Select Page

The Natural Man's Case Stated - by Christopher Love (1618-1651)

Articles on the Christian Walk, Systematic Theology and Practical Theology

Today, many Christians are turning back to the puritans to, “walk in the old paths,” of God’s word, and to continue to proclaim old truth that glorifies Jesus Christ. There is no new theology. In our electronic age, more and more people are looking to add electronic books (ePubs, mobi and PDF formats) to their library – books from the Reformers and Puritans – in order to become a “digital puritan” themselves. Take a moment to visit Puritan Publications (click the banner below) to find the biggest selection of rare puritan works updated in modern English in both print form and in multiple electronic forms. There are new books published every month. All proceeds go to support A Puritan’s Mind.

Knowing Christ More

Take a moment to check out these solid, biblical Christ-glorifying works that will help you draw closer to the Savior.

Grow in Knowledge

These works will help you grow in your knowledge of God.

Workbooks Like No Other

There are no other workbooks like these anywhere that will help you work through the best biblical theology.

 

The Naturall Mans Case stated: OR; An EXACT MAP OF THE LITTLE WORLD MAN, Considered in both his Capacities, Either in the state of NATURE, or GRACE. As is laid down in XVII SERMONS, By that late truely Orthodox Divine Mr. CHRISTOPHER LOVE, Pastor of Lawrence Jury, London.

WHEREUNTO IS ANNEXED The Saints Triumph over Death; Being his FUNERAL SERMON, By that painfull Labourer in the Lords Vineyard, Mr. THO. MANTON, Minister of the Gospell at Stoak-Newington near London.

Imprimatur

EDMUND CALAMIE.

The second Edition, corrected and amended.

London, Printed by E. Cotes, for George Eversden, at the Golden Ball in Aldersgate street, 1652.

 

To the Reader.

THe exuberant spawns of illiterate Books proceeding from the polluted wombs of the overloaded, and bejaded adulterate presses, which are all painted with fair titles, I can compare to nothing so fitly as a cheating Lottery; which when the greedy invader comes with hopes for a little money laid down, to carry away a great deal of wit with him, ’tis nineteen at least to one when he opens it, but he finds to his shame, that he hath drawn a blank, perhaps a blasphemy; and yet couched under the title of glorious truth, heavenly discoveries, beams of light, new Jerusalem, Gods minde clearly revealed, with multitudes of such paints upon their strumpets faces.

 

The sacred Bible which indeed is an Alablaster-box full of sweet perfumes and precious ointments, is made (alas!) like Pandora’s boxe (in the humane story) which (Epimetheus presumptuously opening) filled the world with evils, diseases and calamities of all kindes. The sacred Bible is made now the patron of Prophane mens practises; never were grosse sins at such an impudent height as now they are; what horrid impudence is that of hel to take heaven by the hand? Sins that were wont to hide themselves in the holes and clefts of obscurity, not daring to be hold the light, but Serpent-like, to creep under the low shrubs of deceitfull shifts, how do they Eagle-like sit pearching on the goodly Cedars (I mean Pulpits and Thrones) the Cedars of God, and dare to cast up their eyes towards the Sun? who would think it! yet what this day more common then to meet the devill with his eyes towards heaven, and a Bible under his arme, cloathing all his words and actions cap a pea in Scripture phrases; Murderers, traitors, rebels, blasphemers, soothsayers, adulterers, sabbath-breakers, perjurers, oppressours, and almost all notorious villains have marshalled themselves (like the Roman Clergy) into so many severall Sects of religion, all impudently assuming to themselves the usurped title of eminent Saints, and quoting Scripture for their actions, and scot-free passe the presse into the world to make more proselytes: so that he that in this Soul-frozen age shall go to gather Books to warm his Soul, (as Paul did sticks to warm his fingers) will be sure, if he be not wary, to gather vipers into his bosome: And how am I stung with pain and horrour, whiles I meditate on the thousands of poor souls that are gnawed to death by these speckled vipers! Sure it cannot but sit sad one day upon the spirits of those licentious Licencers, that are as the midwives of such monsters.

 

For thy comfort therefore and incouragement (Reader) I do assure thee this Book is free from all such venomous beasts, no toad of malice, nor serpent of deceit lurks either in the matter or the phrase hereof. In plain English, it is a pleasant, heavenly, self-searching, soul-convincing, sin-condemning, heart-humbling, spirit-raising, grace-quickning, Christ-exalting book. I need say no more, they are the Sermons of Mr. Christopher Love, Master of Arts, and Minister of the Gospell of Christ, whose actions, life and death, will eternize his name; I may truly say of his elegant style, and pleasant way of expressing himself, as he of Gregory Nazianzen,

Viribus eloquii valuit, lingua{que} diserta: *

Mellisluos dulei protulitore sonos.

 

The subject of these Sermons is of generall use to all sorts of people, much like in that, to that text of Chrysostomes in Psal. 4. 2. which (as he saith) if hee had a voice like thunder, and a mighty mountain for his pulpit, and all the men and women in the world for his auditory, he would choose this text to preach on: O yee sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Had this been really effected, and I been there in Mr. Loves spirit, would Chrysostome have lent me his voice, and allowed me the use of his monarchical pulpit, when he had done in the morning with his text, I would have come up in the evening with this text, Eph. 2. 12. That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the Covenant of Promise, having no hope, and without God in the World: but this need not, for it is in a manner effected already: this worthy Minister hath ascended that pulpit from whence hee hath thundred into the world, he is now one of those blessed ones, that dyed in and for the Lord, he is at rest from all his labours, and now behold his works do follow him; some are already gone before, and these do follow after. These Sermons were preached at St. Anne’s Aldersgate, where this holy young man was Pastor: I pray God they may prove as the great trumpet of God, to cause a spirituall resurrection amongst those people before they go down to the house of rottennesse; it cannot but much rejoyce those people to hear their Pastors voice again, those sheep cannot but know their shepherds voice; which that they may doe, the Lord of heaven blesse these his worthy labours to their, and thy spirituall advantage; so as that the distressed Churches losse in his sad and unexpected absence, may be made up in the blessing of God, upon these and the rest of his pious and painfull labours. So prayeth,

 

Thine, E. C.

 

SERMON, I.

 

EPHES. 2. 12.

That at that time ye were without Christ, being Aliens from the Common-wealth of Israel, and strangers from the Covenants of promise; having no hope, and without God in the world.

 

THis Chapter out of which my Text is taken, is like a little Map, containing in it a description of the little world Man, and that in a double capacity; considering man either in the state of Grace, or in the state of Nature; If you consider Man in the first capacity, in the state of Grace, this chapter layes down a five fold description of bringing Man into the state of Grace.

 

[ 1] 1. Here is laid down the efficient cause of bringing Man out of the state of Nature, into the state of Grace, and that is God, in the 4. vers.

 

[ 2] 2. Here is laid down the impulsive cause, and that is the riches of Gods mercy in the same verse, But God who is rich in mercy for the great love wherewith he loved us, &c.

 

[ 3] 3. Here is laid down the meritorious cause of it, which is Christ in his sufferings, in the 7. verse, that in the ages to come, he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindnesse towards us, through Jesus Christ.

 

[ 4] 4. Here is laid down the finall cause of it in the same verse also, that in Ages to come, he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace. And,

 

[ 5] Lastly, here is the instrumentall cause of bringing man out of the state of Nature into the state of Grace, and that is Faith, in the 8. verse: For by grace are you saved through Faith, and that not of your selves, it is the gift of God.

 

Now the other part of the Map describes man in the second capacity, in the state of Nature, and herein it gives a twofold description of Mans condition;

 

  1. Positively, what he is.
  2. Privatively, what he wants.

 

  1. It describes Man in the state of Nature positively what he is, and that in five particulars;

 

[ I] 1. Men in their naturall condition, are described to bee dead in trespasses and sinnes.

 

[ 2] 2. They walk according to the course of this world, as Pagans and Heathens do.

 

[ 3] 3. According to the Prince of the power of the air, that is, the Devill; now the Devill is called the Prince of the air, either because he doth reside in the air, or else, because he hath the power of the winde and of the air.

 

  1. They are called Children of disobe dience; that is, bor [ 4] n in a state of disobedience quite contrary to the commands of God.

 

[ 5] 5. That they fulfill the lusts of the flesh and of the minde, and are by nature children of wrath.

 

Thus far you have the positive description of Man in the state of Nature.

 

[ II] 2. Now in the second place, the Apostle describes him privatively what he wants; and that in the words of my Text, in five particulars, wherein hee plainly shews that he is the poorest man in the world that wants Jesus Christ, and the most miserable: That at that time you were without Christ; that is the first: [ 1] You were Aliens from the Common-wealth of Israel; that is the second: [ 2] You were strangers to the Covenants of promise; that is the third: [ 3] You were without hope; that is the fourth: [ 4] And you were without God in the world; that’s the fift. [ 5]

 

Now these comprehensive expressions, contain in them the whole misery of Man, and that in these five particulars here named; 2. here is described the time how long, a man is in this condition, that at that time, that is, the time during your unconverted estate; as long as you are unconverted, so long you are without Christ, and an Alien from the Common wealth of Israel, and a stranger to the Covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world.

 

And now what a dismall Text have I here to handle, and what a doleful tragedy am I now to act? but yet out of every one of these, there is a great deal of comfort which may flow forth; I shall only at present make entrance into the words, and speak more fully to them afterwards; that at that time you were without Christ; That at that time: Beloved here wants something to supply the sense of the words, and therefore read the foregoing words, and you will finde what must be brought in; the verse before runs thus, Wherefore remember, that you being in times past Gentiles in the flesh, &c. wherefore remember, these words must be prefixt; Wherefore remember, that at that time you were without Christ, and aliens to the Commonwealth of Israel, &c. I shall here by the way only draw out this one doctrine from the coherence of the words, Wherefore remember that at that time; the Apostle would have these converted Ephesians to remember, that they were men without Christ, and aliens to the Common-wealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, without hope, and without God in the world: now from hence I would commend this observation to you.

 

[Doct.] That it is the will of God that men in a converted estate should often call to minde the sinfulnesse and misery they were guilty of before their conversion.

 

Beloved, this is a subject I could never have occasion to speak to you of before, and yet it is a point of admirable use, especially in these times, wherein people think that when once they are brought into a state of Grace, they must live in divine raptures, and revelations, and spirituall joyes, above duties and ordinances, and never look back into their former sinfulnesse and wickednesse they were guilty of before their conversion: Why, here the Ephesians were converted men, and had extraordinary priviledges, they were brought to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; and yet the Apostle bids them remember their former sinfulnesse and misery, Remember O you Ephesians that ye were once without Christ, and you were Aliens to the Common-wealth of Israel, &c. therefore you must take heed of this, to think that when you are converted, you must be only rapt up into the third heavens, and never look back into your former condition; you see here the Apostle bids you remember what you were at that time during your unconverted estate, that you were then without Christ, and strangers to the Covenants of promise, &c. So that you see it is the will of God, that men in a converted estate should often cal to minde the sins and miserie they were in before conversion.

 

Now before I come to give you the Reasons of the point, give me leave to premise these three Cautions; when I tell you, that after your cōversion, you should call to minde your sin and misery before conversion, you must not do it 1. with complacency of spirit; nor 2. with stupidity of heart; nor 3. with despondency of minde.

 

[Caution 1] 1. You must not cal to minde your former sinfulnesse with complacency of spirit, to please your humors; you must not do as some great men use to do, that have been guilty of great and crying sins; as adultery, drunkennesse, swearing, and the like, in their youth; go tell and boast of them in their age; this is a very great wickednesse: you must call to minde your former sinfulnesse not with complacency, but with bitternesse of spirit, with grief, sorrow, and perplexity of heart: Many men will tel you large stories of the wickednesse, that they have committed; but they do it with delight, and if they had strength and abilities, they would be guilty of the same sins and wickednesses stil; which is a most ungodly practise, and that which the Scripture condemns men for, as in the 23. of Ezek. 23. 19, 21. Yet she multiplyed her whoredomes,*in calling to remembrance the dayes of her youth, wherein she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt; Thus thou calledst to remembrance the lewdnesse of thy youth: the meaning of this is, she called her sins to remembrance, but it was so as to play the whore stil, and to be unclean stil, she did it with delight and complacency, with content and joy; now I say you should call your sins to remembrance with a great deal of grief and sorrow, and bitternesse of spirit: and therefore when young gallants wil boast of their sins, and tel how often they have been drunk, and have made others to be so; and how often they have plaid the whoremaster, and have drawn others to do so; this is a most Diabolical remembrance.

 

[ 2] 2. You must not cal your former sins to remembrance, with stupidity of heart neither: Beloved, there are many men can remember what lewd courses they have taken, and what wicked lives they have lived; how often they have been drunk and unclean, and the like; and yet are never troubled at the remembrance of it; their hearts do not smite them with remorse and sorrow, but are like a rock; the sense of sin never troubles them: this is no way of calling sin to remembrance, with a blockish and stupid heart, this is not thanks worthy; but it must be done with a broken, and a bleeding, and a contrite heart: And,

 

[ 3] 3. Take in this caution too, it must not be done with despondency of minde neither. There are many converted ones, that do cal their sins to remembrance, but it makes them discouraged and unwilling to come to Christ, it makes them think that they have no interest in the covenant of grace; but this should not be, the true effect that the consideration of your former sinfulnesse should produce, should be your laying your souls low, and making them humble, and the more sensible of that indispensable need you have of Christ, of going unto him for salvation and comfort.

 

These are the Cautions necessary to be premised; I come now to give you the Reasons of the point, why it is the will of God, that people in a converted estate, should often cal to minde the sin and misery they were in before conversion, and [Reas 1] 1. God will have it so, because by so doing, you will be provoked the more highly to magnifie and admire the greatnesse and riches of Gods grace to you; there are none in the World greater admirers of Gods grace and mercy, then those that are most studious of their own sin and misery: thou wilt never solemnly and throughly magnifie Gods mercy, till thou art plunged into a deep sensiblenesse of thine own misery, till the Lord hath brought thee to see in what a miserable and deplorable condition thou wert in before conversion, thou wilt then admire and magnifie the riches of Gods free grace, in bringing thee out of that condition, into the estate of grace, as in 1 Tim. 1. 13. the Apostle Paul when he * would magnifie the free grace of God to him, saith he, I was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious; and yet through the abundance of Gods free grace and mercy, I have obtained mercy: the consideration of his former sinfulnesse did elevate and scrue up his heart, to make him admire the free grace of God to his soul; that man can never prize liberty as he should do, that never was in prison: But,

 

[Reas 2] 2. Another reason why God wil have it so is, because this will be as a spur to quicken and engage men to be more eminent in grace, after their conversion: when a man doth frequently and seriously consider how bad and sinful he was before conversion, it cannot but provoke him now to be more humble and holy, after his conversion. It is very observable in Paul, that all those sins and wickednesses he was guilty of before conversion, he did most of all strive against, and labour to excell in the contrary graces after conversion: as first before conversion he did labour to hale others to prison, for worshipping of Christ; but after his conversion, he did labour to draw others to Christ: Act. 26. 10, 11. Many of the Saints*did I shut up in prison, and gave my voice against them, and punished them oft in every City, and I was exceeding mad against them, and banished them into other Cities: and now you shall see that after conversion, Paul did labour to outvie in grace, that evil course he was in before; as before conversion, he did imprison those that did belong to Christ, so after conversion, he was shut up himself in prison, for the cause of Christ; before conversion, he gave his voice against the people of God, but after conversion, he did pray to God for them; before conversion, he did punish them often, but afterward he did preach to them often; before conversion, he did compell men to blaspheme Christ, but after conversion, he was very earnest to perswade people to beleive in Christ; he was exceeding mad against them before conversion, but afterward hee was so exceeding zealous for the people of God, that every one thought hee had been mad: and lastly, before conversion he did persecute Saints to strange Cities, but afterwards he did go preaching of the Gospel to strange Cities: Oh my Beloved, let Pauls pattern be your task, cal to minde your sin and wickednesse in your unconverted condition, but so that it may provoke you, that now you are converted, you may labour to abound in grace, as formerly you have abounded in sin.

 

[Reas 3] 3. Another reason why God will have us call to minde the sin and misery we were in before conversion, is, because this will be a means to kindle a great deal of pity and compassion in our souls, towards those that remain yet unconverted: this the Apostle exhorts us to in Tit. 3. 2, 3. Speak evill of no man, sayes he, be no brawler,*but gentle, Shewing all meeknesse unto all men, for we our selves also were sometime foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hatefull, and hating one another; as if the Apostle should have said, I Paul, and thou Titus, we were sinful as wel as they, and did serve divers lusts as wel as they once, let us therefore be pitiful, and merciful, and compassionate towards them, this consideration wil greatly provoke us to commiserate poor sinful souls; the great reason why we pity them no more then we do, is because we do not cal to mind our own sinfulnesse, and what we were before conversion.

 

[Reas 4] 4. Another reason may be this, because the consideration of our former misery, will greatly abate pride in the hearts of converted men; this will be a great means to abate and keep under pride, and advance humility in the hearts of Gods people: Beloved, a good man naturally is apt to be proud, we are not proud of our sins, but of our graces; pride is apt to grow in the best mans heart, and therefore God would have us sometime look back upon what we were in our unconverted estate, that so that might abate the pride of our spirits: you have an excellent place for this in Ezek. 16. 3, 4, 5. compared with the last * verse of that chapter. Sayes God there to Jerusalem, Thy Birth and thy Nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy Father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite; and as for thy Nativity, in the day that thou wast born, thyNavill was not cut, neither wert thou washed in water to supple thee, no eye pitied thee to do any of these unto thee, but thou wert cast out into the open field, to the loathing of thy person in the day that thou wast born; that thou maist remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more, because of thy shame, when I am pacified towards thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord: They must remember their guilt and their shame when God is pacified towards them, and when God is reconciled to them; and so you have another place for the same purpose, in Ezek. 20. 43. And there shall you remember your wayes, and your doings, wherein you have*been defiled, and you shal loath your selves in your sight, for al the evil that you have committed. I remember what Plutarch relates of one Agathocles, who was advanced from a potters son, a low, mean, and contemptible condition, to be King of Sicilie, this man when he might have been served every day in golden dishes, yet he would stil have his provisions brought in earthen dishes, because sayes he, I may remember what I was, and what I am, a potters son, that so I may not be too much lifted up and exalted: why, so do you remember what you were, your Father a potter, and you a poor miserable sinfull creature, and this will abate the pride of your hearts.

 

[Reas 5] 5. And lastly, God wil have us cal to minde our former sinfulnesse, because this wil make us more watchful and circumspect, that we do not run again into those sins that we were guilty of before conversion; God would not have us do it, to drive us into despair, or to question our evidences for heaven, but to make us humble and watchful, that we run not again into the same sins. Thou maist thus think with thy self, Before conversion, I spent my dayes in sin and wickednesse, and consumed my years in vanity and pleasures, in fulfilling the lusts of the flesh and of the mind; and the consideration of this, will lay an engagement upon thy soul, to walk more carefully, and prudently, and holily in time to come; this the Apostle makes use of, in Ephes. 5. 8. You were sometimes*darknesse (saith he) but now are you light in the Lord, walk therefore as children of the light; we should now hate and abhorre those sins that formerly we have delighted in.

 

[Use.] These are the reasons of the point; I shal only make one short use of it; which shal be of reprehension to those, that (notwithstanding it is the will of God, that men after conversion should cal to minde the sin they were guilty of before conversion) do yet crosse this doctrine either in their judgement, or practice.

 

[ 1] 1. This reproves those that do contradict this Doctrine in their judgement, and think that when once they are converted, they must never look back upon their former wretchednesse, but only now live in Divine raptures, and revelations, and spirituall joyes, and comforts; for, 1. If Pauls precept be warrantable, then this opinion is unwarrantable, for he tels us that we must remember what we were in our unconverted estate, that we were at that time without Christ, and without hope, and without God in the World. 2. Paul tels the Ephesians, that were an elected people, who were elected before the beginning of the world, that they must remember that they were dead in trespasses and sinnes heretofore, though now they were quickened: and if Paul bids them call to minde their former sinfulnesse, then why should not we do it?

 

[ 2] 2. This reproves those that though they do not deny this Doctrine in judgement, yet do not make it their practise, to call to minde their former sins that they were guilty of before conversion: I dare warrant, that many of you can remember what you have done, and what debts have been owing you twenty years agoe, but yet cannot cal to minde what sins you have committed 20. yeares agoe, it may be some of you have been cheaters and swearers, adulterers and prophaners, and yet now you never think of it, but imagine all is well: I doe not know how to expresse what sad, dismall and deplorable condition thy poor soul is in, thou that dost never call to mind thy former sins: But thus much shall suffice for this first Doctrine.

 

SERMON, II.

 

EPHES. 2. 12.

That at that time ye were without Christ,—

 

WE come now to the body and bulk of the words, That at that time ye were without Christ, from whence note,

 

[Doctr.] That every man during the time of his unregeneracy, is in a condition without Jesus Christ.

 

My Beloved, if I should tell you now that when you come home, you should have never a bit of bread to put in your mouths, that all your subsistence and livelihood should be taken away, that you should be heirs of never a foot of Land, and that you should have nothing at all to live upon, you would count this a hard case, but I tel you my Brethren, that to be without Jesus Christ is a far worse case, it is the saddest and miserablest thing in the world to be without Jesus Christ: when I tell you, that you are without Christ, I tell you the saddest News in the World; but before I can bring home this Doctrine to you, there is one Objection and one Question, that I must spend a little time in answering, the Objection is this:

 

[Object.] Object. How can it be said of these Ephesians here that were elected, that before their conversion they were without Jesus Christ, for they were chosen of God in Christ*before the world was made, and therefore how can the Apostle say that when they were born they were without Jesus Christ, seeing they were chosen in Christ before the beginning of the world?

 

[Answ.] I answer, That the same man in a different sense may be said both to be in Christ and out of Christ; it is true the Apostle sayes in the first, that they were chosen in Christ before the world was.

 

[ 1] 1 If you respect the eternall decree and determination of God, so they were in Christ, for God did purpose to make Jesus Christ a Mediatour between God and man, by whose bloud they should be saved.

 

[ 2] 2 Though they were in Christ in regard of Gods decree, yet they were without Christ in regard of the application of the bloud of Christ to their souls: for till a man hath Faith, he can make no application of the love of God to him, for he that hath not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his, though they were in Christ in regard of the eternall decree of God, yet they were without Christ in regard of the actuall application of the love of God to them; for they could not apply to their own souls that Christ did love them and own them as his children, till they were brought into a converted estate.

 

I come now to the question which I promised to resolve, which is this:

 

[Quest.] What it is to be without Christ.

 

[Answ.] I answer it concludes in it these three things; 1 To be without the saving knowledge of Christ; 2 To be without any actuall interest in Christ; and 3 to be without any spirituall communion with Christ.

 

Now if you ask me which of these is chiefly here meant, that these Ephesians were without; I answer the two former, for they were both without the true knowledge of Christ; and also without any actuall interest in Christ.

 

[ 1] 1. To be without Christ is to be without the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ: though a man during his unconverted estate, may gather together a great deal of notionall knowledge, yet the Scripture doth lay him under this condition, that he is a man without Christ. Now a man may be said to be without the knowledge of Christ in these 5 particulars.

 

[ 1] 1 A man may have a common knowledge of Christ, and yet be without a spirituall knowledge of Christ, he may have a naturall knowledge by the works of God, by hearing, reading, or the like, and yet be without a spirituall knowledge, to know Christ in a spirituall manner.

 

[ 2] 2 A man may have a notionall, and yet be without an experimentall knowledge of Christ; and hence it is that the Scripture expresseth the difference between the knowledge of the righteous and of the wicked man; the Lord plants wisdome in the secret parts of his children, but in the outward parts, in the head and in the brain of wicked men, God makes his Children to know Christ in the inward parts.

 

[ 3] 3 An unregenerate man may have a contemplative, and yet be without an affective knowledge of Jesus Christ; wicked men may have a speculative knowledge of Christ, they may know Christ as a man knowes his neighbour, but now a beleever knowes Christ as a wife knowes her Husband, a beleever knows Christ and he loves Christ too, an unregenerate man he may have much light, but he has but little heat in his knowledge, he may grow much in a contemplative, but not in an affective knowledge, he knows what he should doe, but he will not doe what he knows. A wicked mans knowledge is like the Moon, it hath light with it but no heat, but a godly mans knowledge is like the Sun, that hath heat as well as light, a Beleever loves Christ as well as he knows him.

 

[ 4] 4 An unregenerate man he is without an appropriating knowledge of Christ, he doth not know Christ to be his Christ, there are none that do know Christ to be theirs but those that do belong to Christ, now in this sense, a man may be a great knowing man, and yet not know Jesus Christ.

 

[ 5] 5 And lastly, an unregenerate man, he is without a practicall knowledge of Jesus Christ; they know much but do but little, as in Tit. 1 16. In their words they*professe to know him, but in their works they deny him, though they know God, yet they glorifie him not as God, they know many things, but will do nothing: Now put all these together, wherein an unregenerate man is without the knowledge of Christ, he is without a spiritual, and experimentall knowledg, without an affective, and apprehensive knowledg, & without an appropriating and practicall knowledge of Christ.

 

[ 2] 2 To be without Christ implies not only to be without a saving knowledge of Christ, but also to be without an actuall interest in Christ, that at that time you were without Christ, that is, during the time of your unconverted estate, you were without any reall actuall interest in Christ; from whence observe,

 

[Doctr.] That every man during the time of his unregeneracy, is without any actuall interest in Christ.

 

In the handling of this point, I shall onely do these three things.

 

1 I shall shew you the propertles of a man without Christ;

 

2 I shall shew you the characters of a man without Christ; And

 

3 I shall shew you the misery of a man without Christ: and then come to the Uses.

 

[ 1] 1 I shall shew you the properties of a man without Christ: and in treating of * this subject, I wish from my soul that if I cannot allure you, yet that I might affright you, and throughly awaken you, to see the indispensable need that you have of getting an interest in Jesus Christ; and here I shall discover to you eight particular properties of a man without Christ.

 

1 Every man without Jesus Christ he is a base man.

2 He is a bondman:

3 He is a beggerly man:

4 He is a blinde man:

5 He is a deformed man:

6 He is a disconsolate man:

7 He is a dead man; and

8 He is a damn’d man.

 

These are the eight properties of a man without Jesus Christ: [ 1] 1 Every man without Jesus Christ is a base man; though thou art born of the bloud of Nobles, and though thou art of the off-spring of Princes, yet if thou hast not the Royall bloud of Jesus Christ running in thy veins, thou art a base man. In Dan. 11. 21. and in Psal. 15. 4. in both those places you read of vile persons; such is every man without Christ: and he must needs be so, because it is only Christ that can take off that basenesse wherein every one is by nature; as in Esa. 43. 4. sayes God, Since thou wer’t precious in mine eyes, thou becamest honourable, and in 1 Pet. 2. 7. Unto you which believe Christ is precious, it is Jesus Christ, that puts a Diamond of honour and glory upon men, they are all base men that are out of Jesus Christ, and that in these three respects:

 

1 They come from a base originall;

2 They commit base actions; And

3 They aime at base ends.

 

[ 1] For the 1. every man that is out of Christ he comes from a base originall, he hath not his origination from the Spirit, but from the Flesh, he proceeds not from God who is the Father of Lights, but from the Devill who is the Prince of Darknesse.

 

[ 2] 2 He is base because he commits base actions, all the actions and services of a Christlesse man, at the best are but as filthy*rags, and dead works. A man in his unconverted estate, he is the slave and drudge of the Devill, a worker of wickednesse, still fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the minde, being given over to vile affections.

 

[ 3] 3 He is a base man without Christ, because he aims at base ends in whatsoever he does; and that two wayes, 1 In this world he aims at base ends in his hearing, reading, praying, and profession of Religion, he mindes himself and his own ends in all: And 2 all his actions tend to base ends in another world; as the actions of a man in Christ tend to Salvation, so the actions of a Christlesse man tend to damnation.

 

[ 2] 2 A man without Christ is not only a base man, but a bondman; this Christ tels us of in John 8. 36. If the Son make you free,*then are you free indeed, intimating, that if you have an interest in Christ to free you from the slavery of sin and Satan, you are slaves indeed: this bondage and slavery likewise consists in three particulars: 1 they are slaves to sin; 2 to the Devill; and 3 to the Law.

 

1 Every Christlesse man he is a slave * to sin; in Joh. 8. 34. sayes Christ there, Verily I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin, and in 2 Pet. 2. 19. *While they promise them liberty, the themselves are servants of corruption, for of whom a man is overcome, of the same he is brought in bondage. Every man by nature is a slave to his lusts, and a slave to sin, and to the creatures; God made man Lord over all the creatures, but man hath made himself servant to all the creatures.

 

[ 2] 2 He is not only in bondage and slavery to sin, but to the devill too, as in 2 Tim. 2. the two last verses, sayes the Apostle, *in meeknesse instructing those that oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them repentance, to the acknowledging of the truth, that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the Devill, who are taken captive by him at his will.

 

[ 3] 3 He is in bondage to the Law, that is, he does nothing in obedience to the Law; and this is the great misery of a man without Christ, he is bound to keep the whole Law of God: there is a very strange expression in Rev. 18. 13. Saint John tels * there that all those that did worship the Beast, shall cry woe and alas, for Babylon is fallen, and shall cry for the slaves and souls of men: all wicked men are slaves to Antichrist, to sin and to the Law, and this is the great misery of an unregenerate man.

 

[ 3] 3 Thou art not only a base and a bond man, but a beggerly man too without Jesus Christ; for all the treasures of grace and mercy are hid and locked up in Christ as in a common Magazine or Storehouse: Col. 2. 3. In him are hid all the treasures of wisedome and knowledge; if you are out of Christ you have nothing, as Rev. 4. 17. Thou sayest*thou art rich and increast in goods, and hast need of nothing, and knowest not that thou art poor, and wretched, and miserable, and blind, and naked; you will grant that he is a poor and beggerly man, that wants these four things, meat for his belly, cloathes for his back, money for his purse, and a house to put his head in, why in all these respects every man that is out of Christ is a beggerly man.

 

[ 1] 1 A beggerly man is one that hath no meat to put in his belly, and all you that have no interest in Jesus Christ are beggerly, in this regard, because you do not feed upon that bread of life, nor drink of that water of life, the Lord Christ, whose flesh is meat indeed, and whose bloud is drink*indeed, without which your soules will starve for hunger.

 

[ 2] 2 You will say he is a poor man, that hath no cloathes to put on his back: thus every man out of Christ is not only poor but naked; Rev. 3. 17. Thou knewest not that thou wer’t poor and miserable, and blinde and naked, that man that is not cloathed with the long Robes of Cerists righteousnesse, he is a naked man and exposed to the wrath and vengeance of Almighty God, those men have only a cloak to cover their sinfull nakednesse and shame, that are cloathed with the robes of Christs righteousnesse. It is said of Jacob, that he * obtained the blessing from his Father by being clad in the garments of his eldest brother, and so are we only blessed by God our Father, as we are cloathed with the robes of our elder brother Jesus Christ.

 

[ 3] 3. That man is a beggerly man that hath no money in his purse; why so, though your purses be full of Gold, yet if your hearts be not full of Grace, you are very beggerly men, Luk 16. 11. Grace is only the true riches; all the durable riches are bound up in Christ.

 

[ 4] 4. And lastly, he is a beggerly man, that hath not a house to put his head in, that is destitute of a house to lodge in, and a bed to lie on; why so, thou that hast no interest in Christ, when thy dayes are expired and death comes, thou knowest not what to do, nor whither to go, thou canst not say with the godly man that when death takes thee hence thou shalt be received into everlasting habitations, you cannot say 〈◊〉Christ is gone before to prepare a place for thee in heaven: So that in these four particulars you see, that a Christlesse man is a very beggerly man, having neither food for his body, nor cloathes for his back, nor money in his purse, nor a house to put his head in, unlesse it be in a dungeon of darknesse, with Devils and damned spirits.

 

  1. Another property of a man without *Christ is, that he is a blinde man: Rev. 3. 17. and knewest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blinde, and naked and hence it is, that wicked men during their unregeneracy are called darknesse, in Ephes. 5. 8. You were sometime darknesse, but*now are you like in the Lord, walk as children of the light: So light is come into the world,*and yet men love larknesse rather then light, because their deeds are evil. Jesus Christ is to the soul that which the son is to the earth, take away the Sun from the earth, and it is nothing but a dungeon of darknesse: so take away Christ from the Soul and it is nothing but a dungeon of the Devill; though there be a Christ in the world, yet if the heart be shut, and Jesus Christ be not in thee, thou art in a state of darknesse and blindenesse.

 

[ 5] 5 Every man without Christ, is a deformed man, as you may read in Ezek. 16. 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11, and 14. verses, Thus*saith the Lord God, thy Nativity is in the land of Canaan, thy Father was an Amorite, &c. and in the 6. vers. When I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee (when thou wast in thy bloud) Live, yea I said unto thee when thou wast in thy bloud, Live; when a poor childe lies weltring it its bloud, not swadled, nor washed, nor looked after, what a sad condition is it in? and thus were you sayes God; but then read on in the 7. verse, I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the Field, and thou hast encreased and waxen great, &c. and so again in the 14. verse, Thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty; for it was perfect through my comlinesse that I had put upon thee, saith the Lord, Intimating that before Christ looks upon a soul, he lies weltring in his own bloud, and not able to help himself, but when he becoms comely through Christs comlinesse that is cast upon him; if you want Christ, you want your best ornament: a man without Christ is like a body full of sores and botches, he is like a dark house without light, and like a body without a head, and such a man must needs be a deformed man.

 

[ 6] 6. Another property of a Christlesse man is that he is a disconsolate man, Christ is the only spring of comfort, and the fountain of all joy and consolation, take away Christ from the Soul, and it is all one, as if you did take away the Sun from the firmament; if a man hath all the blessings in the world, yet if he want Christ, he wants that which should sweeten all the rest of his comforts. In Exod. 15. 23. 25. you read there of the waters of Marah, they were so bitter, that none could drink of them, but then the Lord shewed Moses a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet; why Jesus Christ he is this tree, that sweetens the bitternesse of any outward affliction, and he can make all thy sorrowes to flee away; there is nothing in the world that sweetens the comforts, and gives us joy, in the possession of the things of this world, more then the having an interest in Jesus Christ: it is not (Beloved) the having of much of the creature in your house; but the having of Christ in your hearts, that makes you live comfortably; all the bread you eat will be but bread of sorrow, if you do not feed upon the body of Jesus Christ, and all your drink will be but wine of astonishment, if you do not drink of the bloud of Jesus Christ; without an interest in Christ, al your comforts are but crosses, and al your mercies are but miseries, as in Job 20. * 22. In the fulnesse of his sufficiency he shall be in straits, though you have abundance of the things of this life, though you have more then enough, yet if you have not an interest in Christ, you have nothing.

 

[ 7] 7. Another property of a man out of Christ is, that he is a dead man. You know that common place in 1 Joh. 5. 12. He that*hath the Son he hath life, and he that hath not the Son he hath not life, hence we read in Eph. 2. 1. that unregenerate men are dead in*trespasses and sins, and the reason is, because that Christ is a Beleevers life: Col. 3. 3. *Our life is hid with Christ in God, take away Christ from a man and you take away his life, and take away life from a man and he is a dead lump of flesh; unregenerate men are termed strangers to the life of godlinesse, and therefore must needs be dead in their sins; though they do injoy the life of a man, yet if the life that he lives be not by the Faith of the Son of God, he is spiritually dead: [ 1] As for example, you know a dead man he feels nothing, do what you will to him, he does not feel it; so a man that is spiritually dead, he does not feel the weight of his sins, though they are a heavie burden pressing him down into the pit of Hell, he is a stranger to the life of godlinesse, and past feeling, given over to a reprobate sense, so that he feels not the weight and burden of all his sins.

 

[ 2] 2. A dead man he hath a title to nothing here in this life, though he were never so rich, yet he loseth his title to all, and his riches goes from him to another; why so, being spiritually dead, you can lay claim to nothing, neither to grace, nor mercy, heaven or happinesse by Jesus Christ.

 

[ 3] 3. A dead man is still rotting and returning to the dust from whence he came; and so a man that is spiritually dead he fals from iniquity to iniquity, and from one sinne to another, till at last he drops down into Hell fire.

 

[ 8] 8. The last property of a Christlesse man is, that he is a damned man, if he live and dye without Christ hee is a damned man. So Joh. 3. 18. He that beleeveth*not, he is condemned already, he is as surely damn’d as if he were in hell already, he that is without Jesus Christ, must needs goe without Heaven, for Heaven and Glory and happinesse are entailed upon him; Heaven is given to none, but those that are heirs together with Christ, and therefore you that are without Christ must needs be without heaven, and consequently without happinesse and salvation, and therefore must needs be damn’d. So that you see in these eight particular properties, in what a sad and miserable condition every Christlesse man is in, and oh! that what has been now declared concerning the wretchednesse of a Christlesse man, might provoke every soul of you to a holy eagernesse and earnestnesse of spirit, above all your gettings to labour to get Jesus Christ.

 

SERMON, III.

 

EPHES. 2. 12.

That at that time ye were without Christ,—

 

[ II] WE come now to the 2. Question, which I promised you to resolve.

 

Quest. What are the Characters of a Man without Jesus Christ.

 

This Query is very necessary, because hereby we may know, whether we are the men that are without Jesus Christ * or no; now I shall reduce these characters of a Christlesse man into these seven heads, and go over them very briefly.

 

[ 1] 1. That man that is without the Spirit of Christ, he is without any reall actuall interest in Christ: this the Apostle layes down to us in so many expresse terms in Rom. 8. 9. If any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his: Christ and * the Spirit are inseparable companions; have the one, and you enjoy the other; want the ione, and you are without the other; And here (Beloved) to apply this more particularly, you are without any interest in Christ, if you are without the Spirit of Christ in the threefold operation of it.

 

[ 1] 1. If you are without the enlightning work of the Spirit, to teach your minds to know Christ.

 

[ 2] 2. If you are without the inclining work of the Spirit, to draw your hearts to love Christ; And

 

[ 3] 3. If you are without the constraniing work of the Spirit, to impower your wils to obey Christ.

 

If you are thus without the Spirit of Christ, in these three particulers, you can lay no just claim, to any interest in Jesus Christ. With what face therefore can any of you lay claim to Christs person, that are not guided by his Spirit, but are led by the corrupt dictates of your own hearts, and follow the desires of the flesh and of the minde? you that are thus, can lay no claim to Jesus Christ, for whosoever hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his: this is the first character.

 

[ 2] 2. He that is without any saving power, derived from Jesus Christ, enabling him to mortifie his bosome lusts, that man is without Jesus Christ, as in Gal. 5. 24. the Apostle tels us there, that they that*are Christs, have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts, thereby intimating, that they that have not crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts thereof, have no interest in the Lord Jesus Christ: when Christ came in the flesh, we crucified him, but if ever Christ comes into thy soul, he will crucifie thee; they that are Christs, they do crucifie the flesh: Christ will be avenged on thy sins, and crucifie thy lusts, and kill thy corruptions, when he comes into thy soul. But here (beloved) I do not mean a totall subduing of sin, as if every lust and corruption should be quite subdued; but only thus far, to give a deadly blow to sin, that sin shall not reign nor bear sway in thy soul as it hath done formerly: sin in the heart of one that is in Christ, shall be like those Monarchs spoken of in Dan. 7. 12. it is said *their Dominions shall be taken away, but their lives shall be prolonged for a little season; just so it is with sin in the heart of a beleever, the dominion of sin is taken away, but the life and beeing of it is preserved for a little season: there shall be some remainders of sin still, in the best of Gods servants, but sin shall not reign in their mortall bodies, and therefore you that never had any power to mortifie your sins, that never had any bridle of restraint to any of your lusts, lay no claim to Jesus Christ, for they*that are his have crucified the flesh with the lusts thereof. I might here make use of a story (that I have often told you of) in the History of Scotland, there is mention made of an Island, situate in the midst of the Sea, between Scotland, and Ireland, and there was a great controversie between the two Nations, to which of the Kingdomes this Island did belong, and a great Polititian to decide the controversie, commands a great company of Toads and Frogs to be gathered together, and put into the Island, and if those venomous and unclean beasts should live there, then the Island belonged to Scotland, but if they died, then it belonged to Ireland, for no unclean creature does inhabit there: just so it is with us; there is a great controversie between Christ and the Devill, to which thy soul does belong, why now if poisonsome lusts, & venomous sins, can live and thrive in thy soul, then you belong to the Devil; but if these lusts and sins dy in your soul, then you belong to Jesus Christ.

 

[ 3] 3. Another Character is this, that man that is without unfeigned love to the person of Christ, that man is without any interest in Christ; for every one that hath Christ loves him; and every one that hath him not, loves him not: 1 Cor. 16. 2. If any man loves not the Lord Christ, let him be accursed, he that does not love Christ, hath no interest in Christ, and shall be accursed when Christ shall come to judgement.

 

[Object.] Object. But some will be ready to say, If this be so, that the not loving of Christ, be an argument of the not having of Christ, wby then I think I am well enough, for I do love Christ with all my heart.

 

[Answ.] Answ. I will tell thee in the very words of Christ, who it is that loves him: Joh. 14. 24. He that loveth me not keepeth not*my sayings; does not thy conscience tell thee O man, that thou dost not care for any command of Jesus Christ? let him command what he will, you will do what you list; you see here Christ tels thee plainly, that he that loveth him not, keepeth not his sayings; I beseech you therefore in the fear of God, take heed of deceiving your own souls, in thinking you love Christ, when there is no such matter, but labour to love him in truth, and evidence your love to him, by keeping of his Commandemants.

 

[ 4] 4. That man that is without any saving knowledge of Christ, is without any actuall interest in Christ, there is no man that hath Christ but knows Christ; (Mistake me not) I do not say that every man that hath Christ knows he hath him, for a man may have Christ, and yet not know of it, for the present; but this I say, he that hath an interest in Christ, whosoever he be, he must know Christ in part, Joh. 8. 54, * 55. You say that God is your God, and yet you have not known him, ’tis a very strange place, you say that God and salvation by him, and all is yours, and yet you have not known him. (Oh my Beloved) you say you have Christ, and yet you have not known Christ, he himself will convince you at the last day, of laying a false claim to him, read Joh. 1. 12. compared with the 24. and 26. verses.

 

Now when I tell you that a man without the knowledge of Christ, is without any interest in Christ, I do not say, that those are without Christ, that have not so great a measure of knowledge as other men have; but when you are without the knowledge of Christ, accompanyed with these two circumstances, then I can safely pronounce you to be a Christlesse man:

 

[ 1] 1. If you be without the knowledge of Christ, and yet sit down contented in your ignorance, neither desiring, nor labouring after the knowledge of him, then I may safely say, that for the present thou art without Jesus Christ, if you are like those spoken of in 2 Pet. 3. 5. For this they*are willingly ignorant of, that by the word ofGod, the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water, and in the water: or like those in Job 2. 14. that say unto God;*Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy wayes: if you are such as these, I can safely pronounce you to be Christlesse men.

 

[ 2] 2. Not only when you are contentedly ignorant, but likewise when with obscurity in your Judgements, you adde obstinacy in your wils; when thou art an Ignorant, and dost not know, and wilt not know, that hast not learned, and yet will not learn, but art like those spoken of in Psal. 82. 5. They know not, neither will*they understand, he does not say, they know not, neither do they, but neither will they understand; a godly man may have the former of these: although you be very ignorant, yet if you desire to know, you may have an interest in Christ; but I am bold to say (in case you are ignorant and yet sit down contentedly and do not care to know more, and obstinately and will not learn more) that you have no interest in Christ, and therefore keep off your hands from Christ, lay no claim to him, for you have nothing to do with him, he is none of yours.

 

[ 5] 5. Another Character is this, that man that is without a hearing ear to the voice of Christ, and an obedient heart to the mands of Christ, that man hath no interest in Christ: I shall give you two plain texts of Scripture to prove this, one is in Joh. 8. 47. He that is of God heareth Gods*word; you therefore hear them not, because you are not of God; they that are of God, hear his Word; those that belong to Christ, and have an interest in him, hear his Word, not only with the ear, but with the heart, and so in 1 Joh. 1. 6. sayes the Apostle, We are of God, he that is of God, heareth us; he that is not of God, heareth not us; hereby know we the spirit of truth and the spirit of errour: and therefore thou obstinate and stout hearted wretch, that canst lie like a flint under the Word of God, and suffer no command to make impression upon thy spirit; verily thou canst lay no just claim to Jesus Christ.

 

[ 6] 6. That man that uses greater industry, and takes greater complacency in the acting and committing of sin, then ever he did in the exercise of any grace or the performance of any duty, that man is without Jesus Christ. You have an excellent place for this purpose in Joh. 3. 8. 10. He that committeth sin, is of the Devill, he doth not say, he that does sin, is of the Devill, but he that commits sin with delight, that makes a trade of sin, he is of the Devill, and so on in the 10. ver. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the Devill;whosoever doth not righteousnesse, is not of God, he does not belong to God, he that does not righteousnesse with delight, and complacency, with joy and industry: as he that doth commit sin, that is, act it with delight, and makes a trade of it, is of the Devill, so he that does not do righteousnesse, that is, with delight, and joy, and chearfulnesse, that man is not of Christ: you then that can sin with delight, but perform holy duties with a flat, and dead, and dull spirit, you that never took so much delight to sanctifie the Sabbath, as you have done in prophaning of it, you that never took so much delight, in the performing of duties to God, as you have done in sinning against God, lay off hands from Jesus Christ if your hearts be full of sin, you can have no interest in him; In Joh. 9. 16. some of the Pharisees said, this*man is not of God, because he keepeth not the Sabbath: This had been a very good argument, had it been well applyed, had Christ indeed not kept the Sabbath: if it may be truly said of you, that thou dost not make conscience of keeping of the Sabbath, or of performing any holy duties, I can truly say of you, that you are not of God: now then examine your selves by this argument, whether you are of God or no; if you do prophane the Sabbath day, and make no conscience of performing holy duties, nor of sinning against God; this shews that you are not of God; that man that acts sin with more delight then he performs holy duties, hath no interest in Christ, as in 1 Joh. 5. 18. Hee that is born of God sinneth*not, that is, he doth not commit it with that delight and complacency as wicked men do; but he that belongs to God, he keepeth himself pure, and that wicked one toucheth him not; that is, not so, as to make him commit sin in the former sense, but he keepeth himself, he will not give himself to commit sin with that cheerfulnesse as wicked men do; and therefore saith the Apostle, we know that we are of God, and the*whole world lyeth in wickednesse.

 

[ 7] 7. The last Character is this, that man is without any interest in Christ that backslides from the wayes of Christ, both in judgement, and in practise: (Beloved) when a man shall backslide from the truth of Christ in judgement, and from the exercises of holy duties in practise, when he backslides both these wayes, he is not in Jesus Christ: 2 Joh. v. 9. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of*Christ hath not God, but he that abideth in the Doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son; that man that sins both in judgement and in practise, he is not of God; but he that abides in the truth of God both in judgement and in practise, he hath both the Father and the Son.

 

Oh therefore I beseech you in the fear of God, look about you, to see whether you are the men that have a reall actuall interest in Christ or no. Are you such men as are without the spirit of Christ? or are you without a saving power derived from Christ, enabling you to mortifie your bosome lusts? Are you without an unfeigned love to the person of Christ, or without a true and saving knowledg of Christ? Are you contentedly ignorant of Christ, and care not to know more? or are you obstinately ignorant, and wil not learn more? Are you without a hearing ear, and an obedient heart to the Word of Christ? Do you take greater industry, and complacency in the committing of sin, then ever you did in the performance of any holy duty? Or do you backslide from the wayes of Christ both in judgement, and in practise? If there be a concurrence of these seaven Characters in you, then conclude that you have no interest at all in Christ, conclude then that at this time you are without Jesus Christ. Thus now I have done with the second question which I promised you to answer I shall now spend a little time in winding up what I have said in a practicall Use, and then come to the third Question.

 

And in the application of this I shall direct my speech to two sorts of people: 1. To those that are plunged into a spirituall delusion, to say they have an interest in Christ when they have not. 2. To those that say they have not an interest in Christ when they have.

 

[Use. 1] 1. To you that say you have an interest in Christ, when you have not; give me leave to propound these 3 or 4 questions to you: [ 1] first let me ask this question, Were you ever without Christ, yea or no? If you answer no, then let me tell you thus much, that that man that sayes he had Christ ever, I may safely say he had Christ never: thou that dost say that thou hadst Christ ever since thou wert born, I can safely say that thou hadst Christ never since thou wert born, for every man is born a Christlesse man.

 

[ 2] 2. Thou that sayest thou hast an interest in Christ, let me ask you this question, How came you by your interest in Christ? Do you think that Christ fel from heaven, into your bosome whether you would or no? How came you by Christ then? Did you ever make a powerfull prayer unto God for him? Did you ever sigh, and sob, and cry mightily unto God for him? Did you ever see your misery without him? and beg the Father earnestly for him? for God is not prodigall of his son to give him to those that never ask him.

 

[ 3] 3. Let me ask you this question, Did you ever see an absolute necessity in your own souls, of getting an interest in Jesus Christ? were you ever sensible of the want of Christ, and of the worth of Christ, of the need you have of Christ, and in what a sad, and miserable, and deplorable, and damnable condition you are in without Christ? if you are not sensible of this, you are to this day without Jesus Christ.

 

[ 4] 4. Let me ask you this question, How can you evidence that you have an interest in Christ, by your walking? what saith the Apostle in 2 Cor. 5. 17. If any man*be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, and all things are become new; are you new creatures? are all your old sins passed away? the Apostle tels you, that they that are Christs, have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts: why now, hast thou killed any lust in thy heart, or rather do not every lust reign in thee, with as much power as ever they did? If it be so, then surely you have no interest in Christ at all.

 

[Use. 2] Thus much for the first sort of people, those that are plunged into a spirituall delusion, we come now to the second sort of people, those that are doubting, and perplexed souls, that say they have not an interest in Christ when they have; those which say they are without Christ, when indeed they are not, as there are many such people in the world: now to such as these I have two or three words of consolation. [ 1] 1. Let me speak this for your comfort, it is a very ordinary thing with the people of God, to passe very hard and uncharitable sentences upon their own souls, and to run upon very sad mistakes in reference to their own salvation. A childe of God he sees so many lusts in his own heart, and so many sins within him, that he can scarse have a charitable thought of his own soul, as David when he said, The Lord had forsaken him, and cast him off for ever: godly men are very apt to passe very harsh censures upon their own souls.

 

[ 2] 2. Let me tell you this for your comfort, you may have Christ, and yet not know that you have him; it may be with you as it was with Mary Magdalen when she was talking to Christ face to face, yet sayes she, they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him; so you * may have an interest in Christ, & yet not know of it; in Joh. 14. 4. Christ told his * Disciples there, sayes he, Whither I go you know, and the way you know, Thomas saith unto him, Lord we know not whither thou goest, therefore how can we know the way? Now the reason why they did not know, as Augustine well observes, was because they did not know their own thoughts, they thought they did not know, but yet Christ he knew that they did know. It is with a beleever sometimes as it was with Benjamin, the cup was in his sack, and yet he did not know of it: now Benjamin was the beloved of Joseph, so you may be the beloved ones of Christ, and yet not know of it.

 

[ 3] 3. To you that think you are without Christ, when you are not, let me tell thee this for thy comfort, though the having of Christ, be indispensably necessary for the bringing of our souls to heaven, yet the knowing that we have Christ is not so much necessary. As it is with a man asleep in a ship, the ship may bring him home safe to the harbour, and yet he not know of it? so Christ may bring us through a sea of boisterous afflictions and temptations to heaven, our haven of rest, and yet we not know of it, till we come there.

 

[ 4] 4. Let me tell you this likewise for your comfort, though you do not know that Christ is yours, yet Christ doth know that you are his: wil you count your child an unhappy childe because he does not know that you are his father? ’tis no matter though the childe does not know that you are his father, so long as you know that he is your childe; so it is no great matter though you doe not know, that Christ is yours, so long as Christ knowes that you are his, for the foundation of the*Lord standeth sure, the Lord knows who are his. Thus now beloved I have done with this use that belongs to this examination, both for those that say they have Christ, when they have not; and also for those that say they have not Christ when they have.

 

SERMON, IV.

 

EPHES. 2. 12.

That at that time ye were without Christ,—

 

[ III] I Come now to the 3. Query which I promised to handle, which is this; to shew the misery and sad condition of a man without an interest in Jesus Christ: and oh that I could speak it, & you hear it, with a bleeding heart, to see in what a dismall, and doleful, and deplorable condition every poor soul in the world without Christ is plunged into: I shall reduce all that I have to say, touching this particular, under these two heads, to shew you 1. Positively, what he undergoes: and 2. Privatively, what he wants: I shall run over them briefly.

 

[ I] 1. For the Positive part, the misery of a man out of Christ, lies in these three particulars: there are these three great evils, that every man out of Jesus Christ lies under.

 

[ 1] 1. A man out of Christ is surrounded and compassed about with misery, which way soever he turns himselfe, and to illustrate this the more fully, I shall heare lay you down 8. particulars, wherein a Christlesse man is compassed about with miseries on all sides; Thou art surrounded with misery, Oh Christlesse man, if thou lookest either outward, or inward; upward or downward; forward, or backward; on thy righthand, or on thy left; nothing but miseries accompany thee.

 

[ 1] 1. If thou lookest outward, all the creatures are armed against thee; and hence it is so often exprest in Scripture, that the Beast shall be at war with the wicked, but at peace with the godly: all the creatures are against thee to avenge their Masters quarrell.

 

[ 2] 2. Look within thee, and there you shall finde a galling, an accusing, and a condemning conscience, haling thee to the judgement seat, and witnessing against thee, thy conscience shall be like a thousand witnesses, to witnesse against thee, and to register and enroll all thy sins till the day of judgement.

 

[ 3] 3. Look upwards into the heavens, and there is nothing but an angry God, a severe Judge; that hath a flame of fire, a furbished sword, and a sharp arrow, and all against thee, as in Rom. 1. 18. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven, against all ungodlinesse and unrighteousnesse of men; that hold the truth in unrighteousnesse.

 

[ 4] 4. If you look downwards, there is death ready to receive you, which is but as a back-door to let you into hell, and if you look lower, there is nothing but a dungeon of darknesse, where infernall spirits are reserved in chains of darknesse, to the judgement of the great day. Which way soever a Christlesse man looks there are nothing but miseries accompany him; if he looks outward, there the creatures are against him; if he looks inward, there is a galled, and accusing conscience ready to accuse him; if he looke above him, there is an angry God against him; if he look below him, there is the Devill ready to receive him: a Christlesse man is in a most sad and dolefull condition, as I might exemplifie by this familiar similitude; Suppose a man were falling into a great and dark dungeon, wherein there were nothing but Toads and Serpents, and all manner of venemous beasts, and as he were falling in, should catch hold of a twig of a tree that might grow over the mouth of the dungeon; and then suppose a lean beast should come and begin to gnaw and bite off that twig, what a miserable case will that poor man be in? why just so it is with thee oh Christlesse man, thy life in this twig, and death is the lean beast that is biting off this twig of life, and then thou failest down into a dungeon of darknesse, there is nothing but the twig of life between thee and hell.

 

[ 5] 5. If you look before you, there is nothing but misery likewise approaching thee; and these are the snares and temptations the Devill layes in thy way to ensnare thee, and intice thee to sin; there is not a step thou treadest, nor any company thou goest into, but the Devill layes a trap to ensnare thee.

 

[ 6] 6. If you look behinde you, there is nothing but a huge heap of past sins unrepented of unsatisfied for, and unpardoned, that are able to sink thee into the bottomelesse pit of hell, how then canst thou think of thy past sins but with a sad heart? how dreadfull is it to consider how many thousands of sins thou hast been guilty of and yet never hast been humbled for them, nor never shed one penitentiall tear for them; the guilt of the least of them, being enough to plunge thee into hell for ever.

 

[ 7] 7. Look on thy right hand, and there are all the blessings of God, all thy fullnesse and prosperity; thy riches, and great estate, are all made a curse to thee: God gives a wicked man riches for his hurt, Eccles. 5. 13. Prosperity shall kill the soul of the wicked: Oh Christlesse man thy riches and prosperity, are all instruments and means to further thy everlasting ruin and destruction.

 

[ 8] 8. Look on thy left hand, and there are all the miseries, and afflictions, and sufferings, and reproaches, and diseases, and sad accidents that you meet with, as so many forerunners of those unutterable, and untolerable, and unsupportable sufferings, which a Christlesse man shall undergoe to all eternity.

 

Oh then unhappy man that thou art, that hast not an interest in Jesus Christ! without thee, and within thee; above thee, and below thee; before thee, and behinde thee; on thy right hand, and on thy left, there are nothing but miseries accompanie thee on every side. Thus much for the first positive part, of the misery of a Christlesse man; it is a very sad point that I am now upon, and therefore I shall sweeten all in the close, with two or three words of consolation.

 

[ 2] But 2 (Beloved follow me now) Thou that art a Christlesse man or woman, thy misery in the positive part of it lies in this, there wil be nothing in the world so dismal and intolerable to thy soul, as the apprehensions of a God without Jesus Christ: God that is an amiable, and desireable, and an universall good in Christ, yet out of Christ, this great God that is so good and rich in mercy, and free in grace, is cloathed with red, and Scarlet; you that are out of Christ, cannot look upon God, but with dreadfull apprehensions of him: you cannot look upon God, as a God of mercy to pardon you, but as an angry Judge ready to condemn you, not as a friend that seeks your welfare, but as an enemy that sets himself in battel array against you to ruin you: you cannot look upon him as the Rock of Ages, in the clifts whereof you may finde safety, but as a burdensome stone, the weight whereof will beat you down and grinde you to powder: you cannot look upon God as a Refiners fire to purge away your drosse, but as a consuming fire and everlasting burning to consume you to ashes; these, these are the awakening, and soul-affrightning apprehensions, which every poor soul that hath not an interest in Christ, must see, the apprehensions of God will be very dreadfull to you.

 

[ 3] 3. Your misery in the positive part of it, lies in this, that all the creatures and blessings you injoy in the world are acurse to you; for all blessings are given in and through Christ, there is no blessing given thee as a blessing, nor no mercy as a mercy, if Christ which is the mercy of all mercies be not given to thee: and here I shall shew you your misery in this particular, under these five heads.

 

[ 1] 1. To have an estate is a blessing of God, but yet all the estate, and revenues, and substance which you have gotten, by the labour of your hands, and the sweat of your brows are all accursed to you, if you have not an interest in Jesus Christ, as in Deut. 28. 17, 18. Cursed shalt thou be in the City and cursed shalt thou be in the field; cursed shalt thou be in thy basket, and in thy store; cursed shalt thou be in the fruit of thy body, and of thy land, in the encrease of thy kine, and in the flocks of thy sheep; cursed shalt thou be when thou goest forth, and cursed when thou comest in: and so in Job 20. 15. He shall swallow down riches, but he shall vomit them up again: and in Eccles. 5. 13 sayes Solomon, There is a sore evill which I have seen under the Sun, namely riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.

 

[ 2] 2. You are cursed in your house likewise, as in Job 28. 15. The terrours of God shall dwell in the taberuacles of the wicked, and brimstone shall be scattered throughout his habitation: and so in that place I quoted before, Deut. 28. 19.

 

[ 3] 3. He is cursed in his name, as in Prov. 16. 7. The name of the wicked shall not.

 

[ 4] 4. He is cursed in his calling, as in Prov. 21. 4. The ploughing, of the wicked is sin, and in Deut. 28. 20. The Lord shall send uponthee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all thou settest thy hand unto, for to doe.

 

[ 5] 5. He is cursed not only in his estate, in his house, in his Land, in his calling, but in his eating and drinking too; you have a strange expression for this in Job. 20. 23. When he is about to fil his belly, God shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him, and shall rain it upon him when he is eating; so in Psal. 38. 30, 31. While the meat was yet intheir months, the wrath of the Lord came upon them.

 

[ II] Thus then you see the positive part of mans misery out of Christ, what he undergoes: We come now to shew you the privative part, of his misery, what hee wants; and here very much might be spoken in declaring the misery of a Christlesse man in the privative part of it, in those things which he wants in being without an interest in Christ; but I shall run over this briefly, and comprise all that I have to say to you under these six heads, and then come to the application: first then, are you without Christ? why * then you are without strength, as in Joh. 25. 5. Without me you can de nothing, saies Christ; nay Paul goes further in 2 Cor. 3. * 5. We are of our selves as of our selves, sayes he, not able to think a good thought, but all our sufficiency is from God: herein lies the misery of a man out of Christ, he is able to do nothing, he is like Sampson without his hair, he that before could break Iron bands like so many straws, now his strength was no more then another mans: (Beloved) you are very weak indeed, if you want Christ; in Esai. 45. 54. it is said there, that Christ is made unto a beleever, righteousnesse and strength; now if you want Christ, you want righteousnesse by way of acceptance, and you want strength by way of assistance. But here to branch out this more particularly, I shall shew you in five particulars, wherein a man without Jesus Christ wants strength.

 

  1. Every man out of Christ, wants * strength to perform any duty, as in Rom. 8. 26. We know not what to pray for, as wee ought, we are able to doe nothing that is spiritually good of our selves, all our duties and services, without the righteousnesse of Christ added to them, are but like so many ciphers, now you know put 1000. ciphers together, and they make no sum, but if one figure be prefixt to them, they make an innumerable number; why so all our duties of themselves are worth nothing, but then Christ being added to them, that puts an estimate upon them, and makes them of a considerable value and worth.

 

[ 2] 2. You are without strength to exercise any grace; a dead man is as well able to stir, as a man without Christ is able to step one step heaven-ward; if God should say, I will save thy soul and give thee heaven, couldst thou but perform one duty, or exercise one Grace, thou couldst not do it, and therefore Christ tels us in Joh. 15. Unlesse you be in me, you can bring forth no fruit.

 

[ 3] 3. Without Christ thou art without strength to subdue any lust; Oh how unable art thou to keep under a predominant and a turbulent lust! every sin will prevail and domineer in thy soul: in Gal.* 2. 20. sayes Paul, I have crucified sin, yet not I, but Christ that liveth in me: the messenger of Satan, that was sent to buffet Paul, had prevailed over him, if Christ had not helped him; you are not able to subdue any lust without Christ.

 

  1. You are without strength to resist * any temptation; in Ephes. 6. 10. Paul exhorts them there, to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might, not in the power of their own might, for they were not able to stand of themselves by their own strength, but be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might; so David when he came to fight against great Goliah, had he gone out to meet him in his own strength, he had been overcome and devoured, but he went against him in the name, and in the strength of the Lord of hosts.

 

[ 5] 5. A man without Christ is without strength, to bear or undergoe any afflictions, every affliction that is but like a feather, to one that is in Christ, will be like a lump of lead upon thee; a godly man if he hath any way withdrawn himself from Christs aid and assistance, a little affliction will sinck him, for, it is given us of God, not only*to do but to suffer for his sake, Phil. 2. 21. Intimating, that unlesse God doth enable us to suffer, we are not able to bear up our spirits under any affliction. Thus then you see, that if you want an interest in Christ, you want strength in these five particulars, to perform any duty, to exercise any grace, to subdue any lust, to resist any temptation, or to bear any affliction; but

 

[ 2] 2. If you are without Christ, you are not onely without strength, but without growth likewise; Jesus Christ is to the souls of men, what the warm beams of the Sun are to the earth, take away the influence of the warm beams of the Sun from the earth, and then all the grasse of the field and every hearb and green thing will die and wither away presently: so Christ he is our Sun of righteousnesse, take away Christ from a man, and there wil no blossomes of grace bud forth in that mans heart: Adams stock is a barren root, upon which no branch of grace will spring forth; you can never bring forth any fruit unto God, unlesse you be graffed not upon Adams Stock, but upon the Stock of the root of Jesse; a man during his unconverted estate, he is the Devils slave, and he never brings forth fruit, till he come to be in Christ; only in and through Christ, we are enabled to bring forth acceptable fruit unto God.

 

[ 3] 3. Without Christ, thou are likewise without worth, though thou art the son of a Noble, and of the off-spring of Princes, that canst lay claim to thousands and ten thousands per annum, yet without Christ thou art poor, and wretched, and miserable, and blinde, and naked, Rev. 3. 17. For it * is Christ alone that is the repository and storehouse of all wisdom and knowledge, and all the treasures of it are bound up in him.

 

[ 4] 4. Without Christ you are without comfort: this is a deplorable misery, a man without Christ, is without comfort. As that would be an uncomfortable dwelling, where the Sun should not shine by day, nor the Moon by night: even so would thy soul be very disconsolate, if Christ did not shine in upon thy heart, the comforts of a child of God does either ebbe or flow, as Christ either comes to him, or goes from him.

 

[ 5] 5. Without Christ thou art without liberty. If the son make you free, then are you free indeed, Joh. 8. 36. And unlesse the Son make you free, you are slaves indeed, slaves to sin, slaves to your lusts, slaves to the creatures, and slaves to the devill by whom you are taken captive at his will, you are never free men and women till the Son make you free.

 

[ 6] 6. If thou art without Jesus Christ, thou art without beauty, thou art only like a carkasse without life, or a body without a head; it is Christ only, that gives us beauty and comelinesse. Ezek.* 16. 14. And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty, for it was perfect through my comelinesse that I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God; if we have not the comelinesse of Christ put upon us, we are not comely; you have a pretty passage in Luk. 2. 32. Christ is there called the glory of the children of Israel, Christ is the glory of the children of Israel that doe beleive in him: there is no glory, but a body full of sores and botches, in all those that are out of Christ.

 

And thus now (Beloved) I have done with the Doctrinall part of this point, that every man, during the state of his unregeneracy, is without any actuall interest in Christ: we come now to the application, and here I might say to you as a learned Author was wont to say, when he had been handling any terrible subject, and treating upon Doctrines of terrour, he would alwayes say in the close, Oh godly man, this belongs not to thee: so may I say to you, thou godly soul, this appertains not to thee, the misery and sad condition of a man out of Christ, belongs not to thee, thou doest not now hear the sentence which shall be passed upon thee, but thou dost now hear the misery, that thou art freed from, and redeemed from: [Use.] The Use that I shall make of this, shall be by way of consolation, and the Lord uphold and comfort the hearts of all you that can lay a just claim to Jesus Christ. [ 1] 1. Happy, Oh thrice happy are you, that ever you were born, that have an interest in Jesus Christ, for though God be cloathed with majesty great and terrible in himself, yet you can look upon him, under apprehensions of love and mercy, peace, goodnesse, tendernesse, and kindnesse; you are to look upon God not as an angry Judge to condemn you, but as a Father of mercy to comfort you; not as an adversary in battell array against you, but as a friend reconciled to you; not as a burdensome stone, that may grind you to powder, but as the rock of Ages, in the clifts whereof you may finde safety: you are to look upon God, not as a consuming fire to burn you, but as a refiners fire to purge away your drosse, and sin, and corruption; it is Christs bloud only that quencheth the fire of Gods anger. So that now you may look upon God under all these apprehensions of love and mercy, peace, pardon, and reconciliation, &c. if you have an interest in Jesus Christ.

 

[ 2] 2. Happy, yea thrice happy are you, in having an interest in Christ, for though you have nothing here in the world, yet you have all things: you have all things in having an interest in Christ that hath all things: you may say as Paul said of himself, 2 Cor. 6. 10. As having nothing,*and yet possessing all things; though thou wantest many things here below, yet if thou hast an interest in Christ, thou hast all things. It may be thou mayest eat of the bread of affliction, and drink of the water of adversity, yet happy art thou, if withall thou canst but drink draughts of Christs bloud, if Christ bids thee eat of his body, and drink of his bloud, as in Cant. 5. 8. Eat oh friends, drink, yea drink abundantly*oh my beloved. Happy are you that are cloathed with the long white robes of Christs righteousnesse: though you have nothing here below, yet you have all things, in having Christ that hath all things, 1 Cor. 3. 22. All is yours, and you are*Christ.

 

[Object.] Object. But here some may object and say, how can this be, how can it be said that a beleever hath all things, when many times he hath the least of the things of this world.

 

[Answ.] Answ. I answer, a beleever may be said to have all things, these four ways:

 

  1. He hath all things equivalently.
  2. All things conditionally.
  3. All things finally: And,
  4. All things inheritively.

 

[ 1] 1. A beleever hath all things equivalently, that is, in having Christ, he hath as good as if he had all things, he hath that which is of more worth, then if hee had all the World; that man is not accounted a rich man that hath much lumber and houshold-stuffe in his house, but he that hath many Jewels in his cabinet: why now Christ hee is the pearle of great price, the jewel of all jewels, in having Christ you have all things, in regard you have that which is more worth then all things.

 

[ 2] 2. A beleever hath all things conditionally: if such a thing bee for thy good that thou desirest, thou shalt have it, bee it what it will be, as in Psal. 84. 11. *The Lord will give grace and glory, and no good thing will hee withhold from those that live uprightly, hee hath all things conditionally.

 

[ 3] 3. A beleever hath every thing finally, that is, the Lord intended that every creature that he made, might be for his use, the sun, moon, and stars, and all the other creatures were made for them, nay and all the Angels in heaven were made to be ministring spirits to the heirs of salvation.

 

[ 4] 4. All things are a beleevers inheritively, by way of right and inheritance: though he may not have all things in possession, yet he hath all things by way of reversion, hee hath a right and claim to every thing, Psal. 37. 11. The meek shal inherit the earth. But now it may be I speak to many a poore godly man or woman, and tell them all is theirs, when it may be they have not a penny to buy bread to put in their bellies: why yet beloved let me tell you, though you have nothing, yet you have Christ that is worth all things, though you want other things, yet you doe not want Christ: Beloved, you may want outward blessings, and yet not want Jesus Christ; you may want food to put in your mouthes, and yet not want the bread of life, the Lord Jesus Christ to feed upon; you may want clothes to cover your nakedness, and yet not want the long robes of Christs righteousnesse to cover your sinfull nakednesse; you may want friends to comfort, help, and relieve you, and yet not want Christ to be your friend.

 

There is some thing yet behind, by way of Consolation, but I must defer that till another opportunity.

 

SERMON, V.

 

EPHES. 2. 12.

That at that time yee were without Christ,—

 

WE come now to lay down some other things by way of comfort, to those that have an interest in Christ: and oh that you that are Citizens of Heaven would read over your large Charter of Mercies, that is sealed to you in the bloud of Christ, read over those many benefits, and comforts that you have by Christ, that none in the world enjoy, but you onely that have an interest in him: I shall reduce all that I have to say concerning this particular under these 7 heads; you that lay an * undoubted claim to Christ, you may lay claim to this sevenfold benefit by him.

 

[ I] 1. You that have an interest in Christ, you have all things though you have nothing: this I touched upon before, you may say with the Apostle, as having nothing, yet possessing all things, though you may be without wealth and riches and Olive yards, yet herein lies your comfort, you are not without Christ, and in having him you have al things though you have nothing, for all things are given you, in and through Christ by way of entaile, as in 1 Cor. 3. 22. All things are yours, and yee are*Christs.

 

I shall a little explain this place to you; sayes the Apostle, Whether Paul or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all is yours, and you are Christs, and Christ is Gods: [ 1] Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, (that is) all the Ministers of Christ, if you have an interest in Christ, Christ hath given gifts to his Ministers for your sakes: so that you may lay claim to all the Ministers of Christ, Paul is yours, and Apollos is yours, they are yours, because they are your lights, to guide you in the way to heaven, through the darke wildernesse of this world; they are your Pastors, to feed you with knowledge and understanding, in the Mysteries of Salvation; they are your Shepheards, to gather you into the fold of Jesus Christ; they are your builders to hew and square and make you fit for Christs spirituall building; they are your con••ctors or the friends of the Bridegroome, to make up a compleat match between Christ and you; (I speak only in Scripture phrase) they are your Vine-dressers to prune you, and make you fit to bring forth fruit unto God: Thus all the gifts of all the Ministers in the world are intended by Christ for the good of his children; if there were no godly men in the World, there would be no Ministers in the World, and therefore these people that will heare onely one kind of Ministers, such as they affect, and slight all else, they straighten their own priviledges, for all the Ministers in the World are given by Christ for the benefit of his children.

 

[ 2] But then again says the Apostle, Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the World, all is yours: you have a right to all the World, not only a civil right, but a religious right, The meek shall inherit the earth. So that if you could go to the top of an exceeding high Mountain, and look over all the whole World, you may say, Behold, I see all this is my Fathers ground, and he hath given it to Christ, even the heathen for his inheritance, and*the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession, and I having an Interest in Christ, am thereby a coheire and joint heire with him.

 

[ 3] 3. Life is yours likewise; God hath given you your lives that in that little space of time, you might provide for eternity, and labour to know God and worship him aright.

 

[ 4] 4. Death is yours likewise, death is but as it were a lanching of you forth into an Ocean of endlesse joyes and pleasures, but as a trap-doore to let you into heaven; if you should never dye you would bee but miserable creatures; but God hath appointed death to be a means to let you into Heaven. Whether wee live, we live unto the*Lord, or whether we dye, we dye unto the Lord, so that living or dying, we are the Lords.

 

[ 5] 5. Things present are yours, which includes in it, either present mercies, or present afflictions; 1. present mercies are yours, as having a right to them, and beholding the goodnesse of God in them, and praising God for them, and as serving God with them, and as doing good to others by them. 2. Present afflictions are yours likewise, to humble your hearts, to wean you from the world, to quicken your desires after heaven, to purge out your corruptions, and exercise your graces, and the like; whatsoever present condition thou art in, that present condition bee it what it will be, shall work for thy good.

 

[ 6] 6. Things to come are yours too; if afflictions come, or temptations come, or trouble, or want, or famine, or pestilence, or imprisonments, or any thing come, they are all yours, they are ordered by Christ to be for your good; and so if mercy comes, and the blessings of another world, they are all yours, Heaven and Happinesse, and Glory, Life & Salvation are all yours. Here then (Beloved) you see the first branch of a mans happinesse, that hath an interest in Christ, in having Christ he hath all things, though hee hath nothing, because he hath him that hath all things: this is the first.

 

[ II] 2. That man that hath an interest in Christ, his second consolation lies in this, that all that Christ hath is his: and (oh my Beloved) this is a golden mine, that will afford you many pretious comforts, I shall give them to you under these five or six particulars.

 

  1. If you have an interest in Christ, then Christs Father is your Father.
  2. Christs Spirit is your Spirit.
  3. Christs Righteousnesse is your Righteousnesse.
  4. Christs Graces are your Graces.
  5. Christs Peace is your Peace; And
  6. Chr. Sufferings are your Sufferings.

 

[ 1] And (oh Beloved) see what a large field you may here walk in: 1. If you have an interest in Christ, his Father is your Father, as in Joh. 20. 17. saith Christ, Behold I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God; Christs Father is a Beleevers Father.

 

[ 2] 2. Christs Spirit is your Spirit; in John 14. 8. sayes Christ, I will pray to my*Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, which shall abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the World cannot receive, because it seeth him not, but you see him and know him, for he dwelleth with you and shall be in you.

 

[ 3] 3. Christs righteousnesse is your righteousnesse. Jer. 23. 6. And this is the name whereby he shall be called, The Lord our righteousnesse; So in 1 Cor. 1. 30. Christ is made of*God unto us wisdome, righteousnesse, sanctification and redemption.

 

[ 4] 4. His Graces are your Graces. Joh. 1. * 14. Christ is full of grace and truth, Why? That out of his fulnesse we might all receive grace for grace, that is, for every Grace that is in Jesus Christ, according to our proportion and capacity we shall receive from him.

 

[ 5] 5. His peace is your peace. Joh. 14. 27. *My peace, sayes Christ, I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, the peace that we enjoy is from Christ.

 

[ 6] 6. Lastly, Christs sufferings are your sufferings, God looks upon his sufferings for you, as if you in your own persons had done and suffered what he did, the just hath suffered for the unjust to bring you to God; the sufferings of Christ do as effectually bring you to God, as if you in your own persons had suffered upon the crosse as he did, nay it doth it a great deal more, for our sufferings could not have done it. Thus having an interest in Christ, all that Christ hath is yours.

 

[ III] 3. Take this for your comfort, that all that you have is Christs; I shall sum up all that I have to say, concerning this, under these three comprehensive particulars:

 

  1. Your sinnes are Christs to pardon them, and satisfie Gods justice for them.

 

  1. Your sufferings are Christs to sanctifie them; And

 

  1. Your bodies and soules are Christs to save them.

 

[ 1] 1. You that have an interest in Christ, your sins are his to pardon them, Esay 53. 6. The Lord hath laid on him the Iniquity of us*all, the chastisements of our peace were laid upon him, and by his stripes we are healed, hee bore our sins in his own body on the tree, and to this purpose the Apostle hath an expression in 2 Cor. 5. 21. He was made sin for us, that we might be the righteousnesse of God*in him; Christ was no sinner, but hee was made a sinner for us, he bore our sins upon him, our sinnes are Christs to pardon them.

 

[ 2] 2. Our sufferings are Christs sufferings to sanctifie them unto us. Act. 9. Christ * says to Saul; Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? hee lookes upon the injuries and wrongs, that are done to his people, as if they were done to him.

 

[ 3] 3. Your bodies and soules are Christs to save them; our members are Members of Christs body, as in 1 Cor. 6. 15. says the Apostle, shall I take the Members of Christ, and make them Members of an harlot? God forbid: thy bodie is Christs, and thy soule is Christs, the Apostle hath it in so many expresse tearms, in 1 Cor. 6. 19, 20. What know you*not (says the Apostle) that your bodies are the Temples of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own; for you are bought with a price, therefore glorifie God in your bodies and souls which are his. Thus you see what a large field of mercie al you that have an interest in Christ, have here to walk in, you have all things, though you have nothing, all things equivalently, all things conditionally, all things finally, and all things inheritively: all the Ministers of Christ are yours, the whole world is yours, life and death is yours, things present are yours, whether present afflictions, or present mercies, things to come are yours, whether afflictions, or temptations, or trouble, or want, or any things; and mercie to come is yours, as life and Salvation, Heaven and Happinesse, all is yours; all that Christ hath is yours, Christs Father is your Father, his Spirit is your Spirit, his righteousnesse is your righteousnesse, his graces are your graces, his peace is your peace, and his sufferings are your sufferings; and all that you have is Christs, your sins are Christs to pardon them, and your sufferings Christs to sanctifie them, and your soules and bodies Christs to save them: I might here adde one head more, that all your duties and services are Christs too, he persumes them with the sweet odour of his merits, and so presents them, and makes them acceptable to God, hence it is that you read in the Revelation, that Christ addes his incense to the prayers of all his Saints; and this is a very great consolation.

 

[ IV] 4. All you that have an interest in Christ, take this for your comfort, that the having of Christ is that which will sweeten all the crosses and afflictions, and adverse conditions that you meet withall here in this world; the having of Christ will sweeten every trouble, as I told you before; what the tree was to the waters of Marah, that Christ will be to every sad and dejected soul in every troublesome condition, the waters of Marah were so exceeding * bitter none could drink of them, but when the tree was cast into the waters then they became sweet: Why so it may be thy condition here in this world is as the waters of Marah, full of bitterness and sorrow, and trouble and affliction, but now doe but cast this tree of life, the Lord Jesus, into these waters, and then this will convert them from waters of Marah, bitter and troublesome, to be rivers of joy and streams of comfort. Christ will be to thy soul as the honie in the Lions bellie was to Samson, it became good for food to feed upon; it may be afflictions and * troubles may come in upon thee like a roaring Lion, but Christ is as the hony in this Lion, that sweetens all thy sorrows and makes them advantagious and comfortable for thee. I might apply to this purpose what an Author observes concerning the water of the Sea, it is very salt in its self, but when it comes to run through the bowels of the earth, it then loseth its saltnesse and becomes pleasant; why so though thy condition here in the world be full of sharp and sore afflictions, yet when these come to run through Christ, he sweetens them all unto thee. Great is your comfort in having an interest in Christ, for this is that which sweetens all the crosses and troubles you meet withall here in the world: and (Beloved) doe but seriously consider of it, and let mee a little reason the case with you, What though thou mayst feed upon the bread of sorrow, yet how canst thou be uncomfortable, when withall thou feedest upon the bread of life the Lord Jesus Christ? What though thou mayest drink the water of affliction and wine of astonishment, yet how canst thou be uncomfortable, so long as thou dost drink drops of Christs bloud? What though you have not a house to put your head in, yet let this be your comfort, that you have a house preserved for you, a building not made with hands, eternall in the heavens: What though you have nothing but a stone for your pillow to lay your head upon, when every night you lay your head in the bosome of Jesus Christ? Thus much concerning the fourth consolation.

 

[ V] 5. All you that have a reall and wellgrounded interest in Christ, herein lies your comfort, that in and through Christ, you may look upon God (that in himselfe is cloathed with dread and terriblenesse) with a great deal of joy and comfort. Christ makes all the attributes of God to be delightfull and comfortable to thee, that though God be a consuming fire to burn up thy soul like stubble out of Christ, yet in Christ you may look upon God as fire, but yet so as that Christ interposeth between you and it; Christ is as a skreen between the fire of Gods wrath and you; thou art to look upon God, not as an enemy that sets himselfe against thee, but as a friend reconciled to thee; not as an angry Judg that is desirous to condemne thee, but as a mercifull Father that is willing to pardon thee, you are not to looke upon God cloathed with dread and terrour, but with mercy and compassion; that God that will frown upon thee out of Christ, yet bring but a Christ in thy armes, and present him to God the Father, and then hee will turn away his anger from thee, and behold thee with a smiling countenance, thou being in Christ and Christ in thee, and God being well pleased with his Sonne, must needs bee well pleased with thee too; great is your benefit by having an interest in Christ; I may say in this case what Elisha the Prophet said to King Jeroboam, 2 King. 3. 14. Verily, sayes hee, were it*not that I regard the person of Jehosaphat King of Judah, I would not looke toward thee nor see thee; just so does God say to us, were it not for my Sonne Jesus Christ, you should never see my face, nor have a good look from me.

 

[ VI] 6. If thou hast a real interest in Christ, then this is another part of thy comfort, that God the Father doth as truly accept of thee in his Sonne, as if thou hadst in thine own person done and suffered what Christ did, this is a great benefit, God accepts of what Christ hath done for us, as if we had none it our selves, as in Ephes. 1. 6. Hee hath made us*accepted in the beloved, that is, in Christ. God lookes upon thee in Christ, and accepts of all thy duties and performances, as well as if thou hadst prayed as well as ever Christ prayed, and done and suffered as much as ever Christ did.

 

[ VII] 7. Art thou now in Christ? well take this for thy comfort, thou maist be confidently assured, that thou shalt bee one day with Christ. This is the last consolation, and I shall give you a pregnant text to prove it, though it be not so well understood in the common reading of it as it should bee, Rom. 8. 10. (sayes the * Apostle) if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sinne, but the Spirit is life because of righteousnesse. What is the meaning of this, the body is dead because of sinne? the meaning is not, that the body does mortifie sin, but the body is dead because of sin, that is, sin shall bring your bodies to the grave, but your spirits shall live because of righteousnesse, (that is) the righteousnesse of Jesus Christ; through the righteousnesse of Christ your souls shall live for ever in glory with Christ, though your bodies die, and sin bring them to the grave, yet the killing of your bodies shall but make way for the living of your spirits; being in Christ here, you shall for ever live with Christ in glory hereafter, the death of your bodies shall but give you an entrance into Glory, and therefore why should death be grievous to those that are in Christ Jesus; for death is but as it were the marriage day wherein Christ and their soules shall bee united together; if Christ bee in you, your bodies shall die because of sin, but your spirits shall live because of righteousnesse: You have another pertinent place to prove this in Joh. 17. 23, 24. * sayes Christ there, I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me; and Father I will, that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my Glory which thou hast given me. Some conceive that this prayer of Christ was made onely for the Apostles, that they might be where Christ was in heaven▪ but if you marke the precedent words, you * shall find that it was for all Beleevers, for saies Christ himself, neither pray I for these alone, but for all those that shall beleeve in my Name to the end of the world. Great is your comfort in having an interest in Christ here, you shall one day reign with him for ever in Glory.

 

Thus I have done with these seven consolations to those that have a real and well grounded interest in Christ, I have onely now a word or two, by way of Use to apply and set home what I have said concerning this particular. [Use.] Here you see what unspeakable comforts redound to you that have an interest in Christ, you have all things though you have nothing, Christ is yours, and all that Christ hath is yours, and all that you have is Christs, Christ sweetens all afflictions and crosses to you, and the having of Christ represents God the Father to you, not with terrour and dread, but with goodnesse, and meeknesse, and loving-kindnesse, and mercy, and long-suffering, and through Christ God doth as freely accept of you, and of what you doe, as if it were done as well as ever Christ did it, and being in Christ here, you shall for ever live with Christ in glory hereafter: Oh how should all these mercies and priviledges, stir up all those that have yet no part in Christ, never to give rest to their eyes, nor slumber to their eyelids till they have gotten an interest in him!

 

SERMON, VI.

 

EPHES. 2. 12.

That at that time ye were without Christ,—

 

LEst any of you that hear mee this day should lie under a spirit of delusion and think that all that I have said touching the happinesse of those that have an interest in Christ belongs to them when it doth not; I shall therefore spend this houre in shewing you some characters whereby you may know whether you have a real interest in Christ or no: this is the needfullest point that ever in my life I prest upon you, and the Lord give you grace to lay these characters close to your own hearts, and by them seriously to examine your own souls whether you have a reall interest in Christ or no: but before I give you these characters, give me leave by the way to premise these three or four Cautions or cautelary conclusions, which will the better make way to the handling the point in hand.

 

[Caution 1] 1. Take this caution, that men may be strongly conceited and opinionated, that they have an interest in Christ when they have not: I shall give you a plain text for this in 2 Cor. 10. 7. Doe you look on things after the outward appearance? (sayes the Apostle) *if any man trust to himself, that hee is Christs, let him of himself think this again, that as he is Christs, even so are we Christs: This is a very notable place; there were some among the Corinthians that were strongly conceited they did belong to Christ, when they did not; and had an ill opinion of the Apostles, and thought they did not belong to Christ; and to such as these the Apostle Paul here speaks: men may be strongly conceited they have an interest in Christ, when there is no such matter, as it was with the Church of Laodioea, in Rev. 3. 17. Thou sayest I am rich and increased in goods, and have need of nothing: and knowest*not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blinde, and naked.

 

[ 2] 2. Another cautelary conclusion I would have you take notice of, is this; that in laying down the characters of a man that hath an interest in Christ, I do not so presse them, as that unlesse you have them all in you, you cannot have an interest in Christ, for if you have but one of them in you, in truth and sincerity, it is an evidence that you have an interest in Christ: I give you this caution for fear of casting down any poor dejected soul; if you have but one link of this golden chain, you have as sure hold, as if you had all of it.

 

[ 3] 3. In laying down these characters of one that hath an interest in Christ, I lay them down onely in the affirmative, not in the negative, that is, all those that have these characters in them, may be confidently assured, that they have an interest in Christ: but I do not say, that those that have not these characters in them, have not an interest Christ, for should I say so, I should cast down many a humble and dejected soul: I do not say, that if you have not these characters in you, you have no interest in Christ; but this I say, that you may confidently and indubitatively know and be assured, that you have an interest in Christ, if you finde these things in you.

 

[ 4] 4. Lastly, take in this caution likewise, that in giving you these Characters, I shall not presse them so, as if the having of all these in exercise and feeling, and in your own apprehensions, can only evidence your having an interest in Christ, but if you have them in habit, and in truth, though not in exercise and practise, it is sufficient to evidence your interest in Christ. For a poor soul may have many graces of Gods Spirit in truth in him, though he doth not feel, and exercise, and apprehend them in himself, as I told you it was with Mary Magdalen; she talked to Christ face to face, and sayes she, they have*taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And thus I have done with the cautions, or cautelary conclusions, wherein I have only made way for my better proceeding, in giving you the severall Characters of a man that hath a reall interest in Christ, and I wish to God they may be all engraven upon every one * of your hearts, that you may be unquestionably assured in your own souls, of your interest in him; I shall reduce all I have to say concerning this particular under these 12. heads.

 

[ 1] 1. That man that hath an interest in Christ, he is cast out of himself; that is, he is cast out of all conceit of his own selfsufficiency and righteousness, good works or merits: no man is in Christ, but he is out of himself; this character the Apostle gives you in Phil. 3. 8, 9. Yea doubtlesse,* (saith he) I count all things but losse for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the losse of all things, and do count them but dung, that I maywin Christ, and be found in him, not having on my own righteousnesse: Here Paul having won Christ, would not be found, having on his own righteousnesse; the Apostle doth not mean his own righteousnesse in point of being, but in point of dependence, not having on his own righteousnesse to be justified by it; in that regard he would not be found having it on. So in 1 Cor. 4. 4. sayes the Apostle there, *I know nothing by my self, now one would think this man were a very holy and exact man; for sayes he, I know nothing by my self, that is, I know no sin upon my soul, that I perform wittingly or willingly: but mark the next words, yet sayes he, am I not hereby justified; he was quite out of conceit of all the good works that ever he did: every man that is in Christ, he is out of himself; he sees his own in sufficiency, and Christs all-sufficiency; he sees his emptinesse of grace, and Christs fulnesse of grace; he sees himself to be nothing, and Christ to be all in all. Luk. 16. 15. * sayes Christ there to the Pharisees, Ye are they which justifie your selves before men, but God knoweth your hearts; as if hee should have said, you think well of your selves and of your graces, but God knoweth your hearts, that you are not such as you seem to be; and therefore (Beloved) consider seriously of it, if God hath wrought this grace in your hearts, that you are cast out of your selves to see your own emptinesse, and vilenesse, and insufficiency and want of Christ, if there be this work of grace wrought in you, then you may know you have a reall part and portion in Jesus Christ.

 

[Character 2] 2. Another distinguishing character of a man in Christ is this, that he makes conscience of keeping every known command of Christ. This you have in 1 Joh.* 2. 5. Whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected, hereby know we that we are in him: hereby we know that we are in Christ, if we keep every known command of Christ, and therefore you that can appeal to heaven, that there is no one known command of Christ, but bears sway in your heart, and carries an authority over your conscience, that you can subject your selves to it, although you have many weaknesses and failings, yet this is an undoubted character that you are in Christ: as in 1 Joh. 3. 22. If that therefore (sayes the Apostle) that you have heard from the beginning, shall remain in the you, you also shall continue in the Son and in Father. You that keep every known command of Christ, have an interest in him, and he in you; and therefore (beloved) all you that doe make conscience of keeping the known and revealed wil of God, that there is no known sin but you labour to avoid, and no known grace but you labour to exercise, and no known duty, but you labour to perform; if it be thus with you, you may comfort your selves in this, that you have a reall interest in Christ.

 

[Character 3] 3. Another character or discovery is this, he that hath an interest in Christ, he hath a power derived from Christ, enabling him to mortifie his inward and bosome lusts: as in Gal. 5. 24. They that are Christs have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts; when Christ came in the flesh amongst us we crucified him, but if ever Christ come in thy heart, he will crucifie thee; the crucifying of the flesh with the affections and lusts that the Apostle here speaks of, is not the killing and totall extirpation of sin, but the giving a deadly blow to sin, that sin shall never reign in us, nor have dominion over us any more; if you be in Christ, sin will be like those beasts spoken of in Daniel, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were preserved for a little season; so the dominion of sin wil be taken away, that sin shal not reign in you, yet the life and being of sin will remain in you for a little season: but still as the house of Saul grew weaker * and weaker, when the house of David grew stronger and stronger, so if Christ dwell in thy heart, sin in thy soul will every day grow weaker and weaker, and grace in thy heart will grow stronger and stronger; and therefore Beloved, all you whose hearts can bear you witnesse, that you have had the power of mortifying grace upon your souls, that you can bridle your beloved lusts, and subdue your bosom sins, & curb the pride of your hearts; you may then lay an undoubted claim to Jesus Christ.

 

[Character 4] 4. That man that hath an interest in Christ, doth keep a strict watch over his own heart, that he will not wittingly or willingly give way to the least sin to the dishonour of God; a man in Christ keeps a watchfull eye over himself, that he doth not give way to the least sin to the dishonour of Jesus Christ. We know that*whosoever is born of God sinneth not, but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not; He that is begotten of God keepeth himself, he doth not keep himself from all sin, but he doth as much as in him lies resist every sin, and temptation; he keepeth himself from every known sin: so in 1 Joh. 3. 6. Whosoever*abideth in God sinneth not: this is not spoken absolutely, but comparatively, he sinneth not in comparison of those great sins that wicked men do commit, for they are slaves to their lusts: and secondly he sinneth not, that is deliberately, neither with a delightfull complacency, nor with a totall obduracy, nor in a way of finall impenitency: in these regards a man in Christ sinneth not. And now beloved, you whose hearts and consciences can bear you witnesse that you doe keep a strict watch over your own souls, and that you have a care of committing the least sin against God, whereby you might dishonor him; if it be thus with you, you have an infallible evidence of your interest in Christ: that man that keeps sin out of his heart, may be confidently assured, he hath Christ in his heart.

 

[Character 5] 5. Another character or discovery is this, that man that hath an interest in Christ Jesus, Christ hath wrought in him a reall change, both in his life and nature; if thou art in Christ, he will be in thee, to work an effectuall and saving change in thee, both in thy heart and life: as in 2 Cor. 5. 17. sayes the Apostle, If any man be*in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are past away, and all things are become new: why now (beloved) take this text and lay it close to your hearts; hath God made you new creatures, and wrought a saving change in your heart? can you evidence it to your own souls, that ever since you were first born, you were new born? if it be so, you may lay a confident claim to Jesus Christ; if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.

 

[Character 6] 6. Another char this is, that man that hath an interest in Christ, doth grow up in Christ to be fruitfull in every good work; hence it is that you often read in the scripture, of growing up in Christ, & increasing in Christ with the increase of God. Jesus Christ is the root of Jesse, in whom whosoever is rooted and ingraffed, he will bring forth fruit unto God: whosoever is ingraffed into Christ, he will bring forth the fruits of righteousnesse to the praise and glory of God. Joh. 15. 5. I am the*vine (saies Christ) and you are the branches, he that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me you can do nothing: why now beloved, you that make it out to your own souls, that you do grow in grace, and knowledge, and understanding, and in the duties of sanctification, humiliation, and mortification, this is a sure argument that you are planted into that root of Jesse, that makes you to bring forth fruit unto God.

 

[Character 7] 7. That man that hath an interest in Christ, he is most humble, and vile in his own eyes. Of all the men in the world, there is no man so debased in his own esteem, as he that hath an interest in Christ; mark Pauls description of a man in Christ, 2 Cor. 12. 2. I knew a man in Christ (saies he) above 14. years ago, whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell, Godknoweth, such a man caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable things, which is not lawfull for a man to utter, of such a one will I glory, yet of my self I will not glory, but in my infirmities. Here Paul speaking of himself, would not boast of what good either he had or did, or of what glory he beheld, left men should think of him above that which is meet; this is the badge of a man in Christ, he is most humble in his own eyes As those vessels that are fullest, sound the least, whereas those that are empty, make the greatest noise; why so, those Christians that are full of grace, & have Christ dwelling in them, walk the humblest, and make the least noise; when those that are out of Christ, and empty of all grace and goodnesse, keep the greatest boasting of all; As the shallow rivers make the greatest noise, in running over the peble-stones, when the deeper streams glide away silently; so shallow brains, that know very little or nothing as they ought to know, make the greatest shew, of what they seem to have, when others that know more and are deeper learned are silent. It is very remarkable, what one observes concerning the Prophet Ezekiel, a very holy man, and much conversant with visions, and revelations, yet this man that was full of so many admirable parts, and gifts, and graces, the holy Ghost doth no lesse then 93. times in that Prophesie, call by the name of the Son of man, which was (saith he) to keep him humble, and abate pride in his heart, and to shew that where there is most of Christ and grace in the heart, that man should be most humble and vile in his own eyes.

 

[Character 8] 8. Another discovery of a man in Christ, is this, he will take care and make conscience of walking worthy of his interest in Christ; the Apostle gives a caution for this in Col. 2. 6. As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk you in him, rooted and built up in him, that is, according to those beginnings you have made, and those Gospel-discoveries, God hath given you, and that entertainment you have already given to Christ Jesus the Lord, so now it becomes you to make a sutable progresse, as truly, and really, and purely, as you have received him; so let it be your every dayes work to be making progresse in him, and to walk worthy of him, so in the 1. Epistle of *Joh. He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself so also to walk, even as he walked: Hence it is that you finde in Scripture, that being in Christ, and living a godly life, are both joined together; as 2 Tim. 3. 12. All that will live godly in Christ Jesus: that man whose person is in Christ, will labour that his wayes may be in Christ too; many a one would gladly have his person in Christ, though his life be not in Christ, but those whose persons and wayes are both in Christ, they may lay a comfortable claim to him; the difference between a man that hath an interest in Christ, and one that hath none, I shall demonstrate to you by this familiar example: you know, a man that by experience knows what it is to make clean a room, he will be carefull that he does not upon every slight occasion, dirt it again, because he knowes, what a deal of pains and labour is taking in cleansing of it; but now a dog or a spaniell he comes in and never cares for dirting of it, because he does not know what it is to make it clean; why so a godly man, he will be carefull of walking worthy of his interest in Christ, because he knowes how much it cost him, how many tears, and sighs, and groans, and prayers, before he got an interest in Christ, and an assurance of his love; but now a wicked man, he makes no conscience of sinning against Christ, and displeasing of him, because he never knew what it was to get an interest in him. In Gal. 3. 21. sayes the Apostle there, as many as have Christ, they have put on Christ; and a very learned interpreter hath an exceeding good note upon this text; he sayes that this speech of the Apostle here, is spoken in an allusion to an ancient custome among the heathens, that when they came to the profession of the Faith, they were wont alwayes between Easter and Whitsuntide to put off their old garments, and put on white rayments; the end of it was to typifie and note, that when once they were in Christ, they must leave off their old courses and conversations, and now labour to walk after a more holy, and blamelesse, and innocent life, in their carriages towards God: thus (beloved) if you have an interest in Christ, you have put on Christ, walking worthy of him, in a holy, pure, spotlesse, and unblameable life and conversation.

 

[ 9] 9. A man that hath an interest in Christ, doth so prize him, that he would not be without him for all the world; there is no man that is in Christ, but looks upon him as the most amiablest, and desireablest good in the world, he knowes the worth of Christ, and counts him as an invaluable treasure. In 1 Pet. 2. 7. the Apostle after he had told them, of their being built upon Christ, as lively stones upon the foundation; he concludes, to you therefore which beleeve Christ is precious; intimating, that whosoever is founded and bottomed upon Christ, Christ is very precious to that soul, and therefore you (beloved) that have a sure testimony in your own consciences, that you doe set a high price and value, and esteem upon Christ, above all things in the world, and that you count all other things as drosse and dung, in comparison of an interest in Christ, this is a very good and undoubted evidence that you have an interest in him. It was an excellent speech of one concerning his interest in Christ; sayes he, if all the stones in my house were Diamonds, and all the dust in my house shavings of gold, and every peble stone, an orient pearl, yet would I not prize nor value these in comparison of my interest in Christ.

 

[Character 10] 10. He that hath an interest in Christ, hath the spirit of Christ dwelling in his soul, as in 1 Joh. 4. 13. Hereby wee know*that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit, he conveyes his Spirit through the golden conduit-pipes of his ordinances, into thy heart; this is a sure evidence to thee of thy interest in Christ, if thou hast the Spirit of Christ dwelling in thee, in this threefold operation of it: 1. If thou hast the inlightning work of the Spirit to inlighten thy mind to know Christ: 2. If you have the inclining work of the Spirit to incline thy heart to love Christ: and 3. If you have the enforcing operation of the Spirit to empower your wils to obey Christ; if you enjoy the spirit of God in these 3 operations of it, then you may certainly know, that you have an interest in Christ.

 

[Character 11] 11. He that hath an interest in Christ, labours by all possible means to bring others to the knowledge of Christ: Paul before he was in Christ, did labour to drive men from Christ, but afterwards, when he was converted, then he did labour to draw men to Christ more abundantly then all the rest of the Apostles; Oh (beloved) you that can compassionate poor souls in their naturall condition; and can heartily wish all men to be in Christ, as well as your selves; you that can bemoan the Christlesse condition of your friends and neighbours, this is a very evident discovery of your interest in Christ.

 

Thus I have done with these severall characters of a man that is in Christ; if thou art cast out of thy self, and out of an opinion of thy own goodnesse and righteousnesse; if thou makest conscience of keeping every known command of Christ, and hast a power derived from Christ enabling thee to mortifie thy bosome and inward lusts; if you have a care to avoid every sin whereby you might dishonour Christ; if there be a reall change wrought in you both in heart and life, from nature to grace; if you grow up in Christ to be fruitfull in every good work, and are humble and base, and vile In your own eyes; if you labour to walk worthy of your interest in Christ, prizing him, and valuing him above all the desirable things in the world; if the spirit of Christ dwels in you, inlightning your mindes to know him, inclining your hearts to love him, and empowering your wils to obey him: and lastly, if you have in you ardent desires, and earnest endeavours to win others to Christ, as well as your selves; if you can finde any one of these in truth and sincerity in your hearts, it will be a very good evidence to you of your interest in Christ.

 

I have only a word or two more, to those that upon examination doe really finde themselves to be in a condition without Jesus Christ; let me leave with you these two or three discoveries of your sad condition, to quicken you the more earnestly in your pursuits after him.

 

[ 1] 1. Are you without Christ? why then you are without satisfaction, and contentation in all the things you enjoy here in this World: What Solomon sayes is verified in you, that your eye shall not be satisfied*with seeing, nor your ear with hearing, nothing without Jesus Christ, can give satisfaction to the demands of an immortall soul, the world being round, and your hearts triangular, and you know ’tis impossible that a round thing should fill that which is three square: so neither is it possible that the world or any thing in it should satisfie the desires of your hearts.

 

[ 2] 2. As you can have no satisfaction in the world, so neither can you have any acceptation with God, God wil say to you as Joseph did to his brethren, if you bring*not up you brother Benjamin with you, look me not in the face: so will God say to you, if you bring not Jesus Christ, your elder brother with you, doe not look mee in the face; here is the misery of a Christlesse man, he can have no acceptation with God.

 

[ 3] 3. Without an interest in Christ, you can have no salvation by Christ; he procures salvation for all that are in him, and for no other; Joh. 17. 12. Those that thou*hast given me, I have kept and none of them is lost: if you are without Christ, your condition is like those that were in the old world before the floud; all that were in the Arke were saved and preserved, but all that were out of the Arke were drowned; so Jesus Christ is the Arke whereinto every soul that can procure admittance shall bee saved, but all that are not in Christ, shall be drowned in a river of brimstone, which the breath of the Lord shall kindle, you shall be condemned and destroyed for ever, if you are without Christ, you are without satisfaction from the creature, without acceptation with God, and without salvation by Christ.

 

And thus in these six Sermons I have shewed you the happinesse of a man in Christ; and the Characters of a man in Christ; and the misery of a man without Christ; and so I have done with this first part of mans misery by nature, and of the first branch of the Text, That at that time you were without Christ.

 

SERMON, VII.

 

EPHES. 2. 12.

—Being aliens from the Common-wealth of Israel—

 

[ II] HAving finished the first, I am now to proceed to the second part of Mans misery, in these words, Being Aliens from the Common-wealth of Israel, but before I fal opon this second branch of the Text, I shall speak something to you, concerning the order of the words, why their being without Christ, is put in the first place: I answer, it is put in the first place to shew that as the having of Christ is the foundation; and inlet of all happinesse and blessednesse; so the want of an interest in Christ is the Spring and Fountaine from whence all the miseries and calamities that are incident to the children of men doe flow, and therefore this deservedly is put in the first place, for if you are without Christ, you must needs be Aliens from thecommonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the Covenant of Promise, without hope, and without God in the World.

 

But then again why is their being aliens to the commonwealth of Israel put in the second place? Answ. Because he that is without Christ the head, must needs be without the church the body, for by the commonwealth of Israel, is meant the whole body of the Church, they were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, that is, this was the misery of the Ephesians, while they were in a state of Gentilism, not converted to the Faith of Christ, by the Gospell, they had no interest in the benefits and priviledges that the people of God enjoyed that were in the Church of Israel, they had none of those spirituall and special priviledges and blessings, which God did bestow upon all those that were in Covenant with him, they were aliens to the commonwealth of Israel, that is, they were aliens to the Ordinances of God, that were then in use in the Jewish Church, they were without all the Ordinances of Jesus Christ. All the priviledges of the people of God, did the Gentiles want, before they were in Christ. Here then you see the complete misery of those that were in a state of Gentilism, they were aliens to the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the Divine Worship of God, which he did institute and appoint in his Church, and to all the priviledges and prerogatives which the people of God doe enjoy.

 

In the words there are two parts observable: [ 1] 1. A description of the Church of God, and that by this term the Commonwealth, the Church of God is called the Commonwealth of Israel.

 

[ 2] 2. Here is laid down the alienation of the Ephesians, before conversion, from this Church, from this Commonwealth.

 

Now (Beloved) from hence I shall only note to you, these two observations, which I intend to finish this Sermon.

 

Doctr. 1. That the Church of God is a spirituall commonwealth.

 

Doctr. 2. That it is a great part of a mans misery to be a stranger to the true Church of God.

 

[Doct. 1] For the first Doctr. that the Church of God is a spirituall commonwealth: in the handling of this, I shall doe these two things: 1. I shall shew wherein the Church may be compared to a commonwealth, and 2. I shall shew you wherein they differ.

 

[ I] 1. The Church may be compared to a commonwealth, in these four particulars;

 

[ 1] 1. In a commonwealth there are people of different degrees, ranks, callings, and qualities, all are not Princes, nor are all Rulers, all are not Merchants, nor are all rich, there are men of all degrees, callings and qualities, some are rich, some poore, some high, some low, some masters, some servants, and the like; now in this regard, the Church may be compared to a Commonwealth, for in the Church of God some are high, some low, some rich, some poore, some men grown up to a full stature in Christ, others are but new beginners and babes in Christ; some men are rich in gifts, when others are but poore and mean; some are strong in grace, like the Oak, when others are but like a broken reed. As in a Commonwealth, so in the Church of God, there are men of severall ranks, degrees, callings, qualities, and conditions, as in 1 Cor. 12. 8, 9, 10. All men have*not the same manner of gifts, for to one is given the word of wisdome, to another the word of knowledge, to another Faith, to another the gifts of healing, to another the works of miracles, to another prophesie, to another discerning of spirits, and to another the interpretation of tongues, but all these worketh that one and the same spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will: as it is in the naturall body, so it is in the spirituall body, that body would be a monstrous body, if the thumb were as big as the arm, and the arm as big as the body, and every part as big as the whole; just so it is in the Church, it is the beauty of it, to have a variety of condition.

 

[ 2] 2. As in a Commonwealth though there be multitudes of people, yet they are all governed by one & the same Laws, and are all subjects to one and the same Rulers: so it is in the Church of God, though there be many people in it, yet they are all subject to the same Laws, and are all to walk by the same rule; and in this regard it may be compared to a Commonwealth, for there is but one rule, the word of God, that swayes the whole Church.

 

[ 3] 3. In a Commonwealth it is accounted high Treason to subvert or overthrow any Law by which that Commonwealth is governed; for if it were not so, the Laws of a Commonwealth would be of no force, if any man might break them: add to them or take from them at his pleasure, and therefore a Commonwealth does count the breaking and violation of their Laws to be the greatest injury and dishonour, that can be done to them: and so it is in the Church, the word of God is very severe in this regard, that if any man shall adde or diminish any jot or tittle to or * from the Word, God will blot his name out of the Book of life.

 

[ 4] 4. They may be compared one to another in this regard, for as one Commonwealth differeth from another, they have not both the same Rulers, nor the same Lawes, nor the same customes, nor Charters, but differ in every thing almost: so the Church of God is distinguished from all other parts, and people of the World, Commonwealths are different one from another in four things. 1. in Laws; 2. in habit; 3. in language; 4. in Government; and so is the Church of God.

 

[ 1] 1. It is different from others in its Lawes; Law that rules in a Commonwealth, but onely the Word of God rules in the Church.

 

[ 2] 2. As Commonwealths differ from one another in their language, so the Church of God has a language different from al the World, the Church of God speaks the pure language of Canaan, but all the World besides speaks a broken and corrupt language.

 

[ 3] 3. As Commonwealths differ one from another in regard of habits, so in this regard does the Church of God differ from all the World, the Church of God hath put on the new man, when all the World have on their old ragges still, the Church hath put on the long robes of Christs righteousnesse which cover all her nakednesse, which all the World are without.

 

[ 4] 4. The Church of God is different from all other in regard of their Government; all Kingdomes and Commonwealths have men to be their Governours, but the Church of God that hath Christ to be her Governour.

 

[ II] Thus I have shewed you wherein the Church and a commonwealth doe agree, now I come to shew you wherein they differ; as

 

[ 1] 1. They are different in their Lawes; a commonwealth hath Laws, Acts, and Ordinances to govern them, but the Church hath onely the word of God to be their rule.

 

[ 2] 2. There is a difference in the extent of those Laws; the Law of a commonwealth doth onely reach and extend to the outward man, that cannot rule the inward man, therefore we commonly say our thoughts are free, God onely can search the heart and try the reins, but now the Law of the Church extends its self, to the searching of the soul and spirit, every thought and imagination of the heart; as the Apostle sayes, the Law is spirituall, but*I am carnall.

 

[ 3] 3. There is a difference in regard of the power and efficacy of these Laws; the Laws of a commonwealth doe onely restrain the outward man, if you do amiss, but the Law of God in the Church, that cannot onely restrain in practise, but change the heart, and alter the affections, and make thee a new man.

 

[ 4] 4. They differ in this regard, a commonwealth may alter their Laws at pleasure, if they see occasion, if they find any law grievous or burdensome to the Kingdome, they may alter it, or take it away, and adde a new Law in the room of it, but this the Church of God cannot doe, the law that the Church hath now, it must have to the end of the world, God himself gave the Law to his Church, and he cannot give a prejudicial or burdensome law, whereas Rulers of Commonwealths, they are but men, and cannot look into the events of things; and therefore are ignorant whether this or that law may be good or no, and therefore doe change them at their pleasure when they see a necessity; but the rule of the Word of God is an unerring and unalterable rule, which all must follow and practise to the end of the World.

 

[ 5] 5. They differ in their censure, the censure of a Commonwealth may extend so far as to confiscation of goods, to banishment, imprisonment, or death, but the censure of the Church extends only to excommunication, or throwing the offender out of their society or fellowship, they can doe no more, and must doe no more, the Church of Christ can inflict no censure, but onely to excommunicate, and therefore their practise that doe imprison and censure and inflict punishment upon their people, is not warrantable but does contradict the rule of the Word; and those likewise that doe cry out against Church Government, as tyrannicall, do very much mistake, for the Church of God their censure is not corporeall but spirituall. But though the Church may not censure any man that is an offender, yet she may complain to the Commonwealth, and they may restrain and quell them and keep them under, and inflict punishments upon them.

 

Thus then you see both wherein a Church and a Commonwealth doe agree, and wherein they difler, and if this be so that the Church of God is a spirituall Commonwealth, then give me leave to draw these three Inferences from hence.

 

[Use. 1] 1. I may infer from hence the necessity of Church Government in a Church; Did you ever see a Commonwealth stand and flourish without rule and Laws, and order? Order is the staffe of a Commonwealth, if every man might doe what he list, and what is right in his own eyes, nothing but ruine and destruction would presently follow, as in Psal. 11. 3. If the*foundations be destroyed, what shall the righteous doe? If the Laws and foundations of a Commonwealth be subverted and destroyed, there will be nothing but ruine. If the Church be a spirituall Commonwealth, then there is an absolute necessity of a Government in it; & therefore those that would either rob the Church of their Government, and would have none at all, or else would introduce a false Government upon the Church, and doe as much as in them lies to overthrow the Government of the Church, such as these are to be reproved. Government to a commonwealth is like a hedge to a garden, now suppose you had a very fair garden, and a great many curious flowers and fine slips in it, and one should come to you and tell you, Sir, I see many dainty flowers and slips in your garden, but I see none to grow upon your hedge, therefore pull it down, let it grow there no longer; you would say to such a man, no by no means, for though nothing grows upon the hedg, yet the hedge does preserve the flowers, that grow in the garden, and keep them from the violences of wild beasts: So though a Government in the Church does not make us holy, a man may goe to heaven without a Government, yet is it exceeding necessary to preserve the Church of God.

 

[ 2] 2. I may infer from the Churches being a spirituall Commonwealth, the necessity of union in the Church. Commonwealths are preserved by union, you see what four years war have brought upon our kingdome, it hath almost destroyed the face of our commonwealth: Union are the sinews and ligaments of a commonwealth, if men be disunited, and disjointed, that commonwealth cannot subsist, A Kingdome divided against it self cannot*stand, and the Church of God being a spirituall commonwealth, this argues the great necessity of unity in the Church, and the great danger of division, the Church of God cannot be safe without union. I must tell you (to the griefe of our hearts be it spoken) there were never lesse unity in the Church of God, since the very first plantation of it, by the Apostles in the Primitive times, then there is at this day, wherein every man almost is set one against another; truly I look upon it, as a very sad Omen and prediction, that God is bringing in upon us the most dismall persecution that ever yet our eyes beheld. I have read in the book of Martyrs, that the coming in of the eighth persecution, was occasioned by the division & falling out of Christians one with another; I wish it may not be so with us (Beloved) it is ordinary amongst a great many men to cry out & exclaim against the Ministers of the Gospel, as if they were the great incendiaries and causers of divisions and dissensions amongst you, but I would have you know that those that preach against division, are not dividers, but those that make divisions they are dividers, as the Apostle sayes, Mark them that cause divisions among you, and avoid them, those men that have caused divisions, and brought in strange opinions, and Sects, and schisms into the land, they are the make-bates of the Nation; the staffe of Union and the staffe of Beauty, when one is broken, the other is broken. I have read a story of a man that had fourscore children, and lying upon his death bed, he caused his children to come before him, and desired that a bundle of small rods might be brought to him, his children began to wonder amongst themselves, what should be his design and purpose in doing it, but when they had brought them, their Father commands every one of his sons beginning from the youngest to the eldest, to take the bundle, and try which of them could break it, but none of them was found able to doe it: at last taking the bundle himself he unbound it, breaking the sticks one by one, til he had broken them all, and now my children sayes he, this I doe to teach you, that if you doe combine and keep close together in unity like a bundle of sticks, there is none will be able to break you, or doe you any harm, but if you divide and fall off one from another, you will soon be ruined, and broken in pieces: why, so now if the members of the Church of God would unite together and partake of publique Ordinances together, hear, pray, and performe holy duties together, and still remaine conjoined in one, wee need not feare the power or policy of any, to doe us any harm.

 

[ 3] 3. If the Church be a spirituall Commonwealth, then I may inferre further, the necessity of our labouring to improve the Churches interest in a Commonwealth. Nature will teach men to labour to preserve, and advance the good and benefit of the Commonwealth, every man will contribute for the good of the Body Politique, and therefore let us labour to promote the good of the Body Ecclesiastique, and to improve the Churches interest.

 

[Doctr. 2] Thus much for the first Doctrine, we come now to the second Doctrine, That it is a great misery for a man to be a stranger to the true Churches of God. You may be in the true Church, and yet not of the true Church; as ill humours in a mans body, they are in the body, though none of the constituent parts of the body: so you may be in the Church, and of the Church visible too, and yet none of the Members of the Church invisible, of the Church of the first borne, you may not partake of the speciall and spirituall priviledges of the Church of God.

 

[ 1] 1. Wicked men are strangers to the effectuall calling of the Church, in 1 Pet. 2. *You (saith the Apostle) are called with a holy calling, which wicked men are without.

 

[ 2] 2. They are strangers to the comforts of the Church of God, you want those joyes and comforts which the people of God doe enjoy.

 

[ 3] 3. You are strangers to a christian communion in the Church, a wicked man does not know how to manage a spiritual communion with the people of God.

 

[Use.] Now if this be so that wicked men are strangers to the Church of God in their spirituall benefits and priviledges they have by Christ, then by way of Use I shall onely draw from hence these two Inferences.

 

[ 1] 1. That you would not lay too much dependence and confidence upon your being Members of the Church; you may be under the outward and common mercies, and yet want the inward and spirituall benefits of the Church of God; there is many a man that is born and brought up in the Church of England, and yet notwithstanding unable to give any ground of his Salvation by Christ, thou mayest have the Church of England to be thy Mother, and yet never have God to be thy Father. I do not speak this to the disparagement of the Church of England, for Christ and Salvation by him is to be had in England as well as elsewhere, I would not have you think that England is no true Church, for it is a Church of Jesus Christ, but I say you may be of this Church and borne and bred in this Church and partake of all the Ordinances and outward priviledges in this Church, and yet never come to heaven, for (as the Apostlt sayes) all are not Israel that are of Israel.

 

[ 2] 2. If this be so, then this may be matter of reprehension to wicked men, that seeing they are in the Church, yet they are not of the Church of Jesus Christ; you are in the Church, but as a wenne, a botch, or blaine is in the body, you are a blemish to the Church of God, wicked men are spots and blemishes in the Church, as in 2 Pet. 2. 13. though they are in * the Church, yet they are a burden to the Church, and I wish that godly men did count it a greater burden to them then they doe, that they have so many wicked men in their Church; A wicked man in the Church, is like a wooden legge to the body of a man, a naturall legge that carries the body, but if a man hath a wooden legge, the body must carry it; so wicked men are a great burden and trouble to the Church, as Paul sayes (speaking of wicked men) I wish (sayes he) they were even cut off that trouble you, such men as are loose in practise, and loose in opinion, truly both these have been great burdens and troublers to the Church of God; they are to the Church, as Jonah was to the ship, what a storm have they raised in this kingdome! which God knowes, whether you or I shall ever live to see it blown over. Thus much for the second part of Mans misery by Nature, That at that time ye were aliens to the Common wealth of Israel.

 

SERMON, VIII.

 

EPHES. 2. 12.

—And strangers to the Covenants of Promise—

 

[ III] WEE come now in order to the third part, And strangers to the Covenant of Promise, but before I shall draw out any Doctrines from these words, I shall resolve these five questions which are very needfull to be discussed.

 

[Quest. 1] 1. What is the difference between the Covenants and the Promise? For many look upon them to be both one and the same thing.

 

[ 2] 2. What is meant here by the Covenants of Promise.

 

[ 3] 3. Why it is called the Covenants of Promise.

 

[ 4] 4. Why it is called in the plurall number, the Covenants of Promise.

 

[ 5] And lastly, What it is to be a stranger to the Covenants of Promise.

 

[Quest. 1] 1. Quest. What is the difference between a covenant and a promise?

 

[Answ.] Answ. In answer to this, you must know, that though every Covenant is a promise, yet every promise is not a Covenant, a Covenant is a more comprehensive thing then a promise, for a Covenant is nothing but a bundle of promises, all the promises in the Gospell bound up together in a bundle, so that herein you see the difference between a Covenant and a Promise.

 

[Quest. 2] 2. What is meant by the Covenants of Promise?

 

[Answ.] I answer, That it is the free and gratious promise, that God made with Adam after the fall, and with the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the faithfull, wherein he promised them Salvation and eternall life, through Christ, which was to come, this is the Covenant of Promise, even the promise which God made with his children, before the coming of Christ, wherein he did covenant to give them life and salvation, through Christ which was promised to come.

 

[Quest. 3] 3. Why is it called the covenants of promise?

 

[Answ.] Answ. It is called so, because Christ the matter of this Covenant was not actually come, but onely promised that he should come, that is the reason of this phrase here [the covenant of Promise].

 

[Quest. 4] 4. Why is it called in the plurall number the Covenants of Promise, seeing there was but one Covenant of Grace, the Covevenant of Works was made to Adam before the fall, and the Covenant of Grace after the fall?

 

[Answ.] Answ. It is called the Covenants of Promise, not as if there were severall kindes of Covenants, and of Salvation by Christ, but because there were divers exhibitions and administrations of this one Covenant; not as if this Covenant were many in kinde and substance, for it is the same now that it was at the beginning, but only it was diversly administred, explained and enlarged; sometime it is called a new Covenant, that is, new in regard of the urging, & exhibition of it: the like phrase you have touching Love, Behold, a new command*I give unto you, that you love one another, it was called new, because it was then newly enforced upon the people: The Covenant of Grace, the tenor of which is, that we shall have life and salvation through the bloud of Christ, it is called Covenants, because it was so often renewed and administred, first it was made to Adam after his fall, The seed*of the woman shall bruise the Serpents head, and then it was renewed to Abraham, Paul explains it in Heb. 3. and after him, to *Isaac, and then to Jacob, and David, and Solomon, and all the faithfull, but the Covenant was still for substance the same, though it was many times renewed, and so it continues the same to this very day, thus you have a brief account of these four Queries.

 

[Quest. 5] 5. What is it to be a stranger to the Covenants of Promise?

 

[Answ.] Answ. Did you but dive and look into the bottome of it, you would finde it to be the finall upshot of the misery of an unconverted man; to be a stranger to the Covenants of Promise, is to be in such a dismall and lamentable and deplorable condition, as that none of all the promises of God, for Grace, and life, and Salvation by Christ, doth appertaine to him: and is not this a very miserable and sad condition, that the Lord lookes upon a man in an unregenerate estate, as uncapable of any mercy, life or salvation by Christ? A Covenant (as I told you) is a bundle of promises, it containes all the promises of Grace, life, and salvation, now if you be without the Covenant, you must needes be destitute of all the promises by Christ.

 

Thus having by way of premise opened these five particulars, I shall now draw out this one Observation from the words.

 

[Doctr.] Doctr. That all men during the time of their unregenorácy, are strangers to the Covenants of Grace, so that they can lay no just claim to any promise of having life and Salvation by Christ; you are strangers to the Covenants of promise; and (Beloved) when I tell you, that you have no title to any one promise of life or Salvation by Christ, it is the saddest news that ever you can open your ears to hear; if you are a stranger to the Covenant you are without all the promises, for the covenant is a bundle of promises, all the promises of God bound up together; In the handling of this point I shall onely shew you two things, and then apply it.

 

  1. I shall shew you what the Covenant of Grace is.

 

  1. How you may know whether you are men without the Covenant of Grace, yea or no, and can lay no just claim to any promise of life and Salvation by Christ.

 

  1. I shall winde up all in a practicall use, both for consolation to those, that are in the Covenant, and for terrour to those that have no right to the Covenant.

 

[ I] 1. For the Nature of the Covenant of Grace, it is that free and gracious Covenant which God made with Adam after the fall, promising him pardon of sin and eternall life, through the righteousnesse of Jesus Christ. This is the summe and substance of the Covenant of grace, it is the promise of God first made to Adam, and then renewed to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, David and Solomon, and all the faithfull, it is the solemn promise that God made to the Elect of their obtaining Salvation through the righteousness of Jesus Christ: Now here you must be very careful lest you run into a mistake, for there are two sorts of people that run into very dangerous errours concerning this particular: As

 

[ 1] 1. The Socinians, that are of an opinion, that all the Patriarchs and good men in the old Testament did none of them go to heaven, till Christ came in the flesh; a very uncharitable and ungodly opinion; And

 

[ 2] 2. There are others that hold, that living in obedience to the Morall Law of Moses, is to tye the people to the Covenant of Works, to be justified by it, they hold the Jews did not live under a Covenant of Grace till Christ came, but if it were so, none of them could possibly be saved, for by the workes of Law shall no flesh living be justified, no man in the World can ever goe to heaven by the Covenant of Works. This I doe onely mention by the way, that you may see and understand, that since the fal of Adam, al men are saved by the Covenant of Grace, the Covenant of Works was no longer in force then while Adam lived and continued in Innocency, but as soon as ever he fell, the Gospel was presently preached unto them, as well as it is to us now, only it was preached unto them more darkly, and to us more clearly; Christ was preached unto them as to come, but he is preached unto us as come already.

 

[Quest. II] We come now to the second question, to stir you up and put you upon enquiry, how you may know whether you are the people that are in Covenant with God yea or no, so as that you can lay a just claim to the Covenant of Grace, and to all the promises therein contained for salvation and life eternall by Christ. I shall handle this Query not in the positive but in the negative part of it, how you may know, that you are not in the Covenant of Grace, I shall give you three or four discoveries of it.

 

[Answ. 1] 1. Thou oh man art not in Covenant with thy God, that hast not yet broken the League and Covenant, which thou hast made with thy lusts, you that doe still keep up and maintain the League and Covenant with your lusts and corruptions, you are not as yet come within the Covenant of Grace; that man that makes a Covenant with death and hell, cannot be under the Covenant of Grace, and therefore you that have not broken off your sins by repentance and righteousnesse, and your iniquities by shewing mercy, you that are in a wicked course and resolve to continue so, lay no claim to the Covenant of Grace; you that are engaged to your lusts, you have been bad and you will be so stil, you have no interest in the Covenant of Grace.

 

  1. You that think to be saved by a Covenant of works, cannot be under a covenant of grace, You that hope to be justified by Works,*are faln from Grace, as the Apostle says in Gal. 5 4. you are faln from Grace, that is, not that you are faln from the habit of Grace, you are faln from the Doctrine of Grace, that holds out justification by Christ, that man shall never be saved by Christ that thinks he cannot be saved by Christ; and therefore a Papist, living and dying in this very opinion that he must be saved by a Covenant of works, cannot be saved; if you be not cast out of your selves, so as to rely wholly and only upon Christ for life and Salvation, you can lay no just claime of being under the Covenant of Grace.

 

[ 3] 3. You are strangers to the Covenant of grace, that do make no conscience of breaking the engagements & promises you have made to God, you that are careless of keeping the Covenants you have made with God, this is an evident demonstration, that you are not in Covenant with God, those that are in Covenant with God make conscience of keeping their Covenants with God if in times of affliction & trouble, you can make large promises to God of better obedience, and yet afterwards return with the dogge to his vomit, and are as bad, or worse then ever you were, this argues, that you have no interest at all in the Covenant of Grace.

 

Thus I have done with the second Query, the discoveries of those that are not in the Covenant of Grace; I have onely now the Application of the point to speak to, and the Use that I shall make of it shall be [Use.] 1. For consolation to all that are in the Covenant of Grace, you have a bundle of promises to which you may have recourse, and lay claim to them as your own. 2. By way ofterrour, to shew the misery of those that are strangers to this Covenant of Grace.

 

[ 1] 1. This may be matter of great consolation to you that are under the Covenant of Grace, that are in Covenant with God, this should provoke you to joy and comfort, in the consideration of the great happinesse you enjoy in being under the Covenant of Grace, from the misery you would be exposed to, did you live under a Covenant of Works. And now (Beloved) * lend me your thoughts a little, while I shew you in fourteen particulars, the great happinesse you are now in, being in Covenant with God under a Covenant of Grace, from the misery you had lain under, in being only under a Covenant of Workes, Doe this and live, I shall but only name them to you, and run over them very briefly.

 

[ 1] 1. The Covenant of Works was given by God to Adam, as a Creator, but the Covenant of Grace is given by God to a Believer, as a Father; God had not this term of a Father before the fall, but only of a God and Creator, but being under a covenant of Grace, you may look upon that God that was only a Creator to Adam, as a Father to you.

 

[ 2] 2. This had been your misery under a Covenant of Works; for that exacts perfect obedience, and does punish the offendour in case of disobedience: but being under a Covenant of Grace, the Lord accepts through Christ of sincere obedience, though it be not perfect.

 

[ 3] 3. The Covenant of Works is not contented with perfect obedience neither, unlesse it be personall; it must not be perfect, done for thee by another, but done by thy self in thy own person; but now the Conant of Grace, accepts of perfect obedience, though it be not done by thy self, but in the person of Jesus Christ; God the Father doth as fully accept of Christ obeying and fulfilling his will in doing and suffering in our behalfe, as if we had done and suffered what he did in our own persons, and herein lies the great happinesse of a man under the Covenant of Grace.

 

[ 4] 4. The Covenant of Works was made by God to Adam without a Mediator, there was no third person between God and Adam, but the covenant of Grace was made by God with us, in the hand of a Mediator Jesus Christ. You may conceive it thus, suppose two men should be at discord and variance one with another, and a third person a friend to both these that are falne out, should come and endeavour to decide the difference, first going to one and desiring him to be reconciled to the other; and then going to the second, and entreating him to be pacified towards the first, till he hath united and reconciled them both together; so it is here, Christ is a friend both to God and man, he is the Son of God, and he is husband of his Church, and being the Mediatour of the new covenant, he comes first to his Father, and sayes, Father I know, that all mankind hath broken that first covenant which they made with thee, and are thereby justly lyable to all that wrath & punishment due to the breach of it, and I know thy anger and displeasure against them, but I pray thee oh Father, be reconciled and well pleased with thy people, give them the sanctification of their Natures, while they live here, and give them heaven and happinesse when they dye; and then Christ comes to Beleevers, and tels them; Sirs, I have procured peace, and pardon, and reconciliation for you, the sanctification of your Natures here, and heaven when you dye, and therefore lift up your heads with joy; Christ first goes to his Father, and sues to him for pardon, and then comes to us, and begs of us to be comforted.

 

[ 5] 5. Adam under the Covenant of Works he had nothing but Works to save him, and he was to keep this Covenant of Works only by his own strength, he had no strength but his own, to perform any duty, he had no bottome, no foundation, but himselfe to stand on; but under the Covenant of Grace we are kept by the mighty power of God through Faith unto Salvation; we are under a far better condition under the Covenant of Grace, then Adam was at first, in the State of innocency, for though hee was perfectly holy, yet he was not immutably holy, but now the foundation of God standeth sure, we are kept by the mighty power of God unto Salvation.

 

[ 6] 6. The Covenant of Workes, if a man did once break them, that did admit of no repentance; had Adam and Eve after the fall, wept their eyes out, or prayed their hearts out, all would have done them no good; repentance will no way avail the Covenant of Works; as it is in the civill Law, if a man hath committed murder, the Law does not enquire whether the man does repent, or is sorry for what he hath done, no, but the Law takes notice whether he hath done the fact, or no, if he hath, he must dye, no repentance will avail; but in the Covenant of Grace it is far otherwise, for though you have done the fact, and broken Gods Commandemants, yet if you repent, and mourn, and grieve for the sins you have committed against God, the Lord will pardon and forgive them, as if they had never been committed, so that this is another great happinesse you enjoy in being under the Covenant of Grace.

 

[ 7] 7. Adam being under the Covenant of Works, God took the very first forfeiture of breaking of this Covenant, and one sinne made God to disanul that covenant, whereas the Covenant of Grace is not made void nor disanul’d although you commit many sins: as you may see in Ro. 5. 16, 17. says the Apostle there, Not as it was by one that sinned so is the gift, for the judgement was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification, that is, under the Covenant of Works, there one sin did condemne all the world, but being under the Covenant of Grace there the free gift is of many offences unto justification, many sins are pardoned and many offences are passed over, the Covenant of Grace pardons many sins and over lookes many weaknesses and failings, though you break your Covenant often, time after time, yet the Covenant of Grace shall not be broken, the first Covenant was disanuld for one sin, but the second Covenant shall not be disanuld for many sins, as you may see in Psal. 89. 31, 32, 33. sayes God there, If they break my statutes,*and keep not my Commandements, then will I visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes, neverthelesse my loving kindenesse will I not uttery take from him, nor suffer my faithfulnesse to fail, my Covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips, and so in Psal. 11. 5. The Lord will ever be*mindefull of his Covenant: so that this is another part of your happinesse.

 

[ 8] 8. (Pray observe this) had Adam continued still under the Covenant of Works, and kept the Covenant, performing exact and perfect obedience to it, yet he could never have come to heaven, he should have had onely an ever lasting continuance in Paradise, he should never have enjoyed heaven, but being under the Covenant of Grace, that entitles you to everlasting Salvation and happinesse in heaven, by Jesus Christ.

 

[ 9] 9. Under the Covenant of Workes, though God did promise life to Adam, upon the performing of the Covenant, yet God did not promise pardon to Adam upon the breach of the Covenant; God promised him thus, Do this and thou shalt live, but God did not promise him, that though he should break his commands and sin against him, yet hee should bee saved notwithstanding: in the Covenant of works, there is no promise at all of pardon, but only of life; but under the Covenant of Grace you have a double promise. 1. You shall obtain life eternall, and Salvation by Christ: And 2. you shall have all your sins pardoned and washed away in the bloud of Christ, that you doe commit against him, you shall have pardon and remission of sins by Christ, so that no sin shall be charged upon you.

 

[ 10] 10. Under the Covenant of Works God did accept the person for the workesake, but under the Covenant of Grace, he doth accept of the Work for the persons sake: and herein lies our happinesse, under the Covenant of Works God did accept of Adams person meerly because his works were altogether righteous and good, and he accepted his person no longer then his works were good, for as soon as ever he broke the command, God was displeased with him, but under the Covenant of Grace God doth accept of the works for the person sake; as you see in Abel, he was first accepted, and then the sacrifice, first his person was well pleasing to God, and then the sacrifice for the persons sake: so God accepts of our praying, reading, hearing, and all that we doe through Jesus Christ, he being well pleased with our persons in Christ, he is delighted and well pleased with all our services in him.

 

[ 11] 11. The Covenant of Works was made to all men generally and universally without exception, but the covenant of grace was made onely to a select and chosen people: all mankinde were in Adam under a Covenant of Workes, if Adam had kept the Law, all mankinde had lived by him; but herein lies your happinesse, in being under the Covenant of grace, when it is made onely to a few, to a peculiar and chosen number of men.

 

[ 12] 12. The Covenant of Works that entitles men to no further honor, then to be a worthy and honourable servant of God, not a child of God, but under the Covenant of Grace, we doe not only become servants, but adopted sons, we are the children of promise by Faith in Christ, the Covenant of Grace puts us into a state of Sonship: Adam was the son of God by creation, but not by grace and adoption, till the Covenant of Grace was made.

 

[ 13] 13. Creation was the foundation of the Covenant of Works, but it is Redemption that is the foundation of the Covenant of Grace, the foundation of this is, because Christ hath died for us, and shed his bloud for us.

 

  1. In the Covenant of Works God did onely manifest the attributes of his greatnesse, and power, and wisdome, and justice; but in the covenant of grace hee does demonstrate the attributes of his grace and mercy, goodnesse and patience, &c. God in the covenant of works was only a just God, Do this and live, so long as thou keepest my Commandments thou shalt live and no longer; but in the covenant of grace, he is a mercifull God too, the Lord did make the attributes of his mercy and goodnesse to shine forth in this covenant; should God say to us, so long as you doe well it shall be well with you, but if even you break one command or commit one sin, you shall be damned, if God should say thus to us, we were in a most miserable and undone condition, and could not escape damnation; but we being under the covenant of grace, by his Son Jesus Christ, he tels us that although we doe break his commands, and sin against him, yet in his Son he will pardon us, and passe by all our transgressions, as if they had never beene committed.

 

SERMON, IX.

 

EPHES. 2. 12.

—And strangers to the Covenants of Promise—

 

HAving shewn you in 14. particulars, your great happiness in being under the covenant of grace, from the misery you would have lain under, had you been under the covenant of works: I come now to the second Use, [Use. 2] which is a Use of dread and terrour, to lay before you the great misery of those that are strangers to this covenant of promise; and here I might lay before you much astonishing and perplexing matter, to all those that are not in the covenant of grace: I shall be the larger upon this particular, because the last day I spent half an hour about a use of comfort, in shewing you your happinesse in being under the covenant of grace, and therefore now I shall spend the like time in declaring the misery* of all those that are strangers to the covenant, which I shall comprise under these six heads.

 

[ 1] 1. This is one part of your misery, you are bound to keep the whole Law of God, and that in your persons, else you can never be saved: and oh how impossible is this for any man to do! he that is under the covenant of grace, God the Father accepts of Christs keeping and fulfilling of the Law for him, as if it were done by him in his own person; but to such as are not in this covenant of grace, God sayes to them, if you doe not keep the whole Law, and that personally, you shall be damned eternally, as in Gal. 5. 3. sayes the Apostle there, I testifie again •o every man that is circumcised, that he is bound to keep the whole Law; if you will not accept of Christ, and accept of Salvation by his bloud alone, but run to circumcision; I tell you saith the Apostle, that you are debters to keep the whole Law of God, and he will cast you into hell, upon the least breach of the Law. Oh thou unhappy man, upon how hard termes canst thou hope for salvation, even upon impossible termes; thou canst as well keep the sea in thy fist, as keep the whole Law of God in thy own person; God sayes to thee, if thou dost break but one command, though thou should keep all the rest, yet thou shalt die and be damned eternally; but if you be under the covenant of grace, though you break the Law again, and again, yet Christ doth redeem you from the curse of the Law, he being made a curse for you.

 

[ 2] 2. Thou that art a stranger to the covenant of grace, thou hast no strength but thy own to help thee in the discharge of all thy duties; but now a man that is under the covenant of grace, God doth command him a duty, and does with the command give him a power to perform the duty; God bids him act grace, and powers upon him a spirit of Grace; he bids him pray, and gives him a spirit of prayer; God commands him a duty, and gives him a flexible, willing, and an obedient heart, and abilities to perform the duty: when in Scripture God does command a duty, he does likewise promise to assist and enable us to the performance of the duty; as for example, the Lord bids us, to wash us and make us*clean, and put away the evill of our doings, and a poor soul saith, Oh Lord I am not able to wash my heart, nor cleanse my wayes, nor to do any thing that is good of my self, and therefore sayes God again, I will wash you and make you whiter then snow; so God * bids us to get new hearts, and then again he promiseth, to create in us new hearts, andrenew rights spirits within us: I might instance in sundry other particulars; but now this is thy unhappinesse oh man that art a stranger to the covenant of grace; God bids thee keep his commands, but he gives thee no power to fulfill his commands; he bids thee act grace, and never gives thee a spirit of grace; he bids thee pray, and yet never powres out upon thee a spirit of prayer; and if Adam in his innocency, when he was perfect, was not able to keep Gods commands; how much more unable art thou to doe any thing that may please God? thou by thy own strength art as well able to make a world, as to make one prayer, or perform any duty in a holy and spirituall manner; thou canst as well destroy the whole world with thy own hands, as subdue any lust by thy own strength; but under the covenant of Grace, God tels us, that though we cannot keep the Law, yet he will accept of his Sons keeping it for us; and he hath promised to help and assist us in the performance of every thing, that he commands us.

 

[ 3] 3. You that are strangers to the covenant of grace, herein lies your misery, you have no Advocate to plead for you, nor Mediator to stand between God and you; you have an angry God frowning upon you, and a galled conscience ready to accuse you, and every thing else in the World against you, but no friend either in heaven or in earth to plead or speak for you; Christ is a mediator to those only that are under a covenant of grace; now what canst thou say for thy self oh man, why thou shouldst not be condemned, and damned in hell for ever, for thy drunkennesse, adultery, sabbathbreaking, prophanenesse, swearing, lying, and thy ungodly practises? thou canst have nothing to plead for thy selfe, but must needs be cast out into hell fire irrecoverably; but now a godly man that is under the covenant of grace, he can say, Lord here is Christ my mediatour, that pleads with thee for the pardon of all my sins, and for the obtaining of heaven, and happinesse, and glory for me, through his obedience and merits; but thou that art under the covenant of works, thou canst not say, I have Christ to plead for me, and to be an Advocate with the Father, to beg for pardon of sin, and life and salvation for thee, thou canst not say so, for without the covenant of grace, there is no Mediator, Christ is the Mediator onely of the new covenant; therefore what sad condition art thou in, seeing as verily as thou standest here now, so thou must one day stand before*Gods tribunall to answer and be judged for every thing thou hast done in thy body, whether it be good or evill, and then thou wilt have no body to plead for thee, but must inevitably be cast into everlasting burnings.

 

[ 4] 4. Being out of the covenant of grace, this is your misery, God will in exactnesse and rigour of justice proceed against you for your sins, without any mixture of mercy at all. (Beloved) God hath no mercy without his covenant, but in the covenant of grace, he is a God gracious and mercifull, slow to anger,*and of great kindnesse, abundant in mercy and truth, pardoning iniquity, transgressions, and sins, but he is cloathed with justice and rigour to all that are without this covenant. As it is in courts of judicature in point of life and death, the Judge will take no notice whether the man be a sorrowfull man or no, the Law is not to shew mercy, but to punish the offence, the Law does not enquire whether the man be penitent and sorry for what he hath done, but whether the fact be done or no, if it be, he must dye for it, there is no remedy: just so it is here, God doth not enquire under a covenant of works, whether you are sorrowfull for breaking of his Law, but he enquires whether you have broken it, or no; and if you have, he will condemn thee, and cast thee into hell fire, and then the poor soul cryes out, Oh Lord be mercifull to me this once, it shall be a warning to me, I will never sin against thee, nor displease thee more, but will from henceforth walk more humbly, and holily, and circumspectly before thee, and yet all this that thou hast promised, if thou wert able to perform it, will not avail thee, for God will hear none out of Christ, and out of the covenant of grace.

 

[ 5] 5. A man out of the covenant of grace, he hath no true and speciall title to any of the blessings of God here in this world, Gods blessings go along with his covenant, and therefore it is very observable, that in that chapter where God does promise the blessings of the covenant of grace, in that very chapter he promiseth the blessings of this life, as you may see in the 36. of Ezek. sayes God there, I will powre clean water*upon you, and you shall be clean, yea from all your filthinesses, and from all your Idols, will I cleanse you: a new heart will I also give you and a new spirit will I put within you, and will take away the stony heart from you, and will give you a heart of flesh, and will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgements and doe them, and you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God; all these are the meroies of the covenant of grace: now mark the next words (saith God) I will call for*corn, and will incerease it, and lay no famine uponyou, but I will multiply the fruit of the trees, and the increase of the field, and so in the 10, * 11 ver. of that chap. And I will multiply men upon you, and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded, and I will multiply upon man and beast, and they shall increase, and bring fruit, and I will do better to you then at your beginnings, and ye shall know that I am the Lord: Here the Lord entails earthly blessings to the covenant of grace, intimating, that all that are under the covenant of grace they have a title not only to all spirituall, but to temporal blessings likewise; but no wicked man out of the covenant of grace, hath any true title to any outward blessings; they that are of the faithfull, are blessed with faithfull Abraham, and enjoy outward blessings, as a blessing; but wicked men, it is true they have something allowed them, but it it as to prisoners, in a prison they have something to keep them alive untill their execution; and so wicked men they have prison allowances till the execution day.

 

[ 6] 6. Your misery, (that are strangers to the covenant of grace) lies in this, God will not give acceptance to any of your services, though you may doe as much, for the matter of them, as any godly man doth; nay thou mayst hear more Sermons, and say more prayers, and perform more duties, then a godly man does, and yet not be accepted, when the others shall, as you may see in Gen. 4. 4, 5. Cain and Abel they both of them brought sacrifices to God, one of his flock, and the other, of his grounds; and the Apostle speaking of this, sayes, that by faith Abel offered a more*excellent offering then Cain; it was not more excellent in regard of the matter of it, for in all probability and likelihood, Cains sacrifice was of more value then Abels, for his was but a few young lambs, the firstlings of his flock, but Cains was of the first fruits of his ground; and yet Abels sacrifice was accepted, and the others rejected, because Abel was a godly man, under the Covenant of Grace, by which God did accept of what he did, though it were lesse then Cains: and so Solomon, The sacrifices of the*wicked are an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is his delight: a sacrifice you know is a great deal more costly then a prayer, for that costs a man nothing but his breath, when the other will cost a great deal of money, and yet a costly sacrifice is hated by God coming from a wicked man, when a pennilesse prayer coming from a godly man is accepted: so that under a covenant of grace, though you do less for the matter of the duty then wicked men doe, yet yours shall be accepted, when theirs shall be rejected.

 

Thus I have done with the use of terrour in laying down to you this sixfold misery of those men that are strangers to the covenant of grace; and here because I would not have any poor soul, that is under the covenant of grace, and partaker of all the great priviledges of it, to goe away with a sad heart, I shall onely leave with you two or three words of comfort to them; You children of the covenant, that are under the covenant of grace, let not your hearts be troubled, at what hath been said this day, concerning the misery of those men that are strangers to this covenant, and to bear: up and support your spirits, I shall give you two or three comfortable considerations.

 

[ 1] 1. That all the outward blessings that you enjoy, comes to you in a covenant way, God hath given you these blessings as an appendix to the covenant, and by vertue of an entail to his covenant; the Lord never gives you a common blessing, but you see the love of a Father, and of a husband, and of a friend, and the love of God in that blessing; and therefore as I told you before in that very chapter, where God promiseth the blessings of the covenant of grace, he promiseth the blessings of this life too, as an intail to the covenant; wicked men may have blessings but not by vertue of a promise, not by vertue of the covenant of grace. But now if you ask mee how you may know, whether the blessings you enjoy come unto you by vertue of the Covenant of Grace: I answer, you may know it by these two things:

 

[ 1] 1. In case you doe use and imploy all the blessing you receive from God, to the honour of God: thus Abraham did, as you may see in Gen. 17. 1, 2, 8, 12. his using the blessings of God to promote the service of God, did demonstrate that those blessings came to him from God, in a covenant way, but those that are strangers to this Covenant, the mercies they enjoy are given them for their hurt.

 

[ 2] 2. When blessings are as cords to draw you nearer to God, and as bands to tye you fast to God, then they come to you in a Covenant way: as in Jer. 31. 11, 12. For the*Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that is stronger then he, therefore they shall come and rejoice in the height of Sion, and shall run to the bountifulnesse of the Lord, even for the wheat, and for the wine, and for the oyle, and for the increase of sheep and bullocks, &c. That is, all the mercies of God, shall make them to come nearer and nearer, and cleave closer to God; you then that do enjoy your share of the blessings of God, and they do not endeer you and draw you nearer to God, you cannot look upon them as flowing in upon you in a Covenant way.

 

[ 2] 2. You that are in covenant with God, know this for your comfort, that the Lord does accept of a little, that you do in his service, better then a great deal that a wicked man performs to him; God will accept of a few turtle doves of you, when he will not accept of 1000 Rams, or 10000 rivers of oyle of the wicked, he will accept of a cup of cold water given to a righteous man, in the name of a righteous man, when he will not accept of the costliest sacrifice from the wicked: Oh what a happy condition art thou in, that art under the covenant of grace, wicked men may heare more Sermons, and performe more duties, and say more prayers to God then you, and yet in all their duties be rejected, when thou art accepted.

 

[ 3] 3. Take this for your comfort that when ever you offend God, and provoke him to anger, you have a Mediator to stand between God and you; though you are guilty, yet you have an Advocate to plead your cause for you; you that are under the covenant of grace, you may say to Christ your Mediator, as the Israelites said to Moses, when they had offended God, goe thou and speak unto God for us; so may you say when you have nothing, but thundring and lightning and tempests in your souls, and the flashings of hell fire in your consciences, then you may say to Christ, go now to God and speak for me, mediate with thy Father for the pardon of all my sins; I have offended God, o• intercede with him in my behalf, I have committed a great offence, oh plead with thy Father, and beg a pardon for me; thus thou maist say to Christ, being under the covenant of grace.

 

But here lest any one should lye under a spirituall delusion, and think himself under the covenant of grace, when he is a stranger to it, lest the Dogs should snatch at the Childrens meat, I shall lay down to you some distinguishing Characters, whereby you may know whether you are under the covenant of grace or no; and before I make entrance upon this, I will only premise four sad and dismall conclusions, which will make way the better for what I have to handle in the examination.

 

[ 1] 1. Take in this conclusion, that a man may be within the outward and common priviledges of the covenant of grace, and yet be without the saving and spirituall priviledges of it, as pardon of sin, having God to be your God, and Christ to be your Saviour, &c. as in Deut. 29. 10, 11, * 12. sayes Moses there, You stand this day all of you before the Lord your God, your Captains of Tribes, your Elders, and your Officers, with allthe men of Israel, your little ones, your wives, and the stranger that is in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood, unto the drawer of thy water, that thou shouldst enter into covenant with the Lord thy God: Now here you see, were all from the rich to the poor, to enter into covevenant with God, and yet it is not imaginable that all these did partake of the inward priviledges of the Covenant of grace, they did all partake of circumcision, which was the seal of the covenant, of the outward priviledges of it, but not all did partake of the inward and speciall mercies of the covenant of grace, as pardon of sin, peace of conscience, joy in beleeving, God to be their God, and Christ to be their Saviour; and so in Rom. 9. 4, 5. sayes the * Apostle, They are the Israelites to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the Law, and the service of God, and the promises, of whom are the Fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, these were very great priviledges, and yet saies the text in vers. 8. These are*not all the children of God, though they had the externall blessings of the Covenant, yet they were not all the children of God; so that you see, you may be within the Church of God, and partake of the outward blessings of the Covenant, and yet want the inward and spirituall blessings of it.

 

[ 2] 2. Take in this sad conclusion, that the most of men in the world, are without the common and outward mercies of the covenant of grace, as all that are in the state of Judaisme, Turcisme, and Paganism, and these being without the outward priviledges of the Church, they can hope for no salvation. If you should divide the world into one and thirty parts, there is but a fift part of them are Christians, there is nineteen parts of the world that are Jews, and Turks, and seven parts that are Pagans; so that there is but five parts that are Christians; the most of men in the world are without the outward and common blessings of the Covenant of grace, and therefore can obtain no salvation by Christ.

 

[ 3] 3. Take this conclusion yet further, that the most of those men that are within the outward and common blessings, are yet without the saving and spirituall blessings and priviledges of the covenant of grace; this conclusion is answerable to that phrase in Mat. 2. Many are called, but few are chosen, there are but a few chosen to life and happinesse, amongst those that are partakers of the externall mercies of the covenant of grace, as in Zach. 13. 8, 9. And*it shall c•me to passe, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die, but the third shall be left therein, and I willbring the third part through the fire, and will refine them, as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tryed, they shall call on my name and I will hear them; I will say it is my people, and they shall say, the Lord is my God: there was but one part of three that were godly, and as it was then, so it is now; but one part of three that can say truly, they have an interest in the covenant of grace, and therefore (Beloved) this may be some of your lot, there are many of you that have a share in the outward blessings of the covenant, that have the Ordinances and meanes of grace, and make profession of Christ, and yet few of you that have any speciall and peculiar blessing from Christ. As when Christ was thronged in the multitude, there were a great many that touched him, but one onely that got any vertue from him, so there are a very few that enjoy the speciall and peculiar blessings of the covenant, to have sin pardoned, and their corruptions subdued and their duties and services accepted, God to be their God, and Christ to be their Saviour.

 

[ 4] 4. Take this conclusion likewise, that such is the pride and deceitfulnesse of mans heart naturally, that from their being within the compasse of the outward blessings of the covenant, that they will conclude themselves, to have an interest in the inward and spirituall blessings of the covenant of grace, as you shall finde the Jews did in Joh. 8. 33, 39, 41. in vers. 33. * say they, we are the seed of Abraham: and vers. 39. we have Abraham to be our Father;* and from hence they conclude in vers. 41. that God was their Father too, though * Christ told them plainly they were of their father the Devill: wicked men are very apt to deceive themselves, and think they have an interest in the spirituall blessings of the covenant of grace, because they partake of the Sacraments, and outward ordinances; whereas in Baptisme you may have your face sprinkled with water, and yet never have your hearts sprinkled with the bloud of Christ, you may be born in the Church, and yet never be of the Church of the first born in heaven; you may have the Church to be your Mother, and yet never have God to be your Father; there is but a remnant according to the election of grace, the main body is cast away, there is but a remnant saved, and yet the Jewes did boast of themselves, that because they had the Adoption, and the Glory, and the Covenant, and the Promise, &c. therefore God was theirs too, and heaven and happinesse, and all theirs, when there was no such matter.

 

SERMON, X.

 

EPHES. 2. 12.

—And strangers to the Covenants of Promise—

 

HAving formerly premised four conclusions that you might not harbour any secret conjectures and imaginations that you do belong to the covenant of grace, when you do not; I come now to give you some * trials and discoveries whereby you may know, whether you are the persons that can lay a just claim to life and salvation from God through his Son Jesus Christ, by vertue of his promise, and I shall comprise them under these three heads:

 

  1. You may know whether you do belong to the covenant of grace or no, in case you doe partake of the spirituall blessings of the covenant:

 

  1. In case you have the inseparable concomitants of the Covenant: And

 

  1. In case you doe perform the conditions of the covenant of grace, which is faith; beleeve and be saved: if you have these three, you may lay an undoubted claim to the covenant of grace.

 

[ 1] 1. If you have the saving and spirituall blessings of the covenant of grace; and these are four; 1. God will be your God, and you shall be his people; This is the tenor of the covenant of grace, as in Jer. 31. 33. I will be their God, and they shall my people. I shall a little open this blessing to you, for God to be our God, it notes these three things: 1. It notes a speciall propriety in God, which none have but the elect. 2. It notes an all-sufficiency in God for their good. 3. It notes an absolute authority, that God hath over them.

 

[ 1] 1. For God to be our God, it notes that God is yours in a speciall way of propriety, which none but those that are the children of God can have, wicked men cannot lay claim to God as their God; as Pharaoh, when he desired Moses to pray for him, sayes he I have sinned against the Lord your God, he could not say against the Lord my God, you that can upon Scripture grounds, lay claim to God as your God, as having a speciall propriety in him, you have an interest in the covenant of grace.

 

[ 2] 2. For God to be your God, it notes an all-sufficiency in God, put out for your good, as in Gen. 17. 1. sayes God there to Abraham,I am thy God all-sufficient walk before me, and be thou perfect; you that can look upon God as having an interest and propriety in God; and you finde by experience, that God is exceeding good to your soules in every thing, if you see the emptinesse of all things in the world, and that they are but particular helps to thee, as food against hunger, drink against thirst, cloathes against nakednesse, &c. but you finde God to be an all-sufficient help and remedy, the chiefest good, sufficing, and satisfying, and filling thy heart, thou that canst look upon God, as thy all-sufficient good, as having thy portion and interest in him and in none else; this is an undoubted evidence, that you doe belong to the Covenant of Grace.

 

[ 3] 3. For God to be your God, it notes Gods soveraignty and power over you, for your benefit, the Lord will reign over you, and subdue corruptions in you, and quell your pride, and humble your heart, and give you a meek and quiet spirit. If you finde that God is yours in these three particulars, you may comfort your heart in an unquestionable interest in the Covenant of Grace, if God be your God, and you his people, that you have given up, and devoted your selves wholly to the service of God in every thing that you doe.

 

[ 2] 2. Another speciall blessing of the covenant of grace is, that God hath promised to sanctifie and renew your natures: as in Ezek. 36. 26, 27. saies God there, A new heart*also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, and will take away the stony hearts out of your bosomes, and will give you hearts of flesh, and I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments and do them: God will not onely give us life for our happinesse, but grace for our holinesse; he will not only give us imputed righteousnesse for our justification, but also inherent righteousnesse for our sanctification; now therefore examine your selves, have your natures ever been sanctified, and regenerated? have you been ever washed with clean water, and those stains of sin and corruption wiped away from you? hath the beasom of sanctification ever swept your inward man, and made it not a cave for every unclean bird to lie in, but a habitation fit for the holy Ghost to dwell in? if it be so, you have a reall right to, and interest in the covenant of grace, for no man can have the blessings of the covenant, but he must have a beeing in the covenant of grace. It is very observable, that God is not only, as the covenant represents him, a God gracious and mercifull, slow to anger, and full of compassion, &c. but he is a holy God as well as a mercifull God; and therefore he will work holinesse in us and expect holinesse from us, if ever we expect to have mercy and happinesse from him; never lay claim to God, nor expect life and happinesse from him, as he is a mercifull God, unlesse you resolve to be conformable to him as he is a holy God.

 

[Object.] But here some may say, This is not so great a blessing as you speak of, to be sanctified by vertue of the covenant of grace; for there are many men that may be sanctified by the covenant of grace, and yet never be saved by it; and this objection they ground upon that place in Heb. 10. 29. And they shall count the bloud of the covenant, wherewith they were sanctified, an unholy thing.

 

[Answ.] I answer that the sanctification here spoken of, is not a true sanctification, but onely in profession, in the sight of men, not in the fight of God; it is not a sanctification in very deed and in truth, but onely in shew and in the judgement of men.

 

[ 3] 3. Another blessing of the covenant of grace, is the forgivenesse of our sins: as in Jer. 3. 34. They shall all know me from the*least of them to the greatest, saith the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity, and will remember their sins no more: now (beloved) can you say that God hath pardoned your sins, and 〈1 page duplicate〉〈1 page duplicate〉 done away your offences, if so, then you are under the Covenant of Grace.

 

[Object.] But here some poor soul may say, Alas I have been a great sinner, and have committed offences against God; and therefore, I fear I have no reall interest in the covenant of grace.

 

[Answ.] Be not discouraged, for it is the glory of the covenant of grace to pardon great sins; it puts a great deal of glory upon God, to pardon great sins, and passe by great offences, as in Amos 5. 12, 15. I know* (sayes God) your manifold transgressions, and your mighty sins: here you see are manifold and mighty sins, and yet saies God, hate evill, and love good; it may be the Lord will be gracious to you, nay the Lord he will be gracious to you; though thou hast manifold and mighty sinnes, yet it is not the greatnesse nor mightinesse of them, but thy stubbornnesse of heart, in not coming in, and closing with Jesus Christ, that undoes thee.

 

[ 4] 4. Another blessing of the covenant of grace, is Gods writing his Law in our hearts, that we shall never depart from him, as in Jer. 31. 33. I will put my Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, I will be their God, and they shall be my people; that is, God will put into our hearts a sutable frame and disposition answerable to every command of God in his Law, that we shall be able to obey, observe, and keep it, and say that it is good; and then saies God, you shall never depart from me; now examine your selves, hath this effect beene wrought by the spirit of God in your hearts? hath God written the Sermons you have heard, not in your books, but in your hearts? if so, these are good evidences of your interest in the covenant of grace.

 

[ II] 2. Another discovery or character of your interest in the covenant of grace is this, if you have in you the inseparable concomitances that belong to this covenant of grace; there are some things that doe alwayes accompany the covenant of grace, as I shall instance in 3 or 4 particulars.

 

[ 1] 1. If you be a man under the covenant of grace, in covenant with God, then you are disingaged from that league and covenant which you have made and contracted with your lusts, whosoever is in covenant with God, he hath broken his league with his lusts; you cannot be in covenant with Christ, till you fall off from your lusts, and break off from your sins, as in Act. 3. 25, 26. sayes the Apostle, *You are the children of the Prophets, and of the covenant, which God hath made with our Fathers; saying to Abraham, even in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed: First unto you hath God raised up his Son Jesus Christ, and him hee hath sent to blesse you, in turning every one of you from your iniquities; so that if you are children of the covenant, the Lord will turn every one of you from your wicked wayes, and therefore you that are not turned from the evill of your courses, that have not broken that league you have made with death and hell, you can lay no claim to the covenant of grace, as in Psal. 50. 16. sayes God there to the * wicked, What hast thou to doe, to take my covenant into thy mouth, seeing thou hatest to be reformed, and castest my words behinde thee? thou wilt not forsake thy lusts, nor leave thy sins, and therefore what hast thou to do to meddle with my covenant of grace? you can lay no claim to the Covenant, till you have cast off the old man, and subdued and overcome your sins and corruptions.

 

[ 2] 2. Another concomitant of the covenant of grace, that will accompany you, is this, you will be a people wholly devoted and given up to the service of God. Jer. 31. I will be your God and you shall be my people, the covenant of grace is called an holy covenant, Luk. 1. 72. not so much because it was made by a holy God, as because it was made for the holy creature, it will make them holy that do enter into it, and therefore those that are in Covenant with God, are called a holy people, and they must be a holy people, as in 1 Cor. 6. 20. * sayes the Apostle, You are bought with a price, therefore glorifie God in your bodies and souls, which are Gods, and in 2 Cor. 7. 1. Seeing*therefore we have these promises, (dearly beloved) Let us cleanse our selves from all filthinesse both of flesh and spirit, perfecting holinesse in the fear of God: those that are in covenant with God, they are a holy and crucified people.

 

[ 3] 3. Another concomitant is this, that man that hath a share in the blessings of the Covenant, he doth make conscience to walk in the wayes of the Covenant; hee will not only close with the promise of the Covenant, but also make conscience of keeping the commands of the Covenant; for the covenant of grace does not onely bestow blessings upon you, but require something of you too, as in Esai. 55. sayes * God, Incline your ears and come unto me and hear, hearken, and your souls shall live: and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David: the covenant of grace is a sure and everlasting covenant, but sayes God, you shall come unto me first, and then I will make with you an everlasting covenant: God will have you to obey him, if ever you think to have any share in the covenant of grace; those that, let God command what he will, will doe what they please; this argues, that they doe not belong to the covenant of grace; but if the blessings of the covenant of grace are given by God to you, and the concomitants of it found with you: and lastly, the conditions of it found in you: which is faith, the only condition of the covenant of grace, beleeve and be saved; if God hath brought thee into a believing estate, that there is not one promise in the Gospell, but you do beartily assent unto, and close with: if it be thus, then you may conclude, that you do belong to the covenant of grace; And thus I have done with these charactars by way of tryall.

 

[Use.] I have only now a word or two more by way of use, and so have done with this third part of mans misery; and the Use that I shall make of this, shall be for consolation, to all those whose hearts can bear them witnesse, that they doe enjoy the saving blessings of the Covenant of grace, God to be their God, and they to be his people; and that God hath sanctified and renewed your natures, and pardoned and passed by all your sins and iniquities, and hath written his Law in your hearts, that you doe not depart from him; if you have the concomitants of the Covenant, that you are disingaged from the league and covenant you have made with sin, and death, and hell; if you are wholly devoted and given up to the service of God, and doe make conscience to walk in the ways of the Covenant; and if the conditions of the Covenant of Faith in Christ be found in you; if you are brought into a beleeving condition; if all these things be wrought in you, then hearken to the great happinesse and benefit you enjoy, by being under the Covenant of Grace.

 

[ 1] 1. Thou hast that which is more worth then a kings ransome, nay then all the world, thou hast God to be thy God which is all in all, it is more then that which was promised to Esther by King Ahasuerus, to the half of his Kingdome; you have more then the Devill promised to Christ, when he carryed him to the top of the mountain, and shewed him all the Kingdomes of the world and the glory of them; thou hast more then the whole world, for thou hast God to be thy God, and thou hast an interest in the Covenant of Grace, which is a bundle of promises, and includes in it all the promises of the Gospell, which are all yours, and you may goe and apply them to your own soules in whatsoever condition you are in.

 

[ 2] 2. You that are in Covenant with God, labour to admire the great condescension of God, that he would be pleased to proceed with you by way of a Covenant: I have read of some Authors that have more wondred, and stood amazed at this, then at any thing else in the World, that God that is the Soveraign Lord of all the workes of his hands, that he should not rule us and command us by a Law, but deal with us by way of a Covenant, for God is not bound to give us a reward, though we should serve him all the dayes of our lives; God might command us as we are his creatures to serve and obey him, to pray, read, hear, and walk holily and humbly before him, and when we have done all this, yet he might say to us, I will never give you heaven nor happinesse, nor any reward at all; he might have said thus to us, but he hath condescended so far, as to make a bargain with us; that if we will beleeve in his Son Jesus Christ, and live holily, and walk uprightly before him, then he will be our God, and we shall be his people, he will write his Law in our hearts, and sanctifie, and renew our natures, and pardon and forgive all our sins, and give us heaven and hapninesse when we dye; Oh what an infinite condescension is this in God, and what unspeakable bounty and free grace; that when he might say to us, you are bound to serve me, and obey me, and to love and fear me, but I am not bound to make a Covenant with you, and promise you my Son, and life, and Salvation, through him, but though I am not bound to it, yet I will give you my Son, and heaven, and happinesse, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people, and I will regenerate and sanctifie your natures; and create in you new hearts, and write my Law in your inward parts, I will freely do all this for you, sayes God, Oh what infinite condescension and free grace and mercy is this!

 

[ 3] 3. Another great happinesse you doe enjoy under the Covenant of Grace, is this, the Lord will pardon all the great sinnes you commit against him, and accept of all the weak duties and services you perform to him; though you commit great and mighty sins, yet the Lord is gracious and mercifull, and will pardon them; the Covenant of Grace covers great sins: as the sea can cover a mountain as wel as a molehill; so the Covenant of Grace can pardon mountainous sins as well as small ones. And again, the Covenant of Grace does accept of weak and imperfect duties, nay those very duties which wicked men doe perform, though they be more for the matter of them then ours are, yet by vertue of the Covenant of Grace, the Lord does accept of ours, and will not accept of theirs, as in Prov. 15. 8. the place that I quoted before, The sacrifice of the wicked is anabomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is his delight; a sacrifice is a great deal more costly then a prayer, and yet the Lord will accept of a poore pennilesse prayer coming from a godly man, when he will reject a costly Sacrifice from a wicked man; God will accept of a cup of cold water, from one in Covenant with him, when he will not accept of 10000 rivers of oile from a wicked man; he will pardon your great sins, and accept of your weak services: indeed, were you under a Covenant of works, that would require perfect obedience, but being under a Covenant of grace, the Lord accepts of sincere, though it be imperfect obedience: and thus I have done with the third part of mans misery, being strangers to the Covenant of grace.

 

SERMON, XI.

 

EPHES. 2. 12.

—Having no hope—

 

[ IV] WEE come now to fall upon the fourth part of an unconverted mans misery, (which you will think to be a very strange one) that he is without hope; while these Ephesians were in a state of Gentilism, unconverted to the Faith of Christ, they were without hope, & the reason of it was, because they were without Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life, there is no other way to heaven but onely by Jesus Christ, and seeing they were out of the way to heaven, they must needs be without any hopes of coming to heaven; it was the first branch of their misery, in being without Christ that exposed them, and made them lyable to all the rest, because they were without Christ, therefore they were aliens to the Commonwealth of Israel, & therefore they were strangers to the Covenant of Promise, and without hope, and without God in the World.

 

[Object.] Ob. But here some will be ready to say, How can this be that the Apostle should say, they were without hope, when were it not for hope, the heart would break; and therefore it is not possible, they should be without hope?

 

[Answ.] I answer, it is true, they had a hope, but it was a vain hope, an ungrounded and a deluding hope, and this kinde of hope is no better then no hope at all, so that the Apostle might well say they had no hope, that is, no good nor well grounded hope for heaven, they had onely a presumptuous hope, such a hope as would make them ashamed in the latter end, they had only the hope of the hypocrite that shall perish, and therefore when the Apostle sayes, that these Ephesians during their unregeneracy, were without hope, his meaning is, that they were without any wel grounded hopes for heaven, they had no Scripture grounds, to bottome or build any hopes upon, that God would bring them to heaven; this is a very sad and dreadfull point I am now upon, in shewing you this part of mans misery, without hope; the Observation I shall draw out from hence shall be this;

 

[Doctr.] That all men during the state of their unregeneracy,are without any true, or well grounded hopes of heaven.

 

In the handling of this I shall first prove it in the generall, and then improve it; first to prove it, an unconverted mans condition, in reference to his hopes for heaven, is just like Pauls, and those Mariners that were with him in the ship sailing towards Rome, Act. 27. 20. when neither Sun * nor Stars appeared, but the winde and waves did beat upon the ship, insomuch that all the hopes they had of being saved were quite taken away; so it is just your case that are without Jesus Christ, there is neither Sun nor Star does shine upon you, if Christ does not shine upon you, you are like Paul and the other Mariners in the ship, all hopes of your being saved, is quite taken away from you. I shall confirm this truth to you by three or four demonstrations, that a wicked man is without any hopes for heaven.

 

[Reas. 1] 1. An unregene rate man must needs be without hope, because he is without Christ who is the foundation of a christians hope, Wherefore remember, sayes the Apostle, that at that time ye were without Christ, and therefore he tels them afterward, that they were without hope, in Tit. 2. 2. Christ is there called *our hope, Christ is that person in and upon whom we are to build all our hopes for heaven, and therefore he is called our hope, and this is the meaning of that expression, Christ in you the hope of glory, intimating that you cannot hope for glory, but in and through Jesus Christ; that man that is a Christlesse man, must needs be a hopelesse man, that is the first demonstration.

 

[Reas. 2] 2. A man without Christ, must needes be without hope, because he is without a title to any promise of life and salvation, which is the onely support and prop of mans hope; you would count this a very fond and vain hope, for any man to hope that such a rich man would make him heir of all he hath, though hee never promised him one foot of Land; why just so vaine are the hopes of wicked men, but now the Word of Promise is like a pillar of marble to bear up the hearts of Gods people, as in 1 Tit. 2. In hope of eternall*life, which God that cannot lye, promised before the World began, the promises doe ground that man that hath interest in them, to a hope of eternall life, he that is without the Lord Jesus Christ the foundation of hope, and without the promises which is the pillar of hope, must needs be without all true hopes of heaven.

 

[Reas. 3] 3. He cannot but be without hope, because he is without Faith which is the ground of hope, as in Heb. 11. 1. Faith is*the ground of things hoped for, the evidence ofthings not seen: where no true Faith is there can be no hope, for Faith is the Mother, and Hope is the Daughter, Hope is begotten by Faith; an unregenerate man must needs be without hope, because he is without Christ the foundation of hope, and the promises the pillar of hope, and Faith the ground of hope.

 

[Reas. 4] 4. It appeares that he is without hope, because when hee leaves the world, his hopes leave him, whereas the hope of a godly man never leaves him till it brings him to heaven; when a wicked man dies his hopes are gone, and leave him when he hath most need of them, had his hopes been well grounded hopes, they would never make him ashamed of them.

 

Thus you see I have onely in the generall confirmed the point to you. I come now to speak of some more particular inquiries in the prosecution of this Doctrin, (Beloved) wil you lend me your thoughts a little, in the handling of these five inquiries? As

 

  1. I shall shew you the nature of this hope that unconverted men are without.

 

  1. I shall shew you what are the characters of those men that are without any well grounded hopes for heaven.

 

  1. I shall shew you the reason, why (seeing the Scripture sayes that a wicked man hath no hope) that of any men in the world, a wicked man does nourish in his heart the greatest hopes for heaven.

 

  1. I shall shew wherein lies the difference between those that have onely a presumptuous hope for heaven, and those that have a true and well grounded hope for heaven; And

 

Lastly, I shall shew you the great misery of those men that have onely presumptuous hopes for heaven.

 

[Quest.] I will begin with the first of these, to shew you the nature of that hope, that unconverted men are without.

 

[Answ.] Take this plain description of it, that true hope which wicked men are without it is a well grounded and patient expectation for the accomplishment of all those spirituall and eternall good things, which God hath promised through Jesus Christ, and which Faith beleeves. I call it a well grounded expectation to distinguish true hope, from those presumptuous hopes that wicked men have: I call it a patient hope to distinguish it from a rash hope, in wicked men: and I say it is a patient expectation and looking for the accomplishing those spirituall and eternall good things, which God hath promised in Christ, because that this is the ground of hope, it is called the hope of glory and the hope of eternall life, and the like; Thus you have the nature of this hope that wicked men are without, when the Apostle sayes, they were without hope, his meaning is, that they were without any hope of those spirituall and eternall good things, which God hath promised to beleevers through Christ.

 

[Quest. 2] Quest. 2. What are the Characters of those men, that have no hopes for heaven, or if they have, it is onely a deluding and a presumptuous hope, a hope no better then no hope at all? (nay it were a great deal better to have no hope then a presumptuous hope, but that I shall speak to afterward.)

 

Now before I shall lay down these characters by way of discovery, I will onely premise four or five particular conclusions, which are very necessary to prevent wicked men from running into mistakes concerning their hopes for heaven. 1. Take this conclusion, that this grace of hope may as well be counterfeited as any other grace, there is a lively hope in a Beleever, and a dead hope in a wicked man, there is a faigned hope as well as a true hope, a counterfeit hope as well as a good hope, and therefore it is said in Joh. 8. 13. The*hope of the hypocrite shall perish; and in Prov. 10. 28. The hope of the wicked shall perish.

 

  1. Take this conclusion, that those men, that have least grounds to build hopes of heaven upon, doe yet nourish most confident hopes of heaven in their hearts; I shall give you two notable places of Scripture to prove this, in Prov. 14. 16. it is * said there that a wise man feareth and departeth from evill, a wise man is jealous over his own heart, what followes? but sayes he, A fool, that is, a wicked man, he rageth, and yet is confident, he runs on in wicked wayes and practises without any remorse or sorrow, and yet he is a confident man, that hee shall goe to heaven as well as the best; A wise man feareth and departeth from evill but a wicked man rageth, and yet is confident, those that have least cause to hope, doe yet harbour the greatest hopes for heaven in their hearts. A like place to this you have in Psal. 36. •2. The transgression*of the wicked sayes in his heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes, and yet the next words are, he flatters himself in his own eyes, though his iniquities are found worthy to be hated; wicked men are very apt to have good conceits of themselves, and you shall finde it ordinarily, that a poor soul that walks conscionably before God, and neglects no known duty, and mortifies every known lust, and walkes humbly before God, this man is full of feares and jealousies, and doubts that all things are not well between God and his soul; and yet you shall finde another ungodly wretch that gives way to all manner of sin and uncleannesse, and fulfills the lusts of his flesh and of his minde, and this man is very confident of his going to heaven, and that all is well with him when he is running headlong to hell. Here then you see the second conclusion that those men that have least grounds to build hopes of heaven upon, doe yet nourish strongest hopes for heaven in their hearts.

 

  1. Another conclusion is this, that a man may live and dye with very strong hopes that he shall goe to heaven, till he bee throwne downe into hell; hee may have no other thoughts but that hee shall goe to heaven till hee bee cast head-long into hell. I shall give you some plain text to prove this, as Job 21. 23. *Job speaks there of a wicked man, sayes he, one dies in his full strength being wholly at ease and quiet; A learned Divine sayes upon this place, that it is the note of a wicked man, when he lies upon his death bead, if you come to him and ask him if hee hath any hopes that he shall goe to heaven, hee will answer, that hee hath very strong hopes of it; and if you ask him, whether my sin troubles him, he will tell you no, blessed be God I have no sin troubles me now, nor ever did all my life time; What, does nothing at all disquiet you? No, I am wholly at ease and quiet; he hath no sinne troubles him, nor no misgiving thoughts, but that hee shall goe to heaven: But when a wicked man dies,*then his expectation shall perish, and not till then: Now Beloved me thinkes this conclusion should a little startle you, and make you look about you to take heed lest you run hoodwinkt to hell, that you doe not live and dye in hopes of heaven, and never think otherwise till you drop down into hell.

 

  1. To you that doe lay claim to strong hopes for heaven, let me tell you thus much, that you are not to hope for heaven, unlesse you can render a reason or ground of your hopes. Beloved it is not naturall for every man to hope for heaven and to be saved, and you ought not to hope for heaven unlesse you can give some grounds for it, as the Apostle sayes, But sanctifie the*Lord God in your hearts, and be ready alwayes to give an answer to every one that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meeknesse and fear; Now examine your selves, what grounds can you give for your hopes of heaven, have you a promise for it? or one Scripture ground for it? or the witnesse of the Spirit for it? if not, then doe not nourish any hopes of heaven in your hearts. Thus I have laid down these four conclusions, I come now to handle the query it self which is this.

 

[Quest.] Quest. What are the characters whereby it may be knowne whether you are such a one that hath no hopes for heaven, or a meer deluding, an ungrounded and presumptuous hope, as good as no hope?

 

[Answ.] The hearts of all the sons of men are desperately wicked and deceitfull above all things, man is a proud creature and apt to have proud and high conceits of himself, and therefore I shall give you five distinguishing characters, whereby you may know whether your hopes for heaven be true, and well grounded hopes, or no.

 

[ 1] 1. That man that nourisheth in his heart great hopes for heaven, and yet at the same time fosters and favours great lusts and sins in himself, that man hath no true hopes for heaven. I shall give you a clear place to prove this, Deut. 29. 15. And it*come to passe when hee heareth the words of this curse, if he shall blesse himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace though I walk after the imaginations of my heart, to add drunkennesse to thirst, &c. The Lord will not spare such a man, but the anger of the Lord and his jealousie shall smoak against that man: and so in Esay 57. 20. sayes the Prophet * there, Thou art wearied in the greatnesse of thy wicked wayes, yet saidst thou not, There is no hope, it is a very strange place, as if the Prophet should say to them, you walk in a great course of sin and wickednesse, and yet you flatter you selves, you will not say there is no hope for you, you that doe nourish great sins and wickednesse in your bosomes, and allow your selves in the practise of great sins, you should say, there is no hope for you to goe to heaven, for God does here charge it upon you, that notwithstanding you walk on in wayes of sin, yet you say not, there is no hope; but are rather very confident you shall go to heaven for all that; and so in Psal. 36. 1, 2. The transgression of the wicked saith in his*heart, there is no fear of God before his eyes, and yet sayes the Psalmist, he flatters himselfe, with vain hopes of heaven; wicked men have heaven and the hopes thereof in their eyes, when they have sinne in their hearts, and this shews that their hope is onely a deluding and a vain hope.

 

[ 2] 2. That man hath no true hope but onely a presumptuous and vain hope for heaven, that is strong in his expectations of heaven as his aim and end, but slow in his actions and endeavours after holinesse as his way: he that can with Baalam desire to dye the death of the righteous, but never care nor desire to live the life of the righteous, that mans hope is but a vain hope, as the Psalmist hath it in Psalm. 119. 155. Salvation*is farre from the wicked, for they seek not thy statutes, and if salvation be far, the hope of salvation is as far; but why is salvation far from the wicked? because they seeke not Gods statutes, those men that hope that salvation is neer them, when they are far from seeking after Gods statutes, and endeavouring after holinesse, as the way to happinesse, these men are far from salvation, and the hope of salvation too.

 

[ 3] 3. That man hath only deluding hopes for heaven, that is unwilling to have his hope tryed, examined, and come to the touchstone, those that will not, as the Apostle, bids us, be ready to give to every man*that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meeknesse and fear; now let me ask you what ground you can give for your hopes in heaven, have you the testimony of Gods Spirit for it, or the testimony of a good conscience. that in simplicity and godly sincerity, you have had your conversation here in this world? have you a promise or any ground in scripture for your hopes? if you have no ground for your hopes, and cannot indure to come to the triall or touchstone, it is an argument that you are counterfeit metall that you have no reall hopes for salvation and happinesse in another World.

 

[ 4] 4. That man that builds his hopes for heaven more upon his own performances then upon Gods promises, his hope is only a deluding hope: this is that sandy ground Christ speaks of in Matth. 7. ult. To * build your hopes of heaven upon any services you doe, or any duties you perform, it is all one, as if you should goe about to build a house upon the sand; ask a wicked man whereon he grounds his hopes for heaven; he will tell you that he does the works of charity, he gives every man his due, and he lives honestly, and civilly amongst his neighbours, hee hears and reads the Word, he prayes and receives the Sacrament, he does such and such good duties, and this is that which they build hopes for heaven upon, they think that Christ is espoused for them, because they are bidden to the Wedding Supper, for the Ordinances of Christ are his marriage supper, they are ready to say with those in Luk. 13. 26. We have eaten and drunken in they presence, Lord, Lord open to*us. I doe not deny but a man may have evidence from his graces, & from the work of God upon his heart, but the great pillar of Marble, that must bear up thy hope, must be the promise of God in Christ; he that builds his hopes for heaven only upon his own performances and good duties, his hope is a vain and deluding hope; I doe not deny but the graces of Gods spirit are reall evidences of. Gods love to the Soul, as the Apostle sayes, By this we know that we are translated from death to life, because*we love the Brethren, and again, By this we know that we are of God, because of his spirit which he hath given us; but I say this is not the main pillar and ground of our hope: we should be so fervent in prayer, and diligent in the performance of holy duties, as if we did expect to be saved by our duties, but when we have done all that we can, we must lay down all at the feet of Christ, and conclude that our best righteousnesse is but as filthy rags, and when wee have done all that we can do, we are unprofitable servants, and we must wholly and only depend upon the merits and mercies of Christ for salvation and comfort.

 

[ 5] 5. That man that thinks, there is neither difficulty in getting this grace of hope, nor efficacy in keeping of it, that man hath no true hope. 1. Thou that thinkest there is no difficulty in obtaining this grace, thou never yet hadst it, for the least grace is beyond the power, and capacity of any man to get of himself, thou that thinkest it an easie matter to hope for heaven, thou never yet hadst a true hope, for it must be God that must work this grace in us, as the Apostle sayes in Rom. 15. 13. *Now the God of hope fill you with all peace and joy in beleeving. 2. Those that think there is no efficacy in keeping this grace of hope, those have no true hope, for wheresoever true hope is, it hath these properties with it.

 

[ 1] 1. It hath a purifying vertue with it, as in 1. Joh. 3. 3. Every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself even as God is pure.

 

  1. Hope hath a pacifying property with it, It is the Anchor of the Soul, both sure and *stedfast; though the World, and the Devill trouble and disquiet you, and afflictions and temptations molest and disturbe you, yet this grace of hope will quiet and pacifie you, those that hope in God shall be secure and at rest.

 

[ 3] 3. Hope it hath a painful property with it, it is never a sluggard, where there is an impossibility, there hope is cut off. But that which a man hopes for, he will labour and endeavour after: as he that ploughs does plough in hope, so the hopes of heaven will make you plough up the fallow ground of your hearts, and make you indefatigable in your labours after heaven, so that you shall take a great deal of pains and use all your endeavours for it.

 

SERMON, XII.

 

EPHES. 2. 12.

—Having no hope—

 

WE come now to the third Queston, which is this (Que.)* What is the reason (seeing the Scripture sayes that a wicked man hath no hope) that of all the men in the world, wicked men doe nourish greatest hopes for heaven in their hearts?

 

Answ. In resolving this Question, I shall * lay you down five false pillars or props, * that doe bear up and nourish the hopes of wicked men, and as I name them to you, I shall shew you the rottennesse, and deceitfulnesse, and insufficiency of them, for any man to build hopes of heaven upon.

 

  1. The first prop that wicked men doe build hopes of heaven upon is this, because they have committed but smal sins in their life time, and because they have not run out into the commission of such grosse and scandalous sins in the world as other men have, therefore say they, surely we have some ground to hope for heaven; it is true, we are sinners, but my sins are but ordinary small sins and frailties, they are not sinnes of a double die, just as the Pharisee sayes, Lord I thank thee that I am*not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this Publican, because he was not as bad as other men, therefore hee thought he had a right and title to heaven, because they are not as bad as the worst, therefore they think themselves as good as the best; now I shall shew you the weaknesse and rottennesse of this pillar for any man to build hopes of heaven upon, and that in these five particulars.

 

[ 1] 1. You that make this a ground to build hopes for heaven upon, let me tell you thus much, that there are many men in the world that have kept themselves from great and crying sins, and yet remain in an unconverted estate: for instance, you may see this in Paul, in Phil. 3. 6. he tels us, That according to the Law he was*blamelesse, there was no command of God in the let t• of it, that he was guilty of the breach of, he was no swearer, nor lyer, nor stealer, nor drunkard, nor adulterer, &c. he was guilty of no great and grosse 〈◊〉, and yet Paul he had nothing to plead for heaven for him, if he had not had the righteousnesse of Jesus Christ to plead for him. Sayes the young man to Christ, What*shall I doe to inherit eternall life? Christ tels him that he should not do any murther, nor commit adultery, nor steal, nor hear false witness, honor thy Father and Mother, and love thy neighbour as thy self; the young man answered and said, all these things have I kept from my youth up: and Jesus looked upon him and loved him, and pitied him, that such an ingenuous and blamelesse man as he was should yet go to hell; this man did not break the Law of God in the letter of it, but yet he went away sorrowfull, when Christ bad him go & sell all that he had and give to the poor, the young man went away sorrowfull, for he had great possessions; then says Christ, How hardly shall a rich man enter into the Kingdom of heaven! and so the proud Pharisee that boasted himself over the poor Publican; yet this man went away justified and not the other.

 

[ 2] 2. You that make small sins a prop to build hopes of heaven upon, it may be though your sins are little and small, yet what they want in bulk and magnitude, they may make up in number; and many small sins are more dangerous then one great sin, many small scars upon the heart with a penknife is as bad as a thrust with a sword: it may be with thee in this regard, as it is in Arithmetick, many small 〈1 page duplicate〉〈1 page duplicate〉〈1 page duplicate〉〈1 page duplicate〉〈1 page duplicate〉〈1 page duplicate〉 figures, amount to a greater sum, then a few great figures do, four small figures make a greater sum then three great figures, so many small sins will do thee more harm then a few great sins? if what your sins do want in bulk and magnitude, you make it up in their number and multitude, you are as liable to damnation as if you had committed great and crying sins; though you have not committed adultery in your life time, yet it may be you have had many sinfull and unclean thoughts in your heart; and though you have not been guilty of murder, yet it may be you have had many revengefull thoughts in you, which is as bad as murther and so of any other sins.

 

[ 3] 3. You that plead exemption and freedom from great sins, to be a prop to build hopes for heavē upon, know thus much; that smal sins are more capable of great aggravations, then great sins are, as I shall shew you in these 3. particulars, wherin smal sins do admit of greater aggravations then great sins.

 

[ 1] 1. Smal sins are committed most commonly with more complacency and lesse reluctancy, then great sins are; unclean thoughts do please the heart and tickle the fancy, and content the minde of a man, and are committed with a great deal more complacency & delight, and lesse reluctancy; who would strain at a gnat? Now it layes your souls upon more guilt when you commit the smallest sins with delight and contentment, and satisfaction, then if you did commit great and gross sins, if you labor to resist them, and strive against them.

 

[ 2] 2. Thou committest small sinnes with more security, and lesse penitency, then great sins; when a man commits a great and scandalous sin, he is sensible of what he hath done, and layes it to heart, and is ashamed of it and must repent of it, or else it will be a shame to him all his life long; but he can venture upon a small sin, & never be troubled at it, nor grieved for it, he can cōmit a smal sin with a great deal of security, & impenitency, so that hereby they do the soul more wrong then great sins.

 

[ 3] 3. You are apt to run into small sinnes with more frequency then you commit great sins, for they are so open to the reproof of the Word, and so obvious to the eyes of all men, that you cannot find opportunities to commit them so often, whereas small sins you commit again and again, and one day after another, and a thousand times in one day, and yet never take notice of them, and therefore this may convince you, that your exemption from great sins, can be no sufficient ground to build your hopes for heaven upon.

 

[ 4] 4. You that build your hopes for heaven upon this ground, because your sins are none of the greatest, let me tell you, that the smallest sins that ever you committed in all your life time, without repentance on thy part, and satisfaction on Christs part, will forever keep thy soul out of heaven, if you repent peradventure you shall be pardoned, the smallest sins cannot be forgiven, without the bloud of Christ to wash them away, for without the shedding of bloud there is no remission: and thus I have shewed the insufficiency and deceitfulnesse of the first prop that wicked men do build their hopes for heaven upon, we come now to the second.

 

[ II] 2. But sayes a wicked man, I have heard and read of those, that have committed far greater and more crying sins then ever I have been guilty of, and yet they hoped for heaven, and are gone to heaven, and therefore why should not I hope for heaven as well as they? I read of David that committed Adultery, and of Noahs drunkennesse, and Pauls persecuting Christ, and Peters denying of him, and divers others, and yet these men are gone to heaven, and why may not I as well as they? Concerning this plea of wicked men I shall give you these three things by way of answer.

 

[ 1] 1. You that make this a ground for your hope, you do pervert the end for which God hath recorded the examples of his servants in Scripture, for God did not record them there, to be a provocation to thee to goe on presumptuously in sinning against him, but meerly to be a restraint and caveat to keep thee from falling into the same sins, which they did; if Noah, and Lot, and David, and Peter, &c. such holy and excellent men as these, had their failings, and did commit great and grosse sins, oh then let me take heed lest I am overtaken, and fall into the same sins; this is the use that we should make of the failings of other man, as in 1 Cor. 10. 11. All*things are written for our example, to admonish us upon whom the ends of the world are come,* and in 1 Tim. 1. 16. sayes the Apostle, Iobtained mercy, that I might be an example to all that should hereafter beleeve in Jesus Christ.

 

[ 2] 2. You that make the sins of other men, that have obtained mercy, to be a ground to build your hopes of heaven upon, let me ask you this Question; you that do fall into the same sins with Noah, or David, or Peter, do you repent with them too? it is true, Noah did fall once into the sin of drunkenness, but yet the Scripture records this of him, that he was an upright man in his generation: and so David, though he did once defile his bed, yet afterwards he repented of it, and made his couch to swim with tears for it: so Peter after he had denyed Christ, he went out and wept bitterly for it; but I say, what is all this to thee, that doest make a trade of sin, and fall into grosse sins every day, time after time, and yet never mourn and grieve for them, as David did for his sin, nor weep bitterly for them with Peter, what plea can this be for thee, to encourage thee to hope for heaven?

 

[ 3] 3. Know this further, that a godly man may fall into the same sins that others fall into, for the matter of them, but not for the manner, now it is the manner of falling into sin, and not the matter of it that dams a man; it is true, Noah did fall into the sin of drunkennesse, but I shall distinguish Noah from any wicked drunkard in the world, and that in these five particular considerations, as

 

[ 1] 1. Noah was drunk, but it was before he did know that wine would make him drunk, and if you read the story you shall finde, that there was never any wine drunk till that time, for Noah did then begin to be a husbandman, and did plant a Vineyard; but now there is never a one of you but doe very well know that wine and strong beer and the like, will intoxicate you, and yet you will not refrain from excesse in drinking; there is a great deal of difference between you and Noah.

 

[ 2] 2. Noah was drunk, but he did not proclaim his drunkennesse, but the text sayes he went into his tent and slept, he was ashamed * of what he had done, but now you proclaim your sin, and swear, and stare, and commit many other sins in your drunkennesse.

 

[ 3] 3. It is true, Noah was drunk, but you never read that he was drunk any more then once, but you are drunk again and again, one day after another.

 

[ 4] 4. Though he did once fall into this sin, yet for the ordinary course and practise of his life, he was an upright man in his Generation, whereas it may be your ordinary and frequent practise is drunkennesse.

 

[ 5] 5. Noah was an aged man, and in this regard his age might call for more wine and strong liquor to chear up his spirits, then young people do want; so that all these considerations do little mitigate, and allay Noahs fault, though it be not wholly excusable.

 

An so likewise David he committed the sin of adultery, he wallowed in an unclean bed, but yet his sin likewise may admit of some extenuation and excuse, as

 

[ 1] 1. David when he came up to the house top, he little dream’t to have seen a naked woman there, which was a very great temptation to him, but it may be some of you do seek occasion, and contrive and plot how you may commit such a sin.

 

[ 2] 2. David did fall into this sinne neither but once, you shall commonly finde that godly men fall into great sins but once, they take warning by the first transgression, and seldome fall into the same sinne again, but now it may be you live in unclean thoughts and actions all your life long, and therefore this can be no prop for your hopes.

 

[ 3] 3. Though David did fall into this sin, yet he did not continue in it long, for it was but nine moneths between Nathan the Prophets coming to David, and telling and reproving him for his sin, and the time that he fell into it; but alas some of you it may be are Adulterers of nine years standing, there are many amongst us that are old adulterers, and yet never had a melting and sorrowfull heart for their sins, that never wept as David did, nor mourn as he mourned.

 

And so Peter he fell into a sin of denying his Lord and Master; but,

 

[ 1] 1. He was resolved, and did verily purpose before, to have confessed and not to have denyed him, and yet when the Damsell came to him, and told him, that he was one of those that were with Christ, & Peter conceiving it may be that they would have put him to death and crucified him, as well as Christ, upon this sodaine surprise (which was a very great temptation to him,) he denyed Christ, And

 

[ 2] 2. Though he denyed him thrice, yet afterwards he did confesse him as often as he denyed him, for when Christ asked him, Simon Peter lovest thou me, he answered Christ three times, Lord thou knowest that I love thee.

 

[ 3] 3. Peter denyed Christ, but yet afterward he went out and wept bitterly for it, and therefore his obtaining mercy can be no ground for your hopes, that never yet repented of any of the sins you have committed, and thus you see that the falling of these three godly men into great sinnes can be no prop to bear up your hopes for heaven.

 

I shall now shew you more particularly that though the godly do fall into sinne, yea even the same sinnes for the matter of them, as you do, yet they do not fall into them in the same manner, As

 

[ 1] 1. If a godly man fall into sin it is unwittingly and unawares; in Gal. 6. 1. sayes the Apostle, if any man be overtaken with a fault. A godly man he runs away with all the speed he can from a sin and temptation, but sometimes it overtakes him against his will, but now a wicked man he runs after sin, and overtaketh it, he sins with set purpose of heart, He plots mischief*upon his bed, and sets himself in a way that is not good.

 

  1. A godly man fals into sin sometimes, but it is with reluctancy and opposition, the Spirit striveth against the flesh; there is an opposing, and striving against sin, they are not like cowards, but will fight as long as they can hold their weapon in their hands, but now wicked men they commit sin with greedinesse, with delight and complacency, without any reluctancy at all.

 

[ 3] 3. Every sinne that a godly man committeth, maketh him more carefull and watchfull for the time to come: thus it was with David, Psal. 38. the title of it, compared with Psal. 39. 1. The * title of Psal. 38. is called a Psalm of David to bring to remembrance, the subject matter of this Psalme was to bring Davids sinne to his remembrance, and having spent this, in remembring his sins, in the first words of the next Psalme, sayes he, I have sinned,*but I will take heed to my wayes, that I offend not with my tongue, after he had called to remembrance his sins past, then he resolved with himself to strive against them in time to come. A godly man never fals into a sin once, but he fears to fall into the same sin ever after.

 

[ 4] A godly man though he fals into sin sometimes, yet he will at length get the upper hand of sin; though for the present he be not able to grapple with sin, yet he will overcome it at last, Grace will out grow sinne, and get the victory over it; and thus I have shewed you the second prop that wicked men build their hopes for heaven upon; we come now to a third and that is this;

 

[ III] If you beat them off from the two former, then they flie to the mercies of God; Oh say they, God is a very mercifull God, and I hope he that made me will save me, and that I shall goe to heaven as well as other men, and the like. Now I doe not deny but the mercies of God is the chiefest prop under heaven, that a man can build his hopes for heaven upon, but here I shall shew you the rottennesse of this prop likewise in four or five regards, and that the mercies of God in generall are no sufficient ground at all, to build thy hopes for heaven upon, unlesse thou canst lay claim to the mercies of God in particular, for if you build your hopes upon the mercies of God in generall,

 

  1. The Devils and damned spirits may then hope as well as you.

 

  1. The common and outward mercies of God can be no good prop, to build hopes for heaven upon, unlesse you can lay claime to the saving and distinguishing mercies of God; the common outward mercies of God wicked men may have, for God is good to al, and his tender mercy is over all his Workes, the Devils share in the common mercies of God as well as others; but these generall mercies of God are no prop to build hopes for heaven upon, unlesse you can build upon the saving and distinguishing mercies of God, as David prayes, Shew mercy unto me O God, (sayes he) with the mercy which thou bearest to thy own childeen; it must be electing, redeeming, sanctifying, and saving mercies that you must build your hopes for heaven upon.

 

[ 3] 3. The generall mercies of God can be no ground of your hopes, unlesse you have an interest in Jesus Christ: for God is cloathed with greatnesse, and terrour, and dread, and wrath out of Christ; there is nothing to be looked upon but anger and wrath in God without Jesus Christ. There were two lawes that God did make concerning the Mercy-seat.

 

  1. The High Priest was not upon pain*of death to come to the Mercy-seat, unlesse he brought incense with him; now what does this signifie to us? why, it represents the intercession of Christ, that as Aaron was not to come to the Mercy-seat without incense, so neither can we goe to the Throne of Grace to beg mercy from God, with any hope of audience or acceptance, unlesse we carry incense with us, which is the Lord Jesus Christ to plead for us.

 

  1. Aaron was to sprinkle the Mercy-seat with bloud; which typifies to us, that we are not to expect mercy from God, but as we have an interest in the bloud of Christ.

 

[ 4] 4. To you that build your hopes for heaven upon the mercies of God in generally, let me tell you that God is not prodigall of his speciall mercies, as to bestow them upon all the world, but only upon a select number of men: he will have mercy*onely on them that fear him; as for the wicked those that run on in their sins, the Lord sayes himself, that though he hath made them yet he will have no mercy on them; the mercies of God in generall are no sufficient props to build hopes for heaven upon.

 

Ob. But here me thinks I hear some kind * of people ready to object against me, and say, What, doe you go about to beat us off from our hopes of heaven? would you bereave us of our hopes and drive us into despair?

 

  1. To this I answer, that all you that * have good and well grounded hopes for heaven, I would not for all the World, stagger your hopes; but as the great windes doe commonly root up, and blow down the smaller shrubs, but doe settle and root the stronger Oakes the faster into the ground; so I would have all that I have said this day concerning the vain & deceitfull hopes of wicked men, to confirm and establish your hopes and make them grow stronger and stronger.

 

[ 2] 2. God forbid, that this should be in my heart, to drive any of you to despair; doe not think that my aim in what hath been said is to make any of you fall into desperation, but to keep you up and prevent you from falling into presumption, which is the more dangerous errour of the two, because where the rock of desperation hath split thousands, the rock of presumption hath split its ten thousands.

 

[ 3] 3. My intention in what hath been said, is not to make you cast away all your hopes for heaven, but only your false and ill grounded hopes; I would have you to pull down all your tottering hopes, and to build them upon a more sure foundation; Jesus Christ himself being the chiefe corner stone.

 

SERMON, XIII.

 

EPHES. 2. 12.

—Having no hope—

 

WEE come now to enquire further, what is the reason that wicked men doe nourish in their hearts most hopes for heaven, seeing the Scripture sayes they have none: the last time I answered this Question, by naming three false props, that they build hopes for heaven upon; I shall now give you three or four more.

 

[ IV] 4. Another false prop that wicked men build hopes for heaven upon is this; their frequency in the performances of religious duties; and thus they reason with themselves; Shall I use duties, all the dayes of my life, as my way to heaven, and shall I not hope for heaven at my journeys end? though a wicked man does notionally hope for heaven through Christ, yet he layes the chiefest foundation of his hopes in his own good works; as Christ sayes, in the last day they shal come to him & cry, Lord, Lord, open to us, for we have prophesied in thy name, and eat and drunk in thy presence, we have heard thy word, and done many miracles, and cast out Devils in thy name, and the like; they shall boast of their hearing, and praying, and good workes, and make that a plea for heaven, when Christ shal say unto them, Depart from me, I know you not. Now I shall shew you the rottennesse and in sufficiency of this prop to build hopes for heaven upon; but I would not have you mistake me, as if I went about to beat down good workes, and make duties uselesse; for I would have you so to perform duties, as if you were to be saved by duties, but when you have done all that you can doe, to lay them down at the feet of Christ, and wholly depend upon him, as if we had done no duties at all; but if you make the bare performance of duties, to be a prop for your hopes of heaven, it will be a very rotten and deceitfull prop, as I shall shew you in these four particulars: For,

 

[ 1] 1. All performance of duties not tendered to God the Father by Jesus Christ; will not be accepted by him; that were it possible you should kneel so long in prayer to God, as that you should wear out your knees; were it possible that you should cry out your eyes with weeping, and by mourning and lamenting for your sins, you should dry up all the moisture of your body; were it possible you should spend all the dayes of your life in hearing, reading, praying, and the performance of holy duties; yet if you doe not offer them up to God in the name and mediation of Jesus Christ, they are all but like cyphers that amount to no sum at all, unlesse the righteousnesse of Christ be added to them: it is Christs righteousnesse that makes our services acceptable to God; Christ addes his incense to the prayers of all his Saints: now (beloved) though you make never so many prayers, yet if you have no share in Christ, nor in his sufferings, and prayers, and intercessions to God for thee, all thy prayers and holy duties are worth nothing, they will never bring thee to heaven; our persons must be in Christ, before our services can be accepted of God, and therefore the bare performance of duties, can be no prop to thee for to build hopes for heaven upon.

 

[ 2] 2. These things can be no prop of thy hopes for heaven, because hypocrites, whose persons and performances God doth hate, they are frequent in duties as well as you: the Pharisees they did fast twice a week, and give almes, and perform holy duties, and so those spoken of in * the Prophet Esay, They did delight to drawnear to God, and to know his wayes, as a nation that did righteousnesse, and for sook not the Ordinances of God: wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? God did not accept of any thing they did: and so those in Zac. they kept four fasting dayes in a year for *seven yeares together, and yet they said he did not regard them: and so likewise God doth not regard the prayer of the wicked, as in Psal. 105. 9. The prayer of the wicked is*an abomination to the Lord; and so is their hearing too, for they come to hear when their hearts are after their covetousnesse.

 

[ 3] 3. Know thus much, that those very duties which God does accept at the hands of his children, those very duties will he reject at the hands of wicked men, and therefore the bare performance of duty can be no prop to build hopes for heaven upon; for though thou spendest longer time in prayer, & more time in hearing reading, fasting, &c. then a godly man does, yet the Lord will accept of his duties and not of thine. I shall give you three instances for this; the first is between Cain and Abel: Abel he offered the firstlings of his sheep, and cattle and of his flock, and Cain he offered * the first-fruites of his ground; now by faith Abel offered a more excellent offering then Cain, * though Cains offering was of more value then Abels was yet Abels was accepted, when the others was not; Abels sacrifice was accepted not in regard of the quantity, and worth, and value of it, but because Abel was a beleever, and a justified man in the fight of God, and therefore he had respect first to his person, and then to his sacrifice. Another instance is in 1 King. 18. 25. between *Elijah the Prophet, and the Prophets of Baal; Elijah the Prophet tooke two Bullocks, and bid the Prophets of Baal to chuse one, and you must think they would not chuse the worst of them, and he took the other, and yet the Lord shewed a token of acceptance to Elijah and his sacrifice, though it was the worst of the Bullocks, and shewed no acceptance to the Prophets of Baal, and the reason of it was because Elijah was a justified man in the sight of God, when the others were not. And so again in Prov. 15. 8. it is said * there, that the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the wright is his delight: God doth delight in a poore pennilesse prayer coming from a godly man, when he will not accept of a costly sacrifice coming from a wicked man.

 

[ 4] 4. The bare performance of duties can be no prop to build hopes for heaven upon, because God doth not look so much upon the matter of the duty what you do perform, as to the manner how, and the end why you doe perform them, though it may be the duty which you perform be the same for the matter of them, as God requires and commands, yet if they be not done in a right manner, God lookes upon it as nothing; God will not own those duties as done to him, that are not done in a right manner, and to a right end: as in Joh. 16. 24. Hitherto (sayes Christ) you have asked nothing in my name, aske and receive that your joy may be full; and yet they had put up many petitions in his name, but because they did it not in a right manner, Christ lookt upon it as if they had asked nothing at all.

 

[ V] 5. Another false prop that wicked men build hopes of heaven upon, is a meere mistake of the promises and pillar of hope in Scripture; and this is done two wayes: either,

 

  1. They make those promises to be props of hope which are not: or,

 

  1. They doe misapply those promises that are true grounds of hope.

 

[ 1] 1. They make those to be props of hope which are not; I shall name you three of them, the first is that passage in our common Liturgy, At what time soever a*sinner doth repent from the bottome of his heart, I will blot out all his sins out of my remembrance (saith the Lord). This very sentence hath been a means to delude a world of men, whereas indeed it is no ground at all to build hopes for heaven upon: for,

 

  1. There are no such words as these to be found in the whole Scripture: and,

 

  1. The place where these words are found, it is onely in the common Liturgie, which Liturgie is but an abstract of the Popish Masse, for though all that is in the Popish Masse be not in the Common-Prayer, yet all that is in the Common-Prayer is in the Popish Masse; it may be you will scarse beleeve this, but it is very true, as you may see, if you look into the second volume of the Book of Martyrs the 667. page, where there is a Letter inserted of King Edward the sixth, sent to the Papists in Cornwall, who were risen up in armes about the translating of the Masse into Englsh, which they would by no meanes agree to, but rose up to oppose it; King Edward to pacifie them, wrote to them on this manner, As for the Service-booke, the translating of it may seem to you to be some new thing, but they are the very same words in English which were before in Latine, and if the Masse book which is in Latine be good, then it is as good now, though it be translated into English.

 

  1. You will say the Lord himself said these words, At what time a sinner doth repent I will blot all his sins out of my remembrance, (saith the Lord). I answer, that it is not said so in the whole Book of God, and if you look into that Text of Scripture which they ground these words upon, that the Lord did say so, you shall finde it otherwise; it is in Ezek. 18. 21. mark the words, these are Gods words indeed; If a wicked man will turn from all the sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and doe that which is lawful and right, he shal surely live, and not dye. They say if a wicked man does repent of his sins; now repentance is a generall work, Judas did repent, but his repentance did him no good; but here you see it is said that if a wicked man turn from all his evill wayes, and do that which is lawfull and right, then he shall surely live.

 

[ 2] 2. Another Scripture-prop which wicked men build their hopes for heaven upon, but is indeed no prop, is this, that the righteous man sinneth seven times a day; this is one of the greatest props a wicked man hath, sayes he, what doe you tell me of my sins, the best men have their failings, the righteous sin seven times a day, and why may not I goe to heaven as well as they? wicked men make this a great prop to their hopes, when indeed there is no place of Scripture like this in the whole Bible; that which comes nearest to it, is in Prov. 24. 16. A just man falleth seven times and riseth*again, but the wicked fall into mischief: now here is no mention of falling into sin in the text, nor no mention of a day; but only thus, a just man falleth seven times, and riseth again: St. Austin gives this sense of the word; a godly man falleth seven times, that is often times, expounding this place with that in Job 5. 19. The Lord*will be with thee in six troubles, and in seven there shall no evill touch thee: A righteous man, sayes Augustine, falleth seven times, not sinneth, seven times, he doth not fall into sin, but into affliction; the righteous falleth seven times, that is, the godly in this world are liable to fall seven times into affliction, that is, very often into afflictions and troubles while he lives here in this world; according to that of Job, In six troubles and in seven the Lord shall deliver thee, meaning oftentimes: and therefore this place carries no reference at all of falling into sin seven times a day.

 

  1. Suppose it were so, that the righteous did sin seven times a day, yet the text sayes in the next words, that as often as he falleth he riseth again; now it may be, many of you that make this a prop for your hopes of heaven, doe fall into sin day after day, and never rise out of them again by repentance: you leave out these words, and riseth again, for many of you live your whole lives long in an evill course, you wallow and lye down in sin, and therefore this can be no prop for your hopes.

 

[ 3] 3. Another sentence which they make a Scripture prop, but is not, is this, that Christ died for all and for every man in the world; This comes within the Arminian bounds, but this opinion is taken up by others too as well as them, that hold universall Redemption; but because I have already preached two or three Sermons upon this subject, I shall therefore onely now speak so much as is needfull, to shew you the rottennesse and insufficiency of this prop; 1. Suppose Christ did dye for all, yet those men that are of this opinion, that Christ did dye for all, they doe not hold that all men are saved by Christ, but some men may fall off from Christ; and be damned, notwithstanding Christ dyed for them.

 

  1. Take this by way of answer, that it is not likely that they should have benefit by Christs bloud, that have no benefit by this death.

 

  1. To you that make this a plea for your hopes of heaven; observe this, that where there are these generall expressions, they are very ill understood: if you say they speak of universal & generall redemption, as in 2 Cor. 5. 14, 15. Because we thus judge,*that if one died for all, then are all dead, and he died for all, that they that live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him that died for them and rose again; why, here none can lay claim to Christs death, but those that live to Christ that died for them: and so in Heb. 2. 9. But we see Jesus that was made a little lower then the Angels, for the suffering of death, cloathed with glory and honour, that hee by the grace of God should taste death for every man; but mark the restraint in the next words; For it became him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory (here the Apostle restrains the words) to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings; for both he that sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified are all one, for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren: the Apostle does here again restrain the words, and therefore this can be no more prop for your hopes, that are not sanctified; but thus much may suffice for the first branch, in shewing you how wicked men doe make those places to be Scripture props for their hopes which are not.

 

[ 2] 2. If they do not make those places to be Scripture props which are not, yet they doe misapply those places, which indeed are Scripture promises and grounds of hope; as that Christ came into*the World to save sinners; now this is a Scripture promise, for Christ came to seek and save them that were lost: but now * (beloved) men doe misapply this generall pillar of hope; they take them in the generall notions of them, and this makes abundance of people to harbour great hopes of heaven in their hearts: but now I shall shew you, wherein they doe misapply them.

 

[ 1] 1. In not considering that a man must be first in Christ, before he can lay claim to any promise of Christ. They run to the promise, and never examine first whether or no they have an interest in Christ.

 

The promise is good and comfortable, but it cannot convey any comfort to thy soul, unlesse thou art in Jesus Christ, no more then a dry pipe can convey water to thee without the fountain: we are first made Christs, and then we have a right to all the promises of Christ: it is by our interest in Christ, that we have a right and title to all the promises of God in Christ. If you have an interest in Christ, you have all the promises as it were bound up in a bundle, which you may have recourse to, and make use of when you will.

 

[ 2] 2. They object and say, that the promises doe run in free and generall termes having no conditions annext to them.

 

Answ. It is true, there are some promises that are absolute, so as to have no condition, going before them, but every promise in the Gospell hath some condition or other annext to it, if it hath not a condition going before it as meritorious; yet it hath a condition that followes after it, •• in Gen. 17. 1. I am thy God all sufficient,* (what then?) walk before me and be thou perfect. In 2 Cor. 6. 16, 18. I will be their God,*and they shall be my people: and I will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord God Almighty: what followes? why in the 1. verse of the next chapter, saies the Apostle there, Having*therefore these promises (dearly beloved) let us cleanse our selves from all filthinesse both of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holinesse in the fear of God. So in Heb. 5. 9. Christ came into the*world to save sinners, but there is a condition goes after it, he that sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified, must be all one: There is no promise in all the Gospell, but that a condition is prefixt, or annext to it: in Mat. 11. 28. saies Christ, Come unto me*all you that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest: there is a foregoing condition, we must come unto Christ: and other promises have conditions going after, as I could instance divers, but these shall suffice.

 

There are two props more behind, they are but very short ones; I shall goe over one of them now, because I would not be hindreed in my afternoons work, in shewing you the difference between those that have a reall and well grounded hope, and those that have only a false and deluding hope.

 

[ VI] 6. Another false prop that wicked men build hopes for heaven on is this, because they live honestly and justly among their neighbours, they give every man his due, and do no body any wrong, and the like, and therefore they conclude themselves in a very good condition.

 

Ans. Were this a sufficient ground for * hope for heaven, there would more of the heathens goe to heaven, then of you; for they walk very exactly, and are just and upright in all their dealings. But wicked and bad men may have very good meanings in them, as wee may see in Balaam, Numb. 23. 10. he desired to die the death of the righteous, and that his last end might be like his: this was a good desire and meaning in him.

 

[ 2] 2. Take this for an answer, that though a bad meaning will defile and pollute a good action, yet a good meaning cannot advantage nor doe a bad action any good: as the Scribes and Pharisees, they performed very good actions in themselves, but they had self-ends, and bad meanings that spoiled all their duties; good meanings cannot justifie bad actions. If thy actions be wicked, good meaning can do thee no good: Rom. 8. Those that say, Let us doe evill that good may come of it, their damnation is just.

 

[ 3] 3. Let your meaning be never so good, yet if you have an ignorant minde, it is worth nothing, as in Prov. 19. 2. The minde without knowledge cannot be good; as no man ever became rich by meaning and purposing to be rich, but by labouring and endeavouring after it, so no man ever went to heaven by good meanings without good actions accompanying them.

 

[ 2] 2. But say they, we do no body any harm, but pay every man his own.

 

Ans. 1. Though you pay every man his * own, yet do you give God his own? or rather do you not wrong God, and do him infinite indignities?

 

[ 2] 2. Though you do not do man wrong, yet doe you not your own souls wrong? as we use to say of free-hearted men, they are enemies to no man but themselves: So now do not you doe your own souls wrong by harbouring of bosome lusts and corruptions in your souls? What benefit will it be to thee, that you do no body else wrong, when you doe your own souls wrong? you are no better then the Pharisees, for they were very exact in giving every man his due; the proud Pharisee could boast in Luk. 18. 11. I am no extortioner nor unjust man: you may mean well and give every man his own, and yet be a wicked man.

 

SERMON, XIV.

 

EPHES. 2. 12.

—Having no hope—

 

[ VII] WE come now to the last prop that wicked men doe build their hopes of heaven upon, which is this, if you beat them off from all the former props, from their small sins, from the mercies of God in generall, from their good duties, and good meanings, &c. then they run to this last plea; say they, Have not we reason to nourish hopes for heaven; for we have been present with dying men, that have been as bad as wee in their life time, and yet they have had very strong hopes for heaven, and strong hopes in God: and you know dying men will speak the truth, and therefore why may not we nourish hopes for heaven, as well as they? This is a very strong prop wicked men build their hopes upon: but I shall shew you the rottennesse and insufficiency of it in these three or four particulars.

 

[ 1] 1. You must know that it is one thing to die stupidly, and another thing to die hopefully and peaceably: indeed, the worst men in the world, may die stupidly, their consciences may not doe its office when they die: they may have their consciences feared as it were with a hot iron, and think they are going to heaven, and never think otherwise till they drop down into hell; but now the godly, they die full of peace and comfort, as in Psal. 37. 37. Mark the upright man, and behold the*just, for the end of that man is peace; but there is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked, Esai.* 57. 41. There may be a fearednesse of conscience, and stupidity of heart, but they cannot die peaceably and in hope.

 

[ 2] 2. You that make this a prop for your hope, because you have seen wicked men die peaceably like Lambs; let me tell you thus much, that it is the greatest judgement in the world, for a wicked man to die peaceably, and quietly, in delusions, and conceits of going to heaven; when they are tumbling down headlong to hell: it were better for him, that God did let the flashings of hell fire to flie in his face: it were better for him that his conscience did tell him his danger, and his doom, then thus to die in a stupid manner. In Job 21. 23. it is said, that a wicked man dies in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet: no sin troubles him, nor no danger makes him afraid: so in Psal. 73. 4, 5. they have no bands in their death, but their strength is firm; they are not in trouble, as other men, neither are they plagued as other men; they have no trouble in their life time, and no bands in their death: now this is rather to be looked upon as a judgement upon them, and not as a mercy.

 

[ 3] 3. If this peace and quietnesse in a wicked mans conscience, did arise from any grounded assurance, or hope of heaven, then it might be lookt upon as a blessing; but when it doth arise meerly from the delusions of his own heart, then it is nothing but as it were a golden dore to let him into hell: it shall be with him as in Esai. 29. 8. An hungry man dreameth, and behold, he eateth: but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: so a wicked man dreams he is going to heaven, when he is falling down into hell.

 

[ 4] 4. There may be great hopes of heaven exprest in a dying mans words, when there is not so much peace and quietnesse in his heart, as in Prov. 14. 23. In the midst of laughter, the heart is sorrowfull. In the midst of a wicked mans boasting, there is a fear of hel.

 

  1. Though you have seen some men that have dyed with stupidity of heart, depart quietly; yet there are other wicked men, whose consciences are awakened, that die full of horror, and terror, and amazement. When their consciences tell them, they have dyed swearers, or lyers, or drunkards, or adulterers, &c. they are filled with horror, and terror of conscience; that though he thought all his life time he should goe to heaven, yet he now fears he is going down into hell.

 

And thus I have done with the third Question, in shewing you the reasons why, (seeing the Scripture saies that a wicked man hath no hope) that of all the men in the world, wicked men do nourish greatest hopes for heaven in their hearts; there are only two queries more to handle, and then come to the fifth branch of mans misery.

 

[Quest. 4] 4. The fourth Query in order is this; that seeing the Scripture sayes a wicked man hath no hope, and esteems of their false and presumptuous hope, to be as good as no hope; then how shall we know the difference between those well grounded hopes a godly man hath, and those presumptuous and deluding hopes wicked men have?

 

[Answ.] Ans. I shall here give you six apparent differences between them.

 

[ 1] 1. The hopes of a godly and regenerate man for heaven; it is gotten by, and grounded upon the word of God: and therefore it is called the hope of the Gospell, because * it is gotten by the Gospell as the means, and grounded upon the Gospell as the end: that we (sayes the Apostle) through the comfort of the Scriptures might have*hope: a godly man hath his comforts from the Scriptures. Psal. 119. 49. Good is the*word of the Lord, wherein thou hast caused thy servant to hope. But now the hopes of wicked men, as they are gotten they know not how, so neither do they know upon what they are grounded, and this is the reason why they are called presumptuous hopes; for this is presumption, when a man does beleeve a thing, when he can have no visible nor likely means, to ground or bottome his hopes upon.

 

[ 2] 2. True and patient hope is bottomed upon the mercies of God, and the merits of Jesus Christ; and hence it is, that Christ is called our hope, because he is the * foundation on whom beleevers do build all their hopes for heaven; so likewise they build their hope on the mercies of God, in Psal. 147. 11. The Lord taketh pleasure*in those that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy: and again in Psal. 33. 18. The eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that trust in his mercy: and so in Psal. 52. 8. saies David there, I trust in the mercies of God for ever and ever. A godly man he is cast out of himself, and out of an opinion of his own righteousnesse, and his hopes are only built upon the mercy of God, and on the merits of Christ. But now the false and presumptuous hopes that wicked men have, are not built so much upon Gods mercy as their own duties, and not so much upon the merits of Christ, what he hath done for them, as upon their own duties what they have done for themselves.

 

[ 3] 3. True hope doth comfort and bear up the heart under all the discomforts, that it meets with in the world: as David saies, I had fainted under my afflictions, but*that thy word is my hope: and hence it is that you have those two admirable expressions put together, Rom. 5. 2, 3. Rejoycing in hope,* and glorying in tribulation; these are put together to shew, that when a man can rejoyce in hope, he can glory in all the tribulations, he meets with in the world. But now presumptuous hopes, are like lead, and ponderous weights, that will make you sink under every affliction. It is only a true and saving hope, that will enable you to hold up your heads under all afflictions and troubles.

 

[ 4] 4. True hope does as well act for heaven, as hope for heaven; but a presumptuous hope, that hopes for heaven as its end, but yet never acts holinesse as its way to heaven; true hope as it hopes for heaven, so it labours to work out its salvation with fear and trembling; You have an admirable passage for this in Psal. 119. 166. * saies David there, Lord I have trusted in thy salvation, and I have done thy commandements: here is both hoping and acting for heaven put both together, wicked men they hope for heaven, but they do not do Gods commands, and so in Psal. 37. 3. Trust in the Lord*and do good, saies the Psalmist, here is trusting and doing put together, true hope doth act for heaven as well as hope for heaven; but false hope doth hope much and act little; wicked men will hope for salvation, but not work out their salvation; hope for heaven, but not labour for heaven: this is the fourth difference.

 

[ 5] 5. That man that hath true hope, he makes conscience to keep his heart pure, and free both from the love of sin, and from the dominion of sin, while he lives here in this world; you have a plain text for this in 1 Joh. 3. 3. He that hath this hope in him, purifieth*himself even as God is pure; he doth labour and endeavour to keep his heart upright, and pure, and free from sin. But now a false hope will hope for heaven, though they walk on after the imaginations of their own hearts, as in Esai. 51. 10. Thou hast walked in the greatnesse of thy wicked*wayes, yet saidst thou not, there is no hope: though they had great sins, yet they had great hopes for heaven; if thou art such a one as is mentioned in Deut. 59. 18. that saiest, Thou shalt have peace, though thou walkest*after the imaginations of thy own heart, to adde drunkennesse to thirst, if thou art such a one, thy hope is only a presumptuous hope.

 

[ 6] 6. True hope flowes from a long and well grounded experience; this is the reason of that expression in Rom. 5. 4. Patience worketh experience, and experience hope:* True hope flowes from a long and well grounded experience in the waies of God; and from an experience of the grace, and bounty, and love of God to his soul: and from experiences of the goodnesse, and mercy, and promises of God: and likewise from an experience of his own heart, in withstanding temptations, subduing corruption, and performing holy duties. Such experiences as these are inlets to a well grounded hope for heaven; but now the hopes of wicked men, are only the results of ignorance, they that never had any experience of themselves, nor of the waies of God; they have most hopes, but their hopes are only deluding, and presumptuous hopes: wicked men that do so quickly get into a state of hope, without any former experiences of the wayes of God, it is a sign that their hopes are only vain and empty hopes; they are but pithy hopes: just like your pithy trees, as Elders, and Withies, and such like trees, they shoot up fastest, and grow up soonest; whereas the more firm and stronger wood, as Oaks, and Elme, and the like, are a great while longer in growing, before they come to maturity; why, so it is a great while before a Godly man can get a well grounded assurance of his hopes for heaven.

 

[Use.] And thus I have done with the Doctrinall part of this fourth branch of mans misery, (without hope) we come now to the application, and the Use that I shall make of it shall be threefold.

 

  1. For consolation.
  2. For terror: and,
  3. For instruction.

 

[ 1] 1. For consolation, to the people of God, though the Scripture saies a wicked man hath no hope, yet it sayes otherwise of you that are a people of God, the Scripture tels you that your hope is laid up in heaven*for you; and the Lord is your hope; though wicked men have no hopes for heaven, yet you have grounded, and assured, and certain hopes for heaven: your hope is laid up for you in another world; the wicked have only their hopes in this life, and when they die, their hopes shall * perish, as in Prov. 11. 7. When a wicked man dyeth, his expectation shall perish, and the hope of unjust men perisheth; but it is not so with you, for the godly hope in their death. And * this hope of a godly man, is not as the Papists hold, for though they grant a beleever hath hope, yet they deny that any have assurance, they say that all a beleevers evidence for heaven is only a hope, a p••l adventure, (a most uncomfortable tenent;) whereas the Scripture sayes, there is as full an assurance of hope, as of faith, in Heb.* 16. 11. saies the Apostle, use all diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end, and so in Rom. 15. 5. Your hope is such as will not make*you ashamed; your hopes are not like the hopes of men that hope for dead 〈◊〉 shoes (as the proverb is), for they may go on barefoot before they die, but Christ, who is our hope, he hath dyed already, and risen again; he hath made his will and testament; and hath left us legacies, and be queathed riches to us: our hopes are well grounded hopes, not as other mens are, that will leave them, when they have most need of them.

 

[Use 2] Use 2. The second Use shall be by way of terrour, to shew you the misery of those men, that have only presumptuous hopes for heaven.

 

  1. You are in a state of unlikelihood to be converted, more then any other men in the world; and this is the reason why the Scripture tels us, that whores and harlots shall go to heaven, before the Scribes and Pharisees, and yet they were a very strict people, and did walk very outwardly holy; and the reason is, because it is an easier matter to convince a harlot of her sins, then to convince a proud Pharisee, that thinks himself as good as the best, and hath lived in peace all his life time.

 

[ 2] 2. Let me tell you thus much, that your hopes will leave you, when you have most need of them. Prov. 11. 7. the place before quoted; The hope of the wicked shall be cut off, and when he dies, his expectations shall perish: he looks for heaven, but he shall be disappointed; as in Job 8. 14. His confidence shall be cut off, and his trust shall be sake a Spiders web, as the Spider wraps himself in his web, and dwels there securely all the week long, but at the end of the week, when the maid comes to sweep the windowes, she sweeps down the web, and the Spider both; just so the hopes of all wicked men shall come to nothing: and so in Job 11. 20. The eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape; and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost. As a dying man, a little before his death, is pretty joyfull and merry, and entertains some hopes of a longer life, but when his eye-strings crack, and the tokens of death appear upon him, then his heart fails him, and all his hopes are dasht in pieces, and taken from him; just so it is with wicked men, they are full of hopes for heaven, till they come to dye, but then their hopes leave them, and all their expectations perish.

 

[ 3] 3. Your harbouring false and presumptuous hopes for heaven, does produce this threefold miserable and unavoidable effect upon you: 1. Frustration: 2. Vexation: and 3. Damnation.

 

  1. It produceth frustration and disappointment of all your hopes: when you are a dying, you hope that after death, you shall lanch forth into a sea of joy and pleasure, when on the contrary you shall lanch forth into a river of brimstone, which the breath of the Lord shall kindle: you hope it may be, that after death, you shall be carryed by Angels into Abrahams bosome, when you may be carryed by the Devils into Beelzebubs bosome: you it may be hope that death shall be a dore to let you into heaven; when it shall be only a back dore to let you fall down into hell.

 

  1. It shall produce in you vexation. Now vexation ariseth either from disappointment, or revenge: why, so wicked men shall not only have a privation of happinesse, but a vexation in the losse of happinesse. And hence it is, that some Divines give the reason why it is said in Mat. 8. 12. that in hell there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth; Some are of an opinion, that as our fire burns hot, so the fire of hell shall burn cold, but that is but a fancy: our Divines say, that there shall be gnashing of teeth in hell, in token of that vexation of minde that shall be in wicked men, because all their hopes are so frustrated and disappointed, they shall gnash their*teeth for vexation of minde, when they shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the Prophets in the Kingdome of God, and they themselves thrust out.

 

[ 3] 3. These false hopes will likewise produce your damnation: a wicked man that harbours false hopes for heaven in his heart, is like a man sleeping upon 〈◊〉 Mast of a Ship, who (it may be) is dreaming a very pleasant and delightfull dream, and upon a sudden comes a blast of winde and blowes him into the Sea; so a wicked man he is but in a golden dream on his death bed, and he hopes that he is going to heaven, till he be plunged down into hell: all this represents to you the dreadfull condition of those men that have onely presumptuous hopes for heaven.

 

[Use 3] We come now to the third use, which shall be for instruction; and if this be so, then this may teach us these two or three lessons.

 

[ 1] 1. Let us take heed lest we run into this easie delusion, there are some in the world that doe fall into it, and therefore why may not we as well as others? therefore take heed that you doe not fancy to your selves false hopes of heaven.

 

[ 2] 2. Doe you that are godly take heed that you do not cast off all your hopes for heaven: doe not you say that hope is cut off from you; as wicked men are apt to harbour groundlesse hopes for heaven, so good men are too apt to cast off grounded hopes for heaven; therefore do not say there is no hope for you, for there is hope for you.

 

[ 3] 3. Do not harbour in your hearts, common and ordinary conceits of this grace of hope, as if it were so easie a matter to obtain it; It is naturall for men to think that this grace of hope is very easie to be gotten, for say they, were it not for hope the heart would break; wicked men are ready to thinke that this grace of hope is easie to be gotten by any body, and to be had of all, therefore take heed of this, and consider that there is the same certainty, the same excellency, and the same efficacy, in this grace of hope, as there is in faith.

 

[ 1] 1. There is the same certainty in it; Heb. 6. 11. it is called the full assurance of hope.

 

[ 2] 2. There is the same excellency in it, Tit. 2. 13. it is called a blessed hope: and,

 

[ 3] 3. There is the same efficacy in it, as in the grace of faith, in Act. 15. 9. it is said * there, that Faith purifieth the heart, and so likewise does hope, 1 Joh 3. 3 Every man that*hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as God is pure: And,

 

[ 4] 4. There is the same difficulty in getting hope as in getting faith: for 1. this is gotten by the word of God, Rom. 10. 17. and so is hope too, Col. 1. 23. it is gotten by the ••aching of the Word.

 

  1. Faith is wrought in us by the power of God: Heb. 12. 2. Christ is the author and finisher of our faith; and so is hope likewise wrought in us by the power of the holy Ghost, Rom. 15. 13 that ye may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost. So that hereby you see that you ought not to have such low thoughts of this grace of hope, as if it were an easie matter for every man to get it; for there is as much certainty, as much excellency, as much efficacy in this grace, and as much difficulty in getting this grace of hope, as there is in faith. And thus I have done with the 4. branch of an unconverted mans misery, that hee is without any well grounded hopes for heaven.

 

SERMON, XV.

 

EPHES. 2. 12.

—And without God in the World.

 

[ V] WE come now to the fifth misery of men by Nature, which is this, that they are without God in the World; and here first I shall give you something from the order of the words, and then unfold them; and then draw out some Doctrines from them.

 

[Quest.] 1. For the order of the words, Why is their being without Christ put in the first place of the Text, and their being without God put in the last place?

 

[Answ.] Answ. Their being without Christ, is put in the first place, because it was the inlet of all their misery, and their being without God is put in the last place, because it is the finall upshot of mans misery; it is the inlet of a mans misery to bee without Christ, and it is his misery to be an alien to the Common-wealth of Israel, and a stranger tothe Covenant of Promise, and to be without hope, and it is the upshot of all thy misery to be without God in the World; and here I shall shew you that there are multitudes of men and women in the World, that are without God, though they doe every day worship God, yet they may live all their dayes without God; but before I speak to this, I must unfold two or three things in the words, as

 

[Object.] 1. How can it be said here that they were without God in the World, when the Apostle says in another place, that the wicked*cannot be without God, the Lord is not farre from every one of us, for in him we live and move and have our being, here the Apostle sayes that wicked men are not far from God, and that they live in God; and therefore how can it be said in the Text, that wicked men are without God in the World, whereas we are all Gods off-spring, and come from God, how can this be?

 

[Answ.] Answ. The answer is very easie; and that is this, that in some sense there is no man nor creature in the World without God; and yet in another sense there are multitudes of men that are without God in the World.

 

[ 1] 1. In some sense there is no man can be said to be without God; that is, by way of creation, preservation, sustentation, and ruling over us, every one is in God by way of creation and preservation, &c. But how in another sense there are multitudes of people without God; this is in a way of speciall interest in him, without a reconciled God, without God as a Father to you in Jesus Christ, without a God that you can lay claim to as yours, in this sense multitudes of people are without God in the World.

 

  1. Another thing that I shall explaine to you is this, what it is to be without God, and without God in the World.

 

I answer, that to be without God it includes in it in Scripture phrase these four things.

 

  1. To be without the knowledge of the true God.
  2. To be without the true worship of the true God.
  3. To be without a true obedience to the true God; And
  4. To be without a peculiar interest and propriety in God.

 

[ 1] 1. To be without God, is to be without the knowledge of the true God; then a man is said to be without God, when he doth not know the true God. Every man in the World hath something or other to be his God, as in Jonah 1. 5, 6. when there was a great tempest upon the Sea, and the ship like to be cast away that Jonah was in, it is said, that every man prayedto his God, and Jonah be prayed to the Lord his God, and so in Micah 4. 5. For all people will*walk every one in the name of his God, and we wil walk in the name of our God for ever and ever. Every man may have something to worship as a God, and yet be without the true God, those are said to be without God, that are without the knowledg of the true God, as you may see in 2 Chr. 15. 3. it is said there, that for a long time Israel was without the true God; without God, how so? doth not God rule and governe and preserve the World? yes, but they are said to be without God, because they were without the knowledge of God, for if you mark the next words, it is said, they were without the teaching Priest, and without the Law, so that all the while they lay in ignorance of the true God, they were said to be without God.

 

[ II] 2. Men may be said to be without God, when they are without the true worship of the true God; all the while the children of Israel had the Ark among them which was the signe of Gods presence, all that while God was among them, but when the Ark was taken God was gone too, the Lord will be with you while you are with him, while you worship God sincerely and uprightly according to his wil, so long God will be with you.

 

[ III] 3. To be without God is to live without true obedience to the true God, when men doe so live as that the commands of God bear no sway over them, it is a signe they are without God, as in Psal. 81. 11. *My people, saith God, would not hear my voyce, and Israel would have none of me; the not obeying of Gods commands is a not having of God; thou art without God in the world oh man, unto whose conscience the soveraignty and authority of a God cannot give a check, and a controll to thy lusts, to bring thee into obedience to him.

 

[ IV] 4. To be without God in the world, is to be without a peculiar interest and propriety in God as your God, when you cannot say that God is your Father.

 

Now if you ask me in which of these four senses these Ephesians here in the text, were without God, I answer, that they were without God in all of them, for while they were in a state of Gentilism, they were without the knowledge of the true God, and without the worship of the true God, and without any obedience to the true God, and without any reall interest and propriety in God, but chiefly the two latter are included in this phrase; the generall point of Doctrine that I shall observe, from this last branch of mans misery shall be this,

 

[Doctr.] That every man during the state of his unregeneracyis without God in the world; this only in the generall.

 

But here some may enquire what is meant by this expression without God in the World; The meaning is, that they were without any propriety or interest in God in this world, and if they are without God in this world, they must of necessity bee without God in another world. And thus you have the words explained to you, I shall now give you a more particular view of them; without God in the World, the words as they are rendered in our translation, incline this way, for a man to be without any peculiar interest and propriety in God, but these words (without God in the World) in the Greek signifies Atheists in the World; that is, they did so live as if there were no God in the World; so then the words being thus opened, there are two things involved in this phrase without God in the World.

 

[ 1] 1. That they were Atheists in the world, that is, so living, as if there were no God in the World.

 

[ 2] 2. They were living in the World without any peculiar interest or propriety in God.

 

[Doctr.] From the first of these, that they were Atheists in the World, you may note this,

 

Doctr. That every man in the state of unregeneracy, hee is an Atheist in the World; he is a man that lives as if there were no God in the World, every man in the state of unregeneracy is a practicall Atheist; now when I tell you that every wicked man is an Atheist, doe not mistake me, for there are two sorts of Atheists, an Atheist in judgement, and an Atheist in practice; an atheist in judgement is such a one, as Pagans and Heathens are, but an Atheist in practice is such a one as lives, as if there were no God in the World; so that the Doctrine is, that every unregenerate man is a practicall Atheist, that is, he so lives as if there were no God in the World, Psal. 14. 1. The Fool hath said in his heart there is*no God, that is, he so lives as if there were no God that takes notice of what hee does; thou art a practicall Atheist oh man that so livest in the World, as if there were no God in the world: and here

 

  1. I shall shew you how it comes to passe that any man is so grossely wicked to live as if there were no God in the World; And

 

  1. I shall give you the characters of a man that does live after this manner.

 

  1. How it comes to passe that men should be so grossely wicked, such practicall Atheists, to live as if there were no God in * the World, I shall give you four grounds of it.

 

[ 1] 1. The first reason is because of Gods forbearance towards them, Eccles. 8. 11. Because*God doth not speedily execute judgement upon wicked men when they commit a finne, therefore they run into thoughts of Atheism, and sinne with greedinesse, as if there were no God in the World, as in Psal. 50. 21. These things, sayes God, thou*hast done, and I held my tongue, therefore thou thoughtest that I was like thee, but I will reprove thee, and set thy sins in order before thee, because God held his tongue, and did not reprove them for their sins, therefore they thought him to be such a one as themselves, that he was a sinner as well as they; because sentence against an evill work is not speedily executed, therefore the hearts of the sonnes of men are set in them to doe evill, the for bearance of God to wicked men makes them run on into practicall atheism, whereas this is no ground at all to encourage thee to run on in sin; for

 

[ 1] 1. The forbearance of Gods judgments was never intended by God to breed atheism in thy heart, but to provoke thee to repentance, as the Apostle says, The bountifulnesse*and long suffering of God should lead us to repentance.

 

[ 2] 2. This will aggravate thy condemnation, to make the forbearance of God, a provocation to thee to goe on in sinne; And,

 

[ 3] 3. Know this that though God doth forbeare a while from punishing of thee for thy sins, yet he does neither forgive thee nor forget thee, as in Nahum. 1. 3. The Lord is slow to anger, but he is great in power, and hee will not surely clear the wicked; though God does forbear thee, yet he will not forget thee: so in Eccles. 8. 12. Though a sinner doth*evill an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet it shall not bee well with him in the latter end.

 

[ 2] 2. Another ground whereby wicked men do plunge themselves into atheism is this, because they see other men that are knowing men, and professing religion, men that doe pretend to know God, and love God, and worship God, when wicked men shall see such men as these fall into great and grosse sins, and live so unanswerable to their profession, this makes them conclude that there is no God in the World, as in Rom. 2. 24. sayes the Apostle there, the name of God is blasphemed*among the Gentiles through you. I have read a hrange story of a woman here in England, that called in question the Deity, whether there was a God or no, and a Minister coming to her to convince her, and satisfie her conscience, and to perswade her into a beleife that there was a God, asked of her this question, how she came to bee an atheist, shee answered the very first thing that caused her to entertaine thoughts of atheisme, to beleive there was no God, was the seeing of him live so wickedly and profanely; for, sayes shee, I know you to be a learned and knowing man, and you preach good Sermons, and exhort people well, and the very beholding you to live so wickedly, to be a swearer, a lyer, a drunkard, and a Sabbath breaker, &c. this made me to question, whether there were a God in heaven or no, seeing he did let you run on still unpunished.

 

[ 3] 3. Another thing that makes men live as if there were no God in the World, is the questioning of the authority of the Scriptures. I have read of one (a great scholar in this kingdome) that the means whereby he came to be an atheist was this, he first began to question, whether the Bible were the Word of God or no, because he did not know whether Moses that penned the beginning of it were a man of God or no; then he questioned how Moses could write of those things that were done before he was born, and then whether the Papists might not alter it in the translating of it; and many others questions till by degrees he came to be a very atheist, and to question whether there were a God or no: and so there are some errours now in print, that tend very much to atheism; there are some that doe affirme, that that Booke or volume of Bookes called the Bible is not the Word of God, and such an opinion as this does very much worke upon mens hearts and perswade them, that there is no God, as in i Pet. 3. 4. sayes the Apostle, There shall*come in the last dayes scoffers, walking after their owne lusts, (there are the Atheists, but how came they to be so? mark the next words) and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the Fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning, say they, we have heard that all men must be judged, that after death they must appeare before the Judgement-seat of God, to give an account of all their actions; Now because they did not see these things accomplisht already, they cryed out, Where is the promise of his coming? they would not beleeve there was any such thing, the questioning of the truths of God was that which brought them to be very atheists.

 

[ 4] 4. Another ground from whence atheism doth flow is pride of heart; it is very well observed by one, that most commonly Atheists are of the greatest men; you shall seldome see a poore man an atheist, but rich men altogether: as Pharaoh in Exod. 5. 2. Who is the Lord (sayes he) that I*should obey his voice? and so Nebuchadnezzar, in Dan. 3. Who is that God (sayes * hee) that shall deliver you out of my hands? so Alexander said himselfe was God. Atheists are ordinarily of the greatest and richest and highest people.

 

[Object.] But here some may object and say; What doe you tell us here in England, that wee are without God in the world? you may say so to Pagans and Heathens, but wee hope you will not say so to us.

 

[Answ.] For answer to this Objection, I shall here shew you 13 discoveries of a practicall atheist. I shall give you three of * them out of the Scripture, and ten more deduced from the Scripture: in Psal. 14. 1. where it is said, The Foole hath said in his heart there is no God, in that very Psalm there are three discoveries of an atheist.

 

[ 1] 1. A man living all his dayes in a prophane and disordered course of life towards God, such an one is an atheist in the first verse of that same Psalme, The Foole hath said in his heart there is no God, what follows? they are corrupt, they have done abominable workes, there is none that doth good, that man that all his life time lives in a disorderly course of life, and addes drunkennesse to thirst, and commits one sinne after another, that man is a practicall atheist, hee lives as if there were no God in the World.

 

[ 2] 2. That man that doth wholly neglect the duty of prayer in the 4. verse of the 14. Psalm, They eat up my people as they eat bread, and they call not upon the Lord, such a man is a practicall atheist.

 

[ 3] 3. That man that hates and carries a grudge in his heart, against those that feare the Lord, that man is an atheist: in Psal. 14. 6. You have shamed the counsell of the poore, because the Lord is his refuge.

 

[Use.] Now give me leave a little to press these three discoveries home upon your consciences. Are they atheists that live a disorderly life, and walk in a course of wickednesse all their dayes? are such as these atheists? Oh then how many atheists are there now in the world, that doe spend all their days in sin and vanity, and in a moment goe down into the grave!

 

  1. Are they atheists that doe neglect the duty of prayer? oh then with grief of heart be it spoken, how many atheists are there in the World that doe wholly omit this duty, both in their families and in their closets? How many are there that can say, they never goe to God upon their knees in secret, to beg for grace and mercy from God? and this neglect of secret duties, is a palpable demonstration that you doe live as if there were no God in the World, and in so doing ye are very atheists.

 

  1. Is hatred and contempt of the people of God, a badge of an atheist? then likewise are there many Atheists in the world: how many are there that can love a swearer and adulterer, a prophaner, &c. yea, love a dog and yet hate a Christian? this proceed from a root of Atheisme; that is in their hearts.

 

SERMON, XVI.

 

EPHES. 2. 12.

—And without God in the world.

 

I Have delivered you in my last, three Scripture discoveries of an Atheist; there are ten other Characters yet behinde, that are drawn from the Scriptures: As,

 

[ 4] 1. That man is an Atheist that does indulge and favour himself in the practise of secret sins; he that does continually allow and favour himself in the practise of secret sins, that man lives as if there were no God in the world: Reverend Mr. Perkins gives us this badge of an Atheist, that that very sinne which he will not dare to commit in the presence of a child, yet that sin will he venture upon when no eye sees him; thou that canst venture upon a sin, in hope of secrefie, thinking to hide it from the All-seeing Eye of God, thou art a very Atheist, thou that darest do that in the sight of God, that thou art afraid to doe in the presence of a man; this proceeds meerly from a root of Atheisme that is in the heart, as in Job 22. 12, 13, 14. when a * wicked man hath done wickedly, he is ready to say. How doth God know? can he judge through the thick clouds? thick clouds are a covering to him, that he seeth not; these are the expressions of an Atheisticall heart. An Atheist if he can but keep himself from the censure and reproach of men, he is well enough, if men cannot say black to his eye, or there goes a drunkard, a swearer, an adulterer, or the like, he is never troubled for his sins. Oh therefore thou that wouldst be accounted chast, where thou dwellest, and yet keepest thy Dalilah in thy lap: and oh thou debaucht liver, that canst quietly and securely walk on in wayes of sin, so that thou canst but keep them from the eyes of men; know thus much, that this proceeds from thy Atheisticall heart. When the hope of secrefie imboldens any man to the practise of any sin, that man is a very Atheist: you that can fear the eye of a mortall man, and yet not be afraid of the All-seeing Eye of an immortall God, you that were never troubled for your sinnes, when no body knew them but your selves; but now this is that which troubles you, that your sins are known to others, if it be thus with thee, thou art a practicall Atheist: those that are troubled, not because God sees their sins, but because man sees them, they are very Atheists, as in Job 24. 13. 15. 17. these are they, that abhorre the light, that*know not the way thereof, nor continue in the path thereof, the eye also of the Adulterer waiteth for the twilight, and saith no eye shall see me, and disguiseth his face, for the morning to them is as the shadow of death, and if one know them, they are in the terrours of the shadew of death: such as these are very Atheists, they were not troubled because God saw their sins, but because man did see their sins, this is as the terrour of death to them: they would not have men see their sins, and yet they do not care what follies they are guilty of in the sight of God; so that men cannot say black to their eyes, they are well enough. Such men as indulge themselves in the practise of secret sins, are practicall Atheists. A godly man will fear to commit a secret sin, as well as a known grosse and open sinne; as Joseph, How*shall I doe this great wickednesse, and so sin against God? if the apprehensions of a God do lie near your hear, you will have a care to avoid secret, as well as open ans.

 

[ 5] 2. Another discovery is this, that man is a practicall Atheist, that does not make conscience of the performance of secret duties: he that never prayes in secret, harbours this Atheisticall thought in him, that God doth not hear him; it is very observable of the Scribes and Pharisees in Scripture, you shall never read of a secret fast they kept, nor of a private prayer they made, but they had publique fasts a great many, they did fast twice a week, and pray in the corners of the streets, and give Almes, &c. but you never read of any private and secret duties they did perform; which did proceed meerly from roots of Atheisme in their hearts: and so this is an evidence of the Atheisticall heart, if thou dost never make conscience of going to God in secret, and beg for grace and mercy from him; he is a very Atheist that lives in the neglect of secret duties; for those men that retain in their hearts, an apprehension of a Deity, they know that there is no time so well spent, as that which is imployed in secret prayer to God. Cant. 2. 14. Oh my*dove (sayes Christ) that art in the clifts of the rocks, in the secret places of the stairs: let mee see thy countenance, let me hear thy voyce, for sweet is they voice, and thy countenance is comely; Oh thou poor soul (saies Christ) that dost pray in secret, and weep in secret corners, let me see thy face, and hear thy voice. A man that hath the apprehensions of a God before him, he knowes, that the Lord sees and takes notice of the breathings of his heart before him in secret: and therefore they are as much in the closet to pray in secret, and to powre out their souls before God in private, as they are in publique. It is very observable that there were very few actions of Christ that were recorded by all the four Evangelists, and yet this of Christs praying alone, when no body was with him, is recorded by them all: * whereas other things, if they be recorded by one, they are left out by another; but this is spoken of by all of them. Now the reason of it is this, because Christ would be an example to us, to teach us to be frequent in the performance of this duty: and therefore it is a sign of an Atheisticall heart in any one that does not make conscience of powring out his heart in secret prayer to God.

 

[ 6] 3. Another Character is this, that man that doth make impunity to be a provocation to impiety; my meaning is this, he that makes the patience and for bearance and long-suffering of God towards him, to be a provocation to sinne; that because God doth not presently punish him for his sin, therefore he will go on in sin still, such a man is a very Atheist: as in Psal. 50. 21. These things hast thou done (saies God) and I held my tongue, therefore thou thoughtst that I was such a one as thy self. (Beloved) if any of you harbour such thoughts as those in your hearts, that because God doth not presently punish you for your sins, therefore you will go on still in sin: let me tell you, that this is the practise of a very Atheist. Because the drunkard is not taken away by God, while the wine is in his head; and because the swearer is not destroyed by God, while the oath is in his mouth; and because the lyer is not cut off by God, while the lie is upon his tongue, therefore they will run on with greedinesse, and willingnesse in the same sins, all this flowes from the very root of Atheisme, that is in thy heart.

 

[ 7] 4. That man is an Atheist that carries in his heart a forgetfulnesse, and a carelesnesse of the day of judgement, as in 2 Pet. 3 4. And there shall come in the last dayes scoffers, walking after their own lusts, saying, Where is the promise of his coming? Thou that doest not harbour in thy heart, a mindfulnesse of the day of Judgement, art a very Atheist, for thou that doest not beleeve God to be a Judge, doest not beleeve him to be a God; When Paul spake to Felix of temperance, and of the judgement to come, his *heart trembled at the hearing of it. Eccles. 11. 9. Rejoyce oh young man in thy youth, and let thy heart chear thee in the dayes of thy youth, andwalk in the wayes of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou that for all these things God will bring thee to judgement. Thou that livest in the world, and never so much as thinkest of a day of judgement, thou art a very Atheist; and oh (beloved) how many Atheists are there now in the world in this regard, that do put far from them the evill day!

 

[ 8] 5. That man is a very Atheist, that in the time of trouble and distresse, does mistrust the providence of God, and run unto base means for help and remedy: thus did Saul discover himself to be an Atheist, 1 Sam. 28. 7, 8. when he was in distresse, he went to the Witch of Endor for help and succour. And what does God say of such as run to Witches and Wizards; Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that you run to other Gods to inquire of them? It is meer Atheisme for any to distrust God, and run unto others for help, or any other way to run into sinfull courses in times of danger, to finde relief, you do hereby declare, that you think there is no God in the world.

 

[ 9] 6. That man is an Atheist that does place his affections upon any thing in the world more then upon God; such a man lives without God in the world. A covetous man that placeth his love upon his money, more then upon any thing in the world, that man makes gold his God, and therefore these two are joyned together, Ephes. 15. 5. The covetous person, who also is an*Idolater, he makes an idoll of his money: and this Job frees himself from, in Job 31. * 24. saies he, I have not made gold my hope, nor 〈◊〉 gold my confidence, for, if I had done so, then I had denyed the God above, saies he in the 28. * verse: why now (beloved) there are many among us that love money better then their own souls, that will sell their souls to gain a little wealth: many among us love money better then we love heaven it self, that do not care what sins they commit for it; and had rather part with their souls, then with their riches. And so when you set your love upon your belly, you make your belly your God; or if upon pleasures, then you make pleasures your God; and so of any thing else. And therefore (beloved) I beseech you look to it, and examine your selves; is not God undervalued sometimes, when your lusts are set in the throne? is not God sometimes very low in your estimation, and other things set above him? if it be so, it is meer Atheisme in your hearts.

 

[ 10] 7. That man is an Atheist, that makes no conscience of keeping those vowes and covenants he hath made with God. The Scripture looks upon that man as an Atheist, that does not make conscience of performing those covenants which he hath made with God; in Josh. 24. 25, 26. there Joshua made a covenant with the people;*and set them a statute, and an ordinance in Shechem, and he wrote these words in the book of the Law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oake that was by the Sanctuary of the Lord: and Joshua said unto all the people, Behold this stone shall be a witnesse unto us, for it hath heard all the words of the Lord which he spake unto us, it shall be there for a witnesse unto you, lest ye deny your God: and therefore those men that do call the covenant that we have made, (with hands lifted up to the high God) an old Almanack out of date, and do scorn and despise the oath they have taken, and make no conscience of keeping the vowes and covenants they have made with God, the Scripture looks upon such men, as very Atheists: and (beloved) in this regard, there are more Atheists now in England, then ever there were since the world stood. But the Lord will manifest himself to be a just God, though wicked men do despise his covenant, and count it as an unholy thing.

 

[ 11] 8. That man is a very Atheist, whose conscience does never trouble him, nor check him for the commission of any sinne; That man that can be drunk to day, and swear to morrow, and cheat the next day, and commit one sin after another, and yet his conscience never give him any controll, that man is a very Atheist. Those that can live in the world, and commit grosse sins every day, and their consciences never check them for their sinnes, it is a sad sign that such men are practicall Atheists. If you have the fear of God in you, and the thoughts of a God upon you, it will make you reflect upon sins past, and be grieved for sinnes and miscarriages of twenty years standing: thus did Josephs brethren call to minde their former sins, Gen. 42. 21. And they said one to another, We*have verily sinned against our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear him, and therefore is this evill come upon us; and so Job, Thou writest bitter*things against me, and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth: and so David prays, that *God would not remember the sins of his youth. But now you that can be drunk one day after another, and belch out one oath after another, and commit one sinne after another, and thy conscience never controll thee, the Lord be mercifull to thee, for thou art plunged into a depth of Atheisme. One compares an Atheist to a duck in a pond, if a man throwes a stone into the water, where she is, she will presently dive under, but let it thunder or lighten never so much in the heavens, she takes no notice of it; so an Atheist he cannot endure, that men should take notice of him, or discover his wickednesse, to reprove him, or speak against him, but let God thunder upon him never so much, he will not be troubled at it; did you live under the apprehensions of a Deity, it is impossible your consciences should be so long and so frequently out of its office.

 

[ 12] 9. Those men are very Atheists, that do yeeld to a detestable indifferency in matters of Religion: that man that will sleep in a whole skin, and not dare to do any thing, to the hazarding of his estate or person, for the advancement of true religion, such a man is a very Atheist. I will give you a strange place for this, in 1 King. 18. 21. sayes Elijah the Prophet to * the people, How long will you halt between two opinions? if the Lord be God, then follow him; but if Baal be God, then follow him: and the text saies, the people held their peace, and answered him not a word; they neither said they would follow after God, neither did they say they would follow after Baal: if God were too strong for Baal, they would be for God; but if Baal did prevail, they would follow after him; which did manifest their Atheisme, and that God was not their God: that man that takes God to be his God, must follow him through whatsoever troubles or afflictions hee meets withall in the world; and indifferency in matters of religion, does argue men to be very Atheists. And therefore all time servers, that live according to the times, that are men of indifferent tempers, any religion rather then fail, will serve their turns, such men are practical Atheists.

 

[ 13] 10. Men do then shew themselves to be very Atheists, when their practises shall palpably thwart, and contradict their professions, when they are such as those spoken of in Tit. 2. 16. that in their words do professe to know Christ, but in their works they deny him. Those that do professe themselves to be Christians, and yet live like heathens; that professe themselves to have an inheritance with the Saints in light, and yet walk here as Children of darknesse, such men are very Atheists. And thus I have done with these 10. discoveries of a practicall Atheist, I have given you thirteen in all, three of them out of the Scripture, and ten more deduced from the Scripture.

 

[Use. 1] Now the use that I shall make of this, shall be by way of counsell and advice: if this be so as you have heart, that all unregenerate men are practicall Atheists, they live as if there were no God in the world; Oh then that you would bewaile this practical Atheism that is among you; Doest thou favour thy self in the practise of secret sinnes? or dost thou make no conscience of the performance of secret duties? Doest thou make impunity to be a provocation to impiety? and doest thou carry in thy minde a forgetfulnesse of the day of Judgement? or doest thou distrust the providence of God in times of trouble and distresse? Doest thou place thy affections upon any thing in the world more then upon God? And doest thou make no conscience of performing the vowes and covenants thou hast made with God? Does thy conscience never trouble thee after the commission of sinnes? Art thou a luke warm and indifferent man in matters of Religion? Doest thou professe to know God, and in thy works deny him? Doest thou any of these wayes entertain and harbour thoughts of Atheisme in thy heart? Why, so farre as thou hast done so, labour to bemoan and bewaile it, and be humbled for it, and to strive against and keep under this great sinne of Atheisme in time to come.

 

[Use. 2] Use 2. This shall be by way of consolation, to comfort and support your hearts: it may be there are some of you that hear me this day, that are the precious servants of God, and yet in some kinde or other have been tempted to this sinne of Atheisme; well, for your comfort consider these two or three things.

 

  1. Art thou tempted to Atheisme? why, yet consider that so was Jesus Christ himself, he was tempted to Atheisme and Blasphemy, when the Devill tempted him to fall down and worship him: why so though thou hast been tempted to Atheisme, and to forget Gods Alseeing Eye over thee, or the like, yet this may be for thy comfort, that Christ himself was tempted as well as thee, as the Apostle saies, in Heb. 2. 18. in*that Christ suffered and was tempted, hee is able to succour those that are tempted; Christ was tempted to fall down and worship the very Devill, but though Christ was tempted, yet the Devill could finde no corrupt matter in Christ to work upon. When the Devill shook Christ, he shook a pure Crystall-glasse of clear water, his Nature was like a Crystall-glasse full of clean water without any muddinesse or corruption at all, but if the Devill should shake any of us, he would finde abundance of dirty and muddy water in the bottome, and corrupt matter enough in our natures to work upon.

 

  1. Consider, that though you are tempted by the Devill to the sin of Atheisme, yet these temptations, if you do not approve of them, nor yeeld to them, shall be charged upon the Devill as his sins, and not upon you. And thus you see I have briefly dispatched this Doctine, that every man by nature is a practicall Atheist living in the world, as if there were no God in the world.

 

SERMON, XVII.

 

EPHES. 2. 12.

—And without God in the World.

 

BEsides that Doctrine which I finisht, the last sabbath, there is something else in the Text; wicked men are without God in the World, that is, they are without any speciall interest or propriety in God as their God, the words doe not only imply that they live, as if there were no God in the World, but they live without any right, interest or propriety in God as their God, though they are not without wisdome or wealth, or goods and estate, or honour and esteeme in the World, yet they are without any reall interest or propriety in God as their God, they are without God in the World: from whence I would note you this Doctrine,

 

[Doctr.] That every man by nature is without any reall interest or propriety in God as his God.

 

Now (Beloved) before I come to handle the point. I shall onely premise three conclusions by way of explanation, to delucidate the point, and shew you what I mean by this Doctrine: as

 

[ 1] 1. Take this conclusion, that in some sense there is no creature in the world that is without God, though in other regards men may be truly said to be without God; in some sense there are none without God, that is by way of Creation, and preservation, so the worst Devill in hell may say that God is his God: and

 

  1. A wicked man may have God to be his God by way of profession, he may professe to know God, and professe that God is his God; but now in another sense a wicked man cannot be said to have God for his God, (that is) in a way of relation and reconciliation for God to be a God in Covenant with him through Jesus Christ.

 

[ 2] 2. Take this conclusion, that though multitudes of people may lay claim to God as their God, yet there are but a few men in the world, that have God to be their God in a Covenant way; as in Zach. 13. 8 9. the Lord there lookes upon the Jewish Church under a threefold consideration. And it shall come to passe that in all the land (saith the Lord) two parts therein shall be*cut off and die, but the third shall be left therein, and I will bring the third part through the fire,and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as Gold is tryed; they shall call on my name, and I will hear them; I will say, it is my people, and they shall say, the Lord is my God: though you all lay claime to God, yet there may be but one part in three, that can truly say that God is their God in covenant with them.

 

[ 3] 3. Take this conclusion, that such is the deceitfulnesse and delusion of mens hearts naturally, that the worst of men are ready to beleive and think that God is their God, when hee is not: as you may read in Jer. 3. 4, 5. sayes God there, they shall cry unto me, My Father, thou act the guide of my*youth, and yet sayes God thou hast done evill as much as thou couldst, so in Psal. 14. 1. The*〈◊〉 hath said in his heart there is no God, they have corrupted and done abominable workes, there is none that doth good, those that have not God in their hearts, nor in all their ways, yet they will lay claim to God as their God, though they have committed abominable works and done evill as much as they could.

 

Thus much for the conclusion, I come now to handle a practicall question that necessarily must be spoken to in the purfuance of this Doctrine, which is this.

 

[Quest.] Quest. What are the characters of those men that are without any reall interest and propriety in God as their God, in a way of Covenant and relation?

 

This question I do the rather resolve upon the consideration of the great delusion and mistake that mens hearts are very apt to run into, to think that God is their God when he is not, and therefore I shall lay down to you seven distinguishing characters * of such men, and it may be I may come neer the bosomes of many of you, though the Lord knows I would not stagger the hope of the least of you that have a reall and well grounded interest in Jesus Christ: those men are without any reall interest in God as their God,

 

  1. That are without any effectual knowledge of God as their God.

 

  1. Those that live without making the Word of God to be their rule.

 

  1. Those that live in the world, without making the wayes of God to be their pleasure.

 

  1. Those that live in the World without making the glory of God to be their aime.

 

  1. Those that live in the World without making the day of the Lord to be their delight.

 

  1. Those that live in the World without making the people of God to be the objects of their Love: and

 

Lastly, those that live in the world without making sinne to be the object of their hatred.

 

[ I] For the first, those are without any reall interest or propriety in God as their God, that doe live in the world without a saving and effectuall knowledge of God: as in 2 Chron. 15. 3. it is said there that for a * long time, Israel was without the true God, and without the teaching Priest, and without the Law, all that time (while they were without the Law, and the Priest to teach them) it is said they were without God, those that live without a saving knowledge of God, the Scripture lookes upon them as having no reall interest in God. Joh. 8. 54, 55. *You say (sayes Christ) that he is your God, and yet you have not known him, intimating that God was not their God because they were utterly ignorant of him. Now (Beloved) every knowledge of God does not demonstrate your interest in God, unlesse it be,

 

  1. A practicall knowledge of him, as in *Joh. 8. 55. sayes Christ there, I am of God, I know him, and I keep his sayings: intimating that that man that does lay claim to God, as his God, must know him, and this knowledge of him will make him yeeld obedience to him, and keep his sayings; And,

 

[ 2] 2. It must be an experimentall knowledge of God, as David sayes in Psal. 51. 6. Thou hast made me to know wisdom in my inwardparts. If so bee you were persons living without a practicall and experimentall knowledge of God, you are without any interest in him as your God.

 

But before I can leave this particular, * I must answer an Objection: Me thinks I hear a poor perplexed soul say, If this be so that only those that know God aright have an interest in him, then the Lord be mercifull unto me, for I am a poor ignorant sinfull wretch, that do know nothing of God at all as I ought to know him; and therefore surely I have no interest in God my God.

 

Ans. Now to such as you are, by way of * answer, I shall leave these two or three words for your comfort.

 

[ 1] 1. Take this for an answer, that in Scripture account to complain of thy ignorance, is a good degree of knowledge: in Prov. 30. 23. you read there of Agur, who was an excellent man in vertue and knowledge, in the time of Solomon, and yet you shall not read of a man that more complaines of his ignorance then this man doth: Surely (sayes hee) I am more brutish*then any man, and have not the understanding of a man: I have neither learned wisdome, nor attained to the knowledge of the holy; and yet this man that so much complains of his ignorance, did demonstrate such fruits of grace and knowledge in his practise, as ever man did.

 

[ 2] 2. Take this for an answer, that in Gods account, he knowes most that doth most. He does not know most, that hath a great judgement to dive into and dispute about vain questions and niceties, but he is a knowing man in Gods account, that does walk answerably to that small measure of knowledge that he hath, as in Psal. 111. 10. A good understanding have all they*that doe thy commandements: God does not measure your knowledge by your questions and disputes, but by your practise, as in Jer. 22. 16. He judged the cause of the poore*and needy, then it was well with him; was not this to know me, saith the Lord?

 

[ 3] 3. Take this for an answer, that it is not the wanting of some measures or degrees of knowledge, nor the having of much ignorance, that does demonstrate thy want of an interest in God, unlesse your ignorance hath these three properties with it: As,

 

[ 1] 1. Suppose thou art ignorant of God, yet if thou are not conceitedly ignorant, if thou art not a self-conceited man, that thinkest thou knowest much when thou knowest little, thou art well enough: if you are not like those in Hos. 8. 2. Israel*shall say unto me, My God we know thee, and yet there is no fear, nor knowledge of God in the land.

 

[ 2] 2. If thou doest not sit down contentedly in thy ignorance, but doest labour and endeavour after more knowledge, then thy condition is good enough. But if thou sayest unto God, Depart from me, for I desire*not the knowledge of thy wayes, like those spoken of in Job: this is a sad signe, that you have no interest in God at all.

 

[ 3] 3. If thou art not obstinately ignorant, like those spoken of in Psal. 82. 5. They know not, neither wil they understand When men are ignorant, and will be ignorant, this is an evidence that they have no interest in God; in 2 Pet. 3. 5. sayes the Apostle, these things they are willingly ignorant of; now if your ignorance bee accompanyed with these three circumstances, that you are conceitedly, and contentedly, and obstinately ignorant, if it be so, the Lord be mercifull to you; for these are apparent demonstrations, that you have yet no interest and propriety in God, as your God. But though you have abundance of ignorance in you, yet if you bewail your ignorance, and labour and desire after more knowledge, if you follow on to know the Lord, and are not obstinately ignorant, but would doe more if you knew more, if it be thus with you, thy ignorance doth not evidence, that thou hast no interest in God.

 

[ II] 2. Another Character of a man that is without an interest in God, is this, hee is such a one that lives in the world without making the Word of God to bee his rule. Joh. 8. 47. He that is of God, heareth*Gods Word; you therefore hear him not, because you are not of God: those that will not make the Word of God to be their rule, and conform their practises in obedience thereunto, Christ sayes the reason of it is because they are not of God: and so in 1 Joh.* 4. 6. Hee that knoweth God, heareth us, and hee that is not of God, heareth not us; and therefore you that walk after the vaine imaginations of your own hearts, that are swayed and ruled by your lusts, and will not make Gods Word a bridle to curb, and restrain your lusts and corruptions, but you will doe what you list, let God command what he will: all these are manifest arguments, that you are not of God.

 

[ III] 3. That man is without an interest in God, that lives in the world without making the wayes of God to be his pleasure: as in Joh. 3. 8. 10. In this the children of God are manifest and the children of the Devill, whosoever doth not righteousnesse is not of God: righteousness is not to be taken here only for justice or civil righteousness, but for the whole bulk of godliness & the body of christianity: he that doth not righteousnesse, is not of God: this not doing of righteousnesse is answerable to the committing of sin, in 1 Joh. 3. 8. the text sayes, Hee that committeth sin is of the Devill, now this is not to be taken simply, that he that falls into sin is of the Devill, but he that commits sin, (that is) with complacency and delight, and without any compulsion, such a man is of the Devill. And so likewise he that cloth not doe righteousnesse, is not of God, that is, he that doth not act and doe it with delight, and alacrity, and complacency, such a one is not of God: so in Joh. 3. 11. sayes the Apostle, (Beloved) follow not that which is evill, but that which is good: he that doth good, he is of God; but he that doth evill, hath not seen God; (that is) he that doth evill with delight and satisfaction, and he that doth not take delight in the wayes of God, and perform holy duties with chearfulnesse and complacency, such a man is not of God; and therefore you that take more delight in the committing of sin, then you doe in the performance of holy duties, you are but in a bad condition.

 

[ IV] 4. Another Character is this, that man is without God, that lives in the World without making the glory of God to bee his aim: it is very observable, that when the Jews did accuse Christ, saying, hee was a Samaritan, and bad a Devill, but did not come from God; he did convince them, that this was a slander cast upon him, because he fought not his own honour but the glory of God, Joh. 8. 49. 50. Jesus answered, I have*not a Devill, but I honour my Father, and ye doe dishonour him, and I seek not my own glory, there is one that seeketh and judgeth.

 

[ V] 5. That man is without an interest in God, that lives in the World without making the day of God his delight, hee that takes no delight in sanctifying of the Lords day, but rather takes delight in prophaning it, that man is without God in the World, as in Joh. 9. 26. It was the speech of the Pharisees to Christ, say they, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the Sabbath-day: this had been a very good argument, had it been rightly applyed, the argument had been very strong, if the application had been good, if Christ had not indeed kept the Sabbath, but they were greatly mistaken, for Christ did keep the Sabbath. Why now (beloved) these Pharisees, were they now alive, and should see you Christians prophaning the Sabbath day, spending and trifling it away in sports and pleasures, in swearing and drunkennesse, and dishonouring the name of God; never imploying one hour of it in prayer, reading, or hearing, or any holy and religious exercise, they would presently conclude that you are not of God, because you doe not keep the Sabbath day.

 

[ VI] 6. That man is without God, that lives without making the people of God to be the object of his love; as you may see in 1 Joh. 3. 10. He that doth not righteousnesse is*not of God neither he that loveth not his brother, and so in 1 Joh. 4. 20. If any man say, I love God and hateth his brother, he is a lyer, for hee that loveth not his brother whom be hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? He that does not love his brother, the children and people of God, he cannot love God. You that carry in your hearts a secret malice and spleen against those that are godly, and more holy and religious then your selves: you that doe tiger-like, hate the very pictures of godly men, you that hate the people of God, and the Ministers of the Gospell, because they are so, that hate godlinesse as godlinesse, these are evident arguments that the love of God is not in you.

 

[ VII] 7. That man is without God, that lives in the World without making sinne to bee the object of his hatred, that man hath not God, that hates not sin; though that man may have God, that hath sin, yet that man cannot have an interest in God, that doth not hate sin. And thus I have run over briefly these seven heads, whereby you may know whether you are the men that can lay a true claim to God as your God, yea, or no: if you are men that have a true knowledge of God, and make his Word your rule, and his way your pleasure, and his day your delight, and his glory your aime, and good men the object of your love, and sin the object of your hatred; if these things be in you, you may know undoubtedly, that you have an interest in God.

 

We come now to the application, which * may serve for unspeakable comfort to all you that are the people of God, that can lay a well grounded and Scripture claim to God as your God.

 

[ 1] 1. If you have God, you have all things; and let me tell you, you that have God for your God, you may outvie all the Kings, and Princes, and Potentates in the World. Other men may say, they have wealth, and you have none; they have riches, and honours, and pleasures, and you have none: but you may goe further, and out-vye them all, for you can say, you have an interest in God, and they have none. Wicked men cannot lay claim to God as theirs; and therefore when they speak of God, they speak of him as a God to others, and not to them, as in Gen. 31. 29. when Laban spake to Jacob, (sayes he) The God of your Fathers: and so Pharaoh in Exod. 8. 25. 28. (sayes he) Go sacrifice to your God in the land: and from hence Divines doe observe, that the Scriptures doe not suffer wicked men to name God, as in a way of propriety to them, as their God: but now those that are righteous and holy, that have indeed an interest in God, God is not ashamed to be called their God. You that have an interest in God though * you are a poor despicable people, yet be not afraid to own God as your God, for the Lord is not ashamed, that you should call him your God; God is not ashamed of us whose dwellings are in the dust, he will own us: and therefore let this encourage you to goe to God as your God, and apply him as your God, and trust in him as your God, and pray to him and call upon him as your God, for he is not ashamed of you. And here that I may speak a little further to this particular, I would exhort you to two things.

 

  1. To prove your interest in God: and,
  2. To improve it.

 

[ 1] 1. Labour to prove your interest in God: examine and try whether or no, upon conscientious grounds and Scripture evidences, your hearts can be satisfied, that you are a people in Covenant with God: rest not, and trust not upon It may bees, but labour to prove it to your own souls, that God is your God; & that I may * a little help and further you in this examination, I shall here lay you down three discoveries whereby you may know, & prove unquestionably that God is your God.

 

[ 1] 1. If thou art such a one that doest labour to keep thy inward man from secret defilement by sin, as well as thy outward man, from grosser and greater enormities, as in 2 Cor. 6. 18. and in the first verse of * the next chapter; I will be your God and Father, and you shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord God Almighty: Having therefore these promises dearly beloved (sayes the Apostle) let us cleanse our selves from all filthinesse, both of flesh and spirit: and therefore if you have a care to abstain from all secret sins, whereby the inward man is defiled, it is a signe that you have a reall interest in God; because God will be our God, and will own and accept of us to be his people; we must not onely wash our legs and our outward man, but our inward parts too, and if we do thus, we may be confidently assured that we are a sacrifice well pleasing, and acceptable unto God through Jesus Christ: but now you that make conscience of your wayes, so far only, as that men may not say black to your eye, if you doe not labour to keep your inward man from defilements as well as your outward man, you have no interest in God at all.

 

[ 2] 2. Another evidence of your interest in God is this; if you have an earnest and unwearied labour and endeavour in your spirits to come to the nearest resemblance and conformity to Jesus Christ, as possibly you can. Doe you labour to be holy as hee was holy? and humble, and meeke, and lowly as hee was? in 2 Cor. 7. 1. sayes the Apostle there (dearly beloved) let us cleanse our selves from all filthinesse both of flesh and spirit, perfecting holinesse in the fear of God. Doe you labour still to resemble God in holinesse? thy relation and interest in God will make thee labour to be like unto God, and to be still perfecting holinesse though you cannot be perfect in holinesse, If you have an interest in God, you will labour more and more to be holy as he is holy, and to come to the nearest resemblance to him that may be.

 

[ 3] 3. Another discovery of your interest in God, is this, if God hath engraven upon thy soul those saving effects and blessings which he doth bestow upon all those that have an interest in him; God hath promised that he will be their God, and they shall be his people: that he will give them a new heart taking away the heart of stone, and giving them a heart of flesh; and that he will sanctifie and renew their natures, and write his Law in their inward parts, and work in their hearts a sutable disposition to his Law, and put his fear into their hearts that they shall never depart from him: These are the blessings of the Covenant of Grace. Now you that can give abundant and evident testimonies in your own souls, that you have found God cleansing and purifying your hearts, and sanctifying and renewing your natures, and writing his Law in your inward parts, and putting his fear into your hearts, that you doe never depart from him; if you finde these things in you, they are undoubted evidences, that you have an interest in God.

 

[ 2] 2. As I would have you prove your interest in God, so I would exhort you to improve your interest in God too. Many of you do let God lye by you, (as I may so say) and never make use of him for your spirituall comfort and support, and never goe to him for help, and succour, and relief in times of danger, you doe not improve your interest in God.

 

[Object.] But here it may be you would ask mee how you should improve your interest in God.

 

[Answ. 1] I answer, 1. Improve it thus, in making your interest in God, a great incentment and provocation to thee, to obey God; thus David did in Psal. 143. 10. Teach me to doe thy will, (sayes he) for thou art the Lord my God: here David did well improve his interest in God, so in Psal. 119. 115. Depart from me ye evill doers, (sayes he) for I will keep the commandements of my God. We should make our interest in God, an ingagement upon our souls, to keep the commands of God.

 

[ 2] 2. Then you doe rightly improve your interest in God, when this doth stir you up, to aggravate all the sins you have committed against God, when your interest in God doth make you see, how exceeding sinfull sin is, and how greatly you have provoked the Lord your God by your sins: as in Jer. 3. 25. We have sinned against the Lord our God, we and our Fathers from our*youth even to this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God: here the children of Israel aggravate their sins against God as their God. And so Daniel he makes his interest in God, a motive to stir him up to aggravate sin against God, in Dan. 9. 5. sayes * he there, We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and done wickedly, and have rebelled even by departing from thy precepts, and from thy judgements, and then in vers. 7. Oh Lord, (sayes he) righteousnesse belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of face as at this day: so again in vers. 8. Oh Lord to us belongeth confusion of face, to our Kings, and to our Princes, and to our Fathers, because we have sinned against thee: but to the Lord our God belongeth mercy and forgivenesse, though wee have rebelled against him: and so hee goes on all along, aggravating their sins against God: no lesse then ten times he mentions their interest in God, and ten times he aggravates their sinnes against God. It is the consideration of our interest in God, that does stir us up to aggravate our sins against God, when we doe consider that we have sinned against our God, against our gracious and mercifull Father, who hath loved us, and given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace; who is infinite in goodness, and abundant in mercy and truth; Such considerations as these will exceedingly provoke us to aggravate our sins against him.

 

[ 3] 3. Improve your interest in God by making it a prop and pillar of marble to bear up, and support your hearts under all the miseries, and afflictions, and troubles you meet withall here in the World: thus David incouraged himself in the Lord his God, in Psal. 3. 7. I am thine (sayes hee) Lord save me: then you make a right improvement of your interest in God, when you go to him, and trust, and rely, and depend upon him in all times of danger and distresse, for you have an interest in that God that is both able and willing to relieve and succour you, a God that hath helped you, and doth help you, and will never leave you, nor forsake you, and therefore be incouraged to cast your care upon him.

FINIS.

 

 

THE SAINTS TRIUMPH OVER DEATH: OR, A SERMON Preached at the Funerall OF Mr. CHRISTOPHER LOVE, IN Lawrence-Church, August. 25. 1651.

 

By THOMAS MANTON, Minister of the Gospell, at Stoak-Newington near London.

 

London, Printed by E. Cotes, for George Eversden, at the Golden-ball in Aldersgate-street, 1652.

 

THE SAINTS TRIUMPH OVER DEATH: OR, A SERMON preached on a speciall occasion,

 

On 1 COR. 15. 57.

But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Iesus Christ.

 

THese words are a part of Paul’s 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or Triumphant Song: In the Song there are two parts, and this is the last.

 

  1. A confident Challenge.*
  2. A solemne Thanksgiving.

 

The one is directed to the enemies, the other to the giver of victory.

 

  1. A confident Challenge, in which he outbraveth Death, and all the powers of the Grave, O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory? the words allude to Ilos. 13. 14. where Christ is brought in speaking, I will ransome them from the power of Death, and redeem them from the Grave: O Death, I will be thy plagues; O Grave, I will be thy destruction; there is Christs ingagement and undertaking for a full conquest of Death; Christ threatneth Death, and the Apostle insulteth over it: the form of the words is altered, because the enemy was now faln, and Paul proclaimeth the victory: hitherto Death and the Grave had insulted over the misery and frailty of mankinde, all the tombes and charnels of the World were but so many Monuments of Deaths conquests; Golgotha the place of skuls seemed to be designed on purpose, to upbraid and discourage our Redeemer; so many skuls and rotten reliques of humane frailty, as there were in that place, so many Trophies and Monuments of triumph did Death produce before the eyes of Christ, as if it were said to him, Canst thou, darest thou grapple and enter into the lists with such an enemy? But our Lord was not discouraged, when he ascended upon the Crosse; he did as it were answer these bravings of Death thus, O Death I will be thy plagues, O Grave, I will be thy destruction; and because he was as good as his word, and every way performed his ingagement, the Apostle as one of Christs followers cometh and insulteth over this proud adversary that was now faln, O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory?

 

This challenge is illustrated by a Prolepsis or an Anticipation of an objection: some might ask, What is this sting of Death? What is this power of the Grave? The Apostle answereth, The sting of Death is sin, the strength of sin is the Law; Death cometh to have this power by sin, and sin to have this power by the Law.

 

[The sting of Death]〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, The prick, it implyeth both the stroke of Death, and the anguish of it; as in the sting of a Serpent, there is the deadly touch, and the pain and torment of the wound: and so it noteth the power of Death over us, the prick or weapon by which it striketh is sin, Rom. 5. 12. By one man sin entred into the world, and death by sin; and the terrours and horrours of it, which also doe arise from sin; now by horrours I mean not onely the naturall aversation, retirement or flight of the spirits, but the bondage, torment and despair that is upon the conscience, as Death is a penall evill, inflicted by the justice of God, guilt maketh Death terrible, so that a sinner is all his life time subject to bondage, Heb. 2. 14, 15. and kept under an awe of judgement to come; ’tis not alwayes felt, but soon awakened, especially in sicknesse and approaches of Death; when we feel the cold hands of it ready to pluck out our hearts, conscience is whipped with a scourge of six strings, fear, horrour, distrust, grief, rage, and shame.

 

The strength of sin is the Law] How is that to be understood? The Law giveth strength to sin, ratione, cognitionis, obligationis, & augmentationis; they are the words of a *German Divine, and will yeeld us a fit method wherein to open the matter.

 

  1. The Law discovereth sin, and maketh it appear in its owne colours, the more light and knowledge of the Law, the more sense of sin, as in transparent vessels, dregs are soon discerned; Rom. 6. 9. I was alive without the Law, but when the Law came, sin revived, and I dyed. When by a sound conviction all disguises are taken off from the conscience, we finde sin to be sin indeed; Paul was alive before, that is, in his owne hopes, as many a stupid soul maketh full account he shall goe to heaven, till conscience be opened, and then they finde themselves in the mouth of Death and Hell.

 

  1. The Law giveth strength to sin, in regard of the obligation of it, it bindeth over a sinner to the curse and wrath of God; God hath made a righteous Law, which must have satisfaction, and till the Law be satisfied, we hear no news but of a curse, and that maketh Death to be full of horrours,*thereremaineth nothing but a fearfull expectation of the fiery indignation of the Lord. 3 It augmenteth and increaseth sin by forbidding it; lusts are exasperated and rage upon a restraint, as the yoke maketh the young bullock more unrulely. Now put all together and you will understand the force of the expression, The strength of sin is the Law, the Discovery of the Law stoppeth the sinners mouth, and the curse of the Law shutteth him up and holdeth him fast, unto the judgement of the great day, by which restraint, sin groweth the more raging and furious all which put together, make Death terrible, not an end of misery, but a door to open into Hell.

 

Now this being the case of every man, what shall we do? and how shall we extricate our souls from such a labyrinth of endlesse horrour? You have an answer of that, in the next verse in the Apostles Thanksgiving, where he acquainteth you not onely with grounds of Hope, but Triumph; Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

In this thanksgiving you may observe,

 

  1. The Author of the mercy; God by Jesus*Christ.

 

  1. The manner how we come to be interested in it; He giveth us victory. Or rather you may observe, 1 The Act of the Fatheras to Jesus Christ, in that he appointed him to get the victory. 2 The Act of the Father as to us; in that hee applyeth this victory to our souls; Christs victory and the application of it, are the two grounds of this thanksgiving.

 

  1. Christs victory over Sin, Death, and the Law, for it must be extended to all the things mentioned in the context, they are enemies by combination, and knit together in a fast league; the Law giveth strength to sin, and sin giveth a sting to Death; as long as the Law hath power, sin will be strong, and as long as sin hath strength, Death will bee terrible: But Christ hath overcome Death, he foyled it in his own person, as I shall shew you anon fully; and for Sin, he hath taken away the guilt of it by his own merit, and will destroy it more and more by the power of the Holy Ghost; when he stood before the tribunall of God he stood there, as a surety and undertaker, Heb. 7. 22. A surety of a better restament, now he was a surety mutually Gods and ours, to work Gods work in us, and our work for us; among other things which he undertook there, he undertook the abolition of sin on Gods part, he obliged himself that it should be performed by his Spirit; on our part he obliged us to endeavours of mortification: now because Christ is an able surety, the work is as good as done already, Rom. 6. 6. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin; mark, ’tis crucified with him, as implying his undertaking upon the crosse, that the body of Death might be destroyed: as noting the Work of Gods Spirit, which was ingaged and made sure by Christs death upon the crosse, that we should not serve sin, as noting the concurrence of our endevours, to which wee are obliged by the same sponsory Act of Christ: thus much Christ hath done for the abolition of sin: now for the Law, that was an enemy that could not be overcome but must be satisfied, and so it was by Christ who both performed the duty, and sustained the penalty of it, chiefly the latter, and therefore tis said, he was made a curse for us, Gal. 3. 13. The sting is lost in Christ, and the honey left for us. But this is matter of another respect and cognisance.

 

2 The next reason of the Apostles thanksgiving is the application, he hath given us victory, for understanding of which you must note that 1 Christs victory is imputed to us as if it were done in our own persons; when we are actually united to him, wee are possessed of all his merit, Christ fought our war, and joined battell in our stead; we have a mysticall victory in Christ, and are said to overcome, when Christ overcame; this is the reason why the acts of beleevers are complicated and folded up with Christs acts in the expressions of Scripture, Crucified with him, quickened with him, and raised with him, and set down with him in, heavenly places, Ephes. 2. &c. All which are terms proper to the Judiciall Vnion which is different both from the Morall and Mysticall, as I could easily shew you, were it not a matter of another nature: now this mysticall victory is of great use to a beleever in time of discouragements; if the Law challenge, Satan and Conscience say thou art a sinner under a curse, thou maist answer, I am a sinner, but I am crucified in Christ, in my surety, his payment and suffering is mine: if Death or the world discourage; you may say, This is a beaten enemy, I foyled it in Christ, I ascended in Christ, &c.

 

  1. The benefit of this victory is imparted and applyed to us, by which he maketh us conquerours over sin and death; all Christs worke was not done upon the Crosse, there is much to be accomplished in our hearts, Rom. 16. 20. The God of peace shall tread Satan under your feet, &c. not onely under Christs feet, but ours: as Joshua called his fellowes to come and tread upon the necks of the Canaanitish Kings, *Come put your feet upon the necks of these Kings: so Christ will see us conquer; he that got a victory for us, will get a victory in us, over sin, and death, and hell; Christ hath trodden them under foot already when his own *heel was bruised, now he will doe it under your feet.

 

[Doctr.] Having laid this foundation, the point and head of Doctrine, which I shall discuss is, Christs victory over Death for the comfort and profit of Beleevers.

 

Death is either the first, or second, temporall, or eternall, sinners are under the sentence of both, and both are in a sort put into the hands of Satan, he had the power of Death, Heb. 2. 14. as Gods executioner; and the one maketh way for the other, Death to the wicked is but a taking them away to torment, as unruly persons are committed to prison that they may molest no more; Gods patience expireth with their lives, and then his vengeance beginneth; The curse of the first Covenant was eternall Death, Gen. 2. 15. thou shalt dye, that is eternally, the curse must carry proportion with the blessing, the blessing was eternall life, and the curse was eternall death: I say the sorrow and pain must have bin perpetual, answerable to the life which he should have enjoyed; therefore Christ is said to have delivered us. from wrath to come, which certainly was our portion and inheritance by Adam, and without Christ there is no escape. But to come to particulars, I shall shew you,

 

  1. How Christ delivered us from Death.
  2. How far.

 

  1. How be delivered us, The Apostle answereth, that Heb. 2. 14. by Death he destroyed him that had the power of Death, now Christs Death cometh under a twofold consideration, as a merit, or as a glorious act of warre and combate; as the Act of a Redeemer, or the Act of a Conquerour: which answereth to the double evill in Death, ’tis a naturall evill, and a poenall evill; ’tis a naturall evill, as it is the dissolution of soul and body; ’tis a poenall evill, as ’tis a curse of the Covenant, or the punishment of sin: 1 There was merit in Christs voluntary Death, ’twas * a ransome for the elect, he dyed not onely in bonum eorum, for their good and profit, but loco & vice ominium, in * their room and stead; as when the ram* was taken, Isaac was spared, so Christs Death was in stead of ours; God will not exact the debt twice, of us, and our surety: Job 33. Delivered him from going down into the pit, for I have found a ransome. The sinner must dye, or the surety; now saith the Lord, I accept of the Death and passion of Christ for this penitent man; if we go downe to the pit, we go not down by way of vengeance, by Christs Death the merit of our sin is expiated, justice satisfied, Gods wrath appeased, the Law fulfilled, sin pardoned, and so the Jawes of Death are broken: Death in its self is the sentence of the Law, the fruit of sin, and the recompense of angry justice, and so it hath no more to doe with us, for God hath found a ransome. 2 You may look upon it as the Act of a Conquerour, Christ foiled Death in his own person, ever since he rifled the Grave, death hath lost its retentive power; Act. 2. 24. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, loosing the pains, &c. tis an allusion to the throws of a travailing woman, the Grave was in travail, till this precious burthen was egested, for he could not be holden of it, and over since the Grave is a womb rather then a dungeon and pit of vengeance, *non vitam rapit sed refoomat, it doth not destroy life, but renew it; in almost the same metaphor Christ is called, Col. 1. 18. The first born from the dead; not that hee was the first that was raised from the dead, howbeit he was the first that arose, others were raised by the power of another, but Christ arose by his own; so he is called, 1 Cor. 15 20. The first fruits from the dead as the offering of the first-fruits was a blessing to all the store, so Christ dying and rising is a ground of conquest to all the elect; Christ before his death had beene combating with the powers of darknesse and all the subordinate instruments; Death was Satans beast of prey, that was set upon him, but our Lord foiled it in its own dungeon, the battail between Christ and Death was begun upon the Crosse, he grappled with it there, and they went tugging and wrestling to the Grave, Christ like a prudent warriour carryed the war into his enemies countrey, and there got loose of the grasp of Death, foiled it in its own territory, he arose and left Death gasping behinde him, so that the quality of the grave is quite altered, before ’twas a prison, Satans dungeon, now ’tis a chamber of repose, a bed of ease ever since Christ slept there; when the Prophet speaketh of Christs resurrection, he saith, Isa. 53. 8. He shall be taken from prison and from judgement, by prison meaning the grave; but speaking of the death of the faithfull, he saith, Esai. 57. 2. They shall rest in their beds; ’twas for a while to Christ a prison, that to us it might be a bed of ease.

 

  1. The next question is, how far he hath delivered us from death; we see the godly are obnoxious to the changes and decayes of nature, yea to the strokes of violence as well as others; and how are we delivered? I answer, ’tis enough that the second death hath no power over us, Rev. 20. 6. Nothing to do with us. Rom. 8. 1. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, not one condemnation, &c. We may dye, but we shall not be damned; and though we go to the grave, yet we are freed from hell: But this is not all, in the first death beleevers have a priviledge, they doe not dye as others doe.

 

  1. The habitude and nature of it is changed, that which is poenall in death is now gone, ’tis not a destruction but a delivery, beleevers have wrong thoughts of Death; we are delivered from it as ’tis a punishment and a curse, now ’tis a blessing, one of Christs Legacies of the Church, all things are yours, Death is yours, 1 Cor. 3. 18. while Death was in the Devils hands it was an enemy, but ’tis made a friend and a blessing in Christ, a passage from the vale of tears to the kingdome of glory, the end of a mortall life, and the beginning of that which is immortall; as Haman to Mordecai, it intended a mischief, but it proved a priviledge: to a wicked man it is properly an execution, but to the godly a dismission of their souls into the bosome of Christ, Luk. 2. 28. Now lettest thou thy servant to depart in peace, they quietly send away their souls, but a wicked mans soul is taken away; tis twice so expressed, Luk. 12. 20. This night shall they take away thy soul from thee, and Job 27. 8. When God taketh away his soul, &c. they would fain keep it longer, but God taketh it away whether they will or no; a godly man resigneth and sendeth away his soul in peace, his life cannot be taken away, tis only yeelded up upon the call of providence; and he dyeth not because he must dye, but because he would dye, he may dye sooner then he thought, but not sooner then he would, for when God willeth it, he submitteth. But to return; the blessing of death lieth in 3 things.

 

  1. The Funerals of the godly are but the Funerals of their sins, and frailties, and weaknesses: peccatum moritur, miseria moritur, homo non moritur, ’tis not the man dyeth, but the sin, the misery dyeth: all other means and dispensations doe but weaken sin, but Death destroyeth it; when God justifieth, the damning power is gone, when God sanctifieth, the reigning power is gone, but when by death we come to be glorified, then the very beeing of it is gone: when the house was infected with leprosie, so as scraping would not serve the turn, it was to be digged down, we are so infected with sin that all other remedies are too weak, nothing but death will serve the turn: when Ivy is gotten into a wall it cannot be wholly destroyed, till the wall it self be demolished; cut off the stump, the body, the boughes, the branches, still there are some strings that are ready to sprowt again; so tis here, originall sin cannot be destroyed, the constant groans of the faithfull are, *Who shall deliver us from this body and masse of sin? But now Death is a sudden cure, sinne brought in death, and as it were in revenge, death destroyeth sin.

 

  1. There is a way made for a present and compleat Vmon of the soul with Christ. Phil. 1. 23. I desire to be dissolved and be withChrist, we are loosed from the body and joined to Christ, tis better a soul be separated from the body then absent from Christ; we have an Union here but not a presence, now judge you which is better, to be present with the body, or to be present with the Lord? to have the company of the body, or the company of Christ? Here the soul is inclosed and imprisoned as it were, but there thou hast the free enjoyment of Christ, without the clog of an earthly estate: the soul as soon as it departs the body, goeth immediately to Christ; as when Potiphars wife laid hold on Josephs coat he escaped; so you leave your upper garment in Deaths hand, but the soul flyeth to God: the body came from Adam and runneth in a fleshly channell, and what we had from Adam, must for a while be mouldred to dust, to purge it from the impurity of the conveyance; but the soul by a naturall right returneth to God that gave it, and by a speciall interest to Christ that redeemed and sanctified it by his own spirit.

 

  1. The body which seemeth most to suffer, hath much advantage: a shed is taken down to raise up a better structure, ’tis sown a naturall body, ’tis raised a spirituall body, &c. 1 Cor. 15. 44. here ’tis not capable of high injoyments, ’tis humbled with diseases unfit for duties; again, it’s sown’d corruptible body, ’tis raised an incorruptible body, here ’tis liable to changes, there it may live forever, without change and decay; if we love long life, there is eternall life; ’tis carnall self-love that maketh us willing to abide in the flesh; if we did but love our selves, but love our own flesh, we would not be afraid to dye; for to dye, is to be perfected, to have body and soul free from sin and incorruption.

 

  1. The hurt of it is prevented: as you are chosen and sanctified in Christ Jesus, it cannot hurt you, I say again death may kill you, but it cannot hurt you, it hath no power over the better part, like a Serpent it feedeth only upon your dust; nay, and for your bodies, that which dyeth as a creature, is sure to live as a member of Christ; the Lord Jesus is our head in the grave; your bodies have a principle of life within them; beleevers are raised by the Spirit of holinesse, the same Spirit that quickneth them now to the offices of grace, shall raise their mortall bodies. So Rom. 8. 11. He shall quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit, that dwelleth in you: The holy Ghost can never leave his old mansion and dwelling place: how many grounds of comfort have we against the mortality of the body! Christ is united to body and soul, and he will not let his Mysticall body want one sinew or joynt; in the account that he is to make to the Father, he saith he is to lose nothing, Joh. 6. 39. Mark, he doth not say none, but nothing: Christ will not lose a leg, or a piece of an ear: Again, God is in Covenant with body and soul, when you go down to the chambers of death, you may challenge him upon the Charter of his own Grace; God is the God of Abrahams dust, of a beleevers dust, though it be mingled with the remains of wicked men, yet Christ will sever it: Mat. 22. 32. Christ proveth the resurrection of the body, by that argument, that God is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the ground of the argument is, that God made his Covenant not only with the souls of the Patriarchs, but with their whole persons: Again, Christ hath purchased body and soul, so much is intimated in that place 1 Cor. 6. 20. Ye are bought with a price, therefore glorifie God in your bodies; Christ had payed price enough to get a title to body and soul, and therefore he will not lose one bit of his purchase; the Lord will call the grave to an account, Where is the body of my Abraham, my Isaac, my Jacob? tis said, Rev. 20. 13. The Sea gave up her dead, and the Grave gave up her dead, and Hell gave up her dead: let me note that Hell is there taken for the state of the departed, or else what’s the meaning of that passage that followeth afterward, and death and hell were cast into the lake that burneth, &c. Well then, all the dead shall be cast up, as the Whale cast up Jonah, so the grave shall cast up her dead: the grave is but a chest wherein our bodies are kept safe till the day of Christ; and the key of this chest is not in the Devils hands, but Christs, see Rev. 1. 18. I have the keys of Death and Hell; when the body is laid up in the cold pit, ’tis laid up for another day; God hath an especiall care of our dust and remains, when our friends and neighbours have left is, Christ leaveth it not, but keepeth it till the great and glorious day.

 

  1. We are eased from the terrours and horrors of death: death is terrible, as tis a poenall and a naturall evill, as I distinguished before; 1 As it is naturall evill, death in it selfe is the greatest of all evils, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, said an * heathen, which in Jobs language may be rendred, The King of terrours, Job 18. 14. We gush to see a Serpent, much more the grim visage of death; morall Philosophy could never finde out a remedy against it; Heathens were either desperate, rash, stupid, or else they dissembled their gripes and fears; but Christ hath provided a remedy, he hath delivered us not only from the hurt of death, but the fear of death; Heb. 2. 14. to deliver themfrom the fear of death, that all their life time were subject to bondage: by his spirit hee filleth the soul with the hopes of a better life; nature may shrink, when we see the pale horse of death approaching; but we may rejoyce, when we consider its errand, ’tis to carry us home: as when old Jacob saw the chariots come from Egypt, how did his heart leap within him, because he should see his son Joseph! Death however we figure it with the pencill of fancy, is sent to carry us to heaven, to transport us to Jesus Christ: now who would bee afraid to be happy? to be in the Armes of our beloved Jesus? Let them fear death, that know not a better life; a Christian knoweth that when he dyeth, he shall not perish, but have everlasting life, Joh. 3. 17. The world may thrust you out, but you may see heaven alluring, ready to receive you, as Stephen saw heaven opened, Act. 7. latter end: there is an intellectuall vision, or perswasion of Faith, which is common to all the Saints; though every one hath not such an extasie and sensible representation, as Stephen had, yet usually in the hours of their departure, faith is mightily strengthned and acted so, that they are exempted from all fear and sorrow. 2. As ’tis a poenall evill, ’tis sad when death is sent in justice, and cloathed with wrath, and cometh in the quality of a curse, you know what was said before, The sting of death is sin, they dye indeed that dye in their sins, death is a black and gloomy day to them, they drop down like rotten fruit into the lake of fire: now Christ hath taken away the sting, the dolours and horrours of it; he hath taken away death as he hath taken away sin, he hath not cast it out, but cast it down, taken away the guilt and power of it, though not the beeing of sin; so the hurt, the sting is gone, though not death it self: ’tis like a serpent disarmed and unstinged, we may put it into our bosomes without danger: there are many accusations, by which Satan is apt to perplex a dying soul, these make death terrible and full of horrours; But they overcome by the bloud of the Lamb, Rev. 12. 11. and get the victory of these doubts and fears; when sins are pardoned fears vanish; Luther said, Feri domine, feri, absolutus sum a peccatis meis, strike Lord, strike, my sinnes are pardoned.

 

  1. ‘Twill be utterly abolished at the last day. We scarce know now what Christs purchase meaneth, till the day of judgement; ’tis said 1 Cor. 15. 26. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death, tis weakened now, but then it shall be abolished as to the elect: Rev. 20. 14. And death and hell shall be cast into the lake of fire, this is the second death; the dominion of death is reserved for hell, it must keep company with the damned, whilest you rejoyce with God: for the present tis continued out of dispensation, it doth service, to promote Gods glory; but then the wicked must share death and hell amongst them, and be kept under a dying life, or a living death: but *all tears shall be wiped from your eyes, death shall be no more, and you shall take the harps of God in your hands, and in an holy triumph say, O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory? tis true we may say it, yea and sing it now in hope, as some birds sing in winter, but then we are properly said to triumph.

 

[Application.] To apply it now.

 

[Use. 1] 1. Here is terrour for wicked men, you may think it strange, that I should draw terrour out of such a comfortable doctrine, but consider Jesus Christ hath conquered death for none but those that have an interest in him, others (alas!) are under the full power of it; for the present the case of wicked men is sad, in death ’twill be worse, in hell ’twill be worst of all. 1 ‘Tis sad for the present, there is a bondage upon your souls, not alwaies felt but soon awakened, you cannot think of death and hell without torment, the thought of it like Belshazzers hand-writing against the wall, smiteth you with trembling, in the midst of all your cups and bravery; a small thingwill awaken a wicked mans conscience; the fingers of a mans hand upon the wall: Belshazzer seemed a jolly fellow: a brave spirit, sets light by the Persian forces that were even at his door, but God soone taketh off the edge of his bravery; and then his joints trembled, his knuckles smote one against another for fear; if the Lord will but whist to conscience, the bravest spirits are soon daunted, he needeth arm nothing against you but your own thoughts: certainly none but a childe of God can have a true and solid courage against death, you cannot suppose it without consternation, David said, Psal. 23. 4. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, yet I will fear no evill, that’s a griesly, sad, dark place to walk in the very borders of death, side by side with terrours and destruction, yet there David would be confident: tis otherwise with wicked men, hereafter they would not live, and here they would not dye. 2. In death it will be worse, the nearer you draw to the everlasting estate, the more will conscience be opened, and scourge you with horrour and remorse, I confesse every wicked man doth not dye sensible, some are stupid and foolhardy, they may sacrifice a stout body to a stubborn minde: but at last they dye uncertain, doubtfull if not anxious, and full of horrour; As Adrian to his soul, O Animulavagula, blandula, &c. Oh poor soul whither doest thou now goe? thou shall never sport it more, jest it more: Or as he said, anxius vixi, dubius morior, heu quo vado! I have lived doubtfully, and dye uncertainly, alas whither doe I go! A man that leapeth in the dark near a deep gulfe knoweth not where his feet shall light, and this is the case of wicked men: But this is not all, usually their death is full of terrour; things written with the juice of a Lemmon, when they are brought to the fire are plain and legible; so when wicked men are within the stench and smell of hell, they howl upon their beds, few or none are able to look death in the face with confidence. Oh consider when you come to dye sin stareth in the face of conscience, and conscience remitteth you to the law, and the law bindeth you over to hell, and hell enlargeth her mouth to receive you; what will you doe in such a case? Satan insulteth, your old tempter is become your new accuser, nay you are at oddes with your self, the body curseth the soul for an ill guide, and the soul curseth the body for a wicked instrument, ’tis a sad parting when they can never expect to meet again, but in flames and torments, and therefore curse the memory of that day, when ever they were joyned together: A godly man can take fair leave of his body, Farewell flesh, goe rest in hope, thou shaltone day awake out of the dust, and then I shall be satisfied with Gods likenesse, I have a longing desire of thy reunion, we have lived together and glorified God together thus long, God will not suffer thee to see corruption, &c. 3 In Hell twill be worst of all, envie will be a part of your torment as well as despair, Luk. 16. 23. ’tis said of the rich man, in hell he lifted up his eyes, and seeth. Lazarus in Abrahams bosome, and saith, I am tormented in this flame, ’twill be an additionall torment, to compare the beleevers eternall happinesse with your own misery, they are in the presence of God, and his holy Angels, you have no company but the devill, death, hell, and the damned, and are holden under the power of everlasting torments; you would not live and cannot dye, when you have run through many thousands of years you cannot look for one minute of rest, conscience gnaweth more and more, you burn but consume not; Oh! * tis a dreadfull thing to fall into the hands of the living God, mark that attribute living God, we do not speak in the name of an Idol that cannot avenge his quarrell upon you, or of a God that shall dye and suffer decay, but in the name of a living God, that liveth for ever to see vengeance executed upon his adversaries, there is no hope of release, as long as God is God, Hell is Hell.

 

[Use. 2] 2. It serveth to exhort us all to get an interest in this conquest of Christ, every one is not fit to make use of Christs victory over death, there are many things necessary to injoy the full comfort of it, I shall name them: 1. A care to get sinne pardoned; all the power of the devill and death hangeth on sin, therefore see sinne buryed ere thou art buryed, or it will not be well with thee: there are two deep pits, wherein you may bury your sins, and you shall never hear of them any more, the Ocean of divine mercy, and the Grave of Christ: see them buryed in the Ocean of mercy, Mich. 7. 18. Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the Sea; there is depth enough to bury them and drown them, that they may no more come into remembrance; then there is the Grave of Christ, the merit of Christ is a deep grave, deep enough wherein to bury all the sins of the world: buryed with him in Baptisme, Rom. 6. 3. Otherwise, if this be not done, you will desire to be buryed eternally, and never to rise more: Let me use one metaphor more in this matter, and it shall take its rise from that expression of the Apostle, 2 Cor. 5. 3. we shall be cloathed upon, saith he, if so be that we shall be not found altogether naked, tis the great fault of Christians when they come to die, they are to seek of a shrowd, and are found altogether naked, ’tis uncomely to see a man in his darknesse, you should bee wrapt in the winding sheet of Christs righteousnesse, there is no shrowd like to that, come thus to the grave and the grave shall have no power over you: But to leave the Metaphor, this must be your great work and care (Christians) to reflect upon these things in the serious applications and discourses of faith, the infinite mercy of God, the abundant merit of Christ, and the sufficiency of his righteousnesse for your acceptance with God. 2 Doe not onely act faith, but strive after assurance of Gods love to your souls. Old Simeon said, Luk. 2. 29, 30. Mine eyes have seen thy salvation, now let me depart in peace; he held the Messiah not onely in his Arms, but in his heart, and then he could comfortably dismisse his soul; now let me dye, (said Jacob, when he had seen Joseph), he can never dye too soon as for himself, his owne comfort and profit, that hath seen Jesus, his death is not untimely and immature, by what stroke soever he be cut off; whereas otherwise if you live an hundred yeares you dye too soon, if you dye before you have gotten an interest in Christ, the sinner of an hundred years shall be accursed, old sinners that are left to be eaten out by their own rust, are chimneys long foul and come at last to be fired. 3 Mortifie corruptions, sin must dye ere wee dye, he dyeth well whose sinnes are dead before him; either sin must dye or the sinner, as the Prophet said in another case, I say in this, thy life must goe for its life, you will find those sins mortall that are not mortified; what should an unmortified man doe with heaven? there are no sports nor carnall pleasures there, those blessed mansions seem to him but dark shades, and melancholy retirements: the Apostle hath an expression, Col 1. 12. He hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the Saints in light, we are first made meet for heaven before we enter into it, we are weaned from the world before we leave it; when men hang upon the world as long as they can, and when they can hang no longer, think then to make use of God, the Lord will refuse them with disdain, *Go to the Gods which you have chosen, let the world now help you, and save you: in short, a mortified man is prepared and ready, he doth but wait for winde and tide, and falleth like a shock of corn in season. 4 An holy life and conversation; men live as if they never thought to dye, and then dye as if they never thought to live; the best way to dye well is to live well, they that are not ashamed to live, are not afraid to die; Balaam desired to dye the death of the righteous, but would not take pains to live a godly life; every man cannot say, Thanks be to God that giveth us victory through Jesus Christ, you can not dye in Christ, unlesse you live in him, and in the power of his life advance towards heaven: oh labour to exercise your selves in these things, that you may be in a constant preparation; you never enter into the combate of death but once, ’tis impossible to mend oversights, either we are slain or saved eternally. Now if you doe what I have here exhorted you to, you may wait till your change come; and when it cometh, your last hour will prove your best.

 

[Use. 3] 3. It serveth to presse Gods children to improve the comforts of Christs victory, doe not let it goe out of your hands. 1 Improve it for your friends that are departed in the Lord; our weeping puts some disparagement upon Christs conquest, why should wee weep in the day of their preferment, in the day of their solemn espousals to Jesus Christ? * In the primitive times at Funerals they were wont to sing Psalmes of thanksgiving, we should bring them as champions to the grave, as those that have passed the pikes, and finished their course, and kept the faith, and have conquered the world, and sin, and death, and danger: Chrysostome in one of his homilies on the Hebrews, speaketh of the ancient rites at funerals, of their Hymnes, and Psalmes, and Praises, haec omnia sunt laetantium (saith he) All these signifie joy, and wilt thou weep, and sing a Psalme of praise and triumph at the same time? I confesse ’tis said, Act. 8. 2. That devoutmen carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him: ’tis our losse when the Church is bereaved of such excellent persons, there is cause of sorrow, but there should be a mixture, we should not mourn as those without hope, 1 Thes. 4. 13. as Christians must not rejoice without sorrow, so they must not be sorry without some mixture of joy; let us declare that we hope for a resurrection, that we expect to meet our friends again in heaven, and when wee weep let it be like rain when the Sun shineth, there should be somewhat of joy in our countenances as well as tears in our eyes.

 

  1. Improve it for your selves, and that, 1 In life time, that in your resolutions you may bee willing to dye; many times we are like Lot in Sodome, or like the Israelites in Egypt, we could wish for Canaan, but are loath to goe out of Egypt, this argueth little faith. Can we beleeve there is a heaven so excellent and glorious, and yet shun it? can we hope for such an *incorruptible inheritance, and yet be afraid of it? that we shall enter upon it too soon? what Prince would live uncrowned? what heir would whine when hee is called to come and take the inheritance? what thoughts have we of eternall life? do we count it a priviledge, or a misery, and a burden? And again, it argueth little love, can we pretend to love Christ, and be shie of his company! he should be unwilling to dye, * that is unwilling to goe to Christ. And again, it argueth little judgement and consideration; Wherein is this life valuable? the world is nothing else but a place of banishment, here is nothing but groaning, all the creatures join in consort with the heirs of promise, Rom. 8. 23. What do you see in the world, or in the present life to make you in love with it? are you not weary of misery and sin? the longer thou livest, thou sinnest the more, certainly thou hast provoked God long enough already, ’tis high time to breath after a better estate; and thou hast had taste enough of the worlds misery and deceit, and of the frailties and weaknesses of the body, a longer life would be but a longer sicknesse; what’s the matter, that we are so loath to let goe our hold of present things? if it be not want of faith or want of love to Christ, or too much love of the world, certainly it must be fear of death, & what a baseness & lowness of spirit is this? to fear an enemy so often vanquished by Christ and his Saints? If you be at this pass, I have preached al this while in vain, & the victory of Christ, which I have discoursed of is to little purpose; Oh consider, generous Heathens may shame you, you make all the provision of Christ in the Gospell, to be of lesse effect then meer morall principles. 2. Especially improve this in the very season and hourof death; the great Goliah is now faln, and you may come forth and * look upon the carkasse; death its self that startleth the creature, and seemeth to be the great check and prejudice of Christian hopes, is vanquished by Christ, therefore in the very season when it seemeth to prevail over you, apply the victory, and say, Thanks be to God, &c. When the pangs come upon you, remember this is deaths last pull and assault, you may bear with it, it shall molest * you no more, as Moses said, The Egyptians which yee have seen to day, yee shall see them no more again for ever, so you shall feel these things no more, in heaven there are no groans, nor tears, nor sorrows, have but a little patience, and assoon as the last gasp is over, the soul shall be carryed by Angels to Christ, and by Christ to God: beleevers have the same entertainment that Christ had, he was carryed into heaven by Angels, Dan. 7. 13. They brought him to the ancient of dayes, and so we are carryed by Angels into Abrahams bosome, Luk. 16. 22. they have a train to accompany them into heaven, as their friends accompany their bodies to the grave; and as Christ was welcomed into heaven with acclamations, and God saith, *Sit down at my right hand, and *aske of me and I will give thee, &c. so are beleevers welcomed, Well done good and faithfull servant, enter into thy masters joy.

 

What remaineth then, but that we dye by faith as well as live by faith, but that we welcome death with confidence, and breath out our souls in triumph? Moses when he took up the Serpent in his hand, ’twas but a rod, death thus welcomed and entertained by faith will prove at most but a correction, yea rather a blessing of the Covenant, a means of passage into glory.

 

One thing I had almost forgotten, to presse you to thankfulnesse to Christ: Oh blesse your Redeemer, that hath delivered you from the fear of death, admire his love and condescension, that he should come down from heaven and substitute himself into our room and place, and take the horrours of death into his own soul; ’tis said, Mat. 20: 28. The Son of man came not to be ministred unto, but to minister and to give his life a ransome for many; Christ was a Prince by birth, heir of all things, yet he came not in the pomp and equipage of a Prince, if he had come in state to visit us, and to deliver comfort to us by word of mouth, it had been much; but Christ came not in this way, not in the pomp of a Prince, but the form of a servant to minister to our necessities, and that in the highest way of self-deniall, he gave his life as a ransome for many; other Princes are lavish of their subjects bloud, and care not how many lay down their lives for them, many give their lives as a ransome for the Prince, but here ’tis quite otherwise, this Prince layeth down his life to redeem the subjects, and he suffered death that it might not bee terrible and destructive to us, Oh blessed be the Lord Jesus Christ for this love for evermore.

 

Some may expect, that I should speak something concerning the servant of God, our dear brother now departed, but I need not say any more, then what I have spoken already; all along the discourse, I have indeed spoken of him, and that in the judgement of your consciences, the duties which I pressed upon you, he performed, the comforts which I have propounded to you, he enjoyed. I shall not make any particular rehearsall of the passages of his exemplary life, I judge it not convenient; only to you of this place I may take liberty to commend his doctrine, and intreat you to be carefull of those precious truths which he sowed among you, whilest the Lord used him here as a skilfull seeds man: God looketh for some increase, and taketh speciall notice of the time, that you have enjoyed his labours, there is an exact account kept in heaven, in that parable, These three years came I seeking fruit, Luk. 13. 7. probably the three years of Christs ministery are intended, for then he was entring upon his last half year, God reckoneth how many yeares, how many moneths your Minister hath been with you, and accordingly doth expect fruit: your pastour a little before his suffering, professed high and worthy thoughts of you, let him not be deceived; ’twill be sad for you in that great day of separation, that when he expecteth to finde you among the sheep, and to be his Crown and rejoicing, he should see you among the goats; he will know you there, memory in heaven is not abolished, but parfected. I say he will know you, though without any lessening of his own happinesse, or repining at Gods righteous judgements.

FINIS.

 

 

Bible Verse:

“I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless,” (Gen. 17:1).

Search the Site

New Releases

advertisement

APM Newsletter

advertisement
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!