THE Fight of Faith CROWNED: OR, A SERMON PREACHED At the FUNERAL of that Eminently Holy Man Mr. HENRY STUBS.

By THO. WATSON Minister of the Gospel.

LONDON, Printed and are to be sold by Joseph Collier at the Bi [...] on London-Bridg, under the Gate, 1678.

THE EPISTLE.

Christian Reader,

IT was not my intendment to have appeared thus publickly, but being requested by the near Relations of this worthy Minister deceased to print my Sermon, (which by their appointment was preached) I knew not well how to withstand their importunity. Indeed I was the more willing to let these lines be published, that I might raise a Pillar of Remembrance to the precious name of Mr. Stubs. The Subject-matter treated on is the Christian Combat and Crown. O blessed Crown which cannot be fully pencilled out in its orient colours, though an arch-angel should take the pencill. The Roman Emperours had three several Crowns set upon their head; the first was of Iron, the second of Silver, the third of Gold. God sets three Crowns upon the Elect, Grace, Joy, Glory. What should we thirst after but this incom­prehensible bliss! Did our thoughts dwell above, we should live sweeter lives. The higher the Lark flys, the swee­ter it sings. Cyprus was anciently called Macaria, the blessed Island; but it is more true of Heaven, it is the blessed Island. 'Tis a place where sorrow cannot live, and joy cannot die. It may be compared to the fields of Sicily, where there is continual Spring, and flowers all the year long. Could our Meditations mount up to the Empyraean delights, how would the World disappear [Page] and shrink into nothing! [...] Chryfost. [...].—To those who stand upon the top of the Alps, the great Cities of Campania seem as little Villages. After St. Paul was wrapt up into third Heaven, the world was crucified to him, Gal. 6. 14. Worldly things when they are in their highest meridian of glory hasten to a Sun-setting, [...]. let us live more in the altitudes, and take a prospect of the eternal re­compences; what can be more delicious or sacred than to have Christ in our heart, and the Crown in our eye.

I have inserted something more into this Sermon, than straits of time would permit in the delivery. If it may inkindle holy ardours in the breasts of any, and quicken their pace in the way to Heaven, I have my option. That this may be effected is the prayer of him who is

Thy Friend and Servant in the Gospel, THO. WATSON.
2 TIM. IV. 7, 8.‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith, hence­forth is laid up for me a Crown of Righte­ousness.’

THese words were spoken by Paul the aged not long before his death, ver. 6. I am now ready to be offered, or (as the word [...] signifies) to have my blood poured out in sacrifice. And what a comfort was it to make this noble profession before his departure, I have fought a good fight, &c. The Text falls into three Parts:

1. St. Pauls Courage, I have fought a good fight.

2. His Constancy, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.

3. His Crown, Henceforth is laid up for me a Crown of Righteousness.

Here is a large field, and I can but pluck a few Ears of Corn, I begin with the first part of the Text.

1. Pauls Courage, I have fought a good fight, [...], I have fought to an agony.

Observe first, A Christians life is military, 1 Tim. 1. 18. That thou maist war a good warfare; [...], Chrys. a Saints [Page 2] life is not effeminate and slothful, but like the Soldiers life.

1. In respect of hardship: A Soldier hath not his soft bed or daily fair, but undergoes tedious marches; such is the Christian life, 2 Tim. 2. 3. Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. We must not be delicatuli (as Tertullian speaks) silken Christians, but expect to wrestle with difficulties: The naked neck is too soft and tender to bear the Cross of Christ.

2. In respect of Watchfulness: A Soldier gets up to his Watch-tower, and sends abroad his scouts for fear the Enemy surprize him; a Christian must ex­cubias agere, stand sentinel, be ever upon his guard. It was Christs Watch-word, Mark 13. 37. I say to you all watch. When you have prayed against sin, watch against temptation.

3. In respect of Combat, 1 Tim. 6. 12. Fight the good fight of faith. In order to which fight, a Chri­stian must get his Armour and Weapons ready.

1. He must get his Armour ready, the care of most is to get riches, not armour; there are two things absolutely needful, food and armour; 'tis necessary to get Christ for our food and grace for our armour without this there is no abiding the day of Tryal: A Soldier that wears his Princes Colours, but hath no armour, will soon fly the field; such as by a profession wear Christs Colours, but have not the Armour of God upon them, will turn their backs in the day of battel.

There are two chief pieces of the spiritual armour. 1. The Helmet, that is, Divine Hope, 1 Thes. 5. 8. For an helmet the hope of salvation: An Helmet is to [Page 3] defend the head that it be not hurt Galta caput tuetur.; so the hope of salvation as an Helmet defends a person, and makes him lift up his head in the greatest dangers. But Christians, be sure ye get the right helmet, the helmet of hope may be counterfeited.

1. The first deceit of the Helmet, or a false hope, is a dead hope; Hypocrites have a faint velleity, they hope for Heaven, but exert no activity in working out salvation; but true hope is a lively hope, 1 Pet. 1, 3. Hope of Glory sets an edg upon the af­fections, and adds wings to the endeavour.

2. A false hope is an unclean hope, a man hopes, but sins; 'tis vain to speak of hopes of salvation, yet have the marks of damnation: True hope is an Helmet made of pure metal, 1 John 3. 3. He who hath this hope, purifieth himself.

3. A false hope is vanishing, 'tis not an Helmet, but a spiders Web Job 8. 14.; the least terror of Conscience shakes it, but a true hope is permanent, Prov. 14. 32. The righteous hath hope in his death, in a dying hour his hope is in a living God. When Quintian the Persecutor commanded to cut off the breasts of Agatha a Martyr, Do thy worst Tyrant (said he), yet I have two breasts which you cannot touch; the one of Faith, the other of Hope. Duae tamen supersunt ma­millae, una fi­dei, altera spes. O get the right Helmet, the Devil laughs at Hypocrites to see how they are cousened with false armour: A fool is con­tented with a Paper-helmet.

2. The second piece of the Spiritual Armour is the brest-plate, which is Love, 1 Thes. 5. 8. Putting on the breast-plate of Love. This breast-plate is in­separable, it may be shot at, but it cannot be shot thorow, Cant. 8. 7. A soul armed with love, will [Page 4] go through a Sea, and a Wilderness, he will dye in Gods service.

[...], Ignatius. 2. A Christian must get his weapons ready. 1. The shield, Ephes. 6. 16. [...], Above all things taking the shield of faith.

Epaminondas was not so careful of his life, as of his shield: A shield is of great use, it defends the head, it guards the vitals, it keeps the arrow from entring into the body; the shield of faith defends the heart, and beats back the fiery darts of temptation. Scena a Roman Soldier did so long resist Ponipy's Army, till he had above an hundred darts sticking in his shield—Densam portans in pectore sylvam— Lucan. Hold forth the shield of faith, and nothing can hurt you.

2. The sword, Ephes. 6. 17. The sword of the spi­rit, which is the word of God: 'Tis good for a Soldier to be well skill'd in his weapon, the word of God is a weapon to stab lust at the heart; 'tis observable when the Devil tempted our Saviour, he ran to Scrip­ture; 'tis writen Mat. 4. 10. three times Christ wounded the old Serpent with this spiritual weapon.

And having gotten into this warlike posture, a Christian must in arenam descendere, enter the lists, and fight the good fight of faith. In the future life the Saints shall be out of the noise of the Drum and Canon, and not one stroke shall be struck more; then they shall not appear in their armour, but their white robes, and with palm-branches in their hands in token of victory Rev. 7. 9. but here they must fight the Lords battels Certent singuli ut accipiant co­ronas, Cypr., and no cessation of arms till death; and there is a threefold Regiment they must encounter with.

[Page 5] 1. The lusts of the flesh which war against their souls, 1 Pet. 1. 11. The flesh is a sly intestine enemy, and least suspected Si soris ho­st [...]m non habes, domi invenies, Livy.; an enemy got within the walls of the Castle is most dangerous. Luther said he feared his own heart more than Pope or Cardinal, the heart is the somenter of sin Fomes pecca­ti, Aug.; it mints evil thoughts, and blows up the coals of fiery passions; it is the Trojan horse, out of which comes a whole army of lusts. And shall not we fight the good fight, and discharge with the fire of zeal against this bosom-traytor the flesh? The Primitive Christians cryed, Ad leonem potius quam lenonem; they chose rather to be destroyed by Lyons without, than lusts within.

2. The second Regiment to be resisted, is Satan and the infernal Powers Ephes 6. 12., 1 Pet. 5. 8. Your adver­sary the Devil as a roaring Lyon walketh about [...]: He walketh about not as a Pilgrim, but a spy that nar­rowly observes; there were lyers in wait for Sampson, Judg. 16. 12. Satan like a muskiteer lies in ambush, and his design carries death in the front, seeking whom he may devour: He tempts one man to be drunk, another to be unclean; he sets Kingdoms a-quarrel­ling, that at last he may devour them, like him who sets two cocks of the game to fight, that having killed each other, he may sup with their carcasses. Doth this hellish Goliah come into the field, and de­fie the living God? and shall not some spear be lift up against him? 1 Pet. 5. 9. Whom resist stedfast in faith.

3. The third Regiment Christians must fight a­gainst, is the inchantments of the world; the world is a flattering enemy, it kills with embracing; world­ly things are retinacula spei Tertul., they hinder our pas­sage [Page 6] to the holy Land; they choke good affections, as the earth puts out the fire; whom the world kis­seth it betrayeth. Heliogabalus made ponds of sweet water to drown himself, and guilded poysons to poyson himself; the world destroys millions with her sweet waters of pleasure, and her guilded poysons of preferment; let us then gird on our Armour, and fight valorously

Good reason we should fight the fight of Faith, because we carry rich treasure about us: he who car­ries a charge of money about him, had need be in a fighting posture. We carry a precious soul about us; if the Cabinet of the body be so curiously wrought and embellished, Psal. 139. 15. Then what is the jewel in it? The soul is a spark and beam of celestial brightness Damascen., a blossom of eternity, and shall not we by our martial prowess and chivalry defend this treasure? to be robbed of the soul is an irreparable loss. God (saith Chrysostom) hath given thee two eyes, if thou losest one, thou hast ano­ther; but thou hast but one soul, and if thou art robbed of that, thou art undone for ever.

Use 1. Is the Christian life military? To blame then are they who have no spiritual Artillery, nor do they make one sally out against the Enemy. 'Tis death to go abroad unarmed; People spend time in dressing themselves by the glass, and putting on their jewels, but do not put on their sacred Armour, Job 21. 12. They take the Timbrel and Harp, and rejoyce at the sound of the Organ; as if they were rather in musick, than battel. Lycurgus would have no mans name written upon his Tomb, but his who dyed manfully in War: God writes no mans name in the [Page 7] Book of Life, but his who dyes fighting the good fight of faith.

Use 2. Give battel to Sin and Satan, and pursue them with an holy malice Qnis sancto­rum sine certa­mine coronatus est, Hierom.: and to encourage in the fight, let these things be weighed.

1. It is certamen praeclarum, a good fight: 'Tis a lawful War; Princes may commence a War to in­vade other mens rights and properties; but God hath proclaimed this War against sin Gen. 3. 15., Col. 3. 5. Mortifie therefore your members, fornication, inordinate affe­ction.

2. We have a good Captain: Jesus Christ is the Captain of our salvation Forti anim [...] pugnare dece [...], sub Christi au­spiciis & vexillo, Calv., Hebr. 2. 10. If a flock of sheep have a Lyon for their Captain, they need not fear the Wolf: Christ is the Lyon of the tribe of Ju­dah, Revel. 5. 5. He not only leads us on in our march, but helps us in the fight: A Captain may give his Soldier armour, but he cannot give him strength: Christ animates and strengthens us Eph. 6. 10., Isa. 41. 10. He puts his spirit within us Erek. 36. 2 [...]., and so we are more than conquerors, Rom. 8. 37.

3. Our Enemy Satan is beaten in part already; Christ hath given him his deaths-wound upon the Cross, Col. 2. 15. The Devil may roar against a Child of God, but shall not hurt him: he could not touch Job's life, much less his soul; therefore fear not, resist the devil and he will fly from you, Jam. 4. 7. Satan is a conquered Enemy, he knows no march but running away.

4. Fighting is the best way to have Peace, by sitting still, we tempt the Enemy to fall upon us, and wound us; our peace is preserved by War with Sa­tan Pax nostra bellum contra daemonem,: he who hath been skirmishing all day, may [Page 8] take Davids pillow at night, and say, in pace enbabo, I will lay me down in peace.

Quest. How may we so fight the good fight as to overcome?

Answ. 1. Let us fight in the strength of Christ, Phil. 4. 13. I can do all things through Christs strength­ning me. Grace it self, if it hath not a good second, will be beaten out of the field; some fight against sin in the strength of their vows and resolutions, and so are foiled. We must go out against our spiritual Antagonists in the strength of Christ; as David went out against Goliah in the Name of the Lord, 1 Sam. 17. 45. The Saints overcame the accuser of the brethren by the blood of the Lamb, Rev. 12. 11.

2. We must fight upon our knees by Prayer: Prayer is flagellum diaboli, it whips the Devil Tertul.; the arrow of Prayer put into the bow of the promise, and shot with the hand of Faith, pierceth the old serpent. Prayer brings God over to our side, and then we are on the strongest side; let us pray that God will inable us to overcome all our ghostly Ene­mies. While Joshua was fighting, Moses was pray­ing on the Mount, Exod. 17. 11. so while we are fighting, let us be praying, Ephes. 6. 13, 18. The way to overcome is upon our knees.

2. The second part of the Text, is, St. Pauls Constancy, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.

I have finished my course], cursum peregi—I have run out natures lease, I am come to the period of life prefixed, and am stepping into eternity: I have kept the faith, that is, I have kept the Doctrine of Faith, I have lived the life of Faith.

[Page 9] 2. Observe, Christians should hold on till they come to the finishing of their Faith, a carceribus ad metam; 'tis not enough to begin well, to put forth fair blossoms of Religion at first, but we must [...], continue firm to the end. Non pugnan­ti sed vincenti dabitur corona, Aug. This is the glory of a Christian not only to hold forth the truth, but to hold fast the truth, Act. 21. 16. Mnason of Cy­prus an old Disciple; 'tis a beautiful sight to see sil­ver hairs crowned with golden vertues. It was the honour of the Church of Thyatira, her last works were better than her first, Rev. 2. 19. The excellency of a medicine is when it keeps its vertue. To finish the course and keep the faith, is like generous Wine that keeps its spirits to the last drawing.

Use 1. Here is a bill of inditement against such as before the finishing of their course, have departed from the faith; they are fallen to worldliness or wantonness, the very mantle of their profession is fallen off. Desinit in Piscem mulier formosa superne. Such were Lucian, Porphiry, Peter Castellon, Judas. Judas hath many successors. Demas forsook God, 2 Tim. 4, 10. and afterwards became a Priest in an Idol-Temple, saith Dorotheus. Julian bathed himself in the blood of beasts offered in sacrifice to Heathen gods, and so as much as in him lay, washed off his Baptism. Things which move from an artificial spring quickly cease; unfound hearts having only external artifices of Pie­ty, but wanting a vital principle of Grace, soon make a stop in Religion. How can they adhere to God who never loved him? The Soldier who hath no true love to his commander, will throw off his Co­lours., Hos. 8. 3. Israel hath cast off the thing that is good. We have had more shipwracks at Land than at [Page 10] Sea, men have made shipwrack of their conscience, 1 Tim. 1. 19. Apostates unravel the work they have been doing for Heaven, they pick out all their gol­den stitches, Ezek. 18. 14. As if a Limner should with a pencil draw a curious piece, and then come with his spunge and wipe it out again. Apostates drop as windfalls into the Devils mouth, they having disparaged the ways of God, and put Christ to open shame, Heb. 6. 6. God will make them do penance in Hell Heb. 10. 38..

Use 2. Persevere in the Faith. What is a man the better to run some part of the race and then tire? so to go within an inch of Heaven, and then fall short Non quarun­tur in Christi­anis initia, sed finis. Hierom.. Who makes reckoning of corn that sheds before harvest? or fruit that falls from the tree be­fore it be ripe? O Christians, remember your Sal­vation is now nearer, Rom. 13. 11. You are within prospect of the Holy land, and will you now tire in your march? this is as if a Ship laden with Jewels and Spices, and within sight of the shore should be cast away; or as if a Jew had been running to the city of refuge, and had gotten within half a furlong of the city, and then had fainted, and been slain by the avenger of blood. 'T was Beza's Prayer, Lord, perfect that which thou hast begun in me, that I may not Domine quod capisti perfice, nè in portu naufragium accidas. suffer shipwrack when I am almost in the haven.

Mot. Consider, persevering in the Faith is a note of discrimination between a true Saint and an Hy­crite; the hypocrite he sets up in the trade of Reli­gion, but will soon break; he advanceth his mast and topsail, and sets out fair for Heaven, but in time of temptation falls away, Mat. 13. 21. but a true Christian is fixed in holiness; he is not as a wave of the Sea, but [Page 11] as a Rock in the Sea. His zeal like the fire of the Ve­stal Virgins in Rome is always kept burning.

That we may spin out this fine thread of Religion to its full length, and hold out to the end,

1. Let us be well grounded in the Fundamentals of Religion, the Doctrine of Justification, Regene­ration, the Resurrection, and the eternal recompen­ces, Col. 1. 23. Grounded and setled; such as are un­principled will be led into any error, the Masse or the Alchoran, you may lead a blind man any whi­ther; he will hardly ever suffer for the truth that doth not know it.

2. If we would hold on in the Faith let us pre­serve a jealous fear of our selves; fear is the souls life-guard, it causeth vigilance, it banisheth presump­tion, Rom. 11. 20. Be not high-minded but fear. If God lets go his manu-tenancy we fall. How many have been over-turned with self-confidence as the vessel with the sail. Pendleton's proud brag was soon confuted, instead of his fat melting in the fire, his heart melted; the fear of falling keeps us from fall­ing. Fear begets prayer, and prayer begets strength, and strength begets constancy.

3. If we would keep the Faith to the end, let us labour to tast the sweetness of Religion in our own souls, Psal. 34. 8. O tast and see that the Lord is good. The light of Truth is one thing, the rellish is ano­ther, Psal. 119. 103. How sweet are thy words unto my tast, yea sweeter than honey. Many fall away be­cause they never tasted what Religion was; they could tast some sweetness in corn and oyl, but Pro­mises were dry brests. If the wine of the Word have ever chear'd our heart, we will never part with it.

[Page 12] 4. If we would continue our progress in the ways of God, let us be inlaid with sincerity; this silver­thread must run through the whole chain of our du­ties. A Christian may have a double principle, but he hath not a double heart; he is perfect with the Lord, Deut. 18. 13. Nothing will hold out but sincerity, Psal. 25. 21. Let integrity preserve me. When Job could not hold fast his Estate, yet he held fast his Re­ligion; whence was this? from his sincerity, Job 27. 6. My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go, my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live. The garment of Job's profession did not tear, because it was lined with sincerity.

3. The third part of the Text is St. Paul's Crown, Henceforth is laid up for me a Crown of Righteousness; it is Corona recondita, a Crown laid up. A Christians best things are to come [...].. Well might the Apostle say, It doth not yet appear what we shall be, 1 Joh. 3. 2. We are here as Princes in disguise, the world know­eth us not; but there is a Crown laid up. While we are laying out for God, he is laying up for us.

And what Crown is this? a Crown of Righteousness. The felicity of Heaven is described sometimes by a city for riches, Heb. 11. 10. sometimes by a country for pleasure, Heb. 11. 16. sometimes by a Crown for honour. And this Crown hath various Appellations:

1. It is called a Crown of Glory, 1 Pet. 5. 4. it is full of splendor, therefore said to be bespangled with Stars, Rev. 12. 1. We can no more bear a sight of this Crown till God enlarge our capacities, than a weak eye can bear the dazling beams of the Sun.

2. It is called a Crown of life, Jam. 1. 12. whoever heard before of a living Crown? It is a Crown of [Page 13] life, not only (as Grotius saith) because it is bestow­ed in the life to come, but because it enlivens with joy; it not only Crowns the head, but chears the heart. 'Tis a living Crown.

3. It is called a Crown of Righteousness in the Text; not that it is of right due to us, or comes of merit, as the Papists corruptly gloss; we cannot deserve a crum at Gods hands, much less a Crown. That which merits must be a gift, not a debt, whatever service we do for God is a due debt; nay, we cannot pay all; nay, that which we pay is not in currant money, our duties are stained with sin, where then is merit? but it is called a Crown of Righteousness, because it is purchased by Christs righteousness, and because God having promised this Crown, it is righteous in him to bestow it.

Hence observe thirdly, for the persevering Saint there is laid up a Crown of righteousness in Heaven; [...]. Ignat. a Crown is the highest ensign of worldly happiness. 'Tis only for Kings and Persons of renown to wear; there is a Crown of righteousness laid up for the Elect. 'Tis a massy Crown. The Hebrew word for glory sig­nifies a weight [...].; things that are precious, the more weighty they are the more they are worth. The weightier a chain of Pearl is the more it is worth. The Heavenly Crown is expressed by a weight of glo­ry, 2 Cor. 4. 17. This Crown of righteousness doth out-vye, and exceed all earthly Crowns.

1. It is more refined; earthly Crowns are inter­woven with troubles; they are not made without crosses. It was King Henry the Sevenths motto, a Crown of Gold hung in a bush of Thorns. But the Saints Crown is not mixed with care, it adds no sor­row with it.

[Page 14] 2. The Crown of righteousness is given to every individual Saint. Here the Crown goes but to one person, a Crown of gold will fit but one head; but in Heaven every Saint is a King Rev. 1. 6., and hath his Crown.

3. The Crown of righteousness doth not draw envy to it. David's Crown was an eye-sore to Ab­salom, and he would have plucked it from his Fa­thers head, but in the life to come different degrees of glory, shall neither stir up pride, nor cause envy; for though one Crown may be bigger than another, yet every ones Crown shall be as big as he can carry.

4. The Crown of righteousness is everlasting; that which disparageth earthly Crowns is, they are cor­ruptible, Prov. 27. 24. Doth the Crown endure to eve­ry generation? Terrestrial Crowns soon moulder into the dust, but the Crown of righteousness is a Crown of Immortality, it neither spends nor fades [...]. Chrys., 1 Pet. 5. 4. Ye shall receive a Crown of righteousness which fadeth not away. Corona virens, non (quales illae ex he­dera & lauro) marcescens Menochius. Eternity is a Jewel of the Saints Crown.

Quest. What is the quiddity or matter of which the Coelestial Crown is made?

Answ. The Crown it self consists in the Beatifical sight and fruition of the all-glorious God. In visione Dei ut primi veri, & amore Dei ut summi boni consistit Corona. What else is the Angels Crown but [...], the beholding of Gods face, Mat. 18. 10. Deus & Coronator, & Corona August.; to have intellectual transforming sights of God, will ravish the Elect with infinite delight. Chrysostom saith, The souls of the blessed shall be be­spangled, [...], with some of those illustrious beams of Gods glory which shall be trans­parent [Page 15] through the bright mirrour of Christs Hu­mane nature. If there were such gladness when Solo­mon was Crowned, 1 King. 1. 40. They rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound; what mighty acclamations and triumphs will be on the Saints Coronation day? such will be the extasies and divine raptures of joy, as exceed our very faith Premium quod side non attingitur. Aug.. The delights of Heaven may be better felt than ex­pressed. Whatever can be said of the Coelestial Crown is but gutta de mari, as a drop to the Ocean, nay, scarce so much.

Quest. When shall the Saints receive this Crown of righteousness?

Answ. They shall receive it in part immediately after death, before their bodies are buried, their souls are crowned, 2 Cor. 5. 8. Absent from the body, present with the Lord; if the Crown were not in­stantly bestowed after death, it were better for be­lievers to stay here, for they are here daily cucrea­sing their Grace; here they have some bunches of Grapes by the way, sweet foretasts of Gods love, so that they had better stay here, if they had not a spee­dy transition and passage to glory. But this is the consolation of believers, that they shall not stay long for their preferment; no sooner did Lazarus die, but he had a convoy of Angels to carry him to Abra­hams bosom. Christians you may be happy before you are aware, it is but winking and you shall see God.

The full Coronation will be at the Resurrection when the bodies and souls of Believers shall be re­united; their Bodies shall be Crowned with immense felicity, and clarified like Christs glorious body.

[Page 16] Quest. But why is the Crown at all deferred, why is it not set on a Christians head presently?

Answ. It is not yet the proper season.

1. We are heirs under age; we receive but Pri­mitias spiritus, the first-fruits of the spirit, Rom. 8. 23. Grace is in its minority; now, though some Princes have been crowned in their Cradle, God crowns none till they are of perfect stature. Sin incorporates with grace, would we partake of glory while we partake of sin?

2. Our work is not yet done, we have not finished the faith; the labourer doth not receive his pay till his work be done. Christs reward was deferred till he had perfected his work, Joh. 17. 4, 5. I have fi­nished the work which thou gavest me to do, and now O father glorifie me. The Lord doth not think it meet that we should have our pay before hand; when we have arrived at the end of our faith, then comes salvation, 1 Pet. 1. 9.

Br. 1. See then there is nothing lost by solid pie­ty; Use 1. after fighting the good fight of faith, comes the Crown of righteousness. When we hear of the severe part of Religion, steeping our souls in the brinish tears of repentance, mortifying our complexion-sin, we are ready to grumble and mutiny, but do we serve God for nought? will he not compensate our labours with a Crown? yea, such a Crown which as far ex­ceeds our thoughts as it doth our deserts. No man can say without wrong done to God that he is an hard master. The Lord gives double pay, he gives great vailes in his service here, inward joy and peace, and afterwards he refresheth us with the delights of Pa­radise which are without intermission and expirati­on: [Page 17] O what a vast difference is there between duty enjoyned, and glory prepared! What is the shedding of a tear to a Crown?

2. Branch. See what contrary ways the godly and the wicked go at death; the godly are advanced to Crowns of Glory, the wicked are bound with chains of darkness, Jude 6. But what are these chains? Sure­ly such as no aqua-fortis can eat a-sunder. By these chains I understand God's Soveraign Omnipotency, fastening sinners under wrath (as the chain doth the Prisoners) that they cannot stir: Sinners may break the chain of Gods Precepts, but they cannot break the chain of his Power: This is the unparallel'd mi­sery of impenitent souls, they do not go to a Crown when they dye, but to a Prison; O think what hor­ror and despair will possess the wicked when they see themselves ingulphed in tremendous flames, and their condition hopeless, helpless, endless ubi nec qui: torquetur mori­tur, nec qui torquet fatiga­tur, Bern. Flor.. A servant un­der the old Law, who had an hard master; yet every seventh year being a year of Jubilee, or release he might go free; but in Hell there is no year of re­lease when the damned shall go free, Mark 9. 44. What is become of mens intellectuals? Have they lost their reason as well as their conscience? Why do they not bethink themselves in time what sin will bring them to, though now it shows its colour in the glass, yet in the end it will bite as a serpent, Prov. 23. 32. If a man had but a sight of Hell (saith Bellarmine) it were enough to make him sober, yea turn Hermite and Anchorite, and live a most mortifi­ed life.

3. Branch. See the grand folly of such as for vain pleasures and profits will lose this celestial Crown: It [Page 18] may be said of them, as Eccles. 9. 3. Madness is in their heart. Tiberias for a draught of water lost his Empire; men swallow temptations like pills, which gripe their consciences, and afterwards make them forfeit blessedness. This will accent and inhance a sinners torment, and will cause gnashing of teeth, to think how sillily he lost paradise; for a flash of impure joy, he parted with the quintessence of happiness. Would it not vex one to think he should be so invei­gled as to part with his land of Inheritance for a fit of musick; such are they who let Heaven go for a song. If Satan could make good his brag, in giving all the glory and kingdoms of the world, they could not countervail the loss of Heavens Crown; whenever a sinner dyes, the Devil will beg him for a fool.

4. Branch. If the Saints are installed, and have the Crown-royal set upon them at death, then what little cause have we to mourn immoderately at the death of godly friends? God allows us tears; Jacob wept over his dead Father Gen. 50. 1.; tears give vent to grief—strangulat inclusus dolor—but there is no reason we should grieve excessively for our pious friends, they receive a Crown, and shall we mourn when they have preferment? Suppose you had a dear relation beyond the Sea, and you should hear he were Crowned King, would you grieve to hear of his advancement? Thy friend who dies in the Lord, receives immediately a Crown of Righteous­ness, and will you be cast down with sorrow? Why should you shed tears immoderately for them who have all tears wiped from their eyes? Why should you be swallowed up of grief for them who are swallowed up of joy? They are removed hence for [Page 19] their advantage, as if one should be removed out of a smoky Cottage to a Pallace? The Prophet Elijah was removed in a fiery chariot to Heaven; Shall Elishah weep inordinately, because he enjoys not the company of Elijah? Is it not better to have spark­ling Crowns and white Robes, than to sojourn in the tents of Kedar? Is it not better to live among An­gels than fiery serpents? Is it not best to have Christs banner of love displaid over us? Are there any sweeter smiles or softer embraces than his? Why then should any macerate, and even intomb them­selves in sorrow for their relations? Theocritus saith, it was a custom among the Ancients to have their [...], or funeral banquet, because of the felicity they supposed the parties deceased did enter into; O thou who hangest thy harp upon the willows, and with Rachel refusest to be comforted; remember there is no wiping away tears from the eye, but with the winding-sheet; thy friend could not be in the Region of the blessed, till he dyed; his dying-day was his ascension-day: O then keep thy tears for thy sins, but do not torment thy self with grief for him, whose soul is as holy as it would be, and as hap­py as it can be.

Use 2. Tryal. Are we heirs to this glorious Crown? Such only as are righteous persons shall wear the Crown of Righteousness: The work of righteousness goes be­fore the Crown of Righteousness, Isa. 32. 17. Are we not only Morally, but Theologically righteous? Have we a righteousness of imputation procured for us by Christs merit, and a righteousness of implantation produced in us by his spirit? Are we consecrated with the anointing Oyl of grace? God gilds the [Page 20] elect with the beams of his own Holiness, and makes them shine like himself. Have we both circumcision of heart, and circumspection of life? If we are righ­teous persons, we are sure to wear the Crown of Righteousness.

Let not the profane presume of happiness; let not them think to go to Heaven per saltum, to leap out of Delilah's lap into Abrahams bosom, 1 Cor. 6. 9. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? God will not lay a Viper in his bosom, or set a Crown upon the head of a swi­nish sinner.

Use 3. Exhort. It hath a double aspect: 1. To all in General.

1. Believe that there is a Crown of Righteous­ness laid up for all that fight the good fight. Some of the Rabbins say, that the great dispute between Cain and Abel was about the world to come: Abel affirmed a Crown of recompence for the godly, Cain denyed it. This truth concerning the real Elyzian delights in reversion, should be graven upon our hearts as with the point of a diamond. Carnal per­sons look upon the felicities of the other world, but as a Platonical idaea, or fancy; they do not see the Crown with bodily eyes, therefore they question it: The verity of the soul may as well be questioned, because being a spirit it cannot be seen: Doubting of Principles, is the next way to denying them. Let us set our seal to this, there is a Crown of Righte­ousness laid up. Where should our Faith rest but upon a Divine Testimony? The whole earth hangs upon the word of Gods Power, and shall not our Faith hang upon the word of his promise? Tit. 1. 2. [Page 21] In hope of eternal life, which God who cannot lye hath promised. The Saints Crown is purchased by Christs blood, Ephes. 1. 14. and Christ will not lose his purchase. What was the end of Christs ascen­sion? He went up to Heaven, not only to invest himself, but all believers with Glory; as an Hus­band takes up Land in another Country in the be­half of his Wife. What did Christ pray for, but that all the Saints might be with him? John 17. 24. And what Christ prayed for as he was man, he hath power to give as he is God: Besides, the Lord hath given us the unction of his spirit to prepare us, and the earnest of his spirit to assure us of happiness, 2 Cor. 1. 21. and he will not lose his earnest; so that the Crown of Righteousness shall indubitably be be­stowed. To question this, is to destroy the main Ar­ticle of our Creed, life everlasting. Such Atheists as judg the eternal recompences fictions, put God to swear against them, that they shall never see life. Heb. 3. 18.

2. Branch. Strive for this Crown Sen. Herc. Fur. Non est ad astra mollis è terris via.. I have read of those who travel in long Pilgrimages to the holy Land, they have hard lodgings, and pass through a number of dangers; and at the end of their journy pay a large tribute at the Pisan Castle to the Turks; and when they come thither, they see only a bare se­pulchre, where it is supposed their Saviour lay. Did they take such pains to gratifie their superstitious de­votion? What Herculean labour then should a Chri­stian undertake in his journy to the true land of pro­mise, whereby he shall both see and enjoy his Saviour, and not enter into his Sepulchre, but Palace, and be eternally crowned with the delights of the Jerusalem abo [...]

[...] we but take as much pains for Heaven, as [Page 22] others do for the world, undoubtedly we might ob­tain it, Phil. 3. 15. Reaching forth unto those things which are before [...].. A metaphor taken from Racers, that reach their necks forward, and strain every limb to lay hold upon the prize; let us contend, tanquam pro aris & focis. There are two things re­quisite for a Christian, a watchful eye, and a work­ing hand; to purpose, let us add pursuit. What scuf­fling is there for outward honours? Men will wade through blood to a Crown. Was there such strife for a corruptible Crown in the Olympian and Isthmean races? Sometimes the Crown bestowed upon the Victor was made of Olive, sometimes of Mirtle, some­times of Cynamon enclos'd in Gold; but still it was corruptible: O then how strenuously should we la­bour for the Garland made of the flowers of Para­dise, which never fade! With what vigour and re­solution did Hannibal march over the Alps for the obtaining terrestrial Kingdoms? How should we act then ad extremum virium, for that Orient Crown which shines ten thousand times brighter than the Sun in its meridian splendour. Luther spent three hours a day in Prayer: Anna the Prophetess depart­ed not from the Temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day, Luk. 2. 37. The learned Calvin, Jewell, Perkins were indefatigable in their pursuit after Glory.

Let us look to this Cloud of Witnesses, and bestir our selves, ply our Oar, double our Files; Who would not toyl all day, to catch salvation at night? when the flesh crys out, What a weariness is it? Who can endure all this labour? say, it is worse enduring Hell: The labour for Heaven, though it seem pungent, it is transient; the fight is quickly over, and then comes the immarcescible Crown.

[Page 23] 2. It hath a particular aspect to believers.

1. Be full of anhelations and longings for this Crown of Righteousness. Doth not the banished Prince desire his native Countrey? The unwilling­ness of Christians to go hence shows,

1. The weakness of their Faith: They question their interest in this excellent glory; were their title to Heaven more cleared, they would need patience to be content to stay here any longer.

2. The weakness of their love. Love (as Aristotle saith) desires Union. Did men love Christ as they should, they would desire to be united to him in glory. St. Paul desired to be dissolved and be with Christ, Phil. 1. 23. It was the speech of an holy man on his death-bed, My heart is in heaven, Lord lead me to that glory which I have seen already as through a glass Mr. Rollock.. We are encompassed with a body of sin; should not we long to shake off this viper? We are combating with Satan; should not we be willing to be called out of the bloody field, where the bul­lets of temptation fly so fast, that we may receive a victorious Garland? We now live far from Court, we do rather desire God than enjoy him; should not we long to be crowned with the blissful sight of Gods face? Though we should be content to stay here to do God service, yet we should ambitiously desire to be always sunning our selves in the light ofGods coun­tenance; think what it will be to be led into Christs wine-celler, to have the kisses of his mouth, to smell the Savour of his oyntments, to lye in his bosom, that bed of love; think what it will be to have unstained honour, unparallel'd beauty, unmixed joy; what it will be to tread upon stars, to dwell among Cherubims, and to feast on those dulcia fercula, heavenly delicacies [Page 24] and rarities wherewith God himself is delighted. Me­thinks our souls should be big with longing for these things, and we should be put into such a blessed Pa­thos of desire, as Monica, who hearing of the joys of Heaven, cryed out, Quid hic facio? What should I do here? why is my soul held any longer with this earthen fetter of the flesh? would but God give us some Idaea, or imperfect glimps of Heavens Glory; how should we be ready to fall into a Trance with Peter? And being a little recovered out of it, what earnest suiters Act. 10. 11. would we be to be caught up for ever into the Hea­venly Paradise.

2. You who are the heirs of Glory, be exhorted to work with all your might for God: Love and serve God more intensly than others, who hath laid up such things for you, as eye hath not seen, nor can it enter in­to mans heart to conceive, 1 Cor. 15. 58. Always abound­ing in the work of the Lord, knowing your labour is not in vain in the Lord—immensum gloria calcar habet—St. Paul had a spirit of activity for God, 1 Cor. 15. 10. I laboured [...] more abundantly than they all. St. Pauls obedience did not move slowly, as the Sun upon the dial, but swiftly as the Sun in the firmament; whence was this, his eye was upon the Crown, Hence­forth is laid up for me a Crown of Righteousness: The recompence of reward may add wings to duty, and oyl to the flame of zeal. What are we that God should incircle us with happiness, and not others? that he should (as Jacob) cross his hands, lay his right hand up­on us, and his left hand upon others; O discrimina­ting grace for ever to be adored, how can we serve God enough? If there could be tears shed in Heaven, it would be for this that we have been so lame in our duty, and have brought no more revenues into the Heavenly Exchequer.

[Page 25] 3. Let this be as Bezoar-stone to revive and bear up your hearts under all your present sufferings, Act. 20. 23. Bonds and afflictions abide me. Affliction is the Saints diet-drink; instead of Roses they are crowned with thorns. You may aswell separate weight from lead, as sufferings from a Saints life, 2 Cor. 9. 8. We are troubled on every side. Believers are as a ship that hath the waves beating on both sides, but this Text may buoy them up from sinking, there is glory which doth succed and exceed all their sufferings. The Saints now drink in a wormwood-cup, but shortly they shall drink in a spiced cup, and tast the same heavenly Nectar as the Angels. One days wearing the Coelestial Crown, will a­bundantly pay for all their sufferings, Rom. 8. 18. I rec­kon that the sufferings of this present time, are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. The weight of glory makes affliction light. O ye Saints who are the true birds of paradise sing in winter, there is glory behind, and every suffering will be like a grain put in the scale to make your glory weigh hea­vier. Suffering Saints shall have more Jewels hung upon their Crown.

4. Let this be an antidote against the fear of death. The day of death is (as Seneca calls it) aeterni natalis, the birth-day of eternity; believers are not fully hap­py till death Sicut testa ovorum quam­vis pulchre for­mata, necesse est tamen eam frangi ut inde pullus procedat; ita hujus cor­poris necesse est testam, ut sta­tus ille sub­limior regni coelestis efful­geat. Clem Al.. Death therefore is made a part of the inventory, 1 Cor. 3. 22. Death is yours. When the mantle of the flesh drops off, the soul ascends in a triumphant chariot; God hath promised his people a portion, but it is not paid them till the day of death. 'Tis their fathers good pleasure to give them a Kingdom, Luk. 12. 32. but they cannot see it till death hath closed their eyes. Why then should the Saints be troubled at death? indeed I wonder not [Page 26] that the wicked are appal'd, and scared at the ap­proach of the King of terror; they are in debt to Gods justice, and death as Gods Serjeant arrests them, and drags them before the Divine Tribunal. But why should any of Gods children be under such con­sternation, and have the trembling at the heart? What hurt doth death do to them? it pulls off their fet­ters and puts jewels upon them; it leads them to gates of Pearl, rivers of pleasures. Faith gives a title to Heaven, death a possession.

Go forth my soul, said Hilarion on his death-bed, what fearest thou? why should the godly dread their priviledg? is a Prince afraid to cross the nar­row Seas who is sure to be Crowned assoon as he comes at shore? This puts Roses into the pale face of death, and makes it look more ruddy and amiable; it is aditus ad gloriam, it crowns the Saints with all the delights of the Empyraean Heaven.

I Have done with the Text, it remains that I should speak something to the occasion.

It hath pleased the all-wise God to take to himself lately, that reverend and faithful Minister Mr. Henry Stubs, whose death we now commemorate. The me­mory of the just is blessed. Fulgentius calls a good name the godly mans heir, it lives when he is dead. This man of God hath left a sweet favour and per­fume behind in Gods Church, besides his atchieve­ment of humane learning, he was enriched with the knowledg of Christ crucified. The Graces excell the Muses.

He was very humble; humility is the best garment a Minister can preach in 1. Pet. 5. 5.. He was one of a thousand for integrity. The plainer the Diamond is, the richer.

[Page 27] He was a grave Preacher, and did chuse rather to speak solidè than floridè. He spake as became the Ora­cles of God. Levity is below the majesty of Preach­ing.

He was a painful labourer in Gods Vineyard; he preached in season and out of season. The souls of people were dearer to him than his life Nec propter vitam vivendi perdere causam. D. Reyn.. Praying and Preaching was rather his delight than task. He was a burning lamp consuming himself to give light to others.

He preached feelingly; he felt those truths in his own soul which he recommended to his Auditors; an unconverted Minister is like a Lute, making sweet Musick to others, but it self is not sensible; this elect vessel retained a scent and rellish of those sacred Truths which he poured out to others.

He lived much by faith, and had sweet converse with God; all the Saints have Gods heart, but some have more of his company.

He was Exemplary in his deportment; he did [...], Ministers by vertue of their calling, approach nearer to God, Exod. 19. 22. The Elements the higher they are, the purer; the fire is purer than the air. The higher we are by office, the holier we should be. Quo sublimiores, eo sanctiores. This bles­sed person deceased, did live as an incarnate Angel. I may say of him as Basil of Gregory Nazianzen, he thundred in his Doctrine, and lightned in his Con­versation.

He was charitable-minded. I have been credibly informed, that out of that little he had gathered to­gether while he was in his Living, he appointed two hundred pounds (which he intrusted in the hands of Feoffees) to be improved annually for the good of the poor to buy them Bibles.

[Page 28] He was of a sweet temper, never fierce but against sin. He was devout towards God, affable to his Friends, loving to his Relations.

The Lord honoured his Ministry very much, he had a double Crown; the souls he converted were his Crown of rejoicing 1 Thes. 2. 19., and now he wears a Crown of Righteousness. How great a loss hath Glocestershire and London of this eminent Minister. It hath been told me, that he set apart some time every day to pray for the Church of God; he (like Moses) lay in the breach to turn away wrath; we shall soon grow poor if we lose such praying friends. During the time of this good mans sickness, he was asthmatical, and laboured much for breath, so that he could not ut­ter himself so freely, but what was heard to drop from him was very savoury. He said he had fled to the city of refuge, and recited that Scripture, 2 Tim. 1. 12. I know whom I have believed, and I am per­swaded he is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day. I pray God give all who are concerned in this loss, wisdom to improve this present stroke, and make a living Sermon of their dead Mini­ster. He is now voti compos, he enjoys the sight of that God whom he so pathetically longed for upon his death-bed. He is got into the upper region above all storms. His body is returned to dust, and his soul to rest. He is enclosed in happiness, as the word for Crowning imports [...].. He is as rich as the Angels, though he hath lost his life, yet not his Crown.

FINIS.

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