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This is all we have to advertise thee touching these choice useful lectures. For the author of them (whom we very much love and honour) we must bear witness, that when he first preached them from the bosom of Jesus Christ, bis Master, to many tempted bleeding hearts in and about this populous city, he had not then the least thought to suffer them in print to serve the public. But afterwards, eyeing the voice of God in the multiplied desires and greedy expectations both of friends and strangers, his constant auditors, though of different judgments, in their private speeches and letters : and to prevent a further inconvenience, [sc. the publishing them by some who had imperfect notes in their hands M. W. M.] was necessitated to depute us [in his absence at Yarmouth] to hand out into the world this his copy, which was exactly penned from his tongue, by that his beloved amanuensis, and since kept charily by him as a precious thing committed to his trust. Tnv xalyv napakaratnxnv, 2 Tim. i. 14.
The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ grant thee according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man, so that thou mayest be more than conqueror through him that loved thee, and prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not. So be it.
Thine in the Lord Jesus,
TO THE READER.
That we may at least stay the longings of many thirsty souls with a sweet relish of a promising vintage of new wine this year, we have slipt off this second ripe cluster of grapes from its fellows, which if it be squeezed in the hand of faith, will prove itself to be so rich, fragrant, and sparkling with the blood, juice, and spirit of the gospel, that it needs not the purple of our epistle recommendatory to welcome it to any, that are in truth the living branches of the true Vine. Yet to the end we may happily invite some that are without to come in, that they also may both see and taste how good the Lord is to the children of the bridechamber :
Reader, stand awhile at the well-head, with the poor woman of Samaria, admiring the infinite dimensions of those waters of life that are fountained up in Jesus Christ, " of whose fulness we all receive, even grace for grace.”
The saints may be brimful of the Holy Spirit, as Stephen was, but it is according to measure, a vessel fulness; but Christ above or without measure, a spring fulness, which is not only repletive, but diffusive, unsearchable, unmeasurable.
The great ocean is too little to shadow out the overflowings of this fulness; for take away a drop or two from thence, it presently suffers a diminution : but though this Fountain of salvation should shed abroad his love upon all the world of the elect, as the waters cover the sea, yet it is ever full, running over. There is not the less light heat in the Sun of Righteousness, though he daily ariseth with healing in his wings unto them that fear his name from east to west; is yesterday, to-day, and for ever the same." This is no hyperbole, but the language of Canaan.
“ Nec Christus nec cælum patitur hyperbolum.”—Luther.
Oh, that this unspeakable Fulness of heaven or earth, or saints and angels, that fills all in all, did now constrain thee to cast thy empty pitcher into these depths of his grace, so shouldest thou with this beloved evangelist, and the rest that are included in this we all, “ receive even grace for grace." To act faith is the principal use wbich directly flows out from every doctrine about Jesus Christ.
We shall appeal unto thee, whose eye is fixed on this full book of grace, Is not fulness in other things, a conquering, golden argument ? Did not Joseph's treasure of corn, prevail with good old Jacob and his sons to go down into Egypt ? And shall not this our gospel Joseph, who alone is the Bread of Life that once came down from heaven to feed hungry souls, engage thee, almost famished, to come unto him for this staff of life, that thou mayest live? Were they not the floods of milk and honey that did run down the promised land, that did set the Israelites' teeth on edge to be there ? And shall not the overflowings of Christ's heart in heaven towards sinners on earth, make thee to hunger and thirst after His righteousness, who is the Lord our Righteousness ? Was it not the abundance of Solomon's natural wisdom, which was as a constellation of stars in his crown, that invited the queen of Sheba to travel from the utmost parts of Arabia to kneel before his throne? And is there not a greater than Solomon here, “ who is the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person, full of grace and truth ?" Oh where, where then are the spiritual actings of thy soul upon bim? Abraham's faith was a very lively, vigorous, and a more than conquering faith ; when the sentence of death was apparent on the head of the mercy, and the womb leading to it: and is thy faith like a tree twice dead, plucked up by the roots ? God forbid. Oh, remember the fulness of the infiniteness of all perfections that are originally in the Lord, being able to fill up all the empty chinks, void places, the unsatisfied gaspings and yawnings of the vast spirit of man. We shall seal up all with the evangelical words of that voice of Christ echoed in a wilderness, as the great motive of all motives, “ The kingdom of heaven,” of grace, of Christ, and all his benefits, “is at hand,” hath approached. Therefore, believe, repent: “ Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when he cometh shall find so doing.”
Thine, in and for the Lord Jesus Christ, and his fulness, that thou mayest receive even grace for grace,
TO THE WORSHIPFUL MAURICE THOMPSON, Esq., GEORGE THOMPSON,
Esq., WILLIAM THOMPSON, ESQ. SHERIFF OF LONDON, ROBERT THOMPson, Esq., Sir John WITTEWRONG, KNIGHT, WILLIAM OFIELD, Esq., SAMUEL CHAMPNES, ELIAS ROBERTS, AND WILLIAM HAWKINS, Esqrs. WITH THEIR WIVES AND CHILDREN, GRACE AND PEACE.
Honoured and Beloved in our Lord Jesus,
It is not want of respect that I seem thus to crowd your names together, I owe more than an epistle to each of your names, but because God hath made you
though branched into several habitations, I take the boldness to present this work to you, as unto one family. It is written of the stork, that she useth to leave one of her young ones to the house where she made her nest.
** Ciconiæ mos est unum e pullis relinquere domui qua nidulata est.”—Lud. Vives. And upon that account some of my labours do belong your family, where I studied, and from whence I preached them : some of you and yours have often desired the publishing of these notes, and being printed, whither should the press send them but to your door ? you are the family with whom I have had the honour to converse much whilst living; and now the blossoms of the grave are upon me, I dedicate these notes unto you, that by them I may live and speak with you when my head shall lie under the clods: you are a family whom the Lord hath blessed and raised not only to a great estate in the world, but to the saving knowledge of his Son, our dear Saviour, and whom should I serve and honour but those whom God honours and blesseth ?
That family is not far from blessing, which hath godly children, children trained up and seasoned with the grace of Christ from the cradle; “ The Lord blessed the house of Obed-edom," and wherein did that blessing consist ? the scripture tells us. 1 Chron. xxvi. That some of his children were porters in the house of God, others were mighty men of valour, able men for strength and service, and the reason is given, verse 5. “ For the Lord blessed him," so that children useful and serviceable both in church and state are a great blessing unto a family. The Hebrews say, that children are the father's building, 752 a 13
quia filius est ædificium patris ;" and indeed be builds wisely that doth lay the foundations of his house in a godly seed. “ Lo, children (saith the Psalmist) are an heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb are his reward, as arrows in the hand of the mighty, so are children of the youth, blessed is
man that hath his quiver full of them ;' especially where these arrows are well headed and well bearted too. And upon this account it is good for great families to have good servants. For, corrupt servants do debauch children, and debauched children do scatter brimstone upon the house of their fathers.
Neither is that family an unblessed family which is strict in the observation
of the sabbath or the Lord's day. God hath blessed that day that he might bless them who do keep that day; hereby England hath been blessed with the power of godliness more than other nations ; " My sabbath, (saith God) shall be a sign between me and thee.” And in the primitive times when a christian was asked whether he had kept the Lord's day, bis answer generally was, a christian, I cannot neglect it. “ Servasti diem Dominicam ? Christianus sum intermittere non possum.” As if the observation of the Lord's day were the badge of a christian ; this is the girdle of all our duties, and in respect of this girdle I may say, ungirt, unblessed ; the valleys of the week day are blessed by the upper springs of this day; and as the commandment doth especially point at, and look wishly upon the master of the family, saying, Neither thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, &c., so doth the blessing also.
Blessed is that family which doth industriously seek to build the house of God and the house of the poor ; David did but intend to build God's house, and the Lord promised him to build his house. The Egyptian midwives spared the Israelites' children, whereby, the poor families and houses of the Israelites were built, and the Lord dealt well with the midwives and made them houses, Exod. i. 20.
Neither is that family far from blessing which is a friend to the ministry. Receiving, biding, and refreshing the painful and faithful ministers and preachers of the gospel ; “ The Lord give mercy (saith Paul) to the house of Onesiphorus, for he hath refreshed me,” not once and no more, but, “be bath oft refreshed me :". nor did he do this because I followed bim and sought him out, but, “he sought me out very diligently, and found me.” And in the day of my greatest affliction he was not ashamed of me, “ for he was not ashamed of my chains," wherefore the Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy in that day; and give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus, 2 Tim. i. 16, 17, 18. “ He that receiveth a prophet (saith our Saviour) in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward,” and what is the reward of a prophet, but to profit by the prophet, and to have a share in his venture, and in all that good which he doth by his ministry.
A praying family, also, is a precious family and blessed, especially where prayer and pains, religion and righteousness, frugality and liberality are in conjunction : some are much for pains-taking and little for prayer, others are much for prayer and little for pains-taking; some are much for religion and little for righteousness, others are much for righteous dealings and little for religion ; some are much for frugality and little for liberality, others are much for liberality and little for frugality; but blessed is that family where prayer and pains, religion and righteousness, frugality and liberality meet and dwell together under one roof. Dominus ædificaverit domum frustra laborat quisquis eam ædificat, Psal. cxxvii. Non enim dicit, Dominus ædificat domum nemine scilicet laborante, sed ita, nisi Dominus ædificaverit frustra laborat perinde ac si diceret, labore quidem opus est, sed hujus conatum frustra sumi si solus erit, non enim laboris sedulitas sed Dei benedictio rem fæcundaret omnia perficit.”—Luther farrago Epistol.
Now those things I have seen amongst you : only, as heretofore, so now labour to abound therein more and more, that you and your famlly may be as the field which the Lord blesseth. And as God hath raised you to an outward greatness in the world, so let your hearts be great for God, that what Pliny reported of Vespasian, may be truly said of you ; “ Nec quicquam in te mutaverit fortuna amplitudo nisi ut prodesse tandundem posses et velles." Your abundance bath changed nothing in you, but this, that your power to do good is now made answerable to your will : counting it greater mercy to lay out for God, than to lay up for yourselves, for it may be when you come to die, you will have more com
fort in what you have laid out for God, than in what you have laid up for your children. And why should we not give that to God by an act of our faith which he gave to us by an act of his love?
And as for your children, if I might not exceed the bounds of an epistle, I would say to them :
Children, O children, know your fathers, and the God of your fathers, know your parents, for that is the first commandment with promise, and you shall honour yourselves in honouring them. It is recorded of the Catanenses, (Camerar. oper. subcis. Centur. i. cap. 66.) that they made a stately monument of kingly magnificence, in remembrance of two sons, who took their aged parents upon their backs and carried them through the fire when their father's house was all in a flame. And of all the birds, the stork hath the name for the good bird, and why? but because the younger of them do help and bear up the elder, their weak parents ; but though your parent is to be honoured, yet your God is more to be honoured. If you know Gou when you are young, God will know you when you are old “ remember therefore your Creator in the days of your youth :" and your Creator will remember you in the days of your age. pia avis, ciconiis eximia in est pietas : et enim quantum temporis impenderint foetibus educandis, tantum et ipsæ a pullis suis invicem aluntur. Solinus, cap. 11. Schind. Parentes senectute confectos numeris suis gestare dicuntur."Avenar.
Take heed of youthful sins, for the sweet sins of our youth do bite sore in our age.
Get an inward principle of grace in your own souls, for if you live on your parents' root, when your parents die, your goodness will die too ; and therefore look well to the laying of your foundation, which is not to be laid in disputation but humiliation.
Be not unwilling to bear the yoke in the days of your youth, for he that can carry a calf when he is young, will carry an ox when he is old. Affliction gives you understanding ; it is the school of experience. The oxen that are for use, are kept tied up, when those that are fatted for the shambles, are let loose into the pastures to feed at their pleasure. “ Vituli triturantes quotidie ligantur vi. tuli mactandi quotidie in pascuis libere relinquuntur.”—Augustin.
Be not too confident of what you can do, or will do. Young men are apt to be too confident, as old men are apt to be too fearful; but the best swimmers are the soonest drowned, because of their confidence. " Wherefore in all thy ways acknowledge the Lord, and lean not to thine own understanding,” Prov. iii.
When you come to the great turns of your life, be sure that you make a right choice, for every man is as his choice is. If there be any dirt on the hands, it will appear in the knuckles, the turning places ; and if there be dirt in your lives, it will be found and appear in your great turns.
Let your dwelling-place be where God dwells, and he dwells where his ordinances are, for there he records his name. But though you live under ordinances in regard of your station, yet live above them in regard of your affection, passing through them unto Christ, and through Christ into the bosom of the Father. It was not David's sling that killed Goliah, but the name of God in the use of the sling.
Seek not great things for yourselves in this world, for if your garments be too long, they will make you stumble; and one staff helps a man in his journey, when many in his hands at once hinder him ; but labour to do great things for God, and God will do great things for you. Terrene or earthly felicity, is the