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.
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THE DIFFERENCE Between a True Inward Christian And the Outward Formalist.


Rom. 2. 28, 29.
For he is not a Jew that is one outwardly, neither is that Circumcision which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew that is one inwardly, and Circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the Letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God.

THe Apostle before he makes entrance upon the Doctrine of Justification, which is one of the Cardinal Points of the Christian Religion, doth convince, and conclude, that both Jews and Gentiles, Page  306 and so consequently all mankind are 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, under sin, Rom. 3. 9. draws up the conclusion, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, we have shewn cause before, or charged all men to be un∣der sin; teaching all Masters of conviction the necessity of that method, to cut off the branch which is to be in∣graffed from the tree where it had its first birth, before it can be fit for coalition with a new stock, and for par∣ticipation of the root and fatness of the Olive Tree; first make a man a sinner, my meaning is, make him mi∣serable; and when the strugling fish, that is stricken with the hook, is tired or choaked, you may more easily draw him to the shore. The great Rule to be observed in the conviction of gainsayers, is to disarm them of their Armour, those inward reasonings and strong holds wherein they trust; then it is an eaier thing to bring them in, when that wherein they trusted is 〈◊〉 down a∣bout their ears; Think not (saith S. John) to say within your selves, We have Abraham to our Father; think it not, speaking to the inward reasonings of the Jews at that 〈◊〉: The Apostle imitating this course, oth, as concerning the heathen Gentile, grant in Chap 1. that they did, or possibly might know God, by the foot-steps that he had left of himself in the Creation, and the go∣vernment of the world; but that knowledg amounted to no more than of his Being or Properties, not of his Worship, especially that which you call positive; and so they neither glorified him as God, nor shewed that wisedom which as Philosophers they professed; for pro∣fessing themselves〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, they became foolish, ver. 22. As for them that assert the Sun and Moon to be Preachers of Christ the Mediator to the Heathen, I think I may joyn them together with that Philosopher who had a conceit that the heavens do make an harmony by their motion, which Musick, I dare say, he never heard: Page  307 As concerning the Jew, the Apostle brings him in, cap. 2. ver. 11. pleading his difference from the Gentile; and it is granted, cap. 3. ver. 1. that much every way is the ad∣vantage of the Jew, and the profit of Circumcision; For Circumcision verily profits if thou keep the Law, cap. 2. ver. 25. but if, as we say of some Planets, their great light be joyned with ill Aspects and irregular motion; so if you that have a form of knowledge and truth in the Law, if thou be a breaker of the Law, and live con∣trary to thy own Principles, then thy circumcision is made uncircumcision; for an honest heathen that is uncircum∣cised is better than thou, and shall condemn a dishonest, though circumcised Jew, ver. 26, 27. and the reason is, because God measures not men by their external ac∣complishments, which they have by being Churches, and the priviledges of them, but by the inward power of godliness, accompanying their outward profession; For he is not a Jew that is one outwardly &c.

In which words there is,

First, A distinction.

Secondly, A description or definition.

Thirdly, An estimate or valuation.

[ 1] First, The distinction is not between divers persons, as of a Jew, and no Jew; Circumcision, and no Cir∣cumcision; for that sounds as a distinction of Christian and Heathen; but it is of one that it a Jew, and no Jew; of Circumcision that is, and yet is not Cicumcision; as of Christians that are, and yet are not Christians; for so it is always when you speak of equivocals▪ So the Pou••raire of Caesar pictured in the Table; is not Caesar; so he is not a Jew that is one outwardly.

Secondly, The description of both is, the Jew that is no Jew, is one that is so by 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or visible profession, or if you will oten••tion o Religi∣on; Page  308 but he is nothing 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in secret, or inwardly, if he have not that which in our Covenant is exprest in these words; the law written in his heart and put into his mind: the circumcision, that is not circumcision, is the visible mark they carry in the flesh, but no inward purity of heart and mortification of lust; the one of these is in the letter, the other in the spirit. What is the meaning of this phrase? How comes this word, not, in the letter to signifie outwardness in opposition to Spirit or in∣ward grace: so it signifies in the new testament, or in Scripture; and I think peculiarly 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 signifies a line made by a pencil, as well as a letter made by pen; and so may signifie a meer 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a portraiture, or mathe∣matical body, that consist of lines of no depth and sub∣stance, an outward form and nothing else; or a writing with Ink, as the Epistle, 2 Cor. 3. 3. the Epistle of Christ not written with Ink, but by or with the Spirit; and so the Scripture that knowes another writing, viz. by the Spirit in the heart doth fitly oppose thereunto that other manner of delineation which is outward by pen or pencil, and so circumcision by a mark in the flesh is said to be in the letter; not that the Apostle decries the or∣dinances of the Jewes, or their profession in sensu com∣posite, but only in sensu diviso, when the form goes without the power for even Christianity, which is not so outward in all respects as Judaisme was, hath a form of doctrine, a form of worship, or else no sacraments, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a form of godly conversation; so its called, whatsoever they that call themselves Antifor∣malists, but are indeed Formalists, do quibble to the contrary.

Thirdly, The valuation that is made of both these: the Jew or the circumcision outwardly, that is, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 may have the praise of men: The Apostle before his Page  309 knowledg of Christ valued himself at a great rate by those things that were but outwardly, as a visible Church-member past all contradiction: but the Jew 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or the circumcision of the heart, the power and purity of Godliness within, hath the commendation of, and acceptance with God: I shall need say no more, for the general opening of these words; only before you go any further, change the scene, and lay the mea∣sure to your silves; he is not a Christian that is one out∣wardly in form: whose baptisme is the sprinkling of his face with water: but he that is a Christian indeed, re∣putatively; and as to Church-membership, thou maist have praise of men for thy profession; for man sees, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 the outside, but God measures the real members of his covenant by their faith, for its his peculiar 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the Father that sees in secret, Math. 64.

The observations to be made upon the words shall be short and plain; and the Uses we will take altogether at the close.

[Observ. 1] First, Here we have an excellent example, for prea∣ching of distinguishing doctrine, especially to such pro∣fessors, whose pride and outwardness in the true Reli∣gion makes them seem to themselves to be some body when they are indeed nothing: distinguish a Christian professor from the Heathen; a Protestant from a Papist; and you shall say too little to them that are Christians inwardly, and too much sometimes to feed the pride of them that are so outwardly; they that know no more of Christianity but that which is outward, will be ready to object when you be: them down so flat, that which the Apostle inferrs as the Jewes objection against his distinguishing doctrine, Rom. 3. 1. what advantage then hath the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? I Answer, as the Apostle doth, much every way▪ but when Page  310 I have said all, all saving grace is discriminant and dif∣ferencing, and so should all saving doctrine be, sharp but wholsome, cutting but convincing, teaching others what they should be, by shewing what manner of men they are that have the praise of God. As to a visible station in Church order, the Apostle distinguishes 1 Cor. 5. 12. between 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 those that are without, & those that are within, that is within the pale of the Church; both the Christian outwardly and inwardly may be so; but then we must come to a closer distinction of these that are all within the Gospel field or pale, and that close distinction is given in this text between Christians that are so outwardly or also inwardly: for want of di∣stinguishing doctrine to take the precious from the vile, and to shew you who are Israel, and who only of Israel, it comes to passe many times, that the bone is given to the child, and the bread to the dog; the souls are slain that should not dy, and saved alive that should not live, Ezck. 13. 19. So necessary is it to distinguish, and to use distin∣guishing doctrine,* and there is a great want of such hea∣rers as are willing to be distinguished, that had rather ask what marks do ye tell me of my self, then what notions do ye shew me of your own; that do not measure their membership with Christ, and their standing in the Church, equally with one measure (if they do, they may be deceived) because one may be in the one and out of the other; therefore I shall ever blame my self and others also in my place, that shall be more sollicitous, that the hearers should know us, then that they should know themselves: this there is a great necessity of shew∣ing, who you are, or that you are not what you seem to be; for he is not a Jew, &c.

[Observ. 2] Secondly, The Argument whereby the Apostle convinces a Jew, a professed member of the Church to Page  311 be nothing, that is, as to his own benefit or Gods accep∣tation, is his outwardness and formality in Religion; and the formality that abounds in our Churches, and the outwardness in Religion goes farre to prove, that we are Christians and no Christians: For God in all times when Religion appeared most outwardly carried on, did both aim at, and expect an inwardness and cal ho∣liness in his people: The Jew layes his claim, and pre∣tends to be some-body, vers. 17. of this Chapter: Behold (saith the Apostle) thou art called a Jew, and restest in the Law, and makest thy boast of God▪ and knowest his will &c. But thou art nobody, if there be no inward work upon and within thee, nor is thy circumcision worth any thing: It is acknowledged their very ordinances were shadowish, and consisted of outwardness more than the Gospel called the simplicity of Christ, 2 Cor. 11. 3. but yet so far as I conceivé, there was a kernel in the shll, and a spiritual glory under the vail of Moses; but they having a double vail between their eye and the in∣wards of things represented in their ordinances, 〈◊〉 a real obscuritie in the ordinances themselves, that was the vail on Moses fact, and the other vail on their hearts, were content (such was their childishness and servility of spirit) 〈…〉, to lick the outside of the Glass into which they could not put in their head.

I will not enumerate many particulars, some I shall instance in; they drank of a rock that followed them, and eat of 〈◊〉 that fell down upon them; and were healed by a serpent on a pole of fiery ••ing: but they saw not Christ, where indeed he was; For Christ was represented and held forth in all these, and yet they did not see him; their circumcision they magnified as an honourable 〈◊〉 of separation from other nations, their Page  312 passeover (as to the institution was an excellent ordi∣nance) concerning which, when their children deman∣ded the meaning, was but a memorial of Egypts sla∣very; they lookt no further then the respect it had to that; but concerning Christ, the lamb of God not any thing; their sacrifices and purifyings were built upon, as very expiations and lustrations of sin, or uncleanness; a strange blindness! and what either did the heathens less or more expect of theirs; the law given them for a Schoolmaster unto Christ, what did it teach them, but works of their own righteousness (as the Apostle calls them,) which unto this day they hold unto still, as a School-master of works against Christ: and though they found out a Messiah for their glory, yet they looked not for such an one as should be God-man, a mediator to expiate their sins and redeem their souls; and therefore when he came (which they deny) he was as great a stran∣ger to them, & they as great enemies to him, as those that had had no Schoolmaster to commend him unto them: and if any man will farther see their perverse interpre∣tations, adulterations, and prevarications of their own scriptures, wrying their necks about, that they should not so much as look a squint towards Christ, whom we ac∣knowledg: let him read one of their great and most esteemed Maimonides, of whom they say, that from Moses the great Lawgiver to this Moses, there arose none like unto him, &c. so much of their outwardness.

And now let me speak to the Analogie; I may say as the Apostle; what then, are we better then they? we the outward Christians that profess the Christian Religion, though that be meant of Gentiles, and may we not make the same answer? no, in no wise, Rom. 3. 9. I may not speak in disparagement of the Jewish ordinances, though I know out of Christ; the Apostle calls them weak and Page  313 beggarly elements; I know whose stamp they bear, though that excellent Historian be no fit Judg in this matter,* that saith, that Pompey when he went to view the Temple at Jerusalum, to see what was the so magni∣fied rites, found nothing but vacuum sdm & inania sacra, an emptie chair and some kind of emptie rites; nor will I enter the comparison between Gospel-ordinances and theirs; the Apostle hath given judgment already in it, in 2 Cor. 3. 10. that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect; nor will I deny but that the Jewes were nationally a holy people; I take it to be a holy nation, not here and there one holy man: In Deut. 7. 6. For thou art a holy people, the Lord hath chosen thee to be a special people to himself, above all that are on the face of the earth. And this was a holiness of separation by Covenant: and truely what is this? Wood may be cal∣led holy, stones holy, and metal holy, when they are separate to the use of Religion and the service of God. But I may compare the Jew outwardly, with the Chri∣stian outwardly, and with great reason lay the charge at his door that is but outward under such spiritual or∣dinances, as he had not; the worst is, we are content to be outward, and careless of the inward work. Where is that inward holiness of heart, and the saying knowledg of Christ Jesus? Is it not envied in them that have it? yea, are we not more envenomed since these unhappy times wherein we live, against the power of inward god∣liness, then before (and yet there was a sufficient enmitie,) cutting out Religion, so, as may serve parties and inte∣rests: for whereas there are strifes, and envyings, and divisions among you, are ye not carnal and walk as men, 1 Cor. 3. 3? The preacher shreds colloquint into the pot: the hearer like the wanton fish, in summer, catches at the silken fly that hath a hook in it! Oh, that the Page  314 very reading of this Text would startle you to go home, and lament over your selves; and with earnest prayer to call upon God: Lord make me to know wis∣dome in the hidden part; give me the leavings of the outward Jew, the circumcision of the heart in the spirit, whose praise is not of man, but God.

[Observ. 3] Thirdly a Jew, or Christian, (be they what they will be) meerly conversant in the outwards of Religion, is not that indeed which he takes himself to be, and desires to be called. Thou art called a Jew, vers 17. And thy Circumcision profits, if thou keep the law, vers. 24. else thou art no Jew, and thy circumcision is made uncir∣cumcision: there are disciples, and disciples 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in∣deed, John 8. 31. there is the distinction: as there was a severance of Jew from Gentil; and also of the Jew in∣wardly from the outward: so there is of Christians from heathens, and also of Christians in power from Christians in the form of godliness; for the Kingdome of God consisteth not in meats and drinks, but in righ∣teousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy-Ghost.

Religion is an inward thing of the heart, in the spirit: the principles, the motives that carry it on, the manner of performance, the graces, the comforts, the salings, the experiences, the communion are inward things; there is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 the hidden man of the heart, which makes a Christian inwardly 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as the Apostle calls it in 1 Pet. 3. 4. It is in the hidden man that grace begins: Its spoken of women there, that are most affected with the outward dress; the life of your bodies doth not begin in the legs, but in some of the vitals, the heart, the liver, the brain, and as it begins there, so it rules and governs there; that motion is but violent that comes from a for∣raign motive; all duties of worship and obedience that are outward, if they be not actuated by some inward Page  315 grace, are not profitable to you, not pleasing to God: Its true there is a confession that is made with the mouth unto salvation as well as faith in the heart unto righte∣ousness,* (that text I believe teaches this point) that there is more goes to salvation then to justification, but we are comparing the outward and inward Christian; the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is seen what it is in that forementioned place: that that is of great worth and much set by, it lies un∣der the bark; its the framing and moulding of the heart to softness, and a planting the Lord Jesus in you. This is that which makes you to be Christians; Christians indeed.

From all this that hath been said, what followes now, if we will make use of it?

[Use 1] First, I say hence: Can our outward Christian give any good account of any momentous difference between himself, and the Jew outwardly? I confess, com∣paring the priviledges of the Jew; with the Samaritan, our Saviour asserts the preheminence of the Jew; salvation,* faith he, is of the Jewes, and so I might speak, and follow it profitably, that such is our profession above the Papist. But I am speaking now of the Jew outward and inward: the Jew reckoned himself a Jew by his descent from A∣braham, and by his profession of that religion establisht by Moses, whereof he had not the power: and pray what do you Christians reckon yourselves by, what is your faith that you pretend to have to Christ, but a kind of traditional storie from our Ancestors; or taken up from common report milkt into you, when you suckt the breasts, by custome and education, without any work of the Gospel on your hearts. Can you say, that the Gos∣pel-ministry hath wrought faith in me? (I will not tie things strictly, though this be common and ordinary) there being not one of a hundred sometimes that can say, now I believe in Christ, not because I have learnPage  316 it by custom and common report, but because the Go∣spel hath been to me, and in me, the power of God unto salvation; it's a rare thing: The Faith you have (how ever you come by it, look you to that) is that kind of ea∣sie and dogmatical saith of assent to the truth of the Scriptures: We know God spake by Moses, but neither receives Christ as Saviour, Lord, and Sovereign, nor brings forth any fruit to holiness, nor works by love. Did not the Jew honour the great Names of Abraham and Moses, but were neither true Disciples of the one, nor Children of the other? And do not we denomi∣nate our selves by the Name of Christ, without any membership with him, or real union?

Did not the Jew observe the Laws of his Religion with mighty zeal and strictness as ever Nation did? but neither sought nor felt any inward virtue therein, resting in the work done, and with great confidence promising to himself salvation: And are you so zealous and strict in the outwards of your Religion as the Jew was? oh, no; of a more loose and luke-warm temper in this point than e: Yet do not you rest in the work done, and promise your selves to be saved, with as much confidence as the Jew? I speak by way of comparison: If we be never so sollicitous to bring our children to be baptized, and we must have it so, its a badg of our Religion; but are we any thing sollicitous to plant grace in their hearts, when they are come to years of discretion? to plant the work of Regeneration, as well as give them the outward mark? Examine your conscience thorowly, and see whether or no you go beyond the Jew outwardly. And to the Sacrament you will come, and pretend zeal in it; but do you any thing but observe a fair decorum for that day or time? but where is the inward reason of that Ordinance? where is the Lord Jesus received and sealed to your Page  317 comfort? No, you rest in the work done, and promise your selves salvation thereupon, with such a confidence as will deceive you, be sure of it.

Did he abhor Idols, yet commit sacriledge? And thou (saith the Apostle) that abhorrost Idols, dost thou not commit sacriledge? that is one of the main points that he insists upon with his outward Jew: What are we bet∣ter, that cast off Popery, and starve the Gospel Mini∣stry? eye to eye cannot be more like than you would find if you trace your selves.

Had he a form of knowledg and truth, so as to be a teacher of others, and a Preacher of the truth, and yet took his own liberty of the sins he taught against, and so caused the name of God to be blasphemed amongst the Gentiles, as the Apostle saith to the Jew? And is ot the Name of God blasphemed by prophane people, through our outwardness? are not we lovers of our selves, covetous, proud, boasters, &c. having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof? 2 Tim. 3. 2. &c. I might go on, and rather make a parallel than a difference between these two; and therefore as the A∣postle concludes this Jew to be no Jew, so we may of this Christian; and if those that preach the Gospel will do any good among a formal people, they must take their Christianity from them; you have a ground for it; the Apostle took away Judaism from the Jews; you must tell them that 'tis not Christianity will profit and bring them to heaven; if they be saved they must be convinc'd of this; and then that Rule will follow, He that thinks himself somewht, when he is nothing, deceives himself, Gal. 6. 3. and many thousands are so deceived amongst you.

[Use 2] Secondly, If this be true Doctrine, then rest not till you find in your selves some proof of an inward work, Page  318 some brokenness and softness of heart, the heart of stone taken away, some newness of spirit, something of Christ Jesus: Had the Jew found out the entrails of his Religion, he had found Christ there over and over; but he dreamed of a National salvation, (as I may al∣most say,) by virtue of a Covenant that had Inwards in it, but he saw little: Let me say to you, You have spi∣ritual Ordinances, look for Christ in them, he is the kernel of all Ordinances: Go to God and pray, Lord it is thy Covenant-promise to put thy Law into the In∣wards of thy people, Jer. 31. 33. and that there called Inwards, the Apostle calls the writing of the Law in the heart and mind, Heb. 8. 10. There are some (that are o∣therways great men) that when they come to die, whi∣ther do they fly? Bear me witness, I die in the Protestant Faith; I die in the Faith and Confession of the Church of England; (which I have pitied them in;) for that shews the rightness of the Faith which they profess, but not the savingness of their Faith and profession as to them, except they look, as the Jews did, for a Natio∣nal salvation, because they are all of the true profession. Others there are, that when they have incorporated themselves into such a Body, whereof the Characteristical mark is a separate opinion from other men, then they think they are come into a state of salvation, that they have been in Egypt all this while, now they are come to Canaan:* Alas poor souls! you will find something else wanting, as the Apostle saith. Others there are that de∣pend much upon a holiness of their own making, Pha∣risaically, Papistically; I never like this frame; let the holiness that God hath appointed stand, and let us stand to that; and when all is said that I can say unto you, here must be the great work, to find an inward work of ho∣liness in your souls, though the Ordinances or form be Page  319 of God, as the Jews were, much more when the holi∣ness is of your stamping; and therefore look for this inward work, that ye be not only the Epistle of Christ written with ink in Letter, but in the Spirit of the living God, 2 Cor. 3. 2. There are two places that I will give you to set home this Exhortation, from the most glori∣ous Church that we read of in all the New Testament, of highest elevation for variety of spiritual gits and abi∣lities, and they had greatest blots too; which was the Church of Corinth; to them the Apostle gives this Item in 1 Cor. 10. 5. Brethren, I would not have you igno∣rant that our Fathers (speaking in an Ecclesiastical sence) did all eat of the same spiritual meat, honoured with Sa∣craments extraordinary, the Rock, the Manna, and both were Christ; Yet with many of them God was not wel plea∣sed; and he gives the reason of it, for they were tempters of Christ; they had such sins upon them which you may charge upon your selves, mutatis mutandis; and yet this Church, though they were so high, he humbles them with such an exhortation as might shame them, that is, to a strange thing, Examine whether ye be in the Faith. and had Christ within them, 2 Cor. 13. 5. We are (I know not how many forms) above that question; and yet be sure, though profession be never so high, that's the main thing to be inquired for, I Christ in you▪ you can talk of Christ without you, but, as gallant as you are, you must prove your selves, if Christ be in you, and know that he is in you, except you be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Repro∣bates; you are saved by a Christ in you.

The third Use of this Point is for reproof; and I will willingly (though I do it sorrowfully) put my self into the number of the reproved. Let every man therefore reprove himself for the exceeding great outwardness in Religion that abounds amongst us; there is fire wanting Page  320 in us: time was (and it was indeed the worst of times) when Christians, the professors of Christian Religion in England, were practical, and exceedingly addicted to practical holiness; keeping a sweet inward communion with God, and among themselves: their conferences were savoury, and their inward experiences communi∣cated were excellent, edifying and building up: and Christ was 〈◊〉 set out to sale in all markets: he was the penniworth held out in all Christian meetings; but in these daies (I may not wish for persecution) I may say, that the stomach (they say) makes better digestion in cold, than in hot weather: so when times are trouble∣some and unsafe, the heat goes inward to make good di∣gestion: now there is necessity to call men to inward∣ness; this and that opinion; this and that conceit; such a controversie; blowing of a feather up and down be∣tween man and man; matters of no concernment (as he said; and he was a very observing man,) do so take us up, that the tree of knowledg is in greater request then the tree of life, exceptis paucissimis omnis ctus Christia∣norum sentina vitiorum.

We may see our outwardness easilie, and for it tax our selves; our sabbath discourses what are they, but tales or news: We preachers, preach our parts, and you pray your gifts. Nay St James saith, sometimes you pray your lusts: we studie our religion, that we may conform to rising times, parties, customes: we set our dials by the countenances of mortal men, and which way that looks we set our profession; our worship is but a carcass, because we are but carkasses in it; not answe∣rable to that God who is a spirit, whom we should serve in spirit and truth: we conferre our notions or some lighter ware when we meet together; we are seldome or rare in the duties of self-examination, run over the daily Page  321 circuit of our devotion, that we have chosen to perform in our families▪ as a post-horse runs his stage; our fa∣stings are but disguised self-seeking; and our Religion it self a kind of Policie: What need I go on to instance in those things that you take to be so odious: by these few we may be convinced of our outwardness.

[Observ. 4] The fourth point that I observe is: That in all times, even those wherein religion appeared most outwardly carried on, God did both aim at and expect an in∣wardness and real holiness in his people.

And comparatively did set the price and the praise upon the inward work: the hidden man was alwaies in Gods accompt the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉thing of great price, 1 Pet. 3. 4. For as the Apostle distinguishes between such trivial questions that bred quarrels between Chri∣stians in his time; and such things as the Kingdom of God consisted in, Rom. 14. 17. For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy-Ghost; For he that in these things serves Christ, is acceptable to God, and approved of men: So the same Apostle speaking of the outward ordinances appointed unto and observed by the Jew (as Circumcision) which was their principal glory, the seal of their Covenant (standing the initial solemnity, the bond of their obedi∣ence to the whole Law) doth yet tell them, that the inward circumcision, the purity of the heart, the inward work of the spirit upon their spirit, was as to their salva∣tion, and as to acceptance and praise with God, farre above that which had such esteem with men; for though I know that Religion hath an outward part, and an inward; an outward part of positive worship, as the Religion of the Jewes had, and ours hath; and an out∣ward part of moral and practical holiness and righte∣ousness: Page  322 James 1. 27. Pure Religion and undefiled, is to visit the fatherless and widow in their affliction, &c. as both theirs and ours: and though God require our bo∣dies, which are our outward part, to be a living sacrifice presented to him, Rom. 12. 1. yet are the Intrails, and the Fat, the inwards of Religion, (that without which all the rest is but a carkass) of principal esteem with God; the soul denominates and gives being to man: yet his bodie is an essential part; but the body without the soul is both lifeless, and by reason of the retinue of death loathsome; so it is the regenerating and renew∣ing graces that give to us the life and beautie of a Christian, yet so as outward duties of worship and of moral life are parts of Religion also; but without an inwardness of spirit and a hidden man to accompany it, they are all dead works, and have no beauty in them. This then is that I say, that Religion is an inward thing: Godliness heals our outward wayes by putting a bia within the bowl, and the change is from within; it give new principles, new motives, new manner of perfor∣mance of duties: the graces, the comforts, the sealings, the experiences, the communion with God and Christ, are all inward things: We judge of life by outward manifestations, breathing, moving; but the seat of life is within.

This point is attested to by the testimony of three worlds: the heathen world, the Jewish, and the Christi∣an world.

[ 1] The Heathens have seen and born witness, that in∣ward puritie is the cream and fat of all that they call the worship of God; the rule of Scholars is, that man is more corrupt in his morals than his intellectuals; for to the lower part of the soul, where the affections are, the Page  323 dregs do most settle: they (the heathens) have a Theo∣logie and a form of worship of their gods full of folly and vanitie; but the wisest and soberest of them have confest, that if God be a spirit, he must be worshipped by a pure spirit; si sit animus, then puramente colendus; so Persius, who (as the Apostle saies) was one of the Hea∣then prophets; Give me (saith he) Compositum jus, jusque animi, a due composure, and honesty of mind: and for my outward sacrifice, farre litabe, Ile perform, that with a few grains of Barly or meal: and you may understand by Cicero, 2. De natura deorum; and by Seneca, as Lactanctius cites him, what uncontrollable conviction this hath, even with natural men, that honesty of mind, and moral life is more pleasing to God, then Heca∣tombs.

[ 2] Then for the Jew, it is very apparent, how the Pro∣phets call for holy life, and for Circumcision of the heart, Jer. 4. 4. and how they comparatively undervalue the outward forms in respect thereof, Isaiah 66. 3. To him will I look that is of a contrite heart; but otherwise the killing of an Oxe is as the slaying of a man, and the offering of a lamb, as he that cuts off a dogs neck: Mic. 6. 7, 8. Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of Rams, &c. He hath shewed thee O man what is good, to love mercy, to do justice, and walk humbly with thy God: And these out∣ward ordinances of worship were never intended to con∣tinue for ever, as you interpret the word ever; for your ever hath sometimes an indefinite time, therefore called ever; as the Exod. 21. 6. and Deut. 15. thy servant for ever, viz. till the Jubile: but all your typical ordinances had their date and period. God intended to shake them down; that remaining things, the everlasting Gospel might take place, which cannot be shaken, nor are to be Page  324 removed, Heb. 12. 27. Its said, Heb. 9. 9. those outward and carnal ordinances were imposed till the time of re∣formation or correction, and so long they had an excel∣lent end, and use; but even then the circumcision of the flesh was but, as Philo saith, a symbol of circumcision of spirit: and as the Apostle saith of your manna and rock, it was but Christ; and so of your outward worship; the shell is valued for the kernel, the bone for the marrow, while the kernel and marrow is in them; and now these typical symbols, though they be mortua & mortifera, as to their use, dead and deadly; yet they are the word of God, and may and do teach very much Gospel; as the anatomie of a dead man teaches how the parts lie in a living man; yet they continue not of further use to you: and it may easily appear, that God did intend to draw off this outwardness of worship, by his taking off, as you account, fine things in the second temple, which were found in the first, and the Scripture promising a greater glory in the second temple than of the first, cannot be understood otherwaies, then that the outward glory was exchanged and recompenced by spiritual glory through Christ, Hag: 2. 9. & consequently, that the carnal & out∣ward should passe into spiritual glory, which was both manifest, when both the temple, the seat of this outward service, was demolished, and the law the dignity of your nation led and shewn in triumph by the Roman Con∣queror.

As for the attestation of the Gospel Christian that God aimes at inwardness, and spiritualness, especially, I should but make expence of time, and your patience, to prove it; for it is the whole scope and drift of the Gospel, and that covenant which is said to contain bet∣ter promises then the former, hath this as the first; Page  325Ile write my law in their heart, and put it in their mind; that is, in their inwards, Hebr. 8. 9. 10. But instead of lighting a candle to the sunne, I shall endeavor shortly to make a brief Anatomic of this Jew or Christian, that is one inwardly, and how he is distinguished from him that is so outwardly.

[ 1] 1. There is in every true Christian an inward and spiri∣tual man; this is called, The new man, Ephes. 4. 24. The inward, Rom 7. 24. 2 Cor. 4. 16. A dead man may have inward parts, but he hath not an inward man, because there is no soul; so an outward Christian may have in∣ward parts, a dead knowledge, a dead heart, dead affe∣ctions, but no inward man, because there is no work of grace in him; and this is called an inward man, because as corruption spreading over the whole man is called the old man, so this inward renewing grace spread∣ing into and over the whole man, the mind, will, affe∣ctions, is called an inner man; and this inner man is that which knows God, believes in Christ, loves, fears, thirsts after grace, delights in Gods Commandments; and hath a continual opposition to the old man, coun∣ter-lusting, counter-desiring, and counter-standing it: Christ dwells in your hearts, saith the Apostle; The holy Spirit is within you, saith Christ; but as the soul never is in a dead body, because where it dwells, life is; so Christ never is in a man that is dead; where he is, life is, there is an inward man; he that hath not in him this in∣ward man, cannot be a Christian inwardly.

[ 2] Secondly, There is an inward work of God that goes to the forming and begetting of this inward man: Out∣ward Ordinances may make a Christian in the Letter, but an inward work makes a Christian in Spirit; I will put my Law in their inward parts, and write it in their Page  324〈1 page duplicate〉Page  325〈1 page duplicate〉Page  326 hearts, Jer 31. 33. A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit 〈◊〉 put into you, Ezek. 36. 26. I will put my Law into their minds, and write it in their hearts, Heb. 8. 10. These are Covenant-promises, performed to all that are Covenant people: In this inward work we have but the Ministry, but the writing is by the Spirit, as it's said, 2 Cor. 3. 3. Ministred by us, but written by the Spirit of the living God.

[ 3] Thirdly, In this inward man, wrought by an inward work, consists the being of a true Christian; for with∣out this he that is called a Christian is no more a Christi∣an than he that acts the part of a King is a King; the name of a Christian is given or may follow from the outward profession, but the nature is in this inward man: He that begets, communicates his Nature to the begot∣ten; he that paints a man imploys Art only, but com∣municates no Nature: God in a Christians new birth, communicates holiness, which is the Divine Nature; but in an Hypocrite there is nothing but Art (as I may say) or some outward work; for the outward forms may be painted, yet inward forms cannot; the lineaments of a Christian may be drawn to the life upon the white wall of an Hypocrite; but the inward man, which is that quod dat esse, gives being to a Christian, that can∣not be, but in a true Christian.

[ 4] Fourthly, He that is inwardly a Christian hath some marks of difference and distinction from the outward Christian, forma dat distingui; this inward work dif∣frenceth him from all sorts of them that are nominates and Christians outwardly.

First, He is distinguished from the carnal Jew or Christian, that professes Christ, but lives in sin; for though the outward Jew, or Christian may hate some Page  327 sins; Thou abhorrest Idols, thou hatest Popery, and dost many good works, yet that is out of some peculiar and particular indisposition to a particular sin, and some particular approbation or liking of some good works; but this hate of any sin, or this inclination to a perfor∣mance of any good works, ariseth not from an inward nature or gracious principle, as it doth in him that is a Christian inwardly; and the reason is, that contrariety to sin which is in a true Christian, arising from this inward gracious Nature, is to the whole species or kind of sin, and is irreconcileable to any sin whatsoever; as contrarieties of Nature are to the whole kind, as light is contrary to all darkness, and fire to all water; so that this contrari∣ety to sin, arising from the inward man, is uni∣versal to all sin; though not an universal victory, yet there is an universal contrariety; victory argues strength, contrariety argues nature; hence it is that an outward Christian may hate one sin and love a∣nother, becsuse there is not a gracious Nature in him which would be contrary to all: And so also he may do good works, but not out of a Nature that is in him; for if it were from an inward Na∣ture, there would be an universal sympathy with, and inclination towards God, and all that is of God, his Children, his Commandments, 1 Joh. 5. 12 3. Therefore (saith the Apostle) I delight in the Law of God according to the inner man, Rom. 7. 22. not a par∣ticular good inclination, but the Law in the whole of it: It's the victory of a Christian over corrupti∣on may not be full, the performance of good may not be perfect; but the inward Nature of a Chri∣stian is to be judged by the universal contrariety of Page  328 his inward man to all sin, and his universal incli∣nation to God and holiness; and that universal con∣trariety will beget a combate against all sin; and that universall inclination to God, an endeavour to all good; but whether that combat be victorious, or that performance be perfect, though it may be much to shew the strength of a Christian; yet it shewes not his inward nature; but the other, this universal contrariety to sin, can be in no man but him, that hath an universal sympathy with God, and his whole law, and image in his children; they are both in him that is a Christian inwardly, and they argue an inward nature of grace in him; in which nature he differs from the carnal Christian, who may oppose some sins, and do some good works out of other principles and reasons.

Secondly, This inward Christian, is distinguished from a moral man, that to his dogmatical faith and profession of Christ addeth moral vertue; for there is as great difference between grace and virtue, as between the sweet flowers spread upon a dead carkass, and in∣ward life: a man be full of virtue 〈◊〉, and emptie of grace; as a room exquisitely painted without light: mo∣ral virtue is like flowers of needle work, that are made by art, but never grow from any living root: natural temper, disposition, education, produce mo∣ral virtues; but now this inward man of a Christi∣an is, as I may say, made up of Christ: the knowledge, faith, love, the tastes and rellish of Christ are the in∣gredients that make up this inward man all his graces are but extracts out of Christ: It is the knowledge of Jesus Christ that alters the proper∣ties of moral virtues, and turns them into Evan∣gelical Page  329 graces, fruits of the Spirit; as the reaso∣nable soul makes the sensitive operations, which otherwayes are in bruits to be the act of a man: I know a Christian may have more rough∣ness of nature, and more sturdiness of passions then is in many a moral man; he that hath more Christianity may have less morality; as there is more perfection of animal and sensitive faculties in some bruits, then in some men: I had rather fight against sin by a little of Christ in me, then beat lusts and passions quite out of the field by the strength meerly of moral virtue; because fighting against passions by the faith and love of Christ argues a Gospel inward life, which is better then a freedom from vice by a company of dead virtues.

Thirdly, This inward man is distinguished from all those common gifts and workings which may be in an outward Christian; for there may be a large knowledge, a kind of dogmatical faith, a mercenary love of God, a worldly sorrow for sin, a desire of salvation, and grace, as a bridge to heaven; but there is great difference between gifts and grace: there is no grace but hath a coun∣terfeit, that goes under that same name; and that is it which deceives men: for likeness is the mother of error, and it's that makes examination so hard: knowledge, faith, love, repentance, are to be di∣stinguished; for there are that bear the name of these, but are not; therefore this light oare is to be distinguished from true metal; the Spirit works many things in those whom it unites not to the head; and many have large gifts by dispen∣sation Page  330 from Christ that have no grace by virtue of their union with him, as heat from the body into the clothes one weares; but they do not argue union with the head. Now there is a peculiar knowledg of God, which is by his teaching, which a man may rather feel than discribe; there is a love of Christ himself, not only of his benefits; there is a repentance that rises out of love; and not out of slavish fear, and there are desires of grace for service, and not only for a bridg to heaven; this is the mark of true grace as distin∣guished from common: it casts out self-love; and as it comes from union, so it drawes the soul into union and acquaintance with Christ himself: the most intimate corruptions of men are pide and self, which are not mortified by outward and common graces; nor doth common grace draw into union with Christ, but is wholly upon be∣nefits and reward; to seek God for God, or love Christ for himself, is above the power of all com∣mon shining glorious parts or 〈◊〉, and 〈◊〉 pro∣per and peculiar to this inward man.

Fourthly, A Christian inwardly is distingui∣shed from the outwardly formed, who in the form of Godliness is as well drest as the true Christian, frequents ordinances, complies in ritual and for∣mal duties, hath greater parts and abilities than this Christian inwardly we speak of; but yet the inner Christian differs from the outward. 1. In the principle that carries him, which is regenera∣ting grace, a well of waer that springs up in him to everlasting life. 2. In the motive that impels and constrains him, the love of Christ; the sweet Page  331 peculiar relishes of that love: 3. In the manner, which is with delight in God, in his law, and the commandments are not grievous. 4. In the ends he aimes at, which are not the base respects of self-love, but the walking with God in communion, and the enjoyment of God his God: but as for the Christian outwardly, he hath no principle, no root in himself, Matth. 13. 21. his motives are forrain springs and plummets, as your 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; his man∣ner of performance is but artificial and unsavoury; his ends are like Jehu's, that is, his own; and so his faith that he brags of, is but want of temptation; his assurance is but confidence in the flesh; his qui∣etness, is but want of examination of his bottom; his joy is the blaze of thorns; his desies are but the eructations of self-love. I have thus shewn you him that is a Christian inwardly; and now for the use.

[Use 1] First, I would speak to the Jew; but I can find neither Jew outwardly, nor Jew inwardly, as the text describes both; for the Jew outwardly, is not found, because his outward ordinances, which de∣nominated him so, are dead and gone; the fall of the temple, to which most of them was affixed, broke most of them down, and crusht them to death ir∣recoverably.

Those that now they hold, as Circumcision, sabbath, difference of meats, rules of marriage, &c. They are the ruines of the ruines of their state; and though they were the ordinances of God, are now become their own superstitions, of no more use then heathen Ceremonies, and observations; unless to teach them that whiles they hold them, Christ shall Page  332 profit them nothing: And for the Jew inwardly, he is not, nor can be; for their Ordinances as now can∣not work or convey renewing grace, no more than heathen Rites: Indeed salvation was of the Jews, as Christ saith; and there was a spirit sparingly con∣ferred on some; but now to expect any Regenera∣tion, any kernel in the husks now left, any new creature should be in them, that receive not but call Christ Anathema, or consequently should have the spirit or any saving grace, is as much as to say, that a statue of stone may beget a living man: And there∣fore that Doctrine of the Rabbins, That (one calls Pestilent) whosoever professes Judaism, howsoever he live, shall have part in the world to come, which Justin Martyr thus expresses, that all Abrahams seed, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, &c.

[Use 2] Christians be not you deceived with outwards and externals, I mean, deceived in your selves; gross sins may be lest, ways reformed, Ordinances par∣taken in, duties done, and yet this inward work be wanting; the heart enlightned, broken, quickned, the will and affections sanctified, are the things that must be sought after. When a man white-washes or paints an old house, it's a sign he means not to pull it down: You can conform to times and cu∣stoms of Religion, and begin to varnish over a rot∣ten heart; but that is a sign you mean not to pull all down and build new: Is it some ends that you have set up that makes you cry up Religion? This is but outward vvork, this makes you but a Jew outward∣ly; this is but to thaw on the sunnie side of the house, and to freeze on the other: Learn vvhat the inward part of godliness is; A soul taken vvith Page  333 Christ himself, savouring the thing of the Spirit, his graces, his vvays; enquire after inward expe∣riences, and vvhat difference there is between the Word preached, and the Word engro••ed, be∣tween Baptism of vvashing, and that which is cleansing within; for the Ordinances are but as a mould, that casts a man into the very shape of them∣selves, and forms an impression spiritual like them∣selves.

[Use 3] Have you this inward man? are you Christians inwardly? Shew not your Opinions, and Notions, and Forms: Have you the inward work? Is the work of Regeneration passed upon you? are you drawn into union and acquaintance with Christ? have you felt any moulding and fashioning of your hearts into the Image of Christ? Be not deceived in names equivocal; there is a knowledge, a faith, a repentance, a form of Religion that belongs to the Jew outwardly; and there are such graces as are in the Christian inwardly, and none else; they have their proper marks, as I have shewn you: There is a world of Forms now reigning; Religion runs out into leaves and notions; I would have no man to flatter himself, that though he make no shew; yet he hath it within; no, no, mae me believe a dead man lives, and then I will believe that there can be Grace without a change of the whole man inward and outward. I am sad to see Religion cut in pieces, and Christs Garment not only divided, but his bones broken, Haeresies, Blasphemies, play∣ing at Tennis with Religion, bandying this way and that way, one Opinion unchurching another, and all in confusion, women Prophetesses, and what Page  334 not? I cannot but wonder there is no hedg: God stir up some Phineases to be zealons for God, and his Church, and truth, before not only Govern∣ment, but Doctrine too, and truth of Religion be disputed and baffled out of doors. For your parts, I cannot exhort you better than to mind the inwards of Religion, self-denyal, faith, love of God, and to be built up in them; hold the vitals, hold the head; and though all the world reel into pieces, you have that will save your own souls.

[Use 4] Comfort to him that is a Jew inwardly; his are the Promises, they are made to the Christian in∣wardly; many may excel you in parts, and yet have no inward man in them; they are nothing; he is the Jew that is one inwardly; when all is done, thou art the Christian in whom Christ dwells by faith, governs by love, and builds by comforts and hopes that will never fade; as David sweetly, Psal. 51. 6. Thu desirest truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part thou hast made me to know wisdom: You that have this inward man, adorn that, 1 Pct. 3. 34. Let it not be the adorning and plaiting of the hair; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, in a meek and quiet spirit that's of price with God; this is the Gentlewomans Looking-glass. Again, When men judge you, this will comfort you, in 1 Gor. 4. 5. The Lord will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and then every man shall have praise of God. When afflictions break the outward man, 2 Cor. 4. 16. the inward man shall be renewed. When endeavours fail, and performances of duty prove uncomfortable, yet this will comfort, Rom. 7. 22. I delight in the Law of God according to the inner Page  335 man. He that hath an inward man hath work, hath comfort; work to take him up if he follow it, that he shall not attend to wild fancies and conceits; and comfort to refresh him in all times and conditions; and the least is not, that His praise is of God.

FINIS.