Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
~ Psalm 22:23, Psalm 50:14-15, John 8:31-32
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
~ Philippians 1:27
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
~ Isaiah 12:2
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
~ James 4:8
Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
~ Matthew 3:8-10, John 15:4-7
And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
~ 1 Peter 5:4
The Crown and Glory of a Christian, Consisting in a Sound Conversion, and Well-Ordered Conversation, by Christopher Ness. 1684.
Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.
— Psalm 50.23.
Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.
— Matthew 12.23.
The Author’s design was to reduce the whole of man’s Being, Business, and Blessedness, into as few lines as might be, thereby to invite a sober perusal of them; as also to let men see, That the Christian Religion is Plain, its Precepts clear, and its Practise easie, to them on whom God hath wrought a saving Change, or true Conversion; which is the first thing treated of; the next is, to shew the Christian how to carry himself in Natural, Civil and Religious Duties. If thou readest it with a desire of spiritual advantage (which was the end and prayer of the Author) God may bless it to thee; and both thou and the Author have cause (as for all his blessings) to praise him for this.
First, Of Preparation to Christianity.
1. You must look upon true Christianity to be of absolute necessity, and an indispensable duty: you cannot live without it, and you dare not die without it. Wo to you, if you die before you live; if you die to the world, before you live to God; and if you go out of the World, before Jesus Christ come into your heart: be sure that Christ be in you, so may he bring the hope of glory, Col. 1. 27. and that you be in Christ, so must be broke off from the wild olive of the old Adam, Rom. 11. 24. which two makes up the true Christian.
2. You cannot attain to true Christianity, until you be born again, (or from above) Joh.3. 3,5. until you can experience the death and burial of the old Adam, and the Resurrection of the New. You must be unmade to sin, 1 Pet. 2. 24. and then made up again for God. ‘Tis not scraping the walls of the house of the fretting Leprosie, that will serve the turn, Lev, 14. 14, 44. but all the Timber, and all the Stones thereof must be thrown down to the ground that a new building may be ercted in its stead.
3. Be sure, this can never be attained until you come to a sound and saving knowledg, both of your self and Christ: (1) Of the emptiness and vileness of your self, so as to deny, abhor and abandon your self; and (2) Of Christ’s excellency and all-sufficiency, so as to value him your all, and above all; Indeed a full Christ and a vile nothing creature agrees best together.
4. ‘Twill be both your prudence and advantage to forbear the searching after the knowledg of other things, until you come to a solid knowledg of your self, which is the one thing needful in Christianity, and whereof Heathenism had some rude notion; to know your self to be lost in your self, and never found again till you be (Found) in Christ, Phil. 3.9.
5. The more that you know your self, the greater will your self-abhorrency be, Job 42. 6. This will make you cry out with Augustine, (a malo homine (me ipso) libera me domine:) From that evil man (my self) Oh Lord, deliver me. You will find that though Satan be your great Enemy, yet your own sinful self is the worst: for Satan might strike fire long enough without success, if your own evil heart did not find him Tinder: the Tempter may besiege the City long enough to no purpose, if there were not a treacherous party within, that lets down the Draw-bridge, and sets open the Gates to his Troops of Temptations.
6. This knowledg of your self will bring also greater dis-satisfaction with your present state and standing in wayes of unregeneracy, with your being without God, & without Christ in the World; making you cry out not only Unclean, unclean; but also Undone, undone; give me Christ or I die, and that to all Eternity: I am condemned already, John. 3. 18. and the wrath of God abides upon me, v. 36. Oh, who dares live in an House that is haunted with evil Spirits! or lodge in a Cave that abounds with noysome Toads and venemous Serpents! such and far worse is your lying in an unrenewed estate.
7. When you behold the avenger of blood, to wit, Divine Justice pursuing you at the heels, his heart being hot within him, as Deut. 19. 6. then it is high time for you to hasten to that blessed City of Refuge the most excellent and all-sufficient Lord Jesus, who was purposely provided of the Father, to be a Saviour and Sanctuary to save us both from present wrath, and from wrath to come also, 2 Thess. 1.10. He is that Name of the Lord which the righteous run (into) and are safe, Prov. 18.10.
8. In so doing, know for your incouragement, that the gates of the Sanctuary and City of Refuge shall not be shut against you. First, the place of Christ’s birth encourages, which was an Inn: He was born in one of Bethlehem’s Inns, a place that receives all comers; all guests that come are bid welcome.
2. The posture of his death; Christ died upon the Cross with his Arms spread wide asunder, as in a posture ready to embrace all penitent sinners that come unto him, and fall into his arms. Him that cometh unto me, I will (in no wise) cast out, or keep out, Joh.6.37.
3. And though you cannot run, or come fast enough to Christ, yet Christ will come and run to you, and meet you better half way. While the penitent Prodigal did but (come) towards his Father, his Father ran to meet him, and had compassion upon him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, Luk.15 20. Christ will be much better to you, than you will or can be to your self; for he (can) have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way, Heb. 5. 2. and though you cannot bring your self to grace, yet grace is (brought) to you by Christ.
2. Of Carriage under the first workings of Christianity.
1: When the Lord Jesus comes and stands knocking at the door of your heart, with the hammer of his word, and with the hand of his Spirit, then bow your self with all your might (as Samson did) Judg. 16. 30. to pull back every bolt, and to draw in every bar, that would keep the door shut against this blessed and bleeding Redeemer. The duty indeed is yours, but the ability is his: as much as in you lies, cause every lust of your heart to make room for your dear Jesus.
2. Welcom Christ into your heart with joy. Say to him as Laban did to Abraham’s Servant, Come in thou blessed of the Lord, (thou art welcome) wherefore standeth thou without? Gen.24.31. Christ will come to you with a blessing in his hand to bestow on you, as he did to Jacob. Gen. 32.26, &c. David literal saith to his Son (that invited him to his house) Why should we be chargeable to thee, my Son? 2 Sam. 13. 25. But this David spiritual will not be chargeable: wheresoever he comes, where he comes to sup with any soul, he brings his supper with him, Rev.3.20. and eats but of his own honey-comb, and of his own honey, Cant.5.1. This blessed Guest brings his blessing with him, as the Ark did to the house of Obed Edom.
3. When Christ is come into your house to dwell in your heart by faith, Ephes. 3. 17. be careful to keep his habitation quiet and comfortable; to this end you must adjure your corruptions by the roes and by the hinds of the field, that they stir not up nor awake your beloved until he please, Cant.2.7. ‘Tis pity such a blessed Guest should meet with any disturbance; lay God’s charge upon your lusts, saying to them as Lot did to the Sodomites, Gen.19.8. Only unto this Angel of the Lord, and this Lord of Angels, do nothing (of disturbance) for therefore came he under the shadow of my roof: and as the good old man to the men of Gibeah, Judg,19.23. Nay, I pray you do not so wickedly, seeing this man (Christ Jesus) is come into my house, do not this folly to disturb him.
4. Be oft admiring that blessed state of Grace which God hath brought you into, out of the cursed state of sin, and say with Peter at Christ’s transfiguration, Master, ’tis good being here; let us build Tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias; not one for himself, for he was so pleased with his present condition, that he could be content to lie out of doors, so he might enjoy the vision of his Masters glory, Mat:17:5:&c: Say you with the Hebrew Servant, I love my Master, he shall bore me through the ear, and I will stay with him for ever, Deut:15:16,17: and with David, you must resolve to dwell in the house of the Lord for ever, Psal:23:6: The purpose of your heart must be to cleave unto the Lord.
5: Be oft searching your heart in the sense, I: Of the state of sin, out of which (as Israel out of the house of bondage, and out of the Iron furnace, Deut:4:20:) your God, your near kinsman, the Lord Jesus hath deliver’d you. 2: Of the remainders of sin, from which you are not cleansed to this day, you cannot chide it out of doors as Sarah did Hagar; you cannot shake it from off your heart as Paul did the Viper from off his hand; ’tis as Daniel’s Beasts, whose dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a time and a season, Dan:7:12: this will ballast your new-found joy.
6. Let your own self-righteousness stink and be abhorred by you, when the Righteousness of Christ is brought to clothe you: The father brings forth the best Robe for his ragged prodigal, Luk:15:22: When the first Adam had made himself naked by his sin, he sowed fig-leaves together, and made himself an apron; this was both too thin and too scant a covering, but the Lord made a coat of skins (of the Sacrifices) and clothed them, Gen:3: 7, 21: alas your own righteousness is but a fig-leaf covering, no better than dogs-meat, or dung in Pauls Phil:3:8: in comparison of that coat made of the skin of the Lamb of God, which is call’d the righteousness of God, and therefore a better righteousness than that which Adam had, or that which Angels have; a garment or robe that covers the whole sinner from the angry eyes of offended Justice.
7 Hunger after a tast and touch of Christ in the purest and powerfullest way of revealing himself to you in his ordinances; set your self under no means of Grace, without begging of God to speak to your heart with a strong hand, as he did to the Prophet Isaiah, Isa: 8: 11: think it not enough that the Ministry (you sit under) is a lovely song to you, as Ezek:33:32: but it must be a lively song also, that you may say with David, God’s word hath quickened me, Psal.119:50:
A divine touch in God’s Ordinances doth quicken us in God’s way, Psal. 119.37. You must know that Christ hath many followers, and but few touchers; when the multitude throng’d him, he had but one that touch’d him, so as to receive healing vertue from him, Mat 9.20. Luk.8.43—46.
8. Get solid proof of your interest in Christ: build not upon sandy foundations, such as 1. On general mercy, as if he that made you, will undoubtedly save you: If so, then Devils would be saved as well as men, for God made both, and both are his creatures, 2. Nor on good meanings; if those would save you, then the Word of God, and the blood of Christ are two superfluous things. Nor 3. On an external Profession, for the house of the foolish builder was (for ought we know to the contrary) as fair a Fabrick to look upon in externals, as that of the wise: and the main difference lay in the differing foundation, Mat.7.24.26. The Rock of ages (the Lord Jesus) was not the foundation of both, but loose earth, loose notions and principles, such as those beforementioned.
9. Be not poring and puzling too long about laying your foundation; but having once laid Christ (alone) your foundation, go then on to build upon it, (strato superstruitur) God saith to the Children of Israel, they must go forward, Exod 14,15: you must neither stand still, nor step backward, Non progrediest regredi, not to go on is to go back: ‘Tis undoubtedly one of the wiles of Satan, and his devices, (which we are not to be ignorant of) to gravel gracious spirits about that foundation-truth of their Election, to keep them from making passage and progress in ways of Christianity; our Lord himself was thus buffeted, in Satan’s saying to him, once and again (If thou be the Son of God.) If this were done to that green tree, what can the dry expect? Whereas, if you can make your calling sure (in the witnessings of the Holy Ghost) you must take your Election for granted, seeing that Election-love is the cause and vocation-love the effect; now the effect is the manifestation of the cause; do but make your calling sure; and therein you make your election sure also, 2 Pet. 1.10.
10. Take heed you blot nor blur not your Evidences for Heaven by any loose and extravagant Actions; for suppose you cannot (if you be a true Christian) lose your Salvation, yet may you lose the joy of your Salvation, as David did, Psal:•1:12: This indeed is the blessing of the Covenant of Grace, that though it doth permit a fall, yet alwayes ensures Repentance after the fall: notwithstanding, you may get such falls as may break your bones, and it may cost you both much pain, and much pains, before the Lord make you to hear of joy and gladness, that the bones which are broken (by your fall) may rejoyce, Psal;51:8:
3: Of the Exercise of spiritual Life.
1: Walk close with God in your general and particular calling, and be careful that the one do not justle out the other; as there is a time for all things, so there is a time for both those: your general calling must not thrust out your particular; that is but a temptation, and not a duty; neither must your particular calling thrust out your general, for that is to love the world more than God, and to serve your self altogether and not the Lord Christ at all. It was the sin of Cain, that he did not divide aright for God, the duties of your general calling (faithfully performed) must sanctifie all the duties of your particular calling.
2. Be oft at home communing with your own heart, Psal.4.4. and propounding questions to it, such as these. 1. Whose am I? Am I one that belongs to God, or do I belong to Satan? 2. Whom serve I? do I serve Christ, or do I serve Sin? The blessed Apostle could answer both these questions, Act.27.23. There stood by me this night the Angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve. And 3. What am I? am I a vessel of wrath, or am I a vessel of mercy? am I a child of God, or am I a child of the devil? 4. Where am I? Adam where art thou? as God said so to Adam, so you must say to your own soul. Where art thou Soul? art thou in the broad way that leads to death and damnation, or art thou in the narrow way that leads to Salvation? & if at any time you find your spirit loose &c. extravagant in broad wayes of the World, then cry to your self, as God to Elijah, What dost thou here Elijah? 1 King.19.13. so gird up the loins of your mind again, Luk. 12.35.
3. Know that your heart will be backward to this communing work, Fugitivi sumus acordibus nostris, saith Augustine; we flee from our own hearts, and our own hearts flee as fast and as far from us. ‘Tis pity we should carry hearts about with us in our bosoms for twenty, thirty, forty or fifty years, (some more if some less) and yet be such strangers to them, and they to us; account it therefore your great loss that you know your own heart no better, that you commune with it no oftener; alas, we know not our own hearts, Am I a Dog, (saith Hazael) that I should do so and so? 2 King. 8.13, Yet such a Dog was he in wickedness when he came to his opportunity; you must tremble to be left in the hands of your own counsel, as Hezekiah was left to himself, to try him (not the strength of his grace, as Abraham was, Gen. 22.1. but his frailty and proneness to sin) and to let him know all that was in his heart 2 Chron. 32.31. When Satans Temptations hath an opportunity to draw out your corruption, then and there is your most eminent danger.
4. Seeing your heart will not stand to parley, do you bind it to good beheavour, and lay God’s charge upon it that it stir not in this parleying work, till you have made some work of your work, & brought it to some blessed issue; know, that never did the Sacrifice (under the Law) stand more in need of binding with cords to the horns of the Alter, than your loose and slippery heart doth with all obligations (and all little enough) unto holy duties; hence is it that self-examination is so hard a duty; no sooner are we in it, but ere ever we be aware, we are out of it again.
5. When ye have, through grace, fixed your heart, and are able to say with David, My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed, Psal. 57. 7: which undoubtedly is as hard to fix to good, as quick-silver is, that hath a principle of motion •n it, but not of rest, then fall upon Consideration-work, which is the excellency of a man above the beast; then consider, and better consider the four questions aforesaid and the tendency of all your wayes: Ponder the path of thy feet, Prov.4.26. to wit, by the weights of the Word of God, do you oft poize them;
Consideration is the stay of our thoughts, which are as swift as any Ship. Consideration is as an Anchor to them. God bids his People Consider their wayes, twice over, Hag. 1.5,7. do it once and again.
6. You may know where you are, if you seriously and throughly consider the frame of your own spirit; the way to hell is a broad way; and he that is all for elbow room, and for a wide way to be extravagant in, and likes not the strict way of Religion (which is so called from its strict binding up our hearts from loosness a religando) is a broad-way man, that sayes with Jeroboam, ‘Tis too much for you to go up to Jerusalem, 1 King.12. 28. ‘Tis too much for you to be so much precise, and so strait laced; Let us break those bands asunder, and cast away those cords from us, Psal. 2. 3 Medice vivere, est misere vivere, to live strictly by a Rule, is to live miserably, both for soul and body. Spiritus Religiosus est spiritus melancholicus; Let us eat and drink, for to morrow we shall dy, Isa.22. 12, 14, 1 Cor. 15. 32.
7. You have this exemplified in Noah’s Raven and Dove, Gen 8: 7,9, 11: You may not be as the Raven that was accustom’d to live at large, becomes weary of being caged up in the Ark, and likes not such strait limits any longer, therefore she flutters about the Ark, but went not in, as not willing to be confined to the Ark either for diet or lodging any more, but chuses rather to fly abroad, and feed upon the carcases of the drowned.
8. You must be like the Dove which did not dislike her confinement, nor the diet and lodging of the Ark, and therefore returns to it as the place of her rest, and best repose, not finding better repast any where else. Thus those are unclean Ravens, that are all for fleshly liberty and licentiousness, and can feed upon stinking carrion of wickedness; but you must be Christ’s Dove, Cant: 2:14: that can find no rest for the soles of your feet but in him; you must (with others) flock to the Temple, Isa: 60. 8, Christ your Noah, your Comforter, will put forth his hand to take you in; and there think his service your wages, as well as your work, and not your weariness.
9: Thus must you be serious in inquiring of your self, whose you are, and whom you serve; Yea, and what you are, as well as where? whether in the broad or narrow way: If consideration be needful in all our undertakings, how much more in that for Eternity! Oh, be not slight herein, but dwell with your thoughts upon it. You know, he that rides post through a Countrie, can never draw a distinct Map of that Countrie, which requires many pauses for viewing every particular boundary, &c: So if you ride post with your swift thoughts in your circuit thorough the Isle of Man, you cannot take a distinct account of your self in order to those four grand Questions: You must walk round about your self, and go round that little world, as they did about Sion, Psal. 48. 12,13. That they might tell the towers thereof, and mark well her bulwarks; yea, and (consider) her Palaces, &c.
10. Then hath your spiritual consideraon, a blessed issue, when you dwell upon it with your fixed thoughts, untill Christ appear your chiefest good, and sin your chiefest evil: David did turn (his) wayes upside down, as the Hebrew word (chishabli daraki) signifies, Psal. 119. 59. In his own secret thoughts and consideration. The Noun of which Verb, to wit chesheb, signifies, opus phrygionicum, an embroider’d garment, which is the same on both sides, they that work them must often turn them, first on one side, and then on the other Thus David would turn (his) way every way, and must have them both sides alike, both that side towards God, and that side towards man; for the wayes of many men have a shining outside towards man, and yet their inside is rugged, uneven, and uncomely towards God. Sordet in conspectu judicis, quod fulget in conspectu operentis (saith the Father) but Christ saith better, That which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God, Luk. 16. 15.
11. As you must turn (your) wayes every way, and upside down, according to the Hebrew reading of that, Psal. 119. 59. So must you make a Dialogue with your self according to the Greek reading. The Septuagent reads, I made a Dialogue with my self about my own wayes; I argued this point to an issue, whether the wayes of God, or the wayes of Sin were better; and when I understood that the paths of Sin go down to death, I turned my feet from the wayes of Sin to the ways of God. Thus must you upon sound consideration, and deliberation find out Sin to be the way to God’s curse, but Christ the way to God’s blessing. He is (the) way, Joh: 14. 6. Walk in him, Col. 2.6.
12. When Sin appears to you the greatest evil (as Christ the greatest good) then you cannot let any Sin live peaceably in you, no nor come peaceably to you, be it little or great; you must have tenderness of spirit: Josiah had a tender heart, 2 King.22. 19. 2 Chron. 34. 27. Such as are of tender constitutions cannot endure the least cold wind to blow upon them, therefore they cry (shut the Casement, and bolt the Door) I shall catch cold; thus to a tender heart, the least cold air of Sin is irksome: The door of your heart must be shut against Sin (the greatest evil) yet open for Christ, the chief good, Ezek. 44. 2, 3. That door is for the Prince, the Prince of Life, no other guest must enter in.
4. Of your Conversation respecting both others and your self.
1. In respect of others, both those without and within.
1. To those without.
1. You must walk wisely to them, and honestly with them, Col. 4. 5: Neither giving offence carelesly, nor taking offence causelesly, 1 Cor: 10 32. Giving no offence to any, either Greek or Jew, walking handsomly (as the word signifies) Thes. 4:12. That by your well-doing, you may not only put to silence the Ignorance of foolish men, stopping their mouths from speaking evil of you, 1 Pet. 2: 15: But also by your convincing life cause them to open their mouths in commending you, that all which see you, may acknowledg you that you are seed which the Lord hath blessed, Isa. 61: 9.
2. You may not be conformed to the corrupt customs and courses of this present evil world, Rom:12: 2: Especially those that are set down, Rom. 13:13: Eph: 4:18,19, 20: 1 Pet:4:3: Plain Jacob can never be comly in the rough garments of prophane Esau: But you must be transformed (or metamorphosed) by the renewing of your heart and life; the old frame must be dissolved, and a new one acquired, that you may prove (by your practice) what is good, that perfect and acceptable will of God, and shew to all men, that (Ego non sum Ego) I am not the same man I was, (as the Convert did to the Harlot soliciting him again to leudness) that all may behold an heart-changing, and a life-changing work wrought effectually in you:
3 Be careful that the World out-strip you not in any moral action; you may not do less than others, when your Lord commands you to do more than others, Mat:5:47: as Christ hath done singular things for you (in shewing you singular grace and mercy) so he both expects and requires singular things from you; you must be eminent in good works, Tit: 2:14: and get above others, having your feet where other mens heads are; The way of the righteous is above to the wise, Prov: 15:24: He goes an higher way to work than the ordinary frame of the world; he knows, that more than the common stint is required of him, he must do that which the world will never do, and that is, he must walk accurately, endeavouring to get up to the very top of godliness, as the word in the original signifies, Eph:5:15:
4. Let your righteousness and innocency be as a breast-plate and brazen wall to you against all reproaches; knowing assuredly, that there will be a Resurrection of Names as well as of Bodies at the last, Psal.37.6, God will bring forth your Righteousness as the morning light; though the earth be covered with darkness while night lasts, yet the morning drives it away; while your life gives your reproachers the lie, God will clear up your wronged innocency; dirt may stick upon a mud-wall, but it will not do so upon Marble.
5. Evermore account it better for you to suffer an hundred injuries, rather than to offer one; the latter will bring guilt on you, but the former comfort. Had David shed the blood of Nabal, &c. (from which he was prevented by Abigals prudence) it would undoubtledly have been greater grief, and offence of heart to him (as she told him, 1 Sam. 25. 31: Than all his sorrows and sufferings from bloody Saul. Abigal argued thus with him, As thou never took revenge heretofore, so thou may not now; and David blesses God for preventing him, vers. 32.
6: Beware the society of such persons from which you cannot come off without either guilt or grief, and amongst whom you must either countenance Sin, or contract sin: while Peter was warming his hands amongst the enemies of Christ in the Hall, Luk:22: 55,56, &c: Alas, his heart froze into a stupefaction, which melted not till a look of love from the Son of Righteousness kindly thawed it again, vers: 61: As the Sun of the Firmament doth when it looks upon a bank of snow. Evil company is contagious, and Sin is more catching than the plague; Peter out of curiosity (to see the issue of Christ’s Captivity) sat with the servants of Christ’s murderers, and so tempts Satan to tempt him; no doubt but the damosel was set on by the devil to occasion Peters denying Christ.
7: Be not too talkative amongst those where providence casts you. Consider God hath given you two ears, and but one tongue; Yea, and that shut up with a double door, the one of flesh, and the other of bone, to wit, your lips and your teeth; this should teach you to speak sparingly, and to hear twice as much as you speak; and when you speak, let your speech be savory, seasoned with salt (of a gracious spirit) Col: 4:6: the salt of which grace must preserve your common communication from putrefaction and rottenness; leave you the favour of Grace in all companies where you come.
2: Your Conversation to those that are within.
1: As you may not be blind in charity, so neither must you be rash in censure; ’tis better to be over credulous, than over suspitious, and over censorious. God puts a charitable construction upon the case of the betrothed Damosel, Deut: 22:27: As there was none to save her, so there was none to hear her; yet ’tis taken for granted there, that in such a case, she cried out, therefore she shall not die: This shews us that alwaies in doubtful cases, we should put on the best construction:
2: Be sure you see Grace where Sin is, as well as Sin where Grace is: keep warm your love to those that truly fear God, because of those graces that shine forth in them; and take heed of lessening your love to them, because of those infirmities that do attend them; ’tis pitty the worst part should be seen, and the best part either not seen, or (at least) not acknowledged; the Lord, himself, would not see iniqnity in Jacob, nor sorcery in Israel, Num.23: 21. When there was (non peccatum flamman’s) no flaming sin at that time among them in his eye and therefore Balaam councelled their enemies to entice them to Fornication, which would be a flaming God-provoking Sin; enormities indeed cannot, but infirmities may and ought to be covered with a Mantle of Love; God is a good Copy to write after.
3. Take heed of imitating of the greatest favourite of heaven in any of his failings; you are compassed about with a great cloud of Witnesses in the sacred Scriptures, He.12:1: Yet know that this cloud, like that cloud in the Wilderness, hath a black side as well as a bright; to wit, their infirmities are recorded, as well as their graces; you may not imitate Joseph in his swearing, but you must in his chastity; you may not follow Job in his passion and impatiency, but you must in his patience and piety; and so of the rest. The frailties of those eminent Saints are registred in Holy Writ, just as dangerous Rocks are marked out at Sea, not to run upon them, but to shun them: they are penned down as examples of caution, but not of imitation. You must know, that they which followed the dark side of the Cloud (in the Red-sea) were Egyptians, and were drowned; but they that followed the bright side of it, were Israelites, and passed safe, not only over the Red-sea, but into Canaan.
4. Have not the Faith of Christ with respect of persons, but be careful to love Grace in rags, as well as in robes: Grace may, indeed, commend Gold, but Gold can never commend Grace; the lesser must be the blest of the greater: Tis true, that Gold may beautifie the Temple, but ’tis still the Temple that sanctifies the Gold. Persons, though never so rich, or never so richly array’d, are at the best but silken dust, and they may be no better than golden damnation.
The second part of your Conversation is that which respects your self, &c.
1. Be not quick sighted abroad, & blind at home; this is to be a Benzoma, as the Hebrews phraise it, to be extravagant, or seldom at home (as the Harlot, Pro:7:11:) seldom communing with your own heart; you must hate Sin in others, but especially in your self; know that your heart is full of Harlotry; and if you seek your self too much abroad, you will (at last) find your self but lost at home; but if you be much at home, as indeed the greatest part of the work of a Christian lies within doors, then Sin will not dare to haunt your house or heart; or however neither sins little or great can then live peaceably within you.
2: Be sure you give not place to little sins, for they will wear away the tenderness of your Conscience, and like little thieves, (creeping in at the window) they will open the door for great ones; little wedges do make way for the greater, and so your soul may be cloven asunder thereby: Every Sin, be it small or great, should be a stranger to you, and not an home-dweller in you. Thus David’s Sin was but a traveller, that came only to visit him, but not to take up any continuing lodgings within him. Thus ’tis said in Nathan’s Parable, There came a Traveller unto the rich man, 2 Sam.12.4. It is Christ (and not sin) that must lie all night between the Spouses breasts, Cant.1.13. she will have no home-dweller but Christ.
3. Live not at random, but square your life by the rule of Righteousness, to wit, the Word of God, in thought, Word and Deed; and account every transgression of that rule to be your sin; at night call your faithless heart to a faithful account how oft and how much you have come short of that rule the day past; a sensible frame of spirit will easily find out, that God’s Commandments are exceeding broad, Psal. 119. 96. but your obedience is exceeding narrow; and that your sins are more in number than the hairs upon your head, Psal. 40.12. so innumerable, that you cannot reckon them, (who can tell the errors of his life? Psal.19.12) and if you cannot reckon them sure I am, you can never be able to reckon for them, that must be the work of your blessed Surety, our dear Lord Jesus.
4. Let not any one transgression of that divine Rule, live peaceably in you, not so much as a vain thought must take up lodgings in your heart, Jer.4.14. as water that is sprung into a Ship, is presently pumpt out again in leaky Vessels, for fear of sinking; So when any soul-sinking sin springs in upon you (which certainly will come faster in than water into a vessel at Sea) then be sure you ply the Pump of Prayer and Repentance, and never give over pumping, till your Vessel be cleansed, and till you have some sense that your sin is pardoned; you will not go to bed with a bone out of joynt, but it must be set right with expedition; ’tis pity that the soul (disjoynted with sin) should be so long neglected.
5. ‘Tis a blessed frame of spirit to nourish in you both the sense of your own sin, and the fear of God’s wrath for your sin: the heavier that your sins are to you, the lighter will your afflictions be on you; ’tis wind and rain coming both together, that makes the storm in our souls; when your sin is your burden, ’tis then repented of, and so pardoned; this will make your affliction a far lighter burden.
6. Take heed of putting holiness upon you as a loose Garment, to cast off or on at pleasure (according to your differing companies and occasions:) but be sure that you gird it close to you with the golden girdle of truth, Ephes.6.14. that in all places you may be what you seem to be; that you be to God, what you seem to be to man; &c. that you be to God at all times▪ what you seem to be to man at any time.
7. Take heed of grieving the good Spirit of God, wherewith you are sealed to the day of Redemption, Eph.4.30. and which is a delicat a thing, as some read Psal.143. 10. res delicata est spiritus tuus; and therefore loves to live in a clean house, in a clean heart. ‘Tis a foul fault to grieve an earthly Father; but ’tis far greater to grieve this holy spirit: If you grieve the Holy Ghost, how can you expect that he should comfort you? when you are grieved, you cannot do your work as you are wont, and neither can the holy Spirit do his work in and for you: a Guest that is grieved, may leave the house that grieves him; so this delicate thing (the Spirit of God) may leave your house desolate, when grieved with your sins, Mat.23:38. and then wo to you if God and his good spirit depart from you, Hos.9.12.
8. But above all, take heed of quenching the Spirit, 1 Thess.5.19. to wit, in his motions and graces: If God have kindled from heaven the holy fire upon the altar of your heart, be careful that it be kept burning there continually (in your love to Christ, and zeal for him) it must never go out, Lev.6:12,13. You must stir up this fire (as the Apostle counselleth, 2 Tim.1.6. and not despise Prophecying; for the Priests lips blows it up into a flame, it may be quenched either by withdrawing of fuel to wit, neglect of Ordinances; or by casting on water, to wit, by falling into foul courses: you must beware of both.
9: Be not ashamed to become a fool for Christ, 1 Cor.3.18. Self conceit, self-will and self-love, (like Noahs three Sons) hath spread themselves over the whole world; you must deny your own self-conceit and carnal wisdom: you must account your self more bruitish than any man, (with Agur, Prov:20.2,3.) when you come to Ithiel and Ucal (which is Christ, both goodness and power) to be instructed in Christ’s School, Act.4:13. Remember it was the Devil that spake in the subtle Serpent, Gen. 3:4: and it was God that spake in the silly Ass, Numb.22.28. Remember also how it was an Ass that carried Christ to Jerusalem Mat:21:5:
10 Yet, though you must be as silly as Doves, you must also be as wise as Serpents, Mat:10:16: You must have the silliness and the meekness of wisdom, Jam: 3: 13: As you must be wise to Salvation, so you may be wise to safety in God’s way, and not cast your self upon needless dangers; Christianity allows you as much of the Serpent as of the Dove; the Dove without the Serpent is easily entangled, and the Serpent without the Dove is venemously hurtful; the head of the Serpent, and the heart of the Dove, make up the best and the most blessed composition; piety without policy is too simple to be safe; and policy without piety is too subtile to be good.
11 You must chuse any suffering rather than the least sinning; you must not chuse iniquity rather than affliction, Job 36:21: for there is more evil in the least sin than in the greatest sufferings, in as much as Moral Evil is far worse and greater than that which is meerly natural: Quas non ergo oporet mortes praeeligere, saith, Zuinglius, therefore what deaths ought not a man rather to make choice of, what torments not rather undergo; yea, into what deepest gulf of Hell it self not rather enter, than wittingly and willingly to sin the least sin against God? The ancient Martyrs would not accept of deliverance upon ignoble and sinful terms, Heb. 11. 35. They would not throw so much as one grain of frankincense to the Idol, though it would have saved their own lives; hence Daniel chose rather to be cast to the Lions, than to violate his Conscience, and so to have a Lion roaring in his bosom; he knew that in an angry Conscience he might feel the unbearable stroaks of an angry God; and a man had better anger all the Witches in the world; yea, and all the Devils in hell, than anger God.
12. You may not do the least evil, no, not for the procuring of the greatest good, Rom. 3. 8: Do no evil, that good may come. If a lie would save your life, you must not tell it: God’s People are Children that will not lie (as there Father is a God that cannot lie) Isa.63. 8: they will rather die than lie. Non ideo negare volo, ne peream; sed ideo mentiri nolo, ne peccem: I will not therefore deny, lest I perish; but therefore will I not lie, lest I sin, said the good woman upon the Rack, of whom St. Jerome writeth. And Austin saith, that a man ought not to tell a lie, though he might save the whole world from hell thereby; for there is more evil in one lie, than there is good (saith he) in the salvation of all the World: and he would chuse Hell rather than Sin, if set before him for choice. Thus the primitive Christians cried (Ad leones potius quam ad Lenones) Throw us to your Lions, rather than to your Harlotry; though this would save our lives, yet would it destroy our souls. The Armenian Mouse will die, (some write) rather than be defilled with filth; insomuch that if her hole be besmeared with dirt, she rather chuses to be taken than polluted. Such ought all the servants of God to be.
13: Examine your call from God for every action you undertake; be oft crying, (Quo warranto?) What warrant have I for this or that from the Lord, whom I ought to obey in all things? And for this end, mind those four voices, 1: Of Providence how it calls you: 2: Of Conscience, what satisfaction you find there both concerning the lawfulness and the expediency of the on: 3: Of the word, which ought to warrant all our actions, as it is the Rule of all Righteousness: And 4thly: of the Spirit, which gives its testimony to all the aforesaid (the fruits of the Spirit is in all, goodness, and righteousness, and truth, Eph:5.9.) and witnesses with our spirits that we are in God’s way, and in our own duty: The voice of Providence alone may deceive you as it might have done David, had Abashai’s apprehensions prevailed with him, as 1 Sam 26: 8: God hath delivered mine enemy (Saul) into thine hand this day; he would not have David to tempt God any longer by letting slip this so fair an opportunity; but holy David had the three other voices to hearken unto, as well as the voice of Providence Vers: 9,10,11: Neither the Word would warrant him, nor his own spirit, nor the spirit of God; which last hinder’d Paul and Silas from going into Asia and Bithynia, Act:16:6,7:
14, In things wherein self may sway, it is safest for you to be passive; in such case you will be strongly tempted (both by a subtil devil, and by a deceitful heart) to out-run God both in his Promises, and in his Providences, as Israel in Numb:14:40: We will go up to the place which the Lord hath Promised: They must needs go up that very morning, for self swayed their hearts that way, though the pillar of Providence (which was their guide by night, and by day) did not go before them; and though they pleaded God’s promise, yet they did not consider, God’s promises are sealed, but they are not dated: You must wait therefore (in such cases of self) God’s time; your time will be alway ready, when God’s time is not yet, John:7:6.
You would have your water of affliction turned into the wine of consolation at your time; but Christ saith to you as he said to his Mother, What have I to do with thee woman? mine hour is not yet come, Joh:2: 4: The day you set down in your Kalender is not the same that God sets down in his; We are all exceeding prono to postdate the divine threatnings, and to antidate the divine promises. We all put the evil day far from us, Amos,6: 3: Ezek: 12:27: When God comes in his threatnings, we think he hath leaden feet, and is slow in pace, 2 Pet:3: 49. But when we expect him to come in his promises, then we look upon him as a Roe, and as a young Hind in the Mountains of Bether.
5. In watching your heart in natural, civil, and religious actions.
First in General.
1: Concerning our Natural Actions, as labouring, resting, feeding and clothing, &c. you had need keep your heart with all diligence in respect of these, Prov. 4. 23, lest you sin in them; for the adversary hath some advantages over gracious spirits in them all: as first that being satisfied about the lawfulness of these actions, Satan will make you overlook the expediency of them. 2. He may (at some time or other) cheat you with divine permission for divine approbation: And 3ly, he may likwise deceive you in putting no just difference ‘twixt the use and abuse of your Christian liberty.
2. Touching the first of these, let satan tempt you to any gross sin, your heart will rise with indignation against such a foul temptation, and ’twill be a torment to to you to be attempted to it; yea, as much torment to your soul, as sawing asunder, and being slain with the sword is torment to the body, Heb.11: 37: to be tempted, is there placed betwixt those two kinds of death, as if it were equally dolorous with either or both of them, so that foul sins do not so much endanger your soul, as it is in those lawful actions, wherein Satan may slily and insensibly beguile you out of a lawfulness, into an expediency.
3; Touching the second of them, you must learn this distinction from God’s Word, that though God permitted polygamy and divorces under the Jewish Poedagogy, yet it was only for the hardness of their hearts, Mat.19. 8. But it was not so from the beginning, saith Christ; that Divine dispensation (for better an inconvenience than a mischief) makes but little for the lawfulness of it, neither can it amount to a Divine approbation.
4. Touching the third of them, those employment with an heavenly frame of heart, setting God always before you, Psal 16. 8. and being in the fear of God all the day long, Prov: 23:17: evermore sending forth spiritual Ejaculations, as Nehemiah, and David did; this is, to pray alwayes, Eph 6. 18. and to pray continually, 1 Thes:5:17 viz. keeping your heart in a continual praying frame; your leaky vessel (as aforesaid) requires you to ply continually this pump of Prayer.
Direct. 4. Depend upon God for a blessing upon your daily labours. Abraham’s servants prayed for success in his Enterprise, Gen: 24: 12: And Moses prays, Lord prosper the work of our hands, Psal: 19. ult. ‘Tis true, God may give success without it, but never so sweet as with it; Except the Lord build the house, &c. Psa: 127: 1: ‘Tis not your diligence alone, but God’s blessing that enriches, Pro: 10:4—22. You may not ascribe to your own power, Deut: 8: 17: nor sacrifice to your own Net, Hab. 1:16: As that proud Prince did, Ezek: 29: 2: Alas all your policy and power without prayer, is but Arena sine calce, Sand without Lime; Man’s diligence must be subordinate to God’s blessing, then your labour shal not be in vain in the Lord. God will bless your basket and store, Deut:28: 5: Though you gather little, you shall have no lack, the blessing of God will make it up at Homer, viz. sufficient for you, Exod: 16: 18: and your little shal be better than the riches of many wicked, Psal: 37: 16.
The second Natural Action is Rest or Recreation.
1. You may look upon Rest and Recreation as lawful upon a twofold account: 1: Rest from Labour, and refreshing the Body and Mind, are necessary, because Man’s nature is like the Bow, which being always bent, is easily broken: Therefore did the Lord appoint the Night to succeed the Day, and the Sabbath to succeed the Week, as fit seasons for Man to rest from his labours in; now that which is necessary is also lawful (for God never necessitates a Man to sin against him; and if Rest be lawful, then is some Recreation (which is cal’d so, as a second Creation) in due time and place; there must be Otium as well as Negotium. The second account is, your Christian actions that be of themselves and in their own nature lawful, yet throw your corruption they are capable af excess and inordinateness: The sly and subtile insinuations of Satan (under a pretence of your own Christian liberty in going as far as you may) will carry you somtimes a little further than you should. Excessive, and immoderate, and inordinate delight is sinful, although it be in objects that are not sinful in themselves. This in the general concerning all those actions.
2ly. In particular 1. Of Labour.
1. Touching the Natural Actions in particular; as first of labour, whether it be done in the sweat of the brow, or of the brain, (indeed a Ministers labour consists of both) you must (at least) own one of those; God made the Leviathan to sport in the Sea; but never any man to sport on the earth: every man must go forth to some work or other till the evening, Psal. 104.23,26. there must be either manual or mental labour.
2 Take those few Directions to manage your heart in your honest employment and labour. Dir: 1: Beg of God for ability of body in your labour: ’twas part of the Serpent’s curse, Gen:3:14: (Upon thy belly shalt thou go) some think that God cut him shorter by the feet, because he is ranked among the beasts of the field, vers: 1: and not among creeping things: Have you the use of your limbs for your liberty? Oh! bless God for it, especially if you be strong to labour: If it be a priviledge in Oxen, Psal. 144. 24. Much more in men.
Direct. 2. Pray that your mind may be suitable to your labour as well as your body; when there is unsuitableness ‘twixt the mind of man and his employment, then the work never comes kindly off, nor goes it comfortably end-wayes; either your chariot wheels are taken off, and then you drive heavily; or they want Unction, and then they make a creaking repining noise, much unlike the chariots of Aminadab, or of a willing People, as the word signifies. ‘Tis the Lord that qualifies Bezaleel (that was but a poor Brick-maker in Egypt) for working all curious work, Exod.21:3: And the Husband-man’s God doth teach him, and instruct him in all his points of Husbandry, Isa. 28.26.
Dir. 3. See that thou pursue your worldly employment with an heavenly frame of heart, setting God always before you, Psal. 16. 8, and being in the fear of God all the day long, Prov. 23. 17; evermore sending forth spiritual Ejaculations, as Nehemiah and David did; this is, to pray always, Eph. 6. 18; and to pray continually, 1 Thes. 5. 17; to wit, keeping your heart in a continual praying frame; your leaky vessel (as aforesaid) requires you to ply continually this pump of prayer.
Direct. 4. Depend upon God for a blessing upon your daily labours. Abrahams servant pray’d for success in his Enterprise, Gen. 24. 12. And Moses prays, Lord prosper the work of our hands, Psal. 90. ult. ‘Tis true, God may give success without it, but never so sweet, as with it; Except the Lord build the house, &c. Psal. 127.1. ‘Tis not your diligence alone, but God’s blessing that enriches, Prov. 10.4, 22. You may not ascribe to your own power, Deut. 8. 17; nor sacrifice to your own Net, Hab. 1. 16, as that proud Prince did, Ezek. 29. 2. Alas, all your policy and power without prayer, is but Arena sine calce, sand without lime; man’s diligence must be subordinate to God’s blessing, then your labour shall not be in vain in the Lord. God will bless your basket and store, Deut. 28 5. though you gather little, you shall have no lack, the blessing of God will make it up an homer, that is, sufficient for you, Exod. 16. 18, and your little shall be better than the riches of many wicked, Psal. 37. 16.
The second natural action is Rest or Recreation.
1. You may look upon Rest and Recreation as lawful upon a twofold account. 1. Rest from labour, and refreshing the body and mind, are necessary, because man’s nature is like the bow, which being always bent, is easily broken: therefore did the Lord appoint the Night to succeed the Day, and the Sabbath to succeed the Week, as fit seasons for man to rest from his labours in; now that which is necessary is also lawful, (for God never necessitates a man to sin against him), and if Rest be lawful, then is some Recreation (which is call’d so, as it is a second creation) in due time and place; there must be Otium as well as Negotium. The second account is, your Christian liberty (which Christ hath purchased for you) extends himself not only to use the Creatures of God for necessity, but also for meet and convenient delight; you may delight your self in God’s great goodness, Neh, 9.25. You may be Righteous over much in denying your self such a free use of the Creature (yea, and condemning it too) which you are allowed to have by the purchase and promise of Christ. Thus Isaac (who was the most loving Husband in holy Writ, for ’tis said of him, and of none else, that he loved his Wife, Gen.24:67:) Sported with Rebeccah his Wife, Gen. 26. 8: And the Jew was commanded to cheer up the heart of his Wife the first year, Deut: 24: 5, And Solomon bids the Husband be alwayes ravished with her beauty, Prov:5:18, 19: Thus Ezekiel’s Wife was call’d the desire of his eyes, Ezek: 24: 16: Assuredly men ought to take singular Complacency in their Wives company, and yet without all uxoriousness: None questions Parents dandling their Children upon their knees, as old Joseph did his Grand-children, Gen. 50: 23: Isa: 66 12.
2: But then you must take the following Directions for managing your heart aright in your Rest or Recreations.
1. Direct. You must take heed of wasting too much precious time therein: Indeed we do not so much want time, as wast time; a vain expence of that time, (which either your general calling requires in holy duties, or your particular calling calls upon you for in necessary employments) is not only unlawful, but abominable? you are commanded to redeem time, Eph.5.16. but never to pass time: the loss of time is such a precious thing that God commands satisfaction for it, Exod. 10.19. It will be but a poor reckoning at your Lords returning, in your accompt for expence of your talent of time; Item, spent so many dayes or hours in Recreation: Oh what would the damned in Hell give for but one of those hours which we have wilfully wasted! Time is like the Urchion or Hedg-hog that must not be handled by the head, but by the heels, in its going from you; take time while time serves.
2. Dir. The second Direction is, be sure you be moderate in your Recreation; ’tis compared to honey, it must be taken upon the tip of the finger only, and not whole handfuls of it, for fear of surfeiting: Omne nimium vertitur in vitium; alas man’s weak heart is soon overcharged, Luk. 21.34. and soon grows frothy, foolish, if not sensual and sinful in it; you must know, that the holy end of Recreation is to fit you the more for the duties of your general and particular calling (in case of weariness of body, or tiredness of mind) but if it indispose you to either or both, your heart doth deceive you; such as spend their lives in sports, and their livelyhood too, will prove but bad accomptants, when they bring in the broken Accounts of their Stewardship to their Lord and Master at the last day.
3. Direct. The third Direction is, chuse your Recreations that are of best report, and of least offence, Phil. 4.8. 1 Cor: 8: 13. You may not make any of God’s Judgments or punishments for sin (either in man or beast) the matter or object of your sport and recreation, as the folly of the natural fool, the antipathy of beasts (whereby they tear and destroy one another) which are fruits of the Fall, and of man’s Rebellion against God; it should be rather matter of mourning than of rejoycing. Neither may you chuse (for your sport) whatsoever moves troublesome passions, as fear, anger, &c. nor those wherein is a lot (which is a religious act and an ordinance of God) which ought not to be sported with:
4. Dir. The fourth Direction is; having pitch’d upon such Recreations as are harmless and sinless, yet may you not stain them with bad Companions, such as you cannot consort with, but you must either countenance sin, or contract sin; such as you must contract either guilt or grief, as before. All Tares must be bundled together; such as spend their time together in sports on earth, may howl in hell together to all eternity.
5. Dir. The fifth Direction: notwithstanding all, yet must you account it safer not to trust your heart with any Recreation at all, any further than is plainly necessary: get (therefore) up your heart to live without them, and take up your whole delight in God, Psal: 37:4. Then if at any time you be constrained to use them you will be as if you used them not, 1 Cor. 7.29. and as not having, yet still having, 2 Cor 6.10. that is, your heart will not be engaged to any thing but to God, and your affections will keep uppermost for Jesus Christ: the truth is, were but our affections more mortified, and spiritual duties more natural to us, we might better live without those, than the Philosophers (as they said) could dine and sup without musick; therefore as Joshuah haughed the Canaanites Chariots-horses, Josh.11: 6—9: and David Zobah’s, 2 Sam.8.4. so intreat thy Joshuah, thy Jesus the Son of David, to hough thy carnal affections, that as Phaetons Chariot-horses, they set not all on fire; then delight in God, and thou’lt need less the delights of the world.
The third natural Action is feeding your belly
1. The 3d. Natural Action is feeding your belly, which is daily work, for our tottering tabernacles of clay stand in need to be supported with the staff of daily bread, and therefore is our life call’d the life of our hands, Isa. 57.10: as our hands are daily (yea hourly) administring something either back or belly, to support our life. Those common actions (of feeding and clothing us) are steps in our Christian conversation, and therefore ought not to be despised, but are rather to be regulated and reformed to their supream scope. to wit, God’s Glory.
1 Dir. Hence your first Direction is, Be sure you eat and drink with an aim at the Glory of God, 1 Cor.10.31. You must eat for God, and drink for God; Quicquid agas propter Deum agas, do all in reference to God; receive not any of God’s blessings with a carnal frame of heart; but look upon all your temporal mercies (set before you on the Table) with a spiritual eye, and improve them with a spiritual heart. Good old Isidore wept at his Table, crying out, I am ashamed that I should feed on corruptible beasts, whereas I was created to be a companion of Angels, and to feed upon heavenly food with them. A worthy Minister of Scotland was said to eat, drink and sleep eternal life, for in those earthly and natural actions he still kept an heavenly and spiritual heart. The main weight of his meditations was laid upon God (the giver of them) and his glory.
Oh could you but eat to his glory, & drink to his glory, you would not so easily sin in them.
2 Dir. The second Direction: Feed your self with a God-blessing heart, which is the true spiritual heave-offering, Numb.15.19. When your heart is heaved or lifted up to God, and in every thing gives thanks saying, Oh what charges do you put God to, in consuming his Corn and his Cattle, Hos.2.8,9. As Jacob calls God the God that fed him all his life long, Gen.48.16. Yet what an unprofitable servant are you, and what an undutiful Son? even such as God complains of Isai. 1.2. I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. You must admire and adore God that is so good, and does so good to you, who are so evil, and do so evil to him; cry, I am less than the least of all thy mercies, Gen.32.10. Have high thoughts of God, and low of your self; the same Jacob that had pleaded his merit with Laban, Gen:31:38—41. yet here sets a low rate on himself to God.
3 Dir. The third Direction: whatever sweetness you find in any creature (you feed upon) let it lead you to the spring-head of that sweetness; do you say, Is there so much favour in those derivative gifts? there must needs be much more in the original giver: Labour to swim up those streams till you reach the spring; crying, If mercy be so good, Oh what is the God of mercy? Oh that I may come at him, as well as at his mercies! and learn to love God for himself, as well as for his benefits; delighting your self in God’s goodness as well as in that of the creatures, Neh:9.25.
4Dir. The fourth Direction: You may not feed your self without fear, as those in Jud.12, 1. But first, sanctifie it by Prayer, 1 Tim:4:4,5. Look on that bread which is not got in an honest Vocation, and sanctified by an holy Invocation, to be no wholsome bread, but such as may prove diseases to your body, and sin to your soul: If wicked men say, we will neither eat nor drink till we have killed Paul, Act.23.12. then godly men must say, we will neither eat nor drink till we have call’d on God, as 1 Sam. 9.31. Mark 6:41. Act.27. 35. That God may command his blessing, Deut.28. 8. upon your Table that you have your mercies not only with his leave, but also with his love; not only from his hand, but also from his heart; not only out of the Court of Christ’s general providence, but also out of the Court of special favour. 2. Feed soberly: Sobriety will reclaim you from being either unseasonable in time, or unreasonable either in matter or measure, either in quantity or quality: 1. Not unseasonable as to time, Eccl.10,16. not as luxurious persons, that serve their bellies in the morning (that golden hour for Prayer) before they serve their God; nor as those in Amos 6.4.6. that Feasted riotously, without laying to heart the afflictions of Joseph; while Joseph was in the Pit; alas, his Brethren pitied him not, Gen: 32:23: 2. Neither must it be unreasonable either for matter or measure; 1. Not for matter or quality, as the rich Glutton, that fared deliciously every day, Luk:16:19: as Purple and Silk was his daily clothing, so costly delicacies was his daily Food; but (alas) it was all his Heaven he had, as Abraham told him when he was in Hell. You must set a knife to your throat, that is, to your concupiscible appetite (which stands more in need of a bridle than a spur) as to those things, Prov:23:2,3,20: and say with David Let me not eat of their dainties, Psal: 141:4: and with Daniel, refrain from them for fear of a snare, Dan:1:8: Nor 2. Must it be unreasonable for measure or quantity: fulness of bread was Sodom’s sin, Ezek. 16.49: her Food was fuel for her lasciviousness; you may not make provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof, Rom:13: ult. then is your fulness and excess when it overcharges you, Luk:21:34: and disenables you for the duties of either your general or particular calling. 3: When you have eaten and are full, then bless the Lord your God, Deut:8:10. when you are as Napthali, satisfied with favour, and filled with the blessings of the Lord, Deut:33:23: then give God solemn thanks for all, and be not like prophane Esau, that sat down to eat and drink, and rose up and went his way; never reflecting upon himself, nor blessing God for his mercies; nor like the hog under the Apple-tree, that gluts himself with the Fruit that falls, but never looks up to the Tree from whence they fall.
This is not to eat every morsel as dipt in Christ’s blood, and is strain’d through the Covenant to take off the curse inflicted on all creatures for the first sinner.
The fourth Natural action is clothing your body.
The fourth natural action is clothing your body, wherein the pride of your heart may deceive you, Obad. 3. Therefore take these Directions.
1. The first Direction: Ponder the Original of your clothing; it was not in the state of innocency, for then was there neither parching heat, nor pinching cold; and nakedness was then no shame but a glorious comeliness; shame is the daughter of sin, which brought in the first clothing as well as distemperature of air (in heat and cold) the fruits of the fall: Remember that nakedness of the soul brought in the first clothing for the body; so that ’tis but the badge of man’s shame, and the token of his rebellion against his Maker; it carries along with it a secret confession of his own guilt. You may not then be proud of your Apparel, for that is to be proud of your own shame; no man is proud of a plaister on his sore, for that demonstrates there is a wound; no Thief is proud of his Fetters, for they declare he he hath offended the law, and that heinously; neither must you be of your garments, which are the cover of your shame, and the sign of your sin.
2. The second Direction: Take notice that all your clothing are but borrowed things; how do you borrow the skin, hair & wool of bruit beasts, to cover your nakedness withal, and what are your silks, but the spittle and excrements of a poor worm? All (as it were) the very cast-apparel of unreasonable creatures: Man lives on borrowing, and that from things that are worse than himself in respect of their nature. Therefore you may not be proud of these things that you borrow; no creature so begarly, so needy as man is, in point of clothing; for every creature brings its clothing into the world with it, but you were born a naked creature, and must borrow all to cover you, Ezek. 16.4,6: And will you be proud (as the Crow in the Fable) of your borrowed Feathers? you may well know, that your God doth not cover you for any such end.
3. The third Direction: Instead of proud reflections on your self, use holy Soliloquies with your self; saying; 1 I have a naked Soul to cover (as well as a naked body) and therefore must look out for the wedding garment, to wit, the righteousness of Christ (both imparted and imputed) I must put on the Lord Jesus Christ, Rom. 13,14. that I may not be found naked, Rev. 16.15. but that I may be comely to God as well as to man. 2. The putting off your clothing at night, should mind you of putting off the old man, &c. Eph.4.22. and of putting off your Tabernacle of corruption, 2 Pet: 1:14. 2 Cor:5:2,3,4. and then must you go down to the bed of the grave, there to sleep till the morning of the Resurrection. 3. When you put on your clothing again in the morning, it should mind you, that you must be raised out of the bed of the grave, and then corruption shall put on incorruption, and mortality shall be swallowed up of life, 1 Cor.15.53. 2 Cor: 5.4. if you have put on the new man, the image of God in Christ.
The second sort of Actions are Civil, as your Commerce and Trading with others.
1. Direction the first: That you may be kept from sinning herein, get your heart fraught with the fear of God, as Joseph, Gen.42.18. & Neh.5.9,15. those good men had a curb upon them to restrain them from wronging others; and where this curb is not, men will not stick at any sin, as Gen.20.11.
2 Dir. Lay your souls under that command of God in the Old Testament, Lev. 25.14. (In buying and selling ye shall not oppress one another.) And under that in the New, 1 Thess:4:6: (Defraud not one another) and fall down before that authority of those commands, as one that must give an account of all.
3 Dir. As you are to observe God’s Precepts, so must you (godly presidents) especially that of Father Abraham, Gen:23:15: The land is worth 400 shekels, if so then Abraham cannot be cozened; here is fair dealing from heathens; the seller doth not ask too much, nor the buyer bid too little; only one which are either private or publick; The first of which will discover your state best to you; for every man is, what he is in private; and a truly pious soul will be found is Religious actions as well in the shade, as in the sun; he will make conscience of duty, as well when no body sees him (for he knows he’s always under the all-seeing eye) as when any or many see him; you must go beyond the hypocrite in the practice of secret duty. As, 1: In hearty bewailings of your own imperfections; 2: In hearty bleeding acknowledgments of your unkindnesses to Christ, and to his gracious Spirit; 3: In partings and inquietations of Soul after Union and Communion with God; 4: In hungrings and longings after spiritual refreshment, and transforming of soul in every duty.
The unsound heart is a stranger to those addresses to God (or at most, but slight in them, if found in that work at all) he is careless in self-examination, cursory in meditation, faint in heart-watchings, and feeble in mortification; but nothing at all in loving and walking with God, and delighting in him. Do you more than he in all these; and be but a good Christian in private duties, and you cannot be a bad one in publick.
1 More particularly concerning Religious Actions: And,
1: Of Meditation, that most necessary and much neglected duty; this must be (1) your spiritual Ladder (as Jacob had his) whereon you ascend in divine Contemplations of the excellency of your blessed and bleeding Saviour, till your heart be ravished therewithal.
2: Meditation must be (2) your spiritual limbeck, whereby the choicest and noblest spirits may be extracted. Oh how this divine limbeck will cause tears to distill and drop down into God’s bottle as their receiver, Psal: 56:8:
3 The great book of nature (with its three leaves of Heaven, Earth and Sea) as well as the blessed Book of Scripture, may hereby afford you a rich spirit and quintescence. The first leaf of that Book, to wit, heaven, may afford you many divine Lectures; as first the purity of Heaven may teach you the purity of its Maker, who made it of such pure matter as you behold; and the purity also that ought to be in your heart that this pure God may dwell in it as in his palace, temple, and lower heaven; yea, and the purity of your life likewise, as becometh one that expects to live for ever in that pure heaven into which no impure thing can ever enter.
4. When you behold; 2. The glory and splendour of Heaven, both by night and by day; 1. By night, how is it bespangled with glittering and glorious Stars, then think with your self that this splendid firmament (which I behold) is but the outside of the palace of God, and the under-seiling only thereof; and if that have so much lustre and beauty, how much more hath the inside, where the divine transcendent Majesty of the Trinity (with innumerable both of glorious Angels, and of glorified Saints) shineth forth!
5. And 2. by day; when you behold how one Sun makes a most glorious Morning when it ariseth; and when you arise out of your bed, then meditate; O what shall the morning of the Resurrection be! ’twill be ten thousand times more glorious when the Sin of righteousness shall arise, and with him Myriads of Saints and Angels (which shall be all seven times brighter than the Sun of the firmament. If it be a pleasant thing (as Solomon telleth you) to behold the Sun, then think how ’tis more pleasant (yea and profitable too) for you to behold the Son of Righteousness; that in his light you may see light, Psal.36.9.
6. When you view the changeableness of the face of Heaven, and its outward appearance unto you; this may teach you in the third place, that as the Heaven is sometimes bright, and sometimes clouded, not all night, nor all day; the Sun sometimes over-cast with a black cloud, and sometimes breaking out in its splendour and glory; and as the Moon hath her changes and her borrowed light, ruling the night, as the Sun the day, so you may not expect any fixed constancy in any condition upon earth, while there is such changeableness in the face of heaven.
7. When you consider 4. the firmness of the body of heaven, how it hath continued firm and unworn (notwithstanding its motion (which wears all other things) is with incredible swiftness) from the creation of the World, then did the Lord spread out that heaven like a curtain, and it hath continued spread for almost six thousand years, yet not one hole can be discerned in that curtain to this day: Oh how may this teach you the unchangeableness of God who was the Creator and is the upholder of Heaven, and what a safe place heaven is, to lay up your treasure in, so far cut of the reach of all rust and robbery.
The second leaf in the book of nature is,
1. The Earth, which the heaven oft heard, and waters with showers of blessings; sometimes God stops up close bottles of heaven, and sometimes he opens them. Speak to the Earth and it shall teach you, Job 12. 8. How the clouds are God’s watering pot, and his spunges which he squeezes with a gentle hand, that the rain may softly descend and drop fatness upon the furrows of the earth. Consider, Oh what dependency hath man upon God! the Rain hath no farther but God; the vanities of the Gentiles cannot give rain, Jer.14.22.
2. Meditate how the air blows upon the earth, yet is invisible; and although it be so; yet is it the preserver of your life, which is nothing but a vapour, and a little warm breath turned up and down the nostrils: how may this put you in mind of the invisible God, who filleth all things; and in whom you live, move, & have your being?
3. When you consider how the Earth hangeth in the midst of the air (poized equally every way) and yet not reeled out of its place this five thousand years and upward, notwithstanding the hidious Tempests that hath been upon it, and the dreadful Earth-quakes that hath been within it, Psal.104 56. God laid the foundation of the Earth, that it cannot be removed for ever. And he hangeth the earth upon nothing, Job 26.7. Now if the whole massy body of the earth hang so steadily and stedfastly upon the powerful precept of God; O then bethink your self, how firmly you ought to hang upon the precious promise of God, both for your safety in this World, and for your salvation in the World to come.
4 Behold the fruits of the Earth, and consider, that a woman when about fifty years of age is past child-bearing; yet this great Mother (the Earth) though she be above five thousand years old, is not past fruit-bearing still; and whence comes it but from he word of the great Jehovah? Seed time and harvest shall not cease, Gen.8.22. You see the earth is yearly loaden with fruit, Oh then consider what are the riches of the Throne of God, if there be so much upon his Foot-stool; say also within your self, doth your ground and your garden answer your expectation, and shall not you the expectation of your God; he will have his visiting time, Cant.6.11. and will come with his basket upon his arm to gather the fruit of his Vineyard; if he find none to fill his basket, he will lay down his basket, and take up his axe and cut you down, that you may not cumber the ground any more.
5. Your beholding of the Grass of the field (while you are walking to meditate there as Isaac did, Gen.24.63.) may mind you of your mortality, and of your withering condition; All flesh is grass, Isai. 42.6,7. that grass which the sythe cuts not down in Summer while ’tis young and juicy, the sharp frosts of an hard winter will wither away; so though you escape the sy the of death in the summer of your youth (while your bones are full of marrow, and your veins of blood) yet the winter of old age will wither you.
6. When you behold that variety of tree it may teach you the difference among men; some are wild trees, trees of the wood (that is out of the Church) whose fruit be crabs & acorns, mask for hogs, not meat and medicine for men, as Ezek:47:12: Others are trees of Righteousness, planted and watered by the Lord, Isa.61.3. As the other by the Devil; and thus ordinary objects (as birds and beasts, &c.) may be hallowed to an heavenly end. The Ox knows his Owner, the Swallow her season.
1. The third leaf in the book of Nature is the Sea, the great and wide Ocean, which yet is but as a babe in the hands of the great God, and as a little infant in swadling bands, Job 36:9: If you or any that are near and dear to you be concern’d at Sea, Oh, how may this consideration comfort you, that your God can as easily rule and repress the unruly Ocean, as the Mother doth her tender suckling, when it is swadled up by her hands; ’tis the work of the Almighty to set bounds to that raging Element, Job 38:9,10:
2: Thus also it may mind you, that though the Dragon cast forth floods to drown the man-child, Rev: 12: 15: And though the waters of affliction do rise and rage against the Church and Children of God, yet at the rebuke of your God the waters shall be abated, and the dry land shall appear, Gen: 1:9: & 8:3: and the Ship (the Church) shall come safe to shore, whatever contrary wind she meets with in the world, Mat:8:26: & 14:24:
3: The continual fluctuation of the Sea in its being tossed with tempests to keep it from stinking like a standing pool, which, if so, would destroy the Earth: This may teach you the wisdom of God in ordering all things, in sending tides and winds to toss the waters, and to make them fome out their mire and dirt, Isa: 57:20: & so keep them from corruption; and likewise, how needful it is for you to be afflicted, and to be poured from vessel to vessel, that you may not settle upon the lees as Moab did, Jer:48.11
4: Oh the Divine Meditations that holy David had on this subject of the Sea, in Psal 107: 23,24. &c: (although his concernments lay very little in that Element, as he had done before in looking upon the heavens, Psal: 19:1: & 8: 3: look upon all with Davids spectacle and spirit, and the Sea (as well as heaven and Earth) will you many divine Instructions.
It will teach you 1. That your heart (like Reuben) is as unstable as water for for God, and God Gen 49 4. 2. That the Lord sitteth upon the floods, Psal. 29.10. and rules for ever all the fluctuations of your and the Churches afflictions; God sits when they float and fly away. 3. That Merchants and Mariners (in their Trading and Trafficking by Sea) hang both their safety and success upon a few Ropes, or rather upon a special immediate hand of God’s providence. 4. That they which go down into the deep see such wonders of the Lord as may convince the worst Atheist in the world; first, as the ebbing and slowing of the Sea, which (should it alwayes flow) would soon over-slow this Island, if the hand of the Lord did not command it back by its ebb: 2. As that it should not swell above its banks, and break its Swadling bands, by the falling and flowing of so many great Rivers into it. 3. As the saltness of its waters, although all those mighty Rivers that flow into it be fresh, and the innumerable company of fish in it be all fresh also. 4. As those trade-winds that lye upon the lace of the Sea, to further Navigation every way, with many other wonders.
1. Thus far of occasional Meditation upon the book of nature; there is also Meditation appointed upon the book of Scripture, which you must be acquainted with, as far exceeding the other; for the book of nature, though never so diligently read over, yet will it not bring you to the saving knowledg of God in Christ, nor throughly furnish you for every good work but the book of Scripture is a larger field, furnished with all sorts of spiritual and fragrant flowers, whereupon you may freely feed your best thoughts without ever nauseating. If you can but unclasp the tables of your own heart (when you unclasp your Bible) a praying heart can never want a profitable subject; Oh let it not please you that carnal hearts can think of things below, not only an hour, a day, a week, a moneth, but even a whole year without weariness, and that to think on God’s name Mal.3.17. should weary you so soon. 2. This second sort of meditation is a set & solemn acting of the soul upon some chosen subject, till you can extract some sweet and soul-ravishing thoughts out of your own heart thereby; your subject or matter of meditation must be some scriptural truths, such as are summarily comprehended in Phil.4.8.(that little Bible) Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any vertue, if there be any praise, think on these things. In that one Verse is contained the whole duty of Man, the good and the All of man, Eccles. 12.13. Mic. 6.8.
The second Religious Action is Prayer, which well follows Meditation; for as: 1. Meditation is a blessed beginning to prayer, so prayer is a blessed conclusion of meditation, & therefore is the double reading of Gen. 24: 63: Isaac went out to meditate, or he went out to pray. So then when your heart is well-warmed with the Angelical duty of Meditation, then fall upon the Evangelical duty of Prayer, then tender and render your homage to the God of all your mercies, crying with David, Oh the God of my mercies, Psal.59.10.
2. You must know, that Prayer is the pouring out of the heart to God, Psal. 62.8. ‘Tis not the pouring out of your speech but of your spirit unto the Lord. God looks not so much at what you do, as with what spirit you do for him; you must serve God with your spirit in the Gospel of his Son, Rom 1.9. not resting in a bare gift of Prayer, without the grace of Prayer, Zech. 12.10. you may not fetch materials or abilities for this work from your self, but you must pray in the Holy Ghost, Jude. v.20. Rom. 8.26: The lifting up of your own tools upon God’s Altar, will not polish, but pollute it, Exod: 20: ult. That earnestness in prayer which flows meerly from a natural spirit, is but the cry of the creature and not the groans of that holy spirit which helps our infirmities; but expressions without impressions.
3. You must pray that God may rebuke Satan that resists you in prayer; watch the adversary that watches you, and watch your own heart likewise, which will not only hang off from this work, but will also conspire with Satan to give you disturbance when you are breathing out your desires into your Father• bosom, and send by this winged Messenger to him you will it hard to serve the Lord (this duty) without distraction, as 1 . No enemy like one treacherous within.
4. Take heed of formality in duty; as a Musicians finger will…a song as he hath often played, his mind all the while be employed about out other things; so many run over such a prayer as they have often used, yet their hearts are roving (all the time) about other things. God requires the strength of your affections in his service; every offering must be made by fire, if of a sweet savour to the Lord, Lev. 1.9.13,17. yea your self, as well as your sacrifice, must be falted with fire, Mark 6. 49. David prayed and cried with his whole heart, Psal. 119,58,145. Samson bows himself with all his might at the Pillars of Dagons Temple, Judg.16.30. and have not you the strongholds of sin in you to be pull’d down by Prayer. You must go to prayer as the Sun in its strength, Judg. 5.31. and come to God as a Prince, Job 31.37. the Sun in his might doth disperse clouds that would darken it; and a princely spirit to wrestle with God, as Jacob hath power with God, and prevaileth for the blessing: to put off God with cold formal devotion, is the epidemical disease of all Christendom.
5. Be not regardless about the returns of your prayers, nor careless of the events and issue of them; be not like those Archers that shoot not at a mark, but at rovers, at random, never observing where their arrows fall. Spiritual prayers are the arrows of God’s deliverance, 2 King 13. 16,17. Prayer is like the Bow of Jonathan, 2 Sam.1.22. It never returns empty. If you dare be careless in asking, how can you wonder that God is careless in answering?
6. Be clothed with Humility while you are in prayer to God: He that resists the proud, gives grace to the humble. In order hereto, get the Majesty of the great God (with whom you have to do therein) wrought kindly upon your heart, till you know (aright) your distance, not only your natural distance ‘twixt God and you, as you are a creature; but especially your mortal distance ‘twixt God and you as you are a sinner
In the third place I shall add but one Religious action more, viz. 1. The Observation of the Sabbath, which yet is, instar omnium, wherein all religious actions are summarily comprehended. You must look upon the Sabbath as the Epitome and Compendium of a Religion, having all the priviledges that commend the most substantial precepts in Scripture to us, as 1. Its frequent mentioning (almost) in every book of the Bible. 2. God’s interest (after a special manner) in it; ’tis frequently call’d (His) Sabbath. And 3ly. ‘Tis called a special gift and favour of God to his People, Exod. 16.29. Ezek.20.12. Neh. 9.14. ‘Tis a great favour for God that it is given to you.
2. Therefore you must remember to keep it holy, Exod.20.8. (it may be read thus) Remember to keep holy a day of rest unto me: Six dayes shalt thou labour, but a seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. The very Preface (Remember) which none of the other Commands have, instructs you, how weighty and necessary this duty is, which you are prone to forget.
3. That you may keep it holy, you must (in the first place) have an high and holy estimation of it; the phrase is, He that esteemeth a day, and he that regardeth a day, Rom.14. 5,6. You must have an high regard for it, and esteem it honourable, Isa. 58.13. As the day which the Lord hath made, Psal.118.12. (This Christ applyes to the day of his Resurrection, Mat.21.24) How can it but be an honourable day to you which the Lord your God hath sanctified for you? 2ly. As you must have an holy estimation of it, so you must make an holy preparation for it; you must prepare to meet your God, Amos 4. 12. As the Bride prepares her self to meet her Bridegroom; how did Ruth wash her self, and anoint her, and put on her best raiment, that she might become amiable, and accepted to Boas? Ruth 3. 3. How much more should you be purified for the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords! The Jews had a preparation for the passeover, Joh. 19.42. you must make preparation for the Sabbath, the want of which may hinder your soul of a Sabbath-blessing, as (no doubt) it has done. 3ly. You must keep it holy by an holy observation of it, in using all holy means, and doing all holy duties (both private and publick) all the whole day.
4. Be sure it be a desirable day to you, as well as holy and honourable; it should be the desire of dayes. You should cry (with that good man) to it in the morning of the Sabbath. Come my bride of dayes, thou art welcome; and with David say, Oh when shall I come and appear before my God, Psal. 42.2, Where are your pantings and palpitations of heart after an enjoyment of God’s Sabbath? You have six dayes to provide for the worser part, and but one for the better: how careful are you all the six dayes for the beast in you? Oh, be not careless upon that one day for the Angel in you.
5. Let not your hold go of any one precious Sabbath, without some sweet refreshment to your soul, as well as rest to your body; ’tis said, Exod 31.17. The Lord rested and was refreshed; is it so with you? do you find any rest for your wandring thoughts, and any refreshing for your feeble spirit? Account it a very great loss to lose one Sabbath day without some advantage and growth: Oh what a God-blessing heart should you have, that God should give you such a day, and call upon you also (and that often) to observe that day: and that not for any advantage to himself (for your goodness extends not to God, Psal.16. 3. though his doth to you) but all for your own good. This obliges you to be careful and conscientious in the improvement of the day, and honouring the Son with his day under the Gospel, as they honoured the Father with his day under the Law, Joh. 5.23.
6. You shall assuredly be blessed, if you keep the Sabbath which God blessed, Isa. 56.2. 1. With Holiness here; the power of godliness lives and dies with the keeping of the Sabbath. 2. You shall be blessed with Happiness hereafter; such as keep holy this Temporal Sabbath, shall be made happy in the Eternal Sabbath; but such as prophane it, shall never enter into God’s rest, Heb. 3. ult. & 4. 9,10.