Gods drawing, and mans coming to Christ discovered in 32 sermons on John 6. 44 : with the difference between a true inward Christian, and the outward formalist, in three sermons on Rom. 2. 28, 29
Vines, Richard, 1600?-1656., Baxter, Richard, 1615-1691.
Page  1

Gods Drawing, AND Mans Coming to Christ.

JOHN 6. 44.
No man cometh to me, except my Father which hath sent me draw him.

[Serm. 1] THis Text speaks plainly and fully e∣nough to the point of mans Conversion: for coming in to Christ upon his Call (which is the phrase used in the Text.) and Conversion unto God, differ not but in sound of words, which amount unto one and the same meaning.

The Philosopher in his Dialect would call this Con∣version, or this Coming unto Christ, a motion, not local, from place to place; but transitive, from Term to Term: for there are two Terms of every motion. And the Evangelist, according to Scripture, expresses the terms of this motion diversly, but denoting the same thing: From darkness to light; saith the Text, Acts 26, 18. And from the power of Satan unto God.

Page  2 The Design that I have in my eye is to Treat of the point of Conversion, not pretending to accurateness and curiositie, anxiously inquiring after the method or man∣ner of Gods working; But 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and practically to handle this point unto you.

For as thou knowest not what is the way of the Spi∣rit, or how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with Child; so thou knowest not the works of God, Eccles. 11. 5. nor all the particulars of the methods and wayes wherein God works in the Conversion or Creati∣on of this New man.

This Conversion sometimes denotes the potent and immediate work of God, renewing and converting; and this is called in my Text Gods drawing of a man to Christ in these words, Except my Father draw him.

Sometimes it denotes the action of man, converting himself to God, by the Faith and Repentance which he doth receive from God; and this my Text calls mans Coming unto Christ when he is called, in that phrase, No man can come to me except.

In time, these two can hardly be distinguisht; but in or∣der of causality, they are easie to be distinguished one from another. I mean Gods work, converting or drawing man; and mans action, converting and coming unto Christ: The act of man in coming to Christ, thats not first; but the work of God drawing in to Christ, that is first; and the act of mans coming must needs follow; as the Sun must of necessitie first shine upon the wall, before the wall can give or reflect light or heat from it self back again.

Facti sumus opus Dei, We are first made the works or workmanship of God; there is Gods drawing. Then (Facimus opera Dei) we do the work of God, or walk in the works of God which he hath ordained, that we Page  3 should walk in them, Ephes. 2. 10. There is our coming.

That you may clearly look into every corner of this Text, you shall observe here two things.

First, the doctrine that is here taught by our Saviour.

Secondly, the reason of his teaching it at this time.

The Doctrine here laid forth consists in these three things.

First, the magnifying of the work of God in mans Con∣version, to raise up your praises & thanksgivings to God, by whom you are, what you are: for to his Power and Grace, our Saviour Christ assigns the only, or the princi∣pal part of it, and thats exprest in the work of Gods drawing a man to Christ: Therefore this Doctrine is not spoken in a simple form; he doth not say in plain words, My Father draws man unto me, but its spoken in an exceptive or exclusive form of words excluding mans power; 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, except my Father draws, no man comes to me: So that without the divine traction there is not an ability or power in man to come to Jesus Christ; for he comes not by a power of his own, but my Fathers drawing.

Secondly, the insinuating of mans duty. For here your duty is implyed in these words, coming unto Christ: Your coming unto Christ is the great charge or duty that lies upon you; the observation of the Law of God, and every of his commands, that is duty: But it is not duty of absolute necessity unto salvation; but coming unto Christ is that which is of absolute necessi∣ty, you cannot otherwise be saved; because this contains the great condition of the Covenant of life and salvati∣on, upon which hinge, eternal life doth hang, and the whole work, not only of your Conversion, but of all the means that tend to your salvation do depend upon, and are comprehended causally and eminently in this Page  4 your coming unto Christ, and therefore it is put for all here, No man can come to me.

Thirdly, the depression of mans pride, or derogation of mans natural ability to faith in Christ, or Conversi∣on. There is none of you but think it is an easie matter to believe; that you can believe at pleasure, its very easie to believe Gods promises, God speaking in his word. Here now is the depression of mans pride as to this work: No man can.

〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, No man can come to me: Grace and Gods power is here exalted; exalted to the disparage∣ment and diminution of mans own ability; and it can∣not otherwise be: For as the Sun when it arises with his light, blots out the light of the Moon and Stars that shined before; so when the Lord Jesus doth appear un∣to you, and God puts forth his arm to draw you to Christ Jesus, this act of God doth as it were put down, diminish, disparage all the pretended ability of man, his worthiness, and merit. This is the Doctrine that is here taught, or the sum of Christs Doctrine in these words. And then,

Secondly, the reason of his now teaching it: (the hearers of Christ they were called Jews; but indeed were Galileans his Countrymen, that knew his educa∣tion, about Capernaum, near Nazareth:) his hearers were observed by him to murmure at this doctrine, as being very offensive to their ears and reason: For Christ having preacht himself quite off those expectations that the Jews had of him, that he should be a great and po∣tent Prince, a King, and a great victorious Conqueror, expectations wherewith they had been prepossest; and preacht himself to be above that which they saw in him, that he came down from heaven, having preacht such do∣ctrine that was very distasteful to their carnal ears (for spi∣ritual Page  5 doctrine is always hateful to carnal ears) they began to vent their hidden prejudices against him: Say they v. 42. Is not this Jesus the son of Joseph? Do not we know this mans Fathers and Mother? for Nazareth, where he lived, was near to Capernaum: how doth he say, I came down from Heaven? what an assumption is that? That he called himself bread, is a Metaphorical word, and they used it in their speeches; this troubled them not: But that he came from Heaven, and nothing appeared in him to be of Heaven more then other men, this was distaste∣ful to them. Now our Saviour answers these prejudices, and tells them, that it did appear that the preventing Grace of God had not toucht their hearts, to fashion and to mould them unto faith in him; and therefore I find that your prejudices and carnal reasons stick by you still, and continue your pride and obstinacy against me, unto whom indeed no man can come except my Father draw him. Here is the File of the Connexion of the words; by this thred the words are to be cut out, which shall serve to raise a porch or gate of Entrance in∣to them: And therefore I shall raise thence three Ob∣servations.

I pray God that none of you may be offended at this Doctrine: For as I confess these Jews pretended some∣what for the offence they took at Christ Jesus, his mean∣ness and simplicity: for he was mean and of simple ap∣pearance: So this Doctrine may be somewhat offensive to you, if you bring your own ears to hear it, if this con∣verting and preventing grace of God have not already began to mould and fashion your hearts to Christ Jesus, and made you resolve to stick to him through thick and thin, notwithstanding all scandals and offences that may appear to be in him.

First, I observe That the Doctrine of Christ himself Page  6 is entertained with distaste and murmuring by prejudi∣cate and corrupt minds, v. 41, 42, 43. The Jews then murmured at him for his doctrine, &c. Murmure not among your selves, saith Christ. Will you take me right in this word that I am now speaking? Christ is the most scandalous person that ever was: I mean fullest of scan∣dals and offences to corrupt and carnal reason and inte∣rest. His person, how mighty scandalous! his doctrine as well as his person; his birth very mean; his conver∣sation while he lived in this world; the death whereby he died on the Cross; the administrations of the offices of his Kingdome, as he administers is still, even though he be in heaven glorious: All of these are scandalous, and full of offence unto corrupt reason.

How often hath it been upbraided to Christians, that they believe in an ignominious and crucified Saviour, that hung upon the Cross, which the Apostle calls the scandal of the Cross!

How scandalous are the great afflictions that sit many times heavy and long upon the Church, as if they had no deliverer!

How scandalous are the divisions of the Church, as if they had not one Saviour and one Lord!

How scandalous to Christ are the corrupt and wick∣ed lives of Christians that profess him! He that will be a Christian indeed, must have (as they say) a good swal∣low: I mean he must swallow these hard morsels; and a good digestion to digest iron, to run through all the scandals that fleshly reason will lay in his way concerning all things that belong unto Christ.

Its a good observation: A Christian must believe in a stumbling stone, in a rock of offence, Rom. 9. 33. Behold I lay in Sion a stumbling stone. If he had said, I lay a stone of safety, a rock of refuge, that had invited faith to come Page  7 unto him: But to say, He that will believe in Christ, must believe in a rock of offence, in a stone of stumbling; this seems rather to alienate the faith of man from Christ, to estrange and throw faith off. Oh how hard a thing, is faith in Christ! There must be such a faith as may overlook so many scandalous and offensive things, so opposite to carnal reason. Thats the first observa∣tion.

Secondly, The more Evangelical the Doctrine, and the sweeter, the more is the offence, and the greater is the dislike of it, ver. 41. because he said, I am the bread that came from heaven; because he rose high in his Do∣ctrine above what they lookt for in him. And who are these that took offence? Even disciples, and they that followed him: They say, this is a hard saying; and they also murmured, nay they take the wing and fly away and leave him, in the 61, 62, 63. verses of this Chapter.

Oh Beloved, there are many of the followers of Christ that take offence at this Doctrine; and it is to us even in our dayes, very scandalous to many men; and thats the reason why I insist so long upon the Connexion.

If Christ preach himself the Son of God, that is God: For I pray let me give you warning once for all, that the word frequently used in the Gospel, the Son of God, it means no less then God, that Christ is God, God as it were by nature: Its used eighty eight times, as I think, in the New Testament: The Son of God is God as well as man; and therefore the Socinian doth but quibble (as I may so say) when he comes to distin∣guish: Christ indeed is the Son of God (and so are we called too:) But that phrase doth not imply that he is God. Yes; for they that heard the words, took it so, in John 10. 33, 34, &c. they took up stones to throw at him for his blasphemy; and that was, In that being Page  8 man, thou makest thy self God; they took it in a right meaning.

The purest Gospel-doctrine is most harsh: Christs preaching himself the Son of God, was very unpleasing to these carnal men: We measure Gospel-doctrine by the metwand of our wit and reason, and peradventure by our learning (which may be of great reach.) There∣fore we are offended. Now let me shew you this, that

The great design of the Gospel, is to advance God, and to lay man low: And I beseech you, carry this along as the great Design of the Gospel, to advance the power and the grace of God, in bringing men unto salvation, and to lay man, and all their parts and reason low: God in the power and freedome of his grace, saving man, is advanced; man in the power and merit of himself is ex∣tenuated and made nothing: The design of the Gospel, in giving all to God, is seen by one Text: In the 1 Cor. 1 Chap. last ver. That he that glorieth, may glory in the Lord; shewing that the main plot of the Gospel, is the advancement of Grace; the depression of man, and the derogation of mans abilities may be seen by what is said in Rom. 3. 17. Where is boasting then? It is excluded (saith he) By what Law? Not by the Law of works, but by the Law of Faith: And thats the doctrine of the Gos∣pel that takes men off from their own bottoms and hin∣ges: And so I think I have sufficiently proved it un∣to you.

Of Gospel doctrine, that that advances free Grace, is the most glorious to God, the most full of admiration to them that are godly, and yet the most obnoxious to offence and scandal of man, to ordinary men of reason.

There are in this Doctrine so many offensive princi∣ples: I shall instance in eight that I know are scandalous and offensive, and stumbling-blocks to reason: And Page  9 much ado we have to leap over them, when we come to believe.

[ 1] First, that the purpose of Gods Election and Chusing any man unto salvation, is not founded on the merit (that was the old word with the Fathers & Schools) we say on the Conditiou of Faith and Works foreseen; but that God hath mercy on whom he will, and whom he will he hardens. This is one scandalous point, Rom. 9. 18.

[ 2] Secondly, That before they had done either good or evil (to say before they had actually done it, is a kind of nonsense:) But before they had done it in foresight or prescience; or before they were known or seen to do good or evil: Esau and Jacob, equals, that tumbled both in one belly, twins that had both one birth; for these to be so differenced, that God should say, I have loved the one, and hated the other. This is another point scan∣dalous and offensive to mans reason, laid down in Rom. 9. 13.

[ 3] Thirdly, That it is Grace that makes the difference and severance of one man from another; that is, the free grace of God abstracted from the worthiness or unwor∣thiness of man: Who made thee to differ, O man! sayes the Apostle.

[ 4] Fourthly, That the Jew, or man, whosoever he be, that follows after Righteousness by the Law or Works, did not artain it, or overtake it, as the word signifies; and the Gentiles, or other men that are of no name, that follow not after righteousness by the Law or Works, they do attain it, and overtake it by faith in Christ. This is a very hard point, laid down in Rom. 9. 30, 31.

[ 5] Fifthly, That a man is not justified by the works that he doth, or his duties, or compliance with the Law; but by the faith of Christ only, whom he layes hold of, be∣ing offered and freely tendered in the Gospel. This is Page  10 Gospel-doctrine, laid down in Galat. 2. 16.

[ 6] Sixthly, That the things of God, that is, that the sa∣ving things of God should be hid from the wise, the prudent and learned men of the world, that hold up their heads so high as they do; and that to the poor and sim∣ple, and mean, that are meant by babes, he should reveal them, Matth. 11. 25. Father, I thank thee, &c. hard and offensive to Reason,

[ 7] Seventhly, That many should be called by the prea∣ching of the Word, and of them that are called by the outward Ministery, but very few chosen: (Look upon, and consider your selves) this is hard, Matth. 22. 14. There are many called, and great offers are made in the Gospel, but few chosen and select.

[ 8] Eighthly, No man can believe, or come to Christ, except it be by the drawing of God. Why sure this is a very hard point to the hearers of the Gospel, that lay in prejudices and obstructions of Reason. You cannot believe, except the Lord draw, and work this faith in you, in John 6. 44, 65.

There are two things that make the doctrine of the Gospel something contemptuous tomen.

First, because it opposes mens carnal interests. It cros∣ses the lusts of the flesh, and of the world; it brings men to self-denial.

Secondly, because it is dissonant to reason, to pride and self that is in men, and thereby they are prejudiced.

[ 1] First, if God measure out his purposes and proceedings by his own soveraign will: So that it is not in him that runs, nor in him that wills, as the Apostle hath delivered it, Rom. 9. 16. but in God that shews mercy: Then why doth God finde fault, or complain of us? why doth he finde fault with us, that we do not believe, that we stand out in opposition? Who can help it? ver. 19▪ whose: Page  11 hand lies it in? not ours. This is the great offence, Who hath refisted his will? Nay but O man, ver. 20. Who art thou that repliest against God? And then the A∣postle goes on to clear the doctrine of free grace, accord∣ing to the method whereby it can be cleared. This seems to me a great scandal, whereat men stumble.

[ 2] Secondly, if God command and require good works in his holy Word of us, and yet tells me that his election of me to salvation doth not stand upon them, but that the election whereby God hath chosen me to salvation, is firm by his calling, Rom. 9. 11. then if so be these works required and commanded will not serve my turn, will not confirm my Election or Justification, I may fol∣low them, and yet not attain righteousness by them, Rom. 9. 31. This is a great scandal and offence to mans reason.

Thirdly, if God cast so many of the world off, and chuse so few of them that are called, but throws them out as the man that was thrown from the Feast, not ha∣ving the wedding garment; This is a miserable offence.

Fourthly, if God require faith of me and repentance, call for a new heart and a new spirit, and saith, Make you a new heart, and yet teaches me that none can come ex∣cept a divine power draw him, except it be given him, then he requires impossible things. And is not this (say some) like to Pharaoh, that will have the full tale of brick, but will not find the people straw.

[ 3] These are the offences taken by mans reason; these raise up the murmurings; these make some men leave the care of their salvation at six and seven; If I am ele∣cted, I shall be saved; if I am not elected, I cannot: This makes men throw the plow into the hedge-bottom, and let the ship ride before the sea and wind.

Upon all this that I have said, it appears that the do∣ctrine of Christ, and of the free grace of God in Christ, re∣quires Page  12 an humble heart, a captivated reason; or else pre∣judices of pride, and the reason of man, will trouble the whole Scene.

And I may give an instance in a point so resented in the times wherein we live, by our Masters of Reason (as some call themselves) as the Gnosticks of old, those dam∣nable Hereticks called themselves the knowing men, who had their opposition of Science falsly so called, 1 Tim. 6. 20.

This is it, That Christs blood is not a blood of A∣tonement or expiation of sin; that there is no proper compensation, nor any satisfaction made, or needful to Divine Justice for sin: How then? God pardons us our sins by an absolute goodness, by an absolute free pardon, without such satisfaction: As a man forgives a delin∣quent without any satisfaction; or as a man forgives a debt another man owes him freely for nothing: And this is the great Hinge on which the Socinian Doctrine hangs, which hath leavened and pass'd through so many men in our times: But this free pardon, without satis∣faction of Gods justice, ruines and razes the foundations of our Christian Faith; as if men would not have Christ to do too much for them, were angry at him for his being their surety, for his paying their debt, and freeing them from prison and damnation; which makes me cry out as the Apostle doth in 1 Cor. 1. 20. Where is the wise? where is the Scribe? where is the Disputer of this world? (Let them take notice of it, the great learned men that preach Heathenism among us) Hath not God made foo∣lish the wisdom of this world? how? by the Doctrine of Christ and free grace. And this I preach, that we may listen, and hold the truths that to others are offen∣sive, overlooking all the scandals that may be found in the person and doctrine of Christ.

Page  13 [Serm. 2] NOtwithstanding I am not unsensible that the free grace of God may be so preacht, or (if you will) so apprehended by you, as it may be not only offensive to carnal reason, but justly offensive to Faith and Christia∣nity it self: And this is when the doctrine of free grace keeps not the Channel, but runs out on this side or that side, without or besides its bounds; then indeed it is justly offensive and scandalous; and that may be in three regards.

[ 1] First, when it is made universal in extent: For the freedom of this grace hath no affinity with the univer∣sality: And though many do conceive that they cannot preach it free, except they do also preach it universal, I shall, after shew, that there is no kindred between them.

In the election of any man to salvation, it is free, be∣cause it excludes mans worthiness or works; and yet its not universal, so as all are elected and chosen.

One calling, I mean that calling that is according to purpose, it is free, not standing upon works: You are called by Gods grace; and yet tis not universal, so as all men are called according to Gods purpose. Its free to such as are called, though it be not common to all: Was not the grace of God free to Jacob? yet not com∣mon to him and Esau: It was free to Peter, and yet not common to him and Judas: To you it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven; there is the freedom; to others it is not given, there is a denial of the univer∣sality, Maith. 13. 11. And therefore we must distinguish between the offer of free grace, and the effects of it: grace in the offer of it may be common, and in a sort uni∣versal, but in the effects you shall always observe grace to be of a differencing nature; it discriminates and makesPage  14 difference between one and another in salvation, and therein is the glory of it; and reason will shew, that so far as it differences one from another, it is not universal: for that which differences, cannot be universal; the ele∣ction hath obtained, and the rest were hardeued, Rom. 11.

[ 2] Secondly, It is indeed offensive when it opens, or is made to open a window to looseness of opinion, or profaneness of life: That makes it rather to be called loose grace then free grace: for free grace truly preacht, neither takes off the bridle of restraint of sin, nor the spur of excita∣tion of holiness from Gods Law; these two must stand together: Sin is restained by the Law of God, there's the bridle; and then its a spur and incentive to obedi∣ence: Shall we sin (saith the Apostle) because we are not under the Law but under Grace? God forbid. Rom. 6. 15. Again, Shall we sin that Grace may abound? Rom. 6. 1. No, we may not make the doctrine of Gods free grace a Pander, or a Porter, to let in or open us the gate more freely to sin against him: And the reason is excellent good; there is no greater and sweeter obligation obli∣ging man to thankfulness and obedience, then this Do∣ctrine of free grace: The sense of this free grace (I say) is the most obliging and indearing of the heart to God, of any doctrine that can be preacht; so contrary is it from being a loosener of those bands whereby we are tyed to God.

[ 3] Thirdly, it is not rightly preached when it is made to deny to man all agency in Conversion, as well as all power where∣by he is converted: For the act of faith, and repentance, and obedience, is mans act; and therefore those that poyson us with this doctrine, Christ believes for me, and repents for me, tell us a ridiculous piece of non∣sense: No, it is you that must repent, and believe, and act obedience: for common reason will shew you, oPage  15 sense, it is not the Sun that sees; for that which sees is the eye; the Sun only gives light, without which the eye cannot see: And so we must distinguish between the power and the act; God draws man to Christ Jesus, the power is of him; but coming to Christ, or the act of Conversion, that is mans; the power is Christs, the duty is yours: And therefore, though this doctrine be never so offensive, yet it seems God puts his greatest glory in that which is most offensive to mans reason. In the 33. of Exod. 19. ver. I will make all my goodness to pass before thee, and I will proclame the name of the Lord. And what is that Proclamation? that doctrine that is conceived to be so scandalous? I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and shew mercy to whom I will: Which the Apostle insists upon in Rom. 9. where this point is agitated. Thats the second Observation.

Thirdly, for the silencing of these murmurers at Christ in the verse before the Text, Christ gives the close reason of mans believing in him, and mans not be∣lieving in him, a closer reason, then they were aware of: The reason he gives is this, That those that God draws to Christ, they come to him, ver. 44. And every man that hath heard and learnt of the Father, comes to me, ver. 45. There is the teaching of God called the drawing of God, and perswading the mind of man; which whoever hath, believes and comes to Christ Jesus; and every man that is not thus drawn, is left unto himself, is left under his own disability, and so he cannot come: For no man can come to me except the Father draw him. Mans impo∣tency is alledged on the one hand, and Gods drawing is alledged on the other hand; and though there might be great objections made against it, yet our Saviour in∣sists upon this close doctrine, Joh. 10. 26, 27. You be∣lieve not, because you are not of my sheep. Many other Page  16 reasons might be given, but he comes unto the bottom; Because you are not called, because you are not of my sheep by the election of God. And so again in Joh. 6. 37. All that the Father hath given to me, shall come to me: You that are not of my sheep, do not believe, therefore you do not come: And he sets it forth again, ver. 65. of this Chapter, No man can come to me, except it be given him of my Father. These are strange reasons, will reason say, and rather apt to give offence, then to take it off; rather apt to breed murmurings, then to qualifie and allay them. And its true, had Christ encouraged mans natu∣ral abilities, and lattered them, he should have pleased the corrupt and carnal reason of man: for without all question, that which most flatters self and carnal reason, is most acceptable with you: But so doth not he; for he asserts that God must draw and give faith: This gives all to Christ, and assumes all the glory out of your hands to God; whereby you may gather, that those that are not of the sheep of Christ, are not drawn; those that are not of the sheep of Christ by Gods election, they are not drawn to Christ by Gods operation. This is that which reason stumbles, and is offended at. And

How shall this offence that reason may take at the proceeding of God in this point, be cured? No way that I know in the world but this, by laying down the wasters and the cudgels; not disputing with; and repi∣ning at God, but humbly waiting on that hand which of necessity must work faith in you, and convert you to this grace: And that all unconverted persons may do so, know it for a Maxime, or a rule, for so I take it to be, that God hath taken the best and the surest way, the most infallible that can be in the world, to save his peo∣ple: which I thus illustrate: Had the salvation of man been left to his own power, as some would have it, it Page  17 had been desperate and hopeless to all men, even to the best man in the world: But now this powerful and gra∣cious God hath reserved it in his own power; for all those that are saved, are saved by this power, and this grace: And now in this way of salvation some are sa∣ved; some are in the way that God hath set for bring∣ing man to Christ Jesus; for if God had set forth Christ, and caused him to be preacht to you; yea if Christ should have shed his blood to have redeemed you, not∣withstanding all this, it had been possible that not a man in the world might have been saved without this pow∣erful drawing of God, and this hand of God, whereby he brings some men unto salvation: And so now some are saved, and so are obliged to greater admiration and thankfulness to this God, then all the world besides are obliged to him, for this differencing grace whereby he brought them unto Christ; otherwise, if he had left it to you to believe in Christ Jesus, I cannot conceive how any one man in the world had been saved, notwithstand∣ing the Redemption laid down, and the Atonement made; which is a rare point, and worthy of all serious disquisition and proof: And I would I could convince men thereof, that if it had been as they would have it, there would not a man on earth be saved. In the mean time let this pass for a proof; That which never was yet in the world, may rationally be presumed will never be: That hitherto no man hath attained to faith, no man hath come to Christ by the meer use of his own natural abilities and power, without the working of this divine grace, which all that partake of, have magnified and blessed God for: We know of none, we read of none in the Scripture, that have had this wrought in them, but have returned the glory of it to God: But because we do not find that it ever 〈◊〉 hath been, we may conclude Page  18 it shall never be; that without this drawing of God any man can come to believe in Christ Jesus, if it were left to their natural abilities and capacities. Be they as they think them to be, never so great and valuable, all this is but premissary to the Doctrines in the Text.

The Use of these Doctrines of Connexion altogether shall be threefold.

[Use. 1] First, When the Word of the Gospel is improved with all manner of advantages among a people. Whether in Ca∣pernaum, as this was; or living in a Parish, as you do, yet you shall find that many of the hearers of this doctrine may yet lie in their strong holds, and lie under prejudi∣ces, and notwithstanding the preaching of this saving doctrine, may happily not believe; as its said of them that Paul preacht to from morning to night, and open∣ed Christ to them from Moses and the Prophets (their own Scriptures) yet how is this Sermon concluded in the 28 Acts 24 ver. And some of them believed the things that were spoken, and some believed not!

By this we may learn what to resolve upon, and what to rest in, if the word of the Gospel be inclucated and taught out of the Scripture, with all possible ad∣vantages of conviction, prejudices will remain, and mur∣murings; some believe, and others believe not, as they are drawn by a divine power in to Christ Jesus, or not drawn. There is some higher and secreter reason to be shewn for this then yet they think of, and see in them∣selves: for the Text tells you, No man can come to me except my Father draw him. When this drawing power goes forth, then they come; whom he draws not, they murmur, and take offence and prejudice: And therefore it is said in Acts 13. 48. As many as were ordained to eter∣nal life, believed. This we rest upon, and are resolved: But you believe not, because you are not of my sheep, John 10. 26.

Page  19 As for the Ministry of the Word in the hand of man, it works but instrumentally, and not as the principal cause: It is not the axe that builds the house: Its not the pencil that limbs or draws the picture, but the workman by such instruments doth it: as I may give in∣stance both in faith and repentance.

See this in faith: In Isa. 53. 1. Lord, who hath belie∣ved our report? there's the preaching: and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? there is the inward working: The revealing of Gods arm must go together with the report, or else who hath believed it? The word preacht, and the work of God, must go together. So in repen∣tance: In 2 Tim. 2. 25. Let the Minister meekly instruct them that oppose themselves (that murmur and are preju∣diced) if God peradventure will give them repentance, to the acknowledgement of the truth: for else our in∣structions are but peradventure.

[Use 2] Secondly, If there be such disability and opposition in man, here you learn that Gospel-hearers have need of subdued hearts: Hearts mightily tamed and captivated to the very doctrine of the Word of God, beaten down into a tractable humility: For else, as the best meat is distasteful to a corrupt and vitiated palat, so will Gos∣pel-doctrine, the doctrine of free grace, be scandalous and offensive to proud reasonings: And I conceive (it may be you have not observed it before) that our Saviour when he began first to preach the Gospel, did so much in∣sist upon humility, meekness, poverty of spirit, self-de∣nial, that his hearers might be subdued unto captivity of their reasonings and high thoughts (as the Apostle ex∣cellently) in 2 Cor. 10. 5. unto the obedience of Christ: For I must say it, no doctrine in the world was ever, or will ever be again so obnoxious to scandal, so opposite to the pride, and so cross to the reason of man, as the high∣est Page  20 and sweetest of Gospel-doctrine, the points of free grace, which no man can receive without murmurings, except the Lord first give him a very subdued spirit, and a captivated reason: And therefore, though the be∣nefits received from Jesus Christ be very great, and eve∣ry man will witness that Christ is worthy of all accepta∣tion, to save the chiefest of sinners; yet when they come to look upon his person throughly, and consider what may be said against him, as well as what is said for him, and the course and tenour of his doctrine, that hath it in so many stumbling-blocks, that may give distate; its great odds, that you would never have come in unto him, were there not put forth in you a divine hand, and a pow∣erful, to draw you.

A famous instance we have of this in Matth. 11. 5. when John Baptist sent his disciples to Christ, to know whether he was he; not that I believe John Baptist doubt∣ed of it; for he was in prison, and now ready to be of∣fered: why (saith Christ) tell John what you see, the sick are healed, the lame walk, and all sorts are cured; very good things, such as no man could be offended at: and then he adds, Blessed is he that shall not be offended in me, ver. 6. as if he had said, as there are many things in me, and in my doctrine, that draw men to me, multi∣tudes crowd after me, because I heal, cure, and relieve them; so there are others of hard digestion, that may by their offensiveness to mens reason drive them from me.

So it was in this Chapter: His disciples that follow∣ed him, began to take offence, and to cry out of hard say∣ings, ver. 60, 61. and then presently go away, and walk no more with him, ver. 66.

[Use 3] Lastly, learn from hence: A man obstructs his faith, when he considers too much the appearance of inconsistencies Page  21 of his reason and sense to faith in Christ. As these Galilae∣ans, Countrymen of Christs, that knew his parentage and outward quality, fell a murmuring at his doctrine, that he came down from Heaven; for their eyes were all on those things that they thought inconsistent to his coming from Heaven; they could not stand with them, and so obstructed their faith: Whereupon he saith, ex∣cept God draw men out of their inconsistencies, no man can come to me: A man may follow his own reason un∣to an absolute unbelief, and Atheism; not that Scripture or divine Reason is to be rejected; I do not speak to that point: But I speak to that natural reason that is taken up from other grounds, and not weighed in the ballance of the Word: Faith believes God, though reason com∣prehends him not; there is no reason that I should have my reason satisfied in the point of eternal salvation by free grace, but that I should have a clear word of God, that I conceive necessary: That God promises so or so, that I must needs have as the object of my faith; but that I should have my reason satisfied before I believe, I know no reason of that: Take it either in the narra∣tive part of faith, or the promissory part: God promised Abraham a son in the old age of him and his wife, when he did not expect such a thing; did he say, Shew me how that can be now I am old? No, he did believe that he was able to perform; he received the word which he believed.—These people reasoned themselves into an absolute unbelief; they considered the means of Christ, what they saw in him; but the excellency of Christ, that he came from Heaven, the Son of God, the Saviour and Redeemer, they believed not.

And therefore let me from that observe a notable les∣son: A man that will believe firmly, let him look upon the excellency of Christ Jesus, not on that which is of∣fensive Page  22 and scandalous to our reason: It was excellent doctrine, that he was bread from Heaven; somewhat more then Josephs son: Look upon the excellencies of Christ Jesus, the satisfaction that he hath made for you by his blood, the acceptation of that satisfaction by God the Father, and those things that are excellent; and in this doctrine of free grace look well on the Soveraignty of God, for he hath mercy on whom he will; that sur∣mounts the reason of man: And so you may believe for the words sake that is delivered unto you; and not be∣cause it is commended to you by sence and reason. This that hath been delivered, is but the preamble, yet so ne∣cessary, that it could not well be omitted.

[Serm. 3] I Now proceed to the Doctrine here taught, which I divided into three parts.

First, the assignment of the power by which man comes to Christ, unto divine drawing. Except my Father draw him.

Secondly, the insinuation of mans duty, which is coming unto Christ, which is not like the duties of the Law, which yet we are all bound unto; for the Law is a Law of duty: But this is a Gospel-duty, and doth de∣note the great condition of salvation; the great conditi∣on of the Covenant upon which God will save mankind, is, that they believe in, and come unto Christ Jesus, im∣plyed in these words, No man can come to me.

Thirdly; the depression of mans pride, or derogation of mans power and natural abilities in these words, No man can, &c.

These are the three points that may profitably be handled out of these words. The last of these points first comes to hand in the order of the Text, which is,

Page  23 [Doct. 1] No man by self-power, or self-ability, can convert himself, or come in to Jesus Christ.

That I might not go far to prove the point, therefore I give it you in the words of the Text it self:

Which shews unto all men universally, that what is of greatest necessity to mans salvation, and tends to his greatest happiness, which is to come to Christ, and so consequently to be saved; unto that, he is impotent and without strength.

So that the Person upon whom we are to discourse, is not a man already in grace, but a man in a state of unre∣generation. The Subject of our discourse hath three characters given of him together, Rom. 5. 6, 8, 10. While we were without strength, while we were yet sinners, while or when we were enemies: Man thus qualified, or rather unqualified, may be, and is, a capable subject of divine traction or operation. So that observe,

No man in himself, while he lies in a state of fin, an impotent estate, without strength, is a cause first moving himself to his own conversion. And secondly, he can be no cause moving God by any of his worthiness or works to convert him: He moves not himself; for he is without strength; and he moves not God; for he is a sinner and enemy to God; and so consequently he moves not to his own conversion & salvation either way; either by way of power, stirring up himself, or by way of merit and desert, stirring up God to move him.

This point shall be opened from three particulars. The three particulars are,

[ 1] First, the greatness of the work it self, to come to Christ, that is, to believe in him, as you may see in the 35 verse, and other verses of this Chapter: The greatness of the work manifests that no man can.

[ 2] Secondly, the impotency or disability of man towards it.

Page  24 [ 3] Thirdly, the opposition and resistance that natural man makes against it to the utmost of his power: And sure he that considers these three particulars, will grant that no man can come, except it be by a greater pow∣er then his own, and so consequently that the Doctrine is concluded and proved.

First, the greatness of the work it self. Lift up your ears, that you may lift up your thanksgivings and prai∣ses: Attend to the greatness of the work of Conversi∣on, and believing in Christ, that you may magnifie and exalt it according to its worth: The greatness of the work properly leads us to the main point, to shew the imparity and impotency of man: For as the greatness of the Heavens that are over our heads, doth diminish the earth thats under our feet, and is the reason that its cal∣led punctum, a little point; so you may rationally con∣ceive, that the greatness of this work of mans conversi∣on, doth easily and rationally diminish the power and ability of man unto it, and makes it nothing.—And the work is great in three regards.

First, in respect of the change it self that is wrought upon every man that comes to God, which is exprest in Scripture by terms of the greatest distance that can be, from darkness to light; a great change.

Secondly, in respect of the power required for the ef∣fecting it; which is the drawing of Almighty God.

Thirdly, in respect of the concernment of it unto mans eternal happiness and salvation: For except you be converted and thus drawn to the Lord Jesus, there is no hope of salvation for you: And therefore in Ezek. 18. last ver. Wherefore turn and live ye.

The greatness of the work of mans conversion, may be estimated and proved to you,

First, by the names that are given unto it: It is cal∣led Page  25 a Creation, a Resuscitation of the dead, a beget∣ting of a new Man, or a new Creature, or Regeneration. Now mark how great a work that must be: And though I confess that every similitude must not so be stretcht and urged, as to make it run of all four (which is but a kind of trifling preaching of Divinity) yet we may press the scope of Scripture: Similitudes may be preacht out of Gods Word, according to the scope wherein the si∣militude holds; which hereby intimates a great work, which no man can work upon himself, but is wrought by a divine hand (non sine novitate essendi) not without a newness of being, as they use to speak. Creation is such a work as brings forth a newness of being, whereby that which is now made was not before.

It is not necessary (I think) to this work of Creation, that it should presuppose a total non-entity, or a not be∣ing to be before it: For Eve, the first woman, formed of a rib, yet may properly be said to be created; yet crea∣tion may extend so far as to signifie a producing of some∣thing out of nothing: For God when he made the world, made the creatures 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, of the things Heb. 11. 3. ver. that did not appear: And when he converts, he chuses things that are not, 1 Cor. 1. 28. that is, that were not such as they are made, that have not that existence as is given to them afterwards.

The Artificer and Workman requires and presuppo∣ses the matter that he works upon; he doth not make the matter, and therefore is not the cause totius entis, as the Schoolmen use to say, of the whole thing: But God can, such is his omnipotency, call all things out of no∣thing; else, I assert 〈◊〉 matter co-eternal with God, which I should not do. God requires not in his call that the matter be sitted to his hand, he creates us of nothing; For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus, 2 Eph. Page  26 10. And that you may see there is nothing in the work of man that gives any being and rise to Conversion and Regeneration, you may note that it is so wrought in us, as it is compared to that which was brought forth at first out of nothing, in 2 Cor. 4. 6. Whereas in the first Crea∣tion there was darkness, and then light was called out of dark∣ness by the word of Gods command: So saith the Apostle. God commands light to shine out of darkness in every one that is converted to him; he brings him into a state of light and knowledge out of just nothing, as the light was at first commanded to shine out of darkness, having no pre-existency in the darkness as any seed of light. I know this is quotidianum argumentum, an every days ar∣gument, and therefore I will go on to the next;

Which signifies the greatness of this work; a Resur∣rection, or Resuscitation on mans part, and passively; a resurrection on Gods part; and actively a raising of them that are dead in trespasses and sins, Ephes. 2. 1. cal∣led a quickening of men together with Christ that were dead before; which clearly resembles it to a miraculous work: For such is the raising of the dead: Were not they miracles whereby Christ raised the dead? And though I confess the similitude between natural and spiritual death is not to be squeezed into impertinencies; yet I say that those that shall make natural man to be as it were sick and wounded, and only in fetters, and not stark dead in spirituals, they wrong the grace of God, whereby man is converted; and as the saying is, that which gains in one part, loses in another; so look where man gains in this point, God loses: They take from God the eminency of his power, so much as they give to man, and so enrich man by robbery of God himself, and so make it a less work then indeed it is; it being a less work and wonder to heal a sick, then to raise a dead man.

Page  27 That word Regeneration, or second Birth, doth also denote the gracious act of Gods great power, whereby he brings man into a new estate: for generation even in nature, if it be but of a chicken out of an egg, it is full of admiration, and worthy to be the object of the enqui∣ry of the learnedst men: And therefore what shall we think of Regeneration, of this second Birth, as its called? which Nicodemus in John 3 wondred and marvelled what it should be; why should not we think this to be a great work, which is said not to be of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God, 1 John 13. And our Saviour shews (me thinks) a natural rea∣son, That which is born of the flesh is flesh, like it self; for the flesh can beget nothing to the spirit: And that which is born of the spirit is spirit; the spirit begets not to the flesh, nor the flesh unto the spirit, but every thing be∣gets unto its like, John 3. 6. And therefore if this be so, Regeneration must be a great work. Thats my first Argument, from the titles that are given unto it.

[ 2] Secondly, the greatness of the work is manifested by the greatness of the change wrought in them that are converted: Lay your hearts unto the marks and note; for every man converted is changed from contrary to contrary, from death to life, from darkness to light, from the remotest terms that can be, self and God:

〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉: For man exalts self, and hates and opposes God. Now this man shall be changed from self to God; Be ye met amorphosed, saith the Text, be ye changed in the spirit of your minds, Rom. 12. 2. Now look by way of comparison; for we may well compare Scripture things with Scripture: As the resurrection of the body is at∣tended with a change of that body that rises into a spiri∣tual and incorruptible body: He shall change our vile bo∣dies, that it shall be like unto his glorious body, 1 Cor. 15. Page  26〈1 page duplicate〉Page  27〈1 page duplicate〉Page  28 So the resurrection of the soul is accompanied with a mighty change of natural disposition, and of those habi∣tual principles of lust and corruption, which had first ta∣ken root, and haply by time, custome, and education, more fixt in you: Rooted they are naturally; and there∣fore when you come to be changed in these, do not you think as great a change follows in this resurrection as on the resurrectection of the body? Nothing makes so great a change as this converting grace, whereby God draws man to Christ Jesus. The moral Philosopher teaches vertue, & excellently, to appalliate the nature of man; for indeed he can teach no further: that is, he can teach amendment of vice by vertue; but they know not the meaning of those Scripture-words, Creation, Re∣surrection, Regeneration; these they are very great strangers unto; emendation of life is all they speak of. Justin Martyr in his second Apology, shews what a won∣derful change was wrought in them that were religious, in them that were called: In his time the people did ob∣serve it, the libidinous are chaste, the drunkards made so∣ber, the worldlings that had great estates, and were tenacious, hard enough, sell their estates, and commu∣nicate to them that were converted with them; and so goes on, to shew, as the Scripture speaks, the professors of Magical Arts, and such ungodly Impostures, sold and made away their books; and Paul, that had destroy∣ed the faith, preacht it: We preach men not only out of sin, but out of vertue; for Conversion is a change extended thus far, as bringing man into grace, and unto Christ: Our Saviour called the young Ruler beyond the vertue that he professed: Follow me, saith he. Oh beloved, to come to Christ Jesus, and to be converted by spiritual grace, is beyond all the vertue that you pro∣fess: And therefore we preach men not only out of vice but vertue.

Page  29 Nothing lies nearer our self-love, then our lands and houses, right hands, right eyes, and the like; yet Christ calls men to the loss of these, and he calls to no more then grace enables easily to perform: The greatest con∣quest of spiritual grace in any man, is over self-love and self-seeking; and therefore for a man to deny himself in any case that is for the excellency of Christ, is the greatest change that can be wrought in any man: For a man to deny himself upon a force, is nothing; but to do it out of sympathy, is much: As we find this change de∣scribed in Isa. 11. 6. where you must allow to the Pro∣phet such expressions: The wolf and the lamb shall dwell together; the leopard and the kid; the calf and the lyon. You must not think this is to be understood of wilde beasts, but of wilde men, whose dispositions being quite contrary, they shall be reconciled to agree: And the reason is given, verse 9. The earth shall be full of the know∣ledge of the Lord. This knowledge of Christ, whereby men are turned to God, is the great thing that changes natures, alters properties; even as that is altered be∣tween the kid and the leopard. Thats the second Argu∣ment.

[ 3] Thirdly, the greatness of the power that works unto faith in Christ, that magnifies the work. When Christ cast out Devils, and healed all manner of diseases among the people while he lived upon the earth, did he not put the world into admiration and astonishment? yet this work of Conversion, to bring sinful souls to God, to pull them out of darkness, and the damnable state where∣in they lay, this Christ makes a greater work, in John 14. 12. where he saith, He that believeth in me, shall do the miracles and the works that I do; and greater works then these shall be do when I go to the Father. When I go to send the Holy Ghost from the Father unto the world, Page  30 what greater works can there be? It cannot be other∣wise explained then the Ancients downard from Ori∣gen: The conversion of the world, of the Gentil world from Heathenism, and Idolatry, and Devillism, and va∣nity to Christ; because they work such great conversi∣ons, to turn men from darkness and Idolatry, these are greater works then Christ himself did, because he did not convert so many as they: This is the Hyperbole of Gods power towards them that believe; this is the work∣ing of his mighty power: There is never a verse expres∣ses it in so full words as that Ephes. 1. 19. speaking of the power that he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, This power wrought in you when you belie∣ved. Read this verse, and consider it well, I think you will never hereafter look upon it as an easie thing to be∣lieve the exceeding greatness of power. Learned Di∣vines observe there is an aggravation; the raising pow∣er, whereby Christ rose, was a great power; he lay un∣der all the sins of mankind; the greatest stone lay upon his grave that ever man had; every man lay dead to his his own sins: Christ lay under all the sins of mankind in their full weight; That which went to raise Christ, and to roll away the stone, was a mighty power indeed; and the same is put out in you, whereby you are called out of darkness into light, and from a natural state to be∣lieve in Christ.

[ 4] Fourthly, this is compared to such works as seem to us, and are to mans power impossible to be done: As to the Aethiopian his changing of his skin, the leopard putting off his spots; The Blackmoor cannet change his skin, nor the leopard put off his spots, Jer. 13. 23. When they can do so, then may you that are wicked and accu∣stomed to sin, change and turn to God. There is ano∣ther instance in Luke 18. 25. Can a Camel go through the Page  31 eye of a needle? no more can a man that trusts in riches, a worldly man, believe or repent; which are expressi∣ons of so great a height, that we may well conclude the greatness of the work.

[ 5] Fifthly, this is a work to which Christ is required, and wherein he must appear both satisfying and sanctify∣ing: for unless he appear in both, there can be no con∣version wrought on any man; he must come by water and by blood, 1 John 5. 6. The satisfaction of Christ, thats the taking away sin by his blood: And therefore in John 12. 32. If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me, here is another drawing: There is Gods drawing by power, and Christs drawing by his being lifted up, by his meritorious ppearing to satisfie justice. In the cre∣ation of the world there was no need of a satisfying and sanctifying Christ to appear: Its true indeed, Christ as God, and the Son of God, did appear; for by him the worlds were made, but as Mediator there was no appea∣rance of Christ: But now, if he will convert a sinner, and bring one of you home to God, out of darkness in∣to light, here must Christ as Mediator appear. Oh that men would admire the greatness of this work!

The Use of this part shall be twofold.

[Use 1] The greatness of this work shews the reason of those sayings of Divines (which were used by the Fathers of the Church in former times) That the Church of God hath still her miracles, and is not deprived of that gift. Men may say that miracles are put down and ceased; but the Church of God hath running and abiding in it the gift of miracles. Why so? Because God by the Ministry of the Word works after a wonderful and miraculous manner in the hearts of men, to bring them out of Ido∣latry and self-vanity. The raising of the Widows son from death to life, that we read of in the Gospel; and Page  32 the raising of Lazarus, that was four dayes dead in the grave; these were great works: But if you compare the conversion of sinners with them, it is a greater work. When Christ raised Lazarus, its said, that he groaned in spirit; that put him to his groans: But when he came to redeem man, that put him to his bloodshed: And therefore on the sudden to change the heart of man from hating God, as every natural man doth, to love God; from persecuting the truth, to die for it; from being in∣wardly possest by Satan, to follow the Lord Jesus Christ: I would have men to consider it, that they may come with thanksgiving to the Table of the Lord. And what faith a reverend Divine that is now with God,*Conver∣sion is the greatest Miracle that ever God ••ought. And it is to be compared to the Creation of the world, saith another,* and gives this reason: The Spirit of God seems to make it a greater work: To the creation of the world nothing was required but the word of God; but to the conversion of a sinner, the arm of the Lord; alluding to Luke 2. the arm of the Lord; and to Isa. 53. 1. To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? And certainly there ap∣pears the most grace in it, and a power above any crea∣tures: It is the assiduity and commonness of the work, not the lightness and facility (saith Austin) that takes off the wonder of it: The commonness of the Suns light makes it not so much regarded, because it is day; those men that have felt the power of God in their own spirits, they know it is a wonder. In the Gospel it was a Miracle to turn water into wine; and is it nothing to change a filthy swine into a sheep, and darkness into light? The creatures at first were made by the Word of God; but this Conversion is caused by the arm of God,* saith one. It hath been Hyperbolically spoken of by the Ancients that lived in this Church of England, as Page  33 a very great work to turn the Gentil world, and Hea∣thens from their vanity to the knowledge of Christ.

[Use 2] Secondly, admire and magnifie Christ Jesus. If Christ had opened the eye, unstopped the deaf ear, cut the string of the dumb tongue, thou wouldest have leaped and rejoyced, as they did in the Gospel. These were the miracles he wrought when he was on earth; but now, if thou be a convert, and he hath enlightned thy eye, unloosed thy tongue that thou canst now speak to God in prayer and thanksgiving, this is the miracle he works from Heaven, exceeding those on earth upon the body; and the reason is, because these were wrought on them that must die; if the dead were raised, they di∣ed again: But this miracle is wrought on thee that art not to die again thy spiritual death, but always live, as Austin saith: And consider with thy self, that among all the miraculous works of Christ that are reckoned, Matth. 11. 4, 5. The blind see, the deaf hear, the sick are raised up and walk, this cure is added▪ that the poor receive the Gospel. As who should say, these are the wonders I usually work, and among them this may pass for a won∣der too: Its a pretty ingenious observation; take some∣thing from it that may greaten your hearts, to the admi∣ration and magnifying the goodness of God. And so I have shewn the greatness of the work.

[Serm. 4] THe second Point is to shew the impotency and im∣becillity of natural man, of his own strength saving∣ly to believe or convert himself. It is said (which I would have observed) in John 5. 40. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, you will not come to me that you might have life: And of the very same persons, and almost with the same breath, in the 44. verse, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉how can you believe? you will not, Page  34 you cannot. What do you gather from these two ex∣pressions? You may very well collect that this cannot is a moral impotency; and a moral impotency, as learn∣ed men do know, differs very little from an unwilling∣ness; you cannot believe, because you will not, being disabled by such worldly and carnal lusts and prejudices, as do forestall and take up your hearts, and make it just∣ly to be said you cannot. The reason why I compare to∣gether these two verses, you will not come to me, and ye cannot believe, is to shew what manner of impotency Christ points us to in this matter: namely,

Not a meer and simple impotency, that is without our default, but a moral and culpable impotency, whereby the heart is captivated by some lust, or forelaid with pre∣judice against Christ, so as we cannot, because we will not come to him: And of this impotency, let me say this to you at the first; it takes away all excuse, all de∣fence; and the more impotent, the worse: who can ex∣cuse his blindness, that hath purposely put out his eyes? yea though it be resembled in Scripture to a simple im∣possibility, yet it is moral and culpable. Can the Aethio∣pian change his skin? Jer. 13. 23. then may you that are accustomed to do evil, learn to do well. it is a mo∣ral impotency, the fault whereof may be charged up∣on you, such as for which you stand culpable before God.

This impotency of man to convert or come to Christ, I speak unto in this branch, and mans unwillingness in the next: And so ye shall have both the cannot and the will not.

There is an impotency in man, and a disability to come in to Christ, and act to his own conversion: These are the same things; but in the handling of this point, I may sometimes name the one, and not the other, without of∣fence.

Page  35 Man in his integrity (for truly the estate of mans cre∣ated integrity hath, as I conceive, a mighty influence into all Divinity) man in that estate had a posse velle to obey God a power to love and to keep communion with God: An absolute velle was not determined; but he had a power; and therefore men that are under the fall (as all men are) must needs acknowledge they have lost some∣what by it; we have lost the power to will, which he had; nay some say, that if there were a power of belie∣ving in Christ, and of conversion in lapsed man, he should seem to have a greater power then Adam: As the power to rise again from the dead, is greater then to act life when a man is alive. I hold it to be but a trifling objection, which is made upon design; and this is the design upon which it is made: (for clearly to know the reason of any thing, is to know the thing it self) to oblige God by vertue of his Covenant with man fallen, to give forth universal grace, because this faith in Christ, this repentance, were not lost in Adam, who could not lose that which he had not; neither are we to pay for that we took not up in him: Therefore God is enga∣ged to give to man a power to believe; because he hath made a new Covenant with me, he is bound to enable me to be responsible to the Covenant that he hath made.

This Objection amounts to no more but this, That Adam could not exercise faith in Christ, nor the grace of repentance; I grant it, there was no need of it; nor con∣version, very true; for that supposes a deviation and a fall: If man say, he could not look to the Serpent on the pole: I answer, true, because neither had the fiery Ser∣pent stung, nor was the Serpent set upon the pole to heal them that were stung, before the institution of God had taken place. Adam did not exercise obedience to the Page  36 fifth commandement, and yet you account it one of the moral commands; for he had no Parents and Superiors to honour: Very true; but there was a root of integri∣ty, a root of faith in God, and love of God; there was the image of God, from whence, if occasion had been, grace might have budded forth: But to argue from the not-exercising, to the not having of grace, is no argu∣ment: There was a seminal in Adam, of which there is none left in man; the root of holiness, the principles of faith, these are lost: Nor are there any seminals left in man, out of which faith can be educed, as forms are edu∣ced out of the fitness of the matter: The Scripture seems to speak punctually to the point, No man can come to me, John 6. 44. The natural, or animal man, by the light of his intellectual perception, cannot know the things of God, 1 Cor. 2. 14. The wisdom or sense of the flesh is not subject to the Law of God, nor can be, Rom. 8. 7. They that are in the flesh, cannot please God, Rom. 8. 8. We are not sufficient, that is, not impower∣ed of our selves to think any thing as of our selves, 2 Cor. 2, 3. And this is enough to prove this point of mans impotency and disability: Which shall be handled in two members.

First, No man can by his natural power convert and turn to God.

Secondly, No man can come to Christ, or believe in him. They are both one; but for order sake we speak di∣stinctly.

Its true, we are commanded to turn, in Ezek. 18. ver. ult. Wherefore turn and live. And in another place, Make you a new heart and a new spirit: Because that is our duty, and the condition of the covenant of life re∣quired of us. The great condition is, Turn and live; Be∣lieve in Christ Jesus, and be sved: This is clear, and Page  37 there is no question against it: But yet we are turned before we turn, Jer. 31. 18. Turn thou me, and I shall be turned; and I will make you a new heart; and I the Lord will circumcise thy heart: For God makes good to his people, not only the benefits and promises of the Co∣venant; but the graces and conditions that are required; he undertakes for grace as well as for the promise; which is one of the greatest points, and main hinge of Divinity: The design and plot of God in the Gospel, being to il∣lustrate the glory of his grace (having past by the An∣gels that sinned, and leaving them without excuse, with∣out redemption) very well. Now then say I, there is no point that serves better to that end, then the depres∣sion of mans pride and power, by that impotency and disability that is in man to that which is saving: God by this magnifies the freeness of his grace, that takes this work to his own power: So that the conclusion will be, mans foolishness doth magnifie Gods wisdom; our un∣worthiness illustrates his freedom, our poverty his rich∣es, our captivity his redemption, and the enmity of man to God, his reconciliation: So that as in travelling by sea or land, the more you raise one of the poles, the more you depress the other; and the higher one rises to your eye, the lower the other sinks to your Horison: So the same degree you raise man in worthiness or ability, you lay low the grace of God, and take it down from its due elevation: The more you illustrate the free grace of God, the more you derogate from the power and abili∣ty of man. And therefore you may conclude there is no point or way serves more to the illustration of Gods grace, then the depression of the pride and power of man.

To go on, I must a little make a distinction. No man can deny God to be the working or productive cause of Page  38 grace, but must some way or other exalt himself: But I know very few men, nay not excepting Pelagius him∣self, that doth or hath denied God to be the working or productive cause of grace in us: But they sufficiently depress the grace of God, that will allow man the share of a meritorious or procuring cause to obtain it, or some way or other to procure it of God: For that is as con∣trary to the freeness of it, as any thing can be.

If we give to man the working or producing of grace in his own heart, that takes off from the drawing power of God to which it is to be assigned; it takes from grace the power of it: If we give to man the worthiness, that takes off from grace the freeness of it; for tis not free, if there be a worthiness in man: And we cannot give grace her due, except we leave to her her power and her freeness: And therefore Pelagius our Countryman, at least a Welshman, that said grace was given secundum me∣rita, according to works: And the Semi-Pelagians that followed him, that thought he went too high, and there∣fore would mend the matter with Facienti quod in se est, &c.

God denies not grace to men that do what they can; that to a man that doth what he can (though no such man (I think) is found in the world) that walks up to the utmost of his light, to him that doth the utmost of his power, God doth not deny grace in our times, when men have learned to spin a finer thred; but to be as ab∣solute fastened to the same doctrines as they were of old, they do assign the first reason of Gods giving grace to the honesty and probity of man (as they call it) these spin a finer thred one then another: But this I will say of them all, That which they give to man, they take off from God; and so much as they give to mans worthi∣ness or power, so much they derogate from the power Page  39 and freeness of God; and do so much pull down grace, as they build man. And I think it to be a good rule, We must build man upon God, and not God upon man.

I confess that our Saviour here in my Text properly speaks of the power of man, not the worthiness and me∣rit, which you may clear to your selves by the oppositi∣on, Except my Father draw him; which signifies some kind of power: But I have spoken this little of distin∣ction in derogation to the worthiness and merit of man, that I might not trouble you with it afterwards, and that I might shew you that mans merit is opposite to Gods free gift and free grace, and will no more stand toge∣ther then mans power and Gods drawing. Thats an ex∣cellent Text for this purpose, Rom. 11. 35. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, who hath first given to God? and it shall be given to him again reciprocally. Thus much unto the point of merit, because that I quit, and come to that which my Text properly leads me to; viz.

The power of man to self-conversion, or faith in Christ: And here there are three things that offer them∣selves for distinctness of method.

First, the subject unto whom this power is denied, is every man in the world, as he is considered abstractly in his corrupt natural estate, without the traction of God: No man.

Secondly, that which is denied, is power and ability to bring himself to God: Not meerly will, or readiness of will, or forwardness, as if man were in fetters, or sick and crazy; but power he cannot; which is the most offensive denial that can be made to mans reason, as lea∣ving to man no share in his own conversion, nor to God (as they dee) any justice of commanding man to turn and believe.

Page  40 Thirdly, that unto which this power of man is deni∣ed, is the most absolutely necessary thing to his salvati∣on, conversion; and the most clearly easiest thing (as men think) which is believing in Christ, then which they suppose that nothing is more facile and easie; you think it to be as easie for a man to believe, as for a sick man to cry out for a Physician, or a hungry man to call for meat; whereas Christ saith, without coming to me you cannot live: For tis a work that requires the drawing of God, and such a work as is in no mans hand.

First, the subject, No man. If I open this point genu∣inely according to the Text, I must look back, ver. 41. where Christ silences the murmurers, and gives them a general reason, that reaches all them, and all men else, No man can. And then also it gives a comfortable cor∣dial to them that do believe, that they may know that they are drawn of God, or else they should even be in the same condition with unbelievers: And you may ob∣serve it, that in Scripture the universal misery and impo∣tency of mankind doth render the cordial and comfort more sweet to them that shall find that they have tasted that the Lord is gracious, 1 Pet. 2. 3. Or as I may give it by this comparison: When Aegypt is stricken through∣out, in every house one dead, the deliverance of Israel was the more admirable, in whose houses there was not one stricken, but all free: So when you see the impo∣tency of man, and man lying under it, and to find him∣self recovered and reduced by the power and free grace of God to Christ Jesus; how should it serve to magni∣fie the power of the free grace of God!

But somewhat more closer to speak to this point. If Christ would have spoken tenderly of mans impotency to believe, he might have given these murmurers some other reason why they did not come to him; viz. their Page  41 prejudices against him; you know my Father and Mo∣ther, as you say, that I am of mean race and extract, and thats the reason why you believe not; and so needed not to have said any thing of the universal impotency of man: But you see he makes a universal negative, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, No man can. Therefore there is not such a tender∣ness unto mans power to believe, as some pretend.

If Christ would have pretended tenderness of his Fa∣thers credit (as our men do) that they assert not some∣thing in man, to emproud man; but to lay the fault at mans door, and vindicate the justice and impartiality of God, that requires all men to believe; for he boldly and clearly lays the fault at mans door, and yet clearly gives the reason of mans unbelief too: Christ boldly and confidently denies to man, he cannot; No man can come to me except the Father draw him: And more perempto∣rily, ver. 65. he saith the same thing; No man can come to me, except it were given him of my Father: And he saith it again, John 10. 26. You do not believe, because you are not of my sheep. No, God hath not given you to me; you are not of my sheep by election, therefore you believe not: So that Christ fears not any discredit that may redound to God, as if God could not answer your pleadings a∣gainst him; for God can make good his justice and im∣partiality against all mans reason, but to shew a secret reason for the comfort of Gods elect, though others may stumble.

And if it shall be, as it is, objected that it is God that gives the power indeed; but thats universal to all: The act, the will, is put by man himself, who hath not power but of God. This is the curiosity, this is the hinge of all: God gives a power or sufficiency to one man as well as another; but the will, the acting of this power, is by the will of man, and that little string they have to hold by: Page  42 And truly I have this to answer against it.

Our Saviour in this place gives such a reason, as makes a difference between man and man; such a draw∣ing, such a gift of faith, such an election of sheep, as makes a difference, and works the effect; or else it made no difference between them that come, and them that come not; therefore its said, He works to will and to do: giving saith to some, and not to others, is a differencing work; and if it be a differencing reason, there can be no uni∣versality in it; for things that make a difference, make no universality: Therefore he saith not only, you cannot be∣lieve, except this power be given; but, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Joh. 10. 26. ye do not believe, because you are not of my sheep: Shewing that this is a differencing thing he speaks of, and over∣throws quite the universality of power that men as∣sert.

No man, whether he be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Carnal man, or animal man; you shall find ground for such a distin∣ction, 1 Cor. 2. 14. and in 1 Cor. 3. 3. But what do you mean, may some say, by carnal man? He is one that is forelaid with grosser lusts, that is, transported and carried away with byassing lusts, that walks after fleshly interests, or fleshly principles: And what is the natu∣ral man then? He is one that hath what this corrupt na∣ture can give, understanding and wisdom, and is embe∣lished with the highest parts of that Sphere: All that can possibly stand with corrupt nature, that cannot be char∣ged with such lusts. Now of the natural man, and of the best of them too, its said he doth not, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, re∣ceive, or learn (for it is the common word for learning) because he cannot 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, know the things of God, he can∣not learn Christ; not the best man in the world, by an animal or natural light, can discern the things of God: And the reason given is, because they are spiritually dis∣cerned: Page  43 For in that place, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the natural and spiritual man are distinguished; the spiritual man goes by the guidance of Gods Spirit; the natural man by the guidance and light of reason: And (as I shall shew) no man by the meer light of natural reason and natural wisdom (I speak of a moral impotency) can believe in Christ, and receive him as a Saviour and a Lord; which, if you consider the opposition of the words, you will easily grant.

The second thing is, No man can: That is, no man can convert or come in to Christ; such is the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, or impotency of natural man: And this the Apostle would convince all the world of, before he treats of the point of justification by faith: His method is admirable in the Epistle to the Romans; till he had convinc'd Jew and Gentil, every man in the whole world to be guilty be∣fore God, he saith, Rom. 3. 9. that every mouth may be stopped; and all the world be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, ver. 19. obnoxious to God; that is, liable to the judgement of God; brings man into a lost estate, and then preaches salvation to him. And the reasons of this impotency of man may be taken, if you consider man what he is, and Conver∣sion what it is, and the Gospel-reasons that it gives, and what is this faith and coming unto Christ, that is denied to man: For I will not give four reasons, but four heads of reasons that may be given of these points.

First, Consider man in his natural estate, and look on him two wayes, Privatively, or Positively: Privative∣ly, as under the privation of that rectitude which he was created in; and so is called darkness, and not light; said to be dead in trespasses and sins, not alive; for darkness and death are both privations. Oh miserable man that is without light and without life! Now that it may be judged you are without and deprived of these, there is no Page  44 better argument to prove it, then by that whereinto we are redintegrate by Christ; this proves your lapse, your loss, your ruine; for by that which is restored unto you, you may know what loss you were at before, but so as (which is worthy observation) at the first the Image of God was planted in man by creation; for God created man after his own image: The first man did not work the image of God in himself, but it was planted in him by that creation by which he was made a man: So this con∣version comes not by any work of man; this new Image of God is replanted by a second creation: And therefore its said in Ephes. 4. 24. The new man is created after God in righteousness and holiness. This I speak, to shew that this flower needs not a watering only, but a new plantation in our Garden; that I might bring you to pray, and give God no rest, till you find this work wrought in you.

Secondly, Consider man Positively; and in him you shall find a world of lusts that byass him another way; Lusts that fight against your conversion; lusts that fight both against God and your souls; so that no man can any more move and free himself from this lapsed state where∣in he is, then a bondman can free himself from his Ma∣ster: Thats a Scripture-comparison; for there is not one lust you are under but you serve; Serving divers lusts and pleasures, Tit. 3. 3. one haling this way, and another pulling that way; and under the name of this bondage doth the Scripture often set forth mans im∣potent and indeed obstinate condition, being as that ser∣vant in the Law, that said, I like my Master, and will not go out free. I will be a servant for ever. There are many that say, I will not leave my covetousness, I like my sin; bore my ear for perpetual servitude, let sin be my Ma∣ster for evermore. Thus you see man is not only under privation, but under the power of positive lusts.

Page  45 Secondly, From the work of Conversion it self, that gives us very good reason; no Philosophy in the world will deny this to be reason. First, this conversion to God is not wrought as habits that are generated, pro∣duced, and begotten in man by acts, as a man writes of∣ten before he learns to write; that is a moral way: But this grace is planted in man first as potentia naturalis, it produceth the acts, and must first be: The eye is a na∣tural power 〈◊〉 a habit: I do not by seeing learn to see, as I do by writing learn to write; but first I must have sight in my eye, before I can make any act produce any fruit: Grace is like sight in the eye, we do not get grace by the several acts by us performed, but first God plants it in our souls, and then, as with the eye, we see: Our Saviour Christ gives me the form of this reason; First make the tree good, and then the fruit will be good: This must first be, a man must first be endued with a di∣vine and saving principle; there must be a new man, a new self, a new creature, before there can be any new acts. How often have I told you, that before this great work of God that plants a principle in me, before this be wrought, nothing at all can be expected from me! Now Conversion is such a thing as this, it makes the tree good; and that cannot be by mans power, because Conversion makes a new self in man. I say it is im∣possible to reason and nature that this should be; he that cannot do a good act, can much less make himself a good tree: Who ever heard of a thing in the world making it self? Is any thing both a creature and a Creator? I think there is no such thing in the world; for if there were, it would be something above a miracle: A dead man raising himself; its miracle great enough if another hand do it; I say tis above a miracle, and impossible in reason: And truly if this Scripture-truth were brought Page  46 to the ponderation of reason, reason it self would not re∣fragate and oppose the thing. And secondly,

Conversion is a work supernatural, and brings forth supernatural grace, as to believe in Christ Jesus the Lord, and to love God above self: For that which is said in Scripture, in the Law, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy mind, and thy neighbour as thy self: If thy neighbour be to be loved as thy self, then that which went before, is the loving God above self: And if this be true (as it is) that God is to be lo∣ved above self, its an impossibility, till there be a princi∣ple put into the mind and heart whereby to do it; for self cannot work above self; nothing can act above its sphere of activity; my reason is (as the Schoolmen ob∣serve) if a thing act and bring forth any thing without it self, there would be some effect without a cause, and the cause cannot reach it; which is clearly in reason im∣possible, and a contradiction: Darkness indeed was, and light was called out it: God commanded light to shine out of darkness in our new creation, 2 Cor. 4. 6. but that darkness should produce light, I say that light is without a cause; for there is no causality in darkness; and to make an effect without a cause, is a thing contra∣ry to nature and reason, and therefore there must be a power to command it out, otherwise you put nature to work above it self.

Thirdly, If you consider the Gospel-reasons, which that most of all insists on; and these are the simplest, they have no Philosophy in them: Why no man hath power to convert himself, there are two reasons the Gos∣pel gives, and there are no more that I can give in this point: I am sure Bellarmine acknowledges it.

First, it layes in caution against boasting, and takes that for reason enough. Why not? If man were able Page  47 to believe and convert himself, then there is foun∣dation laid for boasting and pride, that man reflecting on himself, might say, I believed; and for that reason the Apostle doth deny in Ephes. 2. 9. Salvation (saith he) is by grace, not of works, lest any man should boast: not so, lest that should be: Its contrary to the scope of the Gos∣pel, and also to the Gospel-design, that is to unhinge the power of man, and to draw all the water to Gods own mill, the free grace of God. And oh that we were in love with this free grace of God! that whereby when we were involved in sin, we were brought out.

The second Reason the Gospel gives, and it needs no more, is, it gives all the honour to Gods grace throughout, assigning all the difference of one man from another, to that fountain: If a man converts himself, then he differences himself from another man; but the Scripture assigns all the difference to grace, 1 Cor. 4. 7. Who made thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou hast not received? Well then it cannot be, and must not be said, that man hath power of himself to be∣lieve, or to determine of himself to convert and turn to God.

[Obj.] But that Text, Who made thee to differ? is meant of Christians, differencing one from another in graces and gifts.

[Answ.] I answer, God that makes one Christian differ from another in graces and gifts, sure he also makes a Christi∣an differ from an Infidel, from a man in unbelief and unregeneracy. So I have shewn from three Heads the impossibility of mans making himself to differ from a∣nother.

Page  48 [Serm. 5] HAving thus far in general spoken of mans impoten∣cy to his own conversion: And that being some∣thing general, I now come to speak of that particular in the Text, which our Saviour names, and that is the Adu∣namy or inability of man to come unto Christ: No man can come to me: that is, no man can believe in me, or no man can give himself up to me; for so it is explained in ver. 35. foregoing, where coming to Christ, and belie∣ving in Christ, are equivalent and of one sense. The Proposition I shall speak to, is; No man of himself can come unto, or believe in Christ, without a divine power enabling and perswading him thereunto: No man of him∣self, thats a Scripture-expression, in Ephes. 2. 8. Not of our selves.

No man of himself, or by his own power, can come unto Christ. In this verse it is said, No man can: In the next verse its said, Every man that hath heard and learnt of the Father, comes to me; which two places, if compared to∣gether, shew, that no man of himself can, but every man that is enabled by the power of a divine traction, and the inward teaching of God, who so teacheth the heart of man, as thereby to draw and perswade it to re∣ceive and believe in Christ, doth indeed believe in him unto salvation: For the teaching and drawing of God are made both one; and every one that is so taught, eve∣ry one that is thus drawn, doth believe; and no man without it doth believe in Christ unto salvation: For the faith here meant is saving faith, and so expounded, ver. 47. He that believeth on me, hath eternal life.

The impotency and disability which our Saviour speaks of in the Text, so far as I understand, is a moral impo∣tency, and this lies much of it in the will of man: An indisposition to, and dislike of Christ, to the acceptance Page  49 of whom, and against the acceptance of him, the heart of man is possest with prejudice, and forestalled by lusts, forbidden and hindred by self-righteousness of his own; which he maintains all he can. If the handling of this point may lead you further into your own hearts; to see the guile that lies in them, and the sinful impotency that is in you, it will be pains well spent.

For the handling whereof, this inability of man to receive Christ unto salvation, may be distinguisht into these two.

First, a judicial disability of some men.

Secondly, a natural disability of all men.

The first of these is, when in the just judgement of God a man is insensibly (I mean to his own sense) se∣cretly and spiritually smitten with unbelief, with a mind that is alienated from Christ, as Pharah was insensibly smitten with hardness of heart: And of these its spoken in John 12. 39, 40. Therefore they could not believe, be∣cause he hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heares, least they should see, and understand, and be converted, that I should heal them. This is a dreadful condition of men that are judicially hardened in their unbelief, under impo∣tency and disability with which they are smitten.

And who are they, aud what is their sin? may some say.

The people smitten with this, are those that have had the light of the Gospel shining among them, and have been allured by the offers of grace and Christ, to turn unto, and come to him; but they have neglected and despised the offers that have been made, and preferred the pursuit of their own lusts and interests, before the entertainment of Christ Jesus; these are the people. The character is the character of us; it was then of the Jewes (for they are properly meant in this Text) whom Page  50 God followed by his Word and the Ministry thereof from time to time; but they preferred their lusts before the teachings of God: They believed not, because they could not, Joh. 12. 37. and they could not, because God had smitten them; and he smote them, because they did not like to retain the knowledge of God in their minds, as it is said of the Heathen in Rom. 1. And so when the offers of Christ are unpleasing, and you prefer to keep acquaintance with your lusts, then to receive him and the knowledge of God, then he smites you, that when you would, you shall not believe; as these Jewes, that had seen so many Miracles, yet could not believe.

And let it sit sadly upon your hearts, that you that have received the light of the Gospel with such con∣tempt, that have had so many offers of grace, and such long space of time of hearing and receiving the know∣ledge of Christ, that you be not sealed up under a poe∣nal unbelief, even then when you think your selves to be believers; that whereas it may be said of you in the dayes of your prosperity, as it is in John 5. 40. You will not come to me that you may have life, it so fall not out one day with you, when you cry to believe, that you shall not be able: For many shall seek to enter (saith our Saviour) and shall not be able. This point is hard of di∣gestion to you; but take heed you be not found in the number of them: But this not the unbelief in the Text.

Secondly, there is a disability of all: For no man can come to me, &c. And this the reason of man stumbles at almost above any point, that God, in making a Cove∣nant with man of life and salvation, should lay the condi∣tion of the Covenant upon an impossibility, which is mans coming to Christ: For the condition of salvation being laid upon mans coming to Christ, and man being impotent unto it, it both defeats the benefits of the Co∣venant, Page  51 and puts into the mouth of man an excuse where∣by he may excuse himself for his not believing, as not being able to perform impossible things, nor indeed bound unto them, as the Rule saith, Nemo tenetur ad impossibilia. Therefore this lets man loose unto an ex∣cuse that our Saviour should deliver these words, No man can; and seems to lay the blame upon God, that layes the conditiou of the covenant of life, upon that which cannot be by man performed: But truly

Mans reason errs in the objection that it makes, as well as in the apprehension that it hath of spiritual and divine things; for a thing may be secundum quid, or re∣spectively impossible, that is not simply so: Its not sim∣ply impossible to rise from the dead, for then it could ne∣ver be; but its impossible for a dead man to raise him∣self: So to believe in Christ, its not impossible through grace & the divine traction; but to a man as he is in him∣self and in sin, it is impossible: Faith in Christ is not an impossible act; but it is not possible by mans own pow∣er; and therefore if Reason quarrel at God for laying the conditions of the Covenant of life upon impossibili∣ties, for not laying the condition of the Covenant in mans own power, yet that Reason is without reason in it; for the condition was once in mans power; and the forfeiture of the Covenant, the event may teach us to bless God that it is so no more, that the condition of the Covenant lies no more in the power of man to forfeit it, or in man only to accomplish it: God hath given (I do believe) and doth give so much power unto man, as may justifie his commanding man, and condemning, in case they do not observe his commands; there is so much power given as may justifie God in both; and so much knowledge as God doth give to any man in the world, so much knowledge as any man hath, or might Page  52 have, so much he is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, without excuse: I think thats a Principle and Maxime that will go far in all Divinity: So much power as you have, so much your excuse is taken from you; so much you may be∣lieve, and therefore are left inexcusable; even those that have knowledge of God but by the light of Nature, so much as they did know him, are without excuse. But certainly (as its said) the purpose of Gods election stands not by our works, but ex vocante, of him that calleth, Rom. 9. 11. so is his Covenant made good, not by mans put∣ting the condition, but Gods giving of it; else the co∣venant that he hath made with us, should be a cove∣nant of works or merits, and not of grace, if it did not stand upon Gods performance as it doth: And therefore its not laid upon an an impossible condition, but a condi∣tion performed and made good by God himself: I will put my law into their hearts, and I will write it in their minds, and they shall all know me: that is, shall believe in, and love me, and accept me for their God, as the tenour of the covenant runs, Heb. 8. 10. And the very reason why this covenant of life should not be defeated, fru∣strated, and made void; therefore its not committed to your power, but reserved to the hands of the grace of God to make it good, Rom. 4. 16. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be of grace, to the end that the Covenant might be sure to all the seed; otherwise it had been as unsure as the Covenant that he made with Adam, or as that which he made with Israel, that God said was broken, Heb. 8. 9. For in every Covenant, that with Adam, the promise was sure enough to the condition; life was sure enough to the condition, Do this; if that condition had been performed, it had been a sure covenant, none surer. What failed then? the condition failed 〈◊〉, because it leaned on man; and for that reason only it failed; and Page  53 therefore the covenant was not sure; and this I have spoken all along to answer that objection, that the cove∣nant might be sure, the condition doth not rest barely on the power of man: But God performs the condition of the covenant that he makes with his people; and (I think) he that gives the object of faith, gives also the act of faith: He that gave the serpent on the pole, gives also the eye to look upon it, that so Christ the object of your faith, and faith that you might believe in him, might be the gift of God: For what avails Christ set forth to a people, and no faith to lay hold on him? Of what avail is the setting forth of an object, where there is no eye to see it? Grace, I believe, saving grace (though I confess it is not so resented by many learned men) comes from the purchase and merit of Christ, as well as bene∣fits of pardon: The conditions and graces of the cove∣nant come from the merit of Christ also, without which there is no pardon; since Christ is called, Heb. 7. 12. the surety of a better Covenant, an undertaker of the best Covenant. Now all the question of the Text will be whose surety is Christ: Is he Gods surety that makes it, or mans surety with whom it is made? Gods surety (saith a learned man of latter times) God and mans (sure) I think;* mans surety he is by giving satisfaction to the justice of God for the sins of man; Gods surety he is by sending forth his Spirit to certifie and seal us: Or thus, he is surety for God, that he will pardon us; and sponsor or undertaker for us, that we shall know God, and believe in Christ, and receive him for a Saviour; therefore also called a Mediator of the same Covenant: Now a Mediator is is not of one, but of two parts; in Zach. 13. 9. I will say You are my people; they shall say The Lord is my God. If Christ then be the surety of the Co∣venant, Gods surety and ours, for God and for us, it will Page  54 follow that Christ undertakes for us, and that we have grace, our believing, our faith, from his merit and his purchase. Well then

First, I say, all men are naturally unable to believe in Christ, or to come unto him; for though he be a foun∣tain opened, that was once a fountain sealed compara∣tively, Zach. 13. 1. In that day a fountain shall be opened for sin and for uncleanness: (speaking in the dialect of the Jewes) that is, as in the Law there were sins and uncleanness; sin to be purged by blood, and unclean∣ness to be purified by water; and there were expiati∣ons of sin, and purgations of uncleanness represented in several Types: So the Prophet shews that Christ shall answer them all; 〈◊〉 Christ all these Types; yet though he be a fountain opened, as the impotent man said, I have none to put me in, Ioh. 5. 7. I lie lame and decrepid at the pool-side, and when the water is moved, have none to put me in: So it may be said in this point, there is a fountain opened in Christ Jesus for sin and unclean∣ness; but none is able to come to it without a superna∣tural help, and a divine hand go along with him.

The Gospel-preaching opens this fountain to you; and this grace Pelagius rested upon, and held that the grace of God was the preaching of the Word, and open∣ing the fountain to men: For Orthodoxis verbis non ab∣stinuit. He (as other Erronists that live in our times) did not abstain from Orthodox words: But what said Au∣stin to them? Nolumus istam gratiam, we rest not upon that grace meerly of having the Gospel preached, and the Fountain declared to be opened unto us; but there must be a divine hand to enable the will of man to come to this pool when it is moved. Of any Text in Scrip∣ture this is most clear to prove the miserable impotency of sinful man to this point of salvation; he cannot Page  55 comply with this of himself. No man can, &c.

And if this do not suffice, we will argue the point a little further, Isa. 53. 1. Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arme of the Lord revealed? Here is Isaiah the Prophets report; but there is an arm must be revealed, both which must go together; the report revealed by the Ministry, and the arm of the Lord revealed, must go together; for else, though they saw so many miracles (the means of believing) yet they be∣lieved not, saith our Saviour, quoting this Text, John 12. 39. And whereas every one taught and drawn of God doth come, and no man can come except so drawn, it manifestly proves, that as the coming is mans act, and the free act of man (for I think man is never more wil∣ling then when he is convinc'd indeed, and enabled to come to Christ) yet the drawing is Gods power; that must first be; and the drawing of God, that is first in time; for man doth not come that he may be drawn; but because he is drawn, therefore he comes: And there∣fore this drawing of man to faith in Christ, sounds like a work of Almighty power, or a work of omnipotence, Ephes. 1. 19. The exceeding greatness of his power towards us that believe, according to the working of his mighty power whereby he raised Christ from the dead, and lifted him to glory. The exceeding greatness of his power: The Hyperbole of it (here is a thrusting and crowding of words together) a power that is compared to the raising of Christ; Christ (I say) who bore our sins in his body on the tree, though he lay, under our sins (for the death of Christ must be considered a little further) no such load could depress him; the Lord would have the stone rolled from his grave for him to rise again: This was a work of mighty power, and yet according to this, God puts forth his hand in drawing of man to Christ; so that Page  56 (as I conceive) it cannot but argue that the free grace of God giving, and the great power of God drawing, makes faith to be above man, and takes it from mans merit, and mans power: And truly it could not else be rightly said in Ephes. 2. 8. Through faith, not of your selves, if this faith were of our selves.

The Root of this impotency shall be shewn you in five particulars.

First, there are some footsteps of the Law of God remaining, that were written in the heart of man: In Rom. 2. 15. they shew the work of the Law written in their hearts; that as by the rubbish that you see, you con∣jecture what building there was before, and by the de∣faced lines you may guess at the picture; so you may by the common Notions left in mens minds, judge of right and wrong, and the differences between justice and in∣jury, without which no society could be of any men in the world, but would be herds of wilde beasts rather then men; but of Christ there appears nothing writ∣ten naturally in the heart of man; nothing at all con∣cerning a Saviour and a Mediatour, but an utter dark∣ness and silence of Christ, and consequently of Faith in Christ.

Secondly therefore, man, when his conscience is an∣gry (having something of the Law in it) and accuses as it doth, for sins against Nature, common Law, and com∣mon Light; and when it accuses and troubles him, be∣ing altogether ignorant of the righteousness of God by faith in Christ, and how he should be saved and justifie∣ed, knows not till it be revealed by the Gospel; for therein is the righteousness of God revealed, Rom. 1. 7. For who can so much as guess by the pregnancy of natural light, that God in his Covenant of Salvation, should pitch on; such a way as Christ, a Sponsor or Surety, the Page  57 Mediator between God and man? that he should make expiation for sin? truly no more then Moses, or an Israe∣lite could have so much as found out the way of heal∣ing the biting of the fiery Serpents by a figure set upon a pole to be looked unto; no man could imagine, no mans reason could have found it out, had they wandred in the wilderness never so many years; and yet this was Gods way, and a Type of Christ; signifying what man could never have found out to conceive of compensati∣on for sin by a Mediator, which was a thing impossible, and had not been known; therefore man being ignorant of this, must of necessity fly to his own plaisters and fig∣leaves; for if by nature he may be convinc'd of sin, yet by the dictates of natural conscience, he can never find out any righteousness and satisfaction to Gods justice; then it must follow that he must fly to making a medicine of his own righteousness, which is of works; for that only comes by man to be found out, as being next to hand in this case; that I say, or nothing, as being his only hope; and this bulrush the drowning man takes hold of, and holds it fast as for life, and so comes of necessity to settle on his own righteousness, being ignorant of the righte∣ousness of God, which is by faith in Christ: And this the Apostle tells you, Rom. 10. 3. For they being ignorant of the righteousness of God, went about to establish their own righteousness, and so submitted not to the righteousness of God. where you see the righteousness that is our own, maintains our pride (in that word submitted not) and ri∣sing from ignorance of that of Gods righteousness (to which we must submit by way of humiliation) which is a cause that men believe not. And then

Thirdly (and pray mark) there is a double Revelati∣on of Christ; the one is a revealing of him by Gospel-doctrine, the other is a revealing of him by spiritual light: Page  58 The revealing of Christ by Gospel-doctrine to the natu∣ral knowledge of mans corrupt understanding, cannot procure or produce any other then literal knowledge of Christ: The Scripture calls it knowledge in the letter, as to know the Gospel as a History may be known to be true, whereof a man hath a dogmatical knowledge; you have many believers, and these by knowing the Gos∣pel by a natural light, are differenced from Heathens: But this doth not, nor never will produce a saving faith; most men have a literal knowledge; we see in ordinary experience, all men have some knowledge, and Scho∣lars a great deal; yet being seen by natural light, though revealed in the Gospel, will not reach so far as to beget faith, saving faith in Christ.

But the other revealing of Christ by the light of the Spirit of God, conveying the knowledge of him into the mind and heart of man: This is that which is lumen fidel, and shews him as he is, so as to draw unto him, and is called the teaching of God, whereby every man that hath it doth believe and receive Christ, Joh. 6. 47. Who is seen in his own light, as the Sun in its own; for by torch-light or candles we cannot see the Sun; so the natural man cannot know him, because he is spiritually discerned, 1 Cor. 2. 14. And so its said, Flesh and blood hath not revealed this to thee, but my Father, Mat. 16. 17. The truth of the History of the Gospel that you read, may be revealed to flesh and blood; but the revelation of which faith is begotten, is from my Father: And in 1 John 5. 20. He hath given to us an understanding, that we may know him, and we are in him. Such a knowledge, to know him by faith, is a knowledge of union, and brings us to him: Therefore this light of the sweetness, excellency, comfortableness, and necessity of Christ Jesus appearing to your minds and hearts by Gods tea∣ching, Page  59 is that which throws down your reasonings, pulls down your strong holds, and brings every thought in you into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 2 Cor. 10. 5. And doubtless that is the light which is necessary to the production of true faith in Christ, which yet few have: Therefore let not men wonder that have a great deal of natural knowledge, that yet they have not a proportionable light that is commensurable to spiritual things, no more then the Moon-light is to judge of colours; you have not the light that produces faith, and because you have it not in a natural estate, therefore the natural man is not able to believe.

Fourthly, the act of mans coming is an effect of Gods drawing; for man doth not come that he may be drawn, but because he is drawn first. Faith is an act of a vi∣tal principle; faith is not the act of a dead man; there must be life before there be sight: we do not first see, and then live; no, but all seeing in nature is an act of life, and from life it must come: A dead man seeth not, and therefore it is no more easie for a man to believe in Christ, then to make himself to live; for your reason will teach you there must be potentia before there be actus; he that will believe in Christ, if he will not have an act without power, must first make himself alive, raise himself from being dead in trespasses and sins, that he may put forth lively acts from a vital principle; therefore I conclude from that demonstration, that no man is able of himself to believe in Christ.

Fifthly, no man can believe aright that undervalues God or Christ to his own lusts, or any of them: If any man undervalues God or Christ to any worldly earthly interest (true, in judgement you may not, but in pra∣ctice you do) and every natural man hath some lust that he values, somewhat of the flesh, or the world, that is Page  60 predominant and prevalent in him, which he values even above God, that man sets up himself before God in his choise or election, and so cannot believe in Christ. Christ said in John 5. 40. How can ye believe, that receive honour one of another? that have a humour of doing ho∣nour, and receiving honour from men, and do not con∣tent your selves with the honour that comes from God only? As the least chap in the joynt between the graft and the stock will hinder coalition; so that man that hath either one lust or other (for the same reason holds of all) if he be ambitious of honour, that he prefers and holds fast, rather then leave, and come to Christ. From all that hath been said, the hardness and difficulty of faith must be considered what it is, and then reason will convince you, that no man can come to, or believe in Christ, except the Father draw him.

The Use of this point is five-fold.

First, to humble the pride of man, that is so much un∣ale as to contribute one act of saving faith to his salva∣tion, able to do little in a thing on which depends his eternal happiness, 〈◊〉 believing in Christ: A dead hand, or a full hand, neither of them can receive or hold fast any thing: Now every man in the world hath a dead hand or a full; dead without life, or full of himself; his own righteousness and obedience; and therefore it hum∣bles the pride of man, that so confidently can believe and receive Christ, they can do nothing if they cannot do that: Truly you can do nothing indeed; there must be a moulding, a drawing, a teaching of God, whereby there must be a new life put into you, and your hand must be emptyed.

Secondly, it shews the folly of those that undertake to believe and repent at their own pleasure, and their own time: That are like Israel, All that the Lord com∣mands Page  61 us we will do: or as a Mariner that is to go to sea, truants his time away, as if he had the wind in a bag, or in his fist: Sin is a deceitful thing, and men are harden∣ed through the deceitfulness of it, Heb. 3. 13. Take heed, you that are so great undertakers, I will assure you, you shall be little or small performers of this point: For

Thirdly, it is not an easie thing to believe, as is pre∣tended, as I have shewn: They seem to me to have but little faith, or little proof of it that say so, or have not found it a hard thing to believe. In time of peace, when nothing troubles the conscience, no temptation, no sin, no discouragement, its easie to pretend believing: But is it easie when temptation comes? when a man sees the vast compass of his sins, and sees the frowning face of God; no ability nor power to help himself, is it easie then? I believe you will find it a hard thing, and our Saviours words will be found true, No man can.

Fourth Use of this Point: Be not deluded with a con∣ceit of a common interest in Christ, or hope thereof, because of his general salvation, because he hath redee∣med you, and common and general men are deluded by it: I will tell you, I have known many that have made this to be their comfort; this may be an encou∣ragement to men to believe, but can be no comfort to men until they do believe: This is an encouragement inviting men to believe; but thats not sure or strong consolation: You must indeed come to him; but the power whereby you come, will be found not to be at your command: But God vouchsafes it unto those he will draw, and those only.

Lastly, learn hence that God hath laid the condition of salvation upon that which he himself works: God hath laid it upon our coming to Christ, which doth re∣quire Page  62 the very grace of God to perform, our coming to Gods drawing; that so in every mans salvation the pow∣er and freedome of the grace of God may be acknow∣ledged. And so much for this Point, That it is not in the natural power of man to believe.

[Serm. 6] IF you please to keep in mind the order and method of handling this Point, No man can come to me: you may remember I propounded to handle these two things; the impotency of natural and corrupt man; and the re∣pugnancy and opposition of him.

The impotency or disability of man, was first in ge∣neral to his own conversion, in particular to his coming in to Christ, which is the particular in the Text: And having done with the Impotency or Adunamy of man, which is a privative thing:

I now come to that which is positive, and hath more of ths will in it, though (as I shewed) it was a moral im∣potency: The opposition to this work, which will shew you that corrupt man is by his own will oppositely car∣ried towards God: And this point, as the former, speaks generally to the opposition that there is in man to God, or to the holiness of God, in two things. First, his con∣trariety: Secondly, his enmity to the holiness of God or his Law: And it speaks particularly to the oppositi∣on that corrupt man doth make to Christ, or the grace of Christ that is offered in the Gospel: And that also in two things.

First, his averseness to come, and

Secondly, his resistance of grace when its offered to him!

In which four steps this opposition may be handled and manifestly seen, shewing you thereby what a misera∣ble thing a natural man is, being in statu belli, in a state of Page  63 war and hostility against the great God, his Law, his Grace, and consequently an enemy and opposite to his own happiness: And this point shall be opened to you to this end, to vilifie and depress the pretended pride or worthiness of man, and to exalt the freeness and power of Gods grace in the salvation of man. For there are two eminent things in that Doctrine that you call the free grace of God: Freeness and power.

First, the contrariety of man in the state of corruption unto the nature of God, is palpable, and may be felt; and so indeed had need to be, rather then only taught: And it is this Contrariety to God, that renders the na∣tural condition of man most deplorable, and is a very good argument, as there is any, to prove that David in that confession of his in the 51 Psal. did intend the con∣fession of his own sin, and not the sin of his Mother, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my Mother warm me. For he went backward from his own trasient and actu∣al sins, to the original and root of his malady, and ag∣gravated his sin by this contrariety to God; which saith no more then that expression of Paul, Rom. 7. Sin that dwells in me: or haply that in Isa. 48. 8. Thou wast called a transgressor from the womb: And concerning this contrariety of man to God so deplored, I shew you these three things in general.

First, this Contrariety to God is not acquired or got∣ten by iteration of acts and actual sins; but is innate and bred in nature: As the strings of an instrument are out of tune before you play upon them, and they sound harshly to you; so is the heart of man; the faculties there are vitiated, but not quite blotted out; but all the strings are out of tune before they come to be actuated: For they have a good saying in the Schools, and tis true: First, the person, viz. Adam, infected mans nature; but Page  64 now the nature infects the person; so that there is this contrariety of man to God by nature: For

Secondly, the Image of God in man was before this contrariety in corrupted nature; but this contrariety to God is now, before the Image of God restored to man; therefore its said, Ephes. 5. 8. Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are light: And, Ye were dead in sins, but now are quickened, Ephes. 2. 1. Ye were the servants of sin, but now ye are made free from sin, Rom. 6. 17. that look as life and death, servitude and freedom, light and darkness, are contraries one to another: So are exprest the state of Nature and the state of Grace.

Thirdly, there are in sin (say the Schools) two parts; the first, mans aversion, or turning from God; the se∣cond, mans conversion or turning to himself or the creature: The one of these hath more of sensuality and self; the other bewrays more Contrariety to God.

But to come more particularly to the point: This contrariety shews it self in this, that an unregenerate man cannot by any principle that is in nature, love God above all things or above himself; which thing, if well minded, may let you in to see spiritual wickedness, and not only carnal and sensual; self may love God as a benefactor, or as a servant to his own ends, whom he may make use of to gain by, and live upon. Call this love of God if you will; but such a man doth uti Deo ut fruatur mund, uses God, that he may enjoy the world: A Merchant may traffique and commerce with an enemy whom he hates; so you may converse with God, whom you hate in your hearts, meerly to get by him, and for matter of advantage: This love of God is not amor amicitiae, a love of friendship, but concupiscen∣tiae, a love of lust, to gain by God; a love of parasy∣tism, Page  65 and flattery, and self-love of God.

Concerning which self-love, I say particularly thus much.

First, that every man by nature is brim-ful of inor∣dinate self-love; I call it inordinate self-love; for there is a subordinate self-love, which neither can nor ought to be put off, God having linked together his own glo∣ry and mans happiness in himself: For the chief end of man, is to please God and enjoy him; Moses, in denying of himself to please God, had an eye to the recompence of reward; But thats inordinate self love, when a man seeks God in order to his own ends, and neglecting his holiness, which it is impossible a corrupt man should love; only serves himself upon God, and makes use of him in prayer or otherwise for his private interest, either ut prosit, or ne noceat, that God may profit him, and keep him in health or wealth, or that God may not hurt him, and lay judgements, torments, and plagues upon him, as the love of a whore is for hire: This is that inordi∣nate self-love that a man hath to himself, because he sets himself above God, as making himself the end, and God the means to attain that end.

Secondly, this Self-love, with the branches of it (which are very many) self-seeking, self-pleasing, self-ayming, &c. is the root and mother of all sin: And therefore when the Apostle makes you a catalogue of sin, he sets this in the front, in 2 Tim. 3. 3. Men shall be lovers of their own selves: And then they shall be filled with all politick sins, and all sins of private interests; and above all this, and more then these, they shall have a form of god∣liness, and deny the power of it: That whereas its said of some of the Elements, they move to the Center, and not from it; so I may say in this case, a corrupt man al∣wayes Page  66 moves towards this Center, and moves not from it: This self-love begets not a love, but a contempt of God (as Aquinas) and takes the wall of him in every thing; for it makes him a servant only to work my own interest, and to enjoy my self, which is the great Idol of man, to which every man naturally burns incense, and offers sacrifice, and is no more able, whatsoever he may pretend, to exalt and set up God any further then may stand with self, then a current of running water that comes from a Spring, is able to run above the height of the Head or Fountain; for then it would follow that a heavy body should run above it self.

Thirdly, that the true love of God above self, or all other things, cannot possibly flow from any other prin∣ciple but that which is above nature, viz. regenerating grace: And I take it to be one of the most demonstra∣tive arguments, and the first product of saving grace, to love God for his holiness; and ability to delight in him for himself, as the Psalmist saith, Delight in the Lord, and he shall give thee thy hearts desire. This shews that there is planted in the soul a similitude and likeness unto God, which likeness is alwayes the cause of love; and where this likeness is not, it is impossible that the corrupt heart of man should put forth any act of love to God himself: And therefore its a very hard thing to perswade a natu∣ral man that he loves not God, until he find that grace in himself that shews him plainly that he did not love him before; and the reason is, because every man li∣ving measures his love of God by a false measure: For,

First, either he measures the love of God to him by a common goodness of God; which as it may stand with Gods hate of him, so it may stand with his hate of God; and so all that love of God is but a love unto Page  67 himself, because its sounded meerly in nothing else but common goodness, that God vouchsafes to you perad∣venture in this above other men: For, as it is said of Abraham, He gave all that he had unto Isaac; but unto the sons of his Concubines he gave gifts and sent them away, Gen. 25. 6. so those that are indeed the beloved of God, to them he gives the inheritance of divine grace; but as for others, he gives them gifts, but sends them away from all comfortable presence and enjoyment of communion with him: And therefore thats a false mea∣sure to measure the love of God to you by. Or

Secondly, he thinks (and will not be beaten off it) he loves God, because he can say, and that truly, that God is amiable, and to be beloved above all; and that the chiefest good and happiness of man is to be found in God, and in the enjoyment of him. These are fair words. But the Schoolmen have a true saying, Mans corrupt na∣ture is more corrupt quantum ad appetitum boni, then quantum ad cognitionem boni; moe out of the way in choise of good, then in knowledge of truth: And there∣fore, as it is the best way to know whether you love God or no, by bringing things to particulars, unto choise and unto vote, to hic & nunc, to particulars that stand in com∣petition with God, then tis plain with you, and alas, plain with us all in our natural condition, that sensitive interest and sensual profit is chosen and embraced before God, as infinite experience sheweth that the poorest and meanest lust, or the enjoyment of any creature in the world, when it comes to choise, shall carry it quite away from God; which is a demonstration that this love of God is not in some, and doth not preponderate.

I shall shew you, First, that an unregenerate man can∣not love God.

Secondly, why he cannot love God.

Page  68 First, He cannot. No man, until God renew his I∣mage in him, can love God; for there goes renewing grace to this work, to love God above self; its a rare thing, very seldom do you find out this corruption. Ah, I pity you! you know not the half of that contrariety that is in every one of you to God: In Deut. 30. 6. The Lord thy God will circumcise thy heart, to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart: For there is a foreskin upon the heart of man that must be taken away, and that is a na∣tural hardness and indisposition, and this sticks upon the very elect of God themselves, until they are called ac∣cording to Gods purpose; for they are born uncircum∣cised, and have not this love of God in them, but a con∣trariety and enmity to God: Indeed its true, they have a love of God towards them, while they are in a state of alienation from him, and that is called Amor〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, but not yet Amor〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉: the love of his good pleasure to∣wards them, but not a love of complacency and well-pleasedness in them: For so the Scripture calls him on∣ly that serves Christ in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the holy Ghost, Rom. 14. 18. These are under the well-pleasedness of God only; and therefore, though the love of his purpose may be toward them, yet this of complacency is not in them until they be converted, I the Lord will circumcise thy heart to love, &c.

Secondly, the effects of alienation from God may be found in every natural man: For so in Col. 1. 21. You were sometimes alienated and enemies in your minds by wick∣ed works. And again, in Ephes. 4. 18. Being alienated from the life of God. You will say this speaks to the Gen∣tils, what they were before they came to Christ: I grant it; but were the Jewes, that were Church mem∣bers, as you may seem to be, any better? Of them, Christ saith in John 5. 42. I know you, that you have not Page  69 the love of God in you. You may very well think that they would have spit in the face of any that should have said they had not the love of God in them, as you may hold any man in defiance that shall say it of you: But you know not the enmity and contrariety that is in your hearts to God: He proves it by this argument; he that hath not true faith in Christ, hath not a sincere love of God; As men put fallacies to themselves in point of believing, so in point of loving: And I remember A∣quinas goes about to prove that all unbelief arises from the hatred of God; when a man traces his unbelief in Christ to the last result of it, he shall find it to be the hate of God: I would not strain things higher then they are, but so far forth as they may give a good demonstra∣tion: By which argument it appears that there is not much love of God in the world, or indeed in the Church: And this contrariety to God may appear,

First, in that a natural man hath not (and cannot have any) delight in communion with God; and I think he can have no delight in God, in Heaven, or Earth: In Earth he cannot; tis an irk some thing! They say, When will the new Moon be gone, and the Sabbath be over, that we may set forth wheat, and keep our markets! Amos 8. 5. weary of communion with God.

Nay, and some say that it is demonstrable, that if by supposition an unregerate man were let into Heaven, he would not take content there, could not possibly have any delight in it; proving by this supposition, that if one were in heaven that had not this divine grace, this likeness with God, there would be no delight and con∣tent there with him to abide; for both the happiness of the place is unproportionable to his sensuality, and the holiness of Gods presence & communion with him are as unsuitable to him, as the glorious light of the Sun unto Page  70 the eye of an owl, which he cannot bear, and is no more desirable then pearls that are cast before a swine: For things are to be measured not by the excellency of the place it self, but by the proportionableness of nature to them: And therefore, as you desire to find happiness and delight in heaven it self when you die, so it con∣cerns you to get your corrupt natures changed and san∣ctified, without which I do verily believe heaven it self would not be heaven unto you. Oh what a miserable case doth a corrupt and natural man live in, that would not go to torment and perdition, and cannot go to hea∣ven and salvation, because of the contrariety of his na∣ture!

Secondly, it appears, in that a carnal man delights to do that which God hates, and prefers it, and is not trou∣bled, doth not tremble at his offence of God; They rejoyce to do evil, Pro. 2. 14. And if any of you sometimes find them to be troubled for sin, and to be in anguish, as it is ordinary, it is but out of self-love, being affrighted at the punishment and torment, being willing to be rid of them; for so the Devil is, Art thou come to torment us before our time? but not at the offence of God, except as of a Judge which hath the Law ready in his mouth, not of God as a Father, which shews their fear to be ser∣vile, and servile fear hath torment in it, which love casts out, and not filial and son like, which love causes.

Thirdly, it appears in the hatred they express to the Image of God, in whomsoever they see it: For as he (and tis so all the world over, from the beginning to the end) that was born after the flesh (it is not a falling out between man and man for a time) but he that was born after the flesh, persecuted, or despised, or mocked him that was born after the spirit, Gal. 4. 19. as then, so now, that as they say, the Leopard or Tygre will express their Page  71 hatred to man even in his picture, where they find it they will tear it, in hatred unto man; you shall find it so in the wicked carnal men of the world, whereever they see the Image of God shine forth, they will be sure to tear and persecute it; and therefore from that it may be certainly concluded that they love not God: And this is the contrariety that I charge upon corrupt nature unto God.

Secondly, why a natural man loves not God.

First, this rule may be the reason of it; he loves not God at all that loves any thing more then God: I think we shall set our selves into a very great strait anon; an underlove is accounted none at all; a woman would not much account of the loue of a husband, if he loved one woman in the world more then her self; love will not bear one more; He shall leave father and mother (saith the Scripture) and cleave to his wife. How do you think God will esteem and account that love to him, if so be your selves, or any creature in the world be loved above him, or better then him? And therefore the love of God then begins to be accounted lovely, and reckoned for love, when it exceeds all other love: Its accounted by the surplussage of it, that it hath above life and liberty, above the world, and all the dear and near things of the world; if you account it otherwise, you shall be mista∣ken: As you account a thing to be weight, if it draw the scale; for that that makes one scale weigh down the other, that makes the weight; so though thou lovest, God in many respects, yet until it come to surplussage and preponderation, God accounts not of it; for the greater weight carries down the scale from him; for while the scales stand even, it is not accounted weight: And therefore every natural man that committeth forni∣ation with the creature, and is married to some one or Page  72 other lust, hath no love to God, because God is over∣weighed by it: And this Doctrine our Saviour taught in Matth. 10. 37. He that loveth, Father, Mother, son, or daughter more then me, is not worthy of me. And the reason is, while God and the creature are in competiti∣on, while God stands not against us in any lust of ours, we know not whether we love God or our selves best; but when they come into election, then its seen: As while the scales stand upon the Counter, there is no sight which end is the weightier; but when you take the bal∣lance in hand, then you find which preponderates: So when you come to particulars, either lose this profit, or Gods favour; while these stand in competition, there is no knowledge, no sight; but when you come to try, your hearts and consciences will quickly tell you; the ballance doth not tell you which end the gold lies in, and which the brass, but where the most weight lies: Every man tells himself that God is best to be loved, and that end hath the gold in it; yet the choice of the creature above God, shews that there lies most weight; and thats pure interest and lust that takes place with you. Thus it is when God is weighed against lust in a natural mans beam; and therefore whatever you say in that point, look to the election and choise of the heart, that chuses the creature before God, and shews that God is less esteemed then lust, or a natural mans interest.

Secondly, an unregenerate man cannot love God, be∣cause he can have no assurance that God loves him first; for that is a rule, 1 John 4. 19. We love him, because he loved us first: that is, to ordain and fashion us unto eter∣nal life; the sense and appearance whereof is hidden to a natural man; and there must not only be a first love, but also the sense and knowledge of it, before it beget a reciprocal and answerable love to God: And therefore Page  73 the love of God to his elect in their state of nature, can∣not produce any love in them to God: why? because it must be a thing known; there must be day-break or Sun-rising, a work of effectual vocation and calling, by which light you may see it; you can no more love God, till not only you have his divine grace, but also know it, then the pavement can be hot, or reflect heat to make you hot, till the Sun hath shined upon it; no more is it in your hearts to love God above self, until the love of God hath shined into your hearts, to make them in love with him. And this is the second thing, the con∣trariety of corrupt nature to God.

[Serm. 7] THirdly, the contrariety of corrupt nature unto grace is manifested in their mutual fight one against ano∣ther: (Remember that I go about to prove that there is such opposition of a natural man to God, as that he can∣not convert himself, and come in to Christ to believe) for neither will sin give grace entrance & admission, nor will allow it quiet possession or dominion; but they are always in unreconciliable war, while there are remains of either: For as it was said of Esau and Jacob, when they strangely strugled and wrestled in their Mothers womb, and she went to the Oracle, and asked, Why is it thus with me? it was answered in Gen. 25. 23. There are two Nati∣ons, and two manner of people in thy womb. This sets forth to us grace and nature, flesh and spirit, which in the same womb of mans heart do fight and struggle; and if you will have the very words, it is in Gal. 5: 17. These are set one against another, the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: And these are of contrary perswasions, principles, byasses, and affections; and eve∣ry man is opposite to this grace, by reason that his cor∣ruption Page  74 hath first possession, and having so, fights against that grace that comes to take him captive to Christ Je∣sus; and there can be no more compliance in a natural man to comply with the grace of God, then between fire and water: why? because there is a contrariety; every thing that is, be it of never so vile and base a be∣ing, would be what it is, and hath no principle to aspire to a higher being: A spider cannot aspire to a being a∣bove her; a toad or serpent cannot wish (as I may say) to be any thing then what they are; only man indeed may aspire to be worse, and more contrary to God, but never better; and therefore I see no reason that can be given, why corruption should desire to change its estate into the state of grace: Corruption supplanted grace at first, and is always prone to supplant grace again: Cor∣ruption supplanted Gods Image at first, and is ever at∣tempting to do so again, but that through Christ grace comes in, and supplants sin in part, fighting down the dominion of it, though not the existence and being of it: Sin dwells in me, saith the Apostle; that look as Joshua, when he came to the Land of Canaan, destroyed all the Canaanitish Kings, but not all the Canaanites and petty people; for they were left for good uses, to teach them humility, and to do Gods work upon them; so if ever regenerating grace come into the heart of man, it will certainly kill and subdue all kingship and domini∣on of sin: Sin shall not have dominion over you, because you are not under the Law but grace: But yet all sin is not extinguished; the Canaanites yet live: Sin dwels in the people of God, but it dwels in them for good ends; for if it had not been for good ends left, be confident it should not have been. There are two Uses of it; for Hu∣miliation, and for Consolation: For though it be a la∣mentation to every Christian to draw the clog: Oh Page  75 wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this bo∣dy of death! Rom. 7. 14. yet it is a comfort when a man finds this contrariety in him; he hath cause to bless God that he is not all of a piece, that he is not all flesh, that there is Esau and Jacob in him: For it is not the conquest that shews grace, but the fight or contrari∣ety of grace unto corruption. And were it not that grace had a stronger Second, viz. Christ and the Spirit, as its delivered 1 John 4. 4. Greater is he that is in you, then he that is in the world, it would be extinguish∣ed and beaten out of the field every day; for tis as easi∣ly put out as the light of the Sun would be put out by any interposition, and would no longer live then a spark of fire in the Ocean; but only God doth as well keep it in, as bring it in at first by his mighty arm; for as to heat the water you know there is need of fire, but not to cool it; the nature of the water will out the heat: And though the Sun gives light, yet there needs no cause of darkness; for if the Sun cease to shine, darkness it self returns, and comes into the Air, where it was be∣fore: So the very cessation of the influences of the spirit, if they should but cease, though there were no contrary causes (as there are from the flesh & the world that infu∣ses corruption) yet these corruptions would return, as the first inhabitants in man, to which he is first principled; so that it is the wonderful power of God that keeps grace alive. Thats the third particular to prove this Contrariety, that maintains the fight, and keeps out di∣vine grace until the heart be made willing to receive it.

Fourthly, the Contrariety of corrupt nature unto God, is manifested by this, that the holy Law of God (which the Apostle calls holy, just, and good) makes sin more sinful, and exasperates it into a greater height; and therefore those men that live where the Law of God Page  76 comes closest to them in reproof and correction, are the wickedst men alive; that as you see by making of a Dam the stream is raised, and the water fumes and furi∣ously beats against it; so when a restraint is put upon the nature of man by the very Law of God, nature it self (I mean corrupt) becomes furious: And this point is taught almost in a whole Chapter, Rom. 7. whereof excellent use may be made for a man to see his corrupti∣ons in Pauls glass, ver. 13. Was that which is good made death to me? God forbid; but sin, that it might appear sin, wrought death in me by that which is good, and by the com∣mandement became exceeding sinful. What a miserable creature is natural man! if God give him a commande∣ment, he is the worse for it; there is a renitency, an op∣position in the heart of man to the Law of God; that most appears, in that we the less do what God com∣mands, because he commands it; and we the rather do that which God forbids, because he forbids it. A horse, or stomackful colt, put the bridle on him, and he is mad; let him run in the field, and he is quiet: Let the Sun shine on a stinking dunghill, and it stinks the worse, not because the Sun gives pollution by its heat, but by ac∣cident makes the stink break forth so much the more. Alas, when the Lord comes to put the bridle of restraint on man, he is filld with more stomack and rage; and when the sweet Sun shines on him to invite him to God, he is still the worse, and the rather evil; so little com∣pliance is there of mans heart with God: And as we may truly say that Antipathies and Sympathies do shew us very far into nature where they are found, as the Schools do well observe; for a lamb to hate and fly from, not this and that wolf, but every one, though it never saw it before, which shews a general antipathy to all wolves: So it is in this case; if there were a Law Page  77 of God made known to any natural man, such a Law as he never saw nor heard of before, he would hate it, and never comply with it; which shews the stone that is in his heart, and manifests a rebellion in it against God: As on the contrary, a Sympathy, an agreement: A soul that loves and delights in the Law of God, though most cross to private interests, is a very excellent proof of grace, that hath reconciled the enmity of the heart to God, Rom. 7. 22. I delight in the Law of God concerning the inner man.

Fifthly and lastly, the pleasingness, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, of the heart with any lust to which its taken by peculiar agree∣ment of nature, which is peccatum in deliciis, doth shew this contrariety unto God; so long as this sin of delight continues his master-sin, he will walk contrary to God, say what you will. I confess every man cannot practice every gross sin, as to be a drunkard, a whore-monger, covetous, no more then one man at one time can possi∣bly be sick of all diseases; but that sin which takes him up by natural propension, inclination, or custome, or whatever it be, that either takes acquaintance with, or possession of him, no such man can come to Christ: He himself tells them, How can ye believe, that are taken up with worldly credit and ambition? John 5. 4. Let it be any sin, Covetousness, Drunkenness, or Lust, which he feeds by other sins, and serves as a master, to which he is tyed as fast as by a Cable, which he cannot break un∣til divine grace appear to him, and cannot get off by any power of his own, but Gods; no afflictions; though they bray him as a fool in a morter, pound him to pieces, yet his folly shall not depart from him; no vowes; though he seem to bind himself never so firmly, nothing while the lust remains, will alter or change him; nay, set the judgement of God and death eternal before his eyes, ye Page  78 do nothing; the pleasure of his sin remains, Rom. 1. ult. Who knowing the judgement of God, that they that commit such things are worthy of death, yet not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. Nay, would you think that any mans sin should be so fast rivetted in him, as that it should cause him to love death? He doth so interpre∣tativè, by Gods construction and interpretation. Prov. 8. ult. He that sinneth against me, hurteth his soul; and they that hate me, love death. Now how filthy and abominable is man (saith God) that drinks in iniquity like water! comparing a natural man to a fish in the water, in its own Element, from which you know he cannot be willingly pulled to the dry bank; and therefore I conclude that man is not willingly of himself brought into that estate, though it be far better, yea a thousand times better then his own, until his nature be changed, and then he is brought. And so much for the first branch, the Con∣trariety of corrupt nature to God, to his Law, and to his Grace.

But whereas an Objection might be made, that man is not so contrary to grace, because that shews him life: Certainly there is a greater opposition in the heart of man to the grace of the Gospel, then to the Law of Duty, to humble man, and shew him that the work of Conversion is from contrary to contrary: And there∣fore let me make use of that which some say, that God in creating the world drew the creatures out of nothing; but in this new Creation, Conversion, he finds opposi∣tion and contrariety in the subject that he works upon, that bids him battel, and sets him at defiance: The Mi∣nister converts by new objects, and God by new natures, until which, there is little done.

The second Branch of this opposition of corrupt na∣ture to God, we call enmity unto, or hatred of God him∣self; Page  79 self; which I instance in, to shew that poison & venom that is in man, in every one of your best hearts in your natu∣ral condition unto the Lord God; you will not be known of it in your selves: Hate God, may some say! there is not one of us that take our selves to be haters of God, but seem to defie all that hate God: But the Scripture speaks much of it; Them that hate me, saith God, Exo. 20. 5. And he calls them 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Rom. 1. 30. Haters of God. And in handling of this point, I shall enter upon that sin which is diabolical. First, Hatred is a part of that diabolical malignity, which makes man like the Devil; for when he overthrew man at the first, he spawned into man a certain diabolical seed; not sins of sensuality and the flesh, but malignity, and opposition, and spight against God; this man is of a serpentine na∣ture: One man may be angry with another man; but a Serpent hates the very nature of man: Anger is in par∣ticulars, hate in generals, say the Schools; so that this arises higher then the other doth, into a hatred of God himself. And then

Secondly, Hatred differs from Contrariety in this: It rises from the consideration of such effects of justice which are threatned or executed upon man against his will, punishing him for sin, and so causes hatred; but Contrariety is to the holiness of God and his Law, and so is an opposite to Gods justice, and the effects of it; for corruption is so desperately carried against God, that like the Devil, it hates God punishing and inflicting; not peradventure as God is a benefactor and sustainer of nature, but he will not abide Gods vengeance on him: Insomuch that a man in his private retired thoughts hath secret wishings in himself sometimes that God were not, looking upon the effects of the Justice of God.

And this I will shew you in three Particulars: And Page  80 oh that this might rifle your hearts, to go away from this self-love of yours, whereby the great God is so op∣posed!

First, all the hate that is in man aganst the Law, the Holiness, the Image of God, rises originally from the hate of God himself, there is the core of this disease; you think if you hate man for the Image of God that is in him, that you hate but man; but the root of the dis∣ease lies in the hatred of God: Therefore Christ teach∣es it, John 15. 17. If the world hate you, ye know it hated me before it hated you. Men are ashamed to see this Fountain; but the malice of the Devil shews whence this hatred doth arise.

Secondly, every corrupt man, more or less, holds the truth of God in unrighteousness, and doth as it were keep it under a bushel, Rom. 1. 18. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighte∣ouss of men, that hold the truth in unrighteousness. That is, that whereas there is a shining light that shines in man, he hath common notions of right and wrong; this he knows, but he will not let it breath out in practice, but lets his affections and lusts imprison and dam it up; he will not let this light restrain his lusts: There is no man living that lives up to his own light; he knows more then he will practice and put forth to the glory of God, in his place and family; and therefore there is wrath to him. There is no man in this place, let him be never so vile, but hath some beams of light, Amat lucentem, edit arguentem; he loves the shining light, but hates the reproving and convincing light. This also is the sin of the Devil.

Thirdly, this hatred appears in this; man is angry that he may not sin impune, and do what he will without con∣troll; and if he cannot, then he fastens his hatred up∣on Page  81 God: God hath given him grace, but he would fain enjoy and serve lusts and pleasures freely, and would have impunity not to be punished; he would sin and escape, sin and be saved, sin and be happy; this is his temper: And if the wrath of God be revealed, that he cannot do so, then he is carried out to an utter hatred of God himself; for if he could, he would continue and go on in the height of his iniquity, and would not be pu∣nished, but could wish that God were out of his way: If he could disarm his justice, he would; and therefore he can be content that God give life and being, and fuel to maintain his lusts; but if he see that God come out to punish, then he wishes with all his heart rather that God were not, that there were no such inflictor of pu∣nishment upon man: These are the secret thoughts, the eruptions and belchings, secret breakings up of hatred that are in the hearts of men to God: And if you ask for an instance of it out of man, I can give none but the Devil, that in all these three steps wishes that God were not. And this I have briefly said to shew the enmity of man to God, that besides sensual lusts, there should be such a poison in his spirit against the holy God, which we hear of often in the Scripture; the wisdom of the flesh or appetite (call it what you will) in Rom. 8. 7. is en∣mity unto God; for it is not subject to the law of God (let him be never so wise) nor indeed can be. And in Col. 1. 21. And you that were sometimes alienated and enemies in your minds by wicked works. And let no man marvel at it; the reason is this, the love of God will not stand with any thing that is better loved: If any thing be bet∣ter loved then God is, then it turns to hatred: Ye adul∣terers and adulteresses, saith the Apostl, Jam. 4. 4. mean∣ing worldly men, know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Now if you recollect these Page  80〈1 page duplicate〉Page  81〈1 page duplicate〉Page  82 two Arguments, the Corruption and Contrariety that is in natural man to God, and the Enmity that is in him, I think you will say the first part is proved, That no man can come to Christ, by reason uot only of the impotency, but the opposition that is in him. This in general to the Opposition.

[Serm. 8] NOw I am to go on particulary to handle this Oppo∣sition. First, mans unwillingness to believe and come in to grace offered. Secondly, his resistance a∣gainst converting grace that offers it self.

First then I will shew you the unwillingness of cor∣rupt natural man to accept of grace offered: And this is a point wherein the demerit of man, and the condemn∣ing Justice of God thereupon doth appear without all excuse of mans self, without all exception against the Grace of God; for what exception can man make against his condemnation that is willing to be condem∣ned; what excuse can he make for his unbelief that is unwilling to believe? that whereas all creatures in the world do affect that most wherein their happiness doth lie, and are infinitely carryed towards it, in the per∣suite whereof no creature can be indifferent: yet corrupt sinful man doth not only oppose the commands of God, break his bonds asunder and cast his cords away, Psal. 2. 2. but is also unwilling unto salvation, to which he is invited by so many solicitations, to which he is drawn by so many powerful arguments and perswasions of the Word of God under the Gospel as are afforded him. And this is the point I handle;

That man naturally is unwilling to be converted, to turn to Christ, that he may be saved.

I think you will hardly believe this point: But it may Page  83 justly be said he cannot come, because he will not; for in John 5. 40. this point is clearly proved; You will not come to me that ye may have life. And it is the complaint that our Saviour makes over Jerusalem, Mat. 13. 37. How often would I have gathered thee, and ye would not! And in Prov. 1. 24. I have called, and ye have refused; I have stretched out my hands, and none regarded; you have set at naught my counsel, and would have none of my reproof, but have cast my words behind your backs. Nay, you would have none of me, saith God, Psal. 81. 11. Israel would none of me. They that have not heard of salvation offered, do not seek it; they to whom it hath been offered, do ne∣glect it; and they to whom it is commended by all com∣mendations, they have despised it.

Conversion is as little beholding to the will of man as to any thing; that whereas friends would have their friends, and one relation would have another, when they know Christ, they would have them know Christ also: The woman of Samaria called the whole Town out to Christ: Conversion is least beholding to the Queen of Faculties, as they call the Will of man, which is rather the slave of all the rest, the Captain of rebellion, where∣by man is unwilling to his own conversion and faith in Christ Jesus: And therefore it is said in 1 Joh. 1. 13. We are born of God, regenerate, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but God. Those that do receive Christ, are born again: But this regeneration is denied, First, to a natural instinct, not of blood. Second∣ly, to a carnal principle, not of the will of the flesh. Third∣ly, to any moral rational principle, not of the will of man. But it is affirmed to be an influence of God, as its said, but of God. There can be no just reason given that man should be unwilling to come to Christ, or to be conver∣ted; for no man can give any reason against the chief Page  84 good, or the only means that may serve to that end: Mans happiness lies in the enjoying of God; and the means tending thereunto, is coming to, and closing with Christ Jesus: But there may be reason from the misera∣ble and mischievous corruption of man, that doth, and will, and can do nothing else but walk contrary to his own happiness; the Bow is made to hit the mark, but yet sometimes (as we say) it must needs miss; the rea∣son must be taken from the crookedness and deceitful∣ness of the Bow: So it is with man, he is made to be happy in the enjoyment of God by this one means of coming to Christ; yet he must needs sometime miss; the reason must be taken from the deceitfulness of the heart of man, that is possest with vanity, folly, pride, and lust. This is the point then, the unwillingness of man to his own Conversion.

And first in General I shall lay down this Reason for it, that is the summ of all reasons;

That every man by nature is forelaid with some impedi∣ments and obstructions that prohibit his closure with Christ, and that Gospel-way of salvation by the faith of Christ. He fights against it, he opposes it, he is unwilling unto it: Corrupt man fights against these two things, the holy Law of God, and the Gospel: He fights against the law of God, in maintenance of sin, lust, and corruption; he fights against Christ and Gospel-grace as much as a∣gainst the Law: And this he doth in maintenance of that we call self; and of the two this is the sharper op∣position: For the first desire of mans heart is to be him∣self, and to seek himself, and to maintain himself from all manner of captivity; and therefore the Apostle tells us, That there is might in this arm of God to bring every thought in us into captivity to the obedience of Christ: To whom he would not come, if he could preserve that self Page  85 that is in him; in the maintenance whereof he is unwil∣ling to accept of the grace of the Gospel when its of∣fered.

And this point shall be thus handled. First, what I mean by the Gospel-way of Salvation; these two things.

First, the one and only way of the salvation of a sin∣ner, is that which is brought to light by the doctrine of the Gospel: Moral doctrine teaches reformation of life according to principles of vertue; but this which is called the glorious Gospel of the blessed God, in 1 Tim. 1. 11. is that only which is the Jubilee-Trumpet, proclaming the acceptable year of the Lord, the day of salvation: In al∣lusion to which its said, Psal. 89. 15. Blessed are the peo∣ple that hear the joyful sound; for thereby is brought life and immortality to light, viz. through the Gospel, 2 Tim. 1. 10. shewing that life and immortality are hid, and in the dark to all the world, until they be brought to light by Gospel-doctrine: For therein is the righteousness of God revealed, Rom. 1. 17. The way of Gods making righteous, or justification of man, is revealed and made known to man by the doctrine of the Gospel: For as the children of Israel in Aegypt (may be) might know that there was a promise of deliverance; but whether they should deliver themselves, or that Moses, an exile and cast-out, was the man to deliver them, that they knew not: So that Christ is that Moses which was to be manifested to Gods Israel, to bring loft man out of damnation, from Egyptian slavery under which he was, its only brought to light by the doctrine of the Gos∣pel.

Secondly, by this doctrine Christ is set forth the righ∣teousness of a sinner, and the root of spiritual and eter∣nal life, acknowledging Christ to be the tree of life, into which all that are saved must be transplanted from Page  86 off the tree of corruption whereon they naturally grow: For Christ and a Believer make but one body; Righte∣ousness they have none at all but what they have through him; spiritual and eternal life they have none but what they have from him, as is shewn in Rom. 11. 24. by a comparison given of the branches of the tree: Thou wert cut off from the Olive-tree wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature in the good Olive-tree: Where you see that conversion of a man to Christ and Gospel-grace is compared to an ingrafting contrary unto nature; for the graft grows not naturally, but contrary to nature; so that there must be a transplantation, a cutting off man from the Crab-tree of natural corruption, that he may, contrary to nature, be planted into Christ Jesus, unto which work, that man is unwilling, may appear by these two expressions, Thou wert cut off, and To be graft∣ed contrary to nature: For to be cut off by sharpness from a condition to which a man is naturalized, though it be worse, and to be ingrafted contrary to nature, though into a better, man cannot be willing.

Secondly, he is not willing to this way of salvation by transplantation into Christ, upon these grounds.

First, because this way of salvation is out of his sight; for nature and the wisdom of it doth not teach it him; though there be the greatest sagacity and quickness of scent in natural wisdom that you can imagine; yet it can∣not reveal Gods giving Jesus Christ the Lord to man; there can be no willingness to receive that which is not known; the greatest wisdom accounts it foolishness: Those two words are taken for one and the same, 1 Cor. 2. 14. The natural man receiveth not the things of God, neither can know them. Receiving is an act of faith and believing, and goes not before knowing; for being ig∣norant of Gods righteousness, Rom. 10. 3. thats the way Page  87 of Gods making man righteous; ignoti nulla cupido: And therefore as Israel in the wilderness did not know that the Serpent on the pole should heal the mortal sting and biting of the fiery Serpent, till it was set up; so Christ did as much lie out of the way of manifestation for mans wisdom to find out; neither could it be known to a natural man, before it had been revealed to him by the Gospel.

The second Reason arises thus: As in nature they say there is no vacuity, but every place in the whole world is full of somewhat, until there come some other matter to expel it; now so is it with the heart of man; its taken np with corruption, and possest, till the grace of God come and drive that out, and extirpate that which is in possession already: For the heart is not as a thing wherein there is nothing of God, or sin; but every man living, his heart is blotted with corruption, before it be written upon with the Law: I will write my Law in yonr hearts, saith God when he regenerates any man; for the heart of no man is rasa tabula, a white paper, that is neither good or bad; but is like a pair of scales not empty, it inclines one way or other: Now supposing a natural man blotted with corruption, and sin is first in possession; then there is this rule, that as the inclination of every thing is, so is the appetite of it; for the appe∣tite follows not the goodness of the object, but the in∣clination of the creature as that that doth desire it; as the stomack vitiated, desires not the most wholsom food, but longs, and hath an appetite after coals and ashes, and that because it is full of humours: Its not the goodness of the thing, but the inclination draws out desire; so the will of man being sowred with corrupt ferment, wills not, desires not grace, but follows the Byas or in∣clination of that humour that hath corrupted it: And Page  88 this the Scripture speaking of every man by nature cor∣ruptly principled, saith, he cannot act contrary to that principle which inclines him to sin; he cannot will that which is against that inclination that doth possess him, and disiinclines him to do good, Rom: 8. 8. So then they that are in the flesh, cannot please God: He saith, they cannot; the principle that inclines them to act is flesh∣ly, and therefore the appetite cannot be spiritual: A will on the contrary to that which is good, is made the property, and follows upon regenerating grace, Psalm 110. 3. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power. Meaning in that day that the Lord shall shew his power upon the will, to draw it, and ingraft another principle on the heart; then a man shall come, and not till then: And then to will is present with me, as the Apostle saith, Rom. 7. when there is this principle laid; every appe∣tite follows the inclination; as the inclination moves, so the appetite doth; and because this is corrupt in natural man, therefore it cannot will good.

Thirdly, a man is naturally enamoured with a pleasing apprehension of some righteousness of his own; not only some, but every man naturally is of this opinion, and therefore is not willing to come to Christ; and while he is filld with this opinion, and pleased with this apprehension that he hath somewhat of his own, where∣by he shall be righteous with God, so long he is not wil∣ling to take in this righteousness of Christ: no more then a Merchant is to cast his loading into the Sea, until he see the necessity of life require it; so will not the natural man, until he see a necessity of this righteousness unto eternal life; and therefore so long as he can patch up any shelter to himself out of the fragments of his own hopes, he doth not submit himself to the righteous∣ness of God, as the Apostle saith, Rom. 10. 3. They went Page  89 about to establish their own righteousness, and submitted not unto the righteousness of God. As a Manslayer under the Law would not fly from his own house unto the City of refuge, until the avenger of blood threatned him; so no man until he hear the voice of Gods wrath, and the malediction of the Law, will take his heels to fly from his own righteousness, but will lie quiet there: This self-somethingness is predominant in every man that lives, until Christ be found; and in it, man places his gains as the Scripture calls it, viz. the arguments of his confidence, as St. Paul in his natural estate did: Those things tht were gain to me, I accounted loss for Christ, Phil. 3. 7. Those things that were gain to me in my na∣tural estate; which stopt and hindred Paul, made him so opposite when they stood in his way, and appeared gain to him; these he accounted loss upon the discovery of Christ: And so you finde in the Gospel, men naturally set upon doing, and to have somewhat of themselves. Master, what shall we do, that we may work the works of God? And, Good Master, what shall I do, that I may inhe∣rit eternal life?* As if they made no other question but the way of salvation lay in doing: This is the work of God (said our Saviour) that you believe in him whom he hath sent, John 6. 29. answering them in their own words to their own question. And the Nation of the Jewes do make us an example of the invalidity of our own works: They which followed after the Law of righte∣ousness, have not attained, Rom. 9. 31. And the Gentils make an example of the sufficiency and necessity of faith in Christ: They believed when Christ was preached unto them, and attained righteousness, because they did not seek it by the works of the law, but by faith, ver. 31.

The Reason why every man naturally and willingly doth build himself upon this false bottom, which makes Page  90 him unwilling to come to this Gospel-way of righteous∣ness that God hath revealed by Christ, is;

First, every man will have some shelter for himself; when a man sees his own nakedness, fear and shame will drive him to seek a cover, though they be but fig-leaves, as Adam did when he felt himself naked: The cobweb serves the spider, and the shell the snail; every man hath somewhat to cover his nakedness, that he thinks may shelter him. And then

Secondly, this is the usual shelter. First, because it is your own: They went about to establish their own righte∣ousness, Rom. 10. 3. their own: For we all love our own things, even because they are our own; there is in every natural man somthing that he cals his own: This he puts in the place of Christ, until he be throughly & soundly convincd to receive him: And therefore it is a demon∣stration of a man that hath truly found Christ, when he is come so far as to quit his own for the righteous∣ness of God which is by faith, when he is able to look on that as dung and dross, and to lose it all for the ex∣cellent knowledge of Christ Jesus, Phil. 3. 9. And se∣condly, this is that which is his strong hold, because it seems the most natural and rational way to a natural man: Ask a man how he shall be saved; he can instance in nothing but the way of his own works; for this be∣ing the condition of the first Covenant made with man, Do this and live, it sticks still in his teeth; and there∣fore he still grpes after this old door, still harping on this Doing and live: Its natural to him. And then

Thirdly, it makes you, and the best of you unwilling, because there is in this way a maintenance of pride and boasting: The Peacock may here spread his tail; in this way I can maintain self: And therefore its said, Rom. 3. 17. that glorying is not excluded by the Law of works, Page  91 not so; it maintains some string uncut that upholds a man on his own bottom. This for these reasons being mans darling, is the cause that he is unwilling and averse to take the Gospel-way, which sets up another righteous∣ness, that pulls down this; and that makes him cry up his own Diana.

Fourthly, when Christ is holden forth to a natural man that opposeth himself, you must know that the of∣fer is made to a man in his strong holds: Every natural man is fortified beforehand against the knowledge of Christ Jesus; and you know, if men come to a strong hold, and offer fair conditions while it is tenable, and they within be able to hold it, they are unwilling to yield; man is unwilling, being fortified, to take in the Conquerour: Now every natural man is fortified, and till he be brought to exigents, or dismantled, he will stand it out; for he is not willing to admit the contrary party; every man by nature is self-content, and self-sufficient: no so poor creature, that is without his den or hold; now before that the thoughts be every of them brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, as Conversion is called, 2 Cor. 10. 5. he will never come in, until the Lord Jesus by the Word of the Gospel, and the power of the Spirit, hath pulld down and dis∣mantled these strong holds, reasoning high things: For always when you are converted, and Christ enters into the soul, he enters like a Conquerour at a breach in the wall; until this breach be made, he that conquers can∣not enter, neither shall he prevail; until then, men will not admit him. There is a refuge of lyes that men make to themselves, an they hide themselves under falshood, Isa. 28. 15. Therefore (saith God) I will lay a Cornor∣stone, a sure foundation, ver. 16. But this is not accepted by them that have other holds.

Page  92 Fifthly, man is unwilling to come to Christ, because the receiving of his righteousness and of his yoke, layes low both pride and self, and abaseth these which are the two chief corruptions in the heart of man: and there∣fore proud man most of all opposes and hates Gospel-Religion, which of all Religions that ever were, hath this glory, That it most tramples upon proud self, and calls for poverty of spirit, self-denial, and forsaking all dearest things: And for this reason men ae so unwilling to accept of this way of salvation, and had rather suffer, and bleed, and lay out themselves, wherein they may be somebody, then only take such a profession upon them which makes them no body, and leaves them neither me∣rit nor glory: How far will merit, credit, and glory, car∣ry the heart of man in any doing or suffering? But the proposal of this free grace of God, which draws all the water to another mill, and must let Christ be my Wis∣dom,* my Righteousness, my Sanctification and Redem∣ption, that is hard to digest, because that crushes the head of our pride, and of being something in our own eyes. What poor draughts of men did Christ make by his preaching, until he was lift up, and by his Spirit drew men by conviction? For first his usual doctrine of self-denial, of forsaking all for Christ, hath no shew to a na∣tural eye.

Secondly, the very way of Gospel-salvation is so or∣dered, that it proclames the man that is saved, a beggar, a meer nothing; for the richer he is, the more he owes to the free grace of God; and the more he receives, the more he is in debt; and the more duties he doth per∣form, the less the merit, because he hath received it from God; and Faith, which is his chief grace, is a beggarly grace; for the nature of it lies in meer receiving, and taking; to as many as received him, John 1. 12. It is de∣pending Page  93 upon another for every drop of sap and life; and hath it not from its own root, but from another, Rom. 11. 18. Thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

Thirdly, this Gospel-way of Salvation leaves no power of your own to make any difference between your selves and them that perish: Who made thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou diddest not receive? 1 Cor. 4. 7.

Fourthly, you are bound to acknowledge the accep∣tance and receiving of all unto another hand; not your working, but Christs giving hand: And the reason is, That he that glories, may glory in the Lord; leaving by this acknowledgement no manner of glorying to himself, 1 Cor. 1. 30. And then

Lastly, that you may see the Lord will crush all pride, he is obliged by his receits from Christ, to live to Christ, and not to live unto himself, 2 Cor. 5. 14. He died for all, that they that live, should not henceforth live unto them∣selves, but to him that died for them. Enlarge these Medi∣tations upon your own thoughts; God hath crusht pride and self in this Gospel-way of Salvation, and therefore it is so unacceptable to man, until he be made willing to it by Grace: And all this gives the first and general Rea∣son of mans unwillingness to come in to Christ.

[Serm. 9] [Reas. 2] SEcondly, the heart is not willing to come unto, and give it self up to Christ, until the mind be fully con∣vinced by such a conviction as brings every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, as the phrase is, 2 Cor. 10. 5. which until it be done, the man remains in his opposition and unwillingness: And this I conceive to be the meaning of that in Job, Job 21. 14. where having described a man at ease, and peace, and prosperi∣ty Page  94 in himself (that is not sick of self) therefore they say unto God, Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy wayes: What is the Almighty, that we should serve him, and what profit is it that we pray to him? Doth any man say unto God, Depart? The Scripture brings in oftentimes what the heart saith within it self; not that any man is so impudent and brazen-fac'd, as to say to God, Depart; but this the proudest heart of all doth do: And this Conviction is twofold.

First, this Conviction is of our lost, hopeless and helpless condition in our selves: But let me tell you, we are not presently, fully and duly convinced, when we see and own our sins; the reason is, because the sight of sin drives a man unto his shifts, drives him to his harbour, to his refuge of lyes, his own works, and righteous∣ness, and helps; it doth but drive him from sin unto ano∣ther thing that holds him as fast. When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to King Jarb; yet could he not heal you, nor cure your wound, Hosea 5. 13. Let that be an instance in the case: When Ephraim and the ten Tibes saw that they were smitten, and in miser; and like to be led into captivity, the sight of their mise∣ry drove them to shelter and refuge, as the hunted beast flies to his den and covert where he hides himself; for he is not alwayes caught when hunted: So the heart of man, when th Law goes out against him, and thunders the wrath of God in his face, and he is convinc'd of this, and sees it, is driven to its refuge: But this is requisite to full conviction, that a man be (as they say) digg out of his borough, unkenneld, and all his refuges dis∣manled and pulld down about his ears, humbled out of his refuges as well as out of the guilt of sin: And this is taught you in the parable of the lost Son, Luk. 15. 12, 13. Page  95 When all was spent, and the famine came, he began to be in want; yet he went and joyned himself to a Citizen of that far Country, to relieve himself by feeding swine, &c. The meaning is, when a man begins to be pincht with the sense of his lost condition, and is in want of a shelter, he doth make shifts, he flies to some refuges of his own to support his conscience, and relieve his fa∣mine: And mark it, he takes hold of a Citizen, that keeps him in a far Country, if he would maintain him, he would live there still: If by your refuges you can gain to relieve your selves, you will keep off from God still: But when he was beaten from his refuges, as well as whipt by famine, then (saith the Text) he came to himself, and began to think of plenty in his Fathers house; shewing, that until poor sinners be not only humbled under the smart of sin, but driven from all shelters and refuges, he will not think of the riches of that God and Father whom he hath offended, but wil∣lingly use all means to stay in that far Country; but when he is beaten from all, then he is resolved for God. You have the like saying to this in Hos: 2. 6. Therefore I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths: Ver. 7. And she shall follow her Lovers, but shall not overtake them; shall seek them; but shall not find them: Then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then it was better with me then now. A true Embleme of a man cast out of all content and possible relief; he finds no contentment in sin, but a pricking and sharpness: He shall follow his Lovers; but the plaister will not be wide enough for the wound, he shall not finde them, shall not overtake contentment; he seeks his Lovers, but is not relieved by them: Then the Conviction becomes full, and he resolves to take up with God as best. And then

Page  96 Secondly, this Conviction is of the fulness and ex∣cellency, the sufficiency and fitness of Christ Jesus, That he is able to save to the-utmost all that come to God by him, Heb. 7. 25. And upon these two hinges hangs this full and thorough Conviction. Of which, I have to say four things, that I may not leave that Argument, till I have brought it to a Conclusion.

First, that this Conviction must go before the resolu∣tion and acceptance of the will, because it leads unto this willingness and resolution, as its said, John 6. 40. This is the will of him that sent me, that whosoever sees the Son, and believes on him, should have eternal life. The first thing is seeing of Christ, that is, convictively; and this believing follows after, and is somewhat more then see∣ing: They that oppose themselves, must be instructed, that by repentance given they may recover themselves out of the snare of the Devil, 2 Tim. 2. 25, 26. That they may recover and awaken themselves ont of their sleep: Till they have this instruction they are captives, and oppose themselves. Tertullian, in his time, speaks of some Erronists (that did in his time as now in ours) sua∣dendo docere, teach by perswasions, and wooing their credulous Proselytes; whereas they should docendo sua∣dere, first teach by Conviction, and then perswade men; not childishly, to perswade before you have convinc'd; for when you have convinc'd, the perswasion is half made: Thats the method of dealing with men as men.

Secondly, the will of man naturally follows the con∣viction of the understanding, and of the mind: The un∣derstanding is like the seeing man that rides upon the shoulders of the blind but going man; the will moves, but it sees not; the understanding doth not move the man fully and wholly, but sees the way; for the will of man is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a rational appetite led by reason: The Page  97 ancient Divines and Philosophers had a saying, Every evil man errs (And by that saying they prove that the conviction of the understanding must lead the will:) or, as Solomons phrase is, is a fool: For if he did not err in judgement, if he had so much light to guide him and lead him, he could not be wicked in his choise, or miselect: But there is an errour in all sin, an errour in the mind, whereby not being fully convinc'd of truth, it leaves the will to mischuse, under the specious choise of good, to chuse that which is evil. I know in these latter dayes some of the Schools have chopt the understanding and the will, not into divers acts upon several respective ob∣jects, Truth and Goodness; but into divers faculties, that I believe they will never be able to prove, and for my part I will not dispute; only this I tell you, whenever God commands light to shine out of darkness, and shines into your hearts the knowledge of himself by the faith of Christ Jesus, this is by conviction, 2 Cor. 4. 6. as in the Creation a light begotten shined out of darkness. And by this light he cures the darkness of the mind, and the enmity of the will; by which means, when a man is fully and duly convinc'd, he comes and receives Christ Jesus the Lord.

Thirdly, till the light of Conviction do premonstrate Christ in his glorious beauty, goodness, truth, and suffi∣ciency to the soul, or in all those glories that render him eligible, whereby he may draw your hearts unto him, there is no willingness in mans heart to accept or receive him: For (the reason is) by the natural light of mans own reason and understanding, though there be never so much sagacity in them, Christ and the things of God have no more shew to the eye of man, then the most ori∣ent colours have by moon or torch-light, which lies un∣der prejudices, and vility, and misapprehensions; and Page  98 so much as they lose of their beauty, so much they come short of their convictiveness; because, as the medium is the cause why a strait staff in the water appears to my eye crooked, and otherwise then it is, it is not crooked; but because I look through that medium, the staff seems to be so, and is so to me: Just so to the eye of a natural man, looking not through the medium of this light of divine grace, and the conviction of the Spirit, but look∣ing to the natural reason and understanding of man, the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, as Paul calls it, looks poor to a natural man;* wisdom to him is foo∣lishness; and that mean shew of Christ through a cor∣rupt medium, is the reason why we despise and contemn him: And therefore it is said in Isa. 53. 3. speaking of Christ, and how he should come into the world, He hath no form and comeliness: And when we shall see him, looking on Christ as the Jews did who were not convinc'd, there is no comeliness in him, that we should desire him. But was it so with all? those that were enlightned, convinc'd by this light commanded to shine out of darkness? No, We saw his glory, in John 1. 24. though vailed under flesh, as the glory of the only begotten Son of God: saw his glory under all disadvantages and vails; but the genera∣lity saw no comeliness in him to desire him: And there∣fore in 1 Cor. 1. 23. Christ crucified is to the Jews a stum∣bling block; they took offence at him: and to the Greeks foolishness; they saw nothing in him. But how is he to us that are called both Jewes and Greeks? Christ, the wisdom of God, and the power of God; such difference is made by the medium, or by the eye that sees Christ in his own light; there is to us an excellent beauty in him. For

Fourthly, the light by which God shines into the Page  99 heart, doth make every man that hath it, willing to come to Christ; and every man left to the eye and natural light of the own reason and understanding, is left unwil∣ling to come to him: Every man that is thus drawn doth come, and none else; and so every man that is a natural man, and hath no other light then that, is unwilling; and every man that hath this divine light shining in him (for it is not acquired) convincing him, is the thereby made willing to come to Christ: Thou art Christ the Son of the living God, saith Peter, Matth. 16. 16, 17. Bessed art thou Simon, this saving knowledge is not revealed by flesh and blood, the light of natural understanding, or of reason, but my Father: And the verses following my Text, say, That every man that hath heard or learned of the Father, or hath learned me of the Father, comes to me, and therefore is made willing to come. Oh that I could affect you with this difference between light and light, this light of divine teaching, and that you have by the teaching of books and ministery alone; for (this is the great reason of all) Christ being given to mankind, without being found out by mans wit and reason, hath a spirit of his own that leads him into mans mind by a peculiar light: in which light of his own, those that do not see him, shall never be willing to come to him: that is, to give themselves up to him; for he can never be known by a natural light savingly: Let Schollars and Learned men say what they will, this is no frantick reason.

[Reas. 3] Thirdly, Naturally man is unwilling to come to Christ; because the conditions required of him that comes to him are hard and to nature intolerable: It is the terms that make him unacceptable: for you know this in rea∣son: it is the terms that make the bargain unpleasing; for if there be a commodity to be had, yet it makes a man unwilling to buy if the price be too high. It is Page  100 very hard to bring the heart of man to the terms of the Gospel; that's the sum of what I would say on this reason: which though (for you may mistake) it require nothing by way of merit or price; for the grace is free; yet by way of fitness which is called worthiness or suitable∣ness of spirit to a Christian condition, the terms are hard to a natural man, and therefore its said in Mat. 22. 3. They that were bidden would not come: and ver. 5. they made light of it: here you see there is an aversness in the will of man; and yet notwithstanding this text doth not express hard conditions; they were only open and other of these outward things that diverted and turned them aside: Christ in his preaching propounded himself on hard conditions; and that's the reason, that unto natural men that were averse to it, it was so disrelisht; I need not stand to shew what conditions he offered himself upon. Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his Cross daily, Mark 8. 34. Whosoever he be that forsaketh not all that he hath, cannot be my Disciple, Luke 14. 33. And one thing thou lackest; Go sell al that thou hast, and give to the poor, and come and follow me, Luke 18. 22. This was a condition hard as he himself confesses; and such as is not alwayes in specie required of you. It was impossible to that man under that world∣ly spirit: you see by this tast, that Christ put men to it by propounding hard conditions.

Ob. Indeed in those times and the succeeding, when the Cross fell so heavy upon Christians, it was so: first, from the Jew, and secondly, from the Empire: but is it so now?

Answ. I answer, that in all times that are or ever shall be, I am perswaded the terms and conditions of Christianity in truth profest, will be very hard to flesh and blood to the worlds end: (I would not flatter you with Page  101 fleshly ease) for there is more self-denyal required to this profession then to any (and less shewn) and of all things that is most necessary to the plantation of faith in Christ; and then there is a divorce of the affections, the loosening of them from pleasant sins and lusts: if he will be a Christian, there is required a close subjection to holiness, and a resolution to ollow the commands: and a possibility of suffering the loss of dearest things, yea even of life it self; so that the conditions of Chri∣stianity are hard and as impossible for the heart, not drawn, to close with, as for Iron to move upward thats not toucht with the loadstone, or a tree to pull it self up by the roots from the soil to which it is naturalized: therefore our Saviour speaking of the conditions he had propounded, saith, with man indeed it is not possible,*but with God all things are possible; and the reason of all is this: Christ commands those things from his people that nature is most enamoured of; such as life, self-righ∣teousness, pleasant lusts, dearest enjoyments: and why these? I will shew you reason for it; first, that so he may try our faith and love to be towards him above all: which he cannot try with the loss of petty things: And secondly, that he may hold us firm to himself, by cutting off every string; for if any of those strings which he will have cut, should hold us to the world and to our selves, when the competition comes between them and Christ, they will hold you where you are and make you lose Christ Jesus; and so it is in mercy to us, that we are stript of all other things which might have diverted us from Christ:*that not a hoof is left in Egypt to put us in mind of returning: nor any bunch on the Camels back that may hinder his going through a strait,* as our Saviour hints the comparison: And these hard con∣ditions are reasonably required of us, because he hath Page  102 for us overgone and overdone all the world; nay if there were a thousand worlds, he hath overdone them all: and therefore if he requires conditions that are hard to flesh and blood, they are but reasonably required: and the Apostle insists upon this reason in Rom. 5. 8. Per∣adventure one would dye for a good man; that is, a Benefactor, one that is good to him; some such may be found: but for a righteous man one will scarcely dye that hath not been to him a Benefactor: But the Lord Christ hath overdone all; in that when we were sinners and enemies (and no man will dye for an ene∣my) he dyed for us, and thereby hath obliged us to take such conditions from him as he will propound; the Lord settle it in all our hearts.

[Reas. 4] Fourthly, Men are unwilling to come to Christ Je∣sus, because of those prejudices that are found against him; for as I said before (I think you will bate me that expression) the Lord Jesus was the most scandalous per∣son that ever lived on earth; that is, he afforded more scandals and offences unto the reason of man, then ever man did: not justly, but by the mistake and misappre∣hension of mans reason: how often doth he say? Blessed are they that are not prejudiced at me;* his person, his parentage, his mean life, his death on the Cross between two thieves; and therefore the Apostle calls it the scandal of the Cross, Gal. 5. 11. His appearance, life, death, and doctrine, all to carnal reason so unlikely and unsuitable to such a person and officer as indeed he was: nay the Apostle Peter makes it general to all that believe not in him, 1 Pet. 2. 7, 8. He is a pretious stone to them that believe; and a stone of stumbling and rock of offence to them that stumble at the Word, &c. whereat men dash, first their reason, and then themselves to pieces. According as the light is wherein men see him, Page  103 so he is either a pretious stone or a rock of offence: and let me say it again, the sweetest promises in Christ Jesus have no more shew to a natural light, then a Pearl or Diamond have to a swine, or as a delicate colour seen by the light of a rush candle: and on the contrary, the hardest conditions seen by the light of faith the attractive light whereby God irradiates the mind, in order to Christ, these are desireable and have an admirable lustre in them above all the beauties in the world; as an Egyptian (for I would reason this point out of Scripture) thought the glory of Pharoahs Court admirable (as may be you might do) but as for Moses that lookt upon it with another eye, he esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches, Heb. 11. 26. shewing that as the eye is that looks on these things, so is the will captivated: And this weight of glory (as it is called) that is in Christ Jesus,* is made more weighty; for that is but a Scripture allusion; Glory is weighty in the Scripture: the weight of Glory that is in Christ, may be made greater to our eye two wayes; either by conviction of Christ his ex∣cellency seeing seeing more of him; or by humiliation of man under his misery; by laying lower the price of this dung and dross, undervaluing the lusts of this world; as the light is by which he sees sin or Christ, so the weight in the scales appears more; either if we add to the one end, or take out that which is in the other end of the scale; for so much is this more weight, as that is less that is put against it: Oh that we had hearts to make abatements of the weights of this world and the things of this life, that so the glory of Christ may be more weighty in our eyes: and this is done by convicti∣on: I say the will is regulated by knowledge: men will not chuse Christ because they know not his worth: you would not (sayes Christ to Jerusalem, Mat. 23. 37.) Page  104And thou knewest not the time of thy visitation, Luke 19. 44. where there is no knowledge or not such a knowledge as is convincing, there thou wouldst not.

Obj. True may some say, the prejudices that men had against Christ in those dayes of his appearance to the world were many: And if we had lived in those times and been left to our selves, we had had as many as they; but now they are ceast: And therefore of all other this is no reason, why men should yet alwayes be unwilling to receive Christ.

Answ. I answer, there are perpetual prejudices agaist Christianity, through the mistakes and misapprehensions of men, why they will not come to him or have him: I cannot name them; they are as the Devil or their own fancy do suggest to them; for every one makes Christ a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence to them that are thereunto appointed, as the Apostle Peter speaks, 1. Pet. 2. 8.

When a man being enlightned, and a little convinc'd, begins to be disquieted and finds trouble brought upon him: by this there is wrought in this mans breast a pre∣judice against converting Grace, that it takes away his sleep and appetite, shakes him, troubles him, disquiets him, that he cannot enjoy himself and the things of this world: this is a prejudice and a mistake: the truth is, you must look for disquietness and broken bones when this is made known unto you. But yet take it for granted, you are now entring into a comfortable estate: I will make the valley of Achor a door of hope, the skirts of the land of Canaan, Hos. 2. 15. I will make that to be a door of hope: what is that? that a man or this people when I bring them to tribulations and disquiet them, it shall be the beginning and commencement of hope, comfort and delight, wherein I will visit them in mercy: Again,

Page  105 When a man comes to be a professor of Christ and Religion, he hath more enemies, more temptations; Satan molesteth him more, he is more troubled then ever he was before; and he takes prejudice at this, not know∣ing that as Pharoah will make out with his Chariots and horse-men when Israel is a going: so will Satan pursue those who are going out of his power. There is also this prejudice against the wayes of God; the wayes of God are holy. I am unsuitable, unholy; he that hath gone so long loose as I have done, shall never bear such strictness as is required: this is a mistake, he measures himself by what he was or is: But God that commands the walking, will put on the Byas whereby thou shalt move right: It is as one should say, A hog or swine con∣sidering how a sheep feeds cleanly on the grass, should never feed as a sheep, and live as he doth. Its true whiles he remains a swine: But if the nature of a sheep be put into him, if he be so principled and altered, its impossible he should live otherwise; if you measure the walking in Gods wayes by the lusts in you, you are never able to endure, to affect, to love them. But the change of the principle makes the thing to nature changed. There is also a prejudice, that a man shall see no good dayes: lose all content and joy, live a melancholike or recluse life, &c. this is a mistake; he shall not lose but change his joy; the countenance of God doth not dar∣ken the heart, but puts in more delight then Corn, and Wine, and Oyl increasing, Psal. 4. 7.

More of these prejudices might be named, but I in∣stance in some, that you might find your own in you, that render you unwilling to believe; for they are but misapprehensions of Christ and the work of his Grace, by which the will is hindred as the species or appearance of good doth most frequently invite it. If I would strain Page  106 hard, there might be other reasons given for the unwil∣lingness of man to accept of Grace offered him, but these shall serve for this tract.

[Serm. 10] THe fourth point serving to open the Adunamy or disability of man in respect of coming unto him, which our Saviour holds forth in these words, no man can come to me, is mans resistance of Grace, or the means thereof that are offered towards conversion; and this resistance is the highest step; for it is not so high to be unwilling to receive grace when it is offered, as it is to resist grace, whereby, we might believe and be converted: And the Point that shall be the foot of my discourse, shall be laid down in these words;

That the natural corruption of man prompts him to a rebellion against, and the resistance of grace offered him for conversion, or bringing him in to faith in Christ Jesus. Every one of us do stand in defiance, all the dayes of our natural condition, unto the very grace of God that is offered us for conversion. I say all our dayes, untill the time comes whereof the Apostle speaks, that every thought in us be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 2 Cor. 10. 5. till then, we stand it out in rebelli∣on: so that it may very justly be said by Wisdom, Prov. 8. ult. speaking in the person of God and Christ, All they that hate me, love death. A strange servitude of a man un∣der sin, that for the sake thereof, that which is the great terrour of the whole world, death, death eternal, should interpretativè though not formaliter be loved. Being to speak of this point of Resistance offered unto the grace of God, we must note, that Resistance is either between equal or unequal powers.

The Resistance that is between equal powers brings Page  107 forth the indifferency of an equal Scale, where neither end is victorious.

The Resistance between unequal powers, is, either when a lesser power resists the greater, and then it retards the action, but makes no conquest: or when a greater power resists the lesser, and that conquers the Resistance and swallows up the opposition. So that upon this point of the Resistance of man, because it is of no proportion to Gods omnipotency, therefore if God should act ad extremum virium, to the extremity or height of his own power, there could be no opposition made unto Divine grace: But because God is a free agent, tempering his working by his will, which gives the gage unto his power, putting forth so much as he will and no more, therefore is his grace whereby he calls man, often frustrated and defeated of his work. I will make no quarrel about these words which one calls pro∣digious words, which learned men have made occasion of quarrel in the Church; the resistibility and unresisti∣bility of converting grace; but so go on to handle this point, as to divide an even thred, that God may have and reap all the glory of this work of Conversion unto his free grace: and sinful man nothing but thankfulness and self-confusion; thankfulness if he be drawn, or however self-confusion, and abasement to himself: as contributing nothing unto, but a great deal of opposition and resistance against the work: Let me fall upon a distinction that will clear your understandings in this intricate and difficult point.

We will distinguish, first, between the act of conver∣sion, or the grace that is exercised in the act: And se∣condly,

The means and way of God which in the nature of it tends towards Conversion, as preceding and preparing Page  108 of the heart thereunto: for its very well said by a learn∣ed man: God doth not bring any man, ordinarily, into a state of Justification per subitum Enthusiasmum, by sud∣den and upstart Enthusiasmes, by an unexpected work of illumination, but by previous means and methods and workings. Now upon this distinction I say: First,

That the Grace of God exerted and exercised in and to the act of Conversion, so as it may be said, now the man is Converted and born of God, I say that Grace in that act being carryed on by the revealed arm of God, is so potent and omnipotent, as that indeed it is insuper∣able, and cannot be resisted by any victorious resistance; it conquers all the resistance of man that might be thought to frustrate and defeat it: for when God hath a meaning and intention to overcome the heart of man; effectually to draw him, he puts forth a victorious power, insuperable to any resistance that you can make, to make void the work: But,

Secondly, That Grace which God offers and gives to sinful man, which in the nature of it tends to the bringing of man to repentance, and to faith in Christ Jesus, leading thereunto, as the Ministry of the Word, and the excitations, and internal motions of the Spirit of God being dispenst by a more common hand: this Grace of God, this Initial Grace, this previous Grace tending to move, excite, and quicken man up; these are defeated, resisted, and frustrated by mans resistance; and indeed no man shall be able to lay his impotency and unbelief at the door of God: But be made to take it upon himself, upon the resistance that he makes against the hand of God stretched out to him, he being a gain∣saying soul; and this is that I say which may be resisted, and is; Despisest thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and long suffering, called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 the Page  109 goodness of God, leading to repentance? these may be and are despised, Rom. 2. 4. So then,

This distinction being laid, we shall now enquire whether the heart of man do make actual and victorious resistance of Gods Grace put forth in the act of Con∣version: And for our clearer proceeding therein you must remember,

That Conversion doth either denote the work of God Converting man, and this is Gods drawing; or,

It denotes the action of man thereupon turning and coming in to Christ being thus moved: and this is called mans coming in the text, both of them make up com∣pleat Conversion; the one whereby God turns man, and by the other man being wrought upon turns him∣self to Christ: These two are inseparable in time, but in order of causality Gods work is first; the traction of God is before the coming of man; the coming in of the light into a room, we use to say expels darkness, and plants in light, though it be but one motion and one act; so there must be the work of God enlightning the mind, softning the heart, drawing the will, before there be a coming of man to God: the act of drawing is Gods, the act of Conversion or turning is mans: God in his act of putting in and drawing forth faith, doth not hin∣der, but rather is the cause that the heart of man performs his own act: and therefore the act of believing, how∣soever it be given by God, yet being exercised and act∣ed by us, is our act: for with the heart man believes, Rom. 10. 10. as we use to say, he that throws the bowl doth nor rowl or turn, but the bowl by motion from the hand: So when God puts forth this act to convert man, the act is mans; the act of Faith, and Repentance, and Conversion; but the power and hand whereby the heart is turned▪ that only is the act of God: Well then,

Page  110 First, If we consider conversion as Gods drawing work converting the heart, we may safely say The heart in that act doth not make actual resistance; much less overcome and defeat the power of Grace, which is put forth in believers with exceeding greatness of power, ac∣cording to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead: there you see the work described in Ephes. 1. 19, 20. Its true, there may at that time and doth lurk a bitter root of proneness in the corrupt heart (mark, here is the knot and great point) to resist the motions of the Spirit, for the flesh lusteth against the Spirit; and this root of habitual perverseness is not wholly and presently eradi∣cate and rooted out by Converting Grace: But this we say, that Grace doth so powerfully work in the work or act of Conversion: it so sweetly plyes the affections, the understanding, and the will with such drawings, and carries the work on with that actual strength, that the actual resistance of the heart is tyed up, bridled, and sus∣pended for that time, that it doth not overcome the Grace of God; but the Grace of God overcomes the heart by a victorious delight to yeild up it self to God; though there be corruption in it, it is so suspended as it doth not act: I will give it you by this comparison; The tyde doth not take from the river an aptness to run downwards to the Sea; but so powerfully when it comes in, bears the stream back, that it cannot take his natural course. I need not make application. And this may teach all Converts with what measure of admiration and thank∣fulness to come to God, for overcoming, bridling, and suspending these resistances of your froward hearts; for having lived twenty or thirty years in resistance of Grace, and keeping it at the staves end; and after Conversion resisting Grace and quenching the Spirit so often as you Page  111 do; if God had left you in that act to these resistances, you had been lost and undone; and therefore that God at such a time should forbid, still, and quiet these rebellions and resistencies of your heart, till he had turned the stream, and taken away the stone, this is an admirable demonstration of the mercy, love, and power of his grace to you. Of all things wherein God is to be praised, this is one, that a rebellious man that had so often before time and since resisted grace, that at that time when God Converted him, he did not leave him to the resistencies of his heart: And how would that child had he wit, thank his Father for tying him hand and foot that he should not struggle (and otherwise he could not do) while he was cutting for the stone; for the strugling might have prevented the cure. When God comes to work upon the heart, and man cannot but strive, and resist, and rebell against grace, that God should take away at that time this resistance, and bind a man hand and foot, and so to overcome him with grace that he cannot resist it: Oh the admirable wonderful mercy, whereby the Lord makes a difference between his elect and others, whom he leaves with the bridle on their necks to run away whether they will; for it must be put among Gods promises and mercies, when though with some sharpness he hinders us of the use of our liberty, in hindring us from finding contentment in our walking, contrary to our departure from him, as you observe Hos. 2. 6. I will hedge up thy way with thorns that thou shalt not find or enjoy thy paths: this hedge of thorns is an admirable mercy, for which the people of God have cause to bless God all their dayes, that keeps them from finding that content in the way of their sins which otherwise they would have done: this Converting grace doth so put forth it self in the act of Conversion of every sinner (I know not your Page  112 experiences of it) that it subdues the actual resistance of mans heart at that time, as the effect of it cannot be frustrated or defeated, which teaches us with importu∣nity of Prayer to beg this grace which comes with so much strength, as that it bears down the wickedness of our hearts, and irresistibly works a saving work. Turn thou me and I shall be turned, Jer. 31. 18. and draw me and we will run after thee, Cant. 1. 3. And that you that have received such grace, may magnifie the goodness and power of God towards you in that dispensations.

The Reasons why Converting Grace doth take away and overcome the resistance of mans heart at the act of Conversion, which with great content and profit to the Reader may be given of the point, are four.

[Reas. 1] First, The Grace of Conversion doth not only move the heart to believe, but it makes it to believe; I speak of the act of Conversion; it doth not only suadere, but persuadere: I cannot distinguish these words in English; or this, it doth not only stand at the door and knock, and call, as you would do to awaken them that are asleep within, Rev. 3. 20. as exciting grace doth (which is indeed a great favour) which is resisted by man; for to this Grace that knocks and is only pulsant, calling and awakening the heart of man, we may Ponere obicem, put a bar, bar the door the faster as against a thief and invader that would come in by force: but the Grace of Con∣version opens the door; and if there be no body within but those that bar the door, it comes with such power as opens the door, the heart, and comes in and takes possession: for of the two, though corruption be strong, yet grace, especially when it comes in strength, is the stronger: Our Saviour in Luke 11. 21. tells us, while the strong man possesses his goods, all is well: but when a stronger then he (and that is the divine hand of God) comes to take Page  113 possession he binds the strong man; what that? binds up the resistance of the heart; that when God comes to cut him of this stone, and he would struggle, and could not do otherwise, Grace overcomes: it finds a man in un∣belief, and doth not only command him to believe, but gives faith; therefore faith is not only the command, but the gift of God: it finds a man unwilling, but it makes him willing: it not only stirs up by way of exci∣ting the will and the deed; but it works to will and to do, saith the Apostle, Phil. 2. 13. how long may one cry and call aloud at a dead mans grave, Arise come forth! but if with the call there go forth a power, as there did when Christ called Lazarus out of the grave, then he rises and starts up; This Converting grace is called by Divines Creatrix gratia, a creating grace, we are his workmanship created in Jesus Christ, Ephes. 2. 10. This raises the dead, this gives Spirituale esse, a spiritual being unto the soul: it puts in a formal principle of eliciting holy acts; this puts in new strength, and heals the vicious inclinations; this grace doth not only call, and say, Obey my voyce, but it puts in the very grace of obedience: I will put my law unto the heart, and write it in the mind that they shall all know me, Heb. 10. 16. this drawing is the teaching of God, and Gods teaching is alway followed or accom∣panyed with success, with the work it self, viz. mans coming; for every man that hath heard and learned thus, comes to me; every man, John. 6. 45. and in a word, such is the power of this Converting grace, that saith the Apostle, it is mighty to cast down strong holds, reasonings, to bring down every high thing that exalts it self, and to lead every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 2 Cor. 10. 4, 5. and whats that, but it takes away the actual resistance of the heart at that present time?

[Reas. 2] Secondly, If this Converting grace should not carry Page  114 on the work with so efficacious and most sweet a hand, as to overcome all our opposition, one of these two things would follow.

First, That our Conversion should be defeated, and Gods intention towards his Elect should be frustrated: for this grace of Conversion comes from the purpose of God which is infallible: It is a calling according to his purpose, Rom. 8. 29. what purpose? why the purpose of his Election which must stand, Rom. 9. 11. the pur∣pose of God must stand, that is, not defeated, frustrated, and finally opposed, for then it stands not: And how doth it stand? not of works and the compliance of the will of man, but of Gods call: now shall that grace that comes from a meaning and purpose of God, be defeated by mans opposition and resistance? no, for then that could not be true, that he hath mercy on whom he will, and whom he will he hardens: God would have mercy on such a man; but by his opposition made against that work he is defeated; which would be a sad assertion.

Secondly, Or else this must follow, that the will of man casts the scales of his Conversion, and so the chief part belongs to man, which is to decide the determine the work; for grace doth not then determine the will to a choice; but the will determines grace to an effect o event, whereby man may stand out and say, I made my self to differ from another; for another man had as much grace as I, but he repulsed and opposed it; he shut the door against it, but I let it in: and therefore the act of difference between my self and other men, is my own act, the act of my own will: but this I should by no means admit of; for to me it seems incredible, that God that made my will, and gave it that liberty that it hath, should not, if he will, so work on it or in it, as he will, to his own glory, without any detriment to the nature or Page  115 liberty of it, having a most omnipotent power to incline the heart of man like a river of water whether he will: De ipsis hominum volunt atibus facit quod vult: God doth with the very will of man, what he will; as if he that makes a lock and knows all the springs of it, should not be able to make a key to it without breaking it all to pieces: and it is also a thing incredible to me, that God that hath determined of some persons to grace and glory (let me suppose that, for I think it must be sup∣posed) should leave it to the will of man, (that knows not the purpose of God to him) either to determine himself to grace, or to defeat it at his pleasure: this makes very ill musick in an humble and rational ear: that God, that determines a man to salvation, should leave it to the pleasure of blind will to defeat the purpose of his grace; for if he should stumble (as I may say) on the resistance of it, he himself is gone for ever; which leaves not unto God so much above the Publican or they that are past over, as the Pharisee his God I thank thee.

[Reas. 3] Thirdly, There is a good rule to be observed, laid down by our Divines, viz. To put difference between some principal acts of grace, without which the salvation of Gods Elect consists not; and those subsequent and following acts of grace, or the motions thereof in the regenerate, which though they were very good and god∣ly acts, yet a believer may be saved without them. And upon the first sort, viz. to believe in Christ, to Convert to God, to be made new creatures, to persevere unto the end, for the performance of these, God in his time gives to his people such a grace as shall not be frustrate or de∣feated, they shall be performed in thee: But for other acts that God calls for of thee, as to omit such a in, or to do such and such a duty; which being considered single and particular, thou mayst be saved without: in these he Page  116 gives thee his Spirit whose conduct is to be followed: but as experience shews, the Elect and regenerate may deessegratiae may be wanting to this grace, and repulse the motions, and as its said, grieve the Spirit, Ephes. 4. 30. if in one sort of acts he should resist, he is lost: and therefore God puts in a mighty hand and an absolute will: I will put my Law, &c. in the other he guides by his Spirit; and a grace is given not so infallibly to bring the effect, which is good, not simply necessary to salvati∣on: because if you sin by not doing your duty, yet your estate is not in danger: and here let me suggest a medi∣tation or two to such as are fit to make use of them.

First, Let the regenerate consider, that whereas they have resisted grace and the motions of it a thousand tmes, and since their Conversion have grieved the Spi∣rit by indulgence of their lusts against the motions of the Spirit and the dictates of their own consciences; if God had permitted them unto themselves, and let them have done so in the act of Conversion, they had for ever perisht; and their resistance at other times shews they might or would have done so then, if God that may let his child slip and take a knock, did not yet keep a hand upon them that they fall not into the fire.

Secondly, Let them learn to understand God a right, and to take comfort, that though in other acts he please to suffer them often and very grievously to fall, shewing thereby the perverseness of their spirits yet remaining, so as that they may fear they may lose all and fall so as never to arise more: yet be comforted that in such things as salvation lyes in, he will be sure and an infallible God to his Elect; to support and raise them up again: and let them also remember, that God so makes good the con∣dition of his Covenant in things essential unto salvation to work them infallibly: I will put my fear into their Page  117 hearts that they shall not depart from me, Jer. 32. 40. or as it is said, Psal. 37. 23, 24. The Lord or dereth a good mans steps, and he delighteth in his way: though he fall he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand; though he fall in the Covenant, he shall not fall from it.

[Reas. 4] Fourthly and lastly, Converting grace in the act of it cannot be resisted and defeated; because it is given to that end to subdue and overcome the resistance of flesh and blood: now that which is given to take away re∣sistance, no resistance can stand against it; therefore in the work of Conversion it will leave in the heart no actual rebellion that shall perk up to defeat the work: A nullo duro corde rspuitur; it is not resisted by the heart thats hard, because it takes away the hardness and gives a heart of flesh, Ezek. 36. 27. I will take away the heart of stone and give a heart of flesh; take away the heart un∣tractable, and give a heart thats tractable; I will take away the heart thats hard as stone to resist, and give them a tender heart to feel their own misery. I may give it by this comparison: In a room if the windows be not shut, the darkness cannot resist the light, because its given to that purpose to expell the darkness: And when God gives any thing to take away an opposition, that oppo∣site cannot stand in its place; so this Divine grace is refused by no hard heart of man, when it comes with the meaning and purpose of God to carry it on, because then it comes with commission and authority to remove ob∣stacles and pull away bars that it may overcome: And this much be spoken of Conversion as it denotes the act of God drawing or Converting, and the deportment of mans heart under it.

The second consideration is as Conversion denotes the action of man; Converting to God upon and by Page  118 vertue of this drawing of God: And what is the deport∣ment of the heart when it is toucht by this loadstone and drawn by this grace? freedome say I, and willingness; there follows thereupon, a coming, nay a running after God, in Cant. 1. 4. For the power of God and willing∣ness of man do consist together, thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, Psal. 110. 3. Now therefore I will say, that man cannot be supposed in this act of Conver∣sion, as it is his, to resist or be unwilling, because he is made willing, and the resistance for this act is overcome and subdued. And therefore it is said, as God draws, so man comes, and his coming is an act not of force but of freedom, being both powerfully and sweetly drawn by the cords of man, by the bonds of love, Hos. 11. 3. And therefore as mans resistance of Gods work, and his free coming in to God cannot stand together in the same act, there is reason in nature for that: a man may as well move East and West at the same time, as resist and be willing to come all at one time; for there is a contradi∣ction in the terms to say, though a man doth believe, yet he will not believe; for man will not resist being made willing to comply with God; and this is the miracle of Gods power and grace in mans Conversion; that the heart so prone and apt to run into sin so headlong and uncontrouled, should upon the touch of this loadstone of grace be made so free and delightful to come to God, and by this marriage consent to joyn hands with God; loathing in comparison of God the thoughts of those lusts and pleasures which he so doated on in the dayes of his captivity to sin; and saying as they said to their Idols,* Fie upon you, get you hence; and therefore there can be no resistance remaining in this coming; so that its clear, that neither in the act of Gods drawing or in mans act of turning will there be found a victorious resi∣stance Page  119 (an habitual corruption there will remain) but that it is bridled at any time, let it magnifie for ever Gods mer∣cy and grace:*we can do nothing against the truth but for the truth, saith the Apostle: But though this may well be spoken to magnifie the grace of Conversion to set you to pray for it; and to teach that God is able to carry man out of himself in despight of his teeth as I may say; as Iron toucht with the loadftone cannot but move to the North: yet withall to let you see to humble you the abomination that is in your hearts, what enemies you are to Conversion and faith in Christ; and consequently to your own salvation.

[Serm. 11] NOw having said this, concerning the grace put forth and exercised in the act of Conversion; and shewn tha Converting grace flowing from the purpose of God, is in the act of Conversion victorious over the resi∣stance of the corrupt heart, and though it do not sudden∣ly extirpate all the degrees of habitual perverseness and rebellion, yet it binds up the actual resistance at that time, as that it is imprevalent to divert the work of so powerful grace: I come to the point wherein the resi∣stance offered to the grace of God doth lie; and that is, the grace that is promiscuously offered unto man in the Ministry of the Gospel or other external means, though it be carried o by great enlightnings, moral suasions, sweet invitations, loud pulsations, or knockings at the door of security: and though by these means there be wrought some common graces that are common in elect and reprobate, like the joy in the stony ground: I say though these be, yet both these offers of grace, which be∣ing received would make a man happy, are resisted and opposed: and these shallow graces are but like some Page  120 winter fruit, that never ripen, and come to maturity, as the blade in the thorny and stony ground never came to ear well and so to harvest: so these graces may be finally choaked, and from them a man may finally fall away: this is the point of resistance of this grace offered; which before I give the reasons of, I shall premise three things to be handled:

First, Concerning these offers of grace, I shall say three things.

Secondly, Shew the entertainment of these offers is with opposition and recusancy.

Thirdly, The dangerous case that man falls into by this refusal;

As concerning the offers of grace that God makes you in the Gospel, know three things:

First, That the Gospel tenour or terms may be pro∣pounded to every creature; thats the phrase of Christ, Mark 16. 15. Go preach the Gospel to every creature; that is, in the dialect of Christ which was the received form of speech used at that time by the Jewish Rabbies, every man, every humane creature; for it belongs not to the Angels that sinned, though they be sinful creatures; these Gospel proposals do not belong to them, but every humane creature, which is expounded by Matthew, Go and Baptize, that is, Disciple all Nations, Mat. 28. and whats the meaning properly of all Nations and every creature? this, that whereas the Jewish Pale was but of one Nati∣on, they were the Church of God impaled, and there was a wall of partition between them and all the world beside, and he dealt not so with every Nation as he did with them: It seems now the Pale is broken down, the wall of partition, and the several is made common; now go preach to every creature: that is, the Jews only are not the subjects of Gospel promises, but all and every Page  121 man, to them it may be proposed: and what are those Gospel terms? he that believes and is baptized, shall be saved; he that believes not, shall be damned: but is this Go∣spel? he that believes not, shall be damned.

To this I answer, you must consider the meaning of it: under the Law there was a curse went out against every man for every sin: there could not be an idle word or thought but the curse of the Law went out against: In Gal. 3. 10. Cursed is every one, &c. Now mark, though this curse may go forth against every sin by the sentence of the Law; yet it is dissolved and taken off from believers, and abides only because of unbelief, Joh. 3. ult. Believing takes off every score; and that only.

About these offers of the Gospel consider two things, they are made with Invitation and with Encouragement.

First with Invitation of such as could not expect to be at the marriage feast of a Kings Son: Go out saith the King, to the high-wayes and hedges, and invite the meanest and most remote creatures, Mat. 22. 4. and they called in both good and bad, and furnished the feast with guests: all sorts may have these Gospel proposals made to them▪ And,

Secondly, Its made with Encouragement, and that to the most crimson and scarlet sinners, Isa. 1. 16, 17, 18, Wash you, make you clean, &c. None that came to Christ for cure were dismist without healing, though they were Samaritans and not Israelites: therefore no man can say, that God by the tenour of the Gospel hath exclu∣ded him, or shut the door against him; for in Isa. 56. 5, 6. the Prophet Isaiah gives in words of Encouragement; Let not the son of the stranger say I am cast out; nor the Eu∣nuch, I am a dry tree (for both the son of the stranger, the Proselyte, and the Eunuch had a mark of disgrace upon them) for if they fear the Lord, they shall enjoy the Page  122 priviledges of children and favourites; his meaning is, there is no man so alien, so remote from God and his fa∣vour, that hath all the marks of disparagement upon him; but if he will come in and believe, the invitation is made to him▪ I confess we read in the Scripture, that the Spirit of God forbade the lantern-bearers of the Gospel to go into some Countries, and the providence of God at all times and at this time so regulates the sun of the Gospel, as that some people are as in night: but this I say, that no man is excluded by the Gospel tenour from the offer of grace that is propounded in the Gospel, by any national bar as in former time: And then,

Secondly, As the Gospel offer, and the proposals thereof may be made to every man without any other consideration then that he is a sinner. Art thou a sinner? for thee Christ is a Saviour: that as the brazen Serpent was set upon the pole for the wounded and bitten with fiery Serpents: So is grace offered in the Gospel, to them that are finners without any other consideration for the offer of it: understand me right: but for the promise of the Gospel. thats made to every one that comes to Christ for the grace promised; and here is no condition of worthiness, but of fitness and meetness, whereby a man may be in a nearer capacity, but hath no more merit or worth, as I shall here shew you: The Gospel makes the Proclamation of pardon to all men that are in actual re∣bellion: that as a Prince by his pardon charms the sword out of the hands of a Rebel: so if your iron hearts were softned to understand the grace of God, upon his Procla∣mation, you might have the sword of rebellion charmed out of your hands, and be brought into submission unto Christ: but the Gospel makes the promise of pardon and grace to a believer in Christ, and to every believer without any respect to what he hath been in times▪ past, Page  123 whether he be Barbarian or Scythian, bond or free; for the righteousness of God is upon all and unto all that believe; for there is no difference, Rom. 3. 22. Mark and be invited I beseech you that have so long stood it out and resisted the grace of God: Oh! be you invited to come in; the promise is to every one that thirsteth, Isa. 55. 1. All that are weary and heavy-laden with the bar∣then of their sins and miseries, Mat. 11. 28. And whosoever will (viz. is willing) let him come and take of the water of life freely, Rev. 22. 17. Every one that believeth in Christ, shall not perish, but have eternal life, John 3. 15, 16. So that you see the Proclamation is general, the invitation of the thirsty to water, wine & milk, of the loaden and weary unto rest, of the willing unto the water of life; and the Promise is general to all and every believer, and that of eternal life; and therefore you may conclude, there is an offer of grace made to sinful and wicked men by the Gospel; for thou (saith the Psalmist of Christ) hast re∣ceived gifts for men; yea for the rebellious also that God may dwell amongst them, Psal. 69. 18. And then,

Thirdly, Which binds all the rest, whomsoever God doth call to faith and Conversion by the invitations of his Word, and by the pulsations or knockings of his Spirit, he calls and invites them seriously and in good earnest: what think you? when Christ saith, how often would I have gathered you! and when God saith, Ezek. 14. 13. I purged thee and thou wast not purged: are these things spoken in jest? we must not judge that grace is not offered in good earnest by the event that it hath in us; for it may be frustrate and without success; but judge by the nature of the benefit offered, by the excitements afforded, and the aids and motions supplyed, and by the tendency of them what they mean, and in their nature drive at; even at the bringing of you to Christ Jesus: Page  124 let no man think with himself that God Tantalizeth man with the offers of his grace, and that he is not really minded that they should be received; but let this prin∣ciple be setled and throughly fixt in your hearts, that God is in good earnest and means seriously, when he woes and invites you to repentance; for this principle is of great use; for that induces the acceptance, the reality of the offerer: no man will look on a bargain that is offered him in jest: look after a gift though never so rich that is holden forth in a pretence and simulation; this will not induce a man to look after grace, if he hath this perswasion that God Tantalizeth him with it: what man living under the Gospel can stand out and say? Lord, I would, but thou wouldest not; I put forth my hand and thou drewest back thine; let no man think this to excuse himself upon God; this was intended by a Parable, Luke 19. 20. of him that had a talent given him who laid it up and did not use it, thinking to excuse himself on the temper, the austerity of the Master, so to put off all blame from himself, whereby our Saviour signifies that men would put the fault upon God; saith he, Ma∣ster, I knew thou wert a hard man, that reapest where thou didst not sow; therefore I laid up the talent that thou mightest have thy own; the Master speaks to him, calling him evil servant, and retorts the objection upon himself, if I were a hard man, thou oughtest to have put forth thy talent rather: he is deceived that thinks to clear his neglect by fastening a reason for it upon God: for there are four things in the Scripture that seem to me to prove these offers of grace in the Gospel to be serious: I know not how others may interpret them.

First, The pathetical form that is used of inviting sinners, so low sometimes that God doth beseech us to be reconciled; God and Christ doth beseech you by us that Page  125 are his Ministers and Embassadors, 2 Corinthians 5. 20.

Secondly, By the frequent exhortations: and amongst the rest (for I should speak the whole Bible in a manner to name all) that 2 Cor. 6. 1. we beseech you that you re∣ceive not the grace of God in vain (for its not offered to you in vain) for he saith there is a day of Salvation and that is now: And then,

Thirdly, By the expostulations with careless and negligent men for not coming in, neglecting or abusing these offers; I wonder that you are so soon perverted and carryed away to another Gospel, in Gal. 6. 1. And then,

Fourthly, By the promises made and holden forth, Rev. 3. 20. I stand at the door and knock, if any man will open to me, I will come and sup with him: and do not all these forms of dealing with man prove sufficiently the reality of the offers of grace to a sinner? yea verily, and that he doth not dally with men: For else,

First, God should seem hereby to deceive men, to offer them a purchase and a prize, and call and invite them in the Name of his Son Christ, and never mean or intend that this grace should be by them received.

Secondly, The messengers whom God sends forth to be woers of chast virgins unto Christ, and to bespeak the espousals as the Word is, 2 Cor. 11. 1, 2. they should be found false witnesses; for what would you take him to be that should speak to a man to bespeak a virgin for him, whom he never intends or means to have, if she would have him? And then,

Thirdly, The neglect of this grace might more ex∣cusably be made a great deal, and would have a greater colour of excuse; for they would say, there was indeed grace holden forth to them in mockery, without any reality that they should receive it; but now God finds 〈◊〉 with men and blames them for not acknowledging Page  126 or not considering that his goodness should lead them to repentance, and therefore do despise it as the phrase is, Rom. 2. 4. And therefore it must be a plain case, that the drift and scope of that goodness is to lead men to repen∣tance, and so the whole army of providenti•• dispensa∣tions, the offers made in the Word, the excitements of the Spirit of God, as well as other goodness, do all speak and tend to the clearing of God of simulation or meer pretence: I would it were believed, that though you were never so remote and far from this grace, and seem to despair that you cannot have it, and think that. God doth but dally when he makes the offer to you, or what∣ever your apprehensions be, settle it in your hearts, the offer is real, and God is serious and in good earnest whe he offers Christ and grace in the Gospel. One great ob∣jection there is in this point.

Quest. How can these offers of grace be serious or in earnest, when so many thousands called by the Word are not absolutely converted? how doth God deal in good earnest in the offer of grace, when he doth not absolutely give it and work this Conversion? if God had a serious will, it would be absolute by power to work that he calls men unto; if God were in good earnest that I should be converted and believe in Christ, then God by his abso∣lute and peremptory will would give me this grace and work it in me?

Answ. But we answer that the will of God may be serious, though it be not absolute and peremptory▪ God may by his serious will will that you repent, and yet by his absolute will work it not: The great iustance in this point is: God had a serious will that Adam should stand, for God was not in jest in that business; but God had not an absolute will that he should stand, so as to work and confirm him in that estate; so as to cause. Adam to stand Page  127 in his integrity; so the will of God may be serious in commanding of a man to repent, and yet not absolute and peremptory to work it in that man if he refuse to obey the command; when God commands a man to make him a new heart, to circumcise his heart, or to obey his holy Laws, in all these, God is serious and in good earnest, notwithstanding he doth not absolutely work these in all: In the Elect of God whom he hath chosen he doth indeed not only command, but works it: In all he doth not: And the reason is, because God is serious in his conditional promises or Covenant, when he speaks to man to believe, and thereupon promises pardon, he is in good earnest; for he would have men to believe, and it is their sin not to do it; and then if they do, the connexi∣on between faith and pardon is sure: a man earnestly perswades his servant or friend to be cut of the stone; they will not; the man takes his child and binds him, cuts and cures him; he goes further with his child then he did with his friend or servant; yet he did seriously per∣swade them, though he did not go so far with them, nor had he reason, but leaves them to themselves; not that a similitude should run on four feet, but take it in the general meaning; God doth perswade with men to break the stone, and to plough up the fallow ground of their hearts: but he takes them that belong to the Ele∣ction of his grace, and whereas they refuse this grace as well as others, he takes away the heart of stone from them; I will take away the heart of stone and give a heart of flesh, and therefore when the Lord saith thus in Ezek. 18. 31, 32. Cast away your transgressions, make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye dye O house of Israel! I have no pleasure in the death of him that dyes, therefore trn your selves and live: be assured God is in good earnest with you; this is his serious will, this God calls upon man Page  128 for, notwithstanding he doth not work this new heart in all, but in some: for he saith in Ezek. 36. 27. a new heart I will give you; he bids them to circumcise, and saith, I the Lord will circumcise, Deut. 30 6. mans duty is made Gods act, that which God requires in man seriously, is made Gods act to perform in man, graciously: in the mean time by his calling and offering of life, he hereby shews you what is his will of approbation, that is, what is the acceptable and perfect will of God, Rom. 12. 2. there is an acceptable will and an effective will of God: the acceptable will of God is seen in this call and offer of grace: the effective will of God is that of his purpose which is effective of the work, works the work upon you: now God is serious when he speaks according to his ac∣ceptable will, though he doth not effect it absolutely and peremptorily.

[Serm. 12] THE acceptable will of God is your Sanctification, 2 Th. 4. 3. this is the will of God, your sanctification; this God approves; and the effective will of God whereby he works, is like that, I will, be thou clean, Mat. 8. 3. or that Jam. 1. 18. of his own will begat he us. The acceptable will of God is that which shews your duty, and what you must have if you will not dye, if you will be saved, Ezek. 18. 31. Cast from you all your transgressions, make you 〈◊〉 new heart and a new spirit, for why will ye dye? the effective will of God, is that which works both to will and to do; which saith, I will take away the heart of stone and give a heart of flesh, and I will give a new heart and a new spirit, Ezek. 36. 26, 27. The acceptable will is his signifying will, what he will have done by us. The effective will is the will of his purpose, what he will do in us. The o•• shews it self in the word, the other in the work. This Page  129 acceptable will of God manifested in Evangelical com∣mands and promises, whereby he commands faith and repentance, and promises pardon of sin and life, is that which we must look unto and prove, as the Apostle saith, Rom. 12. 3. and this is seriously proposed to men. But the will of Gods purpose, his effective will is secret, and so cannot be the guide of our addresses to God, nor the rule of our believing (for Gods acceptable will is the rule of our faith) And this will of Gods purpose though it be absolutely performed in and unto all that are under that purpose; yet there is an outward calling of many that are not chosen, and there are offers of grace to in∣finite, unto whom it is not powerfully given; for it is said,*to you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom, but to others it is not given; and yet to those to whom it is not absolutely given, it is seriously offered; according to the effective will is the one, and according to the ac∣ceptable will is the other: and here comes in a question.

Quest. What is the reason that God effectually works that grace in one, which he doth but offer to another? that God works by his absolute will the grace of Con∣version and Faith in some, which he offers and requires according to his acceptable will of others; and why doth he so pathetically work with counsells and per∣swasions that which he might command? if God com∣mand light to shine out of darkness, and do not create that light, the light doth not shine: one word, fiat lux, would effect the work which he commands to be wrought in us, and by us is resisted; this is the great ob∣jection.

To this I say three things.

Answ. First, That God might have converted his Elect as he made this world, that is, immediately with∣out tools or instruments: God in the Conversion of man, Page  130 will deal with man as man; he will use a ministry, a means, by exhortation, by conviction, by counsel and by moral perswasions; that as its said, Hos. 11. 3. he will draw with the cords of man, so he will deal with man as man, by reasonable counsels and perswasions leading him, not as a stock by a Cable rope of meer force, but so as that he may by excitation quicken the affections, by enlightning convince the understanding, by awakening carry the will; this must be that the affections may be allured and drawn up to the consideration of spiritual things; so that this being the way of God, of necessity it doth re∣quire that there be used means, motions, counsels, per∣swasions, and the like. I have to say further on this head these four things:

First, God by these offers and tenders of grace pub∣lished in the Word and left to the management of man, convictively shews what even his Elect are; that with∣out his powerful hand to strike the stroke the work will not be done; for the Elect of God as well as others be∣ing only morally moved and perswaded to Conversion, do use the same shifts, and Tergiversations, make as much resistance and shew the same unwillingness as other men do; and therefore take this for a rule and find it in your selves, that God commonly convinces a man before he converts; convinces man of his own impotency and op∣position, before he put forth his own arm; and therefore leaves him to his own recusancy and resistance to ry his own strength, and a long time lets him alone to his own purposes, which will savour of pride enough untill God shew him the difference between the report of the word and the arm of the Lord revealed: for although the word of God, the Gospel that we preach unto you, is the fittest means in the world of an external instrument to convert the heart of man, and is furnisht with all re∣quisites Page  131 to work on the heart; yet its but like a key very suitable to the springs of a lock, and put into it, that will not shut the bolt and open the door without a hand to turn the key as well as put it in: so if the Word preacht be never so fit to meet with the springs in mans heart, yet if there be not a strong hand to turn the key, the heart will not be opened: so that when God convinces by the offer of grace, and leaves you to your own acceptance, little good will be done without the putting forth of his own arm to the work.

Secondly, With these offers made in the Word, God in Conversion goes out with his arm, and so Conversion is wrought (in those he purposes to call) by the instru∣ment, morally by perswasion, by Gods hand superna∣turally; so with the word that faith Lazarus come forth, there goes a work of power to effect it; this power goes forth with the Word, as the hand with the ax, with the instrument, with the key for the honour of the ordi∣nance: And therefore its told you while Peter spoke, Acts 10. 44. the Holy Ghost fell upon the hearers; mean∣ing that there went out with the Word the power of the Holy Ghost to convert them that God calls according to his purpose; he takes hold of their hearts with his powerful arm and brings them in, yet not without means, as if they were converted by Enthusiasms, but in an ordinary way, as I may clear it by a comparison: fricti∣ons & rubbings used sometimes to a people in a swound are very profitable to recall life where there was life be∣fore; but if used to a dead carkass out of which life is gone, doth nothing to beget or recall life: so are the tenders of grace, offered with exhortations and counsels, motions and knockings; if there be life of grace in the heart, they are profitable to revive, to call in, to refresh grace: but if used to a natural man, to a man dead in Page  132 sins, of themselves they work nothing, they leave him as dead as they found him, untill there be a new life of grace put into him; which is the work that I contend for to be of God.

Thirdly, By these offers of grace and exhortations, God takes from man all excuse; all the light that God gives to man doth tend to render man unexcusable, though it be but natural light, for so far as it directs, Rom. 1. 20. that they might be without excuse; for what? for not believing in Christ? no, that light went not so far; no light leaves a man without excuse farther then it goes; Gospel-light goes farther then natural light, and convinces in a farther degree and proportion, as the light is greater; and as far as it convinces, so far it will leave without excuse; and therefore there is no man that hath Christ offered, that is enlightned, convinc't, hath ten∣ders made unto him, but is left without excuse; and though men in wantonness of disputes may weave a web of excuses, and muster them up against God: yet no man in agony of conscience upon his death-bed or at Gods Tribunal, shall-be able to make any excuse for the neglect and resistance of the grace of God, but shall be like him in Mat. 22. speechless: he might have said somewhat for himself, as to them that called him to the feast, but there was no excuse to be made to the King. There are two cases wherein all excuses are taken from man. First, In case of voluntary impotency by a mans own default, as if he imbezel the stock committed to his hand, and would make an excuse for non-payment of a debt, though he may say he have it not, that serves not his turn; for you had it and the stock by you is imbe∣zelled: Or secondly, if he be opposite and resist, as if a man that will not or cannot see because he shuts the window and will not let the light in, its no excuse for Page  133 him to say I do not see, because its a voluntary act of his own to shut out the light: in both cases he is without ex∣cuse. But especially I lay weight on the latter, the resi∣stance of man and his opposition; for there is no man living that rests in a simple impotency, but resists and shuts his eyes, and makes opposition to the grace of God tendred to him:*light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather then light, this is the condemnation.

Fourthly, God in the Gospel seldom or never offers grace to a man, but he affords and furnishes him with some degree of light and power to do more then he doth, to go farther then he doth; for in Rom. 1. 17. the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against those that hold the truth of God in unrighteousness: that is, for not living up to their light, nor doing so much as they may or can: no man in the world untill God work upon his heart savingly, live up to his own rule, neither doth facere quod in se est, do so much as he might and hath power to do; and there∣fore God is no way bound to give converting grace; if a man will not imploy one talent so far as he may go with one, what reason hath God to give that man five or ten talents? None at all when the power and grace of God given is resisted and opposed, and neglected; What rea∣son is there that men should cavil against the Lord; and say, I had not so many talents, whereas he did not use the one he had! no man is without a talent, every man hath somewhat whereby he may trade for God, and because he doth not do it, certainly the Lord is free and clear, if he do not give him more, if he do not give him converting grace: God will I say be clear when he is quarrelled at by man.

Answ. 2. Secondly, Converting grace is Gods own, not dispensed to any in a way of Justice, but as a git of Gods meer will and pleasure; and who shall call any maPage  134 to account for the gifts he gives? if it were in justice, there a man might demand account; in Mat. 20. 15. is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? grace is Gods own, and therefore is not tyed to accounts; so its argued Job 33. 15. why dost thou strive against the Lord? he giveth no account of any of his matters: and in respect of this soveraignty of God, he hath no other rule to guide his gift of grace but his own will; for he hath mercy on whom he will: for who hath enjoyned him his way, or who can say thou hast wrought iniquity? Job 26. 23. therefore let those that from Converting grace do but seek an ar∣gument of excusing themselves and disputing with God, in silence first ask themselves that question in Rom. 11. 35. who hath given to him first? and it shall be given or rendred to him again; first let him stand out and say, this I have done for God, and have given to him, and therefore let him be just to render to me again, or cease to quarrel.

Answ. 3. Thirdly, God doth not give Converting grace to all that have the offer, to the end that he may make his grace the more glorious and admirable, and his Elect the more thankful and obliged; who when they see what the Lord hath done, what scandal as it were he hath run himself into in the eyes of the world, to greaten his mercy in their eyes, how this is denyed to many bet∣ter then themselves, may stand admiring at that whereof no reason out of God and the cabinet of his will can be given. If this grace which God hath given and will give to his Elect, had been universal, I do think I may very well say it must needs have fallen in price, because rea∣son teaches us that full markets make cheap commo∣dities: and therefore the wrath of God on vessels of wrath, doth serve to shew forth his mercy on vessels of mercy, Rom. 9. 22. to whom it appears to be riches of glory, even by Page  135 the consideration of Gods wrath upon others; let Gods people look themselves in this glass, and let them know that grace hath more glory by the property of discrimi∣nancy then it could have by universality; for if dia∣monds were as common as Flints and Pebles, I think people would not so much wear them on their fingers: and so much of the first Premise.

I come to the second, which is, what entertainment the offers of grace do find with a natural man, and that is opposition and resistance, that look as the hard wall reverberates and beats back the ball thats thrown against it, and the harder you throw it, the farther it recoils upon you; so the hard heart of man by its renitency reacts and repulses the tenders of grace; and because this is a point that no man will easily believe that he is a resister of grace, therefore I mean to handle it only by opening some placs of Scripture, wherein you shall see that God charges this on you, and then I shall sum them up into a total.

First, there are two denominations of men that are said to hate the light and to hate Christ, John 3. 20. every one that doth evil hates the light: and John 15. 18. the world hates me: the highest degree of malignity is exprest by hate; the two highest and most pretious things, Christ and light are hated, by men that love their lust; by the world, that is in the dialect of Christ, the not called, the unregenerate, which shews us the general state of men that are not brought into Christ, they hate the light and they hate Christ; but yet men will not own it, they think not so; so Hazael when he was accused by the Prophet, that he should rip up women with child, and other villanies when he came to be King; What saith he, am I a dog to do such great wickedness? no more do men think this of themselves that they hate Christ or Page  136 the light: Its true, the general and toothless light, the shining and glistering light of speculation is pleasant; thats not the light which is hated; but as the light that comes on sore eyes and causes them to smart is tedious; so that light that discovers and convinces of sin and misery by reason thereof, and threatens vengance from God for it, that you cannot abide; for mark the Word, they hate the light lest their deeds should be reproved; the reproving light is taken very ill, they cannot bear that.

Secondly, Those that are in impenitency drunk and asleep in the devils snare, do oppose themselves, or as the Word signifies, are contrarily disposed and affected, 2 Tim. 2. 25. Let the Minister instruct in meekness them that oppose themselves: And who are these? the secure wretched man, who being drunk is fallen asleep in the snare of the devil; for it is that he may awaken out of drunken sleep unto a sober mind those that lie cross in the way, if God peradventure will give them repen∣tance to the acknowledgement of the truth which they disown and disavow; and this is their resistance.

Thirdly, The Gospel invitations are slighted by men of worldly spirits and employments, whose very callings do call them from the Gospel feast, Mat. 22. 1. For till a man be brought to God, his imployment, his lawful calling in the world makes him to slight the grace of God; they were called to the Supper; and the farm, the oxen, the merchandise, and the marryed wife, hinders their coming; this and that, other vanity are preferred; for though heaven be never so great a thing (as indeed it is) yet to a man that hath a closer, though a petty thing, in his heart, that hinders his choise of heaven: as though the firmament be a great thing, yet let a man put a six pence or three pence on his eye and it hinders his sight of heaven, because a closer thing lies on his eye: so when Page  137 this world and the things thereof lie close to the heart, though petty and mean, they bring a contempt and slighting of this converting grace offered in the Word of the Gospel; and therefore ver. 5. they made light of it, and ver. 3. they would not come, and this is their re∣sistance.

Fourthly, The patient expectation and loving call of God is gain said, even by Israel that had the Ordinances of God; what good did they? they were resisted; how is that proved? in Rom. 9. ult. all the day long (the day of that Nation, while it was a Nation, till it grew night with them) have I stretched out my hands to a gainsaying and contradicting people that believe not: all day long, there is patience; have I stretched out my hands, a Meta∣phor taken from a Mother calling her child: there is a shew of calling with affection; and yet the proud and self-righteous people were gainsaying and contradicting; thi was their resistance as long as Gods patience: and do not you find this in your own hearts? how often have you gainsaid and contradicted the God of heaven?

Fifthly, The counsels, invitations and reproofs of Wisdom (i.e.) of Christ, are not regarded; in Prov. 1. 24. a terrible place, I have called and ye refused, stretched out my hands, and no man regarded; ye have despised all my counsel, and set at nought all my reproof, or hated my reproof; and the he proceeds to tell them how bitterly he will go out against them: here is calling, stretching out of hands, counsel, reproof, and they all refused, not re∣garded, despised, hated; I think this amounts to the point of resistance.

Sixthly, The Holy Ghost is resisted in Acts 7. 51. ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised, ye do alwayes resist the Holy Ghost: but how doth this stand with the former point, that the Spirit of God in the point of Conversion can∣not Page  138 be resisted? I answer: The clear meaning of this phrase, is, the Holy Ghost speaking in the Prophets: you have resisted the Holy Ghost speaking and testifying to you in the Prophets, as if he had said, the Holy Ghost speak∣ing in the ministry and calling by the Word of the Go∣spel, thats it you have resisted; for its not meant of the renewing Spirit in the heart, but of the Spirit testifying in the Prophets, ye uncircumcised and stiff-necked; like a Bullock of a hard neck that will take no yoke: and un∣circumcised, that is, hard and obstinate against God; you do alway resist the Holy Ghost: this was their resistance, from whence you learn that there is a natural hardness of heart, an obstinate neck that is the cause of mans re∣sistance of the Holy Ghost, both speaking in the Word, and knocking at the door, and exciting with motions the heart to believe; all is in vain; for it is but as knock∣ing at a dead mans door, or at a guilty persons door, that will put more bars when one knocks: so when God knocks and layes siege to mans heart, there is made the greater opposition.

Seventhly, Men that refuse to submit to the way of Salvation by God appointed, are said to reject the coun∣sel of God against themselves, 〈◊〉 7. 30. speaking of some that came not in to the Baptism of John; some read it Towards themselves, the counsel of God towards them for their good, or the counsel of God against themselves, that is, to their own hurt and prejudice, in that they would not be baptized by Johns Ministry to the profession of the Lord Jesus: people that will not come in to the Ordinances of God, they reject the counsel of God against themselves, to their own hurt; this is through resistance.

Lastly, Take a full measure of the height or this op∣position; there can be no higher expressions then those Page  139 in Heb. 10. 29. to tread under foot the Son of God, to account the blood of the Covenant an unholy or com∣mon thing, and do despight to the Spirit of grace: but who doth this? are there such monsters in the world, such miscreants as do this; yes saith he, that there is; and who are they? such as have been sanctified; that is, called into Christianity, thats the plain meaning, and the word in the text reaches no farther: separate from hea∣thenish Idolatry and pollution, to come to and profess the name of Christ, and so have been sanctified▪ and I take those in Heb. 6. 4. 5. to be the same men with these; there its said they were enlightned and tasted, they were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and yet they fell; here you find men san∣ctified to tread under foot the Son of God; there is a double apostacy; a simple apostacy, called a stealing or a shrinking away from the profession of Religion; And 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, or a venome apostacy, falling away with despight against Religion or Christ: that in Heb. 6. speaks of the former; this in Heb. 10. of the latter: and what doth God construe their action to be? a treading of the Son of God under foot, and offering despight to the Spirit.

In all these particulars I have held my self to the New Testament and the words of Christ in it: and now as I said, that we have particularly pondred the words of Scripture in this point, let us sum them up together; here is hating, opposing ones self, slighting, refusing, re∣sisting the holy Spirit, rejecting the counsel of God, and treding under foot the Son of God, which fully amount to a resistance of the offers of grace.

[Serm. 13] I Know it is a hard thing to convince any man of this; therefore I have used Scripture words, Gods lan∣guage, Page  140 that we may not flatter our selves, and that men may see there is more poyson in their hearts then they are aware of, or will own; I know what it is that usually blinds men, that they will not own these expressions of Scripture to belong to them: for who will call himself an opposer of grace offered, a resister of the Holy Ghost▪ and that is because you confess your selves to be glad of the tydings of the Gospel, of remission of sin, and de∣liverance from hell; and you delight to hear of Salvati∣on as it is generally conceived to be a state of happiness, not as it is a state of holiness and communion with God; and in any extremity, agony, and death into which you fall, you pretend to have some desires of grace as a bridge unto Salvation, or at least seem to magnifie it much in words; these things seem to be an argument to you that you are not resisters and neglecters of this sa∣ving grace: but you may well remember that the foolish Virgins knocked at the door and cryed Lord Lord open unto us, and the stony ground heard and believed the Word of the Gospel with a kind of joy: And there is not the veryest coward in the world, but will take hold of a swords point to save his life, and to pluck him out of the water: the Gospel as it is interpreted and looked up∣on by the eye of self-love, seems very attractive of the desire of man towards it, so long as he may serve himself and his own advantage upon it; namely to live in sin and to his sin, and yet be saved at last when he can sin no more▪ so long there is no carnal heart will resist and make opposition: but all this may stand with hate of Christ and Grace; for till a mans heart be thus moulded and tempered by God, as to affect Grace for reconciliation, and for conversion, that so you may be Gods as well as have him yours; so as to live to him as well as have Christ dye for you, till then there is little but fallacy Page  141 and falshood in you: the man that thrust in at the mar∣riage feast, who came to fill his belly with good chear, not for the honour of the bridegroom, was cast out speech∣less, signifying that a man that doth not come to Christ for the love and service of Christ, but to reap those ad∣vantages that self-love spies out in Gospel offers, that man may be a resister and opposer of Grace.

The third Premise is to shew the deplorable condition into which the resisters of offered grace do plunge them∣selves, though the time of this life be sweetned with the affluence of all earthly commodities and contentments; all resistance of Grace is dangerous; but that which is final and out stands the patience of God, of that I may say, there remains no sacrifice for that sin, but a fearful expectation of judgement, which I need no further to prove unto you, then to call in two or three witnesses to depose unto it: and the first of them speaks in Heb. 2. 3. for if the word spoken by Angels was stedfast, and every transgression, &c. what then? how shall we escape if we neglect so great Salvation: neglect is a word somewhat lower then this that we call resistance; and yet how shall we escape? sinners against the Law of God, though there be a punishment allotted them, yet they may escape: but for the neglect of Salvation, great, so great Salvation, there is no escape, there is a peremptory condemnation belongs to such.

In Ezek. 24. 13. is the second witness; Because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more untill I have caused my fury to rest upon thee: because I purged thee by my Ordinances, the application and use of them, and thou wast not purged; &c. God will not alwayes wash a blackmore; his offended pa∣tience turns to fury.

The third witness is Prov. 1. 24, 26. Because I have Page  142 called and ye refused, I have stretched out my hands and no man regarded, I also will laugh at your calamity, and mock when your fear cometh: there is no comfort for such men that refuse Gods call, stand out against grace offered: for when they call and cry, God will laugh at their cala∣mity. Oh the misery of men living under the Gospel, that stand it out against the offers of Grace therein made, which are serious and in good earnest!

I will handle this point distinctly proceeding in cer∣tain propositions.

First, That unto Countries, Cities, Towns, Families, Single persons, upon whom the Sun of Righteousness (that is the Gospel) doth arise with healing in his wings, God doth afford a day of Grace (which he doth to you that now live) in which day he proclaimes peace to such rebels as cast down their arms, and come in and accept the pardon and Grace offered upon these terms; and this is their day of visitation, or as it is called their day; let every one consider it and lay it sadly to heart; In Luke 19. 42 44. Oh Jerusalem, now that the things pertaining to thy peace are offered thee: this is thy day, the time of thy visitation: our Saviour that wept at the death of Lazarus, did weep now at the blindness of this people that did not see and own their day, wherein their Saviour appeared to offer them grace and so great a mercy: Oh that you would say within your selves every one of you: What? have I a day wherein there is saving Grace offered to me, as the terms of my eternal peace! have I a time of visitation afforded by the Lord Jesus! Oh that I might work out my salvation while it is called to day, before the night comes upon me (for there is no day but hath a night) wherein no man can work! Be tenderly affected to your own souls; for this I tell you, and shall clear it by Scri∣pture; there is not one of you that stand here this day, Page  143 but have a day afforded, a time of visitation, wherein the things pertaining to your eternal peace are held forth to you: with what earnestness doth the Holy Ghost speak in Heb. 3. 7. To day if ye will hear his voyce, ver. 13. while it is called to day, ver. 15. while it is said to day! three times in one Chapter: and oh that you would consider it while it is day, while its said to day, and while its called today: And the Apostle exhorts with all diligence not to take the grace of God in vain, not to frustrate, to neglect or resist it, by this argument, Now is the accepted time, Now is the day of salvation, 2 Cor. 6. 1, 2. tis a comfortable and yet a sad point; comfortable that there is a day; sad if you outstand it, and it be taken from you. I blame not in any man the desire of a long day of grace for England, for London, for thy self, provided that the hope of a long day make not the morning a truant: and though I blame not the desire, yet I blame their choice that choose the eleventh hour of the day to come into the vineyard, the last hour of their lives, of their day of grace, before they come into this vineyard to work out their salvation. Oh that you would awake from your deadly sleep betimes in the morning of your youth; for by this means the day of grace will be long, and your day in grace will be long too; such will the benefit be that you shall reap by it; and let it sharply enter into your spirits that God hath set a time to Towns, to Countries, and single persons, to you and me, when we must be con∣verted and brought into the state of salvation or never: a point clear according to the Scripture, however some men dispute it, and the day of grace is not alwayes so long as the time of life: before thou dye, the Word of God, the means, may be a dead letter to thee; no man knows the length of this day of grace, how long the door will stand open to him; but this is certain, the more of Page  144 the glass is run out, the shorter is behind; the longer day of grace England hath seen and past, the shorter the day that is to come: And therefore let these monitors strike and prevail with you: The one is Luk. 13. 25. where our Saviour, as elsewhere, inculcates this point: When once the master of the house hath shut the door, then if you knock, he shall say I know you not: from which place it is plain that there is a time when the door is shut, and will stand open no longer: And then you may Cry to God for mercy and Salvation: But you see the answer that will be made, Depart, be gon I will not own you nor know you, because when the door of grace stood open, you came not in: The other is Heb. 12, 15. 17. I take clear places because its somewhat a quarrelled point: Beware, look diligently, marke you, lest any fail of the grace of God: for you know that when he (Esau) would have inherited the Blessing, he was re∣jected, and found no place for repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. A Place worthy out sad and serious meditation: he found no place for repen∣tance: I confess learned men with whom sometime I have gone in the exposition of this place, say he found no place for the repentance of his Father: he could not find means to make his Father repent for bestowing his blessing on his younger son; yet truly it may well and conveniently be expounded, He found no place for his own repentance, though he sought it very carefully: the Gift is gone from thee, thou hast lost thy time; And though thou Blubberest and Cryest to me, with doleful tears, I cannot help thee: And therefore the Best counsel I can give any man in this point, is this: Work out your Salvation while God works, make hay while Sun shines, Somewhat like to that, Phil. 2. 12. Work out your Salvation with fear and trembling; for it is Page  145 God that workes in you both to will and to do: Giving the Reason from Gods working, that we should work: lest God that offers his Grace, and stretches out his hand should pull it in again, after his long suffering and wait∣ing, and offer no more: And learn to know your day before it be lapsed: for the lapse of this day is Fatal: I, may some say, thats worth the knowing.

Object. But how shall I do that?

Answ.* First do ye find a prizing of and an Appetite to the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby? thats a sign that you are new-born babes; the Child that cryes to suck, is not dead: look for this thirsting appetite.

Secondly, If the spirit of God strive with you still, Convincing and reproving: are your hearts often Con∣vict of secret sins? if unfaithful in your calling, you find no quiet, its a sign God hath not done with you: for while the spirit strives its a day of Grace: My spirit shall not alway strive with man, Gen. 6. 3.

Thirdly, Do you find God making a thorny hedge about you ways? and doth it stand, and is not pulled up? is there a restraint that a man cannot run out but his Conscience pricks him? And when ever he sins in commissions, or omissions, the thorny hedge is still gore∣ing and pricking him. Hosea 2. 6. I will make a thorny hedge, that thou shalt not find thy path, not find Content in sin: an Evident sign the door of grace is yet open.

Lastly, Do you find pulsations, beatings, knockings? doth any body rap at the door still, as they have done? behold, saith God, I stand at the door and knock, Rev. 3. 20. if any man will open, I will come in and sup: this is an admirable sign: the invitation of God holds out still, motion upon motion, beseeching upon beseeching: the knocker at the door is seldome quiet: by these you Page  146 may know your day of Grace; and therefore I say, Call for the bellows while there is fire; Blow the sparks which lie in the Embers, and not all dead, blow them up; For if the sparks die, if God call in his spirit from striving with you, you shall blow among the dead ashes in vain. Oh the miserie of man that doth not know his time! especially the time of his visitation as Jerusalem! For whereas the swallow and the stork do know their time, yet in the 9. or 12. ver. man knoweth not his time: and therefore they are snared in an evil time: and Chap. 8. 6. because to every purpose there is time and judgement, if man hit the time, well and Good: but mark saith he, because man doth not know his time, take the nick, therefore the misery of man is great upon him.

Second proposition, which is a doleful one: that In this day of grace when a man may take Heaven and Salva∣tion by the Fore-lock, as we use to say, many times the things belonging to his eternal peace are hidden from his eyes: which is by the Apostle made the marke of a lost man. In 2 Cor. 4. 3. if our Gospel be hid (that a man sees no beauty in it, finds no power) its hid to them that are lost; in whom the god of this world hath blinded their minds, that the light should not shine into them. And it was the observation of Christ that in Jerusalems day the things of her peace were now hid from her eyes, Luk. 19. 42. never could blindness have fallen upon her or any man else in a worse time: in the day of his visita∣tion, when the things of his peace are offered to him! Now is the day in which as God opens the door widest, so now the devil is most conversant about the eye, least, faith the Apostle, the light of the glorious Gospel should shine into them: the devils aim is to pick out the eyes of men: this he most frequently aims in this day.

Page  147 Thirdly, Those that either refuse the grace that is offered to them, or fall quite off from those initials and beginnings thereof which they had Received (as I shewed when I handled the point of Apostacy, they might do:) they bring themselves by both into a worse condition then such as remain in their natural estate, blind and without all light; then such, as never had such offers made unto them. And without all question, you who either stand out against those offers to refuse them, or desert & relinquish those beginnings of grace that you have received, no heathen man in the world is in a worse condition then you; for this Christ also taught, Matth. 10. 14, 15. Whosoever shall not receive you nor hear your words, it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorah, in the day of judgement then for them. Matth. 11. 21. we to thee Chorazin and Bethsaida, Cities of Galilee where Christ walked; It shall be easier for Tyre and Sidon. Heathen Cities shall escape easier then such where the mighty works of Christ have been shewed forth: Oh that men can hear these things with dull and drowsie ears! doth nothing of this sit upon you? It is a sign that your eyes are hidden in this your day: if the mighty works had been shewn in them, which have been shewn in you, they would have repented. And they have been shewn in you, and you repent not: And as this is said of the recusancy of Grace, the greatest and most vulgar crime among us: so it may be said of those under the Apostacie of it, in 2 Pet. 2. 21. It had been better they had never known the way of righteousness, then having known it, to turn away from the holy Commandment given unto them. Let this bound your wandring fancies, and afright you from your Apostacy from God; For as the Iron of the Stethee is the harder for the often knocking upon it: so the heart of man thats naturally hard, by Page  148 the often knocking and pressing the word of God upon it, is made the harder: And if the salt that seasons other things, be in it self infatuate, its good for nothing; what shall season salt? they that are in this case, heavier judgement waits on them, and greater guilt is upon them.

[Serm. 14] LET all neglecters, despisers, and resisters of the Grace of God, learn from henceforth to know, in what respects their condition is worse then even those Infidels and heathens that unto this day do sit in dark∣ness and the shadow of death: their condition is worse in five regards. Now I come to touch your pulse; to shew you your condition, if you be not converted and come in to Christ Jesus, if there be not a work of saving conversion upon your souls,

First, They are many times Judicially hardened in their resistance; every mans heart is naturally hard: but every man is not Judicially hardned: as every man must dye; but every man is not sentenced to dye by the Judge: so there is a natural hardness and a sentential or a judicial hardness, whereby God himself hardens the heart of man; every man is not hardened as Pharaoh was: such mens hardness is their sin and judgement to, both in one: Matth. 13. 14. there is the sentence which is repeated three or four times in the New Testament, hearing you shall hear and not understand: seeing you shall see and not per∣ceive: and this is the punishment of obduration, and of mans own shutting of his eyes: and then God seals up his eyes; least they should be converted, saith God, and I should heal them. And it is repeated again in Joh. 12. 40: a dreadful judgement that goes out against lazy, sleepy, neglectful hearers of the Gospel; therefore they could Page  149 not believe, because God hath blinded them, paenally, judi∣cially: thou setest a lock on the door against his grace, and he sets another lock on the door against thee. In respect of their hardness of heart, Its said they would not; but in respect of Gods hardening, Its said they could not: which I perswade my self is a judgement largely ex∣tended in our Church, thought men will not be con∣vinc't of it.

Secondly, Therefore, the condition of these persons is very hopeless, difficult, yea and desperate: there is no hope that the Bellows will do any good where the fire is gene out, when there remains no spark alive in the heart of man, there is a high word given of them in Heb. 6. 4. who were as greatly indowed as most of us, It is impossi∣ble to renew them again by repentance; And such is he that hath extinguished his taste: And the Apostle useth a similitude taken from the earth, that the rain comes oft upon, as sermons upon you: and the fruit it yields, is nothing but briars and thonrs: still they go on in sin, the marks of a Cursed soile; they are nigh to cursing, whose end is to be burnt; these are the people that have been purged (by means used) and yet were not purged; and therefore shall not be purged any more, Ezek. 24. 13. take therefore the grace of God by the forelock; for as they say of time, it may prove bald behind: and there may be no lock to take hold of; the twig of a tree thats once dead, never revives again: there may grow others on the same root, but a blasted bud never revives more; when the master hath shut the door, you may knock in vain; And such as these that have refused the call of God, they shall in their day (saith God) call on me, but I will not an∣swer; they shall seek me early, and not find me, because in their day of grace I called and they refused me, Prov. 1, 28.

Page  150 Thirdly, The neglected talent is taken from them. Matth. 13. 12. Whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away that which he seems to have, nay that which he hath. God strips those professors of their parts, that will not admit the power of his grace into their souls: there shall be taken from them that which they seem to have: the improvement of Grace, and the keeping it alive, is the way to encrease it, and continue it; But otherwise the kingdom shall be taken from you, the Gospel shall be taken away, and all the parts and endowments that you have got together, you shall be stript stark-naked of them all: In Mark. 4. 25, 26. the example of this may be seen in the Jewish nation, and other countreys, towns, and people that have been stript of the word and Gospel by their undervaluing refusal of the Grace offered unto them in tbeir day, and the judgement is like the sin: For Christ curseth the Barren Figtree with barrenness, Never fruit grow more on thee:* Oh Let not this curse come on you: consider the dreadful Judgement, the curse it is called, of the Figtree; No prevention of this, but by making use of your accepted time, your day of Salvation, without which your house will be left unto you desolate;* this is the judgement that flies over nations, and countreys, and particular persons, (I have observed) men some∣times forward hearers of the word of God, men of good Elevated affections, seeming to be zealous and diligent in duties, yet afterwards when the world hath grown upon them, as it is apt to grow upon you all, then God for the neglect of their talent hath come to distrain; and what hath he left behind? truly a kind of Bankrupt profession of Religion, mouldring away and sinking to nothing; a company of sick professors whose parts are spent, and many times they grow sottish and stupid; their parts, that which they had, is taken from them; Page  151having forgotten saith the Apostle, that they were purged from their old sins, 2 Pet. 1. 9.

Fourthly, they are let alone to fill up the measure of their sins; In this God deals with you as a physitian that leaves a desperate patient to his own appetite; Give him what he will have, you say, for the physitian hath left him. God comes at you no more to humble you, to give you a feeling, a heavenly thirst or appetite; It is a sore judgement as any is, yet men do not feel it, when God pulls the bridle off a mans head, and lets him run; he that is filthy, let him be filthy still; when God doth not compass him about with a hedge of thorns, but lets him alone, Hos. 2. 6. Oh miserable man! In Psal. 8. 12. But my people would not hearken to my word, and Israel would none of me: here is their sin: So I gave them up to their own hearts lust, and they walked in their own coun∣sels. Ephraim is joyned to Idols, let him alone, Hos. 4. 17. I will not punish their daughters when they commit adultery, ver. 14. but let them run to the end of their Teddar: what a miserie is this whereof men are unsensible! this is properly the punishment of the neglect of offered Grace.

Lastly, The grieving of the waiting patience of God, stretching out his hand all the day long, and waiting on you, beseeching you to come to Christ, to receive the Lord Jesus: and the answering and embittering it with provocations, brings forth at last that fearful and irreversi∣ble oath of God, at which me thinks any man that hath life and sense in him should tremble, Heb. 3. 11. So I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest; that as there is an oath of God made to the heirs of promise to shew the immutability of his counsel, Heb. 6. 17. marke it: so this Oath is made a Barr against the Salvation of the resisters of his Grace (as it is applyed) and doth also Page  152 signifie the immutability of his wrath, that its like the law of the Medes and Persians that alters not: and therefore fear to outstand the day of grace; For be you assured that as sun-set to one, may be and is sun-rise to another: so the day of grace may arise to another, and yet set to thee: Oh that you would know and tremble at it: fearing lest you should be at or past the sun-set of this day of grace: and so I have finisht the three premises, First, That God offers Gospel Grace to men seriously and in good earnest. Secondly, It is natural to corrupt man to entertain this Grace offered with neglect and resistance. Thirdly, That therefore he is plunged into a sad and mise∣rable Condition.

The second of which, that its natural to man to enter∣tain this grace offered with resistance, is that which I am to shew the reason of.

The First and the Third, that God offers that Grace, which being resisted, plunges men into worse condition then ever, af∣fords matter of use to us.

But for the reasons of this resistance, though all reason is for mans acceptance thereof, yet such is the frame of the heart that it opposeth it self against it, and therefore cannot come to Jesus Christ; the Reasons though they are manifold, I need not long insist of, having said so much on the point already; I shall therefore only name a sixfold reason.

[Reas. 1] First, from the natural temper of the heart of every man which is hard and impenitent, and therefore called a heart that cannot Repent, Rom. 2. 7. a heart of stone, Ezekiel 36. 27. that is untractable to God and re∣sisting, as an adamant that resists and dulls the tool that should cut it: the very sun that softens wax, hardens clay; the means of Grace harden: therefore pray, Oh Lord, take away this heart of stone according to thy Page  153 Covenant; for a Broken and a tender heart is the Gift of God.

[Reas. 2] Secondly, The contrariety of the disposition and inclina∣tion of the heart of man to Grace, shews it: for Grace offer∣ed, and the heart to which its offered, are as Contrary as light and darkness, flesh and spirit; and we know in nature that contraries cannot be reconciled; overcome they they may be, and many times one is, by the victorious op∣posite: fire may be extinguished by water: but to make fire and water agree, cannot be: so may Grace over∣come: But the filth of the heart is unreconcileable, having a contrary center to move unto and rest in.

[Reas. 3] Thirdly, Grace disturbs the peace of a Corrupt heart, and therefore is resisted. It takes away the contentment which it finds in lusts and fins: as the stronger man com∣ing in, Breaks the peace of the strong man armed, and spoils his goods, Matth. 12. 29. when the strong man, the De∣vil, keeps the house, lust is in peace: But when Christ comes, he disturbs the peace, and spoils the goods, and that must needs cause dislike in the heart of man. For men would not be awakened and disturbed: Let me alone, let me enjoy my peace: you shall seldom see any con∣version wrought without a great breach of peace: when a mans peace is broken, in which he slept upon the Cushion of the devil all his days, its a great sign that there is power of grace gone forth to make offers, to convince and bring that sinner in: this is the cause that in defence of its own peace the heart makes such re∣sistance. A

[Reas. 4] Fourth cause of this resistance, is, the servitude of the will in Bondage unto sin; which is not like other Bon∣dages. A Bondman is not content in his condition, he would quit himself if he could, and would be glad to hear news of his redemption: But this is a voluntary Page  154 Bondage, and pleases better then a gracious freedom: its the bondage of the will, and nothing can be more free and willing then that, Titus 3. 3. serving divers lusts and pleasures, is the character that the Apostles gives of a natural state: the man is in bondage, under servitude to lusts and pleasures: and though a bondman usually de∣sires freedom, yet this bondage hath no such desires, because it is not a painful irksome bondage: Its like that of a fish that struggles against being pulled out of the water, because it is his Element: A bondage where∣by the will of man (whatever the School-men say) is like a Roman Prisoner tied by both arms to two of his fellow prisoners; so is the will bound by a corrupt Under∣standing on one hand, and corrupt affections on the other; so that alas how should this man willingly come to Christ? no more then a prisoner in bondage can possi∣bly break from his keepers and come to you.

[Reas. 5] Fifthly, The heart is filled with Ignorant prejudices against Religion and Grace, which it looks upon as an enemy that comes to strip it of all contentment, and to bring it into captivity; he thinks of Religion and all the prts of it otherwise then indeed it is: that it is a mo∣rose way, and will take away his delight; or one thing or other he casts in his mind through the foulness of his fancy; all the imaginations of the heart being evil, only evil, and that continually, Gen. 6. 5.

[Reas. 6] Lastly, A prepossession or a further possession; For cor∣ruption is the first inhabitant: Every mans head is first taken up with ignorance and hate of God; and as the first man that is possessour of a Castle will keep it against every Invader; so man being first engaged in a party by the king of this world, and put into the command of the Castle of his heart, when Grace comes, and in the name of God demands a surrendry into the right owners Page  155 hands, its lookt upon as an invader; And therefore he sets himself to keep it out, because he will hold to his party; so that grace cannot get admittance till it bring an ejecti∣onem firmam, to throw out the enemy in possession.

For these and such like Reasons, man strives with God, and by the withdrawment of grace, God seems to be out-striven with by man; Oh Jerusalem, wilt thou not be made clean? when will it once be? Jer. 13. ult. A phrase of speech that testifies there is a long patience in it.

The uses of the serious offers of Grace, and the mi∣sery of those that resist those offers, are these two.

[Use 1] First in General,England, London, thou hast had a long day of Grace where the Lord hath visited thee by tendring the things that belong unto thy peace, Christ Jesus to be known and received: Come forth to this day, this day of grace; for the longer it hath been, the short∣er it is; Examin the success and fruit; Oh England, London, I am loth to speak, though I do not speak it as ominous;* In the old World when God said the days of man should be one hundred and twenty years, its not to be understood of mans age, thats but a simple meaning; But the Days of my Patience toward him; how many did the long suffering of God gather (all this while I can∣not say, but) out of the stood, out of a world of men! the Apostle Peter observes that which I observe to you, In 1 Pet. 3. 20. there were but few, that is, but eight per∣sons saved from water in this long day of grace dispenst to a world of men. therefore Gather your selves toge∣ther (not in Congregations and companies) but your thoughts together, oh nation, not desired, lest the decree bring forth, (for the thing may be decreed) and ye be as chaff that passes on a day, Zephan. 2. 1, 2. for without all question when the winnowing day comes for England, there will be many thousands found like chaffe that passes before the Page  156 wind in a winnowing day; and though you may think with your selves, that the sun of the Gospel yet shineth bright: yet remember so did the sun shine bright on So∣dom the morning that the fire came on it;* the sun shines bright many times when its very near setting; Oh La∣ment the sins of England: we very well know (and its an observation well made) that Josiah one of the last, was one of the best Kings that ever sate upon the throne of Judah,* for whom was great lamentation, that made an admirable reformation, and entred into the Covenant with the Lord; a reformation, a none-such; there comes in a bitter Pill after this; Notwithstanding the Lord turned not away from the fierceness of his anger, be∣cause of all the Provocations of Manasseth, 2 Kings 23. 26. There were the sins of his Ancestors. In Deuteronomy you have to deal with a Jealous God: and in 1 Joh. 2. 18. if men understood the word when they read it. John gave a true Character of the last times of the Jewish nati∣on: thats the true meaning of it: and you make use of that Scripture, because you apply it to the Last day; there are many Antichrists by which you may know it is the last time: Let us Consider it as a Character that sits too close on us: one preaches himself Christ: another takes away his Deity. Christ sets a character of the last times on Jerusalem: This long you are to continue, and then your day of grace is gone; do you fear least your day of grace be swallowed up by those multitudes of heretical teachers that swarm among you. Its true (as the saying is) Now a man may be as holy in England as he will, without fear of persecution; for holiness sake (that the mean∣ing) and truly I may well say (for it must be ballanced;) a man may be as negligent as he will, as wild in his opini∣ons, without fear of giving an account or coercion; and were it not for the goodness of servants (and I be∣seech Page  157 you in your places abuse not the common liberty you might take) a master could be no master of his house, nor could not undertake Joshua his undertaking: I and my house will serve the Lord;* nor keep his sheep out of Rotting pastures: except the conscience, the heart be principled in orthodoxal and Godly ways of truth. You read in the New Testament that the masters influence on his house in matters of Religion was great; such a one baptized, and all his house: what consequence in that! why that by example, instruction or power, one way or other, did work them to come to the same bonds of Religion with themselves: The Lord grant that you may see the day grace, that in it, those that have power may exhort the people under their roofs to day, while Its called to day, least they be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

[Use 2] For particulars, mark how Lovingly the scripture speaks to men that have the word and day of grace. I shall name some places; and by the way this point is mightily tended to in the epistle to the Hebrews, which was written purposely to stir up the Jews that were run∣ning into by-wayes, to hold fast the profession of the Gospel; the first place is that Heb. 2. 3. wherefore ha∣ving heard this doctrine, we ought to give the more diligent heed least at any time we let them slip: (like Riddle dishes that hold not water put into them) for if the law had punishments for sin, how shall we escape, if we, &c. mean∣ing This is the last pull you have for the salvation of your souls, the last draw that ever you shall make: for your souls are damned by the law, but yet you may live: this is the last lot that falls; if you neglect Salvation, so great salvation, (there lies the sting of the words) how shall we escape! StMark lays down the tenour of the Gospel, he that believes not,*shall be damned: which is as pe∣remptory Page  158 speech as a man finds ordinarily in the law, and more peremptory: and John Baptiss (which is a place also mistaken) speaking of the Jewish state in Matth. 3. 10. tells them, Now your Saviour is come to preach the Gospel, look to it, your time is at an end, your destru∣ction is nigh: after the Gospel is come, and refused, Now the Ax is laid to the root of the tree, Cut it down: And consider that place, Heb. 4. 1. let us fear least having a promise made us of entring into rest, any of you should seem to come short of it: a place full of sweet meditation: as the Jews when they went out of Aegypt, went on a promise of a rest in Canaan, and yet came short of it: so may we fear, &c. me thinks the heart of men should be pierc't with these Scriptures. And Heb. 12. 14, 15. looking diligently least any man fail of the Grace of God, when preached to him, he neglects it, refuses it, makes light of it, as he did who was invited to the marriage of the Kings son: And in Heb. 3. 12. take heed (oh take heed) least there be in axy of you an evil heart of unbelief to depart from the living God: that your unbelief do not carry you away to continue in this resistance of the Grace of God: Let not the day of grace be a day of provocation: But ex∣hort one another daily, while it is called to day.

There are two Motives whereby I would move this point unto you, and then dismiss it; for still there will be backwardness: Oh that our Lord Jesus would work a miracle on the dry land!

[Mot. 1] First, Thy particular day of grace wherein it is offered to thee, may not be so long as the day of the nation, nor so long always as the day of your lives: Understand me right: It may be, but is not necessarily so▪ Its true, he that, is joyned to the living, of him there is hope; we that know not Gods dispensations, may hope the Best: and its pro∣bable that where God continues his Gospel, there is Page  159 something yet to do; there all are not come in while he sends his servant to Bid his guests: yet your hearts may be hardened through unbelief, and thy eyes may be sealed; And though men may hope till the eleventh hour, yet thou maist be under the irreversible oath of God: and though he may send his servants to invite others, yet those that were invited and did not come, he will invite them no more, Matth. 22. this many times comes to pass. To make a general rule is hard, and I will not venture on that; but this I say, it may be sun-rise with others, when sun-set with thee: and therefore I pray embrace the day of your visitation, least it prove not so long as you expect.

[Mot. 2] Secondly, When thou wouldest, after this day of grace is past, thou shalt not; God will laugh at your calamity; they shall cry, and I will not hear them, Prov. 1. 26. when Esau would have inherited the Blessing, he did it not, Heb. 12. when the master hath shut the door, if thou knock, it is in vain; No man can come to me except drawn: what do you think these things to be only skar-crows! they will be found one day to have some meaning in them; there∣fore take the wind while it blows; say, Lord, I bless thee; yet I feel sense and have thirst; hear thee knock; yet I have taste and appetite: Oh let not these sparks die in me; let me take thy offer before thou past in thy hand and hold it out no more; Its true while there remains these knockings, God is not gone from the door; But alas its a very sad thing to think that men should conceive they have power to come and take the offer when they please. Why may some say,

Object. Will not God be found always when man seeks?

Answ. Yes verily: for so Hezekiah speaking to as lost a people as could be, 2 Chron. 30. 9. God is gracieus and ••rciful, and will not turn his face from you, if you return to Page  160 him. But qui dat poenitenti veniam, non dat peccanti poe∣nitentiam, he that gives pardon to the penitent when he doth repent, he doth not always give repentance to the sinner: And there (if you well observe it) lies the knot, Heb. 6. 4. Its impossible (saith he) to renew such a man again by repentance: he speaks nothings of par∣don that will follow, but speaks to the grace of repen∣tance: and have you power in your own hands? Its impossible to renew them again; such men may knock at the door, may seek the Blessing, may cry in calamity, for every man may desire to be out of hell, and to be happy, when alas he hath not so much grace as sinc••ly to desire Grace; But then may some say to me;

Object. Help us to some means to retrive the day of grace! I have lost it, I have outstood my time: the day of grace is shut against me.

Answ. There are means for a man that hath some spiri∣tual life in him, that is fallen into desertion, to recal the spirit and blow up the motions: to recover him as it were out of a swound to life again; for rubbing of a man that hath life in him, wil recall life to the outward parts; But if you rub a dead man all day long, you find no life; a poor dejected soul that hath some sparks of grace in him, may have life blown out of the embers; but if it be dead at heart, quite gone and extinct; thats another case.

If a man have through the natural resistency of his heart stood against Grace forty years together, for they have grieved me (saith God) Forty years, yet notwithstanding there may be possibility of the conversion and life of this man. else Gods Elect should not be saved, who frequently▪ resist; which is but a resistance natural, thats made by the obdurate hardness of their own hearts; and they are not under the seal of the Irreversible oath of God; But after that the oath of God is gone out against a Page  161 man, and the deadly seal is stamped on a soul, that hath so often, and so long, and with such provocations resisted the arm, the wok and offer of grace; to prescribe means to help up such a man again, is to pres••be Physick for a dead man, or to call back the day after sun-set wihch I cannot do: and they say (how properly they speak I will not inquire) that Christ himself did not die for the sin of final Impenitency, for that sounds like a contradiction. And therefore Beloved in the Lord, carry but this from this sermon; a preventive fear and trembling thats a pre∣servative from the danger; from which there appears to me no restorative. If you look for restoratives after God hath sealed up the eyes for grieving of his pati∣ence, it is in vain; But if you will have a preventive or preservative from the danger, why then to day, while it is called to day, come in, lest you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin; and so I have handled the three things Premised.

[Serm. 15] BEing desirous to raise the thoughts of man concern∣ing Gods free grace as high as may be; and to lay his thoughts concerning himself as low; I will therefore proceed one step further upon these words No man can; And that shall be for the inquiry,

Whether the Elect of God, whom he hath appointed and pur∣posed to bring to Salvation, be naturally of the same disposi∣tion, and have in them the same spirit of opposition to grace offered as others have?

In handling of which I shall briefly lay down five Propositions, as that which shall make an end of this point.

[Prop. 1] First, The motions, incitements, the knockings at the door, afforded by God in the ministry of the word, are Page  162 neglected and resisted for the present by the elect of God as well as others: (I mean the elect in their present natural estate: for their hearts are as hard and stony; even digd out of the same quarry as any others:) And God we know doth not chuse any because they were, but that they might or should be holy, In Ephes. 1. 4. which shews that holiness is not the cause but the fruit of Gods election. Neither doth the purpose of God though it be for everlasting salvation, while it is in his own breast, make any change in the Elect, as saith the rule of School, Praedestinatio nihil ponit in Praedestinato, Gods ordaining for life makes no alteration for present in those that are ordained, until it come to calling ac∣cording to purpose: as notwithstanding our Saviours purpose to raise Lazarus unto life, yet Lazarus for the present lay as dead as other men not raised, untill the time, and that power that quickned him, was put forth: Israel in Aegypt was never more free, notwithstanding Gods purpose of an afterwards deliverance which he did intend unto them, till Moses the deliverer came: Paul while he was an elect vessel not called, was never the more holy for that, untill the time of his conversion came. For Election is unto the means as well as to the end; which it could not be if holiness should precede: For though there be a holiness before the End, in re∣gard of execution: you have your fruit unto holiness, and the end Eternal life, Rom. 6. 22. yet there is no such thing before purpose and decree; Elect through the san∣ctification of the spirit unto obedience, 1 Pet. 1. 2. And therefore the Scripture constantly gives the natural cha∣racter of the Elect of God, the same as non-elect: there is a double Character given of them: a personal, and a natu∣ral: the personal Character is many times worse then that of others: they confess that I was a Persecutor, a Bla∣spheamer, Page  163 chief of sinners, 1 Tim. 1 13, 14. In their na∣tural character they are described as of the same tem∣per, lump and mould with other men. Among whom we also had our conversation in times past, and were by nature Children of wrath as well as others, Ephes. 2. 3. And we our selves were also sometimes foolish, disobedient, serving divers lusts and pleasures, Tit. 3. 3. For otherwise these three things would follow thereupon.

First, The mystery of comparative Election, why Jacob and not Esau, would cease: for the reason being open and known, voideth the mysterie.

Secondly, The distinction and difference of one man from another would be of man himself.

Thirdly,*The production of Grace would not be de novo, by Creation. You are his workmanship Created in Christ Jesus; but would rather be as the Bellows that begers fire where there were sparks before, then the putting in new sire where there was none before.

[Prop. 2] Secondly, The deserters of grace by them received, and the resisters of Grace by God offered, are Justly deserted by God, and the offers in time taken from them; The deserters of Grace received, I mean that which they call common grace, are such as either do put out the sparks, or let them dye and go out; Such as the Foolish Virgins whose lamps went out;* or as the two Grounds, the stony,* and thornie, whose green blade was blasted or choaked; And such we have many amongst us, that for a time and season do put forth blossoms; they have Enlightnings, Convictions, and do pretend great affections; some sence of sin at some time, especially some desires of De∣liverance, and are like flowers in a waterpot, that will keep fresh and maintain a greeness for a time; but as the Scripture saith, they have no root and so they wither and are extinguished.

Page  164 Object. But you will ask me, What order or tendency have these workings, unto regeneration.

Answ. These are common to the Elect, and non-Elect, and they are Precedaneous and Previous works of grace towards regeneration, being initial things that by the management of God do come to some effect in Gods elect, but yet in themselves are such as may be suffo∣cated and choaked; for God doth not usually convert any of his people by way of sudden Ethusiasms, as if one should think of life put into a stone or stock, as if in an in∣stant a stone should change into a man, a heart of stone immediately change to a heart of flesh; But God moulds & prepares the heart by the ministry of the word and excitations of the spirit, as it is said of Peters hearers in Acts 2. 37. they were pricked in their hearts, and made to enquire what they should do to be saved. For as it is in na∣tural Generation, there are many previous dispositions that go before the induction of the forme, which gives it the specifical Being; so are men brought to a spi∣ritual nativity unto regeneration, not by a sudden strait: God doth work by these previous workings, and in the way of his administrations he doth impart certain Initi∣als or beginings of grace unto men.

Object. 2. If this be that the men in whom these are wrought, may desert, extinguish, and fall off; why then will some say, is this so culpable a thing to quench these, that have no regenerating life in them.

Answ. These are they against which the Scripture pours out so much wrath, and declares so great danger in this case to such as shall desert, forsake, or extinguish these workings of initial beginnings, as in that phrase Heb. 10. ult. my soul shall have no pleasure in them that withdraw to perdition; not because these have any root at the present, for so our Saviour describes them in Page  165Matth. 13. 21. but because the things in themselves have a tendency to further ripening and perfection; as the egg to the Chicken, the Bud to the fruit, and the embryo to the Child, not yet actually perfect, Gal 4. 19. I travel in pain till Christ be formed in you: In which re∣spect they are said to know the way of Righteousness, 2 Pet 2. 20, 21. And for this reason it is so culpable, be∣cause they do destroy the fruit in the bud. But then may some say;

Object. 3. This renewing and converting grace comes imme∣diately from God, and doth not require any previous or pre∣cedaneous workings.

Answ. The comparison of natural generation will give some light, what to say of this: for suppose the rational soul be infused, not meerly traduced, poured in from heaven by the hand of God: yet notwithstanding there is use of marriage, and many preparatory dispositions are required, tending to the generation of a man: so that you may rightly conceive here if grace be (which yet I dispute not) the begetting of a man to God, there may notwithstanding be required many previous dispositions tending thereunto: which that it is so, may be evident to you by the means and instruments that God uses in Conversion: the instruments are men, the means are the ministry of the word; I have begotten you by the Gospel, saith the Apostle in 1 Cor. 4. 15. And if God was pleased immediately (which I know not that any of you Expect, and should be sorry you should be deluded so) I say immediately to convert, and suddenly to snatch a man out of his unregeneracy, without conviction foregoing, without knowledge and sorrow for sin, desire of pardon and deliverance, then neither would there be need of the ministry of men, nor word preached: nei∣ther need the Minister rightly divide the word, as the Page  166 Apostles phrase is: that is, plowing down the ridges of the law, or laying up the furrows by the Gospel preach∣ing; this grace therefore is that which may be deserted, and these offers of grace are many a time resisted, and are by many finally resisted to the great danger of their souls, and the loss of them. And therefore it is just with God to desert these, and to withdraw the of∣fers, as indeed he doth, so as now after all they reject and hate the truth, and are given up, and let alone to go on in their lusts: as the Lord saith, Israel would have none of me: therefore I gave them up, &c. Whence men become hardened in their security, to rot and be stupifi∣ed in their sins, and at last come to that which the Scri∣pture calls the worm that never dies, in the world to come, which above all other things as I conceive, grows and breeds out of the neglect of grace offered: the re∣fusing and recusancy of the Lords stretched-out hand: this this sharpens the teeth of that worm that will bite them the sorest, and sting them the worst, and upbraid them with this above all: the neglect, the refusal of grace given or offered.

[Prop. 3] Thirdly, Those whom God hath affected with some begin∣nings of grace, he doth not usually desert nor desist to promote them in the way towards Conversion, until either by their voluntary neglect, or by the repulse of that Initial Grace of God, he be by them first forsaken and cast of: and this is the mirror of the kindness and mercy of God to poor men, that when he hath begun to woo, he follows them with kindness, and calls not in his Jewels or rings, until he be by the party woed, denyed, and repulsed: take the talent from him, saith our Saviour: but it is not said till the man had hidden it in the ground, Matth. 25. 28. and this seems to be given as the reason, in Prov. 1. 24. often quoted; I have called, and ye refused, I also will Page  167 laugh at your destruction, and mock when your fear cometh. And this is also the reason of Gods forsaking, 2 Chron. 24. 20. Because ye have forsaken the Lord, he hath also forsaken you. And Psalm 81. 11. My people would not hearken to my voice, and Israel would none of me: so I gave them up &c. God may set up a candle or Candle∣stick to his people, or that Nation t pleasure: It is a work of grace, not of justice nor of injustice to deny it: but having afforded these means and Ordinances for Conversion, it is not ordinary: and there is no Scripture teaches that he takes away the aids or subsidiaries of exciting grace, or the help given untill he hath been for∣saken, and there be a voluntary casting of him off untill as the text saith, there be no remedy, 2 Chron. 36. 16. Oh that the length of the patience and goodness of God might awaken your hearts, to take Grace by the Fore∣lock when it is coming towards you: because opportu∣nity and season going from you may be bald.

[Prop. 4] Fourthly, The Elect whom God hath chosen to salvation, for their neglect and undervaluing the motions and excita∣tions of Grace, may be justly left and deserted, though God doth not deal with them stricto Jure, nor finally leave the pur∣suit of them. I speak not of the grace of God in the act of Conversion, that is victorious over the heart of man, as hath been largely handled before: but those overtures, those precedaneous workings I now speak of. If you consider the Elect of God in the state of grace, that is the called, even they are often wanting to the grace that is offered: there is a great deal of neglect, undervalu∣ing and contempt that abounds in them. And so for a time in some particulars they are left: For a small moment have I forsaken thee: I have hid my face from them, Isaiah 54. 7, 8. So it is said of Hezekiah, 2 Chron. 32. 31. God left him to try him, that he might know all Page  168 that was in his heart. And My beloved, saith she, Cant. 5. 6. was withdrawn, I sought him but could not find him. But this is done in a way of discipline: for if the Lord should deal in strict Justice with his elect, even for the neglect and resistance of grace after conversion, how should they be able to stand before him? But much more is this true of them in their natural state: they are as opposite as others, and therefore they may also be left: and so they are, but not finally, but for Conviction: And the Lord, I am confident, convinces most men before he converts them: by giving them such offers as being left to their own management would come to nothing; they would see that they have no more power of themselves then others. And there∣fore as an Angler pulls back his bait many times, to quicken the appetite of the Fsh to take hold of it: so many times God deals. For he doth not use to take us short at the first nay; and O the goodness of God that doth not! he that said, Matth 21. 29. I will not, afterwards repented and went: if we should be taken short at our first refusal, all of us should rue it. And therefore it is said, The Lord of the Vineyard sent servants, and he sent other servants: and he sent yet again, ver. 37. which shews that God doth not use to take his people at advantage, but sends servants after servants, and the Son after that: and yet most justly may leave us at the first.

[Prop. 5] Fifthly, That such is the special mercy of God, and his grace unto the men of his purpose, that though they do re∣pulse this enlightning and exciting grace, yet he never leaves them fully nor finally: but continues to urge and pursue them, untill he have subjugated them to his grace, and placed them in the state of his Adopted. I say, those that he means to save, that are ordained to Page  169 life, though they have repulsed: (you know it by your own experience) blown out enlightnings and convicti∣ons, and when they are wounded, run to the herd, as a wounded Deer to shift off the Arrow: yet finally God will not leave them:*I will cause you, saith God (speaking to a people rebellious enough) to pass under the rod: not of correction, but of propriety and inte∣rest: A Metaphor taken from a man telling his sheep out of the Fold with a rod in the morning as they go out. And I will bring you into the bond of the Covenant: For the Elect of God are as a child; if his arm be broken or out of joint, he would not have it toucht, but let alone so it might have ease. Is it not so with us? would not we be at ease and quiet? Do not we cry and labour that our sores may not be toucht? but are better pleased to be left in our security, and natural condition: yet God will follow us with conviction after convicti∣on; breaks our peace, that it shall not cement or be soadered: Make a thorny hedge about us that we shall not find our path: Untill being convict, we come to that, I will re∣turn to God, or my first husband; for then it was better with me then now. The Lord hews them and moulds their hearts, till of unwilling he makes them willing: and have brought them as those that are in a Castle, whose strong hold is beaten down, they are forced to surrender to meer mercy, upon the Victors own terms. So the Lord will force his elect. All that the Father hath given to me, shall come to me, John 6. 37. And do it for thy Name sake, for our backslidings are many, Jer. 14. 7. This is the word, and may be spoken even by the elect of God. And if this were not, that God should not take the work into his hand, he might stretch out his hand all the day long and find little but gainsayings and contradictions: no effectual calling could be: there would be no such thing Page  170 as filial adoption: the very election of God would be frustrate. This was the remnant or end that I had to deliver on this point, before I came to the General Uses of all.

There are two things that follow from what I have now said, as two branches from one stemm; viz. the Justifying of God, and the magnifying of grace: the one makes humble, the other thanksul: for the one Daniel was eminent, Dan. 9. 5. To us belongeth confusion, for we have rebelled against thee: to thee belongeth righte∣ousness. The other eminent in Paul, 1 Cor. 15. By the grace of God I am that I am. Learn these two lessons that are of great use in Practical Religion: Humility to justifie God that might have cast you off, and laid you aside in the crowd with other men. And the magnify∣ing of this grace, whereby he hath brought you out in despight of your own stubberness: And so much for the opposition of man to grace offered.

[Serm. 16] NOw follow the general Uses of all that hath been said upon the First Point, No man can come to me. And First,

[Use 1] Hence I commend to you The true Test of sound and Christian Doctrine in this point of mans Conversion: That both the Preacher of this point, and the Hearer of it may cut by this thred that our Saviour hath set forth in this text. And it is this, That in the conversion of man, the power of God and the freeness of his grace be mag∣nified, and the power or causality of man himself b de∣cryed: For so the Text, No man can come, except my Father draw him. This is the test: But the touchstone that tryes other mettals, who shall try it? how shall it be made appear, that this Doctrine is indeed the Page  171 true test? For that I will give you three Reasons.

First, Because this Doctrine is consonant to the scope of Go [Reas. 1] spel doctrine: which as it suggests matter of glorying to the sinner in himself confounded with shame and lost, and never leaves him till it hath brought him to a state of glorying from his nothingness: so it places this glo∣rying in God only, not self: as the compating two places of Scripture doth witness: the one is 1 Cor. 1. ult. That he that gloryeth may glory in the Lord: and Ephes. 2. 9. Not of works; for this Reason, least any man should boast. Which two places do shew the scope of Gospel Doctrine: And there cannot be a better test of Doctrine, then the consonancy of it with the main scope of the Gospel: that is, with the Analogy of Faith, Rom. 12. 6. For if in expounding a particular Scripture, a man seem to cut out one part of the gar∣ment unproportionable to the body, he seems to have mist his measure, and as it were to make a monstrous garment: For the scope of the Scripture is the measure and test whereby any particular is to be measured: therefore this must needs be a good test.

[Reas. 2] Secondly, Because all the gracious works of God from first to last, from election according to purpose, to salvati∣on in the Kingdom of heaven; I say every one of these works upon, and in, his Elect to bring them to salvation, do all conspire and tend unanimously to this great end, the praise of his free and powerful grace, Ephes. 1. 6. He hath Predestinated and Adopted us that we might be to the praise of the glory of his grace. And what, are the other attri∣butes of God past by in silence? No▪ But grace is like Varnish, no colour of it self, but serves to set off all other colours. Wisdom, Power, Mercy and Love are included or set out by Grace: And therefore the praise of grace is the praise of all: for God doth not work Page  172 for the exaltation of mans power or pride, but to the praise of his own grace.

[Reas. 3] Thirdly, This is a true test, Because we find the confes∣sed experience of Gods people avouching and attesting this: the experience of Paul that great trumpet of grace, 1 Cor. 9. 16. I have nothing to glory of; and in 1 Cor. 12. 11. I am nothing; For Gods second Church is built as Gods second Temple (the second Church, give me leave so to say, I mean the Gospel Church) not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit. And they cry grace grace unto it, Zach. 4. 6, 7. as that which was called the second Temple was meaner built to outward shew, then Solomons Temple; and was built not by might, nor by power, but with much weakness of the people returned from Captivity, and opposed of all hands. So is the Gospel state of the Church built of a people returned from the captivity of Hell and death; not by the might and power of man, but by the Spirit of God; And therefore he that made the ar∣rogant Answer to that Question the Apostle propounds, Who made thee to differ from another, saying, Ego me ipsum discerno, I discriminate my self, seems to be mistaken in his own Experience, (as Christians often are) or not to own the confessed experience of Gods Converts, as Paul and others that have been humbled out of them∣selves, to acknowledge the free grace of God. For I think we shall rarely find a man on his death-bed to be a Papist that is enlightened; because then he finds he flies out of himself to Gods alone mercy; Nor seldom find a man in point of conversion to be a Pelagian: be∣cause he acknowledges it to be the Free grace of God that brings him both down and up: Down, to bring down his pride, to throw down his strong holds; And Up again, by raising him from a state of nothing. Page  173 And therefore as the Apostle John in his time, when there were many deceivers gone forth into the world, as there are in the dayes wherein we live, did give Chri∣stians a test, or mark by which they might prove the spurious, or the true: whether they brought sealed measure with their Doctrine, yea or no. And that test was the coming of Christ in the flesh: (for that was then commonly denyed by the spawn of Gnosticks) saying, If any come to you, and bring not this Doctrine, receive him not, 2 John ver. 10. And so most commonly all along in the Scripture, where any dangerous error is confuted, you shall find in that confutation a test given, a touchstone whereby that Doctrine that is Erroneous may be tryed: So in this point of Conversion of man, and discriminating grace, if any man blow the Bladder as well as the Trumpet to make him swell, and sill him full of Pride and Self; building God upon man, and not man upon God; Let this that I have said be the test at which you examine that Doctrine. For as the letting fall of the string of a Vial or Lute too low, or the straining it too high, spoils the harmony: And as the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Rom 12. 6. the proportion is changed by ad∣ding a Unite unto, or by substracting it from any num∣ber; so in this point of converting grace, if the de∣nyal of mans power be drawn to deny mans duty: or the Calling for Duty in Scripture, be drawn so high as to exalt mans power, the proportion and Harmony is spoiled in both. After this animadversion, and after such a test of Doctrine, here found out and commended to you, let me give you warning how to apply this sealed mete-wand to the Doctrine that you hear: And I would that there were not so many instances as might be given, that the Iniquity or Necessity of these times does require to be spoken unto.

Page  174 First, That Doctrine by this test sounds not clear, but seems to have a crack in it, That under pretence of duty doth conclude and advance mans power: and the reason is plausible with those men that have learning enough, that whereas it is said, in Ezek. 18. 30. 31. Repent and make you a new heart, and a new spirit, and cast away your transgressions; for why will you die? and from Jer. 4. 4. Circumcise your selves to the Lord, and be not stiff-necked; take away the foreskin of your hearts: from these com∣mands doth conclude that man hath power to do it; or else saith carnal Reason, why is he commanded? they that do make this conclusion, let them be examined by this Establisht test of Doctrine; and having hung the scales, let us now weigh the point: this is true, What God in his law requires, that the law supposes a power to be or to have been, because the law of God doth not command things absolutely impossible, to which there never was power given; and therefore mans disability to perform any command arises accidentally when he hath disabled himself: And this is called by the Apostle; and the cause of it shewn, in Rom. 8 8. the Impossibility of the law, and that is through sin and corruption that hath Invaded man, and disabled him unto obedience; But now in case of this disability, the law that requires the duty, doth not argue a power in you, but it doth drive disabled man to the remedie, and that is the free grace of God, and; therefore he that calls on thee for re∣pentance, doth himself give it: 2 Tim. 2. 25. he that bids, Make you a new heart, doth promise it, I will give them a new heart, Ezek. 36. 27. He that saith Circum∣cise your selves, saith also I will circumcise your hearts, Deut. 30. 6. The command shews what man owes to God, and what must be in him if he will not dye: and this drives him to the remedy, the free and gracious pro∣mise Page  175 of God, to work this in him: the measure of his duty is not the measure of his power: as a man mea∣sures not his worth by what he ows; no man will be so absurd; and yet men will measure their power to repent, to turn to God, to believe in Christ by what indeed is their duty to do, which is (to say no more) a false measure.

Secondly, Nor are they to be heard that from qualifi∣cations of fitness do argue and conclude for qualifications of worthiness or merit: observe, for you will not understand the answer to these, except you understand where the Errour lies: the law uses this word (worthy) for a dueness of the reward of debt; that that hath some proportion to the reward, when the reward is of debt, as the Apostle describes it: but the Gospel dictionary useth the word (worthiness) for the fitness of a man to receive the reward of grace and promise; and therefore in the Gospel they are usually pronounced worthy, that are fit∣ted and made meet for to receive Christ or the promise: as the worthy receiver at the Lords table, is not he that is meritoriously worthy, but he that is meet, that is quali∣fied answerably to the Sacrament, that hath in him such qualifications as are answerable to the body and blood of the Lord there exhibited: and so you may read works meet for repentance:* and so 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 to count worthy and make meet, 2 Thes 1. 11. and Col. 1 12. are one and the same; the Papists, and Bellarmine himself that sought as far for that as any of them can search, can hardly find in all Scripture, Hebrew and Greek, any thing that sounds toward merit of Salvation: but worthiness of fitness, that is, an answerableness to the duty injoyned, or mercy promised; he hath made us meet to be inheritors: this you may find everywhere, without which no man can be saved: and therefore to say this bottle is fit to hold such a proportion of wine, and worth so Page  176 much money, are quite contrary sayings; the one rela∣ting to the capacity, the other to the metal of it: so to say, the thirsty, the weary, the laden, are in a fit capaci∣ty for Christ and the promises, by qualification of em∣ptiness; and therefore they have qualifications of merit and worthiness, is altogether absurd and inconsequent: and if any among us, as there may be some that cannot digest these words qualifications towards Conversion, &c. (a point that in the process of this discourse I shall touch upon) will but clear their own mistakes, there remains no quarrel upon the word at all: for we mean not me∣ritorious qualifications, not any thing meritoriously conducing to mans conversion, but meet and fit prepa∣ratives unto grace and glory, such precedaneous work∣ings as judgement, sin and the law have discovered and preacht to men, that they by being stng by the fiery Serpent, may be fitted to look up to the serpent on the pole, the Lord Jesus: In a word, they are qualifications of the subject recipient, not merit of the thing to be received, that they may receive the Grace as an empty bottle doth receive the liquor.

Thirdly, That doctrine, by this test, will be found leaven∣ed, that makes the ruinous condition of man less then it is: for then consequently it will follow that the power of God in his restauration is less also: as for instance, if Lazarus be but sick, his recovery is less then a resurre∣ction: If you make mans case better, so as sickness is a∣bove death, so far as mans power is made greater in them∣selves, so far is the power of God made less then it is: ex∣treams on both hands are to be avoided, in lessening the freeness or the power of man, or in the greatning of it; I will not so decry the will of man in his conversion, that I will deny it to be freer in that act, then it is in any action of this life, then it is to eat and drink, &c. but Page  177 whence comes that freedom? who hath unshackled, nay who hath revived this will? that is God; The will of man is not so to be cryed down as to make him a brute,*nor yet so to be advanced as to make him more then a Servant; They who make man who is dead in sin,* to be like the man in the parable half-dead, Luk. 10. 30. (which to answer that place by the way, was enough to shew who was his neighbour; It was enough for the scope of our Saviours Parable, to suppose the man left half-dead:) do unawares wrong the quickening vertue of Christ: You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins:* he that makes a man less then dead, makes the quicken∣ing power that converts him, less then a resurrection: he that makes the captivity and bondage of a man less, doth thereby make his freedom less too; because these do fol∣low one upon another; bondage and freedom, captivi∣ty and liberty: as those Papists that free the virgin Mary from all sin, do also remove Christ from being her Saviour; his name shall be called Jesus, because he saves his people from their sins; if there be no sin, from whence is the salvation? if there be no salvation, from whence is he called a Saviour? as therefore I would not set works in the place of Justification, which is Christs place; so neither will I remove them from a necessary place in sanctification and salvation, for they have a necessary place: but not a place to work it; for we must be Gods workmanship before we can do Gods work; the Apostle makes that plain, when he gives that as a reason;* nor in the place of Justification; for that as I said, is Christs place; nor as a motive to move God to justifie a sinner; for that is free grace; nor as the con∣dition and instrument: for that is the place of faith; yet they have a place in sanctification afterwards, as the fruit of the tree, though▪ not as the root; for a cypher Page  178 that in the first place of a figure is nothing, may in the second place add a value: so that which in point of me∣rit and causality, is nothing, yet if there be first grace, a work of regeneration, and sanctification wrought in the heart, then I say there is something to be said of this obedience: and as I will not give to man the work∣ing of the will and the deed, so neither will I deny the working out of Salvation to be mans act; and there∣fore those that say, Christ repents for me, and Christ believes for me, as if so be it were not man that be∣lieves, and the sinner that repents, they speak a kind of non-sence; the text I am upon, teaches the contrary, where he tells them the drawing is Gods; the coming is mans act and duty, and therefore its not to be said Christ believes and repents for me; for I must repent and believe, or I am lost, and lie in my lost estate. The duty and act of faith and repentance are yours; But the grace and power whereby these are wrought in you, are God's, and therefore the rule here is that the power and Grace of God be not degraded by the extenuation of mans natural sin and corruption, but that rather the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the much more, as it is said, Rom. 5. 17. be given to the abundance of Grace; for if you consider and compare together mans duty, and Gods power, mans act, and the power of God that works the will and the deed, rather give the more to God then sin: if sin be abounding, I would rather say Grace over-abounds; because that is the favourable side, and gives unto the grace of God more then peradventure some think to be due to him, that where as abounding may be said of sin, let super abounding be said of Grace, Rom. 5. 20.

Page  179 [Serm. 17] FOurthly, Nor will that doctrine abide the due or true test, that under the pretence of this sole power of God exerted in mans Conversion, doth clamorously cry down all instruments and means, Gospel and Gospel Ministry, under this pretence that the sole power of mans new creation and conversion is of God; and therefore hold that as God made this world without tools and instruments, so God shall and will convert men by his converting grace without means, instruments, ministry, and the like; And what danger is it to snatch up a piece of a sentence? for they have heard this doctrine from the orthodox, that man cannot, he is disabled to believe in Christ, that the pow∣er is of God, and have run away with it, and thence have hatcht this fancie, that therefore we need not look after these means: shewing to us that preach, that we had need to use due Correctives in our preaching; for good medicines without apt Correctives sometimes breed wind or disease, rather then cure it; so this orthodox doctrine not rightly Corrected, breeds this fancy, that there is no need of instruments to work that whereof God hath the sole power; These men (I can say no less of them) will teach God to convert man; Let them teach themselves to stand in the way and rode of Christ, where he walks and doth miracles; Let them stand in the way of his ordinances. For though I confess, God can convert without ordinances and means, yet to say that he doth so, is as if because he did sometime make a man at full stature (as Adam) therefore he doth so always; And so abolish mari∣age which he hath instituted for the propagation of mankind; and so because God can convert man, and Page  180 bring him to a full autumne and state of grace at first, that therefore God must abolish his own ordi∣nances instituted for bringing his people to him; Is it not enough that God hath tyed us to the use of Ordi∣nances, where Salvation is to be had, but we must tie God according to our fancie, either to or from the use of Ordinances? what if God did extraordinarily without the plough maintain Israel in the wilderness by Manna, bread from heaven; is therefore God tyed to do the same by such extraordinary means, when they come to their setled Land, where they mow, and sowe, and reap Corn for themselves? this doth not follow; Where there are no ordinances to be had, there God may work extraordinarily: But God is not therefore bound to do it, neither can we conclude he will do it; let Na∣aman the Syrian be an extraordinary example of a man healed by miracle, and those that Christ converted and healed: what is this to our purpose? God by his meer free will hath chosen this way of Gospel-ministry, and ordained it to be the Power of God to Salvation, Rom. 1, 16. God puts forth a power when he converts a soul: and he puts forth this power in this way, the Gospel; Its confest that the vessel or pipes by which this excellency of power is conveyed, are earthen and contemptible: But that is de industria, on purpose, 2 Cor. 4. 7. we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us: the weakness of the vessel doth derogate from the power of the vessel: It was his goodness, and not unto your loss, to teach you by men: for if God had taught you by Angels that are by nature unsociable with men, it had not been so well; now God hath appointed to bring you to hea∣ven by the ministry of men like your selves; And in a way surable to man, that is, by word and doctrine, Page  181 by counsel, instruction, reason, God will so convince and convert you, not by insinuating a sudden power into the heart of man: from whence Ministers are called work∣ers together with God, 2 Cor. 6. 1. and he also is said to work together with them, Mark. 16. 20. If God and man work together, what shall we think of them that divide this partnership, this conjunction?

Quest. Oh but you Preach the law! It is the Gospel that Converts!

Answ. You are deceived; we preach Christ when we preach the law, as is plain when Paul was required by Felix to preach to him the faith of Christ, saith the text, he preacht of righteousness, temperance, and judgement to come, whereat Felix trembled: was this preaching the Faith of Christ? yea, or else Paul was deceived; the Reason is, because Christ is the end of the Law for Righ∣teousness, Rom. 10 4. and because by the law, men are concluded under sin, that the promise, that is the Go∣spel, might be given to them that believe, Gal. 3. 22. and if so, what dissonancy will you make between preaching of the means and the end? we are not so mad as to preach Salvation by the law: and when we preach the Law to you, to wound, it is in order to the promise, and Christ Jesus: It is not the plungers that trouble the water, that catch the Fish: we know it is the Net, but the plungers drive the Fish into the net, that they may be caught: we say the work of Salvation is not by the Law, its the net of the Gospel whereby men are caught to Everlasting Salvation: But its the terrour of the Law, and the curse under which they are driven into this net: tis the avenger of blood that pursues with the drawn sword, that makes you fly to the City of refuge, and therefore there is more of Christ preacht in a Sermon that you call Legal many Page  182 times then in the vociferations & clamors that silly peo∣ple use of Christ, Christ, as they cryed Baal, Baal, though you pronounce nothing but Christ, a hundred times to∣gether: and therefore let me charge you (for that I may have leave to do to those that are under my charge) and exhort all others, that since faith comes by hear∣ing, since you are born again of the uncorruptible seed of the word: since his Ministers are in pain, while they go traveling in their souls till Christ be formed in you: since the Lord many times in his word honours the in∣strument in the work of Conversion, with the honour of doing that which he doth by them (StPaul saith, I am your father) as Goliahs sword was honoured with the work that David did by it: upon all these conside∣rations, be not you stricken with this madness, as either to think that the excellency of power of Conversion is in the box that carries this treasure, or to divide the treasure from the vessel that you have in it; for then you lose it: But where then will you have it? But to consider in your serious thoughts, what those gifts were which Christ gave to his Church on his triumphal day; a phrase of speech alluding to the Roman triumph; when a Conquer or came home and had a triumph allowed him by the Senate, he spred his prizes that he brought home, and gave mag∣nificent gifts; so the Apostle observes that when Christ ascended and rode in the triumphal Chariot to heaven, he carried spoils with him, and gave gifts to men; and what were those gifts? Eph. 4. 7. he gave Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers for the ga∣thering and perfecting of the Saints: or thus (if you will) he gave the Holy Ghost, which doth not only work itself, but makes overseers, Acts 20. 28. and then works by them, as the instrument is first made, and then wrought with: so the Holy Ghost makes Page  183 you overseers, and then works in and by them that are Ministers made by the Holy Ghost, and therefore de∣spise not means and instruments: enough is said of that point to wise men.

Fifthly, Nor will that doctrine abide this test, that teach∣eth that man is the giver, and God the receiver: for the truth is, God is the first giver in all kinds: make him but first in the work of Calling, Election, Sanctifica∣tion, &c. and you cannot be unsound or erroneous in any of these doctrines: but that doctrine which makes man the giver, and God the receiver, cannot be true; the reason is, he loved us first, saith the Apostle, 1 Joh. 4. 19. You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, Joh. 15. 16. and therefore it is said, Rom. 11. 35. who hath first given to God? and it shall be recompenced to him again; that is, that hath first done or performed any work, that obliges God to recompence it; those therefore that make man the first lover, the first chuser, the first giver, they make man the creditor, and God the debtor: and how unsui∣table is it with any modesty and ingenuity to speak so? which of necessity must be, if you make man first.

Sixthly; Nor doth it follow by this test (which is somewhat a difficult point) that because there is a Co∣venant made with man, upon conditions of faith and repen∣tance, therefore these conditions must be performed by one of the confederates, that is, by mans own power: to con∣firm this, its said, there was so much required of Adam, and he had power, and God expected the performance of the condition made with him; And you know many times it is thus with men; they expect a mutual performance of Covenants one with another; and they do-in-many cases think that man hath power to perform the condi∣tion to which he obliges himself: and yet sometimes Page  184 tis otherwise; there cannot a general rule be made of this; a creditor requires the payment of the summ; yet whe∣ther the debtor pays it of mony gotten by his own hand, or borrow it, or it be given him by some benefactor, is not material; only this is material, that the condition be performed, and the money paid: so we may say in this point; this is certain, that the condition required of man, is mans duty, is mans act; and the benefit of the Co∣venant is for him that performs faith and repentance: but God requires not the performance of the condi∣tions by mans own power: for therefore the Covenant is altered from Do this and live, unto Believe in the Lord Jesus and thou shalt be saved, they are both exprest Rom. 10. 5, 9. because man, fallen man, could not abide such a condition of life as must rest upon his own power to perfor∣mance, which was before possible to him while he stood in integrity, but now is impossible to him in sin: this objection may be further pursued, and then I confess you make a hard knot of it.

Obj. Still it seems the condition continues impossible; for man by a natural power cannot perform personal and perfect obedience, neither can he believe, neither keep the law, nor obey the Gospel, neither perform the condition of works, nor yet of Faith; and what are we then the bet∣ter?

Answ. You must distinguish between a natural power, and a power restored by grace; as to the natural power, there is no more in man to believe in Christ, then to perform the law: to a natural power both these condi∣tions are impossible, (let me not offend you in words) for to Do this and live, you do not pretend to, but to Believe and come to Christ, that you say you can. But the text saith, no man can come to me; Oh that you could but feel this impotency in your selves; but then the power Page  185 restored is a power to believe in Christ, which is not re∣stored to keep the law of works, but unfeignedly to believe in and love Christ: and this power is given by the drawing of God, to all that do indeed come to Christ: those that are not drawn, do not come; all that come are drawn, and impowred to believe: Gods drawing, and mans coming are, both of one latitude, one measure, one extent; as many as the Lord works upon and draws, they do come, ver. 45. And those that are not drawn, do not come, ver. 44. and this I call the restored power, not restored to man to keep the Law, but to believe in, and receive Christ Jesus. And so the power to perform the condi∣tion of the Covenant, is a restored power: but to per∣form the condition of the Covenant of works, there is no power restored: therefore Austin saith, God will not that it should pertain but only to his Grace, that man should come to him, that being come he should not recede from him. And that God would not have the condition of this Covenant to be built on mans power of performance, I prove by three Reasons.

[Reas. 1] First, God is pleased that his promise or Covenant should be sure to all the seed: Rom. 4. 16. Therefore it is of faith, that it may be by grace, to the end that the promise might be sure to all the seed: not to all the world, but to all the seed; and how unsure it had been, if it had stood and bottomed on man, the experience of the first man Adam doth teach, who though in his integrity, made shipwrack of all, by defection from it; much more may be said of man under sin, were he not supported by the power of a better prop, the Mediatour; God will have it sure, to all the seed; And therefore will not establish it on the works of man, because he betrayed it and brought shipwrack on it at first, Page  [unnumbered] and there shall come a shipwrack on it no more.

[Reas. 2] Secondly, God doth not expect that the conditions should be performed by man; only calls for it as a duty that I owe, but not as standing in my power: But God makes promises of the very conditions which he requires; not of the bene∣fits of the Covenant only, but of the graces of it that they may keep it; Mark the promises of the Covenant, I will put my Law into their hearts, and write it in their minds, and they shall all know me, Heb. 8. 10, 11. I will put my fear into their hearts that they shall not depart from me, Jer. 32. 40. I will will put my spirit within them, and cause them to walk in my statutes, Ezek. 36. 27. I will take away a heart of stone, and give them a heart of flesh, Ezek. 11. 19. And who will say that these pro∣mises are built on any conditions in man?

[Reas. 3] Thirdly, Because of this Covenant, Christ is surety, which in the first Covenant was not: If we deal with a poor or suspected man, we lie hard at him for a surety: happily we will take a rich mans word. Though there was no surety of the first Covenant, for Adam had none, yet now there is a surety given that must stand at stake, and therefor it is said God hath made him a Me∣diator of a better Covenant, Heb. 7. 22. and this sure∣ty-ship of Christ shews that man is not to be trusted but upon surety. And what undertaking Christ performs, may be seen in his account he makes of his sheep, John 17. 8. I have manifested thy word unto them, and they have received it, and have known that I came out from thee, And believed that thou hast sent me: this is an excellent under∣taker, and a good Accountant for his sheep: not one of them is lost, they have received thy word, they have be∣lieved: A rare comfort for all that are Christs, they Page  186 are undertaken for, Christ is accountable for them to God.

7. Lastly, Since the glory of God is thus kept intire, that all things are of him, through him, to him, Rom. 11. ult. and that rectum est index sui & obliqui, the right line is index of it self, and the oblique or Crooked: Let whatsoever doctrine that makes not all to be of him, through him, and unto him, be hence confuted, by this excellent test; as

First, That which makes man a beginner of Conver∣sion, and God a helper of those beginnings: that affirms assisting, but not preventing Grace; that which makes grace the nurse, not the mother that brings forth; a crutch for the lame, but not life to quicken the dead; that which makes God the finisher, but not the author of Faith, this is not Scripture doctrine; this makes not all to be of him.

Secondly, That which affirms that though there be no merit in Justification, yet there is a power in man for Sanctification, because it deals unequally with a long arm, and a short one; allows no merit, and yet assumes a power: that sounds not well neither: yet this is a thought that is in many a mans heart, Oh that God would pardon me, and for walking with God, let me alone: Oh that God would forgive me my sins, and Ile cleanse my self, Ile live to God: you will not assume the merit of Justi∣fication: but you may not set your power in the place of the spirit of God in point of sanctification, no more then merit in place of the Lord Jesus for Justification; for in Psal. 103. he forgives all thy sin, and heals all thy disease, ver. 3. where in one verse you may see both: I Confess, Justification is like quitting of a Prisoner at the Goal delivery; the sentence quits him in an instant, Page  [unnumbered] and frees him. But sanctification is like the healing of a wound by a Surgeon, which is a progressive work, a work of time: the power of man is nothing in the one as well as the other; without me you can do nothing; both are from Christ that comes by water and blood, 1 Joh. 5. 6. for the remission of sin, and also for cleansing, purging, and purifying of the heart; who is made both righteousness and sanctification to us, 1 Cor. 1. 30. for else a man may be reformed by vertue, not sanctified, which is by grace or faith.

Thirdly, That which though it denyes not grace to be of God (no Pelagian would ever do that) yet affirms the use of grace to be of man; it is in man to receive it, or not receive it; to believe by it, or no; that is, that God may give the power, but not the act: God gives the power whereby I may believe in Christ if I will: But he gives not the act of believing; And this is the great question which methinks is thus determined in the Scripture; God, saith the Apostle, works both to will and to do; and every man that hath learned of the Father comes to me, Joh. 6. 45. for though your reason tells you, that in many cases a man hath power to do that he doth not, as to see when he shuts his eyes, you must make a difference▪ for when God works faith, he frames the heart to use his grace and to believe, as when the hand doth turn the wheel, the wheel always tnrns; for if it did not turn, it takes away the subject of the questi∣on; when there is a power put forth from God to work upon my heart, to lead me to Christ, he doth not therein only give a power that I shall use it as I list; thats clean contrary: for if he turn me, I am turned; and if I am not turned, he doth not turn me.

Page  187 Fourthly, that which teaches That Good works ac∣ceptable to God, may be performed without a new nature: (and by this point) I thrust every man to seek a new nature, and a new being: and not only to do good works; for that contradicts the point of our Saviour, Make the tree good and his fruit good: There must first be Regeneration, Renovation in the spirit of man, whereby he must be implanted into Christ Jesus, or there will never grow good fruit thereon.

Lastly, that it is true, God sends Christ, (as the text saith.) But there are so many attractives in him to draw a sinner, that there needs no drawing of God: there needs no drawing of a lost man to a Saviour, no more then a poor man is drawn to a loaf of bread: But sin∣ners lost and undone, stand in need of drawing: And therefore I shall shew, that as God gives Christ, so he must give faith in Christ, or I cannot be saved: As God gives Christ, and sends him to me, so he must draw me, and bring me to Christ, or else no saving effect will follow. And that shall be the second Use or Infe∣rence.

[Serm. 18] [Use 2] THat as God sends Christ to us, so he must draw us also to him, or else there can be no salvation: and this may be thus proved. Those that come not to Christ, cannot be saved by him; those of the world that are not drawn by this drawing of the Father, do not come to Christ: therefore they are not saved: The service that this In∣ference doth, is, this will beat down the thoughts of many thousands that rest in this empty plea: God hath Page  [unnumbered] sent Christ to die, and to redeem mankind; it is well, and the plea is good for encouragement to believe; but if this be all the consolation, if this be all you rest up∣on, Gods acts in sending Christ, you are much mistaken; for the great question is, Hath God drawn thee to Christ? Thou pleadest Christs mission: but Canst thou make Gods traction of thee to appear? This is the great point that this doctrine preaches: as if Christ should say, It is true, My Father hath sent me, and I am come to you by his appointment, to shed my blood for you; but you must come to me if you will have life; and come to me you cannot, except you be drawn by the power of him that sent me; for no man can come to me except the Father draw him.

Whether of the two be most necessary to salvation; Gods mission of Christ, or Gods traction of man to Christ, is as I conceive, a trivial question, hardly coming into the Schools, which will tye a knot in any rush; for they are both equally necessary: as the Serpent on the pole in view to be lookt upon, and the eye to see it, were both necessary for the recovery of them that were bitten by fiery Serpents: except God send Christ, there is no object of Faith: except God draw you to Christ, there is no act of Faith: And the necessity of the ob∣ject and of the act, cannot without fondness be com∣pared together; for both, are in their kind necessary in the highest degree: the mercy and the grace of God are eminent in both: the Father his sending Christ, and the Fathers drawing of sinners unto Christ, they are both necessary. But yet this sending, and this drawing, are of distinct consideration in divers respects.

First, Gods sending Christ, sets up to sinful man the ob∣ject of his faith. For though all the Scripture be the ob∣ject Page  188 of that they call the Catholick faith; yet peculiar∣ly, Christ in the Scripture is the kernel and marrow of all the types in the Old Testament: Christ is the object of Faith, whereby it justifies: For though the eye that lookt to the brazen Serpent, could see many things be∣sides; yet they could have no cure by the sight of any thing but that; this sets up to man the object of his Faith; Gods drawing, works in man the act of Faith: If Christ had not been sent, there had been no object to be believed on: If God should not draw sinners to him, there would be no faith to believe by: So that it would be as with Israel, if there were either no Serpent on the pole to be lookt unto, or no eye to look up to it, the recovery of those bitten with the fiery Serpents would fail.

Secondly, Gods sending of Christ was in pursuance of his Covenant made with our Mediaeter: Gods drawing unto Christ, is in pursuance of his Covenant made with sinners in the Mediator. That there is a Covenant of God the Fa∣ther with Christ Jesus, seems very probable: because there was a Covenant made with the first Adam; there∣fore also with the second: And this is intimated by Christ himself, in these words, John 17. 4. I have fini∣shed the work that thou gavest me to do. And in those, Heb. 10. 9. Lo I come to do thy will O God. For there is that we call the Law, imposed upon our Mediator, that is the Covenant made with Christ. And Arminius in his Orations De Sacerdotio Christi, confesses this Co∣venant made with Christ, is very well exprest in these words, Isa. 53. 10. When thou shalt make his soul an of∣fering for sin; therefore his soul was to be an offering: And the promise of the Covenant with Christ, that he should see his seed: this Covenant of God with the Page  [unnumbered] Mediator, what he should perform as Mediator, is pur∣sued and brought to effect by God his sending of his Son: But the Covenant made with sinners in a Media∣tor, it is this, If you believe in, and come to this Lord Jesus whom he hath sent, you shall be saved: And this part of the Covenant is brought to effect and pursued; by Gods drawing us to come to Christ: The want of making distinction between the Covenant with the Me∣diator, what he shall do, he shall make his soul an offering for sin: And what he shall have, he shall see his seed, he shall divide the spoil, take the captive out of the hands of the Devil: and between the Covenant with the sinner; where there are the same two respects; what he shall do, he shall come unto and believe in the Lord Jesus; and what he shall have, he shall be justified, saved, and recover∣ed cut of the hands of hell and damnation: How shall man be able to do this? saith God, I will draw him, for else he cannot come; for, No man can come to me except my Father draw him. I say, the not distinguishing of these two, breeds great confusion in the apprehensions of men about the Covenant.

Thirdly, Gods sending Christ, puts a difference be∣tween mankind and the Angels that sinned: But Gods drawing of man unto Christ, puts a difference between the elect and others. The speculation of which point, is of delightful and pleasant consideration. By sending Christ, he puts a difference between mankind, faln and lapsed, and the Angels that fell; there was no cord let down from heaven to them, to draw them out of the pit into which they were faln. By drawing unto Christ, he puts a difference between those that God will save, and those that he will not save; As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed, Acts 13. 48. To the Angels that sinned, Page  189 Christ is not sent; there you see the love of God to mankind: And they that are not ordained to eternal life, are not drawn; that makes a distinction of men.

Fourthly, God in sending Christ doth not look at mans faith as antecedent, or required of man before God sends him: But Gods drawing man to Christ, works that faith whereby man is saved. Gods sending Christ, doth not look to faith at all, because Christ is sent to man yet resting in his unbelief; but that faith that is required to salvation, is wrought by Gods drawing, whereby he moulds the heart of man to Christ; as by a familiar com∣parison may be instanced: The eye looking up, was not required to the setting up of the Serpent upon the pole: by Gods command it was set up, whether any man was stung or no; but looking up was required to the recove∣ry of the person stung.

Fifthly, If God should have sent Christ, and required it of mans power, or left it to mans power, to come in and to re∣ceive him, there would not have been a man, as I conceive, saved. And his sending, which is Gods act, would have faln short of its effect, without Gods drawing; because there would not have been faith found to have received and believed in him; for No man can, &c. and so Christs Kingdom had not been set up and built; there had no members been planted into this head. But the gift of Christ to and for men, being seconded by a power of bringing men in to Christ, gives effect and success; and therefore you shall find in the Gospel alwayes, Gods giving of Christ to man, is seconded by the giving of the Spirit; that as we are redeemed, reconciled, and justi∣fied by Christs merit and blood; so we must also be en∣lightened, regenerate and sanctified by Gods Spirit; the one Page  [unnumbered] of these accompanies the other: And this power of the Spirit doth so certainly go along with Christs merit, as to the salvation of any man, that it is said, Have one, have both. For he that hath not the Spirit of Christ is none of his, Rom. 8. 9. Because though Christ be sent by the mission of God, yet without this Spirit there is no drawing, no traction of man to be partaker of Christ, as we have some adumbration or shadow. In Israel they are delivered from the destroying Angel by blood sprinkled on the door posts:* And from the Egyptian slavery by a mighty hand; shewing these two works in the delivery of man out of the slavery under which he lay: there is the work of Redemption, by the blood of Christ sprinkled upon him: and he must march out, be drawn out of sin by an out-stretched arm and mighty hand: these two must go together.

Sixthly, There is a general encouragement: you may call it Comfort, that arises to us from Gods sending of Christ. For where there is no hope, there is no motion; where there is no encouragement to believe, there a man hath little heart: From Gods sending Christ to save you, there is encouragement; but the present Comfort, the special Consolation of a mans salvation, arises from the second particular of the two, that God hath drawn man to Christ Jesus; there is, I say, an encouragement that God hath sent Christ; that is, there is a salvability; men are made saveable from the curse and condemna∣tion of the Law, under which they are involved: But the special comfort that they have to themselves in par∣ticular, must arise from this, that God hath drawn, and by converting grace, made them to believe in Christ: For this faith, this drawing of man to Christ, is both a pledge of salvation for the future, and a token of his Page  190 election before-hand. And that which as it were doth couple both the poles together, the election of God, and the salvation of man; the one as a pledge because future; the other as a mark, or sign, because past; this is a com∣fortable point indeed. But certainly the point of send∣ing Christ to make atonement for all, or of universal Redemption, (let it be supposed) doth neither speak salvation nor election to any one in particular more then another; and therefore such silly souls, whether they be drawn by others, or through their own ignorance of the point, are mistaken and deceived, that do build the comfort of their salvation upon that, that God hath sent Christ for an encouragement to believe, & therefore they shall be saved; they do but build Castles in the air, that is, without ground; for the Scripture tells you, that you must be in the faith, and Christ must be in you, except you be reprobates, 2 Cor. 13. 5. It is this drawing you to come to Christ that strikes the stroak; this teaching of God which teaches you to believe, that gives you the particular assurance of salvation. And therefore though God have sent Christ, yet there are thousands of repro∣bate and rejected persons in the world. It is Christ in you, and you in him by Faith, that strikes the stroak.

Seventhly, The point of Gods sending Christ affords sweet meditation; but the sense of Gods drawing thy soul un∣to Christ, affords sweet consolation. In the one thou mayst see the love of God to the world; for God so loved the world, John 3. 16. By the other thou mayst see his special love to thee; concerning which you find it written by the Apostle, Gal. 2. 20. He loved me, and gave himself for me: No man can say this word me, until he be drawn unto Christ: And when is that? may some say; that Page  [unnumbered] is not my point now to handle, yet in brief I an∣swer.

First, When thou art come, then thou hast been drawn: If thou canst embrace and receive Christ as a Saviour and a Lord, then thou hast been drawn, Col. 2. 6. And therefore as I may say of the shadow on the Dyal that is gone to another line, though you cannot see the motion, yet you may conclude it is moved, because it is gone to another line: So you may certainly conclude, that you are gone from the state of nature to the state of grace, when there is a reception and embracing of Christ Jesus.

Secondly, When thy enmity and opposition is removed, and those things that obstructed thy faith are taken away: (Gods drawing doth that) If there be an inclination to Christ as the chief Good, come in place of the aversation that was there before; if there be a compla∣cency come in stead of the hardness and antipathy that was there before: It is made one of the first signs of grace, I will pour out upon them the Spirit of grace and supplication, and they shall look on him whom they have pierced, and mourn and be in bitterness, Zach. 12. 10. (spoken of the Jews) This is a sign that there is a great change: as when light comes into a chamber, we con∣clude that the shutts of the window are removed; so when you find a new light, a new disposition of the heart to God, you may conclude the obstructions are removed, and the enmity is taken away. So much for the second Corollary drawn from this point.

[Use 3] Thirdly, If no man can come to Christ except the Fa∣ther draw him; Hence we may learn, how much faith and coming to Christ, being both one, ver. 35. are mistaken in the world: the great hinge on which the salvation Page  191 of man turns: It is undertaken and entertained as men think, with great easiness, and at pleasure performed, without any sense or sensible need of Gods drawing, without which Christ teaches us that no man can come to him. I shall make it appear that this coming to Christ is, I will not say hard and difficult, for that inti∣mates some possibility of mans performance: but that it is altogether unperformable without the assistance of divine power. That saying, A man may believe in Christ if he will (to take in that by the way) is true and good, if it be taken in a right sense: for so the Scripture, Rev. 22. 17. Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. But then I must say, and I think Reason will go with me, that every wish is not a will, and every velleity (as they call it) is not a will set on edge, an earnest thirsty will after Christ Jesus: He that hath a will wrought by God (and the truth is, we differ from other men only in this:) all confess him to be free in believing: But man is not made by himself free: but the grace of God frees the will of man: for if the Son make you free, then are you free indeed:* And no man doth any thing in the world with greater freedom then a willingness to believe: when of nilling, he is made by God, willing, as Austin saith, such a soul being freed from its servitude, to thirst after the righteousness of God, is pronounced blessed, Matth. 5. 6. We may safely say, he hath the seed of faith that hath this will in him: But every Balaams wish, to die the death of the righteous: and every one that saith, I will, but doth not, Matth. 21. 30. this is not reckoned in Scripture to be a will; therefore men are as much mistaken in their wil∣ling, as in their believing. The Reasons of the opinion of this easiness of believing are three.

Page  [unnumbered] [Reason 1] First, The mistaking of Leah for Rachel. My meaning is, the taking of a Dogmatical for a saving Faith: which is the common mistake of the world that live under the Gospel: For this is but light oar that lies near day, as the Mettalists say; though it looks like gold, it is not gold: It looks like the Faith that saves, but it is not it: For this,* as the Apostle saith in another case, they wil∣lingly know not: This is not the Faith that is hard and difficult: You must not look to be saved by a Christ without you, but by a Christ within you: For to be in the Faith, and to have Christ in you, is all one. 2. Cor. 13. 5. As there are that may be called Disciples out∣wardly, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Rom. 2. 28. and there are others that Christ calls Disciples indeed, or 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, really, John 8. 31. So there is a Faith that brings forth a profession of Christ, as the blade in the stony ground. And there is a Faith that brings a man into possession of Christ; and that is the Faith. Now it is a fatal mistake of many men, to reckon themselves in Christ and a state of sal∣vation, by a Faith that makes them only Disciples out∣wardly. For even the greatest part of the called are not chosen: That Faith must needs be unsaving, that is consistent with predominant lusts, that encounters not raigning sins: For all resistance of sin, in a Scripture-phrase, is called conquest: For in the resistance of it, there is as much love seen to God, as in the conquest of it; though there be not so much power seen. That which is the best kind of Faith, and saving, is that which is most hard, difficult, and impossible to man: The very Faith of Miracles, that you read of sometimes in the Scripture, is not so hard as saving Faith, to come unto and believe in Christ: Certainly this is to be known; those that came short of saving Faith, have yet attained Page  192 to the Faith of Miracles, as Judas and others: And therefore let us set these two, the Faith which saves, and that which saves not, in front one against the other: and see what the Scripture saith of both: And you shall find the drawing power of God affixt to the saving faith, but not to the other: In John 2. 23. many believed on Christ, when they saw the miracles that he did: But they were false-hearted men, that would not hold out if they came to wetting, And so in Matth. 13. 21. and Luke 8. 13. they that received the word, and with joy too, they are such as believe but for a while: but having no root, they go away: As the house built on the sand, may stand till the wind blows: And in John 12. 42. Ma∣ny believed on him, but yet they loved the praise of men more then the praise of God: worldly things are preferred before spiritual: And in Acts 8. 13, 24. compared to∣gether; Simon also believed, but that did not pluck him out of the gall of bittterness, nor unfetter him from the bond of iniquity: That faith that lets a man lie in an un∣regenerate estate, that is the faith of Simon Magus: It is called Believing, and you may so call your selves Believers, and yet be without saving Faith. For every place in which it is named, sets a blemish upon it: Shew∣ing that such a believing is joyned with predominant lust: But now the Faith that saves, that is other wayes in Scripture described, and set forth with other recom∣mendations. It is called a believing to the saving of the soul; and so opposite to that which withdraws, that is Faith for a time: Mark the distinction and empha∣sis of the words in Heb. 10: ult. It is a receiving of Christ Jesus as Saviour and Lord, Col. 2. 6. which is al∣wayes accompanied with true regeneration. In John 1. 12, 13. Whosoever believes in Christ to the saving of his Page  [unnumbered] soul, is born of God. 1 John 5. 1. Whoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God. Whoever believeth that he is so, and so takes him. And is called in Scripture by these properties and epithites, a heart-purifying faith, Acts 15. 9. a faith unfeigned, 1 Tim. 1. 5. the Faith of Gods elect, 1 Tit. 1. a precious faith, 2. Pet. 1. 1. an effe∣ctual or operative faith, &c. all this shews that though the Scripture call this and that both by the same name, Believing, yet they differ as much as saving and not saving Faith. This is the first Reason concerning that opinion of the easiness of believing. They that will be thus mistaken, we may well say of them they are in dan∣ger to miss of their salvation.

[Serm. 19] [Reason 2] THe second Reason is, That as men are mistaken in Faith, as I have shewed, so they are also mistaken in the Formalis ratio of believing. The formal reason of Believing is the Word of the Gospel; which is there∣fore called the power of God to salvation to every one that believes, Rom. 1. 17. And it is an excellent mark of true and saving Faith, that it hath been wrought in thee by the word of the Gospel; by that which is called the hearing of Faith, Gal. 3. 2. This is the reason of be∣lieving, as you may gather from those words, John 3. 33. he hath set to his seal that God is true, (i. e.) he that be∣lieveth: and he that believeth not, makes God a lyar, 1 John 5. 10. shewing that Gods Word, or the testimony of Christ in the Word, is the ground and true reason of believing: all that do believe truely, do resolve their Faith into this reason, the truth and veracity of the Page  193 Word of God; but now the common Faith of most that live in the Church, in the ayre of the Gospel, if it be followed to the last resolve or resort of it, is not into conviction by the word or spirit, but the custom and example 〈◊〉 men, that profess they be∣lieve Christ to be a Saviour, because they see it com∣monly believed and owned in the Church that they live among; these have the same reason for belie∣ving in Christ, that the Turk hath for believing in Mahomet; and that the Jew hath for his rejecting Christ: whose Religion is milked into their mouths by education, in such places, and by such parents as are of this opinion; thus it is with us that have suckt in this kind of believing with our milk, which makes it easie to us, as the Fathers authority to the Child in minority is the greatest in the world; But to think that without a better Reason of our Faith, we can be saved, is a great mistake; For the heart must be con∣vinc't and principled by the Gospel, and by the power of God therein.

[Reas. 3] The third reason of the easiness of this kind of unsaying Faith; is, freedom from temptations: For many men are carryed on the wings of this Faith all their lives long, freed from temptations, doubts, fears, disquiet∣ments, have no thoughts perplex them from the begin∣ning to the end of their lives: for they are temptati∣ons within that are the cause of the difficulty of belie∣ving: when the wind lay, Peter doubted not: the Lord called, and Peter went to him upon the water: But when the wind rose and was boisterous, then saith the text, he was afraid and doubted, Math. 14. 29. then, Lord save me, or else I perish: then Christ saith, Oh thou of little faith, wherefore dost thou doubt? when the wind was strong, Page  [unnumbered] faith became weak: when a man rides on in security and peace, no guilt within, no fears, doubts, or soul-troubles encountering him, its an easie thing to be∣lieve: But when tribulation seizes upon the spirit, and the wind arises, then you come 〈◊〉 doubtings, fears, and disquietments, and find it hard to believe: then saith the heart, Lord, that I had but one drop of Faith, that I were but able to come and be fixed upon the center of believing: this is the common and greatest Reason of easie believing: the empty traveller sings before the thief. For

First, Satan rather keeps the peace of such a soul then molests it, because he knows that his kingdom and pos∣session is not endangered by such a faith as sights not against his dominion: Pharaoh arms not his Egypti∣ans, whiles Israel followed a quiet drudgery: and therefore the devil rather rocks the cradle, then he will disquiet his sleeping Child. And

Secondly, While a man is not sensible what it is to lose his soul, nor feels the damnable sins he hath, nor con∣siders that the whole moment of his Salvation hangs only on this cord, he doth not fear, neither is disquieted: But when he sees that life Eternal hangs upon this naile, it startles him, and makes him afraid; When the man per∣ceived that the cure of his child did he upon his be∣lieving, it made him cry out, Lord, help my unbelief, Mark. 9. 24. They that see not the concernment of their be∣lieving unto Salvation, cry not out for the help of their unbelief.

[Reas. 4] Fourthly, While the props that a man leans upon remain uncashiered, it is not hard for the man to believe: Faith is the easiest thing in the world whiles a man rests upon something in himself: while he swims upon the Blad∣ders Page  194 that are not pulled from under his arm-holes, tis easie for him to keep his head above water: Let me tell every one of you, whiles you are in your natural condi∣tion, you have some thing which you call your gain, Phil. 3. 7. and if you should presently die, you have something to trust unto: and while these remain with you, it is not a hard thing for you to believe, and there∣fore a man trusts to his fleshly confidence, till he come to know Christ Jesus the Lord; But when the soul is unhorst of her false confidence, and true faith hath dismantled all mans strong holds,* that there is nothing to relieve it, but faith in Christ: when a man is left naked as Adam was of himself and his own righteous∣ness, and a man hath nothing to trust unto but the word of God whom he hath offended, and yet now he must trust to it, and venture his soul upon it; when troubles and fearful questions do arise, then you will find no sea, no Euripus is more unconstant then the heart of man, nothing more hard to fix; this will make him cry out with Francis Spira, Oh that I had but one dram of Faith! O that my Faith were fixt, and my heart by Faith: these are the Reasons of that opinion, the easi∣ness of believing.

Now I must shew the contrary to this opinion, about the easiness of Faith, and to that end I shall say thus much, that it is not properly said to be hard for a natu∣ral man to come to Christ, for that may denote a possibi∣lity: but that man cannot come without Gods drawing, which I shall endeavour to prove.

First, Because the Scripture makes it the work of God, and the gift of God: the work of God, for he draws: the gift of God, for it is given to believe: And in some places gives that as the reason why men cannot believe Page  [unnumbered] of themselves, as in the text, No man can except God draw: which is given as the reason of the unbelief of these murmurers against Christs doctrine; and ver. 64. 65. its said Christ knew from the beginning who should not be∣lieve: For no man can come to me except it were given him of my Father: And our Saviour as appears by this, thought it a good proof that they that were not drawn by Gods work, nor had faith given them of his Father, could not believe in him, or come to him. That faith is the gift of God, it is said expresly, Phil. 1. 29. to you it is given to believe sincerely: And Matth. 13. 11. to you it is given to know the mysteries. And Ephes. 2. 8. you are saved by grace, through Faith, and this not of your selves, it is the gift of God. And

Secondly, That you may see that assigning of our Faith to Gods work, and Gods gift, doth deny man to be the social, as well as sole cause of his faith, and that God only teaches the heart to believe: you may observe that it is spoken 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, by way of opposition unto, and not of Composition or Concurrence of man with God, in way of Co-ordination: where the Scripture speaks of God, it speaks of God as the sole cause; Mark the antithetical places, where it is not only said that God works it, but God works it, and not man; Flesh and blood hath not revealed this to thee, saith Christ to Peter, Matth. 16. 17. but my Father; our sufficiency is not of our selves to the least thought, but of God, 2 Cor. 3. 5. there is an antithesis excluding our selves; Not of our selves, but it is the gift of God, Ephes. 2. 8. As therefore they say in Philosophy, God is Causa to∣tius entis, which doth deny all concausality; he made us, not we our selves, in the hundred Psalm; so it may Page  195 be said that we are his creatures in grace as well as in nature. We make not a haire of our selves, no not the colour, and shall we not lay it to heart? In nature did I make my self? why shall not I give as much to God in regeneration as generation, seeing God is seen in the one as well as in the other?

Thirdly, Faith in Christ is a distinguishing grace, a work that differences those that are sheep, from them that are not; those that are given, from them that are not given to Christ: this is proved, Matth. 13. 11. to you it is given, to them it is not given; to the babes it is revealed, but hidden from the wise, Matth. 11. 25. This coming unto Christ, to speak plainly, is a fruit and effect of election: all that are chosen to Eternal Life, shall come in unto and believe in Christ, they shall all know me, Heb. 8. 11. both the least and the greatest, every man that is taught of God doth believe, Joh. 6. 45. If any man living can know himself to be Elected of God, how must he know it? we must know our election (if at all) ascendendo, not descendendo, not prying into the abysse, but beginning at the lowest round of the ladder, my regeneration and Faith in Christ: and from thence, ascend: As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed, Act. 13. 48. (a place as it pinches hard, so men have set their wits on the ten∣ters, to make something of it, or rather nothing) not as were qualified and disposed, as say some: but appointed or ordained: Its vain to wash away the sence of the word: We know it is called The faith of Gods elect, and that it is said, the election hath ob∣tained, Rom. 11. 4. our Saviour saith, John. 10. 26. Page  [unnumbered]you see the works that I do; miracles that one would think might work faith: but there is a secret reason why you believe not, Because you are not of my sheep, for all they, do believe in me: and this is my constant doctrine, for this I have said unto you: It is said of the Councel of Trent by him that wrote the history of that Councel, that when those that were for the will and power of man, disputed with the other par∣ty by reason, they seemed to carry all before them, to get the victory; but when the other party that was for the Grace of God against the will of man, came to back their arguments by Scripture, not by reason, then they went as far backward as forward. It is ob∣jected that it is not likely that all that in that Con∣gregation were ordained to life eternal did believe at that time: It is but a quibble, which we can speak no further unto, then the text doth: It is enough that the reason of believing is drawn from their ordination to life, as John 6. 37. all that the Father giveth me, shall come to me: and if all that God giveth to Christ, shall come to Christ, we conclude that it is proper to those that are the elect of God: to those God gives it, in those God works it.

Page  196 [Serm. 20:] NOW I come to lay down Reasons to prove true Faith to be the work of a supernatural hand, taken from faith it self: and the Reasons will be eight or nine, because I would humble-men out of themselves, and out of those vain thoughts that they can believe at pleasure.

[Reas. 1] First, Because the knowledge or light in which faith is seated, is not a natural light, but it is a light proceeding from the Spirit of God, 2 Cor. 4. 6. shewing that this light is bidden by God to flow out of our darkness, and a Created light as the first light was: so that the light wherein saving Faith is seated, is not a natural light: In all faith that is true and saving, there must be a proportion of knowledge, and therefore faith and knowledge are sometimes put for one and the same in the holy Scripture: famously in Isa. 53. 11. by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justifie many, that is, by the Faith of him; and whence this light of faith doth come, you may very well perceive by that, Flesh and blood hath not revealed it: It is not a light of natural reason or acquisition, but is a light created by God, and conveyed by the spirit of God only, Matth. 16. 17. For that which is called a spiritual discerning, and that must either be Faith, or the light wherein faith is planted, that is affirmed, not to be with∣in the power of a natural man, 1 Cor. 2. 14. where he gives the reason why a natural man doth not perceive the things of God, because they are spiritually discern∣ed; and therefore I conclude that a natural man hath not Page  [unnumbered] the spiritual discerning of heavenly things: and ha∣ving not this spiritual discerning, it remains that it must be a supernatural hand: and therefore all the light of Reason, learning and pregnancy of wit in man natu∣rally, is but darkness to this spiritual light, which is given to babes and fools, as the moon light is but night and darkness unto that light which makes day: and if this be that light whereby Christ is only savingly known in the excellency of his knowledge,* it must needs follow, that faith being seated in it, must be a su∣pernatural work; which is a clear demonstration, and strong proof as any I know from reason, that as the sun can not be seen in the light of a torch, so you must see and know and believe in Christ Jesus by a light held forth from God, which is supernatural.

[Reas. 2] Secondly, Every predominant and reigning lust doth not, cannot stand with saving Faith, because it will hinder the plantation and growth of it, as the rock hindred the rooting of the sown seed: and what is this to the pur∣pose? may some say; very much; sor it shews that no unregenerate or natural man (every of which hath some master fin or other) can have a saving faith: it must be said of every lust what is said of one: for there is the same Reason, our Saviour instances in on Joh. 5. 44. how can you believe that receive honour one of another, and not that which comes from God only? one marriage prevents a second, untill some divorce or se∣paration be made: and so doth any reigning sin hinder faith in Christ; Oh that you would think of it, that live in any known raigning lust; you can have no sa∣ving faith in Christ Jesus. I know, infirmities may stand with faith, but raigning sin cannot, no more then a first and second marriage can stand together; A miserable Page  197 case that a man should think he hath faith, when he is martyed to sin. I confess a dogmatical faith, an opiniona∣tive faith, a common faith may consist with a mans lust; Simon Magus was in the Gall of bitterness, and yet he believed with that kind of faith that was in unrege∣nerate men; but saving Faith will not consist with lusts; that is the second reason; therefore naturally no man can believe in Christ Jesus.

[Reas. 3] Thirdly, The establishment and pursuance of self righ∣teousness by your own worthiness and works, that also hin∣ders the plantation of saving faith in you: and there∣fore as Luther said, Of all taking heed, take heed you do not pursue any thing that may be called your own righte∣ousness; For they went about to make their own righteousness to stand, and therefore did not submit themselves to the righteousness of God, Rom. 10. 3. they attain not that seek it so: as Israel that pursued after righteousness, they followed the chase hard, but did not overtake it, Rom. 9. 31. why? be∣cause they sought it as it were by the works of the law, and not by the faith of Christ Jesus: those that run fastest as humbled men do after this righteousness, are but like a man that runs apace after his shadow, that runs as fast away from him as he runs after it: therefore as Adam did not strip himself, nor may be never would, but God stript him, and then cloathed him with skins, (not with leaves) that was an embleme of death, for it appears that some beasts were killed: the green leaves whereby a man covers himself, are an embleme of his own righteousness, wherein he would stand: But when God comes to strip him of this righteous∣ness, Oh then, saith he, that I might be cloathed with skins! an embleme of the atonement made for sin by Page  [unnumbered] the death of Christ: this also doth oppose and hinder the plantation of Faith.

[Reas. 4] Fourthly, To bring a man to saving faith in Christ, is no less then to take a Castle fortified: so it is compared, 2 Cor. 10. 4: a strong hold must be beaten down: and this is the mighty work of Gods power, saith the text; for the weapons of our warfare are mighty through God, to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ: now mark, if it be to take a fortified Castle, then the Apostle supposes that every natural man, till he be converted, is in his strong hold, and such a one will not dismantle his own Castle, nor take himself, and become captive to himself: and certainly if the work be this, no hand can do it but the hand of God.

[Reas. 5] Fifthly, Faith in Christ, is no less then the surrendring and delivery up of a mans self to a new Soveraignty, to be no more his own: a man must acknowledge and take a new Lord assoon as he believes in Christ: for as redemption frees us from the vindictive Justice of God, so the conquest of Christ frees us from the power of sin, from our Jaylor or former ruler, the devil: It can∣not be expected of a bondman that he should free him∣self, especially a voluntary bondman that delights to have his ears bored: you that say you are believers in Christ, if your faith be true, know by this, it resigns and surrenders you up to the will of a new Lord and Soveraign: and let any man ask counsel of his own heart, whether he would be willing without divine pow∣er drawing him to surrender up the mastery of himself: therefore I conclude, if this he cannot do, he cannot be∣lieve:

[Reas. 6] Sixthly, The whole Soul is moved in or by the plantation of faith. The School-men do dispute and quarrel Page  198 about the seat of faith, whether it be the understanding or the will, or both: truly, I think he should answer best that saith, faith is actus totius hominis, the act of the whole man; the mind to know, the will to Consent and Embrace, the affections to rejoyce in and desire, as the Scripture saith: faith is seated in the heart, all the heart: Faith must be a work brought into the heart by the hand of God: for if faith should come in by its own forci∣ble entry by opposition man would fight against it at eve∣ry door or room: and therefore it remains that it must come into the heart voluntarily; the heart must be made willing, and when it is so, it sets open every door, that it will not fight against any entry; It is God that makes the whole soul willing to the entrance of faith into it.

[Reas. 7] Seventhly, Saving faith, always flows or proceeds from a vital principle: a dead man performs no act of life; and if faith be an act of life, then this faith cannot be performed by a man that is dead; that is, by a natural man, dead in sin; and therefore, he that makes a man to believe in Christ, must first out a life into him; (see the Reason how it hangs together) a spiritual dead man can no more put life into himself then a natural dead man; this argument proves, that Gods drawing a man to Christ, is as it were, the raising of him from the dead, that mans believing in Christ is as much as a resurrection from the dead, and proves that Gods draw∣ing, must goe before mans coming, or believing: the pas∣sive work of Conversion preceds that which is called active Conversion: the one is Gods, the act of raising: the other is mans, the act of turning to God; I know not what can be said against it.

[Reas. 8] Eightly, The greatest opposition that is made to the planta∣tion of grace yet in the heart of man, is made to faith; tem∣ptations Page  [unnumbered] are soarest, oppositions are strongest against faith, because the soul and salvation lies at stake upon it, the hinge that salvation hangs on, being in this point; there∣fore it hath more opposition by sin and the devil then any other grace; I have prayed, saith Christ to Peter, that thy faith fail not; Why not, that thy love, or thy fear, or thy patience fail not? because the greatest bat∣teries of the devil are against faith, and the taking of that fort would take all; and therefore all those considerati∣ons that give such weight to faith in order to Salvation, do also give weight to the reason I am now upon, that a supernatural hand is that which must work and create faith in us.

[Reas. 9] Lastly, I should as easily and willingly ascribe the whole work of mans conversion and regeneration, his new birth and justification, all to the power of man dead in sin, as I would ascribe thereto, faith in, or coming unto, Christ: and so let God sit by as a looker on, and behold what a fine thred the will of man spins throughout the whole webb of conversion, regeneration and believing; and let sinful man be suae fortunae faber, the workman of his own for∣tune (as they use to say) and where then shall be the commendation and praise of Glorious grace? sure there will be the commendation of the will of man, and not of the will of God; and so all things will come at last, re∣sult to this which the Serpent said to our first parents, ye shall be as Gods; if faith and coming to Christ be in the power of man, you will be as God; for not he that supplies the object of faith, but he that supplies the power and act of faith, the will and deed to believe, sits highest in Glory; the Reason is, that notwithstand∣ing the object of Faith revealed, man might perish; but he that gives me the act of believing, and makes good Page  199 that, cannot perish, but must be saved. Let the evi∣dence of these Reasons quiet and settle you upon this point. And

[Serm. 21:] [Use 1] FIrst, Make those men jealous and suspicious of their Faith, that find an easie, quiet and undisturbed faith, that have believed time out of mind as they say, ever since they could remember, and never had ••sence and feeling of this drawing work of God, without which, faith cannot be wrought: It is true, I believe that regene∣rating grace steals into many a one even in their in∣••ncy before they can reflect upon themselves (for this faith is not known without reflection) and before they know who it is that calls Samuel, Samuel, and they have cause of praise afterward that God marked them for his sheep, while they were but Lambs: this may be, and therefore I will not say that this point ties these men to know or to find out the time of the first working and plantation of faith in them. But ordinarily, those that are of age, do hear the noise or voice of this wind when it blows, though it be a secret work and thou knowest not whence it comes, nor whither it goes, yet they feel a work whereby they are drawn to believe in Christ: and in every man ordinarily there are inward bickerings, temptations, troubles for sin, fears, all which do make faith hard: and thereby as Israel coming out of Aegypt, we have more sensible expe∣riments of Gods goodness and power: so in the first plantation, and further growth of our faith, there will be very much all along to teach us this lesson, that iPage  [unnumbered] is a very hard thing to believe, either in God for matters of providence, or in Christ for pardon of sin: yea and many times after the shaken heart is come to a center, the earth-quake may return again, especially if we take hold of rotten refuges: for its we that make it hard to believe; otherwise they that have a faith dogma∣tical, some righteousness and works of their own to trust to, it is to them in their thinking a very easie thing to believe in Christ: but its guilt that abates con∣fidence; if we our selves did but know our secret guilt, it must needs make it hard to us to believe in Christ; and yet all that do believe, have this guilt staring them in the face: but the Goodness, truth, and free∣ness of the promise overcomes it.

[Use 2] Secondly, If God have drawn thee to Christ, and made thee a believer, then return and acknowledge to him the Glory: Let it ravish thy heart with the love of God: for his finger hath been in thy heart, whether thou be sensible of it no: and to whet and sharpen thy praise, let the open sight of thy former unfitness to believe, equal to the unfitness of other men, and thy equal impotency and opposition to thy own happiness, raise the tune of thy praise; for a Christian must never lose the sence of his former sins: I was a persecuter and injurious; and then it follows in 1 Tim. 1. 13. and the grace of the Lord was exceeding abundant to me with faith and love; and therefore thou hast reason to kiss that hand thats put forth in thy heart to draw and bring thee to Christ Jesus, by faith: and the reason of this thankfulness is three-fold.

[Reas. 1] First, Faith is a discriminating grace: it makes a difference between man and man; to you it is given: to them it is not given. And if the Philosopher Page  [unnumbered] thought himself bound to be thankful to his gods, for that he was a Grecian, an Athenian, a Philosopher, this is worth all the bundle of such differences between man and man, that God hath drawn thee to Christ sa∣vingly to take hold of him by Faith.

[Reas. 2] Secondly, This Grace of faith is the main condition of the Covenant of life: that whereas no man is sa∣ved but by being in the Covenant, the condition is per∣formed by God as well as the benefit promised: faith is the very hinge on which the promise of Sal∣vation turns, the center on which it rests, Rom. 10. 9. if thou confess with thy mouth, and believe with thy heart, thou shalt be saved: where the Apostle brings in one in perplexity, Who shall ascend up to heaven, or go down to the deep, who shall bring Christ to me! why saith he, the word is nigh, if thou confess, &c. God might have given thee some other gift, and made thee to excel and differ from another, 1 Cor. 4. 7. but this makes hea∣ven sure: he hath given thee to Christ, and Christ to thee: Both of these are the gift of God, and worthy to be praised.

[Reas. 3] Thirdly, This faith is a mark and evidence that thou art one chosen of God, and ordained to eternal life: if there be any, this must be chief; so that from his faith, whereby he is drawn to Christ, he may draw an ar∣gument of life eternal; As many as were ordained to life eternal, did believe: if from our love to God it may appear that we are called according to purpose, Rom. 8. 29. then also from our faith. For all that thou hast given to me, shall come unto me, saith our Saviour.

[Use 3] Thirdly, Then let an unbeliever pray for faith: But to what purpose may some say, let a believer pray in faith, let an unbeliever pray for faith: I dare not deterr Page  200 an unregenerate man from the use of prayer: happily no promise is made to such prayer: nor no acceptance of the prayer as a savoury meat to God our Father: but let not foolish disputers dispute you out of prayer; for it is a worship of God, and we are bound to wor∣ship him; God calls upon us to make us a new heart, that we may call upon him to do it for us; the poor, infirm, and diseased cryed unto Christ for healing in the Gospel, and when they came to him, certainly they were not all believers; and Simon Magus was sent to pray by Peter for forgiveness, Acts 8. when you come to hear, it is for faith: and you then pay for the work of faith by the word, you shew that you are convinc't of sin, and that you do acknowledge God to be the Crea∣tor of faith. And wicked men have greater mercies from God, if not by way of Covenant and Promise, yet in the way of free bounty and beneficence; and therefore let them wait on him that hears the cry of young ra∣vens. Bow your knees, pour out your prayers, that you may come to Christ, that he would not leave you to your selves, your own emnity and opposition.

[Use 4] Fourthly, There appears by comparing things together, that there is some admirable secret in this work of believing in and coming to Christ; for if you observe, there is all the reason in the world, why a man should believe, there being all arguments and motives of faith in Christ him∣self, there are all manner of invitements and provocati∣ons in the word of God: and there being some that do believe by such a faith, as is under the rate of saving faith, what may be the reason that our Saviour yet saith, No man can come to me without a divine traction; if I should handle these largely, perhaps I should not be imperti∣nent, but I will be brief.

Page  201 First, there is all reason that man should come in to Christ Jesus; for unless he do so, and that sincerely, the wrath of God abides on him: It comes upon us for any sin, but abides upon us for unbelief; not that unbelief is the only sin that damns, as some do teach in these days. If a man be indicted of Felony and found guilty, he is condemned for that; but the reason why he is sent to execution is, because that having the Book he cannot read; so is unbelief the great Reason that all other sins are bound upon your backs; none of them are pardoned: Even as a woman in debt assoon as she takes a husband is no longer to be accounted in debt, because all her debts involve him to whom she hath given her self; So that very hour, assoon as ever you believe, you have your sins pardoned; as the Is∣raelite stung with a fiery Serpent, assoon as ever he lookt up to the Serpent on the pole, he recovered, or as the Text saith, he lived; so he that believes, is healed of all diseases, restored into a state of favour, made a Son and Heir of God for present title, and all his mortal sins become venial, yea not pardonable but pardoned: Therefore there is all reason for it.

Secondly, there are all Motives and Arguments for faith in Christ himself: There is many a man would be glad of the benefits of Christ that doth not receive Union with Christ himself; but marriage you know is not between a man and the dowry, but between person and person: Men obstruct their own Faith by looking to take rise for it in themselves, but there is all in Christ, he is the sinners Saviour, not sinful Angels, but sinful mans; therefore no argument lies in sin to discourage thee, because thy sin makes thee a due ob∣ject, as the biting of the fiery Serpent made a fit Pati∣ent for the Serpent on the Pole; and as he is the sinners Page  202 Saviour, so he is the sent and sealed of God, commis∣sioned and authorized by him unto this saving work: so that God cannot retract his act, the promise of salva∣tion to any that believes in him; as he is the sent of God we need not doubt him whose anger it was that terrified us, so he is freely offered and given to the sinner as a plaister wide enough for every sore; being able to save to the uttermost, all that come to God by him: There∣fore all Motives are in him.

Thirdly, God invites us by all manner of invitati∣ons and provocations to receive Christ: And I have shewed and proved to you, that he doth call you seri∣ously, and not tantalize us with the promise of faith; for then he could not say, How often would I, but you would not? The Call whereby God invites men to faith and repentance is serious.

Fourthly, there are many that do believe, and that with joy, by a faith that is under the rate of saving, be∣cause it is by a faith of Conviction, not of Acceptance: As a woman that can say nothing against a man, yet gives not consent of marriage; so they are convinc'd of the excellency and necessity of Christ, and yet do not receive and accept him for good and all, with self-out∣ing and self-renouncing: And all this being so as it is, well might Austin say of this grace, which Pelagius was content withal, that is, the doctrine, exhortation, exci∣tation, by way of object propounded and counsel mo∣ving; Nolumus istam gratiam, we are not content to rest in that grace, but will have such as takes away the stony and gives a heart of flesh; as it was with Lazarus, he did not rise out of the Grave, because he was bid to rise, but with the word there went a powerful work, and so he came forth. Notwithstanding all this that I have said as touching the object of faith proposed, the Page  203 motives and means of Faith used, which I confess are enough to lay the blame of non-believing at mans door, yet this admirable secret of not believing upon all this, arises from a higher reason or secret of God, as appears by our Saviours Doctrine: And the Reasons are two.

First, Though all these be used as they are, for the preparing, and inclining, and exciting man to believe, That God may deal with man as a rational creature by moral means; for God doth not draw man as a beam of timber or a stone is drawn by force, but in a way of Un∣derstanding, Reason, and Argument; yet that high design of God in giving men to Christ, or not giving them to him, is assigned by our Saviour as a Reason of mens coming, or not coming to him, Joh. 6 44, 65. No man can come to me except it were given him of my Father; and vers. 37. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me. The giving of Faith to man, and of man to Christ, are both Gods work: And in John 10. 26. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my Sheep; that is, not given to me by the Father. And surely 'tis for this secret reason that many in the world, and in our Congregati∣ons, that have all the formerly named Means and Mo∣tives to Faith, do yet stand it out obstinately; and those that have appeared the most unlikely of all others to be believers in Christ, have, after their long withstanding, come in at length.

Seconldy, The reason why all these do not work Faith, is because they work but morally and objective∣ly, and do not (haply) ingenerate life, by which they may be prevalent. We do not wonder why a Trumpet doth not waken, and why Musick doth not delight a dead man, because neither the one nor the other doth beget life, but supposes life to be. Faith, if it be lively and saving, comes from a root of Life, from the Spirit of Page  204 Regeneration and renewing Grace; and therefore where such Grace is not by the Spirit implanted in the heart, all Means and Motives of Faith are but like the frictions and rubbings of a dead man, which are profitable to awaken the spirits if there be life, but not to recall or produce it; and this is that which Christ speaks in the Text, No man can come to me, because he is of himself dead, and void of power by Nature, until God put a Spirit of life into him; and when he is alive, these Mean and Motives may be profitable; or as is usually said by S. Austin, speaking of the Doctrine of Pelagius; Hold a green branch or bunch of grass before a Sheep, and; if he be alive, he may follow your hand; but it gives not life to him, if dead. All that can be said is, That there must be first a Plantation of a vital Principle, a seed of spiritual life, before there can be any Faith put forth to these Promises and Motives of Faith; and therefore this bespeaks you all to use the means for life; for God by these means works it: But yet the means are left de∣stitute, unless joyntly with the Word of Faith there go the Work of Faith, as with, Lazarus come forth, there went a Power to raise him from the dead; and then man believes. And this is the fourth Consectary from this point.

[Serm. 22] [Use. 5] Fifthly,* No man in the world left to the disposal of his own will, or to the sufficiency of his own power, will, or can, move himself out of his lost condition, into an actual state of salvation. In ordinary things it is a clear Maxim, That it is more easie destruere than astru∣ere, to throw down or to destroy, than to build up; to fell a Tree down than to plant and make it grow: But in spiritual things, that observation begets a Problem and hard Question, Whether it be more, easie to pull man down, to remove him from himself and his own Page  205 righteousness, (for 'tis the mighty work of God that must do it, 2 Cor. 10. 4, 5. The weapons of our warfare are mighty through God to pull down, to level imaginations and high things;) than when he is down, to plant him into Christ Jesus, to make him to believe? Whether of these is the hardest work? He that shall answer this, I think might say as the Philosopher, The expelling of dark∣ness out of the Air, and the introduction of light be two termes, yet but one motion, the act is but one to these two; so the bringing man down, and raising of him up, the turning man from darkness to light, as it is expressed, Acts 26. 18. Though there be but one motion, one act of Grace, yet there are two termes, darkness and light, and so the matter is equally difficult; yet for Order sake we begin with that which was first in time, with the cutting off the Graft from the wilde Tree, before we set or plant it in: And therefore I have spnt some time, First, in shewing mans indisposition to receive Jesus Christ, which appears from Joh. 5. 40. Ye will not; and Secondly, mans impotency and inability, in the Text, No m•• can, except my Father draw him; that is, If left to your own disposal, you would not, if to your own sufficiency, you ••ould not come to me. And this being a point serving to pull down man, that we may not make man the worker, the doer, the mover of his own salvation; that we may build mans will upon God, and not go about to build Gods Will upon man, as if God did wait to see how man would dispose of himself. I shall therefore proceed in it as homogeneous and agree∣able to the former Doctrine in the Text.

And the Reason is clear that no man in the world can, because there would be no active Conversion, were there not first a passive Conversion; no active Conver∣sion whereby man turns to God, except there were Page  206 first a passive Conversion whereby God turns man to God; no Conversion could be the act of man, if not first Conversion be the act of God: To speak plainly, there can be no coming to Christ except there be first a drawing of God: For no man can come to me except my Father draw him. They are both of them delivered in Jer. 31. 18. 19. Turn thou me and I shall be turned: Af∣ter I was turned I repented; there is the act of Ephraim; after I had received the passive Conversion, that God had drawn and turned me: There is no resurrection from the dead without first a resuscitation, the word and power of Christ goes forth before the act of Laza∣rus; the Sun shines upon the wall before the wall can re-shine any beams of the Sun from it: so there must be the work of God upon the heart, the grace of God must shine there before the heart can return, take hold, and carry the soul to Jesus Christ: And there are two Premises, two Propositions that do carry on this Con∣clusion in the generality of it: That no man will or can be saved, if left to his own disposal or sufficiency.

[Propos. 1] First, That every man in the world must reckon of him∣self to be one that naturally and of himself is come short of the glory of God. And oh! that this Point had a sensi∣ble Impression upon us all! Rom. 3. 23. All have sinned and are come short of the glory of God: the Justification of a sinner is Gods glory; all are not only in but under sin. Rom. 3. 9. nay, all are not only fallen under sin, but all are shut up, concluded under sin, Galat. 3. 22. all are not only shut up under sin in their own thoughts, but by the Scripture shut up under sin; the Scripture is the key whereby man is shut up, and what possibility of es∣caping is there when all the world are shut up? and certain it is, that a man departed from God and fallen into himself is in the Scripture account in a lost estate Page  207 and dead condition for that time, as the Prodigals Fa∣ther said of his son, This my son was lost and dead, but now upon his return he saith, He was lost, but now is found, he was dead, but is now alive, Luke 15. 32. From that time that a man comes into Christ Jesus, he is alive; a man may live and yet be dead; there is no time where∣in you are to be reckoned alive and found, but only from the time that you believe and take hold of Christ Jesus; and therefore in 2 Cor. 5. 15. That henceforth those that live should not live unto themselves, but to him that dyed for them, and rose again; which argues, that all the time before, they lived to themselves, that is, were dead. That's the first Proposition.

[Propos. 2] Secondly, That every man in the world ought to reckon himself to lye still in this state of coming short until he be drawn to come in savingly to receive Jesus Christ: For he that hath not the Son hath not life, 1 John 5. 11. For so I would preach those out of Christ all of them dead; I would unchrist them of that vain opinion that they have of being in him: The Scripture is plain, he remains under wrath till he come to believe, receive, and lay hold on Christ, John 3. 36. For this is the only and necessary Condition of being saved that God hath as∣signed and proclaimed to lost man, this is the new door for man shut out of Paradise to return to the Tree of life; this is the only passible, this is the certain way of re-instating man fallen short, into capacity of the glory of God (the Justification of a sinner is the glory of God) and there is no other way but this; those that you harp upon are false ways and to be abhorred. Psal. 119. For there are these two Reasons of it.

[Reason 1] First, It would be a disparagement and diminution to Christ, if there should be found a second Saviour, a se∣cond Way, Truth, and Life: and therefore in 2 Cor. 11. 4 the Apostle challenges the Corinthians to find out Page  208 if they can, another Gospel, another Christ, another Spirit that cannot be found, there is no other saving way but this: The first Adam was but one, and he lost all; the second Adam must be but one neither; as able to save all that are saved, as the other was to destroy all that are destroyed. Not that there is an equalitie in the number that are saved by the one, and the damned and destroyed by the other, that needs not to be; but that the one is as only in saying, as the other was in sinning.

[Reason 2] Secondly, That Christ is the only Condition of sal∣vation appears by this; because this will not stand with other Conditions of being saved, which Man harps up∣on; as works, repentance, sorrow for sin: But there is but one, because Christ will not stand with these. For if Christ would stand with or consist with them, then he should not be the onely way, and the saving Truth. Christ is made voyd by them, Christ is of no effect to you, if you will be justified by the works of the Law; but if Christ be taken hold of by you, then they are made void by Christ; then the Righteousness of God makes void your own righteousness. Not having my own, as the Apostle saith in the like case, Rom. 11. Either, grace makes works to be no works, or works makes grace to be no grace; signifying, that it must be this, and not that; not this and that, not this with that, which is necessarie to bring you to salvation; but, that it is Christ, and not your own performances and works; for without coming to Christ, no salvation, and no man can come to me except he be drawn; that makes Demon∣stration thus: A man cannot be saved, except he receive Christ, he cannot receive Christ except God draw him in: therefore man left to his own disposal, and the suffi∣ciency of his own power cannot be saved; this sum stands in plain Scripture terms. This is the doctrinal. Inference Page  209 the practicall Use which I told you I would in∣termix with this Doctrinal, is as followes.

First, That we carefully maintain the necessity and so∣veraigntie, the freeness of Gods grace, and the power of it in the conversion of man: [Practic. Use.] This is one practical and excellent Use; that you carefully maintain these as Advocates of the grace of God; the grace of God must be maintained and defended in these properties of it: there hath rarely been found in the whole world in this point any man, no not Pelagius himself, that hath uni∣versally excluded or exploded the concurrence of the grace of God in the Course of salvation, but have allow∣ed it either for the inchoation or beginning of conversi∣on, or in the augmentation and increase of Grace, or else in the consummation and finishing of it: either for the sole work or the social work of it, in and with man; even very shame, and the evidence of the point together, forbids man to exclude that to which he is obliged: not only for a more easie conversion, but for conversion it self; for many have allowed it a place in making conver∣sion more easie, for a man to return and believe: But we speak of the necessitie of it, that conversion cannot be at all without it: as therefore I may give it you by this com∣parison; they that do allow the work of a Mid-wife in the helping of a child into the world, do not by that, make her the Parent of the child: So, they that allow the grace of God to be requisite to help man to conversion, the knowledge of God and Faith, do not thereby affirm the grace of God to be the Parent, the Worker, Au∣thour and begetter of this Grace; and therefore they say too little that make grace only an assistant. And therefore as the Prophet in Zachary 4. speaking of the second Temple after Solomons Temple was burnt down by the King of Babylon, they should cry, Grace, Grace to it; not by might nor by power, but that the Grace of Page  210 God should be seen in the building of the second Tem∣ple: So I may say of the building of this second Inner Temple in man after the death of the first, (I mean Gods Image in Man) that it is a work all of Grace; and therefore to set it in common place, shews less sence of Gods honour by it, and of our obligation to it then it requires. Those that grant that man more easily comes to Heaven by grace adjuvant, do say truth, as Christ helping up Lazarus; (but raising him from the dead, was more then so, for he gave him life whereby he rise) so to grace, that it helps up man, is to say Truth; But if you will be good Advocates, and plead the cause of Gods grace aright, (which men were famous for in for∣mer times when it was disparaged;) you must acknow∣ledge preventing and preoccupating grace, which wholly raiseth the dead man, in that sence in which Austin calls it preventing, that comes before our Act, that praeoccu∣pates a man, not barely helping the man to rise alone, but raising the man dead, and begetting a new life in him. Those who are only for adjuvant grace, eclipse the glory of divine grace, so as if they should say, Christ helped up Lazarus, who else could not so easily have risen up, but it would have cost more ado to have effect∣ed it. These are such as make the grace of Conversion to be as one horse in a Teem, that helps indeed to pull out the stalled Cart the more easily, but doth not come so home, as that of Christ, John 15 4. Severed from me ye can do nothing: But let us account it to be the onely strength whereby we are pull'd out of the pit of damna∣tion and perdition; the Contest of Nature with Grace for place and power to make abatement of the necessi∣tie, soveraignty, freedome and power of Grace in mans Conversion, hath been in all times very great: and some have given a greater share to mans power therein, then others that have given too much: Therefore there have Page  211 been Pelagdians (they went to the full) and semi-Pela∣gians: And (for ought I know) there may be quarter-Pelagians, that deny some part of the Grace of God: But it is to be observed, that God by his Word hath al∣wayes determined the point for his own grace. In his great Oracle, which I account the case of Esau and Ja∣cob to be; when their Mother went to inquire, the Lord answer'd, I love the younger and hate the Elder, and that before they had done good or evil; It is my plea∣sure so to do, for I will have mercy on whom I will. Now if you will go about to ask me how Reason um∣pires this point in the Contest between Nature and Grace, we know that Nature vanquish'd by the Word, hath stood upon some proud and captious reasons, which do rather shew that it is determined against her; For the partie that mutinies and rebells doth confess it, gos a∣gainst him: the mutiny of Reason is the great reason that it goes against Reason in this point, as in that Op∣position, Rom. 9. 19. Thou wilt say, Why doth he yet com∣plain, who hath resisted his Will? Man must needs be free and blameless, for God would have him so: Thus Reason mutinies and complains, and comes with capti∣ous Arguments, but the Apostle restrains it. Nay, O Man, who art thou that disputeth, with God; which makes it clear that God hath determin'd against that part which holds up the wasters, and makes insurrection. So then, the Grace of God is alone, and that appears further, that Nature at all times is willing to part stakes; and its a sign she is the wrong Mother, because willing to come to division, which Grace will not, it will have all 〈◊〉 none. I confess it is not the business of modest men (for its liable to great exception and cavillation) no is it my design to cry down Nature further then it need and ought; but this I speak against, that those men that Page  212 stickle for it, do not give something only to Nature, but plume it with the feathers of grace, and inrich it with those spoiles that I take ill, that me thinks is not right: Let me give what I can, what I ought to Nature: Let me adorn it but with its own, and if could be that Nature might be adorn'd and grace lose nothing, it was more to be born: But where the Sea gains, the Shore loses; so it is in these two, as much as men set up Nature, they pull down Grace. Therefore, you that will be Advocates for free Grace, do you kiss the hand of that Grace; whereby as the Apostle saith, You are that as you are: I prosecuting this I shall shew.

[Serm. 23] First, What are those Points or Articles of Doctrine that are to be defended and maintained, to the end that the free Grace of God in the Conversion of our Souls may keep its necessity, Soveraignty, &c.

Secondly, What those benefits are that practicle Godliness doth derive from the sence of Gods free Grace, in making us something out of nothing; us that were not yet to be.

The Points to be maintained for the Lustre and Glo∣ry of Gods free Grace are five; the defending of which will keep you untainted from the diminution and dispa∣ragement that it receiv'd in any.

[Point 1] First, The reason of the difference which God makes between any man that is saved, and one that is not, is not Originally in Man himself; If you wave or quit this, you lose the point; for this threed will run through the whole web. If we ascend upwards, and accompt the Heavenly Orbes, (S. Paul names the third Heavens) Phi∣losophers name more; we must needs at length come to some first mover, that we call the Primum Mobile, that moves the rest under it; and it self is not moved by any Orb above it: for no process can be in infinitum. So we Page  213 may in the course of salvation count from step to step, for so doth the Scripture: But yet we must come to some Original, to some first mover that moves all the rest, and is not it self moved by any, whether we go forward or backward: Whom he Elected, them he cal∣led; and whom he Called, he Justified; and whom he Justified, them he Glorified; and so from step to step▪ but somewhere, we must begin; now go Retrogade in the same line; Whom he Glorified; he Justified; and whom he Justified, he Called; whom he Called, he Elected or Predestinated. You must come at last to the first Ori∣ginal, whereof there cannot be given any higher cause or reason; so then the reason of the difference is not Or∣ginally in Man himself; somewhere we must begin, from whence we cannot rise higher. Now the free Grace of of God is the first round in the Ladder of our Salvation, not any thing in Man, or the will or work of Man. Here are three things coucht under this head.

First, There is a difference made between every Man that is saved, and every man that is not; for all that is saving is difference making, whereby a man is taken out of the heap and common lump of mankind. A vessel of honour is made indeed of the same lump, but differs much from a vessel of dishonour; there belongs a diffe∣rence and a separation to every man that is saved, a se∣paration, not such as they call local, from the wicked of the world, but moral, whereby his spiritual Condition is separated from all the not saved: Though all grace that is discriminant and differencing is not saying, that I grant; yet all that is saving is discriminant: And there∣fore you that will prove your selves to be in state of sal∣vation, are bound to prove the difference that is between you and others that are not saved, nor can be.

Secondly, God is the maker of this saving difference Page  214 between the saved and others: In every step of your sal∣vation there is some difference made; in Election, there are Elect and others, Reus. 11. 7. In calling, there is an actual difference between the called and others, &c. That God is the maker is implied in the 1 Cor. 14. 7. Who makes thee to differ from another? some body made thee to differ; and therefore he that calls himself, converts himself, is like him that begets himself, or raises himself from the dead: Its a me••• imaginary thing, and if these two be true, then,

Thirdly, It will follow that the reason of this diffe∣rence made by God is not originally in man himself; the reason of comparative praeterition is not sin, for then all might be rejected, because all men are under sin. The reason of Comparative election is not good works, holi∣ness, or worthiness of man; for by that reason he should alwayes take the best of men and leave the worst; but we find the contrary, that God hath taken the worst; Pub∣licans and harlots go into Heaven before you, and there∣fore there is a famous place, Rom. 9. 11. That the purpose of God might stand; it is not made good by the works of man himself; not of works, but of him that calleth is the purpose of God according to election made good. They consult the Glory of Grace but ill, that pitch the reason of Gods electing or calling, upon some Paritie or Probitie, or fit temper of man himself; so our men lisp now adayes towards a quarter-Pelagianisme: (for I will not say it is semi-Pelagianisme) they say, God calls man and indues him with saving Grace for that littleness or probitie in man: But is this littleness or honesty they talk of of God or man, is it a work of nature or Grace? if it be a work of Grace it is of God, and is no otherwise a reason of Conversion then as one step may be in order to another, grace in order to grace: All this while there is Page  215 no offence: But if it be a moral temper, and of man himself, then it is so much worse, they make God to build on man, and to take a moral humane Foundation to a supernatural gracious Act, to build supernatural grace upon the ground of common probity and honesty; this doth disparage the Grace of God; for as God in Creating of the world did not work 〈◊〉 matter praeexistent, so we say it is, in the Act of Grace: 'tis the Creation of a new Creature: which brings him out of nothing, and not works him out of any praeexistent matter. It is true I confess, that the best disposition that can be in man to come to the Lord Jesus and believe in him, is that which is called an Infant-like temper of meekness and softness, and tenderness; for our Savi∣our gives that rule, Except a man be like a little Child, he cannot enter into the Kingdome of Heaven; Peradven∣ture he doth not mean the Glory of everlasting Life, but the Church state; he cannot be a true Member of the Visible Church, unless he be made tractable, teach∣able, meek and soft: But this is not a meer Moral or Na∣tural temper, as if Nature should lead on Grace; but 'tis a subaction, a moulding the heart by Word and Spirit to a willingness to be brought to nothing for Christ; for there is something in the work of mans Conversion that's like a preparatory to the main work.

[Point 21] Secondly, If we be true advocates of grace we will disclaim all worthiness of man to be the first mover, and all power of man as to be the first worker of Con∣version: God is both the first mover and the first work∣er in the Conversion and bringing man unto Salvation. A man would think that a man may rather merit Hea∣ven and Eternal Life by the acting of grace, then he can merit grace by the acting of nature; yet we say Page  216 neither: The one of them the Papists hold, That there may be merit of eternal life by a mans own acting of Grace: But workes of Grace died in the blood of Christ; for that's the best of their opinion: But that a man-should merit Grace, the first Grace by the works of Nature, or by any good works done by Nature, that's a thing beyond the understanding and imagination both of us and them; for Heaven as the reward of gracious works, we have a promise, if we walk with God in holiness; but for the first grace, as the reward of works of Nature, we have no promise, that for performance of what lies in us by the power of Nature, God should give us grace: therefore we are, and that justly, more offended at the Doctrine of merit of Grace, then at the Doctrine of merit of salvation; the reason is, because Grace is more unproportionable to works of Nature, then Heaven is to works of Grace; and the King∣dome of Heaven more proportionable to works pro∣ceeding from grace, then Grace it self is to those works that proceed from Nature; and therefore its too high to conceive of merit of Grace, which is a merit of be∣ginnings and first things, and that's not usual; but merit is of the reward and end, and the Scripture insists on that word, Rom. 11. 35: Who hath first given to God? as if that could not be to make man the first giver to God; for that makes God a debtour of that which he cannot owe, viz. Grace. For if it be Grace, it cannot be debt; for its destroyed: and therefore though God may be a deb∣tour in regard of his promise, yet he cannot owe begin∣nings; but it any thing, its reward to some precedent work of Grace; and therefore, as it is usual with us, that the man sollicites the woman, the woman thinks it unde∣cent to her sex and modestie to wooe the man: So God first invites, offers and drawes, man doth not first stretch Page  217 out his hand to God, but saith God, I have stretched out my hand to again-saying people; and our Saviour in John 15. 16. You have not chosen me, but I have chosen ou: Mark the Phrase, as the Apostle saith. The man was not deceived but the woman. Was not the man deceived? Yes; but not first: So it's exprest: We love him be∣cause he loved us first, 1 Joh. 4. 19. And this God urges as that which most endears him; that he is the first in the work; he gives preventing, and not only subsequent and following grace; he is the Author, not only the finisher; he both begins the good-work and finishes it; and our will, doth not determine the will of God, (as they say,) but his will must needs determine ours; the reason is, because the determining will is the master-will, the determined is the waiting-maid: How incon∣gruous is it to sence, that the will of man being made willing, should lead the will of God, and not rather the will of God lead the will of man? How incongru∣ous is it that working is set before Being? Every thing must have an esse before operari; now its Regeneration and Conversion that gives a Being, makes the new crea∣ture: For if a man should work before he be, then it would set even Philosophy cross to it self: But man doth not work, or make himself, nor give himself a spi∣ritual being; for, Ephes. 2. 10. We are his workmanship, created in Jesus Christ, &c. which is the Apostles Argu∣ment to prove, that salvation is not of our selves, no more than Creation: As therefore the Tree must be made good, before the fruit can be good, so the man must be a new creature, and that he cannot make him∣self to be; and therefore Grace first workes, and this preserves its place, which is to begin and to create.

[Point 3] The third point which the Advocate of Grace main∣tains is, That God puts forth more or greater Grace in those Page  218 that are saved, than in those who are not saved. This is one of the greatest points in the whole subject of Grace, which if you understand and rightly, is that which states the Question in difference in all this controversie; namely, that Peter, for example, is more engaged and bound to God than Judas for the grace that is given him, and had more bestowed on him that Judas had; and if so, then God puts forth more grace in them he saves, than in them he doth not save. I dispute not whether of them that are saved, all are partakers of equal grace; those that had talents were not all equal: But I am speaking of the saved, and the not saved, and do say, That if e∣qual Grace be given to two, they will both be saved; if equal Grace had been given to Judas as to Peter, then Judas would have been saved as well as Peter, one as well as the other: No, you will say, that follows not; for there may be some one that hath less Grace afforded him than another, and yet is saved by the less, when the other is not saved by the greater; because the one joyns with and applies himself to the less Grace, when the other resists the greater; as a weak horse that buckles to it, will draw more than a restive lazy Jade, though stronger, that hangs back; as in weighing of weights by the scales, if there be a difference in the scale, and one end be heavier, it shall weigh down a greater weight, be∣cause it hath somewhat to help it, viz. the weight of the scale it self: But if this be granted, then man turns the scale; for if one man may be saved with less Grace than another, it is not Grace that makes the difference, but it is the will of man, that by joyning of his forces with the lesser Grace, the weaker Grace makes the scales praeponderate; and so it comes to that which we must of necessity avoid, if we will defend the free Grace of God, that that which makes the difference is in man, some∣what Page  219 what that he hath from himself that turns the Balance; and therefore I conclude, (for I think it a Demonstra∣tion) that two men receiving equal Grace, will both be saved; for if he that receives the lesser Grace shall be saved, and not he that receives the greater, that must be because the will of man strikes in; then the will of man hath somewhat to say and plead, I make my self to differ, I have reason to glory in my self, because having less grace than another had, I determine my own will to salvation.

[Point 4] Fourthly, That (which is a point that few men will believe, but it must be maintained) it is far better, and more for our comfort, that our salvation is carried on by the free grace of God, and the Soveraignty thereof, than if it had been committed to our own hand, and left to our li∣berty and power. The sence of man doth rather incline to think, it had been better for mankind that they them∣selves might have had some stroke in their own hands to have brought themselves unto salvation, and then it is very likely that more men by far would have been sa∣ved, than will be saved now; and that there is more Justice that men should be condemned for not believing when they may, and have power if they will; for he that hath power to believe in Christ if he will, and doth not, his condemnation seems more just: But that is a great errour; for now that it is in Gods hand, it's more likely and better for our salvation, because now some will certainly be saved; those whom God hath chosen and elected, and those few on whom he determines to shew his grace, they will be saved, their salvation will be carried on infrustrably and invincibly; but if it were left to the liberty of man, as man is now, to dispose of himself, I say. Not one man in the world would have been saved; for man being once a bankrupt al∣ready, Page  220 and having lost that stock of Grace bestowed upon him at first, and having no power in his hand to recover, all had certainly perished, or uncertainly been saved, if left to themselves; therefore the salvation of Gods Elect is in a far surer hand, than if it had remain∣ed in mans power; for they are infrustrably brought home, who, being left unto themselves, neither would nor could have been any more saved than those that do stand out against God; for if none so left do come in, we may well conclude, that all in that case would have stood out as well as these do. But here an Objection may be made.

[Object.] That every man is self-indulgent; man must be suppo∣sed to love himself, and to chuse his own chief good or-sal∣vation; and therefore were not his hands tied up for want of power, he would not want will, but certainly be saved. For Answer;

[Answ.] This goes about to lay the fault on mans non posse, not upon his non velle, which yet our Saviour affirms, Joh. 5. 40. Ye will not come to me, &c. It's true, God hath linked his Glory and mans chief good or salvation to∣gether, and so there is a self-love that's joyned with the love of God; for the salvation of man being linked to the Glory of God, it follows that there must be self-love joyned with it, I mean spiritual self-love, self-de∣nying self-love: But observe, besides this, there is a car∣nal and sensual self-love in all men, and that we proper∣ly speak of when we speak of self-love; that hath the stronger bias of the two, and carries us from salvation rather than to it; and this is the self-love which prompts us to that by which we are deceived all our life-time, pursuing rather what hath the species and colour, than what hath the reality of happiness and content: And therefore that which is here alledged as a reason why we Page  221 should all be saved by our own will, if so be there were a power, because there is self-love in us, is rather the rea∣son why no man would be saved, there being two self-loves, & every man naturally following the heavier bias of the two, which wheels off to the body, & to the world, and to things speciously good, and draws him off from the concernments of his salvation; and this self-love rather is the cause of mans hate and dislike of God, be∣cause he assigns and pronounces Judgment to sin, which self-love loves, and tenders salvation in such way as is destructive to carnal self-love: But as for that which we call spiritual self-love, there goes much Grace to the working of it in man; indeed if we had this self-love, we should have one of the greatest fruits of supernatu∣ral Grace: This is not naturally in man himself, nor can be, until there be an alter ego, a new self, another self; for there are two selfs commonly in every man; Not I, but sin in me, Rom. 7. Not I, but Christ lives in me, Gal. 2. the one self-love follows the one, the other the other, which is the stronger, and leads a man unto perdition.

[Point 5] Fifthly and lastly, Let all Patrons and Advocates of Grace maintain the prevalency of Grace by its own strength, and not because of some accessaries that strike in with it at such a time, as the tide that strikes in with the wind. But my Father draws, saith Christ. The Jesuites that have a hand in this controversie, will tell you, That the power of Gods Grace is prevalent, may fall out so or so in the event, by reason of congruities and seasons, fit moods and tempers, and perswasions; Blanda: tempora fandi; God speaks to men in a seasonable time: Few men (say they) but may be wrought upon if they be taken by the right eare; there are some times of speaking to men when they are in a good mood; but otherwise come to Page  222 speak to them when they are off the hooks, in a morose untractable condition, as Jonah was in when God said to him, Dost thou well to be angry? Yea, said he, I do well to be angry to the death; then if you move them with Ar∣guments they prevail not: A man so taken may resist the offers of salvation; but we hold that the Grace of God is strong, by its own strength able to overcome the most morose, obstinate, cross grain that can be, when God intends it to be powerful: Maintain therefore the prevalency of Grace, not doing as those that will allow Grace to be prevalent in event, but it is by reason of ad∣vantages that hit at that time, as Auxilliaries that come in and get victory; this is too little to say of Grace, that it stands in need of such helps; but it conquers the most cross grained and unwilling heart; and therefore the invention is but to disparage and disgrace the Grace of God. If you understood these things, it would, I hope, settle you to be firm Advocates of the Grace of God. But,

Secondly, The benefits that practical godliness doth reap by the exaltation of Grace.

[ 1] First, This Doctrine proclaims down pride, and ad∣vances the cause of humility. No men so humble as they that are most sensible of the free grace of God to∣wards them, to make them something when they were nothing: If thou receive, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received, 1 Cor. 4. 7. If you will hold your selves receivers, that will pull down your glory; for glory is of man that hath not received.

[ 2] Secondly, It advances thankfulness: And these are as the two scales, the one up, the other down, Thankful∣ness and Humility: You have a brave close saying of our Saviour, when the Leper came back to give thanks for his cleansing, Where are the nine, saith he; and he that Page  223 was cleansed and came back was a Samaritan, that's not an idle word; the rest were Israelites, and took their cleansing to be a courtesie due unto them; but this man thinking himself remote, and if he were a Saviour, yet he was no Saviour to him, he was cleansed and came and gave thanks: shewing that a man that hath least rea∣son to look for any thing is most thanful.

[ 3] Thirdly, The sence of Free-Grace hath so great an Obligation to dutie that I wonder any men should preach Free-Grace to loosen the silver Cords of Duty and Obedience; the law of God is the strongest, and Free-Grace the sweetest tie. For the Love of Christ constraineth us, that is, by bond of Ingenuity, Cor. 5. 14.

[ 4] Fourthly, Free-Grace is a great Quickener, and will not let a man lie stupid, and laie, and drowzie: so often as he thinks of the Free-Grace of God to him, it's like the Cock that crowes that awakened Peter to his Sence and Tears; makes a man that hath tasted that the Lord is Gracious, like a drop of oyle on a rusty Spring, makes it goe nimbly, sweetly, and pleasantly. The sence of Gods mercy, that God pickt him out, and made him one that he would convert, and that when he had no more propension and likelinesse then another, this quick∣ens a man.

[ 5] Fifthly, It is a strengthener of obedience, because it brings a man in all cases to depend upon God as his Center. The young men shall faint, those proud, strong, lusty ones of themselves shall faint, but they that trust in the Lord they shall renew their strength, they shall walk and runne and flie up as Eagles,* and not be faint, Isay. 10. last verse.

[Sermon. 24] [Consect. 6] Sixthly, Gods drawing of impotent man to Christ is the cause of mans coming to Christ; so that though most men seem, and will not denie that they beleive, yet no Page  224 man savingly doth believe and come to Christ, except God by an Almighty and Omnipotent hand doe draw him: The drawing of God is called the Act of God con∣verting man; the coming of man is called the Act of man converting himselfe; both you find in this text, Gods drawing and mans coming: In the first of these, man is meerly passive, in the second mans coming unto Christ, he is active as by way of comparison: the Sun shines upon the Wall, the Wall is Passive, doth nothing; in the Walls shining back by vertue of the Sunnes shi∣ning upon it, the wall may be said to be active, because it shines back the Beams by reflexion, a plain case; God giving this Divine grace, Man is passive therein: man converting unto Christ, and believing in him, by vertue of the drawing of God is active, and performes the duty that is required of him: For though Faith be an Act of Gods Power giving, yet it is an Act of Mans dutie: I believed, therefore I spake: the Act is his, the power is Gods; this point our Saviour proves affirmatively, by an Argument drawn out of the Prophet Isaiah, that all that have been taught of the Father believe and come to Christ: and because that every man so taught doth come, therefore no man doth come but he that is drawn, which is the Negative in the Text: from the affirmative he proves this Negative; every man that is taught of God comes to Christ; therefore no man doth come but he that is so drawn; as in the natural being there is the Creation of God, making us so to be: so in the Recreation or making man a new Creature, there is a work of God making us to be so; and I see no reason but man may as well make himselfe at first in the natural being that he hath, as re-make himselfe spiri∣tually: And I wonder any man should pretend that man hath a greater stroke in making himself a new Page  225 Creature, then he had in making himself a creature at the first: A man may raise him self from the natural and bodily death, as easily as he can raise himself from a Spiritual death; therefore it is said that God quickens s being dead, Eph. 2. 5. Why then may some say, i there no power in man to come unto, or to believe in Christ Jesus? I answer, there is not active power to be∣gin to come, but there there is a passive and obedien∣tial power, as the School-men call it, which is a power to receive this work of God, to receive the impression from God, but not an active power to work it in man himself: as in Ezekiels dry bones, the Question was, Can these dry bones live? there was no Power for them to come together to work life in themselves; but a passive Power to receive the breath and life when God gave it: So there is in Man, he is not a stock or block, but hath a power obediential to receive the work of God: the work of Regeneration and of Faith, is not wrought sine duobus, without two, as Bernard saith, the one in quo, the other à quo: the one in whom it is wrought as the Subject, that is impotent Man; the one by whom it is wrought as the Agent, that is the Omnipotent God: it there were not such a nature in man, a rational na∣ture, there is not quod salvatur, that which could be sa∣ved, if the arme of God were not revealed there is not quod salvat, that by which man is saved; so that there must be these two. From this point thus laid down and opened unto you, I will summe up certain observations proper to the Text.

[Observ. 1] First, God is first in order of Causality; for if you ask which of these is first; I say Gods work is first, and then Man comes after; and therefore the Apo∣stle proves; that man is not Saved and Justified by works, for we are His workmanship, Eph. 2. 10. and the Page  226 dead doth not first work, but the living upon the dead, Ephes. 2. 5. and as Ishewed in Jer. 31. 18. turne thou me and I shall be turned; Gods act of turning, Gods, before mans being turned; and after I was instructed I repented; you may further read this point proved in Jer. 17. 14. Heal me, Oh Lord, and I shall be healed: Save me, and I shall be saved: Gods healing and saving must precede and go before our being healed and saved: It's true in order of time, a Christian is not alwaies sen∣sible to observe the time of Gods working, before the time of his Converting; the work of God, and the act of mango so near together; who can discern by way of com∣parison, any time between the shining of the Sun on the wall, and the walls reflecting back the light of the Sun; & yet reason will tell you from the order of Causes, the Sun must first shine on the Wall, so neither is it in this Case. The Lords drawing and Mans coming are not sensibly discerned in difference of time, but in order of nature and Causality; Gods work is first which drawes, and mans conversion next which comes to Christ; Christ taught this Point in the comparison between the fruit and the tree; suppose the tree bad, it brings not forth fruit that it may be changed into a good tree but first the Tree is made good, and then yeelds good fruit, Math. 12. 33. And Austin hath a like Similitude: Non ideo currit rota ut fit rotunda sed quia est: the wheel doth not therefore run that it may be round; but first the wheel or bowl is made round, and then they runne; so man doth not work or act that he may be made a new Creature, and walk in Gods way; but first he is made Gods workmanship, drawn by Divine grace, and then acts, and brings forth fruit to God; and it is the saying of Hugo, speaking of the grace of God and the will of man, Gratia operatur eam de∣inde per eam; First the grace of God works the will, and Page  227 then it works by the will; here is the state of the point, grace makes the will and works it, and then works by it.

[Reas.] And truely methinks, that in reason and good manners, it should be said by all men, that Gods working upon man goes before mans working for, or towards God; that as the Creator (I speak not of Relations, for they are both together in nature) is before the Creature in working, the Spiritual Creator must be before the Spiritual Creature in the working of it, as well as the Bodily: For the making of this Point good; I will lay down five Reasons.

[ 1] First, The Scripture asserts it; I will give a new heart: I will cause you to walk in my wayes, Ezek. 36. 26. I will put my fear in their hearts that they shall not depart from me, Jer. 32. 40. The Lord thy God will Circumcise thy heart to love the Lord, Deut 30. 6. So in the Text, No man can come to me except my Father draw him; here is the work of God; for believing, the drawing of the heart, is Gods, and then mans work followes: and verse 45. Every man that hath heard and learnt of the Father comes to Me. I might multiply Scriptures, but these may suffice.

[ 2] Secondly, Infused habits of Grace are not like ac∣quisite and moral habits, moral habits are begotten by Acts precedaneous, and foregoing; as he that will get an habit of writing: must write, get a habit by the Act; but infused habits are powred in before the Acts; be∣cause as in that which we call potentia Naturalis, the fa∣culties of seeing, hearing, and sence, we do not by seeing and hearing learn to see and hear; but we per∣form the Act by the habit: First, there is a power to see and hear, and then we see and heare: So 'tis in these infued habits that God powres into us by his Spirit; there is an habit, and then there followes an Act, a fa∣culty of knowing God, and then an Act of loving God Page  228 follows; we do not acquire them by acts of our own; we have the facultie, the power, first given, and then we act.

[ 3] Thirdly, If God do but set the will of man in aequili∣brio, like a paire of even scales, not determining it to con∣version, then he concurs but contingently, but concomi∣tantly, upon condition that the will do and move it selfe; and this indeed would be no great matter; for by this meanes, God doth lesse in the Conversion of man, then man doth; for the will of man gives the act, turnes the scales, specifies the event, not the grace of God; and how disgraceful is this to the will of God, that the will of man should do it, and the grace of God not: so it would be, if God should do no more then set the will of man in equipoise, only make him able to turn himself:

[ 4] Fourthly, (observe this) Converting grace is given with that intention by God, that the will and heart of man should be determined, that the scales should be tur∣ned and man saved; or else I pray what should the mea∣ning of that be, which is called the calling of God ac∣cording to his purpose, Rom. 8. 29. as those that love God are said to be, such as are called with an intention of God to bring them to himself; and oh how powerful and infrustrable is that grace which comes and is given by God with an intention to save you; for if that grace should not save you, you must say that God is not able to save you: Oh! But, may some say, the hard heart of man may refuse, rebel, and resist; not the intention of God certainly, not the purpose of God doubtlesse: Austin speaks very well to this purpose, illa à nullo duro corde respuitur quia durities tollitur; this grace, this converting grace is refused by no hard heart, because it's therefore given, that the hard heart of man may be taken away, and as a man may properly convey it to Page  229 you by this comparison; light being given to take away darkness; the darkness cannot resist the light, because it's therefore made that the darkness be expelled; so that grace which is therefore given and intended to take a∣way the heart of stone, (that is, the resisting heart) cannot be resisted, because the intention carries it; I will take away the heart of stone, saith God, and so, to the comfort of a man thus converted by grace be it spoken, the very stonie heart, the hard heart cannot resist.

[ 5] Fifthly, If converting grace give not an ability or sufficiency, but an indifferency onely, and a power that a man may be saved if he will, but no act is determined, the elect have no more then other men, a power only; but they have no more reason of gratitude, because its their own will that inclines them to be saved, when o∣thers are lost; the Act of God therefore must be first, otherwise men might say, it's true Lord, thou gavest me a sufficiency, and a power to be converted, but the act, the determining, casting voice that turned the scale was my own; therefore thou gavest me no more then thou gavest to Judas, and others as well as to me: And here, beloved in the Lord, you may see from this obser∣vation,

First, Why God will have all the praise of Salvation to be to his grace.

Secondly, why God will have all the glorying to himself; for it would not be just with God to rob the will of man of glorying, if man himself deserved it.

First, God will have all the praise to be to his grace, Eph. 1. 6. that we may be to the praise of the glory of his Grace: 'tis glorious grace indeed, and that we may be to the praise and glory of it, therefore God shewes, and sets it forth in all the great Turnes of the Salvation of man: the first step is Election, then Calling, Justifi∣cation, Page  230 and glorification, in all which grace is set forth, that so all may be to the praise of glorious grace.

Secondly, God will have all the glorying to himself; and truly this is the great mark of Gospel doctrine, that it brings the glory to God only, in 1 Cor. 1. 3. that be that glorieth may glory in the Lord; therefore he hath made Christ to be Wisdome, Righteousnesse, Sancti∣fication, and Redemption, made Christ to be all, that he that glorieth may glory in the Lord; which could not be if man glory in himself, or have works of his own.

[Observ. 2] Secondly, That Gods drawing, is the cause of mans coming; here is Gods mission of Christ, and here is Gods traction of man; the Father sent me, the Father drawes man; there must be both; had God sent Christ into the world, and had not also drawn man to Christ, then had been nothing done; it was not indeed mans faith, but Gods meer grace and mercie without the faith of man that sent Christ into the world; it was not looking up that was required to the setting up of the serpent on the pole; but God required mans looking up for his being healed by it; so it was not mans Faith that was required to Christs mission, but it is required to mans Justification, for the reaping of the benefits of Salvation by Christ: God requires that every one of you do believe in Jesus Christ; and therefore the traction of God is required to this Faith: Christ is gi∣ven and sent to man by God without this Faith; but that man may be saved by Christ, Faith is required; and we are drawn by God to believe in Christ: he sends Christ to man, and thereby differences Man from Di∣vels, to whom he is not sent: he drawes man to Christ, and thereby differences the Elect from reprobates, one man from another; It's not sending Christ to men, but Page  231 drawing man to Christ, that tells men who shall be sa∣ved, who are elected; as God sends Christ to man, so he drawes man to Christ; as he gives Christ to man, so he draws men to Christ, and those he gives to him, he drawes to him: For vers. 37. All that the Father gives to me shall come to me, and no man can come except the Father draw him; therefore all that are given are drawn to Christ.

[Reas. 1] First, Christ was not written in mans heart at first; Christ was not written particularly in the heart of the first Adam, but the Law was; and therefore there are some remnants of the Law left, as fragments of the old writing that were written in the heart of man at first, but not a line of Christ in the Book of the Creatures, or in the broken Table of mans heart; and therefore since nothing of Christ was written in the Heart of na∣tural man, he must be revealed or else not known, and therefore its said: 2 Tim. 1. 9, 10. That Christ hath brought life and Immortality to light by the Gospel, being therein revealed: so that had there not been a book of Revelation, revealing Christ to you, Christ had not been known; if there had not been a hand of drawing to bring you to Christ, you had not come, Christ reveales God, and God reveales Christ who is a stranger to man till then.

[Reas. 2] Reas. Secondly, Man by nature is opposite to Christ: Why? he is opposite to the righteousness of another: For every man naturally would be saved by his own; he is opposite both to Justification, Sanctification, and Salvation by another: and therefore that man may be brought of his natural root and pride, whereby he de∣spises and not submits to the righteousness of another, Rom. 10. 3. and to be be sanctified and saved by another being full of himselfe: It must needs be that except Page  232 this man be drawn of God he will not, he cannot come.

[Reas. 3] Thirdly, God will not lose those that he hath given to Christ, nor Christ lose one that God hath gi∣ven to him. Of all that thou hast given to me I have lost none, save the Child of perdition: that God might shew his love to Jesus Christ, he will draw those that he hath given unto him: the Elect of God are as deep in Sin as others are, by their own natural condition, and if they were not drawn by Gods mighty hand, they themselves could not come; and therefore the Lord will draw them, that his gift to Christ might be maintained and made good: there was great power shewn in bringing Israel out of Egypt, which was a Type of Gods bringing His Elect out of the slavery of their natural condition wherein they lay; the Elect are given to Christ and appointed to be members of him, that Christ might not be a head without a body, a bodilesse Christ; he will bring all his members and plant them into him, for the Election of God doth not make a man a member of Christ by his purpose, or decree; as the Clay appointed to be a Vessel of Honor, hath no more form or fashion by the election, until it come to working, than that which is not so appointed: So Gods Electing you to be Mem∣bers of Christ Jesus is by purpose; but Gods fashioning, and forming, and drawing you into the shape and like∣nesse of members, that makes you so, and till this work be, you are at as great a difference, and lie in as lost a ••ndition in your selves as others do▪

[Reas. 4] Fourthly, The following of Christ at that time of the world was so ill a bargain in the sight of flesh and blood, in respect of the Crosse that attended him, and in all times, not only those, but these, so crosse and thwart is the receiving of Christ to the natural heart Page  233 of man, that it is a work of great Power to bring men to believe; for there are three things so opposite and ob∣structive to mans coming, that if he were not drawn by the power of God, he would not come.

First, Mans Reason, which looks for satisfaction, till it be repelled, 2 Cor. 10.

Secondly, Mans Righteousnesse, which man beares up and holds as fast as he can, for it is his gaine.

Thirdly, The lusts of man that are opposite to the Reign of Christ, for he came to destroy the works of the Divel: all which make it plain that it requires draw∣ing to bring men to the close profession of him.

[Serm. 25] [Observ. 3] Thirdly, That Gods drawing is nothing opposite to mans Free coming: Nor mans Free coming, any thing contrary to Gods drawing, but both of them do very well stand together: for one may say, if man do come to Christ freely, as he is never more willing then when God is pleased to work upon his heart; how is he drawn? If he be drawn, how doth he come? We speak not of a Violent and Compulsorie drawing: Ita credimus potentem, ut negamus volentem, saith Prosper. We believe the Power of God fashioning and forming the heart, and bringing it unto faith, but we deny the work of God to be violent and compulsorie: when the Apostle saith, the love of Christ constrains us, there is a Constraint of love, 2 Cor. 5. 14. and therefore dream not of such a drawing, which is whether you will or no for there is a powerful constraint by love it selfe: we do so believe the love of God to be potent, as that we do deny it to be Violent; this mans free coming to Christ is nothing contrary to Gods powerful drawing: Its said, I will draw them with the cords of man, with bonds of love, Hosea 11. 4. which is not a promise of Ravish∣ment and Compulsion, but of a gracious and sweet Page  234 drawing of the people to him: and doth not the Church pray for this drawing, Cant. 1. 4. draw me and we will run after thee: and do you think that the Church prayes for violence to be used: No! the Church prayes for such a drawing of God as may be followed by the vo∣luntary running of men; is there any man that knows how strong and sweet this drawing of God is, but doth and can pray for it with as great affection, as he that sticks fast in the mire will cry for some to help him out; because if it be a violence, it is pleasing to him to be so drawn, and therefore the old word in this point was fortiter & suaviter: God drawes men unto Christ, strongly and sweetly: 'tis powerful, and therefore strong, and yet it is not violent but sweet too: and is this drawing any thing contrary to mans freedome? doth not God know how to work upon the heart of man? determining and carrying it out so as shall not prejudice the freedome and inclination of it? Cannot the maker of the heart work upon the heart, he that turnes the heart as the rivers of water are turned in the channel? It was the saying of Austin long agoe, De ipsis hominum voluntatibus facit quod vult: God works upon the will of man what he will: doth not the Workman that makes the watch know all the springs, and can set the watch going? and doth not God that made the heart know how to move and determine it to himself? did not God make the day without the Sun at first? and cannot he move nature by his omnipotency without ordinary course? Its true; I know men acute, men of the Schools, do hold it hard, if not impossible, to reconcile Gods wor∣king with mans freedome, and think it not feasible, but rather that the one crosses and thwarts the other; but I say there is a harmony and sweet agreement, between Gods drawing and mans coming, when he will convert Page  235 and bring in the Soul to close with Jesus Christ, as there is between a weight or plummet of a Clock; that accelerates the motion, and a natural propension to∣wards the Center, which both joy, and inter•••r no: so tis here, the will of man moves freely, and God by his drawing doth give to it a greater weight that accele∣rates the motion of the will; and by how much the more the Lord drawes, by so much the freer is the will made; Oh! that men would consider this, and if they do not understand this, let them believe that God doth, the I pray what may be the meaning of that place, Phil. 2. 12. Work out your Salvation: here is mans working for Gods works in you to Will and to Do; a Text that plainly shewes, that the work of God, and the work of man may very well stand together: and the truth is, there are four things that I think according to the prin∣ciples of learning (of Scripture I am sure) that may make Gods drawing man to Christ, and mans free co∣ming very reconcilable, so as the more man is drawn the freer he shall be, he shall come, as the Text, Nay: he shall runne, Cant. 1. 4. as the more weight, the freelier moves the plummet downwards.

[ 1] First, I hold it to be a great truth that was espied by learned Naturalists, Philosophers, that that which is a mans chief good, and so apprehended to be, is pursued with infinite desire, and the will is necessarily carried to∣wards it; there is no shiness, no indifferency of a man to this, for Appetit us summi boni 〈…〉 the desire of my Chief good is an infinite desire: Why? because the highest good must needs have the highest appetite, there being nothing that may put measure or limitation to that desire, and therefore in the desire thereof▪ the heart is necessarily carried, and not indifferently, contin∣gently, remisly.

Page  236 Secondly, The chiefest good of man consists in this, the having and enjoying of God: fo this is the highest and most satisfactory good, that fills the appetite: where∣by the heart of man can be taken up and that fully; and there is but one medium to the attainment of this chiefest good: there is but one line leads unto it; and being so, the chief good and the line are equally desi∣red; the meanes is knowing of Christ, coming unto or coming in by Christ: so that when the chief good is but one, and the meanes but one to it, there can be no dissent of mans heart to either of these when they are known and apprehended; and that this is the chief good and the onely meanes to it you are taught, in one text of Scripture (as I conceive) John 17. 3. This is life eternal, that they know thee, and him whom thou hast sent, Jesu Christ: if the knowing of God & life eternal be the 〈◊〉 bonum, and knowing Christ the only means that leads to that end, then without all question the will of man once apprehending this to be so, is carried with∣out indifferency necessarily in the pursuit of both.

[ 3] Thirdly, Now when enlightens, convinces, and convictively teaches the mind to know and see this chie∣fest good, this God: and to know the only mean to this happinesse, the having of Christ Jesus, then is the heart forcibly and freely drawn, and cannot be other; it cannot but pursue and follow after: for the light of Gods tea∣ching carries it, and the bias of the will naturally fol∣lowes the dictate of that light of God; and so you have both in one, Gods drawing and mans coming; and the greater the drawing is, the more light the mind hath, the freer is the coming with greater propension: and it is this teaching of God by which our Saviour ex∣plaines this word drawing, in the next verse 45. Its writ∣ten in the Prophets, they shall be all taught of God; Page  237 every man that hath heard and learned of the Father comes to me: So that hence I prove, that the will na∣turally followes this voice of God; and if this be Gods drawing, Gods teaching, what contradiction can there be between these two; Gods drawing, and Mans coming; every one that is thus taught is a Comer, a Believer in, and a Closer with the Lord Jesus, and doth as freely come as a man in the dark doth follow a Lanthorn or light set up.

[ 4] Fourthly, The great satisfaction which the heart of man finds in Christ Jesus thus taught and revealed to it in the light of the Spirit doth fully bind up and suspend the resistance or actual opposition of the heart at that time: I confesse, while corruption is in the heart of man, there will be potentially some backwardness, sluggish∣nesse and indisposition to walk with God: as alwaies in the bottom of a vessel there will some dreggs remain: but this the heart puts not out at the time of this satis∣faction felt; though at other times and in other matters, it may like a bitter root vent out some gall that remaines; yet when the Lord is working thus warmly and con∣victively upon the heart to turne it, at that time this re∣sistance is bound up and lies close, and doth not break out: but lies as if the hands were tied, the resistance ta∣med, and the opposition taken off: as the exhalations drawn up by heavenly bodies do during the influence mount upwards on high; and yet there is a power in the matter at some other time to move downwards again, but that power is suspended for that time; or as the fresh water-stream will runne amain being carried back with the tide: And yet when 'tis going back there is a pro∣pensness in it to run down the stream; which to me seems lively to set out this point to you: while the heart of man that is rebellious and reluctant hath this convi∣ction Page  238 on it, and is taught to know God himself to be the chief good, and Christ the only means leading there∣unto: For this time this resistance is bound up, and op∣position is not made, though there be a power of resi∣sting remaining, that will sometimes put out it self, though not now. That's the third Observation.

[Observ. 4] The fourth Observation is from these words, Except my Father that hath sent me draw him. Wherein there are three things to be taken up.

First, That it is the Father of Christ that draws all the saved unto Christ: He draws all the appointed Members that are fore-given to his Son by him: The Father hath given them; and the Father that hath given them, draws them. Every one that is the Fathers gift to Christ, is the Fathers workmanship drawn to, and created in Christ Jesus: For the gift of God which is by Election, is made good by the drawing of God, which is by his calling, or his operation according thereunto; now because they are the gift of God by election, therefore they shall surely come to him by the Fathers traction; All that the Father gives to me shall come to me, ver. 37. Why? because my Father will draw them; and if my Father will draw, they shall come: And therefore God in Joh. 15. 1, 2. is compared to a husbandman that sets in the graff, Christ is the stock or body of the tree that bears and feeds it, and the Believer is the graff that is set in by the husbandman: Here is a distinct operation; God sets, Christ sustains and maintains it, and he that is called and converted is the graff planted into this Tree, and saved by Christ Jesus.

[Object.] But doth not Christ say in Joh. 12. 32. that he draws? I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to me. How is it then said, Except my Father draw him?

[Answ.] Though I shall not exclude and shut out Christ him∣self, and the Spirit of God, from their agency in this Page  239 work, in bringing men to Christ, yet we may thus di∣stinguish upon this objection, That Christ being cruci∣fied and lifted up, draws all men to him objectively, as a healing Serpent set on the pole, to be looked upon by the eye of Faith: But God the Father draws to Christ effe∣ctively and powerfully, working that power and life in them whereby they may come, begetting a new nature, and giving a heart propending unto Christ, and closing with him. And therefore if God should send Christ, and leave man to himself, (as most think they can believe and be converted by themselves) this great inconveni∣ency thereof would follow, that the Election of God would be defeated and made frustrate; but those he gives, he makes to come to him to whom they are given, and so becomes both Christs Father and theirs.

[ 2] The second Branch of this fourth Observation is this, By those words, Except my Father draw, there is no mean∣••g to shut out Christ or the Spirit from this drawing work; for the work of the Trinity in converting man is undivided. But shall I tell you, by the relative name of Father is (as often in other places) meant, except man be drawn by a Divine hand, an omnipotent power and operation of God; for that's the thing that Christ intends, that no man can come and be a believer in him, except it be by a Divine power and operation wrought in him, above man himself; so that it is not any way intended to divide the Three Persons, or separate any of them from this work, but to divide the work of God from man; and this is the reason that some men do affirm omnipotentiss∣mam potestatem, a most almighty power to go forth from God that works the conversion of man, because it's said, Except my Father draw him; and truly I know not why that expression should be quarrelled at, if we do but consider the impotency of man to believe in Page  240 Christ and be converted; if we consider next that it's called a Creation, (created in Christ Jesus,) and a resur∣rection from the dead; and if also we consider what the Apostle saith of it, Ephes. 1. 18. where there is weight of words, the exceeding greatness of Gods power, ac∣cording to that which God put forth in raising Christ from the dead; we need not be ashamed to say, that God puts forth an almighty power in making man be∣lieve, nor to look upon it as an uncouth expression.

Thirdly, I observe from this Point, How impotent and unable man is to that which is his greatest concernment. I know we are weak in other things; but to be weak in that which is the main concernment of salvation is sad: This I would have you to observe, that in that wherein your life lies, and the way to life, in that very thing you are weak as water, and no more able to believe than to keep the Law; and yet you will say by rote, I think many times that it is impossible to keep the Law of God, but will not grant but that you can believe; and yet let it be observed here, that God hereby signifies, that you are as impotent to this, that is the great concernment of man, as to any thing else: And,

There might be a fourth thing observable, God that thus imploys his power, doth it in his drawing man to Christ. See the method whereby God will save you; he will not go to bring you to the Father himself, the Father to the Father immediately, as to an absolute Judge, as Luther saith, What have I to do with an absolute God? he will damn me, and not abate me a farthing of the righteousness of the Law, which I cannot keep. It's true, he could have made man able to keep his Law, and have made man perfect; but God will keep his own way, and save man in and by his Son: Why, may some say, this is about; why doth he bring men to Christ? Surely God is so strict in Page  241 keeping the way that he hath set for saving man, because that is his Covenant, and therefore brings to his Son Christ, that he may save them; and as the husbandman will graft you into him. And let this that is Gods way be your way; if you could find another, do not look after it. By this you shall know the power of God, whether it be in you, by this which is the work of it: It sets you not to other ways, but draws to Christ.

The Use of this fourth Observation may be three-fold.

[Use 1] First, Learn hence, That a regenerate man is twice Gods Creature: I may safely call him so; once as he is a man, in his natural estate, made up of Soul and Body; next as a regenerate man, created in Christ; and if men consider it well, that a believer is called a new man, a new Crea∣ture, why should there be lesse power, why should we think it lesse work to make a new man, then to make a man to be? Lay your heads to consider this point, and you will find it very difficult why it should be more the hand of God in this, then to make man to be: man hath a natural life, what is that to the purpose? for natural life is but a death in comparison; and therefore its said, them that are dead in Trespasses and Sins hath he quick∣ned: and whereas there was in the matter of our first cre∣ation no propension to become a man, more then any thing else, so there was no opposition; but now to this new creature, there is not only in us no propension, but there is more, there is an antipathy and opposition, so as God hath somewhat to take away, as well as somewhat to give: I will take away the heart of stone: so that it is a harder matter to make a man a second time, then at first.

[Use 2] Secondly, If it be Gods working and drawing where∣by a man is wrought to faith, learn, that as God in wor∣king Page  242 of Miracles did use men as in healing diseases and raising the Dead, Paul and Peter, &c. So, God in cal∣ling and begetting you to himself and his Son by the Gospel (as Paul saith, I have begotten you by the Gos∣pel) useth the Agency of men even in working Faith and Conversion: this I thought good to put in, because its clear, and that no man might stumble to look for a kind of Enthusiastical Conversion, that God should work Faith, and Repentance, without the use of any means: God uses instruments to awaken you, and ex∣cite you, be you excited. Behold I stand at the door and knock, and God doth not ordinarily convert those whom before he hath not excited, convinced, and awa∣kened, there are instruments used; though the power be Gods, So, as a man that hath a Sore expects not hea∣ling from the Cloth that holds on the Plaister, but from the Plaister it self: I make this comparison, to signifie that we are but the Cloth that keeps on the Plaister, we do but apply and hold it on.

[Use 3] Thirdly, If this be Gods way to bring those that he saves to Christ, let it be your way in seeking Salva∣tion to come in to Christ, for this is the only way which God hath established, and wherein man succeeds.

[Serm. 26] [Observ. 5] Fifthly,* That both by the direct word no man can, and by the Power of God which goes to the making man come, it appears that man is Impotent and Unable of himself thereunto, and there is more goes to the converting of a man, then is in man himself; which I confesse is a point that I pitcht upon before, but it fol∣lows properly now I am gleaning from the words of the Text what can be further gathered, from which ob∣servation these three things follow.

First, That man is naturally at a distance from Christ, being not in him already by his first birth: but is to come unto him.

Page  243 Secondly, This coming of man to Christ Jesus is a motion or passage from state to state, so that indeed no man doth come to Christ, but he doth change his estate and condition, Joh. 5. 24. he that believeth is pass'd from death to life: Oh! that God would make you look out for this transition, that you may be sure you stand not still in the first estate wherein you were.

Thirdly and lastly, It follows that man is impotent to his greatest concernment; not only for keeping the Law, for whole and perfect obedience to God (which yet may humble man) but also to that on which hangs the great hinge of Eternal life, his coming to Christ, that so you may be confounded in your selves and quite ashamed.

[Object.] Now by reason of an Objection that may be raised, I shall start out of my way by a degression: may some say, if God will use instruments in working Faith or Conversion, as the word and Gospel-ministry, as a Lan∣thorn that holds out the light, it seems to us that they do something; therefore it followes, if God work by them, and they work under God, that therefore God is not the Sole worker, but these Instruments as working with God, so the Scripture uses the Word.

[Answ.] God doth work by the word and instruments or∣dinarily: but do not deceive your selves, we do not use to say, the Ax did build this house; But the Car∣penter that wields and manages it; no the pen made the deed or drew the conveyance, but the Secretary that used it: this is proper in all speech: we do not give away the work of the principal agent unto the instrument: so neither may we say that the Minister works, but instru∣mentally; properly no otherwise then the pen drew the conveyance, that we may bring all the honour and glo∣ry Page  244 to God that works in us; and therefore let no man look for a sudden enthusiastick conversion, a faith wrought in without the ordinary way and means we do not prompt you to look for, or to look unto; and to say all in short, God can bring forth and work faith in the heart of man by himself without instruments; as he made the day before he made the Sun, so that you see he did not need the Sun to make the day: but now in the setled course of his providence he works by man: Christ could have brought the Fish to hand to the shore, but he would bring them to Peters net, that was the usu∣al instrument to catch the Fish: so God that can work to bring you to Faith in Christ, an extraordinary and easie way, yet will bring you to the Gospel net, because that's the means appointed for the catching of the Fish: this hinders not, that God is the sole worker of Faith, and I make it appear by this Similitude: God appoints Marriage for the procreation of Children, and the pre∣pagation of Mankind: and it cannot be in an ordinary way without it: but will any man say, the Soul is propo∣gated, the reasonable Soul is traduced; No! you gene∣rally say, God alone infuses the reasonable Soul into the body of the Child, a fit instance to shew, that wherein God only works, yet there must be means used: God drawes to Christ by a powerful work, and yet he will have man excited, awakened, perswaded, and he will have the door knockt at by the ministery of man: to the end that man may first be made sensible of his own im∣potency: and secondly, that he may know what God doth for him, that when the means used do not, he can with a Key open the heart: Thirdly, that he may deal with man in a humane may, with man as man; in a moral way, by Counsel and Instruction one man works upon another. And doubtlesse God doth ordinarily give the Page  245 quickening life, the life of Faith and Grace, when he hath first excited and hewed man by his word, at least to make some preparation in man, if it be but so farre as conviction goes: for conviction is the last work wrought in man foregoing Christ Jesus; look on your natural formes, if but of a Chicken hatcht of an egge: It's not introduced without preparations and previous works foregoing; and that there should be some preparations wrought in man, in order to bringing him to Christ doth appear: as without the sense of a disease, no man seeks to a Physitian; and the serpent on the pole would have been of no use, unlesse some had been stung to look up to it for remedy: these things seem clear to me, that there are some previous works going before; and I for my part am of judgment, that the preaching of the law used by divines for the humbling and awaking of secure hearts to look out after a Saviour, was a proper way, that the law as a Corrosive may eat and open the sore, and then bring in the Gospel, which indeed is the con∣verting ordinance that works faith and the love of God: as the poles that plunge the Water do not catch the Fish, but the net, yet they drive the Fish into that which doth catch them; so I say not, that the Law doth convert; the doctrine of the Law setting home a mans Sins, con∣vincing and humbling man doth not properly bring a man in to Christ Jesus, or faith in him, but drives him to the Gospel-net, to seek for refuge in the Lord Jesus Christ; and this I speak, as to the preparation of a man to Conversion, I have hewed them by my Prophets, and slain them by the words of my mouth, Hos. 6. 5. Oh! that we had these words of slaughter among us, though I know and grant, a man may be wrought upon by the Law, that never comes home to conversion by the Gospel.

Page  246 Now therefore I will open what goes to this work of Gods drawing, or what there is required to this drawing of God, in a few things.

[ 1] First, I will lay down for the opening of this draw∣ing of God this point, that you may know whether God hath drawn you, Yea or No: Man is not ordinarily con∣verted by sudden enthusiasmes, he knowes not when or how, by sudden raptures, but he is ordinarily prepared and subdued by the ministery of the Word, as the Soil is plowed, and by that fitted and prepared to be sown; for no man sowes the Ground that is not prepared by the plough: so it is here, and this is the work of the exci∣ting, knocking, awakning, convincing Spirit: to which belongs conversion: and as the natural form hath pre∣paration foregoing, so hath the Spiritual form of Grace in the heart of man: it were a wonder to see a thing be∣gotten in a night, to see the work of faith in an unbelie∣ver, the work of Conversion in a knotty weyward Soul wrought in a night; that looks like the mushromes of Religion that grow up in our times of a sudden, and have no appearance or knowledge of any work that might usher them that way: and these preparations are often works of time, such as the healing of a sore is: Its a rare thing that a sore, an inveterate sore, should be hea∣led in a night or an houre; to which purpose, as the plai∣nest one of them I know of in the New-Testament, (for I know this Point is striven against by a great many, that there is no such thing as a previous work preceda∣neous to a mans Conversion; but God drops in sudden∣ly, consider Acts 2. 37. the Apostle Peter Preaching, When they heard that Doctrine, they were pricks unto the heart, and said, men and brethren, what shall we do to be sa∣ved; and he said unto them, repent and be baptized: Now, to confesse the truth, this Text is not a certain President: Page  247 nor doth it follow, because these were, that all that are brought to grace are brought so to, for God is not tied to one and the same president to every man; but here went before the full work of Conversion, a breaking of the heart; there was a griefe, and fear of damnation sei∣sed upon them; there was a desire of Freedom to know the way out, and some hope of pardon. This is the or∣dinary ministerial way, though as I said before, it is no certain president; for the Plaister doth not lie so long upon every sore as it doth upon some; therefore length of time in Conversion is not in all alike; there must be longer work of smart, and preparatories, on some, upon others it lies shorter on and makes quicker work, and yet the work may be as well done to: now these preceda∣neous preparations, (for we speak but vulgarly, not accu∣rately, of this great point) may be considered two waies; either as preparatives unto life, going before any sparks of Spiritual life begotten in the soul, or as latent effects of life already begun; as they are preparatives foregoing all degrees of Faith and Regeneration, so they may tend to life, if they be managed thereunto by God: if God so manage this grief, this sorrow for sin, these wounds, so they may tend to life; but if they be found in hypocrites, in men themselves that God leaves, then they will be like an egge, that may peradventure be hatcht to a Chicken, but if left by the henne, will come to nothing: so this sorrow, grief, hope, &c. that may be wrought in hypocrites by the ministerial call of the word, but are not sitten upon, will come to nothing; they die, because they have no root, and so are like the grasse in the stony ground; for the present its green, but it vanishes, because it hath no root abiding; Secondly, if they be latent effects of a secret life already begun, which few men know the time of its coming in (the knowledg of the Page  248 time of conversion or dropping in this Spiritual life into the Soul is a hard thing) but if these initials be latent effects of some seed sown, then they will abide, hold out and continue; and there is a difference between pre∣paratives going before life, and those we call latent effects of a secret life; the one being left to your manage∣ment will fail, and come to nothing; but if they be effects of life, then they will continue: and let me give you in this comparison, as in the production of man: (For a spiritual birth much answers the natural birth) there may be, and are, some qualifications of the matter where∣of the bodie is made, that foregoes the coming in of the Soul: and there are some latent effects of the Soul already come in; yet when this life came in, she knew not peradventure that is the mother; but here is the difference; if they be effects of a body yet dead, without life, they may go away and often doe; but if they be effects of life, then they doe continue, and there is growth and increase, and a ripening, till there be a full birth: so tis in the Conversion of man; those effects that pro∣ceed from a life already begun will hold out, and there∣fore I am sure, I am thus farre right on the point: but what were those in Acts 2. 37. they were preparatives managed by God; for it seems they came to effect, did go before an act of regeneration; Repent and be Baptized, saith Peter; God gave the act after that; but God mana∣ged it so, that they came to effect, and brought forth re∣pentance, which had it been left to man, peradventure had not wrought that effect.

[ 2] Secondly, Regeneration is properly the work of God, in a man excited, prepared, quickned, awakened, convinc'd; find this in your selves; come to the threshold before you come into the house; there must be buds be∣fore there be ripe fruit in the tree: let there be day-break Page  249 before there be Sun rise: but when may it be said, now the soul quickens, now it lives? 'tis when God actually puts a principle of life into the Soul, and changes it by habitual grace, puts in the New creature the Divine na∣ture, and gives it power to believe: And in this work there are two things that God doth to be considered: first, his taking away the heart of stone, the vicious qua∣lity, stocking up those roots of gall and wormwood, sinne and delight in sinne, and turning the heart into a softnesse, and wearinesse of sinne; and this he cals a ta∣king away of the heart of stone, Ezek. 36. 26. And then the second work that joines with and followes up∣on it, is the planting of a new principle in its place, as the heart of flesh is given to come in the place of the heart of stone, whereby it shall be inclined to the work of faith and love; and this shall be (as Christ said) a well of water springing up to everlasting life, John the 7th; and this is a work above the power of all means used in themselves, till God use this Pen to write by; but every tendent and previous act is not regeneration, but that which gives a spiritual being, and a vital princi∣ple; for until there be a spiritual being begun, there is no new Creature.

[ 3] Thirdly, There goes to this divine drawing a further work; and truely that will not be acknowledged by ma∣ny great men, that out of the heart thus changed and pre∣pared by habitual grace there is drawn out by the hand of God himself the very act of believing in Christ: It is a hard thing to conceive how that should be; but it is no otherwise then this, that as when the wheel is made, you put on your hand to turn it: so when this ha∣bit of grace and new nature is put into the heart of man, God puts forth this eximious act, doth as it were lay his hand on the wheel, turns the heart to draw out this Page  250 act of Faith, and this Christ speaks of heer; coming is an act, a motion, a man cannot come till he move; and so in Phil. 2. 13. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, And Philip. 1. 19. to you is given to believe, not to you is given the power to believe, but God works the act, the will, not only the habitual change of the will; when he hath habitually changed the heart, then he drawes the act out; the reason is, if God had given the power, and put a new principle into mans heart, to turne and come to Christ, and then leave him; he had done no more for his Elect then he did for Adam, when he was in his integrity: God gave him a power to obey, but he did not give him the act of obedience; because there was a habit and a power given him, and a sufficient power that he might have used, if he would, and have stood by it; for if God had not only given him a power, but this act, then certainly he had stood; but now the Conversion of man is certain, not on a peradventure: God puts a habit which he doth not leave to the will of man to act alone; if he should, I know not how it would succeed; he doth not only habitually, but graci∣ously perform these great effects in his Elect; and this is that which you may pray and look for; and though you were possessors of the grace whereby you might be someway inclined, yet look for this drawing of God, whereby you may be dravvn to believing in Christ.

[Serm. 27] The first part of this text vvhich concerns the impo∣tency of man to come to Christ hath had much of the latter part intervvoven,* Gods dravving; and therefore because I vvill not Tautologize; I shall but (as they say) tie a knot upon the long thred that hath already run out in the handling of these vvords, and shall make this point.

That they that come to Christ do come by the tracti∣on of God;* vvhich point I vvill open briefly in a few particulars.

Page  251 First, There is a sort of people in the world in whom God will magnifie his great power in drawing them into a state of salvation, by bringing them in to Christ Jesus, and they are described by a Character that is before hand unknown to us, a great secret, that they are a people known to him, 2 Tim. 2. 19. The Lord knoweth them that are his; and by this, that they are given to Christ by the Father, Joh. 6. 37. 39. they are called the chosen of God unto salvation, 2 Thes. 2. 13. they are the people of his inward and secret Covenant.

[ 2] Secondly, For these people that are thus set forth unto you, God is the undertaker, he undertakes for them to make them a new heart and a new spirit, Ezek. 36. 27. to write his law in their minds, and put it in their hearts, Heb. 8. 10.

[ 3] Thirdly, These, all and every one, shall be drawn to Christ, they shall be all taught of God, John 6. 44 45.

[ 4] Fourthly, This undertaking work is succesful and effectual to these two things,

To the bringing of them in unto it.

To the keeping them in that state.

First, To the bringing of them in, for all that the Fa∣ther hath given to me shall come to me, vers. 37. they shall all know me, Jer. 31. 34. they shall all be taught of God, v. 45:

Secondly, to the keeping of them in, they shall not de∣part from me, Jerem. 32. 40. they shall not withdraw: of these the Apostle speaks, Heb. 10. last vers. we are not of them which withdraw to perdition: And our Saviour, Joh. 6. 37. them that come to me I will in no wise cast out.

And this is promised peremptorily of all that are Confederate or Covenanted persons; they shall all come to Christ, they shall all know me: and I will give them a new heart and a new spirit, every one of them shall be taught of God: I will, saith God, and they shall: And this Page  252 Covenant of God thus made with his Chosen, before the world began, is irreversible, not to be frustra∣ted, for 'tis a purposed grace, 2 Tim. 1. 9. There is not one of these in whom this undertaking grace shall not be operative, working, and succesful; this is as the waters of Noah to me, Isaiah 54. 9. God compares his Cove∣nant with his people to the Covenant he made in Noahs floud, and explains it thus; as I have sworn that the flood shall return no more, so that my Covenant concerning the waters cannot be reverst; so neither shall the Cove∣nant which I have made with thee be frustrate; for it is a sealed Foundation; the foundation of God stands sure, and hath this Seal, Tim. 2. 19. And concerning this know;

First, That it is not built upon any contingent con∣dition by us to be performed, which man can defeat, no more then there is required any such condition that the waters do not return.

Secondly, There are no 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or marks set on this people aforehand to know them by, distinctively from the rest of the world, until he that owns the sheep doth set his brand upon them, in their calling, according to his Elective purpose; and these be they of better or worser mould, be they near or far off, in what regard so∣ever they shall come; and if they cannot, or will not, no more then the rest of men, they▪ shall be all drawn; they shall every one be taught of God in their times, by such uncontrollable power as they shall not resist: but since this company hath no mark before hand wher∣by it may be known, who shall come to Christ and be drawn, therefore learn;

[Infer. 1] First, All are called by the Word promiscuously, for there is a promiscuous calling, besides this secret in∣ward call, according to elective purpose, all sinners are Page  253 called to repentance, to faith, and to Christ; for in the te∣nour of the Gospel there is no exception, it being given to every creature; the condition of the Gospel-cove∣nant is, that every one that believes shall not perish but have eternal life, Joh. 3. 15, 16. Though this be made with all that are outwardly called, yet this is not the inward covenant which is pursued and followed by the draw∣ing of God, that I have explained, I may set it forth by this comparison: A King or Soveraign Prince hath a company of Rebels in prison, and being minded to par∣don some of them, he sends and proclaims to them this word; if any of them bring and shew him his Privy Signet they shall be pardoned; none can; but he sends it to some whom he pleases, whereby they are inabled to bring it, these now are certainly pardoned; but yet the Proclamation is to all that can, though the King be not bound to send it to all. Here is the case; the major of the Syllogisme is, whosoever believeth shall be saved: the minor this, but you and you that are in my secret purpose shall believe, and therefore you shall be saved: here is the outward part of the Covenant proclaimed to all; and here is the inward part, whereby he drawes some that are known to him, whereby they are certainly saved: the Covenant is but one, though there be two propositions or parts in it.

[Infer. 2] Secondly, Take heed of that madnesse (so I may call it, if there be any in this wild age) of branding out the sheep of God, or marking out the elect before they have calling grace; for it is a secret not revealed to men, after that it may be said as the Apostle, in the 1 Thes. 1▪ 4. Knowing brethren beloved your election of God: But first he had given those marks whereby he did know them; for the Apostle did not know the elect of God by re∣velation, but when the sun is risen, that is, by marks he saw upon them.

Page  254 [Inference 3] Thirdly, Let it work upon that desperate crew that hang all the care upon this pin; God undertakes, God will perform, therefore sleep securely till he call; for there is no intention of the end, but with destination of means, which we are bound to wait on, as much as if there was no election to salvation at all; I say, as much; for the election of man, to the end, nothing impairs or abates the use of means, as appears by Gods calling upon them; so that there is no chusing nor election of God, but there is also a purpose as powerful, to bring the Elect by means to Christ: God hath chosen you to sal∣vation, that's the end, 2 Thess. 2. 13. but this, is through the sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, as the means; both of them appertaining to one election: Ephes. 14. Chosen us in Christ that we should be holy; ho∣liness is the means, for without it no man shall see the Lord; and the end is salvation, to which we are said to be chosen: And therefore let no man hang upon so loose a point the salvation of his soul, upon Gods election, which he knoweth not; but on Gods chusing man un∣to the end, because he chuseth him also to the means; and the truth is, the means are as much to be used as if there were no election of man unto salvation; which I speak now, to confirm men in a necessity of the use of means, which are to be used as if our salvation did hang upon it, as being only to be wrought out by us.

[Inference 4] Fourthly, Set your selves with your all and utmost, to wait on the saving means of salvation, for the gaining of Faith, and the coming in to Christ Jesus; for they are first in execution; God first brings men to them, and they must first be made good in you: And let me tell you, You need not trouble your selves about any thing of salvation, but the means that tend unto it; for the means is that about which you are to be employed, the Page  255 end follows naturally of it self; there is no new thing to be done after the use of means, for the accomplish∣ment of the end; there needs no further seeking of hea∣ven, than that we seek faith in Christ, and holiness; all your work and imployment is about means to be used, and for salvation it self, let it follow; it will, without any new imployment of yours.

Now for the further handling of this point thus laid down, I shall in this method proceed, in which I shall be as brief as I can.

First, To remove those rubs at which the Reason of man doth stumble in the conception of this Point.

Secondly, shew the nature & properties of this drawing.

Thirdly, How we may know that we are drawn of God; or how a Believer that is already brought home to Christ, may know that he is drawn of God.

For those rubs that lye in the way of Reason, they are three.

First, That mans act is not assigned to man himself, but God; as mans coming to Christ is assigned to Gods drawing; which is easily resolved; For mans act is assigned to man, Rom. 10. 10. With the heart man be∣lieveth; It's not God, it's not Christ that believeth for us, as some fondly speak; but mans act is performed by Gods power; Ille facit ut creamus; For, faith God, I will cause you to walk in my statutes, Ezek. 36. 27. so the hand turns the wheel, but it self turns not; the hand throws the bowl, but it self runs not: So it is here, God makes man to believe, therefore it's plain, the glo∣ry of our believing is not ours, whose the act is, but Gods, whose the power is; though the act belong to us, yet neither the glory nor the power; not the power, and therefore not the glory.

Secondly, This power of drawing forces the liberty Page  256 of mans heart and will. I Answer, There is a constraint of love, which is not of force; for the Apostle saith, The love of Christ constraineth me, 2 Cor. 5▪ 14. God draws by the cords of a man; that is, sweetly; the drawing is not a∣gainst the will, because it makes the will willing; it doth not move the wheel against the wheel, or the natural motion of it, but with it; and then the heavier the plummet, the faster the clock goes: If the power of God go with the will of man, it moves more freely, as the stream doth with the wind and tide; then the more power God puts forth, the more willing you come, Thy people shall be willing, shall be voluntiers, in the day of thy Power, Psal. 110. 3. as if the power of God, in that day wherein its put forth, should make a man a volun∣tier in coming to Christ Jesus. It's true, God moves contrary to the natural stream, as the tide carries up the River; but when the Lord puts a new Principle, a new bias into the bowl, and that natural heart of sin is taken away, then this coming, though it be with drawing, is so sweet, that the soul prays, Lord, draw me, and I will run, Cant. 1. 3.

[ 3] Thirdly, It is wondred at, that God should command what he works or gives; for if he mean to give it, why doth he command? and if he command, how doth he give? if it be a duty, how is it Gods work? and if it be Gods work, how can it be my duty? I Answer, That God gives the grace he commands; the duty bidden is also given; and except it be given, it is not the bidding will serve the turn. 1 Joh. 3. 23. This is his command, that we should believe in his Son: So then our believing in Christ is a commandment of God. And in Acts 17 30. God commands all men every where to repent: Here you see that faith and repentance both of them are com∣manded of God; and its the command that makes them Page  257 to be your duty: Well, yet for all this, both these are given by God, Phil. 1. 29. To you li's given to believe, 2 Tim. 2. 25. If God peradventure shall give them repen∣tance to the acknowledgment of the truth: here you find that both are given: Again, Circumcisc your selves to the Lord, and be no more stifnecked, Jer. 44. (Oh Lord, may some say? doth God put this impossible work upon me.) Ezek. 18. 31. Make you a new heart and a new spirit, here these two are commanded, Make you, and Circumcise you, and yet both these are promised and given: Deut. 36. 6. I the Lord thy God will Circumcise thy heart, and Ezek. 36. 26. I will make you a new heart and a new spirit: Can any thing be plainer then this; he commands, and works that which he doth command; he commands, to convince us of our debt, what is due; and of our impotency that we cannot pay; that we may fall down at the feet of this God: and yet he gives too, for the magnifying and honouring of his free grace to unworthy man, and his power to impotent man that is unable; and therefore we distinguish between Legal commands and Evangelical; those of the law require the dutie, but afford no strength; but the Gospel which commands faith and repentance that are Gospel-graces, carry the grace and power with them; not unto all that shall oppose and shut the door, but unto the Elect of God, and the people of his inward Covenant; So that for a man to say, it's a Gospel command, is to say, that 'tis possible through grace, that is, there goes grace and power with it, which the Lord will convey by the com∣mand; for the commands of the Gospel are vehicula spiritus, carriers and conveyers that carry along the Spirit with them: John 6. 36. The words that I speak they are spirit and life; being like the commands given to the dead, Arise, come forth. It is a vain thing to speak com∣mandingly Page  258 to the dead: true, had they not ministred that which was commanded, it had not prevailed; and such are the Gospel-commands of repentance, faith, and making the new-heart: or else how should the Gospel-word be called, as it is, the ministry of the Spirit, 2 Cor. 3. 8. The ministery of the Spirit is Glorious. So much for the removing of these ubs out of the way of Reason.

[Serm. 28] [Obj.] We shall propound a question, for the further han∣dling of this point; why should these Gospel-graces, and especially faith, that bring us to Christ, require super-natural strength and drawing, for their production? And truly there lies some emphasis in this word Gos∣pel-grace: for, may some say, what do you mean by that? I mean that grace which serves to the recovery of man to the Image of God, which he had, and hath lost; for in this state of the Image of God which we had before we fell, there was life; but in this Gospel grace, by that, there is a resurrection unto that or a better life then we lost before, for God intended to restore his Image unto man, in Christ who is his Image; and this Image is restored by the begetting of this Gospel grace that brings us to close with Christ; so that this faith or coming to Christ is a grace of recovery or resurrection, through and by which, the Image we lost is again repai∣red: now for these graces, they do require a supernatu∣ral strength.

[Answ.] It seems to me, that a man that is able out of his own experience to make this objection, is on the borders of believing; for when as the difficulty of faith once ap∣peares, and man comes to be sensible, and distrusts his own opposition, then he begins to draw near, or to be on the threshold of faith; he that is at a losse is near his way; the water being troubled, there is no question but Page  259 there is cure: I but, saith the cripple, the Angel moves the water, but I have no bodie to put me in; so the pro∣mise invites, the Word calls, but I cannot close with Christ there held forth. I am a cripple, and no need but of a hand to help me; and whereas in Isa. 53. 1. there seems to be a double expression concerning this point of faith, Lord who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed! A man may say; I heard the report, and believe it to be true, but the baring of the Lords arme must go to the making of man believe, when we teach that men naturally cannot believe: men wonder and say within themselves, why should not I believe as well as another man? I am as learned and knowing in the Scriptures, and as pregnant as others; and why should a man of a lesser measure and altitude of parts go before me in believing? when we teach that men cannot keep the law of works, there is never a one but will consent to it: truly I cannot keep the Law: I cannot love the Lord with all my heart, and might, and strength; men yield they cannot; but when we preach that faith is above your power, you cannot believe and come to Christ, though we report the report of Christ to you, that you believe not; few men that believe the one will believe the other: they will not believe but that they can believe, as if it were an easier matter to be∣lieve in Christ, then to keep the law; that is, as if it were easier to obey the Gospel, then tis to obey the law, and that therefore such an omnipotent power, as this divine drawing imports, is not necessary to make a sinner be∣lieve. Now I beseech you consider, the Law hath something in you: for being once written in the heart of man, there do remain some fragments or rubbish, (if I may use that word, in allusion to a building form) but of the Gospel there is not a line in the heart of man Page  260 by nature, because it is wholly revealed; and therefore it is as impossible by a saving faith to believe in Christ unto salvation, as it is for a man to keep the law; it's as easy for a man to love God above self, which the law requires, as to believe in Christ Jesus with self denial: for in both, self goeth down; to love with all the heart which the law requires, is as impossible as to believe with all the heart, as the Gospel requires and commands; and therefore men are mistaken, that think faith is in their power, and confesse that obedience to the com∣mand is not.

[Obj.] But you will say; the law requires perfection; the Gospel only sincerity; therefore the Gospel is easier of the two.

[Answ.] Its true, integrity is required in the law of God; for you must not misse a hair, if you will be saved that way: Cursed is he that continues not in all things that are writ∣ten in the Book of the Law to do them, Gal. 3. 9. But now the Gospel requires only a sincere heart: It's true God in the Gospel is content and pleased with sincerity: and mark what the Apostle saith concerning the law: It's a burden intollerable which neither they nor their fa∣thers wre able to bear, Act. 15. 10. But Christ saith, that his yoke is easy, and his burden is light, Matth. 11. 30. Here is the difference; but to rise out of this estate into which we are plunged now (for we must speak of a recovery and rising again) this is as hard and difficult, as it is for us to keep the law, all is one. Suppose a man dead, ly∣ing in the grave, bound in the grave-clothes as Lazarus was; and a man dead, not bound at all, but perfectly loose from such impediments, is it not all on to put life into ei∣ther of these two? so though there be not a full integrity of the duties required of necessity in the Gospel; ye man being dead and to rise, recover and come again Page  261 to a state of salvation and Gods Image: it's all one power that is put forth, to raise a man by faith in Christ, which is recovering Gospel grace, as to set a man in the state of perfection, which is the life of Gods Image: but indeed this is made possible (as I said) through grace to believe; but to keep the law perfectly is not made possible to us in this life, no not by grace. God left it under an impossi∣bility, called the impossibility of the law, Rom. 8. and therefore as the Apostle speaks of that faith that is wrought in those that shall be saved: it is wrought by an exceeding hyperbole of power, 1 Epes. 18. 19. he uses such a weight of words; the exceeding greatness of his mighty power in them that do believe according to the power that was exercised in Christ, when God raised him from the dead: now Christ was perfectly dead, and lay under the weight of the sinnes of all be∣lievers, and therefore the power that raised him up was omnipotent; and is not this power exemplified in raising you to faith which is a recovering grace; except men be pleased to deny that man is not so dead as Christ was, that he hath some degree of spiritual life, though Christ had no degree of natural life; for then he had not been dead, as neither we, if it be so; and I know not why they should deny the same omnipotent power, to raise them from being dead in sinnes to come to Christ; for to deny the greatness of the power, is to deny the degree of the death; and therefore I think it to be a good reason for the conclusion of this digression, from the privation o defect that is in man to believe, and the power that is necessary to relieve that defect, and heal that privation; to argue the impossibility of faith to a natural man; And,

For that which is said, if others of lower form, lesse in parts, do believe, why not I•• why should not I think Page  262 my self a believer, as well as he, or another?

I reply, that in Scripture, especially our Saviours doctrine, the reason of believing, and not believing, seems to lie very high and out of sight; (as they say of the head of Nilus) mark and take no offence, but let your Reason stoop to God and his Word) you believe not, because you are not of my sheep, John 10. 26. as ma∣ny as were ordained to eternal life, believed; as if ordi∣nation to eternal life were the original or cause of be∣lieving, Acts 13. 48. But we shall look only into man himself, in whom there is reason enough for his unbelief: how can you believe, that receive honour one of another? John 5. 40. there are so many reasons for unbelief as there are master sins, for every master sin, as it brings the soul under great guilt; so it hinders the soul from coming to Christ Jesus: but then what reason in man can there be given for his faith in Christ? We see many simple men the Scripture calls them babes, believe, learned men, do not. We have read of a thousand con∣verted at the first Sermon they heard, as at Peters Ser∣mon: And again, many hear a thousand Sermons, and yet are not believers. In short, though nature and art in their works require the subject they work upon to be disposed and fitted with capacity, else the work is hindred; (therefore the sun hardens and softens ac∣cording to the temper of the subject on which it works;) but God that works this faith, if he do not find a subject prepared (as indeed he doth not) he can make or create faith in most indisposed subjects; for Creation requires not so much as matter to work on, but works out of no∣thing, as we know, which nature cannot do. When God works faith in y••, he finds no propension to faith, but opposition; he finds nothing, lesse then nothing in man, but he works it: I say, there is no cause can be gi∣ven, Page  263 in man▪ why one believes, and not another: be∣cause it is the hand of free and powerful grace, that works it in man, without finding any propension unto it.

[Reason] The reason why these Gospel-graces do require a su∣pernatural strength is this, in general; Christs dominion in man is begun, and carried on, first, by the almighty power of God.

Secondly, By the conquest of Christ himself; for we must be partakers of that before we can believe:

And thirdly, by the energie and operation of the Spirit; so that we may say, as it's said, Zachariah 4. 6. Not by strength, (he means humane) not by power, but by my Spi∣rit, saith the Lord of Hosts: But to speak particularly to the point.

Faith in Christ, as it is a duty in respect of the com∣mand of God; so it is a principle of new life, in order to the recovery of the state of Gods Image: Now let the consideration of faith, as 'tis a duty, passe, and consider it, as 'tis a principle, seed, and root of spiritual life, whereby we live unto, or with God; and then tell me in a sober judgment, whether nature can plant a supernatural principle: (For plantation of principles the strength must be supernatural:) whether a supernatural principle is likely to be planted by the power of nature; I think there are but few that will affirm it: Formes naturally begotten by generation are educed (as Philo∣sophers say) out of the power of the matter. But can a supernatural principle be educed by the power of the matter? No, they rise meerly out of nothing. I do not discuss now, whether every duty of faith and repen∣tance require a supernatural strength proceeding from the principles already planted, as fruit from the oo: but whether the principles themselves, the habitual Page  264 graces be of Gods plantation, yea, or no; which no man will deny that thinks the new creature to be Gods work, as well as natural man is. For (and it is but rea∣sonable for me to speak it) shall we by our natural being, confessedly be the creatures of God, and deny our selves as new creatures, in regard of our spiritual being, to be of God: there are but two places of Scripture whereby I prove all this that I have recited, John 1. 13. all believers are born (via. by regeneration) not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God: a plain denial of the will of man, to be a concurrent a∣gent or cause in the work of regeneration: he denies three things that natural generation hath dependance on, and affirms one; not of blood as natural generation, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God: This spiritual birth is left to be of God, and his will; and mark, it is denied to be of the darling mans will: Deut. 29 4. you have seen great signes and wonders (that one would think should have brought faith out of a rock of stone) for the space of forty years, ever since you were in Egypt, and came along through the wilderness; and yet the Lord hath not given you a heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear to this day. Objects they had, that one would have thought should have wrought faith in the heart of man: But the reason why they had not a jot of faith wrought in them for so long a time, was; because God had not given them eyes to see: so that the natural light of man is not that, wherein faith is sea∣ted: man may see and not see: see and wonder; but not see and believe: a clear attestation that he must see by Gods light; and perceive by a sense given to the heart by God: And so I have done with that question, and shall now open the properties of this drawing of God; which are four.

Page  265 [ 1] First, It's victorious over all incounters and oppo∣sition.

[ 2] Secondly, It makes the person drawn a volunteir.

[ 3] Thirdly, Its a drawing by teaching, vers. 45.

[ 4] Fourthly, It is such as is peculiar and proper to the elect of God.

First, It is a victorious drawing, prevalent over all resistance that can be made against it: there is a contra∣riety in the heart of natural man to grace, especially to faith, and no grace is so much opposed, tempted, belea∣guered, and fought against by the Devil, as a mans faith; and none that the contrariety of nature makes head, and fights against, and resists, by reason of the innate enmity which is in it, as Faith; it makes resistance, but how? As a drop of water falling into a great fire, makes resi∣stance to the fire as a drop can do, but cannot make a victorious resistance to quench the fire, but is swallow∣ed up by it; so the resistance that is made against the power of God cannot be victorious, but that the pow∣er of God overcomes all resistance and withdrawment: My meaning is, when God engages purposely and in∣tentionally, according to his elective purpose, to draw men to Christ, then this power of God becomes and appears to be victorious; then let Onesimus run from his Master to Rome, God will find him in a prison there, and convert him; let Naaman be in Syria, let the wid∣dow of Sarepta be in a City of Sidon, that is, (as Christ means) out of all high ways to conversion, the power and grace of God will find them out; I say, when God intends the work: For as Israel is prevailed over and kept in slavery, until God saith, I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people, and am come down to deliver them; then you know the deliverance is wrought in despight of Pharaoh, then there was no longer keeping Page  266 them under slavery: So till the time be that God hath appointed to draw his Children of purpose to his Son by an actual call, a sinful lustful person lies in slavery to every sinful lust, every cord holds him▪ and then he shall find a door open, and the resistance removed and suspended for that time. When Moses was in Egypt, and an Egyptian fought against an Israelite, he slew the Egyp∣tian in rescue of an Israelite; it was a preludium or presage that he should deliver Israel out of Egypt, the whole body of them; and therefore when the body came to be delivered forty years after this, he did it with a mighty hand: So God victoriously brings out of the state of sin single souls, and slays their corruptions, as victoriously as the whole Church shall be delivered at last from the greatest Pharaohs, death, divel, and sin; and therefore observe the stile used in the Covenant is very peremptory, I will give; I will put; and on mans part, They shall come; They shall know; They shall not depart away from me. The reason of the victorious power of grace is, that the world moves by carnal and sensual objects, and so the Devil and Flesh they move objectively, their motion whereby they move from God is but objective, propounding pleasing or fearful objects to the mind of man, either drawing, or alluring, or affrighting a man from faith in Christ; now if Gods moving and drawing should not be more powerful and strong then the devils, the worlds, or mans own with∣drawing, there neither would nor could be conversion wrought, if the drawing of man to Christ were not more powerful than mans withdrawment from Christ; for there nothing could be done, nor could conversion be wrought at all: If the stream be equal with the Tide, then it would be standing water, the tide could not run up, nor the stream run down; so if these two, the things Page  267 that draw me to, and that withdraw me from the Lord Jesus, were of equal power, it would be standing wa∣ter, there could be no conversion; but now the work is wrought, because the strength is too hard for the oppo∣site withdrawment; You have overcome them, little chil∣dren, 1 Joh. 4. 3, 4. because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world: For reason teaches, that the great∣er power is the overcoming power God doth otherwise move the heart of man to believe in Christ, than these withdawers can remove; for the devil or world can but move by suitable objects, that are suitable to present tem∣per, and therefore they move by forreign motives; for you must needs confess, I think, that the devil frights or draws men by objects, that is all he can do; but how doth God move? he moves by principle; there's the clear difference, putting another principle into the heart of man, which shall wholly attend, desire, and thirst af∣ter the gaining of the Lord Jesus: you may see the dif∣ference in this instance; if you throw a stone upwards, it's moved by a forreign motive, a strength without it; but see what becomes of it, see how the Principle with∣in, overcomes the forreign power; for it abates by de∣grees, till it comes to turn, and down it comes again without throwing, by virtue of the principle whereby it is moved to its own center: So it shall be and is, when God plants a principle in his people that shall propend to Christ, as the chief good, these forreign motives, though they may prevail to make agitation, and shake the man, yet it overcomes; and God by giving a new heart, and bidding the soul with power to come to Christ, it shall come, and overcome all objective sug∣gestions; otherwise I say again, the power of God in the conversion of a sinner would be less than the con∣current power that withdraws, and there could be no∣thing Page  268 wrought; but now there is somewhat wrought, and therefore the power of God is greater.

This victorious drawing of God is seen in two things.

[ 1] First, in overcoming that which doth resist and would hinder.

[ 2] Secondly, Inclining or enabling the heart to chuse or close with Christ, to whom God would have it come. Both these are in one Text, I will take away the heart of stone, Ezek. 36. 26. there is the overcoming of that which lies in the way resisting: And I will give a heart of flesh; that is, I will turn the heart into a temper contrary to what it was, that it shall rellish what it distasted, and love what it hated; because there is a new appetite and incli∣nation moving the other way, that he can with as much ease and propension move and come to Christ Jesus the Lord, as before he did from him: For whether God come in with greater strength, as the tide into a River; or also that the principle within be changed, as the bias on the other side the Bowl, the heart will un contrary to what it did before: The power of God in the conver∣sion of a sinner must be victorious over all contrary power. Thus I have shewn that 'tis a victorious draw∣ing.

[Serm. 29] *2. The second property of this drawing of God is, that it makes the heart-more willing for the drawing: All that ever come to Christ, they come as Voluntiers, they come willingly, they do not come as forcibly constrain∣ed; for constraint is for slaves: Lactantius hath a say∣ing, and 'tis true, If Religion be constrained▪ jam nulla est, then it is none: Religion cannot be compelled; there is nothing more voluntary than that which we call Reli∣gion: So I say of the heart of man in this point, that a forced will (if any such could be) is rather noluntas a nil∣ling, than voluntas a willing: And therefore though Page  269 man at first motion, when God by his Grace revealed doth come to make seizure and take hold of mans heart, do resist, and say as he in Mat. 21. 29. I will not; Yet afterwards, faith the Text, he repented and went: So when this drawing comes, then the heart of nilling is made willing: The Scripture compounds in one mans will and Gods power; Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, Psal▪ 110. 3. The exerting of Gods power makes a people Voluntiers: And therefore though at first Isra∣el be unwilling to be delivered; when Moses first deliver∣ed his Commission to them, they did not relish the mo∣tion, they found fault, Exod. 5. 21. Thou hast made our fa∣vour to stink before Pharaoh, we shall be the worse for thee: And Exod. 6. 9. They hearkened not unto Moses voice, be∣cause of their affliction and cruel bondage: Yet this Israel, after they had seen the hand of God with Moses, and the miracles that he wrought, and those impediments were confuted, they were willing to go out in post haste; they went out in the night, and there was not a dog that bark∣ed or moved his tongue to give interruption to their clear passage, Exod. 11. 7. So I may allude in this point very properly; man filled with prejudice and enmity at first, when the Lord begins to call dislikes the motion, fights all he can to maintain self; but then the Lord re∣peats his drawings, and his knockings, over and over again, till his arm becomes victorious in mans conver∣sion, and then being made willing, and tasting a sweet∣ness in God, and the motion made, he is drawn and comes, he is drawn and runs.

The reason of this second point is, because there is loving kindness in Gods drawing, he constrains by love, Hos. 11 4. I will draw them with the cords of a man, with loving kindness will I draw them; this latter is an exeges•• of the former; what is meant by that phrase▪ the cords Page  270 of a man? 'tis a metaphor or figurative speech, borrow∣ed (as learned men say) from a man that brings a sturdy or untamed bullock to the yoak with stroaking and gen∣tle usage; I will bring them, saith the Lord, so as they shall be willing, so that I will make them delight in my yoak. God knows all manner of ways (saith one) whereby the heart of man can be wrought upon; and must he not needs know? As a workman that knows all the springs of a Watch or Lock that he hath made, knows every way to open it, can make a key to hit eve∣ry ward, which when he hath fitted to all the springs, doth easily open it, without breaking it open by meer strength: Such is the merciful way of God in conver∣sion, sometimes he breaks hard knots indeed with hard wedges, he brings in stomackful sinners with hard usage, but many times sweetly and strangely; now there are two things that go to the making of the heart of man a voluntier, or the will of man is freed by these two acts of God.

[ 1] First he takes off and cuts in pieces the fetters of bon∣dage, wherein its bound under sin, concluded and shut up under sin, and in captivity thereunto, dead and bound too; so man is said to be in bondage, because until he be freed, and plucked from his predominant pleasing lusts, which are the strongest fetters of all, he cannot stir a foot, or move a step toward God; till these fetters be taken off, every natural man is under a necessity of sin∣ning, joyned with freedom of sinning; he acts freely, but yet necessarily, sins against God; as a bondman freely doth service to his Master, but yet necessarily; man is free to that particular whatever it be, but yet he is necessarily under sin; if he go even to perform holy duties he is under sin, in regard of the manner of the performance of them; or to give you a more lively com∣parison, Page  271 the fish is free to swim on this or that side of the prison in the Pond, but yet cannot get out of the Pond; so is man free enough to evil, yet necessary is his bon∣dage to it, that he cannot stir; he can do nothing but sin against God, a miserable bondage and necessity of sinning, Joh. 8. 34, 36. He that committeth sin is the ser∣vant of sin: But if the Son make you free, ye shall be free indeed; where you are taught this lesson, they that live in sin are in bondage to it; that this freedom from sin is the work of Christ Jesus; and therefore till these fetters this bondage be taken off from the will of man, man is necessarily under the power of it, and cannot come to Christ. But you may say, The taking off the fetters from a dead man makes him no more free than before; for still he is dead and stirs not. I grant that; and there∣fore,

[ 2] Secondly, God takes away the innate antipathy of the will and heart to God, the enmity that you will not be perswaded is in you, and creates a sympathy in the heart, to cleave and come to Christ; and this is by plant∣ing of another principle than was in it before: And this shews this drawing of God to be of God, when it is so powerful as it takes off those bitter strong resistances that are in the heart of man; as it shewed the fire that Elias called for to come from God, in that it swallowed up and lickt up the water: So when the power of God thus drawing, shall so overmaster the rebellion and oppositi∣on on the will of man, which it makes, and whereby it made head against God before, this shews that it is the power of God: But he sides there is also a sympathy put into the heart, inclining it, as iron toucht with the Load-stone hath a property of moving and sticking to the Load-stone: These are natural comparisons: If you see such thingsin nature, will you not believe, as Christ Page  272 saith, when they teach you heavenly things? Will you not believe that God is able by this sympathy in the will, to make the heart by power willing to come to Christ Je∣sus? by virtue of which, if the option was given to man, what would he chuse? what Lord would he serve? what of all things in the world would he pitch his choyce upon, if he might have it for wishing? Why nothing but Christ, saith the heart: But what say you to victory over enemies? to worldly greatness, plea∣sures, prosits of this or that kind? No, nothing but Christ; the heart is toucht with this Load-stone, and drawn to it from its proper center; and so willing is this man to be drawn, that all his prayers (as at conver∣sion every heart is prayer-ful, and every corner serves for a Chappel wherein to vent his desires to God) are for drawing, Cant. 1. 4. Draw me, and we will run after thee; that God would work a further taste and a further inclination in him: Therefore I may well say, that this drawing and this free coming may well be compounded and stand together: And yet man thus drawn, as he comes freely, so he comes certainly; as it's said, Turn me, and I shall be turned; save me, and I shall be saved, Jer. 31. 18. speaking of the certainty that follows this power of God in turning or in saving man. That is the second property. The

[ 3] Third property of this drawing is this, That it is a drawing teaching, or a teaching drawing, such a draw∣ing as is by teaching; and this appears if you compare the Text with the verse following, where our Saviour produces a proof out of Isa. 54. 13. to prove this draw∣ing to him; Is it not said in the Prophets, All thy children shall be taught of God? as all the children of the visible Church are taught by men, so all thy children shall be taught of God; and he proves they are drawn, because Page  273 they are thus taught▪ For the opening of which point, in a word or two. You must know, that the knowledg of God, is put for all religion; all acts of grace are de∣nominated by this word, knowing God: this is the phrase of the Covenant, in Jer. 31. 34. they shall all know me. And that these are a peculiar and select peo∣ple, that do know him; see how it followes in the same place: for I will forgive their iniquities, and their sins will I remember no more: There is none to whom this knowledg is given, but those whose sins are also pardo∣ned, who are taken into favour; they that are thus forgi∣ven do all know God; (for that which you call super∣ficial knowledg, I speak not of that now.) This know∣ing refers, to teaching, and learning; not unto mans tea∣ching, but to Gods; of whom this covenant people do learn, and are taught: and therefore instead of what is said, John 6. 45. Every one that hath learned of the fa∣ther. It is said Hebr 8. 10. they shall all know me, little and great; one and other that have learned, that is▪ that have been taught: And we are said, in Eph. 4. 1. to learn Christ: and God is said (as the Geneva Transla∣tion renders it) Gen. 9. 27. to perswade Japhet into the Tents of Sem: and all this I say about Gods teaching; mans learning; God's perswading and mans knowing of God; to signifie that this work of God, upon the mind of man, enlightning, and convincing it, doth express this drawing of God: not but that the will of man in his conversion is moved too; for the illumination of the mind, and the made motion of the will, are two begin∣nings of Faith in man; but if the corrupt will be only excited and awakened; and not healed, or changed, that doth not do the work; when the word of God excites and calls upon you, if the will be not renewed, the work is not done: it would be but as the pounding of spice; Page  274 it sweet, it will be more sweet; if stink, it will stink the more: the Pestil doth not change the savour of the spice; but draws forth that which is, by beating and pounding it! All excitations, if they fall on a good and godly heart, then indeed they breathe forth grace; but if on a cranal and a corrupt, will; then these excitations are denied, and gainsayed, and contradicted: that which plants the vital principle in the will, that is it that doth it: but whether the understanding, that respects verum, the truth of a thing, or the will respecting Bonum, the good, ness of a thing, for the will chuses that which is good, be one faculty diversly related, or no; it doth not much matter to this purpose: But this is the thing that I am upon, that the will must be healed, for it was corrupted: and though some say, the will of man did lose nothing by the fall, nor gain nothing by Christ; there was no sin, nor grace seated in it, but a meer indifferency, and liberty, that's contrary to reason; for the will of man, being a principal faculty, it is a lease of the new man, as it was of the old; and therefore must be not only put into motion by the understanding, but restored to life by grace infused; only this I say, that as the seeing man goes foremost, and leads the way to the blind man▪ so the understanding goes before, ac∣cording to natural order, and by, and through it is the will changed, and renewed, as also the affections are. It's a point of great controversie, though perhaps it is little seen to what it tends: Rom. 12. 2. Be ye tranformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove, or approve what is, the good, acceptable, and well-pleasing will of God: bye renewed in your mind, that you may prove, that is, that you may accept the will of God: that you may be pleased, and make choice to obey it; where it is plain, that the action of the will, followes the renewing and Page  275 translation of the mind: there must be a seeing of Christ, and then a coming to him; for in Joh. 6 40. this is the will of God, that he that seeth the Sonne, and believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life: mark the order, he doth not mean an ocular sensible seeing; but he that by the understanding sees the beautie, and necessity of Christ, and then believes in him; there is an act of the will that followes knowledg. And this is the light of God; that he sets up in dark minds, that when the Lord finds you a foolish and ignorant people, not able to discern the great things of God, he lights a candle in your minds; he teaches you by the teachings of God; by such a powerful teaching, as draws the heart after it, that it delights; and makes choice of the Lord Jesus; a∣bove all things, this is the light, by which the will is led and converted, that hath in it such convincing clear∣ness, and so full and powerful a dictate it gives forth, hath some what in it, that I confess I am not able to ex∣plain; being a light shined into the heart by God; that it carries all with it; and the will cannot stay behind this convincing light, this fixed dictate of the mind, this light and teaching of God: No more then (I may in∣stance in another thing, whereof I can give no reason neither) Elisha could stay behind, when Eliah had cast his mantle on him, 1 Kings 19. these workings of God in the hearts of men; convincing by light, that they can∣not gainsay nor resist, these are things that the world know not; and man cannot explain till he have expe∣rience, no more then a man that hath eyes can explain green, red, and yellow, to a blind man: the Apostle speaks peremptorily in this point: 2 Co. 13▪ 8. we can do nothing against the truth, but for it: so powerful and great a work is this of God when he will draw the heart unto him: yea, when the conversation is never so bad Page  276 and contrary; as sometimes you have seen a great aver∣sation in the woman to have such an husband, who is afterward pursued with as violent a desire that cannot be denied, without hazard of her life: so is it in closing with Christ, though a man have as great a defiance a∣gainst him, as Paul had, and there be an aversion to him and his rule; yet after the Lord hath dealt with such a mans heart: Oh! the violent affections, the ravishments that are wrought in the heart of this man to Christ; even such as if there had never been such aversernes before. There are two things that render this tea∣ching, a drawing-teaching.

First, That the mind be convictively taught, that to be acquainted with God, and in covenant with him, to have God for ones portion and great reward; is the chie∣fest good imaginable, either in this, or the next world; that nothing in all the world is comparable unto it; this, which no wisdom of man could ever find out, God himself teaches, and Gods people acknowledg it: many will say, who will shew us any good? when shall we be so happy, as that we shall have no sorrow with it: Lord lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us, Psal. 4 6. And in Psal. 73. 25. whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none an earth that I desire in comparison of thee. A spark leaping from the bodie of the fire dies present∣ly, but lives in its element: a twig cut off from the tree will be dead before tomorrow morning; but sticking to the tree it flourishes. Such is man, separated from the favour and fruition of God, as all men in the state of nature are, dead, and miserable; but adhering to, coming acquainted with God is happie; for this is the property of the summum bonum, that without the having of other goods, it makes man happie; that is, the chief good, that eminently contains all other goods in it; other Page  277 things that are good, are not the chief good. Why? because the whole confluence of them (if altogether) would not make a man happy; as a heavy body, as high as the moon, will not rest, but move to its center, and there it is quiet: so let God be a mans portion; though he hath no share in the world, he is happy and at rest. Now let God reach this convictively, and he teaches drawingly: Let this be the dictate of the understan∣ding, unvariable, unshaken; that this is your chief good, and it drawes all the soul after it, and not a hoof is be∣hind.

Secondly, that the mind also be convictively taught, and inlightned, what is the only means to attain this chief good; that is, God for a portion, and exceeding great reward: there is but one means, one ladder of Jacob, one way in the world to attain it; and that is the knowledg of Christ, for out of Christ God is, as I may say, an absolute God, with whom I can have nothing to doe: a consuming fire, from whom man, a sinner; through guilt as Adam did at first, will fly away if he can. God in the law, curses, and condemns me; that shewes that from an absolute God a man will run, if he can get away▪ and therefore, as my text faith; that no man comes to Christ, but by Gods drawing: so he that couples, and brings me to God, to an adherence, and injoyment of this chief good, must be Christ; the gos∣pel teaches him so to you; he teaches himself, to be the way, the truth, and the life; that as the life is but one, so the truth, and the way is but one, No man comes to the Father, but by him, John 14. 6. and therefore, as one chiefest good consists in knowing God; so the only mean, to know God is by Christ; to know Christ by faith savingly: John 17. 3. This is life eternal, to know 〈◊〉 there is the summum bonum; and him whom thou Page  278 hast sent, Christ Jesus; the Mediator; the mean to it: Let this be taught to man, so as to control, and bear down all carnal reasonings; and there needs no other drawing: for the will of man is necessarily carried to∣wards its chiefest good; it cannot but gratefully turn to it: by this means which is the only means thereof, and so farewel all remisness, indifferency, and lukewarmness when this conviction takes place; then saith the soul, I will come I will seek thy face O God; for the under∣standing, by its ultimate dictate (a point in the Schools, disputed) fixing this conclusion to the will of man: that it's the best choice that can be made, to come to God, and it's the only means to come by Christ: this cannot be refused by the heart, this is the drawing-tea∣ching; or the teaching-drawing.

[Serm. 30] [Obj.] *It may be objected; Then should all men (say some) come to Christ; for who is not convinced of these two things: that God is mans chiefest good; and Christ is the only means, to have, and injoy God: and I believe you will say, that this objection, indeed, is pertinent: for what man is there living in the Church, under the dropping of the ordinances of God, that is not convinc'd of the one, and the other? I answer this:

[Answ.] As the Hebrews, in their phrase, do put the name of God to any thing as an Epithite; when they would set forth the comparative degree, or any eminency; as Ce∣dars of God, and mountains of God, and wrestlings of God; that is, high Cedars, huge Mountains, great Wrestlings: So I may say, of this phrase; the teaching of God, is the most eminent teaching, that is, effectually drawing the heart and mind of man after it: and it is a resolved, and fixed teaching; subduing all contrary rea∣sonings, that may arise, militate, or make war against it: therefore to the answer of this case, we say: though in theft,Page  279 in the general every man can say; God is the chieest good, Christ is the only mean tending thereunto: yet mark; when it comes to particulars; that is (as the Schoolmen say) to Hic & nunc in hypothesi: to this time, and place; when beloved sins, and pleasures and profits, rise up in their strength against this conviction: doth it then pre∣vail to accept, and receive God and Christ; if it doth not (as indeed, it doth not in the most) it is not this teaching; it is not fixt, and clear, and resolved against all other rea∣sonings; as I will give a clear instance. Eve was con∣vinced, that God had said, ye shall not eat of the tree of knowledg of good and evil. Here was a conviction in the general: but when she saw, that the tree was good for food; the fruit pleasant to the eye, and to be desired: then the general conviction gives place to the particu∣lar lust, that did arise then: it did not prevail against the present, and pleasant object: this is the case of most men: Its ordinary for men, in the general, to say right; but when their present lust comes in particular, to vie a∣gainst the general conviction; doth it not presently bear down all before it? nothing more ordinary among us, in all our wayes: and therefore I account this to be the teaching of God, that carries the mind against all par∣ticulars; and the affections against all contrary motives, and inducements, that are in the whole world, against that dictate, of the heart thus taught; otherwise it is but video melior a probque, deterior a sequor: (as one said) I see, and approve the best; but in my choice, I follow the worser part: this teaching of God prevailes, and pre∣ponderates over all particulars, hic & nunc: I thought this necessary; that you might better understand, what conviction this is.

Lastly, This drawing of God, is peculiar to some men, not common to all: those that we call, the elect of Page  280 God; they are thus drawn, when they are called accor∣ding to his purpose: as its said in Rom. 8. 28. these are they, whom God hath ordained to salvation; and there∣fore with an effectual, and outstretched arme, he causes them to come unto himself; these are the men, of whom God saith, Ezek. 20. 37. I will cause you to pass under the rod, and bring you into the bond of the Covenant: the passing under the rod, in this text, may be explained by other Scriptures: for Scripture is the best key of Scripture, and by it is the best exposition made, Levit. 27. 32. and Jer. 33. 13. you shall find this phrase to be a borrowed form of speech, from the custome under the Law of Moses: that the owner of the sheep, told them, as they went out of the fold, with a rod, or wand in his hand; marking every tenth for Gods tithe; which after that setting forth, was accounted Gods proprietie; this is the ancient custome, that God alludes to; you shall be marked for my propriety; and therefore the next words are; and I will separate you from the rest of men; take you, and make you my own possession; that this draw∣ing is proper only to Gods elect, we may argue thus;

Either the elect of God must be by nature better then others, that do not come to Christ: And if they pre∣tend to that; (then the miracle, as I may call it) the ad∣mirable work of conversion, should not be ascribed to Gods work, but their own goodnesse: But that cannot be; for its all of one lump, that the vessel of honour, and dishonour are made, Rom. 9. and all the elect are by na∣ture even as others, Ephes. 2. 3. Titus 3. 3. or else the difference is to be ascribed to God; who makes them differ from those that are strangers from the world, that do not receive the Spirit of God, John 14▪ It must needs be the drawing of God; whereby those that Page  281 we call the elect, do come to Christ: these are the pro∣perties of this drawing of God, it is victorious, makes man a volunteer; is a drawing, teaching; is peculiar to the called, according to Gods purpose. The

Second thing followes; How a man shall know, that he is, or hath been drawn to Christ, by God the Father: for as there are many things, whereof women have ex∣perience, that counterfeit impregnation, which is not so. So there may be such appearings of believing in a man, as give but an uncertain, or fals evidence thereof: there∣fore, you need know some certain evidences, that you are drawn to God, for your comfort. And

First, If you be come, then you have been drawn: this stands upon the evidence of the text; the effect shewes the cause; for no man can come, except the father drawes. If the wall shine, you may conclude, the sunne is up, and shines upon it; for it would give no light of it self, but by reflection; if you find in your hearts, a wil∣ling receiving of Christ Jesus, for your Saviour, and Lord, that you have surrendred, and made a deed of gift of your selves, to the Lord Jesus to be his: certainly you have been drawn by God; this light hath shined up∣on you, otherwise you could not reflect it.

Secondly, Is thy faith an inchristing, that is, a Christ receiving faith? is it a marriage faith? I call that a mar∣riage faith, which accepts of the person of Christ, a Saviour, and Lord; which some call, the faith of the per∣son; whereby you do not only believe, for benefits with∣out him; but for the benefis with him: there is a faith in formal hypocrites; and such as the very sound of the word begets; as we see in all, or the generallity of us here in England, that live under the sound of the word of the Gospel; a kind of faith and opinion begotten in all men of Christ; by a general, and uncontrolled con∣viction; Page  282 as those that did believe, when they saw the mi∣racles that he did: but he did not commit himself to them, John 2. 24. But that which is called the faith of Gods Elect, in Titus 1. 1. that's not found in any, but they that are thus drawn; and is that which he works in man, in pursuance of his purpose of election; making good the rest of the links of the chain, after the first; namely, effectual calling, and Justification, and Sanctification; which every faith, or believing, doth not doe; every faith you find in men is not in pursuance of this drawing of God, as I have described it.

Thirdly, When we can willingly subscribe to the course that God hath taken to save our souls: (which the most of men do not:) now the course that he hath taken, is in another, not in our selves: it is in Christ, by whom God doth justifie, reconcile, adopt, sanctifie, and govern, all in Christ. A sanctified heart, submitting to this course of God, is a sign that God hath drawn you, and given you some taste of Christ Jesus: and is your faith such a believing, yea, or no? then certainly by the victoriousness; of it, to bring you to this pass, it appears to be the teaching of God; as it is delivered in 2 Cor. 10. 5. It is powerful to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ: For man naturally, and of himself, thinks very meanly of this way, and means, of saving men by Christ; for so it was, in the type at first: Israel thought very meanly of Moses, when he came into Egypt; one that seemed an unlikely instrument to cope with 〈◊〉, and such potent im∣pediments: And therefore, the Jew hold fast his own righteousness, and would not submit, Rom. 10. 3. And mans pride makes greatest head and resistance against this way of Salvation, that may be; until it appear, that there must be no Salve or Chirurgerie to apply to the Page  283 sting of fierie Serpents, on pain of death: but that un∣likely way, of looking up to the brazen Serpent on the pole; for he that used his own medicine perished, and died. So when a man is convinced, that there is no salve of his own making, no medicine of his own applying will serve the turn; for a man may die under his medicine, as well as under his sinne, if he do not fly to this only remedy, to look up by faith to Christ Jesus: When he is convinc'd of this, he will subscribe, and give up his hand to God the Lord, as it's said; and this submission doth stand in three things.

First, In a contented losse of that, which was his gain; for every man hath somewhat to lea upon, that he may not lie open to the arrowes of the fiery law of God, and his own conscience; therefore some gin he will have to shelter him: and therefore, when he can willingly esteem all those excellencies, dung, and dross, and adventure to make himself empty, and na∣ked, that he may be found in Christ Jesus, Phil 3. 8▪ 9. This is a sign of submitting to God; as the storm makes the Merchant at Sea to submit: he loves his goods; but the danger of his life, which the storm puts him into, makes him heave them all over board. It's good when a man is willing to be a loser of his proud self-suffici∣encies, or his beloved sins, to gain Christ; for these are our hardest losses; and to make Christ Jesus our gain, answerable, and valuable to, and with, all our losses: A hard point; but 'tis a point of submission.

Secondly, In a willing submission to the conduct of Christ: as Israel, if they will go out of Egypt, they must submit to the conduct of Moses, and go which way he will lead them; for not the shortest, but the safest way God leads them; wherein he will shew them wonders, Page  284 further miracles then he had shewn in Egypt: so this sub∣mission to the conduct of Christ, in the wilderness that he leads you through, where the cross, the loss may make you more miserable for Religion, for Christ, then other men in the world are, as the Apostle saith; the confession of Christ makes us miserable men in the world; miserable for religions sake, which we might a∣void, if we would shun religions; if this can be digested by you, and there be a sweetning of sowre morsels by the name of Christ: it argues well.

Thirdly, In a cordial submission to Christ his wayes; especially when they are quarreld by flesh and blood. Some men are so bold, as to account them foolish; others as unreasonable: most of us do account them hard, and that we shall be contrary to other mens ex∣amples, or reasons, or principles; and therefore it is a hard thing, to submit to the waies of God, without consulting with flesh and blood; so as though reasons taken from religion are the strongest with us in any de∣bate, or consultation; yet there is a propension in our na∣tures, to follow the guidance of our own reason, until the Load-stone have toucht the Iron; and caused it to look to the North point (as you use to say) till the inte∣rest of God have taken place in our hearts, to draw them to Christ Jesus; then there is a submission to Christ for righteousness, and to those waies and Commandements, that he injoines us; be they never so hard and untracta∣ble to flesh and blood.

[ 4] Fourthly, When we find that God will not let us alone in our distance, in our peace, in our ease, in the pur∣suit of the pleasures and profits of sin: that is a sad and miserable word, if spoken by God, Let them alone, Hos. 4. 17. Ephraim is joyned to Idols, let him alone. When God finds a man joyned to his beloved lusts, as EphraimPage  285 and the tenne tribes were joyned to the Idols that Jerobeam had set up, to keep them from the temple, and Jerusalem, lest they should soduer, and sement again: oh! miserable, when God saies, let a man alone in his waies; when a mans interest lies in maintaining, and kee∣ping of his beloved sins: So I gave them up to their own hearts lusts, and they walked in their own counsels, Psal. 81. 12. It is a sinne, and a punishment, to be given up to the lusts of a mans own heart, and to walk in his own coun∣sels: men that are thus given up, the Lord hath puni∣shed them sufficiently; men that are awakened and di∣sturbed of their peace, and course; that find themselves disquieted from their dangerous waies, the pillow of Sathan, on which they slept securely: how often do they mistake God, and think that God doth it out of hatred to them, when you see plainly that it is in mercy: they are caused to tremble, and to be troubled, that they may have peace; wounded that they may be healed: the Lord doth as he saith in Hosea 2. 6. Find your own experi∣ence in that Text: I will make a hedg of thornes about them, and they shall not find their path; then they shall say, I will return to my first husband; for it was better with me then, then now. God moves man by a kind of self-love: if a man find it better with him when he is with God, then he was before: Oh! saith he; I will return to my true husband; for I am disquieted in this way of sinne: this seems to be the way of God; as the shepherd lets loose his dog; not upon his sheep to worry them, but upon the stray sheep to bring it in again: so God lets loose some temptations, inward disquietments, on the stray sheep, to this end, that, he may bring him in to his flck again, that he may be saved. And as Joseph, when his Brethren came into Egypt for Corn, spake roughly to them, and clapt them into prison; because he intended to Page  286 bring them and himself into better acquaintance; such is the way of God in conversion: the Lord Jesus out of love disquiets the waters; and though he doth not use other men so, yet those that are his, he frowns upon, and lets loose temptations upon them, that he may bring them in: when God will not let a man alone, in a state of distance, under sinful peace, it is a good sign, as its said in Deut. 8. 15, 16. God led thee through the terrible wilder∣nesse, wherein were fierie serpents, he fed thee also with Man∣na; he mixed mercy with sorrows, manna with fiery Serpents; mark to what purpose, that he might prove thee, and humble thee, to do thee good at thy latter end: here you see his manner of dealing, he leads through the wilderness to do his people good; and so many as are thus at first conversion assaulted, and buffeted by Sathan, pstered with thoughts of blasphemie, with outward afflictions, its only to disquiet them, and to hunt them, as the prodigal was by famine out of the farre country, to their Father: or as Job saith, Chap. 33. 17. That God may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man: man being pitcht and resolved on some way of sin, in defiance to God, and the losse of his soul, God will withdraw him from his work, and hide pride from man: But now,

[Object.] How may it be known and discovered to us, that these are the drawings of God, when he pursues us with disqui∣etments, and troubles, and will not let us alone? this is a profitable question.

[Answ. 1] First, by this, that God defeats all our contentments in most pleasing sins, and makes our waies bitter; though we are willing to be licking our lips, yet we shall find gall in them, and makes the wayes of God more eligible to us. Hos. 2. 6. She shall seek them, but not find them &c. and this, until she say, I will return, &c. the Lord drops Page  287 gall into all your hony and contentment, wherein be∣fore you seemed to have some delight: he makes those waies unpleasant; and if you have found content in them, you shall have so no more.

[Ans. 2] Secondly, That in the middest of all these troubles and temptations, the Lord drops now and then a sweet drop of himself, or of Christ, into the soul; stirring up desires and longings after him. Now when the Lord so sweetly mixes this Manna and hony with these buffe∣tings and temptations; it's a sign there are some wor∣kings on you: the people of God at first conversion usually find now and then some sweet taste, though it be but a drop on the Rods end, as Jonathans was, to inlighten their eyes, and draw them after Christ Jesus; the one drives, the other draws; that's the fourth mark of Gods drawing. It's a great misery to be let lie in the lethargie of Sin.

[Serm. 31] Fifthly, We may know by our faith, whether we were drawn by God; for if that be saving and unfeig∣ned faith, it is of his drawing; if superficial and dead, such as that doth not own such an author; for God never marries his Son to a dead soul, nor to a dead faith, until there be a quickning: neither would Christ com∣mit himself to such believers, John 2. 24. as he percei∣ved were hollow, and fals-hearted, and did not receive him in love. There is a faith in temporaries, hypocrites, and common Christians; which is not wrought by such power as Christ was raised by: as the Apostle tells the Ephesians; Chap. 1. 18, Their faith, was wrought by the same power that God put forth in Christ, when he raised him from the dead: But as easily as the Hi∣story of Alexander, or William the Conqueror, begets credit in the reader, without any divine motion: So the report of the Gospel begers a faith, which doth arise Page  288 by the calling of the word; not by that which is a calling according to Gods purpose: but the faith whereby we are drawn to Christ hath (as I may say) two faces (I crave pardon for the word) it looks backward and for∣ward; to election, as a sign of that; to salvation as the cause of that: its a fruit or effect of our election, and a certain means of our salvation; it bears upon it the mark of them both; it alwaies purifies the heart wherein it is; being never found in an unregenerate, and unre∣newed heart. It makes the tree good, and then the fruit. It makes the tree good, there is an alteration in the man. And then the fruit good; there is the product that it brings forth. It makes the flax smoak at least, though it be it self never so little a spark, and unseen: if you have such a kind of faith, without all question you have been drawn of God; for there is a double change that faith makes, that shewes the truth of it.

First relative, when mans relation to God is changed by it; as having stood in the relation of a stranger, una∣quainted; at a distance; he is now made a son, a friend; as its said of Abraham, he believed and was called the friend of God, James 2 23. And then,

Secondly, There is a real change of heart, of course of life; as if the stream did run in a new channel, with as great strength as before in the old; heavenly things are set up; Christ is prized and valued; and this life, and all the things of this life, have an eclipse put upon them; so that, as he said, I am not I: thats the fifth mark.

[ 6] Sixtly, God hath powerfully drawn thee to Christ, if the knowledg of Christ do draw thee from all com∣petitioning things besides: Christ doth not woo in per∣son, but by his word, his Spirit, his virtue: hast thou no favourite lust, that can overdraw him; that dares to stand in competition with thy service, and the conduct of the Page  289 Lord Jesus? Is the promise of Christ more powerful with thy heart than the performance of the world? his absent glory above the present inducements? Art thou willing to be paid for thy service in spirituals, and (if God will) to forbear temporals? An admirable temper in a Christian. The Apostle observes of Abraham and his seed, that came out of their own country, and found themselves not to be in the possession of the Land of Canaan; saith he, they might have returned if they would, Heb. 11. 15. but that they would not do, they embraced the promises that they saw afar off; they took Gods pay as he would pay it; though he would pay them nothing in this world, they would take out the earthly Country in a heavenly; and then it follows in ver. 16. God was not ashamed to be called their God; not ashamed of such a people as stick to him: This is to live upon his word as Elshaddi, though he be not known to them by his Name Jehovah: I did not perform my promises in being to Abraham, but he lived upon me as God Almighty, as it's explained in Rom 4. It's never known what value and price a man sets upon Christ, by saying nay to some slight lust, or thing which he can easily part with; but by that which is peccatum in deliciis, our favourite sin, our delight, be it friend, or worldly content, or whatsoe∣ver else it's known to be; as the usual old saying is, The Rabbits skin sticks at the head; it cases off from the rest of the body, easily, but when it comes to the head there it sticks: when God and his favour, and our own sin stand in competition, it sticks not till it is come to that to which he is married, to his favourite: When Christ try∣ed the young man that had spoken great things, he doth not instance to bid him do this or that; for these things (saith he) I have done; but he demandeth the sale of his possessions, Go sell all thou hast, and come and follow me;Page  290 there his heart was sorrowful; for the Text saith, He had great possessions; that was his master sin; and from that I observe, that God will try his people; let us hang loose to that, for in that we shall be soonest tryed.

[ 7] Seventhly, It seems to me that we are drawn, when the withdrawments of Christ, or of the Spirit, or the light of Gods countenance do draw us more to seeking and pursuit; this is a drawing by withdrawment, its the case of many a soul; many times Christ with∣draws, stands behind the door, Gods countenance is hidden; well, mark the effect and use of this with∣drawing; doth it draw you more eagerly out in pursu∣ance? doth this draw you to a more sharp and vehement seeking? that shews some touch of the Load stone hath been, that you have tasted some of this graciousness of God, if so be that you have tasted that the Lord is gra∣cious, 1 Pet. 2 3. as an Angler will sometimes pull a∣way the bait, to quicken the fish to follow it; such are these withdrawments of God from his own people; you see an example of it, verified in the Church, Cant. 5. 6. My beloved had withdrawn himself, I sought him; She runs out presently after him.

8. Lastly, When the Name of Christ, and the Grace from him and by him received is the strong Ar∣gument against sin, the strongest motive of duty and obedience, the Law of God is a strong obligation; but the grace and Mercy of God is the sweetest obligation; Stablish me, saith David, with thy free Spirit, Psal. 51. with the Spirit of a child; so the Apostle gives a notable Argument against sin, in 1 Cor. 6. 15. speaking about Fornication, Shall I take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What's the genius and strength of the Apostles Argument, that a man that is in Christ must consider, that himself, his bo∣dy, Page  291 and all the members of his body, are the members of Christ; shall I prostitute the members of Christ to an harlot? God forbid that I should do so; so that the possession and title that Christ hath of us, is the strong∣est Argument that can be against sin with a godlyman: A Christian hath more Arguments against sin, more Motives to obedience than any other man, because he is all, Christs, and all his members (as that Text saith) are members of Christ: he is not his own, but the price of anothers blood; and therefore let him carry the Name of Christ always in his mind, as an excellent Argument against sin: So much for the Point, Whosoever comes to Christ believing in him, doth come by the drawing of God; which point would have some Use made of it, though the matter all along be useful and practical. And first,

[Use 1] How certain those that are elected are of their be∣lieving and coming unto Christ, by reason of this draw∣ing of God; this is a resurrection, (so it's called,) and truly as certain as the resurrection of the body; and or∣dinarily we hold it it certain that there shall be a resurre∣ction of the body; it's as certain that there shall be a re∣surrection of those that God hath chosen unto Christ, though they be for present dead, and, as the Apostle saith, far off; nay, 'tis as certain as the resurrection of Christ, when he was dead in the grave, and lay under the sins of mankind, a terrible great stone to ly under, yet he was certain to rise again the third day; and the power toward the raising of those that believe is accor∣ding to the working of the mighty power that wrought in Christ; Ephes. 1. 18 now it's said, that God loosed the cords of Christs death, because it was not possible that he should be holden of it; Acts 2. 24. so shall the cords of thy spiritual death be loosed also, if you belong to the electi∣on Page  292 on of grace, though you be as dead and inanimate as Christ himself was, this will set you free, knock off the fetters of bondage from you, and all because there is a drawing of God, whereby you shall be made able to come; for all that the Father giveth me shall come to me, Joh. 6. 37. and Christ professes that he hath the power given him, that he should give eternal life to as many as God hath given him, John 17. 2. And that this is no bol∣ster for desperate security, to flatter it self, and hang all on that string, If I shall be saved, I shall, appears by the certain means that are used whereby this end shall be effected, whereby all that are within this chain shall come and believe; Joh. 17. 6. I have manifested thy Name to them that thou gavest me; so then, say not, You shall be saved you know not how; for the Name of Christ shall be manifested to you; and then he shews that the means used are effectual in and unto such, ver. 8. I have given them that thou gavest me thy word; and they have re∣ceived it, and beleived in me, that thou hast sent me: them that thou hast given me shall live; unto them I have manifested the means, and to them they have been effe∣ctual; these are the persons that are saved and called in time, according to a purpose and grace given them in Christ before the world began, 2 Tim. 1. 9. And there∣fore it is certainly effected.

[Use 2] Secondly, The people of God do receive grace from God even before they believe in Christ; First, in order to nature; but I speak not of the minute of time. What? grace (may some say) before Faith? what grace is that? I Answer, It is a grace to believe, a grace drawing them and calling them unto Faith; this is the first work, this is the motion whereby Faith is begotten in the heart, a motion which Faith doth not go before, but follow: Man doth not begin the work of his own grace; for Page  293 then he should be the first give; but who hath given to him first, saith the Text, Rom. 11. 5. For, as learned men ob∣serve, Faith is given to unbelievers, as 'tis said God justi∣fies the ungodly, Rom 4. 5. true, when he is justified he is ungodly; therefore it's said, Ephes. 2. 5. Even when we were dead in trespasses and sins he quickens us. When we lay in our blood, Ezek. 16. 6. he passed by and said, Live. When did he speak the word? When we were unbelie∣vers he drew us to come unto and believe in Christ; as our Saviour saith, When we were under the fig-tree (as I may say) he saw us: So when you were far distant, this eye and countenance of God was upon you for good: and therefore as Austin saith, The will of man doth forego many good works of man, (for God be∣gins at the will) but not all: Why, which is it that the will of man rectified doth not go before? Not it self; it doth not begin its own willing; for that is first, and that is made of God: So I may say, Faith goes not be∣fore all the workings of God, because there is a drawing of God that works it; as the putting of life into Laza∣rus was when he was dead in the grave, so the first grace that's given to man is while is in unbelief; that grace is to be expected and lookt for with intention and bent of mind from this good and gracious God; and therefore as it would have been a disparagement to the Miracle to have said, that Lazarus stirred or breathed before Christ said Come forth; so all they do extenuate and lessen the drawing and free grace of God, that put something, some seed of faith into man before God work first: For man doth not first come to Christ, and then God draw him; that's like the mothers jest with her child that's down, Come to me, and I'le help thee up; for then it must up before: so 'tis as if we jested, Rise, stir, move your selves, & then I'le put life into you, but God draws, Page  294 and then man comes, as the Text saith. But then there is a great question that hath not yet been handled; for some may object,

[Object.] There may be some reason given why God gives the second grace after the first, as remission of sin to a be∣liever; but what is the ground or reason why God gives the first grace? This is the great quaere, the hard knot to answer to the satisfaction of men.

[Answ.] I remember St. Austine saith, Noli quaerere si non vis errare, Do not search for the reason, if you will not erre and be mistaken; search not for the reason of this which hath no reason, but the will, and pleasure, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 of God: God made the Creatures of nothing, he made the world so; well, you acknowledg it: Doth God make temporal creatures, the bodies of men, of nothing? And is not the new creature made of as little as the old is? But to free you from all quarrels and self-reason∣ing in this point, if you will have a reason, Il'e give you an old one, I'le assure you that it is elder than your selves by some thousands of years; It was, saith the Text, 2 Tim. 1. 9. his purpose and grace given you in Christ before the world began; and therefore you are called and saved: This shews that no man can begin the first grace; he may pretend to come unto Christ Jesus himself, but he must receive this drawing first, that he may be saved; there is no mark upon any man that lies in the state of spiritual death by which he can know himself to be one that shall receive the first grace; but it's reserved as a secret in the bo∣some of God: but when the first grace is given and man is drawn to Christ, then he may know that he shall be saved, true, there is means to be used, but not a mark to be known by: But shall I tell you the bottom of the point: there may indeed be a ground Page  295 for the first grace in that secret-covenant that is be∣tween God and Christ; for doubtless, such a one there is; that all the members of Christ, those whom God hath given him shall have this grace, this new heart and spirit, shall be all drawn and learn of God, this in the general; all that the father hath given to Christ shall come in: if I be inclosed within that gracious covenant, that God the Father made with the Son, I shall certainly be drawn; but for any marks of the first grace, who these are, and how to be known; they have none until they be made the children of God; for they are by nature children of wrath, even as others: the Lord only knowes who are his: there are means afforded that they may come;* but no marks that they shall be drawn.

[Serm. 31] [Use 3] Thirdly, Consider what may be deduced from this point, for the advancement of practical Godliness: there is no point more copious in its use, for the advancement of free grace, then this doctrine of Gods powerful working, and drawing men to Christ Jesus.

First, It suggests matter of Humility; grace is not loose, though it be free: there is no glorying at all left to us in the matter of our salvation: all boasting is taken away by Gods drawing; every point thats profitable is so, so far as it advances practical Religion; and much of that consists in an humble frame of spirits; for as lower grounds are richer, and more fruitful then hill tops, that see further, but are more barren: so a man that hath tasted of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, may see further and discern more in matters of notion and speculation; but the humble soul that hath seen the hand of God working its works in it, is more fertile and fruit∣ful to God.

Secondly, It suggests matter of thankfulness; for where humility goes before, there thankfulness followes Page  296 after; and according to the proportion of the one is the other, in 1 Pet. 2. 9. That you should shew forth the praise of him that hath called you out of darkness into his marvel∣lous light; who were before no people: when we come to consider, and have these impressions set on our souls, that he calls us out of our darkness, for darkness is ours, into his marvellous light, thankfulness arises from this: And as light came out of darkness, so God hath shined into our hearts the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Whence came the first light? out of darkness, where no man could have imagined the light to be: so God hath called us out of darkness. And

Thirdly, It calls for fruitfulness in requital of sogreat a grace, fruitfulness is, as we may say of varnish, no co∣lour of it self, but sets off, and puts a beauty upon other colours. Fertillity is the nature of good soyl; and men look for fruit from land or tree proportionable to the cost and labour bestowed: so doth God expect fruit∣fulness, according to the proportion of his goodness; the meditation of this grace, quickens the ingenuous heart to obedience: when a man hath the sence of his justificati∣on, that he is reconciled to God by the blood of Christ; and that being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life: as 'tis Rom. 5. 9. 10. this puts him on to a high degree of fruitfulness; this manures the Tree: and therefore in 1 John 4. 19. We love him because he first loved us, and 5. chap. 3 vers. It's love that makes the Commandements not grievous: Thus you see how it advances practical godliness.

And as it advances practick godliness; so likewise it heightens all the obligations, whereby a man can be obliged to God, either to be humble, thankful, or fruit∣ful; they are advanced by the sence of the free grace of Page  297 God. Now for the advancement of obligations; they are two-fold.

Such as have strength of Authority in them. Or

Such as have sweetness and constraint of love in them.

First, obligations of authority are by the law of God: For that doth not cease to oblige a believer being a per∣petual law, that God hath set on man in all states and conditions: And then the

Free grace of God is an obligation by a constraint of love; the love of Christ constrains us, in 2 Cor. 5. 14. Because we thus judg, or have this sence, that if one died for all, then all are dead: so that the obligation it puts upon you is of love, and service above other men. God may well expect some singular thing of you; as namely: first;

Because he hath drawn thee, not others, yea, haply hath left many, for one taken; thou art one taken, drawn out of the herd, marked out for God (as I said) made to passe under the rod: Vobis datum est, non illis; to you it is given &c. not to others.

Secondly, Because he hath drawn us, when we withdrew; for every man by nature doth withdraw; even as a heifer withdrawes, and will not be yoked; so man withdrawes from the yoak of God, from the doctrine, from the faith, the love, and from the acquaintance of Christ Jesus: and therefore its said in Rom. 10. last vers. I have stretched out my hands all the day long, to a contra∣dicting or withdrawing people. Nay, he not only draws us out of darkness, and nothing, but pursues and followes us when we run from him; if the Lord should let men alone: yea, if the elect of God were let alone at first, when God begins to draw, they would be deserters, forsakers, and relinquish God; you stiff necked people, Page  298you do alwaies resist the Holy-Ghost: but now God still knocks; and if man comes not at first; God knocks again; and this bends mans heart to God, that the Lord pursues him with mercy, and followes him with loving kindness: if God had let him alone he had perish'd; but God would not let him have his will to perish.

Thirdly, Because he hath drawn thee, no better then others of the same clay, saith the text; the potter makes the difference, not the clay: are we better then they, the Jew, then the Gentile? Romans 3. 9. No, in no wise; and therefore God to shew that there is no difference in man, instances in twins that tumbled in a belly: Rom. 9 10. Rebecca conceived by one, even Isaac, &c. Nay, it may be thou wast one of lower and meaner rank from whom God could not expect so much service: so babes have it revealed, not the wise; Base things of the world are chosen, not many noble and great: Naaman the Syrian is cleansed, and not many lepers in Israel; who would think that Rahab the harlot should be named with Abraham, in James 2. 25?

Fourthly, The Lord found thee when thou did'st not seek him: he overcame thy opposition and resistance, waiting that he might be gracious, Isaiah. 30. 18. if he had taken thy denyal and let thee alone, if he had not overcome the evasions and Tergiversations of thy sturdy spirit, by pursuing thee with fresh forces, till he had brought every thought within thee into captivity, unto the obe∣dience of Christ, 2 Cor. 10. 5. had he not stricken thee down (as Paul was) until he made thee say, Lord what wilt thou have me to do: what might have become of thee? had he not hedged thee in with thorns, and laid mustard on the breast, to wean thee from thy sweet sins.

Lastly, When God hath taken this course, and won over and made the heart willing, then a man accompts Page  299 his own gain, his arguments of confidence, his own righ∣teousness, all dross, and dung, for the excellent know∣ledg of Christ Jesus, in Phil. 3. 7, 8. when the Lord hath given such a tast and sweetness, then a man desires it himself, and is pleased with that with which he was dis∣pleased before: when the heart is thus overcome, then it submits; he stands faire in his own eyes no more; his own face pleases him no longer; he rebels no more, but submits to the righteousness of God, Ro. 10. 3. and so re∣ceives Christ as the greatest treasure in the world; there∣fore free grace is a great obligation; it binds strongly by the constraint of love.

Fourthly, I close all with a motive to examination; whether you be partakers of this drawing, now before the Sacrament; you are called, the Lord invites you to his table; he invites his friends, his children; these he calls by the word; every ordinance breathes unto you little else but Christ Jesus; for all sanctifying, strengthning, and corroborating grace; from whence come they? sure∣ly in Hosea 14 8. from me is thy fruit found: all your strength arises from the greater and further reception of Christ Jesus; therefore examine, whether this work of God hath been on you, to draw you to Christ Jesus: faith is not a vulgar grace, it is not an easie thing, it comes from divine omnipotency and power; as we say of the resurrection, whereby a dead man rises from the grave; it is a work of the power of God; and therefore Christ confuting the Sadduces that denied it, said, you erre, not knowing the Scriptures, and the power of God: I am (saith Christ) the resurrection and the life: No man is alive, till he take hold of, and believe in, the Lord Jesus? now can a dead man be raised from the dead, and not be sensible? do you think faith is not a sensible work; yes, as 'tis a powerful work, so 'tis sensible to man; yet Page  300 I confess men may be deceived, as women are by false tumors and swellings; so there are many delusions, whereby a man may take himself to be in a state of grace, when he is not; because there is a false faith as well as a true: it is the point of examination pressed by St Paul in 2 Cor. 13. 5. because of such moment, examine your selves, whether you be in the faith; whe∣ther Christ be in you; many think of a Christ without them; you are all glad to know that Christ gave himself for you; that he gave himself to be the blood of atone∣ment; but is he yours by the blood of sprinkling? the Scripture puts this to the trial, by words that intimate Christ within men, Galath. 4. 19. my little children of whom I travel in pain, till Christ be formed in you: and Ephes. 3. 17. Christ dwels in our hearts by faith: Gal. 2. 20: Christ liveth in me: these phrases do difference the Jew outwardly, from the Jew inwardly, and teach in like proportion; that he is not a Jew that hath the outward character, and not the circumcision of the Spirit, Ro 2 28. and let that obligation sit on you; in the 2 Tim. 2. 19. Let every one that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity; for else its not the sacraments will serve turne, in 1 Cor. 10. 4, 5. they eat of the same spiritual meat (with us:) But God was not well pleased with them; they were wicked: and therefore examine your selves, what work of God you have found upon your hearts; whe∣ther you are renewed by the Holy-Ghost: in Tit. 3. 5. God is said to save man by the washing of regeneration, v. 6. that being justified by his grace you might be made heirs of eternal life. To move you, consider;

[Motive 2] First, The graces that have connexion with, or do accompany salvation, are inward things: there is an in∣ward seal, a white stone with a name in it, known to them that have it: Sacraments seal the outward part Page  301 the conditional compact; that whosoever believes shall not perish; but it is, the Spirit that witnesses to ours, that we are sons of God.

[Motive 2] Secondly, That unto, and by those inward graces God drawes his people; thus he undertakes to create a new heart, to put his law into their mind; this is that which is called the teaching of God, Gods drawing; so that its the inward work that gives thee comfort of this business. But

[Object.] Doth not the manducation of Christs body and blood in the Sacrament tend unto this inward and spiri∣tual inhabitation of Christ in us?

[Answer.] Yes, And so did the outward ordinances of the Jewes, they tended to spiritual things; there circumcision sig∣nified an inward circumcision, as our baptisme an in∣ward washing; and our eating and drinking sets forth our communion of his body and blood; our union and communion which are spiritual, are here exhibited unto us, as meat and drink of life, as John 6. 37. He that eats me shall live by me, this in this chapter, so much spoken of, is not sacramental, but it is spiritual eating; for it was spoken before the institution of the supper; but it speaks of the kernel of it, the eating of Christ his body by faith. And so much for this text.