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quorum, in another commission, another way, quorum ego maximus"; the greatest of them ; but remember my labours, and endeavours, at least my desire, to make sure your salvation. And I shall remember your religious cheerfulness in hearing the word, and your christianly respect towards all them that bring that word unto you, and towards myself in particular far above my merit. And so as your eyes that stay here, and mine that must be far off, for all that distance shall meet every morning, in looking upon that same sun, and meet every night, in looking upon the same moon ; so our hearts may meet morning and evening in that God, which sees and hears everywhere ; that you may come thither to him with your prayers, that I, (if I may be of use for his glory, and your edification in this place) may be restored to you again ; and may come to him with my prayer, that what Paul soever plant amongst you, or what Apollos soever water, God himself will give the increase : that if I never meet you again till we have all passed the gate of death, yet in the gates of heaven, I may meet you all, and there say to my Saviour and your Saviour, that which he said to his Father and our Father, Of those whom thou hast giren me, have I not lost one. Remember me thus, you that stay in this kingdom of peace, where no sword is drawn, but the sword of justice, as I shall remember you in those kingdoms, where ambition on one side, and a necessary defence from unjust persecution on the other side hath drawn many swords ; and Christ Jesus remember us all in his kingdom, to which, though we must sail through a sea, it is the sea of his blood, where no soul suffers shipwreck; though we must be blown with strange winds, with sighs and groans for our sins, yet it is the Spirit of God that blows all this wind, and shall blow away all contrary winds of diffidence, or distrust in God's mercy; where we shall be all soldiers of one army, the Lord of hosts, and children of one choir, the God of harmony and consent: where all clients shall retain but one counsellor, our advocate Christ Jesus, not present him any other fee but his own blood, and yet every client have a judgment on his side, not only in a not guilty, in the remission of his sins, but in a venite benedicti, in being called to the participation of an immortal crown of glory: where there shall be no difference in affection, nor in mind, but we shall agree as fully and perfectly in our hallelujah, and gloria in excelsis, as God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost agreed in the faciamus hominem at first : where we shall end, and yet begin but then; where we shall have continual rest, and yet never grow lazy ; where we shall be stronger to resist, and yet have no enemy; where we shall live and never die, where we shall meet and never part.

29 1 Tim. i. 15.





Romans xiii. 11.

For now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

There is not a more comprehensive, a more embracing word in all religion, than the first word of this text, now; for the word before that, for, is but a word of connexion, and rather appertains to that which was said before the text, than to the text itself: the text begins with that important and considerable particle, Now, now is salvation nearer, &c. This present word, now, denotes an advent, a new coming, or a new operation, otherwise than it was before : and therefore doth the church appropriate this Scripture to the celebration of the advent, before the feast of the birth of our Saviour. It is an extensive word, now; for though we dispute whether this now, that is, whether an instant be any part of time or no, yet in truth it is all time; for whatsoever is past, was, and whatsoever is future, shall be an instant; and did and shall fall within this now. We consider in the church four advents or comings of Christ, of every one of which we may say now, now it is otherwise than before: for first there is verbum in carne, the word came in the flesh, in the incarnation ; and then there is caro in verbo, he that is made flesh comes in the word, that is, Christ comes in the preaching thereof; and he comes again in carne saluta, when at our dissolution and transmigration ; at our death he comes by his spirit, and testifies to our spirit that we die the children of God: and lastly he comes in carne reddita, when he shall come at the Resurrection, to redeliver our bodies to our souls, and to deliver everlasting glory to both. The ancients for the most part understand the word of our text, of Christ's first coming in the flesh to us in this world; the latter exposition understand them rather of his coming in glory : but the apostle could not properly use this present word now, with relation to that which is not now, that is, to future glory, otherwise than as that future glory hath a preparation and an inchoation in present grace; for so even the future glory of heaven hath a now, now the elect children of God have by his powerful grace a present possession of glory. So then it will not be impertinent to suffer this flowing and extensive word now to spread itself into all three : for the whole duty of Christianity consists in these three things; first, in pietate erga Deum, in religion towards God; in which the apostle had enlarged himself from the beginning to the twelfth chapter of his epistle: and secondly in charitate erga proximum, in our mutual duties of society towards our equals and inferiors, and of subjection towards our superiors, in which that twelfth chapter, and this to the eighth verse is especially conversant: and then thirdly, in sanctimonia propria, in the works of sanctification and holiness in ourselves : and this text the apostle presents as a forcible reason to induce us to that, to those works of sanctification, because Now our salvation is nearer us than when we believed. Take then this now, the first way of the coming of Christ in person, in the flesh into this world; and then the apostle of Christ directs himself principally to the Jews converted to the faith of Christ, and he tells them, that their salvation is nearer them now, now they had seen him come, than when they did only believe that he would come: take the words the second way, of his coming in grace into our hearts; and so the apostle directs himself to all Christians; now, now that you have been bred in the Christian church, now that you are grown from grace to grace, from faith to faith, now that God by his spirit strengthens and confirms you ; Now is your salcation nearer than when ye believed, that is, when you began to believe, either by the faith of your parents, or the faith of the church, or the faith of your sureties at your baptism; or when you began to have some notions, and impressions, and apprehensions of faith in yourself, when you came to some degrees of understanding and discretion; take the word of Christ's coming to us at the hour of death, or of his coming to us at the day of judgment (for those two are all one to our present purpose, because God never reverses any particular judgment given at a man's death, at the day of the general judgment:) take the word so, and this is the apostle's argument, you have believed, and you have lived accordingly, and that faith, and that good life hath brought salvation nearer you, that is, given you a fair and modest infallibility of salvation, in the nature of reversion; but now, now that you are come to the approaches of death, which shall make your reversion a possession, Now is salvation nearer you than when you believed. Summarily, the text is a reason why we ought to proceed in good and holy ways; and it works in all the three acceptations of the word; for whether salvation be said to be near us, because we are Christians, and so have advantage of the Jews, or near us, because we have made some proficiency in holiness and sanctimony; or near us, because we are near our end, and thereby near a possession of our endless joy and glory : still from all these acceptations of the word arise religious provocations to perseverance in holiness of life ; and therefore we shall pursue the words in all three acceptations.

* I have retained the title as it stands in the folio edition; there is, however, but one sermon, nor can I find any trace of another. -ED.


In all three acceptations we must consider three terms in the text; first, Quid salus, what this salvation is that is intended here, and then, Quid prope, what this distance, this nearness is; and lastly, Quid credere, what belief this is. So then, taking the words first the first way, as spoken by the apostles, to the Jews newly converted to the Christian faith, salvation is the outward means of salvation, which are more and more manifest to the Christians, than they were to the Jews. And then the second term, nearness (salvation is nearer) is in this, that salvation to the Christian is in things present or past, in things already done, and of which we are experimentally sure ; but to the Jews it was of future things, of which, howsoever they might assure themselves that they would be, yet they had no assurance when : and therefore (in the third place) their believing was but a confident expectation, and faithful assenting to their prophets ; quando credidistis, when you believed, that is, when you did only believe, and saw nothing.

First then, the first term in the first acceptation, salvation, is the outward means of salvation. Outward and visible means of knowing God, God hath given to all nations in the book of creatures, from the first leaf of that book, the firmament above, to the last leaf, the mines under our feet; there is enough of that. There they have a book which they read; and they have a sentence of condemnation, if they do not, porro inexcusabilis, Therefore art thou inexcusable o man'. The invisible God was presented in visible things, and thou mightest, and wouldest not see him: but this is only such a knowledge of God as philosophers, moral and natural men may have, and yet be very far from making this knowledge any means of salvation. A man that hath often travelled by that way where there stands a fair house, will say, and say truly, that he knows that house ; but yet he knows not the ways that lead nearest and fairest to it, nor he knows not the lodgings and conveniencies of that house as he doth that hath been often and welcome guest to it, or a continual dweller in it. Natural men by passing often through the contemplation of nature have such a knowledge of God; but the knowledge which is to salvation, is by being in God's house, in the household of the faithful, in the communion of saints, and by having such a conversation in heaven in this life. That which our Saviour Christ says, In domo Patris, In my Father's house there are many mansions, as it is intended principally of our state of glory, and diversity of degrees of that in heaven; so is it true also of God's house at large, Multoe mansiones. In God's house, which is all (all this world, and the next too, is God's house) there are out

* Rom. ii. 1.

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