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but quicken up our hearts thereunto. As if God do marvellously bless us without prayer, and we be driven the more unto prayer by it, then it is of God and his love; but if it cause us to leave or neglect prayer, then it is perilous. Now these are perilous times, for they are the last times; wherefore, good reader, let us rather desire to have plain grace than fine gifts, for this is the more excellent way.
I have not had so much time to peruse these two Sermons as I would, for the notes stayed a very little while in my hands; but I find they are agreeable to what I delivered in preaching, whereunto I have made some little addition. The title, &c I left to my friends who desired the printing ; the mending of some press-faults I must leave to the pen of the reader. Now the good Lord himself, who hath often refreshed our souls with the sense of his love in Christ Jesus, keep all our feet in his ways, and grant that we may hold fast what we have, lest another take our crown. Your's in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“ Unto Him shall ye hearken.”—Deut. xvii. 15. These words are spoken concerning our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who is our great prophet; whose work and office it is, to reveal and make known the mind and will of God the Father unto us. Our duty therefore is, to hearken unto him. And this is that inference which the Lord himself makes here, “ Unto him shall ye hearken.” Only ye may observe, that when the apostle Peter in Acts iii. doth cite this scripture, he gives you a double exposition: for whereas it is said in verse 19 of this chapter, “ It shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words, which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him ;" Peter in Acts iii. 23 renders it thus, “ And it shall come to pass, that every soul which will not hear the prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people." And whereas it is said here in the text, “ Unto him shall ye hearken;" Peter in Acts iii. 23, renders it thus, “ Him shall ye hear in all things, whatsoever he shall say unto you.” So that this is the great inference and use that the Lord himself Goth make of this prophetical office of Christ, “ Unto him shall
hearken." It will be therefore worth our time to consider, what it is for to hearken to him, this great Prophet. Know therefore, that when he saith,“ Unto him shall ye hearken;" the meaning is, unto him alone, and to none else; as, “ Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God," our Saviour translates, “ And him only shalt thou serve." So here, “ Unto him shall ye
hearken;" that is, to him only, to him alone, and to none else.
Now a man is said to hearken unto Christ, this great Prophet, either when he doth acknowledge, receive, and submit unto his appointments; or else when he doth obey his voice with the obedience of faith. I say, first, a man is said to hearken unto Christ, this great Prophet, when he doth receive, acknowledge, and submit unto his appointments. And therefore if you compare Matt. x. with Luke x, ye
shall find that hearing and receiving is the same thing. In Matt. x. 40, “ He that receiveth you, receiveth me.” In Luke x. 16, “ He that heareth you, heareth me.” What is hearing in one, is receiving in the other : so that I say, first, a man is said to hear Christ, this great Prophet, when he doth receive, acknowledge, and submit unto his appointments : this is our duty. When it is said, “ Unto him shall ye hearken,” this is here commanded.
For the opening therefore, and pressing of this truth, I shall labour,
First, To shew you, what those appointments of Christ, this great Prophet of our's, are, which we are to receive, acknowledge, and submit unto, and thereby to hearken unto him.
Secondly, That these appointments and institutions of his, do still continue and bind us, and that we are still to hearken to him therein: still he lives and speaks in those appointments.
Thirdly, I shall answer to some objections, questions, and cases of conscience concerning ordinances, and the institutions of Christ.
Fourthly, Shew you what a dangerous thing it is for a man to turn his back upon, and ears from, the voice of this great Prophet, speaking in his appointments and institutions.
Fifthly, How and in what manner this hearing work should be rightly performed?
First, If you ask me what these appointments are which we are to receive, acknowledge and submit unto, and so to hearken unto this great Prophet in?
I answer, That if you look into the whole new testament, you shall find the precepts of Christ are either moral, as the ten commandments, or positive. As for the moral precepts of
the ten commandments, though our Lord and Saviour Christ hath added no new thing unto them more than what was before, yet, as I may so speak, he hath put them into another dress than what was formerly put upon them; for saith he in the vth of Matthew, “ It hath been said by them of old, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, whosoever looketh
upon a woman to lust after her,” &c. In this vth of Matthew there are six cases that our Lord and Saviour Christ speaks unto; in three of them he makes mention of the very words of the moral law; as at verse 21, “ Ye have heard it was said of old, Thou shalt not kill." At the 27th verse, “ Ye have heard that it was said of old, Thou shalt not commit adultery.” So again, verse 33. But, now, when he speaks of the other laws that were not of the ten commandments, ye may observe that he alters his manner of speaking: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye.” He doth not say, Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time. When, I say, he speaks of any of the ten commandments, that clause is added; when he speaks of the other three cases, that clause is not added.
Again, You may observe this, that those words, “ Ye have heard that it was said to them of old time;" should be rather translated, as it is in some of your books, “ Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time;" which appears by the antithesis, or opposition, “ But I say."
Again, You may observe, that when he saith, at the 17th verse, “ Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets, I am not come to destroy but to fulfil;" those words, according to the original, may be read thus; not come to destroy but to fill up;" for though Christ added nothing unto the ten commandments, or moral law, yet, notwithstanding, he did more fully reveal and make known what was and is therein commanded; for our Lord and Saviour Christ did not barely speak against the false glosses and interpretations of the Jews and Jewish rabbins, for he instanceth in the words of Moses, and of the law itself. " It hath been said by them, Thou shalt not commit adultery; but I say, Whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust,” &c. What, then, were not unclean thoughts forbidden by the law, and in Moses's time? Yes : but when Christ came, he doth more fully and clearly reveal what was before commanded and forbidden
in the law; and so though he hath made no new addition to the law, yet in this respect he hath, as it were, made some advance upon the very moral law, the ten commandments; and herein we are to hearken to him, this great Prophet, by acknowledging, receiving and submitting unto these commands thus opened and interpreted by him.
But now if you look upon the positive precepts or commandments of Christ, you shall find that Jesus Christ hath given forth many that were not given forth in the times of Moses, or of the old testament: for in the times of the old testament circumcision was, now baptism is; then the passover, now the Lord's supper; then their ministers were priests and Levites, now pastors and teachers; then the whole nation of the Jews a church, now as men do believe they are added to the church; then if any man did sin presumptuously he was to be cut off by the sword from among the people, now to be cut off by the censures of the church. So that, I say, if you look upon the positive precepts, there are many that are now given forth by Christ which were not given forth before in the times of Moses and of the old testament; and these, all these we are to receive, to acknowledge, and to submit unto, and herein to hearken to this great Prophet.
But it will be granted on all hands, that there are many appointments, institutions and ordinances which were given forth by this great Prophet in the times of the new testament; but the question is, whether these are to continue still or no? We grant, indeed, that there were such appointments in Christ's own time, and in the apostle's time; for the people of those times, and of that generation : but the question is, whether these still are to continue, and whether still we are to submit, to receive, and to acknowledge these appointments; and so whether still we are to hearken unto Christ herein ?
For answer hereunto, observe, I pray, the laying of Christ's appointments, institutions and ordinances. If they be laid and pressed upon universal and perpetual grounds, then they are still to continue. Now you shall find that these appointments, institutions and ordinance of Christ-baptism, the Lord's supper, particular churches, the ministry, church censures, singing of psalms, and the like-are laid upon such
universal and perpetual grounds, as to continue until Christ's coming again.
I shall touch a little upon these particulars, and prove the thing first by way of enumeration.
As for that of particular churches. You find in the book of Revelation, that Christ speaks of things to come after John's time, who lived the longest of all the apostles, at chap. i. 1, thus: “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass.” And chap. iv. 1, at the latter end of the verse, saith the Lord Christ to John, “I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” Now in the ist chapter he gives him a vision of the Son of Man walking between the seven golden candlesticks; and he tells us, at the last verse, that those seven golden candlesticks are the seven churches ; shewing that thus Christ would appear unto his people in the way of churches after John's time, in the times that were to come. And so in the close of the book of the Revelation, after he had spoken of all things that should come to pass, saith be, at the 16th verse, “ I have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches.” Not in the church in general, but in the churches. And if
And if ye look into the first epistle of Timothy, ye shall find, that the apostle Paul having given directions and several precepts concerning bishops, elders, deacons, widows, and about the ordering of the house of God, which, saith he, is the church of God; he concludes all with a solemn charge, chap. vi. 13," I give thee charge, in the sight of God, and before Jesus Christ, that thou keep the commandment,” not this, but the commandment, according to the old translation, and the original greek, “ without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Which appearing doth synchronize with the judging of the quick and dead. 2 Tim. iv. 1. But Timothy himself doth not live so long, and therefore this charge lies upon every minister, and others respectively, for so indeed the charge is directed to the man of God, chap. vi. 11, who by the same apostle is interpreted to be every minister. 2 Tim. iii. 17. So that the ordering of God's house by bishops, or elders, deacons and widows is still to continue, and therefore particular churches and congregations for public worship are still to continue.