A PLEA FOR THE GODLY.

Wherein is shown the EXCELLENCY OF A RIGHTEOUS PERSON.

By THOMAS WATSON, Minister of the Gospel.

Isa. 43. 4. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable.

Isa. 60. 15. I will make thee an eternal ex­cellency.

LONDON, Printed by A. Maxwell for Tho. Parkhurst, at the Three Crowns and Bible in Cheapside, 1672.

THE EPISTLE TO THE READER.

Christian Reader,

HOliness is a glorious thing, it is the cu­rious refining of the Soul: Take away Ho­liness [Page] from an Angel and he is a Devil. True Piety sheds an Excellency upon a Person, as the Sun imparts a lustre to the Stars. The righteous man hath God's name written upon him, Rev. 3. 12. and partakes of the divine nature, 2 Pet. 1. 4. Which is not by a Transubstantiation into the Divine Essence, but by a Transformation into the Divine Likeness.

This ensuing Discourse [Page] is intended as a Plea for the Righteous: I would wipe off that obloquy and dis-repute which is unjustly cast upon the Saints in this God dishonouring age: In false Religions, strictness is admired; a devout Ma­hometan, or Papist, are had in Veneration; but in the true Religion he who is most zealous is most hated: As if the name of Prote­stantism were an honour, but the practice of it a dis­grace. [Page] The most serious holy men are misrepresen­ted to the world as indis­creet and factious [...]. Greg. Nazian.. The Prophet Eliah was counted the troubler of Israel, 1 King. 18. 17. and Luther the Trumpet of Rebellion. The old Serpent spits his virulent poyson at the godly through the mouths of the Prophane Dicimur infandi incestus r [...]i, &c. Tertul. Apol.. But there is a time com­ing when the Lord [Page] will reckon with men for their hard speeches, Jude 15. What is the Chaff to the Wheat? How ignoble and contemptible are the wicked compared to the Godly! the difference will more fully appear at the last day, Mal. 3. 18. Then shall ye return and discern be­tween the righteous and the wicked (i. e.) In tempore Judicij, quantum diversa sit sors Pii & impii. Grotius.. Such as calumniate the Saints, would be glad to die their death, [Page] Numb. 23. 10. Let me die the death of the righ­teous, and let my last end be like his.

The Philosopher asking one, Which of these two he had rather be, Either rich Croesus, or vertuous So­crates? He answered that in his Life he would be Croesus, but at his Death Socrates. In like manner there are many would live with the wicked, but die with the righteous; but [Page] they shall not have their wish: They were offended at the sight and company of God's holy ones, and they shall be as far parted from them, as Heaven and Hell are asunder. Oh ye Saints of the most High, be not troubled at the groundless aspersions of the wicked [...].; they who are your Censurers shall not be your Judges. Lift up your Crests, be chearful to think what [Page] Christ hath wrought for you by his Blood, and wrought in you by his Spirit. He hath digni­fied you above the rest of the World, The righ­teous is more excellent than his neighbour. I shall not further exspatiate; but bumbly imploring the blessing of the Almighty upon these few Lines, I rest,

March 27: 1672.
Thine in all Christian Service THOMAS WATSON.

ERRATA.

PAg. 4. marg. for [...] read [...] p. 12. marg. for [...] read [...] p. 56. marg. for [...]. p. 68. line 24. for Sat. read Saint.

THE Righteous Mans Excellency.

Prov. 12. 26.‘The Righteous is more excellent than his Neighbour.’

SOlomon was a man of Renown, he was the World's wonder; he discoursed of trees from the Cedar-tree in Lebanon unto the Hysop that springeth out of the wall 1 King. 4. 33.. The Proverbs are profound and holy A­phorisms, indited by the Spirit of God, and penn'd by him who was both a King and a Preacher. A great part of this Book is to set forth the difference between the godly and [Page 2] the wicked; the happiness of the one, and the misery of the other. The Text is spoken in the elogium and commendation of a righteous man. The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour.

1. I begin with the first word, righ­teous [...]. Septuag..] There is a twofold righte­ousness. 1. A Civil righteousness; and so he is righteous, who is adorned with the Moral Vertues, Prudence, Justice, Temperance; who keeps free from poenal statutes, and doth not dash up­on the rock of visible scandal. This righteousness is valid, foro humano, in mans court, but is insufficient to Sal­vation Sordet in conspe­ct [...] judic is, quod ful­get in con­spectu operantis.. Under the fair leaves of Civility, the worm of Unbelief may be hid. Many a person decked with Morality is now descended into Hell; a Bull may be tyed with Ribbons, and wear a Garland on his Head, yet go to the slaughter. However for the Honour of this Age, it were to be wished, that there were more civil [Page 3] righteousness to be found in the world.

2. There is a Gospel-righteousness, which is first a righteousness imputed. Imputata. i. e. when Christs righteousness is made over to us. In Adam we were criminal persons, Rom. 5. 12. In whom all have sinned [...].. If the head plot treason, all the body is guilty; but Christ is made to us righteousness, 1 Cor. 1. 30. Indeed it is this righteousness only, in which we can stand before the Justice of God, Jer. 23. 6. This is the name whereby he shall be called, The Lord our righteousness [...].. This righteousness is a coat without seam, which doth not only cover, but adorn us; this is as truly ours to justifie, as it is Christs to bestow,

2. A righteousness imparted Imper­tita.; which is the infusing the seed and ha­bit of Grace into the Soul; the ma­king a person internally holy. And so he is said to be righteous who hath a change of heart wrought in him, and [Page 4] is transformed by the renewing of his mind, Rom 12. 2. Such an one, though he is not another man, yet he is a new man, 2 Cor. 5. 17. The faculties are not new, but the qualities; as the strings of a Viol are the same, but the tune is altered.

Righteousness is extensive in the Subject Quali­tates sunt in subjecto extensivè., it hath a spreading ver­tue; 1 Thes. 5. 23. The God of peace sanctifie you wholly [...].. A child of God is regenerate in every part, though but in part.

2. He is more excellent.] Excellen­cy is the ennobling a person, or a gradual elevation of him above o­thers. The righteous man is more ex­cellent, that is, he is a better man; the word in the Hebrew and Italian for excellent, signifies abundant; as [...] if the Spirit of God had said, The righteous hath more abundant worth in him, more intrinsecal goodness

3. Than his neighbour Praestat proximo suo. Dru [...]..] Neigh­bour [...] is not to be taken here [Page 5] strictly, for one that lives in a Vici­nity, and is nearly scituated; but by neighbour is meant any one that is un­righteous, and hath not the fear of God before his eyes Excel­lentior est illo qui justus non est, Cart. in loc..

The Text hath two general parts.

  • 1. The Subject, the Righteous.
  • 2. The Predicate, he is more ex­cellent than his neighbour.

Solomon seems, as it were, to put the righteous and the wicked in a pair of Scales; the one weighs as massy Gold, the other weighs lighter than the dust of the Ballance.

Doctrine. He who is truly righte­ous is far more excellent than any Doct. wicked person in the world whatsoever. I say [truly righteous] to exclude the Hypocrite, who hath [...] a Form, 2 Tim. 3. 5. and slight tincture of Deific [...] Professio. Ambros. piety, but knows not the grace of God in truth, Col. 1. 6. He hath nothing of religion but the name, Rev. 3. 1. and religion often suffers by him: But he [Page 6] who is really righteous, is the excel­lent person, and hath a superiority to all others, I Sam. 15. 28.

For the illustrating of the Proposi­tion, I shall do two things; I shall shew

1. Whereinthe righteous man is more excellent.
2. Why 

1. Wherein a righteous man is more excellent than another. This appears three ways,

In respect of1. What he is.
 2. What he hath.
 3. What he shall have.

1. A righteous man is more ex­cellent than a wicked, in respect of what he is.

1. He is more richly endued with Wisdom; Pro. 4. 7. he is of a dexterous sagaci­ty, mixing the Serpents prudence with the Doves innocency: I Cor. 2. 15. He that is spiritual judgeth all things: As the Soul in the eye is the cause why it sees; so the Spirit of God in the mind is the cause why it savingly understands. The [Page 7] anointing of the Holy Ghost is irra­diating; it clears a Christians eye­sight: I Joh. 2. 27. The same Unction teacheth you all things De es­sentia salutis.. The Saints are compared to wise Virgins [...] Chrysost., Mat. 25. 2. Sensualists have often a greater reach in matters of the world, but they have no insight into the deep things of God, I Cor. 2. 14. A Swine may see an Acorn under the Tree, but it cannot see a Star. Da­vid being divinely illuminated, grew wiser than his teachers, Psal. 119. 99. A righteous man is Wise,

1. To know himself: Take the most Mercurial Wit, the subtle Poli­tician, who is able to dive into the arcana Imperii, the mysteries of State, yet he is acutè obtusus, ignorant of his own heart: There are those Me­anders and Sophisms, those intrin­sick pollutions, that he cannot find out; he dresseth himself by the flattering-glass of self-love, he sees not that evil which is in him, nor [Page 8] will he believe it Quo pejus se babet, mi­ [...]s sentit.. Hazael could not imagine he should be so bad when he came to be King, 2 King. 8. 13.

But a Soul spiritually enlightned, sees that which the natural man doth not; he sees legions of vain thoughts; he sees how his grace is checker'd with corruption; his humility is stained with pride; his faith mixed with unbelief: His very duties are but splendida peccata, shining sins Augu­stine.. He sees so much of his heart that he dares not trust it.

2. A righteous man is wise to know Jesus Christ: The natural man hears of Christ by the hearing of the ear, but he doth not know him, Cant. 5. 9. What is thy beloved more than another beloved? Those who journeyed with Paul, heard a voice, but saw no man, Act. 9. 7. so the unregenerate person hears the Minister set forth Christ as altogether lovely [...], he hears a voice, but sees no man; he sees not Christs orient beauties. Christ is a treasure, but an hid treasure. Id [...]o est Christi [...] incognita, quic est [...]. Calvin. But a graci­ous [Page 9] soul hath the vail taken off, he sees the amazing Excellencies of Christ, 1 Pet. 2. 7. Unto you that be­lieve he is precious, his Merits, Graces, Benefits are precious: a righteous man hath Christs eye-salve to see his tried gold, Rev. 3. 18. Zeuxis having drawn a curious Piece, Nicostratus fell into the admiration of it, and commended it; an ignorant man stood by and asked him, what such rare Excellency he saw in that Piece? saith he, If thou couldst see with my eyes, thou wouldst admire as well as I. So if a carnal man could see with a spiritual mans eyes, he would wonder at those surpassing beauties in Jesus Christ, which now he makes light of.

3. A righteous man is wise to dis­cern the Times, 1 Chron. 12. 32. The Children of Issachar were men that had understanding of the Times. The world cries out, Glorious times! but a righ­teous man hath an eye of discerning, he can see when the wicked make [Page 10] Gods law, and when religion is cruci­fied Psal. 119. 126. by such as cry Hosanna to it. He is wise to keep from the contagion of the times. Rev. 14. 2. These are they which were not defiled with women, for they are Virgins: A person divinely qualified is wiser than to run himself into snares, or go to hell for company; he is wise to Salvation. Psal. 111. 10. A good understanding have all they that do his Commandments.

2. A righteous man is of a more excellent birth. Alexander fained himself to be Son to Jupiter: every good Christian is High-born; he is 1 Joh. 3. 9. born of God; and that is more than to come of Princes, and be of the Ob indo­lem divi­nae simi­lem. Grot. blood-royal: David thought it no small honour to be the Kings Son in law, 1 Sam. 18. 18. Oh what an in­finite honour is it to be regenerated by the Spirit, and enrolled among the first born of Heaven! the righteous man derives his Pedigree from the Ancient of days, Dan. 7. 9. he gives [Page 11] the fairest Scutcheon, the Eagle, and Isa. 40. 31. [...]he Lion; he is near a kin to the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Prov. 28. 1.

3. A righteous person is of a more excellent beauty. How is worldly beauty courted by all, and what is it? Prov. 31. 30. Beauty is vain; the bra­vest features of body, and the most lovely sanguine are no other than well-coloured earth: But a righte­ous person hath a Coelestial beauty shining in him Psal. 110. 3.; he is imbellished with knowledg, love, meekness, which are of such Oriental splendour as allure the very Angels. A good Christian is [...], he hath some idaea and resem­blance of that sparkling holiness which is in the Deity 2 Pet. 1. 4.. Christ is infi­nitely taken with the spiritual beau­ty of his Church; Cant. 6. 4. Thou art beautiful, O my love as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem. Tirzah was a map of pleasure, Jerusalem was the Metropolis of Judea, Urbi­um totius Orientis clarissima. Pliny. the Star and light of all the Eastern world Ps. 48. 2. [Page 12] This was Hieroglyphical, to set forth the radiancy of the Churches glory; And Ver. 5. Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me; as if Christ had said, Oh my Spouse, such a resplendent lustre is in thy Visage, that I have much ado to bear it: I am wounded with the delightful darts of thy beauty. One eye of a Belie­ver draws Christs heart to it, Cant. 9. 9. Thou hast ravished my heart [...] Abstulisti cor m [...]um. Arias montan. Traxisti. Pagnin. Vulnera­sti. Hierom. with one of thine eyes; A Saints beauty ne­ver withers, it out-lives death [...]. Eurip.. True grace like colours laid in oyl, cannot be washed off.

4. A righteous mans thoughts are more excellent: Thoughts are the first-born of the Soul; sinful thoughts arise out of a bad heart, like sparks out of a furnace; an unsanctified fan­cy is Satans work-House Ani­mus scor­tatur cogi­tatione. Maxim. Mon. Mic. 2. 1. But, The thoughts of the righteous are right, [...] judicium. Prov. 12. 5. A righteous [Page 13] mans thoughts have got wings and fled to heaven, Psal. 139. 18. When I awake I am still with thee. God is a Saints Treasure; and where should his mind be but upon his Treasure? a righteous man is got upon the top of Mount Tabor, solacing himself in Jehovah; he contemplates the beau­ty of Holiness, the love of Christ, the felicity of Saints glorified; his Thoughts are among the Cherubims. The Soul while it is musing on Christ, is filled with holy and sweet raptures, it is caught up into Paradise, it is in Heaven before its time Nil in hac vita dulcius sentitur, nil it a mentem ab amare mundi separat, nil sic animam contra ten­tationes roborat, quam gratia contemplationis. Bern. Medit.: Psal. 104. 34. My mediation of Him shall be sweet.

5. A righteous mans desires are more excellent. He spreads the sails of his desire to receive the fresh breathings of Gods spirit; Cant. 4. 16. I deny not but a bad man may have [Page 14] some faint Velleities after the best things. Those deserters of Christ, cried, Lord, evermore give us this bread, Joh: 6. 24. But a righteous mans Desires excell.

1. He desires Christ for himself; not only for his Jewels, but his Beauty, not only as he is a Saviour, but as he is the Holy One, Act. 3 14.

2. He is unsatisfied without Christ Quod ardentiùs desideras cares aegri­ùs. Bern., not the most rich Viands, not golden Chalices fill'd with Saphires or Dia­monds will content him without Christ. The two Maries were not satisfied with the Linnen Clothes ly­ing Joh. 20. 5. in the Sepulcre, unless they had seen the body of Jesus: So it is not the linnen on the Communion-Ta­ble, or the Elements of Bread and Wine, will satisfie a Believer, un­less he may meet with Christ whom his soul loves.

3. He desires still more of Christ, and would be swallowed up in the sweet Ocean of his [Page 15] love Dul­cissimo de o totus im­mergi cu­pit & in­viscerari.; Behold here a desire which God himself hath raised in the Soul, and he will open the breast of mercy, and satisfie it Psal. 107. 9..

6. A righteous mans Discourse is more excellent Quan­do sapiens loquitur, aulaea ani­mi aperit.. His tongue is tuned to the language of Heaven: What is the Discourse of the wicked about? their wares and drugs; like the fish in the Gospel that had a piece of money in its mouth Mat. 17. 27.. He that is of the earth speaketh of the earth, Joh. 3. 31. And too often corrupt communi­cation procceds from the Ephes. 4. 29. wicked; their mouth being like a Sink where all the filth of the house runs out Lingua peccatoris [...]stlubrica; & quecun­que auim [...] suo adlubescunt, temerè essutit.; These Lepers had need have their lips covered Levit. 13. 45..

Sinners in their ordinary Dis­course bring forth Scripture, as the Philistines did Sampson to make [Page 16] sport, as if the Bible were the best Minstrel to play with, and a jest were worth nothing, unless it were sea­soned with the salt of the Sanctuary. 'Tis a saying of Luther, Whom God hath a mind to destroy, he lets them play with Scripture: But in this sense the righteous is more excellent. The tongue of the just is as choise sil­ver, Prov. 10. 20 Docet Solomon quo pretio habendus sit Sermo justi, & quàm avidè tan­quam argentum sep­tiès defoecatum cap­tandus. Cartwr.. Gracious words drop as silver from him to the enriching the Souls of others, Eccl. 10. 12. The words of a wise mans mouth are gracious. In the Hebrew, they are Grace [...]. His words are not as Vinegar to fret, but as Salt to season others, Col. 4. 6. The roof of the mouth is called Coelum, Heaven; a godly mans mouth is full of Heaven Verba sunt nun­cia cordis. Bern.; he speaks as if he had been already in Heaven: The holy conference of the two Disci­ples going to Emmaus brought Christ into their Company, Luk. 24. 15. While [Page 17] they communed together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them; Such savoury speeches drop from holy lips, that God hath a Table-Book to write them down, Mal. 3. 16. Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and God hark­ned, and a book of remembrance was written. 'Tis reported of Tamerlain that he kept a Register of the Names and good Deeds of his Soldiers. God registers the speeches of his People that they may not be lost.

7. A righteous man is of a more excellent Spirit, Dan. 5. 12. An ex­cellent Spirit was found in Daniel. Numb. 14. 24. My servant Caleb be­cause he had another spirit with him. A wicked man hath the spirit of the world, 2 Cor. 2. 12. He is of an athe­istical spirit; Lucian is his Old Testa­ment, Machiavel his New; but a per­son invested with Grace hath choice­ness of spirit in him: He is of a

[Page 18]

1. SublimeSpirit.
2. Noble 
3. Invincible 

1. He is of a Sublime spirit. Se cum sole in culmina coeli effert. Cic. He savours the things of God; a person sublimated by grace, sets his feet where others set their hearts; he being clothed with Christ the Sun of righ­teousness, and crowned with the Gra­ces as glittering Stars, hath the Moon under him; the world may have his Rev. 12. 1. look, but Christ hath his love; he dwells below, but trades in the Hie­rusalem above. A true Saint is taken up about higher matters; getting the love and favour of God; he aspires after Glory and Immortali­ty; he looks no lower than a Crown; he feeds as the Birds of Paradise on the dew of Heaven Hac iter est superis, ad magni tecta to­nantis, Kegalem (que) domum. Ovid. Metam. 1.; he is imploy­ed about Angels-work, lifting up Gods name in the world; he is a li­ving organ of Gods praise.

[Page 19] 2. He is of a Noble spirit; he hath the spirit of an Heir, he scorns any thing that is disingenuous and sordid; he can deny himself, but not dispa­rage himself; he can be humble, but not base; he knows not how to pal­liate the sins of any, which were to wash the Devil's face: He cannot prostitute himself to the lusts of men, or flatter to get Preferment, Job 32. 21. A righteous man abhors to be byassed from the truth for Secular advantage: It was said of Luther, he cared not for Gold Melch. Adam.; his spirit was more noble than to be bribed with money: A good man will not pur­chase the liberty of his person by the insnaring of his Conscience; Heb. 11. 35. Not accepting deliverance.

3. He is of an Invincible spirit; he bears afflictions without fainting, or fretting, Though the Archers Gen. 49. 23. shoot at him, his Bow abides in strength. Such as want a Principle of Grace, faint in the day of adversity Prov. 24. 10. [Page 20] they cannot bear a frown from a great man, or digest a reproach: If the bough of a Tree be rotten, the least weight hung upon it breaks it. But the righteous hath the heart of a Lion; he is not startled at the discourtesies of the world; he looks upon reproaches for Christ, as En­signes of Honour Christi insignia. Thryve­rus., 1 Pet. 4. 11. When the Roman Catholicks taunted at Luther for his Apostacy from their Church, I confess (said Luther) I am an Apostate from you, but a blessed one; I am such an Apostate as a Magician is when he renounceth his compact made with the Devil, and betakes himself to Christ. Grace steels the heart with courage, and fires it with zeal. Nazianzen said of Athanasius, he was both a Loadstone and an Adamant; a Loadstone for the sweetness of his Disposition, and an Adamant for the invincibleness of his Resolution. When the Emperor Valens promised Basil great Prefer­ment, [Page 21] if he would subscribe to the Arrian heresie: Sir, said he, these speeches are fit to catch little Chil­dren, but we who are taught by the Spirit, are ready to endure a thou­sand deaths rather than suffer one syllable of Scripture to be altered. A righteous man is willing to take the Cross for his Joynture, and with Ignatius wear Christ's Suf­ferings as a collar of Pearl Si deprehenditur Christianus, gloria­tar; inter [...]ogatus velultro confitetur, dam­natus gratias agit: quid hoc mali est, cu­jus reus gaudet, cu­jus accusatio votum est, & poena foelicitas. Tertul. Apol.. Rom. 5. 3. We glory in Tri­bulation, [...]. St. Paul rattles his Chain, and did glory in it as a woman (saith Chrysostom) that is proud of her Jewels [...].. It is to my loss, said Gordius the Martyr, if you bate me any thing of my sufferings. Of what Heroick un­daunted spirits were the Primitive Christians! who could scorn Prefer­ments, laugh at Imprisonments, snatch up Torments as Crowns; and whose love to Christ burned hotter [Page 22] than the Fire Majora [...], majora sequuntur praemia. Tertul.; insomuch that the Heathens cried out, Verè magnus est Deus Christianorum; Great is the GOD of the Christians.

8. The Prayers of a righteous man are more excellent Heb. 11. 4. Ab [...]l offered a more ex­cellent sa­crifice, &c.: Another may have more Elegancy in Prayer, he hath more sincerity, Prov. 15. 8. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomina­tion to the Lord, but the Prayer of the upright is his delight. A sinners pray­ing is howling, Hos. 7. 14. but the prayer of a righteous man is musick in Gods ears, Cant. 2. 14. Let me hear thy voice for sweet is thy voice. Maxi­minus a persecuter, being on his sick-bed craved the prayers of the Godly Euse­bias.. The excellency of a righte­ous mans prayer is seen.

by its1. Noble Exploits.
 2. Gracious Returns.

1. By its Noble Exploits. Luther's prayer recovered Theodorus Vitus of a Consumption, after the Physitians [Page 23] had given him over for dead. The prayer of the righteous hath stopt the Sun in its full career Josh. 10. 13. It hath divided the Waters, Exod. 14 15, [...]1. Overcome Armies Exod. 17. 11 [...] [...].. Ca [...]t out Devils, Mat. 17. 21. Opened Prisons, Act. 12. 9. Shut Heaven, Jam 5. 17. Prayer hath had power with God, Hos. 12. 4. The Ty­rians tyed fast their God Hercules with a golden Chain; the great Jeho­vah is held by the prayers of his peo­ple, Gen. 32. 26. I will not let thee go till thou bless me [...]recibus su [...] [...]quam vin­culis liga­tum tenu­it Deum..

2. By its Gracious Returns: When the tree of the promise is shaked by the hand of prayer, some fruit falls, Job 33. 26. He shall pray unto God and he will be favourable unto him. Prayer is the Golden fleet the Saints send out to Heaven, which comes home richly laden with mercy Oratio s [...] casta fue­rit, coelos penetrans vac [...]a no [...] redibit. Aug in Serm.. Some­times God gives his people the same mercy in kind that they beg, 1 Sam. 1. 27. For this Child I praid, and the [Page 24] Lord hath given me my petition. Some­times God gives them that which is better than they ask; they pray for Temporal things, and he gives them Spiritual; they pray for more health, and he gives them more grace; they desire the venison, and instead of that, he gives them the blessing; so he pays them in a better coyn. That which makes the prayer of a righteous man so excellent and available is,

1. Because his Affections are drawn sorth strongly in prayer; his eyes melt, his heart burns: He is fervent in spirit, Rom 12. 11. It is a Metaphor alludes to water, quae ebullit prae ar­dore, which boils over; a good heart boils over with hot Affections in prayer; there may be powder in a Gun when there is no fire; some may have good matter in prayer, but no fire of affection to discharge it; Prayer without fervency, is like wine that hath lost the Spirits; Fervency (as Ambrose saith) baptizeth a duty, [Page 25] and gives it a name Operi nomen imponit.; without this, prayer is no prayer: A righteous man is carried up to heaven in a Fiery Cha­riot of Devotion: This holy Fer­vency is caused by the Spirit of God, which both indites and inflames the Saints prayers. Rom. 8. 26. The spirit helps us with sighs and groans Implet Spiritus sanctus organum suum. & tanquam fila chor­darum tangit di­gitus Dei corda san­ctorum. Prosper.: Not only gifts, but groans; and surely the incense of a righteous mans pray­er with the holy Ghosts fire put to it, must needs ascend as a sweet perfume to Heaven.

9. A righteous mans prayers are so excellent, because he sprinkles faith in every prayer Jam. 5. 15.; Psal. 25. 1 2. Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my Soul, O my God I trust in thee. Faith is the breath of prayer; as the body cannot live without breath, so prayer cannot live unless faith breathes in it; Faith is the bullet which is shot in Prayer; a believing Prayer can ob­tain any thing from GodNon o­rar [...]m niji cred [...]rem. Hierom.: It is re­ported of a Nobleman of this Nati [Page 26] on, that the Queen gave him a Ring, and told him that when he was in any streight, let him send that Ring to her, and she would relieve him. To this Ring I compare Prayer, when a child of God stands in need of any thing, he sends this Ring to God, and presents it by the hand of faith, and hath his desires granted, Mat. 21. 22.

3. A righteous mans prayers are so excellent, because Jesus Christ presents them to his father: Prayer as it comes from the Godly is mixed with sin, but Christ takes out the dross of their Prayers, and presents nothing but pure Gold; he dips the Prayers of the righteous in his blood, and mingles them with his sweet Odours Rev. 8. 3., and so they are to God most fragrant and aromatical: A weak Prayer being laid upon Christ as the Altar, the Altar sanctifies it; Christ praying over a Saints prayer makes it prevalent, both in respect [Page 27] of his office, as he is a Priest, and his relation as he is a Son, and his merit as he is God.

9. The Tears of a righteous man are more excellent: Holy tears are the costly gum which distills from the trees of Righteousness: Mary Magdalen stood at Christs feet wee­ping Luk. 7. 38. Her Tears dropped as pearls from her eyes Lachry­mae Veni­am non Postulant sed obti­nent. Ambrose.; the tears of the wicked are good for nothing, they are either carnal; they weep for worldly losses; or spurious, they are more troubled for Hell than Sin; Conscience is in an agony, there is water in their eyes, because there is fire in their bones: But the tears of a true Penitent are more preci­ous, they drop from the eye of Hope, they are purifying Tears; the holy Mourner weeps out fin; these tears are the Wine of Angels [...] Angelo. rum. Berr.; Luk. 15. 10. So precious they are that God bottles them, Psal. 56. 8. Put thou my tears in thy bottle: In the Hebrew [Page 28] it is, my Tear [...]; to show that God takes notice of every Tear. Holy Tears though they are silent, yet they have a voice Psal. 6. 8..

—Interdum lachrymae pondera vocis habent.—

Though they fall to the Earth, yet they reach Heaven: Tears dropping from the Saints eyes are as sweet water dropping from the Roses.

10. The life of a righteous man is more excellent,

  • 1. For Spiritualness.
  • 2. For Usefulness.

1. For Spiritualness; and that three ways:

1. He lives by a more Spiritual Rule than others. A sinner either lives by no rule, or by a false; he walks [...], according to the course of the world, Ephes. 2. 2. But a righteous man goes by the Canon of Scripture, as a well made Dial goes exactly by the Sun: Gods Word is the Oracle he consults with, [Page 13] 'tis his pillar of Fire or Pole-star to direct him, Psal. 119. 105. Thy Word is a Lanthorn to my feet: The Word is a divine Pandect, 'tis a Model and Platform of Gods mind [...]. Irenaeus., to which a pious man conforms his actions, both Moral and Sacred; he will not resolve his faith into Councils or Fathers Ti [...]bat fides, si S. Scriptur [...] vaci [...]et authori­tas, Aug., nor will he follow the Examples of the best men further than they follow the Word.

2. A righteous man lives more Spiritually as he lives a life above others; whereas they live no higher than Reason Nihil a [...]it ultra suam spe­ci [...]m.. The just lives by Faith, Heb. 10. 38. A righteous man moves in an higher Sphere, he penetrates the Clouds, Moses saw him who is invisible, Heb. 11. 27. Sense and Rea­son are too low of stature to see Christ; Faith climbs up, not into the Tree as Zacheus, but within the Vail Heb. 6. 19., and there sees Jesus: An ho­ly person sends out Faith as a Spy [Page 30] to view the land of Promise; Faith unties difficulties, Rom. 4. 18. Who against hope believed in Hope: Against the hope of sense, Abraham believed in hope of the Promise; faith anti­cipates future things, and makes them present: When God told Abraham what a glorious Country he would give him Abraham looked upon it as if it had been actually done, and he had taken livery and seisin Super­sunt nobis speranda multa quae sistit fides, ac veluti sub ma­num po­ [...]it. [...]ac. Cappell.: Faith can live upon God in the deficiency of visible comforts, Hab. 3. 17. Although the Fig-tree doth not blossom, yet I will rejoyce in the Lord: A righ [...]eous man believes that if God will save him from hell, he will save him from want; if he will give him a kingdom, he will not deny him daily bread.

3. A righteous man lives more spiritually, as he shows forth more of the power of Holiness in his life than others; he is a pattern of Piety [...]. Menand., Psal. 106. 16. Aaron the Saint of the [Page 31] Lord: his sancti [...]y adorned him more than his M [...]tre o [...] Linnen Garments: a Mora [...] may live as a man, but he who is regenerate lives the life of Christ, Joh. 2. 6. Ver [...] religio est, imitari quem co­lu. Lact. The Macedonians on the birth-day of Alexander did wear Alexander's picture about their necks, set with Gold and Pearl: So the righteous carry the lively picture of Christ in their holy Ex­ample; they live so devoutly as if they had seen the Lord with bodily eyes.

2. The life of a righteous man is more excellent for Usefulness Bonum sui dissu­siv [...]m.: He is a blessing in the midst of the Land, Isa. 19. 24. He spends and is spent for Christ 2 Cor. 12. 15.; he had rather wear out, than rust:

Nec propter vitam vivendi perdere causam
Dr. R [...]ynolds.
.

The [...]ives of the wicked are un­profitable, therefore compared to chaff, Mat. 3 11. and hurtful, there­fore compared to thorns, Mica. 7. 4. [Page 32] But a righteous man is like the Bee or Silkworm, working for the good of others Sic [...]t se res habet ad esse, it [...] ad operari. Aquin.: It comforts me (said wor­thy Jewel) that I have exhausted my self in the labours of my Holy Calling. A good man hangs between these two as a Needle between two Load­stones, longing to be with Christ, and love of doing service.

1. A righteous man is helpful to the bodies of others: He is a Tempo­ral Saviour; he hath one eye shut to wink at the failings of others, and another eye open to spy their wants Manus pauper is est Christi gazophyla­c [...]um. Pet. Rav.: He is like the Heaven dif­fusing his influence, and sending down his silver drops of charity; he is a staffe to the lame, bread to the hun­gry De cuius dono nun­quam va­cuo sinu exivit ege­nus. Amb.; he puts under a golden crutch to support others when they are falling. It is reported of the young Lord Harrington, that he gave the tenth part of his yearly Reve­nue to charitable uses: As Mary brought her sweet Ointments to [Page 33] anoint Christs dead body; so a gra­cious soul brings his oyntments of Charity to anoint the Saints which are Christs living body: A good man judiciously considers how he himself lives upon Contribution; the earth enricheth him with veins of Silver, crops of Corn: One Creature brings him Wool, another Oyl, another Silk; and as every Creature conspires for his good, so he studies to lay out himself for the good of others. Jam. 2. 17. Faith if it hath not works is dead: Faith sanctifies works, and works testifie faith: A Believer with one hand receives Christs Merits, with the other relieves his Members; and he not only gives to the neces­sities of the poor, but gives freely; Deut. 15. 10. Charity drops fro [...] him as myrrh from the Tree. He doth not put his Alms among his desperate Debts; he is thankful that God hath made him in the number [Page 34] of givers, and not receivers Via coeli est eleemo­s [...]na; incipe erogare, si non vis errare. August..

2. A righteous man is helpful to the Souls of others: He who pities his Neighbour's Ox when it is fallen into a pit, doth much more pity his Neighbours Soul that is falling into hell; he doth counsel the ignorant, confirm the weak, reduce the wan­dring, Convert the sinner from the error of his way, Jam. 5. 20.

3. A righteous man is helpful to a Kingdom; He stands as a Screen between it and the fire of Gods wrath, Psal. 106. 23: Therefore he said he would destroy them, had not Moses his servant stood before him in the breach to turn away wrath from them. When a breach is made in the wall of a Cast [...], Soldiers stand in that breach till the enemy be beaten back; so when the wrath of God was coming against Israel, Moses stood in the breach, and by his prayers [Page 35] kept it off. The Saints are the Atlasses that bear up a Nation from sinking; the Poets fained of Hector, as long as he lived Troy could not be demolished: Psal. 75. 3. I bear up the Pillars: St. Ambrose was called the wall of Italy. Lot while in So­dom, kept off the fire, Gen. 19. 22. Hast thee, escape to Zoar, for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. A wicked Nation is oft reprieved for the righteous sake: The Tares are spared for the Wheat sake.

11. The Death of a righteous man is more excellent: Death comes with an Habeas corpus, Psal. 89. 48. What man is he that liveth and shall not see death? Grace it self gives no charter of exemption from it [...]. Menand.; An earthen pot though full of Gold may break: The righteous who are earthen vessels 2 Cor. 4. 7., though they are filled with the golden Graces are not freed from breaking by death: [Page 36] but their death is precious, Psalm 116. 15.

Wicked men like Hawks are set high upon a pearch, vervel'd with Jingling bells, but then comes their passing-bell and calls them away, and when they die, there is no miss of them; their life was scarce worth a prayer, nor their death worth a tear; the wicked die in their sins, Joh 8. 21. Death to them is but In­ferni porta, a trap-door to let them into hell.

But when a righteous man dies, his sins die with him; the pale face of death looks ruddy, being sprink­led with the blood of the Lamb. When a Believer hath death in his Body, he hath Christ in his Soul; the day of his death is his Ascension­day to heavenMors sanctis est meta labo­rum, deposi­tio sarci [...]ae peccatorum, & Transitus ad meliorem vitam Rivet.: The death of a Saint is precious,

[Page 37] 1. To God; The righteous are said to be gathered Isa. 57. 1. * a [...] ­ner is carryed away in a s [...]orm Job 27. 20. [...] the righteous is gathered as we gather precious fruit and candy it; So greatly doth God value the death of a Saint, that he makes inquisition for every drop of his blood, Psalm 9. 12.

2. His death is precious to the Saints surviving; they follow his hearse weeping, as David did Abner's, 2 Sam. 3. 31. Though they know that when a godly man dies he is fixed in an higher and more tran­sparent Orb, yet they cannot but mourn at the fall of such a Star. 'Tis a lamentation when God cuts down the Pillars of a Land; the great Cables and Anchors of a Ship being gone, there is danger of a Ship­wrack, it presageth a storm coming when God hides his Jewels: After Austins death followed the sacking of Hippo by the Goths and Vandals. [Page 38] After the decease of Paraeus, fell out the destruction of Heidelberg: Hence it is that the Saints who are left be­hind, when they see such as are the Glory of a Kingdom taken away by a stroke of death, cannot but cry as Elisha did, when Elijah was parted from him, 2 King. 2. 12. My Father, my Father, the chariot of Israel and the Horsmen thereof. The Saints living are affected with the loss of the godly, and carry them to their grave with a shower of tears.

12. The Dust of a righteous man is more excellent: When the Bodies of the wicked are laid in the grave, there lies an heap of dust to be tum­bled into hell; but the dust of a righteous man is part of Christs my­stical body; the dust of a Saint is united to Christ while it is in the grave: And as the dust of Believers is now excellent, so it will appear shortly in the sight of Men and An­gels: [Page 39] Trajan's ashes were honoured at Rome; so the ashes of the Saints at the Resurrection shall be honour­ed when they shall be made like Christs glorious body Phil. 3. 21.; in beauty, strength, agility, immortality.

2. A righteous man is more ex­cellent than a wicked, in respect of what he Hath.

1. He hath a more excellent Name: God himself embalmed Moses name, and set a garland of Honour upon his hearse, Josh. 1. 2. Moses my Servant is dead: The Names of the righteous are registred in the Sa­cred Records of Scripture, Prov. 10. 7. The memory of the just is blessed [...]. Chry [...].. The wicked leave their name for a curse, Isa. 65. 15. How cursed is the name of Judas! what Christian would baptize his Child of that name? How odious are the names of Nero, Domitian, Bonner? When their bo­dies rot under ground, their names rot above ground: But by faith the [Page 40] Elders obtained a good report, Heb. 11. 2. How renowned was Moses for his Meekness; Cornelius for his Alms! their Names send forth a fra­grant perfume in the Church of God to this day Si quis sanctorum memoriam vilipen dendam putaverit, anathema sit. Concil. Gangren. Can. 20.. Psal. 112. 6. The righ­teous shall be had in everlasting re­membrance. It may be said of a gra­cious person as once of King David, 1 Sam. 18. 30. His name was much set by [...] Valdè Ho­ [...]rificum. Arias Montan.. A wicked man may leave a great Estate behind; A righteous man leaves a good name.

2. A righteous man hath more excellent company:

1. He hath the Communion of Saints, Psal. 119. 63. I am companion [...] Sept. [...], Syrus. to all them that fear thee; A good man delights in a companion of his own Species; the Lamb cares not to be with the Wolf. If unawares a godly man lights into the company of the wicked, he fears either pollution or scandal, therefore makes haste as out of an infected house: A righteous [Page 41] man twists and incorporates among the Saints, he is joined to Christs bo­dy mystical, Act. 4. 23. And being let go, they went to their own company.

2. A righteous man hath commu­nion with God, 1 Joh. 1. 3. Our Fel­lowship is with the Father and his Son Jesus Huj [...]s [...], consum­matio erit in ultima contem­plation [...] beatissimae Trinitatis. Estius.. A gracious soul hath sweet intercourse with Heaven; he goes to God by prayer, and God comes to him by his spirit; How happy is that person who hath the Angels to guard him, and God to keep him com­pany!

3. A righteous man hath more ex­cellent promises belong to him; what a sinner hath, is rather by providence than by vertue of a promise; the Saints are called Heirs of the promise, Heb. 6. 17. the Promises are precious, 2 Pet. 14. Pollicitis dives qui­lihet esse potcst. Ovid. 1. Art. they are the beams of the Sun of Righteousness the pleasant streams that run in the paradise of Scripture: Behold a blessed promise Rom 8. 28. All things shall work for good; but to [Page 42] whom? to them that love God: All mercies shall work for their good; they shall be footstools to lift up their hearts higher to Heaven, and all afflictions shall work for their good; the rod shall be a divine pensil to draw Christs image more lively upon their souls: and there is another pro­mise, Heb. 13 5. I will never leave thee nor forsake thee [...]. This promise be­longs to the heirs of Salvation; God will not leave his people, either to their strong corruptions, or their weak graces; he will counsel them in their doubts, supply them in their wants, defend them in their dangers, when they are most assaulted they shall be most assisted. How can God leave them? they are his spouse, will a man leave his spouse? Thus the Saints have the Royal Charter of the Promises setled upon them: and these Promises as they are sweet, so they Promis­s [...] Dei ca­dunt in debitum. Aug. are sure: Men reckon their Wealth not always by what ready money [Page 43] they have in their Houses but by their Bonds and Leases; a Christians Estate lies most in bonds and bills of Gods hand sealed with his Oath Heb. 6. 17, 18.: What better security can there be?

4. A righteous man hath more ex­cellent freedom, Psal. 119. 45. And I will walk at liberty: Another is capa­ble of civil freedom; he may be a Roman born; but he is still enslaved to his lusts [...]sne dux & co­ryphaeus? Ubi te vi­tio scelcri­ (que) dedisti, mancipi­um es; & si ita est, quid re [...]ert quis aut qualis sis, qui tuus non sis? Mornaeus; but a righteous person is Gods freeman, 1 Cor. 7. 21. his neck is out of the Devils yoke; he is freed from the law of sin, Rom. 8. 2. he hath Gods free spirit, Psal. 51. 12. which makes him free and chearful in his obedience; the will is not com­pelled but changed; a regenerate per­son is drawn indeed by the Spirit, but sweetly, as one is drawn into a garden of spices by the fragrancy of their smell; he is drawn to Christ as one is drawn with anothers beauty; so that while he is drawn he is free: a righteous soul chooseth the ways of [Page 44] God, Psal. 11 [...]. 30. and what greater act of freedom than an act of choice? And a Saint cannot have his spiritual freedom taken from him; while he suffers in prison, his conscience is most free; in short, he is made free of a Company, the innumerable company of Angels, Heb. 12. 22.

5. A righteous man hath more ex­cellent food: Carnalists feed only on earthly provision, he feeds on hea­venly; He tasts how sweet the Lord is, Psal 34. 8. He feeds on Gods love, this is the hidden manna; he eats Christs flesh, which not only begets life, Joh. 6. 33. but prevents death, Joh. 6. 50. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven that a man may eat of it and not die [...], i. e. i [...] aeter­num. Br [...]gens.: That is, not die the second death; other bread may nauseate or cause surfeit, but there is no excess here, we cannot eat too much of the bread of life, we cannot have too much of Christ, as one cannot have too much health: Oh what excellent food is this, God him­self is in this chear.

[Page 45] 6. A righteous man hath more ex­cellent armour; viz. the armour of light, Rom 13. 12. this is armour of Gods making, Ephes. 6. 16. and the Lord with his armour gives strength: Alexander might give a coward his armour, but he could not give him his courage; but God infuseth a spi­rit of magnanimity into his people, with his armor he conveys strength Deus ipse in nobis pugnat. E [...]tius., 2 Cor. 12. 9. My strength is made per­fect in weakness: A Christian having on Gods armour, and going forth in the power of his might Eph. 6. 10., nothing can hurt him, 1 Joh. [...]. 18. That wicked one toucheth him not: That is, Tastu lethali, with a deadly touch, saith Cajetan: Grace is armour of proof, it may be shot at, but it cannot be shot thorough; this spiritual armour is not burdensome, a Christian may run his race in it as well as fight *: The 1 Cor. 9. 24. armour of God, the more it is struck at the stronger it is; the more saith is assaulted, the more vigorous it is; the [Page 46] more zeal is opposed the hotter it is; this excellent armour makes a Christi­an stedfast in Religion; Hypocrites wear Christs colours, but want his armour, therefore fall away: The righteous man never gives over the Spiritual combat, till the trophies are hung up, and the palm-branches are put in his hand in token of victory Virides (que) coro [...]ae, Et palmae pre­tium vict­orib [...]. Virg. Aen. l. 5. carm. 110..

7. A righteous man hath more ex­cellent hopes:

—Credula vitam Spes fovet, & melius cras fore, semper ait.—

A sinners hope is in this life; he hopes to encrease his Estate, he makes the wedg of gold his hope; 'tis a perishing hope, Prov. 11. 7.

But the righteous mans hope ex­cells, his hope is in Christ, his hope is both an helmet, 1 Thes. 5. 8. and an anchor, Heb. 6. 19. while he is fighting with tentation, hope is an helmet; while he is upon the waters of affliction, hope is an anchor; the anchor of a Ship is cast downwards, [Page 47] the anchor of the Soul is cast up­wards in heaven; a Saints hope is a purifying hope, 1 Joh. 3. 3. a death­bed hope, Prov. 14. 33. Aga­tham Martyrem ferunt persecutori Quintia­no (ex cu­jus jussu praecisae sunt ma­millae) dixisse, Annon te pudet ty­rann [...], membr [...]n illud in me amputare quod in [...]atre suxisti? Veri [...]m age, saevi quantum poteris, duae tam [...]: super sunt mamillae quas nequis attingere, fidei una, spei alter [...] Beyerlinck. Apothegm. Christian. a Soul-com­forting hope, Tit. 2. 13. Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious ap­pearing of the great God, and our Sa­viour. When Christ was in the flesh, he appeared as a surety, now in hea­ven he appears as an advocate, and when he comes in the Clouds he will appear as a Judg; a righteous man hopes for this blessed appearing, when Christ shall vindicate his Saints from all unjust calumnies, and openly acquit them in the Court.

9. A righteous man hath more ex­cellent joys: Religion doth not re­strain but resine his joy; what is the joy of a sinner! he takes joy in corn and wine, he sucks from the flower of pleasure; alas, what is this to the [Page 48] joy of the righteous? Rom. 5. 11. We joy in God [...]. This joy ariseth from the pardon of sin, the first-fruits of the spirit, the praelibation and fore-tast of glory; the gleanings of this hea­venly joy, are better than the vin­tage of carnal joy: Plato told the Musitians, That Philosophers could dine and sup without them, much more a Believer can be merry in the Lord, without the supplement of worldly comforts.

1. It is a more inward joy, Psal. 4. 7. Thou hast put gladness in my heart Salit mihi cor. Plau [...].. Other joy lies more in the surface, it pleaseth the senses, 'tis like the Paradise the Turks dream of, where they shall have all dainty dishes served in, they have gold in abundance, silken and purple apparel, and angels their ser­vitors bringing them red wine in sil­ver cups; this delights the fancy and the senses, but divine joy cheers the conscience Plena est gaudio anima mea, jam (que) ad aper­tum video Coelum. Sam. Hie­ron. Cant. Aecolampadius on his sick-bed, when they asked him, if he [Page 49] wanted any light? putting his hand to his heart, said, Hic sat lucis, Here I have light enough: The Saints joy being inward sweetens affliction, it turns their water into wine Act. [...]. 41. [...] Chr.; 1 Thes. 1. 6. Having received the word in much affliction with joy. Theodoret when he was on the Rack, in the midst of his Torments said, He did find no anguish; and when they took him down from the Rack, he complain­ed they did him wrong in so doing, for (saith he) all the while I was on the Rack, I thought there was one in white, an Angel stood by, which wiped off the sweat, and I found much sweetness, which now I have lost.

2. It is a more unmixed joy. Worldly joy is usually spiced with some bitterness; guilt eclipseth it, Prov. 14. 13. In laughter the heart is sorrowful: One may drink worm­wood in a golden-cup; but the joy of the righteous like David's Harp [Page 50] drives away sadness; it gives honey without gall; it hath no allay or umbrage.

3. The joy of the righteous is more durable. Other joy is like a flower which withers while you are smelling to it. I have read of a Ri­ver in America, which runs in the day with a full Torrent, but it is dry at nig [...]: The comforts of the world run strongly in the day of health, and prosperity, but at the night of death they are dried up; but as joy abounds in the godly, so it abides: Joh. 16. 22. Your joy no man taketh from you. Divine joy is but begun in this life, it is perfected in glory; here is but the tuning of the instrument, the sweet consort is reserved for hea­ven; here the Saints do but sip of the cup, there they shall drink of the rivers of divine pleasure for ever­more, Psal. 16. 11.

3. A righteous man is more ex­cellent than a wicked, in respect of [Page 51] what he Shall Have: He shall have a better reward; both righteous and wicked are rewarded, but there is a vast difference; the wicked shall have a reward of punishment, the righteous of mercy, Psal. 58. 11. So that a man shall say, verily there is a reward for the righteous: They shall be rewarded with a Kingdom, Luke 12. 32. No [...] caducum sed coeleste & perpetu­um. Juni­us. The heighth of mens ambi­tion is a Kingdom; Earthly King­domes are corruptible. What is be­come of the pride of Babylon, the glory of Athens, the pomp of Troy Jam seges est ubi Troia fuit.? they lie buried in their own ruins: But the Kingdom of Heaven cannot be shaken, Heb. 12. 28. it runs parallel with Eternity: In that blessed King­dom we shall have a transforming sight of God, 1 Joh. 3. 2. We shall be like him: As a Pearl by the beams of the Sun becomes bright and radi­ant like the Sun; Gods terror shall be then laid aside, Majesty in God shall appear, but Majesty shining [Page 52] with Beauty, and sweetned with Love; This will be unspeakable and full of glory.

And this reward is near at hand, Rom. 13. 11. Now is our Salvation nearer than when we believed. When Columbus his men were weary of their Voyage, he desired them to go on but three days longer; they did so, and discovered America. While the righteous sail upon the waters of Affliction, this may comfort them in their Voyage, it is but going a little further, and they will see Heaven; there the Tree of Life grows, and the crystal streams flow from Leba­non; the Saints Salvation is now nearer than upon the birth-day of their faith.

Thus I have beaten out this Gold in the Text into the Leaf, and shown you wherein the Righteous is more excellent than his Neighbour.

2. The second thing is, Why a [Page 53] righteous man is more excellent than another?

The Reason is in respect of that near relation he stands in to Christ.

1. There is Consanguinity; he is brother to Christ, Heb. 3. 11. Christ partakes of his flesh, and he partakes of Christs Spirit.

2. There is Unity; a righteous man is one with Christ, as the mem­bers are one with the head, Ephes. 1. 22, 23. Then surely the righteous must needs have a surpassing dignity. If Christ be a precious corner-stone, 1 Pet. 2. 6. those lively stones must needs be precious which are built upon him.

Use 1. See from hence what it is that raiseth the price of a person, it Use 1. Informa­tion. 1. Branch. is righteousness; this puts a glory and excellency upon him. He that is graceless is worthless, Prov. 10. 20. [Page 54] The heart of the wicked is little worth: But righteousness makes the heart like the Heaven bespangled with Stars: The Graces are compared to Chains of Gold, for their value, Cant. 1. 10. and to myrrh and cassia for their fragrancy, Cant. 4. 13. As the precious stones did shine upon Aa­ron's brest-plate; so doth righte­ousness shine in the eyes of God and Angels. What made Christ admire the Woman of Canaan, but her Gra­ces! Great is thy faith, Mat. 15. 28. Christ was more taken with that, than with all the goodly buildings of the Temple Luk. 21. 5.. God esteems not the better of any man because he is rich or noble, or embellished with worldly Ornaments, it is righteous­ness advanceth him Summa apud De­um nobili­tas, clarum esse virtu­tibus. Hierom.: Righteous­ness is to the Soul as the Diamond to the Ring, as Light to the World, which bespangles and adorns it.

[Page 55] 2 Br. Learn then that it is no dis­paragement 2 Branch. to any person to be righteous, seeing it casts a splendor and renown on him, and makes him more excellent than others: Some are loth to espouse Religion, be­cause they think it will be a stain to their reputation; but you see how righteousness doth emblazon ones Scutcheon, and give him a super­eminency above others. Novarinus relates of an ancient King who in­vited a company of poor Christians, and set them above some of his No­bles; and being ask'd why he showed so much respect to men of such mean birth and extract? he replied, I must needs honour these as the Children of the high God, they will be Kings and Princes with me in another world. Theodosius thought it a grea­ter renown to be Membrum Christi, than Caput Imperii; a Member of Christ, than the head of an Empire. The righteous are highly in favour [Page 56] with God, and he hath enrolled their names in the Book of Life, Phil. 4. 3. It was a custom among the Romans to write down the names of their Sena­tors in a Book, therefore they were called Patres Conscripti; this is the honour of the righteous, their names are written among the Courtiers of Heaven. Believers in regard of their mystical Union with Christ, have a kind of excellency above the An­gels, the Angels are Morning Stars, Job 38. 7. but these are Clothed with the Sun Rev. 12. 1.: Can it be any shame to be listed among the Saints, when God is not ashamed to be called their God? Heb. 11. 16.

3 Br. See what high thoughts 3. Branch. God hath of the righteous, he looks upon them more excellent than others, and his judgment is best worth prizing [...]; The Saints have low thoughts of themselves, they overlook their own worth, like Moses [Page 57] who wist not that his face shined, Exod. 34. 29. The eye though beau­tiful, doth not see it self; yet as low thoughts as the righteous have of themselves, God hath high thoughts of them, Isa. 43. 4. Since thou wast precious in my sight thou hast been honourable [...] Te mag­ni facio. Vata­bl.. The Lord puts away the wicked like dross, Psal. 119. 119. The greatest man in the world wanting holiness, is res nihili, like Naaman, who was Captain of the Kings host, and a mighty man of valour, but he was a Leper, 2 King. 5. 1. A wicked man may be higher than others in Nobility and worldly Gran­dure Non debet pr [...] magno haberi honor, qui nullius est pon­deris Fumus. Aug­de civ. Dei lib. 5.: a dunghil is higher than other ground, but it is never the better, it sends forth noisome vapours.

But God sets an high estimate upon the righteous, and that appears by bestowing more excellent Titles up­on them than upon any others.

[Page 58] 1. God calls them his Jewels, Mal. 3. 17. he laid his best Jewel to pawn for them: They are Jewels,

1. For their sparkling quality Splen­dors.; they shine in Gods eye: The Saints have animas Angelificatas, a kind of angelical brightness, as one of the Ancients expresseth it Tertu [...]..

2. They are Jewels for their Price Pretio.: Diamonds (saith Pliny) were not known a long time but among Kings and Emperors; the price of a Saint is above others [...]. Septuag.; Prov. 28. 6. Better is the poor that walketh in his upright­ness, than he that perverteth his ways, though he be rich.

2. God calls the righteous his hidden ones, Psal. 83. 3. they are hid­den, first, for their invisibility; their excellency is not known to many; the world can see their infirmity, not their eminency; a Saint hath that internal Glory as cannot be beheld by a carnal eye; the fair face is hid under a vail. 2. The [Page 59] righteous are hidden for their safety; Diamonds are hid in the Rock, so the Saints life is hid in Christ, the rock of Ages, Col. 3. 3.

3. God calls the righteous the ex­cellent of the earth, Psal. 16. 2. Or the magnificent, as Junius renders it; they are the spiritual Phoenixes, they are the cream and flower of the Creation; they are purior pars mundi, the purer part of the world, double-refined, Zach. 13. 9.

4. God calls them vessels of Hon­our, 2 Tim. 2. 21. though they are earthen vessels, yet they have heaven­ly treasure in them; they are fill'd with the wine of the Spirit, Ephes. 5. 18. Though they are scowred with affliction, yet it is to make them brighter, Dan. 12. 10.

5. God calls them the apple of his eye, Zach. 2. 8. Nihil charius p [...]pillâ oculi. Drusius. The apple of the eye is the tenderest part of the eye, to express Gods tenderness of them, saith Salvian. God cannot endure to have his eye-ball touched.

[Page 60] 6. God calls them his Portion, Deut. 32. 9. [...] as if his riches lay in them: A man seals a bag of Money for his use: so the Lord seals his peo­ple as his portion with a double seal, the one of Election, 2 Tim. 2. 19. the other of assurance, Ephes. 1. 13.

7. God calls them his Plant of re­nown [...]. Plato., Ezek. 34. 19. he hedgeth in this noble plant with his protection, waters it with the silver-drops of his Ordinances, blesseth the springing of it, adorns it with fruit, transplants it into the heavenly Paradise where it grows continually in the sweet Sun-shine of his favour.

8. God calls them joint-heirs with Christ, Rom. 8. 17. Jesus Christ is a rich Heir, Joh. 16. 15. He is Lord of all, Gal. 4. 1. Heb. 1. 2. and the Saints are [...], they go sha­rers with Christ.

9. God calls them the Luminaries of the World: They give light by their precepts and example; Phil. 2. [Page 61] 15. Among whom ye shine as Lights in the world: Lot was a bright Star in Sodom; the world would be dark, were it not for the children of light 1 Thes. 5. 5..

10. God calls them a peculiar peo­ple, 1 Pet; 2. 9. he hath taken them out of the world as out of the wild forest, and enclosed them to himself by a decree; or, (as the Greek carries it) they are [...], a pur­chased people; the righteous are the purchase of Christs blood, he will not lose his purchase.

11. God calls them a [...] Quia fide­les consecravit Deus, hinc fit ut sacerdotes: & quia omnia subjec [...] pedibus corum, hinc fit [...]t reges vocentur. Cameron. Kingdom of Priests, Exod. 19. 6.

1. They are Kings, they have their Throne, Rev. 3. 21. and white Robes, Rev. 6. 11. Robes signifie their Dig­nity, and White their Sanctity.

2. They are Priests. The Priest­hood under the Law was honour­able, [Page 62] the Kings daughter was Wife to Jehoiada the Priest, 2 Chron. 22. 11. In ancient times, the Egyptians chose their Kings out of their Priests; the Saints are consecrated to be Priests to offer up to God the Eucharistical sa­crifice of praise and thanksgiving in Heaven.

12. God calls them a crown of glo­ry and diadem in his hand, Isa. 62. 3. Quantum est illo­rum hominum gloria, ex quibus sui regnicoronam conficit Deus. Forer. that is (saith a learned Writer) they are ex­ceeding eminent and renow­ned above other people; as the Crown is an Ensign of the high­est state and honour; nay, the Lord calls them expresly, his Glory, Isa. 46. 13. Israel my glory; as if Gods glo­ry lay in his people: All which shews what an high estimate God puts upon the righteous, in giving them such illustrious Titles of ho­nour. They are Princes in all lands, Isa. 45. 16. Kings do minister to them, Isa. 60. 10. yea Angels, Heb. 1. 14. the [Page 63] Lord will give whole King­doms to ransome them [...]. Chrysost., Isa. 43. 3. I gave Egypt for thy ransome: That was when God destroy'd Egypt in the Red Sea for the saving of Israel; nay, God gave his own Son to die for their ransom, 1 Pet. 1. 18.

And if God esteem so highly of his people now on earth, how much more will he value them when they are in heaven? If when the righte­ous are afflicted, they are so excellent, how much more when they are crowned? If when with the Emerald they have their Naevi, their blemishes, they are preciousNon semper pur [...] & limpida fulget in animis piorum gratiae sed exigua illa lampas variis ignorauti [...] nebulis implicita est. Rivet.; then how much more when all their imperfections shall be done away, and they shall be presented to the Father without spot and wrinkle! Ephes. 5. 27. If Gold be valuable in the wedg and the oar, then how pre­cious is it when it is fully refined! If [Page 64] wheat be excellent when it is mingled with chaff, then how much worth hath it when it is fanned and made pure! If God reputes the righteous more excellent than others when conflicting with infirmities; Oh how incomparably excellent and glori­ous will they appear in his eye, when they shall be clarified from all lees of corruption, and shall shine with knowledg as the air with light: If a man makes any account of his friend when he sees him un­der distempers of body, which cause frowardness, how much more will he prize him when he sees him in perfect health, and his spirit is calm and sedate. If God esteem the righ­teous better than others in the pre­sent juncture of time when they have their untoward passions, and fainting fits of unbelief, what will he do when they shall be perfectly holy, and as the Angels of God?

[Page 65] 4 Br. See the different esteem 4 Branc [...]. that God hath of the righteous, and that men have of them: The men of the world esteem lightly of the Saints Apud mortales [...] quando computatio de Pr [...]stantia homi­num insti [...]uatur, Pietas à tergo re [...]ci­tur, neque unquam veluti in lancem as­sce [...]dit. Cartwr.; they disdain them, and scarce allow them half an eye; they think, of all things the people of God may be best spared. they look upon them as the bur­den and reffuse of the earth, 1 Cor. 4. 13. We are made as the filth of the world, and are the off-scouring of all things unto this day [...]. Tanquam sordes & faeces. c. lap. The­odoret. Lustramen­tum. Ambrose. [...]. Pulvis ve­stigiorum. Laurenti­us. Graeca scholia di­cant [...], esse reticulum vel stro­phiolum quo sudantes se abst [...]rgunt. Hiero. interpretatur, Quis­quilias.. The Apostles who were the eyes of the World, the breasts of the Church, earthly An­gels; yet were counted by some like the Dung­cart, that goes through the City, into which every one throws his filth. The Saints are [Page 66] loaded with invectives, and are not judged worthy to live in the world; Act. 22. 22. Away with such a fellow from the earth, for it is not fit that [...]e should live.

But God puts another guise­rate and value upon the righteous; he thinks the world is not worthy of them, Heb. 11. 38 Of whom the world was not worthy: Hence it is he takes his children so fast away by death, and placeth them among the Cherubims: God looks upon the righteous as his curious Nee­dle-work wrought with the fin­ger of the Holy Ghost, as the [...], and glory of the Creation. He would soon break up house in the World, were it not for their sakes. This excellent esteem God hath of them, will be best seen when he shall separate between the Pre­cious and the Vile, and shall say to the wicked, Go ye cursed; and to the godly, Come ye blessed.

[Page 67] 5 Br. See how dearly God loves 5 Branch. the righteous, and how near to his heart they lie; They are more ex­cellent; the word [excellent] car­ries affection in it. Things we prize we love. The righteous are Gods Treasure, Psal. 135. 4. and where his Treasure is, there is his heart: They are Gods delicious Garden, where he plants the flower of his love, Psal. 146. 8. They are the dearly beloved of his soul, Jer. 12. 7. [...] They are his Hephzi-bah, or darling, Isai. 62. 4. [...] He engraves them upon the palmes of his hands, that they may be never out of his eye, Isa. 49. 16. He rejoyceth over them with joy, and rests in his love, Zeph. 3. 17. It is no ordinary af­fection that God bears to the righ­teous; the Sun shining upon a bur­ning glass, sets on fire only the object which is near the glass; the [Page 68] beams of Gods love are more in­tensly enflamed towards them who are near him by grace; these have the strength and spirits of his love distilled; he loveth them as he loveth Christ, Joh. 17. 26. Indeed in one sense Gods love to Christ and Believers is not alike; for Christ is loved purely for his own sake, but Believers are loved for Christs sake; yet in another sense God the Father loves Believers as he loves Christ: It is the same love for the quality, the same for the unchangableness of it; God will no more cease to love Believers, then he will to love Christ.

6 Br. See from hence what a 6 Branch. venerable opinion we should have of the righteous, they are to be prized by us above o­thers Honorandi sunt sancti, non adorandi. Aug. de vera relig. c. 55.; Psal. 15. 4. He honoureth them that fear the Lord. A Sa in rags [Page 69] is better than a sinner in scarlet: We prize things that have an ex­cellency in them; why do we va­lue Gold and Pearl, but because they excell glass-bugles? Oh then esteem the righteous as most wor­thy, because of their intrinsick holiness, whereby they out-shine their neighbours. The righteous carry Christ about them [...] Cbrys., Gal. 2. 20. Christ liveth in me. Queen Cleopatra put a Jewel in her cup, which contained the price of a Kingdom; how rich are they who carry the pearl of Price about them? Despise not the Saints for their worldly Poverty Bonae mentis so­rorest pau­pertas. Petron., but honour them for their Vertue; we esteem of a Ruby or Diamond, though it be in the dust. John Baptist was girt with a leathern-girdle, yet he was more than a Prophet, Mat. 11. 9. He was honoured to usher in the King of Glory into the World: [Page 70] John was so eminent a person, that doubtless Herod might have kept his oath, though he had not be­headed him, for he sware to the Damsel to give her what she ask­ed unto half of the Kingdom, Mar. 6. 23. But John Baptist was more worth than all his Kingdom. A Saints facing may be mean, but he hath a rich lining; the out side of the Tabernacle was Goats hair, but within it was embellished with Gold; Psal. 45. 13. The Kings daughter is glorious within. Jesus Christ himself was outwardly mean, yet in him are hid all the treasures of wisdom, Col. 2. 3. A Soul inspir'd by the Almighty, and beautified with grace, doth ex­ceed others more than the light of the Sun doth exceed the light of a Taper.

7 Br. If the righteous are more 7 Branch. excellent than others, then how [Page 71] severe will God be against those that wrong them; the wicked are thorns in the sides of the godly; Saint Paul was scourged by cruel hands, 1 Cor. 11. 35. Thrice was I beaten with rods; a [...] if you should see a Skullion whip the Kings Son; but shall not God avenge his Elect? Luk. 18. 7. Surely he will; Isa. 34. 6, 8. The sword of the Lord is silled with blood, for it is the day of the Lords vengeance, and the year of recom­pences for the controversie of Sion. As if the Prophet had said, The time appointed is now come sor Gods avenging Sion's wrongs. Jer. 50. 10, 11. Chaldea shall be a spoil. saith the Lord, because [...]e were glad, because ye rejoiced, O ye de­stroyers of mine heritage. Jer. 30. 16. All that prey upon thee, will I give for a prey. The Saints are per­sons of Honour, they are God's first-born; Oh how enraged will the [Page 72] Lord be against such as offer injury to them; they trample God's pearls in the dust, they strike at the apple of his eye. The righteous are Gods royal diadem, Isa. 62. 3. Will a King endure to have his Robes spit upon, and his Crown thrown in the dirt? What is done to the righteous, is done to God himself. When the Kings favou­rite is struck at, the King himself is struck at, 2 King, 19. 22. I know thy rage against me: The rage of Sennacherib was against the per­son of Hezekiah, but (there being a league between God and his people) the Lord took it as done to himself, I know thy rage against me: Certainly it shall not go un­punished, Psal. 105. 14. He reproved Kings for their sakes. What be­came of Julian, Nero, Dioclesian? One of them had his deaths­wound from Heaven, others of [Page 73] them had theit bowels come out, and died raving. Charles the ninth of France, who had glutted him­self with the blood of so many Christians in the Massacre at Paris, was in such inward horror, that he never durst be waked without Musick, and at length blood issued out at so many parts of his body, that he died bleeding Acts and Mon.. These were set up as publick Monu­ments of God's vengeance.

2 Use. Let us try whether we 2 Use. Exam. are in the number of these righte­ous ones; then we are more ex­cellent than others.

1. A righteous man is an hum­ble man [...]. Orig.; he who is proud of his 1 Trial. righteousness, is unrighteous. Luk 18. 1. God I thank thee that I am not as other men are, I fast, I give Tythes Non vulnera ostenditsed [...]unera.: Here was a Triple [Page 74] crown of Pride the Pharisee wore; Righteousness though it raiseth the name, it depresseth the heart, Job 15. 10. If I am righteous, I will not lift up my head. The Violet is a sweet flower, yet hangs down the head; such a flower was Job. The righteous are like the Silk­worm, while she weaves her curi­ous works, she hides her self in the silk In quantum vir­tute sublimes, in tantum verecundia [...]les. Cyprian.: The righteous man is more in judging himself, than in playing the Critick upon another. He shrinks into nothing in his own thoughts; 2 Cor. 12. 11. [...], Though I be nothing. David cries out, I am a worm and no man, Psal. 22. 6. Though a Saint, though a King yet a worm: St. Austin, Lord, I am not worthy of thy love Non sum dign [...] quem [...] diligas. August.: Bishop Hooper, Lord, I am hell, but thou art heaven. One of the Martyrs [Page 75] subscribed his Letter, The most hard-hearted-sinner, John Brad­ford. He who is righteous puts a greater value upon others than upon himself, Phil. 2. 3. Let each esteem other better than themselves. The higher Grace is, the lower the Heart is; the more Gold you put in the Scale, the lower it de­scends; the richer the Ship is la­den, the lower it sails. When the Soul looks black in its own eye, it is most comely; Isa. 57. 15. I dwell with him also that is of an humble spirit. God hath two Heavens, and the humble heart is one of them.

2. A righteous man is devoted to holiness: The Priests under the 2 Trial. Law were not only wash'd in the great laver, but adorned with glorious apparel, Exod. 28. 2. the emblem of a righteous man who is not only washed from gross sin, [Page 76] but adorn'd with inward sanctity; he is what he seems; he hath not only holiness painted on him, but living in him. 'Tis said of Zachary and Elizabeth, they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless, Luk. 1. 6. A good Christian is Gods Temple; his body is the outward Court of the Temple, and his soul the Sacrary, or Holy of Holies: He is pure in heart, Mat. 5. 8. his work is to serve God, and his end is to en­joy him: Man having a principle of reason, must not live as a beast; and having a principle of righte­ousness, he must not live as a sinner; he is now metamorphised; he lives [...], Godlily, Tit. 2. 13. Christ is not only his Priest, but his Pattern: as he makes use of Christs death for his Salvation, so of Christs life for his imitation.

[Page 77] 3. A righteous man is 3 Trial. just in his dealings Justitia unicuiqt tribuit quod saum est. Cicero., Psal. 24. 3, 4. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? He that hath clean hands, &c. He who is righteous hath not only his heart purged from un­holiness but his hands from injustice Immunis aram s [...] tetigit ma [...]us. Horat.. He ab­hors all indirect ways, he will not defraud to grow rich, he will not sell his conscience for a wedg of Gold. A good Christian is zealous for duties of both Tables Quicquid propter Deum fit, aequaliter fit.; He makes Piety and Justice kiss each other.

4. A righteous man serves God 4 Trial. out of a principle of love: Grace doth new byass the heart, and carry it strongly towards God in ardent afsections Amor est vis animae, impetu quodam & pondere serens eam i [...] beatissimum Dium. Bern.; a righteous mans serving God is not by constraint, [Page 78] but consent; 'tis his Heaven to serve God: He mounts up in the fiery chariot of Love, and breaths forth his Soul into his Saviours bosom: Love is the Shibboleth which dif­ferenceth a righteous man from others. The carnal man saith, What a weariness is it to serve the Lord, Mal. 1. 13. The righteous man saith, What a pleasure is it! Rom. 7. 22. I delight in the Law of God in the inner man. As the Bee delights to suck the flower, so doth an holy person to obey God Amor ipse sibi [...]ulce satis Pabulum. Bern. sup. Cant.; 'Tis amor elicitus, he doth duty out of love to duty; he prays out of love to Prayer: When he sings, he makes melody in his heart to the Lord, Eph. 5. 19. Love lines the yoke of religion, and makes it easie, Mat. 11. 13. As a bride de­lights in putting on her Jewels, as a Musitian delights in playing on [Page 79] his Voyal, so a gracious soul de­lights in obeying God: Love to duty is better than duty; serving God with delight is Angelical: The Seraphims are described with wings, Isa. 6. 2. to show as well their chearfulness as their celerity in Gods service.

5. A righteous man perseveres 5 Trial. in Religion: He who gives over his work before he hath finished it, is but half a workman; and he that gives over in Religion be­fore he hath finished his faith, is but half a Christian. The Promise is [...], To him that overcomes, Rev. 3. 10. Who makes reckon­ing of Corn that sheds before harvest? It was the glory of the Church of Thyatira, her last works were more than her first, Rev. 2. 19. Non pugnan [...] sed vin­centi dabi­tur Cor [...] ­na. Perseverance carries away the garland; a true Christian doth not only set out in the race, but [Page 80] hold out à Carce­ribus ad nutam.; Job. 15. 9. The righte­ous also shall hold on his way: Be the way what it will, though strewed with thorns, though there be a Lion in the way, he is resolved to hold on his way, Act. 20. 24. Bonds and afflictions abide me, but none of these things move me. The troubles a godly man meets with for Conscience, do by an holy antiperistasis, the more enflame his zeal: Sufferings cannot make Christ leave loving the Saints, nor make the Saints leave loving of Christ; Job though he lost all, held fast his integrity, Job 2. 3. Unsound hearts when they see the swords and staves are up, leave Christ and shift for themselves: A right-spirited Saint is made of mettal that will not wear out. Athanasius was the glory of his age, he had a counter-motion to the Times; he kept his piety when [Page 81] the World turned Arrian. Melan­cthon, who was called the Phoenix of Germany, was (as St. Ambrose saith) like the Cypress-tree which keeps its verdure and greenness in the winter-season. The Church of Pergamus held fast Christs name, though she dwelt where Satans feat was, Rev 2. 13. This is to be righ­teous to be faithful to the death Rev. 2. 10., and not suffer the breast-plate of holiness to be shot thorough. Job 23. 11. My foot hath held his steps: his way have I kept, and not declined. And whosoever is thus divinely qualified, is intitled to this privi­ledg in the Text, He is more ex­cellent than others.

Use 3. If the righteous are thus Use 3. Exhort. 1 Bra [...]ch. excellent, let it encourage us all to true Piety; no sooner do we become gracious, but we become precious, Josh. 5. 9. This day have I [Page 66] rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you: That day we become righteous, our reproach is rolled away from us. Faith raiseth our Fame; Righteousness exchangeth our Fetters for a Crown, Prov. 4. 9. A Crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. By espousing Godliness, we are better than others, Eccles. 7. 8. And richer, being possessed of a golden Mine; i. e. The unsearch­able riches of Christ, Ephes. 3. 8. We have from Christ the riches of Ju­stification, and Consolation, and Glorification; we are as rich as the Angels; Oh then let this excite every one to be godly; Righteous­ness puts a splendid excellency upon a man, as if you should see a clod of dust turned into a Star.

2 Branch. If the righteous are 2 Branch. so excellent in Gods eye, then let God be excellent in their eye: If [Page 83] they are high in Gods thoughts, let God be high in theirs; let the Saints have adoring thoughts of God; Psal. 71. 19. Thy righteous­ness, O God, is very high. Psal. 83. 18. Thou whose Name is Jehovah [...] nomen [...], q. d. aeterna essentia. Zan­chy., art the most high over all the earth. God is [...], the most super-emi­nent blessing; Psal. 106. 2. Who can show forth all his praise? God surpasseth the praises of the Arch-Angels; He is incircled with Glo­ry and Majesty, Psal, 104. 1. He doth infinitely out-vye all the Powers of the earth: Princes hold their Crowns by immediate tenure from him; Prov. 8. 15. his Domi­nions are largest, his Possession longest, Heb. 1. 8. Thy Throne, O God, is for ever and ever. Those Excellencies which lie scattered in the Creature, are infinitely uni­ted [Page 84] in God. S. Austin complains that men can admire the magnitude of the Stars, and not admire him who is the father of lights. Oh esteem God most excellent.

1. Gods wisdom is excellent, Job 9. 4. He is wise in heart; he knows the causes of things; yea, uno [...]ntuitu, at one instant; the Angels light their lamps at this Sun.

2. Gods Power is excellent. He is Elshaddai, Almighty, Gen. 17. 1. What cannot he do that can create? His Power is as large as his Will: Job 23. 13. What his Soul desireth, even that he doth: He bridles the proud waves, Job 38. 11. He cutteth off the spirit of Princes, Psalm 76. 12.

3. Gods Holiness is excellent. This is the most sparkling Jewel of his Crown, Exod. 15. 11. Glo­rious [Page 85] in Holiness Sanctitas D [...]o tri­b [...]itur, non solum quia purus est ab omni inquinamento, sed maximè quia nulla vel moralis, vel na­turalis ci incidit im­perfectio. Rivet.. God is first Transcendantly ho­ly, 1 Sam. 2. 2. There is none holy as the Lord. The blessed Seraphims cover their faces, and cry holy, holy, but what Angels can take the just dimensions of his Sanctity? they are too low of stature to measure these Pyramids. 2. God is communicatively holy; Lev. 20. 8. I am the Lord which sanctisie you. He is not only a Pattern of Holiness, but a foun­tain: He empties his golden Oyl through the Pipes of the Sanctu­ary. His Holiness is imparted, though not impaired. 3. God is Unchangably holy; his Holiness can no more cease, than his God­head: He never lost a drop of his Holiness; as he cannot have more Holiness, because he is per­fectly holy; so he cannot have less [Page 86] Holiness, because he is Unchange­ably holy.

4. God's Love is excellent, Psal. 36. 7. How excellent is thy lo­ving-kindness, O God! This drops as the honey-comb; it dulcifies and sweetens the Waters of Marah; it is better than life, Psal. 63. 3. It hath an Hyper-hyperbole in it; it passeth knowledg, Ephes. 3. 19. Gods love may be felt, but not fathomed. Oh then let the Saints have God-admiring thoughts; the Psalmist esteem'd him above the Glory of Heaven, and the Comforts of the Earth, Psal. 73. 25. God is the marrow and quin­tessence of all good Bonum in quo omnia bo­na. Aug.: His beauty is amazing, his love is ravishing: all divine Perfections meet in God, as the lines in the center. Let us then with St. Paul, count all things loss for him; if God puts such a value and appretiation upon the [Page 71] righteous, they are highest in his esteem, let him be highest in theirs.

3 Br. If God hath so honoured 3 Branch. the righteous and made them bet­ter than others, let not the righ­teous debase themselves, or lose any of their excellency; hath God made them precious, let not them make themselves vile.

1. Let them not debase them­selves with Earth: An earthly Saint, is as great a contradiction as an Orthodox heretick. 'Tis called [...], filthy lucre, 1 Pet. 5. 2. because it doth so befilthy a person. Earthliness is an enemy to grace. 'Tis Aristotles observation, Dogs cannot hunt among sweet flowers, because the smell of the flowers diverts the scent of the Hare: Those can scarce run after Christ in the savour of his Oyntments, who are diverted by the smell of [Page 88] earthly delights; whom the Hele­na of the world kisseth, it betrays. It is below a Christian, and doth too much resemble Satan, to be alwayes compassing the earth [...]. Possel. Apopth.. Jer. 45. 5. And seekest thou great things for thy self? As if God had said, what thou Ba­ruch? who art by thy new birth excellent, a-kin to Angels; by thy Office excellent; a [...]Levite; dost thou seek earthly things? and what, seek them now? I am going to pluck up, and art thou plant­ing? the Ship is sinking, and art thou trimming thy Cabin? Oh Baruch do not so degrade thy self of thy honour! Seekest thou great things, seek them not. Though the wicked like Eels wrap themselves in the mud, yet let the birds of Paradise fly alo [...]t; the higher grace is, the less earthly-minded [Page 89] should Christians be; the higher the Sun is, the shorter is the sha­dow.

2. Let not the righteous debase themselves by sinful compliance: Such as profess themselves to be regenerate, should not be malle­able to every opinion and humor; shall the excellent Cedar bend like the pliant Willow? Gen. 49. 14. Issachar is a strong Asse, couch­ing down between two burdens. Issachar was a strong tribe, but wanted courage: You who are righteous, be not too Couchant, do not chuse iniquity rather than affli­ction, Job 36. 21. Do not so value your liberty as to wound your in­tegrity. God is a great God, dare not to offend him; he is a good God, venture not to lose him; be not swayed with the evil ex­amples of others; dead fish only swim down the stream. The [Page 70] righteous do much lessen both their esteem and reward by sym­bolizing with sinners. Let not the godly force their Conscience; the dust will be wiped off this glass, and then it will represent guilt. When Cranmer had with some renitency of mind subscri­bed to the Popish Articles, he was afterwards in great horror: his Conscience was like Moses rod, turned into a Serpent; he could have no peace till he had recan­ted his subscription: By sordid unworthy actions the holy spirit will be grieved, the godly will be offended, the wicked will in­sult, and Conscience will accuse: Conscience is like a Bee; if a man doth well, it gives honey; if ill, it puts forth a sting.

4 Br. If the righteous be more 4 Branch. excellent than others, let not them envy the prosperity of the wicked, [Page 91] Prov. 23. 17. Let not thy heart envy sinners. God hath made you better then they; he hath given you his spirit to sanctifie you, and his Son to save you. Envy is an ill humour Pallor i [...] ore sadet, macies in corpore toto.; it is Vulnus occultum (saith Cyprian) it hurts a mans self most; Envy drinks its own venom; it cor­rodes the body as canker doth iron,

—Simul peccat & plectitur—

The first man born in the world was envious [...] Bion.. Theodoret observes, it was not so much Cains own sin troubled him, as to see his Brother's offering accepted. It becomes not Gods people to feed this fretting disease; it is bad to feed an enemy. What if God wring out the water of a full cup to the wicked, it is but a su­gred poyson; Prosperity like Circe, [Page 92] with its enchantments turns men into swine; it makes them grow worse; the Moon never suffers an Eclipse, but when it is at the Full Id concedit Deus irat [...]s quod [...]egat Propitius. Aug.. The world is given to the wicked in anger. When Belshazzar was in the midst of his jollity, the hand of God was writing bitter things against him: The hot day of Prosperity presageth thunder at night. Hamans banquet was but a Preface to the Halter. O Chri­stian, shake off envy, as Paul did the Viper. God hath made thee more excellent than others, he hath given thee better riches and Preferment; they have a Golden apple, thou hast a Crown, 2 Tim. 4. 7. God keeps the best wine till last; let this divine harp drive away the evil spirit of envy and discontent.

[Page 93] 5 Br. If the righteous be so 5 Branch. excellent, let it perswade people to get into their company, and chuse to be of their acquaintance. Next to being good, it is wisdom to converse with them that are so. Psal. 16. 2. The excellent in whom is all my delight. Be not like Swine [...] which had rather lie in the dung, than in a fair Meadow. The righteous are the light of the world, and it is prudence to fol­low them that carry the Light. Seek for the Olive, but if the bramble take hold of thee, cast it away. There is much good to be gotten in the society of the god­ly; their speeches edifie, their prayers quicken, their examples teach Sermo viv [...] & effica [...] ex­emplar est. Bern.. Graft among the Saints. A slip grafted into a good stock, partakes of the virtue and influ­ence of the root. The righteous are more excellent; be often a­mong [Page 94] these spices, and you will smell of them, Prov. 13. 20. He that walketh with wise men, shall be wise.

6 Br. It exhorts the righteous 6 Branch. to walk worthy of the high ho­nour which God hath raised them to, Ephes. 5. 8. Walk as children of light. As you are more excellent by your high calling, so be more excellent in your walking Cogita te esse [...].; a­dorn religion by your prudent holy carriage; shine as lights in the world; Phil. 2. 15. Some Anti­nomians of old taught, That what­ever a mans life was, yet he was justified, so he believed the Go­spel; whom Luther confuted. Such as are a Royal Priesthood should be a peculiar people. 1 Pet. 2. 9. The Lord hath dignified the righteous above the rest of the world, and they must not take the same latitude which others do, [Page 95] Prov. 31. 4. It is not for Kings, O Lemuel, it is not for Kings to drink wine, nor for Princes strong drink. It becomes not them who are high­born to be intemperate. So it is not for you who are of a sacred Pedigree, whom God hath made superior to others, to be vain and loose in your behaviour. Alexan­der would have the Graecians known not only by their Gar­ments, but their Vertues. A child of God should be known by the exemplariness of his life, 1 Pet. 1. 15. Be ye holy in all man­ner of conversation In hunc fi [...]em vo­bis illuxit sol justi­tiae, u [...] re [...]ulgeat vit [...], vestr [...] Puritas. Calv.. Christ hath anointed his people with the Graces, as those Virgins were pu­rified with sweet odours Esther 2. 12.; and he looks that they should send abroad a sweet perfume of Holiness. Christians must observe the [...] that which is lovely, [Page 96] and of good report, Phil. 4. 8. they had need walk [...], acurately Debent fideles ac si in celeberrimo Theatro essent vivere, quia sub conspectu Dei & Angelorum vivunt. Calv., Ephes. 5. 15. because so many watch for their halting. If the wicked find any thing in the people of God dis­honourable to their Profession, they lay the blame upon Religion; It is Salvian's note, What will the Pagans say, when they see Chri­stians loose and vicious? The Chri­stians live so bad because Christ taught them no bet­ter Christiani sancte vixissent, si Christus sanct [...] docuisset.: How should the righteous cut off occasion from them that seek occa­sion, 2 Cor. 11. 12? Daniels Piety sealed up the lips of his enemies, Dan. 6. 4. Martin Bucer was Tantae Sanctimoniae vir, so unblameable in his life, that those who did most malign him had nothing just­ly to lay to his charge. Oh Chri­stians [Page 97] look to your steps, when you have prayed against sin, then watch against temptation; a spot in a Royal Robe cannot be hid; a dash os ink would quickly have been spied in Aaron's white lin­nen. If there be a blemish in a Professor every ones eye is upon it; the sin of such a person cau­seth blushing among the Saints; as the Patriarchs could not chuse but be ashamed when the cup was found in their Sack. Oh that all who profess the name of Christ would depart from iniquity, 2. Tim 2. 19. Dare not to blaspheme that Worthy Name by which you are call­ed, Jam. 2. 7. Such as are more ex­cellent than others, God expects some singular thing from them; they should bring more glory to God, and by their exemplary piety make Proselites to religion: Bet­ter fruit is expected from a Vine­yard, [Page 98] then from a wild Fo­rest.

7. Br. Hath God so enobled the 7 Branch. righteous, and given them a super­excellency above others? Then let the righteous be thankful, Psal. 113. 7. He raiseth the poor out of the dust, that he may set him with Princes. God hath raised you out of the low estate wherein you were by nature, and hath made you more illustrious than others, that he may set you with Angels, those Princes above. Oh let the high Praises of God be in your mouth, Psal. 149. 6. God hath done more for Believers, than for all the world besides. He hath given them the holy anointing, the new name, the white stone, which is the earnest of the inheritance; and at the day of judgment Jesus Christ will confess their names before his Father and the Holy [Page 99] Angels Rev. 3. 5. Pro­mittit Christus se no­minatim [...]ujusque celebraturum Fidem & constantiam in con­sessu sanctae Trinitat is & conspect [...] Ange­lorum & hominum quo gloriae gradu ni­ [...]il augustius excogi­tari possit. Paraeus.. And their Souls and Bodies being re-uni­ted, shall be fully invest­ed with glory. And af­ter their Session at Christs right-hand, it shall be proclaimed, Thus shall it be done to the persons whom the King of Hea­ven will honour. Doth not all this deserve thankfulness, Psal. 100. 1. Make a joyful noise un­to the Lord J [...]bilate domino. Musculus.. In the Hebrew it is, Sound forth his praise as with a Trumpet [...]: Praise God with the best instru­ment, the Heart; and let it be scrued up to the highest Peg; do it with the whole heart. You who are righteous, speak well of God, and tell others what he hath done for you. His Blessings bestowed are Legacies, not Debts. Praise is a glorifying of God, Psal. 50. 23. [Page 100] and will not you chearfully pay this Pepper-corn? Will you not do it constantly? Psal. 146. 2. I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being. The Carthagi­nians used at first to send the tenth of their yearly revenue to Hercules; but by degrees, they grew weary and left off sending. Christians fail mu [...]h in their thank-offering: Be not like them that play a fit or two of Musick in a year, and then the Viol must be hung up. Be often upon Mount Gerizim, blessing God. Consider, Thankfulness is the work of Hea­ven; you who shall have Angels reward, do Angels work. Sound forth the Memorial of Gods Ho­liness, and celebrate his Fame; Praise is the Musick of Heaven [...] Zenoph., let not God want his Musick. While others murmur do you bless. Wait and long for that [Page 101] time when you shall be called up to the heavenly Mount, and pla­ced among the glorious Cheru­bims, where your employment to Eternity, will be to breath forth love, and sound forth Praise.

Use 4. Consolation to the righ­teous, Use 4. Comfort. who are under dejection of spirit. God esteems them more ex­cellent than others. It is com­fort,

1. When they are humbled by sin, they have mean thoughts of themselves, and see so much cor­ruption, that they think they have no grace: I, but here is comfort, God sees an excellency in them, though they can see none in them­selves; he can distinguish between the grace in them, and the infir­mity; and he judgeth of them, not by their worst part, but by their bestSubje­ctum àc­nomina­tu [...] à prae­stanti [...] parte.. God prizeth his peo­ple, [Page 102] notwithstanding their fail­ings; a man values his Corn though it be mingled with Chaff.

2. It is comfort when the righ­teous are humbled by affliction, Lam. 3. 16. He bath covered me with ashes. My outward comforts are as it were in the grave, and have ashes thrown upon them; the godly are apt to mistake and think God doth not care for them, because he afflicts them [...]. Thucyd.; Judg. 6. 13. If the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us?

But let not the righteous be troubled, or cast away their an­chor; still God makes great ac­count of them: and though they are more afflicted than others, yet they are more excellent. God e­steemed highly of Hezekiah on his sick-bed, he heard his prayer and bottled his tears isa. 38. 5.. Job when full of boiles and sores, was dear to [Page 103] God. Job on the dunghil was more excellent than Pharaoh on the throne. God boasts of Job to Satan, Chap. 2. 3. None like him in the earth. The Lord esteems not the worse of the righteous, be­cause he makes them pass under the Rod. A Goldsmith esteems his Gold though it be in the fur­nace; God sees an excellency in the Saints, when they are bleeding under their sufferings. A piece of Plate is of great value though it be battered. Grapes are precious though they are in the Winepress. Jesus Christ was on the Cross, yet proclaimed to be Gods beloved Son by a voice from heaven, Mat. 3. 17.

3. It is comfort when the righ­teous are humbled by desertion; Job 6. 4. The arrows of the Almighty are within me. The Hebrew word for arrow [...] comes from a radix [Page 104] that signifies to cut; to show that the poyson'd arrow of desertion cuts to the heart. Heman crys out, Psal. 88. 7. Thy wrath lieth hard upon me; like a mountain of lead it even sinks my spirits; in this for­ [...]orn state, the Saints think God esteems them vile, and hath cast them off, Psal. 88. 14. Lord, why castest thou off my soul? God holds his deserted ones as it were over the fire of hell, and they think they are ready to drop in. But Christian, thou mayst be sorely deserted, yet God may judg thee excellent. Sion thought she was quite forsaken, Isai. 49. 14. Sion said, the Lord hath forsaken me. But at that time God had a dear re­spect for her, Ver. 16. I have gra­ven thee upon the palms of my hand. God may have the face of an ene­my, yet the heart of a father. The Lord deserts his peo­ple, [Page 105] [...], for their profit, Heb. 12. 10. While he is humbling them, he is healing them; he seems to put them away from him, but it is to draw them nearer to him, he would exercise their faith and prayer the more. God is all this while preparing the Saints for the sweet embraces of his love. De­sertion is like purging-physick; the Lord will purge out some ill humour of sin, and afterwards will manifest his love to his Children. The Cordial is kept till the wor­king of the Physick is over.

The Conclusion.

THus (Good Reader) I have, with all convenient brevity, endeavoured to vindicate the true Saint, and take him out of the fogg. I have set before thy eyes a child of light. Mark the perfect man Psal. 37. 37., and imitate him: If not­withstanding all this surpassing excellency of the righteous, any shall be so wicked as to persist in unrighteousness, they love death, Prov. 8. 36. If they shall glory in their unrighteousness Phil. 3. 19., it is as if beggars should boast of their sores: If they shall disparage Ho­liness, it is like a blind man's re­proaching the Sun; let the righ­teous bi [...]d reproaches as a Crown [Page 107] about their head Qui meliora sperat, levioribus non fra [...] ­gitur. Ambrose., and be no more troubled, then they would be to have mad men laugh at them, Psal. 37. 7. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him. The time is shortly coming, when God [...]ill clear the innocency of his Ser­vants; after he hath wiped off tears from their eyes, he will wipe off reproach from their name Isa. 25. [...]: and then this Text shall be universally subscribed to, The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour.

FINIS.

Books to be sold by Thomas Park­hurst, at the Bible and three Crowns in Cheapside.

A Commentary on the He­brews. By John Owen, D. D. fol.

Mr. Sedgwick's Bowels of Mer­cy. fol.

Tho. Taylor's Works, the first vol. fol.

2. An Exposition of Temptati­on, on Matth. 4. verse 1. to the end of the eleventh.

Forty-nine Sermons upon the whole Epistle of the Apostle St. Paul to the Colossians [...] in three parts. By that famous Minister of the Reformed Church in Paris, Mr. John Daille; Translated into En­glish by F. S.

[Page] An Antidote against Quakerism, wherein these following questions, are opened, the truth concerning them proved, the contrary argu­ments examined and confuted.

1. Whether the Scriptures or the light in every man be our rule to heaven.

2. Whether the Light in eve­ry man be a saving Light; here something also concerning imme­diate teaching.

3. Whether Perfection, viz. a state free from all sin be attainable in this life.

4. Whether Baptism with wa­ter be an Ordinance of Christ binding us.

5. Whether the Supper be an Ordinance of Christ binding us.

6. Whether Justification be by the Righteousness of Christ im­puted. By Stephen Scandret, Mi­nister of Gods Word.

[Page] These Treatises next following are written by Mr. Tho. Watson.

The Doctrine of Repentance.

Heaven taken by storm.

The mischief of sin, it brings a person low.

A Divine Cordial.

A word of Comfort for the Church and people of God.

A Plea for Alms, in a Sermon at the Spittle.

The Holy Eucharist, or the Sa­crament of the Lords Supper briefly opened. All Seven by Tho. Watson.

The Immortality of the Soul explained, and proved by Scri­pture and Reason. To which is added Faith's Triumph over the fear of Death. By Tho. Wadsworth.

The Childs Delight, together with an English Grammar. By Tho. Lye.

The Practical Christian; or a summary view of the chief heads [Page] of Practical Divinity, By J. Bart­let of Exeter.

The inseperable Union be­tween Christ and a Believer, open­ed in a Sermon at the Funeral of Mrs. Dorothy Freeborn: By Tho. Beck.

The Life and Death of that eminently learned pious and pain­ful Minister of the Gospel, Dr. Samuel Winter, sometime Pro­vest of Trinity Colledg near Dublin in Ireland.

Path-way to Prayer and Piety: By R. Hills.

The Royal Robe; or a Trea­tise of Meekness: By J. Barker.

Comfortable Crumbs of Re­freshment, by Prayer, Meditations, Consolations and Ejaculations, with a Confession of Faith, and summ of the Bible.

The difference between the Spots of the Godly and Wicked, in four Sermons: By J. Burroughs.

FINIS.

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