The teachings of Christ in the soule. Opened in a sermon before the Right Honble House of Peers, in Covent-garden-Church, upon the solemne day of their monthly fast, March 29. 1648.
Sterry, Peter, 1613-1672.
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To the Right Honble, the House of PEERS, Assembled in Parliament.

Right Honble,

I Have principally endeavoured in this Sermon to search, What that is, to Which we may Trust our Soules; and What Foundation we are to Lay in our Religion.

If we were once Established in this maine Point concerning the Next World, we should Enjoy our selves with much more Setledness, and Security in This World. For how quietly should we repose our Selves for this Outward, Short Life in the Body on that Power, to Which we commit the Care of our more Excellent, and Immortall Part?

What Difficulty would there be in Trusting to Him for our Preservation from Death, to whom we trust our Selves in Death, for Eternity?

Our Lord Jesus seems to this End to be Shaking Heaven, and Earth, Church, and State, all Outward Powers, and Inward Principles in Both; that the True Foundation of Heaven, and Earth may be Discovered.

Saint Paul saith, Other Foundation can no Man lay, than that which is laid, Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. 3. 11.

God Hath laid no other Foundation; neither May we, neither Can we.

On This alone hath God built the World, His Church, His Glo∣ry. He hath made All Things by Jesus Christ, Coloss. 1. 16.

On this alone must we build our Belief, and Obedience in Di∣vine Things; our Wisdome, and Power in the Things of Man. For All Power is given to Him in Heaven, and Earth, Mat. 28. 18.

Whoever raiseth any Outward, or Inward Frame of Things Page  [unnumbered] upon any other Ground-worke, he makes a Lie, he works the Works of the Devill, whose End is to be Dissolved; to Vanish in∣to Ayre, or Perish in the Fire.

S. Paul Divides Man into Three Parts; Spirit, Soule, and Body, 1 Thess. 5. 23.

The Body is an Outward Image made of Dust, Gen. 2. 7. God formed Man of the Dust of the Ground.

The Soule is a Breath of Life Inclosed in This Image, Clo∣thed with It, and Giving Life to It: He breathed into his Nosthrils the Breath of Life, and Man became a Living Soul.

The Spirit is the Fountain of Life, which flowes forth from God, to Feed, and Maintain the Breath of Life in the Body. When the time of Death Comes, This Spirit draws back to Their Head again Those streams of Life, by Which It went forth into the Body. Then the Outward Image falls to the Ground, and moulders away. Thus doth the Dust return to the Earth, as it was; and the Spirit returns to God that gave it, Eccles. 12. 7.

Now of These Three the Higher lives In the Lower, and A∣bove It. The Lower lives by the Higher. And the Highest of all Three, the Spirit of Man hath a Higher than That, by which It Self lives, even the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, who is the King, and Father of Spirits.

Our Saviour reasons after this manner, Is not the Life More than Meat, and the Body than Rayment? Mat. 6. 25.

My Lords! We are all well assured of This: that, Nothing can Give More, than It Hath. These Bodies of ours, which have a more Noble Image, and Life, than any other part of this Outward World, in which they are; cannot receive Either, or continue in Either by any Inferiour, and Outward Thing; but by a Soule, which dwells in the Body, as a Silk-worm in her Work; which lives in the Body, as a Fire in the Flame. Food, and Rayment may be the Fuell, by which the Soule maintains the Flaming Appearance of this Bodily Image. But the Vertue goes forth from the Soule.

Page  [unnumbered]Our Saviour again teacheth us; that, Nothing, which comes from Without, can make the Soule Miserable, or Happy; Clean, or Unclean.

This is done by that which comes from a more Inward, and Higher Principle; from the Spirit of Man.

In like manner this Spirit it self derives Its Life from the Right, or the Left Hand of Jesus Christ; His Love, or His Wrath. From Hence our Spirits convey Life into our Soules, and thorow them into our Bodies.

Thus our Bodies live not by Bread alone, but by that Vertue, which comes forth from our Soules. Our Soules live not by their Counsels, and Courages alone; but by every Stream of Life, that descends from our Spirits upon them. Our Spirits live not by their own Eminencies; but by Every Word, that comes forth from the Mouth of Jesus Christ.

S. Paul said, The Head of the Woman is the Man; The Head of the Man is Christ; The Head of Christ is God, 1 Cor. 11. 3.

So the Head of the Body is the Soule; the Head of the Soule is the Spirit; the Head of the Spirit is Jesus Christ, as He comes forth to us in the Ministery of Angels.

Therefore let us have a Covering over our Heads, a Power o∣ver our Soules, and Spirits, holding them in Subjection; for these Angels sakes, Amongst Which, and By Which Jesus Christ the Head of our Soules, and Spirits doth now raigne over us.

Our Lord Jesus calls Himself the Sun of Righteousnesse. O that men did once Know; that there can be no Right Judgment made, no true Distinction, or Discovery of Things; but by the Shining out of Jesus Christ in their Hearts!

Are there not Invisible Things, as well as Visible? Have not They also Their Sun?

The Sun, the Brightest Body, is the Foundation, and Foun∣tain of all Light, Vertue, Forme, and Being in this Globe of Bo∣dily Page  [unnumbered] Substances. If the Sun be quite hid, all Shapes are lost in an Utter Darkness.

The Lord Jesus among Spirits, and Spirituall Things is the onely Foundation of Truth, Life, and Power. All Truth, and True Life is lost in Doubt, Uncertainty, and a Spirituall Death, to those Spirits, in which He withdraweth Himself.

Why is the Heaven of our Religion darkened with Clouds of Dispute, with so much Diversity, such Uncertainty of Opinions; that he begins to seem the Wisest among us, who is most of all a Sceptique, that is, a Scorner, or an Atheist?

How comes our Reason to such a Losse, that She cannot Find, or Know Her self; She can give no Cleer, or Constant Account of Her self, in any One Man, or in any One Particular Thing?

Doe not These things manifestly declare not only a Negation, but a Privation of some Great Light, which should by It's Im∣mediate Presence rule the Day of our Religion; and by Its Beams falling upon our Reason, as the Lesse Light, rule the Night of of Nature, and Civill Affairs?

The Watch-men watch for the Morning, so doth my Soule wait for the Rising of the Lord Jesus upon Her, and upon the whole Earth. He is the Image of the Invincible God; the Light, that is Sowne even in This our Darkness. But He shall breake these Chains of Darkness. For it is not Possible, that He should be Holden by them.

I have onely One Thing more to say, which is this; that, There are Some things, which I could not speake before your Lops, though I had prepared them. These things I have now taken the Boldness to present to your Lops Eyes, together with those, which I had formerly offered to your Lops Ears.

That Jesus Christ may discover Himself a Living Corner∣stone in your Hearts, out of which may grow up a Building of Eternall Peace to your own Persons, and Present Peace to This Kingdome, is, My Lords, the Prayer of

Your Honours most humble Servant in the Lord Jesus, PETER STERRY.