esides what I said of the Four Last Things,
And of the weal and woe that from them springs;
An after-word still runneth in my mind,
Which I shall here expose unto that wind
That may it blow into that very hand
That needs it. Also that it may be scann'd
With greatest soberness, shall be my prayer,
As well as diligence and godly care;
So to present it unto public view,
That only truth and peace may thence ensue.
My talk shall be of that amazing love
Of God we read of; which, that it may prove,
By its engaging arguments to save
Thee, I shall lay out that poor help I have
Thee to entice; that thou wouldst dearly fall
In love with thy salvation, and with all
That doth thereto concur, that thou mayst be
As blessed as the Blessed can make thee,
Not only here but in the world to come,
In bliss, which, I pray God, may be thy home.
But first, I would advise thee to bethink
Thyself, how sin hath laid thee at the brink
Of hell, where thou art lulled fast asleep
In Satan's arms, who also will thee keep
As senseless and secure as e'er he may,
Lest thou shouldst wake, and see't, and run away
Unto that Jesus, whom the Father sent
Into the world, for this cause and intent,
That such as thou, from such a thrall as this
Might'st be released, and made heir of bliss.
Now that thou may'st awake, the danger fly,
And so escape the death that others die,
Come, let me set my trumpet to thine ear,
Be willing all my message for to hear:
'Tis for thy life, O do it not refuse;
Wo unto them good counsel do abuse.
Thou art at present in that very case,
Which argues thou art destitute of grace:
For he that lies where sin hath laid him, lies
Under the curse, graceless, and so he dies
In body and in soul, within that range,
If God his heart in mercy doth not change
Before he goes the way of all the earth,
Before he lose his spirit and his breath.
Repentance there is none within the grave,
Nor Christ, nor grace, nor mercies for to save
Thee from the vengeance due unto thy sin,
If now thou dost not truly close with him.
Thou art like him that sleepeth in the sea
On broken boards, which, without guide or stay,
Are driven whither winds and water will;
While greedy beasts do wait to have their fill
By feeding on his carcass, when he shall
Turn overboard, and without mercy fall
Into the jaws of such as make a prey
Of those whom justice drowneth in the sea.
Thou art like him that snoring still doth lie
Upon the bed of vain security,
Whilst all about him into burning flame
By fire is turned; yea, and while the frame
And building where he lies consuming is,
And while himself these burnings cannot miss.
Thou art like one that hangeth by a thread
Over the mouth of hell, as one half-dead;
And O, how soon this thread may broken be,
Or cut by death, is yet unknown to thee!
But sure it is, if all the weight of sin,
And all that Satan, too, hath doing been,
Or yet can do, can break this crazy thread,
'Twill not be long before, among the dead,
Thou tumble do, as linked fast in chains,
With them to wait in fear for future pains.
What shall I say? Wilt thou not yet awake?
Nor yet of thy poor soul some pity take?
Among the lions it hood-winked lies;
O, that the Lord would open once thine eyes
That thou might'st see it, then I dare say thou,
As half-bereft of wits, wouldst cry out, How
Shall I escape? Lord help, O! help with speed,
Reach down thy hand from heav'n, for help I need,
To save me from the lions, for I fear
This soul of mine they will in pieces tear.
Come, then, and let us both expostulate
The case betwixt us, till we animate
And kindle in our hearts that burning love
To Christ, to grace, to life, that we may move
Swifter than eagles to this blessed prey;
Then shall it be well with us in that day
The trump shall sound, the dead made rise, and stand,
Then to receive, for breach of God's command,
Such thunder-claps as these, Depart from me
Into hell-fire, you that the wicked be,
Prepared for the devil, and for those
That with him and his angels rather chose
To live in filthy sin and wickedness,
Whose fruit is everlasting bitterness.
We both are yet on this side of the grave,
We also gospel-privileges have;
The word, and time to pray; God give us hearts,
That, like the wise man, we may act our parts,
To get the pearl of price; then we shall be
Like godly Mary, Peter, Paul, and we
Like Jacob, too, the blessing shall obtain;
While Esau rides a-hunting for the gain
Of worldly pelf, which will him not avail
When death or judgment shall him sore assail.
Now, to encourage us for to begin,
Let us believe the kingdom we may win,
And be possess'd thereof, if we the way
Shall hit into, and then let nothing stay
Or hinder us; the crown is at the end,
Let's run and strive, and fly, and let's contend
With greatest courage it for to obtain;
'Tis life, and peace, and everlasting gain.
The gate of life, the new and living way,
The promise holdeth open all the day,
Which thou by Jacob's ladder must ascend,
Where angels always wait, and do attend
As ministers, to minister for those
That do with God, and Christ, and glory close.
If guilt of sin still lieth at our door,
Us to discourage, let us set before
Our eyes a bleeding Jesus, who did die
The death, and let's believe the reason why
He did it, was that we might ever be
From death and sin, from hell and wrath set free.
Yea, let's remember for that very end
It was his blessed Father did him send;
That he the law of God might here fulfil,
That so the mystery of his blessed will
Might be revealed in the blessedness
Of those that fly to Christ for righteousness.
Now let us argue with ourselves, then, thus
That Jesus Christ our Lord came to save us,
By bearing of our sins upon his back,
By hanging on the cross as on a rack,
While justice cut him off on every side,
While smiles Divine themselves from him did hide,
While earth did quake, and rocks in pieces rent,
And while the sun, as veiled, did lament
To see the innocent and harmless die
So sore a death, so full of misery.
Yea, let us turn again, and say, All this
He did and suffered for love of his.
He brought in everlasting righteousness,
That he might cover all our nakedness;
He wept and wash'd his face with brinish tears
That we might saved be from hellish fears;
Blood was his sweat, too, in his agony,
That we might live in joyful ecstasy;
He apprehended was and led away,
That grace to us-ward never might decay.
With swords, and bills, and outrage in the night,
That to the peace of heav'n we might have right.
Condemned he was between two thieves to die,
That we might ever in his bosom lie;
Scourged with whips his precious body were,
That we lashes of conscience might not fear;
His head was crowned with thorns, that we might be
Crowned with glory and felicity;
He hanged was upon a cursed tree,
That we delivered from death might be;
His Father from him hides his smiles and face,
That we might have them in the heavenly place;
He cry'd, My God, why hast forsaken me?
That we forsaken of him might not be.
Into his side was thrust a bloody spear,
That we the sting of death might never fear;
He went into the grave after all this,
That we might up to heav'n go, and have bliss.
Yea, rise again he did out of the earth,
And shook off from him all the chains of death;
Then at his chariot wheels he captive led
His foes, and trod upon the serpent's head;
Riding in triumph to his Father's throne,
There to possess the kingdom as his own.
What say'st thou, wilt not yet unto him come?
His arms are open, in his heart is room
To lay thee; be not then discouraged,
Although thy sins be many, great, and red;
Unto thee righteousness he will impute,
And with the kisses of his mouth salute
Thy drooping soul, and will it so uphold,
As that thy shaking conscience shall be bold
To come to mercy's seat with great access,
There to expostulate with that justice
That burns like fiery flames against all those
That do not with this blessed Jesus close;
Which unto thee will do no harm, but good,
Because thou hast reliance on that blood
That justice saith hath given him content,
For all that do unfeignedly repent
Their ill-spent life, and roll upon free grace,
That they within that bosom might have place,
That open is to such, where they shall lie
In ease, and gladness, and felicity,
World without end, according to that state
I have, nay, better than I, can relate.
If thou shalt still object, thou yet art vile,
And hast a heart that will not reconcile
Unto the holy law, but will rebel,
Hark yet to what I shall thee farther tell.
Two things are yet behind that help thee will,
If God should put into thy mind that skill,
So to improve them as becometh those
That would with mercy and forgiveness close.
First, then, let this sink down into thy heart,
That Christ is not a Saviour in part,
But every way so fully he is made
That all of those that underneath his shade
And wing would sit, and shroud their weary soul,
That even Moses dare it not control,
But justify it, approve of 't, and conclude
No man nor angel must himself intrude
With such doctrine that may oppose the same,
On pain of blaspheming that holy name,
Which God himself hath given unto men,
To stay, to trust, to lean themselves on, when
They feel themselves assaulted, and made fear
Their sin will not let them in life appear.
For as God made him perfect righteousness,
That he his love might to the height express,
And us present complete before the throne;
Sanctification, too, of his own
He hath prepared, in which do we stand,
Complete in holiness, at his right hand.
Now this sanctification is not
That holiness which is in us, but that
Which in the person of this Jesus is,
And can inherently be only his.
But is imputed to us for our good.
As is his active righteousness and blood;
Which is the cause, though we infirm are found,
That mercy and forgiveness doth abound
To us-ward, and that why we are not shent
And empty, and away rebuked sent,
Because that all we do imperfect is.
Bless God, then, for this holiness of his,
And learn to look by faith on that alone,
When thou seest thou hast nothing of thine own;
Yea, when thy heart most willing is to do
What God by his good word doth call thee to;
And when thou find'st most holiness within,
And greatest power over every sin,
Yet then to Jesus look, and thou shalt see
In him sanctification for thee,
Far more complete than all that thou canst find
In the most upright heart and willing mind,
That ever man or angels did possess,
When most filled with inherent righteousness.
Besides, if thou forgettest here to live,
And Satan get thee once into his sieve,
He will so hide thy wheat, and show thy brun
That thou wilt quickly cry, I am undone.
Alas, thy goodliest attainments here,
Though like the fairest blossoms they appear,
How quickly will they lour and decay,
And be as if they all were fled away,
When once the east-wind of temptations beat
Upon thee, with their dry and blasting heat!
Rich men will not account their treasure lies
In crack'd groats and four-pence half-pennies,
But in those bags they have within their chests,
In staple goods, which shall within their breasts
Have place accordingly, because they see
Their substance lieth here. But if that be
But shaken, then they quickly fear, and cry,
Alas, 'tis not this small and odd money,
We carry in our pockets for to spend,
Will make us rich, or much will stand our friend.
If famine or if want do us assail,
How quickly will these little pieces fail!
If thou be wise, consider what I say
And look for all in Christ, where no decay
Is like to be; then though thy present frame
Be much in up-and-down, yet he the same
Abideth, yea, and still at God's right hand,
As thy most perfect holiness will stand.
It is, I say, not like to that in thee,
Now high, then low, now out, then in, but he
Most perfect is, when thou art at the worst
The same, the very same; I said at first,
This helpeth much when thou art buffeted,
And when thy graces lie in thee as dead;
Then to believe they are all perfect still
In Christ thy head, who hath that blessed skill,
Yet to present thee by what is in him
Unto his Father, one that hath no sin.
Yea, this will fill thy mouth with argument
Against the tempter, when he shall present
Before thee all thy weakness, and shall hide
From thee thy graces, that thou mayst abide
Under the fretting fumes of unbelief,
Which never yielded Christian man relief.
Nor help thyself thou mayst against him thus:
O Satan, though my heart indeed be worse
Than 'twas a while ago, yet I perceive
Thou shalt me not of happiness bereave,
Nor yet of holiness; for by the Word
I find that Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord,
Is made sanctification for me
In his own person, where all graces be,
As water in the fountain; and that I,
By means of that, have yet a sanctity,
Both personal and perfect every way;
And that is Christ himself, as Paul doth say.
Now, though my crazy pitcher oft doth leak,
By means of which my graces are so weak,
And so much spent, that one I cannot find
Able to stay or help my feeble mind;
Yet then I look to Jesus, and see all
In him that wanting is in me, and shall
Again take courage, and believe he will
Present me upright in his person, till
He humble me for all my foolishness,
And then again fill me with holiness.
Now, if thou lovest inward sanctity,
As all the saints do most unfeignedly,
Then add, to what I have already said,
Faith in the promise; and be not afraid
To urge it often at the throne of grace,
And to expect it in its time and place.
Then he that true is, and that cannot lie,
Will give it unto thee, that thou thereby
Mayst serve with faith, with fear, in truth and love,
That God that did at first thy spirit move
To ask it to his praise, that he might be
Thy God, and that he might delight in thee.
If I should here particulars relate,
Methinks it could not but much animate
Thy heart, though very listless to inquire
How thou mayst that enjoy, which all desire
That love themselves and future happiness;
But O, I cannot fully it express:
The promise is so open and so free,
In all respects, to those that humble be,
That want they cannot what for them is good;
But there 'tis, and confirmed is with blood,
A certain sign, all those enjoy it may,
That see they want it, and sincerely pray
To God the Father, in that Jesus' name
Who bled on purpose to confirm the same.