Page [unnumbered] THE RICHES OF GRACE. A TREATISE Shewing the value and Excellency of a gracious Spirit, by comparing it with the Nature and Spirits of wicked and ungodly men, which desire not the wayes of the Lord Jesus.
By that Reverend and faithfull Minister of Gods Word WILLIAM FENNER, B. D. sometimes fellow of Pem∣brook Hall in Cambridge, and late of Rochford in Essex: fini∣shed by himselfe.
LONDON. Printed by R. Cotes, for I. Sweeting, at the An∣gell in Popes head Ally. 1641.
TO THE CHRISTIAN READER, GRACE, MERCY, AND PEACE.
THere was never any age or time (Christian Reader) since the beginning of the world, how corrupt soever, that was compa∣rable to this our thrice unhap∣py age, in all kindes of corruption, wickednesse, and sinne, with griefe of Conscience I speake it, with weeping I behold it, and with sor∣rowfull heart I lament it, and therefore see∣ing Page [unnumbered] wickednesse doth so abound, the Lord (lest his Children (frozen in the dregs of their sinnes) should perish with the wicked) raiseth up, in his mercy, good men (as we see the Author of this Treatise, a man of Rare parts) to plucke off the Visard of sinne from their faces, and to lay it open to the view of the whole world, to the end that every one may see the vilenesse of his wicked wayes and the filthy dregs of sinne, throwne in their face; may blush at the same, be ashamed, repent, a∣mend, and turne to the Lord Jesus, and so eternally be saved.
In this Treatise is drawne to the life, the sinnes and wickednesse of Ungodly men, which desire not the way of the Lord Jesus; together with the Excellencies, riches, great value of a blessed and gracious spirit.
The Author of this Treatise was a man of a Pretious spirit, as may appeare by this and other workes of his in Print: A Reverent and worthy Divine gives this Testimony in his Commendations, that he was a Minister very Conscientious, one that had a great abi∣lity given him of God to Preach Unto, and worke Upon the hearts and consci∣encesPage [unnumbered]of men, to awaken the sleepie, to informe the erronious, to settle the doubtfull, to confirme the wounded; al∣so that he was a worthy Divine, both in regard of his unwearisome paines in Preaching, consuming his owne body to save the soules of others, as also of his learning and Exemplary Piety. They that knew him did love and reverence him; and if any did dis-esteeme him, it was because they did not fully know him. He is now a shining star in the firmament of heaven; also that there were hundreds of people that will blesse God to all Eternity for his paines; he needs not our prayses, but our imitation.
It is true that this birth is Posthumum opus, and commeth out after the death of the Author; but I hope it will be the more pleasing, to revive the memory of him, whose life and labours were deservedly pretious in the esteeme of Gods people.
This Treatise is one of the Sparkes of the zealous (dead, yet living) Author, finished by himselfe, which might have laine covered in the ashes of forgetfulnesse, had it not beene blowne up by one (well minded) which recei∣ved Page [unnumbered]〈1 page duplicate〉Page [unnumbered]〈1 page duplicate〉Page [unnumbered] it from the Authors owne hand: it hath beene viewed by a Reverend Divine, to pre∣vent Errours and to make it compleate for the Presse, which is here presented to thy view.
Therefore Christian Reader, let me obtaine this much at thy hand as to except of his la∣bours as precious, well-wishing towards the truth and the professour thereof.
The subject of this ensuing discourse is published for thy benefit, reade it, the Lord give thee understanding to conserve and pra∣ctice it in thy life and Conversation, A∣men.Page 1
THE RICHES OF GRACE.
JOB 21. 14.
JObs Friends disputing a∣gainst Job, that he was a wicked man, because Page 2 the wrath of God in so grievous a manner, lay so long upon him; Job returnes answer againe, If this be true Doctrine you speake, that God scourgeth none but wicked men, how is it then that wicked men so oft, and so much prosper in the world, abounding in all world∣ly pleasures and de∣lights?
Now Job shewes that wicked men may pro∣sper in five things.
[ 1] First, in life and health: as the Raven may live five times lon∣ger than cleaner birds, verse 7.
[ 2] Secondly, In their Page 3 multitude of Children, verse 8. A foule Sow hath more young than an Ewe hath Lambes.
[ 3] Thirdly, In Tranquil∣lity and safety, verse 9.
[ 4] Fourthly, In successe and increase of their substance, verse 10. as the wicked men have a Proverb, the worse man the better lucke.
[ 5] Fifth, In wealth, secu∣rity and pleasure: Hearts ease, say they, is the best flower in the garden, vers. 11. 12. 13.
The Job sets down two things.
[ 1] First, the sinne in the verse read unto you, They say unto God depart from us, for we desire notPage 4the knowledge of thy wayes.
[ 2] The punishment in the 13. verse, In a mo∣ment they goe downe into the grave, and verse 〈◊〉 The wicked are reserved for the day of destruction; every wicked man God hath layd up, and pur∣posed him to hell, hee gives him of prosperity to fat him up, that his damnation may bee greater.
The verse read con∣taines in it three things.
[ 1] First, wicked mens contempt of grace, in these words; We desire not the knowledge of thy wayes.
[ 2] Secondly, Their con∣tempt Page 5 of the meanes of grace in these words, Depart from us, they could be content that the Lord should de∣part from them in his Ordinance; if no Prea∣ching, no praying, no Sabbath, no signe of God amongst them they would not much care, not much lay it to heart; nay they also desire it, they say un∣to God, Depart from us.
[ 3] Thirdly, the pro∣phanenesse of their lives: They say unto God, Depart from us: though few say so with their mouthes, yet by their lives so they live, Page 6 so they behave them∣selves.
From the first of these, viz. a wicked, mans contempt of grace wee observe this Do∣ctrine.
That a wicked man doth not so much as de∣sire*saving grace.
For the clearing of the point, wee will de∣fine the true desire of grace, A true desire of grace, is a super-naturall appetite to grace not had, for the goodnesse of it. There are foure things in the true desire of grace.
[ 1] First, it is an appetite of the soule to grace; when the heart doth Page 7 even goe out of it selfe for the attaining of grace: there are words in the 107. Psalme, 3. v. which sets it downe ex∣presly, by the longing soule; the word signifi∣eth, a running soule, a soule that not onely goes to grace, and the meanes of grace, but runnes to it with an ea∣ger desire and speede. An hungry appetite which signifies an hun∣ger unfained, which is▪
First, Unsupportable without meate, so that he that truely desires grace cannot bee with∣out grace. As one sayd, Take away heaven, and you take away all from Page 8 me, so it is with the poore soule, take away grace, if it be out of hope of grace, it can never rest, it can never beare the want of it.
[ 2] Secondly, insatiable without meate, nothing can satisfie him but meate, though hee had all the wealth in the world, yet he could not bee satisfied without meate. So it is in the true desire of grace, fetch one all the gold of Ophir, all the honours & pleasures of the earth, all contents under heaven cannot satisfie him, but grace, hee must have grace, no content in any thing else, but grace, grace.
Page 9 [ 3] 3d. A hunger is irrepul∣sable, it will beare no re∣pulse of cost, when it will afford to give large sums for meane food; nor of paines, as appea∣reth by the woman that went five miles in the famine for food, it will beare no repulse: for were a man a Lord, it would make him beg rather than withstand it. So the true desire of grace is irrepulsable, who so truely desires it and cannot get it, he wil not let God alone, nor suffer him to rest but begs & crys for it, oh he could bee content to give all he hath for it, and if any thing in himself hinder, Page 10 he will willingly cast it off, he will goe through thicke and thin, he will endure any contempt, any disgrace for it. If he suffer any disgrace, any reproach for grace, he glorieth and rejoy∣ceth in it.
[ 4] Fourthly, hunger is humble, it is not choyce in its meate, if it cannot have pleasants and dainties, it will be con∣tent with Farmers food, yea any thing, Pigeons dung will be good food; so hee that truely desires grace, is of an humble heart, he can be content to welcome childrens crummes, and account it preferment Page 11 to sit with Christ his dogges: though with Pauls Widdow they wash the Saints feete; though with David they be doore-keepers in Gods house, yet so they may have grace, they care not though the whole world tram∣ple upon them, though they bee accounted the off-scowring of all things.
[ 2] Secondly, It is a su∣pernaturall appetite, and that to distinguish from a naturall, which natu∣rall men have, and yet hate grace. Every man naturally hath a care of his owne preservation; wherefore seeing hee Page 12 cannot bee saved, but must eternally perish in hell without grace, he will desire it as a man may give way to cut∣ting off of his arme or legge, rather than his whole body should pe∣rish; though he hate the cutting off of those members, yet seeing an unavoydable necessity, that otherwise he must dye, or the like, he doth willingly desire it. So the foolish Virgins Mat. 25. desired Oyle in their Lampes not be∣cause they loved light, for their deedes were full of darkenesse, but they saw they should be shut out of heaven Page 13 and cast into Hell with∣out it. As a dogge that desires to vomit, not because hee hates the meate, for afterwards he lickes up his vomit againe, but because something troubled his stomach: So many a man vomits out his lust, gives over his drunken∣nesse, whordome, pride, malice, and many other sinnes, because they trouble his conscience, and hee is evidently convinced that he must goe to hell if he live in them; but when his conscience is quiet a∣gaine, and the pinch o∣ver, he doth willingly yeeld himselfe to all his Page 14 former lusts. Some have shewed from that place, 1 Pet. 1. vers. 12. that the very devills have desired the know∣ledge of the redempti∣on by Christ; though others be of judgement that it is not the mea∣ning of the Apostle in that place, yet certaine∣ly it is a truth, for hell were no hell, if damned men and damned de∣vils, did not desire to escape it; but this is not the desire of grace, it is a super-naturall appe∣tite.
[ 3] Thirdly, it is an ap∣petite or desire after grace not had: the love of grace is a good thing Page 15 whether had or no; de∣light is in good when had, desire is in good though not had; a good though wee attaine it not, nor possesse it, yet we love it, because wee judge and see it to bee good, or to have good∣nesse in it, and there∣fore we finde wee de∣light in it when wee have it, and in the want of it, we desire to have it. A man may desire good that he hath, but then it is imperfectly had, which may be two wayes.
[ 1] First, in regard of the haver of it, or per∣son having it, by rea∣son of some incapabi∣lity Page 16 in him of not recei∣ving it, grace is a whole thing, so is faith, repen∣tance, love, zeal, &c. they are whole, and intire graces, which goe to∣gether, but because we see how good they are, therefore wee desire them in a high degree; that desire is of grace not had, it is plaine, Esa. 55. 1.
[ 2] Secondly, in regard of the thing had which cannot be had but suc∣cessively, as a Sermon cannot be delivered all in a word, but some∣thing must succeede; wherefore if there be a∣ny goodnesse in a peo∣ple, seeing and hearing Page 17 the goodnesse of one part, they will desire the other.
[ 4] Fourthly, for the goodnesse of it, or that is in it, a wicked man may desire grace for some other reason, but never for the goodnesse of it, a swine may de∣sire to be raking in the dung-hill where there is a pearle, but it is not for the pearle, but for the mucke that is there: So as long as the Go∣spell and plenty goe together; the Gospell and Father, and Mother and Wife, and Lands, and houses, and life goe together; so long they will heare the Gospell Page 18 and seeme to love it, but when the Gospell and these things part, then they and the Gospell part also. But the true desire of grace is for the goodnesse that is in it. Balaam could desire even the very heart of a righteous man, but it was when he should be dying: for he saw that if he had it, there was hope of heaven and salvation, but other∣wise he must downe to hel. But this desire is no∣thing. Now that the true desire of grace is not in a wicked man, is cleare from Esay 53. 2. where the Prophet speaking of Christ, who Page 19 is the fountaine of all grace, saith thus, There is no forme nor comelines, and when we shall see him, there is no beauty in him that we should desire him; this is meant of the bo∣dy of Christ, for as the learned have writ, Christ had all parts in the perfection of a bo∣dy, and of his soule, for it was replenished with all Divine graces; In him dwelleth the fulnesse of the God∣head bodily, and there∣fore there was beauty enough in him to have ravished all Angels, yea all the world, and ten thousand more if there were so many. Page 20 But men in their natu∣rall estate see not this; we that are carnall, wee that are sinfull, we that are in our sinnes, wee that are not truely changed nor renewed in our mindes, we see no beauty in him that we should desire him; unlesse hee will bring gold and silver, Hawkes and Hounds, Cards & Dice; if he would bring these, then we should see some beauty in him, but if he bring nothing but weeping, and mour∣ning, and repentance, the strictnesse and pre∣cisenesse, mortifying and crucifying their earthly members; there Page 21 is no beauty in these things that wee should desire him: wicked men may have a Would, but not a willing desire, they wish thus & thus, but as the old Proverbe is, Wishers and woul∣ders were never good houshoulders, but there is no true desire in them of saving grace.
Now as no love is love indeede but true love, otherwise it is ha∣tred; no fire, fire indeed but the true fire; no ho∣linesse, holinesse indeed but true holinesse, for otherwise it is but hy∣pocrisie, so no desire is desire indeede but true desire.
Page 22 [Reas. 1] First, because grace is above the reach of nature, and therefore an asse cannot desire to be a man, because hee cannot conceive better of a man than of him∣selfe; for an Asse seemes best to an Asse, a drunkard to a drun∣kard, a whore to a whore-master. Now if so be that a naturall man cannot conceive better of grace than of himselfe, he cannot de∣sire it: if all the world were fooles except one man, that one man would bee accounted the foole, and all the rest wise men. So hee that is a true naturall Page 23 foole is highly accoun∣ted of by his fellowes: so a naturall man ac∣counts of spirituall men as mad men, The spi∣rituall man, saith the Prophet, speaking in the Language of wic∣ked men, are mad. 1 Cor. 2. 14. The naturall man perceiveth not the things of God, for they are foo∣lishnesse unto him: a natu∣rall man may perceive sweetenes in the world, in his gaine, in his pro∣fits, in his pleasures, in his delights and vani∣ties, and in his lusts; for these things are carnal∣ly discerned; but not in the things of God, for they are spiritually discer∣ned,Page 24 a wicked man may have a great deale of knowledge, that a child of God cannot speake of more truthes, nor understand more than he doth, but though a wicked man under∣standeth spiritual things yet not spiritually, but carnally onely and in a carnall sense: this is the reason that a worldling had rather have a 1000. pound than true grace, that the covetous man had rather be in his counting house, accoun∣ting his interest-mo∣ney and his gaines, than at the House of God to heare a Sermon; be∣cause they are carnally Page 25 discerned, but these things of God are spi∣ritually discerned. If we that are the mini∣sters of God could droppe shillings and pounds amongst men in our preaching to them, they would come to the Church more duely, and heare more eagarly and affectio∣nately; but when wee deliver the things of God and the everla∣sting Mysteries of Sal∣vation, which are a∣bove their reach and understandings; if they come to Church, they can sit quietly in their Pewes being no whit affected with the Word Page 26 as if it were nothing unto them.
[Reas. 2] Secondly, because Grace is contrary to Na∣ture, fire cannot desire water, nor water fire, because they are con∣trary, one expelling the other, for either the water will quench the fire, or else the fire will licke up the water; so nature and grace doe thwart one another. Nature would have a man love himself, grace forbids it, and com∣mands to love God. Nature would have a man to bee wrathfull, cholericke, and given to revenge upon every small provocation; but Page 27 Grace forbids all these and the like. The Wise∣dome of the flesh is enmity against God, Rom. 8. 17. Take nature in its best wits, take a Naturall man in his best under∣standing, best appre∣hension, and sweetest affable disposition, take the very flower and height of nature, though never so learned, and yet it is at enmity with God and grace, and therefore impossible it should desire grace. Hereupon it is that the Magistrate neglects, true Justice is cold or lukewarme in the cause of God, let grace call for the contrary; Fa∣thers Page 28 and Masters will not Catechise and in∣struct and bring up their Children and ser∣vants in the knowledge and feare of the Lord, though grace reprove them never so bitterly for the neglect of it. Divers Christians will be earthly, dead, luke∣warme, let grace stirre them up never so ear∣nestly, yet still grace is not welcome, it impo∣seth things contrary; suppose a man should come to a fire and use all the rhetoricke and arguments to perswade it not to burne, let him threaten it, Burne not fire, if you doe I will Page 29 pull you all to peeces, yet it will burne still; for it is contrary to the nature of fire to suspend burning; so it is contra∣ry to nature to suspend its lusts.
[Reas. 3] Because grace is not onely above and con∣trary to nature, but it is a hell unto nature, grace is a hell to a na∣turall man. Now a Rogue cannot desire the stockes, a theefe cannot desire the Gal∣lowes, nor a vagrant the house of correction; no more can a naturall man desire grace: for grace arraignes and commits a man, and sends him downe to Page 30 hell gates, into hell it selfe, if he repents not. I grant a wicked man may thinke hee desires grace, when he wisheth, O that I had Christ, O that I were the child of God, and that I had grace! but if one should come to this man, and tell him what it is to be a child of God, to have Christ and Grace, that thus and thus hee must be qualified, hee must take up the crosse of Christ, and follow the precise and strict rules of Christ, and the di∣rections of grace; this man then would even hate those conditions and so consequently Page 31 his former wishes, Amos 5. 18. Woe unto them that desire the day of the Lord, to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkenesse, and not light. As if the Prophet had sayd to all wicked men, You thinke you desire the day of the Lord, that Christ the Savi∣our might come into the world, but to what end is it? I tell you the day of the Lord is not such a day, Christ is not such a Saviour, as you doe imagine: The day of the Lord is darke∣nesse and not light, a day of sorrow, of griefe, of Condemnation unto you: So the Lord complai∣neth *Page 32 by the Prophet, You have wearied me;*Wherein have we weari∣ed thee, say they? You have prophaned the Table of Lord, yee have snuffed at it, saith the Lord: But we desire the comming of the Lord; yea saith the Pro∣phet, The Lord shall sud∣denly come, but who can*abide the day of the Lord? or who can stand when hee appeares? For he is like a Refiners fire, and like Ful∣lers Sope: Thou desirest grace, thou that livest in thy sinne; I tell thee that is hell and venge∣ance to thee, for it com∣mandeth thee to cruci∣fie thy lusts, and to de∣scend unto the gates of Page 33 death, in the true hu∣miliation of thy soule, or else it will damne thee in everlasting con∣demnation of hell.
[Reas. 4] Because nature in a wicked man is in its full strength, now if nature in the Childe of God in whom it is in some measure mottified, and subdued, be such an op∣posite and enemie to the working of grace, stirring up cursed lusts, and the like, to quench the motions and com∣fortable living of grace; how much more when nature is itsin ful power and force where there is no thing else? Put meate into a dead mans Page 34 mouth, and there is no absolute resistance. The childe of God is like a sick man troubled with ill humors & diseases, he hath true desire of grace yet weake and low, not raysed to that height and power which they shall be, when they are perfectly recovered. Therefore the Apostle exhorts the people of God, 1 Thes. 5. 19. Quench not the Spirit, be∣cause even in them there are some lusts, and corruptions springing out of the heart, which will be ready to put out the fire of grace.
[Vse 1] This is for comfort for all poore broken Page 35 hearts in whom God hath ingendred the true desire of grace, let such know that the first step to grace to see they have no grace, and the first degree of grace is the desire of grace: it is not with the body as with the soule, if you will be healed you shall be healed; a man may desire to be healed cor∣porally, and yet his dis∣ease continue upon him; but it is not so with the soule, if thou wilt say, Christ heale me, thou shalt be made whole. If a man have but the true desire of grace, it shall be given him, Psal. 10. 17. LordPage 36thou hast heard the desire of the humble: when the poore soule is humbled before God in the sense of the want of grace, and breathes and de∣sires after it, the Lord will grant such desires. So Psal. 145. 14. He will fulfill the desires of them that feare him, hee also will heare their cry and will helpe them. One said the greatest part of Christianity is to de∣sire to be a Christian And another sayd the totall summe of a mans Religion in this life consists in the true de∣sires of saving grace. This was the perfecti∣on that Saint Paul at∣tained Page 37 unto Rom. 7. 18. To will is present with me, but I finde no meanes how to performe that which is good. Saint Paul wee know was the childe of God, and one dearely beloved of God; yet there was the pitch of his godlinesse, it con∣sisted more in desire, than in accomplish∣ment; Canst thou ap∣prove by evident and sound arguments that thou hast the true de∣sires of grace? then know for thy comfort, that the Lords spirit of grace hath beene mo∣ving and stirring in thee, Philip 2. 13. It is God that worketh in youPage 38both the will and the deed, and that of his good pleasure, not onely of his bounty, from whence hee hath be∣stowed many graces even upon such as hee will damne afterwards for their accursed abuse of them, with the neg∣lect of the power there∣of. But if God have set thy will and the streame of thy affections and desires to himselfe and to grace, if but thy will yet it is Gods good pleasure from which he did at first elect thee, and gave his sonne to redeeme thee. As it is with sinne so it is with grace in this: The de∣sire Page 39 of murther, is mur∣ther; the desire of adul∣tery, is adultery; the desire to steale, is theft: So it is with grace, the desire of faith is faith; the desire of repentance is repentance: but thou wilt say, What good is it to desire to beleeve and not to beleeve; to desire to repent, and not to repent; the desire to have an humble heart, and a broken heart, and yet not to have the heart humble and broken? I an∣swer, he that hath the true desire of grace, hath the greatest part of grace. Suppose a man should be scraping Page 40 and raking, and grin∣ding the face of the poore, to hoard up a great deale of treasure and riches to himselfe; which I pray you is the greatest part of his co∣vetousnesse, the laying up of the money, or his greedy desires and oppressions? surely I judge his covetous de∣sires and oppressions. For any, even a childe of God, may lay up and gather Riches, when it pleaseth God to cast them upon him; so that it is not the ha∣ving of Riches, but the coveting of them that proves a man to bee a covetous man. For not Page 41 onely great Usurers and oppressing Land∣lords are covetous worldlings, for I tell thee covetousnesse may be in a begger, and un∣der thy leather coate; if thy minde be running after the world, thou that art never at quiet, but thy heart, thy head, thy hand and all is ta∣ken up after it, whether thou accomplish thy covetous lusts or no, yet thou art one of those covetous persons spoken of in 1 Cor. 6. 10. Suppose a man should attaine to a great mea∣sure of grace, that hee is marvellously hum∣ble, marvelously zea∣lous, Page 42 marvellously holy and strict in all the wayes of God, I would know which is the greatest part of his grace, I suppose his strong and vehement desire.
[ 2] Secondly, set it forth by a similitude, suppose a man should bee in a great straite, that all his goods were to bee confiscated unto the King: now an execu∣tion is ready to seise upon them, unlesse speedily he make them over to some friend, who will keepe them for him; it may be his friend is an hundred miles from him, so that Page 43 by no meanes hee can come to him, now hee thinkes, Oh that I had such a friend whom if I could but come at, I would cast my whole estate upon him, and repose much trust in him. So the soule that appre∣hendeth the wrath of God, and the curse of the Law ready to seise on it for damnation, it would faine goe to Christ, but hee cannot tell how, the sense of his vilenesse keepes him off, oh he would bee glad to leave and cast away all his lusts, and dearest sinnes, and take up the crosse of Christ, and if hee could but Page 44 reach Christ, oh then he would thinke him∣selfe safe, he would lay all upon him, his very soule and Salvation. Certainely this man hath true faith in Christ: for a man would trust him well before hee would cast his whole estate upon him. There is an excel∣lent place for this in Hag. 2. 6, 7, 8. I will shake all Nations, and the desires of all Nations shall come: where are three things,
[ 1] First, its a marveilous instinct of the Spirit of God, whereby hee shakes all the children he hath in the world, Page 45 humbling their soules and terrifying their consciences upon the sight of their sinnes, and they stand in the casts off, cast-awayes.
[ 2] Secondly, their desire of Christ.
[ 3] Thirdly, The desire of all Nations shall come, that is, Christ shall come, where observe that Christ is not cal∣led the assurance, but the desire of all Nations, because that there is no child of God, but doth truely desire Christ, though many bee his who have not the assu∣rance of it: never did any man desire to eate which had not eaten Page 46 before, so [I desire to beleeve] comes from [I doe be∣leeve.] Let then none be troubled, and feare and complaine for the want of faith, for true desire springs from faith as the roote of it.
[Vse 2] Hence wee may see, that grace which wic∣ked men desire, is not true grace.
[Object.] You will say men come to Church, they pray, they come to the Sacraments for grace, they professe they would have grace, and will you say that they doe not desire it?
[Answ.] I answer with Solomon;Page 47The soule of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing, but the soule of the dili∣gent shall be made fat. As it is with a sluggish man that desires his ground should be tilled, but yet will take no paines to plough it; who desires that his busines should goe forward, that hee might have the harvest, yet will not be at the cost and charges need∣full for it, he may wish and desire a harvest, but shall have nothing: So the soule of a sluggish Christian, of a luke∣warme professor, de∣sires faith and repen∣tance, but gets neither; but the soule of a dili∣gent Page 48 Christian shall have enough to justifie him, grace enough e∣ternally to save him. But the soule of a car∣nall Christian desires faith, but gets but a lazie faith, a faith that will not justifie him, a leane or perhaps a lazie repentance that will not save him, a dead per∣formance and professi∣on together: Rom. 11. 7. Israel saith the Apostle, hath not obtained that which he sought for, but the Election hath obtained it, first carnall Israel sought for the promises of Christ, but they got it not but the Election hath obtained it.Page 49
[Object. 2] O but our Saviour saith, Seeke and yee shall finde.
[Answ. 2] I answere, true, if you seeke well; this word is of few letters, but of great force, it is the ve∣ry forme of all Arts: for Rhetoricke is the Art of pleading well, and Logicke of dispu∣ting well, so is Divini∣ty the Art of seeking well, of living well; it is nothing to desire grace, unlesse you seeke it well: the truth is a wicked man desires not true grace, but some∣thing that seemes to him to bee true grace. Now suppose a man were sicke, and five Page 50 pills would cure him, he thinketh foure will doe it, and therefore neglects the fifth and dyes for want of it. So a man having his con∣science convinced from the Word of God, that unlesse hee have such and such faith, such and such graces of the spirit of God, such know∣ledge, such holinesse, he shall be damned. Hee thinkes if I can bee but thus and thus, if I can doe but thus much, I shall bee saved, where∣upon hee will heare the Word of God, he will pray, he will keepe the Sabbath, give over this and that sinne, leave Page 51 his drunkennesse, his swearing, and yet when all comes to all, he goes to hell. Why? because true grace which was commanded, and which he should have had, hee accounted and called Puritanisme and precis∣nesse, and rejected as a superfluous thing; hee thinkes if he can attaine to such a pitch as to live justly and quietly, and to be well gover∣ned, and to follow his particular calling, and keepe the Church, and performe some good duties, though he bee not zealous for God, nor in the worship of God, will not endure Page 52 reproach for Christ, and for his strict pro∣fession: Such a one shall be damned though he have all the grace he lookes for. A crimson shooe cannot cure the Goute; so fine comeli∣nesse of carriage in a naturall man, cannot heale the infection and poyson of corrupt na∣ture. An Asse is an Asse still, though he be never so well trapped: so a naturall man is a natu∣rall man still, though never so well qualified: Hath he love, hath hee knowledge, meekenesse, gentlenesse, and a kind of humility and libera∣lity? comes hee to the Page 53 Church, heares the Word, receives the Sa∣craments? yet unlesse he be mortified and con∣verted, changed and renewed by the Spirit of God, it is impossible he should bee saved; Tit. 2. 11. 12. The grace of God which bringeth Salvation, hath appeared unto all men: and teacheth us, that we should deny ungodlines, &c. as if the Apostle would give us to understand that there is a grace that bringeth not Salvation; but that which bringeth Salva∣tion teacheth us to de∣ny all ungodlinesse and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteou∣sly, Page 54 and godly in this present world; if then that grace thou desirest and hast attained to, teach not thee to cast away all sinfull corrup∣tions, and doe not make thee live holily, it can∣not bring thee to hea∣ven. This grace which (saith the Apostle) tea∣cheth us to deny ungodly lusts, as if he had sayd, I know it hath appea∣red to all, all the world hath it offered to them, it hath appeared to them, but they will not learne of it to deny ungodlinesse, & world∣ly lusts, and therefore in stead of Salvation it bringeth damnation to Page 55 them; but it teacheth us and brings Salvati∣on to us. But now be∣cause men are apt to say every one boasting, that they desire grace: therefore for the third Use,
[Vse 3] Come, examine thy selfe or thy soule, and we will lay it bare be∣fore the Lord, that if thou hast grace thou mayst know of it, if not, thou mayest bee con∣vinced of it, and so per∣swaded in time to seeke truely for it.
Now if thou hast a true desire of grace, than it purifieth the conscience from all dead workes. If thy Page 56 Conscience now tell thee, that thou hast any sinne and corruption that thou art not wil∣ling to lay off; it is an evident demonstration, that thou hast no true desire of grace. A man that hath his hands full of base luggage, if a pearle should bee at his feete, unlesse he empty his hands hee cannot take it up, and there∣fore if he will not cast away that base stuffe, we would say hee hath no minde to the Pearle. Now thy hands and thy heart are full of corruptiō; so that though grace lye even at thy feete, yet thou canst Page 57 not receive it up, un∣lesse thou empty thy hands and thy heart.
[Mark. 1] 1. Wherefore if there be any lust, though ne∣ver so deare, any bo∣some sinne, which thou wilt not part with, it is an evident signe that thou hast not a true de∣sire of grace: Heb. 3. 18. Willingnesse and desire to live honestly, and a good conscience are joyned together; no∣ting, that so a man can∣not have a desire to live piously according to Gods will, but hee must have a good con∣science in all things: If then thy conscience tell thee that thou wilt Page 58 sweare now and then, thou wilt tell a lye up∣on occasion, and bee scandalous to others now and then, and wilt reserve some passage for thy lusts; know that thou canst not, thou dost not desire grace. For true grace animates the soule to lay off all hinderances of the grace desired.
[Mark. 2] 2. It is a vehement desire, if true; a luke∣warme desire is not true desire. As a man hath a desire to a peece of cloth and goes to the Drapers shop to buy it, he judgeth it to bee worth twenty or forty shillings, now if the Page 59 Draper should hold it at three or foure pound, he scornes the motion and slings away with detestation of it, he de∣sired it, but his desire was stinted, upon such a condition, at such a price above which hee loatheth it. This is the reason why the Mini∣nisters of Christ are so unwelcome to men, and their Ministery too. Because they would bring men beyond the price which they would bid for Christ and grace; they would wil∣lingly have Christ, have faith, have heaven, but they are loath to take so much paines, to bee Page 60 at so much cost, as they must be at, if they ever have it, suppose thou give over thy whoring, thy swearing, for grace, yet if not thy company keeping, thy lying, thou hast no true desire of grace; though thou give over all thy grosle sinnes, yet if thou re∣tainest thy deadnesse, thy luke-warmenesse, though thou give over all thy sinnes save one, though but in a corner or a nook of thy heart, though I say thou come to this price, yet unlesse thou wilt give all thou hast, no true desire of grace. For the man that truly desires grace, Page 61 his desires are vehement such as will part with all things for it; 2 Cor. 7. 11. Yea what vehe∣ment desires; the word signifies desire upon de∣sire, one desire upon the backe of another, and all for grace. Gen. 30. Give me children or else I dye, saith Rachel unto Jacob: So the heart cryeth unto the Lord for grace as for a thing without which it perisheth; Augustine saith, that the desire of grace is the thirst of the soule, it is a burning and gnawing desire, that will consume a man with desiring. Here therefore the Page 62 whole world is con∣vinced of their unpro∣fitable desires. For what dead prayer? what dead hearing? what dead receiving? as if men would teach God how to deny them, or as if they would bid the Lord keepe his graces. They will come and say prayers, and give an eare, but they have no burning nor thirsting desire.
[Mark. 3] 3 Delight in the means of grace: though de∣light be an effect of true desire, yet it is a signe of grace, because grace in potentia, is in the Ordinance of God; therefore the man that Page 63 desires grace, hee will delight in the Ordi∣nances of grace; hee that desires learning, delights in reading and studying the meanes of it: so hee that desires mortification, delights in the powerfull prea∣ching, whereby hee may have all the cor∣ruptions of his heart layd open; hee that de∣sires grace, delights in all the meanes of it, Psal. 37. 4. Delight. thy selfe in the Lord, and hee shall give thee the desire of thine heart; Doest not thou onely pray, but doest thou delight in prayer? doest not thou onely heare the Word, Page 64 but delightest in hea∣ring the Word? doest thou not onely come to the Sacraments, but delight in the recei∣ving? Then thy desire is true desire; when the heart hath this delight, there is an inward drawing the heart to it: Canst thou finde a for∣cible tugging and mo∣ving of thy heart and soule to all holy duties, that thou canst not but must at them; but if thou art aukward and untoward unto ho∣ly duties, to the wor∣ship of God, thy desires are counterfeit.
[Mark. 4] The more delayes, the greater desire; de∣layes Page 65 are as Oyle cast into the fire, which makes the flame the greater. As a stone the further it is from its center, the faster it goes to it: so if thou dost truely desire grace, the longer thy soule is be∣fore it can attaine it, the more thou art affected after it. The Comicke hath a pretty Proverb, When a man is athirst, it is a miserable thing to goe digge a Well to quench it, for every shovelfull will but ag∣gravate his drought: So it is with men that de∣sire grace: Prov. 13. 12. Hope desired maketh the heart sicke; when a mans Page 66 desires are held off and still deferred, that yet he cannot have it, it doth even make the heart sicke with griefe: a man that wants health is sicke because he can∣not get it, he tumbleth, and tosseth, and turneth from this side to that side, cannot be at rest; So the soule that truely desireth grace, is even sicke for it; it cannot have content in this nor in that, it is never where it would be, it is as a stone cast up from its owne center, till it have gotten Christ and his graces; every delay, though never so small, seemes tedious to a Page 67 man at such a time. But on the contrary, thou hast beene with∣out grace it may bee these 20. 30. 40. 50. or 60. yeares; what are thy desires? are they more than before? No, but as before, so they are still; as thou didst pray before, so thou prayest still; as thou heardst before, so thou hearest still; and as thou was faint in thy desires, so thou art still, and such are thy endeavours; it is an evident argu∣ment that thou didst never truly desire grace; true desire the longer the more earnest. Ther∣fore the Prophet be∣gins Page 68 his prayer, Psal. 13. with a How long Lord shall I have this proud heart, shall I never be humble? How long Lord shall I have this unbe∣leeving and impenitent heart, shall I never have faith to rest upon thee, and repent of my sinnes cōmitted against thee? How long Lord shall I have such a dead heart, such earthly af∣fections in thy worship and service, shall my heart never bee quick∣ned, and my affections never drawne to thee, and fastned neerer to thy service? How long Lord shall my heart bee under these corruptions Page 69 shall I never get victory over them? how long shall I serve the devil, shall I never serve my God? how long ere I shall bee a factor for heaven, as I have beene for earth?
[Mark. 5] If thy desires be true, then thou hast gotten some grace: As it is in the veines of a mans body, the more they are ope∣ned, the more they are filled with blood: and as the bellowes the more they are ope∣ned, the more they are filled with wind: so it is with the heart, the more it is opened with enlarged desires unto God, the more it is fil∣led Page 70 by God with grace; the Psalmist hath a sweet passage, Psal. 37. 4. Thou hast given him his hearts desire, there is no desire on mans part, but there is a [hath given] on Gods part: Psal. 145. 16. there is no living thing in the world that can desire, but the Lord satisfieth the desire of it. Examine therefore thy selfe, hast thou desired faith, and yet doest thou distrust God? hast thou desired repentance, and doest thou live in thy sinne, never the humbler, ne∣ver the lowlyer, for all thy desires, but as thou wast yesterday, so thou art to day, as the last Page 71 weeke, so this, as the last yeare, so this? cer∣tainely thy desires are not true.
For then thou shouldest finde God sa∣tisfying of them: as thou desirest, so thou spee∣dest; little desiring, lit∣tle speeding; great de∣sire, great speeding; Ala∣mentable thing it is that the desire of grace, so great a thing, should be so little esteemed in the world; men say they have good desires, but they are like wicked God-fathers and God∣mothers at the Font: who if the Minister as∣keth them, Doe you forsake the Devill and Page 72 all his workes, the va∣nity and pompe of this world; say, Wee for∣sake them all: Now let the Devill but tempt them to pride, malice, drunkennesse, revenge, and the like, presently they yeeld to it, they say they forsake them all, but they doe but lye; So aske them, Doe you desire grace? Yes, that is my desire, saith one, and I desire it saith another, but they desire not to cut off their sinnes, or if they doe, it is as Saul cut off the witches, hee cut them off with one hand and enquired of them with the other, when Page 73 he was in a straight: So men can be content to cut off their sinnes, till a pinch come to draw them to them a∣gaine, they can lay a side their covetousnesse till a baite bee offered them, to revenge a∣gaine, to drunkennesse againe, and so to ga∣ming, whoredome, and the like: that these men doe not desire grace is evident.
[ 6] They that truely de∣sire grace, desire the meanes of grace: men that desire a crop of corne, they will bee at the cost, charges, and paines, for ploughing, harrowing, and sowing Page 74 of their ground, and all other requisites; but notwithstanding their desires of grace, they are both to be at the cost and paines to heare the Word of God and keepe it: Paul and Bar∣nabas going to Paphos, Paulus Sergus hearing of it, presently desireth to heare him Preach; no sooner can a faithfull people come to a town but the godly Christi∣ans will be at him, to preach to them: No sooner did the Eunuch espye Philip, but hee presently calls him in∣to his Chariot to ex∣pound the Scriptures to him; But thou mayst Page 75 heare the Word every Sabbath day, but it may be thou wilt sit at home or in the Ale-house, or if thou hearest, it is but with a slight care: Christ hath comman∣ded thee to pray for la∣bourers, how many prayers hast thou put up to God for faithfull Ministers, such as may breake to every one his portion in due sea∣son: I feare there are many thousands a∣mongst us to whom these things are as Rid∣dles, men doe not de∣sire the breath of grace, I know there are many talkers, but few doers, talkers by the ell, but Page 76 doers by the inch, men must first be doers and then talkers, some are onely great speakers of Religion and holinesse: and now you all sit in your Pewes, I know not which is the best Christian among you, you all heare and looke upon the Minister, but the triall is anon when the Church doores are shut, and you gone home to your houses, by your meditations, repetitions, prayer, and the like duties to en∣grave it into your hearts, and that your lives may be guided by it. Many hearers are like ale-houses with faire Page 77 inscriptions engraven at the entry or walls of the house, as love God, feare God, honour the King, pray continually, be watchfull, and the like; yet there is no∣thing but drunkennesse, and cursing, swearing, and all hellish ungod∣linesse within: So it is with men that make faire motions, faire shewes, like Ezcchiels hearers, they will heare well enough, but they doe not; as talking with∣out doing is nothing, so there can be no do∣ing without talking; a man that hath true grace, he desires to bee speaking of it, we be∣leeve, Page 78 and therefore we speak; if a man have grace in his inward soule, it will cast forth a savour into his lippes, it will season his speech; the voluptuous man talkes of his hounds, and Hawkes; the Drunkard of his cuppes, the worldling of his plough, and cart, and cowes; the trades man of his wares, and the women of their housholdstuffe, this or that matter, but scarce a word of God, or the worke of grace.
7. Men desire not the companions of grace, like to like, and as the Proverb is, birds Page 79 of a featherwill flye to∣gether; Where shall we have the drunkard, but at the Ale-bench? the Whore-master, but at the drabs house? the gamester, but at the ga∣ming house? the world∣ling, but with worldly men? They cannot in∣dure the society of the Saints, for they cannot rip up an oath, but some James will rebuke them, saying, My bre∣thren, sweare not at all; they cannot tell a lye, but some John will tell them of hell, that they shall be cast into the Lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; they cannot drinke a pot or two, Page 80 and be a little merry, but some Paul will tell them that drunkards shall not inherit the Kingdome of heaven; they cannot play the wantons, but some one or other that takes Christs part, will checke them, and tell them that hell openeth her mouth wide to receive them. I never read in any history, sacred or prophane, that ever any of the governours of Sodome did visite Lot but when they would have done him mis∣chiefe.
And againe, when they desire not the workes of grace, grace bids men live in love Page 81 and amity and forgive wrongs, now where men conceive malice, and revenge, and re∣ceive 6. 10. 20. Sacra∣ments and swallow up wrath and hatred, and spend 1000. shil∣lings in revenge, these desire grace no more than the devill: nay grace will teach a man to deny his lusts, and sinfull pleasures, and corrupt desires: I know many think they desire grace; O they would have it faine, but they will not have it in Gods sense.
There was a fool sent to fetch wood from the stacke, hee would not Page 82 goe up to the top of it, but stood pulling at the bottome, and had got but a few stickes, which if hee had gone to the top, he might have had a great many more in lesse time, but whiles he was pulling at the bottome, at last the whole stacke fell upon him and killed him. Just so it is with all men, all the world hath a stacke of sinne lying upon their backes, and consciences, now they must take away the whole stacke before they can be converted: True it is, men pray, O Lord convert me, O Lord give mee thy Page 83 grace, but they cast not away all their sinnes, they may bee a pulling at this or that, but re∣taine others; they live in their deadnes and luke∣warmenes in Gods wor∣ship, and in carnall per∣formance of Gods du∣ties; at last the whole pile of their sinnes falls upon them and damnes them, body and soule in hell for ever.
And lastly, it is an evi∣dent signe that men have not true desire of grace, for when grace is offered, then they will not accept of it nor take it. Can a man desire an hundred pound, and yet when it Page 84 lyeth at his feete, and offered him, will not take it up: God offers thee grace, hee calls by his ministers, How long will ye love foolishnesse? forsake your wayes ye foo∣lish, and ye shall live, and walke in the way of under∣standing, Prov. 8. But now men will not, they cast grace from them; I tell thee hereafter, thou mayst desire grace when grace will not be found; You shall seeke me, but you shall not finde me, saith Christ. Now I bid you repent, but you will not beleeve and re∣ceive the Gospell, but the time shall come, that you shall seeke for me, and that Page 85 grace which was offe∣red you, but you shall not finde me, Ezek. 24. 13. Because I would have pur∣ged you, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not bee purged from thy filthinesse any more, till I haue cau∣sed my fury to rest upon thee: even so the Lord saith to every soule to whom hee offers the meanes of grace, Be∣cause I would have converted thee and plucked thee from thy sinnes, but thou wouldst not, I would have pur∣ged thee from thy drun∣kennesse, and whore∣domes, and from the foule filthinesse of your corrupt heart, but yee Page 86 have neglected and con∣temned al those meanes of purging, whereby I would have purged you. Therefore now marke Gods finall sen∣tence upon thy destru∣ction, thou shalt never be purged, thou shalt cry and call for mercy, yet thou shalt never have it; marke it now yee that have grace preached unto you, and will not take it, now accept it, God will not let you have it hereafter, if you would never so faine, but they that neglect grace now, grace will neglect them hereafter.
[Object.] But how shall we get our hearts truely to de∣sire Page 87 grace?
[Answ.] I answere, first, learne to know it: grace is such an admirable thing that if men knew it, they could not but desire it. All men desire good, though it be but a see∣ming good; this is that reason that drunkards desire drunkennesse, and the angry men revenge, because they conceive a good in it: But if the drunkard did but know and consider, that his drunkennes would lead him to hell; if the angry man knew that the end of his lust was damna∣tion, they could have but a small (if any) de∣sire to them, or comfort Page 88 in them, but if you'ld desire grace, then la∣bour to know it; Teach me the way of thy Sta∣tutes, and I shall keepe them, saith the Prophet Psal. 119. 33. Psal. 9. 10. They that know thy name will put their trust in thee. That man that knowes and is acquainted with God, that knowes what it is to bee patient, humble, holy, lowly, meeke, and despised for Christs sake, that man will put his trust in God, and seeketh after such excellent orna∣ments, let come what will come of it, that which all men know to be good, all men desire, Page 89 and therefore few men desire the true good, be∣cause few men know it; knowledge of Salvati∣on in the Scripture is put for salvation: a man * cannot have his sinnes pardoned, his heart sub∣dued, and all his cor∣ruptions mortified, but he must know what it is.
God never knowes any but they know it themselves, those that bragge of their know∣ledge, and yet live in their sinne, know not God, they have per∣haps an intellectuall and carnall knowledge of him, but no saving knowledge of him, 1 Pet. 2. 9. Therefore one Page 90 sayd, if all the learning in the world were put together in one man, yet it is not so much as in the most ignorant child of God, though never so dull and weak in apprehension of o∣ther things, yet if hee be truely acquainted with Christ, he hath more knowledge than all the Doctors in the world have by their hu∣mane learning.
[Answ. 2] The taste of grace is sweete and dainty, that if we could but once taste it, our hearts would ever water after it, and we should have little lust to the contrary e∣vill; Luke 5. 39. Thou Page 91 that tastest of pride, of covetousnesse, of world∣ly-mindednesse, thou tastest of very ranke poyson; but if once thou tastest of the pure li∣quor, and of the good things of faith, repen∣tance, holinesse, purity, and the like things of God, thou wouldst ne∣ver desire the other a∣gaine: The Prophet David knew not how to bring men to trust in God, but by wishing them to taste how good the Lord is, Psal. 34. 8. Hath there any man had the least relish of grace, though now they mocke at it, and re∣proach it, and their Page 92 consciences tell them as much.
Before the Israelites tasted of the Manna, they cryed out, What manner of meate is this? here is stuffe indeede; but when once they had tasted of it, they adventured the breach of the Sabbath to get it: So men cry out at the Preaching of the Word; what Preaching is this? here is thun∣dring indeede, of wrath and revenge, hell and damnation, and the like: what, can wee not goe to heaven without all this pudder and stirre? Alas! men know not the power of the Word, Page 93 men superficially know God and his wayes; like a foole hearing of a Lemmon tasteth the pill, and because the pill is bitter hee casteth away the Lemmon: So thou hearest of this and that Commandement, to mortifie thy lusts, to kill thy corruption, or else of opening hell for thee, thy lippes sticke in these bitter pills, and therefore thou rejectest the saving sweetenesse of the Word of God. But I have given over my drunkennesse, my swearing, and the like, will some say, yet I feele no such sweete∣nesse by it, they say it is Page 94 a glorious thing to be a professor, to doe thus and thus, but I see no such matter. Thou foole thou tastest but the pa∣ring and the rinde only of Religion, and dost thou therefore con∣clude that there is no more sweetenesse in the heart of it? know thou whatsoever thou con∣ceivest, yet Gods peo∣ple that have tasted the sweetenesse of it ac∣count it otherwise; so did David, Psa. 119. 103. How sweete are thy words unto my taste! yea sweeter than honey to my mouth.
[Answ. 2] If you would desire grace, then purge out the ill humors of sinne, Page 95 out of thy soule; Sup∣pose a man hath attai∣ned to some knowledge of grace, and taste of it, yet if sinne be not pur∣ged out, it will dead his desires. Barzillay re∣fused to sit at the Kings table, and eate of the Kings meate, because of the evill humors of his body: So, so long as the old man is not cast off, though the soule stand in never so much neede of grace, though it seeth and judgeth of it selfe damned with∣out it, yet sinne puts the soule out of taste, it can∣not desire it: Sinne is like grease to the hor∣ses teeth, it takes away Page 96 his stomach, though there be never so much meate in the racke, hee hath no minde to eate: Wherefore when the Apostle exhorts men to desire the sincere milke of the word, 1 Pet. 2. 2. he first exhorts them to lay aside all malice, guile, hypocrisie, envy, and evill speaking, for except a man first lay a∣side these corruptiōs, he cannot desire grace, for thereby the devill grea∣seth thy teeth, and ta∣keth away the edge of thy soule from the de∣sire of grace. When a man desires to sleepe, he desires to heare no noyse; so when a man Page 97 doth desire to sleepe in sinne, he desires not to heare the voyce of grace disturbing him, and the Devill like a diligent Chamberlaine draweth the curtaines of darknesse and securi∣ty about him. David professeth to God, Psal. 119. 18. that his eyes fayled for his promise, When wilt thou comfort me? he had no comfort in his crowne or King∣dome, or any other thing, and therefore he prayes, Oh, when wilt thou comfort me? but alas! men suffer them∣selves to be filled with this and that lust, with some corruptions or o∣ther. Page 98 Now when a mans purse is full of stones, there is no roome for silver; so when the heart is full of sinne, there is no roome for grace; Joh. 8. 37. My Words, saith Christ to the Jewes, have no place in you. As a great Inne filled with guests, all the roome is taken up, so as there is no roome for others; and by rea∣son of the noyse they cannot heare what o∣thers call for: so it is when the soule is filled with sinne continually bawling for tendance, and accomplishment, there is no roome for the Word of God to Page 99 enter, all the roomes are taken up, there are guests in every corner, all the faculties are fil∣led. Therefore the Apo∣stle James, Jam. 1. 21. exhorts them, Where∣fore lay aside all malice, and superfluity of naugh∣tinesse, and receive with meekenesse, the ingrafted Word, which is able to save your soules: all super∣fluity of wickednesse, sinne, and evill, though it be never so small or little, it is superfluity, and therefore if ever you would take physick take it fasting, if you desire it should doe you most good, so there is no taking of the Word Page 100 of God, or any meanes of Salvation, to have any profit by them up∣on a full stomach; as when the heart is filled with sinne, with pride, envy, malice, hypocri∣sie, earthlinesse, dead∣nesse, untowardnesse to godly duties.
If thou wouldst de∣sire grace, consider the want of it; wert thou never so gracelesse, yet if thou didst but know the want of it, thou wouldst desire it: with∣out grace thou art childe of hell, a brat of the devill, and an heire to the curse of the great God; better had it beene for thee, that thou hadst Page 101 beene borne a dogge, or a toade, a serpent, or any thing else, than to be borne to live and dye without Grace. Art thou proud, and hast not grace to bee hum∣bled? know, God will know thee a farre off, and then woe, woe, damna∣tion is thy end; Livest thou in any sinne and hast not grace to mor∣tifie, and in time to kill it? better had it beene for thee that thy cradle had beene thy Coffin, and thy mothers womb thy grave, than that thou shouldst live to sinne, and dye without repentance. O cursed art thou, there are not Page 102 so many letters in Gods booke, as thou hast cur∣ses for thy portion, it would burst thy heart with griefe, if it were sensible of the 100000. part of that woefull griefe.
My heart breaketh for the longing for thy judge∣ment:* the Prophet con∣sidering what a feare∣full thing it was to bee without the comfort of Gods word, it breakes his very soule. True de∣sire of grace is sensible of the want of it; I say not therefore that it is without grace, for there is difference, be∣tweene being in want of a thing, and being Page 103 without a thing; a man may be in want of full health and strength, and yet not without health and strength: so a Christian seeing in himselfe, not to have attained to the full de∣gree of grace, desiring after it, is sensible of the want of it. A dead man yee may carry to London, or whither you will, he never desires to baite in the way, hee feeles no hunger nor thirst, whereas a living man cannot travaile long, but necessity of nature calls for refresh∣ment; a fearefull signe that men are dead in sinne, and in the state Page 104 of eternall death, seeing they can travaile up and downe their whole lives, and yet feele no want of grace.
[Answ. 5] Lastly, feare to of∣fend God; the feare of evill is the desire of good, feare to trans∣gresse against Gods Commandements, feare to pray coldly, feare to have a by thought at any of the Ordinances of God, feare to bee proud, feare to carry malice, and thoughts of revenge, feare to do any evill to displease thy heavenly Father.
This feare is a marke of true repentance, 2 Cor. 7. 11. Where there Page 105 is most feare, there is most desire: What is the reason that women are most subject to de∣sire, but because they are most fearfull? What is the reason that Stags and Harts (as King James excellently no∣teth) are so thirsty af∣ter revenge, but be∣cause they are timerous and fearefull by nature? Who desire most to be exalted, to this and that honour, place, and of∣fice, of credit and pre∣ferment, but such as feare they shall never have honour enough? Who are more cove∣tous than they that feare they shall never Page 106 have riches enough? Would I urge you to the desire of grace, I thinke I can bring such motives out of the Word of God, as will either leave you in the gall of bitternesse, or else make you to desire grace.
[Mot. 1] Grace is like the poore man Solomon speakes of in Eccles. 9. 15. who when a King had besieged a City, yet he by his wisdome delivered it, but no man remembred this poore man, though they had beene all dead men had not he by his wis∣dome delivered them, yet no man accounted Page 107 or esteemed of him. So it is with grace, were it not for grace, we should all be damned; and al∣beit that grace doth bring Salvation among us, yet where is the man that truely ac∣counts of it even so as to desire it?
[Mot. 2] Consider that there is no good, indeede good to thee, but one∣ly in grace: What is it that men desire? is it not good? Psal. 4. Many say, who will shew us any good? some good or other all seeme to ayme at: but it is a wonder, what wide aymes men take, some think it is in plea∣sure, and therefore Page 108 ayme onely how they may spend the time merrily, in eating and drinking, in hawking and hunting, in carding and dicing, and the like; some thinke it in honour, and some in riches, some in learning; some in one thing, and some in another; but alas! thou mayst eate and drinke, and yet be damned when thou hast done; thou mayst desire much gold and silver, and yet perish in hell, after thou hast got it; thou mayst desire honour and promotion, and yet bee damned when thou hast attai∣ned it; these are true, Page 109 but vaine goods, out∣ward and temporary, good onely in refe∣rence to a further good, so that if a man should rest on them, he should lose all his good. Our Saviour Christ puts a base Pronoune upon them, calling them these things, as if they were not worthy the naming, Mat. 6. 33. Seeke first the Kingdome of God, and the righteousnesse thereof, and all these things shall be added unto you: Where our Saviour forbids his Disciples the seeking of earthly things. In the first place talke not of these things, neither let your thoughts bee Page 110 troubled about them, for they are not what they seeme, or as many judge them to be, but if you would have the true good, first secke the Kingdome of heaven. So in James 5. 1, 2, 3. Goe too now ye rich men, weepe and howle, for the miseries that shall come upon you; your riches are corrupt, & your garments moath-ea∣ten, your gold and your silver is cankered, and the rust of them shall be a witnesse against you. Weepe and howle yee great men, Knights, Lords and rich men; if you have no other treasure, your portion shall be damnation and Page 111 destruction in the day of Gods wrath. It is grace alone that is true good, inward substan∣tiall good, and the last good of the soule; all other goods they are but finite, but grace in∣estates a man into the Lord Jesus Christ, an infinite full and perfect good: riches, honour, and wisedome, these things are good, but thou must give account for them, and if thy account bee not good, thou shalt bee damned for the unprofitable use of them: those things are not like fat Parso∣nages, which it may be bring 100. or 200. Page 112 pound into the Parsons purse yearely, and yet may be, they are but 10. or 20. pound in the Kings bookes: it is not so with grace, but every pound is a pound, every shilling is a shilling, yea every farthing is a far∣thing in Gods booke: so that if God hath gi∣ven thee wisedome, knowledge, riches, hou∣ses, honours, or any o∣ther talent, know that God hath set it downe to a farthing, and thy account shall bee as strictly demaunded of thee, if thou hast not grace. Grace would discharge a man of all these; when all other Page 113 goods are but as bur∣thens to men to sinke them to hell.
[Object.] I hope I desire grace, may some say, I pray, I reade, I heare, I medi∣tate, and conferre of good things.
[Answ.] When a man is at a banquet, doth hee de∣sire the dishes, or the meate in the dishes? in∣deede hee may pull at the dishes, but reacheth thereby to the meate. Prayer, and Preaching, Sacraments, &c. they are but as it were the dishes; God disheth up his graces in his Ordi∣nances: now should guests when they are at a banquet, sit cutting Page 114 the dishes, they might cut them, and yet rise a hungry, and starve for all the nourishment they would give. So men cut the meate, and when that is eaten they cast away the dishes; Prayer, Preaching, Sa∣craments, they must cease, if therefore thou hast not gotten meate out of those dishes, if thou hast not received the grace offered unto thee by them, thou art never the better: thou hast heard the word, but hast thou received the spirit? thou hast prayed, but hast thou gotten grace? thou hast received the Sacra∣ments, Page 115 but hast thou received Christ, and his graces also? other∣wise thou hast nothing. O what a strange thing is it, that men should feede upon dishes, and not seeke after the meate in them, and so starve their soules! Did the Prodigall, Luk. 15. feede upon his fathers dishes? No, but on his fat calfe; What though I have a golden key, if it will not open the doore? What good is it for a man to have brave gally pots about him, if there be no physicke in them to heale his sick∣nesse? A boate, a boate, cryes the passenger, Page 116 when he would goe o∣ver the water; what, is it the boate he desireth? No, but that hee may passe over the water. We cry out a Sermon, a Sermon, a prayer, a Sa∣crament, but to what end? wee should desire them as a meanes wher∣by God conveyeth grace, using them as boates carrying us un∣to holinesse, to faith, love, meekenesse, humi∣lity, &c. otherwise thou wilt bee never the bet∣ter: for if a man have a hundred boates, yet if they cannot carry him over the water, what is he the nearer for them? if a man have heard an Page 117 hundred Sermons, and have as many prayers, and Sacraments, yet if thereby hee have not grace, nor be carried to holinesse and Sanctifi∣cation at the day of Judgement, he shall be at the farthest part of the River, of the Ha∣ven of blessednesse.
[ 2] No good can satisfie but onely grace: Eccles. 1. 8. All things are full of labour, the eye is not sa∣tisfied with seeing, nor the eare filled with hearing: suppose the eye should see all the brave and beautifull things in the world, yet the eye is not satisfied with see∣ing of them: suppose a Page 118 man should heare all the melodious musique, yet would not the eare be satisfied. The wo∣man that came to draw water at Jacobs Well, John 4. 13. our Saviour tells her, Whosoever drinketh of this water, shall thirst againe, these things may allay for a time, but not quench a mans thirst. For give a covetous man never so much wealth and ri∣ches, yet his thirst is not quenched, but there is roome for him to co∣vet againe. Give Alex∣ander one world and he will aske for another. Thou art sick and desi∣rest health, thou hast Page 119 health, yet thou desirest something else: thou art in Prison, thou de∣sirest liberty; when thou hast it, doest thou leave off desiring? No, but thou wouldst have some other thing. Sup∣pose a man were worth ten pound, he desireth to be worth twenty; and when be hath that, hee desireth an hundred, and so a thousand pound. All the goods in the world is like Ale-house Beere, which the travailor drinketh of, but it doth not quench his thirst; a man can never satisfie his desire, with any world∣ly good. If thou Page 120 wouldst have that which will satisfie thee, then desire grace, for grace is the proper ob∣ject of the soule. Sup∣pose thou hadst all the brave sights in the world, yet thou couldst not see them with thine eyes; suppose thou hadst all the sweete Musique in the world, yet thou couldst not heare it; for the sights are the objects of the eyes, and Musique of the eares. So all the good things of the world are but for the body, not for the soule; riches, honours, pleasures, and the like, are the objects of the body, and not of the Page 121 soule, and therefore the soule can never be sa∣tisfied with them. A fa∣ther in his meditations speakes thus, Lord thou hast made my soule for thy selfe, and it can ne∣ver be at rest, till it can find rest in thee. The soule is like Noahs Dove which could finde no rest (the waters over∣flowing the earth) till she returned to Noah in the Arke againe: so unlesse thy heart hath found God, and bee drawne up to him the center of it; thou mayst wander up and downe the whole world, and yet never have content. Couldest thou get Page 122 wealth, honour, wise∣dome, learning, health, and the like, yet with∣out grace the soule is empty, and hath not satisfaction. They are all transitory, and there∣fore cannot give con∣tent. Suppose a man could have the world, and yet lose it againe, it would more vexe him and disquiet him than if he had never had it. Hence it is that a poore begger, that hath alwayes endured want, can beare it bet∣ter than a broken Gen∣tleman that hath lived in wealth and pleasures in former time, want and necessity is a hun∣dred Page 123 times more grie∣vous to him: Wilt thou (saith Solomon, Prov. 23. 5.) cast thine eye upon that which is nothing? for riches taketh her to her wings, as an Eagle that flyeth to the Heavens: he doth not say that riches flyeth like a hawke which by a whistle or some other meanes will come to the Faulkoner againe; but is like an Eagle, which no Art under heaven can bring backe againe; all thy riches, all thy honours, hast thou never so much of them, they cannot continue long with thee; for either they will leave thee, or thou Page 124 must leave them at the houre of death, then out goes the soule, and God knowes whi∣ther; it may be the more honours thou hast, and riches, plea∣sures, preferments, &c. the worse thy case is, and the greater thy condemnation.
Thirdly, suppose they were permanent, yet they are unnaturall to the soule; Can a horse feede upon flesh, or a Lyon upon straw? so my beloved, can a mans soule feede upon shil∣lings and pounds? can a mans soule feede up∣on lusts, and pleasures and vanities? No, the Page 125 soule is of a spirituall substance, and therefore cannot be satisfied with worldly contentments: as it is with the body, so it is with the soule in this, the necessity of the body, and empti∣nesse thereof is not fil∣led with spirituall things, but with earth∣ly; so a spirituall empti∣nesse must haue a spiri∣tual replenishment: Can a man fill a house with grace? No, a house is a body, and therefore must have houshold stuffe, and the like, which are bodies to fill it: so the soule which is incorporeall is not filled with bodies, Page 126 with silver and gold, or any thing in the world; for all the honours, pleasures, and the like, in the world, are bodi∣ly honours, bodily plea∣sures, and bodily de∣lights, and therefore cannot fill a spirituall emptinesse; the foole, that our Saviour speaks of Luke 12. shewed himselfe to be a foole indeede, in that hee sayd to his soule, Soule take thy ease, thou hast much goods layd up for many yeares, vers. 19. whereas al those goods did onely concerne his body, for notwithstan∣ding all them, his soule was miserable, empty, Page 127 and wicked; his body indeed had much goods, much silver and gold layd up for many years, but his soule had never a ragge.
Lastly, the soule it selfe is unsatiable, and therefore nothing can satisfie it. The soules of men ever since the A∣postasy of the soule from God, by Adams fall, have wandred up and downe like Devils, men run one after this lust, another after that, one after this profit, that preferment, yet finde no rest in any thing. It is the curse of God upon mans soule, because it would not Page 128 rest on God, that there∣fore it should not rest on any thing else; the soule shall never have satisfaction, unlesse grace bring it backe a∣gaine to the same God, from whence it hath fallen, and so set it up∣on God and Christ: A wicked man may say he is contented, and he thankes God he hath e∣nough; but the reason is, becaus he thinks he hath grace too, and that e∣nough to carry him to heaven: for if that wicked men knew that they had no grace, or that they had not e∣nough to free them frō hel, were they never Page 129 so rich, honourable, &c. yet they could have but cold comfort. Why, saith the Prophet Esay 55. 2. doe you lay out your silver, and not for bread, and your labour without being satisfied? Why doe you bestow all your thoughts and meditations, all your paines and labours to get the world, to get gaine and preferment, to satisfie your lusts? Know this is not bread, it is a Scorpion; it is not fish, but a Serpent; will you feede your bodies with them for a while, and starve your soules for ever? Suppose thou hadst got all that thou Page 130 canst desire of these goods, and thou com∣mest to lye upon thy death-bed, afflicted with many paines and aches of thy body, and troubled with the stings of an accusing consci∣ence in thy soule, some man would tell thee of thy great honours and preferments, of thy large revenewes, and present thy golden cof∣fers, and should say; Sir why doe you complaine of paines, and aches, and agonies? thinke of these things: alas, they cannot give ease to the least of thy torments, they cannot shelter thy soule from that feare∣full Page 131 doomes sentence, Goe ye cursed into everla∣sting fire: it is not gold nor silver, nor all the wealth in the world, that can deliver a sinner from the wrath of God: wouldst thou have true good? God is one∣ly good; he is good in the highest perfection, he is an absolute good without evill, all other good hath its mixture of sorrow, griefe, and hatred, with love, de∣light, and joy. But God is the onely good, Prov. 11. 23. The desire of the Righteous is onely good, he desires God, and Christ, and the eternall love of God in Christ Page 132 to be manifested unto him, and therein hee roules and rests him∣selfe, but the hope of the wicked is indigna∣tion, hee onely desires the base pelfe of the world, but the wrath of heaven is with it, and he shall bewaile his owne soule, that for such base things hee should refuse the eter∣nall good and neglect it.
Secondly, God is eminent in all good∣nesse, all other good hath for the most part but one good in it, or three at the most, meate will not cloath a man, nor cloth will not Page 133 feede a man, but in God there is all good, infinitely greater than mans soule is or can be capable of. Dost thou desire Riches? goe to God, and then thou shalt have all that thou canst desire. Dost thou de∣sire honour, and length of dayes, even eternity? goe to God. When a man goes to one place for food, they must goe to another place for cloathes; shouldest thou goe to the Drapers shop for cloathes, then thou must goe to ano∣ther place for meate. Thou takest an hundred wayes in vaine that see∣kest after the things of Page 134 this world; if thou wouldst goe to God, thou might'st have all thy desires accompli∣shed, and all thy wants supplyed at once in him.
Thirdly, God is such a good that without him nothing is good, when thou desirest gold, thou desirest not the earth, but the good of it; if thou couldst have the good use of it, thou wouldst not desire the earthen matter of it: the good of gold and silver, of apparell and the like, is from God; whatsoever good it be, if God be not in it, it is not its selfe; Page 135 thou hast money in thy purse, if thou hast not God also in thy heart, it is not treasure, but canker; thou that art cloathed with never such costly garments, if withall thou art not cloathed with Christs Righteousnesse, they are not garments to co∣ver thee, but badges of thy loathsomenesse, and nakednesse before God; the gold, of thy gold; the honour, of thy ho∣nours; the pleasure and delight of thy delights; the garment, of thy garments; is Gods love in them all. In joy God, and thou hast good of them all, Psal.Page 136 63. 1. O God thou art my God, my soule thirsteth after thee, my flesh longeth greatly after thee, in a bar∣ren and dry land without water; a barren good, the Juyce & sap of the heart, and the roote of all good is from God alone.
Lastly, God is such a good, that if thou hast him not for thy great good, who is of all infinite goodnesse to his people, who have chosen and pre∣ferred for their onely good; The same God will be a God of infi∣nite terrour and wrath to all such as have re∣jected him, and chosen Page 138 false Gods to them∣selves. Is God be∣come this evill? just∣ly mayst thou trem∣ble, and feare all; all the devills in hell, without the wrath of thy God, whom thou hast rejected, the flames of hell would not bee terrible, but the Lords wrath as a fire, and a River of Brimstone doth kindle it. Our God (saith the Apostle) is a consuming fire: the very hell of hell, the fire of fire will God bee to thy soule with∣out grace. Wherefore if thou wouldst desire any thing to doe thy soule good, then de∣sire Page 138 grace; grace, or else thou perishest; grace, or else thou dyest; get grace, or else thou art damned in hell for e∣ver.