A Christian Standing & Moving Upon the True Foundation
Upon the true foundation.
A word in season.
Perswading to sticke close to God, Act eminently for God. In his present design against all discouragements, oppositions, temptations.
In a Sermon Preached before the Honourable
House of Commons upon the day of their
monthly fast, Octob. 25, 1648.
By MATTHEW BARKER, M.A. late Preacher of
the Gospel at James Garlick-hith, London, and
now at Morclacke in Surrey.
ISA. 30. 7. Their strength is to sit still. V. 15. In
quietnesse and confidence shall be your stregth.
CANT. 3. 6. Who is this that commeth out of the
Wildernesse like pillars of smoake, &c.
Printed by M.S. for R. Harford at the guiilt Bible in
Queens-head Alley in Pater-noster-row. 1648
quietnesse and confidence shall be your stregth.
CANT. 3. 6. Who is this that commeth out of the
Wildernesse like pillars of smoake, &c.
PUBLISHED BY M.S
PUBLISHED FOR R. Harford
1. A Christian standing and moving upon the true foundation. Expressed in a SERMON Preached before the Honorable House of COMMONS October 25. 1648.
1 Cor. 15. last.
Wherefore my beloved brethren, be yee stedfast, unmoveable, alwayes abounding in the worke of the Lord, as knowing that your labour is never in vaine in the Lord.
THE Apostle Paul the Penman of this Epistle was a great Proficient both in the lower schoole of humane learning, and in the upper schoole of divine knowledge; and where have we a clearer discovery of it then in this Chapter.
His knowledge in things divine appeares in the heigth and heavenlinesse of his matter; he doth in this Chapter unfold these foure Mysteries;
The Mystery of Christs resurrection; as being not alone that, whereby he himselfe did overcome death, and triumphantly entred into a state of perfect righteousnesse, life and glory, but also that whereby his whole [Page 2] body hath received an assuring pledge of, and mysticall in e into the same state. And that we read from verse 12. to 24.
He unfolds the Mystery of Christs Kingdom, and that in two particulars;
First, in the end, or finall cause of it, and that either Mediate, as the putting downe all rule, all authority and power, and the utter abolishing of all enemies, or ultimate; That God may be all in all. There are many enemies that lift up themselves above God in the world, and doe cast vailes upon his glory, that they themselves may appeare and shine forth, now the great end of Christs reigne is to destroy these enemies, and remove these vailes, That God may be all in all; And this you have set forth from verse 24. to 28.
In the period or expiration of it; this Kingdome according to the forme of its present administration is to cease, and to empty it selfe, and expire into the Kingdome of the Father; and this you have partly in the 24th and partly in the 28th verse. This is the second Mystery.
The Third is the Mystery of the Saints resurrection in their owne persons; which the light of nature cannot reach; Vid. Plin. nat. Hist. lib. 7. Cap. 45.and which some even of the wisest among the heathens have not only denyed, but exploded; this he first proves from verse 12. to 39. Then describes from ver. 39. to 45.
4. The fourth is the Mystery of the first and second Adam; which he sets in opposition to each other severall wayes in this Chapter.
In respect of their principles, vers. 45. The first man Adam was made a living soule, the last Adam was made a quickning spirit. The first man had a principle of [Page 3] divine life within himselfe, but had not a stock or treasury of life,The Apostle-doth here alude to these two expressions in Gen. 2. 7. [...] the first man was made a living soule onely, but the second Adam having the fulnesse of the Godhead in himselfe, is a store-house of lives, and from him life breakes forth upon his whole body, the second Adam was made a quickning Spirit.
In respect of Order, vers. 46. Howbeit that was not first which is spirituall, but that which is naturall, and afterward that which is spirituall. The first Adam, and the first state of things under him, was naturall; God tooke pleasure in them, and received glory from them, according to those naturall perfections wherein he did create them; but afterwards the second Adam comes and gathers up all things into a spirituall estate, even into himselfe, that now all that delight which God puts forth upon his creature, and all that glory he receives from it, is alone in this second Adam, the Lord Jesus.
In respect of their Original, vers. 47. The first man is of the earth earthy, the second man is the Lord from Heaven. The first man was earthly in his originall, and all that we have received from him, brings us not up above an earthly estate: but the second Adam was the Lord from Heaven, and so in him wee rise up into an heavenly estate.
Thus you have a briefe account of his skill in divine learning.
His skill in humane learning appeares, as in the excellency of his stile, so in the exactnesse of his method. He first begins with his Prooem, and there prepares the mindes of the people to entertain that heavenly discourse that he was to insist upon: and this you have in 11. first verses. Next, we have the narration, wherein he states the Question, and layes down the subject that he [Page 4] was to speak to, and that you have in the 12. verse. Now if Christ be preached that be rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead. As if he should say, The Doctrine that we Apostles & Ministers of Christ preach is, that there shall bee a resurrection of the dead. Now there are some among you, whether of the Sect of the Epicures among the Heathens, or of the Sadduces among the Jewes, or of both, some there are that deny it: And whether they or we have the truth with us, is the matter in controversie.
And next, he proceeds to the confirmation, wherein he doth prove his own assertion, by many solid and undeniable arguments, from the 12. verse to the 33. which would be too long to give a particular account of at this time.
After this he comes to the Confutation, wherein he answers an objection, and that we find in the 35. verse, But some man will say, How are the dead raised up, and with what bodies doe they come?
This he answers by a double Metaphor: The one is of Corn, which by dying is quickned, as you read 36, 37, 38. verses. The other is from the severall formes and qualities wherewith God hath cloathed other creatures in nature, as you read in 39, 40, 41. verses.
And then he further proceeds to the Illustration in the 42, 43, 44 verses, wherein he unfolds and describes the nature and manner of the resurrection.
And lastly, we have the Epilogus, where he windes up all, and makes a practicall application of his whole discourse, Wherefore my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, alwayes abounding in the work of the Lord, as knowing that your labour is never in vain in the Lord.
That we may rightly understand the ful Emphasis of the [Page 5] Text, we must look back to the Context. The Apostle having largely discoursed of the resurrection, wherein he seeth both himselfe and all Saints raised up into a state of victory, as he speakes in the 54. verse, Death is swallowed up in victory; like a Conquerour he doth perform these three things in the end of the chapter.
He makes his triumph, and sets his feet upon the neckes of his enemies, O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory? v. 55.
He offers up his sacrifice of praise to the God of his victory, But thankes be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus. v. 57.
He gives out his Orders for the right improving of his victory, and that two wayes, as wee read in the Text.
To a Christian stedfastnesse, and resolution, Be you stedfast, and unmoveable; as if he should say, God hath made you Conquerours in Christ over Death, Grave, the Law, Sin, and all your enemies, the victory is fallen on your side, therefore now stand your ground, give not back, stoutly maintain what you have won.
To a spirituall activity and sedulity, Alwayes abounding in the work of the Lord; as if he had said; Hath the Lord Jesus done such great things for you, as to bring you up into such a conquering estate; and is there such a glorious estate abiding you in the resurrection; as before he had described, therefore now esteeme no labour or travell too much to undergoe for him.
In the Text we have these two maine parts.
A Loving Compellation, my beloved brethren.
A double Exhortation; the one is to a constant unmovablenesse, be yee stedfast, unmovable. The other is, to a continuall motion, alwayes abounding in the worke of the [Page 6] Lord. Both which are backt and inforced with a double Motive.
The first implyed in the first word, the Adverb is wherefore; seeing it is thus that there are such victories won, and such hopes laid up for you, therefore be yee stedfast unmovable, alwayes abounding in the worke of the Lord.
The second is exprest in the last words, as knowing that your labour is not in vaine in the Lord. What ever labour you undergoe, either in standing unmovably upon your foundation, or in your spirituall motion in the worke of Christ, it is not lost labour, not an empty worke, your labour is not in vaine in the Lord. Thus you have a briefe account of the Text.
For the first part, the Compellation, we shall not insist upon it at all, it being only to make roome in their hearts for the entertainment of the duties, he commends to them.
That which wee shall therefore (God assisting) spend the time that yet remaines upon is, the two Exhortations; wherein he stirs them up to make a right improvment of the victory they had gotten in Christ.
The Motives we shall not particularly insist upon, as intending to make use of them in the Application.
First then, to the former Exhortation; to a Christian unmovablenesse, and constancy: be you stedfast, [...] it is a Metaphor either taken from a Basis, or Foundation, upon which the building will stand firme, and stedfast; So that the Apostle exhorts them to stand fast upon that sure foundation, on which they were placed in Christ. Or else from a Chaire or Seat in which a man sits firme, without tortering, or in danger of falling; and so he exhorts them to sit quietly and stedfastly in that Seat of rest; that Chaire of State, that Throne of [Page 7] victory and glory which they were placed upon in the Lord Jesus
The other word in this former Exhortation is unmovable, [...] it signifies one that will not be moved from his place, or standing; The Apostle knew that many things would assault them, to draw them off from their foundation, and spirituall stability: but saith he yeeld not a jot, be unmovable, like the Pole of the heavens, or like a Rocke in the Sea, be unmoved in the midst of all. Thus from the first Exhortation we shall gather this Doctrine.
To stand fast with an unshaken spirit upon the true foundation, is the wisdome and worke of Saints. Doct.
That as they are raised up into a full, free, firme and victorious state in Christ, so here they are to live, abide, and reigne amidst all encounters, all changes from within, from without, or round about them; and our Apostle might the better presse this upon others, as having in so great measure attained it in his owne person, as we read in Rom. 8. latter end, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, distresse, nakednesse, famine, &c. nay in all these things we are more than conquerers; and then adds, I am perswaded that neither life nor death, principallities nor powers, things present nor things to come, shall ever be able to seperate us from the love of God, &c. He like a wise Commander, espies out the utmost strength of his enemies, and surveying them in their number, in their nature, in their severall kinds; and he is not one whit moved or shaken, but standing firm upon his foundation, concludes against them all, that they shall never be able to separate him from the love of God which is in Jesus Christ.
Consider the necessity of your standing fast; A whole Kingdome, that I say not three Kingdomes, depend upon your integritie and stabilitie in the mannaging of those affairs before you. The heathen Emperour said, Si violandum est jus Regni gratia violandum est. When a Kingdom lay at stake, he thought necessitie might supersede Justice. But do you speak and resolve quite contra y; if ever we shew our selves upright and stedfast, let it be now when the necessitie of a Kingdom calls for it: What the Apostle speaks in another case to the Thessalonians, 1 Thes. 1. 8.[Page 45] Now we live if ye stand fast: that I may say to you, England is likely to live, if Englands Parliament now stand fast. Shall a Nation be born at once?Isa. 66. 8. saith the Prophet Isaiah. And shall a Nation be destroyed at once? In cases of necessitie, men are more then men; Pompey the great being readie to take saile for Italy, to relieve them with provision in their famine, the Sea became very tempestuous; whereupon they disswaded him from adventuring: But he answered, Come, hoyse up saile, for it is necessary that I go, not necessarie that I should live. The preservation of all Italy depended upon his voyage, and therefore would not be disswaded or discouraged. So (Honoured Senatours) what ever stormes may assault you while you are ingaging for the happinesse and preservation of the Nation, remember the necessitie of the work, the strength of your call, and retreat not for them.