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B12376 Heauens ioy, for a sinners repentance A sermon preached at VVhite-Hall the 4. of March, 1623. By Iohn Denison, Doctor of Diuinity, one of his Maiesties chaplaines. Denison, John, d. 1629. 1623 (1623) STC 6590; ESTC S109579 71,485 186

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thereof Sola fides justificat sed non solitaria It is a common a knowne position Only faith doth iustifie vs but not faith alone onely faith doth iustifie as the Instrument by which we apprehend and lay hold on the Obedience of Christ the only meritorious cause of our saluation but not faith alone that is a barren a dead faith a faith without fruits for that is no sauing no justifying faith and therefore euery tree must bring forth good fruit Haeretici hodieconsilia carnes dederunt doctrinam Ba●aam tenuerunt nec ipsas Dei leges aut mādata esse ad salutem necessaria sola fide omnes sal●ari Vt viā spi●itualē destruerent omnem de peccatis virtutibus sa●n●m d●ctrin●m venena●is suis dogmatibus infecerūt negando vllam bon●rū op●rum veram iustitiam aut ad salutem necessariam consequenter omnia in Sola si●e collocan●o Stapl. promptuar Mor. in Domine 7. Pentecostes This is the Doctrine we Preach and Presse See then by the way the impudent malignitie of our broad-mouth'd aduersaries the brats of Romish Babylon in traducing and branding our Protestant Ministers for Solifidian Preachers such as in their Sermons are al for faith and nothing for fruits Thus like cursed Vipers they vent out the venom of their malice vpon vs of purpose to bring our persons and doctrine into contempt with their hood-winkt Proselites and all because wee will not with them beyond truth adde to the worth of good works and detract from the sole efficiencie of Christ his obedience Maugre their virulent malice this is our abundant comfort that besides the testimony of our owne cleare consciences which are vnto vs as many * Conscientia mille testes millions of witnesses those many learned and religious Treatises of our Churchmen which haue vndergone the Presse are at this present extant that little world of Christian people by our ministery fed to their euerlasting happinesse those many holy and blessed Angels alwayes present at our solemne sacred Assemblies and God himselfe who is all in all and aboue all will subscribe to our white Innocence and their blacke Impudence Oh my beloued I would to God all of vs both Priests and people could as generally wipe away this their foule and false aspersion by bringing forth of good fruit as by our generall preaching and professing the necessity thereof But alas the neuer too much to be lamented misery whilst out of our zeale to Gods glory we labor to maintaine the sacred prerogatiue of Christ his obedience and labour to pull downe those proud pillars of merit which our Aduersaries of their owne heads haue erected to the honour of mans worthlesse works and the dishonour of God we carelesly neglect and scarce so much as once think vpon that which is Gods chiefest glory and the life of our Christian profession bringing forth good fruit I remember I haue read this censure of the Roman State Omnium honorum principum imagines in vno posse exculpi annulo that the pourtratures of their good Princes might bee cut out within the compasse of a little ring Oh my beloued is it not as iustly to be feared that the like may be as truly affirmed of vs So small is the number of those in this our Sardis Reuel 3.4 which haue giuen vp their names vnto Christ if we may take the libertie to censure the tree by the fruit that should the Lord send forth a Ieremy to make inquisition for a man Ierem 5.1 that is a good man Iob 1. one that like Iob truly feareth God and is fruitfull in all holinesse he would returne if not with a non yet with a vix est inuentus scarce is such a creature found Good men being like little veines of gold in great and mightie mountaines of ground Esay 7. or like the gleaning of the eares of corne after the haruest is past or the gathering of grapes the vintage being ended they lie but scattering and very thinne one in a citie Ierem. 3.14 two in a tribe wheras Romish Idolaters counterfet Professors and impudent transgressors such as are not ashamed to glory in vngodlinesse and prostitute their deeds of darknesse vnto publike notice are the greatest part yea very neere the whole number of such as are called Christians Not to speake of that Antichristian Spawne and Popish frie though not one of the least and lightest burdens vnder which as the labour of her wombe this our Land groaneth Proceed we vnto the second sort and who is there so blind or deafe that doth not behold or heare how plentifully this our Sion is furnished yea rather how lamentably be pestered with a numerous brood of Apish professors and Mocke-Christians as I may tearm them such as in outward appearance might seeme deseruedly to b● registred in the roll and ranked in the number of true Nathaneels Iohn 1.47 but are indeed as ranke false and perfidious as Ioah An outside singularly commendable if the inside he ansvverable or Judas They would seeme by the precisenesse of their habit and demurenesse of behauiour to be truly mortified to the world To giue them their due which our English Prouerbe will not deny the Deuil himselfe they will reproue sinne refraine from swearing celebrate the Saboth yea many houres of the weeke dayes in hearing of the Word labouring if they like the Preacher to digest it in their memories by penning and mutuall conference in a word oh the sanctitie of the Deuill they will pretend a great deale of faire and religious dealing seeme to bee Gods white children but oh the Deuillishnes of these Saints doth it not plainly appeare that they are little better then Deuils transformed into Angels of light 2. Cor. 11.14 fell and cruell Wolues couered and clothed in Sheepskins making Religion to serue but for a Stalking horse wearing Christs Liuery for their owne conueniency that so they may the more safely and vnsuspectedly compasse their secret vnsacred endes hath not Time the mother of Truth reuealed this for a truth that there are none more vniust in their dealings none more couetous deceitfull full of pride enuy hatred malice and all vncharitablenesse then they though they take vpon them a more strict profession of Christ then ordinary In a word as the Trojans were neuer more damnified th●n when Aeneas did put on harnesse like vnto theirs breaking into the midst of their troops like a member of their army So the true Nathaneels of our Jsrael yea godlinesse it selfe neuer receiued more disgracefull affronts then haue bin and are continually most vnhappily occasioned by the counterfeit pietie of these so common hypocriticall professors Matth. 26.49 As Iudas betrayed Christ into the hands of his enemies so these haue and doe continually betray the holy calling of Christianitie and the sincere Professors therof vnto the sharper tongues of lewd-liuing Libertines and vngodly Atheistes yea of many framed of a
bountie hee may bring his childe on willingly to tender that reuerend respect which otherwise of dutie he is bound to doe Holinesse of life and conuersation is that which God strictly commandeth and accordingly requireth from euery Christian It is as you haue heard the end of our Election Creation Redemption Sanctification 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 to bring forth good fruit If we search the Bible from the beginning to the ending we shall find this to be the very pith the marrow the maine subiect and life thereof yet behold the great goodnesse of God what he might command and compell vs vnto in the name of our Soueraigne Lord and maker he doth considering our weaknes and infirmitie intreat and wooe vs vnto in the language of a louing and bountifull Father Serm. 3. de verbis Domini As S. Augustine most sweetly Nobis praemia repromittit vt nobis obsequia debita seruitutis extorqueat he doth make vnto vs a promise of remuneration to draw vs to the performance of that seruice which in dutie we owe vnto him in the whole course of our life and conuersation Vt quos nolle seruire conspicit sponte suorum beneficiorum possit promissionibus inuitare that whom he sees will not freely serue him of his owne accord he might louingly and friendly inuite by promising a reward VVhy God doth promise a revvard to good vvorks This doth God to make it knowne and manifest vnto the sonnes of men 1. how sweet and pleasing a sauour the sacrifice of our holy Obedience doth send vp into the nostrils of the most High 2. That none shall euer inherit the ioyes of heauen but such as doe wholly endeuour and bend themselues forward to bring forth good fruit here on earth such as labour for the inward sanctitie and lead a holy and religious course of life And 3. that they shall be as sure to participate of this his promised bounty as if by their deserts and merits they were interested in it And that the Sunne of Gods grace and bounty may yet more clearly and freely reflect its beames vpon the eyes of your vnderstanding I hold it not vnfitting before we proceed any further in a word or two to remooue out of the way the opinion of Mans merit which like a thick mist and darke cloud the enemies of the crosse of Christ haue cast before it to the great obscuring and impayring of the glorious splendor thereof It is a point I take it well worth the time and may iustly plead for your Christian attention Sure I am it maketh much for the promoting of Gods glory and the furthering of our owne Good for when wee seriously consider the insufficiency of our owne works to saue vs we may learne a poynt of true wisedome not to leane vpon the broken staffe of our owne Merits which will surely deceiue vs but wholly to relye vpon the louing mercies of God which are sure and will neuer faile vs. Thus Gods shall be all the glory and ours all the good I am not ignorant that many of our moderne Diuines haue not a little studied this point and left the fruits of their learned Labours vnto the broad eye of the wo●ld that who so list may looke into them and receiue satisfaction to the full for nothing of substance can bee super-added vnto that which they haue already set forth yet I think it not amisse considering the present occasion to borrow a little handfull out of the liberall haruest of their labours and present you with a taste of their fruirs dressed after my owne fashion I doubt not but it will be pleasing vnto some I hope and pray that it may be profitable vnto all Happily I may herein seeme to some to make an impertinent digression frō my text but who so well weigheth the drift of the Holy Ghost shall find and consequently beare me witnesse that I doe not beg my Theame pick a quarrel with that which the text of it selfe will not seeme to affoord and offer That which God in this Writ requireth of vs is the bringing forth of good fruit this is the maine thing intended in this text and pressed vpon paine of Gods furious wrath and fiery displeasure for euer signified in being cut downe and cast into the fire As if he had said more fully yet briefly and plainly thus If ye bring forth good fruit yee shall be saued but if ye doe not bring forth good fruit yee shall be damned Now the not bringing foorth of good fruite being the meritorious cause of our Damnation as you shall heare afterward one would thinke on the contrary that the bringing foorth of good fruit is a meritorious cause of our Saluation That we cannot by way of Merit challenge so magnificent a remuneration as God out of his great goodnesse doth binde himselfe by promise to conferre vpon the Sonnes of Men for their pious and god●y conuersation may be plainely demonstrated vnto you by diuers particulars I will at this time contract my selfe in fiue In euery Worke to make it meritorious there are fiue things requisite Our vvorkes no● meritorious for fiue Reasons 1. Gratuitie 2. Vtilitie 3. Proprietie 4. Puritie 5. Paritie 1. That Worke which doth merit any thing at Gods hand must of necessitie be opus Gratuitum a free-will Offering a worke of Gratuitie and in no wise due for any other cause or respect Seeing then we owe of dutie vnto God whatsoeuer we are or haue vndoubtedly whatsoeuer we doe can merit nothing at Gods hand 2. There must be Vtilitie that Good which we doe to make it meritorious must be profitable and commodious vnto him at whose hands wee merit any thing But no action of ours of what straine soeuer it be can bring any benefit any commoditie vnto God for as Eliphaz said vnto Iob Iob 22.23 May a man be profitable vnto God as he that is wise may be profitable vnto himselfe Is it any thing to the Almightie that thou art righteous or is it profitable to him that thou makest thy wayes vpright His Interogation doth argue a stronge negatiue resolution as if he had said in a word No mans righteousnesse can bee any way profitable vnto God and therefore we can merit nothing at Gods hand 3. In that by which we merit any thing we must haue an absolute proprietie it must be our owne Now Good workes Good fruits are not our own they are Gods wee cannot of our selues so much as Will much lesse worke that which is Good for it is God that worketh in vs both the will and the deed Phil. 2.13 Therefore we can merit nothing at his hand 4. There must bee a Puritie our workes must be performed according to that absolute Perfection and Puritie which God in his reuealed will requireth of vs they must bee vindicated and freed from all vncleannesse and imperfection which no man so long as hee liueth in the flesh can vndertake for the best