Sermons preached by ... Henry Hammond.
Hammond, Henry, 1605-1660.
Page  237

The XV. Sermon.

Gal. VI. 15.
But a new Creature.

[ D] AMongst all other encumbrances, and delayes in our way to Heaven, there is no one that doth so clog and trash, so disadvantage and back∣ward us, and in fine, so cast us behind in our race, as a contentedness in a formal worship of God, an acquiescence and resting satisfied in outward performances, when men upon a confidence that they perform all that can be [ E] required of a Christian, they look no farther then the outward work, observe not what heart is under this outside, but resolve their estate is safe, they have as much interest in Heaven as any one. Such men as these the Apostle begins to character and censure in the 12.* verse of the Chapter, As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, &c. They that stand only on a fair specious out-side, and think all the sap and life of Religion lies in the bark, they do this and this, these will have you circumcised, and constrain you to a many [ F] burthensome ceremonies; measuring out Religion to you by the weight, thus much is required of you to do (as Popish Confessors set their deluded votaries their task of Ave Maries and Pater nosters by tale) and thus you may be sure to be saved. In brief, the Apostle here shews the unprofitableness of all these, and sets up the inward sanctity and renewedness of heart against them all, as the only thing Page  238 that will stand us in stead, and appear to be of any weight in the [ A] balance of the sanctuary. If you observe all the commands, and submit your selves to all the burden of both Law and Gospel, and bear it upon your shoulders never so valiantly, if you be content to be circumcised as Christ was, or because he hath now abrogated that, make use of Christian liberty, and remain uncircumcised, not∣withstanding all inducements to the contrary: In brief, be you outwardly never so severe a Jew or Christian, all that is nothing worth, there is but one thing most peremptorily required of you, [ B] and that you have omitted; For neither circumcision availeth any thing, neither uncircumcision, but a new creature.

The particle but in the front of my Text is exclusive and restri∣ctive, it excludes every thing in the world from pretending to a∣vail any thing, from being believed to do us any good. For by cir∣cumcision the Church of the Jews, and by uncircumcision the whole profession of Christian Religion being understood, when he saith neither of these availeth any thing, he forcibly implies that all other [ C] means, all professions, all observances that men think or hope to get Heaven by are to no purpose, and that by consequence it ex∣actly restrains to the new creature; there it is to be had, and no where else: thus doth he slight and undervalue, and even repro∣bate all other wayes to Heaven, that he may set the richer price, and raise a greater estimation in us of this. The substance of all the Apostles discourse, and the ground-work of mine shall be this one Aphorism, Nothing is efficaciously available to salvation, but a renew∣ed, [ D] regenerated heart. For the opening of which we will examine by way of doctrine, wherein this new creature consists, and then by way of use, the necessity of that, and unprofitableness of all o∣ther plausible pretending means; and first of the first, wherein this new creature consists.

'Tis observable, that our state of nature and sin is in Scripture exprest ordinarily by old age,* the natural sinful man, that is, all our natural affections that are born and grow up with us,* are cal∣led [ E] the old man, as if since Adams fall we were decrepit,* and feeble, and aged as soon as born, as a child begotten by a man in a consumption never comes to the strength of a man, is alwayes weak, and crazy, and puling, hath all the imperfections and cor∣poral infirmities of age before he is out of his Infancy. And ac∣cording to this ground the whole Analogy of Scripture runs; all that is opposite to the old decrepit state, to the dotage of nature is phrased new;* The new Covenant, Mark i. 27. The language of be∣lievers [ F] new tongues,* Mark xvi. 17. A new commandment, John xiii. 34.*A new man, Ephes. ii. 15. In sum, the state of grace is exprest by 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,*all is become new, 2 Cor. v. 17. So that old and new,* as it divides the Bible, the whole state of things, the world; so it doth that to which all these serve, man; every natural man Page  239 [ A] which hath nothing but nature in him, is an old man, be he never so young is full of years, even before he is able to tell them. Adam was a perfect man when he was but a minute old, and all his chil∣dren are old even in the cradle,* nay, even dead with old age, Eph. ii. 5. And then consequently, every spiritual man which hath somewhat elsé in him then he received from Adam, he that is born from above,* John iii. 3. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, (for it may be so rendred from the original, as well as born again, as our English read it) [ B] he that is by Gods spirit quickned from the old death,*Ephes. ii. 5. he is contrary to the former, a new man, a new creature; the old Eagle hath cast his beak and is grown young; the man, when old has entred the second time into his mothers womb, and is born a∣gain, all the gray hairs and wrinkles fall off from him, as the scales from blind Tobits eyes, and he comes forth a refin'd, glorious, beau∣teous new creature, you would wonder to see the change. So that you find in general, that the Scripture presumes it, that there [ C] is a renovation, a casting away of the old coat, a youth and spring again in many men from the old age and weak bed-rid estate of na∣ture. Now that you may conceive wherein it consists, how this new man is brought forth in us, by whom it is conceived, and in what womb 'tis carried, I will require no more of you, then to observe and understand with me what is meant by the ordinary phrase in our Divines, a new principle, or inward principle of life, and that you shall do briefly thus. A mans body is naturally [ D] a sluggish, unactive, motionless, heavy thing, not able to stir or move the least animal motion, without a soul to enliven it; with∣out that 'tis but a carcass, as you see at death, when the soul is separated from it, it returns to be but a stock or lump of flesh, the soul bestows all life and motion on it, and enables it to perform any work of nature. Again, the body and soul together conside∣red in relation to somewhat above their power and activity, are as impotent and motionless, as before the body without the soul. [ E] Set a man to remove a mountain, and he will heave perhaps to o∣bey your command, but in event will do no more towards the displacing of it, then a stone in the street could do: but now let an omnipotent power be annext to this man, let a supernatural spirit be joyned to this soul, and then will it be able to overcome the proudest, stoutest difficulty in nature. You have heard in the primitive Church of a grain of faith removing mountains, and be∣lieve me, all miracles are not yet out-dated. The work of regene∣ration, [ F] the bestowing of a spiritual life on one dead in trespasses and sins, the making of a carcass walk, the natural old man to spring again, and move spiritually, is as great a miracle as that. Now the soul in that it produces life and motion, the exercise of life in the body is called a principle, that is, a spring or fountain of life, because all comes from it; in like manner, that which Page  234〈1 page duplicate〉Page  235〈1 page duplicate〉Page  236〈1 page duplicate〉Page  237〈1 page duplicate〉Page  238〈1 page duplicate〉Page  239〈1 page duplicate〉Page  240 moves this soul, and enables it to do that which naturally it could [ A] not; that which gives it a new life, which before it lived not, fur∣nisheth it with spiritual powers to quell and subdue all carnal af∣fections which were before too hard for it; this, I say, is called properly an inward principle, and an inward, because it is in∣wardly and secretly infused, doth not only outwardly assist us as an auxiliary at a dead lift, but is sown and planted in our hearts, as a soul to the soul to elevate and enable it above it self, hath its seat and palace in the regenerate heart, and there exercises domi∣nion, [ B] executes judgment, and that is commonly either by prison or banishment, it either fetters, or else expels all insolent rebelli∣ous lusts. Now the new principle, by which not the man, but the new man the Christian lives, is, in a word, the spirit of God, which unites it self to the regenerate heart, so that now he is said to be a godly man, a spiritual man from the God, from the spirit, as before a living reasonable man from the soul, from the reason that inform'd and ruled in him; which is noted by that distincti∣on [ C] in Scripture betwixt the regenerate and unregenerate, exprest by a natural or animal, and a spiritual man. Those creatures that have no soul in them are called naturals, having nothing but nature within to move them, others which have a soul, animals, or living creatures, by both which the unregenerate is signified indifferently, because the soul which he hath stands him in little stead, his flesh rules all, and then he is also called a carnal man, for all his soul he is but a lump of flesh, and therefore, whether [ D] you say he hath a soul, and so call him an animal, or hath not a soul, and so call him a meer natural, there is no great difference in it. But now the regenerate man which hath more then a soul, Gods spirit to enliven him, he is of another rank, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a spi∣ritual man, nay, only he properly a Christian, because he lives by Christ,*He lives, yet not he, but Christ liveth in him, Gal. ii. 20. This being premised, that now you know what this new creature is, he that lives and moves by a new principle, all that is behind [ E] will be clearliest presented to you by resolving these four questi∣ons; 1. whence it comes; 2. where it lodges; 3. when it enters; 4. what works it performs there. To the first, whence it comes, the answer is clear and punctual,*John iii. 3. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, from above, from whence comes every good, and especially every perfect gift, James i. 17.* but this most peculiarly by a several and more excellent way then any thing else. Since Christs ascension the Holy Ghost of all the persons in the Trinity is most frequently employed in the [ F] work of descending from Heaven, and that by way of mission from the Father and the Son, according to the promise of Christ, John xv. 26.*The comforter whom I will send from the Father. Now this spirit being present every where in its essence, is said to come to us by communication of his gifts, and so to be peculiarly resident Page  241 [ A] in us, as God is in the Church, from which Analogy our bodies are called the Temples of the Holy Ghost which is in us,* 1 Cor. vi. 19. God sends then his Spirit into our hearts; and this, I said, by a peculiar manner, not by way of emission, as an arrow sent out of a bow, which loses its union which it had with the bow, and is now fastned in the But or white; nor properly by way of infusion, as the soul is in the body, infus'd from God, yet so also, that it is in a manner put into our hands, and is so in the man's possession [ B] that hath it, that it is neither in any mans else, nor yet by any ex∣traordinary tye annext to God from whom it came: but by way of irradiation, as a beam sent from the Sun, that is in the air indeed, and that substantially, yet so as it is not separated from the Sun, nay, consists only in this, that it is united to the Sun; so that if it were possible for it to be cut off from the Sun, it would desist to be, it would illuminate no longer. So that you must conceive these beams of Gods Spirit at the same time in the Christians heart [ C] and in the spirit, and so uniting that Spirit to the heart, as you may conceive by this proportion. I have a javelin or spear in my hand, if I would mischief any thing, or drive it from me, I dart it out of my hand at it, from which Gods judgments are compa∣red to shooting and lightning, He hath bent his bow, he hath sent forth his arrows,*he cast forth lightnings, Psal. xviii. 14. But if I like any thing that I meet with, if I would have it to me, I reach out my spear and fasten in it, but still hold the spear in my hand, and [ D] having pierct it draw it to me. Thus doth God reach forth his graces to us, and as I may so say, by keeping one end in his hand, and fastning the other in us, plucks and unites us to himself, from which regeneration is ordinarily called an union with Christ, and this union by a strong able band, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in Euseb. his phrase, which no man can cut asunder. 'Tis impos∣sible to divide or cut a spirit, and this bond is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a spiritual one, and that made St. Paul so confident, That no crea∣ture [ E] should ever separate him,* Rom. viii. 39. And this God does by way of emanation, as a loadstone sending out its effluvia or mag∣netick atomes draws the iron to it self, which never stays till it be united. Thus do you see from whence this principle comes to me, and in what manner, from Gods Spirit by this means uniting me to himself.

To the second question, where it lodges, my answer is, in the heart of man, in the whole soul; not in the understanding, not in [ F] the will, (a distinction of faculties invented by Philosophers, to puz∣zle and perplex Divines, and put them to needless shifts) but, I say, in the whole soul, ruling and guiding it in all its actions, enabling it to understand and will spiritually; conceived, I say, and born in the soul, but nursed, and fed, and encreased into a perfect sta∣ture by the outward Organs and actions of the body, for by them Page  242 it begins to express and shew it self in the world, by them the ha∣bit [ A] is exerted and made perfect, the seed shot up into an ear, the Spring improved to Autumn, when the tongue discourses, the hands act, the feet run the way of Gods Commandments. So, I say, the soul is the mother, and the operations of soul and bo∣dy the nurse of this Spirit in us, and then who can hold in his Spirit without stifling, from breaking out into that joyful acclamation, Blessed is the womb that bears this incarnate Spirit,*and the paps that give him suck! Now this inward principle, this grace of regenerati∣on, [ B] though it be seated in the whole soul, as it is an habit, yet as it is an operative habit producing, or rather enabling the man to pro∣duce several gracious works, so it is peculiarly in every part, and accordingly receives divers names according to several exercises of its power in those several parts. As the soul of man sees in the eye, hears in the ear, understands in the brain, chooses and desires in the heart, and being but one soul, yet works in every room, every shop of the body in a several trade, as it were, and is ac∣cordingly [ C] called a seeing, a hearing, a willing or understanding soul: thus doth the habit of grace seated in the whole, express and evidence it self peculiarly in every act of it, and is called by as several names as the reasonable soul hath distinct acts, or ob∣jects. In the understanding 'tis first, spiritual wisdom, and discre∣tion in holy things,* opposite to which is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Rom. i. 28. an unapproving, as well as unapproved or reprobate mind, and frequently in Scripture spiritual blindness. Then as a branch of this, [ D] it is belief or assent to the truth of the promises, and the like; in the practical judgment 'tis spiritual prudence in ordering all our holy knowledge to holy practice; in the will 'tis a regular choice of whatsoever may prove available to salvation, a holy love of the end, and embracing of the means with courage and zeal. Lastly, in the outward man 'tis an ordering of all our actions to a blessed conformity with a sanctified soul. In brief, 'tis one principle with∣in us doth every thing that is holy, believes, repents, hopes, loves, [ E] obeys, and what not? And consequently, is effectually in every part of body and soul, sanctifying it to work spiritually, as an ho∣ly instrument of a divine invisible cause, that is, the Holy Ghost that is in us and throughout us.

For the third question, when this new principle enters; first, you are to know, that comes into the heart in a three-fold condition; 1. as an harbinger; 2. as a private secret guest; 3. as an inhabitant, or house-keeper. As 'tis an harbinger, so it comes to fit and prepare [ F] us for it self; trims up, and sweeps, and sweetens the soul, that it may be readier to entertain him when he comes to reside; and that he doth (as the ancient gladiators had their arma praelusoria) by skirmishing with our corruptions before he comes to give them a pitch-battel; he brandishes a flaming sword about our ears, Page  243 [ A] and as by a flash of lightning, gives us a sense of a dismal hideous state; and so somewhat restrains us from excess and fury; first, by a momentary remorse, then by a more lasting, yet not purify∣ing flame, the Spirit of bondage. In sum, every check of consci∣ence, every sigh for sin, every fear of judgment, every desire of grace, every motion or inclination toward spiritual good, he it never so short-winded, is praeludium spiritus, a kind of John Baptist to Christ, something that God sent before to prepare the wayes of [ B] the Lord. And thus the Spirit comes very often, in every afflicti∣on, every disease, (which is part of Gods discipline to keep us in some order,) in brief, at every Sermon that works upon us at the hearing: then I say, the lightning flashes in our eyes, we have a glimpse of his Spirit, but cannot come to a full sight of it▪ and thus he appears to many, whom he will never dwell with. Unhappy men that they cannot lay hold on him when he comes so near them! and yet somewhat more happy, then they that never came within ken of [ C] him: stopt their ears when he spake to them even at this di∣stance. Every man in the Christian Church hath frequently in his life a power to partake of Gods ordinary preparing graces: and 'tis some degree of obedience, though no work of regenera∣tion, to make good use of them: and if he without the Inhabitance of the Spirit cannot make such use as he should, yet to make the best he can: and thus I say the Spirit appears to the unregenerate, almost every day of our lives. 2. When this Spirit comes a [ D] guest to lodge with us, then is he said to enter; but till by actions and frequent obliging works he makes himself known to his neighbours, as long as he keeps his chamber, till he declare him∣self to be there, so long he remains a private secret guest: and that's called the introduction of the form, that makes a man to be truly regenerate, when the seed is sown in his heart, when the habit is infused, and that is done sometimes discernibly, some∣times not discernibly, but seldom, as when Saul was called in the [ E] midst of his madness,*Acts ix. he was certainly able to tell a man the very minute of his change, of his being made a new creature. Thus they which have long lived in an enormous Antichristian course, do many times find themselves strucken on a sudden, and are able to date their regeneration, and tell you punctually how old they are in the Spirit. Yet because there be many preparations to this Spirit, which are not this Spirit; many presumptions in our hearts false-grounded, many tremblings and jealousies in those that have it, [ F] great affinity between faith natural and spiritual: seeing 'tis a Spirit that thus enters, and not as it did light on the Disciples in a bodily shape, 'tis not an easie matter for any one to define the time of his conversion. Some may guess somewhat nearer then others, as re∣membring a sensible change in themselves; but in a word, the surest discerning of it, is in its working, not at its entring. I may know Page  244 that now I have the Spirit better then at what time I came to it. [ A] Undiscernibly Gods supernatural agency interposes sometimes in the mothers womb, as in John Baptist springing in Elizabeth at Maryes salutation,* Luke i. 41. and perhaps in Jeremy, Jer. i. 5. Before thou camest out of the womb I Sanctified thee,* and in Isaiah, Isa. xlix. 5.*The Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant. But this divine address attends most ordinarily till the time of our Baptism, when the Spirit accompanying the outward sign in∣fuses it self into their hearts, and there seats and plants it self, and [ B] grows up with the reasonable soul, keeping even their most luxu∣riant years within bounds; and as they come to an use of their reason, to a more and more multiplying this habit of grace into holy spiritual acts of Faith and Obedience: from which 'tis ordi∣narily said, that Infants baptized have habitual Faith, as they may be also said to have habitual repentance, and the habits of all other graces, because they have the root and seed of those beauteous healthful flowers which will actually flourish then, when they [ C] come to years. And this, I say, is so frequent to be performed at Baptism, that ordinarily 'tis not wrought without that means, and in those means we may expect it, as our Church doth in our Liturgies, where she presumes at every Baptism that it hath pleased God to regenerate the Infant by his holy Spirit. And this may prove a solemn piece of comfort to some, who suspect their state more then they need: and think 'tis impossible that they should be in a regenerate condition, because they have not as yet found any [ D] such notable change in themselves, as they see and observe in others. These men may as well be jealous they are not men, be∣cause they cannot remember when their soul came to them: if they can find the effects of spiritual life in themselves, let them call it what they will, a religious education, or a custom of well doing, or an unacquaintedness with sin; let them comfort them∣selves in their estate, and be thankful to God who visited them thus betimes; let it never trouble them that they were not once as [ E] bad as other men, but rather acknowledge Gods mercy, who hath prevented such a change, and by uniting them to him in the cradle, hath educated, and nursed them up in familiarity with the Spirit. Lastly, the Spirit sometimes enters into our hearts upon occasional emergencies, the sense of Gods judgments on our selves or others, the reflexion on his mercies, the reading good Books, falling into vertuous acquaintance, but most eminently at, and with the preach∣ing of the Word: and this by degrees as it seems to us; but in∣deed [ F] at some one especial season or other, which yet perhaps we are not able to discern, and here indeed are we ordinarily to expect this guest if we have not yet found him: here doth it love to be cherished, and refreshed, and warm'd within us, if we have it,*for even it is the power of God unto salvation, Rom. i. 16. Page  245 [ A] The 3. condition in which this Spirit comes into our hearts, is as an inhabitant, or house-keeper. The Spirit,* saith Austin, first is in us, then dwels in us: before it dwels, it helps us to believe: when it dwels, it helps, and perfects, and improves our faith, and accomplishes it with all other concomitant graces. So I say here, the Spirit is then said to inhabit, and keep house in us, not as soon as it is entertained and received: but when it breaks forth into acts, and declares it self before all men, When men see our good works, and glorifie our [ B] Father,* Matth. v. 16. Before we were said to live in the Spirit, now to walk,* as you shall see the phrases used distinctly, Gal v. 25▪ 〈◊〉 walk, that is to go about conspicuously in the sight of all men, breaking forth into works, (as the Sun after the dispersions of a mist or cloud) whereby all men see and acknowledge his faith and obedience, and find their own evil wayes reprehended, and made manifest by his good,* as is noted in the 13. verse, All things that are reproved, are made manifest by the light. Semblable [ C] to which is that of the Atheists repining at the godly man,* 2 Wisd. ii. 14. He is made to reprove our thoughts. Thus is the third Quere resolved also, when this inward principle enters. 1. It comes as an harbenger, in every outward restraint by which God keeps us from sinning. 2. It enters as a guest in some season or other, once for all. In the womb, at Baptism, at some Sermon, some∣times at a notable tempest, shaking and stirring us violently, ordi∣narily and for the most part not to be discerned by us: and lastly, [ D] it comes and dwels with us, and shews it self in its works, yet that not at any set time after his entrance, not constantly without ever covering his face, but when and as often as it pleases, and the flesh resisteth not. To the last Quere, What works it performs, the answer shall be brief; every thing that may be called spiritual, Faith, Repentance, Charity, Hope, Self-denial, and the rest: but these not promiscuously, or in an heap altogether, but by a wise dispensation, in time and by degrees. The soul being enabled [ E] by this inward principle, is equally disposed to the producing of all these, and as occasions do occur, doth actually perform and produce them; so that in my conceit that question concerning the priority of Repentance, or Faith, is not either of such moment, or difficulty, as is by some disputers pretended. The seeds of them both are at one time planted in the soul: and then there is no Faith in any subject, but there is Repentance also; nor Re∣pentance without Faith. So that where it is said, Without Faith 'tis [ F] impossible to please God in any thing else, 'tis true; but argues no necessary precedence of it before other graces, for the habits of them all are of the same age in us, and then also will it be as true, that without Repentance, or without Love, Faith it self cannot please God: for if it be truly acceptable Faith, there is both Repentance and Love in the same womb to keep it company. Thus are we Page  246 wont to say that only Faith justifieth, but not Faith alone: and the [ A] reason these promises in Scripture are made sometimes to one grace precisely, sometimes to another, is because they are all at once rooted in the man, and in their habits chain'd together inseparably. Faith saves every man that hath it, and yet the be∣lieving'st man under Heaven shall not be saved without Charity. Charity hides a multitude of sins, and yet the charitablest man in the world shall never have his score cross't without Repentance. A catalogue of these fruits of the Spirit you may at your leisure [ B] make up to your selves for your tryal,* out of the fifth to the Gal. from the 22. verse,* and 1 Peter i 5. All these graces together, though some belonging to one, some to another faculty of the soul, are yet all at once conceived in it, at once begin their life in the heart, though one be perhaps sooner ready to walk abroad, and shew it self in the world then another. As in the 2 of Kings iv. 34.*Elisha went up on the bed and lay on the child and put his mouth on his mouth, and eyes upon his eyes, and hands upon his hands, and [ C] stretched himself upon the child, and the flesh of the child waxed warm, and verse 35.* the child sneezed seven times, and opened his eyes. Thus I say, doth the Spirit apply it self unto the soul, and measure it self out to every part of it; and then the spiritual life comes at once into the soul (as motion beginning in the centre, diffuses it self equally through the whole sphere, and affecteth every part of the circumference) and the flesh of the child waxed warm; where the flesh indefinitely signifieth every part of it together, and in [ D] the spiritual sense the whole soul; and this is when the inward principle, when the habit enters. Then for acts of life, one per∣haps shews it self before another, as the child first sneezed seven times, a violent disburthening it self of some troublesom humors that tickle in the head; to which may be answerable our spiritual clearing and purging our selves by Self-denial, the laying aside every weight,* Heb. xii. 1. then opened his eyes, which in our spiritual creature, is spiritual illumination, or the eye of Faith; these I say, [ E] may first shew themselves as acts, and yet sometimes others before them, yet all alike in the habit, all of one standing, one conception, one plantation in the heart: though indeed ordinari∣ly, (like Esay and Jacob) the rougher come out first. We begin our spiritual life in Repentance and contrition, and with many harsh twinges of the Spirit; and then comes Faith like Jacob at the heels, smooth and soft, applying all the cordial promises to our penitent souls. In brief, if any judgment be to be made, which of these [ F] graces is first in the regenerate man, and which rules in chief; I conceive Self denial and Faith to be there first, and most eminent, according to that notable place,*Matth, xvi. 24. where Christ seems to set down the order of graces in true Disciples. Let him deny himself, and take up his cross, that is, forgo all his carnal de∣lights, Page  247 [ A] and embrace all manner of punishments and miseries, prepare himself even to go and be crucified, and then follow me; that is, by a lively faith believe in Christ, and prize him before all the world besides: and indeed in effect these two are but one, though they appear to us in several shapes: for Faith is nothing with∣out Self-denial, it cannot work till our carnal affections be subject∣ed to it. Believe a man may, and have flesh and fleshly lust in him, but unless Faith have the pre-eminence, Faith is no Faith. [ B] The man may be divided betwixt the law of his members, and the law of his mind; so many degrees of flesh, so many of spirit: but if there be constantly but an even balance, or more of flesh then spirit, if 3 degrees of spirit, and 5 of flesh, then can there not be said to be any true Self-denial, and consequently any Faith, no more then that can be said to be hot, which hath more degrees of cold, then heat in it. In brief, 'tis a good measure of Self-denial that sets his faith in his Throne, and when by it faith hath conquered, [ C] though not without continual resistance, when it hath once got the upper hand, then is the man said to be regenerate, where∣upon it is that the regenerate state is called the life of Faith.* Faith is become a principle of the greatest power and activity in the soul. And so much for these 4 Queries; from which I conceive every thing that is material, and directly pertinent to instruct you, and open the estate of a new creature, may be resolved. And for other niceties, how far we may prepare our selves, how co-ope∣rate [ D] and joyn issue with the spirit, whether it work irresistibly by way of physical influence, or moral perswasion, whether being once had, it may totally or finally be lost again, and the like; these I say, if they are fit for any, I am resolved are not necessary for a Countrey Auditory to be instructed in. 'Twill be more for your profit to have your hearts raised, then your brains puft up; to have your spirits and souls inwardly affected to an earnest desire and longing after it, which will perhaps be some∣what [ E] performed, if we proceed to shew you the necessity of it, and unavailableness of all things else, and that by way of Use and Application.

And for the necessity of renewedness of heart, to demonstrate that, I will only crave of you to grant me, that the performance of any one duty towards God is necessary, and then it will prove it self; for it is certain no duty to God can be performed without it. For 'tis not a fair outside, a slight performance, a [ F] bare work done that is accepted by God: if it were, Cain would deserve as much thanks for his sacrifice as his brother Abel; for in the outside of them there was no difference, unless perhaps on Cain's side, that he was forwardest in the duty, and offered first, Gen. iv. 3. But it is the inside of the action,* the marrow and bowels of it that God judges by. If a sum in gross, or a bag Page  248 sealed up, would pass for payment in Gods audit; every man [ A] would come and make his accounts duly enough with him: and what he wanted in gold for his payment, should be made up in counters. But God goes more exactly to work, when he comes to call thee to an account of thy stewardship: he is a God of thoughts, and a searcher of the heart and reins, and 'twill then be a harder bu∣siness to be found just when he examines, or clear when he will judge. The least spot and blemish in the face of it, the least maim or im∣perfection in the offering, the least negligence or coldness in the [ B] performance, nay the least corruption in the heart of him that doth it, hath utterly spoiled the sacrifice. Be the bulk and skin of the work never so large and beautiful to the eye, if it come not from a sanctified, renewed, gracious heart, it will find no accep∣tance, but that in the Prophet,*Who hath required it at your hands? This is not it that God is taken with, or such as he commanded, it may pass for a complement, or a work of course, but never be valued as a duty or real service. Resolve thy self to dwell no [ C] where but in the Church, and there (like Simeon〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in Euseb.) plant thy self continually in a Pillar, with thy eyes, and words, fixt, and shot up perpetually towards Heaven. If there be not a spirit within thee to give light to the eyes; to add sighs and groans to the voice, all this that thou hast done is nothing but as a blind mans pretensions to sight, and a dumb mans claim to speech; and so in like manner in all our duties which the world and carnal men set a price on. And the reason is, because every [ D] spiritual seeming work done by a natural man, is not truly so: 'tis nothing less then that which it is said to be; his prayers are not prayers, lip-labour perhaps, but not devotion; his serving of God is formality, not obedience; his hope of Heaven, not a hope but a phancy. If God, or Satan, a judge, or a tempter, should come to reason with him about it, he would soon be worsted, never be able to maintain his title to it. In brief, the fairest part of a natural man, that which is least counterfeit, his desire and [ E] good affections to spiritual things (which we call favourably natural desires of spiritual obedience,) these I say, are but false de∣sires, false affections. 1. They have no solidity or permanency in the will, only fluid and transitory, some flight sudden wishes, tempests and storms of a troubled mind, soon blown over: the least temptation will be sure to do it. They are like those waver∣ing prayers without any stay of faith,*Jam. 1. 6. like a wave of the sea driven by the wind and tost. 2. That being which they have is [ F] counterfeit, they are not that which they are taken for. We are wont to say, that acts are distinguished by their objects, he sees truly which judges the thing to be that that it is: 'tis true indeed that another man sees, he that takes blew for green, but he does not see truly: so also he only willeth a good thing, that wills that Page  241 [ A] in it, which is truly good. Now the natural man, when he is said to chuse spiritual things, as Heaven, Happiness and the like, he desires not a spiritual but a carnal thing: in desiring Heaven, he desires somewhat that would free him from misery in happiness, a natural or moral good, that would be acceptable to any creature under Heaven: and so a Turk will desire paradise, and that very impatiently, in hope that he shall have his fill of lust there. Ge∣nerally you may mark that in such desires of spiritual things, 'tis [ B] some carnality that moves unregenerate men: somewhat it is that may please the flesh, and then 'tis not the spiritual but the carnal part of it that is their object which they woo, and make love too: which you may judge of by this, that they are frequent and im∣portunate in their wishes for glory, seldom or never for grace (though that also may be wished for carnally, to make us more re∣nowned and better esteemed in the world.) For the most part, I say, they desire glory, for that will make them happy, and out of danger [ C] of worldly misfortunes: remission of sins, for these lie heavy on their consciences, and give them many a twinge that they would fain be eased of: but seldom petition for grace, as if holiness with∣out other conveniencies or gains, were not worth the having. And this arises from hence, that our love of Christ grows by sending out and fastning our affections on him as an object fittest for our turns, that will advantage us most; but not by receiving in his Image and shape into our souls: this indeed would make us not only love, but [ D] imitate him, and having once tasted, long after him, this would sanctifie our souls, whereas the other doth but only satisfie our gree∣dy affections.

By what hath been said 'tis plain enough (though it might be much more amplified) that grace is of absolute necessity to perfor∣mance of any holy work acceptable to God: that without it what∣soever is done in spiritual matters is carnal, not indeed spiritual, but equivocally and absurdly so called. The natural mans desires [ E] of Heaven, are not desires of Heaven: his faith, no faith: his be∣lieving of the Scripture, infidelity; because he doth not apply them particularly to himself to obey them. In sum, when he prayes, hopes, or give alms, he does somewhat indeed, and 'tis well done of him: but he doth not truly either pray, or hope, or give alms, there is some carnality in them that hath poysoned them, and quite altered the complexion, the constitution, and inward qualities of the work. And then indeed how impatient [ F] should every Christian be of this Coloquintida within him? There's mors in ollâ,* as the Prophet once spake, that's death in the pot, that so infects and kills every thing that comes out of it. How should we abhor, and loath, and detest this old leaven that so besowres all our actions? this Heathenism of ungenerate carnal nature, which makes our best works so unchristian? To insist longer Page  242 upon this, were but to encrease your thirst, not to satisfie it: to make [ A] you sensible of that marasmus and desperate drought that hath gone over your souls, but not to help you to any waters for the cure: that shall come next, as the last work of this exercise to be per∣formed, in a word.

Having learnt what this new creature is, and how absolutely ne∣cessary to a Christian; O let us not defer one minute longer to ex∣amine our estates, whether we are yet renewed or no, and by the acts which we daily perform, observe whether the sanctifying ha∣bit [ B] be as yet infused into our souls. If the grounds of our best duties, that which moves us in our holiest actions, be found upon search to be but carnal; if a careful religious education, custom of the place which we live in, fear of humane laws, nay perhaps a good soft tender disposition, and the like, be the things that make thee love God, and perform holy duties, and not any inward principle of sanctity within thee: I counsel thee to think better of thine estate, and consider whether the like motives, had it so [ C] hapned that thou hadst been born and brought up in Turky, might not have made thee worship Mahumet. I would be sorry to be rigid; I fear thou wilt find they might: well then, a new course must be taken, all thy former heathen, carnal, or at best good moral life, all thy formal performances, the best of thy natural desires must be content to be rank't here with circumcision and uncircumcision availing nothing, there is no trust, or confidence to be placed on these Aegyptian staves of reed, Es. xxxvi. 6. And then if thou wilt [ D] not live heartless for ever, if ever thou meanst to move or walk, or do any thing, you must to that Creator of Spirits and Lover of Souls, and never leave solliciting, till he hath breathed another breath into your nostrils, another Soul into your Soul: you must lay your self at his feet, and with all the violence and Rhetorick, and humility, that these wants will prompt thee to, and woo, and importune the Holy Spirit to overshadow thee, to conceive all holy graces spiritually in thee: and if thou canst not suddenly re∣ceive [ E] a gracious answer, that the Holy Ghost will come in unto thee, and lodge with thee this night: yet learn so much patience from thy beggarly estate, as not to challenge him at thy own times, but comfortably to wait his leisure. There is employment enough for thee in the while to prepare the room against his coming, to make use of all his common graces, to cleanse and reform thy foul corruptions, that when the Spirit comes it may find thee swept and garnish't. All the outward means which God hath afforded thee, [ F] he commands thee to make use of, and will require it at thy hands in the best measure, even before thou art regenerate, though thou sin in all thy unregenerate performances, for want of inward san∣ctitie, yet 'tis better to have obeyed imperfectly, then not at all: the first is weakness, the other desperate presumption; the first ma∣terial Page  243 [ A] partial obedience, the second total disobedience. Yet whilst thou art preparing, give not over praying, they are acts very com∣petible; thou maist do them both together. Whilst thou art a sortifying these little kingdoms within thee, send these Embassadors abroad for help, that thou maist be capable of it when it comes. But above all things be circumspect, watch and observe the Spirit, and be perpetually ready to receive its blasts, let it never have breathed on thee in vain; let thine ear be for ever open to its [ B] whisperings: if it should pass by thee either not heard, or not un∣derstood, 'twere a loss that all the treasures upon earth could not repair, and for the most part you know it comes not in the thunder. Christ seldom speaks so loud now adayes as he did to Saul, Acts ix. 'tis in a soft still voice, and I will not promise you that men that dwell in a mill, that are perpetually engaged in worldly loud em∣ployments, or that men asleep, shall ever come to hear of it. The sum of all my exhortation is, after examination, to cleanse, and [ C] pray, and watch; carefully to cleanse thy self, incessantly to pray, and diligently to watch for the Sun of Righteousness, when he shall begin to dawn, and rise, and shine in thy heart by grace. And do thou, O Holy Lord, work this whole work in us, prepare us by thy outward, perfect us by thy inward graces: awaken us out of the dark∣ness of death, and plant a new seed of holy light and life in us: infuse into our heathen hearts a Christian habit of sanctity, that we may per∣form all spiritual duties of holiness, that we may glorifie thee here [ D] by thy Spirit, and be glorified with thee by thy Christ hereafter.

Now to him that hath elected us, hath, &c.