RPM, Volume 17, Number 6, February 1 to February 7, 2015

A Practical Exposition of The Lord's Prayer

VOL. r. Part 4

By Thomas Manton

Note: some of the "words" in the original text in unintelligible. We have left the original "words" just as they are presently found in the text.

Acts x. 44, it is said, 'The Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word' And then for unity: Christ hath called us into a body, not only into a family, but into a body. It was Christ's own prayer: John xvii., 'Let them be one' Disputes will not heal, but prayers may.

[-2.] For external helps. We should pray that God would give us pastors after his own heart: Mat. ix. 38, 'Pray ye the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest' Men that will discharge their duty with all faithfulness, men whose hearts are set to the building up of Christ's kingdom, labourers. And then for schools of learning. A man that hath many orchards will also have seminaries of young plants to maintain them. Schools are seminaries, without which the church falleth to decay. And then for good magistrates, to patronise and protect God's people, and promote his work with them: Isa. xlix. 23, there is a promise, 'Kings shall be thy nursing-fathers, and their queens thy nursing-mothers,' &c. Rest from persecution is a great blessing: Acts ix. 31, 'Then had the churches rest, and were edified; and walking in the fear of God, and the comforts of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied' It is a great mercy that the church hath any breathings. These are the things that we should pray for for Zion.

Thus much shall suffice to be spoken of the kingdom of Christ in a public consideration, with respect, first, to the public visible administration of the kingdom of grace.

I come now to speak of the second, viz., the public and solemn administration of the kingdom of glory; and for that I shall insist on that portion of scripture: Rev. xxii. 20, 'Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus'

Here you have

I. Christ's proclamation.

II. The church's acclamation in answer thereunto.

I. Christ's proclamation: 'Surely I come quickly' Where take notice of two things:

1. His asseveration: Surely.

2. His assertion: ' come quickly.

1. His asseveration: Surely. It is a certain truth, though we do not so easily receive it. All notable truths, about which there is the greatest suspicion in the heart of the creature, you will find them thus averred in scripture; as Isa. liii. 4, 'Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows' The dying of the Son of God is so mysterious that the Holy Ghost propounds it with a note of averment, Surely; that is, how unlikely soever it seems, yet this is a certain truth. So here the coming of Christ is a thing so future, so little regarded by epicures and atheists, that it is propounded with a like note of averment, 'Surely I come quickly' Herein secretly is our unbelief taxed, and also our confidence engaged.

2. You have his assertion: ' come quickly. Let me explain what is meant by the coming of Christ. There is a twofold coming of Christ a personal, and a virtual. Some think that the virtual coming is here meant, his coming in the efficacy of his Spirit, or in the power of his providence, to accomplish those predictions. Here are many things prophesied of, and behold, 'I come quickly;' you shall find these things presently produced upon the stage of the world. So some carry it. I think rather it is to be meant of his personal coming. There are two mystical scriptures which do express all the intercourse which passeth between God and the church in the world, and they are both closed up with a desire of Christ's coming. The Canticles is one, which declareth the communion and intercourse which is between Christ and his church; and you will find it thus closed up: Cant, viii. 14, 'Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe, or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices.' And so here, in this book of the Revelation, where are the like intercourses recorded, it is closed up with this: 'Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly.' The personal coming, I suppose, is here meant. Now Christ's personal coming, it is but twofold the first, and the second. The scripture knows of no other coming: Heb. ix. 28, 'He shall appear the second time without sin unto salvation.' It is but a fond dream to think of a personal reign before Christ's coming to judgment. They reckon without book that look for any other. There was his first coming, which was to suffer; his second coming is to reign. The first his gracious, and this his glorious coming. The former is past, and the latter is yet expected.

'I come quickly.' How shall we make good that?

[1.] In general, Christ's absence from the church is not long. Though you reflect upon the whole flux of time, from his ascension to his second coming, it is but a moment to eternity; some hundreds of years, that may be easily counted.

[2.] It is no longer than need requires. The high priest, when he was gotten within the veil, was to tarry there until his ministration was ended, until he had appeared before G-od, and represented him self for all the tribes, then he was to come out to bless the people. Jesus Christ tarrieth within the veil but until all the elect be gathered. 'He is not slack,' 2 Pet. iii. 9, but we are hasty. Our times are present with us, but we must leave him to his own time to go and come.

[3.] Christ speaks this of the latter end of the world, and then it will not be long when once he begins to set forth. The old prophecies are accomplishing apace; and how little preparation soever there seems to be for this work, it comes apace. It is said of the anti- christian state, 'Her plagues shall come upon her in one day:' Rev. xviii. 8. And of the Jews it is said, 'A nation shall be born at once:' Isa. Ixvi. 8. So much for the first part.

II. Here is the church's acclamation: 'Amen. So, Lord Jesus, come quickly.' This acclamation is double:

1. Implicit, and enfolded in the word Amen.

2. Explicit, and unfolded: 'Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly.'

1. For the implicit acclamation of the church, in the word Amen. The word sometimes is taken nominally: Rev. iii. 14, 'Thus saith the Amen, the faithful and true Witness.' He that is Amen, as it is explained there, true and faithful, that will certainly give a being to his promises. Sometimes it is used adverbially, and translated verily. It is either an affectionate desire 'Let it be,' or a great asseveration 'It shall be.' It hath in it an affectionate desire: Jer. xxviii. 6, the prophet said, 'Amen, the Lord do so, the Lord perform thy words,' &c. When he had prophesied peace to the people: 'Amen, the Lord perform thy words;' not to confirm the truth of his prophecy, but to express his own wish and hearty desire, if it might stand with the will of God. Then it expresseth a firm belief that it shall be done. Thus Christ often saith, 'Amen, verily, verily I say unto you,' by way of strong asseveration. Well, then, the church expresseth her faith and desire implicitly: Amen, Lord, that it were so; and surely, Lord, it shall be so; we believe it, and we desire it with all our hearts.

2. Explicitly: 'Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly.' From this latter clause I might observe many things.

[1.] The sweet and blessed harmony that is between Christ and the church. Christ's voice and the church's voice are unisons. Christ saith, 'I come' And the church, like a quick echo, takes the word out of Christ's mouth, 'Even so, come.' There is the same Spirit in Christ and in the church; for it is his Spirit that resides with us. Christ, he speaks in a way proper to him, by way of promise, 'I come.' And the church in a way proper to her, by way of prayer, 'Even so, come.'

[2.] I might observe that, in the close of the world, we should most earnestly desire Christ's coming. We have the advantage of former times. To us Christ saith, 'I come quickly.' Now the set time almost is come, therefore our pulses should beat more strongly in putting up this request to Christ. Tertullian shows that the primitive Christians did pray pro mora finis, that the end might not come too soon, Christ having as yet but a small interest in the world, they expecting enlargement upon earth; but we have more cause to look for the accomplishment of his kingdom in heaven. They expected the revelation of Antichrist, and we expect the destruction of Antichrist. They, that God might be known in the world; we, that he might be no longer dishonoured in the world. When great promises are near their accomplishment, there is a more lively spirit stirring in the hearts of the saints: Dan. ix. 2, 3, 'I understood by books the number of the years whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish, seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. And I set my face to the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplication.'

But quitting these notes, I shall mainly insist upon this point, viz.:

Doct. That the church, and all the faithful members of it, do really and heartily desire Christ's second coming.

They look for it, they long for it, they wait for it. They look for it: Phil. iii. 20, 'Our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.' They reckon upon it, as Rebekah espied Isaac afar off. He is gone within the veil, he is appearing before God, but he will come out again. When they see the clouds, upon these one day will our Saviour come. Then they long for it. It is their description: 2 Tim. iv. 8, 'They love his appearing.' Wicked men and guilty sinners hate and abhor it, he being to come to them as a terrible judge. Malefactors do not long for the assizes. But now the saints, who are absolved and washed in the blood of Christ, it doth them good to the heart to think of it, that one day Christ will appear in all his glory. And then they wait for it: 1 Thes. i. 10, 'They wait for his Son from heaven, even Jesus, who hath delivered us from wrath to come.' It is 'wrath to come,' something behind the coming of Christ, which makes it so terrible. Hell makes the day of judgment terrible. The devil could not endure to hear of Christ's coming, Mat. viii. 29, 'Art thou come to torment us?' &c. So wicked men have the spirit of the devil; it is a torment and bondage to them to think of the Judge's coming. But those which have their discharge, they wait for it. It supports and bears up their hearts in the midst of their present afflictions, and they go on cheerfully in their work, notwithstanding lets and troubles.

To give some reasons why the faithful members of Christ so really and heartily desire Christ's second coming. They are of three sorts:

1. Some in respect of the person who is to come.

2. Some in respect of the persons which desire his coming.

3. Some in respect of the coming itself.

I. In respect of him who is to come.

1. His person, that we may see him. The children of God have delighted to look upon him through a veil, and have had a kind of heaven upon earth from beholding his face in the glass of an ordinance. Looking upon him in the veil of ordinances hath been a mighty comfort and refreshing to them; now they would desire to see his person face to face. They know by hearsay this great Redeemer and Saviour of theirs; he wooeth them by proxy. As Eliezer, Abraham's servant, was to go abroad and seek for a match for his master's son, so the great business of the ministers of God is to set forth our Master's Son. Now the saints would fain see him. Nay, they have not only heard of him, but believed in him, and received him into their hearts. Nay, not only believed in him, but they have loved him greatly: 1 Pet. i. 8, 'Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.' It hath been a ravishing thought to them to think of Christ. And they have tasted: 1 Pet. ii. 3, 'If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious' And they have felt him in the drawings -of the Spirit; they live by his life, they have found a virtue going out from him. Now all that they desire is, that they may see this great person, who hath been their Redeemer and Saviour.

2. Consider him as in his person, so in his relations to them. Here are two titles: 'Even so, Lord Jesus.' He is Lord, and he is Jesus. He is Lord, as a master and husband; as Sarah called Abraham, Lord. As a Master: good servants will look for their master's coming: Mat. xxiv. 46. And surely such a Master should be longed for and looked for, for when he comes, he will not come empty-handed: 'Be hold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me,' Rev. xxii. 12. Here Christ's servants have their vales, but not their wages. Here they have present maintenance, that is all they have now, but then they shall have their reward and wages. Here they have their earnest, but then they shall have the full sum. Under the law masters were charged severely not to defraud their servants of their hire why? He hath lift up his soul to him; that is, in the middle of his hard labours this was his comfort: when the work of the day was over, he should have his wages and his hire at night. So you have lift up your souls to him; the great pay-day will come, and this hath borne you up in all your labours and travail of your soul. Therefore, as he is our Lord, so we should look for him. And then as our Husband; this is a sweeter relation: (The bride saith, Come,' Rev. xxii. 17. We are here contracted and betrothed to Christ: 'I will betroth thee to me,' Hosea ii. 19. But the day of solemn espousals is hereafter. Here we are betrothed to Christ in the covenant of grace; Christ hath taken a token from us, and left a token with us. He hath taken human flesh, carried our nature to heaven, that he might be mindful of us, and hath left the Spirit with us. Now there will be a longing, looking, and waiting for this day of solemn espousals. And as he is Lord, so he is Jesus, a Saviour. With what melting wishes doth the captive long for a Saviour and Redeemer! Now 'we look for a Saviour from heaven.' Christ is a Saviour now, but not a perfect Saviour to the uttermost; never till then. Therefore the day of judgment is called 'the day of redemption:' Eph. iv. 30. There is something left, that every coming of Christ might bring some benefit; something of misery left upon us to the last day. Here we have enemies within and without. Within, mighty lusts; and therefore his coming is 'like a refiner's fire,' Mai. iii. 2, 'and fullers' soap.' His first and second coming we find oft in the Old Testament put together. His coming is 'to present us holy, without spot and blemish:' Eph. v. 27. Our present state is but a convalescency, a recovery out of sickness by degrees. There is some fruit of sin left upon the body, until the day of the general resurrection, that we may have new matter of glorifying G-od just as we are entering into heaven. Therefore that every corning of Christ might bring us a new benefit, the body is to die. The old Adam is not quite abolished until God be all in all. And so for enemies without us. Here we dwell among wicked men, whose sins are a grievance to us, and whose injuries are a very great molestation and trouble. We live here, like Lot in Sodom: 'His righteous soul was vexed with their ungodly deeds' their filthy conversation. But then there will be a perfect separation between the sheep and the goats. Here we are exposed to many persecutions; here Antichrist is but consuming; there he shall totally and utterly be abolished.

II. If we respect the persons desiring this coming, there is some thing in them to move them to it. There is:

1. The Spirit of Christ.

2. Certain graces which do necessarily issue themselves into this work.

3. Certain experiences they have, which put them upon this longing.

1. There is the Spirit of Christ: 'The Spirit and the bride saith, Come,' Rev. xxii. 17. The Holy Ghost breedeth this desire in the church. Nature saith, it is good to be here; but this is a disposition above nature, the Spirit in the bride. The flesh and corrupt nature saith, 'Depart; 'but the Spirit saith, 'Come.' The great work of the Spirit is to bring us and Christ together; he comes from the Father and the Son, to bring us to the Father by the Son. All he doth is to bring Christ and the spouse together; therefore he enkindleth in the hearts of God's people a strong and earnest desire of his coming.

2. There are graces planted in us; faith, hope, love, zeal. Faith, that is the ground of this desire. Christ saith he comes quickly; and this provokes and draws up the desire to believe Christ will be as good as his word: John xiv. 2, 3, 'I go to my Father, and will come again to receive you to myself.' Christ hath ever been plain-hearted with us: he saith, 'I come; 'and the church saith, 'Amen,' in a way of faith, 'Even so, come' If Christ had gone away in discontent, and with a threatening in his mouth that we should never have seen his face more, then we could have had but cold hopes and faint desires; but he parted in love, and left a promise with us. The church and the believing soul saith, I have his word for it: he hath ever been punctual hitherto, and kept his word to a tittle, and hath said, 'I will come again.' This upholdeth the hearts of believers during his absence; for they reason thus: What need had Christ to flatter or deceive us, or promise more than he will perform? Would we flatter a worm that we can easily crush? He can strike us dead if we do not please him; he hath been true in all things, and we have ever found him plain-hearted… Then there is hope planted in the saints. Hope is faith's handmaid, it looks for that which we believe: faith determines the certainty of the thing, then hope looks for it. This grace was made on purpose that we might reach out to heaven and see if our beloved be coming, that we might expect our full and future happiness. God not only provides a glorious estate for us, but grace to expect it; he works this hope in us that we might look after it: 1 Pet. i. 3, 'He hath begotten us again unto a lively hope.' Then there is love in the saints to Christ. This is an affection of union, it desires to be with the party beloved; he desireth to be with us, and we with him. Love awakeneth earnest longings: 'Oh, come, come! why is his chariot so long a-coming? 'As a loving wife stands upon the shore ready to welcome her expected husband, so doth love in the saints; they desire to be with Christ, therefore, they long for the kingdom of God coming to themselves out of love: Phil. i. 23, 'I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ.' And upon the same ground they desire the general resurrection of the church. Especially is this inflamed with the thoughts of Christ's love to us. He hath removed his bodily presence from us, yet he cannot be satisfied until he and we meet again: John xiv. 3, 'I will come again, and receive you to myself, that where I am, there ye may be also; 'and John xvii. 24, 'And that you may be there with me, to behold my glory' Christ is not satisfied in his glorious estate until we be with him, till he hath our company, and we be beatified with the sight of him. Before his coming in the flesh, he delighted to be with the saints be fore the world was: Prov. viii. 31. And when the world was made, before his incarnation, he took pleasure to come and appear in the fashion of a man, and converse with his people in human shape. In the days of his flesh, he delighted to spend his time and busy himself among them that are faithful. And when he was to go from us, he did assure us of returning, and cannot be quiet until we be with him. So, reciprocally, and according to our measure, doth love work in us; we cannot be without Christ, therefore we long to be with him.

Then zeal is planted in the saints, and a tenderness for his glory. It is not their interest only which makes them desire his coming, but that the king may sit upon the throne, that Christ may reign in the most perfect manner, that the day of manifestation may come, that all mists and clouds which are upon his person may vanish. The saints that love the glory of God as well as their own salvation, nay, above their own salvation, are longing for that time when Christ shall be seen in all his glory, that he may be dishonoured no more, that sin and opposition may have an end. Here God hath not his perfect glory, neither from us nor from the wicked, neither from angels nor devils: not his perfect glory from us, and therefore the saints long for that time when Christ may be more admired in them; it is the comfort of their souls that God is glorified in their glory, that there will a time come when he shall be admired and glorified in their glory, and when they shall praise him for evermore, without weakness and distraction. And then the wicked, that they may oppose and dishonour him no more, that the whole course of justice may be seen in the history of the world, which shall be produced at the day of judgment; that his power may be seen, when devils and all ungodly men are trodden underfoot, and all offences taken away, and all opposite powers are abolished. First, Christ would zealously affect us to the glory of God: 'Hallowed be thy name; 'then he would have us pray, 'Thy kingdom come,' that our zeal for God's glory might make us earnest and instant for his kingdom. Then,

3. There are certain experiences that we have here which set us a-longing and groaning for this time: Rom. viii. 23, 'We which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.' When they have tasted of the clusters of Canaan, oh, they long to see the land; they long that Jesus, the captain of their salvation, the spiritual Joshua, may lead them into the good land. The church hath here enjoyed Christ in her house: 'I brought him into my mother's house,' Cant. iii. 4. Now they would enjoy him in his own house, have a more plentiful enjoyment of him. Wherefore have we a taste, but to long for a fuller banquet? Why doth God give out such a pittance, but to awaken our desires to look for more? Indeed these beginnings are sweet, and are a wonderful mercy; to hear Christ say in a promise, 'Come to me, that you may have life.' But when once they have embraced this, they will be longing for another call, for the great voice to say, 'Come, ye blessed of my Father,' &c. When Christ biddeth them welcome into the kingdom of heaven, to the crown of glory; when we can get any joy in the Holy Ghost, a little peace of con science, any sweet experience of our being cleansed from sin, this is reviving and comfortable. But why is this given, but to set us a-longing for the whole harvest? for this is but the first-fruits. It is sweet now to find pardon of sin, and any comfortable feeling of God's love in the conscience; to have any doubt resolved, any fear silenced and sup pressed; to have a glimpse of the light of God's countenance, a little elevation of the heart in duty. Now this draws on the soul to long for more; for we begin then to think, What a sweet reviving will it be when we enjoy the full of all these things! If there be but one promise now set home upon our hearts, though here we have only the right, not enjoyment; if we have but our right cleared up to a promise, it is very reviving. God gives us this experience, that we may long to enjoy the thing promised, the full possession of it. When you have gone away feasted with loves at the Lord's table, thou hast said, One hour's communion with God is better than all the world. If thy heart was melted a little in duty, if it was affected with godly sorrow for sin, it hath yielded thee more comfort than all the mirth and music which fond worldlings cheer themselves withal, than all their jollity. Now this is but given as a foretaste, as a prelibation, and to awaken our desires after more. In the Lord's Supper many times we come and drink of that cup which God hath tempered for us; this is but a dark presignification of the 'new wine we shall drink in our Father's kingdom,' Mat. xxvi. 29, and of those eternal comforts we shall have there, and those unmixed joys in the presence of Christ. Therefore, because of the tastes they have had, and those beginnings of glory, their hearts will be more enlarged and drawn out to look for more, and long for that happy time when all this shall be accomplished. III. There may be arguments taken and drawn from the coming itself, that they long for his coming. Wherefore doth Christ come? what are the ends of it? It is to manifest his love to the saints mainly, as to punish his enemies and glorify his justice.

1. I will mention the first; to gather the saints together, to draw all his scattered people into one holy body and communion: Ps. 1. 5, 'Gather my saints together unto me, those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.' Now they are scattered up and down, as God hath service for them to do; one here, another there: they are spread in several places, where they are like two or three berries in the upper most top of the bough. That psalm is generally acknowledged to be spoken of the day of judgment; then they are gathered to meet in one great assembly. The psalmist speaks of 'the great congregation of the righteous,' where the 'sinners shall not stand: 'Ps. i. 5. At that great day when Christ comes, all the saints shall make but one assembly and one congregation. As the wicked shall be bundled together, and the tares cast into unquenchable fire, so all the saints shall be gathered together into one great assembly, and this glads their hearts. Therefore we are not feasted to the full, because we have not all our company; all the guests do not meet together until the day the Son of God comes to bless the elect.

2. He comes to proclaim our pardon, and to pronounce the sentence of our acquittance juridically in court, as judge upon the throne. Our pardon is passed and sealed as to conscience, then he will blot out all our sins; therefore it is said, Acts iii. 19, 'That your iniquities may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.' He comes then to comfort and refresh the souls of the saints, by proclaiming their pardon in the ears of all the world. To whomsoever the throne of Christ is terrible, it should not be terrible to the saints: if he comes as a judge to them, he comes to acquit them upon the throne; he means no trouble to them.

3. He comes to crown us. Certainly there is a longing for this day and coming; for what is his work? He comes to crown the saints: 2 Tim. iv. 8, 'Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day' Then he comes to put the crown of righteousness upon our heads, and invest us with all the fruits of his purchase; then the godly Christian comes to have his crown: 1 Pet. v. 4, 'When the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory, that fadeth not away.' He that hath been careful to honour God in his relation, then the great Shepherd comes to put the crown of glory, which fades not away, upon his head.

Are the children of God always in this frame, as to desire his coming? Many tremble at the thoughts of it, and can have no com fort, for want of assurance of God's love; and many times the saints do not feel such inclinations, and such ardent and strong desires.

I answer:

1. The meanest saint hath some inclination this way; he cannot but desire Christ should come into his heart and bless him, in turning him from his sins; and that he should come to judgment, since com fort and reward is more naturally embraced than duty. Whoever is begotten to God, is 'begotten to a lively hope,' 1 Pet. i. 3; his heart is carried this way, though not with so much strength and lively motions as others are. Yet I grant,

2. Sometimes there may be a drowsiness and indisposition, when their lamps are not burning, when they are grown careless and fallen asleep; as the wise virgins slept, as well as the foolish, by a sluggish security. And the saints may find themselves indisposed, possibly by the remission of their watchfulness; they may contract an indisposition, yet there is a spirit stirring this way, which begins with the new birth, and still continues, though it doth not always alike put forth itself. A wife desires her husband's coming home, yet it may be all is not in such good order. Now, all Christians desire the coming of Christ; but they are not so watchful, therefore are not so lively. Security brings deadness, until God awakens them by some sharp affliction. The needle that is touched with the loadstone yet may a little be discomposed and turned aside, but it settles again. This is the right posture and frame of a gracious soul, to be thus earnestly bent and carried out after the coming of Christ.

3. I answer again: The church doth really and heartily desire this coming, though they may tremble at some circumstances of it. When we think of this great day, and of the book that shall be opened, and the impartial proceedings, there is some degree of bondage still left in the saints, that doth a little weaken their confidence and bold ness. 1 John iv. 18 we are told: 'Perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath torment' Until our graces are perfect, there is something of fear.


Use 1. To reprove those that do not desire the coming of Christ, but put off the thoughts of it. Why? Because it casts a damp upon their fleshly rejoicing; which put far away the day of the Lord, the evil day,; it is so to them: Amos vi. 3. They wish it would never come, and would be glad in their hearts to hear such news. Why? For Christ's coming is their torment and burden; they look upon it as a day of vengeance and an evil day, therefore are loth to entertain the thought of it. Saith Austin, 'Canst thou pray that the kingdom of God may come, when thou art afraid the kingdom of God should come? 'A carnal man cannot say the Lord's Prayer without being afraid; they tremble at the remembrance of it; they are afraid it should be true, and afraid to be heard. If it might go by their voice, Christ should never come. The voice of corrupt nature is, 'Depart from us; and what can the Almighty do for them? 'Job xxii. 17. Or if they do desire it, it is but in a slight, formal manner; as those in the prophet that would see the day of the Lord, yet they could not bear it: Amos v. 18, 'Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord; to what end is it for you? The day of the Lord is darkness, and not light' They little consider what they are doing, and what is their danger, when they are making such a prayer to God, 'Thy kingdom come.'

Use 2. For trial. How are you affected towards the coming of Christ? Are you carried out with such an inclination and bent of heart, as the day of your perfection, and the day of your solemn enjoyment of God, requireth? Is the bent of your heart carried out to things to come? If there be looking, then there would:

1. Be a preparing. A man that expects and desires the coming of a great person to his house will make all things ready, is careful to furnish himself; when all is sluttish and nasty, and nothing of pro vision, do you look for your guest? What have you done as to the day of Christ's coming? Have you judged yourselves? 1 Cor. xi. 31, 'If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.' Have you ever seriously passed sentence upon yourselves, according to the law, that you may be found in Christ? Horn. viii. 1, 'There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ.' That you may have Christ's righteous ness to bear you out in that day against Christ's judgment? Are you so as you would be found in him? Do you 'live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world '? Strict walking is a pre paring and providing for this day; you do but provide for terror when you give way to sin: 2 Pet. iii. 10, 11, 'The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; therefore what manner of persons should ye be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God?' We should be trimming up our lamps.

2. What kind of entertainment do you give to Christ now? Do you entertain him for the present into your hearts, in his ordinances? A woman that never cares to hear from her husband, doth she long for his coming? Oh, be careful now to get Christ into your hearts!

3. What doth this expectation produce? what revivings in the fore thoughts of it? John viii. 56, 'Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad.' He means the day of his incarnation, the day of his abode in the world. Abraham foresaw, by the eagle eye of his faith, through all mists, clouds, veils, and ceremonies; he got a sight of Christ's day, and it did him good at heart. Do the apprehensions of it make your hearts spring and leap within you for joy? What groanings longings, what dealing with God about it doth it produce? Horn. viii. 19, 'For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.' What support and strength doth it give you against the burdens and sorrows of this pre sent life, to remember Christ will come?

Use 3. To press us to this sweet affection and disposition of the saints. I might mention the profit of it; this longing, looking, and waiting for the coming of Christ, it will make us heavenly in our conversation. Christ is there: where should we converse most but where Christ is? And it makes us faithful in improving our talents: 'Our Lord will come, and reckon with his servants,' Luke xix. 15.

Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

WE are come to the third petition, which is fitly subjoined to the former. In the preface we own our relation to God, 'Our Father.' In the first petition we express our care of his glory; in the second, our desires of his kingdom; and now we beg obedience to his will. We may judge of our respect to his name and kingdom by our obedience to his will, without which we neither sanctify his name nor submit to his kingdom. The kingdom of God implieth two things, his government over us, or the privileges which we enjoy thereby.

1. As it is taken for his government over us, so there is a fair connexion between these two requests. Before, we pray that God would rule us, and now, for a soft and pliable heart, that we may be ruled by him. Christ is not our king when we do our own will. These two are distinct; government is one thing, and obedience to it another: as, Mat. vi. 33, 'The kingdom of God,' and 'the righteousness thereof' they are distinguished. The kingdom of God we plead for in the second petition, and here for the righteousness thereof; that Christ may not be a titular prince and sovereign, as certainly he is, when we do our own will. Every sovereign stands upon his own will, and the more absolute, still the more his will is to be looked upon as a law and rule. Now, God being so absolute a sovereign, it is but fit his will should be done in the perfectest manner: 'Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.'

2. If you take the kingdom of God for the privileges of his govern ment, especially if they be considered in their consummation and final accomplishment, for that which the scripture calls the kingdom of God, by doing God's will we enter into his kingdom: see Mat. vii. 21 , 'Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.' It is not the blandishment of a spiritual compliment, but a true and hearty subjection to the will of God', that availeth in God's kingdom, and is intended by this petitionary clause, 'Thy will be done.'

Here consider I. The substance of the petition. II. The circumstances thereof.

The substance of the petition, 'Thy will be done.' The circumstances are two: The place where, which indeed intimateth the per sons by whom, by men here 'upon earth' Then the manner is set down in a comparison, 'Upon earth, as it is in heaven'

Let me first open these passages, then observe somewhat.

I. The substance of the petition, 'Thy will be done;' and there:

1. The matter about which it is conversant, the will of God.

2. The request about it, Thy will be done.

First, The matter of the request, Thy will. God's name was under consideration in the first petition, his kingdom in the second, and now his will. And then here is a note of appropriation, Thy will, in contradistinction to all others.

God's will, it signifieth two things, either his decree concerning future events, or else that which God hath revealed concerning our duty his intended or commanded will. The first is spoken of, Rom. ix. 19, 'Who hath resisted his will?' that is, his decree and his purpose; and the second, his revealed pleasure concerning our duty, is spoken of, 1 Thes. iv. 3, 'This is the will of God, even your sanctification.' The will not of his purpose, but it is his law, his revealed pleasure. Now it is not meant here of God's decree or secret will. Why? God's secret will, that is not known, therefore how can it be done upon earth? To that all are subject, reprobates, devils. But here this petition speaks of a will which is to be done in conformity to the good angels. Again, we may, without sin, will that which God wills not by his secret will, as the life of a sick parent, which God purposeth to take away. Nay, a man may fulfil this secret will and yet perish for ever, as Judas, and many which break his commandments and yet fulfil his decrees, that do that which God had deter mined before to be done in his secret purpose; as it is said, Acts iv. 28, 'To do that which his hand and counsel had determined before to be done.' Therefore his secret will is not here meant, but the will of God revealed. Therefore let me here distinguish again: The will of God is revealed two ways, in his word and in his works; the one to be done by us, the other to be done upon us: the one is Voluntas de nobis, God's will concerning us; the other, Voluntas in nobis, God's will in us, and to be done by us; the one maketh way for our active, the other for our passive obedience. Our active obedience hath respect to his laws and commands, but our passive to his providence. We show as much obedience in the one as in the other, in patience as in holiness: for as in holiness we own God as the supreme lawgiver, so in patience we own him as the supreme Lord, that hath a dominion over all events and all things which fall out in the world. In the one, we pray Ut nihil Dei displiceat nobis, that nothing which comes from God may provoke us to unseemly passion; in the other, we pray Ut nihil nostrum displiceat Deo, that nothing which comes from us may provoke God by unseemly and undutiful carriage. We principally pray for the latter here, that we may fulfil his will revealed in the word, and yet the other cannot be excluded. Take but this reason, because the saints in scripture express their subjection to God's providence in words very agreeable to this request, to the form of this petition; as those believers, when they saw God had determined Paul's journey to Jerusalem, when he went bound in the Spirit, notwithstanding the dangers of it, and their loss by his departure, they said, 'The will of the Lord be done' Acts xxi. 14. And Christ himself, speaking of his passion, Mat. xxvi. 39, 'Not as I will, but as thou wilt: 'and 'not ray will, but thine, be done' Luke xxii. 42. So that we pray both for the one and the other, though with a plain difference. Why? For our active obedience must be even without a conditional desire that the commands of God should be repealed; we cannot so much as desire God should disannul his law, and repeal those statutes he hath enacted. Yet we may desire conditionally, if God see fit, the removal of our affliction, and that condition of life to which we are determined by his providence: 'The commandment is not grievous 'in itself, 1 John v. 3, yet the affliction in its own nature is grievous, Heb. xii. 11. We may desire more knowledge of God's law, yet we may not desire more experience of affliction; the one is more absolutely necessary than the other. We are not only to obey actively, but to love the commandments of God, and to have our hearts carried out in a greater esteem, and to prefer them before liberty itself; but I doubt whether we are so concerning our afflictions, to prefer them before freedom and exemption, and the welfare of our nature.

Well, then, you see what is meant by the will of God, which is the matter about which this is conversant.

Then here is the note of appropriation, Thy will, in opposition to our own will, the will of Satan, the wills of men.

[1.] To our own will, which is the proudest enemy Christ hath on this side hell, and the cause of all the mischief which doth befall us. The great contest between us and God is, whose will shall stand, God's will, or ours? In every sin we slight the will of God, and set up our own. We 'despise the commandment' 2 Sam. xii. 9: not grossly and formally; David did not slight the commandment, and say, 'Tush! it is a foolish law;' but by necessary interpretation we slight the law of God, and set up our own will. Therefore, when we pray that God's will may be done, we do in effect renounce our own will, those 'wills of the flesh and mind' Eph. ii. 3, which the apostle speaks of; so it is in the Greek. The soul is never renewed until the will be renewed, till the will be broken. And therefore self-denial is made one of the first principles of Christianity, the denying of our own will. The will is the leading part of the soul. Though the new creature begins with the mind, yet it comes not to any perfection, it is not formed until the will be subdued to God, until grace be seated in the heart. When a man treadeth on a dry hide, one part or other will be apt to rebound and leap up against him, till he stands in the middle and centre: so, until grace be seated in the heart, corruption will recoil. When a bird's wings are broken, it can fly no longer; so when the will is subdued, then the work of grace begins. The mind is the counsellor, but the will is the monarch and prince, which sways and rules all in the soul. Again, the will is more corrupted than the mind; the understanding is much blinded, but the will is more depraved. The mind hath a little light, and is apt to take God's part sometimes, by suggesting good motions; but the will doth more abhor and refuse good than the understanding is ignorant of it. "We are convinced often when not converted. Therefore this is the main thing, that our corrupt wills may be subdued to God: Let thy will be done, not our own.

[2.] Thy will, in opposition to Satan's will. Our lusts are called his lusts: John viii. 44, 'The lusts of your father the devil ye will do' They are of his inspiring, of his cherishing; the grand incubus of hell is the father of these brats and sinful productions. So, 2 Tim. ii. 26, the Holy Ghost speaks of carnal men, that they are 'taken captive by Satan at his will 'and pleasure.' Wicked men are at Satan's beck, and they do his will. The devil sets such a lust at work, the man obeys presently: the devil stirs such lusts by his arts and engines, and observes such a lust will be most prevalent at such a time; the man is taken by Satan's will. Now, Thy will, &c., we desire the Lord's grace, that we may not comply with the devil's motions.

[3.] Thy will, in opposition to the wills of men: 1 Pet. iv. 2, 'That he no longer should live to the lusts of men, but to the will of God;' not according to the wills of men, but according to the will of God. In our natural state we are apt to be swayed by the lusts and humours of others, according as the posture of our interest is determined; and therefore it is a good piece of self-denial to cease from the lusts of men, from the humours and customs of those whom we fear and from whom we hope. And until we cease from men, in vain do we expect to serve God.

Thus for the matter about which this request is conversant, 'Thy will.'

Secondly, Here is the request itself, Be done; what doth this imply, when we say, 'Let thy will be done '?

[1.] We beg a heart to do it: Deut. v. 29, 'Oh that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always! 'It is not enough to set ourselves to do what God hath commanded; but we must get a renewed, sanctified heart.

[2.] We beg skill to do it: Ps. cxliii. 10, 'Teach me to do thy will, for thou art my God.' We beg that God would teach us, and lead us forth in the obedience of his will.

[3.] We beg strength to do it. It is said, Heb. xiii. 21, 'The God of peace, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work, to do his will.' We beg strength, that we may do what is pleasing in his sight. In our will there is a double mischief; it is opposite to and averse from God: Horn. viii. 7, 'The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.' And it is strongly inclined to other things; and this both by nature and by evil custom. There is an aversion from God, which is natural, and which is increased by custom; there fore it is God must give us a heart to do his will, and skill and strength. Thus God he must draw us off from other things, which is called the 'circumcising of the heart' Deut. xxx. 6. He must draw us off, and he must draw us on too. As he pares away the foreskin, the fleshiness which cleaves to our hearts, and inclineth us to seek our own will, in hunting after pleasures, honours, profits: so doth the Lord draw us to himself: Cant. i. 4, 'Draw me, and we will run after tb.ee'

II. Let us come to the circumstances of the petition, 'In earth, as it is in heaven'

First, The place, wherein also the persons are noted, in earth, that is, by the men which live upon earth. Why is this mentioned, on earth?

[1.] The earth is a place of our exercise and trial, and now is the time to show our self-denial and our obedience to God, to deny our own will and do the will of God: John xvii. 4, 'I have glorified thee upon earth' This is a work that must not be suspended until we come to heaven; it will not be thankworthy then, when there is no interruption, no trouble, no molestation there: but here, 'I have glorified thee on earth,' where so few mind the work, and where there are so many distractions and temptations to divert us.

[2.] The earth is the only place where this work is begun, or else it shall never be done hereafter: instance in anything that is the will of God. Here we must believe, or there we shall never enjoy: Luke ii. 14, 'Peace upon earth.' Now God offereth grace, and now it is his will we should come out of our sins, and accept of Christ to the ends for which he hath appointed him. And here we must be sanctified, else we shall be filthy for evermore. Corn grows in the field, but it is laid up in the barn. Now is the time of minding this work, here upon earth.

[3.] That while we are upon earth, we might long for that happy estate we shall have in heaven, wherein we might serve God. There fore Christ in his prayer would have us think how r God is glorified and obeyed there, that we might send up hearty wishes after that perfect estate, when we shall serve God without weariness, and with out distraction.

[4.] Upon earth, to show that we pray not for those in the other world, but for those upon earth. We do not pray for the saints departed, they are out of harm's way, past our prayers, being in their final estate. We pray not for the dead, but for the living. Thus for the first circumstance in this petition, the place where.

Secondly, There remains nothing but the last, and that is the manner how this is to be done: 'As it is in heaven.' Chrysostom observes that this clause may be referred to all the former petitions: 'Hallowed be thy name upon earth, as it is in heaven;' 'Thy kingdom come upon earth, as it is in heaven.' But certainly most proper it is to the matter in hand. But what is the sense? How is God obeyed in heaven?

There are in scripture three heavens, the airy heaven, the starry heaven, and the heaven of heavens. In all these heavens God's will is done. God is obeyed in the lower heaven, you shall see in Ps. cxlviii. 8, 'fire, hail, snow, and vapours, stormy winds, fulfilling his word' Winds and storms, and all those things which seem to be most tempestuous and unruly, to be the disorders of nature, they are at God's beck. Then in the starry heaven, ver. 6, 'He hath made a decree which shall not pass: 'they are under a law and statute, and are not exorbitant and eccentric, do not alter their path; the sun riseth, sets, and knows the just point of his compass. But it is chiefly meant of the heaven of heavens, where angels and blessed spirits are, and they obey God perfectly: Ps. ciii. 20, 21, 'Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts, ye ministers of his that do his pleasure.' The angels do his commandments, and are hearkening to the voice of his word, are at God's beck, to be sent up and down, to ascend and descend as God will have them; so with respect to this doth Christ say, 'Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.'

But here, again, why is this added, As it is in heaven?

1. To sweeten our subjection to God's will. We upon earth are not held to a harder law and task than they in heaven. The angels, they are not sui juris, at their own dispose: they have many privileges above man, yet have no exemption from homage and duty to God. They have an exemption and freedom from trouble, and sickness, and disease, and the necessities of meat and drink, and all the molestations and infirmities of the flesh which we lie under, but are not freed from the will of God, but they obey his commandments, hearkening to the voice of his word. These courtiers of heaven are servants of God, and fellows with us in the same obedience; none is too great to obey God. The angels, which excel in strength, they obey his will, and so must we; nay, they obey his will with a holy awe and fear, that they may not displease him in the least; for it is said of Michael the archangel, Jude 9, that 'he durst not bring against the devil a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.' He had not boldness to speak one uncomely word, 'or one unseemly word, to do anything that was displeasing to God.

2. As to sweeten our obedience, so to show us the reasonableness of this obedience. We would have the happiness of the angels, and, therefore, certainly we should come into a fellowship in their duty; it is but equal we should imitate their holiness. If we would have communion with them in glory, we should have communion also with them in grace. Mat. xxii. 30, it is said, we shall be isaggeloi, 'like the angels of God.' We seek after the same glory and happiness which they have: to stand before the Lord and to behold his face; that is their happiness. Surely if we would have the reward of angels, which we upon earth are aspiring and looking after, it is but equal we should do the work of angels, and write after their copy.

3. Therefore doth Christ use this comparison, that we might not miscarry by a low example. How apt are we to follow the track, and to take up with an easy and low rate of obedience: Luke xviii. 11, that put great confidence in that, 'God, I thank thee I am not as other men.' Now because we have few good examples in the world, and those we have have their spots and defects, and are very susceptible of evils, and apt to miscarry by them, therefore Christ would carry us up to look after a heavenly and celestial pattern; he propoundeth the angelical perfection as a pattern and example. He that shoots at a star, will shoot higher than he that aims at a shrub: surely the higher the pattern that we aim at, the greater will our obedience be. Wicked men they think that everything is enough in religion, though it be never so little; but the godly cannot so easily satisfy themselves, they are pressing and hastening on more and more.

4. To teach us that we are not only to look to the quid, but to the quomodo; not only to what we do, but also in what manner we yield obedience to God; therefore Christ would not teach us to pray only, 'Thy will be done,' but 'as it is in heaven' in such a manner. God respects not only the doing of what he hath required, but also the manner of it, that we may not only do good, but well; it is the adverb which crowns the action. We are to consider with what heart we go about it: Prov. xvi. 2, 'The Lord weigheth the spirits.' That which he putteth into the balance of the sanctuary is, with what spirit, with what heart, we go about the work; that is it he weigheth and regardeth. Now that we may look not only to the matter of obedience, but also to the manner how we do it, therefore doth Christ give us this pattern.

Object. But you will say, Our obedience is accompanied with many defects and infirmities; therefore, how can we serve God as the angels do in heaven? How shall we take comfort in our obedience if this be our pattern?

I answer:

1. Though we cannot do it in the same measure, yet we should do it in the same manner; though there be not an exact equality, yet there should be some answerable resemblance. Our obedience should not be wholly different in the kind and manner of it from theirs which serve God in heaven, though for the degree and rate we cannot come up to their pattern.

2. Though we do not attain to this perfection in this life, yet we must aim after it, long for it, and pray for it. Aim after it, not sluggishly content ourselves with any low degrees of obedience, but aim at the highest. And to long for it: there is a time coming when we shall be perfect; when we shall be not only as the angels are, but as Christ is: 'We shall be like him,' 1 John iii. 2. And we pray for that on earth which is expected in heaven; we pray for what we do expect from the final and consummate estate, when we shall be as the angels of God, and perfectly do his will.

I come to the points; they are three:

1. It concerns them very much that would in prayer own God as a father, and pretend a respect to his glory and kingdom, to see that his will be done here upon earth.

2. It is the Lord that giveth to will and to do those things which are pleasing in his sight.

3. God doth not only look to this, that his will be done, but to the manner how it is done.

I. It concerneth them very much that would in prayer own God as a father, and pretend a respect to his glory and kingdom, to see that his will be done here upon earth.

I shall prove it:

First, By the arguments intimated in the point.

1. As we pray to God, we should see his will be done, upon a double account as real and successful.

[1.] As we would express a reality and sincerity in prayer. They mock God that pray they might do his will, yet have no care to do it, that declaim against their lusts, yet hug them and keep them warm in their bosoms. We oftener pray from our memories than our consciences, and oftener from our consciences than our affections.

From our memory, as we repeat words by rote, without sense, or feeling, or consideration of the importance of them. From our consciences, rather than affections. Austin observes of himself: while he was under the power of his lusts he would pray against concupiscence, but his heart would say, A t noli modo, timebam enim ne me exaudiret Deus; 'But, Lord, not yet; for I am afraid lest God should hear me' Conscience tells us that such things must be done and asked; thus we put a little of our conscience in prayer, but nothing of affection and serious desire. Many would be loth God should take them at their words, when they seem to resign up them selves to his will, and think of parting with their lusts; it is bitter and irksome to them: as Phaltiel, Michal's husband, 'went after her, going and weeping' 2 Sam. iii. 16. Now if we would manifest our prayers to be real, we should labour to perform the same; otherwise we are but like those soldiers which spat upon Christ and buffeted him, yet cried, 'Hail, King of the Jews;' so it is but a mockage to say, 'Thy will be done' yet have no care to do it: Mat. xv. 8, 'This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.' There is no reality in the prayer, whatever be in it, if the heart be not in it. Some men's prayers are but the fruit of wit and memory; others but the result of their judgments, what is fit to be done, rather than of their hearts, what they desire to be done: and they are only good so far as they do more solemnly express God's right, not their inward desires.

[2.] If we would have our prayers successful. Ps. Ixvi. 18, 'If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me' Clearly, if we will not do God's will, there is no reason he should regard our will. If I regard iniquity in my heart, there may be sin in the heart; but if I regard it there, God will not hear me, if I entertain an affection to it. When the wind blows, some cold air will get into the chamber, though the door be shut never so close; but to leave the door open for it doth not argue such a care of health as is requisite. There will be sin in the children of God, but it is not allowed. Love to any known sin makes our prayers to God to be without success. So Prov. xxviii. 9, 'He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination' God useth often the law of retaliation, will pay home sinners in their own coin: we will not hear him, therefore he will not hear us. The same argument we have to urge to God in prayer, that God hath to urge to us for duty and obedience. What argument will you use to awaken your confidence and affection? 'By the blood of Christ we have boldness to come to him,' Heb. x. 19, and Eph. iii. 12. This is not only an argument to be urged in expectation of mercy, but also in the enforcement of duty, when God beseecheth you by the bowels of Christ to do his will, and to mind his work. If the blood of Christ cannot prevail with us, to bring us up to the will of God, how can we expect it should prevail with God to bring us in returns of blessing? When God speaks we slight him, therefore when we speak God may cast off our prayers.

God speaks more wisely to us than we can to him; we stammer, and lisp, and speak foolishly in our prayers to God. There is far more reason why we should hear God than God hear us; for there is more equity in his precepts than there is reason in our prayers, and we are bound to obey God's will more than he is to grant our request; and therefore if we would not have God turn away his ear from our prayers, we should not turn away our ears from hearing his law and counsel: John ix. 31, 'Now we know that God heareth not sinners; but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.' It is a general maxim, Those which were ready to deprave Christ's actions were possessed of the truth of this: 'If any man worship him, and do his will, him he heareth,' John ix. 31. It is not enough to keep up a form of worshipping, but we must be tender of his will; that is the way to get a gracious answer. Thus as we pray we are bound.

2. As God's children, so we must do his will: Mai. i. 6, 'If I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, Where is my fear? 'Relations to God are not bare titles and grounds, whereby we may expect favour from God; but they carry in their bosom obligations to duty on our part. Many will give God good words and fair titles, but there is no care had of complying with his will. Nay, your owning that relation will aggravate your sin, and be a witness against you. You owned me your father, and have not done my will. So Mat. xii. 50, 'Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.' These may be sure of a comfortable relation to God, and that God will own them in that claim, when they make it their business to do his will; otherwise you reproach God rather than worship him. When you do your own will, and call God Father, you lay the devil's brats at his door; you pretend to God, and take his name upon you; therefore those that say, 'Our Father,' must also say, 'Thy will be done'

3. Those that would have respect to God's glory must do his will. This is the honour of God, when you are at his command. God gloried in Abraham; rather Cyrus than Abraham is there meant, as the context shows: see Isa. xlvi. 11. Isa. xli. 2, 'The man from the east, whom I have called to my foot.' When you are at his beck, ready to go step by step with God, as God leads you, you are ready to follow. It was the honour of the centurion that had his soldiers at such a command, that 'when he said to one, Go, he went; and to another, Come, and he came,' Mat. viii. So it is God's honour, when he can bid you do nothing but you are ready to obey, though with the greatest hazard and loss of all.

4. Our subjection to his kingdom. God stands upon his authority. What is a king without obedience? Christ is never received as king but where his will is obeyed, otherwise we mock him with an empty title. The high priest's servants said, 'Hail, King of the Jews,' in mockage; thus it is to own him as king, when we will not yield obedience. Then do we desire that his kingdom may come indeed and in power, when we resolve to do his will, to love as God will have us, and hate, fear, and hope as God will: Ps. cxliii. 10,: Thou art my God; teach me to do thy will.' If you own God as sovereign, you must be in subjection to his will. Thus this prayer will yield us arguments, as we own him as a father, as we profess respect to his glory and kingdom.

Secondly, I shall bring other arguments to persuade this, to make conscience of God's will.

1. The example of Christ Jesus, who wholly yielded up himself to the will of God; and wilt thou stand upon thy terms? John v. 30, 'I seek not mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.' Christ did not seek to please his human, his own natural will, but the will of his Father. This is true religion, to be like him whom we worship. Now, we are never like Christ until we make doing of God's will to be the great business of our lives. Wherefore doth he come into the world? He tells you; to do his Father's will: Luke ii. 49, 'Wist ye not that 1 must be about my Father's business? 'This was his sole employment; so it should be ours, if we have the same mind which Christ had.

2. Consider God's right. We are not at our own dispose, but at the Lord's use. God hath a right in us, as he created us. The perfection of everything lieth in fulfilling the Creator's will, for that is the end wherefore they were made. The creatures 'are all thy servants, and continue this day according to thine ordinances,' Ps. cxix. 91. We owe our being, and all we have, from him. We see among men dependence begets observance; a man that lives upon another will be careful to please him. Thou boldest all by the indulgence and bounty of God, therefore it should be thy study to do his will. Jesus Christ hath bought thee: 1 Cor. vi. 20, 'Glorify the Lord in your souls and bodies, which are God's.' That is God's which he hath bought. A servant that was bought, when men were sold for slaves, he was his master's money; so his strength, time, service belonged to his master. We are God's, because he hath bought us, therefore we cannot live as we will; for this is the property of a servant, that he cannot live as he will. Again, as God hath begotten us anew, regenerated us, what is the aim of his grace? 'That we should no longer live in the flesh, to the lust of men, but to the will of God,' 1 Pet. iv. 2. It is the aim of grace to cure the disorders of the will, and to bring us to a stricter bond of duty and service to God. And indeed if grace hath had its fruit and power upon you, you will give up yourselves to God. Cant, vii. 10, 'I am my beloved's.' You are your beloved's, to be used by him as he pleaseth. So that unless you will retract your vows, you will make conscience of doing the will of God, for he hath a manifest right in you.

3. Consider our own incapacity. There is great reason why our wills should be given up to the will of God, because we are not able to 'manage them ourselves. By the law of nations, fools and madmen must have a guardian; they have lost the dominion and power over themselves, they are to be ruled by another, they are slaves by nature, that must be guided by another: Tit. iii. 3. We are all by nature fools, and it is the greatest mischief that can be to be left to our own wills; and therefore, when God requireth the resignation of our wills, it is but as the taking of a sword out of a madman's hand, which will be the cause of his own mischief and ruin. Nemo Iccditur nisi a seipso, 'No man is hurt by any but himself, though he maybe troubled by others.' Now, since we cannot manage our own will, it is fit we should have a guardian; and who is more wise than God to govern us? A merchant, though he owns the ship, and hath stored it with goods, yet because he hath no skill in the art of navigation, he suffer- eth the pilot to guide it. Certainly we shall but shipwreck ourselves unless we give up ourselves to be guided by the Spirit of God according to his will.

4. The benefit that accrueth to us by doing his will we shall have his favour here and his glory hereafter. His favour here, which is - that which endeareth us to God: Acts xiii. 22, 'I have found a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.' These are men after God's own heart, that do his will. And though we have great infirmities, yet because we are bent to do his will, they will be passed over; as David had his infirmities, yet because it was in his heart to do the will of God, therefore this is a man after mine own heart. And you shall have the glory of God hereafter: 1 John ii. 17, 'The world passeth away and the lusts thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.' Those things that our wills carry us to they perish. The inclination of our heart carrieth us to the world, riches, honours, pleasures; but the will of God carrieth us to an everlasting estate. 'The world passeth away, and the lusts thereof.' There will a time come when those things we will, and are so strongly addicted to and lust for, will be gone we shall have no relish, no savour in them, no appetite to them. When men are leaving the world, then they cry out how the world hath deceived them; but now 'he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.' Never any repented of doing the will of God; this will stick by us to all eternity, and bring us to everlasting happiness.

Use 1. To show how far they are from any sincere respect to God, that upon the least occasion transgress his will, and break through bonds and restraints God hath set to them. The heart is never right but when it lieth under the awe of a command. Many will fear a punishment; but it is said, Prov. xiii. 13, 'He that feareth the commandment: 'if the commandment stands in his way he dares not break through, it is more than a hedge of thorns, or if lions stood in the way. But on the other side, when men make no bones of a commandment, when they will 'transgress for a pair of shoes '(as the prophet saith), when every small temptation is enough to draw them off from God, it showeth how little sincere respect they have to God.

Use 2. It serves to press us to a more tender regard to the will of God. To this end consider these motives:

1. His absolute authority to command: 1 Tim. vi. 15, 'Who is the blessed and only potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;' his will is enough I am the Lord, you shall do thus and thus.

2. Consider the equity of what he hath commanded: Rom. vii. 12, 'The commandment is holy, and just, and good.' Nothing God commandeth but what is agreeable to his own nature, and what is suited to our benefit. It is no burden to live justly, soberly, and holily in communion with God; it is not a burden, but a great ad vantage. The yoke of Christ is a bountiful yoke. Our service and duty hath its own reward in the very mouth and bosom of it. It is no great wrong to us to govern our affections, to live soberly, chastely, and in the exercise of holy services; here is nothing but what raiseth and sublimates the nature of man. If the commandment of God had been to offer our children in sacrifice, or any of those barbarities which were practised among the Gentiles, yet this had been enough, 'I am the Lord;' but when he hath given such holy and good commands, which makes you live more like men, like reasonable creatures, you should be tender of the Lord's will.

3. To be given up to our own will is a great judgment. When the Lord hath a mind to destroy a people, he gives them up to their own will: Ps. Ixxxi. 12, 'Israel would none of me; so I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust; and they walked in their own counsels.' It is the greatest judgment which can be laid upon any creature, that he may have his own will. A man may be given up to Satan, yet recover: 1 Cor. v. 5, 'Deliver such an one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.' He may be given up to Satan for his exercise and trial; but when he is given up to himself, to the sway of his own heart, to be besotted with his own counsels, and to have his own lusts, what a heavy judgment is this! When Balaam would not be satisfied, God said to him, 'Go,' Num. xxii. 35. He had his answer before, again and again, but he would be inquiring still; 'Go,' and that was his punishment.

4. It is the truest liberty to be subject to the will of God. Then, 'when the Son of God shall make you free, you shall be free indeed,' John viii. 36. How doth the Son of God make us free? Not from duty, but for duty. He that lieth under the dominion and power of any sin is a very slave. But then are we free indeed, when we are loosed, not from a due subjection to God, but from the power of the devil. It is not liberty to be free to do what we please, good or evil; but the more determined we are to good, the more freedom for that is a liberty which comes nearest to the liberty of God, who is a most free agent and yet cannot sin. Such a liberty is in God, Christ, and the angels in heaven: surely they do not live a slavish life that are ever praising and lauding of God. It will be the greatest pleasure in the issue to deny our own will and do the will of God. The more we are enlarged for this, the greater is our happiness. Then we have the happiness of the spirits of just men. None among men have greater happiness than glorified saints, yet none have less of their own will. Why should we account that a bondage which is part of our happiness? In heaven glorified spirits there are not complaining of any burden, yet they have no will of their own, but they will and nill as God doth.

5. He that hath a heart bent to do the will of God, he hath the clearest knowledge of the mind of God: John vii. 17, 'He that will do the will of God, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God.' It is not the sharpness of parts that pierceth into a truth, especially into a controverted truth, when the dust of contention is raised; but he that is most close in walking with God, it is he that knoweth his mind. A blunt iron, when hot and in the fire, will pierce deeper into an inch board than a sharper tool that is cold; so a man that hath pure affections for God, a heart to do the will of God, pierceth deeper many times into controverted truth, and sees more of the mind of God in that truth than a man of parts doth. There arc many mistakes about the will of God. Now make conscience of obedience, do not consult with the interest of your own private passions, and then you shall know the mind of God. It is just with God to withhold the light from them that consult with their lusts and interests and carnal humours, for these blind the mind, and only like and dislike things as they shall relish with their lusts.

6. God will surely punish the violation of his will. This implieth two things:

[1.] That God takes notice of it; he observes whether his will be done, yea or no. The Rechabites were tender of the commandment of their dead father, who could not take cognizance of their actions; but it was the will of their father, and they would keep to the will of the dead: Jer. xxxv. 14. But now the Lord seeth whether his will be kept, yea or no: Prov. xv. 3, 'The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.' Wherever you are, God is with you. As the prophet said to Gehazi, 'Went not mine heart with thee? ƈ Kings v. 26, meaning his prophetical spirit. The Lord's Spirit goeth along with "us wherever we go, he observes what we do. When Jesus Christ was in the throng, he saith, 'Who is it that toucheth me?' He was sensible virtue passed out from him when one touched him by faith. So in the throng of creatures we depend upon God he knows what virtue goeth out to preserve thee and me in being. These are fit instances to ingenerate in our minds a sense of God's omniscience.

[2.] He will severely punish: James iv. 12, 'There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy.' There are many lawgivers in the world, that have power of life and death, but that is only of life temporal; but there is one Lawgiver that can reward with eternal life, and punish with eternal death. So God truly and properly hath the power of life and death. Therefore, since he can punish so severely, we should not stand out against God's will. Many times the doing God's will is irksome to flesh and blood, but remember hell will be worse. When we press men to faith, repentance, and new obedience, and tell them this is the will of God concerning you, that you do believe in Christ, walk holily and humbly with God, what saith the man? Shall I mope myself, and sit mourning in a corner, and spend my life in a dark melancholy manner, in going from one duty to another? This is far better than to sit howling under the wrath of God for evermore.

For directions. If you would do the will of God, then

1. There must be some solemn time of resigning and giving up thy will to him. Naturally we are averse. Now, whosoever is brought unto God, he comes and lays down the weapons of his defiance at God's feet. God hath a right to us, and he will have this right confirmed by our grant and consent: Rom. xii. 1, 'I beseech you by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.' There cannot be a more acceptable sacrifice to God than the resignation of our own will to him: See how Paul comes and layeth down the buckler, when God had him under: Acts ix. 6, 'And he, trembling and astonished, said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?' There will be a time when you will solemnly give up the keys of your own hearts to God, and bid him come and enter. Paul, that now did nothing but threaten and breathe out terror to the children of God, when God had humbled him, then he lies at God's feet. When you are truly humbled, you will desire God to come and take possession of your hearts, and resolve to come under his yoke: Mat. xi. 28, 'Take my yoke upon you, and you shall find rest for your souls.' Christ will force it upon none. In the matrimonial contract, consent is not to be forced: 'Take my yoke.'

2. When you give up yourselves to God, it must be without bounds and reservations: 'That ye may stand perfect and complete in the will of God,' Col. iv. 42. That was his prayer for them: and, Acts xiii. 22, 'I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he shall fulfil all my will.' We should so perfectly obey, as if we had no will of our own, not reserving a property in anything. Our thoughts are not our own to dispose, nor our desires nor delights, but as God will. The least sin reserved is a pledge of the devil's interest and right in us. And therefore give up all to God, resign up your selves wholly to him, as remembering that every motion, every thought, every affection, is under a rule, and in every action we should say, Will God have this to be done, yea or no?

3. There are some special things concerning which God hath more expressly signified his will and given special charge, and these we should make greatest conscience of, how distasteful soever they be to flesh and blood, or prejudicial to our own interest. For instance, concerning repentance and turning from sin, Ezek. xxxiii. 11, you have God's oath that he delights in it: 'As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way, and live.' And God 'would not have any to perish, but that all should come to repentance,' 2 Pet. iii. 9. This is the will of God; he hath told you what a great deal of pleasure he takes in repentance, that you should come and mourn over your sins, and bewail your stragglings. When a profane Esau knew what his father desired, he takes his bow to go and kill venison; when we know anything more pleasing to God, we should do it. And then he takes pleasure also in the work of faith, believing in Christ: John vi. 29, 'This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent: and 1 John iii. 23, 'This is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ.' Therefore we should be much in the work of faith, and in receiving Christ, that we may accomplish the good pleasure of God in us. It is very pleasing to God we should thus repent, believe, and return to him. The very first motion, how welcome is it to the Lord! Ps. xxxii. 5, 'I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin'. So Luke xv. 20: the father ran to meet him when the prodigal thought of returning. So that you should live a sanctified life: 1 Thes. iv. 3, 'This is the will of God, even your sanctification' That you should walk holily, God hath expressly declared his will. Then for duties of relations, God takes a great deal of pleasure in obedience to magistrates, parents, masters: 1 Pet. ii. 15, 'For so is the will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.' Then, that we should observe providences, ever be in a thankful frame: 1 Thes. v. 18, 'In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God, in Christ Jesus, concerning you.' It is a great rebellion and disobedience not to obey God's solemn charge.

4. We should be willing to obey God, whatever it cost us. The least sin is not to be committed to avoid the greatest trouble. You would think it were a small sin for Moses to tarry in Pharaoh's court, where he might be helpful to the people of God, yet he 'chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season,' Heb. xi. 25.

5. For the greatest good that possibly can come of it, we should not cross God's revealed will. Many times this is a snare. Men think to be justified by their good intentions. We must not do evil that good may come thereof: Rom. iii. 8. If one lie could save the world, we were not to do it, for the least evil is not to be done contrary to God's will, though the greatest good come of it.

Use 3. Examine how you stand affected to God's will. This is very needful, because

1. There be many mistakes about it.

2. Hereby we may discern whether we are thus entirely affected with the Lord's will.

Men flatter themselves with a pretence of obedience, and cry, 'Lord, Lord,' but do not do his will. They give God good words, but do not break out into an actual contest; as those wretches, Jer. xviii. 12, 'We will every one do the imagination of his evil heart:' and Jer. xliv. 17, 'We will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth.' There are many things wherein we are apt to mistake. As,

[1.] We pretend to do -God's will in general, but when it comes to particulars we stick at it. Usually, when we take up duty by the lump, it doth not exasperate opposite propensions and inclinations. This is our great fault, we please and flatter ourselves with notions and abstract conceits. What say you to this will of God concerning you in particular? How forward were the Israelites! Oh, they would do the whole will of God; they run away with the general notion. Yea, but saith Joshua, chap. txxiv. 19, 'Ye cannot serve the Lord, for he is an holy God, he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.' We will do the will of God in general, but when it comes to cross our lusts and private inclinations, these make us grudge at it, and shrink back again.

[2.] Some commend and approve the will of God, and talk of it, but do not practise it. It is here, 'Thy will be done; 'it is not, Let it be talked of, spoken and conferred of by me, but done. And it is not giving good words. You know the parable of the two sons: One said, 'I will not, and did;' the other, 'I go, sir, and went not' Mat. xxi. 29, 30. Where Christ prefers the open sinner before the hypocrite, that is talking of God's will, and seems at a distance to be like the carbuncle, all of a fire, but touch him, he is key-cold. When we are approving much of the will of God in our judgments, and commending of it, and do it not, this is in effect to say, I know what my Father commands me, but I will do as I list.

[3.] Another deceit about the will of God is this: For the present, while we are in a good humour, when our lusts lie low, when the heart is warm under the impulsions of a present conviction or per suasion, men have high thoughts of doing the will of God: Deut. v. 27, 'Speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee; we will hear it, and do it.' There are several acts of our wills; there is consent, choice, intention, and prosecution. It is not enough to consent: these things may be extorted from us by moral persuasion; but there must be a serious choice, an invincible resolution, such an intention as is prosecuted with all manner of industry and serious endeavours, whatever disappointments we meet with from God and men. Then this intention or invincible resolution is such as will not be broken by difficulties, weakened by loss of interest, not discouraged by the many disappointments we meet with, even in our waiting upon God.

[4.] We have many times a seeming awe upon the conscience, and so are urged to do God's will, yet the heart is averse from God all the while; therefore they strive to bring God's will and theirs together, to compromise the difference. A notable instance of this you have in Balaam. He had a message sent to him, and a great bribe. Now he had a carnal heart, which ran out upon the wages of unrighteousness, and, therefore, though he knew the people of Israel were blessed of the Lord, yet first he will go to God: Num. xxii. 8,; Lodge here this night, and I will bring you word again, as the Lord shall speak unto me.' He is very tender, he durst not go with them, unless the Lord say, Go. But God denies him: ver. 12, 'Thou shalt not go with them.' What then? The Lord refuseth to give him leave. Then Balak sends more honourable messengers, and propounds rewards again. Then his carnal will is for God: ver. 18, Balaam answered, 'If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more' Was not this spoken with an honest mind, think you? This was the dictate of his conscience; not for a houseful of gold durst he go against God the Lord. Yet you shall find it was a sore temptation to him, for he goes again to God: ver. 19, 'Tarry here this night, that I may know what the Lord will say unto me more.' Then saith God, Go, when he saw his heart was set for the wages of unrighteous ness. There was a reluctancy in his conscience, he durst not go, therefore he would fain bring the will of God to his will. In many cases we are thus divided between our own affections and God's will, between our interests and the will of God.

It is a case often falls out, when there is a quarrel between conviction and corruption. When light is active and strong in conscience, men dare not go against the apparent will of God, yet their hearts hang another way. We have one carnal affection or other, and then all our business is to bring God's will and ours together; and how to disguise and palliate the matter, that with greatest leave to conscience we may seem to contradict the will of God.

[5.] A fifth deceit about the will of God, and that is, a wish that we were brought under the power of it, as he that stretched himself upon his bed, and said, Oh, that this were to labour! Many men have a velleity, a languid and incomplete will; they have a wish, but not a volition, not a serious desire; and sometimes they may draw it out to a cold prayer that God would make them better. It is just like a man that should lie down and complain, Oh, that I were at such a place! and never travel. Would I had performed such a task! yet puts not his hand to the work. Men would, but they will not, set themselves in good earnest to get the grace they wish for, there is not striving to accomplish their will. A chapman no doubt would have the wares, it is like he hath a cold wish, but will not come to the price; I will buy it whatever it cost me. They have not those active and industrious resolutions, such a strong and serious bent of heart towards God, but only a few wishes.

[6.] Halving the will of God; as in many cases many will do part of the will of God, but not all, they come not fully up to the mind of God. For instance, they will take notice of some great commandment, but not of the least. We cannot dispense with ourselves in the least: Mat. v. 19, 'Whosoever shall break one of the least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.' We are apt to say 'It is but a little one, and my soul shall live.' No sin is little which is committed against a great God. It argueth more wickedness to break with God for a trifle and a very small matter, it argueth more corruption; as a little force will make a heavy body move downward. Again, in another case, the ceremonialist stands upon some lesser things; as the Jews, John xviii. 28, 'would not go into the judgment-hall lest they should be defiled,' yet they could seek the life of the Lord of glory. They are not brought under the dominion of the Lord's grace, faith, repentance, holiness, and the weightier things of the law; these are things they regard not. This is hypocrisy. Like one that comes into a shop to buy a pennyworth and steals a pound's worth; so they are punctual in lesser things, that they may make bold with God in greater. Again, some will do the will of God in public, where they may be observed; but not in private, and when alone. They make a fair show in the world, but in their families their converse is more loose and careless: Ps. ci. 2, 'I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.' A man that is truly holy will show it at home and abroad, in his closet and secret retirements, everywhere he makes conscience of the will of God. Many times we strain ourselves and put forth our gifts in public; God will be served with our utmost in secret also; and the will of God is expressed concerning the inward as well as the outward man, and we must make conscience of both: Isa. Iv. 7, 'Let the wicked man forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts' &c. Not only make conscience of our way, our outward course, but of our thoughts as well as our actions, for the thoughts fall under a law. So some will make conscience of the first-table duties, and neglect the second; and some of the second, and neglect the first. Some are very punctual in dealing with men, but neglectful of God: Rom. i. 18, 'The wrath of God is revealed from heaven, against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.' Both tables are owned from heaven. Some will not wrong their neighbour of a farthing, but stick not to rob God of all that faith, fear, love, trust, worship, that is due to him. Many that will not defile their bodies with promiscuous copulation, yet are adulterers and adulteresses to God, their hearts straggling from God, doting upon the creature to the wrong of God. Many condemn the rebellion of Absalom, and rise up against their heavenly Father, and are murderers, that strike at the being of God. They are tender of wronging the reputation of men, yet dishonour God, and are never troubled. So, on the other side, others fear and worship, but in their dealings are very unconscionable; they will not swear an oath, but are very uncharitable, censuring their brethren without pity and remorse. This is the fashion of the world, to be in with one duty and out with another.

[7.] A loathness to know the will of God, to search and inquire into it, argueth deceit, and that we are loath to come under the power of it. Some men shrewdly suspect it is true, but are loath to inquire into it: John iii. 20, 'Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.' They have a shrewd guess about the ways of God, but will riot search to be satisfied: 2 Pet. iii. 5, 'They are willingly ignorant.' As Tertullian saith of the heathens, they would not search into the Christian religion, because they had a mind to hate it; so these are loath to inquire further into the will of God. There is a great deal of deceit in it; it shows we are afraid to come too near a suspected truth. Again, now and then when lusts are under some restraint, men seem to lie much under the will of God. A horse that is kept low is easily ruled by the rider, but when fed high he grows headstrong. Many times in a mean condition a man seems to make conscience of doing the will of God; but when prosperous, he waxeth wanton and disobedient: Jer. v. 5, 'I will get me to the great men, but these have altogether broken the yoke and burst the bonds.'

So that there are a great many mistakes about doing the will of God, therefore you had need search.

Secondly, How shall we know we are rightly affected with the will of God?

[1.] When God's will is reason enough for what he hath required of us; when a man is so sensible of God's will that this is instead of all reasons. Obedience is never right but when it is done upon the mere sight of God's will. This is enough to a gracious heart, that this is the will of God, 1 Pet. ii. 15, 1 Thes. v. 18, though the duty be never so cross to our own desires and interests. This is to obey the commandment for the commandment's sake, without any other reason or inducement. There is, indeed, ratio formalis and ratio motiva, the formal reasons of obedience and the motives of obedience. The formal reason of obedience is the sight of God's will, the motives to obedience are rewards and a dread of punishment. The formal reason is God's will; and this is pure obedience, to do what God wills be cause God wills it.

[2.] When a man is very inquisitive to know what is the will of his heavenly Father. When he doth not only practise what he knows, but searcheth that he may know more: Rom. xii. 2, 'That ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God;' and, Eph. v. 17, 'Be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.' When a man is desirous to know the whole will of God, not for curiosity but for practice, that he might do it. When the understanding hath a confused notion of a thing they will not know it distinctly, but when men search, and are willing to find out the counsel of God in all things that they may come up to it, this is a sign the heart is rightly affected to the will of God.

[3.] Hereby may you know your affection to God's will, by keeping yourselves from your sins: Ps. xviii. 23, 'I was upright before him, and kept myself from mine iniquity.' There is an iniquity that we may call ours, upon which the will is most passionately addicted; be it worldliness, sensuality, inordinate desire of reputation and respect with men. Now, when we are plucking out our right eye, and cutting off our right hand, Mat. v. 29 when we are mortifying and subduing our lusts when we can deny ourselves in those things to which the heart is most wedded, that is a sign of compliance with the will of God.

The second point.

Doct. 2. That it is the Lord which giveth to will and to do those things which are pleasing in his sight.

Therefore we ask it of him, 'Thy will be done' that is, as I explained it, we ask of him a heart, skill, and strength to do his holy will.

Here I shall tell you:

1. What I mean by the point.

2. Give you the proof of it.

I. What I mean by the point:

1. I mean thus, that in the work of conversion God doth all: Ezek. xi. 19, 'I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and I will give them an heart of flesh.' The benefit of a tender sanctified heart is God's gift: Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27, 'A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh, and I will cause you to walk in my statutes.' Mark, a new heart that is, another heart, a heart to understand, a heart to love, a heart to do the will of God, he gives it. He doth not only offer it, or pre pare it, make way for it, but 'I will give you a heart of flesh'

2. This is that I mean, that after conversion God still concurreth. He doth not only give the habit of grace, but actual help in the work of obedience. 'He worketh all our works in us' Isa. xxvi. 12. His actual help is necessary to direct, quicken, strengthen, protect, and defend us. To direct us: Ps. Ixxiii. 24, 'Thou shalt guide me by thy counsel, and bring me to thy glory' In our way to heaven, we need not only a rule and path, but a guide. The rule is the law of God, but the guide is the Spirit of God. To quicken and excite us by effectual motions: a drowsiness and a deadness is apt to creep upon our hearts, and we see in the same duty it is a hard matter to keep up the same frame of spirit, the same vigour of affection, life, and warmth; and therefore we had need go to God often, as David: Ps. cxix. 37, 'Quicken thou me in thy way' It is God which doth renew the vigour of the life of grace upon all occasions, when it begins to languish and droop. To corroborate and strengthen what we have received: Eph. iii. 16, the apostle prays there that he would 'strengthen with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 'and, 1 Pet. v. 10, 'Make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you' There are many words heaped up there to show how God is interested in maintaining and keeping afoot that which he hath planted in the soul. In protecting and defending them against the incursions and assaults of the devil, who always lieth in wait to surprise the soul, to withdraw us from God. The regenerate are not only escaped out of his clutches, but are advanced and appointed to be Satan's judges, which an envious and proud spirit cannot endure; therefore he maligns, assaults, and besiegeth them with temptations daily. Now, it is God that defends: John xvii. 11, 'Keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me; 'by thy name that is, by thy power.

3. God must not only help us in the general, and upon weighty occasions, but in every act, from the "beginning of the spiritual life to the end. It is not enough to say that the first principles and motions are of God, but the flowing forth of all motions and actions, according to those principles: Phil. ii. 13, 'It is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure' God not only gives the desire and purpose, but he gives grace to the good which we will and purpose to do. These two are distinct; and we may have assistance in one kind and not in another; willing and doing, I mean, are different. Paul saith, Rom. vii. 18: 'To will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not' To will is more than to think; and to exert, and put forth our will into action, it is more than both; and in all we need God's help. We cannot think a good thought, nor conceive a holy purpose, much less perform a good action, without God, so that every moment we need renewed strength. As long as the work of grace is powerful and renewed in us, so long we are kept in a warm and healthful frame; but we grow vain, loose, earthly, carnal again, and off from God, when this heat and warmth of grace is withdrawn; and therefore God still concurreth in the whole business of our obedience to him.

II. Having showed what I mean, and how far God is interested in this work, what need we have to desire we may do his will; let us prove it. And because it is a weighty point, I shall prove it by parts.

1. As to the first grace, that it is God alone which frames our hearts to the obedience of his will.

2. That when we are thus framed by grace, after conversion, it is God still concurs, and must help us to do his will.

First, As to the first grace, I shall prove that it is God alone, by the power of his own Spirit, which frames our hearts to the obedience of his- will. This will appear by considering:

(1.) What man is by nature.

(2.) The words by which our cure is expressed, and the way God takes to put us into a course of obedience.

(3.) What the scripture speaks as to the utter impotency of man, to the framing of his heart to the obedience of God's will.

(1.) First, This will appear by those notions or emphatical terms by which the scripture doth set forth man's condition before God works upon him. He is one that is 'born in sin: 'Ps. li. 5, 'Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me;' and things natural are not easily altered. And as he is born in sin, so he is greedy of sin: Job xv. 16, 'He drinketh in iniquity like water;' it noteth a vehement propension, as greedy to sin as a thirsty man to drink. Thirst is the most implacable appetite, hunger is far better borne. It is the constant frame of his heart: Gen. vi. 5, 'Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart is only evil continually.' Oh, how many aggravating and increasing circumstances are there named. There is a mint that is always at work; the mind is coining evil thoughts, and the heart evil desires and carnal motions; and the memory is the closet and storehouse where they are lodged and kept. This is the case of man, born in sin, greedy arid thirsty of sin, and one whose thoughts are evil continually.

But may not a man be reclaimed? Oh no, for he hath a heart of stone: Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 'I will take away the heart of stone.' Every man that comes to be converted hath a heart of stone; and what is that? insensible, inflexible. Insensible, he hath no feeling of his condition; inflexible, he will not be moved and wrought upon by the word, and the Spirit, and providence. How many means are wasted upon him, and to no purpose! And Jer. xvii. 9, 'The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?' It invents all kinds of shifts and excuses to elude God, or rather to cheat itself. When God comes to work upon man, it slides away from under his hand, as if salvation itself should not save them. Yea, but is not the New Testament more favourable to man than the Old? Or, is not man grown better now there is so much of God's grace dis covered? I answer, there is a perfect harmony between the Testaments: there he is styled 'a child of wrath by nature,' Eph. ii. 3; the elect as well as others were so. There you will find him to be a 'servant of sin' Rom. vi. 17. Never such an imperious master as sin is, never such a willing servant as man is. Sin never leaves commanding, and we love to work, and therefore are at its beck. There you will find him to be represented as a man that hath a 'blind understanding,' and a 'hard heart,' and one that is 'averse from the life of God' Eph. iv. 18. There you will find him to be one that is an 'enemy to the law of God,' 'enmity' itself, Rom. viii. 7; one that neither will nor 'can please God.' One that is blind, and knows not what to do: 2 Pet. i. 9, 'He that lacketh these things is blind' and with such a blindness as is far worse than bodily. A man that is blind in his bodily eyes, would think it to be a great happiness to have a fit guide: as in Acts xiii. 11, when Elymas was smitten blind, 'he sought about for somebody to lead him by the hand.' But he that is spiritually blind, cannot endure to have a guide; or if one would lead him, and direct him in the right way, he is angry. And as the scripture represents him as blind, so without strength: Rom. v. 9, 'Dead in trespasses and sins;' Eph. ii. 5, yea, worse than dead; a dead man doth no more hurt, his evil dieth with him; but there is a life of resistance and rebellion against God that goeth along. I have spoken but little, yet put all together, and then it shows what a miser able wretched creature man is.

The scripture doth not speak this by chance, it is not an hyperbole used once or twice, but everywhere, where it speaks of this matter, it sets out man to be blind, hard, dead, obstinate, and averse from God.

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