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subsequent interpretation thereof, gained a reverend estimation amongst them, that he only could lead them to a desire to know, (that dark way increased their desire) and then he only satisfies them with the knowledge of those things which concerned their salvation. For these parables, and comparisons of a remote significationi, were called by the Jews, potestates, powers, powerful insinuations, as, amongst the Grecians, the same things were called axiomata, dignities; and of Christ it is said, Without a parable spake he not 52.
So that God in the Old, and Christ in the New Testament, hath conditioned his doctrine, and his religion, (that is, his outward worship) so, as that evermore there should be preserved a majesty, and a reverential fear, and an awful discrimination of divine things from civil, and evermore something reserved to bo inquired after, and laid up in the mouth of the priest, that the people might acknowledge an obligation from him, in the exposition and application thereof. Nay, this way of answering us by terrible things, (that is, by things that imprint a holy horror, and à religious reverence) is much more in the Christian church, than it can have been in any other religion; because, if we consider the Jews, (which is the only religion, that can enter into any comparison with the Christian, in this kind) yet, we look more directly and more immediately upon God in Christ, than they could, who saw him but by way of prophecy, a future thing that should be done after; we look upon God, in history, in matter of fact, upon things done, and set before our eyes; and so that majesty, and that holy amazement, is more to us than ever it was to any other religion, because we have a nearer approximation, and vicinity to God in Christ, than any others had, in any representations of their gods; and it is a more dazzling thing to look upon the sun, in a direct, than in an oblique or side line. And therefore the love of God, which is so often proposed unto us, is as often seasoned with the fear of God; nay, all our religious affections are reduced to that one, to à reverential fear; if he be a master, he calls for fear, and, if he be a father, he calls for honour; and honour implies a reverential fear. And that is the art that David professes to teach, Artem timendi, Come ye children, and hearken unto me, and I will teach you the fear of the Lord”. That you think not divinity an occupation, nor churchservice a recreation; but still remember, that the God of our saldation (God working in the Christian church) will answer you; but yet, by terrible things; that is, by not being over-fellowly with God, nor over-homely with places, and acts of religion ; which it may be an advancement to your devotion and edification to consider, in some particulars in the Christian church.
52 Matt. xiii. 34.
$3 Mal. i. 6.
And first, consider we it, in our manners, and conversation. Christ says, Henceforth I call you not servants, but friends 55. But, howsoever Christ called him friend, that was come to the feast without the wedding garment, he cast him out“, because he made no difference of that place from another.
First then, remember by what terrible things God answers thee in the Christian church, when he comes to that round and peremptory issue, Qui non crediderit, damnabiturs, he that believes not every article of the Christian faith, and with so steadfast a belief, as that he would die for it, damnabitur, (no modification, no mollification, no going less) he shall be damned. Consider to the nature of excommunication, That it tears a man from the body of Christ Jesus; that that man withers that is torn off, and Christ himself is wounded in it. Consider the insupportable penances that were laid upon sinners, by those penitential canons, that went through the church in those primitive times; when for many sins which we pass through now, without so much as taking knowledge that they are sins, men were not admitted to the communion all their lives, no, nor easily upon their death-beds. Consider how dangerously an abuse of that great doctrine of predestination may bring thee to think, that God is bound to thee, and thou not bound to him, that thou mayest renounce him, and he must embrace thee, and so make thee too familiar with God, and too homely with religion, upon presumption of a decree. Consider that when thou preparest any unclean action, in any sinful nakedness, God is not only present with thee, in that room then, but then tells thee, that at the day of judgment thou must stand in his presence, and in the presence of all the world, not only naked, but in that foul, and sinful, and unclean action of nakedness, which thou committest then; consider all this and confess, that for matter of manners, and conversation, The God of thy saloation answers thee by terrible things. And so it is also, if we consider prayer in the church.
54 Psalm xxxiv, 11.
56 Matt. xxii. 12, 13.
35 John xv. 15. 57 Mark xvi. 16.
God's house is the house of prayer ; it is his court of requests; there he receives petitions, there he gives order upon them. And you come to God in his house, as though you came to keep him company, to sit down, and talk with him half an hour; or you come as ambassadors, covered in his presence, as though ye came from as great a prince as he. You meet below, and there make your bargains, for biting, for devouring usury, and then you come up hither to prayers, and so make God your broker. You rob, and spoil, and eat his people as bread, by extortion, and bribery, and deceitful weights and measures, and deluding oaths in buying and selling, and then come hither, and so make God your receiver, and his house a den of thieves. His house is sanctum sanctorum, the holiest of holies, and you make it only sanctuarium; it should be a place sanctified by your devotions, and you make it only a sanctuary to privilege malefactors, a place that may redeem you from the ill opinion of men, who must in charity be bound to think well of you, because they see you here. Offer this to one of your princes, (as God argues in the prophet) and see, if he will suffer his house to be profaned by such uncivil abuses; and terribilis Rex, the Lord most high is terrible, and a great king over all the earth 58 ; and terribilis super omnes Deos, More terrible than all other gods". Let thy master be thy god, or thy mistress thy god, thy belly be thy god, or thy back be thy god, thy fields be thy god, or thy chests be thy god, terribilis super omnes Deos, The Lord is terrible above all gods, A great God, and a great King above all gods®. You come, and call upon him by his name here, but magnum et terribile, Glorious and fearful is the name of the Lord thy God". And, as if the Son of God were but the son of some lord, that had been your school-fellow in your youth, and so you continued a boldness to him ever after, so, because you have been brought up with Christ from your cradle, and catechised in his name, his name becomes less revered unto you, and Sanctum et terribiles, Holy and reverend, holy and terrible should his name be.
58 Psalm xLvii. 2. 69 Psalm cxv. 3.
59 Psalm xcvi. 4.
61 Deut. xxviii. 58.
Consider the resolution that God hath taken upon the hypocrite, and his prayer; What is the hope of the hypocrite, when God taketh away his soul? Will God hear his cry6s? They have not cried unto me with their hearts, when they have howled upon their beds64. Consider, that error in the matter of our prayer frustrates the prayer and makes it ineffectual. Zebedee's sons would have been placed at the right hand, and at the left hand of Christ, and were not heardø. Error in the manner may frustrate our prayer, and make it ineffectual too. Ye ask, and are not heard, because ye ask amiss 66. It is amiss, if it be not referred to his will, (Lord if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean®7.) It is amiss, if it be not asked in faith, (Let not him that watereth, think he shall receive anything of the Lorde) It is amiss, if prayer be discontinued, intermitted, done by fits, (Pray incessantly®®) and it is so too, if it be not vehement; for Christ was in an agony in his prayer, and his sweat was as great drops of blood. Of prayers without these conditions, God says, When you spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes, and when you make many prayers, will not hear you". Their prayer shall not only be ineffectual, but even their prayer shall be an abomination 7e; and not only an abomination to God, but destruction upon themselves; for, Their prayer shall be turned to sin". And, when they shall not be heard for themselves, nobody else shall be heard for them: Though these three men, Noah, Job, and Daniel, stood for them, they should not deliver them?^; though the whole congregation consisted of saints, they shall not be heard for him, nay, they shall be forbidden to pray for him, forbidden to mention, or mean him in their prayers, as Jeremy was.
When God leaves you no way of reconciliation but prayer, and then lays these heavy and terrible conditions upon prayer, confess that though he be the God of your salvation, and do answer you, yet By terrible things doth the God of your salvation answer you. And consider this
6% Psalm cxi, 4.
6* Hos. vi. 14. 65 Matt. xx. 21.
66 Jam. iv. 3.
67 Luke v. 12.
70 Luke xxii. 44.
78 Psalm cix. 7. 71 Isaiah i. 15.
74 Ezek. xiv. 14.
again, as in manners, and in prayer, so in his other ordinance of preaching
Think with yourselves what God looks for from you, and what you give him in that exercise. Because God calls Preaching foolishnes875, you take God at his word, and you think preaching a thing under you. Hence is it that you take so much liberty in censuring and comparing preacher and preacher, nay sermon and sermon from the same preacher; as though we preached for wages, and as though coin were to be valued from the inscription merely, and the image, and the person, and not for the metal. You measure all by persons; and yet, Non erubescitis faciem sacerdotis, You respect not the person of the priest?, you give not so much reverence to God's ordinance, as he does. In no church of Christendom but ours, doth the preacher preach uncovered. And for all this good, and humble, and reverend example, (fit to be continued by us) cannot we keep you uncovered till the text be read. All the sermon is not God's word, but all the sermon is God's ordinance, and the text is certainly his word. There is no salvation but by faith, nor faith but by hearing, nor hearing but by preaching; and they that think meanliest of the keys of the church, and speak faintliest of the absolution of the church, will yet allow, that those keys lock, and unlock in preaching; that absolution is conferred, or withheld in preaching, that the proposing of the promises of the Gospel in preaching, is that binding and loosing on earth, which binds and looses in heaven. And then, though Christ had bid us, Preach the Gospel to every creature?, yet, in his own great sermon in the mount, he had forbidden us, to give holy things to dogs, or to cast pearls before swine, lest they trample them, and turn and rend us 78. So that if all those manifold and fearful judgments, which swell in every chapter, and blow in every verse, and thunder in every line of every book of the Bible, fall upon all them that come hither, as well if they turn and rend, that is, calumniate us, the person of the preacher, as if they trample upon the pearls, that is, undervalue the doctrine, and the ordinance itself; if his terrible judgments fall upon every uncharitable misinterpretation of that which
15 I Cor. i. 21.
17 Mar. xvi. 15.
76 Lam. iv, 16. 78 Matt. vii. 6.