EVANGELICAL RULES CONCERNING SUFFERING. In a Discourse, May 10. 1670.
Romans 5.21. the latter part.
So might Grace reign through Righteousness unto Eter∣nal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
I Have raised this Doctrine from these words, That the Grace of God is the Supream good in the Gospel, in the Covenant of Grace, there is no good above it, there is no good before it, all the good of the Gospel comes from it, all good depends on it, and is dis∣pens'd by it. I have shewed that this Grace is sovereignly infinitely free, sweet, and irresistable: I demonstrated this by three Arguments.
Page 2First, That the grace of God is the highest love; Secondly, The grace of God is the highest loveliness and beauty; Third∣ly, It is the highest joy. This is the grace of God, the love of the Father, the loveliness of the Son, God in all the three Persons at once shining out in each of them in the light of divine love, heavenly beauty, and incomprehensible joy, and breaking out from God in the spirit of a Saint as a spiri∣tual flame of divine love, heavenly beauty, and infinite joy, inlightning inlivening the soul of a Saint, teaching it and transforming it to one spiritual flame of the same love, beau∣ty, and joy, with it self.
My last Use was an Exhortation to glorifie the grace of God, and thereby the God of grace. First, in our lives, by living to this grace; Secondly, by suffering for this grace, by this grace. I spake of the first, and shall by the assistance of God spend this time on this last part, to glorifie the grace of God in your sufferings. Here I began by the grace of God to deliver those things to you, which I my self have sometimes received from Jesus Christ, when I have seen his face and tasted his love by a spirit of faith, and so do I hope and desire in the simplicity of my heart to lead you by the same anoint∣ing of the spirit of this grace of God shining in the face of Christ with this heavenly love, beauty, and joy, as I hope I my self am led and taught to live upon them.
There be five Rules I would lay before you in the pursuit of this Exhortation.
- *First, See that you suffer from the grace of God calling you to suffer.
- Secondly, Suffer only for the grace of God.
- Thirdly, Suffer with grace in your spirits.
- Fourthly, Suffer with grace in your outward behaviour.
- Fifthly, Let grace alone, this grace of God, be all your solace in all your sufferings.
[ I] First, Suffer from the grace of God calling you to it, Heb. 5.4. the Holy Ghost tells us, No man takes this honour to himself, as a Priest to God, but he that is called of God, as Aaron was; when you suffer as Saints, then you will by Page 3 Jesus Christ become like him, and be both the Priest and the Sacrifice; but take heed you take not this honour to your selves to be Priests and Sacrifices to God, except he call you to it, as he did Aaron: St. Paul layes this as the ground of all that spiritual light that flowed from him, in his Epistle to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 1.1. Paul called to an Apostle of Je∣sus Christ, through the will of God; then have you a sweet∣ness and strength in your sufferings, when you can say of your selves, such an one is called to be a Sufferer; when the grace of God calls you to be a Sufferer, then the title of a Sufferer and the triumph will be great. Paul when he stood before the Roman Governour, makes this the ground of his confidence and consolation, O King Agrippa I was not dis∣obedient to the heavenly vision; what a spring of fresh life will this be to say, I have not been disobedient to the heavenly vision, I have not been disobedient to the heavenly call, the grace of God shining without me in his providences of grace, and shining before me in his word of grace, and shining within me from the spirit of that grace on my spirit? O ye the Flock of Jesus Christ, O ye little Flock, keep your eye on your Shepheard the Lord Jesus, especially when he leads you into the Wildernes, and into the Storm, see him going before you, and hear his voyce calling to suffer, and know his voyce; then shall you go in and out and find pasture; then in the valley of death you shall meet with green pastures; then in the time of great tempests when the Sea roars, you shall feed by the still water-brooks and rivers; then in the hot noon of Persecution your Shepheard shall lay you in a shady grove, under his own shadow, in the tender grass, in his own bosome, and there and then your Conscience, toge∣ther with the spirit of grace, the holy Angels, all blessed Spirits, shall be as so many Birds singing about you, and you shall appear as a continual Spring; God shall spring up in the beauty of his appearance, in the manifestation of his love, while you are obedient to the heavenly vision, and follow the heavenly call of his grace in his Providences, his Word, and Spirit. This is the first Rule, See that you suffer only from grace calling you to it.
Page 4 [ II] Second Rule is, See that you suffer for the grace of God only; but before I fall on the affirmative part of this Rule, I have cautions to give, to take heed of these things for which you are not to suffer.
[ 1] First, Suffer not for the favour of man to please any par∣ty or perswasion; Saint Paul saith, Do I perswade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ, Gal. 1.10. Oh suffer not to approve your selves to men; the Scripture saith, Judg. 9.13. That Wine cheareth the heart of God and man. A learned In∣terpreter applies this to Christ and his Saints, Christ the Vine, and Saints the Branches, the blood of Christ in his Saints poured out in sufferings, makes glad the heart of God and man, Oh pour not out this blood to make glad the heart of man alone; how foolish be we to seek to please men with a false fleshly spirit? Oh let this Wine be poured out to this end, to make glad the heart of God, and all that partake of the same divine joy with him. A great King when he met with a great Philosopher said, Oh what a Theatre have I lost, by thy not seeing my actions: It was more to him to be ap∣plauded by this one man before all the world, than all the benefit of his victories besides. Beware of this, to make any man, any sort of men, the Theatre of your Sufferings, to be applauded by men, let God alone be the Theatre of your Sufferings, 'tis a light thing with me, saith the Apostle, to be Judged in mans day; let this be the beginning and end of all your suffering, to be applauded by God, approved of God, and accepted by him.
[ 2] Suffer not out of any humour or passion, the Apostle ex∣horts 1 Cor. 5.8. Let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth; this relates to the Passeover, 7th. verse, For Christ our Passeover is sacrificed for us: there is to be a conformity between the sufferings of Christ and a Saint; do you come to suffer with Christ? let it be like Christ, let it be a Passeover, let it be a Sacrifice of a Lamb, lay thy self down as a Lamb, gentle, innocent, and meek, Page 5 and let this be a feast, and cast out the old leaven, all sour, sullen, cross, perverse spirits; keep this feast with the un∣leavened bread, the sincerity, truth, simplicity of an inno∣cent, gentle, meek spirit.
Suffer not for any earthly interest, worldly power, or [ 3] earthly kingdom; Saint Paul tells us, 2 Cor. 3.17, 18. that that which kept him from fainting in affliction, we look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen, for the things that are seen are temporal; now while the outward man perishes, the inward man is renewed day by day; if we suffer with our eyes on visible powers and inte∣rests, we shall faint in our suffering, when instead of having our expectations of great rewards answered, we shall find our outward man, and the interests thereof decay, at what a loss shall we be. Saint Paul joyns these two together, minding earthly things, and being enemies to the Cross of Christ, Phil. 3.18, 19. be not deceived, it will be found an unhappy delusion; while we think we are in conformity to the Cross of Christ, for us to keep our eye, mind, and heart, fix'd on earthly things, we shall be found in truth enemies to the Cross of Christ.
My fourth caution is this in my second Rule of suffering [ 4] for grace, suffer not for a wrathful spirit, for a Ministry of wrath and of the Law; this is the servile spirit, the son of Hagar the bondwoman which is of Mount Sinai, this spirit shall not inherit the promise or the kingdome of God; that is reserved for the spirit of the freewoman, for Isaak the seed of love, of divine mirth and joy: when Nadab and Abihis offer'd strange fire before the Lord, the strange fire returns upon them and consumes them; God calls his own works of wrath, a strange work; 'tis a strange fire to God who is love, If you come to suffer with the strange fire of a wrathfull spi∣rit, this fire will burn upon you till this wrathfull spirit hath consumed you. Moses himself, the meekest man on earth, yet being a Minister of the law and of wrath, for one wrath∣full expression, hear now ye Rebels, he was not suffered to enter into the good land of Canaan. David, a man after Gods Page 6 heart, though he had fought the battels of the Lord, for his wrath in murdering Vriah, was not permitted to build the house of God the Temple. When Christ was to suffer, he bids Peter put up his sword, for he that uses the sword, shall perish by the sword. If we suffer for a Ministry of wrath, with a spirit of wrath, we shall find the wrathfull sword turn it self against us; 'tis the spirit of grace alone, 'tis the spirit of love, of faith and joy, which brings to the good land of rest, which builds up the heavenly Temple.
Now I come to my Rule it self, which is, Suffer alone for the grace of God. I shall divide this Rule into four parts.
- [ 1] Suffer first for the Ministry of the grace of God.
- [ 2] For attendance to this Ministry of the grace of God.
- [ 3] For obedience to this grace.
- [ 4] For the kingdome of this grace.
[ 1] First, Suffer only for a Ministry of grace; hast thou seen the beauty of Christ? hast thou tasted the love of Christ? hast thou known how sweet the Lord Jesus is to the poor soul of man, to poor lost sinners? and canst thou forbear to de∣clare or hear those things which you have tasted and seen, when they appertain to the glory of the King of grace, when they appertain to all mankind, when they are the joy of the whole earth and of heaven, when they are the hope of all Nations, and of every creature in its capacity? I will publish the name of God, sings Moses in Deut. 32.3. you to whom that name hath proclaimed it self in the Gospel, publish that God is light in whom is no darkness, a light of pure glory, that God is love it self, free, absolute, unmix'd, that he is God Emmanuel, this light, this love, with us, for us, in us, in our stead, springing up in us. Oh pour out this name of God wherever you come, as an oyntment that may fill all spirits round about you with a sweet smell, to draw all souls by the sweet smell of Christs loveliness in thee, to Jesus Christ, and make them in love with him; and now see what Saint Paul saith, Phil. 2.17. Yea, and if I be offered on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoyce with you all; for the same cause also do ye joy and rejoyce with me. Doth the most high God in thy spirit shine out with the light of his blessed beauty Page 7 and love? doth he by thy spirit shed abroad his dearest love to many souls? doth he by thee wooe souls and bring them into the bosome of his most heavenly love, where they also become Children of light and love, shining in the same beau∣ty, springing in the same sweetness? If thou be offered up in any degree of suffering, and made a sacrifice for this service of the faith of any, for thus espousing Jesus Christ, and the souls of Saints one to another in this golden band of incor∣ruptible beauty and love, Oh rejoyce, and call all holy An∣gels, and blessed Spirits, to rejoyce with thee, and be there∣by helpers forward of your joy. Thus suffer for the Ministry of grace.
Secondly, Suffer for thine attendance on the Ministry of [ 2] grace; faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God; Oh cursed, saith that good and noble Italian Mar∣quess, be he that thinks all the treasures in the world to be worth one moments communion with the Lord Jesus Christ. David a great King saith, One day in the house of the Lord to behold his glory, is better than a thousand elsewhere. Doth God by any Ministry through the outward word of his grace bring forth himself to thee as a heavenly Bridegroom com∣ming out of his Chamber richly adorned as the Sun in a Sum∣mer morning fresh and sweet with beauty of his grace, to take thee out of thy state of sin and sorrow, out of the tu∣mults of the flesh, to his Bridall Chamber, to his Marriage Chariot, to Ryde with him as his Queen? canst thou now think there are any joyes, any treasures to be compared with this State? have you thus in the Ministry of his grace seen the Lord Jesus, and received him in his love into your souls? and is not one hour spent thus, better than thousands in all the glory of the world? is not one grain of this glory better, of more worth, than all this world at present, with respect to the present sweetness? what will it then be as it grows up in full ripe Fruits to Eternity? Thus suffer for attending to the Ministry of grace.
Thirdly, Suffer for your obedience only to the grace of [ 3] God; the Wise men followed the Starr, though it went in∣to Page 8 a Stable, because there they met with the King of glory. Behold a more beautifull guide than a Starre, I will guide thee by my eye, the face of God to his people, is the day spring from on high; Follow this day spring, this eye, this face of God, whethersoever it leads thee, though to a Man∣ger, though to a Prison, though to the Cross and to the Grave, to Poverty and Desolation: Oh follow it, for where∣ever it leads you, you shall find your Jesus there, the Prince of glory, turning the Stable, the Prison, to a Palace of glo∣ry, and turning the Cross to a flourishing Tree of life, bud∣ding as Aarons Rod.
[ 4] Fourthly, Suffer only for the kingdome of grace; there be two Scriptures which I shall present to you, to make good this part of my Exhortation, Heb. 11.13. They confessed that they were strangers and Pilgrims on the earth: then 14th. They that say such things, declare they sought a Countrey, a Kingdome, but what Kingdom, 15. vers. not that from whence they came; and 16. but now they desire a better Countrey, that is an heavenly; therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he hath prepared for them a City: they seek a Coun∣trey, 'tis their heavenly native Countrey; the word is Patrida,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, suffer as Pilgrims here, not to be Princes, care not for it; have you been cast out of your Possessions, Estates, and Glories here, and desire not to return whatever opportu∣nities present themselves? let not this be in your eye in suffering, profess here you have no abiding place, no endu∣ring substance, profess your selves Pilgrims, give your selves to suffer as such, let your eye be upon your native Countrey, on the heavenly Jerusalem; now you please God to the heart, and God delights to be called your God, when together with him, you will be sojourners here, and seek no king∣dome but that in which he Reigns; now God will prepare, now God hath prepared for you a City, nay a Kingdome. The second Scripture is 2 Cor. 4.18. with the 5th. and 1st. what carryed Paul through suffering, saith he, We look not at the things that are seen, but things not seen, which are Eternal; and now we know, that if our earthly house of Page 9 this Tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God Eternal in the Heavens, and this we groan for, to be cloathed with our house which is from Heaven, not to be uncloathed, but clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up of life▪ here's a Kingdome for which alone all the Saints are to suffer; not of this world, nor in this world; not of the flesh, or in the flesh; but of the spirit, and in the spirit; but for an in∣visible kingdome, which the eye of no natural understand∣ing can reach, a kingdome seated and established in God, a kingdome eternal in the Heavens, where the invisible light and glory swallows up all that is visible, temporal, and mor∣tal into it self: for this kingdome of grace endure suffer∣ings, so you will be like Christ, for it is said he endured for the joy set before him; what was that joy set before him? see that John 17.5. And now, O Father, glorifie me with thy self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was: see here the joy and kingdome which was in the eye of Christ, that kingdome of God above which is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, which is not in this world, which was before the world was; a kingdome in Eternity, God himself that kingdome, the invisible, eternal glory of the God-head, which was, when the world was not, and shall be, when the world is no more, which while the world continues is the same, but not in the world, nor in appea∣rance to sence or reason, but in the invisibility of the eternal spirit, in a glory farr surmounting sence or reason; this kingdome was in Christs eye when he suffered, now the joy of this kingdome made him despise the shame; Oh be ye like Christ, and suffer for this kingdome to reign with God in his invisible and eternal glory. So much for this second Rule, To suffer only for the grace of God.
Thirdly, Let us suffer with the grace of God in our spirits; [ III] when the Disciples desired Jesus Christ to call for fire from Heaven to destroy those Samaritans that would not suffer him to go through their City, Jesus Christ saith unto them, Ye know not what spirits you are of; these words are capable of a two-fold sence: first, you know not not O my Lambs Page 10 what is your proper spirit, and how that you ask is your proper spirit, this is unproper to my spirit, and do you de∣sire to know what spirit this is? the Holy Ghost tells in the Epistle of Saint James, Jam. 3.14. If you have any bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lye not against the truth; this is a bitter Zeal in the Original, call not this Zeal, Religion, and Grace, and the Spirit of the Gospel, you lye against the truth if you do so; this wisdome is not from above, but is earthly, sensual, and devillish: O see what spirit we are of, if we call for fire from Heaven to consume those that reject us and resist us, to destroy the soul or life of any man; this is a bitter Zeal, and brings in 16 vers. Confusion, and every evil work.
A second sence is, you know not what spirit you are of, that is, you do not understand what the spirit of grace, of the Gospel, in you is, and what the spirit of a Saint under the Gospel is; For the Son of Man came not to destroy souls, but to save them: would you know the proper spirit of a Saint? see that in the 17th. vers. But the wisdome that is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easie to be entreated, full of mercy, and the fruits of righteousness are sown in peace, with∣out partiality; the word is, without wrangling: See the spi∣rit which is your spirit, the spirit of Saintship, 'tis a Dove, as the eyes of the Spouse, a spirit composed of the purity of a spiritual and heavenly loveliness, and in the simplicity of this loveliness, it flows out in love to all, without regard to this party, or the other party, without quarrelling, and so in its life, it sows the fruit of righteousness, in peace, in the purity, love, peacebleness, and gentleness of this spirit, and so makes peace, and springs up into peace. Oh that our Lord Jesus were ever in our eye and heart as a pattern; when he was Crucified, he died to be a Sacrifice of Love to those that Crucified him; when his blood was poured out with the greatest malice, he shed it to wash away their sins that spilt it, to make his blood a heavenly wine in the kingdome of his Father for those very sinners to drink of, and receive a new life, to have fellowship with him in his life; his last-breath Page 11 was spent in a Dove-like breathing, and giving a kiss of love to those souls that Crucified him, in these words, Father for∣give them, for they know not what they do: what a kiss of kindness was this to those souls that were with the greatest rage Crucifying him. Oh suffer ye in like manner.
'Tis said, the blood of the Saints, is the seed of the Church; when you suffer, let your loss and suffering be with this spi∣rit, to sow a pretious seed of grace and love, of peace and righteousness, to spring up in the souls of those by whom you suffer, by your heavenly love and meekness in suffering. If you dye suffering on account of the grace of God, let the breathings of your soul to the last, be an offering of prayers in the behalf of those that cause your sufferings, that God may pardon them, and delight in them, to do them good, and bring them to the same rest of God with you.
My fourth Rule is, Let grace be in your outward beha∣viour [ IV] when you suffer; It is said of the Spouse, that milk and honey are under her tongue; so in your deportments, carriage, looks, or words, let there appear nothing of the venome of the Serpent, nothing of the fierceness of the Wolf, let all be Lamb-like, let your eyes be Doves-eyes, let every action and word be milk and honey, pure, true, wise, healing, nourishing, gentle, softning, sweet∣ning; as spices when they are thrown into a fire, send out a sweet perfume to recreate the sences of those that threw them into the fire; such should the suffering of a Saint, breathing out the sweetness of heavenly joy and love to those that cast them into the fire, to allure them into the fellowship of this grace, and so heap coals of fire upon their heads, accor∣ding to that of the Apostle, 1 Cor. 4.12. Being reviled, we bless. [ V]
A fifth Rule is this, Let the Grace of God be your onely solace in all your sufferings; I shall only gloss a little on two Scriptures, and so conclude; the first is, in Rom. 8.35. Who shall seperate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, di∣stress, or persecution, famine, or nakedness, peril or sword? nay, in all these things we are more then conquerours, through him that loved us; for I am perswaded that neither death, nor Page 12 life, nor any creature, shall be able to seperate from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The grace of God that we have been speaking of, and the love of God here in the Text, are all one, how sweet and full of consolation is this grace in suffering? the love and grace of God which shines out and lives in the glorified per∣son of Jesus Christ, is the same that he communicates to his Saints and lives in them. And now whatever suffering comes to a Saint, no part of it shall ever come between you O Saint, and this bosome of love, nothing shall seperate from this love: A cloud of suffering may surround you, and be black without to those that look on it, but this cloud within shall (like the Tabernacle with Badgers skins without, all glori∣ous within) shall be full of divine love to you; this cloud shall not come between you and this love of God, the grace of God shall be between you and every cloud; They say of the Romans of old, that they had a sort of linnen that would not be burnt in the fire, and after they had burned the dead as was their custome, they took up the bones and wrapt them in that linnen, and therein burnt them to ashes to keep the ashes unmixt from the common ashes. Let what suffer∣ing will come, let what fire will be kindled upon you, you are wrapt in the bosome of the Lord Jesus; and whatever operation the fire may have upon you, it 〈◊〉 do you no hurt, for you are safe wrapt up in that love which the fire cannot hurt. The houses of great persons have naked, bare, dead, damp walls in them, when the owners family is from thence; but when they come to their houses they furnish them with rich hangings, which are beautiful to the eye, and keep the rooms warm, and serve for recreation to entertain the indwel∣lers with some pleasant stories which are described in them. O my beloved, every state of suffering into which a Saint comes, is a distinct room of the Pallace of the great King of Glory and his Bridegroom, and though that condition be like bare walls, damp, melancholy, and naked, yet when you come into it, having this grace of God accompanying you in every state; now it is furnisht richly for you with love, as Page 13 for an heire of glory, with the grace of God, which is the light of Divine love, beauty and joy all in one; God in Christ shi∣ning in the simplicity of all his love, doth as with hangings of glory furnish thy room; now the deformity of the walls is covered with divine beauty, now the damp of the walls is taken away with the warmth of divine love, now the melan∣choly is taken away, and you are entertained with pleasant stories of this love and its glory, all in this furniture, in this love of God which comes between thee and sufferings, and present themselves to thee according to all wisdome and pru∣dence. My last Scripture is, 1 Pet. 4.14. If ye are reproacht for the name of Christ, happy are yo• for the spirit of God and of glory rests on you. Let me give you a few considerations from this word of grace; First, when you suffer as a Saint God is with you, he presents himself and appears to thee in grace and love. So it was with Jacob, he was by Esau's ill will cast out of his Fathers house, sent away poor and alone; with my staff I went over saith he; he wanders in a large field, and meets with a dark night and a hard bed, having a cold stone for his sorrowful head to sleep upon; but behold there he met with that presence of God, that spirit of God and of glory, in such eminency, as he never saw before, that he cries out, This is none other but the house of God, this is the gate of Hea•••. Let us not fear what will befall us while we be obedient to the heavenly vision in the face of Christ; we may be cast out of our Fathers house by our churlish Brethren, from our own houses, estates, and joys of this life to wants and nakedness. But behold their God will appear to us, that we shall say, O blessed experience, I am cast out of my own house, but here I am in the house of my God, where I shall dwell for evermore.
2ly. God will be with thee in his spirit, not a spirit of grace only, but a spirit of glory, God will be with thee in the spirit unvailed, and give thee the sweetest view of his naked face, he will in this spirit of grace and glory poure out himself in the highest delights to thy bosome, and take thee to his bo∣some, to the fountain of love and sweetness, making himself with thee one spirit of Joy, beauty, sweetness, love and Page 14 light, all your graces shall be turned into glories; now as Gold by the fire is heightned to a lustre, the spirit shall be in every grace, comfort, and truth, a spirit of glory. God shall say to you, come out from the possessions and joyes of this world, to the naked open field; there I will bring thee to my garden, and there I will sing of my loves, come out of the Tabernacles of clay, come with me my love to my banquet∣ting house, there I will give thee my loves, there I will spread my banner of love more gloriously then ever you saw it, and you shall be more sick of love for me, and I will more abun∣dantly satisfie thy love.
Thirdly, God will now be with thee to rest on thee to continue with thee, not as in your prosperity like a wai∣fairing man, to give a visit for a night and away; no, he will say thou hast left and lost comfort of relations, & friends, & ready to lose thy life, now I will not leave thee alone, I will be house and land, gardens and orchard, sweet relations, all joys of life; ile be the pillar of fire and pillar of cloud at once to thee by day and by night; ile be a firm security to thee, a fire shining round about thee with flames of purest glory, most ravishing sweetness, divinest love; Ile be a sweet cloud overshadowing thee, distilling on thee peace and rest; I will keep thee in perpetual safety by my over shadowing thee; I will never leave thee alone while you sleep; Ile watch over thee when you awake; I will talk with thee; I will entertain thee; I will speak of my Kingdom and glory, and in all thy walks I will guide thee; I will tell thee of the union between thee and me, which is an unsearchable mistery to the natural man; I will celebrate before thee my everlasting love, my light, life, and love, shall be the way in which you shall walk, in which you shall go from one delight to another, till you come to eternal joys in my self.
Lastly, when you suffer for the grace of God, it ap∣pears from this Scripture, the God of all grace will rest in thee, that is, will lay himself down in thy bosome, and give thee full satisfaction, highest complacency and joy that you are capable of: when Christ was baptized, Heaven was Page 15 opened upon him, and God came down in the form of a Dove, and said, This is my well beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Oh who would not with Jesus Christ enter into a Baptisme of the deepest affliction, the greatest suffering, to have God as the Heaven of Heavens opening himself about thee, and come in a Dove-like form in purest love, speaking such words as these, this is my beloved Child, in whom my soul is well pleased? now is my joy full in thee, and thy joy shall be full in me, and I will glorifie thee with my self; these sufferings themselves shall be a Crown of glory.
Thus my beloved, make the grace of God the only solace to you in sufferings, and set these Rules before you in suffer∣ing, from the grace of God, for the grace of God, as a Mi∣nistry of love, and in attendance on it, obedience to it, to walk in God as he is love, and have nothing but this love dwell in you; suffer with a spirit of grace and love, spring∣ing up into all grace, suffer with a gracious behaviour, where nothing but love to all, springs up a divine love like the love of our Saviour, making you in suffering a sacrifice of a Lamb for all in love; and then let this grace of God, this grace which is the highest love, beauty and joy, which is God himself in highest love and joy, coming to you, and taking you to himself; let this be your solace in suffering, and so the God of grace and peace shall keep you whether you live or dye, he shall sow the Fruits of Righteosness in peace, which shall spring up in peace to your selves, and all round about you. And thus much for this Exhortation.