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Goſpel-Myſterie: OR, The great Vnion that is betwixt CHRIST and the SAINTS. From Cant. 2. 16. WITH A true Way to diſcern a Godly man from a Carnal or Vngodly man: AND The way how the Saints return after Back-ſliding.

Alſo, The Worth of a good Conſcience.

By Robert Dornford.

Revel. 3. 20.Behold I ſtand at the door and knock: if any man will open, I will come in and ſup with him.

LONDON, Printed by R. W. for Francis Tyton, and are to be ſold at the three Daggers in Fleet ſtreet, neer the Inner-Temple-Gate. 1652.

Chriſtian Reader,

I Have made bold to preſent thee with a few lines, in which it is like thou mayeſt find much weakneſs: I ſhall humbly in­treat thee to bear with that, and to lay aſide all prejudice that may ariſe in thy heart, and do deſire thee to read it over on this conſide­ration, That God makes uſe of weak Inſtru­ments for many good ends. And this I will aſſure thee, that I do not tell thee of that which I partake not of, but of that which I have both heard and learned, ſeen and felt: and do offer it to thee, not as my own fancy; but thou ſeeſt it no more then the Word of God witneſſeth: and therefore whether I pleaſe man or no, it matters not much. I know many Pretenders to be Saints, yet deny the Power of Godlineſs: The Lord turn all the hearts of his People away from them

In a few words; my deſire is, that thou and I may not have a name to live, & yet be dead: that we may not own the titles of Saints, and yet live as carnal as others, which many do at this day: But it is no more then we may expect, in regard the Lord CHRIST and the Apoſtles have foretold of Wandring Stars, and Clouds without water, carried about with wind.

I tell thee, whoſoever thou art, either Spi­ritual or Temporal, here is ſomething for thee to do: And therefore weigh that which thou readeſt in the ballance of Truth; and the Lord make both thee and me, not only hearers of his will, but doers alſo. Which is the earneſt de­ſire of

Thy Chriſtian Friend, R. D.

A great Neerneſs Betwixt CHRIST and the SAINTS.

THe words of Scripture on which I ſhall diſcourſe, is in the 2. Chap. of Canticles,

My Beloved is mine, and I am his.

In this, and alſo in the whole Treatiſe, we have the Expoſtulations of Love betwixt Chriſt and the Saints. I ſhall not ſtand upon the variety of it, but ſhall keep to the words, in which we have chiefly theſe four parts.

1. We have the Spouſes aſſurance of Chriſt; My Beloved is mine.

22. We have her great eſteem of Chriſt; He is her Beloved, or, He is greatly beloved of her.

3. We have her aſſent to Chriſt; I am his.

4. We have the Union betwixt them.

I ſhall endeavour to open theſe Heads in order, according as they lie. And from the firſt thing I take notice of, the Obſervation will be this;

That every Saint of God hath a full aſſurance of the love of Chriſt.

My Beloved is mine.

There is no being a Saint, untill thou canſt ſay, Chriſt is my Chriſt: untill Chriſt be thine, and in thee, thou art but a Reprobate, 2 Cor. 13. 5. But the Spouſe here hath a full aſſurance, that Chriſt her beloved is hers: the Spirit of God doth wit­neſs this unto her, as it appears by that Scripture in Rom. 8. 15, 16, 17. where the Apoſtle ſaith, that the Spirit of God doth witneſs with our ſpirits, that we are the children of God. This in it ſelf were enough to prove the truth of what hath been ſaid: but take a place or two more for confirmation. 1 Joh. 3. 1, 2. The Saints, they have a full aſſu­rance that they are the ſons of God, (ſaith John) And if thou art a ſon of God, then thou canſt not fail of the love of Chriſt. See Rom. 8. 9. If any man hath the Spirit of God, then Chriſt is his; if he hath not, Chriſt is none of his. It is this aſſurance of the love of Chriſt, that makes the Saints ſo con­fident; it was that which made them lay down3 all, lives and all for him. I know that my Redeemer liveth, ſaith Job, c 19. v. 25, 26.

From the ſecond thing I take notice of, the Obſervation will be this;

Obſ. 2. That Chriſt is deerly beloved and highly prized by every believing Soul.

I am now upon the cleereſt truth, and the eaſi­eſt proved that is, and therefore ſhall not ſtand long on it. Only by the way, take notice, That it is one thing to love Chriſt after this manner, and another thing to tell of loving him. Many ſpeak high words, and fine ſmooth ſpeeches; but they love not Chriſt ſo, as to part with all for him. But Chriſt is ſo deerly beloved to the Saints that are Saints indeed, that all things are as nothing, when it comes to competition with Chriſt. To you that believe (ſaith the Apoſtle Peter) Chriſt is precious, 1 Pet. 2. 7. There is nothing ſo dear to a poor Saint, as his dear Chriſt, who ſhed his blood for him. The Apoſtle Paul, how doth he declare his dear affection to Chriſt, Phil 3. 7, 8, 9. I (ſaith he) account all loſt for Chriſt; nay more then loſt; I account all dung, that I may win Chriſt, and be found in him. You may take notice a little, how the Spouſe, by which is meant the Saints, doth expreſs her love to Chriſt, Cant. 1. 7. O thou whom my ſoul loveth! and ſo almoſt all the Can­ticles is filled with the like expreſſions, by which you may eaſily ſee that it is a dear love the Saints4 have to Chriſt. Chriſt is ſo highly prized, you ſee, by Paul, that all things are by him accounted dung; nothing is ſo lovely in all the world, as the Lord Chriſt.

Thirdly, from the Spouſes aſſent to Chriſt, we may draw this Obſervation,

Obſ. 3. That all the Saints do give themſelves freely to Jeſus Chriſt. Or,

That all the Saints are given to Chriſt.

Thev are given to him by a twofold gift. Firſt, God gives them to him. Joh. 6. 37. All that the Father giveth me (ſaith Chriſt) ſhall come to me. and Joh 10. 29. My Father which gave them me, is greater then all, and therefore no man is able to pluck them out of my hands. Secondly, the Saints give up themſelves to Chriſt. I am his (ſaith the Spouſe) to do what pleaſe him with me; and now I am to follow him whitherſoever he goeth, as it is in Mat. 16. 24. He that hath given himſelf to Chriſt, (as the Spouſe, as all the Saints do) he is to bear his Croſſe, although in a field of blood. The Saints, they give themſelves to Chriſt, to be at his diſpoſe, to obey what he commands; as ap­pears plainly in Joh 10 27. My ſheep hear my voice (ſaith Chriſt) I know them, and they follow me. But I ſhall not ſtand here, in regard I know that all that are Gods, muſt witneſs to this, That the Saints do give themſelves to Chriſt, and follow him in that way he commands.


I ſhall draw one Obſervation more, which lieth in the way; that is,

Obſ. 4. That there is an unſeparable mutual union betwixt Chriſt and every Saint.

From theſe words, My Beloved is mine, and I am his, there is the union; as if the Spouſe had ſaid, I am united to Chriſt, and he to me; as the Vine is to the branches, Joh 15. 5. ſo is Chriſt to me, and I to him; and as the head is to the mem­bers, ſo is Chriſt to the Saints, and the Saints to Chriſt; and as the head is governour of the body, ſo is Chriſt over the Saints, and the Saints act by his light and motion.

This union is mutual: as it is with the conſent of will, and truth of love, ſo it is unſeparable; the love of Chriſt never changes it holds out for ever. As the Prophet Jeremy, c. 31 3. I have loved thee with an everlaſting love, therefore in loving kind­neſs have I drawn thee. Chriſt will never depart from his Saints; he will never leave them, untill he hath ſaved them to the utmoſt point of ſalva­tion, Heb. 7. 25. There is no peace, no quiet, nei­ther in Chriſt, nor in the ſouls of the Saints, longer then they enjoy each other. And that made the Apoſtle Paul ſay, Our life is hid with Chriſt in God. Our life is in Chriſt; there is no life for a Saint out of Chriſt.

Again, God hath given all the Saints to Chriſt. All that the Father giveth me (ſaith Chriſt) ſhall6 come to me; and all thoſe that come to Chriſt, ſhall never be plucked out of his hands, Joh. 10. 28. So likewiſe in Hoſ. 2. 19. I will betroth thee unto me for ever. The Spouſe of Chriſt is joyned to him for ever, there is no ſeparation. See one Scripture more, 1 Theſſ. 4. 17. At the time of death, when all ungodly men ſhall for ever be ſeparated from Chriſt, then is the time for the Saints to enjoy their Beloved fully and for ever.

You ſee now that this is a truth, that there is both a mutual union and unſeparable between Chriſt and the Spouſe, which is his Church or the Saints. Well, now from theſe Heads or Obſervations there will proceed Uſes.

The firſt will be a uſe of Examination to all in general; whether we have this aſſurance of Chriſt, yea or no.

The ſecond will be a uſe of Exhortation to all the Saints, that they love and prize Chriſt dearly, as it is their duty.

The third, to all that as yet are without Chriſt, that they be perſwaded to give up themſelves to him.

The fourth is a uſe of Comfort to the Saints in general.

The firſt Uſe is of Examination; to ſearch our hearts and ſouls thorowly, whether we have Chriſt or no: And in the doing of this, beware that you do not look on thoſe Evangelical Marks7 and Signes in the Word of God as notions; but bring thy heart to the Word, and ſee what thy Portion is there, and what thy fruits appear to be; and what Condition ſoever thou finde thy ſelf in, deal plainly with thy ſelf; if thou finde thy ſelf yet in a ſtate of Nature, then think it thy duty to confeſs it, and do not deny it, becauſe it is a ſad Condition; but own it, and take thoſe courſes to come out of it, that thou findeſt here­after mentioned.

2. Conſider the equity of this Duty, and the great need all men and women have to be ſure of Chriſt; You muſt have Chriſt, or elſe you are but Reprobates, 2 Cor. 13. 5.

Again, God chooſeth and ſetteth apart the Godly for himſelf, as you have it in Pſal. 4 3. and therefore I tell thee of nothing but what thou ſtandeſt in great need of, and which thou art re­quired to do, if thou intendeſt to be a ſharer in the Lord Chriſt. Therefore now let us put the Work upon examination, and ſearch after our aſ­ſurance; and if we are willing to ſee our ſelves in our own condition, then take notice of theſe marks which follow.

Firſt, Take notice what men and women are by Nature.

2. Conſider what the work of Converſion is: and what bleſſed effects there is that followeth this work.


Firſt, Conſider what eſtate all are in by nature, All by nature are the children of wrath, Epheſ. 2. 3. In this eſtate thou art in darkneſs, and hadſt no­thing to do with Chriſt; thou hadſt no fellow­ſhip with him; neither waſt thou any way taken with the Commands of God, as to ſee any love­lineſs in them; every ſoul in the world (in this eſtate) is alienated from God: and as Adam hid himſelf from God for fear of his ſin; ſo do all poor creatures run from God for fear of puniſh­ment; and as they are by nature, they never de­ſire to have to do with God; the guilt of ſin lies hard on every unregenerate ſoul; and that makes him a ſtranger both to God and his wayes: and therefore now let us ſearch into our ſouls, and try if our condition be not ſuch a one as this is.

2. Let us conſider, what the work of Conver­ſion is; and we ſhall finde it to be

A changing of this nature, and a quickening of the ſoul; as you may ſee in Eph 2. 5. It is a work­ing over of the ſoul into obedience to the Com­mands of God. And uſually the great God is pleaſed to do it by theſe ſix particular degrees which follow.

Firſt, By Illumination.

2. By Inſpiration; ſtirring up the ſoul to do the will of God.

3. By Operation; working up the ſoul to the love of Chriſt.


4. By Direction; teaching us to do the will of the Lord.

5. By aſſiſting us to do that which is directed to us.

6. By a full evidence of his Spirit, that we are the Sons of God.

Firſt, The Lord illuminates the ſoul; the poor ſoul being in darkneſs, and knowing no way to come out, the Lord enlightens him, and brings him to ſee his miſerable eſtate, John 1. 5. the Lord ſhews the ſoul the filthineſs of ſin, and his loſt and undone condition that he is in by nature; and his great need of Chriſt, makes him to long for his Aſſurance of the love of Chriſt, more then ever he did for any thing in the world: and now being enlightened, all things to him are as bad as may be; ſin is exceeding ſinfull to him, and he ſees himſelf loaden with it, and therefore, he is like thoſe in the Acts, who were ſo enlightened, Men and brethren what ſhall we do to be ſaved? Acts 2. 37.

2. The Lord works by Inſpiration: carrying on the ſoul to Actions of life, making him fit for ſuch ſervice as is now to be done; makes him ſtill in motion, and ready not only to ſee but obey. As Paul ſaith in Rom. 6. 17. Ye obeyed from the heart the doctrine delivered. This is worth ſome­thing to have the heart lifted up to God in Obe­dience, and to have the ſoul at an utter enmity with ſin, ſtriving againſt it in a continual motion,10 never making any peace with it. Therefore now try and ſearch whether thou haſt this Spirit of the living God acting in thee, carrying up thy ſoul to actions of life and power: If thou art inſpired by the Spirit of God, then take it for ever grant­ed, that theſe effects will follow.

3. The Spirit of God is an operative Spirit; it acts in the ſoul ſpiritual things: it begets its own likeneſs in the ſoul: it molds the ſoul in the new mold of Obedience to the Commands of God. The ſpirit of God works in the ſoul theſe opera­tive Acts.

Firſt, It works Faith.

2. It makes the ſoul live by Faith.

3. It drives him to ſee all in Chriſt, and nothing in himſelf.

1. It works faith in the ſoul, to believe that there is no way to come to God but by Chriſt; and that it is the work of God to draw the ſoul to him, John 6. 29.

2. This Faith will work up the ſoul to lay hold on him; it will cauſe the ſoul to reach forth it ſelf to Chriſt, to ſee him to be the Son of God, and to truſt and relie on him for life.

3. The Spirit of God doth by Faith work a mortifying of ſin; as it is in Rom 8. 10. If Chriſt be in you, the body is dead becauſe of ſin: Where theſe works of the Spirit of God come, it ope­rates, it carries the ſoul to a new frame of life. 11He that is in Christ, is a new creature, ſaith the Apoſtle, 2 Cor. 5. 17. This work of Faith lifts up the ſoul, to that ſpiritual Combat between the ſpirit and the fleſh. I ſee (ſaith Paul) a law in my members warring againſt the Law of my minde. It is by this work of Faith, that all the Saints hold out in this warfare; that they ſtill continue a Re­ſolution againſt ſin, to kill that; and to bring every luſt into ſubjection.

Secondly, It makes the ſoul live by faith, that is, it makes him (as it were) ſee, feel and enjoy all the Riches of God in the Lord Chriſt: you may in part ſee in the 11. to the Hebrews, what it is to live by faith.

It is to caſt thy ſelf with a full confidence up­on God and Chriſt for life and ſalvation. To live by faith, is to do theſe three things.

1. To put credit and confidence in God, that what is looked for we ſhall enjoy.

2. To look for our happineſs only in Chriſt, and not in our ſelves.

3. To reſt ſatisfied, as if we already had our deſire: to live by faith, is to credit what God ſayes; to Rely on him, to truſt him, with confi­dence that whatſoever he hath promiſed to us his poor creatures, he will make good: Heaven and earth ſhall paſs away (ſaith Chriſt) but not one jot or title of my word or promiſe ſhall fail. It is to caſt our ſelves on God and Chriſt, believing that12 he will, and is fully able to ſave even to the ut­moſt, in every condition.

2. Again to live by Faith, is to live by ſome­thing without our ſelves; it is to ſee all in Chriſt, and nothing in our ſelves; it is to look on our own righteouſneſs as dung; and wholly to ſub­mit to the righteouſneſs of Chriſt; as you alſo may ſee in Phil. 3 8, 9, 10.

3. To live by Faith, is to reſt ſatisfied in every diſpenſation of God, that all is for the beſt to us; and to look on all things as if they were al­ready done according to Gods promiſe, or our own deſire; ſo that our content may be in every thing as well as if we had all things; All things are yours (ſaith Paul) you are Chriſts, and Chriſt is Gods, there is a full enjoyment of all.

4. The Spirit of God works alſo by direction, directing of every ſoul, whom it hath wrought the former effects in, to do the will of God, to walk in the wayes of his Commandments, whiſ­pering in every ſoul, and ſaying, This is the way, walk in it. This duty thou muſt do, and that evil thou muſt leave undone. And therefore exa­mine thy ſelf; doeſt thou not finde the Spirit of God telling thee, thou muſt perform Duties of holineſs, and refrain the evil of ſin? if not, I dare ſay, thou art yet in thy ſins.

5. The Spirit of God works alſo by aſſiſting us to do that which it directs us to; it never13 directs us to do a Duty and leaves us: No, it ſtay by us and enables us to go thorow it, and not only ſo, but even with ſighs to God for us, which cannot be by us uttered, it helps our infirmities. Rom. 8. 26. Examine thy ſoul, when didſt thou ever go to God by prayer, or any Duty elſe, that this Spirit was not ready to aſſiſt thee? and to thy comfort take notice of this for time to come, and thou ſhalt finde this truth, if ever thou haſt had this work on thee.

6. God cloſes up all our comfort in this life, in this laſt degree of his working, that is, by a full witneſs of his Spirit, that we are his ſons and daughters. And this is a very high enjoyment indeed, yet no higher then all the Saints do enjoy; and indeed thou art not a Saint till thou haſt this Witneſs in thy ſoul. And this the Apoſtle Paul affirmeth in Gal. 4. 6, 7. Becauſe ye are ſons, God hath ſent the witneſs of his ſpirit to teſtifie it to you, and therefore ye are no more ſervants. Again, in 1 Joh. 3. 2. Now are we the ſons of God: And in Joh. 1. 12. He gives all that through faith lay hold on him, power to be his ſons: God doth evidence to all the Saints their intereſt in Chriſt, and this is to them a ſure Record; as 1 Joh. 5. 7. 8. This is the new name, and the white ſtone ſpoken of in Rev. 2. 17. which none knoweth ſave he that hath it. This is that earneſt which Paul tells the Epheſians of, in chap. 1. 14. And this alſo you may ſee in14 Phil. 1. 13. and 4. 30. After you believed you were ſealed with the holy Spirit; the which Spirit you ſee is that which ſeals all the Saints to the day of Redemption; and all this is given to the Saints, to aſſure them that God is their Father, and Chriſt their Husband, as the Spouſe in the Text doth witneſs. And yet further take notice how God doth this great work; he gives the Spirit as the earneſt of our Inheritance: as a man gives one pound, or one ſhilling in earneſt to pay a thou­ſand: ſo the Lord gives his Spirit in earneſt of enjoying his preſence in Heaven for ever. And the ſoul that hath this Earneſt, may be ſure, that as God is God, he ſhall have the whole ſum made good to him. And that all the Saints may know this is true, God will ſet a ſeal on their ſouls, to confirm them; and therefore thou mayeſt ſay on good grounds, if thou haſt this ſeal and this ear­neſt, that thou canſt not miſs of Chriſt.

Again, the Spirit aſſures us by working in us a fruitfulneſs. The Apoſtle ſaith, He hath wrought in us grace for grace, Joh. 1. 16.

So that the ſoul is now endeavouring to imitate Chriſt, and to have ſome of every grace that is in Chriſt; and this is alſo a help to try our ſouls by.

Ʋſe 2. The ſecond Uſe is of Exhortation to all the Saints, that they love and prize Chriſt ve­ry highly, that they make him the beloved of their ſouls, as we ſee the Spouſe doth; the Saints15 ſhould love Chriſt dearly, becauſe he is their All in all.

1. He is their Saviour, who died for them.

2. He is their Root, from whence all their good and happineſs ſpringeth upward to God.

3. He is their Head, through which is given down all their enjoyments.

4. He is their Life and Crown of Glory.

1. He is their Saviour, who died for them to ſave them, and them only, from eternal damna­tion, 1 Theſ. 1. 10. It was the blood of Chriſt which God accepted; the pretious blood of Chriſt, as Peter ſaith, 1 Pet. 1. 19. And therefore how canſt thou that calleſt thy ſelf a Saint chooſe but love Chriſt deerly; and account him preci­ous, who poured out his precious blood for thee? Think on this; for certainly it is highly to be pri­zed, that Chriſt the ſon of God ſhould die on the Croſs for poor ſouls to make them like him­ſelf.

2. The Saints ought to love Chriſt becauſe he is the Root that beareth all which God requires of them; you are compleat in him, Coll. 2. 10. He is a perfect Chriſt for poor imperfect Saints; he makes up the wants of the Saints, in his own obe­dience; and offers it up to God as a ſweet ſmel­ling ſavour.

How much then are all the Saints bound to love Chriſt as their Root or Bottom, on which16 they ſtand, in regard they are poor weak Crea­tures, and can do nothing without Chriſt, that is any better then dung in the ſight of God.

Thirdly, Chriſt is deerly to be beloved by the Saints, becauſe he is their head, through which God gives all that they enjoy to them. Nay, God hath laid up all his fulneſs in Chriſt for the Saints, as Col. 2. 9. For in him dwels all the fulneſs of the Godhead bodily; and ver. 3. Paul ſaith, All the treaſures of wiſdom and knowledge are hid in Chriſt. And in the ſame Epiſtle, chap. 1. ver. 19. It pleaſed the Father that in him ſhould all fulneſs dwell. By this you may ſee all Grace is laid up in Chriſt; and that is the way through which God gives all theſe Treaſures to the Saints: our Comfort, our aſſu­rance, our earneſt, our All in all is through Chriſt: And therefore let this exhort every Saint to fol­low Chriſt, to love Chriſt, and to account him pretious; and though thou ſee vain and carnal hearts to ſlight Chriſt, and their Obedience, yet do thou love him the more: tis a good warning for thee to quicken thee in thy love to him.

4. He is their life and Crown; no life out of Chriſt; thou haſt reaſon to love him who is thy life, Col. . 3 4. Our life is hid with Chriſt in God; and when Chriſt which is our life ſhal appear, then ſhall we appear. How ſhould this engage all the ſaints to love Chriſt, ſeeing he is thy all in all, and thou nothing at all? Love him for thy own ſake, if17 thou haſt not any better principles: For I tell thee thou oughteſt to love him deerly, like the Spouſe of Chriſt.

Ʋſe 3. The third Uſe is to all that yet want this Aſſurance of Chriſt: That they now whileſt yet tis to day, accept of mercy; you ſee that all the Saints have a full Aſſurance of the Love of God, and you ſee how God works on them, you ſee that there is no life but in Chriſt: Let all this ſet your hearts on work to look after this Chriſt, that you may come to have all thoſe high privi­ledges made yours, and have your ſins done away in the blood of Chriſt, that you may no longer be children of wrath, and under the curſe, but that you may be made like the Sons of God.

I ſhall not ſtand on this Uſe longer in regard here followeth a larger Invitation to all ſuch; to which I ſhall refer all that deſire to be made par­takers of this mercy, and proceed to the next Uſe.

Ʋſe 4. Which is the fourth and laſt, and is alſo a Uſe of Comfort to all that do enjoy Chriſt, and that can ſay upon good and ſure grounds, God is my God, and Chriſt my Chriſt; and let this Com­fort all the Saints, and bear up their ſpirits in eve­ry Condition; this ſhould be indeed the very life and comfort of the Saints, to conſider their neer relation to God and Chriſt; this made the A­poſtle Paul ſay, as he did in 1 Cor. 2. 9. Eye18 hath not ſeen, nor ear heard what capacity God hath put the Saints in; yet God hath revealed it to them by his Spirit. Here is exceeding comfort, that the great God ſhould do ſuch great things for the Saints as theſe are.

1. He hath made them his ſons.

2. He hath made them heirs of heaven.

3. He hath ſealed up their ſouls to the day of Redemption.

4. He hath given them the earneſt of his Spirit.

5. He hath made them partakers of his own nature.

6. He will make them like himſelf.

1. That they are his ſons, you may ſee in 1 Joh. 3. 1, 2. Now are we the ſons of God; and not only called ſo, but really to be ſo.

2. God hath made all the Saints heirs of hea­ven, Rom. 8. 17. ſo in Tit. 3. 7. They are made heirs of eternal life.

3. Their ſouls are ſealed up; God hath ſet a ſeal on them, Joh. 6. 27. Such a ſoul hath the Fa­ther ſealed. Their ſouls are ſealed to the day of Redemption, Eph. 4. 30.

4. God hath given the Saints the earneſt of his Spirit, as a pledge of his love, till they enjoy him fully, 2 Cor. 1. 22. ſo in Eph. 1. 14. it is called the Earneſt of the Saints inheritance.

5. He hath made every Saint a partaker of his own nature, 2 Pet. 1 4. And

196. He will make them like himſelf, 1 Joh. 3. 2. Put all theſe things together, if thou art a Saint, and apply the comfort to thy ſelf; here is an a­bundance of it; well mayeſt thou cry out with Paul, O the depth and riches of the love of God, to make poor ſinners ſo near to himſelf!


Two Queſtions anſwered.

The firſt is, How ſhall we know a Godly man, or a man in the ſtate of Grace?

The ſecond is, How ſhall we know an Vngodly man, or a man in the ſtate of Nature?

BEcauſe many, nay moſt miſcarry herein, thinking themſelves godly, when indeed there is no ſuch matter: therefore we ſhall endeavour to lay open to publike view, ſo that every Conſcience ſhall and muſt confeſſe, who in­deed is the Godly man, and who the Ungodly. And this we ſhall prove by Scripture, and alſo by experience, which cannot be denied.

The firſt Queſtion is,

Who is the Godly man, and how ſhall we know him?

Anſ. Thou ſhalt know a godly man aſſuredly by theſe nine particulars; both that he is a godly21 man, and wherein his godlineſs conſiſts: and he may know himſelf alſo by theſe marks.

Firſt, a Godly man is a Converted man, he is new-born, his Nature is changed. Every man muſt be a new Creature before he can be godly; and this Chriſt tells us in Joh. 3. 3. Thou canſt not ſee the Kingdom of God, nor any thing that pertaineth to godlineſs, except thou art New­born; that is, except God come in by his power, and give thee the ſight of all thy ſins, and (as it were) break thy heart at the ſight of them, and give thee true and unfeigned Repentance, and that he ſhew thee thy loſt and undone condition, as thou art in thy ſelf for ever, and that he hath cauſed thee to lay hold on the Lord Jeſus Chriſt for life; and to give up thy ſelf to be governed and guided by him. I ſay, except thou haſt felt this work upon thy ſoul, thou art not a godly man; and thou ſeeſt it is truth; Chriſt himſelf ſaid ſo to Nicodemus, and if thou wilt believe what he ſaith, let this be granted. And yet further, the Apoſtle Paul tells us, that if any man think or ſay that he is a godly man, or in Chriſt, and be not a new Creature, he is a lyar. And this you may ſee by comparing 2 Cor. 15. 17. with 1 Joh. 1. 6. If you ſay you have fellowſhip with God, or that you are godly, and are not new Creatures, but walk in your old darkneſs, then you ſee the word ſaith you are lyars: And although this be indeed the22 work of God alone, and that it be only between God and the ſoul; yet this is for ever a true Note, that thou canſt not be a converted man, but it muſt appear in thee; it did ſo in the godly men of Old; when Saul was converted, in the 9. of the Acts, you may ſee how it did appear to the world, that God had called him, and now he was not aſhamed to profeſs that which he had ſo much deſpiſed, Now Paul began to learn how to live godly in Jeſus Chriſt.

And becauſe this firſt mark is the wheel (as it were) which turns the whole work; give me leave to come as neer thee as poſſibly, and ask thee this Queſtion; art thou a changed man? haſt thou a new nature? is thy heart poſſeſſed with godli­neſs? art thou indeed a godly man? Then tell me, how cameſt thou to be ſo? Did not God work thee over by ſhewing thee the uglineſs of ſin? canſt thou not remember the time, when to be aſ­ſured of the love of God in Chriſt, was worth ten thouſand worlds? and was it not the love of Chriſt that hath conſtrained thee to follow God? If this be truly to be found in thee, I do aſſure thee that thou art a ſon or daughter of God. But if thou haſt received that which thou enjoyeſt, ei­ther by tradition or education, or elſe by ſome flaſhes of comfort upon any other ground what­ſoever, I tell thee thou art but an hypocrite, thou art not a godly man.


You ſhall ſee an example of this in Acts 16. 29, 30. When the power of God comes, then the poor ſinner trembleth, and O then what ſhall I do to be ſaved? It is the work of God to ſhew the ſight of ſin in its colour, that drives him to ſee the want of a Saviour: then Chriſt is deſirable and not before, not untill God begin to work on him; and therefore whoſoever thou art that thinkeſt thou art a godly man, and haſt not been thus changed, thou deceiveſt thy ſoul. There are many, nay moſt of the people in this land, that are even utterly loſt here; for alas they think that they are godly, becauſe of ſome moral excellencies that are in them; and ſo even from the Prieſt unto the people many are deluded. To all ſuch perſons I ſhall preſent that Leſſon of Chriſt, John 3. ver. 3. to 8. And as Chriſt ſaid to him, ſo ſay I to you, Marvail not at this; for it is a truth of God; and if ever thou ſee the Kingdom of God, thou muſt be acquainted with it: therefore ſtifle not thy conſcience which tells thee thou art not yet ſuch a one as hath been thus changed; and therefore now mark the godly man, and thou ſhalt finde him to be ſuch a one as I tell thee of: But when God is working on his Saints, you look on it as a poor contemptible thing, and many of you have mock­ed, as you did at thoſe poor Saints of God, whom the Devil and wicked men together called by a24 nick-name of Puritans; you would not be ſuch for a world, ſuch poor deſpiſed creatures as they were. Well, you muſt know, that of ſuch is the Kingdom of God; they were godly men. And ſo now at this day, they that are begotten again by the Spirit and power of God, they are the godly men indeed.

A godly man is a new man, and you ſhall ſee it in his life; I warrant you, he hath given ſin fare­well. It may be he was a Drunkard, a Swearer, and what not? But now what is he? Canſt thou diſcern no change? Is it not apparent that he hath put off the old man? as Paul ſaith, Eph. 4. 22, 23, 24. This old man muſt be put off, and the new man put on; aſſure thy ſelf whoſoever thou art, that thou art not a godly man until it be done in thee. A godly man is a cleanſed, a waſhed man, Tit. 3. 5. his filth is done away in the blood of Chriſt, Rev. 1. 5. A godly man, his ſcarlet ſins are made white in the blood of Chriſt, Rev. 7. 14. A godly man is a new man, his affections are new, he hath a new mind, he is renewed by the Spirit of God, yea in ſome meaſure he is ſanctified, 1 Cor. 6. 11. The Spirit of God now dwels in him, and acts him in ſpiritual acts. Oh how his mind is now taken up about that infinite love of God in ſend­ing the Lord Chriſt to die for him, and how is his deſire now after Chriſt? Give me Chriſt (ſaith he) whatever I want; all is dung to him (as25 Paul ſaith) in compariſon of Chriſt; now he can ſee the nothingneſs of all things below the enjoy­ment of God in the Lord Jeſus. A godly man, his heart is much taken with the righteous commands of God; there is nothing grievous to him, as Iohn ſaith 1 Joh. 5. 3. Wouldſt thou know a godly man, then take notice wherein he is imployed, thou ſhalt find him imployed for his God in acts of holines; thou ſhalt find him much in holy duties; thou ſhalt find him fitting himſelf for the Bride­groom, that he may go in with him into the mar­riage-chamber; and whilſt thou ſeeſt rugged and hot-ſpirited men gnaſhing at one another about carnal priviledges and empty ſhels, thou ſhalt find a godly man endevouring to ſearch out the great myſterie of the Goſpel of Jeſus Chriſt, and therein lifting up the praiſe of God, and trying his heart by the Word of truth, keeping a Diurnal of his daily practiſe, and ſo can ſay as Hezekiah, Remem­ber O Lord how I walked before thee I ſee 2 King. 20. This work is fit for a godly man, and by this thou mayeſt know him. So much of the firſt mark, He is a new man.

2. A godly man, wouldſt thou know him? thou ſhalt know him in the ſecond place by his Will; his will is now ſubject to the will of God. See an example of this in Saul, Act. 9. Although he was going with a full conſent to perſecute the Saints of God, and that with zeal; yet ſo ſoon as God26 doth but ſpeak to him, ſee the change in him, Lord what wilt thou have me to do? And let the will of God be what it will, he will be willing to ſubmit to it; and therefore it is that the godly man ſets ſuch a high eſteem upon the Word of God in the Scriptures, becauſe the revealed will of his God is diſcovered there; there he finds it the will of his God, that he ſhould hear the voice of his Son; This is my dear Son (ſaith God) hear him. To which the godly man anſwers, Muſt I hear the voice of Chriſt? nothing in the world is more ſweet to me. He looks not on it as a burden, but as a high priviledge, and would be content to enjoy it continually.

Further, the godly man eyes the will of God in all things, and endeavours to bring his will un­der it. As to inſtance in ſome things: firſt, in that which Paul ſaith, 1 Theſſ. 4. 3. The will of God is our Sanctification; the godly man ſees it to be the will of God, and therefore he endeavours accord­ing to his ſtrength to poſſeſs his veſſel in honour and ſanctification; I mean, acts of godlines, by humbleneſs, patience, prayer, thankſgiving, &c. By which thou mayeſt ſee clearly that he is ſuch a one as I have told thee of. And ſo likewiſe in all things, in every diſpenſation of God, the godly man is willing to yield to God, either to take up or to caſt down; in all things he is content, as Paul ſaith of himſelf, content in every condition.


And yet further, he is very inquiſitive after the knowledge of Gods will: a gratious heart is not content to follow God in ſome things, and ne­glect others: no, he is inquiring ſtill further, and ſtrives to go on to higher attainments: he preſ­ſeth forward (as the Apoſtle Paul ſaith) to the mark. And here thou mayeſt diſcern him alſo from the formal man, who keeps much ado about his knowledge, as if he knew all things, and would force all to live as he, and that none ſhould ſtep beyond him: but a godly man in the ſtate of grace, he is ſo far from this kinde of temper, that he ſees nothing in himſelf; and as Paul ſaith, 1 Cor. 8. 2. neither knows as he ought to know: Therefore his deſire is, that all men who are god­ly, ſhould preſs forward; he knows there are yet higher attainments to be enjoyed, and therefore is induſtrious to finde out truth; and when he hath found it out, he confers not with fleſh and blood, but goeth on to do as he is commanded.

3. Wouldſt thou know a man in the ſtate of grace, a godly man? thou ſhalt know him by his love to God and his wayes; ſuch a ſoul loveth the Lord Chriſt dearly. O how delightful are all theſe to him! he cries out as the Spouſe, the Saints of Chriſt, Cant. 1. 2. and 7. O thou whom my ſoul lo­veth! the heart and ſoul of a godly man is enga­ged to love God and Chriſt, and the wayes of God, that he thinks he never loves them enough;28 and cries out as David, Pſal. 31. 23. O love the Lord ye his Saints! and then for his love to Chriſt, he is ſick of it, longs to be with Chriſt, Cant. 25. Tell ſuch a ſoul of what thou canſt, tis in vain; his love cannot be drawn from his God and dear Redeemer; and therefore that is the reaſon why a godly man holds on in his love to God, and his wayes, becauſe it is fixed firmly, and on good and ſure grounds; and here now thou mayeſt diſco­ver why thoſe that have made fair ſhews in Reli­gion, have fallen away, becauſe they had not this love firmly fixed; they reſerved to themſelves other lovers which at laſt ſtole away the heart af­ter them. And again, the hearts of ſuch were ne­ver new modell'd; they never ſaw as yet what it was truly to enjoy the love of God; and there­fore how ſhould ſuch love him, ſo as to hold out all weathers? God will by one way or other diſ­cover all ſuch Wandring-ſtars; but chiefly his way is to do it by themſelves; he gives them up to that luſt which they were moſt in love with, ſo that all the world may ſee that they never loved God nor his ways in truth.

We ſee many in theſe dayes ſo laid open and made manifeſt: I hope it will not be long that ſuch rotten-hearted men ſhall have any ſhelter under the profeſſion of godlineſs. God hath be­gun to lay them open, ſome of every form. Some in turning with the ſow and dog, to build that29 which they cryed ſo often to deſtroy; and to ac­compliſh their ends, joyn themſelves with that Crew which God hath (as appears) deſigned to ruine; and this they do (as 'tis pretended) out of zeal. But wilt thou know what the practiſe of a godly man is? then ſee Gal. 5. 22, &c. to the end of the Chap. thou ſhalt in ſpight of thy teeth by this word be condemned; for in no part is this to be found in thee: in ſtead of theſe, thou art no bet­ter then a rigid Railer, who art not content with Gods will, but wouldſt have thine own accom­pliſhed, as appears by thy late actings, which 'tis a ſhame to name: And inſtead of admiring at the goodneſs of God in delivering his people from that trouble which they were in before theſe wars, and in bringing down the proud looks of the greateſt Enemies they had, even Mighty and No­ble ones are fallen; and that he hath raiſed a poor deſpiſed ſmall Number, and given them the Rule of this Commonwealth, and hath by them in ſome meaſure ſorely wounded the hairy ſcalp of the wicked: I ſay, in ſtead of thy admiring and bleſ­ſing God for this, thou art diſcontent, and haſt not a heart for, but againſt this great work. I tell thee, and thou ſhalt find it true, that if thou return not from this, thou wilt even periſh with the ene­mies of God and his people. I can only lay it be­fore thee; Be not wiſe in thine own conceit.


To be ſhort: Thou ſeeſt many others diſcover­ed. Some for defrauding the State, and ſuch like, have been Caſhie 'd, with their ſin on their head; Others more wicked, for denying the Lord that bought them, (as the Apoſtle ſaith.) Some called Ranters, and others who deny the Word and Or­dinances of God, are laid open; Others who are more ſubtile, yet deny Duties of holineſs, are diſ­covered. And now there is like to be no cloak for them, by reaſon thoſe that are truly godly are withdrawing from them. And therefore now, O ye wandring Stars! hear what the Word of God ſaith (which ſome of you deny) in the Epiſtle of Jude; and let thy Conſcience, if it be not ſeared, anſwer, What thinkeſt thou will become of thee, when the Lord Chriſt cometh in flaming fire to render vengeance on ſuch as thou art, for not o­beying his Goſpel? 2 Theſſ. 1. 8, 9, 10. Shift it not off, but receive this as thy portion. But to return to what was in hand before; A godly man may be eaſily known from any of theſe, by his love to that which they deſpiſe, namely (and in anſwer to the firſt) they delight to ſee the will of God accompliſhed; O how ſweet are his mer­cies! He eyes God, and bleſſeth him for reckon­ing with his enemies, and for bringing their necks to the block, and for rooting out their poſterity; and for dealing thus cloſely with that hypocriti­cal Nation of Scotland; and for diſcovering his31 and our enemies, that plot and contrive to hinder the great work of God on foot among us. Alſo by his love to the Word of God and his Ordinances, and his delight in holy duties; by theſe thou mayſt know a godly man. Mark them now for time to come, for they only are the godly men.

4. A godly man may be known yet further by his deſires; a godly mans deſires are chiefly to theſe following particulars.

1. His great deſire is, that he may bring ſome glory to God, and he is earneſt about it; Thou mayſt take notice of ſuch a man, he is ready to embrace all opportunities wherein he may do any good, and will not flinch back, though he ſee great difficulty in it; his heart tels him that God hath called him to it, and therefore he deſireth to imbrace it.

2. In the next place, he is earneſt in his deſires after Communion with God: as David ſaith, My ſoul longeth and panteth for thee, Pſal. 84. 2. ſo it is with a truly godly man; O how his ſoul longs more and more to enjoy the preſence of God! how doth it refreſh his poor ſoul to have communion with him! all his Springs are in him; the very life of a godly man is in his communion with God; what ſweet diſcourſes are there be­tween God and ſuch a ſoul!

And yet 3. his deſires are not only for himſelf, but alſo for others; as the Apoſtle, 1 Joh. 1. 3.32 that others may have fellowſhp in this precious enjoyment.

4. Such a ſoul, his deſires are always ſubmiſſive deſires, content with every thing God ſees fit for him, Phil. 4. 11. Therefore now by this try and ſee who is the godly man.

5. A godly man who is ſo indeed, is full of the bowels of love towards the Saints. Beloved, now obſerve who they are that his love is ſo to; they are ſuch as walk holily, ſuch as he is perſwaded have the image of Chriſt in them; and for this only he loves them. And here by the way, thou mayſt know him alſo from thoſe that cry up Forms, and love one another becauſe they are under the ſame form, and ſo judge carnally of ſpiritual things; and as the Apoſtle Paul ſaith, walk even as men, know­ing one another after the fleſh. See 1 Cor. 3. 1, 2, 3. I ſay, thou mayſt know a godly man from ſuch clearly; a godly man loves the Saints, becauſe they are his fellow-members of the body of Chriſt; he is bone of his bone (as it were) recei­ving nouriſhment from the ſame root. O how dear are the truly godly to each other! 1 Cor. 12. 27. Joh. 15. 5. Branches ſpringing forth from the ſame root, and ſo are dear to each other. Here thou mayſt diſcover an Hypocritical people in this Land, who would fain be accounted Saints; and thou ſhalt ſee they never take notice of them, nor ſhew any love to them, eſpecially if they be33 poor; proud hearts cannot ſtoop, except to ſome in places of honour. Well now, ſee that God hath ſet even the pooreſt Saint apart for himſelf, Pſal. 4. 3. Nay, God hath choſen the poor, rich in faith and grace, as James ſaith (c. 2. v. 5.) and it is moſt like thou art but as a barren wilderneſs, that canſt ſo eaſily paſs by and take no notice of them.

Again, the godly man loves the Saints becauſe they have taken up the Croſs of Chriſt, becauſe that now they are reſolved together to follow the Lamb whitherſoever he goeth; though in a field of blood, famine, nakedneſs, or whatever come, they will never leave Chriſt; ſee an example in the 11. of the Epiſtle to the Hebrews at large. A godly man loves the Saints, becauſe he ſees the beauty of holineſs upon them, becauſe they are ready ſtill to obey the Commands of God; by this thou mayſt know a godly man.

Sixthly, Wouldſt thou know a godly man? then obſerve this, a godly man, he is the greateſt ene­my to ſin that can be, he ſtrives to kill it. O how he ſees the uglineſs of it! and how he cryes to God for power againſt it! the ſight of it makes him to ſay as Paul, Rom. 7. 24. His body ſeems to him a body of death, by reaſon of the remains of ſin: well, but his work is to kill it, he gets on the Armour of God, and fights it out till tis deſtroy­ed; even the leaſt appearance of it is tedious to34 him; take notice of ſuch a man, and ſee how his heart is ſet againſt it both in himſelf and others; he hath a perfect hatred againſt it, as David, Do I not hate them that hate thee? yea, with a per­fect hatred; ſee Pſal. 139. 20, 21, 22. Well, what is the reaſon David hates them ſo; it is only becauſe they ſin againſt his God: 'tis becauſe they do wickedly that he hates them; and not only in o­thers, but alſo in himſelf: he hates every falſe way, Pſal. 119. 104.

By this you ſee a godly man is an enemy to ſin; he will kill and deſtroy it, if poſſible, as the A­poſtle ſaith, Rom 6 6. He thinks it the greateſt ſhame in the world, to ſin againſt his God; and therefore who ever thou art, aſſure thy ſelf, ex­cept thou finde in thy ſelf this hatred of ſin, thou mayſt conclude thou art not godly; thou mayſt conclude ſo, becauſe that every godly man is of a nature utterly oppoſite to ſin; the Spirit of God in him ſets up a ſtandard againſt it; he cannot en­dure it becauſe it is ſo contrary to his loving God: and here thou mayſt know him from one who makes no great matter of ſin, takes little notice of it, neither in himſelf or others: I ſay, thou mayſt know him clearly from ſuch; for he makes it his work to kill, and deſtroy both open ſins in others, and ſecret ſins in himſelf; and he is moſt buſie with that at home; he will harbour no ſin ſo neer the ſpirit of God.


Seventhly, A godly man makes Conſcience of time, he accounts his time precious, and therefore he takes much care how he ſpends it; and by this indeed may every man be diſcerned, in taking no­tice how men ſpend their times. A godly man takes all opportunities to do his duty, is carfull that he waſte not that which was bought at ſo deer a rate; he knows it coſt the blood of Chriſt, as 1 Pet. 1. 18, 19. And alſo the blood of many a Saint hath been ſpent for it; to gain this liberty and time we now enjoy, and therefore the godly man will not ſquander it away, he knows how to employ himſelf in it; he is not like to thoſe that ſay they know not how to paſs away time, and therefore uſe fooliſh gaming and carnal mirth; no, he is not to ſeek what to do in any ſpare time; his heart is on God and his glory; and therefore when time is to be had, he ſtudies how he may ad­vance that glory.

Again, he knows that Fellowſhip and Com­munion with God is ſweet to him, and therefore hath no time to ſpend wherein he deſireth not this enjoyment. Alſo he ſees much of the minde of God in his Word, and therefore all ſpare time that he can have, he imploys himſelf to ſearch it out. He ſees Communion with the Saints, and Communion with the godly, both pretious and profitable; and therefore his heart is ſo after it, that he cannot waſte any of his precious time in36 carnal and fruitleſs Diſcourſes; his delight is to meditate in the precepts of God day and night, as David ſaith in Pſal. 1. where thou haſt this largely ſet forth; there thou ſhalt finde what are the ways of the godly; and alſo what kinde of men wicked men are, which make no conſcience of time how they ſpend it.

And here now let none deceive themſelves, and ſhift off this Mark, as though it did not concern them; for aſſure your ſelves, tis a truth that god­ly men account time precious, and make Conſci­ence how they ſpend it. Lord teach me to number my dayes (ſaith David) that I may ſpend my time in wiſdom.

Again, the godly man knows that time is un­certain; and therefore whilſt he hath it, he will not be imployed about baſe and unfruitful Acts. And therefore now who ever thou art that haſt not thus valued time, look into that 1 Pet 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Is it not a ſhame that a godly man ſhould live in ſin? what ſhall he ſpend his time as doth the wicked? Did Chriſt die on the Croſs for a people to make them ſons of God, Heirs with himſelf; and ſhall they live to the fleſh? and ſpend their time after that? as 1 Pet. 4. Then I pray from what did Chriſt Redeem his Saints? was it not from ſin? from dead works? as 1 Pet. 1. 17, 18. if not, what meaneth that ſaying of the Apoſtle Paul, in Eph. 4. 1, 2, 3? & what meaneth that 1 Pet. 371. 14, 15 & alſo that in 1 Pet. 2. 9, 10 11, 12. Read & lay theſe to heart, for thou ſeeſt it is a truth that the Saints make conſcience of their time: A godly man ſees that he was called to that end, and therefore makes aright uſe of it. I ſhall end this branch with the ſame Advice & Caution that the Apoſtle uſed to the Hebrews in ch. 3. 12, 13, 14. And I ſay take heed leſt thou haſt an evil heart in departing from the living God, and from the ways of godlineſs, to ſpend thy time in idleneſs and profaneſs, leſt thou finde thy heart beſotted with the deceitful­neſs of ſin; and ſo inſtead of holding out, and perſevering in holineſs, thou art cut off and caſt out as a dead branch, and ſo withereſt away even to deſtruction. See what Chriſt ſaith, Joh. 15. 6. Read and conſider this Chapter.

Eightly, Wouldſt thou know a godly man? thou ſhalt finde him out by his manner of per­forming holy duties, thou mayſt perceive his heart to be affected with what he doth. If he prayes, thou ſhalt ſee how his words ſavour of the Spirit of God in him; ſo in his Diſcourſe his experience of God flows from him; And here thou mayſt know him from one who enjoys not the Spirit of God eaſily thus; though the godly mans abilites be ſmall, yet his duties are performed rightly; the other out of fear of Judgement, or out of for­mality, or to appeaſe Conſcience, keeps much ado, as the Phariſees did, of whom Chriſt ſpeaks38 in Matth. 6. thinking to get ſomething by it, and ſo ſalve up their wounded Conſciences who cry guilty. But the godly man doth his duties out of a tender love, and obedience to the object who hath ſo loved him, and ſo maketh good that word of the Apoſtle John; we love him becauſe he firſt loved us: ſo he doth them out of love, and alſo out of Obedience to his Commands. A god­ly man performs holy duties becauſe God com­mands them; and ſo maketh good that ſaying of Chriſt, If ye love me keep my Commandments. A godly man in his duties reſts not on them, but flies from them to Chriſt, and accounts all that is done in the creatures ſtrength but as dung and droſs.

Again, a godly man hath a low eſteem of him­ſelf, and he thinks he is in his beſt but an unpro­fitable ſervant. He deſireth not a high eſteem in the ſight of men. This thou mayſt ſee in a godly mans performances of duties.

Ninthly and Laſtly, Wouldſt thou know a god­ly man? then take that courſe to finde him as Chriſt ſpeaks of in the 7, of Matthew, ver. 16. to 21. See what fruit he beareth; a godly man bringeth forth good fruit, and by that thou mayſt know him. He is as David ſaith. Like a tree planted by the ri­vers ſide, which bringeth forth his fruit in due ſea­ſon; his leaf withereth not; it is not ſo with the wicked; ſee Pſal. 1.

Here thou mayſt know a godly man from frothy39 turbulent-ſpirited men; the godly man bringeth forth fruit with patience, Luke 8. 15. But the o­ther three ſorts there mentioned, were carried away: they could not have patience to wait ſo long on God: ſomething choaks their hearts: therefore be not deceived (as Paul ſaith) neither miſtake in this; for if thou doeſt miſcarry here, all is loſt, Epheſ. 5. where from ver. 1. to 26. the A­poſtle diſcourſeth what godlineſs is, and what kind of men godly men ſhould be, and alſo the ungodly what they are. Read and Conſider. A godly man is a fruitful man; and therefore be not deceived: Let men go under what title or name ſoever they will, pretend what they will, tis to no end, except they bring forth fruits, they cannot be godly; and therefore now we come to the laſt pinch; give me leave to tell thee who ever thou art, great or ſmall, rich or poor; let thy minde be what it will, let thy judgement be how it can; I tell thee except thou finde theſe in thee, thou art yet a ſtranger to the life of God and godli­neſs. And yet further, ſee what fruits theſe are in Gal. 5. 22. and ſo to the end of the chapter; a ſpi­ritual man bringeth forth ſpiritual fruit, as you finde in this Scripture; he is full of love, humble­neſs, patience, thankſgivings; theſe are fruits fit for a godly man to bear, and by theſe thou mayſt know him.

Further, Doeſt thou not ſee now who are the40 godly men in theſe dayes? if thou doeſt not, I will tell thee; the reaſon is, either becauſe thou art carnal, or elſe blinded with ſome forms or other, in which thou doeſt take more delight then in the power of truth; and that is alſo the reaſon why thou loveſt not the godly man for his godlineſs, but for his Judgement ſake; the examples of which are ſo ſad in theſe dayes, that it is a ſhame to name them. Well now, know that tis not thy form but thy fruit, that makes it appear that thou art godly; and God is glorified in thy fruits of righteouſneſs, and not in thy fooliſh fancy, for which thou ſo fretteſt thy ſelf. See what Chriſt ſaith, Joh. 15. 8. To be a diſciple is to be fruitfull, and in that God is glorified. I ſhall cloſe up this firſt Queſtion with the ſaying of David, in Pſal. 4. 3. Know that God hath ſet apart the godly man for himſelf; and therefore they muſt needs be fruitfull.

Now a word or two by way of Comfort to ſuch as are truly godly, and alſo of advice.

Dear Saints, Is it ſo that a godly man is ſuch a one as theſe nine particulars prove? and art thou ſo indeed? delude not thy ſelf, but ſpeak to thy ſoul, art thou ſo? Then to thine everlaſting comfort; conſider in what relation thou ſtandeſt.

  • 1. To God.
  • 2. To Chriſt.
  • 3. To the Saints and Angels.

For the firſt, As thou ſtandeſt to Godward, thou art his ſon, a ſon of God. See 1 Joh. 3. 1, 2. And becauſe thou art ſo, he hath ſent forth his Spirit in­to thy heart, whereby thou art made acquainted with that adoption of Son-ſhip. Now God is thy Father, and when thou haſt to do with his name, thou doeſt it in that relation, My Father, as Gal. 4. 6. Conſider of what comfort this is to thee, God is thy Father; and this is not all; thou ſhalt be made like him; nay, thou ſhalt ſee him as he is in the brightneſs of his glory. And therefore let this adviſe thee, that thou ſet not thy heart on any thing wherein thou mayſt grieve his Spirit; for he hath given it thee as thy earneſt, till thou enjoy him fully.

And further, Thy life is hid in God; there­fore live up in thy affection to him, where thy life is.

Again, thou art a Child, therefore with all du­tiful reverence honour thy Father; thou haſt heard already how it muſt be done, great will be thy comfort in the doing of it.

Ʋſe 2. Secondly, conſider in what relation thou now ſtandeſt to the Lord Chriſt; he is thy Lord, nay he is thy friend, he is thy brother, and he is not aſhamed to own thee ſo, Heb 2. 11, 12. nay, thou art a joint-heir with him. If thou art a godly man, here is comfort enough for thee; thou art an heir of heaven; I ſay, if the Spirit of God42 doth witneſs this to thee, what canſt thou deſire more? ſee Rom. 8. 15, 16, 17. & Gal. 4. 7.

Well, take this advice now in thy way; if Chriſt be thy Lord, give up thy ſelf to him, honour thy Lord; if he be thy friend, be faithful to him, deal not deceitfully with thy friend, (I am brief in this for want of time, elſe how far might I en­large it!) I ſay, if Chriſt be thy brother, then love him dearly; let thy love be as the Spouſes in the Canticles. Thou art alſo betrothed to him. Art thou an heir of heaven? then fit thy ſelf for thy heavenly ſociety; prepare thy ſelf to meet thy Lord, thy brother and husband, in the air, that thou mayſt for ever be with him.

3. Art thou godly? then ſee how thou ſtandeſt in relation to the Saints and bleſſed Angels: thou art a Citizen of the ſame City, one of the ſame family, a member of the ſame body, and a branch of the ſame vine; and much more might be ſaid: Thou art a Citizen with the Saints; ſee Eph. 2. 19. and of the ſame houſhold; Thou art come unto Mount Sion, to the Aſſembly of the Saints, as Heb. 12. 22 23, 24. and this is of infinite comfort to thee, that thou art a Citizen of the new Jeru­ſalem, and that thy Companions are to be all Saints and Angels.

Take this advice now, that thou make the Saints thy fellows here; love them, for they indeed are moſt fit for thy company; it will be a great hap­pineſs43 to thee. Art thou a member of the ſame body? a branch of the ſame Vine? what comfort is this to thee! thy nouriſhment proceeds of the ſame root; if thou art ſuch a one, thou canſt not conceive of half thy comfort it affords thee. I ſhall end my deſires to thee, with that advice which I know is wholſom for thee; namely, ſeeing thou art a member of the body of Chriſt, act like a member; and ſeeing thou art a branch of the ſame Vine, let thy fruit appear abundantly, that God may be glorified in thee, through the Lord Jeſus Chriſt. Phil. 2. 14, 15. Mat, 16 17. Fleſh and blood hath not revealed this to thee. A wicked man, an ungodly man knows not one title of this, Pſal. 92. 6.

The ſecond Queſtion is,

How ſhall we know a man in the ſtate of nature, or an Ʋngodly man?

I ſhall briefly and plainly diſcover ſuch a man, & in doing of it I ſhall obſerve the ſame method that I did in the other Queſtion. Then, if thou wouldſt know an ungodly man, my anſwer is, Thou ſhalt know him by the ſame nine particulars that I uſed to prove a godly man by, I mean by the Rule of contraries. And then the firſt Mark will be this;

An ungodly man is an unconverted man; he is ſtill in the Old man, he hath not yet had the work of God upon him; ſuch a man hath had44 no change wrought in him, he is the ſame that ever he was; he ſees no uglineſs in ſin, neither doth he apprehend any lovelineſs in Chriſt; ſuch men live ungodlily, they are men of unclean lips, nay their minds and conſciences are defiled, Tit. 1. 15. They are to every good work reprobate.

Again, an ungodly man never yet repented truly, neither can he endure to be governed by Chriſt; the yoke of Chriſt is too heavy for him, he cannot endure it.

Again, an ungodly man walks in darkneſs, and therefore note him, his works are ſo; he can de­light to ſwear, or lye, or to be drunk, or elſe to ſcoff and mock at godly men: and by theſe he is diſcerned.

2. To come more nearly to the buſineſs; Thou ſhalt know him by his will; he hath yet a perverſe will; his will is not ſubject to the Law of God, Rom. 8. 7. Tell ſuch a man of the righteous laws of God, and of his ſad condition, what cares he? it may be he will mock, or elſe bid you hold your tongue; his will is ſo ſet upon ſin, that you may ſee his ſhame daily. As for the Word of God, it may be he reads it, but to no purpoſe, for he ne­ver carries away any part of it; and for any duties or ſervice of God, it is not pleaſing to him, and he ſees no life in it, Mal. 3. 14, 15. He eyes not the will of God, but his own will he delights in. Further, his deſires are not to know God. Then, his Conſcience terrifies him.


3. Wouldſt thou find out an ungodly man? thou needſt not go far; For thou mayſt know him by his hatred to God and his wayes. Doſt thou not hear him blaſpheme, curſe, ſwear, revile, and rend the name of God? this is eaſily proved by moſt of the ſad ſouls in England. Others are more Civilized; yet ſome ſecret ſins keep off their love from God and his wayes; pride, covetouſneſs, and ſuch like. Alas, if thou ſet thy heart upon any ſin, though thou think tis not worth taking notice of, yet this is enough to keep off thy heart for ever from God. See Ananias and Sapphira, in Act. 5. They kept back part of the price, and that did undo them for ever. And now here thou mayſt take notice of many in theſe dayes, who pretend they are godly; do but mark them, and thou ſhalt ſee they keep much, or at leaſt part of the price: they, when time ſerves, can break out, ſo that diſcovery is made; a rotten heart cannot hold out, becauſe his love is where his treaſure is, as Chriſt ſaith, Mat. 6. 21. Read and lay this to heart.

4. We may diſcern an ungodly man by his de­ſires: What is that which he deſires moſt? 'Tis moſtly to be rich, to have honour, to live without care, and enjoy outward contentments. Mark him now: when didſt thou ever ſee him lament in his deſires after the enjoyment of God? when didſt thou ever find him diſputing for God and his46 wayes? It may be thou ſhalt find them going to hear the Word, and thruſting among godly men; but do but mark them, and as ſoon as he is de­parted, his mind is on what he deſires, and that he followeth. And this is the ſad tone of many poor Profeſſors at this day; they profeſs to know God, but in works deny him.

5. Thou mayſt know an ungodly man by his hatred to the Saints: ſuch a man loves not the Saints; he can ſee nothing wherefore he ſhould love them that are indeed the Saints; he looks on them as ſimple, poor, mean-ſpirited fools; he knows no better Saint then himſelf, for (ſaith he) I hope to be ſaved as well as the beſt of you that are ſo preciſe; and ſo ſhifts off all upon an unſound rotten hope. Poor ſoul, know, thou art yet in the gall of bitterneſs: what account wilt thou give to the Lord Chriſt, when thou ſhalt ſtand naked be­fore him with all thy ſins about thee? what think­eſt thou, wouldeſt thou not love a Saint then? Remember, Chriſt is coming in flaming fire to ren­der vengeance on thee and all others that hate his Saints, and obey not his Goſpel, Mat. 25. 41. to the end. If thou haſt ears to hear, then hear.

6. Wouldſt thou know an ungodly man? thou ſhalt know him by this; He loves ſin; it is ſo ſweet to him, that he cannot part with it. Tell ſuch a man a carnal ſtory, let him ſee another drunk, and hear another blaſpheme, he laughs at it; let it be what47 ſin it will, it never troubles him, he delights either in theſe or ſome other: poor ſoul, he knows not how hateful it is in the ſight of God. Take notice now in theſe times, where in the hand of the Ma­giſtrate is lifted up againſt ſin, and thou ſhalt ſee what ſhift poor ſouls make to ſin! They will be drunk in the night; others more ſecret, yet God finds them out; of which we have many examples of late, and its like more will follow ſpeedily. Fear then and tremble at your ſins, and repent, that thou mayſt be hid in the day of the Lambs wrath. See Rev. 6. 15, 16, 17.

7, & 8. A man in the ſtate of nature is known by this: He makes no conſcience of Time, neither cares he how it is ſpent; he never conſiders what it coſt, and that had it not been for the ſakes of the Saints, he had now been in hell; he minds not holy duties, they are irkſom to him. Take notice of him, and thou ſhalt ſee him employed about his own luſts, moſt of his time is ſpent in vain com­pany; he thinks not of his uncertainty, except it happen that ſickneſs fall on him, and then his Conſcience flies in his face; but being recovered, he returns with the ſow to wallow in the mire. This is the ſad condition of many poor ſouls, who if they continue ſo, will one day cry for the hils to fall on them, to hide them from the preſence of God.

9. And laſtly, an ungodly man may be known48 by that mark which Chriſt uſed, Mat. 7. 18. A cor­rupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. Thou mayeſt know a wicked man by his fruit: See what his fruit is, it is of the fleſh, it is ſin that he bears, as the Apoſtle ſaith, Gal. 5. 19. 20, 21. Well, know now from this Word of God, that being in this condition, thou haſt a ſad ſentence lying on thee; Thou ſhalt be cut down and caſt into the fire, Mat. 7. 19. They are the words of Chriſt, and thou art under this condemnation; and whi­ther wilt thou flie from his preſence? See in Pſal. 139. v. 7, 8. God will find thee out one day, do what thou canſt; and then what will be­come of thee? See Rev. 22. 15. there's thy por­tion; The wicked ſhall be turned into hell, and all that forget God.

Ʋſe. Is it ſo that a natural man is ungodly, and that we have found him who he is; and that he is in ſo ſad a condition? O then poor ſoul, take this advice, flie to the Lord Chriſt; there is no way but that, or be damned. Let no time ſlip now; yet whileſt thou haſt life, it may be thou mayſt finde grace: Chriſt came on purpoſe to ſave ſinners; Cry to him that thou mayſt be one of them. Turn now from ſin, and ſet thy face againſt the appea­rance of it. Love the Saints, get acquainted with them, thou haſt heard who they are: they will in­form thy dark judgement. Leave off thy old Companions; think it no ſhame to do it, for thou49 muſt do it if ever thou be ſaved. Turn from Sa­tan to God, that thou mayſt receive forgiveneſs of ſins, and an inheritance among thoſe that are ſan­ctified. Read the 3. of the Acts from ver. 19. to the end.


The Manner of a Godly Mans Return after ſome Back-ſliding from the ways of GOD.

FIrſt, Experience tells me the heart is de­ceitful; the Old man being not wholly crucified, ſtrives to inſnare our poor ſouls, and many times gets advantage, and brings us to a loſt Condition. I am ſure in theſe days many a poor ſoul hath even run himſelf off from holy duties and from the ſociety of the Saints, and ſo hath lain, and not ſeen his evil: nay, grew dead (as it were) and hardened in it. Many ſuch are returned already; and all the reſt that are God's, will follow.

But before I go any further, I ſhall ſhew ſome of the Reaſons or Cauſes that have made this diſ­order, which otherwiſe tis like might not have been.

The firſt cauſe was the terrible out-cries of ſome Miniſters againſt all that ſeparated from their National Worſhip, calling them Hereticks, Blaſ­phemers,51 and ſuch like, calling upon the Parlia­ment, and Magiſtrate to puniſh and deſtroy them, with theſe enſuing puniſhments.

  • 1. With threatnings and ſcourgings.
  • 2. With impriſonments.
  • 3. With baniſhments.
  • 4. With death.

This was common in their Pulpits, for which I am confident God will reckon with them, becauſe this was the firſt offence, and the cauſe of much bitterneſs. And truly, moſt of the reaſon that mo­ved them was fear that now they ſhould not keep the people in blindneſs, and that their Lord-like power would not ſtand over the Conſciences of men. And the Reaſon why I thus conclude is this, becauſe they only are the men that uphold For­mality; how loth are they to part with their old Reliques? nay, we ſee that many of the Grand fathers among them, ſtill wear their old weed; the rags of Prelacy will hardly come down. Nay, that which is far worſe, their patching up a body for Chriſt, of their carnal hearers, and calling them his Church, and giving them the Ordinan­ces of Chriſt, which are left only for the Saints, the proof of which is ſo plain that none can deny: and now it ſhould do well if you would look and ſee if your Members are ſuch as Chriſt ſaith his be, John 15. And ſee then what fruit they bear; are not moſt of them meer ſots in any thing of52 God? haſt thou found a change in them? doth not thy conſcience tell thee that not one of them is truly godly? what then haſt thou to do to give the childrens bread unto them? And now one thing more I have obſerved from thee, thou art over­joyed to ſee any one that is not in thy Form fall into ſin: thou never art troubled that God is diſhonoured by it: neither doſt thou take no­tice of the daily wickedneſs committed by thoſe of thy own form: but this thou ſayeſt, This was one of the fellows under new light, and ſo en­deavoureſt to caſt dirt on all. And by ſuch like courſes have thy ways provoked many to ſlight thee and that juſtly. And envy and evil hath been by thee procured even to the hurt of the Saints. VVo be to him by whom offences come.

2. Another Reaſon why many have back­ſlidden, is becauſe of many rotten hearts among themſelves, which always waited to finde holes open, that under ſome pretence they might run forth to ſin, and by this means many were be­fooled with them.

3. Another was the rigidneſs of them under forms, ſo that there was no Communion with them unleſs a man agreed in every part of their judgement, which many could not do, and there­fore were fain to withdraw from them, and ſo to abide alone, which hath cauſed much evil.

But to return to the matter in hand: Tis truth53 many have back-ſlidden: the Queſtion will be from what they did back ſlde?

Anſw. It was from the ways of God: and in particular theſe.

From the Communion of Saints.

From holy Duties: As Prayer and Thankſgi­giving, and ſuch like. Theſe have been neglected, and reading and meditating on the Word of God: or, that there hath been a yielding to ſome ſin, or that there hath not been that watchfulneſs over the heart and lips as there ought. Theſe are the things both omitted and committed.

Now a godly man lies not here, but he returns; and the manner how he doth return, here fol­loweth.

Firſt, God brings him to ſee the evil of it: as in Jeremy 31. 19. And then the heart is aſhamed and repents for what hath paſt; and it works in him a Revenge againſt ſin, and a ſearching of the heart: there ſhall no ſin now lie in quiet. He longs now for the wayes of God, and he ſees what tis to want Communion with the Saints, and now he longs for it again, and loves them dearly, where he ſees fruitfulneſs in grace.

Again, his heart is much for holy duties; he will keep cloſe to God by prayer, his ſoul longs for Communion and fellowſhip with his God; as David ſaith, His ſoul panteth for God, and lon­geth to enjoy more of him: he ſees his own no­thingneſs54 and weakneſs, and he flies wholly to the Lord Chriſt; he dares not truſt himſelf any more. His delight is in the Law of his God, as David ſaith. And this is the manner how a backſlider re­turns to God and his ways.

I ſhall only add a word or two more, and that ſhall be of Advice.

1. To thoſe that are not yet returned, but are ſtill in a back-ſliding condition. Come off now, and lie not in this ſad luke-warm condition, and minde what Chriſt ſaith in Rev. 3. v. 15, 16, 17. Think it no ſmall matter to be lukewarm in the wayes of God and godlineſs, leſt thou be ſpued out of his mouth.

2. To thoſe that have ſeen the evil of it, Let this alſo adviſe thee that thou keep cloſe now to thy God, and the ways of Godlineſs: thou ſeeſt that tis not in vain to ſerve thy God; ſet about it then with a perfect heart, and keep a narrow watch that thou be no more enſnared: Let it ap­pear of a truth, that the power of God and god­lineſs is in thee.



Wherein is contained.

  • 1. The worth of a good Conſcience.
  • 2. The Happineſs of a holy Converſation.
  • 3. The Bleſſed and Comfortable Eſtate of thoſe that have a true fellowſhip, with God, Chriſt and the Saints.
  • 4. What tis to bear the Croſs of Chriſt.
  • 5. The Reward in holding out to the end.
  • 6. An Invitation of all ſorts of ſinners to the offer of Grace.
  • 7. The wofull Condition of all that accept not of it.

A wiſe man will hear, and will increaſe learning, Pro. 1. 5. You therefore that are wiſe, and endued with knowledge, ſhew it in a holy converſation,

Jam. 3. 13.

THe firſt thing we are to ſpeak of, is a good Conſcience and the great Worth of it. Be­cauſe moſt men and women keep much ado about it, and yet deceive themſelves, we ſhall proceed,

561. To ſhew what a good Conſcience is:

2. To prove the worth of it.

1. What is a good Conſcience?

A good conſcience is a conſcience waſhed in the blood of Chriſt; that is the firſt ſtep of a good conſcience, Heb. 9. 14.

I ſay, the firſt ſtep is to be waſhed in the blood of Chriſt; that is, to have the guilt of ſin clean done away in him. As in Rev. 1. 5. He is the faithful witneſs, that hath offered up to God a Sacrifice which hath fully ſatisfied him; as Iſa. 53. 11. This Chapter is full of this Diſcourſe.

Again, A good conſcience being ſo waſhed, will endeavour to avoid all offences both to God and man; as you ſee in Acts 24. 16.

This waſhing and purging doth not only make clean, but alſo keeps it clean. It doth not only juſtifie the ſoul, but alſo it ſanctifies, Heb. 9. 14.

2. A good conſcience, is a quick-ſighted con­ſcience, and that two wayes,

In ſeeing what is
  • Good.
  • Bad.

1. He ſees the good, and rejoyceth, as Paul in 2. Cor. 1. 12. Our rejoycing (ſaith the Apoſtle) is in the teſtimony of a good conſcience, that with godly ſincerity we have walked. Here the conſci­ence ſees the good.

2. A good Conſcience ſees the evil, and ſtrives againſt it: As you ſee the ſame Apoſtle, Rom. 7.57 23, 24. But I ſee (ſaith Paul) another law in my members; O wretched man that I am! here is a quick-ſighted Conſcience; he ſees the old man ſtriving, ſin endeavouring to make inroads upon the poor ſoul very often; and therefore it is happy for any ſoul that hath a ſight of it. By this you ſee that a good Conſcience is quick ſighted.

And yet further, ſuch a Conſcience will not de­ceive thee; he will not lie quiet when thou doeſt evil, but will tug with thee for repentance: and therefore whoever thou art that haſt a dead Con­ſcience, and that lieſt quiet, ſeeſt no evil in thy corrupt nature, thou mayſt have cauſe to fear that the guilt is not waſhed away, but that thou art ſtill in the ſtate of nature.

Again, a good Conſcience fears to ſin, nay he trembles at it; and the reaſon is, becauſe it is a­gainſt his God; becauſe God hates it, therefore he hates it. See an example of this in Gen. 39. 9. How ſhall I do it (ſayes Joſeph) ſeeing the ſin is againſt my God? I dare not do it.

Let this teach all that love God, to anſwer Sa­than and all their tempters thus: I will not yield to any thing that is againſt my God.

Again, a good Conſcience fears to wound it ſelf by leaving undne thoſe duties which God requreth of him; and therefore his work is to keep it ſelf pure and unſpotted, as Paul ſaith in 2 Tim. 1. 3. and his work is to find out and do the58 will of God. Such a Conſcience is alwayes fear­full that he doth too little for God, and that his heart is never right enough in what he doth.

Theſe are the marks to know a good Conſci­ence: there are many more marks to know a good Conſcience by, but for the preſent theſe are all that I ſhall name, this being only by the way to make the other more clear.

The next thing is, the worth or value of a good Conſcience.

Although I cannot tell or declare the juſt value, yet I ſhall ſhew ſome of the worth or value of a good Conſcience, by which you ſhall ſee how good it is to have ſuch a Conſcience: and to do it, I ſhall lay down theſe four grounds, which will make it appear why it is at ſuch a rate.

1. A good Conſcience is worth much, becauſe it tels thee thou art at peace with God; thy Con­ſcience teſtifies to thee that thou art ſo, as Paul ſaith, 2 Cor. 1. 12.

2. A good Conſcience ſpeaks peace to thee, and excuſeth thee, as Paul ſaith Ro. 2. 15. When Sa­than and all thy accuſers flie in thy face, thy Con­ſcience tels thee Chriſt hath paid and ſatisfied the juſt Law of God to the full, and that thou art ac­quitted fully. This is of much worth to thee, and thou canſt not ſet worth enough on it.

3. The comfort of thy life is much in this, that thou haſt not a feared Conſcience, neither a dead59 Conſcience, neither a Conſcience ſubjected to dead works; but that thy Conſcience is awake, and feels and is ſenſible of evil, and alſo of good; and that it tels thee daily without flattery, how the caſe ſtands with thee. I ſay, ſuch a Conſcience is much to be valued, that deals plainly, and flies in thy face when thou ſinneſt, and that will never leave thee till thou ſee and repent of it: and alſo when thou doeſt that which is good, that Conſcience will alſo tell thee thou doeſt thy duty, and thou mayſt expect God and his Spirit with thee in do­ing his will. Search and ſee now whether this be not worth much.

4. The worth and value of a good Conſcience, is very high at the time of death. When death comes to take thy life, what is a good Conſcience worth then? O then 'tis worth much! What would a man whoſe Conſcience condemns him, give then for this good Conſcience? even ten thouſand worlds, if he had them. I tell thee, that then it will bring thee into the preſence of God with joy; whereas on the contrary it will be as that ſaying of our Lord, Mar. 9, 46. a worm which will not die.

Is a good Conſcience of ſuch worth? O then ſtrive to keep a good Conſcience; let thy exerciſe be much in it, as the Apoſtle Paul ſaith, Act. 24. 16. both towards God and man: firſt to God; ſee thou do thoſe duties he requires of thee, and ſee60 thou wound not thy Conſcience by thy neglect; hearken what thy Conſcience ſaith, and quench not thoſe whiſperings, when it tels thee thou muſt do this duty, and forbear that evil: I ſay, whatever thou doeſt, keep it clear between God and thy ſoul.

Again, keep a good Conſcience towards God and man; and to do it, obſerve theſe things.

1. That thou avoid carnal company, and carnal ſpeaking; for that will much offend thy Conſci­ence; becauſe thou ſhouldſt make the Saints thy companions, and thy Experiences of God thy diſcourſe.

2. Be often in private ſpeaking to thy Father; for he longs to hear from thee, and thy Conſci­ence will ſoon tell thee that thou haſt found him meeting thee; God is a loving Father, and he delights to have his Children often ſpeaking to him, and keeps a book of Remembrance, as in Mal. 3. 16, 17. God will make up ſuch among his Jewels; and as a father ſpareth his ſon that ſerveth him, ſo will God ſpare ſuch a ſoul.

3. Have a care what thou doeſt in thy dealings among men; keep a good Conſcience: here thou ſhalt find many idle words not fit to come out of thy mouth, and many times thy Conſcience tels thee that it is evil; avoid it now, and ſet a watch before thy heart and lips, that thou mayſt keep a clear Conſcience. And be ſure that thou defraud61 no man: but deal juſtly, or elſe thou wilt hurt thy conſcience; ſeek truth as the Apoſtle Paul ſaith, Eph. 4. 25. And grow up unto him, who is thy head, as in Eph. 4. 15. Thus much for the firſt Queſtion.

The ſecond thing is,

A holy Converſation, what it is? and the hap­pineſs that comes by it.

1. What is a holy converſation? A holy con­verſation is this, When a man walks in the ways of God and godlineſs, then he is ſaid to have a holy Converſation, as in 2 Pet. 3. 11. The Saints of God they are called to it, as we ſee in 1 Pet. 1. 15, 16. Our God is holy, ſaith the Apoſtle, and therefore ye ought to be ſo in all manner of Con­verſation, that is, as if he had ſaid, O ye Saints! your God is a holy God, and cannot endure ſin, eſpecially in you; therefore be ye holy, that is, be ye obedient unto your God, do what he hath commanded you; be ye godly, call upon your Fa­ther, walk in his ways; let thy converſation be in heaven, as the Apoſtle ſaith in Eph. 3. 20. A holy converſation is a heavenly converſation. I ſhall not ſtand here any longer, in regard I have laid down nine particulars, whereby a godly man may be known. I ſhall proceed to the benefits that come by a holy life and converſation: you ſhall finde them to be many: As

621. Thy Communion with God and the Lord Chriſt; if thou live a holy life, God will delight in thee to do thee good; and will ſhew thee his ſalvation, Pſa. 50. 23. and will have Communion with thee. God is Light, and there­fore he will not have communion with darkneſs, as Paul ſaith in 2 Cor. 6. 15, 16, 17, 18.

2. The Saints will love; and own thee if thou live a holy life, then thou wilt have the benefit of their Communion; otherwiſe if thou live ungod­ly, they will not own thee. Conſider the benefit of this, what it is to be owned among the Saints and ſervants of the Lord.

3. Thou will finde comfort in the courſe of thy life, when the judgments of God fall on the wicked, for diſobeying his Commands, and that they know not whether to flie from his hand; and that the Lord ſay to ſuch unprofitable ſervants, get you from me into utter darkneſs for ever, as in Matth. 25. 30. Of what benefit will this holy life be to thee, that when thy Lord Chriſt cometh, he ſhall finde thee doing his will? as in Matth. 24. 46.

4. At the time of death, thou wilt finde a be­nefit indeed, when thou canſt ſay, as Chriſt ſaid, I have finiſhed thy work which thou gaveſt me to do, Joh. 17. 4. And I have glorified thee on earth. What thinkeſt thou? will it be of no value then, that thou haſt lived holy? Thou mayeſt ſee of63 what worth the Apoſtle Paul makes it in 2 Tim. 4. 6, 7, 8. My departure is at hand, but here is my comfort, I have fought a good fight, I have fini­ſhed my courſe, and kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a Crown of righteouſneſs; and for all them that love the appearing of Jeſus Chriſt.

5. And laſtly, After death thou ſhalt finde that God intends to judge the world by thy con­verſation in 1 Cor. 6, 2, 3. Nay, even the Angels ſhall be Judged by it; thou hadſt need be holy in­deed; what a ſhame will it be to thee that thou haſt lived fruitleſs and carnal? when God ſhall open every mans book, and ſhall judge the world and angels by thy life, of what comfort will it be that thou haft been holy?

If it be ſo, then let all that are Saints endeavor to outſtrip one another in a holy life and conver­ſation, and that they all watch, and have their Lamps ready with oyl to meet the Bridegroom. Matth. 25. Read and conſider this, for the Lord Chriſt will come when we are not aware; and as a thief in the night: and as lightning that is ſoon come, ſo will the Lord Chriſt, Matth. 24. all the chapter.

Thirdly, What it is to have a true fellowſhip with God, Chriſt, and the Saints: and the bleſ­ſedneſs and comfort it brings to thoſe that have it.


Firſt, What this fellowſhip is with the Father and the Son, as the Apoſtle John ſpeaks of in his 1. Epist. ch. 1. ver. 2. 3. To have fellowſhip with God and Chriſt, is a very high fellowſhip indeed: Our fellowſhip is with the Father and the Son, ſaith the Apoſtle: that is, God and Chriſt have given themſelves, with their treaſures unto us, and we are made partakers of the Divine nature of God; and Chriſt dwels in the Saints, as you may ſee 1 Joh. 4. 13. They dwell in them by the ſpirit: and the Saints they dwell in God and Chriſt; their very life is in God. Here is a neer one-neſs indeed; this fellowſhip is worth much, it is to live in the boſom of God, it is to be very nearly acquainted with God. God ſpeaks by his Spirit to the Souls of his Saints, I am your God and Fa­ther, Come unto me in my Son, and I will hear you: The Saints, they bring the Lord Chriſt with them, and come into the preſence of God, and there they make their minds known unto him, they lay their ſouls open before him: and then the Lord drops in ſome refreſhing, and ſends the ſoul away with ſweet content. And this is the fellowſhip the Saints have with God and Chriſt.

Before I go any further, I ſhall ſpeak a word or two by way of advice to the Saints, and it is this.

Is it indeed ſuch a neerneſs that you have with God and the Lord Chriſt? Let this then adviſe65 you that you behave your ſelves with holy reve­rence. Is the holy God ſo near you, and the Lord Chriſt in you? Dear friends, how ought you to carry your ſelves then in the preſence of your God and Lord? God expects reverence from you, as you ſee in Pſal. 89. 7. Look to your hearts, that they wander not from God, when you come into his preſence; and that you walk holily with your God, where-ever you are. Con­ſider (I ſay) the great neerneſs that is between God and you; and let the conſideration of it drive away all carnal delights, that thou mayeſt delight in thy God, to have fellowſhip with him.

Secondly, What is it to have fellowſhip with the Saints? To have fellowſhip with them, is to be partners in the ſame enjoyment. I ſhall draw a compariſon here of fellowſhip in outward things; And although indeed ſpiritual things ſhould be compared with ſpiritual things, yet this will much open the word Fellowſhip, and make it plain.

There are many things to be obſerved in fel­lowſhip amongſt men that deal together, as

  • 1. They give in their names.
  • 2. They promiſe to hazard all alike.
  • 3. They bring in every man his ſhare.
  • 4. They ſend all away to Sea.
  • 5. They patiently wait for a Return.
  • 66
  • 6. When it returns, they receive the profit.

For the firſt, the Saints all give in their names to follow the Lord Chriſt, and the wayes of God together.

2. They promiſe to hazard all, even their lives and all, rather then to forſake Chriſt and the waves of God: and this they will do, they will ſuffer alike; if one member ſuffer, all the body is a ſharer; they will not forſake each other in a time of diſtreſſe.

3. Every man brings his ſhare, that is, every man helps on the work when they meet, either by prayer or exhortation, or ſome word or other, ſo that they among them make up the ſum.

4. They ſend all up to God by Jeſus Chriſt.

5. They wait with patience upon God for his anſwer.

And 6. When God anſwers, they all rejoyce together; and this is the profit; their ſouls grow in grace, and the knowledge of God.

And yet further, there are ſeveral things where­in the fellowſhip of the Saints exceeds all other. As,

1. They never receive any loſs, there is no da­mage to them; let them ſend unto the Father by the Lord Jeſus Chriſt as often as they will, there is no miſcarrying.

2. Though that which they ſend be never ſo weak, if it be with the heart, it is accepted at the greateſt rate.

673. There is never no difference among them about the profit.

Much more might be added; but I ſhall cloſe up all in one word of advice, that thou mayſt high­ly prize the fellowſhip of the Saints. Thou ſeeſt they have fellowſhip with God and fellowſhip with Chriſt, and that God appears among them: it will be happy for thee to appear with them, that thou mayſt partake of their rich favours.

Fourthly, What is it to bear the croſſe of Chriſt? He that will follow Chriſt, muſt take up his Croſs, as it is Luk. 9. 23. and he muſt deny himſelf; and take up not only one or two dayes, but every daves Croſs. This thou ſhalt find the Saints of old did; Look in the 11. to the Hebrews, thoſe (there mentioned) finiſhed their courſe, and kept the faith, (as Paul ſaith of himſelf) even to the death. To carry the croſs, is to bear the reproach of Chriſt: ſee Heb. 13. 12, 13. Here is a Camp with which we are beſet, Fleſh and blood, and all the temptations of the world, and alſo of the heart to hinder us from taking up this croſs, from bear­ing the reproaches of Chriſt; and therefore the Apoſtle adviſeth us to go out of the camp, and to take up this croſs of Chriſt; and the motive he uſeth, is, For here (ſaith he) we have no continuance, your City is yet for to come; you muſt follow Chriſt in ſufferings, before you enjoy the City: to bear the croſs, is to do as Moſes did, Heb. 11. 25.68 to eſteem the reproach of Chriſt great riches; and chuſe affliction with the Saints, rather then the pleaſure of any thing in the world. To carry the croſs, is to go on in the ways of God & godlines: let the Devil and wicked men ſay what they will, cal them what they pleaſe, mock how they can; yet to continue faithful unto the death, never to for­ſake Chriſt, come what will, this is to carry the croſs. Again, to carry the croſs, is to rejoyce in ſuffering for Chriſt, that thou art found worthy to bear his reproaches, and to ſuffer for his names ſake, as did the Apoſtles in Act. 15. 41. and to bleſs God with a joyful heart that ever thou hadſt this great mark of a Saint, to be mocked and de­ſpiſed for the ſake of the Lord Chriſt. If thou wouldſt know what it is to bear the croſs of Chriſt then ſearch the Scriptures, and thou ſhalt find there both what it is, and who they are that bear it? It is to follow the Lamb whereſoever he goeth; in a field of blood, nakednes, famine, reproaches, ſcandals, and whatever come, to follow him ſtill with rejoicing and comfort. To account all dung and droſs for Chriſt, this is to carry the croſs. Thou mayſt alſo ſee who they are that carry it, and that follow Chriſt; they are Moſes and the godly men of old; they were the Diſciples of Chriſt, namely, all that believe unto ſalvation, that are the bearers of the Croſs.

Thou mayſt find them now under the reproach69 of Hereticks & Sectaries, and ſuch like, with a mul­titude of lyes and ſcandals caſt on them: and thou ſhalt the more clearly diſcern them, if thou take notice with what patience and meeknes they carry it, and how they not long ago in moſt places were cried out at as the onely diſturbers of the Nation, and thoſe that were hardly fit to live; eſpecially by carnal Prieſts and their diſciples: I ſay, thou mayſt ſee who they are by theſe things, and by their good carriage to ſuch at this day, endeavour­ing to win them in love.

To carry the croſs, is to ſubmit to God in all things willingly, and to yield to Chriſt in all things, and to carry his yoke, and learn of him, as you have it in Mat. 11. 29, 30. in all things Chriſt ſhould be our pattern. If we be found to bear the croſs after this manner, we ſhall then be found good ſouldiers for Jeſus Chriſt, and the reward followeth in the next place.

Fifthly, What good comes by holding out in the wayes of God and godlineſs? There is much com­fort in it; ſome of which I ſhall ſpeak of, as

Firſt, if thou hold out and never flag, then here­in thou wilt be like the Saints of old, who went through fire and water for Chriſt, who forſook all for a naked Chriſt. I ſay, this is not a mean thing, to be like thoſe in practice, that are now in the arms of the Lord Chriſt.

Again, if thou hold out to the death in the ways70 of God and godlineſs, as the Saints formerly did, then thou mayſt expect the ſame reward they did. And this will be of much comfort to thee. Heb. 11. 26. Moſes had a reſpect to the recompence of reward; and ſo mayſt thou too, if thou holdeſt out as he did in the wayes of godlineſs; and for fur­ther encouragement to thee, thy reward will be great, Heb. 10. 35.

See to thy everlaſting comfort what the Lord Chriſt ſaith, Matth. 5. All the firſt part of the Chapter, but in ver. 10, 11, 12. There thou mayſt ſee that tis thy portion, and the end of it is bleſ­ſed: I ſay, rejoyce and be exceeding glad; for great is thy reward. The men of the world did ever do ſo by the Godly; therefore rejoyce now; for there is a reward for the righteous, verily there is ſo, as David ſaith, Pſa 58. 11. Thy re­ward will be an inheritance which ſhall never be taken from thee; it is a Kingdom, Luke 12. 32. It is a Kingdom that cannot be moved, Heb. 12. 28. If thou hold out to the death, ſee then what Chriſt promiſeth to thee, Rev. 2. 10, 11. even a Crown of Life; therefore fear nothing, let wicked men ſay and do what they will, let the Devil do what he can; all is only to try thee, and fit thee for the Crown of Life, which Chriſt thy Lord and Righteous Judge will give unto thee, and unto all that hold out to the end, 2 Tim. 4. 8.

6. We cannot end our diſcourſe, but that we71 muſt ſpeak a word or two to thoſe that are yet in a ſtate of nature; and endeavour to lay before them the bread of Life; and offer to them that which is ſo lovely and precious; and that thou mayeſt prize it, and accept of it, I ſhall tell thee,

  • 1. In what condition thou art.
  • 2. VVhat will help thee out of it.
  • 3. How happy thou wilt be if thou accept of it.

For the firſt: Thy condition is ſad, and there­fore hearken hither, thou art without God in the world; and ſo is every one that is in a ſtate of na­ture. You have it in Scripture at large; we ſhall ſearch it out, Eph. 2. 12. Here thou art without Chriſt, and without God; thou art a ſtranger to the ways of God. Conſider what will become of thee: Again, you ſhall finde in 2 Cor. 13. 5. that you are Reprobates. It may be you may think it ſtrange: But here you ſee tis true; thou art but a Reprobate, though thou art civilized, and wouldſt make ſhew of Religion; yet it is moſt certain except Chriſt be in thee: and there­fore mark now ſome few things that I ſhall tell thee: Every man and woman is by the fall of A­dam under the wrath of God, and ſo thou waſt aſſoon as thou waſt born liable to the curſe, Rom. 6. 23. and thou art polluted in ſin. Alſo by thy actual tranſgreſſions thou art curſed: As thou art in thy ſelf, thou canſt not keep the holy Law oGod, and that alſo is a curſe to thee, Gal. 3. 10.


Now take notice of thy ſelf; art thou yet in that ſtate? Art thou yet in thy ſins? canſt thou tell of nothing? doſt thou look for any thing from the Law to do thee good? haſt thou not yet ſeen the worth of Chriſt? then now hearken; for thou art in a ſad Condition, all thy ſins are lading thy poor ſoul down to hell: and I tell thee, except thou take this Advice in the following Remedy, thou art undone for ever.

2. Thou muſt take this Remedy, come to the Lord Chriſt, and get thy ſins waſhed away in his blood, that thou mayſt become clean and white, and that thou mayſt have thy guilt done away in him. He came from the boſom of God to the end that he might ſave ſinners, 1 Tim. 1. 15. Come unto him now that thou mayſt be one of them. And that thou mayſt not be deceived here, I will tell thee how thou muſt come to him; and how thou muſt accept of him; thou muſt forſake all thy ſins, and become a new man; forſake all thy old luſts, as the Apoſtle Paul ſaith in 2 Cor. 5. 17. Forſake all thy old Companions with whom thou haſt formerly delighted to commit ſin, and thou muſt give up thy ſelf to Chriſt, and enquire what his will is, and begin to do his will; thou muſt now love Chriſt, and let thy ſoul long for him; take up his yoke and learn of him; lay down all thy own righteouſneſs at his feet, and let him be thy righteouſneſs; make choice of the Saints to be73 thy Companions, love them, and be often with them. Nothing but this will help thee, therefore make no delay, come to the Lord Chriſt: he hath promiſed that thoſe which come to him, he will in no wiſe