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Now this great and sudden increase of the faithful, is that which doth so exceedingly trouble the World, and makes them angry at the very heart. For, it they were but a few, mean, contemptible and inconliderable Persons, whom they might easily fuppress and destroy, they would be pretty quiet; but when they begin to increase in the Land, as Israel did in Egypt, and notwithstanding all the burthens of their Task-masters, wherewith they are afficted and grieved, do yet increase abundantly, and multiply, and was exceeding mighty, till they begin to fill the Land ; and when they consult to deal wisely with them, least they multiply too much, do yet see them grow and multiply the more, that they know not at what Country, or City, or Town, or Village, or family, to begin to suppress them; this is that which doth so exceedingly vex and inrage the world, and makes them even mad again, as we fee this day. For the increase of the faithful, as it is the glory of the Church, so it is the grief and madness of the world. But these Men in vain attempt against this increase of the faithful, as the Egyptians against the increase of the Israel1tes; for none can hinder the increase of the Church, but they that hinder God from pouring out his Spirit ; and according to the measure of God pouring forth the Spirit, is aud must be, the increase of the Church, in despight of all the opposition of the world.
And thus much touching the first promise of the Churches increase.
Now in the words I read to you, the Lord comes to another promise ; so that the Lord because of the Churches weakness, adds one Promise to another; and these Promises are nothing but the out-goings and manifestations of his
Love, through the Word Christ. But to look more neerly upon the words.
Verf. u. Oh tinou afflicted. Affiliation in the World, doth so inseparably attend the afli. the Church, that the Church even takes its denomina-ition of tion from it. Oh thou affli£ted. The condition of the the spirie Church, is an afflicted Condition. For the Church
Church being born of God, and born of the Spirit, is put into a direct contrariety to the world, which is born of the flesh, and is also of its father the De. vil. And so, the whole world is malignant, against the Faithful and Spiritual Church; and all that are not regenerate, set their faces, yea their hearts and their hands against the Saints; and the unregenerate world, is against the regenerate; and the carnal world, against the Spiritual; and the finful world, against the righteous ; and all the People and Nations in the world, are against that People and Nation, which the Apostle calls A holy Nation, and a peculiar People.
As the world cannot endure God in himself, so neither can it endure God in the Saints; and so the more God dwells in the Saints, the more doth the world afflict the Saints ; for they oppose not the faithful for any thing of flesh and blood in them, but because that flesh and blood of theirs is the habitation of God, and the very presence of God himself is there, as he faith, I will dwell in them, and walk in them. Agreeable to this, is that of Christ, where he faith, All this shall they do to you, for my names sake ; that is, when the Name of Christ is called upon us, and we are taken into his Name, that is, into his righteousness, and life, and truth, and wisdom, and holiness, and into his Nature, which comprehends all this; then, when the world perceives the Name of God in the Sons of Men, and the Nature of God in the Natures of Men, then presently they fall a
persecuting the Saints, for this Name and Natures fake ; and he that strikes at God in his Saints, would if he could, strike at God in himself. And therefore let the world take heed what they do in this point; for while they persecute the Saints, they are found fighters against God himself, because God is one with them, and they are one with God in Christ. And let the Saints be admonished, so to hide and retire themselves into God through Christ, that whoever is an Enemy to them, and opposes them, may rather be an Enemy to God, and oppose God than them, they living and acting in God, and not in themfelves.
Now this affliction the Church meets with in the world, is profitable for the Church ; it is good for it, that it should be afflicted; for the more it is afflicted in the flesh, the more it thrives in the Spirit; this affliction stirs us up to the exercife of our Faith and Prayer; yea, then is our Faith most active and vigorous, and our Prayers most fervent, till they fill the whole Heavens again; then are we most in the use of the Word ; then are we set off furthest from the world ; then do we keep closest to God; then bave we nearest intercourse and communion with him; so that we could better want Fire, and Water, and the Sun, than want AMiction, which God out of his meer love, through his over-ruling power and wisdom, causes to work unto us for good. So that we who are placed in the hand of Christ, are set in such a Condition, wherein nothing can do us any harm for ever, but Evil it self must work Good unto us. But we proceed.
Toffed with Tempest. The Spi- . Where we see that the Church is not only ritual
afflicted, but violently affli&ted; one wave comes Church is violently against it after another, as in a tempeft; and the affti:fed.
more Spiritual the Church is, the more doth the world become as a raging Sea against it ; because the more Spiritual the Church is made, it is set in the more contrariety to the world, and the world to it. The Psalmist describes this temper in the world against the Church; They came upon me like 4 ramping and a roaring Lyon : And again, They came upon me, to eat up my flesh, as they would eat bread. When the Saints have appeared in the Spirit, and acted in the Spirit, how violent and enraged hath the world been against them? It would toss them, as in a tempest, from place to place, from post to pillar, as they say, till it hath quite tost them out of the world. Yea, men naturally meek and moderate,how fierce have they become against the Saints, when there hath appeared any glorious discoveries of Christ in them? For the enmity, that is in the Seed of the Serpent, against the Seed of the Woman, will be ft:li breaking forth: And though it may for a time be covered, under many Moral Vertues, and a forni of Godliness, yet when God leaves them to them selves, and lets them act outwardly, according to their inward Principles, how cruelly, and maliciously, and fiercely, and desperately do they act against the Saints of God? Yea, there is not that enmity between Turk and Jew, as there is between Carnal Gospellers, and Spiritual Christians; the former hating these, and being angry against these to the very death. And when ever the Lord shall suffer these, to exercise their enmi: ty against the Church, then shall the Churches Condition, become such as it is here described, af. The spiriflicted, and tossed with tempeft.
tualChurch And not comforted.
in affitiThe Church of God in all the evil it meets on,bath no withal in the world, hath not one drop of coin-comfort fors from the world; it hath affliction, tribula- from the
tion, persecution from the world, but no comtort.
This we see in Christ the Head ; you know what he suffered in the world in the days of his flesh; he was despised and rejected of men, and so full of sorrows, that he took his name from them, and was called, A man of sorrows, and acquainted moich grief; At last, out of meer envy and 'malice, they apprehended him, bound him, buffered him, spit on him, crucified him; and all this would have been but a small matter, to have suffered from the Heathen, but he suffered all this from the only vilible Church of God in the World, who put him to the most painful and shameful death of The Cross, between two malefactors, to bear the world in hand, that he was the third, and the chief. And in all this evil, he had no body to pitey him, or have compassion on him; but they laughed at him, and derided him, and mocked and jeered him, but no body comforted him.
And as it was with Christ the Head, so it is with Christ the Body and Members; they in all the evils, and woes, and sorrows, and oppositions, and persecutions they have from the world, have no body to comfort them, or take compaffion on them. Refuge failed me (saith David) no man cared for my Soul. Lover and friend haft thou pilt far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness, faish Heman, Pfal. 88. 18.
Brethren and Beloved, ye that are partakers of the Heavenly Calling, and of the Divine Nature, if ever the Lord suffer the world to prevail against you, to afflict you, and toss you, from one evil to another, as in a tempest, to reproach you, throw you out of your comforts, banilh you, imprison you, &c. you mall find no body to comfort you, no body will take notice of you, or regard you, or own you, or pitty yon, or be so