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fended at Christianity, because of the lies and to consider that have read the third canon of falsehoods of Christians. But surely they were but the council at Lateran under Pope Innocent the nominal Christians, and no true Christians, that Third, where an approved general council deever they found such : and it is a pity that Chris- crees, that the Pope discharges vassals from their tianity should be judged of through the world, allegiance or fidelity to those temporal lords that by the lives of them that never were Christians exterminate not heretics (as they call them) out but from the teeth outward, and the skin that of their dominions. What shall restrain men was washed in baptism. They that will lie to from killing kings, or any villany, if once the God, and covenant to be his holy servants, when bond of oaths be nullified ? But scripture saith, they hate his holy service, will lie to man, when keep the king's commandment, and that in retheir self-interest requires it. When they seem gard of the oath of God.' No man defends perto repent, and honour him with their tongues; jury by name: but to say that men that swear 'they flatter him with their mouth, and lie to him to do that which God commands, or forbids not, with their tongues; for their heart is not right are not bound to keep that oath ; or that the with him, neither are they stedfast in his cove- Pope may absolve men, or disoblige them that nant. God saith, 'ye shall not steal, nor deal swore fidelity to temporal lords, when once the falsely, nor lie one to another.'— A righteous Pope hath excommunicated them, seems to me man hateth lying.'— The lying tongue is but for of the same importance. a moment ;' for God hates it, and it is an 'abomination to him.'— The lovers and makers of
CHAP. XX. • lies are shut out of the kingdom of Christ.
The next attribute to be spoken of, is, his merBut above all, false teachers that preach and cifulness, and his long suffering patience, which prophesy lies, and deceive the rulers and people we may set together. This is implied in his of the earth, are abominable to God. When Ahab goodness, and the relation of a Father before was to be destroyed, a lying spirit in the mouth expressed. Mercy is God's goodness inclining of his prophets deceived them. And if a ruler him to prevent or remove his creatures' misery. hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked. | It is not only the miserable that are the ob
7. Above all, false witness and perjury should jects of it, but also those that may be miserable; be most odious to the servants of the God of it being as truly mercy to keep us out of it foretruth. “A false witness shall not be unpunished, seen, as to deliver us out of it when we were in and he that speaketh lies shall perish.'—'When it. Hence it is, that “he takes not pleasure in the thou vowest a vow to God, defer not to pay it,' death of the wicked, but rather that he may turn saith David.—Tby vows are upon me, O God,' and live.' And hence it is that he afflicts not willand “unto thee shall the vow be performed.' ingly, nor grieves the children of men. Not that Perjury is a sin that seldom escapes vengeance, his mercy engages him to do all that he can do even in this life. The instances of Saul the for the salvation of every sinner, or absolutely first, and Zedekiah the last of the kings of Judah, to prevent or heal his misery; but it is his atbefore the desolation, are both very terrible. tribute, chiefly considered as governor of the raSaul's posterity must be hanged, to stay the fa- tional creature; and so his mercy is so great to mine that came upon the people for his breaking all, that he will destroy none but for their wilful a vow that was made by Joshua, and not by sin, and shut none among us out of heaven, but him, though he did it in zeal for Israel. Zede- those that were guilty of contemning it. God kiah's case you may see, in 2 Chron. xxvi. Ezek. doth not prevent the sinner with his judgment, xvii. He that swears, appeals to God as the but with his grace he often doth. He never searcher of hearts, and avenger of perjury. The punishes before we are sinners, nor ever decreed perjured person chooses the vengeance of God. so to do, as all will grant. He punishes none, He is unfit, till he repent, to be a member of where his foregoing commands and warnings any civil society. For he dissolves the bond of have bad their due effect for the prevention : all societies. He cannot well be supposed to and therefore because the precept is the first make conscience of any sin or villany in the part of his law, and the threatening is but subworld, against God, his country, his king, his servient to that, and the first intent of a governor friend or neighbour, that makes no conscience is to procure obedience, and punishing is but upon of an oath. It is not easy to name a greater supposition that he misses of the first; therewickedness out of hell, than to approve of per- fore is God said not to afflict willingly ; because jury by laws or doctrine. And whether the he doth it not, for so the distinction is found, church of Rome do so or not, I only desire them not as a law-giver, and ruler by those laws con
we live the rate olive, if
sidered before the violation ; but only as a judge | nature, temperature and constitution. How unof the law-breakers. But yet God's mercy is no speakable is the love of God, that provides so security to the abusers of his mercy; but rather sweet a life for his servants, even in their warwill sink them into deeper misery, as the aggra fare and pilgrimage in this world ; that mercy vation of their sin : as God afflicts not willingly, must be as it were the air that they breathe in, and yet we feel that he afflicteth: so if he do the food which they must live upon; and the not condemn you willingly, you shall find, if you remembrance, improvement, and thankful menare impenitent, that yet he will condemn you. tion of it, must be the business and employment
If you say, God can be forced to do nothing of their lives! With what sweet affections, meagainst his will : I answer you, that it is not ditations, and expressions should we live, if simply against his will ; for then it should never we lived but according to the rate of those come to pass : but it is against the principal act mercies upon which we live! - Love and joy, of his will, which flows from him as a lawgiver, thanks and praise, would be our very lives. or ruler by laws, in which respect it may be said What sweet thoughts would mercy breed and that he had rather that the wicked turn and live: feed in our minds when we are alone; what but yet if they will not turn, they shall not live. sweet apprehensions of the love of God, and life A merciful judge had rather the thief had saved eternal, should we have in prayer, reading, sahis life by forbearing to steal; but yet he had craments, and other holy ordinances ! Sickness not rather that thieves go unpunished than he and health, poverty and wealth, death as well as should condemn them.
life would be comfortable to us : for all is full But you will say, if God had rather men did of mercy to the vessels of mercy. O Christians, not sin, why doth he not hinder it? I answer, 1. what a shame is it that God is so much wronged, He had not absolutely and simply rather; that and ourselves so much defrauded of our peace is, so far as to do all that he can to prevent it, and joy, by passing over such abundance of great nor all that without which he foreknows it will invaluable mercies, without tasting their sweetnot be prevented: but he doth much against ness, or well considering what we receive ! sin as a law-giver, and nothing for it; he causes Had we David's heart, what songs of praise us not, but persuades us from it ; and therefore, would mercy teach us to indite! How affecas a ruler, he may be said to have rather that tionately should we recount the mercies of our men did not sin, or rather that they would turn youth and riper age ; of every place and state and live.
that we have lived in, to the honour of our gra1. The mercy of God, therefore should lead cious Lord, and the encouragement of those that sinners to repentance, and shame them from know not how good and merciful he is ! their sin, and lead them up to God in love.
But withal, see that you contemn not, or abuse 2. Mercy should encourage sinners to repent, not mercy : use it well; for it is mercy that you as well as engage them to it: for we have to do must trust to in the hour of your distresses. O with a merciful God, that hath not shut up any do not trample upon mercy now, lest you be among us in despair, nor forbid them to come in, confounded when you should cry for mercy in but continues to invite when we have often re- your extremity. fused, and will undoubtedly pardon and welcome 4. The mercifulness of God, must cause his all that return.
servants to imitate him in a love of mercy: "be 3. Mercy being specially the portion of the merciful, for your heavenly Father is merciful.'— saints, must keep them in thankfulness, love and Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain comfort: and all mercies must be improved for mercy. Be merciful in your censures : be mertheir proper ends: when a merciful God is pleased ciful in your retributions : you are none of God's to fill up his servant's lives with such great and children, if you love not your enemies, pray various mercies as he doth, it should breed a not for them that curse you, and do not good to continual sweetness upon their hearts, and cause them that hate and persecute you, according to them to study the most grateful retribution. He your power. If you forgive not men their tresshould breathe forth nothing but thankfulness, passes, but take your brother by the throat, neiobedience and praise, who breathes nothing but ther will your heavenly Father forgive you your mercies from God. As the food that men live trespasses. Mark, that even while he is called upon, will be seen in their temperature, health your heavenly Father,' yet he will not forgive, and strength; so they that live continually upon if you forgive not. Unmerciful men are too unmercies, should be wholly turned into love and like to God, to claim any interest in his saving thankfulness; it should become as it were their ! mercy, in the hour of their extreme misery. Men of cruelty, blood, and violence he abhors : and is a consuming fire. When we come to worship usually they do not live out half their days; but in the holy assemblies, we should think, as Jathey that bite and devour one another, are de- cob, · How dreadful is this place This is done voured one of another. The last judgment will other but the house of God, and this is the gate pass much according to men's works of mercy of heaven. Especially when God seems to frown to the members of Christ. “He shall have judg- upon the soul, his servants must humble them. ment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy : selves before him, and deprecate his wrath, as and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.'-Pure Jeremiah did; · Be not a terror to me. It ill religion, and undefiled, before God and the becomes the best of men, to make light of the Father, is this, to visit the fatherless and widows frowns and threatenings of God. Also when in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted he deals with us in judgment, and we feel the in the world.'— He that having this world's smart of bis chastisements, though we must regoods, seeth his brother in need, and shutteth member that he is a Father, yet withal we must up the bowels of his compassion from him, how consider that he shows himself an offended dwelleth the love of God in him ?' But above Father : therefore true and deep humiliation all cruelty, there is none more devilish than hath ever been the course of afflicted saints, to cruelty to souls. And in those that undertake turn away the wrath of a terrible God. the place of pastors, cruelty to men's souls is a 2. But above all, what cause have the ungodly far greater sin than in any others. To starve to tremble at the dreadfulness of that God, who those that they undertake to feed; and to se- is engaged in justice, (except they be converted) duce those whom they undertake to guide, and to treat them for ever as his unpardoned enemies. be wolves to those whose shepherds they pretend As there is no felicity like the favour of God; to be, and to prefer their worldly honours and and no joy comparable to his children's joys; ease, before the souls of many thousands ; to be so is there no misery like the sense of his disso cruel to souls, when Christ hath been so mer pleasure, nor any terrors to be compared to those, ciful to them, as to come down on earth to seek which his wrath inflicts without end on the and save them, and to give his life a ransom for ungodly. O wretched sinner! what hast thou them; this will one day be so heavy a charge, done to make God thine enemy? what could that the man that must stand as guilty under it, hire thee to offend him by thy wilful sin ? and will a thousand times wish, that a 'millstone had to do that which thou knewest he forbids and been hanged about his neck, and he had been condemned in his word ? What madness caused cast into the bottom of the sea,' before he had be thee to make a mock at sin and hell, and to play trayed or murdered souls, or offended one of the with the vengeance of the Almighty; what gain little ones of Christ. Be merciful to men's souls did hire thee to cast thy soul into the danger of and bodies, as ever you would find mercy with damnation? Canst thou save by the match, if a merciful God in the hour of your necessity thou win the world and lose thy soul ? Didst and distress.
thou not know who it was thou hadst to do
with ; it had been better for thee that all the CHAP. XXI.
world had been offended with thee, even men The last of God's attributes which I shall now and angels, great and small, than the most dreadmention, is, his dreadfulness or terribleness, to ful God? Didst thou not believe bim, when he those that are the objects of his wrath. This is told thee how he was resolved to judge and punthe result of his other attributes, especially of ish the ungodly? what caused thee to venture his holiness, and governing justice, and truth in upon the consuming fire ? Didst thou not know his comminations. He is a great and dreadful that as he is merciful, so he is jealous, holy, just God.'—' A mighty God and terrible.'- A great and terrible? In the name of God, I require and terrible God'— With God is terrible ma- and intreat thee, fly to his mercy in Jesus Christ; jesty.'— The Lord most high is terrible and hearken speedily to his grace, and turn at
1. His children therefore must be kept in a his reproof and warning; to-day, while it is holy awe; God is never to be approached or called to-day, harden not thy heart, but hear his mentioned, but with the greatest reverence. We voice, lest he resolve in his wrath that thou shalt must sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself, and never enter into his rest; there is no enduring, he must be our fear and dread.' Even they that there is no overcoming, there is no contending receive the unmovable kingdom, must have with an angry, dreadful, holy God: repent theregrace in their hearts to serve him acceptably, fore and turn to him, and obey the voice of with reverence and godly fear, because our God | mercy that thy soul may live.
3. The dreadfulness of God, doth tell both | bunal of God: and how dreadful it is for such a good and bad, the great necessity of a Mediator. soul to fall into the hands of the living God. At What an unspeakable mercy is it that God hath | least save your own souls, by the faithful disgiven us his Son; and that by Jesus Christ we charge of so great a duty; and if they will take may come with boldness and confidence into the no warning, let them at last remember, when presence of the dreadful God, that else would it is too late, that they were told in time what have been to us a greater terror than all the they should see and feel at last, and what their world, yea, than Satan himself. The more we latter end would prove; and that God and man did are apprehensive of our distance from God, and warn them in compassion, though they perish beof his terrible majesty, and his more terrible jus- cause they would have no compassion or mercy tice against such sinners as we have been, the upon themselves. Thus let the terribleness of more we shall understand the mystery of redemp- God provoke you, to do your duty with speed tion, and highly value the mediation of Christ. and zeal, for the converting and saving of mi.
4. Lastly, let the dreadfulness of God, prevail serable souls. with every believing soul, to pity the ungodly Thus I have briefly set before you the glass in that pity not themselves. O pray for them, O which you may see the Lord, and told you how warn them, exhort them, intreat them, as men he must be known: and how he must be conthat know the terror of the Lord. If they knew, ceived of in our apprehensions; and how the as well as you do, what sin is, and what it is to knowledge of God must be improved, and what be children of wrath, and what it is to be unpar- impressions it must make upon the heart, and doned, unjustified, and unsanctified, they would what effect it must have upon our lives : blessed, pity themselves, and cry for mercy, mercy, and for ever blessed, are those souls, that have mercy, from day to-day, till they were recovered the true and lively image of this God, and all into a state of life, and turned from the power of these his attributes imprinted on them, as to the Satan unto God. Alas, they know not what it creature they are communicable. O that the is to die, and to see the world to come, and to veil were taken from our hearts, that we all with appear before a dreadful God: they know not open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of what it is to be in hell-fire ; nor what it is to be the Lord, may be changed into the same image, glorified in heaven: they never saw or tried these from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord,' things, and they want the faith by which they ) and may increase and live in the knowledge of must be foreseen by those that are yet short of the true and only God, and of Jesus Christ, nearer knowledge : you therefore that have faith which is eternal life. Amen. to foreknow these things, and are enlightened by the Spirit of God. O pity and warn, and help the miserable! Tell them how much easier
PART II. it is to escape hell, than to endure it: and how much easier a holy life on earth is, than the end
OF WALKING WITH GOD. less wrath of the most dreadful God. Tell them that unbelief, presumption, and security, are
“ And Enoch walked with God, and he was not ; the certain means to bring them their misery, but
for God took him."--Gen. v. 24. will do nothing to keep it off; though they may keep off the present knowledge and sense of it,
CHAP. I. which would have driven them to seek a cure. Tell them that death and judgment are at hand, THE TEXT EXPOUNDED, AND THE DUTY and that when they laugh, or sport, or scorn,
DEFINED. and jest at the displeasure of the dreadful God, it is posting toward them, and will be upon Being to speak of our converse with God in them before they are aware ; and when they slum- solitude, I think it will not be unsuitable, nor ber, their damnation slumbers not : but while un- unserviceable to the ends of that discourse, if I believing sinners say, Peace, peace, sudden de- here premise a short description of the general struction will come upon them, as unexpected duty of practical godliness, as it is called in travail on a woman with child, and they shall not scripture, 'a walking with God. It is here com-escape. O tell them how dreadful a thing it is, mended to us in the example of holy Enoch, for a soul that is unregenerated and unsanctified, whose excellency is recorded in this signal charto go from that body which it pampered, and sold acter, that, ' he walked with God :'and his special its salvation to please, and to appear at the tri- reward expressed in the words following, and he
int, the Syriae, obligativ al command us to be Have the first
was not, for God took him.' I shall speak most of | a derived stream. To have the soul unfeignedly his character, and then somewhat of his reward. resign itself to him as his own; and subject it
The Samaritan and vulgar Latin versions self to him as our governor, walking in the awe strictly translate the Hebrew as we read it: but of his sovereign power; sensible of the strong the interpretation of the Septuagint, the Syriac, obligation of his laws, which reason, justice and the Chaldee and the Arabic, are rather good necessity all command us to obey. To live expositions (all set together) of the meaning of as in full dependence on him; to have the first the word, than strict translations. The Septua- and greatest respect unto him: a more obsergint and Syriac read it, · Enoch pleased God.' vant respect to him than to our rulers : a more The Chaldee hath, Enoch walked in the fear of obedient respect to him than to our masters : a God. The Arabic, "he walked in obedience to more dependent, tender, and honourable respect God.' Indeed to walk in the fear and obedience to him than to parents, or our nearest friends. of God, and thereby to please him, is the princi- Thus "he that comes to God,' as God, and so as pal thing in our walking with God. The same to be accepted of him, “must believe that he is.' character is given of Noah in Gen. vi. 19. and and (what he is in his relations to man, espethe extraordinary reward annexed: he and his cially that as our governor and benefactor) that family were saved in the deluge. And the holy he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek life which God commanded Abraham is called, him. The impress of a Deity in his essential a walking before God: "Walk before me, and and relative attributes must be upon the heart of be thou perfect. In the New Testament the him that walks with God. Yea, the being of Christian conversation is ordinarily called by the God must be much more remarkable to him, than name of walking. Sometimes a walking in the being of all creatures ; and his presence more Christ :' sometimes a walking in the Spirit, in regarded, than the presence of the creature: and which we live,' and a ' walking after the Spirit;' all things must be to us in comparison of God, sometimes a 'walking in the light, as God is in as a candle is in comparison of the sun: his the light. Those that “abide in Christ must so greatness and transcendent excellencies must so walk even as he hath walked. These phrases set overpower them all, as to make them less obtogether tell us, what it is to walk with God. served and regarded, by his taking up our chief But I think it not unprofitable somewhat more observation and regard. particularly to show you what this walking with 2. Our walking with God includes our reconGod contains.
ciliation to him, and that we are not in our naAs atheism is the sum of wickedness, so all tural state of enmity, but made his children and true religiousness is called by the name of god friends in Christ. Can two walk together unliness or holiness, which is nothing else but our less they be agreed ? Enmity is against unity; devotedness to God, living to him, and our re- disaffection causes aversion, and flying from each lation to him as thus devoted in heart and life. Other: yea, the fears of a guilty child may make Practical atheism is a living as without God in him fly from his father's presence, till there be a the world. Godliness is contrary to practical particular reconciliation, besides the general state atheism, and is a living as with and to God in of reconciliation. A provoking, faulty child doth the world and in the church, and is here called a dwell with God his Father, though under the conwalking with God. It contains in it these par- tinual terror of his frowns: but to walk with him, ticulars.
in the full sense, is more than to be related to 1. To walk with God includes the practical him, and to dwell with him : in a large sense inacknowledgment, that is made by the will as deed all God's children may be said to walk with well as the understanding, of the grand attributes him, as it signifies only a conversation, ordered of God, and his relations to man; that he is in- in godliness, sincerity and simplicity. But in finite in his being, that is, immense and eternal ; this sublimer sense, as it signifies a lively exeras also in his power, wisdom and goodness : that cise of faith, love, and heavenly-mindedness, and he is the Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier : a course of complacent contemplation, and holy that he is our absolute Lord, or owner, our most converse with God, so it is proper only to some righteous governor, and most bountiful benefac- of the sounder and more vigilant, industrious tor, or Father: that of him, and through him, believers. And hereto it is necessary, not and to him, are all things: that in him we live, only that we be justified and reconciled to God and move, and have our being : that he is the from our state of enmity, but also that we be fountain, or first cause, from which all proper pardoned, justified, and reconciled from our being, truth and goodness in the creature is but particular falls, which are more than the ordinary