A Coal From The Altar, To Kindle The Holy Fire of Zeale.

by Samuel Ward.

To my reverend Friend Mr. SAMUEL WARD.

_Sir, your Sermon which I copied partly from your mouth, and partly from your notes, I have adventured into the light; encouraged by the approbation, and earnest entreaty of such, whose judgements you reverence, and whose love you embrace: who also have made bolde heere and there to varie some things, not of any great consequence, if I can judge. I was loth to smoother such fire in my brest; but to vent it, to enflame others. If you shall blame me, I know others will thanke mee.

What I have done, is out of Zeale to G.o.d and his Church._

Your affectionate friend,

_Ambrose Wood._

Revel. 3. 19. _Be zealous._

[Sidenote: Mat. 24. 12.]

[Sidenote: 1 Kin. 1. 1.]

This watch-word of Christ, if it be not now a word in season, I know not when ever it was, or will bee: Would he now vouchsafe to bestow a letter upon his Church heere on earth; should hee need to alter the tenour of this? which being the last, to the last of the seaven Churches, why may it not (saith an Ancient, upon this text) typifie the estate of the last Age of his Churches? the coldnesse whereof himselfe hath expressely foretolde. And if G.o.d should now send through he earth such surveying Angels as _Zacharie_ mentions, chapter 1. Could they returne any other observation of their travailes then theirs; _The whole world lies in lukewarmnesse?_ which makes mee often in my thoughts proportion these ends of time, to the like period of _Davids_ age, when no cloathes were enough to keepe heare in him. _Faith_ I grant is a more radicall, vitall, and necessary grace; but yet not so wholly out of _grace_ with the times, as poore _Zeale_; which yet if by any meanes it might once againe be reduced into favour and practice, before Time sets, and bee no more; I doubt not but Christ would also yet once againe in this evening of the world, come and _Sup_ with us; A favour including all other in it.

[Sidenote: 2]

My desire especially is, that this our Iland might take it to it selfe, as well as if it had by name beene directed to it; what would it hurt us to make an especiall benefit and use of it? Some of our owne, have so applyed it; (whether out of their judgements, or affections, I say not.) Learned _Fulk_ marvels if it were not by a Propheticall spirit penned for us: others more resolutely have made it a singular type of purpose for us. Their warrant I know not; especially if it bee true which all travellers tell you, _That they finde more zeale at home then abroad._ We are I grant in sundry respects equall to _Laodicea_: Even the very names thereof, as well the first and oldest in regard of the blessings of G.o.d, [Greek: Dios polis] G.o.ds Darling, as the later in regard of good Lawes and Civility, _Laodicea_, How well doe they become us? As rich as they, and that in the very same commodity of woolls; _Abounding as they_ with many learned _Zenoes_ & bountifull _Hieroes_; _Parallel_ in all regards; I would I could say lukewarmnesse excepted. But I must bee a faithfull and true witnesse, and yet this is all I have to say; It was, as I conceive, _Laodicea's_ complexion and not her const.i.tution, her practice not her orders, personall lukewarmnesse not legall, which Christ strikes at. That fault I finde in my text, the same I finde in our common Christians, whose spirituall condition, and state is too like the externall situation of our Country, between the Torrid, and the Frigid Zones; neither hot nor colde: and so like _Laodicea_, that if wee take not warning, or warming, we may, I feare, in time come to be spued out of G.o.ds mouth.

[Sidenote: 3]

For this present a.s.sembly of Ministers, could all the choice and time in the world have better fitted mee then mine ordinarie Lot? If fire bee set upon the Beacons, will not the whole Countrey soone be warned and enlightned?

[Sidenote: 4]

For my selfe also, mee thinkes it will better beseeme my yeeres to heat, then to teach my Ancients; to enkindle their affections, then to enforme their judgements. And whereas _Paul_ bids _t.i.tus_ preach zeale with all authoritie; though in mine owne name I crave your patience, and audience, yet in his name that is the first of the creatures, and _Amen_, I counsell him that hath an eare, to heare what the Spirit saith to the Churches;

[Greek: Zeloson], _Be Zealous._

_A Coale from the Altar._

Revel. 3.19. [Greek: Zeloson]: _Be Zealous._

Zeale hath been little practized, lesse studied: this heavenly fire hath ever beene a stranger upon earth. Few in all ages that have felt the heat of it, fewer that have knowne the nature of it. A description will rake it out of the embers of obscurity: and it may be that many when they shall know it better, will better affect it.

2. Zeale hath many counterfets and allies. There are many strange fires which having sought to carry away the credit of it, have brought in an ill name upon it: from these it would bee distinguished.

3. Zeale is every where spoken against it hath many enemies and few friends: the world can no more abide it, then beasts can the elementary fire, the rebukes of many have falne upon it, the Divell weaves cunning lies to bring downe the honour of it. Oh that wee could raise and maintaine it, by setting forth the deserved praise of it; and challenge it from the false imputations of such as hate it without a cause.

4. Zeale hath in this our earthly molde, little fuell, much quench-coale, is hardly fired, soone cooled. A good Christian therefore would bee glad to know the Incentives and preservatives of it, which might enkindle it, enflame it, feed it, and revive it when it is going out.

5. Zeale in the worlds opinion, is as common as fire on every mans hearth, no mans heart without zeale, if every man might be his owne judge; If most might be heard there is too much of it; but the contrary will appear if the right markes bee taken, and the true rules of triall and conviction bee observed, and the heart thereby examined.

6. Zeale generally handled will break as lightning in the aire, and seize upon no subject: Application must set it on mens harts, and exhortation warme this old and colde age of the world, chiefly this temperate climate of our nation.

_First Part_.

It was sayd of olde, that zeale was an _Intension of love_: of late, that it is a compound of _love and anger, or indignation_.

The Ancients aimed right, and shot neere, if not somwhat with the shortest. The moderne well discovered the use and exercise of more affections, then love, within the fathome and compa.s.se of zeale; but in helping that default, went themselves somewhat wide, and came not close to the marke: which I ascribe not to any defect of eye-sight in those sharpe sighted Eagles; but onely to the want of fixed contemplation. And to speake truth, I have oft wondered why poore _Zeale_, a vertue so high in G.o.ds books, could never be so much beholding to mens writings as to obtain a just treatise, which hath beene the lot of many particular vertues of inferiour worth; a plaine signe of too much under-value and neglect.

Hee that shall stedfastly view it, shall finde it not to bee a degree or intension of love, or any single affection (as the _Schooles_ rather confined then defined zeale) neither yet any mixt affection (as the later, rather compounded then comprehended the nature of it) but an _hot temper, higher degree or intension of them all_. As varnish is no one color, but that which gives glosse & l.u.s.tre to all; So the opposites of zeale, key-coldnes and lukewarmnesse, which by the Law of contraries must bee of the same nature, are no affections, but severall tempers of them all.

[Sidenote: Acts 26. 7.]

_Paul_ warrants this description where hee speakes of the twelve Tribes.

_They served G.o.d with intension or vehemency_.

The roote shewes the nature of the branch. Zeale comes of [Greek: zo], a word framed of the very sound and hissing noise, which hot coales or burning iron make when they meete with their contrary. In plaine English, zeale is nothing but heate: from whence it is, that zealous men are oft in Scripture sayd to burne in the spirit. [Greek: zeontes pneumati].

Hee that doth moderately or remisly affect any thing, may be stiled _Philemon_, a lover; he that earnestly or extreamely, _Zelotes_, a zelot; who to all the objects of his affections, is excessively and pa.s.sionately disposed, his love is ever fervent, his desires eager, his delights ravishing, his hopes longing, his hatred deadly, his anger fierce, his greefe deep, his feare terrible. The Hebrewes expresse these Intensions by doubling the word. This being the nature of zeale in generall, Christian zeale of which wee desire onely to speake, differs from carnall and worldly, chiefly in the causes and objects.

It is a spirituall heate wrought in the heart of man by the holy Ghost, improoving the good affections of love, joy, hope, &c. for the best service and furtherance of G.o.ds glory, with all the appurtenances thereof, his word, his house, his Saints and salvation of soules: using the contrarie of hatred, anger, greefe, &c as so many mastives to flie upon the throat of G.o.ds enemies, the Divell, his Angels, sinne, the world with the l.u.s.ts thereof. By the vertue wherof a _Zealot_ may runne through all his affections, and with _David_, breath zeale out of every pipe, after this manner for a taste;

[Sidenote: Psalme Love.]

_How doe I love thy Law (O Lord) more then the hony or the hony-combe, more then thousands of silver and gold!_

[Sidenote: Hatred.]

_Thine enemies I hate with a perfect hatred._

[Sidenote: Joy.]

_Thy testimonies are my delight: I rejoyce more in them, then they that finde great spoyles, more then in my appoynted food._

[Sidenote: Grief.]

_Mine eyes gush out rivers of teares. Oh that my head were a fountain of teares, because they destroy thy Law._

[Sidenote: Hope.]

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