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which they tend, or else they cannot be called means, nor are they the motions of wisdom or reasons: and no lower end than this “rest” can be imagined. God would never have commanded his people to repent and believe, to fast and pray, to knock and seek, and that continually, to read and study, to confer and meditate, to strive and labour, to run and fight, and all this to no purpose. Nor would the Spirit of God work them to this, and create in them a supernatural power, and enable them and excite them to a constant performance, were it not for this end whereto it leads us. Nor could the saints reasonably attempt such employments, nor yet undergo so heavy sufferings, were it not for this desirable end. But whatsoever the folly of man might do, certainly divine wisdom cannot be guilty of setting to work such fruitless motions. Therefore, whatever I read of duty required, whenever I find the grace bestowed, I take it as so many promises of rest. The Spirit would never kindle in us such strong desires after heaven, nor such a love to Jesus Christ, if we should not receive that which we desire and love. He that sets our feet in the way of peace will, undoubtedly, bring us to the end of peace. (Luke i. 27.) How nearly are the means and end conjoined ! (Matt. xi. 12.) “The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force;” or, (as Luke xv. 16,) every man presseth into it: so that the violent apprehends the kingdom. Those whom he causeth to follow him in the regeneration, he will surely provide them thrones of judgment. (Matt. xix. 28.)
Sect.V.Fifthly: Scripture further assures us that the saints have the beginnings, foretastes, earnests, and seals of this rest here : and may not all this assure them of the full possession? The very kingdom of God is within them.8 (Luke xvii. 21.) They here, v the powded in the i Pet. i
adhærere Deo, ut ei vivat, inde sapiat, illo gaudeat, tantoque bono sine morte, sine errore, sine molestia perfruatur, quis cogitare digne possit, aut eloqui ? - August. de Civ. lib. 12. cap. 10.
Mr. Burroughs thinks this is meant of the violence of persecution, but Luke's phrase confuteth that: the sense is, that the door being now set open, he that will crowd in first, doth get possession; as the crowd, or common people did, while the rulers that pretended to the chief title, stood without the doors, or by unbelief refused to enter.
8 Atqui si lumen ipsum Dei illud verum, quod est in persona Christi, vitam in se continet, eaque vita cum lumine, quæ committitur in carnem, peritura est, in quam vita committitur: plane sic perituris et ipse Thesaurus : perituris enim peritura creduntur, sicut veteribus utribus novum vinum. Vita Jesu manifestatur: Ubi ? In corpore nostro : in quo ? In mortali. Ergo in carne plane mortali secundum culpam, sed et vitali secundum gratiam.
as is before said, take it by force, they have a beginning of that knowledge which Christ hath said is eternal life. (John xvii. 3.) I have fully manifested that before, that the rest and glory of the people of God doth consist in their knowing, loving, rejoicing, and praising; and all these are begun, though but begun here : therefore, doubtless, so much as we here know of God, so much as we love, rejoice, and praise, so much we have of heaven on earth, so much we enjoy of the rest of souls. And do you think that God will give the beginning where he never intends to give the end? Nay, God doth give his people oftentimes such foresights and foretastes of this same rest, that their spirits are even transported with it, and they could heartily wish they might be present there. Paul is taken up into the third heaven, and seeth things that must not be uttered. The saints are kept by the power of God through faith unto that salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time, wherein they can greatly rejoice, even in temptations : (1 Pet. i. 5, 6 :) and therefore the apostle also tells us, that they who now see not Christ, nor ever saw him, yet love him, and believing do rejoice in him with joy unspeakable and full of glory; receiving the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls. (1 Pet. i. 8, 9.) Observe here, first, how God gives his people this foretasting joy : secondly, how this joy is said to be full of glory, and therefore must needs be a beginning of the glory: thirdly, how immediately upon this there follows “receiving the end of their faith, the salvation of the soul.” And Paul also brings in the justified “rejoicing in hope of the glory of God.” (Rom. v. 2.) And I doubt not, but as some poor Christians among us, who have little to boast of appearing without, have often these foretastes in their souls. And do you think that God will tantalize his people? Will he give them the first-fruits and not the crop ? Doth he show them glory to set them longing, and then deny the actual fruition? Or doth he lift them up so near this rest, and give them such rejoicings in it, and yet never bestow it on them? It cannot be. Nay, doth he give them the “ earnest of the inheritance;" (Eph. i. 14 ;) and “seal them with the Holy Spirit of promise;" (Eph. i. 13 ;) and yet will he deny
Vide quantum et illa vita Christi manifestetur. In re ergo aliena salutis, sed in substantia perpetua dissol:itionis manifestabitur vita Christi æterna, jugis, incorrupta, jam Dei vita ? aut cujus temporis vita Domini manifestabitur in corpore nostro?--Tertul. de Anima, c. 54. p. edit. Pamel. 419. 3 Cor. i. 22, and v. 5,
the full possession? These absurdities may not be charged on an ordinary man, much less on the faithful and righteous God.
Sect. VI. Sixthly, and lastly: The Scripture mentioneth particularly and by name, those who entered into this rest, as Enoch, who was taken up to God. So Abraham, Lazarus, and the thief that was crucified with Christ, &c. And if there be a rest for these, surely there is a rest for all believers. But it is vain to heap up scripture-proof, seeing it is the very end of the Scripture, to be a guide to lead us to this blessed state, and to discover it to us, and persuade us to seek it in the prescribed way, and to acquaint us with the hinderances that would keep us from it, and to be the charter and grant by which we hold all our title to it. So that our rest, and thereby God's glory, is, to the Scripture, as the end is to the way, which is frequently expressed and implied through the whole. There is no one that doubts of the certainty of this promised glory, but only they that doubt of the truth of the Scripture, or else know not what it containeth. And because I find the most temptations are resolved into this, and that there is so much unbelief even in true believers, and that the truth and strength of our belief of Scripture hath an exceeding great influence into all our graces, I shall briefly say something for your confirmation in this.
of Scripture. Sect. I. Thush much may suffice where the Scripture is believed, to confirm the truth of the point in hand, viz., the certain futurity of the saints' rest. And for pagans and infidels who believe not Scripture, it is besides the intention of this discourse
h Sed quo plenius et impressius tam ipsum quam dispositiones ejus, et voJuntates adiremus, instrumentum adjecit literaturæ, siquis velit de Deo inquirere, et inquisitum invenire, et invento credere, et credito deservire. Viros enim justitia et innocentia dignos Deum posse et ostendere, a primordio in seculum emisit Spiritu Divino inundatos, quo prædicarent Deum unicum esse, qui universa coudiderit, qui hominem de humo struxerit, &c., sed et observantibus præmia destinarit, qui producto ævo isto judicaturus sit suos cultores in vitæ æternæ retributionem, profanos in ignem æque perpetem et jugem, suscitatis omnibus ab initio defunctis, et reformatis et recensitis ad utriusque meriti dispunctionem.- Tertul. Apol, c. 18, operum edit, Pamel. i I have since written a supplement to this second part, called the “Unreasonableness of Infidelity.'
to endeavour their conviction. I am endeavouring the consolation and edification of saints, and not the information and conversion of pagans. Yet do I acknowledge the subject exceeding necessary, even to the saints themselves : for Satan's assaults are oft made at the foundation; and if he can persuade them to question the verity of Scripture, they will soon cast away their hopes of heaven.
But if I should here enter upon that task, to prove that Scripture to be the infallible word of God, I should make too broad a digression, and set upon a work as large as that, for the sake whereof I should undertake it; neither am I insensible of how great a difficulty it would prove to manage it satisfactorily, and how much more than my ability is thereto requisite.
Yet, lest the tempted Christian should have no relief, nor any argument at hand against the temptation, I will here lay down some few, not intending it as a full resolution of that great question, but as a competent help to the weak, that have no time nor ability to read larger volumes. And I the rather am induced to it, because the success of all the rest that I have written depends upon this : no man will love, desire, study, labour for that which he believeth not to be attainable. And in such supernatural points, we must first apprehend the truth of the revelation, before we can well believe the truth of the thing revealed. And I desire the Lord to persuade the hearts of some of his choicest servants in these times, whom he hath best furnished for such a work, to undertake the complete handling of it; to persuade them to which, I will here annex, first, some considerations, which also are the reasons of this brief attempt of my own, and may also serve to persuade all ministers to bestow a little more pains, in a seasonable grounding their hearers in this so great and needful a point, by a more frequent and clear discovery of the verity of the Scripture, though some, that know not what they say, may tell them that it is needless.
1. Of what exceeding great necessity is it to the salvation of ourselves and hearers, to be soundly persuaded of the truth of Scripture! As God's own veracity is the prime foundation of our faith, from which particular axioms receive their verity, so the Scripture is the principal foundation quoad patefactionem, revealing to us what is of God, without which revelation it is impossible to believe. And should not the foundation be both timely and soundly laid ?
2. The learned divines of these latter times have, in most points of doctrine, done better than any, since the apostles, before them; and have much advantaged the church thereby, and advanced sacred knowledge. And should we not endeavour it in this point if possible above all, when yet the ancients were more frequent and full in it, for the most part, than we? I know there are many excellent treatises already extant on this subject, and such as I doubt not may convince gainsayers, and much strengthen the weak; but yet, doubtless, much more may be done for the clearing this weighty and needful point. Our great divines have said almost as much against papists in this, as need be said, especially Chamier, and our Robert Baronius, Whitaker, Reignoldus, &c. But is not most of their industry there bestowed, while they put off the atheist, the Jew, and other infidels, with a few pages or none? And so the great master-sin of infidelity in the souls of men, whereof the best Christians have too great a share, is much neglected, and the very greatest matter of all overlooked. Grotius, Morney, and Camero, above others, have done well; but if God would stir them up to this work, I doubt not but some, by the help of all foregoers, and especially improving antiquities, might do it more completely than any have yet done ; which I think would be as acceptable a piece of service to the church as ever by human industry was performed.
3. And k I fear the course that too many divines take this way, by resolving all into the testimony of the Spirit, in a mistaken sense, hath much wronged the Scripture and church of God, and much hardened pagans and atheists against the truth: I know that the illumination of the Spirit is necessary: a special illumination for the begetting of a special saving belief, and a common illumination for a common belief. But this is not so properly called the testimony of the Spirit; the use of this is to open our eyes to see that evidence of scripture verity which is already extant; and as to remove our blindness, so by farther
k of the difference of sense, vision, illumination, and revelation, vide Macarii Homil. 7. edit. Palthen, p. 99. Cognosci sine fide Scripturæ possunt, sive ex ecclesiæ testimonio, sive ex se noscantur. Ut liquido agnoscantur cum certa assentione anini, opus est Spiritus illuminatione, Whitaker rectissime Duplicat, adv. Stapleton. lib. 3. c. 8. pp. 535, 536,