Gospel Conversation

Jeremiah Burroughs (1599-1646) - A Popular Independent Puritan Preacher and a Member of the Westminster Assembly.

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“The holiness of God is the height of God’s excellency.”

Gospel Conversation

Gospel-Conversation: wherein is shewed, I. How the conversation of believers must be above what could be by the light of nature. II. Beyond those that lived under the law. III. And suitable to what truths the Gospel holds forth. By Jeremiah Burroughs, preacher of the Gospel to Stepney and Criplegate, London. Being the third book published by Thomas Goodwyn, William Greenhil, Sydrach Simpson, Philip Nye, William Bridge, John Yates, William Adderly.

Burroughs, Jeremiah, 1599-1646., Goodwin, Thomas, 1600-1680.

GOSPEL-Conversation: Wherein is shewed, I. How the Conversation of Believers must be above what could be by the Light of Nature.

  1. Beyond those that lived under the Law.

III. And suitable to what Truths the Gospel holds forth.

By Jeremiah Burroughs, Preacher of the Gospel to Stepney and Criplegate, London.

Being the Third Book published by

  • Thomas Goodwyn,
  • William Greenhil,
  • Sydrach Simpson,
  • Philip Nye,
  • William Bridge,
  • John Yates,
  • William Adderly.

LONDON: Printed by Peter Cole, at the Sign of the Printing-Press in Cornhil, near the Royal Exchange. 1650.

To the Reader.

The order and method which we propounded to our selves, and still pursue in publishing this blessed mans Labors committed to us, is the same with his own in Preaching them; and in his Preaching stile also we present them, that so both for matter and miner they might be every way his own. We need not set him up any other Pillar or Monument then what himself erected by his own worth; and yet we may as truly say of him, as Nazianzen of Athanasius,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, He was high in worth, but humble in heart: He dyed in the strength of his Parts and Graces, and did not wear with rust, but use: (Amplissimum vitae spatium us{que} ad sapientiam vivere) He did the work of him that sent him, whilest it was day, because he feared (as he would often say) a night was coming upon the Kingdom, wherein he could not work; and so he lived long in a little time.

It grieved his Soul to see how among Professors of Religion, Holiness of Life, and circumspect walking, is not attended to in this dissolute and dissolved Age we live in: What Truths therefore served most to revive and renew that Spirit and vigor of Practical Holiness, which was breathing in them before these Times; these he most insisted on, and pressed upon the Consciences of Believers: And he that is conversant in his Writings, will readily discern, that he judged the power of Godliness not to consist in high-towring-speculation (though himself was of excellent-raised-parts) but in an holy Conversation, which is peculiarly the subject of this Treatise; therein following the direction of Paul to Titus, exhorting Believers in God, to maintain good Works,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to go before others in good works, or to set before others good works, as the words imply, Tit. 3. 8.

Which yet whilest a Christian pursues with all zealous fervency and intention, he must withal be acquainted with the Root from whence all his Holiness must spring. Good Works are dangerous, if they be made the Foundation in the great point of Justification by Faith; but if they be used in the superstruction, then they are very useful. We cannot have children from Christ, except we be first married to Christ: No works of Sanctification, before Vnion with Christ. Many cry out for Obedience and good Works, yet are profane, because they go not to Christ for these; You will not come to me, that you might have life, saith our Savior: Except we do all for and from Christ, our Lusts will not be mortified, our Duties not accepted, our Consciences not purified; we shall not be strengthned against crosses, neither shall we go on chearfully, nor persevere: The foolish proud heart of man is loth to be so much beholding to Iesus Christ, as to receive Salvation from him altogether, but something it will do, and something Christ must do; yet it leans much, if not most upon it self, onely it will take in Christ to make more sure work. There is a sturdy stoutness and unyieldingness of Spirit in men, against the blessed Truths of the  Gospel made known unto them; they must have Peace, Comfort, Assurance, their own way, or else reject all; they would finde a principle of life and power within themselves, and not go to Christ for it; they would bring something to Christ, and not fetch all from Christ; not knowing that the way which all true Believers have gone (after much wearying of themselves to finde something in themselves) hath been at the last to rowl themselves wholly upon the Free-grace of God through Iesus Christ, seeing nothing in themselves, yet giving glory to God by believing; and if they could bring their hearts so disposed and qualified, yet they see the danger of resting in what they are, have and do. And if want of such and such conditions and qualifications had ground enough to keep from Christ, it might have hindred any that ever did cast themselves upon the Free-grace of God, because they would still have been at a loss, finding a defect in them.

These things we judge not unseasonable to premise, in the reading of this and all other Treatises of this nature, that Christians may (when they abound in much-doing and well-doing) be still as much afraid of resting in doing well, as of committing ill, and be content to have all flowers withered that refresh them without Christ; And when after Humiliation and casting down for sin, they begin to stand upright, as they think, upon the legs of their Prayers, Performances, Inherent Graces and Qualifications, and Righteousness and Holiness expressed in their Lives and Conversations, they may yet notwithstanding all this, be brought, not to glory in themselves, but in Iesus Christ, and willingly come down from the Throne of their own Conceits, Sufficiences, Abilities, and be at the Footstool and Threshold of Iesus Christ; that seeing they know nothing, are nothing, have nothing, do nothing, they may be nothing in their own eyes, that Christ might be all, do all their work in them and for them, that so they may wholly live upon Christ, and to Christ, still drawing vertue from him, seeing a need of Christ, and of nothing else, and finding a fulness and help in him, and in nothing else.

This word of direction being given the Reader in his perusing this Treatise about Gospel-Conversation, the publishing of which in these perillous Times, we conceive exceeding suitable and useful, wherein so many are led away after those Doctrines that are not after godliness, as the Apostle speaks. This holy man would often much bewail that he did not see that holy frame and temper of Spirit in the Professors of our days, which was in those God was pleased to take out of this world to himself in the days immediately foregoing these Troubles: He would often say, We seem to have more light now, but we have lost our heat and first love. We pray the Lord awaken us, that we may do our first works before he come against us quickly, and remove the Candlestick out of its place. Amen.

  • Thomas Goodwyn,
  • William Greenhil,
  • Sydrach Simpson,
  • Philip Nye,
  • William Bridge,
  • John Yates.
  • William Adderly.

THE CONTENTS

SERMON I.

  • THE Words opened. Page 2
  • Doct. 1 Those that profess the Gospel, must have a great care of their Conversations 6
  • 1 That God may be honored 7
  • 1 Because the Saints are Gods witnesses 8
  • 2 They hold forth Gods renewed Image 9
  • 3 They further Gods designs Ibid
  • 4 They make up the great dishonor He hatb from the world ibid
  • 2. In respect of wicked men 10
  • 1 That you may convince them ibid
  • 2 To stop their mouthes 11
  • 3 To convert them ibid
  • 4 To condemn them 12
  • 3 In respect of the Saints ibid
  • 1 They rejoyce in it ibid
  • 2 They bless God for it ibid
  • 3 They have boldness before men ibid
  • 4. They are established by it. 13
  • 5 They are edified by it ib.
  • 4 In respect of your selves ibid
  • 1 It evidenceth the truth to your souls. ibid
  • 2 It continueth and encreaseth what is in you 14
  • 3 It gets honor in the consciences of men ibid
  • 4 It is an instrument of publick good ibid
  • 5 it furthers a joyful account at the great day ibid
  • 6 It keeps up the honor of Religion from one generation to another ibid
  • Application 1 To reprove careless professors. 16
  • 2 To exhort to be careful of your Conversations 19
  • Arg. 1 It is a mercy you have conversation among men 20
  •  2 Wicked men are able to passe judgment on your lives, but not on your principles 21
  • 3 Sometimes you must displease wicked men ibid
  • 4 Your lives are but short 22
  • 5 The eyes of all are upon you 23
  • 6 God promiseth salvation to them that order their Conversation aright 24

SERMON II.

  • Rule 1 Have a special regard to the duties of your relation 25
  • 2 Take heed of the sins you are most inclined to 26
  • 3 Take heed of the temptations of your callings 27
  • 4 Take heed of the sins of the times 28
  • 5 Take heed of secret sins. ibid
  • 6 Look not upon those that are below, but upon those that are above you in profession 29
  • 7 Be constant to the end 30
  • Doct. 2 The Conversation of Profesfessors must be sutable to the Gospel of Christ.
  • 1. It must be higher than the light of Nature will raise it 32
  • Viz. 1 That we are to knew God 33
  • 2. That we must do as we would be done to ibid
  • 3 We must make conscience of secret sins ibid
  • What Conversation becomes the Gospel, that is above the light of Nature
  • 1 To worship God as a father 35
  • 2 To love our enemies 36
  • 3 To do to others as God hath don to us 37
  • 4 To labor for the mortification of the body of sin within us. 39
  • 5 To love the Commandement you obey 40
  • Secondly, It must go beyond such as lived under the Law

SERMON III

  • Consider first as a Covenant of works for life, as it was at first made to Adam 42
  • 1 Obedience to God meerly as Creator 43
  • 2 Had only promise of natural things ibid
  • 3 He must work by his own strength ibid
  • 4 He was in hazard of miscarrying in his eternal estate ib.
  • 1 The Saints are in a better condition.
  • 1 They serve God as a father 44
  • 2 Ʋpon better promises ibid
  • 3 Our strength is not put into  own hands to keep 54
  • 4 Are delivered from the hazzard of eternal miscarrying ibid
  • 2. As the Law was in the ministration of it by Moses 47
  • 1 Given under low promises. ibid
  • 2 Their Ordinances mean 48
  • 3 Their burden great ibid
  • 4 The administration terrible ibid
  • 5 Their spirits servile ibid
  • But under the Gospel
  • 1 Our Covenant is better 48
  • 2 Our Worship more spiritual 49
  • 3 Our yoke more easie 50
  • 4 We have access with boldnes to the throne of grace ibid
  • 5 We have the spirit of Adoption ibid
  • 3. It must be sutable to what the Gospel holds forth 53
  • Herein consider
    • 1 What the Gospel holds forth
    • 2 How to sute our Conversations according.
  • 1 The Gospel holds forth,
    • 1. The infinite love of God to mankind 53
    • 2 Love in us becomes this love of God 54

SERMON IV.

  • 2. The willingness of God to to be at peace with man 63
  • 1 When we were enemies to Him 64
  • 2 We were under his power. ibid
  • 3 He had no need of us ibid
  • 4 He begins the work of reconciliation ibid
  • 5 It costs Him very dear ibid
  • 6 He will never be at enmity with us again 65
  • This cals us to love peace, ib.
  • 3 The infinite mercy of God to miserable creatures 69
  • It should work mercy in us. 70
  • 4 He is merciful in such a way that justice is not wronged 74
  • It should warn us first, not to turn the grace of God into wantonness 75
  • To be just in our Conversations 77
  • 5 What a high price he sets upon the Law. 78

SERMON V

  • 6 Gods infinit hatred of sin 80
  • It should move us to hate it. 82
  • 7 The great price of souls 85
  • It should teach us,
  • 1 To set a high price upon our souls 86
  • 2 Not to pollute them with sin 88
  • 8 The great honor God hath put upon human Nature above Angels 89
  •  1. In the personal union of mans Nature with the God-head ibid
  • 2 The body is the temple of the holy Ghost 90
  • 3 The Personal Vnion of our Natures with the second Person in Trinity 91
  • 4 The great example of Self-denial 93

SERMON VI.

  • 9 Our Conversations should be sutable to spiritual worship 96
  • 10 Our spiritual union with God 100
  • 1 God is a Father, Beleevers are Children ibid
  • 2 We are one Spirit with God and Christ 102
  • 3 The union of the Saints one with another 104
  • 4 Their hapines in heaven 110

SERMON VII.

  • What Conversation becomes the Gospel 114
  • 1 Denying ungodliness ibid
  • 2 Sequestred from this world. 118
  • 3 A change of estate 120
  • 1 From what there was before the Gospel came ibid
  • 2 Between one man and another 122
  • 4 Becoming the Ordinances of the Gospel 123
  • 5 Sutable to the power of the Gospel ibid
  • 6 Seeing the glory of the Gospel, have a glory in our Conversations 125
  • Application 1 To reprove those whose Conversations becomes not the Gospel 126
  • 2 Exhortation to walk worthy of the Gospel 129
  • Five Motives to it

JOHN, 18. 36 SERMON I.

  • TEXT Opened 139
  • Doct. 1. Christ hath a Kingdom ibid
  • 1 Providential 136
  • 2 Mediatory ibid
  • Doct. 2 Christs Kingdom is not of this world 137
  • Difference between worldly Kingdoms & Christs Kingdom ib.
  • 1 In regard of pomp and glory ibid
  • 2 In regard of his subjects 138
  • 3 In regard of his rule 139
  • 4 His Laws are spiritual ibid
  • 5 His homage spiritual 141
  • 6 The Officers by Divine institution 143
  • 7 His weapons spiritual 144
  • 8 In regard of priviledges 147
  •  9 In regard of penalties 147

SERMON II.

  • Priviledges of the Saints 1 All their businesses are in the Court if Christ 152
  • 2 They are all free men 153
  • 3 They have free trade to heaven ib.
  • 4 They have right to all the Ordinances of Christ ib.
  • 5 They have his protection 154
  • 6 They shall have certain victory over their enemies ib.
  • 7 They are all Kings ib.
  • 8 They have peace and joy in the holy Ghost 155
  • 9 They have right to the gifts and graces of all the Saints 156
  • 10 They are coheirs with Christ 157
  • Why Christs Kingdom is not of this world. 1 Because he would confound the wisdom of the world 157
  • 2 Because he delights to exercise the graces of his Saints ib.
  • 3 That his power and wisdom may appear the more glorious 158
  • Application Use 1 There is a happiness beyond the things of this world 159
  • Their world called 1 An evil world 160
  • 2 The Devil is called the god of it ibid
  • 3 The pomp of it is not of the Father ibid
  • 4 Its glory is but darkness ibid
  • 5 It knows not God 161
  • 6 It lies in wickedness ibid

PSALM, 17. 14.

  • TEXT Opened 295
  • Doctrine There are men to whom God gives some outward good for a while, and this is all they are like to have 298
  • Arguments of Gods love to Saul 1 He was chosen by God Himself &c. 300
  • Explication 1 Why God deals out something to wicked men 304
  • 1 They are His Creatures ib
  • 2 Their time of life is Gods patience ibid
  • 3 It is their day 305
  • 4 They do something for God here ibid
  • 5 To shew them what little good is in this world 306
  • 6 He hath time enough to manifest his justice upon them hereafter 307
  • 7 He shews what great things He hath reserved for His Children 308
  •  8 God fetcheth glory from hence ibid
  • 1 To harden their heart 309
  • 2 To chasten his own people ibid
  • 9 Because he would have no argument of love or hatred drawn from outward things ibid
  • 2 Here is all they are like to have 310
  • 1 Because their names are not in the book of life ibid
  • 2 They are vile in the eyes of God ibid
  • 3 Because they chuse it themselves 311
  • 4 They are sutable to them. 313
  • 5 They abuse the portion they have 314
  • 6 They have no interest in Jesus Christ ibid
  • 7 They are no sons 316
  • 8 The manifestation of Gods patience is ended ibid
  • 9 They must have imediately to deal with God 317
  • 3 Corrollaries flowing from hence
  • 1. This is the reason why worldly men are so cunning in things of this world 318
  • 2 This is the reason why so many great ones regard Religion so little 319
  • 3 This is the reason of the stir that is in the world to maintain this their Portion 328
  • 4 What kind of Portion this is that the men of the world have
  • 1 What poor things they are 329
  • 1 They are but imaginary ibid
  • 2 Of a low nature 330
  • 3 But a poor pittance 331
  • 4 It will vanish 332
  • 5 It will stand with the hatred of God 333
  • 2 The tenure by which thou boldest them 335
  • Opened in 4. things. ibid
  • 3 There is a great deal of mixture in what you have 336
  • 1 Of trouble ibid
  • 2 Of curse ibid
  • 4 What Portion thou losest by it 337
  • 1 It is fit for the Spouse of Christ ibid
  • 2 Sutable to an Heir of Heaven ibid
  • 3 It is the height of happiness 338
  • 4 It is Gods great design in making Heaven and Earth ibid
  • 5 It requires the infinite power of God to support a creature in it ibid
  • 6 It remains to eternity ib
  • 5 What is like to be thy end ib
  • 1 Perplexity of spirit when  death comes 339
  • 2 You’l be called to account for all 340
  • 3 A dreadful Portion at the day of Judgment ib.
  • 5 Who the man is that hath his Portion in this world
  • 1 God gives him nothing but what belongs to this life 341
  • 2 By the working of your hearts about your Portion 342
  • 1 Whether your hearts terminate in what you enjoy ibid
  • 2 Whether they go out in full strength to them 343
  • 3 How the loss of them take thy heart ibid
  • 4 Whether they only be sutable to thy heart 344
  • 5 What thou accountest thy cheefest good ibid
  • 6 What you strive to make most sure 346
  • 7 What thou most admirest men for ibid
  • 8 What thou art careful to lay up for thy children ib.
  • 9 Examine thy services in
  • 3 Particulars
  • 1 Are they slight? 347
  • 2 Hypocritical?
  • 3 Forced?
  • 10 Doest thou draw back in Religion? ibid
  • 11 Doth God for the present curse thy portion? ibid
  • 12 Doth God convince thee of what stops the current of his mercy ibid
  • 13. He spends his daies without fear of being put off with the things of this world 348
  • 6 Exhortation 1 To those that have evidences of a better portion 349
  • 1 Bless God for it 349
  • 2 Be content with it ibid
  • 3 Envy not wicked men ib.
  • 4 Mind higher and better things 350
  • 2 To all to put on for another Portion 351
  • Motive 1 Ye are capable of it 352
  • 2 Ye are in a fair way for it ib
  • Means 1 Be stir’d with the fear of God 353
  • 2 Take off your hearts from outward comforts ibid
  • 3 Set the glory of Heaven and Eternity before your eyes 354
  • 4 Honor God with your substance here ibid
  • 5 Let your services be choice services 356
  • 6 Be willing to cast away what you have sinfully got ibid
  • 7 Be willing to joyn with those that suffer for God 358
  • Conclusion ibid

READER, Thou hast here the Names of the Books that are lately published of Mr. Jeremiah Burroughs: As also the Texts of Scripture upon which they are grounded.

VIZ.

  • 1. An Exposition with Practical Observations on the 4, 5, 6, & 7. Chapters of HOSEA.
  • 2. A Treatise of EARTHLY MINDEDNES: Wherein is shewed: 1. What Earthly-mindedness is, 2. The great evil thereof, on Phil. 3. part of the 19. verse. Also to the same Book is joyned a Treatise of Heavenly-mindedness, and walking with God, on Gen. 5. 24. And on Phil. 3. 20.
  • 3. The rare JEWEL of Christian CONTENTMENT, on Phil. 4. 11. Wherein is shewed: 1. What Contentment is, 2. It is an holy Art and Mysterie, 3. The Excellencies of it, 4. The evil of the contrary sin of Murmuring, and the Agravations of it.
  • 4. GOSPEL-WORSHIP, on Levit. 10. 3. Wherein is shewed: 1. The right manner of the Worship of God in general: 2. And particularly, in Hearing the Word, Receiving the Lords Supper, And Prayer.
  • 5. GOSPEL-CONVERSATION, on Philip. 1. 27. Wherein is shewed: 1. That the Conversation of Beleevers must be above what could be by the light of Nature, 2. Beyond those that lived under the Law, 3. And sutable to what Truths the Gospel holds forth. To which is added, The Misery of those Men that have their Portion in this Life only; on Psal. 17. 14.

All which are published by

  • Thomas Goodwin,
  • Sydrach Simpson,
  • William Greenhil,
  • William Bridge,
  • John Yates,
  • William Adderly.

All printed by Peter Cole, at the Printing-Press in Cornhil, at the Royal Exchange, in LONDON.

GOSPEL Conversation.

PHILIPPIANS, 1. 27.

Only let your Conversation be as becometh the Gospel of Christ.*

THE Apostle (in the 23. verse of this Chapter) we find to be in a straight what to do, whether to be willing to live, or to die; for his own inclination or desire it was rather to die, because then he should be with Christ, which was best of all: A notable Scripture to prove the Immortallity of the soul. For if so be the soul did die with the body, it could not have bin better for Paul to have been dead than to live, it were better that Paul had lived even to the day of Judgment than to have died, and so to be nothing and turned into dust; but he saith, that when he died, he should be with Christ, which was better for him; but that which swayed him on the other side, why he should be willing to live, it was this, That he might be useful to the Churches, Nevertheless, it is better for you that I should abide in the flesh.

Service to the Churches is the great cause that makes one who hath made his peace with God, to be willing to live, it is not that he may live in ease, and enjoy pleasures to the flesh, but that he may live and do service for God, that makes him willing to live. And then he tels them, he is confident he shal continue with them a while for the furtherance of their faith, and that by his coming to them their rejoycing should be more abundant; but in the mean time, whether I do come, or come not, Only let your Conversation be as becometh the Gospel of Christ. As if he should say, I shall the more willingly live, my life wil be the more comfortable to me; it will somthing recompence my absence from Heaven, my staying from the joyes of it; if your Conversation be as becometh the Gospel of Jesus Christ: If I may hear from you being absent, or when I come to you, I may see that your Conversation be as becommeth the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the dependancy of the words.

For the opening of the words.

Only] Only let your Conversation. That is as if he should say, be not solicitous about me and my sufferings, and what shall become of me, and whether I shall come to you or not, be not so careful about that; only let your care be taken up about this great business, That your Conversation be as becometh the Gospel of Christ: for saies he, this should be the main thing that I should aim at if I should come to you; this is that I should put you upon and give you directions about, That your Conversation be as becometh the Gospel of Jesus Christ: And if I be absent there is not any thing I desire more to hear of than this, That you that have received the Gospel of Christ from my hands (as it were) through my Ministry, that your Conversations be as becometh the Gospel of Jesus Christ▪ Brethren, if we had Paul here present with us, or preaching among us; or if he were alive  and could write an Epistle to this Congregation, or any other Congregation, the main drift of his preaching or writing would be, to those that had heretofore received the Gospel, That they would make it their great care that their Conversations be as becomes the Gospel of Christ.

Only let your Conversation] The word here, is a word taken from the ordering of a City, or a Common-wealth, wherein every one acts in their own sphere, and is serviceable each unto other, to the publick good; so saith he, the Church of God, it is as a City, as a Common-wealth wherein every Christian is to act in his own sphere, and every one laboring for the good each of other in a comely order, that so there may not only be peace in the Churches, but edification of all, and the Gospel may thrive and prosper, that’s the meaning of this word translated here, Let your Conversation; As if he should say, Do not think it enough that you have some enlightenings, that you have some stirrings, some affections are moved by the Ministry of the Gospel, rest not there, but look to your Conversation.

It is not enough for Christians to have knowledg, and to be able to speak of the Gospel, and have some stirrings of affection, but they must look to their Conversations, Let your Conversation be,

As it becometh the Gospel of Christ] For the opening of these words there are these two things considerable:

First, What is this Gospel of Christ that here is spoken of?

And secondly, What is it so to live as becometh the Gospel of Christ? Let your Conversation be as becometh the Gospel of Christ.

The Gospel of Christ in general is this: It is the good Tydings that God hath revealed concerning Christ, This hath come unto your ears, the good Tydings concerning Christ, for so the word [Gospel] the Greek word signifies nothing else but the good Tydings;* the good Tydings that comes from Heaven unto you concerning Jesus Christ, that’s the Gospel of Christ.

More largely it is this, As all Mankind were lost in Adam, & become the children of wrath, put under the sentence of death, God though he left his fallen Angels, and hath reserved them in the chains of eternal darkness, yet he hath thought upon the children of men, he hath provided a way of atonement  to reconcile them to himself again. Namely, the second Person in Trinity takes mans nature upon him, and becomes the Head of a second Covenant, standing charged with mans sin, and to answer for it in a way of suffering what the Law and Divine Justice required, and for making satisfaction, and keeping the Law perfectly, which satisfaction and righteousness he tenders up unto the Father as a sweet savor of Rest for the souls of those that are given to him; and now, this mediation of Christ is by the appointment of the Father preached to the children of men, of what Nation or rank soever, freely offering this unto sinners for atonement for them, requiring them to beleeve in him, and upon beleeving, promising not only a discharge of all their former sins, but that they shall never enter into condemnation, that none of their sins or unworthiness shall ever hinder the peace of God with them, but that they shall through him be received into the number of Sons, that they shall have the Image of God again to be renewed in them, & that they shall be kept by the Power of God through faith and salvation, that these souls and bodies shall be raised to the height of glory that such creatures are capable of, that they shall live for ever enjoying the presence of God, and Christ, in the fulness of al good; this is the Gospel of Christ; this is the sum of the Gospel that is preached unto sinners: when you hear speaking of the Gospel your thoughts may be about this, this glad Tydings that is come into the world for salvation of sinful creatures through Jesus Christ, and all the good things that Jesus Christ by his blood hath purchased for sinners. When Ministers are cald the Ministers of the Gospel, the meaning is, they are appointed by God Ministers to declare and to preach this glad Tydings to the world: Oh it is glad Tydings indeed to the world; could there be such glad tidings preached at Hell gates, that there were any such way of reconciliation of them to God, we could not but conceive there would be joy there, they would account it acceptable news indeed.

Now then, Those that do beleeve this Gospel, or do profess it, that they have entertain’d this Gospel, this glad Tydings, they must be careful to walk in their Conversation so as it becomes this Gospel, as becomes such glorious glad Tydings as are sent unto them from Heaven.

As becomes] The word signifies,*Worthy of the Gospel, that that is translated in your books become, it signifies, worthy of the Gospel. But this cannot be meant as if so be that our Conversation should be such as deserves al the good that there is in the Gospel, No, but Worthy, that is, as much as Beseeming the Gospel, as meet for the Gospel, or as it is translated in your books, Becoming the Gospel; as he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks his own damnation; Can one eat and drink so as to be worthy of the Body and Blood of Christ? No, but he that eats and drinks so, carries himself so in that Ordinance of the Sacrament as is unbeseeming the Body and Blood of Christ that he comes to receive; and on the other side, those that do eat and drink so, as to sanctifie Gods Name in that Ordinance (as you have heard) they do it worthily, for so the same word is here, Worthy of the Gospel of Christ. And so bring forth fruit worthy of repentance, saith John to those that came to him, that is meet, sit for repentance, such fruit as may manifest your repentance, as is sutable unto such men or women that do profess their repentance for their sins. Further, I find that the word that is here translated Becoming, in another place is translated Convenient and meet, and can be understood in no other sense; as in 1 Cor. 16. 4. If it be meet that I shall go also, the word that is translated there, [meet] it is in the Greek [worthy] the same word that we have here translated Becoming,* if it be a comly thing or a meet or convenient thing then I’le go: so then it’s cleer that this word that we have here is, meet, convenient, sutable, or, becoming the Gospel, Let your Conversation be such, as it meet for, or becoming the Gospel.

You will say, What Conversation is that which is meet for, or becoming the Gospel?

To that I answer, First, a Conversation raised to a higher degree than the light of Nature, or than the Law can raise one to, it must be that certainly, it is not a Conversation becoming the Gospel, except it be a Conversation raised higher than the light of Nature, or than the Law can raise one to, it becomes not the Gospel else.

Secondly, A Conversation sutable and answerable to those many blessed and glorious truths that are revealed in the Gospel,  there is much of the mind of God revealed in the Gospel, glorious truths are there presented to us, that is a Conversation becoming the Gospel that is sutable and answerable unto these blessed and glorious truths that are revealed in the Gospel.

Thirdly, A Conversation manifesting the power of the Gospel.

Fourthly, A Conversation that is sutable unto al the Ordinances of the Gospel, agreeable unto whatsoever there is in any Ordinance of the Gospel.

And then fiftly, A Conversation holding forth the beauty, excellency, and glory of the Gospel before those with whom we do converse, here’s a Conversation becoming the Gospel; when those that are Christians professing that the Lord hath revealed the Gospel unto them, and that in some measure they have been brought to beleeve in the Gospel, when as now their Conversation is beyond that which any man can attain unto by the light of Nature, when it is beyond that that any man by the Law can be raised unto, when it’s answerable to the many blessed and glorious truths that are revealed in the Gospel, when it manifests a power of the Gospel in him, when it’s answerable unto the blessed Ordinances that he doth enjoy in the Gospel, and when his Life and Conversation holds forth the beauty, excellency, and glory of the Gospel before the world, here is a Conversation becoming the Gospel; and this is that which the Apostle here exhorts unto, Only let your Conversation be such, as becomes the Gospel of Christ. Thus you have had the words opened.

Now for the Doctrinal Points in the words, only these two, the first is but to make way to the second.

  1. Doct. The first is this, That those that profess the Gospel, must have a great care of their Conversations.
  2. Secondly, This Conversation of theirs must be such, as becomes, as beseems the Gospel. These are the two main Points in the Text. I shall this morning but make way to the second Point which is the great Point in the Text.

First, That Christians that do profess the Gospel, must have a great care of their Conversations, to look to them. They must not satisfie  themselves with what is inward in their minds, or in their affections, but look to their Conversations; You think, or hope at least, that through the Gospel there hath been conversion wrought in you: After the Lord hath wrought conversion, he doth expect that you be careful of your Conversations before men: you have knowledge, you can speak well, you have some stirrings of heart that you have felt in hearing of the Word, preaching of the Gospel, but now look to your Conversations, and know, there is a bond laid upon you more than ever was, to look to your Conversations: in James, 3. see the exhortation of the Apostle there, at the 13. verse, Who is a wise man, and endued with knowledge among yeu, mark, let him shew out of a good Conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. It is a very sweet and excellent Scripture, Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you: What should he do? Let him shew out of a good Conversation his works with meekness of wisdom: here is wise, and knowledge, and wisdom again. If you would manifest that God hath wrought any true saving knowledge, any wisdom in you to save your souls, why know that God requires that you should show your good Conversation & that with meekness and wisdom, your Conversations, you must have a care of them, both in respect of men, and in respect of God.

In respect of men, 1 Pet. 2. 12. Having your Conversation honest among the Gentils: And (the latter part wee shall speak to by and by) so that Christians they must look to their Conversations in respect of men.

And then in respect of God: In 1 Pet. 1. 15. But as be who hath called you is Holy, so be ye holy in all manner of Conversation; There you have Honest Conversation; and in this scripture, holy in all manner of conversation: so that you are to have regard to your Conversations, both in respect of men, and in respect of God: and upon these grounds.

First, in general.

First, in regard of God more generally, that God may be honored by your Conversations. Oh! you that have ever heard from God the glorious glad tydings of Salvation in the Gospel, Is it not in your hearts to do what you can to honor  him? now let your Conversation be such; have a care of your Conversations that God may be honored; the Name of God will be blasphemed, except you have a care of your Conversations, in Matth. 5. 16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorifie your Father which is in Heaven. As if Christ should say, What, hath God brought the light of the Gospel to you? hath it shined into your hearts? and hath He revealed unto you those glorious Mysteries of Salvation in Him? O then, let this light break forth and shine in your Conversations before men, that others seeing your good works may glorifie your Father which is in Heaven. Some men and women are ready to say, what do they care what others observe in them so that God knows their hearts? I but that’s not enough, if it could be so that you could have good hearts unto God without good Conversations; but we shall see that there cannot be any such thing, and it is required of you, your works should shine forth before men, that they may see your good works, and glorifie your Father which is in Heaven. ‘Tis one thing to do a good work that may be seen, and another thing to do a good work that it may be seen; to do a good work that may be seen that is lawful, though we should not do them principally aiming that they may be seen, but our works should be such, that of their own nature they may be seen, but not to make that to be our main end, that they may be seen; so, as aiming not so much that they may may be seen, but that being seen, men may glorifie our Father which is in Heaven, that God may be honoured. Now God is honoured by the Conversations of His Saints many waies, and therefore they should be very careful of their Conversations.

As in the first place, The people of God, Saints, Beleevers, they are the great Witnesses that God hath in the world, to witness for Him against the corruptions of the world; If so be that you are not careful of your Conversations, God will lose witnesses to His Truth: Now a witnesse is not a thing that is kept within, a man cannot be a witness by keeping things within his own thoughts and heart, he must manifest something to witness. The Lord makes use of the lives of His Saints to be His Witnesses in the world, to stand and witness for His Truth;  whereas others they will think when the Gospel is preached that it is but a meer notion, or imagination, and that there is no reallity in what is preached: No saith God, look here upon the Conversations of these that have beleeved the Gospel, do you not see they witnesse, that there it a reallity in those things of the Gospel? look what a change my Gospel hath made upon them in their lives and conversations, those that were before proud, how humble they are; that were before froward, how meek they are, and the like; these are my witnesses. Many Scriptures might be given, especially that in Revel. 11. 3. where the Saints in general are called witnesses: And that’s the first thing. You are to look to your Conversations, that you may be Gods witnesses.

Secondly: That you may hold forth the Image of God in the world; that Image that God made man in at first, by the sin of man was lost; but now through the Gospel it comes to be renewed, and God delights to have His Image held forth in the world, that men may behold somewhat of the glory of His Image: But how can the world see the Image of God? They cannot see it in your hearts, but now God would have it conspicuous, therefore have you a care of your Conversations, that in your Conversations you may hold forth the Image of God in the world. It’s much to the glory of God to have His Image held forth in the world. As men that would honor their parents, and other dear friends, if they have a curious Picture of them, when their image is drawn, they will not see it abused and sullyed, but they will keep it fair; a man that hath the image of his father or dear friend, will not hang it in a smokey hole behind a chimney, or door, but in some conspicuous place; so we should hold forth the Image of God conspicuously, it should appear in our lives and Conversations.

Thirdly, By your Conversations God may be honored, for you will further the great designs that God hath in the world: the holy and gracious lives of the Saints serve to further the great designs that God hath in the world to do.

And lastly, They may serve to make up the great dishonor that God hath from others; the Lord hath abundance of dishonor from most in the world; but now there are some that  God cals out of the world, and He gives his Grace unto them to the end that He might have some of the great dishonor that He hath in the world from others made up; now such as are carefull of their Conversations, as walk exactly and closely with God (I say) they are made use of by God for the making up in some part of the great dishonor that God hath in the world. What honor should God have in the world were it not for the holy and gracious Conversations of some of His Saints? and therefore you who profess the Gospel, look to your Conversations that God may be honored by you.

Secondly, Have a care of your Conversations, look to them in respect of wicked men among whom you live.

As first, That you may convince evil and ungodly men among whom you live in the world. 1 Pet. 2. 12. Having your Conversation honest among the Gentiles, that whereas they speak against you as evil doers, they may by your good works which they shall behold, glorifie God in the day of visitation. This likewise doth confirm what was said before, for the glory of God, and the conviction of wicked men; That they beholding, may glorifie God in the day of visitation. There are many interpretations upon this place, In the day of visitation, the day wherein God shall visit them. Though now they rail against you, yet when God shall visit them, either in His stroke upon them by sickness, then they will acknowledg you to be righteous, and holy men, and wish that their conditions were like yours; or in the day of visitation, if God shall visit their spirits to turn them, or in the day of visitatiō (as some think) in the day of Jesus Christ: But I find others looking narrowly into the words, In the day of Over seeing, the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 from whence the word Bishop comes, it is an Over-seer, now this word visitation, signifies nothing else but an Overseeing; as if God should say thus, walk ye honestly, and holily before the world, perhaps they will vail your glory, & one will say this, & the other that, but go ye on in a constant way and course, there will be a time that all things shall be over-seen, all things shall be examined, and narrowly searched into, and when that day comes, the wicked men shall be convinced, and shal be forced to give glory to God, and shal say, that whatsoever aspersions there were cast upon you, yet certainly you were the servants of the  living God, in the day of inspection, of overseeing; therefore be ye careful of your Conversations in respect of wicked men, to convince them.

Secondly, In respect of wicked men, to stop their mouthes, their malice, violence, and rage, 1 Pet. 2. 15. For so is the Will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.* The word there translated Put to silence, it is to put (as it were) a bridle into their mouthes, or to stop their mouthes, you may even stop their mouthes by your holy Conversation; Oh Christians look to your Conversations, that by them you may stop the mouthes of wicked and ungodly men, that they may not be able to say any thing against your holy Conversations; so in 1 Pet. 3. 16. Having a good conscience, that whereas they speak evil of you as of evil doers, they may be ashamed that falsly accuse your good Conversation in Christ.

Thirdly, Yea, you may by your good Conversation be a means to convert other men, to bring wicked men into the love of the waies of God: 1 Pet. 3. 1. 2. the exhortation there is directed to wives that had wicked husbands. Likewise ye wives be in subjection to your own husbands, that if they obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the Conversation of the wives, while they behold your chast Conversation coupled with fear. Mark, how the Apostle urges upon wives to look to their Conversations to the end that they may be a means to gain their husbands. I am verily perswaded that there are many gracious women that would give (if they had it) a thousand worlds to gain their husbands to those waies of godliness that they have found so much sweetness in, but perhaps they cannot get them to come and hear the Word, and if they do, their hearts rise against it, or it may be they little regard it; but you by your Conversations may do that which the world will not do, you may be converters of them; and in this sense indeed; there may be women preachers, that is, preaching in their lives and Conversations, and that’s all the preaching that the holy Ghost allows women, let them preach that way, in their lives and Conversations in their families, and preach every day a Sermon, and neither God nor man will find fault with any such thing, and this is the way for them to do great service for God; and so  likewise should husbands do to convert their wives, you complain one of another, but do you labor to convince and convert one another by your holy Conversations? I am confident that there are many that are able to say by experience, this; That the Lord struck upon my heart and conscience by seeing the holy Conversation of my wife, since she went to hear the Word, by seeing the wisdom, humility, obedience and carriage of my wife, it struck upon my heart. There is many have given glory to God and acknowledged this, both wives by their husbands, and husbands by their wives; and sometimes the parent in seeing it in the child, or the child in the parent, or brother in brother, or one servant in another, it hath been a means to turn them unto God.

In the last place, If they be not turned to God, then your conversation shall serve to condemn them, to aggravate their sin, and their condemnation in the day of Jesus Christ. As it is said of Noah, in Heb. 11. 7. that Noah prepared an ark, by the which he condemned the world. He condemned the world by that course of his, in beleeving in God, and in making the Ark, every nail that he smote into the Ark, was (as it were) a condemnation of the world: and so the Saints by walking in their holy conversation, shal be the Judges and Condemners of the world. Therfore you are to be careful of your Conversations, in respect of wicked men.

Also, In respect of the Saints, we must be very careful of our Conversations.

  1. For by your Conversation you will rejoyce the hearts of the Saints. Oh those that are godly, when they see others that profess godlines to walk in a strict and holy conversation, how doth it rejoyce their hearts? it is the comfort of their lives.
  2. Besides, they blesse God for it; they not only rejoyce in it, but bless God for it; when they get alone in secret they are blessing God for the gracious, and holy, and convincing Conversations of such and such kind of men that they converse with.
  3. And by that means the Saints they have a boldness before men, they can lift up their heads wheresoever they go, when they know that all such who make profession of Religion in the places where they live, they walk unblamably: upon that godly men can hold up their heads with boldness, whereas otherwise it makes such as are professors of Religion ashamed, when they see and hear of such and such that make profession of Religion to walk scandalously, and loosly: but of them we shall speak presently.
  4. Then further, Your holy Conversation it will establish the hearts of the Saints, it will settle young beginners; there are many that are giving up their names to Christ, when they see the holy and gracious Conversations of these that are Ancient professors, Oh how are they stablished in the waies of godlinesse.
  5. And it wil edifie the Saints, they wil edifie and grow up in holiness, they will imitate you, and will find the graces of God not only strengthened, but increased in them by your Conversations, Oh the abundance of good that you may do; and therfore Christians have a care of your Conversations.
  6. Then, You in respect of your selves, by this means you wil have an evidence to your souls of the truth of grace in your hearts, which you cannot have if your Conversations be not right. In 1 John, 1. 6. mark what the Apostle speaks there, If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lye and do not know the truth. And again, you have a notable Scripture in the 3. chap. 7. vers. Little children, let no man deceive you; He that doth righteousness, is righteous, even as He is righteous. As if he should say, there are a company of deceivers in the world, and they think it enough to talk of righteousness, they say they beleeve in Jesus Christ, and it’s Faith that is only required of them; and as for the other, that’s but a meer legal thing, for men to make conscience of duties, and of their lives, this is but legal, but let them trust in Jesus Christ, Christ hath done all, what can we be saved by our lives? hath not Christ done all? Is there not righteousness in Him? Let no man deceive you (saith the Apostle) If there be not a doing righteousness, there is no righteousness in you, He that doth righteousness is righteous: You have nothing to do with the righteousness of Christ as your own applied yet unto you, except you do righteousness; therefore have a care of your Conversations, that you may have evidence to your souls of the truth that there is in your hearts.

Secondly, Have a care of your Conversations that you may continue and encrease that which is within you; certainlie those that make profession of Religion and have not a care of their conversations, they wil never continue in their profession, mark that, they may be a Comets a while, blasing-stars, but they will vanish, & within a little while you shall find that their profession will wear away; where there is not a godly life together with profession, profession will vanish and come to nothing, their very common graces will be taken away from them if they have not a care of their lives, but if they have a care of their lives they wil continue in the waies of godliness and grow up and encrease more and more.

Thirdly, Have a care of your Conversations, that you may get honor in the very consciences of men.

Quest. Some will say, Should we have a care of our Conversations that we may get honor?

Ans. Yes truly, a man may desire to have the testimony of the consciences of those that he lives withal, it’s no matter for their talking this or that, but that you may get into their consciences, God gives you liberty for that.

Fourthly, You by this means will be Instruments of a great deal of publick good, if you live according to your profession, otherwise no body will regard you, you are reffuse, no man will imploy you, you will be contemn’d and slighted, but when they see mens Conversations according to their profession, everie bodie loves to make use of these men, they know they shall find them faithful in whatsoever they are imployed, and so they come to the Instruments of much publick good.

Fifthly, You will further a joyful account against the great day; for you must be call’d to account, not only for your thoughts, and the inward workings of your hearts, but for whatever you have done in the flesh, we must appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ to answer whatsoever is done in the flesh: Oh be careful of your Conversations that so you may be able to give a comfortable accompt.

Sixtly and lastly, Be careful of your Conversations in respect of your profession: This should be the care of those that make profession, that we may keep up the succession of the honor  nor of Religion from one generation to another: Heretofore there were some godly people that liv’d, and they kept up (in their generation) the honor of the profession of Religion, Wel-now, we are upon the stage of the world; and God looks upon us that we should in our generations keep up the succession of the honor of the profession of Religion: and so afterward in another generation, as men come upon the stage of the world and live here: God expects succeeding ages should keep up the honor of the profession of Religion in their times. And this one consideration might go to the very heart of ungodly men (if they would mind it) that it may be thou art the man or woman among others that keeps up in a continual succession enmity against God in the world; do but consider of the difference between these two, one mans Conversation is wicked, and anothers is holy and gracious, thou that livest wickedly this evil is charged upon thee, that thou art the man that joynest in this work to keep up a continued succession of enmity against God in the world, ever since Cains time there was an enmity against God, and Cains posterity kept up the succession of it; and so from one generation to another there hath been wicked men keeping up the succession of enmity against God, and thou in thy generation art come to it, and this (it seems) is thy work: but now on the other side, ever since Adams and Abels time, there hath bin godly men in the world, and in every generation some have kept up the honor of profession: and now, hath God been pleased to reveal his glorious Gospel to thy soul? why now, thou being careful of thy life and Conversation, God imploys thee in this work to keep up the succession of the honor of profession in the world. And this is a comfortable life indeed.

And thus we have done with the explication or the Point.

Now I shall only give you some passages for the Application of it.

Application.

Only (saith the Apostle) let your Conversation be as becomes the Gospel of Christ. Have a care of this above all things, Oh you would fain get more knowledg, and be accounted somebody in the place where you live, and be an eminent professor  where you live; Well, whatsoever you would fain be accounted of, let it be your only care, that your Conversation be as becomes the Gospel of Christ. Oh! this point speaks bitter things, and sharply rebukes the carelesness of the professors of the Gospel in point of their Conversation.

Oh Lord, how have we cause to bewail the loosnesse of the professors of the Gospel at this day! and I fear, that some may be present whose consciences may tell them that they are very loose in the point of their Conversations. Thou professest thou knowest Jesus Christ, that the Lord hath made known the glorious Mysteries of the Gospel to thee; What is thy life? Canst thou say as in the presence of God, that thy Conversation is answerable? I beseech you as in the presence of God, examin but this, see whether thou art able to say, Lord, thou knowest according to what light thou hast given me in the Gospel, it hath been my care to look to my Conversation, Oh that I might live to thy honor, and be a witnesse to thy truth; that I might hold forth thy image and further thy designs, and make up the dishonor that thou hast from others in the world; and that I might convince wicked men, and stop the mouthes of those that are opposite; and that I might be a means to convert those that I live with, or otherwise to judge them; Oh that I might rejoyce the hearts of the Saints, that they might lift up their heads with boldness because of me, that they may, and so I might be stablished and edified! Go along in the rest of the heads. Can thy conscience tell thee that thou hast done so? No, but its quite contrary in some. The Lord speaks now to the consciences of those that this point concerns, that have been negligent in the point of their Conversation, thou art the man or woman that God hath as great dishonor from as from most in the world, yea certainly, there is no men upon the face of the earth that darkens the glory of the blessed God so much, as professors of Religion who live loosly, al the prophane ones, all your drunkards that reel up and down in the streets, and your blasphemers, yea name what sinners you will, there is non that do darken the glorie of God so much as thou doest, who art loose in thy Conversation, and yet a professor of the Gospel, thou castest dirt upon the blessed Image of God, thou doest  as much hinder the designe that God hath in the world as any men whatsoever, thou standest against the great works that God hath to do in the world, Oh wretch that thou art, what is this a time to be loose and wicked in? There was never a time that the Conversations of the professors of Religion were so pried into as now, and never a time since Christian Religion was professed upon the earth that the loose Conversation of Professors have done more hurt; and I verily beleeve never a time wherein there were more loose Professors. If so be that our fore-fathers that were godly and holie, and kept strict with God were now alive again, they would spit in the faces of manie that would think themselves eminent Professors of Religion, because of the looseness of their Conversations: And this is the worst, that they can all put it upon Christ, and the Doctrine of Christ: but of that we shall speak more when we come to shew how our Conversation must be as becomes the Gospel of Christ: Certainly it is that that is quite opposite to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord rebuke thee this day, and let this point be as a dart in thy liver, thou art the man that livest in this generation as if thou wert born to do mischief; no men live so as if they were born to do mischief as the Professors of the Gospel that live looslie in their Conversations: If I should give a mark of a man that were born on purpose to do mischief, it’s that man that lives in these times and walks looslie. What, doest thou convince wicked men, and stop the mouthes of wicked men? Oh no, thou hardenest them, and openest their mouthes, nay, all the scorns of Religion thou art charged with, and shalt be brought to an account for it; I say such as live looslie in their Conversations they shall be one day charged for all the scorn that is cast upon the profession of Religion, and for all the opposition of it, and for all the persecution of it, and for all the dishonor of it; it is because of you, you harden the hearts of wicked men, that they think they do God good service in following and persecuting such and such men so forward in Religion, for they think they are all like to you, what care they for mens talking and profession when they see your Conversation loose and wicked, therefore they be hardened by you; and the Saints they fare the  worse for you, they are ashamed of it, when they go in the streets and meet with some of their acquaintance, Oh say they, Do you not know such a one, what he did such a week in his house, how false he was, and how he plaid the knave? What! one that would go in a morning to hear, and rise early in the winter time, and take so much pains, and yet do such and such things! it casts a mighty scorn upon all professors of Religion, and upon the Ministers of the Gospel, and the waies of the Gospel, all (I say) is scorn’d and contemn’d and men be hardned against it, meerly for thy Conversation; and it may be some that were coming on, and began to think that the profession of Religion was the way to Heaven, and for them to be more strict than they were, and to enquire after the waies of God more than before, and to attend upon the Ministry of the Word; but since they heard of such a miscarriage, such loosness in such a ones Conversation, their hearts rise against it, and they blesse themselves from such a way, God blesse me (say they) from such waies! If this be the fruit of their profession, and of their talking of Religion, to do thus and thus! So that thou provest to be a stumbling block that others stumble at and perish by, and dost thou think that (they stumbling and perishing at thy sins) that thou shalt go scot-free? Canst thou think that thou that art a means to send so many to Hell, that thou shalt not go thither thy self? Certainly there’s no men in the world that are the causes of sending so many to Hell, as such as live loosly in their Conversations, when they make profession of Religion. Canst thou have any evidence to thy soul that there is any work of grace in thee, and yet live looslie? Oh! Christ and His Gospel will scorn such as thou art, such wicked loose ones, thou art a dishonor to Jesus Christ, a dishonor to the Gospel, and I may say of thee that dost so, as it was said of Judas, It had been happy if thou hadst never been born: especially to be born in these times. But we shall meet with these again, when we come to the point in the particulars, how we should walk as becomes the Gospel; this is but only in the general for such as are loose in their Conversations; for certainly this must be granted as an everlasting rule, That that man or woman which makes not conscience of every thing in their Conversations,  makes conscience of nothing, if there be anie that upon deliberation, and knowing this or that to be sin beforehand, and yet for by and base ends, will sin to get monie, or the like, and so think to gain or free themselves from some trouble, by going against their light, and that upon deliberation, let that man or woman know that they can have no evidence that they ever made conscience of anie one thing: He that breaks one Commandement breaks all; and there is such a bond in the Commandements, and conscience doth knit the bond so uniformlie, that where there is one bond thus broken, the truth is, all is broken: Knowest thou not (saith Saint James) Oh vain man, what doest thou talk of faith if there be no works? thou art a vain man and thou doest deceive thy self. Certainlie those men that are loose in their Conversations, if God doth not humble them, and bring down their hearts, they will grow in time not onlie to lose their profession (as I said) but to be enemies to those that are stricter than themselves; that is, when men have corrupt hearts, and cannot get up to that height of strictness that others do, they fall to persecute that way which is above them.

First, They begin to envie others that live better than themselves, and after having envied them, then they will begin to have their hearts rise against them, and to hate them, and after hating to speak against them, and after speaking against them, to persecute them, and thus by degrees men that have been forward professors, now they grow as bitter persecutors as others, Oh therefore look to your Conversations.

And that should have been the exhortation, Christians be careful of your Conversations in your families, be careful there. Psal. 101. 1. you have an excellent Scripture of Davids professing his care of his Conversation in his familie, how he would walk, I will behave my self wisely in a perfect way: when wilt thou come unto me? I will walke within my house with a perfect heart. Oh I beseech you look to this Scripture; I will behave my self wiselie in a perfect way; mark, I’le look that my way may be perfect, everie way right and square to the world, and when it is so, I will labor to behave my self wiselie, I will not carrie my self foolishlie in those waies that are good: and then, Oh when wilt thou come unto me? Mark, it was a time  that God was absent from him, and yet then he professes that he will behave himself wiselie in a perfect way; and I wil walk in my house with a perfect heart: There are some that make profession of Religion indeed, and if you come to them before other companie, then their conversations seem to be very fair and square; but if you do but follow them to their families, and see what they do there, Oh those that live with them in their families, after they have been abroad in companie shall see in what guiz they come home. Shal they see their conversations to be holy as becomes the Gospel of Jesus Christ? But thus it was with David, saith David, Let those that live with me in my house mark me as narrowlie as they can; I will walk in my house with a perfect heart; what I am in the Congregation or among those that are godly, or any company; I will be in my family, that those in my family shall see my Conversation to be thus and thus. Oh that professors of Religion would look to this, not only to live before others in the parish or the town where they live, but to walk in their familie with a perfect heart, so as all in their family may even bless them and say, Oh how doth my Master or Mistriss walk! how graciously in their whol course from morning to night! observe them in all their waies and you shall not be able almost to see anie miscarriage in them: Oh that’s excellent, when a man shall have a better testimony even from those in his familie than from those that are strangers; it may be they think though thou makest profession of Religion, yet all things are not answerable; but those that see it everie day can testifie all things are answerable; thus it should be wth every Christian that professes the Gospel, to walk with a perfect heart in the midst of his family, & so to converse in the world. Divers Arguments I shall give you, to stir you up to look to your Conversations.

  1. Arg. First, It is the mercy of God that you have your Conversations among men to this day, that you have not your Conversations among Devils and Reprobates, it might have been your portion that your Conversation might have been among Devils and Reprobates, God might have sent you down to your own place to have conversed with them. Let this be an Argument for you to look to your Conversations.
  2. Arg. Secondly consider this, Wicked and carnal men (among whom you live) have no skill in the principles that you walk by, but they have skill in your lives and Conversations, they are able to pass judgment upon your lives and Conversations, but not of your principles. Godlie people are acted by such and such principles that are mysteries to carnal men; but when it comes to their lives they can understand them; they cannot search into their principles, whether such a Doctrine be true or no, or such a thing be according to such a Scripture, whether there be a right interpretation of such a Scripture that carries them on in such a way, they take no pains to look after this, but they look to your lives, there they have skill to discern how you walk, and whether you walk to the rule or not in your lives and Conversations, and therefore let it be your great care to look to your Conversations.
  3. Arg. A third motive is this, There are some things that you cannot but do, that will displease wicked men, if you will act according to your Principles. Well, but this should make thee so much the more careful of thy Conversation in all other things, that so wicked men may be convinc’d, that if such men do some things that I do not understand, yet surelie it is for some thing that God hath made known to them more than to me, for I find this, that in all things that I do understand there they walk exactly, therfore though there be some things that they do that I cannot understand, why should I be enraged against them? As now in point of institution of Worship, which doth not depend upon the light of Nature at all, but meerly upon Scripture, and such and such interpretations of Scripture; and such principles wicked men have no skill in: Now the professors of Religion they are tyed up by institution, and by the words of Scripture thus interpreted, which they think in their consciences is the truth, they having compared all things together think this is the mind of Christ rather than the other, and so long as they think thus they must follow it: Now there’s many of these things that carnal men understand not, (for they take no pains to search into them) and therefore they will be angry with you for them; and indeed they will have cause to be angry with you for those things they understand not, if they see you make no conscience of those things that they understand; but if in other things that they do understand you walk circumspectly, and that it appear to them that in those things they understand they walk conscionably, then they will beleeve that it was meer conscience that made you differ from them in those things which they understood not, or had no skill in; this will make them ready to stand for you, yea to speak and plead for you (no such way to get true libertie of conscience as this is) if you be careful to walk blameleslie in all those things that they understand with whom you converse; they will be convinced in their consciences that if these men differ from us, it’s conscience that makes them differ, for (say they) we find that in all those things we understand these men walk conscionablie. Certainlie a holie Conversation will make manie men (even carnal men themselves) plead for libertie of conscience (so far as things be not destructive to godliness or the Kingdom) for such men, they will say, were they all such men as these men are they might verie wel be born withal, for they differ in nothing but that conscience puts them upon, (say they) for we find them in all their waies square and just, they walk conscionablie. Therefore be careful of your Conversations, because in some things you cannot but do that which will displease wicked men.
  4. Arg. Fourthlie, Consider that your lives are but short, within a while you must have your Conversations either among Devils or Angels, one of the two; and how soon it may be, only God knows. Now then I would appeal and put this to your consciences, Are your Conversations now, such as can give you comfort? Oh I hope within a while I shall have my Conversation among Angels; I desire now that the will of God may be done in earth as it is in heaven, and that my familie and life were as it were a heaven, I would fain have my Conversation in heaven now, and this gives me some good hope that my Conversation shall be with Angels within a while.

But on the other side, Will not mens consciences mis-give them, if you would make a judgment of what your Conversation shall be within a while by that they are now? are not the Conversations of many of you in your families, and when you come in some companie more like to those that are appointed to have their Conversation among Devils?

Why? what’s done among Devils? there’s hatred Religion,  and of God, and of his Saints, there’s railing and blaspheming, the Devils they accuse the Brethren, and blaspheme the Name of God; And what is your Conversation otherwise than theirs? Know, that your Conversation is such as is an evident fore-runner, that if you continue as now you are, that within a while your Conversation will be among Devils; for that’s the most sutable to you.

And my Brethren consider further, The eyes of the world, yea the eyes of God, and of Christ, and the Angels are upon you, to see how grace acts in your Conversations; the eyes of the world are upon you watching for your halting, and rejoycing: remember but this; that your Conversations are not onlie before men, but the eyes of God, and Christ, and His holy Angels, they look upon you where ever you are; when you are in your familie, there God, Christ, and His holie Angels stand looking upon you to see what your Conversation is with your wife, husband, children, servants; when you come into companie, there the Lord God, and Jesus Christ, and Angels stand looking upon you: and therfore look to your Conversations.

And besides, The eyes of wicked men are upon you, they watch for your haulting, and they would rejoice to see any thing that they might have against you. That place that we had before, in 1 Pet. 2. 12. where the Holie Ghost saith, That whereas they speak against you as evil doers, they may by your good works which they shall behold, glorifie God in the day of visitation. The word is thus: that is, Beholding with a narrow circumspection; it is not onlie seeing, but with a narrow circumspection: Oh! it’s an excellent thing, that when wicked men bend their eyes and look narrowlie upon the Saints, and would be glad and rejoice if they could find them halting, yet that they are able to find nothing. As it was said of Christ, the Pharisees sent to watch Him, but they could find nothing amiss in Him. And so though others should be sent on purpose to watch your lives, yet your lives should be so exact that they might find nothing amisse in you.

And I conclude all with that excellent promise that we have to such as are careful of their Conversations. In Psalm. 50. 23.  These times you all crie out of, as dangerous times: Mark, that one Scripture will help you that are careful of your Conversations, against the danger of the times wherein we live: Who se offereth praise, glorifieth me; and to him that ordereth his Conversation aright, will I shew the Salvation of God. These are times that you are called upon for praises and thanksgiving for mercies, we are bound to do that: but mark, Do not put off God with a verbal praise: it’s true, he that offereth praise, honoreth me; but yet together there must be an ordering of our Conversations; and to him that ordereth his Conversation aright, will I shesh the Salvation of God: This is that which is required of Christians, to order their Conversations aright: Oh! it’s an excellent thing to see the Conversations of Christians in due order, all guided with Spiritual wisdom and holiness; Oh that man or woman that is careful to order their Conversations aright, here is a promise to them: That the Lord will shew them his Salvation: What ever times thou livest in, though never so dangerous, though God apear never so dreadful in the times wherein thou livest, yet if thou canst have but this testimonie of thy conscience, Lord, thou knowest it is the care of my soul, not only to make profession of Religion, but to order my Conversation aright, therefore Lord, save me in evil times, Lord shew me thy salvation: thou maiest take this promise and lay it to thy heart, and comfort thy heart with it, thou maiest plead it with God in prayer, Oh make it to be a matter of thy prayer to God In these evil times, that the Lord would shew His Salvation to thee, because He hath put it into thy heart through His Grace to order thy Conversation aright.

SERMON II.

PHIL. 1. 27.

Only let your Conversation be as becomes the Gospel of Christ.

WEE concluded the last day with an exhortation to Christians. Do you hope that God hath wrought the work of Convertion? Be you careful of your Conversation. And many motives there were to stir up Christians to be careful of their Conversations. I shall not look back, but proceed; only give unto you some few Rules that I desire to add unto the Motives, and then we shall come unto the Second point.

Look to your Conversations, and especially observe these Rules.

  1. Rule. First, If you be convinced that it ought to be your care to look to your Conversation, then have a special regard to the duties of your Relations. The work of Grace in mens Conversations doth appear much in the duties of their Relations; as children towards their parents, parents towards their children; servants towards their masters, masters towards their servants; husbands towards wives, wives towards husbands; the younger towards the elder, the elder towards the younger: if you stand in a private, or publick place, Majestrates, or Subjects; if you profess godliness, manifest in your Conversations in performing the duties of your relations: what soever men may talk of godlines, except it appear in their relations, except a servant be a diligent obedient and a faithful servant, all his, her or their talk of Religion is to no purpose; except a child be an obedient and loving child, a wise an obedient and loving wife, all profession of Religion is to no purpose; and so on the otherside, except masters, and husbands, and parents be careful in their places to perform the duties of their relation, all their Religion will come to nothing; look to your Conversations in the duties of your relations.
  2. Rule. Secondly, Look to your selves in those things that especially you are most in danger to offend in, take heed of that speciall sin that you are most inclined to, that that do not break forth in your Conversations. It may be in your Conversation you will have a care that you do not offend in such and such things that you see other men offend in, but there is some special haunt of evil, there is some other sin that your natures are most inclin’d unto, and you (it may be) give liberty to your selves in that; this spoils your Conversations, this darkens your Conversations, whatsoever good you do otherwise this spoils it all: If you give but liberty to your selves in that corruption that your natures are most prone unto, nay if you be not more watchful against that corruption than against any, your Conversation will have no beauty at all in it, God will have no glorie by it, you will but dishonor your profession; therefore if you would make conscience to have your Conversation to be rightly ordered, be very watchful over your selves in that special sin that your nature is most inclin’d unto; Are you one that find your self very hasty by nature? it may be you are not guiltie of other sins so much, I but that will spoil the beauty of your Conversation; a man or woman that is a froward peevish and passionate Professor, there’s no beauty in their Conversation: And so if you find [ 1] your disposition to ponuriousness, and coveteousness, that will darken all, and carry you into foolish lusts (as the Scripture speaks) Oh how have men that have made profession of Religion, by one fit of base covetousness been carried into such foolish lusts that every boy in the streets could point at them as foolish and silly ones, and crack their credits, and names, and wound their own souls, yea, and endanger their lives, and make them a by-word to all, and dishonor their profession, and get nothing by it at length! Coveteousness carries into foolish lusts, foolish base sordid extreams, unbeseeming the Gospel of Christ; as we shall hear more when we come to speak of what Conversation we should have as becomes the Gospel of Christ; take heed of your special sins if you would be careful of your Conversations.
  3. Rule. A third Rule is this, Take heed of temptations that you are liable to without, by reason of your calling, by reason of your places wherein you are, or through any providence of God that may be; these temptations that do most attend your condition, take heed of them. Everie one should consider this; what temptation am I most liable to? some mens callings are liable to some temptations, other mens to others, some men by reason of their businesses and occasions in the world are liable to such and such temptations as others are not, and sometimes a man is liable to some temptations that he is not liable to at another time; when you are at Sea you have your temptations there in forraign parts, and when you come home you have other temptations, yea manie times when a man is at home among his neighbours there he dares not take that liberty that he doth when he is gotten abroad in a journey, then he thinks he is free when no bodie knows of it, there’s his temptation; and so you that come from Sea, when you were there you were kept short of manie comforts and of much companie; now when you come home, the companie comes about you, now theres a temptation comes that was not heretofore; now if you would make conscience of your Conversations, you should look to your temptations, and consider, what temptations am I liable to now, that I was not before, and let me be careful of them. This you pray to God, that you may not be led into temptations, but delivered from evil; if you would not dally with God in your prayers then be careful of your selves when a temptation comes to such and such evils: this is a vain plea for men and women to say, Oh the temptation was a strong temptation: God expected therefore (if you have the Spirit of Christ and wisdom) that you should fore-see temptations, and especiallie that you should be careful when temptations come, you should watch against all temptations: What a vain plea were it for a Soldier that keeps a Town, to say, Oh but they came against such a weak part of the Town with a great strengh; That’s no argument to excuse him; for if you knew that that was the weakest part, you could not but know that if the enemy knew of it he would come against that with his greatest strength, and therefore you should have man’d that part rather than any other part of the Town; so let not us say, O the temptation came stronglie upon me in such a thing: we should watch the more against that that the temptation comes strongest upon us in, for the Devil knows wherein we are the weakest. And that’s the third Rule for the helping of us in our Coversations.

Fourthly observe this, Take heed of defiling your selves with the sins of the times wherein you live. That the Lord doth expect from everie Christian that he should look to himself in regard of the present times wherein he lives, and consider what’s the special sin of the Time, Age, or of the Place; cōmonlie as there are some truths that are more eminentlie revealed in one Age than another, so there are some sins that more prevail in one Age than another, and in one Place than another, everie Countrie almost have their sins that are most predominate; you should consider (I say) what are the sins of the Times, of the Places where you live; manie they think to excuse themselves because that which they do it is but what others do, it is the common sin of the Time and Place where they live, thou shouldst be so much the more careful to avoid it, that thou maiest keep thy self undefiled in thy way; and that’s a fourth Rule for the helping of us in our Conversations.

A fift Rule for the helping of our Conversations is, To live so that your lives shall be convincing lives. Then take heed of anie secret sin, take heed of keeping anie sin at all within thy heart, for it will break out, take heed of entertaining sin so much as in thy thoughts or affections; what’s the reason that some that have been Professors of Religion a great while and seem’d to be verie glorious in their profession, and yet at length break out into some vile scandalous sin? Surelie the reason is, they have kept hid some corruption within, and they have thought it were a verie horrible thing that this corruption in my heart and thought should break out, Oh God forbid (saith he) I hope I shall never live to that time to be so left of God as to  commit this sin! well, thou thinkest verily that thou shalt not commit it, I but if thou takest libertie to dally and play with this sin secretlie in thy thoughts, and affections, it is just with God to leave thee to thy self to shame thy self, to leave thee to the commission of that sin thou hast for a long time kept dandling in thy thoughts and affections within, although it be with resolution not to commit it; that man that shall please himself in any kind of secret sin (I say) it were just with God to lead him forth with the worker of iniquity, so as to lay his shame open and naked before all that he lives with: therefore you that are Professors of Religion be careful of secret sins, if you would never dishonor your profession in your Conversations.

A sixth Rule is this, If you would be careful of your Conversations, do not so much look at those that are beneath you and in the lower form; as let your eye be upon those that are most eminent in their Conversations, look upon them rather as your mark and aime. Manie Christians live, and their Conuersations are very dark and no beauty at all in them; Why? Because they think they live as others do, they look upon such are beneath them, and they think their lives are rather better than some others that have made profession, and this makes them go on in a dull and sluggish way; but now, if you would have your Conversation indeed as it ought, so as to be convincing, set before you the examples of the most eminent of those whose Conversation doth most glister, not a meer glistering shew, I do not mean them, But that glistering that comes from Diamonds and Gold and Pearls, that have the excellencie of Grace shining in their verie Faces and Conversations, set them before you, and labor to imitate them, and so this will help you in your Conversations. We have in Heb. 13. 7. a Scripture for this, Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God, whose faith follow, considering the end of their Conversations. ‘Tis supposed that they should be most eminent, Such as have the rule over them, that are their Guids; but mark, he speaks of those that had spoken unto them the Word of God, for he doth not speak of the Rulers in Civil States, but of the Ministers that were their Guids, for so the word is: now though there be a  work of Ruling besides Teaching, we find in Scripture; yet we find no Rule of anie Minister but over those that they speak the Word of God unto, what Ruling any Minister hath (I say) it is over such people as he speaks the Word of God to: If anie Minister shall come to rule over a people, that people may well ask them, Have you spoken the Word of God to us? Do you teach us the Word of God? Do you chalenge Rule over us and have not spoken the Word of God to us? Remember them which have the Rule over you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God, whose Faith follow, considering the end of their Conversations. They were it seems eminent in holiness of life, and eminent so as they continued in that way of eminencie, and the Apostle would have all Christians to look at them; it’s a notable Scripture to shew that the Ministers of the Word should be eminent in their Conversations everie way, and that all those that they speak the Word of God to, should see in their Conversations the Beautie and the Excellencie of the Word of God that they speak to them; for people look at the lives of Ministers as well as at their Word, it is not enough onlie to be a good man in the Pulpit, except it be in the constant way of their Conversations.

The seventh and last Rule, you have it here in this Scripture Heb. 13. 7. Whose faith follow, Considering the end of ther Conversation. That is, be not only careful of your Conversations at first, when you begin to be professors of Religion, then to be exact, but be constant to the verie end. Mark, Considering the end of their Conversations: he doth not mean the end onlie, the reward that comes upon their Conversations, that they shal have a glorious reward, but considering the end, as if he should say thus, look at these that have spoken the Word of God to you, they come not onlie at the verie first to you and speak great things, and seem as if they were Saints or Angels come among you, but they go on in a constant way, whatsoever discouragements they have they go on in a constant way to the verie dying day; observe not onlie what they were when they came first among you, but what they are in the end of their Conversations, and follow them: this is a notable Scripture to shew how careful Christians ought to be, not onlie to be holie in their Conversations when their hearts are first stir’d by the Ministrie of the  Word as ’tis with many, many there are that when the Word of God comes first to them, when they are first enlightened, and first converted, Oh how strict are they! Oh how careful are they! then they walk exactly, and they are afraid of the least sin, and examine everie thing by the Word, Oh how curious are they in everie thing then! and-their consciences are verie tender, and are afraid that this is sin, and that the other thing is sin, and there is a mightie change in the familie, their Masters, or Parents they see them so afraid of everie thing, and careful of their verie words, on the Lords Day careful in seeking of God, and attending upon Ordinances, and in their particular calling at the first verie strict: But now, within a little time you shall find manie of these that by degrees they grow more loose, and especiallie in these times, because in these times there is a way that the Devil hath to get men to be loose in their Conversations, that hath not been known in England; indeed in Germany it was known, and there it was ordinarilie in the beginning of Luthers Reformation; that it is weakness in men to make conscience of dutie, to be troubled for their sin and be humbled. Paul and Peter and David, it was their weakness when they were troubled so much for their sin: Oh this is a most horrid and abominable wickedness that doth dishonor the Gospel of Christ, and will make it rediculous to the world! (I say) such carriages of people, to think that they may take libertie to walk in a loose way because of the Gospel. But that we shall come more fully to, when we speak how our Conversations should be becoming the Gospel of Christ. But I speak this in this point as a preparation to that, & especiallie to young Professors that have been wrought upon by the Word within these few yeers, since there hath bin more freedom of preaching the Gospel; and I verily beleeve that divers of you in this Congregation do know many young ones and others, that have been wrought upon by the Ministrie of the Word, that for the first yeer were verie exact, and verie careful of their lives, and verie punctual in every thing, but you now see them begin to grow loose and wanton, and vain in their Conversations: Oh this is a sad and an evil thing! If you would be careful of your Conversations observe this seventh Rule; Be not onlie careful  at the first work of God upon you when you begin to be enlightened, but in the constant course of your lives; Oh give me a professor of Religion, that was wrought upon when he was a Youth, or a young Maid, and yet continues till they be old disciples in a constant way of holiness and strictness, Oh! They are the most beautiful objects that are in the world to behold! the Sun in the firmament is not so glorious, as an ancient professor of Religion that hath continued constant in the waies of godliness from his youth, that can say as good Obadiah once said, 1 King. 18. 12. I have feared the Lord from my youth, and my conscience, though it tell me of many failings and weaknesses, yet my conscience excuseth me in this, that I have endeavored with a good conscience to walk with God, and without offence to man, and not given way to my self in any way of loosness since God made known Himself to me; Oh such may have an abundance entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven, and die with abundance of comfort. But thus much for this first point: That Christians ought to be careful of their Conversations.

We come now to the second, and that is the main point in the Text.

Let your Conversation be as becometh the Gospel of Christ.

  1. Doct. Every kind of Conversation of professors is not enough; it must rise to that height as must be sutable to the Gospel of Christ, meet for the Gospel that they do profess. That’s our point.

Now we shall come to the Particulars, what Conversation it is that is meet for the Gospel of Christ. I gave you the Heads in the opening of it: But now I shall speak to them.

First, That Conversation that is meet and becomes the Gospel of Christ, must be a Conversation raised to a higher degree than the light of Nature will raise it. That Conversation that is no higher than possibly may be raised by the light of Nature, certainly that’s not a Conversation becoming the Gospel of Christ, that’s beneath not fit for the Gospel of Christ. As thus,

Suppose a man in his Boat here in the Thames rows, very exactly, I but this is not a work sutable to shew the skill of a Navigator,  of one that professes the art of Navigation, it’s beneath that. Why so; To live exactly according to the light of Nature it is beneath the Conversation that becomes the Gospel of Christ: if so be that a man should make his boast that he hath great skill in the art of Navigation; And how will he shew this skill? he will go into a Boat and there he will row over the Thames, and by that you may see what a mighty Navigator he is; this would be ridiculous to any man. And so if one that professes the Gospel of Christ, would manifest that he is a good Christian, What doth he do? the life that he lives it is no other than a man by the light of Nature may be enabled to, this is even as ridiculous as the other.

  1. As now for instance; The light of Nature that will teach this: That we are to worship God: the Heathens have worshiped God in their way.
  2. Yea, the light of Nature will teach, That we must live justly among men, yea, and that we must do as we would be done to: This the light of Nature will teach. Many of the Heathens have had that principle, to be just with men, to do as we would be done by. The light of Nature condemns grosse sins, of Drunkenness, Adulterie, Swearing &c. I could give you many instances in the Laws of Heathens, punishing those sins very severely, and some of them with death.
  3. Yea the light of Nature will rise thus high, That a man should be consciencious, should make conscience of secret sins, of sins that none in the world could know of, or are ever like to know of. As I remember sometimes I have told you of one of the Heathens that did but owe for a pair of shoos to a Shoo maker, and no body knew it but only the Shoo-maker himselfe; the Shoo-maker dies, no body could challenge this of him, yet his conscience would never let him be at quiet, until he ran and threw the money into the shop, and said, Though he be dead to others, yet he is not dead to me: whereas he had a temptation to have kept it because no body could challeng it; he knew it was not his, he knew it was either the Childrens, or Executors, and so he restortd it. Many particulars might be named to shew how far we might go by the light of Nature; but now I only bring it in to this end, to shew that if we would have our Conversations such as becomes the Gospel of Christ, we must go beyond what ever anie have done by the light of Nature: and yet Oh Lord how short do manie Professors of Religion come of this! How manie that will profess they hope to be sav’d by Christ! I suppose there is not anie one in this Congregation, or if I should go to everie ones house that belongs to the Parish, they would say they hope to be saved by Jesus Christ; and yet what worship of God is there? And what justice is there among men to do as they would be done by? Nay, this is a Rule that will examin manie professors of Religion, and their consciences would tell them that in such and such things they would be loth to be dealt with as they deal with others: And for gross sins, manie Professors of Religion break out into them also, for all are a kind of Professors of the Gospel at large, Drunkards, and Adulterers, and Blasphemers, and yet they will come and make profession of Religion, and think it very much if they should be denied the Sacrament of the Bodie and Blood of Christ, Why, are they not Christians? and their children Christians? and yet must they not be Baptized? And yet they are beneath Heathens, Heathens will rise in Judgment against them. And for conscienciousness in secret, I appeal to everie one of your consciences, are there no sins that you live in that your consciences condemns you for? A Heathen would not do it, a Heathen would not wilfully live in a sin that his conscience tells him is a sin, manie of the Heathens came to that: And what way have you made in profession? Perhaps you have seemed to be in the School of Christ manie yeers, and others take you for a forward Professor, and yet your conscience tells you that you live in some sins that are known sins to you, but because they are secret and none knows them but your self, therefore you have continued in them, and ventured upon them hoping of Gods pardon, being perhaps but one and no great one, (I say) in this you are beneath the light of Nature, and therefore you are far from having your Conversations such as becomes the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This Conversation of yours is not such as becomes the light of Nature; divers Heathens would abhor such Conversations in Christians, yea, if it were among themselves, and they would hardlie companie with you; there are manie that make profession of Religion, that (I say) if they lived among Heathens, Heathens would not keep companie with a great part of this Kingdom, yea and of most Congregations, and therefore they should not think much though they may not be admitted into such a near communion as the Lords supper.
  4. You will say then, But what is that Conversation becoming the Gospel, that is beyond the light of Nature?

First, The light of Nature teaches to worship a God: That many of you do, you worship God: But this is that that becomes the Gospel of Christ, To worship & honor God as a Father, & as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; this goes beyond the light of Nature in that particular; not only I am convinc’d that there is a God, that He is the Creator of Heaven and Earth, and my Creator, and therefore I’le worship Him; but I do not do that that becomes the Gospel of Christ, til I get my self to this, That I am able through the grace of the Gospel to worship God as a Father reconciled to me in Christ, and as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and so do I come and present all my services unto God: This few of our Civil men do; yet your Civil men will make a profession of the Gospel too, and your Civil men they worship God, but it is in a meer natural way. The God of Heaven and Earth, that made them, is to be worshiped: they can say their old Catechism.

  1. Who made you?
  2. God.
  3. Wherefore did he make you?
  4. He made me to serve Him &c. I but doest thou (when thou comest to serve and worship the Lord) look upon God as a Father reconcil’d in Christ, and as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? and so doest thou tender up all thy services to God? Thou art not raised to that that becomes the Gospel of Christ, except thou doest thus worship God in this way; that’s that which becomes the Gospel of Christ; and know that all other worship that thou tenderest up to God, meerly as God is Creator, God that made thee, and therfore thou must serve him: I say al that worship (if thou goest no further) God rejects it; indeed we are to worship God as a Creator, God would have that; I but, if He hath not that and the other too, and if He have not both, he will not accept of one, for the first is included in the second, but the second is not included in the first. A man that worships God as a Father, and as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, he doth worship God as a Cretor too; but a man may worship God as a Creator and not at all be acquainted with Him as a Father, and as the Father of our Lord Jesus, and therefore till the Lord in the Ministrie of the Gospel hath been pleased to shine in upon thy soul as a Father, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and thou comest to worship God thus, or at least this is the endeavour of thy soul that thou maiest worship God in this way, thou art not satisfied in worshiping God after the other way, because he made thee, and thy heart works after this, indeed I have not got this full assurance that he is my Father, but this is that my heart is unsatisfied untill I have got it, and I cannot be quiet in anie other kind of worshiping God, till I find some abilitie to tender up all to him as a Father, and as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, (I say) till thou comest to this, thou doest not in that particular worship God as becomes the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

And so in the point of Justice, thou doest give every one his own. I but this is beneath that that is required in thy dealing with men according to the Gospel of Christ. If you reade the 5. of Mat. there you shall find when Christ comes to preach what he requires, he raises the point of Justice beyond doing as we would be dealt with: saith Christ there, You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despightfully use you, and persecut you; this is higher than meerly to be just, and for one man not to wrong another; you shall have manie men say, Who is able to say black is mine eye? I live and no bodie can say I wrong them; you think this is an excellent Conversation, it’s true, it is good in its kind and it were good if all Professors of Religion could say they live so that no body can charge them for unjust dealings, I but this doth not rise to that height to be the Conversation as becomes the Gospel of Christ; you must come to this height, to love your enemies, and to bless them that  curse you, you must do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despightfully use you and persecute you; Can you find this: this is somewhat like the Gospel of Christ, this is somewhat more than to do no wrong to others.

And to do as we would be done to, we must go higher, we must not onlie set this as a pattern, I’le do as I would be done by. No, But I’le labour to do to another as God hath done to me. This is higher; that’s thus, hath God shewed Himself gracious unto me? I’le labour to do that good to others as much as I am able even as God hach done to me: You have for that those two Scriptures, Ephes. 4. 31, 32. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice, and be ye kind one towards another, tender hearted, forgiving one another. The light of Nature now will justifie all this: But mark the conclusion, Even as God for Christs sake hath forgiven you: Set the example of God before you, what God hath done for you for Christs sake, and let that be the great motive; Do not only argue thus, well, I would be forgiven if I had offended; and I would not have another to bear anger and malice against mee, and therefore I will not be angrie with them nor malign them; this is a low principle: but if I find that this is revealed in the Gospel, that the Lord for Christs sake hath forgiven me, and it’s this that quiets my passion, when I feel my corruption rising and stirring against any that hath offended me, when I do but think of Gods mercie in forgiving me for Christs sake, this quiets me. I this is somewhat like as becomes the Gospel of Christ, when we walk upon such principles as these are. And so you have it in Col. 3. 13. Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another: If any man have a quarrel against any, even as Christ forgive you, so also do ye. It is very unbeseeming such as profess the Gospel of Christ to be quarrelsome with their neighbours: Now you shall have some that are of very meek and quiet dispositions naturally, I love to live quiet (say some men;) thus far thou maiest come by the light of Nature not to love to quarrel: But now when any doth cause any quarrel, doest thou labor to quiet the quarrel upon this ground: Evn as Christ forgave me: O I have found the Lord Jesus Christ, notwithstanding my wretchedness against Him, and all the wrong  I have done Him, He hath forgiven me, and therefore seeing Christ will not take advantage against me as He might, I will not take advantage against another: Is it upon this ground? And dost thou raise thy Conversation with thy Neighbor in keeping from quarrelsomness, and contentiousness, dost thou naise it to this height, upon this ground, so to forgive as Christ hath forgiven you? I will not forgive only in this particular, or in this lesse offence, But as Christ hath forgiven me. We shall still have further occasion to mention these things, in opening the sutableness of our Conversations to the Gospel; that is, for the point of Justice, it must rise higher than that of doing as we would be done by.

And then for grosse sins, thou keepest from them, thou thankest God, thou art no Swearer, no Drunkard, no Whoremonger, such kind of notorious sins thou art not guilty of: but what art thou in respect of inward sins? what art thou in respect of secret sins? Mark that Scripture in Matth. 5. 10. saith Christ there, I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. We shall likewise speak further of this, when we open that of the Law, that our Conversations must rise higher than the Conversations of those did that lived under the Law, or else it doth not become the Gospel of Christ. You shall find further in the Chapter, how Christ would raise them higher than meerly not to commit adulterie, or to be openly prophane: Verse. 17. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whol body should be cast into Hell. And then, If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off. And so in the point of Anger, in the 21, & 22. verses, Ye have heard, that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill: and whosoever shall kill, shall be in danger of the Judgment. But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say unto his brother, Racha, shall be in danger of the councel: but wosoever shall  say, Thou fool, shal be in danger of hell fire: That is, liable to the same judgment that you think murder is. Now is your conversations as becometh the Gospel? Here Christ is a great Preacher of the Gospel; and shews that there is more strictness in the Gospel than ther is by the light of Nature, or by the Law, or by that that they understand by the Law: This the light of Nature doth dictate, that men should not Kill, nor commit Adultrie, but now, If thy Conversation be such as becomes the Gospel, then thou must make conscience of Anger, and tremble at that as a natural man would tremble at Murder, for that becomes the Gospel; (I say) one that is a professor of the Gospel, he should tremble at sinful anger as a natural man would tremble at murder; for observe it here, look what (they said) murder did make a man liable to; the same thing (Christ saith) Anger would make a man liable to; therefore one that would walk as becomes the Gospel, must tremble at the inward sin of Anger, as a natural man would tremble at the outward sin of Murder.

And so for Adultry, Thou art no Whoremonger. But one that professes the Gospel, must look at the lusting of the eye, and of the heart, as a natural man that hath but the light of Nature would look upon the cōmission of Adultrie, for Christlaies that upon the lust of the heart that they lay upon the commission of Adultrie. This is as becometh the Gospel.

Further, By the light of Nature a man may be consciencious. That is, make conscience of several sins.

  1. But now you will say, Wherein should a man go beyond this as becomes the Gospel? What can any man that professes the Gospel go beyond this, of making conscience of a secret sin, that though he knew that no bodie in the world did know his sin? nay, suppose he knew certainlie that it should never be known, yet he dares not do it, how can a man go beyond that?

Ans. Yes, You must labor for the mortification of the body of sin that is within you; not onlie to make conscience to keep from the act of secret sins, but thy work must be to labor for the mortification of the bodie of sin and death that is in thee, that’s that that is reveal’d by the Gospel, that no man by the light of Nature ever knew; you shall never reade among all the Phylosophers of the point of Original sin, nor of mortification of the  body of sin and death, this the light of Nature never tels. So that now, when a man come to his height, that is, first my conscience being enlightned by the Word so that I dare not commit any secret sin for the world, though there be none but God and my conscience together, but besides that, Oh I carry about with me a body of sin and death, a root of bitterness, that original corruption, and this makes me cry out, Oh wretched man, Oh wretched woman! who shall deliver me from this body of death? and Oh that I could find this mortified in me, this is that that is the strength and endeavor of my soul, to get this bodie of sin to be mortified, I, this is as becomes the Gospel, so to live in your Conversations as it may appear that you are not content meerly to keep from actual sins, though in secret, but it is your great care and endeavour to mortifie this verie bodie of death that is within you; and by this a great manie of your Civil men, and meer moral men will or at least may be convinced that their Conversations comes short of that that becomes the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for they are not acquainted with this.

Lastly, If you would have your Conversations such as becomes the Gospel of Christ, you must not only think to make conscience of secret sins, but that which you do, you must manifest that it doth proceed out of Love, not only that you do obey, but that you love the Commandement that you do obey. Now this, neither any hypocrit or meer moral man doth, if you take it universallie one Commandement as well as another.

Obj. You will say, Love is a secret thing?

Ans. But as you may know in your family the difference between your childrens obedience to you and your servants, so there may appear a difference between the obedience of one that is meerly moral, or doth it out of conscience, and the other that doth it out of love; therefore you must know that you do not rise beyond the light of Nature, except that you do love the Command as well as obey the Command, and so carrie things in your Conversations as you may make it appear that all those waie of God that you make conscience of, that you likewise have a love unto them, and do them out of a principle of love, and thus you come beyond the light of Nature, and in some measure it is as becomes the Gospel of Christ.  And that’s the first thing how we should walk in our Conversations as becomes the Gospel of Christ. But now this is the lowest of all.

The second is, That our Conversations must be such as is beyond such as live under the Law, for the Law of God goes higher than the light of Nature, for there’s more reveal’d there than in the light of Nature. It’s true, that that you call the moral Law, the light of Nature, if it be cleer it is sutable to it, to the most part of it, only there is some part that is positive, but most part is but sutable to the principles of Nature if they were cleer and pure; but now because, since the fall of Man, the light of Nature is darkned, and the principles of Nature are much corrupted, therefore God hath given His Law, that is as it were a glass of His Will, that is, the cleer glass of what was written in the heart of man in Innocencie, that’s the Law: Only there is that of the limitation of the seventh Day particularly from the Creation that hath somewhat positive in it, but take all the other and (I say) it is nothing but as a glass of what was written in the heart of man in the time of Innocency: There was written in mans heart to keep some solemn time for the worship of God, only the specification was by revelation, but the substance of all those ten Commandements (I say) is the glass of what was written in the heart of man in Innocency: And because God saw that this writing was so much blotted out, almost all obliterated, therefore God wrote it in Tables of stone, whereas it was written in the Table of mans heart at first; But now when He comes to bring men to the Gospel there He writes over that Law again in the Tables of their hearts: At first it was written in the heart of Adam, but he falling, doth blot it out in a great measure, then God writes it over fair again, but how? He writes it over in a fair Copie, but it is in Tables of stone: but when God receives any soul in the Gospel He writes it over again in the Tables of their hearts; Now this gives you a little hint of the difference between the Law and the Gospel, between the Conversations of men that were meerly Legal, and the Conversation that is Evangelical: but the opening of it to shew the difference between the Law and the Gospel in reference to this, and to shew how low the Conversation was that  was meerly Legal, and how high raised the Conversation of a Christian ought to be if he would make it Evangelical, such as becomes the Gospel of Christ, would ask more time, and therefore we must defer that to the next day.

SERMON III.

PHIL. 1. 27.

Only let your Conversation be as becomes the Gospel of Christ.

A Conversation becoming the Gospel of Christ,*it must be beyond what the Law can inable one to attain to, or else it doth not become the Gospel.

I have shewed you already what the Gospel of Christ is. But now we are upon the point of Conversation, That it must be higher than can be by the Law, those that live under the Gospel must live in a higher way of holiness than those that lived under the Law. Now for this, we are to consider of the Law under these two considerations.

First, As it is a Covenant of works for life, so it was made at first to Adam: It was a Covenant of works for eternal life to Adam, and so to man kind in him.

Secondly, We are to consider the Law as in the Ministration of it by Moses: Take it either of these two waies. Those that live under the Gospel, and profess the Gospel, must live in a more holy Conversation, or aim, or endeavour at least after a more holy Conversation than that Conversation could be that was under the Law: As now, I say thus, the Law as the Covenant of life to Adam, But what was his Conversation?

First, It was obedience to God meerly as Creator, no further; Adam in innocency he lookt upon God as Creator of al things, as the First being of all, and so Adam tendered up his service to God meerly as the Creator and First-being. That was his obedience.

Secondly, The Law to Adam had promise only of natural things, of a natural life to be continued: We do not reade of Gods promising Adam to live in Heaven if he had obeyed; but, Do this and live; that was the Tenour of the Covenant with him: that is, he should have continued in Paradise and so have lived a natural life, but yet continued eternally, God would have upheld that natural life of his, that’s all we reade of that ever God promised to Adam if he had stood by vertue of that Covenant of the Law: That’s the second thing considerable in him. so that his obedience was tendred up to God to that end, that he might obtain the continuance of a natural life here in this world, only in order unto that, for we find no more revealed. The first man Adam he was Natural, the second Spiritual, the first of the Earth earthly, the second, the Lord from Heaven. The Apostle. 1 Cor. 15. speaks of Adam in innocency as the common head of al man-kind, he was of the Earth earthly, and in way of distinction the second Adam was the Lord from Heaven; He brings all heavenly glory. Though Adam had stood, yet we never reade of any heavenly glory that ever he or his posterity should have had; but the second Adam he is the Lord from Heaven that brings Heavenly glory with him. That’s the second thing considerable in the Law as a Covenant with Adam.

The third thing in the Law as a Covenant with Adam was this, That Adam under the Law he must have wrought by his own strength that he had received. God at first gave man strength for obedience, and he puts his stock into his own hand, and so he must have wrought and continued by the power of the strength that God did at first give him, he had not that fountain to go to for that continual supply of strength as we have, which you shall see presently.

Fourthly, Adam, he was in such a condition, as he was in hazard of his miscarrying for his eternal estate; He was indeed in a way of obedience to the Law that God gave him, but still so  as he was in hazard of eternal miscarrying; this was the condition of Adam under the Law.

Obj. You will say, He was holy, and had no sin.

Ans. But considering his condition under the Law; That it was Obedience to God as a Creator, he did work for natural good; and he wrought by the strength he had received, and he was in hazard of miscarrying eternally. Now compare his condition with the condition of the Saints in the time of the Gospel, and you will find the condition of the Saints having the fruit of the Gospel, to be in a great deal better condition, even now; not only shall be in Heaven, but are in a better condition now than Adam was in paradise.

  1. Adam he obeyed God, and tendered up his service to God as a Creator. But now the people of God under the Gospel, those that are brought home to God by the Gospel, they look upon God under another relation, not meerly as Creator, but all their services that they tender up to God, it is as unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and their Father in Him; I go to my Father, and I go to your Father (saith Christ) John, 20. 17. It’s true, still we look upon God as the First-being of all things, as Creator; but we look upon Him in a higher relation than meerly our Creator, we look upon Him as the Father of Jesus Christ, and so in Jesus Christ as our Father, and so we tender up obedience to Him in that way, and surely such obedience tendered up to God as under such a relation; should be a higher kind of obedience, a higher kind of holiness than was in Adam.

Although it is true, in respect of our condition here, we are not so free from corruption as Adam was in Innocencie, yet the obedience that we tender up to God, though it be not so free (I say) from mixture, yet it is of a higher nature than Adams was, it is to God as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. We have better promises than ever Adam had, we have promises of Heavenly Glory that he had not: God doth not say, Do and live to us only, live hear in the world in a natural life, and I will free you from outward troubles, and from the death of the body: But we know that the Gospel brings immortallity and glory to light, it tels us of the glory of Heaven, and of the Mansions that Jesus Christ is gone before to prepare, of the glorious Communion that the Saints shall have with God in the highest heavens, which is another manner of motive to obedience than ever Adam had: And therefore our obedience to God should be raised in a higher way than ever his was.
  2. The strength that we have, it’s not put into our own hands to keep and so to improve, and there’s all. But Jesus Christ the Second Person in Trinity, He is fil’d with all fulness that we might receive grace for grace continually from the fulness of Jesus Christ that hath all the treasures of wisdom in Him, In Him it pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell; now the Saints by faith have as it were a pipe laid into that Cistern that hath all fulness, from whence continually by the work of Faith they draw strength and nourishment, new supply from Him, they have not somewhat given to them and so are set to trade for themselves and improve what is given them, but they suck new vertue from Jesus Christ as from a Head. Adam he was the head of the first Covenant himself, but now ’tis Jesus Christ that is the Head of the Second, and all Beleevers draw spirits from Jesus Christ, and strength from him as from the Head, they have a Head that Adam had not to draw strength from, and therefore they are to manifest the strength of Jesus Christ in all their waies, that fulness that there is in Jesus Christ they are to make that appear to the world in their lives and Conversations: And therefore that text Col. 1 10, 11. is very remarkable, That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledg of God: mark in the 11. verse, strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power; This is worthy of the Lord, because that now we come to receive of his fulness, of the fulness of Jesus Christ, and to have a continual supply from him; Though ’tis true, so God hath ordered it that so long as we live we shall have some mixtures of corruption here, but yet he hath provided a help for us, a fulness in his Son, that from Him we should draw of His fulness, and so come to be strengthened with all might.
  3. We now serve the Lord and obey Him in our lives as those that are delivered from the hazard of eternal miscarrying. Adam obeyed, but yet he might know when he was obeying; I now obey, but I am in danger to miscarry eternally, every hour to undo my self and posterity for ever. But now certainly this very thought, and the understanding of this, it could not stand with that full freedom of spirit that the Saints may have now under the Gospel, the Saints under the Gospel come in a way of obedience to God, and upon this ground they have their feet (as it were) upon sure ground: Well, as for my eternal estate the hazard of miscarrying there, it is over, I blesse God that is over, for that now my obedience it is not that I might work out, and earn salvation; but my obedience to God now is (being set safe upon the shore) that I might live to the praise of the grace of God that hath delivered me from al danger of miscarrying, and hath set me with Jesus Christ in heavenly places, I am now already set in heavenly places with Jesus Christ, and as sure of Heaven (for so a Believer may come to be) as if so be that I were there already, and so I am now to begin the life of Heaven, to be blessing and magnifying God, not in word only, but in my life, therefore am I to hold forth the glory of God in my life and Conversation, that I might blesse and magnifie the Name of God, that hath delivered me from darkness, and hath translated me into the Kingdom of his dear Son, and upon these terms do I serve God now; I do not serve God as one that is in hazard for ever to miscarry, and out of a base and slavish fear lest I should miscarry, I do endeavor to work out my salvation; but it is as one that is redeemed and delivered from eternal misery, yea, I now begin to joyn with the Saints and Angels that are in Heaven, that are there magnifying God, and shal be to al eternity praising of Him for His free grace towards them; surely this Conversation should be in a higher degree of holiness than the Conversation of Adam could be even in Paradise: Yet still remembring this, we cannot in this life attain to such a Conversation as to be without mixture of evil, but we should be more spiritual and heavenly in our waies, we have more cause to be so than Adam had in his innocency, and we do not walk answerable to the Gospel except our hearts do rise in a more spiritual and heavenly way than his heart could rise when it came new out of the hand of his Creator. That’s the first consideration of the Law as it was a Covenant of life to him and al man-kind in him. Oh that as we go along we would but consider what cause we have of humiliation then; Oh how far are our Conversations short of that that becomes the Gospel if it should rise to so high a pitch as this is that hath been mentioned.

Secondly, Consider we the Law as in the administration of it to Moses, and so to the people of the Jews: The administration of the Law to them it was under another notion, it was to bring them to Christ, and that they might come to see their inability of keeping of that Covenant, and come to understand Christ so much the more, and to be driven unto Christ by having the Law presented to them, God did never intend by giving of the Law to the people of the Jews that it should be a Covenant of eternal life to them; indeed there was this in the administraon of it somewhat different from us, some special Covenant about their living in Canaan, and about mercies in that promised Land, beyond that that we have in the Law, as we find in the new Testament, they (I say) had this annexed to it. The Law that was first given unto Adam and written in his heart, afterwards even obliterated, then it was transcribed by the same hand in tables of stone and given unto them chiefly to shew them their misery, and their need of Christ; to be a preparation for Christs coming into the world; and with this one addition beyond what we have in the new Testament, that there was a temporal Covenant annexed unto it, that concern’d their living prosperously in the Land of Canaan, (& so far we are delivered even from the Law as it was given by Moses, that is, from the connexion of the Covenant that was added unto the delivering of the Law) concerning their happy and comfortable condition in the Land of Canaan upon the keeping of their Law; but now (how ever it was) certainly that Conversation that becomes the Gospel should be beyond what could be even from godly men in the time of the Law.

As first, The Law to them it was given under low Promises, their promises were but very low that were under the Law: It’s true, they had somewhat of the Gospel that we have, but extream darkly, and very little that they knew of it, but the chief Ministration of God towards them was then in a legal  way, and that had but low promises, as their living in Canaan; you shall find generally al the promises that are annexed to the Law even by Moses, it is but, that they shall prolong their daies in the Land▪ the Lord their God shall give them, That they should be blest in their basket and store: their Promises were under Heaven-Promises, Promises of this life only; and therefore it could raise them but to a very low degree of holiness.

Secondly, Their Ordinances were but poor and mean, and beggerly in comparison of our; for so the Gospel cals them, Col. 2. They were but beggerly rudiments, which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal Ordinances imposed on them untill the time of reformation. Heb. 9. 10. They had an earthly Tabernacle, a worldly Sanctuary, Heb. 9. 1. &c.

Thirdly, The burden of them under the Law was very great, they were under a heavy yoke & burden that did bow them down: A man that is under a heavy burden it makes him stoop & bend in the back, he cannot stand so upright nor fast as others that have no such weight upon them.

Fourthly, The administration of the Law was with Thunder and Lightning very terrible, It made even Moses quake and tremble, (as the Author to the Hebrews speaks.)

Fiftly, Their spirits were very servile under the Law, they were subject to bondage even all their daies; God so ordered things as to carry on his people even in a very servile way, they were but mean servants then, hewers of wood and drawers of water.

But now under the Gospel, First, our Promises are far better, and our Covenant better, in Heb. 8. 6. there the Apostle compares their Condition and ours, Who serve (saith he) unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, There was but the shadow of heavenly things; the Gospel hath the Heavenly things themselves, and they are but the shadow, for so you have it in Heb. 10. 1. For the Law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things: They had but a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image it self. As Moses was admonish’d of God, when he was about to make the Tabernacle, For see (saith he) that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the Mount. And then in Heb. 8. 6.  But now hath he obtained a more excellent Ministry, [that’s Christ] By how much also he is the Mediator of a better Covenant, which was established upon better promises: A better Covenant, and stablished upon better promises, or a better Testament: Their promises I say were but low and mean; and our promises are high and precious, and we have a better Covenant, a Covenant not of living in the Land of Canaan, but of Heaven, of which that Canaan was but a Type, and therefore our Conversations should rise higher in holiness according as our Covenant and Promises are better than theirs.

Secondly, Our Worship is more spiritual than their worship was. As that known place in Joh. 4. 23. where Christ saith to the woman of Samaria, You serve God in this place: But the time shall come that they shall serve him every where, for God is a Spirit, and will be worshiped in spirit and in truth. There is more spiritual worship in the time of the Gospel than was in the time of the Law: The Lord carried them on in a carnal and a sensitive way: and indeed this hath been a great design of Antichrist to bring men to a carnal way of worship, To carnal Ordinances, for so they are called in Scripture, the Commandements of God by Moses, are called carnal, Heb. 9. 10. For their worship was in comparison of the worship in the Gospel but carnal; (I say) it hath bin the design of Antichrist to darken the glory of Jesus Christ in the Gospel, by bringing the Church to a carnal way of worship, and to take away spiritual, and therefore they are altogether about carnal Institutions, whereas Jesus Christ hath instituted but only two Sacraments, wherein there are outward carnal things, wherein we worship God through the Creature, otherwise His worship is altogether spiritual; but now Antichrist he would bring in altogether carnal things, he would ad a hundred inventions of his own, as building sumptuous Temples, railing in of the Communion Tables, and then turning them into Altars; with such kind of apish gestures, foolish garments, and Heathenish musick, all which was carnal worship, the devices of men to please children and fools with: exceedingly much against the very life and soul of Godliness, and the only rule of worship in the Word of God. Besides this rediculous and carnal way of worship, made the worshipers twofold  more the children of Satan than they were before. But now the more spiritual any worship of God is, the more spiritual it makes the heart, the lesse we stick to the creature while we are worshipping of God, the more communion we come to have with Christ, and so it doth raise holinesse to a more higher pitch.

Thirdly, Ʋnder the Gospel our yoke is more easie: You know what Christ saith, (in a Scripture that I have opened to you at large) Come, take my yoke upon you, for my yoke is easie, and my burden is light. You are delivered from that heavy burden that they were under, and therefore you should run the waies of Gods Commandements, and follow after holiness more readily and freely than they could do.

Fourthly, We have access with boldness to the Throne of grace, (as the Scripture speaks) God doth not reveal Himself in that terrible way to his Saints now, as in the time of the Law, but would have them come with boldness, and have libertie of speech: for that’s the word, as in the second of the Ephesians, of the boldness that we have to come into the presence of God; Through him we have access by one spirit unto the Father. [Access] the word signifies a coming with freedom (as it were) being led by the hand of God. In Ephes. 3. 12. In whom we have boldness and access (saith the text there) with confidence by the faith of Him. Three words here are together: We have boldness, and access, with confidence by the faith of Him. The word that is here translated [Boldness] it is, liberty of speech; we may come and speak our minds and unbosome our speech freely to God without any such terror; and we may come to God without desiring. Moses must go into Gods presence for them as he did; Oh they durst not go themselves, but Moses must go and speak with God. We may come into the presence of God and speak our hearts freely with a holy boldness in the Name of Christ.

Fifthly, We have the spirit of adoption more than they. Rom. 8. We have not received the spirit of bondage to fear again, but the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba▪ Father. There was a spirit of bondage under which, even the people of God were in former times, and now the spirit of adoption is more spread abroad and cōmunicated in the world to the Churches than it was before,  and therefore the Lord expects a Conversation sutable to the spirit of adoption. As now, take one that is a child and hath a servile spirit and is afraid to come into the presence of his father, it may be he will do some works in obedience to his father, but in a heavy & dull way, but afterwards when his father is fully reconcil’d to him, & comes & speaks kindly to him & there comes a spirit of adoption upon the child, Oh then he goes lively on in duty to his father, then he rejoyces in the presence of his father, & to do any thing that may please his father; when he is acted by a spirit of adoptiō, theres more service done according to the mind & wil of Christ than there was before.

So (my Brethren) we should exceed all under the Law with a more fillial obedience, than ever there was in that time, or else our Conversation it is not such as becomes the Gospel: Therefore when you open the old Testament and reade of those excellent gracious spirits that were there, especially in the Psalms, what holy breathings and pantings after God there are, and in the Prophets, what exemplary holiness then liv’d and shined in the world: Be ashamed of your selves if you do not rise to as high a degree as they and higher too

Obj. Why you will say, But they were eminent men, they were the Prophets of God and so were extraordinary; and can ordinary Christians rise as high as they did, and be such burning and shining lamps as they were?

Ans. I’le give you one Scripture about that, in Zach. 12. 8. it is a cleer Prophesie of the times of the Gospel, In that day shall the Lord defend the Inhabitants of Jerusalem, and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the Angel of the Lord before them. Mark, he that is feeble among them shall be as David, who was a man according to Gods own heart. Oh reade Davids Psalms, particularly the 119. Psalm, and see the holy breathings of David, and observe that there is a Prophesie, that those that are feeble shall be as David, and those that are as David, that is, the eminent Christians, the Lords Champions, and the house of David shall be as God, as the Angels of the Lord. Christians in the time of the Gospel that are eminent should live as Angels, Angelical lives, and the weakest of all should be as David: Indeed considering what we  have revealed in the Gospel we should be ashamed that our hearts and lives should come short in spiritualness, and heavenliness of any that lived in the times of the Law: see in the 119. Psalm, how you find Davids heart taken and ravished with the Word of God, Oh how sweet was the Law of God to him, sweeter than the honey and the honey comb. He doth not mean there the Law in opposition to the Gospel, but the whol Word of God; Now you should consider this, what part of Gods Word had David there, he had not many of the Prophesies, he had but the Books of Moses and some other Books; the Book of Job was then, and some of the Chronicles, some part of the Kings, and the Book of Judges; but most part of the Kings he could not have, for he was the second King: therefore what little part of the Word of God was written at that time; and yet how sweet was the Word to him, as sweet as the honey and the honey comb, and how he did delight in it above Gold and Silver. And then for the Ordinances of God, O how was he taken with them! though in comparison of ours they were but carnal: In the 84. Psalm, he did envy the very birds that were in the Temple of God, How aimable are thy Courts O Lord (saith he;) now do but compare those Scriptures he had with these that we have, The five Books of Moses, and Joshua, and Judges, and Job which were the chief Scriptures then extant, and do but compare them with the History of the Gospel, in particular the Sermons of Christ, from the fifth Chapter of Matthew to the eighth; So those remarkable places from the fourteenth to the eighteenth of John, and so on; O what heavenly things are there let down amongst us! What Heavenly truths we have, study and reade over Pauls Epistles (which are several holy Letters sent from Christ to His Saints here on earth,) Oh what spiritual transcendant truths! What great mysteries and depths of God are opened and revealed there beyond what there is in Genesis, or Exodus, or Leviticus, or Numbers, &c. And yet the Word of God was dearer to him than al the world, and he profest he did meditate in it day and night. Now we have that word in two Testaments, that doth reveal abundance more of God in Christ than ever he had, and therefore our Conversations should rise higher in holiness than the Converstions of those that were under the Law; we  should endeavor to be more exemplary in holy walking than they were. And thus much for the second head.

Now for the third, which is the chief of all, If you would have your Conversations to be such as becomes the Gospel, it must be suitable to what the Gospel holds fo••h unto you. Now this is a gre•t point, and it will serve for two ends.

First, To hold forth unto you the principal things in the Gospel.

Secondly, To shew you how you should sute your Conversation to those things that are in the Gospel. And we shall abide upon this head somewhat long.

The first and principal thing in the Gospel, It is the holding forth unto us the infinite love of God to man-kind; this is the very end of the Gospel, that God might declare what an infinite love he hath unto the children of men, yea unto men rather than unto Angels; you know that Scripture in John, 3. •6. So God loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever beleeveth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. And indeed that one verse hath more of God in it than all Creatures in Heaven Earth; the whol frame of Heaven and Earth hath not so much of God in them as that one verse hath; So God loved the world that he sent forth his only begotten Son that whosoever beleeveth in him should not perish but have everlasting life: It is as if God should say when he comes to reveal the Gospel, I will have a way wherein it shall appear to men and Angels for ever what the greatness of my love is unto these poor creatures, unto the children of men: And to that end I send my Son the second Person in Trinity to take their natures upon him, to come to be their Mediator; there will I manifest what my love is; that shall be the great fruit of love. It is the similitude of a learned Divine (saith he) the love of God in all other things in comparision of the love of God in Christ reveal’d in the Gosspel, it is a little spark of fire in comparison of the heat in a furnace; when a furnace is heated red hot, it may be a few sparks of fire fly out, but what is one of those sparks of fire that fly out in comparison of al the heat that there is in the furnace, (so saith he) all the fruits of the love of God to man-kind in all  the works that ever God did do, are but as that one spark only; excepting this of Christ; and the love of God unto mankind in Christ is as it were the heat of the furnace, there’s burning love indeed, the love of God in Christ, this is the great scope of the Gospel, the great aim of God, the great design that God had in the Gospel to make known the infinitness of His love unto the children of men: Now then if so be that God in the Gospel doth reveal what there was in His heart from all eternity to man-kind (for so it is) that’s the scope of the Gospel; there was in the heart of God infinite love burning toward man-kind, God from eternity saw man-kind before him, and there was that strong inclination of his heart towards them in love, as did even burn in his heart: Now in time God reveals this in the Gospel, in the Doctrine thereof He doth open His heart to the children of men: when ever the Gospel comes to be preached in any place, God doth look upon that place and hath these kind of workings in Himself, Well, that love of Mine that I have had burning in my Bosom from all eternity towards these poor creatures, now it shal be opened, now it shal be revealed; just as it was with Joseph that had his heart so warm in love unto his Brethren, that though he kept it in a while he could not keep it in long, but at length it breaks out as fire, his bowels yerned towards his Brethren, and he weeps tears of love over their necks: So in the Gospel of Christ, look upon God towards poor creatures, as Joseph towards his Brethren, and God as it were keeping in his heart towards them for a long time; but now when the Gospel comes among them God opens his very heart to them, now therefore there must be a Conversation that becomes the Gospel, as becomes this great thing in the Gospel, that is the chief thing indeed that the Gosspel holds forth in every line of it, and discovers his eternal love towards them in particular, in the Son of his love, Christ Jesus in whom he is well pleased.

Quest. You will say, What is it that becomes this thing in the Gospel?

Ans. Surely love, answerable love, that we should return love for love, he that dwels in God dwels in love, God Himself is love; Reade but the first Epistle of that beloved Disciple John, what abundance of love is there made known of God? every letter thereof is a character of love; and what commendations of love in heavenly expressions? But you reade no such thing in the Scripture before the Gospel was revealed in that cleerness as it was then; now nothing but Love, love, and how it called for love: Then there must be this conversation, Love to God, as God to us. And that must be real as Gods love in Christ was.

Quest. How did God manifest his love?

Answ. A Conversation becoming the Gospel, must be a manifestation of our love in some proportionable way: So God loved the world, as He gave His only Son: that is as if he should have said thus, God so loved the world, so dearly, as that which was the dearest thing unto God he gave for a testimonie of his love to man-kind. The dearest thing, What’s that? His Son. If God should have said, That I might testifie my love to mankind, as I have made one world for them, I will make ten thousand more, yea I will make so many worlds as every one of the children of men shall have a world to possess; you would think this were very much: Oh this were nothing in comparison of that expression, So God loved the world, as He gave His Son; the Son of God is infinitly dearer to God than ten thousand thousand millions of worlds are. Now, a conversation that becomes the revelatio of such love, must needs be this, Whatsoever then is dearest to our souls let that be given up to God. As it was a testimony of the love of Abraham to God, Hereby I know thou lovest me. Why? Because he gave up his Isaac to God, he would not spare his only Son whom he loved: so God shewed his love to us: we may say, Lord, hereby we know thou lovest us, that thou hast given thine Isaac, thine only Son for us, and hereby Lord shal men and Angels know that we love thee, that whatsoever is dear to our souls thou shalt have it, we will offer it up to thee in way of sacrifice: this is a conversation that becomes the Gospel. So that when God cals for anything, never think it much, Oh this is hard and costly and dear to me, and how shall I part with this? Is this becoming the Gospel, to stand with God for any thing? for thy love must be somewhat sutable to Gods; His love was such as he gave the dearest to thee,  and thy love therefore (if it runs paralel with his) must give the dearest to him.

And then if we be acted by love (for that’s the conversation that becomes the Gospel to be acted in all that we do with love to God) to be in a flame of love continually, as the Salamander (they say) doth alwaies live in the fire; so should we do in the fire of love, not in the fire of contention: But now, Love hath no need of any argument to do any thing but only this, this thing will be pleasing unto him that I do tender it unto, it will please my Father; that’s argument enough for Love, that if I do such a thing it will please my beloved; therefore never stand arguing thus, Such a thing is a duty, but is it necessity? Must I do it? Cannot a man be saved unless he do it? Be all damn’d that do not this? These are arguments from base sordid spirits: but here’s enough for love, here’s a thing would please God; if we did thus, we should please God better than in not doing it: Therefore that place that you had before, in the first of the Colossians, Walk worthy of the Lord to all pleasing, let the heart presently spring upon this, There’s such a thing propounded out of the Word at such a time, and I heard it would be well pleasing to God if I did this.

If we put but this upon you, you that do not set up the worship of God in your families, Do not you think that it would please God better to set up his Worship in your families than not? Is there no Conversation that your consciences tell you would please God better, than that Conversation which you live in? Would it not be more pleasing to God (ask but your conscience now?) if your hearts were acted by love you would presently fall upon that which your consciences tel you would be more pleasing to God.

And then Love: This is a maxim of Love, Love never knows when it hath done enough, it knows no such thing as too much, for men to say, What need we be so strict as to walk circumspectly? what need we do so much? why must we be so holy? This is a base kind of reasoning; Is this as becomes the Gospel? If thou wert acted by Love then thou wouldst never think that thou hadst done enough for God, Oh thou wouldst rather think, had I ten thousand thousand times more strength  than I have, Lord thou art worthy of it all, what soever I have, whatsoever I am, whatsoever I can do, thou art worthy of it all, never stand arguing thus, what need so much; is the thing a good thing? love never knows any such thing as too much.

We know love, It cannot bear with dishonor done unto those that we do love, if any wrong any one that we love, if our hearts be inflam’d with love we know not how to bear it; such strike us in the apple of our eye; Oh that’s a Conversation that becomes the Gospel, that when we see the Name of God dishonored, our hearts rise more against any thing that is done against God, than it doth against any thing that is done against our selves, we are inflam’d for God when we see any thing done that is a dishonour to the Name of God.

And love we know it will make us mourn and melt for any offence to those that are beloved of us: So that’s a Conversation that becomes the Gospel, when we manifest melting hearts, and mourning spirits.

Love makes us delight in the presence of those that we do love; so that’s a Conversation that becomes the Gospel, when we manifest that there is nothing in the world that we delight in more than to be in the presence of our Beloved; Oh to be alwaies with God in the arms of Christ, it is our Heaven on Earth.

And then, a Conversation that becomes this Gospel, It is to be of a loving disposition towards those that have any reference unto God. Reade over the Epistles where so much of the Gospel is revealed, for indeed there’s the chief of the Gospel, though we call those four Evangelists the Gospel, because they are the story of Christs coming into the world, and his Actions; yet there is more of the Doctrine of the Gospel in the Epistles; for the time of the law was not fully expired till the destruction of the Temple; which was after Christs death, and therefore though the Gospel began to shine forth, yet till after the time of the destruction of the Temple there was not so much of the Gospel; and therefore reade (I say) the Epistle;, and you shall find there is no one particular duty that the Gospel so calls for from men (besides faith in Jesus Christ) as it doth love in Christians one towards another, yea love to all: if you reade the Epistles of Paul, divers places in the Romans, and in the Ephesians, and Philippians, and Colossians, continually still they are beating upon love; and especially in the Epistles of John (that was the beloved Disciple and lay in the bosom of Christ) nothing so much as love, because this indeed is the Conversation that becomes the Gospel, for the main thing in the Gospel, it is the declaring of the love of God; and therefore Christians that would live as becomes the Gospel, they must live so as acted by love: And so in the story of the Acts, presently as soon as you reade of any that the Gospel did prevail withal, they had one heart and one mind, Oh how did they cleave one to another! their hearts were one. And so we find in the stories of the Primitive times, I remember Tertullian saith, that that was the way that the Heathens and persecutors did use to find out who were Christians, for the Christians did meet at nights for fear of danger, & did as wisely as they could to keep themselves from their persecutors, but they found this by experience that when they were converted to Christian Religion, then there was another kind of spirit in them that did act them, and especially a spirit of love one to another, there was another kind of love of Christians one towards another then, than of any other society of man kind; the Heathens saw this, and wondred at it, and it was by this that they found out who were Christians, if they saw any people beginning to have a spirit of love more than before, they would think surely these have heard of this Christian Religion, and they begin to be Christian; this was the glory of Christian Religion in those times, that there was such intire love and union of hearts amongst them. The Apostle John would have such love as that Christians should be willing to die one for another, and they did so in the primitive times, Oh this were becoming the Gospel indeed: But Oh how far, how far are we from such a Conversation in such times as we live in now! as if so be that the Gospel were gone from us, we speak of the Gospel as if it were reveal’d more now than ever, and much concerning free grace in the Gospel, but look upon the Conversations of men, they were never more unsutable to the Gospel, and in this particular, in respect of the sincere love in the hearts of Christians: My brethren, malitious dispositions are extreamly unbecoming the  Gospel, hateful and malitious dispositions, What doth a beastly, brutish, savigeness do, the fierceness of beasts do in the breast of a Christian? Oh it is infinitely unbeseeming a Christian to have an unloving disposition, a hateful disposition, to be hating one another, and to have a spirit of opposition and contradiction, and frowardness one against another, there is nothing more unbeseeming the Gospel of Jesus Christ than this. I remember I have read even of one of the Heathen Emperors, that being convinced somewhat about Christ, and hearing much of him, saw two that professed the name of Christians to fall out bitterly one with another, which as soon as he perceived he cals them to him, and gives a straight command that they should never afterward, presume to call themselves by the name of Christians; No (saith he) you do not do according to your Master that you profess, your life is unsutable to your Master, even one that was but a Heathen himself speak this. Oh if we profess our selves Christians let our Conversations be as becomes the Gospel in point of love, and make that to be the argument of love, the love of God revealed in the Gospel; there are a great many arguments of love from humane society, from reason, that men that live together they should love one another as men, and that there comes a great deal of hurt from frowardness and bitterness, and that it is against the rules of society, and that men cannot live quietly except there be some way of sodering by love; these arguments are somewhat, and yet these would be among Heathens: Oh but now, those that profess the Gospel of Christ, have one argument that is infinitely beyond all arguments that can be imagined, and that is in John, 3. 16. (before named) So God loved the world, loved the world, that he gave his only begotten. We hear how the love of God that was in the heart of God from all eternity is brought forth and revealed in the Gospel, Oh let this inflame our hearts with love, Oh that there might be never a Christian that professes the Name of Christ, but that it might appear in him that his heart is sweetened with love, and that he doth live (as it were) in the very element of love, and acted by love in all that he doth, O this would beautifie your Christian profession more than all your talking of this and the other things:  Oh that it were come again, that this becoming Conversation of Christians were come again into the world. I remember I have heard a speech of Dr. Whittacre rebuking the Conversation of the Scholers in Cambridg, he had this speech, Surely (saith he) this that we preach is not the Gospel, or otherwise we are no Gospelers, because our Conversation is so different from the Gospel; and so we may say of this one particular in respect of love, either it is but a fansie that we hear so much of the love of God in Jesus Christ in the Gospel, or otherwise we are no Gospelers, we are no true Professors of the Gospel: whatever profession we make of the Gospel, yet except there doth appear divine love to act us in all that we do God will not own us for Gospelers; for certainly it is a main scope that God hath in the revealing the Gospel to sweeten the hearts of men with love, either deny the profession, or walk more lovingly than thou hast done towards those that make the same profession: yea thou shouldest walk lovingly towards thy enemies, for the Gospel reveals much of Gods goodness even towards the whol world in general, so that there should be love even towards all from the knowledge of the Gospel; Oh that it might be said of men and women, that were of rugged, harsh, and malitious dispositions before, yet since it pleased God that they came to the Ministry of the Gospel, and heard the Truths of the Gospel opened to them, Oh since that time their hearts have been altered and changed, Oh of what sweet dispositions they are of now, the husband towards the wife, and the wife towards the husband, in a family there was nothing but harshness and brawling, but now nothing but sweetness and love and this from the knowledg of the love of God in Jesus Christ: that love will be a Divine grace indeed that’s raised in the hearts of men, and acted from this principle of the knowledg of the love of God in Jesus Christ. This is the first thing, and the great thing that is held forth in the Gospel, namely the love of God to man-kind.

I’le but name one or two things more now, and the next is this.

The infinite willingness of God to be at peace and to be reconcil’d unto those who have offended him, yea to his enemies,  what is the scope of the Gospel? the eternal love of God to man-kind in Christ: That’s the first thing. Then the second thing is the infinite willingness that there is in God to be at peace to be reconciled to such as have offended him; this is held forth in the Gospel, the Gospel is the Ministry of reconciliation, now what Conversation should be in us becoming this in the Gospel that is held forth?

And then the infinite mercy of God in the Gospel in delivering poor creatures out of a depth of misery, that’s a main thing in the Gospel, and many other particulars as the infinite hatred that God hath against sin, and the great price paid for souls that’s held forth in the Gospel too, with divers other things that might be spoken of. But I beseech you consider of the point that we are about, namely to shew you what the Gospel holds forth to us; and then what Conversation becomes all these things, and is sutable to them. If God would but be pleased to go along even with this one point that we are now upon, we hope it may lighten the Conversation of Christians, and withal may commend this word of grace to those that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death; and may (if God will say Amen unto it) in some measure recover the dishonor that hath been cast upon the Gospel of Christ in these latter times, by that loose and uneven walking amongst professors themselves; which hath very much darkned the glory of this marvellous great light, Which should be a lamp unto their feet, and a light unto their paths. Oh that Jesus Christ from whose hand and heart this Gospel came would now preach it home to every heart of us, that the truths thereof, may be turned into grace, spirit and life in the midst of us, so that our lives and Conversations may be a daily practical sermon of holiness, in particular, That we love one another as becomes the Gospels

SERMON IV.

PHIL. 1. 27.

Only let your Conversation be as becomes the Gospel of Christ.

WEE closed with this the last day,* that we should love one another. This holds forth unto us, not only the love of God the Father, but the infinit love of Jesus Christ the second Person in Trinity, and this cals for love one to another; And I’le hint unto you one or two Scriptures more about this: there is union of Christian hearts in one bend of love: No duty more inculcated in the new Testament (next unto Faith, that great engin of the Covenant of grace) than Love, and love one unto another; and upon the consideration of the infinit love of God, and of Jesus Christ unto us.

Ephesi. 3. 19. compared with Ephesians, 4. 1. And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge; that ye might be filled with all fulness of God. Then in the beginning of the 4. Chapter, I therefore (here’s an inference with the use of it) the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you, That you walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called. You are called to Christ, to the Gospel, and there you have the love of Christ made known. How shal they walk worthy of this vocation; with all lowliness, and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love. Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. He prayed before, that they might know the love of Christ: therefore upon that he doth exhort them, and builds his exhortation, or rather his beseeching  that they would with all lowliness, meekness, and longsuffering, forbear one another in love; for you are called to the profession of the Gospel, and there you have the love of the Father, and of Christ set forth unto you: now would you walk worthy of this calling? then let there be much meekness, and forbearing one another in love; In Ephes. 5. 2. And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour: Walk in love as Christ hath loved us, that is, sutable; as if the Apostle should say, would you walk sutable to the Gospel of Christ that you profess? Walk in love then as Christ hath loved us, this is a principal thing. In the Gospel you come to know the love of Christ otherwise than other men do know it, therefore walk in love, Walk in love as Christ hath loved us, make the love of Christ to be a pattern for your love; there is nothing (as I told you) that is more unbeseeming the Gospel of Christ, than a hateful, malitious, rugged, dog star disposition, than for Christians to be tearing one another, & falling out one with another, as those beasts at Ephesus that Paul complains of; Oh this is infinitely unbeseeming the Gospel of Christ: Do you know what the love of God means in Jesus Christ? are you sensible of the love of Christ? Oh this love should sweeten your hearts that there should be no more bitterness in you, but you should live in this Element of love. Saith an Ancient, what doth beastly fierceness and cruelty, and savigeness do in the breast of a Christian? it is unbeseeming the name of a Christian, Therefore let your Conversation be as becometh the Gospel of Christ, that holds forth love; Oh let there be much love in you, be you acted by love in all your waies, so that they that run may reade this new Commandment which Christ left unto his followers, That they love one another in deed and in truth.

Secondly, The Gospel of Christ it holds forth this, The infinit willingness of God to be at peace with man-kind, to be reconciled unto man, unto those who have offended him, yea to those who are enemies unto him: This is the scope of the Gospel, (a principal scope) I say God would in the Gospel make known to all the world his infinite willingness to be reconcil’d to such as have offended him: Indeed without the Gospel we might apprehend  this, that the Lord is a God that is full of goodness, that He is good and doth good, that all good is in him; but to apprehend God to be such a God of peace, so infinitely set upon it, (as I may so say) to be reconciled to such as are enemies, could never have been known but by this Gospel of Christ; herein we find that though there was an infinite difference between God and man, between Heaven and Earth through our sinning sin, yet the Lord was willing to be reconciled, yea though the offence of man was exceeding great so that it cried for vengance, yet he was pleased wonderfully to condescend to make a peace with him: Yea though the Lord had man under his power and could do what He pleased with him, He had His enemy under His feet, and might have broken him all to pieces with His iron-rod as a Potters vessel (which when it is broken can never be made whol again) yet He was willing to be reconciled.

Thirdly, Though God had no need at all of us, He was infinitly blessed in himself, who is perfection and blessedness it self. Sometimes we are willing to be reconcil’d to our enemies, either because we have them not under our power, or because we have some need of them; but God that had us under his hand, and might easily have destroyed us, and had no need at all of us, yet was desirous to spare us, as a father spareth his only son whom he loveth,

Fourthly, The Gospel holds this out to us, That the Lord He begins the work of reconciliation, He first loving us, the infinit God seeketh to us his creatures to come in to be reconciled, therefore he sends his Ambassadors of peace to beseech us in Christs stead to come in to be reconciled to him, to accept of His Propositions of Peace which make so much for our everlasting salvation.

Fiftly, Though reconciliation must cost God very dear; that God must be at a great deal of costs and charges to reconcile His creatures to himself▪ it cost no less than the blood of his only begotten Son, and yet he is willing to be reconcil’d: saith God, my heart is set upon this work, and let it cost what it will, if it were ten thousand worlds yet my heart i• so upon it, that I will bring them in that they may be reconciled to me, and made one with me.

Sixthly and lastly, The Gospel reveals this, That God is so set upon reconciliation, and is so reconcil’d to such as do imbrace the Gospel as he will never be at enmity with them again. Being once reconcil’d, he wil never suffer such a breach to be made between Man-kind and Himself any more. He wil be their Father in Christ, and ye shall be his Sons and Daughters through Him to all eternity in Christ Jesus our Lord. Who shall separate us from the love of God? Thus the Gospel holds forth, not only reconciliation, but such reconciliation as this is, which men and Angels can never sufficiently admire and bless God for. This is a Second beam (as I may so say) of the Gospel. Then what manner of persons ought we to be? our conversations must be as becomes this Gospel of Christ in this great thing that the Gospel holds forth unto us. Surely then, this cals to us al aloud to love peace, O love peace, Is God so set upon peace as he is? and is he willing to be at so great cost for peace? Oh let us love peace, let us follow peace, lets pursue peace, let’s seek peace, let us do what we can possibly for peace, If it be possible as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men: Let us account peace never bought too dear with any thing but sin: The Lord Christ would not sin to purchase peace, if it could possibly have been conceived that any sin should have bin committed Christ would never have purchased peace that way; but if it be by any way of suffering, by his being willing to leave the Heavens for a while to take upon him the form of a servant, yea to have the sence of the influences of the love of his Father ecclipsed for a time, he was willing to endure, yea to be made a curse, whatsoever he suffered in his Name, he was willing to endure any thing to make peace between God and man, to reconcile the World to Heaven: Oh! let us love peace, that’s becoming the Gospel of Christ, for our hearts to be set upon peace. And the exhortation that you have in the Ephesians (before mentioned;) it is likewise built upon the consideration of Christs working so for our peace, Ephes. 2. 14. For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us, having abolished in Hi• flesh the enmity. And then in the 16. verse, That He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the Cross, having slain the enmity thereby. So that this Scripture holds forth, not only that Christ is our  peace in respect of God, and he died for that end to make peace between God and us, but likewise that Jesus Christ did die to make peace between man and man; it was one fruit of His death to break down the middle wall of partition between us, and to slay the enmity; he doth not say, to kill our enemies, but to kill the enmity it’s self; the meaning is this, that Christ died to take down the partition wall between Jew, and Gentile; there was an enmity between the Jew and Gentile that they might not one converse with the other; now it was a fruit of the death of Christ to take down the partition wall and to slay the enmity between them, that so there might be but one sheep fold, that He might reconcile both unto God in one body. Now, was this the end of the death of Christ, not only to reconcile us to God, but one unto another in one body, Jew and Gentile? Certainly there cannot be such a distance between one Christian and another as there was between Jew and Gentile: and Christ did so love unity and peace in the world, especially among those that made any profession of his Name, that he would die to that end, He would lose His life that He might procure peace between Jews and Gentiles, and bring them into one body: And truly so it should be with us, we should be willing, and those whose hearts are right (I say) cannot but be so sensible of the breaches that are among us, and the unpeaceableness of mens spirits, as if they could by the laying down of their lives procure peace, they should be willing to do it, every Christian should make it appear, that he is so set upon peace that if the laying down of his life could procure peace he should be willing to do it, that if we may make up breaches by standing in the gap, and offering up our selves a sacrifice of atonement and pacification, let us thus prove our selves to be the true followers of Christ our Lord and Master who hath left us his own example herein for our imitation: this were an excellent thing beseeming the Gospel of Christ that we do profess, yea, we should not only be willing to admit of peace, but seek for it, seek for it to our inferiours, do not say that such a man hath wronged me, and therefore let him seek to me, Oh no, it doth become you that make profession of the Gospel of Christ, not to stay till he come to you that hath wronged you, but for you  that are wronged by another, even to seek to those that have wronged you, that they would be at peace with you; you might perhaps (consulting with flesh and blood) think it unreasonable that you that are wronged should seek peace; I but it becomes the Gospel of Christ that you should do so; God sought to you, you never sought to him: If God had not begun the work of peace with you, God and your souls would have been eternally enemies, and therefore remember that you are not to live according to reason, you think there’s all the reason in the world that those that have wronged you should crouch to your feet rather than you seek to them, well grant it, that there is all the reason in the world for it, I but what is there in the Gospel to the contrary? and you are not to live only in your Conversations as beseems reason, but you are to have your Conversations as beseems the Gospel of Christ: If you stand upon these tearms, let him come to me rather than I will go to him, Is this as becomes the Gospel? What do you hold forth of the great Work of the Gospel, if you do not hold forth this? Your willingness to be at peace, and to seek for peace even from your inferiors? and do not you say that the offence is great, Oh! ’tis a great offence that such a one hath committed, he hath dealt very proudly with me, and shall I seek to him; his offence to you is not so great as your offence was to God, and yet God seeks to be at peace with you through Christ: But he is my inferior, it may be he is a poor mean fellow that hath so wronged me: Do not you think there is such a distance between you and other men, it may be thou hast a little power in thy hand, and a few pence in thy purse more than thy neighbor hath; but what infinite distance was there between God and you then? Oh remember your Conversation must be as beseems the Gospel of Christ: I but it will put me to a great deal of trouble, I can with more ease have him punished than I can bring things to make peace between us. With more ease? Could not God with more ease have sent thee down to the nethermost Hell, how quickly could God have brought thee down and undone thee for ever: but God was content to be at peace upon hard tearms (as I may so speak) indeed they were hard tearms by which God came to reconcile the world unto himself, the hardest tearms that possibly  could be conceived, for Jesus Christ, his eternal Son, did take upon Him our Nature, and was made a curse for us, that knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousnes of God in Him; and therefore stand not upon any hard tearms, if peace may be purchased any way but by sin, stand not upon it, for this is as becomes the Gospel of Christ.

Yea, And when you are reconciled to your brother, be so reconcil’d, as to be firm in your reconciliation: Not as some, there is peace made between them, but how? so as they are ready to take advantage against one another upon any miscarriage afterwards: God doth not do so with you, the Gospel holds not forth such a peace as this is, that God shall be at peace with you for the present, but look to your selves afterwards, God will take all advantages against you that he can; if there had been such a peace made between God and you, you had been in Hell long before this time, and therefore let your peace be a firm, a setled, and a constant peace; Oh! that this were but thought on in these contentions daies, wherein there is such breaches between Brother and Brother, in every town, in every family, and none almost but are broken off one from another with an irreconcilable spirit; Oh! how unbeseeming the Gospel of Jesus Christ is an irreconciliable spirit? Certainly God hath not made thee to know what the mysterie of the Gospel of peace is, who hast war in thy heart and tongue against thy brother. And that’s the second thing that the Gospel holds forth unto us.

Only take this one note in this second thing, That whereas there are many arguments to move us to such a conversation as now I am urging upon you, yet let Christians above all arguments, make the Gospel to be the argument of arguments to move them to it: As now, for the matter of peace, there are many arguments to move us to be at peace with our brother, from the inconveniences that will follow upon our breaches & the like, now shew your selves Christians in this, Above all arguments make the consideration of what you understand in the Gospel to be the great motive of motive to prevail with you for peace, and this argument will do it when nothing else will do it. It may be a friend comes and perswades you to be at peace,  you will find a great deal of trouble in Lawing and suing, and enmity one against another, there will come a great deal of anxiety, and therefore be reconcil’d and live like neighbors one with another: well, but when you find that your hearts do not stoop to any other argument, then get alone into your closets, search the Scriptures, and there lay to your hearts all the arguments that you can from the Gospel of Jesus Christ, there see how God reconcil’d the world to Himself, and how God was set upon the work of peace: lay them to your hearts, and when no other arguments wil move, the consideration of that through the blessing of God will do it. And that’s for the second Point.

In the third place, The Gospel holds forth the infinit mercy of God to miserable creatures. When man was plunged into such a depth of misery, nothing but bowels of mercy did move God to help men out of that depth of misery that they were plunged into; and though man was unworthy of mercy, Gods mercy was free, yea and it was a transcendent mercy of God, The mercy of God is over all his works. The Heathens could understand that God was a merciful God, the light of Nature will tel us something of the mercy of God; but there’s nothing that sets out the bowels of Gods mercy so as the Gospel of Jesus Christ doth, there you have the very bowels of Gods mercy (indeed) made legible to all the world, in Luke, 1. 78. Through the tender mercy of our God, whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us: The tender mercies of our God, the bowels of mercy, so the words are: here’s the depth of the bowels of mercy held forth in the Gospel of Jesus Christ; it’s imposible that we could have understood the depth of those bowels of mercy but by the Gospel: Adam in innocency knew little of the mercy of God, for he not being in misery, had no need of that mercy to help out of misery, but though he by his understanding must needs know that mercy was a good thing, and therefore in God the First. being of all, but yet he did not understand that mercy that the Gospel holds forth, yea the Angels in Heaven know it not but by the Gospel, and so they desire to pry into those deep mercies of God unto man kind; Oh here are the mercies of God that shall be the subject of the praises of Angels and of the Saints to all eternity, held forth in the Gospel: You think ’tis  a great mercy when a child is sick, that God recovers it; you think it is a great mercy when you are at Sea that God turns the wind, when if it had stood but one half hour more that way it did, you had lost Vessel, lives and all; when you have been in any danger abroad in forraign parts, that the Lord was a present help in time of trouble, when there hath been any affliction upon your family, that God hath sent deliverance to you, these are mercies that God is to be praised for; Oh! but what are all these to the mercies of God in Jesus Christ, His righthand mercies; and indeed this would be a good argument of a gracious heart, when any particular mercie is granted unto them, either family mercies, or personal mercies. Thus to meditate, Lord I am less, I am less than the least of all thy mercies, yet here is seasonable comfortable mercies to me and mine &c. but O Lord what is all this to that infinite fountain of mercy in Christ, thy mercies in the Gospel, thy mercies in thy Son, there’s depths, infinite depths of mercy indeed, this is but a drop, and indeed that’s sweet, but the infinite Ocean of mercy it is in Jesus Christ, Christ is the mercy of God to mankind, in the bowels of which all other mercies are conceived and brought forth in the world: All my fresh springs both upper and neather springs are in him, who is All in All. Oh it were a good argument that the Gospel is revealed to you, if you admire at Jesus Christ as the great mercy of all mercies, though thankful for every mercy, yet when you come to consider of the mercy of Christ, look upon that as mercy of wonder, stand amazed at the thought of that mercy; well it’s the Gospel that holds forth the glory of the riches of the mercy of God, God is said in the word to be rich in mercy, He is not said so much to be rich in power as rich in mercy. Now what Conversation is sutable to this?

What’s that but as Christ himself saith, Be ye merciful as your heavenly father is merciful, Oh have you a merciful heart one towards another? look with a merciful eye upon those who are in great misery; this is it that becomes the Gospel of Jesus Christ; Oh a harsh, rugged, and cruel disposition it is infinitely unbeseeming the Gospel of Christ: To see a Christian, one that professes the Gospel, that makes more profession of the  knowledge of God and of the free grace of God in Christ than others, and yet when it comes to it, that he hath to deal with such as are in misery, to have a hard heart, Oh a hard hearted Christian is a monster, I say a hard hearted Christian is a monster in the world, not to be ready to forgive others, and to do any thing for others that are in misery is devilish; but to rejoyce that they may have any object to shew pity and compassion unto, Oh this is that which becomes the Gospel of Christ; though they be strangers to you that are in misery, yet be merciful to them; for you were strangers to God.

Yea, Be merciful to your enemies, not only be willing to be at peace, but be merciful: Do you see any that have wronged you to be in misery, do not let them perish but let bowels of compassion even work towards them; Oh that our hearts did yern towards all: Christ when He came neer unto Jerusalem, He wept over it: Oh that the like spirit were in us as was in Jesus Christ: There’s no such argument for mercy to others, as the consideration of the mercies of God in Jesus Christ: Oh bowels of mercy beseems the Gospel of Christ; and it should be manifested really: Let not people that are in misery have verbal mercies from you, that is, you seem to pity them in words, Oh but let there be real mercies to them, open your hearts and let something drop from you for releef of them that are in misery: it is a notable Scripture in Ephes. 4. 31, 32. and sutable to that in Col. 3. 13. in the 4. of the Ephes. there the Apostle (speaking of the mercies of Christ) saith he, Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christs sake hath forgiven you. Be tender hearted: Oh God manifests the tenderness of His heart in the Gospel; and this is beseeming the Gospel, to set forth this as a pattern, the tenderness of Gods heart to poor sinners in the depth of misery; do you see any to be in misery, and do not you find your heart begin to break towards them? if you do not find your heart breaking, Oh set before you the infinite tenderness of Gods mercies in Jesus Christ, and ’tis that will break your hearts if any thing in the world will: And so in Col. 3. 13. a place somewhat paralel to this, Forbearing one another, and forgiving  one another; if any man have a quarrel against any, even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye: and above all these things, put on charity. You see the Apostle accounts this the great argument of all, and therefore know that the Lord takes it very much to heart when the bowels of Professors are turned into gravel. Search into that remarkable Parable, Matthew, 18 from vers. 28. to vers. 35. where Jesus Christ Preacheth down all cruel and unchristian like dispositions in those that are fellow servants, belonging to one and the same Master, and living under one roof; yea, the Zeal of Christ did break forth like thunder and lightning against such a servant as takes his fellow by the throat, therefore (saith the text) ver. 31. His Lord was wrath, and delivered him to the tormentors til he should pay al that was due to him. The Lord Christ delivered that cruel servant, that hard hearted wretch to the tormentors that did a thing so unbeseeming the mercy he himself had received from Christ, Oh saith Christ art thou cruel and unmerciful when thou hast received so much favour from me, as a full discharge of thy many great debts? get thee to the tormentors, let the most cruel executioners of my sierce wrath torment thee without any mercy and compassion. Oh those that have hard hearts walk unsutable to the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is full of the riches of Gods grace to all. Oh you that have received any pardoning mercies from Jesus Christ, take heed of cruelty to your servants, to your children; It’s very sad to see how some Professors cast the Gospel of Christ behind their backs, if their passions are but moved; what will ye bite and devour one another when ye receive the least offront either by tongue or hand? Oh where is you bearing and forbearing with one another? for shame do not fly in the faces of any (as a Bear bereaved of her whelps) when ye are buffetted by men, Oh remember Jesus Christ, Oh remember you that stand in so much need of mercy every day from God, for you to be cruel towards other, Oh here’s a Conversation infinitly unbeseeming the Gospel of Christ, and it is unbeseeming the grace that is offered, to have a sullen, a despairing, and an unbeleeving disposition, when as we see those that are Disciples, and yet every little thing causeth them to despair, and to be sullen, and their hearts to snk within them, Oh friends is this an Evangelical  frame of spirit! let me speak plainly to you, when you come to hear the glorious, riches of the grace of the Gospel set before you in the Word, ye seem to be somewhat taken with it, but when you go home to your family, are ye not ready under the least cross then to bury a thousand mercies? Oh what a dishonor is this to the Gospel of Jesus Christ that reveals so much mercy of God in it, that it doth call for Christians that do profess it, to go through troubles, and through discouragements with cheerful hearts? and although there be many things that might daunt the spirits of others that do not understand what the mercies of God in Christ are, yet those that profess the Gospel should shew undaunted spirits, for why? It is infinite, free, rich, glorious grace that is made known to them by the word of Christs lips.

Obj. You will say, I, if I knew that this mercy were mine▪

Ans. I but dost thou hear in the Gospel that it is free, and there is no soul hath any right to this mercy, but by casting its self upon this mercy, and therefore it is as free for thee to cast thy self upon it as another; indeed the mercy that is revealed by the light of Nature, Is such mercy of God that is more conditional, that is, if I do such and such things then God will be merciful unto me, the light of Nature goes no further than this; if I obey and leave my sin then I may hope that God will be merciful to me: It’s true, the Scripture tells us, if I do not leave my sin, God will not have mercy; I but the Gospel holds forth mercy thus, There is mercy in God, first to pardon thy sin, and then to take away thy sin; now the Gospel reveals Gods mercy in justifying the ungodly; though I am poor and blind, and miserable, and naked, and have not power to leave my sin, yet I have free leave to cast my soul upon Gods mercy, both for pardon and for power together against my sin, for so it must be, indeed I have no power, I may not stay till I have power against my sin, and then I will venture all that I have upon Jesus Christ, this is the mercy of the Gospel; I speak of this despairing and sullenness of heart, as it’s manifested in the Conversations of men and women, by which they do dishonor the Gospel of Christ, when they live in their families and their hearts sink in such a sullen way as if there were nothing  in the Gospel of Christ for encouraging of poor troubled souls, no more than men might understand by the light of Nature; Indeed if I did live better, and honor God, I might have encouragement that God would shew me mercy; but the mercy of the Gospel it is such, that there is mercy to pardon and to heal my soul too, and therefore though I be sinful, I must not stay from believing in Gods mercy till I be heal’d, but I must believe in Gods mercy that I may be heal’d. That’s the third particular that the Gospel holds forth unto us.

Now the Fourth thing that the Gospel reveals, is this, That though God be infinitly merciful, yet He is merciful in such a way that justice shall not be wronged: and this is proper to the Gospel too. It’s impossible for Men or Angels to come to understand this Mystery but by this Gospel-light, how God should be infinitly merciful, and yet that He should be infinitly just too; this is held forth in Rom. 3. 25, 26. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness, for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God: To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which beleeveth in Jesus. Now this is a great mystery of the Gospel; a Scripture that Luther fasted and prayed that he might understand, and he was a great while before he could know the mind of God therein. Now the Gospel saith this, I will manifest infinit riches of my mercy, but yet so as my infinite justice shall be no loser, and therefore though I le save Man-kind, yet I’le save them by such a way, as I’le have as much glory of my justice as if all the men in the world had bin damned to all eternity: this is the mysterie of the Gospel, and ’tis cleer, that though God manifest infinit mercy, yet God hath a way for the manifestation of his mercy in the Gospel, by which the justice of God is as much honored and satisfied as if all the men in the world had been cast into everlasting burnings, that is, through his Sons dying for mans sin, being made a curse for us; this is the great point of the Gospel, which unlesse we understand, we know nothing of Christ and his Gospel as we ought to know it. Most men and women in the world they seek to God for mercy, Lord be merciful to me, a sinner, but they think not of a way of Gods shewing mercy, so as yet  he may have the glory of infinite justice, God seals the forgivenes of sin in the Court of Justice as well as in the Court of Mercy; few think of this, and that’s the reason why people are ready many times to despair, because a great while they having but slight thoughts of God, they hope Christ will be merciful to them, yet in time of temptation, when the Devil comes and doth set before them the dreadfulness of Gods justice, that God is a most just God as well as merciful, this makes their hearts to sink like a stone within their breasts. But now the soul that sees the way of God in the Gospel, sees that God is infinitly set upon mercy, and likewise sees a way how Gods infinit justice may be satisfied and seeing both these, this is a mighty help to faith; now let there come never so many temptations, when the soul is catching hold upon Gods mercy; I but saith temptation, God is a just God as well as merciful, and dost not thou presume? No saith the soul, the way of mercy that my soul rests upon, I see there is in it a way of satisfaction to infinite justice, as well as a way for the manifestation of mercy, and therefore though God be a righteous God, and a just God, yet here I see a way for my soul to be sav’d, yet for Divine Justice to have no wrong neither, and therefore I can beleeve and venture my soul upon this: It’s impossible for a sinner to venture his soul upon any way of mercy, if it comes to understand with what a God it hath to deal, except it comes to know God in Jesus Christ, in that way wherein infinit justice is satisfied to the utmost farthing which is declared in the Gospel. Now what Conversation is sutable to this?

Hence let there be that Conversation in you, that may manifest that you do not turn the grace of God into wantonness, Oh a wanton Conversation is infinitly unbeseeming the Gospel, Oh there is infinite mercy and free grace treasured up here, and what wilt thou be wanton and vain and loose therefore? there is infinite grace, but what way doth God take to manifest infinite grace? Is it not in a way wherein the dreadfullest Justice of God appears too? Is not the grace of God let out to you through the blood of his Son? wherein the most dreadful fruit of Gods justice is manifested that ever was since the beginning of the world, or ever shall be manifested to the end of the  world; if so be thou shouldest see all the damned in Hell, the chambers of death unlocked under the wrath of God there flaming out in fire and brimstone; it would not be such a dreadful sight as to see Jesus Christ made an offering for sin, and lying under the vials of the wrath of his Father, falling down upon the ground, grovelling and sweating out great drops of water and blood, and crying out upon the Cross, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? This is the way of the purchase of thy mercy, therefore there is infinit justice together with infinite mercy, Oh be not wanton then, do not turn the grace of God into wantonness, but rejoyce in Gods mercy, yet rejoyce with trembling and with fear and reverence of the Name of God: When thou speakest of the free grace of God, and when thou comest to beleeve in the free grace of God in the Gospel, thou maiest come cheerfully and boldly, I but come with reverence and holy humble fear, I do not mean despairing fear, nor servile slavish fear, but with awful reverence of the glory of God that doth appear in the Lord Jesus Christ; I need not send you to the Law to cause fear in your hearts, there is enough in the Gospel to cause your souls to tremble before God, as well as to beleeve in God, Even our God is a consuming fire: Oh what was he to Jesus Christ? I need go no further to lift up God to make him an object of my fear, but to look upon him in his dealings with his Son; and therefore those Christians that walk loosly, and altogether upon slight thoughts of mercy without any fear to ballast their hearts, Oh certainly their Conversations are not Gospel Conversations, for if thou didst understand the way of Gods mercy in the Gospel, thou wouldest see that that should fill thy heart with fear and reverence all the daies of thy life. And as to take heed of wantonness, so to reverence Gods Justice, even the dreadfulness of it so as the Gospel holds forth; to think that God would only have you to have your thoughts about his mercy, and not to have your hearts to give glory to his justice, it is certainly a vain conceit, and I fear it will cause the Gospel to vanish into little in the hearts of men; when men apprehend the Gospel so, as not to apprehend the dreadfulness of his justice; as if so be that God would not have the glory of his justice. Christ hath  satisfied that: Hath Christ satisfied that? consider what thou saiest when thou saiest so, do but consider how much of the glory of Gods justice doth appear in what Christ hath done and suffered; I desire to hold forth no further the glory of justice than by holding forth Jesus Christ to thee, Doest not thou think that God would have thee to sanctifie in thy heart and life all the Attributes of God that doth appear in Jesus Christ? Now the glory of justice doth appear as much in Christ as the glory of mercy doth; then thou that doest profess the Gospel, thou must sanctifie this Attribute of God as well as the other, thou sanctifiest them both in honoring Gods justice; I do not say that thou shouldest have a despairing heart, nay it will keep thee from despairing, or that thou shouldest have a servile spirit, but that thou shouldest sanctifie it with reverence.

And another thing that is very considerable, What is God so set upon the glory of his Justice in the Gospel? Oh labour you to be just in all your Conversations; you see how God prizes justice, that he will rather have his Son die and be made a curse, than justice should not have honor; Oh take heed of injustice, the sin of injustice is a sin unbeseeming the Gospel; and here’s an argument against injustice, a stronger than I know any in all the Book of God, or can be imagined by men and Angels, which is this, That in the Gospel I find that God, hath His heart so set upon justice, that rather than justice shall not be satisfied he will not spare his Son one farthing (as the Scripture saith) He spared not his own Son, but His Son must pay to the uttermost, His Son must bear his very wrath, and all, that God may shew his infinite love to justice; Oh then, let Christians love justice in all their dealings, in their dealing with God, in their dealings between man and man. To see one that professeth the Gospel, & sometimes accounts the feet of those beautiful that bring glad tydings of salvation, yet unjust in his dealings, so as do but follow him in his course between man and man, there he makes no conscience of justice, there he will rather break the rule of justice than (it may be) he will lose six pence, or a shilling▪ what if it were the losing of thirty, or fourty pounds, is it such a thing, that the rule of justice must rather be broken than the loss of a little mony? Is this as becomes the  Gospel? when as thou hearest the Gospel say, that rather than the glory of justice shall be darkned, the Blood of his Son must go for it, and God expects that Christians should be so in love with justice, that they should rather be content to be undone in their estates, to beg their bread from door to door, than be unjust in any of their actions, Oh ’tis an exceeding ecclipsing of the glory of the Word when Professors of it shall be false in their dealings; Oh remember thou Christian who holdest up the Gospel with thy right hand, that when thou hearest of the death of Christ, there the love that God bears to justice is held forth, and God is set upon the honor of justice and he wil have it: thy justice in thy trading, this must be made up one way or other, either thou must pay eternally for it and so justice made up, or else it must cost the Blood of Jesus Christ, God is set upon justice in another manner than you think of; Oh let your Conversations be as becometh this truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Fifthly, That the Lord in the Gospel, shews how he is set upon satisfying the Law, and what a high price he puts upon the Law; The excellency of the Law doth more cleerly appear in the Gospel than in the Doctrine of the Law its self; as thus, Christ came to fulfil all righteousness, surely God set a high price of his Law, that he would not save any soul living that had broken it, but by his Son that must come to fulfil it: first, He must have all righteousness kept; & to the end that he might manifest his love unto his Law (I say) therefore it was that Christ must come and subject himself to the Law, he must be under the Law; It was from thence that Christ saith, It becomes us to fulfil all righteousness. So was God set upon his Law, that when Christ did undertake for man-kind, if Christ had not satisfied every part of the Law that was required, if there had been one jot of the Law unfilfilled, all man-kind must have perished in everlasting burnings: God sets an high rate on his Royal Law, therefore learn to prize the Law of God: It’s true, you cannot keep it for justification, that was Christs task, so to keep the Law that he might justifie sinners, God by this teaches us to esteem highly of it, and not to slight it and contemn it: the Law of God it is a precious Cristal glass, it is the very glass of the holiness, and righteousness  of God, and you must prize it, as you do prize your great glasses that your Marriners have from other parts; you bring home your great Cristals, of 20. or 40. or threescore pounds according to the largenesse of them: Now would not you take it extream ill, when you have bestowed so much upon it, that a child or servant should come and break it al to pieces? Now (my brethren) consider, The Law of God here resembles the Cristal glasse; and as in your glasses you may see your faces, so in that Cristal glasse of the Law, the holiness of God is transparent, ’tis such a glass that God prizes it more worth than all the world; this is visible: for the Lord stands much upon the observing of the Law, and upon obedience unto it, and therfore take heed of breaking it meerly to satisfie your lusts, to accommodate and befriend your own base ends, this is unbeseeming the Gospel of Christ. There are many that make a great noise about Evangelical truths, so that they cry up the Gospel of Christ, the Gospel of Christ, as they once did, the Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord; and they think that this doth wholly take away their obedience to the Law of God, and that it must not be so much as a rule of life. Certainly there’s nothing holde forth the excellency of the Law more than the knowledge of Jesus Christ (the only Law-giver) being subjected to the Law, and his subjection it was to take away our guiltinesse, to cancel the bond of the Law, binding us to eternal death: But we never reade that this subjection to the Law was to make void our obedience to it, so that it should not be any rule of life unto us, for indeed, what is the Law of God, but the pure Will of God? and do you think that Christ came to take us away from obeying the Will of God, which was Christs meat and drink to do? I stand not so much upon that term, Whether as given by Moses? but upon those things that are therein contained, therein revealed as part of the will of God, God stands much upon that, that we should make the revealing of these things in the Word to be the rule of our life, and this is manifested by Christs ready and full subjection unto it. And that is the first particular, what it is that we come to know by the Gospel, according to which we should sute our Conversations.

SERMON V.

PHIL. 1. 27.

Only let your Conversation be as becomes the Gospel of Christ.

IN the sixt place, Would you know what Conversation becomes the Gospel? Consider what it is that the Gospel holds out to you, It holds forth Gods infinit hatred of sin more than any other thing whatsoever.

  1. A man may come to know the evil of sin partly by Reason, he may understand that sin it is against a right rule, yea, by the light of reason he may conceive it is but reasonable for a rational creature to live by rule, and to transgress against the rule of justice and equity is evil.
  2. A man may come to know the evil of sin by Gods Command: the Law of God forbids sin, and therefore it is evil, certainly to transgress the Law of God, to go against the Will of God must needs be a great transgression.
  3. A man may come to know the evil of sin by the Dreadful Threatnings that are added to the Law, Cursed is he that abideth not in every thing that is written in the Book of the Law to do it. This discovers a dreadful evil in sin: when a soul comes to have a real sight of the dreadful threats that are in the Law, it doth exceedingly terrifie conscience and raise up that sleepy Lyon out of his den.
  4. A man may come to know the evil of sin by some dreadful judgments that God hath executed upon sinners here in this world, and by the terrors of conscience that there are upon the wicked, as on Cain, Saul, and Judas &c. men many times here for their sins, by the wrath of God that is reveal’d from Heaven against sin in the execution of it, but take all those together, yea, did we see the woful execution of the wrath of God in Hell its self, did the Lord open unto us a door into the chambers of death to discover the torments that are there, and to hear all the shreeks and cries of the damned in everlasting burnings; yet all this, the threats of the Law, the terrors of it, the agonies of Conscience, the torments of the damned in Hell, (I say) put all together, and they would not so much, nor so cleerly discover Gods infinit hatred of sin, as what we find in the Gospel; the red Glasse of the blood of Jesus Christ, that was shed for sin, doth discover more of Gods hatred against it, than all the torments of Hell can do, or all the threats of the Law can do; God doth in inflicting his wrath upon his Son for mans sin, thus preach unto the world? Wel, I see that you cannot be brought to understand how I hate sin with a perfect hatred, but I’le have one way of argument to convince you, that it is impossible you should stand against, I will therefore send my Son to take your nature upon him, and to stand charged with your debt, and you shall see how I’le deal with him, who is your Surety, I’le not spare him, I’le powr out the vials of my wrath upon him to the last drop, I’le make him a curse for sin, though he be infinitly blessed, and equal with my self, yet I’le make him cry out in the anguish and trouble of his soul, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? He shal tread the winepress of my wrath, I’le make the burden of sin heavy to Him, that shall make Him fall groveling upon His face, and sweat great clodders of blood in a winter season, that shall run down from His body upon the cold ground, I’le do this to that end that all the world (to whom the preaching of the Gospel shall come) may see how infinitely I hate sin: This is one of Gods ends; though it’s true, that the principal end of the death of Christ it was, to satisfie Divine Justice: But there is another end that God aims at in the death of his Son, To declare to all the world, to men and Angels how infinitly the Lord doth abominate all sin: Now this is held forth in the Gospel more than in all the execution of the Law; if the Law were executed to the full upon all the world, it would not hold forth Gods hatred of sin so much as this doth.

Do you beleeve this Gospel? Hath God let you live under this Gospel, that you hear it it your ears? And do you profess that the Lord hath enlightened you by his holy Spirit, to understand the certainty and reality of this? Oh then, let your Conversation be as becomes this Evangelical truth.

Quest. What Conversation doth become this?

Answ. Hence then, your own reason cannot but make a consequence from this that the Gospel holds forth. Hence then, Cast away al sin as an abominable thing from you; What have I to do any more with Idols? Hence then, Call no sin little which so much provokes the Lord. Indeed if you were only acted by the light of reason, reason perhaps will tell you that such things are but little and smal, and you need make no such great matter about them. But now, Art not thou a Christian? A follower of Christ? A friend to the Gospel? For shame call no sin little; for in the Gospel you see the infinit hatred of God against all sin, yea, there is more evil in the least sin than in the greatest affliction whatsoever (that’s a point that hath been long since opened to you at large, and this will shew it cleerly, there is more evil in any sin than in the greatest affliction, by the dealing of God the Father with his Son) and therefore if you will be willing to live as becomes the Gospel of Christ, rather be willing to bear any affliction in the world than wilfully to commit the least sin: Are these two in the ballance? Here is a great and a sore cross, you think, how shall I endure that? On the other side, Here’s a sin to be committed; if I venture upon this sin, it may be I shall be delivered from this affliction? Now would this become the Gospel of Christ, for one that professes that he doth beleeve that God the Father dealt thus with His Son, that had sin but by imputation upon Him, that He let out the vials of His wrath upon Him, and made Him a curse for sin; and if Christ had but undertaken for to have satisfied for one sin, though the least sin, He must have died for it, For the wages of sin, is death! of sin indefinitly, it’s death: And do I  beleeve this, and yet shall I rather chuse the commission of a sin than the bearing of any affliction? Oh this is infinitly unbeseeming the Gospel of Jesus Christ: do I beleeve this, and is it real unto my soul? Oh let me then manifest in my whol course and life that I tremble at the very thought of a sin, at the appearance of evil, and am as much afraid of the least spark of lusts as of the fire of Hell: let me discover the temptation to sin, that I may endeavour to avoid all temptations to sin, because God hath given such a testimony from Heaven against sin, Oh it is a loud testimony indeed that God hath given from heaven against sin in the death of his Son, Oh then let my Conversation be such as I may make it appear that I am afraid of the beginnings of sin, of the first whispering and motions to sin, Oh set me not stand dandling of sin in my thoughts, and roul it as a sweet morsel under my tongue, let me not entertain it in my affections in the least degree, as to love it, to approve it, to delight in it, but as soon as ever it enters into thy heart cast it out presently, let it not lodge within thy doors one moment, raise up all the power of thy soul against it, follow it with Hue and Cry, till thou hast overtaken it, and then do justice and judgment upon it, what though it may be a Delilah, yet cut it off; Oh let me take heed of lying in any sin, have I bin overtaken in my sin? Oh let me be willing rather to shame and condemn my self, to deny any thing in the world rather than to continue in that sin, the Lord forbid that if I have been once drawn to any sin, that I should think to cover it by another sin, by adding one sin to another, to think to shift for my credit or esteem by adding more sin to that already committed, Oh no, the Lord in his mercie hath made known unto me in the Gospel of Christ what sin means, the evil of sin, and therefore I have learned rather to endure any thing than to multiply iniquity; Indeed before I came to understand Jesus Christ, I thought sin was an evil thing, and I abstain’d from gross sins by that dim light of Nature that is within me; but since I came to understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the great mystery of godliness in his Son, & the dealings of the Father with his Son, the Lord knows now I abhor a sin in secret (though I were sure no body in the world should ever know it) more than I do abhor Hell its self;  I such a Conversation as would manifest such a work of God upon the heart as this is would become the Gospel of Christ indeed. Whereas otherwise brethren, if any of you that do profess the Gospel of Christ shall make sin but as a slight thing, and shall be ready to entertain sin in thy bosom, know that by this means, you do no other but trample under foot the Blood of Jesus Christ as a cōmon thing, as a thing that had no worth at all in it. This doth despight to the Gospel of Christ, you do dishonor Jesus Christ, and you do put him to open shame whose Name you have taken upon you by your profession: I’le give you a Scripture now for this in Heb. 6. 4. &c. He speaks of some, that were once enlightned, and had tasted of the Heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the holy Ghost, and tasted of the good word of God (that’s the Gospel) and the powers of the world to come: if they should fall away, it were impossible to renew them to repentance. Mark the reason: Seeing they crucifie to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame: Such as fall off after the profession of the Gospel into sinful waies, they are said here to crucifie the Son of God afresh, and to put him to open shame. This is far from walking as becomes the Gospel. And so you have another text in Heb. 10. 29. &c. (he speaks of those that had fallen off from their profession into sinful waies) Of how much s•rer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy of, who hath troden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the Covenant wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despight unto the Spirit of Grace? See how the holy Ghost speaks of such as fall from their profession into sinful waies again. And there’s a great deal of reason for it, for ’tis not so much for those that never made profession of the Gospel, to fall to sin, not such a horrid thing for them; but for those that have made profession of the Gospel, that they hold forth thus much; this is the language of their actions (though they dare not say so) Lord I acknowledge that I have seen the fruit of thy hatred of sin in the death of thy Son, that thou didst so hate sin, that thou madest thy Son to be a curse for sin; but yet for all this, such is the strength of my lusts, I must have my lusts, though it be so vile in thine eyes as the blood of thy Son went for it, yet I must have it rather than deny my lusts; Oh  what a dreadful thing is this? how provoking must it needs be to the holy God? Oh happy had it been for such men and women that they had never heard of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But of the evil of walking unbeseeming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we shall speak to after, when we come to the application; That’s then the sixt particular of what the Gospel holds forth The infinite hatred of God against sin.

Now the seventh thing that is held forth in the Gospel that cals for a Conversation beseeming, is this, The great price of souls. There’s nothing in the world that ever God did, that doth discover the worth of mans immortal soul so as the Gospel of Jesus Christ doth, there God manifests to all the world what a price he puts upon mans soul, the Lord saw that men by sin had undone themselves and that those souls that he made were like to perish to all eternity, yea, were under the sentence of eternal death, and must certainly perish eternally, if so be that some way were not found out by an infinit wisdom for to ransome them; now saith the Lord, rather than I will have all souls perish; (it’s true, the love that I have unto my Justice is such, as for many souls I’le let them go, and they shall perish; but yet that I might shew that I have an high esteem of the souls of the children of men, for the ransoming of that number that I have appointed from all eternity to save,) I’le send my Son, and he shall die for the saving of souls, that souls may not perish: If the Lord should have said concerning any one soul, I do so highly prize this soul, and account the worth of it to be such, as rather than it shall perish I’le disolve heaven and earth, heaven and earth shall perish rather than this soul shall perish, you will say, this had been a great testimony of Gods esteem of a soul: But know that the Gospel holds forth a higher esteem of a soul than this comes to, when God shal say, Rather than this, and the other soul shall perish, I’le send my Son to be made a Curse; This the Gospel holds forth; this is infinitly a higher price that God puts upon a soul: You know therfore what the Apostle saith in 1 Pet. 1. 18, 19. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed (saith he) with corruptible things; as silver, and gold: Then in the 19. verse, But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish, or without spot: ‘Tis not silver and gold:  or any corruptible thing that can redeem you, but the precious blood of Jesus Christ, Oh that blood, that’s more precious than the world, even all the world must let the redemption of a soul alone for ever, all the Angels in Heaven if they would have joyned together to have redeem’d a soul, and would have ventured themselves to have been destroyed for ever that they might have redeem’d a soul, it would not have been, they must all let the redemption of a soul alone for ever; the matter then of the redemption of a soul is more than we are aware of, and we could never have come to have known this but by the Gospel of Jesus Christ: The full price of a soul is writ down by the finger of Gods Spirit in the Gospel of Christ, which is only this, The Blood of the Son of God, the Blood of the Son of God.

Well then, let our Conversation be as becomes this that is held forth in this Gospel, that’s thus, Manifesting in your Conversation that you set a high price upon your souls: do not venture your souls upon nothing; Oh how unbeseeming is this, that when God shall set such a price upon a soul, as to give for the redemption of it more than ten thousand thousand worlds are worth, yet that a man or woman that professes themselves to be Christians shall venture the loss of their souls for the getting of sixpence or twelvepence, hazard those immortal Jewels for one or two minutes of sensual pleasure, to satisfie the lusts of the flesh; what is it else, when such will lye or cosen for a little while for thick clay? For the Lords sake, do not lay down thy everlasting soul at stake for a little gain, some for a little credit; art thou a Christian? didst ever reade the Gospel, man or woman didst thou ever hear of Christ? and dost thou know what the death of Christ meant? and wherefore Christ came into the world? must Heaven and earth be mov’d to provide a way to ransom souls? and dost thou set them at so low a rate? Oh how unbeseeming is this to the Gospel?

And others pawn away their souls, when God manifests what a price he sets upon them, yet will pawn their souls to the very Devil.

Quest. You will say, Is any man so wicked as to pawn away his soul to the Devil?

Ans. Yes, When any man will venture upon sin, but upon  this condition, I will repent before I die; that is, as if I should say thus, Here I give my soul to pawn, if I do repent, then I’l have it again, if I do not repent before I die, then it’s gone for ever. As when you give a pawn, you give it upon these terms, Wel, I give you this, and if I bring you by such a time so much money, then I’le have it again, and if not, then ’tis gone. So do men and women, they say thus, Here Devil, thou shalt have the possession of my soul all this while so long as I am in a way of sin, if I do repent, then I must have it again, but if I do not repent before I die, then thou shalt have it for ever. Now dost thou know the price of a soul? Oh! is this to shew the high price of a soul, that wil pawn your souls thus? And mark to whom you pawn it, you pawn it to the Devil, he hath it all this time, it’s in his custody: al the while that any one sins upon hope of repentance, (I say) til they repent the Devil hath their souls in his possession, in his hands: as when you pawn a piece of housholdstuff, til the time that you bring the money, so long the man you pawn it to hath the possession of it. And thus do people; you put your souls into the Devils hands, and upon such a condition that you are not able to perform; that is, if you repent, you will have it again, if not, he must have it for ever: Oh friends, you little know what repentance means! What is it to repent? it requires a mighty work of God, the same power of God that made the world is required to break the heart of a sinner, so that you put it to pawn upon that that is impossible for you your selves to perform by all the power that you have: Now if a man put a thing to pawn for that which is impossible for him to redeem, it may be, if he should have a great many friends that will do some great matter for him, then he may redeem it, but it is beyond his power; you will say, there is a great deal of danger then that that pawn shall never be redeemed. So know, when you pawn your souls, you put it into the hands of Satan, and lock it up in the powers of darknesse, and pawn it for that that you have no power to bring: Do you prize the Gospel? and know what a price God hath set upon souls? O then take heed and set a greater prise upon your souls than to pawn them away for every trifle, a thing of naught.

And then, If this be held forth in the Gospel, O then do not  pollute and defile you souls with sin as you do from time to time. God hath a high esteem of them, have you a high esteem of them likewise. Do not make your souls drudges and scuullions to your bodies, only to make use of your souls to provide for the satisfying of the lusts of the flesh, as many men and women have no other use of their precious immortal souls all their lives, but only their souls are imployed to be slaves for the lusts of their flesh: Oh! are these the souls that must cost the blood of Christ, that God hath put such a price upon? surely you do not know the Gospel nor Jesus Christ. If I should tel you what Phylosophers say of the soul, of mens immortal eternal souls (though this be now doubted, yet it was plentifully known among the Heathens) these would be but dry things to you in comparison of this, to tell you that Jesus Christ hath died to redeem souls, theres more in this than in al the arguments that possibly can be brought to shew the excellency of the soul of man.

Oh then, likewise let your Conversation be as becomes this of the Gospel, in your care of the souls of those that are committed to your care and charge. Do you profess the Gospel? then you profess withal that God so esteemed of a soul, that he gave the life and blood of his Son to ransom a soul; Oh then, really demonstrate that you do highly esteem of the souls of your children, and servants, by walking convincingly before them, that you may do all the good you can to them, by instructing of them, by praying for them, and with them; and so before all your friends and acquaintance, let such kind of meditations work thus in you as these, Oh Lord, since I came to know the Gospel, I have learn’d what a high price thou hast put upon souls, Lord, this shall make me for evermore to value souls at a higher rate than heretofore I have done. Oh it were an excellent point to urge upon Ministers, who are charged with many souls, Oh let them so watch over them, pray for them, and preach to them all the Counsels of God, both in season and out of season, that in the great Day of Christ, they may be cleer of the blood of all men, as Paul was. And that’s the seventh thing that the Gospel holds forth unto us, The preciousness of souls; and let your Conversations be as becomes this great point of the Gospel.

But then Eighthly, which is as principal a one almost as any and neerly concerns us, and that’s this: The Gospel discovers unto us, the great honor that God hath put upon humane Nature above the Angels. This could never have been known but by the Gospel, this is as proper a thing to the Gospel as any I have spoken of: And one special design that God had in the Gospel, was, To reveal those thoughts and counsels that he had from al eternity, to put mighty and great Excellencies upon our humane Nature in these two particulars.

First, In the Personal Ʋnion of Mans Nature to the second Person in Trinity; That’s the first, and great way of honor that God hath crowned human Nature with. Hence the Apostle in 1 Tim. 1. 6. Without controversie, great is the mysterie of godliness. What is it? God was manifested in the flesh. God manifested in the flesh! that’s a great mystery of godliness. Now it could not be such a mystery, if God had only taken an humane shape upon Him, (for so it was in the time of the Law) Jesus Christ often took humane shape; as when He strove with Jacob, it was Jesus Christ, as might easily appear. But great is the mysterie of godliness, without controversie it’s great. God manifested in the flesh: that is, God taking flesh of man into a personal union, which is more fully exprest in John, 1. 4. The Word was made flesh. This was a strange speech, but proper to the Gospel. An Heathen would have thought this a strange speech, and especially if he knew, that by the Word was meant, He that was true and eternal God. And then, in Heb. 2. 16. it is said, That Christ did not take the Nature of Angels upon him; but the seed of Abraham. So that it appears by the personal union of our Natures to the Son of God, God hath advanced human Nature above Angels, above all creatures. Truly my Brethren, in Christs taking our Nature upon Him, which the Gospel holds forth to us, me thinks we may see God (as it were) resolving to do a work from Himself, to the uttermost, to manifest the uttermost of his glory in a work out of Himself, the work of God within Himself, it is, His eternal generation, and the possession of the holy Ghost: but now God would work out of Himself, and work out of Himself to the uttermost extent; I’le make a world (saith God,) Heavens and Earth by my Word.  But this is not such a glorious work as I am able to do: I could make ten thousand worlds, and when I have made them I could make as many more, and more glorious: But I would do some work wherein I might manifest even the uttermost of my glory: What work is that? that is, The work that God pitcht upon, He would do one work from without to manifest the uttermost of his glory, and the Lord rather pitches upon this, To take the nature of Man into a personal union with His Son, that’s the uttermost: And it is impossible that Men or Angels, if they were left to all eternity to imagin, could think of a work that it were possible for God to express more of His power, wisdom, and glory in: but we know but little of it now, but we shall know more in Heaven. Now, Oh how hath God honored humane Nature in this! That when He would do a work to the utmost of His Excellency, that He would pitch upon Mans Nature, to take it into Personal Union with Himself; here’s the mystery of the Gospel: now this is indeed the marrow of the mysterie of the Gospel, The Word made flesh: the second Person in Trinity taking Mans Nature upon Him; This is the mystery of the Gospel that Angels and Saints admire at, and shall be taken up to all eternity in admiring and praising and magnifying God for. That’s the first way of Gods honoring Mans Nature. And then, there is a second thing which the Gospel reveals, and that’s this, In putting honor not only upon the Nature of Man, as having soul and body, but putting a mighty honor upon the very Body of Man, the meanest and the very lowest part of Man, the very shel, outside, rine and case of Man: that you have in 1 Cor. 6. 19. What, know ye not that your bodie is the temple of the holy Ghost, which is in you? Your body is the Temple of the holy Ghost. You have no such thing revealed in the old Testament, this comes by the light of the Gospel, that the Lord hath made the bodies of the Saints to be Temples to the holy Ghost, that the holy Ghost dwels in their very Bodies as in a Temple; as the King in his Pallace, so the holy Ghost in His Temple: Now these two are great things revealed in the Gospel, and had we but a cleer understanding of these two things, Oh! it would mightily elevate our spirits. And Conversations sutable to these two particulars surely must  needs be a high raised Conversation. As now for instance,

  1. In the personal union of our natures with the second Person in Trinity: Oh how should this raise up our hearts and we should manifest the elevation of our spirits in our Conversation, so as it becomes those that may expect great things from God, surely that God that hath honoured our natures so, as to be personally united to his Son, he doth intend great things to some of the children of men, as now, Suppose you that are the poorest and meanest here in this Congregation, you had a Sister that were married to the greatest Emperor in the world, yea, to one that were Emperor of all the whol Earth; now you would think to live another kind of life than you did before, were it beseeming such a man to live now upon scraping of Chanels, or wiping of horse heels, (or any mean imployment,) when his Sister is married to the only Monarch of all the whol earth, surely he may think now, I must live at a higher rate, for I may expect something by this: So should every one of the children of men think thus, indeed I have liv’d in a mean base way, the humane nature of mine hath been basely subject to filthy lusts, all my daies, I have been a bondslave to sin and Satan, but when I come to hear of the Gospel, I hear that the second Person in Trinity, God blessed for ever, equal with the Father, that is the Heir of all things, that he hath not married my humane nature, but hath taken it into a personal union with himself, and is become my kinsman, my neer kinsman, hath taken this into the neerest union as is possible for a creature to be taken into with God: Oh let us be raised then in our thoughts, to think, surely God intends higher things for some of the children of men, than to eat and drink, and satisfie the flesh, and be brutish here in the world, there are higher things that God will do for mankind, and why not for me? I am not excluded no more than others? It was a speech I remember of Seneca, (though a Heathen) I am greater (saith he) and I am born to greater things than to be a slave to my body: A Heathen could say so: Oh but when we hear of humane nature so advanced and enthroned in Christ, we should think with our selves, that any one that hath humanity in them is born to higher things, than to make provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof: What wilt thou be a slave to the Devil now? Thou hearest how God hath dignified the nature of man into so neer a union with himself, Oh doth not this mysterie of the Gospel call to all the children of men? Oh all you children of men! Behold what God hath done for man kind! surely the thoughts of God for man-kind are great and glorious, there be higher things you may attain unto, and will you yet perish, and chuse your portion here in this world, and be groveling on the ground, as if there were no higher thoughts that God had for your good, than meerly to live as brute beasts, to eat and drink, and then rise up to play? Oh if God hath advanced mans nature so, do not despise it in the meanest of the children of men, the lowest servant, or poorest boy that lies begging at your door for a piece of bread, (for it is of the same kind that is united in a personal union with the second Person in Trinity, of the same nature which this poor boy that lies begging at your door for broken bread and meat) therefore honor humane nature in every one, and do not vilifie it in thy self; those men that live under the Gospel and vilifie humane nature, they put a dishonour upon Jesus Christ. And even reverence thy self in private when thou art alone, (I say) reverence thy self, do not abuse thy body, it is the Temple of the holy Ghost. Oh remember this all you that are professors of Religion, that these bodies of yours, this flesh of yours (if you be godly and walk answerable to your profession) I say this flesh of yours it is the very Temple of the holy Ghost, do not abuse it; it’s the Apostles argument, Therefore fly fornication, and be not joyned to whores; for your bodies are the temples of the holy Ghost: Oh it makes the sin of uncleanness to one that professes the Gospel of Christ a cursed sin, the sin of uncleaness in a professor of the Gospel, it’s a thousand thousand times more abominable than the sin of uncleanness in another: why? Because they know how God hath advanced humane nature into a personal union with himself, and how their bodies are the Temples of the holy Ghost. What shal I make the Temple of God a ••y for the unclean spirit, a cage of unclean birds? God forbid. There hath been a great deal of do about stony Churches and Temples, and you should have a great many base whoremasters plead for the Whore of Rome (the Mistris of all fornications) in bowing, and cringing with Cap, and knee as soon as they set their foot in some of our meeting places; and in the mean time abuse the Saints which are the Temples of the holy Ghost, and abuse their own bodies, and yet they profess themselves Christians; Oh now, either deny thy Christianity, or do not abuse thy body to any filthy lust, for it is the Temple of the holy Ghost. This the Gospel holds forth. And let thy Conversation be now as becomes the Gospel of Jesus Christ; not abusing thy body so; For we see that the Gospel cals for bodily cleanness, as well as spiritual cleanness, and truly I do not know stronger arguments to godliness than these that we have mentioned here in the Gospel: We have gone through three, Gods infinit hatred of sin. The price of souls. And the honor that the Gospel shews that God hath put upon humane nature. Conversations but becoming these three, would be other manner of Conversations than you have. I shall only speak of a fourth, and that’s this.
  2. The Gospel holds forth the greatest example of self-denial that ever was in the world, & by all waies that ever God hath made known his mind, he never hath revealed his will in an example of self-denial so as he hath done in the Gospel, and that is in the example of the Lord Jesus Christ: God evidenceth there such a work of self-denial, as never was: and ’tis impossible to apprehend a greater example of self-denial than that is; though Christ thought it no robbery to be equal with God; reade but the second of the Philippians, vers. 7, 8. and there you may see what Christ was, and yet how he emptied himself, how he denied himself in his honor, how vile he was made in the world, though he was the brightness of his fathers glory, yet he was made of no reputation; how he denied himself in riches, Christ that was the Heir of all things, though he were rich, yet he was made poor for us; how he denied himself in his pleasures, he was the delight of the Father from all eternity, and yet he was made a man of sorrows; he denied himself in his life, for he was the Lord of life, and yet he subjected himself to death, to a cursed death for us: Oh the example of Christ in self-denial is the greatest that ever was: and this seems to be one great end of the humiliation of Jesus Christ to hold forth a preaching pattern of self-denial to the world: And there’s a great deal more power in the pattern and example of self-denial, then in the commands of self-denial, I only present this to shew you that it is the most unbeseeming the Gospel for any one that professes the Gospel to be selvish, altogether scraping for themselves; and whatsoever service they are put upon, except self may have an oare in it, they have no mind to it; Oh ’tis becoming the Gospel of Jesus Christ for men and women to be emprtied of themselves, no matter what becomes of our selves, but be willing to give up our selves for publick good, to venture your estates, and lives, and all your comforts, yea to be swallowed up in the glory of God, to be nothing, that Christ may be all. In the Gospel of Christ, we find that Christ he was swallowed up with the glory of his Father; and he came not to do his own will, but the will of his father that sent him; and though he was one that had infinitely more excellency than all men and Angels in Heaven and Earth, yet he was content for the honor of his Father to be made as a worm and no man, to be trampled under foot, to endure the greatest extremities of all sorts; this holds out an example to us, that while we live in this world we should be taken off from our selves: Oh this self-love sticks much in the hearts of men and women: now upon the example of Christs self-denial, we are required to deny our selves, and it is the proper lesson of the Gospel, He that will follow me, let him deny himself, you never read of such a precept in all the old Testament; (though no question the people of God did deny themselves then,) but in expresse terms so fully you have not such a thing there: and there’s no such rules among the Heathens for a man to deny himself, Let him deny himself; those that know the Original, know that the word is, not only to Deny, but there is that joyned to it that doth encrease the signification, let them deny themselves, throughly, there is a Preposition put to the word, to shew that those that will come to Christ must deny themselves, and that throughly, it is a proper lesson of the Gospel, and the first lesson. Oh when our Lord and Master hath thus denied himself, and emptied himself for good to us, what is beseeming this Gospel, but that all that are professors of it should deny themselves? It is very unbeseeming the glorious Gospel, for a Christian to be selvish, to have his self-ends, and self-waies, and interests in every thing, as generally almost al men in the world they are acted by self, some self-ends, or self-excellency carries them on in their actions, or else they have no heart to do any thing; this is unbecoming the Gospel. But now I say, one that would live as becomes the Gospel, must be wholly emptied of himself, whatsoever parts, estate, credit, or honor he hath in the world, must be melted into the glory of God; Jesus Christ for the glory of His Father, was content infinitly to deny Himself more than we can; For what have we to deny our selves of? Do you or I live as becomes the Gospel? when (I say) all that we apprehend to have any excellency in, we have it all swallowed up in the glory of God, when we can dedicate and consecrate our lives, honors, liberties, estates, comforts, and all to the glory of God, and be as nothing to our selves, and let God be all in all to us, Ministers may bring many reasons why we should deny our selves, but all these reasons comes to nothing, till the soul comes to behold the cleer light of the Gospel, and there beholds the Son of God by faith, how he did empty Himself; nay then, saith a beleeving soul, if the Son of God did deny Himself, was emptied thus for me, Oh then let me be wholly taken off from my self, and venture wholly upon God, I must not live in my self, nor live for my self, nor live to my self; but wholly live in God, and for God, and to God, and upon God: Oh this is that which becomes the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

SERMON VI.

PHIL. 1. 27.

Only let your Conversation be as becomes the Gospel of Christ.

THE Ninth thing that the Gospel holds forth is this, That our Conversation should be sutable to spiritual worship, the spiritual worshiping of God. The worship that there was in the time of the Law, it was carnal in comparison of what there is in the time of the Gospel: And therefore a great part of the worship of God is called, a carnal commandement, and rudiments of the world, and beggerly things; If you reade the 2d of Colossians, there you have strange expressions about that which was even the worship of God: and so in the Hebrews divers times. But now you know what Christ saith in John 4. to the woman of Samaria, The hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this Mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem worship the Father: But the hour cometh, when the true worshipers shal worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for such the Father seeks to worship him. We must not think to worship God in such carnal waies as before. I beseech you consider this one thing, Certainly God wil have as much worship in the time of the Gospel, as ever He had: But where we have one external thing to worship God in now, in the time of the Law there was an hundred, an hundred to one of external things: yet now this worship of God must be made up some way; we are not cal’d to those outward worshipings, offerings, sacrifices, and costly things as they were in the time of the Law; now, how should this be made up, but in spiritual sacrifices, in presenting our bodies and  souls to God as a living sacrifice, therefore such men and women as altogether are for the out-side of things in the worship of God, and because God hath appointed but a few things in his worship; we have use of no other creature in the worshipping of God, but meerly the Bread and Wine, and Water, only these elements; and the Man to speak to us, to be either Gods mouth to us, or our mouth to God; there’s all we have appointed in the Gospel for the worship of God; therefore it is expected if we would have our Conversation be as becoms the Gospel, to be very spiritual in our worship, and therefore to take heed of thinking to make up Gods worship with external things of our own, that’s exceedingly unbeseeming the Gospel: Many thought in former times, they did honor God much by adding to His Worship ceremonies, external things; and peoples hearts are set most upon them, because they are from man, they are humane: I’le give you but one-Scripture to shew how we should for ever take heed of traditions of men, and of mixtures in the Worship of God, because that the Gospel points at spiritual worship: That place in 1 Pet. 1. 18. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold: from what? from your vain Conversations received by traditions from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish, and without spot. See what an argument the Apostle uses here unto those he writ to, saith he, There was a time that you worshiped God in an external way, and in a superstitious manner, according to the traditions and fancies of your fathers, this was before you knew Jesus Christ; but (saith he) now you come to know Jesus Christ, know it was the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed to redeem you from this vain Conversation that you received by tradition from your forefathers. I do not know any one Scripture hath more power in it to take off mens hearts from all false and superstitious worship, from all old customs that they had from their forefathers, (as people are mightily set upon old customs, to worship God according to them) what a stir and do had we to get off men from their late Service-Book (the great Diana of England) which was made up of the ends and shreds of the Romish Mass-Book,  only printed in an English letter; and reading and babling over Burials, and such kind of trumperies, Oh how were those old Samaritan customs setled in the hearts of men? as coming up to the Communion Table, and there to kneel down at Rails like so many Beads-men to the Pope, & Votaries to Rome. Mens hearts are mightily set upon such foolish things as these are. But now this text tels you, that if you know what it is to be redeemed by the blood of Christ, you must know that the blood of Christ was shed for, to take you off from your vain conversation received by tradition from your forefathers: Christ shed his blood that he might deliver you from all such traditional things, that so you might worship God in spirit and in truth; this becomes the Gospel. And at your leasure do but reade over that second Chapter of the Epistle to the Colossians, speaking of men, that in a voluntary humility, worshiped Angels, intruding into those things which they have not seen, and vainly puft up by their fleshly mind. And then in the 16. verse, Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, not that you may not eat flesh at such and such times in the year) or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath daies, (the Jewish Sabbath day:) let no man judg you (saith the Apostle) in regard of these things, which are a shadow of things to come. Then in the 19. vers. And not holding the head. Those that stood upon such things as these are, they are here charged for not holding the head, that is, they did not hold Christ; as if the Apostle should say, If so be that you hold Christ, and profess Christ, you would not stand upon these things, upon these kind of superstitious waies in the worship of God. And you shall find in the Epistle to the Galatians, the Apostle telling of the GALATIANS about such kind of waies of continuing and holding of the worship of the Law, saith he in Gal. 4. 10. Ye observe daies, and months, and times, and years: What then? I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain. As if the Apostle should say, I profess I see you stand upon such old things, and worshiping of God in an external way; I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed all my labor in vain: This is so opposite to the Gospel, as makes me think, and am afraid that all my preaching of the Gospel to you is in vain: and yet mark my Brethren,  what were these daies, and months, and times, and yeers? they were such as God heretofore had appointed, but now they were ceased, after Christ came, out of date, and yet they sticking to them after the death of Christ (saith the Apostle) I profess I am afraid of you, that all my preaching in vain to you: Now my brethren what shall we say to those that stick upon these things that God had never appointed, but were of Popish ordination: As keeping one time more holy than another, and thinking thereby to tender up service to God: Why should we not keep the memory of such and such times? Now as to keep them so as to think that they shall sanctifie any time, is a dangerous thing, a sign that they understand the Gospel but little, to think that any men upon any reason whatsoever should be able to sanctifie a time, to make that time to be holy, (I say) that’s unbeseeming the Gospel; no man can make a holy day under the Gospel.

Obj. But you will say, We keep daies of fasting, and thanksgiving.

Ans. But there’s a great deal of difference between them and these times that here the Apostle speaks of.

Now the keeping of holy daies is this: We account the time holy, and the very duty is more acceptable because it is performed at that time; as now on the Sabbath day, there may be a Sermon on the week day, but certainly it’s a more holy worship of God to hear upon the Sabbath, than on the week day, and we sanctifie Gods Name more on the Sabbath than on the week; why? Because the time doth sanctifie the duty, being set apart by God: As in the Temple, the duty was more acceptable than in any other place, why? because it was set apart by God; but we cannot make any place holy, and so no time holy: so that our daies of fasting & thansgiving are only thus, that we wil spend that time in holy duties, to humble our selves, or to bless God, but not to make this time holy, so that the duty should be holy because it’s on this day rather than on another day; that’s the superstition of it, when a duty should be holy rather on this day than on another; as now, some they think it’s a more holy thing to receive the Lords Supper on an Ester day than on another day; this is superstition, to think  the duty is more holy by any holiness that men put upon a thing, that’s unbeseeming the Gospel; and we are redeemed from such vain Conversations by the blood of Christ; and while men stick upon these things, and say, let them do what they will me thinks these things are good and right, it’s very evil. Thus it was with the Galatians, they had more seeming reason to think that those things that they stuck upon were according to God than you, yet saith the Apostle, I am afraid of you lest I have spent all my labor in vain, lest I have been a burning and shining lamp to no purpose: and truly there’s no people of which there can be less hope that the Ministry of the Word should work sayingly upon, than those people that are set upon old customs in the worship of God, as wines upon their lees: and till the Lord be pleased to take off your hearts from old customs in the service and worship of God, there’s a plain demonstration that the preaching of the Gospel hath not prevailed with your hearts, for you do not live as becomes the Gospel: That which becomes the Gospel it is worshiping God only in a spiritual way, the consecrating of your souls and bodies. and all you have to the worship of God, in making them to be an holy sacrifice to God, and that according to the rules of the Gospel, which is your reasonable service. And that’s another particular that the Gospel teaches: And therefore to live as becomes the Gospel is, to worship God in spirit and in truth.

The tenth thing that I shall further add of what the Gospel holds forth to us, and that is of such consequence that I shall a little insist upon it, that is, The near relation that we are in to God and Christ, and spiritual union with him. This is opened in the Gospel more fully than ever it was before. The relation to God.

First, God as a Father, and Beleevers as Children, yea, and as Children of age; for though in the Law, it’s true, we find that God was there a Father, and Ephraim was his deer son: But you shall find in the 3. of Galatians, That now we are as Children of age; whereas Beleevers in the time of the Law were under age. Now you know any of your children when they come to be of age, and to live to themselves, and out of their Apprentiships, then their lives are after another manner than  when they were little children in their non-age, now they come to have stocks in their hands, to trade for themselves, and not to be any more as servants; a child before he comes of age is under Tutors and Governors in the family, but when he comes to yeers of discretion, then he lives like a man, and commands rather in the family, and is serviceable to none, but his father and mother. So we should live as becomes children of age, that is, manifesting in our Conversations a staiedness, wisdom, and gravity, and now to live more above the things of this world than before we did, as children of age.

And for the union we have with God, that is, That the Saints now are made one with God, and with Christ his Son: In 1 Cor. 6. 17. He that is joyned to the Lord, is one Spirit. It’s a very strange expression, we are one Spirit with God and with Jesus Christ. O what Conversation becomes this, that we should be principled and acted with the same Spirit? surely such a one as must manifest that we are crowned & graced with the same Spirit, that is Gods Spirit, and the Spirit of Jesus Christ his Son; now surely that must needs be a very holy spiritual Conversation. 1 Cor. 3. 16. Yea, the Spirit of God dwelleth in you (saith the text) and 2 Cor. 6. 16, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my People. See the neer union that we have with God that the Gospel holds forth to us. Yea and there is another phrase which is very remarkable, That as the Spirit of God is in Beleevers, so Beleevers are in the Spirit: Gal. 5. 25. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit (saith the text.) The Spirit lives in us, and we live in the Spirit, what Conversation must there needs be here then? Oh let us walk, not in a fleshly way, to satisfie the lusts of the flesh, but in the Spirit, the fruits that do become the Spirit of God: You shall see them in this 5. of Gal. 22. vers. &c. But the fruit of the Spirit, is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against such there is no Law. And they that are Christs, have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts of it. If we walk in the Spirit, then here’s the fruit of the Spirit; Would you have your Conversations such as becomes the Gospel, then mark but these three phrases.

  1. The Spirit of God is in you, in a constant way taking up his habitation and residence in your bosoms.
  2. You live in the very Spirit, as in the proper element of a Christian.
  3. You are one Spirit with God. Put these three, and Oh now, how unbeseeming to these three expressions (that we have in the Gospel and no where else) is it for professors of the Gospel so satisfie the lusts of the flesh? Oh how unsutable are fleshly lusts to a spiritual man? Oh take heed of this for ever you that make profession of the Gospel, do not wallow in the mire of uncleanness, do not give liberty to the lusts of the flesh, but mortifie the lusts of the flesh and the deeds thereof, for you are joyned so neer to God himself, ye live in God too: Col. 3. 3. Your life is hid with Christ in God. It’s a very transcendent phrase that the Saints do live in God; you do not only live in the aire, and breath in the aire, but while you live here in the world you live in God, Oh the wonderful mystery of the Gospel! and the high things that are held forth in the Gospel, That Gods Spirit is in us, and we are in the Spirit, and we are the same Spirit with God, yea, and we live in God; Oh then what a Conversation should be sutable to these things; seeing these things are thus, what manner of persons ought we to be? Yea, and there is another expression and that’s more full than any of these, and that’s in the prayer of Christ, in the 17. of John, 21. That they all may be one, as Thou Father art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Ʋs. The Gospel discovers this union, for the Saints to be one with the Father and Son, as the Father and Son are one; now those that are joyned so neer to God, their Conversations had need be holy, and blameless, witnessing the glory of that God that they are so neer related to. I remember in handling of that point in drawing nigh to God in his Worship: There we shewed what holiness is required in those that are so nigh to God; but those that are one with God, and in God Oh how much of God, of Jesus Christ should shine forth by their lives in the faces of others? Reade these scriptures and by faith make them real to your souls, and then let your consciences tell you what Conversations is required of you: If you be a Beleever, this is so: Charge your souls with this, when any temptation to evil comes; What, is it fit for such a one as I to live thus, who have the Spirit of God dwelling in me, yea and I dwelling in the Spirit of God, and joyned so as to be one spirit with God, yea and to live in God, and to be one with God, as the Father and the Son is one? and is this conversation such as beseems one that is raised to such a height of honor as this is? Christians, remember this, it wil be a mighty help to your holy Conversations, to put you on to shine before men in a holy Conversation, to walk in the Spirit, considering the near union we have with God; we should never have known these things had we not had them revealed to us by the Gospel. Oh this glorious Gospel that hath revealed such glorious things to us as this is.

And then, Our relation and our union with Jesus Christ. You know the Scripture makes Christ sometimes to be the Root, and we the Branches, therefore we are to bring forth fruit, seeing that we are Branches in Him that is the Root: Bring forth fruit sutable to the Sap. You that bring forth sowr grapes, grapes of Gomorrah, that have bitter tart spirits, and live in any wicked and sinful way: Is this the Sap that is sutable to the Root? You are graffed into Jesus Christ, and not into a Crab-stock: And do you receive this Sap from the Root? Oh you are a dishonor to the Root you grow upon. I am the true Vine (saith Christ,) and every Branch in me beareth fruit, and my Father purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Christians should so live in their Conversations as to manifest the fulness of the sap and juyce that there is in the Root, the Lord Jesus Christ; it’s not enough here and there to have a leaf, and a grape or two, but full ripe clusters of grapes becomes those that grow upon such a fruitful Root.

And then you know, Christ is the Head, and we the Members. Then do not dishonor your Head: When there is a temptation comes to any sin, but will not this be a dishonor to my Head? do I receive such a spirit from the Head to act after such a sinful course? Oh be not a crown of thorns to your Head Jesus Christ. Yea, and the Union is very great; for it is not only that we are Members of Christ, and so we are in Christ; but Christ in us: the Root is not in the Branch, though the Branches be in the Root: and the Head is not in the Members, though the Head be  joyned with the members. But Christ is in us, as we are in Him, and so the union is very glorious and mysterious. You complain of weakness: But is there not strength in Christ? are you not joyned to Christ thus, and a member of Him, and a branch in Him? what ever infirmities you have which bows you down, yet there is power enough in Jesus Christ to convay to any, to enable them to walk in an holy Conversation before the Lord, to renew their strength as the Eagle: Manifest then the vertue of your Head, from whence all the sinnews of every members strength doth arise.

And then, you know the relation we have to Christ, As He is the Husband, we the Spouse: Oh do not discredit your Husband. Any wise vertuous Wife would make it a mighty argument against any evil way; It will disgrace my Husband; especially if her Husband be a publick man in place and authority. Oh let this be an argument against every sin, even the appearence of evil, it will be dishonorable to the Lord Jesus who is my Husband, How can I do this wickedness against my Lord, and my God, who hath betrothed me to Himself, so that I am bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh. That’s the second thing.

And then a Third thing that the Gospel holds forth to us that we should labor to sute our Conversations according, is this; The near Ʋnion that the Saints have one with another. It’s not so revealed any where as in the Gospel. Rom. 12. 5. we are said there, to be members one of another, as we are members of Christ. (I beseech you observe it) so we are members one of another. That Scripture may be in stead of all for this, in Ephes. 4. 4. the exhortation there to unity; We must endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. Why? For, there is one body, and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. See, here’s some seven ones to be an argument of unity. One body, and one spirit, and called in the hope of one calling, and one Lord, and one Faith, and one Baptism, and one God: Where have you such a unity demonstrated but in the Gospel of peace and love? And I do not know in all the Book of God where any one duty is more pressed than unity. Somewhat we hinted  in speaking of the love of God, which is a great design of the Gospel to hold forth, and there we spake somewhat of Love: But here of the unity of the Saints, being so neer united into one thing, the Saints should be one; and certainly it’s the most unbeseeming thing in the world that can be for Saints to be divided in their affections upon some little differences in judgment; Let me argue with you, What? was the Coat of Christ without any seam, and shall the body of Christ be rent all to pieces? Fy for shame, the Gospel of Christ is in your hands which teacheth another lesson. Next to our salvation, the Gospel intends the union of Saints, & there’s nothing prest more strongly in every leaf of it, and it’s here in my very text that makes me to speak to this; for mark the very words that follow in this of my text, Phil. 1. 27. Only let your Conversation be as becomes the Gospel of Christ.

Now if you should say, Wherein should we walk so? The Apostle doth answer then, That ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the Gospel. Mark, striving together, he would have the Saints to be strivers: I but strivers for what? Not for their own will and humors, and opinions, and fancies, and customs, and traditions which are out of date; But strivers for the faith, for the faith of the Gospel, for the Doctrine of faith; and they should labor to joyn all their strength together (both shoulders and hearts:) There’s a great deal of striving now, Professors of the Gospel they strive asunder; but the holy Ghost would have us strive together; and this is as becomes the Gospel (saith the text:) The Apostle here doth instance in this particular above all others, that to live as it becomes the Gospel, it is to stand fast, with one Spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the Gospel. Oh how unbecoming the Gospel is the waies and lives of most Christians now!

  1. You will say, From whence are these sad divisions and risings up of hearts amongst the Tribes, so that one thinks that he hath the truth, and another judgeth that he alone is in the right way?
  2. I beseech you therefore, because it’s so fully instanced in the very words of the Text, that the Apostle instances in this particular, give me leave to speak of it in a few words, certainly his meaning is not (when he saith, that you shall be of one spirit, and of one mind,) that men should give up their judgements and consciences to the opinions of other men, that others (according to their power) may again lord it over us and so enslave our selves, to draw in their yokes, to grind in their mills, and plow with their asses, yea that were against other Scriptures. No, but the meaning is this, That we should labor to find out what is truth, search for it as for silver, and go according to what light we have, but yet so, though we should differ, to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, and joyn in al things that we can, and walk so lovingly, that it may appear, that if there be difference, it is meerly that which conscience makes, because we dare not deny what we are perswaded in conscience is a truth: We cannot put out the convincing light of the candle of the Lord which is set up within us, yet we can live in unity and peace and be useful one to another, communicating our gifts, and graces, comforts and experiences one to another as it becomes Christians. And indeed it is a greater honor to the Gospel, for men though they do differ in their judgments, yet if they can keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, I say, it’s a great honor to the Gospel than if they were all of the same mind. You know the Turks they are al of one mind, but I cannot say so of the Papists, yet they have a chain to keep them together. We read of the Egyptians, that when it was darkness among them, they sat still and kept close together, but when it came to be light, every man went about his own business: so when light doth begin to break forth, and there’s liberty given to search into truths; we cannot imagin that at the very first men should be of the same judgment, except they will give up their consciences and sacrifice their reason one to another, but though they be not of one judgement, yet there may be kept a blessed unity of affection, there may be a golden girdle clapsed about their loins: yea and of practice so far as men can with peace of conscience and joy in the holy Ghost, so as not to sin against conscience and light; Unity of affection and practice should be endeavored to the utmost, and it is a most Christian thing so to do; and certainly this should be studied and endeavored by us, as much as lieth in us. Me thinks when I reade over the Epistles of Paul, or any part of the new Testament, I see nothing more pressed than this (next to beleeving in Jesus Christ,) and therefore it should be the care of Christians. And as it ought to be the care of Christians to study unity and peace; so I beseech you that small differences may not be abused and heightned so far, as because some do differ from others, that therefore presently (if they be the least part especially) all the odium should be cast upon them, though they can appeal to God that they do endeavour to know the mind of God, and to keep unity so far as they can without sin. And we shall see that the Scripture doth never lay the sin of devision upon any, except those that do lay it upon them are able to say, that those make division from some corrupt end or other of their own: and then it charges them deeply; as that place is most famous that you have in Rom. 16. 17, 18. (and I verily perswade my self that there is many of your that hear this text very much abused) Now I beseech you brethren, mark those which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them. This is the great place against that sin which we call schism, for schism is nothing but a rending asunder, That cause division, [schism] contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned and avoid them. Now you know the sin of schism was cast by the Popish Bishops heretofore upon all that would not be of their minds in any ceremonies and will-worship, and because many would not come up to the Rails, and submit to receive the Lords Supper by kneeling in that way that it was then admistred by our Prelatical Priests, therefore they were termed schismaticks: And so at this day, many cry out of others if so be they cannot swallow Camels with them, if so be they differ in some things wherein they cannot joyn with them because it would be sin and a snare to them, they presently say they are guilty of schism, and faction (There is a great deal of taking Gods Name in vain in this thing;) yet they do not tell you what the true nature of schism is, but if any persons joyn not with the greater part (which is usually least conscientious) that’s schism in an high degree; this is not that that becomes the Gospel, presently to judg all that differ from us. But mark the next words and there the Apostle tells what schism is.

First, it must be contrary to sound doctrine, for (saith he) They that are such, serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by good words, and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple: The Apostle could take it upon his conscience by seeing the behaviour of these men, that the cause why they differed from others it was, not out of tenderness of conscience and desire to know the mind of God, but by their behavior he saw enough to satisfie his conscience, their Conversation gave their profession the lye; and therefore (saith he) avoid such. So I confess, if men can take it upon their consciences, as they would answer to Jesus Christ; I see such and such men to differ thus; but I can appeal to Christ in it, that upon these and these grounds I am perswaded it is not out of tenderness of conscience, and I am verily perswaded that there is no willingness in them to know the mind of Christ, but it is to serve their own carnal ends, and purposes. I confess if we can take this upon our consciences as we will answer it to Jesus Christ, that there are such and such grounds upon which we beleeve Christ wil so account, that such men do not differ through their tenderness, but from their own carnal ends, these men may be accounted schismaticks: This is the sin of schism, when through want of love and to serve their own by-ends men shall rend one from another: But now is it possible to think that the holy Ghost should lay so great a load (as to command the Saints to avoid such persons) upon men whose consciences are upright with God, sure when a man shall be able to appeal to God, and say, Lord, thou that knowest all things, knowest that it is the desire of my soul to know thy will, and I search for it, and pray for it, and it is the affliction of my soul that I differ in any thing from my brethren that I see to be godly, and if I knew thy mind, thou knowest I would quickly close with them, and account it the greatest happiness that can befall me in this life to shake hands with them in such and such particulars; But thou hast laid this charge upon me, that I must do what I do out of faith, and I should sin against that rule of thine if I should yeeld to that that I see no footing for out of thy Word. Now if a soul should make this moan to Jesus Christ, do you think that Christ would account this man a schismatick? and that he must be avoided and  persecuted 〈◊〉 a schismatick? no certainly there’s a great mistake in this, and this is meerly for want of charity; and that which the holy Ghost is so bitter against is, when men for want of love to their brethren, and for to serve their own base ends make breaches and rents in the Church; judge such now to be guilty of the sin of schism and no other; for that is to break unity, to judge others guilty of schism, meerly because they differ from you, and cannot reade by your spectacles, these extreams that I have spoken of are waies that are very much unbeseeming the Gospel of Christ, for men our of base ends to break unity, to rend from the Saints; or otherwise because men joyn not with you in every thing you desire, therefore presently to put such a brand upon them, as to stigmatize them for schismaticks, certainly this unchristian like nicknaming the children of God maintains the breach and widens it more and more; whereas the Conversation that becomes the Gospel is to study, to find out the truth. And do I see Learned and Godly men of another judgment? Let me pray more unto the Father of lights for the Spirit of revelation: It may be I may mistake; If I be mistaken, Lord discover it, let me not go on in the waies of darkness, but take away the scales from my understanding, that I may see into the deep things of God and his Gospel; And therefore others that they differ from should tender these as brethren, and look upon them and see, are they not consciencious in all their other waies? Can I be able to find any fault with them in their lives and Conversations? It may be it’s their mistake, then let me pray for them and labor to help them, and tender them all I can, it may be God will reveal his mind to them more fully afterward: Now in what we have attained let us walk, and if any be otherwise minded God will reveal his mind to them, and this carriage should be in Christians one towards another, that differ one from another, and this is a Conversation becoming the Gospel: But when one differs from another, for to give reviling speeches, and names of disgrace, and to cast dirt one upon another, this is exceeding unbecoming the Gospel, yea, if the Heathens were amongst us, they would even loath the Gospel of Jesus Christ to see the carriage of Christians that there are at this day amongst us: But the Conversation that becomes  the Gospel of Christ, is that which manifests unity, to live in unity one with another, for the Gospel preacheth to us the greatest unity of Christians that possibly can be between man and man.

Again, The Gospel holds forth this, The glorious happiness of the Saints in Heaven. You cannot find much of that in the Law, in all the old Testament you find but little of eternal life, I cannot discover three texts from Genesis to the end of Malachi that doth cleerly hold forth eternal life; it’s true, our forefathers (no question) in the old Testament did know that there was eternal life, and some Scriptures there are that do tend that way; but I beleeve there’s none of you can give many texts from Genesis to Malachi that do expresly hold forth the Glory of the Saints in Heaven. Now the Gospel that holds it forth in 2 Tim. 1. 10. saith the Apostle there (speaking of the glory of the Saints and immortality) in the 9. ver. Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which he hath givin us in Christ Jesus before the world began: But is now made manifest by the appearance of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. How comes life and immortality to be brought to light through the Gospel? Did not our forefathers know of life and immortality before? Yes, but very darkly, and some of the eminent ones knew but little of that exceeding riches of glory and happiness the Saints shall be crowned with in Heaven, life and immortality is brought to light through the Gospel.

In former times was it known (till Christ came in the flesh) that the happiness of the Saints should be in the vision of God, in standing before the face of God, and beholding him in glory in Heaven?

Did they know the communion that the Saints shall have wth God, and with Jesus Christ in his bodily presence in glory?

Did they understand the fruition of God, and Gods being all in all to the Saints, as he shal be in the communication of all fulness of good?

Did they understand the inheritance of the Saints which is in light?

Did they know that the Saints were not only Heirs, but Co-heirs with Jesus Christ? These things are known only in the Gospel, the glorious reward of the Saints.

Did they in the time of the Law, know that these bodies of ours should be made more glorious than the Sun in the firmament? This the Gospel tels us, that these lumps of clay which we carry now about with us, shall be one day more glorious than the Sun shining in his luster.

Did they know that our bodies should be made like to the glorious body of Jesus Christ? That it is sown in weakness; but it is raised in power; sown in dishonor, but raised in glory; sown a natural body, but should rise a spiritual body; and sown in corruption, and should be raised in incorruption? Certainly these things were very little known to the forefathers, (if known at all.)

Now these things were the great Counsels of God, that were kept hid from all eternity, only the Lord did reserve the discovery thereof to the coming of his Son, that was the time for opening of Heaven, Heaven was shut, and there was little seen of the glory thereof till Christ was incarnate in the flesh, the Lord (I say) reserved the opening of the Gates of Heaven, and the shewing of the glory of it to the Saints till the coming of Jesus Christ. Christ now tels us of mansions that He is gone before to prepare for us, and when our earthly tabernacle is dissolved, we have a building, not made with hands, but eternal in the Heavens. Oh now my brethren, how ought we to live? It’s the argument of the Apostle when he speaks but of the great chang in the Church here (speaking of new Heavens and a new Earth) it’s meant of the state of the Church that it shall be in even here; •nd saith he, What manner of persons ought we to be in all holiness and godly conversation? But then when we hear of the highest Heavens, Abrahams bosom, the Paradise, the Saints shall be living with Christ, wrapt up to the third Heavens (as the Apostle was:) Oh what manner of persons ought we to be in all godliness and holy Conversation?

Now if you should ask me, what Conversation is becoming the Gospel? I would tell you, that which we have in the third Chap. of this Epistle; For our Conversation is in Heaven. Upon what ground is it? from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord  Jesus Christ, who shall chang our vile body, that it may be fashioned like to His glorious body. We look (saith he) for the Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven, who shall put forth such a power as shall change our vile bodies, that they may be fashioned like unto His glorious body; therefore our Conversation is in Heaven. Do you expect that this flesh of yours should be made like the Sun in the Heavens, like the glorious body of Jesus Christ? Oh then do not abuse your flesh to sin, make not provision for the flesh to satisfie the lusts thereof, let no member of your body be a weapon of unrighteousness to sin against God withal: when you are tempted to any bodily sin, stop your selves with this meditation: Shall I sin against God with this body of mine that I beleeve shall one day be more glorious than the Sun in the firmament, which ere long will be made like to the glorious Body of Jesus Christ? Have we the hopes and promises of such an inheritance in Heaven? Oh then, let not only our thoughts be there, but our Conversation, our Trading, our only business be there also; Oh let it appear that we have heavenly hearts, and spiritual carriages, that we live as it becomes those that hope within a few daies, or months, to be possest with the glory of Heaven which Christ hath prepared for us; such should our Conversations be, heavenly Conversations, shining with the light of the glory of Heaven upon us, Heaven should appear in our Conversations now, so that they who look upon us and converse with us, may truly judg, these are the Citizens of the new Jerusalem, free Denizons of Heaven, they speak the very language of Canaan already, and ere long they wil be possest of that promised Land.

I’le conclude all now with one Scripture, in 2 Cor. 3. 3. Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the Epistle of Christ ministred by us, written, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart. Mark; the Apostle here tels the Corinthians that they are manifestly declared to be the Epistle of Christ: observe the text, the People of God, Beleevers, are manifestly declared to be the Epistle of Christ.

Quest. Epistle of Christ (you wil say) what’s the meaning of that? or what use can you make of that to your point?

Answ. The meaning of it is this, That Christ doth by them, or in them, write an Epistle to the world, to declare to the world His mind and His will; ’tis as if the Apostle should say, You that are beleevers, know that Christ makes use of you to declare to the world, what He is, what His glory is, you are His Epistle; Christ sends by you the knowledge of Himself into the world, so that when the world looks upon you, they that run may reade in your lives and Conversations, and examples the very Epistle of Christ (transcribed to the life) whereby He declares to the world His excellencies and His glory in lively Characters. Now my brethren, this should be the Conversation of all Saints, (that is) They should in their lives be the Epistle of Jesus Christ, there should be (as it were) fairly written in their lives the graces of Jesus Christ, the mysteries of the Gospel, the deep things of God. Would you know what Christs mind is? and what the excellencies of Christ are, and of the Gospel? Reade it in the Saints, in their lives, see their waies and you may know much of the mind of Christ in them, you that cānot tel a letter in the book, yet you may read this Epistle, you may reade the Epistle that Jesus Christ sends to the world, to convince the world: Now the Epistle that Christ sends to the world, is not only in His Word (there indeed is a great Epistle that Christ hath sent, for the Scripture is no other, but as an Ancient cals it, the Epistle of God to the world, God sends His Letter to the world) but the Saints are Christs Epistle likewise wherin Christs mind is to be read and known; then let your Conversations be such, as that you may be a full Epistle of Christ to the whole world, that all the world may reade what Christ is in you, take heed of blotting and blurring this Epistle. If there be a Letter sent from a great man, if a Prince or a King send a Letter, it uses to come fairly written, and if those that should bring it, should all besmeer it, and blot the Letter so as it could not be read, it would be taken exceeding ill. So, you that profess your selves to be Christians, you do not bring the Letter only, but you are the Letter, therfore do not blot & blur this Epistle of Christ, but keep it fair, that all with whom you converse, all in the family may every day reade somewhat of the mind of Jesus Christ in your Conversations, that so you may be the glory  of Christ, as in that scripture, 2 Cor. 8. 23. it is said of Titus and other fellow-helpers, That they were the Messengers of the Churches, and the glory of Christ. Oh! this all Professors of Religion should endeavor to be, the glory of Jesus Christ; that wheresoever they live, all might see the glory of Jesus Christ held forth there; whithersoever you go, you may carry the glory of Jesus Christ about you. Oh Christians! I appeal to your consciences, Do you live so, as the glory of Christ shines in you in the course of your lives? As the shine of the Candle goes through the Lanthorn, so the shine and glory of Jesus Christ should go through Christians in their Conversations to dazle the eyes of the world; Oh! do not darken the glory of Christ, but make it as bright as possibly thou canst, that so this pu•blind world may be able to see somewhat in the glory of Christ in your Conversations; this should be the great care of your lives.

SERMON VII.

PHIL. 1. 27.

Only let your Conversation be as becomes the Gospel of Christ.

WE have preached (you know) many Sermons upon this necessary and seasonable Duty;* That as Christians are to sanctifie the Name of God in Worship: so in their Conversations: their lives and Conversations must be such as becomes the Gospel of Christ, [worthy] of the Gospel of Christ, (for so I told you the word signified.) Now we are upon this great point.

What Conversation is that which becomes the Gospel of Christ.

I’le only add one Scriptare more to the last thing I named, and then proceed.

That the revealing of the glory of Heaven in the Gospel should work mightily upon our hearts to labor for a Conversation sutable thereunto. In Titus, 2. 11, 12, 13. For the grace of God (saith he, that’s the Gospel) that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men: (What doth it teach us?) That denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. We have made use of this Scripture thus far already; but that which I quote it for, is the refference of this to the next words, Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Savior Jesus Christ. Here’s a Scripture that if ever the Lord did enlighten us in the things of the Gospel, that we have been brought to beleeve it’s a Scripture that would mightily work upon our hearts to live godlily and holily: The grace of God that bringeth Salvation; what doth it teach us? Not to be licentious, and vain, and slight, and bold in our sinful courses; but teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. Mark, it is not enough to live soberly, not to be a drunkard, to live righteously, that is, not to wrong any body, many think that’s enough: But mark, indeed the light of nature (as I told you) would teach us that; but now the grace of God that bringeth Salvation teacheth us more, To deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, and that in this present world: though we live in the midst of a wicked tempting world, yet to live godly. And what’s the great argument in the Gospel to cause us to live godly in this present world? Looking for the blessed hope: Oh we look for a blessed hope that the Gospel reveals, Oh we did not understand this hope, this blessed hope till the Gospel was preached to us; but since we apprehend a blessed hope, the holy Ghost hath raised in our hearts a blessed hope of glorious things: What glorious things? Looking for the blessed hope, and glorious appearing of the great God, and our Savior Jesus Christ. We have some little glimps of the great God when we set forth to Sea, and launce into the deeps, we see the glory of the great God, who rideth upon the wings of the wind, and whom both the Winds and the Seas obey: Oh but we look for another manner of the glorious appearing of the  great God than ever yet hath appeared. I beseech you consider of this text, God did never appear great and glorious in comparison of what he will appear, and blessed are those whose Conversations shall be such, that can look upon the face of this great God with joy when He shall appear in glory; we look for this blessed hope, and then when this great God shall appear in His glory, then we shall have our blessed hope, and this teaches us to deny all ungodliness, and worldly lusts, the knowledge of this; Oh do you look to be saved? have you a blessed hope, and do you expect the appearing of the great God in glory? hath the Gospel revealed these things unto you? O let this that the Gospel reveals teach us to deny all ungodliness, and all worldy lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.

But there are yet some other things that the Gospel holds forth that are very remarkable, for the furtherance of our godly Conversation in this world, and if we would live as becomes the Gospel, we must have a right understanding of these things, or else we shall never sute our selves to the Gospel, except we do therby apprehend these great points that are published to us in and by the Gospel.

As now, this is a great point, That the Kingdom of Jesus Christ is not of this world. The Gospel holds forth this to us, that Jesus Christ the Son of God, having taken our nature upon him, he is a great King, He hath a Kingdom, but He hath a Kingdom that is not of this world, neither is Christ of this world, nor His Kingdom of this world, nor the Saints, those that are the Subjects of His Kingdom are not of this world; the right understanding of this would much help us in our Conversations, and a Conversation beseeming this would much honor the Gospel. First, We shall shew how the Gospel holds forth this, That the Kingdom of Christ is not in this world, mark those Scriptures in John, 18. 36. Jesus answered, My Kingdom is not of this world: if my Kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my Kingdom not from hence. Therefore (as if he should say) you must not wonder or think much that I am thus apprehended, and delivered up to men, that they do with me what they please;  though I be the great King of my Church appointed by my Father, yet my Kingdom is not of this world, and I came not hither for pomp and glory. The glory of Christ in His Kingdom, here is Spiritual. Indeed when this world shall be at an end, then Christ will appear gloriously, though the Scripture speaks of a world hereafter wherein Christ shall appear gloriously, but whether personally or otherwise that we speak not of: But that Christ shall appear a glorious King even in the world, not this world, but upon the earth, and yet the Scripture speaks of that as another world, a new Heaven, and a new Earth, but for the present; for that that the Scripture cals this world, we must not expect a pompous and glorious Kingdom till ther ebe a new world, till there be new heavens, and a new earth, this the Gospel holds forth. Whereas the people of the Jews they thought as soon as the Messias came, He presently should be an outward Monarch, in outward pomp and glory; no saith Christ, this world must pass away first, I must come first and reign spiritually in another way, and for my Kingdom there is a time for the glory of it to appear when another world shall come, but while this world lasts, never expect any such outward pomp and glory in the way of my Kingdom, I have a Kingdom indeed here in this world, but it is not of this world, I have a Kingdom wherein I reign spiritually in the hearts of my people, there I have set up my Throne, and therein I have writ my Laws by which I guide and order all things for their eternal salvation, but my Kingdom is not of this world: yea and he saith likewise in John, 8. 23. I am not of this world neither. And John, 15. 19. (for John that beloved Disciple who lay in the bosom of Christ he knew much of the mind and heart of Christ, and was much instructed in this mystery, and indeed none of those that did converse with Christ knew more of the bosom of Christ than John did) If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. So that as Christ is not of the world so the Saints are not of the world: in the 17. of John, 14. I have given them thy Word, and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world▪ Mark, as I am not of the world, so they are not of the world: thus  Scripture is cleer, that neither Christ nor his Kingdom is of this world; and therefore beleevers are not of this world. And hence then, what Conversation becomes this Gospel of Christ? even a Conversation sequestred from the things of this world, a Conversation that shall manifest the hearts being taken off and disingaged from sublunary comforts and accommodations, a Conversation which proves that the soul seeks not great things for its-self here below, but is fully content with a morsel of bread and a cup of cold water, though others fare deliciously every day; so beleevers should manifest in their Conversations that they do not much pass or care how things go in this world, because Christ is not of this world, and the Kingdom of Christ in which they make account their happiness to be involved, that is not of the world, yea they are men redeemed from this present world; Gal. 1. 4. it is said, That by Christ we came to be redeemed from this present evil world; (it’s a very remarkable Scripture) who gave himself for our sins; (to what end?) That he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God, and our Father. I beseech you observe this text, Christ gave Himself to deliver us from our sins, that we might not perish eternally: And was that all? No, That He might deliver us from this present evil world; I do not know a more forcible text in all the Book of God to take off the hearts of those that profess the Gospel from the world, so as they should not whine and murmur at the loss of every little thing in the world, nor be solicitously careful for the things of this life, nor be offended though the men of the world prevail in the world, and have the upper hand, and carry things in a worldly way, let them go on in all their pagentry and greatness: but if thou beest one that belongst to Christ, know that Christ hath laid down his life to purchase this for thee, to deliver thee from this world; Now, is Christ blood laid down to purchase this? and yet wilt thou have thy heart glewed to the ground, and wholly place thy contentment in the earth, and seek for thy happiness here in the dust? Oh get up thy heart then from all these things, and make it appear by thy Conversation that thou art one that by the vertue of the death of Jesus Christ art delivered from this world, and therefore though thou hast not such a  portion in worldly goods as other men have, never envy them, for Christ hath ransomed you from the world, there’s another kingdom that thou hast thy portion and interest in, Christ hath made us Kings and Priests to his Father, and hath made us heirs and co-heirs of that Kingdom that His Father hath given Him, yea, and that He Himself hath purchased; and so you must in your Conversations make it appear, that you do see another kingdom beyond this kingdom of the world that you are made partakers of, wherein you shall reign with Christ for ever: now this Conversation doth beseem the Gospel. And therefore you shal find it in the 10th of Matth. about the 37. vers. Christ shews what kind of Conversation He would have in those that once come to beleeve in Him, (saith He) He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me: And he that taketh not up his cross and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake, shall find it. Here he shews what it is that would make the soul worthy of Christ in a Gospel sense. If our hearts be taken off from father and mother, and those comforts & relations that are the dearest in the world, brother, or sister, or son, or daughter; not to take off our natural affection, but to take off our hearts so, as they should not be hinderances of us in spiritual things, that our main affections should flow forth after spiritual things; then we come to be worthy of Christ: then the other conversation is unworthy of Christ. Didst thou ever know the Lord Jesus Christ and the way of His Kingdom? Then why is thy heart set upon the world as the hearts of other men that are strangers to Jesus Christ? In Eph. 5. 3. (when the Apostle speaks of those things that most men in the world are greedy after) But fornication, and all uncleaness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh Saints. As if he should say, Saints, those that know Jesus Christ, and the way of His Kingdom, for them to have their hearts either set upon bodily lusts, or covetousness, the things of this world, it doth not becom them, it is not a Gospel Conversation becoming Saints; a heart greedy of the things of this world, and wallowing in the lusts of this world, Oh ’tis unbeseeming Saints! those that do profess the Gospel of Christ  that shews unto us that the Kingdom of Christ is not of this world.

Again, Another great point that the Gospel holds forth to us, is this, The great difference or the change that it makes in the estate of a man or woman when once it prevails with him: then the great difference is made in him, from what he was before, and from other men; this is held forth in the Gospel and no where else: I say the wonderful change that the Gospel makes in men when once it comes to work upon their hearts in the evidence and demonstration of the Spirit, and the great difference between their estates before and what now is, and between them and other men; I put these two together,

First, The great change that the Gospel makes in the hearts of men from what there was before the Gospel came. You know the Scripture in prophesying of the times of the Gospel saith, That the Wolf shall eat with the Lamb, and the Lyon with the Kid, and the child shall play upon the very hole of the Asp: the meaning is generally carried thus, that when the Gospel comes it shall change the hearts of men so mightily, that though they were wolvish before, and cruel; as if you should see a Wolf changed into a Lamb, or as if you should see a Lyon changed into a Kid, you would say, this were a mighty change; the Gospel makes such a change as this is, they that are in Christ are new creatures, it’s a new Creation; suppose God should make a new world, what a mighty thing were this! or a new Sun should be created in the Firmament that never was before, how would we stand and wonder! Those that are in Christ are new creatures, God puts forth a creating power upon them, 2 Cor. 5. Old things are pass’d away, all things are become new (you know the Apostle saith:) and the change that is made, it is called a new birth, Except you be born again, you cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, John, 3. If there were a new soul put into one, or if God should infuse a rational soul into a beast, here would be a mighty change; thou wert a beast before, but here is the soul of grace, there’s a new birth when the Gospel comes to prevail, and to enter in upon an heart, and it’s call’d a new resurrection; if there should be a voice come from Heaven that should open all the graves that you have here in the yard, and  all the dead bodies should stand up and live, what a mighty change would there be? Such a change doth the Gospel make when it conquers a people; indeed the Gospel may be preached and little change may be wrought, because the power of the Gospel prevails not with their hearts; but when it doth prevail in their hearts there is such a strange change.

Oh then, What Conversation become this? it must be a Conversation that doth hold forth to the world that there is such a mighty change wrought in you: Now I appeal to you, you that make profession of the Gospel, you know what you have been heretofore, worldly, and base, and carnal, and sensual, and froward, and peevish, and prophane men, altogether unsavory before the Gospel came to you; now you profess that God hath begun to work upon you by the Gospel, What change hath it wrought in you? Can those that live with you see your Conversations so changed as to make them stand and admire at the work of the Gospel upon your hearts? the husband to stand and admire at the work of God upon the heart of the wife as if she were another woman, and so the wife to admire at the grace of God upon the heart of the husband, as if he were another man; and so your children and servants not the same that heretofore they were? Oh what honour would this be to the Gospel, that in places where it comes to be preached in power there might appear a change, that becomes the Gospel of Christ? Certainly if your Conversations be not such as holds forth a mighty change that God hath wrought in you, then it is not such as becomes the Gospel of Christ: It may be you are somewhat better than heretofore you have been, as not to be a common drunkard, you see that’s despised by men; Who regards drunken fools, mad-men, very beasts? Therfore you come to be of more understanding, that you will not be so prophane and lascivious as you were wont to be, but live somewhat better. Oh but this change is not that change which holds forth the work of the Gospel, for when the Gospel prevails it makes the gre•test change that ever was made in the world, we may boldly ascert this, that since the Creation of God in the first six daies, there was never such a change made in the world as the Gospel makes; and therefore a Conversation becoming  the Gospel, must be a Conversation that must be a changed Conversation, must be mightily different from what they were before: sometimes we see it so through the mercy of God, that when men and women come to hear the Word in the cleerness and power of it to be revealed, they have such changes, that al their friends stand wondring at them, What shall we have of you now! Oh such have cause to answer and say, Blessed be God it is so, it is the Gospel that hath made such a change in me. I, this becomes the Gospel, when it shall appear that your Conversation is so changed, so holy, and godly, and gracious now over it was before. But you whose lives are not better than they were before; before you made some profession, only your profession now is greater than it was before, but your lives no better, know, this is a Conversation that doth no way become the Gospel of Christ, the Gospel of Christ hath no honor by this Conversation of yours.

And then, The great difference that the Gospel makes between one man and another. As now, those that the Gospel doth not prevail upon, the Scripture tels us, they are the children of wrath, they are dead in trespasses and sins, they are under the curse of the Law, they are even enemies to God; this is the condition of al men before this Scepter of Christ conquers their hearts, children of wrath, enemies to God, dead in sins, under the curse. But now, when the Gospel comes to prevail over mens hearts, then they come to be the Children of the living God, Heirs of Christ, Co-heirs with Him, they come to be partakers of the life of God, they encrease with the encrease of God, and their lives are hid with Christ in God, and they come to be reconciled to God, to be friends with God, to be at peace with God, and to inherit blessings: Oh the change that the Lord puts upon the heart and state of the Saints when the Gospel prevails! How high are they raised above other men? Therefore you must not make other men to be your example in your way, you must not think to live as the world lives, and to say, I do as other men do; the Gospel makes a mighty difference between your estate and the state of other men, therefore never look to what other men do, but consider as God hath made a vast difference between you and other men, so let there be a great difference  between your Conversation and the Conversation of other men. Now this meditation should have a mighty deal of power to prevail upon the heart; I beleeve that I have such and such priviledges beyond other men, and I look for such and such mercies above others; now what things I look for beyond others, I must labor to be as much beyond them in holiness of Conversation, as God hath made me beyond them in spiritual priviledges, and spiritual mercies; I think sometimes I would not be in the condition of such men as are in their natural estate for a world, nay I would not be one our in their estates if I might have ten thousand worlds, for fear I should die that hour, and then I should be lost for ever; Well, hath God made such a difference? then let not my life be like theirs for one hour, nay for one moment. Oh this meditation (through Gods blessing) would mightily help us in our Conversation.

Our Conversation should be such as becomes the Ordinances of the Gospel: The Word, and Sacraments, they have a great deal more in them than the Ordinances of the Law; but because I spake of the Gospels being higher than the Law heretofore, and these things may fall something neer, yet had I time I would speak a little concerning these, and shew how we are to hold forth a Conversation sutable to them.

Our Conversations should be sutable to the power of the Gospel: there is a great deal of power in the Gospel; it’s call’d the power of God unto salvation, in the 1. of the Rom. 16. The very light of the Gospel it is a transforming light, it hath a mighty power in it, the Gospel it’s called, the Wisdom of God, and the Power of God, 1 Cor. 1. 24. it brings a great deal of power with it to help men against strong corruptions, to overcome violent temptations, to carry them through in any difficulties: Powerful corruptions, powerful temptations, powerful difficulties are overcome by the power of the Gospel; and therefore it is said by faith, that is, by faith in the Gospel, we overcome the world; the Gospel certainly doth not only stir in some men and women, some wishings, and wouldings and faint desires, but it brings a power to transforme their hearts. to make a metamorphosis there; when there comes the light of the Gospel there comes the light of life together with it; as that Scripture  in Heb. 10. 32. After ye were illuminated (that is, by the Gospel) then he speaks of their great sufferings, they were willing to endure any thing for Christ; therefore a Conversation that becomes the Gospel is such an one as exemplarily demonstrates the very power of godliness, that men and women should not be alwaies learning and never come to the knowledg of the truth, not alwaies wishing and desiring, and never come to any powerful resolutions and determinations, for certainly where the Gospel hath the upper hand in a soul it doth bring power, but I do not say it brings power so as to overcome all our lusts, so as there should be no sin remaining, for so long as we live we must be hungering after a further degree of righteousness and sanctification; but certainly when the Gospel prevails there comes a great strength; there’s the strength of Christ put forth, the Spirit of power (as the Apostle saith) We have not received the spirit of fear, but the Spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind: be not therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord. As if Paul had said to Timothy, it’s true, you meet with many difficulties, but hath not the Gospel given you a Spirit of power? There’s spirit of power and resolution when the Gospel comes in. Timothy was a poor weakly, sickly man in his body, and Paul himself had no bodily presence with him, a poor contemptible man in regard of his bodily presence, but he had a Spirit of power given him by the Gospel; so we should manifest a Spirit of power, that is as becomes the Gospel of Christ.

Lastly, The Gospel of Christ is a glorious Gospel. 1 Tim. 1. 11. it is call’d there by the title of a glorious Gospel, According to the glorious Gospel of the blessed God. Mark, what a title is here? the Gospel is the glorious Gospel of the blessed God, that is, the glory of all the Attributes of God doth appear in the Gospel more brightly than they do appear in all the works that God hath made; There doth appear indeed a great deal of the glory of God in the Heavens, Earth, and Seas, and you have seen much of the glory of God there, but I appeal to you in this, Have you seen more of the glory of God in the Gospel, than ever you did in all the works that God hath made? that were a good argument that you have had a true understanding of the Gospel, and that the Spirit of God hath shined into your hearts,  if you can say, Lord I have seen much of thy glory in thy Works, when I have been abroad in the mighty waters where Gods paths and foot-steps are, Oh the Seas they are thy glorious creatures, but thy Gospel that’s glorious beyond all, there do I see thine infinite wisdom, and infinite power, and infinite justice, and infinite mercy, and infinite faithfulness, and the Lord knows that all the glory of the creatures hath been darkned in my eyes since the Lord hath shewed me the glory of His Gospel, Can you say so? This is a good evidence that the Gospel is a saving Gospel to your souls, if you stand and admire at the glory of God in the Gospel; Certainly there’s none though never so weak in parts, yet if so be that God hath revealed Himself in the Gospel to them, they see that which makes them stand and admire at God, and darkens all the world in their eyes; have you seen the Gospel thus? then it is to you the glorious Gospel of the blessed God: and in the 2 Cor. 4. 4. In whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which beleeve not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ should shine into them: Oh reade over this Scripture again and again, The God of this world hath blinded their minds. Mark, compare this Scriptrue with that I said before of Christ, that His Kingdom is not of this world, but the Devil is called the God of this world, note this, he hath blinded the minds of them which beleeve not, if any which live under the Gospel beleeve not, it is because the Devil as he prevails in the world and by worldly things, by the pomp and vanity of the world he hoodwinks the eyes of those which beleeve not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ who is the express Image of God should shine into them, Oh the Devil is loth that the gloriou Gospel should shine into the hearts of men; he is content that they should come and hear the Gospel, but he labors to keep off the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, that it shine not into them, for he know when once it hath shined into mens hearts, then all the glory of the world will be darkned in their eyes, and they will admire then at nothing but Christ; Oh none but Christ, none but Christ, Whom have I in Heaven but Christ? and there is none upon earth that I desire in comparison of my dearest Saviour, who is the fairest of ten thousand; I never knew God before I  saw him in the face of Jesus Christ; and now I see God in the face of His Son, I see him in another way than ever I did; O the Gospel is a glorious Gospel, there is more of the glory of God in one sentence of the Gospel, than in all the Heavens and Earth beside; this we may boldly aver. Now our Conversations must be as becomes the Gospel, then there must be a glory in our Conversations, we must hold forth the Gospel in our Conversations: therefor Professors of the Gospel they should shine as lights in the world.

I beseech you mark this one Note. I remember in the close of all the last day, I shewed you, that the Saints and godly people are call’d, the glory of Jesus Christ Himself; surely you that are Professors of the Gospel should live so as to be the glory of the glorious Gospel, and what manner of persons ought we to be then? it’s not enough that our Conversations be not defiled with the most filthy and abominable pollutions of the world, but our Conversations should be such as should be a glory to the glorious Gospel: Look in the Gospel, there shine the Attributes of God in glory, so in our lives there should be shining the glorious Attributes of God, that all that behold our Conversations may admire the Attributes of God shining in our lives, and glorifie our Heavenly Father. Certainly a child of God that keeps close to God, and lives holily in his life, doth let out more of the glory of God shining before the world than the Sun in the Firmament; A Christian that professes the Gospel, and doth walk answerably to the Gospel, I say he is a more glorious creature in this world than the Sun in the Firmament; certainly if we do but consider this, that we are appointed here in this world while we live, to hold forth the glory of the Gospel, to make it to be a glorious Gospel before all that we live among, it would cause another manner of Conversation than as yet we have.

But to wind up all in a few words of Application, more particularly (though all the way as I have gone I have labored to apply it) all that I shall say may be refer’d unto these two particulars.

Application.

And the first is, For the rebuking of those whose Conversations are not as becomes the Gospel.

I appeal to your consciences, Do not your consciences in hearing these things condemn you? If this be a Conversation becoming the Gospel, O Lord, how far are we from honoring the Gospel in our lives? for how do many of your Conversations disgrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ? you put Jesue Christ even to open shame by your Conversations; and such as you are, are blots to profession & stains to Religion, and the truth is, it had been better you had never bin born, if God doth not work upon your hearts in some measure before you die to recover the honor that you have taken away from this glorious Gospel. Gal. 2. compare the 11. vers. and the 14. together, and in the. 11. ver. you shall find Paul, when he did but see Peter to walk not as he ought to do, (saith he) I withstood Peter to his face: What’s the matter? You shall see the cause in the 14. verse, (for saith he) He did not walk uprightly according to the truth of the Gospel: In that one particular (it seems) Peter was blame-worthy, O how was Pauls spirit stir’d! I resisted him to his face saith he. Though Peter was a glorious Apostle, yet because in that thing he did not walk according to the truth of the Gospel, Paul resisted him to his face. And are there any that make profession? and do you see that they walk not according to the truth of the Gospel? Resist them to their faces, though they be never so eminent, either in Church or Common-wealth, to be head and shoulders above others, yet these are to be resisted to their face. Oh the Gospel was precious to the heart of Paul, and therfore he could not bear, no not a Peter, not to walk according to the truth of the Gospel. Oh how many! how many are there among you that do not walk according to the truth of the Gospel? Now the Lord cause your consciences this day to resist you to your faces, and to speak in secret to you, and to convince you of the dreadful evil that you are guilty of: is such a Conversation as you walk in such as become the Gospel? I remember I have read a story, you shal find it in Richard the first, when he prevailed in warr, and took a Bishop, the Bishop of Bevoice, the Pope was angry, and sends and expostulates with him, that he would presume to meddle with one of his Sons, and imprison him. The King sent this answer again to the Pope: He takes the Habergion and other warlike instruments that the Bishop had, and sends  them to the Pope with these words; See, Is this thy Sons Coat? is it fit for him to wear such things as these? So I may say concerning many professors, look upon their Conversations, and what is this the Coat? this the Conversation of the son of God? As that Richard the first, thought it such an unbeseeming thing for a Bishop to have warlike instruments about him, and to be taken clad in armor. On ’tis an unbeseeming thing for such as profess the Gospel of Christ, to have instruments of death about them, to have wicked Conversations, to live in wicked and ungodly waies, Oh! ’tis not Christs Livery, not the Coat of one that professes godliness: Certainly there must be another manner of Conversation than this.

EXHORTATION.

And therefore to close all in a word or two of Exhortation. Oh that God would move our hearts now by what we have heard, to labor to honor the glorious Gospel that we do profess, O that that worthy Name (in Jam. 2. 7.) may not be blasphemed by wicked men; Oh let not that worthy Name of God and Christ (which you profess) be blasphemed for your sakes, but walk worthy of that worthy Name of the Lord, and of his Christ, and of his Gospel. My brethren, know that when you undertake the profession of the Gospel, you undertake a great matter; do not come to the profession of the Gospel and look upon it as if it were a slight matter; ’tis a great matter, the profession of the Gospel: In 1 Tim. 2. 10. it is a good Scripture for women, he speaks of women, that they should walk as those that do profess godliness, such should preach the contents of the Gospel in an Evangelical behavior before others, they should therefore bring forth fruits worthy of repentance, or meet for repentance: Hath the Lord wrought upon your hearts, to chang your minds and turn your hearts to him? O then bring forth fruits worthy of repentance; that is, your Conversations must be worthy of the Gospel, and that is fruit worthy of repentance: and in Acts, 26. 20. Works meet for repentance. Oh you say, you have repented you of your sins: the word that is translated there repentance; it is, change of mind: Oh hath God changed your mind? Then let there be works worthy of this change of mind.

And divers motives there should have been named for the stirring up of your hearts to walk worthy of the Gospel: O consider what’s this Gospel you profess, the Scripture cals it as here the Gospel of Christ: So the Gospel of the grace of God, Act. 20. 24.

It’s a Gospel by which you are begotten, 1 Cor. 4. 15.

Thirdly, It’s the Gospel of your salvation, Ephes. 1. 13.

And fourthly, It’s an everlasting Gospel, Revel. 14. 6.

And then as you had it before, a glorious Gospel.

Oh walk worthy of this Gospel that you have got so much good by. I appeal to you any that have had the Gospel working upon your hearts, Have not you got so much good by the Gospel that you would not part withal for ten thousand worlds? Oh then walk worthy of that Gospel, seeing you have got so much good by it. And I beseech you consider that motive in the text, Only let your Conversation be as it becomes the Gospel of Christ. [Only] as if the Apostle should say, the Gospel hath many things that darkens it, and many adversaries that do oppose it, Oh but, Only let your Conversation be as it becomes the Gospel; you need care for nothing that opposeth, so you walk worthy of the Gospel, only let your Conversation, be as becomes the Gospel. Now what a many enemies hath the Gospel at this day? and what errors and divisions are there to ecclipse this Evangelical Sun? Why now, Only let your Conversation be as it becomes the Gospel: That is, in these times wherein there is so much done against the Gospel, as if the Apostle should say, Let all Devils and wicked men do what they can they shall never prevail against the Gospel, if your Conversations be as becomes the Gospel; this is enough to stand out against all that is done against the Gospel: Oh me thinks this argument should be a prevailing argument. Oh! do not your hearts bleed when you hear what opposition is made against the glorious Gospel of Christ that should be ten thousand times deerer than your lives? here’s the way that the Gospel should stand against Hell, and the gates of Hell, all counsels of the enemy shall not prevail against the Gospel, if your Conversations be as becomes the Gospel, This will do it. And mark what Paul saith, he looks upon it as a thing thing dearer than his life, to walk so as might further the Gospel, 1 Cor. 9. 12. We suffer all things (saith he) lest we should hinder the Gospel of Christ: Mark, (as if he should say) Oh ’tis more dear than our lives a thousand times, we will do any thing, and suffer any thing; Oh the Apostles spirit was filled with the sweetness of the Gospel, he had found the good of it. And here in this Scripture he saith, Oh what shall I do? what shall I suffer that I may not hinder the Gospel? Let them do any thing that possibly can be to me, or take what they will from me, I crave not, we suffer all things that the Gospel may not be hindred.

Now you will neither do nor suffer for the Gospel, you will not part with a base lust that the Gospel may not be hindred; one professor being overtaken with an apparent sin may do more hurt to the Gospel than he can do good all his life, let him live as long as Methuselah; that sin of yours that is so dear to you, Will not you part with it? it will hinder the Gospel, Oh wilt not thou part with thy sin, when any temptation comes to sin? Let every one of you that profess you love the Gospel, but think thus, Oh but shall I not hinder the Gospel if I listen and yeild to this temptation? indeed this will bring me a great deal of comfort and content, and I shall get so much by it; Oh but will it not obstruct the Gospel? the very thought of this that it possibly may hinder the Gospel, should cause your hearts to rise with indignation against that temptation, and cast out that sin; God forbid that I should meddle with that sin which wil hinder the Gospel. And therefore in Act. 20, 24. the Apostle professes, that his life is not dear to him, so be it he might but further the Gospel: And in 1 Cor. 9. from the 12. vers. to the 23. he professes there, he would become all things to all men, he would be a servant to any man, and yeeld to all things that he could, so be it he might not sin against God, to be never so vile in the eyes of men, and all that he might but further the Gospel. Oh that it were but so in our hearts. We reade of an excellent commendations of one, in the 2 of Cor. 8. 18. That his praise is in the Gospel in all the Churches. Oh this is an excellent thing, when it can be said of a Professor of Religion (it may be this man hath not any great commendation for parts, no but) his praise is in the Gospel. As the Saints of God and all the Churches of God that knew him, they highly commended him, Why? Because that the Gospel is furthered by him, his  praise is in the Gospel: this we should labor al of us what possibly we can. My brethren, what a mercy is it, that God should account any thing that we do worthy of the Gospel! Mark the Text, Why, can we poor worms do any thing worthy of the Gospel? I but though you can do but little, God will account your endeavours even worthy of the Gospel. John saith, that he was unworthy to loose the latchet of Christs shoe, nor worthy to carry the shoe of Christ•: Then, are we such as can walk worthy of the glorious Gospel? Oh ’tis Gods infinit goodness that shal account us to be worthy of the Gospel. The Apostles did not account themselves worthy to suffer for the Gospel, Acts, 5. 41. And shall God account us to do that which is worthy of his Gospel? Oh this should be a mighty encouragement to us, to walk worthy of the Gospel. And there is an notable encouraging text, in Luke, 21. 36. Walk worthy of the Gospel: And then you shall see what God will account you worthy of: Watch ye therefore, and pray alwaies, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to passe, and to stand before the Son of Man. Watch and Pray, be watchful in all your converse, keep your communion with God close: What will be the fruit of this? That ye may be accounted worthy to escape these things: that is, the many afflictions, dangers, and evils that shall come upon the world, you shall escape the evil of them at least. And to stand before the Son of Man. Here’s a notable Scripture to quicken up our hearts to walk conscionably and strictly in our Conversation, watch over your waies, stand upon your guard, and pray, that you may be accounted worthy to stand before the Son of Man: Why? Is there any that can stand before the Son of Man in glory? or that shal be accounted worthy to stand before Him? Yes, a godly and gracious man or woman that walks conscionably in their Conversation, when the Son of Man shall come in his glory, they shal be able to stand before Him, and be accounted worthy. Oh then, let your Conversation be as becomes the Gospel, and you shall be accounted by God, worthy to stand before the Son of Man. Jesus Christ▪ He walks towards you as becomes a Mediator; yea Christ doth al things that are sutable to His relations, as a Husband, as a Savior: Oh do you all things that are sutable to your relations.

And for the close of all, I beseech you lay but to heart the great Design that God hath in the Gospel, think thus with thy self, Surely the Work of God in the Gospel is a glorious Work: Well then: surely God hath some great Design that He drives on in the Gospel. What is it? Let me labor to serve it whatsoever in me lieth. Now if you reade in the Gospel you shall find that the Design that God hath, it is, To purchase to Himself, a peculiar people, zealous of good works: to promote holiness and godliness, that we being redeemed from the hands of our enemies, might serve him in holiness and righteousness all the daies of our lives. This is the Design that God hath: I see that Mankind is fallen from me, and the people in the world are generally fallen into wickedness, the whole world lieth in wickedness, over head and ears in sin; but I would have holiness advanced, I would have my Image renewed, I would have a peculiar people that might live for ever to serve and worship me: Here’s the Design of God: Oh let me now serve this design of God, and labor to do all that I can to serve, and honor, and blesse, and magnifie that God that hath wrought such glorious things for us, as He hath wrought in the Gospel. And as Christ saith in Mat. 3. when He came to be paptized of John, It becomes us to fulfill all righteousness. Now shall the Lord Jesus Christ Himself say thus, It becomes us to fulfill all righteousness; surely then it becomes you to fulfil al righteousness. Would you walk as becomes the Gospel? Give up your hearts, strength, and endeavors what possibly you can to fulfill all righteousness, do not say, Why should I do thus? and why need we be so forward and strict? Oh remember the text; If any talk of too much strictness, and too much forwardness; then answer thus; I heard in such a place such a Text opened and applied to me, that my Conversation must be as it becomes the Gospel; and certainly let me do what I can, I cannot do so much but that the Gospel will require ten thousand times more than I can do, and therfore I do endeavor to walk as becoms the Gospel: And I hear that Christ Himself saith, that it became Him to fulfil all righteousness; And why should not I walk as Christ Himself walked? O my life hath bin too vain heretofore, my heart hath been dead, and I have not been quickned up so as to walk worthy  of the Gospel; but for the time to come my care and endeavor above all things in the world, shall be, That I may honor this glorious GOSPEL of Jesus Christ, from whom I do expect to have such glorious things hereafter.

Consider now what hath been said, and the Lord give you understanding in these things, that you may be kept blameless unto the coming of our Lord JESUS CHRIST.

SERMON I.

IF you please to reflect back upon the last daies Exercise, when we finished that Scripture in the Philippians, that teaches us to walk as becomes the Gospel; in the prosecution of which we shewed what it was the Gospel principally did hold forh unto us; and what Conversations ought to be in the Professors of it sutable unto those things the Gospel holds forth; and among those, this was one particular of great moment, that we did then but hint out unto you in a word or two, That the Kingdom of Christ was not of this world. They are Christs own words. Now because it is a consideration of very great use, I would be loth the benefit of it should be lost: therefore I have now pickt out that to speak to more largely, and to open the meaning of it unto you from this Scripture;

JOHN, 18. 36. Jesus answered and said, My Kingdom is not of this world.

THE words are a part of the story of Christs arraignment before Pilat. Behold here the King of Heaven and Earth stands arraigned at the Barr of a wicked man. In this Arraignment we find a special Charge which his Adversaries bring against Him, which was this: THAT HE MADE HIMSELF THE KING OF THE JEWS. He was an enemy to Government. The usual charge that the world hath had against the Saints, that they are enemies to Government. They fare no worse here than Christ did.

Pilat requires of him to answer to the Charge, (whether it were so or no, that He hath made Himself a King.) Now you shall find in the answer of Christ, He doth not deny the thing, but implicitly grants it, neither doth he answer him fully to his mind, but saith, My Kingdom is not of this world.

My Kingdom] As if he should say, I acknowledg that I have a Kingdom, as mean and low as I am brought now, though I stand here before you as a despised man, a Carpenters son, yet I confess I have a Kingdom, but it is not of this world.

Not of this world] He doth not say, not IN this world, but saith, it is not OF this world, it is not a worldly Kingdom. We have in the words these two things.

First, That Christ hath a Kingdom.

Secondly, What kind of Kingdom Christs is, Not of this world.

I shall not here speak much unto the former, and so to handle the common place of Christs Kingly Office, but only hint it to you as it makes way to the latter, there we shall stay a while.

Christ he hath a Kingdom, He is anointed by the Father to be King, as well as Priest, and Prophet of His Church: Psal. 45. 6. Thy Throne O God, is for ever and ever, the Scepter of thy Kingdom is a right Scepter: (that Psalm is a Prophesie of Christ:) And in the 19. of Revel. 16. Christ is there called, The King of Kings, and Lord of Lords; Christ God-man, is the King of Heaven and Earth, Christ God-man, is the King of Angels and over all the World; and we must know Christ as a King, and act our faith upon him as a King or else we know Him not aright, we have not the true work of faith except (I say) our faith act upon Him as a King as well as a Savior: In Acts, 2. 36. God hath made Him (saith the text) both Lord and Christ: Mark, He it not only Christ, but Lord and Christ; though it is true, that in the word Christ all His Offices are implyed, which signifies, anointed to them all; but yet this is expressed by its self, Lord and Christ, for indeed properly He is Christ unto His Church;  but He is also Lord over all the World in some sense.

But then you will say, How doth He say, that His Kingdom is not of this world, if He he Lord over all the world?

Now that I might come to that point that I have chosen the text for, we are to know that Christ hath a double Kingdom.

First, Together with the Father He hath a Providential Kingdom (as I may so say for distinction sake.)

Secondly, He hath a Mediatory Kingdom (as Divines call it.)

First, A Providential Kingdom together with the Father whereby He mannages all the affairs of the world. (I say) God-man, the second Person in Trinity doth mannage all the affairs of the world, His Scepter ruleth over all: as God did make all things by Christ, so He doth govern all things by Him; if God had not deputed the second Person in Trinity God man the Mediator to have been the Governor of all things, the holiness and justice of God according to the Covenant of works by which he had to deal with man would have destroyed the world upon mans sin; had not the ordering and governing of the world been put into the hand of the second Person in Trinity God-man the Mediator, for though he was not manifested in the flesh, He had not actually taken our humane Nature upon Him, yet He was look’d upon as God-man with the Father even before the foundation of the world was laid, and so all things were committed to Him; And hence the world notwithstanding the sin that hath been in it hath been preserved so as it hath been to this day; Christ therefore hath a Providential Kingdom together with the Father, and so he is King, not over the Churches only, the King of the Saints, but He is over all the Heathen, over all the world, from the rising of the Sun to the setting thereof: And the Civil Magistrate (as I may so say) is the Deputy of Christ in this his Providential Kingdom, Gods Vicegerent upon Earth, all Magistrates whatsoever are Officers subordinate under Him.

But now, there’s another Kingdom of Christ that this Scripture speaks of, My Kingdom is not of this world. That is, the Kingdom of the Mediator (as Divines calls it,) that more properly concerns His Church in the execution of His Mediatory  Office: Now this Kingdom of Christ it was ever since there was a Church, but it was very dark under clouds and curtains, the glory of it was little till the second Person came to be manifested in the flesh, then indeed this Mediatory Kingdom of Christ came to be revealed abundantly, more cleerly than before, and Christ exercised it more fully; this is that which the Scripture so often in the Gospel cals the Kingdom of Heaven. Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand: ’tis not of this world, but it’s cal’d the Kingdom of Heaven; the Mediatory Kingdom of Christ is not of this world; there’s a great deal of difference between a worldly kingdom and this Kingdom of Christ. And that’s the subject that I am now to open to you, How Christs Kingdom is not of this world, the vast difference between worldly kingdoms and Christs Kingdom, which you will find to be a point of very great use.

First, Christs Kingdom hath not that pomp and glory, that bravery and galantry that the Kingdoms of the world have; you know in the Kingdoms of the world there’s a great deal of outward pomp and glory; Bernice and Agrippa, they came in great pomp (the text saith;) the Kings of the earth have glorious attendance. Christ hath no such thing, His attendance was a few poor Fisher-men: Kings have great Courts, and crouded with Courtiers: His Court was but small, only a few of such kind of men, mean and contemptible, taken from the hedges, and out of the high waies: They have sumptuous Pallaces: Christ had not a place to hide His head here in this world; He saith himself, that the Foxes have holes, and the Birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not wherewithal to hide His head, and yet a great King for all that: Surely it was not of this world. The Kings of the earth have all kind of delicates that this world can afford, they carry things in great state: It was not so with Christ, Zech. 9. 9. Rejoyce greatly, Oh Daughter of Zion, shout Oh Daughter of Jerusalem; behold thy King cometh unto thee, He is just, and having salvation, lowly, and riding upon an Ass, and upon a Colt, the foal of an Ass. He comes lowly and mean, the way of Christ in this His kindom is a way of humility and outward meanness and lowliness, it is a way of outward contempt, scorn and dirision, this is the way of the kingdom of  Christ, by poverty, and lowliness He would overcome the world, not by bravery and magnificence, nor by great pomp and glory, He doth not dazle the eyes of men by such means; but His glory consists in self-denial, in emptying of Himself, in becoming poor; & therfore His Kingdom is not of this world. Luke, 17. 20. The Kingdom of God (saith the text there) comes not with observation: that’s the word: the meaning of it is this: It is not a thing that by any outward pompous Ceremonies can be observed. Now Kings when they go from one place to another, by their attendance, and by a great many ceremonies that are used for the setting out of their pomp and glory, they are taken notice of and observed; you may know the King comes here, say the people, when they see such things. But saith the text there, The Kingdom of God comes not by observation; there’s no such outward pomp and glory, there’s nothing but outward meaness and baseness to the eye of the flesh, in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. He that is in Himself the most glorious King, and from whom all other Kings have their power, yet He hath a Kingdom that is not of this world, that hath nothing but meaness, poverty, and lowliness that doth appear in it to the eyes of men.

Secondly, The Kingdom of Christ is not of this world, in regard of His Subjects. Look what subjects Christ hath, they are such as are not of this world: So Christ tels His Disciples, as you may find in the 17. of John, I am not of the world: and you are not of the world. Kings, they have for their subjects, Nobles, Peers, and great Personages, especially those that are near about them: but now the subjects that Christ hath for His Kingdom (for the generality of them) they are of the poor, mean, base, & contemptible men of the world, such as are look’d upon, as the off-scouring of all things, these are His subjects: as in the second of James, 5. verse, Hearken my beloved brethren: Hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom? The poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom: they are the great hears, even the poor of this world. You know what an offence it was unto the Jews, say they, Do any of the Rulers beleeve in him? but this multitude, which is accursed. A company of poor women, illiterat people they flock after Jesus Christ. The subjects of Christ are men chosen out of this world, he himself appeared not with the glory of the world. And secondly, His subjects are men chosen out of the world.

Thirdly, The Kingdom of Christ is not of this world; that is, the rule that Christ hath in His subjects, and over these His subjects in this His Kingdom it is not of this world, the rule it is spiritual, It is principally upon the hearts, the wills, the consciences of those that are His subjects, every subject of Christ hath his will and heart subdued to Jesus Christ. It is not so in this world, men may be subject to the Kings of this world meerly by constraint because they dare not do otherwise, many Kings in this world have subjects whose hearts are not with them, who love them not, the Kings of this world they rule only the outward man▪ But Christs Kingdom is another kind of Kingdom, He rules in the hearts of men, there is His Throne, in the wills, in the affections of men, in the consciences of men, Christ swaies His Scepter in mens souls: men by conquest they subdue subjects to themselves; Christ he subdues too in a way of conquest, but he doth not subdue the outward man so much as the inward man, the will is subdued to Christ, He swaies His Scepter in their hearts: this is a great mystery of godliness, the swaying of the Scepter of Jesus Christ in the hearts of the Saints; and therefore the Scripture tels us, That the Kingdom of God is within us, it is an inward Kingdom. That’s the third thing wherein the difference between Christs Kingdom and the Kingdoms of the world consists.

Fourthly, The Laws of Christ are Spiritual. Observe the difference between the Laws of Christ in the government of His Church, and the Laws that are for the government of the world, it will be of very great use for you to know: The Lord in His Providential Kingdom appointing Magistrates to govern here in the world in His room, He leaves them to make Laws according to the general rules of prudence and justice, such Laws are sufficient for the governing of the outward man, and for the attaining to a Civil end for which their government is appointed; But now Jesus Christ in His Mediatory Kingdom, in His Church He makes all the Laws Himself, He doth not leave it unto the Church to make new Laws, according to the rules of  their own prudence, what they conceive to be fit in way of prudence, no, but they must fetch the Laws out of His Word, and impose none but the same Laws that are in His Word, they must have a Scriptum est, it is written, here are these and these texts of Scripture for what is enjoyned, nothing must be added unto what He hath in His Word revealed, only there are Divine Laws for the government of His Church: now ’tis true, that the Church because they are a society of men, they have some things natural, and some things civil among them, so far as they have need of natural and civil helps, so far there may be Laws made according to rules of prudence and justice, and Magistrates may come in to be helpful to the Church, so far as they have need here of natural and civil helps as a society of men; But now to speak properly to that which belongs to them meerly as they are the Church of Christ, besides that that they have need of as they are men, and natural and civil societies, (I say) what belongs to them, meerly considered as a Church of Christ, they are to be governed only by the Laws of Jesus Christ who is the only Law-giver, only by the Laws of the Word; and there is not that liberty of making new Laws in the Church as there is of making new Laws in the Common-wealth and State; and that’s a great difference between the Kingdom of Christ and the Kingdoms of this world. That’s a fourth; The Laws are different. The Laws are different, not only that they are by Divine revelation in the one, and left to humane prudence in the other: But 2ly in the one the Laws bind conscience, in the other they do not, they do not bind conscience any further than the nature of the thing that is required binds, except it be in case of scandal and contempt, so our Divines that have been the most orthodox have gone; that the Laws of men in the State they bind not conscience, that is, if a man should not do the thing that is required, he should in conscience be bound over to eternal death for not doing it, this is a very hard bondage, a cruel yoke: but thus, if the thing that is required be right and just, then the nature of the thing may bind conscience, for then there comes in a Law of God, if the thing be just and right that is required: or however, if I know nothing to the contrary but it may be just and right, I must not break the Laws of man  so as to give scandal, or in a way of contempt; but if it be privatly, so as it be no scandal, nor no contempt, and the nature of the thing bind me not, then my conscience is not bound over as guilty of eternal death, if so be I do not every thing that man requires. But now the Laws of Christ they are such as bind conscience as they come from him, he is such a King that (I say) because they come from him and from his Will, though we see no reason in the matter of the thing, though they have nothing in the nature of the thing but meerly the Will of Christ, it’s enough to tye conscience, and to bind us even upon pain of eternal death to obedience.

Fiftly, Christs Kingdom is not of this world: That homage that the Saints do unto Christ it is not worldly but spiritual, the Worship of Christ, and the Ordinances of Christ they are not worldly but spiritual. Now the Kings of this world they may appoint what kind of worship they please, that is, what Ceremonies they will, whereby their subject, should tender up their homage to them: and now men have ventured to be so bold with Christ the King, because men may tender up their homage unto their earthly Kings by any waies invented of their own, therefore they have thought that they might presume to tender up their homage to Christ their spiritual King by any waies of invented worship; and therein was a great error, they lookt upon the Kingdom of Christ only in a carnal way, whereas the Kingdom of Christ is such as all our homage that we tender up to Him must be Spiritual, it must be Heavenly, it must be from Heaven, it must be from Christ Himself, it must be from some Institution and Appointment of Jesus Christ: and the more the kingdom of Christ doth prevail, the more Spiritual shall that homage be that the subjects tender up to Him: & therefore you shall find that when the holy Ghost speaks of the Kingdom of Christ in the new Testament, with reference unto that which was then in the old Testament, He calls, even those waies of worship in the old Testament worldly, in comparison of the worship and homage that the Saints tender to Christ in the new Testament, as in Gal. 4. 3. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the  world. The ceremonies of the Law are call’d here the elements of the world, that we were in bondage to, while we were children, for though we were subject to Christ then, yet we were but in our non-age; and indeed in comparison of what we are in the times of the Gospel we were slaves rather than subjects; we were then in bondage: and then in Col. 2. 8. Beware lest any man spoil you through Phylosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. [after the rudiments of the world] These rudiments of the world they had some reference (as it appears in reading this Chapter) unto the ceremonies of the Law, and together with them there was mixture of mens own inventions, they were the rudiments of the world, not after Christ; you do not acknowledge Christ to be a King when you worship him in a worldly way, after the rudiments of the world; As now for instance, because men were wont to honor the Presence Chamber where the King sits, when you go into it you are to be uncovered: Now like unto that (according to the way of the world) men think that because they meet here for Religious ends to worship God, that when they come (as any time in the week) into such a place as this is, they must come uncovered; now this is after the rudiments of the world, you think to worship this King after the same way, but his way of worship is no such low institution. And as they bowed to the Chair of State, and so they would bow with cap and knee to the Communion Table that they cal’d the Altar; now these are according to the rudiments of the world; but Christs Kingdom is not of this world, His worship must be spiritual, in Heb. 9. 1. Then verily the first Covenant had also Ordinances of Divine Service, and a worldly Sanctuary. Mark, in the time of the Law it was but a worldly Sanctuary in comparison of what is now in the times of the Gospel; those waies of worship though they were once appointed by God, Christ the King of His Church in the new Testament would not have His homage tendered up by these waies of worship, they were too worldly for Him; then surely to have the inventions of men in the worship of Christ, in the new Testament especially, it is too worldly for Christ: No it must be  Divine and Spiritual, he that worships, must worship in spirit and in truth: al that worship and homage we tender up to Jesus Christ, we must look to have it spiritual and not worldly; and so the Ordinances, though they have something external, as the Sacraments, yet if we stick to the outward part, we do not worship Christ as our King in a right way; but we must be spiritual in all, look upon the spiritual part in al Ordinances, or else (I say) we do not tender up that homage to Christ that is due to Him, as the King of His Church.

Sixthly, Christs Kingdom is not of this world: that is, The Officers that Christ hath appointed, for the government of His Church, are not of this world, are not to be of this world; but they are all to be by Divine Institution. Observe the difference in the Administration of Christs Kingdom, and the worldly Kingdoms: In the kingdoms of this world men may invent as many new Officers as they please, they may errect new Officers in a State and Common-wealth: But al the men in the world cannot errect any one new Office in the Church, cannot make one new Officer otherwise than is in the Word; we do not reade of any such name as Tryers there: Now though we do not find Officers of States in the Word, yet a Human Creation is enough, as the Apostle cals it,*Be subject to every Ordinance of men. You have it in Peter, the word that is there translated, Ordinance of men, it is, a Humane Creation.* In the Church there can be no new Officers created: Christ hath made Pastors, and Teachers, Elders, and Decons, and Widdows in the Church; and not any new sort can be added by all the men in the world. And therfore it was heretofore, as in Popery, so in Prelacy, they would errect a new kind of Religion (as they cal’d it) more spiritual, and so made the Kingdom of Christ like unto the kingdoms of the world, and thought that they had power to make as many new Officers in the Church as they pleased. Certainly this was a derogation from the kingdom of Christ, they made it too worldly. A second difference in the Church-Officers from the Officers in the kingdoms of the world, is this, If once they be put into such a place in the Church, they have the ful power of the place. As supose now a Pastor or a Teacher hath as much power as any one Pastor or Teacher upon the face of the earth; there cannot be a difference  between one Officer and another of the same kind in the Church as in the State: Now the State may limit their Officers as they please, in some Countries they may make Justices of the Peace for one use, and in another Country for another use, they may limit them according as they please, how they shall execute their places, and when they must leave their Offices to others: But in the Church, one Pastor (whatsoever he be) hath as much power of Christ in him as any that live, for as there can be no new Offices in this kingdom of Christ but by Divine Institution, so there can be no limitation of their Office but according to the Institution of Jesus Christ. So His Kingdom is not of this world. It’s true, if so be that the Magistrate shall come in by Law to help the Church, so far as they shall come in to give Civil help to the Church they may appoint Officers, to see that their power be not abused; but not any that are properly Church Officers, to administer any spiritual Ordinances in the Church, but such as are by Divine Institution.

Seventhly, The Kingdom of Christ is not of this world; the weapons by which Christ doth fight with His adversaries to maintain His Kingdom, are not the weapons of the world; in that notable Scripture 2 Cor. 10. 4, 5. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God, to the pulling down of strong bolds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing, that exalteth it self against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. Mark, here’s the weapons of the Kingdom of Christ, Christ brings into captivity every thought, easts down strong holds, whatsoever strong hold, or high thing is lifted up against the Kingdom of Christ, Christ hath weapons in His Kingdom to cast it down; but saith he, the weapons of our warfare (there is a warfare) they are not carnal but spiritual.

Christ in His kingdom He doth not appoint carnal weapons, He gives not unto His Church weapons of the flesh, to make men beleeve whether they will or no.

You will say, If there be not such weapons that are outward to force men, then all will be to no purpose, it will be nothing?

Yes saith the Apostle, Our weapons are not carnal, but Spiritual; and he answers that objection, That men will not care for  them if they do not come in an outward compulsary way, by imprisonments, and fyning, and such kind of waies.

We speak not what power the Civil State hath, but Christ hath committed no such thing to the Church, as the Church: and these weapons the Apostle speaks of, though they be not carnal but spiritual, yet they are mighty through God, and the more spiritual they are, the more mighty they are to cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth its self against the knowledg of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

The weapons, What are they? They are the two edged sword of the Spirit, the Word of God in the Name of Christ, and with the authority of Christ preached to the people in the Word of God, binding men in a dogmatical way, these are our Spiritual weapons; Christ hath never appointed his Church to defend its self by carnal weapons, the Church goes no further than Spiritual weapons, it’s in the very text that I have read to you, My Kingdom is not of this world: Mark what follows, What were the weapons Christ had to defend His Kingdom? surely no worldly weapons, My Kingdom is not of this world; if my Kingdom were (saith he) of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence; if my Kingdom were from hence, I should have the like weapons to defend me as the Kings of the world have to defend themselves.

  1. You will say, What’s the fighting and Wars for now? May there not be Wars and fighting for the maintainance of Religion and the Kingdom of Christ?
  2. Now to that I answer thus, That the Church hath not these weapons, as a Church they have only spiritual, yea and were it that any Church of God were in any place where they had not a Civil Right to the exercise of their Religion, then I confess (meerly for their Religion when the Civil right of the State is against it) if they should take up arms and fight for it, I think they should go beyond the Commission of Jesus Christ: they should trust Christ for His Kingdom; and we find no Warrant in all the Book of God for to take up weapons meerly for the defence of Religion. And therefore in the primitive times, never took up weapons, all their armor were prayers and tears.

Obj. But we do (you’l say) now; Are not our Wars for the defence of Religion.

Ans. Now to that it’s cleerly answered thus, Our Wars are for the defence of the Civil Right we have to the outward practice of our Religion, and so by weapons we may defend our Civil Right, that is, if we live in such a State where we have Civil Right by the Laws of the Sate to the peacable enjoyment of our Religion, if any shall come to disturb us, then by the vertue of our Civil Right we may take up weapons to sight and defend our selves with; I but this is not as a Church, nor meerly for Religion, for if now the Civil State should be so changed that the Supream Power should be against the waies of Religion, yet for Civil things they would defend us, but for the waies of Religion they were against us in it, I confess in such a case for men that have no Civil authority at all to take up weapons, to force any practice, or way of Religion, this would not be warrantable by Christ, and by this we should fight for the kingdom of Christ by other weapons than ever Christ hath appointed; but now, when we have the Civil Power, the Civil Magistrate may grant Civil Liberty, and Civil Liberty for the outward practice of Religion, and so we may defend such a Right as this for the peaceable practice of our Religion, that none should come to force any other false Religion upon us. But now, the kingdom of Christ is not of this world, the weapons of Christs kingdom are spiritual weapons; and in those times when there were no outward weapons to defend the kingdom of Christ, as in the Primitive times when all Civil States were against the kingdom of Jesus Christ, Did it not thrive? We are ready to say, Al Religion will be taken away except there be such compulsary waies; I do not say but there may be compulsion to keep men from mischieving of others in things that are against the foundation. But now for the raising up of the Kingdom of Christ we know that when there was no compulsary waies, yet the kingdom of Jesus Christ went on and flourished as much as ever it hath done since, so that the kingdom of Christ is not of this world, He hath not committed to His Church those weapons that are carnal, all their  weapons are weapons that are spiritual, to prevail with the hearts and consciences of men and no further: And if we did understand this aright, it would mightily quiet our spirits; and the more we did rest upon the weapons Christ hath appointed in his Word, the more we did look into the Armory of the Gospel to find what weapons there are there against errors and abuses in his Church, the more we should have the Kingdom of Christ prevail amongst us.

Eightly, The Kingdom of Christ is not of this world: that is, the Priviledges of Christs kingdom are not worldly priviledges, but Spiritual, and Divine, and Heavenly Priviledges. Men that live in several kingdoms have several priviledges, some in one way, and some in another; so every society of men, and every kingdom have priviledges, men that are subjects of such a Kingdom, they have the priviledges that belong to such a kingdom. We plead for many priviledges as we are the free born Subjects of England, that the people have a right to by their freedoms, being born free Subjects, as those that are above them have a right to that power that they have. So now in the kingdom of Christ, there are some priviledges that those that are in the kingdom of Christ have that others have not.

As now, When any man comes into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, Oh he comes to partake of a great many excellent priviledges, being once made a free Denizon in this Kingdom of Christ, he comes to have a great many priviledges that others have not. But of these I shall treat more particularly afterwards.

Ninthly, The Kingdom of Christ is not of this world; the penalties and punishments that Christ hath in his Church are not worldly; I do not mean only external ones, for they may be refer’d to that head of the weapons of Christ; but we take them under another notion; Those that are truly the Subjects of Christ they may be under penalties: You think that those that are beleevers cannot be chastised for their sin; as if there were no penalties in Christs kingdom; I confess they are delivered from the penalties of the Law; But Christs inflicts penalties as he is King, there may be penalties in Christs kingdom. And the right understanding of this would much help us in that point;  Whether Beleevers may be chastised for sin or no, though they be Beleevers.

Oh they will say, No. Why? Because Christ hath satisfied the Lawfully, and how can God require it in them?

I confess the Law cannot; I but Jesus Christ in His administration as He is King, not as He is the Judge of the Law, but as He is the King over them, He may inflict chastisements upon them; they may in Christs kingdom have some chastisements, they cannot be carried out of that kingdom to have the chastisements of the Law, but in Christs kingdom Jesus Christ many times inflicts spiritual chastisements upon them, by hiding his face from them for sin, and by many spiritual discertions; and such men as are but by outward profession under the kingdom of Christ, and do seem to be His Subjects, and are not so indeed, the Lord inflicts spiritual judgments upon them, as hardness of heart, blindness of mind, reprobate sences; and I beseech you observe it, The Lord Christ doth not so much observe the way of outward judgements upon wicked men that are in the bosom of the Church, as He doth observe to inflict outward judgments upon the Heathens and others that are out of the bosom of the Church; no, Christ hath other manner of punishments for those that are in the Church, though now and then Christ doth inflict outward judgments upon them; but the main thing that Christ looks at in His Church, is, To reward with spiritual rewards; as righteousness and peace, and joy in the holy Ghost and the like; so He doth inflict spiritual punishments; Those that are professors in the Church & naught and vile, it may be God may prosper them for a while as well as others outwardly, Oh but the punishments of Christ in His kingdom they are spiritual, your souls are bound over to eternal death, your hearts are hardned, your consciences are benum’d, and that’s more dreadful wrath a great deal than if the Lord Christ should punish your bodies, or take away your estates, those are punishments in Christs providential Kingdom, but the penalties as Christ is the King of the Church they are ever spiritual punishments which we should more fear and tremble at a great deal. Thus the kingdom of Christ is not of this world.

Now I should have shewed you how this kingdom of Jesus Christ will certainly prevail in the world, let the world do what they can. In the 2d Psal. Yet have I set My King upon My holy Hill. It will at length prevail over all the world, and bring under all the kingdoms of the world to it; but when it hath done so, then there shall be a new world: Certainly there is a time that Christ shall have the kingdoms of this world to reign over them in another manner than now He hath, and that is at the end of the world; I will give you a Scripture or two about that. Revel. 11. 15. The seventh Angel sounded, and there were great voices in Heaven, saying, The Kingdoms of this world are become the Kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. That is, He shall subdue the kingdoms that were of this world, and then He shall reign; He shall reign for ever and ever. Now they are the kingdoms of this world, but when He reigns it is in this manner that is here spoken of, it is in another world, as appears in Heb. 2. 5. For unto the Angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. Here the Apostle shews that Christ is above the Angels, for he hath not put in subjection the world to come unto the Angels; therefore there is a world to come wherein Christ shall have a further dominion than yet he hath: and Adam was a type of Jesus Christ in this, Adam he had the command of this present, world. Now in this world Christ doth rule but in the midest of his Adversaries, but there is a time coming that Christ shall have all under him; as Adam in his innocency had the whol world under his feet: And Christ doth promise unto his people in the 3. of Revel 21. To him that overcometh, will I grant to sit with me in my Throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in his Throne. Mark, it seems there is a Throne of Christ yet that hath not been, for here’s a promise that he will set them upon his Throne as he sits upon his Fathers Throne: Now Christ rules together with his Father, but saith he, You that are my Saints, and my Subjects now, you shall sit upon my Throne.

I but you will say, That is in Heaven? (in Heaven indeed the Saints shall reign.)

Nay, It connot be meant of a kingdom wherein the Saints  shall sit eternally with Christ in Heaven; I might give you many Scriptures for that, but I will only give you one Scripture, 1 Cor 15. 28. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him, that put all things under Him, that God may be All in All. Here he tells us that there is a time that God shall be All in All, both unto Christ, and unto His Saints; yea, and you shall find in this chapter, that Jesus Christ shall give up the kingdom unto the Father, (speaking of the time of the resurrection) When all shall rise again; and when that shall come, the kingdom shall be delivered up unto the Father; so that this is a time before the general resurrection, that Christ shall sit upon the Throne, there is yet a time between this and the Saints being in Heaven, when the Saints shall sit upon Christs Throne (as he upon his Fathers) in another manner than now they do: Therefore surely Christ shall have the kingdoms of this world subdued unto him in another manner than yet he hath; and for the proof of it, do but reade the 7th chapter of the book of Daniel, and you shall find abundant of proof, there shall be abundant deal of glory in that kingdom of his, there he shall have attendants to purpose, thousand thousands administred unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Christ; and though there was a Judgment, and the Books were brought, yet its apparant afterwards, that the Scripture speaks of a time that should be before the Saints should come to Heaven; for he saith this, That as concerning the rest of the Beasts, they had their Dominion taken away; yet their lives were prolonged for a season: Therefore it is not meant at that time when the Saints shall ascend up into Heaven with Jesus Christ, for the Beasts had their lives prolonged for a season and time after that: But saith he in the 18. ver. The Saints of the most High shall take your Kingdom, and possess it for ever, even for ever and ever. And in the 21. ver. I beheld, and the same born made war with the Saints, and prevailed against them until the Ancient of daies came, and Judgment was given unto the Saints of the most High; and the time came that the Saints possessed the Kingdom. And then in the 27. ver. And the Kingdom and dominion, and the greatest of the kingdom under the whol Heaven, shall be given to the people of the Saints of the most High, whose Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and all  Dominions shall serve and obey him. What Dominions shall there be when the Saints are in the highest Heavens, to serve and obey Christ? He means the Dominions that are here upon the earth, shall serve and obey Christ: Therefore the Kingdom of Jesus Christ is not of this world, nor be said hereafter to be such a world as this is: but when there shall be another world, then Christ shall have a kingdom that shall have such glory as shall be apparent to all; and such a Kingdom as the Kings of the earth shall come and bring their glory to it; as in 21. of Revelations, you shal find, that it’s said, of the Kings of the earth. Reade but that description of the glorious condition of the Church of God there, and you shall see this true: And the Nations of them which are saved, shal walk in the light of it: and the Kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor to it. But that is in another world, not that world that Christ speaks of here in this place of John.

Only now, do but consider a little of the excellency of this point by way of preparation to you for the next time. It would be a notable Scripture to take off our hearts from all the things of this world: The right understanding of this would spiritualize the hearts of the Saints, would take away the offence of the Crosse of Jesus Christ, would help them to carry themselves through this world with a great deal of joy and triumph, and not much to regard how things go here below. I through the mercy of God am brought into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. And I find the whole tenor of Scripture carries it so, that the Kingdom of Jesus Christ is not of this world, but in a spiritual way: Oh then, let me have spiritual mercies, let me enjoy Jesus Christ in way of His spiritual Kingdom; and farewell the world and all things under Christ. Truly, Christians are not acquainted with this point of the spiritual Government of Jesus Christ in His Church, and how God the Father hath so ordered things, that In this world Christ should have a Kingdom, but not Of this world.

And blessed are they that have by the holy Ghost an enlightning to understand this Mystery, to see the reality of it indeed, That the Kingdom of Christ is not of this world.

SERMON II.

JOHN, 18. 36.

Jesus answered and said, My Kingdom is not of this world.

MAny particulars I past over the last day briefly, which I told you would need some further explication. I’le give you some few things about that, & then proceed to Aplication of al▪

The Priviledges of this Kingdom of Christ they are not of this world. I’le name a principal one; and this is the priviledg of al that are under the Kingdom of Christ; That all businesses, transactions between God and them, are in the Court of Christ the Mediator: They are not in the Court of exact & severe justice, but they are to be tried for their eternal estates, & for all they do, in the Court of Christ, in his Kingdom; which is a mighty priviledg the Saints have. As kingdoms have several priviledges: ’tis a greater priviledg to be tried in one kingdom than in another: All men and women in their natural estate, not under the kingdom of Christ, they are to be tried in the Court of Justice, i. e. the Court of Gods providential kingdom, and there they are either to be acquitted or condemn’d by the Law; that’s the way of Gods proceedings towards those that are under His providential kingdom, only to be dealt withal according to the Law. But al those that are under the kingdom of Christ, have all their businesses, in reference to God, tried in another Court, tried in the Court (as I may so call it) of the Gospel, in the Judicature of Jesus Christ, for Christ He is as Mediator to them, He is the Judge to pass all sentences concerning them: and the right understanding of this would much help in the point of Beleevers being chastised for  sin; it’s true, they are not chastised by judgement out of the court of Law as other men are; but they are chastised by Christ that hath the Judicature committed to Him, and the Administration of all things, especially concerning His Church and People, and by a sentence from Him chastised; not by a sentence from the Father, as He is the Judge of all flesh proceeding according to the Law. This is the main thing which we spake to before. But yet there are divers other things.

2ly That all that are in Christs Kingdom, are Free-men, they are delivered from bondage: all that are out of this Kingdom are bondslaves, they are under the prince of this world, (that is, the Devil) and in slavery unto him; they are all as vassals under the Law, in bondage, and have no other spirit but a spirit of bondage in them, they are slaves to sin, they are under the curse of the Law: But now being brought to the Kingdom of Christ, they are made free, they are free Denizons of Heaven.

3ly And then from hence follows in the third place: All that are in Christ’s Kingdom, have the priviledg of a free-trade to Heaven, they have free traffick to Heaven: there is now a blessed intercourse between Heaven and them, that they have by being subjects of this Kingdom: As we know the subjects of this Kingdom have many freedoms that forreigners have not, that those that belong to another Kingdom have nothing to do with. So the subjects of Christs Kingdom have a freedom of coming into Gods presence, of trading to the promised Land that others have not; others are cast out of Gods sight and cannot trade to Heaven so as beleevers do that are brought under the Kingdom of Christ.

4ly By vertue of this Kingdom they come to have right unto all the Ordinances of Christ: And only by this we come (I say) to have right unto them, so as to be our own. Indeed, Christ for the sake of such as are His Elect Ones, that He intends to bring into His Kingdom, He sends forth His Word, the preaching of the Word unto them▪ but when they are brought into his Kingdom then they are under the Ministry of the Word in another way, Christ then is their great Pastor and Shepherd, and so His Ministers are in a more peculiar manner Pastors & Shepherds unto them. And besides, there are other Ordinances that they have  nothing to do withal till they be brought into the Kingdom of Christ, namely, the seals of the Covenant, with some others that might be named: That’s the great privledge of those that are under the Kingdom of Christ, to have right to all Ordinances; Certainly all Saints and Beleevers, have right unto all, but they are to come in an orderly way to them.

5ly By being under the Kingdom of Christ, there is this Priviledge: Protection. As Kings should be the protectors of their subjects: Jesus Christ hath taken upon Him the protectors of their subjects: Jesus Christs hath taken upon Him the protection of all such as come under Him, all power in Heaven and Earth is given unto Christ, and it is al exercised for their protection, to deliver them from dangers bodily, and spiritual, to protect their souls, they are under Christs Kingly power for protection; when any temptation to sin comes, they should fly unto Christ as King, to shield them from their enemies, when their spiritual enemies come in like a floud, then the Spirit of Christ sets up a standard against them.

6ly They shall certainly have victory over all their enemies: This Kingdom shall never be shaken, let all the world conspire what they will against it, the gates of Hel shall not prevail against it, no cunning devises, no subtil waies shall ever overcome this Kingdom, no, nor any one subject of this Kingdom. This is a priviledge beyond what is in the world. A Kingdom may preserve its self so as to continue a kingdom, but many subjects may be destroyed in the preservation of it: but this is such a kingdom as there shall never one subject be destroied in it, that is, Al the enemies shal never take off one subject from this kingdom; indeed they may take away their bodily lives; but that is but a transferring of them to the more glorious part of the kingdom that they shall attain to: Then may a subject of this kingdom be said to be destroyed, when he shall be cut off from Christ and lose the grace that he hath received: but none shall be thus destroyed, but shall be preserved by Christ, and shall certainly overcome all enemies, both inward and outward. And that’s a sixt priviledge.

7ly By being in this Kingdom, Beleevers are made every one of them Kings: though they be subjects in some sense unto Christ, yet Christ hath made them Kings and Priests unto God (so they  are called in Scripture.) There’s no kingdom where all the subjects are Kings; it is so here, Christ makes all that come under His kingdom to be Kings, and they have too (according to their Princely state) the Angels to be their guard; as Kings have their guard where ever they go; so the poorest and meanest Beleever that is under this kingdom of Christ hath his guard of Angels wheresoever he goes; though it be a poor smokey hole or Cottage that he lives in, yet it is guarded by Angels, every night they keep the Door and watch about the Bed: Thus the Scripture tells us that the Angels are Ministring Spirits for Gods Elect.

8ly The benefit of this kingdom of Christ, It is Spiritual peace, and joy in the holy Ghost: So in Rom. 14. 17. The Kingdom of God consists not in meat and drink, but in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the holy Ghost; There’s another manner of peace than the world gives. So Christ in John, 14. 17. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth give I unto you. It’s the note of a learned Interpreter speaking of this place, I give not peace as the world gives; the world gives peace (saith he) by taking away afflictions from a troubled person; but Christ gives peace by taking away a troubled person from affliction His meaning is this; the worlds way to give peace is to take away trouble from us, but the way that Christ hath is to take the trouble of our hearts from our affliction; the world cannot give so long as the affliction continues, but Christ gives peace though the affliction doth continue; that’s thus, Christ He takes off the troublesomness of mens hearts from the affliction; the world takes off the affliction from the trouble of mens hearts: now this is a great deal better peace when the trouble of our hearts is taken away though the affliction continues, rather than when the affliction is taken away and trouble of heart continues. I give peace, not as the world gives peace, ’tis inward peace, the worlds is outward, the world takes away some trouble, but I take away the very root of all trouble; the branches are taken away by the peace of the world; that is, whereas you had not trading before, nor the freedom of your estates before, you shall have that now; but the root of all your trouble the world cannot take away, that is, sin, but I take away sin that  is the root of all trouble. We may (through the blessing of God upon Armles, Parliament, we may) come to have outward peace, that is freedom from outward troubles; Oh but there may be vexation and trouble in our spirits in the mean time. But Christs peace is especially in the conscience and heart, within doors; we may have peace here mixed with abundance of sin and wickedness: it may be procured in a sinful way, or it may be the cause of much sin; but my peace is a holy peace, it doth further holiness wheresoever I give it, my peace is a lasting and a stable peace; peace here may be but for a few months, but my peace shall be eternally, I give peace not as the world, that is the fruit of the kingdom of Christ: So the truth is, though there be many outward afflictions attend the Kingdom of Christ, yet the Kingdom of Christ is alwaies in peace and in joy of the holy Ghost. That is a priviledge which we can never be crowned with but in the kingdom of Christ, as we can never enjoy peace but here, all the peace that mens consciences have till they come under the kingdom of Christ it will turn to greater trouble, that peace they have and live loosly, not being subdued to the kingdom of Christ will turn to horror and misery; and so the joy that there is in the world it will turn to sorrow and vexation; ’tis proper to the kingdom of Christ to have joy in the holy Ghost; thou mayest have joy in thy cups, joy in thy dishes, joy in thy mirth and wicked company, but ’tis proper to the kingdom of Christ to bring joy unspeakable and glorious unto the soul; the soul never knows experimentally what the joy of the holy Ghost means, till it comes under the kingdom of Jesus Christ, it’s the priviledge of the kingdom of Christ to bring spiritual peace which passeth all understanding, and joy in the holy Ghost.

Ninthly, This is a priviledg in the kingdom of Christ, That all that are in His Kingdom have right to all the gifts and graces of all the Saints in the world: Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephus, or Life, or Death, all is yours, for you are Christs, and Christ is Gods. They have (I say) right to all, all the gifts of all the Ministers of the world, and the graces of all the Saints they work for good unto them.

Tenthly and lastly, They are all Heirs of Christ with an immortal Crown of glory, that is laid upon Heaven for them. Thus Christs Kingdom is not of this world, the priviledges of it are beyond the worlds, which can only be seen by the eye of faith, for they are spiritual and glorious priviledges.

Quest. If you ask me why it is that God the Father would not have His Son to have his kingdom in this world? Certainly God might have given to Christ all the Government of this world, might have made Him the great Emperor, to have rul’d in an external way, and all His Subjects to have been in pomp and glory here below; but God would not have the kingdom of His Son here in this world for these reasons,

Ans. First, Because that hereby He would confound the wisdom of the world, and shew the vanity of all the things of this present world, and the folly of the hearts of men that are set upon the things of this world; we look upon these things as great things, but God hath shewed that he doth not look upon them as great matters, but as things that have little value and excellency in them, and therfore He would not have His Son to have His kingdom here of this world; surely if there were such excellent things here as men dream of, then undoubtedly Christ should have had His Kingdom of this world; but that God might confound all the glory and non-plus the wisdom of this world, therefore he would go another way to work, God would so order things that He would fetch about the glory of his Name and those great things that he did intend from all eternity, He would fetch them about in a way that should be hidden from the eyes of the world, in a way that should appear contemptible in the eyes of the world, and he would by this rebuke and shame all the pride, folly, and vanity of the world, there is no greater rebuke of the pride, folly, and vanity of the world than in my Text here, that saith, The Kingdom of Jesus Christ is not of this world.

Secondly, Because the Lord delights so much in the exercise of the graces of His Spirit, the spiritual workings of the hearts of His Saints; there’s nothing that is ab extra from God, that is more delightful to Him than the exercises of the graces of His Spirit in the hearts of His Saints, (excepting what is in the Person of Christ  himself) nothing more pleasing in all the works that ever God made in which He takes more pleasure than in the exercise of faith, and of humility, and of patience, and the like; and the holiness of His Saints. Now the less the Kingdom of Christ is of the world, the more bright and glorious do the graces of the Saints appear, the more do they come to be exercised; had the Saints a worldly glory and pomp here, their graces would not shine forth so eminent, there would not be such a spiritual lustre and shine upon them: but now that God may exercise, especially the grace of faith, and humility, and patience, and selfdenial, and brotherly love which are so precious to Him; therefore God hath so ordered things that the Kingdom of His Son should not be of this world, but it should be spiritual; (it may be) you think it a sad affliction that you have not those comforts that you see others have in the world, you have not such estates and bravery as others have, brave dwellings, costly furnitures, and fine cloaths as others have, and you cannot provide for your children as they do; I but is there the exercise of faith in God in the want of these things; the exercise of humility, self-denial, of patience? know that these are more glorious things than if thou didst sit upon a Throne with a Crown of gold upon thy head and a Scepter in thy hand, and al the people prostrating themselves before thee, this were all but a childish vanity in comparison of the exercise of the graces of Gods Spirit, thou hast that that is more excellent in the eyes of God and of His Son, and in the eyes of the blessed Angels, far more excel, lent than these outward, pompous, glorious, glittering vanities that are here: & when thou findest by experience that the Kingdom of Christ is not of this world, Oh then think, that surely God delights much in the exercise of the graces of His Spirit in His Saints: And this is the reason why he would not have the kingdom of Christ to be of this world.

Thirdly and lastly, Therefore He would not have it to be of this world, that hereafter when the Lord shall come to fetch out all his glory from those things that seem to be the most contrary, that his power and wisdom may be more glorious and appear more evidently, that his glory may be more conspicuous: as certainly it will hereafter at the great Day when the issue of all the great designs that God had in sending  of Christ into the world, when the issue of all shall come and be accomplisht, then the Name of God will be so much the more honorable to all eternity, because He hath wrought out such glorious things, from that which did seem to the eye of flesh to be so mean and contemptible.

APPLICATION.

But by way of Application; and that shall be built upon the consideration of the point more generally; and upon the Reasons that are named, why the Kingdom of Christ is not of this world.

From hence follow, thus much in the first place, That if the Kingdom of Christ be not of this world, then there is a happiness beyond the things of this world to be had; that we must certainly conclude and determin: If we beleeve this point, That Christ Kingdom is not of this world, we must lay down this for a certain and infalible ground that we may build upon, That there is a happiness to be attained unto that is beyond this world, for surely there is a good in the of Christ, there is somewhat beyond this world for the souls of the children of men to look after as their cheef good, as their happiness; that’s a confectory that follows from it. The Kingdom of Christ whatsoever it be, it’s a glorious Kingdom, it is the Kingdom of His dear Son (as the Scripture speaks) and therefore very glorious: And all the glory of the kingdom of Solomon, it was but to typifie out the glory of the Kingdom of Christ; now that is not of this world: therefore there is some glory beyond that of this world: and it is a good sign of a spiritual eye and a spiritual heart, to be able to see an excellency and glory that is beyond this world; to be able to look higher and further than this world can: We think that all the good things that God hath to communicate to the children of men, should be here on earth; but I beseech you consider of it: Can we think in our consciences that all the good things that God hath to cōmunicate to such as He loves should be here in this world? Certainly, no. Consider therefore that all the good things that God intends for his people are not of this world.

First, It’s called, An evil world. Truly it’s no great matter, and  we should not account much that the Kingdom of Christ is not of this world, if we consider these things:

First, That this world it is an evil world. Gal. 4. We are delivered from this evil world.

Secondly, It’s a world, that the Devil (in Scripture) is called the god of, and the prince of this world; 2 Cor. 4. 4. Whose eyes the god of this world hath blinded. Surely all the good things that God hath to communicate to His Saints, are not of this world, that is an evil world, that is a world that the very Devil is god of it (in scripture phrase.)

Thirdly, A world all whose bravery and pomp and glory it is not of the Father. 1 John, 2. 16. you have an epitomy there of what the excellency of the world is; for saith he, All that is in the world, the lusts of the flesh, lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life: Un¦der these three heads are all things that the men of the world look upon as desirable; either they are the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, or the pride of life: But saith he, All that is in the world, is not of the Father, but is of the world. Surely the chief things that God hath to communicate to His Saints, are not of the things of this world; for all that is in the world, is not of the Father, And wouldest not thou have the riches of the Father? ‘Tis true, God is the Creator of all things, and hath the dispose of all things; but that that the men of the world look upon as the excellent things that are here, they are not of the Father, they are none of the good things that God the Father hath to bestow upon His children; and therefore surely, there is a happiness beyond the things of this world. Oh my Brethren, that I could but so take off the hearts of people by this point from the things of this world, as to make them look after the Kingdom of Christ that is not of this world; for you see that all that is here in the world, the Scripture saith, it is not of the Father.

Fourthly, As all the excellent things are not of the Father, so the truth is, all the glory that is in the world it is but darkness, it is a dungeon of darkness to a spiritual eye: As the Bats can see in the night; so the men of the world they think they see some glittering here in the world; but in the language of Scripture, and to spiritual hearts, it is but darkness: Hence the Apostle Eph. 6. 12.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world. Rulers of the darkness of this world are the unclean spirits, spiritual wickednesses; the Devils are the Rulers of the darkness of this world, this world it hath a darkness in it, and therefore surely, the chief good things that God hath to bestow upon the Saints, they are things that are beyond this world.

Fifthly, The world knows not God, John, 17▪ 25. The world is that that Christ saith, doth not know the Father; Oh, righteous Father, the world hath not known thee. Take men that are the wisest of the world, and have all the wisdom that this world can afford, it will not help them to the knowledge of the Father, the world knows not those excellent and glorious things that are of the Father.

Sixthly, The world it lies in wickedness, 1 John, 5. 19. (as sometimes I have opened that Scripture to you) Just as you see in a common shore, a carion, a dead dog that lies over head and ears in the mire or mud in a common shore, and in its own filthiness: so the whole world lies in wickedness, the wickedness of the world is like the common shore, in wch there is nothing but filth and dirt; and the world as a dead carion lies in its own pollutions; surely, then there are other things that God hath to communicate to his Saints than the things of this world: and we should not be offended though the Kingdom of Christ be not of this world.

Seventhly, The world it passeth away with the lusts of it, 1 John, 2. 17. it is a notable Scripture for that: And the world passeth away, and the lusts thereof; but he that doth the will of God, abideth for ever, (speaking before of what was the glory of the world) and it passeth away with the lusts thereof. Mark, Not only the things of the world passeaway, but the very lusts to those things passeth away: As now, men and women who have their healths, and live bravely for a while, Oh! how greedy are they for the contents of this world? how do they long and desire that they might have such a merry meeting with such friends, and such cheer, and such commings in; They make provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. But now (mark) within a little while, not only these comforts shall be taken from them, but the very lusts  of them shall passe away; that is, they shal have no mind in the world to them: Take a poor man that was wont to long for these things, when he lieth upon his sick bed, at the point of death, now he looks upon these things as those things that are dry leaves, he hath no mind to them, not so much as a phansie after these things, all the varnish of the things of the world are gone in his eyes, he tasts them no more than the white of an eg, yea, the desire of his heart is dead to them: as now, a man that lusted after drink, when his desire is satisfied, the very desire after it is gon; and one that liv’d in gluttony, when his body is a little distempered, the very lusts therof passeth away: surely there are other things that God hath for his people than the things of this world.

Eightly, There must be somwhat else besides the things of this world: for Christ Himself is not of this world, John, 8. 23. Are all the good things that the Father hath to cōmunicate of this world, and not Christ Himself of this world? Let me tell you, Christ is the greatest gift that ever was given, or possibly could be received, and yet Christ is not of this world; therefore there is somwhat else besides the things of this world, that God hath for some of the children of men, that He intends good unto.

Ninthly, The Saints are said, not to be of this world, Joh. 15. 19. & 17. 14. If they be not of this world, then their happiness is not here, God hath other happiness for them than that which is here.

Tenthly, The Scripture makes it to be a sign of a child of wrath that he walks according to the course of this world (in 2 Joh. 2.) this is enough to describe a child of wrath.

Eleventhly, It’s made a sign of one that is an enemy to God; and that’s hateful before God, that is a lover of this world, Jam. 4. 4. And 1 Joh. 2. 15. He that loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him; and the friendship of the world is enmity to God (saith the Holy Ghost in those two Scriptures▪) If so be that in the world there were the special things that God hath to communicate to the Children of men; certainly then God would have his people to love the world, He would say, Love these things, for these are the fruits of my favor and love, these are part of the riches that I have to communicate to those that I intend good to; and  therefore delight in these, expatiate your heart in these: Oh me! saith the holy Ghost, whosoever loves the world is an enemy to God. And, if the love of the world be in you, the love of the Father is not in you: surely then here are not the things that God intends for the children of men.

Twelfthly, The world is that that shall be condemned: 1 Cor. 11. 32. That ye may not be condemned with the world▪ that notes that God intends to condemn this whol world, all these things are under the sentence of death, and all the men of the world are condemned before God; and therefore these are not the things that men should so much look after to make them happy.

Thirteenthly, Take all the world together; the Scripture speaks by way of supposition, That a man may gain the whol world, and yet his soul be lost for ever; If one man could get all the world in to his possession and thereby lose his soul, it would be an ill bargain; the world then hath no such excellency in it as we should place our happiness in it; God hath something else for His people than these things that are at the best under Moon-vanities.

Fourteenthly, If Christs Kingdom is not of this world; then certainly those that are of the world are not of His Kingdom; for these two cannot stand together, that Christs Kingdom should not be of this world, and yet that these that are of the world should be of his Kingdom, if such as are of the world are none of his kingdom, then certainly a worldly man or woman is not of the kingdom of Christ, Christ owns them not as under His kingdom, they are Vagabonds and Runnagates not under the protection of Jesus Christ, not partakers of any priviledg of Jesus Christ.

Quest▪ You will say to me, How should one know when a man is a man of this world? The Scripture makes a plain distinction of some that are of this world, and some not; the best of all you will say they have hearts worldly enough, and they desire to have the comforts of this world as well as others? well, though there are some, yet we had need look to our selves; to examine whether we be of the world yea or no, for there lies thus much upon it, that if we be of the world we are not of the kingdom of Christ; now I would give you but these three notes of a man of the world.

Answ. The first is this, One that is a man of the world is such an one as could be content if God would let him live here in this world, and enjoy what he doth, he would be content for to live here for ever, and could be satisfied though he never enjoyed any thing from God but what he hath received here, if he might alwaies bold it. Here’s an evident Argument of a man of the world, I mean such a man as hath health of body in this world, he hath for outwards as much as the world can afford any man, that for the properness of his body, his comliness, his health, he hath as much as the world can give, he hath convenient dwelling, with all accommodations belonging thereunto, and he hath the comings in of the world as much as his heart can desire, he hath his wife and children about him, in which he hath a great deal of delight and content; now, I would but put it to this man, What sayest thou? would not this satisfie thy heart if thou mightest alwaies be here, alwaies have thy house, and gardens, and walks, and these comings in that thou hast now, that thou mightest fare deliciously every day, and have the sweet and fat of the world, would it not satisfie thy soul, though God should never give thee any thing else but this?

I beseech you, in your own thoughts, answer even to God this question, and seriously look into your hearts, for you may know very much of your hearts upon the answer to this question, you may come to know what is like to become of you for ever, even from the answer that your consciences would give to this question: That man or woman whose conscience tels them that this would satisfie, then we may conclude, that surely that man or woman is of this world; because the things of this world would be enough for his portion: But now take a man or woman that is chosen out of this world, that is of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, unto whom the Lord hath made known the things of another world and the excellencies of Jesus Christ, and such a one though it had ten thousand times more than it hath, though it had what possibly can be imagined, it would say, Lord, it’s true, I am unworthy of the least crum of bread that I eat, or of the least drop of water, but yet it is not all the world, nor ten thousand worlds can satisfie my soul, for the portion of it, It is nothing but thy self, the unsearchable riches in Jesus Christ,  those blessed things that thou hast revealed in that glorious kingdom of thy Son, it’s only that that can satisfie my soul for the portion of it; and if thou shouldest say, well, thou shalt have all the things in this world for thy portion and enjoy them for ever; I should account my self in a miserable condition, for thou hast revealed better and higher things to my soul; this would be the answer of one that is chosen out of the world that hath a gracious heart and is brought under the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

  1. A second note that I would give to know, whether a man be a man of this world or no, is this, A man of this world is one that accounts the possessions of worldly comforts, to be greater rices than any riches conteined in the promises; that looks upon the comforts of this world as real things, they have them in possession: But looks upon the promise, as that that hath but a notion in it, as if there were no such reality and excellency in the things of the promise; a man that dares not trust God upon his word upon his promise without seeing in a way of reason or sence how things may come in unto him for supply from the things of this world; this is a man of the world, he hath a promise, but things go very ill with him in respect of his outward estate, in respect of whatsoever by sence or reason he is able to discern, he looks upon himself as miserable, if indeed God would give him in the things of the world in real possession, that would satisfie him, but not the promise: This is an evidence of a worldly heart, that regards more the possession of the things of the world than the promise of God for provision for him; as for promises, he thinks that that man is but in a sad condition, that hath nothing but bare promises to live upon; here’s a worldly heart that hath low and mean thoughts of the promises. But now, one who is taken out of this world, and translated into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, regards more to have a promise to live upon, than to have possessions to live upon: Promises in the word are greater and more real things to that soul than any Bills or Bonds from men can be, he can live better upon a Promise, than upon Bils, or Bonds, or Leases, or any such things in the world: Hast thou found such a principle within thee, that canst close with the promise, and canst bless thy self in the promises, I have title to, and an interest in many promises in the Book of God, for life and godliness are more to me than all the treasures of Egypt, and though I do not enjoy so much in the hand as others, yet my heart hath enough, because it is possest by Christ, in whom all the promises are Yea, and Amen; that is, sure and infallible. God is faithful who hath promised; this is an argument that thou art taken out of the world, and taken into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ; but otherwise, thou that canst not trust God for thy outward estate, body and soul upon a promise, this is an evidence of one that hath his heart set on the world.

3 A third sign of a man of this world, is this, A man of the world blesses those that are like himself, looks upon and measures the happiness or misery of other men, according to what they do enjoy, or according to what they do enjoy in this world. They call the proud, happy; I mean by this they measure the happiness of other men, according to what they have of the world, and think that the meer enjoying of worldly accommodations is enough to make men happy, notwithstanding they see them to be very wicked and sinful, yet so long as they flourish as a green bay tree, yet rejoyce in them and with them, yea, get themselves in the midst of the guilt that is upon them, when conscience (as a woolf in their bosom) flyes in their faces, yet they can blesse themselves in the enjoyment of outward comforts, and set that against any trouble of mind whatsoever, as if so be it were enough to make up their comforts: I have been at such a place, and contracted such guiltiness upon my soul, committed such sins, Oh! what shall comfort me now? well, he comes home, and sees all wel about him, his house furnished, his table spread, means coming in as a floud, and this quiets him: here’s a worldly heart: whereas were the heart taken off from the world, the possession of al under Christ would never calm a conscience that hath any guilt upon it; when I have contracted any guilt upon my soul, although I see all well about me, Oh! till I have an assurance from the Holy Ghost the Witness of the Spirit, that the guilt of my sin is washt away in the blood of Jesus Christ, what wil all these do me good? I have these and these comforts, Oh! but I have an unclean conscience, a leprous soul: Doest thou set the good things here to countervail the evil of sin? Certainly, thou  art a man of the world, thy name is written in the earth▪ thou art but living dust and ashes at the best. And the world is like to be the only portion of thy soul, thou art a stranger to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. That’s a second Use.

Ʋse 3. The third Use should have been this: Here we see the main thing that doth hinder people from the Kingdom of Jesus Christ: What is that which keeps off men from coming under the Scepter of this King of Saints, from subjecting themselves to His Kingdom? Certainly, this point shews it cleerly, His Kingdom is not of this world, were the Kingdom of Jesus Christ of this world, then people would flock into it, Who would not joyn in such a Kingdom and be a member therof, where he could have worldly glory and pomp and riches and bravery; but now because it is not of this world, therefore they slight it: As I remember we reade in the Gospel of Herod, that when he heard of the great Miracles that Christ wrought, Herod sent for Christ, and he longed a great while to see Jesus Christ, but when Christ came, and he saw Him a poor, mean, contemptible man to the outward eye, he thought to have seen him to have done such and such great things, and to have been such a man as not the like upon the earth. But Christ contemn’d Herod as much as Herod contemn’d Him, and Christ would not shew his glory before Herod, but appeared in his outward meaness, and the text saith, Herod set Him at naught, he set Him at naught, when he saw him so outward contemptible: And so it is reported of the Roman Emperors, that hearing that Christ should be the King of the Jews, and that out of Davids stock there should come a King of the Jews, they sought to destroy all of that family that they could find out, and all the Tribe of Judah: But afterward, when they found out some that were of the Kindred of Jesus Christ, and saw that they were poor laboring men, that labored with their hands to eat their bread by the sweat of their brows, they set them at naught and contemn’d them; certainly, this is the great offence to the world, that the Kingdom of Christ is not of the world, and as Christ saith, Wo to the world, because of offences▪ so wo to the world because of this great offence, Christs Kingdom being so spiritual, hence it is that the world receives Him not, in 1. John, 10. And so in John, 14. 17. Even the spirit  of truth whom the world cannot receive: Mark, the world cannot receive the spirit of Truth, the world receives not Christ, and it cannot receive the spirit of Truth. If you speak of the world to men, then they savor of those things, come to a man and tell him of a good bargain on the Exchange, he will listen to you, and remember what you say, but come and speak to him of the great things of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, of the glorious priviledges of that kingdom, only there’s a sound in the air, and it passeth away, and takes no impression at all on the heart of one that is carnal, 1 John, 4. 5. there you have this exprest fully, the very guize and way of a carnal heart, They (saith the text) are of the world, therefore speak they of the world: and the world heareth them: those that are of the world, they speak of the world, and discourse of the world, and savor the things of the world, and the world heareth them; but now, let a man come and tell them of things that are heavenly, of a goodly Pearl, of Jesus Christ, they savor not those things; and they hear them not: Oh! ’tis from hence that men come not into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, because it is not of this world. What’s the reason that there are more comes into the Kingdom of Antichrist, than into the Kingdom of Christ? Revel. 13. 3. The whol world wandered after the beast, saith the text, because they are of the world, and Antichrist doth set up a worldly kingdom instead of Christs kingdom, and men that are of the world they flock after Antichrist, and hence it was, that your great rich men in places where the Gospel hath not been, they were Papists, or Popishly affected, so that therefore the Papists make outward prosperity to be one badge or sign of the true Church; hence it is that Popery is so sutable to worldly hearts, and the holy Ghost prophesied before hand, that the whol world should follow Antichrist, only here and there a few poor ones Jesus Christ chuses out of this world to follow him, for His Kingdom is not of this world.

One Particular more, in a word, seeing the Kingdom of Christ is not of the world, then a worldly heart is the most unbeseeming thing in one that professeth himself to be a Christian, of any thing that can be in the world: If Christs Kingdom be not there, certainly thy heart should not be there: Thou that  professest thy self to be of the Kingdom of Christ, which is spiritual and heavenly, and yet thou a worldly earthly heart, I say, it is the most unbeseeming thing that possibly can be: what, for a Professor of Religion to have an earthly, covetous worldly heart?

By that that I have already spoken in shewing the vanity and the evil of the world, and the great evil of loving the world were enough to strengthen this use; but now that that I intended should have been to speakesp, ecially to those that are Christians, that have hopes that God hath made them partakers of Jesus Christ, and would be loth to lose their hopes in the good things of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ for 10000. worlds, & yet there doth remain much worldliness in their hearts to this day, surely, this not beseeming one of the profession that thou makest, it is no honor unto thy King, the Lord Jesus Christ; worldly Professors, they are great dishonors to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ; when there shall appear no difference between those that we account to be men of the world, and such as we hope are chosen out of the world; Oh! how is Christ dishonored by this? Look but upon the lives of Christians that profess Religion, and one would think that the Kingdom of Christ were a Kingdom of this world rather than any thing else, for I say, to outward appearance, though it may be Christ may see some integrity within the heart, yet to outward appearance there is even almost no difference between them and the men of the world.

It doth become Christians to live so in their whol course, as to make it appear that they are men and women above the world, whose Conversations are in Heaven, that they do beleeve the Kingdom of Jesus Christ that is not of this world.

SERMON III.

JOHN, 18. 36.

Jesus answered and said, My Kingdom is not of this world.

WHAT this Kingdom of Christ was, and how different from the kingdoms of this world we have already opened unto you. The fourth Use which we are to proceed in, is, If the kingdom of Christ be not of this world, then of all dispositions, a worldly spirit is most unsutable to those who profess themselves to be of the Kingdom of Christ. Certainly, then such as are Beleevers, that are come under the Kingdom of Christ, they must not be of earthly hearts: We find the Apostle in the Epistle of the Ephesians, doth rank Covetousness, and Uncleanness together, and saith of them both, in the 5. Chapter, 3. Verse, Let it not be once named among you, as becometh Saints: So that a covetous heart after the things of the world, it is such a disposition, as it should scarce be named among Saints no more than whoredom, they should abstain from it, as from whordom, as it becometh Saints. It is the most uncomly thing for a Saint of God, one of the Kingdom of Christ to have a covetous heart for the things of the world, that possibly can be. As it becomes them; it doth not become you; And Luther that was a great man for the promoting of the Kingdom of Christ, he is bold to profess it; That of all sins, he was scarce ever tempted to that sin, he found nothing tending almost that way; though it’s true, there’s no sin, but we have the seeds of it in our hearts; but yet he found his  spirit most above that worldly sin, because he was so much taken up with Jesus Christ. And indeed, the more any soul is taken up with the excellency of Christ, and with the glorious things of His Kingdom, the more vile will the things of the world be to them. We look not at the things that are seen (saith the Apostle) they are not things to be looked at, But at the things that are not seen. And in the 6. of the Gal. 14. ver. The Apostle Paul, that was the great man for the promoting of Christ in the world, and the setting up of His Throne; he professes, That he was crucified to the world, and the world was crucified to him: That is, he look’t upon the world, but as a crucified thing. What esteem would you have of a man that is hanging upon a gallows? All the world was to him no otherwise, was a thing crucified to him, and he was crucified to the world, the world cares not for me, and I care not for the world, I am quit with it that way, and do as much slight, and contemn the world, and trample it under foot, as the world slights and contemns me, and tramples me under foot. This should be the disposition of a Christian that is under the kingdom of Christ: for now it is to converse with things of another nature: And therefore you find that Christ, He saith of those that are given to Him by the Father, They are given unto Him out of the world: John, 17. 6. I have manifested thy Name to the men whom thou hast given me out of the world. No men have Christ manifested unto them, but those whom the Father doth give Him out of the world: Saith the Father, Here’s so many of the world, And there are a select company that I wil take out of this rude heap and mass of man-kind; and I’le give them to thee: Take them, and manifest thy self unto them. If this be so, that those that come under Christ’s Kingdom, are given unto Him out of the world, then though they live in the world, they should not live as of the world.

Secondly, They are chosen out of the world, John, 15. 19. And they are delivered from the world by Christ. Gal. 1. 4. And they are opposed to the children of the world. Luke, 16. 8, speaking  of divers sorts of people; and makes the distinction between one and another: The Lord commended the unjust steward because he had done wisely: For the children of this world are, in their generation, wiser than the children of light: These two are opposed one to another, the children of this world and the children of light are quite contrary one to another; for indeed one is in the kingdom of darkness, and the other in the Kingdom of light, in the Kingdom of the dear Son of God; you must be children of light, others are children of the world; it becomes a child of the world to follow after the things of the world; but not the children of light: You are chosen out of the world, that you may be the light of the world. So the Scripture speaks of the Saints, That they should be the light of the world: Philippians, 2. 15. Now if they have as worldly hearts as others, how can they be the lights of the world? Oh! many that are Professors of Religion, they are indeed but dark lanthorns, they have a candle in them, have some kind of knowledg, but by their worldly Conversations they are made but as dark lanthorns, that the light of knowledg and profession that they have is so darkned by it, as none can see the beauty and excellency of Jesus Christ shining through them.

Thirdly, Surely it is a very unbeseeming disposition in one that is under the Kingdom of Christ to be worldly: for he is appointed to be one that shall judge the world another day, In 1 Cor. 6. 2. The Saints shall judge the world. Now there should be a great deal of difference between Judges, and those that are judged by them: if they be of the same disposition that the world is, why should any be chosen out of the world to judge them? Now all the Saints if they do beleeve themselves to be brought into the Kingdom of Christ, they should look upon themselves as those that are appointed by God hereafter to judge the whol world, and therefore they should not live so as the men of the world do, but as Judges, very precisely and strictly according to rule.

4ly It is required of them that they should hate their own lives in this world, John, 12. 15. Now if the Saints should be such as should see so much excellency in the Kingdom of Christ as to hate their very lives in this world, then surely to look upon all things in this world as contemptible as hateful in comparison: it is not meant Hate their lives, that is, Absolutely, but in Comparison: when any comfort or preservation of their lives in this world, comes in the least competition with the furtherance of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ: They should look upon the comforts of their lives as a hateful thing, and look upon the very preservation of their lives as a hateful thing; shall I make my life comfortable with any hindrance unto the Kingdom of Christ? Oh ’tis that that my soul should abhor, and so should I preserve my life with doing any thing that may be any prejudice to the Kingdom of Christ, I should look upon the very suggestion to such a thing as that that my very soul doth abhor, And we find in Scripture that it’s made an argument of apostasie, of one that’s falling off from the profession of Christ to imbrace the world, as it is said of Demas in the 2 of Tim. 4. 10. Demas (saith Paul) hath forsaken me, but what is it that hath made Demas to forsake me? he hath imbraced this present world. So look upon many of your Professors of Religion, such vs have been very forward in former times, and Oh nothing but Christ in their mouthes, they afterward begin to decline, and wax worser and worser, but observe them, they imbrace this present world, it is because of some honors and esteem, some comforts, riches, & estates that they would have, or live at ease in this present world, they cannot endure the hatred of the world. So it was with Demas, when he began to hear Paul, he perceived that it was a great excellency to be one of Pauls followers, Paul, he wrought miracles, and Demas (I say) thought it an excellent thing to follow Paul; but after he had followed Paul a while, he found that he was persecuted, and he saw there was no preferment came in by Pauls preaching, nothing but blows and imprisonments;  and scorns, and contempt, then Demas begins to bethink himself better, and thinks he was mistaken; I had thought that this Paul would have been a great man in the world one day, and that by my following of him I should get great matters to my self, but when he saw that all men were set against Paul, and nothing but persecution was like to betide him, and his Disciples; Demas begins to bethink himself, And is it not better for me to keep my credit, and esteem in this world; so Demas leaves him to shift for himself: and therefore saith the Apostle, Demas hath forsaken me, and imbraced this present world. This may be written upon every Apostates grave, Here lies an Apostate that hath forsaken Jesus Christ, and hath imbraced this present world. But observe it, and look upon those that were forward in Religion, and now are not; and see whether they have not more worldly hearts than before, and give themselves up to honors, and pleasures, and profits; Therefore it’s exceeding unbeseeming the Saints to have worldly hearts, they will certainly Apostatize, if their hearts take deep root in the earth. If you find your spirits so glewed to the things of the world, that you know not how to part with them, that you know not how to live in a place, and not to have your neighbors love and respect, and to honor you, and to have the countenance of the times in which you live; Do you find your hearts thus cleaving to the things of the world, like the Serpent, that dust you eat, and upon your belly you go? Know that thou hast a worldly heart, & thou art like to be an Apostate from the Truth of God ere long. In the 2. of Titus, 12. the Apostle saith, That the grace of God that hath appeared to all men, teaches them to deny all worldly lusts. Oh my brethren! let’s labor to walk worthy of our Calling into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. 1 Thess. 2. 12. There the Apostle with a great deal of earnestness speaks to the Thessalonians, exhorting them, that they would, Walk worthy of God, who hath called them into his Kingdom, and Glory. Are you converted to Christ? you are called into this Kingdom; walk worthy of Him: And mark his earnestness  in the verse before, As you know, how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, (as a father doth his children.) We comforted you, in shewing you the excellency of the Kingdom of God, and the Priviledges of this Kingdom; we exhorted you, and we charged every one of you, as a father doth his children; And what did he exhort, and charge them to? it was this, That they would walk worthy of God, who had called them into his Kingdom, and his glory. Oh! ’tis a great mercy that God hath revealed any thing of the Kingdom of his Son unto you, walk worthy of it, as it becomes those that are called to be the Subjects of such a glorious Kingdom as this is; and above all things, have a care, and let me warn you of this worldliness in the hearts of the Saints: Namely, of a crafty, cunning subtilness in the things of this life; there is nothing more unbeseeming a Christian, than a crafty cunning subtilness for the world: many men bless themselves in this, and they take abundance of content to think, that by their craft and cunning sophistry, they can fetch about things, circumvent others, & so provide for themselves in this world: (I say) there is nothing more unbeseeming a Christian, than to be crafty and cunning in circumventing others, and providing for themselves in the matters of this world. In 1. Cor. 2. 12. saith the Apostle, We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, it is that we have received. There is many men (you may plainly see that) they have the spirit of the world, that’s thus: I have many times wondered at it; some men, come and speak to them about any matters of the Kingdom of Christ, they speak so foolishly and childishly, either they must hold their peace, and say nothing, or else if they do speak they discover so much ignorance, and childishness that a man would wonder where the understandings of such men are that have liv’d so long a time in the world as they have done, and heard so much of Religion, and when one hears them speak so, one would wonder how these men should have understanding to live in the world: but now,  these in the businesses of the world they are as worldly politick, no man can out go them there, they can foresee all kind of dangers in any miscarriage, and can judge of twenty things together in their thoughts, and compare one thing with another, see further into the world than other men; so that a man would wonder sometimes (I say) when one hears them speaking of Religion, whether these men have any wit or understanding? but when one follows them in the things of the world, you shall see them as witty, as understanding, as judicious, and as cunning as any men (almost) can be: they have received the spirit of the world, and they are led by the spirit of the world, the god of this world hath taken possession of them, and it’s that that makes them so: but they have not received the Spirit of Jesus Christ, they may say quite contrary to the Apostle; saith the Apostle, we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit of Jesus Christ: they may say, we have not received the Spirit of Christ, but of the world: it’s true, Christ would have us so long as we live in the world, to be as wise as serpents, yet innocent as doves; the wisdom that is for the promotion of the Kingdom of Christ it is a wisdom that hath an upright plainess in it, and is according to the simplicity of the Gospel; indeed when they have to deal with wicked men, they may exercise a natural wisdom, to avoid the dangers of persecution, or to avoid the circumventing of wicked men; but when they have to deal with spiritual things, there the wisdom is that that holds forth a simplicity of the Gospel, that is carried on with plainess and simpleness of heart. The Hebrews have the same word that signifies a naked man, and a cunning subtil man. You shall find where it’s said of Adam and Eve, they were naked, nakedness of spirit and subtilty may stand together, they signifie the same thing, to shew what kind of subtilty should be in those that are the People of God, it should be that that may stand with a naked spirit, so as if God would discover the secrets of all their hearts to all the children of men, that they should not be ashamed to  have all their secrets to be opened to them: But now, the cunningness, that is, the cunningness of the serpent, is such a cunningness, as men (if they were but laid open) would quickly be ashamed of. And so much of the fourth use, that it is unbeseeming those that are of the kingdom of Christ, to have the spirit of the world, because Christs kingdom is not of this world.

  1. Ʋse. Hence we see the reason of the meanness of the outward condition of the people of God in this world, why is it that Christ hath so ordered things that the people of God should be so outwardly poor in this world? My Kingdom is not of this world (saith Christ) Therefore, why should any that come under my kingdom look for great things in this world? they must look to have their comfort and glory in things that concern my Kingdom, and not in the things of this world: in Psal. 73. 12. Behold! those that are ungodly prosper in this world, (saith the Scripture.) As for men that are godly and come under the Kingdom of Christ, they must look for a prosperity that is beyond this world; God gives the earth to the children of men, and to the men of the world: Let them prosper saith God, here’s their portion, here’s all that they are like ever to have. But now for the people of God, they must not look to prosper outwardly in this world; John, 16. 33. In the world, you shall have trouble (saith Christ.) Christ does tell His Disciples plainly beforehand, That in the world they shall have trouble; never make account to have ease and prosperity here below in the world; Certainly you shall have trouble, this is not your kingdom; and therefore John, in the 1. of Rev. 9. ver. There he stiles himself in writing to the Churches: Your Companion in tribulation, and in the Kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ. Observe it, John that was such an Eminent Member of the Kingdom of Christ; when he speaks unto others that are brought into the kingdom of Christ, saith he, •John, who also am your Brother, and Companion in Tribulation, and in the kingdom, and patience of Jesus Christ: These two may well stand together, to be of the Kingdom of Christ, and companions of men in the Kingdom of Christ, and in Tribulation: yea, mark how the Kingdom of Christ is set in the middle, Companion in Tribulation, and then Kingdom, and then patience; So that trouble, and afflictions are on both sides (as it were) of the Kingdom of Christ. And it’s very observable here, John he doth not to get himself credit, say, I John that was the Apostle of Jesus Christ, I John, that was the beloved Disciple of Jesus Christ, I John, that was a Kins-man of Jesus Christ: no, but I John, your Companion in tribulation, and in the Kingdom, and patience of Jesus Christ. If you would be the Companion of the Saints in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, you must be willing to be their Companion in Tribulation, and in the patience of Jesus Christ. So things are ordered by Christ, that the Saints should be in Tribulation, live in trouble in this world. When any of you that are godly shall meet with crosses, and afflictions, (the briers and thornes which spring out of the world ever since it was cursed by God) the very thought of this Text may be a means to quiet your hearts, and not to have any risings in your bosomes against the dispensations of God towards you: Do not I desire to fear the Lord, and follow Him in all His waies? and yet, how doth the Lord cross me in this world? These murmuring, and repining thoughts will be; yea, it may be since the time that God wrought upon me by His Word, I am more afflicted than before; Is not God displeased with me? it may be I am not in the right way because of these afflictions. Oh take heed of these temptations, let my text come into your minds, and answer all these temptations: Christ saith, His Kingdom is not of this world: since the time I was called out of darkness by the Ministry of the Word, no mervail though I meet with afflictions more than before, for I am translated into another Kingdom, which is not of this world; it pleases the Father to make Christ (who is my Captain) to be perfect through sufferings: Heb. 2. 10. For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings: It’s an excellent Scripture to quiet the hearts of the Saints in the midst of their sufferings. [It became Him] (saith the Text) for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings: The Captain of your salvation, yea, your King, that is the King of glory, yet He was made perfect through sufferings. Now you must go the same way that He did. Now if you must enter into a full possession of this glorious Kingdom through sufferings, why should you murmur? Luke, 24. 26. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His Glory? It’s a speech of Christ Himself. So I say concerning you: Ought not you to suffer first, and then to enter into your glory? Why should not you come to the fulness of the glory of that Kingdom that is prepared for you; as Jesus Christ your Head came to the fulness of the glory of His Kingdom? It was by suffering. Remember His Kingdom is not of this world.
  2. Vse. Here’s the reason why the wicked hates the Saints. Why? they love their own: John, 15. 19. If you were of the world, the world would love you; but you are not of the world, therefore the world hates you; you are translated into another Kingdom, and therefore their spirits are bitter against you, and their tongues as sharp as two edged sword; you come to live by other Laws than they do; they know no other Law but the Law of the Land where they live but you have other Laws that they do not understand the authority of, you have other rules for your consciences than they have; their consciences can yeeld to this, or that, according as may serve for their worldly ends; but now your consciences are subjected to another authority, you cannot have your consciences yeeld up and down as they can, and thereupon they think it to be ••outness in you, but God knows it to be otherwise: And they wonder at this, they understand not the reason of this, and therefore it is that they malign you, they hate you with a perfect hatred, you are Rebels against their kingdom, they are under the kingdom of Satan, but you are brought under the kingdom of Christ, and so do Rebel against that kingdom. We hate Rebels. It’s true, in some sense all the Saints are Rebels, that is, they do rebel against the kingdom of Satan, and the powers of darkness, and if any thing should be enjoyed by men, yet if it be against the Kingdom of Christ, they cannot but rebel in a sense, that is, their spirits must needs be against it, and whatever they suffer, they cannot submit to it; they do not rebel against lawful authority, but against the kingdom of darkness, and the power of darkness; and therefore it is that the world doth so much hate them: When you come into the kingdom of Christ you live upon other principles, and have other ends, you are a kind of separated people from the world; and we know there is nothing more odious to the world, than that we should be a certain kind of separated people from them; the world would have all to be like themselves, and for any kind of people to make a profession as if they were call’d out of the world, and live after another kind and fashion, and have other sort of hopes, and comforts, and ends, and rules by which they live; Oh this the world cannot endure: so long as Paul was in the world, and liv’d as the men of the world, they loved him, and he was a man of authority among them, but when he was called out of the world, then a pestilent fellow, then seditious; this separation from the world it cannot be born, there is nothing more provokes the world than separation from the world, and therefore no mervail though the people of God be hated in the world, and looked upon as the ringleadees of sedition: they are separated from the world, and translated into another kingdom, into a kingdom that is not of this world.
  3. Ʋse. From hence may appear the wickedness of the world, that they should reject Christ and His Kingdom. That they should not 〈…〉 it, that’s not so much wonder; but that they shou••〈◊〉 it, and persecute it, and reject it; there appears their wickedness.

You will say, How doth it appear? From my Doctrine it appears thus: If Christs kingdom be not a kingdom of this world, it would do men no hurt at al, it no way would hinder any lawful comforts or honors here in this world; it is not opposite unto the kingdoms of the world, that is, so as to hinder any thing that is good in the world, the kingdom of Christ may be set up, and the world need be never the worse for it. Indeed, it doth oppose the wickedness of the world, but it doth not oppose any thing that they dare say themselves to be good Herod persecuted Christ, because he heard a King of the Jews was born: But it was without cause; Jesus Christ He did not come to take the Kingdom of Herod away from him: The Kings of the Earth (the text saith) they conspire together, and are engaged against Christ: it is their wickedness; Christ, He doth not envy them or their Kingdoms, they may live and be the Kings of the earth still, and yet the kingdom of Jesus Christ may go on; the truth is, that the kingdom of Jesus Christ doth not intrench upon any Civil Liberty of men, and it’s their hatred to it, that makes them think it cannot stand with Civil Peace; the kingdom of Christ may be set up, and Civil Liberty maintained. You may have your estates still, and yet have the kingdom of Christ, and you may be in place of Rule and Government, and have outward honors still, and yet be of the kingdom of Christ. It’s true, if you be brought into the kingdom of Christ; perhaps God may call you sometimes to suffering, but then it is so as you will be willing to it, you shall never be call’d to suffering, but you shall see cause to be willing to it, you shall have as much good by what you suffer, as you hav•〈◊〉 of outward comforts: but this I speak, that the kingdom of Christ intrenches not upon any Civil Liberties of men: they may enjoy all their lawful comforts, their Estates, their Rule, their Government: and yet the  Kingdom of Christ may flouri•••▪ Now what a wickedness is this? When as Chri••• would come and set up His Kingdome without any prejudice at all unto the worldly Kingdoms, and yet they cannot endure it: You would account that an ill neighbour if you should come and live by him and no way prejudice him, and yet for all that he would malign you, because you do but live by him; thus it is with the world, they do malign Jesus Christ for living but by them; indeed if a neighbor comes and will intrench upon your ground and liberties, you cannot bear it; Jesus Christ doth not do it: One would wonder sometimes why wicked men should be so opposite against men when they come under the Kingdom of Christ more than before: I appeal to you, when God converts a wife to be under the Kingdom of Christ, Doth that take her off from subjection to her husband? let me assure you, it makes her to acknowledge her husband to be Lord more than before; indeed if when the wife were converted it did take the wife from subjection to the husband, then there were some reason why the husband should storm at it; but when the more the wife is under the Kingdom of Christ, the more doth she acknowledg the authority of of her husband over her: and so for servants, I confess if the bringing of them by the Word under the kingdom of Christ, did take them off from their obedience to their Masters and Mistrisses, then there were some ground to oppose them from going to hear the Word; but when your conscinece tell you that the more they go to hear the Word, and are wrought upon by the Word they are the more obedient to you, why should you hate them then? why should you so malign Christs Kingdom when as Christs Kingdom would help you? I appeal to the consciences of divers Masters, You have one servant that is prophane; another cannot lie in his bed in the morning but he must come to ••ar the Word; now if you had Trust to commit to one of them, so that your whol Estate lay upon it, Which of these two would you trust? your consciences would tell you that  that servant that is come under the Kingdom of Christ were rather to be trusted▪ so that you would trust him in a case of great trust; and 〈◊〉 your conscieaces tell you that you hate that servant more than the other. Now here’s the wickedness of men, that they do hate the Kingdom of Christ though the Kingdom of Christ doth not intrench upon them. Oh let Christ alone with his Kingdom, and do not oppose Him, He will not oppose you in any thing that you can desire as a rational man.

And for the outward Government: Christ would have no man to be compel’d to it, but those that are convinced that it is the best way; He gives no such rules to force any man; if you think the Government is to strickt for you, that you cannot live under it; indeed there may be something used as a natural help, some outward, means used to take men off from their wantonness and wilfulnes: but now if it appear that you desiring to know which is the best way, and endeavoring to know, and after your desires, and endeavors you cannot be convinced that this is the way that you should walk in; Christ gives no rules to compel you; but if you belong to God, He is content to stay till the Word and Spirit ••all convince you to come under His Government; Oh! why should you be against it then, when it forces you not to come into it? Oh! be not such an enemy to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, but let those that beleeve another way is the way wherein they come most under the Kingdom of Christ, and enjoy 〈◊〉•ommunion with Christ, let them alone in that way especially, when they live peacable with you, and are every way useful as much as your hearts can desire in all civil things, living neighborly, lovingly, and faithfully with you in all things; why should you malign them because you know there is some other way wherein they may enjoy more sweet communion with Jesus Christ than your selves do? That’s the seventh Use, which shews the wickedness of the world in opposing the Kingdom of Christ, when as it is not of this world, it is not that that doth intrench upon their worldly priviledges.

  1. Ʋse, Hence this Kingdom, if it be not [of] this world, then it doth not depend upon 〈◊〉 world; become of the world what will, the Kingd•• of Christ will go on. Men are afraid, Oh! if the Enemies should prevail, and overcome and take away our Civil Rights, Oh then the Kingdom of Christ, what will become of that? Let us not be too solicitous about that, for the Kingdom of Christ is of another world, there is no such dependance of the Kingdom of Christ upon the Kingdoms of this world, but though they were broken, the kingdom of Christ would subsist. We indeed should labor to preserve our Civil Liberties as much as we can, yea and our Civil Liberty in exercise of Religion in a War-like way, and I should wonder that any should mistake in that, when as this hath been so declared from the beginning of the War to this time, that we may fight for the Civil Liberty we have to the peacable practice and profession of our Religion, so far we may, and that hath been the ground of our War: had we indeed liv’d in such a Country, as the Christians in 〈◊〉 primitive times, where the Governors and the gener•••ty of the Country had been against it, then indeed the taking up of Arms, might have been very questionable; but now when we live in such a place where our Civil Laws are for the protection of us in the practice of our Religion, if any will come and disturb us, we may take up Arms because we have a right to the profession of it, by the Laws of the kingdom, 〈◊〉 have to our Houses, Lands, and Estates, (but that by the way:) But that’s the thing I aim at in this use: that though our Civil Right should be lost, yet the kingdom of Christ would go on for all that: Heb. 12. 28. this is a kingdom that cannot be shaken. At those times when the Magistrates were the greatest enemies unto the kingdom of Christ: yet even then the kingdom of Christ went on as fully as ever it hath done since that time; but the Magistrates may be helps, and there is a promise that Kings shall be nursing fathers, and Queens nursing mothers to the Church, but yet so it fell out that at the first when the Church was in its infancy, that it did thrive as much when Magistrates and Civil Power was against it as ever it hath done since, and thereby Christ would shew us that His Kingdom doth not depend upon this world, but the Kingdom of Christ doth stand and will stand, and it doth and will prevail to the end of the world, The gates of Hell shall not prevail against it, it shall be more than conqueror; and this is a great comfort to the Saints.
  2. Ʋse. If the kingdom of Christ be not of this world, but of another; then hence we collect the absolute necessity of living by faith, Christians had need then have a principle of faith to live by, for their greatest good is in things that are beyond this world, their very King that they obey is a King that cannot be seen by the eye of sence; nor by the eye of reason, they had need have an eye of faith to behold their King in his glory: The Throne of this King of Saints is not a visible Throne to be seen by the eye of sence, and reason but by the eye of faith.

The Priviledges that we speak of, are •ot to be seen and enjoyed by sence and reason, but by faith,

And so the Ordinances of this Kingdom, and the Laws and Statutes of it, they are Spiritual, and must have faith to close with them, and all the comforts of this Kingdom must be drawn in by faith, therefore it is of absolute necessity that the Saints should exercise much faith in their lives, that they should live continually by faith; As the Apostle saith in 2 Cor. 5. 7. For we walk by faith, and not by sight; It is not by Sight we walk; indeed all the good things that there are in the kingdoms of the world they are seen by sence and reason, reason and sence is enough to order us in the matters of the kingdoms of this world: but now the kingdom of the Son of God that we are translated into, it’s a Spiritual, an Heavenly kingdom, so that the Saints must walk by faith, and not by sight: therefore my brethren labor to strengthen faith, and act your faith, and live upon faith, exercise faith in all your waies, make much of grace and faith or you will never have  much good in the Kingdom of Christ, but that grace will help you comfortably to enjoy, and spiritually to improve all the good things in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ to an everlasting advantage.

  1. Ʋse. If the Kingdom of Christ be not of this world, then the greater mercy to thy soul, that ever thou wast brought under this Kingdom of Christ: Oh! thou maiest look back unto thy former time, and know that thou hadst a worldly heart, worldly apprehensions, thy spirit was worldly, altogether for things of the world, taken with the pomp, and glory, and the pleasures of this world: How comes it to pass that thou shouldest have a Heavenly Kingdom reveal’d to thee? Whence was it that ever Jesus Christ should be known to thy soul, that was so worldly, so drossie, so earthy a soul? thou wast as deep rooted in the world (it may be) as any, and yet that the Lord should cull thee out of the world, and reveal such a Kingdom to thee, that is such a mystery as the Princes of the world have not known, that thou that art a poor creature shouldest come to understand the ••alities of Christ, that the wise and learned men of the world have not known: Oh! the Free Grace of God to thee, and not unto the world! As Judas, (not Iscariot) said, How is it that thou revealest thy self to us, and not unto the world? how comes it to pass that such wise men, that bear sway in the world, they have very poor, and low, and mean, and contemptible thoughts of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ? they look upon it but as a meer notion, and a conceit of men, and the rather because they see but a few poor people that are but of mean parts that do imbrace such a way, upon that they contemn it; and through the worldly wisdom that they have, they come to undervalue it. Oh! then bless God that ever he should chuse such a poor weak wretch as thou art, for to make known the things of the Kingdom of Christ unto; and therfore of al men, you rich covetous men they are hardest to be wrought upon by the Ministry of the Word. When Christ Himself was preaching, it is said in Luke, 16. 14. That the Pharisees who were covetous, they derided Him; they blew their noses at Him, for that’s the meaning of the Original. Like as a man that scorns and derides another snivles in the nose; that’s the propriety of the word, that is here translated derided. Oh! a worldly heart is hardest brought unto the Kingdom of Christ: therefore bless God so much the more, that hath brought thy soul to understand the mysteries of Christs Scepter, that hath translated thee into another Kingdom.
  2. Ʋse. If the Kingdom of Christ be not of this world: then they are rebuked that do seek to make the Kingdom of Christ a worldly Kingdom. I might name very many sorts of men that do this: I will speak but of Three or Four.

The first is the Papists, those that are Popishly affected; all their way is under the name of honoring of Christ, to raise up a worldly Kingdom; and therefore they make the Pope to be as an Emperor of all the world, as the King of Kings; and their Cardinals, and many of their Bishops to be Princes, and all in a worldly pomp, and they carry it on, and maintain it by a worldly policy, and by worldly means, and worldly weapons, and therfore stir up the Kings of the earth to root out all those that are against them: these understand not the Kingdom of Christ.

Secondly, Such as would conform the Government of the Church meerly to worldly Government; that because worldly men may by their prudence order things as they please in Common-wealths, so as shall be most sutable to them: therefore they falsly think, that the Kingdom of Christ must be so too; that it must be suted to every Country: whereas the truth is, there is but one way of the Government of Christ in all the world. The great Argument of the Prelates was, Indeed say they, in some places there may be another Government, where there is an Aristocracy in the Civil Government; but where there is Monarchy, there must be a Bishop. Now certainly that’s not the way of Christ, to sute himself in his Government, to  the Government of the world. But the Government that was in the primitive times, must be still.

Thirdly, Such kind of men as think that the success of the Gospel, and the Ordinances do depend upon worldly things; as now, upon outward pomp: except there be some outward pomp go along with the Gospel; As now, Great preferments of those that are the Preachers of the Gospel, they think the Gospel will be contemn’d else, and except the Ordinances be carried on in an outward pomp: They conceive that all will be despised: except there be Magnificent Temples built and beautified, and except brave Gold and Silver Chalises, the Sacrament would be despised; and except they have their Altars, and Rails about them: with all their heathenish vanities, Christ is not worshiped. But this is to look upon the Kingdom of Christ as the Kingdoms of the world; but Oh no! the kingdom of Christ prevails where there is but little of the world with it. I remember I have read of one Boniface a Martyr, that being asked, whether it were lawful to give the Wine in the Sacrament, in a wooden Challis; saith he, There was a time (indeed) when the Church had wooden Challises, and golden Priests; but now, the Church hath golden Challises, and wooden Priests. No question, in the primitive times, they had very mean things in the Lords Supper, and all things were carried in a very low way to a worldly eye; but (saith he) though their Challises were wooden, the Priests were golden: and so the Gospel did prevail. Oh! it’s the spiritualness of things that makes the kingdom of Christ to prevail; many think that the Gospel cannot prevail, except it hath abundance of gingles of mens wit, and tongues, and such kind of school-boy-vanities as these are, but the Gospel never prevails by such things; but that which the world calls foolishness, that is made the power of God, and the wisdom of God to Salvation: They have carnal hearts that think that the outward pomp, and glory of the world should be such a furtherance to the Gospel, as if it should not thrive without it.

Lastly, Those that think that the Gospel and the promoting of Christs kingdom depends wholly upon humane policy and strength, these do make the kingdom of Christ to be but as a worldly kingdom.

The last Ʋse is this: If Christs Kingdom be not of this world, then it teaches us all for to labor to further a kingdom of Christ as distinct from the world, it is a great Point that I am speaking of, about furthering the Kingdom of Christ as distinct from the kingdoms of the world. Christ himself professes that he came into the world to witness to this truth: and therefore certainly we should do so likewise. It is in the very next words to my text, when Christ had said his Kingdom was not of this world, Pilate said to Him, Art thou a King then? Jesus answered, Thou saiest I am a King. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the Truth. Truth, Pilate asked Him what the Truth was? but he said not for an answer: but certainly the Truth that Christ means here, is the Truth of His Kingdom. Oh my brethren, it is a matter of so great consequence, that it is a special end why Christ came into the world, why He was born, that he should witness to this Truth. Then certainly we should account it a great end of our lives to set to our seal to this Truth of the Kingdom of Christ, as distinct from the world, let this be a great engagement on our spirits, to further the preaching of the kingdom, further it as many waies as you can, improve your Estates, improve your Credits, your Esteem, your Places for the kingdom of Christ; and then, Oh how comfortable will your death be! though you should not live here to enjoy all the priviledges that the Saints in other ages shall have in the kingdom of Christ; yet when you die your death shall be but a passage of you into the glorious Kingdom of Jesus Christ, for there’s a Kingdom of Christ beyond this world, though Christ will rule Spiritually while this world lasts: but when men are taken off from this world yet they do but go into the Kingdom of Christ. In 2 Peter, 1. 5, 6. &c. with which I will conclude, and besides this, giving all diligence, Ad to your faith vertue, and to vertue, knowledg; ad to knowledg temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity; for if these things be in you and abound, they make you  that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledg of our Lord Jesus Christ: And so he goes on further in his exhortation; and in the 10. verse, Wherefore the rather brethren, give diligence, to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things you shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministred unto you abundantly into the evelasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Christ is here a King, He rules in his Church in a spiritual way: but when this world is done, He shall be a King, and if you be now godly you shall have an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: Mark, when a Beleever dies, he goes into the Kingdome of Jesus Christ, he goes but from one administration of it to another, but still he is in the same Kingdom of Christ: here’s the difference between the death of the men of the world, and the death of the Saints: the men of the world they are of the world, and they are under the kingdom of darkness, and when they die they go to the kingdom of darkness: and the Saints they are now under the kingdom of Christ spiritually, and when they die they go to another administration of the kingdom of Christ, and the more godly men are, the more abundant entrance shall they have into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Now suppose his Excellency, that hath done so much service for the kingdom, when he shall come, What an entrance will be made for him into the City? Every man that is a free subject may come freely into the City, no body may wrong him, and he shall enjoy the Liberty of the City; but he hath not that Abundance Entrance into it as a man that hath done much for the kingdom we live in. So now, every godly man or woman, if they have but the least degree of grace, they shall come into the Kingdom of Christ, I but those that are powerfully godly, burning and shining lamps, and have been very active and faithful to the death; when they die, the Gates of Heaven shall be set wide open, and they shall have an Abundant Entrance into the Everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

FINIS.

THE MISERY OF THOSE MEN THAT HAVE THEIR PORTION IN THIS LIFE.*

PSAL. 17. 14.

—From men of the world, who have their Portion in this Life.

THis Psalm is Davids moan unto God under Sauls persecution,* without doubt the Psalmist aims at Saul in it: In it we have these four things.

  1. He appeals unto God, to judg the righteousness of his heart towards Saul, verse 2. Let my sentence come from thy presence: from Saul and his Courtiers, there comes a hard sentence, they call me Traitor, they call me Rebel, but Lord leave me not unto their sentence, let my sentence come from thy presence: that I know will be another sentence than what cometh from them, for thou hast proved me, and tried me, and findest nothing in me. That is the first thing.
  2. His prayer to God, to keep him in his way, his going, and his footsteps from sliding, verse 5. Lord whatsoever the wrath of Saul be against me, yet let neither that, nor any other thing, put me out of thy way, but keep my heart close unto thee, and keep my paths in thy way, let not my footsteps so much as slide from thee, for Lord they watch for my halting; if they can find but the least slip from me, they take advantage of it to the utmost; and I am a poor and a weak creature, therefore Lord help me, that my footsteps may not slide.
  3. He prayes for deliverance, verse 7. Show thy marveilous loving kindness to me; Lord my straights they are marveilous; I know not what to do, whither to turn me, but my eyes are towards thee; as straights are marveilous, so let the loving kindness of God be marveilous towards me, and keep me as the apple of thy eye; O Lord unto them I am but as a dog, a vile creature in the eyes of Saul, and those about him, but blessed be thy Name, I can look up to thee, and know that I am deer unto thee, as the apple of thy eye; All the Saints of God are dear to God at all times, but the persecuted Saints, they are the apple of Gods eye; If at any time they are dear to God, then especially when they are most persecuted; now they are the apple of his eye, and the apple of an eye is weak, and little able to resist any hurt, but so much the more is the man tender of the apple of his eye: The Saints are weak and shiftless for themselves, but the Lord is so much the more tender over them; and one Argument that the Psalmist uses in praying against his enemies in this, and a special one, because they prospered so much in this world, they are inclosed in fat, and have their hearts desire, and thou fillest their bellies with thy hid treasure; they leave to their babes, they have their portion in this life, Lord keep me from them.
  4. He doth professes is resolution, yet notwithstanding all the dangers he was in, to go on in the waies of God, and expects a gracious issue; But I (saith he) will behold thy face in righteousness; indeed I cannot behold the face of the King without danger to me; there are a great many that run to kill me, and they desire his face; but though I cannot see his face, yet Lord I shall behold thy face; I will behold thy face, and it shall be in righteousness, I will still keep on in the waies of righteousness, and when I awake, for I beleeve that these troubles will not hold long, I shall not sleep in perpetual sleep, but I shall awake and be delivered, and then shall I be satisfied with thy likeness: There shall be the manifestation of thy glory to me, that shall satisfie me for all the trouble that I have endured for thy Names sake; that my soul shall say, I have enough; and this is the sum of this 17. Psalm.

Now the words are ••ad unto you: they are a description of Davids adversaries: implying an argument, why he would be delivered from them; they are described to be men of this world, they are only those that were adversaries to him: And a comfort it must needs be to the Saints of God, to see that none are their enemies, but the men of this world; men of this world, who have their portion in this life, they have somewhat here, and here is all they are like to have.

  1. It implieth the Argument, why he would be delivered; Lord, deliver me from them, because they are men of this world, who have their portion in this life; Wherein doth consist the force of this Argument? where lies the force of this Argument, that he would be delivered from them, because they were men of this world, that have their portions in this life? It consists first in this: Lord, They care not what injustice they do, they have no regard to any thing, but in this world, therefore be it right or wrong, may they have but their lusts in this world, that is all they care for, Lord deliver me from such men.
  2. Here is all their good, their portion is in this life, and therefore they are greedy upon this; let it be upon the ruin of never so many men, though it be to raise their estates by my ruin, and the ruin of others that are never so innocent; what care they? they are greedy upon having their lusts satisfied, for here is all their protion.
  3. Their portion is here in this world: They care not for Religion, they will make use of pretences of Religion any way for their own ends, what care they what Protestation they make for Religion, and the maintainance of it, so be it that they may ruine me▪ they regard not at all any thing in regard to have their own ••ds: Lord deliver me from such men.
  4. They have their portion in this world: Hence it is that their hearts are so swelled with pride in their lusts, and so warms their malice, it is so heated with such outrages; Oh let not the foot of pride come upon me, deliver me from proud men, that are flush’d with the enjoyment of their hearts desires.
  5. They look only to what they enjoy in this world, and therfore so long as they may have their own ends and own lusts, they will be exceedingly hardened in their own waies, they will give no glory to thee, but will be so much the more inraged against me, by taking it as an argument, that their waies are good, Lord therefore deliver me from those men.
  6. They are men that scorn at prayer, or at any thing that is said concerning the tenderness of conscience, they despise conscience and prayer▪ Lord let me never fall into the hands of such men as those are, deliver me from the men of this world, who have their portion in this life. For the opening of the words, from the men of the world: the words are translated by some, from mortal men, from men though of the world, yet are not like to enjoy the world long, for the Original doth signifie as much from frail men, they shall not have it long, in the 89. Psalm, 47. Remember how short my time is; what little time I have in this world, the word is from the men that shall have but a little time in this world, and the men of this world, the Hebrew word here, that is translated men, sometimes with but the change of the position of one prick, it signifies dead men, mortui as well as vivi, I say, with the change not of a prick, but only of the position of one prick, of one point, it signifies dead men; they are men of the world, but such men as are within one prick of death, within one point of death, howsoever they rejoyce; who have their portion, their dimension that is given out unto them in this life; the word life, though in the singular number in your books, in the Hebrew it is in the plural, Lives, they are men that have all they have, but only leased for their lives, nay not so much as leased, they have but an estate for life at the most, and this present life unto them is instead of all lives; from the men of this world, that have their portion in this life; there are these Two Doctrinal Conclusions in the words that lie plainly before you; the first is,

There are a Generation of men,* to whom God gives some outward good things for a while, but these are all that ever they are like to have, they shall never have any more good from God, than they have here for the present; that is the first.

That Gods Saints do desire to be delivered from such kind of men;* These two contain in them the scope of the holy Ghost in the words.

First, There are a Generation of men, unto whom God gives out a portion, some comforts in this world, and here is all that they are like to have. And now set your hearts (I beseech you) unto what I have to say in this Argument, for in my thoughts, thinking what to pitch upon, for such an Assembly as this, at length I could not determine of an argument, that I thought might more reach unto the hearts of those to whom I was to speak; as I hope (before I have done) you will find it such a serious argument that concerns us all; I have read of Gregory, that being advanced to preferment, professed that there was no Scripture that went so to his heart, that struck such a trembling into his spirit, that daunted him so much as this Scripture did. Here you have your reward, Son, in your life time, you have had your pleasure. Oh this was a dreadful Scripture, that sounded in his eares continually, as Hierom speaks of that Scripture, Arise you dead and come to judgement: night and day he thought that Scripture sounded in his his ears; So Gregory, here you have your reward, in this life you have had your pleasure; This was the Scripture that night and day sounded in his ears▪ Oh that it might please God, to assist so far, to speak out of this Scripture to you, that I might make this Scripture ring in your ears, even when you lie upon your beds, after the Sermon is done▪ that yet you may think this Scripture rings in your ears. Men of this world, who have their portion in this life; If this Scripture should prove to be the portion of any one of you, of the richest in this place, Wo unto him that ever he was born; which I shall after make out more fully to you: But (you’l say) do you think to preach to men, that have their portion here in this life? I fear me, I may meet with some, whom it doth so neerly concern, yet do not think that I have those thoughts of you all, for you shall find (before I have done) this Scripture will concern every one in this Congregation; but yet be not any of you too too ready to put off this from you, to think your selves out of the danger of this Scripture, for it was spoken concerning Saul, and Saul might  have (for ought I know) as strong arguments of Gods love to him, as many of you (I fear) have this day.

  1. Saul was a man chosen immediately by God himself, to be the first King that ever was over his own people; and was not that a great favor?
  2. Saul for his person, was one of the goodliest men that was amongst all Israel, higher from the shoulders to the head than any of them.
  3. For his Endowments, he was a man whom God did endow with admirable gifts of Government: he caused another spirit to come upon him: he was a man that when he heard of his preferment, seemed to be very humble, as judging himself unworthy of such a dignity; in the first of Samuel, 9. 21. Saith he, Who am I, and what is my Fathers house, that I should be thus chosen? And when he had been chosen, some that would reject him, Children of Belial, that notwithstanding God honoring of him, yet would seek to cast dishonor upon him, yet this Saul, had mighty power over his Spirit, he was very meek and a quiet man, in the first of Samuel, 10. 27. the text saith, He held his peace, when the Children of Belial said, What have we to do with him?
  4. Though he were quiet in his own cause, yet he shewed himself to have an excellent spirit of Government in him, in a publick cause; he was full of anger when it was for the good of the people, that he was a Governor over; though quiet in his own; in the first of Samuel, 11. 6. When he heard of a dishonor done to the people of Israel, the Text saith, that his anger did rise within him; an excellent pattern for all Governors, for all in publique places, to be very silent, and quiet, self denying; putting up wrongs in their own cause; but to be full of zeal for the publick cause; to reserve their spirits for a publick good: Many there are in publick places, that when they are anger’d in their private cause; how full of Spirit they are, and they spend their Spirit there so much, that they have no spirit at all, when it comes to a publick cause; Saul went beyond them in this.
  5. Saul was one, who was much troubled at the sin of the people against God; not only had a spirit to vindicate a publick wrong, but when he saw the people sin against God, his heart was much troubled at their very sin, and seemed to be grieved for it, and mighty solicitous and careful about it, to prevent sin in the people; this you shall have in 1 Sam. 14. 33. they told Saul there, That the people had sinned in eating with blood, upon that Saul shews himself displeased, Come (saith he) and do not sin against the Lord, roul a stone to me hither; and so he would see with his own eyes, that they did slay the Cattel, and they did powr forth the blood, that they might not sin against God, in eating blood; this was his care.
  6. Saul he was very careful to enquire of God, what he should do in businesses of great consequence, in the 37. ver. of that 14. chap. of the 1 of Samuel, there he would not go out, till he had first enquired of God. Yea more than all this,
  7. He was a man that had a very reverend esteem of the Prophets of God: when Samuel came to him, in the 1 of Samuel 15. 13. O thou blessed of the Lord (saith Saul to Samuel) Yea, yet further than this;
  8. When Samuel shewed unto him, what his sin was, in the 30. ver. of that 15. chap. he comes and confesses it before the people, and saith, I have sinned, I have sinned against the Lord: meerly at the conviction of one Prophet: Yea, yet more than this,
  9. God seemed to be with Saul very much, and to shew great respect unto him, to make him an Instrument of much good to Israel; He granted unto him as glorious a victory as ever man had in this world: (for so we may cal it) and if there be any outward thing in the world might be gathered as an argument of Gods love, then such a remarkable victory as he had over his enemies: the victory you shall find in the 1 of Samuel, 13. 5. and so reade on afterwards in that Chapter, and the next, you shall find there, that the Philistims were risen up against him, and Israel; and there were thirty thousand Chariots, of his Adversaries of the Philistims, and six thousand horsmen, and people as the sand of the Sea for multitude, besides all this; Wel, here was a mighty Enemy: What had Saul to oppose these? You shall find in the 2. verse of that 14. chapter, that there were but six hundred men with Saul: here was of one side thirty thousand Chariots, here was six thousand horsmen, here was people as the sand of the Sea without number, and Saul had but six hundred with him, at this time; yea, and of those six hundred, there was not any one of them that had a sword, but only Saul, and Jonathan; for the Philistims were wise enough to disarm all the Malignants (that they accounted so) and would not let so much as a Smith be amongst them, they would not only take away their Arms, but they would look to them, to see that they had no arms supplied unto them; that was the wisdom of the Philistims; yet we find, (if you reade afterwards) in the Scripture, that God was so far with Saul, that he blessed him, and gave him victory over all these. Besides all this.
  10. God blessed Saul with a very gracious Child, a godly son, of a sweet nature, Jonathan, which indeed, if any outward argument in the world, might be an argument of Gods love, that might be; But now put all these things together, and yet here is the man that hath his Portion in this world: I now challenge the man, especially one, I challenge him that hath certain evidence of a mighty work of God upon him in Christ, let him shew me greater arguments of Gods love to him, than Saul might have done; and yet it proved to be Sauls Portion, that he should have only his portion in this world: God herein shews that His mercy is His own, and that He will let out His mercy as He pleaseth; It is your Fathers pleasure to give you a Kingdom: The Father doles out the Portion as He pleaseth unto His Children; God will let the Line of His mercy to go thus far to one, and there stop; and so far to another, and there stop; and then come in a cross line again unto them; God so disposes of his mercy that there are some that shall have Heaven and Earth to be their portion, and their portion is blessed indeed; There are some that shall have Earth, but not Heaven, and their portion is poor, and mean, and sad; there are others that shall have Heaven, but not earth, and their portion is good; And there are others that shall neither have Heaven nor Earth, and their portion (you’l say) is miserable indeed: Gods mercy is His own to dispose of, as He will. We reade that Abraham in Gen. 21. 14. He cals for Ishmael and Hagar, and he gives them a piece of bread, a bottle of water, and sends them away, there’s an end of them. So Jehoshaphat in the 2 of Chron. 21. 3. He gave his other son (saith the text) gifts, but the Kingdom he gave to Jehoram. So God hath people to whom he gives pieces of bread, bottles of water, yea some to whom he gives great gifts in this world; but he keeps his inheritance for his Isaac, He keeps the Kingdom for Jehoram: Esau, he had his portion in this world, and such a portion as he thought to be a very good portion: in Gen. 33. 9. Brother (saith he) I have enough. Most rich men are complaining: they go not so far as Esau, they have their portion, and yet complain of it; Esau hath his portion, and thought he had enough. Christs Auditors, in the 6. of Luke, 24. they had their portion in this world, Wo to you, here is your consolation (saith Christ unto them:) O dreadful speech! wo to this man, wo to these here is their consolations. Dives he had portion in this world, in Luke, 16. 25. Son, remember in thy life time thou hadst thy pleasure; and thou hadst thy good things, they were thy good things, those things that were measured out for thee, thou hadst them in thy life-time.

In the handling of this Argument, a shall divide what I have to say in these six Particulars: that you may every one of you, go on the more readily along with me.

First, Why is it that God will deal out somewhat to wicked men in this world, why they shall have any Portion at all?

Secondly, That this their portion, it is confin’d to this life; and why so?

Thirdly, Some Corrallaries that you will see will naturally flow from those Two.

Fourthly, We shall consider the condition of these men, who are such that have their Portion in this world.

Fifthly, We shall endeavor to shew unto you, who are those men, to cull out of the Congregation what that man is, or woman is, that is like to have their Portion in this world.

Sixthly, Conclude in the words of Exhortation unto you all.

For the first: God doth give to wicked men a Portion, He doles out something.

First, They are all His Creatures. Saith John concerning Jezebel, Go, take away this cursed woman, shew some respect unto her, let her not lie there in the streets, but take her away; for she is the Daughter of a King. So saith God, Well, though these be cursed, yet they are my Creatures, some respect they shall have from me, some good I’le communicate to them; Indeed, it is not an Argument strong enough, that because you are Gods Creatures, therfore God should be merciful eternally to you; but it may be an Argument strong enough, because you are His Creatures, you shall have somewhat.

Secondly, This time of life, it’s the time of Gods patience, the day of Gods long-suffering.

Thirdly. Therefore, somewhat you shall have; and the day of patience is mans day: in 1 Cor. 4. 3. saith the Apostle there, I pass not for mans judgement: The words are in the Greek, For mans Day. I pass not for mans day, so the words may be translated; as if the Apostle should say, it is true, Man carries all before him now, man hath all the doings now at this day, and he may judg and censure as he pleaseth; it is but his day, and I pass not for mans day; the day of patience may prove to be mans day; that is the third.

Fourthly, Wicked men, they do somewhat for God here, some kind of service, that is at least materially a service for God: and God will not have them clamour upon Him, that they have nothing for their work; God will give to every one something for what they do for Him, though it be never so little, here in this world. You have a famous place for that in Ezekiel, 29. 18, 19, 20. Nebuchadnezzer King of Babylon, caused his Army to serve a great service against Tyrus, yet had he no wages for his Army, (saith God) he had no wages for his service; well, therefore, God He enquires about this, and seems to complain, that when a Nebuchadnezzer did Him any service, yet he should be all this while without his wages; therefore (saith God) Behold! I will give the Land of Egypt unto him, he shall take a spoil and a prey, and that shall be his wages; He will give him wages for what he doth. Many wicked men God doth make use of in divers services, and much refreshing and good, His Churches shall have from them; the Lord causes the very Earth to help the woman; earthly men to be of use to the Church, and God will not be beholding to them for their work; A thron may serve to stop a gap, though it be but a thorn bush, and if it serve to stop a gap, and be of any use, it hath that Benefit by it, all that while it is kep from the fire, whereas were it not of use, it might presently be brought to the fire. An argument by the way, to provoke all men to be of as much use to the Church of God as possibly they can, it may be  that is the very thing that keeps thee from the fire; thou art a thorn, but God hath use of thee, and therefore brings thee not to the fire; but if thou once comest to be un-useful, the fire is the next thing thou shalt hear of. I remember Austin (in his 5th Book, De Civitate Dei, and the 12. Chap.) speaks of the Romans, that had such a flourishing condition for a while, and he gives that for one Reason, the Romans had brave spirits, they were men that had excellent moralities, and had Herotick kind of spirits, and were delivered from that baseness of spirit, that other people had, and therefore God shewed some kind of respect unto them; here many instances might be in that kind. That’s the fourth.

Fifthly, God gives wicked men a portion here, to shew unto them what little good there is in all these things, and to shew the world what little good there is in all the things that are here below in the world. Certainly, if there were much good they should never have them; it is an argument there is no great excellency in the strength of body, for an Ox hath it more than you: an argument there is no great excellency in agility of body, for a Dog hath it more than you: an argument no great excellency in gay cloathes, for a Peacock hath then more than you: an argument there is not any great excellency in Gold & Silver, for the Indians that know not God, have them more than you and if these things had any great worth in them, certainly God would never give them to wicked men, a certain argument: As it is an argument there is no great evil in afflictions in this world, because that the Saints are so much afflicted; So no great argument, there is any great good in this world, for the wicked they enjoy so much of it. Luther hath such an expression as this is, in his Comment upon Genesis, saith he, The Turkish Empire, as great as it is, it is but a crum, that the master of the family, that God casts to dogs: the whol Turkish Empire, such an esteem had Luther of it: and indeed it is no more. All the things of the world, God in giving of them to Turks, and wicked ones, His enemies, shews there  is not much excellency and good in them, God therefore will cast them promiscuously up and down in the world, because he looks upon them as worthless things; God doth not so much regard whether men be prepared to give him the glory of them, yea or no, they shall have them however, He is content to venture them: Indeed when God comes unto His choice Mercies in Christ, there he looks to have glory from them, and he doth never give them to any, but first he prepares them, that they may give him the glory of those mercies: but it is otherwise with others; As suppose you see a man gathering of Crabs, although Swine be under the Tree, he cares not much to drive them away, they are but Crabs, let them have them; but if he were gathering any choice and precious fruit, if any Swine should come under, he drives them away. As for outward things Crabs, the Lord suffers the Swine of the world, to come grunting, and take them up; but when he comes to his choice Mercies in his Christ, there he makes a distinction, Oh! that is precious fruit! A Black-smith that is working upon Iron, though a great many Cinders, and little bits of Iron fly up and down, he regards them not: but a Goldsmith that is working upon Gold, he preserves every ray, and every dust of Gold: and a Lapidarie that is working upon precious Stones, every little bit he will be sure to preserve: a Carpenter that is only hewing of Timber, he regards it not much if Chips fly up and down; but it is not so with a Lapidary. So these outward things are but as the Chips and Cinders, and such kind of thing, as those are, and therefore God even gives a Portion to wicked men out of them.

Sixthly. God knows that He hath time enough to manifest His Justice upon them hereafter, He hath an Eternity hereafter, for the Declaration of His Justice; and therefore (saith God) Let them have somewhat for a while. As you know it is natural in all, when they see a man going to execution, that is not like to live above an hour or two, every one is ready to pity him, and to be any way officious to  him, Oh! (saith every one) the man shall not have comfort long, we cannot do much for him, he shall have pain enough ere long, and misery enough ere long, and so every one pities him. It is observable, let a man go to execution for wickedness, and then he is pitied by all; but if a man should suffer for godliiness, then perhaps they will not be so full of pity towards him. As I remember in the Book of Martyrs, there is a story of Mr. Ino Frith, a learned, godly Minister, and Andrew Hewit that were Martyrs, and were to suffer for their conscience, and the Story tells us, that one Dr. Cook, a Parson in London, he openly admonishes the people, that they should pray for them no more than they would do for a Dog; that Charity of theirs that they talked so much of, is such towards them that suffer out of conscience; and as amongst Papists so amongst ungodly men, let a man suffer out of conscience, they will rather rail at him, and when he is in his sufferings, they will rather give him gall and vinegar to drink, (as they once did Christ upon the Cross) though in other sufferings they pity men.

Seventhly, By this that God gives to the wicked, the Lord shews, what great things he hath reserved for his own Children; what a portion there is for them; Surely if the dogs have so much, the Father keeps a good house; if the hangbyes may have such doles, certainly there is good provision for the Children within: As by the afflictions of the Saints, God doth declare to wicked men, and would have them draw such an argument from it, that there are fearful things, that are like to befal them; If judgment begin at the House of God, where shall the wicked and ungodly appear? So by the prosperity that wicked men have in this world, God doth declare to his Children, and he would have them argue from thence, what then hath he reserved for his beloved Ones? for his Saints, for his Children, that are so dear unto him?

Eighthly. God fetches a great deal of Glory from hence, He fetches about His own ends very much, from the portion  that wicked men have; as sometimes He doth it, that they might stumble and harden their hearts, and break their necks at it, and to ripen their sins; hence He lets them go on a long time, and have their wills; in Isa. 33. 1. Wo to thee who spoilest, and wert not spoiled, and dealest treacherously, and wert not dealt treacherously withal; when thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; I’le let thee go on, thou shalt spoil as much as thou wilt, and when thou hast done spoiling, thou shalt be spoiled. And sometimes God doth it, to fetch about this end, Namely, to chastise. His own people, with the prosperity of the wicked: And as an Ancient writer hath this Story of one that (he saith) by an extraordinary way, from being a Monk was advanced into an Episcopal Seat, and being a lewd wicked man, he began to be proud of this his Advancement, and being proud, he heard these words in the story, Ab angelo audivit, Cur superbus ô infaelix, non es creatus Episcopus, quia tu dignus, sed quia Civitas haec digna fuit tali Episcopi; it was a wicked place, and this was the answer: Why art thou so proud Oh unhappy man, for thou art not advanced because thou art worthy of this advancement, but because this City is so ill; it is worthy of such a Prelate to be over it: In way of judgment to that place God advanced such a man: And so many are advanced that they may be heavy judgments unto others; God gives them such a portion, not out of His love to them (though they are ready to gather the Argument) but out of His displeasure unto others: And then He gives a plentiful portion to many, to teach us all to do good unto our enemies, not only humanitati (as they say) but homini, not only to human nature, but to men, to men that are wicked, some good must be done unto them.

Ninthly. The Lord would shew hereby, that He would have no argument of love or hatred to be drawn from these outward things; and also because He would not have them to expect any more. It may be many men that are ungodly, prospering in this world, they gather this argument, That therefore God loves them, and intends mercy  to them, Cujus contrarium verum; nay, you may rather gather an argument quite th’other way, because God intends no further good unto you hereafter, therfore it is you have so much now. We use to answer men, that come for their dole, who have had out a dole, and they will come again, Why do you come again? you have had your dole already. So God will answer to many men, when they shall cry to him for mercy, at that day, Why come you to me for more? you have had your dole already; Have you not had already more than your work comes to, more than you have done? you have had your part and portion already: indeed men speak much of Gods mercy, and the mercy of God we acknowledge to be very great and glorious; well, God doth shew himself glorious in mercy, that thou being so wicked, hast so much as thou hast in this world, and therefore though thou shouldst be denied of eternal mercy hereafter, yet thou hast cause to tel Devils and damned creatures that shall be thy companions, that God was very merciful to thee, while thou didst live in this world? Somewhat thou hadst then, but here’s all.

Secondly, Here is all that ever thou art like to have.

  1. Because there are some men, whose names are written in the Earth, and not in the Book of Life: In Jer. 17. 13. there it’s spoken of men that are written in the earth; wheras the Saints are described to be men that are redeemed from the earth. In Revel. 14. 3. It is their happiness to be redeemed from the earth: and it is all the happiness thou hast, that thou art written in the earth.
  2. Here is their portion, because they are vile in the eyes of God; If you should ask the Question; why you give bones to the Dog, and swill to the Swine, and nothing else? The Answer would be; Because it is a Dog that hath it, and because it is a Swine; it is Dogs meat. Certainly God doth speak exceeding contemptibly of all ungodly ones in the world, let them be never so great in regard of outwards; In the 11. of Daniel, 21. A vile person shall arise: What is this vile person? Interpreters generally consent in this, that it is meant of Antiochus Epiphanius, that was a mighty great Prince, such a Prince as when the Samaritans did write to him, they writ, Antiocho magno deo, to Antiochus the great god; and his very name shews him to be a great one; Antiochus Epiphanius, is as much as Antiochus the Illustrious, and the Famous: and yet when the Holy Ghost speaks of him, it is Antiochus a vile person: they are vile in the eyes of God. If there be any in a family that you care not much for, you make no great provision for them, Doth God take care for Oxen? Somwhat they have, but little; Doth God take care for wicked and ungodly ones?
  3. Here is their portion, it is confin’d to this life; Why so? Because they chuse it themselves; and in that they have no wrong; make choice of this Portion themselves: Moses, (speaking to the people, saith he) I set before you life and death: So do the Ministers of God in preaching to you, they set before you Life and Death: What do you chuse? Now you chuse the way that goes out of life, and into death; you have but your choice; you chuse Vanity to be your portion, God doth you no wrong to give you Vanity: Now you that will indent with God for your peny, you cannot take it ill, if when the end of the day comes, God puts you off with your peny; you know those in the Vineyard, that agreed for their peny, they began to murmur indeed, when they came to receive their wages; but saith the Master of the Vinyard, Did you not agree with me so? So you agree with God, all you intend in Gods service, is, that you may have some present comfort in this world, you dare not trust God for the future; and here is that that God will shew His infinit displeasure against the sin of distrust by, that when the Lord propounds now in this day of Grace, such glorious and blessed things to the children of men, and (for ought you know) any of you may have your portion in them, as well as others, and yet you dare not trust God for those gracious things; you think rather with your selves, let me have somewhat now, somewhat for the present, some present pay; the reward that you talk of, which is to come, I know not whether they be imaginations yea, or no; therefore you mean (it seems) to serve God for your present pay, and present pay you shall have, and no more. There are some servants that are your day-servants, they serve you so as they expect their pay at night, and perhaps you give them their two shillings at night, and there is an end: but there are other servants now that will serve you in expectation of some reversions, and expectations of honor, especially when they serve Noblemen, and Princes, though they have no present pay given them at night, yet they go on cheerfully in their service, they expect some great Reversions, as Leases and preferments, they may have afterwards, and now though they have not their two shillings a day as the others have, yet when the other befals them, they are made rich men, they and their posterities: So now, the poor man that hath his pay every day, when a Lease and preferment fals, if he should come in for his part, No, he may be answer’d, you had your pay every day; here was one was content to relie and trust upon me, and had no pay, and he did trust upon me, and now he comes to be preferd: This is the direct difference between the men of the world and Gods Saints; the men of the world will do nothing without present pay, that which is just before them, they must needs have, their hearts are upon it; but the Saints they hear what a blessed thing God hath revealed in his Word, what a blessed Covenant of Grace there is, what rich Promises of glorious things to come; now they beleeve God, and trust in God for these, and they say, Lord, let me have my Portion in the life to come, and whatever thou doest with me here, I care not: As it was the speech of Austin, Lord, here burn, here cut; but spare hereafter: I am content Lord, to be burnt, to be cut, to endure any thing in the world, any sufferings in the world for thee, only hereafter I look for somewhat else, and I’le wait for hereafter: You will not wait for hereafter, but you must have it for the present, and that is the reason, you are put off here: Oh it is a serious thing I speak of to you, many a soul will wring its hands, and curse it self eternally, that it was not content to trust God for hereafter, but would have present pay. You that are great Merchants, if you buy a thing that is but a trifle, you pull out your purse, and give the mony down presently; but suppose you go to the Exchange, and bargain for 10000l there, you may give a little down now, but the great pay must come upon pay daies afterwards; it is not expected it should be presently done: So there are some men in the world, will trade with God, but they trade with God for pedling things, for their Credit, and applause, and for their preferments and estates, God gives down the pay presently, you shall have it, there is your 12d presently, it is done: but now there are other of Gods Saints, that trade with God for great things, for immortality and glory, and a Kingdom, and a Crown of eternal life; now they expect not to have it done presently, they are content to stay: Oh these are the best Traders, the best Merchants that will trade with God for great things, and be content to stay; you will chuse that you have here for the present, and therefore you have your portion.

Fourthly, These things that are here, they are the only sutable things to your hearts, and what will you do with any more hereafter? these things do exceedingly please you, and give you content as agreeable to you, and the things that are to come, are disagreeable; what would men do that are carnal and wicked now? what would they do in Heaven? Certainly if you hate Gods Saints now, that have but a little Grace for their Grace sake, you would hate them infinitly more afterwards, when they are perfect in Grace, when they shall be perfect, and then when all your common gifts shall be taken away; for so it shall be. Now the things of God are unsutable to you, though you have now many common 〈◊〉, and you now abhor the Grace of God, though it be imperfect, what  then, when all common gifts shall be taken from you, and Grace made perfect? how unsutable will it be then to you? Therefore expect nothing hereafter.

Fifthly, You abuse your portion you have now, what will you do with more? Who will trust you with the true riches? You abuse that you have. Indeed men of the world that are wicked, and very rich, are presently in places of honor and power; Oh! what a deal mischief they do in the world? what dreadful evils are they unto the earth? Such men, how do they abuse their portions? Why now, as it is with the Tooth, in a mans head, a Tooth indeed is prefer’d, to have an eminent place in the Head, but when the Tooth comes to be rotten, and put us to pain, what do we but pull it out, and throw it away? So when God prefers men to eminent places, when through their wickedness they grow rotten, and so do a great deal of hurt, the Lord plucks them out in His anger, and throws them away; they abuse their portion, and do a great deal of hurt, and therefore must expect no more. But above all the argument is,

Sixthly, Because they have no interest in Jesus Christ; The rich Treasures of the infinite grace of God, they are let out in Jesus Christ; God hath divers Conduit-pipes (as I may so say) of His Grace, to let out unto His Creatures; there are some lesser Conduit-pipes, and those Conduitpipes, may be open’d through the general bounty of God; but now the Lord hath the great Current of His eternal mercies, for some that He doth intend eternal good unto, and this great Current of His it is stop’t by justice, the infinite justice of God doth stop this great Current, so as it cannot be open’d to have any drop of the mercy let out, until Divine Justice comes to be satisfied; In the mean time the other smaller pipes, they run, the general bounty of God; Now then, this is the very work of Jesus Christ, Christ the Second Person in Trinity, and it is the very mystery of the Gospel; The Second Person in the Trinity, sees that the children of men, are capable of eternal happiness, eternal  glory, and that there are glorious treasures with God, to be communicated to the children of men; but through mans sin, this great Current is stop’t; in the mean time Gods general bounty lets out a great many outward comforts; Christ therefore out of pity to man-kind, that man-king may not be put off with these general outward comforts, He comes and satisfies Gods infinite justice, that He might open the Current, the sluice of His infinite, and eternal Grace to others: Now happy are those Creatures, who have interest in the Lord Christ; for this is His work, to satisfie the Justice of the Father, that so the great pipe may be opened, and then flows in all Grace, infinit, eternal Grace, when that comes once to be opened: No mervail though we hear of such glorious things, that the Saints of God have in the life to come, no mervail, for Christ doth come and open the great sluice of Gods infinite Grace and Mercie to them; as for the men of the world, they have but a little of the drizling of Gods general bounty through some crannies, but the Floudgates of Gods grace are opened in Christ; therefore til Divine Justice be satisfied, there can be no further good for a Creature here, but the fruits of Gods general bounty, & patience: There are some Creatures whom the Lord hath left to the Course of justice, they shall have what they earn, and no more: this is the difference between Gods dealings with some Creatures and others, (I say) some there are that shall have what they earn, and no more: others there are whom God hath set His Heart upon, and whether they earn or no, God intends eternal mercies: unto them, and will bring them unto eternal mercies: Here’s the difference of the Covenant of works, and the Covenant of Grace; and therefore the one is left to Himself, and the other, Christ the Head of the Covenant comes to undertake for him, that that he cannot do: and here is the very Cut between the condition of some men, & other men; that some have their portion in this world, and others have another higher portion in the world to come; Those have no interest in Christ, these have.

Seventhly, They are no Sons, no Children, and therefore they must not expect childrens portions; As many of you rich men, when you die, you will leave your servants some Legacie, perhaps you’l give every servant in the house five pounds, or so; but when you come to your children, to write in your Will, what such a Son, such a Daughter shall have, that is another manner of business than 4. or 5 l. great things you leave to them: Now the truth is, the world may be divided between Children and Servants, for though the truth is, all men are at defiance with God, yet God makes them servants one way or other; and there is some little Legacy that servants shall have, but they must not expect the Childrens portion; therefore they have it here, but must not have it hereafter. In Ezek. 46. 16. Thus saith the Lord, If the Prince give a gift unto any of his sons, the inheritance shall be his sons; but if to his servants, then it shall be but till Jubile. This was Gods Law, that if a Prince gave a gift to his son, the son should inherit it for ever, but if he give it but to a servant, it should continue with him but for a while. So here is the difference of Gods administration of all His gifts, He gives some to servants, and these shall continue but for a while, within a little while all will be called for again; all the good, and all the comfort thou hast, God will call for it all again: but that which he gives to His Sons, to His Children, they shall have mercy for ever, though not to enjoy it in the same way, they shall enjoy the same good and comfort Eternally. And then further:

Eighthly, The portion that the world hath here, (you heard before) it comes from Gods patience; now there will be an end of the manifestation of the glory of patience in this world, as thus: As there are some graces of the Spirit of God in the Saints, that shall have an end in regard of their exercise here in this world, so there are some attributes of God, that shall have an end in regard of the manifestation of them in that way that God doth now manifest them here in this world, and that is, the patience of God towards  ungodly ones; Now if they hold all upon patience, when the time of the glory of that in this world shall come to be at an end, then all their good is at an end. Further:

Ninthly, Ungodly men, they shal have to deal with God immediately in the world to come, (I beseech you observe but this answer, I’le hasten;) they must have to deal immediatly with God in the world to come; Now they have to deal with God through Creatures, and while they have to deal with God through Creatures, they may get a great deal, and may make shift for much, but when they shall come to deal with God immediatly, then it will be otherwise with them: As for example, There are a great many hang-bies, at great mens houses, perhaps when they come to have to deal with the servants, they get some bits and scraps, and many things from the servants, but if they know they can have nothing, but from the very hand of the Knight, or Lord of the house himself, then they will expect no great matter. So wicked men of this world, they are as hang-bies, that all that they have are but as scraps from the servants, they have to deal only with creatures, they look no further; but hereafter things shall be setled another way, and all things shall be weighed by God Himself, in a ballance of Justice, and distributed by the hands of God Himself immediately, and now things will be carried after another manner, the Lord Himself will come to dispose of things. It was a speech of a German Divine, though he were a good man, and lived very innocently, when he lay upon his sick bed, and apprehended Death, he was in great terrors of spirit, mightily troubled, and some of his friends came to him, and asked him, Why should you be so troubled, that have lived so good a life, as you have done? This was his answer, The Judgments of God are one, and the judgments of men are another, I am now to deal with God; it is true, I lived thus before Men, and Men gave their Verdict of me, as good, and thought I was in a good condition, but O I  am now to go to God, and to deal immediately with Him, and Gods judgment, and Mans judgements are different things; when God shall come to weigh all mens portions out, as it will be then, So much Righteousness, so much portion, so much happinesse, you will say then, Lord, what shall become of us all? All our righteousness is as the menstruous cloath; I but for the Saints, the Righteousness of Christ will be put into one Scale, and their Portion into the other, and their Portion will be weighed by the Righteousness of Christ. Now when thou comest to God, thou must come to the Scale, and thou wilt put in thy good servings of God, and thy comming to Church, and some good Civil actions, and Natural and Moral things thou hast done, thou wilt put them in the Scale; saith God, That which thou hast had already, weighs down all those; Hast thou nothing to put into the Scales but this? thou hast had thy reward already for all this, and much more than this; then if there be nothing to but into the Scale but this, thou art undone, and there is nothing for thee for Eternity. And here is the ground of the confinement of the Portions of wicked men. These are the Two first things.

Thirdly, I will give you some CORRALLARIES only from hence.

Is it so that wicked men have a portion here, and here is all?

First, Here we may see the Reason why the men of the world are so cunning in the things of the world, why they can make so good shift for themselves in the world, rather than other men can: Why, here’s their Portion, their very happiness and good is here; no mervail though they make such shift as they do here: the Apostle in 1 Cor. 2. 12. We have not received the spirit of the world (saith the Apostle,) we cannot tell how to shift in the world so as other men do, for indeed, we look further than these  things, and so cannot shift as other men can; They that have the spirit of the world, and have their portion in the world, they can shift; but we have not received the spirit of the world. You know a Swine though it goes abroad all day wandring up and down, it knows the way to the trough at night; but a Sheep if it go a wandring a little way out of his place, a Sheep doth not know how to come back again, but wanders up and down till it be even lost, and is as a lost sheep when it is once wandring up and down; but Swine are not so. So ungodly men, though they go up and down wandring, they know how to come to their trough at night, they have better skil in the world, they are more artificial in the things of the world, they have better understanding (as the Scripture speaks,) The children of this world are wiser in their generation, than the children of light: Why is it? Their Portion is in this world. That’s the first Corrallarie.

  1. Corr. Here we see the Reason, Why there are so many great ones in the world that regard Religion so little as they do, and the waies of God, and the Church of God; why ’tis not their portion; those things that concern another life, is not any part of their portion; they mind what it is that concerns the present life, because this is their portion. When many come into places of dignity and power, What are their thoughts? Now they think of gratifying their friends, now they think of respect and honor that they shall have abroad in the world, and be accounted some-body, now they think of revenging al their wrongs, of making up of all their broken titles &c. This hath been heretofore (I suppose very ordinary) in men advanced amongst you; these are all their thoughts: as for doing service for God, and for His Church, and vindicating the Truth of God, and Honor of God, that is scarce in all their thoughts, for they do not look upon that as part of their Portion: Here is the reason why so many Magistrates are like to Galio, in Acts, 18. 17. Carring for none of those things; they were to him but matters of words, and yet they were about the great fundamental Points of Religio•, Whether Christ were the true Messias, and whether He were God, or no; but to Gallio these things were but matter of words: And so the great things of God, and Religion, to carnal hearts, they are things that are of no great consequence at all; yea when as Sosthenes that was the Ruler of the Synagogue for countenancing of Paul, had the rude multitude of the City, rise up in a rude manner to apprehend him, and to lay violent hands upon him, Gallio cared for none of these things; but so far he did not go, Gallio went not to stir up a rude multitude to lay violent hands upon a Ruler of a Synagogue, or a City, but he cared for none of those things (saith the text:) What did he care for rectifying any thing that was amiss in Religion? Oh let us (say they that have their portion here) what ever becomes of things, let us make peace (say they) that we may go on and be quiet in our houses, & enjoy that we have quietly, and peacably, and they look no further: Their portion is here, and as for Truth, how do they reject it, & contemn it! It is a speech (as is credibly reported) hath come even from a Citizen here, in cursing of the Truth so; (as had he lived among the Jews he would certainly have been stoned to death) Let us have Peace, and a Pox of Truth. (I say) such a speech as this among the Jews would have caused him to have been stoned to death, being such horrible blasphemy. But how many are ready to say with Pilat, in the 18. of John, 38. when as Christ was before Pilat, and talked to Pilat of Truth, Truth (saith Pilat) What is Truth? You shall observe it at the 38. ver. What is Truth? (Saith Pilat) as if Pilat should have said, What a strange man is this, the man is in danger of his life, and he talks of Truth, when he is in danger of his life, What is Truth? (saith Pilat) & turns it back upon him presently. Just thus are the hearts of many, What should we look at Truth, or at any thing now, but to preserve our lives, and estates, and outward comforts in the world? What is Truth? They are a company of mad-brain’d fellows, that are factious, and seditious, they talk of Truth, and know not what they say, Come, let us have peace, though it be upon any terms: Who is there in this place that desires not Peace? The Lord knows it is the desires of those that are accused most for want of desires in this thing; yea so as we dare challenge any of you with this Challenge: Those who have been most at the Throne of Grace begging unto God for peace for England, let them carry the day; those that have put forth most prayrs for Peace, before the Throne of Grace, we are willing they shall have the day. We reade that amongst al the Tribes that came up in a war-like way, to help the people of God against oppression, in the 5. of Judges, 18. and so in that Chapter, that of all Naphtali was the only Tribe that joyned wth Zebulun, that jeoparded their lives in the Cause of God, that would take up Arms to defend themselves, and the people against oppression; Surely these two Tribes, by the others that would not venture themselves, were at that time accounted very factious, and very seditious; What they! only Zebulun and Naphtali; Yet it is observable, though there were none joyned with Zebulun but only Naphtali, there is no Tribe of which it is so much spoken, to be a Tribe, full of Courtesie, and Civility, of a peacable and quiet disposition, as Naphtali was; you shall find it, if you reade in the 49. of Genesis, 21. and afterwards in another text, there are these two things said of Naphtali, only these two first, That he was a Hinde let loose, and give goodly words. But they may be but words of Complement, not reality; Nay, (when Moses comes with the blessing, you shall find these two places, one in Genesis and the other in Deuteronomy,) when Moses comes with the blessing again upon Naphtali: Naphtali filled with favour, and with the blessing of the Lord. What is the meaning? Naphtali was a Tribe that had most courtesie and civility of all; compar’d to a goodly Hinde, of a quiet disposition, and one that gave courteous language to all, & not meer words, but reality; it was such a one that was fill’d with favour,  that had the favour of God, and the favour of Men; he had such a courteous carriage, and he had the blessing of God upon him; and yet this Naphtali, was the Tribe that would jeobard their lives, and take up Arms in defence of the people of God, against oppression in those times, above all. And Phinebas (ye know) was so zealous, and would make use of the sword, so as he did; yet in the 25. of Num. 12, 13. God saith there, He would make a Covenant of Peace with him. Beloved! Phinehas, that is such a fiery hot man, yet a Covenaut of peace must be made with him, by God Himself; for he did indeed, by that way procure peace to Israel; for so the Text saith there in that place of Num. That because Phinehas was so zealous, it was, that I might not consume them in my jealousie: Now it’s observable, the word in the Original is, Because he was zealous, therefore it was, that I might not consume them in my Zeal. Its translated in your books; Because he was thus zealous, that I might not consume them in my Jealousie; the words are different in the English; but in the Hebrew they are the same: and so be turn’d thus, Because he was so zealous, it was, that I might not consume them in my Zeal; as if he should have said, If there had not been some among them that had been zealous, (and as they account fiery) I would have been zealous my Self, and fiery my Self, and consumed them, and it was wel they had such amongst them; and one day those that cry out of them, may come to see cause to bless God for them; that would not have the world put off, and gul’d with the fair name of peace; we know the Devil hath made much use of it in former times, and would fain make use of it now; As if those that desired Truth most, were not greatest friends unto peace; God forbid, but it should be so: Though it’s true, we think not, we have our portion here, and therefore we would not have peace upon any terms; indeed we confess our portion lies higher, and that wherein our portion doth consist we would have upon any terms; and therefore Saint Paul saith in Philippoans, 3. if by any means, I may attain to the Resurrection of the dead; If  by any means, upon any terms, that I may have peace at the great Day, whatsoever I do endure: so say we for our portion; and you say, Let us have peace upon any terms; why? because your portion is here: We would be glad that all our Mountains, were Mountains of Olivet, but we would be loth to have them Mountains of Corruption: In 2 Kings, 23. 13. You reade there of a Mountain of corruption, Of Mons offenssionis, Of offence; so it is in the old Latin; Now, what was that same Mountain of Corruption? if we compare one Scripture with another, we shall find it was no other, but Mount Olivet, Mount Olivet was made a Mountain of corruption: In 1 King. 11. 7. There Solomon built Idolatrous Temples, for the honour of the gods of his Queen, those gods that his Queen did worship, Solomon built Temples for to gratifie her, and it was upon the Mount before jerusalem, which was the Mount of Olivet, that was the Mount. Now you know the Mount Olivet was a Mount that had his name from Olives that did grow there, and were Emblems of peace; but yet the Mount Olivet may be made a Mount of Corruption: we would be glad that we might live upon Mount Olivet all our daies, but are loth this Mount Olivet should be made a Mount of Corruption. Give me leave but in a few words, yet to put some Considerations to you, and if I speak not reason in them, reject them.

First, Because that you are so greedy of Comforts in this world, you would fain have peace; be wise even for your own portion; you would have peace, but I hope a safe peace, and that is all we do desire: If the peace be not safe, Oh the bood that may follow after. We reade in the 27. of the Acts, 13. that there was indeed a Calm, and the South wind did blow softly, for a while, warm wind and very softly, but presently follows, not long after it appears that there did arise a Tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon; Euroclydon did arise presently after: Take we heed (my brethren) that we be not deluded with the softly South wind; Take heed that there be not an Euroclydon, that blows presently after; were we sure to be delivered from that same Euroclydon, we should be glad of continuance of soft blowings of the South wind: Can you think of a safe peace that live under any Arbitrary Governments? No (that you’l say) and therefore we account our condition ill now, for we have Arbitrary Governments amongst us now, And who are they?

Obj. Do not the Parliament themselves Govern in that kind of way?

Ans. Give me leave in a word to answer this: Consider of the difference between that Arbitrary Government the Parliament complains of; and what now you feel.

Ans. 1. That was then, when the Kingdom was in a setled way, and then when there was no contrary Arbitrary power to oppose it, yet then it went on, and surely then it did but make way for worse Arbitrary government; but now it is in a way, when the Kingdom is unsetled, and in a way, where there is a necessity of some help beyond the ordinary course of Law, because of a contrary Arbitrary Power, that is oppos’d; And is it possible for any man, that hath any wisdom, or understanding in his head, that cannot see the difference between these two? But I’le shew you a greater difference than this.

Ans. 2. That which was before, those that did so Govern suffer’d nothing in it themselves, but gained all; now those that are accused for the present, (if it be Arbitrary,) they suffer themselves as much as we do, and their posterity doth suffer as much as we do; and therefore the thing is far different from what was before. And yet further, if you would not be carried away with words, but judge righteous judgment, Consider this:

Ans. 3. Can you think that if the Adversarie should prevail, you should be only at the dispose of the King? Do you not think that those that are with him, and give such strength and assistance for the present, that you must lie at their mercy too, in great part; And will that be safe for you? I put it to every mans conscience, whether he can  think that it is safer for Church, or Common wealth to be governed by the King, with those that are now about him, and an Army of Papists, than to be governed by the King, with His Two Houses of Parliament? Which is the safest way in the consciences of any men living. And yet further than this, Consider (if you have your eyes in your heads)

Answ. 4. That perhaps what you aim at as your End, your Adversaries may aim at, but as their Means; and what will become of you then? If that that you would have as an End, they shall look at, but as a Medium; Consider what Consequences may come of it. And yet lastly:

Answ. 5. You that do desire so much Peace, to preserve your own Portions here; Would you not willingly have such Peace, as those that have appeared for you in Houses of Parliament, in Citie, in the Ministry, that have been most active, be preserved too? Are you so desirous of it, as to be willing to leave them to the fury and rage of their Adversaries? Were not this one of the horriblest wickednesses that ever were committed in a Kingdom? If they from desire to save their own particular estates, should betray those that have been faithful to them, in their places of Trust. It was once a speech of Demosthenes to one that would fain have peace, he affirms, that it is a vain and preposterous thing, to desire peace with the flock, upon this condition, That the Keepers of the flock may but be betraied, and taken away. The fair name of Peace will never so prevail with a wise man, when this shall come to be the condition of it. The good people in Chrysostoms time, (however you may think of those that have most appear’d for you, & ventured themselves) they thought it such a thing, to have but the mouth of one Chrysostom stopt. And also they professed, That if the Sun should take back, or bring back, or keep in his Rayes, it were more tollerable, than that the mouth of John should be stopt; they had such an high esteem of a faithful Minister in those times. And therefore if you would be faithful to God, and to the Kingdom, and to  those that have appear’d for you, look after such peace, as wherein you and they may be safe; God knows they would have been willing to have been as silent as you; but suppose all the Ministers in the Kingdom, and men that had ability to appear publickly, had all been silent, so as the business had been wholly betraied, and at length an Army of Papists had risen, when you had had no help to have resisted them, Would you not have cried out of Ministers? would you not have cried out of Magistrates? would you not have cried out of Parliament Men? If they have ventured themselves to be faithful for you, know you can have no peace, except they have it; and it were an unworthy thing, to think of your safety without theirs likewise.

Object. But you will say, We would not have our Estates and Peace thus, as you speak, upon any terms, without any regard to Religion; we have our portion in Religion, as well as you, and we have our Consciences to look after, as well as you, and God forbid it should be otherwise, but that Religion should prosper too with our Peace; but we would not have Sects and Sectaries to be maintained in the Kingdom; let us have Truth, and Religion; but away with them.

Ans. 1. Do you understand what they are you speak of? Do you know wherein you and they differ? You cry out of them, as if they were of another Religion, whereas when it comes to be scan’d, the difference between you and them will not be so great. But further, I put this to you:

Ans. 2. Do you spend as much breath in praying for these kind of men, as you do in railing upon them? then somewhat may be said.

Ans. 3. It is a vain thing to think, that true Religion can be maintain’d, and have the liberty of it, without some difference of Opinion amongst us: Indeed the Turks have as much peace in their Religion, as any Religion hath in all the world; and there is as little difference of Opinions amongst the Turks as there is in any Religion whatsoever;  but well may that Coat have no seam, that hath no shape; If the Truth of Religion comes to appear, certainly it is impossible but many differences in opinion must come, and it is a most intollerable pride of heare, and tyranny in any whatsoever, to think by violent means to force all to be of the same opinion that they are of, in matters that are not of the Foundation, and that may stand with the Peace of a Common-wealth too; You take upon you in that more than Christ doth, more than the Apostles ever did.

Object. But You will say, If men be in an Error, why should they not be forced? Shall every man be lest to his Opinion, to do what he will?

Answ. No, I plead not for that neither: Therefore I except all Opinions, 1. Against the Foundation of Religion: 2. All those Opinions that are against the Foundation of Civil Government. Take these Two aside, and then for other Opinions that are of a lower inferior nature (I say) there you take too much upon you, whosoever you are, if you should think to force men to be of the same Opinion as you are; and there is no such way to make disturbance in Churches or Commonwealths, as to force men to be of the same Opinion, in things that are of an inferior nature.

Object. But you will say, If it be an Error, they must not be left to live in it.

Answ. Nay, stay there; A man may be in an Error, and yet you have nothing to do to offer violence unto him to bring him out of his Error; you may seek to convince him as much as you can, but to offer violence, you undertake more than God hath given you Commission to do, whatever you are; and I give this Scripture for it, that is cleer, in Romans, 14. 2. One beleeveth he may eat all things; another eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth, despise him that eateth not; and let him that eateth not, not judge him that eateth. And so he tels us, Who art thou that judgest another? Who art thou that judgest. These two Opinions could not be true: One man doth eat herbs; the other man makes conscience  of it, and cannot do it; Certainly, one of these was a sin at that, time one of them was a sin, to eat herbs, and that he might eat no flesh, for God never commanded them, that they should eat no flesh; to make conscience to eat no flesh was a sin, but yet though one were a sin, yet they that were in the right, must not by violence force those that were in the wrong, to their opinion, but they must leave them to God; I say, in matters of such consequence as these, it is a point of Antichristian tyranny, and pride, and notorious pride in men, that have taken so much upon them, as to force all to be of the same opinion; this is not the way certainly for true peace. But thus much for the second Corrallarie. The Third follows.

  1. Corr. If men have their portion in this world, here is the Reason that there is such a stir in the world by men to maintain this their Portion; what a deal of stir is there? what rending and tearing is there, that they might maintain their Estates? Especially if some men have a higher Portion in the world than others, Oh what a deal of stir is there to maintain it. I remember Henry the fourth, writes to Pope Gregory, and tels him, that by reason of an Emulation there was about the Popedom, one being chosen in Rome, and the other in another place, that there were 230000. men lost their lives out of that Emulation; meerly about two men, two Popes, it cost the bloods of two hundred & thirty thousand men. O what a stir is therein the world to satisfie the wils of a few men in the world? Certainly one day the world will be wiser, and will understand that they are Men, and not Dogs, that they were not made to be subject to the humours and the lusts of men, and that no man hath now any further power over him, but what they have by an agreement from them one way or other, either implicit, or explicit, one way or other, it is by their agreement, that any man hath any power over them, and can exercise any; The world (I say) ere long I hope will be wise enough to understand this, and therefore will not so sacrifice their lives for the satisfying of the wills of a few men in the world, they shall not make such a stir in the world as heretofore they have done; Indeed men make a great stir now to maintain their portions, for the contention is not, de finibus, but de haereditate; not about matters of bounds and limits, (as he said) but it is about the inheritance it self; it is about their portion; it is their God; And do you say, What ails me, when you have taken away my gods? Here is the ground of all the stirs and Combustions in the world, because carnal hearts look upon what they enjoy as their portion; But how comes it thus to pass, that men should be so greedy of this their portion? Is it such an excellent portion that they are so greedy of it? Is it worth so much, that they contend so much about it? This makes way for me to slip into the Fourth Particular.

Fourthly, To enquire what kind of Portion this is, that these men of the world, have in this world, that they make such a stir about. And therefore to make way for that;

First. Consider what poor things they are, that they make such a stir about.

Secondly. Consider the Tenure, upon which they hold whatsoever they do enjoy.

Thirdly. Consider the mixture of Evil, that there is in that they do enjoy.

Fourthly. The blessed Portion that they lose, that they might enjoy.

Lastly. The dreadful end that there will be to such men that have their portion here.

  1. The poor things, that men have here in this world; What are they? Their Comforts for the most part, are but imaginary; In Hosea, 12. 1. Ephraim feeds upon the wind: And when a bladder is ful of wind, one prick lets it quite out; and so when Death comes, it lets out all their Comforts: even as the wind goes all out at one prick in a bladder; so all the comforts of the men of the world, go out by the prick of death. In Prov. 23. 5. Wilt thou set thy heart upon that which is not? it is not, it hath no reality in it. And in Acts, 25. when Bernice and Agrippa came in great pomp and state to the Assembly; that which you have in your books translated great Pomp, it is in the Greek, with great Fancie: all the pomp and jollity in the world, it is but a fancy, this is their portion.
  2. That which they have, it is of a very low nature; this would be an argument, we might phylosophize in, if it were fit, or if we had time, but I’le quickly pass over these things, it’s of a very low nature, it not much concerns the soul, all the portion they have; Therefore saith the Text here, Thou fillest their belly; it’s but a belly full; what is that to the soul? Indeed the rich man in the Gospel could say, Soul, take thy ease, for thou hast goods laid up for many yeers, eat, drink, &c. Wilt thou say, Soul, take thy ease, because thou hast goods laid up, and because you may eat, and drink? What is all this to the soul? Ambrose hath such a speech upon the place, If the man had the soul of a swine, what could be said otherwise? for indeed these things were sutable to the soul of a swine: you shall find that a man is not the better, because of outward things, not a whit; the heart of the wicked is little worth; his estate may be somewhat worth, his house may be somewhat worth, his lands may be somewhat worth; But the heart of the wicked is little worth, Prov. 10. And would not you think it to be a great evil, if so be that when you go up and down abroad, you should certainly know, that there is no man doth give you any entertainment, or any respect, but it is for your servants sake that tends upon you, would not that discourage you, and trouble you? Indeed you come to such a mans house, and he seems to make you welcome, and you have entertainment; I but you come to know afterwards, that it was not for your sake, but for your servants sake that be loved; would you think you had a good entertainment there? the truth is, so all the respect you have in this world, it is for your servants sake, for your goods, house, and lands, it is not for any worth that is in you. It was a speech that Socrates spake once, to one Achilous, when he had a fine house, and a many brave things there (saith he) There are many come to see thy house, and thy fine things there, but no body comes to see thee; they know there is a worth in thy fine house, and in thy fine furniture, but they see no worth in thee. Indeed all these things are not souls meat, it is not mans meat they feed upon, it is but ashes, it is nothing to the soul of man. Further:
  3. Suppose it were for the soul, What thou hast here, is but a very poor pittance, a scantie portion, thou hast not all the world neither, thou hast thy portion in this world; If thou hadst the whol world at command, yea if God should make a thousand worlds more for thee to command, this were all but a poor pittance to put off an immortal soul withal: but now, that thou hast is but a little minnim in the world: All Nations of the Earth are but as the dust of the ballance, and drop of the bucket to God; What is thy dust then? what is thy house, and land then? As Socrates wittily rebuked the pride of Alcibiades, when he was very proud, that he had so much Land lay together; He brought his Map of the world to him, and saith he, Pray shew me where your land lies here, one prick of a pen would have described it all. Should we take a rich man here that hath a great deal of land, and bring a Map of the world to him, all England, Ireland, and Scotland, are but three little spots unto the world; And what are your Farms, and your Mannours you have? you have but a little portion, if you had all, it were no great matter: the truth is, All you have in this world cannot be enough to make you live in fashion in the world, like a man; it’s not enough (I say) for to live like a man in the world, to live like one that hath an immortal soul, like one that hath the Image of God upon him, and was sent hither into the world to do some great service as every one of you was sent hither to do; therefore it is but a mean thing, little cause you have for to rejoyce in it; It’s true, they that are godly, account themselves unworthy of the least thing they have here in this world, but I’le tell you a Mystery of Religion now, a practical Maxime of Religion, that is a great Mystery to the world, and that is this, That a gracious heart, though he thinks himself unworthy of the least crum of bread, yet all the Creatures in Heaven and Earth will not serve him to be his portion, will not satisfie him; though he hath a heart that will be satisfied with any thing, as counting himself unworthy of the meanest condition in this world, as a present gift of God, but if God should give him Heaven and Earth, he hath such an unsatisfying heart, as he would not be satisfied with Heaven and Earth, except God gives him Himself: therefore certainly thy portion is but a very little portion.
  4. Those things that thou hast, are things that will vanish, and quickly come to nothing. It is said, of the whol world, in Job; 26. 7. The whol earth hangs upon nothing; and so all things of the Earth do: and therefore it is said of Abraham; in Hebrews, 11. That he sought a City that had foundations: All other things, are as things that have no foundation at all; There is a worm in every creature, that will consume it in time; and the Scripture calls all our riches, Ʋncertain riches; and Christian thou art made for an eternal condition, these things are fading; when thou comest to enter in upon thy eternal estate, if thou should’st then ask, what shall I have now? I have now thus much, and thus much, in my whol life, but what shall I have now I come to enter in upon my eternal estate, truly nothing at all. If a man were to go a great Voyage to the Indies, and all the provision he makes is this, he gets a Vessel that can make shift to carry him as far as Gravesend, that he will do, and what need he hath of provision to Gravesrnd, or perhaps to the Downs, he provides for; he goes on, and should go on now to the Downs, and begins his Voyage to go to the Indies, and is gotten into the Ocean; alas the Vessel is a rotten Vessel; Were not this an unwise man? Truly this is the condition of thousands in the world, Man, Woman, thou art ••ade for an eternal condition; God intends Eternity to every Mothers Child that is here this day, & God expects that thy life should be spent in making provision for this Eternal estate of thine, and thou thinkest of nothing but that thou maiest provide for a few years here, and live in some fashion, and be some body in the world here; Oh! when thou comest to enter upon the Ocean of Eternity, thou wilt give a dreadful shreek, and cry out, I am undone, I am undone, I have provided nothing for Eternal life; these things are very uncertain: Oh what a deal of difference there is between the same men in two or three years? I might tell you (but the time so hastens) that great difference two or three years have made between man and man, but I forbear it, because I see the time will not give leave: And yet further for the meanness of the Portion.
  5. What ever thou hast in this world, it is no other, but what may stand with the Eternal hatred of an infinite God towards thee; it may be the portion of a Reprobate, and will this serve thy turn? will this satisfie thee? will that satisfie thy soul, that may be the portion of a Reprobate? There are many now that are sweltring under the wrath of the infinite God, that have had twenty times as much as any of you have, that are here before the Lord this day, they have had greater estates than you, and lived merrier lives than you, and yet are now under the wrath of God; Wil a Reprobates portion serve thy turn? Therfore surely it is but a mean thing, that will stand with Gods Eternal hatred; Consider it, To enjoy the Dominion of all the world, may stand with Gods Eternal hatred; but to have but the least dram of saving grace, cannot stand with Gods Eternal hatred: What a difference is there between the having the least dram of grace, and the enjoyment of al the world? what a goodly portion is there here that thou so much rejoycest in? It is certainly, because thy heart is so straight, that thou thinkest these things to be so big; As in a narrow Vessel, a thing will appear big, but in a mighty wide Vessel, it appears little; So when the Lord by grace shall widen and enlarge thy heart, then all the things of the world will be little to thee; Grace hath the Image of God in it, now what saith God of Himself, in Isa. 40. All the world is but as the drop of the bucket, and the dust of the ballance; Now grace hath Gods likeness, and through the Image of God in a gracious heart, the Soul saith thus of the world, as God saith of the world, that all the world is but as the drop of the bucket, and the dust of the ballance to me; When the Lord promised to perswade Japhet to dwell in the tents of Shem; the word that is translated perswade, it signifies to enlarge, that He would enlarge the heart of Japhet; and indeed when God doth convert a soul, the Lord doth enlarge that soul, doth enlarge the heart, and therefore all the things of the world, are now but little; Indeed if a man be below here, and looks upon that which is next to him, that hath any bigness in it, it shews somewhat great, but if a man were advanced on high, upon the top of a Pinnacle, then that which seemed great, appears but little to him; so the men of the world, that here lie groveling below, and the curse of the Serpent is upon them, Ʋpon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat; they think the things of the world great matters; but grace lifts up the heart on high to God and Christ, mounts it up to Eternity, and then they can look upon all these things here below, as mean things; and this was the reason that Luther, when he had great gifts sent in to him by many of the great men of Saxony, he began to be afraid, lest the Lord should reject him, here in this world, and he hath this expression, I did vehemently protest God should not put me off so; that is his word, according to the manner of the man, you know the man, and his language; according to the manner of his language thus he speaks, when there came in things of the world, and he began to be tickled with honor, and great men did respect him, Oh (thought he) I shall be somebody now in the world, thus corruption began to work, but grace did prevail, and he breaks out with this expression, I did professe God should not put me off so, the Lord shall not put me off so; there are other things which I look for, things which are better and higher, these are poor pittances for this soul of mine to be put off withal, there are other things I must have from the Lord, or else I cannot be satisfied. That’s the First thing, the poor things of the world, which is the Portion of wicked men.

Secondly, Consider the Tenure by which they hold it.

All you have in the world, you hold it not by a good Tenure, it is not held in Capite, that is not the tenure you hold it by: I confesse this, I think not the men of the world to be Usurpers for what they lawfully get in the world, I do not think they shall answer meerly for their using what they do, meerly for their right to use that they have, but they shall answer for their not right-using; they shall not answer (I say) for their right to use, but for their not right-using; they have some right, but what right is it they hold it upon? what tenure? There is a Threefold right:

  1. A right from Justice, that we may claim a thing by: One can claim by Justice, such a thing is his due: That’s not your right, you cannot claim any thing.
  2. There is a right from Creation, that God gave to man at first Creation: you have lost that too.
  3. There is a right from Promise? God hath now promised all good things to his people; you have not that right neither: You have neither the right of Justice to claim; nor the right from your Creation; nor the right from Promise: What right then? There is a Fourth right, and that right I confess you have, and that is.
  4. A right from Donation: God is pleased to give to you, but just thus; You hold all your Honors and Estates, that are ungodly men, just thus, Even as a man that is condemned to die, and there being a little reprieving for two or three daies before his execution, the Prince out of his indulgence, gives order to have provision made for him according to his Quality, that if he be a Gentleman, he shal have such provision, if a Knight, a Nobleman, a Peer of the Realm, he shall have provision according to his Quality, till his Execution; now no man can say, this man usurps, though he hath forfeited all his right to his Land and Estate, yet if the King will give him this refreshment, he is no usurper, but it is a poor right he hath, it’s a right from Donation: and thus God gives the ungodly men, in this world they have a right to outward comforts: you have your Portion, but you see how you hold it. That’s the Second thing. I have but one or two things more to dispatch of this particular: and two things further, and I shall wind up all as briefly as I can. (I am told I may take some liberty at such a time as this is, and seeing it is only the preaching oportunity we meddle withal; give me leave a little the more to transgresse upon your patience, in that I hope it will not be very much) The next thing to be considered, it is, That this Portion here, as it’s poor in regard of the mean things, and the Tenure: So,

Thirdly; There is a great deal of Mixture here in this you have.

  1. There is a manifold Mixture of Cumber, of Trouble; and the truth is, All the good things that wicked men enjoy in this world, will scarce bear charges; that is, there is so much trouble they meet withal here in this world with their Portion, that all they have will scarce bear charges: And if a man goes a Voyage, we use not to count any thing he spends by the way to be part of his Treasury. Now all we have here in this world, is but Spending-money to bear our Charges, in regard God knows we shall be at a great deal of Charges, and afflictions we shall meet with here. But besides:
  2. There is a Mixture of Curse in every Portion of an Ungodly man. If any of you think you get such a rich Match, you get an Heir that is a very rich Match, and you get her portion, and there you go and fetch away the bags of God that are her portion, but if it should prove that every bag of Gold you have of your Wives portion had the Plague in it, it were but a poor portion. Certainly it is thus with all ungodly ones in the world, that all the while they live, whatsoever they enjoy, so long as continuing wicked, they have a Curse of God that goes along with it, and makes way unto Eternal misery for them: As those that are godly have the blessing of God in outward things, that makes way for their Eternal good; So thou hast the Curse of the Lord mingled with all thy outward things that makes way for Eternal evil unto thee. And then, Consider,
  3. What portion thou losest; thou hast gotten one, but thou losest a great deal more: If a man had been at the Exchange, and made some bargain about some petty thing, and afterwards when he comes home, knows that by not buying such a thing, he hath lost a bargain that would have made him and his posteritie, he hath little cause of rejoycing in that bargain he hath made: So though thou hast got a portion that may seem to satisfie thee somwhat, know thou hast lost a portion of infinit worth and value; and it’s impossible to shew you what this portion is; for the Devil could shew Christ all the glory of the world in the twinkling of an eye; but if I should come to shew you the glory of Heaven, I had need have Eternity to shew you what the portion of the Saints is, but though I cannot shew it you all, I will only give you a hint or two, that you may know somewhat, what it is:
  4. It is such a portion, as is fit for the Spouse of the Lamb, as is fit for the Spouse of one that is to marry the Son of God, the second Person in Trinity.
  5. It is such a portion, which is fit and sutable to an Heir of Life and Glory, an Heir of Heaven and Earth.
  6. It is such a portion, as God doth give it unto them, to this very end, As to declare what the infinite Power of God is able to do, to raise a poor creature to the height of happiness; What think you this must be? that (I say) it must therefore be done, that it might declare to Angels, and all creatures, what the infinit power of God is able to do, to raise a poor creature to happiness and glory. This must be somewhat.
  7. It must be such a one, as in which God must attain unto the great design that he had from all eternity in making the Heaven, and Earth; the special design that God had in making Heaven and Earth, from all Eternity, it was, to magnifie the Riches of His Grace, to a Company that He had set apart to glory; it must be such a portion, and guess you what this must needs be.
  8. It is such a portion, as must require the infinite power of God to support a Creature to be able to bear the weight of that glory: it’s such a portion. And do you but think what kind of portion that must needs be?
  9. All this must needs be now to all Eternity. I remember when Esau did but hear Isaac his father tel what a blessing he had given unto Jacob, the Text saith, that Esau fell a weeping. Oh! that God would strike upon the hearts of men that have so little minded any thing, but the present things of the world; thou hearest but a few words of what the Lord hath reserved to all eternity for his Saints, and compare but that with what is thy portion, and what is like to be thy portion; and thou hast cause to weep; I, but more cause you will have to weep, if so be you consider the last thing.

Fifthly. What is like to be thy End, thy Portion is in this world; if indeed thou couldst ruffle it out in this world, and enjoy thy hearts desire, and there an end, it were somewhat: Oh but there is somewhat else remains afterwards: As first,

  1. Oh the perplexity of Spirit that any worldly man will have, when Death comes, when he shall see an end of all the comforts of this world, now farewell house, and lands, and friends and acquaintance, and all merry meettings, and jovialities, I shall never have comfort more in you. As it was the speech of Pope Adrian, when he was to die; O thou my soul! my soul! whither art thou going? whither art thou going? thou shalt never have more jests, nor be merry, nor be jocund any more; where art thou going? So may a man that hath his portion in this world here, say at his death, Where is this poor soul of mine going? I have lived here thus many yeers, and I have had many merry meetings, and I have eaten of the fattest, and drunk of the sweetest, and gone in brave array, but now my day is gone, what shall become of me? what peace have I now when all is gone? I remember Latimer hath such a story in one of his Sermons that he preached before King Edward, he tels a story of a rich man, that when he lay upon his sick bed, there came one to him, and tels him that certainly by all reasons they can judg by, That he was like to be a man for another world, a dead man: Assoon as ever he hearts but these words, (they are Latimers words, I only repeat them as his words, and they were before a King, and so they will not be too broad words, nor too rude to speak before you; assoon as ever he did but hear this) What must I die? send for a Physitian; wounds, sides, heart, must I die? wounds, sides, heart, must I die? and thus he goes on; and there could be nothing got from him, but wounds, sides, heart, must I die? must I die, and go from all these▪ here was all; here is the end of this man, that makes his portion to be in this world. Another rich man that lived not far from the place that I my self lived in heretofore, when he heard his sickness was deadly, he sends for his bags of money, and hugs them in his arms, Oh! must I leave you? Oh! must I leave you? And another, that when he lay upon his sick bed, cals for his bags, and laies a bag of gold to his heart, and then bids them take it away, it will not do, it will not do. Another when he lay upon his sick bed, his friends came to him and said, What lack you? what would you have? would you have any Beer? want you any thing? Oh no, (saith he) I want only one thing, Peace of Conscience; that I would have: it is not beer, nor friends, nor an easie pillow I want, but ease of Conscience. Oh consider now, whether there be not like to be perplexity in your Spirits?
  2. You must be called to an Accompt for all; though (as I told you before) not to accompt for the right to use, but for not right-using; and do but now think with your selves, If you now have so much as you cannot reckon, how then will you be able to reckon for it, if you cannot now reckon it? now you have so much as you cannot count, how will you be able to give an accompt of what you have now, especially when you have had no thoughts of this beforehand?
  3. There is at last a dreadful portion indeed at the day of Judgment; Oh the shame and confusion that will be upon the faces of the men of the world! especially when they shall see perhaps their poor neighbors have their portion with Christ, in glory: perhaps a poor boy, a poor servant in the house advanced to glory, and they stand on the left hand to be cast out; perhaps some of these poor Hospital boyes shall be admitted to eternal glory, when as some of you that are their great Masters, shall be cast out eternally; and what an infinit shame and confusion would this be to you? Oh now I see what it is to trust in God, and not to trust in him; these are happy that would trust for the future, but I miserable that dare not trust in him: and then the conclusion what will it be? in Psalm, 11. 6. The Lord will rain snares and fire and brimstone, and this shall be the portion of their cup; here is the portion of the Ungodly at last: and in Mat, 24. 51. Appoint him his portion with Hypocrites, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth; that is the portion of Hypocrites in the conclusion; Now here thou seest the End of all, what do’st thou think then of thy portion now? Think but of one text and I have done this, in Job, 27. 8. What hope hath an Hypocrite though he hath gained, when God takes away his soul? Mark, there were many Hypocrites that aimed to get in the world, and cannot get in the world, God crosses them here; well, but suppose thou aimest at gain, and canst get what thou would’st have, thou hast got all thou would’st desire, but what hope hath an Hypocrite though he hath gained, though he hath grown never so rich, and got all he desires, when God takes away his soul? This time is coming, it will be ere long, and it may be ere long the portion of some that are here present; and perhaps this Text of mine, may then ring in their ears, when they lie upon their sick beds, perhaps within a month or six weeks, or a quarter of a yeer, when Gods time shall be, and then this Sermon, Conscience may repeat in your ears; I heard such a day, there were a generation of men, that have their portion in this world, and now I am afraid I am one of them, and there is an end of my portion, only I must go to my other portion; that will be very dreadful. But I must not make an end, till I shall speak somwhat of the next, I shall leave the Point very bare else; I, but who have you spoke to all this while?

Fifthly, Who is the man that hath his Portion in this world?

It is a poor portion you have set it out to us, but every one will go away and say, I hope it is not I, I hope it is not I, I hope God hath a better portion for me than this; therefore give me leave to speak in the Name of God to you, and I’le only speak from God, and out of His Word to you, to point out the man and woman, that is like to have his portion here, living and dying in such a Condition, I now am speaking of; that man that is in such a condition I shall open to you, in the present condition wherein he is, is certainly the man, and the Lord pronounces it this day, that his portion is in this world. Who is he?

  1. That man to whom God gives in this life nothing but what belongs to this life; that is the man apparently: If God give thee thy estate, and if He give thee not somewhat besides thy estate, a principle that is a seed of Eternal life in thee here in this world, certainly He never intends good to thee in the world to come; There are many men have a great deal in this world, and they say, they hope God will be merciful to them in the world to come; now this is a certain truth, that man to whom God denies Spiritual mercies in this world, God will deny Eternal mercy to him in the world to come; this therefore should be thy care, Doth God encrease my estate in this world? Oh that the Lord would give a proportionable measure of grace too, else it is nothing; Lord thou givest me here a great estate, if thou givest not to me grace with it, a proportionable measure of grace to use it to thy glory, I had better have been without this; Is this thy care? I put it to thy conscience; As thy estate encreases, art thou solicitious at the Throne of grace, that the Lord would give thee a proportionable measure of grace, to mannage thy estate for His glory; then peace be to thee, thou art not the man. And then further, you may examin it.
  2. By the working of your hearts about your present Portions. As first.
  3. Whether you enjoy what you have for it self, and whether your hearts be terminated in what you do enjoy: One that is godly, and hath his Portion beyond these things, he enjoyes the Creature; I but it is God in it he enjoyes: It is sweet to me, that I can see and tast the love of God in it: I but a carnal heart enjoys the creatures, and runs away, and is terminated there, looks at the Creature, but at little in God; as divers of your Hospital Children, here, look more at the Men that were their friends, to bring them into the Hospital, when they were Fatherless and Motherless, and Sisterless, than they look at the Founders of the Hospital, they little think of them, to thank God for them, but if they meet with him, that was the next cause to bring them in, they will thank him for his kindness. So it is with men, they look at that Creature that was the first means of bringing them in; but a godly heart looks at the root of all: I remember it is said of one that came into the Treasuries of Venice, he saw tables of Gold, and Silver there, and he points down and looks at the bottom of the table, and one asked him, Why is your eye so at the bottom? Oh saith he, I am looking at the root of all this. Oh! alas, it is a small matter for a man that hath a great Trade to have a great Portion: So many men, look not so much at the Root; whereas a godly man, though he hath but a little, yet he looks at the Root, at the love of God, and the Covenant of grace, that is the Root of all; and this is the thing that satisfies his heart: When a man takes a portion of physick, he puts it into the Posset-ale, the Posset-ale is not the thing that makes the Physick work, though it is that that is the greater part, but it is the Physick in it. So it is the goodness of God that satisfies a gracious heart, and not the Creature that is operative so much upon a gracious heart: and then you may examine how your hearts are set upon these things of the world.
  4. Whether your hearts go out with full strength to them; If you make your bellies to be your god, then your end will be destruction (as the Apostle speaks:) That man that hath his heart swallowed up in the earth like Corah, Dathan, and Abiram, that were swallowed up in the earth, if the things of the earth be a gulf to swallow thy heart up, there is another gulf to swallow thee up hereafter.
  5. How do the loss of the things of the world take thy heart? Dost not thou count thy self an undone man, when thou hast lost some comforts? Dost not thou come home to thy wife and children, and say, I am an undone man: Why? what’s the matter? I have lost some part of my estate: O carnal heart! one that is gracious may have some crosses, but no losses at all, because he enjoyes all in God, he hath God to make up all his losses: And the truth is, if thou wert truly godly, whatsoever afflictions thou meetest withal; (as we say a man may put all in his eye) so you may (if you be godly) put all your crosses in your eyes, you are so far from being undone. And further examin,
  6. Whether these things of the world, be not the only sutable things to your hearts; whether you bless not your selves in these, as in your happiness: The Ivie will clasp about a rotten tree, and cannot be taken off it without tearing: And so the heart of a worldling will clasp about these rotten-comforts as the only agreeable thing; You may hear them sometimes tell with joy, That we were in such a place, and we were so merry, and had the bravest meeting: And what was there? Why there was singing, and roaring, and blaspheming of the Name of God, and yet it was the bravest meeting that could be. When did you ever come from an Ordinance of God, and say, Oh! it was a brave day to me, the Lord hath spoken to my heart this day: Did you never go from the Word with as merry a heart, and can rejoyce for it amongst your friends, as you did from a merry meeting? You may fear you are the man, that have your portion here. And then this is more cleer, for every one to examin his heart in, and if I were to give but any one Evidence, whether a man hath Grace or no, I would give this assoon as any one; A man that hath got some estate in the world, I put this to him:
  7. What dost thou account to be the chiefest good of thy estate, more than thou hadst before, or more than another man hath? A man that hath got an estate more than he had, or more than his brother: there are many good things in his estate, that he will think good; Now I may live in better fashion than I could before, now I may have more freedom than I had before, now I may have more credit in the world than I had before, now I may have my own mind, and satisfie my own lusts more than I had before, or than another man can do; Is not this the thing thou most rejoycest in? yea, is not this a truth, that some of your hearts, if they were ripped up, this would be the language of them; that you must rejoyce in your estates, because by them you have fuel for your lusts? A poor man hath not so much fuel for his uncleanness as you have, nor so much fuel for his lust of pride and malice as you have; and many rich men account the blessing, the good, and happiness of their estates to consist in this very thing; that now they may have a larger scope for their lusts, than ever they could before; alas a poor man cannot go abroad and drink as you can do, a poor man cannot lay out so much money on a Whore, an Unclean wretch, as you can do, and you rejoyce in this: and if this man have not his portion here, what man hath? the Lord strike such a mans heart. But on the other side, A gracious heart when God blesses him in this world, though there be but a little grace, it wil work thus, The Lord hath raised my condition above my brother, & therein the Lord gives me a larger opportunity to do him service, than my brother hath or than I had before; there is such a poor man, he is an honest man, but God knows he can do but little in the place where he is, he hath but little means: but God hath given me means, and this means enlarges my opportunity to do God service, and for this my soul blesseth God; I count my estate happier in this, because I now may be of more use, and do God more service than otherwise I could do; Have you such workings in heart, you rich men? if you have not never be at quiet til you get your hearts working in this manner; this will be a blessed testimony that God gives you a portion here, and intends another portion for you in the world hereafter.
  8. What is that thing that you strive to make most sure? That which a man strives to make most sure, that he counts his happiness to consist in; Oh for thy Land, and Debts, thou strivest with all thy might to make that sure, but as for the matter of thy Salvation, and peace in Christ, thou hast a good hope in God for, but takest no pains to make it sure.
  9. What dost thou admire most men for? O! such a man is happy, he hath so much coming in, and hath so much a yeer: But dost thou call the vile man happy? it is a sign that thou hast not thine eye enlightened by the Spirit of God; but now, Canst thou look upon even those that are poor, and mean in this world, that have the least portion here, yet as most happy Creatures, because the Lord gives them the Grace of His Spirit; and think, well, ’tis true, I have a greater estate than such a poor man that is my neighbor, or than such a poor man, but God knows he doth God more service than I do, he prayes more, and more heartily in one day than I do in a whol yeer: Oh! the Lord hath other manner of prayers, and sighs come from his poor Cottage, than ever he had from my brave Pallace; I have my City-house, and Country-house, but they were never so perfum’d with prayers; Some that live in poor Cellers, send up more prayers, and God hath more honor from them, than He hath from me; in my family (perhaps) there is cursing, and blaspheming of God; in such poor Cottages there is (perhaps) blessing, and praising of God. Now see if thou lookest upon them as the most happy people in the world.
  10. What, art thou careful to lay up for thy Children? That is like to be thy portion; If the things of the world take up thy care for thy children most, that is an argument, thou thinkest thy Children have a good portion, if thou canst leave them so many thousands, it is like it is thy portion too, if thou countest it theirs. And then further,
  11. Examin thy services what they are:
  12. Dost thou put off God with slight services? Then know thy portion is like to be of Gods slight mercies.
  13. Art thou hypocritical in thy service? Dost thou aim at the praise of men in outward duties? That is a sign thou hast thy reward here.
  14. And are thy services forc’d, that thou art compel’d? Is it meerly conscience compels thee, and not an inward agreeableness between the frame of thy heart, and holy things? Then it’s like a servants portion is thine, and not a childs portion.
  15. Further, Hast thou heretofore been a forward Professor in Religion, and hast thou forsaken the waies of God? I’le give you a dreadful Scripture for this, In Jer. 17. 13. All you that forsake the Lord, shall come to be ashamed, and they that depart from him, shall be written in the earth. All that depart from God shall be written in the earth. If thou hast been forward heretofore, and now thou comest to be more ancient, thou art dead, and dull, and careless, here is a Text for thee, go home and tremble lest thou be a man, whose name is written in the earth.
  16. Doth not God for the present Curse thy portion? thou findest the more thou hast, the worse thou growest; As if a man should eat meat at ones table, and assoon as he hath eaten it, begin to swell, he will conclude certainly the meat was poysoned: So when thy estate rises, thy heart riseth with pride, surely it was poysoned with the curse of God that was in it.
  17. Examin thy heart by this, whether hath God convinced thee, of that which stops the great Current of His mercy, I spake of even now; that soul that hath its portion in this world, looks no further but to Gods general bounty, and looks not to what stops the great Current of Gods grace, he is not brought to be sensible of his need of Christ, and of his satisfaction unto Divine Justice; but now the heart of God intends Eternal good too, such a heart the Lord causes to understand that there is such an infinite breach between God and it, as cannot be made up, but only by the Meditation of the Son of God; and therefore Lord, it is not in any righteousness of mine, nor in any thing of any creature in Heaven and Earth can do it, that I expect to have my portion from, but in the Mediation of the Son of God; that I look after, and my heart closes with that Mediation, and I look upon that as the spring of all my worth; He is a man indeed that is not like to have his portion in this world, and I’le only name that one more, What saiest thou to this?
  18. That man that spends his daies without having some fear, lest God should put him off with the things of this world; there may be some danger of that: Jude, 12. it is said of some, That they did feed themselves without fear. You can go now to a merry meeting, and can go and feed upon the cheer, and you eat without fear, you’l never have such a thought in your heart, What if God should put me off with these things? I hear indeed there are some men are put off so, what if it should prove to be my portion? what a miserable creature were I? I fear there are some men never had such a thought in their lives; What if it should prove so, what a miserable creature were I? The wicked are described to be men that eat without fear; and thus we have done the Fifth Thing: There is only the Sixth, and that is,

Sixthly. Exhortation to you all, and then I have done all: And this Exhortation it must be divided.

First, Ʋnto you that have some Evidences that God hath given you a better Portion, that God hath not put you off with the Portion of this world.

  1. Oh bless the Lord for His goodness to you; the Lord He hath shewed you better things than these are, your line is fallen into a good ground, you have a goodly inheritance. When David looked at the prosperity of wicked men, his conclusion is, in Psal. 73. 13. I have clensed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency; but guide me with Thy Counsel, and afterward bring me to Thy glory.
  2. Be content with thy portion here, do not murmur and repine, for though thou hast not so much as others have, yet thou hast that that will make thee happy for ever; I remember that Hierom in one of his Epistles, tells of one Dydimus, that was a learned godly Preacher, but blind; Alexander comes to him, meeting of him, and asks him, What, are you not troubled for want of sight? And he indeed confessed, it was a very sore affliction to him; then Alexander begins and chides him, What hath God given you that that is the excellency of an Apostle, of a Minister of Christ, and are you troubled for want of your sight, that a pismire may have, that a brute beast, yea the very Pismires; the want of thy sight, of that that Mice and Rats may have? are you troubled at that, and rather not taught for to bless God that hath given you so great a mercy, as to make you such an instrument in his service? So may I say to you that are godly, Hath God given you Jesus Christ? hath God given you His Son? hath He given you His Spirit? hath He given you Himself to be your portion? And are you troubled that you have no more of that that beasts may have as well as your selves? Oh be ashamed of any mournful discontentments for want of the comforts of this world. And then;
  3. Do not envy at any wicked men for their portion. I remember a story that I have heard of a poor Souldier, that was condemned to die, meerly for taking a bunch of Grapes from a Vine; for there was a strict Law, that whosoever should take anything from that place they went thorough, should die for it; and he had taken a bunch of Grapes, and he was condemned to die, and as he went to Execution, he went eating of the bunch of Grapes, and some came to him, and said, Thou should ‘st think of somewhat else: he answered, I beseech you Sirs, do not envie me my Grapes, they will cost me dear. So may I say of all the men of the world, we have no need to envie them for any thing they have, it will cost them very dear. And lastly.
  4. Do you live like such as God hath not put off with the Portion of this world? Manifest it in your conversations, that you look for higher and better things, than the things of this world, shew they are but slight in your eyes: Zebulun and Naphtali did jeobard their lives, they did look upon their lives as little worth for that cause: So look upon your estates as dispicable, be willing to improve them all for the publick good, in a publick cause, yea, to jeobard not Estates only, but your Names, your Liberties, and your Lives; and those that shall do so, those whom God hath given hearts to do so amongst you, perhaps some of you may look upon them, as men in a sad condition, Oh such a man in such a place, is look’d upon, and he is like to be undone, if not his life in danger; but such a one that shall out of a good principle be willing to venture his life and estate, and appear in a good Cause, that man shall be most honored, and look’d upon as the most happy man of all; and indeed herein he shews himself to be a man that looks for an higher portion than these things here: as those in Heb. 11. 14. By that they said and did, they shewed plainly, they looked for another Country. So, see you men that might live as comfortably for outward things as you, and (did their consciences give way) they could be as quiet as you, but conscience puts them upon it, that seeing God cals them to a publick place, they should be content to put all at Gods feet; now though you may think it hard, and they are in most danger, they shew plainly they are men of another country, and should be most honored; and take but this principle with you, The more any one gives up his estate, the more comfort he hath in his estate, whether in the enjoyment of it, or in the loss of it: I express it thus, When one resigns up all he hath, his Estate, Liberty, Name, Life to God, the oftner it comes into Gods hands, the better it comes when God gives him them again; A carnal heart when once he hath these things, he will not trust God with them, but he will have them at his own keeping: but now a gracious heart, though he hath all these from God, yet every day he is willing to give up all to God, and to trust God with them again; though he be a rich man, he is willing every day to come and beg his bread at his fathers gate, and give up all; now he gives up all in the truth of his heart to God, and God gives him it all again; so long as in a lawful way he enjoyes it, he hath it afresh from God; now this I say, The oftner any thing comes out of Gods hand, the sweeter and better it is! wicked mens estates come but once out of Gods hands, and therefore there is not so much comfort in them; but a godly mans estate comes an hundred and an hundred times from God, for every resignation gives it to God, and God gives it him again; and therein is comfort: and Oh! blessed are they that live so, as that they declare they look for another Country, and that their Portion is not here; let the men of the world think them foolish; that they will venture themselves so; God and His Saints, have declared that their Portion is not here.

Secondly, To you all; the word of Exhortation from God is: That every one in this place would put on to make more sure of another Portion, besides the Portion here in this world.

Put on: Why?

First, You are all made capable of higher and better things than the things of the world are; never a one here, but hath an immortal soul, and therefore is capable of communion with Father, Son, and holy Ghost, and that is another manner of business, than to eat and drink, and have pleasure with the flesh here a while; Hath God made your Natures capable of such glory? Do not debase your selves, and that Humanity God hath put into you, to satisfie your selves with husks, when there is meat enough in your fathers house; and He may be your father for ought I know: and therefore, put on. And,

Secondly, Let the poorest sort put on, to have but a little portion here, yet there is as fair a way for you to have the God of Heaven and Earth to be your Portion, to have whatsoever Jesus Christ hath purchased by His blood to be your Portion, to have Heaven, and Eternity, and Immortallity to be your Portion; (I say) there is as fair a way for it, as for the greatesest Prince in the Earth; you may come to have a Portion: Here indeed many a poor Apprentise may say, My Father is dead, and hath left me no Portion. I but you that are poor Apprentises and others, and the poor Hospital Boys, that live upon Charity, It’s possible some poor wretches there may have their portion in God, and Christ, and Immortallity, aswel as the greatest and richest of all; therefore raise up your hearts here, you that are the poorest and meanest; and know, you are born for high things: If I should come and tell one that is a poor Boy in a blew Coat; Whatsoever you are now, there is such a rich man will adopt you to be his Child, and make you his Heir; that would raise up his heart: Well, how meanly soever you live now, you may be a glorious Creature hereafter; if so be you have an heart to put upon it, and to seek after it for your portion: Then you’l say, Lord, what should we do, that our portion should be an higher portion than in this world? The First thing I would put you upon, is this:

  1. Let the whole Course of your life be steered (as it were) with the fear of God, lest that this should be all that you have; as it was a sign before, so now I may make use of it as a means; (I say) let your course of life be steer’d (as it were) with the fear of God, lest that God with this should put you off: hold forth this in every action, that any one may see by your Conversation, surely this man, this woman hath some fears, lest God should put them off with a portion in this world: And especially you that have great portions in this life, and you know you have done God little service; you know there are many poor people that live upon Alms have done God more service than you; you have most cause to fear; They that are Rulers, and Governours have most cause to fear, unless they have mighty good evidence in their hearts: Chrysostom upon the 13. of the Hebrews, speaking of those that are Governours; I wonder that any Governour should be saved: he hath such a speech there; we will not say so, but he saith so, there is a great deal of hazard: Christ tels us too, that a man that hath a great portion in this world, though it’s possible he may have more hereafter, yet it is doubtful. It is the Counsel of one, to a King of Portingal, (saith he) I desire you to grant me this favor, that every day you would but think of this Text, What profits it a man. If he should gain the whol world, and lose his own soul. Spend some little time every day, to think of this Text, and pray to God that he would give you, the true understanding and sense of this Text, and let it be the conclusion of al your prayers, that God would shew you what there is in this Text, what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul; The same counsel I give to you, Daily pray to God, to make you understand what there is in this Text, that there are men that have their portion in this world.
  2. Labor to take off your hearts from all these outward comforts that are here; take off your spirits: He that will be rich shall fall into many temptations: Know it is not necessary (so you should conclude every one in your own hearts, it is not necessary) I should have estate in this world, but it is necessary I should make my peace up with God: it is necessary I should provide for my soul, but how things are with me here there is no great necessity. And then;
  3. Set you the glory of Heaven and Eternity daily before your eyes, and be trading for higher things than these are: you that are great Merchants, you are trading for thousands; when as many poor people now that go up and down in the streets, and cry some mean thing, they think well if they can get eighteen pence in a whole day, carrying things upon their heads, and crying in the streets: but a rich Merchant can go out in the morning, and make a bargain, and perhaps get five hundred pound in an hour: he is trading for somewhat like. So the men of this world are like the poor women that go with things, about upon their heads, and get eighteen pence in a day; but a godly man hath communion with God, and in a quarter of an hour gets that he would not lose for hundreds, nor for thousands. It was a speech of Cleopatra to Anthony; Why Anthony thou art not to fish for Gudgeons, and Trouts, but thou art to angle for Castles, and Towers, and Forts, and Cities, thou art to fish for them; so may I say, If thou hast an immortal soul within thee, thou art not so much to angle for to make provision for the flesh, for meat, and drink, and cloathes, &c. but for Heaven, and Immortality, set that continually before thine eyes. And the next thing is this.
  4. Honor God with thy substance here; lay out thy portion here for God: and Oh that I could but convince you of one Principle of Divinity more, and that is this, That there is more excellency and good in one vertuous Action, than there is in all the creatures in Heaven and Earth, (besides the works of Angels and others of the Saints, excepting them:) Take all Creatures, Sun, Moon, Stars, Seas, Earth, all the riches in the world, Pearls, put all together, this is the true Divinity, (I say) that there is more excellencie in one vertuous Action, than there is if thou hadst all these things to be thy possession; If men were convinced of this, they would be abundant in good works then: Thou thinkest it a brave thing, thou hast so much coming in by the yeer; do but one good action for God out of an upright principle, and there is more excellency in that one action, than there is in thy estate, if thou hadst ten thousand times more added to it: Certainly, this will make them that are rich, to be rich in good works; so the Scripture saith, Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be rich in good works: There is a richness in good works, as well as in an estate; Oh! improve, lay out thy estate for God: Ambrose I remember upon that place, his Sermons upon the rich man, saith he, Is it not more honor that so many children shall ask of you as their father, than that so many pieces of gold shall call you their lord? These pieces of gold they do (as it were) call you lord, and there are two or three children shall call you father; Is there not more excellency to have a couple of poor Orphants while you are alive in this world, to call you father, than to have so many bags of gold cal you master? Oh therfore lay out your Portion, Give a portion to six and to seven. In 2 Cor. 9. 8. there the Apostle tels the Corinthians, that God should make them abundant in all Grace; fill you with Grace that you may abound in all sufficiency: But what for? In the 11. vers. being enriched in every thing in all bountifulness; and then verse 12. for the administration of this service; that you may be enriched in all bountifulness; Wherefore? for the administration of this service: Now the words in the Greek are, for the administration of this Leturgie: so the words are in the Greek, that you may abound, and have all grace to abound in the administration of this Leturgie. My brethren, Oh how happy were it if so be that men were plentiful in this Divine Service, that I am speaking of, and well verc’d in this Leturgie: the Apostle cals bounty, a leturgie, the service of God, that is Divine Service indeed, that is a happy Leturgie to be well verc’d in, and to be abundantly verc’d in this kind of Leturgie; for so the words are in the Greek; and then again, If you would not be put off with this portion in the world;
  5. Be sure that all the services you perform to God be choice services; If you expect choice mercies, let you services be choice services; be sure your works be supernatural works; You’l say, How shall I know that? If I had time I could make it out cleer to you, but only thus, A supernatural work is that which hath a supernatural Principle, aims at a supernatural End, and done in a supernatural manner; A supernatural Principle, that is grace that makes it sutable to my heart, and not only that I do it out of conviction of conscience; and a supernatural End, that I aim at God, and not at myself; but the supernatural manner, what is that? I remember Seneca in giving of his rule, how to know the affections, when they are Natural, and when not, (saith he) you shall know a natural affection by this, If it be kept within bounds, it is natural; if it be out of bounds, it is not natural: I’le make use of it in another way, When you come to the service of God, if you think to limit God in His service, this is but a natural service, you will go so far, and there stop; but if it be supernatural service, you will let out your hearts (if it were possible) infinitely to God; you cannot be infinite, that’s true; but you will propound no bounds, no limits to your service; and this is indeed the truth of Grace, when it hath the impression of Gods infinitness upon it; Gods infinitness is that, whereby He is without all limits; So where God sets no limits, there the soul is without all limits, and bounds in the way of Grace; that is, desires to answer God (if it were possible) by an infinite way; these are supernatural works: And then, Would you not have your Portion in this world?
  6. Be willing to cast away whatever of your portion you have got sinfully: I in the Name of God charge this as a special thing to take home with you; whatsoever man or woman in this place, would not have his portion in this world, but would have his portion in the world to come, whatsoever of his portion he hath got in a sinful way, cast it away presently, never sleep with it, lie not down one night with it: That’s an old rule, but a true one, All the repentance you have in the world, and all your sorrowing for your sin, will never obtain pardon without restitution, if you be able; Unless you do what you are able to restore, you can never have comfort, or the pardon of that sin; If you have goe it when you were young, Apprentices, first set up, away with it, else it will spoil all, you will never have any other portion from God; These hands of mine had once that given to them, to be a means to convey, to restore that which was got wrongfully, fifty yeers before, the wrong was done fifty yeers ago, and after fifty yeers, the Conscience of the man troubles him, and he comes to bring, to restore that wrong, and desires it may be conveyed to such a place, where he had done wrong; know therefore, that all the sweet morsels that any time you have so delightfully got down, they must up again, and therefore willingly let them go up; resolve before you go out of this place, whatsoever thou hast gotten wrongfully, never keep it against thy will, but do it willingly, else thou canst not have any comfort in the portion thou hast, nor have any portion in the world to come; if there be any true Divinity in the world, this is true Divinity: and yet it is hard to convince any Covetous men, that have got much this way; and if there be any wrong, those that have done wrong in things be trusted to them, as those that are Masters of Hospitals, be sure you keep not that, for certainly you’l curse the time you ever took it; and therefore let the charge of God be strong upon you this day, to cast out whatsoever you have got falsly. I read in a story of one that upon a time, hearing that place of Scripture, in Isa. 5. 8. read, Wo to them that joyn house to house: he bursts out into a loud cry, If wo be to them that joyn house to house, Then wo to me, and to my children. So upon this that you hear this day, There are a company shal have their portion in this world, and especially those that will keep any thing they have wrongfully got, many may have cause to say, Wo to us then, and unto our children.
  7. Be willing to joyn with those that have suffered for God; If you would have your portion in another life, be willing to joyn with the sufferers for Christ; So Moses did, though he were in the way to preferment, yet he did chuse rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; joyn rather with them, than with jolly blades of the world; It is safer to joyn with the sufferers, than to joyn with those that are the jolly and brave spirits. And so I have done, only desiring that the Lord would settle all home upon your spirits; If so be, because something may not be so pleasing to the pallat of every one, as some other, but if for that you should reject what hath been said, and go away, and slight this Word of God, know that this Text one day, may prove to be as scalding lead in your Consciences; and that that is said concerning Doeg, in Psalm, 57. 2. may prove to be your portion; it is spoken of Doeg; This is the man (saith the Psalmist) that did not make God his trust, but trusted in his great riches; this is the man; So you may be pointed out one day, This is the man: Doeg was a great Courtier, and because he was an Officer of King Sauls, and because he had his favour, he trusted in the favour of the King, and in his riches, and what did he care for David? Yea, by the Text it appears he was one that made some shew of Religion too, in the 1 of Sam. 21. 7. He was detained before the Lord: Tremelius thinks, either out of some Religious vow, or to keep the Sabbath, or somewhat concerning the Law, he was detained before the Lord, and yet he was a vile Malignant against David, and all because he trusted in the great countenance he had at Court: Now this is the man that made not God his trust, but that trusted in his great riches: the Lord forbid this Scripture should be made true of any of you; I leave this Text with you that are rich men, take heed you trust not in your great riches, I leave this Text with you, that are in places of dignity and honor; take heed you have not your portion in this world. I leave this Text to Voluptuous men, given up to pleasures; take heed you hear not one day, this, Son, remember, in thy life-time thou hadst thy pleasure. I leave this with those that dare not trust God for a portion to come. And above all, I leave this with all Hypocrites, let them take heed it be not said to them, Here is your reward. Consider what hath been said, and the Lord give you understanding in all things.

FINIS

 

Bible Verse:

“Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus,” (1 Peter 5:14).

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