A CHARGE AGAINST THE JEWS, and the Christian WORLD, for not coming to CHRIST, who would have freely given them Eternall Life.
DELIVERED IN A ••RMON, before the Right ••norable the House of PEERS,
In the Abbey Church at Westminster, on May 26. 1647. Being the Day of their Publick Fast.
By THOMAS VALENTINE, one of the Assembly of Divines, and Minister of Chalfont in the County of Bucks.
LONDON: Printed by M S. for John Rothwell at the Sun and Fountain in Pauls Church-yard. 1647.
TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE House of LORDS Assembled in PARLIAMENT.
WHen I was called to Preach before Your Lord∣ships, there was not in our view either Adver∣sary, or evill occurrent; we thought we had Peace in our hands, and that all was well: but since that time our Distractions did on the sudden grow great and dangerous. We stand in need of the goodnesse of God to come in seasonablie to our Rescue, and it will require the wisdom and diligence of your Lordships, and all others to compose these Differences, that they rise no higher, nor end ill. We may look upon them with sadnesse, and sorrow of heart, and fear lest Gods anger is not turned away from us; We have need to second our Fasts with doing all things an∣swerable, lest if we contradict our prayers by loosenesse of life, God give us an Answer contrary to our expectation. It is high time to lay down our provocations against God, and bitternesse of spirit one against another; our contenti∣ons have been so hot, that we have departed one from ano∣ther; let us take heed of endeavouring to root out one ano∣ther, and to avoid rancor and virulencie of spirit. Next to the directions and examples of Scripture, I could wish we had cast our eyes upon some part of the Carthaginian Story, and see what was the issue of the dissention between Page [unnumbered] them and the Romanes;* the Carthaginians could never be perswaded to have any peace with Rome, though some of their Nobility much endeavoured it. Amilcar when he went out in an expedition did offer sacrifice, and Hanni∣ball the great, his eldest Son, being present at the solemnity with his Father when he was but young, had received in such principles of War and opposition, that he vowed to se∣cond his Fathers designes, and said there should be peace be•ween Carthage and Rome, when one of those Cities should be as that dust which he then spurned up with his foot; it proved fatall to that side which was resolved to de∣stroy the other. For though Hanniball was the bravest Commander that ever Carthage bred, and had many Vi∣ctories, and great successe, for sixteen yeers together, yet shortly after Carthage was fiered by the Romanes, and was upon a flame 17. dayes together, and consumed into dust and ashes. Let there be no such spirit in the parties that oppose one another; let all sides-taking be layed aside and the names that intimate division be extinguished: let there be a calm temper, and a wise Accommodation, lest both sides be pulled down one after the other: that Your Lordships may be the happie Instruments to prevent so great an evill, and effect so great a good, is the Prayer of him who rests,
Your Lordships to be commanded in the service of the Gospel, THO: VALENTINE.
A SERMON PREACHED Before the Right Honorable House of LORDS.
And ye will not come to me that ye might have life.
JEsus Christ was so amiable in his life, and ad∣mirable in all his speeches, so holy in his con∣versation, so wise in all his answers to his ca∣villing adversaries, so meek in teaching the ignorant, so ready to cure diseases and infir∣mities: that one would have thought all men would be ta∣ken with him, and have come unto him. But nothing lesse, they that came to him were ready to leave him, and others would not come at all; which makes him take it unkindly (for so these words are to be understood) you will not come to me. Deceivers speak to you, Satan and the world invite you, and you go to them; I call and perswade you, but you will not come to me: they will bring you to miserie and death; I would give you happinesse and life, but you will not come to me.
The ill carriage of men towards Christ, was answered sometimes with indignation.
1. As that message to Herod, Go tell that Fox, Behold,*I cast out devils, and will heal to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.
2. Sometimes with detestation of their sinfulnesse,*Wo to you Scribes Pharisees, hypocrites; you are like painted tombes, and whited sepulchers.
This whole Chapter is a defence of Christ against the ca∣villing Jews, which found fault with his cure done upon the impotent man that lay by the Pool of Bethesda, and had an infirmitie 38. yeers, and was so impotent that others pre∣vented him, and got into the pool upon the moving of the waters; and thus he continued till Christ came up to the Feast at Jerusalem: and finding him there, takes pity upon him, and cures him, as you see in ver. 5, 6, 7, 8. And it being the Sabbath day they find fault with the fact, and also be∣cause he took up his bed; and question with the man, inqui∣ring who it was that did it, from ver. 10. to 13. But he not knowing who it was, could make no answer, till afterwards Christ finding him in the Temple makes himself known unto him, and gives him an admonition to sin no more, lest a worse thing befall him: v. 14. Then the man told the Jews it was Jesus that made him whole, which moved them to per∣secute him, v. 15, 16. Then begins our Saviour to make his defence, from v. 17. to the end; wherein he affirms his Divi∣nity, and his equality with his Father, which made the Jews to be more enraged against him, v. 18. But he goes on to shew that what he did, his Father did: My Father worketh hitherto, and I work: I can do nothing of my self. The Father hath life in himself, and so hath the Son; and the Father hath committed all judgement to the Son. And if you begin at v. 31. and read on, you may find that he layes aside his own testimony, and insists on five more, every one of which were sufficient to convince them that he was the Son of God, and that they ought to come unto him. 1. The testi∣mony of his Father, ver. 32.37. There is another which beareth witnesse of me, and who that is, v. 37. shews, The Fa∣ther himself which hath sent me, beareth witnesse of me. 2. The te∣stimonie of John the Baptist, v. 33. And ye rejoyced in him, and he bare witnesse of me. 3. His works and miracles, v. 36. The works that the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witnesse of me, that the Father hath sent me. 4. The Scri∣ptures, v. 39. Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think to have eternall life, and they are they which testifie of me. 5. The last testi∣monie Page 3 alledged is that of Moses, v. 46. Had ye beleeved Moses you would have beleeved me, for he wrote of me. The summe of all is, I have the testimony of my Father, and of John the Baptist, and of my works and miracles, and of the Scriptures, an of Moses: but none of these will convince you, you will not come to me, and therefore your sin is great.
In the text you have, 1. the illation or inference [and] which according to the sence was formerly translated; but 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 being often put for 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as Beza observes.
2. There is the sin reproved in the Jews, You will not come.
3. The person to whom they should have come, but did not, [me.]
4. The end which they might have attained, but did not, That ye might have life.
[And] must not be understood as a copulative,* but dis∣cretive, therefore in the sence it is but You will not come to me. It shews the wicked and obstinate nature of the Jews, though they had so many clear testimonies of Christ, yet they would not imbrace him, you Jews will not come, therefore your sin is the greater; the Gentiles have no knowledge of me, it cannot be expected, that they should come: but you Jews that have knowledge of the prophesies, and promises, and of the Law, that are a light to them that sit in darknes, teachers of the unlearned, instructers of them that lack dis∣cretion, you offend the more in not coming to me.
You [will not] our Saviour saith not, you cannot, but,*you will not come: the wilfulnesse of their spirits is set out, there are three distinct degrees.
1. Men do not come. 2. They cannot come. 3. They will not come to Christ. The first is their carelesnesse and negli∣gence, the second is their weaknesse and impotencie, the third is their wilfulnesse and great wickednesse; and the last is the result of all, men do not come to Christ, because they will not come: and they cannot come, because they will not: their wills must be subdued, and the rebellion thereof must be removed, else they neither can nor will come to Christ.
[Not come] You will not beleeve in me; that's the sin, but with an aggravation, you will not so much as come unto Page 4 me; they would not vouchsafe him any respect, they would not frequent his company, nor willingly be in his presence.
[That ye might have life.] We must not imagine that they were out of love with life, for that's desirable by all, and it cannot fall upon the reasonable creature simplie to desire not to live; so as the reason of their not coming was not be∣cause he did not offer them that which was pleasing and amiable, but they were so far out of love with him, and so much prejudiced against him, that they would not come unto him, though they might have life.
Or else they would not come unto him for a right end, that they might have life. Ye will come to me for the loafes that I might feed you, and for by-ends; if I came like a con∣quering Alexander, with an Army to deliver you from the power of the Romane Monarchie, and to repair the glory of your decayed kingdom, you would come unto me: but to have life, and to obtain salvation, ye will not come un∣to me.
The words briefly thus explained afford two severall Pro∣positions.
1. The great condemning sin, which will be charged upon the Jews, and the Christian world, is that they would not come to Christ.
2 That Jesus Christ will freely give eternall life, to them that come unto him.
To come to Christ is not any locall motion, or change of place; for go all the world over and you cannot find him; he is ascended into heaven, and whither he, is gone ye can∣not come. When this was spoken it was spiritually to be un∣derstood, if a man had been in Christs presence, and stayed long with him, nay if he had taken him into his arms, if he had not received him into his heart by faith, it would not have availed. Therefore understand it thus.
1: To come to Christ, is to have recourse unto him, and acknowledge him worthy of all respect: all that came unto him d d not beleeve in him; but these will vouchsafe him no honour, they disdain him, and cast scorn and contempt up∣on him in not coming to him.
Foure things move us to come to an other, the command Page 5 of one in authority, the Centurion saith to me, Go, and he goeth:*to another, Come, and he cometh; Christ was a King,* for God set his King upon his holy hill of Sion, and all power in hea∣ven and earth was given him. Kings have power,* but not all power, they have a conditionall, temporarie, externall po∣wer, derived from Christ. But he hath an absolute, eternall, primative power, which all men should acknowledge and stoope unto; the wise men (the first fruites of the Gentiles) they came unto Christ, and they did acknowledge him, and ask boldly, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? this might justly shame the Jewes, they came to him while he was a young Infant, and found him in a mean condition,* sucking of his mothers breasts, they came from farre and present him with gold franckincense, and mirrhe; gold be∣cause he was a King, frankincense as he was God, for that was used in the offerings, and mirrhe as he was man, here∣by they honoured him much, and were readie to tender their homage to him: but the Iewes would not come unto him.
2. Necessity might have made them come unto him, for he was the onely remedie that God appointed for their at∣tonement, the onely sacrifice that was propitiatorie, they might have known that all the sacrifices under the Law d d looke at him, they had their life from him, and also their death from him; for when he offered up himselfe,* they were to surcease; their Priests, especially their high Priests did ty∣pifie him, and all the legall services and sacrifices without him were nothing. Had they known their necessity they would have come unto him, pain and apprehension of the danger of a disease, will quickly convince the sicke, that there is a necessity of having recourse to a Phisitian, but these Iewes were ignorant, and insensible of their miserie, and though Christ was the onely Phisitian, yet they will not come unto him.
3. Love makes us to come to friends, and often visit them; and had they known the good things that Christ brought to man, and the goodnesse that was in himself, they would have been taken with him, he honoured our nature, and brought salvation to our soules, he honoured man in that Page 6 he was made man, hee honoured the Iewes in that he was of the seed of Abraham; he is our great benefactor, he brings us into favour with God, who were children of wrath, he repaires lost man with an augmentation of glory; he sets us into a right of an heavenly Paradise that lost an earthly. one in Adam, he (like Jonathan to David, puts his own robe of righteousnesse upon us, which is a more glorious cover∣ing then Angels have: and had the Iewes known these things they would have given him more respect, and as he is good to man, so he is most sweet and gracious in himself, observe his cariage (when you read the History of his life and death in the Gospel,) what it was to all (save to those egregious hypocrites) the Pharisees and you will finde in him the sweetest temper, the strangest meeknesse, the richest mercie, the greatest excellency every way. If you look upon the beauty of his graces,* his holinesse and wisdom, &c. You may wonder that he was no more esteemed among men, but the Iewes not knowing his worth, nor being well affected to him will not come at him.
4. Eminency in Christ might have drawn them to him; Solomons wisdom drew many to him, the Queen of Shebah came from farr to hear him,* and Ezekiels skilfull and plea∣sant prophesying made the people come and sit before him; but the wisdome and skill of Christ much prefer him above them. Moses was eminent among the Iewes, so were the Prophets; but Christ much more then they, for he was the Prince of Prophets, he was the King of glory, and they his Ambassadors, he the Angel of the Co••nant; he was not onely aboue Saints, and Prophets, and Apostles, and An∣gels, as a King above his subjects, but so above them that they must adore and worship him, what ever light came to the mindes of holy men in visions and raptures it came from Christ, it was but a beame from this Sun, and the same argument that mooved them to honour Moses, and credit the writings of the Old Testament, might have convinced them to have regarded Christ; but we will stay no longer with the unbeleiving Iew, to discourse of his neg∣lect of Christ, we will further explain the dutie of coming to Christ, and open the nature of the contrarie sin, as it con∣cernes Page 7 all that live in the Christian world.
2. To come to Christ presupposeth a man to receive po∣wer from him, inabling him to come unto him,* it being a spirituall action, must have a supernaturall power, we may see it plainly in that command given to Peter upon his own motion, if it be thou, saith he to Christ, bid me come unto thee on the water; if Christ had not given out a power aswell as a command to Peter, he had sunk when he set his foot up∣on the sea, and if another had adventured (not having the like power) he could not have come, he would have miscar∣ried by the way; The great command of the Gospel is gone out from Christ into the world and it is come unto me,* and the greatest part comes not; the reasō is they have not power given them to come, we must have virtue from Christ to come, as well as to be healed when we come: The dark minds of men must be enlightned to know Christ, and their rebellious wils must be conquered and mastered, or else they wil not come unto him; for all Gospel truths are more then those of the Law, above mans understanding, and contrarie to his will, and if we receive them it is given us from above, No man can come to me, saith Christ, except the Father draw him;* there is a violence offered to the corruption of the will,* but none to the will it self, and the Psalmist hath the like expres∣sion, Blessed is the man whom thou choosest and causest to come unto thee; Christ doth invite us, and inables us to come, and the honour of both belongs to him.
3. To come to Christ is not onely to have recourse to him, and judge him worthy of all respects and to receive power from him, to inable us to come, but to go on and not stay till we receive some saving benefits from him. Some stay in the beginnings, or in preparations, and sit down too soon, and loose the benefit of their former labour, but wee must come on and not sit down till we get to the jorneyes end: To come to Christ, is either the the first motion of a new convert, or else it is a continuall recourse to Christ for increase of all saving graces, it will not be accepted to go once, or twice, and then to stay as the Jewes did,* we are Lords we will come no more unto thee, this were abomina∣ble pride and contempt, let us a litle consider this action Page 8 of coming to Christ, and in the beginning; at first it is sad and uncomfortable, in the end joyfull and glorious.
At first when we come we labour & are heavie laden, the sinner in his sinfull course hath a labour, & it will wearie him,* the penitent sinner in his conversion hath a labour, and the combatant in his fight against sin hath a labour, & there is no such toil as this is, no burthen so heavie as that of sin; it causeth an universall pain, it is upon the conscience indeed, but extends to the whole man, and makes him wearie of himself;* for it hath in it the vengeance of an angrie God, the torments of a flaming hell, the power of a just Law, and the greatest sinners that are most sensible of their miserie wil come most humblie, and in much poverty of spirit; no crea∣ture so wilde as a sinner in his jollitie, who is as the wilde Asse in the wildernesse that runs up and down at pleasure, none so tame as the penitent sinner that is taken in his moneth, God hath humbled him, and taken down the pride of his spirit, he stood in his way as the Angel in Balaams; he threatned him he had his bowe in his hand and his ar∣row on the string,* and the sinner not giving back, he shot at him and wounded him, and left the arrow sticking in his heart:* and now this wounded man, he mourns inwardly, and makes his moane to God, Thine arrowes stick fast in me, is willing to come to Christ to be healed, and to have the arrow pluckt out, and the wound cured.
Necessitie at first brings us unto Christ, afterward we ap∣prehend goodnesse, and his divine perfections, and we come in love to him, we cannot stay away; a poore man at the doore that hath scarce a ragge to cover his nakednesse, not a peece of bread to satisfie nature, he comes to aske for the Master, not to be acquainted with him, that were boldnesse, but to be releived in his necessities: so Christ is sought unto as a Saviour, to take away our guilt, to give a pardon, to supply our wants, and when we are sensible of our miserie, we are easily induced to come to Christ.
But when we are justified, and accepted, and find the sweetnesse of fellowship and communion with Christ, then we are delighted in him; and if there were no necessity com∣pelling us, if no weaknesse in our faith, no want in our souls, Page 9 yet we should desire to come to him; they that have seen God in any ordinance, are restlesse till they see him again.*David could bear well enough his banishment from the Court, yet he much desired to come to the place of Gods publick worship, that he might see his power and glory, as formerly he had seen them in the sanctuary.
4. To come to Christ, is to beleeve in him; and when he complains of the Jews not coming, he chargeth them with unbelief. He that comes to God must beleeve that he is,* and that he is a rewarder of them that seek him: The Jews be∣leeved no such thing of Christ, they did not think him to be God, nor that he would reward them that come to him: they gave no assent to what he spake; they did not credit him. Faith hath a double act, one more common and gene∣rall, and that is to give a firm assent to all Divine truth re∣vealed in the Scripture; Faith gives God the honour of his truth, as love and hope do give him the honour of his good∣nesse and bountie; And truth is equally spread over all the Scriptures, I beleeve as verily that Isaac was the son of A∣braham, as that Christ is the Son of God; because Scripture affirms both, and one thing cannot be more or lesse true then another; one is more usefull then another,* and condu∣ceth more to my good, and in this generall act of faith I am to consider of one more then another, but both are equally true, but there should be, nay there is no doubtihg, though some men have doubted, whether this or that part of the Bi∣ble were Scripture, yet a beleever must not doubt whether Scripture be true, that were to doubt whether God be true.
The truth which faith beleeves comes by divine revela∣tion; if I can prove by reason that all things that are,* were made by him that hath an absolute being, and is the first cause of all, I do not beleeve it, because I can prove it, but because Scripture saith it; for in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The Scriptures of the Old Testament held out clearly the Messiah, and by those prophesies and promises (wherin the Jews were very well verst) they might know that he was the Christ, and yet they did beleeve nei∣ther those Scriptures, nor any thing himself spake or did Page 10 And then no wonder if they fail in the second act of faith, which is to relye and rest with confidence on Christ the Sa∣viour;* they were so far from this that they upbraid him at his death, saying, He could not save himself, and therefore it was in vain to expect salvation from him.* But we have in these dayes all the means necessarie to work in us all the particulars required to a saving faith, we have knowledge of him, we question not his Divinity, we beleeve he came with a commission from heaven, we give a full and firm as∣sent to whatsoever he spake, as being undoubtedly true; we would cast our selves with confidence into his arms that is able to save us, we beleeve that God is reconciliable, that sin is pardonable; and this we do upon the hearing of the glad tydings of the Gospel, and afterward we grow up into a greater confidence and assurance of the pardon of our sins purchased by his blood.
But those that do not beleeve shall have this great sin charged upon them, and that we may clear Gods justice in punishing men that live in the Christian world for their in∣fidelity, it will be needfull to inquire where the power of beleeving lyes; for if they cannot beleeve, how is God just to require that of them which they have not power to do?
I answer. Adam in his innocencie had a kinde of legall faith, whereby he was to depend upon God for the perfor∣mance of his promise; for God promised him life as a re∣ward of his obedience, and he was to look for it: Now what ever he had, being a publick person, we may be said to have it, and must be accountable for it so as in him we had power to beleeve, and therefore may be punished for unbelief. And this Answer is given by many Reverend Divines, and let it go as far as it may to the removing of the Objection.
But the question is, whether Adam had power to beleeve in Christ crucified. He did beleeve in God, and his faith was joyned with his obedience; for he obeying the voice of God was to beleeve that God would make good his promise to him, but his power was to the things of the Law written, in Page 11 his heart, it was within that compasse and latitude, but not in the way of the Gospel which supposeth man to be fallen, and quite over-turned; and how faith in Christ, which is the condition of the Covenant of grace, should be com∣manded in the Law given to Adam in his innocencie, I do not understand. And though he did beleeve in God, yet he might not have power to beleeve in Christ dying for sin∣ners. But suppose God had revealed to Adam (while he stood) the event of things, and imagine he had said to him, Adam, I have made thee wise and righteous, I have enstamp∣ed mine Image upon thee, I have given thee a just Law, and power to keep it, and for thy reward I will give thee life; I have put thee into a pleasant Paradise, where thou hast all things for necessity and delight; but thou wilt disobey my voice, and loose thy self, and forfeit all that I have given thee; yet neither thou, nor all thy posterity shall perish, I will send my Son into the world, to take mans nature, and dye for sin; and life and happinesse shall come by faith in him.
The question is, whether Adam could have beleeved up∣on such a Revelation?
I answer: That he could and would have credited God, and beleeved the truth of this relation made unto him by his Creator: but to beleeve in Christ, and cast himself upon a Saviour, must presuppose him to be cast away, and lost.
But could not Adam have promised to beleeve in Christ upon the former Revelation?
I answer: If he had, it had not been available: for it is all one, as if a rich man worth many thousand pounds should promise, and give his Bond to pay me an 100 li. when he is broken, and not worth a groat.
But it is very true, that men have more power, then they put out for faith and obedience, and it is as true, that infi∣delity is in their power, and they willingly remain in un∣belief. The Answer that men return to the invitations of Christ are the same which the Jews made unto him, How often would I have gathered thee together, as the hen her chickens,*and ye would not.
Page 121. Further, to clear the point in hand, we may safely af∣firm, that all men in Adam stand guiltie of disobedience, and God may justly punish them for that sin.
*2. That Christ being offered to them to deliver them from curse and condemnation, and they wilfully rejecting him, they aggravate their sins, and bring upon them the condemnation of the Gospel; so that the Law and the Go∣spel both condemne them, the wrath of God, that formerly was upon them by the sentence of the Law, abides upon them, and new wrath is kindled against them, because they beleeve not in Christ the Son of God, and so comes the great condemnation oft mentioned, Joh. 3.19. And to set out the cause of mans miserie, take it in this comparison: A man lyes sick of a feaver, he is told by the Physitian, unlesse he bleed or purge, and take other Physick, he will dye; he is distempered, and will not be ruled, he dyes. The question is, what this man dyed of? I answer: He dyed of a Feaver, that was originally the cause of his death. And then in the se∣cond place, he dyed of wilfulnesse, because he would not follow advice. In the great day of judgement men shall be condemned for their disobedience; and next, which is the great aggravation of their sin for infidelity, because they beleeved not in Christ.
[Ʋse.] Before we come to the next point, let us make a breefe ap∣plication of this, and it shall be an Item to take heed of infi∣delity, especially of willfull infidelity, say not that ye will not come to Christ, neglect it not for he will take it ill, and that because.
*1. The last & best words that ever God spake, were by Je∣sus Christ; and to contemne them were a greater sin: he that despiseth Moses Law did sin in a high degree, but what will betide him that despiseth the glorious truthes of the Gospel uttered by Christ, to honour him and the truthes he revealed, the sweetest expressions were made that ever we heard of,*Glory to be to God on high, Peace on earth, and good will towards men, the Jewes could not be ignorant of those glori∣ous manifestations, and might have bin convinced by them, we all do beleive the doctrin of the Gospel, and we receive Page 13 them, and are readie to come unto him, in the use of his Or∣dinances. But with our faith we must joyne all other graces, and the practise of al duties, we must do every thing answer∣able to the profession of the Faith, or else we are in some measure guilty of the sin of the Jewes.
2. There is no such impediments to hinder us, as was to the Jewes, they might have said, the Priests lips must preserve knowledge, and the people must seeke the Law at their mouthes, and they say, that Christ is a deceiver, a Samari∣tan, and hath a Devill, these might stumble the Jewes, and keepe them from comming to Christ; but there is no such let to us, the Gospel is countenanced, Christ is received. In the Primitive times they were faine to sell all, in Q•een Ma∣ries daies, they went through the flames, or else they could not have Christ, these were great tryalls, they fall not upon us, and therefore our sin is the greater, if we do not imbrace him.
3. We must give a reason why we did not come to Christ, why we did not beleive in him, why we did not accept of him when he was offered unto us, with all his Excellencies, he came to us, and brought with him righteousnesse, life, pardon, heaven and the glorie of it, and would have freely given us them, if we would willingly and freely have accept∣ed him for our Saviour; but those that have rejected him, shall see with sorrow the fruites of their infidelity, and cry out against themselves for loosing so great joyes, and pulling so great torments upon themselves, and as Malefactors in the day of their execution, lament their folly and obstinacie, in that they would not be ruled, and that brought them to their miserable end, so the unbeleever in the day of judg∣ment shall have it charged upon him, and he shall repeat these words in the dolour of his trembling heart, I dye and am condemned, eternally, because I would not come to Christ, who would have given me life.
Fourthly and lastly, such as refuse to come to Christ, and to be guided by the doctrin of faith, may come to make an open defiance against him and his Gospel, the•e is a great differancs between the wants of faith, and a con•rarietie to Page 14 the faith,* where this later is in the height of it, men come to dissent from the truth, to deny it, and in time to defie it; and Christ the author of it; the beleever he honours Christ by acknowledging him by assenting to his truth, and cast∣ing his confidence and affiance upon him: but the willfull unbeleever doth the contrarie, and offers much dishonour to Christ by his deniall, his dissent, his diffidence, and defi∣ance.* Therefore some (nay almost all) do judge infidelity to be a very great sin, and others argue and indeaver to proove it to be the greatest sin of all.
We come to the Second point formerly propounded, which is, That Jesus Christ will freely give life eternall to them that come unto him.
It is cleer that he understands eternall life, by his expres∣sion elsewhere, I give unto them eternall life, and they shal never perish:* and such as speake to Christ about life, mention eter∣nall life, as the ruler that followed after Christ said, Good Master,*What shall I do to inherit eternall life? so that the life which Christ offered, and the people sought for, was eter∣nall life, and it was freely to be given them.
Life is the best kind of being, and presupposeth a cause of life remaining in and working upon a Subject capable of life, all things that are, yet live not; there is a being infe∣riour to life, and those that live, live not all a like, beasts and plants live, yet not such a life as man lives, for as the soule is, so is their life; beasts have souls, and yet have but sence, and somewhat like reason; men have understanding, and utter by speech what they conceive, for they have a re∣sonable soule, and a more noble then beasts, and if all differ∣ence come from the act of the forme upon the matter, then the soule of man more noble will still worke, (as we see it doth upon the body) to fashion it into more excellent parts, and to make the house and roomes for it's own use, and therefore this life in man, comming from a more excellent principle, is above the life of beasts. Among men some have the Spirit of Life in them, who were dead by nature in sins,* they being quickned, have a more noble principle of life, and have in them the beginning of life eternall; such as are Page 15 alive to God, & have union with Christ, they live in another kind then naturall men do; for in the spiritual life, the Spirit of God works on the soul, as the soul doth on the body, but first, the soule is a meere patient, which in the naturall life is the sole agent, the soule is under the power of Gods Spi∣rit, and as far as Gods Spirit is above the spirit of man, so far is this life of grace above that of nature; therefore the Apostle magnifies this life in the regenerate, above the life of reason, not so much as mentioning it, In that I now live,*I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave him∣selfe for mee.
Life is spread over the whole man, yet first and principal∣ly it is in the soule, and diffused through every faculty, and if we stand not too nicely upon the distinction of life, and the actions of life, we may say, that faculty lives when it is able to do the works that belong to it, as the minde lives when it knowes God, and is dead while it remaines igno∣rant; the heart lives when it loves God, and reposeth trust in him; the affections live when they joy in God, and make fit expressions of that joy towards him; as we perceive the hand to live when it can stir and work, and when this life of grace continues beyond time, it becomes life eternall, e∣ternity to life in the world to come, is but as time in this world; This is life eternall to know thee: and he that beleeves hath everlasting life. Faith in Christ, and knowledge of him,* are made the beginings of life eternall, and because it is pro∣pounded as a reward in heaven, therefore life eternall in∣cludes the beginnings of the life of grace, and the perfection of it hereafter, it is the altering of our naturall lives, for all our infirmities and griefes shall be remooved, and for the spirituall life, all the graces that in heaven shall be of use, shall be perfected.
Life eternall includes all things essentially necessary to make us happy, and also all additions and attendants to make it compleat: honour, and glorie, and immortality are in it, for such as by continuance in well doing seeke for these, shall find them in eternall life. But because the life of glory which Saints have in heaven,* is the strongest motive Page 16 that might have perswaded them to come to Christ, there∣fore we must more fully explain that unto you, the life of glory will be in the whole man, but principally in the soule, and most in the cheifest faculties which are the understand∣ing and will, to the understanding refer the blessed vision, to the will, the fruition of God, these two are the principall parts of the life of glory.
*I am not ignorant that many writers make the vision of God, in glory to comprehend all the happinesse which the soule hath from him, but there is reason, and authority, sufficiently to propound them distinctly.
1. In the life of glory, the mind shall see God, that is, ful∣ly and perfectly know him: for seeing is put for knowing, Now ye say, you see. Iohn. 9.41. N•w we see through a glasse dark∣ly, but then face to face: now I know in part, •ut then shall I know e∣ven as I am known. 1 Cor. 13.12. every one in heaven shall with their own mind understand all things, and know all persons so fully, as may any way conduce to their happi∣nesse, and to the end it may be so, all weaknesses, and im∣perfections of the mind shall be remooved, no simplicity, no shallownesse shall be upon any, Idiots and men of weake abilities, may have so much knowledge of Christ, as to bring them to heaven; but when they are there, they shall have sharpnesse of wit,* for full conformity with God in his Image,* is a chiefe thing in life eternall, and knowledge is a principall part of Gods Image, as the Apostle plainly a∣ffirmes, Having put on the new man which after God is renewed in knowledge.
3. The mind shall so cleerly understand as that it shall not need the help of faith, as it is now of use unto us, when we hear of the Trinity of persons, of the union of the two na∣tures in Christ, of election, and of the resurrection, we take them upon trust, building by faith upon the truth of him that relates them in the Scripture; but in heaven we shal per∣fectly know, & understand all things which are now darke and obscure, all controversies shall be decided, all doubtes shall be removed, and surely our fight will be very cleer, when we shall not need the help and use of our better eye, Page 17 Now we walk by faith, and not by sight; but then by sight,* and not by faith.
4. To make us see the glorious things of heaven, there shall be no outward means, such as have been of use on earth, no preaching of the Word, no Sacraments, no visions, dreams or apparitions in bodily shapes; as sometimes God hath made himself known to his servants in former times, to Patriarches, Prophets, and Apostles.
5. The means shall be the light of glory, which shines in heaven above all the brightnesse that ever man did see;* he hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the Saints in light. This light would dazle the eye of man, and dim it; for if the glorious body of the same would hurt the eye of a man, what would the light of heaven do? it being such as none can approach unto. In this frail condition we cannot see God and live; when God or but an Angel appeared,* how were men affrighted? and if that terror had remained, it would have overwhelmed them; but in heaven the spirits of men will be elevated, and inabled, to see with joy those things that there will be manifested.
6. In that light of glorie, we shall not onely see the attri∣butes of God, his mercie, justice, truth, and wisdom,* and (which we are apt now to question) but the very simple pure essence of God (which yet we must not separate from his attributes) we shall see and know God, so fully as our natures are capable of. In heaven there will be a clear visi∣on on our part, and a clear manifestation on Gods part; but both are from God, to make us able to see him, and to be willing to be seen of us: he will shew himself not darkly, and obscurely as to the Church in former times, not terri∣bly as on Mount Sinai, not a far off as to Balaam; not for a short time, as in his transfiguration; but we shall dwell up∣on the contemplation of him; we shall have time enough to take a full view of him; yet this vision is such as we are ca∣pable of, our finite, scant souls, can never comprehend the infinite excellencies of the eternall God,* but we shall see and understand so much as may any way conduce to our hap∣pinesse.Page 18
But seeing we have begun with vision, and it is taken from sence, it may be demanded what our bodily eyes shall see in heaven?
*1. I answer. 1. The glorious manifestations of the pre∣sence of God in some such sort as was on the Mount, where we find mentioned a bright Cloud, his clothes were white as the light, and his face did shine. When God appeared in the Temple at Solomons prayer, the glory of the Lord filled the House, that the Priests could not enter, and it was a vi∣sible glory; some such but far more excellent is in heaven.
2. The glorified bodies of the blessed Saints full of beau∣tie and brightnesse, at the day of judgement we shall see a company of glorious creatures, those on the left hand shall be an ugly company, and many of them deformed: for if we credit Durandus, and others, their sins not being taken away, the fruits of sin will remain upon them; the lame, the blinde, the maimed, Gods soul will more abhor them then Davids. But all comelinesse and excellencie will appear in the Saints,* for they shall be as Jewels made up; a Jewel must be cut and polished, it must have a lustre set upon it that it may shine; and it must be set in gold: their souls and bodies are not yet so glorious as they shall be, now they are jewels, but they are rough and unpolished, much corruption re∣mains, and those graces they have are not set in gold.
3. We shall see the glorified body of our blessed Saviour, which will be a joyfull sight; we shall see him that is dearer then all our friends; we shall see him that dyed for our sins; we shall see him that was crowned with thorns, the side, and feet, and hands that were pierced, we shall see him not in humility and meannesse, but in the brightnesse of his glory. And if the sight of Joseph was so welcome to Jacob, and that because he thought he had been dead, and did see him alive and in honour also: the like and much more is here, we shall see Christ alive whom the Jews supposed to be dead; and in honour also, whom they imagined to be as they sent him out of the world, a crucified Christ: but they shall see him whom they pierced to their sorrow and shame: but we shall see him to our endlesse comfort, for we shall see Page 19 his gracious countenance looking towards his own with much joy in his face, and expressing it in some such man∣ner as this: You have long looked for this day, you have mourned under many calamities, and most of all for your sins; now the day expected is come, and now an end of all your sorrows, all tears I wipe away; you have depended up∣on me for salvation, I am come to save you; you have recei∣ved me, I am come to reward you, enter into your Masters joy. And touching this sight of Christ, it may be demanded whether it will be more pleasant for us to see him, or for him to see all his elect together?
For answer know, first who loves most, will most rejoyce. [unspec 1] Secondly, whose need is greatest, that will cause more joy. [unspec 2] In the former respect, Christ loves his own with an infinite love, and joyes in them more then they can in him: He who is the Bridegroom, in whom are all affections, it will be joy∣full to him to see them altogether, for whom he willingly shed his dearest blood. But in regard of our absence from him, and the benefit of communion with him, we shall ex∣ceedingly rejoyce to see him.
But evill men, if in that black darknesse they can see any thing, it shall be to their terrour and vexation; for they shall see many wretched persons like themselves, from whom they can reap no comfort, and to whom they can yeeld no release, they shall see a companie of persons that when they come out of their graves, shall look with trembling coun∣tenances like Cain, horrour shall appear in their faces, they shall be as so many prisoners that come out of the Goale to go to execution, and with gastly looks they shall behold Je∣sus Christ whom they have not honoured, whose Gospel they have not beleeved, to whom they have not sued nor sought, but have vilified, and sleighted the offer of grace made by him in the preaching of the Gospel. But the Saints shall have all joy and comfort in that which they shall see, and not onely in fore-named particulars, but in all the or∣naments of heaven arising from the sweetnesse of the scitu∣ation of the place, and all those excellencies which the wis∣dom of God wi•l cause to be there for the joy of the faith∣full. Page 20 And if the skill of man can frame delightfull sights which the world affects, & runs after, as Masks and Shews, what kinde of sights do you think will be in heaven? they shall be delightfull, and without vanity; they shall please in a solid and serious manner, and shall infinitely excell all the delights that ever your eyes have seen, or your ears have hard of: and that, 1. in respect of the partie seeing this glory who shall be made glorious, and every way both with∣in and without: here on earth a poore despised man may see others in glory, and himself never the better for it. Our Sa∣viour would not have prayed that those which were given him might be where he is, and see his glory, but with a pur∣pose to make them happie in seeing it.
2. There is a perfection in regard of the generality, such as far goes beyond the glory of this world: For in the Kings Court there are some that are poore, or despised, or discon∣tented; some that are sick, or in distresse, or in some ill case or other; and i• either the King see a beggar, whom he is bound to pitie, or the beggar see the King, whom Nature may move to envie, here is no perfection. But in heaven we shall see all glorious, the King glorious, the Subjects glori∣ous all of them, the place glorious, none to be pitied, none to be prayed for, none to be envied, nothing shall detract from your happinesse; happie are those eyes that shall see this glorious sight, and happie those ears that hear of it if you be moved to desire it, and follow hard after it, and in comparison of it to despise the glorie of the world. And let it be the care of all that hope to come to have this sight, to take heed and not suffer their eyes to look after vanity, or to be eyes full of adultery; but rather let them be used in be∣holding the works of God, and reading the Scriptures; and those sences that are taken up in any such holy action, God will crown and honour.
In the next place we come to that part of life eternall, which is in the will, and that is the injoyment or fruition of God, which is in some measure on earth, but fully and compleatly in the state of glory; and though the fruition of God be in the whole man, yet we may refer it in speciall Page 21 manner to the will, for that desires and longs after it, and the faculty that labours most shall be Crowned. Upon the more full knowledge of God in the cleer vision, if any di∣stance of time were between that and the injoyment of God, the heart would more earnestly desire it; and in a short time be much perplexed for the want of it: the mind now doubts of many things, and is readie to dispute the case whether God be mercifull, or just, whether there be a Provi∣dence, then all will be cleered, and the soule will be taken with the excellency of God far above that which now it is.*
The fruition of God no man explaines it that I have met with, neither can it be exprest, Paul tells us that the dead and also those which are alive, shall meet the Lord at his second coming, and shall be ever with him, as freinds that are together and see one another, and by speaking commu∣nicate their thoughts do injoy one another;* so and in a far higher way shall we injoy God, not in hope, nor in title, nor by faith, nor by his word and promise, but really, inter∣nally, immediatly, fully, compleatly, and this properly makes a man happie. And this proves God to be the chief∣est good, for in having him it will be compleatly well with the possessor, and the will of man will not quiet it self, till it have God it will be restlesse and unquiet, putting it selfe out in desire; but in heaven it will be satisfied, and shall have as much as it can contain; and therfore shall desire no more, because it would be in vain, not being able to contain any more. If God will quiet himself in his love to the Church,* much more may she quiet her self in the fruition of God. But when we say the Will will be quiet, we must not con∣ceive any wearinesse in it, or any lothing society as in the things of this world; we on earth, like children, desire that to day which anon we are weary of, tis not so here, we shall have no cessation of joy, which in worldly things is caused first, by weakning the active power of the Will; and it is a true Position, the will is not wearied unlesse the active power be weakned and wasted. In this frail estate of nature,* we spend our spirits in laughing, in rejoycing, in recreations, but in the enjoying of God, we shall have our spirits revived; Page 22 and when we have been a long time in heaven, yet we shall have still more joy: If those that wait upon the Lord here on earth renew their strength, then much more is it true in heaven,* that those that attend him there, shall have their joy and strength renewed.
2. We are wearie of a thing when we come to espie any vanity in it, and therefore men have tyred out themselves in seeking content in temporall things, and they all come to say with Solomon, All is vanity, there is an emptinesse in the things, and vexation of spirit, namely to the spirit of him that looks for better; but in God no such things, for the more we know him, the better we shall like him, and shall still be enamored with him.
*In this world we cannot be fully happie, because we have not what we love; It is a miserie to a man, if he have not what he loves, or loves not what he hath; the soule lives in hope to injoy God, the will of man goes further in her art then any other faculty, sence looks at the outside of a thing, viz. colour; reason hath an idea or notion of it; but will de∣sires the thing it self: the heart of man is set upon God him∣self;* and as in heauen we shall know God more, so we shall love him more, and injoy him more, and none can tell what affections he shall have in heaven; the soule shall have a wide capacity and receive in much of God, which may ap∣peare by these two particulars.
1. God is sweet in the use of his creatures, as meat to the hungrie, clothes to the naked, sleepe to the wearie, fire to them that are cold, these are very welcome; but if God be tasted in them, they are sweeter then ordinarie.
2. In the Ordinances, God is more to the beleeving heart, when the troubled conscience can find rest no where, if it hear of the mercy of God in Christ it is revived, the soule that groans under the burthen of sin, if it be put in hope of pardon, it begins to look up, which before was quite down, and utterly dejected.
But what need I to speak how sweet God is in his Ordi∣nances? I appeale to all those hearts that ever have received good by his word, whether it hath not been more then their Page 23 appointed food, & far above all the comforts of this world; but in heaven we shall injoy God, not in his creatures, nor in his Ordinances, but in himself; and we shall find the vari∣etie of all comforts to meet in him, we shall need no Sun to shine upon us, no wine to make our hearts glad, no oyl to make our faces shine, nay we shall need no Sacraments, no preaching of the word, but God in himself, and from him∣self, will communicate the fulnesse of joy, and it shall con∣tinue without interruption, without any mixture of sorrow, or sinfulnesse; no devill shall be there to tempt, no deceit∣fulnesse in our hearts to betray us, no worldly occasion to entangle or trouble us; our hearts shall be lifted up and never fall again, our affections warm and never coole again, our mindes settled in the full assurance of Gods favour and never doubt again; our natures shall be perfectly holy and never sin again, all our thoughts and desires shall be set on God and nothing else; and for conclusion of this point, we shall be happie, and there will be no danger, no possibili∣tie of loosing it again: lo, thus shall it be done to the man whom God will honour.
And now that I have explained what life eternall is, I come to the latter part which is to shew you that Christ will confer upon you this life by way of gift;* he will freely give it to you, The gift of God is eternall life through Jesus Christ our Lord. And this aggravates the sin of the Jewes that they might have so great a blessing in such a free way of gift, and yet would not come unto him; and not onely the Jews, in the daies of Christ were to be blamed, but even in these daies the Papists will not come to him to have life in this way of gift, they will merit it, else they will not have it; they will not have a heaven that costs them nothing. To meet with both these, I shall briefly shew you that Christ will freely give you life if you come to him, and that you must have it this way, or not at all.
Christ purchased it, and meritoriously procured it, and it is freely given by him to us; he bought it, as if it had been freely given, & it is freely given as if it had not been bought, it is Christs purchase, but our inheritance; Christ is given Page 24 who bought it; the Word that works faith to apply it is given, the Spirit that inables us to beleeve, and to look after life eternall is given; And therefore the grace of God is made the cause of salvation in generall,* and also ascribed to the particulars of justification, adoption, remission of sins, and glorification. And as God intended his glory should arise out of the manifestation of his severall attributes: so he purposed severall works wherein they were to shine, and more eminently to appear; as his power in the Creation, the invisible things of him,* that is, his eternall power and God∣head are seen in the Creation; Wisdom and Providence are chiefly seen in the government of the world; He made the Earth by his power, he established the world by his wisdom, and stretched out the Heavens by his discretion.* Justice is seen in the condemnation of the wicked; and Gods free grace in the salvation of the elect. Yet we must not imagine that nothing else but power, and wisdom, and justice, and grace, appear in these works, but these are more eminent and perspicuous; and the Attributes of God though they be not subordinate or inferiour one to another, yet they give way one to another; as the Mayor and Aldermen in a Corporation, they give honour to him whose turn it is to have the chief place: so here, all give way to power in Crea∣tion, none did so much appear as that; and all give way to Gods free grace in our salvation: and from those words of the Apostle,* we were adopted to the praise of the glory of his grace. We may infer the like, he made the world for the praise of the glory of his power, he governs it for the praise of the glory of his wisdom, he condemnes wicked men for the praise of the glory of his Justice; and saves his own for the praise of his glorious grace: And how dare any shew themselves enemies to the grace of God? or go about to ob∣scure it, or derogate from the goodnesse of Christ, who doth freely offer life to them that come unto him?
That we may vindicate the grace of God against the Pa∣pist and others, and shew that life eternall is not merited or deserved by man; we will pick out an Argument or two, such •s see• to have most strength in them, and answer Page 25 them; yet so as to deliver the positive truth, rather then meddle much with the controversie.
There are two things alledged against this truth, one by ancient Writers, the other by Modern Papists; which seem to prove, that we are not to look for life at Christs hand of free gift. I will put them both together thus. If the holy actions, and services of beleevers come from the Spirit of grace inabling them thereto, and shall be rewarded not of grace and favour, but of justice, then they are meritorious, and consequently life eternall comes not by free gift, but is due to the Saints. But both the former are true, Ergo. The first is urged by Biell, and Greg. de Valentia,* and most School∣men that write of that subject. And they amplifie it thus: The noblenesse of the cause argues the nobility of the effect; the Spirit of God works in us, and by his grace we are what we are; our actions are not ours but Christs, which by his Spirit produceth them in us therefore.
The second, viz, that these actions shall be rewarded not of grace, but in justice, Bellarmine urgeth,* and quoteth the words of Paul; From henceforth is laid up for me a Crown of righte∣ousnesse, which the Lord the Righteous Judge shall give to me, and not onely to me, but to all that love his appearing; here he triumphs, for here is (saith he) justice or righteousnesse both in the Judge that gives the reward, and in the Crown that is given, and Justice gives every one their due, and if it be of due debt, it is merited. And he urgeth the like phrase, If we con∣fesse our sins, God is just to forgive them:* of all the arguments that I have met with, this seemes to be one of the strongest.
For answer to the first branch, it must be acknowledged that the actions of a man regenerate, are more noble then Adams could have been if he stood in his integritie; for his obedience had come from the liberty of his will, and from his own spirit: but now under the Covenant of grace, we have a more glorious spirit, the Spirit of Christ that works in us not by a generall influence; but a speciall operation, quickning, inspiring, acting and eliciting, every thing that is good in us. But though our actions are more noble, yet lesse meritorious, because they are lesse ours then Adams would have been.Page 26
For the second branch, that God of justice, not of favour and mercie, is to give the reward. I answer: that justice is ei∣ther in sayings or in deeds. The former is truth and fidelity which stands in keeping of promises, of which John speaks, he hath promised pardon to them that make confession of their sins; and therefore if you do it, he is just and faithfull, (saith the text) one explains the other, and you shall be sure to have the pardon of your sins. Justice in actions is either legall, rigid, strict justice: or else Evangelicall, tempered, al∣layed justice, whereby God condescends as lowe as may be, parts with as much right as possibly he can, and so gives man a reward; which appears by the Apostles mentioning a throne of grace; a throne is a place of Justice, yet this throne in which God sits is a throne of grace, erected upon the me∣rits of Christ, where strict justice is moderated, and temper∣ed,* else it were a vain thing for Job to supplicate his Judge. We may have eternall life from this justice, and yet it is nei∣ther merited nor due.
[unspec 1] But if it will do them any good, we may say heaven is due,* and yet hold it as a free gift coming from Gods boun∣tie; It is due to the person by reason of his sonship and ado∣ption, not due to him in regard of any perfection in his ser∣vice and obedience to the heir. The inheritance is due (saith the Cardinal) we grant it, but how came he to be a son and heir? was it not free grace that made him so? yes doubtlesse.
[unspec 2] It is due in regard of Gods promise, for God hath made himself a debtor not by receiving any thing from us,* but by his own free ingagement to us; and what moved him to make us such a promise? It was his free grace and goodnes to us.
[unspec 3] It is due in regard of the Covenant of grace, whereby he hath made over Heaven to them that beleeve in his Son: If the condition be kept we are sure to have it; But who in∣ables us to beleeve? Is it not God? And what moved him to enter into Covenant? was it not his free grace? But now that the Covenant is established, and Christ hath tendred a ransome for us, and it is accepted; the justice and righteous∣nesse of God will not suffer him to require a second ransom, Page 27 or to deny that which is purchased for us. But let us leave this point, I suppose it is clear to them that desire to see the truth.
You hear there is eternall life which Christ will freely give you; and herein you have a view of his bountie: [Ʋse.] there are divers attributes in God which neither devil nor the worst man can condemne, as love, mercie, patience, bounty, they have an amiablenesse in them, and cannot be hated; and when Christ doth in his bounty offer life to men, he doth like himself; a man may give honour, wealth, counsell, but none can give life but God; and nothing can be accept∣able, or indeed a gift, without life. If you would bestow ne∣ver so much gold and silver, or makeover Land to one that lyes dead before you, nothing is done unlesse you could give him life, and then they were fruits of your love and bounty; Christ will give you life, and lest we should undervalue this gift, because life is accompanied with many cares, and griefs, and crosses in the world, and if it were never so plea∣sant, yet death comes and takes all away: therefore our Saviour offers eternall life, and this bountifull offer doth much aggravate the sins of men that will not come unto him. But what ever Atheists and unbeleevers do, let those that are wise and godly come to Christ, that their souls may live. And if you desire this life, you will often enquire about your selves, as you use to do of the Physitian, when a childe or friend lyes sick, Is he like to live? do you think he will recover? is there no danger of death?
For direction, if you remember what was said in the be∣ginning, life eternall is begun in this life, you must be made alive here, or else you cannot live eternally: and if you live by faith, and are quickned who were dead in sins, I can as∣sure you, you shall live eternally: Bend then your thoughts to consider whether you are alive or no, which will appear.
First, by a desire to preserve the life of grace: naturall life [unspec 1] is carefully preserved; what physick, what bitter potions, are taken, what cost are men at, what will they not do to prolong life? And shall men do nothing for their souls? will you live any where, not caring whether the Sun of righte∣ousnesse Page 28 shine there or no? will you live in dark cellars or dungeons? or will you endure any unwholsome air? and such are the places where the Gospel is not preached.
[unspec 2] Heat is a signe of life; cold is a fore-runner of death; warmth is a temper arising from divers graces, which we must carefully keep: Rom. 12.11. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the word signifies heat, and we would have our friends hot in our cause; we would not have a Counsellor that should plead coldly, or indifferently, and shall we be indifferent in the service of God? far be it from us.
[unspec 3] Breathing is a signe of life; it befals many that are in swoonings and dangerous fits, that it is heard to tell whe∣ther they be: yet if they breath in wholsome aire, and pant after God, and the Scriptures, and after good advice to be set and kept in the way of Religion, it is an argument they live. I might follow the similie of breathing in and out, but I surcease.
[unspec 4] Those that are alive, to choose would converse with the living, and not with the dead; I would not have any one to think that I would insinuate any such matter, or suggest any such thoughts into the heads of any that should go about to tell who are dead, and who are alive: but we must not deny that which Scriptures plainly affirm, to choose a man that is not dead in sins would not familiarly converse with any but such as he hopes in the judgement of charity to be alive; and it stands thus between the living and the dead, no fellowship, no commerce; if you speak to a dead man, you are not answered; if you take him by the hand, and otherwayes expresse your self, yet no correspondence, no sutablenesse, your love is not answered again; and there∣fore there can be no joy in such conversing. Speak to a worldly man, he can say little unles it be in worldly things, he is out of his element. And surely such as rejoyce in good things, must needs cheerfully delight in the society of such as minde the like.
And for further enlarging of this point, think what a mi∣serie it would be for a man to marry a dead woman, to have her layed in his bed, carried to his board, to be with her Page 29 continually, it would be irksome and unpleasing. You see Abraham would fain bury his wife Sarah out of his fight, for the face of death is irksome and uncomfortable: And is it not the case of many a man that lives with a dead wife, and the wife with a dead husband? if it be no sorrow to you, it is so much the worse with you, for then you your selves are dead. A woman goes with grief, and is daily in sorrow, if she think her child is dead in her wombe, she hath no joy to think of the time of her deliverance. O what is it to carry about with you a dead heart, a dead soul! And it is so if you be not moved in pitie to such as converse with you, of whose life in Religion you have no warrantable nor well grounded hope.
But all you that by these or the like signes, can suppose and conclude to your selves, that you are now alive, I dare be bold to assure you that you shall still live and live eternal∣ly in heaven; many things may in this world trouble you, & molest the comfort of your lives, but nothing shall cut it off, therefore with patience wait untill you injoy a better life then you now have, beare with patience sicklinesse of body, troubles of minde, the reproaches and crosses of this life in hope of eternall life. And the consideration hereof should make us willing to undergo any difficulties, because we hope to live happily, and that happinesse to remain eternal∣ly. And surely there is great reason why the servants of God should wait patiently, and cheerfully expect the accom∣plishment of their hope, for of all men in the world they are in the way to the greatest preferment, and by faith they see already the bounty of God, which shal hereafter be manifest∣ed towards them.
It may be of reproofe justly to tax and challenge the most part of Christians, [Ʋse 2.] for not longing more after life eternall, what should moove us to be in love with the world? Ah do we so much esteem life that is temporall, it is a wonder to see so great matters mentioned in the Scriptures, and our hearts so little affected with them; and it may be a matter of wonderment, why our hearts make no more after things that be so pretious: I take it these causes may be rendered, Page 30 but all of them intimate matter of reproofe. First men that are not assured of a better estate, are loath to leave that which they have in possession, a poore man tha••ives in a cold house and hath never a good roome, yet if he knowes not whither to go, he will not wil•lingly go out though it be never so cold; so is it with many men that are miserable and poor, they have no assurance of a better estate and therefore they are loath to leave this.
[unspec 2] It may be they have some hopes and cares, and that honest and religious; as in David, he had a promise of the King∣dom, and his heart was set on the service he meant to do, when he came to the Kingdome; this may be in the mind, and hinder the more earnest desires of heaven.
[unspec 3] The maine cause is, life eternall, and the joyes of heaven are so high above our spirit, that till the soul be fitted by an extraordinarie measure of grace, and raised above an ordi∣narie pitch, it is not made sutable to them: Paul that had visions and revelations was elevated higher than ordinary; he was full of heavenly desires.
Die Jovis 27 May. 1647.
ORdered by the Lords in Parliament assembled, That Mr. Va∣lentine one of the Assembly of Divines, is hereby thanked for his great pains taken in his Sermon Preached yesterday before their Lordships in the Abbey Church Westminster: And he is hereby de∣sired to cause the same to be Printed, and published; Which is to be done onely by Authority under his own Hand.
Jo: Browne Cler: Parl'.
I Appoint Joh: Rothwell to Print my Sermon.