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Sin is a hated thing, God now is all,
Love makes all common, for it makes all one.
Zeal for good works, patience in bearing wrong,
Were the true marks by which Christ's flock was known.
Had not Christ added this convincing seal,
Tongues, miracles, and sanctifying grace,
The wonder of redemption is so great,
That faith to unbelief must needs give place.
Apostles mortal were : before they die,
For future ages they Christ's sacred word,
His deeds, laws, doctrine, by the promised Spirit,
To guide the church, infallibly record.
As Moses gave the Jews the only law,
Which following priests and prophets were to teach,
So th' Holy Ghost by the Apostles wrote
The word which after-ages were to preach.
As Moses' law was seal'd with miracles,
When such the following ages did not need,
So Christ's apostles did by wonders seal
Those records which the after-ages read.
The Spirit promised to the Apostles was,
To lead them to all needful saving truth,
And bring Christ's words to their remembrance :
What they by his commission did, Christ doth.
Their writings are the Holy Ghost's own book;
Though human imperfection do appear,
In modes and phrases, it's no just offence,
But leaves the truth and use still sure and clear.
Words but the vehicle of matter be,
God's Spirit owns not the translator's words;
But if, as signs, they with his word agree,
The sense and matter of them is the Lord's.
This Spirit helps the church, but not to bring
Another gospel, law, or word from Heav'n,
Nor mend or change God's laws in words or sense,
But to preach and obey the word once given.
To bring new laws or messages from God,
A prophet's office is, and not a priest's ;
To forge such, or make laws for all the church,
The authors prove false prophets, or false Christs.
Christian religion is one 'stablish'd thing,
Which all the church from first to last may know,
It is not human, changeable, or new,
Nor doth by men's decrees increase and grow.
If canons no part of religion be,
But laws for rites and things indifferent;
Why must all Christians needs in these agree,
Or not agreeing by church-wars be rent?
The church hath all one head, one perfect law,
All justified be by Christ's blood and merit;
All that are true, though weak, Christ doth receive,
For all are sanctified by one Spirit.
The Holy Ghost in all true Christians dwells,
He doth illuminate, and make them new :
This is Christ's agent, and his body forms,
His witness proving that his word is true.
This Spirit did the gospel first endite,
And on it did God's image first engrave,
And then by it, as his great instrument,
That image prints on all that he will save.
Though it belong of their resisting will,
any of this grace deprived be;
Yet scripture and experience clearly tell,
That differencing, electing grace is free.
A man himself doing what God forbade,
His house a Bedlam and a bridewell made;
Man turn’d it by his sinful base defection,
Into God's prison and house of correction.
God's wondrous mercies wbich do never fail,
Fetch many sons to Heav'n out of this gaol.
If the rest finally neglect God's grace,
And choose no better than this sinful place,
The dream of pleasure which will end in shame,
They had their choice, and whom else can they blame?
Who'd censure God for one poor Bedlam's sake,
But such as of his madness do partake ?
And though he rage, and sober men disdains,
Who loves his case, or longeth for his chains ?
Who envy wicked men their hurting power,
Who do believe their sad approaching hour?
Who the toad's hurtful venom envieth,
Who'd have the basilisk's pernicious breath?
Wbo longs to be a serpent for the sting ?
It's worse to be a great, but hurtful king.
Christians by patience win a better crown,
Than all the bloody conquerors' renown.
True Christian kings, who rule in peace and love
A better kingdom have with Christ above.
Our king may with more peace and safety rule,
Than the great Turk, Tartarian, or Mogul.
No king so mighty as the devil is,
Nor hath dominion so large as his.
Yet would no wise man such a devil be,
That he might be as powerful as he ;
If any would be such, his own desire
Makes him a devil fitted for hell-fire.
Madness called wisdom is, and rules in chief,
With all that cannot see beyond this life :
To them that see not beyond flesh and blood,
And taste no better than these senses' food;
That know not the true everlasting good,
Nothing on earth is rightly understood.
The heavenly light must open sinners' eyes,
Before they ever will be truly wise :
One real prospect of the life to come,
A true belief whither men's souls are gone,
Would more felicitating wisdom give,
Than foolish, sensual men will now believe.
Call not that wisdom which will end in shame,
Which undoes him who by it wins the game:
A wit that can deceive himself and others,
Wit to destroy his own soul, and his brother's :
Wit that can prove that sin's a harmless thing,
That sin's no sin, or no great hurt will bring;
That with the serpent can give God the lie,
And say, believe not God, you shall not die.
Wit that can prove that God speaks but in jest,
That fleshly pleasure is man's best.
Wit that can prove God's wisdom is deceiv’d,
And Sacred Scriptures should not be receiv'd.
Wit to confute God's word, reject his grace,
Lose time, sin boldly, post towards Hell apace ;
Defend the devil's cause, his own damnation,
Slight God, neglect a Saviour and salvation.
Call not that wisdom, which men would disown,
And wish at last that they had never known.
To go with honour, ease, and sport to Hell,
And there with shame and late repentance dwell!
Truth is for goodness, wisdom's use and end,
To which true learning, and just studies tend,
A father's love affordeth me some hope, The world gives none: I must return or die; I'll go, and humbly all my sin confess, And cast myself upon his clemency. But God is just and holy: how can I, Defil'd with sin and guilt, stand in his sight? Now the sick soul a sure physician needs, There is one Saviour, who is God's delight. He is the way, by whom men come to God, He is the truth, to save the world from error; He is the life, to save from endless death Self-murdering souls, subject to hellish terror. And now the gospel's better understood; Redemption seemeth not a needless thing; His thoughts are precious of Christ's precious blood, His mediator, prophet, priest, and king. The gospel now is tidings of great joy, Pardon of sin, adoption, peace with God, Freedom from terror, Satan, sin, and hell, Man's self-made, and God's just revenging rod. He sees why love in man's repair must be As much admired, as power in our creation, Sinners cannot immediately God see, But by a mediator have salvation. Now all things else seem loss and dung for Christ; Wisdom is folly where Christ is left out; To know him is the true philosophy ; The rest doth teach men but to prate and doubt. Some glimpse of God and Heav'n, blurr'd nature yields, But it's but as a candle to the sun; Others towards God and Heav'n may grope and creep, Christians with joyful hope believe bnt run.