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.

The Application.

[Use 1] FOr Humiliation. Right Honourable, Can you weep with your Saviour one houre? You have set this Day, and ma∣ny; your Saviour hath set this Yeere, and many such Yeeres apart, to this end.

Long did our Lord Jesus pipe to us with the sweet sounds of Peace, Plenty, Pleasures: But we danced not to the Mu∣sick of his Love. Now he hath long wept to us, he comes forth cloth'd with red garments, riding on the pale horse of Death in the midst of us. If we now mourne not to him, it is a Rebellion, as the sinne of Witchcraft; it is to make mer∣ry with Devils, and exalt our selves with Lucifer.

My Lords! If a sense of your Saviour's frownes, and the sorrowes of your people have wrought your soules to a mour∣ning temper, I humbly beg two things of you; One, that you would mourne seriously; the other, that you would mourne spiritually.

1. Mourne seriously. The Lord Jesus is our Master, He sets us serious Lessons of Sorrow.

Let us raise our Spirits to their Watch-tower, to a wakefull temper. What doe we now see? The Lord Jesus making three Kingdomes in a view, as three Wine-presses, Himselfe tread∣ing them; where the Grapes are men; the Wine, the precious blood, and the deare lives of many thousands of men.

Yet his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

Still he seemes to be gathering together under his feet the remaining Clusters, to tread them into streams of blood, till there be none left; till the dry land of Peace, or Hope, be no more to be seene; but a deluge of blood swallow up all.

Page  12 But, What doe we see? The Lord Jesus making three King∣domes as Bottles, filling them first with the winde of Vanity, and Pride; then with the Wine of their owne Fury, and his Wrath; so dashing them in pieces one against another, till they become as broken Pot-sheards.

Yet his anger is not turned away; but his hand is stretched out still.

Still he seemes to be hissing fot a troupe of fiercer spirits from the darke, and fiery corners of hell below, to enter into these Pot-sheards; that they may make a more confused, and crueller Warre, each with other.

Are these things Dreames, and Fancies? or are they seri∣ously thus?

We reade of a Law, which God made among the Jewes, Levit. 23. 29. that if any one afflicted not himselfe on a so∣lemne day of Humiliation, that soule should be cut off from his people. O God! let not this curse fall upon my Spirit, or up∣on any Spirit here present this day; to be so far cut off from being a living member of Jesus Christ, or a naturall member of his native countrey; as to mourne, but in shew, or slightly now; when the Lord Jesus riseth upon us in such a Cloud of deepe, and reall Sorrowes.

If any man at this time, regardlesse of that storme, which he sees in his Saviour's face, or of the sufferings of his Brethren, shall make himselfe red with Wine, and Laughter; when Je∣sus Christ is red with anger, and blood; is it not, O God, be∣cause thou hast made the heart of that man fat for a sudden Slaughter? Let us then mourne seriously.

2. Mourne spiritually. Imitate Jesus Christ, make him your Master this way in your Griefes.

We reade of him, Mar. 14. 33, 34. He began to be heavy, and sore amazed. And he said, My soule is exceeding sorrowfull, even unto death. Alas our Brethren! our Country! our selves! Page  13 our Saviour! Shall not the wrath of the one, and the suffe∣rings of the other, make us sore amazed, and exceedingly heavy, unto death, even the death of all our fleshly de∣lights?

It is witnessed of Christ, 1 Pet. 3. 18. He was put to death according to the flesh, and quickned in the spirit. S. Paul tea∣cheth us, 1 Cor. 5. 5. that, after the same example, every Hu∣miliation should be for the destruction of the flesh, and the sa∣ving of the Spirit.

Who calls himselfe a Christian? and yet can forbeare in these times to sigh forth such language as this: Lord Jesus! thou art our Master, we will learne of thee, to die with thee. Make thou these Calamities, which our eyes see, our eares heare, our hearts feele, and feare on every side of us, to be our Crosses, set up by thy Crosse; on thy right hand, like that of the good Thiefe. We have had power, pompe, pleasures af∣ter the flesh: But now let all these languish on these Crosses, till they bow downe the head; and we give up the Ghost of all earthly strength and hope. Thus we will dye, and our death shall be sweet unto us, as the Spring of a better, and more bles∣sed life.

My soule! breathe thou forth thy griefes, and feares into the bosome of thy JESUS, after this manner: My dearest Lord! All these miseries round about me, shall be thy Crosse to me. Here will I lay me downe on this Crosse, in thine armes, who hast been crucified upon it before me. This shall be my rest in the day of trouble: For here will I lay me downe, and dye, for ever to the world, that I may rise againe in thy bosome to a new hope; to sweeter, and surer Joyes.

But, for what shall we mourne? We reade in the Gospel of a people, that said of Christ, We will not have this man to rule over us. For this the Lord Jesus determines to go up, and slay them.

Have not we refused the Lord Jesus, for a Master, to rule, Page  14 and guide us? Is it not for this, that he hath made these slaughters upon us?

Let us try our selves concerning these foure Masters, Out Humour; Our Lusts; Our Passions; The Examples of men.

1. Our Humour. God complaines, Esay 52. 3. My people have sold themselves for nought. How often have we sold our selves, our soules, our Saviour for nought, for a Humour?

Let us thinke, and weepe; that many a time the Lord Je∣sus hath dropt upon our soules the precious discourses of life, peace, and immortality, like the dew from the wombe of the morning, that is, from the eternall Fountaines of light, and truth: Yet we have cast it off, without consideration, meerly because our Humour lay that way, to be carelesse of these things.

O stiffe-neckt spirits! Jesus Christ hath come to us, eat∣ing, and drinking, that is, filling himselfe with immortall strength, and truths, with divine sweetnesse, and joyes; that he might flow forth on us, and feed us with the same bread, and wine of Heaven.

O hard-hearted Spirits! He, who is the Beloved of God, the Beauty of the Godhead comes to us, neither eating nor drinking; but weeping and dying; testifying the greatnesse of his love by the greatnesse of his sufferings; teaching us to hide our selves from griefes, and death in his wounds, and through them to passe into Paradise.

Yet, we suffer all this to run waste, making no entrance into our eares, or hearts; and that for a weak, empty Hu∣mour, for an inclination without reason; because we are list∣lesse to such things, and have no pleasure in them.

But now let us fall downe before Jesus Christ, and say, Lord! thou art the Wisdome of the Father. None Teacheth like thee. Thy love, and wisdome have overcome me. Many Masters, many Hamours have reign'd over me, besides thee. Page  15 But I bring my stiffe neck to thee with a halter upon it; till thou please to take it off; and put on thy yoke, which is light, and easie. I bring my hard heart to thee, and lay it broken at thy feet; till thou gatherest it into thy breast, and make it whole there.

2. Our lusts. These are our second Masters. Psal. 12. 13. God saith of Israel, I gave them up to their owne hearts lusts. And then afterwards, O that my people would have heard my voice!

Lusts lead us away from Jesus Christ, and suffer us not to heare his voice.

Let us try our selves concerning this thing. What in all the course of our life hath put us on the frequentest, or chie∣fest actions of our life? Have the Spirituall appearances of Jesus Christ within us, conspiring with his Word before us, been the Oracle, with which we have consulted? Or have our lusts prompted us, and thrust us on?

Have our eyes been upon the Eye of Christ to guide us; or on some Wedge of gold, or the Babylonish garment of some power, office, or honour?

What is it in the great action of this Reformation, that hath put us to travaile so far about by the way of the Wilder∣nesse, of a Warre? to meet with so many fiery Serpents? What is it, which now hath cast us into this feare, that we shall waste a weary life, and drop our Carkasses in this Wil∣dernesse, before we see the Land of Rest?

Have we not loath'd Manna; and lusted after Quails? We have found no Savour, or Relish in the discoveries of Beauty, Sweetnesse, Rest in the Spirit, and Person of our blessed Saviour: But have been longing for the Bravery, Ease, and pleasures of the Flesh.

Doe we thus requite Jesus Christ? He hath spared no losse, trouble, or paine, to make his way to us, to make known Himself, his Father, and the Glory of Heaven to us.

Page  16 Yet now every motion of Ambition, Vanity, Covetous∣nesse, or foule Desire, hath more power to perswade with us, than the Life and Death of Jesus Christ, than all his Words, Teares, and Blood.

Let our Saviour speak by his Providence, as loud as Thunder; let him speak by his Promises with the tongue of an Angell, to our eares and affections; let him speak by the power of his Spirit, with the voice of God to our Spirits; we cannot heare him. But let a Lust whisper onely from out of the ground of our sensuall part; we heare it with ease and speed.

Shall we not be ashamed, and grieved for these things?

3. Our passions. You have an admonition from the Apo∣stle, Ephes. 4. 27. Let not the Sun goe downe upon your wrath: To that he addes, ver. 28. Neither give place to the Devill. Passions are Devils come up into our spirits, with the fire of hell burning hot upon them, and flaming from them.

These are uncleane Spirits, which for the most part haunt the high places of Power, and the desolate places of Warre.

When Passions are loud, God himselfe cannot be heard by the best men; as we see in the example of Jonah.

What griefe is it to thinke, that we should refuse the Prince of Peace for a Counsellour, when we take our passions in his stead? that Jesus Christ should come with his wounds upon him, and not be able to quench the heat of our enflamed blood with his blood, that was poured out for us? that Jesus Christ should come with all the joyes of heaven upon him, and not be able to put out the hellish fire flaming in our hearts, by these heavenly Beames? that he should un∣bosome to us all his consolations, and yet not asswage some carnall griefe in us?

O how deepe a wound doth this make, if the time have Page  17 been, when Jesus Christ in our soules hath been heard to say, Spare; when our Passions have cryed, Ruine, Kill; and have been obeyed!

It is good for us to take words to us, and pray, Lord Jesus! thou canst make this Heathen, this Rebell, my Passion, thy Cap∣tive. Thou canst cut her nayles, and haire, thou canst take off her earthlinesse, and extremity. Doe this, and then make her thy Spouse. Let my Passion be subject to thee, beare thy Image, bring forth to thee the fruit of a true repentance, and humiliati∣on for my Passion. O! that anger, griefe, revenge, which have been as the fire of hell upon my heart, may hereafter be as fire upon thine Altar to make my heart a Sacrifice to thee.

3. Examples of men: This is the third Master. Wee reade, that all the world wondred after the Beast, Revel. 13. 3. The Power of Man is a Beast: the Glory of Man is a Whore. Which of us hath not worshipt this Beast, and taken his mark upon us? which of us hath not committed fornication with this Whore, and bred up children of adultery by her, while we have received opinions, or engaged in actions, as they have had the stampe of some persons, or partie, which hath been the most, the most potent, or the most excellent in our esteeme?

Are not the greatest part of all cases of Conscience in Church and Common-wealth thus ruled?

Have not the faith of Christ in respect of persons, saith S. James, c. 2. v. 1. The Apostle layes the weight of his Argu∣ment on a Contradiction cleerly implyed.

That is not the faith of Christ, which we have in respect of persons, but the faith of men.

If any one among us would take an impartiall account of those Principles, which his head hath taken in, or those paths, in which his feet have trod; and would set, as sheepe at his right hand, those, which he hath had commended to Page  18 him by the life of Christ bringing them forth from his Word in his Spirit, and confirmed to him by the cleere light of Christ shining in them upon his soule: and then set as Goats on his left hand, those, which have manifestly, or insensibly prevailed with him, because they have the Inscrip∣tion of Man's power, or Image of Man's Glory upon them: how few would the Sheep be with the most of us in compa∣rison of our Goats?

But hath God the Father sealed any man with the Bright∣nesse of his owne Glory, to be an Author of Truth to us; as he hath done Jesus Christ? Him hath the Father Sea∣led, John 6. 27. Hath any man sealed his Truth, and Faith∣fulnesse to us, by his blood, as Jesus Christ hath done? was Paul crucified for you? 1 Cor. 1. 13.

Let us be ashamed of this double neglect of our Saviour, and our Soules; of our Saviour, that we have thrust him out of His chaire in our Spirits, and set up Man in it: of our Soules, that we have made a man, who is a slight, and vanish∣ing Shadow; our Master, and Measure; when we reject Him, who is the eternall Image it selfe, of all Truth.

Let Heaven blush, let the Earth tremble; if men blush, and tremble not at these things.

God is come downe into our shape, our Saviour comes downe into our Spirits, to instruct us, and shew us what is good. And we will have none of our God for our Guide, but our fellow-wormes, which crawle on their bellies upon the same earth, and feed upon the same dust with our selves. The Clouds are a covering between Him and us, that we can∣not learn of Him.

He, who is the Image of God would shine upon us, and goe before us in his Glories, as a Pillar of cleere, and sweet Light. But He shall not rule over us. Our lusts shall leade, and our Passions drive us. We savour, and relish these things. But the light of Christ is too mysterious, high, Page  19 and glorious for us; we cannot see, or follow it with our eyes.

Jesus Christ hath put himselfe out of the bosome of the Father, into the hand of men, death, devils, to make known to us the things of our peace, hope, desires, and happinesse. Yet we stop our eares without consideration, whether he speak right things, or no; whether it be reason to refuse, or receive his words; being carryed to it onely by an humorous carelesnesse.

Have you any sense of these things? I beleeve, I know, you have, if you have any sense of your Saviour.

I have two sad words yet to speak for a double close to this Vse.

1. Close. These refusals to hearken to the Lord Jesus, have been the ruines of these Kingdomes thus far. I intreat you to reade a few words with me from the Psalmist, Psal. 81. 13, 14, 15. O that my people had hearkned unto me, and Israel had walked in my wayes! I should soone have subdued their enemies: but their time should have been for ever.

Saint Peter teacheth us, 2 Pet. 1. 1. that no Scripture is of private interpretation; but hath an universall concernment for all estates, and times.

I now pray, that each of us had a spirituall eye to see, a spirituall eare to heare spirituall things. Then should we see Jesus Christ hovering in his Spirit over these Islands; we should heare him making this lamentation over them in his owne language:

O that the Princes and people of these Lands had knowne me in my secret wayes of converse with the spirits of men! O that they could have heard, and would have hearkned to what I have spoken by my appearances in the depths of their soules! O that the Rulers and people of these Nations could have seene that path, which I have pointed out to them from heaven, by my light, invibsile indeed to fleshly eyes, but visible to the eye of Faith! How soone would I have subdued their enemies, Page  20 and enmities? But their righteousnesse should have appeared as the Sunne: the time of their peace should have already been, and have been for ever. O that when I had spoken of the Law of my lips, and the Light from my face; these had not been, as strange things to them! But now they have walkt, as men, and taken to themselves the counsailes of men. For this their feares are increased, their troubles are multiply∣ed, as the waves of the sea. For this palenesse is upon every face, bitternesse upon every tongue, upon every heart a sad expecta∣tion of greater evills yet, of those dayes, when the Cities, that yet flourish, shall be laid waste, and a blacker, a more overflow∣ing storme shall sweepe away all those comforts, that have been hitherto left them.

Let us stand, and first looke backward on so much of this our day of visitation, as is already past, which hath been a day of blacknesse, and clouds. Then let us look forward up∣on the evening more terrible, and full of horrour, which is too likely to conclude this Day. Let us say, Because we have followed our owne counsailes, and not our Saviour's; we have brought all these evils upon these Kingdomes.

Let our hearts within us say this, then let them break, and dye, that Jesus Christ may revive them.

This is the first Close.

2. Close. Because we have been no sooner, no more humbled; our calamities are growne greater. Give me leave to pick some sad passages out of that thundring Chapter, Levit. 26. 21. If ye will not hearken unto me, ver. 16. I will doe this unto you, I will bring upon you terrour and consumptions. ver. 18. If ye will not for all this hearken unto me, I will punish you seven times more. ver. 19. I will break the pride of your power. ver. 20. Your strength shall be spent in vaine. ver. 21. If ye walke contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me, I will bring seven times more plagues upon you. ver. 23. If ye will Page  21 not be reformed by all these things, ver. 25. I will bring a sword upon you, (to avenge upon you the quarrell of my Cove∣nant:) When you are gathered together within your Cities, I will send the pestilence among you, and you shall be delivered into the hands of your enemies. ver. 27. If ye will not for all this hearken unto me, ver. 28. Then will I walk contrary unto you in fury. ver. 29. You shall eate the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters.

These are words to make the eare of Man tingle, and his heart ake. Why are all these dreadfull menacings? For this, If ye will not hearken to me; if ye will not be reformed by for∣mer sufferings.

It were happy, if each man of us, when he comes home, would retire into his Closet; or presently retire into himself, and say, Hath the Lord made so many breaches upon these Lands, and so few upon my heart? Must he bring a King∣dome to absolute ruine, before he reach my heart, to break the pride of my power, wisdome, honour, and confidence? Must I be brought to the extremity of publike evills, to the end of the Creature, before I will be brought to the end of my wits, to meet with Jesus Christ, that my eye may see my Teacher?

We have the story of a dreame, which Nebachadnezzar had, and the Interpretation which Daniel made of it, Dan. 4. Part of the Interpretation is exprest ver. 23. They shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and se∣ven times shall passe ever thee, till thou know, that the most High ruleth in the Kingdome of men.

I say in our case, as Daniel said to the King, This dreame be to our enemies, and the Interpretation of it to those that hate us.

Yet I very much feare, lest we be driven out of all forme of a Common-wealth, into a Wildernesse of Confusion; that our nayles will grow longer, and sharper, like the Page  22 clawes of birds of prey; that our haire will turne into fea∣thers of flight, and fury; that we shall have our dwelling among beasts, not men; that seven times more will come upon us, to wet us with the displeasure of heaven; before we know, that the most high God, the Lord Jesus, hath wisdome, and might, that his hand disposeth of the King∣domes of the earth, his lips alone utter knowledge, and dis∣cover truth to Man.

Doe we not yet groane for the plague of our hearts, that they are so long so hard? Doe we not cry, O the slownesse of our hearts to know the voice of our owne Shepherd, and to re∣ceive the teachings of the Lord Jesus!

Shall we now all joyne with an unutterable, and irresista∣ble groane to aske one thing of our Saviour? even this: That we may be ever in thy Temple, O Jesus! Thy presence makes our soules thy Temple: That we may be still beholding thy face, and still searching out thine appearances within us, to make these the men of our Counsaile.

Thus much for the first Use, which is for Humiliation.

[Use 2] For Information. Christ is our onely Master in Christia∣nity. There is then no testimony, on which we can build our Religion, our Beliefe in Divine things; save onely that Testimony of that most high Spirit, which is God, and Christ shining in our Spirits.

It is one of the names of Christ, Revel. 1. 5. The faith∣full Witnesse. It is his Prerogative, as to be King of Kings, so to be the Witnesse of Witnesses. Every Testimony is so far to be believed, as it hath him testifying to it, and in it, who is the faithfull Witnesse.

It is onely the greatest Light, the Light of the World, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, that can enlighten, and informe us in the greatest things, which are the things of God.

The whole world, especially the Christian part of it, is fill'd Page  23 with violent, and voluminous Disputes, concerning this thing: What should be the Rule of our Faith, how we should distinguish the true Religion from the false.

There are five Competitours for this Master-ship over our Spirits:

  • 1. Reason.
  • 2. The Authority of the Church.
  • 3. Miracles.
  • 4. The Letter of the Scriptures.
  • 5. The Spirit.

We will briefly examine all these, each apart by it selfe.

1. Master, Reason. This it selfe needs a Master. For it is corrupted, and depraved in all Man-kind. Where then shall we find right Reason? Who shall refine, and define it? By what light shall we discover? by what fire sever the silver from the drosse; Reason from the irregularities and corrup∣tions of Reason?

Who can draw a cleane thing out of an uncleane? saith the Scripture. And naturall Reason it selfe in its Phyloso∣phie testifies, That nothing can bring forth it selfe out of Power, or Potentiality, into act; out of an imperfect state into perfection.

Saint Paul determines the state of Nature and Reason. Rom. 3. 12, 13. They are all gone out of the way. The path of Reason was their way. Their throat is become an open Se∣pulchre.

The inward parts of Man are now no more a Temple, in which Reason sits in its purity, and Power, as the Image of God, giving forth its Oracles: but a Grave, in which the dead, and rotten carkase only of Reason lies, without any true light, or life.

But Reason at first, in its height, was not, could not Page  24 be a suitable, a sure Judge in Spirituall things.

1. Reason at best is no suitable Judge in spirituall things. There must be a proportion betweene the faculty and the Object to unite them. Reason is but a humane light: Spiritu∣all things are Divine. Reason is a naturall Power: Spirituall objects are Supernaturall; of another rank, and kind.

Spirituall things are spiritually discerned, 1 Cor. 2. 14. Can Sense, which is the light of Beasts, trace the workings, and flights of Reason in her Contemplations; or discerne the things of men? Can we see a soule, or an Angel by the light of a Candle?

Divine things must have a Divine light to discover them, a Divine power, and principle to comprehend them.

2. Reason at first was no sure Judge. It never was infalli∣ble. It was deceived. It may then be so alwayes. If it were a∣gaine perfect, it might againe be deceived.

Man being in honour continueth not, but becomes like the beast that perisheth. Psal. 49. 12. The rectitude of Reason, was the Image of God, the Crowne, and Glory of Man. By this he grew up streight in the midst of the Creatures; uniting them, heightning them all by a Harmony into the same Image. So he subdued them to himselfe, himselfe with them ascended into, and rested in the Divine Image.

Thus Man was the true Orpheus with his Divine Hymnes in the midst of Beasts, Trees, and Stones dancing to his Musick.

But vaine Man continues not in this Honour. Reason proves a degenerating thing. It is quickly tempted, easily overcome; so it sinks downward first into a brutish, then a devilish state.

Reason was the glittering, and circling Serpent in Para∣dise, more subtle then all the beasts of the field, or, subtle above all the beasts of the field, Gen. 3. 1.

Yet this Serpent was the first seate, and instrument of that Page  25 deceit, by which the Devill ruined our first Parents.

But, if Reason were undeceived, uncorrupt, and should remaine so; yet could it give us no assurance. For it is a de∣rived, subordinate Principle.

Reason may indeed be considered in a two-fold state:

1. State; As Reason is supreame in God. So it is no other then Jesus Christ. For He is the Image, the Harmony, the Light, the Truth, the Wisdome, the Word, the Reason of God.

John 1. 1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Instead of Word you may reade Reason, as properly, according to the Greeke: for it is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Reason; or 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Speech. Christ is that Reason, in which all things are knit together, and appeare to God; that Reason, by, and for which God made all things.

Reason in this sense is the Spirit. For Christ, and the Spirit are One; not two Masters, but One.

2. State: as Reason is subordinate in Man. Thus it is a di∣stinct Master, and Light from the Spirit. In this sense we have hitherto spoken of it, and doe so still.

Vpon this ground we say, that Reason in Man, if it were pure, and could abide so, could have no full assurance in it selfe, could give us none; because it is a derived, subordinate Light.

It is subject to another, and depends upon another above it. So it cannot have any Certainty, or perfect Cleernesse, but in that other Light. Neither can it establish us in any Certainty, but as it holds forth that other Light in it selfe.

That was the true Light, which lightneth every man that commeth into the world, saith Saint John of Jesus Christ: John 1. 9. Reason hath so much of a true light, as it hath of Jesus Christ in it.

Reason in Man is an inferiour Light, and therefore im∣perfect.

Page  26If we receive the Testimony of Man, the Testimony of God is greater, 1 Joh. 5. 9. As God is above Man, so is the Prin∣ple of Light, by which God sees, which is His Sonne, and Spirit, above that Principle of Light, by which Man judgeth all things, which is his Reason. For this is the Testimony of Man his Reason; this is the Testimony of God His Spirit.

So far then, as the Light of Man falls short of the Light of God; it must of necessity fall short of perfection; have a ne∣gative, though not a privative want: be mixt with darknesse, uncertainty, doubt, feare. Though these in innocency were tempered with their contraries, reduced to a harmony; and so had not deformity, or torment: yet even then the morning of light, and the evening of darknesse made the day of man's knowledge.

God is light, and in him is there no darknesse, 1 John 1. 5. Reason at first, at best is but a Twi-light.

This is Reason in Man, an inferiour, imperfect, dependent Principle; unsuitable at best to Divine things; unsure at first, apt to be deceived; deceived; now depraved in all men.

This is that, which at first betrayed us, and cast us out of Paradise: shall we trust it now, when it is corrupt? can it now bring us into Paradise againe?

We have examined the first Master, and found him unfit for the Schoole of Christ. Let us now try the second.

2. Master. The Authority of the Church.

What doe you take a Church to be? A Combination of men? If you cannot trust your owne Reason, or that of ano∣ther man; because Reason hath a worme at its root, is adul∣terate in its Principle: O then doe not trust your foules, your immortality to a Councel of all mankind, if it were met toge∣ther in one. For all men are acted by the same Principle of Reason.

Page  27 In vaine you worship me, teaching for Doctrines the Tradi∣tions of men; saith Jesus Christ.

Obj. But you will say, A Church is a Communion of Spi∣rituall men in the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

It is the Vnity of the Spirit, that binds men up into a Church. Keepe the unity of the Spirit in the band of peace. Ephes. 4. 3.

It is the presence and power of Christ, who is the Image, and glory of God, that gives to any the Authority of a Church. I am with you to the end of the world, saith our Saviour, Mat. 1. 1. Paul saith, 1 Cor. 5. 4. In the name of our Lord Jesus, when ye are gathered together, and my Spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus.

Thus he describes a Church-meeting by the Name, which is the Discovery, and the Power of Christ upon them.

Answ. If it be the Unity of the Spirit, and the Presence of Christ that make a Church; then is it the Appearance of Christ, and his Spirit through any sort of men, that must discover the true Church to me, and distinguish them from every false, and pretended one.

I will know, saith Saint Paul, not the speech, but the power of such, 1 Cor. 4. 19. For the Kingdome of God (that is, the Church) is not in word, but in power, (that is, in the power of Christ working with them,) ver. 20.

The woman is the Glory of the man, saith Saint Paul. Christ is my Master. The Church shall be my Mistris, so far, as she is the Spouse of Christ, his Image, his Glory.

I then submit my selfe to the authority of the Church, when I submit my selfe to the Appearances of Christ, and the mani∣festations of his Spirit in any society of men.

See how S. Paul, as an Apostle, in whom the authority of the whole Church lay, commends, and justifies himself.

Page  28 2 Cor. 3. 1. Need we Epistles of Commendations to you, or from you? ver. 2. Ye are our Epistles written in our hearts. ver. 3. Ye are manifestly declared the Epistle of Christ, mini∣stred by us, written not with Inke, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tables of stone, but on hearts of flesh.

These are the Commendatory Letters, which a true Apostle, the true Church carry about with them: these are the Com∣mission, by vertue of which they challenge their authority: The Epistle, that is the Gospell, that is the Discovery of Christ shining thorow them into the hearts of men by the Spirit.

These are the onely life, power, authority, discovery of the true Church; the Manifestation of Christ; and the Ministery of the Spirit to the hearts of men.

We reade Gal. 4. 25, 26. of two Hierusalems, one above, the other below, that now is, subject to temporary appearances in this world: or, that now is, whose time is now, whose be∣ing, and glory is of this world.

These are the Two Churches; one in the outward forme; the other in the Spirit.

To be subject to the Hierusalem below, to the Church in the outward forme for the outward forme's sake, is a bondage. For that Church is in bondage with her children.

This Church is but our Mother-in-law.

The Hierusalem which is above, the Church in the unity of the Spirit is the true Mother of us all.

That Church is our right Mistresse, which is our true Mo∣ther. This is the Mount Sion, that cannot be toucht, that is not obvious to sense, or subject to a carnall discerning. Here is the great Congregation of the first-borne, the meeting of all good Spirits in this one Spirit: Heb. 12. 18, 22, 23.

To be subject to the authority of this Church, is to be tru∣ly free. For this Church is seene onely in the Spirit, and in that Spirit justifies her selfe. This Spirit is the seale of the living God upon her.

Page  29 Thus the Authority of the Church is none, or tis that of Christ, and his Spirit in her.

3. Master: Miracles. Divines distinguish between Mi∣randum, and Miraculum, a thing to be admired, and a Mi∣racle.

That is to be admired, which is unusuall, or unknowne; which proceeds from some unwonted, or undiscovered cause in nature.

That onely is a Miracle, which is above Nature, which transcends the course, and power of Nature; which hath the Divine Nature putting forth it selfe in the vigour of its ab∣stracted Being.

You have Miracles described, Mark 16. 20. They went forth, and preached, the Lord working with them, and confirm∣ing the Word by signes following.

That onely is a Miracle or a signe from heaven for confir∣mation of the truth, which hath the Lord Jesus working, and appearing in it joyntly with some creature.

There is no way of confirming the Appearances of Christ, but onely by the multiplying of those Appearances.

How then shall I know, which is a Miracle? I must have a Spirit large, as the sand of the Sea, that can put a Girdle about the whole Compasse of Nature, in her widest ex∣tent. I must fathom her in the utmost of her Power, before I can say of any thing, This is supernaturall, this is a Mi∣racle.

Or else, he that saith, He sees a Miracle, must say, he sees God as he is above all creatures, comming downe in his owne likenesse, into some particular Creature, and making a change of it, by that Discovery of himselfe in it.

The waters saw thee, O God, and were driven backward, saith the Psalmist of the Miracles wrought in the passage of the Children of Israel out of Aegypt.

Page  30 No man can discerne a Miracle, 'till he discover God, which can never be done, but by the Eye of God in the Soul of man.

Jesus Christ is the Head-miracle. For in him first the Face of God is seen in union with the Creature, as in a glasse. Each Miracle is the same Appearance over again in severall shapes, as the same Soul, which shines out in the Head, shewing it self in the various Members, and parts of the body.

Therefore is the Working of Miracles, a Gift of the Spirit: and the working of a Miracle is by the faith of Christ, 1 Cor. 12. 9, 10. Mat. 17. 20.

But let us passe from Miracles to the Letter of the Scrip∣tures.

4. Master: Letter of the Scriptures. Nothing is to be said of these, but reverendly. They are to be set below the Spirit alone.

It is in comparison with this Spirit, that themselves under∣value themselves, and testifie of themselves these things.

1. The Scriptures in the Letter are Dead.

But now we are delivered from the Law, that being dead, wherein we were held, that we might serve him, in the newness of the Spirit, and not in the oldness of the Letter, Rom. 7. 6.

The Law, and the Letter are every where made of equall dignity, power, and extent. Both, as they are alone, are old, and dead.

The Scriptures thus taken signifie nothing, except you bring some living Power, or Principle to them, to quicken them. Lay them before a dead man, and they are, as dead, as he.

2. The Scriptures in the Letter are Killing. 2 Cor. 3. 6. The Letter Killeth, but the Spirit quickneth.

The Letter of the Scripture Kils two waies, by confoun∣ding, and condemning us. It hath so much darknesse upon it, Page  31 so much difficulty in it; it is subject to so many disputes, to such variety of interpretations: that it troubles, and distracts our Vnderstanding, making it able to see nothing, to settle no where.

This indeed is the proper end, and best effect of the Letter, to put out quite all our Light, that we may wait for a higher Light from Heaven, which may restore the Letter without us, and Reason within us, as by a Regeneration.

Saint Paul saith, I by the Law am dead to the Law: Galat. 2. 19. Happy is he, who can say in like manner, I by the Let∣ter am blind, and dead to the Letter, that the Spirit may shine thorow the Letter upon me, and fulfill the law of the Letter in mee.

3. The Letter of the Scripture is an Outward thing.

Rom. 2. 1. Saint Paul teacheth us, that he is not a Jew, who is one outwardly, in the Letter: but he that is one inwardly, in the Spirit.

The Letter, and the Spirit are opposed, as inward, and out∣ward. The Spirit is called a Sword, Ephes. 6. 17. The Scrip∣tures are the Scabbard, in which that Sword is laid up, and out of which it is drawn.

The Spirit in the same place is called the Word of God. This is the inward Word, the Scriptures are the outward.

The Spirit is a Person: the Scriptures are a Garment fitted to that Person, and receiving their warmth from him, before they can give any to us.

Yet every Principle, and Power of falshood, as well, as truth can cloth it self with this Garment. He is not a Jew, that is one outwardly in the Letter.

Each Principle, and Spirit makes the Scriptures appear to it selfe in its owne Likenesse. Spirituall wickednesses can set themselves up in the highest places of Scripture.

4. The Scriptures in the Letter are but a Shadow.

The Law having a Shadow of good things to come, but not the Page  32 very Image it self, Hebr. 10. 1. I have already said, that the Law, and the Letter are much one thing.

The Person of Jesus Christ in the Spirit is the Image it self of all good things. The Scriptures are the Shadow, which this Image casts from it self in the Light of the Spirit.

All creatures are Shadows of those good things, which are in God, and Christ. The Scriptures are the largest, the exa∣ctest, the nearest, the best Shadow; and such a one, as is rightly seen only in the Eternall light of Christ. It vanishes into a confused spot, when he withdraws; and is clear again, when he appears.

Saint Paul puts Timothy in mind of studying the Scriptures; but then lest he should mistake them, he gives him this Vni∣versall Caution, 2 Tim. 3. 19. Knowing that every Scripture is,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, given by inspiration of God.

Vnhappy is he, that trusts himself to any thing, as Scrip∣ture, any further, than it carries a Divine inspiration, the breathings of God, or his Spirit along with it.

That is Scripture, which is the Word of God: and that the Word, which is in union with the immortall Word. This Word hath the words of everlasting life, John 6. 68.

I will conclude this particular head of the Scriptures, with an Answer to an Objection, which the Papists make against us. So shall we fall upon the last Master, the Spirit.

Object. They say, we run in a Circle, while we make not the Church the ground of our belief. For we pretend to Know all things by the Scriptures. But, how the Scriptures? by the Spirit. And, how the Spirit? by the Scriptures. Thus we run round.

Answ. But if a man say, he converseth with my body by my soule, and with my soule by my body: doth he run in a circle, or speak vainly? No: for both are true in a distinct, Page  33 and proper sense. The Body is the appropriate, and immediate Instrument of the Soule: the Soule is the Breath that fills that Instrument, and gives it a distinct sound.

The Spirit quickneth. As the Humane nature to the Divi∣nity of Christ: so the Scriptures are a kind of Incarnation, or as a Body to the Holy Ghost, which alone is their proper Soule.

The Scriptures are the materiall object of our Faith; the Spirit the formall; both the ultimate, the last object in their kind.

The Truths, which I am to believe, lie in Scripture, as Co∣lours in the wall, or in a Picture. The Spirit is, as the Light. I see the coloured wall by the Light, for that enlightens it, a∣ctuates its shape, and colours, brings them, unites them to my eye▪ enlightning, and actuating that also. I see the Light by the Wall, for it reflects, and directs it self from that to my eye.

So the Spirit, and the Scriptures, as Light, and Colours on a Picture are mutually seen in, and by one another; without any Maze, or endlesse Circle.

Thy Word is a Light to my feet, and a Lanthorn to my paths, saith David, Psal. 119. The Eternall Word in the Written Word is the Light in the Lanthorne.

The Scriptures are my Spectacles, though the Spirit of Christ be my Light, or my Eye; and his Person, the Word which I read.

My God! Let me not want thee in the Humanity, while I am a Creature. Blessed Spirit! let me enjoy thee in the Scrip∣tures, while I am in the flesh.

5. Master, the Spirit. This is the Christ, the true Master, 1 Tim. 3. 13. Great is the mystery of godlinesse, God manifested in the Flesh, justified in the Spirit.

The Spirit is God, and Christ in their Divine appearance, Page  34 as they are invisible to carnall eyes, pure, simple, perfect in one.

All Flesh is a Manifestation of God; and each Manifesta∣tion, which is not the Substance it self, is but Flesh.

The Spirit, that is, the Spirituall appearance of God in Christ, tries, and justifies, or condemns all Appearances of Truth or Falshood.

This is the onely Judge, at whose Bar every Manifestation of God in the flesh receives its Justification; even the Spirit. The Lord Jesus is that Spirit, 2 Cor. 3. 17.

1 John 5. 6. The Spirit is Truth, that is, the Highest Truth.

Reason saith, There must be One, there can be only One first, and last Truth, from which all Truths primitively derive themselves; into which they all ultimately resolve them∣selves for certainty, and evidence.

Reason saith, This Truth can be no other than the Highest of all, the only true God, as he is, in his own Spirit, and Spiri∣tuall appearance.

Thus the Spirit, which is above Reason, and can reveal it self at pleasure without Reason, is witnest to by Reason.

This Spirit is the most high God. This God is our Jesus, as he stoops into our Natures, as he puts forth himself in our Persons to become the Fountaine, the Glasse of truth, love, life, joy within us.

This is He, who calls to our fluttering, wandring Spirits, and points them to himself, and saith, Here shall be your Rest, build your nests on this Rock.

His Name is, I am that I am. I am Certainty. I am Truth. All other things are so far certain, and true; as they have a Certainty, and Truth in him; being comprehended in his Appearance; or carrying forth his Appearance in them∣selves.

Come then all, that hunger and thirst after Truth; sit Page  35 downe at the feet of this Master, as Mary did.

There are many Objections made against these inward Tea∣chings of Christ by the Evidence of the Spirit.

1. Object. How shall I know this Spirit?

Answ. If you ask me, how you shall see other things: I answer; by the Light. But if you ask me, how you shall see the Light: I have nothing to say, but the same thing again; by the Light. That which makes manifest is Light.

The Light comprehends the object in it self, flowes with it into my eye, unites it self to my eye, informs it immediately with it self, and with all shapes, and colours in it self.

Thus if you ask me, how you shall know Divine things: I answer; by the Spirit. But you reply; how shall I know the Spirit? Still I answer; by the Spirit.

'Tis the rule of School-Divines, when you come to obje∣ctum, quo; sistendum est: when you come to the first Prin∣ciple of seeing, or knowing; you must stop there. For that discerns, and judges all; but is discern'd, and judg'd only by it self.

Saint Paul joynes them two: a Spirit of Revelation: and the opening the eyes of our understanding, Ephes. 1. 17, 18.

2. Object. But how can this be, seeing my Soule knows not this Spirit, hath no sense of it, no suitablenesse to it?

Answ. Saint John satisfies you in this doubt, 1 Joh. 5. 20. The Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him, that is true.

Looke upward to the Mountaine of the Godhead, from whence Salvation comes. Jesus Christ will come by his Spi∣rit into your Spirits; he will come as an uniting, quickning, in∣forming, transforming Spirit into your soules.

Page  36He will give you an Understanding to Know him, a Will to Love him, a Power to Abide in him.

Jesus Christ comes to a man, as Life from the dead; as E∣ternall life spreading it self through the Soule.

3. Object. How shall I judge of this Spirit in another man?

Answ. Saint Paul replies, Rom. 14. 14. Who art thou, that judgest another man's servant? that is, a man in his relation to God. He hath a Master of his owne, to whom he stands, or falls.

Doe, as the Father hath done, leave all judgment to the Son, to his manner, and measure of appearing in thee.

So judge not, that ye be not judged. Judge not the Spirit by carnall Principles, lest you be judged as evil doers, and busie∣bodies, by the Spirit.

4. Object. Men may deceive themselves, and abuse the world under this pretence, saying; I have the Spirit.

Answ. What hath this Objection peculiar in the case of the Spirit? The Jewes cry up The Temple of the Lord, to cry down the Lord of the Temple.

May not men pretend falsly to Reason, Miracles, as well, as the Spirit?

May there not be Apocryphall Scriptures, as well, as Apo∣cryphall Spirits? false Churches, false Christs, and false Gods?

What strange thing is there in this? Hath not Saint Paul determin'd the state, and manner of men universally in the world, so far, as they are not in Christ? Deceiving, and de∣ceived, 2 Tim. 3. 13.

We read of the Law of the Spirit of life. The Spirit is no further my Law, then it is my Life.

Page  37 The Spirit in another man, is but the Letter to me, which is old, and dead, till it be justified, and quickened by the Spi∣rit in my own breast.

If I then be deceived, I deceive my own soul.

5. Object. But how ill is the Consequence of Impostures in this kind? what confusions doe they beget?

Answ. The best things counterfeited are most dangerous; as the Idol-gods for many years drowned almost the whole world in Temporary deceits, and desolations; in eternall flames: yet is this no disparagement to, no argument against the Divine Nature.

The Counterfeiting of Mony brings confusion upon a Common-wealth: yet men cannot traffique without Mo∣ney.

'Tis true, the aping of the Spirit, the setting up of mock∣spirits is a darknesse, a snare, a storm upon the spirits of men in civill, and religious affairs: yet can we have no commerce with Spirituall things without the Spirit.

Ephes. 2. 18. We have accesse to God in one Spirit. There is no Communion with God, but in the Unity of the Spirit. These three the Father, the Spirit, the Soule, are made One in every act of Spirituall life, or enjoyment.

Hear then the voice of Jesus Christ calling you by his Spi∣rit: Come to me, and I will give you Light, Certainty, Rest.

Man lives not by bread alone, but by every word, that com∣meth out of the mouth of God, Mat. 4. 4. This is the bread of Heaven, that alone feeds, and satisfies the understanding; this Eternall Word, that comes forth from the Father; and every word, as it comes forth from this Word, every Ap∣pearance, as it springs up in this Appearance.

Oh! that He would Kisse our Souls with the Kisses of His mouth; and so seal Truth upon our Vnderstandings!

Page  38 The Philosopher describes Truth to be that which sistit in∣tellectum, stayes the Vnderstanding.

If you lay your Souls to rest upon any Opinion, or Prin∣ciple; besides the sweet Breathings of this Master: your Souls will sink thorow them. So let them sink thorow every Creature, till they fall below all, into the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

This Spirit is the golden Girdle of Truth, which will bind you fast, and hold you in on every side.

This Spirit, is the bed, which God makes, on which you may safely repose your selves.

Here an eternall Certainty shall be under you, to sustain you: an Infinite Cleernesse round about you, as Curtains of Light, shining upon you, and shewing you all things in their lustre.

[Use 3] For Exhortation. It is often said, that great Persons are much flatter'd: They seldome know truth, because they see with the eyes, and hear with the ears of others.

Right Honble, I humbly commend to you a Master, who is Truth it self. I beseech you to hear with his ears, to see with his eyes; to make his Person your book, in which you shall read the stories of God, and Eternity; to make his face your glasse, in which you shall see, how glorious you are in him, how to make your selves gracious for him.

If you are willing to be his Disciples, I will point out to you some of those Lessons, which he teacheth.

There are two Lessons, which are most principall, and most difficult. They are hardest to be understood, or believed. But when these are learned, they make all the rest easie.

They are these two:

  • 1. The Lovelinesse.
  • 2. The Love of Jesus Christ.

Page  39 1. Lesson: The Lovelinesse of Jesus Christ. I do not now wish, that I had the skill of a powerfull Oratour, to write the Lovelinesse of my Saviour upon your fancies, with well-cho∣sen words. But I pray, that He, the Lord Jesus himself would write with the Spirit of the living God upon your hearts som∣thing, any thing, one Iota, one tittle of his own Lovelinesse: then I am sure, you would go from this place, as the Eunuch did from Philip; rejoycing, and praising God.

The Lord said, Psal. 27. 8. Seek ye my face. Divines well interpret this of Christ.

The Face is the beauty, and majesty of man. Jesus Christ is the naked face of the Godhead.

He is called, a Branch, or a Flower, Zach. 3. 8. Jesus Christ is the Godhead branch'd forth into its diversities of glories: the Flower of the Divine nature ful-blown.

John 1. 1. The word was with God: Prov. 8. I, saith Wis∣dome, was, as one bred up with him, that is, God, I was his delight.

Our Saviour's Person is the Word, in which all things are exprest: the Wisdome, in which all things have their form, and fulnesse.

God is a Spirit of an infinite capacity; yet he entertains himself eternally with the musick of this Word, and the beau∣ties of this Wisdome.

God pleaseth himself to the heighth with the lovelinesse, in the Person of Christ, and satisfies himself to the full, with the Varieties in that lovelinesse.

Do you not now begin to perceive something extraordi∣nary in the Person of the Lord? Could you not exchange the whole world for a Sight, a tast of him?

When the Sop, and the Devill were entred into Judas, Jesus Christ saith, Now is the Son of man glorified, and the Fa∣ther is glorified in him, John 13. 31.

Jesus Christ descends into the darkest shape, the lowest state Page  40 of things among the Creatures. Yet by His presence He puts a glory upon it, he makes it fit for the Father to glorifie him∣self with it; because he finds himself, and his own Heaven in it.

1 Cor. 6. 11. We read of abusers of themselves with man∣kind, Idolaters, Extortioners, &c. Such, saith the Apostle, were some of ye. But ye are wash'd, but ye are cleansed, in the Holy Ghost, and the name of the Lord Jesus.

You that have the most foule and loathsome souls, heare this: The name of Jesus Christ, is the Image of his beauties. Doe but cast your selves into the embraces of these beauties: (You are alwaies embraced by them.) Let but this Person spread his armes about you: you shall immediately be chan∣ged, and cleansed; you shall shine forth fairer than any Crea∣ture by His comelinesse; you shall be made a sit Spouse for God.

Doe you not feel the eyes of your understandings to open, and take in a Glory? Doe you not now learn, that it is more honourable, and more pleasant to be in a Prison, on a Dung∣hill, on a Sick-bed, in a Grave with Jesus Christ; than to be in a Palace without him? Were it not a happinesse to be dead, that we might be for ever with him?

My Lords! I beseech you to receive a short sentence from the mouth of a Worme, and lay it up in your hearts. When the houre comes, in which all your comforts shall forsake you, it will be of inestimable Vertue, and value to you. It is this:

The Person of Christ satisfies the Father; beautifies the blackest Soule; glorifies the basest, and bitterest condition.

This is the first Lesson, the Lovelinesse of Jesus Christ.

2. Lesson: The Love of the Lord Jesus. We read of Christ's sending his Spirit, to convince the world of Sin, Righ∣teousnesse, and Iudgment, John 16.

Page  41 If the Lord would have you learn his Love, he must send his Spirit into your hearts, to convince you of Sin, that you may know, how much he bears with you; of Wrath, that you may know, how much he bears for you; of Righteousnesse, that you may know, how much he bestows on you.

He must send his Spirit into your Hearts to stretch them all waies, to the utmost heighth, depth, breadth, and length; that they may take in His Love. And yet then they will not take in the thousandth part.

Saint Paul praies for the Saints; that they may know, the heighth, depth, breadth, and length: and all this, but as a pre∣paration; that they may know the Love of Christ; and yet then, he saith of it, it passeth Knowledge, Ephes. 3. 18, 19.

I will give you severall places of Scripture, to be as Hints to you of the Love of Christ, and His Teachings of it in the Soule:

Revel. 1. 5. Who, that is, Jesus Christ, hath loved us, and wash'd us in his bloud.

Acts 9. 4. Jesus Christ complains from Heaven, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

John 17. 1. Our blessed Saviour praies to his Father for his Disciples, that, that Love, wherewith thou lovest me, may be in them, and I in them.

Come you, that yet wallow in your Lusts, and think no∣thing so sweet, as they are to you: Come you, that Welter in despair, as in your bloud; and think, nothing can be sweet to you: Learn the love of the Lord Jesus, as He teacheth it.

When thou hast polluted thy self with the greatest Vn∣cleannesse; then feel the drops of thy Saviours bloud trick∣ling apace from his Wounds down upon thy Bosome, to Wash off that Staine: then heare the Voice of thy Saviour sweetly speaking forth these words in thy Spirit, Thus I die for thee; yet thus thou Killest me, all the day long. Will not these words break your hearts, and kill your Lusts?

Page  42 When you are at the lowest ebbe of grace, or comfort; when your feet stick in the myre of clay: then look upward, see Jesus Christ in Heaven, heare him in the midst of all his joyes, speaking to his Father concerning thee, after this man∣ner, O my father, why doest thou still persecute me with thy dis∣pleasure? My joy is not full, while this man's sins, and sorrows are upon him. I suffer shame, fear, want, woe in him. Here shew, that love, which thou bearest to me, on this poor soule.

When you seem to your self most neglected of God, and man, most afflicted from both: then look inward, see Jesus Christ in your own Spirits; hear him thus comforting thee, Yet have I my Heaven here in thee: Yet hast thou thy Heaven, thy Righteousnes, thy Joy, thy Jesus hidden in the midst of thee, ready to be made manifest upon thee in their own Season.

Doe not your Souls pant within you after this Jesus, now, that you hear so much of his Love? Now let each one say, Depart from me, ye fruitless Delights, ye causlesse Despairs. For now I know that the love of the Lord Jesus towards me excells all things, that ever were. His loving kindnesse is sweeter than life it self. Skin for skin, and all, that a man hath, will he give for his life; said the Devill. But skin, lusts, life and all will he give for this love, that hath once had any tast of it. All my con∣tents are in this and in thee, ô Jesus!

These are the two principall, and most difficult Lessons in the school of Christ.

There are many other besides these, of which I will cull out six:

1. Loath the World, and live in Heaven. Christ teacheth us to seek a City, not of this Creation, whose Builder, Building, and chief Inhabitant is God. He teacheth us to find this new Hierusalem, which is above us, within us, and there to dwell. He discovers this City with its Citizens in our Spirits, and draws us into it.

2. Hate Sin, and be Holy. Jesus Christ teacheth with a Page  43tongue of Fire in the Heart of man, which melts, and makes new; which as it teacheth, toucheth, takes hold, consumes the drosse, and refines the gold.

3. Cast off your selves, and abide in Jesus Christ. The tea∣chings of Christ run much upon two Creations, the one, Old; the other, New; and a dying to the one, that we may Live in the other. Take away the Earth, and Heaven is every where. Take away the old appearance of the Creature, and Christ with God appears. One Appearance is the Garment spotted with the Flesh; the other is the White Rayment.

4. Have a beautifull Conversation among men. The rule of Christ is; that good men should shine, as Lights in the world. Light is clear, the same in every posture, and motion. It en∣lightens, and cheers; It draws, and directs. It is of the same stuffe, and appearance with Heaven.

5. Be a Servant to all in Humility. Learn of me, for I am lowly, saith Christ, Mat. 11. 29. The Son of man came not to be served, but to serve, Mat. 20. 28. He is likest to the most High, that can descend lowest to serve, and please others in Christ.

6. Be a Father to all in Charity. This is a Mystery of sweetnesse, which the Lord Jesus infuseth into the Soules of his Hearers; to comprehend all things in one Spirit with themselves, by being themselves comprehended in one Spirit with God; to look upon all things as their owne, and the out∣goings of their owne Spirits, while they are one Spirit with Jesus Christ.

Many such lessons Jesus Christ teacheth us; but they all are easily learn'd and practised, when we thorowly under∣stand those two great Lessons of the Lovelinesse, and Love of Jesus Christ.

He that looks upon the Lovelinesse of Jesus Christ, as he looks, will feel himself by degrees transform'd into the same Spirituall beauties, 2 Cor. 3. 1. Beholding the glory of the Lord, Page  44 we are chang'd into the likenesse of the same Image.

He that dives into the Love of Jesus Christ will feel himself irresistibly drawn, and forc'd by it, to answer, and imitate it, 2 Cor. 5. 14. The Love of Christ constraineth us.

The Lovelinesse, and Love of the Lord Jesus fall both into the same Path. He that hath found one, hath found both. This is the shortest, sweetest, plainest, and perfectest way to Heaven.

What shall I now say to conclude this Exhortation? If the Lord Jesus have been working with me this day, confirming the words, which I have spoken outwardly to your ears, with his words spoken inwardly to your hearts: then I know, your Hearts have been powerfully touch'd: and some one a∣mong you sweetly affected with Jesus Christ begins to say:

I have hitherto sought my Honour, in the Glory; the Sweet∣ness of my life, in the pleasures of this world. But doe thou thus still teach me; ô my Iesus! Make me to hear from thy mouth the sound of thy Loveliness, and Love in my Spirit. Then shall I have more joy in these things, then ever I have had, when my Corne, and Oyle have abounded; the treasures, and delicacies of the Flesh.

[Use 4] Direction. You shall know the Teachings of Jesus Christ, from all other by these Properties:

  • 1. Love.
  • 2. Life.
  • 3. Power.
  • 4. Perpetuity.
  • 5. Infallibility in his Person.
  • 6. Demonstration of his Doctrine.

1. Property: Love. The teachings of Christ fell upon the Soul, like the Soft rain upon the tender grasse.

The Touchings of men have much of their own humours, and passions mingled with them, which often nip the young 〈◊〉. 〈◊〉 the breathings of Christ are soft, and gentle, not Page  45 quenching any heat, though never so weak, and dark; but fanning the least smoke, till it be a flame.

As the Eagle bears her yong ones upon her Wing, and so teacheth them to flie: thus doth the Lord Jesus train us up to Spirituality, bearing our infirmities.

2. Property: Life. Jesus Christ speaks quickning, creating words. As he instructs, he infuseth a Principle suitable to his Doctrine. He holds forth a Light, and makes a seeing Eye. He utters divine Mysteries, and makes a hearing Eare. He presents love, riches, joy, strength; and gives a heart to re∣ceive it.

3. Property: Power. Jesus Christ speaks not Words, but Things. You have not so learn'd Christ, if you have been taught of him, and have learn'd the Truth, as it is in him, Ephes. 4. 20, 21.

Christ doth not teach by signes, but the sabstance it self. He presents the Excellencies, of which he discourseth; He shews them to the life in his own Person. He plants them, and sets them in the Soule, to grow there.

Christ so teacheth, that he makes his words, Spirit and Life, Iohn 6. 63. one Spirit, and Life with Himself, and you. He makes these three, one Spirit; the Teacher, the Truths taught, the Disciple, that learns them.

4. Property: Perpetuity. 'Tis said of God, that His work is for ever, Eccles. So are the teachings of Christ for ever. He gives us his Spirit to be a Treasury, and a Remembrancer of all Truth to us. He shall bring all things to your mind, Iohn.

Thou hast the words of everlasting life, Iohn. The words of Christ will live in your Spirits, as long as ye live; in your death; eternally.

Page  46 5. Property: The infallibility of his Person. Let God be true, and every man a lyar, Rom. 3. 4. Nay, man is not onely a Lyar, but a Lie.

Surely men of low degree are Vanity, and men of high degree are a Lie: to be laid in a balance, they are altogether lighter than Vanity, Psal. 62. 9.

Man is nothing more than an empty appearance. If he pre∣tend to be, or appear any thing, he makes himself a Lie. The wit, strength, excellency of man serve only to make a strong delusion. Man hath infallibity no more, then he hath immor∣tality.

But Jesus Christ is more than man. He is God too. God nei∣ther tempts any man, nor can be tempted, James 1. 13. Jesus Christ cannot deceive any man, nor be deceived. If He ap∣pear, His appearances are true.

If Jesus Christ say, It is I: the winds of temptation, the waves of doubt obey, and the greatest storm in the Soul is si∣lenced into a Calme.

There remains now only the last Property of Christ's tea∣chings, which is the Principall one. I shall therefore be somewhat the larger upon it.

6. Property: Demonstration of his Doctrines. Saint Paul testifies of himself, 1 Cor. 2. 4. And my Preaching was not in the enticing words of man's Wisdome, but in the Demonstration of the Spirit, and of power.

When Paul preached with an infallibility, it was not Paul, but the Lord Jesus, that spake, and gave a Demonstration, of that, which he spake, 1 Cor. 7. 10.

Saint Paul makes a three fold Opposition:

  • 1. Oppos. Between Words, and Power.
  • 2. Oppos. Between Enticing words, and Demonstration.
  • 3. Oppos. Between Man's wisdome, and the Spirit.

Page  47Enticing words,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, perswasive words, such, as are able to beget a humane faith to the highest.

The Demonstrations of Christ in his teachings are above, not the Rhetorick only, but the Philosophy of man. They are more then words, fancy, wit, reason, or wisdome it self; so far, as man, or any meer Creature is capable of them.

There are four Questions, which being propounded, and answered, will give much light to this Scripture, and this Pro∣perty:

  • 1. Quest. What is a Demonstration?
  • 2. Quest. What is the Spirit?
  • 3. Quest. What is the Demonstration of the Spirit?
  • 4. Quest. How this is appropriated to Jesus Christ.

1. Q. What is a Demonstration?

Answ. A Demonstration is the Evidencing of things by an irresistible light, and clearness of conviction.

The Philosopher teacheth us from the Principles of reason, and nature; that a Demonstration must be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, by such Truths, as are the First truths in them∣selves, and most immediate in respect to us.

The truths, by which you will demonstrate any thing must be,

  • 1. First truths.
  • 2. Immediate truths.

1. First truths: Such as have none above, none before them, on which they depend for Certainty, and Clearness.

Demonstrating truths must be absolute, unquestionable, such, as no understanding can resist, when they are presented.

That which manifests is Light, Ephes. 5. 13. That which makes clearly manifest without any deniall, or doubt, is Light, in which there is no darkness, as S. John speaks of God, 1 J. 1. 5.

Page  48 Such a Light must that be, which carries a Demonstration along with it. It must be the originall, and measure of all Truth, as Light is of colours. It must have pleni-potency, an all-sufficiency, a Divinity of certainty, and clearnesse, in, and of it self. No other thing can ever make the soul fully sure, without trembling, or wavering.

A man must be of necessity double-minded, and like a wave of the Sea, as Saint James speaks, Iames 1. till he come to the Corner stone, the Bottom reason of truth, because the whole Building of truth stands on this.

That only is a Demonstrating Principle, an assuring, a quiet∣ing truth, which is so first of all, that there lies no appeale from it to any: it self being the Fountain, which gives testi∣mony to all truths, but receives, or needs a testimony from none.

2. Immediate truths. These are such, as have an immediate Vnion with the Soul, that there may be no dispute about their Evidence▪ or diminution, or danger of corruption by any se∣cond hand.

Saint Paul calls it a Demonstration of power, when the first Light, the first Truths communicate themselves nakedly, to the naked soule of man, both being uncloth'd of any inter∣vening representations, or reports.

Thus the Soul receives the Light of truth in the dignity of its strength, in the excellenty of its might, as Iacob speaks of his First-born.

The power of Truth is the first, and highest Appearance, which is proper, perfect, substantiall. All inferiour appea∣rances are Truth in its weakness, and shadowy.

God made man, and woman One, that they might have a Holy Seed, (a Sead of God, in the Hebrew) Malac. 2. 15.

The first Truth, as the Man, the Soule, as the Woman must be espoused, and married, joyn'd without a Deputy, or a Page  49Third; they must be immediately, entirely One; that they may have a Seed of God, a race of Truths cleer, and Sure, ha∣ving the full brightnesse of a Demonstration shining in their faces.

If any thing come between your understanding, or belief▪ and the first Truths: you doe not trust to their Testimony, but to the report of some other thing concerning them.

The men of Samaria said to the Woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying. For we have heard Him our selves, and know, that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world, Iohn 4. 42.

If thy Soul will have any one truth in the demonstration of power: it must be able to say to the Principle of Truth, the highest Truth, Now I believe, not because of any other testimo∣ny, proof, or evidence. For I have heard, and seen, and hand∣led thee in my self; and so I know, that thou art indeed (in sub∣stance, and power) the anointing Truth, the only Light and A∣nointing of all truths.

2. Quest. What is the Spirit?

Answ. The Spirit is a name of essence, or subsistence in God; of the divine Nature, or one of the three divine Persons. I wil speak of it now, as it signifies the essence, or nature of God.

God is a Spirit, and they, that worship him, must worship him in Spirit, and Truth, Iohn 4. 24. The Spirit is God unveil'd, and shining out in his true Appearance, above all the shadows, types, and Images of him in the Creatures.

The Flesh profits not, but the Spirit quickneth, Ioh. 6. 63. Thus our Saviour opposeth the Created and Uncreated part of things in his owne Person under the names of Flests, and Spirit.

Divines say that every Creature, even the highest A••el hath something of materiality, darknesse, grosnesse, composi∣tion, Page  50 carnality; and so it is Flesh; compared with God, who only is a Spirit; as the Spirit is a name of unity, simplicity, purity.

The Spirit then is God in the simplicity of his own Person, abstracted from all mixture, or composition with the Crea∣ture.

3. Quest. What is the Demonstration of the Spirit? God in his Spirituall appearance to the Soul is the first Truth. For He is above All. He is the Immediate Truth. For he alone is most intimate with all things. Nothing can unite it selfe to the Soul, so inwardly, so immediately, as God: For all things are by Him.

This is the onely Demonstration of every, of any Truth, the Spirituall appearance of God in the Soul, holding forth that Truth in his own Light.

When Saint Paul had spoken of the Demonstration of the Spirit, he adds, that your faith might be not in the Wisdome of men, but in the power of God, 1 Cor. 2. 5.

The Demonstration of the Spirit is above nature, reason, and all Principles of Wisdome, or Truth in any Creature. It is the power of God, as God; bringing forth the discovery of himself; and all Truths, as particular discoveries in that V∣niversall One; like branches in the stock of a tree; or beames in the body of the Sun.

In thy light shall we see light, Psal. 36. 9. In the manifesta∣tion of God within us shall we see the manifestation of each Truth.

You are Light in the Lord, Ephes. 5. 8. Every Person, every appearance is Light, hath a power of evidencing, and mani∣festing it self, so far only, as it is in the Light of God.

4. Quest. How is the Demonstration of the Spirit appro∣priated to Jesus Christ?

Page  51Answ. Saint Paul shall answer this question, Acts 3. 3. Ha∣ving received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which we now see. The Spirituall manife∣station of God is the onely distinguishing character, the de∣monstration of every spirituall truth.

This appearance is the Promise, the great, and last promise of the Father; the great, and last expectation of all the Saints.

The Lord Jesus received this manifestation of God in the Person of the Holy Ghost immediately. We all receive it, or wait for it in the Person of Jesus Christ by His Mediation.

This Spirit, or this Spirituall shining out of the divine Ma∣jesty is the onely Seale of truth, Ephes. 1. 13. Ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise: in the former part of the Verse were these words, after that ye received the word of truth. They were sealed, that is, the truth of the Gospel was sealed in, and to, and on them by the Seale of the Spirit, which is, the Ingraving of the first Truth, upon each truth, or heart.

The Lord Jesus is the Angel, that hath this Seale of the li∣ving God in his hand, Revel. 7. 2. For He himself is first sea∣led with it, and all other Members of this Truth, or Disciples of this Master are sealed by and in Him.

Him hath the Father sealed, Joh. 6. 27. The Father is the Sealer primitively, by power, and authority. The Son, as he is the second Person in the Trinity is the Image, which the Father sets on, when he seals, Heb. 1. 3. the expresse Image of his Person: the Sealing Image. The Holy Spirit is the Im∣pression of this Image in, and by the Father. In this sense the Holy Ghost is said to be received; as the Wax receives Im∣pression of the Image in sealing. So he is called the Sealing, wherewith we are sealed, in that fore-quoted place of the E∣phesians.

The Person of the Lord Jesus, as he is Mediatour, God∣man, is the Sealer by place, and office, or deputation of the Page  52 Father. He is the Seale, as he is God. He hath the Sealing power, for he hath the Spirit. He is the Sealed one, as he is Man in union with God. Every person, or appearance is sea∣led, onely, as it is in union with him, In whom ye were sea∣led, &c. Ephes. 1.

The Glorified Humanity of our Saviour is, as fine Gold: his Divinity, the Image: the Holy Spirit, the Impression, the ingraving, the union of this Image on the Gold, and on eve∣ry other piece, or matter from that Gold by fixing it strongly, and immediately on each Piece.

Thus are Truths coyned, that they may be currant; thus are they sealed, that they may be sure: thus doth Jesus Christ demonstrate his doctrines in the soule, by shewing himself in them; and the Father, the first glory of the Godhead in him∣self, 2 Cor. 4. 6. God hath shined into our hearts the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Thus much for this Vse, the way of discerning the teachings of Christ, and distinguishing them from all other teachings in the Soule.

[Use 5] Consolation. I will conclude all briefly with four Consola∣tions for the Disciples of Christ.

1. Consolat: Your Master teacheth the sweetest, and surest things by afflictions, Job 33. 16. Elthu speaks of God's open∣ing (or uncovering, unveiling) the ears of men, and sealing their instruction. He tels you that God doth this by dreams, or visions, when men slumber on their beds, v. 15. He reckons up another may be chastenings, and strong pain, v. 19.

Jesus Christ makes one darknesse to cure another: the dark∣nesse of affliction, the darknesse of a fleshly mind.

Our heavenly Master teares that vaile, which lies on our ears, and hearts, by the sharpnesse of our sufferings; then he lets in upon us the sweet discoveries of God, and his king∣dome. Page  53 He seals these in the night of our trouble by the Sun∣shine of the Godhead breaking from his own face; and makes them sure by setting upon them the Image of the eter∣nall day in his owne Person. He makes the defacing of all worldly Images, the darkning, and putting out of all earthly Light; his blessed advantage for the bringing into our Spi∣rits this Image, and Light.

2. Consolat: Your Master teacheth you a Conformity to him∣self by your Crosses: nay, not onely so, but a Fellowship also with Him, Rom. 6. 5. If we have been planted together (that is, with Jesus Christ) into the likeness of his Death.

What comfortable cordialls are those teachings, which in∣struct us so in a right, and sweet understanding of all our suf∣ferings; that we enjoy them, as a representation of our Sa∣viour, and a partnership with our Saviour, in our selves?

3. Consolat: Your Master teacheth you to see your Conquest over the World by the Crosse. Heb. 12. 27. This once more, sig∣nifieth the removing those things, which are shaken, as of things, that are made; that those things, which cannot be shaken, may remaine.

Jesus Christ readeth such a Lecture, as this, upon the sha∣king, or ruining of any of our earthly comforts: Be of good cheer; this fleshly appearance tempts you to folly, betraies you to fears, and miseries. It lets the Heavenly appearance of things from discovering it self to you, and it will let, till it be taken out of the way. But if this fleshly Image go away by being crucified; then will the Comforter come, the Spirituall manifestations of God, which shall continue with you for ever.

4. Consolat: Your Master teacheth you to read a Heavenly glory, in Earthly troubles, Joh. 13. 32. If God be glorified in the Son of man (that is, by forming upon thee those Images in flesh, of the utmost, and last varieties of highest Glory, which Page  54 are Afflictions:) then shall he glorifie thee in himselfe, and straight way he will glorifie thee, that is, then is God now fi∣nishing thy Pilgrimage thorow this Inferiour, fleshly Image, and even presently taking thee out of it into the Glory it self. There thou shalt see that dark Image, Affli∣ction, in that Light of its primitive Glory▪ and in the meane time thou seest it, as an Image of that Glory.

FINIS.
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