be in a readinesse, before we come to the performance Page 84 of it, that we may prevent all things that may hinder us, & be fitted with all things that may help forward the duty; that time, place and all advanta∣ges may meet together for the better doing of it.
Then secondly, We must watch in the duty, as* well as before the duty. As the Apostle speaks concerning prayer, so I may say concerning all o∣ther duties, Continue in prayer, and watch there∣in with thanksgiving, Col. 4. 2. As we are to watch before, that we may have preparation, so we must watch in the duty, that we may rightly discharge it; for though a man hath been watch∣ful before the duty, and hath been prepared in some measure, and fitted, yet you are not with∣out danger. But when you are in prayer, and when you are at the Lords Table, or any other duty; for all your former preparation, if you be not watchful now, you may fail in some kind or other, and so mar the duty; therefore we should watch in the duty, that our hearts may be waking in it, and our mind attentive upon it, that our hearts may be fixed upon that we are about; my heart is fixed, my heart is fixed, saith the Pro∣phet David; he was a joyful man, he repeats it again and again; as if a man should be jocund, and say, I have got it, I have got it. We should get hearts fixed upon the duty, that so we may not have wavering hearts, half off, and half on the duty; but that the whole man may be employ∣ed about it.
Thirdly, We should be watchful after the duty, that we may not lose the benefit, and reward of the duty, lest the subtilties of Satan, and the wiles Page 85 of our own hearts, do rob us of the fruits of it; though a man hears very attentively, and pray, and perform all other duties very enlargedly, yet when he hath done all, he may lose the comfort and reward of the duty. Therefore when we hear the word, we should watch over our hearts, that the souls of the ayre may not pluck it out a∣gain, that if we have any quickning, we may not lose it again; if we have heard any thing that hath helpeld us forward in Grace, we should take heed that we lose not the ground again; As the Publican, as soone as he had prayed to God, and performed an Ordinance aright, how care∣ful was he not to lose the benefit thereof? He went to the Temple to pray, and he was watch∣ful before the duty; thinking, I am now going to pray, and power out my soul before God. He was watchful in the duty, for you may see how humbly, and feelingly, and penitently he did pray; standing a far off, and smiting upon his brest, and not lifting up his eyes to heaven, be∣wailing the hardness of his own heart, and row∣zing it up, Lord be merciful to me a sinner: and when he had done this, he was careful afterwards, for the Text saith, Luk. 18. 14. As he had prayed for mercy, so he was careful to carry it along with him. He prayed that he might be justified, and as he prayed for it, so he was careful to carry home justification in his bosome. So when we are at a Sermon, we should watch, that we may go home quickned, and bettered: and when we are at con∣ference, we should watch that we may return home with the firuit, and benefit of the duty; So for all other Ordinances, we should be care∣ful Page 86 and watchful, that we may not lose the re∣ward, for the Divel is crafty, and our own hearts are ready to betray us, therefore we had need be watchful; and that is the second thing, we should watch, the duties of Religion.
Thirdly, We should watch times and seasons;* God knows what miserable things are a coming, therefore what time the Lord allots us, we had need improve it to the best advantage, that we may redeem the time. How many hours do run from us, before we are aware? How many dayes, and months, and years, have we let slip away, and we are little the better? Our time is a special thing, and therefore we had need to watch it, that we may improve it to the best advantage, that we may be no longer fools, but wise in the im∣ploying of it.
Secondly, We should watch all the times of*Gods anger and displeasure; it is a miserable thing when a man passeth on like a fool, and Gods an∣ger come forth, and a man is not provided, hath not a defence for it. There be dayes of anger, and visitation, when God comes to visit people for their sins; to visit a parish, to visit a family, to visit a person; and what a woful thing is it, for a man to be drowzy and negligent, when Gods an∣ger bursts forth, and so he hath no evidence of comfort to his soul; he knows not how to meet God in the field? But when the wrath of God breaks out in any kind upon his Goods, or Wife, or Children, or Body, or Friends, or any thing, he is at a losse, and knows not what to do; he is fain to sink under the hand of God, and hath no refuge to flie unto; therefore we should Page 87 watch against the day of Gods anger.
Thirdly, We should watch over the times of*Grace, for there be gracious and acceptable times, as the Apostle calls them, 2 Cor. 6. 21. Many times good motions come in: Now if we do not watch, to keep them, and nourish them in our hearts, the Lord will passe us by at another time, and we shall not be moved. Sometimes God affects thy heart at a Sermon, and puts in a good resolution to forsake sin, and lead a new life; now have a care to keep these resolutions, and let them not perish in thee, and go out like lightning. The Lord hath given many a blessed season, and oportunity of mercy, the water was moved, if he would have but stepped in, if he would but have taken hold of the mercy, he might have had it; but after∣wards, he may go mourning, and thirsting, and longing, and never have the mercy offered more; and it is well if he can be humbled for missing of that mercy, by his neglect, and watch for the fu∣ture the times of Grace.
Again we should watch the times of Death;* we are all mortal men, must die, and Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when he cometh shall find him so doing, Mat. 24. 5. If any of us should dye, before we are converted, and brought home to God, we perish for ever: Whosoever thou art, if thou die in thy sins with thy dead, hard, unsanctified, unregenerate heart, thou art dam∣ned, thou goest to Hell. Therefore watch for the coming of death, that so when it comes, it may not be the King of Terrours, and an amazement to thy heart.
Againe, We must watch for the day of Judg∣ment;*Page 88 as Death leaves us, so Judgment will find us: Therefore we should consider with our selves seriously, the strictnesse of the account we are to give at the dreadful day of the Son of man, when all works shall be brought to a Touch-stone, and all secrets shall be Preached on the House top. It is an excellent thing, when a man doth consider these things before hand; when a man hath look∣ed upon his thoughts, for they shall be Judged; and upon his speeches, and upon all his wayes, for they shall all be brought before the Judgment Seat of God; and according as a man hath done, such reward he shall receive for ever∣more.
The next thing, is, the Reasons why we are to*Watch.
And the First Reason is, Because we are mar∣vellous*prone to be Drowzy in Spiritual things. In temporal things we are watchful enough; for Covetousnesse, and Pride, and the like, we are ve∣ry watchful, but in Spiritual things, how subject are we to Drowzyness? Paul himself was fain to complain, I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing, Rom. 7. 18. Is thy heart better then Saint Pauls? If he were left to himself, he should be as miserable, and proud, and untoward as another; and have as vile an heart as another: and therefore that made him watch. Therefore we had need to watch, for how loath are we to be brought to watch? and how unwilling to take such an hard piece of service to do? we are marvellous apt to be secure. If Jo∣nah had watched, if he had had a watch over his heart, he would have gone to Nineveh; but for Page 89 want of watchfulnesse, he ran away. Cant. 5. 2. I sleep, saith the Church, it was not like the sleep of the wicked, and ungodly, for her heart waked, but she was asleep, she was proud, and marvel∣lous secure; there was a great deal of untoward∣nesse of spirit grew upon her: And as we are un∣toward to that which is good, so we are prone to that which is evil; we are glued naturally to the world, and the things of this life, it is an ea∣sie thing to draw us away into evill, therefore we had need to watch. As it is said of the Disciples of Christ in regard of temporal drowziness, so it is with us, in regard of Spiritual drowziness, Mat. 26. 43. He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy: Though Christ had awake∣ned them, and jogged them, yet they were asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; So though the Lord hath awakened us, even now we were awake∣ned by a Crosse, by Sicknesse, by a Sermon, by a Reproof, something or other God hath been pleased to waken us by; but all on the suddain we fall asleep again, for our hearts are very heavy: as it is with an heavy brain, what a doe he hath to keep himself awake? though he pinch himself, and rowze up himself, yet he hath much adoe to keep his eyes open; so the heart of man is so drowzy, that he hath much adoe to keep any Grace alive in himself; we are so apt to be so se∣cure, that we had need to watch. Zech. 4. 1. the Prophet complains of the drowziness of his heart, The Angel that talked with me, came again and waked me, as a man is wakened out of his sleep: when God was talking with him, he fell into a sleep. So when we are in Prayer, we have much Page 90 adoe to hold out in the duty, we have such vile natures, and cursed dispositions. How ought we then to watch over our selves?
Secondly, Another reason why we should be watchful, is, because our life is a Warfare, and* we do not lie like two Armies in a field, removed one from the other; but we lie in the midst of our enemies round about us, and so they are ready to surprise us. The greatest means of doing us mis∣chief,* are most commonly those things we have need of; as our meat, and drink, and affaires, and callings; we cannot go to prayer, but world∣ly thoughts are ready to intangle us; we cannot go to the House of God, but a man is in danger to be intrapped. There is danger in every thing we go about, by reason of the worlds powerful enticements, therefore we had need to stand up∣on our Guard, and be careful, for else how can we avoid to be suprized, and led away? this is the reason, why so many sink into Perdition: Many that have given good hopes, many that have pro∣mised excellent things, have come to nothing, but have fallen away as the fall of a leafe. Whence comes this, but because they have not been care∣ful and watchful?
The Divel is watchful, to insnare and intrap us,* therefore we should watch to avoid his snares; As the Apostle saith, 1 Pet. 5. 8. Be sober and watchful, for your Adversary, the Divel, goeth about like a roaring Lion, seeking whom he may devour: The Divel is alwayes busie, and therefore we had need watch and busie our selves, and be careful at all times: when we are secure, and consider not God, and consider not the good of our Souls, and the Page 75 peace of our Consciences; Satan presently hath ad∣vantage against us: If the Divel had any thing else to do, it were something, but the Divel hath no∣thing to do, but to hurt us, and lay Siege against us; All his practice, from the beginning of the world to this day, is to go roaming and ranging up and down to do mischief, it is all his employ∣ment, from the beginning of the day to the end thereof; If he get us alone, he will ensnare us there; if not there, he will ensnare us in company; if he cannot get us there, he will get us in a Ser∣mon, and if any thing falls against our lusts, he will cause our hearts to rise against it. Now when we do not watch over our selves, we are led away by Satan, therefore we had need be careful, for the Divel is alwayes watchful, therefore we should labour to be alwayes provided to resist him.
Again, we have the flesh that is continually a∣bout us, it is an enemy within us, it is that which doth betray us to the World, and the Divel, even our own hearts do betray us, and therefore we had need be careful; we have enemies from with∣out, and our own hearts within, and all to undo us. Take a man that is in a good way, and hath all means, and helps to make him Godly, though there be no temptation from without, yet he may de damned from his own heart, if he be not deli∣vered from it. Jam. 1. 14. Every man is tempted by his own lusts, and Jam. 4. 5. The Spirit that is within us lusteth to envy, and covetousness, and security, and vanity, and carnal ease, it lusts after these things, and therefore we had need to watch.
Page 92A Third reason is, Because it will do us a great*deal of good: for as if we do not watch we are ea∣sily surprized, so if we do watch it is an easie thing to stand: all our miscarriages in the duties of Reli∣gion, lye in security; whereas if we were watch∣ful, and would walk with eyes in our heads, and would consider the snares that be laid for us, and consider Gods threatnings, and Commandments, the duties of Religion would be easie: For if we do not watch the Divel, and the World, and the Flesh have advantage against us; but if we do watch, this is as it were a fence to the heart, to hedge a man in to keep him safe. Rev. 3. 2. there is an excellent place, Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain; it is the strength of the soul. When a man watcheth, let a man have but a little grace, suppose a man be marvellously fal∣len off, and hath but a little good remaining, a few graces in him; a little faith, a little hope, a little sanctified desire; he hath but a little strength to go on against sin, if a man doth but now watch, if a man do but husband this little, how strong will he be? A little Faith is able to overcome all the Divels in Hell, well managed: a little hope is able to keep a man above water from sinking: a little strength is able to maintain the Combate: a little affection to goodness, if a man have a care∣ful heart to improve it to the uttermost, will go a great way; if a man did but watch, it would strengthen the things that remaine. Though a man were never so infeebled, and come to never so low an ebb, watchfulnesse is a stay and strength to the heart.
Fourthly, Again if we do not watch, we cannotPage 93so much as pray to God to forgive us, our consci∣ences* tell us, unlesse the Lord save us, we cannot be saved; now how can we expect that God should save us, if we do not pray unto him? and we cannot pray to him to save us, unlesse we watch: it is to tempt God, to pray to him to pre∣serve us from evil, when we do not watch over our selves; it is to tempt God, to pray to him to quicken us, when vve deaden our selves; to intreat God to give us an holy mind, vvhen vve our selves let in vain thoughts. Therefore see vvhat Christ speaks Mar. 14. 38. Watch & pray, that ye fall not in∣to temptation: as vvho should say, You cannot pray that you may not enter into temptation, you tempt God if you intreat him to do any thing, if you do not vvatch over your ovvn souls. Though a man hath no Activity to do any good, yet God vvill have him be vvatchful; if he mean to purifie a man, he vvill make him purifie himself; if he mean to keep him from pride, he vvill make his ovvn heart resist pride: therefore watch, that thou enter not into temptation, if thou mean to pray to God, not to lead thee into temptati∣on.
But you will say, All a mans watching will*do no good, except God watcheth over him, Psal. 127. 1. Except the Lord keep the City, the Watchmen watch in vain.
I answer, 'Tis true indeed, unlesse the Lord* keeps a mans soul, all a mans watching is nothing. But I tell thee, If thou watchest, thou hast two watchers, thou hast God to watch over thee, and thy self to watch over thee; thou hast God to watch over thee, and keep thee in all thy wayes, Page 94 and then thou watchest over thy self, and art su∣stained by God, so that thou hast two watchers, God above, and thy own soul within thee em∣ployed about this work.
A Fourth reason is, Because this is the very*means prescribed by God to do us good: It is the ve∣ry remedy that the Lord of heaven hath appointed unto us to save us from danger, and keep us from falling; the Lord hath sanctified this means to this very end and purpose: therefore when our Saviour Christ would disswade his people from carking and caring for the things of this life, Luke 21. 36. see what means he prescribeth and layeth down to do it, Be watchful (saith he) and pray: the world is ready to get in, therefore watch (saith he) and pray alwayes, that you may be ac∣counted worthy to escape these things: So that we see this the means prescribed by God himself, to escape the falling into sin.
Fifthly, Again, We should be so much the* more careful in this watch, because no other can watch for us: in outward things one man may watch, while another sleepeth; as in sailing, when all the rest are asleep, there is one watcheth; so in war, when all the Souldiers lye in their tents asleep, it may be some few are watching, that the rest may take their rest: but it is not so in re∣gard of our souls, one man cannot watch while another man sleeps, but every man must watch o∣ver his own heart: If we do not watch our own souls, we shall perish; and if we do not perish everlastingly, we shall have miserable temptati∣ons, and evils, and many inconveniences we shall be exposed unto.
Page 91But some may say, Are not Ministers to watch*over us? How then is every man to watch over himself? Ministers are watchmen: Son of man, I have made thee a watchman over the house of Israel, saith the Lord to the Prophet Ezekiel, and Heb. 13. 17. The Apostle speaking of Ministers, saith, They watch for your souls?
I Answer, The word in the Original is not for*your souls, but over your souls; to watch for a man, is to watch for another that he may not watch; as when a man watcheth for his neighbor that his neighbour may not watch: but the Mini∣sters are not so to watch for the people, that the people may not watch; but the Ministers are to watch over the people, that they may watch: as when a man watcheth Deer, or Hawkes, he watcheth them, that they may watch and not sleep, that so he may tame them: as a man that watcheth with a man which is sick of the Lethar∣gy, which is such a Disease, that if a man be let sleep, he goeth away in his sleep, therefore their friends stand about them, to watch over them, that they may not sleep, knowing that if they do sleep, their lives are hazarded; and if they see them but to slumber, they awaken them, lest in their sleep they die, and go away: So it is with the Ministers of the Gospel, we ought to watch over your souls, that you may not sleep: for you are all sick of the Lethargy of sin, and if ye sleep, you go away, if you be not careful for heaven, and heavenly things; if you follow vanity and security of heart, and do not take heed to avoid sin, your souls will die, therefore the Ministers are to watch over you, and keep you from sleeping, Page 96 and shew you the danger of it, and labour to a∣waken you, and keep your eyes waking.
The First Use is, To condemne the infinite secu∣rity*that is grown upon people: that though it be so excellent a duty for a man to watch, yet where is the man almost, that is careful of it? They put this duty over to God, as if it did not belong to them, they will watch over outward things, for plowing, and sowing, and reaping, and the like; but for the good of their souls, they never ac∣quaint themselves with this watching; their hearts are like the wildernesse, as the wildernesse is open for all wild-beasts, so their hearts are open for all temptations, that is the reason they have such dead hearts, and cold affections, that is the reason they look so little after salvation and eternal life, because people never look after this duty of watch∣fulness; nay, they are so far from watching how to be saved, that they watch how the divel may take them; when a man sins, he wisheth the Di∣vel would help him to more sin: a covetous man is so far from watching over his sin, that he would have more opportunities, and more occasions of getting; the Devil cannot come fast enough to fill his heart with these things: So if a man be given to pleasure, he thinks he cannot have e∣nough, but would have more still. Thus people would have the Divel put more corn into the hop∣per: they are so far from watching for good, that they watch for evil, they devise evil upon their beds, as the Prophet Micah speaks, they are pos∣sessed with the spirit of slumber, they have eyes and see not, they have eares and hear not, hearts and understand not; they do not know what Page 97 watchfulnesse is, if they do, they are the lesse excusable, because they practice it not, they do not watch and wake unto Prayer, that they may not enter into temptation, but are carried away with the world and sin.
The Second Use is, To them that are Godly in*some measure; that we cannot say they altogether do not watch, yet how negligent are they in this duty? Many Christians are there among us that have some goodnesse in them, yet how doth this duty lye unpractised? whence come all the vani∣ties in our minds, and untowardnesse in the Ordi∣nances of God? whence comes all unfruitfulness in our meetings, and unsettlednesse in our Con∣sciences? it is because we do not watch: Whence comes it that we are no more ready to good duties? When we are called forth on the sudden to pray or do any thing for the good of Gods Church and People, that we are so unfit to do it, and so backward; it is for want of watchfulness. Nay, what is the reason that we perform not the Worship of God in our Families better, but be∣cause we do not watch, the very regenerate themselves, what a world of mischief do they do to their own souls, for want of this duty of watchfulness? How do they swell in sin, and are slack in goodnesse, and slubber over Gods service? How do they favour themselves too too much, and suffer the dishonour of God, by the wicked? and suffer their own hearts to disho∣nour him too too much.
Thirdly, The next Ʋse shall be to shew you the*Rules that are to be observed in watching, and the Rules are these: If you would watch over your selves.
Page 98First, Count watchfulnesse your very life, and* think if you let watchfulnesse go, you let your life go; for if once watchfulness go, hovv dead are you in Prayer, and hearing the Word of God? So that the security of the heart, vvill be the death of the heart; vvherefore if vve vvould go on in vvatching, let us labour to keep this Holy disposition; count it your very lives, and think vvith your selves, I let Life go, if I let Watchfulnesse go. We use to say of Sleep, that it is the brother of Death, and 1 Thes. 5. 6. vve may see the Phrase used by the Apostle; vvhere vvaking is put for living, and sleeping, for dying, that is the meaning of the vvords. So that as sleep, natural sleep, doth lively represent death; so it is vvith Spiritual sleep, vvhich is the death of the soul. Therefore dost thou find thy self to be out of frame, and not vvatch over thy vvayes? then think vvith thy self that thou art a dead man, and take up thy vvatch as fast as thou canst again.
Secondly, Thou must let thy watch stand Ca∣tholically,*universally in all duties, and all times; vvatch thereunto, and persevere therein; vve must not only watch, but Persevere. Be careful in the morning how vve may begin our vvatch; in the day, hovv vve may spend it; at night, hovv vve may end it. So vve must vvatch in all duties; vvhen vve go to Prayer, vve must vvatch in prayer; vvhen you go about your Callings, vvatch about them; vvhen vve are alone, vve should be vvatchful; and vvhen vve are in Company, vve should be vvatchful, for the Divel, and our ovvn souls, plot a great deal of mischief against us, vve Page 99 must vvatch in all places; in our houses, and vvith∣out doors, and in the fields; vve are still in danger vvheresoever vve are.
Thirdly, We should proportion our watch, accor∣ding*as the duty is we take in hand, so our vvatch∣ing may bee; there is one kind of vvatching for one kind of duty, another for another. If vve be to go about our callings, then our vvatching must be against distrustfulnesse, and covetous∣ness, and distracting cares; that so vve may not be over head and ears in the vvorld. If our duty be prayer, vve must have an eye to the promises, and take hold on the Lord Jesus Christ, and come in his mediation and his onely. So vvhatsoever duty it be, if it be hearing of the Word of God, there is a vvatchfulness to be proportionable to it. A man should think, the vvord vvill do me no good, unlesse the Lord meet vvith my lusts: I have an unmortified heart, and unlesse the Lord vvork upon me, I shall never lie dovvn under him. Therefore vve should be vvatchful, that vve may practice, and be able to apply vvhatsoever is spo∣ken to us; vve are to keep a due vvatchfulness, for that vvhich is due to one thing is not due to ano∣ther; that vvhich is sufficient for one, is not for another.*
Fourthly, Take heed of all things that may hinder Watchfulnesse.
And first, Take heed of vain Company. If vve* will be watchful, we must exercise our selves vvith those that are godly. To be vvith secure Christi∣ans, is the vvay to be secure; this vvill hinder a man: A man had better be alone, then be in bad Company, as the Prophet David saith, Page 100Psal. 102. 7. I watch and am alone as a Sparrow on the house top: he was alone, and yet he was watching. A man when he is alone may be watch∣ing, rather then when he is in such Company: a man can never look to himself well, unlesse he prize the Communion of Saints.
Secondly, A man should be sober; Take heed of*Spiritual Drunkenness: Take heed of the cares of this life, and that you be not immoderate in any lawful thing; we should stand upon our guard, and keep our hearts with all manner of keeping; if our hearts grow drowzy and idle, and if we neglect Sobriety, then we are gone, there∣fore in Scripture these are put together, be sober, and watch, 1 Thess. 5. 6. 1 Pet. 5. 8. I do not mean Drunkennesse with Wine, for there is a Drunkennesse, and not with Wine, as the Pro∣phet speaks, a man may be drunk with the love of the Creature: if thou lovest thy ease too well, or any thing in the world too well, thou art drunk with it, thy heart is giddy, thou art no more able to Pray, or do any thing that's good, then a drun∣ken man is.
Fifthly, If thou wilt Watch, then set the Lord*alwayes before thy eyes: Set the watchman of Isra∣el before thy face, God is called a watcher, Dan. 4. 23. Now if thou wilt watch over thy self, set God before thy face, as David did, Psal. 16. 8. I have set God before mine eyes; so alwayes set the Lord before thine eyes.
Now I come to the last thing, which is an Ʋse*of Exhortation; To exhort us to be careful of this Duty, and there is great need of it.
First, We all desire to do well. Now how canPage 101we do well at last, unless we watch well all our life*time? VVhat is the reason that many are with∣out comfort, not like the Servants of God, full of horrour, and fear, and quaking? it is because they do not watch, as it was with the Five wise Virgins, they were something wise, not like the foolish, but they slumbred too; Now when the bride∣groom came, there was a cry; they made an out∣cry, and a skrieking, and an howling, they were undone, the bridegroom was come: one would have thought, they should have rejoyced that the bridegroom was come. What godly Christians, and Religious People, when the bridegroom comes to fall a howling and a crying? This was because they slumbred, whereas if a man be watchful over his life, and careful to keep an hum∣ble heart, and to honour God, and study how to die comfortably at last, he may rejoyce at the com∣ing of the bridegroom; but because they were in a slumber, there was a cry, therefore as the Apostle Peter saith, 1 Pet. 4. 7. The end of all things is at hand, therefore be sober, and watch unto prayer; the Apostle brings this as an Argu∣ment: so I may say, the e•• of all things is at hand, therefore be sober, and watch; as a Travel∣ler, when the day is almost spent, and he hath a great way to go, he puts spurs to his Horse, and rides the faster; so the end of all things is at hand, therefore we had need to be the more diligent and watchful, that we may have all things ready; the end comes upon us: We have had the Gospel a long time, and God knows how soon we shall have an end thereof; therefore how ought we to be careful, as a man that is to write a Letter, may Page 102 be at first he is something carelesse, and writes his lines something broad, but when he comes near to the end, and hath a great dea! to write, he writes his lines close, and crowds them together: So now when we are coming towards an end, we cannot look that God should alvvayes strive with us, we should now therefore labour to write close, and to make our Duties thick, and to be enquiring after Grace, wheresoever we come, we think the time is long, but we may justly fear it is shorter then we imagine; as when an hour-glass is almost out, a man that sits below, will think there is a great deal to run, but the sand is hol∣low, and is run out before a man is aware; so the Lord so carries himself towards people, that they may think there is a great deal of Patience more, and a great deal of Mercy more to be ex∣tended towards them, but when all comes to all, they shall find it lyes hollow, and will be out be∣fore they are aware.
Secondly, Consider how sickly and diseased our*Souls are; how apt they are to fall into sin: Sickly men are most careful; Now our Souls are sick of sin, sick of Pride, sick of Covetousnesse, and Earthly-mindednesse, easily carried away with the sins of the times; they are sick of prone∣nesse to do evil, and indisposednesse to that which is good, therefore we had need to watch over our souls, we had need be our own Porters. Matth. 13. 34. our Saviour Christ doth compare every Christian to a Porter; The Lord of the house takes a great journey, and commands the Porter to watch: We should all be Porters, and keep the gates of our Souls, for we are alwayes in danger.
Page 103Thirdly, Consider that God hath awakened ma∣ny*of us already, and therefore it is a miserable thing for us to sleep again: wicked and ungodly men that were never converted, and healed, and awakened, and wrought upon, they go to Hell and damnation in a sleepy security; but when a man hath been once awakened, and hath shaken off sleep, and God hath made him look about him, to see how he might be saved; if this man fall a sleep again, it is a most miserable thing; the latter end of that man will be worse then his be∣ginning.
Fourthly, Consider the badnesse of the Times,*and Places, and Families we live in; they are all secure, and therefore we had need be so much the more vvatchful; and you knovv it is a very hard thing, for a man not to do as others do; therefore the Apostle, 1 Thess. 5. 6. vvould not have them sleep as others do, as vvho should say, Others do so; and therefore you have so much the more need to look to your selves, that you may not do as others do.
THE NEW BIRTH.
Joh. 3. 6.
MY Purpose is to speak of the several VVorks of Gods holy Spirit in the hearts and minds of his cho∣sen; they are Gods peculiar peo∣ple, and therefore he vvill vvork greater Mercies for them, then for any else: Novv the First grand distinguishing vvork of the Holy Ghost in the Elect is Regene∣ration; he is the Author of Spiritual life in them, they are born of him, though by nature they are born of the flesh, and so are flesh; and in that estate can never enter into the kingdom of God: yet vvhen the Spirit of God comes to regenerate them, they come to be Spirit, they come to have a nevv life, and the Spirit of God gives it them: it is true that Christ is the Author of this life, he Page 105 procured it by his death, he quickens whom he will, as he told his Disciples, Joh. 14. 19. Be∣cause I live, ye shall live also: Life is derived by Christ to all the Members of Christ; for as all in Adam died, Adam is the general root of all, in his loins, and by him they come to be dead in sin; so Christ is the Second Adam, and all that are in his loins, all that are in him, he is a quickning Spi∣rit to them, 1 Cor. 15. 45. The first man Adam was made a living Soul, the second Adam was made a quickning Spirit: Christ is the second A∣dam, and is a quickning Spirit to all that are in him; God the Father hath appointed him to be the Prince of Life, as Peter tells his Hearers, Act. 3. 15. The Lord Jesus Christ, he is the Prince of life to all the people of God: and therefore Saint John saith, He that hath the Son, hath life; and he that hath not the Son, hath not life, 1 Joh. 5. 12. He is the Father of this new Birth, and he is the daily and continual Father of it: He is not a Fa∣ther for one, or two, or divers years, but Isa. 9. 6. he is called, an everlasting Father, to regenerate a people to God; and he doth it by his Resurrecti∣on, 1 Pet. 1. 3. This must needs be granted, That Christ must be the Author of this new Life.
Now you will say, Then why is it attributed to the Spirit? The Text gives it to the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost; now if Christ be the Author*of this new Birth, and the giver of this new Life, and God the Father hath appointed him to be so, Why is it then here said, That the Spirit doth it?
I Answer: It is given to the Spirit for Three* Reasons:
First, Because Christ doth it by the Spirit:Page 106 Whatsoever Christ doth without, he doth it by the Spirit: when he cast out Divels here upon Earth, he did it by his Spirit; all the outward VVorks that he wrought, he wrought them by his Spirit; and therefore the Spirit is called, the Finger of God, Luk. 11. 20. Now if Christ do this VVork by his Spirit, if he do Regenerate all his people by his own Spirit, there is reason why they should be said to be born of the Spirit.
Secondly, Another Reason is, Because though*this life be all from Christ, it is he that begets it; (it is he that is the soul of every Believer, as I may so speak) yet it is the Spirit that is the Bond of Ʋnion; it is the Spirit that joyns Christ and them together, it is the Spirit that tyeth the knot, it is the Spirit that unites and puts them together into one; though Christ be life, and eternal life, yet notwithstanding they are all Aliens from Christ, they are all out of Christ, that the Spirit doth not joyn together with Christ: they that have not the Spirit of Christ, they are none of his; they are all out of Christ, they are like dead branches out of the Vine; it is the Spirit that is the bond of Ʋnion between Christ, and those that are Christs.
Thirdly, Another Reason is, Because the Spi∣rit*quickens the Word, whereby this is done: The people of God, the thing that they are born of again, it is the immortal seed of the VVord, 1 Pet. 1. 23. You are born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible; Now this seed is sowen in all mens hearts, scattered among all the Con∣gregation, but yet it doth not Regenerate all the Congregation; the Reason is, where the Spirit Page 107 comes, that makes it fruitful, and that makes it to quicken the heart; and thus you see the mean∣ing of the words, That which is born of the Spirit, is Spirit.
Now here are Two Points:
First, That the Spirit of God, or the Holy Ghost, Regenerates all the people of God; whosoever is born again, is born of the Spirit.
The Second Point is this, That all that are Re∣generate, all that are born of the Spirit, they are Spirit; that is, they are spiritual, they are like the Spirit.
The First is, That it is the Spirit of God, the*Holy Ghost, that doth Regenerate all the people of God; this is that which makes them to be new Creatures, to be new men, to be altogether dif∣ferent from that they were before; this is that which doth distinguish them from themselves, e∣ven as much as white from black; this is that which doth alienate them from the courses of the world; this is that which doth make them to be singular and odde fellows, as if they were of ano∣ther mould; this makes them lead a different kind of life, and follow a different kind of way from all their neighbors, because the Spirit of God works in them; as Ishmael and Isaac, though Ishmael was born after the flesh, yet Isaac was born after the Spirit, as the Apostle alludes, Gal. 4. 23. that is, one took one kind of course, the other another; one was born one way, the other another way; the Spirit begat one, the Flesh the other; and this made Ishmael to persecute Isaac, because Isaac could not abide his courses; they were of different Natures and Dispositions, Page 108 one was born after the Spirit, the other after the Flesh.
Now here be Six Things I would shew unto you:
First, What Regeneration is.
Secondly, Why it is so called.
Thirdly, Wherein it consists.
Fourthly, The Reasons why the Spirit of God only works this work.
Fifthly, How he works it.
And Lastly, The Ʋses.
First, What Regeneration is: And it is thus* much, namely, The renewing of the whole man, and by degrees completed after the Image of God in Jesus Christ: This is Regeneration; and there be Five Things to be opened in it:
First, That it is the renewing of a man; It is* not every change, there may be abundance of changes and alterations, and yet a man for the main may be the same man he is; a man may be changed from a Drunkard to be sober; from an Adulterer to be chaste; yet still he is the same man he was before, though there be changes wrought in him: but Regeneration is the renew∣ing of a man, the making of a man another man, as the Apostle speaks, 2 Cor. 5. 17. Old things are passed away, and all things are become new: The Lord doth take away the old frame, and the old affections, and the old inclinations, the old acquaintance, the old course and conversation; all these things passe away, and the Lord puts in new things in the room thereof, till all things be∣come new; thus it is in this work, as the Apostle speaks, Tit. 3. 5. According to his mercy he savedPage 109us by the washing of Regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; the Lord removeth the old rub∣bish, and puts a new fabrick in the room; as a Goldsmith, he takes a vessel of dishonour and melts it, and makes it a vessel of honour; God doth undo the old workmanship, and makes a new: as David saith, Create in me, O Lord, a clean heart, &c. Psal. 51. 10. David thought he had lost all, therefore he prayeth to God that he may be new cast, that he may be taken all to pieces, as a VVatch-maker takes a VVatch that is out of order, he takes it all to pieces, and sets it together anew again; so he prayes God to deal with him, he had lost all in sense and feeling, and would have God make him a new workmanship, it is called the renewing of a man, Ezek 11. 19. there is an excellent place, I will give them a new heart, &c. The Lord puts out, and he puts in, e∣ven just as a Suister doth when she works cut∣works, she puts out the cloths own threds, and puts in needle-work; so the Lord puts out the old heart, and puts in a new heart; he takes out that which was stark naught, and puts in that which is good and agreeable to his mind: the old heart is corrupt, and the old man is stark naught, there is nothing good in it; these the Lord takes out, and puts in all new: A man is altogether naught and reprobate before; what poor creatures are all people that are not Regenerate, they are all proud, and vain, and foolish, and wordly, and earthly, and harden their hearts, and are care∣lesse of Gods wayes, they have no fear of God before their eyes, they are altogether rotten, how ill-favouredly do they pray? how worldly do they Page 110 go on in their callings? how unfruitfully do they come to Church? they are all rotten and re∣fractory, they do nothing that right is; now when the Spirit of God doth make them up, he puts out all old things, and makes them new. This is the First thing, Regeneration, is the renewing of a man.
Secondly, As it is the renewing of a man, so it*is the renewing of the whole man: It is not only in some things, for Saul was another man in some sense; but Regeneration is the renewing of the whole man, as the Appostle saith, The God of peace sanctifie you throughout, in body, soul, and Spirit, 1 Thess. 5. 23. it is a work upon the whole man; our Saviour Christ compares it to leaven, which a woman took and leavened the whole Lump: It is like unto Original sin, as Original sin infects the whole man; so Regeneration doth repair and renew the whole man; it is as general and uni∣versal, as original sin: the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodnesse, Ephes. 5. 9. It is in all goodnesse; in the goodnesse of a mans mind, and in the good∣nesse of a mans affections, in the goodnesse of the inclination and disposition, in the goodnesse of the whole man; the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness; indeed it begins in the goodnesse of the mind, as the Apostle speaks, Ephes. 4. 23. Be re∣newed in the Spirit of your minds: Where he calls upon them for this new work; Put off the old man (saith he) and be renewed in the Spirit of your minds; that is the First thing, when a man hath a new mind given unto him, a new know∣ledge put into his understanding, a man is renew∣ed in knowledge, Col. 3. 10. This is the first Page 111 thing, when God reneweth a mans knowledge and apprehension of things, when a man begins to know the plagues of his own heart, and the evils of all his own wayes, now a man begins to see through these things, and now he begins to see the wayes of God; and to dive deep beneath the irksomnesse of them, to know the amiablenesse of them, the sweetnesse of them: the delights of them are hidden from a man, so long as he is un∣regenerate; but when God doth begin to rege∣nerate a man, now he begins to discover them to him, that a man seeth what they are: he could say before that the wayes of God were good, but he could never taste and find them so; but when a man is renewed, now he seeth the lustre and amiablenesse of them: so also, he seeth the uglinesse of sin, this was covered before, sin de∣ceived the heart, and carried him after it; but now sin begins to be laid stark naked, and a man seeth the deformity of it, here begins Regene∣ration in the mind; for the understanding is the key of the Soul, the key of all the Faculties of the Soul, it is like a sluce or flood-gate, pull up that, and the water goes out and runs all abroad; so when the Lord doth pluck up this sluce, and lift up a mans heart, and mind, and understanding: now the waters of life flow into the soul: this is against them now, that have plenty of know∣ledge, and yet notwithstanding go no further, that have new minds, and old wills and affections, there is a new brain, but an old heart; this is not regeneration, regeneration (it is true) begins in the understanding, but it runs along in all the soul, it descends into heart and mind, and all the whole Page 112 man; and therefore it is called a new creature; whosoever is in Christ is a new creature; Behold, I make all things new, (saith Christ) Rev. 21. 5. As Regeneration is the renewing of a man, so it is the renewing of the whole man.
Thirdly, It is done by degrees: Though Re∣generation* be in all parts, yet it is not in all de∣grees at once; the spirit of God doth renew more and more, and beget a man more and more; there is of the old birth a great while, but he doth eat it out more and more, as the Apostle speaks, 2 Cor. 3. 18. And we all with open face, &c. Mark here, he calls this change glory, because it is a glorious creature; as long as a man is not re∣newed, he is a base creature; but when he is re∣newed, he is a glorious creature: Now saith he, when the Lord doth this, he doth it from glory to glory, from one degree to another; as this is done by the spirit of God, so he doth it more; he proceeds from little beginnings to greater per∣fections; it was not so with Adam, God made him in his full stature at the first, he was a man at the first dash; but this new creature, is as a Babe conceived in the VVomb, it begins there, and so grows up; As new born babes desire the sin∣cere milk of the Word. 1 Pet. 2. 2. He is a babe first, and so growes, though it be not a starve∣ling but grovvs, yet it is but a vveak one at first, and must grovv and come to its strength more and more: it is like a good husband that begins vvith a little, and ariseth up to a great estate in the end; so Regeneration, makes a man a good husband; puts a little stock into his hands, and makes him rise to a great matter.
Page 113Fourthly, This is according to the Image of*God: It is not all kind of Renewing: A man may have a new work that he had not before; but the work of regeneration, as it is a renewing, so it is a renewing after the image of God; man had quite and clean lost the Image of God, which consisted in Righteousness and Holiness; Now when Gods Spirit comes to regenerate a man, that reneweth him according to this Image: As the Apostle speaks, Ephes. 4. 24. That ye put on the new man which is created after his image: and how is that? In Righteousness and Holiness. As it is in Nature, though a man be never so godly when he begets a man, he begets him after his image, as he is by nature polluted and unclean: Gen. 5. 3. So Adam begat Seth in his own image: so when the Spirit begets a man again, he begets him after his own image, he makes him merciful as his heavenly Father is merciful, Luke 6. 36. and perfect as he is perfect. Matth. 5. ult. There are none regenerate and born again, but those that are like God, the Lord stamps upon them his own similitude, and makes them like to him∣self.
Fifthly, This is the Image of God in Jesus*Christ; who is the express image of his Father; he is the pattern after which this frame is made: nay, God did order it should be so from eternity, Rom. 8. 29. Whom he did fore▪know, he did pre∣destinate, that they should be conformed to the image of his Son: 'Tis true, this similitude is not pre∣sently made out, it is but by halves as it were; it is but a poor first draught, and never perfect in this life, but it shall be made perfect, 1 Joh. 3 2, 3. Page 114We know when he appears, we shall be like him, and shall see him as he is; then we shall be perfectly like him, and see him as he is, and know him as he is; as Paul saith, Col. 3. 2, 3. You are dead, and your life is hid in Christ, &c. Here the work is hardly come to its glory, there is a great deal of basenesse and old rubbish still, but it shall be glo∣rious before God hath done, it shall come to be perfect then, in the mean time, it is but by de∣grees; but the work of regeneration puts a man to go to Christ, and believe in Christ; You that follow me in Regeneration, &c. saith our Saviour, Matth. 19. 28. When a man is regenerate, re∣generation puts a frame into a mans heart to be like unto Christ, and to follow his steps, and his example, that as he hath done, so he may do more and more: this is the work of regeneration, That the Spirit of God works in Gods people, con∣forming them to the Image of Christ: Yea, Re∣generation doth more than repair a man, more than reduce a man to that estate wherein he was in Adam's loins before the Fall; it is the ingraft∣ing of a man into Christ, and the estating a man into the Merits and Priviledges of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is a greater matter, then the bare re∣storing of a man to that which he lost, it is the re∣storing of a man to a better estate; this dif∣ferences it from Sanctification. Thus we see what Regeneration is.
Now the Second Thing is, Why it is so called?* Why this same blessed work of the renewing of the whole man after the Image of God in Christ Jesus is called Regeneration. There be Two Reasons of it.
Page 115First, To shew us how marvellously we are cor∣rupt*by Nature: Until the Spirit of God take us in hand, a man is quite rotten, there is no sound∣nesse left, there is nothing in him will serve, it is not a little melting will serve the turn, it is not a little plaistering, or patching, or piecing will do the deed: though there be a thousand changes in a man, yet if a man be not another man, if he be not a new creature, it is to no effect, it will ne∣ver bring a man into the kingdom of God; what saith Christ, Joh. 3. 3. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God: As who should say, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, a man is all to shatters, all to pieces, all rotten, and unlesse he be born again, and made a new creature, it is im∣possible he should enter into the kingdom of God; though a man be never so much altered, he is not in the estate of Grace till he be a new man, till the Lord hath given him a new frame, and a new inclination: except a man be born again, he can∣not see the kingdom of God, he cannot see the kingdom of Grace: that is the first dowry of the kingdom of Grace, to give a man a new Being that he never had before: a natural man is just like an old rotten house, that hath not one piece that will serve the turn; but a man that will make it an habitable house, must take it all down to the ground, and build it up from the ground: so it is here, there is not one piece will serve the turn; though ye see admirable things in men, though they seem excellent in the eyes of men, yet they will not serve the turn, they are rotten and stark naught; there is an absence of all Good, Rom. 7. 18. Page 116 Nay besides, there is an universal indisposition in a man, like to a thing that is all rotten and marred, and can never be made up again, except it be made spick and span new; and so it is with a man, he is altogether corrupt, as the Prophet speaks, Isa. 1. from the sole of the foot, to the crown of the head, nothing but bruises and putrifi∣ed soars; take a man that is never so civil, and of fair carriage, so long as he is not a new creature, this is nothing for the entring into the kingdom of God, and being amiable in his sight: Nay, Gen. 6. 5. the Text saith, The thoughts of the heart of man are only evil continually, there is no∣thing sound in a man, though he daily think of Grace, and think of God, his thoughts cannot be said to be good, for the mind whereby he thinks of these things is rotten, and unsavory; though he speaks of never so good things, the same things the Saints of God speak of; though he doth the same actions the people of God do; though he hears the same VVord, and receive the same Sacraments, he cannot do them aright, they are abomination in Gods sight, therefore when God regenerates a man, he must make him ano∣ther man then he was before. This speaks natures corruption.*
Secondly, Because the things of Regeneration are admirably set out by way of this similitude: Natural Generation is generally, sweetly an∣swered in this VVork of Regeneration.
First, As a man cannot come into the World*without Parents, but he must have a Father to beget him, so it is in this new Birth: as in the o∣ther there was an earthly Father, so here is an Page 117 heavenly Father, as the Author to the Hebrews speaks, Heb. 12. 9. How much rather shall we be subjected to the Father of Spirits? There are two Fathers, an earthly Father, the Father of the na∣tural and corrupt man, and God the Father of our spirits, that is the Father of our spiritual Na∣ture, as many excellent Divines do expound it: though it may be expounded the Father of our Souls; yet this is more likely, because here is an opposition between the Father of the Flesh, and the Father of the Spirits: God himself is the Fa∣ther of this new work.
Secondly, Here is a Mother too; That Je∣rusalem* which is from above, is the Mother of them all; they are all Zions Children, here is the Womb that these new creatures lye in, Christs Spouse; the Lambs wife is their Mother; though the world hate them and her too, yet they love her; nay, though the woman be thrown out into the wilderness, yet their hearts run after her; the Regenerate only, are the true born, this is their Mother.
Thirdly, As it is in the Natural Birth, There is*a shaping in the Womb, before their is a coming into life: so it is here, as the Apostle saith, there is a conceiving of a man in the womb, before he is, Gal. 4. 19. My little Children, of whom I travel in Birth, till Christ be formed in you; There is the Conception; 'tis true, wicked men have many Conceptions, but they do not bring forth, Christ is not formed in them; they may have many stirrings that way, but they perish in the Birth; but Zion travels and brings forth Children, Isa. 66. 8.
Page 118Fourthly, Again, As it is in the Natural Birth,*None is brought forth, without the pains of travel; So there be pains in this new Birth, legal terrours which the Reprobate are killed with and die un∣der, but the godly come forth from under them safe and bettered.
Fifthly, Again, As it is in the first Birth, the* Child that is born and comes into the world, he comes from no Being to a Being, from no Existen∣cy to an Existency; so it is hear in this new Birth, those which were no people, are now made the people of God; those that had no being in Christ, now have a being in him; they are come into a new world, into a new heaven and a new earth; others live in this world, but they live in a new world.
Sixthly, Again, As it is in the first Birth, A*m•n comes to have Children, to have Brothers and Sisters; so in this Birth, a man comes to have new Kindred, all the Godly in the world are of his Consanguinity; though they be counted the Pu∣ritans of the Parish, yet they are of his bloud, and Christ himself is their Brother, and Abraham is their Father (under God) and Sarah is their Mother; there is a new Kindred. Indeed here is the difference, that the Children of the first Birth they are visible, and their lives and courses are vi∣sible, and their alliance and kindred is visible, and all that they are and do is visible; but the Chil∣dren of the second Birth are not visible: indeed their persons are visible as well as others, but their life is an invisible thing; their excellency, their glory, this new creature in them, this is invisible, it is like that River in Spain, which runs Page 119 fourteen miles under ground; whence they have a Proverb, That the Bridge over the River is four∣teen miles long: So there is a River in Surry that is just the like, it runs under the ground invisible, they cannot see it; so these new creatures they cannot be seen, their lives run under ground, their lives are hidden with God, indeed their persons, and outward actions and courses may be seen; nay, wicked men may do those very outward actions which they do; they may Pray together with them, and come to Church together with them, but this new workmanship they cannot see, that runs along under ground, the world seeth it not, neither can they know it, because they know not Christ the Author of it: Thus we see the second thing, namely, Why it is so called.
Now the Third Thing is, Wherein this blessed*Work doth consist: and it consists in Two Things, Joh. 1. 12. The Evangelist saith, To as many as received him, he gave power to become the Sons of God. Here be Two Things, and both these Re∣generation consists of:
First, A Passive receiving of Christ, Whosoever receives him.
Secondly, An Active Title to God, as to a Fa∣ther, They have power to become the Sons of God.
First, A Passive receiving of Christ; To as* many as received him: for he came to his own and they received him not; his own, even his own Elect, would not receive him, till he made them receive him; but as many as received him, as ma∣ny as were made passively to receive him, did re∣ceive him also actively: so that this word implyes Page 120 the Passive receiving of Christ; for there is none can receive any thing, except it be given him from above, Joh. 3. 27. That is, except there be first a passive reception of it: It is a strange phrase, No man can receive Christ, till Christ is first re∣ceived of him; he can never take Christ, till Christ come into him, till Christ ingraft himself into him, and him into Christ; this is an act of God, it is a passive receiving of Christ: the reason is, because all the Graces, and all the Activity of Gods people flowes from this, their Faith, and all; for Faith is an act, which receives from the passive receiving of Christ, as Paul speaks to the Colos∣sians, As you have received Christ, so walk in him; Faith receives Christ, that is an active receiving of Christ, but there was a passive receiving of Christ first; for a man is in Christ first in a passive manner, before he is in him in an active manner, Christ hath taken him already, before he can take Christ actually: This is the first Thing wherein this work of Regeneration consists, The Passive receiving of Christ.
Secondly, It consists in having an active power*and •itle to become a Son of God; together with Jesus Christ; These are the Two Things wherein Regeneration consists. I know many Divines branch it otherwise, and make Regeneration to consist otherwise:
First, Of Mortification.
Secondly, Of Vivification.
First, Of Mortification: Whereby the Spirit kills the Lusts of the Flesh more, as Rom. 8. 13. If ye live after the Flesh ye shall die, but if ye through the Spirit mortifie the deeds of the Flesh,Page 121ye shall live: Mark; here is Mortification, and it is done by the Spirit; if you through the spirit mortifie the deeds of the body.
Secondly, There is Vivification; that is, when a man doth not only die unto sin, but rise up a∣gain to a new life, Rom. 6. 11. Likewise reckon ye your selves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. This is the other work of Vivification, when a man is made alive unto God, and is made able by the spirit of God to be alive unto God, and to wind himself out of death into life, by the spirit of the holy One. These be the Two Parts whereof many Divines make Regeneration to consist of; but though they beat at the same thing, yet I rather make them the Effects and Consequents of Regenerati∣on, as flowing from Regeneration; this passive work goeth before, a man never goeth on in mor∣tifying the works of the Flesh, and never raiseth himself up to this heavenly life till he be Regene∣rated; so that regeneration is the first ingrafting of a man into Christ, whereby he is alive, that he may do all these things; it is a power put into him wher∣by he may believe & repent, so that Believing, and Repentance, and Mortification, and Vivification are acts of the new creature; a man must there∣fore be a new creature first, now this is by Rege∣neration, so that Regeneration consists only of these Two Things: First, Of a passive receiving of Christ the Son of God. Secondly, In having a title to be the Son of God; and Regeneration doth not only bring a relative change, but a real change to a man: If you would know the mean∣ing of the phrase, A relative change is this, when Page 122 there is a change in a man, from that he was be∣fore; but the change doth not lye in a man, as the change of Justification: before he was not Justified, now he is Justified, the man is changed, but he is not changed in himself, but it stands on∣ly in Gods imputation; he is not just in himself, but by imputation just. Now the real change is, when God doth purifie and make up the defects in a man more and more, that is a real change; so that I say, Regeneration is not only a relative change, whereby God accounts a man as a child; but it breeds a real change in a man, it gives a man a spiritual Being; for the Spirit of God when it comes to work this work, is a fruitful principle of all good in that man more and more: Therefore the Apostle saith, The fruits of the Spirit, are joy, peace, long-suffering, &c. Gal. 5. 22. 'Tis true, the Spirit doth not bring forth these Graces till af∣ter a man is regenerate, but by working that Re∣generation, which makes the soul to bring forth these fruits, and making the heart an honest heart, and so a good ground to bring forth these seeds; the Spirit is a fruitful principle of all good in that man. Thus you see the Third Thing, viz. Where∣in Regeneration consists.
Now the Fourth Thing is the Reasons of this* Point, Why the Spirit of God doth work this work of Regeneration.
The First Reason is, Because it is meerly accor∣ding*to the Will of God: Man hath no power at all, man hath no activity, it is meerly at the pleasure of God, whether he will do it or no; Jam. 1. 18. Of his own Will begat he us; he only had an hand in it, he only did it, and it was meerly at his good Page 123 Will and Pleasure, he might have chosen whe∣ther he would have done it or no; it is no fruit of our liberty, it is no brood of our breeding, it is meerly the free act of God in a man, Joh. 6. 44. No man cometh to me except the Father draweth him; There Christ sheweth it, this bringing of a man to be in Christ, it cannot be from any man, except the Father draw him; except he send forth his heavenly Spirit, he can never come to Christ; all our sufficiency is from God, we cannot so much as think a good thought, we cannot renew our thoughts, we cannot renew our inclinations, or our wills, or our affections; we can do nothing of our selves, it is only his work; therefore see∣ing it is such a special work▪ it must be only the Spirit of God that must work it; it is a glorious work, a supernatural work; this new Birth, is such a Birth as comes from above, Psal. 110. 3. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, &c. saith the text, that is, all that are born of God, they are brought forth in the day of Gods power, in the day wherein God is pleased to put forth his power in them; therefore they are cal∣led the seed of Christ, Isa. 53. 10. They are his seed, but unless he begets them by his Spirit, they can never be so; Therefore if we consider the greatness of the work, it sheweth plainly, it must needs be the effect of the Will of God, and his good Pleasure towards man, and therefore must be wrought by the Spirit.
Secondly, Another Reason is, Because it is not*a work of this world: It is a work of another world, it is none of the creatures of this life, it is beyond the sphere of the activity of any natural Page 124 agent, they cannot reach it, Joh. 1. 13. Which were born not of the will of the flesh, nor of bloud, &c. It is not of mans Will, he cannot so much as Will it, or Desire it effectually, he cannot wish it truly, nay, his heart had rather have the world; nay, saith he, It is not of the Will of the Flesh, that is, a man may go and beget another Child in the world, because it is of the Will of the Flesh, it is in the power of the Will of the Flesh, Gods power going along with him, but this is not so, whatsoever a man be, though he hath never so many excellent parts, it is not in the Will of the Flesh to do it: Then again, it is not of Bloud, it is no terrene or earthly thing, this new creature is otherwise made, than any new creature in the world besides, therefore he concludes, it is only born of God, it is God only that is the great Author of this great work, it descends down meerly from above.
Thirdly, Because it is so far from being* wrought by any power in man, or any counsel in man, or any endeavours in man, it is so far from that, as that a man is totally against it; A man is an enemy unto it, a man hath reluctancy and repugnancy against it, he would not be regene∣rate; when a man doth think he desires heaven, and to be regenerated of God, he doth apprehend Regeneration in a wrong way, and heaven in a wrong way, so as he apprehends it, he doth Will it; he thinks of heaven as of a fine place, and a place full of pleasure, and therefore desires it, but that he should alwayes be with God, that he should alwayes be praysing and thinking of God, and minding of God, and have his heart weaned Page 125 from all other things, and set it on God, this is heaven, but he hates these things, and so hates heaven, so he Wills that which he apprehends to be Regeneration; but Regeneration, is when a man hath a new heart, and when he is a new man: he was wordly before, but he is now brought to be spiritual, he was proud before, but he is now come to be humble, but the heart cannot abide this, therefore let the Lord fling in abundance of throws into a natural mans heart, to begin some preparatory work this way, to make a man begin to look out towards heaven, he flings all away, he is weary of them quickly; as a man at a Sermon, perhaps may have throws concerning the new Birth, but the corruption of his heart will throw all way, he cannot endure them, they are contrary to the corruption of a mans nature; nay, when God comes to work upon his own people, what a deal of pleading is there with the world, the flesh, and the Divel, that they may not be cast out: Therefore when Peter saw that through the grace and power of God, this work was wrought in those he wrote unto, 1 Pet. 1. 3. Mark how he speaks, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again to a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: He lifts up his hands to heaven, and blesseth God that ever this work was wrought; he saw so much adoe, and such a stir, and such a deal of oppositi∣on; this is a plain sign that it is not of man, it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God which sheweth mercy, Rom. 9. 16. Neither can man Will, neither can he run, nei∣ther Page 126 go, nor stir towards it; nay, though God make him go, how apt is he to laggar in the way, and draw back again? So you see the Fourth Thing, Why it must needs be the Spirits Work.
The Fifth Thing is, How the Spirit of God*works this Work. It is after an unspeakable man∣ner: Who can declare the noble acts of the Lord? The works of God in Nature are marvel∣lous. David himself, when he looked upon his natural Birth, the Conception of him in the Womb of his Mother, he wondered at it, Psal. 139. 14. That was a wonderful work, how much more is this unspeakable, and unutterable? as it is said of our Saviour Christ, Who can declare his generations? So may I say in a lower sense, of this Work, Who can declare this Regeneration of his people? But yet thus far the Scripture doth au∣thorize, and warrant us to go.
First, That he doth it by the word of Life; By* the Gospel of Salvation, by the Preaching of it, or otherwise according as he pleaseth, that is the immortal seed, 1 Pet. 1. 23. Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, &c. And as Paul saith to the Corin∣thians, Though you have ten thousand instructers, yet you have not many Fathers, for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel, 1 Cor. 4. 15. As who should say, You are begotten and born again, and you are born again by the Word, and I was an instrument under God of your new Birth, by the Word which I have Preached among you; and therefore, 1 Tim. 1. 2. he calls Timo∣thy, His own Son; So Tit. 1. 4. he calls him, Page 127His Son in the Faith: that is, he was an instru∣mental Father under God, by the Doctrine of Faith, to bring him to be a Child of God: so that I say it is done by the Word, Of his own Will hath he begotten us by the Word of truth, Jam. 1. 18. The Spirit of the Lord sanctifies the Word when he is pleased to convert a man, the Word shall shew him what a miserable creature he is by na∣ture; it sheweth him that flesh and bloud cannot enter into the kingdom of God; it sheweth him that he is utterly forlorn in himself, and past all recovery, and shews him where life is to be had▪ namely, in Jesus Christ, discovering his worth, and excellency, and necessity, and that all Grace and good is in him, and shews him the freedom of this gracious offer: Thus the Spirit of God, when he propounds the Word to the soul, holds it before the eyes and conscience, and sanctifies it, and puts a power into it, to enter deep into the soul, that it may Conceive in the soul.
Secondly, The Lord doth it by an unspeakable*working: There is a Divine work which the Lord worketh; The spirit comes into the soul after the manner of water; as Christ saith, Joh. 3. Except a man be born again of water and the holy Ghost, &c. that is, unless he be born of the spirit, which worketh in the spirit of a man, as water doth in working upon a foul thing. Now what this work∣ing is we cannot tell; but we can tell you the ef∣fects of it: whereas the soul was rotten and naught before, and impotent to all good; now it begins to have a better disposition and a new power: and whereas it did savour of the things of this life be∣fore, now it savours of the things that are above: Page 128 but this is a secret kind of working in the soul, therefore it is called the washing, and the laver of it: And the Apostle speaking of the Corinthians, what miserable creatures they were before Rege∣neration, he named Drunkards, Idolaters, Adul∣terers, &c. and all manner of filthy persons, Such were some of you (saith he) before your Regene∣ration, but now you are washed, and justified, and sanctified in the Name of Christ, 1 Cor. 6. 11. That same washing there, he means by that you are Regenerated; so that Regeneration, it is a su∣pernatural, an unspeakable kind of washing of the soul by the holy Ghost, whereby the soul hath its Corruption washed from it in part, and made clean in part, and way made for all the Graces of Gods spirit to come in now, and all the fruits of the spirit to be brought forth: Thus the Spirit of God works this work, he works it in an ineffable manner by the word of Life and by a secret kind of washing.
I come now to the Application of this Point:* And first of all, If the Spirit of God be the Re∣generater of Gods people, then we may here see the errour of the Papists, Pelagians, and others; That set up the Will of man, and put any activity in the Reason, and Judgement, and Wisdom, and Election of man; This Doctrine of theirs is un∣sound, and contrary to the working of Gods ho∣ly spirit: If it be such a work as God sends his own Spirit to do it; What man can do it? It is called Regeneration, and this shews it is not of man: who is able to beget himself, and shape himself in the womb, and dispose of his own body in the belly? Nay more, Can any man beget Page 129 himself again? The very name of again, shews that it is a work only of God, none but he can do it; and we see it plainly, it is wrought no where, but where God himself doth it, and they that have it are able to speak it, that they did not chuse God, but God chose them; I was found of them that sought me not; all the souls of his peo∣ple will subscribe, That it was not in them that willed, or in them that ran, but in God that shew∣ed mercy: It is God only that is the Author of this thing, and none but he.
Secondly, Again, This should teach us to con∣sider* that we have alwayes need of the Spirit of God: If the Spirit of God hath begotten us again, then we have alwayes need of him▪ it is not in this as in the first Birth; when the Child is born, though the Father be gone, the Child may subsist; but it is not so here: but the Spi∣rit of God as he begets a man, so he is fain al∣wayes to stand by him and bear him up, and give him supplies of Grace from day to day: as it is with the Air, the Sun doth not only enlighten it, but it doth every moment give light to it: for suppose the Sun should shine four or five hours in the day, yet if the Sun should with-hold its light, the Air would be dark presently; it is not as it is with Fire, let a man heat the water, though he take away the Fire, the water will keep its heat a while after; but do but with-hold the light of the Sun, and all is gone in the same moment; so it is with this new Creature and the Spirit of God, he doth dwell in the soul, as the Sun in the Air; his presence warms the soul, and quickens the soul, and inables a man to good, and gives a principle Page 130 of life, and enables to all actions that are good; therefore how should all Gods people carry them∣selves towards this Spirit? They should have a care that they quench him not, nor go against him in any particular.
The Third Ʋse is for all Gods people, in whom* God hath wrought this blessed work; the Spirit of God hath regenerated and begotten them a∣gain. I say to all such persons, Let them endear this Spirit of God, let them not grieve, or offend, or displease him, seeing he is such a gracious worker in them: Ephes. 1. 13. The Apostle makes this very Inference, in whom after ye be∣lieved ye were sealed by the holy Spirit of Promise: that is, whereby you were Regenerated; Rege∣neration is the first seal of the Spirit, whereby he seals Gods good will to a man. Now, hath the Spirit of God sealed you? Then do not grieve him, nor cause him to take any indignation a∣gainst you; for though he will never depart from them, whom he hath made new Creatures, yet notwithstanding he may hide his face for a time if we displease him. Yea, Consider, Will any na∣tural Child willingly displease his loving Father? The Spirit of God is thy Father, therefore we should have respect to him.
Again, This should be a Motive to Gods people,*to be willing to do any thing for God; because he hath made them, as David saith, Psal. 100. 3. This very Consideration, That God hath made us, and re-made us, he hath done that for us that all our own wits could never have done, that the whole world hath not the like (the Lord gener∣ally lets the whole World sink in ruine Page 131 and damnation) should be a Motive to you, to be willing to serve him gladly, and to call upon his Name, to be ready prest to execute any of his Commands, to enter into his presence upon all occasions, seeing it is he that hath made us, and not we our selves.
To them that are Ʋnregenerated: Here we see* where to have Regeneration; it is only in God, and in the Spirit of God, to renew a man, and make a man up again: as David prayed when he had the Spirit, Lord, take not thy holy Spirit from me, Psal. 51. 11. So when a man hath not the Spirit of God, he should pray to God, Lord, Give thy holy Spirit to me, and send down thy ho∣ly Spirit into my heart, that may work this work in me. But it may be many of you will think that you expect this, and desire it, and wish it, and use some means. I Answer, Then shew it by thy coming unto God for it, from day to day; will any man say, That Noah did expect that God should deliver him from the Deluge, if he had not took that course which God appointed? If he had not built an Ark, certainly we may justly say, That he did not look that God would deliver him. Therefore it is said of Noah, That as he did ex∣pect that God should keep him; so being warned of God, he built an Ark, &c. Heb. 11. 7. So when a man shall say, That he looks that God should deliver him from his natural estate and condition, that God should renew him, by his Grace and goodness, yet if a man will not pre∣pare an Ark: if when a man is Commanded and directed by God what to do, yet he will not come to God, to do that which should be done for him, Page 132 these men do but deceive their own souls, and treasure up indignation against themselves. I re∣member the story of Moses, Exod. 14. when the Children of Israel were in Pi-hahiroth, and the Egyptians were behind them, and the Mountains were on the side that they could not pass, and the Sea was before them, and there was notable crying out, Oh! that God would deliver them, now they were dead men, the Egyptians were come out to destroy them, the Mountains were on the side, and the Sea before them: Now mark what an Answer God gives to their cry; cause the people to go for∣ward, you keep a crying to me, I pray go forward, you are not yet at the red sea, but go to the red sea, and when you are there, then cry to me; you are idleing, and lazing, and mistrusting me; though the red Sea be before them, yet cause them to come thither, and when they are there, then cry for help to me: So thou sayest thou desirest that God would Regenerate thee, and quicken thee, and turn thy heart, & vouchsafe thee his holy Spirit, do you so? I say it is very well, the thing is very good, but if the desire be sincere, you will take that course God bids you, art thou come to the utmost difficulty? Are not many things to be done which thou re∣fusest to do? Must thou not seek God, more and more carefully? Go forward, go forward, if thou meanest to have help and aid from God, otherwise it is in vain: if thou wouldst go on in the wayes of God, and do what God Commands thee, thou shouldst be quickened and renewed.
Fourthly, Another Ʋse is for Examination:*To examine our selves whether the Word of God hath wrought this for us, yea or no. And the first Page 133 sign is this, If thou beest born again, if thou hast* this new Nature, then it is natural to thee to do good duties, to follow good courses, and to yield obedience to the commandements of God; it is not enough for a man to do good duties: a na∣tural man, an unregenerate man may do them, but whether is it natural to thee? A proud man may do the actions of humility, a proud man may pull off his Hat, and give the time of the day, and speak meanly of himself; a proud man may suffer another to do him wrong, and put up base language, he may do these things, but the man is a proud man still, he hath no humble nature; but the question is, whether it be thy nature to do this? May be thou dost these things for fear, or some by-respects: A worldly man may speak of heavenly things, but is thy nature heavenly? A man may think of God, but is thy nature godly? Here is the thing, If a man be regenerate, there is Grace got into a mans nature, Jer. 31. 33. when God regenerates his people, he saith, He will write his laws in their inward parts▪ he doth not only say they shall do these duties, but their very hearts shall carry them, their very hearts shall go to a Sermon, their very souls shall go about the duties of God; as it is with the fire, water may heat, but not by nature; but it is the nature of fire to heat: So if a man be Regenerate, it is natural to him to do good duties, Rom. 2. 14. A man by nature may do the things commanded in the Law: but here is the question, Whether he doth them with this new nature, this heavenly nature? The old creature may hear, and pray, and be so∣ber, and moral, for by nature the Heathen did Page 134 the things contained in the Law: But if a man be Regenerated, as he doth the things contained in the Law and Gospel, so he doth them with a new nature; as Deut. 5. 29. when the Children of Israel had spoken admirable speeches; All that the Lord saith to us we will do; they made good∣ly professions: now mark what God saith, Oh that there were an heart in this people to keep my commandments! As who should say, These are very good words, and I know that you think what you speak; but Oh that this were written in your hearts, that this were natural to you; this will not hold, your hearts are not carried this way.
Secondly, If the Spirit of God hath Regenera∣ted* a man, then the heart begins to be a good soyl for Grace, and the heart begins to be sutable, so that the heart is fit for Grace; A natural heart is not a proper soyl for Grace: As if a man should bring a Plant from Spain, and set it here in Eng∣land, it cannot thrive, unlesse a man meet with a soyl that is fit for it: So Grace, if it come into the heart, and the heart is not a soyl for it, it can never thrive there, unlesse the heart be Regene∣rated, and unlesse there be a new nature: there may be admirable things in a natural man, excel∣lent good purposes, and resolutions; God may come to him, as a Passenger that lodgeth for a night, but he is gone the next morning; he may come as a sojourner, to endure for a while, but here is no dwelling for him, these resolutions, and purposes, and desires cannot last long, that heart will squander them away; it is like the put∣ting of a new piece into an old garment, Matth.Page 135 9. 16. When a man puts a new piece into an old garment, a fine new purpose into an old heart, a new good desire into an old mind, the rent will be worse, for that man will return back again, and will have his lusts, and will be worse then he was before, for the heart is not able to hold these: 'tis true, in the best hearts of Gods people, is a great deal of unnatural soyl for Grace; but there is some of this good new soyl, that Grace now can hold, and shall hold, so that the gates of Hell shall not prevail; it is not for any goodnesse of the heart, but for the goodnesse of Grace in the heart: there may be transient acts of goodnesse in a wicked man, as Prayer, and such-like transient acts; but when the transient act is done, there is a conclusion: but nature is permanent and an en∣during thing, it is not only to come to Prayer, and then be dead; to come to a Sermon, and then be dead; but it is a permanent thing, a man is godly between Prayer and Prayer, and religious between Sermon and Sermon, and in all his wayes he sets himself to be good, and well disposed all his dayes. God complains against those that give him transient acts of goodnesse, Oh Ephraim! what shall I do to thee, that art as a morning cloud, &c?
Thirdly, If the Spirit of God hath made a* man a new nature, then he cannot live in sin, as the Apostle saith, 1 Joh. 3. 9. He that is born of God, sinneth not, &c. he is born of God, and it is against his nature to go on in sin; a man cannot go against his nature; 'tis true, a man for a little time may go against his nature, as Moses though his nature was mild and meek, yet he was transpor∣ted Page 136 very much, Hear ye rebels, and shall I bring water out of this rock? he was carried away in his passion, but he could not hold on in that strain, for it was against his nature; so if a man be o∣vercome with any other sin, yet when a man is renewed, as a Spring clears it self of the mud, so this new nature is so opposite and contrary to sin, that he cannot go on in sin.
Fourthly, If the Spirit of God hath wrought* this work in thee, then it is pleasant to thee to do the will of God; Look what a man is naturally in∣clined to, it is marvellous pleasant to him to fol∣low it: As for example, If a mans nature be gluttonous, how pleasing is it for him to satisfie his Appetite? And if a mans nature be given to Intemperance, how pleasing is Excess unto him? And if a mans nature be proud, how pleasing is it to be flattered, and spoken fair, to be reverenced and respected at every word? A man loves these things a-life, because they suit with his nature: So if a man have a new nature, and partakes of the divine nature, how pleasing will Prayer be? And how pleasing will the Word be? how pleasing will Counsels and Exhortations be? how pleasing to be corrected and reproved for sin? How sweet are thy words unto my mouth, saith the Prophet David, Psal. 119. 103. As our Saviour saith, Joh. 4. 34. It is my meat and drink to do his Will that sent me: So I have longed for thy Command∣ments (saith David) I have loved to know where∣in I might glorifie thee, and be serviceable to thee: Now when it is irksom for a man to obey, he can∣not abide strictness and preciseness, and he counts it a disgrace to him to deny himself in such a thing, Page 137 and he goeth to duty like a Bear to the Stake, and he hath no forwardnesse, it is a sign he hath no new nature.
Fifthly, If a man be born again, Grace will* get the upper hand; when a man meets with lusts, and concupiscence of Soul, though they may ex∣ceedingly bear a man down for a time, and trans∣port a man beyond himself, yet in the end Grace will have the victory and prevail, 1 Joh. 5. 4. He that is born of God, overcomes the world, all temp∣tations of the world, all pul-backs and draw∣backs, he that is born of God, he will have the mystery; so 1 Joh. 5. 18. the Apostle saith, The wicked one cannot touch a man that is born of God, that is, with a deadly touch, as he toucheth wicked men; he toucheth wicked men so, as he infects them, and poysons them, and carries them away.
Sixthly, He that is born of God, he is one that*loves the Children of God: If there be any Saint in the parish, any Child of God, there is his af∣fection and bowels most; I speak of spiritual af∣fections, for otherwise Grace doth not take a∣way nature, but set it up, having refin'd it. But I speak of spiritual love, if a man be born of God himself, he loves all others that are born of God, 1 Joh. 5. 1. Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God; and he that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten. If a man loves God that begets, he must needs love them that are begotten of God.
Lastly, If a man be born again, then a man*labours to do good, and to spread the Knowledge of Jesus Christ, to the glory of God: He loves to be communicating that he hath; he that hath this Page 138 Spirit, loves to be breathing upon others, and would fain seatter his sweet things up and down where he goeth, and would fain leave a sweet sa∣vour of himself wheresoever he comes; this is the nature of him that is born again and regene∣rate, to beget others: That man is unworthy to be born, by whom another is not born, as we say; when a man is born again, he labours to be∣get others to God, to be generative, and fruit∣ful, and abundant in doing good up and down, he labours to beget his Children, and Family, to God; and to draw his neighbours and acquain∣tance unto God: he would fain have people know Christ, and obey him, and submit unto him. Thus you see the signs whereby we may know, Whether we be born again, or no?
CHRISTIANS Ingrafting into CHRIST.
1 Cor. 12. 13.
WEE have spoken of Regeneration, which is a work of the Spirit, and the first implanting of a man into Christ: Now we come to speak of a new work of the Spirit, The implanting of a man into the Church, the Body of Christ, when the Spirit makes a man to be a Member of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ; Page 140 and this is done all under one; for being once in∣grafted in Christ, we come to be fellow-Members with all those that are Christs; and this we have here in the Text, By one Spirit we are all Baptized into one Body, &c. The Apostles meaning is this, All we that are the people of God, we are all one Body; and the efficient cause of this, is the Spi∣rit of God, it is by the Spirit that we are made thus, and the instrumental cause, though it be not here expressed, yet it is implyed, and that is Faith; and the means of confirming this Faith are the Two Sacraments: First, The Sacrament of Baptisme, we are baptized into the same Body. Secondly, The Sacrament of the Lords Supper, intimated in one part of it, namely, the Cup, which is put for the whole, and are made all to drink of the same Cup, we are all of one and the self same Body; as many as are in Christ, are en∣dued with the same Spirit; not one endued with one Spirit, and another endued with another Spirit, but by one Spirit we are Baptized into one Body; our Baptisme is one, and our Food one; it is altogether one, though our condition in the world be never so different, bond, or free, though our Countrey, and Nation, and Parish be never so various one to another, one of one, and ano∣ther of another, Jews and Gentiles, we are all baptized into one Body, and this is done by one and the self-same Spirit.
Now to speak of the putting of a man into the Body of Christ: We will shew you these Five things.
First, What this Body of Christ is.
Secondly, What this putting of a man into it is.
Page 141Thirdly, That this is done by the Spirit of God.
Fourthly, How the Spirit of God doth it: How a man is made part of the Body of Christ.
Fifthly, The Application of the Point.
For the First, What is this Body of Christ,* which the Spirit of God doth ingraft his people into? In a word, It is the invisible Church of God: which is a peculiar company of men and women, out of all Nations under heaven pre∣destinated to eternal life, gathered together by the Word, and made all one in Christ: This is the Body of Jesus Christ: so that here are Five Things that are to be opened.
First, It is the Church of God; as the Apostle* saith, Col. 1. 18. He is the Head of the Body, the Church: So that the Church is the Body of Christ, that same peculiar company of men and women, as Saint Peter calls them, You are a chosen generation, a peculiar people, a royal priest∣hood, 1 Pet. 2. 9. The Author to the Hebrews calls them, The Assembly of the first born▪ Heb. 12. 23. And Christ himself calls them A little flock, in regard of the multitude of other people that is in the world, and are not of this brother∣hood: Now I call this invisible, for though their persons, and courses, and manner of life be seen and known, and they may be known who they are, yet all of them were never known, nor e∣ver will be; there may be more then we can tell, and fewer then we think of; The foundation of God is sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth who are his, 2 Tim. 2. 19. The Lord had seven Page 142 thousand in Israel that had not bent their knees to Baal, when Eliah could see never a one: So that this is the First Thing; it is the invisible Church of God.
Secondly, It's such a company as is gathered out*of all Nations under heaven; As Saint John speaks, Rev. 7. 9. After this, behold and loe, I saw a great multitude of all Nations, & Countryes, and Tongues, &c. Though it be a little Flock in re∣spect of the Reprobate; yet it is a great multi∣tude considered in it self: and they stood before the throne, & before the Lambe, with long white Robes, and with Palms in their hands: This white Robe is the Righteousnesse of Christ Jesus imputed, which begets another Righteousnesse which is inherent in some measure; and the Palms in their hands, is the sign of Victory over Sin, Death, and Hell; and this is a great multitude▪ and it was out of all Cities, & Nations, and Kindreds of the world; and therefore our Saviour Christ, speaking of his own taking of this company home unto himself at the last day, see what he speaks, Matth. 24. 31. He shall send his Angels with a great sound of a trum∣pet, and they shall gather his Elect from the four Winds, from the one end of the Earth to the other: The Lord gathers here one, and there another, as a man would gather a Posie in a Garden, here a flower, and there a flower. This is Another Thing in the Body of Christ: it is a Company ga∣thered out of all Nations, and People, and Places, at one time, or other.
Thirdly, This same godly Company, are a* Company of Predestinated men unto Eternal life. For there are none but the chosen of God that Page 143 are the true Body of Christ; this is a company only of Elect men, and women, and babes; therefore they are called Elect, Rom. 8. 33. They are such a company as are written in the Lamb's Book of life, Rev. 21. 27. Therefore all those that seem to be of God, and go a great way with the people of God, and yet turn back, as Orphah from Naomi, Ruth 1. They were never of this number, 1 Joh. 2. 19. They were not of us, they went out from us; if they had been of us, they would have continued with us: So that it is only the E∣lect of God that are of this Company, that are the Members of this Body.
Fourthly, It is such a godly Company as is ga∣thered*by the Word of God: The Word of God gathers them together; they, as well as other people by nature, are of another Body, of another Corporation, as vile, and as wretched, and as miserable in themselves, if left to them∣selves; but God found them when he passed by them, and said to them, Live; they were defiled as well as others in their bloud, but the Lord tur∣ned their hearts by the Word, & doth beget them again thereby: This is that immortal seed where∣by God doth beget them again unto eternal life.
Fifthly, They are such a company as are made one, knit and combined together in Christ; though themselves are never so many, and never so remote and distant from one another, may be they never saw one another, nor ever heard of one another, one lives in one Country, ano∣ther in another▪ one in one parish, another in ano∣ther, and have little bodily communion, and are not known one to another; may be some of this Page 144 company are in heaven already, and some upon earth; yet they are all one in Christ, they all meet together in one heart and soul in Christ Je∣sus, they are all of one minde in him, as being all one body, as the Apostle speaks, 1 Cor. 12. 12. and they are all one seed, Gal. 3. 16. Now to A∣braham and his seed were the Promises made. He saith not, To seeds, as if they were many; but, To thy seed, as of one, that is Christ: that is, which is Christ, and all that are Christs; they are one seed, the seed of the woman; indeed all men come forth of the womans loins, the wicked as well as the godly, only here is the difference, The one is the seed of God, the other of the Serpent: Now Christ, and all that are Christs, are one and the self-same seed; though they are different in Place, different in Countrey, different in estate and con∣dition; some Jews, some Gentiles, some Bond, some Free, some Noble, some Mean; yet they are all one in Christ Jesus, as the Apostle saith, Gal. 3 28. There is neither Jew nor Grecian, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 'Tis true, you are different among your selves, one is a master, another a servant, one is a rich man, a∣nother a poor man, so there is a difference; but they are all one in Christ Jesus, they have all one and the self-same Faith, they have all one and the self-same Father, there is but one Lord, and one Spirit to quicken and unite them all: Thus we see what this Body of Christ is.
Now in the Second place, What it is to be put*into this Body; to be implanted into it, to be knit into this Body: I Answer, in a few words it is this:
Page 145It is a part of a mans Ingrafting into Christ by Faith, whereby a man is ingrafted into the Body of Christ, having one common life with all the rest of the Members for mutual consent, and profit, and care, and help, and sympathy, or fellow-feel∣ing.
First, It is a part of a mans ingrafting into*Christ; For the ingrafting of a man into Christ, and into the body of Christ, are not Two things, but God doth them by one and the self-same act, as you may see, Rom. 12. 5. We being many are one body in Christ, and every one Members one of another: that is, by being Members of Christ, and by being ingrafted into Christ, we come to have fellowship, and conjunction, and joyning one with another: it must needs be the same work, for the putting a man into Christ in whom are the other Members, that very act makes a man to have fellowship with Christ, together with all the other Members, as the Apostle speaks, Rom. 11. 17. Though some of the branches be broken off, and thou being a wilde olive tree, wast grafted in for them, and made partaker of the root: When a man is ingrafted into this Olive tree, he is in∣grafted with the rest of Christs Members, and he doth partake together with the other Members of the same root, and of the same Gifts, and Gra∣ces, God doth both under one: Therefore though I handle this after the other, it is because I cannot handle them both at once. Saint John saith, 1 Joh. 1. 7. If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another; So that if a man be in Christ, he hath communi∣on with the Body of Christ; if he hath fellow∣ship Page 146 with Christ, he hath fellowship with the Bo∣dy of Christ; so that you see the Spirit doth both by one and the self-same act, as the Apostle saith, Ephes. 2. 12. Ye were at that time without Christ, and aliants from the common-wealth of Israel: It is all one thing to say that a man is out of Christ, and an aliant from the common∣wealth of Israel, without that corporation, with∣out that Body, he is no Member of that Body; therefore it follows on the other side, If a man be in Christ, and ingrafted into Christ, then he is of this society, he is of the common-wealth of the Israel of God: So that this is the First Thing, It is a part of a mans ingrafting into Christ.
Secondly, This likewise is done by Faith:* When a man is ingrafted into Christ, he is in∣grafted into him by Faith: As the Apostle saith, Rom. 11. 23. And they also, if they abide not in un∣belief, shall be grafted in, for God is able to graft them: As who should say, If ever they have Faith, they are ingrafted into Christ; it is Faith that ingrafts a man into Christ, and the same Faith that makes a man to be of the Body of Christ, that puts a man into the number of the Members of Christ; as Paul saith, To Titus my Son in the common Faith, Tit. 1. 4. that is, it is such a Faith as doth not only ingraft this man in∣to Christ, but the very self-same Faith, another man having it, it doth ingraft him into the Body of Christ too: So that it is a common Faith, whereby one is ingrafted into the Body of Christ as well as another, as Act. 2. 44. They were all of one minde, and one heart, they all hung toge∣ther as one body, they imparted their gifts, and the Page 147 things they had, even to their very Lands and Goods, one to another; here was a sweet com∣munion: but then, what was the reason of this? What was the Instrument that wrought this? It was Faith; for the text saith, they were believers, or else they could not have done it: And there∣fore as we are said to come to Christ, so to the Body of Christ, as Heb. 12. 22. But ye are come to Mount Zion, to the City of the living God, the celestial Jerusalem, and to the company of in∣numerable Angels; and to the congregation of the first born, which are written in heaven. You are come, he speaks of a spiritual coming by Faith: So that this putting into the Body of Christ, is by Faith.
Then in the Third place, It makes a man have*a common life with all the rest of the Members of Jesus Christ: As you may see, Col. 3. 4. When Christ which is our life shall appear, ye also shall appear with him in glory. Christ who is our life; We that are the people of God, Christ is our life, we have one and the self-same life, all one and the self-same minde in the wayes of God; As it is said, Act. 4. 32. The multitude of them that be∣lieved were of one heart and one soul; all the peo∣ple of God in the whole world would quickly be acquainted if they were brought together, for they are all of one and the self-same disposition and mind; As our Saviour speaks to his Father, Joh. 17. 21. That they all may be one, as thou art in me, and I in thee, so that all they may be one in us: As the Three Persons in the blessed Trinity are three distinct Persons, and yet are all one; so in some sense, the Members of the Body of Christ, Page 148 though they be of several callings and conditions in the world, yet they are all one, that they may be all one as we are one, vers. 21. They all live by the same rule, and walk by the same rule, they are all guided by the same Word, and swayed by the same Commandment, they all walk in one Way, they all Pray by one and the self-same Spirit, they have a life that is common: look as one lives so lives another; look as one repents, so another re∣pents; look as one believes, so another believes; and look as one apprehends of God, and comes before him with affection, and fear, and trem∣bling, so doth another; though they never saw one another, yet they all meet in the same life, for they have the same root of life, the same cause of life.
In the Fourth place, It makes a man to be of one*consent with all the people of God every where; As you may see, Zeph. 3. 9. For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the Name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent. The Lord helps them all to Pray after one pure language, and gives them all one pure consent in the Service of God (though it is in different degrees indeed, one ariseth to an higher pitch than another) therefore the Apostle speaks, 1 Cor. 1. 10. Now I beseech you brethren, by the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that ye speak all the same things, that there be no divisions among you: As who should say, All the Members of Christ are so, I beseech you endeavour to have this sign of being Members of Christ, be all joyn∣ed together in the same mind; it is true, that this union, and consent, and agreement, and oneness Page 149 of heart and mind (as I may call it) is very im∣perfect, but in some it is more imperfect then it is in other; some have attained to a further degree, there is a great deal of unlikeness of affections, a great deal of unlikeness in Prayer, a great deal of unlikeness in Obedience, there is a great deal of jarrings now and then through weakness; but as the Apostle saith, As far as we have attained, let us be thus minded, Phil. 3. 15, 16. Let us walk by the same rule, & mind the same things; the Children of God throughout the whole world, they are of one mind, as far as they have attained, though in Faith, in Repentance, in new Obedience they differ gra∣dually in their attainments, yet they all agree in this consent of judgment, That sin must be hated, that a man must live in no sin, that a man must yield Obedience to all Gods commandments, that a man must deny himself in all things, that in all things God must be glorified; they all agree that we are Members one of another, and that we must love one another, and forgive one another, as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven us; they all agree in this, They are all of one mind: and as one is mortified, so is the other; and as one is meek and gentle, so is the other: It is truè indeed, one hath attained further then another; but whereunto they have attained, they are all alike minded: Now whereunto we have not attained, God will reveal it in his good time unto us, saith the Apostle: May be one seeth such a thing is a duty, which another doth not, yet all see that it is their duty to fear God, and obey him in all their wayes, and they all set themselves to hate and op∣pose all manner of known sins: As far asPage 150they have attained, they are all of one minde.
Fifthly, All this is for mutual profit, and help,*and care, and sympathy, as you may see deli∣vered by the Apostle, 1 Cor. 12. That it must be for mutual profit, see the seventh vers. The ma∣nifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal: that is, when the Spirit of God doth manifest himself in one man one way, and in another man another way; he gives one man (may be) the gift of Teaching, to another man the gift of knowledge; some have excellent gifts in one kind, some in another (but all have the gifts of new Obedience.) Now look whatsoever gifts they are, whensoever the Spirit doth manifest it self to any Member of the Body of Christ, it is to be helpful and useful to others, so that the Members of Christ need one another, that you may see, vers. 21, 22. The eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee: nor the head to the foot, I have no need of thee, &c. We cannot be without the poorest, and vilest, and contemptiblest Mem∣ber in the Body; nay, the very life of the Body may depend upon the vilest Members.
So again, That they are to care for one another; That you may see in the 25. verse, Lest there should be any division in the Body, but that the Members should have the same care one for another. You see how it is in the Body of a man, the head hath care of the feet, it guides the feet, and the foot hath care of the head, to hold it up, and car∣ry it up and down, and the hand is useful for the relieving of any part, they have all the same care one of another, so it is in the Body of Christ. And for a Sympathy, see it in the 26. verse, WhereforePage 151if one Member suffer, all suffer with it; and if one Member rejoyce, all rejoyce with it; all have a fellow-feeling of one anothers necessities and comforts. Therefore when the Spirit of God doth implant a man into the Body of Christ, it is all one with the implanting a man into Christ, he doth give him a common life, one minde and heart, he doth give them all natural help, and na∣tural care one of another, for they have need one of another.
In the Third place we must shew, That the Spi∣rit*doth this, And why he doth it.
First, That it is the Spirit that unites and tyeth all these Members together; This makes them hang together; therefore it is called, the unity of the Spirit, Eph. 4. 3. He exhorts the Ephesians that were the Members of Christ to keep the unity of the Spirit; because as the Members of Christ are united to Christ, so they are united mutually by the Spirit; Therefore take heed (saith the A∣postle) to keep the unity of the Spirit, that you may be of one mind, and one heart: Therefore the Apostle speaking of the Body of Christ, he com∣pares it to a building; A building consists of di∣vers bricks, and stones, and timber, which being joyned together, make up an house: So the Mem∣bers of Christ being joyned together, make up an house for God to dwell in: But who makes this? The text saith, the Spirit of God, Eph. 2. 22. The Spirit of God makes up this blessed building, all the elect of God, all the faithful, all the heirs of Grace in the world, are as an house or body. though there be never so many parts in it, yet they make all but one body or house, so it is here; Page 152 Now the Spirit unites these, and layes them arti∣ficially together, so that they may prop one ano∣ther. Ezek. 11. 19. The Lord there speaking of his Elect, I will give them (saith he) one heart, and make them of one mind; How will he do it? I will put a new Spirit within them; And so he makes them to be of one and the self-same mind.
Now the Reason, Why the Spirit of God doth*do this, is,
First, Because none else besides the Spirit is able to do it: For by nature we are wofully and fear∣fully different from the Body of Christ, we are of another nature, of another kind, of another life; nay, we are contrary to it: all the Mem∣bers of Christ they are as young sucking chil∣dren; but wicked men, and all men by nature are Lions, and Leopards, and Bears, and Tigers, as the Prophet speaks, Isa. 11. 6▪ 7. Now the Prophet there speaking how Christ means to effect it, is to unite these together, to make the Lion and the Lamb to have communion together, to make the Bear and the Kid to lye down together: Mark how he sheweth how Christ will do it, in the second verse of the same Chapter, the text saith, The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him; he speaks of Christ; that is, whereas this requires a great deal of power to do this, to make a man to be clean contrary to his nature; whenas a mans nature is carnal, and wicked, and earthly, to make him of the Body of Christ; therefore saith the text, The Spirit of Might shall be upon him, &c. There is a great deal of Might required to turn their dispositions: it is a mighty thing to Page 153 change a man that is a drunkard, a proud person, a wicked wretch; to turn this man topsie-turvy, to make him mind other things, to make him clean another man; this requires infinite wisdom: Therefore the Spirit of Wisdom shall rest upon him to do it; and the Spirit of Knowledge, and the Spirit of the Fear of the Lord; that is, the Lord Jesus shall put in the Spirit of Fear into mens hearts, and this will turn them, this will alter mens minds, and conversations.
Secondly, There is none so fit as the Spirit of*God to do it: For this Body of Christ, it is a company of Sons and Daughters that God hath up and down in the world, that are able to cry, Abba Father: now who is so fit to do this as the Spirit of the Son? As the Apostle saith, That he might redeem them that were under the Law, that they might receive the Adoption of Sons, Gal. 4. 5.
Fourthly, How the Spirit of God doth this; and* that is Two wayes, as the Scripture reveals to us.
The One is, By being one and the same Spirit in*all the Members of Christ: He comes into them, and dwells in them as one and the self-same Spirit, and so makes up this union: The same Spirit that was in Paul, was in Peter; and so all the rest of the Members of Christ one and the self-same Spi∣rit is in them, 1 Cor. 3. 16. Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit dwelleth in you? Therefore look what Spirit of Faith one man hath, another comes to have the same Spirit of Faith; as the Apostle speaks, 2 Cor. 4. 13. We having the same Spirit of Faith with them, asPage 154it is written, I believe, and therefore I speak; so we believe, and therefore we speak.
Secondly, The Spirit doth this by uniting and*tying a knot between these Members: He doth unite them, and make them hang together in one; he makes them to be of one heart, and of one soul by knitting and combining of their hearts al∣together: Therefore this fellowship is called the fellowship of the Spirit, Phil. 2. 1. Though Paul were far off from Phillippi, yet he could adjure the Phillippians by the fellowship of the Spirit. But you will say, How can this be? Can the people of God have communion and fellowship one with another when they are so far asunder one from another, and may be never saw one another, may be never heard one of another? how can this be? I say, Very well: for the Spirit of God hath a long arm, and is able to make the people of God shake hands, though they be a thousand miles sunder; it is the Spirit that tyeth this knot, and unites them together: As Paul speaks, Col. 2. 5. Though I be absent in the Flesh, yet I am present with you in the Spirit; and methinks I am in your company and meetings; when you meet together; I see you in my mind methinks, and I joy in your order: The Spirit makes the communion between the people of God; and hence it is that they can love one another, because all the Members are ty∣ed together by one knot; and they come to help one another, and do any thing one for another; even by the very love of the Spirit which they have one towards another, Rom. 15. 30. The A∣postle had some need of the good Romans to help him: Now see how he doth intreat help from Page 155 them: he desires them by the love of the Spirit, to pray heartily for him: he knew that the love of the Spirit would be a great motive to them: you know you and I are joyned together by the same Spirit, for the love of the Spirit pray for me. Thus we see,
First, What this Body of Christ is.
Secondly, What the putting a man into this Body is.
Thirdly, The Reasons why.
Fourthly, How the Spirit doth it.*
Now I come to the Ʋses.
And First, Is it so that the Spirit of God doth unite all the Saints of God together in one Body? Then here we may see the reason of the difference of men in the world: The difference of our Congre∣gations; some companies that hang together are of one mind, another of another mind; the rea∣son is, they have a different Spirit; but all the Saints of God have the Spirit of God which makes them hang together; and the wicked, they have another Spirit.
Secondly, Doth the Spirit of God joyn all the* Saints of God together in one Body? Then that which God hath joyned together, let no man put a∣sunder. It is spoken in regard of man and wife; if it be such a horrible thing to part man and wife, then what a horrible thing is it to part Saint and Saint that are joyned together by the Spirit of God; this blessed communion of the Spirit, what a fearful thing is it for a man to root it out? When there shall be heart-burnings and strivings between those that are the children of God, what a fearful thing is this? Is the number of those Page 156 that fear God so great, that we can spare any? Or are the Graces of Gods Spirit Wilderness Gra∣ces, that can walk alone and need no help from, or can do no good to others? Therefore the Apostle prayeth God in the behalf of the Corinthians, That the Members of Christ may be of one minde, and live in peace, 2 Cor. 13. 11.
Thirdly, Here we may see how to try our ac∣quaintance,*and whether the company we joyn our selves unto, be good or no: If our company be right, the Spirit of God tyeth the knot; there∣fore the Apostle will tell you, whether you have the right communion and fellowship, or no; try the spirits, whether they be of God or no, saith he, If the fellowship we have one with another be not of God, if the Spirit of God do not knit us toge∣ther, our fellowship is not right. 1 Joh. 1. 3. there is an excellent place, That they may have fellow∣ship with us (saith he) and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ: As who should say, We would fain have you have fellowship with us; and I tell you what kind of fellowship you must have, if you be acquainted with us, you must have fellowship with the father, and with the Lord Jesus Christ, for our fellow∣ship is with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ: so that we may see, whether our Company be right or no, by this.
The Last Ʋse is this, Is it so that the Spirit of* God joyns all the Saints of God together in one Body? Then we should have a fellow-feeling with all the Members of Christ: Do not say thou art a Member of the Church of England, and not of France, or Germany; do not say thou art a Mem∣ber Page 157 of this Parish, but not of another; do not say so, for if thou art a Member of Christ, there is one Body, and one Spirit, Eph. 4. 4. If there be one Body, there must be one Spirit; and therefore we should have a fellow-feeling.*
But how shall we have a fellow-feeling with the Members of Christ?
I say, First, We must inform our selves as much as we can concerning one another; As when the Ark of God was among the Philistims, old Eli, though he gave way too far to his Sons wicked∣nesse, yet was he very careful of the Ark and people of God; and therefore (1 Sam. 4. 13, 14.) he went out and sate in the high-way, that so he might hear, in the first place, what was the news; and you know how his heart trembled when he heard that the Ark of God was taken: So it was with David, when any came out of the Camp of Israel, he saith to them, What is done I pray thee? 2 Sam. 1. 4. So we should enquire concerning one another.
Secondly, We should visit our fellow-members:* As it is said of Moses. though he were a great Courtier in Pharaoh's Court, yet he went out to look upon his Brethrens burthens, Exod. 2. 11. he would be ever and anon steping out to see how his brethren fared, and how did this affect his heart with their trouble?
Thirdly, We should lay to heart their Afflicti∣ons:* It is a strange thing how the people of God in all ages, have been affected with the Afflicti∣ons of the Church; nay, though they have not seen it, but only fore-saw what would be after∣wards; as Elisha wept when he fore-saw what Page 158 cruelty Hazael would use towards the People of Israel, 2 King. 8. 11, 12. So Daniel, Dan. 8. 27. when God revealed the Afflictions of the Church to him two hundred years before it should come to pass, yet when he heard of the Affliction that should fall out, the text saith, that Daniel fainted; and how can we think that the Spirit of Christ hath united us into one Body, when we have not this disposition in our souls?
OF THE SABBATH.
Exod. 20. 8.
THAT which I intend to speak concerning the Sabbath at this time, I will cast into these Pro∣positions:
The First is this, That there*must be some set time for the Worship and immediate Service of God.
Now the Reason why there must be some set time for Gods immediate Worship, is,
First, Because all Actions cannot be done at* once, but by succession; first one, and then ano∣ther: for a man to perform the duties of Gods Worship in an instant, and to get down the knees of body and soul before his Maker in an instant, this cannot be. Eccles. 3. 1. There is an appointedPage 152〈1 page duplicate〉Page 153〈1 page duplicate〉Page 154〈1 page duplicate〉Page 155〈1 page duplicate〉Page 156〈1 page duplicate〉Page 157〈1 page duplicate〉Page 158〈1 page duplicate〉Page 159〈1 page duplicate〉Page 160time for every Action under the Sun: Then if there be a time for all actions, surely there must be a time for the Worship of God.
Secondly, There must be a set time; Because* such is our dulness in the duties of Gods Wor∣ship, that we had need to have times set apart for Gods Worship; there is a great deal of ado re∣quired to fix a mans Thoughts upon heaven, to have a fixed apprehension of the Presence of God, these do not only require time, but a great deal of time.
Secondly, The Second Proposition is this, That*as there must be some time for Gods immediate Worship, and Service▪ so there must be some set time every day, all the dayes of our lives; there must be some defined and determinate time for Worship of God every day, at the least morning and evening. David, though he were employed in great affairs, yet he had three times a day to glorifie God in, in his holy Ordinances; Three times in the day will I praise thee, Psal. 55. 17.
The Reason of this is, Because men live like* Beasts without daily invocation upon God, 2 Chron. 13. 10, 11. Abijah there speaking against Jeroboam the King of Israel, though himself had no great goodness in him, he saith, The Lord is our God, and we offer sacrifices, and burn sweet incense every day; Every day they did it; as who should say, it were a sign that God were not amongst us, if we did not this: he takes it as a principle written in the conscience, though he were a natural man, yet he doth reason thus, that where there is not every day some time for Gods Worship, God is not amongst them.
Page 161Another Reason is, Because every morning* God reneweth his Mercies, and every evening they are continued to us, as the Church saith in the Lamentations ch. 3. 23. Every morning his mercies are renewed to us, and in the evening his compas∣sions fail not; therefore every morning we are to set our selves before God, to ask of him the for∣givenesse of our sins; every morning and evening we are to do this. Psal. 92. 1, 2. David saith, It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, to sing praises to thy Name, O thou most High; To sh•w forth thy loving kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night.
And then again God is the Alpha, and Omega,* he is the beginning, and the ending of all things, and of all actions we do; God should therefore have the beginning and ending of every day, that the Worship of God may have the start of all other actions; it is necessary it should be so, when a man first awakes in the morning, God should be the first thought that should come into his mind; As David saith, Psal. 5. 3. My voice will I lift up unto thee in the morning; as soon as ever he awakes in the morning his heart is lifted up to God: so it is good for a man to make the first part of the day holy, that the rest of the day may be thereafter: and so as we are to begin the day with the solemn Worship of God, so we are to end it in the evening, that we may reckon up all our accounts, and make even with God; as the Apostle saith, Ephes 4. 26. Let not the Sun go down upon your wrath: so let not the Sun go down upon a dead heart, upon a carnal heart, upon a worldly heart; but as the Sun goeth down upon Page 162 our bodies, so let the Sun of Righteousness set upon our hearts, that we may lye down in peace, having all our reckoning made even, and all scores cancelled.
The Third Proposition is this, As there must* be some time for Gods immediate Service, and there must be every day some set time, at least morning and evening, so likewise every whole day, all the dayes of our lives, should be in some manner a Sabbath day to the Lord, we should be holy every day; The Apostle finds fault, Gal. 4. 10 That they observed times, and seasons, and dayes, and months, and years; we must not be earthly∣minded one day, and heavenly-minded ano∣ther; but we must be every day holy to the Lord.
The First Reason is▪ The Covenant which God* hath made with us doth require it: that is the end why God saves a man from his sins, and brings him into the kingom of Christ, he takes a solemn Oath from him, That being delivered from the hands of his enemies, he shall serve him without*fear, in holiness and righteousness all the dayes of his life: Every day must be a Sabbath day, when∣soever a man gives himself up to God, there is an Oath hangs upon him, and he breaks this Oath, if he set not upon it with all his might, that e∣very day may be a Sabbath day; he is to be care∣ful to live godly, and religiously in all places, and at all times, and in every action he puts his hand unto; a man is not only to make conscience on the seventh day, but every day of his life.
The Second Reason is, Because not to make* every day an holy day, is the brand of an Hypo∣crite, Page 163 it is hypocrisie, Job. 27. 10. Will he al∣wayes call upon God? To be holy sometimes, and not at another time, is the trick of an hypocrite; will he alwayes call upon God, will that man al∣wayes obey God and worship him, will he al∣wayes set himself to keep close with God? No, an hypocrite will not do so▪ You may know an hypocrite, he hath his fits, and his pangs, and his moods; but a godly man, a sincere hearted man, is one that doth compose himself to keep a con∣stant course in Gods worship; as Act. 24. 16. There saith Paul, Herein do I exercise my self to keep a good conscience alwayes, both towards God and towards man: And as it was the practise of Paul, so of all the Elect people of God, of all sincere Christians in the world, Act. 26. 7. all the Elect of God, all the beloved of God, they did instantly serve God day and night.
Thirdly, Because blessednesse doth consist in* this, In keeping every day in some kind as a Sab∣bath day, as the Holy Ghost doth pronounce him blessed, that feareth the Lord alwayes, Prov. 28. 14. and that doth righteousness at all times, Psa. 106. 3. It is true, the Servants of God are sometimes out of the way, they have their swervings and fail∣ings, but their resolution is to keep a constant course in Gods Worship, and they do strive to humble themselves under the hand of God for their failings, and to be the more wary because of them.
Lastly, This is the Sum and Scope of all the* Law of Righteousness; it is the very drift and end of all the Ten Commandements, the Lord hath set down in the Decalogue his whole Will and Page 164 Pleasure, what we are to do all the dayes of our lives, this day, and that day, as long as we live; and there is no set time, but that we should al∣wayes obey it; and this is the practise of the god∣ly, alwayes to keep his Commandments, as Da∣vid, Psal. 16. 8. He set the Lord alwayes before him; that is, every day he did make it an holy day, that he might walk as in Gods presence, and live as in Gods Courts, that he might do all his worldly businesse as in the presence of God.
The Fourth Proposition is this, As there must* be a set time every day, and we are to keep every day as a Sabbath day in some sense, so there must be a particular special day, set apart for Gods im∣mediate Worship and Service: This is the next Proposition I will prove unto you; for though e∣very day is to be a Sabbath day, yet we have par∣ticular callings, and we have businesse in the world to employ our selves about, so that we cannot be every day hearing of the Word, and employing our selves in Prayer and spiritual exercises, though every day we are to keep it holy, yet we cannot be vacant wholly and totally every day; Now therefore I say, That there is a set day that the Lord hath called for to be devoted unto him; the very School-men themselves do acknowledge this, and the very Heathen have found it out, They have set a day apart for the Service of their Gods, which they call their holy day, wherein they lay aside all other businesse, and set them∣selves a part to honor and worship their Images and Idols, according to their manner. Now I will make this good by many Arguments, that God Page 165 will have a set day, besides the every day Sabbath, he will have a set particular Sabbath for his Wor∣ship and Service.
The First Reason is, Because he will have a little* emblem and picture of the kingdom of heaven a∣mong his Saints and Children in this▪ life; in the kingdom of heaven there is no buying and selling, no eating and drinking, no worldly businesse, there is nothing but praysing and glorifying of God, and speaking of God, and singing of Ha∣lelujah unto his holy Name; there is nothing but enjoying communion with the Lord, and feeding upon him continually, there is nothing but this in the kingdom of heaven; Now God will have a little picture of this among his Saints here upon earth: You know there remains a rest for the peo∣ple of God, Heb. 4. 9. It is an express place, the word in the Original is, There remains a Sabbath for the people of God. As who should say, There is a glorious Sabbath that all the Elect of God shall have, and they are preserved for it, and that is reserved for them, and they shall enter into it, when this body of death is laid down, and they shall enjoy God face to face, to all eternity, they shall behold him as he is, and have communion with him; now the Lord will have a little picture of this here in this life; we cannot have it altoge∣ther in this life, for we have mortal bodies, that must be fed, and cloathed, and stand in need of the creature; for mans sin is not yet purged away, but there is a great deal of rubbish still left, there∣fore this cannot be complete here: but yet God will have a little picture ot this, even in this life, and that is the Sabbath day, wherein they are to Page 166 lay aside all the works of their ordinary callings, and rest from all servil labours, this is Gods day, and we must now call upon him, and hear what he saith, and wholly employ, and occupy our selves about him, as neer as we possibly can; but now, this we cannot do every day, for we have Chil∣dren to look after, and Families to provide for, and there be an hundred occasions to call a man a∣way; it may be a man thinks to go into his Clo∣set, and seek God in private, and one occasion or other calls him aside, that he cannot go on; but the Lord will have a little emblem and expression of the kingdom of heaven upon the Sabbath day: therefore the Apostle saith, It remains for us, scil. in the life to come.
The Second Reason, why the Lord will have a* set day for his Worship and Service besides the e∣very day Sabbath, is because the honour of God doth so require, it doth require that there should be a solemn day for Gods Service; as Kings, though their subjects are to obey them every day, and keep their Laws every day, and if a subject transgress the Laws at any time, he is in danger of the displeasure of the King▪ but he will have one day of solemnity to his Majesty: So God Al∣mighty, though every day we are to tremble be∣fore him, and stand in aw of his Word, and take heed we do not err from his Commandments, yet he will have one solemn day for the honour of his Name, he will have a solemn day, wherein his people shall have nothing else to do, but to set themselves apart for his Worship; therefore this set day is called, The honourable of the Lord, Isa. 58 13. that is, we must count the Sabbath day an Page 167 honourable day, a day of honour, wherein Gods Servants should from morning to evening fall down before him, and confess that great is the Lord God: We should wholly dedicate it unto him, seeking of him in Publick and in Private, that we may store up holy affections for all the week following.
Thirdly, Because God sometimes calls for an* extraordinary day, and an extraordinary day hath ever relation to an ordinary; if I say this is my extraordinary food and diet, I imply that I have ordinary diet: so if the Scripture tells us that God calls for extraordinary dayes, it is an evident Argument, that there be ordinary dayes which he calls for.
Now that God calls for extraordinary dayes, it is plain.
1. First, He calls for extraordinary dayes of re∣joycing; when God compasseth us about with songs of Deliverance, and works wonderful Mer∣cies for us, we ought to set a part a day for re∣joycing, and delighting in his goodness and fa∣vour towards us, and this day is to be an holy day, as Nehemiah 8. 9. This day is holy unto the Lord your God, mourn not, nor weep; So that when we are to rejoyce towards God for any spiritual favour towards us, we ought to keep this day an holy day, we ought to employ the hours of the day in labouring to affect our hearts with his kind∣nesse, and labouring to make his goodness to have impression upon us, that we may with cheerful∣ness run over all our dayes afterwards, that we may adhere unto him the better all our life time.
Page 1682. Secondly, As he calls for extraordinary dayes of rejoycing, so he calls for extraordinary dayes of Fasting and Humiliation, and that in Four Cases.
1. First, When we fear some heavie judge∣ment to come upon us, or else when some judge∣ment is already upon us: may be some heavie judgement is upon us, or else we fear it to come upon us, and now we are to set an extraordinary day apart to seek the Lord; as 2 Chron. 20. Je∣hosaphat proclaimed a Fast, when the Land was in danger: Suppose the Lord should take away the Gospel, and the feet of those that bring glad tydings should be turned from us, then should we Fast in those dayes, we should grieve before God, and bewail the loss of his Mercies and Favours; that we may have his Goodnesse to quicken us, and keep us, and uphold us in the want of them.
2. Secondly, In case that we want some Mer∣cy that we cannot well be without, in such a case as this, if ordinary seeking will not do the deed, we ought to set apart an extraordinary time to prevail with God; as Ezra, he was in danger of the enemy, and if he should go to Jerusalem, the enemy would set upon him; now, thought he, if I should go to the King, though he were very great with the King of Persia, at that time, yet thought he, if I should go to the King for a Band of Souldiers, he would think our God were a weak God; I have told him what a strong God we have, and that he is ready to help all those that trust in him; now if I should go to him for a Band of Souldiers, he might think that our God Page 169 were not able to deliver us, and it would be a great dishonour to God; therefore he set a day a part for a Fast, and laboured to get aid and help from heaven, Ezra 8. 21. So when a Child of God is exceedingly afflicted with any crosse or temptation, and he shall wonderfully dishonour God, and cast a snare upon them that fear his Name, in this case he is bound to seek God extra∣ordinarily, and if the ordinary means that God hath appointed will not prevail, he is to set a part a Fast to seek him extraordinari∣ly.
3. Thirdly, If we be assaulted from hell, and Satan, and our own hearts, with strong temptati∣ons, then we are to seek God extraordinarily, as it was with Paul, when the Messenger of Satan was sent to buffet him, when he lay under some heavy temptation, either unto Pride, or Lust, or Uncleannesse, some prick in the flesh, that the Lord sent upon him, and let him be encountered withal; then Paul sought God in a solemn man∣ner, more then ever he did at other times, 2 Cor. 12. 8. For this I besought God thrice.
4. Fourthly, In case a man is to do some no∣table service, he is to enter into some new Cal∣ling; or if the Lord doth put him upon some new service, that doth require some more then ordi∣nary help, now a man is to seek God by Fasting and Prayer, as you may see it was with Barnabas and Paul when they entred into the Ministery, Acts 13. 3. Now the reason why I name these things is to shew you, that sometimes God will have an extraordinary set day for his immediate worship and service, when we are to lay aside all Page 170 other businesse, and set our selves apart, to call upon his Name, and seek him. The thing I ga∣ther from hence is this, If there be an extraordi∣nary set day, then there must be an ordinary set day for Gods immediate Service.
Another Argument is taken from the Equity of* it, and that stands Two wayes:
1. First, It is very equal when as we have six dayes to provide for our selves, and for the main∣tenance of our bodies, God gives us divers dayes for that; now Equity doth require that we should give one day to him, we having several dayes; it is equity that he should have at least one for him∣self: Therefore this doth aggravate our sins ex∣ceedingly, if we give not this day to God. Did not this aggravate the sin of Adam, in eating of the forbidden fruit? in that God gave him liberty to eat freely of all other trees in the garden, and for bad him only the eating of that one? Now what excuse could Adam have for not abstaining from that one? So here, God having given us divers dayes for the good of our bodies, and for means and maintenance of the things of this life; equity requires, that we should not touch Gods day, nor set our foot upon it, nor turn our eyes away from it, we ought to remember it; as Jo∣seph said in regard of his Mistris, when she en∣ticed him to folly; mark how he answers the temptation, My Master hath put all things into my hands that are in the house, he hath with-held nothing from me but only thee his Wife, and that is equal, and reasonable, how therefore shall I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? Gen. 3. 9. So should we say, when we are tempted to break Page 171 the Lords day, we should say, The Lord hath not imposed any day besides, the Lord hath given us all the six dayes for our use, how therefore shall I do this great wickednesse, and sin against God with worldly thoughts, and speeches, and actions upon that day? It stands with very good equity that it should be so.
2. Secondly, It stands with equity, in regard of our Souls; if our bodies which are the worser part, have several dayes for their use, then how much more should the soul have one day, which is a thousand times more worth then the body? You know what Christ saith, What will it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Matth. 16 26. Our souls are more worth then our bodies, and we have more need to seek out for Holinesse and Grace for them, and to be well provided for in regard of them, then for any thing in this present world; if we want meat, we can but starve; if we want cloaths, we can but famish; if we want outward things, we can but temporally perish; but if we want Grace and the Favour of God, we perish for ever. Now if there be six dayes allowed for the good of our bodies, how much more should we be willing to have one day for the good of our souls, specially considering what need we have thereof? This Ar∣gument our Saviour Christ useth to prove the Sabbath, Mark 2. 27. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath: The Sabbath was made for man, as meat was made for the bo∣dy; and a man cannot be without food, no more can the soul be without the Sabbath; so that we see, there must be a solemn day Page 172 set a part for Gods Worship and Service.
The Fifth Proposition is this, That as there* must be a set day for Gods Worship and Service, so this day must be one of seven, not one of eight, or nine, or five, or four, but one of seven; and this, though it be not naturally moral, yet it is positively moral, though it be not natural, written in the heart of man, as a man: if he had no teach∣ing, his conscience would find out that he should not be idle, and steal, and commit murther; the Conscience will grope out these Ordinances and Statutes of God; and the Conscience will find out that there must be a set day for Gods Worship and Service; the light of nature will find out that, but that it must be one day of seven, that it can∣not find out; but I say, that it is the positive law of God, that it must be one of seven.
Now, Because it is not written in the heart of* man, but in the Commandment of God positive∣ly delivered to us, and required of us; I can give no other Reason for it, but only the reason taken out of the Scripture; there can be no rea∣son taken from the judgment of man, as other Lawes, the very law of Reason will enforce them; but there can be no other reason for this, but only out of the Word of God. The Lord hath com∣manded, six dayes thou shalt labour, and being his Will, it must be performed; for God might re∣quire six dayes for himself, and leave us but one day; God might have ordained it so; but God intending we should live by the sweat of our brows the Lord was pleased to allow us six dayes; now he giving us six dayes, doth reserve unto himself one of seven.
Page 173Secondly, Another Reason is this, As the Lord* hath commanded this seventh day, so he saith it is his day, The seventh day, is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; Now then if the seventh day be the Sabbath of the Lord our God, then we must not divert any of the hours, or any part of the day away; when our minds run into the world, we must curbe them, and remember that the se∣venth day is the Sabbath of the Lord our God.
Thirdly, Another Reason is, That our Cattel,* and Servants, and Children, may rest as well as our selves, they are to labour six dayes, and one of seven they are to rest.
Another Reason is, Because he hath sanctified* it; therefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it. Now then, if the Lord hath sancti∣fied the seventh day, and appointed it, if he hath set it a part for that purpose, for spiritual em∣ployments, and not to be filled up with any thing else, we are guilty of Sacriledge, if we do not give him this, as Levit. 27. 28. the Lord saith, Whatsoever is devoted unto the Lord, that is most holy unto him; now God saith, he hath devoted the seventh day to himself, therefore we are to keep it holy: Nebuchadnezzar, a very heathen, when he knew that the Vessels came out of the Temple of the Lord, he would not employ them to a common use, Dan. 1. 2. He put them into the house of his god; which was the holiest place he had.
Fifthly, This is necessary, because we are apt* to be worldly, and carnal, and non-resident from Prayer, and from the Word, and serious humbling Page 166〈1 page duplicate〉Page 167〈1 page duplicate〉Page 168〈1 page duplicate〉Page 169〈1 page duplicate〉Page 170〈1 page duplicate〉Page 171〈1 page duplicate〉Page 172〈1 page duplicate〉Page 173〈1 page duplicate〉Page 174 of our selves before God, if we be never so little taken off; how suddenly do our minds cleave un∣to the world, and grow vain, and unfit, and di∣stempered? Now if God should not once in se∣ven dayes, have a day to take us off from the world; as six dayes are employed in worldly af∣fairs, so if there were not a seventh day to take us off, there would be no hoe with us; therefore there must be a whole day to accustom us, and habituate us to the Service of God, otherwise we should drown our selves in the world.
The Sixth Proposition is this, That as it must be* one of seven, so it is not indifferent which of the seven dayes we keep holy, but it must be that day whereupon God rested, therefore it hath the name of a Sabbath; Sabbath is nothing but rest: The reason of the name is Two-fold, First, Be∣cause God rested upon that day; And Secondly, Because we are to rest upon that day.
The Seventh Proposition is this, That all that* is in the fourth Commandment, is not essential to the Commandment, the fourth Commandment delivers only these Two things, First, That God will have a seventh day; Secondly, That this se∣venth day is to be the day of Gods rest: This is the whole meaning of the fourth Commandment: now all other particulars in the fourth Command∣ment, are not essential to the fourth Command∣ment; as that God made Heaven and Earth in six dayes, and rested the seventh day, &c. It is not essential to the fourth Commandment, but be∣cause at that time when God delivered the Deca∣logue, there was no greater work then the Crea∣tion; and the rest from that work, was the rest Page 175 from the greatest work in the world; therefore it was kept upon the last day of the week, upon which God rested from the Creation: Now the meaning of the fourth Commandment, is in the eighth Verse; all the other particulars, are but Commentaries to open it to the Jewes, Remem∣ber the Sabbath day to keep it holy; this is the fourth Commandment: The Sabbath, that is, the day that God rested on and the day that we are to rest upon: this is the holy day that is devoted to the Lord; now it was kept upon the last day of the week, because God created heaven and earth, and rested upon that day; and the Creation of heaven and earth was the greatest work that God then had done.
But then you will say, Why doth the Command∣ment*say, That in six dayes God created Heaven and Earth, and rested the seventh day?
I Answer, It is no strange thing, to see some* things in the Commandments which are not essen∣tial to them, because the Commandments were delivered to the Jewes: though they concern the whole world, yet the persons, that actually stood before God, when the Decalogue was delivered, were only the Jewes, Deut. 5. 22. God spake to the Jewes; now no wonder, God speaking to the Jewes, did speak divers particulars according to them, and in their phrase, which if we had been alive, and they to succeed us, God would have spoken according to us, as he did according to them.
2. Secondly, We see plainly, there are some things in the Commandments, which do not con∣cern the whole world, but only the Nation of the Page 176 Jewes, as in the first Commandment, I have brought thee out of the Land of Egypt, out of the house of Bondage: [Thou shalt have no other gods but me:] That is the Commandment; but though they, together with the other, were put into the Tables of Stone, yet it concerns only the Jewes. 'Tis true indeed, it is a type of our deliverance, that we are delivered from Hell, and Sin, and Satan, as they were delivered out of Egypt, and the house of Bondage; but literally these words be∣long only to the Jews; and the Commandment is this, Thou shalt have no other gods but me; So it is for the fourth Commandment.
Again, There is something in the Fifth Com∣mandment, that doth not concern us, but only them, Honour thy Father and thy Mother, &c. [That thy dayes may be long in the Land which the thy God giveth thee] that belongs only to the Jews, it is meant particularly of the Land of Canaan. This then is the effect of the Commandment, Honour thy Father and thy Mother, that thy dayes may be long in the Land of Canaan. So that the first words are the Commandment, and the latter part belongs only to the Jewes: So Deut. 5. 14. the Fourth Commandment, it was put into the Tables of Stone thus, Remember the seventh day to keep it holy, for the seventh day is the Sab∣bath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt do no manner of work, thou nor thy Son nor thy Daugh∣ter, &c. that thy man-servant, and thy maid∣servant may rest as well as thou; that belongs to us, as well as to them; but then it follows, Re∣member thou wert a servant in the Land of Egypt: Here you see the Jewes have another Argument, Page 177 besides the Arguments that we have; but though we have not that Argument, yet the Command∣ment stands still, and the Commandment is only thus much; namely, That there must be a Seventh day, and that seventh day God rested upon: now whereas the Jewes kept the last day of the week, that was only by a temporary Commandment, because the making of heaven and earth, was the greatest thing that God had then done, and God rested from that upon that day; but now if God work a greater work then the Creating of heaven and earth, and rest from that, then by ver∣tue of the fourth Commandment, we are to keep that day holy, upon which he rested from that work.
Now I come to the Eighth Proposition, That* this Fourth Commandment, concerning a Sabbath day, concerning the keeping of a Seventh day ho∣ly, it is a continual Commandment, alwayes to abide in the Church of God; I will prove it by divers Arguments, that it was not to continue on∣ly in the time of the Jewes, but it is to abide al∣wayes in the Church to the coming of the Son of man; there is not a jot of Ceremony in the fourth Commandment.
The First Reason is, Because God did institute* the Sabbath before there was any room for Cere∣monies; it was commanded to Adam in his In∣nocency: Now all Ceremonies did prefigure Christ; and before Adam fell, there was no Pro∣mise of the Seed of the Woman, nor no need of it, and so no need of a Figure to represent it; but before Adam fell, the Sabbath was prescribed, Gen. 2. 2, 3. On the seventh day God rested fromPage 178all that he had made, so that God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it: So that you see God having rested upon this day, he sanctified it, and put ho∣liness upon it; therefore we are not to name that Common, which he hath named Holy; now though we do not read of Adams keeping this day, nor Abels, nor Enochs, nor Noahs, nor Abrahams, nor Isaacs, nor Jacobs; yet it doth not follow it was not kept: for Moses doth not take in hand to set down the actions of the Fa∣thers, but only generally: for you see what a short story we have of Methushelah a good man, though he lived a thousand years almost, yet we have scarce Three Syllables concerning him. Now sith Moses did not undertake to set down all that they did, therefore they might keep the Sabbath, though he did not set it down: neither afterwards doth he set it down for 319. years, and 111. years, which 430. years, to the time of the Judges, we have nothing spoken of concerning the Sabbath; therefore seeing God did Institute it to Adam in his Innocency, that is enough; but what though the Fathers had not kept it holy, doth it there∣fore follow that we must not keep it holy? They had many wives, doth it therefore follow that we must have many wives? So, suppose they did not sanctifie the seventh day, (though we can see no proof that they did not) yet this is enough, That God did sanctifie it before any Ceremony was.
Again, Though we do not read that they practi∣sed this, yet the Scripture doth intimate to us that they did it.
The Second Argument to prove this, is out of*Page 179Exod. 16. 23. before the Law was delivered upon Mount Sinai, before the Commandment was spoken from Horeb; yet you may see that the Sabbath is spoken of, and the Lord doth finde fault with Israel, for not keeping of it, which in∣timateth it was a day they well knew, and the Lord saith afterwards to Moses, How long will ye refuse to keep my Laws and Statutes? As in the 28. vers. the Lord there speaks of a Sabbath, as a day well known unto them, that it was com∣manded to be sanctified by them, and this was be∣fore the delivering of the Ceremonial Law; there∣fore it is not a ceremonial Law, but a positive Law, equipollent with the moral Law.
A Third Reason is, Because it was written by* the finger of God in Tabels of stone and put in∣to the Ark, Exod. 31. 18. and Deut. 10. 12. the Commandments were written upon Two tables of stone, and by the finger of God; Now all Divines, in all ages, agree upon this, that the writing of this Commandment in the Two tables of stone, is an evident Argument of the morality of it. For as a Reverend Divine saith, Not to think the Fourth Commandment to be moral, is the way to all Atheisme, for if one should say the Fourth Commandment is not moral, but cere∣monial; another might step up the next year and say the Second, and the Fifth, is not: So that whereas the Law is written by the finger of God in tables of stone, if we root it out of the tables of stone, we shall root it out of the heart of man; therefore the writing of it in the tables of stone, is an evident Argument of the morality of it to all ages.
Page 180A Fourth Argument is this, The Lord doth urge* this Commandment, more then any other Com∣mandment in the Decalogue; so that a man may question the First, or Second, or any of the Ten as well as this; for first we know that God hath made this Commandment larger then any of the rest: Secondly hee hath made it stronger, and urged it with more arguments then any of the rest. 3. he hath fixed a memento, remember be∣fore it: As who should say, Be carefull of this, and take heed of forgetting it, take heed of those that shall teach you the contrary, that this Com∣mandment is not morall. 4. It is negatively de∣livered, and affirmatively; the other delivered on∣ly one way; either affirmatively only, as the Fifth, Honour thy Father and Mother: or else negative∣ly only, as all the rest: There is never a Com∣mandment delivered both negatively and affirma∣tively, but only the Fourth, as, Remember the Sab∣bath day, to keep it holy; there it is delivered af∣firmatively: And afterwards it is delivered nega∣tively, In it thou shalt do no manner of work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, &c. The Lord hath delivered it both wayes; noting, that this Com∣mandment is equall and equipollent with the o∣ther: and the Lord did this in infinite wisdome, because he had not written this Commandment in the heart of man by the light of nature, there∣fore the Lord did urge it more with Arguments, that what was wanting in the light of nature, might be supplyed by the pressing of Arguments.
5. Another Argument is, Because if this be* not morall, then we have not Ten morall Com∣mandments, there are but Nine: now this is false; Page 181 for the Scripture tels us, that the Commandments are Ten, as Deut. 10. 4. it is not an Ecclesiasti∣call thing, but the Lord hath said it, as you may see there: And he wrote upon the Tables ac∣cording to the first writing, the Ten Command∣ments, which the Lord spake unto you in the Mount, out of the midst of the fire. The Lord spake Ten Commandments; now if the Fourth Commandment be not morall, there be not ten Commandments: And you may as well deny the Articles of the Faith, and the Petitions of the Lords Prayer, as the ten Commandments.
The Sixth Argument is this; Christ tels us* plainely, that it is a morall Commandment, Matth. 24. 20. Pray (saith he) that your flight be not in the winter, nor on the Sabbath day. Our Saviour Christ here prophesied of the destructi∣on of Jerusalem, which was forty yeares after Christs Ascension, when all Ceremonies were ceased, as Paul had proclaimed before the de∣struction of Jerusalem, That if any man would*be circumcised, Christ should profit him nothing, Galat. 5. 2. That is, if he would keep the Cere∣monial Law: Now Christ bids those that should live forty years after the Ceremonies were cea∣sed, I would have you have a care of the Sab∣bath, and delight in hearing of the word of God, and meditating upon it, and so forth; and if a∣ny occasion come that you fall into the hands of your enemies, pray that your flight be not in the Winter, nor on the Sabbath day: as who should say, If it be in the Winter, that will do hurt, and be troublesome to your bodies: and so if you fly upon the Sabbath day, that will Page 182 trouble your consciences, if you regard Gods commandment and the good of your own con∣sciences; if you regard or fear Gods name, it will grieve you to fly on the Sabbath day, whereby you shall be deprived of the Congre∣gation of Gods Saints; therefore pray that your flight be not upon that day: Intimating, that it was Morall; for if it had been Ceremoniall, he would not have wished them to pray that it might not be upon that day.
Now whereas our Saviour doth so often con∣demn the Pharisees in regard of their strictnesse of the Sabbath; it is not as if he did disallow the keeping of it; but they were foolishly pre∣cise, they strained at a gnat, and swallowed a camel; they crowded out, and regarded not Mer∣cy and Judgment, they would not pull a poor beast out of a pit, or relieve a poor man upon the Sabbath day: they found fault that a man should be helped from deaths door by our Saviour upon the Sabbath, this was their folly. Now our Sa∣viour did not condemn strict keeping of the Sab∣bath, but he did condemn their Superstition; for ever since Adams time, it was lawful to do works of Mercy on the Sabbath, it was Lawful to pull a beast out of the pit, and do works of Mercy, and Necessity upon the Sabbath day. And, whereas the Law saith, The Jews might not kindle a fire* on the Sabbath day, if we were in their case, we might not neither; for they were in the Wilder∣nesse, in an hot Countrey, where they needed no Fire, and having their Food provided to their hands. And being in an hot Countrey, if they kindled a Fire, it was out of wantonnesse; but if Page 183 it had been a cold Countrey, in Adams time, and Abrahams time, and in all times, it was lawful to kindle a Fire.
Againe, another Argument is this, The very* Heathen themselves have ever kept a Sabbath day, though they could not tell which the day was; some kept the Eighth day, and some the Ninth, yet they ever kept a Sabbath day: Yea, it is cer∣tain, many of the Heathen themselves kept the Sabbath after their manner. Alexandrinus, a godly Father, that lived but a little after Christ, saith, That the Heathen did count the Seventh day, an Holy day. And it is related of Alexan∣der Severus Emperour of Rome, though he were a Pagan, and Infidel, yet every Sabbath day, he retired from his Warlike affaires, and went up in∣to the Capitol to worship his gods. And it is re∣ported againe in Heathen Histories, our boyes go not to School upon the Sabbath day, neither are Humane Arts taught on that day; but we have a Rest upon that day: Nay, some of the Hea∣thens tell us, That they keep it from the Creation; therefore Philo tells us, That the Sabbath day, is the Creation day: and divers other poor people, that never had Scripture, or Prophet, or Mini∣ster among them, but went meerly by the light of Nature, and what they had learned from their Ancestors and Fathers, they did keep the Sabbath day. Nay, one of them saith, That on the Se∣venth day, all the Host of Heaven and Earth was finished. Therefore seeing the very Heathen have learned to keep this day Holy, it is an Evident Ar∣gument, that this is a Moral Commandement. I conclude the Proof of this Point, with the say∣ing Page 184 of our Saviour Christ, Mat. 5. 18. Hea∣ven and Earth shall passe away, but not one jot or title of the Law shall passe away: Marke, our Sa∣viour saith there, that there shall not one jot or title of the Decalogue passe away. As for the Ceremonial, and Judicial law → , they stand not still, but the whole compasse of them is removed, the Ceremonial Law is quite and clean ← abolished → ; and the ← Judicial Law, in many particulars; there∣fore our Saviour meant it not of those two Laws, but he speaks of the Decalogue, and he saith, Hea∣ven and Earth shall passe away, before one jot of it shall passe away, much lesse an whole branch be rooted out. And Gal. 3. 10. the Apostle saith, Cursed is every one that continues not in all things that are written in this Law to do them: not only he that continueth not in the first, or second, or third Commandment, but he that continueth not in the fourth, and fifth, and all the rest. And Jam. 2. 10. the Apostle there saith, If a man should keep the whole Law of God, and be guilty only in one point, he is guilty of all. Suppose thou didst keep the Three first Commandments, and all the Six last, if thou keepest not the Fourth Com∣mandment, thou art guilty of the breach of all the Commandments.
I let this passe, and come now to the last Pro∣position,* which is this, That though the last day of the week were kept for the Sabbath, till the coming of Christ, yet the first day of the week, that seventh day, is now the Lords Day, and is so to continue to the end of the World: I frame it thus, The change of the seventh day, to the first day of the week, is not by Ecclesiastical Law, Page 185 or by the Law of man, or Apostolical Tradition, but it is by the Institution, and express Command∣ment of God.
The first Argument to prove it, is taken out of*Psal. 118. 24. It is an Argument used by the Church of God in all Ages, ever since twelve hundred years agoe. Saint Austin did use it in his time, the Psalmist Prophecieth of the Resur∣rection of Christ, the Stone which the builders re∣fused,*is become the Head-stone of the Corner, this is the Lords doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes. (Our Saviour Christ, Mat. 21. doth expound it of his Crucifying, and Resurrection) This is the day that the Lord hath made, we will be glad and rejoyce in it. The Psalmist speaks here of the Re∣surrection of Christ; now speaking of this very day, saith he, This is The day that the Lord hath made: And we for our part, that are godly, and desire to be built upon this Corner Stone, we will be glad, and rejoyce in it; we will keep it as a glo∣rious day; a day of Thanksgiving, and Rejoy∣cing in God. The thing is plain, see Isa. 56. 1, 2 the Prophet Prophecyeth of the Day of Christ, and saith, They are blessed that keep the Sab∣bath, thus saith the Lord, Keep Judgement, and Justice, for my Salvation is at hand to come, and my Righteousness is to be revealed: Blessed is the man that doth this, and keepeth my Sabbaths. This is a Prophecie of the day of our Lord and Savi∣our Jesus Christ; and he pronounceth a blessing upon those that keep the Sabbath in those dayes. Again, Isa. 11. 10. it was Prophecied of old, that the first day of the week, should be the Sabbath day, the Lords day: In that day, there shall bePage 186a Root of Jesse, which shall stand up for an Ensigne to the people, and the Nations shall flie unto it, and his Rest shall be Glorious: Not only the Fa∣thers Rest shall be glorious, when he had Crea∣ted Heaven, and Earth, and rested the seventh day, but Christs Rest also shall be glorious; for all Divines agree, that the Prophet speaks of the Rest of Christ, from the work of Redemption; now his Rest shall be glorious. As God the Fa∣ther Rested from his work, and his Rest was glo∣rious for four thousand years together; so Christs Rest from his work shall be glorious, there shall be glory and honour put upon it, as well as upon the Rest of the Father, when he Rested from make∣ing of Heaven and Earth.
Secondly, Another Argument to prove this,* is out of Rev. 1. 10. there Saint John speaking of the first day of the week, the Spirit of the Lord calls it the Lords Day, I was in the Spirit on the Lords Day, so that it is not by Apostolical Tra∣dition only, but by the Institution of God him∣self, he doth call it the Lords Day, I was in the Spirit upon the Lords Day; he calls the first day of the week the Lords Day, by the same reason that the Sacrament is called the Lords Supper. Now the Sacrament is so called, because the Lord Instituted it, and therefore it must be Holy: so the Lords Day is called so, because the Lord Instituted it, and therefore it must be kept Holy.
Another Argument is this, Our Saviour Christ* himself doth Intitle himself to be the Lord of the Sabbath, and therefore able to alter it, and change it, and appoint what businesse is to be Page 187 done, and what not to be done, upon that day; he doth openly profess, that he is Lord of the Sabbath, Mark 2. 28. and John 5. 23. he saith, They shall Honour the Son, as they Honour the Fa∣ther; As they honour the Father with a Sabbath, in regard of his Rest from the work of Creation, so they shall honour the Son with a Sabbath, in regard of his Rest from the work of Redemption, which being compared with Rev. 1. 10. where it is called the Lords Day: These two being put together, do plainly prove it.
Fourthly, Christ himself did command his* Apostles to keep this day, it was not by the A∣postles counsel, as if they would set up this day in the Church, as some would have it, but Christ did command them so to do; for the Apostles did deliver nothing Generally to the Church, but what they received from the Lord, as Paul saith, What I have received from the Lord, that I declare unto you, 1 Cor. 11. But I will prove it was the Commandment of Christ to them, by this Argument, Because the first day of the week was alwayes kept for the assemblies of the people of God, before the Apostles durst order any thing in the Church: the Apostles never durst un∣dertake to set up any order in the Church, until the Holy Ghost fell upon them in fiery tongues, and that was fourty dayes after. Now the first day of the week was kept long before this, John 20. 19. they kept the first day of the week: and again the next week, ver. 26. they kept the first day of the week; and Luke 24. they kept the first day of the week. And if you compare three or four places of Scripture together, as Mat. 28. Page 188 16. 20. together with John 20. 19. 26. we shall see plainly in John, that they did meet upon the first day of the week, and in Mat. 28. we shall see that Christ appointed them so to do, it was by his Commandment.
Fifthly, Another Argument to prove that it* is by Divine Institution, and not by Humane Or∣dinance, is this, Because the Wisdome of Jesus Christ, would never have committed such a weighty thing as this is to the Judgement of man. Certainly the Lord Jesus Christ, before his ascending up unto his Father, would never have left things so raw, and uncertain, and imper∣fect, as to leave such a Branch of such a Sacred Ordinance, to be at the Arbitrament of men, be∣ing so apt to take liberty, and so negligent to keep any day Holy, surely the Lord would ne∣ver have left it to the Arbitrament of men. There∣fore we may well conclude, it is to be found in Scripture by Ordination of God; for mark what the Apostle saith, As▪ Moses was faithful in all his house, so Christ is faithful in all his house, Heb. 3. 2, 3. He proves that Christ is more faithful then Moses: Now Moses was faithful, for he delivered the whole mind of God to the people of Israel, there was nothing left out, for time, or place, or manner; there was not any Ceremony in the worship of God left out, but he delivered all to them, he was faithful. So Christ is faithful in his house, therefore seeing Christ knew how ready men were to neglect, and prophane the Sabbath, plain reason tells us, that he would order it himself.
Again, Another Argument is this, It hath* been the Practice of all holy men since the A∣postles daies, to keep this day. That it was the practice of the Apostles, that you will grant, that they kept the first day of the week. Now if there were no Argument but this, that the Apo∣stles did keep it, this were enough to prove the change of the day, when we find that the Apo∣stles did sanctifie this day, this were proof enough to stay our mindes; for certainly they had a more Infallible guidance and direction then we have, and they insisted upon this day, 1 Cor. 16. 1. 2. They, or∣dained, and John the Divine kept this day, though he were in the place of his banishment, where he could hear no Sermon, but was all alone, yet he would keep the Sabbath, on the first day of the week, and the Lord rewarded his sanctify∣ing of this day, by declaring the Revelation unto him, to incourage all good people to go on in keeping this day. But to leave these, and come to the time of the ancient Fathers, immediately after the Apostles; they all agree upon the first day of the week: Ignatius doth so; and Saint Austin saith, as the Virgin Mary is among women, so is the first day of the week, among dayes; as she was blessed above women, so is the first day of the week blessed above daies: No man that makes conscience of his wayes, but shall find a blessing upon every day; but God hath blessed this day in a more peculiar manner, and the soul that makes conscience of the keeping of it, may by the Covenant of God expect a blessing.
Page 190Now to come to the dead times of Popery, If ever the Sabbath was out of memory, and out of date, then was the time; for then there was a great falling away, a great forsaking, a great declining, and people hearkned to Doctrines of Divels, and Damnable Heresies, and the whole world groaned under Popery: Yet in the dead times of Popery there were abundance of Pro∣phets, the Lord did keep their Judgements en∣tire in this thing, as Gregory, and Silvester, and others, though they were Superstitious Papists, yet they say, That the change of the Sabbath, from the last day of the week to the first, is by Divine Institution. Now to come to the times of Reformation, here we have abundance of Re∣verend men beyond the sea, both in Germany, and France, that maintain it is by Divine Insti∣tution.
Another Argument is taken from the Judge∣ments* of God; If men will not hearken to rea∣son, and the examples of the Saints, and Judge∣ment of Divines in all ages, yet the Lord will make it appear from heaven, that this is the Lords Day, and the Lord hath sealed it.
First by his Judgements, for the wrath of God hath been revealed from heaven upon those that have prophaned this day: the Stories in all ages shew it. In the Councel of Paris, where Di∣vines out of all Countries in Christendome were met together, to consult about matters of Reli∣gion; Ministers stepped up, and made complaint, concernining the Sabbath, Let us make a Canon for the sanctifying of the Sabbath day, for to Page 191 our knowledg, the Lords wrath hath broken out upon the Countrey for the breach of this day▪ and one related one story, and another, another; as one told a Story of a Miller, that grinding upon the Sabbath day, a fire brake out, and burnt Mill, and Man, and all. Another, of an Hus∣bandman, that going into the field to fetch home his Corn upon the Sabbath day, thunder and lightning brake forth, and burnt him and his corn. Many such stories were related in that Councel, and the Magdenbergs have a story of a Noble∣man, that using to Hunt upon the Sabbath day, the Lord brought it so to passe, that his Wife brought forth a child, with a head just like a dog. I could relate abundance of Stories beyond sea, but we have enough here at home; the Town of Stratford, in Warwick shire, as it is related in the Practice of Piety, was Burnt three times upon this day. And the Story of the Parris Garden, 1683. they were gathered together this day, to see the sport of the Beasts fighting together, and the Scaffold fell down, and eight were slain, and abundance hurt. So there are many more such Examples, I remember my self above a dozen within this half year; the Lord hath revealed his displeasure from heaven, for the breach of this day.
Secondly, Again the Lord hath sealed this in the conscience of his people. For who are they that break this day, but loose, and vain, and pro∣phane men? And who make conscience of it, but those that most fear God, those that God hath most crowned with Righteousnesse and san∣ctification? they delight in this, and Sanctifie it, Page 192 and count it Holy to the Lord; and the more a man fears God, the more careful he is of the keeping of this day, and the more he is grieved to see it prophaned, either by himself or others, be∣cause he hath experience of the blessings of God upon the keeping of this day; no man doth San∣ctifie this day conscionably, but he shall find a blessing, therefore it is surely from the Lord.
The First Ʋse is this, Is the first day of the week* the Sabbath by Divine Institution? then here we see, that we are to keep a whole day. The Divel, if he cannot make men keep no day, then it is his po∣licy to make them keep it by halves. Oh, say they, Do we not keep the Sabbath? Do we not come to Church, and hear the word, and Divine Service Morning and Evening? Is not this to keep the Sabbath? But if the Lord hath Instituted this day, then certainly he hath Insti∣tuted a whole day. It is madnesse, and want of reason for a man to think the contrary. Sup∣pose I hire a man to labour with me for a day, do I not make account he should work one whole day? Suppose I hire a Servant for a year, do I not mean an whole year, though I put not in the word Whole, yet I suppose he must dwell an whole year with me. And if I hire a man for a day, it is for an whole day? so that in Gram∣matical sense, when the Scripture saith, Thou shalt Sanctifie the Sabbath day, it is meant a whole day. It is not in this, as in other words; any piece of a stone, is stone: but in things that signifie the whole, it is not the same, as a day; a part of a day, is not a day: the least part of wa∣ter Page 193 is water, or of fire is fire; but a part of a day, is not a day; Remember thou keep holy the Sab∣bath day; and, I was in the Spirit on the Lords day; and, they met together on the first day of the week: it is a day, therefore the meaning of the scripture is, that it should be a whole day, and it is so in reason, and therefore we are to keep an whole day: therefore we should not curtail the Lords day, as the servants of Hanun did the gar∣ments of Davids servants. You know what be∣came of Ananias, and Saphira, that brought but, part, when they should have brought the whole; they should have brought the whole price of their inheritance, but they brought but part, therefore the Lord smote them with death: so when the Lord requires a whole day, and we give him but a part, we shall bring vengeance upon our own heads.
There are divers arguments for it: First the* weeke consists of seven dayes, and he hath given six to us and reserves one day to himself: now we wil grant that we have not part of six dayes, but six whole dayes. If you aske a man what, do you work all day? Why yea, the Lord hath given us six dayes, therefore six whole dayes. Now by the same reason God must have an whole day; if we take any part of the seventh day then we have more then six dayes, which is contrary to the scripture.
Another reason is this, God rested the seventh* day: now looke what time God rested, that time we must sanctifie: now God rested the seventh day, all of it, he left none of the creation Page 194 to do upon the seventh day; he had finished the creation in six dayes, and rested all the se∣venth day, therefore we must keep the whole day. Thirdly, because this is the nature of a Sab∣bath,* to be 24 houres, not to be an artificiall day, but to be a naturall day 24 houres toge∣ther, as you may see Lev. 23. 32. you shall keep the Sabbath from evening to evening; then the dayes were reckoned from evening to evening from the creation; though now under the gospel, because Christ arose in the morning, they are reckoned from morning to morning.
Fourthly another argument is this, God ne∣ver* ordained dayes half-holy in his Church: in∣deed the Church of Rome have halfe holy dayes, as Saint Blac•es day, which is to be kept in the fore noon: so they have other dayes that are to be kept in the after-noone, but in the fore-noone they may do what they list: so heathens did, as Ovid saith, the former part of the day is holy, the latter part of the day is not holy; the Lord hath no such days as these, but all holy dayes in scripture: if God ever appointed a fast, or new moon, or feast of Tabernacles, whatsoever holy day, he did institute, it was an whole day, and not a part of a day, therefore much more this so∣lemn day.
Again, the judgment of all Divines in all a∣ges* hath been concerning an whole day. I could instance in the fathers, as in Irenaeus, who saith, we are to continue in the Sabbath all the day long, for the Lord hath required all the day to be kept holy unto him, and the saints of God have alwayes kept an whole day: so Saint Au∣stinPage 195 saith, It is not enough, that wee keep three or four houres of the day, but that we rest the whole day. And what rest? not only to rest from our bodily labours, for the beasts keep this Sabbath; nor the rest of sport and pastime, for that is the Sabbath of the golden calfe, they ate and drink, and rose up to play: No, but that thou mayest be vacant to God all the day in prayer and serving of him. So in the Coun∣cell of Mexicon, there was an assembly of mini∣sters out of all nations in Christendome, and they ordained a canon, concerning the Lords day, We ordain, that people keep the whole Lords day holy, and that they set themselves the whole day to pray to God, and delight in God, and heare his word: and if a countreyman's servant breake this day, his punishment shall be to be beaten with severe blowes, [ictubus gravioribus, are the very words of the Councell;] and if a Lawyer offer to plead this day, he shall not have the benefit of his pleading or case; and if a minister breake this day, he shall be excommunicated half a year, and throwne out of the Church, and shall not be recei∣ved into the Church again, but upon great hu∣miliation. This was the judgment of Divines in all ages, and it is the observation of a reverend Divine, Musculus, upon Exod. 20. God doth not say, Remember the Sabbath, to keepe it holy; he that keeps it an hour or two, keeps it holy: but, Remember the Sabbath Day, to keepe it ho∣ly; he will have a day kept holy: Nay Calvin, whom they take to be on their side, to be a pa∣tron of their liberty, he himselfe writing upon Deut. 6. upon these words, Remember the Sab∣bathPage 196day, he saith, we are to keep this day, speak∣ing of himselfe, and all the people of God,) we are to keepe this day; and not a part of it, but all of it.
The second Use is this: we may hence see* that sports and pastimes are not agreeable to the Lords day; for if the Lord hath forbidden our weekly works on that day, then surely he hath forbidden sports and pastimes.
The reason is good, first because our weekly works, are things Commanded at other times, now sports and pastimes▪ are never Commanded by God, but onely permitted: now if things commanded, and things that are good at some∣times, if these notwithstanding may not be done upon the Lords day, then much lesse must those be done that are permitted onely
Secondly, because weekely works do lesse di∣stract a man from God, then sports and pastimes. I appeale to any man here present, if he be not more heavenly and better employed, and lesse distract from good thoughts, and gracious af∣fections, when he is plowing, or sowing, or threshing, then when he is diceing, and card∣ing; sports and pastimes beat a man further off from religion, and let a man go to prayer after sports and pastimes, he shall (find himselfe more unfit and unaffected a great deal, then he shall when he comes from the works of his calling. Now if those things that do lesse distract from Gods worship and service are forbidden upon the Sabbath day, then surely much more those things that do more distract, must needs be for∣bidden upon that day.