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LLOW S H Ip with GOD.
r John i. 1. That which was from the Beginning, which
we haoe heard, which we have seen with our Eyes, which we have looked upon, and our Hands have handled of the Word of Life:
T is the great Qualifi. there is something of this Art runs cation of a Disciple, here in a divine Channel; as indeed all
or Hearer, to be at these Rules of humane Wisdom attain 1
tentive, and docile, their Perfection, when they meet with a to : be capable of divine Spirit, that elevates them to a more
Teaching, and to ap- transcendant Use. Happy was that E
ply the Mind serioufly, loquence of Paul's, and something like the to it :-It is much to get the Ear of a Man; sweer lafpiration of Angels, by which they if his Ear be gotten, his Mind is the more prevail with the Spirits of Men: Havero easily gained : Therefore those who pro- tbeless being crafiyj( faith he) I caught fessed Eloquence, and studied to per- you with Guile, 2 Cor. xii. 16. These: swade Men to any Thing, used in the were pia fraudes, whereby he used to Entry, to fall upon some Thing that might catch poor Souls out of the Pit, and pluck ftir up the Attention of their Hearers, or them out of the Fireli and he that said, I make them the more inclinable to receive will make you Fijbers of Men, caught Instruction, or catch their Favour or good them to use fome holy Devers, to present Will, which is of great Moment to Per. Some Things for the Allurement of Souls, fwalion : For it is sometimes fit to open and fo to furround and inclose them with: the Passages of the Heart by such Means, most weighty and convincing Reasons. that there may be the more easy Entry This beloved Apostle, who leaned upon for Instruction and, Perswalion. Truly Christ's Bofom, and was likely to learn.
the very Secrets of the Art of filing Soutiens pel, and the suspicifus Thoughts and Pre; you see how he goeth about the Business ; judices against the Ambassadors of it, he useth an holy Art in this Preface ; be then what would hinder to believe it? ing about to give a Re-capitulation of the The great Miseries of Men are, Inconwhole Gospel, and to make a short Sum fideration and Mifapprebenfion : Either mary of the Doctrine of it, for the more Men are fo noised with other Things, effectual Establishment and Confirmation continually buzzing in their Ears, and of Souls already converted, and for the their Hearts so pofleft with the Clamours powerful Perswalion of others to imbrace of their Lusts, and the Cries of the Things it; he used all the Skill that can be in the of this world, that they have no Leisure Entry, to dispose Mens Hearts to receive so much as to hearken patiently to this it ; like a wife Orator, he labours to blessed Sound, or id apprehend seriously make their attentos, deeiles, & bene what Weight and Moment lyes in it; volar; to stir up their Attention, to conci- and so the most Pard of Men cannot give liate their Affection, and so to make them that earnest and deep Attention that is dociley and easily reachable: He ftirs up necessarily required for this divine TeachAttention, when he shews that he is not ing; or else there are many Mistakes and to speak about trifling Hight Matters, or Misconceptions of the Gospel, which fomelow Things, or Things that do not con times arise to that Height of reasoning acern them; but concerning the greatest, gainst God, and Prejudices against them most concerning, and important things that carry this Mellage, which usually to them, even the Word of Life, in are joined together, and these stop the which, all their Life was wrapt up : Which, Ears of Men against the wiseft and inoft shough it was ancient in it self, yet with powerful Inchantment of Preaching that all i was a new Thing to the World, it gains not much Glound on them. O and To for all respects deserved to be taken that ye would once liften to the Gospel. serious Notice of. Then he conciliates Hearken and incline your Farr unto. their Benevolence and food will, by shew. me, is the Lord's first great Requeft ; ing his own good Affection towards And if once you do but seriously apply them, and his great Design in it, that it your Minds and Hearts, to see what is was only for their Good and Salvation, held out unto you, and to prove what Good that he had nothing else before him, but is in it, certainly these fure, and eřerlast
to have them Partakers with himself, in ing Mercies will Heróiftige tid fweetly the same Happiness : He had found a catch you with fouilöpand deceive yothi Jewel, and he hides it not, but proclaims filmay fayfony to your etërnal Advan. it, that all Men may have Fellowship tage. Wisdom, the Fatber's Wisdom. with him, and that is, with God, and begs but an equal hearing of you ; let her that cannot but bring in full Joy to the have but a patient Hearing, and a filent Heart. Now * Soul being made thus impartial Judgment of the Heart, and the attentive, and willing to hear, it is the best with carry it off at the Suitenfiaw : It is Disposition, that makes them moft capable lamentable that the Voice of God Mould of being taught. If those two Stayes be out-cried by Mens continual uninwere come over ; khe careless Regard terrupted Flood of Business, that fills the that is in Mens Hearts towards the Gos| Heart with a continual Noise, and keeps
to cut off all Convi&ions, and Perswalions was from the Beginning, of the to which
Men in such a constant Hurrry and Dif kind come in, or else that it be caft out as temper, that they can give Time and an Enemy, this is unequal, ignorant, and Patience to nothing else ; and this is only unreasonable Dealing, which you alone the Advantage the World and the Lufts will repent of, it may be too late, when of it have ; for if they come once under past Remedy. a sober and serious Examination, and the He propounds that which he is to speak other Party, that is Jesus Cbrist, and the in the fittest Way, for the Commendation" Word of Life, might have the Liberty of it to their Hearts : And Oh ! How vast to be heard in the inward retired Thoughts a Difference betwixt this, and the ordinary of the Heart, it would soon be found how Subject of Mens Discourses? Our Ears unequal they are, and that all their Ef- are filled continually with Reports: And ficacy confifts in our Ignorance, and their it is the usual Way of Men to delight to Strength in our Weakness; certainly hear, and to report even those Things Christ would carry it, to the Conviction that are not so delightful in themselves; of all that is in the Soul. I beseech you and truly there are not many Occurences let us give him this Attention.
in the World ( suppose you had a Diurnal He that answers a Tale before be of Affairs of all Men every Week) that bear it, 'tis a Folly and weakness to him: can give any folid Refreshment to the A Folly certainly it is to give this Gospel Heart, except in the holy Meditation of a Repulse before ye hear it: It promiseth the Vanity, Vexation, and Inconftancy Life and Immortality, which nothing else that God hath subjected all those Things doth; and you entertain other Things unto. But 'tis sad, that Christians, who upon lower Promises and Expectations have so noble and divine, so pleasant and even after frequent Experiences of their profitable Things to speak upon one to Deceitfulness : What a Madness then is another, are notwithstanding as much fubit to hear this Promise of Life in Christ, ject to that Albenian Disease, to be itchso often beaten upon you, and yet never ing after new Things continually,' and so much as to put him to the Proof of it? to spend our Time this way, to report, And to put him off continually who knocks and to hear News ; and alas, what are at your Hearts, before you will consider those Things that are tossed up and down attentively who it is that thus importunes continually, but the Follies, Weaknesses, you. O, my Beloved, that you would Impotencies and Wickedness, Ambition hear him to moth; let him speak free and Avarice of Men, the Iniquity and Imly to your Hearts, and commune with piety of the World that lies in Wickedness ? them in the Night on your Beds, in your And is there any Thing in this, either greatest Retirement from other Things, pleasant or profitable, that we should dethat you may not be disturbed by the light to intertain our own Thoughts, and Noise of your Lusts and Business ; and others Ears with them? But the subject I perswade my self, you who have now that is here intreated of, is of another Na. least mind of this Life, and Joy in God, ture ; nothing in it self so excellent, noAould find it, and find it in him : But thing to us so convenient. That
, Word of at first, and such a Guard at your Life, we declare unto you. O' how Minds, to provide that nothing of that pleasant and sweet a Voice is that which
founds froin Heaven, be those coafused him, who is the Life and the Light of Noises are that arise from the Earth ? Men; it is but a Report of the true Life, This is a Message that is come from Hea- as Jolin said, I am not tbat Ligbt, but ven, with him chat came down from it :am sent to bear. Witness of that Light, And indeed that is the Airth, from whence John i. 8. So the Gospel, tho it be good News hath come ; Gince the first called the Pover of God to Salvation, Curse was pronounced upon the Earth, Rom. i. 16. and the Savour of Life, the Earth hath brought forth nothing and tbe Gospel of Salvation, Eph. i. 13. but Thorns and Briars of Contention, yet it is not that true Life, but only a Strife, Sorrow, and Vexation : Only from Testimony and Declaration of it; it hath above hath this Message been sent to re not Life and Immortality in it felt, but new the World aguin, and recreate it, as obly the bringing of tbose to Light, and it were: There are four Properties, by to the Knowledge of Men, 2 Tim. i. 10. which this infinitely surpalies all other it is a Discovery where thefe Treasures Things can be told you. For it self it is are lying, for the searching and finding. most excellent; for i:s Endurance it is most To speak of this Word of Life, Jesus ancient ; and to us it is most profitable ; Ckrift, according to his eternal Sublistence and both in its self, and to us, it is most in the infinite Understanding of the Father, certain ; and by these the Apostle labours it would certainly require a divine Spirit, to prepare their Hearts tv serious Attenti- more elevated above the ordinary Sphere on.
of Men, and separate from that EarthFor the Excellency of the Subject that liness, and Impurity, that makes us in7 he is to declare, 'tis incomparable, for it capable of seeing that holy and pure Ma
is no less than that Jewel that is hid in jesty. Angels were but low Messengers the Mine of the Scriptures, which he, as for this; for how can they express to us, it were, digs up, and thews and offers what they cannot conceive themselves, it unto them ; that Jewel ( I say) which, and therefore wonder at the Mystery of when a Man hath found, he may sell all it? I confess, the best way of speaking to buy ir; that Jewel, more precious these Things, which so infinitely surpass than the most precious Degres and De- created Capacities, were to sit down in lights of Men, even Jesus Christ, the Silence, and wonder at them; and with Jubftantial Word of Life, who is the all to taste such a Sweetness, in the imSubstance of all the Shadows of the Old mense Greatness and infinite Mysteriour. Testament, the End of that Ministry, ness of what we believe, as might ravish the Accomplishment of the Promises, and the Soul more, after that which is unknown, that very Life of all Religion, without than all the Perfections of the World which there is nothing more vain and known and seen to the Bottom can do. empty. It is true, the Gospel is the Word This Doctrine of the holy Trinity hath of Life, and holds out Salvation to poor been propagated from the Beginning of the Sinners; but yet;it is Chirst that is the Life World, even among the Heathens, and of that Word, not only as touching the derived by Tradition from the first FaEfficacy and Power of it, but as touching thers, or the Hebrews, to neighbour Nathe subject of it; for the Gospel is a tions; and therefore they speak many diWord of Life only, because it fpeaks of vine Things of that Infinite, Supreme
Being, who is the Fountain of the whole Resemblance to poor Creatures, who Creation, and that he created all Things have many Impulses, ånd. Inclinations to by his most divine Word, and that his several Things, and are carried to Mobleffed Spirit is the Union and Bond of tion, and Action, rather from that Part both, and of all Things besides. It is which is invisible in them ; the fubtileft known what Mysteries the Pytbagoreans Parts therefore called Spirits : So the apprehended in the Number of Three, Lord applies his Almighty Power, and What Perfection they imagined to be in exerceth his infinite Wisdom, according it : So much was let out, as might either to the Pleasure and Determination of his make them without Excuse, or prepare Will, for that seems to be the immediate the world to receive readily the Light, Principle of working; therefore there is when it should be clearly revealed: It is Mention made of the Spirit, in the Creacommonly held forth, that this eternal tion of the World, He Jent out bis Spie Word, is the Birth of the infinite Under- rit, and they were created, Psal. civ. 30. ftanding of God, reflecting upon his own These are the weak and low Attempts of most absolute and perfect Being ; which Men to reach the Height of that unsearchis illustrated by some poor Comparison able Mystery; such Conjectures we to us Creatures, who form in our Minds, have of this Word of God, and his eternal in the understanding of any Thing, an in Generation, as if Trees could take upon ward Word, or Image of the Object, some them to understand the Nature of Beasts, Representation and Similitude of that or as if Beasts would presume to give an we understand“; and this is more perfect, Account of the Spirit that acts in Men; than an external vocal Expression can be ; Certainly the Distance is infinitely greater so we have a weak and finite Conception between God and us; and he muft needs of the acting of that infinite Wisdom of behold greater Vanity, Folly and DarkGod, by which he knows himself, that nels, in our cleareft Apprehensions of his there results, as it were, upon it, the Majesty, than we could find in the Reaperfect substantial Image, and the ex-lonings and Conceptions of Beasts about press Character of the Divine Elence ; our Nature. When our own Conceptiand therefore is the Son of God called, on in the Womb is such a Mystery, as the Word wbicb was with God, and the made David to say, O bow wonderfully Wisdom of the Father, because he is, as am I made, and fearfully? He saw a it were, the very Birth of his Understand curious Art and Wisdom in it, that he ing, and not only the Image of his own could not understand, and he believed an Essence, but the Idea, in which he con. infinite Power, he could not conceive, ceived, and by which he created the vi- which surprized his Soul with such unlible World. Then we use to conceive expected Matter of Wonder, as made him the Holy Ghost, as the Production of his fear and tremble at the Thought of it. blessed Will, whereby he loves, delights, I fay, when the Generation of a poor and hath Complacency in his own all- Creature, hath so much Depth of wif fufficient, all-blessed Being, which he him. dom in it, how canf' thou think to unself alone perfectly comprehends, by his derstand that everlasting Wonder of Aninfinite Understanding; and therefore cal- gels, the Birth and Conception of tbat led, tbe Spirit, a Word borrowed from eternal Wisdom of God? And if thou