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The Church bettered by chastisements.Chap.2.
them : when this Church had beene seventy yeares in captivity, (a hard time
it was, yet) they lost nothing by it; they Jer. 12.798 | kissed his rod, and fought God, and
now heeftiles them lovely. He loathed them because they loathed him; they were now tried and purified; beforethey were loathsome, but now are lovely, before hated, but now loved. But fee what a blessed use chastisements are of to the Church : how loathsome foever wee goc into captivity, when wee defile our felves with lusts and fins, yet when wee have beene throughly humbled with
some crosses, how faire come we out! Pro.3.
* My, sonne despise not the chastening of the II.
Lord, neither be weary of his corre&tion. And why doth God say, Deut. 8. 16. He proved them to doe them good; when hee saith, my love, it is more then lovely, it is
love, it is love it felfe ; and faire one is + P(8.119. more then faireSo, t It is good for mee
(faith David) that I have been afflicted : fo
Chap.2. The Church not alwayes conspicuous. 77 ches winter: storms shall not alwayes lic upon her, but they shall in the end blow
* The rod of the wicked shall not reft * PL. 115 upon the lor of the righteous. Fifthly, we may
see that outward com- ufc s. forts are easily able to drowne in us a longing after Gods ordinances :the contentment that some found in captivity, made them stand in need of often calling to returne to Sion.
Sixthly, wee may learne here, that the use 6. face of the Church is not alwayes visible and conspicuous in the eyes of men, but alwayes in the eyes of God: for they meet under the staires, and worship God in holes and corners. And a while after Christ faith, Why dost thou lie thus under the staires ; and in clifts of rocks: lt mc see thy face, and hcare thy voyce. The Church of Rome advanceth her selfe, that she hath alwayes been confpicuous; but this is no true signe of a true Church, for the true Church is not alwayes conspicuous : though Christ alwayes sees some to meet in corners and holes, yet not alwayes in folemne afsemblies. The Dove of Christ Jesus sometimes makes her rest in the rockes, and
78 No need of any Mediators but Chrift. Chap.2.
builds under the stairs, where Christ sees her, but not publikely.
Seventhly, see here the Church needs Verse 14. not Angels and Saints to mediate for
her, her owne voyce is sweet, and coun* Joh. 16. tenance comely in Gods estimation: * At 26,27.
that day gee shall aske in my name ; and I say not to you that I will pray the Father for you, for the Father himselfe loveth you because yee have loved mee. Christ tells us, he shall have no great need to pray for us , for God himlelfe loveth us, to heare our voyce, and to see us ; let us then not be afraid to put forth our voyces : labour then for such a spirit as to grieve for our finnes , and to rejoyce in Gods mercies; for God is pleased with that: hee is a trúc citizen of Sion, that when hee ac bounds in Gods mercies, yet hee weepes for his fins; and when hee weeps for his finnes, yet heç is thankefull for Gods
mercies. ure 8, Againe, observe, the Church shall
alwayes be troubled with fome enemies, Verse 16. Take us the foxes that spoile the vines :
There shall be ever fome Sanballat , or Tobiah, or some other to be nibbling at the Church of God:wonder not at this,
Chap.2. The Churches enemies (hall be ruined.
79 for this will be so; but observe touching these enemies of the Church,
First, they shall deale subtilly and craftily with her.
Secondly,they may disturb and hinder her peace and proceedings; but,
Thirdly, they shall in the end berestrained; as in Revel. 19.20. And the Beast was taken , and with him the false Propbet that wrought miracles before him, dc. Tbese both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. Therefore ser such foxes know the time will come when Chrift will either take them, and chaine them, and binde them up, as he did Sanballat , Tobiah, Shether-boznai* : or else hang them up, as hee did Haman and his
6,7. sonnes. Let men then take heed that they doe not push at the Church,for God will either chaine them up, or hang them out
* Ezra 6.
of the way:
Lastly, here wee may see, when the use 9. enemies of the Church are restrained or destroyed, and corruptions wecded out of it, the Church then enjoyeth sweet, and fafe, and full fellowship with the Lord Jesus, and hee with her. Hee gives her pledges of his favour, and shee gives
80 Corruptions removed, Christ is enjoyed. Chap.z.
him pledges of pure worshipping him: he feeds them with his ordinances, they him with their facrifices. And they that would procure Christ this, let them
provide for weeding out of their sinnes ; as, usury, wicked marriages, profanacions of Gods Sabbaths, &c. Such Churches shall be sweet, and much sweet solace shall they enjoy one with another; Christ with them and they with him.