THE last time I entred on the decla∣ration of that main point, and part of Religion, which is the foundation of all our hopes and comfort, namely, the offering of Christ unto us; that as he did of∣fer himself a Sacrifice to his Fa∣ther for us upon the Cross, so that which is the basis, ground and foundation of our com∣fort, he offereth himself unto us. And here comes in that gracious gift of the Father which closes in with God: That as God saith, To us a child is born, to us a Son is given, &c. so there is grace given us to re∣ceive him. And as the greatest gift doth not enrich a man, unless he accept it, and receive it; so this is Page 412 our case, God offers his Son unto us, as an earnest of his love; if we will not receive him, we cannot be the better for him: If we refuse him, and turn Gods Commodity which he offers us back upon his hand, then Gods storms, and his wrath abides on us for evermore. That it is his good pleasure that we should receive Christ, it is no doubt, we have his word for it: all the point is, how we may receive him, and that is by Faith.
And in this Text is declared, how Faith is wrought, and that is by the Word of truth; In whom al∣so you trusted, after you had heard the Word of Truth. Now after this Faith, there cometh a sealing by the Spirit of God; In whom also after you believed, you were seal∣ed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. Now lest a man should through ignorance and indiscretion, be misled and de∣ceived, there is faith, and there is feeling. Where this is not, I say, not that there is no faith; No: for feeling is an after thing, and comes after Faith. If we have Faith, we live by it; But after you believed, you were sealed. You see then Faith is that whereby we receive Jesus Christ, and to as many as received him, to them he gave power to become the Sons of God, to as ma∣ny as believe on his name. The blood of Christ is that which cureth our souls, but (as I told you) it is by ap∣plication. A Medicine heals not by being prepared, but being applied: so the blood of Christ shed for us, unless applied to us, doth us no good. In Heb. 12. Its called the blood of sprinkling: and that in the 51. Psalm, hath relation to it, where he saith, Purge me with hysop. In the Passover there was blood to be shed, not to be spilt, but to be shed: and then to be gathered Page 413 up again, and put into a Basin, and when they had so done, they were to take a bunch of Hysope and dip and sprinkle, &c. Faith is this bunch of Hy∣sope that dips it self as it were into the Basin of Christs blood, and our souls are purged by being sprinkled with it. In Levit. 14.6. There was a bird to escape alive; but see the preparation for it, You shall take it, and the scarlet, and the Cedar wood, and the Hysop, and shall dip them, and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed, &c. and then you shall sprin∣kle on him that had the leprosie seven times, and shall pro∣nounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field. We are thus let loose, cleansed and freed; but how? unless we are dipt as the living bird was in the blood of the dead bird, there is no escaping, unless we are dipt in the blood of Christ Jesus this dead bird, and sprinkled with this Hysop, we cannot be freed.
So that now to come to that great matter, without which, Christ profiteth us nothing, which is Faith. The Well is deep, and this is the bucket with which we must draw. This is the hand by which we must put on Christ; As many as are baptized put on Christ: thus must we be made ready: we must be thus clothed upon, and by this hand attire our selves with the Son of Righteousness. Wherefore I declared unto you that this Faith must not be a bare conceipt, floating in the brain; not a device of our own. The devil taking hold on this, would soon lead a man into a fools Paradise. To say, I am Gods Child, and sure I shall be saved, I am perswaded so: this the Devil would say Amen to, and would be glad to rock Page 414 men a sleep in such conceipts. Such are like the foolish Virgins, That went to buy oyl for their Lamps; and were perswad•d they should come soon enough to enter with the Bride-groom; but their perswasion is groundless, and they are shut out. So such groundless perswasions and assurances in a mans soul, that he is the child of God, and shall go to heaven, is not Faith; thou mayst carry this assurance to hell with thee: This Faith is not Faith; For faith comes by hearing, and that not of every word or fancy, but by hearing the word of Truth. Faith must not go a jot further then the Word of God goeth. If thou hast an apprehension, but no warrant for it out of the Word of God, it is not faith, for its said, After you heard the Word of Truth you believed. So that we must have some ground for it out of the Word of Truth, otherwise it is presumption, meer conceipts, fancy, and not Faith.
Now I shew'd unto you the last time how this might be; for while a man is an Unbeliever, he is wholly defiled with sin, he is in a most lothsom condition, he is in his blood, filthy, and no eye pities him. And may one fasten comfort on one in such a condition, on a dead man? And this I shew'd you was our case: When Faith comes to us, it finds no good thing in us, it finds us stark dead, and stark nought: yet there is a Word for all this to draw us unto Christ, from that miserable Ocean in which we are swimming unto perdition, if God catch us not in his Net. Hearken we therefore to Gods Call: there is such a thing as this Calling. God calls thee and would change thy condition, and therefore offers thee his Son. Wilt Page 415 thou have my Son? Wilt thou yield unto me? Wilt thou be reconciled unto me? Wilt thou come unto me? and this may be preacht to the veriest Rebel that is. It is the only Word whereby faith is wrought. It is not by finding such and such things in us before∣hand, No, God finds us as bad as bad may be, when he proffers Christ unto us. He finds us ugly and fil∣thy, and afterwards washes us, and makes us good. It is not because I found this or that good thing in thee, that I give thee interest in my Son, take it not on this ground. No, he loved us first, and when we were defiled, he washt us with his own blood, Rev. Now there is a double love of God towards his Crea∣tures.
- 1. Of Commiseration.
- 2. Of Complacency.
That of Commiseration, is a fruit of love which ten∣ders and pities the miserable estate of another.
But now there is another love of Complacency, which is a likeness between the qualities and manners of persons: for like will to like: and this love God never hath but to his Saints after Conversion, when they have his Image instamped in them, and are re∣formed in their Understandings and Wills, resem∣bling him in both, then, and not till then bears he this love towards them. Before he loves them with the love of pity: and so God lov'd the world, that is, with the love of Commiseration, that he sent his on∣ly Son, that whosoever believed in him might not pe∣rish, but have everlasting life.
Now we come to the point of Acceptation: the Word is free, and it requires nothing but what may Page 416 consist with the freest gift that may be given. Al∣though here be something that a man may startle at.
Object. Is there not required a condition of faith, and a condition of obedience?
Sol. Neither of these according to our common Understanding, do hinder the fulness and freedom of the Grace of the Gospel.
1. Not Faith, because Faith is such a condition, as requires only an empty hand to receive a gift free∣ly given. Now doth that hinder the freeness of the gift, to say, you must take it? Why, this is requi∣site to the freest gift that can be given. If a man would give something to a Begger, if he would not reach out his hand and take it, let him go without it, its a free gift still; so that the condition of Faith requires nothing, but an empty hand to receive Christ.
2. Obedience hinders it not. I am required, may some say, to be a new man, a new Creature, to lead a new life: I must alter my course: and is not this a great clog and burthen? and do you account this free? when I must crucifie lusts, mortifie Passions, &c. Is this free when a man must renounce his own Will? Yes; It is as free as free may be; as I shewed you the last time. The very touching and accepting of Christ implies an abnegation of former sinfulness, and a going off from other courses that are contrary to him. If the King give a pardon to a notorious Rebel for Treason, so that now he must live obedient as a Subject, the King need not in regard of himself to have given the pardon; if he give it, it takes not from its freeness, that he must live like a Subject after∣wards; Page 417 the very acceptance of the pardon implies it.
But now to declare Faith, and to open the Mystery thereof. Faith is a great thing: it is our life; our life stands in the practise of it: that as in the offering of Christ for us, there is given him a name above every name, That at the name of Jes•s every knee shall bow: As, I say, in the purchasing of Redemption, so in the point of acceptation; God hath given unto this poor vertue of faith a name above all names. Faith indeed, as it is a vertue, is poor and mean, and comes far short of love: and therefore by the Apostle, love is many degrees prefer'd before faith, because love fills the heart, and faith is but a bare hand, it lets all things fall, that it may fill it self with Christ. Its said of the Virgin Mary, That God did respect the low estate of his hand-maid: So God respects the low estate of Faith, that nothing is required, but a bare empty hand, which hath nothing to bring with it, though it be never so weak, yet if it have a hand to receive, it is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a like precious faith, that of the poor∣est Believer, and the greatest Saint.
Now that we may come unto the point, without any more going backwards. In the words read, there is the point of faith, and a thing God confirms it with∣al, a seal: In whom also after that you believed, you were sealed. Faith is of it self a thing unsealed: the sealing with the holy Spirit of Promise is a point be∣yond faith; its a point of feeling, and not only of believing of Gods Word, but a sensible feeling of the Spirit: a believing in my soul, accompanied with joy unspeakable, and full of glory: of which sealing Page 418 we shall speak more hereafter. Observe for the first.
1. The Object of it, In whom you trusted. We speak of Faith now as it justifies, as it apprehends Christ for its Object: for otherwise Faith hath as large an Extent as all Gods Word. Faith hath a hand to re∣ceive, whatsoever God hath a mouth to speak. What is the Object? He in whom you trusted. It is a wonder to see how many are deceived, who make the for∣giveness of sins to be the proper Object of faith. A man may call as long as he lives for forgiveness of sins, yet unless there be the first Act to lay hold on Christ, in vain doth he expect forgiveness of sins. Untill thou dost accept Christ for thy King and Savi∣our, thou hast no promise. We are never Children of the Promise till we are found in him. The proper and immediate Object of Faith is, first Christ, and then God the Father by him: for Faith must have Christ for its Object. I must believe in none else but God, in, and through Christ. Now that this is so, we may see in that famous place. 1 Pet. 1.21. When he had spoken of the precious blood of Christ, the Lamb without blemish, he goes on, and shews, that he was manifested in those last times, for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised up Christ from the dead, and gave him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God. There is no true believing in God the Father, but by the Son. The proper Object of Hope and Faith is God, and he that doth believe, or hope, or trust in any thing else, there is Idolatry in it; we believe in God by him: so that the primary Object of Faith is Christ. Gal. 3.26. Ye are all the Children of God by Page 419 Faith in Jesus Christ. What's my Faith then? If thou wilt be the Child of God, receive, hold Christ Je∣sus, accept him for thy Saviour, and for thy Lord: He is the proper Object of thy Faith. Again, you must have Christ Jesus, and him crucified, that should be the highest knowledge in our account, To know Christ, and him crucified, and by it to accept him. Hereupon the Apostle to the Romans, when he speaks of faith, makes the Object of it Christ, and Christ crucified. Rom. 3.25. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood; to declare his Righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. Whatsoever then thou findest in Christ, is an Object of thy Faith. John 6. The point is, He who eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, that is, he who re∣ceiveth me, and makes me as his meat and drink, shall be partaker of me. Compare this, Rom. 3.25. with Rom. 5.9. for its worth comparing. We are said to be justified by his blood, Rom. 5.9. By faith in his blood, Rom. 3.25. Now both these come to one, and they resolve the point, and clear the Question, whether Faith in it self as a Vertue doth justifie, or in respect of its Object? surely its in respect of the Object. You that have skill in Phylosophy, know, that heat if considered as a quality, its effects are not so great; but considered as an instrument, it transcends the sphere of its own activity; it doth wonders; for its the principle of generation, and many other strange effects. So here take faith as a Vertue, and its far short of love: but consider it as an instrument where∣by Christ is applyed, and it transcends, it works wonders beyond its proper sphere: for the meanest Page 420 thing it layes hold on, is the Son of God. He that hath the Son, hath life, &c. Some would think this an hard kind of speech, when we are justified by faith, we are justified by Christ, apprehended by faith: and yet that place is cleer to be justified by his blood: and faith in his blood becomes one faith. As if a man should say, I was cured by going to the Bath: so faith comes unto me; faith is the legs. A man is not said properly to be cured by going to the Bath, nor justified by coming to Christ by the legs of faith: but the ap∣plying of the Bath, the coming to Christ, and ap∣plying his vertue, to make him the Object of my faith, this is the way to be justified. As it is not the make∣ing and preparing of a plaister that cures, but the applying it; so that this concludes this point, that the true Object of faith is Christ crucified, and God the Father in, and by him. Here then is the point, thou must not look for any comfort in faith, till thou hast Christ; and to think thou shalt ever have any benefit by God till thou hast Christ, thou deceivest thy self. It is impossible for a man to receive nou∣rishment by his bread and drink, till he partake of it in the substance: so thou must partake of Christ before thou canst receive any nourishment by him. Christ saith not thou must have forgiveness of sins, or thou must have my Fathers favour, but take my body and blood, take me crucified. Buy the field, and the treasure is thine: but thou hast nothing to do with the treasure, till thou gettest the field. This is preferment enough, to have the Lords Promise to Abraham, I am thy exceeding great reward: I am my wel-beloveds, and my wel-beloved is mine. There is a Page 421 spiritual match betwixt Christ and thee: there are many who are matcht with Christ, and yet know not how rich they are: when a man reckons of what he shall get by Christ only, when all his thoughts are on that, he marrieth the portion, and not the man: thou must set thy love on Christs person, and then having him, all that he hath is thine: how rich Christ is, so rich art thou: he must first be thine. He that hath the Son hath life, but the Son must first be had. Is there any now in this congregation who is so hard-hearted, as to refuse such a gift as this? When God shall give thee his Son, if thou wilt take him, is there any so prophane, as with Esau to sell his birth, &c. to pursue the poor pedling things of this life, and re∣fuse salvation, so high a gift? A gift which is not given to Angels, they think it an honour to wait at the Lords Table: they have not this precious food given to them; they never taste it; and therefore many Christians on serious consideration would not change their estate for the estate of Angels. Why? because hereby Christ is my husband, I am wedded to him, he is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh, which the Angels are not capable of. Our nature is advanced above the Angelical nature: for we shall sit and judge the world with Christ, judge the twelve Tribes of Israel: And what an high preferment is this? Nay, observe this, and take it for a Rule. Never beg of God pardon for thy sins, till thou hast done this one thing, namely, accepted of Christ from Gods hands. For thou never canst confidently ask any thing till thou hast him: For all the Promises of God are in him, yea, and Amen. This may serve for the Object of faith: Page 422 to shew that the primary Object, is Christ crucified, and God by him. We come now to declare;
2. The Acts of faith what they are, and there is some intricacy in that too: There is much ado made in what part and power of the soul faith is: We must not proportionate the Act of faith accord∣ing to our own fancy. For its no faith, but as it hath relation to the Word: now look, how is the Word presented. After you heard the Word of Truth, the Gos∣pel of your salvation. Now the Word is presented un∣der a double respect.
1. Its presented Sub ratione veri; After you had heard the Word of Truth; and there comes in the Un∣derstanding.
2. Then Sub ratione boni, as a good word, that so we should lay hold on it, and here comes in the Will. For the Will, we say, challenges that which is good for its Object: Now the Gospel of sal∣vation is a good Word, its glad tidings worthy of all ac∣ceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And now as the Word is presented as a good Word, so must my Act of faith be answerable unto it. See in Heb. 11.13. The act of faith answer∣ing hereto, These all died in faith, not having received the Promises. What did their faith to them? It made them see the Promises a far off, and they were perswaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims in the earth. So that by com∣paring place with place, it appears that first this Gos∣pel was presented as the Word of Truth, they were per∣swaded of it. It is the first Act of Faith, to perswade men of the truth of the Word: and then as it is a good word, Page 423 they embraced it: these are the two arms of faith: as true, it perswades me, as good, I embrace it. We must not now be too curious in bringing in Philosophical Disputes, whether one Vertue may proceed from two faculties; whether Faith may proceed from the Un∣derstanding and the Will. The truth is, these things are not yet agreed upon; and shall we trouble our selves with things not yet decided in the schools, as, whether the practical Understanding and the Will be distinct faculties or no? The Word of God requires that I should believe with my whole heart. Act. 8.37. As Philip told the Eunuch, if thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest: If with the heart: but with what faculties may you say? Why, I tell thee, be∣lieve with thy whole heart: and what! shall I peece and devide the heart, when the whole is required? Now to come to these two: The Word is present∣ed,
- 1. As a true Word.
- 2. Then as a good Word; a word like Gospel, like sal∣vation.
1. As a true Word. And the Act of faith answer∣ing thereto, is called in Scripture 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Knowledge and Acknowledgement, 1 Titus 1. 1 Pe∣ter 3.
1 Knowledge, that's a thing requisite: Why? be∣cause if there be a Remedy able to cure a mans dis∣ease: if he do not know it, what is he the better for it? Knowledge is so essential unto Faith, that with∣out it there can be no faith. In John 17.3. the terms are confounded, the one put for the other: This is life eternal, to know thee to be the true God, and whom, &c. Page 424to know thee, that is, to believe in thee, because know∣ledge is so essential to belief, as one cannot be with∣out the other: thou canst not believe what thou hast never heard of: I know, saith Job, that my Redeemer liveth, that is, I believe he liveth: and hereupon its said in Isa. 53. By his knowledge shall my righteous ser∣vant justifie many: Knowledge is an Act primarily re∣quisite to Faith? to be justified by his knowledge, is to be justified by faith in his blood; this then is the first thing, that I know it to be as true as Gospel: then comes the acknowledgement.
2. The Acknowledgement. Joh. 6.69. We know, and are assured that thou art that Christ. This is an assurance: I say, not the assurance of my salvation: for that is another kind of thing: but an assurance that God will keep touch with me, will not delude me, but that if I take his Son, I shall have life; I shall have his favour. When God illuminates me, I find all things in him, when I have him, I am made. When the Understanding clearly apprehends this, then comes the next word, it is the Gospel of salvation, there be∣ing a knowing and acknowledging the Act of the Understanding: then comes the Will, and it be∣ing,
2. Propounded as a good word, then follows,
- 1. Acceptation.
- 2. Affiance.
1. Acceptation, which receives Christ. 1 John 12. As many as received him, to them he gave power to become the sons of God, even to as many as believed on his name. Then a man resolves, I will take God on his word, and thereupon follows.
Page 425A resting or relying on God, which is a proper act of faith. I need no other place then Rom. 10.13. Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved: But how shall they call on him on whom they have not be∣lieved? that is, on whom they have not reposed their confidence. Mark the •postle, How shall they call on him, on whom they have not believed? That Faith which was in the antecedent must be in the conclusion: there∣fore our faith is a relying on God: and so in this place this trust is made the same with faith; as it is in the Text, in whom you trusted, after you had received the word of Truth: for our trust and belief there is the self-same word, — Nimium ne crede colori: this (Credo) is to have a great confidence in fleeting and fading things; and so it is in justifying faith. If I have a knowledge of God, and acknowledgement of him, and from my knowing, my will is conformed to accept Christ; and if when I have accepted him, I will not part from him; this is faith, and if thou hast this faith, thou wilt never perish: suppose thou never hadst one day of comfort all thy life long, yet my life for thine thou art saved. Perhaps by reason of thy ignorance thou hast no feeling, yet if thou consent, thou art justified; its the consent makes the match. If thou consent to the Father, and take Christ the Son, know it, or know it not, thou hast him; though thou knowest not whether thy sins are forgiven; yet as long as thou keepest thy hold, all the Devils temptations shall never drive thee from him: thou art justified, and in a safe case, though ignorance and other things in thee cause thee not to feel it, if thou layest hold on him for his sake, thou art apprehend∣ed.
Page 426Object. Now then this is an easie matter, you will say.
Sol. Not so easie a matter as you guess it to be. It were easie indeed, were there nothing but saying the word to make man and wife; there are terms and conditions to be agreed upon. God casts not his Son away, he looks there shall be conditions on thy side; he must be thy King and Head, if thou wilt have him to be thy husband. But what shall I get by him, then saith the wife? Get? there is no end of thy getting. All is thine, Paul, Apollos, Cephas, Life, &c. Thou art Christs, and Christ is Gods. Every man will take Christ thus for the better: but there's somewhat else in the match. If thou wilt have him, thou must take him for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer. Indeed there are precious things provided for you. Its your Fathers good pleasure to give you the Kingdom; you shall be Heirs with Christ, but for the present, while you are in the Church Militant, you must take up your Cross; you must not look for great things in this world: In this world you must have tribulation, you must deny your selves, and your own Wills. What? would you have Christ the wife, and you the hus∣band? No, If you think so, you mistake the match. Christ must be the Husband and the Head; and as the wife promises to obey her husband, to stick to her husband in sickness and in health, and to forsake all others; so Christ asketh, wilt thou have me? if thou wilt, thou must take me on these terms, thou must take my Cross with me, thou must deny thine own Will, yea, it may be thine own life also. Let a Christian consider all these things, these are the Page 427 words, and these are the benefits and then compare them together, & then if he can say, I will have Christ how•ver, for I shall be a saver by him, I'le take him with•ll faults, & I know I shall make a good bargain, therefore I will have him on any terms come what will; when a man can have his will so perpendicular∣ly bent on Christ, that he will have him, though he leave his skin behind him, there's a true acceptation of him. We must not here distinguish with the Schools about Velleities, a general wishing and would∣ing, and true desires after Christ: Wishers and Woulders never thrive; but there must be a resolu∣tion to follow Christ through thick and thin, never to part with him: a direct Will is here required. And therefore Christ bids us consider before—hand what it will cost us. If any man come to me, and hate not Fa∣ther and mother, wife and children, and his own life also, he cannot be my Disciple. Do not think that our Saviour here would discourage men from love. Doth the God of love teach us hatred? The phrase in the He∣brew is loving less, as it is said, Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated; that is, loved less. If a man hath two wives, one beloved, and the other hated, and they have born Children, both the beloved and the hated. By hated is not meant, that the man hated one wife, but less loved her then the other; so if any man come to me, and hate not father and mother, and that is, if he love not all less then me; and that it is so, we may see it expounded by our Saviour. Mat. 10.37. He that loveth father or mother more then me is not worthy of me. There Christ expounds it. He that will follow Christ in calm weather and not in a storm, is not wor∣thy Page 428 of him. Luke 14.28. Which of you intending to build a Tower, sitte•• not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? What is that to the purpose? See verse 33. So likewise w•osoever he be of you, that forsaketh not all that he hath, cannot be my Disciple. Its a small matter to begin to be a Christian, unless you consider what it will cost you. Do you t•••k it a small matter to be the Kings son? think not on so great a business without consideration what it will cost you. It will be the denying of your own wills. You must be content to follow naked Christ nakedly: follow him in his persecution and tribulation, in his death and suffering, if thou wilt be conformable to him in glory. When this case comes, it makes ma∣ny draw back, as the rich man in the Gospel, when he must forsake all, he drew back. When troubles arise, many are offended; so when it comes to a point of parting, they go back.
Now we come to speak one word of the sealing in the Text. After that ye believed, ye were sealed with the holy Spirit of Promise. This sealing, which is a point of feeling is a distinct thing of it self from faith; no part of faith. If I have faith, I am sure of life, though I never have the other: these are two seals. VVe put to our seals to the counter-part that is drawn betwixt God and us.
The first seal is our faith. I have nothing but Gods VVord, and indeed I have no feeling, yet I venture my salvation, and trust God upon his bare VVord. I will pawn all upon it: He that believeth, saith John, hath set to his seal that God is true. If men doubt, and trust God no further then they see him, it is not faith. But Page 429 when God gives me a good word, though I am in as much distress as ever, yet I trust, though it be contrary to all sense, or outward seeming, yet I put to my seal, and trust him still.
Then comes Gods counter-part. God being thus honoured, that I believe his Word, though contrary to all sense and feeling, even his bare Word; then God sets to his seal, and now the Word comes to particularizing. Before it was in general, now it comes and singles out a man, Say thou unto my soul, that I am thy salvation, Psalm 35.3. that is, as I did ap∣ply the generality of Gods Word unto mine own case to bear me up against sense and feeling: then comes the Spirit of God, and not only delivers gene∣ralities, but saith unto my soul, I am thy salvation. This is called in Scripture a manifestation, when God manifests himself unto us; as in Isa. 60.16. Thou shalt suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the brest of Kings, and thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, &c. that is, when we have made particular application by Faith, God will put to his seal, that I shall know that God is my strength and my salvation: I shall know it. John 14.21. He that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will manifest my self unto him. Christ comes and drawes the Curtains, and looks on with the gracio•s aspect of his blessed countenance. When this comes, it cheers the heart, and then there are secret love-tokens pass betwixt Christ and his beloved. Rev. 2.17. To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden Manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows, save he Page 430 that receives it, that is, there is a particular intima∣tion that I shall know of my self more then any other; more then all the world besides. Its such a joy as the stranger is not made Partaker of: such joy as is glori∣ous and unspeakable; such peace as passeth all understand∣ing. One minute of such joy overcomes all the joy in the world besides.
Now consider, sure there is such a thing as this joy, or else do you think the Scripture would talk of it, and of the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, by whom we know the things that are given us of God. There is a generation in the world that hath this joy, though you that know it not, do not, nor cannot believe it, there is a righteous generation that have it; and why dost thou not try to get it? do as they do, and thou mayst obtain it likewise. The secrets of the Lord are revealed to them that fear him: These are hidden com∣forts; do you think God will give this joy to those that care not for him? No, The way is to seek God, and to labour to fear him. The secrets of the Lord are revealed to such, and such, only as fear him; do as they do, and follow their example, and thou mayst have it likewise.
Object. Many have serv'd Christ long, and have not found it.
Sol. Its long of themselves; you are straightned in your own bowels, or else, Open your mouths wide, and God will fill them. No wonder that we are so barren of these comforts, when we be straitned in our selves. There is a thing wondrously wanting amongst us, and that is Meditation. If we could give our selves to it, and go up with Moses to Page 431 the Mount to confer with God, and seriously think of the price of Christs death, and of the joyes of heaven, and the Priviledges of a Christian; if we could frequently meditate on these, we should have these sealing days every day, at lest oftner. This hath need to be much pressed upon us; the neglect of this makes lean souls. He that is frequent in that, hath these sealing days often. Couldst thou have a parle with God in private, and have thy heart re∣joyce with the comforts of another day, even whilst thou art thinking of these things, Christ would be in the midst of thee. Many of the Saints of God have but little of this, because they spend but few hours in Meditation. And thus as this hour would give leave, have we proceeded in this point.