SEVEN SERMONS ON Several Select Subjects, PREACHED BY Mr. Tho. Watson, sometimes Mi­nister of the Gospel, at St. Stephen Walbrook, London.

With Allowance.

LONDON, Printed, in the Year, 1689.

THE PUBLISHER TO THE READER.

Christian Reader,

HAving had these Sermons by me for a considerable time, and finding them of singular Advantage to all who mind the work of their Salva­tion in earnest, I thought I could not sufficiently discharge that Duty I owe to my fellow Christians, if I did not con­tribute what I could to the good of o­thers; and therefore I have made them of Publick use.

'Twere a Presumption in me, to of­fer to launch out upon the Praises of the Worthy Preacher of them, as if he [Page] needed Encomiums from such as I am, to recommend his Works to the World; since his Name is so savoury among all those, that either heard him Preach, read his Writings, or were acquainted with his Exemplary Life and Conversation (he having with that great Apostle taken suf­ficent care, that while he Preached to others he might not be a cast away him­self) that 'twill be sufficient to recom­mend them to the perusal of all serious Christians that they are his. Those that are only for a quaint polite Discourse, may sute themselves where they think best; but such as are for the plain Truths of the Gospel, and desire to drink in the sincere Milk of the Word of God may find great profit by this Book.

Those Ministers whose only delight it is to make Elegant Discourses, busk­ing [Page] them up with a vain flourish of Words (as if the plain Truths of the Gospel were not palatable, but needed some correctives to render them more grate­ful to mens appetites) and those who perplex their Hearers with Intricate, Philosophical Notions, seem more to hunt after Popular applause than sincere­ly to endeavour the Conversion and Sal­vation of Souls: But those who design faithfully, to discharge that great Trust committed to them by their Lord and Ma­ster, will be sure to shun both these, and to deliver the Truths of the Gospel in as plain and homely a dress as may be, that the way of Salvation may be set forth to the meanest Capacities: Like the famous Gregory Nazianzen, who (tho he was Master of as much Learn­ing as any in his day, yet) was very [Page] plain in his Preaching; and a Godly la­borious Preacher here, sometimes since with the Lord, who when he had writ­ten his Sermon, used to read it over to his Servants; and if any thing in it transcended their Capacities, altered it, and made it so plain, that he was sure nothing in it could surmount the Under­standings of the meanest of his Hear­ers. And all that ever heard the wor­thy Author or read any of his Sermons, can sufficiently testifie how well he acquitted himself in this point: And those that have not, may fully be con­vinced of it by reading these Sermons, which they will find as plain and obvi­ous as can be desired, delivered in as few words as possible, so as to leave out nothing neeessary in order to explaining the true meaning of the Text. Were this [Page] golden Rule generally observed much more Fruit might be expected by the preaching of the Gospel than now is, and those who desire to be most service­able in their Generation, would not be misrepresented as Canters by men that speak evil of things they understand not.

The Subject matter of these Sermons are Truths of very great use in Christians Practice, whatever their case or condi­tion be: So that there are few Spiritu­al Diseases, but Remedies are here set down for them; viz. those who are groaning under the Cross, Comforts are prescribed to them, those who are se­cure are awakened, those that are world­ly, Weaning Considerations are here pro­posed to them, and those who are under comfortable Influences of the Spirit, Directions are given them how to con­tinue them.

[Page]It cannot be expected, since the God­ly Preacher himself had not the perusal of them, but that those that are too Nice and Censorious may espy some expressions in them, that might have been better worded: And therefore I hope that they will be so far from laying it on the Worthy Author, that they will even excuse it in me; since through a desire I had for the publick good, I rather chose to incurr the censures of some men in publishing these Sermons, than out of a sullen Modesty suppress that which might tend so much to the Advancement of Holiness. Which that it may be the blessed fruit of this, and all other Works of this Nature is, and shall be the Hear­ty Prayers of, &c.

ERRATA.

Page 27. line 4. for Disabling ▪ read Disciplining, p. 30. l. 18. Disabling, for r. Disciplining.

SERMON I.

Job 14.14.‘All the days of my appointed time will I wait till my change come.’

THIS Book relates the History of Iob's sufferings: he was a tall Cedar in grace, yet this Cedar grew in a Valley of Tears. Religion gives no Charter of Ex­emption from trouble. Iob's tryals were so sharp, that he began to grow weary of life, and was willing to have a Writ of Ease; to have his pass and be gone, Iob 14.13. Oh that thou wouldest hide me in the grave! This holy man was much afflicted in his meditations of his latter end: He walked among [Page 2] the Tombs, and walked into his Grave before it was digged, and by frequent thoughts laboured to make death fa­miliar to him. All the days of my appoin­ted time will I wait till my change come.

The Text is a large Field; I shall only as I pass along, pluck some few ears of corn.

In the words are these three general parts observable.

  • 1. A description of Life; All my days.
  • 2. The determination of Life; My appointed time.
  • 3. A holy Resolution; I will wait till my change come.

I begin with the first.

First, Here is a description of Life; All the days.

Doct. Job doth not measure his life by years, but by days.

Nay, he calls life a day, in verse 6. of this chapter. Mans life is very much resembled to a day in three or four respects.

[Page 3]1. Life is like a day for the short­ness of it: men dream of a long life, saith Austin. Men they do think of such a thing as an earthly Eternity, but it is a short day. Infancy, that is day break: Youth, that is Sun rising: Full growth, that is the Sun in its Me­ridian: Old age, is Sun setting: Sick­ness, is Evening; and then comes the night of Death. Life it is a day; and is it so short? but a day; why do we then rather lose time, than live it?

2. Life is like a day for the vicissi­tudes that are in it. A day hath much alteration and change of weather; the Morning that shews clear and bright; at Noon, black Clouds and Rain: one part of the day is calm and serene, the other part it is blusterous and windy: Such is our life, it is like a day; what change of weather is there in Man's life? What sudden alterations fall out? sometimes health, sometimes sickness, sometimes prosperity, and sometimes adversity: Here is change of weather; sometimes we see the [Page 4] White Lilly of Peace, sometimes again the Red Rose of a Bloody War appears: Here is change of weather.

3. Life it is a day for Labour: The day it is the time for working, Psal. 104.23. The Sun riseth, and man goeth forth to his work. Death is a sleeping time for the body: Life is a working time; a Christian hath no time to lie fallow, Phil. 2.12. Work out your salvation with fear and trem­bling. Work while it is day, Iohn 9.4. Still there is some work to do, either some sin to mortifie, or some grace to exercise.

4. And lastly, If a day be once past, you can never call that day again: so when once this day of life is past and gone, you cannot call it back.

Use, Briefly.

1. The thoughts of this that our lives is but a day, may serve to cool the intemperate heat of our affection to earthly things: we should not be [Page 5] much raised in the enjoyment of them, nor much dejected in the want of them: These under moon comforts they are not to be with us long; only a few days: Nay it is but a day: Why then should we be too much taken with them? Our life being so tran­sient, made up of a few flying Minutes, it should much abate our affections to all things under the Sun. Abraham, I read of him, that he bought the possession of a burying place, Gen. 49. v. 30. The longest possession we have here on Earth, it is the possession of a burying place. So much for the first particular, a description of Life; it is not measured by years, but days; nay, it is shorter, it is but a day.

2. The second thing in the Text is the determination of Man's Life, in these words, My appointed time; the days of my appointed time. The Hebrew hath a double signification.

1. It signifies the days of my War­fare to militate; the days of my war­fare,

[Page 6]Hence note this;

That a Christians Life here on Earth it is no other than a warfare.

1 Tim. 1,18. That thou mayest war a good warfare. It is not an easie life, a life of sloth and pleasure; it is a war­fare; all the days of my warfare. A Christians Life it is a warfare in three respects.

  • 1. In respect of Hardship.
  • 2. Watchfulness.
  • 3. Combate.

First, In respect of Hardships; a Souldier he doth endure much hard­ship; he hath not his soft bed, nor his dainty fare, but goes thorough many a tedious March; such is a Christian's life, 2 Tim. 2.3. Thou there­fore indure hardship as a good Souldier of Iesus Christ. We must not be, as Ter­tullian saith, silken Christians, but ex­pect to wrestle with difficulties.

Secondly, A Christians life is a war­fare, in respect of Watchfulness: We must stand Sentinel, and be ever upon [Page 7] our Guard. The Souldier gets up in­to the Watch-tower, sends out his Scouts, lest the Enemy should sur­prize him. It was Christs watch-word, Mark 13.37. I say unto you all, Watch. A subtle Heart needs a watchful Eye. Watch lest sin doth decoy you, lest Sa­t [...]n falls upon you when you are asleep on your Guard: when you have been praying against sin, then you must watch against temptation.

Thirdly, A Christians life it is a warfare for Combate. We all of us come into the world as into Field-battle; we stand just as the Jews did, Nehem. 4.17. Every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and in the other hand held a weapon. Just such is our Military posture, working and fighting in order to this holy warfare; we must get our Spiritual Armour ready, the Breastplate of Holiness, which can never be shot thorow; and having got this Armour, and the Shield of Faith in our hands, we must now give battle to our Spiritual Enemies, [Page 8] 2 Tim. 4.7. I have fought the good fight of Faith; yea and we must maintain a Combate with the flesh, and that for an Enemy Satan.

To encourage us in this Warfare, consider but these two things.

First, We have a good Captain, Je­sus Christ, he is called the Captain of our Salvation, Heb. 2.10. Christ not only leads us in our march, and gives us skill to fight, but he gives us strength also. A Captain he may give his Soul­diers Armour, but he cannot give them strength to fight, but Christ doth, Isa. 41.10. I will strengthen thee, yea I will help thee.

Secondly, To encourage us in this warfare against Sin and Satan, having overcome our Ghostly Enemy, then we shall have a glorious Recompence of Reward: Henceforth is laid up for me a Crown of Righteousness, 2▪ Tim. 4.8. A Crown, it is not fit for every one; a Crown, it is not fit for every head, only Princes, Kings, persons of Re­nown. After our Combate with Sin [Page 9] and Satan, God will call us out of the Field, where the Bullets of Tempta­tion did flie so fast, and will give us a victorious Crown, then no more Battle, but there shall be Musick, not the Drum and the Cannon, but the Viol and the Harp shall sound, Rev. 14.2.

Use 2.

Is Life a Warfare? how unworthy and blameable are they, who have no Spiritual Artillery, nor do make out against their Spiritual Enemies? they spend their time in dressing themselves, but do not put on their holy Armour. And rejoyce in the sound of the Organ. They spend their days in mirth, as if their lives were rather for Musick than for Battle. I have read of one, he would have no mans name written upon his Tomb, but he who died manfully in War. God writes no mans name in the Book of Life, but such as die in this holy War, die in Battle, fighting this good fight of Faith.

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[Page 10]Secondly, Let us consider this word in the Text in the other signification, The days of my appointed time; my ap­pointed time,

Hence observe this;

Doct. That God hath prefixt the just time and period of every mans Life.

Iob 14.5. His days are determined; thou hast appointed the bounds that he cannot pass. God who numbers ours hairs, numbers our days. He hath entred down in his Decree how long our lives shall last, and we shall not live one hour nor minute beyond the time prefixt. Therefore do not say, If such a casualty had not happened, such a friend had not died so soon.

Obj. But is it not said in Eccles. 7.16▪ Be not over-much wicked, why shouldest thou die before thy time?

Ans. There is a general time of life, and there is a limited time of life: There is a general time, in regard of [Page 11] the course of Nature; and there is a limited time, in regard of Gods De­cree, how long such a person shall live. Now a man that dies young, or dies a violent death, he dies before his time, in regard of the course of Na­ture, but he doth not die before the time that God hath limited and ap­pointed.

Use 1.

First Use is, to admonish us all to be­ware of adjourning and putting off our Repentance. Our days they are cer­tain to God, but they are uncertain to us: The Lord knows how long our Glass will be running; for ought we know there is but a few Sands more to run; life may expire in an instant; when our breath goes out, we know not whether we shall draw it in again. 'It is true, Hezekiah had a Lease sealed him of fifteen years, but we have no such Lease; we are Te­nants at will, and may be turned out [Page 12] presently; our time of life is known to God, but not to us; therefore take heed of procrastinating and delaying: death may be sent to any of you this night with a Habeas Corpus: God may say, Give an account of your Steward­ships.

Secondly, Is the time of our life ap­pointed, and the number of our days set? why then, this should teach us courage for God; be not fearful of doing your duty to appear for God, to own his Cause in an Idolatrous gene­ration, to vindicate Gods Truth, wherein his glory is so concerned; so the Text saith, Our time is appointed. Men can take away our Liberty when they will; they shall not touch a hair of our heads till Gods time is come. This made our blessed Saviour so zealous for his Fathers Honour, so sharp in his Reproof against sin. Whence was Christ so couragious? Iohn 8.20. For his hour was not yet come. Christ knew full well that all his Enemies could not take away his [Page 13] life, till the time was come which his Father had appointed: This should make us like Athanasius, that Bulwark of the Nation.

Thirdly, The third thing in the Text is Iob's holy Resolution; I will wait till my change come, that is, I will wait till death come.

Hence note this,

Doct. That death, whenever it comes, it makes a great change.

First, This change that death will make, it is a certain change; there is no avoiding it, Psal. 89.48. What man is he that lives and shall not see death? Heb. 9.27. It is not strength, it is not courage, it is not any worldly gran­dure can exempt from death: deaths Sword cuts asunder the Royal Scepter. The godly they must die as well as others. Though death doth not de­stroy the treasure of Grace, yet death breaks the Vessel that this treasure is in. Pliny, he speaks of a golden Vine [Page 14] that is not subject to storms. The bo­dy of a Saint, when glorified, shall be be like that golden Vine, but now it is a withering Vine, and is soon blast­ed by death. We are not so sure to lie down in our beds, as we are to lie down in our graves.

Secondly, The change that death makes, it is a visible change: how strangely is the body metamorphosed at death, that one scarce knows their friends, they are so disfigured by death! the Eyes hollow, the Jaws fallen; death carries away all the goodly spoil of beauty; it changes a living body into a carkass, Psal. 39.11. Thou makest the beauty to consume like a Moth. Take a body of the finest spinning, the Lilly and the Purple, white and ruddy, when once death, as a Moth, gets into it, it consumes all the luster and glory of it. Death puts the body into a ve­ry frightful dress, that nothing can fall in love with it but the Worms.

Thirdly, The change that death makes, it is often a very sudden [Page 15] change: death steals upon some un­awares; as one I have read of was sud­denly choaked with the kernel of a Grape. What quick dispatch do several distempers make! death often­times strikes, and gives no warning.

Fourthly and lastly, The change that death makes, it is an unalterable change: As the Tree falls, so it lies to eternity. Death is a change that puts us into an unchangeable condition.

Application.

First, See what a different change death makes to the Righteous, and to the Wicked▪ both are changed at death; but there is a vast difference.

First, Death makes a dreadful change to the Wicked; it is a Trap­door to let them down to Hell. The Wicked that live here in gallantry and splendor, that are clothed in Purple, and fare deliciously every day, oh but when death comes they will find an alteration. Death will throw the [Page 16] Wicked down from the top of the pinacle of their honour, Rev. 18.22. I allude to it, The voice of the Harper shall be heard no more in thee.

There is a River in America that runs in the day, but in the night it is dried up: so these pleasures that now run in the life-time in a full current at the night of death, shall all be dried up. Nor will the ungodly only lose their suggared things; but here is their misery, their Souls must be steeped in the flames of Hell, Mark 9.44. where the Worm dies not. Such a fire is kindled in Gods anger, that no tears can quench it, nor no time can finish it. We read that the Servant under the Law, if he had a hard Master, yet at the seven years end there was a Ju­bilee, a year of Release, when the Ser­vant might go off from him; but in Hell torments there is no year of Ju­bilee, Rev. 9.6. Men shall seek death, and shall not find it. If a spark of Gods anger falling into a mans Con­science, be so full of torture in [Page 17] this life; oh then how terrible will it be to have the fire of Gods wrath to lie in for ever! Thus you see death will be a sad change to the unrighte­ous: Therefore surely the very thoughts of death must needs be ter­rible to a wicked man.

Secondly, It will be a glorious change to all Righteous persons; they shall have their fetters of sin knockt off, and shall drink of the Rivers of pleasure: Oh blessed change! from a weary Pilgrimage, to a blessed Pa­radice; from Labour, to Eternal Rest. In short, death to a Child of God, it is a friend: Death it is a pale Horse to carry a Believer home to his Fa­thers house. Death gives a full pos­session of glory. There is a Freehold in Law, and there is a Freehold in Deed. A Believer now hath a Free­hold in Law, that is, he hath a Right to Heaven, but at death he hath a Freehold in Deed: He makes Entry of it, and takes Possession. Death pulls down this old Building, this House of [Page 18] Clay, and prepares for the Soul a bet­ter House, a House not made with hands; Oh blessed change to the Righteous! and this may be comfort in the death of Christian friends; whenever they are changed by death, they are sure to change for the better; they go instantly into a blessed Eter­nity.

Second Use is of Exhortation.

Does death make such a change, a certain change, a visible change, and sometimes a sudden change, and an unalterable change? Let us all labour to be fitted for this great change. It is a very sad thing, as Iob saith, to have the grave ready for us, and we not ready for the grave. When death surprizes the unprepared Soul, what a condition will he be in? he will say as those, Oh death! I pray thee let me be excused one day more, one hour more, to prepare my self; but death will neither be bribed nor courted. [Page 19] Iob cursed the day of his birth. Un­prepared Souls will curse the day of their death. Oh then be fitted for this last end! and for that purpose labour for a holy change: get grace into your Souls; death cannot hurt grace: Grace is Armour of proof; it can ne­ver be shot thorow. Grace, it is as needful for the Soul, as Oil is for the Lamp. Christians, get holy hearts; be as Christs Bride: get your selves ready; dress your selves every day by the Glass of Gods Word: see your spots in that Glass; and when you have seen them, wash them off by Re­penting tears. Adorn the hidden Man of your hearts with Love, Meek­ness, Holiness; and put on the Lord Jesus, which is your clothing of wrought Gold. By having this holy change wrought, you will be fitted for your last and great change.

To conclude all:

You that are prepared, live in a con­tinual expectation of this great change; [Page 20] so did Iob in the Text; I will wait till my change come.

First, Live in hope till this change come.

Secondly, Be patient till this change come.

First, Live in hope till this change come. This word in the Text, I will wait, in the Hebrew it is, I will hope till my change come. The Husbandman having sowed his seed, he hopes for a crop: Having sowed the seed of true Repentance, now hope for a full crop of glory at death.

Secondly and lastly, Be patient till this change come; I will wait, saith Iob; in the Greek it is, I will be pa­tient till my change come.

Indeed, the troubles that the Righ­teous suffer here, and that great pre­ferment they shall have in Heaven, may be ready to cause impatience to stay here any longer; but take heed of this; we must not be our own Carvers: God knows the best season when he will send for his Children [Page 21] home; therefore we must wait but a while, then we shall enjoy our wish, and that is, to have Christs sweet Imbraces, and to lie in the Bosom of Divine Love.

SERMON II.
This Sermon was Preached in the Pa­rish of St. Margaret Moses.

Psalm 23.4.‘Thy Rod, and thy Staff, they comfort me.’

THIS Psalm St. Bernard calls a noble and illustrious Psalm. The Jews did use to repeat this Psalm when they sate down to their meat. In it David sets forth two things: His Experience, and his Confidence: His Confidence, in the first and last verses: In the first verse; The Lord is my Shepherd, therefore I shall [Page 24] not want. In the last verse; Surely that goodness and mercy shall follow me, all the days of my life; here is David's Confidence: His Faith was risen up into a great degree of confidence. But that which I shall speak to is, of Da­vid's Experience, in the words that I have read; Thy Rod, and thy Staff, they comfort me.

What is here meant by Staff? a Staff is for support, whether it be the Staff one walks with, to support the body; or whether it be the Staff of Bread that supports the Life of Man. Staff is for support; so here in the Text; Thy Staff comforts me. By Staff is meant metaphorically, the Staff of Gods supportation; Thy Staff comforts me. Gods Providence it is a Wing to co­ver the Saints; it is a Breast to feed them; and it is a Staff to uphold them. In the most calamitous times, the Church of God hath the Staff of Gods Supportation; and this is the reason that the Church is preserved, in despite of all malice and opposition. [Page 25] This Bush burns, yet it is not con­sumed. Though the Lion roar, yet the Lambs of Christs fold are in safety. Though the Rulers take counsel a­gainst the Saints of the Most High, yet they are kept alive: Here is the reason, thy Staff doth comfort me. The Saints have always the Staff of Divine Protection: God secretly preserves them, and sets an invisible Guard a­bout them. We see the Staff that smites the Godly; but we do not see the Staff that upholds them. We see their danger, but we do not see their defence. God is their Staff of sup­port. Gods continual care of his Church, is as a Wall of Brass, against which the Gates of Hell shall never prevail. The Church of God hath God for her Guardian: The Enemies must first overcome God, before they can overcome his Church, saith Luther.

For the Use of this briefly.

This is no small comfort to Gods Church; she hath a Staff of support; God is her protection. The Saints of God [Page 26] they have malignant Enemies to con­flict with: The Powers of the Earth are against the godly. We read the Beast in the Revelations had on his head se­ven Horns and ten Crowns, Rev. 13.1. and this was given him to make War with the Saints. You see the People of God was then in an ill case; they had the Horns and the Crown against them: But the Saints, they have the Lion of the Tribe of Iuda on their sides; and Christ hath a Staff to pro­tect them, and Teeth to devour all his Enemies. So much briefly for that expression; for I only glance at it; Thy Staff doth comfort me; thy Staff of Supportation and glorious Providence, it is always with me; it doth comfort me. But that which I shall chiefly speak to, is the first of these in the Text; Thy Rod doth comfort me.

In the opening of this, the Que­tion is;

Quest. What is meant by Rod?

Answ. This word Rod, when it is ascribed unto God, it is taken three ways in Scripture.

[Page 27]First, For Gods destroying Rod.

Secondly, For Gods Pastoral Rod, as a Shepherd.

Thirdly, For his disabling Rod, or Rod of Affliction.

First, The Rod when it is ascribed unto God, which he uses towards his Enemies, Psal. 12.9. Thou shalt break them with a Rod of Iron: This Rod of God upon his Enemies doth comfort the godly, Psal. 58.10. The righteous shall rejoyce when they see the ven­geance; Gods destroying Rod upon sinners, it is matter of rejoycing and comfort unto the godly. We read of Deborah's song, her triumphant song, and the Jews Festival before the destru­ction of Haman, Esther 9.22. The Rod of God upon the wicked comforts the godly.

Quest. But some may say, How far may the godly be comforted in the destru­ction of wicked men? how far may they rejoyce?

Answ. The godly may be comforted in the destruction of wicked men, so [Page 28] far as now there is a stop put to their sins, and they cannot live any longer to dishonour God.

Secondly, Gods destroying Rod up­on the wicked, it is a matter of com­fort to the godly, as hereby Gods Justice is declared to all the world. Why did God smite Pharaoh? for his Pride and Tyranny. The Saints re­joyce and triumph to see Gods Justice executed upon his Enemies, Exod. 15. v. 1. They are comforted to see Gods Justice in punishing the wicked of the world.

Thirdly, It is comfort to the People of God to see a wicked man destroy­ed. Gods ruining of sinners is a warn­ing to others to make them fear sin; this is clear from Deut. 17.12, 13. That man that doth presumptuously, that man shall die, and all the people shall hear and fear, and do no more presumptuously. Gods Judgments upon wicked Persecutors, may make others afraid and tremble to go on in their sin. Thus far Gods destroying [Page 29] Rod is a comfort to the godly; they rejoyce to think that this may be a warning to sinners, and may be a means to reclaim many from their Im­pieties.

Fourthly and lastly, Gods destroy­ing Rod upon the wicked, it is com­fort to the godly upon this account, as Peace and Deliverance arises to the Church of God. When Pharaoh was destroyed, Israel had a Writ of Ease now granted them. Nay further, the destruction of the wicked, such as are desperate sinners, doth not only cause Liberty to arise in the Church of God, but it doth cause the growth of Reli­gion. A clear Instance; Herod being eaten up with Worms, the Text saith, presently the Word of God grew and mul­tiplied, Acts 12.23. Thus far Gods de­stroying Rod upon the wicked, flagi­tious sinners is a comfort to the godly; Thy Rod doth comfort me; thy Rod of Iron that doth break the prophane sinners of the world, that doth com­fort me.

[Page 30]Secondly, As there is Gods destroy­ing Rod which comforts the godly; so there is Gods Pastoral Rod; or his Shepherds Rod, which he uses towards his Sheep, conducting them to green Pastures, and still Waters: There is Gods Shepherds Rod, by which he leads his Elect Sheep to the green Pastures and still Waters. These green Pa­stures and still Waters, may be meant of the Ordinances: And that sweet comfort the People of God find in the use of Ordinances; why, this Rod of God, this Shepherds Rod, this Pastoral Rod, this Rod doth comfort the godly.

Thirdly and lastly, There is Gods disabling Rod, or his Rod of Affliction; this also is comfort to the People of God, 2 Sam. 7.14. I will chasten him with a Rod of mine. And in Micah 6.9. Hear ye the Rod, and who hath appointed it; and in this sense I understand this Text of Scripture, Thy Rod doth comfort me: So then the Observation is this,

[Page 31] Doct. That Gods Rod, his Afflicting Rod upon his People yields matter of comfort to us.

Thy Rod doth comfort me. This I confess to flesh and blood it seems a Paradox; it seems strange: What, that the Rod of Correction should give comfort! If David had said, Thy Pro­mises, Lord, they comfort me; or thy good Spirit, that doth comfort me, it had been no wonder; but that he should say, Thy Rod doth comfort me, how can this be? Is it usual for the Church to call pain comfort? how then doth David say, Thy Rod doth comfort me? Who can of such Thistles gather Figs? or of such Thorns gather Grapes? How can there be comfort from the Rod?

I shall shew you that there is much consolation gathered out of Corre­ction; Thy Rod doth comfort me. The Rod of God it is not like Moses's Rod when turned into a Serpent, but it is [Page 32] like Ionathan's Rod, which had Honey at the end of it. The Rod of God, it is like Aaron's Rod, which brought forth buds, and blossoms, and Almonds, Numb. 17.8.

Then the Question is this;

Quest. How doth this Afflicting Rod give comfort?

Answ. In six particulars.

First, Gods Afflicting Rod doth comfort us, as it gives us Instruction: where it doth teach, it doth comfort, Micah 7.14. Teach thy people with thy Rod. How doth the Rod teach? why it teaches with Instruction: so it teaches with Comfort. Luther saith, There were many Psalms in the Bible he never rightly understood till he was in Affliction. The Rod teaches to know God aright; and is not that matter of comfort? 2 Chron. 33.11. When Manasseh was afflicted, then he knew the Lord was God. And the Rod it teaches a man to know him­self; he sees that corruption working in his heart, that he never could [Page 33] discern before. The Eyes that Sin shuts, Affliction opens. The Rod gives Wisdom; it is a teaching Rod; and thus Gods Rod comforts. What though it makes us weaker, so it makes us wiser?

Secondly, Gods Afflicting Rod hath comfort in it, as it is a token of spe­cial favour he bears towards us, Rev. 13.19. We think God cannot favour us, unless he hath us in his Lap; yet he doth love and favour us, when he gives us the bitter Diet-drink of Af­fliction. Gods Rod, and Gods Love, they both stand together: Thus the Rod comforts, it brings us a token of Gods Love: It is no love in God to let men go on in sin, and never smite; this was no love. Is it any love to your Child, to let him take his course, and to let him run into the water and drown if he will? To be without the Rod of Gods Discipline, it is a sign of a Bastard Child, and a brand­mark of Reprobation, Heb. 12.8. If God will let any fall upon the Rock [Page 34] of Ruine, then he will suffer them to go on in sin, and not correct them, Hos. 4.14. I will not punish your Daugh­ters when they commit Whoredom. Take notice; God spares the Rod in anger. Gods hand is heaviest when it is lightest. God punisheth most when he doth not punish; but now God smites, that he may save his People; and is not that love? And the Love of God doth allay and take off the smarting power of the Rod, and gives the Soul comfort. Let me feel Gods hand, so I may have his heart.

Thirdly, Gods Rod comforts, as it makes way for comfort. Physick, tho' bitter, yet it hath comfort in it, as it makes way for health. The Rod, it is to make way for comfort. The Rod of God, it is to beat out the dust, and make us purer. If a Fuller dip his Cloth in Water, it is to whiten the Cloth. The Water of Afflictions are to lay Gods People a whitening, Dan. 12.10. Many shall be tryed and made white.

[Page 35]Nay farther, Gods Rod upon his Children doth not only make way for comfort; but, which is more, this Rod distils comfort into the Soul. Even as the Fire causes sweet Water to drop from the Still: So out of Affliction, God stills the sweet Water of Conso­lation. A clear Instance for this, 2 Cor. 1.4. Who comforteth us in all our tribu­lations. Here is the Rod of God com­forting. When the Saints Tryals have been sharpest, their Comforts have been sweetest. Behold here Honey at the end of the Rod, Iohn 16.22. Your sorrows shall be turned into joy. Here is the Saints Water turned into Wine. That holy Martyr that was in Prison, dated his Letter thus; From the plea­sant Garden of the Lion Prison. God doth Candy his Wormwood with Su­gar. The Saints never tasted so much of Gods compassion, as in their deepest Affliction; and in this sense David might truly say, Thy Rod doth comfort me. So saith the Apostle, God comfort­eth us in all our tribulations.

[Page 36]Fourthly, Gods Afflicting Rod hath comfort in it, as it brings this good news to the Soul, That this is the worst that ever shall befal him. The Lord comes with a murdering Ax, to hew down wicked men; but he hath only a rattling Rod to his Chil­dren: This is all the Hell that ever they shall feel; is not this comfort? 1 Cor. 11.32. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Is not this comfort to know that this is the worst that we shall have? God lays upon us a light Affliction, and saves us from wrath to come: Here is the Rod full of comfort. What is a drop of sorrow that the godly taste, to the bottomless Sea of wrath the damned do endure for ever?

Fifthly, Yet farther; The Rod, it is full of comfort, as it makes us hap­py; and for this consult that Scripture, Iob 5.17. Behold, happy is that man whom God correcteth.

Among the Philosophers, some place [Page 37] their happiness in Riches, some in Wis­dom, some in Pleasures, and the like; but, who ever placed happiness in Af­fliction?

The Worldlings cry, If this be hap­piness, the Lord deliver them from it. But Iob saith this, Happy is that man whom God correcteth: How is he hap­py? he is happy who is made better by Affliction. The Cross, though it makes the outward condition worse, yet it makes the heart better.

Again, he is happy who hath God to visit him. Don't we account him a happy person, who hath a King to visit him? but much more to have a God to visit him? Persecution, it is a Rod, yea, but for all that, it is a bles­sed Rod; it is a healing Rod. A Rod, though it smarts, yet it saves the Soul. Well then may a Christian say, Lord, thy Rod comforts me; this makes me happy. Happy is that man whom God corrects.

Sixthly and lastly, Gods Rod hath comfort in it, as it is a means to bring [Page 38] us to glory. Gods Rod whips us to Heaven, 2 Cor. 4.17. These light af­flictions, which are but for a moment, work for us a far more exceeding and eter­nal weight of glory. Affliction is like throwing a Bag of Money at another; it may bruise him, but it doth enrich him: so Affliction, it may bruise us, but it doth enrich us; and this works for us a far more exceeding and eter­nal weight of glory.

In short, the black Rod prepares for the white Rod. Oh Christian! thou who art now humbled by some sharp Affliction, shalt shortly wear a Garland made of the Flowers of Paradice: Thou shalt have thy Soul set thicker with the Jewels of Heaven, than the Firma­ment is with Stars.

Thus you see this Truth is verified, Thy Rod doth comfort me.

Application.

First, Here are several Inferences; to name four.

[Page 39]First, See then from hence the dif­ference betwixt the wicked and the godly: God makes the worst things tend to the consolation of the godly; and the best things tend to the con­demnation of the wicked. Let the People of God meet with Affliction, it is for the better. Gods Rod comforts. Let the wicked have prosperity, it is for the worse. Cordials themselves kill them. To the godly, evil things have good in them. To the wicked, good things have hurt in them; this is clear Scripture; Their Table is a snare; I say, the wickeds Table is a snare, Psal. 69.22. Wicked men have mercy out of Gods hand, as Israel had Quails; they were sawced with the wrath of God, Eccles. 5.13. A clear Scripture: I have seen an evil under the Sun, Riches kept for owners to their hurt. Like Ha­mans Banquet, which was a Prologue to his Execution. To wicked men even spiritual mercies are turned into Judgments. The Word preached is a savour of death to the wicked, 2 Cor. [Page 40] c. 2. v. 16. Nay farther, Jesus Christ himself is a Rock of Offence to the wicked, 1 Pet. 2.7. Christ is as well for the falling, as the rising of many in Israel, Luke 2.34. In short, Sin­ners stumble at a Saviour, and pluck Death from the Tree of Life. As for the godly, Gods Rod comforts them: As for the wicked, Gods very Mercy ruins them.

Secondly, See then from hence, that Religion is not to be looked on as a melancholy thing. Some persons dis­courage Religion, and draw it with a sour countenance, and in a frightful dress; but we see the worst of Reli­gion hath much comfort in it; the ve­ry Rod of God comforts the godly. See that Scripture, Iames 1.2. Account it, my Brethren, all joy, when you fall into divers temptations; that is, Afflictions they are called temptations, because they are for Tryal: Account it all joy; joy, and all joy. Take the sourest part of Religion [...] is sourest to the Soul, Repentance▪ and that which is sour [Page 41] to the Body, Affliction; and there is comfort in both.

First, That which is sour to the Soul, Repentance; there is comfort in that: For whom is the Oyl of Joy prepared, but for Gods mourners? Isa. 61.3. A gracious Soul is never more enlarged and comforted, than when he can melt kindly for sin. Christ Jesus made the best Wine of Water. The best Wine of Joy is made of the Water of true Repentance. The Hebrew word to repent, signifies, to take comfort. None have such ground of comfort as a true Penitent: When God makes him weep for sin, he goes away weep­ing for joy. Thus you see the sourest part of Religion hath comfort in it.

Secondly, Take that which is sour to the Body, Affliction; and it hath comfort in it. A parallel Scripture for this worth observing, 2 Cor. 6.10. As sorrowful, yet always rejoycing: There is comfort in the Rod. A Christian is like a Bird that can sing in the Winter sea­son: He can pick comfort out of the [Page 42] Rod, and with Sampson, fetch Honey out of the Lion. 1 Thes. 1.6. Having received the Word with much Affli­ction, with Joy; here is Gods Rod comforting that Christian which knows Affliction tends to the bettering him, making his Grace purer, and his Crown brighter: He can rejoyce in Affliction, and say as David, Oh Lord, thy Rod comforts me. Thus you see Religion is no unchearful thing.

Thirdly, A third Inference is this: If Gods Rod comforts, then it shews us what good reason we have to chuse Affliction rather than Sin. There is something in Affliction to comfort us; but there is nothing in Sin to comfort us. Sin it is evil, and nothing but evil: It is the spirit of Witchcraft; it defiles the mind, disturbs the peace; it puts a worm into Conscience, a sting into death, and a fire into Hell. This is in Scripture called the abominable thing, Ier. 44.4. Do not this abominable thing which I hate. Sin binds the Soul over unto Gods wrath for ever. Oh then, [Page 43] what wisdom is it to chuse Affliction rather than Sin! A Christian can say, there is comfort in the Rod; but he cannot say, there is comfort in Sin. Sin puts the Soul into an Agony, and makes it in the very suburbs of Hell. Moses chose Affliction rather than Sin for a season, Heb. 11.25.

Fourthly and lastly, If Gods Rod comforts, then what doth Gods Love do? If there be any comfort, as you have heard, whilst God is afflicting us; what comfort is there while he is embracing us? If there be any comfort in the Valley of Tears; what is there then in Paradice? There is the Bed of Spices, and the River of Pleasures. If God can make a Prison sweet; what then is Heaven? If afflicting mercy be so great; what is crowning mercy? Did God make one of the Martyrs flames a Bed of Roses; why then, how sweet is it to lie in Christs bosom, the Bed of Perfume?

The second Use is of Exhortation.

Use 2.

If Gods Rod hath so much comfort in it to the godly; then be not too much dejected and cast down in Affli­ction. If you meet with losses; if you meet with Pyrats at Sea, and Hornets at Land, you see God can turn all these to good; Thy Rod comforts me. Therefore be not too much cast down. Tho' we are not to pray for Affliction, for it is in it self penal; neither must we despond under Affliction. Oh, saith one, if God did love me, he would not have dealt thus severely with me; he hath bereaved me of such and such a dear com­fort, which is like plucking a Limb from the body. But Christian consider, that which thou callest a dear comfort that God hath taken away, perhaps it was an Idol; it may be thou lovedst it more than thou didst God; and if thou hadst not lost this comfort, thou mightest have lost thy Soul and Heaven too; why then, hath God in taking away [Page 45] this comfort done thee any wrong? there is mercy in all this: Maist not thou say at last, Thy Rod comforts me?

The third Use of Tryal.

Use 3.

Let us examine whether we have had any Honey out of the Lion, any comfort out of Affliction. Hath the Rod of God upon us blossomed and brought forth Almonds? It's certain we have met with Affliction in one kind or other; but what benefit have we got by Affliction? what advantage for our Souls? Can we say indeed as David, Lord, thy Rod comforts me? Can we say, We have met with such and such a sore Tryal, and it hath brought us nearer to God, and weaned us from the world? it hath conquered our Pride, and tamed our Covetousness? When Gods Rod upon us fetches Wa­ter of tears, and makes us weep bitter­ly for our sin, then it is a good Rod.

In short; If Gods Rod hath made [Page 46] us better, it hath made us Reform, and break off iniquity; when we can say with Ephraim, Hosea 14.8. What have I to do with Idols?

To conclude all; Let it be our daily prayer to God that we may find some comfort in Affliction, some Honey mingled with our Gall. David speaks of comfort in Affliction, Psal. 119.50. This is my comfort in Affliction. Affliction it is not joyous, but grievous: Oh but when the Lord doth bless and sanctifie it to us, now it brings comfort with it. Let us pray that we may hear the voice of the Rod, and kiss the Rod, and bless the hand that holds it. Let's pray unto God that we may see his hand in every Affliction, and where­fore God contends with us, that we may turn to him that smites, and say as David doth here in the Text, Oh Lord, thy Rod and thy Staff they comfort me.

SERMON III.

John 16 33.‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace: In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’

THESE words were spoken by our blessed Saviour not long before his suffering. The Chapters foregoing are full of spiritual sweetness: This blessed Sun of Righ­teousness did it seems shine more glo­rious and bright a little before his setting. Our Saviour Christ, he was now about to leave the world, and go [Page 48] to his Father; and therefore having endeavoured to comfort the hearts of his Apostles and Disciples, he knew they would be sorrowful; therefore the more he endeavours to comfort them; and this is the great Cordial he gives them before his death: These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. Christ foretold that Sufferings would befal his A­postles and Disciples: In the world, saith he, ye shall have tribulation: the Greek word for tribulation, it is a metaphor that alludes to Grapes that are squeezed in the Wine press till the blood of the Grapes comes out: So saith Christ, In the world ye shall have tribulation: You shall be put into the Wine-press, and perhaps the blood of the Grape may be prest out. Tribula­tion it is the Saints Diet-drink; it is bitter, but it is wholesom▪ All that God doth in afflicting his Children, it is but to make them better, and to try them, and make them white, Dan. 10. v. 12. Is it not far better to swim tho­row [Page 49] the main River, the Red Sea of Affliction to Heaven, than to swim thorow the perfumed Joys and Plea­sures to Hell and Damnation. In the world, saith Christ, you must look for, ye shall have tribulation: But Christ ha­ving told of this bitter Pill, he gives them some Sugar of comfort to sweeten it, and make it go down the better. In these words of the Text; These things I have told you, that in me ye might have peace.

First, Here is the dark side of the Cloud, tribulation.

Secondly, The bright side of the Cloud, that in me ye might have peace.

Doct. That the Lord Iesus Christ, who is our Peace-maker, gives his sweet peace to all his people; that in me ye might have peace.

That peace meant here in the Text, it is spiritual and sacred; it is the im­mediate fruit and product of our Ju­stification, Rom. 5.1. Being justified by [Page 50] faith, we have peace with God. This spi­ritual peace the Lord Jesus procures by his Blood, conveys by his Spirit, maintains by his Intercession.

First, This peace Christ doth pur­chase and procure by his Blood; it swims to us in the Blood of Christ▪ the Justice of God being wronged by us, Jesus Christ laid down his life as a price: that he paid for our peace: it is his blood that doth cement us and reconcile us to God the Father, as it is in Col. 1.20. Having made peace tho­row the Blood of Iesus.

Secondly, Christ conveys this bles­sed peace by his Spirit; he doth pro­cure it by his Merit; and he doth convey it by his Spirit, Iohn 16.7. The Lord Jesus left this peace to us as a Legacy: And the Spirit it is Christs Executor, to see that his Will be made good; and that we should have [...]his peace: And now God being at peace with us thorow Christ, Con­science that's at peace too. If the Hea­vens be quiet and serene, and no tem­pest [Page 51] there, nor wind blowing, then the Sea is calm. So if the great God be but at peace with us, and there is no tempest in his face, then Conscience that is quiet, and all is calm.

Thirdly, As Christ doth procure this blessed peace by his Blood, and doth convey it by his Spirit: So third­ly, He doth maintain this peace by his daily Intercession. What Saint alive doth not sometimes offend God, and cause the fury of his anger to rise up in his face! Now when the case is thus, that we offend God, and are ready to break his peace; then Jesus Christ he stands up as an Intercessor, and he speaks to God the Father on our behalf; and it is his request that God would lay aside his anger, and that he would smile upon his people again; and therefore in Scripture Christ is called our Atonement to make peace; and he is called our Ad­vocate to purchase peace. When we break our peace, Christ he pleads our cause, and makes up this peace [Page 52] again by his Intercession, 1 Iohn c. 3. v. 7.

To make some Application of this▪

Use 1.

First, By way of Inference; See then here to what Coast we must trade for this Pearl; whither we must go for this spiritual peace that is our consolation in life and death: Go to Christ for it; That in me ye might have peace.

Saith Cyprian, peace it is in Christ, as sap is in the Root of the Vine, as water is in the Spring; That in me [...] ye might have peace, saith Christ. This blessed peace that Christ gives, it's worth going to him for; it is supe­riour to all other peace. Peace in a Kingdom, it is very desirable; peace it is every ones Vote. Peace, it is the very quintessence of earthly blessings: To sit quietly under our Vines and Figg-trees, surely better, a great deal better is the sounding of the Lute and Viol, [Page 53] than the roaring of the Cannon. See what a sweet promise God makes, Isa. 2.4. He will break their Swords into Plowshares: all shall be peace. But what is this peace to the peace Christ gives to his People that is sacred? This peace our Saviour gives, it hath these two properties, or these two qualifications, to name no more.

First, It is an Emboldening peace.

Secondly, It is a Lasting peace.

First, It is an Emboldening peace. Friends that are at peace, they use a kind of freedom and boldness one with another: So we having peace thorow Christs Blood conveyed by his Spirit, may be bold to make use of Gods Promises. There is never a Promise in the Bible, but a Believer may pluck a Leaf from, and be at peace with God thorow Christ. We may now use a holy boldness in prayer. We may come to God as Children to their Fa­ther, Heb. 4.16. Let us come with boldness to the Throne of Grace. God is our Father, and he being at peace [Page 54] with us, he will not deny any thing that may conduce to our real good. This may make us come with boldness to the mercy Seat: That's the first: It is an Emboldening peace.

Secondly, Christs peace that he gives, as it is an Emboldening peace; so it is a Lasting peace: Here is a peace that will hold. For all Earthly peace, to speak properly, it is rather a truce than a peace; a truce, that is but for a small time, and it ends: Yea but this peace that Christ gives, it is for ever. Once in Christ, and ever in Christ. Once justified, and ever ju­stified: Here is a Lasting peace, Isa. 54.10. The Covenant of my peace shall not be moved, saith the Lord. The peace of a Believer, it is but begun here in this life; it is perfected in the King­dom of Heaven, Isa. 57.2. He shall enter into peace: Here is a godly mans priviledge; when he dies, he dies in peace; and as soon as ever he is dead, he enters into peace; he shall en­ter into peace; that is, he shall go [Page 55] to the Ierusalem above, that City of peace. Here the Saints peace it is but begun; it is but in the seed, there it shall be in the Flower. Here it is but in its infancy, there it shall be in its full growth. That's the first; see to what Coast you must trade for this peace: Go to Christ for it; That in me ye might have peace.

Use 2.

See what a sad condition all wicked men are in, that live and die in their sins: They have nothing to do with peace. What! Shall they have peace that make War with Heaven, perse­cute Christ in his Members? Shall they have peace that deride and grieve the Spirit of God, whose very Office it is to drop peace into the Consci­ence? What, a sinner to have peace! 2 Kings 9.22. What peace, so long as the Whoredoms of thy Mother Jezabel and her Witchcrafts are so many! A wicked man is a worker of iniquity: As a man works at his shop; so he [Page 56] works at the trade of sin; and what hath he to do with peace? and how deplorable is his case! What if a Fo­reign. Enemy should come; sinners would be in a storm, and have no where to put in for Harbour. It is a very sad thing to be in Sauls condition; the Philistines upon him, and God depart­ed. It is a very sad thing to have fight­ings without, and fears within; to have the Bullets shooting against the Ship, and the Ship leaking within? Isa. 57.21. There is no peace to the wicked, saith my God: And if God saith it, he knows it to be true. The wicked perhaps they may delude them­selves, and presume, that though they go on in sin, yet they shall have peace; but to undeceive them, turn to that one Scripture, Deut. 29.19. And it come to pass when he heareth the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart. Verse 20. The Lord will not spare him; but then the anger of the Lord and his [Page 57] Iealousie shall smoke against that man. One may as well think to suck health out of Poison, as to suck peace out of Sin. Sinners they may be quiet, or rather secure for the present; but as 2 Sam. 26. it will be bitterness in the latter end. Guilt will sooner or later raise a storm, saith Chrysostom. Sin will conjure up the Winds and Storms into the Conscience. I have sometimes thought it is with sin, as it is with poison; there are some sorts of poison that will lie a great while in the bo­dy and not work; but at last it does wring and torture the bowels; a fit resemblance of sin. Men, they drink this poison, and they may be quiet a while; but at last, especially at death, then it begins to work, and then the poison begins to touch the Conscience. The great God of Heaven and Earth hath set up his Standard, and pro­claimed open War against every impe­nitent sinner, and it will not be long, if men go on in sin, before Gods Can­non Bullets will begin to flie. Gods [Page 58] wrath may seem to be like a sleeping Lion; but this Lion will awake, and roar, and tear his prey. I will say but this, I confess God may bear long with wicked men, let them alone; he may bear long with them in respect of punishment, when he doth not re­mit the sin; but it will be sad with the sinner at last, a sad hour at death; the Body and Soul must part; and Christ and the Soul must part. There is no peace to the wicked, saith my God. Can they have peace that strike against the Crown and Dignity of Heaven, and make War with Christ, and God, and Heaven?

A second Use is of Tryal.

Use 2.

Let us then search and examine; Have we this secret and sweet peace in our Souls flowing from the Lord Jesus? You may know it these three ways; and they are three sure Notes that will never fail.

[Page 59]First, Such as have Christs peace in their Souls, they are ingrafted into Christ; they are one with Christ. Mark the words of the Text; In me peace. First, we must be in Christ, before we can have peace from Christ; in me: Then peace▪ The Graft or Scien must first be inoculated into the Tree before it receives sap and influence from the Tree. We must by faith be inoculated into Christ, before we can receive of his fulness. The wicked they may presume to have peace, and that they shall have peace; and yet they are not acquainted with Christ. Do they think ever to have an Interest in Christs peace, that have no Interest in Christs person? it cannot be. A Christless Soul hath no more to do to lay claim to Christs peace, than a Wo­man hath to do to lay claim to a Mans Estate that was never married to him. In me, saith Christ: First in Christ, and then you shall have peace from Christ, sacred peace; it is a Legacy that Christ bequeaths: he gives this Legacy not [Page 60] to strangers, but to his friends; such as are united to him. First the Pipe must be laid to the Spring before it receives Water from the Spring: so we must first by faith be united to Christ, laid to this Spring by faith, be­fore we can receive the sweet influ­ences of peace from him. That's the first.

Secondly, Where ever Christ gives peace to any Soul▪ there he always sets up his governing Scepter to bear sway in that Soul. A pregnant Scripture for this, Isa. 9.7. Of his Government and Peace shall be no end. First, there must be Christs Government set up in the Soul, before there is peace. When­ever the Lord Jesus comes with an Olive branch of peace in his mouth, he always comes with a Scepter in his hand. A parallel Scripture for this, Zech. 6.13. It is a promise of Christ; He shall Sit and Rule, and he shall be a Priest upon the Throne. Observe, Christ as a Priest, he makes peace, but he will be a Priest upon the Throne; [Page 61] that is, he will bring the heart, where he gives peace, into a full subjection to his Laws; he will be a Priest upon his Throne.

Now let us examine; Have we gi­ven subjection to Christ Jesus? do we submit to his blessed Laws? does Christ Sit and Rule in our hearts as a Priest upon his Throne? then all is well. There are many people would have Christ to speak peace to them, but they will not suffer him to bear Rule: they would have his Olive branch, but they will not endure his Scepter.

Thirdly, If Christ hath given us this blessed peace; then we shall know it thus; then he hath made us to be of a meek, quiet and peaceable disposition. Where ever Christ doth give his peace, he makes the heart to be peaceable, Isa. 11.6. The Wolf shall dwell with the Lamb; the Leopard shall lie down with the Kid; that is, after grace is brought into a mans heart, and Christ hath gi­ven him peace, this man becomes [Page 62] of a peaceable and quiet disposition▪ Now, the Wolf shall dwell with the Lamb; the fierceness of the Wolf shall be turned into the meekness of the Lamb. It was a saying of Bernard, that good man; he was a man of a peace­able spirit; and at any time when some fell out with him, saith he▪ I will be at peace with you, though you go on in trouble. Such turbulent spirits that are troublers of the common peace, they are like the Salamander, that lives in the fire of Broyls and of Conten­tion; and they love to live in this fire. Surely, where Christ gives this peace, it makes men of a peaceable spirit; it turns the Brier into a Mirtle Tree. So by this we may know whether Christ hath given us this peace or no.

Third Vse is Hereditary.

And here I will turn my self to such as are acquainted with Christ, and this blessed Peace.

First, Have you this blessed peace [Page 63] from Christ? then be not over-much troubled about the afflictions and in­cumbrances that are incident to this present life. It is true, our lives, they are full of vicissitudes and troubles: it will be so. He that doth not expect some trouble, must go out of the world. Fear and grief are the two constant companions of Mans Life. You may as well separate weight from Lead, or moistness from the Air, as trouble from the Life of Man. Doth not the Text say, In the world you shall have tribulation? But here is that which may sweeten the troubles of Gods People; Christ gives peace: Here is an Antidote against your fears and troubles; and none like a Scripture Antidote; That in me, saith Christ, ye might have peace. This is a glorious peace indeed; it is a peace that will hold out in a Storm and Tempest; it turns a Prison into a Paradice; it turns our Mourning into Musick; it turns our Sighs into Songs and Triumphs. As that holy man dated his Letter [Page 64] thus; Written from the pleasant Garden of the Lion Prison. David he had Christ prepared▪ and therefore let the times be never so stormy, he would lie down in peace, Psal. 4.8. I will lay me down in peace. It was a very tempestuous time: David was flying from his Son Absolom: Now, saith David, I will lay me down in peace: I will take a nap, and sleep sweetly upon this good Pil­low of Conscience: I will sleep in peace. David, he was in danger of losing two Jewels at once; but there is a third Jewel he could not lose, and that was a good Conscience. I read of one that had a precious Stone, and it was of that brightness, that it made it be like the Ark when it was tossing upon the Water. Let me allude to it: If Jesus Christ hath given us this peace; this will give light to the Soul when the Clouds do gather, and thou art tossing upon the Waters of Affliction.

Secondly, If Christ hath given thee a well grounded peace; oh! be thank­ful for this great gift: No Rhetorick, [Page 65] no Tongue of Angels can set it forth in all its glory. Peace of Soul, it makes a harmony in a Christian: Though there be never so many discourage­ments in the world; yet he enjoys a harmony in his own Soul. This in­ward peace, it is the best still Musick: That you may be thankful for this peace, consider how sad it is to want this peace, because this is the contrary of it.

I argue thus;

If the Devil, and horrour of Con­science, be so dreadful; then certainly inward peace of Conscience flowing from Christ must needs be very sweet: to have Conscience vex and trouble, it is, as it's well called, a sharp fury. Spira, he had that inward horrour of Soul, when he had sinned; that he died with the fear and terrour of Hell in his Soul; he thought Judgment less than that. Now if the sting of Con­science be so bitter; then the peace of Conscience must needs be sweet. Hath God set thy Soul, which was [Page 66] once like a troublesom Sea, now to be calm and peaceable? Oh! then sound thy Harp and Viol: Admire this God; sing forth praises and acclamations un­to Christ this blessed Prince of Peace.

Lastly, If Christ hath spoken peace; if he hath dropt this blessed peace in­to your Souls; then let me beseech you, that you would be careful not to lose this Jewel. Labour to preserve this peace in your Souls: preserve your peace, as you would preserve your lives. And to that end,

First, If you would preserve your peace; take heed of Relapses; they are dangerous. Do not tamper any more with sin. Dare not to feed sin in a corner. Sin is the peace-breaker, Psal. 85.8. The Lord will speak peace to his people: But what follows? but let them not return again to folly: Let not them return again to their sins any more. There is a great deal of folly in our relapsing from a strict and holy life.

Secondly, Would you preserve this Jewel in your bosoms; this blessed [Page 67] peace; then make up your Accounts with God daily. Often reckoning keeps God and Conscience friends, Psal. 4.4. Commune with your own hearts; that is, call your selves▪ to an account, and make up your account; make them even; see how things stand betwixt God and your Souls: observe your Affections whether they are lively: examine your Evidences, and see if there be no decay in your graces; no loss of first love. Oh! keep the Reckoning even betwixt God and you; that's the way to keep your peace.

Thirdly, Walk closely with God every day: Live as under the conti­nual Inspection of Gods Omniscient Eye: Live holily: Peace and purity they go together: The way to pre­serve our peace, it is to preserve our Integrity. Oh! keep your constant hours every day with God: Turn your Closets into Temples: Search the Scriptures: The two Testaments are the two Lips by which God hath [Page 68] spoken to us. Love the Word: Love Prayer: Love the Sabbath, Psal. 119. v. 165. Great peace have they that love thy Law. Thus you may sweetly en­joy your selves; and this Jewel of peace will be preserved in your bo­soms.

SERMON IV.

Psalm 2.12.‘Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.’

HOly David, in the beginning of this Psalm, shews us how all the powers and gallantry of the world do rage and confederate against the Lord and his anointed, that is, Christ, verse 2. Rulers take counsel against the Lord and his Anointed. That power which he did put into their hands, they do imploy against him; but their attempt is in vain. In the first verse; [Page 70] The people imagine a vain thing; as if the holy Psalmist had said, The Lord will have a Church in spite of Earth and Hell, Matth. 16.18. The Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it; that is, neither the Power of Hell, nor the Policy of Hell shall prevail against his Church: Neither the Serpents sub­tilty, nor yet the Dragons fierceness shall prevail against it. We read that the Ship in the Gospel was tossed on the Waves; but was not overwhelm­ed: The Ship was tossed, because sin was in it; but not overwhelmed, be­cause Christ was in it. Christ is in the Ship of his Church; and the more opposition is made against the Church of God, the more it encreases: It grows by opposition, Exod. 1.12. The more they were afflicted, the more they multiplied, (saith Chrysostom.) It is just like the Torch, the more 'tis beaten, the more it flames. Religion is that Phoenix, that is always flourishing in the Ashes of Martyrs: Therefore let the great ones conspire and take coun­sel [Page 71] against the Lord and his Christ, they do imagine a vain thing.

In the 4th verse we read, that when the wicked sit plotting, God he smiles at them: He that sits in the Heavens shall laugh at them. God laughs to see mens folly, to see poor weak Clay go to take head, and to strive with the Potter. But let the wicked remem­ber, that God is never more angry with them, than when he laughs. He will speak to 'em in a fair Language, as you may read in verse 5. After his laughing, then he shall speak to them in his wrath: And what doth he say? verse 6. Yet have I set my King upon my holy Hill of Zion. In spite of all the powers of darkness, Jesus Christ shall have a Throne to sit upon among his People: And the Crown shall flourish upon his head. I have set my King; that is, I have anointed Christ to be King, and poured on him the Oint­ment of grace and gladness. I will have my Son to reign, and such as will not bow to his golden Scepter▪ [Page 72] shall be broken with his Iron Rod, verse 9.

Then after this the Psalmist makes the Inference. Before he had been making the Doctrine to Kings and great ones of the world, and now he makes the Use, in verse 10. Be wise now therefore, O ye Kings! Be instructed, ye Iudges of the Earth: Serve the Lord with fear: As if he had said; Come at last to your wits; don't stand out any longer in contest with God and his Son Jesus Christ; but rather bow to him; throw your Crowns at his feet; make your peace with him: Serve the Lord with fear; so the Text ushers in: And it is a part of the good counsel the Holy Ghost gives; Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye pe­rish from the way.

Kissing of the Son, it denotes two things.

First, Adoration: It was an antient custom to kiss the Son when they ad­mired, Iob 31.27. So Ierom and others read the word; Admire the Son. Ado­ration, [Page 73] it is a Crown Jewel, proper to Christ, and to his Crown. Admire the Son; that's the first.

Secondly, Kissing the Son, it de­notes subjection. So we find 1 Sam. 10.1. Samuel kissed Saul when he anointed him King: He kissed him in token of homage and subjection to him. So that's the meaning of the Text; Kiss the Son, that is, admire him. The Text falls into these two parts.

First, Here's a duty; Kiss the Son.

Secondly, The reason of it, and that is very cogent; lest he be angry.

So here are two Propositions do re­sult from the words. I shall only speak to the first, and draw in the other in the Application.

Doct. 1. Iesus Christ is the Son of God.

Doct. 2. It is a great point of pru­dence, highly to value and love; to kiss and admire this blessed Son of God.

[Page 74]First, Iesus Christ is the Son of God; Kiss the Son; he is the Son of God, not by creation, as the Angels are said to be his Sons; but he is his Son by eternal generation, Heb. 1.3. Who be­ing the brightness of his glory, and the express Image of his person. Observe, Jesus Christ is the Son of God; for he is the brightness of his Fathers glo­ry. You know that the brightness that is [...]ues from the Sun, is of the same nature with the Sun in the Firma­ment. So Jesus Christ he is the bright­ness of his Father; he is of the same nature with his Father, as the Beams, they are of the same nature with the Sun: Therefore Christ speaks thus, Iohn 14.9. He that hath seen me, hath seen my Father. Again observe, Christ he is called the brightness of his Fathers glory. The glory of the Sun in the Firmament, it lies in the brightness of it. So the incomparable glory of the Father doth most shine in Jesus Christ; he is the brightness of his Fa­thers glory: And this is enough to [Page 75] demonstrate to us, that Christ is the very Son of God. And as Christ is the Son of God; so he is a Royal Son; he is a Son, as he is a King: I have set my King upon my holy Hill of Zion, Psal. 2. Jesus Christ he is said in Scripture to be the Prince of the Kings of the Earth, Rev. 1.5. All Kings they hold their Crowns by immediate Tenour from Jesus Christ, Prov. 8.15. By me Princes reign. So that Christ he is a Royal Son: he is so a Son, that he is a King. Indeed he hath the Titles given to him of a King.

1. He is called high and mighty, Isa. 9.6. the mighty God.

2. As he is a King, he hath his En­signs of Royalty, he hath his Sword, Psal. 49.3. He hath his Scepter in his hand, Heb. 1.8.

3. Again, Christ as he is King, he hath his Prerogative Royal. As for instance; he hath power to make Laws: he hath power to pardon of­fenders, which are Jewels belonging to the Crowns of Princes.

[Page 76]4. Again, he hath his Subjects, and they are the most noble and excellent Subjects in the world, in a threefold respect.

First, All Christs Subjects are made free, Iohn 18.36. His Subjects▪ do fear him from an ingenuous principle of Love; they do not serve Christ out of constraint, but out of choice: they are of a free, noble spirit.

Secondly, Christs Subjects they have the spirit of the Living God in them: they have the in-dwelling of the Holy Ghost, 2 Tim. 1.14.

Thirdly, All Christs Subjects, they are of the Blood Royal of Heaven; they are Kings, Rev. 1.8. Thus you see, Christ he is a Son, and he is a King; he hath his Subjects.

5. Again, Christ as King, he hath his dominions: There are some Prin­ces have titles, but they have not do­minions: But Christ hath dominions as well as titles of honour: He hath Lands belonging to his Crown. Christs dominions are famous for three things.

[Page 77]First, They are large dominions: God hath given him as King the ut­termost parts of the Earth for his pos­session: His Kingdom reaches all over the world.

Secondly, Christs dominion is fa­mous for its spirituality. The Lord Jesus sets up his Throne and King­dom where no other King can: He rules the hearts of men; he gives Laws in their Consciences; he binds their Souls by his Laws: Here's the spiritua­lity of his Kingdom.

Thirdly, Here is the eternity of his Kingdom or Dominion: Thy Throne, O God! is for ever and ever, Heb. 1.8. What King can say so? It's true, he hath many Heirs; (for all Believers they are his Heirs) yet he hath no Suc­cessors. Earthly Crowns fade away, tumble in the dirt, and those that wear them. Doth the Crown endure to all generations? No; there is a worm that feeds in this gold. But Christs Throne, it endures for ever. As the Lord Jesus hath the largest possessions, [Page 78] (for so he hath) and they shall endure for ever and ever.

And thus much for the Doctrinal part. Jesus Christ he is the Son of God; the brightness of his glory. And he is a Royal Son; he is so a Son, as he is a King.

Now to make some Application.

Use 1.

First, By way of Inference. Is Je­sus Christ the Son of God? a King full of glory and majesty? then it informs us thus much; That all matters of fact must be brought before this Son of God. It is the Son of God, his Royal Son, by whom all Princes reign. Learn from hence, That all matter of fact must be brought before this Son. Christ he hath the power of life and death in his hand, Iohn 5.22. Observe, The Father hath committed all Iudgment, all Government, to the Son. That bles­sed Lord Jesus that once had a Reed put into his hand, by way of scorn [Page 79] and contempt; he shall shortly have a Royal Scepter put into his hand as some great King. That Jesus who once hung upon the Cross, he shall shortly sit as Judge upon the Bench. God hath committed all Judgment to the Son. The whole world must short­ly come before the Son. That's the last and great Assize, from whence there's no Appeal. This blessed Son of God is fitly qualified to be the Judge of the world, in respect of these two things.

First, Jesus Christ hath wisdom to understand all Causes; he is the Son of God; he is God; therefore will search to the bottom of all Causes; therefore he is described with seven Eyes, to denote his Omnisciency to judge of things. Jesus Christ he weighs the spirits of men as it were in a bal­lance, Iob 16.2. He is said to weigh the spirit. Christ doth not only judge matter of fact, but he judges of mens hearts. Many mens actions may seem in this world to be good, but their hearts are not good, 2 Chron. 25.2. [Page 80] Now Christ, this great Judge, he hath this Touchstone to try the heart.

Secondly, Jesus Christ he hath not only wisdom; but hath strength too, whereby he is able to be revenged up­on all his Enemies: Therefore in Scripture it is remarkable, that Christs seven Eyes, they are said to be upon one Stone. Seven Eyes upon one Stone, to denote the infinite strength of Christ; the power and mighty strength of Christ. As Christ hath his ballance; so he hath his sword to cut off offen­ders: He can easily strike through the Loins of his Enemies, Psal. 110. Thus the Son of God, this Royal Son, he is to be Judge, and all Causes, and all Matters will be brought before his Judgment Seat. Christs Court is the highest Court of Judicature: if men are once cast there, there is no Appeal to any other Court.

A second Use that I would make of this point, is an Use of Exhortation; and it hath three or four branches in it.

[Page 81]First, If Jesus Christ be the Son of God, so full of glory and majesty, and shall sit upon the Bench of Judi­cature; then let all great ones take heed how they employ their power against Jesus Christ: It is Christ that doth give them their power. By me (saith Christ) Princes reign, Prov. 8. v. 15. Power and Soveraignty it is a Talent that Christ doth entrust men with; and he will shortly call them to an account what they have done with this Talent; and if it be found that they have imployed this Talent against Jesus Christ, O what a dismal account will they have to make! Christ is set up to be a King; and whoever oppose Christ in his Kingly Office, that say, We will not have this man to reign over us; why, these will find that Christ will be too hard for them. For men to lift up themselves against Christ, it is as if a little Child should go to fight with an Arch Angel, Isa. 8.9. Associate your selves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces. This is [Page 82] the voice of Gods Church speaking to its Enemies. The Church of God having such a Champion of her side as the Lord Christ is, she insults over all her Enemies.

Secondly, If Jesus Christ be the Son of God, then let us labour all of us to become one with Christ; then we also shall be the Sons of God. Christ makes all the Saints to become Sons; Sons of God, Rom. 8.17, 18. Christ is a Son by eternal generation; and Be­lievers they are his Sons by Adoption. David thought it a great honour to be Son-in-law to a King, 1 Sam. 18.18. What an infinite honour is it to be the Sons of the most high God! As Christ is the Son of God; so grace makes us to be the Sons of God. God accounts all his Sons to be honourable; and they must needs be so. Such ho­nour have all his Saints; for they are born of God, and they fetch their pe­digree from Heaven, Isa. 43.4. Since thou wast precious in mine eyes, thou hast been honourable. Their tears are put [Page 83] [...]nto Gods own bottle. He gives the Saints a partnership with Christ in his glory. God lays up a portion for all his Sons: he gives them a Kingdom when they die, Luke 12.32. It is my Fathers good pleasure to give you a King­dom. O! who would not labour for grace? As Christ is the Son of God; so grace makes us to become the Sons of God; and being Sons, we are Heirs to all Gods promises. The promises, they are a Cabinet of Jewels; and God hath bestowed this Cabinet upon his Sons: Therefore Saints they are called Heirs of the promises, Heb. 6. v. 17. and Heirs of eternal life, Titus 8.7. O ye Saints of God! think of this. If ye are Sons, why, tho' you may lose and suffer the spoiling of your goods, as the primitive Saints did, Heb. 10.34. yet you shall not lose your portion; for your heavenly Father will keep a portion for you in his Kingdom.

Thirdly, If Christ be the Son of God, then let us all be willing to hear [Page 84] Christs voice whenever he speaks to us. This I ground upon that Scrip­ture, Matth. 17.5. This is my beloved Son, hear him. This is the Inference that God himself makes. When Jesus Christ calls for us in his Word to be­lieve and to repent; now he is said to speak from Heaven to us. O then let us hear the Son! God knows how long we shall hear the Son speaking to us. Shall we hearken to a lust? shall we hearken to a temptation? shall we hear the Serpents voice? and shall we not hear the Sons voice? O let us not despise the voice of the Son of God! If God should speak to us now as he did to the people when he gave the Law with Thundering and Earth­quakes; then we should tremble as they did, Exod. 20.18, 19. Let not the Lord speak to us, lest we die; but when God speaks to us, Heb. 1.2. with a still small voice of the Gospel; when God wooes and beseeches us by his Son, 2 Cor. 5.19. Turn ye, turn ye; why will ye die? Ezek. 18.31, 32. Hear, and your [Page 85] souls shall live, Isa. 55.2. shall we not now hear the voice of the Son of God? If we will not hear Christs first voice; Come unto me you that are weary and heavy laden, Matth. 11.28. we shall never hear Christs second voice; Come to me, ye blessed, Luke 25.34.

Fourthly, (which is the main thing of all) If Christ be the Son of God, a King full of glory and majesty, as you have heard; then take the counsel in the Text; Kiss the Son, lest he be angry. Kiss Christ this blessed Son of God with a threefold kiss. Kiss him,

  • 1. With a kiss of Faith.
  • 2. With a kiss of Love.
  • 3. With a kiss of Obedience.

First, Kiss Christ the Son of God with a kiss of Faith. This is indeed to kiss him, when we believe in him; so it follows in the words of the Text; Blessed are they that put their trust in him, to believe and confide in his merit. This believing kiss, it is that which Christ looks for to affect our thoughts and confidence in the merit of the Son [Page 86] of God. This kiss of Faith (saith Austin) it is as it were to set footing in Heaven, when we begin to believe, we have got one foot in Heaven. It is the main thing in the Gospel, to believe in the Son, Act. 13.39. By him all that believe are justi­fied. We may believe sometimes when we don't know we believe. As there may be life, when there is no lively sence; so in Faith, we may have Faith when we don't know it. I am not justified because I believe; but because I know I believe. This kiss of Faith, believing in Christ, it is the best kiss we can give to Christ. This he takes most kindly at our hands: For when we believe, then we honour the Son as we honour the Father. It sets the Crown upon the head of Christ.

Now because there is so much weight lies upon this believing in the Son of God; I shall shew you first, What is this to believe in him?

I answer: It is not only an assent that Jesus Christ is the true Messiah; but there must be a fiducial recum­bency, [Page 87] a leaning on Christ as the Spouse did. Who is this that comes leaning on her Beloved? Cant. 8.5. All other Pillows will break but this Pil­low: this Pillow you can never lean too hard upon. Jesus Christ is a golden Pillow, that bears all that is laid upon him. This believing in Christ, it is a catching hold of his merit. One that is ready to drown, he catches hold on the bough or twig to keep him from sinking. O! nothing will keep us from eternally sinking in the Sea of Gods wrath, but a catching hold on Jesus Christ. Believing, it is a holy adventure upon Christ: as Queen Esther, she adventured into the pre­sence of the King; If I perish, I perish, says she. This is the language of Faith; If I perish, I perish. Who ever perish'd believing?

Secondly, This kissing of Christ by Faith, it is hard; it is not an easie mat­ter. It is easie to profess this Son of God; but it is not easie to kiss this Son. That which makes this work [Page 88] of believing, lies in these two things.

First, Because man sets up the Idol of Self-righteousness: he is apt to think he hath something of his own growth in him; righteousness of his own: his prayers, his tears, his alms, he would make a Christ of them. Instead of kissing the Son, he doth idolize himself. Man's a proud piece of flesh; he would see some wor­thiness in himself; he would give part to himself, and part to Christ: he is loth to be beholden to grace only; he would grow upon his own Root, and not be grafted upon the Stock of Christs righteousness, Rom. 10.3. Go­ing about to establish a righteousness of their own, they have not submitted them­selves to the righteousness of God. O! it's wonderful to see a proud sinner humble; to go out of himself to Christ for righteousness. That's one thing.

Secondly, That which makes this work of believing so hard, is this; be­cause believing, it's a work above the power of nature to produce; it's a [Page 89] work of supernatural infusing, Iohn 6. v. 29. Faith is call'd the work of God: It's the work of God to believe. Faith is a new Creation. The creation of the world, it is called the work of Gods finger; but the creation of faith, it is called the work of Gods arm: The Lord doth as it were set all his strength awork. It is called the ex­ceeding greatness of his power, Eph. 1.20. Surely to raise Christ from the dead, required a great power; he had a heavy Grave-stone laid upon him; the sins of the whole world. Why the same power God doth put forth in the pro­ducing of faith in the Soul: so that this kissing of Christ by faith, is not so easie as most do imagine.

Thirdly, Where ever this blessed work of faith is, it hath some virtue goes along with it; it hath a refining, consecrating virtue. The kiss of faith, it's a holy kiss; it purifies the heart, and makes it holy, Acts 15. Faith is in the heart, as fire amongst metal; it purifies it, and takes away the dross. [Page 90] A kiss of faith, it has the same virtue as the touching of Christ by faith. The Woman touched the hem of Christs garment by faith, and immediately she receives healing virtue from that touch, Mark 5.34. Thus faith touches Christ and heals. True faith draws a sanctifying and a mortifying virtue from the Lord Jesus. Justifying faith may be called a faith of spiritual mi­racles; for it removes mountains of sins, and throws them into Christs blood. Whoever doth kiss the Son by faith, he is presently made holy: The truth is, faith doth argue a man to holiness; it falls to reasoning with him: O my Soul▪ hath Christ done so much for me? hath he forgiven me so many debts? hath he purchased such rich mercy in his blood? and wilt thou abuse the Love of so dear a friend! Wilt thou make the wounds of thy dear Saviour to bleed afresh! is this to kiss the Son? O my Soul! how shouldst thou give up thy self to Christ in holiness! And then faith [Page 91] reasons; If that my tears will wash Christs feet, wilt thou not pour them out? If thy Estate be a precious Oint­ment, wilt not thou pour out this Ointment upon part of Christs body, and relieve his Members? Now the Soul cannot withstand these melting reasons, but presently yields to all. Faith it is a holy gift; it doth conse­crate the heart where-ever it comes.

Fourthly, To kiss the Son by faith, it is the most excellent way of wor­shiping of him: there's nothing like believing. Let me a little set forth to you the excellency of faith.

First, This is the main thing the Scripture doth hold forth and press you to. If one should be asked this Question; Why the Scriptures were written? The Answer is; to point us to Christ the true Messiah, and that we should embrace him by faith, Iohn 20.31. These things are written, that you might believe that Iesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that believing you might have life through his name. This is the [Page 92] marrow of the Gospel. It's the sove­raign Cordial of a fainting Soul, that by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ he may be saved.

Secondly, This blessed believing, kissing the Son by faith, it is the most excellent of all graces; it excels all others, even as Gold among Metals. Every grace is very lovely, but this of faith excels them all.

Consider these four or five parti­culars.

First, Faith is the uniting grace; therefore this grace excels; other gra­ces conform us to Christ, but faith unites us to Christ; it espouses us to him: Other graces make us like Christ; but faith makes us one with Christ: Other graces make us pictures of Christ; but faith makes us branches of Christ. That's one.

Secondly, Faith it is the heart, vital grace. By kissing Christ we fetch life from him: The just shall live by faith, Hab. 2.4. By believing we fetch life from Christ: I live by the faith of the [Page 93] Son of God, saith the Apostle, Gal. 2.20. As the arm lives by drawing life from the heart; so faith it lives by drawing life and strength from Christ. Other graces are useful, but faith is vital.

Thirdly, Faith it is the justifying grace, therefore it is most excellent, Rom. 5.1. Being justified by faith. It is not repentance that justifies, nor self-denial, but faith: Faith it is the most proper grace of all to justifie a sinner; for the hand is more fitter to receive the food, than the eye: so faith is the most proper to justifie, because when we believe, we don't give any thing to Christ, but we fetch something from him.

Fourthly, It is a world-conquering grace, 1 Iohn 5.4. This is the victory over the world, even our faith. Faith overcomes all the allurements of the world, the riches of the world, the delights of the world; and it doth it thus; by shewing the Soul a better world than this is. Faith gives it a prospect of prosperity: it carries a [Page 94] Believer to the Mount of Transfigura­tion; it makes it to see things that are not seen by the eye of sence, Heb. 12.1. Faith leads the Soul to Christ the bright morning Star; it gives the Soul a view of him, and he is known in the embroidered Robes of his glory. Faith shews a man a Kingdom; it trades above the Moon; and when once a Soul hath a shadow of these things, it despises all the pleasures of this world.

Fifthly and lastly, Faith is a suffer­ing grace; it inables us to wade tho­row the deep waters of affliction, Heb. 11.25. By faith Moses he chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasure of sin for a season. Faith is a Furnace grace; it gives the Soul a right notion of suf­fering. What is this suffering? saith faith, it is but light affliction, 2 Cor. 4.17, 18. The Cross is light in com­parison of the Cross which Christ con­formed to. The Cross is light in com­parison of the weight of glory; and thus faith makes the Soul go through affliction.

[Page 95]Thirdly, This kissing of Christ by faith, pleases God more than any thing we can do besides; it is better than to give God Rivers of Oil; it is better than Sacrifice: it is faith that pleases God; this is the savoury meat which God loves to tast of: And the reason why believing is thus pleasing to God, is this; because, by believing, we bring a righteousness into Gods presence, which is perfectly meritorious. We don't bring the righteousness of Adam into Court, or the righteousness of Angels; but we bring the righteous­ness of God; and this is that which makes believing so pleasing to God. If then to kiss Christ by faith, be the great work under the Gospel; why then let us labour thus to kiss the Son of God by believing in him, and put­ing and placing our full hope in him. That's the first thing: Kiss him with a kiss of faith.

Secondly, We must kiss the Son of God with a kiss of Love. Indeed Christ he is the wonder of beauty: he is no­thing [Page 96] but Love. God is love, 1 Iohn 4.8. Christ hath that majesty in him, which may draw reverence: and he hath that mercy in him, that may draw love to him. The Lord Jesus, he is a whole Paradice of delight; why then, kiss him with a kiss of love. Let it be a sincere love, 1 Cor. 16.21. Grace be with them that love the Lord Iesus in sincerity and truth. Don't kiss him with a Iudas kiss, to betray him; but love him sincerely; that is, love his person more than Jewels. Love Christ more for what he is, than for what he hath; and then love Christ with a superla­tive love; a love above all things whatsoever. Christ hath loved you more than others; you that are Be­lievers; he hath loved you with such a love, that he doth not bestow upon the wicked. You have Electing love, you have Adopting love: let your love to Christ be such a love, that none else but Christ may be a sharer, that is, give Christ a love that is joyned with adoration. Don't only kiss Christ [Page 97] with your lips, but worship him in your hearts. That's a second: Kiss Christ with a kiss of Love; he de­serves your love most, and he deserves your love best.

Thirdly, Kiss Christ with a kiss of Obedience. This is to kiss Christ, when we submit to him, when we obey his Laws, when we are under his Jurisdiction. There are many in the world give Christ a complemental kiss; they seem devout and zealous; they bow and cringe; O but they don't obey the Son! they kiss Christ as their Saviour, but they will not submit to him as their Prince. The truth is, they would have Christ and their lusts together; they would em­brace his Promises, but they will not obey his Commands. O kiss the Son with a kiss of Subjection! We should be like the Needle that points that way which the Loadstone draws. Those persons that will not have Christs Laws to rule them, they shall never have Christs Blood to save them.

[Page 98]Now to perswade you to kiss the Lord Jesus with a kiss of Obedience, consider these two things.

1. The first is in the Text: lest he be angry. Anger is not in Christ as a pas­sion; but anger is said to be in Christ as a displeasure in him. And his pu­nishing of offenders, is the effect of his displeasure. Who knows the power of his anger? O therefore kiss the Son, lest he be angry! See that place in Rev. 6. v. 15. The Kings of the Earth, the great men hid themselves in the Dens, and in the Rocks of the Mountains; and said to the Rocks and the Mountains, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the Throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. Now the Lamb of God is turn'd into a Lion; and therefore they cry out to the Rocks O hide us from the wrath of the Lamb! He that hath no part in the Blood of the Lamb, will have a part in the wrath of the Lamb. If you will not kiss the [...]on, and lie down at his feet, and submit to him; then you must fall into his [Page 99] hands; and the Apostle saith, It's a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God, Heb. 10.31. It is good for to fall into his hands when he is a friend; O but it's sad to fall into his hands when he is an adversary! God is the sweetest friend, but he is the sourest enemy. When but one spark of Gods wrath doth light upon a man, it is so terrible, what is it then to have the whole Furnace of his wrath! How easily can the Lord Jesus crumble us to dust? he can unpin the whole world? O then kiss the Son, lest he be angry. The Mountains quake at his presence; and will not the sinners heart quake? Perhaps you think this Lion is not so fierce as he is painted. Look into one Scripture, Ezek. 22.14. Can thine heart endure, or can thine hand be strong in the day that I shall deal with thee?

2. Secondly, If we kiss the Son by believing in him, and by obeying him, Christ will answer Love with Love: he will smile upon us; he will kiss us [Page 100] with the kisses of his mouth, Cant. 1.8. Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth; for his love is better than wine. Christ will lay us for ever in his bo­som; and if we give him a kiss of Love, he will give us a Crown of Life, Rev. 2.

The last Use.

Here's a word of terrour to wicked men; instead of kissing the Son, they disobey him, dishonour him, vex his Spirit, do all they can to spite him: They take counsel against the Lord and his Anointed. Are there not ma­ny that do all they can to overturn Christs Interest? they would stop the Conduit-pipes that transmit the Wa­ter of Life, Rev. 17.14. They shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them. Christ will get the Vi­ctory; he will come off Conquerour. Jesus Christ, he will lay his Saints in his bosom; but he will put his Ene­mies under his feet, Psal. 110.1. I will make mine enemies my footstool. Those that will not be ruled by Christs [Page 101] Royal Scepter, his Scepter of grace, they shall be broken by his Rod of Iron. In short; All those that do op­pose Christ, they shall be as so many ripe clusters of Grapes, to be cast into the great Wine-press of Gods wrath, and to be trodden by the Son of God, till their blood squeezes out. The Lord Jesus, he shoots his Arrows very deep into the very hearts of his Enemies, Psal. 54.5. His Arrows are sharp in the hearts of his Enemies. The Per­sians, they dip their Arrows in poison, to kill more mortally. So Jesus Christ, he shoots his Arrows of poison; and because they cannot endure the wrath of the Lamb all at once, they will be enduring it to all eternity. So there­fore here is terrour to all them that do not kiss the Son.

SERMON V.

Psalm 112.7.‘He shall not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.’

A Word fitly spoken, saith Solomon, is like Apples of Gold in pictures of Silver. In which respect I have cho­sen this Scripture to treat on at this time. When the Winds begin to rise, and a Storm threatens, it is time then to get our spiritual Tackling ready, and to cast Anchor. The Mariner casts his Anchor downward; the Christian casts his Anchor upward, within the Veil; he doth in the deepest danger cast out the Sheet Anchor of Faith, and [Page 104] is not afraid: So saith the Text; He shall not be afraid of evil tidings, his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.

In this Psalm you have described the character of a righteous man; v. 1. He delighteth greatly in Gods Com­mands: he doth not only keep Gods Commands, but he loves them; they are the joy of his heart; he delighteth greatly in Gods Commands.

Secondly, In this Psalm is set down the righteous mans happiness, several ways.

First, His Children shall be blessed; verse 2. His seed shall be mighty upon earth. Righteousness entails mercy upon posterity.

Secondly, His Estate shall be blessed; verse 3. Wealth and riches shall be in his house. A man is no loser by being righteous; it makes his Estate flourish.

Thirdly, His Soul shall be blessed; verse 9. It is righteousness shall en­dure for ever; that is, the joy and com­fort of it endures for ever: his grace shall be crowned with glory: This [Page 105] Flower of Paradice doth not wither.

Fourthly, The righteous mans name shall be blessed; verse 6. The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance; that is, his name shall be honoured; it shall live when he is dead. The righ­teous man, he carries a good Consci­ence with him when he dies, and leaves a good name behind him: He shall be in everlasting remembrance. And so I come to the Text. This righteous man shall not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.

The Text consists of these two ge­neral parts.

First, The righteous mans privi­ledge; He shall not be afraid of evil tidings.

Secondly, The ground or reason of it; His heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. I begin with the

First of these briefly: The righteous mans priviledge; He shall not be afraid of evil tidings. When there are ru­mours of evils approaching, the god­ly man he shall not be discomposed [Page 106] in his mind; he shall not be in a pan­nick fear: Yet let me insert this for the right understanding of it.

First, Not but that the righteous man is sensible of danger; or else how can he humble himself under Gods mighty hand?

Secondly, Not but that some clouds of natural fear may arise in his mind. Grace, tho' it doth subdue, it doth not expel nature. But the meaning of the Text is this; He shall not be afraid of evil tidings; that is, first, A righteous man, he shall not be afraid with a di­stracting fear; such a fear as takes him off from duty, untunes him quite for Gods service.

Secondly, He shall not be afraid of evil tidings, with a fainting fear, so as to have his heart die within him; as it was with Saul, 1 Sam. 28.20. Saul fell straightway all along upon the Earth, and was sore afraid; he fainted away in his fear.

Thirdly, A righteous man shall not be afraid of evil tidings with a despair­ing [Page 107] fear; he shall not so fear, but that still the heart doth sweetly rest upon Gods promises. It is with a godly man in time of danger, as it is with a Ship as it lies at Anchor: A Ship at Anchor, it shakes a little upon the Water, but it is fixt, being at An­chor. So tho' there may be some shakings and tremblings in the flesh; yet a Christian is not so tossed with fear, but he is like a Ship at Anchor; His heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.

Use briefly.

See the difference betwixt the godly and the wicked: the godly man he is not afraid of evil rumours; he doth not fear with a distracting or de­sponding fear; still hope is preserved and kept alive in the Soul: But the wicked, when danger approaches, are surprized with heart-killing fears, Isa. 33.14. The sinners in Sion are afraid: Fearfulness hath surprized hypocrites. Guilt is the bladder of fear. When Adam had stole the fruit, then he [Page 108] began to tremble: I was afraid, saith he to God, and hid my self. Sinners fall into Convulsions of Conscience. Cains mark was a shaking in the flesh: And a wicked man, he hath a trem­bling in his heart, Isa. 13.8. They shall be afraid: their faces shall be ashamed. They shall be afraid: The Hebrew word for fear, signifies such a fright as casts Women into travail, and makes them miscarry. So sinners▪ they shall be cast as it were into such a fright, as their faces shall be ashamed: What is that? that is, when troubles do arise, their faces do wax pale. So much for the first thing in the Text; the righ­teous mans priviledge; He shall not be afraid of evil tidings with a distracting or desponding fear.

Secondly, Here is the ground or reason why a godly person shall not be afraid or amazed at evil tidings, in these words, His heart is fixed, trust­ing in the Lord; there is the ground. This makes him as the Leviathan, without fear; His heart is fixed trusting in the Lord.

[Page 109]So the Observation is this;

Doct. It is the genius and temper of a true Saint, in times of imminent danger, to have his heart fixed, by trusting in the Lord Iehovah.

His heart is fixed trusting in the Lord. For the illustration of this Proposi­tion, I shall answer these three Que­stions.

First, What it is to trust in God in times of danger?

Secondly, Why we ought to trust in God?

Thirdly How faith doth fix the heart, and makes us to trust in God?

I begin with the first of these.

I answer, It is called in Scripture our casting our burden upon God; the burden of our care, the burden of our fear, the burden of our wants, the bur­den of our sins, Psal. 55.22. Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.

Secondly, Trusting in God in Scrip­ture is called a staying our selves upon [Page 110] God, as a man that is ready to fall, he stays himself upon some prop or pil­low. Thus a Christian, he stays him­self upon God, Isa. 50▪10. I shall de­scribe trusting in God thus; It is an Heroick act of Faith, whereby we roll all our care, and lay the stress of our Salvation only upon God.

Now there is required in this trust­ing in God, an absolute necessary,

  • 1. Knowledge.
  • 2. Acquaintance with him.

First, Knowledge of God, Psal. 9.10. They that know thy name will put their trust in thee.

Secondly, In this trusting in God is required acquaintance with him through Christ: without acquaintance there can be no trust. One cannot well trust a stranger; there must be some acquaintance with God, Iob 22. v. 21. Acquaint thy self now with him, and be at peace. That's the first; What this trusting in God is:

Secondly, Why we must repose our trust in God?

[Page 111]I will give you but these two Rea­sons.

First, Because God doth call for this trust, Isa. 26.4. Trust ye in the Lord for ever; Psal. 62.8. Trust in him at all times. Tho' you are in never such straits and fears, yet remember to cast Anchor upwards: Trust in God at all times: The Lord would take off our confidence and trusting in all other things besides, Ier. 17.5. Cursed be that man that trusts in man, and maketh flesh his arm. We break our Crutches, because we lean too hard upon them. God would have us make him our trust: And the truth is, trust and af­fiance is the chief part of the Worship we ascribe to God.

Secondly, We must trust in God in all our straits and dangers: He is the proper object of our trust. My Bre­thren, the Creature is not a fit object of our trust; as it appears thus: It hath two ill qualities that we cannot repose our trust in.

First, The Creature it deceives.

[Page 112]Secondly, It fails.

First, It deceives; it is but a sugar­ed Lie: Where we think to suck Ho­ney, we only tast Wormwood. And as it deceives, so it fades and withers; like a Rose, the fuller it is blown, the sooner it sheds. So that we cannot make the Creature the object of our trust: But God he deserves our trust; he is called in Scripture a strong Tower, where you may have safety, Prov. 18.10. The name of the Lord is a strong Tower; he is Elshaddi, God Almighty, Gen. 17.1. There is no con­dition we can be in, no exigence, but he can relieve; he is God Almighty. In particular; there are two glorious Attributes in God, in which we may safely repose our trust:

  • The one is his Mercy.
  • The other his Truth.

They are both joyned in one verse: Thou wilt perform thy Truth and thy Mercy to Abraham.

First, We may rest and stay our Souls upon Gods Mercy, Psal. 13.5. [Page 113] I have trusted in thy mercy. Though I have sinned, mercy can pardon me▪ Though I am in want, mercy can re­lieve me. Gods mercy it is infinite: it is a Honey-comb for sweetness, and it is a Rock for safety.

Secondly, We may safely relie on Gods Truth or Faithfulness. Remem­ber this; Truth is the object of Trust. Heaven and Earth may sooner fail than Gods Veracity, Psal. 89.33. I will not suffer my faithfulness to fail. Good reason then we should trust in God. Where can we pitch our Faith but upon Gods Faithfulness?

Thirdly, The third thing is to shew you, that trusting in God is the way to have the heart fixed: His heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.

Note two things, first, That it is an excellent thing to have the heart fixed.

Secondly, It is only Faith doth fix the heart.

First, It is a rare thing: It is excel­lent to have the heart fixed; as ap­pears two ways.

[Page 114]First, Fixing of the heart shews so­lid efficacy of spirit. A heart unfixt, it is just like a Ship without Ballast, blown up and down in the water.

Secondly, Fixing the heart fits it for holy duties. He whose heart is fixed upon God, he serves God with delight, with chearfulness. Indeed, a heart unfixt is a heart unfitted for duty. A shaking hand is not fit to write. An unfixed heart is unfit to pray or meditate; it runs after other vanities. Sure then a fixed frame of heart is an excellent frame of heart. You know when the Milk is settled, then it turns to Cream: So when the heart is settled and fixed on God, it is ever in the best frame. That's the first.

Secondly, That trusting in God doth fix the heart: The heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord; that is, 'tis fixed by trusting. Faith, it frees the heart from those commotions which cause trembling and quivering; it fixes the heart upon God; as a Star is fixt in its Orb, so is a Believers Soul fixt on [Page 115] God. Faith makes the heart cleave to God, as the Needle doth cleave to the Loadstone. Faith fixes the heart. Such a fixed Star was Athanasius. Ter­tullian called him an invincible Ada­mant; he could not be stirr'd or mo­ved away from the Truth: Faith had fixed his heart on God.

To make some Use of this.

Vse.

First, Here you see the misery of wicked men; they are unfixed; they know not where to rest when troubles come; they have no God to go to trust to. Sinners, they are like a Ship without Anchor, tossed with the Storms, that hath no where to put in for harbour; they are like the Old World; when the Flood came, they had no Ark to trust to. The wicked are like King Saul in an hour of dan­ger, 1 Sam. 28.15. I am sorely distres­sed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me. A fla­gitious sinner is like a Souldier in Bat­tel, [Page 116] where the Bullets flie about, and he is without Armour, and hath no Garrison to trust unto. Beloved, it is Faith makes the heart fixt in trouble­som times. Faith doth ingarrison the Soul in Gods Attributes, and makes it like a Tower walled in with Rocks, that is impregnable.

Use 2. Of Exhortation.

Oh! Let us above all things labour for this heart-fixing grace of Faith. Trusting in God doth corroborate and animate, and bear up the heart in death-threatning dangers: Oh get this heart-fixing grace of Faith! But alas! who will not say, that he is resolved, and he is fixt? If a Storm doth arise, he for his part trusts in God: who will not say, he trusts in God? Therefore we must bring our hearts to a Scriptu­ral Touchstone: it is worth while: Let us try whether our trusting in God be right or no. You shall know it thus.

[Page 117]First, If our Trust be right, then we commit our chief Treasure to God: our Soul is the Jewel, the chief Trea­sure, and we commit this to Gods care and custody, Psal. 31.5. Into thy hand I commit my Spirit; we lay up all our hope in God, Psal. 39.7. What wait I for? Lord, my hope is in thee. As in time of war, a man puts all his Money and Plate in a safe strong place, so must we lay up all our hopes in God as a strong Tower.

Secondly, If we trust in God aright, why then we do in all our danger flie to God. There are some, when troubles arise, they flie to their shifts; O! but do we flie to God? Psal. 143.9. Deli­ver me, O Lord, from mine enemies: I will flie to thee to hide me. When Satan shoots his fiery Darts of Temptation, then we flie under Christs wing to shelter us; even as the Dove when the Hawk pursues it; it casts it self into the clefts of the Rock, and there it hides: So when Satan pursues us with Temptation, we get into the [Page 118] bleeding wounds of Christ, these clefts of the Rock, there we rest and are safe. Saith Austin, I lay my self softly, and rest▪ upon my Saviours bleeding wounds.

Thirdly, If we trust in God aright, then we can repose our trust in God when all creature Refuges fail us, Hab. 17. Though the Fig-tree should not blossom, can we relie upon God, upon his Promises, upon his Attri­butes? Can we trust in God in the de­ficiency of second causes? Can we trust God without a Pawn? Can we go to Heaven without Crutches? then our trust is genuine; a true trust. When the Pipes are cut that use to bring us in comfort, can we say still, Yet all our fresh springs are in God? Psal. 87.7.

Fourthly, We may know if our trusting in God be right, by having a spirit of courage infused into us. Un­belief breeds fear. Faith breeds cou­rage, Prov. 28.1. The righteous man is bold as a Lion. Faith enables a man to appear in a good cause, and [Page 119] to withstand all opposition, Dan. 3.18. Be it known to thee, O King, we will not serve thy Gods, nor worship thy golden Images, Heb. 10.34. Such an invincible Christian was Basil the Great, who feared not the threats of the Emperour; he was like a Rock which no water could shake.

Fifthly, We may know our trust is right, when we obey God in all things he calls for. There are two things in holy trust; there is Affiance, and Obe­dience, Rom. 16.26. Observe, they who expect what God promises, they will perform what God commands, Psal. 26.1. They have trusted in the Lord. Where was the tryal of this trust? Psal. 119.66. I have kept thy Commandments. They deceive them­selves that say, they trust in God, and yet they will not serve him; they de­ny to give God the kiss of Obedience.

Sixthly, True trusting in God is pu­rifying; having purified their hearts by faith. Faith purges out the love of sin, as Physick purges out the noxious [Page 120] humours, 1 Tim. 3.9. holding the my­stery of faith in a pure conscience. Faith is the wedding grace, that marries Christ; and Holiness is the Child that Faith brings forth. The Woman in the Gospel who touched Christ by faith, felt a healing virtue coming from him. Let not that man say his heart is fixed, trusting in God, who allows himself in any sin; what, trust in God, and yet swear, and be drunk, and unclean! this is not trust, it is presumption. Just like those Jews, Ier. 3.4, 5. Wilt thou not cry unto me, My Father? what follows? behold thou hast done evil things as thou couldst. Those Hypocrites would call God Father, yet sinned as fast as they could.

Seventhly, True trusting in God, it is a patient waiting, a waiting trust, Psal. 37.7. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him. Though a Believer hath not what he desires presently up­on the return of prayer, those smiles and love-tokens from God as he de­sires; yet he is resolved he will be in a [Page 121] waiting posture; he will wait till mer­cy comes. That's a fine Scripture, Psal. 123.2. Our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until he have mercy upon us. That man that hath not patience to wait, he hath no faith to trust. Remember that, Isa. 28.16. He that believeth maketh not haste. A Believer knows full well, the longer he stays for a mer­cy, the richer it will be when it comes. As the longest Voyages have the great­est Returns. Thus you see what this trusting in God is, that fixes the heart in evil times.

Now let me in a few words reassume the Exhortation. O! let us labour for this true Faith and trust, to have our hearts fixt on God in evil times. When all is done, faith is the heart establishing grace, Psal. 112.8. his heart is established. The Hebrew word there for establish, signifies thus much; the heart is shored up; it is a meta­phor that alludes to an house that is shored up by pieces of Timber. Thus faith shores up the heart when it is [Page 122] like to sink. Oh! get this heart-fixing grace of faith; thus you come to be resolved and undaunted, even in the worst of times and dangers.

Now that we may labour thus, con­sider but these two or three things.

First, There is nothing but God we can fix our trust in. Alas! whatever else we trust to besides God, it will prove an Ark of Bulrushes; it will ne­ver shelter us in an hour of danger: there is no trusting in Riches, Prov. 23.5. Riches take themselves wings and flie. There is no trusting in Friends, they may die; or, which is worse, they may deceive, Micah 7.5. Our Lord Jesus was betrayed by a friend. There is no trusting in Great men; who can trust them that are not true to God? Psal. 118.9. It is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in Princes. There is no trusting in your own hearts; why, alas! the heart is full of lust, full of deceit; it is a bosom Traitor, Prov. 28.26. He that trusts in his own heart is a fool. Oh! but my Bre­thren, [Page 123] trust in God, he is a never fail­ing Refuge. A little Boat or Pinnace, while it is tied fast to a Rock, it is very safe: So when the Soul is tied by faith fast to Christ Jesus the Rock of Ages, then it is safe, Psal. 46.11. My God is the Rock of my Refuge.

Secondly, Fixing our trust in God brings sweet peace with it. Peace is the Olive branch that faith brings in its mouth. Turn to that excellent Scripture, Isa. 26.3. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusts in thee. Pray ob­serve; perfect trust is blessed with perfect peace. The word trust in God comes from the Hebrew, which signi­fies to nourish; why so? because our trusting in God, it doth nourish, it doth cherish peace in the Soul. Faith represents God as reconciled; this gives peace: he that trusts in God, he hath peace in the midst of storms and tem­pests; he is like Noah in the Ark, when the Deluge came, he could sit and sing in the Ark.

[Page 124]Thirdly and lastly, Fixing our trust on God, it is that which brings in mercy, and comfort, and deliverance to us, Psal. 32.2. He that trusts in God, mercy shall compass him about. Were it not a fine thing, in the midst of a fight, to be compast about with a golden Shield, that no Arrow or Bullet could pierce? It is true, Gods mercy, like a golden Shield, shall compass him about. O therefore get this heart-fixing grace of faith. To encourage your faith, remember these two things, you that Travel for the Churches delive­rance; Faith and Prayer are the two Midwives that deliver Gods Church when she is in Travel. I will give you a clear Scripture, 2 Chron. 14.11. Help us, O Lord, there was prayer; for we rest on thee, there was faith. When we build our Affiance and Confidence on God, he of himself is obliged in point of honour, to defend and save us, Isa. 28.7. My heart trusted in thee, and I am helped.

To shut up all; Let us above all [Page 125] things labour to have our hearts fixt on God by holy trust. Trust him where you cannot trace him. Trust God for protection in this life, and Sal­vation in the other life.

My Beloved, trusting in God, it is a Receit for all diseases: Faith it is the cure. Doth the Orphan trust himself and his Estate in the hands of his Guardian? Doth the Patient trust his life in the hands of his Physician? And shall not we trust our Souls in Gods hand? 2 Sam. 22.31. He is a Buckler to all them that trust in him. If ever we would get mastery of our fears and disquiets, let us captivate carnal reason, and advance faith: So then you shall not be afraid of e [...]il tydings, for the heart will be fixed, trusting in the Lord.

SERMON VI.
This Sermon was Preached Novemb. 17. 1678.

Psalm 112.4. ‘Unto the upright there ariseth light in darkness.’

CHrysostom calls the Scriptures a Spiritual Paradice. The Book of Psalms is placed in the midst of this Paradice. Davids Psalms are not only for delight, but for benefit. Like those Trees of the Sanctuary in Ezekiel, which were both for food and for me­dicine. [Page 128] The Psalms are commensurate and exactly fitted to every Christians condition. If his affections be frozen, here he may fetch fire: if he be weak in grace, here he may fetch Armour: if he be ready to faint, here he may fetch Cordials. Among other Divine consolations, this Text is none of the least; Unto the upright there ariseth light in darkness: which words are cal­culated for the comfort of Gods Church in all Ages. This Text is like Israels Pillar of Fire, which gave light in the Wilderness. Or this is like the Mariners Lanthorn to serve to give light in a dark night; To the up­right there ariseth light in darkness. Give me leave a little to explain the words, then I shall come to the Propo­sition: To the upright. Who are meant here by the upright? Answer; The Hebrew word for upright, signifies plainness of heart: The upright man he is without blushing or fraud; he is one in whose spirit there is no guile, Psal. 32.2. He that is upright, his heart [Page 129] and his tongue go together; as a well made Dial goes exactly by the Sun. The words following here in the Text may serve for a short paraphrase, to shew us who this upright man is; he is gracious, full of compassion, and righ­teous.

1. He is gracious, that implies his holiness.

2. He is full of compassion, that im­plies his charitableness.

3. He is righteous, that implies his justness.

The upright man he is gracious, therefore he fears God; he is full of compassion, therefore he feeds the poor; he is righteous, therefore he doth to others as he would have them to do to him. The upright man is one that acts from a right principle, and that is faith; by a right rule, and that's the Word of God; to a right end, and that's the glory of God: this is the downright upright man.

The second thing in the Text is, There ariseth light to the upright man: by [Page 130] light is here meant metaphorically, viz. for comfort or joy, Esth. 8.16. The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy; but by light is meant gladness. The light, when it doth spring▪ it doth very much relieve. Joy is to the heart, as light is to the eye, very exhilarating and re­freshing.

Thirdly, Light ariseth in darkness: By darkness is meant trouble; any thing that doth disquiet either the bo­dy or the mind. Trouble is darkness, Isa. 8.22. Look unto the earth, and behold trouble and darkness, Psa. 107.10. Such as sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death. As darkness is very disconsolate and affrighting; so trouble, where it comes, it makes every thing look like the terrours of the night.

The Observation is this;

Doct. That when the condition of Gods people is darkness, God causeth a light to shine unto them. To the upright there ariseth light in dark­ness.

Here are two branches of the Pro­position.

[Page 131]First, That the upright, such whom God loves, they have their night.

Secondly, That a morning light ari­seth to them in the midst of all their darkness.

First, The upright they have their night; it may be a very dark season. Godliness doth not exempt them from suffering; they may have a night of af­fliction; a cloud may set upon their Names and Estates. God may lay an Imbargo upon all their outward com­forts, Ruth 1.20.

Secondly, The people of God, they may have a night of desertion: God may withdraw the smiling beams of his favour, and then it is night with them indeed, Iob 6.4. The Arrows of the Almighty are within me: the poison thereof drinks up my spirits. It alludes, saith Grotius, to the Persians, who in their War, do dip their Arrows in poison, to make their wounds more deadly. Thus God sometimes shoots the poisonous Arrows of desertion at the godly, then they are in the dark; [Page 132] they are benighted: tho' God hath the heart of a Father, yet sometimes he hath the look of an Enemy: he may cause darkness in the Soul, and shut up the beams of spiritual comfort.

First, He doth this, that he may the more quicken the exercise of grace for prayer may sometimes act highest in the hour of desertion, Ionah 2.4. I said I was cast out of thy sight; yet will I look towards thy holy Temple. Faith and Patience, like two Stars, shine most bright in the night of desertion. We are taken with the comfort, but God is more taken with the acting of our graces.

Secondly, The Lord may cause a dark cloud to be upon the righteous, a cloud of desertion, that he may hereby awaken, and stir up in his people a spirit of prayer, that now they may cry mightily to God; that now they may stir up themselves to take hold on God by prayer. Sometimes a Father hides his face, to make the Child cry after him the more: so God may hide [Page 133] his face in a cloud of desertion, that his Children may cry the more after him, Psal. 140.7. Oh hide not thy face from me! Desertion will make one pray, if any thing will. Desertion, it is a short Hell. Ionah calls the Whales belly, the belly of Hell, because he was deserted there; and if ever he would pray, sure it is now, that he might get out of that Hell, Ionah 2.2. Out of the belly of Hell I cryed unto thee, and thou heardest my voice. That's the first; The godly they may have their night.

The second part of the Proposition.

That a morning light doth arise in the righteous, in all their darkness.

To the upright there ariseth light in darkness, Psal. 18.28. The Lord will light my Candle; as if David had said, My comforts at present they seem to be blown out, and I am in the dark; but the Lord will light my Candle, and will cause light to arise. There is a twofold light that God causes [Page 134] to arise in his people in the dark.

First, An outward light.

Secondly, An inward light.

First, An outward light shines, that is, God doth oftentimes cause the light of prosperity to arise upon his people; that is, a light in darkness. When God causes peace and prospe­rity in the Tabernacles of the righte­ous, here is light riseth in darkness, Iob 29.3. When his Candle shineth upon my head; the Candle, that is, the Candle of prosperity; a Lamp, that is, outward blessings. God hath on a sud­den altered the Scene of Providence; and on a sudden turned the shadows of death into the light of the morn­ing.

Secondly, When Gods people are in the dark, God causes sometimes an inward light to arise in them.

First, The light of grace; he makes that shine. In the midst of darkness, a spark of faith in the Soul, it is a spark of light. When the Tree hath no blossoms or leaves to be seen, as in [Page 135] Autumn; yet there may be sap in the root of the Vine.

So my Brethren, when our outward comforts are as it were dead, it is Au­tumn; yet there may be the seed of God in the heart, and this spark of grace, it is a dawning light to the Soul.

Secondly, God sometimes causes a light of spiritual joy and consolation to arise in the dark and disconsolate Soul: And truly this light of spiritual joy, it is the very glimmering of the light of Heaven, Isa. 12.1. Thine an­ger is turned away, and thou comfortest me. This light of spiritual comfort, it is sweet and ravishing; it as far excels all other joys, as Heaven excels Earth. Thus you see in the midst of darkness or black clouds, God makes light to arise and shine unto the god­ly: It is only God himself that can make it lightsom, when the Soul is in a dark disconsolate condition. As when the Sun is set, none can make it rise but only God: So when it is [Page 136] Sun-set in the Soul, and the dew of tears drop, none can make day-light in that Soul, but God himself: others may preach comfort to us, while it is God that must make us feel comfort: others may bring a Cordial to us, and set it to us, and by us; but it is God that must pour in this Cordial, Psal. 4.7. Thou, Lord, hast put gladness in my heart.

Quest. Why doth God make light and joy to arise to the upright in their darkness?

Answ. For three Reasons.

First, That he may fulfil his pro­mises. He hath said, He will give light to his people when they are in dark­ness, Isa. 42.16. I will make darkness light before them. Gods honour lies up­on it to make good his promise; he causeth light to spring up in the dis­consolate Soul: Gods promise it is his Bond. When a man hath given his Bond, he cannot well go back. Gods promises, they may be long in travail, yet at last they bring forth. There are two things in God that never fail.

[Page 137]First, His compassion fails not, Lam. 3.22.

Secondly, His faithfulness fails not, Psal. 89.33. God may sometimes delay a promise, yet he will never deny his promise: God may sometimes change his promise, turn a temporal promise into a spiritual promise, but he will never break his promise; he hath said, He will cause light to go before his people in all their darkness.

Secondly, God will cause light to arise in his people in all their darkness, because they help to enlighten others, and therefore they shall not want light; when others are in the dark of igno­rance, they enlighten them with know­ledge; when others are in the dark of affliction, they relieve them; they are merciful to them in giving them Alms, which administers light and joy to their hearts. The Saints of God, they are lights to them that sit in darkness; when they are benighted with any sorrow, they shall not want comfort; the Lord causeth light to arise to them in darkness.

[Page 138]Thirdly, God will cause light to arise in his people in darkness; either he will support them in trouble, or de­liver them out of trouble: He will cause light to arise, because he sees his people have need, great need of some dawnings of light; they would faint away and be discouraged, if there was nothing but darkness, and no glimmer­ing of light. Should the sick Patient always have purging Physick, and no Cordials given him, he would faint away. God knows our frame, and he sees our spirits would fail before him, if he did always suffer a cloud to lie upon us; therefore in Judgment he remembers Mercy; he causeth the day-star of comfort to arise upon his people. God will not let it be always midnight, lest we should touch upon the Rock of Despair. The Musician will not stretch the strings of his Viol too far, lest they break asunder. Thus you see why the wise God sees it best to cause light to arise in the midst of darkness. So much for the doctrinal part.

USE.

First, Here are several Inferences from this Text; see the infinite good­ness of God towards his people in all cases that fall out in this world, whe­ther affliction or desertion. Oh the goodness of God! the Lord doth che­quer his work; he intermixes some Stars to give light: As the Limner mingles bright colours with dark sha­dows. The condition of Gods people on Earth is never so dark, but they may see a Rain-bow in the cloud of Providence. Take that one Scripture to verifie this, Psal. 138.7. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt re­vive me. Every step I take I tread up­on thorns, I walk in the midst of trouble. Ioseph, he was in prison, there was darkness; but the Text saith, The Lord was with Ioseph; there was light did arise, Gen. 39.21. Iacob had the hol­low of his thigh put out of joint, there was darkness; but at that very time he [Page 140] saw Gods face, a dark glimmering of God, and the Lord blest him; there was light risen in darkness, Gen. 32.25. Iob, that had lost all that ever he had, struck with boyls and soars, here was a dark providence; yea but hereby Iobs grace was perfected and improved, and God gave him an honourable testimo­ny, that he was upright, and gave him double Estate to what he had before; here was light arisen to Iob in the clouds of darkness, Iob 42.10. Thus God doth mix light with his peoples darkness. As in the Ark, there was Manna laid up with the Rod: So it is in Gods providence towards his people; with the Rod of affliction, there's some Manna, some Light, some Comfort that God causes to spring up. Manna with the Rod, oh the goodness of God! in the darkest night that is, he keeps alive some spark of light amongst his people. That's the first.

Inference 2. If it be Gods work to cause light and comfort to the righte­ous; why then, how contrary do they [Page 141] act, who make it their work to cause darkness and sorrow to the righteous? Gods work is to cause light to spring in to the godly; their work is to cause darkness. You know there is a woe be­longs to them that make the hearts of the righteous sad. God is creating light for his people, and his enemies are laying snares for them. God is pouring Wine and Oil into his peoples wounds, and his adversaries they are a pouring in Vinegar into those wounds. How contrary do these act? those that are of the Romish Whore, are at this day plotting to the ruine of Gods people, and would have the Church of God lie in a field of blood. The Lord, he makes light to arise to the godly; the wicked, they labour to make dark­ness and sorrow to arise to them. But such as lay snares for the righteous, God will rain fire upon them, Psa. 11.6. Upon the wicked God shall rain fire and brimstone. The wicked, they strike at Christ thorow his members sides; but let them know, if they kick against [Page 142] the Rock Christ, the Lord will be too hard for them at last. God ordains his Arrows against the Persecutors, Psal. 7. v. 13. and God never misses his mark; if he hath his Arrow upon the string, he will certainly shoot, and he never misses his mark. That's a second.

Inference 3. See here the difference betwixt the wicked and the godly; in all their darkness they have some light, some comfort arises to them. The wicked in all their outward comforts, they have some darkness arises up to them; conscience chides them, and troubles threaten them. It is like the hand-writing upon the wall, Psa. 68.31. God shall wound the heads of his ene­mies, and the hairy scalp of such a one as goeth on still in his trespasses. The sinner in his light time condition, in all his outward mirth, he may see some clouds of darkness: Gods threatning Arrows are against him, and Gods Curse is against him; and Gods Curse it blasts where-ever it comes. An im­penitent sinner, he lives every day [Page 143] under the sentence of death, and there remains for him, saith the Apostle, a fiery indignation, Heb. 10.27. When the hardened sinner dies, he will be but in a bad case; he drops into the Grave and into Hell both at once. God hath brewed for the impenitent sin­ner a deadly Cup, Psal. 75.8. Observe that Scripture; In the hand of the Lord there is a Cup, the Wine is red, it is full of mixture, and the dregs thereof the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them. This red Wine it is the wrath of God, and this Wine is full of mixture; what's that? that's the worm of Conscience, and the fire of Hell: Here is a mixed Cup, and the wicked shall be ever drinking this Cup. God will never say, Let this Cup pass away. No, they must be for ever drinking the dregs of this Cup of wrath. My thinks this Scripture should be a damp to all their joy and mirth; darkness is coming upon them, 1 Sam. 28.19. It was sad news to Saul that the Devil brought; saith he, Tomorrow thou shalt be with me; [Page 144] dreadful news! Now men are sporting with their lusts and pleasures; now they think they are in their gallantry; and to morrow may be with the Devil.

A fourth branch of Inference. Doth God cause light to spring up in his peoples darkness? then see here the difference betwixt Earth and Heaven. Here in this world there is a mixture of darkness with the Saints light; in Heaven there shall be nothing but pure light; no darkness there: It is called an Inheritance of light, Col. 1.12. As the Philosophers say, Light is the very glory of the Creation; it is the beau­ty of the world. What was all the world without light, but a dark pri­son? Here's the beauty of Heaven, it is a place of light; there is no eclipse nor dark shadows to be seen there. Heaven is a bright body all over, all over embroidered with light: there is the Sun of Righteousness shining with the bright Orient beams of glory, Rev. 21.23. the Lamb is the light there­of; oh how should we long for that place of Paradice!

Use 2. is of Consolation, For the Church and People of God.

This Text is a pillar of light, a breast of consolation: To the upright ariseth light in darkness. Doth God make light, and joy, and peace, to arise to the righteous? why then should we de­spair? why should we despond, when it is Gods great design to lighten his peoples darkness? I confess things have but a bad aspect. England is like the Ship in the Gospel, almost covered with waves. This may humble us, and set our Eyes abroach with tears: Yet let us not mourn as without hope.

This Text methinks lets in some branches of light; it gives some spark of comfort in our darkness. Let me come as the Dove, with an Olive branch of peace: That it is some spark of light, that there are many upright ones in the Land; and the Text saith, Light ariseth to the upright. Indeed, were the godly quite removed, as it is [Page 146] the desire of some to destroy them, God would soon make quick work with the Nation; he would soon break up house here, Gen. 19.22. Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. The upright that my Text speaks of, God will do much for their sakes: The upright, they are the excellent of the Earth; they are the Chariots and Horse-men of Israel; they are the very flower and cream of the Creation; they are the glory of Christ, 2 Cor. 8.23. and for their sakes God may yet cause light to arise, and his Arm may bring salva­tion.

Secondly, Another spark of light in our darkness, that yet God is pleased to stir up in his people, is a spirit of mighty prayer; they cry mightily. Certainly God will not say to this Ci­ty and Nation, Seek ye my face in vain. Prayer is the Wall and Bulwarks of the Land. It is observable, when the Lord intends to pour out the Vials of his Indignation, he stops the sluces of [Page 147] prayer, shuts up the spirit of prayer, Ier. 7.16. Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me; for I will not hear: God hath not yet said so to us.

The Key of Prayer, oiled with tears, and turned with the hand of faith, unlocks Gods bowels. Prayer, when it is important, staves off wrath from the Nation, Exod. 32.10. Saith God to Moses, Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them. And what did Moses do? he only prayed. Fervent prayer overcomes the Almigh­ty. Prayer finds God free, but it leaves him bound; it is as it was. This his hand staves off Judgment; this lets in some dawning light to this Land, that God don't wholly leave us, especially remem­bring this, that Christ Jesus praying over our prayers again, presents them to his Father, and perfumes them with his sweet odour▪ which makes them go up as Incense, Rev. 8.3.

[Page 148]Thirdly, Another spark arising is this, when we consider Gods compas­sion and bowels of mercy. Mercy, it is Gods darling Attribute, that he loves most of all to magnifie, Micah 7.18. Mercy pleaseth him. Justice is Gods strange work, as if he was not used to it; but mercy is his proper work; it is as natural for him to shew mercy, as for the Bee to give Honey. Why may not mercy give the casting voice for this Nation? according to that Scripture, In his love and in his pity he redeemed them. Love and pity will do great things. Gods mercy, it is not only free, sending out pardons where he pleases; but, which is more, Gods mercy can as well heal, as it can save; it is a healing mercy, Hosea 14.4. I will heal their back­slidings. Observe, Gods mercy it can reclaim the Persecutor, it can soften the Impenitent, it can bring back some that are gone astray. Mercy can destroy the sins of the Nation, and yet save the Na­tion: it is a healing mercy; I will heal their backslidings. These are the sparks [Page 149] of light that God causes to arise.

Obj. But you will say, Still things look and seem as in the dark, and we would have more light; What must we do? how must we carry our selves till God makes light to arise to us in darkness?

Ans. 1. Let us in all dark Providen­ces go into our chambers, Isa. 26.20. Come my people, enter thou into thy cham­ber, and hide thy self: Enter thou into thy chamber, that is, we must go and search our hearts by serious medita­tion, and self-examination; go into this chamber of your hearts. Let us in the first place search our Evidences for Heaven, bring our graces to the Touchstone; let us see what faith we have, and what love to God we have: Doth Conscience witness, we not only serve God, but love him? Can we cry out for God, for the living God? Are we carried up to Heaven in a fiery Chariot of love? Is it thus with us? Oh let us search into the chambers of our hearts, and see how all things stand betwixt God and our Souls!

[Page 150]My Brethren, when things are dark without, we had need to have all clear within.

Secondly, Let us go, not only into the chambers of our hearts, but let us go into the chamber of Divine Promi­ses, and there let us a while judge our selves. Oh! these sweet Promises of God, which our Souls may take com­fort in: God hath promised comfort to all his mourners: God hath pro­mised that he will strengthen the in­firm, Isa. 40.29▪ God hath promised a Crown of Glory, Rev. 2.10. He hath said, He will never leave us nor for­sake us. Let us now by faith hide our selves in these chambers. That's the first thing we are to do.

Secondly, Having done this, let us under all clouds of darkness, in the next place, commit our selves to God, that he would safeguard and keep us. This I ground upon that Scripture, Psal. 37.5. Commit thy way unto the Lord; in the Hebrew it is, roll thy way upon the Lord: Commit thy self and thy [Page 151] cause to God by prayer; as an Orphan commits himself under the care of his Guardian, so should we give all our care to God: Commit thy ways unto the Lord. Let us do our duty, and trust God with our safety. It is our work to cast care; it is Gods work to take care.

Thirdly, Having gone into these chambers, the chambers of our hearts, and the chambers of Divine Promises; so in the third place, let us now wait Gods time, till he shall make light to arise in our Horrison, until God turns our darkness into the light of the morn­ing. God can of a sudden disperse the black clouds: God can create light: God can strike a straight stroke by a crooked stick: God can remove the Mountains that lie in our way, till light arises. Let us patiently wait, light will spring up; the blessings that we are in expectation of, are worth waiting for. To see the golden Fleet of Prayer come laden home with rich returns of mer­cy: To see Peace and Truth united: To see Popery and Prophaneness abo­minated: [Page 152] To see the beauty of Holi­ness shining forth, like a Lamp that burneth: To see Christ ride in triumph in the Chariot of his Gospel: To see the Righteous honoured and renown­ed, and be like the wings of a Dove, co­vered with yellow gold: These cer­tainly are mercies worth waiting for; therefore let us wait patiently: And to encourage holy waiting, I will shut up all with that Scripture, Isa. 30.18. And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you; and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mer­cy upon you; for the Lord is a God of Iudgment; blessed are all they that wait for him.

SERMON VII.

St. John 10.14.‘I am the good Shepherd, and know my Sheep, and am known of mine.’

EVery line of Scripture hath a Ma­jesty shining in it: Jesus Christ is the very center of the Gospel; if the Scripture be the Field, Christ is the Pearl in this Field; and blessed is he that finds this Pearl; the Scripture gives various descriptions of Christ, sometimes he is called a Physician, he is the great healer of Souls, sometimes he is call'd a Captain, Heb. 2.10. Cap­tain of our Salvation, and here in the Text a Shepherd, I am the good Shep­herd, and this Shepherd hath a Flock; so it is in the Text, I know my Sheep, and am known of mine: These Sheep [Page 154] are the elect company of Believers, these are his rational Sheep. First, I shall speak of the Sheep, then some­thing of the Shepherd, as they do re­late one to the other.

First, Concerning the Sheep: I know my Sheep. The Wicked are compared to Goats, the Saints to Sheep; Christs People they are his Sheep, and there be some near Analogies betwixt them; as,

First, A Sheep it is an innocent Crea­ture, it is not hurtful, or ravenous, as other Creatures are, but is very harm­less and inoffensible, so those Sheep that belong to Christ, and are of his fold, they are Innocent, Phil. 2.15. That you may be blameless, that you may be harmless; the Greek Word is, without Horn, or without Pushing, or Horning; that you may be harm­less; Christs people walk so as near as they can, that they may give no just offence, they had rather suffer wrong than do wrong, those that are set up­on mischief, are not Christs Sheep, [Page 155] but they are Birds of prey: Those who would plot the ruin of a Kingdom, and spill Protestant blood, these are none of Christs Sheep; these are Wolves, they have been suckled with the Milk of the Romish Whore; these are Goats, that Christ will set at his left hand, Mat. 25.32.

Secondly, A Sheep it is noted for meekness in Scripture, it is a meek Creature: Let the Shearer take its wooll, it doth not resist; if you strike a Sheep, it doth not snarl or fly in your face; all Christs Sheep that be­long to him are meek spirited, 2 Sam. 16.12. Though a child of God may sometimes fall into a froward fit, yet he grieves for it, and weeps for his unmortified passion.

Thirdly, A Sheep it is a cleanly crea­ture, it is neat and cleanly, it delights most in pure Streams and clean Pa­stures; so Christs Sheep they are cleanly, and sanctified, holiness is the thing they pray for, Psalm 51.10. Cre­ate in me a clean Heart, Oh God! Tho [Page 156] they are not perfectly Holy, yet they are perfecting holiness in the fear of God. It is a neat creature, and would rather die than go thorow dirty, miry places; so it is with Christs sheep, they will rather suffer any thing, than de­file their Conscience, Gen. 39.9. How can I do this wickedness, and sin against God? The wicked in Scripture are compared to swine: they wallow in Sin, in their wickedness and unclean­ness; they are steept and purboyled in Sin: I but a good Christian, he breaths after sanctity; a child of God he may unawares fall into Sin, as David; but he does not lye in Sin, he recovers himself out again by repen­tance; a Sheep may fall into the mire, but it does not lye there, gets out again.

Fourthly, A Sheep it is a very use­ful creature, not any thing that is of it, but is of some use; the flesh, the fleece, the skin, so all Christs Sheep, who are the Sheep of his Pasture are useful, they are still doing good, they are profitable to others, by their Know­ledge, [Page 157] Counsel, Example, Prayers, good Works; they are useful in their pla­ces, the wicked they are compared to Wood, Ezek. 15.3. which is good for nought but fuel▪ Sinners are useless, their Life is scarce worth a Prayer, nor their Death scarce worth a Tear, they live to cumber the ground; but Gods people they are useful, they are called the excellent of the earth, Psalm 16.3. They are blessings in the places where they come.

Fifthly, A Sheep it is a very con­tented creature, it will feed upon any pasture where you put it; put Sheep upon the bare Common they are con­tent, they feed upon that little they pick up in the fallow ground; a per­fect emblem of true Saints, who are the Sheep of Christ; let God put them into what pasture he will they are con­tent, Phil. 4.11. They have learn'd in every state therewith to be content, Saint Paul, he could want, or abound, he could be any thing that God would have him, he was content with that [Page 158] Portion▪ whatever it was that Provi­dence carved out to him; you who are apt to murmur and repine at your Condition, and think you have never enough, think with your selves; Sheep are content with their pasture, surely were I one of Christs Sheep, I should be content; you that have the least of the World, you have more than you know how to be thankful for, he that has the least bit of Bread, he will die in Gods debt. A Sheep is a contented Creature.

Sixthly ▪ To name no more, a Sheep it is a timorous creature, it is very fearful, if any danger approaches, or frighted by the Wolf; thus the Saints of God, who are Christs Sheep, they pass the time of their sojourning here in fear, they are fearful of provoking God, of wounding their Peace▪ fear­ful of Temptation, fearful they should come short of Heaven thorow sloath, Heb. 4.1. It is an ear-mark of Christs Sheep, they are indewed with the fear of God, Gen. 42.18. This is their [Page 159] ear-mark, men fearing God; it's true the Righteous, they are as bold as a Lyon, in a righteous cause; but ti­morous and fearful of sinful fear; and let me tell you happy is he that in this sence fears always; holy fear is the best antidote against Temptation; the way to be safe is always to fear. To make some Use of this;

Let us all labour to be found in the number of Christs Sheep. All the World is divided into two ranks, Sheep or Goats; if you would be glad to be found in the day of Judgment Christs Sheep, and sit at his right hand, be much in Prayer; pray unto God that he would change your nature, that he would take away your wolfish nature, your fierceness, your frowardness; and that he would transform you in­to his own Image. Labour to be a­mongst Christs Sheep, to get into Christs fold, only one thing excepted, that you would not be like Sheep, for Sheep are apt to wander sometimes from their fold; take heed don't strag­gle [Page 160] into by-paths of errour and here­sie; it is dangerous to wander, for fear the Devil that wolf should catch you; don't go astray as Sheep, but in other things resemble Sheep, in meekness, in patience, in usefulness, in willingness, and particularly in this one thing, let us labour to resemble Sheep, that is, when the Shepherds dog comes near, all the Sheep flock together; Persecution it should be like the Shepherds dog, it should make all Christs Sheep run together and unite: Do Papists, and Formalists agree in per­secuting Gods people? and shall not the Saints of God agree to keep the unity of the Spirit [...]n the bond of Peace? Love is the ear-mark, by which Christs Sheep are known, Iohn 13.35. By this shall all men know ye are my Disci­ples, if ye love one another. It was the Harlot said, let the child be divided, it is the Jesuit that says, let the Church of God be divided; it is Satans great design to set his cloven foot amongst Christs people to make division and [Page 161] contention among the sons of Sion; the Devils best Musick is discord, Oh! let all Christs people, his sheep, flock together, and associate in love, those who hope to meet together in Heaven should not fall out by the way: Uni­ty it is the great Musick in Heaven, Unity in Trinity; and Unity among Saints would be a great blessing on Earth; for Christians to unite it is their Interest and Wisdom, union is their Strength, union it is their Glory, their Ornament; this was the honour of the Primitive Churches, all of one Heart, Act. 2.1. There was but one Heart amongst them; let the Sheep of Christ unite together; when the Saints are harmoniously united, then they a­dorn their blessed Shepherd the Lord Jesus. So much for the first of these, Christs Sheep.

Secondly, To speak something of the Shepherd, I am the good Shepherd; a true Epithet as ever was given, A good Shepherd, Zach. 13.7. 1 Pet. 2.25. You are now returned to the Shep­herd [Page 162] and Bishop of your Souls: Your Conscience, it is the Diocess were none may visit but Christ, Christ is call'd in the Scripture, the chief Shep­herd of all, 1 Pet. 5.4. Ministers are but Shepherds under him, to look to his flock, Christ is the chief Shepherd; so the Observation is this,

Doct. That Iesus Christ, he is the blessed Shepherd of his Sheep.

In Scripture, Christ is called the great Shepherd, and the good Shep­herd, he is called the great Shepherd, Heb. 13.20, 21. and here in the Text, he is called the good Shepherd; Christ is the great Shepherd, as he made the Sheep, and he is the good Shepherd, as he saves his Sheep; so you see he is both the great and the good Shep­herd; there are many Parallels and Analogies betwixt Christ and his Sheep, I will instance in some.

1. A Shepherd is appointed to his calling; why, so Christ, he is the true Shepherd, who entred in by the door, Iohn 10.2. He entred in by the door: [Page 163] What's the meaning of that? that is, Christ he is lawfully called and ap­pointed to his keeping sheep.

2. A Shepherd knows his Flock, knows all his Flock; this is in the Text, I am the good Shepherd, I know my Sheep, saith Christ; Christs know­ing his Sheep implies a knowledge of approbation; Christs knowing his Sheep, that is his Loving of them: this is a great Consolation, that Christ knows all his Sheep; he knows every one of their Names, Iohn 10.3. He calleth his own Sheep by name: He knows all their sighs and groans that they make, Psalm 38.9. My groaning is not hid from thee; Christ knows every tear they shed, he bottels their tears as Wine, Psalm 56.8. Put thou my tears into thy bottle. He knows all their sufferings, Iudg. 10.16. His Soul was grieved for the miseries of Israel: Christ knows all their good works, all their works of Piety and Charity; and will shortly say, Come ye blessed of my Fa­ther inherit a Kingdom: What a Com­fort [Page 164] is this? Christ knows all his Sheep by name.

3. A Shepherd he marks his Sheep, that he may distinguish them from other strange Sheep; so Jesus Christ, this blessed Shepherd, he sets a double mark upon his Sheep; one is the ear-mark of Election, I have chosen you, (saith he) and beside that, he hath set another mark upon his Sheep, he seals them by his Spirit, Eph. 4.30. The sanctifying Graces are the several bad­ges and seals, that Christ puts upon his Sheep; how will this raise the Saints Triumph in Heaven! How will this make them bless God, that they should be markt out for Sheep, when the most of the World are markt for Goats?

4. A Shepherd, he seeks his Sheep, when they are lost and gone astray, Luk. 15.4. That is the office of a Shepherd, he seeks his Sheep: Let me assure you, Christs Sheep they are all lost naturally, they have stray'd far from the fold; and they are so lost, [Page 165] that they can never find their way home of themselves; a Dog, or a Horse, if lost, can find the way home again, but if a Sheep be lost, it can never find its way home; this is the case of lapsed Souls, they are so lost that they can­not find the way; now Jesus Christ, this blessed Shepherd seeks these lost Sheep: He left his Fathers Bosom, he came from Heaven on purpose to seek after his lost, wandring Sheep, Luk. 19.10. The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost: Zaccheus was a lost Sheep, a great Sinner, an Extortioner; this lost Sheep was found upon a Sycomore Tree, there Christ spied him, and called him, Luk. 19.5. Zaccheus, make haste, and come down; here was a lost Sheep brought home; Christ entred first into Zaccheus his Heart, and then he entred into his House: This day is Salvation come to thine House: There may be some, who are as yet lost Sheep; they are wandred from God, and have gone on in the ways of Sin, but if they belong to this good [Page 166] Shepherd, if you belong to Christ, he will at one time or other bring home these wandring Sheep by converting Grace.

5. A Shepherd, he leads and guides his Sheep; and thus Christ, this bles­sed Shepherd, guides his people, that they should not go wrong, Iohn 10.3. He leads them out: How doth Christ guide his people, he guides them with his Eye, his Eye is never off of them; though their Eye be too much off from him, Psalm 32.8. Thou shalt guide me with thine Eye; that is, the eye of thy Providence shall direct me. Again Christ guides his people by the Oracle of his holy Word, Psalm 73.24. Thou shalt guide me with thy Counsel; and Christ guides his people by the sweet conduct of his Spirit, Iohn 16.13. He will guide you into all Truth; when the Spirit of Truth is come unto you, he will guide you into all Truth: Besides, Christ appoints Ministers to be guides, if Christs Sheep go out of the way, his Ministers are appointed to bring them back again to the fold.

[Page 167]6. A Shepherd, he governs his Sheep; they have as much need of governing, as guiding; he governs his Sheep, he orders them and brings them into a Decorum; so the Lord Jesus governs his people, Christs Pa­storal staff, it is a Type and Emblem of his governing the Saints, Isa. 9.6. The Government shall be upon his Shoulders. In the Hebrew it is, the Priestdom shall be upon his Shoulders: Christs Sheep are apt sometimes to be disor­derly, they are apt to slight their Shep­herd, to grow wanton, to despise their Pastor, to quarrel one with another; but now Jesus Christ, this blessed Shep­herd, he hath his Laws to bind them, and he hath his Shepherds Rod to rule them, he doth bring them into good order: We want as well Christs Rod to govern us, as his Blood to save us.

7. A Shepherd doth relieve and feed his Sheep by the way: He won't see them starve, the Greek word for Shepherd, signifies to feed; the Lord Jesus doth mercifully feed his Flock, [Page 168] he won't let them starve, Isa. 40.11. He shall feed his flock like a Shepherd; Christ feeds his people in the Sanctuary: Gods Table are this Shepherds Tents: Eve­ry Ordinance is a fresh pasture for the Saints to feed in; Christ feeds Souls with the Bread of Life, he fed them with that spiritual Supper at his own Table: Here is the love of Christ the great Shepherd of Souls, he provides plenty of pasture, though some would rob Christs Sheep of their green pa­sture, and starve them, yet Christ will feed them; as long as Christ hath a spi­ritual flock of Sheep in the World, he will rather work a Miracle, than they shall not be provided for: He shall feed his flock like a Shepherd.

8. A Shepherd, he makes it a part of his work to look after his sick Sheep: Christs Sheep they are apt to be sick; some sick of Pride, and some sick of Discontent, and some sick of Envy, and some sick of Covetousness; Christs Sheep are apt to be sick, and he cures all his Sheep, that they shall never die [Page 169] of the Rott, Ezek. 34.16. I will bind up that which is broken, I will strengthen that which is sick: Christ hath those soveraign Oyls and Balsams, that can cure the worst distemper; he hath appointed the Preaching of the Word to be a healer of Sin-sick Souls, Ezek. 47. The Word preach'd is like the Waters of the Sanctuary, both for Food, and for Medicine.

9. A Shepherd keeps a continual watch over his Flock, that they be not stole, or devoured by the Wolf; so Christ doth watch over his flock, by his omnisciency that no hurt comes to his Elect, that they be not infected by Sin, and insnared by Temptation. Christ hath his Shepherd Eyes to watch his flock, and he hath his Shepherd staff to beat off the Wolf.

10. A Shepherd hath compassion of his Sheep; so Jesus Christ he hath tender Bowels to all his Elect, Isa 40.11. He shall gather the Lambs in his Arms, and carry them in his Bosom; [Page 170] and gently lead those that are with young. Observe, Christ Jesus is tender of his Lambs; he puts them in his Bosom, and such as are weak, and ready to faint, he gently leads; Oh! the bow­els of compassion of Christ to the Elect: He is full of sympathy, the Lambs never cry, but their cries go to Christs Heart; therefore in Scrip­ture Christ is said to be touch'd with the feeling of their infirmities, Heb. 4.5. The Saints never bleed, but Christ bleeds in their wounds, Isa. 63.9. In all their afflictions, he was affli­cted.

Thus much, as brief as I could, for the Analogies and Parallels betwixt Christ and Shepherd: He is the Shep­herd of his flock.

In the second place, I shall shew you wherein Christ is better than any other Shepherd, and doth infinitely excel, and transcend them, as it ap­pears in these Particulars.

First, Christ is a better Shepherd than any other: In respect of the [Page 131] Glory, and Dignity of his Person; other Shepherds, they are of the Earth, Earthly, but Christ is a Shepherd from Heaven, he is of Di­vine Original; he is equal with God the Father, Phil. 2.6. He hath a Con­substantiality with God the Father.

Secondly, Christ is a better Shep­herd, he excels other Shepherds, in that he doth cleanse and purifie his Flock, Rev. 1.5. To him that washeth us from our Sins in his own Blood: Christs Sheep while they are in the World will be apt to get spots, for the World is good for nothing but to spot; one spot­ted with Pride, another spotted with earthliness, &c. Oh! How do the people of God deface Gods Image, by rubbing it against the Earth? and the Truth is, going too much among the Goats doth defile them; but now Jesus Christ, he doth cleanse and purifie his Flock, washes away their spots; Christs Sheep they are white, and wash't in the blood of the Lamb.

Thirdly, Christ excels all other [Page 172] Shepherds, in that he hath an art that no other Shepherd hath, he teaches his Sheep; other Shepherds they guide their Sheep, but they cannot teach them; but Christ teaches his Sheep, that belong to his fold of Election, he instructs them in the mysteries of Sal­vation; and he teaches them after the most excellent manner, who teacheth like God.

First, Christ so teaches all his Sheep, that he makes them willing to learn, Psalm 110.3. They shall be a willing people: Christ doth not only inform the Judgment, but doth incline the will to embrace the Truth, makes them willing to learn.

Secondly, Christ doth not only teach the Ear, but he teaches the Heart, Acts 16.14. Lydia, Whose Heart the Lord opened.

Thirdly, Christ teaches his Sheep, not only to understand, but he teach­es them to obey, Isa. 2.3. He will teach us of his ways, and we will go in them: So that Christ teaches his Sheep, [Page 173] after the most excellent manner, he doth docifie them.

Fourthly, Jesus Christ is a better Shepherd, than any on Earth was be­fore or after: Because Christ he prays for his Sheep, many Shepherds scarce pray for themselves; Christ he prays for all his elect Sheep, Iohn 17.9. I will pray for them, as Christ knows every Sheep by name, so Christ prays for every Sheep by name; I pray for them: And what doth Christ pray for them? Why he prays that they may not wander, that they may not tire or faint, that they may not die by the way; and this is Christs prayer for his Sheep, Iohn 17.11. Holy Father, keep them whom thou hast given me: And this Prayer of Christ is prevalent, it doth prevail with God; if we consi­der Christ either in his Office, or in Relation, his Prayer must be preva­lent; consider him in his Office, as he is a Priest; consider him, as he is in Relation▪ as he is a Son; if God could forget Christ as he is a Priest, yet he [Page 174] could not forget Christ as he is his Son, Iohn 11.42. I knew thou always hearest me: And this Prayer of Christ for his elect Sheep is perpetuated; there is not one minute, wherein we can say, Christ is not praying for us; How can these Sheep that belong to Christs fold miscarry, when their bles­sed Shepherd is always watching over them, and praying for them.

Fifthly, Jesus Christ, he is a better Shepherd than any other; in that he shews more dear affection, and ten­der love to his Sheep, than ever any Shepherd in this World did; and no wonder Christ should thus love his Sheep: Because they are his own, he hath a propriety in them, Iohn 10.27. My Sheep, my Sheep, a man may be a Shepherd, when he is not owner of the Flock of Sheep. A hireling, he may take the charge of the Sheep, when perhaps he never cared for the Sheep, Iohn 10.13. But Christ he is the owner of the Sheep; though the Pope blasphemously call himself the [Page 175] Head of the Church, and Lords it o­ver Christs flocks, yet the Pope is an Usurper; the Lord Jesus he is the right owner of his Sheep, and hence it follows, that Christ hath such dear affection, and tender love to these Sheep, they are his own: Now that Christ bears more love to his Sheep, than ever any other Shepherd did, appears in these three particulars. 1. He doth compassionate his Sheep. 2. He doth comfort his Sheep. 3. He died for his Sheep. Was ever any love parallel to this?

1. Christ doth compassionate all his Sheep, and this I ground upon that forecited Scripture, Isa. 40.11. He shall gather the Lambs in his Arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young: Christ you see is tender of his Lambs, and puts them in his bosom near his Heart; and such as are faint he gent­ly leads. Oh! the bowel Mercies of Christ to his elect Sheep; that's the first, Christ loves his Sheep, he doth [Page 176] compassionate them; his bowels yern over them.

2. Christ doth not only compassio­nate his Sheep, but he doth Comfort them, the people of Christ who are his Sheep, they are given to trem­bling; Sheep are a trembling▪ a very fearful creature, and are apt to be dis­couraged; now Christ, he comforts them, and revives them, Isaiah 12.1. Thou comfortedst me. Christ comforts his people, two ways.

First, Christ Comforts them in the use of Ordinances, Word and Sacra­ment; in the one we hear Christs voice, in the other we have his Kiss and Embraces; in the use of Gospel Ordinances, the Saints are oftentimes upon the mount of Transfiguration; they feed upon Holy Embrocha, Christ gives them on a sudden such inward revivings as carry them above the love of Life, and above the fear of Death.

Secondly, Christ Comforts his peo­ple, the flock of his pasture, by his [Page 177] Spirit, that is called the Comforter, Iohn 14.16. The Spirit enables us to work out our Adoption, to read our Names in the Promises; the Spirit seals up Gods love to the Heart, up­on which there is a currant of divine Joy, runs into the Soul: Here is Christs love to his Sheep, he comforts them.

Thirdly, Christ shews his love to his elect Sheep, in that he shed his Blood for them, Iohn 10.11. I lay down my Life for my Sheep: The Death of the Shepherd is the Life of the Sheep. Consider Christs death in a three-fold Notion. 1. As it was painful. 2. As it was voluntary. 3. As it was Meritorous, in all these ways he shews his love in dying for his Sheep.

First, Look upon Christs death as painful; if the torment of the body was so great: Oh! What was the agony of the Soul? The Lord Jesus Christ, he was troden, he was squee­zed, [Page 178] in the wine-press of his Fathers wrath; the Evangelists use three Words worthy of observing to ex­press Christs agony; he began, saith the Text, to be amazed; he began to faint, Mat. 14.23. and he began to be exceeding sorrowful, Mat. 26.37. He felt Hells torment in his Soul, equivalent, though not locally; though Christ was anointed with the Holy Ghost, though he was supported with the Deity, though he was comforted with Angels from Heaven, yet for all that he swate great drops of Blood, the Text saith: Oh! the love of Christ in dying for his Sheep!

Secondly, Consider Christs Death as it was voluntary: He did part with his Life freely. It is true, Christs death was necessary in regard of Gods de­cree; but it was voluntary in this respect, that Christ chearfully yield­ed to suffering, Iohn 10.18. I lay down my Life; the Iews could not have taken away his Life, if he had not laid it down; nothing could have [Page 179] forced Christ to have died for his Sheep, but love: Nothing could have bound him to the Cross, but the golden chain of Love.

Thirdly, Consider Christs Death as it was Meritorious: It is the inlet to all holy benediction, it procures for us Justification of our Persons, accep­tance of our services, access to the Throne of Grace; it procures an en­trance into the holy, acceptable place of Heaven, Heb. 3.19. Behold, here is the Love of Christ in laying down his Life for his Sheep: He hath pur­chased glorious things for us, there was no way for the Sheep to live, but by the Death of the Shepherd; and for Christ Jesus to die as a Malefactor, having the weight of so many sins lying upon him, it was more than if all the Angels had been turned into dust.

Sixthly, Christ is a better Shep­herd than any other, in that he can make all the care and pains that he takes with his Sheep to be successful, [Page 180] which no other Shepherd can do; o­ther Shepherds, they may lead the Sheep to the water, or to the pasture, but they cannot make the Sheep have a stomack, they cannot make them have an appetite to feed, they cannot make the pasture to nourish their Sheep; but Christ our blessed Shep­herd, as he leads his Sheep into the pasture, so he can cause an appetite in his Sheep to their food, he can make them with a word speaking, hunger and thirst after Righteousness. Jesus Christ he provides pastures for his Sheep, and he only can bless these pa­stures, and make them nourishful to the Soul, 1 Tim. 4.6. Nourished up in the Words of Faith: Christ can bless the blessed Sacrament, he can make the Elements thorow the operation of his Spirit to be spiritual growth and nourishment in his elect Sheep: Thus he is a better Shepherd, he can bless the pasture.

Seventhly, Christ is a better Shep­herd than any other in the World; [Page 181] for he is a pattern and example to all his flock, an example of meekness, and of humility, and sanctity, he is a pattern for all his flock; and in this sence observe, Christ is said to go be­fore his Sheep, Iohn 10.34. how did he go before them? that is, by his holy Example, 1 Pet. 2.21. For even hereunto were ye called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an exam­ple, that ye should follow his steps. Ie­rom having read the religious Life of Delyan, and what an excellent end he made; now, saith he, Delyan shall be the example that I will follow. So let all the Sheep of Christ say, Jesus Christ he shall be the example that we will follow and imitate: Christs Sheep go astray, when they do not tread in the steps of their Shepherd the Lord Je­sus.

Eighthly, Christ is a better Shep­herd than any other, and far excels them; In that he keeps his Sheep so fast in his hands, that none can ever pluck them out, Iohn 10.28. Neither can [Page 182] any man pluck them out of my hand: Not one of Christs Sheep was ever lost; a Shepherd, though he is never so careful and vigilant, yet some­times a Sheep may go astray, and be devoured by the Wolf, but not one of Christs elect Sheep was ever lost, Iohn 17.12. None of them are lost, but the Son of Perdition. Iudas was never given to Christ, he was not a Sheep, but a Goat, none of his Sheep was ever lost; Christs Sheep some­times may go astray by errour, and may fall into the acts of Sin, as Da­vid; but Christ will reduce them, and bring them off again by speedy Repentance, Christs Sheep they may be lame, and faint, and can hardly go, but yet Christ he hath a care of the weak Sheep as well as the strong Sheep; the bruised Reed he will not break, the weakest Saint alive is so a Sheep, that he is part of his Shepherd: Christ and Believers are one, the Sheep cannot perish, but the Shepherd must perish likewise.

[Page 183] Ninthly, Christ is a better Shep­herd than any other, in that he puts his Sheep into a better pasture at last; takes them out of the Wilderness here, the valley of Tears, and transplants them into Paradice, there to feed a­mong the Lillies; he gives them E­ternal Life, Iohn 10.28. I give unto them Eternal Life. Christs Sheep may lose their golden Fleece, men may rob them of their Wool; and they may lose their lives for Christs sake, I but Christ gives them Eternal Life: Life is sweet, but that word Eternal makes it far sweeter: Eternal Life it doth consist in the fruition of all good things, Life, Beauty, Strength, Joy, Perfection, Eternity; here is the excellency of our good Shepherd, he gives his Sheep Eternal Life, he will take them out of the Wilder­ness, where are fiery Serpents, and place them in Paradice, and they shall feed among the Cherubims.

Thus I have shewed you how the Lord Jesus is resembled to a Shep­herd, [Page 184] and how he is a better Shep­herd than any other.

Give leave to make some Applica­tion.

VSE the first.

Is the Lord Jesus Christ, this great Shepherd which takes such care for his Flock; and is he a better Shep­herd than any other? Then let us all labour to know our Shepherd; here in the Text, saith Christ, I know my Sheep: And I know them by Name: I and I am known of them too, Oh! Let us know our blessed Shepherd; knowing of Christ is nothing else but believing in him: in Scripture Knowledge is sometimes put for Faith, By my Knowledg shall thy righteous Ser­vant justifie many. Knowledg is there put for Faith, then we know our Shep­herd Christ, when we believe in him. The blind World is Ignorant of Christ, Iohn 17.25. The World hath not known me; No! when they heard Christ preach? they did see his Miracles that [Page 185] he wrought, but neither Oracle, nor Miracle would work upon them: The World (saith Christ) hath not known me: Formalists do not know Christ sa­vingly; they have light, but they want sight; as if the Sun should shine upon a blind eye. Then we know Christ aright, when we believe in him, we fetch vertue from him, we are transformed into his likeness, this is to know Christ; Oh! let us never rest till we know the Bishop and Shep­herd of our Souls the Lord Jesus; as our Comfort lies in Christ's knowing us, so it lies in our knowing of Christ, our Comfort lies in Christs knowing of us with a Knowledg of Approbati­on; and also in our knowing Christ with a Knowledge of Apprehension; that's the first, let us know our Shep­herd such as know not Christ, will hear Christ say to them, I know you not.

Secondly, Let us not only know our Shepherd, but let us hearken to the voice of our blessed Shepherd, our [Page 186] Lord Jesus, as soon as ever the Shep­herd comes into the Field, the Sheep know his voice. Oh! let us hear Christs voice, Iohn 10.27. My Sheep (saith Christ) hear my Voice. Christs voice it is in the preaching of the Word, therefore observe, Christ is said now, just now, to speak from Heaven to us, Heb. 12.25. How doth he speak now from Heaven, but in the preaching of the Word? Oh! then hear Christ speak, but take heed, don't hear the voice of a stranger, Iohn 10.5. a stranger, saith Christ, will they not follow, Sheep will not follow a stranger, by stranger is meant one that is Heterodox, that would bring strange wonders into the Church, and poison Christs Sheep; as you must hearken to Christs voice, so take heed you don't listen to the voice of a stranger: Christs Sheep are rational, he hath given them a Spirit of dis­cerning, and they are able by their Wisdom to distinguish betwixt Truth and Errour, they will not hear the [Page 187] Voice of a Stranger. Then must [...] hear Christs Voice, but when do we hear Christs Voice aright? Then we hear Christs Voice aright, when we obey his Voice, and never till then. In Iohn 10. and several other places, you read of obeying the Voice of Christ, when Christ speaks of self-denial, of meekness, and merciful­ness, we obey him, and are ambitious to obey him; a good Christian is like the Flower that opens with the Sun, he opens to Christs commands, he doth cordially obey Christ; this is to hear Christs Voice.

Thirdly, If Christ be the great, and blessed, and good Shepherd; then let us all labour to evidence to our selves, that we belong to this Shep­herd, that we are the Sheep of Christs pasture. Let us search and try, whether we have the ear-mark of Christs Sheep or no; whether we are like Sheep; a Sheep is a pure and cleanly Creature: Are we like the Sheep of Christ, are our Hearts [Page 188] [...] from all filthiness of Flesh [...] Spirit? He that lies wallowing in Sin, is a Swine, not a Sheep.

Secondly, A Sheep it is a very use­ful Creature, every thing in a Sheep is good for something, the Milk, the Flesh, the Fleece, every thing is use­ful; are we the Sheep of Christ? are we useful? we should be always doing good; this is the very end of our Living to be good, and to do good; how useful was Saint Paul? the care of all the Churches lay upon him.

Fourthly, Is Christ this blessed Shep­herd better than any other Shep­herd? Oh then! let us labour to Love and Honour this blessed Shep­herd; doth the Shepherd die for his Sheep, and shall not the Sheep love their Shepherd? They that do not love Christ, they are not Sheep, but Goats▪ Give Christ, I beseech you, the best of your love, the [Page 189] Cream of your Love▪ the [...] gave Christ the Juice of her [...]granate, Cant. 8.2. Her spiced [...] Love Christ better than Estate [...] Relations; Relations may lie in [...] Bosoms, but Christ must lie in [...] Hearts; our love to the Lord [...] must be intent and ardent, [...] should like Seraphims burn in a [...] flame of love to Christ. If a [...] had three Souls, as a Philosop [...] once dream'd, they were all too [...] for Christ; let us so love Christ and shew it by an open acknow­ledgment of Christ; if we are cal­led to it, this is love to dare [...] own Christ our blessed [...] it is said of the chief Rulers, [...] 12.42. They believed on [...] but they did not confess him, [...] they should be put out of [...] Synagogue. Christ will never [...] that Faith, which will never [...] Christ, he that's ashamed [...] Christ, is a shame to Christ.

[Page 190] [...] and Lastly, I will but name [...] us answer all the love and cost [...]rist our blessed Shepherd: How [...] we answer this cost? Answer, by [...] fruitfulness, 1 Cor. 9.7. Who [...] flock, and eateth not the milk of [...] [...]ock? Christ hath feasted you, as [...] flock, Christ hath feasted you [...] his Body and Blood; Oh! then [...] him with the fruits of Righteous­ [...], be fruitful in Knowledge, be [...] in good works, I will close [...] with▪ Cant. 4.2. Thy Teeth are like [...] of Sheep, that are even shorn, [...] came up from the washing, [...] one bare twins, and none is [...] [...]mong them.

FINIS.

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