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Repentance and Converſion, THE Fabrick of Salvation: OR, The SAINTS joy in Heaven, FOR The Sinners ſorrow upon Earth.

Being the laſt SERMONS Preached by that Reverend and Learned JOHN HEWYT, D. D. Late Miniſter of St. Gregories by St. Pauls.

With other of his Sermons preached there.

Dedicated to all his pious Auditors, eſpecially thoſe of the ſaid Pariſh.

Alſo an Advertiſement concerning ſome Ser­mons lately printed, and pretended to be the Doctors, but are diſavowed By

  • GEO. WILD.

LONDON, Printed by J. C And are to be ſold by Samuel Speed, at the ſign of the Printing Preſs, in St. Pauls Church-yard, 1658.

TO THE PIOUS AUDITORS OF THE LATE REVEREND AUTHOR, Eſpecially thoſe of St. Gre­gories Pariſh, in Lon­don.

IT is not the Ignis fatuus of Ap­plauſe, and po­pular Euge's, that produced this Publi­cation; ſince 'tis perſpicu­ous, no man, but he that hath as great a ſtock of impudence, as impiety, can lay claim to it; being the compoſition of your Reverend Paſtor, lately deveſted of Mortality.

Nor is the expoſing theſe Sermons to publique view intended to add to the maſs of any mans do­lor or Internal Regret, for the violent death of the pi­ous Author; but to pre­vent the fictitious Chimae­ra's of many crazy brains, that would ſhroud them­ſelves under his Name, induced to it by Avarice,; whoſe thoughts level at no other mark but their own ſordid Lucre; and alſo, that ſo pious a Beads-man might have ſomewhat en­graven upon the forehead of Time, and his name velit nolit invidia vigere. Wherefore here ye have a Volume of the elaborate Pieces of this famous Pillar of the Church; ſome, as they did flow in their na­tive purity from his own mouth; others, penned by no meaner a Scribe then his ſacred ſelf.

'Tis but ſmall, as to the Bulk; but vaſt, as to the Value; in which is ſuch a plerophory of ſignificant expreſsions, beſides the ſolid Divinity, that if up­rightly fathom'd by the utmoſt extent of the ſubli­meſt thought, it will be judged ſo neat and terſe a Piece, that the whole World can ſcarce pro­duce a Parallel. Therefore they croud and thruſt themſelves under the wings of your Patronage, that ſo (being acceptable to you all his quondam-Pariſhioners) they may be ſheltered from the con­tagious emiſsions of that univerſal Baſilisk, Detra­ction.

That there is nothing able to preſerve a mans fame intire and verdant in ſpite of the Iron teeth of time, but the iſſue of the Brain, the Muſe of Mel­lifluous Naſo, as inge­nuouſly, as harmoniouſly, informs us, by this war­bling Rithme:

Nil non mortale te ne­mus
Pectoris exceptis, ingeniiquebonis.

Pity it is, they ſhould continue in the obſcure darkneſs of Latency, and the opack ſhades of ſilence. Therefore do they now, like Noahs dove, bear an Olive-branch of Aſſu­rance and Conſolation to all ſoules, that as yet re­main in the Ark of God, preſerved from the deluge of ſin.

They were the laſt that he pronounced in a Pul­pit; therefore ſhould be entertained with more zeal, and read with more circumſpection: that God may be praiſed, his ſervant admired, your ſouls bene­fited, and our Holy Mo­ther the Church lamented for the death of ſo pious a Son of hers; whoſe loſs no pen can pourtray with its ſable colours, nor tongue expreſs by all its diapred variety. But ſince it is the will of the Almighty to permit ſuch things for our correction and amend­ment, let us with a pious ſilence reſign our ſelves up unto God (according to the advice of this renown­ed Clergy-man in his laſt words) and pray for a more comely decorum in the Church, that ſo the coeleſtial Manna of Gods Word, may be admini­ſtred to us by the truly-Orthodox; that the Queen of Sciences, Divi­nity, may not be ſo ſlut­tiſhly attired, as it ap­poars too often ſhe is, to our intolerable grief; that men may no longer ſhun the beauty of the Church, but dwell in Gods Holy Temple.

One thing may not be omitted, and that is this: when the Library of this famous Divine was ſur­veyed, on ſome of his writings there was found engraven with his own pen, theſe words;Luk. 18.13. God be merciful to me a ſinner; and underneath, this inge­nious and divine Para­phraſe: To ſeparate God and Mercy, would be blaſ­phemy; To ſeparate Mercy and Sinner, would be de­ſpair; To ſeparate me and ſinner, would be preſum­ption: A divine Para­phraſe, worthy ſo rare a Divine.

To accumulate his Herſe with Encomiums, will be to little purpoſe, ſince his works will predi­cate his Fame,

A Gabibus uſque
Auroram & Gangem.

This is the comfort of all true Chriſtians; he is not amiſſus, but praemiſſus; not loſt, but ſent before: let us crave therefore of the Almighty Jehovah, that we may all meet in Hea­ven with him, there to ſing perpetual Hallelu­jahs, VVorld without end.

An Advertiſement, con­cerning ſome Notes, pretended to be Doctor HEWYT'S Sermons.

WHereas ſome imperfect notes were upon a falſe ſuggeſtion, and by other indirect means, entred into the Hall-book of the Company of Stationers, for the uſe of Mr. E­verſden at the Gray-hound, and Mr. Rook at the Lamb, both in St. Pauls Church-yard, under the Title of Dr. HEWYT'S Sermons: Theſe are to ſignifie to all whom it may concern,

1. That they are none of Dr. HE­WYT'S Sermons, but only imperfect notes taken from him as he preached, (or perhaps from ſome others) in ſhort writing.

2. That they were entred without the conſent or knowledg of the right Honorable the Lady MARY HEWYT, Relict of the ſaid Doctor; and are printed contrary to the beſt endea­vours her Ladyſhip could uſe by fair means to ſuppreſs them, as is very well known to the Maſter, Wardens, and Aſſiſtants of the Stationers Company.

3. That if any thing ſhall be prin­ted or produced in writing, pretend­ing the ſaid Ladies conſent, the ſame hath been, as is ſtill, diſavowed by her Ladyſhip as none of hers: For all that ſhe gave her hand for, or her conſent unto, was only a caveat that nothing ſhould be printed in Doctor HEWYTS name without her con­ſent: and whatſoever there is more in that paper under her hand, was an addition, (to call it no worſe) of ſome other (whoſe name we conceal in meer charity) after the paper was ſubſcribed, as was manifeſted to the Company at their Court, holden on Monday the 14. of June; and will be further juſtified upon oath, by two ſufficient witneſſes, when occaſion ſhall ſerve.

  • Geo. Wilde.
  • Jo. Barwick.

IN HAS Conciones Elucubratas admodum Reverendi Do­ctiſſimique Viri, JOANNIS HEUETI, S. T. D.

ITae profanatae procul huc decedite chartae,
Praelorum pudor, & pernicioſa Lues.
Hic vates Divina docet, Mundiquecaducas
Spernere Delicias, & meliora ſequi.
Tum Peccatorem lapſos convertere greſſus
Admonet & vitae poenituiſſe ſuae.
Inde Redemptoris pandit Myſteria magni
Noſque docet ſolam juſtificare Fidem.
Tum monſtrat trepidis quae ſit vexatio Sanctis,
Ballaque cum populis irrequieta Piis.
Scilicet in mediis poſita est Eccleſia damnis,
Ʋt cingunt teneras torna Vepreta Roſas.
Poſtremò affectus ſacroſque exponit amores,
Viſceraque aeterni ſemper aperta DEI.
Sic benè percurris diae Theoremata vitae,
Gloria Rostrorum, Deliciaeque Togae,
Quaeque doces, vitâ peragis, Fatoque potitus
Inter coelicolas ſtas numerande Choros.
J. W.

IN LAUDEM Perilluſtris Literatiſsi­mique JOANNIS HEUETI, D. D. Ad nodum reverendi, nec non Orthodoxa, pietate, fide, & integritate ſpe­ctatiſsimi.

ADſis Melpomene, lugubribus adſis Iambis,
Ut rores teneras Imbre cadente genas.
Ite procul nugae, fallacia numina vatum,
Fictaque de nimio monſtra creata mero,
Non Phoci, aut Aganippe tuas jactate Paludes;
Dulcius ex Sacro Fonte bibuntur aquae.
HEWETTUM non vana juvant dum coelica pangat,
Et canat Angelicos ſacra Thalia ſonos.
Heu dolor! at mediis vates abſcinditur annis,
Et cadit offenſo victima Grata Deo.
Induitur pulla viduata Eccleſia veſte
Et Pietas ſocio ſemiſepulta rogo:
Dum Doctor venerande cadas flentumque veharis
Fluminibus, ſuperis velificando plagis.
Nam Coelo adſcripſit pietas, virtuſque dicavit
Pectora & in tacto candidiora Nive.
Ergo quid inſano juvat indulgere dolori?
Fataque flebilibus commemorare modis
Praeſulis erepti terris? dum luce potiri,
Nec Fato poterat nobiliore mori.
J. G.

Repentance & Converſion, THE Fabrick of Salvation.

In the Goſpel according to St. Luke, Chap. 15. verſ. 7. it is thus written:

I ſay unto you, that likewiſe joy ſhall be in heaven over one ſinner that repenteth, more then over ninety and nine just perſons, that need no repentance.

NO man can be ſo ſordid­ly blockiſh,SERM. I. or ſo wic­kedly profane, as to de­ny the neceſſity and be­nefit of Repentance: Nor can there be any that plead a right to the title of Chriſtians, but will acknowledge themſelves ſo im­plunged into Sin, as, without Repen­tance, they deſerve to be wrapt up in the embraces of eternal flames. This is the ſtable foundation upon which the ſolid Chriſtian builds the aſſu­red Fabrick of his future felicity. 2There is a procul O procul it o profane! written upon the gates of heaven, unleſs Repentance procure you en­trance. Since, therefore, Beloved, 'tis ſo neceſſary a Chriſtian duty, I have made choice of this Text; wherein (not to ſtand upon Diviſi­ons, for we have too many of them already) there are Two Parts preſent themſelves to your Meditation.

1. That there is joy in heaven for the ſouls of the juſt that are already converted; as appears by that Con­junction〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉or quam, then, that hath reference to ſomewhat preceding.

2. That there is far more joy in heaven for the converſion of a peni­tent ſinner.

This ſecond in Order, though firſt placed in the Verſe, ſhall be the ſub­ject of our enſuing Diſcourſe. We muſt therefore conſider,

  • 1. What Repentance is: and
  • 2. How to become true Peni­tents.

1. What it is: and that you ſhall know by this enſuing Definition: 'Tis a new Creation, or ſacred Metamorphoſis of the ſoul, converting it from ſin to God. 3The Greek word is very emphatical,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which imports as much as a recollecting of the minde, and meditating as it were upon for­mer offences, ſo as to repent and be heartily ſorry for them; not with a ſuperficial and ſlight kinde of grief, but a real, cordial, and extraordina­ry Compunction and Contrition for ſin.

Now this Repentance preſuppo­ſeth ſome ſin formerly committed, ſome crime heretofore perpetrated. That we are all infected with the Le­proſie of ſin, no rational Chriſtian I preſume will deny, or dare gainſay. Our firſt parents have infuſed, or ra­ther left a taint of their firſt ſin upon all their poſterity; ſo that no man, how devout ſoever he be, can plead a freedom from Original corruption: Nemo non inficitur Adami labe: All perſons are infected with the ſin of our firſt parents; and, as thorow a chanel, the tincture of it hath taken its courſe to the whole world. You may as well ſeparate hic homo, and hoc individuum, as Man and Original ſin. Beſides this, how is our life made up4 of an infinite number of offences and treſpaſſes! 'Tis but a faſciculus or forrago peccatorum, a Bundle or Miſce­lany of ſin: ſins Original, and ſins Actual; ſins of Omiſſion, and ſins of Commiſſion; ſins of ignorance, and ſins of Knowledge; ſins againſt the Law of God, and ſins againſt his Goſpel; ſins againſt Light, and ſins againſt Love. Our ſinful Words are more then word can expreſs; our ſinful Thoughts are more then thought can conceive: our ſinful Deeds have been ſo many in number, and ſo hainous in nature, that we have ſcarce left number for more, or place for worſe. Nay, the very Heathens, though poyſoned with I­dolatry, and guided by no other light but the Ruſh-candle of Nature, could cry out, Nemo ſine crimine vi­vit: All men ſin. Since therefore we are all more or leſs vitious, all more or leſs peccato dediti; ſince we are all ſick of this diſeaſe of ſin, all troubled with this malady; we muſt ſeek out a Phyſician that may pre­ſcribe us a Medicine, a Cure for this our filthy Leproſie. The Phyſician5 is our Saviour JESUS; and ſo much is intimated unto us by his Name in the Original,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which hath its derivation from〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉to heal, and〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉to ſave: firſt he heals, and then he ſaves: firſt he remedies the diſtem­per of the body, and then he ſaves the ſoul. And that you may be in­excuſable if you ſplit the precious veſſels of your ſouls upon the rock of Perdition; and without defence, that you may not pretend either a ſinful Baſhfulneſs, or Inſufficiencie and Unworthineſs; He himſelf hath vouchſafed to deſcend ſo far below himſelf, as to give you invitation, Matth. 11.28. Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavie laden, and I will eaſe you. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, it is in the Original; all ye that groan under the weight of ſin, as Porters do under a heavie burthen; and I will eaſe you, ſaith our Saviour. So that whoſo­ever he be that groans under the weight of ſin, and lies under the wrack of a pricking Conſcience, may come, unleſs he be wilfully bent upon his own ruine, and receive help from the Prince of Phyſicians, and the6 God of them too. For he is the Lamb of God, that taketh away the ſins of the world, as that pious Anagram of his bleſſed Name doth intimate unto us;〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉: Thou art the Lamb,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the irreprehenſible Lamb, or Lamb without ſpot or blemiſh: but the Original ſignifies ſomewhat more; ſo undefiled, and ſo pure, that Momus himſelf cannot tell how to carp at him. Nay, the bleſſed Angels, Heaven it ſelf rejoy­ceth at the converſion of a penitent ſinner; Repentance therefore is a thing neceſſary and requiſite to the ſalvation of a ſoul. Chriſt is our Phyſician, and Repentance is our Phyſick. We may ſoon, with the tears of ſincere Contrition, waſh our ſelves in the bloud of Chriſt, from all putrefaction and filthineſs that ſin hath polluted us withal. There­fore we ought all of us to begin and take a Leſſon of Repentance in the School of Chriſt: we ought to begin ab incunabulis, in our very youth; and not dare florem diabolo, foecem Deo; not waſte away the flower and vigour of our youthful years in the devils vaſ­ſalage,5 and when our heads are hoa­ry and Periwig'd with the Snow of Age, then to conſecrate our ſelves to the ſervice of God, and to offer up our ſelves to the Altar of his Acce­ptance, and that he would for the merits of our moſt bleſſed Saviour, his moſt bleſſed Son, who ſuffered that curſed and ignominious death, the death of the Croſs, for our ſins, have mercy upon us, and pardon all our enormities paſt, preſent and to come. Begin in May, not in Decem­ber: for aſſure your ſelves, God will never accept of the devils leavings. You muſt not ſtream out your Youth in Wine, and live a Lapling to the Silk and Dainties; wear all your Mannors on your back at once, and like the rich man in the Goſpel, go attired in purple, and fare deliciouſly eve­ry day; and then think when you are come to the Spectacle, and bearing­ſtaff, to turn to God, and ſteer the Veſſel of your ſoul toward heaven. Sera poenitentia raro vera: Repentance in the declining of a mans age, when the Sun of his life is poſting to the Weſt, is ſeldom true. The Thief8 upon the Croſs, of whom we may truly ſay, Periiſſet, niſi periiſſet, was ſav'd: There was one ſav'd, that none might deſpair; and but one, that none might preſume.

Uſe not the common Shift of the world, to ſay that you are not guilty of any Crying ſins; they are but pet­ty offences. For I muſt tell you, Be­loved, theſe are but diabolical ſugge­ſtions infuſed into you by the ſpirit of Darkneſs: you muſt firſt finde out a ſmall God, before you can com­mit a ſmall ſin. Nay, all ſins, of what ſort ſoever they be, are great ſins, ſins of a high ſtature, becauſe commit­ted againſt the Law of the ſin-deteſt­ing God. For were it not for the Law of God, that ſtrictly and ſevere­ly prohibits all manner of ſin, and commands uprightneſs, there would be no ſuch thing in the world as Sin: for what is ſin, but the tranſgreſſion of Gods Law? And therefore holy David acknowledged his ſins to be committed againſt God, becauſe he had tranſgreſſed & violated his Law and Commandment: which made him to break forth into that peni­tent9 and holy Rapture; Against thee, against thee onely have I ſinned: Pſal. 51.4. We are all naturally ſinful: there is no difference by Nature, be­tween the Elect and Reprobate, nei­ther in external nor internal diſpoſi­tion, until it be made by Grace. St. Paul was a Perſecutor of as deep a Scarlet-dye, as ever Domitian or Juli­an was: Zacheus, as unconſcionable and miſerable a Worldling, as the rich Glutton in the Goſpel, Luke 16.19. All perſons are alike by Na­ture, till Grace comes in and makes a difference: for we are all by Na­ture children of wrath, heirs of per­dition, and in danger of damnation. 'Tis Regeneration, that procures us our paſſage to heaven: Except a man be re-born, (or born anew) he cannot ſee the kingdom of God: Joh. 3. and Luk. 13.5. Except ye repent, ye ſhall all like­wiſe periſh. So that ſo long as we re­main in the ſtate of Nature, being conceived in ſin, and brought forth in iniquity, we are ſtill remaining in a moſt deſperate and damnable con­dition.

For the poyſon of our Nature is10 as virulent in us, as in the wicked; and by Nature we are as much ad­dicted to all manner of ſins: And though by the ſpecial mercy of the Father of mercies, we have eſcaped many damnable and deteſtable crimes, which we finde the wicked have been often implunged into; 'tis not becauſe we are of a more pure and undefiled nature then they, (for 'tis the ſame as theirs) but becauſe the envenom'd virulencie thereof hath not as yet manifeſted it ſelf in us; which we have juſt cauſe every day to fear: for, in truth, we have taken ſo much of the devils Opium, that, without Repentance, we ſhall never be awakened out of the dead ſleep of ſin.

Therefore let us ſtrive with a holy reſolution to ſhake off theſe rags of Natural Corruption, and clothe out ſelves with the precious garment of Chriſt Jeſus. Let us get into a ſtate of grace, and by a real & ſincere Repen­tance turn over a new leaf, become converts & diſciples of our Saviour. Adam, you know, did not fall as a private man, but as the Root of all11 Mankinde; and we all partake of that Fall, ſince we are the iſſue of his loyns: and the veſſels of our bodies ſtill keep a ſmack of the old reliſh. For, according to the Poet,

Quo ſemel est imbuta recens ſervabit odorem,
Testa diu.

The ſweeteſt Stream that flows, will reliſh of the ſoyl that it hath ſa­luted.

Inficitur terrae ſordibus unda fluens.

Sheep never come neer a hedge, but they leave ſome Wool behinde them. One man infected with the Plague, will corrupt ten men, ſooner then ten men can cure one infected perſon. You know what the Saty­riſt ſaith:

Grex totus in agris,
Unius ſcabie cadit, & porrigine porci.

Which our Engliſh Proverb renders exactly, One ſcabbed ſheep will ſpoil the whole flock.


Well might that ſweet-mouth'd Romane call this The Iron Age: for Iniquity is an epidemical diſtemper, or a Chronical Diſeaſe, that ad­mits of no Cure but Repentance, and that ſincere too. And I fear that the Poet writ in Prophetick meaſures, when his Muſe warbled this ſo ſuitable an expreſſion to our Times:

Nil erit ulterius, quod nostris moribus addat

Our Age is grown to ſuch a height of Impiety, that Poſterity will not be able to adde any thing to it. Pride ſwaggers in the ſtreets, Luxury is houſed, and Drunkenneſs reels to and fro, notwithſtanding the heavie Judgements of God denounced a­gainſt thoſe that exerciſe ſuch abo­minations: and all the Armour of the mightieſt Potentates in the world is not able to reſiſt the Pro­phets of God, when their Commiſſi­on is ſeal'd with God's Ipſe dixit, cu­jus verbum ab intentione, quia veritas,13 factum a verbo, quia virtus, non dif­fert. Gods word is a word with a deed; and what he ſaith, ſhall be done without doubt or demur: And all good men will obey his Law and Commandment: but where are theſe good men now adays? A good man is hard to be found; he is rara avis in terris, ſprung from the aſhes of ſome dead Phoenix, whoſe abode is ſcarce known: he is like the Berries of the Prophet Iſaiah's tree, here and there one to be found: nay, 'tis a thouſand to one, if you finde one in a thouſand. The jerk­ing Satyriſt, the Laſh of his time, could ſay, ſo long ſince, much more then may we now,

Rari quippe boni, numero vix ſunt to­tidem, quot
Thebarum portae vel divitis ostia Nili.

There are but ſeven good men, at moſt, ſaith he. A ſmall number in­deed! What the Philoſopher ſaith of Good, I'm ſure is in theſe our Times verified of Evil: Malum est14 ſui diffuſivum: Evil is diffuſive; 'tis of a ſpreading nature; a diſeaſe that is catching; therefore we ſhould never go abroad without an Anti­dote againſt it; and that is the Word of God: for, Antidotum verbi ſerpen­tis venenum expugnat: The Word of God is a ſoveraign Antidote againſt the poyſon of the Serpent. We live now in the ſink of Time, where­in Vertue is accounted a Prodigie, and Piety a Crime, or at the beſt a Simplicity. And our Aarons are taken away, and put aſide as uſeleſs; and the people die of the Plague: I wonder who ſhall ſtand between the living and the dead, holding the Cenſers, and making Atonement for them? They are caſt aſide, Belov­ed, and none but a Spurious Iſſue ad­mitted of, that have no Authority nor Commiſſion. Quicquid libet licet, nunc dierum; and yet 'tis ſtrange, non licet eſſe bonus. And take this by the way, That he that will be a godly Chriſtian, muſt, like the Antipodes, run a contrary courſe to the men of the world. 'Tis ſin, and the Fall of our parents, that hath brought us in­to15 this condition: here we lie: but thanks to the Almighty, here is com­fort enough for the moſt hainous ſin­ner, ſo he have not committed the ſin againſt the holy Ghoſt, if he will but repent. Sacrae paginae ſcatent hu­juſmodi conſolationibus. The Scripture abounds with Lectures of Comfort to all penitent ſinners: Iſai. 55.7. Let the wicked forſake his ways, and the unrighteous his own imaginations, and turn unto the Lord, and he will have mer­cy upon him; and to our God, for he is ready to forgive. And ſo likewiſe in Ezek. 18.21, 22. If the wicked will return from all his ſins that he hath com­mitted, and keep all my ſtatutes, and do that which is lawful and right; he ſhall ſurely live, and not die: all his tranſ­greſsions that he hath committed, they ſhall not be mentioned unto him; but in his righteouſneſs that he hath done, ſhall he live. The Scripture is an Ocean that flows with ſuch comfortable ſtreams; and that both the Old and New Teſtament, as it appears in 1 Joh. 1.9. If we acknowledge our ſins, God is faithful and just to forgive our ſins, and to cleanſe us from all unrighte­ouſneſs. 16〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, from all injuſtice. And ſo in the 2. Chap. of the ſame Epiſtle, verſ. the 1. and 2. If any man ſin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jeſus Chriſt the juſt. And he is the reconcilia­tion for our ſins; and not for ours only, but alſo for the ſins of the whole world:〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉: Now what need we care what ſuit we commence, at the Upper-bench in Heaven, ſo long as we have Chriſt for our Lawyer, our Counſellor? Si Deus nobiſcum, quis contra nos? if God be for us, who ſhall be againſt us?

1 Uſe. This then ſhould ſerve for a Uſe of Conſolation, to ſtir up all perſons to a real and true repen­tance. Since Chriſt is for them; ſince he calls himſelf their Advocate, their Pleader, their Counſellor; and hath promiſed ſo often that whoſoe­ver repenteth ſhall not periſh, but have everlaſting life: And though every man be an enemy to his own ſalvation, & the fleſh reſiſt the ſame work; & the divel doth endeavour by his wicked machinations to ſtir up in the heart of a man an averſion to17 converſion; this ſhould create in us more firm and ſetled reſolutions af­ter the work, ſince we have the pro­miſe of our bleſſed Saviour for ſuc­ceſs in our undertaking; but this cannot be performed without a holy indefatigable induſtry on our part; for 'tis called in holy writ, a Birth, a Death, a Circumciſion; and you know no Birth, no Death, no cutting off of the fleſh can be without care, pain and labour: The Embryo is not delivered out of the womb of the mother without pain; nay, many times the womb proves the tomb; and therefore you cannot imagine it is a thing poſſible, to be delivered of ſin, which is in you, was concei­ved with you, and which you ſince your nativity, unto this moment, have cheriſhed with ſuch delight; and not to have a reliſh or guſt of pain and travail in the new birth, in your regeneration. Aſſure your ſelf that it will coſt you many a ſalt tear, many a bitter groan, many a heavy ſigh, before you have this work of regeneration perfectly wrought in you. Nemo repente fit optimus. No18 man can arrive to the height of a ver­tue in a moment; & ſince 'tis res tam ardua, tantae molis opus: ſo difficult, and ſo neceſſary a work; you ought all to labour more fervently then hitherto you have done, and uſe all holy means that God hath conſtituted and appointed in ſacred writ as ſub­ſervient thereunto, viz. The Word read and preached by the faithful & Orthodox Paſtors of the Church; the Sacraments reverently and duly adminiſtred in the moſt decent and devout manner; Prayer and holy ejaculations that dart up the deſire of the ſoul to God, and meditation on the Law of God; crying unto him noctes atque dies, night and day for his bleſſed aſſiſtance in a work of ſo great moment and conſequence as the regeneration of man: add here­unto an unfeigned repentance of all ſins committed; and let it not be a little lip-labour only, but it muſt proceed from a real and contrite heart, free from hypocriſie and diſſi­mulation.

2 Uſe. Secondly, this ſerves as Uſe of Terror to all careleſs and19 impenitent ſinners, that will follow the ſwinge of their own pleaſure, and the luſts of the fleſh, though they ſhipwrack their ſouls inevitably. How ſhould this pull down and to­tally demoliſh the Pyramide of pride, mans heart, and deveſt them of their gawdy attire, and change it for ſackcloth and aſhes, which is far more ſutable to their ſpiritual condi­tion? Yet how do they ruffle in vel­vet a la mode, and boaſt and vaunt in the ſpoils of a poor ſilk-worm! yet in the interim they conſider not that the ſores of Lazarus will make as good duſt as the paint of Jezabel; and that their poor ſouls languiſh and are very near ſtarved for want of heavenly Manna, Gods Sacred word, whileſt they pamper their bodies, and plump them with delicacies, which ſerves onely to make them more fat and gorgious nouriſhment for worms. Learn to waſh your ſelves by the tears of repentance from the filth of ſin: your whole life ſhould be a continued Lent; the Spring-time of your ſanctified reſo­lutions, and the hour-glaſs of your20 remaining dayes ſhould be fill'd with the duſt of mortified concupi­ſcence; you ſhould read nothing but lectures of penitency, and ſo like a good and ſolid Chriſtian verifie what is feigned of the Phoenix, in a bed of ſpices, in odors of devotion, kindled by the beams of the true Sun of righteouſneſs, quickning out of the aſhes an acceptable ſacrifice to the Father of Lights; for he delighteth not in the death of a ſinner, but ra­ther that he ſhould turn from his wickedneſs and live. 'Tis not a light ſorrow, or petty ſigh, or a Miſerere mei Domine at the laſt gaſp, when the ſoul is going to give his ultimum vale to the body, will ſerve your turn, or procure pardon of your ſins from God; no, no; you muſt labour to be humbled more deeply for your enormous offences and hainous ſins, which ſeale the heavens with their clamor, and cry for vengeance from the Lord of heaven; ſo that if we could poſſibly ſhed tears of blood for our crimſon ſcarlet ſins, we ſhould do it; for all come ſhort of that grief for ſin, and real contrition of heart,21 that we ought to have. Could we ſtream out the reſidue of our dayes that it ſhall pleaſe the Almighty to allow us in this vale of miſery; could we conſume and waſt the Taper of our life in ſighs, and heart-breaking groans; 'twere all little enough to beg and obtain pardon of God for our ſins. You muſt bath the Leproſie of your ſin in a Jordan of tears, be­fore you can come to the Land of Canaan, the Zoar of ſalvation. Life you know is uncertain, death cer­tain; you had beſt therefore beloved take hold of opportunity by the fore­lock; for, poſt eſt occaſio calva: an op­portunity once ſlipt, is ſeldom reco­ver'd: whilſt it is call'd to day, harden not your heart: Nemo ſibi craſtinum promittat; Let no man aſſure himſelf of the morrow; for death wreſtleth with every man, and ſerius aut citius mortem properamus adunam; ſooner or later he gets a fall: he hath tript up the heels of all our Anceſtors, and you know not how ſoon he may foyl you; Venienti occurrite morbo; meet the diſtemper, and remedy it whilſt it is curable. Delays in rebus ſan­ctis22 are very dangerous; repent there­fore of your ſins before death: that though he be termed by the Heathen Philoſophers〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, he may be to you a Meſſenger that bringeth glad tidings: a guide to con­duct you from a momentany unto eternal life, which we ſhall enjoy with God in ſecula ſeculorum. I could wiſh cordially that that ſaying of that good old man St. Cyprian were not ſo true as daily experience mani­feſts it, In aetate ſeneſcunt, in pietate juveneſcunt. Moſt men now adayes have gray heads and green wits, ca­pita cana, and corda vana; and when their heads are ful of ſilver hairs, they have not ſo much as ſuckt in their Rudiments: they have need of milk, the food of babes and ſucklings, in­ſtead of the more ſolid grounds and fundamentals of Religion. Whereas ancient Chriſtians ſhould be walk­ing Laws, and talking Statutes; their dicta, edicta; and their actiones, axioma­ta, as Gregory Nazianzen ſaith. 'Tis a ſad thing to be near heaven, and never the near; to be at the gates of death, before they have learnt one23 leſſon of repentance: and if their repentance be ſorrowleſs, 'twill prove but a ſorry one: Old men ſhould like trees of righteouſneſſe bear fruit in their old age, when their heads are candied with hoary hair; but not the fruits of old age, covetouſneſs, ſuſpicion, and the like. If the Evangeliſts in their time could cry out, Repent, repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand; it muſt of neceſſity be nearer at hand now then it was then; therefore beloved, I have the more cauſe to preſs this Doctrine of repentance upon you: and let me tell you, that there is no muſick ſo melodious in the ears of God, as that which re­ſounds from a broken inſtrument: God loves a broken heart, and yet he'll have the whole heart or none: 'tis ſtrange, and yet true, repentance is a conſumption, yet no ſickneſs; and what man would not willingly condeſcend to undergo ſuch a con­ſumption here, that he might not be conſumed in endleſs, eaſeleſs and remedileſs flames and torments here­after? One thing I do very much ad­mire24 at, viz. how they can expect fa­vour from God, that will grant fa­vour to none but upon the divels conditions in the 24 of St. Matthew,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, if falling down thou wilt worſhip. They would have others fall down and worſhip them, when as they will not worſhip and adore God. Dejeciſti eos, dum eleva­rentur, ſaith the Pſalmiſt; a ſtrange kind of expreſſion, Thou haſt taken them down, whileſt thou liftedſt them up: this ſeems to have an allu­ſion to the Eagle and other birds of prey, who having found an Oyſter, that they with their own ſtrength cannot break, or open; they ſoar aloft, and ſpying the clift of a rock (for they are very quick-ſighted, as natural Philoſophers inform us) they let the Oyſter fall perpendicularly, and ſo it breaking to pieces, they come to their deſired food: ſo God he lifts them up on high, that they may the better get a fall.

Tolluntur in altum,
Ut lapſu graviore ruant

Such haughty minds are not ſea­ſon'd aright; they have no true frame of a penitent ſpirit; neither will God accept of ſuch perſons: and till you be reconciled to God through his ſon Jeſus Chriſt, and are waſhed and cleanſed from all your iniqui­ties by the tears of repentance, and be converted from ſin to God, your caſe is deſperate; and it had been better for you to have been a beaſt, than a man. Diſplay your ſins before God, not hypocritically, but real­ly; for there is no diſſembling with God: and confeſſion in your mouth, if it be hypocritical, will be like a Shibboleth in the Hebrew; you can­not pronounce it without liſping: your ſins are hainous, confeſs them cordially to be ſo; your ſins are many in number, acknowledg them to be ſo; the Terra incognita of your corruptions is far larger then the Terra cognita. But let not the hai­nouſneſs of thy ſin, the number or multitude of them, deter thee from repentance; but proceed with a ho­ly reſolution to go through all diffi­culties by the help of Chriſt Jeſus,26 and all objections that the world, the fleſh, and the devil can alleadge againſt you, till you have obtained pardon and remiſſion of your ſins: never ceaſe, till you come to a pe­riod; for he that intends to ſing Te Deum to the Almighty, muſt not break off till he come to the end. Proceed, I ſay, beloved, ad finem uſque, and rely upon the merits of our Jeſus: and be not put off by the hainouſneſs of your ſins, and the rigour of the Law of God; for if the moſt holy man that ever breath'd upon the face of the earth, ſhould be weighed in the balance of the Sanctuary, and no grain of fa­vour be allowed him, then without all doubt mene tekel might be ap­plied to him, he would be found too light. There will be grains of allowance to thee, without queſtion; therefore be converted, and turn from the broad way of ſin and death, to the narrow path of life and eternal glory; for ſuch a ſoul will be acceptable unto the Lord; the bleſſed Quire of Angels will re­joyce at the converſion of ſuch a27 ſinner; For (according to my Text) joy ſhall be in Heaven over one ſin­ner that repententh, more then over ninety and nine juſt perſons, that need no repentance. So much for this time.


Repentance & Converſion, THE Fabrick of Salvation.

In the Goſpel according to St. Luke, Chap. 15. verſ. 7. it is thus written:

I ſay unto you, that likewiſe joy ſhall be in heaven over one ſinner that repenteth, more then over ninety and nine just perſons, that need no repentance.

WE have already diſcourſed upon theſe words,SERM. II. and de­monſtrated unto you both by Scripture and other authority, the neceſſity and excellency of Re­pentance: We have largely diſ­courſed of the nature of repentance, and defined it unto you. Now not to detain you with any farther repe­tition, we ſhall immediately fall up­on the ſecond obſervation that we raiſed from the words of the Text, and that was this, viz. How to become true poenitents.


And really, beloved, hic labor, hoc opus eſt, or at leaſt ſhould be; this ſhould be the white at which every true Chriſtian ſhould level his thoughts; This ought to be the Aſy­lum unto which every godly man ſhould have recourſe, when he is proſecuted and perſecuted both by ſin and Satan; This ſhould be the〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, or ſum of every mans actions, and the chiefeſt and firſt of his in­tentions, the cream and top of his holy ambition: But where ſhall we traffick for true penitent ſouls? what climate affords them? all Nations are more or leſs given to ſome hai­nous crime. To be ſober among the Germans, ſetled among the French, chaſte among the Italians, and loyal among the Engliſh, is rare, and wor­thy admiration: you need not make any ſtrict inquiſition after impiety, there is enough daily preſented up­on the ſtage of the world; there is too too much, God knows: Truth, the pure, innocent, undefiled Truth, like the Dove of Noah, flies about, and ſcarce gets any room for her footing; ſhe is mounted to heaven30 with Aſtraea: but if you deſire to finde out a whoriſh Achan, a co­vetous Ahab, a hard-hearted Pharaoh, a Nebuchadonozor quaffing in the bowls of the Sanctuary, a ſacrilegi­ous fellow buying Biſhops Lands, you may meet with him in every corner, Scatent plateae hujuſmodi viris nequam: for truth is expelled nunc dierum. To be true and loyal, march­eth in the rank of impoſſibilities, as the world is now: but let us operum dare, labour tooth and nail, as we ſay proverbially, to avoid the accurſed puniſhment of impenitent perſons; ſeek after the remiſſion of ſins by the bloody death and paſſion of our Sa­viour; and lay hold with the hand of faith on all Goſpel-promiſes, ap­plicable to a conſcience-wounded ſin­ner; that ſo after we have lived a life of grace here in this vale of miſery, we may enjoy a life of glory in perpetuum hereafter.

Now the main point intended in this diſcourſe, is to diſcover unto you ſome wayes or means how to appre­hend when you are truly penitent; & that I ſhall demonſtrate unto you,

  • 31
  • 1. Negatively, and
  • 2. Affirmatively.

1. Negatively: and here I will declare unto you, beloved, auſpiciis Divinis, by the help of the Deity, what it is not, viz. being true peni­tents, and that in 5. particulars,5 Diſco­veries of true peni­tency. which ſhall be as ſo many brands on their foreheads, to inform the world of their impenitency.

1. He is no true penitent, that is not ſo perplexed, as to be gnawen at the very heart by that viper Sor­row, for his many enormous offen­ces, and ſenſible of the need that he ſtands in of Gods mercy, an Ocean of mercy; nay unleſs he think the burthen of his ſin ſo ponderous and weighty, ſo filthy and impure, as to require every drop of the blood of our Saviour to ſatisfie for them. King David, (if it be not a crime to allow him his Title) having im­plunged himſelf into a gulf and mul­titude of ſins, begs a multitude of mercies, as it appears in the 51. Pſal. verſ. the 1. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindneſs, according to the multitude of thy tender32 mercies, blot out my tranſgreſsions. We ſtand in need of a Sea of mercies for the innumerable number of our hai­nous crimes, that we are guilty of: Now he that is ſo hardned with the yoke of ſin, that he is become braw­ny, and inſenſible of the weight and hainouſneſs of it, this man hath no penitent frame of ſpirit; and we may ſafely ſay, without any preju­dice to our charity, or incurring the evil of cenſure, that ſuch a man is no true penitent.

2. They are not become true pe­nitents, no nor in the way to repen­tance, that are ſo far from being grieved at ſin, as to make no bones of great ſins; nay, to dally and toy with ſin and impiety: but 'tis bad handling ſuch edged tools; for the ſword of Gods indignation will ſoon cut them off: ſwearing with ſuch perſons, is but a grace and luſtre to their ſpeech, a ſplendor, but I fear ſuch a one as will light them to hell: lying, but wit's craft, or policy; drun­kenneſs, jovialneſs, or good fellow­ſhip; whoring, a trick of youth, covetouſneſs, thriftineſs: thus do33 they baptize vice by the name of ver­tue: ſee how beſtial, fowl and de­formed a thing vice is, that it dare not appear in its own native defor­mity and hue, but it muſt borrow the Mask of vertue: they think that they can ſhift well enough without mer­cy, and imagine that three words at the laſt gaſp is ſufficient to ſave their ſoul; but I pray God they may not ſhare with that Gentleman in for­tune, that was very debauched, and had ſtreamed out his youth in wine and venery, who being deſired by his Confeſſor to acknowledge his miſ­demeanors towards God and man, and to beſeech God to vouchſafe him pardon of his ſins; put him off with a piſh: Three words at laſt are of ſufficient power to ſave my ſoul; meaning, Miſerere mei Deus: but it hapned that this Gentleman not long after, as he was riding over a bridge, his horſe ſlipt, and down fell horſe and man into the river; and in falling, inſtead of Miſerere mei Deus, he was heard to ſay, Capiat omnia Dae­mon, The devil take both horſe and man: ſad words, to be the vehiculo34 animae ſuae, to waft his ſoul over in­to the other world; a ſweet Epi­logue to the Tragedy of his life! His Cataſtrophe was as damnable, as his whole life abominable and odi­ous. This will be a caveat to all ſe­rious and ſolid Chriſtians, to avoid procraſtination in repentance, and endeavour after it with all poſſible ſpeed.

3. They are not true penitens that are meerly earal, verbal, and worded men, that ſpeak more then they really intend; this is not re­pentance, but a little lip-labour, a fooliſh weak ſtratagem, a meer ex­ternal pomp of words, for which the Phariſees were reprehended by our Saviour, long ſince: 'Tis ſtrange that men ſhould be ſo meanly brain­ed, as to imagine the putting of a cheat upon God; to what purpoſe ſhould the title of〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉be con­ferred upon him? If you are bent to ſin, & cannot be reclaim'd from your lewd courſes, but muſt have your ſwinge, and forſake your Creator in the dayes of your youth, and you are reſolved to run to hell in full ca­reer,35 and no perſwaſion will operate or work upon you; then muſt you look to the event, and feel the ſmart of Gods rod, and the weight of his indignation. And 'twere better far in my judgment, for a man not to be born, then to be deprived and robbed of the luſtre of Gods emparadiſing countenance; whoſe frown's a hell, whoſe ſmile's a heaven; for there is hell where God is abſent, and there heaven where he is preſent. Think not then to deprive God of one of his moſt Glorious Attributes, viz. Omniſcience, by endeavouring to counterfeit a kind of repentance, when you have no ſuch intent, but ſtill tread the paths of the impiouſly profane, and commit ſins ſo in pri­vate, though as damnable, as ſecret: I will only beſtow a golden ſentence of St. Auguſtines on you, Quaere locum ubi te Deus non videat, & fac quid vis: Find out a place where you may commit ſin unſeen, and then do what you pleaſe: not a couch-bed-ſin, but lies open to the perſpicuity of Gods all-ſeeing eye; 'tis not the ſlender barricado of a curtain can defend36 you, or prevent his ſight; nay there is a ſentence of infelicity, and not proſpering, pronounced upon all ſe­cret Sinners: in the 28. of the Prov. verſ. 13. He that hideth his ſins ſhall not proſper: but he that confeſſeth, and forſaketh them, ſhall have mercy. There­fore be real, and repent cordially, cheat not your pretious ſouls of ſo heavenly a viaticum; unleſs you in­tend, and are deſperately reſolute, and bent to defraud your ſelf of eter­nal felicity, and ſo be caſt into hell irrecoverably: Repent, Repent, be­loved, ſtrive and endeavour after re­conciliation with God; get the wed­ding-garment on, that you may en­ter into the Bride-chamber, and be a welcom gueſt to God the Father. Ceaſe provoking of him to wrath by your hainous ſin; For it is a fear­ful thing to fall into the hands of the li­ving God, Heb. 10. And if the wrath of a King be as the roaring of a Lyon, that can only prejudice the body; how much more heavy and weighty ſhall the wrath and indignation of God be,Matth. 5.30. who can caſt both body and ſoul into eternal unquenchable burnings!

374. It argues a mans repentance not to be ſolid or laid upon a good foundation, when they are induced to it for fear of ſhame and puniſh­ment; and were it not for this, he could willingly devote his dayes to ſin and uncleanneſs: though they may be accounted true penitents, and ſo eſteemed by the world; many Phariſaical perſons may put ſuch a gloſs upon their ſins, that their Apo­cryphal deeds may paſs for Canoni­cal actions; but〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, The all-ſeeing eye of God will ſoon pierce into the inmoſt chambers of their hearts, and diſcover their de­ceit, how cloſely and privately ſo­ever they carry it. This will cut the comb of all hypocrites and counter­feits, that think an outward colour, or ſuperficial ſhew is ſatisfactory & acceptable to God; though like the externally ſpecious Apples of Sodom, they be rotten at the core: ſuch per­ſons are like the Cynamon-tree, whoſe bark is better than the ſubſtance. The Lord is infinitely offended at ſuch proceedings, and teſtifieth his diſlike thereof; This people (ſaith he)38 come near me with their lips, and honour me with their mouths, but their hearts are far from me; ſo the Lord telleth the Jews in the 42 ch. of the prophecy of holy Jeremiah, the 20. verſe; They did but diſſemble with him in their hearts, and promiſed to do his will, but they do nothing but the contra­ry, and follow their own luſts. God abhors and deteſts ſuch perſons; he will ſpue them out of his mouth, and never ſuffer them to be partakers of his Heavenly Kingdom: Let all ſuch hypocritical perſons take notice, and conſider the judgement of God on Ananias and Sapphira, Acts the 5. who becauſe they would videri tan­tum, ſeem only religious, and for­ward to ſell their Lands, and give it to the poor, (thus covetouſneſs can­not walk without the cloak of reli­gion to cover its deformity) there­fore the Lord ſmote them both dead. And that Chriſt might manifeſt how vile and odious hypocritical perſons are in the ſight of the Lord; He tells us in the Goſpel of St. Mat­thew, chap. 24. verſ. 51. All vile ſin­ners ſhall have their portion with hypo­crites;39 becauſe if there be one place in hell hotter then another, that may be termed locus hypocritarum, The ſeat of hypocrites. Therefore we ſhould all endeavour to get a ſound heart, free from diſſimulation and hypocriſie, which may be an accep­table ſacrifice to God, and well-pleaſing, that he may ſmell a ſweet ſavour from all our pious works.

5. Fifthly and laſtly, it is a ſign of impenitency, when men are ſo im­piouſly bold as to ſtand on their own merits and deſert, their own good­neſs and worthineſs, when they ap­proach the preſence of God; like the proud Phariſee, Luke the 18.11, 12. I thank thee, O God, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjuſt, adulterers, or even as this Publican; I faſt twice a week, I give tithes of all that I poſſeſs: but the Publican that only ſmote his breaſt, and ſaid only, God be merciful to me a ſinner, went down to his houſe juſtified, ſaith the Text, ra­ther then the boaſting Phariſee: ſuch tumours are as great ſcars and im­perfections to the ſoul, as a wound or wen to a rare complexion. We40 ſhould all caſt away our own righte­ouſneſs as a menſtruous rag, and rely wholly upon the meritorious death and paſſion of the immaculate Lamb of God, his Chriſt, and our Saviour, for the ſalvation of our immortal ſouls: We ſhould totally deveſt our ſelves of all worth, for we are all ſin­ful duſt and aſhes; and therefore may well make this expoſtulation with all men; Homo bulla, quid ſuper­bis? O man, thou that art but an aiery bubble, Why art thou proud? Thou that art a bubble that is made of nothing, and when made, as ſoon blown to nothing; Cum ſis humi li­mus, cur non es humillimus? Since you are compoſed of the dung of the ground, of earth; why are you not according to the matter you were created of, mean and humble? The whole world is not able to ſatisfie their ambition, but the aſpiring Pyramid of their thoughts mount­eth and ſtill leſſeneth by degrees, till it come to a meer punctum. Moſt men now adaies, like the Pellaean Hero, Alexander the Great, do Aeſtuare an­guſto limite mundi, Sweat for want41 of room in the world; there is not ſpace enough for the flight of their ſoaring thoughts, that are wing'd with ambition: but this is accord­ing to the Wiſeman, nothing but vanity, vanitas vanitatum, omnia va­nitas: They fiſh after impoſſibili­ties; and grant they could ſubdue the whole world, and reduce it into their own poſſeſſion; 'twould not, it could not ſatisfie their heart, or give them any real ſolid content: for the world is a Circle, the heart of man a Triangle; now we all know that a Circle cannot fill a Triangle. Ceaſe then, all you that aim at the hilling up of fatal gold, and employ your hours in a more noble traffick, in procuring the riches and treaſures of Jeſus Chriſt, that may ſerve you, and be of uſe to you in the day of wrath, to get your Sins pardoned, all your crimes expunged with the Spunge of Oblivion, that the Lord may nevermore lay them to your charge; and this muſt be by an un­feigned repentance, though none of the five forementioned ways. Now that you may know how to gain the42 ſalvation of your ſouls, how to be eternally bleſſed, and ſing Hallelu­jahs to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghoſt, world without end; which felicity will undoubtedly be attained unto by all true penitent ſouls. And that you may know affirmatively what it is to be true penitents, take it in theſe fol­lowing Conſiderations:The five ſteps of aſ­cention by Repen­tance. To this fe­licity we muſt aſcend by 5 degrees or ſteps of true and unfeigned repen­tance.

1. The firſt ſtep whereof that leads and conducts to heaven, is for a man to have an internal regret for ſin, to be grieved and perplexed for it, to be wounded in conſcience for it; for till a man ſee his Sins in the glaſs of repentance, and weigh them, and meditate upon the curſe of God that hangs over his head in a judgment for them, he will never repent: This is the godly ſorrow that leadeth unto repentance never to be re­pented of. This compunction or pricking of the heart is a clear de­monſtration of repentance, ſincere and ſound; and is the firſt ſtep to43 heaven, and ſo per conſequens to the ſalvation of the never dying ſoul.

And if it be ſo that this is the firſt ſtep to heaven;Uſe 1how ſad a thing is it to ſee men in ſuch a miſerable eſtate as many are in theſe diſtracted times! how many are there that have not ſet one foot forward in the way to heaven! and you know the old ſay­ing, Non progredi, eſt regredi; Not to go forward, is to go backward. How many are there that never have been humbled, never touched, never wounded in conſcience for their Sins? Wilful im­penitency, or a care­leſs neglect of Repen­tance, very dange­rous.O what a miſerable conditi­on, what a deplorable eſtate do they lye in! Now apply this to your ſelves, Beloved; did the ſacrificing Knife of Gods Word never wound your conſcience, nor extract one tear from your eyes for the deluge of your Sins, that will overwhelm your ſoul eternally, without Gods infinite mercy? if you have not been thus and thus grieved for your treſpaſſes and tranſgreſſions, you are in a de­ſperate condition, and there is very little hope or probability of your ſalvation.


Ʋſe 2This ſerves then for a Uſe of Con­ſolation to all the Children, all the Sons and Daughters of God; for if you feel your hearts wounded for your Sins, and you bath your ſoul in true penitent tears for the many hainous crimes that you are con­ſcious of; it is a true indicium or ſign of being in the ſtate of grace, and that Gods ſpirit hath met with us, and his Word hath cut the throat of Sin, which otherwiſe would have ruinated you, nay aims at God him­ſelf; for peccatum, ſaith Pariſienſis, eſt Deicidium, Sin is the Cut-throat of God, with holy reverence be it ſpo­ken; Sin ſtrives to dethrone God; therefore let us endeavour to caſt Sin down the precipice of our hearts, and nevermore afford it houſe-room, ſince it offends ſo merciful, ſo graci­ous, and ſo kind a God as ours; for Sin is an abomination unto the Lord, and ſo are all Sinners and evil-doers.

2. The ſecond ſign of, or way to true penitency, is this, when a man fears to Sin, not becauſe of the pu­niſhment, but becauſe he offends ſo45 great a God in ſo doing: like holy Joſeph, who when he was tempted by the ſweet careſſes of his Miſtris, cried out, How can I do this great evil, and ſin againſt God! Therefore from him we may learn what is moſt to be de­ſired here on earth, viz. the love and favour of God ſo that if any one ſhould put the queſtion to you, and demand what your deſire moſt hun­ted after, and what your affections were moſt fixed on? You ought to anſwer, The love and favour of God in Chriſt Jeſus. 'Tis not your em­broidered apparel, your manners and mannors, your parts and arts, that are able to appeaſe the trouble and perplexity of a diſtreſſed con­ſcience; nothing but the mercy of God in Chriſt Jeſus will afford it: This is the onely refuge for a trou­bled conſcience in the greateſt ex­treamity. Men may in their ex­tremities go to drink away ſorrow, as they term it in their profane gib­briſh, and betake themſelves to their merry company; but alas! this is no comfort, this no remedy for their diſeaſe: an old ſore gangren'd or46 putrified, if it be not very skilfully handled, will hardly admit of cure; but if it be ſuperficially healed at top, and not throughly at the bot­tom, as ſoon as 'tis skin'd at the top, it will break out at the bottom; ſo when men ſeek to ſmother the accu­ſation of their own conſciences, and ſtrive to blunt the edge of it, it will rebound again, and give a deadly wound, even to deſperation. Beg of God therefore power and ability through his ſtrengthning grace, that you may be buoy'd up thereby in the midſt of an Ocean of troubles, and that the burden of an afflicted wounded conſcience may be mino­rated, and leſſened, that ſo you may not fall into deſpair. To prevent de­ſpair, all godly perſons ought like Heraclitus, to weep away their daies; and indeed, they are a ſea of tears, a meer vapour melted into tears: his voice is painted with tears, which have ſuch an airy power and faculty, as that they are able to mount up to Heaven, and there to inſinuate themſelves into the ear of the Almighty, begging and craving47 pardon for ſin, and a preſervation from deſpair by the mighty power of God. Lachrymae & preces are the only weapons in a Chriſtian battel; let us ſo fight with theſe weapons, as to get the peace of conſcience and joy of the Holy Ghoſt, that paſſeth all underſtanding, and that ſpeedily too: for our journey is long, and our time ſhort, therefore we had need to husband it well: Can there be a longer journey then from earth to heaven? and a ſhorter time than a moment? Yet ſuch is our journey, ſuch is our time: Repent therefore now while it is called to day, harden not your hearts, for procrastination is dangerous: doubt not of the power of God, for he is Omnipotent; and this attribute of his is manifeſted in every petty piece of the Hexame­ron Fabrick: There is〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, ſomething that may challenge our admiration, even in the borders of a gaudy Butterfly, ſaith Ari­ſtotle; which do afford an evi­dent ſmack or view of the Omni­potency of God. Rely upon him therefore; fear ſin, and avoid it, be­cauſe48 it offends ſo gracious a God.

3. The third ſtep to true repen­tance, is a conſtant and ſetled reſolu­tion, never to ſin, or diſpleaſe God; to do his will, walk in the way of his Commandments: I do not ſay, that a truly ſanctified perſon never ſins at all, but he never ſins with an intent and purpoſe to ſin; he takes no de­light or complacency in ſin; 'tis the ſole object of his hatred, and reſol­veth to pleaſe God as far as poſſibly he may by the grace of God that ſtrengthens him: When he can ſay with holy David, Pſalm the 18. and the 23. I have refrained my feet from every evil way. Again, 1 John 3.9. He that is born of God ſinneth not, i. e. not with a full purpoſe of heart, or with a delight in it, or affection to it; but they conſtantly ſtrive againſt it, ſhun and avoid the occaſions of ſin, ſuſpect themſelves upon every occaſion, and are continually arm'd to give battel to the devil and his temptations. In may things we ſin all, ſaith St. James. But if we can but ſay really and experimentally that it is againſt our intention, that we hate,49 abhor & deteſt ſin with an unuttera­ble hatred, and that we condemn the very ſins we commit, then we may be comforted, receive joy, and aſſure our ſelves that we are true peni­tents; for this takes away the do­minion of ſin in our mortal bodies: doth not quite thruſt it out, it doth deveſt it of its authority; ſo that it hath no power to prejudice or injure us in our ſalvation.

4. The fourth ſign of, or way un­to true repentance, is an aggravation of our ſins; when we render them hainous in the ſight of God, ac­knowledging we have ſinned ſo much, that we deſerve eternal dam­nation; we deſerve that the Vials of Gods wrath ſhould be poured down upon our heads. You would fare the better, not the worſe, for aggrava­ting your tranſgreſſions; For God ſo loved the world, that he gave his only be­gotten ſon, that whoſoever believed in him, might not periſh, but have everla­ſting life. This is a ſic without ſicut: Such a ſo, as never man loved ſo; and all this for the ſalvation of man­kind.

505. The fifth and laſt ſign of, or ſtep unto repentance, is a frank and free confeſſion of ſins, not extorted and wrung out of you, but flowing from you liberally, chearfully and really, in hope of the pardon and re­miſſion of them.

We muſt ſo confeſs our ſins, as to beg pardon for them, and to entreat the Lord to have pity on us out of the bowels of his tender compaſſion. Do not abſcond and conceal your ſins; manifeſt them publickly both to God and man: be cordially penitent for them, and no doubt but the mer­ciful God will ſave your ſouls. Con­feſſion of ſins is the forerunner of remiſſion; and this muſt not be flaſhy and for a time, but ſo long as are our years upon the earth mea­ſured out; for he that will ſerve the primus motor, muſt not write his ne ultra, till he come to the Terminus ad quem. He muſt proceed with a cou­rage; we muſt confeſs them openly, and not like the worldly wiſe, whoſe wiſdom Lactantius ſaith, abſcondit, non abſcindit peccata; conceals, and not cuts aſunder, or ſeparates ſin. 51Now we muſt confeſſe our ſins,

  • 1. To God, and
  • 2. To Man.

1. To God, as holy David teach­eth us in his own example, Pſalm the 51. verſ. 4. Against thee, against thee only have I ſinned: and again in the 32 Pſam, verſ. the 6. I ſaid I will con­feſs my ſins unto the Lord, and ſo thou forgaveſt the wickedneſs of my ſin. 'Tis true, we may injure men by our ſin, as David did Uriah; but being ſin, the chiefeſt wrong and injury falleth upon God.

2. We muſt confeſs to men, and that both privately and publickly, according to the quality of the ſin; for though we condemn auricular confeſſion, as a trick of State-policy; yet we allow, and not only ſo, but exhort all Chriſtians to a true volun­tary and ſincere confeſſion of their ſins to the Biſhop and Superinten­dents of the Church: confeſſion muſt be made to men in reſpect of the Church, that the Congregati­on that hath been offended may be ſatisfied, and that others may be deterred from falling into the ſame52 ſins, as it is in the 2 Epiſtle to St. Timothy, 4 ch. and the 26 verſ. Them that ſin, rebuke openly, that the reſt may fear. And laſt of all, in reſpect of the Sinner himſelf, that he may be humbled for it; for were it a pecu­niary mulct onely, and his purſe were to do penance, he would not probably value that; but now it may bring him to an humiliation, and a ſincere repentance, accompa­nied with a godly life hereafter. Now this ſerves to condemn all thoſe that are ſo far from acknow­ledging and confeſſing their ſins, as to juſtifie themſelves in them, and plead for them with all the Rheto­rick they have; ſo that if any one in a Chriſtian way reprove them with meekneſs, 'tis verba ventis dare; to prattle to the wind: they will probably reply with ſome ſuch kind of croſs anſwer: What need you buſie your ſelf about the ſtate of my ſoul? I ſhall be reſponſible, not to you for it, look to your ſelf firſt: if they carouſe & follow ſtrange attire, they will ſay they do but as others do, 'tis the faſhion, what care they?53 and this ſlye trick of diſſimulation we ſuckt from our firſt Parents; Geneſis the 3. and the 12. where when Adam was examined, he poſted off the matter from himſelf to his wife; The woman that thou gaveſt me, ſhe gave me of the fruit, and I did eat. We are unwilling to confeſs and acknow­ledg our ſins, when as we have en­couragement enough for it from our Text, ſince there is ſuch an exceſ­ſive joy in Heaven at the converſion of one Sinner. God himſelf rejoy­ceth, the bleſſed quire of Angels re­joyce, and all the Hoſt of Heaven. How then ſhould we labour after true repentance, ſince we have ſo many ſacred invitations to it in holy writ? Since God himſelf doth vouch­ſafe to come and invite us unto him, and promiſeth us acceptance from him, he will bid us welcom, be confident, beloved, whenever we approach his preſence with a real and a contrite heart. Overcome your ſelves, though it be very difficult: forFortior eſt qui ſe, quam qui fortiſsima vincit Moenia.


He is the greateſt Conqueror that can ſubdue his own paſſions, and keep his body in ſubjection, as St. Paul did,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, ſaith he, I chaſtiſe my body: from whence Fri­ars draw their authority of chaſti­ſing themſelves, though without cauſe; and ſo take the word to be ſuch a chaſtiſement as School-ma­ſters uſe to boys: We ought all of us againſt the grain of our fleſh to mould and faſhion our ſelves to re­pentance; that ſo we may obtain a Trinity of Graces to ſave us, Faith, Hope, and Charity; and this Tri­nity of Grace will deliver us from a Trinity of Evils, Blindneſs, Er­ror, and Unbelief: and if we be de­livered from theſe, we ſhall be freed from the predominancy of the World, the Fleſh, and the Devil: and if we be preſerv'd from theſe, we ſhall undoubtedly be crowned by the bleſſed Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghoſt: to whom be Glory, Honour, and Praiſe, World without end. Amen.


GOD AND MAN Mutually Embracing.

In the firſt Epiſtle of St. John, the 4 Chap. and the 19 verſ. it is thus written:

We love him; becauſe he firſt loved us.

LOve is the punctum or centre,SERM. III. about which the circumfe­rence of our thoughts doth move; and the primus motor that in­duceth us to fix our ſpirits upon an object. Love is to our ſouls, as weight is to ponderous bodies; for as the gravity of a body forceth it down­ward, that it may enjoy a ſweet re­poſe in its centre; ſo Love moves our ſouls to an object that promiſeth repoſe and contentment; therefore from hence it follows, that as ponde­rous bodies move in a ſtraight line toward their centre: ſo if we will obtain a true reſt, our Love muſt be regular, and proceed in a direct56 line, by a divinely-compoſed mo­tion.

This Text, Beloved, that I come from reading to you, is the Epitome of Chriſtian Religion; or the great Folio of Chriſtian duty, reduced into a Decimo-ſexto, or pocket-volume.

In this Text there are two parts; and theſe two parts are the two pil­lars of the Church, and the whole Chriſtian World.

1. Our love toward God, in theſe words, We love him;〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.

2. Gods love toward us, which is but the reaſon, or rather efficient cauſe of our love toward him; be­cauſe he firſt loved us,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.

Not to ſtand upon the nice and fine-ſpun diſtinctions that the School-men make of Love, we ſhall only divide it into two ſorts; Divi­num and Humanum amorem; into Love Divine, and Humane: the divine is couched down by the holy Spirit of God in the latter part of the verſe, becauſe he loved us; and the humane in the former, We love him.


We will begin with the latter, hu­mane love, or the love of man to God.

Spiritual, or true love, gives repoſe and contentment to the ſoul; when as carnal or falſe love is an irregular agitation, and an inconſiderate mo­tion without a Terminus ad quem. it is ever repleat with inquietude and di­ſtraction; and never ceaſeth or re­ſteth, till it deſpairs, or is quite ti­red out; which is not properly a reſt, but an impotency and inabili­ty of motion; and the deſire is ſtrong when the power is weak, like a horſe that tied to a manger gnaweth his bridle aſunder: ſuch are moſt perſons; their deſires are ſtrong, their power but weak; they deſire moſt what they can leaſt perform.

The cauſe of this diſturbance is this: Our Love ſelecteth out,Reaſons why we love not God per­fectly.1 Cauſe. and fixeth upon falſe objects, and ſuch that cannot ſatiate the deſire; for if you ſurvey all ſublunary things that deſerve the name of beautiful, you ſhall find in them no true quiet or reſt, but a concatenation of cares, interwoven with perpetual trouble. 58The greateſt delicacies are conſited in bitterneſs. The acquiſition of ho­nour and preferment is painful; and many break their necks in riding up­on the airy ſtilts of Fame. The poſ­ſeſſion of riches is uncertain, and the loſs certain; if they leave not us by ſome accident, Death (Natures Bay­liff) will arreſt us, and force us to leave them. To aim at ſuch things is but ventum proſequi, To purſue the wind; an action as ridiculous as can be.

Grant they be good, yet they are incertain; therefore we muſt ſeek after our repoſe ſomewhere elſe, ſince the earth cannot afford it, and turn the compaſs of our Love to­ward Heaven. For as the lower re­gion of the Air is the habitation of winds, tempeſts, and earth-quakes; but that part that is near the Heaven is ſerene and quiet: ſo our Love, ſo long as it adheres to ſublunary ob­jects, will be full of trouble, but 'twill find reſt and quiet, if it lift it ſelf up to Heaven, and lay hold of the promiſes of God: and then the ſoul, though in the midſt of the con­fuſions59 and afflictions of this world, be they never ſo thorny, will have the fruition of an aſſured tranquilli­ty: like the Needle of the Compaſs that remains firm upon one point, notwithſtanding the violence of the ſcolding ſurges of a Tempeſtuous Sea; and all becauſe it is guided by the motion of the Heavens. God is the ſole object (or at leaſt ought to be) of our Love, and hath only a power to render us amiable by lo­ving us; He that only can, nay that will give them felicity, and that un­utterable too, that love him. As the Apoſtle St. Paul writeth, in the firſt to the Corinth. the 2 Chap. and the 9 verſ. Eye hath not ſeen, nor ear heard, neither hath entred into the heart of man to conceive, the things that God hath prepared for them that love him. He promiſeth alſo in St. John, chap. 14. verſ. 23. to come unto him that loveth him, and make his abode with him. O unparallelled Love! that makes a Palace of our ſouls for the King of Glory, and a Sanctuary of the Holy Ghoſt.

2. 2 Cauſe.Philoſophy it ſelf hath this60 down for a maxime, that Natura & Deus nihil fecerunt fruſtra, that God and Nature made nothing in vain. Now that infinite and inſatiable de­ſire or appetite that is in man, were in vain, if there were nothing to ſa­tisfie and content it; Which ſince it is impoſſible to find out upon this Terraqueous Globe, we muſt ſearch after it in Heaven, of God that is bonum infinitum, an infinite good.

3 Cauſe.3. Beſides, God created the world for the uſe of man, and therefore without doubt he created man for ſomething better then the world, viz. God himſelf.

4 Cauſe.4. God created man inter omnia animalia, only ſecundum imaginem, according to his own image, with a ſtraight body, and an upright coun­tenance, according to mellifluous Naſo,

Os homini ſublime dedit, coelumque tueri
Juſsit, & erectos ad ſydera tollere vultus.

that ſo he might behold him, whom61 he repreſented; and that the But, and White, of all his actions and thoughts, might be Heaven.

5. 5 Cauſe.The perfection of our ſpirits cannot be, but in the union of or with the firſt of ſpirits, who com­municateth his bona, or good things to us his Creatures, as the Sun darts his rays upon us; that is, he gives them ſo, he beſtows them on us, yet ſo, that they depend on him after he hath diſpoſed of them.

6. 6 Cauſe.True Love is that tranſ­formeth the amantem the Lover, in amatum, into the thing or party lo­ved. Now if a deformed perſon be never ſo highly enamoured with the captivitating beauty of a red & white complexion, he will never be able by this love to correct his deformity. On the contrary, in loving God, we become ſibi ſimiles, like unto him; and as the holy Apoſtle ſaith in the ſecond to the Corinth. the third Chap. and the laſt verſe, Beholding as in a glaſs the glory of the Lord, with open face, are changed into the ſame image.

7. And laſtly, Beauty,7 Cauſe. being the firſt incitation to Love, or the Tin­der62 of the affections, we ſhall ſoon be able to diſcern when the ſcales of ignorance are fallen from our eyes, that this beauty, as we term it, that is here below, is but a ſuperficial co­lour, or a cover to a bundle of fil­thineſs: but that the Lumen, or true Light, is the true beauty; God therefore being the true Light, and the Father of Lights, is the chief beauty, and the object on whom we all ought to fix our affections.

Natural Philoſophy here is dia­metrically oppoſite to the Divine, and jars with it much in this caſe; for Philoſophy affirms that Natural motion is better then that is against Na­ture. On the contrary, quoad amorem, the Word of God, that is, our Divine Philoſophy, inſtructeth and per­ſwadeth us, that Love contrary to Na­ture, is better then Love natural. For ſince that Satan in ſeducing our firſt Parents, hath defaced the image of God in Man, our deſires have had their conſtant courſe towards the World, and, as I may ſay, our Love hath been precipitated from Heaven to the Earth. The affection of the fleſh63 is enmity againſt God, Romans the 8. and the 7 verſe: If one love, that love flows not from him naturally, but it is a free gift of God. And the Apoſtle St. Paul drawing us out of the mud, and freeing us from the bait of all alluring delights of this World, commands us to ſeek the things above, Coloſſ. 3. verſ. 1, 2. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, be skilful in the things above, be wiſe in heavenly matters; for according to the words in my Text, We love God, becauſe he firſt loved us.

Our love therefore it appears ma­nifeſtly, is an effect of Gods Love to us; nor is there any thing that we ought with more devotion or zeal to crave of God, then Love; for it is a pledg unto the faithful of Gods Love to him. It is the firſt fruit, the pri­mitiae of Faith; 'tis the moſt exact and curious extract of the Image of God. It is the moſt perſpicuous mark of a child of God. Love is the ſumme of Chriſtia­nity.This Love is the ſoul of our ſoul; the life of vir­tue; the rule by which we ſquare (or at leaſt ought to do) all our acti­ons; the ſummary or compendium of64 the Law: 'Tis the pillar or ſuſtenta­culum of Martyrs; the Jacobs Lad­der, by which you may aſcend the Heavens, and true peace of con­ſcience; nay (with holy reverence be it ſpoken) it is a praelibamen, or earneſt-penny of that Sacred union and communion that we expect all to enjoy with God in Heaven, world without end. Our meditation could not pitch upon a more ſublime ſub­ject; for what is there that dare ſtand in competition with God, either for his greatneſs, or the ſweetneſs and candor of his Love? The profit of this Love of God is no way infe­rior to the delight; for men are ter­med good or evil, not for what they believe, but what they love.

Let us all therefore labour for this, and become proficients in the School of Chriſt, and beſeech the ſpirit ſo to mould our hearts, that they may be wrought to a true and perfect Love of God: leſt we be abuſed and fooled into error with the ſound of this word Love, and miſtake the ſpiritual for a carnal love, an im­portunate or fretting corroſion of the65 heart; an aguiſh alteration; the laſt of vices for the firſt and beſt of ver­tues, a brutiſh malady for an Ange­lical diſtemper.

'Tis true; he that diſpoſeth and conformeth himſelf to the Love of God, muſt expect the hatred and beſpattering calumnies of the world; but God will cauſe the very diſcom­modities that the world afflicts us with, to be converted into commodi­ty and profit: for (ſaith the bleſſed Apoſtle) Rom. the 8. and the 28. And we know that all things work toge­ther for good to them that love God, to them who are the called, according to his purpoſe. Their corporeal afflictions, are but ſpiritual exerciſes; their〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, nocumenta, documen­ta. The malady of their body, is a remedy for their ſoul: for God alone is the true Aeſculapius, ſo divine a Chymiſt, that he will convert poy­ſons into Antidotes for his childrens health and ſecurity: His wounds are balm, ſaith the Divine Harper, Pſalm 14. verſ. 5. In all our ſuffe­rings for Gods ſake, there is not only matter of patience, but occaſion for66 glory; they are ſcars of credit in the forehead; conformities unto our bleſ­ſed Saviour Jeſus Chriſt, and the livery of all Chriſtian Souldiers. And all this by the ſuſtentation and ſupport of this Love, the ſweetneſs whereof qualifies and abates the bit­terneſs of all ſublunary croſſes.

Object. But here ſome may object and ſay, that the Love of God is pro confeſso an excellent vertue; but we muſt know him, before we love him; and we cannot compaſs any other but a lame and decrepit inſufficient noti­on of him. 'Tis true; but notwith­ſtanding all this, we ought ſtill dare operam to it, and make exact ſearch after it; and when we have it, em­brace it; for ignorance muſt not be a Cloak or tegument to our negli­gence, ſince we cannot gain ſo little of the true knowledge of God, but ſome profit will accrue to us there­by, and that will blow up the em­bers of the love of God in us to an ac­ceptable degree of heat and pious zeal. One ray of the love of God will outbalance and overvalue all the ſplendor of the Meridian Sun. A67 dark obſcure knowledge of God, ſur­paſſeth the moſt acute and ſharp in­ſight into all natural things. If one beam of the Sun chance to peep into a Dungeon, the priſoner by this, re­collects the beauty and excellency of Light; ſo that ſmall and imperfect knowledg that we obtain of God, is ſufficient for a taſte of the excellency of his Love, and able to inflame us therewith; beſides, 'tis ſufficient for ſalvation. We love God, becauſe he lo­ved us firſt.

We are ſo incapable of the Love of God, that we underſtand not what it is to love him: This Tree of Know­ledge grows not in our Eden; This flower ſprings not up in our Garden; 'tis〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a gift dropt out of Heaven, proceeding from the Father, who is Love and Charity, as St. John ſaith: This is a divine liquor, the true Nectar, that God poures into our ſouls guttatim, drop by drop, as in narrow-neckt veſſels. Wherefore to accommodate our ſelves to our native ſlowneſs, we'll endeavour to infuſe into our ſpirits by little and little, ſo by degrees to arrive at the higheſt68 degree and Apex of Love.

There are five degrees of this our Love to God.

1. The firſt is, to love God for the good he doth us, and we expect to receive from him ſtill.

2. Secondly, To love him pro­pter ſeipſum, or ſui ipſius gratia, for his own ſake, becauſe he is moſt ex­cellent, and moſt amiable.

3. Thirdly, To love God above all things, nay your own ſelves; but to love nothing in the World, but for his ſake.

4. Fourthly, To deteſt and ab­hor himſelf for the Love of God.

5. Fifthly, to love him as we ſhall in the life to come, when we ſhall be in glory; with this love the Saints are extaſied, and aſſiſt at the Throne of God in ſecula ſeculorum.

We call theſe Degrees of Love, and not ſpecies or kinds, becauſe the ſuperior contain the inferior, as the chiefeſt white differs from the other parcels of the ſame colour that are leſs clear and tranſparent, not in ſpecie, but in gradu: we muſt remount up theſe degrees or ſtairs, and reſt69 our ſelves a little upon every one of them.

1. The firſt degree and loweſt is,Five de­grees by which we are brought to love God. To love God for the good he doth us; upon this ſtep of Love was King David, when in the 116 Pſalm, and in the 1 verſe, I love the Lord, becauſe he hath heard my voice, and my ſupplica­tion; and ſo in the 18 Pſalm: for God will have reſpect and love from us, becauſe he extends his bounty ſo liberally to us. 'Tis God that crea­ted us; 'tis God that preſerves and keeps us being created; that nouri­ſheth our bodies, that cheriſheth our ſouls; that redeemeth us by his Son; that governs us by his holy Spirit; that inſtructeth us by his word, that hath vouchſafed to admit us as his ſervants, nay his friends and chil­dren; and which is more, the ſame with himſelf.

Plato playing the Philoſopher with the grace of God,Plato bleſ­ſed God for three things. thanked him for three things:

  • 1. That he was created a man, and not a beaſt.
  • 2. That he was born a Graecian, and not a Barbarian; and,
  • 70
  • 3. That he was a Philoſopher.

Now we that are inſtructed in the School of Chriſt, a School of more ſtrict diſcipline,So ought we for theſe eſpe­cially. make another kind of diſtribution of the grace of God, and return him thanks for theſe three things:

1. That of all Creatures, we were created men.

2. That of all men, Chriſtians; And,

3. That among thoſe that are Chriſtians, he hath made us in the number of the true elect. And if you pleaſe, you may add a fourth, That he hath adopted us by his Son Jeſus Chriſt, before the foundation of the World; having been carefull of us, not onely before we had any exi­ſtence, but even before the world had its creation. Now if God did mani­feſt his love to us before we were, how liberally will he extend it to us, how bountifully will it flow from him when we invocate and call upon his Sacred Name, and affect him with a filial and reverential love? Now the ſmaller our number is, the larger is our priviledge; the more71 extenſive and diffuſive is his bounty and goodneſs to us; to endow us with ſight, among ſo many blind per­ſons; as the portion of Jacob in Ae­gypt, ſolely enlightned in the midſt of obſcurity, Cimmerian darkneſs: like the fleece of Gideon, that was only bedewed with the grace of God, when the reſt of the earth was dry, and deſtitute of it. God hath encir­cled us with abundance of examples of ſtupendious caecity or blindneſs, that he might raiſe our eſtimation of light, and that we might make a far­ther progreſs in the way of ſalvation, that ſo whileſt it is called to day, we may ſteer the ſhip of our ſouls by the Lanthorn of his Word. All theſe vertues, the conſtellation of all theſe graces, depend upon one Soveraign and Prime one, viz. reconciliation with God by the paſſion of our bleſſed Jeſus. This is the Chanel through which the graces of God ſtream unto us. 'Tis Jacobs Ladder that joyns Heaven and Earth toge­ther, that rejoyns God and Man. The Angels aſcending this Ladder, repreſent our prayers, that we pi­ouſly72 dart up to Heaven: the Angels deſcending, ſignifie the bleſſings of God that are diſtilled in anſwer to our prayers. Jacob ſleeping at the foot of the Ladder, intimates unto us the quiet and tranquillity of con­ſcience, that we enjoy under the cool and comfortable ſhade of his interceſſion. Before, man was envi­roned with horror and aſtoniſh­ment; he could not caſt his eye a­ſide, but he met with an object of fear. If he look't upon God, he diſ­cerned a conſuming fire, a ſupream Juſtice, armed with revenge againſt ſinners. If he caſt his eye upon the Law, he immediately perceived the arreſt of condemnation: If he viewed the Heaven, he concluded himſelf excluded thence by reaſon of ſin; If the World, he ſaw his irreparable loſs of dominion over the Creatures; if himſelf, a thouſand ſpiritual and corporal infirmities. At the ſignes of Heaven, and the Earth-quake, he was ague-ſtruck with fear. Then Satan, Death, Hell, were his invete­rate foes, that either drew him to perdition, or did behel and wrack73 him with the expectation of them. But now every perſon that hath con­fidence in Chriſt Jeſus, changes his language, and ſpeaks in a more pleaſing dialect. If he look upon God, he'll ſay, 'Tis my Father, that hath adopted me: If his thoughts pitch upon the day of Judgement, he'll beſpeak himſelf thus, My El­der Brother ſits there; and he that is my Judge, is alſo my Counſel­lor: If he think on the Angels, he cries out, They are my guardians, Pſalm the 34. If he view the Heaven, he terms it his habitation. If he hear it thunder, he'll reply, 'Tis the voice of my Father. If he conſider the Law, The Son of God (ſaith he) hath accompliſht it for me. If he ſwim with the flowing tide of pro­ſperity, he'll ſay, God hath reſer­ved better things for me. If in the low ebb of adverſity, Jeſus Chriſt hath endured far more for me. God exerciſeth, or proves, corrects or af­flicts me, making me therein confor­mable to his Son. If he thinks on Hell, the Devil, or Death, then he will triumph over all with the holy74 Apoſtle; in the 1 to the Corinth. the 15 Ch. and the 55, 56, and 57 verſ. O Death, where is thy ſting! O grave, where is thy victory! The ſting of Death is ſin, and the ſtrength of ſin is the Law: But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jeſus Chriſt. Though theſe things buz about his ears like bees provoked or irritated, yet they have loſt their ſting. If the old ſerpent bruiſe his heel, yet his head is broken; if the Devil give us a falſe alarm by perſecutions, yet we are ſouldiers fighting under Chriſts Banner, liſted and regiſtred into the Book of Life at our Baptiſm: he hath bought and redeemed us by his moſt precious blood, and no one can raviſh us from him. What ſoul can be ſo ſordid as to fear the arm of fleſh, when he is guarded by the ſpirit of Chriſt, that doth not on­ly intercede for ſinners, but of ſin­ners makes them become juſt: That is not only Advocate of a bad cauſe, but alſo renders it good; That doth both pray, and pay for us; ſo that his pardoning of us is not onely a work of his mercy, but alſo an effect75 of his juſtice? Beſides theſe obliga­tions, we have an infinite number of incitations to the love of Chriſt, if we will but recollect our ſelves, and ſeriouſly conſider, how often he hath delivered us from imminent danger; cauſed inexpected overtures of evil intended to us, that we might avoid them: for according to the old Pro­verb, Praemoniti, praemuniti, forewar­ned, forearmed; and afflicted us here, that he might ſave us hereafter. Now 'twas the wiſh of that famous pillar of the Latin Church St. Augu­ſtin, Hic ure, hic tunde, hic ſeca, modo in aeternum parcas: Cut, ſaw, burn my body here, ſo thou ſaveſt my ſoul hereafter. Now for ſhame, let it not be ſaid, that God hath ſhow­red down his bleſſings on the ſand. Let us not be ſo beſtial, as to drink of the ſtream, and ne'er think of the fountain; without elevating our thoughts unto God the ſource of all benedictions.

But when we ſay God doth good unto us, to the end that we may love him; not that he ſtands in need of our Love, but he will have us love76 him, in regard that we cannot be ſa­ved if we hate him. Nay farther, that we love him, proceeds from him as a gift; for 'tis he that kindles in us his love. He doth not only beſtow and confer his bona upon us, but he gives us a hand to receive them, grace to uſe them, and vertue to glorifie for them; ſo that Deus primo dat quod jubet, and then jubet quod vult: firſt he gives what he commands, viz. Love,Love is the gift of God. and then he commands what is moſt agreable to his will and plea­ſure.

This firſt degree or ſtep of Love, though it be holy and uſeful, yet 'tis but principium amoris divini, 'tis but the prologue to the Love of God; for he that loves God only for profit, is like an infant or child that prays only for his break-faſt; and to ſpeak properly, ſuch perſons love not God, but themſelves. Such love is but mer­cenary, and injurious to God, a pal­pable affront put upon the Deity. Therefore he muſt know, that hath gained this firſt degree, he muſt proceed; for non progredi, eſt regredi; to be at a ſtand, is to be retrograde:77 he muſt therefore, I ſay, aſcend the ſecond ſtep.

The ſecond degree of our Love to­ward God, is to Love him,2 Degree. not on­ly for our profit, but alſo for him­ſelf, (i. e. ) laying aſide all conſide­ration of his benefits, that he is dai­ly pleaſed to confer on us; and though we expected no profit from him, yet to love him ſupra omnia. Holy David ſpake of this Love in the 69 Pſalm, Let all thoſe that love thee re­joyce in thy name. He counſels us to love God for his name, becauſe he is the ſupream, Wiſe in his counſel, juſt in his actions, true in his pro­miſes; whoſe habitation is in glory inacceſſible; enjoying a Soveraign perfection. God, whoſe life was without beginning, and his duration without end; his eternity without alteration, his greatneſs without meaſure, and his power irreſiſtible: That created the World by his Word, governs it by his vertue, and will reduce it to a Chaos of ruine, when it is his pleaſure: Who in one ſole vertue and perfection, which is his Eſſence, encompaſſeth all other78 vertues that are infuſed into all other creatures. All other vertues do con­centre in this punctum; and the more they deviate from him, the more ec­centrique they are. God therefore is to be loved for theſe preceding con­ſiderations, more then for the good that he is pleaſed to confer upon us. Our Saviour inſtructeth us the ſame, in that moſt abſolute pattern, that he himſelf hath ſet before us; in which he commands to beg the ſan­ctification of his Holy Name, and the advancement of his Kingdom; before we put up a petition for our daily bread. We naturally are enamoured with beauty: now Light is the firſt of beauties, without which there is no diſtinction between beauty and deformity. God therefore being the primum lumen, it follows neceſſarily that he be alſo the prime beauty. He is the Father of Lights, Pater Lu­minum, ſaith St. James; and holy David the Pſalmiſt in the 36 Pſalm 9. For with thee is the Fountain of Life; in thy light ſhall we ſee light. Wherefore in laying his hand to the ſtately Fa­brick of the World, when he redu­ced79 the Chaos of confuſion into a beautiful and harmonious order, he began firſt with the light, as that by which his nature is beſt repreſented. He is the Sun of Righteouſneſs, a Sun that never comes to the Weſt, never ſets, nor caſts a ſhadow; all things are naked unto him,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, all things are bare-neckt unto him, 'tis in the Original, being a metaphor taken from the mode in the Eaſtern Coun­treys, where they go bare-neckt: ſuch a Sun as doth not only clarifie the ſight, but gives it alſo. And judge you what a ſplendid, ſight-of­fending luſtre this is, that the Sera­phims aſſiſting at his Throne cover their faces with their wings, as Iſaiah ſaith, 6 Chap. 2 verſ. not being able to endure ſo glorious a ſplendor. And if at the coming and appear­ance of the humanity of Chriſt, the Sun ſhall be benegroed in darkneſs, as a petty light at the coming of a greater; how, if you caſt an eye up­on the life of God!The life of God. ours is but a ſhadow, if compared to it, nay a nihil: for our life is a flux or ſucceſſion of parts. But God poſſeſſeth and80 hath full and entire fruition of his eadem inſtanti, and all together. And his only begotten Son was willing to lay down his life for the redemption of us miſerable and wretched ſin­ners: That Son that Iſaiah calls Chap. the 9. Father of eternity, was content to aſſume this frail fleſh of ours. He became Son of Man, that we might become the ſons of God. He was born in a ſtable, that we might be received into the King­dom of Heaven; born among beaſts, that we might be the aſſociates of Angels. He that was regens ſydera, became ſugens ubera;〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, be­came〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. He that is the bread of life was pinched with hunger, that we might be ſatisfied. He that is the fountain of life, became thir­ſty, that we might have ours quench­ed. In fine, he that is life it ſelf, did undergo death, that he might make us heirs of eternal life. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as the bleſſed Apoſtle in a holy ex­taſie cried out; O the depth of the riches of the Love of Chriſt! Theſe are pro­ſundities that ſwallow up our ſpi­rits, and there is pleaſure in being81 loſt therein: for theſe are the graces of God that ſurpaſſe our ſhallow capacities, but recreate our hearts; that afford matter of admiration, and ſubject of conſolation.

Now to what end is all this, if not to induce us to love God, and admire the treaſures and riches of his grace? Our ſpirits are extaſied with the rap­ture and contemplation of thy boun­ty. Our words are a degree beneath our thoughts, & yet our thoughts are far beneath the truth. We do but liſp forth thy praiſe; our commendation and elogiums of thee, are but an un­dervaluing of thee; for in ſo doing we do but lumen ſoli praeferre, or endea­vour to delineate him in his golden treſſes, by the dark draught of a char­coal. Therefore we muſt intreat the Lord, that is our Father, to touch our hearts with a filial affection; that it would pleaſe him that beſtows and infuſeth his love into us, to create alſo in us ſtrong affections and deſires af­ter ſuch a divine vertue; that we may pant after, & purſue it with ſo much eagerneſs, as to encounter with all obſtructions for the obtaining of it.


All theſe conſiderations do but in­cite us to the love of God, not for our ſelves, but for his own ſake; which is perſpicuous in this, that our Love cannot be regulate, unleſs it be formed and faſhioned on the model of his Love that he bears to us. Now God Loves us for his own ſake, accor­ding to the Prophet Iſa. Chap. 43. 'Tis I, 'tis I, that blot away thy trangreſ­ſions, for mine own ſake: And it is the prayer of holy Daniel in the 9. of his prophecy, Lord hear me, Lord pardon me; O Lord my God tarry not, for thine own ſake; for thy name hath been called up­on by this people. God conſiders that we bear his Image on our ſouls; he con­ſiders that we are unworthy of his benefits; but that it is a divine thing to do good to thoſe that are unwor­thy of receiving it; and which is more, to make them worthy in do­ing them good. He looks upon his Church as a ſmall fold that carrieth his name, and are baptized the peo­ple of God, Hoſea the 2. nor will he ſuffer it to become the prey of Sa­tan, or the triumph of their adver­ſaries. Amen.


GOD AND MAN Mutually Embracing.

In the firſt Epiſtle of St. John, the 4 Chap. and the 19 verſ. it is thus written:

We love God, becauſe he firſt loved us.

WE have in one Sermon al­ready diſcourſed of our Love of God,SERM. IV. and infor­med you of the ſeveral degrees of this Love, which were five: two where­of we have only as yet inſiſted on; the other three we ſhall, auſpice Christo, diſpatch in our ſubſequent love-diſcourſe. Therefore not to detain you with the reiteration or repetiti­on of what you have formerly heard; we'll proceed at preſent to the third degree of our Love to God, which is this, viz.

To Love God ſo far above all ſub­lunary beings, as to affect nothing,3 Degree. to be enamoured with nothing, but84 only for his ſake. As for inſtance, in the vaſt circumference of the terre­ſtrial Globe, there is variety both of perſons and things, that we cannot withdraw our affections from them, we cannot but love them; and in rea­lity, 'twere impiety not to Love them. A Father loveth his Children, a Wife her Husband: our Parents, our Kindred, our Neighbours, our Friends, have all ſhare in this ami­ty. So a man loves his health, and labours to preſerve it: if it be any way loſt, he endeavours by all poſſi­ble means to recover it. The brawny Peaſant is in his element when whi­ſtling to his Teem, and manuring of his acres. The Scholar is ſo ravi­ſhed with his ſtudy, that his very countenance ſmels of the candle, as the Poet ingeniouſly expreſſeth it;Livida nocturnam ſapiebant ora lu­cernam.Their pale countenance did reliſh of the candle; ſpeaking of exceſſive ſtudents. Nay, to go to diſrobe a man of this love, would be a doctrine85 inhumane, and a degree below bru­tality. He is worſe than an Infidel, that hath not a care of his family, ſaith the bleſſed Apoſtle. Piety doth not extir­pate a mans affections, but cultivates them, and makes them colleagues with the Love and fear of God: No otherwiſe than Joſhuah, who having ſubdued the Gibeonites, would not put them to death, but compel them to ſervice in the Houſe of God: For then doth a father love his ſons with a real paternal affection, when he reſolves to educate them ſo in their youth, that they may encreaſe in growth, and become plants that one day may fructifie to the glory of God. Then doth a man love his friends as he ought, when their love to God is the efficient cauſe of his love to them; and that he perceives the Image of God ſhine in them. Then ſhall we love our health law­fully and aright, when we deſire it, not becauſe it is more pleaſant and comfortable, but becauſe it endowes our bodies with a vigour, and our ſouls with a liberty of ſerving God in our vocation. The ſame may be86 ſaid of Riches, Honour, Learning, and the like; theſe are things that one may affect, but ſo, that their love rob us not of our love to God; but rather ſtimulate us on, and pro­voke us to good works. And as there is no river ſo ſmall, but diſembogues it ſelf into the Sea; ſo there is none of Gods benefacta, though of the loweſt ſize, of the moſt dwarfiſh ſta­ture, but conducts and leads our thoughts to the profound abyſs of his goodneſs and greatneſs. Then ſhall our affections to our friends be regulated, and ſweetly compoſed, when they ſhall be branches or arms of the Sea of Gods immenſe Love, and have a reflection upon the Image or benefits of God. Set not a price or eſtimation upon men for that that is about them, but for what is in them: Love not men as you do Pur­ſes, (i. e. ) for the money they have. If you honour a perſon for his ſtately attire, you might as well ſalute the Sattin when intire in a whole piece: If you reverence a man for his ho­nour, or renown, you pin his di­gnity upon his ſleeve, and fix his87 worth on an airy title: and this is the mode now adaies; this is the frame of moſt mens ſpirits in the world, to adore the Casket, and contemn the Jewel that is cabinetted in it; to eſteem the bark, and ſlight the body. It was the ancient com­plaint of devout St. Bernard, Color, non calor aeſtimatur; veſtium, non vir­tutum cultus inſiſtitur: 'Tis the gaw­dineſs, not the warmth of apparel, that is minded; the trimming of garments, not the adorning of ver­tues, is ſtood upon: 'Tis the lining of his pockets, not that of his brain, that is regarded. Nay Ariſtotle, Natures elder ſon, was of opinion, that an Aſſe laden with Gold might have a paſs through any gate: 'Tis true in a natural, but not in a ſpiri­tual ſenſe; for he cannot paſſe through the ſtraight gate of Heaven. 'Tis Gold, hiſce temporibus ferreis, that is omnium Regina, The Empreſs of the world;〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,Fight with ſpears of Gold, and you88 will meet little or no oppoſition. And pardon me if I go too high, or offend: ſome dunghill-ſouls will be­tray their Royal Soveraign for re­ward, for a mercenary golden re­compence. 'Tis money that rules, and overrules the whole world. Men riſe early, ſit up late, and eat the bread of carefulneſs; and all for ad­ding to the maſs of their treaſure: all is good that procures wealth, be it what it will, or how it will; per fas, & nefas; by hook, or by crook, right or wrong; quo jure, quaque in­juria, as the Comedian excellently, and ſuitable to our preſent times; whether it be by Hophnies fleſh-hook, or Habakkuks net; all's good fiſh that comes to the net. The holy A­poſtle tells us that godlineſs is great gain: but there are many now living that would tell him, if he were a­mong us, that great gain is godli­neſs; at leaſt, their godlineſs. 'Tis apparel makes a man, now adaies; but if once you be diſrobed of your bravery, and ad paupertatum redactus, Then,89Nullus ad amiſſas ibit amicus opes.Then when you are in a thred-bare condition, you ſhall find no friends, few or no viſitations: and whereas before they did ſtick to your thre­ſhold, and were unwilling to leave your ſociety, now they'll be as nig­gardly of their viſitations, as before they were prodigal of them. Like the Aſſe that carried the Image Iſis in proceſſion, when adorned with the ornaments; then did they bow the officious knee; but when ſpoiled and deprived of them, then they come no more about her, but ſhe muſt be ranked with the reſt of her dull, cold, contemptible fellow-crea­tures. But on the contrary, when your affections are beſtowed on a man, becauſe he fears God, he is firm and ſtable in his faith, advan­ced in the true knowledge of God, true in his words, juſt in his deeds, and charitable to the afflicted, in­flamed or eaten up with the zeal of Gods houſe, (not like many of the Puritanical faction, whoſe prepo­ſterous90 zeal hath put the whole Na­tion into a combuſtion) your love toward him will continue, as long as he himſelf. Diſpoſſeſs ſuch a per­ſon of his Lands, deprive him of his Titles, diſrobe him of his gorgeous attire, his body and all his orna­ments will remain; and that excel­lency that conſiſts in the Image of God, and the graces of his Spirit.

I know that the ſecrets or intenti­ons of mens hearts are profound; and that oftentimes it evenes, that thoſe perſons that we make choice of, and pick out for friends, and vertuous too, become vitious, or elſe demonſtrate unto us they have ever been ſo. In this caſe, he that loves God, ought to reprove his friend, and redreſs him with all his power. Adulation or flattery hath rob'd amity or true love of all its terms, but onely a liberty of re­proving. He that reproves not his friend for fear of incurring his diſ­pleaſure, it is a reſpect full of cru­elty; juſt as if when he were upon the point of drowning, you ſhould be afraid of lifting him up by the91 hair of the head, for fear of pluck­ing off a lock. If he mend not when you reprehend him, the love of man muſt give place to the love of God; you muſt in this caſe do as holy Mo­ſes did, who made uſe of his Rod, whileſt it was a Rod; but did flye away from it, when 'twas metamor­phoſed into a Serpent: and 'tis bet­ter far, to ſeparate your ſelf from ſuch a perſon gradatim, by degrees, and rather untwiſt your friendſhip with him, than to tear it all to pie­ces.

The Love of God ſerves as a rule to the overcoming and ſubduing all the forementioned difficulties. Pa­gans have amaſſed and pickt up ſe­veral precepts out of the nature of amity, or friendſhip; but never diſ­covered that ſecret that regulates and orders all their precepts. viz. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, firſt to love God, and to make our love ſpring from the love of God. What the Brain is to the Nerves, the Liver to the Veins, or the Heart to the Arteries, the ſame is the Love of God to humane love, (i. e. ) filaments, or branches, on92 which it depends. Without this di­vine Love, friendſhip is not friend­ſhip, but a conſpiracy, an accord of diſcording with God: friendſhip whoſe tottering baſis, or ſhaking foundation, is placed on pleaſure or profit, expires when pleaſures loſe their guſt or taſte through age; or when the profit is diminiſhed, be­gins to moulder and crumble away; or when the diſtribution thereof is unequal. But the love or friendſhip fixed, or rooted in the Love of God, is firm and ſtable; becauſe built up­on a ſure foundation: which love ought to proceed ſo far, that we muſt powre out our Love not only upon our friends, but our inteſtine enemies for Gods ſake; 'tis the will and pleaſure of the Almighty, Matth. the 5. becauſe that even in the midſt of this enmity, the impreſſion of the Image of God is apparent. And theſe are Rods in Gods hand to jerk us for correction and amendment; and have ſuch a compulſive vertue, as to induce us to fear him.

4 Degree.We are not yet come to the high­eſt round in this Jacobs Ladder that93 reacheth to Heaven; for we muſt arrive to ſo high a pitch, as to hate our ſelves for the Love of God. For although we concede, that ſelf-love is the ſtrongeſt and