A Coal From The Altar, To Kindle The Holy Fire of Zeale by Samuel Ward

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Page 1

[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 God 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

[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 God, [Greek: Dios polis] Gods 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 constitution, 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 Gods mouth.

[Sidenote: 3]

For this present assembly 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

[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 _Titus_ 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;

_A Coale from the Altar._

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.

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Fri 24th Jan 2020, 13:47