Christ Dying, and Drawing Sinners to Himself; or, A Survey of Our Saviour In His Soul-Suffering, His Loveliness in His Death and The Efficacy Thereof.

In Which Some Cases of Soul — Trouble in Weak Believers, Grounds of Submission Under The Absence of Christ, with The Flowings and Heightenings of Free Grace, are Opened.

DELIVERED IN SERMONS ON THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN,

John 12:27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33.

Where are also interjected some necessary digressions, for the times, touching divers errors of Antinomians; and a short vindication of the doctrine of Protestants, from the Arminian pretended Universality of Christ's Dying for all and every one of mankind; the moral and feigned way of irresistible conversion of sinners; and what faith is required of all within the visible church, for the want whereof many are condemned.


By the late Reverend, Pious and Learned, Mr. SAMUEL RUTHERFORD,

MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL, AND PROFESSOR OF DIVINITY

In the University of St. Andrew's.

www.oldpaths.org.uk

Proverbs 30:4. ‘What is his name, and what is his Son's name, if thou canst tell?’

Isaiah 53:8. ‘He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who shall declare his generation?’

GLASGOW:

Printed by NIVEN, NAPIER & KHULL; For SAMUEL and ARCHIBALD GARDNER, Publishers, Calton.

1803.

John 12:27, 28. — Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name.

posted 31 Jan 2014, 16:30 by Stephen Chaffer   [ updated 24 Mar 2014, 19:44 ]

CHRIST DYING, AND DRAWING SINNERS TO HIMSELF.

John 12:27, 28. — Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? 
Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name.


It is a question, whether these words of our Saviour's soul-trouble be nothing but the same words and prayer, which Matthew, Matthew 26; and Luke 22; relate, to wit, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me, when his soul was troubled in the garden, in his agony: some think them the same, others not. It is like they are words of the same matter: for, First, When Christ uttered these words, he was near his sufferings, and on the brink of that hideous and dark sea of his most extreme pain, and drew up against hell, and the armies of darkness; as the story sheweth. But that the Lord uttered these same words in the garden, and not before, is not apparent; [[@Page:2]] because upon this prayer it is said, Then came there a voice from heaven, etc. A voice speaketh to him from heaven: now, Matthew 26; Luke 22; no voice is like to have come from heaven; for when he prayed in his agony, there were no people with him, as here; because of the voice, the people being present, Some said, it thundered: others said, an angel spake from heaven: there being now with Christ in the garden, when he prayed, O my Father, etc. none save Peter, James, and John, the three famous witnesses of his extreme suffering, and of his young heaven, of his transfiguration on the mount, when he acted the Preludium and the image and representation of heaven before them; as is clear, Matthew 26:37. And he was removed from them also, Matthew 26:39; Luke 22:41. and they were sleeping, in his agony, Matthew 26:40, 43, 45. But now there is a waking people with Christ, who heard this voice. But I deny not but it is the same prayer in sense: even as suppose it were revealed to a godly man, that he were to suffer an extreme, violent, and painful death; and withal, some fearful soul-desertion, as an image of the second death; it should much affright him to remember this, and he might pray that the Lord would either save him from that sad hour, or then give him grace with faith and courage, in the Lord, to endure it: so here; Christ, God and man, knowing that he was to bear the terrors of the first and second death, doth act over afore-hand (the time being near) the sorrow and anguish of heart that he was to suffer in his extreme sufferings: as it were good, ere the cross come, to act it in our mind, and take an essay and a lift of Christ's cross, ere we bear it, to try how handsomely we would set back and shoulders under the Lord's cross. I do not intend that we are to imitate the martyr, who put his hand in the fire, the night before he suffered, to try how he could endure burning-quick; but that we are to lay the supposition, What if it so fall out? (as Christ, being persuaded his suffering was to come, acted sorrow, trouble of soul and prayer [[@Page:3]] before-forehand) and to resolve the saddest, and antedate the cross, and say with our own hearts, Let the worst come; or to suffer our fear to prophesy, as Job did, Job 3:25. Yet, suppose the hardest befal me, I know what to do; as the unjust steward resolveth on a way, beforehand, how to swim through his necessities, Luke 16:4. The Lord acteth judgment, and what they shall pray in the time of their extremity, who now spit at all praying and religion; they shall be religious in their kind, when they shall cry, Revelation 6:16. Mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. You cannot believe that a Lamb shall chase the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and every bond-man, and every freeman, into the dens and the rocks of the mountains, to hide themselves. But the Lord acteth wrath and judgment before your eyes. Men will not suppose the real story of hell. Say but with thyself, Oh! shall I weep and gnaw my tongue for pain, in a sea of fire and brimstone? Do but fore-fancy, I pray you, how you shall look on it, what thoughts you will have, what you shall do, when you shall, 2 Thessalonians 1:9; be punished with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. 1. Foreseen sorrows have not so sad an impression on the spirit. 2. Grace is a well-advised and resolute thing, and has the eyes of providence to say, in possible events, What if my scarlet embrace the dunghill, and providence turn the tables? 3. It is like wisdom (grace is wise to see afar off) to fore-act faith, and resolve to lie under God's feet, and intend humble yielding to God; as 2 Samuel 15:25, 26.

In the complaint we have, 1. The subject matter of it, The Lord's troubled soul. 2. The time; Now, is my soul troubled. 3. Christ's anxiety, wrought on him by this trouble; What shall I say? or, which is the sense, What shall I do? 4. And a shore is seen at hand in the storm, a present rock in the raging sea: what shalt thou say? Lord Jesus, what shalt thou do? Pray: And he prayeth, Father, save me from this hour: [[@Page:4]] 5. There is a sort of correction, or rather a limitation; But for this cause came I to this hour. The Lord, forgetting his pain, embraceth this evil hour. 6. Going on in his resolution to embrace this sad hour, he prayeth, John 12:28. Father, glorify thy name.

Touching the first, the soul-trouble of Christ, we are to consider, 1. How it can consist with peace. 2. How with the personal union. 3. What cause there was. 4. What love and mercy in Jesus, to be troubled for us. 5. What use we must make of this.

1. Pos. This holy soul, thus troubled, was like the earth before the fall, out of which grew roses, without thorns or thistles, before it was cursed. Christ's anger, his sorrow, were flowers that smelled of heaven, and not of sin: all his affections of fear, sorrow, sadness, hope, joy, love, desire, were like a fountain of liquid and melted silver; of which the banks, the head-spring, are all as clear from dross, as pure crystal: such a fountain can cast out no clay, no mud, no dirt. When his affections did rise and swell in their acts, every drop of the fountain was sinless, perfumed and adorned with grace; so as the more you stir or trouble a well of rose-water, or some precious liquor, the more sweet a smell it casts out: or, as when a summer soft wind bloweth on a field of sweet roses, it diffuseth precious and delicious smells through the air. There is such mud and dregs in the bottom and banks of our affections, that when our anger, sorrow, sadness, fear, do arise in their acts, our fountain casteth out sin. We cannot love, but we lust; nor fear, but we despair; nor rejoice, but we are wanton, and vain and gaudy; nor believe, but we presume: we rest up, we breathe out sin, we cast out a smell of hell, when the wind bloweth on our field of weeds and thistles; our soul is all but a plat of wild corn, the imaginations of our heart being only evil from our youth. O that Christ would plant some of his flowers in our soul, and bless the soil, that they might grow kindly there, being warmed and nourished with his grace! If grace be within, in sad pressures it comes out. A saint is a saint [[@Page:5]] in affliction; as an hypocrite is an hypocrite, and every man is himself, and casts a smell like himself, when he is in the furnace. Troubled Christ prays. Tempted Job believes, Job 19:25. The scourged Apostles rejoice, Acts 5:41. Drowned Jonah looks to the holy temple, Jonah 2:4.

2. Christ's affections were rational; reason starts up before fear: reason and affection did not outrun one another. John 11:33; when Christ sees his friends weep, he weeps with them; and that which is expressed in our text by the passive verb

My soul is troubled, is there expressed by an active verb, He groaned in the spirit, and he troubled himself: he called upon his affections, and grace and light was lord and master of his affections. There were in Christ three things, which are not in us; First, The Godhead personally united with a man, and a man's soul had an immediate influence on his affections. This was Christ's personal privilege; and to want this, is not our sin; to have it, was Christ's glory: but the nearer any is to God, the more heavenly are the affections. Secondly, When God frameth the human nature and human soul of Christ, he created a more noble and curious piece than was the first Adam: it is true, He was like us in all things, except sin, and essentially a man; but in his generation there was a cut of the art of heaven in Christ more than in the forming of Adam, or than in the generation of men, suppose man had never sinned; as Luke 1:35. The power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: never man was thus to be born. Whence give me leave to think, that there was more of God in the human nature of Christ, as nature is a vessel coming out of the potter's house, than ever was in Adam, or living man; though man had never sinned: and so, that he had a human soul of a more noble structure and fabric, in which the Holy Ghost, in the act of sanctification, had a higher hand, than when Adam was created, according to the image of God; tho' he was a man like us in all things, sin excepted.

[[@Page:6]]3. Pos. Undeniably, grace did so accompany
nature, that he could not fear more than the object
required. Had all the strength of men and angels
been massed and contemperated in one, they
should have been in a higher measure troubled,
than Christ was: so how much trouble was in
Christ's affections, as much there was of reason,
perfumed and lustred with grace. He was not as
man in his intellectuals, wise, or desirous to be
wise, (as Adam and Eve, and men now are taken
with the disease of curiosity) above what was fit: so
neither were his affections above banks: he saw the
blackest and darkest hour that ever any saw;
suppose all the sufferings of the damned, for
eternity, were before them in one sight, or came on
them at once, it should annihilate all that are now,
or shall be in hell. Christ now saw, or foresaw as
great sufferings; and yet, 1. Believed, 2. Prayed, 3.
Hoped, 4. Was encouraged under it, 5. Suffered
them to the bottom with all patience, 6. Rejoiced in
hope, Psalm 16:9. Now our affections rise and
swell before reason: (1.) They are often imaginary,
and are on horseback and in arms as the stirring of
a straw. (2.) They want that clearness and serenity
of grace that Christ had, through habitual grace
following nature from the womb. (3.) We can raise
our affections, but cannot allay them: as some
magicians can raise the devil, but cannot conjure,
or command him; or, some can make war, and
cannot create peace. It is a calumny of Papists,
that say, that Calvin did teach there was despair, or
any distemper of reason in Christ; when as Calvin
saith, He still believed with full assurance. And this
extremity of soul-trouble was most rational, coming
from the infallible apprehension of the most
pressing cause of soul-trouble, that ever living man
was under.

4. Pos. Christ had now and always moral peace,
or the grace of peace, as peace is opposed to
culpable raging of conscience. First, He never
could want faith, which is a serenity, quietness, and
silence of the soul, and assurance of the love of
God. Secondly, He could have no doubting, or
sinful disturbance of mind; be
cause [[@Page:7]] cause he could have no conscience of guilt, which could overcloud the love and tenderest favour of his Father to him. But as peace is opposed to pain, and sense of wrath and punishment, for the guilt of our sins; so he wanted physical peace, and was now under penal disturbance and disquietness of soul. So we see some have peace, but not pardon; as the secure sinners, 1 Thessalonians 5:3. 2dly, Some have pardon, but not peace; as David, Psalm 38:3. who had broken bones; and complaineth, Psalm 38:8. I am feeble and sore broken, I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. And the troubled church, Psalm 77:1, 2, 3, 4. Some have both peace and pardon; as some, like Stephen, that are so near to the crown, as they are above any challenges of conscience: it is like, Satan giveth over, and despaireth of these, whom he cannot overtake, being so near the end of the race. When the sun riseth first, the beams over-gild the tops of green mountains that look toward the east, and the world cannot hinder the sun to rise: some are so near heaven, that the everlasting Sun hath begun to make an everlasting day of glory on them; the rays that come from his face that sits on the throne, so over-goldeth the soul, that there is no possibility of clouding peace, or of hindering daylight in the souls of such. Some have neither peace nor pardon; as those in whose soul hell hath taken fire. Christ never needed pardon, he was able to pay all he was owing: he needed never the grace of forgiveness, nor grace to be spared; God spared him not. God could exact no less blood of him than he shed; but he received an acquittance of justification, never a pardon of grace, 1 Timothy 3:16. Justified in the Spirit.

The second point is, How a troubled soul can stand with a personal union. Can God, can the soul of God be troubled? I shall shew, 1. How this must be. 2. How this can be. It must be, First, Because the loss of heaven is the greatest loss. To ransom a king requireth more millions, than pence to ransom slaves. When we were cast and forfeited, more than an hundred and forty four thousand kings (in the Lord's decree [[@Page:8]] they were kings) were cast out of heaven: where was there gold on earth to buy heaven, and so many kings? And yet justice must have payment: a God-troubled Saviour, and a soul-troubled God was little enough. Oh, saith love to infinite justice, What will you give for me? Will you buy me, my dear children, the heirs of eternal grace? A price below the worth of so many kings, justice cannot hear of; equal it must be, or more.

Secondly, Law cannot sleep satisfied with a man's soul-trouble: for as sin troubles an infinite God's soul, so far as our darts can fly up against the sun; so must the soul-trouble of him who is God, expiate sin.

Thirdly, Heaven is not only a transcendent jewel, dear in itself; but our Father would propine rebels with a sonship and a kingdom, which is dear in our legal esteem. What standeth my crown to God? Why, it could not possibly be dearer? The soul of God was weighed for it: that not only freedom, but the dearest of prices, might commend and cry up, above all heavens, Christ's love.

Fourthly, If my soul, or your souls, O redeemed of the Lord, could be valued every one of them worth ten thousand millions of souls, and as many heavens, they could not overweigh the soul of God, the soul that lodges in a glorious union with God: and the loss of heaven to the troubled soul of this noble, and high and lofty One, tho' but for a time, was more, and infinitely greater than my loss of heaven, and the loss of all the elect for eternity.

Fifthly, I love not to dispute here, but God, if we speak of his absolute power, without respect to his free decree, could have pardoned sin without a ransom, and gifted all mankind and fallen angels with heaven, without any satisfaction of either the sinner, or his surety; for he neither punisheth sin, nor tenders heaven to men or angels by necessity of nature, as the fire casteth out heat, and the sun light; but freely: only, supposing that frame of providence, and decrees of punishing, and redeeming sinners, that now is, the Lord could not but be steady in his decrees; yet this is but [[@Page:9]] necessity conditional, and at the second hand. But here was the business, God, in the depth of his eternal wisdom, did so frame and draw the design and plot of saving lost man, as salvation was to run in no other channel, but such an one, the bank whereof was the freest grace and tenderest love that can enter into the heart of men or angels; for he drew the lines of our heaven through grace, all the way.

Secondly, Grace hardly can work but by choice and voluntary arbitration: choice and election is suitable to grace. Hence grace casts lots on man, not fallen angels; and the eternal lot of transcendent mercy must fall on the bosom of Jacob and some others, not on Esau and others. And our Lord contrived this brave way, to out his grace on us.

Thirdly, And he would not have love to lodge for eternity within his own bowels, but must find out a way how to put boundless mercy to the exchange or bank, that he might traffic with love and mercy, for no gain to himself; and therefore freely our Lord came under bail, and lovely necessity, to strain himself to issue out love, in giving his one Son (he had not another) to die for man: he framed a supernatural providence of richest grace and love, to buy the refuse of creature, foul sinners, with an unparallel'd sampler of tender love, to give the blood-royal of heaven, the eternal Branch of the princely and kingly Godhead, a ransom to justice. You sin (saith the love of loves) and I suffer; You did the wrong, I make the mends; You sin and sing in your carnal joys, I sigh, I weep for your joy. The fairest face that ever was, was foul with weeping for your sinful rejoicing. It was fitting that free love, in the bowels of Christ, should contrive the way to heaven through free love: we should never in heaven, cast down our crowns at the feet of him that sits on the throne, with such sense and admiration, if we had come to the crown by law-doing, and not by gospel-confiding on a rich ransom-player. O that eternal banquet of the honey-comb of the love-debt of the Lamb, that redeemed us for nothing! All the shoulders [[@Page:10]] in heaven are for eternity on an act of lifting up, and heightening Christ's free love, who has redeemed them with so free a redemption; but they are not all able, tho' angels help them, to lift it up high enough: it is so weighty a crown that is upon the head of the Prince-Redeemer, that in a manner it wearies them, and they cannot over-extol it.

Now, this must be a mystery: for tho' the essence of God, and more of God than can be in a creature, were in Christ, and in the most noble manner of union, which is personal; yet, as our soul united to a vegetive body, which doth grow, sleep, eat, drink, doth not grow, sleep, or eat; and as fire is mix'd or united with an hot iron, in which is density and weight, and yet there's neither density nor weight in the fire; so here, tho' the Godhead, in its fulness, was united, in a most strict union, with a troubled and perplexed soul, and the suffering nature of man, yet is the Godhead still free of suffering, or any penal infirmities of the soul: the vigour and colour of a fair role may suffer by the extreme heat of the sun, when yet the sweet smell doth not suffer, but is rather enlarged by exhalation. Yet is there great halting in these comparisons; because, tho' the soul cannot be sick when the body is distempered, for there is nothing of the elementary nature, nor any contemperation of physical humours in it, because of a more sublime and pure constitution; yet there is such alliance and entire society between the soul and the body, that the soul, through concomitancy and sympathy, does suffer; as the indweller is put to the worse, if the house be rainy and dropping: the soul findeth smoke and leakings of pain, in that 'tis pinned in a lodging of sick clay, and so put to wish an hole in the wall, or to escape out at door or window; as often our spirits are overswayed so with distaste of life, because of the sour accidents that do convey it, that they think the gain of life not so sweet, as it can quit the cost. But the blessed Godhead, united to the manhood, cannot so much as for company's cause be sick, pained, or suffer; nor can the Godhead be [[@Page:11]] weary of an union with a troubled soul: we conceive in the grave and death, that glorious fellowship was never dissolved.

Secondly, Many things may suffer by invasion of contraries; as, shoot an arrow against a wall of brass, some impression may remain in the wall, to witness the violence that has been there; and we know that, They shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail: but the blessed Godhead in Christ is uncapable of an arrow, or of repercussion; there is no action against God; he is here not so much as a coast, a bank, or bulwark, capable of receiving one spitting or drop of a sea-wave: only the man Christ, the rose of heaven, had in his bosom, at his root, a fountain; O how deep and refreshing, that kept the flower green, under death and the grave! When it was plucked up, it was fair, vigorous, green before the sun; and thus plucked up, and above earth, blossomed fair!

Thirdly, Not only the influence and effects of the glorious Godhead did water the flower, and keep strength in Christ, (so, I think, God can keep a damned man in the doubled torments of everlasting wrath, with strength of grace, courage, faith, the love of Christ for ever, as he could not be overcome by hell and devils) but there was the fulness personal of the Godhead, that immediately sustained the man Christ: it was not a delegated comfort, nor sent help, nor a message of created love, nor a borrowed flowing of a sea of sweetness of consolation; but God in proper person, infinite subsistence, the personality of the Son of God bottomed all his sufferings: the manhood was imped and stocked in the subsistence of the tree of life. ‘Tis true, God is a present help to his saints in trouble; but his helping is in his operation and working; but he is not personally united to the soul. ‘Tis abominable that some Familists teach, that as Christ was once made flesh, so he is now first made flesh in us, ere we be carried to perfection: because, not any saint on earth can be so united to God, as the Son of Man; for he being made of a woman, of the seed of David, the [[@Page:12]] Son of Man, and not any but he, is the eternal Son of God, God blessed for ever. The Child born to us, is the mighty God, the Father of Age, the Prince of Peace, Isaiah 9:6; Romans 9:5; Galatians 4:4. There is a wide difference between him the second Adam, and all men, even the first Adam in his perfection, 1 Corinthians 15:47. If Christ suffered without dissolving of the union, God keeping the tent of clay, and taking it to heaven with him, in a personal union, then God can in the lowest desertion dwell in his saints. We complain, in our soul-trouble of Christ's departure from us; but he is not gone: our sense is not our bible, nor a good rule; there is an error in this compass.

The third was the particular cause. What cause was there? Papists say, There was no reason of Christ's soul-suffering, except for sympathy with the body. We believe, that Christ becoming surety for us, not his body only, but his soul especially, came under that necessity, that his soul was in our soul's stead; and so, what was due to our souls for ever, our surety of justice behoved to suffer the same. Isaiah 53:10. He made his soul an offering for sin. Sure for our sin. Nor must we restrict the soul to the body and temporary life, seeing he expresseth it in his own language, And now is my soul troubled.

Secondly, There was no reason of Christ's bodily sufferings, when, in the garden, he did sweat blood for us; nor had any man at that time laid hands on him; and all that agony he was in, came from his soul only.

Thirdly, Nor can it be more inconsistent with his blessed person, being God and man, and the Son of God, that he suffered in his soul the wrath of God for our sins, than that his soul was troubled, and exceeding sorrowful, heavy to the death, in an agony, and that he complained, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And the cause of this soul-trouble was for sinners; this was surety-suffering. The choicest and most stately piece that ever God created, and dearest to God, being the second to God-man, was the princely soul of Christ, it was a king's soul; yet death, by reason of sin, [[@Page:13]] passeth upon it; and not a common death, but that which is the marrow of death, the first-born and the strongest of deaths, the wrath of God, the innocent pain of hell, void of despair and hatred of God. If I had any hell on me, I should choose an innocent hell, like Christ's: better suffer ill a thousand times, than sin; suffering is rather to be chosen, than sin. It was pain, and nothing but pain: damned men, and reprobate devils, are not capable of a godly and innocent hell, they cannot chuse to suffer hell, and not spit on fair and spotless justice; because Christ's blood was to wash away sin, he could not both fully pay, and contract debt also. But if it be so, that death finding so precious a surety, as Christ's princely and sinless soul, did make him obey the law of the land, ere he escaped out of that land; what wonder that we die, who are born in the land of death? No creature but it travelleth in pain, with death in its bosom, or an inclination to mother-nothing, whence it came. God only goeth between the mightiest angel in heaven, and nothing: all things under the moon must be sick of vanity and death, when the heir of all things, coming in amongst dying creatures, out of dispensation, by law must die. If the Lord's soul, and the soul of such a Lord die and suffer wrath, then let the fair face of the world, the heavens, look like the face of an old man, full of trembling, white hairs, and wrinkles, Psalm 102:26. Then let man make for his long home; let time itself wax old and gray-haired. Why should I desire to stay here, when Christ could not but pass away?

And if this spotless soul that never sinned was troubled, what wonder then many troubles be to the sinner? Our Saviour, who promiseth soul-rest to others, cannot have soul-rest himself: his soul is now on a wheel sore tossed, and all the creatures are upon a wheel, and in motion; there is not a creature since Adam sinned, sleepeth sound. Weariness and motion is laid on moon and sun, and all creatures on this side of the moon. Seas ebb and flow, and that's trouble; winds blow, rivers move, heavens and stars these [[@Page:14]] five thousand years, except one time, have not had six minutes rest; living creatures walk apace toward death; kingdoms, cities, are on the wheel of changes, up and down; mankind run, and the disease of body-trouble, and soul-trouble on them, they are motion-sick, going on their feet, and kings cannot have beds to rest in. The six days' creation hath been travelling and shouting for pain, and the child is not born yet, Romans 8:22. This poor woman hath been groaning under the bondage of vanity, and shall not be brought to bed, till Jesus come the second time to be midwife to the birth. The great All of heaven and earth, since God laid the first stone of this wide hall, hath been groaning and weeping for the liberty of the sons of God, Romans 8:21. The figure of the passing-away world, 1 Corinthians 7:31; is like an old man's face, full of wrinkles, and foul with weeping: we are waiting when Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, and shall come and wipe the old man's face. Every creature here is on its feet, none of them can sit or lie. Christ's soul now is above trouble, and rests sweetly in the bosom of God. Troubled souls, rejoice in hope. Soft and childish saints take it not well that they are not every day feasted with Christ's love, that they lie not all the night between the Redeemer's breasts, and are not dandled on his knee; but when the daintiest piece of the man Jesus, his precious soul, was thus sick of soul-trouble, and the noble and celebrious head-heir of all, the first of his kingly house, was put to deep groans, that pierced skies and heaven, and rent the rocks, why but sinners should be submissive, when Christ is pleased to set children down to walk on foot, and hide himself from them? But they forget the difference between the inns of clay, and the home of glory. Our fields here are sown with tares, grief grows in every furrow of this low land. You shall lay soul and head down in the bosom, and between the breasts of Jesus Christ; that bed must be soft and delicious, it is perfumed with uncreated glory. The thoughts of all your now soul-troubles shall be as [[@Page:15]] shadows that passed away ten thousand years ago, when Christ shall circle his glorious arm about your head, and you rest in an infinite compass of surpassing glory; or when glory, or ripened grace, shall be within you, and without you, above and below, when feet of clay shall walk upon pure surpassing glory. The street of the city was pure gold: there is no gold there, but glory only; gold is but a shadow to all that is there.

It were possibly no less edifying to speak a little of the fourth, What love and tender mercy it was in Christ, to be so troubled in soul for us.

1. Pos. Self if precious, when free of sin, and
withal self-happy. Christ was both free of sin, and
self-happy; What then could have made him stir his
foot out of heaven, so excellent a land, and come
under the pain of a troubled soul, except free,
strong and vehement love, that was a bottomless
river unpatient of banks? Infinite goodness maketh
love to swell without itself, John 15:13. Goodness
is much moved with righteousness and innocency;
but we had a bad cause, because sinners: but
goodness (for every man that hath a good cause, is
not a good man) is moved with goodness: we were
neither righteous nor good; yet Christ, tho' neither
righteousness was in us, nor goodness, would dare
to die for us, Romans 5:7, 8. Goodness and grace
(which is goodness for no deserving) is bold,
daring, and venturous. Love, which could not flow
within its own channel, but that Christ's love might
be out of measure love, and out of measure loving,
would outrun wickedness in man.

2. Pos. Had Christ seen, when he was to
engage his soul in the pains of the second death,
that the expence in giving out should be great, and
the income small, and no more than he had before,
we might value his love more: but Christ had leisure
from eternity, and wisdom enough to cast up his
counts, and knew what he was to give out, and
when to receive in; so he might have repented and
given up the bargain. He knew that his blood, and
his one noble soul, that dwelt in a personal union
with God, was a greater sum, in
comparably, [[@Page:16]] comparably, than all his redeemed ones. He should have in little, he should but gain lost sinners; he should empty out (in a manner) a fair Godhead, and kill the Lord of glory, and get in a black bride. But there's no lack in love; the love of Christ was not private, nor mercenary. Christ, the buyer, commended the wares ere he bargained, Solomon’s Song 4:7. Thou art all fair, my love, there's not a spot in thee. Christ judged he had gotten a noble prize, and made an heaven's market, when he got his wife, that he served for, in his arms, Isaiah 53:11. He saw the travel of his soul, and was satisfied: he was filled with delight, as a full banqueter. If that ransom he gave had been little, he would have given more.

3. Pos. It is much that nothing without Christ moved him to this engagement. There was a sad and bloody war between divine justice and sinners: love, love pressed Christ to the war, to come and serve the great king, and the state of lost mankind, and to do it freely. This maketh it two favours. ‘Tis a conquering notion to think, that the sinner's heaven bred first in Christ's heart from eternity; and that love, freest love, was the blossom, and the seed, and the only contriver of our eternal glory: that free grace drove on from the beginning of the age of God, from everlasting, the saving plot and sweet design of redemption of souls. This innocent and soul-rejoicing policy of Christ's taking on him the seed of Abraham, not of angels, and to come down in the shape of a servant, to the land of his enemies, without a pass, in regard of his sufferings, speaketh and crieth the deep wisdom of infinite love. Was not this the wit of free grace, to find out such a mysterious and profound dispensation, as that God and man personally should both do and suffer, so as justice should want nothing, mercy should be satisfied, peace should kiss righteousness, and war go on, in justice, against a sinless Redeemer? Angels bowing and stooping down to behold the bottom of this depth, 1 Peter 1:12; cannot read the perfect sense of the infinite turnings and foldings of this mysterious love. O love [[@Page:17]] heaven, and fairest of beloveds, the flower of angels, why earnest thou so low down, as to bespot and under-rate the spotless love of all loves, with coming nigh to black sinners? Who could have believed that lumps of hell and sin could be capable of the warmings and sparkles of so high and princely a love? Or that there could be place in the breast of the high and lofty One, for forlorn and guilty clay? But we may know in whose breast this bred; sure none but only the eternal love and delight of the Father could have outed so much love: had another done it, the wonder had been more. But of this more elsewhere.

Use 1. We may hence chide our soft nature: the Lord Jesus his soul was troubled in our business; we start at a troubled body, at a scratch in a penny broad of our hide. First, There is in nature a silent impatience if we be not carried in a chariot of love, in Christ's bosom, to heaven; and if we walk not upon scarlet, and purple under our feet, we flinch and murmur.

Secondly, We would either have a silent, a soft, a perfumed cross, sugared and honeyed with the consolations of Christ, or we faint; and providence must either brew a cup of gall and wormwood, mastered in the mixing with joy and songs, else we cannot be disciples. But Christ's cross did not smile on him, his cross was a cross, and his ship sailed in blood, and his blessed soul was sea-sick, and heavy even to death.

Thirdly, We love to sail in fresh waters, within a step to the shore; we consider not, that our Lord, tho' he afflict not, and crush not, Millebbo, from his heart. Lamentation 3:33; yet he afflicteth not in sport: punishing of sin is in God a serious, grave, and real work: no reason the cross should be a play; neither Stoicks nor Christians can laugh it over; the cross cast a sad gloom upon Christ.

Fourthly, We forget that bloody and sad mercies are good for us: the peace that the Lord bringeth out of the womb of war, is better than the rotten peace that [[@Page:18]] we had in the superstitious days of prelates. What a sweet life, what a heaven, what a salvation is it, we have in Christ? And we know the death, the grave, the soul-trouble of the Lord Jesus, travelled in pain to bring forth these to us. Heaven is the more heaven, that to Christ it was a purchase of blood. The cross to all the saints must have a bloody bit, and lion's teeth; it was like itself to Christ, gaily and sour, it must be so to us. We cannot have a paper-cross, except we would take on us to make a golden providence, and put the creation in a new frame, and take the world, and make it a great leaden vessel, melt it in the fire, and cast a new mould of it.

Fifthly, The more of God in the cross, the sweeter: as that free grace doth bud out of the black rod of God, to the soul that seeth not, and yet believeth, and loveth; the cross of Christ drops honey, and the sweetest consolations. We sigh under strokes, and we believe. The first Adam killed us, and buried us in two deaths, and sealed our grave in one piece of an hour; he concluded all under wrath. Now how much of Christ is in this? Omnipotency, infinite wisdom, (when angels gave us over, and stood aloof at our misery, as changed lovers) free grace, boundless love, deepest and richest mercy in Jesus Christ opened our graves, and raised the dead. Christ died and rose again, and brought again from the dead all his buried brethren.

Sixthly, We can wrestle with the Almighty, as if we could discipline and govern ourselves, better than God can do; murmuring fleeth up against a dispensation of an infinite wisdom, because 'tis God's dispensation, not our own, as if God had done the fault, but the murmuring man only can make amends, and right the slips of infinite wisdom. Why is it thus with me, Lord? (saith the wrestler) Why dost thou misjudge Christ? He who findeth fault with what the Creator doth, let him be man or angel, undo it, and do better himself, and carry it with him.

[[@Page:19]]Seventhly, We judge God with sense, with the humour of reason, not with reason; the oar that God rolleth his vessel withal, is broken (say we) because the end of the oar is in the water: Providence halteth (say we) but what if sense and humour say, a straight line is a circle? The world judgeth God in person a Samaritan, one that had a devil; if we misjudge his person, we may misjudge his providence and ways. Suspend your sense of God's ways, while you see not his ends that are under ground, and instead of judging, wonder and adore; or then believe implicitly, that the way of God is equal; or do both, and submit, and be silent. Heart-dialogues and heart-speeches against God, that arise as smoke in the chimney, as challengings and summonings against our highest landlord, for his own house and land.

Use 2. If Christ gave a soul for us, he had no choicer thing: the Father had no nobler and dearer gift, than his only begotten Son; the Son had nothing dearer than himself, the man Christ had nothing of value comparable to his soul, and that must run a hazard for man. The Father, the Son, the man Christ, gave the excellentest that was theirs, for us. In this giving and taking world, we are hence obliged to give the best and choicest thing we have for Christ. Should we make a table of Christ's acts of love, and free grace to us, and of our sins and acts of unthankfulness to him, this would be more evident; as there was (1.) Before time in the breast of Christ an eternal coal of burning love to the sinner: this fire of heaven is everlasting, and the flames as hot to day as ever; our coal of love to him in time, hath scarce any fire or warmness, all fire is hot: Oh, we cannot warm Christ with our love; but his love to us is hotter than death, or as the flames of God: We were enemies in our minds to him, by wicked works. Colossians 1:21. Heirs of wrath by nature. Christ began with love to us, we began with hatred to him.

[[@Page:20]]The Father gave his only begotten Son for us: how many fathers and Elies will not let fall one rough word to all the sons and daughters they have for the Lord? God spared not his own Son, but gave him to the death for us all. Earthly fathers spare, clap their sons, servants, friends; magistrates, flattering pastors, their people in their blasphemies for him.

Christ gave his soul to trouble, and to the horror of the second death for you: consult with your heart, if you have quit one lust for him. Christ laid aside his heaven for you; his whole heaven, his whole glory for you, and his Father's house: are you willing to part with an acre of earth, or house, and inheritance for him?

In calling us out of the state of sin, to grace and glory: Oh! I must make this sad reckoning with Jesus Christ. Oh, Christ turneth his smiling face to me, in calling, inviting, obtesting, praying, that I would be reconciled to God: I turn my back to him; he openeth his breast and heart to us, and saith, friends, doves, come in and dwell in the holes of this rock; and we lift our heel against him. O what guilt is here, to scratch Christ's breast, when he willeth you to come, and lay head and heart on his breast? This unkindness to Christ's troubled soul, is more than sin; sin is but a transgression of the law. I grant it is an infinite but, but it is a transgression of both law and love, to spurn against the warm bowels of love, to spit on grace, on tenderness of infinite love. The white and ruddy, the fairest of heaven offereth to kiss black-moors on earth; they will not come near to him. It is a heart of flint, and adamant, that spitteth at evangelic love: law-love is love; evangelic love is more than love, it is the gold, the flour of Christ's wheat, and of his finest love. Solomon’s Song 5:6. I rose up to open to my Beloved, but my Beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone; my soul passed away when he spake. There be two [[@Page:21]] words here considerable, to prove how wounding are sins against the love of Christ. 1. My Beloved hath withdrawn himself; the text is, Vedodi hamak, and my Beloved hath turned about. Ari. Mont. Circumjerat, Pagnin. in the margin, verterat fe, the old version, declinaverat. Christ being unwilling to remove, and wholly go away, he only turned aside, as Jeremiah 31:22. How long wilt thou go about, Tithhammakin, O thou backsliding daughter. This intimateth so much, as Christ taketh not a direct journey to go away, and leave his own children; only he goeth a little aside from the door of the soul, to testify he would gladly, with his soul come in. Now what ingratitude is it, to shut him violently away? 2. My soul was gone; the old version is, my soul melted at his speaking? Gnabar, my soul passed over, or went away; to remember his ravishing words it broke my life and made me die: (so is the word elsewhere used) that I remembered a world of love in him, when he knocked, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, by dove; to sin against so great a bond as grace, must be the sin of sins, and amongst highest sins, as is clear, in these that sin against the Holy Ghost; then it must be impossible to give grace any thing, we but pay our debts to grace; we cannot give the debt of grace to grace in the whole sum.

Use 3. It cannot then be a sin so intrinsically, and of itself to be troubled in soul, if Christ was under soul-trouble, for sins imputed to him.

Hence let me stay a little on these two; First, What a troubled conscience is: Secondly, What course the troubled in soul are to take in imitation of Christ. A soul troubled for sin must either be a soul seared and perplexed for the penal displeasure, wrath and indignation of God, or the eternal punishment of sin, as these come under the apprehension of the evil of punishment; or for sin as it saileth against the love of God, or for both. In any of these three respects, it is no sin to be soul-troubled for sin, upon these conditions:

[[@Page:22]]1. That the soul be free of faithless doubting of God's love. Now Christ was free of this, he could not but have a fixed, entire, and never-broken confidence of his Father's eternal love. If we have any sin in our soul-trouble for sin, it is from unbelief, not from soul-trouble; if there be mud and clay in the streams, it is from the banks, not from the fountain. Or, 2. If the soul fear the ill of punishment, as the greatest ill, and as a greater than the ill of sin, there is more passion, than sound light in the fear; this could not be in Christ. The aversion of the Lord's heart, from the party in whom there is sin, either by real inherence, or by free imputation, and the indrawing of rays, and irradiations, and outflowings of divine love, is a high evil in a soul that hath any thing of the nature of a son in him: now there was much of a son in Christ, as a man's nature could be capable of; and the more of God that was in Christ, as the fulness, the boundless infinite sea of the Godhead, overflowed Christ all over the banks; then for Christ to be under a cloud, in regard of the outbreathings of eternal love, was, in a sort, most violent to Christ, as if he had been torn from himself: and therefore it behoved to be an extreme soul-trouble; Christ being deprived, in a manner, of himself, and of his only soul's substantial delight and paradise. And this could not be a sin, but an act of gracious soul-sorrow, that sin and hell intervened between the moon and the sun; the soul of Christ, and his Lord. The more of heaven in the soul, and the more of God, the want of God and of heaven is the greater hell. Suppose we, that the whole light in the body of the sun were utterly extinct, and that the sun were turned in a body as dark as the outside of a caldron, that should be a greater loss, than if an halfpenny candle were deprived of light. Christ had more to lose, than a world of millions of angels. Imagine a creature of as much angelic capacity, as ten thousand times ten thousand thousand of angels, all contemperated in one; if this glorious angel were filled, according to his capacity, with the highest and most pure and refined [[@Page:23]] glory of heaven; and again were immediately stript naked of all this glory, and then plunged into the depth of and heart of hell, and of a lake of more than hell's ordinary temper, of fire and brimstone; or suppose God should add millions of degrees of more pure and unmixed wrath and curses, this angel's soul must be more troubled than we can easily apprehend; yet this is but a comparison below the thing: but the Lord Jesus, in whose person, heaven in the highest degree was carried about with him, being thrown down from the top of so high a glory, and to a sad and fearful condition, an agony, and sweating of blood, (God knows the cause) that shouting and tears of this low condition, drew out that saddest complaint, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? His loss must be incomparably more than all we can say in these shadows.

This sheweth the cause, why there is not among troubles any so grievous, as the want of the presence of God, to a soul fattened and feasted with the continual marrow and fatness of the Lord's house. No such complaints read you, so bitter, so pathetic, and coming from deeper sense, than the want of the sense of Christ's love. It is broken bones, and a dried-up body to David; it is bitter weeping and crying, like the chattering of a crane to Hezekiah; it is more than strangling, and brings Job to pray, he had been buried in the womb of his mother, or that he had never been born, or his mother had been always great with him; it is swooning, and the soul's departure out of the body, sickness and death to the spouse, Solomon’s Song 5:5, 6, 8. It is hell and distraction to Heman, Psalm 88:15. It is to Jeremiah the cursing of the messenger that brought tidings to his father, That a man child was born, and a wishing that he never had being nor life. It is death to part the lover from the beloved; and the stronger love be, the death is the more death.

But in all that we have yet said, Christ's greatest soul-trouble as a Son (for that he was essentially) was, in that his holy soul was sadded and made heavy even [[@Page:24]] to death, for sin, as sin, and as contrary to his Father's love. The elect sinned against the Lord, not looking to him, as either Lord or Father; but Christ paid full dear for sin; eyeing God as Lord, as Father. We look neither to Lord, to law, nor to love, when we sin; Christ looked to all three, when he satisfied for sin. Christ did more than pay our debts; it was a sum above price that he gave for us; it is a great question, yea out of all question, if all mankind redeemed came near to the worth, to the goodly price given for us.

So, according to the sense of any happiness, so must the soul-trouble for the loss of that happiness be, in due proportion. First, As we love, so is sorrow for the loss of what we love. Jacob would not have mourned so, for the loss of a servant, as of his son Joseph. Now, no man enjoying God could have a more quick and vigorous sense of the enjoyed godhead, than Christ; so his apprehension and vision of God must have been strong. 2. Because the union with the Godhead, and communion of fulness of grace from the womb, must add to his natural faculties, a great edge of sense; his soul, and the faculties thereof, were never blunted with sin; and the larger the vessel be, the fulness must be the greater: what, or who of the highest seraphims, or dominions, or principalities, among angels, had so large and capacious a spirit, to contain the fulness of God, as Christ had? When Solomon's heart was larger than the sand on the sea-shore, and he was but a shadow of such a soul as was to dwell personally with the fulness of the Godhead bodily; O how capacious and wide must the heart of the true Solomon be! It being to contain many seas and rivers of wisdom, love, joy, goodness, mercy, above millions of sands, in millions of sea-shores. What bowels of compassion and love, of meekness, gentleness, of free grace must be in him? Since all the thousands of elected souls sat in these bowels, and were in his heart, to die, and live with him; and withal, since in his heart was the love of God in the highest.

[[@Page:25]]Love must make a strong impression in the heart of Christ; and the stronger, purer, and more vigorous that Christ's intellectuals are, the deeper his holy thoughts and pure apprehensions were, and more steeled with fulness of grace; his fruition, sense, joy, and love of God, must be the more elevated above what angels and men are capable of. Hence it must follow, that Christ was plunged in an uncouth, and new world of extreme sorrow, even to the death, when this strong love was eclipsed. Imagine, that for one spring and summer-season, that all the light, heat, motion, vigour, influence of life, should retire into the body of the sun, and remain there; what darkness, deadness, withering should be upon flowers, herbs, trees, mountains, valleys, beasts, birds, and all things living and moving on the earth? Then, what wonder, that Christ's soul was extremely troubled? His blessed sun was now down, his spring and summer gone; his Father a forsaking God, was a new world to him. And I shall not believe, that this complaint came from any error of judgment, or mistakes or groundless jealousies of the love of God: as his Father could not at any time hate him; so neither could he at this time, actu secundo, let out the sweet fruits of his love: the cause of the former is the nature of God, as the ground of the latter is a dispensation above the capacity of the reason of men or angels. We may then conclude, that Jesus Christ's soul-trouble, as it was rational, and extremely penal, so also it was sinless, and innocent. Seldom have we soul-trouble sinless but it is by accident of the way; for our passions can hardly rise in their extremity, (except when God is their only object) but they go over score, yet soul-trouble intrinsically is not a sin.

Then to be troubled for sin, tho' the person be fully persuaded of pardon, is neither sin, nor inconsistent with the state of a justified person; nor is it any act of unbelief, as Antinomians falsely suppose. For, (1.) To be in soul-trouble for sin (which cannot, to the perfect knowledge of the person troubled, eternally [[@Page:26]] condemn) was in Jesus Christ; in whom there was no spot of sin. And Antinomians say, sin remaining sin essentially, must have a condemnatory power; so as 'tis impossible to separate the condemnatory power of the law, from the mandatory and commanding power of the law. (2.) Because, as to abstain from sin, as it offendeth against the love of God shewing mercy, rather than the law of God inflicting wrath, is spiritual obedience; so also to be troubled in soul for sin, committed by a justified person, against so many sweet bonds of free love and grace, is a sanctified and gracious sorrow and trouble of soul. (3.) To be troubled for sin, as offensive to our heavenly Father, and against the sweetness of free grace and tender love, includeth no act of unbelief, nor that the justified and pardoned sinner, thus troubled, is not pardoned, or that he feareth eternal wrath, (as Antinomians imagine) no more than a son's grief of mind for offending a tender-hearted father, can infer, that this grief doth conclude this son under a condition of doubting of his state of sonship or filiation, or a fearing he be disinherited. We may fear the Lord and his goodness, Hosea 3:5; as well as we fear his eternal displeasure. (4.) Sanctified soul-trouble is a fouly commotion and agony of spirit, for trampling under feet tender love, spurning and kicking against the lovely warmness of the flowings of the blood of atonement; checks, and love-terrors, or love-fevers, that Christ's princely head was wet with the night-rain, while he was kept out of his own house, and suffered to lodge in the streets; and fear that the Beloved withdraw himself, and go seek his lodging elsewhere, as Solomon’s Song 5:4, 5; Psalm 5:9, 10; and that the Lord cover himself with a cloud, and return to his place, and the influence of the rays and beams of love be suspended; are sweet expressions of filial bowels, and tenderness of love to Christ.

Libertines imagine, if the hazard and fear of hell be removed, there is no more place for fear, soul-trouble, or confession: therefore they teach, That [[@Page:27]] there is no assurance true and right, unless it be without fear and doubting. 2. That to call in question whether God be my dear Father, after, or upon the commission of some heinous sins (as murder, incest, etc. doth prove a man to be under the covenant of works. (3.) That a man must be so far from being troubled for sin, that he must take no notice of his sin, nor of his repentance. Yea, Dr. Crisp. Vol. 3. serm. I. Page 20, 21, 22. saith, There was no cause why Paul (Romans 7.) should fear sin, or a body of death; because in that place Paul doth (saith he) personate a scrupulous spirit, and doth not speak out of his own present case, as it was at this time, when he speaks it; but speaks it in the person of another, yet a believer: and my reason is, Paul in respect of his own person, what became of his sin, was already resolved, Romans 8:1. There is now no condemnation, etc. He knew his sins were pardoned, and that they could not hurt him.

Answ. Observe, that Arminius, as also of old, Pelagius, exponed, Romans 7; de semi regenito, of a half renewed man, in whom sense, which inclines to venial sins, fights with reason; that so the full and perfectly renewed man might seem to be able to keep the law, and be free of all mortal sin. And Crisp doth here manifestly free the justified man of all sin: why? because he is pardoned. So then, there is no battle between the flesh and the spirit in the justified man, by the Antinominian way to heaven; which, on the flesh's part, that lusteth against the spirit, deserveth the name of sin, or a breach of the law. Only 'tis Asinus meus qui peccat, non ego; as the old Libertines in Calvin's time said, The flesh does the sin, not the man; for the man is under no law, and so cannot sin. But that Paul, Romans 7; speaks in the person of a scrupulous and troubled conscience, not as 'tis the common case of all the regenerate, in whom sin dwells, is a soul and fleshly untruth. (1.) To be carnal in part, as Romans 7:14; to do what we allow not, to do what we would not, and what we hate to do, is the common case, not peculiar to a troubled conscience only, but to all the saints, Galatians 5:17. (2.) Paul speaketh not of believing, as he
must do, if he speaks only of a scrupulous and
doubting conscience; but he speaketh of of working, Galatians 5:15; doing, Galatians 5:17, 18; willing, Galatians 5:15, 19; not of believing only, or doubting: now, it is not like the apostle does personate a scrupulous soul, of whom he insinuates no such thing. (3.) A scrupulous and troubled conscience will never yield, so long as he is in that condition, that he does any good, or that he belongs to God; as is clear, Psalm 88; 38; 77:1, 2, 3, 4; etc. But Paul in this case yieldeth, he does good, hates evil, delights in the law of the Lord in the inner man; hath a desire to do good; hath a law in his mind that resisteth the motions of the flesh. (4.) Yea, the apostle then had no cause to fear the body of sin, or to judge himself wretched; this was his unbelief, and there was no ground of his fear, because he was pardoned; he knew that he was freed from condemnation. It was then Paul's sin, and is the sinful scrupulosity of unbelievers, to say, being once justified, "Sin dwells in me, and there is a law in my members, rebelling against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity unto the law of sin; and I am carnal, and sold under sin; and I do evil, even that which I hate;" for all these are lies, and speeches of unbelief: the justified man sinneth not, his heart is clean, he doth nothing against a law. But I well remember, that our divines, and particularly Chemnitius, Calvin, Beza, prove against Papists, that concupiscence is sin after baptism, even in the regenerate; and it is called eleven or twelve times with the name of sin, Romans 6; 7; 8. And they teach that of Augustine as a truth, Inest non ut non sit, sed ut non imputetur. So we may use all these arguments against Libertines, to prove we are, even being justified, such as can sin, and do transgress the law; and therefore ought to confess these sins, be troubled in conscience for them, complain and sigh in our fetters, tho' we know that we are justified and freed from the guilt of sin, and the obligation to eternal [[@Page:29]] wrath. But sin is one thing, and the obligation to eternal wrath is another thing: Antinomians confound them, and so mistake grossly the nature of sin, and of the law, and of justification. Some impudently go so far on, that they teach, "That believers are to be troubled in heart for nothing that befals them, either in sin, or in affliction." If their meaning were, that they should not doubtingly, and from the principle of unbelief, call in question their once sealed justification, we should not oppose such a tenet; but their reasons do conclude, "That we should no more be shaken in mind with sin, than with afflictions, and the punishment of sin;" and that, notwithstanding of the highest provocation we are guilty of, we are always to rejoice, to feast on the consolations of Christ, 1. "Because trouble for sin ariseth from ignorance or unbelief; that believers understand not the work of God for them, in the three persons; the Father's everlasting decree about them; the Son's union with them, and headship to them, his merits and intercession; the Holy Spirit's inhabitation in them, and his office toward them, to work all their works for them, till he make them meet for glory. 2. Because such trouble is troublesome to God's heart, as a friend's trouble is to his friends; but especially, because the spirit of bondage never returns again to the justified," Romans 8:15. But I crave leave to clear our doctrine, touching soul-trouble for sin in the justified person.

Asser. 1. No doubting, no perplexity of unbelief, de jure, ought to perplex the soul once justified and pardoned. 1. Because the patent and writs of unchangeable purpose to save the elect, and the subscribed and resolved-upon act of atonement and free redemption in Christ standeth uncancelled and firm, being once received by faith; the justified soul ought not so to be troubled for sin, as to misjudge the Lord's bypast work of saving grace. 1. Because the believer, once justified, is to believe remission of sins, and a paid ransom: if now he should believe the writs once signed, were cancelled again, he were obliged to believe [[@Page:30]] things contradictory. 2. To believe that the Lord is changed and off and on, in his free love and eternal purposes, is a great slandering of the Almighty. 3. The church, Psalm 77; acknowledgeth such misjudging of God to be the soul's infirmity, Psalm 77:10. "I said, this is my infirmity."

Asser. 2. Yet, de facto, David "a man according to God's heart," 1 Samuel 12:12, 13. fell in an old fever, a fit of the disease of the spirit of bondage, Psalm 32:3. "When I kept silence, my bones waxed old, thro' my roaring all the day long." Psalm 32:4. "For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me, my moisture is turned into the drought of summer." So the church in Asaph's words, Psalm 77:2. "My sore ran in the night, and ceased not:" either his hand was bedewed with tears in the night, as the Hebrew beareth: or a boil of unbelief broke upon me in the night, and slacked not. Psalm 77:7. "Will the Lord cast off for ever? will he be merciful no more?" Then faith and doubting both may as well be in the soul, with the life of God, as health and sickness in one body at sundry times; and it is no argument at all of no spiritual assurance, and of a soul under the law or covenant of works, to doubt: as sickness argueth life, no dead corpse is capable of sickness, or blindness; these are infirmities that neighbour with life: so doubting with sorrow, because the poor soul cannot, in that exigence, believe, is of kin to the life of God: the life of Jesus hath infirmities, kindly to it, as some diseases are hereditary to such a family. 2. The habit or state of unbelief is one thing, and doubting and love-jealousies is another thing. Our love to Christ is sickly, crazy, and full of jealousies and suspicions. Temptations make false reports of Christ, and we easily believe them. Jealousies argue love, and the strongest of loves, even marriage-love. 3. By this, all acts of unbelief in souls once justified, and sanctified, should be impossible. Why, then the Lord's disciples had no faith, when Christ said to them, "Why doubt ye, O ye of little faith?" It haply may be answered, [[@Page:31]] that the disciples, Matthew 8; doubted not of their sonship, but of the Lord's particular care in bringing them to shore in a great sea storm. To which I answer, its most true, they then feared bodily, not, directly, soul shipwreck; but if it was sinful doubting, of Christ's care of them, Master, carest thou not for us? the point is concluded, that doubting of Christ's care and love may well infer, a soul is not utterly void of faith, that is in a doubting condition. 4. The morning dawning of light, is light; the first springing of the child in the belly, is a motion of life; the least warnings of Christ's breathings is the heat of life: when the pulse of Christ new-framed in the soul moveth most weakly, the new birth is not dead; the very swooning of the love of Christ cannot be incident to a buried man. 5. When Christ rebuketh little faith and doubting, he supposeth faith: he who is but a sinking, and crieth to Christ, is not drowned as yet. 6. The disciples' prayer, Lord, increase our faith; Christ's praying that the faith of the saints, when they are winnowed, may not fail; the exhortation to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, prove the saints' faith may be at a stand, and may stagger and slide. 7. The various conditions of the saints; now its full moon, again no moon-light at all, but a dark eclipse; evidenceth this truth. The believer hath flowings of strong acts of faith, joy, love; supernatural passions of grace arising to an high spring-tide, above the banks and ordinary coasts; and again, a low ground-ebb. The condition of ebbings and flowings, in full manifestations and divine raptures of another world, when the wind bloweth right from heaven, and the breach of Jesus Christ's mouth and of sad absence, runneth through the Song of Solomon, the book of Psalms, the book of Job, as threads through a web of silk, and veins that are the strings and spouts carrying blood through all the body, less or more.

Asser. 3. The justified soul once pardoned, receiveth never the spirit of bondage, Romans 8:15; to fear again, eternal wrath; that is, this spirit in the intension [[@Page:32]] sion of the habit, such as was at the first conversion, when there was not a grain of faith; doth never return, nor is it consistent with the spirit of adoption. Yet happily it may be a question, if a convert brought in with much sweetness, and quietness of spirit, shall fall in some heinous sin, like the adultery and murther of David, have not greater vexation of spirit, than at his first conversion, but more supernatural.

But yet this must stand as a condemned error, which [1] Libertines do hold, That frequency or length of holy duties, or trouble of conscience for neglect thereof, are all signs of one under a covenant of works. And that which another [2] of that way, saith in a dangerous medicine for wounded souls. Where there is no law, (as there is none in, or over the justified soul) there is no transgression; and where there is no transgression, there is no trouble for sin, all trouble arising from the obligement of the law, which demandeth a satisfaction of the soul, for the breach of it, and such satisfaction as the soul knows it cannot give, and thereby remains unquiet; like a debtor that hath nothing to pay, and the law too, being naturally in the soul, as the apostle saith, the conscience accusing, or else excusing; it is no marvel, that such souls should be troubled for sin, and unpacified, the law having such a party, and engagement already within them; which holding an agreement with the law, in tables and letters of stone, must needs work strongly upon the spirits of such as are but faintly and weakly enlightened, and are not furnished with gospel enough to answer the indictments, the convictions, the terrors, the curses which the law brings. And a third, [3] And indeed, God's people (saith he) need more joys after sins, than after afflictions, because they are more cast [[@Page:38]] down by them; and therefore God useth sins, as means by which he leads in his joys into them in this world, and also in the world to come, their sins yield them great joys: indeed, in some respects, they shall joy most at the last day, who have sinned least; but in other respects, they have most joy, who have sinned most; (for sin they little or much they all shall enter into joy at last,) etc.

Now all this is but a turning of faith into wantonness; whereas faith, of all graces, moveth with lowest sails: for, faith is not a lofty, and crying, but a soft, moving, and humble grace; for then David being moved, and his heart smiting him at the renting of king Saul's garment, should be under a covenant of works, and so not a man according to God's own heart, for a smitten heart is a troubled soul. David, Abraham, Romans 4. And all the fathers under the law, were justified by the imputed righteousness of Christ apprehended by faith, as we are, Romans 4:23. Now it was not written for Abraham's sake only, that it was imputed to him; Romans 4:24. but for us also, etc. David ought not to have been troubled in soul for sin, for his sins were then pardoned; nor could the Spirit of the Lord so highly commend Josiah's heart-melting trouble at the reading and hearing of the law; nor Christ own the tears and soul-trouble of the woman, as coming from no other spring but much love to Christ, because many sins were pardoned, if this soul-trouble for sin had argued these to be under the law, and not in Christ; nor can it be said, that the saints of old were more under the law, than now under the gospel, in the sense we have now in hand; that is, that we are to be less troubled for sin than they, because our justification is more perfect, and the blood of Christ had less power to purge the conscience, and to satisfy the demands of the law before it was shed, than now when it is shed; or that more of the law was naturally in the hearts of David, Josiah, and the saints of old; and so, more naturally, unbelief must be in them, than in us, by nature, under gospel-manifestations of Christ.

[[@Page:34]]Indeed, the law was a severer pedagogue to awe the saints, than, in regard of the outward dispensation of ceremonies, and legal strictness; keeping men as malefactors in close prison, till Christ should come. But imputation of Christ's righteousness, and blessedness in the pardon of sin, and so freedom from soul-trouble for eternal wrath; and the law's demanding the conscience to pay, what debts none were able to pay, but the surety only, was one and the same to them, and to us; as Psalm 32:1, 2; compared with Romans 4:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; and Psalm 14; with Romans 3:9, 10,11, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20; and Genesis 17:9; 22:19; Deuteronomy 27:26; with Galatians 3:10, 11, 12, 13, 14; Hebrews 6:13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. Who dare say, that the believing Jews died under the curse of the law, Deuteronomy 27:26. For so they must perish eternally. Galatians 3:10. For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse: Then there must be none redeemed under the Old Testament, nor any justified, contrary to express Scriptures, Psalm 32:1, 2; Romans 4:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; Galatians 3:14; Acts 15:11; 11:16, 17; Romans 10:1, 2, 3. Now, Acts 15:11. We believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus, we shall be saved as well as they. And as they were blessed, in that their transgression was forgiven, and their sin covered, and that the Lord imputed no iniquity to them, Psalm 32:1, 2.. our blessedness is the same, Romans 4:6, 7, 8; and Christ, as he was made a curse for them, so for us; that, Galatians 3:14; the blessing of Abraham might come on us the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit, through faith: and God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law; for the Jews, who as heirs were under tutors, as we are under the moral law by nature, that we might be redeemed by him, That we, who are under the law, might receive the adoption of sons, Galatians 4:1, 2, 3, 4. And God gave the like gift to the Gentiles, that he gave to the Jews, even repentance unto life, Acts 11:16, 17. Then the law could crave them no harder than us; and they were no more justified by works, [[@Page:35]] than we are: Yea, following righteousness, they attained it not, because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law; for they stumbled at the stumbling stone laid in Zion, Romans 9:31, 32, 33. And they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God, Romans 10:1, 2, 3; and so came short of justification by grace; so do we. If then, to the justified Jews, There was no law, no transgression, and so no trouble for sin; all trouble of conscience arising from the obligement of the law; as it must be, because they were freed from the curse of the law, and justified in Jesus Christ, by his grace, as we are: then were they under no smiting of heart, nor wounding of conscience, more than we are; which is manifestly false in David, and in Josiah, and many of the saints under the Old Testament. Hence what was sinful and unbelieving soul-trouble for sin to them, must be sinful soul-trouble to us in the same kind. The law did urge the Jews harder than us, in regard to the Mosaical burden of ceremonies and bloody sacrifices, that pointed out their guiltiness, except they should flee to Christ; 2. In regard of God's dispensation of the severer punishing of law-transgression, and that with temporary punishments, and rewarding obedience with external prosperity: 3. In urging this doctrine more hardly upon the people, to cause them not rest on the letter of the law, but seek to the promised Messiah, in whom only was their righteousness; as young heirs and minors are kept under tutors, while their nonage expire: But, (1.) Who dare say, that the saints under the Old Testament, who lived and died in the case of remission of sins, of salvation, and of peace with God, Genesis 49:18; Psalm 37:37; 73:25; Proverbs 14:32; Isaiah 50:1, 2; Hebrews 11:13; Psalm 32:1, 2; Micah 7:18, 19; Isaiah 43:25; Jeremiah 50:20; Psalm 31:5; and were undoubtedly blessed in Christ, as we are, Psalm 119:1, 2; 65:4; 1:1, 2, 3; 144:14, 15; 146:5; Job 5:17; Psalm 84:4, 5; and died not under the curse of God, or were in capacity to be delivered [[@Page:36]] by Christ, after this life, from the wrath to come, and the curse of the law? (2.) That they were to trust to the merit of their own works, or seek righteousness in themselves, more than we? (3.) Or that they believed not, or that their faith was not counted to them for righteousness, as it is with us? Genesis 15:5, 6; Romans 4:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; Psalm 32:1, 2. (4.) Yea, they believing in the Messiah to come, were no more under the law, and the dominion of sin, than we are, Romans 6:6, 7, 8, 9; 7:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7; 8:1, 2; Micah 7:18, 19; Isaiah 43:25; Jeremiah 50:20; Psalm 32:1, 2; but under grace, and pardoned, and saved by faith, as we are, Hebrews 11:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13; Galatians 3:10, 13; Acts 11:16, 17; Romans 9:31, 32, 33. (5.) Yea, the law was no less a letter of condemnation to them, than to us, Romans 8:3; 10:3; Deuteronomy 27:26; Galatians 3:10, 13; 2 Corinthians 3:7, 8, 13, 14, 15. (6.) They drank of the same spiritual rock with us, and the rock was Christ, 1 Corinthians 10:1, 2, 3, 4; Hebrews 13:8; and were saved by grace, as well as we, Acts 15:11.

2. ‘Tis true, Josiah's tenderness of heart, David's smiting of heart, the woman's weeping, even to the washing of Christ's feet with tears, Peter's weeping bitterly for the denying of his Lord, as they were woundings, and gospel-affections, and commotions of love issuing from the spirit of adoption, of love, grace, and nothing but the turtle's love-sorrow; so it is most false, that they were no soul-trouble for sin, as if these had been freed from all the law of God, and these soul-commotions were not from any sense of the curse, or the law, or any demands of the law, to pay what justice may demand of the self-condemned sinner; yet were they acts of soul-trouble for sin, as sin: and it shall never follow, that the parties were under no transgression, and no law, because under no obligement to eternal wrath; for such an obligation to eternal wrath, is no chain which can tie the sons of adoption, who are washed, justified, pardoned; and yet if the justified and pardoned say, they have no sin, and so no reason to complain under their fetters, and [[@Page:37]] sigh as captives in prison, as Paul doth, Romans 7:24; nor cause to mourn for indwelling of sin, they are liars and strangers to their own heart, and do sleep in deep security; as if sin were so fully removed, both in guilt and blot, as if tears for sin as sin should argue the mourning party to be in the condition of those who weep in hell, or that they were no more obliged to weep; yea, by the contrary, to exercise no such affection, but joy, comfort, and perpetuated acts of solace and rejoicing; as if Christ had, in the threshold of glory, with his own hand, wiped all tears from their eyes already.

3. Nor see I any reason why any should affirm, That the law is naturally as a party in the soul, of the either regenerate and justified, or of those who are out of Christ. (1.) For the law's indwelling, as a party engaging, by accusing and condemning, is not naturally in any son of Adam; because there is a sleeping conscience, both dumb and silent naturally in the soul: and if there be any challenging and accusing in the Gentile conscience, Romans 2; as stirring is opposed to a silent and dumb conscience that speaketh nothing, so the law-accusing is not naturally in the soul; a spirit above nature (I do not mean the spirit of regeneration) must work with the law, else both the law and sin lie dead in the soul: the very law of nature lieth as a dead letter, and stirreth not, except some wind blow more or less on the soul, Romans 7:8, 9. (2.) That the law weakeneth any sinner, and maketh the drunken and mad sinner see himself in the sea, and sailing down the river to the chambers of death, that he may but be occasioned to cast an eye on shore, on Jesus Christ, and with a landing on Christ, is a mercy that no man can father on nature, or on himself. (3.) All sense of a sinful condition, to any purpose, is a work above nature; though it be not ever a fruit of regeneration. (4.) ‘Tis true, Christ teacheth a man's soul, through the shining of the gospel-light, to answer all the indictments of the law, in regard that Christ the ransomer stops the law's mouth with blood, else the sinner can [[@Page:38]] make but a poor and faint advocation for himself; yet this cannot be made in the conscience without some soul-trouble for sin. (5.) ‘Tis strange that God's people "need more joy after sin, than after affliction;" and that in "some respect, they have most joy, who have sinned most:" sure, this is accidental to sin, this joy is not for sin; but 'tis a joy of loving much, because much is forgiven. Forgiveness is an act of free grace, sin is no work of grace: sin grieves the heart of God, "as a friend's trouble is trouble to a friend:" the believer is made the friend of God, John 15:15; and it must be a cursed joy that lay in the womb of that which is most against the heart of Christ; such as all sin is. Yea to be more troubled in soul for sins, than for afflictions, smelleth of a heart that keep correspondence with the heart and bowels of Christ, who wept more for Jerusalem's sins than for his own afflictions and cross. As some ounces of everlasting wrath in the law, with a talent-weight of free gospel-mercy would be contempered together to cure the sinner; so is there no rational way to raise and heighten the price and worth of the soul-redeemer of sinners, and the weight of infinite love so much, as to make the sinner know how deep a hell he was plunged in, when the bone acheth exceedingly: for that the gospel tongue of the physician Christ should lick the rotten blood of the soul's wound, speaketh more than imaginable free love. Nor do we say, that gospel-mourning is wrought by the law's threatenings, then it were servile sorrow; but 'tis wrought by the doctrine of the law, discovering the foulness and sinfulness of sin, and by the doctrine of the gospel; the spirit of the gospel shining on both: otherwise, sounds, breathings, letters of either law or gospel, except the breathings of heaven shine on them, and animate them, can do no good.

Asser. 4. Sins of youth already pardoned, as touching the obligation to eternal wrath, may so rise against the child of God, as he hath need to ask the forgiveness of them, as touching the removing of present wrath, sense of the want of God's presence, of the influence [[@Page:39]] fluence of his love, the cloud of sadness and deadness, through the want of the joy of the Holy Ghost, and ancient consolations of the days of old. Psalm 90:7. "We are consumed in thy wrath, and by thy hot displeasure we are terrified." Psalm 90:8. "Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, and our secret sin in the light of thy face." This was not a motion of the flesh in Moses the man of God. Antinomians may so dream. "The fury of the Lord waxed hot against his people:" so saith the Spirit of God: nor is this conceit of theirs to be credited against the text that Moses speaketh in regard of the reprobate party: Moses, by immediate inspiration, doth not pray for the "beauty and glory of the Lord," in the sense of his love, to be manifested on a reprobate party. Antinomian preachers in our times confess sins in public, but 'tis the sins of the reprobate and carnal multitude, that are in the society mixed with the godly; they think it a work of the flesh to confess their own sins: this is to "steal the word of the Lord from his people." So David, Psalm 25:7. "Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions." The sins of his youth, as touching obligation to eternal wrath were pardoned, I question it not; but in regard, God was turned from him in the flamings of love, and his sins sealed up in a bag, in regard of innumerable evils that lay on him: he prayeth, Psalm 25:16. Turn thee unto me. Hebrews Set thy countenance on me. God's favour in the sense of it was turned away. And Psalm 25:18. "Look upon mine affliction and pain, and forgive all my sins;" the word Nasa with a point in the left side of Shin is to carry away. Ferome aufer, Take away all my sins, Isaiah 53:4. he carried, "or did bear as a burden, our iniquities." Vetablus, portavit. pagnin. parce, condona, "Spare or pardon all my sins:" Then sin here is pardoned only according to the present pain and grief of body and soul that was on David, Psalm 39:4. "For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me." We have no reason to believe that David thought himself already a condemned man, and now in hell, tho' some sparks [[@Page:40]] of hell's wrath and fire, not in any sort as satisfactory to divine justice, or as a fruit of God's hatred and enmity, can fall on the children of God; yet 'tis not imaginary, but real anger. God was really angry with "Moses at the waters of strife." The thing that David did against "Uriah displeased the Lord;" not in David's opinion only. And though the hell for a time in the soul of God's children, and the hell of the reprobate, differ in essence and nature, in that the hell of the reprobate is a satisfactory pain, 2. And that it floweth from the hatred of God; but the hell of the godly not so: yet, in this materially they are of the same size; that the one as well as the other, are coals and flames of the same furnace; and neither are imaginary. Then again, sins of youth long ago pardoned, though sometimes dearly beloved, are like the ghost of a dear friend some years ago dead and buried, that re-appeareth to a man, as dead Samuel did to Saul; look how loving and dear they were when alive, they are now as terrible and dreadful, when they appear to us living out from the land of death; so are sins of youth, when they rise from the dead, and were pardoned in Christ long ago; they appear again to David and Job, and the saints with the vail and mask or hue of hell, and sealed with temporary wrath. Psalm 99:8. "Thou wast a God that pardonest, or forgavest them, though thou tookest vengeance of their inventions." The same word Nakum is given to God, when he taketh vengeance on his enemies, Numbers 31:2; Isaiah 1:24. "I will be avenged of mine enemies." 2 Kings 9:7. "That I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets. So is the word Nakum vengeance used Deuteronomy 32:43. He will render vengeance to his adversaries. And if one and the same temporary judgment in the two thieves that were crucified with Christ, be so differenced, that mercy is stamped on the same death to the one, and wrath to the other; we may well say, there is a temporary vengeance and wrath, that befalleth both the saints and the reprobate in this life; and the difference is in the mind and intention of God, in both.

[[@Page:41]]And that God pardoneth sin, when he removeth temporary wrath; so 2 Samuel 12:13. Nathan saith to David, The Lord also hath caused thy sin to pass away, Why? Thou shalt not die. This is meant of temporal death especially; as the context cleareth, 2 Samuel 5:10. The sword shall not depart from thine house; and 2 Samuel 5:14. The child born to thee shall surely die. Then the Lord's putting away of David's sin, was in loosing him from the sword, in his own person, not in his house and children; for by proportion of divine justice, (tho' tempered with mercy) the sword was punished with the sword. I do not exclude relaxation from eternal punishment, but remission going for relaxation of punishment. Then, as there be two sorts of punishments, one temporary, and another the eternal wrath to come; so there are in scripture two sorts of remissions, one from the temporary, another from eternal punishment. Therefore sin is put for punishment, Genesis 4:13. Mine iniquity (saith Cain) is more than I can bear; or, My punishment is more than I can bear. Leviticus 24:15. He that curseth his God shall bear his sin, Ezekiel 23:49. And ye shall bear the sins of your idols. Numbers 9:13. The man that is clean — and forbiddeth to eat the passover — that man shall bear his sin. So when God layeth sin to the charge of the sinner, in punishing it he is said to lay a burden on the sinner, 2 Kings 9:25. And to remove this burden is to pardon the sin, 2 Chronicles 7:14. If my people humble themselves, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land; by removing the locusts and the pestilence. See, the pardoning of their sin is exponed to be the removing of the locusts and pestilence. And to call sins to remembrance, is to punish sin: the Shunamite saith, 1 Kings 17:18. Art thou come to me (O man of God) to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? Job complaineth, Job 13:26. Thou makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth. Now, though out of unbelief he might apprehend, that he was cast off of God, and a man rejected of God, and that his sins were never pardoned, and he himself never delivered [[@Page:42]] livered from the wrath to come; these legal thoughts might keep Job in a distance from God, to his own sinful apprehension; yet it shall be impossible to prove, that Job in all these complaints had no other but a mere legal esteem of God's dispensation; and that, 2. God stamped not temporary wrath, and the pain of a hidden and overclouded God, the subtraction of the sense of divine manifestations of love, (the Lord standing behind the wall) in all these afflictions. Now 'tis known, that, as these are often trials of the faith of the saints, yet they are four fruits of our fleshly indulgence to our carnal delights, and of our not opening to our beloved, when he knocketh, Solomon’s Song 5:2, 3, 4, 5, 6. And though the godly do stedfastly believe their salvation is in a castle, above losing; yet in reason, sin bringing broken bones, Psalm 51:10; a sad cloud, the damming up of a spring of Christ's love spread abroad in the heart, a temporary hell in the soul, it must be sorrowed for, hated, mourned for, confessed; and yet in all these there is no necessity of such a law-spirit of bondage to work these, nor is faith in any sort diminished, but put to a farther exercise. And the same sad fruits follow from the sins of the saints under the New Testament, as may be cleared from Revelation 2:5, 16, 22; 3:3, 17, 18; 2 Corinthians 1:8, 9, 10; 2:7; 7:5, 6, 7; Revelation 3:20; John 14:1. Nor can we think, that the strictness of the law gave those under the law an indulgence not to be a whit troubled in soul for sin, as it overclouded the influence and flowings of divine love, suppose they had assurance and freedom from the wrath to come, as is evident in the spouse, Solomon’s Song 5:1,2, 3, 4, 5, 6; 2:16,17; 4:7. Nor is it true, that gospel-grace and liberty entitleth the saints now to such wantonness of peace, as that persons fully assured of deliverance from the curse of the law, are never to be troubled for sins committed in the state of free justification; nor are they any more to mourn, nor groan under sin's captivity, nor to confess sin, in regard that Christ's blood hath washed soul, and eyes, and faces from all [[@Page:43]] tears; and the salvation of the saints in this life is not in hope only, as wheat in the blade, but actual, as in the life to come; and therefore, "Holy walking and good works can no more be means or the way to the kingdom, (as M. Towne and other Antinomians say.) than motion within the city, can be a way to the city, in regard the man is now in the city, before he walk at all."

Asser. 5. If Jesus Christ had soul-trouble,
because of divine wrath, for our sin, and was put to
a sweat of blood, God roasting Christ quick in a
furnace of divine justice, tho' every blobe of sweat
in the garden was a sea of free grace, not his eyes
only, but his face and body did sweat out of free
love from his soul, Luke 22:44; Hebrews 5:7. What
must soul-trouble be in a fired conscience? ‘Tis no
wonder that wicked men wrestling with everlasting
vengeance, cannot endure it. The devil's
predominant sin being blasphemous despair, he
tempts most to his own predominant sin; the issue
and final intent of all his temptations is despair:
because devils are living and swimming in the
sphere and element of justice, they cannot bear it;
they cry to Christ, the whole company and family
making the despiting of Christ a common cause, Art
thou come hither , to torment us before the time? Matthew 8:29; Proverbs 18:14. The spirit of a man will bear his infirmity, the spirit is the finest metal in the man; but a wounded spirit who can bear that? So the Hebrew readeth. Any thing may be borne; but break the man's soul, and break the choicest piece in the soul, the conscience, who can then stand? As conscience is the sweetest bosom-friend of man, so it is the sorest enemy. David is persecuted by his prince, and he beareth it; Jeremiah is cast in the dungeon by the rulers, priests and prophets, and he overcometh it; Job is persecuted by his friends, and he standeth under it; Christ is betrayed and killed by his own servants and kinsmen, and he endureth it; the apostles are killed, scourged and imprisoned by the Jews, and they rejoice in it: but Judas is but once hunted by the fury of hell in his breast, and he leaps overboard, into a sea of infinite [[@Page:44]] finite wrath: Cain, Saul, Ahitophel, cannot endure it: Spira roareth as a bear, and crieth out, O that I were above God; tho' we may hope well of his eternal state. Nero, after, to his other bloods, he had killed his mother, Agrippina, he could not sleep, he did often leap out of the bed, and was terrified with the visions of hell. Eternity, the resurrection, and the judgment to come, are virtually in the conscience. 2. What is fear? A tormenting passion. To hang a living man by an untwisted thread, over a river of unmixed pure vengeance; and let the thread be wearing weaker and weaker, what horror and paleness of darkness must be on the soul? 3. What sorrow and sadness, when there is not a shadow of comfort? But 4. Positive despair, rancour, and malice against the holy majesty of God; when the soul shall wish, and die of burning desire, to be above and beyond the spotless essence of the infinite majesty of God; and shall burn in a fire of wrath against the very existence of God, and blaspheme the Holy One of Israel, without date. Job saith of such, (Job 27:20.) in this life, terrors take hold of him as waters, and a tempest stealeth him away in the night.

But consider what it is to the saints; Job complaineth, Job 14:16. Doest thou watch over my sin? Job 14:17. My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity. Vatabl. "Thou appearest to be a watchful observer of mine iniquity," and addest (as Ari. Monta.) "Punishment to punishment, sewing sin to sin, to make the bag greater than it is. Now, tho' there be a misjudging unbelief in the saints, yet it is certain, that God doth inflict penal desertions, as real pieces of hell, on the souls of his children, either for trial, as in Job; or punishment of sin, as in David; whose bones were broken for his adultery and murder, Psalm 51:10. and whose moisture of body was turned into the drought of summer, through the anger of God in his soul, till the Lord brought him to the acknowledgment of his sin, and pardoned him, Psalm 32:3, 4, 5, 6. But some will say, can the Lord inflict spiritual punishment, or any of hell, or [[@Page:45]] the least coal of that black furnace upon the souls of his own children? to which I answer, it is but curiosity to dispute, whether the pains of hell, and the flames and sparkles of real wrath, which I can prove to be really inflicted on the souls of the saints in this life, be penalties spiritual, different in nature. Certain there be three characters sealed and engraven on the pains of the damned, which are not on the real soul-punishments of divine wrath on the souls of the saints; as, 1. What pieces of hell, or broken chips of wrath, are set upon the souls of deserted saints, are honied and dipped in heaven, and sugared with eternal love. God's heart is toward Ephraim as his dear child, and his bowels turned within for their misery, even when he speaks against them; Jeremiah 31:20, 21. But the coals of the furnace cast upon reprobates, are dipt in the curse of God; yea, so as in a small affliction, even in the miscarrying of a basket of bread, and the loss of one poor ox, there is a great law-curse, and intolerable vengeance, Deuteronomy 27:26; 28:17, 31. And again, in the in-breaking of a sea and flood of hell in the soul of the child of God, a rich heaven of a divine presence, Psalm 22:1, 8, 9; 18:4, 5, 6. (2.) The hellish pains inflicted on reprobates, are law-demands of satisfactory vengeance, and payment to pure justice; but fire-flashes, or flamings of hell on the deserted saints, are medicinal, or exploratory corrections; tho' relative to justice and punishments of sin, yet is that justice mixed with mercy, and exacteth no law-payment in those afflictions. (3.) Despair, and blasphemous expostulating and quarrelling divine justice, are the inseparable attendants of the flames and lashings of wrath in reprobates; in the godly there is a clearing of justice, a submission to God, and a silent psalm of the praise of the glory of his justice, in this temporary hell, no less than there is a new song of the praise of free grace in the eternal glory of the saints, perfected with the Lamb.

Nor should this seem strange, that God punisheth the sins of his children with such spiritual plagues of [[@Page:46]] unbelief, and jealousies, and lying misjudgings of God in their sad desertions, more than that the Lord punish the lifted-up heart of Hezekiah, with leaving him to fall on his own weight; and David's idleness and security, with letting him fall in adultery; and Peter's self-confidence, with the soul denying of his Lord. But 'tis a sad dispensation, when God cleaveth a saint with a wedge of his own timber; and linketh one sinful misjudging of God, in his fever of soul-desertion, to another: and justice seweth (in a permissive Providence) one sin to another, to lengthen the chain, if free grace, a link of gold, did not put a period to the progress thereof. Now, we are not to look at this as an ordinary calamity; Job's expressions are very full, Job 6:4. For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me. An arrow is a deadly weapon when it is shot by a man, or by an angel: but it is soft as oil in comparison of the arrow of the Almighty. 1. It is the arrow of [Schaddai] the almighty did frame and mould, and whet it in heaven. 2. The arrow was dipt in poison, and hath art from hell and divine justice. One devil is stronger than an host of men; but legions of devils are mighty strong, when such archers of hell are sent to shoot arrows that are poisoned with the curse and bloody indignation of heaven. 3. What a sad stroke must it be, when the arms of omnipotency draweth the bow? The arms of God can shog the mountains and make them tremble, and can move the foundation of the earth out of its place, and take the globe of heaven and earth, and can cast it out of its place, more easily than a man casts a slung-stone out of his hand. When he putteth forth the strength of omnipotency against the creature, what can the man do? 4. Every arrow is not a drinking arrow, the arrows of divine wrath drink blood: suppose a thousand horse-leeches were set on a poor naked man, to drink blood at every part of his body, and let them have power and art to [[@Page:47]] suck out the marrow, the oil, and sap of life, out of bones and joints; say also, that one man had in his veins a little sea of blood, and that they were of more than ordinary thirst and power to drink the corpse of the living man, as dry as straws or flax: what a pain would this be? Yea, but it were tolerable. 5. Arrows can but drink blood; arrows are shot against the body, the worst they can do, is to drink life out of liver and heart, and to pierce the strongest bones; but the arrows of the Almighty, are shot against spirits and souls: the spirit is a fine, subtile, immortal thing. Isaiah 31:3. The horses of Egypt, are flesh, and not spirit: the spirit is a more godlike nature, than any thing created of God. The Almighty's arrows kill spirits, and souls: there's an arrow that can pierce flesh, joints, liver, heart, bones, yea, but through the soul also: Never an archer can shoot an arrow at the soul; but this the Almighty can do. Say, your arrow killed the man, yet the soul is saved. 6. Many love not their life to death, as the witnesses of Jesus: death, as death, is clothed with apprehensions of terror; no man is wretched, actu secundo, within and without, but he that believeth himself to be so; here are terrors, felt-terrors: Jeremiah could prophecy no harder thing against Pashur, The Lord (saith he) hath not called thy name Pashur, but Magor-missabib, Jeremiah 20:3. Thou shalt be a terror to thyself. Compare this with other pains: Job would rather chuse strangling, or the dark grave; and the grave to nature, is a sad, a black and dreadful house; but a believer may get beyond the grave. What do the glorified spirits fear a grave now? Or are they afraid of a coffin, and a winding sheet, or of lodging with the worms and corruption? Or, is burning quick a terror to them? No, not any of these can run after, or overtake them, and they know that. But felt-terrors are a hell carried about with the man in his bosom, he cannot run from them. Oh! he lieth down, and hell beddeth with him; he sleepeth, and hell and he dream together; he riseth, and hell goeth to the fields with him, he goes to his garden, there [[@Page:48]] is hell. It is observable, a garden is a paradise by art; and Christ was as deep in agony and wrestlings of hell for our sin, in a garden, a place of pleasure, as on the cross, a place of torment. The man goes to his table, O he dare not eat! he hath no right to the creature; to eat is sin, and hell; so hell is in every dish: to live is sin; he would fain chuse strangling; every act of breathing is sin and hell. He goes to church; there is a dog as great as a mountain before his eye: here be terrors! but what, one or two terrors are not much, tho' too much to a soul spoiled of all comfort. 7. The terrors of God (God is always in this sad play) do set themselves in battle array against me. Or, Job 16:13. His archers compassed me about round. Hebrews His great ones; or, his bow-men (because they are many, or, because the great ones did fight afar off) have besieged me. So, 2 Chronicles 17:9; 1 Samuel 7:16. Samuel went in a circuit to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh. And Joshua 6:3. Ye shall besiege Jericho. The wrath of God, and an army of terrors, blocked up poor Job, and stormed him. Now, here be these sore pressures on the soul. 1. The poor man cannot look out to any creature-comfort, or creature-help. Say, that an angel from heaven would stand for him, or a good conscience would plead comfort to him, it should solace him; but the man cannot look out, nor can he look up, Psalm xl. 12. The enmity of God is a sad thing. 2. A battle array is not of one man, but of many enemies: say the man had one soul, it should be his enemy; and that he had a hundred souls, he should have a hundred enemies; but as many millions of thoughts, as in his wearisome nights escape him, he has as many enemies; yea, as many creatures, as many stones of the field, as many beasts, so many enemies, Job. 5:23; Hosea 2:8. Christ gave to the Father propositions of peace, and to the poor soul under sense of wrath, they are nothing: the fear of hell is a part of real hell to the man who knows no other thing, but that he is not reconciled to God. Creatures behind him, and before him, heaven above, and earth below, and [[@Page:49]] creatures on every side, within and without, stand with the weapons of heaven, and of an angry God against him; friends, wife, servants, acquaintance have something of wrath and hell on them; the man in his own thought is an out-law to them all; and the leader of all these archers is God. God, God is the chief party. See Job 19:12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. And there you see, brethren, acquaintance, kinsfolk, familiar friends, man-servant, maidservant, wife, young children, bone, skin, flesh, are all to Job as coals of the fire of hell. And Isaiah 8:21, 22. Men in this shall curse their king and their God.

Asser. 6. These being materially the same soul-troubles of deserted and tempted saints, and of plagued and cursed reprobates, do differ formally and essentially according to God's heart, his dispensation and intentions, his mercy and his justice regulating them: so I shall speak of the difference between Christ's troubled soul, and the saint's trouble. 2. Of some ways of God's dispensation, in the soul-trouble of the saints. Touching the former; there was in Christ's soul-trouble, 1. No misjudging of God; but in a strong faith, in that he still named God his Father, and God. 2. In that as this trouble came to a height, and more fuel was added to the fire of divine wrath, Luke 22:44; he prayed with more extension of body and spirit; he extended himself in fervour of praying. And, Hebrews 5:7. He offered prayers, and humble supplications of the poor, or oppressed, that make their address to one who can help them: he put into God an humble petition, and a bill to his Father, as an overwhelmed man, and he offered this bill,

with an hideous cry and tears. Revelation 14:18. The angel cried with a loud voice. To cry with a full and lifted up voice, or with a shout; so is the verb used, John 18:40. When men cry, and cast away their clothes, and cast dust in the air. 3. His soul-trouble and death was satisfactory to divine justice, for our sins; he being free of sin himself: which can agree to no soul-trouble of the holiest [[@Page:50]] saint on earth. But touching the second: these positions may speak somewhat, to clear the way of the soul-trouble of saints.

Position. Conscience, being a mass of knowledge, and if there be any oil to give light, 'tis here; 'tis then likest itself, when it most bears witness of well and ill-doing. Now, we are more in sinning than obeying God; and because of the corruption of nature, the number of natural consciences that are awake to see sin, are but very few. And when the renewed conscience is on the work of feeling and discerning guiltiness in its best temper, the more life, the more sense: sick ones in a swoon, or dying persons that do neither hear, see, nor speak, are half-gate amongst the dead. The conscience sick of over-feeling, and so under over-sense of sin, is in so far in a fever: for often a fever is from the exsuperancy of too much blood, and rankness of humours, the vessels being too full; and therefore 'tis like a river that cannot chuse but go over banks, the channel being a vessel too narrow to contain it all.

Pos. Therefore often the time of some extreme desertion and soul-trouble is, when Christ hath been in the soul with a full high spring-tide of divine manifestations of himself. And if we consider the efficient cause of desertion, which is God's wise dispensation: when Paul hath been in the third heaven, on an hyperbole, a great excess of revelations, God thinketh then good to exercise him with a messenger of Satan; which by the weakness and spiritual infirmity he was under, wanted not a desertion, less or more, whatever the messenger was; as it seems to be fleshly lust, after a spiritual vision. Paul was ready to think himself an angel, not flesh and blood; and therefore, 2 Corinthians 12:7; he saith twice in one verse, This befell me, That I should not be lifted up above ordinary comets, up among the stars. But if we consider the material cause, it may be, that extreme and high overflowing of Christ's love break our weak and narrow vessels: Solomon’s Song 5:1; there is a rich and [[@Page:51]] dainty feast of Christ, I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse, I have gathered my myrrh with my spices, I have eaten my honey-comb with my honey, I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, 0 friends, drink, yea, drink abundantly, 0 Beloved. Yet in that song, the Spirit of God speaketh of a sad desertion in the next words, I sleep, but mine heart waketh: It is the voice of my Beloved that knocketh, etc. There is not only impiety, but want of humanity, that the church had rather that wearied Jesus Christ should fall down and die in the streets, in a rainy and snowy night, when his locks were wet with rain, than that he should come in and lodge in the soul. And let us not think that the thread and tract of the scripture's coherence, one verse following on another, as the Spirit of God hath ordered them, is but a cast of chance or an human thing: when the spouse rideth on the high places of Jacob, and saith, Isaiah 49:13. Sing, O heavens, and be joyful, O earth, and break forth into singing, O mountains: for God hath comforted his people, and will have mercy on his afflicted. Yet this was nothing to the afflicted people; Isaiah 49:14. But Sion said, the Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. When the Lord's disciples, Matthew 17; are in the sweetest life that ever they were in, at the transfiguration of Christ, when they saw his glory, and Peter said, Master, it is good for us to be here, even then, they must appear to be weak men; and Christ must forbid and rebuke their faithless fear, Matthew 17:6. They fell on their faces, and were sore afraid. I leave it to the experience of the godly, if Jeremiah his singing praise in one verse, Jeremiah 20:13. and his cursing the day that he was born on, in the next verse, Jeremiah 20:14; the order of scripture being of divine inspiration, do not speak God's dispensation in this to be such, as to allay and temper the sweetness of the consolation of a feast of God's high manifestation, with a sad desertion. So John his glorious soul-ravishing comforts, in seeing the seven golden candlesticks, and the Son of Man in such glory and majesty, Revelation 1:12, 13, 14, 15. Yet it appears to be a desertion that he [[@Page:52]] is under, when Christ forbiddeth him to fear, and when he must have the hand of Christ laid on his head, and when he falleth down at Christ's feet as dead. Revelation 1:17, 18. And when Isaiah saw the glorious vision, Revelation 6. The Lord sitting on his throne high and lifted up; it must be a throne higher than the heaven of heavens, that he sitteth on, and his train filling the temple. ‘Tis a desertion that he falleth in, Revelation 6:5. Then said I, woe is me, for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts; he was a pardoned man before. ‘Tis so with us, while the body of sin dwelleth in us, that we cannot, being old bottles, bear new wine; and therefore the fulness of God, breaketh crazy lumps of sinful flesh and blood: as a full tide is preparatory to a low ebbing; and full vessels in the body, to a fever. Would Christ, in his fulness of the irradiations of glory, break in upon us; he should break the bodily organs, and over-master the soul's faculties, that all the banks of the soul should be like broken walls, hedges, or clay channels; which the inundation of a river has demolished, and carried away from the bottom. Flesh and blood is not in a capacity of over-joy, and can hold but little of heaven, no more than earth could bear such a glorious creature as the sun: we must be both more capacious, and wider, and stronger vessels, before we be made fit to contain glory; we are leaking and running out vessels, to contain grace. Manifestations, and rays of divine love are too strong wine that grew up in the higher Canaan, for our weak heads.

Asser. 3. Desertion cometh under these considerations: 1. As 'tis a cross, and a punishment of sin; 2. As a trial from mere divine dispensation: 3. As 'tis a sin on our part, full of sinful misrepresentations of Christ.

In the first consideration, we are to submit to any penal overclouding of Christ: 1. Because the eye cannot water to look on any cross of Christ, where faith's aspect [[@Page:53]] pect goeth before, and faith, Though I sit in darkness, yet I shall see light. 2. There is required a sort of patience under sin, as 'tis either a punishment of another sin, as David was submissive to the sinful railing of Shimei, and the wicked treasons, and incestuous pollutions of his concubines, by his son Absalom: or as sin dwelleth in us, and in divine dispensation must be our cross, as well as our sin; we are to be grieved at our sins, as they cross God's holy will: but as they are our own crosses, and thwart our own desires, and now are committed by us, or dwell in us, we are not to bite at, and utter heart-railings against divine providence, who might have prevented, and efficaciously hindered these sins; and yet did not hinder them. 6. This dispensation should be adored, as a part of divine wisdom; that broken souls are not wholly cured, till they be in heaven. Sin is a disunion from God: Jesus doth not so completely solder the soul to God, but the seam hath holes and gapings in it, by reason of the indwellings of sin, Romans 7:17, 18, 19, 22, 23. And since Libertines will confound justification with regeneration, we say, their justification we speak of, is never perfected in this life. And because sin, as sin, which remaineth in our flesh, must make God and the soul at a distance, there cannot be such perfect peace as excludeth all soul-trouble; the blue fear of the wound remaineth so, and the dregs of that domestic falling-ill, that we have of our first house of Adam, are so feared in us, that as some diseases recur, and some pain of the head, when an east wind bloweth; so the disease we have in our head, the first Adam, sticketh to us all our life; and when temptations blow, we find the relics of our disease working, and foaming out the smell of the lees, and scent that remaineth. Christ has need to perfume our ill odours, with his merits; for our begun sanctification is so imperfect, as that yet our water smells of the rotten vessel, the flesh; and we cannot but have our ill hours, and our sick days, and so a disposition to sinful desertions. 4. Unbelief naturally stocked in the body of sin, is humorous and ill-minded [[@Page:54]] minded to Christ: there is a liar in our house, and a slanderer of Christ, that upon light occasions can raise an ill fame of Christ, That he is a hard man, and gathers where he did not sow: that Christ is nice and dainty of his love; that he is too fine, too excellent and majestic to condescend to love me: and take this as the mother-seed of all sinful desertions, to blame Christ's sweet inclination to love us, as well as his love. I knew thou wast a hard man; 'tis dangerous to have ill thoughts of Christ's nature, his constitution, actu primo. The next will be to censure his ways, his sowing, and his gathering; which I take to be the current objection of old Pelagians, and late Arminius. O! he must gather where he did never sow, if he command all to believe under the pain of damnation, and yet he judicially, in Adam, removed all power of believing: so he putteth out the poor man's eyes, and cutteth off his two legs, and commanded him to see with no eyes, and walk with no legs, under pain of damnation. Men believe not they hate Christ by nature; and hatred hath an eye to see no colour in Christ, but blackness; as the instance of the Pharisees doth clear; who saw but devilry in the fairest works of Christ, even in his casting out of devils.

Asser. 4. Desertions, on the Lord's part, are so often mere trials, as we may not think they are greatest sinners who are most deserted. Desertion smelleth more of heaven, and of Christ deserted for our sins, than of any other thing; 'tis the disease that follows the royal seed, and the king's blood; 'tis incident to the most heavenly spirits, Moses, David, Heman, Asaph, Hezekiah, Job, Jeremiah, the church, Psalm 102; Lamentation 1; 2:3, 4. it is ore that adhereth to the choicest gold. But how is it, say some, that you read of so little soul-desertion in the apostles, and believers under the New Testament, and so much of it under the Old Testament? Is it not, because it belongeth to the law and the covenant of works, and to the spirit of the Old Testament, and nothing to the gospel of grace? So Antinomians dream. I answer, We read [[@Page:55]] indeed of heavier and stronger external pressures laid on men, to chace them to Christ under the law, than under the gospel: because the gospel speaketh of curses and judgment in the by; and the law more kindly, and more frequently, because of our disobedience; and of the preparing of an infant-church, under non-age, for Christ. But tho' the gospel speak less of God's severity in external judgments, as in killing so many thousands, for looking into the ark, for idolatry; yet the apostle saith, that these things were not merely pedagogical, and Jewish; so as, because the like are not written in the New Testament, it followeth not, they belong not to us: for (saith he) 1 Corinthians 10:6. Now these things were our examples. 1 Corinthians 10:11. Now all these things happened unto them for examples, and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Ergo, The like for the like sins, do, and may befal men under the gospel. Moreover, never greater plagues were threatened than by Christ's own mouth; never wrath to the full came upon any, in such a measure, as upon the city of Jerusalem, and the people of the Jews, for killing the Lord of Glory. And tho' no such desertions be read of in the apostles, as of Job, (who was not a Jew, and yet more deserted than David, Heman, or any prophet) Hezekiah, the church, Lamentations 2; 3; yet we are not hence to believe, that there were never such desertions under the New Testament: for as external judgments, so internal soul-trials, are common to both the saints under the Old and New Testament; as is evident in Paul, 2 Corinthians 1:8, 9; 5:11; 7:4, 5, 6; 1 Peter 1:6, 7. And as both were frequent under the Old Testament, so were they written for our learning. And if it were to the Jews merely pedagogical, to have terrors without, and fears within, and to be pressed out of measure; or to afflict their souls for sin, were a work of the law; then to be afflicted in conscience, were a denying that Christ is come in the flesh, and simply unlawful: whereas the Lord's absence is a punishment of the church's not opening to Christ, Solomon’s Song 5:4, 5, 6. and God's act [[@Page:56]] of withdrawing his lovely presence, is an act of mere free dispensation in God, not our sin. For this would be well considered, that the Lord's active desertion, in either not co-operating with us when we are tempted, or, 2. His not calling, or the suspending of his active pulsation and knocking at the door of our soul, or, 3. The not returning of a present comfortable answer, or, 4. The withdrawing of his shining manifestations, his comforts, and the sense of the presence of Jesus Christ, cannot be formally our sins: indeed, our unbelief, our sinning, which resulteth from the Lord's non-co-operating with us, when we are tempted, our misjudging of Christ, (as if it were a fault to him to stand behind the wall) which are in our desertions passive, are sins.

Asser. 5. Saddest desertions are more incident to the godly, than to the wicked and natural men; as some moth is most ordinary in excellent timber, and a worm rather in a fair rose than in a thorn or thistle. And sure, tho' unbelief, fears, doubtings, be more proper to natural men, than to the saints; yet unregenerate men are not capable of sinful jealousies of Christ's love, nor of this unbelief, which is incident to the desertion we now speak of; even as marriage jealously falleth not on the heart of a whore, but of a lawful spouse. 2. According to the measure and nature of love, so is the jealousy, and heart suspicions for the want of the love, whence the jealousy is occasioned: the soul which never felt the love of Christ, can never be troubled, nor jealousy displeased for the want of that love. And because Christ had the love of God in another measure, possibly of another nature, than any mortal man; his soul-trouble, for the want of the sense and actual influence of that love, must be more, and of a higher, and it may be of another nature, than can fall within the compass of our thoughts: never man in his imagination, except the man Christ, could weigh, or take a lift of the burden of Christ's soul-trouble; the lightest corner or bit of Christ's satisfactory cross, should be too heavy for the shoulders of angels or men. You may [[@Page:57]] then know how easy it is for many to stand on the shore, and censure David in the sea; and what an oven, and how hot a fire must cause the moisture of his body turn the drought of summer. The angels, John 20; have but a theory and the hearsay of a stander-by, when they say, Woman, why weepest thou? She had slept little that night, and was up by the first glimmering of the dawning, and sought her Saviour with tears, and an heavy heart, and found nothing but an empty grave; O they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And the daughters of Jerusalem stood but at the sick spouse's bed-side, and not so near when she complains, I am sick of love. To one, whose wanton reason denied the fire to be hot, another said, put your finger in the fire, and try if it be hot. Some have said, all this soul-trouble is but melancholy and imagination: would you try whether the body of an healthy and vigorous man, turned as dry as chaff, or a withered half-burnt stick, through soul-pain, be a cold fire, or an imagination: and what physic one of the smallest beams of the irradiation of Christ's smiling countenance is to such a soul; you would not speak so.

Asser. 6. Why some of the saints are carried to Abraham's bosom, and to heaven in Christ's bosom, and for the most, feast upon sweet manifestations all the way, and others are oftener in the hell of soul-trouble, than in any other condition, is amongst the depths of holy sovereignty. (1.) Some feed on honey, and are carried in Christ's bosom to heaven; others are so quailed, and kept under water, in the floods of wrath, that their first smile of joy is when the one foot is on the shore, and when the morning of eternity's sun dawns in at the window of the soul. Some sing, and live on sense all the way; others sigh, and go in at heaven's gates weeping, and Christ's first kiss of glory dries the tears off their face. (2.) Christ walks in a path of unsearchable liberty, that some are in the suburbs of heaven, and feel the smell of the dainties of the king's higher [[@Page:58]] house, ere they be in heaven; and others, children of the same Father, passengers in the same journey, wade through hell, darkness of fears, thorns of doubtings, have few love-tokens, till the marriage-day. (3.) There be not two sundry ways to heaven; but there are (I doubt not) in the latitude of sovereignty, hundreds of various dispensations of God, in the same way. Jerusalem is a great city, and hath twelve, and many ports, and angles and sides to enter at; but Christ is the only way: he keeps in all, and brings in all; he keeps in angels that never come out, he brings in his many children to glory. But some go to heaven, and till the twelfth hour know nothing of sin, death, God, Christ, heaven and hell. Grace took a short cut, and a compendious way with the repenting thief. Christ can not only run, but fly post with some in few hours to heaven: grace hath eagles' wings to some; and some wrestle with hell, fight with beasts, make war with lusts, and are dipt in and out, as the oars in the river, in floods of wrath from their youth, and a long time. Caleb and Joshua for two generations were in the journey to Canaan; many thousands not born when they entered the journey, yea, new generations arose, and entered into that good land with them, and were there as soon as they.

Asser. 7. In consideration of desertions, as actively they come from God, and passively they are received in us, and consecutively, or by abused resultance are our sins, they have sundry and divers causes.

1. Sorrow for the withdrawing sense and influence of Christ's love, as formally a desertion passive in us, is not sinful; except sorrow, which is a luxuriant and too indulgent passion, exceed measure. For, 1. ‘Tis a mark of a soul that liveth and breatheth much on Christ's love: now, if love be the life of some, it must be continued in sense, or some fruition of love, less or more. Now, as the irradiation of the sun's beams and light in the air yesterday, or the last year, cannot enlighten the air and earth this day; and the meat I did eat a year ago, the sleep I slept the last month, cannot [[@Page:59]] feed and refresh me now, but there must be a new application of new food, and new sleep: so the irradiation of the manifested love of Christ in the years of old, must go along with us; tho' as experiences of old favours, they may set faith on foot again, when it is fallen; yet the soul that liveth by fruition of divine love, must have a continuated influence of that love: and to live on divine love, of itself, can be no sin. O 'tis a life liable to many clouds, overcastings of sadness and jealousies, that lives on the manifestations of Christ's love: 'tis sweet and comfortable, but has mixtures of hardest trials; for such set on no duties comfortably, without hire in hand, as it were; when Christ's love-letter from heaven miscarries, and is intercepted, the soul swoons: 'tis surer to live by faith.

2. To murmur, and impatiently to sorrow, as if God had forgotten to be merciful, is sinful sorrow; 1. Because the object of it is materially blasphemous: the strength of Israel cannot lie, nor repent; nor can any change fall on him. 2. ‘Tis most unjust to complain and quarrel with him, who hath jus, right, law, full and unconstrained liberty to do with his own what he pleaseth; but the heavenly irradiations and outshinings of Christ's love, and the influence of his free grace, are all his own, and most free; for if the seaman have no just cause to quarrel with God, because the wind bloweth out of the east, when he desireth it may blow out of the west; and the husbandman cannot in reason plead mal-government in the Almighty, because he restrains the clouds, and bindeth up the womb of heaven, in extreme drought, when he crieth for rain and dew to his withered earth and meadows, and valleys; so neither is there any just pleading (a sinless desire of the contrary is a far other thing) with the Lord, because he bindeth up the bowels of Christ from outing his love, or restraineth the winds and breathings of the Spirit from blowing. 3. We may desire the wind of the Lord to blow, because it is an act of free grace in him so to do; but to contend with the Lord, because he will not act himself in works of [[@Page:60]] free grace, at our pleasure, is to complain that grace is grace; for if grace were obnoxious, in all its sweet spirations and motions, to my will, or to your desires, it should not be grace, but a work of my hiring and sweating. 4. This sorrowing must accuse the free, holy, and innocent love of Christ, as if his love were proud, nice, humorous, high, passionate; whereas infinite freedom, infinite majesty, and loveliness and meekness of tenderest love, do all three concur admirably in Jesus Christ. Love cannot be hired, Solomon’s Song 8:7. If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned. And for the strength of tenderness of love, the same place pleadeth; Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it. And Paul asserteth, Ephesians 3:18. the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of it. 5. There is required a submission under such a divine dispensation; else we upbraid grace, and will be wicked, because God will not be (actu secundo) as gracious in his influence, as we are humorous in our sickly desires. 6. If we could understand the sense of divine dispensation, the Lord often intendeth grace, when he suspendeth grace; and his desertions are wrapped up in more invisible love and free grace, than we are aware of: and why should not we, in faith, believe his way of dispensation to be mercy?

Asser. 8. Sometimes (2) God's immediate lashes on the soul, is the occasion of our sinful misjudging of God; Psalm 38:2. Thine arrows stick fast in me, and thine hand presseth me sore. Hence cometh a sad reckoning, Psalm 38:4. Mine iniquities are gone over my head, as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me. And Psalm 77:4. Thou holdest mine eye waking: I am so troubled, that I cannot speak. And what followeth from this? A great misjudging of God. Psalm 77:7. Will the Lord cast off for ever? will he be favourable no more? Psalm 77:8. Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore? Psalm 77:9. Hath God forgotten to be gracious? ‘Tis but a poor ground of inferring that God hath forgotten to be merciful, and Christ is [[@Page:61]] changed, because there is night and winter on your soul: Is the God of nature changed, because 'tis not ever summer, and day-light? because a rose withereth, and a flower casteth its bloom, and the sun is over-clouded, therefore God hath forgotten himself? Dispensations of God are no rules to his good pleasure; but his good pleasure regulates all his dispensations. If the soldiers of Christ quarter in the dry wilderness, not in the suburbs of heaven, their leader is wise.

3. Darkness and night are blind judges of
colours; in desertion, 'tis night on the soul; and
imaginations are strongest and biggest in the
darkness; the species of terrible things plough deep
furrows of strong impressions on the fancy in the
sleep, when the man walketh in darkness, and hath
no light, either of sound judgment, or soul-comfort:
'tis night with the soul, and then a bush moved with
the wind, is an armed man; every conviction of
conscience is condemnation. 2 Corinthians 1:8. We are
pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch
that we despaired even of our life: 2 Corinthians 1:9. But we
had the sentence of death; there were loads and
weights laid on us above strength: darkened souls
put on Christ deep representations of wrath, and
blackness of indignation; and change him in their
apprehensions into another Christ.

4. Satan can drink up at one draught, a grieving
and sorrowing spirit, 2 Corinthians 2:7; and he hath access
to the fancy, and out-works of the soul of the child
of God, so he can enlarge the species to a double
bigness; let it be considered, if the grammar of
Heman, be not a little swelled in more than ordinary
rhetoric, Psalm 88:4. I am counted as these that
go down to the pit as a man that hath no strength.
Psalm 88:5. Free amongst the dead, like the wounded
that lie in grave, whom thou rememberest no more,
and they are cut off by thy hand. Psalm 88:7. Thy wrath
lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with
all they waves. If God forgot him as a buried man,
and not a wave of God's wrath, but was gone over
his soul, what could God do more? And Job's
words are a little beyond the line, Job 13:24.

[[@Page:62]]Wherefore hidest thou thy face from me, and takest me for thine enemy? Words arise up to mountains. Job was not holden of God to be an enemy: Satan can make every pin in the cross an hell, and put a new sense on God's dealing, other than ever he meaned. When Christ opens a vein to blood a conscience, Satan, if he may have leave, shall shut in his lion-teeth to tear the vein, and make the hole of the wound as wide as heart and life may come out; and therefore he raiseth up apprehensions, and sows strife and pleas with Christ, and waters his own seed. Can love kill thee? Were it Christ that doth all this, would he not once come to the bedside of a sick son? Can Christ's love throw a poor friend to hell, and leave him there? He hath forgotten thee. Satan can argue from dispensation and trials to the state. Which is false logic. This thou sufferest: Ergo, thou art not in the state of adoption. It is not good that such a minion as Satan, have the ear of a deserted soul; he can carry tales between Christ and the soul, to separate between friends. Never believe ill of Christ; Love thinks no ill. If you love Christ, two hells may cast water on your fire of love, but cannot quench it. Christ will believe no ill of you, let Satan speak his will.

5. Even the love of a saint to Christ, under an hard dispensation, is sick with jealousy, and travelleth in birth with fancied suspicions of Christ's love. Our love is swayed with misgivings; 'tis full of cares, and fears, and doubtings; because 'tis not always edged with heavenly wisdom. It takes life from sense and felt embracings, from presence, and reciprocation of warmness from Christ's bowels: and when face answereth not face, and Christ's love doth not echo, and resound to our love, then it fainteth. We too often measure Christ's love by our foot; we calculate Christ's love by our own elevation, not by his: and Christ's mysterious dispensation, should not point the hour; nor is the full moon, nor the noon-day sun of Christ's love, the compass that our affections and love should sail by. Yea, having not seen Christ, 1 Peter 1:8; nor felt him, yet we love him, and believe in him; and this is [[@Page:63]] most spiritual love, and has most love in it; the more jealously without ground, the less love of Christ, at least the less solid constancy of love.

6. Unbelief is a special cause of soul-trouble. 1. In bodily diseases, pain doth not create itself; but sinful passive desertion does create itself. Christ cannot own unbelief, as coming within the compass of his creation; though by him all things were created. Unbelief spinneth out new calumnies of Christ, addeth oil to the fire, and maketh desertion a thousand talent-weight heavier than it would be. This may be evidenced in all the complaints of the saints under desertion; in which more is laid on Christ's name, than is true. Unbelief is a querulous thing. Isaiah 49:14. But Sion said, unbelieving Sion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me; this was an untruth, and is confuted in the next verses. Mary Magdalene thought they had taken away her Lord; and he was as near her, as the turning about of her body, and she within speaking to him face to face. And when unbelief doth raise such thoughts, as Christ hath forgotten to be merciful; Christ is changed, he loveth not to the end; what pain must be at the soul's bottom, where such misjudging of Christ, and his love, is in the brim? And yet there is a coal of the love of Christ, smoaking in the bottom of the soul? A loving opinion of Christ is hardly expelled; especially, one particular misreport should not make me receive a misunderstanding of Christ. I never heard ill of Christ before, but much of his excellency and sweetness; and why should I admit of an untried impression, that the sun that giveth light to all, is dark; that fire is cold? 'tis not true like, that Christ is an enemy, if once a friend. Had we a storehouse, and a high bended habit of honourable, sublime, and high thoughts of Jesus Christ, his excellency, the weight of his preciousness, eminency, we should the more hardly give way to the lies that our unbelieving heart raiseth against him.

2. Our second misgiving from unbelief, is in believing our state. Psalm 31:22. I said in my haste, I am [[@Page:64]] cut off from before thine eyes. I am none of Christ's, is a too ordinary mistake; as (he is changed, and not mine) often goeth before. We often find more fault, and first blame in Christ, if not only, ere we see our own provocations. Hence the complaints of Job, Job 6; 13; 16; 19; and of Jeremiah, Jeremiah 20; 15; of Hezekiah, Isaiah 38; of Asaph, Psalm 17; of Heman, Psalm 88; of the church, Isaiah 49:14, 15; Isaiah 63; 64; Psalm 102; 6; 42; 31; run more on the strain of complaining of God, and his unkind dispensation, than of the plaintiffs sins and provocations; and where there is one mistake of ourselves under desertion, the reader may find out ten mistakes of Christ; and when the deserted soul misjudgeth his own state, it issueth from, and reflecteth on the midjudged apprehension of Christ.

3. From unbelief issueth the misjudging of our own actions: I do no good; or if I do, 'tis not bene, on the right motives, and for the right end, the good that I do. The antecedent is true, but not the consequence: there is a cloud in our fairest sun, and clay in our water; but because good works are not our Saviour's, 'tis no good ground to say, they have no influence in the way of our salvation; and they are not way-marks in our journey, because they are no part of the ransom that bought heaven. We have a grand opinion of our own righteousness, and when we miss it, we think we miss Christ himself; which is a great misjudging, and argueth a believing in ourselves, not in Christ. And often soul-trouble ariseth from defects, omissions, and sins in ourselves. If simple grief for sin as offensive to love arise, that's good soul-trouble; but such soul-trouble as shaketh the bottom of faith, and turneth the soul of Christ to seek righteousness in itself, is damnable: as 'tis hard for an unregenerate man to see sin in its dreadfullest colours, and not despair; so 'tis hard for a regenerate person to see sin, as sin, and not to fall on unbelief, and doubting of Christ's love. Antinomians think any anxiety for sin, which expelleth actual rejoicing in Christ, or turning off Christ, and our casting [[@Page:65]] off the conscience again under the spirit of bondage, and work of the law. Which is contrary to truth, and the command of James, to be afflicted and mourn; and Christ's saying, Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted; and Peter, who saith, there may be need, that the saints be in heaviness for a season.

‘Tis a great point of wisdom, 1. To know how far forth our spiritual walking may be a seed of comfort; we may easily err on either hands. 2. The logic would be humble; Lord, I am not haughty, ergo, I am comforted in thee. Paul saith well, I know nothing by myself, yet I am not hereby justified] we would not build a tower on a mole-hill. 3. From our sinful walking we may draw grounds of godly sorrow, yet not grounds of unbelief; faith and godly sorrow are consistent together. 4. ‘Tis not safe to argue that we are not in Christ, from the wants adhering to our sincere performances. While we slander ourselves, we may slander the Spirit of God. 5. The measure of our obedience, cannot be a warrant to counter-argue Christ, as want is no warrant to stand far off from Christ: no more than it is good logic to flee from the fire, because you are cold; or to be at odds with gold, because you are needy and poor; poverty may conclude a failing with low fails, and humility, but not unbelief; your want of all things, should not empty rich Jesus Christ.

7. Absence of Christ, misapprehended through unbelief, occasioneth soul-trouble. In which there is something which evidenceth saving grace in the troubled soul, as is aforesaid. For the want of the thing loved, cannot but here be a gracious torment to the lover. The spouse is sick, and dieth, when she wanteth him whom her soul loveth, Solomon’s Song 2:5; 5:6, 8. David so expresseth himself, Psalm 84:2. My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth, or dieth, or is at an end, for the courts of the Lord; my flesh and my heart crieth out for the living God. The word [Chalab] is to desire, or to be consumed, or to make an end of any thing. David's desire of enjoying God, was such, as it was [[@Page:66]] his death to want God; it may hold forth, as Pagnine observeth, that David's soul, either extremely desired the Lord, or died upon the absence of God. But to be anxiously troubled in an unbelieving manner, is the sinful soul-trouble. Why doth the soul doubt of Christ's winter, more than of his summer? Absence and presence, his coming, and his departing, are both his own works. God hath liberty in the one as in the other; as it is God's liberty to make fair weather and storms, to make a fair day, and a cloudy day; to make David a king, and his brethren shepherds and common soldiers; so hath he his own freedom in the breathings of his own Spirit, and the blowing of his own wind, or of the drawing a curtain over his own face, and hiding himself: and neither in this, nor in any of his ways of freedom, can we challenge the Lord, or plead against him. And if we think we do well to be angry, even to the death, at the motions and breathings of Christ's free love, then we may compel Christ to be kind, and visit us, as we think good. Whatever ye be, Christ is Lord of his own presence and visits, and 'tis good the king's chamber of presence be a dainty, and Christ's wine be not so common as water: nor can we here force kindness, or acts of heavenly manifestations on him; he hides himself. Why, he is as reasonable, and wise, in his going as in his coming.

2. Should we take on us to steward and husband the kisses and embracements of Christ, better than he can do himself; and should quarrel because the Lord had not thought fit to make heirs and minors, that are yet under non-age. Masters and lords of their own young heaven; this were not a good world for us. Christ's love is better than wine, Solomon’s Song 1. Neither our head, nor our heart could endure to drink, at our own will, of this new wine of the higher kingdom. Better for us it is that Christ bear the key of the well of life, than children have it; and if the government of the higher and lower family be upon the shoulders of Christ, the leading of this or that single person to heaven, is worthy Christ's care.

[[@Page:67]]And consider, that Christ goeth not behind the mountain, or hideth himself upon mere hazard, but for weighty reasons, that love may be sharpened through absence; that the house may be adorned with new hangings, and Christ's bed made green; that care may be had, when he resteth in his love, not to stir up, nor awake the Beloved, until he please; that the high tides and rich feasts of Christ's love, after sad and heavy desertions, may heighten the worth and esteem of Christ; that faith and love may with more of the violence of heaven, lay hold on Christ, after long seeking, and not part with him on so easy terms, Solomon’s Song 3:1, 2, 3, 4; that we may know, what weakness is in our clay-legs, under desertion, and how we are to walk on Christ's legs, which are pillars of marble set on sockets of gold; that absence and presence, the frownings and smilings of Christ, may be to the saints the little images of hell and heaven, and broken men may read their debts in Christ's count book of free grace, with tears in their eyes, and songs of praise in their mouth; that we may be in high love, and sick for absent Christ, and may be at the pains through thick and thin to seek him, and learn to live less by sense, and more by faith, and resolve to die believing; and be charitable of Christ absent, and kiss his vail, when we can see no more; and be upon our watch-tower, and know what of the night, and observe a soul-communion with God; which the spirit of the world cannot do.

Nothing doth more cry aloud the softness and baseness of our nature than our impatience under sad dispensations, when we are positively resolved upon this, that God loveth us; yet, because of a cloud over our sun, and one scruple of gall in our joy, to lodge a new opinion, that Christ is changed into another God, and that his love doth plot, and contrive our destruction, argueth a weak and soon shaken faith. It speaketh lightness of love to Christ, that it is loosed at the root, with the scratch of a pin; he hides himself, and you say, Oh 'tis not Christ, but some other like him; for Christ would not so go and come. Well rooted [[@Page:68]] friendship can scarce suffer you to believe so much of a brother, or a companion. But when ye thus misjudge Christ, we may gather, if he should appear in the garments of vengeance, as he doth to the damned; 'tis to be feared, this would drink up our faith and love, if Christ were not more gracious, than we are constant:

Lord, lead us not into temptation.

5. I deny not but seeming wrath, and Christ's intercepting of messengers of love, and flamings of hell's fury on the soul, are prodigious like comets, glimmering over a trembling conscience; and that 'tis much to keep orthodox, sound, and precious thoughts of Christ, when the christian is not himself; yet when the child mileth about in a round, to say, the earth runneth about in circle, or to think the shore or the rock saileth from the ship that carrieth you, when the ship moveth and the shore standeth still, are but signs of a weak-headed and green sailor: so, because you are deeply affected with a sad absence, to believe Christ's love runneth a circle, and that you stand still as a rock, and the change is in Christ, argueth a green, raw wit, and instability of faith; and that the sea-sands can no more easily drink up a gallon of water, than that temptation would swallow up the poor man's faith thus fainting, if the invisible strength of the advocate, who intercedeth for the saints, did not uphold him.



[1] Story of the Rise, Reign, Error, 70. page 13.

[2] Saltmarsh Free Grace, art. 6. page 44, 45.

[3] Mr. Archer, if he be the author, Serm. Comfort for Believers, page 19.

.TO THE JUDICIOUS and GODLY READER

posted 31 Jan 2014, 16:14 by Stephen Chaffer   [ updated 31 Jan 2014, 16:20 ]

                                    TO THE JUDICIOUS and GODLY READER


If, in this luxuriant and wanton age of proud and rank wits, any should write of this kind, and be wanting to the exalting of the Plant of Renown, the Flower of Jesse, Jesus Christ, and to the dew of his youth, the free grace of God; his heart may censure his pen, and He who is greater than the man's heart, should challenge him. The weak and low aim of a sinner, writing of a Saviour, and such a Saviour, should be, that faith and sense may go along with tongue and pen; but how short most men come, of reaching such an end, who cannot but confess?

The mind may be calmed a little in this; that tho' to speak highly of Christ, be, in poor men, who are so low under, and unequal to so great a province, a marring rather of his dignity, and a flattering of Christ, than a real praising of, or pointing him out in all his virtues and loveliness, in regard that the foulness of the breath of a sinner may blacken the beauty of such a transcendent and incomparable flower, that Isaiah, a high, eminent, and gospel prophet, is at his wits end, at a nonplus, a stand, and giveth over the matter as a high question; Isaiah 53:8. Who shall declare his generation? And another, What is his name, and what is his Son's name, if thou canst tell? All that ever wrote, lie down under this load; and though many now-a-days give out, they have so much of the Lord Jesus, that they are Christed and swallowed up in his love, yet should I think it all happiness, if I could but tell Christ's name, and were so deep learned, as to know how they call him. In truth, in regard of any comprehensive [[@Page:iv.]] knowledge, we but speak and write our guessings, our far off and twilight apprehensions of him; and, instead of coming up to the clear vision of a gospel noon-day light, as we are obliged, we but cast the blind man's club, and but play (as children do with the golden covering, and silken ribbons of an Arabic Bible that they cannot read) about the borders and margin of the knowledge of Christ: O how rawly do the needle-headed schoolmen write of Christ! O how subtile and eagle-eyed seem they to be in speculations! Grave-deep, or rather hell-deep, touching his grave-linens, what became of them when he rose from the dead, and the chestnut colour of his hair, and the wood of his cross, and the three nails that wedged him to the tree, and the adoring of any things that touched his body, either wood, iron, or nails of the holy grave? And how far from that, Solomon's Song 8:6. Set me as a seal on thy heart, as a signet on thine arm?

There be volumes written of Christ, sermon upon sermon, and not line upon line only, but book upon book, and tome upon tome. And ah! We are but at the first side of the single catechism of Christ, spelling his first elements; yea, Solomon was but at, What is his name? I fear, too many of us know neither name nor thing; nay, in this learned age, when Antinomians write book after book of Christ, I should say, for all their crying, O the gospel spirit, the gospel strain of preaching, the mystery of free grace! (which few of them know) that one ounce, one grain of the spiritual and practical knowledge of Christ, is more to be valued than talent-weights, yea, ship-loads, or mountains of the knowledge of the dumb school-letter.

They say, The Saints are perfect, and their works perfect. I slander them not, read Mr. Towne, [1] Mr. Eaton, [2] and Saltmarsh. [3] But how ignorant are they of the gospel? How ill read and little versed in Christ?

[[@Page:v.]]Yea, as Luther said, [4] Take away sin, and ye take away Christ a Saviour of sinners: How little acquainted with, and how great strangers to their own hearts are they, in writing so? There is a fulness (I confess) and an all-fulness, and all-fulness of God, Ephesians 3:19. But I much doubt, if this complete all-fulness of God, be in this side of eternity; sure it cannot stand with our half-penny candle, or can it be, that in our soul, with the darkness of an indwelling body of sin, should shine the noon-day vision of glory, called Theologia Meridiana Visionis.

‘Tis true, Paul's ravishment to the third heavens, John's being in the Spirit, and seeing the heavens opened, and beholding the throne, and him that sat on it, and the troops clothed in white, that have come out of great tribulation, do clearly evidence, saints may in this life be in the suburbs of heaven, but the suburbs is not the city. God may, and doth open a window in the new Jerusalem, and let them see through that hole the young morning-glances of the day-light of glory, and a part of the throne, and the half of his face that sits on the throne, and the glorious undefiled ones that stand before the throne: but this fulness doth not overflow to brim and bank; the vessel is in a capacity to receive many quarts and gallons more of the new wine of glory, that grows in that new land of harmony. Now, Antinomians lay all our perfection on justification and remission of sins; yet pardon of sins (except in this sense, which is a gradual accident of pardon, and not pardon itself) is not like the new moon that receives fuller and more light till it be full moon; for remission is as perfect and full a freedom from the law-guilt and wrath to come, at the first moment of our justification, as ever it shall be: they ascribe not our perfection in this life to sanctification, which yet they must do, if sin in its nature and being dwell not in us.

And for our engagement to Jesus Christ, for the [[@Page:vi.]] price and ransom he hath paid for us, we have nothing to say, but pay praises to our creditor Christ; or rather suspend, while we be up before the throne, with the millions of broken men, the engaged saints, that there we may sing our debts in an everlasting psalm, for here we can but sigh them. The book of our engagements to Christ is written full, page and margin, within and without, it is a huge book of many volumes, and the millions of angels, to whom Christ is head, Colossians 2:10. owe their redemption from possible sins, and possible chains of eternal vengeance, that their fellow-angels actually lie under. Then, O what huge sums are all the inhabitants of heaven owing to Christ?

And what can angels and men say, but Christ is the head of principalities and powers, Colossians 2:10. Yea, the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all, Ephesians 1:22, 23. The Chieftain of ten thousands, yea, of all the Lord's millions, and hosts in heaven and earth, Solomon's Song 5:10. When all the created expressions, and dainty flowers of being, heavens, sun, moon, stars, seas, birds, fishes, trees, flowers, herbs, that are in the element of nature, are issued out of Christ, there be infinite possibilities of more rich beings in him, when out of Christ do stream such rivers of full grace to angels and men, and to all creatures beside, that by participation, in their kind, communicate with them in drops and be-dewings of free goodness; it being a result of courtesy and freeness of mediatory grace, that the system and body of the creation, which for our sin is condemned to perish, should continue and subsist in being and beauty: yet, O what more, and infinite more of whole entire Christ remaineth in him never seen, nay, not comprehensible by created capacities? And when, not only in the sphere of grace, but in that highest orb and region of glory, such hosts and numerous troops of glorified pieces, redeemed saints, and elect angels that are by anticipation ransomed from their contingent fall into sin, and possible eternity of vengeance, [[@Page:vii.]] do stand beside him as created emanations, and twigs that sprang out of Christ; there is an infiniteness invisible and incomprehensible in him: yea, when all these chips, created leavings, small blossoms, daughters and births of goodness and grace, have streamed out from him, he is the same infinite Godhead, and would, and doth out-tire and weary men and angels, and whatsoever is possible to be created, with the only act of wondering, and surveying of so capacious and boundless a Christ. Here is gospel-work for all eternity to glorified workmen, angels and ransomed men, to dig into this gold mine, to roll this soul-delighting and precious stone, to behold, view, inquire, and search into his excellency. And this is the satiety, the top and prime of heaven's glory and happiness, to see, and never out-see, to wonder, and never over-wonder the virtues of him that sits on the throne; to be filled, but never satiate with Christ. And must it not then be our sin, that we stand aloof from Christ? Surely, if we did not love the part above the whole, and the dross of that part, even the froward will, more than our soul; Christ should not be so far out of either request or fashion, as he is.

If Antinomians offend, or such as are, out of ignorance, seduced, hate me for heightening Christ, not in a gospel-licence, as they do; but in a strict and accurate walking, in commanding of which, both law and gospel do friendly agree, and never did, and never could jar, or contest; I threaten them, in this I write, with the revenge of good will, to have them saved, in a weak aim, and a far off (at least) desire, to offer to their view such a gospel idea and representation of Christ, as the prophets and apostles have shewn in the word of his kingdom, who opens the secrets of the Father to the sons of men.

And for Arminians now risen in England, and such as are both Arminians and Antinomians, such as is Mr. Denne, and others, they lie stated to me in no other view but as enemies of the grace of God: and when Antinomians and Anabaptists now in England, [[@Page:viii.]] join hands with Pelagians, Jesuits, and Arminians, I cannot but wonder, why the Arminians, Socinians, and Antichristian abusers of free grace, and free-will-worshippers, should be more defended and patronized now, as the godly party, than at that time, when the godly cried out so much against them, and out-prayed the unclean prophet out of the land; sure, a white and a black devil must be of the same kindred. Grace is always grace, never wantonness.

Nor can we enough praise and admire the flowings, the rich emanations, and deep-living springs of the sea of that fulness of grace that is in Christ. Come and draw, the well is deep; and what drops of dewings fall on angels and men, are but chips of that huge and boundless body of the fulness of grace that is in Christ; one lily is nothing to a boundless and broad field of them. Christ is the mountain of roses: O, how high, how capacious, how full, how beautiful, how green! Could we smell him who feeds among the lilies, till the day break, and the shadows fly away, and dive into the gold veins of the unsearchable riches of Christ, and be drunk with his wine; we should say, ‘Tis good to be here, and to gather up the fragments that fall from Christ. His crown shines with diamonds and pearls, to, and through all generations. The land of Immanuel is an excellent soil; O but his heaven lies well, and warmly, and heartsomely, nigh to the Sun, the Sun of Righteousness! The fruit of the land is excellent, glory grows on the very out-fields of it. O what dewings of pure and unmixed joys lie for eternity, on these eternally springing mountains and gardens of spices! And what do we here? Why do we toil ourselves in gathering sticks to our nest, when tomorrow we shall be gone out of this? Would these considerations out-work and tire us out of ourselves to him, it were our all-happiness.

1. Many ambassadors God sent to us, none like Christ; he is God, and the noble and substantial representation of God, the very self of God, God sending, and God sent, the Fellow of God, his companion; and [[@Page:ix.]] God, and not another God, but a Son, another subsistence and person.

2. For kindred and birth, a begotten Son, and never begun to be a Son, nor to have a Father; of God's most ancient house, a branch of the King of ages, that was never young. And in reference to us, The first-begotten of many brethren.

3. For office; never one like him, to make peace between God and man, by the blood of an eternal covenant, a days-man wholly for God; God in nature, mind, will, power, holiness, and infinite perfection; a days-man for himself, a daysman wholly for us, on our side, by birth, blood, good-will, for us, with us, and us, in nature.

4. What unweariness of love suiting us in marriage? What is Christ's good will, in pouring out his spirit, his love, his soul, his life, himself for us? Had Christ more than his own noble and excellent self to give for us?

5. How long he seeks? How long a night rain wet his locks and hair? How long a night is it, he stands at the church's door knocking? Solomon's Song 5:1; Revelation 3:20. There be many hours in this night, since he was preached in paradise, and yet he stands to this day: how fain would he come, and how glad would he be of lodging? The arm that hath knocked five thousand years aches not yet; Behold he stands and knocks, and will not give over till all be his, and all the tribes in ones and twos be, over Jordon, and up with him in the good land; he cannot want one, nor half one; yea, John 6:39. not a bit of a saint.

6. The sinners on earth, and glorified in
heaven, are of one blood; they had once as foul
faces and as guilty souls on earth, as you and I
have: O but now they are made fair, and stand
before the throne washed and without spot!
Grace and glory hath put them out of your kenning, but they are your born brethren, all the
seas and fountains on earth cannot wash asunder
your blood and theirs; and there is not upon any
in that renowned land, the mark, impression,
shadow, or [[@Page:x.]] sted of any blot of sin; and Christ washeth as clean now, as ever he did; you are not so black, nor so sun-burnt, but he will make you white like all the rest of the children of the house, that you shall misken your-self for beauty of glory; thou art at the worst a sinner, and but a sinner, and a sinner is nothing to Christ.

7. There shall be use for free grace in the land of glory: every new day and month of glory (let us so apprehend, as if there were pieces of endless eternity, for our weakness) shall be a new debt of free grace, because Christ is never, never shall be our debtor; merit of creatures cannot enter heaven for eternity, the holding of glory shall be free grace without end; then must Christ's relation of a creditor, and ours of debtors, grow, and be greener for evermore, in an eternal bud, ever spring, and ever in the top and flower of harvest; and we ever pay, and ever praise, and ever wade in further and deeper in the sea of free love, and the growing of the new-contracted debts of eternal grace: and the longer these white companies and regiments that follow the Lamb live there, the more broken debtors are they, so as Christ can never lay aside his crown of grace, nor we our diadem of glory, holden still by the only charter, and eternally-continued writing of free grace, prorogated and spun out daily (to borrow that word, where no time grows) in a thread as long as eternity, and the living of God. O the vast and endless thoughts, and O the depth of unsearchable grace!

8. Better a thousand times live under the government, and tutory of Christ, as be your own, and live at will. Live in Christ, and you are in the suburbs of heaven; there is but a thin wall between you and the land of praises; ye are within an hour's failing of the shore of the new Canaan. When death digs a little hole in the wall, and takes down the sails, ye have no more ado but set your foot down in the fairest of created paradises.

9. ‘Tis impossible Christ can be in heaven, and pieces and bits of Christ mystical should be in hell, or yet [[@Page:xi.]] long on earth. Christ will draw in his legs and his members on earth, in to himself, up nearer the head; and Christ and you must be under one roof. What? mansions are nothing, many mansions are little; yea, many mansions in Christ's Father's house, are created chips of happiness, and of blood and kin to nothing, if they be created; Ah! We want himself, and I should refuse heaven if Christ were not there: take Christ away from heaven, and 'tis but a poor, unheartsome, dark waste dwelling; heaven without Christ, should look like the direful land of death. Ah! saith Christ, your joy must be full, John 14:3. I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there ye may be also. I confess, mansions are but as places of briers and thorns without Christ; therefore I would have heaven for Christ, and not Christ for heaven.

10. Formal blessedness is created, but
objective happiness is an uncreated Godhead.
Let the waters and streams retire into the bosom
of this deep fountain and spring of infiniteness,
and there can they not rot, nor sour, nor deaden,
but are kept fresh for ever. Come and grow upon
this stock, the eternally green and ever-springing
tree of life, and you live upon the fatness, sap,
sweetness, and life of this renowned plant of
paradise for ever.

11. An act of living in Christ, and on Christ, in
the acts of loving, seeing, enjoying, embracing,
resting on him, is that noon-day divinity and
theology of beatific vision. There is a general
assembly of immediately illuminated divines
round about the throne, who study, lecture,
preach, praise Christ night and day. O what rays,
what irradiations and dartings of intellectual
fruition, beholding, enjoying, living in him, and
fervour of loving, come from that face, that God-
visage of the Lord God Almighty, and the Lamb
that is in the midst of them, and overcovers,
weights, and loads the beholders within and
without! And then there must be reflections, and
Teachings of intellectual vision, embracing, loving,
wondering, returning back to him again, in a circle
of glory; and then who but [[@Page:xii.]] the Bridegroom, and the spouse, the Lamb's wife, in an act of an eternal espousing, marrying, and banqueting together? Who but Christ and his followers? Who but the All in alt? The I AM? The Prince of ages?

12. And so eminent is the wisdom and depth of the unsearchable riches of the grace of Christ, that though God need not sin, and sin be contrary to his holy and most righteous will, yet the design, the heavenly, lovely, most holy state-contrivance of sin's entrance in the world, drawn through the fields of free grace, proclaimeth the eminency and never-enough admired and adored art and profound wisdom of God; had sin never been, the glorious second person of the blessed Trinity, and the eternal Spirit had been, and must be the same, one ever-blessed God with the Father. For the glorious one Godhead in three admirable subsistences comes under no acts of the free-will and sovereign counsels of God, the Godhead being most absolutely and essentially necessary. But we should have wanted for eternity, the mysterious Immanuel, the Beloved, the White and Ruddy, the Chief among ten thousands, Christ, God-man, the Saviour of sinners: for no sick sinners, and no saving Soul-physician of sinners; no captive, no Redeemer; no slave of hell, no lovely Ransom-payer of heaven. 2. There should have been no gospel, no actual redemption on earth, no gospel-song of ransomed ones in heaven, Worthy is the Lamb, etc. Had sin never been, there had never been one whisper nor voice in heaven of a Lamb sacrificed and slain for sinners; there had been no gospel-tune of the now-eternal song of free grace in heaven; there had been silence in that blessed assembly of the first-born, of any psalm, but of law-music; men obeyed a law without being in debt to the grace of a Mediator, and therefore they live eternally. 3. Grace, free grace, should never have come out on the stage, as visible to the eye of men and angels. 4. If sin had never broken in on the world, the guests of free grace that now are before the throne, and once were foul and [[@Page:xiii.]] ugly sinners on earth, Mary Magdalene, with her seven devils, Paul with his hands once hot and smoking with the blood of the saints, and his heart sick with malice and blasphemy against Christ, and his followers, and the rest of the now-white and washen ones, whose robes are made fair in the blood of the Lamb, and all the numerous millions which none can number, whose heads now are warmed, in that best of lands, with a free crown, and are but bits of free grace, should not have been in heaven at all, as the free-holders and tenants of the exalted Redeemer, the man Jesus Christ; there had not been one tenant of pardoning mercy in heaven. But O what depth of unsearchable wisdom to contrive that lovely plot of free grace, and that that river and sea of boundless love should run through, and within the banks of so muddy, inky, and polluted a channel, as the transgressions and sins of the sons of Adam; and then that on the sides and borders of that deep river should grow green, budding, and blooming for evermore, such roses and paradise lilies smelling out heaven to men and angels, as pardoning mercy to sinners, free and rich grace to traitors to the crown of heaven, the God-love of Christ Jesus to man! Come, warm your hearts, all intellectual capacities, at this fire; O come, all ye created faculties, and smell the precious ointments of Christ; O come, sit down under this shadow, taste and eat the apples of life. O that angels would come, and generations of men, and wonder, admire, adore, fall down before the unsearchable wisdom of this gospel art of the unsearchable riches of Christ!

13. If then love, and so deep gospel-love be despised, broken men slighting surety-love, and marriage-love, and then dying in such a debt as trampled-on covenant-love, blood-love must be arrested with the saddest charge of gospel-vengeance. I would have saved you, and ye would not be saved, coming from the mouth of Christ, must be a seal to all the curses of the law, and a vengeance on eternal fire beyond them: but we either, in these sad times, will have the grace [[@Page:xiv.]] of Christ a cipher, and yet to do all things, which is the Antinomians wanton licentiousness; or freewill to do all things, and grace to do nothing, but that nature should be the umpire and sovereign, and grace the servant and vassal, which is the Arminians' pride, for fear they be beholden to Jesus Christ, and hold heaven on a writing of too free grace: sure the gospel goeth a middle way, and the difference of devils white or black should not delude us, for both are black, and tend to the blackness of darkness, and shift the soul off Christ, and break up a new north-west way to heaven, that our guide glory may not be the Captain of our salvation, who brings many children to glory, but either loose licence without law, or lordly pride without gospel-grace. Now the very God of peace establish us in his truth, and in such a thorny wood of false christs, and false teachers, give us the Morning-star, and his conduct to glory, who knows the way, and is the way, the truth, and the life.

Yours in the Lord Jesus,

S. R.

[[@Page:xv]]

ADVERTISEMENT.

Though several sheets in the beginning of the book have the Greek words inserted in their own proper character, yet it was afterward thought expedient to turn those and the Hebrew words into the common characters used in printing our own language, that the unlearned reader may be able at least to pronounce them, (they being generally interpreted in the words that follow them); which, 'tis hoped, the learn'd will pardon.



[1] Towne Asser. Of Grace, p. 76, 77, 78.

[2] Eaton, Honeycomb of Justification, cap. II. p. 338, 339, 340, 341, etc.

[3] Saltmarsh Free Grace, p. 140.

[4] Luther in an epistle to D. Guttel against the Antinomians.


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