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being free from passions, it being the doctrine of that sect that a wise man should be impassionate, a rude fellow spat purposely in his face; and when he was asked, whether he were not angry, answered, “ No truly, I am not angry; but I doubt whether i should not be angry at such an abuse:” but there is a God, that will not put up our contunnelies so: we strike his servants on earth, and he feels it in heaven.
It is very emphatical, which the Apostle hath to this purpose, Col. i. 24. I fill up, that which is behind, to úsepÝMeta, the Afterings of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh; intimating, that there is one entire body, as it were, of Christ's sufferings, part whereof he endured in his own person, and part he still sustains in his members; so as he cannot be free, while they suffer; Inasmuch as ye did it to one of the least of my brethren, ye did it unto me; Matth. XV. 41).
As the soul feels what is done to the body, The iron entered into his soul; saith the Psalmist: so, what is done to the faithful soul, God is sensible of, and will revenge it accordingly. What shall be done to thee, thou fulse tongue? saith the Psalmist: even mighty and sharp arrows, with hot burning coals; Psalm cxx. 3, 4. Thou hast shot thine arrows, even bitter words, against God's chosen ones; and God shall send thee sharper arrows of his vengeance, singing into thy bosom. Thy tongue hath been set on fire with contention, and hath helped to kindle it in others; and now God shall fill thy mouth with hotter coals of that fire, which shall never be quenched. Oh, then, as we tender our own safety, let us bind our tongues and hands to their good behaviour; and resolve, with the holy Apostle, To give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the Church of God; I Cor. x. 32.
Now, as the Holy Spirit of God, both in himself and in his children, is grieved with our lewd speeches and offensive carriages; so, contrarily, God and his Holy Spirit are joyed in our gracious speeches and holy conversation; Luke xv. 10. I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God, over one sinner that repenteth. Lo, this is God's joy, and the angels witness it. It is the owner, that hath found the lost groat; and that saith, Rejoice with me. How doth conscionable and godly behaviour, and holy communication, make music in heaven!
We have known many, that have thought their time well be stowed, if they could make a great man smile: Principibus pla. cuisse, &c. and, perhaps, their facetious urbanity hath not passed unrewarded. Oh, what shall we think of moving true delight to the King of Glory? It was no small encouragement to the Colos sians, that the Apostle professes he was with them rejoicing, and beholding their order; Col. ii. 5. What a comfort then njust it needs be, that the great God of Heaven is with us; and takes notice of our carriage, and contentment in it! I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience ; saith the Spirit of God to the Angel, or Bishop, of the Church of Ephesus; Rev. ii. 2; and Videndo vidi ; şaith God to Moses, concerning the Israelities; I have seen the afflictions of my people. * It is said of Anthony the Hermit, (Let no man boggle at this, that I mention a Hermit to this congregation: those first Eremites, that went aside into the wilderness, to avoid those primitive persecutions, were holy men, great saints; and of a quite different alloy from those of the present Romish Church, Mera Nominum Crepitacula, that when he was set upon by devils, and buffetted by them; as St. Paul was, 2 Cor. xii. according to learned Cameran's interpretation; after the conflict he cried out, o bone Jesu, ubi eras? 5. O Lord Jesu, where wast thou?" and received answer, Juxta te eram, &c. “ I was by thee, and looked how thou wouldst demean thyself in thy combat.” Who would not fight valiantly, when he fights in the eye of his prince?
It is the highest consideration in the world, this, “How doth God relish my actions and me?" 'The common rule of the world is, “ What will men say? what will my neighbours? what will my 'superiors ? what will posterity?” And, according to their conceits, we are willing to regulate our carriage: but a true Christian looks higher; and, for every thing he says or does, enquires after the censure or allowance of God himself; still caring that the words of his mouth and the meditations of his heart may be accepted of his God: and, if his heart tell him, that God frowns at his actions, ‘all the world cannot cheer him up; but he will go mourning all
the day long, till he have made his peace, and set eren terms be'tween God and his soul: but, if that tell him all is well, nothing in the world can deject and dishearten him; but he takes up that resolution, which Solomon gives for advice, Let thy garments be rhite, and let no oil .be wanting to thine head; go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart, for now God accepteth thy works; Eccl. ix. 7, 8.
And this consideration, as it never can be unseasonable, so is a most fit cordial for every honest and good heart, in these dismal times. We are in a sad condition; and, perhaps, in expectation of worse. The sword is either devouring or threatening. We are ready to be swallowed up with grief or fear. What should we now do?
Dear Christians, let every one of us look in what terms he stands with his God. Do we find the face of God clouded from us? let our souls refuse comfort, till we have recovered his favour, which is better than life. Do we find ourselves, upon our sound repentance, received to grace and favour of the Almighty; and that he is well pleased with our persons, and with our poor obediences; and that he smiles upon us in heaven? courage, Dear Brethren, in spite of all the frowns and menaces of the world: we are safe and shall be happy. Here is comfort for us in all tribulation; 2 Cor. i. 4. With that Chosen Vessel, we are troubled on every side ; yet not distressed: we are perplexed; but not in despair: persecuted; but not forsaken: cast down; but not destroyed; 2 Cor. iv. 8, 9: for which
cause we faint not; but, though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day; verse 16: for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; verse 18. To the full possession whereof, the God, that hath ordained us, graciously bring us, for the sake of the Son of his Love, Jesus Christ the Righteous: To whom, with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, Three Persons, and One Glorious God, be given all praise, honour, glory, and dominion, now and for evermore.
THE SEALING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
DAY OF REDEMPTION.
A SECOND SERMON IN PROSECUTION OF THE SAME TEXT, PREACHED
AT ST. GREGORY'S CHURCH IN NORWICH, JULY 21, 1644.
BY JOSEPH, BISHOP OF NORWICH.
EPH. iv. 30. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed to the
day of redemption. We have done with the Dehortation itself: and, therein, with the Act forbidden, Grieve not; and with the Title of the Subject, the Holy Spirit of God.
We descend to the Enforcement of the Dehortation, by the great merit of the Spirit of God; whereby ye are sealed to the day of redemption.
Those, that are great and good, we would not willingly offend; though mere strangers to us : but, if they be, besides, our great friends and liberal benefactors, men that have deserved highly of us, we justly hold it a foul shame and abominable ingratitude, wilfully to do ought, that might affront them. It is therefore added, for a strong dissuasive from grieving the Spirit of God, that by him we are sealed to the day of redemption. All the world shall in vain strive to do for us, what our great Friend in Heaven hath done: our lothness therefore to grieve him, must be according to the depth of our obligation to him.
Cast your eyes then a little upon the wonderful Benefit here specified: and sec, First, WHAT THIS DAY OF REDEMPTION IS; Secondly, WHAT IS THE SEALING OF US TO THIS DAY; and, Thirdly, WHY THE SEALING OP US TO THIS DAY SHOULD BE A SUFFICIENT MOTIVE TO WITHHOLD US FROM GRIEVING THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD. These three must be the limits of my speech and your attention.
I. REDEMPTION signifies as much as a Ransom: a ransom implies a Captivity or Servitude. . 1. There is a threefold CAPTIVITY from which we are freed: of Sin, of Misery, of Death.
For the First; We are sold under sin; saith our Apostle. No slave in Algiers is more truly sold in the market under a Turkish pi.. rate, than we are naturally sold under the tyranny of sin: by whom we are bound hand and foot, and can stir neither of them towards God; and dungeoned up in the darkness of our ignorance, with-' out any glimpse of the vision of God.
For the Second; the very nature of captivity implieś misery enough. What outward evil is incident into a man, which bondage doth not bring with it? Woe is me! there was never so much captivity in this land since it was a nation, nor so woeful a captivity as this, of brethren to brethren. Complaints there are good store, on both sides; of restraint, want, ill-lodgivg, hard and scant diet, irons, insultations, scorns, and extremities of ill-usage of all kinds: and what other is to be found in the whole course of this wretched life of ours, the best whereof is vanity, and the worst infinite vexa tions?
But, Thirdly, if some men have been so externally happy, as to, avoid some of these miseries; for all men smart not alike: yet ne. ver man did or can avoid the third; which is obnoxiousness to death: By the offence of one, sajth the Apostle, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; Rom. v. 18. Sin hath reigned unto death; verse . 21. It is more than an ordinance; a statute law, in heaven: Statutum est, &c. It is enacied to all mnen once to die; Heb. ix. 27., .
2. This then is our Bondage or Captivity: now comes our REDEMPTION from all these at once; when, upon our happy dissoc'' lution, we are freed from Sin, from Misery, from Death; and en ter into the possession of glory. Thus our Saviour; Lift up your heads, for the day of your redemption draweth nigh. Thus saith St. Paul; The creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, unto the glorious liberty of the sons of God; Rom. viii. 21.
It is the same condition of the members of Christ, which was of the head; that they overcome death by dying: when, therefore, the bands of death are loosed; and we are fully freed from tlie dominion of the first death, and danger of the second; and, therein, from all the capacity, not only of the rule and power of sin, but of the life and in-dwelling of it, and from all the miseries both bodily and spiritual that attend it; and when, in the same instant, our soul takes possession of that glory, which shall once, in the consociation of its glorious partner, the body, be perfectly consummated: then, and not till then, is the Day of our Redemption.
Is there any of us, therefore, that complains of his sad and hard condition here in the world; pains of body, grief of mind, agonies of soul, crosses in estate, discontentments in his family, suffering in his good name? let him bethink himself where he is: this is the time of his captivity; and what other can be expected in this case? Can we think there is no difference betwist liberty and bondage? Can the slave think to be as free as his patron? Ease, rest, liberty Emust be looked for elsewhere; but, while we are here, we must