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The Abuse of God's Grace by Nicholas Clagett (1610-1663)

A Treatise Against Antinomianism
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The Abuse of God’s Grace

The abuse of Gods grace: discovered in the kinds, causes, punishments, symptoms, cures, differences, cautions, and other practical improvements thereof. Proposed as a seasonable check to the wanton libertinisme of the present age. By Nicholas Clagett (1610-1663), minister of the Gospel at Edmundsbury in Suffolk, M.A. of Magdalen Hall, Oxon.

Clagett, Nicholas, 1610?-1662., Wilkinson, Henry, 1616-1690.

THE ABUSE OF GODS GRACE: DISCOVERED In the Kinds, Causes, Punishments, Symptoms, Cures, Differences, Cautions, and other Practical Improvements thereof.

Proposed as a seasonable check to the wanton Libertinisme of the present Age.

By NICHOLAS CLAGET, Minister of the Gospel at Edmundsbury in Suffolk, M. A. of Magdalen Hall, Oxon.

  • •st. Mart.

Malorum morum licentia Pietas erit, occasio Luxuriae Religio deputabitur,
Tertul. Apol. adversus Gentes, c. 35.

Shall we continue in sin that Grace may abound? God forbid,
Rom. 6. 1, 2.

OXFORD, Printed by A. Lichfield, for Thomas Robinson, and Samuel Pocock. 1659.

To his honoured Cosen, WILLIAM CLAGET, Esq. And his dear Consort, the Lady SOUTHCOATE.

Dear Cosen,

YOur Friendship to me which was of old, and yet is not gray hair’d, but flourishing, knows no Winter, but a constant Spring. In both your Universitie & Citie life, the Rayes of your favour have shoone on me. It is above twenty years since we were Contemporaries at Oxford, under our Reverend, Pious, Sound, and Learned Tutor, Dr. Edw. Corbet, who was a real Saint on earth, and is now a glorious Saint in heaven. The mercy of our Tuition, is not to be forgotten of us, nor can I forget your kindness to me, which hath not been Aeffaeta gignendo, barren by Production, like pregnant Animals, and vegetative Trees. I am your Debtor, besides the due Debt of my Prayers for you, I here present to you this , a Thank-offering, that it may from your Christian candor find acceptance, and a sweet savour.

 

We live in an unhappy Age, wherein by many the Form, by most the Power of Godlyness is neglected. Though tis a Mercy, Religion is in some Forme and Fashion, yet ’tis a misery, the Fashion is so Multiform, & in every different dress so Obnoxious, & that Words and Works, are too common Antipodes. Wronging Gods Grace is Englands Epidemical sin. None of the quarrelling sides among us can plead Innocence. Though the spots of Gods children, and the Devils are not the same; yet to our shame be it spoken, all sides have too much darkened the glory of their profession, obscured the lustre of the Gospel Sun, and laid the Honour of Gods name in the dust. Seeing our streets are so foul, I would mind every one to sweep their own doors, that the times of Liberty may no longer be reproached, as they are, with a dirty, wanton, unjust Licentiousnesse, in Opinions, and Practises. The sad experience that the old man is in my self too much a Libertine, and what I have seen and heard of others, put me upon large Meditations, sundry years ago in my Lordsday Sermons to mine own Auditory, concerning the Pest of the Times, Spreading*Disease, Bane of Profession, Disgrace of Religion, Remora of Conversions, Affliction of best hearts, Occasion of Blasphemy, Temptation to Atheisme, Merriment of Rome, which consists in the Abuse of Grace. Could I upon Englands tallest Mountain speak with the loudest noise of Thunder, and articulate my mind to every ear, I would say the Abuse of Grace is Englands sinne; Repent of it, O England, repent, repent. These were the words of that faithful Martyr, Mr. Bradford, when he was burning in the flames. Though it is not possible I should be so loud, vocal, and monitory, yet incouraged  by some pious and judicious friends, I am imboldned to take the benefit of the Presse, and to communicate thoughts in season, to as many hands, eyes, and hearts, as Providence shall guide them to. I beseech you (Sir) the happinesse of whose Consanguinity and Amity, I have experienced, peruse and improve what you shall read, to an holy conviction, serious bewailing, and deep abhorrence of an odious sin which hath too black a guilt, and is loaded with many aggravating circumstances. This will be a choice divine Blessing on the Tractate, the Authors Reward, and a Testimony of the Grace of God in you. The Gospel, the precious Gospel, that hath cost the Blood of Christ, and Christians, the sweet word of Grace, the power of God unto Salvation, let it be precious in your holy esteem: And though Papists * by their Derogatory Antichristian Traditions, Worldly Polititians, and Hellish Libertines, doe in Hieromes tearms make of the Gospel of Christ the Gospel of men, or which is worse, the Gospel of the Devil. Do you speak it and live it, the Gospel of God and Grace. The things I would offer to mine own soul, I tender to you. Be inquisitive what may deservedly bear the brand of Gospel Wantonnesse, when it appears, and interpret it as the Messenger of Hell, the Artifice of the Devil turned Angel of Light, the not more subtile than pernicious Engine to ruin souls. Be one of Zions Mourners in your Closet Retirements, to look over this worst of sins, the predominant wrong of Grace, with a mourning spirit. Endeavour to live a severe, exact, spiritual, heavenly frame of heart, that when you are to give up your Death-bed account, the Spirit of Truth, Peace, Puritie and Comfort, may witness  with yours, that the Gospel hath transformed you into the Image of it’s Glory, and hath taught you to deny that ungodlyness, and those wordly Lusts, which shrowd themselves under the protection of Grace.

And, Noble Madam, as the Tye of Marriage, and the Union (I hope) of Grace, hath made you and my dear Cosen one, so have I made you one in my Epistolary address. If the divine principle of the love of God and his Gospel be implanted in you, it cannot but urge you to the detestation of, and lamentation for the prodigious sin of Gospel Wantonness: whilst some Femal vvantons study their senses and faces, not their souls, who beautifie their out-sides, whilst their insides are altogether dis-regarded; be pleased among other spiritual Looking-glasses, which religious Artists, and faithfull Writers have with elaborate thoughts composed, to honour this, so far as often to look on it, to dress your better part by it, that when it shall reflect and reverberate your gracious beauty, you may praise the infinite Beauty and Fountain of Holiness, you may be Great and Good too; and this is a most rare, and happy combination. A few there are in the words of an Ancient, that are eminent in both * worlds, and but a few; Not many Noble. 1 Cor. 1. 26. are called to eternal Honours. Goodness enamels Greatness, and shines like a precious Stone in a Ring. I like not, but altogether abhorre that morose Stoicisme and Quakerisme that frowns on the Titles of worldly precedencies, as unbecoming Christians eares & tongues. Due Titles are no crimes of Language, nor unconsistent with Piety; yet I hope you have learned the vast distance between the stile of Madam, and  Christian, and that in the divine Heraldry, the heavenly Descent of Grace will out-shine all the Escutchions, and the glorious aiery appellations of worldly precedencies. The childless, holy Eunuch, was by the Gospel Prophet comforted, that he should have a Name better than of Sons and Daughters. The new Name, either Beleever, or Child of God, out-titles, and out-glories the highest worldly stile. Fulgentius gave good counsel to Galle, a noble Christian, of a Godly, as wel as Gentile Extraction, born of the Spirit as wel as Kin to Roman Consuls; Learn to ascribe nothing to your Noble*stem. Although you have secular, illustrious glory, yet especially with a perfect humble heart be ambitious of the Spirits Nobilitie. If, Madam, the anointing of the Spirit teach you this lesson, that all flesh is grasse, and all the goodlinesse thereof is as the flower of the field, the glory, the ornament, the glittering shine of it will disappear in pale, gastly death, and the chambers of silence and rottenness: I hope it teacheth you this also, that Regeneration is the birth of births; and that the thriving Graces of the Spirit, bosom Communion with Jesus Christ here, and highest rooms in heaven, will be the Honour of Honours. Consider, Great persons are great blessings or plagues; a train follows them to Heaven or Hell, they are not saved, or damned alone. They that stand in the worlds higher ground, who either lay the snares of an evil imitation, or are the presidents of an holy conversation, shall have great, either eternal Penalty, or Glory. Hath free Gospel grace shined in your soul? abuse it not: Hold forth the Word of Life in a gracious life. If you, and the  faithfull conjugal guide of your soul shall speed your motions to those heavenly, eternal Mansions, where the better than flowings of Milk and Hony, the sweet heavenly Feasts, and unglutting delights of eternitie shall be enjoyed: If you shall avoid this common scarlet sin of perverting Grace, which with an ungrateful Wantonnesse, treads under foot the Son of God, thinks, desires, affects, and lives, as if the blood of the Covenant were an unholy thing, and offers a proud despight to the Spirit of Grace: If the study of this book shall help you both, and others to walk exactly, to redeem the time, adorn the Gospel, credit Profession, glorifie God, and promote your own, and others eternal Salvation, you will both accomplish the design of publishing the ensuing Meditations, and encourage him, who is your remembrancer at the Throne of Grace, and remains

From Edmondsbury in Suffolk, Mar. 18. 1658.

Your engaged servant in the Work of the Gospel, NICH. CLAGET.

 

To the Christian Reader.

I Shall not detain thee with a long Preface, lest I may be injurious by keeping thee too long in the threshold: Onely a few things I shall premise concerning the reverend Author, and his excellent work. As for the Author, he hath been well known to me at least Five and twenty years, as being of * that Society with me (where from the first, even to this day, (through Gods goodness I yet continue) which hath bred and sent forth many faithful Laborers into Gods Vineyard, and many learned Orthodox Writers. Of later years my acquaintance hath been much increased with this worthy Author, and I rejoyce therein: He hath for these fifteen years in Edmunds Bury in Suffolk, (Where he now resides) given abundant testimony of his industry and fidelity, in the discharge of his Ministery, and hath studied to approve himself a Workman that needeth not to be ashamed. He hath, (as it is said of Demetrius) obtain’d a good report, and of the truth: He is sound in the faith, and holy in life, & both by his life and Doctrine, makes it his business to win many souls unto righteousness. I adde no more concerning the Author, neither needed I have said so much, for he needs not my Letters of commendation: His Works speak far lowder, and praise him in the Gate. That * Corporation (where those † two faithful Servants of Christ do now exercise their Ministery) hath great cause of thankfulness, because God hath raised up such able Ministers now upon the place, in the room of their * worthy Predecessors, (with most of them I rejoyce that I have had the honor of acquaintance.) And that people, who like Capernaum, have been lifted up to Hea† Mr. Claget. M. Sclater. M. Gibbons. M. White. M. Calamy. burroughs. M. Sainthill. M. Wall.  ven with Gospel means, ought to remember, That where much is given, much is required. As for such who forsake faithful Teachers, and the Publick Assemblies, I heartily wish them timely and serious repentance, and that their Palates might have a right taste, then they will conclude, that the old wine is better then their new; and that godly ordained Ministers, are better then upstart, un-called, self-conceited Seducers.

Concerning the Book (the whole design whereof is to advance grace, and decry the abuse thereof) it cannot be expected, that I should ingage to bring of every Phrase, Punctillo, or Tittle, according to the curiosity of Criticks. As for such, whose fancies out-run their judgements, and with whom affectations of new coyn’d words, are more valued then the form of sound words; I am not careful to answer them in these matters, neither do I think their exceptions worthy of an Answer. However, I am fully perswaded, that the Treatise is solid and profitable, tending to edification; and throughout the whole, there runs a line of a gracious spirit: And whoever profits not thereby, hath more reason to question himself, then the Author: For if pride and prejudice be laid aside, I doubt not, but (through Gods blessing) much spiritual advantage will follow, upon the serious and deliberate perusal of this Book.

Now if any one Object that the World is glutted with multitude of Books; my answer is, For good, Orthodox, solid Writers, we have reason to bless God, for such helps we have by them, and ought to be desirous for the continual increase of them: As for vain, frothy, unsound Writers, we wish that they were supprest altogether: For some Books, we have too many; and of others, which are rotten, heretical, and blasphemous, we wish we had not any at all, but that they and their Authors might be buryed  together, and never be reviv’d, as now adays (with sorrow be it mentioned) they are, and become voluminous, to the great injury of the Church of God.

But as for such excellent Books as we have had of late years, I have cause to bless God that ever I read * them: I heartily wish that there were more of that kinde: One of the same stamp is this Treatise. The man and his Communication is one and the same: His design, (I am perswaded) is in the singleness of his heart to bring glory to God, in advancing of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. He was hardly prevail’d withal to put this Work to Print; but having communicated it to me, and referr’d it to my determination, after a deliberate perusal thereof, I would not by any means suppress that which I conceived might conduce to the publick good.

Wherefore (Reader) be pleased to spend some time (and it will be no lost time) in a careful reading of this profitable Treatise; and if thou be not wanting to thy self, I conceive thou wilt reap much benefit for thy precious soul. And this further request I have to thee, that thou would’st be mindful of the Author at the Throne of Grace; and of him also, who rejoyceth, that he hath been in any way instrumental to bring to light this Treatise, which in love to thy soul he hath now made publick, and remains,

Oxon, Magdalen-Hall. March 28. 1659.

Thy Servant for Christs sake, Henry Wilkinson.

 

The Authors Preface to the unprejudiced Reader.

THE corruption of the best things is the worst corruption; of Sense bad, of Reason worse, of * Grace worst of all. As chrystal waters are bemired, fair faces besported, not into ornament, but deformitie; so the pure chrystal streams of the Sanctuary are defiled, and the fair face of Gods Grace, the most orient Beauty of Heaven and Earth is bespotted by deforming Libertinism. There is no new thing under the Sun.a What hath been is, and will be, while the old man, and the old Serpent, in their impure conjunction, are apt and able to engender a numerous brood of licentious wantons. The Abuse of Gods goodness is as ancient as Angels and Adams fall. As Angels. They defaced the Primitive glory of their creation, stood not in * the truth,b but voluntarily depraved themselves from once pure, and blessed Angels, into unclean, and cursed Devils. Adam abusing himself and his freewill, lost himself and his freewill, perverted his sinless mutability given him to stand, to the worst use of it, to fall. Abused his soveraignty over Eve and the creatures, his bright burning candle of Reason, his Conscience fit to condemn, his Will able to reject Temptation, his regular affections, his tenacious memory, his natural homage to his Maker; in short, his created sufficiencie. Since this fall, and fatal epidemical degeneration, a loose wantonnesse hath run through the masse of all Mankind, by ordinary generation the Offspring of Adam. As Aelian relates, there is a sting of poyson that runs quite through the Lampreyes, a fish of a delicate taste, so the Abuse of Gods goodnesse runs through all the generations of men. The vilest of them are predominant wantons. The best have been too much infected with the leaven of looseness. The impure fire of the Sodomites Incontinencie, left the natural use, and burnt in lust to men.cBring out the men that we may know them.d The lascivious Israelites sate down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.e The degenerate Idolatrous seed of Abraham, oft left the bed of chast worship, and the pure heavenly delights of spiritual conjugal communion for the filthy exotick pleasures of superstitious Lovers.fThe sonnes of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and they took them wives of all which they chose.g Junius notes The daughters of men are opposed to the sons*of God. It was not worldly men that desired worldly women, but the sons of God, men in covenant with God, professed Church members that did fornicate after unsuitable contagious beauties, and so infected the Church. The posterity of Seth, who had the purity of Gods worship, as Otho Casman observes, we•e so debauched by carnal sensuality, ut extincto filiorum Dei semine, The seed of Gods sonnes being extinct, they set*up their carnal desires before their professed pure Religion. Lot was first abused with Wine, then with Incest hAaron the Saint of God i had a part in the guilt of the golden Idol kDavid was too lascivious in his house top. l The Lords covenan•ed people were linsey woolsey in their Religion, feared God, and yet served their Idols.mHalted between God and Baal.n Great Solomon was so enslaved to his wanton wives, that his hea•rt was after strange Gods. o The temple of the Lord was converted into a den of thieves, and became a sanctuary of wickedness. So under the New Testament clear Gospel-light hath been perverted to countenance works of darknesse. Ranting Libertines have been first poysoned in their Intellectuals. p They count it pleasure to riot in the Meridian Gospel-day-time, q and then they are infected in their Morals, and become adulterers, seducers, covetous, cursed children that cannot cease from sin. r Even the family of Christ had a licentious Judas that did personate, not live the Saint, but was a very Devil in a Saints cloaths. sSimon Magus would buy, that hee might sell the Spirit, make a worldly market, not an heavenly negotiation of the Holy Ghost. t The Apostle Paul blamed the Corinthians gifted, but infected Christians, with ••dings, u spiritual pride w contentions, x and carnal uncleanness. y The Widdow a Votary to Christ and his Gospel, waxed wanton against him, z preferred a life of carnal pleasures a before spiritual delights. In the primitive Feasts of Love, licentious Christians   fea•ed their lusts b as well as bellyes, Fed without feare,c had the character of their wantonnesse set out by the Apostles Peter and Jude. The deeds of the Nicolaitans were abominable, d Their error was accursed, who condemned Marriage, and gave license to Adulteries and Fornications, pure instituted Ordinances, (as none can doubt but they were such under Old and New Testament times) could not keep out impure hearts and lives. If the presence, power, and Doctrine of the Patriarchs, Prophets, •vageli••s, Apostles, could not prevent daring insolencies against the light of Gods truth, and holy profession, it is no wonder if in after ages, from this impure spring, Abuse of Grace, noisome streams of loose principles and practises are flown. Church History records how C•osticks, Valentinians, Arrians, Marcionites, Manichees, and others, have depraved the Truth of God, how under these and other Enemies of the Gospel, black egiments of Libertines have abused the Colours of Christ, and sided with the Prince of darknesse, by wronging the Grace of •od. Nor hath the church of Rome, under the Papacy cause to wipe her mouth and hug het selfe in her Paramount chastity, whose title is Mystery, Babilon, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth.e Shee is a wanton Bawd . Her pompous Religion in her splendid garrish Attire, her golden cup of Fornication, f speaks her a Wanton of Wantons: all the eye pleasing Pageantry of her unwritten Traditions, are but the wanton products of her carnall wisdome, pretencing to, but never proving scripture allowance. As the Mystical Fornication of her Idolatry is undeniable, so in a wanton indulgence, is shee a Fornicating Bawd in the Letter, besides the tolleration of stewes in Rome, one of her children Joannes a Casa hath exceeded the impure Hereticks of former times, defending, yea extolling corporall uncleannesse; and yet Romish impurity must all be courted under the name of the Church and Holinesse. This Romish impudent Strumpet is like Aristippus a filthy Philosopher, who freely Luxuriating with Lais an impure Strumpet, became a Pandor of a Philosoper, and thinking it not enough to live wickedly, he began to be a teacher of Lusts, translated his Brothel-house Life to the schoole, and taught the pleasure of the body to be the cheifest good. Thus neither professed Philosophy, nor christianity hath been an expedient  to curb the insolencies of vile, carnal, affections. Professed Heathens and Christians have been false to their lights and convictions, yea have wantonly, either put them out, or turned their backs upon them, and yet even in those times wherein loosenesse hath abounded against nature and grace, the Lord hath stirred up witnesses to beare a severe Testimony against both kinds of Abuses.

Among the Degenerate seed of Adam, loose Pagans, there were many that abused their Gods, whereof some were whole, some halfe Atheists: Some whole, Wicked men contemners of Religion, Denyed the Being of a God, as Diagoras, Melius, who was therefore called an Atheist, and Theodorus Cyrenaicus,* and Eumerius Siculus. Others halfe Atheists, acknowledged a Deity, yet denyed Providence, That God had any care of humane affaires, that he governed the World, yea denyed also the immortality of the Soule, and a life in the other world: Lucian was such a semi-Atheist, making sport with Jupiter, for being too cool and indulgent in his government: to condemne lewd unmorral Heathens, there were, I may say, a stricter sort of Pagans, externally pure from the grosse crimes of the times, though guilty of innumerable blameable impurities of the Heart, unwasht by faith. Such were Aristides, surnamed the Just. Phocion the Good profitable Patriot, Cymon Incredibly beneficial and Liberal to the poore; Epaminondas, modest, grave, true; Socrates, patient, meek; Xenocrates, continent, frugal; Lucretia, chast, Also * the Camilli, Curij, Fabij, Fabritij, Catoes, Scipioes, were eminent externall Moralists, whose examples may shame profane Christians. Seneca thus complained of debauched Pagans, This said he our Ancestors complained of, this is our complaint, this wil be a complaints, good manners are overthrowne, wickednesse reignes, men grow worse and worse; but because even among Christians, there are that Pene supra modum, as one saith, are excessive admirers of Pagans virtue, yea some wanton wits among us, are more taken with Heathen, then protestant writers, so thin in using these, so large in quoting those; it will be needful to shew the sad and dreadfull desiciencies of the most shining Pagan morality, it was ignorant, ill principled, and ill ended.

 

Ignorant of the true God, and the true way of his Worship; * and without the worship of the true God, ehat which seems to be virtue is sin: They were ignorant of the main, viz. the knowledge of Jesus Christ, the deceits of the heart, the mischief of original corruption, the fall of Adam.

So their Morality was ill principled, the product of self-sufficiency: They went not out of themselves to be virtuous, made their own Reason and Wills the sole Basis on which they built their most stately virtuous Edifice: Hence their proud titles of fore-Election, and self-power, too high a stile for lapsed sinners: They were not poor, but proud in spirit, and arrogated too much to their own strength.

Lastly, It was ill ended: Heathens vertue centred in vain Glory, not Gods Glory. What a proud abominable speech was that of C. Cotta in Cicero, No man ever thanked God for his virtue,*for we are praised for virtue, and rightly glory in virtue, which would not be, if God gave it us, and we had it not from our selves; and a little after, saith he, Was ever man thankful to the Gods, that he was a good man? He may be indeed, that he was Rich, Honored, Healthy. It seems they called Jupiter, Optimum Maximum, the greatest and best, not because he makes just, temperate, wise, but safe, honored, and wealthy: No wonder then if Augustine called the virtues of the Heathens, Glittering sins: Rivius, The vain shadows of virtues; and Lactantius, The Images of virtues: All which speaks morality, yea, the whole Body of virtuous Paganism, without God and Christ, but as a Body without an head.

Dives, quod Honoratus, quod Incolumis. Cicero. Splendida peccata. Aug. Ʋmbrae. Rivius. Imagines virtutum. Lactan.

Further, as the better sort of Heathens were witnesses against the scandalous and profane, whose yet moral Eminencies, were too low and weak ladders to climb up to their Blessed Making, Summum Bonum, and its adjunct Perpetuity: So in the evil times of Licentious Christians, God hath been wont to enter in warnings and protests, by his servants against them.

 

In this time, saith Luther, There is no discipline at all, no Justice,*no modesty among men: We cry, we urge, we are instant in season and out of season, but the Magistrate winks at sin: So many now adays, saith he, abuse the Doctrine of the Gospel, and in the mean time flatter themselves, though I live in my sins, and am wicked, I will repent at length. ‘Tis said of Duke George, He could be converted in the last Article of life. So the Antinomists say, They can be converted in their own time, and so contemn their blessing, The Church Baptism, the Keys, Remission, Repentance, Eternal life, and receive the grace of God in vain.

Melancton, though a man of a very milde Spirit, thus hotly * rebuked lawless Liberoines: The Antinomians are to be accursed (said he) who will not teach the Law in the Church, and fain all their Impulses to be the motions of the Spirit, and will not be governed by the Law: These dotages are horrible, Diabolical Furies, such as were of old of many Sects.

Zuinglius sighed out these words, If we were called Satanists*for Christians, there were no need of other maners: O calamity, never enough to be deplored! O inestimable misery! We do with such infamy disgrace the noble and truly precious name of Christ, as if, like a Mercury, he were the God and Patron of Usury, Theft, Rapine, and Robbery.

Brentius thus rebuked the loose Gospellers of his Age: There * is so great a corruption of maners, such fludious injustice, that we give no occasion to our enemies, to believe we trust in good works; for how should you trust in what you have not.

Hemingius, a Dane Divine, observing the abuse of Justification, thus writes: ‘Tis an error of Ancient and Modern Libertines, when they hear men are freely justified by anothers righteousnesse, they teach carnal security, as if the justified by faith many live as they list.

 

Musculus thus declaimed against visible licentiousness: ‘Tis clearer then the Meridian light: Unbridled men count nothing sin that*suits with their lusts: The Devil doth not let loose the reins more on the necks of the Heathens, Turks, and Infidels, than of Gospellers: with what infamy and shameful turpitude are we branded? our reproach is our enemies triumph.

Nicolaus Gallasias, taxed the Anabaptists of his time, that * they were like the Valentian Sect: Various, Arrogant, Curious, subtle in their error, resembling them in despising others, fained Holiness, fair Speeches, soaring aloft to high things, seeming to be estranged from the World, and governed by the Spirit.

Jacobus Andraeas faulted the debauched Germans: The Word was preached among them with no Reformation; Their life and*conversation was Horrid, Epicureal, Bestial: Christ was not so much blasphemed among Turks; they were wanton in their most costly and foolish apparel, and all this loose carriage was vailed under a Gospel cover.

Joannes Rivius, a Saxon Divine, in his Epistle to the Duke of Saxony, thus complains: As of old, in the infancy of the Christian Church, Christ sent his Apostles into the world to preach the*Gospel: The Devil stirred up his Apostles, under pretence of Christ and his Gospel, who used Scripture testimony to corrupt the Purity of Doctrine: So when Christ hath stirred up in this age pious Writers, to restore the Doctrine of the Gospel; The Devil hath stirred up Anabaptists, and other Sectaries, to defile the purity of restored truth, under pretence of promoting the Gospel, removing errors, and restoring Orthodox Religion: Thus the Prince of darkness is transformed into an Angel of light.

Joannes Spangeburgius, thus blamed licentious Libertines, that would be kept in no bonds: after they saw they were set at liberty * from the chains of Popery, they would be free and discharged from the Gospel, and the commands of God.

 

Calvin called the Libertines of his time, Evil spirits, cloathed*with humane appearance, of all mortals the most wicked. In his Opuscula, he hath written a sad and severe Tractate against Libertines.

Salvians words were sad, What is the Assembly of Christians, but a sink of sin? Why do we flatter our selves with the Christian*name? When this most sacred name doth load our guilt; for therefore, under the stile of Religion, we mock God, because we sin under its holy profession.

Thus we see the loose carriages of former times, hath sadded the hearts, and sharpned the stile of Pious, Zealous, Judicious Writers: Well were it, if this prodigious sin, perverting the grace of God, had been confined to former ages: The same impure, corrupt Spring of dissoluteness, that of old hath sent forth muddy streams of polluting opinions and conversations, hath run in our own times in too offensive and plentiful a Current: No side or denomination of Protestants, as Lutheran or Calvinist, Episcopal, Presbyterian or Independent, but in something or other, either in greater or lesser spots, they have defiled their Garments. Gods chastising hand hath been very heavy upon the party of the Prelatical perswasion, among whom (I hope) some have risen by their falls, been inriched by their impoverishments, and endeavored to secure the certainties of blessed Eternity, by seeing the brittle glassen Pomp and glory of * the World, glittering and broken: and such a glorious fruit of the Crosse, I wish to all complaining losers, that they may see they have as well faln in their sins as their Estates: But alas! are not many of you wantons both under and against Gods Judgments and Mercies, in your Principles, Fancies, Fashions, sensual Pleasures, Visits, vain Education of your Children and Servants, Family Irreligion, mis-spending precious time? Do you not throw the old scoff of Puritans upon all that dissent * from you: Read with patience what a learned Doctor spake in an Holy Day Court-Sermon: Our Profession is Christianity, but not our practice: We resemble Paganism: We are so far from emulating  gracious examples, that of all things we cannot endure to be suspected of too much Holiness: therefore we choose to swear, swagger, riot, quaff with prophane company, rather then to be defamed with the imputation of purity. If your own experience Eccho with this loosnesse, blame not what you read, but be humbled, zealous, and repent.

And Reader, if thou be such a one as hast sought for a strict Government, Order and Worship of God in his Church, thou hast even cause to resent it with grief, tears, and blushing, that there want not proofs, that endeavored Reformation hath been too impotent to prevent the wanton Abuses of Gods grace: Have not some loose opinions been Preached, Printed, Dispersed, Believed, Tolerated, yea infected Consciences and Lives? Do those that cry out against the men, spirit, and ways of the world, stand at such distance from the World in Lusts, Affections, Conversation, as they do in Language? Doth their outward garb shew they are not fashioned to the world? Are not the Pleasures, gaudy Fashions, Estates, Pomps of the World too grateful?

Tertullian hath taught us, Thou art delicate, O Christian! If*thou desirest worldly pleasure: Thou art a fool if thou accountest this pleasure: What is more delightful then Gods Reconciliation, Truths Revelation, Errors acknowledgement, Sins Pardon? What greater pleasure then the contempt of Pleasure? What greater liberty then an upright conscience, a contented life, and a fearless death? These are the pleasures, these are the spectacles, the merriments of Christians: How will standers by be convinced, that that Reformation is of such a sublimate Heavenly extraction, which should better appear by shining Graces, then glittering out-sides. I know Christian liberty, as it is now stretched, doth not onely allow monstrous long Hair, but glorious apparel, glittering in gold and silver lace, and other sumptuous Gaudery, which in the Judgement of Scripture, Conscience, and the last Tribunal, were better bestowed upon the bellies and backs of the poor. That speech might here be properly applyed, Ad quid perditio haec?

I could wish Christians would learn of Proba, an heavenly Christian, descended of Roman Consuls, brought up in Royal Delights, yet was such an humble servant of God, that she forgat  her high birth and breeding, contemned the delights on the body, relieved the hungry by her abstemious fasting, and was clad in*mean apparrel that she might the better cloath the poor. O ye rich professing Christians, follow Proba, and abatements of your pompous glory on your backs and tables will speak you less worldly, and fit you to be more mercifull. ‘Tis a ground of sad conjecture that you are little taken with inward glory, when you lay out so much in outward. Plato held it a notorious crime for a Magistrate to touch gold and silver, to wear it in garments, to drink out of it; because (said he) they have divine gold and silver in their minds, and need none of mans, deeming it irreligion to prophane the divine with humane. O professed Christians! who if really such, doe out-worth the gold of Ophir, and the Spanish Silver Fleets, if you can study, value, get, and improve the choice silver of Righteous Tongues g, and the richly wrought cloth of gold, h visible shining Good Works, you wil be very little taken with outward, splendid glory. He humbled you are such worldly, gaudy fashion-followers. Besides, doe not your ungoverned passions and tongues want of Pitty, courtesie, equity, external reverence in the Worship of God, over-greedy, covetous purchases, selfishness, slight, formal keeping the Sabbath, divisions, contentions, crying up and down the Ministry of the Gospel according to your fancy and humour, not your reason not grace, speak you Wantons, and in these things too much carnal, * and walkers as men i Think of this, O all ye Reforming party, that decry abuses in Prelatical Government, and spend much breath, heat, and time in declaiming against them (though I excuse none of their faults) study, bewail, amend your own visible miscarriadges, We can never confute, nor reform others faults by our own. Lets take heed when we cry out against others, that we doe not, as Diogenes did of Plato, trample upon their Pride with greater Pride. O that all parties would lay to heart their sad unanswerableness to Costel-grace, and by the wisdom that is from above without partiality think themselves concerned in the * following Tractate. No Christian, unlesse he be drunk, and spiritually mad by the Quakers cup of Error, the intoxicating fume or dream of Perfection, but in some things or others hath abused the grace of God. Do not all of us almost (said Luther) live in themost filthy abuse of Gods gifts? We cannot know the strictness of the Law of God, and Gospel-rules, and our own loose unconformity, but we have cause to say guilty, and to cry mightily to God, Spare us O Lord.

And now whoever thou aot that readest the ensuing Treatise, I beseech thee lay to heart this great sin, branded in this Book with all its aggravating circumstances of Abusing the Grace of God. Let thy whole life and conversation evidence thy walking in the spirit, thy self-abhorrency, and universal hatred of sin, that with David, every false way thou utterly abhorrest. The design I drive (my conscience bearing me witnesse) is to advance Grace in my own, and others hearts and lives, and to prevent the abuse of it. Let not any of us abuse Grace, like Spiders, sucking poyson out of so sweet an hearb, which then we doe apparently when we turn the Grace of God into wantonness. If by these Meditations God may have glory, and the Reader any spiritual benefit, I shall abundantly rejoice that I have any way contributed my Mite towards assistance of such as walk in the narrow way to life.

Lastly, I earnestly beg thy prayers, that I may be faithful in my Ministry, valiant for the truth against all gainsayers, and instrumental to winne many souls unto righteousnesse. And so good Reader, I commend these my endeavours to the blessing of God, and commit thee to Gods Gracious Providence, and remain,

From my study in Edmundsbury in Suffolk, March 18. 1658.

Thy helper in the narrow way to Life, Nicholas Claget.

 

The Contents of the Chapters.

Jude v. 4. Turning the Grace of God into lasciviousness, pag. 1

  • CHAP. 1. Containing the coherence of the words, p. 1
  • CHAP. 2. Containing the Explanation of the words, Deduction of the Doctrin, with the Method of handling it, p. 3
  • CHAP. 3. Shewing in how many waies or kinds the grace of God may be turned into wantonness, p. 4.
    • Sect.
      • 1. Predestinating grace is turned into wantonness, 5
      • 2. Sparing grace is turned into wantonnesse, 7
      • 3. Long-suffering grace is turned into wantonness, 8
      • 4. The whole time of grace is turned into wantonness, 10
      • 5. The inviting offers of Grace are turned into wantonness, 15
      • 6. The means of grace are turned into wantonness, 24
      • 7. The examples of grace are turned into wantonness, 34
      • 8. Reconciling grace is turned into wantonness, 37
      • 9. Adopting grace is turned into wantonness, 38
      • 10. Freeing grace is turned into wantonness, 47
      • 11. Pardoning grace is turned into wantonness, 50
      • 12. The grace of imputed righteousness is turned into wantonness, 55
      • 13. Gloryfying grace is turned into wantonness, 61
  • CHAP. 4. Shewing when the grace of God is turned into wantonness, 69
    • Sect.
      • 1. The Grace of God is turned into wantonness, in reference to sin, four waies, 69
      • 2. The grace of God is turned into wantonness, when the heart is fearless of sin, 70
      • 3. The grace of God is turned into wantonness, when the heart is sorrowless for sin, 71
      • 4. The grace of God is turned into wantonness, when the heart is powerless over sin, 71
      • 5. The grace of God is turned into wantonness, when the sinner carries loosly as to God in 4. particulars, 75
      • 6. The grace of God is turned into wantonness, when the heart carries wickedly as to Christ in 3. things, 77
      • 7. When the heart carrieth wickedly as to the Law of God, Doctrinally and Practically, 82
      • 8. The grace of God is turned into wantonness, when as it carrieth wickedly as to the Gospel of Christ, 84
      • 9. The grace of God is turned into wantonness, when as the heart carrieth it wickedly as to the creatures, 87
  • CHAP. 5. Wherein are set down the causes why the grace of God is turned into wantonness, 89
    • Sect.
      • 1. Want of knowing the work and abuse of grace, 90
      • 2. Want of Faith to beleeve the signal darger of sin causeth ab•se of grace, 91
      • 3. Want of heat, intention, and livelyness in Religion, causeth abuse of grace, 91
      • 4. Want of receiving of the truth in love, is an advantage to turn a Libertine, 93
      • 5. Want of laying to heart Gospel-threatnings, causeth abuse of grace, 95
      • 6. Want of grace, changing, and affecting the heart, causeth abuse of grace, 96
      • 7. Want of the upright and genuine use of grace, causeth abuse of grace, 97
      • 8. Want of sound conviction of the mischief of original corruption, is a cause of turning the grace of God into wantonness, 98
      • 9. Want of considering the streight way to life, causeth the abuse of grace, 101
      • 10. Error in 5. particulars, causeth the abuse of grace, 103
      • 11. The error of sufficient attainments in Religion, causeth the abuse of grace, 104
      • 12. A gross error, to the abuse of grace, that what pleaseth the loose sinner, pleaseth God, 107
      • 13. Another error, that abuseth grace is, that false evidences are true, 107
      • 14. The error of abusive interpretation of Scripture hath produced the abuse of grace, 113
      • 15. The grace of God is abused by Presumption, 123
      • 16. Presumption of interest in the Promises causeth abuse of grace, 126
      • 17. The presumption of setting Death and Judgement at a far distance causeth the abuse of grace, 129
      • 18. The presumption of time enough to repent, causeth the abuse of grace, 131
      • 19. Temptation causeth the abuse of grace in 4. particulars, 134
      • 20. Evill company is a temptation to wrong the grace of God, 137
      • 21. Scandalous sins of the godly are temptations to abuse grace, 139
      • 22. Divisions and contentious about Christian Religion, cause abuse of grace, 144
  • CHAP. 6. Shewing wherein the greatness of this sin appears, 143
    • Sect.
      • 1. It a sin of a more than ordinary prophaness, 153
      • 2. It is an hypocritical sin, 154
      • 3. It is an ungrateful sin, 155
      • 4. Abuse of grace is a sin against experience, 156
      • 5. Abuse of grace is a sin destructive to true faith, 158
      • 6. Abuse of grace is opposite to the power of godliness, 158
      • 7. Abuse of grace is a reproaching sin, 159
      • 8. Abuse of grace brings daily loss to the soul, 160
      • 9. Abuse of grace is a despising sin, 161
      • 10. Abuse of grace is a revo•t•ng sin, 162
      • 11. Abuse of grace is an unexcusable sin, 165
      • 12. Abuse of grace is an heathenish sin, 165
      • 13. Abuse of grace is an universal sin, 167
      • 14. Abuse of grace is an unchurching sin, 168
  • CHAP. 7. Wherein are set forth the punishments of this great sin, abusing Gods grace, 171
    • 1. It is a great judgement to be given up to carnal lusts, 171
    • 2. Spiritual blind•ess is a judgement inflicted on those who pervert the grace of God, 174
    • 3. Hardness is a •udgement inflicted upon such as abuse the grace of God, 175
    • 4. Incurableness in sin is a judgement against those who abuse the grace of God, 177
    • 5. Prophaning of Gods grace will bring a terrible judgement at the last day, 178
    • 6. The hottest room in hell will be the judgement of them that abuse grace, 179
  • CHAP. 8. Containing an use of Infomation, 181
    • Sect.
      • 1. Sin is of a poysonous nature, 181
      • 2. Ordinances of grace are no sufficient pleas for happiness, 181
      • 3. The joyes of carnal Gospellers are false joyes, 182
      • 4. The best things have evill entertainment from hard hearts, 183
      • 5. The grace of God is to be applied with fear and trembling, 183
      • 6. Carnal Gospellers never knew the grace of God in truth, 184
      • 7. It is a safe and wise course to be trying our principles and practises in Christianity, 185
      • 8. The Devil hath his snares in the most holy things, 186
      • 9. Libertinisme puts the highest affront upon God, 186
  • CHAP. 9. Containing an Use of Humiliation, 187
    • Sect.
      • 1. Ʋpright hearted persons ought to bewaile the abuse of Gods grace, 188
      • 2. The abuse of sparing grace is sadly revenged, 189
      • 3. It is our duty to bewail the abuse of Gods long-suffering grace, 190
      • 4. Bewail the abuse of Gods reconciling grace, 190
      • 5. Bewail the abuse of Gods freeing grace, 191
      • 6. Bewail the abuse of pardoning grace, 192
  • CHAP. 10 Containing an Use of Examination, 194
    • 1. They are gross abusers of grace who oppose gospel Merits and Mercies to the Worship of God, 195
    • 2. They abuse grace who formally and carelesly pray for it, 195
    • 3. They abuse grace who shroud unrighteous courses under the grace of God, 197
    • 4. They abuse Gods grace who content themselves with faint desires, 179
    • 5. They abuse Gods grace who by restraint at one time take liberty  to sin more freely at another time, 200
    • 6. They abuse Gods grace who turn it into a sanctuary for unnatural sins, 201
    • 7. They abuse the grace of God who think it will afford indulgence to vile affections, 205
    • 8. They abuse Gods grace who oppose it to necessary civilities, 207
    • 9. They abuse Gods grace who are eminent worldlings, 212
    • 10. They abuse grace who are sensless and stupid Libertines, 216
    • 11. They abuse Gods grace who are guiltie of wrong to the creature, 218
  • CHAP. 11. Containing a second branch of Examination, how we may know the secret, close, and morerefined abuses of Gods grace, 223
    • Sect.
      • 1. A sinful close of spritual cnjoyments is an evidence of the abuse of grace, 224
      • 2. Irreverence of Gods Majesty is an evidence of the abuse of grace, 228
      • 3. Forgetfulness of God is an evidene of the abuse of grace, 231
      • 4. Secret acting of heart-sinnes, is an evidene of the abuse of grace, 231
      • 5. Adventuring on lesser sins is an abuse of grace, 232
      • 6. Abuse of Gods grace appears in discontentment at Gods gracious corrections, 234
      • 7. The daring to do that when the Rod is off, which one would not when the Rod is on, is a sign of the abuse of grace, 235
      • 8. Shamelesness before the Lord for acknowledged sins, is an evidence of the abuse of grace, 236
      • 9. Insensibleness of others miseries is an evidence of the abuse of grace, 238
      • 10. Ʋn-improvement of grace received is an evidence of abuse of grace, 239
      • 11. Pride, and desire of prel•eminence is an evidence of the abuse of grace, 240
      • 12. Declining hardship in the practise of Religion is an abuse of grace, 241
      • 13. Neglect of daily repentance is an evidence of abuse of grace, 242

 

  • CHAP. 12. Containing an Use of Caution. 244
    • Sect.
      • 1. Beware thou put not off the tryal of turning the grace of God into wantonness, 244
      • 2. Take heed of denying the proof of gross affronts to Gods grace, 246
      • 3. See to it that you slight not the conviction, 247
      • 4. Refuse not to put sad and ser•ous Queries to thy soul, 8. especially,
      • 5. The second part is an use of caution, concerning the close wronging of Gods grace, 250
      • 6. Beware of judging wantonnesse against grace by a false rule, 251
      • 7. Beware of Security, 253
      • 8. Be not content with a slight humiliation for close abuse of Gods grace, 253
  • CHAP. 13. Shewing the difference between wronging the grace of God in the Regenerate and Unregenerate, 255
    • Sect.
      • 1. The abuse of Gods grace in a child of God is onely from the unregenerate part, 255
      • 2. Though a gracious man abuse grace, yet he is deeply humbled for it, 256
      • 3. A child of God watcheth over his heart, 256
      • 4. A regenerate man abuseth grace less and less, 257
      • 5. A regenerate repents and is pardoned, 257
  • CHAP. 14. Containing an Ʋse of Exhortation, 258
    • Sect.
      • 1. Learn of the gracious, and precious heart, and life of Jesus Christ, 258
      • 2. A cleansed, purged heart is a special help to avoid abusing of the grace of God, 259
      • 3. The fear of God is an help against the abuse of grace. 260
      • 4. Christian watchfulness is an help against abuse of grace, 261
      • 5. Praier in the Holy Ghost is a special help against the abuse of grace, 262
      • 6. Walking in the Spirit is an help against the abusing of grace, 263
      • 7. Serious thoughts what it is to crucifie lusts, is an help to prevent the abuse of grace, 264
      • 8. A thankfull spirit is a special help to prevent the abuse of grace, 265
      • 9. Godly sorrow is an help against abuse of grace, 266
      • 10. Close union with God is a special help against abuse of grace, 268
      • 11. A constant subduing the first depraved motions is a speciall help to prevent abuse of grace, 269
      • 12. Planting the soul with heavenly desires is an help to prevent abuse of grace, 269
      • 13. Beating down that grand Idol, carnal self-love, is an help against abusing the grace of God, 270
      • 14. The lively faith and sense of the heavenly country is a special help to prevent the abuse of grace, 271
      • 15. Keeping up of grace in exercise prevents abusing of grace, 271
      • 16. The hope of glory is a special means to prevent the abuse of grace, 272
  • CHAP. 15. Shewing what great cause of thankfulnesse we owe to God for preserving from this sin, 273
  • CHAP. 16. Containing an Exhortation, that souls should alwaies be jealous of this sin, 274
  • CHAP. 17. Containing an Exhortation to long for a riddance from this sinne, 275
  • CHAP. 18. Containing an Exhortation to joy in the Hope of glory. 277
  • CHAP. 19. Containing perswasive Motives to take heed that the grace of God be not abused, 278
    • Sect.
      • 1. The consideration of the titles given to holy Professors should excite us not to abuse Gods grace, 278
      • 2. The consideration of Christian Liberty should prevent the abuse of grace, 279
      • 3. The credit of the Gospel should engage us to beware of abusing the grace of God, 280
      • 3. The strict and high heavenly calling of Christians should keep us from abusing the grace of God, 281
      • 5. A lively sense of the excellency of grace is a means to prevent the abuse of grace, 282

ERRATA.

PAg. 15. l. 24. for members read numbers. p. 32. l. 9. f. written r. writers. p. 32. l. 35. f. eternal r. external. p. 51. l. 32. f. yea what tear, a property of true repentance, r. yea what fear? Such a fear as is a property of true repentance. p. 60. l. 19. f. by r. from. p. 61. l. 37. f. Now r. How. p. 63. l. 5. & p. 233. l. 22. f. layes r. lyes. p. 69. l. 18. & p. 75. l. 14. after carrieth r. himself. p. 77. l. 34. & p. 82. l. 24. & p. 84. l. 27. & p. 87. l. 3. f. carrieth wickedly r. carrieth it self wickedly. p. 98. l. 22. f. as followeth r. if followed. p. 195. l. 33. f. fromally r. formally. p. 150. in marg. f. Maia r. Maria. p. 152. in marg. f. carnē nostrā r. carne nostrâ. p. 158. in marg. f. n r. non, & f. obcemperat r. obtemperat. p. 247. l. 22. before slight r. to. p. 252. l. ult. before wholly r. from a. p. 109. l. ult. f. Tis r. worst of all when a wicked life reigns. p. 110. l. 1. f. He wel knows r. It’s well known. p. 123. f. Sect. 11. r. 15. & p. 126. f. Sect. 12. r. 16. and so correct the rest in order. p. 255. Sect. 1. in marg. f. unregenerate r. regenerate. p. 182. in marg. f. damis r. damnis. p. 237. in marg. f. nuderi r. nudari.

  

The Abuse of Grace.

Jude Epist. Ver. IV.Turning the grace of God into lasciviousnesse.

CHAP I. Containing the coherence of the words.

THE Doctrine of the Gospell, * a Cabinet of precious Jewells, the word of Truth, Holinesse, and Salvation, from its precious excellency calls for love and carefull custodie. It fares with it as with rich treasures, in hazard of losse and abuse. The Apostle Jude had written to converted Christians, the preserved and called in Jesus Christ, v. 1. about glorious eternall salvation common to the whole houshold of faith, that * they would bee faithfull and zealous keepers of this sacred depositum, the word of life, and not suffer the saving records of the Gospell, to be wrested from them, but contend earnestly for the faith. v. 3. as men doe for their naturall and civill rights. Good reason they should give proofe of their vigilant zeal, and stedfastnesse * in the truth, for it was with them, as with a ship fraught with silver, silkes and other precious things, Their heavenly   riches was in jeopardy of false fingers. Certaine men, rotten-hearted Professors, of the Christian name crept into their assemblies unawares, v. 4. ordained, or , forewritten or deciphered, to so wicked a frame of heart and life, as would bring them under certain Condemnation; They were ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousnesse, and denying the only Lord God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ. As when cut-purses creepe and crowd into assemblies, there is neede to looke to ones watch and money; so privy invaders and abusers of the precious and swing reports of the Gospell, call for heedfullnes. Turning the Grace of God &c.

The words are a part of the sad description of some antient Apostate Christians, the sectmasters and Schollers in pernicious error and libertinisme, no better then reall blasphemers (though their tongues were gilt over with the golden language of Gospell Grace) as if they would have the leave of God to doe the worke of the Devill, they palliated their sin under grace, as if they would make their wickednesse sacred, the holy Gospell and the righteous blessed God patrons of licenciousness; a sad copy of defiance against the majestie of heaven, drawne of old by the first Arch deceiver, and Hypocriticall lusts, too skilfully, commonly, * and scandalously written-after by the wanton loose Gospellers of the present age. These Seducers were the Nicolaitans, saith Illyricus, an unclean generation. Such was Simon who taught communitie of women, and the Gnostickes, who pretending to an eminent and superlative measure of divine knowledge, yet were beastly wantons, using all uncleannesse as the fruit of Gods grace, and declaring that all holy and righteous courses, were at an end by the preaching of the grace of God, were therefore called and accounted a dirty miry sect. These and such as these turned the grace of God into wantonness.

  

CHAP. II. Containing the explanation of the words. Deduction of a doctrine, with the method of handling of it.

THREE words opened will give the cleare sence of the Apostle in the Text. Turning, Grace, Lasciviousness.

  1. Turning. The word imports Transplacing,*Transporting, taking things from their due situation to a wrong place, so Turning intends the transplacing and perverting of grace from the place God had set it, into the place lust, and the Divell would set it: transferring it from Gods end to the sinners, as if by a monstrous displacing and deformed error of nature, the pure Christall eye were set on the dirty feet, the Dungcart were followed and served by Nobles in Scarlet, a cleane sumptuous perfumed chamber, should be debased unto the impure office of a vessel wherein there is no pleasure.
  2. Grace. By it one understands the Law of Grace the whole * Gospell state. Another understands Christian Religion, a Third the Doctrine of the Grace of God. We may also understand Gods love and the choise tokens of it, Christ, his Graces and Spirit. The word Grace comprehends all. Gods favour, his especiall love tokens, his Gospell the great Epistle to his beloved. All this grace by the concurrent wickednes of Satan and the flesh is displaced, perverted and abused.
  3. Lasciviousnes. The word is translated Vncleannesse. The *Siriack interpreter hath rendred it Faetorem, Stench, or stinking. It is joyned with the word uncleannesse. The works of the flesh are manifest. Vncleannesse Lasciviousnes, Gal. 5. 19. Obscene words and actions are understood, and by consequence their impure fountain whence they flow, The word compriseth all kind of obscenitie and lust: Some affirme the word , is from and a Citie between Galatia and Cappadocia, from  that is an Intensive Enlarging the sence, and Selege a Towne most infamous for Lust. The word also is translated wantonness. Let us not walke in wantonnesses. The terme is Plurall, Wantonnesses. Rom. 13. 13. In it’s full and comprehensive meaning, it imports all loose prophane abuse in heart and life of Gods grace, and is extensive to all licentiousnesse in sin in all the filthines of flesh and Spirit, from the highest to the lowest unpurged defilement.

The summe is. These monsters of men, unworthy the name of Christians, the Reproach of the Gospell, doe transfer the grace of God in his favour, spirit, graces, and doctrine of his blessed Gospell, from the high end God intended it, of holynes and righteousnesse, into a wanton loosenesse, and daring licentiousnes in sin.

This being done in the times and places amongst the persons of Gospell light that owne the name of Christian. The Doctrine will be. hat,

In Gospell times the Grace of God hath such high abuse as to [Doctrine.] be turned into wantonnesse.

In handling this sad truth I shall enquire into six things, * 1. What are the kinds of Turning Gods Grace into wantonness? 2. When it is Turned into Wantonness? 3. Why it is Turned into wantonnesse? 4. How great is the sin thereof? and 5ly What is the Punishment God usually followes this sin withall? 6ly and lastly, What improvement we may make of it by some usefull Application?

CHAP. III. Shewing in how many ways or kinds the Grace of God may be Turned into Wantonnesse.

  1. PREDESTINATING grace is Turned * into Wantonness. It is a wrested Conclusion from this glorious principle: God hath chosen me to life; therefore, though I live as I list, I shall be saved: A bastard inference and practise, that this chast truth never begat. The Contrary deduction flowes from the grace of Election. As the Elect of God, holy, not loose, Col. 3. 12. He hath chosen us to salvation through sanctification of the spirit, 2. Thes. 2. 13. through it as a part of our salvation, execution of Gods decree, ornament of the saving Gospell, fitnes for eternall life; not through the filthines of flesh and spirit, as if wickedness were the way to happines, and God had from Eternity designed an everlasting rest to the industrious services of the Devill. He hath chosen us in him that we should be holy, Ephes. 1. 4. That Holynesse which lay hid in the womb of Gods eternal purpose is infallibly brought forth in time, in all vessels of honour. The Apostle inferred Sobriety, Faith, and Hope in the children of Gospel light, from Gods appointments, not a loose sleeping in sinne: Let us be sober, &c. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Thes. 5. 9. God hath not appointed us the Word, nor put us, or set or placed us in a state of avenging * wrath, but gracious salvation. He puts us in this blessed estate by predestinating, calling, drawing, regenerating, and justifying; not by a fearlesse, carelesse living, and dying in reigning sin. Musculus well taxeth this abuse: The contempt of Gods*grace incurrs his heaviest wrath. Wherefore say not, There is no danger however I live; God hath put me into a state of salvation, his positive decree is firme, I cannot be damned, I shall be saved. Rather say, Farre be it that I should sinne against Gods gracious purposes and perish; rather I will a commodate my self unto his gracious will, and be saved. He hath designed me for this, would have me be a Christian: therefore I must live the gracious life of a Christian, not the infamous of an Heathen. Ho• irrationall and ungodly is the inference of wickednesse from Gods pure purposes. If a sick patient should say, under mortall diseases, It matters not what I doe, I will eat, and drink, and doe what I list, my Physician hath not appointed me to death, but recovery: Would you not think him a mad man, and self-destroyer? O impure disputer against the holy purposes of God, it will appeare to be thy folly and madnesse, because God (thou thinkest) hath not appointed thee to Hell, but Heaven, to live as a vessel of wrath, and yet hope to be saved, when the direct way to the North leads to the South, shalt thou goe to glory in the way of Gods reproach, the contempt of Christ, and thine own damnation? Gods gracious promises and decrees tune with each other. As he never promised, so he never purposed eternall salvation to an unregenerate heart, and a loose life. His Predeterminations to a blessed end, involve suitable meanes. As he never intended man should live by poyson, but by bread,   so it is absolutely distant from the thoughts of his heart, that a man should live to God and with God for ever, by an indulgence to the flesh in its lusts and affections, sensualities, and * delights. God appointed Paul and his company to escape shipwracke, but it was by swimming on boards and broken peeces of the ship. Act. 27. 24. Thus God hath appointed some to escape the wrath to come, but it is by faith and mortification, getting on the planck of repentance, swimming through by the strength of Christ, not drowning in the sea of the world. God appointed Noah to salvation from the worlds deluge, but it was by getting into the Arke. A Loose heart and life is no accommodation to execution of predestinating grace, but opposition. The eternall,*saving, discriminating Counsels of God, are to many the cause of their standing, to no• chosen vessell the cause of their falling. The doctrine of absolute and free election rightly understood, powerfully revealed in the evidences of grace, well used, hinders no vessell of glory but helps him to heaven. They that can without any Scripture warrant, any choise worke of the spirit, easily and presumptuously write their names in the book of life, and as the Israelites wantonly played about their golden Idol, so in a lascivious mirth are loose flesh-pleasers, and feast their Corruptions, will have a dreadfull demonstration after death in judgment, and to eternitie, that their names were written in the black book of death, not the white of life. The most holy and righteous Judge of the world will never say, Come yee blessed eternally prepared by a free choise to an heavenly kingdome, to those that lived and died in their indulged cursed natures and lives, but to those select happy ones, whose hearts were gloriously transformed, and conversation really fashioned after the Gospell pattern. O the sad confutation of them that build prophane libertinisme on this firme and pure foundation, Predestinating grace, their pretended interest in it and pleasing conceits of it will vanish like a golden dreame: They will not rise as Elect but reprobate; The Lord will say with hottest indignation against unreformed Carnall Gospellers, Goe yee cursed workers of iniquitie.

  

Sect. 2.

  1. SParing Grace is turned into Wantonnesse. It was Gods * complaint of the house of Israel; They despised my judgements, and walked not in my statutes: neverthelesse mine eyes spared them from destroying them, notwithstanding they rebelled against me, and walked not in my statutes. Ezek. 20. 16, 17, 21. I have spread out my hands all the day long unto a rebellious people. Isa. 65. 2. God is angry with the wicked every day. Psal. 7. 11. Sin is an abomination to him. Psal. 53. 1. He can in Martial Law soon arraign, condemne, and execute the sinner. The sword is whet, it is drawn, is near the bold Transgressour, yet it strikes not. Psal. 7. 12. The how is bent, made ready, Psal. 7. 13. The arrow is on the string: The divine strong hand of vengeance could every minute draw it up to the head, let fly, pierce ungodly men through and through, shoot them into hell, yee God spares the sinner, and this is the unworthy and ungratefull return, he spares his sinne, but forsakes it not. Job 20. 13. Is like the Felon that is spared burning and hanging and he grows more insolent and violent in his old wickednesse, like the truantly boy, that is spared whipping and he grows malepart, saucy, lazy, stubborn in his Masters presence. The Lord spares the Lyar, Swearer, Tipler, Whoremonger, Adulterer, Defrauder, Oppressour, that Riots with the bread of deceit. Prov. 20. 17. and the wine of violence. Prov. 4. 17. The subtle, yet foolish Hypocrite, whose craft and wisdome of the flesh is to undoe his soul; and yet these in a frolick dalliance and loosenesse of spirit, wallow in their old wickednesse, and pleasingly dance over * the mouth of Hell. They abuse that Grace which was never offered to the faln Angels. God spared them not (no not a moment) but cast them down to hell. 2 Pet. 2. 4. Justice would spare the sinner not a moment, its free Grace that spares. It is an undoubted gift of God that any man in his wickednesse is spared a minute. How full is the world of daring wantons, that sinne securely before, and against sparing Grace? The interceeding kindnesse of the Lord Jesus is abused: Such as are Gods provoking Rebels, who are spared under the time and means of Gospel grace, are beholding to the prevalent pleadings of Jesus Christ, who hath dayly grants of his Father to spare carnall Gospellers, ad put them to the triall, whether they will repent and be fruitfull in obedience. The vine dresser pleaded for the unfruitfull vineyard, Let it alone this yeare till I shall digg about it and dung it, and if it hear fruit well, and if not then after that thou shalt cut it downe, Luke 13. 8, 9. This Vinedresser (says one) is Iesus Christ the*Son of God, whom he hath Constituted the Priest of his Vineyard: Were it not for the intercession of Christ, barren Vineyards, fruiteless Churches would soon be destroyed. Professed Christian Congregations, Private families, would by the axe of death be cut downe as fit fewell for hell fire.

Sect. 3.

  1. LOng-suffering grace is Turned into Wantonness. Because*judgment is not executed speedily, therefore the hearts of wicked ones are set in them to doe evil, Eccles. 8. 11. My Lord delays his comming, and then the evil servant is tempted to smite his fellow servant, and to be drunk, &c. Mat. 24. 28, 29. How often would Christ have gathered the Jewes under his saving wings as the Hen the Chicken under hers? Mat. 23. 37. But they proudly rejected subjection to him, salvation from him. God endures with much long suffering Vessels of wrath, and they abusively and foolishly are still fillng up sin and wrath. Rom. 19. 22. The * gracious long-suffering of God waited for the Repentance and Amendment of the disobedient old world. 1. Pet. 3. 20. and yet the holy wooing Spirit of God, speaking by Noah, solliciting and striving in gracious motions to reformation, was rejected. Gen. 6. 3. The whole earth was corrupt and filled with violence. v. 11. I gave Iezabel space to repent of her fornication and she repented not, Rev. 2. 21. As a Creditor gives his Debtor long time to pay his debts, and yet forbearing kindnes is abused, by a profuse lavishing intemperate life and running more in debt; and as a gracious Kings act of favour, that gives a Condemned Traytor, a long time to sue out a pardon, is slighted and despised, when he spends it in whoring, drinking and gaming; so the mercyfull and liberall allowances of large seasons of grace, the Lord grants out to deeply debted and Treasonable sinners, are signally wronged; when the more mercy forbeares, and God is slow to wrath, the more sin abounds. Ah daring folly! is there not difference between Long suffering and Eternall suffering? are there not many sad monuments of divine justice? because Patience is lasting, will it be everlasting? Long accounts are at length stated. The longest summer day of Gods sufferance will have an end, and goe downe in an endles night of unappeased fury. Provoking, slight gospellers are every day hastning to the period of Gods reprieves. Writts of execution will be opened and served upon incorrigible sinners, the worse for mercys warnings, and Judgments delay. The Lord Christ his pleading that barren Figg-trees may stand a yeere, or yeeres longer, neither * speaks him the Patron of uncurable wickednes, not assures their perpetuall security, they were at length cut down as withered trees, and God will likewise cut down withered Professors: God doth not always spare barren trees in his vineyard. Those Christians that are the shame of Gods Husbandry; The abusers of Christs Intercession; The contemners of the Gospel they boast of, that bear the name of Believers, bear up in the repute of Christs domestick Family, that cumber the ground where they stand; useless to the purposes of holiness and righteousness in the World, as dead, twice dead, at best but flourishing in the leaves of a worthless profession, shall at length be pluckt up by the roots, be cast into hell fire, as the worst of men; reproachers of God and his Gospel; destroyers of their bodies and souls for ever. The Devil the Father of lies, keeps his children fast bound in the chains of destroying lies. Amongst the rest this is a main one, and a common damning cheat: Poor deluded sinners, that have numbred 40, 50 years forbearance in their sins, at once collect Gods allowance of them and their own * Innocence, but without Book. After 400 years suffering the seed of the Amorites to oppress Gods Israel, Gen. 15. 13. black doomday put a period to their Prosperities and Persecutions: A long lived Libertine under the days of Grace, hath more reason to fear his approaching destruction then salvation. The Counsel of an ancient is wholsome, well were it if accustomed slighters of Gods grace would lay it to heart, it would fire them out of their perilous security: It is necessary, said he, that we fear and tremble, lest the prolonged times of Gods mercy do prove the times of our damnation: It is the lamentation of a serious modern Writer: The longer we live, the more numerous is the account, and the more heavy the weight of sin: Hence when the just Judge comes he will   turn the indulged times of mercy into an eternity of wrath and penalty.

SECT. 4.

  1. THe whole time of Grace is turned into Wantonnesse; * not onely sparing and long-suffering Grace, but all the daies of Grace, even to their late dying periods are also abused. Backsliding is perpetuall. The most under Gospel times refuse to return, Ier. 8. 5. The Lord questions in his Word, O Ierusalem, how long shall vain thoughts lodge in thee? Jer. 4. 14. Wilt thou not he made clean? when shall it once be? c. 13. 27. How long ye simple ones will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning? and fools hate knowledge? Prov. 1. 22. How long? The answer is not more sad then true; for ever. Should the loose persons of unconverted hearts, and unreformed lives, not bettered under a threescore years convincing and awakening Ministry, and the frequent woings of the Holy Ghost be left to themselves, should they live an eternity on earth, they would still wrong the grace of God. There is a Countrey phrase, To while away the time: O how many do while away precious time? most do the works of darkness, while Gospel light shines round about them, yea in their mindes, they cannot deny, and yet they defame the glory of it. While Christ knocks at the doors of their souls for entrance, the Divel is bid welcome; while the Spirit crys, Repent, repent, the flesh wallows in the pollutions of the World; while he passionatly solicits and perswades to accept of salvation upon salvations tearms, the pathes of damnation are still troden in: The hardened house of Israel will die: While God is tendred as an everlasting portion, the world is violently pursued; while the pilgrimage delights of the spirit, and the Heavenly Countrey Pleasures of Gods right hand, are held forth to unregenerate mindes: foolish souls hunt after the pleasures of sin, and vanishing Creature delights: While precious seasons to sue out a pardon are granted out for sins past, more Treasons and Rebellions are heaped up against God: while this vanishing life is proposed as a probation for Eternity, lying vanities are skilfully and uncessantly pursued.

Five things will load this ause.

  1. Time, one of the most precious things in the world, is abused: *Nothing, says Bernard, is more precious then it, and alass nothing now a days is more slighted and vilified: It is made the numbring measure of unholy and unrighteous motions, but very rarely of heavenly conversation; the thriving opportunity of Satans Kingdom, but rarely (as to the multitude) of Christs: The preciousness of time, industriously heavenly, as well as earthly merchants will tell you: The worth of time an enraging afflicted Conscience on a death bed will tell you, that breathed out lamentable crys, Call time again, call time again: The excellency * of time most awakened loose departing souls will tell you, who will abound in fervent wishes to admiration, that they might redeem but one hour to repent. The dignity of time, the damned in hell, were they among us, would tell us, That had they a world, they would give it to escape their torments they feel and shall endure for ever, and to be in a state of Grace, of Salvation. The glory of time, the glorified in heaven would tell us, were they suffered to acquaint us with their unspeakable Joys: Eternity it self will be little enough to bless God they have not lost their time, but obtained salvation in the days of Grace. It will ravish their hearts, when as one phraseth it, they shall think within themselves, O blessed moment of Grace! O happy days of Conversion! O choicely spent time in holy mournings * and obedience! O rarely improved time to be the shining witnesses of God against the wicked world! O Heavenlized time in communion with God, that contemned the world! O * the wise use of time, that hath laid up treasures in Heaven, and fitted espoused souls for the joyous eternal imbracements of their heavenly Bridegroom.
  2. The possibilities of escaping eternal misery and obtaining everlasting life, are abused, when the whole provisional space of preventing the wrath to come, of preparing for glory, in the foolish pursuit of the worlds shadows is lost; when loose Prodigals of the time of Grace are impossibilitated to have a moment more. What shame and grief will surprise them, when they shall consider their secure neglect of the Jewel of time, and the force of Eternity; prevailing thoughts (when set home on the conscience) to make the profuse lavishers of the golden seasons of Grace, the most thrifty Husbands: How stinging will this sad conviction be, if the opportune time of Grace were well managed, they might have escaped that bitter, horrible and lamentable Eternity wherein they are plunged, and safely arrive to the Port of everlasting rest? These things were once possible, now they are not. O sinners fear and tremble, your sporting with sin, your indignities and injuries put upon the grace of God, doth exceedingly slight and despise your saving possibilities! while the mouth of the bottomless pit is not shut upon you, do no more disparage, but honor your Gospel-seasons of Grace; if you crucifie the Son of God, and still despise the Spirit of Grace, either laugh at, or delay the necessary change of your hearts and lives, be assured, the next minute after your death, you shall see a dreadful, fixed, unalterable gulf before your eyes, that as the Saints in glory cannot come to your Hell, so it will appear everlastingly impossible for you to come to their Heaven.
  3. The remembrance of lost time, will be an eternal corrosive * to the tortured awakned Spirit, and torment the wounded Conscience like fire; when time-loosers shall call to minde, That they had a time to be converted, but now they are hardned; had a season to come to Christ their ark, but now they are drowned in an eternal fiery lake: They had opportunity to weep heavenly Gospel-tears, and now they eternally weep hellish legal tears, under the fear and hate of their angry Judge, and the intollerable smart of endless avenging Punishment: They had leasure to store up Grace against the day of Mercy, but now they see throughout the whole neglected time of Grace, they have treasured up sin against the day of wrath: They had a long while Divine patient woings, authoritative commandings, dreadful threatnings, melting beseechings to be reconciled to God, and reformed; but now penal Justice, and their own Wickedness, hath sealed them up under the power of sin. In brief, they had a sweet and fair day of mercy, to finde favor with God through Jesus Christ; but now it is gone down in a tempestuous night of endless and unappeasable fury.
  4. It will not be the least part of Hells Torments, that hopeless, * helpless Spirits, shall be tortured with fruitless wishes, that they had not lost the unvaluable advantages of their saving opportunities; When they shall mourn, and say, How have we hated instruction, how have our hearts despised reproof, and have not obeyed the voice of our teachers, nor inclined our ears to our instructers? Prov. 5. 11, 12, 13. Every unprofitable wish that the time had been redeemed in this world, will be as a renewed bloody lash, on exulcerated wounded tender bodies: O unwise children of men, that riot in the liberal indulgences to your flesh, even in the noon-time of cleer Gospel-light! Take a serious view of these impertinent and afflictive wishes in the other world: O that God would grant one day of Grace more! O that I were to live over my time again, how would I look upon the flesh displeasing, sharpest severities of repentance, as favors! O that I had kneeled on flints, and wept mine eyes out in strong cries and tears for a pardon! O that I had given my Goods to the poor! O that I had changed the delights of the flesh, for the pleasures of the Spirit, that I had been filled with the Spirit, when I was drunk with Wine! Ephes. 5. 18. O that I had watched over my loose heart day and night! O that I had fasted and prayed whole days and nights! O that affliction had driven me to Christ, that I had rather gone through dirty Lanes to an heavenly Fathers House, than through pleasant Meadows to a Prison, and a place of Execution! O that a godly sorrowing life had ended in joy! Psal. 126. 5. And that a carnal voluptuous life, had not ended in eternal sorrows! Jam. 5. 1, 5. Have you seen Bankrupts, that from the published Statutes of Execution, have their Goods seized on, and their persons Imprisoned, wringing their hands, beating their heads, bedewing their cheeks, breaking their hearts, with these words? O that I had been a good Husband, that I had hearkned unto my friends, avoided undoing-Company, kept my Shop, improved my time, I had never come to this; but I am undone, I am undone: Have you seen a condemned Felon that must have no Psalm of Mercy, suddenly screek and roar out in the Assises, and swoon in the torturing fear and assurance of death, when the Judge tells him there is no mercy for him; this also adding to his woe: O that I had taken the counsel of my dear friends, that I were to live over my youth and man-hood! O that I had not lost my time of Grace! O that I had kept the Sabbath better! O that I had not rebelled against my dear Parents, and despised good men, and godly Ministers! Think then what is and will be the woe of lost souls in the other   life, racking their Spirits with fruitless wishes, that they had not lavished away the time of Grace.
  5. Wasters of the time of Grace, out-sin the very Devils of * Hell: They never had a year, day, or minutes time of repentance and pardon: The next moment of their Transgression, was a damning moment to endless and remediless punishment: In this respect the Devils will load carnal Gospellers, playing the wantons with the seasons of Grace, and rejoyce in their society in destruction, with this kinde of triumph, Glad we are in your fellowship of damnation: Is it just we are cast into Hell? your company with us in torments is more just: You have outsinned us, we were never guilty of such an affront to the Grace of God, merits of Christ, seasons of Grace as you are: The Son of God assumed not our nature, undertook not our redemption, interceded not with his Father to give us scores of years space of repentance, ten years, a year, a day, a minute: He took your nature, died for you, pleads you may have the precious saving seasons of Grace, your abuse of the Gospel, mis-spending the space of repentance, is superlative guilt, of a deeper die then our transgression: How sad a thing is it that loose Gospellers, that fill up their time with secret or open wickedness, or both, should out-sin the very Devils: O friends! did Christ speak it with passionate tears, concerning self-undoing Jerusalem, Hadst thou known in this thy day the things belonging to thy peace, but now they are hidden from thee, Luke 19. 42. How ought you to weep over your turning the time of Grace into wantonness? Ah foolish sinners, that waste your inestimable opportunities of getting Christ and Grace, walking exactly, dying to sin, that you may not eternally die in it, and for it; honoring God in your Generation, obtaining your souls Salvation, laying up treasure in Heaven, preparing for blessed Eternity; if you bewail not this in hearty Compunction, bitter Tears; if the sense of being Spend-thrifts of most precious time, make you not ashamed before the Lord, know it, and believe, you shall in the next life look over your ungrateful neglects, with unutterable mournings, and eternal tears.

  

SECT. 5.

  1. THe calling inviting offers of Grace are turned into wantonness: * The great things of the Kingdom of Heaven were rendred to the Inhabitants of Chorazin and Bethsaida, and to the Capernaites, but they gave still wanton indulgences to their lusts, repented not, and this in the judgement of our Lord Christ, should double their woe, aggravate their rejecting the way of salvation, and plunge them deeper in Hell, Luke 10. 15. because Heaven on Gospel-tearms was offered and refused: Be sure of this, the Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you, ver. 11. As if Christ had said, You had inestimable gracious proffers, but you have cast them off to your damnation. The like Grace of the Kingdom of Heaven was held forth to the Jews in Pauls Preaching, but they answered it with contradicting and blaspheming the Gospel, Acts 13. 45. Thus in too many Congregations in England, where Heaven hath been clearly opened in the saving mysteries of salvation, which might even ravish the hearts of humble intelligent and believing hearers, what wanton eyes, gestures, ears, fancies, hearts, are brought before the publick glorious discoveries of the precious methods to be holy and happy to all eternity? with what levity, loosness, frothy spirits, you have seen the slaves of carnal voluptuousness, merry wantons, designed and resolved for their pleasing sensualities, come from Stage-plays; without breach of charity, huge members of Gospel-wantons, have in like manner come from the sacred, grave trembling Truths of the Gospel: How sad is it that those, not onely Law, but Evangelical severities, that should have set eminent sinners on trembling, mourning, weeping, and resolving to repent, (the best applause of a Sermon) should have * no better close, then prophane, profuse gigling and laughing, it may be sporting at the Minister and his Doctrine, slighting what they heard, driving it out by idle talk, vain worldly discourses, or speaking of nothing to soul advantage, carrying in uncivil and unholy carnal merriments, as if they had been in a Theater, not the Church, and had heard a Stage-Player, and not a Preacher. Do Princes and States well resent the slighting and abusing of their gracious offers? surely the heavenly everlasting King, nor will, nor can put up the despisings of his gracious invitations, with everlasting patience and indempnity. It is a matter of Lamentation, that many faithful and painful friends of the Bridegroom have offered Espousals of highest profits, pleasures, preferments in Jesus Christ, to Blackamore, deformed, worthless, loveless souls, and yet they had rather match with Hell then Heaven, rather have the Prince of Darkness, than the Lord of Glory to be their head; though there be infinite more drawing incouragements for Espousals with Christ, than covenanting with the Devil: Let not the Phrase seem harsh, There is truth in it: Though few, like Witches, resign themselves up to Satan by an express contract, yet most do by an implicite and interpretative consent: Is he not the spirit that rules in the children of disobedience? Eph. 2. 2. Is he not called from his destructive Soveraign Government in the World, the god of this World? 2 Cor. 4. 4. who hath the Harvest of Service, when the Lord Jesus hath but the Gleanings: Is he not called the Ruler of the darkness of this World? Ephes. 6. 12. that Infernal Jaylor, that keeps his numerous Captives in the dark Dungeon of Ignorance and Wickedness; yea, Do not his miserable Subjects love to have it so? Jer. 5. 31. O you Inhabitants of England, that own the Christian name, and that from year to year, from one passionate woing to another, have still turned your backs upon Angels joys and admirations, the Mysteries and Miracles of Gospel Salvation; be convinced of your perilous, dishonorable, loose refusals: Are you wont to deal with necessitous Temporals, as you do with Spirituals and Eternals? Will not catching presented worldly advantages and opportunities by the foretop, condemn your soul-undoing delays of welcoming Heavenly calls, which hearkned too, will make you, (I say not men) in the Worlds Phrase, but Saints and Angels, fellows in glory to all Eternity? offer a pardon to a condemned person, on exceeding hard tearms, and what Felon almost will reject it? But the offers of Gospel Pardons, to sinners dead in Law, the Covenant of Works, upon sweet, easie, rational, honorable, and profitable tearms, who almost will entertain them? Offer Gold and Silver to needy Beggars, when is this proposal refused? But Christ, the Pearl of great price, is offered to poor sinners that have not a dram of Grace, and the Tenth Christian in external profession, that bears much upon Baptismal Grace, giveth no demonstration   of acceptance. Let a Physitian offer his best skill without a see to the mortally diseased, with a promise also to pay for his Physick, what patient, unlesse unsensible of his danger, and frantick will despise this kindnesse? Christ, the Almighty Soveraign Physitian offers the recovering virtue of his Spirit, Grace, Ordinances, Afflictions, to mortally diseased sinners, without a fee or reward, yea hath already payd dear for the Physick, and its successefull application; who then but self-destroying, frantick sinners, senslesse in a deep Lethargy of carnall security, had rather perish in their sin, than accept of the guiding orders of Christs healing? If you say this censure is over-rigid, pitty he should live that doth not take the gracious invitations of Jesus Christ into his heart. We willingly own his loving calls to grace and glory. It is not so soon done as said. You may lodge the glorious tenders of the Gospel in your fancies, understandings, memories, yea seem to honour them with your lips, and yet your hearts may be very farre from subscribing and saying Amen to them; as an Adulterous womans lips may consent to Mariage Articles, professe and confirme Matrimonial union, when her heart was never Married. Oh Sirs! that have shut your hearts against the proffers of Grace in many a Chapter, Sermon, motion of the Spirit, me-thinkes your spirits should bee astonished, and hearts broken, by the serious consideration of seven things.
  2. You and Sathan your Father are fellow lyars: You put a * great lye upon the report of Gods grace. The Bible lifts it up above the world, and you almost set it below any pleasing worldly vanities. It is more precious than Gold and Silver, its merchandize is better than the merchandize of Silver, Prov. 3. 14. so 15. v. It is above all things you desire, and yet you desire other things above it. Though your tongues would blush to say, yet the frame of your rebellious, grace-refusing hearts and lives, really speak it in the notice of the infinitely understanding God, the Gospel is folly, 1 Cor. 1. 23. the power and practice of Religion is a vain thing, Mal. 3. 14. and the Grace of God is not worth the looking after. You live before God, Angels, and Men, as if your tongues should say, Solomon was deceived, when he so cried up gracious wisdome. Beauties are the pleasures of the Senses, Riches out-worth it, the Honour of the world outshines it; the glorious applause of men out-goes its commendations; the short enjoyment of the flesh exceeds its eternall treasures; a short lease of this lifes comforts, is better than its eternall Fee-simple of delights.
  3. You abuse Gods condescension in the offer of grace. Was * there any need for God to stoope to offer you a Covenant of Salvation, wherein the whole Trinity doth humble themselves? The Father, so much as to have thoughts of grace to relieve and succour lost sinners; the Son that humbled himself to an obscuring incarnation, a life of sorrows, spotlesse obedience, a bloudy death the price of Redemption. The Holy Ghost to come into vile sinners, to plead the acceptance, and improvement of the Father and Sons love. O inconsiderate sinners! of what a scarlet tincture is your unworthy slighting of the Trinities kindness, your treading under foot the blessed Gods acts of grace! might he not have left you as the fall of Adam made you to be, in a lost, polluted, helplesse, and damnable estate? Doth hee need your persons recovery, services, holynesse, and happinesse? Doth goodnesse in accepting Christ and his Gospel extend to him? Is it his profit if you accept? Is it his hurt if you despise him? Psal. 16. 2. Job. 22. 3. & 35. 6, 8. Hath he humbled himself to enter into peace with you, when he might have proclaimed and maintained everlasting War? Will a King bear it, that his descending below himself to save obstinate Traytors, should be despised? Surely the blessed God will not alwaies beare the insolent refusall of his mercifull condescensions, who every minute could confound rebellious sinners.
  4. You abuse the infinite purchase of that grace that is offered. * Now Christ hath by his active and passive obedience satisfied Justice, and dearly payd for pardoning and purging grace; He sits at Gods right hand to give unto Israel repentance and remission of sinnes, Acts 5. 31. to offer it in common to the worst of sinners, hath made an healing plaister of his blood. Isa. 53. 5. and offers the application of it to diseased sinners; what else but a spiritual madnesse is it to cry out, we will have none of the physick; away with this mortifying Grace, severities of repentance? If we submit to unpleasing medicines of strict Gospell prescription, we must never have merry dayes, our deare lusts must be pinion’d and starved; such adoe about Religion, the new creatures, that precise Puritans talk of will make our lives miserable: We will not have this man to reign over us, Luk. 19. 14. Take Christ who will, we have made, and we will keep our covenant with the world and the flesh; we will have our ease and delights, come what will of it. Jer. 7. 9. Loose hearts and lives speak these sad things, this deplorable injury to the Lord Jesus: He is highly affronted, that the price of grace, the purchase of infinite redemption should be so unworthyly vilified.
  5. You abuse the heavenly messenger of Grace, the Holy Ghost, who proceeds from the Father and the Sonne, and comes * with sweetest intelligence of Peace, Pardon, Purity, and Glory. The heavenly Spirits whispers would be powerfully taking, if vile sinners, their false loves, and cursed lusts did not oppose them. Hath not the Spirit told many of us, a gracious conversation is incomparably better than a carnal, and that there is to be found a more high, noble, pleasurable, satisfying, and gainfull life in Jesus Christ, than the world, flesh, and devill can possibly afford? Have not these inward speakings, according with the outward written word, the just standard, awakened the soul, that Sobriety, Chastity, Charity, Liberality, Faith, Love, Heavenlymindednesse, a fear of God, a tender Conscience, redeeming time, &c. are rather to be chosen than their contrary vices and corrupt inclinations and affections that resist them? Have not many by the woings and strivings of the Holy Ghost, with Agrippa, not onely been almost perswaded to be reall Christians, but often promised God their utmost, and zealous endeavours for a through change? But what is the issue? a wanton loose spirit hath banished former serious gravity: These warm, heavenly motions are soon coold and dead, by the world and the fleshes cold pourings in. How ill doth the holy and delicate Spirit take it, soon sensible of affronts, that his gracious inspirations, should either coldly be received, or positively rejected, or after entertainment be ungratefully forsaken? The Spirits goads that prick and stir up lazy sleeping consciences, are quickly blented. O our unkind abuse of the good Spirit. Those*divine instincts wherewith we are excited and moved to holynesse of life and Gospell obedience, either we take no notice of them, or we dissemble them, or we put them off to another time, or, which is worst of all, we totally neglect them, sayth an holy writer. This, O this is the spirits punishment, not more dreadfull than disregarded, the heavenly messenger bids an eternall welfare, and never knocks again at those rebellious houses, where he hath been never bid welcome, but constantly refused. My spirit shall not always strive with flesh. Gen. 6. is a plague, a fearfully avenging one. Resolved Libertines will not follow the wisdome, and saveing guidance of the spirit, and the Lord chuseth their delusions. Isa. 66. 4. What safe Leader they will not have, they shall not have; they will wander from the way to heaven; divine power now shall not stop them, they shall dye without instruction, and in the greatness of their folly they shall go astray, Prov. 5. 23. Then those eyes deep securitie hath shut, wrath will open, either in a death-bed despaire, or in hels flames after death. O unkind Spirit greevers and resisters, lay it to heart before it is too late. *It is an eminent danger to oppose Divine inspirations.
  6. You abuse the faithly messengers of grace, the Ministers of the Gospell. Their worke is in the authoritie of their Master Jesus Christ to exhort and enjoyne you to beleeve, and repent, and if this prevaile not, to beseech you in Christs stead to be reconciled 2. Cor. 5. and if this mild course speed not, but gospell grace is put away, as it was by the hardned Jews. Act. 13. 46. Their other sad part of their Commission, is to tell them, He that beleeveth not shall be damned. Mark. 16. 16. and that very gospell grace that to others is a savour of life unto life, embraced, will be to them a savour of death unto death, when it is despised. As the Hanunites that cut of Davids Messengers garments had a warr Commenced against them, for answering their kind errands with such shamefull indignities, 2 Sam. 10. 3, 4. 7. so the angry King of heaven, will wage an eternall warre against them that unnaturally abuse the messengers, and messages of grace. O Take warning Loose-livers under the convictions of Gospel strictness, that when you hear & read of the saving overtures of the word of life, you may no more be as slighty & sensless under them, as the Pues you sit in, and as walls, and rocks. The despising of wholsome heavenly instructions, no lesse then the despising of the Lord Jesus Luk. 10. 16, is that which makes honest godly Ministers, to set down with mourning and tears in their closer addresses to God, that their hearers will not be converted, saved, and have eternal life. Act. 13. 46. and Phil. 3. 8.
  7. You will be unexcusable, when you shall see the offers * and hopes of Grace, at an everlasting distance from you: How will paleness sit on your faces, when you are before a dreadful Bar? what trembling will surprise your hearts, when conscience shall terribly inform you, that the Lords Messengers, in earnest desires and longings for your happiness, in zeal, love, and tears offered you for Christs sake, to embrace the Heavenly Treasures of the saving Covenant, and you would not; or soon stifled your Convictions, lost your good resolutions and affections; you secured the world, and that great Idol flesh pleasing, but not Eternity; you can easily slight, it may be jeer the Minister, but remember you will be enforced to call to minde his passionate woings for Jesus; and that your blood would be upon you, that you would be your own destroyers, if you disallowed and abhorred Christ, if you knew not God, and obeyed not his Gospel. At such and such times in hearing and reading the Word, in heart-searching godly Books, the Spirit of Jesus held forth before you a Feasable, Justified, Adopted, Sanctified and Glorified Estate, and you liked not Christs conditions to fit you for and obtain Eternal Glory: How have you abused Christ and his Gospel-Ministry, when you were told his yoke was easie, by Divine Power? Did not you look upon the Preacher, exhorting the duties of Religion, as a proposer of intolerable and too severe tasks? as if the glorious patern of Wisdom, Righteousness, and Sweetness, should tyrannize over men, and bid men be his servants to their loss, and the Devil and the World could make more gainful, honorable and comfortable bargains.
  8. You shall have no cause to blame the pure Justice of the * angry Lamb, the Judge of the World, if when you shall cry Lord, Lord, he be as deaf at your dreadful crys, as you were at his calls; if he know you not to save you, when you knew him not to serve him: This will justifie the direful last Sentence, Go ye cursed, and clear your eternal stripes from cruelty, when you have wilfully abused the infinite love of the Son of God: Grace was offered you, but you would not be healed, nor reformed; you have destroyed your selves: ‘Tis Divine Justice that the wickedness of the wicked in due penalty should be upon him, Ezek. 18. 20. Wicked Gospellers, even put fury into a gracious God, and necessitate him to gain the reputation of his Holiness out of their damnation: It becomes the natural Justice of his Majesty, to be the Avenger, who is not the Author of wilful unbelief: The holy One of Israel is provoked, Isa. 1. 4. The holiness of God is read in the Characters of those Temporal, Spiritual, and Eternal Judgements, which he executes on the impenitent World. Its just the heaviest of punishments should be the vindications of Gods Dishonors by the affronts of his Grace, upon a threefold account.
  9. The ungrateful and voluntary high indignities, that vain * loose hearts and lives put upon Gods Grace. Wisdom hath sent out her maidens, to invite sinners to be Saints, Prov. 9. 3, 4. and sit down at its heavenly Table, v. 5. of all sufficient, satisfying, saving provisions, comes with Perswasions, Comminations, Admonitions, to accept the Call, but the loose guests either come not at all, or unprepared, surfeit on good food, turn it into ill humors: The offended King of Heaven hath sent out his Heralds of Arms, to proclaim Peace and Mercy on most righteous tearms; but stout rebels will not resign up their hearts to Christ, but keep them strongly garrison’d for Lust and the Devil; and this is the success the Calls of Gods Grace meet withal: Satan and Christ knock at the soul for entrance: It is opened to Satan, and locked to Christ: Shall obstinate, unprofitable hearers blame God under their everlasting smart, when they have not so much despised their Ministers as Jesus Christ? Shall loose unreformed Children, that despised their godly wooing and warning Parents, cry out of unjustice under eternal wrath; when they did not so much abuse their holy Invitations, as Gods? It was his*spirit that made by Religious Fathers and Mothers, gracious proffers to gainsaying Children: Conscience will give in testimony on Gods side, that he graciously called froward, wilful sinners, that they might be pardoned, not abide under condemnation; they * might be Saints, not remain sinners; they might be free, not continue Captives; obtain a blessing, not lie under the curse, and be saved, in mortifying the deeds of the Body, and not be ruined by cruel mercy and Indulgences to corrupt nature, the worst of enemies.
  10. The bold abuses of heavenly inviting offers, though God * hath complained of this long before in his holy Word, and urged such injurious dealing, as a most just Apology of his severest vengeance: I have called, and ye refused: I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded, Prov. 1. 4. Therefore when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction as a whirl-wind, when distress and anguish cometh upon you, (I will be even with you) you shall call upon me, but I will not answer; seek me, but not finde me, v. 27, 28. All the day long have I stretched out mine hand to again-saying people, Isa. 62. 5. Therefore the Lord Christ threatned these unbelieving Jews, that the Christ, and the Grace they rejected, should be offered to better entertainers: He would have a Church among the Gentiles, the Kingdom of God should be taken from them, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof, Matth. 21. 42, 43. I said you shall die in your sins, for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins, John 8. 24. He that believes not in the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him, Iohn 3. 36. How justly do the Wrongings of Gods grace bring endless misery, when the Lord hath often complained of it before hand in the Scriptures, cautioned us to fear and tremble, lest we forsake our own mercies, Jonah 2. 8. Threatning this abuse with eternal death?
  11. The Lord hath already acquainted us in his Word, that if * like the guests in the Parable, we either finde excuses not to come and feed on Christs heavenly dainties, Luke 14. 18. or we be unprepared, wanton, loose guests, and come not to his Feast with the Wedding Garment, (i. e. Faith in Christ) with the whole train of Graces, but in the deformed rags and pollutions of our sins; I say, if we be like those that either openly and positively reject his offered Grace, or like those wanton abusers of Gods grace, in the Apostle Jude; tread in their steps, and die in this Libertinism, as a Woe is denounced unto them, Jude Ep. v. 11. under condemnation, v. 4. to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever, v. 13. So if we be fellow-wanton Gospellers with them, we shall follow them in their everlasting misery. He is deservedly hanged that seeth a Felon die before, and yet greedily pursues his wicked courses. We are told Sodomites, Apostate Angels, Abusers of Gospel-grace, are already in Hell: If the examples of their torments make us not to abhor and eschew their sinnes, divine justice wrongs us not in our everlasting destruction, whom should self-destroyers blame but themselues? I have been the longer in this Section, because of the mighty importance of the matter, the common, wofull, lamentable, damnable refusall of Gospel gracious calls, and invitations to everlasting happinesse, unchristianly, prophanely, dishonourably abused.

SECT. 6.

  1. THe means of Grace is turned into Wantonnesse. This sad * experience I shall give out in three things; shewing When the means of grace are abused; The evil of that abuse; and What means of grace are abused.
  2. When are the means of grace abused? They are so, 1. when they are set higher than they are. Means are made Mediators, set in the room of Christ, when an equall, yea a superiour confidence is put in Instrumental institutions. The hand and the courage of the Warriour is disparaged, when the Sword is set up above him, and there be more confidence in a dead instrument than in a living agent. The Word, the Sword of the Spirit, is dead and successelesse out of the strong and living hand of the Spirit. It is a double and common wrong, both to the means of grace, and to Christ, when Christ is not eyed, sought to, admired, trusted in by the means: The error not onely of ignorant, prophane Christians, that trust in a bare Baptism, and a following of their Church to save them; but most real Christians, some whereof more admire their Preachers than Jesus Christ; more look after an impotent man with all the glory of his gifts, than the power, and the transcendently eminent endowments of the Lord Jesus. The Apostle Paul taught a better lesson, who although he planted and watered Churches, with miraculous successe, owned his own nothingness, 2 Cor. 12. 11. abhorred the thoughts of self-sufficiency, 2 Cor. 3. 5. was jealous of robbing Christ of his glory, gave him the honour of his grace and power, that he was used as the exalted and blessed instrument to convert multitudes of sinners, and save their soules. Rom. 15. 18, 19. *
  3. When they are set lower than they are. Then they are so when they are accounted as uselesse needlesse things, as if heaven could be got without them, grace might be had and kept, though the means disused. Nothing is more clear than that in ordinary dispensation (extraordinaries not being our rule) God hath confined grace and salvation to the use of means. Knowledge, Joh. 17. 3. The Gospel preached, Rom. 1. 13. Baptism, 1 Pet. 3. 21. Prayer, Ro. 10. 13. The education of godly family guides, Gen. 18. 19. Excommunications, 1 Cor. 5. 5. The holy counsels and examples of Husbands and Wives one to another, 1 Cor. 7. 16. The means of grace to the reproach of the God of grace, are exceedingly undervalued, when the sottish and conceited generation, that live without Ordinances, hold there is no dependance at all on holynesse and eternal happinesse upon Gods instituted means. They are also set lower than they are, when encumbred, with Martha, about needlesse things, in the brood of earthly cares and employments, neglect their attendances on heavenly means, and make their affaires below excuses (as too many doe, to the dishonour of their regenerate part, just as studious worldlings) to put by heavenly exercises in the Worship of God.
  4. When they are contradicted, and blasphemed, as Paul’s * preaching was by the Jews, true Prayer by the Spirit, by unspiritual, gracelesse Atheists, that revile godly care of holy houshold guides, to keep their children and servants in the knowledge, fear, and love of God, whose pious endeavours to save the soules of their families, condemning their wicked neighbours irreligion, is the occasion, but not the cause, of their blaspheming their Prayers, singing of Psalmes, strict keeping of the Sabboth, and week dayes, holy and righteous conversation; when the holy and heavenly institutions of the Lord Jesus are the markes at which sonnes and daughters of Belial shoot the arrows of their bitter words, the meanes of grace are eminently abused.
  5. When they are judged, and rested in as the onely evidences of grace. The more ignorant, carnall, morall, hypocriticall * sort of Christians have no better arguments that they are in the state of grace than this, they have the means of grace. It is an irrational conclusion, A patient hath good physick, therefore he shall recover; a dunce hath good books, and a good tutor, therefore he will be a scholar; a great Army is well furnished for war, therefore it shall overcome: The battel is not to the strong, Eccles. 9. 11. As unscripturall an inference it is, The means of grace are enjoyed, therefore the grace of the means is obtained. Capernaum was lifted up to heaven in means, and yet cast to hell. Mat. 11. 23. Ordinances doe not confer grace, as fire doth heat, by their natural vertue; but as the Lord Christ healed the sick by supernaturall. Grace is not in the means as causes, but by them as instruments. Should many men have no use of the means to plead for their spirituall estate, there would be nothing to speak them really Christian, but they would be left as naked heathens. It is not the having, but the saving using of means that will stand by us.
  6. When they are made shelters of sin, as dens are for Lyons, * cloaths are for bodies. The Sacrifices and Temple were not to be a Sanctuary of Murder, Adultery, False swearing, Idolatry. Jer. 7. 9, 10. Nor were the Pharisees to make long prayers, to cloak the devouring of widdows houses, Luk. 20. 47. The Harlots beginning with Gods services were poor fig leaves to cover her uncleannesse. Prov. 7. 14. Prayers in the morning, and evening, cold and barren, cannot palliate the licentious wickednesse that is between them. They may now quiet and stop the mouth of Conscience, they cannot in the other world. It is the high dishonour of the meanes of grace, when they are but names, not powers; when in attendances on them, there is but the colour, not the heat of Christianity. A painted, gilded Christian abuseth the Ordinances, when he is dead under them hath no life, nor heat by them; he borrows from them a Sheeps-skin, when he is but a goat; when it is seen that heavenly meanes mend not hellish hearts and lives, the seeming is Saint-like, but the conversation Devillish. This undoes two soules at once; The sin shrowding pretender to Religion, and the prophane blasphemer of the means of Grace. Both of them perish as mock-gods; the one because hee hath hypocritically used the meanes; the other, because he hath blasphemously railed at the means.
  7. When they are used in vain; when there is no health by * Gods physick, no conversion and reformation by Gods Word. In the course of the Ministry there is cunning and labouring in vain. The heavenly frequent fiegers of the Ordinances are raised from the Devils garrisons re infecta, Sathans strong holds are kept undemolished. 2 Cor. The reall kingdome of Sathan is in the appearing kingdom of Christ. Under Gospel-ordinances men are worse and worse; this is a prophane disparagement to the Ordinances of Christ; an unpleasing spectacle to the holy God and his Angels, the Spirits grief, aggravation of sin, and treasuring up of wrath.
  8. When they are totally neglected. Not onely one, but all * the means of life and salvation are carelesly slighted, unworthily vilified, as if God, Christ, the Spirit, Grace, Heaven, Hell, were not worth the thinking of, such contempt is cast on the golden cisterns of Grace. There are too many who proclaime their opposition to the God of Heaven, and the method of salvation, who are so far from the power, that they abhorre the very form of godlynesse, so little care for service to Christ, that they detest the badges of his government. These constantly prophane the Sabboth, are never found on their knees seeking God; hear no Sermons from year to year; care not for Sacraments; have no good family education; are hardened by their afflictions; deride holy examples; these are in Sathans full possession, take the liberty of the times to be ignorant, and as to the Ordinances of Christ, quiet and resolved Libertines. Be you intreated, that have seen the power, and beauty, and glory of God in his Sanctuary, and that have had the waters of life running into your thirsty soules through the precious pipes of divine Ordinances, that really value them above the world, stir up those compassionate bowels, that the divine nature hath begotten in you, and if your counsels to Christianize these Heathens will not prevaile, pray and weep them into possibilities of salvation, by attendance on the means of grace.

Secondly: The Evil of abusing the means of Grace, laid to heart, might be some remedy to sin.

  1. This is a wrong to God that appointed them. Man cannot bear the violation of his houshold orders, and will God bear it? if so the Laws of his family should be contemned.
  2. They wrong the Spirit that acts in them, either by turning their backs upon him, when he usually affords his presence in Gods wayes, or by resisting his gracious impulses, his sweet whispers, his terrible representations of an accursed lost sinner out of Christ, Acts 7. 51. Either they will not hear his inspeakings, or disregard them, both despise the Spirit of Grace.
  3. They please the Devil, who hath either way gracelesse soules in his possession, either by not using the means at all, or in vain. Such abusers of saving means, are an unpleasing spectacle to the holy Angels, enemies to God, grieve the Spirit, and are the Devils triumph. Consider,

Thirdly: What are those means of grace that are turned into wantonnesse? They are,

  1. The holy Scriptures. In them alone eternal life is to be*found, Joh. 5. 39. They are stiled, the word of Grace. Act. 20. 32. Their abuse is in their disuse, when either they that may have Bibles, have none, or if they have them, they suffer them to contract dust on their shelves, laying them by as useless, are seldome, or never read; or in their ill use when they are read, without reverence, diligence, observance, or any resolves, or good desires and affections to follow the teachings of the Spirit without understanding, esteem, remembrance, laying up, and laying out these heavenly treasures in righteousnesse and holynesse. Again, in their ill use, when they are wrested to errours, heresies, looseness, covetousness, unrighteousness. When Scripture is urged against Scripture, and the inspirations of the Holy Ghost are urged against themselves. Such scripture deprayers are their own destroyers. 2 Pet. 3. 16. *
  2. The Ministry of the Gospel is an abused means, when both their person, calls and messages are uniustly despised, are accounted as offscouring, are disenabled from doing good to scoffing and malicious persons, who either will not hear them, or with scornfull prejudices, amounting to no lesse wickedness, in interpretation, than despising the Lord Jesus, and calling upon insolent contemners irremediless wrath. *
  3. Sermons are abused means; and they never are so, but when they are the sad fruits and products of hearts void of Gods fear, and without repentance. No wonder if the divine word be loathed, and holy Sermons be contemned, when fearless, shameless, and faithless hearts have slight thoughts of them, and care little for them, as if they were but scare-crows for children, very fables, when sound, heavenly messages are either not heard at all, or not attentively, not reverently, not understandingly, not wisely, not fervently, not frequently, not perseveringly, not fruitfully, not resigningly, giving up the judgement to be captivated to the obedience of faith, the heart and life to the power of godlyness, but are heard with a contrary corrupt frame of heart, then is a means of grace abused.
  4. Sacraments are abused means, when the supernatural grace * they signifie is not sought for, regarded, nor obtained. Their holy, eternall obligations to sound faith and heavenly conversation, who considers? As the Jews prophaned their Sacraments, loose Christians doe theirs. Those rested on the Circumcision of the flesh, and the outward Passeover; Jews without, and not within, wicked in hearts and lives. These rest on Baptismal Water, Bread and Wine in the Lords Supper, Christians without, and not within, unconverted, unsanctified in hearts and lives. These doe prophane offered Sacramental grace, utterly voyd of Sacramental graces and lives. These by their own confessions, are dedicated and devoted to Jesus Christ, to forsake the flesh, the devill, the pomp and vanities of this wicked world, and they doe nothing less. These by taking the Bread and Wine, the lively representations of the shed blood, and broken body of Jesus Christ, are supposed, and obliged to have grace, and grow in it; but they neither have the beeing, nor growth of grace; prophanely take the bread of the Lord, with unbeleeving, impenitent hearts, but not the bread the Lord, with faith, repentance, * and other graces. It will not be the least aggravation of Christians wantonnizing with the grace of God. The wicked abuse of the Sacraments, will prove them undeniable Libertines. What affinity is there between the cleansing water of Baptisme, and Baptized persons, wallowing in the filthiness of flesh and spirit, lying and delighting, like swine, in the mire, in the pollutions of the world? What agreement is there between a pretended feeding on the pure immortal food, Jesus Christ, and feeding on Satans provisions, the delicious lusts, and sweet pleasures of sin? Is not this to turn the Table of the Lord into the Table of Devils, an holy into a prophane feast; as if the holy Supper were instituted to pamper and quicken, not starve and mortifie corruption? How epidemicall and spreading is this abuse? They are the words of an holy, affectionate Writer: *Look into all the parts of the Christian world, and you will not deny many Christians are remiss and cold concerning the saving use of the Sacraments: Be they used or abused, there is rarely enquiring after their efficacy, or contempt; what good is got by them, or what defaming contradictions and wrongs there are against them?
  5. Good Books are abused means: By them their holy Authors, * though dead, speak to the living: We have in them the lasting Monuments of pious Labors, the breathings of the Spirits, the experiences of Satans Wiles and Methods, the goings of God in his Sanctuary, the shewing forth of his Power and Glory in his living Temples, well-digested, and heavenly directions, to walk holily, safely, joyfully in the way to Heaven, frequent and passionate woings to receive the Lord Jesus Christ in spiritual Espousals; The necessity and excellency of Regeneration, and the issue of it, the new Creature; The unbottoming and discovery of the hearts deceits; kinde and affectionate warnings, in time, to get out of the state of sin and damnation, and be delivered from the wrath to come; yea further, serious heart-aking and wounding discourses of the woful Eternity of Hells Torments, for the loose and ungodly World; and ravishing Discoveries of the blessed Eternity of Heavens Joys, for exact and Religious persons, with much more that may be said of the drawing excellencies of holy Writings of old and the present age: Now what is the use, indeed abuse of these glorious gifts of the Spirits; the Births not onely of understanding Brains, but holy Hearts; the wasters of Blood and Spirits precious time and labor in the Lords Workmen? Are not these things the sad testimonies of their dishonor? some never read * them, others very rarely; some rather judge and condemn strict truths, too unpleasing Prisons and Chains for their loose hearts, then fall down before the power of their truth and holiness; they rather come with Satans Index Expurgatorius, and by the spirit of error boldly blot out Heavenly Truths, and neither suffer them to come into their Creed nor Practice, then rejoyce at their Imprimatur, that the helps and methods of godly lives, printed in Paper, might be printed in their hearts: Others do, with the Books they read, as with the Sermons they hear, lend them an eye, an ear, a few slighty careless thoughts, but do never with Mary, ponder saving Counsels in their hearts: Some when they read Divine Treatises, labor to pick what errors they can, and like Spiders, suck poyson out of the sweetest hearbs, wherefore they intermix worldly Lusts, the saving of their Diana and Palladium, the corrupt Idols of their hearts; Their darling*Benjamins, their sweet feasting and feasted sins; and these must comment on the Text they read: If precious heart-purifying, life-reforming, sin-reproving, and conscience-smiting discourses, cross error and loosness, then away with the Book, it is stark naught: Others would read Books, but valued onely by the standard of a foolish Wit, accounting of Books by lofty Strains, fine gaudy Phrases, not the golden massy worth of the matter, the Heavenly Treasures set forth in a grave and sober significant Language, plain, yet eloquent expression. I shall enlarge this point, with an hearty advice, to them that have a minde and time to read Books, let them take heed what they read; Satan (I fear) hath the liberty of the Press, as well as Jesus Christ: There are Books of Libertinism abroad: It had been well for some, had they never been published in the world, whose mindes are dangerously infected, without infinite mercy, to their destruction: In the other World, what if undone souls, by wicked Books, should wish the eyes of their flesh had been blinde, and ears deaf, that they could have neither read nor heard of Printed Error and Loosness, to their destruction: The Devil hath his market and merchants, foolish Chapmen are deceived, and take the bad ware of darkness for light, flesh for spirit: O ye simple gulled People of this Nation, cheated almost of your Christianity and Civility, unless ye will be foolish and proud, take the advice of your learned godly Ministers, of settled, sollid, experienced Christians, and ask them what Books you should read. A few words of counsel I have to you that are jocund, merry ones, boon Companions, if you read this Section, I beseech you, in the bowels of Jesus Christ, as you tender your Salvation, and the glory of God, spend your time better; It will never repent you, when you die, you have left your covetous passionate Gaming, the too frequent delights of the flesh, you drench, almost drown your souls in, for the choosing, reading, meditating on Books of Mortification, Heavenly-mindedness, and preparation for Death and Eternity: I am sure you cannot deny it now, rationally; I am most sure your   awakened mindes cannot deny it on your death-beds, that your diligent reading of Dike, of the deceitfulness of the heart; Baxters everlasting rest; Greenham, Bolton, Preston, Perkins, &c. and such Books as those were incomparably better to be read, then wanton Play-Books, Romances, debauching Amorous Writings: If you will not believe me now, whether you will or no you shall in the other World: Read, O read what will fit you for Heaven; for your souls sake, do not by reading vain, frothy, written delight, and read your selves into Hell.
  6. Prayer is an abused means, when this holy piece of Divine * Worship, the most sweet and frequent way of converse with God about Heavenly affairs, is totally neglected: When men come unto God without any serious thoughts of his Reverend Majesty, rushing to the Throne of Grace, as to a Theater, a Market, a merry Meeting: When there are attempts of drawing nigh before infinite Purity, with impure hearts and unclean hands, after hot pursuit of the World, and fervency in the service of carnal Lusts, there is bold approach unto Gods presence, as if God would regard their Prayers, who regard iniquity in their hearts: When Supplicants do not so much pray, as complement; in good earnest, not Petition God, but mock him, declaiming against the sins they love, unwilling to part with the Lusts they chide, that God should take them at their words: One would think that hears zealous arraignment, and severe condemnings of some sins in Prayer, would think the hatred of them were implacable, and the forsaking of them would be everlasting, when at the same time there is a strong habitual league with them; yea after many hard words, a securing of them, living and delighting in them: These, and many more affronts, are put upon this Heavenly means of Grace, Prayer.
  7. Education is an abused means: When lewd children and * servants are not taken with the holy Counsels, and exemplary Piety of their godly Guides; Some either expresly hate instruction and correction, or do but dissemble holiness, who while they are in strict Families, eternally conform to Holy Orders, like the Fish Polipus, that can turn it self into the colour of the Rock; but when out of the Parents Wing, and the Masters Government, are no more the children and servants they were, than a Player is a King when he is off the Stage, or an Ape in mans apparrel, is a man when undressed: How will houshold Governors, warnings and chastizings, prayers and tears, sweetest wooings, and drawing promises to rebellious children, and graceless servants, that they may minde the marchless interest of Gods glory, and their own salvation, rise up in judgement against them in the accounting Day, when it will appear, exactest educations have been abused.
  8. Scriptural convictions are an abused means: There are * not a few that know their duties and their sins: It is as clear as noon-light, that their intemperancies, incontinences, unrighteous dealings, oathes, lies, neglect of Prayer, are sins: From a rouzing Sermon they can go home with smitten hearts, grant that Sermon-Truths have been arrows directed to the breast of their dead corruption, and in vanishing fits, and moods of appearing goods, promise to leave their drunken company, oathes, lies, and worldliness, yea, weep over their confessed wickedness; but after these suddain moods and pangs of piety are vanished, the convinced sinner is as jovial, drunken, false in his dealing, mad on his reprieved, not mortified Lusts, his sleeping, not dead corruptions, as if his sins had never stared him in the conscience, and been represented to him, as that which unforsaken would ruine him: These do the works of darkness by Gospel-light, go without miraculous conversion, and exact repentance, with open eyes to Hell: and knowing their Masters will, but doing it not, shall be beaten with sharper Eternal stripes, then ignorant Heathens, and blinde vulgar Papists. O inlightned Christians, bless God for your light, but fear and tremble, lest the wickedness of loose hearts and ungodly conversation, be greatned by your clear informations: They who by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, have escaped the pollutions of the world, and are (out of choice and delight) again intangled in them: It had been better they had never known the way of righteousness, then after they have known it, to turn from the holy Commandment delivered unto them, 2 Pet. 2. 20, 21.
  9. Afflictions are an abused means: They ought to be the discipline*of vertue, the purgatory of corruption, Isa. 27. 9. the teachers of neglected holy duties, Psal. 94. 12. The reducers of foolish wandring sinners into their wits and way, Luke 15. 17. Wearers from the worlds sweet dugs, 2 Cor. 4. 16, 17. Strikers of holy awe of the Divine presence, in daring spirits, 1 Sam. 6. 20. Snuffers of the candle of well instructed reason, that it may give a clearer light to the inferior faculties, Job 33. 16, 19. Monitors, not to commit*over again the old sins, John 5. 15. Abasers of proud spirits, Job 33. 17, 19. Converters of departed souls, Psalm 119. 67. Instrumental Saviours of lost sinners, 2 Chron. 33. 12, 13. When the Lords rods are spent in vain: These Heavenly ends of afflictions are not attained, but hearts as hard as an anvile, take no gracious impressions of Gods blows: In Gods afflicting Furnace, there is no golden refinings of Grace, no purging the dross of corruption: The ill humors of camal lusts and affections, and loose manners under his Physick are more incurable; unbettered afflicted ones will not be purged, but revolt more and more: Then afflictions, the means of Grace, are abused.

SECT. 7.

  1. THe examples of Grace are turned into wantonness: They * are then well used, when from a right estimate of them, admiration of Gods goodness in them, Thankfulness for them, Phil. 1. 3. Zeal to follow them, Heb. 6. 12. shaming and blaming our selves for our unlikeness to them, 1 Cor. 15. 14. Daily indeavoring to write after their fair, holy and heavenly Copies, Heb. 12. 1. Delighting in them above all persons of the World, Psalm 16. 3. choosing of them to be our choice companions and bosom-friends, Psal. 119. 63. resenting them as shining Lights in the World, Phil. 2. 15. to clear our way to the Heavenly Countrey: Thus to improve the best of patterns, that reflect and hold forth the glory of God in the World, the fruits of the direct beams of infused holiness, and to be won to Christ, 1 Pet. 3. 1. and quickned to the power of Religion, by others exemplary Piety, Charity, Innocence and Justice, is to use well examples of Grace: But now when men and women regard not the most shining Lights, sleep, and play the wantons before them, and with them, make them their may-game, their sport, the Theam of their prophane jests and scurrilous wits, in their Houses, Ale-benches, Taverns, the Road: When David was the Drunkards song, Psalm 69. 12. the scorn of many, despised of Michal, 2 Sam. 6. 16. When hypocritical mockers at Feasts make the heirs of glory their scoffing Table-talk; when the Upright are called Hypocrites: Righteous dealers are voted unjust, or for one piece of unequal dealing, are ever condemned so: When the glorifiers of God before men, out of conscience of duty, because under a command, are thought vain-glorious: When exact walkers, fearful of sin, dare not run with others into excess of riot, nor give allowances, fond and liberal, to their fawning lusts, shall be called over-righteous, deemed needless precisians, making too much ado in the Church of God; as if men could be too godly, when the highest measures of holy strictness are exceedingly short of the rule and the life of Christ; as if too much care, conscience, and pains, according to requiries of Scripture, either could be, is, or ever was, in any Believer in the World; as if when the word says, real Saints are to give all diligence, in the exercise of all Graces, 2 Pet. 1. 5. &c. To work out their salvation with fear and trembling. Phil. 2. To make through work of it, to redeem the time, to be followers of Christ, they could be too diligent and strict, by the warrant of these and other Scriptures, to assure and promote their eternal Salvation: Every serious dying-Saint, thinks he hath done too little for the honor of God and his Gospel, for his own soul and others: Every glorified Saint seeth his massy glory doth exceedingly outweigh his most diligent services and patient sufferings: The abuse of holy examples is too general an injury to God and his choice servants: The gracious, the graceless are both guilty. 1. The gracious, low spirited Christians, whose light is in a dark lanthorn, that shine forth to outward view little or nothing of the glory and power of Religion: O ye Christians of the lower form, look to those that have out-learned you in Christs School, continue not still in your weak Graces and strong Corruptions! see you not some of your fellow-Converts are very Heavenly? Let this correct your earthiness: Are some meek? let this shame and cure your passions; Have they liberal hearts and hands? let this open your shut bowels and purses; Can they forgive great wrongs? let this blame and mend you that can hardly pass by little; Dare they not speak idely and frothily, guarding the doors of their lips? Let this urge you to repentance, who speak not onely idly, but wickedly, uttering such corrupt communication, that slanders by must needs conclude foul hearts, when tongues are so foul; Do they grow under the means of Grace?   Let their proficiency spur you to better progresses by holy Ordinances: Do they practice Religion where they are most, in their own Families? Let your sinful Houshold omission of holy Duties, or but cold formal performances; your domestick disorders be reformed. Lastly, Do they live in the power of godliness? let this warn your too powerless profession, that you labor more for the power. 2. The graceless are guilty of abusing the grace of God, in the examples of Grace: How will this load your guilt at the great day, that as you have wronged the Gospel of Grace, so you have gracious Gospellers? you look on them as the vile off-scouring of the World, 1 Cor. 4. 13. of whom the world is not worthy, Heb. 11. 38. Can proudly judge them sometimes base persons, for their despised, though honorable Divine nature, and their loathed holiness, herein like to the Heathens of old, who made the practice of Christianity, and the Christians owning the Christian name their crime: Though you cast contempt on vessels of honor, whom you debase, God esteems: It is no flattering, but Scripture Language: The Scripture stiles them Precious, Isa. 43. 4. Jewels, Mal. 3. 17. Honorable, Isa. 43. 4. Noble, Acts 17. 11. Kings, Rev. 1. 6. Princes in all Lands, Psal. 45. 16. that have the happiness to enjoy them: If they be as dirt in your eyes, they are as gold in Gods: Be intreated to take a measure by the golden line of the Sanctuary; whose examples are most Scriptural, safe to the interest of immortal souls, those you contemn, or those you follow: Though with a supercilious from, you disdain to follow their sober, chaste, heavenly, pious, mortified, penitential, reformed lives: Truth will make your awakned mindes, when you die, wish you had traced their holy steps, and when you would at the great day be glad to follow them in glory, this for ever will shut the door of hope and happiness, you never followed them in Grace: It is in vain with Balaam to wish the death of the righteous, and with vulgar, dead, imaginary Believers, to hope for the glory of the righteous, when there is not with upright Saints, living the life of the Righteous: Holy and happy should you be that follow the huge multitudes that troop to hell in the broad way of pleasing evil examples; if converting Grace did powerfully whisper in your Spirit, and draw you back to the narrow way of life: Here you should meet with a thin, but blessed company.   Fellow, O follow them, who through Faith and unwearied patience in well-doing, have their race answered with an eternall prize; and them also, who after their holy course is finished, shall inherit the promises. It will never grieve you, if once you return from your mad errours and courses, to your sober spiritual witts, that you have changed undoing for saving presidents, that you have left your soul-ruining good-fellowship, for communion with Saints, Angels, the Mediator of the Covenant, and with the blessed Trinitie for all Eternitie. Have any of you ridden about life and death, and with exceeding grief lost both your time and way? have you rejoyced to meet with an unerring gride, that hath not onely brought you out from your wandrings, but set you in your way, yea rode before you as a courteous faithfull guide? The like joy, yea greater you will find, if after you have strayed like lost travellers, God set before you leaders, and you have the wisdome and grace to follow in the erring and dangerous wilderness of this world, your holy guides to the heavenly Canaan.

SECT. 8.

  1. REconciling Grace is turned into Wantonness. As in the * former Section the choice Presidents of Grace, so in this, and the following particulars, the choice priviledges of Grace will appear to be abused.

God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, 2 Cor. 5. 10. When we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son. Rom. 5. 10. The propitiatory atoning sacrifice of Christs death, in putting away Gods destructive wrath is rich grace. Even this is injured. Reconciliation with God stands, in many, with agreement with Satan, what in them lies peace with God and sin kisse each other, as if a league with heaven and hell could stand together. Seditious persons reconciled to their Prince, abuse his goodness, when at the same time they are Traiterous friends with his enemies, hold intelligence with them, doe homage to them, are ruled by them, and propagate their dominions, are the picture of those wanton Traitors that abuse Gods Reconciling grace. That grace of God whereby he is reconciled to the sinner, and the sinner to him, begets an universall peace with all his laws and methods of holynesse,   and war with sinne. At what time friendship is commenced between God and the soul, war is waged and maintained against sin. Reconciliation and Alteration go together: Turning away his wrath from the sinner, and turning of the heart of the sinner are undevided. What pleaseth a pacified God, pleaseth the sons of peace: When the face of God shines in smiles of peace, the Laws of God are favours, no offences; priviledges, no burdens; sweet delights, no unpleasing tasks; the liberty, not prison of really pacified beleevers: Great peace have they which love thy Law, and nothing shall offend them, Psal. 119. 165. The Romans that had peace with God, stood in this Gospel-grace, engaged to be holy, not allowed to be Libertines. The exercises of graces, not allowances to lusts, were the fruit of this heavenly reconcilement. Rom. 5. 10, 11, &c. It is a choice blessing purchased by Christs death. Rom. 5. They are blessed who are reconciled by him, and not offended in him, Mat. 11. 6. But they that refuse the Laws of his government, had never yet the joy of atonement, though they pleasingly vote themselves the friends of God, they will be made to their own smart to know, it is one thing to bee reconciled when enemies, it is another thing to be reconciled and abide enemies: No enemies to the Laws of Christ, and Gospel-holiness were ever actually reconciled; they are yet under wrath that are under the reign of sin. Let them consider it that take up, keep and use armes of Hostilitie against the God of peace. Thoughts of reconcilement may be pleasing, they will be a vanishing dream: Divine Pacification is in order to Communion. Libertines cannot walk with God, and see his smiles, that turn back upon God, and hate his Laws.

SECT. 9.

ADopting Grace is turned into Wantonness. I have nourished*and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. Isa. 1. 2. Ah seed of evill doers, children that are corrupters, v. 4. A son honoreth his father: If I be a father, where is mine honour? Mal. 1. 6. As Jacobs Sonnes, Simeon and Levi’s wickedness made him stink. Gen. 34. 30. Eli’s wanton sons were his reproach, so Gods Adopting grace is wronged by his professed children to his dishonour. As when a Beggar is an adopted   sonne, and is saucy, scornfull, stout in his fathers presence, this differencing grace is turned to wantonness; so when a beggarly sinner in external Adoption, is admitted into Gods family, his loose, unmannerly carriage in his Fathers presence, puts an affront upon Adopting grace. To the Israelites appertained the Adoption. Rom. 9. 4. They owned the promotion. God is our Father. Joh. 8. 41. But the high abuse of this preferment in Heathenizing, like Sodom and Gomorrah. Isa. 1. 10. wronging the Stewards of Gods select family, the holy Prophets. Act. 7. 52. despising the orders of his government. Jer. 13. 9, 10. Idolatrizing with the Gentiles. Ps. 106. 35. Their a Impudence, b Ʋniversality, and c Incorrigiblenesse of sinne, a Jer. 6. 15. b Jer. 6. 28. c Jer. 2. 30. turned their external adoption into exprobation. Their professed owning of God their Father in an externall covenant of Grace, with unchild-like rebellions, did aggravate their abominations. Their want on lusts spoyled their Adoption: God was in Title, the Devil in reallity their father. Joh. 8. 44. His Lusts, but not the divine Laws of Jesus Christ ruled over them. Too much a kin are dissolute Christians to the Jews, dishonourers of adopting grace. The looser, the stricter sort of Christians.

  1. The Looser. With what boldnesse, confidence, yea impudence doe many say, Our Father, who have nothing lesse than the dispositions and affections of children? as if God could own Satans image for his living pictures, and perpetuall estrangements, disaffections, enmities, yea reproaches could have any reconcilement with the heavenly dignity of Adoption. God that hath taught men to pray, hath bid no man to lye, and to say hee is their Father in Christ, when they are unchristian in heart and life. I confesse the worst of men may wish they had reall interest in Adopting grace. But under the Fatherhood of Satan, to claim spiritual Sonship, is so to call God Father, as Judas called Christ Master, Luk. 14. 45. a mockery, but not a truth. How rare is it for the prophane pretended children of God, in good earnest to charge grosse hypocrisie on their profession, and thus to quaere; Can these oathes, drunken, unclean, unrighteous, voluptuous lives bear any fair consistency with Adopting grace? Am I not an impure offspring of Hell, though I pretend to an heavenly progeny? Will these thoughts, words, and actions speak Gods children? These serious reflexions are very rare. 〈1 page duplicate〉 〈1 page duplicate〉 The notorious seed of the Serpent will complement and write themselves in their deceitfull hearts Gods children. Many of them have been, the rest will be blotted out of this blessed roll. Ah bold intruder! ere long, in this life, or the next, thy Conscience wil tel thee, Heaven holds no such children, as wil live as they list, reject the paternal government of God, evidently darken the glory of God in the world, and yet call him father.
  2. The stricter sort of Christians too much follow the dissolute Jew, in blemishing the glory of divine Adoption, and these are of two sorts. Such as really, such as are opinionatively godly, are indeed children, and that seem to be so.
  3. Christians of strict profession, that are indeed children. What doe you for your fathers name? Doe not even you, that shall hear these sweet words from the mouth of your Judge and Saviour, Come ye blessed of my Father, hinder his renown in the world? Are not you Key-cold, Hard-hearted, of dis-ingenuous unchild-like spirits, when you see the dreadfull testimonies of his dishonour? Doe not you, who in the next world shall lift up his name, and make his praise glorious, cast down his name, and make it infamous? Your undutifulness to your dear Father is too much, that your too loose hearts dishonour him, and inward wickednesse provokes his absence; but is it not enough in irreverence and disobedience within doors to wrong your childhood? will you dare to dishonour him, and your selves in the publick street of common notices? Against the precious fame of your Father, how are your tongues heated with a fiery satan, and the flames of ungoverned passion, to abound in transgression before malicious observers, glad of your halting? How unwarily doe you publish your over-eager, yea it may be in some things, injurious chases after the worlds gainfull prizes? Why discover you the nakedness of your dis-love and hardness to forgive a saint or sinner? Why doth your voluptuousness, too much declare you yet live not above the world? Why are you silly chapmen to take off the braid wares of corrupt errours? Have no opininions taught you looseness? Why doe you not shew you are Christians to purpose, in doing illustrious singular things; that the neighbours that study your lives, and are strangers to your inward Faith and Love may say, These are children of God indeed, would I were in their condition? It is not the language but the power of your Profession that will draw hearts after it. How have you defaced your Adoption, when your sinfull omissions of convincing duties, and breakings forth of corruption, sharpen the edge of bitter language, and tempt to these words of reproach; O these are the children of God (in scorn) denying you the honour, because you have denyed God the glory, and your selves the credit of your Adoption. Let this lord your hearts for your unwatchful and dishonourable conversation, and call for future caution: Your publick sinnes make your Father hear ill in the world.
  4. Christians of strict profession, that have onely childrens name, not nature, artificial, not supernaturally natural, not lively in externall exercises of Religion, that put over impious designs and practises, the too good cover of a pious name, that are adorned, painted Sepulchers, unclean within; that make not Religion the great expedient for blessed eternity, but a fair net*to catch the world in: That in your zealous devotions, more hot in the mouth than heart, call God frequently your Father, and make it the pleasing Prologue and usher of many of your Petitions, Confessions, and Thanksgivings, and yet have no filiall affections of love, and feare, shame and sorrow, no pleasure in pleasing him, no real godly sorrow for his dishonour: That betray the weaknesse of your painted piety, having no real fervencie of heart for the interest of Gods name, but your own concernments: That betray the whole body of your Religion is a dead carkass, without the life and soul of it, the quickning Spirit: No wonder if you stink, when the ill savour of your loathed pollutions, intemperance, incontinence, unrighteousnesse, unnaturall sins betray the power of Religion was but feigned, never feared in the heart, that could never disperse inward, nor outward beloved, and delighted in imperious sins. O you that are strict in the exercises of piety, and do but feign, not really affect and pursue Christianity, Gods most heavy, and smarting blows will be at you, without great repentance, and singular reforming sinceritie: Doe no longer mock God nor men: Hypocrisie at length ends in Apostasie: The feigned friends of Christ are real enemies. O let not Religion, holy Religion be wickedly blasphemed, nor be your play and game, but your serious businesse in good earnest; and know when you dye, as well may you expect a painted fire should warm you, as a painted Religion comfort your self-accused, and tempted departing soules. Before I close this point, I must warn the loose and scoffing generation that possibly may read this page, to forbear their triumph: Some may say, The Author hath hit the mark, and ecchoes with our thoughts; we are glad he hath payd the Hypocrites; out upon these Precisians, they are all Hypocrites. And are you glad indeed; Where is your charity? That would not rejoice in iniquity, 1 Cor. 13. 6. What if your merry sarcasmes, and satyricall invectives against the Hypocrites, be an arrow justly shot against your selves? Did you never read, there are hypocritical mockers in feasts? Psal. 35. 16. The severe censurers of Hypocrisie had need be upright. Are not you eminently grosly guilty of the crime you cry down? If you will not believe it, it is easie to prove it, deny it if you can: Do not you profess salvation only by Jesus Christ? Do not you know, except you be born again, you cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven? Joh. 3. 5. Is it not plain Scripture, He that is in Christ is a new creature, 2 Cor. 5. 17. They that are Christs have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts? Gal. 5. 24. Are you not commanded to redeem the time? Ephes. 5. 16. Are not livers in pleasures dead to God while they live? 1 Tim. 5. 6. Must not he that abides in Christ, walk as he walked? 1 Joh. 2. 5. Now I beseech you that throw the dreadfull charge of Hypocrisie, and it may be truly against some persons, and yet care not though through the sides of Hypocrites yee wound the generation of Gods children, are not you gross Hypocrites your selves? You profess Christianity, credit Gospelrevelation, call Christ your Saviour, dare not say you will not be ruled by his Laws, expect salvation by him, own his Ordinances, and if asked the question, before a Sacrament, or on a sick bed, by Ministers that please you, will you follow the rules of the Gospel to fit you for heaven? My charitie perswades me you would say yea, God forbid but I should be ruled by Jesus Christ. It is very easie then to conclude from your own concessions you are Professors, now what is Hypocrisie but a constant contradiction to the profession of the power of godlinesse; Is not yours such? Be not angry with this home-speaking to your bosomes, your consciences, if you repent not, will speak a thousand times more after death than a few pages. Can your studious,   and ordinary giving up your selves to the lusts, pomps, and vanities of the world, be interpreted a devoting, or resignment of your persons up to Jesus Christ? Are you born of the Spirit that shew no scripture proofs of your high heavenly birth, the life of the Spirit, the graces of the Spirit, the leading of the Spirit, that are not acquainted with the breathings of the Spirit at the throne of grace, who never made your families houses of prayer? Are you indeed new creatures? Is it possible that the old oathes, drunkennesse, uncleannesse, slighting, and contemning the Word of God, laughing at those truths you hear, that should set you a trembling, loathing of religious exercises, living in the old affections and conversation, should prove you were new creatures? Can you beleeve Christ in you hath crucified the flesh with its affections, and lusts, which you pamper and keep alive? Doe you redeem precious time, all which should you live an hundred years, abating the necessary and moderate attendances on the things of this life, would call for all time in the numerous services of Religion, conquests of Temptations, subjection to the Gospel, and preparation for Eternity? Will you call your covetous, costly, passionate gaming in the afternoon till night, yea sometimes from night till morning, redeeming the time? Is your sleeping till nine or ten a clock on the Lords day, time Redemption? Is your earthy, frothy, unedifying discourses one with another, when you are commanded to provoke one another to love and good works. Heb. 10. 28. To speak what may minister grace and soul advantage to the hearer. Eph. 4. 29. Time improvements? Are your tyring attendances an hour or two on Gods Worship time advantages? Are your many hours attendances on your flesh-pleasing sensualities, the shortest and sweetest hours, the reall profit of time? I beseech you in good earnest, study how Christ walked, and then judge your selves, whether your debauched loose lives, strangers, yea enemies to the strict waies of Christianitie, will prove you walk like Christ; what remains then, but if your eies be open, the fruit of this arraignment of you, before the word of truth, will be real conviction you are gross hypocrites your selves. I say not this delighting to discover the nakednesse of your deceits, but if Gods grace help, to reform them. It is true, there are that make strict profession, are hypocrites, but wil this help you when God seeth,   and your selves know your palpable hypocrisies? As drunkennesse condemns drunkennesse, treason treason, uncleanness uncleanness, covetousnesse covetousnesse, passion passion, so too * often hypocrisie hypocrisie. How is the Devill pleased to see fellow sinners peal and deeply charge one another, who without infinite mercy, are fellow travellers to hell; and will have no pleasure in accusing each other there? O you that are the looser sort of Christians, deal not with the stricter, who abuse their eminent religious appearances, as Diogenes did with Plato,* comming into his adorned and stately room, he trampled on his braverie; being asked the reason of this incivilitie, the Cynick answered, I trample on Plato’s pride: Yea (saith Plato) with greater pride. Do you see and comment on the errors and scandals of strict profession? Take heed you doe not trample on their hypocrisie with greater hypocrisie. I shall finish this digression, with an humble and hearty admonition to larger, and stricter professors, to fear and tremble, lest they live and die under the dominion and damnation of hypocrisie. Ah Christians, who are too Eagle-ey’d in discerning each others hypocrisies, and are too guilty of this sad retaliation, to charge one another with bitter words, but are too Mole-like in seeing your own dissimulation; study both I beseech you, your own bosom Arch-juglers, your own deceitfull lusts: Let your chiefest anger * and revenge be against the craft and willnesse of your own corruption; Be willing, O be willing that the word of the Spirit should slay your own. See you of loose, and you of strict profession one anothers hypocrisies, O turn your declamations into lamentations, your sharp charges into praiers, your scoffs into teares for one another; and you that need bowels of compassions, and a mantle of charitie, to put over, not to blaze * one anothers hypocrisies, return piety and tendernesse of spirit to your fello• deceivers; I mean not soul-ruining flatterie, but regular Gospel-charitie.

To return to the abuse of Adopting grace. Whosoever they are, as there are but few that are guiltlesse, very few but dishonour the glory and dignitie of their Adoption, I could wish that it might be laid to heart, three things may be seriously considered.

  1. The naturall respects, reverence, lively affections, and zeal that children bear to their parents, •ho•onow the guidance of that engraven Law God hath put into the•• spirits. The force of this consideration is this: Is it not an high dishonour to the Father of spirits, that the Parents of the flesh should have most regard? It is storied of a dumb sonne, who seeing his fathers life endangered, in mightie zeal burst open the long shut doors * of silence, and said, O kill not the man. Doe we not see the name of our heavenly father, we call so, endangered, his Gospel in perill to be lost by common contempts and barrennesse, our own soule; endammag’d, and yet we are not delivered from a dumb devill, we want hearts and words to speak for our Father, to cry mightily to him that his glory may not be so obscured, his Gospel may be preserved, our soules may be sanctified and eternally saved? Where are our suspitions lest we darken his name by our dis-ingenuous unchild-like carriages? I am afraid, said the son of Declus, lest when I am made Emperour I forget my*self to be a son.•re we as zealous in our ease, prosperities, sweet creature injoyments, Lest fulness rempt to forgetfulness, lest we should be lesse reverent and obedient children, when our Tables are most delicious, and beds sofrest? Doth the light of nature say, Parents can never be recompenced? Doth the Scripture bid children to requite their parents. 1 Tim. 5. 4. which endeavour they may, fully accomplish they cannot? What shame is * it when we are infinitely more indebted to our heavenly father, then our earthly progenitors, that we should return him irreverence, daily dishonours; but be very rare and cold, and weary of religious, loyal, and filial returns? We reverence (saith the Apostle) the correcting fathers of our flesh, shall we not much rather be in sub•ection to the father of spirits and lives? Heb. 12. 9. There * is a much rather for an honourable deportment, under the heavenly than earthly adoption: But the fathers of the flesh have a large harvest of respect and service, our heavenly Father hath s••rce the gle•nings of duty. Would Chrysostome have children*serve the carefull and zealous instruments of their worldly beeing, with as close a constraint and duty of love, as slaves do their masters from servile fear? How do we abuse our high, holy, and heavenly relation of children, when neither out of fear of his hot displeasure, nor love of his drawing goodness, we doe to God faithful service?
  2. It is an eminent piece of most abominable ingratitude to abuse best friends, dear parents; vengeance would not suffer Absolom to live, that rose up against his Fathers Crown and life; and they who would not obey their Parents (a sad monument of divine wrath) have obeyed the Hangman. Hath God borne so severe testimony against the dishonours of fleshly parents, will he not revenge our unthankfulnesse, who professe him our heavenly Father, live every moment by his protections and provisions; spend upon his creatures, his bounty, his care, his patience, yea hope to be with him in heaven, and yet riot, grow unruly and insolent with his goodness, wax wanton like well fed heifers in fat pastures, refuse his sweet Gospel yoak, deafen our ears to our fathers call; kick at the tender bowels of his love, not onely reject, but some of us jeer at the orders of his family discipline? Can we think that the zeal of God, that hath burnt hot in dreadfull examples against the abuse of Parental rights, will not break out in dreadfull flames against all of us very mock-gods, that complement God our Father, and take it for granted, we are his children (as indeed we are in externall Baptismal Covenant) when it will be found, as the degenerated seed of Abraham, were ranked with Sodom and Gomorrah in wickednesse, so without exceeding practical repentance, we shall be found no better, casting off our Fathers holy government, than very heathens, yea worse than they, by how much the more we have put the cover of an heavenly adoption over hellish rebellions.
  3. In the great day God will strictly examine all those that * passed for the members of his family. Admission unto his houshold, and calling him Father, will not secure from the wrongs of this heavenly relation. It is impossible now infallibly to discern between the spurious adulterate issue of the serpents seed, and the new-born reall children of the most high God; but at the great day, when the thoughts of all hearts shall be opened, and the lives of all Professors, stricter or larger shall be examined, * then (which is a dreadfull place) The children of the Kingdom shall be cast out. Mat. 8. 12. Those that had a name without the heavenly nature, dispositions, affections, and conversations of Children that have blotted their Fathers name, with inward filthiness, and outward pollutions of the World, that have clearly proved Gods House hath been haunted with unclean Spirits, that have owned God in title, the Devil in reallity their Father, that have as many times mockt God, as they have called him their Father in Christ: Then shall these, not Children of God, but Rebels; not the Image of Christ, but Satan; not the exalters, but debasers of Gods name, be set on their proper side among the children of the Divel, and publikely before God, his holy Angels, his real Saints and Children, be everlastingly disowned from being reputed and rewarded as his Children, and be banished from his blessed and comfortable presence, to the Devil their Father, to keep company with all the Apostate Angels, and the Serpents seed, whether Pagan, abusing the light of nature, or Christian, the glorious Gospel of Grace: O consider this, all you that are called Christians, that either are more open and gross, or close prophaners of your Fathers Name, Fear and tremble still to abuse it, lest as the degenerate Children of the Kingdom, ye be cast out: Then all thin fig-leaves, and external pretensions, you are Gods Children, will vanish from you as darkness before the Sun, and flee away as chaff before the wind: It will be found, that Profession of Christianity is easie, but a suitable disposition and conversation to it is hard and rare; Lord, Lord, will not alter the purposes of that angry, natural Justice, that will take vengeance on the dishonors offered to adopting Grace.

SECT. 10.

  1. FReeing Grace is turned into wantonness: The sweet * name of liberty, but not rightly stated and understood, hath been one of Satans snares, and is still to undoe precious souls: We are bid to stand fast in that liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, Gal. 5. 1. but not in the liberty that Satan, the lusts of men, the spirit of error, carnal Interests and Policy makes us free: Jesus Christ never died to give the Devil a free trade: Gospel-Grace hath glorious freedom, from the curse of the Law,•al. 3. 13. the guilt of sin, the wrath to come, 1 Thess. 1. 10. These are purchased liberties by the blood of Christ, and are all abused by licentious spirits, who turn Christian liberty into un-Christian Libertinism: They are free from the curse of the Law, as they believe, but are cursed Children, 2 Pet. 2. 14. have unmortified cursed Corruptions, do accursed things, and lead accursed lives; so their freedom from the guilt of sin, is abused to wallowing in the filth of sin; and their fancied liberty from the wrath to come, is to enjoy the present pleasures of sin, and by treasuring up of sin, to treasure up wrath against the day of wrath, Rom. 2. 5. Too many sleeps on this sweet pillow, pleasing indempnity, freedom from hell, and abuse this liberty, by a secure walking in the way to hell: How * is liberty mistaken? It is a freedom from sin, not in sin; It is putting the old man in chains, not allowing him enlargement; It is absolute denying of unlawful things, yea limitation and omission of lawful: It is a free service of God, not a servile freedom of lust; It is confined to Scripture rule, not left loose to a selfish arbitrary will; It is full of humility, fear and trembling, not audacious, adventuring on any thing: It must write after the copy of Heavens liberty, which is to do the will of God, not the flesh: Holy Angels are free, but it is to duty, not rebellion. A wonder it is, that under Gospel-light, Christian liberty is made so broad a cover, as almost to hide any thing: How many come in here for their share? lavish Gaming, that throws away that in an hour, which would feed and cloath several poor Families for many years; spotted, yea painted faces, shroud themselves under lawful liberty: Excessive gluttonous Feasts, have their freedom too: A Cup too much, that tempts to many more, is made bold with, though it load the stomach and brains to staggering, vomit, laying reason asleep, mis-spending time and money: Covetous getting and keeping Estates, hath its patronage from Scripture liberty: Parents must lay up for their Children, 2 Cor. 12. 14. It is Infidel-like not to provide for them, when under this pretence the numerous Texts of Scripture, concerning giving to the poor, are made of none effect: Every absurd and sottish opinion in Religion, among the sides of needless and offensive divisions pleads Christian liberty; yea which is sad, horrid, not onely unchristian, but uncivil and unnatural practices have the same refuge: O when that arch Libertine the Devil shall once gull men, that his hellish suggestions have the leave and liking of Christ and his Spirit, wickedness will be   boundless: It is sad to think how slily and successfully the Devil hath made prodigious Errors and practices pass•ble, as in former times, so in the present age: O you that are falsly so called free men and women, know whom the Son makes free, they are free indeed: You do but dream of true freedom, who are the slaves *not of one man, but of as many Lords as lusts: Who will believe he is free, who goeth ratling up and down in chains, with his keeper by him? Alass! carnal Libertines conceive they are free, when they go up and down in chains of accustomed sins, and have their Keeper with them, yea in them, (i. e.) the Prince of this wicked world.

How not onely unreasonable, but unchristian, hath been the practice of loose, not Christian Reformation: Satan can ruine by extreams: Some Protestants in Germany, that did well in leaving Antichrist, did ill too in Apostacy from Christ: It was the complaint of Mencelius: O sad and shameful disgrace! After the power of the holy Gospel had set enthralled Consciences at liberty*from the power and tyranny of the Pope, men would be free from all bonds, nor suffer any to hinder their licentious lives. Are not these sad extreams the practice of these times? After many amongst us are freed from humane Conscience-yoaks, they complained of, have they not also thrown off the Government of Christ by his Word and Spirit, and do as much boggle at Divine, as humane impositions? as if the pure and strict Laws of Christ were equally intolerable with the erring Laws of men. Surely Christian liberty puts an universal confinement upon corruption, forbids every proud, wanton, erring Judgement; is prone and free to pass a sentence upon, & crucifie carnal Lusts and Affections; dares not adventure on a vain thought and idle word, much less monstrous opinions, and courses of old and present times. Some men so fearfully manage their Gospel liberty, as if they might have leave to desire, think, affect, believe, speak, *and do whatsoever they please, under Gospel-allowance, which interpretative Blasphemy, speaks the Gospel a prophane, not an holy Gospel: But it need fear no such reproach: Its pure rules will vindicate themselves from loosness; Its sound words, from corrupt opinions; Its condemning holiness, shine in the threatned damnation of all those that make its liberty an occasion to the flesh: yet far be it from me that I should so reproach Christs   free ones, that better improve their glorious Liberty, in these trying times, as to deny, there are many who through preserving Grace, hold fast to the form of sound words, and do more warily manage Christian liberty by others Libertinism, that dare not live as very many do, that do not allow and follow, but reprove, pray against, and weep over their loosness; a better course then they take, that rebuke sin with sin, and while they declaim against unwary Christians use of liberty, do fearfully abuse it themselves: But the working out Salvation with fear and trembling, will prevent among us many Libertines. Ah dear Christians, are you called to liberty? see to it, that you be guided by the life and laws of Christ: Utter disproportions from these, are none of Christs purchase nor dispensations: Your dangers are fearful, in common liberty of Conscience to be unconscionable,* while you may have nature, state, and Church-freedom, you may be Conscience slaves: No thraldom like that wherein the Devil rides and drives Consciences where he please: If he can once be master in the Conscience, the Soul, and all else, in his own.

SECT. 11.

  1. PArdoning Grace is turned into wantonness: Apprehended * Remission hath proved the corroboration of sin: How many are there that sin, because they think they are pardoned, and though they drive on the trade again, it is but suing a Pardon, and the corrupt Libertine hath peace again? Sin and pardon, pardon and sin, is their circle of delusion: But sin and repentance are strangers to each other: What a dishonor is this to pardoning Grace? It is made by these men, the Incourager and Patron of sin, as the Popes indulgences, and large Pardons for sins past, present, and to come, out of his rich, cheating pardon office, are to blinde Papists: How do Libertines turn the pardon office of Heaven, and throne of Grace erected by the Lord Jesus, into a Stews of uncleanness, a free opening of Hell Gates, an open Market for any to buy the Devils Wares? Hearken all ye that wrong pardoning mercy, to nine things. *
  2. You, in ungrateful Wickedness, •ndervalue, yea tread under your feet the infinite price of forgiveness: The state of pardon, and every act of pardon, cost the blood of the Son of God: We have redemption through his blood, the forgivenesse of sinnes. Ephes. 1. 7. Because this blood hath bought you a pardon, will you sell your selves to worke wickednesse, and disgrace your Redeemer and redemption?
  3. You abuse the riches of Gods grace: Forgivenesse of sins*is according to the riches of his grace. Ephes. 1. 7. The pardon of every sinne, of infinite numberlesse sinnes, is a distinct act of grace. That must needs be rich, exceeding rich grace, that pardons innumerable sinnes; as that must be an immense treasure of money that paies as many debts as there be Stars in the Firmament; yea more than that the rich grace of God doth, when he saves a sinner: Will you now frolick in your carnall wantonness, because rich grace will forgive you? it is as if you should cast a Kings pardoning act of grace into the dunghill, or tread it under your feet.
  4. You crosse the very end of Pardon, which is the destroying, * not the favouring of sinne; the healing, not increasing the wound; a pious & holy, not an impious and prophane life. Christ never blotted out believers sinnes, that his Pardons might be Indulgences to sinne, but purges: He never put any into a new state of pardon, but he made them new creatures. Sin no more, followed the pardon of the Adulteresse, Joh. 8. 11. Sinne is still the Devils and the fleshes allowance, not Jesus Christs.
  5. You contradict the very errand of Christ sent into the world; He came to call sinners to repentance, Mat. 9. 13. not to give them leave to live in sin.
  6. You deprive God, what in you lyes, of another of his designs in forgiving sinners: The planting of his holy fear in their hearts not to sin again: There is forgivenesse with thee, that thou mayst be feared, Psal. 130. 4. not that thou mayst be still dishonoured by the old sinnes. Yea what fear, a property of true repentance? 2 Cor. 7. 11. *
  7. You deny your selves a choice Gospel blessing, which is the turning of you from your iniquities, Act. 3. 26. Joyfull news to sound hearts to be rid of the power of their tyrannizing sins. *
  8. You miss a choice fruit of Christs intercession, which is to give repentance to Israel. Act. 5. 31. One of the great donatives of the Prince of Life, installed in his heavenly glory, a choice Royal gift to fit for Heaven.
  9. You divide what God hath joyned together, Remission and*Repentance. Act. 5. 31. Sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus. 1 Pet. 1. 2.
  10. You are wholly selfish in your thoughts, hopes, and desires of pardon, would have God blot out your sinnes to serve your own turn, not to serve him; to sinne with a peaceable spirit, not serve him with a pure conscience; That you might not goe to Hell, not that you might be fit for Heaven. O Christians! abuse not upon these accounts pardoning grace: If you doe, and die in this wickedness, be sure these considerations, will like fire flashing about the ears, in the other world, flame upon your consciences, as daring wantons, that have played and sported with Gods pardons. If you say, God forbid we should abuse pardoning grace, we are free from so great a sinne; Take heed you dream not of innocence, where the Word chargeth you with guilt: Surely you play the wantons with pardoning grace, if seven things are verified of you.
  11. If you sinne in hope of pardon, which is wretched presumption, * Are you not like those ill nurtured, and impudent children, that are vile and wicked, because they expect their fond and indulgent Parents forgivenesse? or like those Rogues, that rob and steal, because they hope for a Psalm of Mercy? or like those tempters of God, that wound themselves because they look for healing from a soveraign Balsome? What is this expectation of pardon, but a confirmation in sin, and an encourgaement to doe still more wickedly?
  12. If after your assurance, that you are pardoned, you boldly, * willingly, and delightingly bid the next temptations welcome, this is in effect as if you should say, Welcome flesh, we are your servants; welcome devil, we are your subjects; welcome world, with all your snares, sinfull pleasures and pollutions, we will refuse none of you, we are out of gun-shot, you can doe us no hurt; we had lately a pardon sent into our bosoms, and now we may have liberty of sport and dalliance; we have a gracious God that will forgive us, and a suretie who will pay all our debts: If this be your case, do you not clearly affront pardoning grace?
  13. If your design of desiring and obtaining pardon be onely * to have a quiet conscience, but not a good one, you can very well bear the obstruction, the rebellion, the pollution of your sinnes, but onely dread their damnation. If the use you make of pardons, is onely that you may not be troubled, not that you may be holy, here is evident injury to Pardoning grace.
  14. When you goe on in sin, after thoughts of pardon, you * have no sincere love to Jesus Christ. Many rest in hopes, yea some in assurances, they are forgiven, who yet never heartily loved the Lord Christ. They never had a love to labour for his name. Revel. 2. 3. to prize his presence, Psal. 16. 8. to stoop to his strict spiritual Government, Mich. 5. 2. to regard his image, to be living Saints, Rom. 8. 29. To have evill, Psal. 119. 104. An eminent, yet pardoned sinner, will prove this high abuse of pardoning grace: Much was forgiven her, for she loved much, Luk. 7. 47. She could not but answer love for love. If you that write your selves down in your quiet consciences, absolved persons, love not the Lord Jesus, you are worse than Publicans, they love those that love them. Mat. 5. 46. If a liberal creditor should freely forgive all your debts, could you deny your lovelesse carriage to him is an high abuse of his goodnesse? Should you hate your suretie, conscience would tell you his love should be abused. Thus doe you deal with God your creditor, Christ your suretie, you disgrace the pardoning grace you thinke you have from them, when you hate the Father and the Sonne, yea abhorre the guiding your hearts and lives by the Spirits motions.
  15. If after thoughts of obtained pardon, you have no tender * conscience, no mournings, weepings, meltings of love, of Gospel joy for Absolution, no serious sense of the dishonourable evill, even of pardoned sinne, no watchfull, fearefull thoughts of the next transgression, no sorrowfull apprehension of renewed sin. When you came over a narrow bridge, and very hardly saved your life, are not you tender of comming that way again? You have narrowlie scaped hell, doe you think pardoning grace hath kept you off it? O where is your tendernesse of sinning there again, where you had been almost plunged into the bottomlesse pit. An heart hardned in sin, after thoughts of granted forgivenesse, is an evident wrong to this Gospel grace.
  16. If after thoughts of getting a pardon you have no holy * shame for your sinnes: Mary Magdalen was pardoned, but in an holy shame shee stood behind her Saviour, Luk. 7. 38. The absolved Romans were ashamed, even of their pardoned sinnes, Rom. 6. 21. Ye are now, said the Apostle, ashamed of them. Ingenious children of God are ashamed, when renewing repentance in their Fathers presence, they looke over the black roll even of pardoned sinnes. Surely you that have impudent reflections on your conceited sinnes, yea have no shame to keep you off from renewed and pleasing sins, do much disparage pardoning grace.
  17. If after thoughts your sins are pardoned, you cannot, you * will not pardon others, not your enemies, not your friends, not your joynt professors of the same heavenly faith and hope, not your loving reprovers, not your hearty intercessors at the throne of grace for you. Are you indeed pardoned that cannot pardon? Pardon of sin is an eminent part of Gospel-glory. True believers are changed into it, 2 Cor. 3. 18. When they see how much they are forgiven, they cannot but forgive; when they see an hundred debts are forgiven, will they strain at it to forgive one? Yea when God forgives a thousand to one, shall they not blot out a few? I dare boldly say, Those that take it for granted their sins are pardoned, that are implacable, that write wrongs in marble, not in the dust, be their confidences never so high, do both un-Christian, and un-Man themselves.
  18. They strip themselves of Christianity. Its a choice, and hard rule to flesh and blood to forgive enemies; but this is neglected, despised. How can you say, Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors, when your consciences tell you, that you cannot forgive? you doe not so much pray for, as curse your selves; as if you should say, Lord forgive not my sinnes, for I will not forgive others. Doe we not read the example of Christ, that forg•ve his enemies; He prayed for it, Father forgive them, Luk. 23. 34. this difficult piece of Christianity was in Stephen, Act. 7. 50. That choice Apostolical precept to the Colossians, As Christ forgave you, so also do ye, Col. 3. 13. And is it Christianity never to forgive nor forget, ever to treasure up wrath and revenge? *
  19. They strip themselves of humanity: Even the Law of nature requires forgiveness: We are all the off-spring of Adam, come of one blood, Acts 17. 26. There is a cons•nguinity in all man-kinde: We have kindred with all the children of men: It is therefore the inference of Lactantius: We are all of a blood, and therefore it is to be reputed the greatest wickedness to hate any man, although an hurtful enemy: And upon this natural consideration, enmities between men and men are never to be practised, but ever to be abolished: Inspiration of souls, forming of Bodies from the same common Heavenly Father, speaks us Brethren: The admonition of the universal natural kindred of the World, should allay, yea, and break the spirit of enmity into love; we little consider it, but it is a real truth: When we take revenge of any man, we are revenged of our selves: Every ones flesh is ours: The Prophet Isaias calls every ones flesh our own, Isaiah 58. 7. That thou hide not thy self from thine own flesh: Calvins exposition is pertinent to this purpose: The word flesh is to be noted, whereby the Prophet understands every man, of whom we can behold none, but as in a glass we contemplate our own flesh: It is therefore a part of highest inhumanity, to despise those in whom we are constrained to behold our own likeness: Consider this, all ye Christians, who think your selves safe under the security of Gods pardoning Grace: How have you abused this Gospel-priviledge, whom neither the serious sense of Christianity, nor the common tie of humanity can prevail with to forgive? When you cannot give, nor forgive, reason thus; Shal I not succor and pardon mine own flesh? Shall I both sin against grace and nature? Shall I by my uncharitable and implacable Spirit, sin both against redemption and creation goodness? Such Meditations cannot be too frequent to drive away irreligious and unnatural hardheartedness and revenge out of the spirits of Christians.

SECT. 12.

  1. THe Grace of imputed righteousness is turned into wantonness: * Even the everlasting Righteousness, Daniel prophesied, which should be wrought in the Person of the Messiah, Dan. 9. 24. hath had no little Injury in the World: This stupendious Gospel-mystery, That a lost sinner should be justified by anothers righteousness, which is the holy Angels wonder, and will be glorified Saints ravishing admiration, hath been ill intreated, even of professed Christians. And lest the charge seem too general, I shall clear it in two particulars: The Grace of imputed Righteousness is wronged, when this is abusively pleaded against inherent Righteousness: When inherent Righteousness is foolishly and perilously rested on for salvation, without imputed Righteousness: The former is a plain Libertine in wickedness, the latter doth play the wanton with Christs goodness.
  2. The grace of imputed righteousness is abused, when it is * pleaded against inherent righteousness: This is an easie and common cheat: Corrupt flesh, and the arch Deceiver, can easily please the Fancy, and perswade the Judgement, that the fair hand of Grace hath put the rich and large Robe of Christs Personal Righteousness, on the leprous and unmortified Body of sin; yea, that this holy cover is so thick, that in the absurd Antinomian, God doth not so much as see Believers sins; as if one Divine Attribute had swallowed up another, his mercy his omniscience: Now when the loose sinner can say the Lord is his righteousness, he believes himself in a state of Grace, as if now nothing could indanger his immortal Soul, and he had enough for Glory: If unregenerate nature give the deceived Transgressor the largest line and scope, to live in sinful lusts, pleasures, and idolized sensualities, and the Conscience begin to grumble in the free choice affections and pursuances of sinful courses; This is ever the remedy at hand: We are all sinners: This is our infirmity: Christ died for us: Hath satisfied his Fathers justice: He is our righteousness: Thus while they plead to Christs legal righteousness without them, they live without Christs Gospel righteousness within them. It is enough for them they are justified above, they seek not to be sanctified within, as if there were not need as well of an Evidence to Salvation by inherent righteousness, as of a Title to eternal life by imputed righteousness: This great abuse of the glorious imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, in opposition to inherent, and the singular peril to be lost for ever, that they are in, who are contented with a bare imputed righteousness, will appear in seven things: As,
  3. No glory will redound to God in such a contentment: Can the free gift of Christs perfect obedience, made over to the sinner, have the glory of praise, when it hath the infamy of this dishonor? This heavenly Robe is purposely put on the most licentious persons, to hide them, not to amend them: Though there be no absolute change from the state of sin, to the dominion of sanctifying Grace: Though the state of total unregeneracy, be enmity to the holiness of Christ and his Gospel: Sins servants, are Heavens darlings, by the favor of a pretended imputation: Can God have the glory of bringing forth much fruit, while there is no implantation in Jesus Christ? Iohn 15. 5. Can God be honored in his Sons honor, John 5. 23. and magnified in the glorifying of his name, 2 Thess. 1. 12. when there is no new nature to honor him, but the predominant old man to abuse him? A solitary imputed righteousness without, is wronged without a righteousness within: God misseth of his honor where these are put asunder.
  4. No honor will be to the Gospel: Bare appropriating Christs obedience, will not secure the glorious Gospel from that unrighteousness and unholiness, that licentious wickedness would pin upon it: This part of Gospel, Christ is our righteousness, the flesh will like; but that part of it, The Justified must be holy, penitent, mortified, it cannot endure: It pleasingly believes the Gospel is to them the power of God unto salvation, though it never was the power of God unto Conversion. It is a Gospel Precept, we should walk as becomes the Gospel, Phil. 1. 27. Can an unregenerate man so walk? Can night Birds abide the noon Light? Can Children of darkness walk as children of light? Can they be thought translated into the Kingdom of Christ, that are strongly kept and abide in Satans Kingdom? No confidences of imputed righteousness can keep a wicked man from an infamous un-gospel life: When his corruptions break out, the Gospel suffers: Then Satan jeers in his Instruments; These are your Professors; These are your Gospellers, as if the holy Gospel gave liberty to sin: But nothing less, for as it proclaims imputed righteousness, so on pain of damnation it requires inherent.
  5. No thankful return will be to Jesus Christ: The gift and benefit of everlasting righteousness, deserves everlasting thanks: It was never yet known, that an unsanctified person was thankful to Jesus Christ: He challengeth cordial, verbal, vital thanks, but all this is above the reach of unregeneracy: A carnal person can complement Christ with the cheap praise of the lips, but his soul, and all that is within him, Psal. 103. 1. His conversation can never bless him: He wants the Gospel-power of an holy and a righteous life.
  6. No reputation will be to Faith: Indeed it hath the honor to be the Grace that lays hold on Christs perfect Righteousness; but this is not its onely office, It sanctifies as well as justifies, Acts 26. 18. Rom. 5. 1. It purifies as well as pacifieth the heart, Acts 15. 9. Rom. 5. 1. The Just lives by it, as well religiously, Hab. 2. 4. as safely and peaceably, Mark 5. 34. and is not onely freed by it from the guilt but the filth of sin: The name of Faith divided from holiness, hath this aspersion and dis-reputation, to be stiled a vain faith, a dead faith, Jam. 2. 20. a faith like the Devils faith, Jam. 2. 19.
  7. No conviction will be to unbelievers: Can the Christ rejecting World, be drawn to own and love such pretenders to interest in his perfect righteousness, who live unrighteously: They are apt to think the happiness of this imputation is but a fancy and a fable, that produceth not shining and glorious fruits: When they that for Christs sake stand righteous in Gods account, arise and shine, and the glory of Gods holiness is seen upon them; even wicked men will enquire after Christ, and be constrained to think well of that Master, whose name is so sanctified and illustrious in his servants.
  8. No communion will be with the holy God: Were it possible an ungodly Man should be cloathed with Christs righteousness, yet if he have not Christs Spirit, Christs Image, God and such a one could have no fellowship: Communion requires likeness: Contrary natures can have no converse: Two cannot walk together except they be agreed: How can a wicked person, and the pure God walk together?
  9. No capacity nor ability of new obedience: Suppose a Rebel against Christs Crown and Government were justified, yet if he were not sanctified, he could not do the will of God, 1 Pet. 1. 2. Till sanctifying Grace subdue the natural rebellion of the heart, Gods commands will be laid aside; as if a Traytors heart be changed, he will be subject to his Prince; if unreformed, he will still rebel.
  10. The Grace of imputed righteousness is abused; When * inherent righteousness is rested on for salvation, without imputed righteousness. This is one of Satans wiles to ruine souls: If there be appearing strictness in the ways of holyness, and godliness be deemed a sufficiency for eternal life, so that Christs perfect righteousness be cast out of the Saint-like Professors Creed, and the great weight of the souls confidence of happiness, laid on the sandy foundation of imperfect obedience, then the great title to eternal life, Imputed righteousness, is shouldred out and abused. The largest tale of duties, and sharpest sufferings of this life, cannot make up a compleat righteousness. When personal, deficicient performances, will wantonly get up into the throne, and justle out the absolute obedience of Christ: This setting up of a weak righteousness within, above Christs perfect one without, will to the hazard of the guilty sinners perishing, fail in seven things.
  11. There will be no pacification of an angry God: No gracious hearts nor godly lives atone God. Christs Sacrifice onely was Propitiatory: We joy in the Atonement, said the Apostle, Rom. 5. 11. but by Christs death. The highest measures of Believers doings or sufferings, cannot turn away Gods wrath for the least sin: It was Jobs Faith, when a penitent sinner seeth his righteousness, he seeth his atonement, Job 33. 23, 24. That is onely by Christ, not a Believer: His own Prayers, Tears, Alms, Duties, do not pacifie God, but the righteousness of Christ. It is a common practical error, we will be weeping and doing to turn away Gods avenging displeasure: For though these duties are means appointed by God, yet we must look through them unto Jesus Christ.
  12. There will be no satisfaction of Gods Justice: Sin hath done infinite wrong: Justice would have an infinite reparation: Now it is impossible that finite doings and sufferings can make infinite satisfaction: A rest then in failing inherent holiness, at once leaves infinite Justice unsatisfied, and souls unsaved, Who of the best can tell that he hath done and suffered enough to make God amends for his sins, yea for the least sin?
  13. There will be no proportion to the rigid Laws requiries; It will not abate one Law nor Circumstance of Duty: The Law is exceeding broad. The eminentest of Saints that have studied the Law, and their own hearts and lives, could never bring before God an exact obedience parallel to command: Had not Christ perfectly fulfilled the Law, the exactest Christians could have no grounded hope of Heaven. The Law would say even to a Paul, Here is much wanting; He durst not expect Justification from the unparalell’d services, sufferings, and success of his Apostleship; I know nothing by my self, yet am I not thereby justified. 1 Cor. 4. 4. The Lord Christ his personall duty is beleevers perfect righteousness, not their own sanctification.
  14. There will be no escaping the curse of the Law: Christ crucified was made a curse for his people. Galat. 3. 13. that they might not be accursed. Their services and penalties are no deliverances from Gods curse, which unremoved will flame in everlasting burnings. All beleevers have infinite reason to say, The Lord Jesus, not their own Graces, hath delivered them from the wrath to come.
  15. There will be no refuge against conscience stormes, in a * trusted-in righteousnesse of graces. Bare inherent holynesse, failing and polluted, with corrupt mixtures, cannot secure a tempted soul by the Laws arrests, the accusing conscience, and Satans indictments. This subtle and potent pleader will drive assaulted Christians from the weak holds of their pettie performances, yea bring them to the brink of despair, untill they run to the Cross of Christ, and get within the invincible and royal Fort, Christs imputed Righteousnesse: This is the Saints refuge against their sharpest temptations, and conscience-stormes. Heb. 9. 12, 14. and 10. 2.
  16. There will not be a sufficient Argument, utterly to strip believers from all glorying in themselves about a perfect Righteousnesse: Would our own bare obedience be a current title to glory, beleevers might wantonly applaud themselves, and dance about their high duties, as the Israelites about their Golden Idol, they might commend themselves, and boast in heart, for the glory of their holynesse, their Prayers, Tears, Alms, Mortification, as they are too apt to do. But when they know and beleeve the Lord * Christ is made Righteousness unto them, there was not so much as a good thought either in them, or from them contributed, to the making of this glorious robe imputed righteousness; now they are denyed all glorying in themselves. As to their perfect legal obedience, they onely glory in Jesus Christ: He is of God made our righteousnesse, that according as it is written, he that gloryeth let him glory in the Lord, 1 Cor. 2. 30, 31.
  17. There will be no sure title to eternal life. The perfect and infinite righteousness of the God-man Jesus Christ, is an equivalent intitling purchase, to the Gospels infinite reward of the next life. As God is just and a justifier of beleevers, so he is just and will be their glorifier, Rom. 3. 26. 2 Tim. 4. 8.

Let these things be a warning to all those that would secure their hopes, confidences, and joyes of salvation, from miscarrying, to study that righteousnesse, which will fully and equally answer the demands of infinite justice, and as to a justified estate from the guilt of sin, to account their imperfect obedience, polluted, defective, yea as dung, compared with the complere personal righteousnesse of Jesus Christ: But alass! this error is too common, yea too much an error in reall Christians, very ignorant of the mystery of an imputed Righteousnesse, to lay either the whole, or the greatest weight on a weak foundation. The Philosophers spake much of virtue, but their external shining virtues were headless virtues, because they were without the knowledge and worship of the true God; so were it possible that an unjustified person should eminently shine in all the graces of the Spirit, and be voted the none-such of the Age in contempt of the world, mortification, and new obedience; these graces would be headless graces: Christ would profit him nothing in his choicest doings and sufferings, while his active and passive obedience is nor a sinners infinite, compleat, and everlasting righteousnesse.

SECT. 13.

  1. GLoryfying grace in the hopes and confidences thereof is * turned into wantonnesse. It is called the grace of life, 1 Pet. 3. 7. and eternal life is the gift of God. Rom. 6. 23. The crown of Glory is a crown of Free Grace, adorned with that most orient Pearl, the imputed Righteousnesse of Christ, and the Jewels of the graces of the Spirit, in their most perfect splendour and exercise, that stand with the full fruition of God. It is Grace that rewards Grace with Glory: It is Grace that beginneth, increaseth, and consummates Grace: Now many hope for gloryfying grace, who almost but hope for heaven? Who that have most just cause to feare, yet are afraid in the serious and sad dwelling thoughts of their condition, they are in eminent danger of Hell? Instead of the blessed hope, or hope of blessednesse, the regular and warrantable expectation of glorifying grace, there is a common hope and a cursed hope of Satans suggestion, and corruptions entertainment, though men continue in their sinnes they shall have heaven at length. This hope never purifyed the heart and life, 1 Joh. 3. 3. but will prove to them that trust in it, like the thin and weak webb to the spider, be swept away with the besom of destruction: An evill conscience*is the most dangerous companion of Hope. Because many hope to be saved in the way of ruin, their diseases become incurable, like foolish patients that conclude health from that which increaseth their disease, and hastneth their death. Carnal hopes might have been cured by conditionall despair, that ever soules should be saved, while false hopes are rested in. An hope of life in the paths of death, is destruction to the soul. A despair of ever getting good by such an hope, might make men looke out for better hopes, and more saving securities. There are doubtlesse many that will in the other world curse their irrationall, unscripturall, and groundlesse hopes of Heaven. A Prince hopes to wear his Fathers Crown, How doth he abuse his hopes by living like a scullion, and consorting with beggars: Dishonourable imployments are below Royal state. Many hope to wear the white robes of glory, Rev. 3. 4, 5. and yet embrace dunghill lusts and courses, live dishonourably and abusively under their high expectations. These resemble the Lapwing (accounted an Emblem of infelicity) which feeds on dung, though it weares a Coronet on its head. In the common abused hope of glory, Hope is put out of office; the springs of Hope are not regarded; the work of hope is not done; the properties of Hope are not to be found.
  2. Hope is put out of office.

It hath the office of a setling Anchor in heaven, in tempestuous and troublesome times. But the vulgar hope, though it pretend heaven for its hold, casts Anchor only among the creatures of which is worse, among the Devils, staying and strengthning it self in their counsels and lusts.

It hath the office of a saving refuge, against Afflictions, Desertions, Temptations, Corruptions, Heb. 6. 18. The carnal hope   of glory hath no City of Refuge but below, viz. Wits, Riches, Friends, Honours, &c.

It hath the office of purging water, which makes inside and * outside clean: The false hope of heaven, wallows Swine-like in the filthinesse of flesh and spirit, layes in the mire of wickedness, but riseth not out.

It hath the office of a diligent servant; It looks for an heavenly reward, and it serves God day and night, Act. 26. 6, 7. But the bare fancy of the hope of glory, is content to serve the world, flesh, and devill. It looks for an heavenly harvest, and yet follows Satans Plow, and soweth to the flesh. Gal. 6. 8.

It hath the office of a comforting cordial: Good hope through Grace is the hearts comforter: But the feigned hope of glory gives no more real comfort than the dream of a cordial doth a sleeping or dying man. Carnal hopes never drinks out of the cup of heavenly consolations; no draughts really please them but of earthly solaces. Thus doe unregenerate men, what ever they think, put the hope of glory out of office; so in the common abused hope of glory.

  1. The springs of hope are not regarded.

The Free grace of God is a Spring of Hope. Good hope through Grace, 2 Thes. 2. 16. But loose spirits are as much strangers to the glory, puritie, and power of Free grace, as true Hope. They have not good hope through grace, but ill hope, through presumption. The holy Ghost is a spring of hope, that ye may abound in hope by the holy Ghost, Rom. 15. 13. But un-Gospel wantons have their hopes from the evil spirits suggestion, not the good spirits inspiration.

The perfect righteousness of Christ is a spring of hope: The hope of righteousness, Gal. 5. 5. But the dreamers of Heavenly hopes, take the rise of their high hopes from their opinionative righteousness, their good meanings, good works, as they think, & external either moralities outward, or religious exercises, or both.

Justifying Faith is a Spring of hope. Rom. 5. 1, 2. The hope of glory grows out of it. But the vaine barren hope of Glory issues from self-sufficiencie. As it comes not from a justified estate, so neither doth it shew any evidence of sanctifying Grace.

The Promise is a Spring of Hope. The Hope of the Promise, Act. 26. 6. but lying hope of glory never sprang from any Gospel-promise.  For the promises have a cleansing virtue. 2 Cor. 7. 1. The hope of the wicked hath none.

The Love of God shed abroad in the heart, is a spring of Hope: It makes not ashamed from the sweet sense of divine love, Rom. 5. 5. But a sensual, brutish hope of glory never felt the sweet pleasures of Gods love. They that are acquainted with the Paradise delights of it, are not wont to run a whoring after creature sportings, much lesse after sinfull joyes. The glorious feastings of the delicious, eternal, distinguishing Love of God in renewed soules, have a mortifying virtue of pleasing vanities below.

Gracious Experience is a Spring of Hope. Experience worketh Hope. Rom. 5. 4. The Experience of Regenerating Grace, of those sweet whispers, Thy person is accepted, Fear not, I am thy God, Christ is made to thee Wisdome, Righteousnesse, Sanctification, and Redemption, of the mighty awe of Gods presence in the soul, of hating vain thoughts, of cleansing from secret sins, of sealing of promises, of victory over corruption, and much more, work renewed hopes of glory, that God will both perfect and reward his own work. The filthy streames of a dissolute hope of heaven, that are strangers to these pure springs, betray their impure originalls. The unclean spirit, the filthy heart, the worlds pollutions, are the common abused Hope of Glory.

  1. The Work of Hope is not done.

The work of Hope is to work patient and diligent continuance in well-doing: We desire you to shew diligence to the full of assurance of hope unto the end, Heb. 6. 11. But Hypocrites most heavenly hopes are both impotent and transient, they neither communicate strength, nor will they hold out; they have short breath, lame legs, and withered hands; and are a meer vapour, a fancie, and worke no diligence, nor perseverance in the waies of Godlyness.

True Hope will work the soul out of the vanities, dependancies, inordinate rejoycings of earthly Hope. Job had the hope of glory before his eyes; hence he was assured, that hee should see his Redeemer; this swallowed up earthly hopes; If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold thou art my confidence. If I rejoyced because my wealth was great, &c.  Job 31. 24, 25. But the dissembled Hopes of Glory never dead the heart to the vaine trusts and joyes of earthly Hopes, when these are gone, those have no estate in the other world.

It is the work of Hope to work up the soul to the infinite Riches, Pleasures, and Honours that are above: The Hope that is laid up for you in heaven, Col. 1. 5. But the adulterate hopes of heaven shew their falsenesse. Reall worldlings hopes under Gospel pretensions, are fastned onely to perishing things, and must perish like themselves.

It is the work of Hope to succour the hearts of fainting beleevers, to strengthen the feeble knees, as a good daughter helps a sickly mother: When Faith, the Mother Grace, is ready to faint, Hope the daughter lends it a supporting hand, and sayes, hold out Faith. There is an expected end of corruptions and afflictions: Look Faith, O look within the heavenly vayl, even Holy of Holyes. Conflicts are sharp, O Faith see thy Crowns: Wants are many, O Faith see thy Supplies. The race of obedience is tiresome, O Faith see thy Prize: Now there is sowing in tears, O Faith see thy joyes: The sweet countenance of God is clouded, O Faith see his eternal smiles: Beleevers are tossed with the waves of doubtings, despondencies, sometimes despair, O Faith see thine unshaken assurance, and everlasting rest. But the easie, false-hearted hopes, of notional Christians, can never succour their fainting Faiths. At best their Faith was but fancy, their confidence presumptuous; and when their false faiths expire, their groundless hopes are gone too. Ah miserable selfdeceivers, that wrong the Faith, and Hope of Glory, In the common abused hopes of Glory.

  1. The Properties of Hope are not to be found.

The Hope of Glory is a regenerated Hope. Begotten to a lively Hope. 1 Pet. 1. 3. It is one of the new births graces: The Hope of Unregeneracie then is a spurious hope. New hopes never grow out of the old soyle. The Hope of Glory is an high born grace, its pedigree is abused, when a vile, sensual, wicked life, a bastard issue is laid at its doors.

The Hope of Glory is an Active Hope. High hopes oyl the wheels of motion. Hopes of great Matches, Pardons, Liberty, sweetest earthly Pleasures, Riches, Crowns, shake off sluggishness.   A reall Christian hath the highest hopes, and this makes him goe, yea run the wayes of Gods Commandements. Too many abuse the hopes of glory: They are negligent, lazy, indifferent, yea opposers in the methods and unpleasing services of Gospel Hope. What doe most that hope for Heaven doe to get it? Where are their wrestlings at the Throne of Grace? Where their self-denyals? Where their Fightings in Spiritual Armes against their corruptions? Where are their Conquests? Where their labours of Love? Where their zealous pursuances of their own, and others salvation? Where the diligent improving of their general and particular calling for the glory of God? Where their working out their salvation with fear and trembling? Where their giving all diligence to make their Calling and Election sure? Where is their making Religion their businesse to be found? Most have the hopes of heaven, but they are drowsie, idle, have no power of godlyness. These in an especial manner are the Abusers of true Hope.

The Hope of Glory is a Rejoycing Hope: We rejoice in the Hope of Glory, Rom. 5. 2. When the Perspective of Faith hath fetched in the farre distant blessed objects of Eternity, hath realized, and substantialized them to the soul, so that Faith saith to Hope, I see the glory of Heaven, I see the infinite rewards of sound Christians, I see the infinite pleasures, and satisfactions, and ravishing joys of those blessed Citizens above: Then saies Hope, I look for them, I expect them with unspeakable joy, I wait for their Revelations and Fruitions. A real Christian will not part with the joyes of his Hopes for a thousand worlds. He is incomparably richer in hopes than worldlings are in hand; but a delusive hope of glory continually joyned with joyous, solitary, worldly hopes, is a stranger to the joyes of heavenly hopes. The Hypocrite hath the fancy, but never the reallitie of these hopes. The joyes of these do not in him out-joy the joyes of earthly hopes, they doe not lighten and sweeten the losse of worldly expectations: Experience will prove it of unsound pretenders to their rejoycing hopes of Glory. That if their hopes and the joy of their hopes below are gone, they have no rejoycing hopes above.

The hope of Glory is a Lust denying hope. The grace of God teacheth us the deniall of worldly lusts, looking for that blessed hope.  11. 12, 13. As pilgrims and strangers here (and therefore looking for your heavenly countrey) abstain from fleshly lusts. 1 Pet. 2. 11. Ye shall appear with Christ in glory: Mortifie therefore your fleshly lusts, fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, your inordinate affections, the root of all evill concupiscence. Col. 3. 4, 5. They then that obey sin in the lusts thereof, Rom. 6. 12. that walk after their own lusts, their ungodly lusts, as these wantons in Jude did. Epist. Jud. v. 16, 18. and live and die in them, and yet hope for heaven, they clearly contradict Scripture, that the servants of carnall lusts shall not inherit the kingdome of God, 1 Cor. 6. 9. That the wicked shall be turned into hell, Psal. 9. That the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience, Col. 3. 6. That Libertines, that count it pleasure to riot in the day time of Gospel light, The Churches spots and blemishes, not jewels, sporting themselves with their own deceivings, in their fearelesse feastings, adulterous infectious examples, covetous, impenitent, shall perish in their corruption, and receive the reward of unrighteousness, 2 Pet. 2. 12, 13, 14. That what a man soweth, that shall he reap, if to fleshly lusts, an harvest of eternall torments; if to the spirit, a rich crop of eternall life. Gal. 6. 7, 8. All these eternal Truths that divine Justice will infallibly make good, Lust-pleasers, not denyers, nourishers, not crucifiers, doe blot out by their unchanged hearts, dissolute lives, and reall unbelief. The slaves of their absurd, unreasonable, ungodly lusts, doe in effect and interpretation speak these blasphemies, God is an holy and righteous God, and he will reward our unrighteousness and unholynesse with eternall life. When we play the wantons with our lusts, we think God and our selves alike: Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thy self, Psal. 50. 21. That God hath not so pure a nature, and pure eies. Hab. 1. 13. but when hee seeth sin, he likes it well enough, he delights in wickedness: Ye say every one that doth evill is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them, or where is the God of judgment? Mal. 2. 17. That the Word of God is false, that godliness is true gain, that the righteous onely go into eternal life, that there is danger in sin, that the wanton abuses of Gods grace perish in their corruption, that the blackness of darkness for ever is reserved for them: Thus doth Lust-favouring and pampering Hope, abuse the Hope of Glory.

  

The Hope of Glory is a well living Hope. The saving grace of God teacheth us to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; looking for the blessed hope, &c. Tit. 2. 12, 13. I have hope towards God, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust, and herein doe I exercise my self, to have alwaies a conscience void of offence towards God and towards men. Act. 24. 15, 16. He that hopes for the full summe, is glad of the assuring earnest; hee that would have the full harvest, is pleased with the first fruits. The hope of glory that rejoyceth to thinke of the eternal summe and harvest of holyness, is carefull to get, and joyfull to obtain the earnest and first fruits of the Spirit of grace. But the common, absurd, foolish hope of glory, expects an heavenly, eternal summe, when it hath no earnest here; looks for an eternal harvest, when the first fruits are neglected and despised; it pleasingly dreams to live happily with God in glory, when it never lived holily with God in grace.

The hope of Glory is an Affliction-enduring, and sanctifying Hope. For this Hope the Apostle Paul was called in question, Act. 23. 6. Judged, Act. 26. 6. Accused, v. 7. Imprisoned, chained, Act. 28. 20. suffered any persecution with patience, contentment and joy: For the hope of the Resurrection, he took pleasure in his infirmities. As the hope of Riches makes the Merchant * crosse the Seas at any hazard, even to the utmost Indies, and of victory, which makes the Souldier endure, hunger, cold, watching, blows, and wounds. It’s hope of gain maketh the industrious Tradesman to be up early, encounter all Highway storms. It’s hope of a good crop maketh the painfull Husbandman to endure Winters cold, and Summers heat. It’s hopes of Crowns which maketh the ambitious run the hazard of losing their liberties and lives, and undoing their families, to hew out their way to Soveraignty by bloody deaths, that stare them in the faces: So the heavenly expectations of immortall Riches, Victories, Pleasures, Crownes, are Affliction-enduring hopes: But the Imaginary hopes of Glory, are cowardly, effeminate, soft, lascivious, and are founded in pollicy, not in piety; measured by the interests of the body, not the soul, are pleased with the fair, not the foul weather in heavens way. They engage in the Christian Warfare no further th•n the flesh may be pleased, a safe retreat to the world may be obtained; and this   counterfeit hope in trying hardships, is ever offended in Christ, Mat. 13. 57. One hard saying or another, and unpleasing religious severities, make Christianity a scandal: The voluptuous professor turns from the power of it, and in time of temptation falleth away.

CHAP. IV. Shewing when a Sinner turneth the Grace of God into wantonness.

THis may be known in all the thirteen Sections of the foregoing Chapter: But because the fullest discovery that can be, to strip naked this hideous Monster, Abuse of Grace, next to the unpardonable sin, the worst of sins will all be little enough: I shall therefore more fully shew, when a sinner may be concluded, even in the Judgement of his own inlightned Conscience, to turn the Grace of God into wantonness.

This Scarlet Transgressor doth so, when he carrieth wickedly in reference to Sin, God, Christ, the Law, Gospel, and the Creatures.

SECT. 1.

IN reference unto sin, there is wantonizing against Grace, in * four things.

  1. When the heart is careless of sin, doth not cast about which way to avoid it; but if the coat of Profession be stained with it, if the heart be a sink of uncleanness, if the hands be defiled, the daring sinner makes no matter of it; as if God in testifying his Grace, should give liberty to cast off all care of avoiding offence: The Apostle hath recorded other things, of the truly Christian repenting Corinthians, mentioning their carefulness to admiration: Behold what carefulness your godly sorrow hath wrought in you? 2 Cor. 7. 11. What sollitude and diligence not to fall into the old sin? But it may be said of many l•s•ivious spirits, Behold, they dwell carelesly, as the men of Laish did. Temptations, like the children of Dan, may invade, plunder, and spoil them, Judg. 18. They care not for their precious souls, though they perish: But the Lord will deal with them, as he said he would with Magog, send a fire among them that dwell carelesly in the Isles, Ezek. 39. 6. The ease of these simple ones will slay them, Prov. 1. 32. Though they are careful to secure their fleshly, worldly interest, and wholly careless of the main concernments of the glory of God, their own salvation, and the honor of Gospel Grace: God will be careful to exalt his own Name, in avenging the dishonors of his Grace.

SECT. 2.

  1. WHen the heart is fearless of sin, there is a loose Libertine: * It is one of the Characters of these wantons in the Text, They fed themselves without fear, Jude ep. v. 12. No wonder they were disolute, when fearless Spirits: Job was afraid, that when the goodness of God had provided Feasts for his children, the Devil should be paid the shot; Lest they should sin, and curse God in their hearts, Job. 1. 5. Therefore he sent and sanctified them, and offered up sacrifice for them, that in the name of Christ his Redeemer, their sins might be expiated and forgiven them: But fearless Sensualists, eat and drink, and sin with and against the Creatures, but fear no hurt; yea, What fear was said of the repenting Corinthians, 2 Cor. 7. 11. What fearlesness may be said of loose persons? They are not afraid to speak evil of Dignities, 2 Pet. 2. 10. to set their mouths against Heaven: They speak wickedly and loftily, not tremblingly concerning oppression, Psal. 73. 8. They fear not to sin in lawful things, never regulating their use by expediency, and the grace of Temperance, and so wantonly dance on the pits brink; fall from lawful allowances, to unlawful things: They fear not the reckoning day, like loose Debtors, while they spend on the stock of their Creditors Estate, and patience: Well were it for these, if awakened out of the deadly Lethargy of this carnal Security, they would hearken * to the counsel one giveth, Fear for this reason, because you have found the want of fear.

  

SECT. 3.

  1. WHen the heart is sorrowless for sin; As an offence to * God, an unkindness to Christ, a defilement to the Spirit an obstruction to fellowship with the holy God; and upon Gospel considerations of spiritual Ingenuity, and love to the Lord, hath not a broken heart, and a contrite melting Spirit, in close Soliloquy with God by meditation and supplication; but is as hard as an Adamant, without all mournings and relentings, upon the forecited grounds; Here is clear abusing of Gods Grace: It was never offered to harden, but soften the heart, as it did the hearts of Peter, Matth. 26. 75. Mary Magdalen, Luke 7. 38. and humble Paul, Rom. 7. 24, 25. O Lord, are not thine eyes upon the truth? Thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved, Jer. 5. 3. God strikes wicked, rocky hearts, with Afflictions, Reproofs, •errors, smitings of the Conscience, fears of Hell; but their sorrows are not to be discerned, but hypocritical, or slavish and brutish, which vanish when the smart is off. * These are strangers to godly sorrow, which worketh out the loveliking delight, the reign of sin: While Gods mourners are in secret, and looking over their sins with heavy hearts and weeping eyes. They are wantonly leaping and triumphing in the hellish mirth of sporting in sin, Prov. 10. 23. Taking pleasure in unrighteousness, 2 Thess. 2. 12. It is a clear evidence, that they who never had true Gospel mourning for sin, or have forsaken * the exercise of it, or think it needless, or scoff at it (as if there were no Scriptures: Blessed are they that mourn: Godly sorrow works repentance: A broken heart, O God, thou wilt not despise;) are wanton abusers both of the time and Grace of Repentance.

SECT. 4.

  1. WHen the heart is powerless over sin, there is a licentious abuse of Grace: Surely Grace is victorious, and will in time, in the conscientious and spiritual use of means, rout the powers of Hell. Satan, before the rescue of Grace comes, bindes his Captives fast in the chains of their own sins; But, when they are broken, he hath lost his prey; and the tyrannizing Prince of the world, John 14. 30. That hath the power of binding; lost sinners, under the power of the spiritual death, and guilt of eternal, Heb. 2. is cast out, in the merits and power of infinite redemption, John 12. 31, 32. Grace is not a shadowy, but real war, though it be often worsted, yet it rallies again, and by the renewed Auxiliary Forces of Divine power, it beats down strong corruptions before it. What injury is it to Grace, to contemplate, but never practice Mortification; to profess the Christian warfare, but never to fight; or in undue arms, or without skill to put on Gods Armor, or to sleep in them, or to lay them by, or to run to the enemy, and so to do no execution on carnal Lusts and Affections? What is this, but to disparage, and endeavor, what in us lies, to degrade Divine Power, from the glory of its victorious ability, as if the contracted corruption from the first Adam, could still be too hard for the Grace of the second? How doth a powerless profession over sin, proclaim it self a stranger to the mighty Arm of the Prince of Grace, never feeling the power of these truths: Christ brings forth judgement unto victory, Matth. 12. 20. Greater is he that is in victorious Believers, than he that is in the world, 1 Joh. 4. 4. Are there not many among us that have notions, fancies, expressions of Grace, yea, infused, gracious, heavenly motions, speaking in them: But do they leave these sins and do these duties, in the fear of God? How can they that are false to their own Convictions, Confessions, and the Holy Ghosts Inspirations? What mocking of God is there in unmortifying profession, as is too legibly to be read in the lives of men? Doth not all the Grace of vain, idle opinionative Christians, that seems to be expressed in Prayer ex tempore, or of set forms; in appearing to be taken, with gracious examples, Sermons, Chapters, good Books, and Conference, evacuate into lazy Speculation, and powerless profession? In holy duties of worship, there seems to be Evangelical Grace; but in the frame of the heart and course of life, in dealings with men in Callings, Conditions, Relations; with many there is no being of Grace, and with the gracious, no constant, sufficient, convincing exercise of Grace, a few excepted, that make Religion their business. What a disgrace is put upon the grace of God? What temptation to blaspheming Sons of Belial, that the Grace of God men speak of, is a Fable, a Dream, a Fancy, no Reality? Such do-nothings, or   nothing to purpose, as beat the air in their cold profess•ons, and dead convictions of Gods grace, may bl•sh and be ashamed of their wanton spirits and conversation, when they read these Scriptures: From the day the grace of God was known in truth by*the beleeving Colossians, they brought forth fruit, Col. 1. 6. Wee beseech you receive not the Grace of God in vain, by offensive conversation to God and men, unrepented of. 1 Cor. 6. 1, 3. The Gentiles had their understandings darkened, alienated from the life of God, past feeling, given over to lasciviousnesse, working all uncleannesse with greediness, but you have not so learned Christ. Eph. 4. 18, 19. The grace of God, O holy Ephesians, hath over-powered your hearts to an abhorring, and declining these sinnes, and to walk in the blessed paths of holinesse. Grace acting to purpose in regenerate Zacheus, put him upon liberal contribution to the poor, and honest restitution of ill gotten estate. Luk. 19. 8. When the Gospel came to the Thessalonians, not onely in word, but in power, it enabled them to turn from idols (in the zealous worship and preservation whereof, Idolaters are usually mad. Jer. 50. 38.) to serve*the living and true God. 1 Thes. 1. 5, 9. when the same word of grace took possession of the hearts of them that used curious and Magical Arts, they brought their books together, and burnt them before all men, though they were worth fifty thousand pieces of silver. Act. 19. 19. O shame of the common powerless Christian profession of the Age! The Gospel of grace, by the mighty breathing of the Spirit came near the hearts of Magicians, made them Christians, and open penitents, even to a publick sacrificing of their wicked*books to the flames; but a thousand Sermons of Gospel grace may reach the eare, the fancy, the understanding of professed Christians, but never change the heart to a powerful reformation. Oh that bare Illuminists and verbalists in Religion, that live as if the essentials thereof were onely notions, and words would consider three things.
  2. The Kingdom of God stands not in word but power. 1 Cor. 4. 20. Its reall subjects are as well diligent doers, as good speakers: Lay more• stresse on hearts and lives than lips, had rather be than seem to be penitents, rather run in the way of Gods Commandements, than talk of them. A groundlesse intitling to Christ Lord, Lord, will speak no faithfull Subjects of Christ at the great day, why should it now? The kingdom of God is righteousnesse Rom. 14. 17. not onely imputed, but inherent, not onely of Justification but Sanctification. In the Kingdome of grace, all saved Professors have holy hearts and good lives. Satans subjects, though they take Christs Press-mony in Baptisme, use the badges of his Government, yet never did set one foot into Christs kingdome.
  3. Such as call Christ their Lord and Saviour, yea often bind their sayings by these words, as they hope to be saved, when they neither rightly understand salvation, nor true hope; yea all Libertines of stricter profession, that have carnall, loose, epicurean hearts, and lives, they are no better than the enemies of Jesus Christ, and self-destroyers. The compassionate Apostle could not but speak of these with teares; They are the enemies of the Crosse of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, who mind earthly things, Phil. 3. 18, 19. Let them look over this Text, and weep, who either in larger professions, or stricter, but easie religious formalities, are effeminate, delicate, flesh-pleaser, belly-students, and gloriously back-adorners, money-idolaters, almost in nothing denying themselves in their sensualities, they are enemies to the crosse of Christ. Did they * never read, Our Old man was crucified with Christ, Rom. 6. 6. That as corruption was crucified meritoriously on the cross, so it should be crucified efficaciously in the heart? was it not the great design of Christ crucified, that the body of sin should die? are not these enemies to his cross, that pamper it, and keep it alive? Besides are not they enemies to Christs cross, who though they read and cannot deny it that Christ triumphed openly in his bloody passion over his enemies, a World, b Flesh, and c Devil, a Joh. 16. 33. b Rom. 6. 6. c Col. 2. 15. yet by their graceless hearts, and dissolute lives, like Traytors to their professed Lord, restore to his enemies what in them lyes, their vanquished Kingdom, which the Lord Christ died for to destroy in the Crosse.
  4. From an holy profession, powerlesse over corruption, the Lord Christ is like to have no followers in the world. Primitive Christians won repute to Christ and his Gospel, not by their shadowy forms, but substantial powers of Godliness. The Apostle Peter exhorted Christian Wives, so powerfully to adorn their Profession, that their lives, as really converting Sermons might win their idolatrous Husbands to Jesus Christ and his Truth. 1 Pet. 3. 1. when powerlesse good speeches doe no good, the practicall power of godlinesse would make converts. When heathens found the christians not onely holy lives, but miraculous power of casting*Devils out of their bodies, they stuck close to that Religion, whose power they felt. Were the lives of christians now adayes shining and convincing, did the miraculous power of casting Devils out of souls appear, not onely the delivered themselves, but prophane observers would magnifie and keep close to that religious profession, whose glorious victorious power is admirably discerned.

SECT. 5.

  1. THe grace of God is turned into wantonnesse, when the * sinner carries loosely as to God, hee doth so in four things.
  2. When Pretenders to Gods grace, doe not retaine the light of God shining in their minds, so that truths, that would be saving and sanctifying, are imprisoned in unrighteousnesse, and God is not with liking and love in all their thoughts, Psal. 10. 4. He is known, but not glorifyed as God, Rom. 1. 21. By the sin as well of wanton christians as wanton heathens, Gods grace is injured. Impure hearts, and evill lives are sad contradictions to divine informations: Carelesse servants minde not their Masters pleasure, not carelesse Christians the pleasure of God.
  3. When the commands of God are cast behind the back, the grace of God is abused. As his Laws are sweetly qualified in Christ, they are all Acts of Grace. God favours us in requiring obedience of us on Gospel tearms: His Laws are known to Jacob, and his Statutes to Israel, he hath not dealt so with any Nation, Psal, 147. 20. To the Israelites pertained the giving of the Law, Rom. 9. 4. Now to cast his gracious pleasure behinde the back, is such an indignitie, as to cast away a Princes gracious Proclamation, wherein his pleasure is sweetned with many acts of grace. God needs not our obedience, we need his commands, and in their obediential service there is not only work but wages. The sweet peace and comfort of sincere gospel duty payes for its performance. In conscionable and spirituall obedience, as God 〈1 page duplicate〉 〈1 page duplicate〉 is glorified, so there is great reward, Isa. 49. 4. Psal. 19. 11. What wrong do they to the grace of God, and their own souls, who under the favor of Grace neglect that holy compliance with the Divine Will, which is rewarded with present purity and delight, 1 Pet. 1. 22. Rom. 7. 22. and shall be with promised eternal happiness? Rom. 2. 7. Heb. 6. 12.
  4. When there is impudent irreverence in the presence of * God: There is no fear of God in the eyes of daring sinners, Rom. 3. 18. whereas true Grace would put on an holy blush, either to prevent sin, or repent of it: The Philosopher resented modest shamefastness, as virtues colour; and the Scripture accounts of holy shame, as the complexion of Grace: O my God, I am ashamed, and blush to lift up my face to thee, Ezra. 9. 6. so Rom. 6. 21. O our hypocrisie! we that stile the Lord our gracious God, are ashamed of sins before men, but blush not to sin before God: O our slighting of Gods presence! Though we see Gods All-seeing eye upon us, and are convinced, the Lord knoweth, and exactly weigheth our sinful thoughts, reasonings, desires, affections, Perturbations, close Atheisme, irreverence, filthiness, pride, envy, malice, and Books of sinful words, Actions, to be read over again in the great examining and Judging day: yet the audacious sinner will pour out his pollutions before the seen face of God, with a shameless whores forehead,*and a spirit senseless of his severe judgements or prying presense. Too many that go for Gods servants, are like the loose ones of men, that know their gracious Masters eye is before them, yet abuse him, and slight his pleasure before his face; such a frame of spirit speaketh this wickedness, as if such Language were uttered before the Lord: O Lord, thou art my loving Master, but I so little regard thee, that though I know thou feest me, yet I will dissemble, be unclean, passionate, unjust in my dealings, worldly, and follow the swinge of my corrupt lusts in thy sight; such kinde of excuses carry great filth and guilt—But be not deceived, God will not be so mocked.
  5. When pretenders to the Grace of God live wholly to themselves, * and not to him; This is an affront to Gods Grace. It is the genuine and proper work of Grace, to live to God: He cannot draw nigh unto him that departs not from himself. Grace is water of life, it is with this, as with other water, it riseth as high as the Spring from whence it came: The God of grace is the spring of grace; this living water runs up to its own Spring: He is the Sea of grace, this sweet stream in a supernatural gratitude, runs into its own Sea. The Lord Christ designed this in his death, that his redeemed ones should not live unto themselves, but to him that died for them and rose again, 2 Cor. 5. 15. But now when carnal Gospellers follow the guidance of their own reason, the imperious Law of their desires and affections, like Israel, bring forth fruit unto themselves, Hos. 10. 1. Center their Religious services, hearing, fasting, praying, reading, for self, not God, Zach. 7. 5. When shining, glorious profession, is but a more unsuspected and politick sacrifice to that grand Idol, Carnal self, either in the whole or main of its services, the grace of God is abused: When all Christians by their profession, should lay out and consecrate themselves wholly to Christ, they are unworthy that the earth should bear them, that do not fully resign and devote themselves to Christ. They are not worthy of the name of men, false to the Law of natural gratitude, that serve not their deliverer; and are not they as unworthy of the name of Christians, false to the Law of supernatural thankfulness, that serve not their professed infinite Redeemer? Pretended favorites of Heaven, are like those selfish Courtiers who abuse their Princes ear, Smiles, Grace, Honors, and Bounty to Chambering and Wantonness, to the greatning of themselves and families, but improve not their Soveraigns Grace to his Honor, the glory of his Crown, the increasing of his Treasure, the establishment of his Dominions; the lively Pictures of them that go for the Spiritual Darlings of Gods Court, who live not to the glorious interest of their Heavenly King, but bias all his gracious dealings, according to the motions of worldly and corrupt * selfishness.

SECT. 6.

  1. THe Grace of God is turned into wantonness: When the heart carries wickedly, as to Christ, in three things.
  2. When the profuse riotous sinner, runs in Gods Debt, because Christ is his surety: Indeed, upon this truth and rocky foundation, that Christ is the faithful surety of his people, Heb. 7. 22. is built the eternal salvation of his Church: It is the richest, right orient Pearl, in the Gospels Cabinet: A Believer would not be without this everlasting prop and succor to faith, this assured conveyance of eternal happiness for the world: It is dross and dung to this excellent knowledge, Christ is a surety: But to whom, and for what? To refusers and despisers of him? to loose the reins on the neck of lusts? to priviledge the liberties and power of Satan? to sin without controll and remorse? Surely Christ as our surety on the Cross, sustained our person, and*made to his Father an engagement for us, that our old man in time should die, Rom. 6. 6. Yea, in the great agreement of the holy and everlasting Covenant of Grace, there was this part of suretiship, that •e should walk in holy fellowship with God and Christ, by the Spirit, as the friends of God, and therefore it is an intolerable indignity to our heavenly surety, at once to believe him an undertaker, that corruption should die, and to live in sin. This maketh him a surety, and no surety: A surety, in the professed Faith and owning of this suretiship; no surety in the Preservation, and not Mortification of wanton Lusts. Consider this, all ye that sin against the grace of your professed surety, but without his leave, or the least allowance of his Gospel, was a gracious pardon-office, dearly purchased, by the infinite price of the blood of the Son of God, that it should lavish out forgiveness of sins to dissolute livers? Did God decree, and Christ accept of a weighty, costly, and suffering suretiship, that profuse, Iewd Debtors, might spend more freely, merrily, and daringly, on the stock of their sureties satisfactions? Such indignity carnal profession imposeth upon Christs saving undertaking: The Lord invites the humbled, burthened sinner, to accept of*his pardoning mercy, and proud Libertines heap up sin: These spots and dishonors in Christian Assemblies, are like to a young riotous Gallant, that spends largely, in Gaming, Feasting, Whoring, and comfortably stayeth upon this, he shall not be Arrested, not Imprisoned, because he hath a rich surety will pay all: So expensive Libertines give large vent to their corruptions, in their sinful creature-excesses, in their abominable hypocrisies, in their unrighteous dealings, in their idolized sensualities, in their carnal securities, and yet they chear, and fully stay themselves in this Indemnity, the Law shall not arrest them, nor cast   them into the eternal prison of utter darkness, because they have a rich surety, Jesus Christ, who (as they presume) will pay all.
  3. When the faith of redemption, by Christ, worketh not * subjection to him, the grace of God is turned into wantonness: Eternal Redemption, is an eternal obligation to service, a bridle to curb our lascivious flesh, not a Feast to feed it: God hath on purpose decreed Christ a Redeemer, that he might be soveraign Lord over all his purchase, as we have dominion over that we pay dear for: Now where redemption by Jesus Christ is preached in common, that the price of his blood was a sufficient ransome to redeem the whole world; there are very few but believe Christ died for them: But how is the mystery and mercy of Redemption abused? the Faith of Redemption worketh not subjection in most professed Christians: They would be saved in their sins, not from their sins. Christ hath redeemed his people out of the hands of their enemies, but they are content to be in them still; He died to rescue them from their vain conversation, 1 Pet. 1. 18. but they are vain, Jam. 2. 20. Walk after vanity, Jer. 2. 5. and shall finde vanity their recompence, Job 15. 31. He was crucified, to deliver from the power of Satan, Heb. 2. 14, 15. but they are still his possession, Eph. 2. 2. as taken Beasts are the Hunters prey, as Prisoners are the Conquerors spoil, to be carried up and down, dealt with at their pleasure, 2 Tim. 2. 25. O that such as are by profession Subjects, and by disposition and conversation Rebels against Christ, would seriously ponder these things.
  4. Both the Scriptures and experience of loyal Subjects to Christ, do clearly evidence, that effectual, beneficial Redemption, is proved by subjection; that he died not to redeem us to the life, but death of sin; not that we should live and die in sin, but * live and die in the state and power of Grace.
  5. They that believe themselves the redeemed of Christ, and yet are the slaves of their lusts, the vassals of Satan, have either not considered at all, or very slightly, That the proper intention of Redemption was Dominion; Ye are bought with a price, are not your own, your Body and Spirits are Gods, 1 Cor. 6. 19, 20.

  

To this end Christ both died, and rose and revived, that he might*be the Lord both of the dead and living, Rom. 14. 9. Surely no Believer is of his own right, but anothers: His Person is deeply and dearly paid for; now what is bought, passeth into the dominion of the buyer. The ransomed of Christ are Peculium Christi, Christs own possession. It was an holy wish of an holy Writer, O that Christs Lordship, with deepest impressions, might be rooted and fixed in our mindes: The loose depravers of Redemption, run the hazard of perishing, when they refuse to be Christs possession.

  1. The greatest freedom, pomp and glory of the world that*takes carnal eyes, dischargeth no wicked Libertines from being the most vile and abject slaves. Nobles, though bound in silver chains, are Prisoners. The Devil and the old Man will never envy their spiritual Captives outward freedoms, while efficacious Redemption hath made no powerful Translation unto Christs Kingdom of salvation.
  2. Carnal walkers conceits of Redemption by Christ, are pleasing, delusive and vanishing dreams: While the Israelites served* Pharaoh, they were not delivered; so titular Christians never, felt the power of Redemption, while they obey the Devil, and abound in the pleasures of sin: The chained Prisoners thoughts of Ransome, are very sorry ones, while he still starves, and dieth in his Irons.
  3. The avenging jealousie of the Lord Christ, will flame out against them, who rest, yea boast in heart, yea sometimes in tongue, of his ransoming Grace, and yet shake off his rightly purchased Government: He counts them no better than enemies, that refuse his dominion, and threatens their destruction, Luke 19. 27. He shall come from Heaven to revenge their disobedience to his Gospel, 2 Thess. 1. who prophanely rested on the Grace of his Redemption. How can they answer their undoing fallacy, of dividing what God hath joyned, parting Redemption from iniquity, and Redemption from Hell, as if the whole of it were to rescue lost sinners from the smart, not the filth of sin; to give them a licentious ease, not to fit them for their professed Lords use, and their own eternal sweet communion with him, to keep them from being vessels of wrath, not to make them vessels of honour. What a dishonour is this to the grace of God, That Lust, the Devill, and the World, should Lord it over Christs purchase? What reproach to Redemption, that those who beleeve they are ransomed by him will not be subject to him, but abide, Col. 1. 21. Enemies to him in their minds, declared by wicked workes? Are not these men like ransomed captives, bought by a deare price, who are so far from subjection, and paying honour to, that they rebel against their Lord?
  4. When Christ is desired for his comforts, not for his service, Gods grace is turned into wantonness. Thus many take Christ to serve their turnes of him, not to serve him, for a shelter to comfort them in storms, not a Master to doe his will. When under the terrors and sorrows of death and hell they would have comfortable words from Christ, even then when they have rebellious hearts against him. I have heard from an eye, and ear-witness, a sad report of a tipling, adulterous, prophane man, when he had the terrours of an angry God on his wounded soul, and not onely fear of Hell, but confessed feeling of the paines and flames of hell in his spirit, was in his flesh (like another trembling Balshazar at the hand writing against him) a real afflicted Quaker, sent for the Minister, cried out of his grosse sinnes, yea his barren and forsaken use of reading and prayer, but the slavish sorrows were soon wasted, and the terrified sinner soon grew vain, frothy, sensuall, and voluptuous. Such as like onely the pacifying, but not the purifying part of Religion, have whorish hearts, wandring from God to other Loves, even then when they are afraid of him. Wanton, unclean wives, would have their husbands good lookes, words, and gifts, though disobedient to them, and defilers of the Marriage bed. Thus too many adulterous hearts, when the lips only matched with Jesus Christ, would have the comforts of Reconciliation, Remission, Adoption, the peace and joyes of the Holy Ghost, even then when they contemn his holy strict Gospel-government. The Apostle Paul will be a condemning instance against these selfish wantons. As he obtained Pardoning mercy. 1 Tim. 1. 13. So he was the servant of Jesus Christ. Rom. 1. 1. yea laboured in Christs vineyard more than any of the Apostles, 1 Cor. 15. 10. Should God put sound hearts to the choice, whether they had rather have eminent grace to doe the will, than see the sweet face of Christ, they would prefer dutifulness before joyes, and rather obey the commands than see the smiles of God. But rotten hearts are all for the comforts, * nothing for the self-denying, mortifying precepts of the gospel, would be content to spend their daies in carnall rejoycing, not working for the Lord Jesus. It is just with God, that all such who onely seek the comforts, but not the labours and tasks of christianity shall everlastingly be strangers to the solaces, who were enemies to the duties of the Gospel. They who center * their joy in themselves shall never have true joy. O that these men that fear no evill but wrath and Hell, and so doe keep in, not leave their wickednesse, and see no good in Religion, but its comfort and peace, would seriously consider the experimentall words of Zanchy: Evill men doe but inwardly restrain their wickedness, which without feares they would wantonly powre forth,*and this maketh them not the better, nor more righteous in Gods account, because though chained up by fear, they dare not act their iniquity, yet within they have sins impure flames, pent up, but no heart renewed by the obedience of God.

SECT. 7.

  1. VVHen the heart carrieth wickedly as to the Law of God, The Grace of God is turned into wantonness. * This is done Doctrinally, and Practically.
  2. Doctrinally: When the Justifying grace of God is made 2 dis-obligement from the obedience of the Law: Because they that are under grace, are not under the damning power of the Law: Therefore loose Opinionists teach, they are not under the commanding power of the Law, as if Christ dyed to free from the malediction, that men might be free from the direction of the Law. This abolishment of the pure divine Laws Authority, betrayes as a crackt brain, so an unholy heart. An holy Law cannot but be bid welcome of an holy heart, and a spiritual Law will please a spiritual heart. It is too clear an evidence of a loose spirit to disanull the government of a strict Law, They are wanton Sons, who because they are free from their Fathers disinheriting, will therefore be free from their Fathers ruling. The Lord Christ hath set a black mark of displeasure upon these dissolute Opinionists, and hath taught us, They that teach beleevers * are quit from the obedience of Gods commandements, shall be least in the Kingdome of heaven. Mat. 5. 19. He shall be called least, that is, he shall have the least, yea no account with God at all; for thus Christ would be understood, they shall be banished from their hopes of having a part in the Kingdom of Heaven. A severe threatning against doctrinal Antinomianisme.
  3. Practically: When under pretence that Christ hath redeemed sinners from the curse of the Law, they really lead accursed lawless lives: They grosly erre, that think, the wrath and hell of the Law shall never reach them that are lawless. Assurance of saving Grace, joyned with a disordered life, seemes to fasten a disgracefull agreement on Christ, which he will never own, that he shall take off the Laws curse, that they may shake off the Laws yoak: Hence Libertines take a course by their false Faith and covenant, that all the volleys of the Law, discharged from a jealous angry God against them, are but naked powdercracks, a scaring noyse, not killing bullets, not doe execution upon them. Now Lust and the Devill in these Practical Antinomians (for such are wicked men that abuse the grace of God) gaine a priviledging license from the death of Christ, to sin securely, as if an open trade in Hells commodities, were allowed and sealed by the blood of Christ. The Apostle hath told these to their terrour (unless the hardning habits of constant irregular courses have * put them past fear) The avenging Law is made for the lawless and disobedient. 1 Tim. 1. 9. for ungoverned practical Antinomians, that live as they list, under the favour, as they think, of Gospel grace. But little doe daring Rebels think, that have made voyd the Laws of God in their hearts and lives, That while they leave Gods Law, they forsake their own salvation; it being a signal part of their salvation to be saved from sin, Mat. 1. 21. which is a transgression of the Law. 1 Joh. 3. 4. How little doe these abusers of Law and Gospel consider intention, which was not onely to save sinners from Hell, but his Law from wilfull, constant disreputation and violation in the world: He hath magnified his Law, and made it honourable. Isa. 42. 21. not onely by his own personal obedience, but commending it to, and commanding it of all his followers, as a most equall rule of life, and way of happinesse. They that oppose freedom from the Laws curse, to binding in the Laws bonds, should remember, that this spirituall blessing is a deep obligement * to abhor a carnal conversation, and that they are not debters to the flesh but the spirit, not to sin, but Christ. Rom. 8. They owe on provisions to, but mortification of their lusts. Yea further, they should consider, the Spirit, voice is the Laws, and the leading of Gods Sons by the spirit, is leading them in the cleane paths of the Laws obedience: Such as dare abolish obedience to the Law, because the grace of God in Christ hath freed from the curse, should doe well to fear and tremble, they are the men and women that shall never escape the curse, who ever abhorred and cast off the authoritie of the Law. It is a word of eternall veritie, equity, and purity: The Idaea of eternal right reason in the minde of God, most fit to be an immutable and eternall rule of duty, and will justly and infallibly call for eternal punishment upon all loose Rebels against it, hatsoever sanctuary they think to * find in Gospel grace. Well were it for Lawless Libertines, could they see themselves under the cursing Law, and feele the smart of it, as a severe Schoolmaster, to lash them unto Christ, that being rescued from the curse, they might bee enabled by the spirit of Faith, love and power, to performe the duties of the Law. *

SECT. 8.

  1. THe grace of God is turned into wantonnesse, when the heart carrieth wickedly as to the Gospel of Christ, and so it doth.
  2. When the Gospel cometh in Word onely, not in Power, when all its sweet invitations, intreaties, wooings, exhortations, doe but bear the air, are never entertained by the true hearing ear, into the beleeving heart; when Gospel Sermons, Chapters, Discourses, Examples take no impression upon hard hearts; when glorious Evangelicall mysteries, Angels admiration, are slighted by the carnal, vngrateful world, yea when a long, barren, uneffectuall living, under Gospel saving discoveries, sadly declareth, it hath not yet bin the power of God unto salvation when after ten, twenty, forty years convincing, inviting ministry it may be said of too many under souls Physitians, what was said of the woman with the bloody issue, under bodily Physitians, They are nothing bettered, but grow worse. Mar. 5. 26. when the most favour carnal spirits give the gospel, is to give it the hearing, and that is all; like wanton sons that give their Fathers the hearing of their commands, and that is all; in this case the grace of God is highly abused. Against such as oppose the word of Holiness, Life, and Salvation, and have no faith to mingle it in their hearts, as if it were a fable, a lye, a loss, so doe, injudicious slighty, careless, ob•linate, though professed christians; these are witnesses. The Thessalonians, who did not only hear the word, but felt the power of it. 1. Thes. 1. 5. The fruitfull colossians who heard it, and knew the grace of God in truth, Col. 1. 5, 6. The Romans who after it was delivered unto them, were delivered in its tranforming mold, as mettal into the Bell-founders, or clay into the Potters shop. Rom. 6. 17. The whole number of * the saved that in the word of grace have felt and demonstrated the revealing of Gods arme, are mightily translated from Satans kingdom into Christs. Col. 1. 13. have mightily experimented the casting out of the Prince of this world, Joh. 12. 31. will be astonishing witnesses against them, who indeed have heard and read, and have had cold and lazy convictions of the gospel, but with stony hearts resisted the fastning and saving powerfull impressions of it.
  3. When the Gospel doth not dismantle the Devils garrisons; doth not by its storms, or friendly sweet Parley, get the Royal Fort, the Will for Christ, and doth not set him there as commander in chief. When the Forts of hell doe not fall before heavenly*Gospel batteries; when its sweet trumpet soundeth to the battle, its weapons are handled and used, but all the while pretenders to Christs colours, fight on the side of the Prince of darkness, and are faithful to him as their Liege Lord, here the grace of God is iniured, as being appointed to be the conquering arm of God, but is blessed with no victories over formall professors. Satan careth not how much we have the nations of Gospel in our minds, and mouths, so he may still bind us fast in the chains of our own sins. They who yet can bear his destructive government, they are the supporters of a sinful licentiousness, the props, not the ruins of Satans kingdom. He will resent Gospel Faith, and profession, as a meer mockery, that doth not deny his service, nor disturb his possession He hath too clear demonstrations of a carnall gospeller, that bare words cannot cast him our, that nothing beneath Almightiness can do it, untill the chains of our own making, the reasonings, lusts, affections of the flesh are broken assunder; he looseth no Prisoners, untill the Captain of salvation lead captivity captive; there neither is nor can be any deliverance: Such as under Gospel-means of rescue, that never yet had the victorious power of Grace, *sufficiently declare they never had a serious sense of Satans pernicious Tyranny, nor ever received the power of the Gospel in their hearts.
  4. When the Gospel hath no becoming conversation in the World: It is so, when it and the Author of it are owned in words, but in works denyed, Tit. 1. 16. When un-Gospel livers are so far, like Demetrius, to have a good report of the truth, 3. Ep. Joh. 11. and adorning the Doctrine of God our Saviour, Tit. 2. 10. That the word of Gods Grace is blasphemed, Tit. 2. 5. and heareth ill of carping, graceless Criticks, almost as fabulous, that is, so impotent over dissolute lives: Herein is Grace abused. It was a sad saying of Linacre, reading the severe requiries of the * Gospel; Or this is no Gospel, or we are no Gospellers: Such as have an high calling to Earthly Crowns and Thrones, usually live worthy of their high promotion; Their Spirits and Places are equally high: God hath called his people unto a Kingdom, and Glory, and this calleth upon them to walk worthy of God, 1. Thess 2. 12. It was good counsel Agapetus gave to Justinian the Emperor, * To walk worthy of God, saying, He indeed is worthy of God, who doth nothing unworthy of him: The thanks he seeks, owns, and delights in, is not the easie tender of good words, but the real production of pious works: When the mouth is hot with GospelRedemption, Reconciliation, Pardon, Sonship, & the like, but the heart is cold in the thoughts of these things: Gospel -duties and confessions keep no even pace; when there is Gospel in the lips, but no tuning harmony of it in the life, here the grace of God is wronged.

  

SECT. 9.

  1. THe Grace of God is turned into wantonness, when the * heart carries wickedly as to the Creatures: Even these the good blessings of God, through the corruption of nature, are back friends to godliness. It’s rare to finde the high blessings of the upper and lower Springs to kiss each other: It is not ordinary to see Heavenly and Earthly riches to meet together in the fame persons. Its hard, said Jerome, to pass from delights to delights, from the pleasures of this life, to those of the next;to be eminet in the great Estates, Honors, and sweetnesses of both worlds. There wants not sad and common experience: This World becomes the immortal souls enemy; it is an eminent part of Gods Grace, when a precious soul is delivered: from the burthens, the snares, the pollutions of it: A corrupt stomack turns good meat into bad humors; and a corrupt heart Creature delights, into bad manners: They accidentally prove the souls bane: They make God and souls Strangers, prove intangling snares, and lead immoral mindes Captive. Bruit Beasts goe heavily under a weighty pressing burthen, and wealthy ones move faintly and wearily in the ways of Godliness, under a great load of riches. The Lord Christ knoweth well, that his heavenly Racers can run best; and Soldiers can fight best, that are least burthened; therefore ordinarily he gives not out to his people vast Estates; Not many mighty, 1 Cor. 1. 26. The poor in the world, rich in faith: The lighter, the happier, the speedier is motion Heavenwards. As the Redeemed by Christ were given him of the Father, to be taken out of the world, John 17. 6. So it is a main part of first conversion, to be turned from the Creatures unto God, and therefore it is an abuse of Gods grace, to be licentious among the Creatures: That is done, when the use of the Creatures is intemperate and idolatrous.
  2. Intemperate, when so much is taken in as wholly unsuiteth * for the service of God. Creature-surfets, unsit for glorifying of Gods grace: They are not coards to draw to God to honor him, but fetters to draw from God, and forget him. ‘Tis hard at once to have a full purse and belly, and a soul filled with Spiritual Riches and Delights. Seneca’s saying is too frequent experience: A liberal use of the sweet Creatures, maketh a strong Body, but niverso. a weak minde. Bodily delights, are like an intoxicating Wine, and*the improvements of corruption: There is no lust of the flesh, that the unwary sinner is not drunk with: Its cravings and service unfit for duty, as the over-charged Drinker is for his work. It was therefore Christs caution, Take heed to your selves, lest at any time your hearts be over-charged with surfetting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares, Luke 21. 34. God hath not given the Creatures to hinder, but promote obedience: ‘Tis a sad exchange, when the abused Honors of this life, shall be swallowed up in the damnation and contempt of the other, and the worlds voluptuous wantons, pass through the pleasant Meadows of present delights, to the stinking, howling, and smarting Prison of Hell: They that would make haste to Christs Kingdom of glory, had need be careful, lest they cram and surfett their souls with the world. Too much of thoughts, desires, affections to this, is sadly punished with nothing in the other. Wo to them that are intemperately full here, they shall hunger hereafter; and their dis-satisfaction will be a part of their Hell. Christian liberty, and Gospel grace, will be no Patrons of Creature excesses.
  3. When the use of the Creatures is Idolatrous, Gods grace is abused: Joseph should be great in Aegypt, but Pharaoh would be in the Throne above him: We may use the creatures, but they must not be set in the hearts Throne above God: We make that an Idol, that hath an equal or higher room in our hearts. ‘Tis a kinde of Idolatry to place happiness in the Creatures: Covetousness*is stiled Idolatry, Col. 3. 5. Inordinate sweet worldly loves, are heart Idols: God never gave the Creatures to be set in his room: ‘Tis his high dishonor, when the love of the world swallows up the love of God; trust in the Creatures, denyeth confidence in the Rock of Ages; rejoycing in things of nought, obstructs Joys in the things of Eternity: The service of the Creature, puts by the service of God, Blessed for ever. A Prince will not bear it, that his promoted Creatures should be set above him; so neither will the Jealousie of God bear it, that the creatures he hath made should be set above him: We usually say, stand by, and remove those things that stand in our light. O our little account of God! we say not, stand by, nor remove from our irregular esteem and affections, the things that stand in Gods light. If we have not Grace enough to take our hearts off from the dark Eclipses of Gods glory, and God intend mercy to us, he will either remove them out of his light, or imbitter their use. Hence Parents and Children, Husbands and Wives, have been bitter-sweet one to another, yea often times more bitter then sweet; Lest a constant tenor of undisturbed contentment and delight, should tempt and turn Relations into Idols: upon this account too, riches, health, and friends, have fled away; lest the Lords people, too prone to adore and admire Creatures into Idols, should set them too high. The words of Augustine are not more true, then sad experience: Whatsoever you love that is from God, will be justly imbittered to you, because*it is injustly loved by departure from him. They are also a part of his sweet meditation: The miserable soul runneth from thee, in whose sweet presence it is feasted with joy, and followeth the World, with which it meets with thorny vexations.

CHAP. V. Wherein are set down the Càuses, why the Grace of God is turned into wantonness.

SATAN, a malicious enemy of Gods Grace, knowing that the abuse thereof is a sin of aggravated and accumulated wickedness of a deep scarlet tincture, and the highest affront that can be offered to a gracious God, The Mediator and Spirit of Grace, hath many pernicious Methods, and destructive Wiles, to tempt to this hainous sin: Though all of them are not in every abuse of Gods Grace, yet some of them in some, and some of them in others, are the causes of this eminent and dishonorable injury to the God of Grace: I shall consider them under four Heads; Wants, Errors, Presumptions, and Temptations.

  

SECT. 1.

  1. WAnts: The failings or omissions of nine things, are * the deficient causes of wantonness under Grace.
  2. Want of knowing the work and abuse of Grace: Many have confused notions of Gods grace, who are ignorant of the wrongs they do unto it, and think they are under the priviledge of grace, when they are strangers to, and enemies against it. Many say that God is gracious, and by Gods grace they will amend, when they consider not that renewing active grace, would put them upon constant, conscionable, regular and vehement endeavors for reformation, when they practice, but neither know, nor are humbled, for the contradictions to grace; when they are not soundly convinced, that saving Grace teacheth to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, Tit. 2. 11, 12. which they out of choice and delight fulfil; That it abounds with faith and love, 1 Tim. 1. 14. when it never produced these Graces in them; that the will of God is their sanctification, 1 Thess. 4. 3. when they never saw the amiable beauty, nor practiced the duties of holyness; that grace changeth the heart, when they know nothing of the inward, mysterious, miraculous work of conversion in its Doctrine and experience; that grace is an effectual curb to, and a cleansing Purgatory of vain and impure thoughts, when they know no hurt in the vanity and pollution of them; that grace leads the heart daily to the Throne of grace, when they are strangers to Prayer in the Holy Ghost, and think there is no hurt in its irreligious omission; that it is Grace must save them, when they know not that a principal part of its salvation, is the mortification of lust and reformation of life: Ignorance of the wrongs done to grace, is a black concealing vail over them, which at once hinders the accusing conscience, tempts to dreams of innocence, imboldens to a carnal indulgence to beloved sins; were the eyes of the Doctrinal and Practical Adversaries of Gods grace clearly opened, to see the Insolencies, Indignities, and Injuries they do against it, they could not but in a trembling conviction conclude, these and these things are certain dishonors of grace, Stains of holy Profession, Inconsistencies with the new Creature, Lust and Satans methods of Damnation, and denials of the hope of Glory. As when Paul said to Ananias, God shall smite thee thou whited wall, he had not said so, had he known hee was the High Priest. Act. 23. 3, 5. •o had the bold abusers of Gods * grace, strong and clear convincements, the frame of their hearts, and carriages of their lives, were the high injuries of Grace, eminent perils of destruction, and demerits of the hottest room in Hell; in the noon-light of such an acknowledgement, they would feare and tremble to stumble upon their owne ruin.

SECT. 2.

  1. VVAnt of Faith to believe the signall danger of sinne, this * huge sin is the wrong of Grace. It is no wonder that the evill which is not known, is not believed, nor declined. Unbeliefe is the evill heart that departs from the living God. It sets not to its seal, that God is true, in his promises nor threatnings; believes not the abominable, damnable nature of sinne, and dallies with it. As daring wantons, who know that the cup that stands before them is of poyson, yet beleeve it not, but drink and burst; or the plague is in the house they goe into, believe it not, are mortally infected, and die: And as the Egyptians beleeved not that the cattle and men that were found abroad one storming day should die, adventured abroad, and were slaine; so dallying adventurers that beleeve not the mischief of their sinfull pleasures, contempts of Christ and his Gospel, they are dancing over the mouth of Hell, by the sudden push of death are kickt into it. The loose old world beleeved not the destruction Preached by Noah in the making of the Ark, were not moved with his holy example, and penitentiall instructions; The Sonnes of God playd the wantons with the fair idolatrous daughters of men, Gen. 6. 2. and were at length swept away with the flood. Faith would make Libertines fear and tremble: Unbelief is daring. * The wrath of man is more feared than Gods. When God (saith one) threatens eternal punishment, ye neglect it, when an earthly Judge threatens temporal, ye tremble at it.

SECT. 3.

  1. WAnt of Heat, Intention and Livelinesse in Religion. If * God be not served in fervency of Spirit, Lust will. If Satan cannot keep from Religious exercise, he tempts to Luke-warmnesse, yea Key-coldnesse in the performance of them. Instinctu Satanae, faith one, by Satans deading and flatting instinct, a drowsie tyring in good things steals upon body and spirit. Faint fighting is not wont to overcome, nor faint service of God to mortisie Lust. How fe• are there in a Christian congregation superabounding in spiritual joy, alwaies pleasant and merry in the Lord, fervent in spirit, day and night meditating in the Law of God, lifting up pure hands in prayer, follicitous observers, and students of their own hearts, zealous witnesses of holy affections to good works, to whom Christian discipline is amiable, Fasting sweet, long Watching short, the whole pietie of a regular conversation is a delitious feast, yea doth exceed the sweetnesse of the * hony and the hony comb? Alass, how many are there who in an impartial inquest will be found remisse in the studies of Holyness, fainting under Christs easie yoak, and light burden, whose compunction is short and rare, conversation naturall, speech without circumspection, prayer without intention of heart, reading without edification, good purpose without execution, religious exercise without fervencie, who in the waies of godliness want the whipp and spurs, but in the too prone and nimble motions of dislolute looseness, need curbing bridles. Licentious courses are so strong and impetuous, that the modest shame of uncomeliness, the bridle of reason, yea the fear of Hell, can hardly restrain them? No wonder if corruption be daring, dissolute, and potent, when religious exercises are flat, dead, cold, and feeble. Wee blush not* (said one) to pray to God without due attention and fervour of spirit. He that hath no sweet communion with God, will seek it in the world, and pleasing his inticing lusts. When the minde is senceless in reading and meditation, and affections are dull, corruption will be lively. ‘Tis sad to consider how many seemed to discover the fervour of a pious conversation, in whom by degrees charity hath waxen cold, and iniquity abounded, and what appeared to be begun in the Spirit, ends (it is to be feared) in the flesh. Gal. 3. 3. Draw me and we will run after thee, because of the savour of thine ointments. Cant. 1. 3, 4. Therefore there is need of*drawing, because the divine fire of the soules love, for want of fewel to it, and blowing of it, by degrees abates ad cooles. Drawing nigh the fire is for warmth, and drawing nigh of God is for holy heat. In near approaches to him, the new creature is a zealous enemy   to wanton looseness. Cockering cooleness in the severe religious exercises of Mortification is the bane of Profession. Adonijah was a very goodly man, David his Father displeased him not at any time, in saying why hast thou done so? 1 King. 1. 6. In the sist verse you sinde him a daring Rebel; you may read in the Contents of the Chapter, Adonijah Davids darling usurpeth the Kingdome. Thus is it with every fair faced goodly lust. The indulgent Christian is it too remisse in rebuking and chastizing it, and it riseth up in arms against him. Cockering Mothers cold in rebuking wanton sons, teach them to be Libertines, ost-times train them up for the Gallows and Hell, so when the heart is remiss and cold for good and against evill. Lust will have its reins and lawlesse liberty, and ruin its servants.

SECT. 4

  1. WAnt of receiving the Truth in the Truth in the love of it, is an Advantage * to trun a Libertine. The Apostle describes the Antichristian spirit, that waxed wanton in taking pleasure in unrighteousnesse; receiving the Truth for by-ends, not the love of it, 2 Thes. 2. 10. So Heretical, loose, prophane spirits are not in love with truth; and as a Wife who is not in love with her Husband, abuseth his kindesse, so do these the truth: Love is kind, behaveth not it self unseemly, 1 Cor. 13. 4, 5. True love of truth is so kind to her, as not to put unseemly affronts upon her. I wonder not when David setting up a pair of ballances, and weighing truth in one scale, and the greatest glories of the world in the other, in his judicious esteem, Truth as most weighty and massie did preponderate: His love run out in fullest stream to the Truth; O how do I love thy Law! Psal. 119. 97. The joy of his high love was not onely parallel to the joy of all riches, V, 14. accounted as a rich fee-simple, an heritage for ever, V. 111. but the beauty and treasure of truth was better unto him than thousands of Gold and Silver, V. 72. Above Gold, yea above fine Gold, V. 128. And now as a faithfull Spouse, deeply in love with, and betrothed to her dear •ridegroom, by no difficulties and afflictions is beat off from him, quickens and sharpens her zeale after him by opposition, so David, espoused to the pure and lovely truth of God, V. 140. was faithfull to the interest of it in all affictions; the whetstone of his holy profession, meditation of, and conversation by it. This was the sweet song of his pilgrimage, v. 54. Neither trouble and anguish that took hold on him, v. 145. nor Princes persecutions, v. 161. nor the presence of Kings, v. 46. nor his enemies despising of him, v. 141. nor proud mens forging lyes against him, v. 69. nor their digging pits, nor laying snares for him, v. 85. 110. nor their waiting to destroy him, v. 95. nor their almost consuming him upon earth, v. 87. could bring down his high esteem, nor cool his burning love to the Truth, whose guiding, purifying, comforting influence he had found in his heart & life. Buy the truth and sell it not, Prov. 23. 23. buy it at any reat, sell it at no rate, as it is with persons deeply sick of love; they will have such a man or woman, though they beg with them, so it is with the lovers of saving truth, they will be match’d to it, though they perish by it, though it cost them the losse of their estates, liberties, and lives. The word of truth, the Gospel of salvation, hath been dearer to blessed Martyrs than their hearts blood. The Apostles could doe nothing against the truth but for the truth, 2 Cor. 13. 8. and then no wonder they were zelots for the truth, did neither * deny the profession of it, nor wantonly abuse it. Reall Saints learn the truth by loving it, professe the truth they have learned, and stick to the truth they professe. ‘Tis a true and sure experience they who have not received the truth for the love of it, rience they who have not received the truth for the love of it, but for, and by carnall ends, will make it their decoy and stalking Horse; and as it was never heartily loved for it selfe, in time * of Temptation, they will reject it, or dissemble it, with which they have ever played the wantons, to which they never yeelded hearty obedience. The Apostle tells us, that younger widdows, professed Christians, waxed wanton against Christ in their too soft, and delicate life of pleasures, 1 Tim. 5. 6, 11. a reason is subjoyned, * beca use they cast off their first faith, v. 12. The faith of 〈◊〉 severe, mortifying Christianitie: These also are said, to go after Satan, v. 15. A sad Text, that will prove many specious, pompous christians, to be fatanicall. Calvin beginnes his Exposition of those words, Some are turned aside after Satan, with a Notanda loquutio: Note the words well; No man can a little turn from jesus Christ, but he is in a ready way to follow Satan, Hence we are admonished, how deadly a sinne it is to turn aside from the right course, which of the sons of God will make us the slaves of Satan, and being drawn off from the government of Christ, sets Satan over us to be out Leader.

  

SECT. 5.

  1. WAnt of laying to heart Gospel threatnings, contributes * to the Abuse of Gods grace. The Lord hath to prevent the abuse of it, annexed the threatnings of the covenant of works, to the violation of the covenant of grace. Death, Hell, the wrath to come, the curses of the Law, were the threats of the covenant of Works. These are used to Hedge in a reverend regard to, and obedience of the covenant of grace. God in infinite wisdome and love, jealous of the Apostasy of his peoples hearts, and zealous of his own glory, and their salvation, hath annexed dreadfull threatnings to the Preaching of the Gospel, to keep down proud wanton flesh, to be a thorny thick-sett preventive of over-leaping rebellions, and preservative of obedienceThe fear of anger is a good expedient, left the hope of Gods goodnesse be abused to carnal neglect. Hence we read these comminations; *We are not of those which draw back to perdition, Heb. 10. 38. Perdition is implyedly threatned against A postasie from Christ; He that loveth not the Lord Jesus Christ in sinceritie, let him be Anathema Maranatha; accursed, excommunicate for ever, 1 Cor. 16. 22. The everlasting curse is threatned to Christs false friends: He that believeth not is damned, Joh. 3. 18. Except ye repent ye shall perish, Luk. 13. 3. Yea there where the Lord proclaimes the glory of his name in grace and mercy, left it should be wronged to wantonness, he mentions a terrible threatning, That he will by no means clear the guilty, Exod. 34. 6, 7. Such as by unbeleeving loose impenitent courses, a second time crucisie the Son of God, and prostitute his metits to wicked courses, should doe well to study those angry words, He will by no means clear such guilty ones. Because pround secure Libertines, either * consider not, or fear not, or positively contemn Gods threatned wrath, Hence it is that they securely play the 〈◊〉 in the hopes of mercy. ‘Tis rare these sad and serious thoughts are layd to heart; If I do not beleeve in Christ I am lost for ever; If I live in my sinne I shall perish; If I depart from Christ I shall be. 〈◊〉 one; If I abuse the long-suffering, goodness, truth, and pardoning mercy of God, Ishall never be cleard of this guilt, the glory of his Justice will shine in my ruin, the glory of whose grace, hath been darkned by my looseness. The daring thoughts, counsels, words, and practices of all Libertines doe betray such a spirit as was in Marcion of old, who fancied God made all of mercy and grace, and removed severities, and judicial penal authorities from the good God, as if he were a stupid Essence, insensible of any affronts and indignities put upon him. Thus as if God were not essentially just as well as mercifull, he is by impudent Libertinisme spoyled of his Justice, who as hee is just, and a justifier of true beleevers, so he is just and a condemner of all his enemies, the greatest whereof are they that continue in sin because grace abounds.

SECT. 6.

  1. VVAnt of Grace changing and affecting the heart, that * shines in the Head. Convictions may, and doe often stand with positive Rebellion. The truth of God is held prisoner in unrighteousness. Rom. 1. 18. takes no hold on the wills and affections of men: such violent restraint is laid upon it by over-powering worldly lusts, that its sanctifying reforming liberty and authority is quite supprest. It is with the lightsome beames of Gods grace as with the Sun: The light may shine in the upper sleeping room, but be shut out of the lower working rooms: The grace of God shines often in the upper sleeping room, idle, drousie Speculation, and conviction in the mind, but is shut out of the lower working rooms, the Will and the Affections. Evil servants know their Masters will, but have no hearts to doe it. They are evill servants, who, in the Lords spirituall husbandry, trading and occupation, are negligent in their duty, and hide the talents of the Spirits gifts in sluggish idlenesse, and neither promote their own, nor others salvation. Family-guides cannot beare it, who see their loose Attendants waste and abuse the light of great Candles, to wantonnesse, when their more conscionable Ministers doe much work by lesser lights. What a shame will it bee in the reckoning day, when persons of vast apprehensions, but loose hearts and lives, shall be condemned from the vast practice of Godliness, in men of mean, yet sound intellectuals, who turn a few gracious notions, into holy motions, and words into works.

  

SECT. 7.

  1. WAnt of the upright and genuine use of Cods grace, * as a Medicine to cure, not as a Cloak to cover sin: We read 1 Pet. 2. 16. a Cloak of maliciousness, or wickedness, , and the danger of us•rg liberty an occasion to the flesh, Gal. 5. 13. which let alone, will make assault upon us, as the word imports: The Sheeps-skin on the Wolves back doth indeed cover, not alter the ravenous Creature: While the cloak of grace doth but hide, not heal the old Man, he will be a Libertine. The matter is not with carnal Gospellers, whether they sin or no, but whether concealed. Unsound hearts are not so much troubled with the conscience, as infamy of sin: Much wickedness in the world, appearing in its native colours would be abominable, but when it borrows a dress from the grace of God, it looks lovely, and is unsuspected: A pitty it is, so fair a cloak as Gods grace, should be put on so foul a body as sin; it is as if a leprous Body were covered with Purple, and a Dung-hill with Scarlet. It was a part of Jeremiah’s Lamentations, That the Sons of Zion, that were cloathed in Scarlet, embraced Dung-hills, Lam. 4. 5. It should be for a lamentation, that spurious Gospellers, the false sons of Zion, clad in a rich, scarlet, glorious profession, should stain themselves with durg-hill words and works. To put the cover of nature upon unnatural, unmorral sins, is abominable; to put the cloak of grace on works of darkness, to wash the Devils face with holy-water, is much more detestable: It is as if Satan should court God to license his wickedness, as if his pure nature should priviledge uncleanness. They were false Jews, uncircumcised in Spirit, though not in flesh, who made their ceremonious services, which*should have been exercises of repentance, the Patrons of Licentiousness; and so they are adulterate Christians, who prostitute their Religious Worship, to irreligious designs and practices: But sure Grace was never intended to cover, but cure sin. As the God of grace hath clearly vindicated grace from this dishonor, in his Scriptures, and in the mortified conversation of his real •aints, so will he in the great day of restitution of all things, all things by their proper names, set them on their own bottoms,  arraign sin as sin, grace as grace, the enemies of Christ as enemies, and friends as friends, and avenge before the world dishonors done to his Gospel-grace, and invincibly clear it to the judgement both of elect and reprobates, that grace is a destroyer, not a Saviour of sin, an help, not an hindrance of good life; Take with you words, and say, receive us graciously, Hos. 14. 2. This grace was an healing remedy; I will heal their backslidings, v. 4. Grace, like the covering wings of the Chicken, like the covering Plaister of the wound, doth both cover, and cure: Pardoning and purging Grace go together. As the wisdom, so the grace that is from above, is pure, as well as peaceable. It is the constant Petition of the sound Spirit of Prayer, Lord pardon, Lord heal my sins.

SECT. 8.

  1. VVAnt of sound conviction of the mischief of original * corruption, and severe mortification thereof, is an experimented account why grace is abused: Here are two branches.
  2. Want of clear convincement of the old mans mischief: The Character of his wickedness is very large, when it is not known at all, or but slightly; no wonder if the bosome Enemy play Rex, and rule as he he His sinfulness, as followeth not discerned nor regarded, begetteth high abuse of the Grace of God. Were these things known and believed concerning original corruption, professed Christians could not be so licentious: Sad experience will give this evil report of it. One saith truly of carnal concupiscence.

‘Tis a numerous pregnant mother of sins, and hath a vast Womb,* in which infinite transgressions are conceived, out of which they are by the Midwifry of Satan and the World brought forth.

‘Tis the standing Forest, in which Beasts of prey are nourished and abound, harmful destructive lusts are fed and grown, that spoil the bodies and souls of men.

‘Tis a deaf Adders ear to the Words, Wisdom and Whispers of the Spirit, that will not hearken to the saving voice of the Charmer, charm he never so wisely; will never hearken to the   Counsels of true Wisdom, till miraculous grace open and boar the ear.

‘Tis a rooted, and deeply fastned evil in all the faculties of man, written as with a pen of Iron, the point of a Diamond, graven upon the hard Table of the Heart, Jer. 17. 1. The deep Characters of its malignity are not soon and easily razed out.

‘Tis a vast Sea, that notwithstanding the infinite streams that * flow from it, is not drawn dry, but as full as ever, without the exhausting miracle of grace, gradually lessening, and at length quite drying it up.

It hath an Whores face and tongue: it’s besotted Lovers believe it’s permicious bewitching flatteries, are enticed by its lusts, as Fishes by baits, Birds and Beasts by snares, Jam. 1. 14.

‘Tis like an untractable Heifer, that will not bear the yoak of * Grace, but kick and winch, and run away from service, Deut. 32. 15. A wanton and unbridled Nag, that will not be handed by the Riders pleasure, will, if left to it self, neither be backt by reason, nor the Spirit of God.

‘Tis not onely an enemy, but in the abstract enmity against God, his Laws, Soveraignty, Holiness, yea his being: The Divine nature, and corrupt nature, are tearms which can never be reconciled: The flesh uncrucified will everlastingly lust against the Spirit, Gal. 5. 17. Jer. 13. 27.

‘Tis fortified in its ruining Art, by divers Lusts and Pleasures, Titus 3. 3. like an old Souldier, hath many stratagems, and an old Angler, many Baits of ruining deceit: In its methods of destruction, if one way miss, another will hit.

‘Tis the Sin that easily besets, Heb. 12. 1. and like an heavy*Chain tied to the affections, the feet of the soul, hinders speedy motion in the Heavenly race set before us; or like a begirting Army, or long Garments that hinder running, obstructs speed in the way everlasting; over pampering, even to an heavy, sluggish, sweating fatness, tires the Racer; So soft indulgencies to the flesh, are a great Remora and constant stop to spiritual and heavenly motions.

‘Tis a subtle Orator to defend it self, when its wickedness is impeached, decried, discredited, condemned; it is the witty Mother of crafty Inventions, to prove it harmless, secure its Indemnity, to elude all Indictments of reason and the word;   hath a wily head in all those distinctions, extenuations, mental reservations, Paintry of deceiving Sophistry, mis-naming and mis-naturing things, for self preservation and soul ruine.

It’s it alone that hath made the heart desperately wicked, a * bottomless pit of sin, a nemo scit of abomination, Jer. 17. 9. They that with longest Plummets would sound it, cannot reach the bottom of it: Hence to the old stock of corruption, new sinful inventions are added.

‘Tis the heavy Pully that hangs upon the soul, when with much adoe, it hath a flight Heaven-wards, not more sweet then short; ’tis like the string tied by the leg of the Bird, whereby the Boy pull’d down the nimble Creature when he pleased, which occasioned Anselmes serious Meditation, making it the Emblem of corrupt customary sins, which pulls down the soul, when alost in Heavenly things; It never flies in a free air, till the string of corruption be cut from it.

It turns spirits into Rocks and Adamants, hardens them in evil, yea, rejoyceth and triumphs in it.

‘Tis a stout Enemy, which though often worsted, is not quite * overcome, will rally and recruit: Though it be forced to depart the Siege, yet it will set down again: Like the Luxuriant Vine, though pruned, grows rank again: Like fire, though much quenched, yet flames again.

This ugly hideous Monster, the old Man, is not seen but by spiritual eyes: Hence it is, that its wanton abuses of the Grace of God are so frequent and prevalent.

  1. Want of severe mortification of the flesh, conduceth much to the wrong of Grace. These false Christians in the Epistle of Jude, who turned the grace of God into wantonness, and their fellows are said to walk after their own lusts, v. 16. their ungodly lusts, v. 18. to walk after them, not to crucisie them: Indeed it cannot be otherwise, for if grace be not so strong as to subdue lust: Lust will be so strong as to banish grace, so impudent and daring as to abuse it. Corruption fed and nourished will wantonnize; The hugging, dandling, kissing, feeding, carnal lusts, makes wanton professors: They dare sport with edge tools, & riot in the ways of damnation: Study, O you that profess Christianity, and you will finde it Flesh-pleasers, that in a delicate tenderness, neither dare, nor will, nor can mortisie their corruptions, these eminently abuse Gods grace.

SECT. 9.

  1. WAnt of considering the straight way to life, and the * blessed end thereof: Most Gospellers would have Heaven at the close of their lives in the broad way of wanton allowances and indulgencies to the lusts and pleasures of the flesh, had rather have inlargements of their desires in a way of damnation, then the streightning of them in the way of salvation. The wisdom of the flesh, wise onely to destruction, suffers not inconsidering men, seriously to weigh the unspeakably, safe, sweet and glorious Issue of strict Christianity. Holy reason would thus consider: Though that great Idol carnal self were beaten down, sweet lusts and pleasures were mortified, dreadful guilt, and dishonors to God, were lookt over with broken hearts and weeping eyes, the vanities and pomps of the world were renounced; the frequent requiries of the Scripture, and necessities of the poor, call for, and command costly alms: Though Fastings and Watchings, continual spiritual Arms and Combates, Prayers and Tears, Desertions and Afflictions, denial of unlawful, yea often times of lawful things, render practical christian Religion, a formidable, unchoosable and intollerable thing: Though the entrance and progress of godliness be strict, severe, painful, and rigid to the flesh, and bears an unpleasing dominion over the sensitive appetite; yet on this soure crab-stock is engraffed, by the hand of Gods Spirit, sweet fruit: After this dirty Lane, the reproaches and sufferings of this life, there will be getting unto the Heavenly Fathers House: I say, spiritual reason will assure, that the sharpest storms of Religion, will do the kindness as to drive Heavenly Passengers, to the Port of their everlasting Rest; and though the spiritual Battles may be long and sharp, yet they will end in eternal Peace, Victory and Triumph. Satan knoweth the Discipline, Life, and strictness of Grace will have a blessed Issue, and therefore in conjunction with the wisdom of the flesh, suffers not deluded sinners to be so wise, as to remember the latter end of Religions Severities, and saving Experiences. Hence the Sirens of the world the sweet enchantments, pleasures, profits, vain-glories, the sensualities of this life, make carnal Gospellers, even while they hypocritically chide their sinnes to love them heartily, while they easily cry up holyness, strictness, heaven and happiness, yet to give way to loose and wanton hearts, language and conversation, and while they have good words, and seeming good belief, they clearly confute both by unsanctified hearts, and unreformed lives, for want of spiritual serious dwelling consideration of the strait way to glory, is the sad miscarrying of holy Profession.

Ah Christians lay to heart what one saith; It is to be considered * not how sharp the way of life is, but where it leads, not how strait it is, but where it endeth, not how it is strewed with thorns, but to what rosy and sweet spicy delights it brings. Though this world be a valley of tears; Heaven is a mountain of spices, Can. 8. 14. The difficulties and severities of Religion, that are as a Lyon in the way to Mansions of glory, should rather call for resolution, and sharpen the edge of affections, than blunt endeavours? As our Mediatour went through infinite difficulties of Redemption, so all the methods of its application, from conversion, throughout the progress of Sanctification unto a dissolution, are very difficult. The righteous are scarcely saved with much adoe, 1 Pet. 4. 18. O you tender, delicate, spurious Christians, who dream of heaven, and the way of it: you fancie it broad, but the Scripture and experience will everlastingly prove it narrow. Do you think in good earnest, that the carnall latitudes, the broad allowances of the flesh, will end in eternall peace and delights? Will your studied, idolized, sensual delights carry, as in a Chariot, * your departing souls into an eternal Paradise? Doe Christs Souldiery come out of great tribulation unto the eternall Palms and Crowns of their victories? and can your effeminate, wanton, dissolute, brutish lives give you the least assurance, that your voluptuousness below will end in the delights above? Have the noble Army of Martyrs, the whole Church of the first-born, found the way of life a narrow strait way, and doe you make it broad? The Word hath told you, and Death and Judgement will be an infallible Comment on the Text, Broad is the way that leads to destruction. In a broad champion, and Regimental march, hundreds may pass on a breast; but in a very narrow lane   the passage is but two by two. O all you dismall, black Armies, that march under the King of the bottomless pit, your Captain-Generall, you may troop, yea you may speed in the broad champion of corrupt nature, and walk in a full career and march to Hell, but Chriss, souldiery pass in a strait lane, a thin company hedged about with commands, that connot, dare not frolick in the large green plains of carnall delights. If you think, or hope your large professions, or large lives, under strict profession, will bring to, and leave you in the heavenly country, you then must impudently and blasphemously charge the lye upon the faithfull and true witnesse Jesus Christ, hee hath told you the broad way of loose Principles and Lives, will lead you to hell, if you will not beleeve, you shall see and feel the truth of Christ by the light of eternal flames.

SECT. 10.

  1. THe second head of causes, that are experimentally influentiall into this great sin, Abuse of Gods grace, is Error. * This will appear in five things.
  2. The error of a corrupt palate. Sin is mans disease which makes him dissavour the best things. Sickness taketh away the sweetness of wholsome meat, and Sin of the hidden Manna, most heavenly Feasts. God hath the best furnished house for his Family. We read the fatness of the Gods house, Psal. 36. 8. afeast of fatthings in the mountain of the house of the Lord, Is. 25. 6. A sweet merry feast. They shall be joyfull in my house of prayer. Is. 56. 7. but it is to them onely, whose palate is rectified and judicious, that rellish their heavenly food, that taste and see the Lord is good. Psal. 34. 8. and gracious, 1 Pet. 2. 3. who can say with David, How sweet are thy Words unto my taste? Psal. 119. 103. and with the Spouse, His fruit was sweet unto my taste, Cant. 2. 3. But to the injudicious, unregenerate, the choicest spiritual dainties are unsavoury; they are unto Good works, though they professe the contrary, void of judgement, Tit. 1. 16. They have no a sweet, judicious sense of soul food. Have you seen delicate wantons better fed than taught, that do more censure and play with, than eat heartily and work by their diet, abuse the precious creatures, may be throw it to dogs? or a diseased patient, vitiated in stomack and palate, disrellish the best dyet, make faces at it, spit it out, cry out it is naught. Here is the embleme of carnall spirits, vitiated with corrupt, unsavoury humours, the best provisions of Gods house will not down with them: They vilifie Angels food, Gospel-banquets, cry out upon it, in their distemper, or if they take in a little of it, they spit it out again, or it runs through them. Holy convictions stay not to concoction and nourishment. Their palates doe onely rellish the world, and delight in worldly things.

SECT. 11.

  1. THe error of sufficient attainments in Religion. This opinion * is practically debauching. Those that seemed to make hast heaven-wards, and think they have travelled almost enough in the way everlasting, that have dreamed either of their possible or actuall perfection in this life, need no better discovery of their nakedness than themselves, they are their own sufficient confutation. How far are the generation of Popish and Quaking Perfectists, from the prize they seem to run after? further off, were their eyes opened, than those they un-saint from Gospel-attainments. This sottish, supercilious opinion of enoughs in the knowledge and practice of Religion hath begotten monstrous libertines in the present age. Such as have been filled, with windy swelling conceits, not the real fruits of the Spirit; like some of the high-flown puffed up Corinthians, reigned as Kings, 1 Cor. 4. 8. blessed themselves in their high attainments, viz. Knowledge, Faith, Love, Mortification, Communion with God, Joyes of the Spirit; and noy, as if rich enough, they had nothing else to doe but to contemplate their e••ate, and gaze upon their glory, their lazy contemplative life hath swallowed up the active; they lay by trading in heavenly commodities, religious attendances and exercises: Their name is up with their deluded fraternitie, yea in their own foolish brains; and now they may lay abed till noon, yea sleep in carnall securitie, in and before the light of their high-noon attainments. As some men that have gotten vast estates, look over their rich Lordships with much contentment, are knighted, trade no more, have goods layd up for many years, so many rich Laodiceans, that think they abound in spiritual goods, and want nothing, and have nothing, no more than an empty sounding barrel, and are sainted in Satans Kalender; these trade no more in heavenly negotiation, as if they could too much increase their Lords Talent, and give fearfull symptomes, that for all the puffs of their spirituall estates, they are but bankrupts. That generation is well known, who have already decried and voted down Gods standing Ordinance, the Ministry of the Gospel, as needlesse, who load them with no better honours than the stile of Baals Priests, Deceivers of the people, the Locusts of the bottomless pit, the fewel for the fierie furnace of Hell, and so bind up all Preachers in the same bundle of death; as well the most industrious, circumspect, and conscientious, as the most lazy, loose, and unconscionable. Hath not this wanton, daring Age brought forth such proud, pittifull, poor (it is to be feared, but nominal) christians, that have had the boldness to call mourning for sin, a low attainment; dayly prayer, a poor sapless businesse; all private, solemn, as well as publick, vanities, carnall things, too low for their spiritual, seraphical spirits, as if they were not in the body, nor had no body of sin, as if they were so Angelical in their high Revelations, and maintained so constant, blazing divine fire of love to God, as that it needed no further fewell, nor bellows of Ordinances, nor the Spirits hands to use them, for holy and heavenly heart inflammations. Now behold with fear and trembling the spirituall Judgement of spiritual Pride, spiritual Blindness, spiritual Wickedness, spiritual, yea visible gross Apostasie. ‘Tis just with God, that they which will not keep in the safe plain, the secure beaten valley, but they will be mounting up to the narrow tops of hills perilous pinacles, they should fall, and that deadly. Some men and women have not contented themselves (yea to their shame it must be spoken, some Ministers) with the safe plain, the Ordinances of Grace, the Doctrines of Faith, Repentance, Mortification, and New obebedience, nor keep in the secure valley of walking humbly with God, but mounting up in their lofty minds, to the tops of Hils, Doctrines too high for them, injudicious unscriptural Altitudes; the perillous Pinacles of conceited Perfection, a stupid, and sensless assertion of a kind of Adam-like Innocence before the Fall; That they that are born of God sin not at all: I say some are the spiritual black marks of Gods vengeance, from these perillous heights: The visible and fearfull falls of haughty adventurous   wantons, are legible demonstrations to the observing world, written in broad characters, that without infinite mercy they are very deadly. How have some in their scandalous falls from pretended spiritual eminencies, betrayed a double fearfull loss, both of Christianity and civility of Christianity? either with Arrians denying the Deitie of Christ, or blasphemously and sacrilegiously getting into the Throne of his God-head, using these wicked Phrases, they are Godded with God, Christed with Christ, yea that there is no difference of the God-head dwelling in the flesh of Christ, and the flesh of the Saints; as if their flesh did as equally subsist in the Infinite person the Son of God, as the flesh of Christ did; whence it would follow, that the fulnesse of the God-head did dwell corporally in them, as it did in Christ, of consequence speak them sinless, perfectly holy, and contradict the preheminence of Christs Mediatorly anointing, who was anointed with the oyl of gladness, the Holy Ghost, above his fellows, the highest measures and graces in Saints and Angels. How unchristianly doe some of those fearfull children of errour, set up a Christ within them, in opposition, in abolishment of a Christ without them, who poring upon their spiritual transcendencies, have either quite put-out of their Creeds the imputed Righteousness of Christ without them or else forgot it. As little honour, it is to be feared, hath Christ from some of these monuments of delusion, as to the faith of the bodily resurrection, whereof hee was the First fruits; and as if his Ordinances were dead and buried, they have no more Communion with them than wee with the dead; and lastly, as for his visible Image, living Christians, they are boldly stiled the Devils children. As sad a fall is there from pretended perfection, even to the abolishment of civilitie, as if externall Morallities, contained and required in the Second Table, were no * no part of of Gods will. How farre are they from growing to the full stature of Christian practicall Religion, whose errors in opinions and practises, have made sad breeches upon all civill and naturall callings and relations? It had been well if these sad objects of pitty, praiers, and tears had learned of Augustine a truth, which would have kept them safe, humble, diligent, and zealous after true perfection; ‘Tis mans perfection, to finde that he is not perfect: and of Bernard; The unwearied study of proficiency, and constant e•deavour after perfection is perfection; and of Paul, I   count not my self to allain, but I persson to the mark; and of Peter,*Grow in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ. It is a true saying of Augustine, Let no man say, though the longest liver, and highest proficient in Religion, I have enough, I am righteous sufficiently: He that sayes so, he stayes in the way, he shall never reach his journeys end. Happy had it been for these wondring falling Stars, had they considered, there is no middle state between Proficiencie and Deficiencie, going forward, and going backward, if they had considered, it must be with Christians, as it was with the Angels on Jacobs Ladder, as to perpetual motion. The Patriarch saw them ascending and descending, but no standing still. The stands of religious sufficiencie, have been, and are fatall to Imaginary Perfectists. O the rare artifice of Satan to ruin soules! where he doth it not as a Prince of darkness, he speeds as an Angel of light. He puts the vaile of imaginary perfection of holiness over almost perfection of sin, votes a nothingness, an emptyness in Religion, a sufficient attainment, tels real carnalists, they are high spiritualists, cheat them with dreams, they are the darlings of heaven, when they are like to prove firebrands in hell; while in the pleasing folly of spiritual pride, vain self-lovers, admire themselves as the none such of the world, and cannot judge in their coldness, yea death of Charity, that they are reall Saints, vessels of mercy, it is to be feared without extraordinary repentance, these not fixed stars, but blazing comets, will goe out in darkness, vanish in a stink, and appear in the great day in the left hand as vessels of wrath.

SECT. 12.

  1. THe Frror, a very sottish one, of Opinion, That what*pleaseth the loose sinner, pleaseth God: These things hast thou done, thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thy self, Psal. 50. 21. an erroneous and impious parallel, and the cause of much looseness. These things hast thou done; What? these sins are charged on the wicked Libertine; an hypocritical owning of Gods Statutes and Covenant, ver. 16. His hating instruction, and casting Gods word behind him, v. 17. His consent to the every, and partnership with adultery, v. 18. His evil unbridled tongue, v. 19. His slander even of a natural brother, v. 20. All these are put down as the sid fruits of this cursed error, and reall blasphemy, God & the sinner are alike, Thou thoughtest I was such a one as thy self; I was as well pleased with thy basenesse as thy self. This is a tyring wearisom error to the pure God. Ye have wearied the Lord with your words, yet ye say, wherein? when ye say every one that doth evill is good in the sight of the Lord, and be delighteth in him, or where is the God of judgement? Mal. 2. 17: There are not a few grosse carnal Gospellers, who when their unwasht heart, impure and wicked lives, are covered over with a white and beautifull vaile of professed Christianity do as heartily write themselves in their absurd, flattering, injudicious minds the children of God, the dearly beloved of his soul, as if they were the exactest walkers: Certainly those grosly intemperate, incontinent, covetous, malicious, unnaturall, prophane ones, that would rage at a Minister or private Christian, that should but so much as tel them, they fear and suspect their persons, hearts and lives, are abominable to God; doe not so much as scruple it, but they are the objects of divine loves and delights: What doth this amount to else, but this virtual and interpretative perswasion the holy God, and the vile sinner are alike? O that such wretches would consider, as the holy Scriptures in multitudes of places, so Gods angry avenging Providences, are the vindicating Patrons, and infallible maintainers of Gods purity, and after death, the great day, and to all eternity, he will prove by sadly convincing fierie arguments, the infinite distance between the holy blessed God, and the lewd cursed sinner. Did either gross, or close hypocrites under Gospel-profession, seriously consider, and deliberately reason, their own wickedness, and Gods holyness, what likes them, and what pleaseth God, search Scripture Records what the Lord hates, and what he is ravished with, & so ingeniously and faithfully conclude, these and these things according to the word of truth, are detested with a perfect abhorrence of the pure heavenly Majesty, and we are guilty of them, and are as loathsome in his sight as Toad, a Carrion, are in ours; it were impossible there should be such liberall and large allowances of carnal liberty, as there are too much under the favour of a divine approbation and delight. ‘Tis too common an error that prospering Providences are encouragers of wicked designs and practises. The Devil is a Devil still, lying and unclean, though his temptations prosper.

  

SECT. 13.

  1. The Error that false evidences of Grace are true: An erronious rest on these, hath begotten too much Libertinism * in the Church of God: As,
  2. Bare knowledge of Divine things, is too weak a proof of goodness: The Devils know but are unclean, full of wickedness: In their inlightned intelligent natures, there are the spiraul things of wickedness; The Apostles expression, Eph. 6. 12, The light of the Sun speaks not a Thief honest, nor the Adulterer chaste, who are both lewd by the beams of it: Bare Illumination speaks no man holy nor happy, to infer a good heart from a knowing head, is not a more common, then a foolish and pernicious inference. Ah foolish, impudent Christian, hath God laid thee in with a stock of knowledge, to licentiate thee to sin by the light of it? Will the aggravation of your sin, be the evidence of your good estate? A stock of Knowledge is one thing, of Grace another. The Gnosticks that vaunted much of their knowledge, were a beastly Sect: The bare light of Gospel propositions, will not fit for the Inheritance of the Saints in Light: Surely light is never gracious and saving, unless it Transform its receivers: They are children of light, 1 Thess. 5. 5. and they do not onely see it, but walk in it as children of light, Eph. 5. 8.
  3. An Orthodox Judgement is no conclusive ground of grace: ‘Tis gross error, from Doctrinal soundness, to argue Cordial and Practical. A man may be sound in the Faith, Tit. 1. 13. but * not by the Faith: His light is sound that speaks against Theft and Adultery; but he is not found by his true light, that is a Thief and Adulterer, Rom. 2. 21, 22. A form of knowledge is one thing, Rom. 2. 20. A transforming into it is another, Rom. 12. 2. A man is sound in the Faith, that believes without regeneration no man can enter into the Kingdom of God: That Justification and Sanctification must go together: But he is not sound by this faith, that is neither regenerate, justified, nor sanctified: ‘Tis a loose deceit to argue a good spiritual estate, from a good speculative judgement: Spirits and Lives may be and are graceless, when contrary informations are bright and clear. Orthodox heads are too often contradicted by Heretical Hearts and Laws. ‘Tis a sound confession, that the Scriptures are the word of God, and Christ is the Son of God: There will be a day of Judgement, and a contrary everlasting Estate of Heaven and Hell; but do not all false Christians live as if those holy Articles of Faith, were Fables? Hear some men and womens sound expressions of their judicious intellectuals in matters of Religion, set off with seeming good affections, and you would conclude them Saints;* but watch their lives narrowly, and without wrong to charity, you must judge them reigning sinners: ‘Tis true one says, It is a vain thing to conceive, or speak judiciously, & not to live judiciously.
  4. Outward Baptism: This alone is to weak a Plea to speak a Christian. Too many loose Protestants are practically Popish, who conceit, and trust to it, that Sacraments by the natural Elementary power, ex opere operato, confer Grace: They doubt not that they are actually regenerate, because Baptized, that they have had the sprinkling of the Blood and Spirit in their conscience, because they have had the sprinkling of Water on the flesh, whose unpurged hearts before God, and impure lives before Men, speak them strangers to the washing of Regeneration. Chrysostome was of another minde: In his Judgement a bare outward Baptism, and a vulgar Faith, were not enough to get and keep soul Purity: * He that will give proof, he is clean and glorious within, must shew it by a worthy conversation without. O the sad reproach of Christ and his Ordinance of Baptism: Under the sanctuary of Baptismal Christianity un-Christian hearts and lives, enemies to the Laws, the Spirit, and Cross of Christ, do shroud themselves, as Thieves in their Den: Scandalous abusers of Baptism, will one day know to their shame and smart, this pure institution was never appointed as a Protector, but a Destroyer of their wanton corruptions.
  5. Bare stirrings of the affections towards good things, will not be currant witnesses of Grace: ‘Tis too common experience, good motions on the affections have vanished into evil, honorable into vile. The stony ground had joy: Light impressionsof Heavenly things, vanished into Earthly: Some sorrowand tears have been swallowed up in prophane mirth; a caroufing rouing meeting, hath still’d the raging, smarting conscience: Superficial delights in the grace and mercy of God, have been soon crowded out by worldly pleasures: Zeal hath ended in Luke-warmnesse, yea Key-coldnesse: Shame in impudence, courage in faint-heartedness, the fear of sin in carnal security. O Christians, deceive not your selves! It is one thing to move the affections, it is another thing to spiritualize and change them: They are not light touches, but mighty power on the affections, that kill sin.
  6. A partial Reformation in doing some good, in abstinence from some sins, reputed Grace stands with much abuse of Grace: Partial duty, did not Saint Herod: He was a Wanton with his Herodias. The Wisdom that is from above, is without partiality, James 3. 17. is not fast in some duties and loose in others, but as the Counterpane of the whole Law, hath respect to all Gods Commandments, Psal. 119. 6. and would be compleat in the whole will of God. The old Man is loose, if in any parts of the Divine pleasure, or the least commands, he be willing to rebel: Christs Laws are coards, Psal. 2. 3. If strong lusts break any of them, with Love and Delight: The Government of Christ is thrown off. Innocence also, or abstinence from gross sins, is far from Grace, yea, is accompained with high Dishonors to it. Freedom from Oathes, Lies, unjust Dealings, Drunkenness, Uncleanness, are too weak premises to conclude Saintship: True Grace washeth inside and outside, doth not onely ordinarily rescue from gross, but close sins. The Pharisee vaunted of an outward strict abstinence, while he was loose within As the sober in the streets, are dissolute within doors, so the Pharisees Austerity, is but the vail of inward carnal Liberty: Christ saw their hearts, and discovered their self-justifying pride, the Extortion, Excess, Hypocrisie, Iniquity that lodged in their hearts, Matth. 23. 25, 28. The spiritual sins of Unbelief, Covetuousness, Heresie; the secret Atheism of unclean, shameless Hearts, in Gods presence, inward Apostacy, hardness of Spirit; the dominion of vain and worldly thoughts, and loose security in sin, are concealed abominations, which unrepented of, will infallibly cast sinners into Hell: Let such as are outwardly strict, and inwardly loose, who in words declare against Libertines, and yet have ungoverned wanton hearts; consider, the Divel himself would be content that they should leave some sins, if others reign: He well knows, that partial reformation is but changing the Master, not the Mastership; no ending the War, but alterning the seat of it; if he be driven out of some holds, he may domineer in others; where his mischief is less suspected, more fortified and pernicious: The flesh hath divers lusts: Deliberate choice service of any one, is enough to ruine: One disease may be healed, while another kills; one leak of a Ship may be stopt, while another drowns. Ah wanton Gospeller, be ashamed of thy wicked and deceitful reserves: God seeth what carnal close Dalliances and false Loves thy soul runs after; for thine out-side abstemious wary walking; thy self and others may stile thee a Saint, but thou art the black mark of Gods avenging destruction: The Psalmist sets a Loe upon thee and thy fellows, Loe they that are afar from God shall perish; yea further, he said to God, Thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee, Psal. 73. 27. Thy severities against some lusts, will never speak thy chaste obedience to thine Heavenly Husband, whilethy willing wanton indulgencies to, Kisses of, and provisions for other lusts, speak thine whorish heart.
  7. A groundless perswasion of Grace, as it argues none, so it exposeth Grace to notorious abuse: How irrational are carnal Gospellers, that vote bare confidences Arguments? that have no better reason to prove that they are Gracious, then Perswasion: What a silly argument is naked assurance in other things? A chained Prisoner is no free man, because in a sottish frenzy he perswades himself he is walking in the streets; nor is an unlettered man a Scholar, who is confident of his learning: A crackt Title, will not bear out the cheated Purchaser in Law, though he is assured of the contrary. O the sottish condition of unregenerate Gospellers, whose onely or main argument of their good Estate in Christ, is because they are assured it is so, and so neither dare nor will, by so much as questioning it, disturb their false peace! Is it possible this evidence should pass for Grace and Glory? How long, O self-deluding Wantons, will ye love simplicity? When you have given almost as large allowances to your lust, as the flesh will require: Can this support a perswasion that you are gracious? The Word did never witness to it, nor will the Spirit of God ever seal to it, that you are the servants of God, while the Devils Subjects; you are the children of Light, while you walk darkness; you are in the straight way to life, while you are in the broad road to destruction: A bare perswasion of being in a state of Grace, is a palpable delusion; where ever this is, by constant experience we know, that the Grace of God is abused.
  8. Counterseit Grace conceived and believed real Grace, begets Libertines: The Devil appeared in Samuels Mantle, and reigning sins appear to Gods discerning eye, in the vail of counterfeit Grace. The old Serpent and the old Man, care not how glorious the notions and pretensions of Grace are: These are their friends; ‘Tis real Grace onely is their ruine: What grace is there, that is not without it’s counterfeit? The Devil is Gods Ape, and Corruption is Graces Ape: There is a shadow of true faith: Some things have a fine semblance of the love of God: That passeth among men as repentance, that is none: Pride is clad in Humilities cloathes. There is a natural unsanctifying meekness, that was never taught in Christs School, Matth. 11. 29. Wilde Passion puts on the name of holy Zeal: Pleasing and deluding carnal hope, is as easily perishing, as the Spiders Web is swept away. False uprightness, makes the Hypocrite pass for a most plausible honest man. The Ape in Mans apparel will have Apish tricks, and corruption in the cloathes of Grace, will and can do no otherwise then act like it self, a lewd Wanton; It ever makes the Devils trade, it’s good earnest, and Religious profession it’s pastime and sport.

SECT. 14.

  1. THe error of abusive Interpretation of Scripture, hath sadly * produced loose Monsters in Religion: The Devil, the Arch-Antiscripturist, well knoweth, that the Scriptures rightly understood and used, are the down-fall of his Kingdom: If he cannot banish the faith of its Divine Authority out of the world, he doth what he can to hinder it’s efficacy: Among sundry ways he useth to make void the benefit of it, this is one to deprave the sense: If he can make Gods word speak his own interpretation he hath his end, a dark minde, a loose heart, and a debauched life: By turning the pure and genuine meaning of the Scripture, into strange and adulterate, he hath a double success; first the obedience of his own will, and then the colour and Patronage of Gods word, to make his cheats sacred and unsuspected: He hath Scripture on his side to consecrate and facilitate his wickedness, and his Scholars of sad delusion, wrest it to their own destruction, 2 Pet. 3. 16. Is it not made a Sanctuary for Popery, Herisie, Hypocrisie, Cruelty, Worldliness, yea, gross Prophaneness? O high dishonor to the Holy Ghost, who revealed to holy Men, who wrote and published the Scriptures, that spurious, idolatrous, silthy senses should be laid at the chaste doors of Gods holy word! O eminent peril to immortal souls! When bold Ignorance, carnal Affections, Lusts and Interests give the sense of the Word! The sad issue is, The word of life is turned into a word of death: The true Light of Divine Knowledge is dimm’d or blown out: Sincere Milk is turned into deceitful Poyson: The Chrystal Waters of the Sanctuary, are bemired, from holy turned into impure: The Hellish Archer endeavors to out-shoot God in his own Bow, and by the leave and licence of abused Scripture, he lures brain-shot erring Christians, into the ways of sin and death. To open this, wherein abusive sense of Scripture doth advantage a loose Faith and a wanton Life, as in Church History, in all Ages since the Apostles, and in the present Age, would be fitter for a Book then a Section. I shall instance in some Sect-Masters, or sides of corrupt Glossers and abusers of the sacred Text. Where were your understandings, O Arians! who could not see the plain God-head of Jesus Christ, in that you read him equal with the Father, without any robbery to his Glory, Phil. 2. 6. and that by him were made all things that were made, John 1. 3. Did ever meer Creature make all things? What though he said my Father is greater then I, John 14. Could you not distinguish, he was so as Christ was Man, or as Mediator, but not simply as the Eternal Son of God: These wanton wits, that by wresting the word, have denyed Christs God-head, the Mediator of Grace, and so possibility of Grace, have (as History Records) been abusive enemies of the Gospel of grace, and most bloody Persecutors of Orthodox and gracious Christians. So what high dishonor to God, the Law, the Gospel, Christian Liberty and Profession, have the Antinomian party published to the World, who have made these Scriptures, Ye are not under the Law, but Grace, Rom. 6. 14. The Law is   not made for a righteous man, 1 Tim. 1. 9. and such places, to speak that it never intended a discharge from obligation to the Laws direction and obedience; as an erring Preacher of this way, alledging this Text, Wherefore, my Brethren, ye are become dead to the Law by the Body of Christ, Rom. 7. 4. roundly said, Believers are not onely free from the Minatory and Promissory, but Mandatory part of the Law. A gross Opinion, which as it blots out the Ten Commandments out of the Canon, so it opens a door to all dissolute Conversation.

Further, What infinite mischief to the comforts of the Faith and hope of Christians, and to the power of godliness, have that pernicious Sect of Allegorists done, as to the glorious Article of Christian Faith, The •esurrection of the Body Hymenaeus and Philetus, held the Resurrection was past already, and overthrew the faith of some, 2 Tim. 2. 18. It is thought by some, they held no Resurrection but of Baptismal Regeneration, in which there is rising to a new life: The confounding and wresting the Corporal into an Allegorical Resurrection, was in Tertullians* time; His words are, There are those, who do wrest the resurrecion of the Body, manifestly declared in Scriptures, into an imaginary signification, a resurrection from the death of ignorance to the life of truth. Marcion, Basilides, Valentinus, Apelles, were poisoned with the same Error. Marlorat noted also; the same evil spirit surprized a sort of furious men possessed with Devils, who called themselves Libertines, who imagining an Allegorical Resurrection, deny the true, literal, promised resurrection of the Body. Satans grand design in overthrowing this great truth is a carnal, voluptous, dissolute life. Let us eat and drink, to morrow we shall die, will be the counsel and practice of the flesh, if the dead rise not, 1 Cor. 15. 32. The genuine fruit of such a corrupt error, is playing the wanton under, yea against the light of nature and grace. At what door any unstable, licentious Christians of the present Age, have suffered first the questioning, then the slight assent to, and lastly, the positive denial of the bodily Resurrection to come in, the care of good life goeth out. Moreover, The party of Perfectists, under the pretensions of a compleat transcendent grace, inherent in the regenerate, having first abused the word of grace, have eminently dishonoured regenerating grace. That sweet & grand truth, whoever is born of God, sinneth not, & Joh.

  

  1. 9. That is, either the sinne unto death, or reigning sin as in the unregenerate, is wrested as the support of a possible perfect innocence, yea as the cover of any sinne, not to be accounted sin; if in the regenerate. The Pelagians and Catharists abused this place, so called, because they seigned Beleevers in * this life have an Angelical purity: some Anabaptists have renewed this dream. The same folly the Spirit of Error hath transmitted to the sottish Quakers. All which depravers of the holy Text, the same Apostle John that wrote it, hath sufficiently confuted in these words, If we say we have no sinne, we decieve our selves, and there is no truth in us. How easie is it for ignorant, loose. stupid sinners, to perswade themselves they are born of God? And if nothing they doe is sinne, with what bold security, unbridled liberty, and unconscionable insensibility, will they give themselves up to the uncontrouled swing of their domineering Lusts? How sadly hath the word of truth, concerning Regeneration and Perfection been abused, of old and present times. The saying of Marlorat hath been transcribed in the erring braines, and loose lives of some Monsters of Christian profession among us. ‘Tis the mad opinion of Libertines who perswade (said he) that all sense of sin is to be cast off, that it appertaines to imperfect men to be disturbed by the motions of conscience: And therefore they say they are truly regenerate in Christ, and raised from the dead, who have no more sense of sin, and think what sorever they do or hold pleaseth God. When they are taken in Adultery, and such kind of villanies, they doe not deny them, but say they are no sinnes to them, because they do not account them so but they affirm they are onely imputed to them as sin, who through their weakness think they are sins. If this be weakness to account sin sin and to be troubled for it, and it be Christian perfection not to think sin sin, nor to have an awakened sensible conscience of sin, I know not what wickedness is. O sad, and desperate delusion! Here is the plain efficacy of Satan, to, miscall an admantine, remorsless heart, Chriperfection of life and healths activity? Yet the of the Christian name, dare call the stupidity of a dead and seared conscience, Perfection. If we right name and nature it, let it bee called Perfection, but of wickedness, not holyness. ‘Tis a character of sinners past grace, They give themselves over to lasciviousnesse. to work all uncleanness with greediness; and that a licentious impenitent liberty may never meet with check again, they are said to be past feeling, the word imports, past grieving. Eph. 4. 19. There is some hope of recovery in a troubled conscience, none a sorrowless. Trouble of spirit for wickedness, may stop a bold careere hel- wards, and beget thoughts of returning, but he that gallops to destruction, hath not an inward pang, a sing, a groan, a tear in his way, must infallibly perish. Wel were it if this vile spirit of error had been in that hell of gross darknesse •hence it came; but the same impudent Diabolical looseness, that Reformed Writers condemned and discovered long. agoe, a generation of false adulterate Christians have revived, in our sad, infamous, and spotted times; I mean the Ergtish Borborities, impure Ranters, whose toadish natures have suckt up that venome their loose fraternitie powred out in the time of Calvin, Marlorat, and others; as Calvins Opuscula, especially his judicious and Zealous Tract against Libertines; and Marlorat in his New Testament Expositions. But O you scandals of the English name, and bolts of Christianity, Heavens scorn, and Hels triumph, the highest form in Satans School, that rant it out, in most free and liberal allowances of your uncontroled Lusts; that make not sins definition The transgression of Gods Law, 1. loh. 3. 4. but a Thought an Opinion! Nothing is sinne with you, unless you think and account it so, who have so much sinned against conscience, that you have quite cast off the sensible conscience of sin, if your debauched looseness hath not cast off the Eible and s•n-discovering books out of your hearts and hands, and providence may lead you to the reading of this Section, I beseech you fear, tremble, repent, and know the holy Text of which your impure hearts, unmotified lusts, vile affections, have given a depraved Exposition, be no patron of, but severe enemy against your monstrous impieties, impurities and unrighteous dealings. Wil you not be speechless in the arraignment of the Last Judgment, when from a double Tribunal of Nature and Grace, Reason and Religion, Paganism and Christianty, you will be infallibly condemned; You will learn that Virtue is Virtue, Vice Vice, Grace is Grace, and Sin, is Som, whether they be thought or beleeved so be or no, & a stupid conscience in a stupid hellish Liberty to sin, is no Christian but Diabolical Perfection. Consider from what stairs you have almost descēded into the bottomless pit. Have you not in spiritual pride despised the Ministry and Ordinances of Christ? Have you not been formal and dead under them, when you used them? Have you not often blunted by your stony, hearts, the home and wounding Arrows of informing reproving convictions? When you could not could your workes of darknesse with the divine light of truth; Have you not then to cover your old mans deeds, and quiet your often barking, yea sometimes byting conscience, called Gods lightdarkness, and Satans darkness light; Yea by a surer artifice to make you quite dead as to unquiet conviction? Have you not first given way to wicked scepticism, doubt almost every thing; and which is a further degree of soul-ruining delusion, the difference between Turpe and Honestum, Moral Malice & Goodnesse? Have you not by a cursed, indiscriminating difference, jumbled Holyness and Wickedness together, and made nothing sin, but what you thinks to be so? I cannot but tell you if all the Apostate Angells should sit in counsell, why would most ascertayne the the damnation of the children of men, pluck up all religion, and righteousness by the roots, destroy Churches and commonwealths, questionlesse your opinion and practises, would be the Devils master-piece to doe it. O Remember whence you are fal’n and repent. Be convinced the Law is holy, Just and good. God hath*pure eyes. No evil can dwell with him. He hath no fellowship with the unfruitfull works of darknesse. Study the Ten commandements, read Mr. Dod and others. Know and beleeve the Rules of the Gospel are strict and severe against Libertines; and be sure of it, your soul wounds are so deep and dangerous, that it must be an extraordinary repentance that must heal them. You that have wrested the pure word of Gods grace, and followed seduced Christians in the time of Ireneus, who held perfection, boldly asfirmed, they knew more then Paul, Peter, or any other Apostle, and yet ranted it like you in this opinion and practise, they freely did all things they pleased, without any fear in any things. O trace the penitentiall steps of a seduced sifter of your in error, the beantiful wife of a Deacon in Asia, who being by an inchanting love-cup defiled in soul, and Prostituted in body, by one Mark an unclean Magician, pretending to make the most rich and best apparell’d women Prophetesses, was with much labour converted, from her irreligions, and impure error and practise by the Christian brethren of that time, and ceased not to confesse with bitter teares and   mourning the impure violation of her body and spirit from that wicked Magician. Your Apostacy from Christ, into the impure sinke of corrupt opinion, and it may be ansverable practise, is very greivous, your return had need be eminent in constant mourning, bitter weeping, pure and strict living. So I pass from you to other Abusers of the Scriptures, Christian Profession, and themselves. The Apostle Peter hath an high expression of a real Saint, the living * picture of Christ. He is partaker of the divine nature, anhigh expression Marlorat thinks not to be parallel’d in the Old be parallel’d in the O and New Testainment, it is as if we should say the Saint were deified; Quasi, as if, not that he is so. The holy Writer well expounds the word Nature doth not design substance but qualitie; or, as I heard judicious Master Whitaker, now with Christ, interpret, The divine nature is not the divine essence, but the divine resemblance. The Manichees, a dissolute Sect, dreamed wee are the offspring of Gods substance, and at length after death * shall return into his Being our Original; so some fanatical men fancy, we shall pass into the nature of God, and his divine nature shall swallow us up, abusing as this Text of the Apostle Peter, so that of the Apostle Paul, 15. 28. God shall be all in all. Not that we are, or shall be, or can be parts of the divine essence, a blasphemy against the simplicitie of God, which is incapsble of composition or division, but because being partakers of * divine, created glory and immortallity, we shall be as it were one with God, in the light and life of a glorious estare, as much as vessels of honour are capable of. Some loose Libertines among us, the sad monuments of Apostasie from the Truth, have come near the brink, yea sunk into this blasphemous error. Moreover those Texts which answerable to natural reason, give God as the first cause and being, an universal causalitie and efficiencie in the Acts of second causes contirgent as wel natural & Rational, as of Sense and Vegetation, as That in him we have being and motion: He workssall things according to the Counsell of his will Go doth all and the Creature doth nothing without him: From the wrested truth of the divine concourse to secondary acts, doubt not boldly to lay their spurious wickednesse at the doores of the holy God, as if Gods motions in the creature pure, and innocent, could justifie the irregularities and monstrous exorbitances of sinful men, when they know without Coaction, they with a willing spontaneity, vile affection, and evill custome, doe mingle their corruptions with   Gods innocent operations. These wantons that shroud their sinnes under the Apology and sanctuary of Gods Agency in second causes, will be one day without repentance, informed in a distinction to their everlasting shame and punishment, That Gods working in vitious Actions, and theirs, are as different as light and darkness; His motion is Metaphysically and naturally good, theirs morally evil. His moving the faculries of the soul, and members of the body, are pure, unblameable, and necessary upon the presupposal of his being the first mover, intimately cooperating in every second motion, as also upon the necessary reputation of his infinite purity and goodness, which cannot be the least causative influence, in the least evil disposition or action, as formally evil, but it is they have blended divine pure activities with their own evil mixtures; as for example, It is Gods efficacious concourse, that the hand with a sword in it is stretched out, it is mans wickedness that hath made the motion murderous. Gods motions are strait, loose walkers motions are crooked. Gods actions are the fruit of his operative Providence, whereby being and moving is supported. Their actions are the impure results of depraved corruption. Last of all, among many revishers of the sacred Text from its pure and chast meaning, in reference to the Abuse of Grace, Mammonists with their filthy lucre, cast dirt on the holy Word, and are cum Privilegio worldlings by Scripture licence and countenance. Two texts among others, are the strong hold for their earthly minds: Parents lay up for their children, 2 Cor. 12. 14. And he that provides not for his own is worse than an Insidel, 1 Tim. 5. 8 •oth are true, but miserably abused by uncompassionate, covetous hearts. The first of laying up for children, was never intended to swallow up laying out in works of Charity and Mercy. But what though Gods allowance, and Parents indulgence may lawfully make their children, the heirs in part of their Estates, will this excuse their dis-inheriting Christ in the necessitous poor? will this excuse their rebelling against the Gospel? Old & New Testament requities for liberal alms; giving nothing, or next to nothing, in no proportion to estates. Amongst the sayings of ancient & modern holy writers, yea the confessions of heathens, that might easily swel into a Book: Some sayings out of Salvian, might make Scripture Worldlings to tremble, who profess their portion is in God, and give sad grounds of Jealousie, ’tis only in this life. When they thus Apologize, we know what   Gods Justice demands, what sacred truth requires, but we ••rfess, we are bowed under the yoak of our fleshly allience, we*have given our captive hards to the chairs of our Parental affections: The voice of blood is lowder then that of faith, and the rights of nature have swallowed up the devotion of Religion. Something may be said to cover, but not to cure the disease of worldliness, a shadow of excuse, not excusing, giving to the guilty a shew of deprecation, no security from the cry of guilt. O worldly I arent, whose all it is, to heap up estates for thy children, or the main of thy earthly travel and solace! The unhappiest man in the World! Doest thou think how well others shall live after thee, and not how ill thou art like to die? Tell me, I pray thee, O miser! O Infidel! when many are inriched with thy divided Patrimony, and greedy Purchases, have you so ill deserved of your self, as not to advantage your soul, by charity to strangers? * Take this choice admonition, Let no man prefer his dearest childe above his soul: Christians are so to consult the good of their Heirs in this life, as to accommodate themselves in Eternity:*‘Tis better that children should want something here, then Parients all hereafter: Present mean estate, is better then eternal poverty: Better that Heirs want a large Patrimony, then the Testators their salvation; yea, they to whom Inheritances are left, if they have any piety, bowels, mercy to them that leave them, should be glad of their pious liberality lest they perish. Hearken hide-bound heart-bound Parents, that have the judgement of withered hands upon you, to the words of Christ, He that loves Sonor Daughter more then me, is not worthy of me, Matth. 10. 37. Have ye banished self-love from your selves? soul love, is true self-love: O unbelief! O perverseness! ‘Tis a vulgar saying, Charity begins at home: This is a new kinde of Monster, to consult the well-fare of any one but ones self: Behold, thou art to goe, O man of matchless misery, to a sacred tryal, to that trembling and intolerable Judgement, where onely a good Conscience, an innocent Life, & works of Mercy, will refresh thee: Where a liberal minde, a fruitful repentance, and copious alms will befriend thee. What if immoderate scraping together for thine bei•s, shut Heaven against thee, * and open hell to receive thee; Will the memory of thine heirs vast and voluptuous Estate, ease thy Bed of flames? Will the thoughts of their delitious tables, even to glut and wantonness, afford thee a crum of mercy, a drop of water to cool & abate thy torturing   pangs? Hadst thou not been better by a Bill of Exchange to have sent a great part of thine Estate in works of mercy into the other world?

As to the other refuge of Tenacious, covetousnesse, he that provides not for his own house is worse then an Infidell, how is this Text made to speak on the Misers side? and how far from his Protection? The mind of the Spirit and the Apostle in those words, was not to countenance a confined use of christians estates within the Pale of their own families, but to taxe and caution against the Abolishment of naturall affections, and necessary provisions in carelesse family-guides, under the Pretensions of piety. This inhumanity to ones own flesh and bloud sets professed christians * below Heathenish Infidells, who are by the guide of Nature, propense to love their own: Of kin to this, is that Popish Inhumanity, which is cryed up for superlative Piety, if any leave their wife, children, and aged Parents, or go a Pilgrimage to Jerusalem, or cloyster up themselves in a Monastery. The Catabaptists, as Marlorat noted, were besotted with the same madnesse, for leaving their wives and children; as astonished witlesse fanatick men, they run up and down, To propagate (as they fancied) the Dominions of Christ. The same wild course, the brainsick * besotted Quakers take in these dayes, leaving their dearest Relations, in tedious journyes, where Satan called the spirit is pleased to send them, whom the Holy Spirit calls worse then Infidells for undoing their families to propagate the light within them, from County to County, such as these as oppose Religion to the necessary provisions of this life, are here intended. But * what speak those words for worldly Christians of the other extream? Are not they worse then Infidells, whose improved naturall reason and moralities, have made them liberall to the poore and needy? Have not these denyed the Faith of Scripture, that abundantly commands charitable distribution? yea the True faith in God, that is ever fruitfull in the compassionate works of Almagiving? Thus too many with Scripture leave as they thinke are Bad Stewards of their Wealth, let the large waters of creature mercies, run out almost only in the channells of their own Families, are not the blessed cisterns to convey them into wanting houses.

Trace all the kinds of abusing Gods Grace to their proper Oirginalls,  and it will be experimented, the wresting of some Scriptures or others, hath been the cause of loose hearts and wanton lives.

SECT. 11.

THe third head of causes, why the Grace of God is abused, [unspec 11] * is Presumption, this also I shall branch out in five things.

  1. The Presumption of a Preposterous Confidence in Gods mercy, this hath begotten carnall security, and strengthened the hands of wickednesse. Dreames of mercy have been the bane of duty, Patrons of loosenesse, and soft pillowes for delicate wantons to sleep on. God is good, God is mercifull, and therefore the old man dares be sinfull; as if God were not a prudent and pure dispenser, but carelesse prodigall of his rich mercies: he is beleeved to wast them on the Devills service, and to rain down their Heavenly showers, upon a barren wildernesse, an unfruitfull Profession. But where have we a word in sacred Writ, that the servant of sin must first be confident of Gods mercy? Did * eyer mercy priviledge and owne a lost sinner but on its owne termes? Tis true, mercy is to be found to the praise of the glory, not the infamy of mercy, as a cordiall to the fainting, a plaister to the wounded sinner, a spur to service, not a Feast to riot on, when loose Libertines take not mercy (the childrens bread) by Gods allowance, but like Dogs, endeavour to get it from his Table, and are cudgelled off from it: did they seriously consider the way of obtaining mercy, the Lessons mercy teacheth, the evidence of mercies possession, the Distinction mercy maketh, the reputation mercy must have in the world, they would soon be convinced, they are at as infinite a distance from mercy as they are from innocency and duty.

O that all loose Libertines that feast their lusts at mercies Table; and that commit this spirituall Burglary, of breaking into Gods house, to snatch away his mercy, would lay to heart five things.

  1. They are not yet in the way of obtaining mercy, they understand not the method of mercy. As that 1. Christ is the mercy seat, the Throne of mercy, a mercifull High Priest, the great High Steward that gives out Almes of mercy, and gives it to Subjects fit to receive it. 2. That none enjoy it bit themthat are deeply sencible of their misery by sin, despaire of mercy by any but Jesus Christ. 3. That the obtainers of mercy are stil knockingat the beautifullgate of mercy, get Heaven by violence, wrastle for a * smile, a word, a Dole of mercy, as the Christians did in Tertullians time, We strike at Heaven (sayd hee) with our desires: We are close suiters to God, we pull down mercy from him, as Jacob did, that wrought hard in prayer for mercy, as the importunate Woman was, Jesus thou Son of David have mercy on me, speeders for mercy are not cold, carelesse, indifferent Suiters. 4. That mercy receivers are humble, selfe-abasing, condemning Soliciters, wonder they are not in Hell past mercy, and the asking of it, like the Servants of Benhadad that came with ropes about their necks, at once confessing their deserts, & wooing the favours of a mercifull King. 5. That the priviledged owners of mercy, in an holy importunity will hear no •ay, but still lay prostrate before the Father of mercies, untill he shew mercy, Psa. 123. 2. A sweet warme looke of mercy beaming upon a cold fainting soule; the ordinary invaders of Gods mercy, who are not so much the Almes-men as the Theeves of mercy, ascend not to the Mount of mercie by mercies staires: but feed on a presumptuous fancy of mercy, wantonize with it, and have no saving part in it.
  2. They learn not the Lessons mercy teacheth, in speciall two, Resignation, and Subjection. 1. Resignation, the giving upthe whole person in a reall gratitude to Gods service, who instead of a wonder of mercy, might have made the provoking sinner a Monument of vengeance. I beseech you by the mercies of God, give up your bodies, &c. Pom. 12. 1. 2. Subjection, As many as walke according to this rule mercy be on them, Gal. 6. 16. Every mercy saith, be dutifull; but choice, saving mercy calls for regular walking. Those licencious daring ones that challenge mercy, say with those in Jeremiah, We are Lords, we will not come to thee, are their own Masters, live as they list, know no Law but their Lusts, were never Schollars well trained up in the School of mercy.
  3. They have no evidence of mercies possession, the fear of God is this great evidence, The mercy of God is from everlasting to everlasting on them that fear him. psal. 103. 17. Gods feare stands between two happy Eternities of mercy, as the faire mark of both; the decree of mercy from Eternity, the enjoyment of mercy to Eternity is the sure Felicity of all that fear God. O falshood, folly, madnesse! Too many that neither feare God nor sin, conclude a part in the mercy of the Booke of life, and looke for the endlesse mercy, of the other world, and by the prefamed license of mercy, live wickedly.
  4. They study not the distinction, mercy maketh, surely all designed for mercy, are vessells of mercy, all that are, and shall be without it, are vessells of wrath: an unchanged heart, and unreformed life under mercy maketh no difference between the persons of mercy and wrath. If vessells of mercy may be Libertines, they & vessells of wrath both wil be carnall walkers, mercy & duty, wrath & sin, wil be an everlasting distinction between the heirs of Heaven, and the purchasers of Hell. Vessells of wrath will be Libertines if vessells of mercy are so too, the one is as good as the other.
  5. They bring not Gods mercy in Reputation in the world, what honour hath God in pretenders to mercy, that abuse his Grace? They who are designed to mercy, are vessells of honour. 2 Tim. 2. 21. Not only to import they are called to honourable priviledges, but honourable services: As God honours them in holding out his golden Scepter of mercy to them, so they are to honour God in being glorious within, and wearing without the golden apparrel of an heavenly shining conversation, ps. 45. 13. paul obtained saving mercy, he was an high & eminent vessell of Honour, and he honourably used his mercy to the praise of its Author, I obtained mercy, and the Grace of God was abundant in me through Faith and Love. 1 Tim. 1. 13. 14. The garment of mercy God bestowed on him, was honourably and richly adorned by sanctifying grace. Licentious Professors do not honour but cast dirt upon the Robe of mercy; were it not for presumptions of mercy, false Christians would not so play the wantons under Gospell Profession. Did they think and speak the truth in our unregenerate hypocriticall and profane Estates, that there is no mercy for us, we are children of Wrath, if we live and dye so, we perish, this would damp the pleasing merry fits of sin, if this do not turn them Heavenwards, it will force upon them inward gripes and conscience pangs in the way to Hell. The same prophet that sayes, There is no peace to the wicked, Ifa. 57. 21. sayes also, He that made them, will shew no mercy to them. Ifa. 27. 11.

SECT. 12.

  1. The Presumption of Interest in the Promises, is a cause * why Grace is abused, as unreasonably do foolish Gospellers fancy a part in the great Charter of the City of God the gra cious covenant of promises, as fools o• madmen imagine the Immunities and Priviledges of the City of London, belong to them who were never Apprentices there, nor in any other regular way got their Freedome. This glorious Interest a part in the Promises, too many vain walkers in the Christian name, no less falsly then boldly do assume. Tis •ith false Christians as Jewes, those made this their vaunt and proofe, That the Promises belonge dunto them, Rom. 9. 4. And those at every turne, after renewed dishonour to the Grace of God, can shelter themselves in the Promises; but where in the word, is there a title of a promise made to the wrongings of Grace? Hath the word of Promise made a soft bed for effeminate, delicate, lazy, lustfull, carnall security to sleep in? the promise of life to unreturning sinners, strengthens the hands of the wicked, and is a lie, Ezek. 13. 22. The God of Truth never promised life, ever threat neth death to the impenitent: The Devill, the flattering world, the wicked promise themselves life in the wayes of Death. The word doth note soure things, will discover the wickednesse of their Presumption, that impudent, unmortified christians, lazy convictions, have a right to the promises.
  2. They have not, while the Abuse of grace raignes in them, a right to Christ, therefore not to the promises, Christ is the great gospel Promise, the great moving Wheel, by which all the Whee’s of the promises move. In him all the promises are •ea and Amen, 2 Cor 1. 20. To him they were made, therefore he is called The covenant of the people, Isa. 42. 6. so then no part in Christ, none in Promises, no taking of the person of Christ, no child of promise: Now its evident, that unreformed abusers of the grace of God, Lusts-servers, Flesh-pleasers, have no part in Christ, for they that are Christs have crucified the flesh with the Affections and Lusts, Gal. 5. 24. and therefore as yet, are strangers to the promises, and children of Wrath under the curse, every moment in danger of Hell, the promises have not a good word for them. The confidence of being armed with the promises, will not keep such black markes, as are carnall wantons, shot free, from the mortall charges of the Lawes threatnings.
  3. The promise is an holy promise, ps. 105. 42. Now an holy promise was never made to encourage and bolster up unholy hearts & lives: Tis true, immediatly before the sinners taking Christ, the promise found him unholy, but it doth not leave him so. In the first moment of taking Christ and right to the promises, an holy nature is infused, and its impossible that such a one should infuse the Grace of God and make void the promise.
  4. The Spirit that seales the promise to the beleevers Soule in an holy spirit, Eph. 4. 20. Now as the seal leaves its owne print on the Wax, so the holy spirit seales the holinesse of the promises on the Soul: Where the heart is still unholy, the Devill seals his false promise, the spirit seals not his true one, the spirits applications of promises, are purifying and fortifying.
  5. The use of the promise, is the improovement of Grace, not dishonour, it is for Gods sake & service, not the sinners, not barely to comfort, but mainly to cleanse; Having these promises, let us*cleanse our selves, 2Cor, 7. 1. Lust and the devill saith, having these promises, we may boldly sin, the promise will help in case of sin, guilt, and disquier. Most true is that of Luther, The wicked filch and take the promises of Grace to themselves, for their carnall comfort.

SECT. 13.

  1. The presumption of a false Peace, hath betrayed many to * the injury of Gods grace, quiertnesse speakes no safety nor goodnesse of conscience, the Dormant Lion when awakened will roare and tear, the Prisoner is neither secure nor cleane, because he sleeps in a cold and filthy dungeon, though he be merry and loose in his restraint, he is under the lash of the Law, and neer the sentence of the Judge. Though there be no true Peace to the wicked, Isa. 57. 21. Yet they please themselves with the Devills peace, Luk. 11. 21. While God lets them alone, and the Devill disturbs them not, in meane while the old man (upon presumption of Liberty of conscience) shelters himself under the * wing of grace. This security is not long lived, though it be lasting, tis not everlasting, sins calms prove the worst storms, a calm air hath ushered in sea storms, & Earthquakes; the wind in the bowells of the Earth is silent and quiet for a time, at length it breaks out, roars, and hurls Hills, Feilds, and Houses into a dark and ruinous Abyss. Indulged, pampered sin in the soul is silent and quiet for a time, but at length it breaks out, and roares in horror of conscience, and hurles all false comforts into the dismall pit of despaire: Although blood toucheth blood, Hos. 4. 2. And there be a contiguity, a close addition of sin to sin, drunkennesse, be * added to thirst, yet many blesse themselves in the imaginations of their hearts, and say they shall have peace, Deut. 29. 19. yea walk according to the deluding Dictates of their hearts, because they say so: Had it not beene for Lust and the Devills peace, the awakning terrors of the spirit of bondage might have driven many out of Hells way into Christ; but because stupified consciences are peaceable, they dare be filthy and abominable, and this is the sad tragicall issue of the merry comicall Acts of sin, in the stage of this life; That ease which hath first tempted to sin, ends in torment, The ease of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fooles shall destroy them, Prov. 1. 32. When they shall say peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them as travell upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape, 1 Thes. 5. 3. They shall say: who shall? the next verse 4. Tells us, they who are in darknesse (and do the workes of darknesse by the comfort and confidence of peace) that the day (of angry Justice) overtakes as a Theife, they shall say peace: Ah sad peace worse then war, the snare and trap-doore to fall into destruction! Happy had it been for the filthy Peace-dreamers of bad hearts and lives, that with the repenting Jaylors, they had had heart tremblings, then with the secure Sodomites a fair morning, a sun-shine of prosperity, should usher in fiery avenging stormes of warth. How wise and safe had been their estate, that at once have peace with sin, and (as they think) with God, had they at once seen God, and sin their enemy, their softest beds had been to them beds of Thornes, their sweetest comforts, bitter vexations, the creatures armed against them, feared their   very meat might prove their poyson, every night might be the last, that these awakening driving terrors might chase unquiet afrighted spirits into Jesus Christ, that the fear and war of the spirit of bondage, might end in the joy and peace of the spirit of adoption, that tempestuous soules might hear these sweet calming words, Be of good cheere, tis I, be not afraid, Mat. 14, 27. Fear not, I am thy God, Isa. 41. 10. My Person, Spirit, Graces, Comforts, Glory, infinite merits are thine: Some in the Wildernesse of their sins, feares and sorrowes, have at length leaned on their beloved, when the false peace of most presumptuous ones hath lur’d them into Hell. As many there, as have been tempted by secure flattery, into their tormenting easelesse bed of Tribulation, will have cause to think and say within themselves, accursed be that calm of our polluted quiet hearts & lives, that hath brought us to an eternall storme, accursed be that peace that hath cheated us into an eternall war, accused be that sweetnesse that hath inticed us into eternall bitternesse, accursed be that friendship with the world and Devill, that hath betrayed us to an eternall enmity with God.

SECT. 14.

  1. The presumption of setting death and Judgement at far distance, * 1. Death, Resentment of it as of a Traveller, thousands of miles off, at scores of yeares removes, begets through the deceits of the flesh, and lyes of the Devill, a tolleration, yea, a resolution to play the wanton, not only against Nature but Grace. The Epicure that beleeves not the Soules immortality, concludes & wanton voluptuous life from probable short life, Let us eat and drinke, for to morrow we shall die, 1 Cor. 15. 32. And the Christian, though he beleeveth his Soule shall live for ever, doth wantonize in carnall delights, from probable length of dayes, he shall have time enough to get the Grace of Repentance, and therefore he abuseth the space and call, yea, the conviction of returning: the vilest of Christians, while under the sentence, and on the bed of death, seeme to have some sober thoughts of the excellency and necessity of Grace, and of some complying desires and wishes: O that they had it, who when they beleeved it, yea found it at vast distance from them, despised and abused the motions of the spirit and word and of Grace. How Saint like is the inlightned Libertine, within a few houres of his death, how dissolute ten years, scores of years before it? 2. Judgement, Because particular Judgement after death, and the generall Judgement of the great day, is delayed, Therefore The heart of the Sons of men is set in them to do evill, Eccles. 8. 11. wanton scoffers walke after their own ungodly Lusts, saying, Where is the promise of his coming? 2. Pet. 3. 3, 4. That cooling word in the * hot chase of sin Remember God will bring thee to Judgement. Eccl. 11. 9. is too litle remembred: the words of Mercer are observeable, Feed and dandle thy lusts with most cockering indulgence, coming to every desire of thy carnall mind, yet know at length God will reckon with you: fill up your measure of sin to your utmost possibilities, at length you shall smart for it, and fall into the hands of avenging Execution: my Lord hath delayed his coming, said the loose evill servants, and therefore they were intemperate and injurious, rioted in drunkennesse, and Beate their fellow servants, Matth. 24. 48, 49. As the wanton whorish woman argued to uncleannesse, Come, let us take our fill of Loves, let us solace our selves with Love, for the good man is gone a long journey, Prov. 7. 18. So the wanton Christian argues to licenciousnesse, he may in the spacious intervalls between his healthy time and the last Judgement, bathe his fleshly mind in fleshly loves and delights, for it will be long ere the last. Assizes come: and will it be long? what if millions of years, it will come at length, too soon and too sore upon the injurious slighters of Gods Grace. Ah Christians that sport your selves with your own deceivings, * that Gospell Grace and liberty will favour your disordered walking, that give your Lusts too large roome, under the plain hearing and convincements of strictnesse, that stumble in high noone day; slacken the Reines to your head strong desires as if God would call you to account. Bernard tells you this is an irremedilesse soule danger: If the Faith of the last Judgement do not teach men holy Wisdome Repentance, Temperance, Obedience, what will, what can? weep you (said the Apostle James to the rich loose wantons of his time) And howle for the miseries that are come upon you; Jam. 5. 1. why? Ye have lived in pleasure in the earth and have been wanton. ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slangther, v. 5. The coming of the Lord draweth nigh. As if he had said, you play the wantons with creature mercies,   forgetting God and your duties, but the accounting day is nigh, *The Judge is at the doore. They are good words of Ambrose, Let every one bring forth the fruit of Grace, the Lord is present (in his word to faith) who will require fruit (will not be put off with leaves) He will give eternall Life to fruitfull trees, will take and cast barren ones into Hell.

SECT. 15.

  1. The presumption of time enough to repent, hath brought * forth this uncomely Monster, The abuse of Grace: There are not a few incurable instances in the other World, who have first delayed, and then everlastingly lost the space and Grace of repentance: Those words of Christ concerning Jerusalem, may be truly and sadly said of Grace-refusing and abusing Christians: Hadst thou known in this thy day the things belonging to thy Peace, but now they are hidden from thine eyes. Hannibal bewailed the loss of his opportunity to master Rome; when he would have taken it, he was twice forced from his attempt, to a sad retreat, by almost vehement showr of rain, and is reported to say, When I could, I had no minde to take Rome; when I would, I had no power. There are too many, that will to all Eternity confess, that when Grace hath wooed them for their eternal salvation, and repentance to life, they had no minde to it, but when they would on a death-bed repent, they could not. ‘Tis never enough considered by them that put off their repentance, what infinite hazard they run to be lost for ever. Subtle Satan and the wily flesh, doth against deceived sinners, as ill Debtors carry to their Creditors, promise to pay, but beg a longer day of payment, and when that is come, another, and so another day, and never pay: Flattering Lust begs a longer day of repentance, and being loth to leave Lusts dear sweet services and delights, craves still a longer day, and so the Debt of repentance is unpaid. This cursed and common frame of Spirit, doth in effect speak thus to God, The real love and delight of my soul is in my sin; I delay repentance, not out of love to the duty, or hatred of my delicious Lusts, but to quiet my conscience, and for fear of Hell; I mean not to delay a repentance once, but often, yea always; yea, should I live an Eternity in the World, my delicious sins shall have my heart, my service: Mortification is an idle dream: The death of sin shall neither have my sentence nor endeavors: I am loath to leave my sweet Companions. Hence is it, that from youth to man-hood, from that to old age, from that to Eternity, there is no repentance in hardned vessels of wrath: A while longer, and a while longer is the constant importunity of the flesh: Back-sliding is perpetual, Jer. 8. 5. O Jerusalem, wilt thou not be made clean, when shall it once be? Jer. 13. 27. This lazy disease of sluggish putting off repentance, was in Augustine, yea had ever been in him, had not Grace cured it: When he could not answer the convictions of the necessity * of repentance, he craved forbearance not to do it yet; I know not, said he, hat to answer, being convinced of the truth, but onely sluggish and sleepy words, Anon, behold anon, suffer me a little: But anon and anon had no measure, and bear me a little held long: Thus Satan hath the flower of age, the strength of man-hood, and God the dregs of old age: ‘Tis mans folly and madness to give God the worst: ‘Tis ordinarily his angry Justice not to accept it. He that is denyed the sweet Rose of the Spring, cannot be pleased with the dry Thorn: Had God no delight in the yong-long-standing fruitless tree; surely he can take none in it, when ’tis withered, It’s no longer for the soil, but fire, Matth. 3. 10. If it be said God works Grace on a sick bed, as one said: An early Saint, now in glory, answered him in two things: This is extraordinary. ‘Tis not Gods usual course, to begin and period death-bed repentance; and further said he, Do not you trust to that.

How reasonable will Gods usual refusal of sick-bed and old * age returning thoughts, appear in the other world? They that put off repentance to the last, do it not out of choice, but necessity; and God is not ont to crown forced and artificial, but free and natural repentance: It is a poor, weak, and unconvincing demonstration, that a man delights in wholsome severe exercises of repentance, who never set upon them, but when going out of the World: Their sins leave them, before they * leave their sins: They think of leaving them, because they have no more active spirits, strength, time to besto upon them, not because of holy hatred against them, indignation at, and weariness of them: Had this frame of spirit been infused by the holy   Ghost, in the renewed heart long ago, sin had not had so many years faithful service: This adjourning repentance reprieving not executing the flesh, makes foolish men, like bad Gamesters, that throw up the Cards when they have lost the Game; so these faint woulders after repentance, never think of throwing up their sins, till in their disease they have lost their lives; they never think of ending their iniquity, till the pleasure of their iniquity be at an end, Ezek. 21. 25. But O dallying sinner, that h•st a long time been caught in the snare of deep carnal security! Hear the Apostles warning, Awake, thou that sleepest, from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light: Hearken not to the Ravens Song, Cras, Cras, to morrow, to morrow, That morrow comes not to many lingring sinners: Art thou sure the repenting morrow will come unto thee? The saving motion of the spirit often abused, never comes again: The safer and wiser words are, Cito, Cito, Redi, Redi, Quickly, quickly, Return, return. Hearken, O foolish sons and daughters of men! to that of the wise Solomon: How long will ye love simplicity? sit in the region and shadow of death, be the Devils Prisoners, and your Lusts Captives, and abide condemned under the curse of the Law? Would you quickly run out of an House fired about your ears? Would you flie from a drawn pursuing Sword to run you through? O while under Gospel time and means of grace, you are Wantons, and pamper the flesh, slight and contemn the ways and methods of Eternal Life; even all this while the wrath of God, the malice of Satan, the killing Law, is pursuing you for your immortal ruine. O take the counsel that once a friend gave to Brentius, when his enemies were suddenly plotting, determining, and endeavoring his death, he wrote a Letter to him, Fly Brentius, with all possible speed, Fly for your life: O lingring sinners, within * a little of the Grave and Eternity, that have abused the grace of God, Fly with all possible speed, from the state of damnation, the wrath to come, while your day of Grace is spending, and it may be shortly will be quite spent, your damnation slumbers not, but with terrible awakened Lion-like eyes, will stare on your departing souls, if you go with the un-repenred, unpardoned mountain load of all your sins into the other World: As Solomon spake concerning flight from ens•••ing, undoing suretiship: Deliver thy self as a Roe from the hand of the Hunter, and as a Bird from the hand of the Fowler, Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eye-lids, Prov. 6. 5. So take counsel concerning flight from the gall of bitterness, the bond of iniquity, the bondage of Satan, the infinite danger of impenitence, that seals the guilt of infinite sins upon the soul: Deliver thy self as a Roe from the hand of the Infernal Hunter, as a Bird from the crafty destructive snare of the invisible Fowler, do not creep, but flie from his Hellish mortal Gun-shot: His name is Abaddon, Apollyon, so is his disposition and conversation. It was mercy that made lingring Lot to get out of Sodom and haste to Zoar: It would be infinite mercy, did you hasten your escape from the dominion and damnation of your pleasing Lusts, to the reign and security of saving grace.

SECT. 16.

THe fourth head of causes, that fathers this adulterate offspring, *The abuse of Gods Grace, is temptation: There are four temptations to this sin.

  1. Temptation, a voluptuous life: The Widow that lived in pleasures, waxed wanton against Christ, 1 Tim. 5. 11. As the Apostle opposeth the Spirit of God and the World, 1 Cor. 2. 12. so mostly spiritual and worldly pleasures are inconsistent. Such as are ravished with the delights of the Spirit, are crucified to worldly delights, unaiding and unconducing to higher comforts; and the intemperately toxicated with worldly delights, loath the delights of the Spirit: Voluptuous, prosperous, secure ones, that joy in their Possessions and Relations, feast their senses with creature-suitable sweetnesses, That spend their days in mirth, as Job says, in this wanton bruitish life, disparage and abuse the God of grace, and the life of grace, the fountain and the streams of highest sweetness; The God of Grace, in these words, They say unto God, depart from us, Job 21. 14. They had been as good have said, Depart Heaven and Happiness: ‘Tis his presence which maketh Heaven; so they despise the life of Grace, desire not to be acquainted with it; We desire not the knowledge of thy ways, v. 14. nor to walk in them; all whose pathes are pleasantness, yea matchless delights, What is the Almighty, that we should serve him; or what profit should we have if we pray unto him, v. 15. What profit? Ah beastly Atheistical Sensualists! What not? The gain godliness, 1 Tim. 6. 6 The Pearle of great price Jesus Christ, Mal. 13. 46. Saving wisdome is better then gold or silver, Prov. 3. 14. The spirit of Grace, Luke 11. 13. Precious Faith, 2 Pet, 1. 1. The gaine of the Soule, Mar. 8. 37. Treasure in Heaven, Luke 12. 33. Rich commodities, in which, prayer in the Holy Ghost trafficks, These high gaines and joyes, Epicurean Pleasurists, with an ignorant and supercilious disdaine, abuse, as not worthy their thoughts, estimate, affections, as if they were Mahumetans, not christians, had only studied the Alcoran, not the Bible, were * poysoned with the perswasion of Epicures, That the Gods care not for the things below, are neither pleased nor angry with humane affairs, infernall punishments are not to be feared, souls and bodies die together, pleasure is the cheifest good, that it was the end why man was borne. If irreligious pleasure-hunters say they are neither Atheists nor Epicures, they do as well follow Heavenly as Earthly delights, they say more then their hearts and lives p•ove. Are not the pleasures of sense their delight in good earnest, the pleasures of Faith their jest, their fancy, their dream? Can the strength of the Soule go out to both? I say not ’tis impossible. ‘• is very rare to be high in Earthly and Heavenly delights, their number is very thin of delicate, high fed, rich christian professors, that can say, and not lie, high joyes below are out joyed by higher joyes above, that do but use them not enjoy them, that are crucified to them, that can at pleasure retreat from them. The better fed * then taught, Peastiall Christians, wantons in the worlds large and high Pastures, speak but the flattery of the Flesh and Devill, when they say the severe discipline of serious Repentance can consist with carnall earthly delights. Tis a saying of a good writer, that hath too much experience for its Probatum est, As it is impossible that fire should burne in water, so its impossible that the pleasures of the world and Christian Repentance should dwell together. I cannot therefore but admire and adore infinite wisdome, who knowing the worlds higher ground is dangerous, and high sensuall pleasures are as slippery places, Psa. 73. 18. Hath ordinarily made the rich Heires of Glory, the poorer sort of the world, Jam. 2. 5. Lest the pallate of their Soules should be vitiated and corrupted with too much savouring of Creature sweetnesse. The wholesome and prudent designe of left hand streightnings is to brighten the future Crowne of Glory, by coming to it through much want and labour; the great Heires of Heaven are usually kept low, lest they should come to their immortall inheritance * too delicately and softly. God will not honour Grace despising voluptuous worldlings, so highly as to remove, yea in some, not to imbitter those outward delights, which in angry providence he giveth and knoweth will turn to their bane. Tis a sad saying of Lactan. God suffers corrupt and vicious men to live a luxurious delicate life, because he lookes on them as worthlesse persons, and he will not honour them so as to amend them. I wonder not that a poore Christian that walkes with God, feasts, lives, hopes, high values estates by their spirituallity, invisibility, eternity, and not by the worlds accounts, would not change his hard bed, thred-bare garment, dry crust, small drinke, for the gracelesse pompe and * fullnesse of beds of Down, delicious Tables, soft, costly, and shining changes of Rayment. I knew a very poor and very rich godly woman, that would not change her holy poverty, for her rich neighbours unsanctified estate: indeed the meanest judicious Christian in his spirituall wits, resents not the civill honours and vast annuall wealth of carnall wantons with envy, but pitty, they are rather to be lookt upon with weeping then fretting, whose way to Hell is strewed with Roses, who go through pleasant meadowes to Execution. Rejoyce poor Christian that stands in the worlds lower ground, be not troubled that wicked sensualists now stand above thee, thy right hand promotion is a coming, thou in low temporall allowances sowest in penitentiall teares, they in high enjoyments even to surfet, impiety and Atheisme, sow in carnall merriments, thine Harvest and theirs, will be as different as Thornes and Wheat, thou shalt reap in joyes, they in sorrows: Christian Repentance is incomparably above carnall pleasing voluptuousnesse. This is the mother of wordly laughter, that of Christian teares, this inlargeth the flesh, that strengthens it, this puts a leaden weight upon the Soule, that wings it to fly to Heaven, this serves the flesh in every thing, that crucifies the flesh, and brings the body into subjection, this calls off a man from God, that calls him back again to God his Saviour, this obeyes the Devill, that is devoted unto God.

  

SECT. 17.

  1. TEmptation to wrong Gods grace is evil company. What * more unworthy abuse than a ransomed captives ungratefull denyal of their Redeemer. Self-destroying Hereticks doe thus deny the Lord that bought them: They goe not to Hell alone with their wanton loose wits, argue others into their company, and make them fellow wantons of damnation; for so the Greek Text, and word in the Margin will bear it; Many shall follow their damnations, or destructions; the abstract for the concrete, their damnable wayes: Our English is, pernicious waies;: The Margin in the Greek is ; in the English, lascivious waies. The import of the Original is, That lascivious Hereticks are very fruitful; some Masters of Heresie beget numerous Scholars, which argue and beleeve themselves out of their Faith into Damnation: Their word frets as doth a Gangreen, 2 Tim. 2. 17. The leaven of loose wits did spread abroad in the purest times of the Apostles, to speak perverse things, and draw away Disciples after them, Act. 20. 30. Chapmen of error, will bring custome to the Devils stall. Have any of the Pharisees beleeved in him? Joh. 7. 48. The fast brotherhood of Antichristian Pharisaisme was Argumentative to despise and oppose the Grace of Jesus Christ. Thus the dissolute walking of a pack of Hypocrites imbolden one another to frequent indignities, unbecoming the Gospel; the society of Mammonists, sainted by their faith in Gods mercy and Christs merits, bow down to Money, their Idoll; and while they professe God their portion, and Christ their Lord, and pay to both some easie and cheap religious formalities, they dishonor both by paying that adoration, estimation, and affection they owe to both, to their worldly gain. Reputed devout godly mens covetousnesse is infectious. Thus professed Christians follow worldlings reason, such and such are devout godly men that keep the Sabb•th, they fear God, and will go to heaven, and yet doe so and so, and we do no worse. Thus a company of earthly minds, that have grace and heaven in their pretensions, but the world in their hearts; sow pillows under one anothers elbows. He that will goe about to drive the world out of his heart and life, by following the instances of some eminent Professors, will never do it, but in the issue fall short of heaven. The herd of Swine too, tipling good fellows, can lick one another clean by the grace of God, and the allowance of Christian liberty, yea Gods beneficence, that he made the creatures for mans use; and hence they conclude that there is a latitude allowed them. The excessive gaudinesse of apparrel grows in fashion with the Christians of the higher form, as they pretend, by Christs licence. As if, forsooth, no bravery, nor splendid gallantry could be too good for Christs disciples. High-flown wantons in the nation should rather follow Christ in his contempt than courting of the world. He is their president in the glory of Grace, not in vain wayes, indecent habits. The gaming away of time and money, mispending companions, if they look to the throne of Grace, in a few cold, heartless desires, and be devout a Christmass day, or Good Friday, it may be hear weekly Sermons, yet may be utterly strangers to the mysterious way of walking with God, and spiritual recreations, yet notwithstanding can judge one another as excellent Christians, aun doubt not by Gods grace to be saved, as wel as the most mortified, strict beleevers. O the horrid abuse to the Gospel and Grace of God, that is too frequent in our times by evil examples and instigations! There are not a few soul-murdering presidents under Christian profession. What is said of the heathenish guides of their * Religion, whose deadly, idolatrous worship did ruin their disciples, is true of many Christian guides and followers in looseness, they are their own, and others soul-killers. Were the question put to the prophane generation of the Age, that hate the power, yea scorn the form of godlynesse, whose loose wits jeer, and Atheistical religion neglects family-duties, who speak dung, but drop not the honey-comb, vent rotten, not gracious words. Doe you think to be saved? Yes, the Answer would be, by the grace of God and merits of Christ. Thus in loose company * the grace of God is at once contemned and trusted to; and that of Calvin is sad experience; Prophane men by their wantonness invite others to the same contempt. O the sad consequence of exemplary sinne, what mischief doth it in Families, Churches, Common-wealths, the world? the Leaders in sin under profession of grace, are doubly blameable and pernicious to themselves and others, by their sinne and their example; yea more guilty by their example then their sin. Dear Christians, of more shining,   and obscure profession, take heed of that root of bitterness that is in you, for your own sakes, but let it not spring forth for others sakes. If it be kept within you, and wither not, you loose your own souls: If it spring forth without, and defile many, Heb. 12. 15. you ruin others. Satans Kingdome is too much in Christs. * The visible subjects of Christs kingdom too much promote Satan work, the damnation of soules. ‘Tis the solace of lost Apostate spirits, to increase fellows in destruction. If they be capable of any feli•ity, ’tis in others everlasting misery. We read of heaps upon heaps, the bloody •ork of Sampsons body-slaughter, Judg. 15. 16. So heaps upon heaps is the bloody businesse of the * Devils soul-slaughter. He goeth about seeking whom he may devour. And loose destroying instances promote his work. The wish of one concerning professed seducing Heathens may be used concerning professed seduced Christians, O that their error were solitary, they were foolish alone, but they draw others into the fellowship of their sin, as if society were the solace of destruction. The huge fellowship of the damned will be no diminution but aggravation of their torments.

SECT. 18.

  1. TEmptation too sadly and commonly effectual to abuse * Gods grace, is the scandalous sinnes of good Christians in the main, orderly, and upright, in some things irregular and hypocritical: their Falls are too often the plea of sin, and used by Satan as the protection. The old man is a loose Libertine, where ever he is, the new creature is not perfect. Spiritual soundnesse is not without some grudgings of the old distempers: A most eminent servant of God said, in his flesh he served the Law of sin, Rom. 7. 25. The flesh will be insolent and unruly in the spiritual part. Hence there are Scripture records of loose practises in good men. We read of Abrahams equivocation, Jacobs dissembling, Davids infamous uncleanness and murder, Jonahs pettish passion, Peters denyal of Christ, aggravated by repetition, swearing, perjury. The Corinthians spiritual pride and division, and some carnal acrimony and bitterness of thought and language between Paul and Barnabas. So the present age, to the deforming dishonour of reforming endeavours, hath too much abounded in the offensive notices of pious persons miscarriages, for which they are unsainted by malicious, critical observers, who better observe a mote in the eyes of Gods servants, than a beam in their own; yea look upon a gross sinne in strict walkers, contrary to the vent and stream of their conversation, as the unpardonable sin, or next unto it, who bind up them and their hated fellows in the same black bundle of death, as hypocrites. What we experience, that acute students of true beleevers scandals, who hate their power of godlyness, and without charity rejoyce in their iniquity, feast themselves with their sins, not their graces, had rather feed on the Devils dung, than Angels food, at every turn of wry words and actions thus flout and scoff; These are your Puritans; thus doe your Puritans; thus doe your Puritans say and doe, and beleeve: O that the nick-named Puritans would be more humbled, and loath themselves, and repent of their polluted hearts, lips and wayes then their impure deriders, doe take a disallowed liberty to sinne and blaspheme the waies of God. O sad dishonour to God, and reproach to Religion, when a Prince in Israel is faln, choice Christians reveal their yet unmortified corruption; ’tis the Devils Gawdy-day; he playes no small game now; he spits on the face of God: through the sides of the miscarrying Christian the name of Christ is wounded; he heareth ill from the disordered house of his friends, And now a Saints sin becometh a wicked mans license to make a trade of it. Men and Women dare to be prophane excessively, voluptuous, irreligious, yea turn Papists, because some Professors have spotted their garments. The Devils swine with delight will wallow in their mire, because Christs sheep, contrary to their cleanly nature, are faln into the dirt: Because unwary walkers have with great smart broke their bones, desperate mad ones will breake their necks. Tis not more irrational than unsafe, because one man against his serious purpose is self-wounded, therefore another will kill himselfe. Seeing it is thus by experience, which is to bewailed, if possible, with tears of blood, that visible loosenesse in Gods servants, is a speeding temptation to unconscionable Libertinisme in wicked persons. O visibly scandalous, but in the main, pious Reader, read this Section with a mourning heart: thou art not the cause, thou art the occasion of others licentiousness, rebellion, impenitence, and damnation. Shouldst thou   occasionally tempt another to kill himself, ensnare another to fall into a scalding cauldron, betray another to fall from a faire estate to beggery and imprisonment, urge another to fall into a tormenting disease, which makes him roare night and day, if there be any thing of natural bowels left in thee, thou wilt at once bitterly bewail thine unkind (what lyes in thine example) undoing others, and be fearful for the future to tempt any to their ruin. How then shouldst thou resent the soul-ruining tendencie of thine offensive and infectious conversation, with bitter tears? Have not vessels of wrath sinne enough in them to cast them into the fie•ie furnace of almighty eternal vengeance? Have they wanted the Devil to ride and spur them in the broad way to destruction? Doe they need to mend their pace by the encouragement of thy sinful practise? Suppose forlorn, desperate, damned souls in Hel should thus cry out, Cursed be the time & occasion that ever I kne• such and such professours. I saw covetousnesse and oppression in such a one; I saw uncompassionate and unmerciful carriages in such a one; I saw spiritual pride, and despising of others in such a one; I saw excesse in eating and drinking in such a one; I saw mad and furious passion in such a one; I saw breach of covenant and lies in such a one; I saw disordered loose life in such Husbands and Wives, Parents and Children, Masters and Servants; I saw corrupt opinions of such a Learned one; I saw prayers and practise rare in such a one; I was wont to hear little but frothy, and vain language from such a one; I curse the time that ever they were born; they did so and so, and I thought the allowances they gave themselves, were venial faults; Peccadillo’s would not prejudice their salvation, and therefore not hinder mine; what wil become of them, I know not, but sure I am, here I am in intollerable torments; and I may thank their examples for my damnation. O unwary Chris•ian, who hast been the Devils instrument (for ought thou knowest) to expedite and hasten soules everlasting misery, now mourning ever in the other world, following of thy steps! would such news as this from Hel make thine heart to ake, wound thy soul, spoyl thy rest, bring thee with sorrow to thy grave? ’tis probable, very probable, O ye offensive children of God, whose dark side hath tempted others into eternal darkness, that the observance and following of your sinnes, hath snared others into   the state and feeling of eternal damnation. O heires of glory! for the Lords sake, for the Gospels sake, for precious immortal souls sake, yet under the means of Grace, for the future feare and tremble, to wooe and sollicite any more foolish and daring sinners, by your visible corruptions, into the wayes of sinne and death. Be no longer Satans Merchants to put off his wares. The least part of his drudgery ill becomes Gods servants. If vessels of wrath wil perish, and they wil doe it by bad examples, Satan hath too many of his own to shew them. The broad road to hell hath too numerous travellers. Your work is (what in you lyes) to save, not destroy soules: Speak, live so, that you may convince, convert, not pervert, undoe your wicked neighbours. Before I leave this point, I am constrained to warn and exhort all you that are carnal, wicked Libertines of the present adulterous generation: Make use, I beseech you, of your reason, I say not of your grace (for yet you have none) to argue down your wicked peece of non-sense; Godly men sin, and therefore you may. Will their falls priviledge yours? Seriously consider three things.
  2. You should reason, Gods children sin so and so, therefore I must not, I dare not: If their grace hath not kept them innocent, how can I be clean that am wholly corrupt? If they trade poorly in heavenly commodities that have a stock of grace, must not I be a bankrupt in goodnesse that have not a dramme? If they sin thus that have a principle of life, what danger am I in, a dead sinner of eternal death? To follow a good mans sin, is at once sin and punishment; a piece of sad vengeance; God in wrath against me, may suffer them to fall and break their shins, that I may fall and lose my life. *
  3. Scripture examples, and present instances of scandalous Saints, were not proposed for, but against sin; not to embolden the presumptuous, but comfort humble, afflicted consciences. Luthers saying is notable: The Holy Ghost would not have the sinfull examples of the Saints recorded in sacred Writ, that their examples should teach sin, but to comfort fainting, tempted penitents; not to confirme a bold license of sinne for the future, but to stirre up the faith and hope of pardon upon repentance. Since their great, yet purged sins, have not blockt up the way to glory. The Saints falls should be like fire in the chimneys top, and the roof, to warn neighbouring houses; not like to fire in the hearth to warm and encourage others; like a stake in the water, to avoid it, where some were drowned, not to come near it.
  4. You will learn to your smart and shame (without repentance) in the great day, a broad difference between the sinnes of the godly, and your own in seven things.
  5. They sin, who are in a state of Grace, espoused to Christ, and have him to be their surety for pardoning and purging grace, and their advocate to plead the infinite merits of his obedience, 2 Cor. 11. 2. Heb. 7. 22. but you sin and are in the state of fin, and wantonly run a whoring from Christ, whom you pretend to match with, and have him not your suretie, to pardon and purge you by the benefit of his intercession, Heb. 7. 25. Act. 5. 31.
  6. Sin is not their deliberate purpose, but obedience is, Psal. 17. 3. Psal. 119. 106. They cleave to God with purpose of heart, Act. 11. 23. even then when they sin against their purpose. As the Marriners purpose is to sail to his intended Port, when cross winds drive him off from his Compasse: But your heart is set in you to doe evill. Eccles. 8. 11. Why will you die? Ezek. 18. 31. We will not come to thee. Jer. 2. 31. We will not do the word of the Lord, Jer. 44. 16.
  7. Sin is not their choice. The evil I would not doe, Rom. 7. 19. But duty is holy wisdom and understanding, Prov. 16. 16. The way of truth, Psal. 119. 30. Christ the good part, Luke 10. 42. One day in Gods service, Psal. 84. 10. Above a thousand in vanitie and sin, yea an eternity. But you chuse not duty, the fear of the Lord, Prov. 1. 29. but your own waies, Isa. 66. 3. The life of sense, not faith, earth, not heaven.
  8. Sin is not their love, but loathing: They abhor it, and themselves, Rom. 7. 15. Ezek. 6. 9. They love God, Ps. 18. 1. Christ, 1 Tim. 1. 14. The regenerate, 1 Joh. 5. 1. The commandements, Ps. 119. 127. The divine presence in Ordinances, Psal. 16. 8. Whe coming of Christ to Judgement, 2 Tim. 4. 8. But you love simplicitie, Prov. 1. 22. secure slumbers, Pro. 20. 13. covetousness, Hos. 4. 18. to wander, Jer. 14. 10. Sinne is your darling, the dearly beloved of your soul, not your abhorrence, Ps. 36. 4.
  9. Sin is not their delight: The joy of their soules is the Law of God, Rom. 7. 21. Doing his will, Psal. 40. 8. The sweet fruitfull graces of Jesus Christ, Can. 2. 3. The Spirits comforts, Psal. 94. 19. The excellent, The Saints in earth, Psalm. 16. 3. But sin is your delight: ‘Tis clear ’tis so, you are glad to borrow a cloak to cover it, made of good mens sins; you sport in sin, Prov. 10. 23. Take pleasure in unrighteousness, 2 Thess. 2, 12. Scorning, Prov. 1. 22. Frowardness. Prov. 2. 14. Abominations, Isa. 66. 3.
  10. They rise from sin, and after their falls turn to God, Jer. 31. 19. but you are not renewed unto repentance, Heb. 6. 10. but lie in wickedness, 1 John 5. 19. Refuse to return, Jeremiah 8. 5.
  11. When they are risen, they dread falling again; have care to please God, fear to offend him, 2 Cor. 7. 11. You sin without fear in lawful things, Jude ep. v. 12. and unlawful things, 2 Pet. 2. To have no care nor conscience to please and honor God; and therefore the eternal difference between them and you, is, They sin and will be saved, you sin, and (unless you draw better Arguments, then loosness from the sins of Gods servants) will be damned.

SECT. 19.

  1. TEmptation that hath much contributed to the abuse of * Gods grace, is division and contention about Christian Religion: That in Christian Churches, there are too sad contentions, Mens spirits, pens and tongues, being dipt in Gall, and that Victory mostly is more contended for then verity, wants not truth nor proof. Wrangling warring Divinity, hath made the Church to be rather like a Bon-fire, then the House of God: One speaking of Christianity, and the Church, affixeth to them a sad Epithete: Miserable Christianity, miserable Church. Indeed Scriptureless rending division is not her glory, but misery: Divisions of opinion and practices beget divorce of affections; yea ’tis too much a fault, a siding Opinion is cryed up above a Saint, and the shriller the voice is for highest discovery in point of Doctrine and Discipline, sometimes the lower and calmer, the truer and safer is more to be attended too: ‘Tis sad experience, in our Contests our Moderation is not known; there is running from extreams to extreams: While Satan hath the boldness and success to get into Christs Quarters, and in the visible Kingdom of Christ, not in all his Subjects infallibly true nor holy, but a part of the Devils Kingdom is slily admitted; standers by, seeing divided Sects and different Opinions in Religion yea, each party entitling its Tenent and Practice, to the Scripture, the Truth, the Spirit, the Glory of God, conclude in this dust, they cannot see their way to Heaven. In this season, Satan the Arch Heretick, Divider, Deceaver and Libertine, plies his Market to perswade to dissolute life; some he tempts to be of any Religion, some none; to be stark Atheists, and debauched prophane ones, and many in the true Religion to be cold and formal, much heat and strength being spent upon the out-side, that should have been bestowed upon the in-side, the vitals of Christianity: In the Pro and Con Disputes about out-works, the inward Guards have been neglected: Sound Christians holy walking is not so lively, and wicked Libertines sit down contented and resolved, to allow and follow the pretended felicities of their unmortified Lusts. Satan through Church contentions tempts to believe, that Religion is a bottomless Pit, not to be sounded, a meer fancy: And while men of piety and learning cannot agree, there is in some a pleasing agreement, about Whoredom, Drunkenness, railing at all Ministers, contempt of Ordinances; yea the bloody subtile Jesuit, and his blinded Popish Votaries, stand behinde the Curtain, and cry Hereticks, Schismaticks, Libertines: Among Protestants, no Ministery, no Ordinances, no Church, no Salvation: Happy had it been in our sinning days, if Unity, Truth and Peace, had prevented this great temptation: Put though the healing of our deplorable diseased Zion, be rather to be wished then to be hoped for, yet two sorts of abusers of Gods grace, discontented Protestants, and seducing Papists, that warm their hands by our fires, will not finde the least real Sanctuary for their injurious reflexions upon the Gospel of grace, in past and present Divisions and Contentions: I shall apply my self to both the parties, that it is to be feared, are glad to see the offensive dishonors to the grace of God, yea are much injurious to it themselves.
  2. To discontented exceptious Protestants: O you Sons and Daughters of Belial, Ignorant, Prophane, Irreligious! Have you reason about differences of Religion to grow secure wantons, to Sleep, Drink, Game, Swear away your time, prophane the Sabbath, keep the worship of God out of your Families, and the fear of God our of your hearts, to live a bruitish, sensual, voluptuous life, to resent the thoughts of Heaven and Hell as idle Fables, to live as if there should be no resurrection of the Body and Judgement to come; to mis-spend your precious hours in carnal visits, no way relating to Gods glory, and your everlasting salvation; to neglect provisions for Eternity, to be as great strangers to the beneficial practical thoughts of Religion, as if you were born and brought up among Heathens: Did the Corinthians make this use of their Divisions and Erronious Opinions, to justifie and support a Godless, Graceless conversation? Can you prove that every different Opinion in Religion, is a different Religion? May not you finde in unhappily divided Christians among us an Harmony of Religion, in the vitals, essentials thereof, referring to the life of Christ and the power of godliness? May not dissenting ones, tune in a thousand places of sacred Scripture, which teach soundness in the Faith, necessary renewing grace, and godly life? Will not common acknowledged Principles of Believing, Repenting, Obeying, Persevering, arraign and condemn your loosness? If you Object, Some Sects are Heretical and Blasphemous, deny Christ, the Scripture, the Resurrection: Let these Apostates that hold not the head, Col. 2. 19. Jesus Christ un-christian’d, and become Heathens themselves, answer if they can for themselves: These Renegado’s, sad Revolters from Christs colours to the Devils Camp, have a worse Judgement on them then Prisons and flaming Stakes: They have denyed the Lord, whom they professedly owned to be their Redeemer, and in the Judgement of the Apostle Peter, have brought upon themselves swift destruction. These do not onely bring themselves into the Order of Heathens, but are worse then they, for they have cut themselves off from the way of salvation; there is not another Christ to be their Mediator, and there remains no more sacrifice for sin: Do you that declaim against the errors of the time, know any such? Carnal mirth becomes not such a notice, you should go into your Chambers, and bitterly mourn over their Apostacy: They are the black marks of Spiritual Judgement, are fittest Objects for Christian compassion: I beseech you, after you are somewhat   off the hears of pursuing in an Hellish Chase, your ungodly Lusts; after your fiery tongues, scorching the precious name of sound Christians, with the hot charge of Hypocrites, Hereticks, Persons unfit to live in the common Air; In cool blood and serious earnest, consider whether Contentions and Divisions, about Truth in Religion, will be a Cloak broad enough to cover your excess of Riot, contempt of the Laws, Requiries, and Gospelduties, your Heathenish, and worse then Heathenish practical Atheism, whereby you live in your Families without Prayer to God: Hath natural Religion taught Pagans Devotion to their apprehended Deities? The Mariners in the tempest called upon their gods, Jonah 1. 5. yea probably at other times also: Can your Chambring and wantonness, your Oathes and Scoffs, at the shining presidents of practical Piety, your desperate security in sin, without the least remorse of conscience, and least hearkning to the motions of the Spirit, now and then shaking you by the conscience, if it be not cauterized and dead; your Graceless devouring the Creatures, without serious thoughts of your deep Engagement to your abused Benefactor, The blessed God; your dreadful carelesness of your own souls, not much mattering whether they be saved or damned; your casting off the thoughts of Gods strict recording of your thoughts, words and actions, in the Book of his Remembrance; your dissolute ill good-fellowship; your treasuring up of wrath against the day of wrath; your slight thoughts of the last Judgement: Will this and other sad Bills of Indictment be answered and crossed out by Christians dis-agreements in controversal Points? If you shall be so blinde and bold, as to conclude, in your Death-bed, and in the accounting Day, different Judgements about Religion will Apologize for your Libertinism: Will not the Judge of all the world convince and condemn you, out of the Ten Commandments, the rules of the Gospel, the Wisdom and Piety of standing Saints in evil tempting times, whose soundness in the Faith, Lamps burning, Loyns girt, Garments kept clean, upright Conversation, have been an Antidote against publick Infection? Will not God finde plentiful matter of your damnation from your own sins? Yea further, which is a sad Quaere; should not you who sport in sin, and scoff at holiness and holy Ones, live without God and Christ in the World, rather make another construction of   Errors, Janglings, and intemperate heats about Religion! What if God suffer these scandals and stumbling-blocks, to ruine us for our contempt of the Law and Gospel, that we should securely fall into an Heathenish loose life, that he might finde more abundant and effectual Arguments for our everlasting destructions? O I beseech you reason more wisely, and thus speak to your selves! Though others contend about doctrine, worship, government: Shall I rebell and contend against God? Though christians are divided among themselves, shall I divide from the profession and power of Christianity? Because there is no visible Religious Unity among professed Christians, shall I have no Unity with the invisible Church of Jesus Christ? Because I cannot finde Peace in the Church, shall I have no true peace of conscience, nor peace with God? Because Reconciliation, as to serving God in one way, with one shoulder, and in points of Faith is fled away from the jarring Congregations of Christian people, shall I live in an irreconciled Estate with an angry God? When every day his wrath hangs over me; and if I die without a Christ and true conversion, I am damned for ever. I could heartily wish, and O that I could fervently pray for it, that such sober and serious thoughts, in order to the conversion, and extraordinary repentance, of the discontented dissolute ones of the times, were the happy product of the observed Division and Debates of the dis-joynted age, in and about the things of God, and not a foolish, senseless, mad arguing into Libertinism, and undoing of the precious soul.
  3. To the seducing, triumphing Papists, I shall next give a seasonable Hortative: Do you fear and tremble in the sense of your high dishonors, to the grace of God and Gospel of Christ? Though you hope the Fires of divided Protestants, will make way for the Prisons, Chains, Faggots, Flames of your Spanish Inquisition, though you see some wantons among us; though you discern the want of that Scripture-charity, Unity, Peace, and in some things Truth, that should be among us: Will this excuse you in the wanton dalliance of your Religion? An Whore is wanton: The Scripture stiles the Papal Antichrist, A great Whore; she is richly and gaudily attired in her pompous worship, glorious out-side, to take her Lovers. The Church of Rome, at Rome, looks more like the Court of Rome, then the Church of Rome:•er Temple-service is more like a Theater, a Stagedelight, then the sober, chaste, humble, yet reverent worship of God; she hath an inchanting, bewitching Love-cup in her hand, that hath intoxicated the greatest part of Christendom: ‘Tis stiled a cup of Fornication; she hath drunk an health to her spurious, ill begot, and bred children, and whether their pledging of the Church-mens adulterated, spiced Cup, with fleshpleasing, will be health or death, will infallibly appear in the other World. O you Jesuitical observers of our Divisions, that congratulate and bless your selves in your Union! Have you no Divisions? What mean your multiplyed Sides and Sects of Popery, your party-coloured different Votaries in Error? your Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, Capuchins, Benedictins? Are there no Jars in your Schools between Thomists, Scotists? Do all your Chairs and Pulpits sing Even Song? If you say, In many Rites and Points of Worship and Doctrine, Laws of your Monasteries, you differ; but in the main, your Trent Counsel, your Traditional Religion, you agree: I say the same, We Protestants have the same Essentials and Vitals of Religion, though we differ in sundry superstructures; as the Body is the same, though it wear different Apparel; the Bulk and •ody of our Religion, as to practicals and saving things, is the same, though it be cloathed with different Administrations: But suppose you were perfectly United, Are you not Brethren in Evil, and Confederates in Error? Unity in sin is but a more fortified Satanical combination: Is the Harmony of Devils among themselves to to murther Bodies and Souls, amiable and excusable? Nor will the falshood, dissoluteness and danger of your Religion finde Apology, from your holding many Truths, in which we concur with you, for which the Churches of Christ never separated from you, nor call you Papists; we divide from you, where you have divided from Christ, his Evangelists and Apostles: We rather believe you the Apostatical, then Apostolical Church: What is more frequent and •loud in your mouthes, then Hereticks, Hereticks, Schismaticks, Schismaticks: And what are you? Monsieur de Croy hath proved, That your Papal Unity is a Miscellany of Judaism, Heathenism, and ancient Here•ies: Are you not proved to be the greatest Schismaticks and Sect-masters in the World? Do not you make Schisms from the worship Purity, Piety, of Primitive Apostolick times, the great temptation of multiplyed offensive Rents among Protestants; many tender consciences, so much fearing the corrupt leaven of your Government, Worship and Doctrine, in a too timerous indiscreet and ignorant Jealousie, never thinking they can go far enough from you (so far have you gone from Christ) till they have gone beyond truth and sobriety, into some error and dissoluteness, calling that Popery that is not: You are pleased to confine true Christianity and Salvation, within the Pale of your Roman Catholicism, as if you were the onely vineyard and garden of God, and all Protestants were a vast Common, a desolate Wilderness; but in the Pupper-Plays of your Religion, your richly arrayed Sainted Idols, your vail’d heads before them, cringing, bowing, kneeling, making vows unto them, who are as senseless of your Devotion, as the ignorant besotted Votaries are of the true nature of a Religious Vow and Invocation: How do you, and Idolatrous Heathens, kiss each other? Nor will the shuffling distinction of your Schools clear you from gross Idolatry: You say your Religious Worship is not terminated in your Images, ’tis relative onely, to carry your Devotion off from them, to the Adoration of God and Christ: Doth not this justifie the Israelites Idolatry, when they said, These are thy Gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the Land of Aegypt, Exod. 32. 8. Can we think they had so much forfeited sense and reason, as to terminate this high Religious acknowledgement of Deliverance from Aegypt, on an artificial, senseless, irrational, weak Idol? Surely they meant the living God, represented by the Molten Calf: Will not this distinction also colour Heathens palpable Idolatry? Worship is not ultimate, but mediate; not terminative, but relative, so taught the Heathens in their Writings: Their Religious worship did not stay and dwell in their Idols, but they used them as a Chariot to carry their Devotion to their Gods represented by them. How * do you wantonly court the Virgin Mary, to the sacrilegious dishonor of Christ, her Lord and Saviour, without her knowledge and thanks? Her greatest honor is Christ her Son, yet Lord: How will she abor your senseless School Distinction, at the great day of : The first you give to   God, the second to the Saints, the third to her: when you are told that in the new Testament,  and , are words indifferently used for divine worship, what then do you make of the Blessed Virgin, to give her more then divine Adoration? will shee beare your wanton and sawcy addresses to her, to pray her to command her son? Doth she now admire and adore him as her Redeemer, and doth her being the miraculo•s Mother of his sacred sinlesse flesh, give her the least part in Redemption? Do you not embolden one another to sin, by your trust in Popish Indulgencyes, may not the most profligate Libertines of your way shrowd themselves secure in a wicked life, from your rich pardon Office? Is not your absurd Doctrine of Merits an high injury to the Merits of Christ? do we not read in your Writers, the Termes Aequivalence, commensuration to the Reward, if any of you say merits, especially on a death Bed, are disowned? yea your Bellarmine teacheth, For the uncertainty of Salvation, and the perill of vain glory, tis safer to trust to the merits of Christ. Why is there such jugling in your Schooles and Pulpits, about merits, are not the ignorant people undeceived & told, there are no merits of an infinite reward, but those of Jesus Christ: How do you abuse the infinite satisfaction madeto the Justice of God by Jesus Christ? as if an All-sufficient Surety had not payd the utmost farthing, as if his sufferings need the supplement of the Saints, further tosatisfy the demands of angry Justice. Wil your distinction of Mediatorship of Redemption and Intercession, cloak your Idolatrous Prayers to Saints and Angells? Is not Christ the only Mediator of Intercession and Redemption? Is not the prevalency of intercession founded on Redemption? what else cryes for peace and pardon, Grace and Glory but the bloud of Christ? Heb. 12. 24. Jesus Christ the Righteous, that is an Advocate with the Father, is the propitiation for Beleevers sins, * 1 Joh, 2. 1. Yea therefore an Advocate, because a propitiator. Could holy Creatures be proved Redeemers, they might be argued speeding Intercessors. The Crosse of Christ hath not only had Turkes and Heathens, and false Apostles, who opposed themselves to the Doctrine of the Crosse, the Doctrine of the Law and Circumcision, but Papists also: The whole Papacy saith Musculus, is the worst enmity of the Crosse of Christ, yea worse then Judaisme. Although it set up the Wood, and the forme of the   Crosse in all its Temples, shew it and carry it in publick streets, adorn it with gold, silver, and precious stones, yet none of these things befriend the Crosse of Christ, but the beleeving of Christ crucified in the word; the true heart and life crucifix, by * which the true Christian is crucified to the world, and the world to him, Gal. 6. 14. The flesh is crucified with its Affections and Lusts, Gal. 5. 24. Is not the power of the Gospell crucifixion denyed, evacuated, made nothing by your Artificial Crucifix? Is Crucifying grace given out but to Gods own Institutions? Is God wont to blesse mens superstitious inventions, are not your single lived Priests and Nuns, by your Church-Lawes denyed Marriage in constant Temptations to inward, wanton, burning flames, and outward impurities? unlesse in rare Heavenly •unuchisme: Is it not the Ordinance of God rather To marry then burne? 1. Cor. 7, 6. Are not Priests Fornication in your account more tollerable then Marriage? Have not publick stewes too much favour at Rome? Is not the mutteting over some Rosaries to the blessed Virgin, an Atonement of filthy sins: yea, are not your Holy dayes, your Saints dayes, unholy allowances to the wanton flesh? Nor will some Lent, Good-Friday, will worship severities, clear you from carnall Libertinisme. To conclude, the whole Masse of Popery, as it stands contradistinct to sound protestant confessions, as it doth appear, to our solid, Orthodox, examining Writers, to it will appear in the great day, a body of carnall Wantonesse, a meer politick Engine for worldly glory, a product of proud, erring, self-admiring fleshly mindes. If though Providence, popish eyes may read this partition, I humbly request the selfe-applauding, observing Romish children of error, that have the fearfull Judgment on them, of strong delusions to beleeve lies, and have departed form the Faith that was once delivered to the Saints, to study and be ashamed of the wanton principles, and practices of their own Religion, before they triumph in the loosenesse of carnall protestants and false Christians, who by the principles of our Religion, are taught more regular, acceptable Gospell-strictnesse, then their traditionall, and most religious, severities pretend unto. I again humbly request the protestant, unsetled, discontented Reader, who it may be hath too favorable thoughts of Popery, to take heed lest he in heart turn back to spirituall Egypt, & hearken to those English Jesuit Captaines,   that (in different disguise of their Names and Habits, tempt Wantons in opinion and Practise, dissavouring the Heavenly Manna of our pure faith, and lingring after the onions and leeks, the poor food of popish Traditions) would lead them from the fatnesse of Gods house, to Romes unwholesome provisions. If, O unwary Reader, thou dost abuse the unvaluable Treasure of that gospell grace that is taught among us, that doth not only require faith in Christ, but a necessary and severe mortification of worldly Lusts, of absolute necessity to obtaine Salvation, and be fit for Heaven, thou hast a wanton heart, and dost live a dissolute life, beleeve not the Jesuits nor the Papists among us, that thou art like to prove a better christian, if thou once prove an Apostate son or daughter of the church of Rome. If thou dost seriously weigh this Section, and meditate on the wanton Principles and practises of the Mother of Harlots, thou art not like to better thine heart and life, by being a child of spirituall Whoredomes, but ruine thy selfe by drinking off the Whores cup of Fornications.

CHAP. VI. Shewing, wherein the greatnesse of this sin appeares.

ALL sins are not equall, some are cloathed with * more odious circumstances, and appear to rightly discerning eyes, more abominably monstrous, As back-sliding Israel justified her selfe more then treacherous Judah, Jer. 3. 11. so some sinners may justifie themselves more then others: They are more faulty that sin against the remedy: sin against the Grace of God is of a scarlet dye, hath aggravated guilt, in twelve things the huge a accumulated evill of it, will appeare

SECT. 1.

  1. IT is a sin of greater profanesse, it is a more then ordinary profane sin toabuse the Creatures, Food, Raiment, Health, Riches, is an injury of naturall goodnesse; to wrong strong drink, generous Wine, by vomit or casting it into the mire and dir• its profanesse, but to abuse the most precious things, God, his Christ, his Spirit, his Gtace, is deeper dyed profanesse. One sayes of want on rich heires, that they are lascivious in in Tapestry, and fornicate in Silkes; what wretches are they that are lascivious in Christianity, & Fornicate in Grace, that make it as a Pander to filthy lusts, that prostitute it to unrighteous, and ungodly waies? Sin, the great injury of God, is cryed down by the natural voices of the creatures: Their natural forms, properties, motions, are regulated according to the divine pleasure. The body, the health, and strength of it: the soul, the noble faculties of it, cry, sin not, dishonour not your Creator; much more the voice of grace sayes, sin not, I am clean, wallow not in filth; I am chast, think not I favour adulterous embraces. The Word, the Name, the Spirit, the Son of God, are all prophaned by the filthinesse of the flesh and spirit. Esau, that debased his birthright, the type of an eternal inheritance in heaven, was called prophane Esau, Heb. 12. 16. And they that debase the grace of God, the Hopes of glory, the love of Christ, their heavenly prayers, to their worldly, voluptuous, vain-glorious, impure, selfish ends, commence the highest degree of prophanesse, and are more prophane than the Drunkard in his vomit, the Adulterer in his filthinesse, and such like notorious sinners, who have only been brought up in the school of natural reason, and abused their Moral principles. The corruption of the best things is the worst corruption. The abuse of the glorious Grace of God is * the highest prophanation.

SECT. 2.

  1. IT is an Hypocritical sin. There is no man that wrongs the * grace of God, but is a pretender to beftiend it. Heathens and strangers to the offers and acceptance of grace, contract not the shame of abusing it. But the carnal Gospeller, the familiar friend of Grace, lifts up the heel against it: He seemeth to take sweet counsel of it, but followeth the counsel of the flesh. Thriving sin under professed grace is a lye in Hypocrisie, 1 Tim. 4. 2. It is the power of wickednesse, under the form of godlinesse. Its eye is in heaven, when its heart and hands are in hell. It kisseth like Judas, when it goeth about to kill the grace of God, with Ehud, that made a message from God the Prologue of hiding his Dagger in Eglons belly. Judg. 3. 20, 21. So it useth an errand and warrant from the Lord, when it stabs the heart of Religion. It sayes Hosanna with the lips, where the heart and * life sayes, Crucifie. It professeth no King but Jesus, and obeyes no King but Lust, but the black one of the bottomlesse pit While Hypocrites (said Calvin) would make their ceremonious, out-side Religion, a grave to bury their most hainous sins out of sight, do they not make good their party? doe they not make him as their Pander, when they would have him cover their Adulteries? Yea so they live, as if Christ, like a very Mercury, were the God and Patron, said Zuinglius, of Usury, Theft, Rapine, and Robbery. Yea was not this the specious cover of Ezekiels seeming devout hearers, who though they fate before him as pleased, attentive auditors, yet their hearts ran after their covetousnesse? Are not such Christians real Pharisees, who in their praiers doe not design heavenly graces, but worldly estates? How sad is it, that in their devotion, they should like the Kite fly high, but it is with an eye to the prey below? Such Kitish Christians, if the eye of man seeth them not, God doth, and wil unbesome and unbottom rotten intentions in the grand discovering day. Loose want ons in heart, Sainted by themselves and others; yea loose Libertines within and without, the profuse Drinkers, Camesters, Swearers, Wasters of Time, Money, the Creatures, the Strength of their Bodyes and Souls in carnal Voluptuousnesse; that can saint one another in their sickness, or a little before, in or after a Sacrament, should doe well to consider that abuse of Grace, by the leave and cover of grace, is notorious grace elesnesse.

SECT. 3.

  1. IT is an ungrateful sin. As it is high ingratitude not to return * good for good, so the highest to return evill for good. Lewdness under Gospel grace, is an ungratefull denyer of grace. We are not ashamed (said one) to trample the precious blood of Christ under the feet of our •mpious ingratitude. Is this thy kindnesse to thy friend, said Absolom to Hushai, that revolted from David his Prince. So say loose soul to thy self, under thy ungratefull abuses of the grace of God, is this thy kindnesse to thy friend Jesus Christ. They that rendered David evil for good were his adversaries, psal. 38. 20. And can Christ hold them his * friends, that alwaies, or mostly return him evil for good. O the sad, common, scandalous returnes to the Lord Christ, by them who professe him their Redeemer! They who are ransomed by a mighty power, and costly summe from Iron chains and Gallys••ery, owe themselves to their Redeemer: If they bee unthankful unto him, are thought worthy of any punishment. O their prodigious unthankfulnesse, that while they prosesse a spiritual redemption, run from the colours of their owned Captain of Salvation unto the Enemies camp, fight on his side, and sweat at the Devils oare, and make this the real all of their thanks for the blood of Christ, to please the Devil, and have more uncontroled liberty for their lusts. unthankful, unholy are coupled together, 2 Tim. 3. 2. The unthankful abuse of Gods grace speaks unholy hearts.

SECT. 4.

  1. It is a sin against experience. He never made a true tryal * of the grace of God, that abuseth it to the reign of sin: For sinne hath no dominion where grace hath any. O state and see the Lord is good. O fear the Lord ye his Saints. This double expression, O tast, O fear, doth lesson us how to judge of the exhortation of Gods grace. They that taste it feare him. If you have tasted how t•e Lord is gracious, to whom coming as a living stone, ye are built as living stones, to offer up spiritual sacrifice, 1 Pet. 2. 3. They that taste how gracious the Lord is, they come to Christ, they leave him not, they live to him, they are built up in him, they doe not by their works deny him. The vine and Figtree •ould not leave their sweetnesse, nor reall saints the sweetnesse they tasted in Gods grace, for the bitter sweets of the world. Light come, light gone, is proverbial. Things hardly * come by, are highly prized, not easily parted with. How doth the tender Mother kiss and prize her dear babe, for which shee hath gone through a long and sharp travaile; so they who after a sore and lasting travaile of deep sorrow, and smart for sin, are at lenght delivered of the sweet babe of Grace; prize and kisse it, and will not abuse it. The soul sick of love, that hath at length found its heavenly Bridegroom, recieves him greedily, and joyfully, and holds him fast, and will not easily let him go, *Cant. 3. 4. Besides, it is the Christians heaven upon earth, to accustome and familiarize communion with the God and Mediator of Grace. Custom must needs make the hest life pleasant, and a real pleasant life will not, cannot out of judgement and choice be left for real vexations.

May not one that hath had sweet experience of the power and comfort of Grace, abuse it?

True beleevers may, and doe wrong the Grace of God (as shallbe showen) but not as beleevers, but sinners; for,

  1. The new creature calls not this spurious brat, brat, Father; ’tis the old man onely in the new born turnes Libertine. This dishonour of Grace is not imputable to Grace, but to the remains of sin.
  2. A found Christian hath either forgotten the sweet Feast of the Grace of God, or questions whether ever hee fed at its Table, or misseth his former favour of gracious exercise, or communion, though he remembers he hath sometimes had it, or hath pleased his pallate with earthly delights, or is sadly forsaken for a time by the Spirit of Grace, or strongly assaulted by Lust and Satan, and in these cases he wrongs the grace of God; but when he hath a lively sense and remembrance, even a close,sweet, intimate, experimental sight and feeling of Gods grace. ‘Tis impossible he should play the wanton, he never fears the abuse, then when he seeth the proprietie, feels the power, and enjoyes the sweetnesse of Gods loving kindnesse; he is so ingenuous as not to spit on his Fathers smiling face, and kick at the hand of special grace. Conscience is most tender when its once most pure and peaceable, and hath learned a better lesson than to go from the bosom joyes of Christ, and to fornicate in the creature and sins softest bed of Down:

As for them that ordinarily and habitually wrong the Grace of God, with choice, without remorse, ’tis certain they never had an experimental taste how good and gracious God is, nor have had a sweet rellish of the heavenly gift, nor feasted their soules at the heavenly banquet of grace. Had they once this heavenly priviledge, former sense would beget prizings of, and hunger after renewed sweet communion between Christ and   the soul, mutual supping in gracious entertainments of each other.

SECT. 5.

  1. It is a sin destructive to true Faith, and inconsistent with it, * There are no greater riches, no greater treasures, no greater honouts than the holy Faith of the whole household of Faith. The Just lives holily by his Faith, the Unjust loosly by his unbelief. To them that beleeve is precious: Grace is glorious. They that know and beleeve the worth of Jewels, will not hang them on a slender thrid: they that know and beleeve the glory of Grace, will not debase it by unglorious sinnes. They saw * no comelinesse and beauty in Christ, but despised and rejected him, who beleeved not his report, 53. 1, 2. 3. In the Apostle who lived by Faith in the Son of God, Gal. 2. 20. the grace of God was not abused, but improved; not recieved not recieved in vain, to an idle, loose, offensive conversation, Cor. 6. I, 3. but operative to holy, and heavenly labours for the Gospel, 1 Cor. 15. 10. Doth he beleeve to be saved by the son of God, who is neither terrified by his Threatnings, allured by his Promises, beyes his commands; though he prosesse he knows God, doth hee not in workes deny him? Unbelief, that neither puts on Christ to Justification not Imitation, will impudently frolick, in riot, and drunkenness, chambering, and wantonness, strife and envying. But that Faith that on Christ, puts off these things, Rom. 13. 13, 14.

SECT. 6.

  1. It is a sinne opposite to the power of Godlinesse. They were * called un godly men that turned the grace of God into wantonness: the true love, fear, worship, obedience to, trusting in God, would deny prophane license to sin from the countenance of Grace. A gracious, tender, trembling heart, will abhorre to corrupt the loving kindnesse, compassions, bounties of God to loose principles and practises. What ever godlynesse is pretended, the perventing of Gods grace springs from ungodlinesse, the dominion of godly lusts. Godly Joseph, that had sweet experience of Gods grace, durst not be unclean in Gods presence; Shall I commit this great wickedness and sinne against God? •en. * 39. 9 No man ever abuseth the goodnesse of God, Those ungodly wantons of the text (faith Junius) are such as are void of all study of piety, unto which they are provoked by the conscientious instigation of the natural law, humane reasons and examples, and divine testimomies. The more godliness the less licentiousness. ‘Tis no wonder we read he Libertines in sob were loose wantons, they said to God, depart from us, Job. 21. 14.

SECT. 7.

  1. It is a Reproaching sinne, of multiplyed dishonour and disgrace. *
  2. To God the Father. Hypocrites (said Calvin) deal too contumeliousy with God, they were what lyeth, bring him within the guilt of their sinnes, as if he had fellowship with them. The Name, Worship, Grace, Spirit of God is blasphemed by abusing his grace.
  3. To Christ. He suffers reproach in loose Gospellers: His Name is not as a precious ointment, but unfavoury; His Inflitutions of grace contemned; His Government refused; the Holynesse and Strictnesse he enjoyneth is questioned, disregarded, yea positively opposed: With infamy we spit upon, (faith one) with our base life we destroy, that noble and truly precious name of Christ. He is wounded in the house of his of his pretended, yea sometimes of his real friends; a proof of their old old mans real enmitie against him. His Followers, and Disciples loose walking, is the Devils 〈◊〉 to sharpen and keene the weapons of calumny against him.
  4. To Christianity. The Law of Christ (faith Salvian) suffers disgrace by uncircumspect Christians; when under the Wing of the blessed Gospel, cursed are shrouded, the Gospel it self is cursed.
  5. To exact Christians. The most untainted professors are blasphemed by the censorious world, because of the scandals of some ni Christs Family: The Tabernacle is blasphemed, Rev. 13. 6. The true children of Zion are villified; They are all Hypocrites.

  

  1. To loose Christians. Their loosenesse is their reproach; they foam out their ownshame, as Jude speaks, v. 13. they manifest their folly, 2 Tim. 3. 9. discover their nakednesse, Exod. 32. 25. declare their sinne as sadom, Isa. 3. 9. shew the Plague is on them, and warne others to turn from them, 2 Tim. 3. 5. By the manifest fruits of the flesh, Gal. 5. 19. they doe evidence it, that they are not led by the holy, but over-ruled by the unclean spirit.

SECT. 8.

  1. It is a sinne bringing daily, and sensible losse to the soul. * Look to your selves, that we loose not those things which we have wrought, but that we recieve a full reward, Joh. Ep. 2. ver. 8. Carnal spirits under Gospel grace, take a course to loose the grace of God, Gospel blessings, all the means a grace, Christ, his Spirit, Hopes, Confidences, Joyes, Prayers, Tears, Almso, Body, Soul, Time, Heaven, all the waies and attainments of Everlasting Mercies. Christianity is Fighting, but Wantonness under, and against the Gospel, beats the air, doth not pull down, but promote sin and Satans Kingdom. Christianity is a Race, but * the Injuries of Gods grace keepes a man short of the Eternal prize; he runnes in vain, comes short of glory. As to the loose Jew, his circumcision was lost, Christians, as if he had never heard of Gods grace. We see riotous ill Husbands spend freely on their estates, and they vanish as if they had never been. Doe we not see in these Grace-abusing daies, false Christians riot in Libertinisme, and their gracious profession vanishneth, as if it had never been. Sodom had a fair morning, but was consumed with fierieshowers; some have had a morning of early shining profession, but playing the Wantons in spiritual pride and carelesnesses, fierie indignation hath soon punished the pretended glory of their Religion. A I have seen beauteous bloossoms, that have made a gallant shew soon blasted, so there want not instances of fair blossoming Christians soon blasted, by corrupt opinions and practises: Yea, which is sad, as travellers have gone half their way, but are plundered and slain by High-way cutters and Robbers, so some seeming heavenly travellers, have gone half their way with Christ, but being careless, solitary, disarmed, are soulrobbed and slaughtered by Satans High-way men. The erroneous and dissolute; and further, which is faddest of all, as wel-guided- ships, in their perilous voyage, within a little of Harbour, either spring a leak, or run on sand or rocks, and lose their long sayling on the hazardous Main; so old seeming Christians, that look like Monasons, that appeared to be long passengers in this worlds Sea, heaven-wards, by the leak of some secret unmortified lust, let in destruction, are swallowed up in the soft sands of a voluptuous life, or spit on the Rocks of Despair or Presumption. O its sad to be considered, and with bitter tears to be bewailed, what promising hopes, youth-Apostate Christians have lost, what soul-shipwracks manhood-Apostate Christians have made, what bankrupts as to saving grace, old Age-Apostate Christians have been. O mournful spectacle, that an old Professor, that was thought to be almost ripe for heaven, should prove a Wind-fall, and turn a Libertine, a Ranter, a Quaker. Look to it Christi-ans, fear and tremble to be wantons with heavenly Ordinances, your Christian Profession, your shining Gifts, your glorious Attainments, your hopes of Heaven. Assure your selves your unreformed abuse of grace will prove a sinne that will continually cause you to be on the losing hand for your souls.

SECT. 9.

  1. It is a despising sin, it despifeth the Spirit of grace, in * Light, love and holyness. Heb. 10. 29. why hast thou despised the Commandement of the Lord, 2 Sam. 12. 9. •n home and a sharp question, implying a cutting reproofe of David, he sinned against the known Commandement of God, and its called despising, The servant that knoweth his Masters pleasure and willingly disobeyeth, despiseth this government. An inlightned Christian sinneth at an higher rate, then an ignorant Heathen. * Those that fit in the Region and shadow of death, do not what they hear not, we read the pleasure of God, and cast it under our feet, in is lesse guilt to be ignorant of, then despise the Law, informed Rebellion shall have more stripes, sinfull ignorance fewer, tis rarely considered, that when daring Christians abuse the Grace of God, they despise the God of Grace. What wickedness is this to despise infinite goodness, and communicated kindness? Should that leads to repentance tempt to carnal indulgence? The wonder is not so great that that the damned in hell-torments despite God in his vengeance. O stupendious folly and madnesse carnal Gospellers despite God in his Grace.

SECT. 10.

  1. It is Revolting Sin. The wanton widdow that waxed wanton. * against Christ left first Faith of Christianity for an Idolattous Husband, I Tim. 5. 10, 11. When men are evil because God is good, they cannot but grow worse. and worse.I have nonrished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me, Isa. 1, 2. Gods goodnesse was abused to Apostate: They are gone backward, ver. 4. ye will revolt more and more, v. 5. Near spiritual union unto, and close walking with God, keeps the heart in awe, but abuse of Gods grace men turn their backs upon him. Evil servants at distance from their Masters, are wantons and riotous; and evil men when they goe away from God. Two sad characters of a vile person going a whoring from God, and being far from him, are put down in the same verse, Ps. 73. 27. And they are ever in the fame carnal wanton way. Hee goes a whoring from God, and is far from him; but, said David, it is good for me to draw near to God. The nearer to God, the more strictnesse and Holynesse. Christ was nearest to God, and holyest in heart and life. The Father hath not left me alone; for I doe alwaies those things that please him. Joh. 8. 29. The holy Angels are near God; They alwaies see his face, Mat. 18. 10. and are ready to doe his will, Psal. 103. 20. 〈◊〉 was near to God in a sweet vision He would now preach, though to Reprobate hearers. Satan knoweth this, that the awfull spiritual presence of God begets reverence and obedience, and therefore he tempte soules to fall into hell of Libertinisme by three stairs of Apostafie. First to turning the eye from God, then the heart; and lastly the feet. To debauch the sinner, first he must not see God, then he must not love him, and Lastly hee must not walk with him. Then from, this Aversion, loose conversion is easie. First he will behold vanity, then fet his heart on it, and lastly walk after it. The wanton sinner cannot possibly have an impudent whores forehead in the serious trembling presence of God, as he hath in his absence. The saying of 〈◊〉 is sad experience, They that * wantonly turn their backs upon God, by the custome of sin run into hardness of heart. They are the monsters of imprudence, unthankfullness and madness, that hope yea are assured their sins are washed in the blood of Christ, who therefore boldly cast themselves into the old mire, prefuming they shall be cleansed again. Doth this speak Christ who therefore boldly cast themselves into the old vomit and mire? Wanton Christians that know not the bitterness wounded sinner that hath almost sunk in despaire and narrowly escapt hell, will be afraid of the old sins and have sober, serious, trembling thoughts of his gracious rescue. They are wholsome words of Zuinglius. When*through the Conscience of my sins, I was brought to so great a despaire, should I not deservedly be called a foole, if now I should willingly expose my selfe to the same shipwrack. I am cleansed from mine impurities by the blood of thy son, and shall I again desile my self? That of shall close this point. He them being is snatch out of the fire, doth again cast himselfe into it, by so much the more desperately evil, by how much be doth the more ungratfully add sin to his deliverance?

SECR. 11.

  1. It is an unexcusable sin. Inlightned sinners have no cloak * for sin Joh. 15. 22. The word will beare it (excuse) did so and so, ignorantly, is some excuse. It cannot be said of them that never heard of the grace of God in Christ. They read the Gospell and are They hear the Apostles doctrine and are drunk. They prosesse following of Christ, and are given to rapine; They lead a wicked life, and have a Godly Law. All these things may be said of them, that wrest the grace of God, to unrighteousness and ungodliness. Wicked gospellers pretend to come to Christ feast, as fit and thankfull guests, but the King shall say where is the garments? when he shall see they come with their filthy garments, when with Plague-sores running on them, they shall be speechless, not bee able to speak a word in their own Apology, as the muzzled mouth of a beast * openeth not: the import of the Greek word translated speechless. T’is our common fault. Seneca hath truely noted we had rather excuse then forsake our vices. There will be no plea for Abusing Grace. There will be none for the loose Jew, his externalt〈◊〉 with God in a Convenant of grace, in circumcision, sacrifice, the Temple, •ltar, Priesthood, Passever, is not alleadged to lessen but greaten the Abuse of grace. Therefore Calvin in his old Testament Expositions often notes. That the tearmes and expressions of scared proprietie, as holy feed, people, my people, your God, the Holy one of Israel, and the like, are not commendations, but exprobation, of their deep ingratitude and Aposicy, that they who were singled out to be neere God, above all the world, to be the vessels to beare up his name, should degenerate from the glory of their adoption. Israel was called holynes * to the Lord, Jer. 2. 3. A people separate from all others, devoted only to God, that among them the glory of his holiness might shine forth to take and enlighten the eies of the observing world. And therfore when the ten tribes espoused to God, wantonly. plaid the harlot, in idolatry and other sinnes, with other lovers, God writ her a bill of divorce; in her sad banishment and Captivitie among Heathens: when the old Churches religious relation was abused to loose superstition and and Conversation, then wee read God disowed his people, who disowned him. I have forsaken * mine house. I have left mine heritage: I have given the dearly beloved of my soul, into the hand of her enemies. Jer. 12. 7. The degenerate feed of Abraham had no plea for, but smarted for their wantonness. Yea further the Heathen sinning against his light of ••ure, will have no excuse, why he should not endure the vengeance of eternal fire. His unanswerable inditement will be re•d against him out of Romans the second. Many principles of the Morall Law were naturally written in his heart. He had a Conscience to excuse in duty, accuse in disobience c. 2. 15. yea in retained not God in his knowledge 27. cast good convictions out of his mind, gave himselfe up sinfully, as he was given up by God judicially, to vile affections and a reprobate mind. 26. 28. Sin enough to clear divine justine, and merit hell: Peter Martyr thus Comments. Paul teacheth said He. They abused practicall   knowledge, in that they knew what was just and equall to be done, partly they were indulgent in others, partly what they taxed in others they dissembled in themselves. With what colour of excuse, will the Christian Libertine stand dim light of nature, and above the Jewes darke fight of grace, gospell twilight and dawning, he lives in high noone vangelicall light, if he riot before and against •s clearer sunshine irradiations? By how much the more Capernaite Christians are lifted up in abused, heavenly, gospell ordinances, so much the Lower, dismall, hot roome will have in Hell.

SECT. 12.

  1. It is an Heathnish sin: I mean not this, That there is no more sin in the Christian then the Heathnish wanton, for he is * an higher-forme-Scholler in the Divells schoole, that sins against grace then who sinnes against reason; but thus the Christians wantonness is an Heathnish sin. The loose conversation and abuse of Religion is alike in the dissolute Christian and Heathen. They agree ••in Conversation. Some Heathens imagined a stupid Diety, nor Angry, nor pleased, and so they were careless * of vertue, and fearless of vice: doe not Atheisticall Christians live, as if God would neither reward, nor punish? Epicurus thought man was born for sensuall voluptuaries among us so live in fleshy delights, as if they came for no other end into the world? Doe not the common worshippers of that great Idoll carnall self, make selfe interest their Alpha and their Omega? yea all the letters of the Alphabet, the whose of whose life is to consult and advance self? The body was the all Heathens look’t after, did nothing for their souls. Is not the body the all loose Christians regarde while the souls. is neglected?
  2. The loose Heathen and the Christian, both agree in the loose abuse of their respective Religions in four things: In the worshippers * frame of heart: In the unprofitableness of worship: In the designe of heart: In the event of worship.
  3. In the worshippers frame of Heart. The Heathens in their addresses to their false Gods, came not in a virtuous but vicious frame (i. e) not in a virtuous, when they come to sacrifice to their Gods: They bring not their hearts due observance, * love, integritie of mind, Reverence and fear. Are not these the failings of Carnall worshippers of Jesus Christ? nihil intimum afferunt. The inwards are not in sacrifice, as if an Idoll God, not an omniscient Christ were worshiped, where is the due observance of his presence, doe not hearts run after other things? Where is Reverence, fear, love, upright service of the Lord Christ.
  4. They came to their gods in a vicious frame: They come to pray in the pollution of all their sins, immodest Adulterers, Thieves, &c. without choice of worshippers, no matter who came: Do not many impudently and unpreparedly come to God, stinking in their filth, with unclean hands and impure hearts? Jam. 4. 8. that have need of the washing of faith and repentance, Isa. 1, 16. 18. 2. The wanton Heathen and Christian, both agree in the unprofitableness of their Religion. The Heathen put himself and his god off, with the blood of Beasts, smoak, a silly scarifice, thinks he hath piously sacrificed, if he hath washed his skin, when no Rivers can wash, nor Seas purifie inward Lusts: His Religion could neither make good, nor establish in goodness: There was no good life, wisdom, nor faith to be learned there; doth not the dissolute Christian make his holy Religion as vain unto him? Is not Christ and his own soul, with good words that vanish like smoak, a silly Sacrifice of heartless praise? Doth he think he hath piously sacrificed, when he hath given God his eye, ear, knee and tongue, when the Waters of the Sanctuary have never washed his impure. inside, no good life, wisdom, nor faith is learned? 3. The licentious Indemnity in sin, sin freely, and never smart for it. They pray for nothing else, but that they may sin with Impurity, faith Lactantius. The Christian worship his God, that he might sin without restraint and penalty: though his tongue says not so, his heart and life doth. 4. The dissolute Heathen and the Christian agree, in the event of both their Religious worship. When the vain Pagan Sacrifices are ended, the blinde Worshippers leave all their Religion in the Temple, and with the Temple, as they found it; they bring nothing to it, nor carry away nothing from it. Is it not common sad experience, Prophane Worshippers of God get nothing by the Ordinances? Leave all their Religion as they found it, in and with the publick Assemblies; they bring no godliness to, nor carry none away from them: AS they come, so they return, Dead, Hardened, Proud, worldly, Impanitent Libertines: We see the sad Parallel between the wanton Heathen and Christian, under both their Religions: The abuse of Gods grace is an Heathenish sinne.

SECT. 13.

  1. IT is an universal sin: It reigns in all carnall, wordly professed * Christians, yea something of its corrupt leaven is in the real, yea strict servants of Christ, as shall further be shewn, when the differences of this sin in found and rotten persons shall be •id down. Among the ungenerate crowd that * own the Christian name, this horrid abomination hath universal dominion: It was Luthers Lamentation: It is a sad thing! Look upon Gospellers in Cities, eye Magistrates, and the maners of Noble men, and view the Life of Citizens and Country People; ought not all of them, night and day, give thanks to God, that they are delivered from the Iron Fornance of the Popes Tyranny, and the most miserable darkness of Ignorance? but this is not done, for this is the great business that all pursue, that they may heap up wealth; so they grow rich, care not how they abuse one another, by Impostures, Frauds and Injuries: As all earthy nominal Christians slight that Gospel grace, in which they prosess their felicity is wrapt up, and more industriously pursue that which is a shadow, then substantial happiness; so in spiritual real ones, through the inclinations and temptations of the old man in them, there is some abuse of Gods grace: surely they know wherefore Grace is recieved, what hinders but that it should teach them how they ought and might improve it, who have more abilities then others to walk close with God, deny themselves, be fruitful in good works, live in Heaven, honor their Lord and Master Jesus Christ, by a shining, convincing conversation, be the presidents of mortifying grace; and in brief, to hold forth the glory and power of Religion, to make it amiable in the eyes of wicked men, even these cannot but be conscious to themselves, how far short they are, and live up to the dignity, essicacy, and majesty of that Gospel Holiness and strictness they profess, and in some measure but too little discover: That real servant of Christ is one of an hundred, yea one of a thousand, that doth not in one thing or another spot the garment of his holy Profession, and in some lower degree, yet intolerable and unallowable of wantonness, fall short of the honor and power of Gospel grace. Happy is the person, The None-such, The Phaenix of the Countrey, who is so eminently mortified, so self crucified to the world, impowred against Satan, grown in Grace, dwelling in Heaven, makes the practice and power of Religion the great business, hath such daily and hourly assisting grace, is in such constant guard of his heart, and fear of God, that the transcendent Professor rather lives as an Angel, then a Saint among men; but it is very rare to finde Christians coming nigh this Character: Who are there that know the large and hard things required in the Law, and strict rules of the Gospel, and his swervings from both, but hath cause to charge himself with some inward or outward loosness, or both, and say with David, I have done foolishly, with Job, I am vile, with the Publican, A sinner, O God! with Paul, In me, in my flesh dwells no good thing; though in my minde I serve the Law of God, yet in my flesh I play the Wanton, and serve the Law of sin? This great sin, The abuse of Grace, is Epidemical, and so much the more abominable: As that Plague is worst that * is generally raging and infections: That of Z••by shall period this point: The more Catholick sins are, the greater they are: Generality of any sin is its aggravation.

SECT. 14.

  1. IT is an un-Churching sin: It provokes God, to take away the * gospel, the golden Chandlesticks, that hold sorth glorious, Gospel, saving light, and to give the abused good tidings of grace to them that will bring forth the fru•s of it, Matth. 21. 43. Abusing Gods grace was the sin of Sardis; who had a name to live the life of grace, but was dead, Rev. 3, 1. It was the sin of Laodicea, that boasted her self rich in gifts and graces, in gospel Treasures, when she was poor and miserable, but rich in sin, Rev. 3. 17. It was the sin of the Jews that cryed the Temple of the Lord, bo•e much on Sacrifices, the types of Gods grace in Chri•t, which was abused to stealing, murther, false swearing, idolatry, and so perverted the ceremonial Religion of Gods grace, into a securing Den of Robbers, Jer. 7, 9. 11. but used it not as an healing Medicine. If God enter into judgement with England, he may, and there is cause to fear he will, un-Gospel, and un-Church her: He may justly do with than part of his loose Family, as Masters do with their loose servants, take away those Candles, and that Food they play the wantons with. Is not Evangelical Doctrine sweetly, clearly, plainly, and commonly Preached throughout the Nation? Are we not like Capernaum, lifred up to Heaven in Ordinances? Deserve we not to be like Capernaum too, cast to Hell for our impenitence, barrenness, thriving wickedness, wanton abuse of the means? Are not the plentiful showres of Heavenly Doctrine, the sweet and warm Beams of the Gospel Sun, dishonored by a plentiful Spring of Thoms, Hemlock, noisom Weeds, cursed Opinions and Practices? We are Judgement proof, and Sermon proof, neither the voice of Gods Word, nor Rod amends us. O incurable England! Are we not sick of the remedy? Are not Soul Physitions now adays Physitians of no value? And O sad truth of little, yea in some places of no success! Did it kill the heart of Eli, that the outward glory, the Ark was departed from Israel? O our stupidity, spiritual death, hard heartedness, want of zeal for the honor of God, credit of his gospel, salvation of Souls! The inward glory of the Ark is gone, or almost gone; the astonishments, the conversions, the Devil-banishing, the World-conquering, the heart-changing, the soul-warming, the Lust-mortifying, the Spirit-quickning, the Grace-growing power of the Ordinances, is by many deg ees from what it was, gone from us. Many years agoe the terrible and needful truths of the Law Preached, have made the Auditors hair even stand an end; trembling and weeping, resolving and practicing Reformation, were the happy fruits of • rousing Ministry. The same Truths, with some suitable affections in their godly Messengers, are Preached now, but with little success: How thin, O how thin are the numbers of repenting, reforming Believers! How rarely are spiritual Fishermen, and the Words Net blessed  by a draught of souls? How seldom do we see and feel the beauty and power of glory, of Christ in the Sanctuary, as experimented in former times? Are not multitudes of Christians, of large profession, grown more debauched, sensual, careless of their souls? Yea, Are not stricter Christians grown looser then they were? Is there not a sad fall from degrees of prizing the Ordinances, first Love, tenderness of Conscience, the fear of God, guard over thoughts and words? Is it not true of many, that have the root of the matter in them, They are not so fruitful as once they were? Good Trees that should be better, are worse; and are not evil professed Christians grown stark mught, thrive onely in sin, and grow worse and worse? yea, Do not the convictions of these truths lie dead upon the spirits of the most lively and best approved Christians? Is there not even in quickned souls a kinde of dead insensibility of Gods dishonor, the abuse of his Grace, the reproach of his Gospel? Is it not very rare to get a few hearty sighs and groans, to wring a few tears, that the Gospel grace of God, the Christians glory is universally abused? May we not fear this spiritual Judgement of hardness of heart, is the fore-runner, and will be the procurer of a Gospel Famine? That the word of God, the God of the word will depart from us, and leave England in that Death, Darkness, Destruction it hath deserved: May we not from likeness of sins, fear likeness of Judgements? Abuse of Grace hath been, we may fear it will be an un-Churching sin. O all you Zions mourners, who are what you are by distinguishing Gospel grace, bewail your own unsuitableness to Gods grace! Sigh and cry for all the Abominations that are done in the midst of our sinful Jerusalem, if days of desolation come, it will cheer your hearts; you were affected with Gods dishonor, you will be markt out either for deliverance out of common evils, supportance in them, or an happy issue out of them.

  

CHAP. VII. Wherein are set forth the Punishments of this great sinne, Abusing Gods Grace.

WEE have seen the aggravated evil of this too common and dishonourable Sin, the Abuse of Grace. We can be in nothing more crosse to the choice design of God, than in wronging his grace. Not to give God the praise of the glory of his goodness in nature, is deep ingratitude; but to deny him the praise of the glory of his grace is deeper indignity. The wrath of a King will be more enraged when he is abused in his Throne, than in his Common Highway. The Gospel acquaints us with Gods Throne of grace: God slighted in his grace is an abused King in his Throne. This without repentance will turn the Throne of grace into a Throne of angry Justice. They that abuse the blood of the Lamb, shall feel the wrath of the Lamb. No damnation like that which is heightned by the abuse of Salvation. For the Gospel to be a savour of death unto death, puts a sharper and fiercer sting into eternal death, than when it punisheth onely unnatural sinnes. God sets black marks of his displeasure upon the Abuse of Gospel grace. He is wont to plague it with these punishments; in special six sad ones, wherein he expresseth dreadfull vengeance.

SECT. 1.

  1. IUdgement is giving up to carnal Lusts. As God hath punished the abuse of his Goodnesse in nature, so he hath revenged * the wrongs of it in grace. He shined forth the glory of his Godhead, Eternal Power, Love, Wisdom, and other glorious Attributes, in the Workmanship of the World, the Glass of his Glory, the great Folio, every Leaf whereof proves his Invisible Deity; but when the goodnesse of God was abused to Idolatry, the creature was served and worshipped more than the Creator, the Lord in just wrath gave up wantons against the light of nature to their own lusts, Rom. 1. 24. to vile affections, 26. to a reprobate sense, 28. to receive in themselves, by these spiritual Judgements, the recompence of their error, v. 27. whip them with their rod, chuse their own delusions, and suffering them justly to perish in their own choice. The like vengeance he hath exercised on the injuries done to his Gospel grace. The Lord proclamed himself to the God of Israel in an external Covenant of Grace. I am the Lord thy God which brought thee out of the Land of AEgypt: typifying the Grace of Redemption from Saran and the world, sweetly inviting them to desire and accept his grace, with enlarged hearts, open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it, Psal. 81. 10. But this sweet tender of grace in postive rebellion, was wantonly rejected: But my people would not hearken to my voice, and Israel would none of me; and thus the Lord plagued them with their own choice and waies; So I gave them up to their own hearts, and they walked in their own counsels, ver. 12. The sadnesse of this Judgement in giving sinners up to their carnal Luds, for the perverting of Gods grace, appears in four things.
  2. It is a sad judgement for a sinfull, weak, erring creature to be deprived of a safe, unerring guide, the Grace of God. When * the offers and restraints of his Grace are removed, man is like the Philistins house, when the Pillars by Sampson were removed, an heap of ruin; like a Coach without a Coach-man to order it, like a Ship without a Pilot, like an Infant without a Nurse, like an heady people without a Magistrate. The spiritual departure of Gods grace is a great punishment of obstimte contumacie. It is just that grace should forsake those that forsake it, 2 Chr. 24. 24. that they should have none of its safetie, that wil have none of its soveraignty; that they should perish without it, that would not be ruled by it. It is Chrysostomes resemblance, when a King seeth * his Son lost, and past recovery, he casts him out of his Royal Protections, Provisions, and forsakes him, so God strips loose sinners of his aide and grace. As it is great mercy to be guided by Gods counsel, so it is great severity to be deprived of it. The way of man to obtain everlasting happiness is not in himself: He is safe in Gods way, but perisheth in his own.
  3. It is a sad Judgement for a sinful, weak, erring creature to have a false deceitful guide, and so have all they that are given up to their own lu•s: They are like Traiterous Collonels that lead their Regiments into the very mouth of ruin, within the Enemies Ambush. Besides they are foolish Guides, and unskillfull, they know not the way of peace. Who will take a naturall fool or a stranger to be guided in a journey? That Ship with it’s Fraught and Passengers is in a poor case, that hath an ignorant Pilot, and the full Coach that hath a blind Couch-man. Carnall Lusts are foolish, 1 Tim 6. 9. O the folly of immortal soules that are led by the foolish guidance of their lusts!
  4. It is a sad judgement to be given up to carnal Lusts, because these are Gods •vengers. He is revenged of men where they least beleeve it: Even in those sweet Lusts they hugg and pamper, will God plague the enemies of his grace. No need of * Outward Punishments, if we will pl•y the wantons with his grace. He hath his Avengers in our very bosomes: The Lusts of wicked men are Gods •ods, xes, Halters. The servants of sinfull Lusts, are an inestimable, infinite masse of misery; when they shall feele it in the other world, they will beleeve it. Men sinnes are Gods punishments, though they see it not.
  5. It is a sad judgement to be given up to carnal Lusts; because such are Volunteers in their own destruction. It is sad to fall by the Sword, but more sad, like Saul, willingly to fall by ones own Sword: It is a sad judgement to die by Poyson, but willingly to drink up a known cup of Poyson, is more sad. O Israel thou hast destroyed thy self, Hos. 13. 9. Why will you die, O house of Israel? The Law of sin and death are yo•ked together, *Rom. 8. 2. They that will walk after their lusts, wil perish, 2. Pet. 2. 10, 12. Now the practical adversaries of Gods grace do most willingly and freely serve their own lusts, and necessitate their ruin; are like Phalaris, that was burnt in his own Engine of crueltie; like him that hangs himself in his own Halter. His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins, Prov. 5. 28. He shall die without (refused) instruction, and in the greatress of his (deliberate, voluntary) folly he shall goe astray, ver. 23. He shall finde no shelter in Gods decrees. His wilfull abuse of grace will be his self-condemnation. He shall have his sentence at the great day, not qua now electus, but qua impius; not depart you cursed, because I chose you not, but because ye are workers of iniquity.

  

SECT. 2.

  1. Judgement of Perverting the grace of God is spiritual * blindnesse: I am come for judgement (said Christ) that they which see might be made blind, Joh. 9. 39. Isaias saw the Gospelglory of Gods grace, and p•eached it to the loose reprobate Jews, and the Lord in wrath blinded their eyes that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, Joh, 12. 40, 41. Who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the Lords servant? Isa. 42. 19. Hear ye deaf, and look ye blind, ver. 18. A sad reproof of the wicked Jews, that did unworthily prophane the most excellent gift of gospel-light: Though all others might be blind and deaf, yet they that had the most bright * Lamp of Truth shining, the Silver Trumper of the Gospel sounding before them, should not; yet none more blind, none more deaf than they; an heavy judgement. But if blind, how Perfect? how Servants? They are the words of Exprobration, not Commendation. They should be perfect Duces via, Leaders to others, but were not. They were punished with Blindnesse. This sore punishment is clear in four things.
  2. They whom God punisheth with Blindness of mind, are given up to the Devil to be blinded. The god of this world blinds the eyes of them that beleeve not, lest the light of Go spel-grace should sevingly shine in their hearts, 2 Cor. 4. 4. It was a judgement on the wanton Sodomites, that the Angels * blinded them, Gen. 19. 11. It is a Judgement on wanton Gospellers, when the evil Angels blind them with the dust, dirt, and srno•k of abused creatures, corrupt principles, carnal reason, their o•n ungoverned passions. It is a Judgement when the Judge commits evil doers to the Goaler and the Hangman for execution. The Devil in blinding the minds of those that are lascivious with grace, is Gods Executioner.
  3. They whom God punisheth with Blindnesse of mind cannot find the way of Life: And now sad is that to wander like the blind man that gropes for the way, but finds it not. The blinded Sodomites wearied themselves to find the door, and found it not, Gen. 19. 11. So many there be that grope after the narrow way of Life, and find it not, Mat. 7. 14. Strive to enter into the door of happyness, but find it not. The Jew wronging the grace of the gospel, was blinded, and found it not; The Papist is blinded, and finds it not; the loose ignorant, yea the loose, though kno•ing Protestant, yet is blind, and beleeves it not. How many grope for the way of eternal life in good meanings, and supposed good hearts, in Civilities, in Formalities, in Comparative goodness, in partialities of Obedience, and the like, and yet darkness hath blinded their eyes, that they see not the way of Life.
  4. They whom God punisheth with blindnesse of mind, they fall on every stumbling-block they meet withall, are taken in every snare of Company, Relations, Possessions, Prosperity and Adversity, sa. 8. 14, 15. yea shining spiritual gifts, yea the sweet Promises of the Gospel wrested to loosenesse, are turned into snares. The blind man scapes not the block in his way, nor the snare and gin that is layd for him, Levit. 19. 14. And the blind Libertine scapes not stumbling-blocks in the wayes of death. The worst things are causes, the best things occasions of stumbling. Yea the Lord Christ, and Gods grace are a stone of stumbling unto unbeleevers.
  5. They whom God punisheth with blindness of mind, fall into the pit of Hell, Mat. 15. 14. As saving grace in Christ delivers soules from going into the bottomlesse pit, Job 33. 24. So blindness of minde infallibly delivers into it. The blind man falls into the Lime-pit, the Cole-pit before him, and the blind sinner into the pit of destruction. Did he see it, hee would tremble to move toward it.

SECT. 3.

  1. Iudgement of Dishonor done to the Grace of God, is Hardnesse * of heart. The Jews abused Isaias•ospel-ministry, and God plagued them with Hard hearts: Make the heart of this people• fat, Isa. 6. 10. He hardned their hearts, Joh. 12. 40. Let my people goe that they may serve me. The words of the Lord by Moses were the Instruments of Pharaohs Hardning, is the Sunne the means of the Clayes Herdning. •• grace of God in h•i• w•s preacheo o the Israelites in the Wilderness, they heard the lively Oracles, the gracious Truths of Salvation, and Eternal Life in the Water from the Rock, in the Manna from Heaven, in the Teachings from Moses, Act. 7. 37, 38. in the in•ructions of the good Spirit of God, Nehem. 9. 20. But they hardned their hearts in the provocation in the day of temptation,•eb. 3. 8. they obeyed not the gracious voice of God, v. 7. by the Ministry of Moses, and the Lord plagued them with their own hard hearts. Three things speak this an heavy judgement.
  2. There is no Impression of saving grace in an hard heart: Where God hardens the hardens the heart he converts not, he healeth it not, Joh. 12. 40. A Seal leaves no print on an Anvil, or an hard * stone, but on the soft Wax. The holy Spirit doth not seal his grace on an hard, but a soft heart. The Iron sinew, Isa. 48. 4. the brazen brow, the untractable heart that is harder than the Anvil and the Adamant, Diabolical insensbilitie, an inflexible spirit to the divine pleasure, are the spiritual penalties for Graces injury. Paul perswaded loose hearers concerning the Kingdome of Gods grace, but they that were hardned beleeved not, Act. 19. 8, 9. The hardned mettal cannot be run into, nor take the shape of the mold, but the melted and soft. Carnal gospellers, after thousands of Sermons of Gods grace, are not changed into the Image of its glory, because their hearts are hardned.
  3. Hearts h•r•ned by occasion of Gods goodness, ripen for ruin After the hardness of thine heart thou treasurest up wrath*against the day of wrath, Rom. 2. 5. Alluding to an huge bank of mony, unto •hich there is sil adding of hundreds and thousands. or to an hoo•ding or heating up of store of Corn. Hardened Libertines under grace, are ever swelling the bank, increasing the board of sin against the day of wrath, by thoughts, words, and actions, their real impieties, and unrighteousnesses, yea the un•ardoned iniquities of their holy things, filling up their sinne alwaies, I Thes. 2. 16.
  4. Their destruction who are punished with hardness of heart is infallible. The Oath of God makes it sure; I have sworni• my wrath they should not enter into my rest, Heb. 3. 11. As the Ifraelites, while the day of grace lasted in the wildernesse, were hardened, v. 7. 8. so are loose Christians under, and against the voice of Gods grace. The oath of God reacheth these to hastenwithout fail their everlasting destruction.

  

SECT. 4.

  1. IVdgement of injury offered to the grace of God, is Incurableness * in sin. Gods Ordinances of grace, and his Chas•sements are his Physick; the fruit is to purge away sin. God would have diseased Jerusalem take a Purge, but the Physick w•ought not; Because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee, Ezek. 24. 13. As if the Lord had said, Purgingme•nes have not had Purging success; therefore let thy wickednesse abide on thee to thy ruin: Is there no Balm in Gilead? is there no Physician there? is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered? Jer. 8. 22. What is here said of a diseased lost State, is true of lost soules past cure, past hope, when Gods Physick doth no good. Is there no Palm? is there no Physician? why is not the health of diseased, loose sinners recovered? There are means of grace; Christ is a Soveraign Physician, but the wanton, disordered Patients play with their Physick, take it wrong, cast it away, and use it not aright; and no wonder if the disease be incurable. Two sad things speak this an heavy judgement.
  2. God is pleased with the destruction of those who are voluntarily incorrigible under the means of grace. The Apostle gave thanks to God that the savour of Christs knowledge was made manifest by them in every place, 2 Cor. 2. 14. One would think at first view this savour of Christs knowledge, should be only the sweet power of it to salvation. It is true, that is the prime, not the only savour of Cospel-grace, It is a sweet savour in Damnation as wel as salvation. in hardning as wel as softning: So is the Apostles distribution, for we are unto God a sweet savour in Christ in them that are saved, and in them that perish, ver. 15. Though the gospel be a damning, deadly gospel of death unto death, of the death spiritual unto the death eternal unto them that perish: Yet it is a sweet favour unto God, as savoury oyntment is to the smel, and savoury meat unto the tast. Though God takes no pleasure in the death of a returning sinner, yet he is ple•sed in the destruction of the impenitent. He that made them will shew no mercy on them.
  3. God is eminently delighted in the destruction of incurable sinners, under healing means, I have called, and ye have refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded: Ye have set at naught all my counsel. Knowledge is hated, the fear of the * Lord not chosen, reproof despised, Prov. 1. 25, 26, 29, 30. Here is no cure by healing means. Now see the judgement on these wantons the disease of the Physick and Physician. I will laugh at your •alamity, Prov. 1. 26. Laughter proper to man, is improperly said of God. He speaks after the manner of men. Men express their high delights by laughter, and God his joyous complacencie, in * incurable sinners ruine. This laughter of God might make the proudest and stoutest sinner mourn. Eternal weeping and wailing, the everlasting testimony of Gods infinite delightfull vengeance, will be the true and sad exposition of Gods laughing.

SECT. 5.

  1. IUdgement of prophaning the grace of God, will be a terrible * Judgement at the last day, Knowing the terror of the Lord, we perswade men, 2. Cor. 5. As if the Apostle had said, the judgement will be terrible to such as are not reconciled to God. Kisse not the Son, Ps. 2. but wrong him. Therefore we perswade men to be careful and diligent, that they may be accepted, and to adorn the Gospel of grace. Abide in him, saith the A postle, that when he shall appear we may have confidence and not be ashamed, 1 Joh. 2. 28. Implying that such loose Christians as abide not in him, but depart from him, and are enemies to him, his merits, and grace, shall come with shame, and despair before him. Three things will shew the terrible Judgement on them that in heart and life wrong the grace of God.
  2. Their standing in Judgement will be terrible: The ungodly shall not stand in the judgement, Ps. 1. 5. The Apostle saith, all shall stand, 2 Cor. 5. 10. They shall not stand with comfort, but terror, not as the Image of Christ, but Satan, not in the righteousnesse of Christ, but their own nakedness, not as the Friends of Christ, but Enemies, not as the Saved, but the Damned, not-as absolved Innocents, but guilty Felons.
  3. Their Self-condemnation will be terrible. There will be a testimony against them out of their own mouthes and hearts, that they knew the reign of sin and grace could not consist; they were told Mammon and God could not be served together; th•t the called by grace were to live as Saints, not in old sinnes; th•t the grace of God shining in the heart teacheth to deny, not fulfil ungodly lusts; that that grace that reconciles the soul to God doth not reconcile it with the least sinne; and yet their consciences cannot but accuse them, they wilfully prophane the precious grace of God to vile affections and courses. How dreadful will this be, though there will be Juries enough to cast the enemies of Gods grace, yet the conscience shall need none of them, but be forced to confesse, even to eternal judgement, their high indignities to verbal and blasphemies againstGods grace.
  4. The sentence of the Judge will be terrible, when he shall s•y, Depart ye cursed, to all them that have discredited the blessed gospel, and made the grace of God a patron of sin, and that in high reproach to the grace of God, continued in sin because grace abounded. What frowns will sit on the face, terrors take hold of loose guilty hearts from the sentence of Christ, when he shall vindicate his own and his Fathers glory from all the dishonourable dis-services done to his holy Religion?

SECT. 6.

  1. IUdgement of abusing Gods grace, will be the hottest room in hels flames: Its eternal vengeance is called, The*The portion of Hypocrites, Mat. 24. 51. Whether gross, or close ones who prophane their Baptismal grace, the Word of grace they hear, to prophane abominable courses, or spin a fine thread of hypocrisie, reigning, though undis•erned, shall both be doomed to their own place. That it is rational the defilements cast upon the clean grace of God should have severest everlasting vengeance, consider,
  2. The lowest abuse of Grace is above the highest in Nature. The dishonours offered to grace by Professors of Christianity, carry higher guilt than the most infamous Idolatries, Murders, Adulteries, committed by Heathen men, that never heard of, nor pretended to e•brace the grace of God in Christ. The Heathen abuseth Creation mercies. The Christian, Redemption mercies, the Heathen is wanton with the dimm candle of reason, the Christian with the gospell Sun, the Heathen defaceth the remaining naturall image of God, in Intellectualls and Moralls, the Christian pretends the spirituall Image of Christ in supernaturall divine mysteries, and foules the face of it, by filthy affections and conversation. The Heathen prostitures a man to his Beastliness, the Christian debaseth the Son of God to his bruirishness. The Heathen treads under foot his reason, the Christian the blood of Christ. Well therefore sayes our Lord Christ, It shall be more tollerable for Tyre and Sidon, Sodom and Gomorrah, than Chorazin and Bethsaida, than Capernaum, Mat. 11. 23, 24. then all the places of Goshen-light, where there hath been fellowship with the works of darkness.
  3. If every transgression and disobedience against the Word of grace, spoken by Angels, received a just recompence of reward, Heb. 2. 2. Shall not every wanton rebellion against gospel grace, spoken by the head of Angels, have without repentance, an eternal avenging recompence?
  4. According to the different degrees of abusing Gods grace will be the different degrees of punishment. Some wicked ones abuse it, but not so wilfully, delightingly, impudently, blasphemously, constantly. These will feel the smart of it, but others abuse it with more resolvedness, shamelesness, open shame and reproach to Gods grace, and more persevering indignities; these shall commence the highest degrees in torments: As in Earth, so in Hell, disparities of sinne shall bring different punishments.

  

CHAP. VIII. Containing an Use of Information.

IS the grace of God pervetted to Lasciviousness? [Use 1] * For Application, this sad, and (as hath been shewen) common sin, a multiplyed, monstrous evil, of eminent guilt, of eternal bad consequence to all that live and dye in it, calls for serious meditation, and fruitful improvement.

  1. Information, in sundry Inferences, or Consectaries from this sad truth.

SECT. 1.

INference, that sin of a poysonous nature. It will do evil * because God is good, continue in sinne that Grace may abound, Rom. 6. 1. It powres its poyson upon Gospel Antidotes. It is like the Spider, that converts wholsome things into poyson. It is like the Vintner, that dasheth and corrupts wine with water. We do not so corrupt the word, faith the Apostle. It is like a corrupt stomack that turns good food into crude destructive humours. It is like a corrupt bitter Fountain, that running into sweet •holsom waters, turns them into bitterness; they are all corrupters, Jer. 6. 28. It is the genius and brand of envenomed natures. They corrupt good manners, yea the highest things in Religion, are depraved by them. The very Grace, Word, and Spirit of God by corrupt sophistication, are made to speak and patronize, what they never allowed. See in this the sad picture of mans faln nature. That vitiosity that first abused nature, ever since turns the grace of God into rank poyson, so little cause hath any man to pride himself in any excellency, that makes in any an occasion to sin.

SECT. 2:

  1. INference, that the Ordinances of grace are no sufficient * plea for happiness. Their Abuse marrs their enjoyment. it is not the having, but the blessing of good Food and Physick that procures health: diseased men may perish in their injoyments: Capernaum suck the deeper in Hell, by high yet injured Ordinances of grace, Christs commission to his extraordinary Ministers, his Disciples, implyed men may be accursed under blessed meanes, they were to offer the gospell of grace and peace to wicked men, Luke 10. 5. And to bring neer the Kingdome of God unto them, v. 11. But if the Son of Peace were not there, if the hearers were not worthy, that is fit to receive it, and welcome the Messengers, the very dust of their feer they shook off, should be a Witnesse against the despisers and rejecters of grace, v. 11. Many shall say, Lord, Lord open unto us, Luke 13. 25. Who shall finde accesse to glory, blocked up for abusing the offers of grace, they are not happy that barely wait at the posts of Wisdome, and heare her instructions, but that find wisdome, get understanding, Prov. 3. 13. That take fast hold of instruction, and let her not goe, but keep her as the life of the Soule. v. 18.

SECT. 3.

  1. INference; The Joyes of carn•l Gospellers are false joyes. * not only the Joyes in their sins, the Creatures, but their Religious Priviledges will faile them. They who delighted to know Gods wayes, and in approaches to God, and Pervetted their joyous injoyments of ordinances, to a retaining their corrupt will, strife and debate, smitings with the fist of wickedness, continuing the bands of wickedness, heavy burdens and oppressions, are abominated of God, as loosing all fruit by their religion *I sa 58. 2. &c. All fasting, praying, preaching, hearing, professing joyes, all the joyes of confidences and hopes in services and sins will prove like a Widdowes joy, an expiring blaze, the cracking of Thorns under the Pot. They shall vomit up all their sweet morsells, disgorge their false joyes, that have pleased themselves in their impieties, and unrighteousnesses, under the favour of grace. They rejoyce in a thing of nought. Amos 1. 13. When thou doest evill then thou rejoycest. Jer. 11. 15. The Lords charge against wanton Israel, under meanes of grace, and the just reproofe of wantons, under the gospell, when they doe evill they rejoyce, it is but looking up to Gods grace, and all is well. How miserable are those men, who rejoyce in their losse. It is wofull, mournful, mad joy, to found on the abuses of grace, and the dishonors of God, the Triumphs of sin and wickedness, which causeth bitternesse in the end.

SECT. 4.

  1. INference. The best things have evill entertainment of hard * Hearts. Israel had gracious Propheses; but they hardned their necks, did not beleeve, rejected Gods statutes, followed vanitie and were vaine. 2 Kings 17. 14. 15. Christs familie experienced his gracious miracles; but their hearts were hardned, and considered not the miracle of the loaves, when brought to a new strait Mark. 6. 32. If Christ upbraided their hardnesse of heart for not beleeving the reports of his Pesurrection Mark. 16. 14. How blameable is that Phamonicall Hardnesse of Heart, that receives no impression of grace, by the priviledges, promises, word, and spirit of grace, that are pretended to. The sweet inriching dewes, doe no good upon the hard rock, nor doe the sweet dews of instructions and motions of grace doe good upon rocky hearts. Weeds spring and grow by the rain and the sun. Corruptions rise up and increase by occasion of Gods grace.

SECT. 5

  1. INference. The grace of God is to be appropriated and applied * wi vbth feare and trembling. With it worke out your salvation is the Apostles counsell. Phil. 2. 12. Rejoyce with trembling the Psalmists Psal. 2. 11. The fancy of saving grace is easy Tis good to feare deceit, about interest in Grace. The Synagogue of Satan may boast themselves to be the City of God. This high gospell Grace, God is my reconciled father, his Convenant-Promises are mine, the Grace of Christ is mine, is foolish and common intrusion, like the vain man that sayes, the house and land is his, for which he hath no good title. •surping wantons are audacious, and boldly write down themselves in the booke of Life, living members, covenanters of grace, heirs of glory, which happinesse, many an humbled broken hearted, combating Christian, cannot see in many yeares attendance on the Ordinances, walking with, and waiting on God, and are only borne up in the Waves of Doubts, Despondencies, and Feares, with probabilities and weake hopes, enough to uphold, not to comfort in the wayes of Religion. The grace is glorious that is contained in those exceeding, great, and precious promises, I will be their God, and they shall be my people: Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more: Israel shall be saved with everlasting Salvation, and the like, fear and tremble, lest these be abused, unrepented wrongs to these favours, will prove their eternall forfeiture, the wanton pursuit of lying vanities, is the way to be outed of those mercies. Think with thy selfe, what if the Lord, whom I take to be my gracious God, prove my avenging Judge, if the sinnes I conceive are blotted out, shall appear against me in legible characters? if instead of free love, I meet with just wrath? if the presumptions of everlasting salvation be conf•ted by eternall damnation? If I wrong his grace, and repent not of the unkindnesse, how can I escape a fearfull looking for of fiery indignation, which will devoute so wicked an adversary?

SECT. 6.

  1. INference: Carnal Cospellers rever knew the Grace of God * in truth: It was never known, and de•iberately, constantly abused, if ye have been taught by him the truth as it is in Jesus, That ye put off the old man, and put on the new, Eph. 4. 21. 22. Christs disciples that have learned the truth, not only as in books, Sermons, the Letter, the Notion, but in the teaching Heart, fixing transforming power of Jesus, by the anoynting of the Holy Ghost, are taught not to dandle, and nourish, but to put off and starve corruption; not to hate but love, not to oppose, but to imbrace and exercise the quickning grace of God: If envy and strife ragin in the heart, glory not, lye not against the truth, Jam. 3. 14. He that saith I know him, and keeps not his Commandemants, is a lyar, and the truth is not in him, 1 Joh. 2. 4. He that consents not in Judgement and Cons•ience to practise the Doctrine according to godlinesse, is destitute of the truth, I Tim. 6. 5. Sanctisie them with thy truth, thy word is truth, Joh. 17. 17. The grace of God known in truth, sanctifies and gives no allowance to sin. It is not because men know, but because they truly know not the grace of God, that it is so dishonoured.

  

SECT. 7.

  1. INference: It is a safe and a wise course to be trying our Principles * and practices in Christianity.
  2. Our Principles, whether they tend to godliness, whether they are not grace-destroying, heart-hardning, the fear God banishing, carnal security nourishing Principles; such as these, God observes not believers sins: They must live above, that is, in a wicked sense, without Ordinances: God chastifeth not his people for sin: Mourning for sin is a low attainment, a legal busness, a double lie.
  3. It is so high an Attonement, that the high and the holy God of all hearts in the world, prefers the lowly mourning broken heart to dwell in.
  4. It is a meer Gospel grace, the Law accepts not an Eternity of tears, nor repentance.

This also is a loose Principle, that a Christian in his obedience, is to look only to the love of Christ within him, not the Law a rule of life without him, an impious Atheistical opinion; for when the sad experience of the best of Saints gives true report, that too often there are no stirrings of love to God, if there be not a fixed rule of duty without, what is left to hold a man in obedience? •lso this Maxime, that Believers have nothing to do with the threatnings, because there is no condemnation to them, is an engine of the Devil to pluck out of the heart the fear of threatned sins: How contrary to the Scripture, is this setting the fearless daring heart, out of the threatning Law, yea Gospels gun-shot? and so the Libertine, that neither hath fear of God to love him and obey him, nor fear of Hell to keep him from sin, fails with full winde and tide to the dead Sea of eternal desruction. Try, Christian, whether as the Philistins put out Sampsons eyes, the Devil hath not pull’d out thine, to believe Doctrinal lies to debauch thine heart and life. ‘Tis further, an high point of Christian care and wisdom to try,

Our practices. Gods grace may be, and is prostitured to wickedness, Is it not so with thee? Inquire in thy Vocation, Condition, Relation, wherein thou standest: Hath not thine heart and conversation been tainted with this curfed Leaven,  The abuse of Gods grace? When the Plague is at thy neighbors house, there is need to watch and try the soundness of thine own: Since this worst of Plagues, The abuse of Gods grace is abroad, happy are they that search and purge their hearts and lives from licentiousness.

SECT. 8.

  1. INference: The Devil hath his snares in the most holy * things: His great fear of War is in and about heavenly things: We wrastle against spiritual wickedness in high places, the original is in heavenly things, Eph. 6. 12. Satan stood at Joshua’s right hand, Zach. 3. 1. The Pulpit, the praying Closet, the publike Oratories, humbling Sack-cloth days, the great and blessed truths of the Gospel, the Orthodox, as well as the Heretical head, is not exempted from his snares; The saving things of Gods grace, Christs merits, the promises of the Covenint, the Spirits Gifts and Operations, are all made Satans occasional baits to sin: Where is weak sinning man safe, who is in danger of abusing the holiest things? How many have been tempred to be overcome by, and perish in reigning sins, under the pleasing conceit and deceit of a favoring propriety, in God, Christ, the Spirit, and Grace? Happy are they that fear always the sinners of the Fowler, not onely laid in Creature-comforts, but Ordinances of grace, in the very grace of God and Christ: Most happy are they that are out of the enemies Countrey and reach, that are in the state of blessed Indemnity, without the fear of being overcome by Satans snares, laid most cunningly, and vain pretences, though never so fairly gilded over.

SECT. 9.

  1. INference: Libertinism puts the highest affront upon God: * It abuseth him there where he is most glorious; should have most praise, his grace; The praise of the glory of his grace, Eph. 1. 6. Moses said to God, I beseech thee shew me thy glory; and God said, I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, Exod. 33. 18, 19. They are LIbertines in nature that abuse the Creature: God hath given the sweet succors of this life to be rightly used not abused, 1. Cor. 7. 31. To serve him, not lusts; to be stairs of Assension unto him, not Aversons from him: The rich wantons of the world, the Apostle James tells, shall pay dear for abusing his Creatures, to Voluptuousness, Oppression, hard heartedness, forgetfulness of God: But the Libertines in grace are the worst and most injurious. To cast dirt on Canvase is a wrong, but on Scarlet is a greater: To abuse a great man in his servant, is an indignity, but in his Wife, in his Sons, a greater. The abused goodness of God in his grace and Christ, goeth nearer his heart, then in his Creatures. Grace is Gods saving Arm; The Libertine doth what in him lies, to weaken, yea wound the arm of God, that it cannot save: In some things Almightiness is at a stand. He could in his own Countrey do no mighty works, but heal a few sick ones, because of unbelief, Mark 6. 5, 6. The grace of God cannot save the constant and wilful abuser of it: Paul was careful, lest he should abuse his power in the Gospel, 1. Cor. 9. 18. Be careful, O Christian! lest the Indulgences, Powers and Liberties of the Gospel be abused.

CHAP. IX. Containing an use of Humiliation.

PErverting of Gods grace, calls for Lamentation: [Use 2] * if prizing the gospel, the love of God, the zeal of his name, the honor of Christ: Gratitude for the infinite mercy of redemption, are mighty arguments to move serious Christians, to magnifie the grace of God in their hearts and lives, and to rejoyce• its exaltation, then surely the sense of undervaluing the gospel: The want of love to, yea, positive hatred of God, luke-warmness, yea key-coldness for his name: The dishonors of the Mediator of Grace, unthankfulness for the costly grace of Redemption, should load the heart with deep sorrow, and draw forth holy mourning and tears, and that   for two sorts of injurious dealers with Gods grace; the best and the worst of persons under the profession of Gods grace.

SECT. 1.

  1. BEwail, O upright, tender hearted Christian! thine own * and thy fellows unsuitableness and dishonor to the grace of God: ‘Tis too much, the old man hath been too dissolute within thee; I know thou seest, and when thou art thy self, canst not but bewail the neglect of the holy government of grace in thy soul, the wanton uproars of thy unruly affections, the swarms of undisciplined, unregarded loose thoughts; the secret filthiness, which for shame thou darest not word, but shamelesly give way to in thy watchless minde, thy back-sliding in heart, and in some things whoring imaginations, fancies, contemplations, affections about false loves, it is too much thou hast a bosome Libertine: But art thou convinced thy self, and thy co-heirs of glory, and livest shamefully and dishonorably below the hopes of Heaven, the high, holy, and heavenly profession of propriety in God, an everlasting Portion? Doth the guilt of abusing Gods grace visibly and scandalously appear against that holy principle of immortal life, that is in thee and others? Never leave thinking of this, till thine heart be broken before the Lord: O what reproach is brought to the God and Gospel of grace, when his precious name is wounded in the house of his friends, when he hears ill in the world from the dishonors of his own Family. As David upon the death of Saul lamented, The shield of the mighty is vilely cast away in Gilboa, as though Saul was not anointed with oyl, 2 Sam. 1. 20. So may it be for a lamentation, The shield of the mighty, indowed with grace, is vilely laid aside, as if he were not the anointed with the Spirit: As Jeremiah lamented, That the precious stones of Zion, comparable to fine gold, were esteemed as earthen Pitch••s, Lam. 4. 2. So it is deplorable, that the precious living stones of Zion, darkned by some loose scandals, are esteemed as dirt.

Five things may urge thee, O gracious soul! to mourn over thy wrongs to Gods grace.

  1. Thou sinnest against a Principle of life, that should and would, if excited, make thee sensible of Gods dishonor.
  2. Thou abuseth that that sets thee off from the lost world, distinguishing grace.
  3. Thy injury against saving grace, is deepest ingratitude, tis walking unwo•thy of that which must fit thee for Heaven.
  4. Thine offensive discove•ies of wronging grace, tempts carnal observers, too prone to be loose, to turn more bold Libertines.
  5. Thy open offences, may be, yea probably have, been prevailing temptations to speed others damnation.

These and such like considerations, set home by the Spirit of God, on quickned sensible spirits, will put them in a mourning frame before the Lord.

  1. As pious hearts should bewail their own and others dishonors, who have abused the love of God to them, and the grace of God in them; so also let them lay to heart the loose, general, carnal profession, of them who in unregeneracy wrong the grace of God, in five things.

SECT. 2.

  1. IN his sparing grace: How sadly hath the abuse hereof been * tevenged: God hath not onely spared the sons that serve him, but the enemies that rebel against him: When this goodness hath been answered by insolent provocation, God hath dealt with the darers of his Majesty, as Abner did to Asahel: The adventurous man, to his own ruine, would needs be following Abner: The angry man bid him once turn aside, but he would follow; a second time, Turn thee aside Asahell, why should I smite thee to the ground; but he followeth still, was smitten and killed, 2 Sam. 2. 21, 22, 23. so audacious, wanton sinners, in the ways of sin, are on•••id to turn aside, and are spared, but following on still in wanton provocations, are smitten dead and sent to hell. The Lord of Hoasts deals like men of War, that meet with galloping Travellers, charged to stand, or else they die for it; are spared, and bid again to stand, or they are dead men; but pressing on, are shot and perish. Many now in Hell have heard the Lords warning stands, but though often spared, would still gallop in the road to destruction, and their blood is justly upon themselves: Sparing grace abused, hath been repaired with unsparing vengeance.

SECT. 3.

  1. BEwail the abuse of Gods long suffering grace: Though * Gods patience be lasting, it is not everlasting; Vessels of wrath turn it into fury: •ow sad is it, That which leads a few to salvation, accidentally ripens others destruction: As they fill up sin, they fill up wrath. God, that is angry with the wicked every day, smites not every day, but hath the reserves of wrath, which is paid out in whole-sale vengeance: His sword is whet, his bow is bent, the arrows are on the string, instruments of death are prepared, the un-erring eye and hand of vengeance cannot miss the mark, when the Decree comes forth to let flie, Psalm 7. 4. Damnation slumbers not: The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have performed the intents of his heart, Jer. 30. 24. Phar•ohs personal destruction spared Plague after Plague, was at length effected in the Red Sea: Visions of destruction, as well as of salvation, are for an appointed time, and then terro•s and sorro•s come, like a Woman in travel: Long prosperious wickedness should be pitied, not envied. Fret not at the full Tables, the silken Scarlet glory, the gold of Ophir, wherewith sin is served: How sad will the •eckoning be, when the transitory s•eets of sin, must have ete•n•l sow•e s•wce. Habakkuks sense of su•e, though long delayed venge•nce on the enemies of God, made his elly tremble, his lips •uiver, and rottenness to enter into his bones, Hab. 3. 16. The imagined Idea’s of the sad ends of abused long-suffe•ing, will make tender Bowels of compassion to yearn, hearts to pray, lips to cry out to God for mercy, yea, and eyes to wee• out charitable desires, that those who are unbettered by large •pace to repent, may return and live.

SECT. 4.

  1. BEwail the abuse of Gods reconciling grace, who almost * under Gospel preaching, but believe God, and they are 〈◊〉 by Jesus Christ. It is ••d to think how this is abused. May not the Lord •esus say of his false friends, as David of his, they that fed on his bounty lift up their heele against him, Psal. 41. 9. As Job of his Freinds that forgat him, Job 19. 14. How is Christ forgotten, when those who pretend interest in him, wantonly cast his Lawes behind their backs, and are malepart in his presence: •his loving stile Friend, the title Christ gave to Judas, Matth. 26. 50. was for his reproach, not his honour, that he, who should have been the friend, was the enemy of Christ. You know his wofull end who eminently wronged the grace of Christ.

SECT. 5.

  1. BEwaile the abuse of Gods freeing grace. How many boast of christian Liberty, while they are loose Libertines. Christ * hath bought them to doe his own wil, whom he intends to save, not to do their own. This pleasing misery is common. Outsides in christianitie vote themselves f•ee, as the Jews did themselves, Joh. 8. Christs Freemen, •hile they are the servants of sin, the light is as sorrowful, as to see a Prisoner in chains cry out of his civil freedom. Can you believe him free, that cannot stir f•om the block he is tyed to. Christ hath called men to be free from the reign of sin, and they think sinnes service liberty, which is their thraldome: yea, which is lamentable, after (as one complains) by the admirable and singular grace of Christ, men are delivered from the chains of Papacie, they would also be free and loose*from the gospel and commands of God, and that onely they would account right and just that seems so in their own eyes. May not the complaint of the loose German Protestants be verified of the loose English prophaners of Gospel grace. They are content the Word should be preached ••out there is no Reformation of manners, but an horrid Epicurean bestial life, in their drunken meetings, worldly pomps. Prophanations, yea Blasphemies of the name of God. They would as freely and impudently sinne as Papists in their Idolatry; God requires serious and Christian discipline, but this is among us a new Papacie, and a new Monckisme. The thanks wee mo•ly give to God, for being rescued from the yoake of Antichrist is mostly casting off the yoak of Christ. O God provoking England, that so abusest Christian Liberty! Thine ungreatful and wanton throwing off the golden yoak of Christ, cries for vengeance to put upon thee again to bear the Iron yoak of Antichrist. It is, O it is, a sorrowful consideration, that men count it their freedom under the gospel, to sin freely, and without sorrow. O the numerous Libertines among us, past feeling! and, as the word bears it, past sorrow, Eph. 4. 19. that have given themselves over to Lasciviousnesse. Unsorrowing sinners are most sad spectacles for yearning bowels. O tender hearted christians! in your secret * mournings, pitty hardned Libertines that pittie not themselves; weep for them who neither can, nor care, nor desire to weep for themselves. A sorrowless stupidity and lethargy, that feels not the check, and lash of the natural conscience, and is deaf to the Spirits motions, that is contracted by a benumming liberty and custom in sin, is a woful judgement.

SECT. 6.

  1. BEwaile the abuse of Pardoning grace. How sad will be * their account, whose Faith, or rather Presumption of Pardon, adds to their sinne? Christ said to the pardoned woman, sin no more. Carnall confidence sayes, Sin more, you shall be pardoned; though dayly dear sinnes are written down in the conscience, the Spunge of pardoning grace will blot them out. The truly tender conscience cleared from old guilt, would not willingly, but is afraid to contract new; but the brawny seared conscience makes use of Christs indulgence, to ease his spirit, not to heal his lust. Its a lamentation, M• wallo v• in their pollution because of free remission. The Lord hath spoken in that verse, where he proclaims the glory of his grace, a sad word, He will not clear such guilty persons.

To lay the Dishonors of gospel grace to heart, three things may be heart-affecting expedients.

  1. Such as are grieved for this sin, write after the copy of Jesus Christ, and the choicest Saints, of Christ: He beheld Jerusalem, where the Messengers of grace, the Prophets were abused and slain, where himself, the author of grace, was to be condemned and crucified, where the sweet Messages of grace were delivered and despised, and wept over its sin and punishment, Luke 19. 41. Again, a dolorous sense of the injuries of grace, is like to that mourning frame of spirit that was in the pious Jews, who sighed and cried for all the abominable planings of Gods grace, Ezek. 9. 3, 4. This suits with eminently holy Pauls spirit, who spying looseness among his knowing, but wanton Corinthians, expressed thus his jealousie, I fear lest when I come to you, my God will humble me, and I shall bewaile them that have not repented of their wantonness, 2 Cor. 12. 12, 13.
  2. Such as are humbled for this sin, discover a child-like in-genuous disposition. A good Son is afflicted for his Fathers dishonour. If I be a father, where is mine honour, Mal. 1. 6. It speaks us Strangers, not Children, the born of the Flesh, not the Spirit, if we see the reproaches of Gods grace, with contented spirits.
  3. Such as mourn for this sin in others, and have some taint of the guilt of it in themselves, shall find this a soveraign preservative against it for time to come. Godly sorrow works repentance, and by the real sadness of the spirit and countenance for sin, this great sin, the heart is made better, Eccles, 7. 3. The ingenuous child that feels the smart of the rod, will be fearful of falling into the sinne that brought it. Holy anguish of soul for abusing Gods grace, will be a memento, and a Medicine to heal it.

  

CHAP. X. Containing an Ʋse of Examination.

IN that Gods grace is turned into Wantonnesse, [Use 3] * its useful for Examination; Whether or no this odious guilt be fastned upon us. We may know it by a serious perusal of the kindes and wayes wherein this great sin is committed, layd down in the Doctrinal part. If the trying, reflecting conscience, find any of the particulars, wherein grace is abused experimented either in heart or life, there the sin is impartially to be charged home. In, and about the great duties of conviction of sinne, sorro• for it, and returning from it, we ordinarily through self-love, carnal flattery, supine carelesnesse, yea too often wilfull ignorance, put off particular arraignments, close inditements, self-condemnation, and so resolutions and endeavours to reform. Though, as hath been shewed, the abuse of Gods grace is an universal sin, yet there is not one of a thousand that seriously and sadly saith, I am the wretch that hath wronged Gods grace. Who almost, though eminently guilty, but can smooth and applaud himself in the thoughts of innocence, he is no enemy but friend of grace; or if f•ulty, but a very little inconsiderably peccant? Though all are offenders, yet very few lay it to heart, by sound conviction, and say, We are the persons that have vickedly aff•onted the grace of God. Unless reason, and conscience be feared, and judgement besotted, and spiritually mad, if thou hast any degree of the fear of God, and sober sense left thee, and thou wilt be judged by the Word of God, wherewith, whether thou wi•• no, thou shalt be at the great day: I shall set before thee guilty Reader, a glass wherein thou mayst see the spotted, deformed face of this ugly sin, be ashamed of it, be humbled for it, and repent. No becauseit is in this kind of sin, as it is in Hypocrisie; there is a grosse and a close hypocrisie, so there is an evident and notorious, and less discemed and suspicious perverting the grace of God. I shall therefore endeavour to discover the more visible and   palpable symptomes, and the more hidden, close, and less evident tokens of this disease. As touching enquiry, who are more notoriously, clearly, grosly guiltie of this s•nne, I shall lay down many symptomes.

SECT. 1.

THey may know themselves to be manifest gross abusers of * Gods grace,

  1. Who first oppose Gospel-merits, and mercies to the Worship of God. Such as call God gracious in himself, and to them, and yet call not upon him, how doe they vilif•e his grace? He makes light of that thing which he desires not, and he of the grace of God that he prayes not for. God is free of his grace, but to them who by the aide of the same grace ask it. The spirit grace is a spirit of supplication, Zach. 12. 10. A man may pray and have no grace, being a trifler, cold, hypocritical, unbeleeving, tyred in his Devotion; but no man ever had grace, but in faith, fervency, and perseverance prayed to God for it. Prayerless are graceless soules. Families past Praier, are past grace. If Prayerless, professed Christians were asked the question, Have you any part in the grace of God? The Ans•er would bee Ignorantly, •oldly, Roundly returned from some; Yea I hope I have; from others, Yea, I thank God, his grace hath helped me; from a third sort an answer in angry looks, sharp words, that the Questionist should doubt it the confident Atheist hath not Gods grace in him. All take it for granted they are the favourites of grace, though they pray not to the God of grace by the Spirit of grace. Doe not these clearly proph•ne Gods grace? Things we basely account of, we think not worth the craving. O prayerless ones, that think Gods grace will save you; How basely doe you account it, that seek not for it?

SECT. 2.

THey may argue their gross abuse of Gods grace,

  1. Who fromally, and carelesly pray for it; look not after * their requests, no• in a ridiculous, sporting devotion are solicitous that the desire of grace should be obtained in heart and life. It is as if jeering companions should in a Market cheapen commodities, vvhich they care not for, nor are resolved to buy; such scoffi•g Christians in their seeming drawings nigh to God, seem to bid fair and high to obtain heavenly commodities; If God will enrich them with such and such grace, they will part with their carnal Lusts and Loves, and so they ever turne their backs upon the grace they ask; have no estimate, see no need of it, make no enquirie about it, and live without it. This is in effect, as if in plain tearms abominable petitioners should thus say to God, Lord I ask thy grace, but I care not for it, yea shouldst thou give it me I would not have it: Thou hast honour enough, and I salvation enough, though I barely ask it, and never receive it. The enemies of Christ bowed the knee to Christ on the Cross in mockery. Prayer for grace without a real sense of the want of it, and longings after it, deep sorrow for its absence, wrastlings to get it, restlesnesse to attain it, is a bowing the knee to Christ in mockery. Princes doe not use to send their Ambassadors, but they desire a return of the Ambassage from Forreigne Potentates: Israelites Princes in Prayer, Gen. 32. 28. do not use to send their Ambassages to Heaven, but they earnestly desire their return. How grosly doe most abuse Prayer for grace, praying with no grace, no spiritual understanding in their cold formal words. Lord give me grace, when they know not, lay not to heart, what they ask in saying so. Did they understand what they ask, and were willing to receive it, the grace of God would doe the things which their corrupt nature abhorres; nor cannot heartily say Amen unto. It would mortifie dearest lusts which they nourish, pull down the pride they live in, break their hard hearts, which are now stoney, forgive the wrongs they cannot forget, turn the spirit of the world out of their hearts, cause them to deny self they seek, new mold the inward and the outward man. Common petitioners are false-hearted to the saving interest of their own soules, and the honour of God in his grace: The grace they pray for amiss they miss; for as in the Poetick Fiction, Ixion had but a cloud for Juno; so these in their Devout Fiction have what they sought for, but a shadow for grace. The Picture, not the Life of grace will serve their turn; and this is ever the just plague of these phantastick Christians, their Religion, and their Felicitie are both a fancy, in the black   dismal shadow of Death: God will put off them, as they put off themselves, with a shadowy grace, and a shadowy heaven: And as a painted fire giveth not a spark of warmth to a freezing body, so painted Devotion, that had the colour, not the fervour of grace, will not give a spark of comfort to a cold departing soul. If thy conscience tels thee, Reader, thou art such a one, who hast palpably abused the grace of God, and hast as often mocked the God of grace, as thou hast unconscionably and impudently prayed unto him: Know assuredly God will teach the in the other world to distinguish between prayer for thee semblance and the life of grace. This would make thee a glorious convert, a Samuel asked of God; that will neither dispossesse Satan, out the world, nor crucifie the old man. Grace where ever received, hath kingly dominion. ‘Tis sad to think how vulgar sottish people who pretend to prayer; when they say they would have grace Reign in them, it is but a King of clouts, not a living Authoritative Monarch, furnished with the mighty Militia of Heaven, able to throw down stoutest enemies in the soul.

SECT. 3.

THey may undoubtedly conclude, they are open and evident * abusers of Gods grace

  1. Who shroud unrighteous and oppressive courses under the grace of God. Paul taxed the Corinthians, called to be Saints, and sanctified in Jesus Christ, at least in Church Judgement such, with the abuse of their gracious calling, in that they were so far from suffering, that they defrauded, 1 Cor. 6. 7. Nay you’d wrong and defraud, and that your brethren, ver. 8. So under the colour of the Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord, the figure of Gods grace in Christ, Theft, Murder, and Adultery had quiet Patronage. Jer. 7. 4, 9. If the grace of God that brings salvation, teacheth to deny worldly lusts, and to live righteously. Ordinary injustice cannot be the spot of Gods children. A pious man may unawares be surprized by a temptation to unrighteousness, but to live by, and in the gain of secret fraud, or open violence, the bread of wickedness, Prov. 4. 17. the penury, the teares, the blood of Orphans and Widdows, the ruins of the unjustly desolate and oppressed, is an high inconsistencie with the grace of God. It never made Rapine sacred, Robbery for Burnt-offering is abominable. The most reitterated, sweet presumptions of interest in grace, will ever lastingly be confuted by an unjust conversation. Injurious dealing is so far from being alleviated, that it is aggravated by a profession of •eligion. ‘Tis double, three-fold, ten-fold, hundred-fold guilt to make God justifie Satan, the streight rule of his Nature, Law, •ospel, to call the crooked and unequal designs and practises of men. Darknesse it self stayes not but vanisheth before the light, and the unequal dealings of men before the grace of God. Jezabel was too unjust, cruel, bloody, to counsel to the Robbery and Murder of Nabaoth; but to make a Fast the Prologue to, and Sanctuary of a false possession, and effusion of blood, was accumulated wickedness: The turning of long Prayers into strong Snares, to devoure widdows houses, was the Pharisees sin of deeper dye, of greater damnation, Mat. 23. 14. •s on the one hand the righteous Moralist will perish, who doth not influence his second Table obedience by first Table piety; so on the other hand, the unjust worshipper of God will be condemned, for confuting first Table Religion by second Table unrightcousness. God hath not opposed godlyness to righteousness, nor righteousness to godlyness, no good man must, nor dares to do. He that here impenitently separates what God hath joyned together will be undone for ever. Vnjust possessors will with cold comfort look upon their fair and rich estates, when by undue artifices, unequal methods, the breaches of divine and just humane Laws, they are guilty possessors. The cries of wrongs, decry and out-cry the cryes of Prayers. O let every one among us that lay claim to the Mediator, Spirit, Gospel, Ordinances, Comforts of Grace, seriously examine the efficacie and glory of grace, as well downwards, in exercise of a just conscience voyd of offence towards men, as upwards in a pious conscience voyd of offence towards •od. O let every one try the obloquy and infamy of grace, whether dishonest dealing have not opened the mouthes of malicious observers, to asperse the strictness of the first Table, and break out thus reproachfully against gracious profession. Are there not every where such sharp taunts in England; These are your Sermon-hunters, these are your Devout ones; these are your Sabbatarians; against Recreations on the   Lords day, very precise, arrant Hypocrites; why they will not Swear, but they wil Lye; they are dishonest in their dealings and bargains; they will not pay their debts; they will over reach, they are not square in their walkings; better deal with other men that are not so strict in religion as they seem to be that now and then say by faith and troth, are good merry neighbors,, keep not such adoe about Reading, Hearing, Praying, whining Talking, as they do, as if looseness in the first Table helped to strictness in the second, or the strict duties of Gods worship did give men liberty to deny men their dues. This is the sad consequence of the open abuse of gods grace by oppression and unrighteousness. O unjust Reader! if in this Section thou readest thy character, fear, tremble, repent, thy wickedness is great, thine iniquitie is infinite, and thine inditement is plain against thee; thou hast openly, and fear fully abused the grace of God.

SECT. 4.

THey may clearly be convinced, they are evident prophaners * of Gods grace.

  1. Who account these faint desires, Lord have mercy upon me, God give me his grace, satisfactions for daily sins. How many thus at once wrong themselves and the grace of God, thinking such words enough to pacifie the conscience, and make God amends for all the wrongs done to him. When there is added Drunkenness to Thirst, one act of uncleanness to another, oath to oath, wilfull sins stand thick to one another. ‘Tis not the bare, vocal, natural force of these words, Grace and Mercy, that can allay the Devil, and appease God, but their supernatural efficacy. Satan can laugh at words, trembleth onely at power. O the sad and vast numbers of prophane professed Christians among us, who no sooner utter from prophane spirits those sweet gospel-words, Grace and Mercy, but all is presently at peace within them, and as they thinke above too; and now filthy drunken Swine, unclean Goats, and cheating Foxes, the visible contemners of both Tables, sleep as securely under the favour and protection of these sweet words, Gods Grace and Mercy, as if they were innocents: Such as these ignorant, prophane persons that never considered what is the worth, power, what should be the renowne of Gods Grace and Mercy, evidently abuse their precious names to vile things.

SECT. 5.

THey may know they openly injure the grace of God,

  1. Who by restraints sometimes laid upon sin, are licenciously * bold to sin the more freely at other times. ‘Tis the sad experience of multitudes who abstain from sin not still to abstain, but to give after the freer reins to lust; as gluttons fast for a while that they may devoure the creatures more liberally and largely; thus many for a time fast, that in the feeding the old man in the next meals they may be gluttons; while Sermon-sick they forbear acting over the old sinnes, but when the fits are over, they are at the usual trade again, like intemperate Seamen, while Sea-sick abstain from disorders, but when at shore are at the old drinking and excess, while the terrors of God have been on many spirits, and have wrested humble confessions, and holy resolutions, one would think some men not onely Agrippa-like, Allmost Christians, Act. 26. 28. but Paul-like, Alltogether Saints; but when the pangs are over, the abstinence from sinne is over too: They are like the water, colder after it is heared, colder after Hel-heats have been upon their consciences: Seven wo•se Devils enter into Formal Spirits. They are not a few, who before the Lords Supper, have unbent their bo•es, slackned their intentions, and vigorous prosecutions of their sinful courses, and put stands to their careere Hel-wards; the gaming, drunken, wanton company is left, the oathes and worldlyness are for a while suppressed; the Communicants with bended knees, eyes lifted up, sad composed countenances, reverend gestures, personate an Angelical respect; for a season the Devils Terms are adjourned, and there is a Vacation for God, and a seeming austere Discipline of Repentance; but as a Traveller leaving his beast at the door to speak with his Friend, comes to him again, and is on his old rode, so these travellers in the broad way to destruction, seem to leave their sinne when at the Communion Table, and in their Sabbath worship, but come to them again, yea with more confidence gallop on in the Road to everlasting misery, because they have made some seeming profession wherein they boast. Thus because the religiously •icked Harlot began with God, and payd her homage in Peace-offerings, might, as shee pretended, cum privilegio, with heavens leave •oe the work of Hell. Grace that holds the bridle of restraint at one time, would hold it at all times; gives dispensation to sin at no time. Accursed be that abstinence from sin, that doth not dispose still to abstain, but is an allowance to more excessive ryots: If this bee not gross abuse of Grace, what is?

SECT. 6.

THey may be assured they doe undeniable evident wrong to * Gods grace

  1. Who turn it into a Sanctuary for unnatural sins. Such there are, who are so far from an obediential compliance •ith the reign of grace, that they grosly deny the demands of nature, and put a clo•k of spiritual grace on unnatural sinnes. If there be but a confident fancy of, and bold challenge to the grace of God, though in the Court of Nature there be a sufficient •ury to cry guilty, guilty, the grace of the gospel is pleaded as sufficient security and indemnity. These Anomala, errata naturae, Monsters in nature are pictured out in the word of truth. What they know naturally as brute beasts, voyd of reason (yea worse) in * those things they corrupt themselves. Jude Ep. v 10. The stains and blots of the Church, and Reproach of grace are dishonorably peccant against the Light and Laws of Nature.

Against that great Law of Nature, Summary of Duty commanded by Christ, commended by the Imperor Severus, urged in Pagan Writings; Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, even so do ye to them, Matth. 7. 12. What sad contradiction is there every where, not onely among looser, but stricter Christians? Were there nothing else to judge the world but this rule, what infinite numbers of unnatural persons, arraigned before this •ribunal, would soon be speechless, self-•ondemned, and justly perish for ever: Pretenders to grace would not be wronged in their es••tes, but they will rong; they would not bee defamed, but they will def•me; they would in poverty have relief, but they will not relieve. In many other particulars   is this equitable Lex talionis, requiting rule trampled under feet.

Further, ’tis not more true then sad, this black brand of a reprobate sense is to be found not in a few, that secure themselves in the Sanctuary of grace, viz. the want of natural affections, Rom. 1. 36. Have we not instances of Parents unnatural to children, cruel to their bodies and soules, matter not what become of either; Ostrich Progenitors, forget their natural issue, as if they were not theirs, Job 39. 19. nor feed, nor cloath inside, nor outside; hardned against them, provoke them to wrath, tempt them to undoing courses, Murderers before the Lord. Are not loose children Monsters of ingratitude? who should endeavour to requite their dear Parents, a debt can never be payd, a degenerate offspring, forget their Mothers travelling pangs, their yearing bowels, their sollicitous thoughts, their bitter teares, their wakeful spirits, their expence of time, their willing slavery to be confined to attendance on, and labours for, a proud, fancy, and stubborn brood: Doe they not slight their dear, poor, afflicted Fathers, whose sleep hath been broken, purses emptied, hearts leaping within them to provide for such who are better fed than taught? forgetful Rebels! Will the natural pietie of the young Storks to the old ones, shame and doome the unnaturall seed of unreturning, yea positively defaming, robbing, cursed children, who either without, or under colour of Law, undeo their Parents? Thus also, even under Christian profession, and proprietie to Gospel grace, Brethren are unnaturall to Brethren, Sisters to Sisters, Husbands to Wives, and Wives to Husbands. Moreover, God the Author, Lover, Teacher, and Maintainer of Humane Societie, hath implanted noble principles in the minds of men, to sodder together the children of men, help one another, be among men Gods to men, and not Wolves to men, and Devils to men, as too many are. Amongst these sweet civilities and humanities are engraven natural clemency and kindnesse. Hence Heathens have shined in works of Mercy: The Batbarians at Melita were kind to Paul, Act. 28. 2. But, O Prodigies of Christianity! as far different from Jesus Christ in Mercy and Loving kindnesse, as Darkness is is from Light. There are many thousand ungracious gospellers (for they are no   better) who as if they were not born of women, nor ever beholding to God, their Parents, nor others for sweet mercies, shew none, yea shew cruelty for mercy, as if they had suckt the Milk of Tygers, no more moved at the bitter miseries of others, then if they were stones, so farre from giving Alms to relieve them, that they have not a sigh to pitty them. These feed on the pleasing dreames of interest in divine, saving mercy, and are unmercifull. If the merciful are blessed, and they shall have mercy; the merciless are cursed, they shall have none. He that stops his ears at the cry of the poore, shall read his sinne in his Punishment, to his smart and shame, and shall cry to God and not be heard.

Adde hereunto another sort of loose Christians, are deb•uched in Drunkennesse, a deed of darkness, prohibited by the light of Nature; who ryot also in the day time of Gospel-profession, yea though this unmanly excess, evil at all times, is fitter to be covered by the black Mantle of the night, than to appear before Sun, yet filthy beasts will reel at noon-day, yea are morning, early sots; They that be drunken are drunken in the night, 1 Thes. 5. 7. The Policy, not the Innocencie of Nature. But now men owning the grace of God are not ashamed to declare their shame, betray their nakedness, spend the precious houres of the day, the creature, their money, as if God made his Sunne, his Earth, his Barley, his Vines, to use them all in the service of an Intemperate Lust. O all you English Drunkards! goodly Christians forsooth in your own conceits, that think to have a share in Gospel salvation, as well as others, that are strong to drink, like strongly hoop’d Barrels, can hold much drink; yea like the Brewers horse, can carry your burden from morning till night, doe you think to indemnifie your surfeits in cool blood by the grace of God? You need no condemnation from the Tribunal of Grace, from that of Nature you will have a sufficient avenging sentence, Heathens, Moral Philosophy, and Sober Conversation will cry out upon you. If Providence guide your eyes to read your own character, I beseech you the next meeting you carouse it, and health it in Flaggons off rong drink, and bottles of wine, ask your selves the question, Doth this fordid l•vishing the goodness of God suit with B••tis••l grace. The stile we give God, he is gracious to us, our Prayer for grace (unlesse as   Atheists you have laid by prayer) our time of grace, our Ordinances of grace, our Hopes to be saved by grace? You have too long vail’d your unnatural drunkenness under grace.

Lastly; another sort of False Christians that want not confidence, such as it is, in the grace of God, sinne against the dictare of nature, chastity of body and mind. Some make nothing of Fornication, a trick of youth, defended by some Libertines, though not to be named among Saints, decried from Reasons school. Others sinne against Natures dictate, the Marriage-bed undefiled, are as Horses that neigh after their neighbours wives, Jer. 5. 8. Abimelech would not defile himself with Abraham’s Wife, Gen. 20. 5, 6. nor Alexander himself with the beautifull Wife of Darius: And for shame let not Christians to the dishonour of the Gospel attempt such wickednesse. If the Reader be such an unclean wretch, to forsake the wife of his youth, and forget the Covenant of his God, let him with fear and trembling among other Scriptures read these two; Adulterers God will judg. This Reverend Latimer presented with a Poesie in a Bible to Henry 8. Adulterers shall not inherit the Kingdom of God, 1 Cor. 6. 9, 10. And to these adde a third, which though it intend not the impossibilitie, yet it doth the rarity, and exceeding great difficulty for Adulterers (and Adulteresses too) to repent; All that go unto her return not again, neither take they hold of the paths of life, Prov. 3. 19. Others, worse then Fornicators and Adulterers, are Sodomites. Degenerate Christians are Sodomites and *Gomorrheans. Pride, Luxury, Abuse of the creatures, Contempt of God, Sodoms sins, Christians sins; yea (’tis sad to mention) Sodomy, that abominable, unn•tural sin, is sometimes among pretenders to Jesus Christ. It were well (said one) if those that would be accounted among Christians, Church-guides, the greatest props and pillars of Faith and Religion, were free from Sodoms horrid burning in unnatural lust. How well at Rome, the great pretended Church-men will quit themselves from burning in lust to men, yea to boyes, they shall be judged in the other world. How sad is thy guilt, O England! if to the huge mountain heaps of thine other sinnes, thy wanton children should write after Sodoms copy. If God and his Angels are witnesses of such unnatural, secret villanies, O then the infinite patience of God, that Sodoms sins pul not down Sodoms plagues. To conclude,   whatever are the kinds of impure flames of deeper or shallower malignity, whosoever pretends to the grace of Christ, whose bodies * should be the Temples of the Holy Ghost, and let these Hellish fires burn within and without, they are to know, and be ashamed, they are most notorious abusers of Gods grace, which would teach them to live soberly, not incontinently: Let them hearken to that of Augustine, wondring at the pernicious wickedness of burning lust, in these words, O infernall fire! whose fewel is gluttonie, whose flame is pride, whose spark is filthy communication, whose stink is actual uncleanness, whose end is hell.

SECT. 7.

THey may conclude themselves manifest depravers of the * grace of God,

  1. Who think it will afford an indulgent protection to their vile affections. What communion between these and the grace of God. The carnal Gentiles abused nature to vile affections, Rom. 1. and carnal Christians so abuse grace: mortifying inordinate affections is the work of grace, Col. 3. keeping it alive, and feeding it, speaks wanton indulgence. To particularize in some vile affections, wherein loose Christians dishonour the grace of God.
  2. Vile love, vile self-love that should be swallowed up in self-abhorrence, and ever is so where grace hath dominion. The love of what the Devils love, of what God abhorrs; the love of dis-ingenuous, degenerous, base courses, like doggs and swine, to wallow in filthiness, the love of oathes, lies, Rev. 22. 15. filthy lucre, Hos. 4. 18. strange women, Prov. 5. 20. intemperate flagons of wine, Hos. 3. 1. wandring from the infinite fountain of goodnesse, Jer. 2. 13. Such things as with infinite abhorrence God turnes his pure eyes from, and for which he wil punish the abominable affectionists of vile love with everlasting contempt, and most justly because their noble affection of love, which should be bestowed on the highest beauty, should cleave to carrion, dunghil lusts, and have the Image of the Devil on it.
  3. Vise hate. Vise indeed, hating the chiefest good, the blessed God. Haters of God are put in the black Roll of grosse sinners, Rom. 1. Hating him as hell, as the word bears it. Vile * hate of knowledge, Prov. 1. 29. Instruction, Psal. 50. 17. Reproof, Prov. 15. 10. The beautifull Image of Christ, Gen. 4. 6. Joh. 15. 23. the sinners own soul, Prov. 29. 24. the spiritual presence of God which is heaven upon earth. He that hates his brother is a Murderer. O what swarms of Murderous Christians are among us, that carry killing hatred, dispositively killing in their bosoms! Are we not (O the sad reproach of grace) hatefull, and hating one another? Is not hatred breaking forth (as one complains) by evill tongues, in biting calumny to be found now adaies among Protestants. We may be ashamed that there should*be among us such as stain the splendour of the Christian name by malice against one another. The baptized into the love of Christ, and one another, inflamed by mutual hatred, immortalize their enmities, write injuries and revenge as with a pen of a Diamond. Yea, which is sad, the fellow heirs of glory, the brethren and sisters of the same heavenly Family, called to, and by the same grace, have sometimes too much of this cursed leaven, the hating of one another, who should in an Orthodox, and good Practical sense be a Family of Love, and have lost much of the character of Christs Disciples, the loving of one another.
  4. Vile Joy, voyd of purity and charity, vilely rejoyceth in iniquitie, sports in sin, Prov. 10. 23. Takes pleasure in unrighteousness. These delight in abomination, Isa. 66. 3. Is glad at heart when anothers corruption breaks forth: O, said one, I am glad that such a ones sinne is discovered. This gladness is madness. O wicked mirth, to be glad of that which is the Devils triumph, the Spirits grief, Gods dishonor, the Gospels Reproach, the Laws breach, the Sinners guilt, the Soules defilement, and Hels danger. To turn one anothers weakness and wickedness into merriments, is too common a sin; a most unbecoming * sin to them that have the grace of God, who should use it in holy mourning, not carnal mirth, when others sin. We feast not our selves like men, like Saints, who like •oads, like worms, feen on Dunhill corruption. We read not that Scripture Saints were guilty of such vile joy, as to sport either in their own, or others sins. ‘Tis one piece of the looseness of the times, there is too much complacencie, prophane comical triumph in one anothers nakedness.

  

  1. Vile Anger. Unmortifyed, raging, frequent defended wrath reigns among us, is by most professed beleevers hurried up and down with wild-fire, thought no sin, by many a less sinne than it is. How many Bedlam Furiosos, set on fire by the fire of Hell, are in such fearfull flames, that standers by have just cause to say, Fire, Fire, Quench, Quench, with the waters of Patience and Meekness those dreadfull heats. Yea ’tis the shame and blame of persons in the state of grace, they neither use their reason, nor their grace, to quench those hasty impure flames, which their own, and others corruptions have kindled: That in their fiery, peevish, rash moods, and hellish feavourish fits, they have grosly abused the grace of God. The departing Spirit of grace from them is a sad testimony, the Dove-like Spirit dwels not in a filthy house. The calm, delicate, tender Spirit abides not in a Whirlwind, but in a sedate, quiet, composed soul. Wrath before, or in Praier, and the Spirit of Praier meet not together. Tempestuous minds make sad work in Praier. ‘Tis pittiful stuff when they are in an uproar. Ungoverned passion grieves and chaseth away the Spirit of God, that hath sealed meek, orderly, regenerate souls to the day of Redemption.

SECT. 8.

THey cannot shift the charge of open abuse of Gods grace * 8. Who oppose Gods grace to necessary civilities. As Christ came not to destroy, but establish the Law, so Grace comes not to destroy, but establish civilitie; it teacheth no man to be Cynick, morose, crabbed, austere, to humane order, calling, relation, but it siveetens those bosoms wherein it dwels; it hath such sweet, and pure Communion with God, that it knows not how to be sowre and rugged with men. The gracious person may be uncivil; grace never is. It is a great fault and dishonor to grace, in persons of grace, that they do not study and practise the Scriptures civil, as wel as religious Precepts and Presidents. For wan• hereof in some persons religious strictness is loathed, Gods imprudent, discourteous servants are called Cynicks, Clowns, •lo•k-heads, Proud ones, Pharisees, unfit for societie; their holy profession is too strait laced, and shrivel’d up, that it is so dainty of giving men and women, be they what   they will be, their just external respects. I confesse it is a strong temptation to contemn them that contemn God, not to honour them who dishonour God, to lay their honour in the dust, who cast Gods commands behind their backs. However, God will vindicate his name, and make it glorious, though the ungratefull persons of civil precedency have made it by their loose lives odious. Yet sin in one is no excuse for sin in another. He sinneth that abuseth his civil honour and en•oyments to slight loyal subjection to God; and he sinneth too that denies him his lawfull honour. Satan hath in the postolical times, in after Ages of the Church, and in our present times too, spoted the beauty and weakened the power of strict Practical Religion, made this a case of conscience, whether Beleevers should be under Civil ties to wicked men. He hath tempred some, when they see their high preferments, as heirs of glory contemplate their high born natu•es, that they are born of God, partakers of a divine resemblance, to think themselves too great and too good to be under the observance of humane civilities, an un-scriptural, unchristian irrational, seditious, and clownish temptation. Whoever they are, really gracious, or in pretence that oppose the grace of God to civilities among men, in three things they are gross abusers of Grace.

  1. In civil possessions. ‘Tis not grace, but spiritual Pride, Erro•, Confusion, Self-love teacheth that Lesson, that a wicked man hath no right to the Creature; Dominion is not founded on grace, but humane consitutions and providence, which shines on it, and approves it if just, decreeth its permission, futuritie, and ordereth it onely if evil, for good and wise ends. However be Masters of Estates and Domination never so wicked, yet if they have a rightful title and possession of either, ’tis a graceless principle not to own them Masters. Though wicked Libertines * that possesse and devour the creatures have no Gospel-right, they have a civil right, though not by the Covenant of grace, yet by the compacts of men; though not in capi•e, in special Tenure, in Christ the •ead, yet in the Common hol• of Providence. When gracious persons, especially poorer Christians, see Rich Gluttons and Drunkards, know they lay on beds of Down, and fare deliciously every day, and question themselves as to their heavenly estate, how they can be the great heires of God, who have neither money in the purse, nor bread in the Cupboard, look on them with invidious eyes, and fretting hearts, and think themselves have onely right to the sweet comforts of dissolute Masters; let them know this perswasion is not from grace but sinne. Freat not poor, yet rich Christian, above what the Gold of Ophir, the Indian Mines, Cartloads of Jewels and most Precious Stones can make thee, thou art more like Christ in Poverty than Riches. What though thou art an hungry sheep, feeding on bare Commons, and feest fat Goats in rich Pastures, prosperous wicked worldlings, fatted Oxen, it is for an eternal slaughter. Wait a while, thou shalt be removed to the rich heavenly food above. When the rich at once in sinne and wealth shall be outed of their deliciousdemeans, and be exposed to eternal hunger.
  2. In 〈◊〉 subjection. ‘Tis vanity to thinke Mastership and Grace are equipollent. None but the good must be obeyed; Uspers and Right Owners, Godly, and Vngodly Rulers, in Lawful things must be obeyed. Herein the National and Domestical Tyrant binds the conscience, Roman Caesars in the judgement of Christ and the Apostle Paul, Mat. 22. 21. Rom. 13. and froward Masters by the counsel of the Apostle Peter, 1 Pet. 2. 18. are to have subjection from their inferiours. ‘Tis pleasant to obey the good, ’tis necessary to obey the bad, ’tis commendable to obey all. If bare grace be the ground of subjection, the world should not stand. It would run to Anarchy and Confusion. For besides that very few have grace, every fanatick spirit can pretend it, Saint onely a party, ungrace the rest, vote them as wicked, pull them from the Seats of their Principalities, cut throats, rob estates, and all under the favour of this unquiet and turbulent Principle. There is no subjection to be given to wicked persons. The Apostle taught a better Lesson that converted Christian servants should abide with their idolatrous heathenish Masters, 1 Cor. 7. 20, 21. We read of Saints in Caesars house, Phil. 4. 22. Good Joseph dwelt with bad Potiphar, Gen. 39. 2. and Jacob with Laban, en. 31. 30. Indeed none should be, none may be so good servants as the good. This loose humour was stirring and condemned in Calvins time: He wrote against this wanton Principle. The same Error hath infected our times; insomuch as some servants when once turn Quakers, think themselves free from subjection to their Masters, pleading that they ought not to yeeld honour to men.
  3. In Civil Compellation. We live not among Angels, nor all Saints, but good and bad. The Kingdom of Christ is in the Kingdomes of the world. Civil respects are due to men as well as religious honours to God. The whole Scripture is Canonical. ‘Tis a part of divine inspiration, wee are commanded as well to be courteous, as to be gracious; civil treatment are not unbeseeming the strictest Saints. Men may, yea must have their titles according to their different orders, stations, conditions in the world. The Appellations of Worship, Honour, Lordship, Excellency, Highnesse, Majesty, are no sin in themselves; indeed when they come from the vain mouth, naughty heart, and tend to a bad end, of a loose sinner they are sin to him; and thus as the ploughing of the wicked is sin, so is his c•••••ment. Because with some persons civill •itles are so abominable, though they are not like to read this Page, yet the holy Scriptures will assure the sober Reader, their folly is manifest, and noto•ious. Put case persons of honour are wicked, as too many are, who are like to smart for it to all Eternity, for staining their o•n honour and Gods too: Yet Paul, a vessel of honor, without courtship, but by the teachings of the Holy Ghost, had learned this good manners, to give great, though bad persons, their civil respects: Noble Felix, Act. 24. 3. King Agrippa, Act. 25. 26. I appeal to Caesar, Act. 25. 11. Pauls persecutors at. Antioch were yet stiled Honourable Women, and chief Men of the city, Act. 13. 50. No unmannerly, railing Quakers in •po•o. lical times. But because in civil, courteous Appellations, it is not more easie than common to erre, there is an huge generation of vain complementists, whose immoderate compellations are the froth of language, the vanitie of minde, the waste of time, the impertinencie of Christian society, I would willingly caution the gracious person, convinced of his duty, he must be courteous, and give honour to whom honour is due, to observe these Rules. Christian, when you give civil honour to others, according to their worldly Qualitie and Precedencie,
  4. Do it with Reverence of the Majesty of God: Persons of Honour are the Image, the bright Beams of God, the infinite ••ount•in of Honour. ‘Tis he hath set the children of men in their Titles, Seats, Estates of Honour. Neither Affliction nor Promotion comes from the ground. God is the Judge, sets up whom he pleaseth, Ps. 75. 7. As in Wisdoms left hand are riches and glory, Pro. 3. 16. so he distributes worldly honours mo•ly to vile men. However they are, civil honour is not vile, though the persons that have it, be vile, come vilely by it, and use it vilely.
  5. Give civil honour for conscience sake, the sense of duty, God hath commanded it, not so much to please them, as to please God.
  6. When the lip honoureth, let the heart reverence. Wee may neither give men civil worship, nor God religious, hypocritically.
  7. Lavish not out too many words nor time in civil courtesies.
  8. From a prudent observation of Persons, Time, and Place, mix religious and spiritual with civil discourse. To spend whole hours, mornings, afternoons, as very many vain, frothy persons do, in air-beating, soul-unbettering, windy courtesies, and merry discourse, without a thought, a word of the Majesty of God, who as he hath a Book of remembrance to note down the pious words of them that fear him, so he registers too the numerous superfluous words of them that fear him not, will have a sad account in the great day.
  9. If among your civil treatments, as the Spouse, let your lips drop like the Honey-comb: when you speak of by a secret ejaculation beg a blessing on your gracious words, for your own, and the companies advantage.
  10. Labour to affect your heart with the good things, that in gravity and wisdom you deliver.
  11. If you see civil courtesie swalloweth up pietie, your selfe and heavenly language be a burden to the company, savouring not the things of God, preferring a Romance before a Sermon, vain chassie Tales before the precious Truths of God, they had rather be foolishly, carnally, constantly merry, than really wise, goe home, and mourn in secret, you have given vain spirits their due honours, who denyed God his, they have been all for courtesie, nothing for piety, visited only one anothers bodies, not soules, spent their time and strength in outward, while strangers to inward mirth.

SECT. 9.

THey, without breach of Charity, do grosly wrong the grace * of God,

  1. Who under glorious pretensions to Saving-grace, are eminent worldings. When Heaven and Earth meet together, then will Heavenly and Earthly minds. Grace, as it is heaven-born, so it doth make heavenly. The Mediator of Grace hath taught us, We cannot serve God and Mammon. How many go among us in their own thoughts, and in others opinion, for persons in the state of grace, and yet dextrously, deeply, with all the powers of their understanding and carnal reason, design, project for the world, affect it vehemently, pursue it fervently, keep it basely, part with it sorrowfully, heap it up covetously, desire it endlesly, admire it, adore it idolatrously, are afraid to put too much in Christs coffers, the bellyes of the poor. Is this the fruit of grace? Did ever grace come with power, but it did unglue the heart from the world? Is not this Scripture, The love of the world, and the things of the world, and the love of the Father dwell not together? 1 Joh. 2. 15. Will this passe for good Divinity? Will either the Scriptures, a Death-bed, or the Last Judgement own it? viz. A gracious Mammonist, a gracious Worldling, a gracious Hold-fast, a gracious Hard-heart, a gracious Rebel against the Laws of Christ, that commands labour for Heaven more than Earth, laying up Treasure in Heaven more than in Earth, more to be rich in good works, than in wealth, to settle the affections on things above, and not on earth: will cordial and practical contradiction to these and many such Laws of Christ, speak a gracious person, the honour of grace, the power of grace, O no, the nullitie of grace, the infamy of grace. Else the Apostle would not with tears speake of earthly minds as enemies to the Cross of Christ, whose end is (a sad word, a very sad one) destruction. Let the Masters of great Estates consider it, that had such before the Wars among us, or since the Civil, bloody commotions, by providence shining on gracious profession, in Court, City, Country, the Bench, the Pulpit, the Army, who have not walked, but suddenly leapt to huge riches, some to hundreds, others thousands by the year. Whoever they are, be they assured of it, they grosly abuse the grace of God, who give sad proof they are eminent worldlings; I beseech you all, who are so, and shall cast your eyes on these lines, seriously ask your own soules, Do you not set your hearts on the Mammon of iniquity? Are not your stupendious, sweet possessions your Idols? Are they not your treasure? do not your thoughts, esteems, affections, run out in full stream to them? Do not your poor neighbours, in the Countries, places where you live, see and bewail it, your bowels move no more to them than rocks? Doe you know when to say we have enough, to give largely to Jesus Christ as well as to your families? In these years of Judgement when Lo•ships, Farms, great Riches have changed Masters, are there none that say, Poor creatures, that think on it with tears? Ah wofull change, our old Masters fed and cloathed us, but we may starve under our new Possessors. I dare not charge you all for gracelesse worldlings, God will, your consciences one day will charge those that are guilty. I hope there are a few of you, the successors as well of others religious Liberalitie, as Patrimony. As for you that are not, you may be ashamed, by what name soever you are called, Presbyterians, Independents, or Anabaptists, that are covetously scraping, sordidly tenacious, linked, yea chained to your money, fear and tremble in your perilous Prosperities; Dominion and Riches are slippery places; you that stand in Englands high ground, take heed lest you fall: Let not your wanton dissolutenesse give you the denomination of Kine; Amos, the plain country Prophet called the great wantons of Israel, Kine of Bashan, Amos 4. 1. for lusty, fat, feeding ••ine, for rich Pastures, Kine of Bashan, a very fertile mountain. Is this your all to graze, and fill, and luxuriate in the plentiful pastures of rich estates? Are you, Jesurun-like, waxen fat, better fed than taught, kicking against your soveraign maintainer, lightly esteeming and forgetful of the God of your salvation, be sure of it, the jealous God can soon pull you down from your Principalities, and cause your abused Riches to take wings and fly to other owners. God is no respecter of persons, what is sinne in one he counts not innocence in another. As the Wisdom,   so the Justice that is from above is without partiality. God hath made many persons of sublime Honours, and great Estates his angry rods to chastize others sins. Successors in sinnes have reason to fear, they shall be fellows in punishments. White providence hath lifted you up, O tremble, lest black providence pull you down. Do you abuse divine Protections, Exaltations, vast provisions for your selves and families to Pride, Luxury, Coverousnesse, Impiety, Vnrighteousnesie? Are you wanton Libertines in opinion and Practise, doe you fear black reckoning dayes are coming upon you, lest you that have abused Providences, and the grace of God, drink the dregs of the cup of Trembling? So I leave you, and passe to another Generation of men, persons of Honour and huge Estates, that look upon themselves as the suffering party, egregious abusers also of the grace of God in eminent worldlyness. We have in this Nation a vast number of great ones, who have, and ought to have the civil titles of Worship and Honour, that own Baptismal grace, enjoy and use time and means of grace, and hope to be saved by grace as well as others, that give tokens of eminent earthlymindednesse. They keep not houses in their respective Country-Lordships, get into Cities, and Townes Corporate, and either there they liberally riot in their Families, Game, Feast, Drink away that Estate, their poor, naked, hungry neighbours want; or else, if Parsimonious, lay up every year vast summes, for greedy Purchases, and spend little or nothing in works of Mercy. Though I kno•v not the dimensions of your yearly layings up, yet it is twenty to one I may speak that which your consciences know to be true as to the secret methods and waies of your worldly increase. One, it may be, at the years end hath layd up an hundred pound, another two, another five, another a thousand pound, another two, another more. And wherefore this Bank, I beseech you? hath the Lord Jesus for Religious uses, acts of Pietie, and Mercy, the Tenth part, the Twentieth part, the Fortieth part, the Hundreth part? Have you honoured God with your substance, your annual increase? hath he had in nothing, or next to nothing, a thin inconsiderable charity, a real-gratitude from you, and will you appear good Stewards in the Accounting day? When you shall be asked what you have done with Gods Money and Land, and all the Items you will   bring in, will be Items of Pride, Luxury, costly fancies, Coverousness, &c. Will he be put off with such returnes? Learne Wisdom, and holy Policie against the great day, O all you thriving old and new Gentry, rich thriving Merchants and Tradesmen, wealthy Lawyers and Pulpit men; and for the time to come abhorre the baseness of self-hatred, which it may be you count self-love: To greaten your Families, and undoe your selves, to make rich heirs and dis-inherit your selves, to expose your selves to ete•nal penury, that your successors may live in luxury. ‘Tis without peradventure, The grace of God that brings salvation teacheth to deny worldly lusts, Tit. 2. 11. You have been bad Scholars in Christs School, that fulfill them. O doe no more in an hot, greedy chase hunt after the Profits and Pleasures of this world. Hearken to the words of one, who hath spoken the true experience of present worldlings. Is it not a crime, that many now adaies who professe the name of Christ, glue their hearts to the Mammon of Iniqurtie, and the Treasures of Wickednesse? ‘Tis a very base thing that Christians should enslave bodies and soules to the getting, keeping, increasing of treacherous, perilous, and uncertaine riches, and are so captivated by them, that they cannot serve the living God. Take Augustines judgement of this vaine * world; The sweetnesse of this world is deceitfull, feare perpetuall, labour unprofitable, height perillous. Why doe you set your hearts on vanitie and vexations, Eccles. 1. 14. Broken Cisterns, Jer. 2. Lying vanities? Jonah 2. 8. Shadows, Psal. 102. 11. Non-entitres, that which is not. Be ashamed, O Christian Gospellers! that stand on the worlds higher ground, have best wages, and yet doe your great Master least service, to give up the strength of your soules, your time, your estates, in the bruitish service of worldly and carnal pleasures, contemning in mean time the sweet peace and joy of the Holy Ghost. Such of you as serve pleasures, Tit. 2. 3. Live in them, 1 Tim. 5. 6. are voluptuous wantons, as if you came into the world to bee as the Leviathan to take your Pastime onely to sport and feast your soules in your sensualities. Seneca had a farre braver spirit than you have; Hee thought it was true pleasure to contemne pleasures, and is it your heaven to enjoy them?   you live not like men: The delights of reason far excels those of sense: You live not like Saints: The delights of Grace transcend them both. O come and see, come and taste, feed on the Marrow and Fatness, the luscious, sweet soul provisions of Gods House, and the Heavenly dainties of grace, will soon make you dis-rellish the perilous unsatisfying delights of this life.

SECT. 10.

THey may, with little study, run and read their gross abuse * of Gods grace.

  1. Who are senseless, stupid, Lethargick Libertines: Are these the Darlings of Grace, the Favorites of Heaven, who in a dead, cursed insensibility, blunt the goads of Conscience, are strangers to the fear of God, are deaf to the Canon shot, the dreadful volleys of the Laws curses, who startle not when they hear Boanerges Pulpit Sons of Thunder, but slight pious admonitions, and grievous comminations, as if they were vain Bugbears to fright children, Fantastical, Poetick Hyperbolies, that * have taken the Devils Opium, and are cast in a dead sleep? National Judgements, Personal Afflictions do not awaken them: Satan rocks them asleep with his sweet Lullabies, of promising life, interest in Christ, and the hopes of Heaven: And are you indeed the persons of Grace? ‘Tis strange you should be, ’tis impossible: Grace is a living Creature, a new C•eature, a delicate Creature, a tender Creature, quick and sens•ble, feels the least grievance, the least sin. Alas for you, stupid Libertines! The Devil may lay upon you sin upon sin, mountain upon mountain, and yet you feel not, you complain not, you mourn not, you weep not, you weep not, you cry not with strong cries and tears to Heaven to be dis-burthened: I have this sad tidings to bring you, your Lethargy will, in spight of your hearts, be cured: But when? I fear, O I fear, never till you are in Hell flames, there will be no sleeping fits there: O you senseless ones of the love or fear of God! Blessings or Cursings, Promises or Threatnings, you cannot sleep in an uneasie, tormenting, eternal Bed of Tribulation; you will have none to make your Bed easie, no Julips, no Cordials, to succor your fainting hearts in your hot scorching fits. Will you not believe? O that you would believe! your fellow graceless, senseless, wantons in Hell, would tell you, could they speak with you, after scores of years sleep in sin, they are now with a vengeance awakned out of their dead sleep: •happy were that voice of the Son of God, that would do the kindness to thee, slumbring drousie Reader, as to bid thee, and make thee to awake! O awake, awake to repentance, and gracious Gospel indulgency, lest thou awake to eternal vengeance! O shake off that cursed unbelief that makes thee an Atheist, a mock-god, a dissolute debauched wanton! Hell is no Fable, Scripture threatnings are no vain •ancies: God hath sworn in his wrath, a graceless, impenitent contemner of his angry words, shal never enter into his res•: If thou beest such a one, he hath said it, and his Almighty avenging Arm will make good his word, such a wicked Wretch as thou art, that forgettest God and thine own duty, shall be cast into hell, Psal. 9. 17. O folly! O madness! O sadness! Presumption of Gospel-grace is made a pillow for loose sinners to sleep quietly on: It will not always be thus, God will change thy soft, downy, Gospel-pillow, for an hard, thorny, legal one. Visions of wrath, as well as mercy, are for an appointed time; they will speak, and not tarry. O Devil-ridden secure ones! hearken to that of Chrysostome; he calls secure sinners, The Devils Horses: He is a fierce, cruel Rider, he spares * no flesh, he spares no souls he backs: He hath ridden thousands off their legs, off their spirits, off their strength, off their lives, off their pleasures, off their ease, off their hopes: The rider and the horses, both will be for ever cast into the fiery Lake, and never come out again. O wretched, wanton, secure Libertines! you would be secure, and you shall be secure; you would not have your cursed peace disturbed, and it shall not be disturbed; you would be perswaded you are under the wing of saving grace, though in the broad road to destruction, and you shall be perswaded: God chooseth your delusions, Isa. 66. 4. your own election will prove your destruction. O Judgement of Judgements! Carnal security, thou doest pave the way to eternal Judgements: See, O see your sad resemblance! Sisera slept in Jaels Tent, she wooed him, Turn in my Lord, turn in to me, and fear not,; she went softly to him, and her nail and hammer smote his soul into the other world, Judg. 4. 18, 21. so loose Libertines sleep in the Tent of presumption: Carnal security woes them, Turn in soul, turn in, fear not, the issue is, it softly and cruelly smites sleeping souls into the other world. Sampson slept on Delilahs lap, and lost his locks and his strength: Libertines sleep in the lap of security, and loose their hopes of Heaven. Eutychus slept, while Paul was Preaching, and fell down dead, Acts 20. 9. Carnal Gospellers sleep, while they enjoy the means of grace, and fall dead into the bottomless Pit. Crafty Ulysses gave Polyphemus a sleeping draught, and when he was asleep, he run an hot Iron into his eye. The Devil, the crafty Ulysles of Hell, he gives secure sinners a sleeping Potion, and when they are fast, he blindes them, and shoots his deadly, fiery shot at them. Carnal security, under presumptions of Grace, is both a sin and plague, Gods Judgement, the Devils Triumph, Souls ruine.

SECT. 11.

THey are apparently gross Prophaners of the Grace of * God.

  1. And lastly, Who are guilty of a wrong use of the Creatures; God made them, that his grace, by the professors of, and pretenders to it, should be exalted in the use of it.

Four things demonstrate that it is not so.

  1. When they are used ungraciously: This is a perverting of the intention of Creation: Every Creature of God is good, which God hath created to be received, with Thanksgiving of them that believe, and to be sanctified with Prayer, 1 Tim. 4. 3, 4, 5. A strong Implication, that every one that useth the Creature aright, must first be gracious, and then use it graciously. Three graces are here set down; The grace of Prayer in Invocation, for Gods not onely natural, but spiritual blessing on the Creature. The grace of thanksgiving, in returning to God the praise of Lip, Heart, and Life, for his good Creatures: And the grace of Faith, in using them in and for Christ, in the strength * of Christ, to his praise.

Adde to these the grace of holy Fear, not to offend the Author of Creature-goodness: For as the Feastmakers eye is on his guests, to see their behavior; so the great House-Keeper of the World, that feeds and cloathes millions every day, is strictly observant who useth his goodness, according to the rules of holy   Temperance, contributes to right Creature-use, in guarding the sensitive appetite, that it doth not clog the immortal spirit with burthensome surfeits of any kinde: When the Creatures are not thus graciously used, it is a wrong to grace, whose office, honor and power, is to regulate their use.

  1. When they are used to a sinful end, either to the satisfaction of Lusts, or hinderance of Gods service.
  2. To the satisfaction of Lust, the Israelites abuse, They asked*meat for their lust, Psal. 78. 18. not for their convenient use, but for the satisfaction of their corrupt lust, which God granted in wrath, as they desired in sin, Psal. 78. 29. Much of the Creatures is desired to consume upon Lusts, Jam. 4. 3. Drunkenness, Gluttony, Pride, Voluptuousness, Ambition, Do•ination: Sad will be the account of vast expences of the Creatures, sacrificed in and upon the service of Lust, against which usurpation, the voices of Reason, Grace, and the Creatures, will give severe testimony.
  3. To the sinful end of hindring Gods service: we should use the Creatures onely to fit and whet our attendances on God; but when they prove Obstructions (as mostly they doe) take off our leisure and pleasure to doe his will, we wrong God and our own souls: Christ told the busie man, who excused his following of Christ (one would think a tolerable excuse) by going home to bid his friends farewel, that his civil courtesie, at that time, did unfit him for the Kingdom of God, Luke 9. 61. yea, concluded that the civil burial of the dead, in opposition to religious service, argued a soul dead in sin. And so the Field, the yoak of Oxen, the married Wife, are set down as Remora’s and Impediments to come and feed upon Christs Gospel-feasts, Matt. 22. 4. and those that flow in Creature-comforts, say, Depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of thy ways, Job 21. 14. Why doth Christ say, Wo to you that are full, Luke 6. 25. but to threaten at once rest in Creature-fulness is a temptation to forget God and duty? The poor in the world, rich in faith, Jam. 2. 5. receive the Gospel, Luke 7. 22. Have any of the Rulers believed on him, Joh. 7. 48. ‘Tis true, there is not an absolute inconsistency of grace with Riches and Greatness: Rich Abraham, as well as poor Lazarus, are in Heaven. But ordinarily the Creatures are used to a sinful end, to estrange and arm the heart with weapons of Rebellion against God, which should be inducements of obedience.
  4. When they are used onely to a perishing end, a Belly that shall be destroyed, a fine back that shall be uncloathed, and lay in the chamber of death, rottenness and silence, a mortal body, * a posterity that must die. When rational Creatures, use the creatures unreasonably, onely like bruit Beasts to satisfie sensualities, that must give up the ghost with the Sensualists expiring breath; when they have not an eternal end in their eye, to use money, meat, drink, health, strength, life, to fit for eternity; when men do not make them friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness, Luke 16. 9. and though they cannot at once serve God and Mammon, yet do not so manage Creature use, as to make Mammon serve God, they are exceedingly unserviceable, and injurious to the grace of God.
  5. When they are not used to Gods ends: They are four.
  6. Stronger engagement unto God: The pious intention of Jacob, if he might have the mercy of Divine protection, convenient * food and raiment, he promised, The Lord should be his God: These were the holy Patriarchs binding words, Gen. 28. 30, 31. As courtesies binde to men, so creature-mercies binde pious men to God: When the sweet silken cords of mercies do not binde the heart to God, grace is dishonored; when it is common dis-ingenuity to break the bonds of kindness, to despise the riches of creature-goodness, this is a signal, evident ingratitude to the God of grace.
  7. End of Gods Creature-mercies is faithful and chearful service, Deut. 28. 47. But when it is usual, and sad practice, as Israel served not God in a good and fat Land, Neh. 9. 35. so the unworthy Professors of Gospel-grace, and the Christian name, do not conclude a necessary, joyous, and rational service, from the free and plentiful allowances of sweet Creatures, do not seriously ponder with themselves; Why have I hundreds, and thousands by the year? Why have I food convenient, and competent allowance between envy and pitty? Why have I any House to dwell in, any food and raiment? Why have I had sweet repose this night, when others in waking tortures count the tedious hours? Why have I health? Am I strong? Doe I live? Have I so good a Master? Is it that I should be a loose, wanton servant, and do him no work? What blushing will sit on the face, trembling on the limbs, horror on the hearts of pretenders to Gods grace, in the accounting day, when large Creature-allowances, shall in all their sad inventories, be proved to be wrested from the imployments of Gods reasonable service.
  8. End of Gods Creature-mercies, is the exaltation and commendation of his loving kindness. Davids gracious spirit, versed in the high praises of God, did ordinarily take the elevation of Gods goodness and kindness from Creature-mercies, and spent Psalms in Doxologies, seeing the glory of God in the glass of the Creatures shining before his spirit, and in and in high strains of praise, exalted the great and glorious name of God, made the Creatures Trumpets to sound his praise, and an occasion of high thoughts of God. Indeed he that is thankful to God for his unspeakable gift of Jesus Christ, cannot, but having the best Gospel-tenure of common mercies, holding them in capite, praise God for every perishing mercy, as a token of special everlasting love, and an earnest penny of eternal mercies. His bread to him is Covenant-bread, his Apparel Covenant-apparel, his Money Covenant-money, yea, his Afflictions Covenantafflictions; whether he have much or little, its all to him the dispensation of choice kindness, and the allotted sufficiency of infinite Wisdom and Love, to bear his charges in the narrow road to life, until he come to his Fathers House and eternal Inberitance: But now to rob God of this glorious end, the exaltation of his love, or to resent no love but of Creature-mercies, and to prostitute that to self-love and carnal sensualities; How below is this to the honor of man, the glory of God, and the power of Grace?
  9. End of Gods Creature-mercies, in spiritualizing the Creatures: Turning Earth into Heaven, making visible created Excellencies, Ladders to climb up to the invisible God: The pious practice of our Lord Jesus, in his holy, heavenly travels, to lead the understandings of men, by the light and hand of Creatures, to the apprehensions of heavenly and immaterial things, by a Well of water still springing up, signifying the eternal Spring of the Spirit of grace in regenerate souls; what by fleshly relations, leading us to believe the high account he hath of spiritual kindred; by seed lost in evil ground, fruitful in good, instructing us in the word, lost to most hearers, succesful in a few good and honest hearts; by all his Parables, elegantly picturing out the Orient Beauties and Glories of his Kingdom of grace and glory, and the ugly face of sin. Holy Bradford was happy this way, who made Creature-mercies his advantage ground to see into Gospel-glories: When putting on Apparel, his thoughts were, O Christ cloath me with thine own self, that I catch not the cold of this World! When the cloathes were put off, he thought of death, he should be uncloathed of Flesh, and of the Resurrection to put it on again, as his cloathes were put on in the morning: When the day-light appeared, he minded Christ the light, that knows no Night nor Evening, but is always as bright Mid-day: His Journying taught him to think this life a Pilgrimage, the way is dangerous, that there is need of Christ the Guide in the high way to glory. How injurious are we to Gods end of his Creatures, unto our own rational faculties, and to the ingenuities that grace would put upon us, if we gain not affective and active Meditations, by what daily comes into the doors of our senses? If so great be the sweetness and glory of Gods out-house, the visible World, what transcendencies of delight and honor are the happy reserves, in the invisible state and place of heavenly glory in the next life? It is an ungracious frame of spirit that is confined to the things below: They are strangers and enemies to their own happiness, that could take up with a visible Eternity of poor sublunary things, and cannot abide the thoughts of death, the destruction of their earthly Gods.

Thus Reader, in the forementioned eleven Sections, maist thou try and take a measure of thy loose heart and life, if in impartial Judgement thou canst, and wilt be so faithful to the Truth and thine own soul, as to believe thy guilt of manifest and gross abuses of Gods grace, confess it to God, deeply lay it to heart, repent of it, lest it prove thy ruine.

  

CHAP. XI. Containing a second Branch of Examination, how we may know the secret, close, and more refined Abuses of Gods Grace.

HAving enquired into the more visible and notorious affronts of Gods grace: My next labor shall be rifling bosom-work, to go into the inward Rooms of the heart, and there to finde out the inward Libertine, that dares impurely and immodestly to licentiate before the Lord: This searching, inward, filthy cells of darkness, by the bright Candle of the word of Truth, as it is always unpleasant to a close Hypocrite, all whose Religion is a constant jugling with God and men, so to soundest upright hearts it is very desirable. If the secret, rotten, double-hearted Professor, shall read the following Conceptions, without a blush, fear and trembling, laying a better foundation for his propriety to Christ, assurance of Grace, and the hope of Heaven, then cheating appearances; If he have scarce patience and heart, to try himself by ensuing discoveries, yea though he read them, will wickedly deny the signs of close dishonors to Gods grace are not in him, he may shift of Paper Arraignments, he shall not the unbosoming Judgement of the great day, when his Sheeps skin shall be pluckt off, the inside shall be turned outwards, and the close Hypocrite shall appear a wicked, impenitent abuser of Gods grace. Indeed, I have little hope to do good to the habitual Jugle• in the things of God, who hath made a play of his Religion, a•• never been in good earnest: My hope is a Blessing from Heaven may second Convictions in the sound heart searching Reader, who is ever most charitable to others, but most jealous off, and servere against his own heart: for thy sake, O self-basing, abhorring mourner in Zion! I have endeavored to lay down the Transcript, the Counterpane of thy wretched heart: I know thou •ilt say the next Pages are thine own experience, look over, weep over, pray, strive against the   ungrateful, unkinde wrongs to thy gracious God, thy dear Redeemer, the Spirit of Grace gracious motions, thy principle of grace: I know, by the help of grace, thou wilt lay to heart and repent of the secret Injuries of grace, where the prophane hypocritical world scarce see any sin, or if so, very slightly think of it, and have no care and conscience to reform: Weigh and ponder then the evidences of close and less discerned abuse of Gods grace, as laid down in the subsequent method.

SECT. 1.

  1. EVidence of close Abuse of Gods grace, is a sinful close of spiritual Injoyments: By these I mean, all the Ordinances of grace, whose ends and fruits are spiritual, where succesful; also the gifts of Grace, Knowledge, Judgement, Invention, Memory, Utterance in Divine things. Adde hereunto the sanctifying graces of the Spirit, the s•eet motions of the Holy Ghost, the joys of the Spirit in the light of Gods countenance, in the Faith of Attonement by Christs blood, in the sight of sincerity, victory over Lusts, &c. These are all spiritual injoyments: Now when the close of these is sinful, there is a secret abuse of grace.

It is sinful in five things.

  1. In self-advancement: Gods free grace is either wronged by his Servants, as a Benefactor, by a boasting Beggar, he is well fed, fat and fine, and while he should lift up the bounty of the giver, he is glorying in himself as a receiver: So when the giver of grace in his heavenly Alms should be magnified, how often do the best of men advance themselves? The richest Saints in Earth and Heaven are but vessels of mercy, Rom. 9. 22. Utensils, Instruments God is pleased to use: No thank to the tool, but to the hand if it work: No house builds it self. When we see a comely building, we praise the Art of the Builder. The action of the Instrument is reduced to the essicient: Ashur forgat himself and God, when he looked not on God, but himself. Boasting in an Instrument, is as if the Saw should magnifie it self, it cut well; and the Ax should magnifie it self, it hewed well, Isa. 10. 15. If the Workman holds his hands, the Tools do nothing. Believers are the spirits Instruments, God works in and by them, and they dishonor the grace of God, by transferring the work to themselves, saying, I prayed, I preached, I wept, I gave alms, I rejoyced in God, I did this and that good. As lofty Nebuchadnezzar lookt onely on his great boasting, This I did, this was my doing: Is not this Babel that I have built for the glory of my Majesty? So I have done this and that, is the Poison that mars all; the breathing of Satan turn’d angel of light, the high abuse of Gods grace. •h Christian, be humbled for it, * and correct it, by the Glass of Pauls self-abasing, Grace and Christ-advancing: I labored more than the other Apostles, yet not I, but the Grace of God, 1 Cor. 15. 10. I live, yet not I, but Ch•ist lives in me, Gal. 2. 20.
  2. In dulling the edge of holy zeal: This is the sad and frequent lacquey of spiritual injoyments: We converse with them to a blunting and dulling of our spirits: They should be as whetstones to set a keener sharpness on our hearts, but they are as stones to the Sithes, that gap and blunt them. It is rare to meet with the fellows of a precious Minister, of whom it was said, That he got, but lost no heavenly heat and vigor by holy duties, the more in it, the more furnished with heavenly power, love, delight, and warmth in renewed exercise. There was renewed influence of the spirit of grace, the picture of the spiritual injoyments of the next life: The Apostles rule is, It is good to be always zealous in a good thing, Gal. 4. 18. Not in fits, and pangs of holiness, but always: •he Ceremonial Fire was always to burn on the altar: They are the choicest happy Christians, in whose hearts the heavenly fire of zeal is still burning. It is our wantonness we keep not close with God, but after heats, we cool our hearts in the worlds cold Air, and are so benummed in our earthly affections and imployments, as if we had never been by Heavens fire: The counsel to wanton Sardis, is good to us, Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain that are ready to die, Rev. 3. 2.
  3. In slacking diligence: How are we too often in Heavens way, like Jading Steeds, who though well, yea high fed in the Inne, yet go lazily, and worse than before: God hath given Heavenly Travellers sweet and full Baits, how is his goodness dishonored, when after Tastes how gracious he is, we yield rather to spiritual slumbers, then hold on our way? How * do those wanton Laborers disparage a good meal, that slack their diligence, play, but work not? When our industry in the Lords work abates, it is good to put these spurs in our dull spirits. O thou wicked and slothful servant! the sad charge of the last Judgment, Matth. 25. 26. The diligent hand makes rich: Be not slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, Rom. 12. 11. Shew the same diligence unto the full assurance of hope, unto * the end, Heb. 6. 11. Abounding in the work of the Lord, as knowing pious labours shall not be in vain in the Lord, 1 Cor. 15. 58. Work out your own salvation, Phil. 2. 12. make tho•ow work of it.
  4. In carnal security: Even sound hearts, after they apprehend the sweet tastes of Gods love, and the bitterness of death is past, are too apt to think their mountain strong, sing a false Requiem to their spirits, as if they were out of the dangers of * ruine, committing from their loose unregenerate part in them, the sins, against which God threatens Hell, upon the assurance they are heirs of Heaven, thinking themselves secure, are not safe: Whereas the way of life, is the way of holy Jealousie, not security: It is not the least of Satans wiles to suffer himself to be overcome, that he may overcome. As conquering Soldiers, yet unsuspicious of dangers, are taken Prisoners by a routed * Army; so unjealous Christian Victors, by laying by their Watch and Alarms of holy fear, are suddenly surprized: ‘Tis an imprudent conclusion, because the Bird hath escaped the Fo•vler, therefore he shall ever be out of the danger of the Net and Gun-shot. The heart is deceitful: We are still in the Enemies Co•ntrey: Christs Garrisons have false friends in them, will open the Gates to the destroyer, and while every soul hath Judas’s in it, to kiss, and kill, and betray the grace of God into the hands of enemies, there is urgent need of a constant watch. Fear was the Apostles watch-word to the priviledged Gentiles, lest they that stand by Grace, should fall by security, Rom. 11. 20. Happy is he that feareth always, Prov. 28. 14. We abuse spiritual injoyments, when we suspect no loss: Greatest Beauties, Riches and Honors, call for most waking eyes, and strictest guard: When Christ had sweet tidings from Heaven, he was Gods beloved Son, Matth, 3. ver. last: he was forthwith set upon by the Devil, Matth. 4. 1. If the envious, vigilant Tempter, seeth our private Prayers and tears of Joys, hears our joyous triumphs of Gods kindness in Christ; malicing such hated glory, he will presently lay traps to damp our joyes, defile our spirits, wound our consciences, and bring us to the very Suburbs of Hell: Ye are partakers of Christ, said Paul of the Christian Hebrews, if you hold fast the beginning of your confidence, stedfast unto the end, Heb. 3. 14. ‘Tis not enough, in first conversion, to hold the precious Jewel Jesus Christ in the hand of Faith, but there must be a constant hold-fast. Is he who is among Thieves careful to hold fast the Pearl in his hand, and fearful to let it goe? So it should be with every prudent Christian, he should fear his own lazinesse, cowardize & weaknesse, should loose his riches: ‘Tis the Apostles counsel to his Hebrews, useful to all that think they stand, and a soveraign preservative against security: Let us fear, lest a promise being left us of entring into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it, Heb. 4. 1.
  5. By dallying with Temptations, we pray we may not enter into temptation: Gods grace is our deliverance: Corruption casts us into the fire, the hand of mercy plucks us out. But how often do Gods foolish, fearless children, like ours, after we have been burnt and cured, we adventurously play with the same fire that scorched us, and renew our pains and cries. ‘Tis not an experimentally true spirituall Proverb, That all Gods burnt children always hate the fire: Even after David had sweet visits and walks with God, and the refreshing joyes of his salvation, he wantonly dallyed with temptations fire in the roof of his house, defiled his soul with forbidden lust of strange beauty, and Body too, and lost spiritual, for carnal delight; the joy of his salvation, for the pleasure of sin: Grace doth not perfectly crucifie the old Man; while Lust is an in-dweller, it will be an inticer: We may as well play with fire near Gun-powder, as play with Temptations near Lust: ‘Tis no safe dancing near Pits brinks, taking fire into our bosoms, welcoming temptations into our hearts: The old man is too willing and too pressing to tempt us out of heavens way; we need no world nor devil to drive us: ‘Tis good counsel, and singular indemnity to our soules, if practised; Abstain from all appearance of evil, 1 Thef. 5. 22. Hate the garment spotted by the flesh.

SECT. 2.

  1. EVidence of close abuse of Gods grace is Irreverence of * Gods Majesty. The best are too apt to wrong their nearnesse to God, by forgetting their distance. God is so his childrens Father, as that he is their King. Though the name Father speaks boldness, yet the name King speaks greater reverence. Irreverent are saucy children, more bold than welcome. I am a great King, saith God, Mal. 1. 14. His name is great: Mal. 1. 11. and reverend, Psal. 111. 9. We need grace to serve God with reverence and godly fear, because he is a consuming fire, Heb. 12. 28, 29. It is a wrong to grace when we do it not. Is it the state of earthly gods to keep their distance with them on whom they shine the brightest beams of their royal favours? and shall we think the infinite, great, and blessed God, before whom the Kings of the Earth are as Grashoppers, Worms, Nothing, less than Nothing, will not have the rails and vails of holy reverence, the humble tokens of distance? The Apostate Angels at once lost their good manners, and their happiness, they kept not within their limited station. Should the standing Angels loose their Reverence, they should lose their Glory. It is the * Gospel Prophets Hieroglyphick. The holy, heavenly, Angelical Hoast are Birds of Paradise, and have six Wings; two to cover their faces, two their feet, two to fly with, are said to have flying wings, to resemble their quick and nimble obedience; facecovering wings, to shadow out their reverence, as not daring to pry into, nor bear Gods infinite glory; are said to have feetcovering wings, to teach our distance from the Angels, who are too weak to behold their finite little rayes of glory, much lesse that infinite bright Sun of the divine Essence. This Lesson the Prophet teacheth us, those spotlesse Spirits that see the blessed face of God to their everlasting happinesse, are ever full of a Reverential awe of Gods Majesty. But how unsuitable are the heirs of salvation to their heavenly guard? Angels are reverent, Saints are unmannerly: These are wanton, those dare not bee so. Believers, study your hearts, gestures, words, conversations, that they all may be Holinesse to the Lord? Is he sanctified in you when you draw nigh him? Levit. 10. 3. When you are before him, as in no minute, no place, no darkness, no solitariness, you are out of his flaming eyes, piercing views; your insides and external deportments are layd in his unerring ballance. He tryes you every moment, Job 7. 18. What mean your uncomely spirits, your external indecencies? your slight services? Would your governour like such carriages you present to, and abuse your gracious God with? As Ahasuerus said to Haman, Will he force the Queen before me? Esth. 7. 8. So lay it to heart, will you abuse grace before God? It was a God-wearing sin, evil men did evil•, and yet thought they were good in Gods sight, Mal. 2. 17. What a God-affronting sinne is it, to thinke because Free-grace hath made you good and accepted in Gods sight, therefore you may abuse it to irreverence in his presence. I know your hearts, if sound, abhorre this doctrinal inference, from so glorious a principle; but doth not the frame of your spirits, words of your mouthes, loose carriage prove, you dare be irreverently and abusively bold with your Fathers kindnesse? Who that seeth a grown Son come to years of understanding, knowing his duty to walk mannerly, yet standing with his Hat on, playing ill feats before, yea with his Fathers face, slighting his commands, but will say there is a wanton unmannerly boy? It is no calumny to say so of many of Gods unmannerly children, their unbecoming Irreverencies are their heavenly Fathers reproach. A Reverent Christian that hath the mighty awe of God upon his spirit, in all times, places, companies, providences, temptations, is a Phenix, an Angel among Professors. Happy, holy, harmless, preserved are they that maintain the reverent awe of God upon their spirits.

SECT. 3.

  1. EVidence of close abuse of Gods grace is Forgetfulness of God. The House of Israel perverted their way and forgot * the Lord their God, Jer. 3. 22. Jesurun waxed fat and kicked Of the rock that begat thee, thou art unmindfull, and hast forgotten God that formed thee, Deut. 32. 15, 18. Too often the answers of Gods kindnesse are like the chief Butlers of Joseph• The holy man gave a comfortable interpretation of the Butlers Drem, Pharaohs restorement of him to his office, with this rational caution, but think of me when it shall be well with thee: Yet did not the chief Butler remember Joseph but forgat him, Gen. 40. 13, 14, 23. Thus the Holy God speaks comfort to many a gracious soul in the deeps of trouble, with those equal motions upon their spirits, that they would think upon this name and not return again to folly, yet in sundry duties they doe not remember God, but forget him. They know not their own hearts that in the trust and boast of their own sufficiencies, promise God if he will reveal his love in his Son to them, they will be exact walle•s; but many of his loose children, after they have seen his face, have opposed his will and answered the Kisses of his love by unkind Rebellions. Gods Israel of the spirit have need of the same cautions the Israel of the flesh had. When the Lord thy God shall give thee for his promise sake, Cities, Houses, Wells, Vineyards, and Olive-trees, when thou shalt have eaten and be full, then beware lest thou forget the Lord thy God, Deut. 6. 10, 11, 12. So Beleever when the Lord thy God for his covenant sake shall priviledge thee in the heavenly blessings of Reconciliation, Justification, Adoption, the Joy of Atonement, and the sweet sight of thy name written in heaven, when thou shalt eat, and be full of the heavenly feast of fat things, beware lest thou forget the Lord thy God. ‘Tis no seldom indignitie put upon the grace of God, to forget him in Temptations, Vocations, Relations, Conditions in the world. We charge upon our servants such and such duties, call them to account; our pleasure is neglected: The excuse is, we were forgotten, doth not this speak a loose careless Spirit? Surely the Lords servants forgetfulnesse of their charge argues their wantonness. A serious, faithful, considering spirit would remember—Christian, charge home the basenesse and unfaithfulness of thy spirit with sharp reproof. Ah foolish heart and unwise, How have I requited the Lords grace? I forget not vanitie, but how have I forgotten the great concernments of Eternity? A Bride will not forget her Ornaments, the Worldling his Market, and Teeming summes. Pleasure-hunters forget not their delights, nor the children of Revenge their opportunities of doing mischief. How hast thou   forgotten the Lord, his blessings on thee, his cautions to thee, his motions in thee, his hoped glory laid up for thee, his everlasting love, designing distinguishing mercies unto thee? How hast thou forgotten the Lord in numberless sins? Should he cast thee out of his mind thou hadst been cast into Hell long before this. O let the thoughts of thy dear Lord be precious to thee. Love quickens memory; let him be the dearly beloved of thy soul, as thou art of his, and thy memory will be the faithful treasury of his glory and thy duty.

SECT. 4.

  1. EVidence of close Abuse of Gods grace is secret acting of Heart-sinnes. Close pollutions in the best hearts deny and * oppose the savoury power of grace. Scripture Records are sad experiences of a world of filth, gathered together in the heart, like an heap of dust, a load of dung. There is heart iniquitie that marrs Prayer, Psal. 66. 18. There are close heart Idols, Ezek. 14. 3. which have too much account and adoration. The heart in the time and place of solemn, divine service goeth after covetousnesse, Ezek. 33. 31. is the work-house where the practises of it are daily exercised, 2 Pet. 2. 14. The heart is of a grosse brawny constitution, Matth. 13. 15. insensible of fleshly or spirituall motions. It is whorish corporally sometimes; often spiritually, had rather lye in an earthy, yea sometimes an hellish than heavenly bed of Loves. ‘Tis often the complaint of serious, gracious spirits, when their lips are pure, their hearts are unclean; when their language is heavenly, their spirits are earthly. * O the sighs, the tears, that are the issues of spiritual observing eyes, when they turn inwards, and behold defiling Pride, Passions, Dumb sins, Abominable impurities; yea, which aggravates inward wickedness in pious soules, even in cleansing times and means, Hearing, Praying, Humbling houres; so that were hearts transparent, and their hideous filthiness exposed to * common view, the Readers of bosom wickednesse would say, Religious minds were not Gods Temples, but the Devils Synagogues, not the sweet Repositaries of the Holy Spirit, but the Augaean Stables of the unclean. How filthy is the scent of holy mens impure soules, to their heavenly acute smell. They are weary of their lives, in their right sense, when they see such close wickednesse to wrong the Grace of God, but that there is • discerning eye, and loathing spirit of this filthy sink of sin, all wer• naught, and all profession a delusion. O Christian! wouldst thou load thine heart with the sight and sense of those ugly hellish characters, thy spirituall Lyncaean eyes behold? see the vilenesse of it in a parable. A King intirely affectionate to his Subjects, his favourites especially, would be honoured every where, but especially in his Court: what affronts do his ennobled and promocreatures put upon him, who although they do not make him vile in the streets, yet before his face pollute his chamber with mire and dirt, yea spit in his face? The King of Glory loving to all, deserves every ones highest respects, his favourites especially, though the world wallowing in wickednesse abuse him, he should not be wronged where he keepes his Court, what affronts do his ennobled new creatures do to him, who though they do not make him vile in the open streets of publick scandall, yet they pollute the heart his chamber, with the mire and * dirt of filthy sins, yea spit on the fair face of his Grace, by secret presumptions. O infinite mercy, compassion, and condescension, that the great God jealous of the State and Glory of his Majesty, seeing his Mansion house so abused, will yet vouchsafe to call it his, and to dwell in it.

SECT. V.

  1. EVidence of close Abuse of Gods Grace, is adventuring * on lesser sins, Grace is that Wisdome that is from above without partiality, in its Heavenly Executions, will spare no sins, fat and lean must all be a Sacrifice to its sword; great and small like all the Egyptians in the Sea must perish: it hath no rese•ves of cruell pitty, sayes of all sins as Jehu of all the Worshippers of Baal, Let none of them live, 2 King. 10. 20. Hypocrisy speaks like that hypocrite Saul, spare some, O Christian! tis thy wanton indulgence when thou sparest any: little it may be doest thou thinke, when the flattering old man sayes spare this and this sin, it is as if he should say, damn thou soul, little sins like little poyson, being of a killing nature as well as greater: that of Chrysostome, is true experience, He that a little is carried away by his carnall Lust, will be a greater Revolter: his*Counsell is safe, wherefore, sayes he, take heed, this little is not little, it is almost all. Sins motion is down hill motion, like the stone when it begins a little to fall, it still falls, he that goeth one mile with his Lust and the Devill, will go two, ten, twenty, knowes not when to stop, a little allowed weaknesse soon growes to allowed wickednesse, what enemies are we to Grace and our own Soules, when in the just day of its vengeance we will secure little sins? say we not as Lot of Zoar, is it not a little one, and my Soule shall live? Gen. 19. 20. This sin is a little one a Saints infirmity, my Soule shall live, how do we practically indent with God, that his gracious Pattents should be securities for little sins? Well, were it if these had not too liberall allowances, protections, and Respect, When I bow, said Naaman, in the*house of Rimmon, in this thing the Lord pardon thy Servant, 2 King. 5. 18. So when we yeild subjection to little sins, in these things there is scarce doubt, the Lord will pardon his servants, when we protect the least sins, how do we forget that command Cast away all your transgressions, Ezeck. 18. 31. And what in us layes cast our selves out of mercies Protection? Repentance must be as universall as Remission, that Grace that pardons, purgeth all sin, though all sins are not equall, yet all are mortall in their nature, a little sin as well as a little needle sticking in the heatt, is deadly vain thoughts, idle words, deadnesse of heart, formality in duties, foolish jesting, petty oathes, with many such sins of course, though little sins in common repute by many * thought no sins, yet like little Toads and serpents spit poyson on the Soule, we read indeed of least Commandements, Matth. 5. 19. But it is in mens opinions, not their own nature: No command is little, that hath the stamp of the great Law-givers authority, what sacrilidge is it to slight the precepts of the great God as little? The spiritual wisdome from above, lookes upon every command and sin as great, doing no little mischiefe against the soveraignty and purity of no little God, deserving no little Hell, the losse of no little Heaven. Servants are not their own, may not presume in little offences, like and dislike, pick, and chuse, obey, and rebel as they please, but obey in all things  Col. 3. 22. Else they do not their Masters wil but their owne: * What we account a most insolent abuse and badge of pride in our servants, is in Gods, they wrong his Soveraignty, when they are fast and loose, wil do and not do, and are not through paced in •epentance and Obedience: It speakes our soundness in the cause of God, in our faithfulnesse to the crown of Christ, if we dash in peeces the Babylonish brats, the little Theeves of * sins first motions, the petty traytors of Insurrection, as •ell as the signall Rebels: happy are they that in the high improvements of, and honourable respects to Gods grace, dare not adventure on the lest sins, A little Leaven will leaven the whole lump, a little sin without great mercy, will ruine the whole man.

SECT. 6.

EVidence of close Abuse of Gods Grace, is discontent at * Gods gracious corrections: his frowns on his children are his favours, his rods love tokens, Heb. 12. 6. His family discipline, hath not only good instructions, and liberall maintenance, but wholesome chastisements, he is his childrens Father and Physitian, as wise to know, so able and willing to cure their diseases, their sins are ill humours, affliction Physick, themselves patients. But alas, ho• under the discipline of correction are the Lords people like delicate wantons, that will not take from, but give their Physitian directions, this Physick is not right, that were better; any Affliction, any Potion rather than this, as if God knew not better our disease, the way of cure, and our strength better then our selves, we are no sit choosers of our rods, the cross we would exchange for might be ten times heavier: when we repine at the wise allotments of our heavenly physitian, make faces, and spit at his wayes of healing, we discover our folly and wantonnesse: that Loosenesse that contracts Diseases, will not bear the method and smart of cure: this is the holy and humble submission of Grace, Lord give power to beare, and blessing to sanctifie the Crosse, and keep me under it while thou pleasest. Shall good children pay •everence to their chastising parents, and not Gods children to him correcting? Heb. 12. 9. chusing our trouble, fretting under Gods present hand, as imprudent or injurious, despising his corrections, declares us   have wanton kicking spirits, we never sweetly, humbly, and quietly bear the healthful indignation of the Almighty, till we by Faith give him the glory of the gracious wisdom and soveraignty of his corrections, then be the tryal never so fierie, the soul will say, I shall come forth as tried Gold.

SECT. 7.

  1. EVidence of close Abuse of Gods grace, is daring to doe * that when the Rod of God is off, which would not be done when it is on. In affliction there is powring out of prayers, Isa. 26. 16. Hanging down the head, and heavyness of heart for sin, sense of civil reverence of God, a stop to carnal delights, good words of Holynesse, promises of better Obedience, reforming appearances, Saint-like deportments: But it is frequent injury to the gracious chastisements of God, that their Physick hath rather been a skinning over, than a cure of diseases. As unsound Recoveries break forth into old sores, and worse relapses, so the universall work of Correction betraies it self either into a neglect of Prayer, or a Praying formalitie, carnal Merriments, Remorslesnesse of Spirit, impudent Irreverence, Breach of Vows, loose Conversation, these are great enemies to strictnesse. There are not a few that have exceedingly shamed Gods School of Correction, like some unbettered children under the Rod, who acknowledge their sin, kneel down and cry pardon, and mingle the sense of their folly and smart with teares, promise they will never doe so again, fear and tremble at the next blowes, are very humble and shew much good manners; but when the smart is off, the old sauciness, stubborness, and disorders return. How hath that righteousnesse that hath light impression in the mind by affliction, like the print of the Rod in the flesh, soon worn out? This Insinceritie is deservedly deplorable of all them that know their own hearts, and finde these true charges flying in their faces. Such as these that in and out of Affliction are so unlike themselves, betray they are not sound in heart by their unsteadiness in Gods Covenant, Psal. 78. 37. Hath God in mercy not chastned us sore, nor delivered us up to death and hell to cure, not to kill us? How dishonorable is it to the sparing, chastising grace of God, and perilous to our own souls, when the holy manners we seemed to learn, under the Rod are lost, when it is taken off?

SECT. 8.

  1. EVidence of close Abuse of Gods grace is shamelesness before * the Lord for acknowledged sinners. If grace bee not so strong as to resist sin, it is so sound and ingenuous as to blush at it. The Moral blush at uncivil, and unvirtuous baseness, speak a good moral heart. And the spiritual blush at ungospel, unchristian vilenesse, speaks a good, gracious heart: O my God I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee my God, Ezra 9. 6. Yee gracious Romans are now ashamed of your fruitless sinns, Rom. 6. 21. Mary Magdalen an infamous sinner, but famous Saint, look’d on her sinnes with tears and shame, and in token of her blushing conscience, stood behind Christ as ashamed, her once impure eyes should behold his sacred face, Luke 7. 38. Were they ashamed, said God of the impudent Jews? Jer. 6. 15. They could not blush, they wanted the colour of grace. What disgrace is it to the grace of God, that persons in grace, weak ones, God knowes, are convinced of their sinfull, foolish, frothy, idle, yea sometimes eminently wicked language, of venomous Serpents, lurking under the hidden leaves of filthy consciences, of ugly monsters harboured in their bosomes, proud, vain-glorious, envious, malicious, adulterous, unrighteous, oppressive, Atheistical, prophane, abominable thoughts, every day flying up and down in their souls, like birds in the air, and that this filthy, hellish vermin crawling up and down the precious soul, should possesse it with little or no shame in Gods presence. Here is an affront indeed to Gods grace; no wonder if the sense hereof beget this terrible Question in carelesse, and too too shamelesse Professors, Can I possibly have grace with such an heart? Ah miserable wretch, I fear I have none; I see my soul like a vessel wherein there is no pleasure, a stinking sepulcher, like a miry sink, and though I know it, I cannot be ashamed before the Lord. Ah, to be sinfull and shameless too, that is double misery. Ah Christian, labour with thine heart to powre out thy sinnes with the sense of holy shame before the Lord. The Sacrament of Circumcission taught the Lesson of holy shame. It cut off the foreskin of the flesh, uncovered * the shameful part, to teach, as Lactantius thought, That the foreskin of the flesh, the inward shame of corruption should be uncovered before the Lord. Ah Christians, never leave upbraiding and rubbing your shameless hearts till you made them blush: Reason away the whoores forehead from your consciences thus; What I think, I should blush to say and doe, before a child, before a godly, before a wicked man: What do I make of God, the great God, the blessed God, the infinitely pure, and holy God, the observing God, the remembring God, the avenging God, the judging God? Shall I set up a child above God, a Saint above God, a Son of Belial above God? Shall I runne the hazard to hear of all my closet, soul-wickednesse again before Angels and men? Can I endure the blush of the great day, and the everlasting contempt of unrepented impudence? Will not mine ears tingle to hear this dreadful charge? •oe this is the man that sometimes had a golden tongue, and a dirty one at other times, that blessed God, and cursed with the same mouth: Lo this is the man that had an heavenly tongue, and an hellish heart, no Temple for my Holyness, but a stable of filthy lusts; that spa• on my face while he sought my face; that came for mercy for his sinnes, not against his sins; that either thought me a senslesse stock, I discerned not his shamelesnesse, or thought me a spirit, a living, eternal spirit, but an impure one like himself, or a weak one that could not revenge my dishonours, or an unjust one, that would not make my threatnings good. Such thoughts as these, if we have any sense of a Divinitie, any love to our own soules, may make us ashamed for secret sins. As the Lord said to Moses of Miriam, if her Father had spit on her face should she not be ashamed? Numb. 12. 14. So Christian I say to thee, if thine impure Lusts do spit on the face of Gods grace, and his gospel, and vent their poyson upon thine own soul, shouldst thou not be ashamed? Set the Apostles words home: It is a shame to speak of those things which are done in secret, Eph. 5. 12. When thou reflectest on the horrid wickednesse that lyes covered under the black Mantle of thy soules secrecie, O then think it is a shame to think of them, and yet thou must think of them and be ashamed. Never leave shaming thy soul, till holy shame for secret sin committed, prevent   and fortifie the soul against commission. Shame keeps us from doing many things in the street, in the Market; let shame keep thee from thousands of inward sinnes, that shamelesnesse hath brought forth and nourished.

SECT. 9.

  1. EVidence of close Abuse of Gods grace is insensiblenesse of * others misery. Grace is life, and life is sensible, and sense apprehends its dolorous objects. Grace hath bowels of compassion: The gracious must put them on, Col. 3. 12. It is a wonder to consider how boldly, that is called grace that hath no tender bowels. ‘Tis selfish wantonnesse that feels no miseries but at home. They were Zions wantons that lived at ease, and wallowed in sensual pleasures, that were not grieved at the afflictions of Joseph. When men either do, or may, and will not acquaint themselves with the miseries of others sinnes and sorrows, and feel them no more than a stone doth the wounds cries and pangs of a dying man, care not though others sink or swim, may evils keep distance from themselves; Call ye this grace? Doth the God of grace, the God of pitty and compassions cast off his miserable people with such senslessness? Is not he (to speak after * the manner of men) afflicted in their affliction? Isa. 63. 9. Is it his command, weep with them that weep? Rom. 15. 15. Is it not the Law of Christ, Bear ye one anothers burdens? Galat. 6. 2. increase not one anothers load? Was it the practise of Christ, who when he saw Many and her kindred weeping for dead Lazarus, wept also, not onely to shew his Humanity, but a President of his holy Sympathy? Joh. 11. 33, Was it Pauls practise, Who is weak, and I am not weak? who offended, and I burn not? 2 Cor. 11. 29. What mean ye to weep, and break my heart? Acts 21. 13. Implying his Converts tears would draw his. Doth the life of Nature abhorre senslessnesse of misery? Is one living members pain anothers torture? If the foot be prickt, the tongue cryes out. Did you ever hear such a stupidity and monstrous carriage in the body Natural? When the feet are tormented with the Gout, the brains for pain are exceedingly afflictive, doth the tongue usually rejoyce and sport, and the countenance laugh? This monster of uncompassionatenesse and strangenesse to bowels of Mercy is too common among Christians. How little doe professed Christians mourn and weep under the burden of others sinnes, Wants of grace, absence of Christ, the fiery darts of Satan, the wounds of corruption, the penury of creature comforts, the sicknesses and diseases, vexations, imprisonments, crosses in relations, loads of afflictions they labour under? Little or no feeling of others evils, is a sad sign of little or no grace. It hath grieved my heart, at what mine eyes have seen, what mine eares have heard, that my wretched heart hath no more grieved. The God of pitty make us more pittifull: Want of compassion is a great blemish to Christian profession, and Disparagement to Gods grace.

SECT. 10.

  1. EVidence of close abuse of Gods grace, is un-improvement * of grace received. Grace is a living new creature, and life hath growth. A painted child groweth not, but a living doth. A painted christian groweth not, a living doth. The Imaginary Birth of the Spirit is like the Still-born in nature. There are the delineaments and proportions of a child in face, hands, &c. but no life of a child, and so no growth. Where there are the professions and convictions of a Sain• only, not the life of a Saint, there is no growth. How dost thou wrong the stock God hath put into thine hand, when not improved? Thy little increase, I will not say speaks thee no Christian, it doth a Dwarf in Christianity. There is some great fault in nature, that living Dwarfs grow not: Surely there is some great fault in profession, that Christian Dwarfs grow not as others do; Gods Talents are not to be hidden in a Napkin: He looks to * receive his own with Vsury, Luke 19. 20. It was the fault God charged upon Sardis, The practise and profession of godlynesse in sundry of her members was ready to die, Rev. 3. 2. A Christian is a Tradesman, his dealing lies in heavenly commodities. God intrusts some with a large stock of Knowledge, and Memory, heavenly Instructions of the Word, and Motions of the Spirit, Visions of his Love. Where he gives, he expects much, and takes it ill, his rich Merchants in a fair estate should trifle an• peddle, and bring him in a smaller Revenue of glory, than meanly gifted, but more faithfull Trustees of his Goodnesse. * Will not Merchants blame their Factors, if neglecting their gaining opportunities, their Estate increase not? How may the Lord blame the professed Factors for his name in the world, if they prove negligent in heavenly proficiencies?

SECT. 11.

  1. * EVidence of close abuse of Gods grace, is Pride, and desire of Preheminence. Outward and inward Riches both puff up. Charge the rich of the world they be not high minded, 1 Tim. 6. 19. Be not high minded, Rom. 11. 20. It is the Apostles Dehortation and Caution of the Gentiles excelling the Jews in means of grace. It was the Corinthians carnal wantonness, their parts were abused to puffing up and vain-glory, 1 Cor. 4. 6. 7. The Apostle reproved their windy puffing humour, 1 Cor. 5. 2. Precedencie in gifts puffed up one against another. * This vanity of swelling preheminence the Apostle derided: Ye are full and reign as Kings, 1 Cor. 4. 8. Your common Indowments have made you happy. How poysonous is our nature, that envenoms the best things? How doth it turn shining Excellencies in gifts and graces into prevailing Temptations, to scisme and contempt of inferiour endowments, yea to darken the glory of God in a lesser Starre, because a greater out-shines it? It is the mischief of spiritual Pride, it either over-magnifies, or vilifies Gods gifts. It idolizeth one, and debaseth another, is an unjust Judge of Gods gifts. It saith one Christian hath more than he hath, another lesse than he hath. Yea this evil comes of it, that the bestower of different gifts and graces is abused; Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker, Prov. 17. 5. He that reproacheth the poor Christian in gifts and graces, reproacheth his maker, such a one he is a poor Preacher, (though an holy sound one) will you hear him? such a one prayes poorly, hath poor lean braines, a silly soul (though a precious Saint) and so is slighted, a no body, a common Abuse of God and grace, and gracious spirits, discovered by high-flown Christians, whose fancy runs before their judgement. The abasing of some of lo•er stature than others, is an Interpretative abuse of God. The Lord rejoyceth in all his works, Psal. 104. 31. They are all in wisdom, Psal. 9. 1. He seeth they are very good, as they come out of his pure creating hands, Gen. 1. 31. And he hath a sweet delightful complacencie in them all. But cursed spiritual Pride is all for superlatives and singularities, rejoyceth and triumphs in the * chiefest works of the Spirit. Take heed, if when God honoureth thee above others, Pride turn not his glory into shame. Arrogance, saith one, is the Lacquey of Honour, but Humility the Preservative. Hast thou Eminence, suspect and tremble at Self-conceit. * Satan knoweth how to make Pride of heart grow out of works of Mercy, words of Piety, tears of Humility. This stinking weed grows out of the best soyl. ‘Tis good to prick this bladder, by these thoughts, God resists the proud, Jam. 4. 6. Sets himself against them, like a fierce mighty enemy in battel array. He scatters the proud in the imagination of their hearts, Luk. 1. 51. Wherein they deal proudly he is above them, Exod. 14. 11, They are an abomination to him, Prov. 16. 5. Are in the high road to destruction, Prov. 16. 18. I have heard it was the confession of a proud Professor (yet to seeming a peereless meek one) of a very haughty spirit, that the Lord suffered him to fall into wofull scandal, to the reproach of his name, and the Gospel to punish his Pride. God gives grace to the Humble. In Christ there was a Fulnesse of Grace, and Eminence of Humilitie. This rare shining grace, is the Ornament, and will be the Improvement of Grace.

SECT. 12.

  1. EVidence of close Abuse of Gods grace, is declining Hardship * in the practise of Religion. Christianity is a Warfare, Christ the Captain of Salvation. Every true Christian is a Souldier by profession, 2 Tim. 2. 3. The spiritual as well as the civil Souldier must endure Hardship. Paul a great Leader in this heavenly War, was a man of sufferings, *beat down his body, 1 Cor. 9. 27. did bear in his body the marks of the Lord Jesus, Gal. 6. 17. Grace inables to indure hardship. ‘Tis the effeminate wantonnesse of corrupt nature, if in Christian profession it can have beds of Down, full Tables, glorious Apparel, sweet Pleasures, to swim in securities from pain and losses, Christ is allowed; but when the Doctrine of the Cross, and owning the hated truths of the Gospel, brings persecution, affliction, call for Mortification, the subtle self-preserving Old man, can make a politick retreat out of dirty Lanes into the flowry Meadows, and leave the hardship of flesh-curbing, self-denying, and pleasure-renouncing, holy discipline for worldly gain and delights. We can think and talk of the grace of ••, but where is its stout masculine virtue to be found among us? It is with much adoe and great regreat, to suffer the exercises of Religion to injure us, to Master the sensitive appetite, in Fasting, Watching, Cold, Hunger. The Reason and Practise of Philosophy hath more kept under the senses delights and demands, and governed * passions, than the grace of Christianity in many delicate Gospellers. How highly dishonorable is this to Gods grace, that it should doe lesse than Moral reason? The sad difference lies not in the eminence of Reason, and impotence of Grace, but the wantonness of those persons, that weakens its power; oppose its counsels and commands, and disgrace its glory. The wisdom of the flesh is over-ingenuous to decline trouble, and at every tryal of enduring hardnesse, in the wayes of godlyness, saith, spare thy selfe, consult thine ease: This severe rigour is more than needs.

SECT. 13.

  1. EVidence of close Abuse of Gods grace, is neglect of daily * Repentance. The best of men renew sin every day, and sin renewed, guilt reneweth, and the daily renewing of guilt should necessitate a sense of daily pardon and repentance. But as Jezabel repented not when she had space of repentance, so too many careless Christians that daily sin, omit their daily serious repentance. When sensualities have had too much indulgence, unmortified lusts their provisions, head-strong, blind passions their reins and violent careers, when the Spirit in rellishing creature sweetnesses, hath been out of tast of heavenly things, when close wickedness hath been acted, when sad estrangements from God, cold barren formalities, have been the bane of holy duties, many indecencies, impieties, and ingratitudes, call for rent hearts, broken spirits, sorrowful confessions, loathing detestatious• and weeping eys, how hath the daily discipline of repentance even by them that have the seed of repentance sown in * their hearts, been carelesly neglected? This sadly comes to pass through the want of daily registring our sin in the book of conscience, and reading them over before wee sleep; a sorrowfull sense of them, suing out a pardon, self-displasens•e and abhorrence, and earnest begging power to repent. ‘Tis good counsel Chrysostome gives. Say, O soul, we have spent the day, what good is done, what evil is committed: what good soever thou hast done, give God the praise: whatsoever evil, do so no more. Passe a terrible judgement on thy self. Too many dayes have passed over Christians of strict profession, without observing, bewailing, repenting of their sins. The Sun hath often gone down upon much wrath, worldlyness, hypocrisie: the body hath had its rest before the soul its cure of daily sins. It was Pauls holy jealous•e of his over-loose Corinthians, I fear, said he, lest when I come, my God will humble me among you, and shall bewall many that have not repented of their lasciviousness, 2 Cor. 12. 21. This godly suspition is very needfull for the best of men, lest those daily sinnes, carnal Libertinism betrayes them to, should lye upon them unpardoned, and unrepented of. Happy are they whose tender, inlightned, watchfull spirits, are a constant day-book to note down and read the disorders of the heart, tongue, and life, in * sad convincing characters, and by the hand of Faith take the blood of sprinkling, as a sponge to blot them out, and resent them with dayly hatred, confession, and godly sorrow, working repentance. It is otherwise with wanton lusts in the best hearts than with ranke luxuriant Vines. These need not alwaies to be pruned, those need not onely frequent, but constant prunings of Mortifying grace. Often reckoning we say makes long friends. Repentance the more frequent, the more easie and effectual, will at once be the peace and comfort of the Spirit, prevent much carnal wantonnesse, shew the power of grace, and fit us to live and dye.

  

CHAP. XII. Containing an use of Caution.

THE Symptomes of this too common spiritual disease [Use 4] * depraving the Grace of God being layd downe, both in the grosse and close  discerning indications thereof, it will next be needfull to lay down some cautions, touching the grosse Abuse of Gods Grace, concerning the close wronging of it, and touching the differences between the injuring of Gods Grace, in a Regenerate and Unregenerate person, though this sin be in all, it is not alike in every one: This sin is in the present fruits of it more hainous, and in the event more perilous to some then others. The next use then will be the fourth in order, Caution, 1. To them who grosly. 2. To them who clofely Abuse Gods Grace.

  1. To them who are grosse abusers of Gods Grace, let them hearken to four things.

SECT. 1.

BEware that you put not off the triall of turning the Grace of, * God into Wantonnesse, too many are hardned in their apparent indignities to the Grace of God, by delaying the tryall, as diseased persons put off inquiry into their mortall diseases, and carelesse Stewards their loose carriages, their unfaithfull squandring away their Lords goods, spend-thrift Tradesmen the cracle Estates, yet though the open, loose, doctrinall, and practicall enemies of Gods Grace never try themselves whether they have evidently turned the Gospel Antidotes into poyson, and in open hostility opposed that Grace they seemed to own, yet God tryes them every moment: possibly, Reader, thou art the grosse profaner of Gods Grace, if thou canst hardly be perswaded, thou art such a notorious Libertine as indeed thou art, I beseech thee take some paines with thine owne precious soul, that this dreadfull stain and guilt may be purged and pardoned.   O that I could on my knees, passionately begg it at the Throne of Grace, that thou wouldst see the foule ugly countenance of thy notorious loose heart and life, in the large glasse set before thee. I beseech thee in the name of the Lord Jesus, for Gods sake, whose Grace thou hast depraved, for Christs sake, who so dearely bought Grace thou hast despised, for the Spirits sake, whose gracious motions thou hast resisted, for the Gospel sake, whose gracious Call thou hast refused, for thy Soules sake, which will infallibly be damned, if thou dost not repent of thy most evident Abuse of Grace. Study the eleven Sections of the tenth Chapter of this Treatise, read them not over slightly, mingle them, fortifie them with Faith, that they are reall Truths, never leave questioning thy Soule, Thus, Soule! Art not thou guilty? is not this charge drawn up against thee? O thou art guilty, thou art guilty, Art thou cast in the Court of Conscience for a wicked wanton Libertine? Then further I intreat thee, never leave the sad thoughts of thy wofull estate, till they worke on thee fear and trembling, and then further awaken thy secure heart with these sad, what iff’s? What if thou shouldst die suddenly? What if thou shouldst shortly be forced into the presence of thine angry Judge, whose Grace thou hast many thousand times desperately abused? What if now I resist the movings of the Spirit of Grace, and hee never stir up a thought of Repentance in me more? What if in the other World the avenging remembrance of my wanton sportings in sin and mocking my plain dealing instructers, more torment my wounded conscience, than all the Tortures of Tyrants have tender bodies? What if God laugh at my destruction who have laught at the Counsells of Reformation? Then go further, and thus upbraid thy selfe, saying, O monster of men and Women! O wonder the Earth hath not swallowed mee up quick, as weary of such a burden! O marvell that I am not in Hell! O fool! O wretch! O beast! O mad one! worse then a Devill! He never had the time nor offer of Grace, The grace of God teacheth to deny ungodlinesse: I have an Atheisticall heart, and have led an ungoldly life; the grace of God teacheth to deny worldly lus•s, and I have made provisions for them and pampered them; the Grace of God teacheth to live godly, but I have been so far from leading a godly life, that I have not only hated the   power, but the form of godlinesse in my family, The grace of God teacheth to live righteously, but I am guilty of unrighteous dealings, with my neighbours name and estate, The grace of God teacheth to live soberly, but I have been a wanton intemperate Glutton and Drunkard, and an uncleane incontinent person, if these thoughts, and such as these O loose Reader, shall put in thee resolves in the strength of Christ to repent of the worst of pardonable sins, the g•osse Abuse of Grace, if they shall bring thee on thy knees, if thou shalt cry mightily to God, to repent to give thee a better heart, to honour that Grace of God and Jesus Christ which alone must save thee, if ever thou be saved, when thou shalt lye on thy Death Bed, thou wilt never repent of following this Counsell, delay not to search, try and amend thy loose heart and life, lest thy Libertinisme prove thine everlasting ruine.

SECT. 2.

  1. TAke heed of denying the proof of grosse afronts to Gods * grace, such as have been named, herein the guilty plead innocent, though they oppose Gospel merits and mercies, to calling upon God, they will say they though they do not, though the Grace they pray for be never received into their hearts, nor is seen in their lives, yet think they, yea they affirme the contrary, though they shroud unrighteous and oppressive courses, under the Grace of God, they will not owne the charge, though Lord have mercy on me, and God give me his Grace, be thought dayly satisfaction for dayly reigning sinnes in their account, yet this will not be be beleeved, and so other symptomes of palpable wrong to Gods grace, are rarely credited. This wickednesse was among the Jewes, though the manifest tokens of impiety and cruelty were upon them they denyed it, the Prophet was put to it to convince their injuries to Gods grace, in abusing the Prophets their soule Physitians, by ocular demonstrations, * the Theef is ashamed when he is found, so the Jewes were taken in the open acts of wickednesse, Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor Innocents, Jer. 2. 26. As innocent Blood on the out-side of the Murtherers garments, demonstrates cruelty; so their open butchering of the Prophets, and yet thou sayest, I am innocent, v. 35. Again, How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim, Jer. 2. 23. Thus the open enemies of Gods grace, that will not be perswaded, though they be perswaded they are guilty, are impudent denyers of their wickedness, as Thieves and Murtherers deprehended in the Fact, like Frantick men in a Feavor, that talk idly, rage, have sk•lding flesh, spirits inflamed, cannot sleep, and yet say they are well; like men that have the Plague sores in their faces and hands too, very visible, yet deny the infection: Take heed of denying the palpable symptomes of wronging Gods grace: This mischief comes on it. As the mortally diseased, that denies his danger, will not seek out for, nor welcome the Physitian, so nor these be capable of healing grace.

SECT. 3.

  1. SEe to it that you slight not the conviction: It is a small * matter to offer open injury to Gods grace? Is it a light matter to have the fearful marks of the spiritual & eternal death, without sound repentance? Is it the maner of condemned persons slight the convictions of death? Wantons before it, are serious spirit-smitten, and wounded after it. When Physitians tell their Patients they are dead in their disease, if such and such means be not used and blessed; Are not men usually deeply affected with such sad news? O sinner, thou hast the grosse Characters of abusing grace upon thee! Thou hast the visible marks of death upon thee! The Lord affect thine heart with thy condition, that thou maist see it, be converted, and repent.

SECT. 4.

  1. REfuse not to put sad and serious questions to thy soul, * these eight especially.
  2. Question. Shall I make a mock of God and Christ? This I doe, If I professe my self a friend of Grace, and kick against it, and say, Hail Master, to Christ the Author of Grace, and betray the honour and power of Grace. I am one of those mockers the Apostle Peter and Jude prophesied of, May not God mock at my destruction, surely he scorns the scorner, Prov. 3. 24.
  3. Question. Shall I be the worst of enemies? David charged his pretended friends, with higher guilt then his open enemies, Psalm 55. 14. Christ will not bear it, that his name should be wounded in the House of his friends. The Duke of Florence said, he read, He was to forgive his enemies, not his friends. Turks, Infidels, are not such deeply guilty enemies against Jesus Christ, as prophane Christians, that openly abuse his Gospel-grace, and Baptismal-mercy. Such friends, without deep Humiliation and Repentance, Christ will not forgive. When Judas prophanely ushered in his open Treason against his professed Lord, with an Hail Master, and a kiss, Matth. 26. 49. Christs immediate word was (Friend) And Jesus said unto him, Friend, Wherefore art thou come? v. 5 c. As if he had said, I am betrayed by a professed Friend; A tearm of Exprobration and just Condemnation. Christ forgave not this false Friend: He dyed impenitently in the abuse of his grace, and had not Faith to believe his betrayed innocent blood should heal the Traytor.
  4. Question. Shall I have the heaviest wrath in Hell? Capernaum, Bethsaida’s high abuse of Grace, should have more intolerable vengeance, then Sodoms wantonnesse against nature, Mat. 10. 15. The least of Hell will be intolerable. If I perish under grosse abuse of Grace, the Oven of Eternal fiery Wrath will be heated seven times hotter for me, then for Heathens: Ah soul-hater, and self-destroyer! Shall I cast my self into hottest eternal flames?
  5. Question. Shall my mouth be stopt in the accounting-day? Can these thoughts be born without Spirit-woundings, when inlightned conscience shall say, I wanted not offered convincing means, of the necessity, beauty, advantage of Grace: I hated the life of garce, and consumed the time of grace, in playing the wanton, not working by the light of grace: All under means of grace, are invited to the Gospel Wedding-feast of the Son of God, and to come in fitting Wedding-cloaths, that the Feast-maker and the Feast be not disparaged. Every guest pretends to come handsome, in sitting Ornaments; but the abusive guest that is found without his Wedding-garment, will be speechlesse, *Matth. 22. 12, 15. This Wedding-garment is party-coloured, red, and white; Red, in the Blood of the Lamb; White, in the sanctifying grace of the Spirit.
  6. Question. Shall I be kicking against the Bowels of mercy?* It was a sad charge, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me, Isa. 1. 2. Is there nothing for wanton feet to spurn at, but a Fathers Bowels? Do you say, Our Father which art in Heaven? and when ever you say so, professe God your Father, and spit in his loving face, . What thou my Son, Caesars Son, st•b him in the Senate? Shall Gods Sons, in large profession, stab his name, and cause him to be reproached in the world, by gross abuse of his grace?
  7. Question. Shall I make sport and triumph for Devils? It was Davids grief, by Saul and Jonathans death, the uncircumcised Philistines would rejoyce and triumph, 2 Sam. 1. 20. The uncircumcised, infernal Philistines, rejoyce and triumph at the wrongs of grace. Davids enemies watched for, and were glad at heart, at his halting, Psal. 38. 16, 17. His wellfare was their grief, his falls their Songs: These invisible enemies of Mankinde, triumph, when any that own the Christian name, and the grace of the Gospel, grosly prophane both.
  8. Question. Shall I tread under foot the Son of God? Heb. 10. 29. Strong, thriving, wanton lusts, are the impure feet, that tread under foot the Son of God, in his humbling Incarnation, who came into the world, to destroy the works of the Devil, in his bitter Passion; who died as a Ransome, to redeem from the reign of his Sin, in his Soveraign Dominion; who is a ruling Lord over all he saves: The gross abuse of his Grace, plainly, what in it lyeth, declares that he was Man in vain, died in vain, and that he is but a Precarious titular Lord and King.
  9. Question. How shall I look the Judge in the face? The time is coming, when he shal appear in terrible flames of Wrath: How dreadfully will he judge, when the precious ends wherefore in his Fathers Counsel, and his own Covenant, he was judged to death, are not obtained, but abused? If David commenced a War against Hanun, the King of the Ammonites, because he abused the Message and Messengers of kindnesse, sent in Embassage to comfort him; who instead of loving entertainment, were shaved, had their Garments cut off in the midst, shamefully and ungratefully dismissed, 1 Chron. 19. 4. What a dreadful and eternal War will the Lord Jesus commence against those Hanunites, unworthy the name Christian, who abuse the Messages and Messengers of Gospel-kindnesse and grace, to open, prophane licentiousnesse?

Lay all these Queries to heart, and let them stick on, O grosly loose Reader! till they have produced Fears, Astonishments, Prayers for Amendment, and Resolutions, by the help of Gods grace, not to live a notorious Libertine for the future, against the call and honor of Grace.

SECT. 5.

  1. Vse of Caution, is concerning the close wronging of Gods * grace.
  2. Take heed of wresting Gospel-grace, to the allowance of the least sin: Holy Paul durst not do it in his own person. The grace of God was abundant in him through Faith and Love, 1 Tim. 1. 14. and though through the power of this grace, he was no absolute Perfectist, yet an universal Enemy of sin, the root and branches of it, least and greatest had his disallowance and abhorrence, Rom. 7. 15. David too, that had a large share in Gods grace, his sweet experience, Thou art my Portion, O Lord, Psal. 119. 57. Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, according to thy word, 65. was so devoted to the fear of God, 38. as this produced an hatred of vain thoughts, 113. and every false way, 128. and therefore hid Gods Word in his heart, that he might not in the least willingly sin against him: The choice subject of saving grace may not continue in the least sin, because grace abounds: When Believers finde inward perswasion in their spirits, to adventure on little sins, on vain thoughts, small inordination in Creature-desires and affections, yielding to dulness and deadness in Holy Duties, pride of Apparel, self-lifting thoughts of spiritual Precedency: This perswasion cometh not of him that calleth them, Gal. 5. 8. The grace of God doeth neither father nor nurse the least sin, but commands and inables to be holy in all maner of conversation.

  

SECT. 6.

  1. BEware of judging wantonness against Grace, by a false * rule: The example of the best, Others good Opinion, The judgement of thine own heart, are not true Rules to judge abuse of Gods grace by.
  2. Not the example of the best: Though the Apostle bad the Philipians be followers of him and them that traced the Apostles steps, Phil. 3. 17. yet elsewhere he limits his counsel, Be ye followers of me, as I am of Christ, 1 Cor. 11. 1. They are both joyned, 1 Thess. 1. 6. Ye became followers of us, and of the Lord; of us, as we followed the Lord: The Lord is sub-joyned to correct the easie & common error of following the best of men; sometimes in Doctrinal, sometimes in practical Error. Even Paul, the brightest Star in the Churches Firmament, had his Eclipse: He is not to be followed in all things; though the wariest goer, he stept awry: He that wrote in his Epistles against bitterness of spirit, yet in the difference between him and Barnabas, discovered therein some distemper: Barnabas would have had Mark go with Paul to visit the Brethren in every City, where they had Preached the Word, but Paul refused his Company, and the contention was sharp between them, Acts 15. 39. there was a Paroxism, a bitter fit between them. These golden Cisterns, Paul and Barnabas, that were wont to send out sweet Waters, now sent out bitter: Barnabas, a Son of Consolation, was in too hot contention; Paul, a man of meeknesse, sweetnesse, gentlenesse, whose tongue usually dropt as the Honey-comb, now breathed gall. Follow the eminentest of Saints in some things, you will wrong the grace of God: ‘Tis one of Satans perswasive wiles: Do you not see such choice servants of God speak and do such things, use such Fashions and worldly delights? No danger in this and that Dish, they are your Tasters: If the Gestures, words and actions of the best, be well weighed in the ballance of the Sanctuary, they will sometimes be found too light, too wanton: So the Thessalonians were examples to all the Believers in Macedonia and Achaia, 1 Thess. 1. 7. not in everything, but in their successful sound of the Gospel-Trumpet, ver. 8. and in their eminent reforming-faith, turning them from Idols unto God; but examine some of these Converts in other things, and they were to be declined, not followed: We hear there are some, that walk among you disorderly, working not*at all, but are busie-bodies, 2 Thess. 3. 13. Workers round about (as the word imports) the round of whose life was to carry tales, discontented at their condition, living on others Purses, casting off industry in their particular Calling, accounting their idlenesse holinesse; and under pretence of the Gospel, (like the late upstart Sect) and obedience to the spirit, living lazily: Now did Satan lay the seed of idle Monasteries, under colour of heavenly conversation, laying by earthly Callings and Relations: The best of men are no Adaequate rule of life: Their fairest Copies have some blurs: Their face of conversation, like the Moons, hath some sports: Their infirmities are to comfort the disconsolate in their falls, not to Patronize the least presumption.
  3. Not others good opinion: The most acute Christian cannot look into thy heart, and see all the wanton pranks there, that prove hidden Libertinism: Thou maist have a serious, accurate out-side, and a loose inside; be like some Houses, fair without, but sluttish within: After they that see thee, judge thee exact, thou hast no reason to rest in their charity, when thy conscience either doth, or may tell thee, thou hast a filthy heart: Besides, beholders of thee may be unfaithful, and to please thee, displease God; see wantonness in thee, and either bury it in silence, or cover it with flattery, and bely their opinion of thee; praise thee strict, when they know thee loose, and be a false glass to represent thine outward ill behavior, either through cowardize or advantage: Others good opinion, is no true rule to judge of wantonness in the matters of grace.
  4. Not the judgement of thine own heart: It is deceitful, and not more dangerous then foolish, to rest in it: What wise man will trust in a common infamous Knave? The old man, in the best of men, is a Wanton and Impostor: It will call wickedness, Saint-ship; loosnesse, strictnesse; deformity, beauty; confusion, order; distemper, health; the flesh, the spirit; delusions of Satan, the impulses of the holy Spirit: ‘Tis easie and frequent, to misconster loose passion, zeal, and self-glory, for Gods glory: In judging the abuses of Gods grace, lean not to thine own understanding, measure all by the golden line of the Sanctuary.

SECT. 7.

  1. AFter the sweetest taste of Gods grace, fear the danger of * wantonnesse: Beware of security, after inward Tranquility. After Aaron and the Israelites had pleased and filled themselves, at their Idolatrous Feast, they plaid the Wantons, They sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play, Exod. 12. 6. It is too sad experience, after the Israel of God have pleased and refreshed themselves in Gospel-feasts, they play the Wantons, betray their nakedness, intemperately frolick about the Creatures, leap over Gospel-hedges, are irregular in lawful things, yea sometimes adventure on unlawful, and all Cum Privilegio, under the favorable allowance of sweet grace: Thus the Corinthians promoted in Temporals and Spirituals, rich in goods, gifts, and conceited graces; when full, and reigning as Kings, played the Wantons in haughty puffings, in vainglorious boastings, in crying up some, in decrying others, I am of Paul, I am of Apollos, Are ye not carnal? 1 Cor. 4. v. 6, 7, 18, 19. 1 Cor. 3, 3, 4. I shall not cast such dirt on the fair face of grace, nor so asperse the Generation of the Righteous, as to say, or stain my soul with such a thought, that the abuse of grace, is the lesson Grace teacheth: ‘Tis denying, not fulfilling worldly Lusts which grace teacheth: Libertinism is a Bastard Issue, laid at the door of Grace, which it neither can, nor will father. The Generation of the righteous, as such, shut the doors unto, but open not to wanton enticements: Loosnesse from Gospel-Principles, and against them, is the fruit of the flesh, nor the spirit.

SECT. 8.

  1. BE not content with a slight humiliation, for close abuse * When Moses told the Israelites of their murmuring against God, despising Canaans pleasant Land, and wanton whoredomes, Numb. 14. 27, 31, 33. They mourned greatly, 39. In the sense of Gods wrath, so christian, when thou readest over the forementioned symptomes, of lesse discerned, though abominable wrongs of Gods grace, mourne greatly for them. If the Apostle Paul, that could not openly be charged with common abusing grace, that felt the inward ordinary power of it in his soule, that found in sweet experience the grace of God was not in vain, 1 Cor. 15. 10. that exercised a conscience void of offence to God and man, yet in passionate exclamation, cryed out, O wretched man, for the remaines of sin, which the glorious * grace of God kept under, and still abated, what cause, O beleevers, have you not in light transient touches of greif, but abiding sorrowes, to bewaile the close indignities you have put upon the grace of god.

CHAP. XIII. Shewing the Difference between wronging the Grace of God in the regenerate and unregenerate.

CAution is touching the difference betweene the * wronging of Gods grace in the regenerate and unregenerate think not that the spot of Godschildren and the Devils is alike, as the same disease is in severall persons, b•• not in the same manner, degree, and event, so the same sinne, Abuse of Grace, is exceedingly divertified in gracious and ungodly persons: the difference lyes in five things.

SECT. 1.

  1. DIfference, The Abuse of Gods Grace in a child of God * is only from the unregenerate part, that is kept under by the prevailing dominion of grace, so that though the corrupt part make suddaine, frequent, and sad captivating, spoiling invasions, as a Tyrant, yet it reignes not as a King. Indeed carnall Lust in a gracious Soule, with vehement hostility and fury doth set upon the law of God and the pious will, in which respect the * Apostle giveth it two titles, calling its Tyranicall Government a Rebelling and captivating Law, Rom. 7. 23. Whereby its fierce rage and hot assaults are expressed, yet in the same soule dwelleth as well a King as a Tyrant; and as a Puissant King, often beats down, and at length quite ruines the forces of a Tyrant, so doth the sweet and mighty government of grace, keep under, weaken, and in conclusion quite destroy the Tyranny of Corruption. The Denomination followeth the better part, Ye are under Grace, Rom. 6. 14. Tis spoken of the holy Romans, who yet had the onsets and reliques of sin, because the Abuse of grace is not the offspring of grace but sin, the humble christian injurious to Gods grace, may say with the Apostle, Not I, but sin that dwells in me,* Rom. 7. 17. Paul said, not he, because not wholy he, sayd one, we may say not cheife he, as he was gracious, and grace was commander in cheife, he sinned not so against God, but as corruption was in him like a lurking secret, traytor in a garrison. But the Abuse of grace in a child of the Devill, is from totall unregeneracy, the full Raign of corruption grace, hath no part in him to enter a Protest, and to oppose the wrongs of grace, the whole man freely and fully resignes up the keyes to loose wanton lusts, the agreement is full like a Kingdomes, where the King and Subjects are all of a mind, the wholy carnall yeild their Members servants to uncleannesse and iniquity, Rom. 6. 19. Yea their hearts, They set their heart on their iniquity, Hos. 4. 8. Their heart is fully set to do evill, Eccles. 8. 12. Full of evill, Eccl. 9. 7. Why hath Satan filled thy heart? Act. 5. 3. The whole world lyes in wickednesse, 1 Joh. 5. 19. It is in spirituall as in corporall diseases: One mans sicknesse is from the blood in part corrupt, when the main masse is pure, anothers sicknesse is from the blood wholy corrupt, when the whole Masse is infected. A child of God hath this disease of wronging grace from a corrupt part, when the main is sound, achild of the Devill wrongs grace, wholy corrupt heart, when the whole Masse is defiled.

  

SECT. 2.

  1. DIfference. A gracious man abuseth grace, and is deeply * humbled for it. David, Hezekiah, Peter abused it, and it cost them bitter mourning and tears. A gracelesse person wrongs grace, and is hardened in it, grieves not for it, Jer. 5. 3. It troubles him not, though he sin freely and fully upon the score of grace. It is in this case as it is with two children; one is a towardly melting child, that hath wronged his dear Parents, and being convinced of it, thus cries out; O wretch that I was, what have I done? I have abused my dear Father, that hath cared for me, maintained me, brought me me up, instructed me with tears. Ah vile creature! I wronged my Mother, my dear Mother that bare me, that travelled in pains for me, that mourned over me, that had bowels yearning on mee, that thought nothing too much for me. Another child, crosse, stubborn, careless, wrongs his Parents, knowsit, but without a sigh, a tear, never layes it to heart. So it is with a soft-hearted, melting spirited child of God, he looks over all the Indignities and Indecencies against his deare Lord, with a loaden heart and weeping eyes: But a rocky, Adamantine child of the Devil loads the Lord with dayly abuses, and mournes not under it.

SECT. 3.

  1. DIfference. A servant of God that wrongs grace, watcheth * his heart, Luke 11. 37. is the happy one that is found watching, he hath his eyes in his head to see the like dangers, Eccles. 2. 14. and prevent them. But a servant of sinne abuseth grace, and his reigning lusts may doe it as often as they please, he notes it not, nor cares to doe it. Sleep not as doe others, but watch and be sober, 1 Thes. 5. 6. Strongly implying the servants * of sinne are wantons, but like men in a deep sleep watch it not. The difference is here as in two servants; The one over saucy, and loose hath abused his loving Master, seeth his error, watcheth over his heart, lest he doe so again; the other disrespectfull, and stubbornly wilful, hath once and again wronged his goodness, and watcheth not his heart and temptations, but carelesly perseveres in abuses. Such is the disagreement between a servant of God and sin, in the injury of grace.

SECT. 4.

  1. DIfference. A Regenerate man abuseth the grace of God, & doth it lesse and lesse. He finds power from grace to * honour grace, more than formerly. The spirit lusteth to envy, but he giveth more grace, Jam. 4. 6. So that the renewed Christian is not carried by the old envious spirit that dwels in him, but by a more gracious spirit given unto him. The old affronts to grace passe away, and new respects and subjections to it are afforded, 2 Cor. 5.

When a real convert by, and to the grace of God, hath seen what dishonours he hath put upon grace, then he sayes it is sufficient (yea too much) that I have walked in wantonness, lusts, excess of ryot, 1 Pet. 4. 3, 4. I dare do so no more. Take this as a sure evidence of the truth of grace. He that is convinced of abusing it, will get power over it, and be less in it. But now an unregenerate man abuseth the grace of God, and doth it more and more. He that is unjust and filthy will be so still, Rev. 22. 11. ye will revolt more and more, Isa. 1. 5. Evil men under the Abuse of grace will wax worse and worse, 2 Tim. 3. 13. and under the form of godlyness increase the power of wickedness, 2 Tim. 3. 5. continue in sinne because grace abounds, Rom. 6. 1. It is here also as it is with two men that abuse their friends. One doth it, and seeth the ungrateful disingenuitie of it, and mends the fault; another doth it, and loads his dear friend with more disgraceful insolencies. So a gracious man wrongs his best friend Jesus Christ, and sayes of his abuses, as Ephraim of his Idols, what have I to doe any more with them? A gracelesse Professor wrongs the Lord Jesus, his owned friend, and multiplyes still ungratefull injuries.

SECT. 5.

  1. DIfference. A real Christian wrongs Gods grace, and as * it is repented of, so it is pardoned. This iniquity proves not his ruin. There is pardoning grace for the abuses of pardoning grace. The blood of Christ washes away beleevers wanton abuses of the blood of Christ. Gospel grace, like the Sun, blots out the thin and thick clouds of sin. A pretended Christian wrongs Gods grace, and as he hath no repentance, so no pardon. He is not cleansed by the blood of sprinkling, that hath been without ceasing and remorse, abused by a prophane wanton heart and loose life. The contrary events of Abusing Gods grace, are like the different issue of two Subjects abusing their King: The one doth it, is humbled for it, accepted, and pardoned; the other doth it, is hardned, rejected and hanged. Be vailed, pardoned Abuses of grace, hinders not heirs of glory from their eternal Inheritance. Unreformed wrongs of grace in vessels of wrath, not blotted out by the blood of Christ will cast them into hell.

CHAP. XIV. Containing an Ʋse of Exhortation.

  1. VSe is Exhortation in these things. Observe the [Use 5] * helps to escape this great sin, the Abuse of Gods grace. Blesse God for Perservation. Be alwaies jealous of the sin, long for a riddance from it, and joy in the hope of it.

SECT. 1.

  1. LEarn of the gracious and precious heart and life of Jesus Christ. * Fulnesse of grace dwelt personally in him. Hee never in the least playd the wanton with his Fathers grace; sought not himself in pleasing his own will nor glory, had nothing of the loose spirit of the world in him, was not taken with its empty pomps, ever went about doing good, Acts 10. 38. was his Father and his Churches faithful servant, Isa. 42. 1. busie in saving work, while in the flesh, Luk. 2. 49. wrought by, did not idle and play away his light, Joh. 9. 4. was solid, weighty, serious, in all his affaires with God and men. To bee still writing after his fair copy, would mend the loose Errata of Christains lives. ‘Tis the Apostles counsel, Let us walk decently, as in the day, not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, Rom. 13. 13. If it be said how? the next words shew, But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill it in the lusts thereof, v. 14. Christ is two waies put on: By Justification, when the chief Robe of his imputed Righteousnesse is put on; and by Imitation, when the Garments of his communicable graces are put on; Put on as the Elect of God, bowels of mercy, kindness, &c. Col. 3. 12. Did wee learn the truth as it is in Jesus, and trace the steps of his Faithfulnesse, Zeal, Meekness, Humility, Heavenly mindedness, Divine communion, Self-denial, Spiritualitie, we neither should, nor could be such wantons with the Gospel, as our loose spirits tempt us to doe. Christian set before thee the heavenly purity, gravitie, soliditie of the Lord Jesus, it will awe thy daring, insolent spirit. What is Christianity but a transcript from the original copy Jesus Christ? Should not servants that goe in their Masters Livery, doe his work? Really put on the cloaths of Heaven, and thou wilt not do the work of Hell. What an horrid incongruitie is it to pretend to be like Christ, and act like the Devil? The lazy Philosopher talked of virtue, but did it not; and the lazy Christian can discourse of the grace of Christ, and * act it not. As the Greeks professed Philosophy, so doe Libertines Christianity. The real imitation of Jesus Christ would be a prevention of loosenesse. These daily thoughts would do well; I am a professed Disciple of Christ, Did he think as I think? Reason as I doe? Were his affections like mine? Did such words come from his mouth? Were such designs driven by him?

SECT. 2.

  1. HElp is a cleansed purged heart. Legal pollutions, the * Types of Moral, debarred from serving the holy God. An impure heart serves not God, but abuseth him. The purging of the conscience from dead works, and serving the living God, are put together. As well may a dead man ferve a living Prince, as a polluted heart with dead works, serve the living God. To the pure all things are pure, to the impure all things are in their use impure, Tit. 1. 15. An impure heart makes an impure use of the holy God, his Prayers, Confessions, Confidences, Hopes are impure, whose heart is so. Cleanse your hearts, said James, then draw nigh to God, Jam. 4. 8. It is with a pure heart as with a pure fountain, it will work out mire and dirt. It is with a clean heart as with a clean stomack, it turns good meat into nourishment, not ill huniour. Christian, purge thy heart by the wholsome working Phys•ck of Gods grace, of self-love, worldly lusts, voluptuousness, covetous, proud, filthy desires, vain-glory, vanity of mind, folly, ca•nal securitie, and then wholsome meat, the food of blessed Angels, will not accidentally prove as hurtful to thee as the carrion food of Devils. ‘Tis a sweet truth, Beleeve•s draw nigh * to God by the blood of Christ, Ephes. 2. 13. Without a bloody skreen God would be a consuming fire to every sinner for the least sin. But what doth the impure unwashen heart co•nt of the blood of the Covenant, but as an unholy thing, Heb. 10. 29. when not used in a way of gracious cleansing, but emboldning allowance of sinne? A cleansed heart will neither prophane the blood, spirit, nor word of Christ.

SECT. 3.

  1. HElp is the fear of God. It is a Soveraign remedy against all * filth•nesse of the flesh & spirit, 2 Cor. 7. It beats off satans insinuations, to wanton Thoughts, Reasonings, Glances, •ffections. Joseph would not hearken to his wanton Mistris, Shall I commit this great wickednesse, and sinne against God? overcame the loose temptation, Gen. 39. 9. When the flesh grows wanton, as it is ever apt to doe, it is good to look upon the sad monuments of Gods wrath, his judgments, and so to hedge up sinnes way with thornes. David made this holy use of them, My flesh trembleth for fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy judgements, Ps. 119. 120. * They cast a saving fear on pious minds, that teach to decline rainous sinnes. Gods fear is like a stout, faithful Porter, that will not suffer the Kings Enemies to come within his Court-Like a resolute Steward that suppresseth loose misrule within his House: These wanton Professors in the Text, wanted the fear of God, They feasted without fear, v. 12, and they ungraciously abused the grace of God: Till men that have banished the fear of God out of their hearts, entertain it, they will never mend their loose hearts and lives. Christian, when thou art tempted to abuse Gods grace, or either in a grosse or close way, * set the fear of God before thee, and say with thy self, The Lord seeth me now wronging his grace, by praying for that grace I care not for, I cannot abide to see in another, by sheltering injustice under his grace, by shamelesnesse in the sense of acknowledged sins, by insensiblenesse of others sufferings, by unimproving the talents of his gifts and graces; Shall I not be afraid to wrong the grace of God in his presence? Are not Kings Favorites afraid to abuse his goodnesse in his presence, and good children afraid to be saucy in their Parents eyes? wantonnesse, and the holy fear of God, are inconsistent: We never are boldly irreverent, but loosnesse ensues it: The fear of God in the heart, will not allow departure from him.

SECT. 4.

  1. HElp is the Christian watch: It is a great advantage to holy * sobriety that it keeps from wantonnesse, both in worldly and Spiritual things: Watch, and be sober, 1 Thess. 5. 6. Vigilance and Sobriety, Drunkennesse and Sleeping, are fitly joyned: Tenebrarum Cives, The dark Citizens of Satans Kingdom, sleep in stupidity of Spirit, incogitancy, madnesse, and security, and then they are drunk with carnal Lusts, Affections, Delights, Covetousness, Pride and Passion; whereas a perpetual watchful minde, like a Soldier in duty, would prevent that loosnesse, that exposeth to the enemy. The watchful adversary, soon surprizeth the riotous, drouzy Souldier in his Quarters, and observing Satan the loose sleepy Professor: The wanton Tongue needs a watch, lest it vent indecent Impieties and Impurities; Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, keep the door of my lips, Psal. 141. 3. The wanton ear needs a watch, lest from a diseased itch, not enduring sound Doctrine, it turn from the truth to fables; watch against this, tis Pauls counsel to Timothy, 2 Tim. 4. 3, 4, 5. Delicate itching ears, must have scratching Doctrine, * to please carnal Lusts, and hereby sound truth is loathed and contemned. It is the common bane of Sermons, Humor, not Health, carries away the credit: And loose Appetites are more for delicate sauce, then wholsome food: Not the goodness, but the newnesse and finenesse of the Diet and Cook is regarded: The wanton eye needs watching, lest it be a Casement to let in Vanity: I made a Covenant with mine eyes, why then should I think upon a maid, Job 31. 1. much lesse on anothers Wife, to tempt to wanton lust; I bridled mine eyes, that it should neither * ther behold sin, nor the baits of sin. The wanton heart needs watching; without this inward guard, the outward watch of the senses is in vain. A loose heart is so ingenuous, it can shape the Idaea’s of wickednesse. The prophane heart of a blinde man may burn in lust; while the outward doors are lockt and barr’d, the unguarded Chambers of the heart may be lascivious: Sound Christianity is severe and difficult, it alloweth no sleeping mindes in secure sinning in worldly ensnarements, in injuries to the Gospel. That sleep that chains up the senses, must not close * up the eyes of the minde. The heart may be carnally and spiritually wanton, when the Body sleeps: ‘• is good to pray, that spiritual wickedness may not act in natures sleep: Noisome dreams, secret impurities, are the issues of Original sin, and Satans injections. Keep a strict watch against the filthinesse of the flesh and spirit. The resolved vigilant Steward, prevents much loose disorder in the Family, and the resolved watchful Christian in his soul.

SECT. 5.

  1. HElp is Prayer in the Holy Chost: Praying always was * Christs remedy against the wanton excesses of the world, Luke 21. 36. It is good against Libertinism in the Church; It casts out the unclean Spirit, Matth. 17. 21. It will cast out unclean temptation: Pray that you enter not into it, that neither you tempt temptation, nor temptation tempt you: To pray wantonly, or through wantonness not to pray at all, is the ready way to open the door to all lasciviousness of flesh and spirit. Fit it is that he perish under loose temptation, that either slightly, or not at all, seeks for a defence, our continual help in Grace. No wonder we have it not, when we ask it not, or amiss. The Apostle Jude propounded it as safe, soveraign counsel, to avoid the wantons in the Text, But you beloved, praying in the Holy Ghost, &c. Set Grace awork in Divine, Holy Prayer: Run to your strong hold: Gods grace is able to keep you from the abuses of it. It was Davids practice, uphold me according to thy Word, Psalm 119. 116. Hold me up, and I shall be safe, 117. I flie unto thee, Psalm 143. 9. Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity, Psalm 119. 37. Incline not mine heart to covetousness, v. 36.

SECT. 6.

  1. HElp is walking in the Spirit, a safe Direction: Walk*in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh, Gal. 5. 16. To be spiritually minded is life, Rom. 8. ye purified your heart by the spirit, 1 Pet. 1. 22. The spirit mortifieth the deeds of the body, Rom. 8. 13. Let us walk in the spirit, not desirous of vain glory; provoking, envying one another, Gal. 5. 25, 26. * He that hath not the spirit of Christ, (saith one) belongs not to him, although he should a thousand times over glory he is a Christian: Where Christ with his Spirit dwelleth, there is a proof of his inhabitation, the guidance of his Spirit is followed, the body of sin is gradually destroyed: The spirits walks are clean principles, are holy motions, are pure: Much wantonness in Religion is entertained from the spirits allowance, and is guilty of this real blasphemy, as if the holy Spirit were an unclean one: It is not because men live in the Spirit, but because they live not, that they live and speak so loosly, in filthy Ranterism, in odious Libertinism. When the Apostle prayed that the Colossians might be filled with all spiritual Wisdom and Understanding, have inlightned mindes, and renewed wills and affections, Col. 1. 9. his meaning was, that they might walk holily and strictly, not uncleanly and loosly, That ye might walk worthy of the Lord, unto all well-pleasing, ver. 10. not by a Popish worthinesse of Merit, but by a Gospel-worthinesse of fitnesse, decency, and non-repugnance to Gospel-grace, walking worthy a Christians call, Eph. 4. 1. Worthy of God, 1 Thess. 2. 12. Worthy*of the Gospel, Phil. 1. 27. All which is done by following the guidance of the spirit, and not serving the lusts of the flesh, which is the fruit of spiritual Wisdom and Understanding: Sensual, not having the spirit, Jude Ep. ver. 19. Will be a condemning evidence, that wanton Sensualists were but pretended Spiritualists, and real Carnalists: The Spirits way, is a way of holinesse, a clean way: Impure Libertines never walked in it: Get in it, and the dirty miry pathes of the worlds pollutions will be avoided.

SECT. 7.

  1. HElp is serious thoughts, what it is to crucifie lusts: The * not understanding of, nor submitting to the crucifying work of grace, is an experienced grand omission in all loose delicate Christians: They choose and like onely that Religion, that gives most liberty, ease and life to the flesh: Crucifying grace hath three irksome, terrible, and unpleasing severities, which carnal wisdom and wantonness abhors, Restraint, Pain, and Death.
  2. Restraint: The Roman Malefactors that were fastned to the Crosse, had not the free use of their members: So when the Body of sin is Crucified, its earthly Members are as it were nailed & fastned to the Wood, that they cannot have liberty to move as formely: The Spirit never crucifieth, but the flesh is nailed * to the Cross, and is compelled to be subject to its dominion.
  3. Pain: Piercing with nails, Hanging, bleeding on the Cross, was a tormenting penalty; when the Grace of God crucifieth, it torments the flesh: Its spiritual arms puts corruption to pain: When it is vexed and afflicted, it is as it should be: No crucifying without pain.
  4. Death: The kinde of death Christ died, was Crucifixion: He gave up the Ghost on the Crosse. Crucifying grace, is killing grace, it at length utterly destroys this grand Malefactor, the old man. The same spirit of grace that is said to crucifie, is also said to mortifie, Rom. 8. As the Apostle Characterizeth true Christians by this, They have crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts, Gal. 5. 24. so he exhorts, Mortifie your earthly members, Coloss. 3. 5. For want of serious and solid pondering, what the hard and rigorous work of Christian •eligion is, it gives no liberty to the flesh, but nails it to the Crosse of grace, puts it to pain, and at length to•tures it to death; it comes to pass, that effeminate, pleasant, carnally jo•und, flesh-pampeing, professed Christians, in their indulgent wantonnesses, are as far off from the severities of repentance, as if they had never read, nor believed Christ was crucified, and that on pain of damnation, the old man must be crucified also. Take this wholsome counsel, O loose Reader! If thou wouldst repent of thy wantonnesse; Be informed in, and submit to the power of Crucifying grace; when thou art loth to pinion and imprison thy lusts, this is not to crucifie: C•nst not endure to torment thy covetous, vain-glorious, malicious, unclean, intemperate lusts? this is not to crucifie: When thou doest reprieve them, and deliver them, as they that did Barrabas, this is not to crucifie: But when corruption would have a large room, restrain it rather; this is crucifying: When thy heart is vexed and grieved to part with a dear lust, it is great inward pain and smart to thee, the rather smite and asslict, deeply wound thy corrupt nature; this is to Crucifie: When it is death to thee to deny thy wisdom, will, and part with thy money, delights, carnal ease, and interests, yet to deny these things, this is to Crucifie. As Papists deal with their Crucifixes, they please themselves with a painted Crucifix, that have not the vertue of Christ crucified in their hearts and lives: So loose Pro•estants have a fancy Crucifix, imagine their old man is crucified, not a real Crucifix: Their flesh is not at all crucified in their spirits and conversations.

SECT. 8.

  1. HElp is a thankful spirit: It becomes the upright to be * thankful. Sincerity is the lustre and glory of every grace. Hypocrisie keeps mercy, returns it not; uprightnesse will: Can that heart be upright in it self, that returns sin for grace, nay, makes grace to serve and lacquey to sin? Do ye thus requite the Lord, O••e foolish people and unnise? De••. 32. 6. Do you give him Straw for Pearls, Dirt for Gold? •re •••bellions good thanks for p••dons? Are sparing no •llowan•es to Justs, good ans•ers of sparing ••ace? Is long 〈…〉 an high hand, without remorse, a good requital to long-suffering grace? Deal you ingenuously with the despised and rejected offers of grace, when at the same time you close with the offers of sin? Deal you kindly with the gifting, purifying, sealing spirit of Grace, when you turn you turn your back upon him, and be••ay a spirit of pride, worldlinesse, and security? Well doth the Apostle joyn together, Unthankful and Unholy: The Libertine is unthankful and unholy: The •entiles were unthankful, and wantons against nature: Pretended Christians are unthankful, and wantons again•t Grace: That thanks for the infinite goodnesse of God in Christ, that would give up body and soul a reasonable sacrifice unto God, would not dishonor the dominion of Christ, and Temples of the spirit, by loose wantonnesse: Study and practice that of the Apostle, What soever you doe, in Word and deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God, and the father by him, Col. 3. 17. And this will secure against loosnesse in the duties of our Relations, worldly enjoyments, Ordinances of Grace, Talents committed to us.

SECT. 9.

  1. HElp is godly sorrow: Those ill humors that are contracted * by carnal mirth, godly sorrow will help to cure; as in Nature, so in grace contraries cure: Fasting is one remedy of distempering feasts: Godly sorrow is the spirits sack-cloth and fast for sin: When it wrought in the Corinthians repentance, it wrought carefulnesse, which shook off security, and fear of relapse into the old sin by fresh temptation: By the sad•ess of the countenance, the heart is made better, Eccles. 7. 3. True sorrows eat out the love and liking of sin: Men lay not to heart the abuses of grace, and then adventure them: The three principal things that God requires, are Justice, Mercy, Mourning: The last is a singular help to the two first: Could we walk mournfully before the Lord, we should love Mercy, and do justly, Mic. 6. 8. The Jews were wanton in their marrying Idolatrous Wives, and their mourning ushered in their reformation, Ezra 10. 1, 3. Good natured childrens ingenuous sorrows for their soose pranks, are Preservatives against like disorders: In Malachy, the pr•••ical Atheists did look upon Religion as vain serving God, keeping his Ordin•nces, and walking mournfully before the Lord of Hoast, Mal, 3. 14. Those mock-Gods and loose Libertines, that laugh at mournful walking with God, and are ever irreligious, they keep not his Ordinances, nor serve him at all. The tears of repentance do sweetly water the seed of grace. Zions mourners are the most th••ving Christians. None are further off from the dangerous snares of soul-ruining wantonnesse, then humble souls that so•e in tears: They reap in Grace and Joy, while others that so• in carnal security and delights, reap in sin and wrath. It is told in Gath, and published in Askelon, that many that seemed to set their faces Heavenwards, are loose •ibe•tines. They d•re to think, speak, and act, what once to think on would make them tremble: They dare sin without •emo•se, and count it their perfection: And whence this sad •postacy? Surely, as in part, from an ungrateful glut of, and formality in the •rdinances of Grace? partly from the spiritual pride of high attainments, and partly from exchanging the house of mourning for the house of mirth, walking mournfully before the Lord with them, is Apochrypha, sorrow for sin is legal and antiquated: The holy Spirit exhorts rich Wantons to change their mirth into mourning, Jam. 4. 9. But what Spirit it is that moves them, to change their mourning into mirth, you may easily guess. It is just with God, that when dissolute ones in sinful hardness have laid by sorrow for sin, in judicial hardnesse, they should be not more merry, then mad jocund Wantons. The Pulpit is no place. The Sabbath no time to speak vainly. I hope I speak the words of Truth and Soberness, of all the holy frames of the Spirit, I would desire of God in my sinful Pilgrimage of imperfection, this choice g••cious indowment, That the top-power of the Spirit in me, might be in the Gospel-humblings of brokennesse of heart and contrition of spirit. Pelievers are called, should be little ones, Matth. 18. 6. are ever best and safest, yea nearest God, when lowest.

  

SECT. 10.

  1. HElpe is close union to God. The whorish woman at distance * from her husband played the wanton, Prov. 7, 19. and impure soules fornicate, when they thrust themselves out of Gods presence: wanton spirits distance from God, their choice and delight, Job. 21. 14. Is their damnation, Lo they that are afar from thee shall perish, Thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee, Psal. 73. 27. They that love any thing above God, leave Heavens bed of Loves, for Earthly delights, and shall pay dear for their wantonnesse. The remedy against it was close union to God, But it is good for me to draw nigh to God, 28. As if he had said, Unchast Fornicators, that leave God the Fountain of living waters for lying vanities, to their eternall losse, shal be indited for whoredome: but my soule enter not into their secret: though they are Wantons behind Gods back, I see it is s•fe, it is happinesse to me to get neer his F•ce, in his presence is A•e, Purity, and Joy: I dare not be loose, while I see him besore mine Eyes: wil a promoted favourite abuse his Prince, wrong his grace before his Face? the close union of Gods Reverence, Love, Purity, Joy•, Contentment, Admiration, will not be abusive. * The neerer to the Holy God, the further from corruption, as the neerer the fire, the further from cold, the neerer the sun, the further from darknesse: it is sinners turning their backs upon God which makes them wantons, the true vision, fruition of, and delectation in Gods face is grave, serious, holy, and heavenly. What Christian that ever had sweet tasts and close viewes of the blessed God, but his experience is sweet testimony, hee feared to thinke, desire, do, say, that evil in close addresses to God, which at other tims of distance hath had too sinful allowance. The happinesse of the next life wil be divine, sweet vision, and union, without darknesse and separation, eternal closures betweene God & souls, wil shut out wantoness: so much as there is of spiritual conjunction now, there is provision against sinne.

  

SECT. 11.

  1. HElp is a constant subduing the first depraved motions * to carnal desires and affections, he that denyes the first parly, and specious offers of a trecherous enemy, prevents consent: when we give the subtil motions of sin audience, and listen to their pleasing arguments, it is a thousand to one, but we grant them wanton indulgence, and ready obedience: turning the deaf side to the whorish flatteries of sweete corruption, is a soveraign Antidote against Libertinisme. Are we sure an enemy knocks at the door, we lo•k and bar against him, but open not unto him? spirituall Judgment sayes, the loose motions of sin knocks at the door, sayes open not; O my soule! open not, they are Theeves and Robbers, My Son (saith Solomon) If sinners intice, consent thou not, Prov, 1. 10. So say, O my Soul! if that great Pandor to all the Wantons of flesh and spirit, corrupt nature intice, consent thou not: when lust hath conceived in consent, it is ready to bring forth in Execution, Jam. 1. 15. Let not the feminall wickednesse of Lust in its first motions conceive, and its loose births will be hindred production: while evill inordinate * affections begin to kindle and smoke, tis safty and prudence to quench them. A few blown sparkes may fire an house, yea an whole street: The flesh is ranck, puts forth luxuriant branches of evill desires, by both a sin and punishment, our hereditary vice, corrupt nature, and therefore they are constantly to be cut off by the pruning •nife of mortifying Grace: dayly putting forth of loose motions, calls for every dayes pruning: while life lasts, the body of sin is kept under, and consumes, is not quite dead. Bernard gives sweet and safe counsell, diligently to observe, and by a prompt severity, speedily to cut off, the rene•ing Hydra’s heads of sinnes motions, so soone as they arise.

SECT. 12

  1. HElpe is planting and filling the soule with holy spiriritual * desires and affections: the field that stands thick with corn, hath no roome for ranck overgrowing Weeds, the clean vessel that is ful of good Liquor, is secured from Mustiness. Soules filled with the Spirit are armed against the temptations and intrusions of the flesh. Carnal desires cannot be supprest, unlesse in the room of dangerous affections saving ones be * introduced. Cassian saith well, If we desire to thrust evil desires out of our hearts, let us plant spiritual ones in their stead, that the mind being fixed upon them, may alwaies dwel on them, and refuse the s•ares of present and carnal delights. The more the soul ongs and pants after God and Christ, and the Joyes of Eternitie, the less leisure and pleasure it hath to play the wanton in the pleasures of the creature and sin.

SECT. 13.

  1. HElp is, Beating down that grand Idol, Carnal Selfelove. * As the Apostle in setting down the black and sad character, of loose Libertines, that make the last daies perilous, begins his prophesie with self-love; Men shall be lovers of themselves; and then sets down a following black Train of carnal Dissolutenesse. They shall be (wanton) Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, 2 Tim. 3, 1, 2, 4. Make out-side Religion their play, not work, form not power, v. 5. Politick engine, not real design. So that power of grace, that destroyes this esteemed, adored, sweetest Idol, Self-love, makes excellent provision, against the darling, frolicks, impudent attempts, carnal * delights of the old man. Spiritual self-loathing is strict and severe, can lay by self in will, wisdom, pleasig, seeking, carnall, self-love, is loose, indulgent, sensual, bruitish prostitutes Religion, creatures soul-body, in the service and sacrifice of sweet flesh-pleasing. O the sad, and frequent, carnal love of carnal Gospellers, who above all things love themselves, estimate, rellish, and seek nothing but themselves; make themselves their ultimate end, themselves their God? Two Loves (saith Augustin) have made two Cities: Self-love joyned with the contempt of God makes the Citie of the world: The love of God in conjunction with self-loathing, makes the City of God. Dry up the impure vast fountain of carnal self-love, and the filthy streams of dissolute hearts and lives will soon be dried up. ‘Tis hard to learn this Paradox in Practical Divinity, to find a mans self by losing himself, * to love ones self by loathing himself. If self-love be self-losing, then self-denying is self-finding. Voluptuous wo•ldlings must have great estates to riot and fe••• their lusts; lay by selflove, religious liberality would have larger portions in sensualists estates; lesse riches would serve their turn. The game of Pleasures, Profits, and Honours, would not with intemperate hot chases be so hunted after. The crucified to self-love would be compassionate forgiving, bear others burdens, and not wantonly rejoice in the miseries of others sins and sufferings.

SECT. 14.

  1. HElp is the lively Faith and sence of the heavenly country. The spiritual and heavenly expectation of glory, * would purge out the rank, corrupt humours of Libertinism, Faith would teach holy Reason thus to argue; Are there such loose Designs, Desires, Affections, Expressions, Actions in Heaven? Wil this cockering indulgence to my Lusts fit me for the pure active, reverent delights of heavenly Communion? Am I fit to Honour, Glory, who thus abuse grace? Let the mindfull sense (saith one of the heavenly country) stand as door-keeper at the* gate of the will, in which carnall desires are wont to dwell; and as one wedge drives out another, so this will drive out loose desire.

SECT. 15.

  1. HElp is a fervent keeping up of Grace in Exercise. The busie services of Christianity, allow no time to wantonize. * The labour of the spiritual man is the Vacation and rest of the carnal part. When the gracious heart is not with the spirit of burning, the flesh freezeth. The standing water putrifies, the running christal stream is clean and sweet. The active currency of grace, contracts not, or soon purgeth out the muddiness of loose corruption. ‘Tis constant experience, the most lively exercised Christian in the power of godlyness, is ever the strictest observer, and severest mortifier of the dissolute motions o• carnal lust. When we read the grace of God was exceeding abundant in the Apostle Paul, in Faith and Love, 1 Tim. 1. 14. That to finish his Christian and Ministerial course, he counted not his life dear to him, Act. 20. 24. That he exercised a conscience void of offence toward God and men, Act. 24. 16. That the care of all the Churches laid on him, 2 Cor. 11. 28. That he laboured more abundantly than all the Apostles, 1 Cor. 15. 10. That he was willing to spend and be spent, 2 Cor. 12. 15. Like a burning, consuming candle to light others: That he kept a strict guard over his heart, and was jealous lest abundance of heavenly revelations should be temptations to spiritual pride, 2 Cor. 12. 7. It is no wonder we read this choice language of holy austeritie, I keep under my body, 1 Cor. 9. 27. Not onely the body of flesh, lest like an over-fed beast it grow wanton, but the body of sin; The word wil bear it, I beat it, I wound it, I make it black and blew. When Lust and the Devil find the active Christian occupied in heavenly Traffick, and Negotiation, they want that audience, indulgence, and allowance, which are ever wont to be granted out to them from either quite dead and graceless Christians, or gracious, slothful, sleeping ones.

SECT. 16.

  1. HElp is the hope of Glory. It purifies the heart from the * worlds pollutions, 1 Joh. 3. 3. It by the large perspective of Faith, looks into celestial Canaan, the supernatural Paradise, and takes such a satisfying view of eternal delights, that it is weaned from temporal. It neglects gain for the hope of gain, is as one saith, Treasure before treasure, the present image of absent profit. When the flesh tempts to wanton lazynesse, the hope of eternal riches cures sloth. Have we not seen the hope of gain hath stoln away the tediousness of travel and pain, shortned hours, and lightned labours? Get, O Christian! the hope of Glory into thy soul, it wil steal away the tediousnesse of * thy heavenly travel. We little look for glory when holy hours are too long, and our patience in wel-doing, too short. The wanton flesh in the waies of godlynesse is scar’d by a Lyon in the way, and flyes dangerous pietie, declines the exercise of grace as afflictive, and the way to heaven as strewed with thorns. The hope of glory will quel this cowardise. Hope makes the * booty expecting Souldier fear no showres of Bullets, Swords, nor Pistols. Hope makes the glory expecting Christian to runne through Armies of Temptations, the Vollyes of Hel, fire and water, to come to a wealthy place. ‘Tis the cure the Apostle laid down against wanton sensuality. But you beloved, looking for the mercy of God to eternal life. Jude ep. v. 21. The Grace of God teacheth to deny wanton lusts, to live soberly and righteously by the hope of glory, Tit. 2. 11, 12, 13.

CHAP. XV. Shevving what great cause of Thankfulness vve ovve to God for preserving from this sin.

  1. EXhortation. Bless God for Preservation from this great sin. Have yee been kept within * the hedge and confinements of Gods fear in an holy awe of his Goodnesse, and improvement of his Grace•, know, and praise the spring of your sufficiencie, the God of grace. Mygrace is sufficient for thee to keep thee, was Gods * Encouragement, Pauls experience, and ground of doxology, when under Nero’s Persecution he was rescued from fleshly wantonnesse, that fears affliction, and declines duty, and though left alone, like a stout champion among his enemyes, he stood to suffering because God stood by him, 2 Tim. 4. 16, 17. The sense whereof made him to beleeve he should break through all the dangers of sins, persecutions, and devils, and safely arrive in glory, 2 Tim. 4. 17, 18. and made him to resent it with praise, to whom be glory forever and ever. So for his Romans preserved by grace, he said, Thanks be to God, ye that were sinnes servants, are Gods, Rom. 6. 7. ye have paid hearty service to him, as ye did to your lusts. Surely when so many goe to Hel with * the abused notions and professions of Gospel grace: what rare mercy is it to be the preserved in Jesus Christ, from the ruining snares Satan layes in heavenly things. Upon a double account blesse God.
  2. That his grace within hath kept you. Inherent graces are the soules Armour. It is mercy to be girt with them, it is another to have the skil to use them: It is further grace to make them Armour of proof, succesful defence against the worlds taking, destructive temptations.
  3. That his power without hath kept this grace. ‘Tis mutable, finite, a creature, and may change to losse. If God leaves it, it dies. Foolish man may, and will leave it too, if God leave it and him. As the child by the faithlesse, carelesse Nurse may starve, so through carnal neglects, disuse, pride, should God stand off it would perish: Besides, Lust and Satan would still stab it at the heart. Behold a spiritual wonder, a wonder, in heaven, the heaven of the kingdom of grace, that grace by the mighty power of God stands invincible, immortal, in the midst of all the shot, it’s enemies make against it. To spirituall understanding divine power is glorious, that upholds brittle grace, as to natural reason, it is illustrious in upholding frail nature.

CHAP. XVI. Containing an Exhortation. that foules should alvvaies be jealous of this sinne.

  1. BE alwaies suspitious of this sin. * It is with wanton corruption as with a loose servant, they both call for a jealous eye. What temptations have been, may be, yea will be as occasions renew to take liberty. The allurements of the flesh are numerous and prevalent. The Devil wants not his Pandors and Factors to sollicite and ripen filthy conversation, and secret impuritie with the Gospels leave. As he is happy that fears sin alwaies, Prov. 28. 14. so as for this scarlet sin, the blasphemy of Grace, and infamy to the Gospel, heart, and life wantonness. He is more waies happy than one, that fears it alwaies: He is happy in a constant, filial reverence, that doth nothing unbeseeming his Fathers name. Happy in the glorious testimony of sinceritie: happy in an innocent indemnity, and securitie from others hypocrisies and apostas•es: happy in the lively exercise of Grace: happy in sweet daily communion with God. Paul, that blessed man, ful of piety, and jealousie of sin, that was afraid lest his Corinthians espoused to Christ should have corrupt, wanton glances to loose errours, 1 Cor. 11. 2, 3. and leave the purity and simplicitie of the Gospel, for impure principles and practises, was very jealous of his own heart. As he could, and did approve his blameless walking to, and before others, so to and before God. He preached and lived as in the sight of God: Knew the true Christian is he whose praise is of God, a rare president. Carnal interest is jealous, and so is spiritual. Learn daily godly jealousie over thy loose heart. When thy severe eye is off from it, it wil dare to be licentious. Oh the sad liberty the impudent old man boldly takes! Where the inward discipline of a strict eye is neglected, and the judgings, checks, and lashings of the conscience are suspended, be jealous to God of the bosom traytor to thy self, lest God be offended, the Gospel be abused, and the soul be damnified.

CHAP. XVII. Containing an Exhortation to long for a riddance from this sin.

BE much in longing, O Christian! for a perpetual deliverance from this sin; some of this leaven * will infect the purest mass. The strictest Christian off his watch is in som things loose. The pure eyes of God see every impure secret glance. The inward and outward eyes are sometimes carnally or spiritually adulterous, or both. The purest garments in the worlds dirty Lanes are spotted. When divine Light   shews Gospel abusing pollutions in gracious spirits, how vile, how loathsome are they? Then wo is me, I am a man of uncleane lips, the loose messengers of a filthy heart. O that I were rid of this filthy body of sin. The captive exile longs for his enlargement: the weary traveller for his Inne; the storm-scar’d, seasick Passenger for his Harbour, and the afflicted Christian under his unkindnesses to Grace for a deliverance. ‘Tis good when the wanton flesh wrongs covenant mercies, to say of a deliverance from it, as Jeremiah of the Jews repentance, when shall it once be? Jer. 13. 27. When shall it once be, that impure lusts shall never wrong the kisses of Love? They that have the first fruits of the Spirit, should be stil longing and groaning for their eternal, holy, happy harvest. Pure heart-longings should be like the Harts pantings. The hunting, trembling creature hath an enflamed appetite after refreshing water; tempted soules are, or should be longing after pure communion with the blessed God. Ingenuous afflicting sense of corrupting the best things, the smiles, the compassions, the love tokens, the promises of God, by the loose flesh, should beger doleful complaints of present pollutions and imperfections. I know, beleever, it troubles thy precious tender spirit, when thou seest thy unkindnesses to thy dearest Friend, the Lord Jesus. Be longing and breathing after a purer heart As Sisera’s Mother said, VVhy tarry the wheeles of his chariot? Judg. 5. 28. So in thy devout re•itements say, why tarry the wholly prevailing motions to heavenly perfection? Oh that they were like the Chariots of Aminadab! When shall I see and never asperse again the face of my dear Lord with carnal indignities? Love longs for its beloved. There is much grace in much, and sorrowfull longing for more.

  

CHAP. XVIII. Containing an Exhortation to Joy in the Hope of Glory.

  1. OE much upright, Christian! in the hope of glory. * The Gospel eternal rewards of the next life, wil be eternal security against the wrongs of grace. Glory wil not admit throughout eternity the least imaginable minute of under-prizing, of idle contemplating, of dis-affecting precious grace, it and its Author, it and its Mediator, it and its Messenger, it and its golden Cisterns that conveighed it, shall have their high account. It shall have no obstructive creatures, whorish lusts, wily devils to wrong it. It shall have no glut in its glorious exercise. Its use shall be the Whetssone of use. Its delight shall set a keen edge upon the Spirit still to delight in it. It shall never be made an Advocate to speak for the least sinne. You spiritual sonnes and daughters of Zion, did the hope of Babylons Captives in the civil graves of their bondage rejoice them, that they should arise and come with singing to Zion? be you ever sipping through Gospel faith and hope out of the cup of everlasting consolation, that though at the present you are captives of your loose flesh, yet you shall with everlasting joy come to your heavenly Zion.

  

CHAP. XVIII. Containing perswasive Motives to take heed that the Grace of God be not abused.

To stir us up to the holy practise of the forementioned Directions and Exhortations, it will not, I hope, be impertinent to lay down some pressing Considerations, that may spur our dull, lazy spirits to the vigorous promoting of this great duty, Exalting the Grace of God, and shunning this eminent, and frequent sin, The wrong of his Grace. These following things, well digested, pondered, and fixed on, our spirits may urge us profitably. As,

SECT. 1.

  1. COnsideration. The Titles given to Holy Professors in sacred * Writ, should excite to use all means not to abuse Gods grace. They are stiled, Gods peculiar treasure, Psal. 135. 4. His Jewels, Mal. 3. 17. Shall their worthless hearts, drossie lives speak them barren commons, wildernesses, pebbles, dunghils, They are Gods Tabernacle, Temple where he placeth his name? Lev. 26. 11, 12. and shall they that should bear it up to shine gloriously in the world, darken it, blaspheme it, proph•ne it? Amos 2. 7. They are the dearly beloved of his soul, Jer. 12. 7. and shall their loose Apostasies provoke him, that his soul should have no pleasure in them? Heb. 10. 38. They are the children of the Kingdom, Mat. 8. 12. and shall they carry themselves like such •ebellious children and subjects, as to provoke their angry, ••ofessed King, the Lord Jesus to cast them out? They are Gods vineyard, planted to bring forth sweet, and ripe grapes, Is. 5. shall they answer Gods care and cost by the sowre grapes of ungodliness and unrighteousness? They are a royal Priesthood, and shall they live base, abject lives? 1 Pet. 2. 9. They are stiled the kingdom of Heaven, Mal. 13. 47. whose conversation should be in heaven, Phil. 3. 20. and shall they be worldlings in heart and life? They are Christs garden, Can. 8. 13. & shal they be overrun with rank weeds? They are The Spouse of Christ, Can. 4. 11. and after Espousals to him shal they run a whoring from him, Ps. 73. 27. and cleave to strange loves? They are Labourers, Mat. 20. 1. And shal they stand idle all the day of grace? Mat. 20: 6. They are Christians, Act. 11. 26. And shal they dishonour Christ, And the Christian Name by unchristian principles and practises.

S•CT. 2.

  1. COnsideration, The honour of Christian Liberty, civil freemen * are chary of their Liberties, spirituall ones must be, and make their dear bought Liberty a plea to duty, not a cloake of maliciousnesse, being f•ee from the guilt and reign of sin, they are De Ju•e, the servants of Righteousnesse, Rom. 6. 18. •nd as the p•ofessed servants of Righteousnesse, they are free from the dominion of sin. They are Christs freemen to do Gods worke, and se•ve him, not their Lusts under Christs Livery: what honour hath liberty from the curse, rigor, damnation of the Law, as a covenant of works? If Freemen by profession are as willing and industious flaves by dispo•tion and practise, as if they had heard of the author of Liberty, the infinite price of Libe•ty, the bounds of Liberty, the peace of Liberty, the purity of Liberty, the designe of Liberty, which was to imprison, chain up, and chastise felonyous Traytors, Rebells, evill thoughts, carnal re•sonings, perverse desires, inordinate •ffections, dissolute courses, not to give them the least allowance, latitude, and affection? What honour can this be to Christian liberty, when as huge multitudes of Libertines manage it, Hell is broken loose under the favour of it, whose intendment was to open heaven in a free practise of piety, and pardon of be vailed failings, in a free assi•an•e by the spirit of Libertine, to endeavour to do every part of •ods will, and a free acceptance of imperfect, yet sincere service? Carnal worldly Liberty saith, indulge your •enius, feast your senses, deny your sensitive appetite in nothing, the pleasures of this life, are the chiefest good, be not a slave to straight laced, mopish, melancholly rules, exercises, and society; but true Christian Liberty sayes, use no unlawfull delights, you deny your self in lawful, be not under the power of Creature sweetest allowances, it counts that part of life most sweet freedome, that in the zeal, pursuit, and affection of spirituall delights, can be contented without, and mortified to •eih•y unnecessary delights. he words of Tertul. are weighty, *Thou art delicate, O Christian, if thou seekest worldly pleasure•, yea a fool, if thou accountest this pleasure: what is more pleasant then Reconciliation with God, then acknowledgment of errors, then pardon of sin past? What is greater pleasure, then the loathing of pleasure, the contempt of the whole world, then true liberty, then an upright conscience, then a life of contentment, then living above the fear of death? these are the pleasures, these are the spectacles, the rare sights of Christians, Indeed an holy authority over sensuall delights, a vacation and attendance to, and pursuance of spiritual pleasures, do speak the only Free-man in the World: Tis rare to find that mighty Apostolicall spirit, among professed Christians, not to be under the power of any thing: they use not specular delights with Liberty, but slavery, not being possessors of them