PREACHED AT A CHURCHING.
Micah ii. 10.
Arise and depart, for this is not your rest.
All that God asks of us, is, that we love him with all our heart: all that he promises us, is, that he will give us rest, round about us; Judah sought the Lord with a whole desire, and he gave her rest, round about her. Now a man might think himself well disposed for rest, when he lies down, I will lag me down, and sleep in peace, says David1; but it is otherwise here; Arise and depart; for here, (that is, in lying, and sleeping) is not your rest, says this prophet. These words have a three-fold acceptation, and admit a three-fold exposition; for, first, they are a commination, the prophet threatens the Jews; secondly, they are a commonition, the prophet instructs all future ages; thirdly, they are a consola-^ tion, which hath reference to the consummation of all, to the rising at the general judgment. First, he foretels the Jews of their imminent captivity; howsoever you build upon the pactum salis, the covenant of salt, the everlasting covenant, that God will
1 Psalm iv. 8.
be your God, and this land your land, yet since that confidence sears you up in your sins, Arise and depart, for this is not your rest, your Jerusalem must be changed into Babylon; there is the commination: secondly, he warns us, who are bedded and bedrid in our sins; howsoever you say to yourselves, Soul take thy rest, enjoy the honours, the pleasures, the abundances of this world, Tush the Lord sees it not, the Master will not come, we may lie still safely, and rest in the fruition of this happiness, yet this rest will betray you, this rest will deliver you over to eternal disquiet: and therefore arise and depart, for this is not your rest, and that is the commonition. And in the third acceptation of the words, as they may have relation to the resurrection, they may well admit a little inversion; howsoever you feel a resurrection by grace from the works of death, and darkness in this life, yet in this life, there is no assuredness, that he that is risen, and thinks he stands, shall not fall; here you arise and depart, that is, rise from your sins, and depart from your sinful purposes, but you arise, and depart so too, that you fall, and depart again into your sinful purposes, after you have risen; and therefore depart and arise, for here is not your rest; till you depart altogether out of this world, and rise to judgment, you can have no such rest, as can admit no disquiet, no perturbation; but then you shall; and that is the consolation.
First then, as the words concern the Jews; here is first an increpation, a rebuke, that they are fallen from their station, and their dignity, implied in the first word, arise, for then they were fallen; secondly, here is a demonstration in the same word, that though they liked that state into which they were fallen, which was a security, and stubbornness in their sins, yet they should not enjoy even that security, and that stubbornness, that fall of theirs, but they should lose that; though it were but a false contentment, yet they should be roused out of that, arise; first arise, because you are fallen, and then, arise, though you think yourselves at ease, by that fall. And then thirdly, here is a continuation of God's anger, when they are risen; for they are not raised to their former state and dignity, from which they were fallen, they are not raised to be established, but it is arise, and depart; and in all this (which is a fourth consideration) God precludes them from any hope by solicitation, he reveals his purpose, his decree, and conse-: quently his inexorableriess evidently, in that word, for; never murmur, never dispute, never entreat, you must depart, for it is determined, it is resolved, and here is not your rest; in which also the commination is yet more and more aggravated; first in that they lose their rest, which God hath sold them so dearly, by so many battles, and so many afflictions, and which God had sworn to them so solemnly by so many ratifications; they must lose their rest, they must have no rest, here; not there; not in the Land of Promise itself; and then lastly, as they are denied all rest there; there, where was the womb, and centre of their rest, so there is no intimation, no hope given, that they should have rest any where else, for as they were to rise, only to depart, so they were to depart into captivity.
The first is an increpation, they were fallen; but from whence? It was once said, Quijacet in terra, non habet unde cadat, But he that is earth itself, whither can he fall? Whither can man, derived from earth before his life, enamoured of the earth, embracing it, and married to it in his life, destined to the earth, betrothed to it for a second marriage after this life, whither can befall? It is true of us all, / shall say to corruption, Thou art my father, and to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister*; and can we fall into worse company, contract an alliance with a more base, and beggarly kindred than this? Not if we were left there; then we could not: but when we consider a nation, of whom God hath said, Sponsabo te mihi, I will marry thee, without any respect of disparagement in thy lowness, I will not refuse thee for it, I will not upbraid thee with it, / will marry thee for ever, and without any purpose of divorce (sponsabo in wternum,) of this nation thus assumed, thus contracted, thus endowed, thus assured, why may not we wonder as vehemently, as the prophet did of the fallen angels, Quomodo cecidisti de cwlo, Lucifer filius Orientis, How did this nation fall out of God's arms, out of God's bosom? Himself tells us how; what he had done to exalt them, what they had done to divest his favours: for their natural lowness, he says, In thy nativity when thou wast born, thy navel was not cut, thou wast not washed, thou wast not salted, thou wast not swaddled; no eye pitied thee, but thou
wast cast into the open fields in contempt, I passed by, and saw thee
i * * *
* Job xvii. 14
in thy blood, and said, thou shalt live*; I swaro unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, and thou becamest mine; I washed thee, anointed thee, and adorned thee: and thou wast perfect through my beauty, which I set upon thee; well then, in this state, Quomodo cecidisti de cwlo; How fell she out of God's arms, out of his bosom? thus; Thou didst trust in thine own beauty, because of thy renown, and so playedst the harlot. When that nation was in massa damnata, a loaf of Adam's dough, through all which the infectious leaven of sin had passed without difference, when that nation had no more title, nor pretence to God's mercy, than any of their fellow worms, when God had heaped, and accumulated his temporal blessings upon them, and above all, dwelt with them, in the alliance, and in the familiarity of a particular religion, which contracted God and them, and left out all the world beside, when God had imprinted this beauty in them, and that they had a renown, and reputation for that, they trusted to their own beauty, (to worship whom they would, and how they would) they followed their own invention; yea, they trusted in beauty, which was not their own, in borrowed beauty, in painted beauty, and so took in, and applied themselves to all the spiritual fornications, to all the idolatries of the nations about them; some that were too absurd to be hearkened to; some too obscene and foul to be named now by us, though the Prophets, (to their farther reproach, and confusion) have named them; some, too ridiculous to fall into any man's consideration, that could seriously think of a majesty, in a God, which should be worshipped; yet all these absurd and obscene and ridiculous idolatries they prostituted themselves unto.
Take them in their lowness, for any disposition towards the next world, and this was their state, their navel was not cut; that is, they were still incorporated into their mother, to earth, and to sin; and they were not one step higher, than all the world beside, in Jacob's ladder, whose top is in heaven. Take them in their dignity in this world, and then we find them in Egypt, where they were not personw, but res, they were not their master's men, but their master's goods; they were their cattle, to vex, and wear out, with their labours spent upon the delights of others;
* Ezk. xvi. 4, 5, 8.
they must go far for straw; a great labour, for a little matter; and they must burn it, when they had brought it; they must make brick, but others must build houses, with their materials, and they perish in the fields; they must beget children, but only for the slaughter, and to be murdered as soon as they were born; what nation, what man, what beast, what worm, what weed, if it could have understood their state, would have changed with them then I
This was their dejection, their exinanition in Egypt, if we shall begin there to consider, what he did for them: as after, in the Christian church, he made the blood of the martyrs, the seed of the church, so in Egypt, he propagated, and multiplied his children, in the midst of their cruel oppressions, and slaughters, as though their blood had been seed to increase by; under the weight of their depressions, he gave them growth, and stature, and strength, as though their wounds had been plasters, and their vexations cordials; when he had made Egypt as a hell, by kindling all his plagues in her bosom, yet non dereliquit in inferno, he left not his beloved in this hell, he paled in a paradise in this hell, a Goshen in Egypt, and gave his servants security; briefly, those whom the sword should have lessened, whom labour should have crippled, whom contempt should have beggared, he brought out numerous, and in multitudes, strong, and in courage, rich, and in abundance; and he opened the Red Sea, as he should have opened the Book of Life, to show them their names, their security, and he shut the sea, as that book upon the Egyptians, to show them their irrecoverable exclusion. If we consider, what he did for them, what he suffered from them, in their way, the battles that he fought for them in an out-stretched arm, the battles that they fought against him, in the stiffness of their necks, and their murmurings, we must, to their confusion, acknowledge, that at a great deal a less price, than he paid for them, he might have gained all the people of the earth; all the nations of the earth, (in appearance) would have come in to his subjection, upon the thousandth part of that which he did for the Israelites in their way. But for that which he did for them, at home, when he had planted them in the Land of Promise, as it were an ungrateful thing, not to remember those blessings, so it is some degree of ingratitude, to think them possible to be numbered. Consider the narrowness of the land, (scarce equal to three of our shires) and their iunumerable armies; consider the barenness of many parts of that country, and their innumerable sacrifices of cattle; consider their little trade, in respect, and their innumerable treasures; but consider especially, what God had done for their souls, in promising and ratifying so often a Messiah unto them, and giving them law and prophets, in the mean time, and there you see their true height; and then consider the abominations, and idolatries, in which they had plunged, and buried themselves, and there you see their lowness, how far they were fallen.
This then was their descent; and as St. Paul says (when he describes this descent of the Jews into all manner of abominations) one step of this stair, of this descent, is, unnatural affection, they were unnatural to themselves; that is, not sensible of their own misery, but were proud of their fall, and thought themselves at ease in their ruin; and another stair in this fall is, that God had delivered them up to a reprobate mind*, to suffer them to think so still. And then for their further vexation, God would take from them, even that false, that imaginary comfort of theirs. Surgite, says God; since you have made that perverse shift, to take comfort in your fall, arise from that, from that security, from that stupidity, for you shall not choose but see your misery; when all the people were descended to that baseness, (as nothing is more base, than to court the world, and the devil, for poor and wretched delights, when we may have plentiful and rich abundance in our confidence in God) when the people were all of one mind, and one voice5, omnes uniu s labii, their hearts, and tongues spoke all one language, and, (populus tanto deterior, quanto in deterioribus concors*, men are the worse, the more they are, and the more unanimous, and constant they are in ill purposes) when they were all come to that venite comburamus, come, and let us burn brick, and trust in our own work, and venite, ccdificemus, come, and let us build a tower, and provide a safety for ourselves; since they would descend from their dignity, (which dignity consists in the service of God, whose service is.
perfect freedom) God would descend with them, Venite descendants, says God; but what to do? Descendamus, ut confundamus, Let us go down to confound their language, and to scatter them upon the earth. Ascensio mendax, descemio crudelis, says holy Bernard, A false ascending, is a cruel descending: when we lie weltering in our blood, secure in our sins, and can flatter ourselves, that we are well, and where we would be, this deceitful ascension, is a cruel descent into hell; we lie still, we feel no pain, but it is because we have broken our necks; we do not groan, we do not sigh, but it is because our breath is gone; the spirit of God is departed from us. They were descended to a flatness of taste, Egyptian onions had a better savour, than the manna of heaven; they were descended to a new-fangledness in civil government, they liked the form of government amongst their neighbours, better than that of judges, which God had established for them then; they were descended to a new-fangledness in matter of religion, to the embracing of a foreign, and a frivolous, and an idolatrous worship of God: but then being in their descent, when they delighted in it, as sea-sick men, who had rather be trodden upon than rise up, than God frustrate that false joy and false ease of theirs, he rouses them from all that, which they had proposed to themselves, surgite, arise, arise from this security, because you are fallen, you should rise, but because you love your misery, you shall rise, you shall come to a sense, and knowledge of it, you shall not enjoy the ease of an ignorance.
But he raised them not to re-establish them, to restore them to their former dignity; there was no comfort in that surgite, which was accompanied with an ite, arise and depart: and depart into captivity. If we compare the captivity, which they were going into, (that of Babylon) with the other bondage, which they had been delivered from, (that of Egypt) it is true, there were many, and real, and important differences. That of Egypt was ergastulum, a prison1; and it was fornax ferrea, an iron furnace8; but in Babylon, they were not slaves, as they were in Egypt, but they were such a kind of prisoners, as only had not liberty to return to their own country. But yet, if we consider their state in Egypt in their root, in Jacob, and in his sons, they
7 Exod. vi. 6. 8 Deut. iv. 20.
came for food thither in a time of necessity; and consider them in that branch that overshadowed, and refreshed them, in Joseph, he came thither as a bondman, in a servile condition. So that they were but few persons, and not so great, as that their pressures could aggravate, or taste much more the bitterly, by comparing it with any greatness which they had before; though they were fallen into great misery, they were not fallen from any remarkable greatness. But between the two captivities of Egypt, and Babylon, they were come to that greatness, and reputation, as that they had the testimony of all the world, Only this people is wise, and of understanding, and a great nation'. Now wherein? In that which follows; what nation is so great, as to have the Lord come so near unto them; so great, as to have laws, and ordinances, so righteous, as they had? Now this preculiar greatness, they lost in this captivity; whether they lost absolutely the books of the law, or not, and that they were reinspired and redictated again by the Holy Ghost to Esdras, or whether Esdras did but recollect them, and recompile them, St. Hierome will not determine: he will not say whether Moses, or Esdras, bo author of the first five books of the Bible; but it is clear enough, that they were out of that ordinary use wherein they had been before: and though they kept their circumcision, and their sabbaths in Babylon, yet being cast thither for their sins, they had lost all ordinary expiations of their sins, for they had no sacrifices there; (as the Jews which are now in dispersion, are everywhere without their sacrifices) they were to rise, but not to stay, arise and depart; and they w7ere to depart, both from their imaginary comforts, which they had framed, and proposed to themselves (when they were fallen from God, they should be deceived in their trust in themselves) and they were to depart even with the law, and ordinances, in which their pre-eminence, and prerogative above all nations consisted: when man comes to be content with this world, God will take this world from him: when man frames to himself imaginary pleasures, God will inflict real punishments; when he would lie still, he shall not sleep; but God will take him and raise him, but to a farther vexation. And this vexation hath another heavy weight upon it, in this
9 Deut. iv. 6.
little word, for; for this draws a curtain between the face of God, and them: this locks a door between the court of mercy, and them, when God presents his judgments with such an assuredness, such a resolution, as leaves no hope in their heart, that God will alter it, no power in themselves to solicit God to a pardon, or a reprieve; but as he was led at a fool to the stocks, when he hearkened to pleasant sins before, so he is led as an ox to the slaughters, when he hears of God's judgments now; his own conscience prevents God, and tells him, there is a for, a reason, a necessity, an irrecoverableness in his condemnation. God had iterated, and multipled this quia, this for, oftentimes in their ears: this prophet was no upstart, no sudden, no transitory man, to pass through the streets with a Vw, vw, Woe, woe unto this city10, and no more; but he prophesied constantly, during the reign of three kings, of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah: he was no suspicious man out of his singularity; but he prophesied jointly with Isaiah, without separation, and he held the communion of his fellow-prophets; he was no particular man, (as many interpreters have taken it) so, as that he addressed his prophecies upon Judah only; but he extended it to all, to all the tribes. It is not a prophecy limited to idolatry, and the sins against the first table, but to robbery, and murder, and fornication, and oppression, and the sins between man and man: it is not a timorous prophecy, directed only to persons whom a low fortune, and a miserable estate, or a sense of sin, and a wounded conscience, had depressed, and dejected, but principally bent upon rulers and magistrates, and great persons. So that no man hath a quia against this quia, a for against this for, to say, we need not heed him, for he is an upstart, a singular person, and all these his threatenings are rather satirical, than prophetical, or theological; but this thunderbolt, this quia, this reason why these judgments must necessarily fall upon them, fell upon them with so much violence, as that it stupified with the weight, and precluded all ways of escape. These be the heaviest texts that a man can light upon in the Scriptures of God, and these be the heaviest commentaries that a man can make upon these texts, that when God wakens him and raises him from his dream, and
10 Micah ii. 1.
bed of sill, and pleasure,' and raises him with the voice of his judgments, he suffers him to read to the quia, but not to come to the tamen; he comes to see reason why that judgment must fall, but not to see any remedy. His inordinate melancholy, and half-desperate sadness, carries his eye and mind upon a hundred places of commination, of threatening in the prophets, and in them all he finds quickly that quia, this curse must fall upon me, for I am fallen into it; but he comes not to the tamen, to that relief, yet turn to the Lord, and he will turn to thee. This was a particular step in their misery, that when they were awaked and risen, that is, taken away from all taste and comfort in their own imaginations and pleasures, when God was ready to give fire to all that artillery, which he had charged against them, in the service of all the prophets, they could see no refuge, no sanctuary, nothing but a quia, an irresistibleness, an irremediableness, a necessity of perishing; a great while there was no such thing as judgment, (God cannot see us) now, there is no such thing as mercy, (God will not see us.)
What then is this heavy judgment, that is threatened I It is the deprivation of rest. Though there be no war, no pestilence, no new positive calamity, yet privative calamities are heavy judgments; to lose that Gospel, that religion, which they had, is a heavy loss; deprivations are heavy calamities; and here they are deprived of rest; here is -not your rest: now, besides that betwixt us and heaven, there is nothing that rests, (all the elements, all the planets, all the spheres are in perpetual motion, and vicissitude) and so the joys of heaven are expressed unto us, in that name of rest; certainly this blessing of rest was more precious, more acceptable to the Jews, than to any other nation; and so they more sensible of the loss of it, than any other. For as God's first promise, and the often ratification of it, had ever accustomed them to a longing for that promised rest, as their long, and laborious peregrinations, had made them ambitious, and hungry of that rest, so had they (which no other nation had but they) a particular feast of a Sabbath, appointed for them, both for a real cessation and rest from bodily labours, and for a figurative expressing of the eternal rest; their imagination, their understanding, their faith, was filled with this apprehension of rest. When the contentment and satisfaction, which God took in Noah's sacrifice after he came out of the ark, is expressed, it is expressed thus, The Lord smelt a savour of rest11; our services to God, are a rest to him; he rests in our devotions; and when the idolatrous service, and forbidden sacrifices of the people are expressed, they are expressed thus, when I had brought them into the land, Posuerunt ibi odorem quietum suarum1*, they placed there the sweet savours of their own rest; not of God's rest, (his true religion) but their own rest, a religion, which they, for collateral respects, rested in. And therefore when God threatens here, that there shall be no rest, that is, none of his rest, he would take from them their law, their sacrifices, their religion, in which he was pleased, and rested gracious towards them, he will change their religion: and when he says, here is not your rest, he threatens to take from them, that rest, that peace, that quiet which they had proposed, and imagined to themselves; when they say to themselves, Why, it is no great matter; we may do well enough for all that, though our religion be changed; he will impoverish them, he will disarm them, he will infatuate them, he will make them a prey to their enemies, and take away all true, and all imaginary rest too.
Briefly, it is the mark of all men, even natural men, rest: for though Tertullian condemn that, to call Quietis magisterium sapientiam, The act of being, and living at quiet, wisdom, therein seeming to exclude all wisdom that conduces not to rest, as though there were no wisdom in action, and in business; though in the person of Epicurus he condemn that, and that saying^ Nemo alii nascitur, moriturus sibi, It is no reason, that any man should think himself born for others, since he cannot live to himself, or to labour for others, since himself cannot enjoy rest, yet Tertullian leaving the Epicures, that placed felicity in a stupid and unsociable retiring, says in his own person, and in his own opinion, almost as much, Unicum mihi negotium, nec aliud euro, quam ne curem, All that I care for, is that I might care for nothing; and so even Tertullian, in his Christian philosophy, places happiness in rest: now he speaks not only of the things of this world, they must necessarily be cared for, in their propor
- 11 Gen. viii. 21. a Ezek. xx. 28.
VOL. IV. i<
tion; we must not decline the businesses of this life, and the offices of society, out of an aery and imaginary affection of rest: our principal rest is, in the testimony of our conscience, and in doing that which we were sent to do; and to have a rest, and peace, in a conscience of having done that religiously, and acceptably to God, is our true rest: and this was tho rest, which the Jews were to lose in this place, the testimony of their consciences, that they had performed their part, their conditions, so, that they might rely upon God's promises of a perpetual rest in the land of Canaan; and that rest they could not have; not that peaceful testimony of their consciences.
They could not have that rest, no rest, not there, not in Canaan; which was the highest degree of the misery, because they were confident in their term, their state in that land, that it should be perpetual; and they were confident in the goodness of the land, that it should evermore give them all conveniences in abundance, conducing to all kind of rest: for this land God himself calls by the name of rest, and of his rest; / sware that they should not enter into my rest"; so that rest was proper to this land, and this land was proper to them. For, (as St. Augustine notes well") though God recovered this land for them, and re-established miraculously their possession, yet they came but in their remitter, and in postliminio, the inheritance of that land was theirs before: for Shem the son of Noah, was in possession of this land; and the sons of Cham, the Canaanites, expelled his race out of it; and Abraham, of the race of Shem, was restored unto it again: so that, as the goodness of the land promised rest, so the goodness of the title promised them the land; and yet they might have no rest there.
They had a better title than that; those often oaths, which God had sworn unto them, that that land should be theirs for ever, was their evidence; if then that land were requies Domini, the rest of the Lord, that is, the best, and the safest rest, and that land were their land, why should they not have that rest here, when the Lord had sworn they should? Why, because he swore the contrary after; but will God swear contrary things? Why, Solus securus jurat, quifalli non potest, says St. Augustine,
13 Psalm xcv. 11. 14 Aug. Ser. cv. de tempore.
only he can swear a thing safely, that sees all circumstances, and foresees all occurrences; only God can swear safely, because nothing can be hid from him. God therefore that knew upon what conditions he had taken the first oath, and knew again how contemptuously those conditions were broken, he takes knowledge that he had sworn, he denies not that, but he swears again, and in his anger, / sware in my wrath, that they should not enter into my rest. Those men (says he) which have seen my glory and my miracles, and have tempted me ten times, and not obeyed my voice, certainly they shall not see the land whereof I swear unto their fathers15; neither shall any that provoke me see it; he pleads not non est factum, but he pleads conditions performed; he denies not that he swore, but he justifies himself, that he had done as much as he promised; for his promise was conditional. The apostle seems to assign but one reason of their exclusion, from this land, and from this rest, and yet he expresses that one reason so, as that it hath two branches; he says, We see that they could not enter, because of unbelief u; and yet he asks the question; To whom sware he, that they should not enter into his rest, but unto them, that obeyed not? Unbelief is assigned for the cause, and yet they were shut out for disobedience; now, if the apostle make it all one, whether want of faith, or want of works, exclude us from the land of rest, let not us be too curious inquirers, whether faith or works bring us thither; for neither faith, nor works bring us thither, as a full cause; but if we consider mediate causes, so they may be both causes; faith, instrumental; works, declaratory; faith may be as evidence, works as the seal of it; but the cause is only, the free election of God. Nor ever shall we come thither, if we leave out either; we shall meet as many men in heaven, that have lived without faith, as without works.
This then was the case; God had sworn to them an inheritance permanently there, but upon condition of their obedience; if they had not had a privity in the condition, if they had not had a possibility to perform the condition, their exclusion might have seemed unjust: and it had been so; for though God might justly have forborne the promise, yet he could not justly break the pro
15 Numb. xiv. 23. 16 Heb. iii. 18, 19.
mise, if they had kept the conditions; therefore he expressed the condition without any disguise, at first, If thy heart turn away, I pronounce unto you this day that you shall surely perish1J: you shall not prolong your days in the land. And then, when those conditions were made, and made known, and made easy, and accepted, when they so rebelliously broke all conditions, his first oath lay not in his way, to stop him from the second, As I lire, saith the Lord, I will surely bring mine oath that they have broken, and my covenant that they have despised upon their head; shall they break my covenant, and be delivered? says God there18. God confesses the oath and the covenant, to be his covenant and his oath, but the breach of the oath, and covenant, was theirs, and not his.
He expresses his promise to them, and his departing from them together, in another prophet; God says to the prophet, Buy thee a girdle, bury it in the ground, and fetch it again1'; and then it was rotten, and good for nothing: for says he, As the girdle cleaveth to the loins, so have I tied to me the house of Israel, and Judah, that they might be my people, that they might have a name and a praise, and a glory, but they would not hear; therefore, say unto them, Every bottle shall be filled with wine; (here was a promise of plenty:) and they shall say unto thee, Do not we know, that every bottle shall be filled with wine? (that God is bound to give us this plenty ?) because he hath tied himself by oath, and covenant, and promise.) But behold, I fill all the inhabitants with drunkenness; (since they trust in their plenty, that shall be an occasion of sin to them) and / will dash them against one another, even the father and sons together; I will not spare, I will not pity, I will not have compassion, but destroy them. God could not promise more, than he did in this place at first; he could not depart farther from that promise, than, by their occasion, he came to at last. God's promise goes no farther with Moses himself; My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee restTM; if we will steal out of Gods presence, into dark and sinful corners, there is no rest promised. Receive my words, says Solomon, and the years of thy life shall be many81; Trust in the
"Deut. xxx. 17, 18. "Ezek. xvii. 19. Jer. xiii. 1—7.
10 Exod. xxxiii. 14. 81 Prov. iv. 10.
Lord, and do good", (perform both, stand upon those two legs, faith, and works; not that they are alike; there is a right, and a left leg: but stand upon both; upon one in the sight of God; upon the other in the sight of man :) Trust in the Lord, and do good, and thou shalt dwell in the land, and be fed assuredly. That paradise, that peace of conscience, which God establishes in thee, by faith, hath a condition of growth, and increase, from faith to faith; heaven itself, in which the angels were, had a condition; they might, they did fall from thence; the land of Canaan was their own land, and the rest of that land their rest, by God's oath, and covenant; and yet here was not their rest: not here; nor, for anything expressed or intimated in the word, anywhere else. Here was a nunc dimittis, but not in peace; the Lord lets them depart, and makes them depart, but not in peace, for their eyes saw no salvation; they were sent away to a heavy captivity. Beloved, we may have had a Canaan, an inheritance, a comfortable assurance in our bosoms, in our consciences, and yet hear that voice after, that here is not our rest, except, as God's goodness at first moved him to make one oath unto us, of a conditional rest, as our sins have put God to his second oath, that he sware we should not have his rest, so our repentance bring him to a third oath, As I live I mould not the death of a sinner, that so he do not only make a new contract with us, but give us withal an ability to perform the conditions, which he requires.