Mr. Lye's SERMON, Preached at the conclusion of the Morning-Exercise in LOMBARD-STREET.
John 13.17. If yee know these things, happy are yee if you do them.
IN these words two things observable; First, A Supposition, which is double. 1. If you know these things. 2. If you do these things. There be many that do, but do not know, do not understand; there bee many that know, but do not do, do not practice. But our Saviour to his Disciples is, If you know first, and then, If you do: Knowing without doing is unprofitable; do∣ing without knowing is impossible. 2. A Position, If you so know, as to do, then 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 blessed, happy are yee.
First, for the Supposition, which is double. First, If you know; this word Knowledge in Scripture con∣tains two things,
1. It intimates an act of the mind or understand∣ing, If you know.Page 2
2. It 〈…〉 of the 〈…〉 faculty of the soul, if you •o •how as to 〈…〉 From both these significations, you have these two Observations.
1. Our first great care should be this, with all se∣riousness to apply our selves to the knowledge of the things of the Gospel; wee must with the Angels 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, stoop down to look into, to have a clear, thorow, perfect sight of those things that are disco∣vered in the Christall-glass of the Gospel. Wee must look into the perfect Law of liberty, James 2.25.
2. As the word imports an act of memory, or re∣membrance, it affords us this Observation, viz. Next to our knowing of it, should be our care to retain and re∣member the glorious Truths of the Gospel. 'Tis all one, not to remember, as not to know; wee must not on∣ly attend to Wisdomes words, but must keep them in the center of our hearts, Prov. 4.21.
2. If you do, hence observe, 'Tis not enough to know and remember, but wee ought to do according to what wee know, and practice according to what wee remember. 'Tis some slight kind of happiness to know, but so to know, as to do, this is the happiness; If you know, if you do. Wee must not only bee hearers of the word, but doers of the word. Know∣ledge without practice, 'tis Rachel like, fair indeed, but barren; practice without knowledge (were it possible) Leah-like, fruitful, but blear-eyed; both together, Rachel's fairness with Leah's fruitfulness, a fit Spouse for a Solomon.
2. For the Position, Happy are you if you do them; hence observe, There is a blessedness annexed to 〈◊〉 knowing the Truths of God, as to remember, and 〈◊〉 to remember as to do the work of that word. I•Page 3you know, if you do, not otherwise, blessed are yee.
Thus I have cut the words in peeces. The se∣cond Observation is that I would first commend from the supposition, If you knew, that carries in it an act of memory; namely, That as it is our 〈◊〉 care to know, so it should be our next care to re∣member what wee have known. To this end let mee help your memories by way of a Summary rehearsal of our Morning-Exercise. The first Sermon that was preached to you was built upon
Isa. 55.3. Hear and your soul shall live.
From that Text, this Doctrine, That that soul shall surely live, spiritually, blessedly, eternally, that so hears, as to come to Christ himself. The grand que∣stion upon that point was this, What is to be done that wee may so hear? 'Twas answered, something was to be done before, something at, something after hearing.
First, Before hearing; That holy dutie of hear∣ing calls aloud for holy preparation; so much at least as settles the bent of the heart heaven-ward; so much at least as makes us humble, and hunger after spiritual Manna; so much at least as raises the heart into a posture of expectation of some divine and spiritual good from God.
Secondly, a right demeanour in, or at hearing, which consists
First, The hearer ought to propound to himself spiritual, and right ends, and that
1. Negatively, This must not be the hearers end, to come and judge either the Word, or the Minister of it; nor
2. To come and hear things that will tickle his fancy, if hee desire that, let him go to those sinks Page 4of all wickednesse, Play-houses; nor
3. Must wee propose this our end, meerly to better our parts; nor
4. Meerly to know, much less meerly to bee known, that it should be said of us, that wee have been at the Morning-Exercise every day this month. But, our end should be to profit by what wee hear, Psal. 119.33. Wee should hear that our souls may live.
Secondly, Wee must labour to approve our selves true Gospel-hearers; And to that end
1. Wee must be wakeful hearers; 'tis dangerous sleeping by a Candle set up by God.
2. Wee must be Reverent hearers: in the fear of God wee must worship, though not towards, yet in his holy Temple.
3. Attentive hearers, our ears and hearts should bee like Lydia's, open to attend to those things spoken by Paul, Act. 16.14.
4. Receptive hearers: Wee must take in what wee hear, Act. 2.41. And this must be done with Faith, with Love, with Joy, with Delight, with Meekness, with particular Application: and this too, not as the word of such a man, or such a Mi∣nister; I abhor that wicked notion among you, the head of such a party, and I know not what: But, as it is in deed and in truth the Word of God: That man never hears as a Saint, that when hee hears, doth not look mostly at the Word, as it is the Word of the God of Saints. And if thus wee apply our selves to the Ordinances truly, wee are in immediate capacity to have the Glory, Spirit, and Power of Christ to rest upon us in hearing; And this leads mee to
The Second Sermon.
2 Cor. 12.9. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon mee.
FRom this Text, you had this truth, That a Chri∣stians chiefest glory under his infirmities, is in the power of Christ resting upon him. In the prosecu∣tion of this Point, there was these four particulars propounded to be opened and prosecuted.
First, What kind of power of Christ it is which Christians may hope to have experience of, notwith∣standing all their infirmities? To this Question it was thus answered; a power that Christ hath with his Father, with whom hee is extraordinarily preva∣lent more than the fondling is with his dearest af∣fectionate Mother; A power of Christs Spirit which inables us to do what God requires, and to suffer what God commands; a powerful application of Jesus Christ himself unto his people, and that, not onely of light to them, but of living, of spiri∣tual growth, of spiritual strength, of strength unto Conquest, yea to be more than Conquerours.
Secondly, What is it for the power of Christ to rest on the soul?〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, i. e. for the power of Christ to come and take its residence in the soul; to make the soul to bee that which a Tent or Ta∣bernacle is to him who takes up his repose there∣in; to come and lodge in the soul of a Beleever as in his Tent or Tabernacle.
Thirdly, What is it for a Beleever to glory in the power of Christ resting on him? that is,
1. To have the heart so full of Christ, that it Page 6cannot contain it self, but it must be bursting out, as it were, and running over in holy Exaltations and Triumphs.
2. To bee so much in the admiration of Christ, as that to a carnal eye it makes a man seem to bee ridiculous: what a goodly person was David in Michals eye, when hee danced before the Ark.
3. To rest on Christ so, as to look out for nothing else, &c. to terminate and confine all the desires of the soul, in, and upon, and towards Christ Jesus.
4. To oppose Christ to any, to every thing that doth in any way in the world either injure or indanger him.
4. Why should a Christian rather glory in this power of Christ resting upon him, than in any inherent grace that is given unto him? upon these Accounts,
1. Because all that a Christian by inherent grace is able to do himself, is through Christ; I can do all things through Christ that strengthens mee.
2. Because if there be any acceptance of what a Beleever doth with the Father, this also is through Christ; the gift is accepted, not for the gift sake, but for the sake of the merit of Christ.
3. If so be a Beleever should glory in his graces, there is a possibility of falling, but being clad with, and resting in the power of Christ, there's an impos∣sibility of miscarrying. Thus the Saints of God have their infirmities, frailties, their multitude of frailties and infirmities: yet have they reason to glory in that power of Christ which rests on them, on earth, but much more reason if they will look up, and see the tongue of Christ ingaged for them, i. e. interceding for them in Heaven; And that lets mee into
The third Sermon.
John 17.15. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
I Pray not that thou should take them out of the world, let them stay there, and glory even in their very infirmities, but I pray that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. In this Scripture, you have our Saviours Intercession for his Disciples Preservation. And in this his Intercession two things observable.
1. In the negative part, for what Christ doth not pray, not that thou shouldest take them out of the world.
2. In the Affirmative part, that thou shouldest keep them from the evil of the world. For the nega∣tive part, wherein you have,
1. So 〈…〉implyed, not that thou shouldest take them out•〈…〉•orld; This implies that God hath the disposal of 〈◊〉 continuance in the world; else Christ would never addresse himself to his Father, that hee would not take them out of the world: If so, then
1. Live constantly Beleever, above the slavish fear of death. Times are not in thine Enemies hands, no not in the Devils hands, but in Gods hands.
2. Bee patient under the loss of thy dearest Re∣lations: God hath taken them that hath the dispo∣sal of our continuance.
3. Seek to God for a blessing on all those means which at any time are prescribed or used for your preservation.
2. There's something mainly intended. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, and Page 8that's this, That God will have his people oftentimes continue in the world, though they meet with much trouble in the world. And if so, this should teach you Beleevers, how to carry your selves in the midst of a sinful, wicked, rude, God-hating, Saint-persecuting World, that is,
1. Patiently to wait Gods leasure, you must stay his time.
2. Carry your selves Innocently, be sure you in a salt Sea, like good fish, retain your freshnesse.
3. Carry your selves Wisely, you walk among Devils, Snares, &c. walk wisely, And
4. Walk Serviceably, continue you must, but 'tis Gods time, how short you know not; therefore walk Serviceably. For the Affirmative part, but I pray that thou shouldest keep them from the evil of the world. Wherein something Absolutely, and some∣thing Relatively: Take the words Absolutely, thence these four notions, That thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
1. Sin is an eminent evil, the 〈…〉.
2. That we are utterly unable to 〈◊〉 our selves, But
3. God can keep his people, in, and from the evil of a sinfull world.
4. That 'tis the godly onely that are kept from the evil that is in the world. But Relatively, especially, I pray, &c, No great matter of their sufferings, but their sins, that's the thing, let them be preserved from that: Thence observe, preservation from sin, is a far greater mercy then exemption from suffering: And if so, Then
1. See the folly, the madness, of those, that em∣brace sin, to avoid suffering; Take a stab in their hearts, that they may avoyd a scratch upon their singer.Page 9
2. See the folly of those, that desire the re∣moval of their Sufferings, rather than of their Sins: Take away the Froggs, not my hard heart.
3. This shews what should be our greatest com∣plaint in the midst of a troublesome world, not my sorrows, plunderings, imprisonments, Lord, but the scarcities of my soul, &c.
4. This shews the grand mistake of the nature of true safety. Men think safety to be mearly to sleep in a sound skin, but 'tis not safety to be preserved from danger, but from Sin. True, the men of the world, yea, the best of Saints are too too apt to mistake in this case; there's a heart within them that is very apt to think sometimes Sinning to be chosen rather then Suffering; not in wicked men onely, but in the best of men: for, as in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man, to man, which lets mee into
The fourth Sermon.
Prov. 27.19. As in Water, face answereth to face, so doth the heart of man to man.
IN this Proverb two things.
1. The Proposition, and that by a Similitude. As in water face answereth to face.
2. The Redition, So doth the heart of a man to man. Or in the words, these two generals to be ob∣served.
1. A Glass.
2. An Object to be seen in this Glass.
1. A Glass, a notable one, that's two fold. A dead Glass, Water; A living Glass, the Heart of Man.
2. The Object to be seen in these Glasses: In the Page 10dead Glass, the face of man is to bee seen; In the living Glass, the heart of man; There's all the Spe∣cies and Complections, of the Sons, nay, of the Souls of the Sons of men to bee seen. That as by looking into the water, you may discern your own and other mens Countenances, and that plainly and clearly; So, by looking into your own hearts, if you could have a Casement into the hearts of o∣ther men, there may you see, of what Spiritual Complection, Constitution, and Make you are, as clearly as a man may see his face in Water. As in Water, &c. From these words this great Truth, that the heart of every man in the world is a looking-Glass. 'Tis such a looking-Glass wherein he may see himself, his Condition, Constitution, special Com∣plection whether it be morally, spiritually, scrip∣turally good or evil. For the right improvement of this looking-Glass, three things necessary; which are optick principles but clear to those that have either phisical or natural light.
1. There must be an Object that must bee seen. And oh! what visible objects are there in the hearts of men? Man is call'd a little world, a compen∣dium of the whole world. The heart of man is the man. The heart of man is like the Ark of Noah, which contains all sorts, all kinds of clean and un∣clean Beasts: 'Tis an Epitomy of Heaven and Hell: What is there in the heart of man? Who but God can fathom the depth of it? There are more objects in the hearts of men, then Stars in Heaven, or drops in the Ocean.
2. There must be light to actuate this object; If it were dark, we could never see it. There must be light both to actuate the eye and object; Now this light that actuates the eye and object, 'tis either the Page 11natural light, the light of Nature, the light of Consci∣ence, the light of common Illumination, the light of the Word, or the light of the Spirit of God: By all these lights we come to look into this looking-glass, our hearts.
3. There must be an Irradiation from the object, i. e. a beaming forth from that object, some Species or Ideas that carries the object to the eye, and clear∣ly makes out to the sence what that object is: this beaming is by action from the heart (mark it, for it may be as necessary truth as was Preached among you) that look what the stream is to the Fountain, what the beam is to the Sun, that the action is to the heart, whether the act be manent, or transient, whether Internal in thought, purpose, election, af∣fection, in joy, in love, in fear; or External, in the life, in the practice, and in the conversation: So that look as a puddle stream alwaies declares a corrupt Fountain; So all your humble holy, faithful thoughts, speak a clear spiritual heart within, a holy Conver∣sation speaks a holy Affection, and a holy Affection, declares a heavenly Constitution, a new Nature. Now for the Use of this, is the heart of man a look∣ing-Glass?
1. See from hence, of what concernment the actions of men are, whether Internal or Ex∣ternal: The actions of men are like the streams, you may certainly find the Fountain by them, they speak the heart, as the Root bears the fruit: 'Tis of infinite concernment, 'tis the Fountain of what principles within, and conversation without: descend but into thy own heart, &c.
2. This shews the sad condition of all natural poor souls, your hearts are looking-Glasses, but they are looking-Glasses in a Dungeon of darkness, there Page 12be Toads, Vipers, and Devils there, but thou canst not see them, that hast no spiritual Light.
4. Here is Consolation to Gods People; Is the heart of man a looking-Glass? What reason have they to rejoyce in their hearts, that are the best look∣ing-Glasses in the world, not like our Gallants looking-Glasses that must not bewray their wrin∣kles, sports, &c. But theirs will represent their Hearts, Complexion, Condition, and Nature to them Nay, in that Glass may be seen the face of a God: Nay further, because thy heart doth answer to ano∣ther heart, and his to his, what ever Grace in any Beleevers, it is there in thy heart, semine there's the seed.
4. By way of exhortation; Is the heart a look∣ing-Glass, then keep the looking-Glass very chary, make much of it; above all keepings keep thy heart, and that with all diligence, in all places, at all times, and in all things; If any thing under Heaven will keep thee holy, it is the keeping of thy heart. There thou mayest see all thy spots, defects, desperate Hi∣pocrisies, Infernal Atheism, all the deliques of thy Soul: How prone to commit, as vile sins as ever committed by the vilest of the sons of men; once more, keep it clean, and keep it close: Look into thy heart, and thou shalt find it to bee a Coppy of the Role of Eternity, where thou shalt see thy very name written in Letters of Gold or Blood: for wee looking into our hearts, may and do know, that we are passed from death to live, and that upon this ground, because we love the Brethren. And thus I advance to
The Fifth Sermon.
1 John 3.14. We know that wee have passed fr•• death to life, because we love the Brethren.
IN these words five things.
1. A supposed Estate, in which we are all by na∣ture, and that is an Estate of death spiritual.
2. A peaceable Recovery, or mention of another state, an Estate of life.
3. A real Transition from this state of death to life, we are passed, &c.
4. An inseparable property of all Regenerate souls in the world, they do not hate, but love the Brethren.
5. A comfortable Conclusion, that a Christian may make, from that property, he may know, hee may be assured by this, that he is passed from death to life, because he loves the Brethren. The observa∣tion thus, a Christian may know his real Conversion and Transition to eternal life, by this Character among the rest, because he loves the Brethren. This propo∣sition was slipt into these two particulars.
1. That every Beleever may have an assurance of his Transition from death to life.
2. That love to the Brethren is one of the great e∣minent Symptomes of mans Regeneration.
1. A Christian may know his real Conversion, and Translation to eternal life; Such a great and real change is there wrought in every Beleever at his Conversion, and this wrought by such a great effi∣cient, and infinite cause, the Spirit of God, and this cause, working by such real and powerful means and instruments, the great Word of God; and this done notwithstanding the great opposition that is made Page 14by a poor sinner against the word; and when wrought it hath such real and grand, effects upon a Beleever, that 'tis impossible but a Beleever must needs know this his transition from death to life.
Secondly, Love to the Brethren is the great symp∣tome of mens Regeneration. Love to the Brethren, not taken solely, singly, as if this was the onely Cha∣racter, but concomitantly, taken with others, but beyond and above all others; this is the privy seal of God on the soul, if yee have inflamed it with love, hee may know hee is passed from death to life. The Use was of Confutation of the Papists, those grand enemies to Gospel-Truths, and Be∣leevers peace. They abhor this Doctrine of Assu∣rance, by it, their Purgatory would fall down, their Popes Kitchin would grow cold. They tell us, Be∣leevers cannot attain Assurance in this world; no.
1. Why hath God commanded us to make our Calling and Election sure? and will God com∣mand impossibilities, such as cannot be wrought by our, or his own power?
2. Other Saints have attained this Assurance, this New Name, and White Stone within them.
Obj. That's by extraordinary Revelation.
Answ. This is not upon proof: was not the As∣surance of Gods people in Scripture grounded up∣on general promises? Had they (many of them) either extrinsecal signs or marks to assure them of it? did it not spring from principles common to all Beleevers?
Obj. But suppose they have Assurance to day, they may lose it to morrow; man is a mutable creature, hee may be a Childe of God in the morning, and a brat of Hell in the evening.
Answ. 'Tis true, man is a mutable creature, yet Page 15is hee preserved by an immutable God: man is a weak creature, but yet is preserved by the power of God unto salvation: man, as a Creature, is no less mutable in Heaven, than upon Earth, there pre∣served by God, therefore why not here?
Obj. This is a doctrine that tends to looseness.
Answ. Not so, it did not work looseness in Paul, Job, &c. I labour more than they all. Nothing un∣der Heaven so soveraign to stave off, and preserve from lust, as the assurance of Gods love to the soul. Such assurance comes from the highest act of faith; and one of the great things of Faith, is, to purifie the heart and life. Such an Assurance must needs con∣strain the soul: The love of Christ constraint•is. Nay, so far is it from inclining to looseness, that it casts the soul upon its knees, lifts up the souls hands, sends him to Heaven continually, constantly; arms it. with petitions, resolutions never to let the Lord of Hea∣ven and Earth alone, gives him no rest, begging of him as for other things, so especially for this, Lord, as thou art pleased to give mee the priviledge of enjoying promises, so, give mee the power to per∣form duty. Thus, saith hee, thy will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven. And so I am come as far as
The Sixth Sermon.
Matth. 6.10. Thy will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven.
THere is a twofold Will of God.
1. Preceptive, to be done by us.
2. Providential, to be done upon us. The Minister carried the words in the last sense, the will of God Page 16be done upon us; hence 'twas observed, Gods Chil∣dren must not only do, but submit to their heavenly Fathers providential will: They must not onely do his will, the will of his precepts, but they must sub∣mit to his will, the will of his providence. Let God do what hee will, they must lay down their head upon the block, and with patience and resig∣nation, say, Thy will be done. There are two grand Instances wherein Saints ought to shew this submis∣sion.
First, When God deprives them of spiritual privi∣ledges and enjoyments, they must submit now, they must not murmure then, and that upon these con∣siderations.
1. Suppose a deprivation of publick Ordinances, yet the holy Scriptures are left.
2. The holy Spirit too, that shall bring home the Scriptures to the conscience.
3. There are old experiences of former love to live upon.
4. Yet none can detain or debar us from making secret addresses unto God.
5. 'Tis a most noble thing, it becomes a Chri∣stian exceedingly, to live upon pulse, yet thrive.
6. By the want of such publick Ordinances God thinks fit to convince his people of their folly, in sinning away the Gospel.
Secondly, When the Lord makes a breach upon our temporal comforts and estates; now for submis∣sion, and that upon these accounts.
1. Come what will come, yet no strange thing is, or can happen to us, no temptation but what is common to man.
2. With what comely submission have those old Beleevers behaved themselves to the will of God; E∣liah, Page 17Job, Samuel, Daniel, and the Captain of our salvation? our blessed Saviour, not my will, but thy will be done.
3. There's a glorious day coming, when God will unriddle all his dark providences, and shew you that there is love in the bowels of them.
4. God hath made a breach upon some of thy comforts, how many comforts hath hee yet left thee?
5. Thou art now deprived of thy comforts thou hast enjoyed twenty years, thou hast reason to be thankful it was continued so long, and not to murmure that 'twas taken away now.
6. Thou hast some goods, the best of goods; there's no plundring a man of his grace, no putting of him out of Gods favour.
7. God doth thee a kindness in this; were it good for thee, it should be continued to thee; Hee with-holds no good thing, hee takes away nothing but what is evil, or would be so; this life is a transitory vapour, and hadst thou enjoyed it, thou couldst not long.
8. Compare thy self with thy self, and others; the other day thou was a pittiful poor brat, and what shalt thou bee? compare thy self with others; wee are low, how many thousands far beneath us?
9. All outward things are not properly, formally, good or evil; as wee fancy them to be good or evil, so they are; they are but fancies.
Use, Labour after this submissive frame of Spirit; get but this, and this will evidence, that though hee frowns, yet hee favours thee, this will make thy Faith appear to bee a glorious Faith; it will shew that the Kingdome of God is not only come to thee, but in thee, and rules in thy heart to that end. But Page 18what shall I do to submit?
1. Let not a day of adversity take thee unawares.
2. Do not over-value thy self, do not think too great of thy self, that the wind must not blow on∣thee.
3. Retract the superlative of thy desires, do not look at so much, as what is necessary.
4. Design nothing as thy main end, and business, but the honour and glory of God; mind but his ho∣nour, and let him alone, to take care of thy exter∣nal Comforts; Beleever, who art so much in his heart. in his book, in his soul, that hee numbers the very hairs of thy head: And thus wee fall upon
The Seventh Sermon.
Matth. 10.30. But the very hairs of your head are all numbred.
FRom this Text you had this great Conclusion, The special and distinct providence of God, extending to the smallest things and creatures, and in a special manner to the smallest Concernments of Beleevers, is a great Argument to remove their fears, and inordi∣nate cares, and to quiet and confirm their souls in confidence upon God. The very hairs of, &c. Is it so? then
1. Wee have no reason to repine at wicked men when they prosper; let them ruffle, puff, throw, and swear, what then? they will cut off the head, no, they cannot touch a hair.
2. Be not over-much troubled with any particu∣lat changes or passages in the world; they are all managed by a particular and distinct providence.
3. Fear not man slavishly, this use our Saviour makes of it.Page 19
4. This rebukes our inordinate and distracting cares; thou art mighty inquisitive, what shall I eat? what shall I drink? wherewithall shall I be cloath∣ed? Friend, thy hairs are numbred, content thy self, God will take care, &c.
5. In all passages of the world, observe and ac∣knowledge not only a general, but be sure to observe a particular providence: and then conclude,
1. That nothing shall befall thee for want of faithfulness, sufficiency, knowledge, love in God.
2. Nothing shall come unto thee, that shall in the least damnifie or injure thee.
3. That all the plots, designs, contrivances, at∣tempts of the Devil, and all his party against Gods Church, are all under a providence, they are all numbred. All the hours of thy sufferings, all thy tears, fears, griefs, pains, wants, every one num∣bred. Thou tells the clock at midnight under thy pains, and God tells thy pains more than thou the clock; nay more, the hairs of thy head are numbred, therefore, not the meanest Beleever in the greatest croud is over-looked by God. And then, all thy worldly concernments, thy relations, diseases, &c. are all numbred. Nay more, remember this Be∣leever, all thy distrusts, disquiets, murmurings, dispondences, the meanest lust unseen, and the most secret sin, are all numbred.
6. Are our hairs numbred? this is sad news for unbeleevers? are your hairs numbred? then cer∣tainly your oaths, curses, contempts of Gods people, all your sinful thoughts, words, actions, wilful o∣missions of commanded duties, commissions of for∣bidden sins, all your disputings against God, his People, his Word, Waies, Will, are all upon the file, they are all numbred.Page 20
7. What an incouragement is there here for poor sinners to come in to God. Do but come in to God, and thou shalt come into such a condition of safety, that thy very hairs shall be all numbred; and if thou wilt not come in, certainly thou are wanting to thy self; for, look as well as thou canst to thy self, thou hast not a promise to keep one hair of thy head till to morrow morning; not a promise of a sup of water, bit of bread; not a promise for one minutes safety, till to morrow morning; And if so be that thou hast not a God, no interest in him, if God should turn his back on thee, a thousand to one but afflictions come; and if afflictions come, thy heart's gone, thou having no spiritual strength in heart, no eternal Rock of Ages to flye to, no wonder if thou faint under them, and so thou wilt certainly do; if a Beleever that hath but little strength, is apt to faint, thou that hast no strength will utterly fall, when afflictions findes thee. And this leads to
The Eighth Sermon.
Prov. 24.10. If thou faint in the day of Adversity, thy strength is small.
THe Observation from hence, was, To faint in the day of trouble argues a mans inward strength to be but small. His judgement weak, his reason low, his graces feeble, his inward comfort, peace, and joy not much, but very little. This
1. Shews whence our mis-givings of heart, whence our want of liveliness of Spirit in and under troubles proceed, even from hence, that our strength is but small.
2. Teaches us how to judge what our spiritual Page 21strength is; namely, this way, how dost thou bear afflictions? how is it with thee in a day of distress? dost thou faint, and fail, it argues thy strength is but small.
3. By way of dehortation; do not thou faint in the day of affliction, of adversity. Take heed of fainting in three things.
1. Under work or duty, be it never so great, grie∣vous, troublesome, or dangerous.
2. Under the with-holdings of mercy, be they never so long detained.
3. Under afflictions, be they, or may they be never so grievous; whether
1. Publick Afflictions, the afflictions of the Church of God: Suppose Sion is now clad in Sack∣cloth, there's a time coming when shee shall be ar∣rayed in Scarlet: when the Whores Scarlet shall be turned into Raggs, the Churches Raggs shall bee turned into Gold. Or,
2. Personal Afflictions, faint not under them, be it this, or that, or the other, be they never so great, never so long, or never so many. But, what shall I do to bear up my spirit, and to preserve mee from faint∣ing?
1. Live in the holy dependance, and filial fear of the great God: hee that fears God most, to be sure will faint least.
2. Strengthen grace; there are two graces to be strengthened, viz. Strengthen Faith, I had fainted unless I had beleeved, &c. Strengthen Patience: dejection of soul usually comes from impatience.
3. Be much in prayer: Is any man afflicted, let him (not go and sinfully snivil and complain, but let him) pray.
4. Make use of heart-strengthening considerations; and that is,Page 22
1. Turn over the Promises; they are left on pur∣pose as Gods Bottle, his Vial of Cordials to keep the soul from fainting.
2. What ever befalls, remember it proceeds from Gods love.
3. All that God aims at, is, to do thee good.
4. Be the affliction never so great, 'tis as neces∣sary as prosperity, as health: this thy Physick, is as necessary as thy food.
5. The issue of all, a Crown of glory: These light afflictions which are but for a moment, worketh out for us a far more excellent and eternal weight of glory. And therefore, if so be there be such principles from which afflictions flow, and such ends to which they are managed; 'tis no wonder Christ will not pray that wee may be taken out of the world, from Af∣fliction, but kept in this world, from the evil: So wee fall on
The Ninth Sermon.
John 17.15. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
GOd hath spoken once, yea twice have I heard this, that power belongeth unto God. When God is pleased to strike twice upon the same string, it seems hee hath something more than ordinary mind, that you should observe the Tune. The Do∣ctrine was, That it is the Will of Jesus Christ, that his Servants should continue in the world, though they meet with nothing but trouble in the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world; let them stay Lord, be thou but their Pilot, and then keep them at Sea as long as thou wilt. God knows his Page 23Saints are very serviceable in their generation: They are, as it were, a pillar of fire unto the rest of the world, for guide, and light; by their doctrine and conversation they instruct the godly, and con∣vince the wicked: God will have his people stay in the world, that his power, providence, mercy, and goodness in their preservation may more clearly be discovered; that their afflictions here may work out for them an eternal weight of glory: These are the reasons why God will have them stay in the world, &c. Then
1. Saints carry your selves as becomes such in midst of such a world, with that wisdome, faithfulness, carefulness, humility, that may bring honour both to your selves, and to your profession: Walk as Lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation; walk closely, warily, innocently, patiently, submissive∣ly, &c. all these are necessary while you are to con∣verse here in this wicked world.
2. •••m that truth, But that thou shouldest keep them from the evil; observe, preservation from sin is a greater mercy than exemption from suffering. Which 1. Informs us of a truth that carnal men will never beleeve till they come to Hell, that that is the height of folly, which the men of the world count to be the top of wisdome; they think it wis∣dome, to chuse sin, rather than suffering. 2. This will evidence that the people of God are not such fools as the men of the world think they are, but the wisest, that will chuse the greatest sufferings rather than the least sin. 3. This reproves those that will take more care to have their afflictions removed, than sanctified. 4. Be more afraid of sinning, and less afraid of suf∣fering: what, afraid of a lash, my childe, no, bee more afraid of a dis-inheritance; look on sufferings Page 24with Scripture Spectacles; Labour for integrity and uprightness of heart, that preserves when falling: Be watchful over thy thoughts and waies: Be a resolved Christian, if thou be not, thou wilt turn an Aposta∣tizing Christian: You must set your faces as thornes, resolution is absolutely necessary, not only under, but before a day of suffering: Be resolved for God, and be resolved against Sin, and that for fear, least in a day of suffering thou shouldest halt and founder, and so lose the things which thou hast wrought: which brings mee to
The Tenth Sermon.
2 John 8. Look to your selves, that wee lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full Reward.
IN these words you have a Warning-Peice discharg∣ed to an Elect Lady, A serious Item to an Elect La∣dy and her Religious Family, to look well to them∣selves that they lose not the things they had wrought. And this is grounded on a double reason.
1. From the Damage of such as begin well and hold not out, They lose the things they have wrought. That were sad, that so much should be done, and all should be lost at last.
2. From the Advantage and benefit if we do go on, then we shall receive a full reward. The observation was, It much concerns all those, that have begun well, that are looked upon by Ministers, and those that are godly, as if they were truly godly, that have entertained the Truth and the Profession of the Truth, to look well to it how they stand, to continue, to go on, to hold out in their holy Profession and Conversation. Look to your self you Elect Lady, you her Religious Family look Page 25to your selves, that you lose not the things you have wrought. There's all the reason in the world it should be so; The Election of Beleevers ingages us it should be so, we are chosen that we should bee so; If we do not look well to our selves we may chance to lose all we have wrought. It too too often falls out that after a hot fit of Profession, there comes a cold fit of Apostasie, this cold fit of Apostasie caused by a sharpe winde of Persecution, or by a melting, thawing Sun of prosperity; either by our natural in∣constancy and mutability within, (wee love new changes, we love to be changable) or else the subtil∣ty of Seducers from without. Again, there hath been, are, and will come trying seasons; were you never so sincere, think not all the work over and done as soon as converted; As soon as come out of Egypt there's a Wilderness and Red-Sea to passe thorough, Mideanitish Women, Gyants, &c. to contest with: Therefore no wonder hee writes, look to your self. Then
1. Here see Election shuts not out the use of means: You are an Elect Lady, yet look to your self.
2. You scandalous Papists, the Doctrine of Per∣severance we Preach, is no Mother of sloth and secu∣rity: Though you shall be saved, yet look to your selves: you shall not perish, yet keep in the Ship.
3. Orthodoxness of Faith and soundnesse of Pro∣fession is not enough to make a good Christian: E∣lect Lady, you make profession you are sanctified, but you must look to your self.
4. It is not enough to have a well ordered Fa∣mily, Oh Lady! look to your self as well as to your Family.
5. The business of Religion is not the work of one day: As long as you have life, look to your self.Page 26
2. For Exhortation; Look to your selves, take heed of Apostasy; Take heed of that which occasions cold fits, after a cold fit comes a death fit, as after a hot fit usually comes a cold fit. Apostasy is the quartern Ague of the Soul, if it be not death tis extream dan∣gerous.
3. By way of Direction; Would you look to your selves? Look up to God, begg to bee strengthned with all might in the inner man: that hee who hath begun a good work, would be pleased to finish it. To that end, Lord give strength while in begging, and begging hearts, for continuance of that strengthning Ordinance amongst us, that it may be never said as it was said of those precious Israelites, the Word of the Lord was precious in those daies, there was no open Vision. Which leads mee to
The Eleventh Sermon.
1 Sam. 3.1. The Word of the Lord was precious in those dayes, there was no open Vision.
THe Word of the Lord was precious in those daies? Was it not alwaies precious? Yes, but there is a twofold preciousness.
1. Of Worth and Excellency.
2. Of Want and Scarcity. The Word of the Lord had not been so precious to the Israelites, in regard of its Worth and Excellency, therefore God made it pre∣cious to them in regard of its Want and Scarcity. There was no open Vision. Hence observe,
1. There hath been, there may be such a day over∣take a Church and People of God, wherein the Word of God may be precious, that is, may be Scarce, Rare, and hard to come by.
2. 'Tis most just with God to teach them how to Page 27prize the Word by the want of it, that know not how to prize the Word of God by the worth of it. The Use was for Direction, what to be done to prevent this judge∣ment of a Scarcity and Famine of the Word of God? 1. Learn to prize the Word by the worth of it. 2. Im∣prove the Word as to the fruit of it. 3. Adorn the Word in your lives and conversations. 4. Be earnest with God in publick and private for the blessed con∣tinuance of that Word. Learn to prize the Word by the worth of it? We do prize the Word, &c. Do you prize the Word in truth? Then
1. What hath meant that horrible, wicked, general contempt of the Word of God, and Ministers of that Word through the Land, though (blessed bee God) they have not taken the vilest of the people, and made them Priests, yet the best of Ministers, have been esteemed as the worst and vilest of people? 2 What means the want of the Word Read, Repeated, Looked into? 3. What means that general disobe∣dience to the Word? 4. Why are you so ready to sell the Truth, far more ready than to buy it? 5. What means that easie forsaking of the blessed Truths of the Gospel? That a Popish Jesuite, cannot come and vent one of his wicked opinions, but pre∣sently let it be vomited, it must be sucked up by one or other? 6. What means the having of the Faith of Christ in so much respect of Persons, as hath been here amongst us? judge our selves then for what is past, and for the future learn to prize the Word ac∣cording to its worth, consider what an admirable ex∣cellent thing this Word of God is, and that may be known,
1. By the metaphors unto which it is resembled in Scripture, which speaks either its profit, pleasure, usefulness, or necessity: Thy Word is a light to my Page 28feet, what more precious than light, without which the world were but one great Dungeon, &c. 'Tis compared to Bread, Manna, Food, Water, Precious Stones, Rain, &c. Nay, 'tis more necessary: As they formerly, we can better be without the Sun, then without Chrysostom: Love for God makes us sensi∣bly to say, we can as well be without fire or water, as without the Word of God. And it is the more ex∣cellent because compared to those things: what they are naturally, it is spiritually so, it is spiritual Bread, spiritual Water, spiritual Pearl, &c. 2. By its pre∣cious Properties and operations. There is a Scrip∣ture to mee tastes like honey in my mouth. Psal. 19.7, 8, 9. Where the Word is discovered by its pro∣perties and operations. The Law of the Lord is per∣fect, converting the Soul, the Testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple, the Statutes of the Lord are right, rejoycing the heart; The Commadements of the Lord is pure, Inlightning the eyes; The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever. The Judgements of the Lord are true and Righteous altogether. What, are these the Metaphors to which the Word is compa∣red? Are these the Properties and Operations of the Word? No wonder then Job sets such a high valu∣ation upon them as he doth, in our
Job 23.12 I have esteemed the Words of his mouth more then my necessary food./hi
IN these words you have the matter and the mea∣sure of Job's valuation.
1. The matter of Job's valuation, i.e. The words, all the words of his mouth, precepts as well as pro∣mises, threatnings and directions, as well as pro∣mises Page 29and priviledges. 2. The measure of his va∣luation, as his food, as his necessary food; nay, more than his necessary food. Hence this truth was raised; The Ordinances of God are exceeding precious to all truly Religious persons: All the Ordinances of God, and amongst them, his Word, which is not the least part of his Worship: This appears 1. From their desires after the Ordinances; My soul panteth, longeth after, &c. 2. From their hearty content and sa∣tisfaction in them. 3. From their bitter lamentation under the want of them. 4. From their diligent en∣deavours to enjoy them.
Religious persons really understand their worth and want of them: They know the Ordinances of God to be the food, the spiritual fodder of the soul: The walks of God, where God is pleased to take his Turns; The Instruments of Divine Glory. The Le∣gacy of Christians; their Christian Armour and A∣coutrements, to contest with Sin, Satan, the World; and, as Starrs that lead to Bethlehem, no wonder the Ordinances are so precious in the esteem of all truly Religious. Then 1. Know your priviledge, yet you enjoy Ordinances. 2. Lament the sad condition of those poor titular Christians on the one hand, that have Ordinances, but enjoy them not; they know not the worth of them. And true Chri∣stians on the other hand, from whom the Ordinances are gone, and whether ever they will return they know not. 3. This reproves those to whom they are not precious. But, how shall I know the Ordinan∣ces are precious to mee? Answer, If thou carries thy self towards them, as towards what thou lookest on as precious: tell mee, 1. Art thou greedy of all opportunities of enjoying them? 2. Heartily troubled when hindered of enjoying them? 3. Hast Page 30thou a dear respect of those that help thee to the en∣joyment of them? 2. By way of Conviction to those mad men that tell us of being above, i. e. without Ordinances: what, was it ever heard of any of Gods Saints in Scripture that ever they said they were above Ordinances? 3. For instruction to Chri∣stians: It will be seasonable to consider what you ought to do if God should deprive you of Ordinan∣ces: Hee did not say, 'tis probable, but such a thing is possible; therefore make provision, lay in provision before-hand, provision of Knowledge, of Grace, of Comfort, of Light against a day of darkness. And if it should come, here's counsel given to us, and Con∣solation laid before us.
1. Counsel given us, if ever it should be. 1. La∣ment, bewail, mourn over the Lords absence; weep till you can weep no longer. 2. Seek after, pur∣sue them; let them go where they will, be sure follow thou the Ordinances. 3. Be more frequent and serious in the use of private Ordinances. 4. Fre∣quently reflect back on thy former enjoyments; oh the House, the Tabernacle of God, &c. And re∣flect 1. To excite your thankfulness to God, that ever you did enjoy them. 2. To suck strength from the Ordinances; to chew the cud, and get strength of them. 3. For humiliation; for sinning away, and provoking God to take them away.
2. For Consolation, that the people of God may not utterly fail; then 1. Know in such a condition, that though your condition be exceeding bad, yet better than many thousands, they never had Ordi∣nances. 2. God is able in such a case to support without Ordinances: when hee calls into the Wil∣derness, hee can carry along without Circumcision. 3. Remember those that have had them, but not Page 31now, what's become of Sion? of the Church of, &c. 4. Your salvation may be carried on without Ordinances. 5. There's a time coming when you shall have no need of Ordinances. In the mean time, if you cannot get up to the Ark of God, take heed of bowing to the Calves at Dan and Bethel: If you cannot serve the God of Israel, take heed you serve not the Gods of the Amorites. What you will do I know not, be sure Joshna would not, chuse you (saith hee) this day whom you will serve; whe∣ther the Gods which your Fathers served, that were on the other side of the flood, or the Gods of the Amorites, in whose Land yee dwell: But as for mee and my house, wee will serve the Lord: which brings mee to
The Thirteenth Sermon.
Josh. 24.15. As for mee and my house, wee will serve the Lord.
IN the words two things. 1. An indefatigable Retortation; Take your own choice, follow your own discretion: If you will go and bow down to a dumb Idol, to a Captive God, &c. 2. An admirable Dehortation: wee are at a pitch, wee are resolved, and if there be any Attractive in mee, or my fami∣ly, you have it in this, I and my house-hold, wee will serve the Lord. The Observations were,
1. Pious Governours of families are very zealous that their families, as well as themselves, should serve the Lord. Never hope of thriving in godliness, till you bring your Families right for God, to be of the same Religion with your selves.
2. A true sincere Christian is resolved to chuse and follow God, what ever else the world chuse and fol∣low.Page 321. Sincere Christians have much more satis∣faction in the judgement and practice of God, his Word, Saints, than in the judgement and practice of the World: Hee knows their judgement to be depraved, their choice and practice corrupt, their end and conclusion worst of all; therefore no won∣der hee makes a better choice. 2. They have the best Testimony in the world for their choice, the Spirit and Son of God, that this is their choice; therefore no wonder, &c. But how do they chuse God? Answer, they chuse God as the object of their souls love, as the chiefest of ten thousand, as the lot of their inheritance, as the companion of their souls, to converse with him, as the Comman∣der of their waies, to be guided by him, as a shelter of their hearts, as a refuge to flye unto in the time of danger.
The first Use was by way of Examination; is God chosen as the chief object of our souls love? can we truly say, there is none in Heaven but thee, none upon Earth I can desire besides, or in comparison of thee? Can wee say in having a God, the lines are fallen unto mee in a pleasant place, yea I have a goodly heritage? Is communion with God our Heaven upon Earth? Is God the Commander of our waies, as well as wee hope to be the Saviour of our souls? Is God our shield, our buckler, our re∣treat in danger?
The second Use was by way of Consolation: Be∣leevers, have you made choice of God? Happy are the people that are in such a case; thou hast the best assurance in the world, to come to the best posses∣sion in this world, peace, and joy; Peace without, if not Peace within: And Joy, the best Joy in the world, Joy unspeakable and full of glory. And Page 33truly, if so be that this be thy portion, in having chosen God, 'tis no wonder thou dost not Apostatize from him: 'Tis no wonder that what ever comes upon a Beleever, yet for that his heart is not turn∣ed back, neither his steps declined from Gods way. And this leads to
The Fourteenth Sermon.
Psalm 44.18. Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way.
FRom these words two Observations.
1. In times of sufferings and afflictions; true Christians are to make a narrow inspection into their hearts, to see how they stand affected. Thus did the Church here.
2. To keep stedfast and close with God, notwith∣standing all afflictions and sufferings wee undergo, ei∣ther from, or for God, is the duty and commendation of Saints. 'Twas our duty, and 'tis our honour, Lord, &c. In prosecution of this point, these se∣ven preliminary Thesis was laid down.
1. When man was first created, his heart stood rightly bent towards God, as his great center and mark.
2. When man fell, his heart immediately drew off, and turned back from God.
3. Though this be the case of fallen man, yet poor creature, he sees it not.
4. The very Formalis Ratio of sin, that wherein the formality of sin consists, is in this, not so much in sinning against God, by outward Acts, as in the hearts departing from God.
5. All true Conversion to God begins at the heart.Page 34
6. 'Tis an argument of infinite love in God to bring back our hearts to him.
7. When once the heart of a Beleever is brought back to God, no suffering or affliction is able to turn that heart from him.
Quest. When may a mans heart be said not to bee turned back, notwithstanding all sufferings and af∣flictions?
Answ. 1. When a man still retains the same esteem and estimate of God that ever he had. When Job looks upon God as a God fit to bee blessed, though God be plundering of him.
2. When a man retains still the same affections, the same love to him, delight in him, fear of him, as much as ever.
3. When wee hope and trust in God as much as ever: Though hee kill mee, yet will I trust in him.
4. When we have the same resolutions to cleave to God as ever. If a God in Israel, as long as a God in Israel; 'tis all one, makes not to the Gods of the Philistines; this is for a mans heart not to be turned back from God. By way of Use,
1. Learn, the heart of man is very apt to turn from God in daies of affliction: our heart is not, though their's were.
2. It concerns us in time of affliction and suffer∣ing, to see if our hearts be not turned back from God. But, what means shall I use that I may not turn a base Apostate?
Answ. 1. Be watchful over your hearts: they are exceeding slippery and deceitful. The veryest Theeves in the World.
2. Bee still bending of your hearts from the world and the flesh, unto God: As you bend a crooked stick to make it streight.Page 35
3. Do not onely bend but binde your hearts, tye them, shackle them, as you would one that hath broken Prison, by holy, serious, scriptural, necessa∣ry vows.
4. Converse much with God: That man that converses much with God, it is not the frowns of men shall bring his heart off from God. To spurre you on to this duty with these motives.
1. If you turn from God, the Soul of God will turn from you: If any man draw back, my Soul shall have no pleasure in him.
2. Keep close to God in such a time, and God will keep close to you. Here's a people, that not all their sufferings could make them fall from mee. God glories in such a people.
3. This will be one of the greatest comforts by way of Argument of your sincerity, that your hearts is upright with God. This will make an Hezekiah look up to God in time of sicknesse, with a Lord remember now how I have walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart.
4. If you will not run from God by way of Apo∣stasy, you may run to God and find him a Sanctu∣ary; and so you have it in
The Fifteenth Sermon.
Isa. 8.14. He shall be for a Sanctuary.
THe words are an allusion to a City of refuge and from hence this Observation, Jesus Christ will be for a sure refuge to all those that make him their fear and dread. And the truth is, there is the greatest reason in the world Christ should be so, Saints stand in greatest need of this Sanctuary; They are a poor Page 36weak, helplesse, generation of Creatures, but they have a Rock of refuge; The Conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the Rocks: Christ bears dearest love to them: They are most precious to him: They are his Jewels, what will a man pre∣serve, if he will not preserve his Jewels? Will Christ be a Sanctuary? Then 1. See the true reason why the Saints of God are of such an heroick Spirit, even when troubles look them in their faces, and ring in their ears, they have a God to flie to, a Christ to rest on. 2. See the reason of that consternation of Spirit that seises on wicked men in times of trouble. Hide mee from the wrath of the Lamb, why? They have no refuge to go to, and how ever it is with them now, you shall hear nothing but howling and lamenting, when God shall come to avenge the blood of his Saints. 3. Be exhorted to make Christ your Sanctuary get into this City of Refuge, and for motives consider, 1. Your absolute need of a San∣ctury: You are at the power of the world, in the paw of the Devil, in the mouth of danger, in the mouth of Hell. 2. All other things in the world are not sufficient to become a Sanctuary; You may run to the Rocks, but they cannot hide you, you may make an arm of flesh your strength, but it will prove an Egyptian Reed, and run into your hands, you may make Riches your refuge, The rich mans wealth is his strong Tower, but rather, 'tis a Castle in the Aire, you may make honours your refuge, &c. All things unable to be your Sanctuary. 3. Consider what a large, free, present, well furnished, unchangeable Refuge and Sanctuary Christ is: There are many, nay, all things in Christ, in which a poor soul may take Sanctuary: Dost thou want Righteousness? He is the righteous one: Dost thou want Sanctification, Page 37Wisdome, Redemption? He is all; in him, Refuge and Sanctuary mayst thou take, in his Providence for thy Protection, in his Offices for thy Salvation, in his Promises for thy Consolation; and amongst the rest, that which is like the Dyamond in the Ring, see that great promise in
The Sixteenth Sermon.
Rev. 2.17. To him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the Hidden manna.
TO him that overcometh i. e. Not that hath by one, two or more acts Conquered: But to him that overcomes, that hath, and doth, and is over∣coming still, that goes on Conquering and to Con∣quer.
2. To him that overcomes, thus, and this way, and this enemy, this greatest enemy that God hath, Truth hath in the world, Antichrist especially, that keeps my Truths inviolable, that in a Scriptural way opposes that greatest enemie I have, and op∣poses him to a Conquest. To him that overcomes, that goes on to overcome, that thus overcomes. Hence this observation; Beleevers are all a Genera∣tion of Conquerours; all Conquerours; They are all like the Sons of the Kings, but some Beleevers are more Conquerors then others, some, that lay Anti∣christ upon his back, such as out shoot the Devil in his own Bow, that stand out against Satans greatest Batteries, that turn his Cannon on himself, and cut off the head of that Goliah, with his own Sword; These are something more then Conquerers. But how comes Beleevers to be thus Conquerours? Ans. They are actuated with a six fold power.Page 38
1. With ability to discern all necessary, heaven∣ly mysteries, and this inables them to overcome An∣tichrist, as he is an Erronious, Fawning, Heretical Prophet.
2. With a power to beleeve all things, even such things, as though they do not contradict, yet exceed the reach of Reason.
3. VVith a power to do all duties, I can do all things through Christ that strengthens mee: These Conquerours cannot do any thing against, but any thing for the Truth.
4. With a power to suffer all things: these Con∣querours are ready, not onely to be bound, but to suffer, to dye for the name of Jesus, and to con∣quer by dying.
5. With a power to forsake all things; To look upon all things, as dung and drosse, that they may win Christ.
6. They have not onely a power of might, but of right too, as Kings to conquer, &c. But what means are to be used to overcome in the sense of the Text?
Ans. 1. Study well that little Book of the Reve∣lations, Indeed the Book of Books, the Book of sa∣cred Scripture, in which we have at once the summe of the Saints duty and priviledge, and of Gods Care and Providence over his Church in the latter daies of the Church, &c.
2. Concoct this Book by a practical beleef of what is revealed in it: do not think your own noti∣ons to be Divine Revelations.
3. Familiarize the Cross of Christ, by daily ex∣pectation of it, and provision for it; do not say (as Rev. 18.7.) I sit as a Queen and shall see no sorrow.
4. Labour by a prospect of Faith to Antidate those great joyes God hath prepared for those that so suffer as to conquer.Page 39
5. Buckle on the whole Armour of God, and a∣bove all, leave not out the Shield of Faith.
6. Let your love abound higher by opposition. That becomes a Martyrs Spirit indeed; The more the wind blows it in thy face, let that blow up more of thy blood into thy face; Let it warm thee more &c.
7. Live not by Example but by Rule: Those that follow the most, whither go they? Wide is the Gate, broad is the Way, that leads to Damnation, and many there be that enter therein: The Flock of Christ is a little Flock.
8. Esteem duty above safety. As one, 'tis neces∣sary Rome should be: revived; 'tis not necessary I should be preserved: 'Tis necessary Religion should be advanced, the power of Godlinesse preserved, 'tis not necessary I should be in this or that condi∣tion.
9. Indulge not the least sin, else thou wilt ne∣ver be a Conquerour: That man that will not lay down his Lust for Christ, will never lay down his Life for Christ. A man can never be resolved for Christs waies without, if not resolved against all im∣purity within.
10. Harden and anoint your selves with practi∣cal improvement of Christs sufferings, in Christs death: There was an inestimable price to purchase our conquest, an infinite merit to strengthen, to in∣courage our Conquest, an all-sufficient vertue to cause our Conquest, a pledge of our eternal Con∣quest, we are Conquerours already, we do but ga∣ther the Spoyle. Make use of Christs death as the merit, pattern, and motive of your Conquest.
11. Labouring for sincerity.
12. Get well acquainted with Divine Attributes Page 40and Divine Promises: and such especially as may be most suitable for your condition.
13. Abhorre the Relicks of Superstition: The ve∣ry Nest, the very Cage of the Bird is unclean: Not a crum of that old Leaven, 'twill sower the whole Lump: Antichrist is hugely like the Devil, let him get in but one paw, let him but get in his head, hee will quickly get in the whole body: If you would a∣void the paw of Antichrist, avoid as much as you can the very parings of his nails.
14. Get an experimental knowledge of Gospel Truths: They are your head Professors that turn Apostates.
15. Let this be your first and chiefest care, your first and last, to seek and serve God: Which if you do, as all other things, so this priviledge of Con∣quest shall be added unto you as your Crown: Seek ye first the Kingdome of God and the righte∣ousness thereof, and all these things shall be added unto you: which opens the door to
The Seventeenth sermon,
Mat. 6.33. Seek yee first the Kingdome of God and his Righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
FRom this Scripture you had a Remedy against Solicitous Thoughts and Fears, given in this Pro∣position, that a serious Inquiry and earnest Pursute of the Kingdome of Heaven, and the Righteousness there∣of, is an excellent remedy against distracting cares and fears, about Provision and safety. Seek First, and trou∣ble your selves no more. Seek first the Kingdome of God &c. Two questions was proposed and answer∣ed.Page 41
1. What is it earnestly to enquire after, and seriously to pursue, the Kingdome of God, and his Righteous∣ness? In this Question three things included; the Object, the Act, the Order.
1. The Object, the Kingdome of God, the King∣dome of Heaven, and its Righteousness. The King∣dome of Heaven, that is the Kingdome of Grace, and the Kingdome of Glory; the Kingdome of Grace, as the means to the Kingdome of Glory: The Righteousness of this Kingdome, that is sancti∣fication, sincere holiness in heart and life, which is the beginning, or the way to, and a sign or pledge of our interest in the Kingdome of Glory.
2. The Act, Seek, i. e. bestir your utmost thoughts about, your utmost time, care, and dili∣gence upon these things.
2. Seek, i. e. set your choicest affections upon these things.
3. Seek, i. e. strive and labour, go forth in utmost endeavours for obtaining of these things.
3. The Order, seek first; seek it first, in respect of time, begin with God, remember thy Creator in the daies of thy youth: seek it first, with the grea∣test care, acquired diligence, industry, with the grea∣test seriousness. The Kingdome of God is the most necessary thing, indeed, that one thing necessary; 'Tis the most excellent thing, eternal, all other things are temporal; get this and you get all; you get a∣bove the terrours of the world. The best way to have the things of this world sanctified, is this, seek first the Kingdome of God, &c.
2. How is this a remedy against distracting cares and fears?
Answ. 1. It is a remedy by divertion.
2. Present things seem little, when acquainted with eternal things.Page 42
Ʋse 1. This reproves those that observe not our Saviours direction.
1. Those that are drowned in earthly things, give them Onions and Garlick, take the Kingdome of Heaven, and Righteousness thereof who will: Let mee have my part in Paris, what care I for Pa∣radice.
2. Others that are for the Kingdome of God, but not for the Righteousness of that Kingdome: they are for the end, but they do not care for the way: they would have the fruit, but they will not climbe the Tree.
3. Others that could wish they had a portion in it, but in a slight and perfunctory way; if Heaven could be obtained with a few prayers, this they'd do, but further they will not go.
2. Is this such an excellent way to cure our car∣nal fears and cares? what advantage hath a childe of God above all other men in the world, both in this life, and that to come; in this life, under a watchful providence; not a hair of his head shall perish; but chiefly the priviledges of an everlasting Kingdome: hee hath a bird in the bush, and in hand too: choice enjoyments in the hand, and in hope much more, but much more above, and this hope of his shall not make him ashamed: The vi∣sion of his appointed comforts is for an appointed time, and it will come; will come, said I? Faith looks out, and sees it coming already; let but Faith look to Heaven, and hee sees his Judge coming, which brings mee to
The Eighteenth Sermon.
Revel. 22.12. Behold I come quickly, and my re∣ward is with mee.
THe Observation from the words was this, The Lord Jesus will certainly and speedily come to Judgement, when hee shall give reward equal to every man. These two Questions was answered.
1. In what sense Christ comes quickly?
Answ. In Gods account, with whom a thousand years are but as one day. In our account Faith sees him coming, though sense cannot: Faith makes fu∣ture things present; 'tis the perspective of the soul. Beleevers receive part of their reward at death, and that's quickly?
2. Why doth Christ defer his coming at all?
Ans. 1. To stop the mouths of the wicked: they will not have one word to reply, they had time and space to repent.
2. Out of his dear love hee bears to his Elect; There's many of his Elect not yet born, and though born; not new born, now these must be born, and new born, and brought all in, and when that time is come, then hee will come.
Ʋse 1. Will Christ come quickly, and with a reward? then certainly remember this Atheist, 'tis no vain thing to serve our Lord Jesus: What profit is it if wee serve him, &c? what profit? infinite profit, there's a reward coming.
2. By way of Exhortation, will Christ come? oh then
1. Prepare for his coming; labour to be prepa∣red by his spiritual coming into thy heart, that's the way to be prepared for his last coming: get thy understanding enlightened in the saving Know∣ledge Page 44of Christ, thy will subdued, and brought into subjection unto Christ, thy affections renewed, spi∣ritualized, thy conversation such as becomes the Gospel of Christ.
2. You that have made all things ready for his coming, look out after his coming: The Table is spread, the Trencher laid, the dinner ready, the guest not come, oh! when will hee come; I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ; come Lord Je∣sus, come quickly, every Saint will eccho too, Come quickly. To every Beleever it shall be a most wel∣come coming, hee shall come with a reward of ab∣solution and pardon of all sin, of vindication and clearing up of all names: Beleevers bodies shall not only have a Resurrection, but their good names. It shall be a reward of Coronation, all their Crowns of Thorns shall be turned into Crowns of Glory.
3. Is Christ coming? will hee come? This should bear up Beleevers hearts in and under the sufferings they fear or feel. Christ comes quickly, therefore fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer. This gives us advance into
The Nineteenth Sermon.
Rev. 2.10. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer, behold the Devil shall cast some of you into pri∣son, that you may be tryed, and you shall have tribu∣lation ten daies: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a Crown of Life.
WHence observe, 1. The people of God must suffer. Through tribulation, through many tribulations they must enter into the Kingdome of God: From a cross into Heaven: think it not strange, no not of the fiery tryal, thou shalt suffer. 2. What Page 45ever sufferings the people of God either are, or may be in, they have no just cause, ground, or reason of fear, i. e. of disponding, distrusting, distracting fear. The Arguments for this point are in the Text.
1. The Consideration of who it is, that brings the People of God into suffering, Is it God? God is the Disposer, but who is the great Executioner? The Devil, whom God hates more than thou canst, The Devil shall cast, &c.
2. 'Tis the Devil in a Chain. The Devil hath two sorts of Chains. A Chain of darkness, in which he is kept to the day of Judgement. A Chain of provi∣dence, he is restrained in that, &c.
3. The Quality of the suffering should keep them from fearing: He shall cast some of you into Prison, not into Hell.
4. The Design, to destroy you? no, but to try you: 'Tis well you are Gold, else you would be pre∣sently destroyed and burnt.
5. The Duration, could the Devil have his de∣sign, it should be for ever: 'Tis but for ten daies.
6. God over-rules all that befalls us, Christ al∣waies stands by the Beleever to take notice of every stripe, as well as of every hair of thy head, to own thee in all thy sufferings, to sympathize with thee, to have a fellow-feeling and compassion unto thee, to compose us, and sanctifie all unto us, to order the issue of all, that it shall be sure, speedy, and good, and by all these to make us as like God, God-man, as possible.
Ʋse. Then do not fear: Here we were forewarned and fore-Armed.
1. Forewarned, our suffering is like to be great, nay, it may be greater then we may suppose: This to bee sure, if our sufferings do but keep pace with our sin∣ings,Page 46I beleeve never such sufferings in England: If God lay Righteousness to the Line, and Judgement to the Plummet, never such matter for his Justice in England.
2. We should not fear because that is the spring of many other sins, Fainting, Running, Lying, Per∣jury, and to do any thing in the world &c.
3. The best of men in such bad times, it will bee as much as ever they can doe to keep themselves steady.
2. We were Fore-armed.
1. In reference to the Church of God: Do not fear, the Church of God is dear to thee, but 'tis dea∣rer to God. The Interest of God is more concerned in the life, peace, and truth of the Church, then in mine, &c. If the great God will not look to his own Interest, can the Church be safe? But doubtless hee will.
2. In reference to our selves. Suppose many suf∣ferings, yet the waies of God are in the dark, as well as in the deep, there's no tracing of him, let him a∣lone, where thou canst not trace him, admire him. God can, and hath done, and I bless God, I can set my Seal to that word that tells mee, God will do great things; Babylon must sink, his people must bee called, the Kings of the earth must hate that Whore, when God brings his people low, 'tis but making way for the bareing and magnifying his own mercy; when the praise can be given to none, now is a time for God to work. Now will I arise and shew my self strong. Therefore fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: Fear not oh! ye Saints of the most high: Tis true, if you were carnal, natural, unconverted, sinful, Idolatrous wretches, well might you fear the wrath of the Lamb, and him that sitteth on the Page 47Throne: Wert thou a filthy, drunken, unrighteous, intemperate Faelix, thou might well fear thou hast no God to run to, but being a Paul thou needest not fear: No, Paul can speak and act with so much con∣fidence even when he stands before a great Tribu∣nal, ready to have a sentence of death passed on him, that he makes his very Judge to Tremble. And so you have it in
The Twentieth Sermon.
Acts 24.25. And as he reasoned of Righteousness, Temperance, and Judgement to come, Faelix trembled.
IN these words you have the manner, matter, and effect of Paul's Preaching; The manner, why Paul was reasoning; The matter 'tis of Righteous∣ness, Temperance and Judgement to come; the Ef∣fect, Faelix trembled. First, for the manner of Pauls Preaching, as he reasoned, i. e. as he argued the mat∣ter, he did propound it in a rational way, and pur∣sued it before Faelix, and this he doth in a double capacity, as he is a Convert, and as he is an Apostle, as a Christian, and as a Preacher.
1. As a Convert and Christian, and so he had rea∣son to do, and make use of that reason he had to shew, though he became Righteous, yet Paul had not lost his reason. Hence learn, true Religion will con∣sist with right Reason. Blessed be God for this Truth; We are apt to look upon men as mad men, if they will be Righteous: 'Tis true, before Paul was con∣verted, he had Reason but he used it madly, but af∣ter Conversion he begins to be sober, and make the best use of his Reason.
2. Look upon Paul as a Preacher, so he makes use Page 48of his Reason. And True Reason may and must bee used in Preaching the Gospel, yet with these two Cautions.
1. Do not over-value Reason; do not lift up the Servant above the Master: Prize Grace more then Reason; Piety is better then Parts, though Parts are the Ring of Gold, Piety is the Diamond in that Ring. As if, a man in a Pulpit should come to shew what a brave Scholler he is, this is to over-value Rea∣son.
2. Do not under-value Reason. We have had a strange fancy, that if a man that could not read English would but come and talke and preach to us, he was far more desirable then a Black-Coat that hath been at University and learnt his root there (as they say) you will be glad of such as these. This Learning hath spoiled all the world, do you not know how many Schollers are Atheists; and their learning made them the worse, &c. This is not the fault of their Reason; had they more Reason they would improve it better. It is want of Reason that makes them not Crucifie their Lusts: Because cor∣rupt men many times reprove that which is good, will you therefore cast it off.
2. For the Matter of Pauls Preaching, and here observe.
1. 'Tis suitable to his hearers, Faelix was a Judge though a corrupt one, and so he reasons of Righte∣ousnesse: He and his Whore lived in Adultery, and so he preaches of Temperance, of Judgement to come, know, God will call thee to judgement. Hence ob∣serve. The Gospel is then preached aright, when suted to hearers hearts, conditions, constitutions: A man in the Pulpit ought not to shoot at random, Paul speaks ad rem to his hearers, suitably tells them of Righ∣teousnesse, Page 49Temperance, Judgement to come.
2. Consider it with Relation to his Scope, which was, to bring them unto Christ, and what doth hee do? He Preaches Grace, Mercy, and Peace, no, not a word of that, but Righteousness, Temperance, Judg∣ment to come. Paul was a convincing Preacher, hee knows his way to bring home Faelix and Drusilla, to Christ, was first to convince them of their sin, and the wrath of God due to sin. The whole summe of Pauls preaching is, a preaching by way of conviction: Sin and misery must be preached for this end, that it may bring men unto Christ; wee must not make men half dead and there leave them, but bring them to the Chirurgion, all our conviction is only for this end, that you might be brought to Christ, by Grace, to Glory.
3. For the Effects of Pauls preaching: Paul preached, and Faelix trembled: doth not Drusylla tremble? 'Tis more then probable, shee brought Paul to preach there, that Drusylla had a months mind to hear what he had to say, but Faelix trem∣bled; Hence observe, Those that are first in enjoying, may be last in receiving the Gospel. Drusylla was a —yet turns a wicked Apostate, yet when come to hear a Sermon, her Heathenish Husband Faelix that ser∣ved the Devil instead of God trembled, but not she; Back-sliding Professors from the Truth, are infinite∣ly farther from melting under the Gospel, then pro∣fane sinners, that never heard of it. A man had far better go and preach to Heathens, then Apostates. Then for the words, Faelix Trembled. Why? There was Righteousness prosecuted and convinced, Judge∣ment to come, threatned against him; Now his knees begin to smite together, now the Writing on the Wall, now Faelix trembles; Oh! poor soul, wouldst Page 50thou not tremble at the hearing of the Preaching of Judgement to come? submit to the Judge before he come: wouldst thou not have thy Judge to condemn thee then? Let him be now thy King to Rule, thy Prophet to instruct, thy Priest to reconcile: Would you avoid the terrour of a Judgement to come? Ac∣cept of the offer of a Christ coming; coming did I say? Nay, he is come already; Do but lay your ear close, to that third of the Revelations, and the twentieth, you shall hear your Judge knocking, which brings mee to
The one and twentieth Sermon.
Rev. 3.20. Behold I stand at the door and knock, if any man hear my voyce, and open the Door, I will come in to him, and will Sup with him, and he with mee.
THese are the words of our blessed Saviour, words Coyned as it were for the close of the morning Exercise. A continued metaphor; wherein you have
1. An Important thing of weight intimated in that particle, Behold.
2. The state of men in the visible Church impli∣ed, though they profess a Christ, high thoughts of him, and obedience to him, yet many, most of them keep their hearts shut against him, behold I stand without at the door.
3. Christs dealing or transaction with the poor Creatures for opening their hearts to him, and that in four things.
1. His standing waiting, or dancing attendance on the soul, and the place where: I stand at the door.Page 51
2. His earnest desire and importunity of entrance, and knock.
3. His call and Invitation, for where a hearing is injoyned, there must needs bee a calling implyed.
4. The Argument or Motive he uses, to perswade poor Creatures to let him in.
1. Ab honesto, If he will but open, I will come in and take my abode: An admirable thing to have such a Tennant.
2. A Jucundo, I will sup with him, I will vouch∣safe him fellowship and communion.
3. He shall sup with mee; There shall bee mu∣tual fellowship between him and mee, what I have shall be his and what he hath shall be mine: we will walk, love, and lodge together; I will lodge with him, and he shall lodge with mee.
4. To whom this invitation is made to every one, all, if any man or woman, that •ave sleighted my Ministers voyce, months, or years, if 〈◊〉 he will open, I will come in.
5. The Sinners Duty and Interest.
1. The opening the heart when Christ knocks, that's his duty, because Christs Invitation is his com∣mand.
2. His Interest, because then Christ will come in, &c.
The Doctrine was, When Christ knocks and calls, at the doors of our hearts, 'tis our Duty and Interest, to open, admit, and let him in. These two questions were proposed and prosecuted.
1. When or now, is Christ said to knock and call at the hearts of sinners?
2. How sinners are said to hear and open.
1. How is Christ said to knock and call at the hearts of sinners?Page 52
1. If you regard the means whereby hee knocks, i. e. by natural light of conscience within, or by the light of the Ministry and Gospel without.
2. If you regard the manner of Christs knock∣ing or calling, 'tis either externally, by the Word, Ordinances, Providences (his Rod hath a voice as well as his Word) or internally, by the Spirit of God that accompanies that Word, by the means of Grace, by the motions of his Spirit.
2. How are sinners said to hear his voice, and open?
1. For hearing, it must not be an external, but an internal hearing, a hearing of the heart, through the heart; it must be a particular, distinguishing hearing, it must know the voice of Christ; it must be a sensible, an humble, satisfying hearing.
2. For opening; it is either
1. Sp•••al opening, at first, when the door is shut, those everlasting doors are at first open to entertain the King of Glory, in our first Conver∣sion.
2. Progressive, i. e. when the soul opens more and more: for there's no door, but its shut as close on him when after entrance, that 'tis as much as ever Christ can do to creep in. This opening ap∣pears,
1. In parting with, and putting away what ever keeps possession of the heart against Christ: The strong man must be turned out.
2. The soul freely consents to Christ, by an in∣tire resignation to his Will and Spirit, to take him upon those tearms. And when Christ doth thus knock and call at the door of our hearts, 'tis our du∣ty and interest thus to open admittance to him.
The Use was for Exhortation, to plead with poor Page 53sinners, that yet, oh! yet they would open to Christ Jesus knocking and calling: Arguments here there was used, if they did not melt, 'twas not because they were not powerful, but our souls marble.
1. 'Tis a matter of greatest importance, more than your earthly Joyntures, it concerns your ever∣lasting souls, souls that are more worth than ten thousand worlds; whether you will now beleeve it or no, you will hereafter.
2. Consider the person that comes to call; who is it? 'Tis a King that stands at your door; 'tis the King of Kings, God of Gods, that stands there.
3. 'Tis hee that deserves admittance, a God of abundant, superabundant love; by his undertaking hee hath deserved admittance: will you keep out your Father? your Mother? thou wretch, that wast rescued the other day, wilt thou keep out thy Re∣deemer?
4. 'Tis hee that hath a great love and affection for you, how ever you have dealt with him: Thou that brought him Hell, yet can hee never bee at quiet till he hath brought you to Heaven.
5. Consider the posture, I stand, must you sit and I stand?
6. I have stood a long time, I have been staying and waiting for you so many years; I can reckon every day and night I have stood and waited for you: you would have abhorr'd to have waited on the greatest man in the world, as I have waited on you, a worm; nay, I stay still waiting for you;
And This one thing sticks yet with mee; I stand ready to depart; I have knocked a great while, but now knock no more; what if this should be the last knock you should hear? How many did knock, and the last knock'd, yet I stand; I knock this once Page 54more; 'tis very questionable whether Christ will ever knock again, at least in such a way, and by such means; never did Christ knock more louder.
7. I stand at the door, a poor cold place: I stand despised and contemned: but besides, ma∣ny in the mean time are let in, and I kept out, and that out of my own house.
8. I stand at the door, ready to have my pa∣tience turned into fury; therefore, let mee come in quickly.
9. I stand, I that am blessed in my self, I that can make thee infinitely, eternally blessed▪ I that am, &c, do stand, therefore prethee, prethee open. What's that? 'Tis hear and know, remem∣ber, beleeve and do. And this would give mee a fair Retreat into my Text; If you know these things, happy are yee if yee do them. I beseech you to con∣sider, you have known these things, cursed, wretch∣ed for ever are yee, if yee do not do them, happy for ever if you do them.
Thus I have given you a short account of these things lately delivered to you: you must not im∣pute any of my weaknesses to my Reverend Bre∣threns labours that went before; the God of Hea∣ven bless you, and reward them a thousand-fold. And, oh! what ever God doth, keep up this ex∣ercise in the midst of us. You have abundantly reaped Gods Spirit; I hope there is something done in this Congregation, that Eternity it self shall never bee able to blot out. I confess this is no fasting day, but yet however wee may make it such a day, as, since God is pleased to give us an Ocean, to return to him some drops. Beloved, 'Tis very probable that it will bee the last motion that ever I shall make to you while I live in this Page 55way; If I were now to go from my Pulpit to my grave, this would bee the double motion I would make to you.
1. For Gods sake prize the Word of God.
2. Labour to prize the Word of God by the worth of it, that you may never come to prize the Word of God by the want of it. And if you would express your prizing of the Word, express your love, charity, bowels, to poor Ministers of the Word: never any man repented hee had given so much to a good use, doubtless my children wants it now, or my wife wants it now, &c. And I can assure you, I think there was never so ma∣ny thanksgivings made to God for this City of London, as for their abundant charity in this re∣spect.