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speak to thee so rousingly himself, as will make thine ears to tingle, and that rocky heart of thine to tremble, in despite of all thy security and stupidity. If thou have now sinned away thy fear and feeling, that thou takest a sermon but for words of course, believe it, God will shortly bring thy fear and thy feeling again. It had need to be very precious liquor, which the drunkard shall then pay so dear for; and excellent content which the lustful must so smart for; and great honours and riches, for which thou must lose thy hopes of heaven. If thou hadst never heard or read of these things, there were the more excuse ; but if, when thou knowest of it, thou will needs run into the fire, into the fire shalt thou go: but when thou feelest the pain, thou shalt bethink thee of thy folly; and when heaven is lost, remember thou mightest have had it, and that upon very reasonable, easy terms, if thou wouldest. Nothing but thy own wilfulness could have shut thee out. I have warned thee : let God do his will.
And for you that fear God, and have made him your portion, your end, and rest, and are the heirs of this kingdom, let me entreat you, more frequently to look homeward, and mind your inheritance. Should we not think oft of the state we must be in for ever? Do you not perceive that God tumbles you up and down the world, and crosseth your desires, to weary you out of it; that he setteth loose the winds to raise those storms, that may make you long for the harbour, and may toss you to his breast; that he makes your dearest friends afflict you, and those that you took sweet counsel with, and went up with to the house of God as companions, to be scorpions to you, that so you might not have here a resting place for the sole of your foot ? O, learn God's gracious meaning, and look upwards! When others are roving after opinions, and running from sect to sect, and, with contentions and vain janglings, are firing the church of Christ, do you then retire yourselves from these vanities to your God; humbly converse with him; and think, believingly, of your everlasting converse with him; and thus fire your souls with his rays of love. For my own part, even when I am constrained (as teachers oft are more than the people) to study controversies, though they be necessary, and in theniselves about precious truths, and though I prosper in my studies, yet do I find most sensibly that they discompose my spirit, and waste my zeal, my love, and delight in God, even by the interruption and diversion of my contemplations ; so that I long to have done with them,
that I may be more near to God. Disputings often lead to envyings and heart-burnings, and those to hating our brethren, and that to open violence and bloodshed, even of the saints, to persecutions of ministers, and setting ourselves against Christ's apparent interest for our own; but heavenly meditations calm the spirit, and, by winning our souls to the love of God, do not only cause us to love our brethren, but to love them in God, which is the only right love. And thus all men shall know that you are Christ's true disciples, by your loving one another; for he that loveth, dwelleth in God, and God in him. When they that hate their brethren are murderers; and we know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. The living God, who is the portion and rest of his saints, make these, our carnal minds, so spiritual, and our earthly hearts so heavenly, that loving him and delighting in him may be the work of our lives; and that neither I that write, nor you that read this book, may ever be turned from this path of life, lest a promise being left us of entering into rest, we should come short of it through our own unbelief or negligence.
May 17, 1651.
e John xiii. 34, 35, and xv. 12; 1 John iii. 15, and ii. 9—11.
SAINT’S EVERLASTING REST.
HEBREWS iv. 9.
SECT. ). It was not only our interest in God, and actual fruition of him, which was lost in Adam's covenant-breaking fall, but all spiritual knowledge of him, and true disposition towards such a felicity. Man hath now a heart too suitable to his 'estate: a low state, and a low spirit. And (as some expound that of Luke xviii. S) when the Son of God comes with recovering grace, and discoveries and tenders of a spiritual and eternal happiness and glory, he finds not faith in man to believe it.a But as the poor man that would not believe that any one had such a sum as a hundred pounds, (it was so far above what he possessed,) so man will hardly now believe that there is such a happiness as once he had, much less as Christ hath now procured. When God would give the Israelites his Sabbaths of rest in a land of rest, he had more ado to make them believe it, than to overcome their enemies and procure it for them ; and when they had it, only as a small intimation and earnest of a more incomparably glorious rest through Christ, they stuck there; and will yet believe no more than they do possess, but sit down and
a Recedentes enim ab unius et veri Dei consideratione affectuque in illum unico, in varias jam, et particulares corporis concupiscentias prolapsi sunt. Deinde ut solet fieri, cum in multa incidissent desideria, in eorum jam habitum sensim transiere: adeo ut deserere ipsa metuerent. Hinc jam et metus et voluptates in animam irrepsere : mortaliaque sapere incepit. Nolens enim concupiscenrias relinquere, mortem metuit, ac separationem corporis horruit. Rursus eadem cupiens ut voti compos fieret, cædes exercere, atque jura violare didicit. Abuteus igitur in fælix anima corporalibus particulatim actionibus, corporisque oblectata specie, ac voluptatem bonum suum esse arbitrans, falsa ac seducta honesti nomine abusa est : ipsumque verum bonum voluptatem esse putavit. Voluptatis igitur amore detenta, variis hæc modis operari cæpit. -Athan. I. i. con. gen. translat,
say, as the glutton at the feast, “Sure there is no other heaven but this :' or if they do expect more by the Messiah, it is only the increase of their earthly felicity. The apostle bestows most of this epistle against this distemper; and clearly and largely proves unto them, that it is the end of all ceremonies and shadows to direct them to Jesus Christ, the Substance; and that the rest of Sabbaths and Canaan should teach them to look for a further rest, which indeed is their happiness. My text is his conclusion, after divers arguments to that end; a conclusion so useful to a believer, as containing the ground of all his comforts, the end of all his duty and sufferings, the life and sum of all Gospel promises and christian privileges, that you may easily be satisfied why I have made it the subject of my present discourse. What more welcome to men, under personal afflictions, tiring duty, successions of sufferings, than rest? What more welcome news, to men under public calamities, unpleasing employments, plunderings, losses, sad tidings, &c., which is the common case, than this of rest ? Hearers, I pray God your attentions, intention of spirit, entertainment, and improvement of it, be but half answerable to the verity, necessity, and excellency of this subject, and then you will have cause to bless God, while you live, that ever you heard it, as I have, that ever I studied it.
Sect. 2. The text is, as vou may see, the apostle's assertion in an entire proposition, with the concluding illative : the subject is rest;c the predicate, it yet remains to the people of God. It is requisite we say somewhat briefly : 1. For explication of the terms; 2. Of the subject of them.
“ Therefore,” i.e., it clearly follows, from the former argument, “there remains : ” 1. In order of speaking, as the consequence follows the antecedent, or the conclusion, the premises ; so there remains a rest, or it remains that there is another rest. 2. But rather, in order of being, as the bargain remains after the earnest, the performance after the promise, the antitype after the type, and the ultimate end after all the means ; so there remains a rest, “to the people of God.” God hath a twofold people within the church : one his only, by a cominon vocation,d by an
b Lege de hoc epistolam Hieronymi ad Dardanum, tom. iv. fol. (edit. Amerhach,) 28–30, ubi etiam de authoritate hujus Epist. ad Hebr. et modo canonem discernendi.
c De Sabbato spirituali per Sabbatum antiquum figuratum. Vide S. Macarium in Homil. xxxv. p. (mibi) 434.
a Heb. x. 30; Micah ii. 8; 2 Pet. ii. 20 ; John ii. 23 ; Heb. vi. 4–6, and x. 29,30.
external acceptation of Christ, and covenanting, sanctified by the blood of the covenant so far as to be separated from the open enemies of Christ, and all without the church, therefore not to be accounted common and unclean in the sense, as Jews and pagans are ; but holy, and saints, in a larger sense; as the nation of the Jews, and all proselyted gentiles, were holy before Christ's coming. These are called branches in Christ, not bearing fruit, and shall be cut off, &c.; e for they are in the church, and in him, by the aforesaid profession and external covenant, but no further. There are, in his kingdom, things that offend, and men that work iniquity, which the angels, at the last day, shall gather out and cast into the lake of fire ;f there are fishes, good and bad, in his net; and tares, with wheat, in his field. The son of perdition is one of those given to Christ by the Father, though not as the rest; these be not the people of God my text speaks of. 2. But God hath a peculiar people that are his by special vocation, cordial acceptation of Christ, internal, sincere covenanting, sanctified hy the blood of the covenant and Spirit of grace, so far as not only to be separated from open infidels, but from all unregenerate Christians, being branches in Christ, bearing fruit; and for these remains the rest in my text.h
1. To be God's people, by a forced subjection, i. e., under his dominion, is common to all persons, even open enemies; yea, devils : this yields not comfort.
2. To be his by a verbal covenant and profession, and external call, is common to all in, and of, the visible church, even traitors and secret enemies; yet hath this many privileges, as the external seals, means of grace, common mercies, but no interest in this rest.
3. But to be his by election, union with Christ, and special interest, as before mentioned, is the peculiar properties of those that shall have this rest.
Sect. 3. Quest. But is it to a determinate number of persons, by name, or only to a people thus and thus qualified, viz., persevering believers, without determining by name who they are ? i
e John xv. 2, 6.
Matt. xiii. 41.
& John xvii. 12. he Lege Zuinglii fidei Ration. ad Carol. v. p. 540. Tom. secund. De Eccles.
i Quid est præscientia, nisi scientia futurorum ? Quid autem futurum est Deo, qui omnia supergreditur tempora? Si enim res ipsas in scientia habet, non sunt ei futuræ, sed præsentes. Ac per hoc non jam præscientia, sed tantum scientia dici potest.- Augustin. I. ii. ad Simplician. q. 2. Cavendum est ne falsa quadam imaginatione, actum voluntatis divinæ quasi præteritum cogitemus. Scotus, in 1. dist. 40.