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Full text of "The whole works of the Rev. W. Bates"

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University of California. 

GIFn:" OK 


Received October, 1894. 
^Accessions No.^^^O^f. Class No. 























S-TO ¥-/ 

I>.y«. k B«««, p,i„„„, v,j„ L„^ ,^^ 



Psa. 103. 4. But there is forgiveness with thee that tkoumayest 

be feared, ^age. 

What is contained in forgiveness, 2 

Proofs that God is ready to forgive, 7 

The extent and freeness of divine forgiveness, 26 

Caution lest men abuse this doctrine, 32 
It aflfords strong consolation to those who are wounded 

in spirit, 38 

Be excited to seek pardoning mercy, 40 

The properties of confession of sin, 41 

The duty of pardoning the offences of others, 49 

Divine forgiveness a powerful motive to thankfulness, 51 


Psalm 18. 23. I was also upright before him^ and I kept my- 
s self from mine iniquity. 

The Preface, \ "^ ' ^ >' ^ 
FIRST. How a man's peculiar sin may be discovered ; 
[1.] How it may be discovered from its caiwe^. By ascer- 
taining Che sins which are peculiar. 

1. To the different temperaments of men^s bodies^ 69 

2. To the several ages of life, 72 

3. To the several callings of men, 76 

4. To prosperity and adversity, 80 

5. To the society with whom we converse, 82 

6. To the times in which we live, 83 
[2.] How it may be discovered from its effects, 

1. It is frequently and easily committed, 84 

2. It has the supremacy in the heart, 86 

3. It ^grosses the thoughts, 87 

4. Men desire to conceal it from others, ^ 89 

5. An enlightened conscience reflects upon it with an- 
guish, 92 

SBCONDLV. What is implied in a man's preserving himself 
from his peculiar sin, 

1. Abstaining from the practice of that sin, 95 

2. Mortifying the inward affection to it, 96 
THIRDLY. This is a decisive evidence of sincerity, 

1. God approves it, 97 

2. It is equivalent to perfection, 98 
MOTIVED to this duty, 

1. Habitual indulged lusts are irreconcileable with a 
state of grace, 103 

2. By divine grace we may subdue the strongest lusts, 107 

3. Sobdning a ruling sin will make the victory over 
other sins more easy, * m 


4« Consider what the Saviour suffered to deliver us 
from sin 9 112 

5, The blessed reward of uprightness, . 113 

6. The woful effects of indulging sin, 1 14 
JfTBANs requisite for preserving us horn our special sins, 

1. Be inquisitive to understand what it is, 120 

2. Watch diligently against it, 121 

3. Form serious resolutions against yielding to sin, 126 

4. On falling into this sin seek by speedy and deep re* 
pentance to recover the favour of God, 128 

5. Pray fervently and constantly for renewing grace, 129 

6. Exetcise faith in the Redeemer, 131 

Matth. 26. 39. And he went a little farthery and fell on his face, 
and pray edy sayings O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup 
pass from me : nevertheiess not as I wiU, but as tliou wilt. 
The Preface. 137— Explanation of the duty, 142 

ARGUMENTS to convince us of this duty of resignation, 

1. God*s supreme right over us, 149 

2. His righteousness in all his ways, 153 

3. His uncontroulable power, 155 

4. His paterual love in sending afflictions, 156 
It is proved from, 

(I.) His gracious design in sending them, 157 

.(2.) His effectual support under them, 161 

(3.) The happy issue out of them, 162 

5. His infinite wisdom orders all things for the best, 163 
MOTiyKs to persiuide us to this duty of resignation. 

1. The example of Christ in his sufferings, 170 

2. The examples of the suffering saints in all ages, 173 

3. All creatures obey the will of their Creator, 1/5 

4. It is our most glorious perfection, to have our wills 
united to the divine will, ibid. 

5. It is our felicity quietly to resign our wills to the 
wiU of God, 179 

DIRECTIONS how to perform this duty of resignation. 

1. Faith in the divine providence and promises will 
compose the jbouI, 181 

2. Let God be the supreme object of our affections, 188 

3. Let us moderate our valuation of things below, 191 

4. A prudent forecast of future ^vils will arm us with 
patience to sustain them, 192 

5. Serious reflections upon our guilt and desert will 
suppress impatience, 193 

6. Reflect upon blessings as wdl as evils, 196 

7. Pray frequently and fervently for this disposition, 198 
The properties of acceptable prayer, ibid. 

COKTXNT9. ill 


Pcmr. 1. 32. The prosperity of fools shaU destroy them. 
The Preface^ 207 

FIRST, PROOFS that prosperity is destructive to sinners, 213 

1. It is the continual incentive of the vicious affections^ 215 

2. Occasionally it incenses the irascible passions, 217 

3. It inclines sinners to an impious neglect of God, 218 

4. Itexposes dangerously to the temptingpower of satan, 222 

5. It affords advantages to men to corrupt others, 226 

6. It usually renders the means of grace ineffectual, 228 

7. ItrendersmenaversetosufferingforthesakeofChrist, 241 
.8. It tempts men to delay repentance, 248 

SBCONDLT, The FoiXY of prosperous sinners. It is 

1. Voluntary, 252—2. Culpable, 253 

3. Ignominious, 254—4. Most woful, 256 

THIRDLY, The MISERY of prosperous sinners is, 

1. Just^ 257—2. Certain, 258—3. Aggravated, 262 

ANFERENCBs from the doctrine. 

1. Prosperity is no certain sign of God's special favour, 264 

2. The prosperity of the wicked is consistent with 
God's hatred, . ibid. 

3. The prosperity of the wicked, so far from being a 
sign of God's love, often proceeds from his deepest 
displeasure, 265 

4. We should look upon prosperous sinners with pity, 266 

5. We are instructed to judge rightly of afflictions, ' 267 

6. We should improve prosperity toour eternal advantage, 27 1 
Ruuss how to manage prosperity for our everlasting good. 

1. Amidst prosperity let us preserve a humble sense of 

our meanness, frailty and unworthiness, 272 

2. Cultivate a meek temper and deportment, 274 

3. Render solemn and affectionate thanksgiving to 
God for his mercies, 275 

4. Be vigilant to avoid the sins incident to prosperity, 277 

5. Use worldly blessings with moderation, 278 

6. Seekafter the favourof God and communion with him, 279 

7. Employ riches and power for the glory of God and 

the good of others, 282 

8. Resolve firmly to part with all possessions and dig- 
nities at the call of duty, 284 

9. Pray earnestlv and constantly for divine grace, 2S5 

2 Cor. 7. I. HcBoing therefore these promises, dearly beloved^ 
let us cleanse oursekesfrom aUfiUhmess of the flesh and fpi- 
rity perfectmg hoUness in the fear of God. 

The Preface, 289 

CHAP, Page. 

.1. The coherence and doctrine of the text. The duty of 
Christiana to cleanse themaelfres from all poUntions. A 
principle of holiness and supplies of the Spirit requisite. 
BviLs TO BB AVOIDSD. (1.) Uncleofmeis, The diffi- 
culty of purifying from it. Melons for purifying, 295 

IL (2.) Anger, Directions to prevent its prevalence. Mo- 
tives to extinguish it.— -<3.) Covetousness. How it dis- 
covers itself. Causes why it is difficult to cure. Means 
by which it may be mortified, 307 

III. (4.) Pride. Its various kinds and degrees. The diffi- 
culty of subduing it. Antidotes against it, 324 

IV, (5 ) Infidelity. Its unreasonableness. (6.) Hypoaisy. 
Cured by a sense of God's omniscience. (7.) Emjy. 
These defilements prove the necessit]^ of regeneration, 340 

Vw The nature of perfection considered. The essential 
perfection of grace consists in sincerity. Comparative 
perfection of the saints in this life. Absolute perfec- 
tion only attained in heaven, 348 


nature, the objects, and the motives of doctrinal faith. 
On the belief of supernatural truths. On the supposed 
innocence of error, 363 

VII. The efficacy of faith. The practical influence of faith 

in the providence of God, 381 

VIII. (2.) Love, The most eminent of the graces. Love 
to God arising from his love to us. Love to our neigh- 
bour. The forgiveness of injuries results from it, , 396 

IX. (3.) Hope. . Its suitableness to our present state. How 
it differs from presumption. (4.) The fear of God. 

'''^ Its influence on the christian-character, 492 

X* The promise that God will be our father a powerful 
inducement to strive after the perfection of holiness. 
Rules whereby we may discern whether we are pro- 
ceeding to perfection, 437 
XL Rules continued. Exhortation to follow after holiness 
early, aeaknisly, with alacrity, and perseverance. An- 
awsrs to objections, motivxs to excite us to be in- 
tent upon this great work, 456 

XII. MBANs that are effectual for attaining to eminent ho- 
liness. Unfeigned faith in Christ. Prayer. Hearing 

' and reading the word of God and meditation. The 
sacrament of the Lord's supper. The observance of 
the sabbath. The serious examination of our state 
and conduct, 4S( 

XIII. Means continued. Continual watchfulness. Due 
regard to relative duties. Unabating progress in the 
way to heaven^ .513 


• « TBB 


P»AI«» cxxz. 4* 
B«t theM b forgtteiMM wHk tiMe, Umt tbM maycst lie fe«red. 

JL HE Psalmifity in the fifst aAd second Teraes, addresses 
God with esro^t desires for his saving mereies : <' Out of the 
depths have I cried to thee, O Lord: Lord hear my voice: let 
thine ear be attentive to my supplication/' He humbly depre-> 
cates the severe inquiry of divine justice ; vcr. 8. ^ If thou. 
Lord, shottldst mark iniquities : O Lord, who shall stand ?" If 
God should with an exact eye observe our sins, and call us to an 
account, who can stand in judgment? who can endure that fiery 
trial ? The best saints, though never so innocent and unblam- 
able in the sight of men, though never so vigilant and watchful 
over their hearts and ways, are not exempted from the spots of 
human frailty, which according to the rigour of the law, would 
Opose them to & condemning sentence. He relieves and sup- 
ports himself under this fearful apprehension with the hopes of 
nievey : <^ but there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayst be 
feared/' It is in diy power and thy will, to pardon repenting 
and returning sinners, '< that thou mayest be feared." The fear 
af God in scripture signifies the humble holy reverence of him, 
voi^ IK A 


as our heavenly Father aiid Sovereign^ that makes us cautious 
lest we should offend him^ and careful to please him. For this 
reason the fear of God is comprehensive of all religion, of ** the 
whole duty of man," to which it is introductive, and is a princi- 
pal ingredient in it. The clemency and compassionate mercy of 
God is the cause of an ii^enuous filial fear, mixed with love 
and affiance in the breasts of men. Othtr attributes, his holi- 
ness that framed the law, justice that ordained the punishment 
of sin, power that inflicts it, render his majesty terrible, and 
cause a flight from him as an enemy. If all must perish for their 
sins, no prayers or praises will ascend to heaven, all religious 
worship will eea^e for ever : but his tender m^cy read^ to receive 
humble suppliants, and restore them to his favour, renders him 
amiable and admired, and draws us near to him. 

There are two propositions to be considered in the verse : 

I. That forgiveness belongs to God. 

li. That the forgiving mercy of God is a powerful motive of 
adoration wd pbediepce. I propound to discourse of the firsts 
and to touch upon the second in the application. 

In managing the point with light and order, it is requisite to 
consider; Ist. What is contained in forgiveness. 2dly. The ar- 
guments that demonstrate that forgiveness belongs to God. 

1. What is contained in forgiveness. This necessarily sup<- 
po^s sin, and sin a law that is violated by it : the law implies a 
sovereign l<awgiver, to whose declared will subjection is due, 
and who will exact an account in judgment of men's obedience or. 
disobedience to his law, and dispense rewards and punishments 
accordingly. God by the dearest titles '^ is our king, our law^ 
giver and judge ;" for he is our maker and jjteserver^ and consci- 
<|uently has a full propriety in us» and absolute authority over us: 
and by I>is sovereign and singular perfections is qualified to go- 
vern us. A derived being is necessarily in a state of deiMndanqe 
and subjection. All the ranks of creatures in the world are or- 
dered by their Maker ; his ^ ^ngdom rules ov^ all." Those 
in the lowest degree of being are ordered by pp\ier.. Sensitive, 
creatures are determined by the impulses of nature to their ac- 
tions j for having no light to distinguish between nporal good and 
evil, they have no choice^ an^ are incapable of.. receiving a law.i 
Intelligent creatures, endowed with judicious and free faculties,. 
fLu understanding; to discem between moral good and evil, an4* 

F61l6lVfiNSS8 OF SINS. 8 

& Will to efaoose or reject what is propounded to them, are x^apa-^ 
ble of a law to direct and regulate their liberty. 

To man a law was given by the Creator, (the copy of his wis- 
dom and will) that has all the perfections of a mle : it is clear 
and complete, enjoining what is essentially good, and forbidding 
what is essentially evil. God governs man Conveniently to his 
nature : and no service is pleasing to him but the result of our 
reason and choice, the obedience of our supreme leading powers. 
"Since the fall, the light of the understanding compared with the 
•bright discovery it afforded of our whole duty in our original 
state, is either like the twilight of the evening, the faint and 
dim remmns of the light of the day, when night draws a dark 
veil over the world, or like the dawning of the morning, when 
die rising sun begins to scatter the darkness of the night. The 
latter oomparison I think is more just and regular ; for it is said, 
diat the Son of God " enlightens every man that comes into ihe 
world." The innate light discovers there is a straight line of 
truth to regulate our judgment, and a straight line of virtue to 
regulate our actaons. Natural conscience is a principle of autho- 
rity, directing us to choose and practise virtue, and to avoid vice^ 
and according' to our neglect or compliant^ with its dictates in- 
flects upon us. It is hardly presumable that any .are so prodi-- 
giously wicked, as not to be convinced Gi the natural rectitude 
in tilings : they can distinguish between what is &ir and what is 
fraudulent in dealings, and acknowledge in the general, and in 
judging of others^ the equky of things, though they elude the 
force of the conviction in the application to themselves. Now 
since common reason discovers there is a common rule, there 
must be a common judge to whom men are accountable for the 
oblfquity or conformity of their actions to that rule. The law 
of God is revealed in its purity and perfection in the scripture. 

I'he law binds first to obedience, and in Aegleet of it to pu*- 
nishment. Sm is defined by St. John to be <^ the transgression 
rf the law/' The omission of what is commanded, or doing 
what is forbidden, is a sin. Not only the lusts that break f(»th 
into action and evidence, but inward inclinations, contrary to 
tiie law, are sin. From hence results a guilt upon every sinner, 
which includes the imputation of the fault, and obligation to pu- 
nishment. There is a natural connexion between the evil of 
dmng^ and the evil of sufiering : the violation of the law is justly 

A 2 


revenged by the violation of the person that breaks it. It is an 
impossible imagination, that God should give a law not enforced 
with a sanction. This would cast a blemish upon his wisdom, 
fin- the law would cancel itself, and defeat his ends in ^ving it : 
it would reflect a high dishonour upon his holy majesty, as if 
he were indifierent with re^)ect to virtue or vice, and disregarded 
our reverence or rebellion against his authority. The apostle 
declares, that '' all the world are become guilty before God ;" 
that is, justly chargeable widi their crimes, and liable to his 
judgment. The act of sin is transient, and the pleasure vanishes ; 
but the guilt, if not pardoned and purged away, remains for ever 
in the records of conscience. ** The sin of Judah is written vrith 
a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond ; it is graven on 
the tables of the heart." When the books of eternal life and 
dekth shall be opened at the last day, aO the unpardoned sins of 
men, with their kilUng aggravations, will be found written in 
indelible characters, and shall be set in order before their eyes, 
to their confusion : <^ the righteous Judge has sworn be will for<>> 
get none of their works.'' According to the number and bm« 
ousness of their sins, a sentence shall pass upon them : no ex.* 
euses shall suspend the judgment, nor mitigate the immediate 
execution of it. 

The forgiveness of sins contains the abolition of their guilty 
and fi^eedom from the deserved destruction consequent to il. 
This is expressed by various terms in scripture. Pardon relates 
to some damage and offence which the ofiended party may se- 
rerely vindicate. Now although the blessed God in strictness of 
speaking can recdve no damage by rebellions creaturep, being 
infinitely above the impression of evil : yet as our Saviour speake 
of one that looks upon a woman with an impuie desire, that be 
has comnntted adultery with her in his heart, though the. inao^ 
cence of the woman be unstained ; so the sins of men, being 
acts of foul ingratitude against his goodness, and notorious un^* 
righteousness against his authority, are in a sense injiirious to 
ftim, Hhieh he might justly revenge upon them, but his cle* 
mency spares them. The << not imputing sin" is borrowed from 
the accounts of servants with their masters $ and implies the ac« 
count we are obliged to render the supreme Lord for all his be* 
nefits which we have so wretchedly misimproved: be might 
righteously exact of us ten thousand talents thiat itfe due to him> 


Irat he is gmcioosly pleaned to cross the book, and fireely to dis* 
eharge us. The ** purging from sin," impKes it is very odious 
and oflensive in God's eyes, and has a special respect to the ex* 
ptatoiy sacrifices, of which it is said, that ^' without blood there 
was no remissicMi/' This was typical of the precious blood of 
the Sod of God that pnrges the conscience << from dead works ;" 
fiom the. deadly guilt of sin that cleaves to the conscience of the 
sinner. By the application of his blood the cnmson guilt is 
washed away, and the pardoned sinner is accepted as one pure 
and imioeent. 

2. I shall next demoa^trate, that forgiveness belongs to God, 
This will be evident by the following considerations. 

First. It is the high and peculiar prerogative of God to pardon 
am. His anthority made the law, and gives life and vigaur to it^ 
therefore he can remit the punishment of the offender. This is 
evident from the proportion of human laws : for though subor- 
<Knate judges have only a limited power, and must acquit or 
eendenm aceording to the law, yet the sovereign may dispense 
with it. This is declared in scripture by God himself: '^ I, evea 
1 am he, that blots out thy transgressions for my name sake i" 
ba. 43. he repeats it with an emphasis. He is proclaimed with 
this royal title; *^ the Lord, gracious and merciful, pardoning 
iniquity^ transgression and sin.'' It is a dispensation of divine 
sovereignty to pardon the guilty. 

It is true, God pardons as a father, according to that most 
gradoos promise, '* I will spare them, as a father spares his son 
that serves him f* MtL 3. but as invested with the dignity of a 
sovereign. Our Savionr directs us, in the perfect form of prayer 
dictated to his disciples, to pray to God for the foi^veness of 
onr anas, aa ^ our Father sittmg in heaven" upon a high throne, 
from whence he pronounces our pardon. His majesty is equally 
glorious with his mercy in that blessed dispensation. His royal 
supremacy is more conspicuous in die exercise of mercy towards 
repenting sinners, than in the acts of justice upon obstinate of<- 
fenders. As a king is more a king by the pardoning humble sup* 
pHants by the operation of his sceptre, than in subduing rebels 
by the power of the sword : for in acts of grace he is above the 
law, and overrules its rigour, in acts of vengeance he is only 
superior to his enemies. 

It is the peculiar prerogative of God to pardon sin. The pro- 

A 3 


phet challenges all the reptlted deities of the heathens as ddte- 
tive in this royal power : <^ who is a God like unto thee, par- 
doning iniquity, transgression, and sin ?" Mic. 7. The phari* 
sees said true, '* who can forgive sins but God only ?^' For it is- 
an act of empire. The judicial power to pardon is a ^ower in- 
separable irom the crown : far it is founded, in a superiority to 
the law, therefore inconsistent with a depending authority. A 
creature is as incapable of the supremacy of God in pardoning 
sin, as of his omnipotence to create a world : for they are both 
truly infinite. Besides, the power of pardoning sins, necessarily 
implies an universal knowledge of the minds and hearts of men, 
which are the fountains of their actions : and according to their 
ingrediency the moral good or evil of them rises. The more 
deliberately and wilfully a sin is committed, the^sinner ineurs a 
greater guilt, and is obnoxious to a more heavy punishments 
Now no creature can dive into the hearts of men : <^ they are 
naked and open to the piercing eye of God alone." Add farther, 
the authoritative power to pardon, has necessarily annexed to it 
tlie active power of dispensing rewards and punishments. Now 
the Son of God alone '* has the keys of life and death in his 

It may be objected, that our Saviour declares, that ^^ the 
Son of Man has power to foi^ve sins." The answer to this will 
be clear by considering, there are two natures in Christ ; the 
divine nature, that originally belongs to him, and is proper to 
hi» person ; and the human nature, which is as it were adoptive, 
and was voluntarily assumed; Now the divine person is the sole 
principle and subject of this royal dignity, but it is exercised in 
its conjunction with the human nature, and attributed to the 
Son of Man: as in the humiliation of Christ, the principles of 
his sufferings, and the actual suflhrings, are solely in the human 
nature, but upon the account of the personal union, they are 
attributed to the divine person. It is said, ** the Lord of glory 
was crucified," arid ** the blood of God" redeemed his church. 

The church of Rome, with high presumption, arrogates to 
their priests a judicial power of foi^ving sins : and by the easy 
folly of the people, and crafky deceit of their instructors, exercise 
a jurisdiction over conscience. To avoid the imputi^ion of 
blasphemy, they pretend there is a double power of forgiving, 
supreme and subordinate ; the frst belongs to God^ Uie other is 


ddegated by eommiaeion to the minktei^ of tlie gospeL But 
this is an irreconoileable contradicfdon : for the power to pardon 
is an efflux of supremdcy, and incommunicable to the subject* 
A prince that invests another with an absolute power to pardon, 
maBt either relinquish his sotei'eignty, or take an associate to 
abare tn it. Thb pretence of the papists is such a lame evasion, 
as that which they ate forc^ to make use of to clear themselves 
from the charge of idolatry in their worship of angels and saints : 
their excuse is, that their worship of angels and saints is inferior 
in degree, and imperfectly divine ; as if there could be different 
degrees in divine wbrthip, wbidi is absolutely and necessarily 
supreme. The ministers of the gospel htfve only a declarative 
power, as heralds or ambassadors, to propose the terms of the 
gospel for the obCainii^ pardon, and to apply the promise of 
pardon to those who appear qualified for it. But to pronounce 
and dispense pardon, they have no judicial authority : for it is not 
presumable that the wise God should invest men with that ai»^ 
tbority which they are utterly incapable to exercise^ 

Seconttty. God is ready to forgive« The power to pardon 
without an indination to it, afibrds no relief in the agonies of an' 
accnising conscrenee, and the terrors of eternal judgment. The 
mereifiil will of Ood declared in his word, is the foundation of 
our blessed hope, and encourages us in our requests before his 
throne : *^ for thou Lord ait good, and ready to forgive, and 
plaiteoQs in mercy unto all that call upon tbee.'^ Psal. 86. 

The attribute of which pardon is an emanation, is usually ex*' 
pressed by grace and mercy. It is said, the ^ grace of God that 
brings salvation has appeared unto all m^n : we are saved by 
grace/' Grace impKes free favour. There is in this respect a 
difference between tove and grace. Love may be set upon an 
ofajeict wortliy of it. The primary object of God's love is himself, 
whose excellent and amidble perfections are worthy of infinite 
kive. The love of parents to children is a duty most clearly na- 
tural, and doty lessens the desert of performing it ; but grace is 
exclusive of all merit and dignity in the subject, and of all obli- 
gation in the person that shows it. God's most free preventing 
grace is exercfsed without any motive in us that deserves it. 

The grace of God may be considered as exercised in our crea- 
tion and our redemption. In the creation it was absolutely free r 
lor aogek and men were in the state <A nothing, there was onh* 

A 4 


1^ possibility of tbeir being. Now there could be no attractive^ 
merit before their existence. It is true, goodness is glorified and 
crowned by comnnmicatuag : the world is a bright efflux of the 
divine g^ry ; but this does not lessen the free goochiess ot the 
Maker. Tliere was no ccxistraint upon God to make the world 
for his declarative glory : for bis essential glory is truly infinite, 
and wants no external appearance to make it complete. The 
universal church pays humble homage to the great Creator; 
*^ acknowledging, that for his wiU and pleasore all things ware 

The divine goodness to angds and man in their original pu* 
lity, was grace : for althov^h the image of God shining in tbera 
was attractive of his approbation and acceptance, yet they de* 
served no benefits from him : there is such an infinite distance 
and disproportion bet^w^en God and the creatures, that they can- 
not by a common right claim any thing as due firom his majesty. 
Besides, he is the productive aiui conservative cause of all their 
active powers, and the efficacy of them. 

The creating goodness of God is eclipeed in the oompariiron 
with his saving grace. The first supposes us without ^uy deserts 
of his favour, but this supposes our exceedingly bad deserts : the 
first was firee, but this is meroifid and healing grace. Mei^ 
revives and restates us when deservedly miserable. This graee 
and mercy is of so pure a nature, that the xaoat tender human 
inclinations to relieve the afflicted, are mixed widi self-interest, 
compared with the mercy of God towards us. Our bowels relent, 
and affections are melting at the sight of persons in deq[> misery.. 
But there is an inward and invohmtaiy constraint of nature duit 
excites such feeling resentments : and our compassion is moved 
by reflection npoa ourselves, considering that in this open state 
we are liable to many disasters and wounding sorrows : but God 
is infinitely free fi-om all disturbing passions, and exempted from 
all possible evils» To represent the -immense love and m&tcy 
pf God in its endearing circumstances, and to demonstrate hb 
readiness to foigive, we must consider what he has done in order 
to his pardoning sinners. 

Ist. If we consider Qod as the supreme lawgiver and judge of 
the world, as the protector of righteousness and goodness, and 
the revenger of all disorders in his moral government, it became 
liim not to pardon sinners without the {unisbing sin in such a 


ttianiier as iniglit satisfy his injured jus^e, and vindicate the 
honour ol his despised Isir, and declare most comineingly bis 
hatred against sin. Now far these great ends he deereed to send 
his Scm from -his bosom, to aasmne our nature, and to suffer the 
cootnmetsous cokoiity of the death of the cross, to make a pro- 
pitiation far our sins. This ivas the contrivance of his unsdom^ 
which the most enlightened angels had no presaging notions of. 
Now can there be a more clear evidence and convincing reality^ 
that God is ready to fotfpye sins, than the giving his only be* 
gotten Son, a person so great and so dear, the heir of his love 
and gh>ry, to be a sacrifice, that he might spare us ? In this 
dispensation kive was the regent leading attribute, to which his 
wisdom, jnstiee and power were sabordinate : they were in ex- 
ercise far the more gknrioue illustration of his mercy. ' We have 
the strongest argument of God's love in the death of his Son, for 
oor pardon was the end of it. From hence it is evident, that 
God is more wffling to dispense his pardoning mercy, than sin- 
ners are to reeeive it. 

2dly. God's readiness to forgive qypears in the gracious and 
easy terms prescribed in the gospel far the obtaining pardon. 
There are two ways of justification befare God, and they are like 
two ways to a city : one is direct and short, but deep and un- 
passable ; the other lies in a circuit, but will bring a person safe 
to die place* ' Thus there is a justification of an innocent person 
by worhs^ that secures him from the charge of the law; and a 
JBStificatkmof a sinner by fiuth in our aU-suflicient Saviour. The 
first was a short way to man in the state of intq;rity : the se- 
cond^ such is the distance of the terms, takes a compass. There 
ia a shorter passage from' Kfe to aetion, than firom death to life. 
There is no hope or posnbility of our legal justification. The 
apostle saith, *' that which the law could not do in that it was 
weak throij^ the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness 
ef sinful fiesh, and far sin condemned sin in the flesh.'' Rom. 8. 
The expiation of sin, and renewing us into the image of God^ 
are obtained by the gospel. The law is called, ^^ the law of sin 
and death :" which must be understood not as considered in it- 
self, bat relatively to our depraved nature. The law supposes 
men in a state of uneonrupted nature, and was given to be a pre- 
servative of our holiness and felidty, not a remedy to recover us 
from sin and misery. It was directive of our duty, but since our 

10 SBaMONs ON Tax 

vebeUion the rod is turned into a aerpent. The law b faaid anc^ 
imperious, severe and inexorable, the tenour oJP it is, ** do, or die' 
for ever/' It requires a rig^teoasness entire and unblemiihed, 
which one bom in sin cannot ppoduee in the court of judgments 
Man is utterly unabk by his lapsed powers to recover the favour 
of God, and to fulfil his obligation by the law to obedience. But 
the gospel discovers an open, easy way to life, to ail that will 
accept of salvation by tUe Redeemer. The apostle expresses the 
difference between the condition of the law and the gospel in a 
very si^ficant manner. <' Moses describes the righteousness 
which is of the law, that the man that does those things shall Kve 
in them : but the righteousness which is of faith speaks on this 
urise, say not in thine heart, who shall ascend into heaven, that 
is to bring down Christ from above ; who shall descend into the 
deep, that is to bring Jesus Christ agun from the dead ? But 
what saith it? The word is nigh thee, that if thou shalt confess 
with thy mouth, and shalt believe in thy heart, that God hath* 
raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved/^ Rom. M). The 
meaning of the apostle is, that thii^ in heaven above, or in the 
depths beneath, are of impossible discovery and attainment, so ic 
is equally impossible to be justified by the works of the law. The 
anxious sinner seeks in vain iar righteousness in the low, which 
can only be found in the gospel. 

It may be objected, that the condition of the law, and the 
condition of the gospel, compared relatively to our deprai«d fa- 
culties, are equally impossible. The carnal mind and affections 
are as averse from repentance and receiving Christ as our Lord 
and Saviour, as from obeying the law. Our Saviour tells the* 
Jews, ^' ye will not come to me that ye may have life : and no 
man can come to me unless^ the Father draw him.'' Which 
words are highly expressive of our utter impotence to believe 
savingly in Christ. But there is a dear answer to this objection ; 
the difference between the two dispensations consists principally 
in this : the law requires complete and constant obedience as the 
condition of life, without affording the least supernatural power 
to perform it. But the goqpei has the spirit of grace a concomi- 
tant with it, by whose omnipotei^t efficacy sinners are revived,, 
and enabled to comply with the terms of salvation. The spirit 
of the law is styled the spirit of bondage fraai its rigorous effects t 
it discovered sin, and terrified the conscieice, without implant- 

FOft6IVK19B88 OF SINS. 1 1 

ing a pmcipte of life that migiit restore the sinner to a state of 
holy Uberty. As the flame in the bosh made the thoras in it vi- 
sible, without consaming them ; so the fiery law discovers men's 
sim, but does not abolish them : but ^< the law of the spirit of 
life in Christ Jesus, that is, the gospel, has freed us from the law 
of sin and death." I will more particularly consider the. gra- 
cious terms prescribed in the g^tepel for the obtaining pardon ; 
^ Repentance towards God, and fkkh in the Lord Jesas Christ/' 
The requiring of them is not an arbitrary constitution, but 
founded in the unchangeable nature and oongruity of things. 
Repentance signifies a sincere change of the mind and h^art 
from the lo?e and practices of sin, to the love and practice of ho- 
finess, upon evangelieal and cHvme motives. The principal ingre- 
dients in it are, reflections with grief and shame upon our past 
sins, vrith stedfest resolutions of future obedience. It is a vital 
prindple productive of fruits suitable to it : it is called ** repent- 
ance from dead works, repentance unto life.'' It is the seed of 
new obedience. Repentance in order of nature is before pardon, 
but they are inseparably joined in the same point of time. Da- 
vid is a blessed instanqe of this : *^ I said I will confess my trans-* 
gressions to the Lord, and thou forgavest the iniquity of Yny 
sin." Psal. 32. The sum and tenor of the apostle's commission 
recorded by St. Luke is, '^ That repentance and remission of 
sins should be preached in the name of Christ to all nations." 
Luke 24. That a repentant sinner only is qualified for pardon^ 
will be evident in considering, 

( 1 .) That an impenitent sinner is the objectof revenging justice ; 
and it is utterly inconsistent that pardoning mercy and revenging 
justice should be terminated npon the same person at the same 
time, in the same respect. It is said, ^' the Lord hateth all the 
workers of iniquity ; and his soul hates the wicked." The ex- 
pression implies the intense degrees of hatred. In the glorious 
appearance of God to Moses, when proclaimed witii the highest 
titles of honour, ^ The Lord God, gracious axid mercifiil, par* 
doning iniquity, transgression and sin," it is added, ^ he will bf 
no means spare the guilty," that is, impenitent sinners. Wk 
must suppose God to be of a changeable flexible nature, (which 
is a blasphemous imagination, and makes him Hke to sinful man) 
if an impenitent sinner may be received to favour without a 
change in his disposition. God camiot repent of giving a holy 


kw, tlie nil^ of our doty, therefcnre man must repent of hw 
breaking^ the law befixe he can be recencUed to him. The truth 
isy man considered merely as a sinner is not the object of God's 
ftnt mercy, that is, of pity and compassion : for as such he ia 
the object of God's wrath ; and it is a fonnal contradiction fo 
assert that he is the object of lore and hatred at the same time, 
and in the same reqiect. But man, considered as God's crea- 
ture, involyed in aaisery by the fraudi of the tempter, and his own 
fiilly, was the object of God's compassion ; and the recovery of 
him from his forlorn wretched state, was the dfect of diat com* 

• (2.) Thoi^ mercy conudered as a separate attribute migh€ 
pardon an impenitent sinner, yet not in conjunction and concord 
with God's essential perfections. Many things are possible to 
power d[)soIntely considered, which God cannot do: for his 
power is always directed in its exercise by his wisdom, and li« 
mited by his will. It would disparage God's wisdom, stain his 
holiness, violate his justice, to pardon an impenitent sinner. 
The gospel by the promise of pardon to such, would foil itself, 
and frustrate its principal end, idiich '' is to purify ud from all 
bi()idty, and to make us a people zealous of good works." 

(3.) If an impenitent sinner may be pardoned as such, he may 
be glorified : far that which qualifies a man for pardon, qualifies 
him for salvation : and the divine decree establishes an insepara* 
ble connesdon between them; <^Whom God justifies he glori-* 
fies." Rom. 8. 30. If a sinner dies immediately after his pardon 
is passed, nothing can intercept his being received into heaven. 
Now this is utterly impossible; the exclusion of such is peremp* 
tory and miiversal, ^^tar vrithout holiness no man shall see 
God." The admisaon of an impenitent sinner into heaven, 
would polhite that holy place, and unconsecrate the temple of 
God wherein his holiness shines in its glmy. 

It is objected by some, that the requiring repentance to qua- 
Ify the sinner for pardon edipses the ^ace of the gospel. 

I wilHi^ acknowledge, that a rdigious jealousy, lest the fifee-» 
tess and honour of divine grace in our pardon should be lessen* 
ad, is very becoming a christian ; but it is ill-grounded and HI* 
guided in ttih matter. This will be evident by considering ; 

That repentance is an evangelical grace, the gift of the Re* 
deemer : *< Him has God raised to be a prince and a Saviour^ t» 

fo&GivnBn or sins. 13 

give repenUmce andforgiyenessof sb/' Acts 5.31. The lawdid 
not allow of repentance, nor promise pardeiu The design of it 
was to keep us in the fiEKvour and eominunion witfi God^ bnt af- 
forded no means of reconciliation after our offending him. Re- 
pentance was no degree of perfection before man's fall, but is a 
relief of his knperfeetion after k. The law called the righteous 
€o obedience, the gospel calls sinners to repentanee. 

That thare is no eausality or merit in repentance to pioeuie 
our paidoik The mercy of God for the most preeioos merits 
apd mediation of Jesus Christ is die only cause of pardon. A 
flood of repenting tears, an effusion of our blood, are of too low 
a price to make any satisfaction to Ood, to deserve a lefam of 
his &vour. The most sincere love of holiness, and stedfiast reso> 
hition to forsake sin, whieh is the principal part of our repent* 
ance, can be no satisfaction for our past offences, for it is the 
natural duty of man before the commission of sin : repentance 
is only a vital qimlificatiim in the subject that receives the par- 

That the grace of God is very conspicuous in dispen^iuig par- 
don, according to the order of the gospel to repenting sinners* 
For first, repentance readers the divine mercy most honourable 
in the esteem of those who partake of it. Our Saviour tells U9» 
'^ The whole need not a physician, but those who are sick/' 
He that feels his disease, and is strongly apprehensive of its danr 
ger^ values the counsel and assistance of a physician above all 
treasures. The repenting sinoer who is under the strong convic- 
tion of his guilt, and his b^ng always obnoxionis to the judgment 
of God, and eternal misery the consequence of it, be values the 
favour of God as the most sovereign good, and accounts his dis- 
pleasure as the supreme evil. Repentance inspires flaming affec- 
tions in our {»ayen and praises for pardon* The repenting sin- 
ner prays for pardon with as much fervency as Daniel prayed in 
the den, to be preserved from the devouring lions ; or as Jonah 
prayed out of the bdiy of bell for deliverance. He addresses not 
with faint but fainting desires for mercy ; " Give me paJdon, or 
I die.'' Jonah 2. The insensible sinner that is secure in the 
diadow of death, may offer some verbal requests for pardon, but 
his prayer is defective in the principle : for he never feels the 
want c^ a pardon 5 he prays so coldly as if unconcerned whether 
be be accepted or no. And with what a rapture of admiratioOf 


and joy, and thankful affections, doth the pardoned peniten 
magnify the divine mercy? The ehriatian Niobe that was melt- 
ed into repenting tears *^ ioired much, because much was forgiven 

. This est^lishment that repentance quaKfies a sinner for par- 
don, is most beneficial to man, and consequently most ilhistrates 
pardoning mercy. We must observe, that sin does not only af- 
fect us with guilt, but leaves an inherent eoiroption that defiles 
and debases the sinner, and strongly inclines him to relapse into 
rebellion. Now repentance gives the true representation of sin 
in its penal consequences, the anger of the Almighty, the terrors 
of eondcience, and makes it eviflent and odious to the soul. Da- 
vid bad a piercing conviction what a foul sin adultery was, when 
his *' bones were brdcen/' Repenting sorrow strikes at the root 
of sin, the love of pleasure. This makes us fearful to offend 
God, and to fly ail the alluring temptations that will betray us 
to sin. This makes us obedient. The melted metal is recep- 
tive of any form. Contrition is joined with resignation : *^ Lord, 
what wilt thou have me to do?" Was the voice of repenting 

It may be objected, that we read, " God justifies the ungod- 
ly," but the answer is clear. The apostle does not intend by 
the ungodly, an impenitent sinner, but makes the opposition be- 
tween the ungodly and one that perfectly obeys the law, and is 
consequently justified by works : and in this sense the most ex- 
cellent saints here are ungodly. Besides, the apostle does not 
assert that God absolutely pardons the ungodly, but qualifies the 
persons : '^ To him that worketh not, but beiieveth on him that 
justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." 
Now justifying faith and repentance are like Tamar's twins : re- 
pentance is first felt, and then faith exerts itself in applying the 
merits of Christ's death for our pardon. 

It is replied by some, that all grace is communicated firbm 
Christ, as our head, and supposes our union with him, of v hich 
faith is the vital band, and consequently the first grace, by which 
all other graces are derived to us. 

To this I answer, there are two means of our union with 
Christ: the principal is the quickening spirit descending firom 
Christ as the fountain of the supernatural life, and a lively faith 
wrought in us by his pure and powerful operation, that ascends 


from us and doses with him* It is said, the second Adam was 
made ^^a quickening spirit:'' and he that is joined ^^to the 
Lord is one spirit." As the parts of the natural hody are united 
by th^ vital influence of the same soul that is present in the 
whole; so we are united to Christ by the holy spirit that was 
given to him without measure^ and from his fulness is derived to 
us. It is dear therefore beyond all contradiction, that froth is 
not antecedently requisite^ as the means of conveying all graces 
to us from Christ. 

There axe two acts of finth : the first respects the general offer 
of pardon in die gospd to all repenting bdieving sinners : the 
second is the application of the promise of pardon to the soul* 
The first is antecedent to evangdicaL repentance: the second is 
dearly ooasequent in the ordec of nature^ fiir the promise assures 
pardon only to ^' the weary and heavy laden that come to Christ 
for rest.'' 

la short, there is a perfect agreement and sympathy between 
reason and divine revelation in this doctrine, that God pardons 
only the repenting sinner. The contrary assertion is an im-* 
peachment of the rectitude of his nature, and directly contrary to 
tlie design amd tenor of the gospel. If a man be justified as un- 
godly, the evangdical command of repentimce for the remission 
of sins is useless and unprofitable. What a pernicious influence 
upon practice this doctrine may have, is obvious to any that 
consider it. I shall only add, if God pardons men as ungodly, 
<^ How shall he judge the world?" It was prophesied by Enoch, 
*^ Behold the Lord comes with tax thousand saints to judge all 
that are ungodly for their ungodly deeds, which they have un- 
godlily committed." Now as St. James argues against the per- 
versaiess of men, '^ when from the same mouth proceed blessing 
and cursing; doth a fountain send forth sweet water and bitter?" 
Jam. 3. 10. This instance is incomparably more strong with re- 
spect to God than to men. It is more consistent and concei- 
vable that a fountain should send forth fresh water and sdt, than 
that the holy and righteous God, in whose nature there is not 
the least discord, should justify some as ungodly, and condemn 
others as ungodly for ever. 

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the evangelical condition of 
our obtaining pardon. This will appear by considering the na- 
ture of faulh. Saving faith is an unfeigned persuasion of the 


power, fend desire of Christ to ssEve sinners, that induces the soul 
to receive him, and rely on him, &s he is offered in the gospel. 
Weiare assured of his all*sufficiency, and of his compassionate 
willingness to save us ; << He is able to save to the uttermost all 
that come to God by him." Our Savour declares, ** Whoever 
comes to him, be will in no wise cast out/' Faith is seated in 
the whole soul, and according to the truth and transcendent 
goodness of the object, produces the most precious and sacred 
esteem of it in the mind, and the most joyAil consent and choice 
<tf it in the wilK Accordingly a sincere believer embraces entire 
Christ as ^< a Prince and a Saviour," and is as willing to be go^ 
vemed by his sceptre, as to depend upon his sacrifice. Accep-* 
tance and reliance are the essential ingredients of justifying faith. 
This is the doctrine of the everlasting gospel. The an^ decla- 
red this to the shepherds , ^^ Behold, I bring you tidings of great 
joy, which shall be to all people ; for to you is bom this day, in 
the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." Luke 
2. 10. '^ This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, 
that Jesus Christ is come into the world to save sinners, of 
whom I am chief." 1 Tim. 1.15. Faith is indispensably necessary 
to our obtiuning forgiveness. Faith is the channel wherein the 
precious issues of his blood and sufferings are conveyed to us. 
To make more evident how necessary and gracious a condition 
fsidi in the Redeemer is, for our pardon, I will briefly consider 
the foundation of the covenant of life in the gospel. After man 
had plunged himself into damnation, God having decreed, that 
without satisfisction there should be no remission of his sin ; and 
Che sinner being utterly inci^able of enduring such a punishment 
in degrees, as might be tndy satisfiictory, it necessarily followed, 
he must suffer a punishment equivalent in duration. To prevent 
this, there was no possible way but by admitting a surety, who 
should represent the sinner, and in his stead suffer the punish- 
ment due for sin. A threefold consent was requisite in this trans- 

(1.) The consent of the sovereign, whose law was violated, 
and majesty despised : for as there is a natural distinction be« 
tween persons, and between the actions of persons, so there must 
be between the recompences of those actions : oonsecpiently the 
sinner is obliged to suffer the punishment in his own person. 
From hence it is dear^ that Ae punishment cannot be transfer- 


red to another without the allowance of the sovereign, who is the 
patron of the rights of justice. 

(2.) The consent of the surety is requisite : for punishment 
being an emanation of justice cannot be inflicted on an innocent 
person, unthout his voluntary interposing to save the guilty. A 
surety is legally one person with the debtor : otherwise the cre- 
ditor cannot exact, by the rule of right, the payment from him, 
which is fixed by the law upon the person of the debtor. 

(3.) It is as dear, that the consent of the guilty is requisite, 
who obtains impunity by the vicarious sufferings of another. For 
if he resolves to bear his own guilt, and wilfully refiises to be 
freed by the interposing of another between him and the punish- 
ment, neither the judge nor the surety can consteain him to it. 
Now all these concur in this great transacti<Hi. As the creation 
of man was a work of solemn counsel, ^' Let us make man," so 
his redemption was the product of the divine counsel. I may 
allude to what is represented to us in the vision of the divine 
glory to the prophet Isaiah : ** I heard the Lord saying, whom 
shall I send, and who will go for us ? Then said I, here I am, 
send me/' Isa. 6* 8. Thus the rise of our salvation was from the 
Father. He makes the inquky, who «hall go for us, to recover 
fallen man ? The Son interposes, ^ Here I am, send me." 
The Father from his sovereignty and mercy appointed and ac- 
eepted the Mediator and surety for us. It was no part of the 
law given in paradise, that if man sinned, he should die, or his 
surety; but it was an act of God's free power as superior to the 
law, to appoint his Son to be our surety, and to die in our stead. 
And the aspect of the law upon a sinner being without passion, 
it admits of satisfaction by the sufferings of another. It is said 
in the gospel, '^ God so loved the world," so above all compari- 
son and comprehension, ^' that he gave and sent his only begot- 
ten Son into the world, that the world through him might be 
saved." The Son of God, with the freest choice, did interpose 
between the righteous God and guilty man for that end. He 
willingly left his sovereign seat in heaven, eclipsed his glory bin- 
der a dark cloud of flesh, degraded himself into the form of a 
servant, and submitted to an ignominious and cruel death for our 
redemption. When he came into the world, he declared his full 
consent, with a note of eminency : ^^ Sacrifice and offering thou 
wouldst not, but a body hast thou prepared me : then said I, lo 



I come to do thy wiU» O God/' Upon this consent of the Pa^ 
ther^and the Son, the whole fabric of our redemption i« built. 
It is the resultsgace from H9 that the execution of justice on 
Christ is the expiation of our sins, wi by his ^nfferings the full 
price is paid for our redemption* There is a judicial exchange 
of persons between Christ and believers, their guilt is transferred 
to him, and his righteousness is imputed to them. '^ He made 
him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made 
the righteousness of God in him." 2 Cor. 5. His active and 
passive obedience, his doing and dying are as truly accounted to 
believers for their acceptance and pardon, as if tb?y had merito* 
siously wrought out their own salvation* 

The sinner must give his consent to be saved by the death of 
Christ upon the terms of the gospeU This constitution ia 
grounded upon the eternal articles between the Father and the 
Son in the covenant of redemption* Our Saviour declares, thai 
^^ God gave his Son, that whosoever believes in bim» should not 
perish, but have eternal life/' Notwitstanding the full satisfac- 
tion made for our sins, yet without our consent, th^t is, an ap-. 
plicative faith, no benefit could accrue to us, '^ He dwells in 
our hearts by faith :" and by that vital band of our union ^a 
h^ve communion with him in his death, and as entire an interest 
in all the blessed benefits purchased h^ it, as if whatsoever he 
did a^d su$fcr€4 hs4 be^n for m alcHte* ^^ He is a propitiation 
by faith in his blood*^ Of this fi^U consent of the sinner, there 
is an excellent esM^nple in the apostle : he expresses it with the 
greatest ardency of affection ; ^^ I count tdl thingsi but dung that 
I may win Christ, luid be fowd in him, not having mine own 
righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through ths 
faith of Christ/' Phil. ^. 9, Like as a poor insolvent debtor^ 
ready to be ca$t into a perpetual prison, longs for a surety rich 
and liberal, tP ni^ke payment for him : thus St. Paid defiired to 
be found )ii Christ, as an all-sjufficie^t aurety, that he might ob» 
tain a freedom from the phaige of the law. 

The establishment of the gospel, that faith be the condition 
of oyir pardoii, sp th^t none C4n be justified without it, is firom 
pure grace. The i^postle as^ns thia reason why all works are 
excluded, tbo$e performed in the state of nature^ or by a princi-i 
pie of grace, frpm being the procuring cause of our salvation^ 
that it is to prevent vaia*|;lory in mien that would result firom it« . 


'^ Yoa are saved by grace^ through faith, and that not of yourt 
selves : it is the gift of God/' Ephes. 2. The pardon of sin ia 
a principal part of our salvatioti. He positively declares, that 
justification ^^ is therefore of faith, that it might be by grace/' 
Rom. 4» If justification were to be obtained hy a condition of 
impossible performance, it were no favour to offer that blessed 
benefit to us : but it being assured to a believer that humbly and 
thanUuUy accepts of it, the grace of God is exceedingly glorified. 
To make this more clear, faith may be considered as a productive 
grace, or a receptive: as a productive, it purifies the heart, 
works by love j and in this conmderation we are not justified by 
it. Faith hath no efficiency in our justification, it is the sole act 
of God : but faith as a receptive graced that embraces Chrisf 
with his precious merits offered to us in the pronuse, entitles us 
to pardon. And in tbid way divine grace is exalted : for he that 
entirely reUes upon the righteousness of Christ, absolutely re- 
nounces his^own righteousness, and ascribes in soMum the oh- 
tainii^ of his pardon to the clemency and fiivour of God, for the 
aake of the MecUator, 

3dly. That God is ready to forgive, is folly proved by many 
gracious declaratiims in his wcnrd, the infallible expression of his 
will. ^^ We are commanded to seek his face for ever," his fa- 
vour and love : for the counteoance is the crystal wherein the af- 
fections appear. Now all the commands of God assure us of his 
approving and aec^tance of our obedience to them : it follows 
therefore, that it is very pleasing to him, that we pray for the 
pardon of our sins, and that he will dispense it, if we pray in a 
due mann^. When he forbad the prophet to pray for Israel, it 
was aa argument of decreed ruin against them : ^' Pray not for 
this people, for I will not hear thee/' Jer, 7. 16. To eucou.- 
rage our hope, God is pleased tp direct us how to address our 
requests for his mercy : he directs '^ krael, that had fieJlen by 
iniquity, to take words, and turn to the Lord, and say unto hini, 
take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously; so will we ren- 
der the praise of our Upis/' Hos, 14. To this is added a solemp 
renouncing of those sins that provdied him to anger. His gr&- 
oieus answer fottows, ^^ I will heal their backslidings, I will love 
them freely." If a prince draws a petition for an humble sup- 
I^iant to himaelf, it is a strcmg indieation that he will grant it. 

B 2 



joins entreaties to his commands, to induce men to accept 
tliis mercy. The apostle declares^ ^^ Now then we are ambassa-* 
dors for Christ : as though God did beseech you by us, we pray 
you in Christ's stead be reconciled to God/* 2 Cor. 5. Asto- 
nishing goodness! how condescending, how compassionate! 
The provocation began on man's part, the reconciliation is first 
on God's. That the King of heaven, whose indignation was in- 
censed by our rebellions, and might justly send executioners to 
destroy us, should send ambassadors to offer peace, and beseech 
us to be reconciled to him, as if it were his interest and not purs, 
U a mercy above what we could ask or think. With commands 
and entreaties he mixes promises of pardon to encourage us to 
come to the throne of grace : " Whoever confesses and forsakes 
his sins, shall find mercy.'' This promise is ratified by the 
strongest assurance : ^^ If we confess our sins^ he is faithful and 
just to forgive us pur sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighte* 
ousness.*^ 1 John 1. The pardon of a repenting sinner is the 
effect of most free mercy, but it is dispensed to the honour of 
God's faithfulness and justice, who is pleased to engage himself 
Idv his promise to do it. And though the word of God be as sa- 
cred and certain as his oath, for it is impossible for him to 
change his will, or to deceive us in the one as wdl as the other : 
yet to overcome the fears, to allay the sorrows, and satisfy the 
desires of repenting sinners, he was pleased to annex his oath to 
the promise, Heb. 6. 18. which is the most infallible character 
and note, that the blessing promised is unchangeable. 

He adds threatenings to his invitations, that fear which is an 
active and strong passion, may constrain us to seek for his mer- 
cy. Our Saviour said to the Jews who did blind and harden 
themselves in their infidelity, ^* If ye believe not that I am he," 
the promised Messiah, ^^ and come to me to obtain life, ye shall 
die in your sins." John 8. 24. The threatening implies a state 
-final and fearful, beyond all expression ; for they who die in their 
sins, shall die for them to eternity. Hell is the sad mansion of 
lost souls, filled with extreme wrath and extreme despair : and 
^here despair is without remedy, sorrow is without mitigation 
for ever. From hence we may be convinced, how willing God is 
to pardon and save us, in that knowing how we are entangled 
'With pleasant sins^ he reveals to us what ^ill be the eternal con- 

90ilGiyBN£8S Of SINS. 2| 

seqtience of sins unrepaited and unforgiven, a punisbment above 
aU the evils that are felt or feared here, and above all the patt** 
enoe and strength of sinners to endure. 

If men yield themselves to the call of his word without, and of 
his spirit within, and humbly accept of the terms of mercy, it is 
very pleasing to him« We are assnred by Jesus Christ, who i§ 
truth, that there is ^' Joy in heaven over one sinner that repents^ 
more than over ninety and nine persons that need no repent* 
aace/' God himself declares with a solemn oath, *' that he de-* 
lights not in the death of a sinner^ but rather that he should turn 
and live/' The holiness and mercy of God are two of his most 
divine perfections, his peculiar glory and delight. Now what 
can be more pleasing to that most pure and compassionate 
being, than to see a sinful creature conformed to bis hoUness, 
and saved#by his mercy? If the internal joy of God, wherein he 
is infinitely blessed, were capable of new degrees, it would rise 
higher in the exercise of his forgiving mercy. There is a clear 
representation of this in the parable of the prodigal : at bb re* 
turn his father received him, with a robe and a riag> with music 
and a feast, the signs of joy in its exaltation. But if sinners are 
hardened in obstinacy^ and notwithstanding God is so willing to 
pardon them, are wilful to be damned^ with what variety of pas* 
siona does he express his resentment ? He incarnates himself in 
the language of men^ to make them understand his affection to 
them. Sometimes he eaqpostulates with a tender sympathy^ 
" Why will ye die ?'* as if they were immediately failing into the 
bottomless pit» He expresses pity, mixed with indignation, at 
their chosen folly and ruin ; '^ How long ye simple ones, will ye 
love simplicity, and fools hate knowledge? What reluctancy 
and regret does he expre^ against proceeding to exterminating 
judgments? ^< How shall I give thee up, Ephraim ? How shall 
shall I deliver thee, Israel? How shall I make thee as Admah? 
How shall I set thee as Zeboim ? Mine heart is turned within 
me, my repentings are kindled together." Hos. II. 9. With 
what a melting passion does the Son of God foretel the decreed 
destruction of Jerusalem, for rejecting their Saviour and salvation! 
f ^ When he came near he beheld the city and wept over it, say- 
ing, if thou hadst known, at least in this thy day, the things that 
belong to thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. Like a 
mild judge that piti€;a the man, when he condemns the malefactor • 
^ B 3 


Tboee who interpret some expressionf) of scripture, that **0oA 
laughs at the ealamity of the wicked, fund mocks when their fear 
comes/' Prov. 1. and is inexorable to their prayers, in such a 
sense as evacuates most gracious declarations of God, to induce 
sinners to repent and believe for their salvation, they draw dark-^ 
hess out of light : for those thteatenings are directed against ob« 
•tinate rebels that finistrate the most powerful methods of mercyj 
and reject thte call of God, in the day of his grace ; and by way 
of retaliation, their prayers are ineffectual^ and rejected in the 
day of his wrath, ^d that he is so highly and'irreconeileably 
provoked for their despising his mercy, is a certain indicatiott 
how highly he would have been pleased with their humbly accept-^ 
ing of it. L^t none then by a vile and wretched sftispicion, that 
God's repeated calls to sinners to return and livfe, do not signify 
his serious will, detract from the glory of his goodness^ and blas- 
pheme his unspotted holiness. His excellent greatness assures 
us of bis sincerity. Why should the glorious majesty of heaven 
(ourt despicable creatures to be reconciled ? We ane infinite de« 
scents below him, and no advantage catt accrue to Wni from us. 
Temporal princes may be swayed by interest to send Ad^ deela-* 
i'ations to rebds in arms, to reduce them to obedience : but what 
can the Most High gain by our submission or loseby ourobstina*. 
cy ? Counterfeit kindness proceeds either from the hope of some 
good, or th^ fear of some evil : and of both God is absotately 
incapable. We are all obndxions to his severe justice : thefts is 
no occasion that he should intend by the gracious oiler of par- 
don, to aggravate the sin and sentence of those who refuse !t« 
Whosoever Mrith heart breaking sorrow, and unfeigned hatted of 
his sins, seeks for pardon by the Mediator, he shall find his ex-* 
perience of sparing mercy equal to. the highest expressions of it 
in scripture, and exceeding all his thoughts. 

41y. It appears, that God is ready to paidon, in that he is so 
slow to punish. Though all the divine attributes are equal in 
God, and there is ail entire agreement^between them, yet there is a 
difference in their external operations. St. John declares, '^ God 
is love/' that sigfiifies his commimicative goodness, the exercise 
w*hereof is more free and pleasing to him than the acts of reven- 
ging justice. *< He does not WBict willingly the children of men.** 
Lam. 3. His mercy in giving and forgiving flows as water from a 
fountain; acts of justice are forced from him (like wine (t6tn th« 

ffdHGivuvrndft OP SINS. 9B 

graipefi) by tte pressitig weight of our dtid. In the first day of jtldg- 
ment a Savimir ivaB promked hefdre the eiin» was threatened. 
Motwithfttanding slhittl iliell brtok hia luiii^^ tod tfaikiple on thetfa 
before^ hU fiicei they ^^ resitft^ and grieve^ atid queneh his dpi* 
fit :" jet he delay* the execntidn of judgment, that his ^' long- 
adfering may tead them td if^pefitatice/* This tHIi sip^ar by 
emtsidernlg thfcit God's forbearing sinners is not, K For want of 
disetMrery of their sins^ humiin justibe mdy Suffer a guilty person 
to escape punishment for i^allt df elear^eirid^nce^ but this ease 
is not faieident to th^ justitse of heaven. '< 6od is light'' witt 
respect to his purity and omuistilsfice. His iiefy ey^ pierces 
through the thickest dttknes^ wherein sins are connnitted^ and 
idt the arts of conceahnent used to ({direr them. Hci sees all th^ 
aim of men wiA the eye (rf a judge; ** all things are nak^ and 
open bftfertf bis eyes with wAdttf W6 hkte to d»« Therefore it is 
satd^ ^' God Will ftcpkt what is past/' Md wtll observe what is 
to come^ in order to judgment. 2. It is not from a defect of 
power thilt the Wiclled are Spared. Great princes are sometimes 
hindered from die exerdse df jiistide. When the gbilty > person ii 
supported by a jnwalent party against them : for the poWer pf a 
prince is ndt in hkhselff but in those whd are his subjects. Thus 
David was eonstfabied to spare JoAb, iiftef the mlitder of Abner^ 
beeafose of his interest in the tfttny 3 ^^ the sons of Zertiah were 
too hard foi^ him/' he feared their tebelilous retistAnce. But the 
power of God is inherent itt himself^ and depends upon no crea* 
tmtes : '* O Lord^ be exalted in thine own power." He fears 
nonC) and is to be fe«red by ell. With one m6ke df dmnipo« 
tcttcy he d*B destroy all his enemies font ever. He can with nMM 
ease subdoe the tod^ stilbboiti labels, than we can breathe. Hia 
strength Is eqittl to his aathority^ bdth are truly iii&sitte. 3. Tbd 
guilty itfe spared sometimes fttm the vicious pmislity of princes 
to their lift^Oitrites^ ot a wretched negket of justice : but the high 
and hdy Kfaig is wMkout respect of persons : lie hates sin with a 
perfect hatred, Ittid is angry v^h the wieked evety day. The 
seripm^e gh^ bA ifecomiC \(rhy execution is respited : ^ {he Lord 
ii not slaiek^ (ds aome men count slackness) but is long-suffer* 
ifig to tls*W^^ not witling that any should perish^ but that all 
^hoM cone td repentance." <^ He waits tSf be gradou^/' and 
spares men in ofder fid thehr salvatioh. 
My« * II appesis th«t God is ready to forgite^ kt <hat ttpon tho 



fast suit of humble and penitent believers he presently pardons 
them. If we consider haw long me|i ccmtinue in a course ol vo* 
hiptuous or profitable sins, how many repulses to the offers of 
mercy they are guilty of, it might justly be expected, that God 
should with disdain reject their petitions, or not be entreated 
without a long exercise of repentance, and continued, submis- 
sive, and earnest solicitations for his mercy. But the King of 
heaven keeps no state, the ^^ throne of grace" is always open 
and accessible to humble penitents : when their hearts are pre* 
pared, his ear is inclined to hear them. David, after his com- 
mission of very foul sins, and long continuing in a state of im- 
penitency, yet upon his melting in the sense of his wickedness 
and resolution, to humble himself by a mournful acknowledgment 
of it, he was restored to the divine favour. '^ I said I would 
confess my sins, and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Re- 
penting Ephraim is an admilrable instance of God's relenting bow- 
ek to sinners : '^ I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning him- 
self ; thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised as a bullock 
unaccustomed to the ypke : turn thou me, and I shall be turned ^ 
for thou art the Lord my God. Surely after I was turned, I re- 
pented ; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh ; 
I was ashamed, yea even confounded, because I did bear the 
reproach of my youth : is Ephraim my dear Son ? Is he a plea- 
sant child? for since I spake against him, I earnestly remember 
him still : therefore my bowels are troubled for him ; I will sure- 
ly have mercy on him, saith the Lord." The prodigal upon his 
resolution to return to bis Father,, and debase himself as utterly 
unworthy of bdbg received as a Son, " While he was in the way, 
his Fatlusr saw him at a distance, and ran to him, fell on his 
neck and kissed him, and entirely foigave his past rebellion. 
The soul-wounded publican said, '^ Lord be merciful to me a 
sinner^ and was justified rather than the pioud pharisee. 

61y. It is a convincing argument, that God is ready to forgive 
sin, in that he affords grace to men to prepare them for his par- 
doning mercy. Repentance and faith are saered plants that do 
not spring from our earth, but have their roots in heaven. ^^ God 
gives repentance unto life." Acts 11. '^ Faith is not of our- 
selves, it is the gift of God." Ephes. 2. In our corrupt stalte sin 
is natural to man, and hath entirely possessed all his leading fa- 
culties. <» The carnal mind is enmity against Qod," Rom, 8, and 


Judges according to the carnal affections which deprave it. The 
m4U is rebeUious, and strongly inclined to charming lasts : temp* 
tations are so numerous and delightful, that sinners will venture 
to be miserable for ever, to enjoy the pleasures of sin that die in 
the taking. It is true, such are the inviolable indinatimis of the 
human nature to hq)piness, that no man can love undisguised 
death, nor choose damnadcm for itself: yet the affection to sin 
is so ovenuKng, that they will not forsake it though complicated 
with death. The wisdom of God tells us, <' those that hate me 
love death,'' Prov. 9. that is constructively. Our Saviour com- 
passionately reproves the Jews, ^' ye will not come to me that ye 
may have hkJ* John 5. This is the cause of their remaining ia 
a state of guilt for ever. 

Now such is the mercy of God, that he gives his spirit, to as- 
sist men by his illuminating, preventing, restraining and exciting 
grace, to forsake their sins, that they may be saved : and if they 
did faithfully improve the lower degrees of grace, (though they 
can claim nothing by right) he would from his good pleasure af* 
ford them more grace : but they are so averse from God, and 
strongly bent to the present world, that they so long^ resist the 
pure motions of grace in their hearts, till the gales of the Spirit 
expire, and revive no more ; aconding to that terrible threaten- 
ing, '^ my spirit shall no longer strive with man, for he is flesh/' 
Gen. 6. . 

Besides the common grace afforded to natural men, there is a 
super-e£9nence of grace bestowed upon some to convert them, 
v^ich infallibly obtains its end. Those who are the patrons of 
free-will methinks should allow that God is master of his own 
wiU, and the free dispenser of his own graoe. This special grace 
works powerfully, yet conveniently, to the reasonable nature. 
There is no charm so sweet, no constraint so strong, as the ope- 
ration of it : for the understanding is convinced by so clear and 
strong a light, of cur being, undone for ever without God's par- 
doning mercy, ^< that his loving-kindness is better than life;" 
and this is represented to the will with that powerful application, 
that the will certainly chooses it. When there is a wavering and 
iudifferency of the will to a propounded object, it is either from 
some defects in the object, or in the apprehension of it ; but 
when th^ 5iq)reme good is so represented, thi^t it fiUs ^Hi the ca-^ 

26 aBRMom on thb 

paclties of the sout^ the wffl as certainly embraces it^ as one Aat 
is burnt tip ivitfa thirsty and near a cool stream stoops atid drinks 
to quench it. The holy spirit^ who knows the manner of his 
own operations, expresses the efficacy of them in the resemblaa<- 
ces of the creation and tesurrectioii, wherein ih^ dmne powi^ 
tennot be frustritted; yet it is so odngmous to the frame of raan'b 
nature, dutt the freedcMn of the will is then in its most noble e<«- 
erdise : ** men are drawn to Christ by the teachings of God \** 
not by dvtmlliog violence upon their facldiies^ biit by itisCnnv 
tion and persbastoh suitable to tfaem. 

Now fiom hence it is evident that all the persons in the God- 
head concur in bestowing this admirable blessing, the pardon of 
our sins : they all willingly join in this undivided work^ tlumgh 
with different cqserations* The fcther pronounces our patdon 
from the throne i his migesty shines without diminution or oon^ 
deseen^ion of his peison in fnrgiving us^ The Son puhshased our 
pardon by the saimd treasure itf his blood. The hoiy spirit cjuii- 
iifies us, and applies the pairdoB of 6uf sms td us. 

d. I now come to notice, that God is abundant in forgiveness. 
This God has declared in wtmis so fidl and expressive, as may 
Cxoeedin^y satisfy the most tender and feacAil spirits : ^< let the 
wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man hk thoughts^ 
tad let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon 
him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my 
thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, 
saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, 
so nre my ways, than youf ways, and my thmights than yoar 
thonghts.'' The disla«iee is so gteftt between the heavens and 
the eartli^ tint the 4nii, so vast a globe of lights seetts to be ef 
a small (atofimftrenei^; atid fhe sian of the ftnt magnitode, 
though tnimy times Mggef than the etutb, appear Ifl^e ^tuaring 
points of light. This eoAipSH-iton is so odntinelng as may as^t 
uft in ear conteMplMiM df his lamj. The apostle Mkk, *^ God 
IS riA lA rii^cy/' EpliM»« &. It is not said, that be is rithhi ss*m 
stance^ thdb^ the ebrth bi the Lord's, and the lufaiess tHit^bf, 
lie is ridi in his own perfections, not in excemat things. It is 
not fiaSd> God is ridi in pc^Wefy though lie is almighty; tmt ill 
j«tide, but iii m^iey : this sigrilfieft^ thai 6f aB th6 diViM pdlftc*^ 
tionsj lione do shihif «o M(d{a«fl;f as hi« rimaf. TM iteileete k 


kstre vpoA his other attributes. Hii goodnew is the foundation 
of his glory. He pardoned ten thousand talents to the servant 
that was insolvent, and his treasure is unwasted, 

I will consider the extent of his pardoning mercy^ and the en* 
tiieaess of it. 

1. The extent of it, with respect to the number and quality 
of the sins that are pardoned. 

1st. The rmmber of them. David, after an attentive consider 
ration of the purity and perfection of God's law, breaks forth in 
a very great anxiety, ^^ Who can understand his etarors?" Who 
oan enumerate the many defections from that strait rule of our 
duty f <' In many things we ofifend all/' We are oMiged perpe* 
teally to obey and glorify God : yet in every action, even in our 
religious duties, there are many ckfeets and defilements thfit want 
pardmi. How ftiany swarms of vaifa and unprofitable thoughts of 
carnal, covetous; proud, envious, and revenge W thoughts and 
desires lodge in the hearts of men P What a torrent of idle, sen- 
sual, vain-giorious ftind passioilate wonis flow from their lips? 
How many tJiousand rinfiil aetions proceed fi^m diem? When 
the enlightened conseknce seriously reflects upon our sins ol 
omission and commission, hiow astonishihg is their vast number? 
What a mountainous heup appears ? They reach as low as hdl^ 
and rise as high as heaven. It would tire the hand of an angd 
to write dcMvn the pardoHs that Ood bestows upon one penitent 

2dly. DMae ftM>glvetM»8 e^^ends to sfais of all kinds and de^ 
grees, haMtuU Iftnd actual* f bough no sins afe absohitely small, 
feting cottomicted kpkosi the lAaJe«ly t»f 6od> yet comparatively^ 
with resplBct lo ttleit ^uidiv^ Mid eirottfiMtliiiees, thef« is a matii^ 
fest £fiet«nce l^elwitfen tkem« SiMtie iii« of a wealcer tincture^ 
Miie are lifa deeper die : sMie slightly woiffid the cons«ien«e j 
sMi6 waste ity tod kl €«irt Its Vitid bldod : SiMtte d^ as it weSte 
wldspt^ l^iakist th6 ritme^, tome cry (6t veiigeailoe^. Sks of ig-» 
Mrimce ttd ibfinnKy, iius of sudden sorreption, that steal upoii 
us WflhdOt efeseri4ng> rfns by sutpHse 6f the passiMs^ Miai thette 
isnothne to d^Hberate, h^nre eietetmatii^ eiKUtn^lmees: buH 
OOA «^dMt liglit> #herdft th^re is mort of th« Mture of sinj 
sins liguillst ttierciM, Irhich m the bmguf^ of the apostle, are a 
^^ despinng of God's goodness i" rin^ against solemn vows, inhere- 
i& meft break ddubfe builds^ tfie l&tv (tf God and their sacted en* 


gagements; sins committed habitually and presumptuoosly, as 
if God were ignorant, or indifferent and unconcerned^ or impo- 
tent and without power to punish offenders : these sins derive a 
greater guilt, and expose to a more terrible punishment. Now 
a gracious pardon is offered in the gospel to all sinners, whatever 
the quality and circumstances of their sins be, if chey apply and 
address themselves to the father of mercy through the compas- 
sionate Meiliator, and forsake their sins. Of this we are assured 
from the most solemn declaration of God to Moses, ** the Liord 
is merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in good* 
ness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, 
and transgression, and sin." The promise is comprehensive of 
all sorts of sins, how manifold and mighty soever. Besides, to 
encourage us to repent and believe, God promises pardon for sins 
of the fiercest provocation. Judah had violated the marripge<-co- 
venant with God by their impure idolatries, yet he offers to re- 
ceive them. " Thou hast played the harlot with many lovers, 
yet return again to me, saith the Lord." Relapses into rebelli- 
ous sins argue a strong propensity to them, and exceedingly ag- 
gravate their guilt ; yet God promises pardon for them : '^ Re- 
turn ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings." 
There are eminent instances of God's pardoning mercy recorded 
in the scripture. The apostle having enumerated many sorts of 
sinners guilty of enormous crimes, idolaters^ adulterers, abuseis 
of themselves with mankind, tells the Corinthians, '^ and such 
were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but 
ye- are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the 
spirit of our God. There is one sort of sinners excepted from 
the general promise of mercy, those who sin against the Holy 
Ghost. The reason of the exception is not, that the Holy Spirit 
is superior in dignity to the Father and the Son, for they are all 
coeternal and coequal, but from his operations, that is, the re- 
vealing the truth and grace of God in the gospel. Now the ob- 
stinate malicious contradicting the truth of the gospel shhiing in 
the minds of men, and the perverse despising the grace of the 
gospel, is unpardonable to infinite mercy. Those who are guilty 
of that sin, have transformed themselves into the image of the 
devil, and salvation cannot save them. But no others are exclu- 
ded fi*om repentance and pardon* 

2* As the extent, so the entireness of pardon offered to sin* 
ners declare Go^'s abundant mercy. 


Ist. The pardon is as foil as free, according to his exceUent 
goodness : the imputation of the fault ceases, and the obligation 
to ponishment is abolished. We have clear evidence of this 
from the scripture. God as5aires those who repent and reform, 
*^ though your sins be as scarlet,/ they shall be as white as snow: 
though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Pardon 
is more than a reprieve or suspension of judgment, it is a perfect 
freedom from it : a repenting believer is as clear from th^ charge 
of the law as an innocent angel. '< J'here is no condemnation 
to those that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, 
but after the spirit.'' Rom. 8. Our cleansing from the defile^ 
inents of sin is imperfect, therefore we must be always purifying 
ourselves, till we attain to absolute purity : but our pardon is 
perfect. It is irrevocable ; we are assured, that as far as the 
east is from the west, God removes our transgressions from us. 
As soon those distant points may be united, as guilt may be fast- 
ened upon those whom God has pardoned. The prophet de« 
claies, that <' God will subdue our iniquities, and cast them into 
the bottom of the sea :" Psal. 103. from whence they can never 
Tise. God promises, ^< I will forgive their iniquities, and remem- 
ber them no more.'' Mich. ?• Pardon is complete and final. It 
js the misery of the wicked, ^ they are condemned already; Jer. 
31. 34. tliey live by a reprieve and suspension of judgment : it 
is the blessed security of believeiB, they ^* shall not &11 under 
condemnation." There is such an inconstancy in the nature of 
men, that they often repent and revoke the fmvours and privile- 
ges they have bestowed ; they like to day, and loath to-morrow 
the same persons : but the blessed God is not subject to change 
or contingency. His love, his purpose^ bis promise to his peo- 
ple, are unalterable. 

From the sense of God's pardoning mercy, conscience is freed 
from those just terrors that are the consequents of guilt. *^ The 
blood of Christ purges our conscience from dead works :" Heb, 
9. 14. from the deadly guilt of sin that cleaves to the conscience. 
A temporal prince may pardcm a murderer ; and conscience vrith 
a countenance of despair may summon him to appear and be 
accountable for his bloody crime before the high and everlasting 
Judge : but those who are ^^ justified by faith, have peace with 
•God." When the original b<md is cancdled, the counter*part 
has no force; conscience is subordinate to God^ and when he 


justifies, has no authority to condemn. When God ^* blots out 
the iniquities of his people as a thick cloud," there is a clear sky, 
a divine calm and serenity in conscience. It may be enquired 
how the complete pardon of srn is consistent with the temporal 
evih inflicted upon the children pf God for their sins. The 
answer is obvicus and easy. Temporal evils inflicted cm the chil* 
dren of God, are declarative of his holy displeasure againit sin, 
but are not for satisfaction to vindictive justice : this would be 
derogatory to the love of God, and the meritorious sufferings of 
our Saviour, who did not compound vrith God, but made full 
and absohite satisfiictioQ for our sins. In the ISth chapter to 
the Hebrews, where the apostle so divinely and accurately treats 
of this argument, there is a dear aceount of the cause, the na^- 
tufe, and the product of the temporal sufi^^riogs of God's chil- 
di«n. The eause of them ia the love of thmr heavenly Father 
displeased for their sins: ^^whom the lord knres he chastena, 
and scourges every son whom he receives,'' Earthly parents in 
their various fits of folly, sometimes " ehaAten their children only 
Cor their pleasure,'' and aomettmea spare the rod to their luin : 
but our heavenly Father is equally wise and eompassionale, and 
uses such dnciphne as is requisite for their profit, to prevent 
their eootinuanoe in sin, that would he deslvuctive to them. 
Beheten ^ are chastened of the Lord, that they nay not be con- 
demned with theivorld." I Cor. U. 32. And the wisdom and 
love <tf our Fadier and physidian mixes «ieh bitter ingredients, 
and in that fdrofiortion, as are requisite (or the quality of the 
dkiaeaae, and the strength of the patient. <^ He corrects them 
in measure;" be will not suAhp them ^'to be tempted above 
what they are aUe." Their afflictioivi aie deliberate dispensa* 
tions. The nature of them is signified in the word efaastise^ 
neat : the correction of a diild is in order to his amendment : 
Shey -are medidnal, 9aA have a main lela^M ajid prospect to 
the future, to make ua mere feaiM toeiSuid God, and coMiid 
tapieaaa hfan. They are move lively and aansible lessons of 
mr duty, than Ae iqstmtiana ^ the wor^, and ase of the same 


The prwhiet of tl^e ohaoUseiEi^ta of God's ^iUbrea, <^ is the 
pleasanriruit of righteownesa to them viiho are eiQereiaed there- 
by :" Heb. 12. that is, the saMfeifying gmcea of the Spirit, re- 
pentanee, faiths hope, patieooe^ self-denial^ cantempt of the 

Fo&arvxKBsa of aiss. 31 

woAAy le^g^i^tloii to the divine will, are exerdaed, iUustrated, 
and iocieaaed in those christians who with unfainting perseve- 
mnce endure affietion. 

In short, death that was the penij eiEect of sin, (for the first 
man while innocent was immortal) though continued, yet the 
sting is taken away, the quality erf it is changed : the issues of it 
aie vastly different to the saints and the wicked : to the saints 
il is the period of thm fears and s^mttows, the final remedy of all 
their misaies ; to the wicked it ia the beginning of their woe. 
The saints pass through the d ^kness and corruption of the gnwe 
into the kingdom of glory : the wiok^ paw to the blackness of 
darknww for ever. 

2dly. The entirenefs of this great benefit is evident in that 
God restores his love and forfeited favour to aU that are par- 
dooed. Princes sometimes pardon offenders, but ii^irer raeeive 
them into their fovonr. Absalom was recalled firom banishment, 
but for two years was not admitted to see the lung's foee. But 
€oddoea magnify and manifest Us lore to those whom he par- 
dons. He does not fistinguish tbem fir^m the angels that al- 
w»ya obeyed Vaau He feigives our sms as entirely aa if they 
had never been committed, and is teeonciled as if ha had never 
bocD oftnded. We hare the most clear discovery of this in the 
parable of the prodigal. It might have been expected, that his 
fether should have reproached him for his obstinate deserting his 
house^ his waating his portion in lavdness and luxury, and that 
Utter constraint forced him to return: no, he dearly enibraces 
hleft, and cancels all the debt of his past offences with a iiiost af- 
fectionate kisfs and w^iereaa the poor penitent presumed only to 
be received as a servant, he was restored in the most affectionate 
manner to the dignity and felation of a son; and universal joy 
was diffused through all the family for his return. If our Savi- 
our had h^ m«de this rela&m with ali its endearing cireumstan- 
oei^ enr nanow hearts dunt never ptaanae and pvamiae to u> 
wdi affWfwasiQiiale loia of God to uapKonting ainners.' Bat who- 
oiner' imitotea the pro%(d ia hia return, ahi^ find the feality to 
^(inaad the lepreaentatioi^ I ahall add aome aqmmples ef this 
love of God to tboaa who repent. Mary Magadalan had been 
fWltgr of foul aina, yet oar Saviour gracioasfy received the tender 
oprearipoa ol hea grief and love, to the astonishment of Simon : 
^Sbe washed hia fo|t voth her tieaa, and wiped than with the 


hair of her head, and kissed them :" and after his resarrecti^m 
appeared first unto her as his endeared favourite. It is recorded 
by the evangelist, with an infinite emphasis of his love, that '<he 
first appeared to Mary Magdalen, out of whom he had cast se* 
yen devils/' Peter, in whose denial of Christ there was such a 
mixture of infidelity, ingratitude, and impiety, he promised lie 
would die with him or for him; yet being questioned not with 
terror by an armed magistrate, not surprised by a subtle exami* 
ner, but at the question of a maid renounced him, yet he was 
restored to the honour of his office, and the affection of his mas- 
ter. It is very observable, that vriien he appeared to Mary 
Magdalen, he directs her to tell his disciples and Peter of his re- 
surrection ; he particularly menti<ms Peter, to raise his drooping 
spirit by this new assurance of his love. 

This happy privilege belongs to all penitent believers, for 
whomsoever God pardons he prefers, and adopts into his family, 
and makes them heirs of heaven. The first beam of mercy 
shines in the pardon of our sins, which is an infallible assurance 
of fi«eing us firom the pumshment of sin in hell, and of our ob- 
taining the joys of heaven. Our Saviour has by his meritorious 
and voluntary sufferings paid our ransom firom eternal death, and 
purchased for us a right to eternal life : accordingly " whom God 
justifies he glorifies. The formal eflect of .justification is the re- 
storing us to the forfeited fiivour of God, and firom that fountain 
all blessed benefits flow. God declares concerning his people : 
^^ They «ball be mine in the day that I make up my jewels, and 
I will spare them as a man spares his son that serves Idm :" 
Mai. 3. which two acts of the divine mercy are inseparable. 


. I. Use of caution. The first use shall be of cautimi, lest men 
alMise carelessly and contemptuously the doctrine of divine for- 
giveness. Many sin freely, as if they beUeved the permission of 
aiusy or presumed upon a ready remedy, and are without fear of 
judgment to come. This is the language of their actions, though 
not of their tongues. There is not a worse sort of sinners out 
of helL If that which should soften and reclaim sinners hardens 
them, the case is desperate and incurable. To correet the vile 
conceits men have of obtaining an easy pardon of their sins^ 


though habkoally committed upon that accoanl, lei them con- 

(1.) The angels who were the first and brightest offq>ring of 
the Creator, for osie sin were decreed and doomed to an «xchi- 
aion from the glory of heai^n for ever. Mercy did not suspend 
the sentence : their mighty numbers^ and the nobility of their 
nature, did not indtne the Judge of the world to spare them. 
They are now in the chiiins of polverfol justice, and have perpe- 
tual hell within them* And shall rebellious men, Who are but 
dust in their origmal composition and final resolution, e^qiect to 
escape vei^eance? If we should see a hundred noblie men. exe- 
cuted in a day, the sight would strike us with terror : how much 
greater reason is there awfully to ddore the inflexible Judge, for 
such a dreadful execution and exiimple of justice upon a» innu- 
merable company of angels ? . 

(2.) To pardon sin is an act 'of greater power than to create 
the world : if we consider the distlance of the tdrms, and the dif« 
ficulty of the means, there is a wider distance between a r^hte* 
otts God infinitely provoked by sin; and the guilty creatUre, than 
between a state of not being, and the actual existience of the 
world. One powerfiil word raised this great world fi'om its na« 
tive nothing. ' But to accord the divine attributes between which 
there' seemed a repugnance, and reconcile God to sinfial -men, 
cost the dearest price. The anxious sinner makes inquiry, 
f' Shall I give the first-bom of my body for the sin of ray soul?'' 
Mic. 7. That is too mean an offering : no less than the first- 
lN>m of the Almighty could by the sacrifice of himself make an 
atonement for onr olfences. 

(3.) Vei^eanoe belotigs to God as well as forgireniesB. <^The 
wrath of God is revealed from lidaTen ajgainst all ungocHiRess and 
unrighteousness of meh.^' ' Ron. ^). It was decreed in heaven^ 
it is denounoed in his wcvd, and shall be executed by ins just 
power in its season. There is a time to pardon, andba time to 
punish. God is styled " the God of patience :" in the present 
worid^'his patience has its ptcfect weiic.^' But in the next 
world justiee will gloriou^ appear agamst the wicked who are 
devoted to detraction. Fori^aranoe is not- Ibtgiveness. The 
kst day will dose tbe'aceoitiDts ef the Judge of due world with 
Mttners, and a terrible arre^n^'ho emded of tbeanfot all tkie 
treasures of his goodness and obmency wasted by them. 

VOL. II, c 

84 . SSRlffONS OK THB 

(4.) Those who indu^ thenweh'es in a course of sin lipon tUi 
presumption of an easy pardon, are the most unworthy and inea^ 
paUe of divine mercy. They sin a^nst the nature and end of 
grace : and by an immediate and direct opposition to it in the 
proper notion erf* grace, cut off all their pleas for it. It is true, 
God is very merciful, and easy to be entreated by those who sin- 
cerely repent and reform their lives : but he is inexorable to all 
those who harden themselves in their sins by the false and pre- 
sumptuous hopes of his merey. He declares in his word, that 
^' when siuners despise the curse threatened against them, and 
bless themselves in their hearts, that they shall have peaoe^ 
though they wjalk in the imagination of their own hearts, to add 
drunkenness to thirst ; the Lord will not spare them, but then 
the anger of ,l^e Lord and his jealousy shall smoke against them, 
and all the curses written in this book shall lie upon them widw 
out mitigatibh or iiitermission/' Deut. 29. No less punish- 
ment than eternal damnation is equal to their sin. They resist 
and renounce mercy by their abusing it to the worst ends, yet 
are confident of their interest in it. What a prodigious contra-* 
diction in there between the hopes of presumptuous sinners and 
their practices ?^ They kindle his anger every day, and inflame 
anger into wrath, and wrath into vengeance, and yti strongly 
fency they shall find mercy. What a diabolical wonder is it, as 
astonishing as extraordinary miracles, but that it is commonly 
seen, that men without a promise, and against the threatening; 
should expect the favour of God, that is the porti<m of his chil- 
dren, and continue in high and actiial rebellion? If' a sparic of 
reason or grain of faith were shining in their breasts, they would 
be restless in the apprehension of his fiery displeasure. The 
tempter over-reaches their minds by a double delusion, that thej 
shall have time ami grace to repent, and over-rules their wiiis^ 
that the most terrible threatenings and divine dissuasivas are not 
effectual to make them fimiLke thdr sins.. They are secure^ 
though not safe one hour : for it is in the power of their Judge, 
and they have reason to fettf Sn his purpose, ^^to desti'oy them 
suddenly, and witiiout remedy.'' Prov. 29. ^Tbe pBesumptuous 
conceit of immense mer<^ has so fiiUy possessed their -minds, that 
like a powerftil opiate it makes them sleep securdy'-upon tU 
brink of ruin: but consdenee isPof an imomrta} nature, aod 
though it may be stupifie^^^ it cannot be extinguished. In tha 


present life sometimes a shairp affliction a\(^a&J»is it into a fimous' 
activity ; and then presuming sinnem that have been indulgent to^ 
their lusts^ despair of pardon : for ^vrhen meicy^ that is our unlf 
advocate in his bosom to av^t wrath jfbr siHs. against the other 
attrilmtes, shall turn our accuser', aind soUcit justice to revenger 
its dishonour upon those who have abused Hy there remains no 
shadow of hope to refresh their sorrows; But suppose the 
charm be not unbound, and the sielf-deeeiver continues his evit 
eourae to the end of life, and perishes pleasantly with the vain 
hopes of mercy, yet immediately afiter death his conscience will 
be irresistibly convinced of his outrageoufa: provocations of the 
ri^teoiis God, and be more Cormentihg than the hottest flames 

Let us attend to the instructive inference in the text, ^ There 
» forgiveness with thee that thou tnayestibe feared:" that is, 
with a fear of reverence for his amiable excellencies, for the at^ 
tractives of his pardotiing metcy ; and of a caution, lest by abu*^ 
sing we should make a deadly £i»rfeiture*of'it»' If God should 
qppear as an irreconcileable Ji^gb, armed iMth tiervor against all 
c49end€ts, the apprehension would produce hatred^ and a dreads 
fal fl%ht from him : it would make ben boldly wiifiil, and har-^ 
ikn them in their rebeltions : for if they cannot^ be pardoned for 
heir past sins, and can be but damned for their continuaice in 
them, they will give licence to %heir roving and impetuous appe« 
tites, and commit iniquity with greediness. Now God has ap« 
pointed a way for the pardon ot sin, wherein there is a bright 
and equal discovery of his greatness and goodness^ his purity and 
fighceousness, that his law may be more sacred and mviblable, more 
remembered and obeyed by us. He lias declared in the death of 
his Son,, wherein the equal extremes of ignominy and torment 
were combined, what an «ril sin is, that required sudi a mighty 
CKpiation* We may from the depth of his syfFeiings ccmceive 
die excess and height of our provocations : we inay understand 
the deadly guilt of sin,, that can only be washed away in the 
blood of Christ, the fountain of remission. To turn the grace of 
Gad into wafttimness, to' be more loose and secure in committing 
ib, is to turn the antidote into poisoh, and defiuit his blessed 
end. It is a main arUcle of oar reconciliation, ** The Lord wiU 
speak peaoe to his people, but let them not return to foUy." 

c 2 

3Ef* . 8BRHONS ON TUB * 

We may emiedire, that God speaks to the pardoned sinner what 
our Saviour said 1^ the man whom he miraculously healed^ ^ Go 
away, sin no more, lest a worse thing befal you.*' 

It is. both the duty and disposition of those who hare received 
the pardon of their sins, '<to fear the Lord and his goodness/' 
There is no principk more clearly natural and sensible than this: 
dependaoce includes observance ; the receiving benefits oUiges a 
person to the benefactor. Accordingly the psalmist expresses 
the aflfecticos ot the human and the holy nature, '^ What shall I 
render to the Lord for all his benefits ?" Psal. 1 16. and breaks 
out in an ecstacy of thankfulness, ^' O Lord, truly I am thy ser- 
vant, I am thy servant, thou bast broken my bands/' The re« 
penting believer receives pardon from God with joyful admirar* 
tioQ, that' fastens his ndnd in the contemplation ^ \m glorious 
mercy r the serious thought of it kindles a sacred fire in his 
breast : as it is said of Mary Magdalen, ^' Much was forgiven 
her, for she kwed much/*^ Love to God that results from his 
paixbfiing^ love to. us, is* singuiar and supreme, and necessarily 
produces an ardent desire to please and glorify him^ and an in- 
genuous grateful fear of offending him* The soul that has felt 
^' the terrors of the Lord," as the holy and righteous Jadge of 
the world, and afterward has been revived by the light of Ms 
countenance, and has tasted how ^ood die Locd is, how is it 
possible to resist such dear and hnmense obltgatious? How 
prodigious to turn the strongest and sweetest engagement to re* 
Terence and obedience, into an encouragement to do- that which 
is odious and offensive m his sight? To sin against light heigh- 
tens a sin into rebellion, but to sin against revealed love makes 
it ^^ above measure sinful/' This- is so contrary to natural con* 
science and supernatural grace, that it is th« leprosy of the 
wicked, not the spot of God's children: ^^Do you thus requite 
the Lord, O foolish people and unwise?" Thi6 upbraiding redu- 
ces them to a defenceless silence, aad' covers them in black con- 
fusion. When divine grace pardons our past sinsi it cures our 
depraved inclinations to future sins. 

The clearest discovery of the heart is by reflections on God's 
mercy. The fear of God's justice is natural, the reverent regard 
of his goodness is a spiritual affection. There is a great differ* 
eoce between filial fear of the divine goodness that ia so beoom-* 


kg the breast of a christian, and so congntooB to mar present 
state, and servile fear, that is the proper character of one in the 
"bondage of sin* 

The filial fear of God is an ingenaotts Yobntary affection, flow-* 
ing from love, and freely exercised, and esteemed the <^ Treasure 
of the soul." Servile fw, the seqnel of guUt, is a judicial.im- 
pression from the sad thoughts of the provoked majesty of hea« 
ven ; and if the offender could dissolve the bands of conscience, 
he would throw it off. Filial fear is mixed vrith joy, it is the 
preservative of God's favour to us ; it makes us more circum- 
spect, but not less comfortable : it opposes security, bat estid>« 
Ushes the assurance of bath : the fear of the Lord, and <* hope 
in his mercy," are united graces. Servile fear ^^ has torment," 
It is an alarm within that disturbs the rest of the sinner; it is a 
fretting fire that secretly torments him in his most luscious frui-» 
tions. Filial fear restrains from all sin in the heart and life, be- 
cause it dishonours and displeases God ; it denies the carnal ap- 
petites with sweetness and satisCsction to the soul ; it excites us 
to obey God with choice and complacency. . Servile fear induces 
an abstinence from some sins, which fly in- the fsoe of consci- 
ence, and which the sinner loves, and urges to the outward per- 
formance et duties, which he hates* The slavish spirit is -afraid 
to bum, ndt to sin ; he is fearfiil to be damned, not to disf^lease' 
God. Filial fear is a serious and habitual constitution of the- 
soul, inseparable from it in all times and places, it is influential 
into the whole life. Servile fear » a sudden passion, and tran-* 
lient : sometimes a sharp affliction, a pierdng sermon, awakens 
a secare wiretch into a fit of terror. Filial fear keeps the soul 
close to God, makes it solicitous, lest any sin should ii^ercept 
the light of his countenance, and obstruct communioo with tmn,' 
wUob is the paradise ct a saint : it is the gracious psomise of 
Gbd to. ins chtkben, '' I will put my fear into their hearts, and 
they shall never depart from me." Servile fear makes the simier 
shy V>f God's presence, and as unwilling to find him, as a saint is 
to lose him : he is not pleased with solitude, lest the guilty tam^- 
science should have time of xeoollection, and should look to the 
Judge above : he takes no delight in the society of saints,' and 
the enjoyment of the ordinances, becattse God is peculiarly pre^ 
sent there; and above all thin|;s he is afraid to die» bacaim then' 


S8 • nRMon B ON Tas 

^ the spirit ntarM to God th&t gave it." In short, the filiaf 
fear of God ascends with the soul to heaven, and is the eternal 
respect that the blessed spirits continually pay to his adorable 
perfections. Servile fear attends the sinner to hell^ and settles 
kito despair for even 

• 2. Use of eomfort. The doctrine of divine forgiveness affords 
strong consolation to those who are wounded in spirit in the 
sense of their sins. Those only who feel the intolerable burden of 
guilt, will come to Christ to find rest : ahd only those our Savi- 
our invites and promises graciously to receive. A tender and ti- 
morous conscience does often impute the guilt of sin, when it is 
aboliiihed; a seared conscience does not impute it^ when it 
abounds. God has revealed his mercy in so full a manner, as to 
«nswer all the allegations of a repenting sinner gainst himselt 
He objeetB his unworthiness of pardon : but this cannot exclude 
him from it : for the grace of God springs from within, and has 
BO original cause without itself. It is like a celestial fire that 
feeds itself: God declares his sovereign pleasure in the exercise 
fit mercy : ^^ I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and 
will ahow mercy to whom I will show mercy.'* Exod. 33. If 
merey were bestowed only upon the worthy, none could be sa- 
ved ; ^^ for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.'' 
The humble penitent urges against himself^ diat he has been a 
singular aid extraordinary offender, tiiat none is like him in sin- 
ning $ but we aie assured none << is like God in pardoning.'' 
Tfaft munber of oor sins isterrifymg: this so affected die psalm- 
ist, that he feinted with desponding fear ; << My sins are like the 
hain upon my head, therefore my heart feils me.'' Mfc 7. 
But the mnhitude of God's mercies incomparably exceed our 
nvmerous eias« They are renewed every moment of our lives: 
stupendous isAnity! they ^sre over ^^all his works;" axid'Over 
all his attrU>iites. ^ God is hwe," and love covers ^a muMtiide 

. Tfae killing 'tggravatiotis of our rins strike, us through : but 
there ts^ not so much evil in sin as there Is goodness in God. 
Our feiite abts cannot preponderate his unlfanited essence. He 
declares, ^< I am God and not man, therefere ye are not consu- 
med." Hob. 1 1. We hantty to^ve a few penoe, be forgives 
tm thousand talents. He is God, infinite in nercy, and sis libe« 

or SINS. 89 

fal as infinite. Ddight in ain is an aggmmtiog cmiunstance ; 
bat ^' God delights in mercy." Centtnaaace in sin inflames the 
giiilc ; but his mercy extends to eternity* 
- I shall add, for the support of returning penitents, some ex- 
amples of God's fiorgiving great sinners reeoided in scripture* 
He charges the people of Israel, >^ thou hast made me serve with 
thy sins, and wearied me willi thine iniquities." Isa. 43. 25. 
It might be expected, that the next words should have been, I 
will revenge your dishonouring of me according to the glory of 
my mayesty, and the extent of my power : but he promises par-' 
don ; ^< I even I am he, that blotteth out thy transgressions for 
my name sake, and will not remember thy sins." By the com-* 
parison of their sins, he illustrates the gbry of his mercy* Lot, 
guilty of incest with his dwighters; David, of murder and 
adukery; Manasseh, a sorcerer and idolater, that burnt his 
dnkben alive in sacrifice to the devil and filled Jerusalem with 
innocent blood ; Mary Magdalen, out ct whom seven devils 
were cast; Peter, who was so faint-hearted and false-heart- 
ed, that with execrations he denied his master; Paul, that 
was a bloody persecutor; are the instances of the astonish* 
11^ omnipotent mercy of God, who can as easily pardon the 
greatest sins as the least, and makes no diiTeraice when our re-* 
pentanee is sincere, and o6r faith unfeigned : though according 
to the degrees of their guilt consdenoe should be affected. How 
many pardoned sinners, miracles of the divine mercy, are in hea- 
ven happy in the love of God, and glorious in holiness, who were 
as deeply guihy and polhited as any that now moumAiliy seek the 
favour of God ? These are examples of grace so excellent and so 
divine, to encourage us in our addresses for pardon. The apce- 
tie Paul tells us, <<4hat for this cause he obtained mercy, that 
in me Jesus Christ might show all longoSttffering for a pattern to 
tiiem who shaH hereafter Mieve on him to : everlasting life." 1 
Tim. 1. There is the same motive in God ; he fcrgives sins for 
his name sake : the treasures of his mercy are not wasted by 
eommunieating : there is the same merit in Christ; his precious 
blood shed upon the cross is pleaded in heaven, " He ever lives 
to make intercession for us : and if we obtain the same precions 
faith, we shall have the same acceptance. In short, let those who 
are overwhelmed with fear consider, it is not only our privilege, 
hut duty to trust in the divine mercy : we are commanded ^< to be~ 

c 4 


lieve in the Mediator :*' despair is more di8h<»ourable to God 
than presumption, in that it is a sin direetly agaimt a superior 
attribute, the exercise of which is his delight and dearest glory* 

3. Use of exhortation. Let us be excited to seek the pardon- 
ing mercy of God with humility, with fear and all possible dili- 
gence, lest we should not obtain it. Our hearts should be set 
upon this with the most intense zeal, '^ for it is our life." Every 
impenitent sinner is under the condemning sentence of the law, 
and there is but a step between him and death : the only hope 
is, that it is not yet ratified by the judge, nor inflicted, but it is 
reversible by suing out a pardon in the superior court of the gos- 
pel. Now it is astonishing, that when the danger is so great and 
present, (for it is as morally injpossible to be sure of time to 
come, as tareaal time past) that men should be so unconcerned 
and secure, and neg^t the main work for which they are spa^ 
red by the admirable patience of God. Time is certainly short, 
and uncertainlgr continued ; and when the oil that feeds the lamp 
of life is spent, the next state is the blackness of darkness for 
ever to ail unpardoned sinners : now the sceptre of grace is ex« 
tended to us, we are within the call of pardoning mercy ; ** God 
waits to be gracious :" but there is a said, assurance, if we do not 
sue out our pardon in the present life, the time of our r^rieve, 
death is immediately attended with eternal judgment ; the belief 
61 which makes the prinee of darkness, with the most stubborn 
spirits of hell, to tnsmble : yet men continue in the guilt of their 
unrepented sins without fear, and wretchedly deceive themselves 
with a vain presumption that the door of mercy will be open 
when Chey leave the worjkl ; or bear up themselves by the num- 
berless multitude of stwpid sinners, and make a resolute reckon- 
ing they shall do as well as the most. They are studious and 
contriving, active jand ardent about the affairs of this low life, 
and canelesa of Mmg reconciled to God, a matter of the lugtiest 
eoneemment and eternal eoosequenee. Prodigious folly, never 
enough lamented I though vengeance from Above is ready to faU 
upon them, and hell below with its darlf^ terrors is open to swal- 
low them up, yet they are stupid and fearless : the remembrance 
of this will raek and torment them for ever ; for when extreme 
Mly is the wQse pf e^tr^jj^^ Aiisery, the sufierer is the most cruel 
enemy to himself 

'^ tet us therefore seek the Lord while ht may be feund, and 

fO&CIVSNEU l>r SINS. 41 

«dl upon Um vMk he is near." Now Gcid ofikn his pnvdon to 
the greatest sinners chat vrill hnmUy submit to the graeimis terms 
pr€»pesed ia the gospel for our obtaining it. Besides what has 
been said of faith and repentance, I will more paitieularijr con- 
sider what God requires of guilty creatures in order to their 

(1.) To confess. The oni/esrion of our sins is mdispensdbly 
requisite to qualify us for pardon. The promise is esqiress and 
fidl, <' He that confesses and forsakes sin^ shall find mercy.''* 
Prov. 28. 13. That we may not be deceived in the iq>plication 
of this promise, I will briefly consider what is preparatory to this 
duty, the properties of it, and the connection of pardon with it» 

The undeistanding must be enlightened by the dirine law to 
discover sin. The law is the rule of our duty, and the obligation 
to. obey it is immediately conveyed by consdenee. While there 
is a cloud of darkness in the mind, there will be a silence in the 
conscience. Paul declares, that he ^ was once alive without the 
law, that is, not understanding his guilt, he presumed on his jus- 
tification ; but when the <^ commandment came" in its light to 
convince him of the tranqpression ot it, the qpparition of sin iif 
the clear glass of the law struck him dead. There must be a 
discussion ot conseience, a comparing our actions with the rule^ 
to discover their obliquity: for sins jonknown and unconsidered 
cannot be confessed. S<»ne rins are notorious, and present them- 
selves to our knowledge and memory : others are of a weaker 
evidence, inquiry mwst be made after them. It is an unpleasant 
work to rake in the mok of a conrupt hearty but it is necessary. - 

The properties of confession are, 

lit. It must beyree a$id it^enuom : that which is extorted by 
letter constraint is of no vahie and acceptance. Pharaoh^ an ob- 
stinate rebel, upon the rack, acknoiiriedged '' he bad rinned.''^ 
It is true, the penal ettsctm of sin may be the fisst eiudtation of 
flinners to consider their ways, but the Holy Spiritby that means 
so deeply affects theoft with the evil of sin, that they voluntarily 
.eanfess them before the alMiseeoiiog Judge. David declares, 
^ When I kept sileoee, my bones waxed old : I satd^ I will con- 
fess my sins, and thon forgavest them.'' He came to a deltbe* 
nte rtsohitiony ^^ I will confess them/' 

2ly. Qn^e$9ion must be rittcere andJuU, that our sms may be 
more evident and odious to us. The covering of sins is like the 

41 . nflUDiis OH rum 

keqiing a aorpcal warm, that will sting more fieroety. * The eon« 
cealing sin argue« the love of it, and is a bar against panlon« 
^ Blessed is the man nnto whom the Loid imputes no iniquity^ 
in whose spirit there is no guile/' PsaL 32, 2. It is not said, 
in whose spirit there is no sin, bnt no guile, no reserved aiiowed 
sin. The sincere penitent pours forth his heart '^ like water be- 
fiire the Lord/' Of all liquids none are so cleiMy poured out of 
a Tassel as water : wine or oil leave a tincture. We should in 
toofiession pour out all our sins, and leave no tincture of affection 
to them. If it be said, how can we confess our rins that are 
above our counting? It is true, but we must reserve none* We 
must confess the kinds of our sins, against the first and second 
table, that were both written with God's hand ; sins of omission 
and commission, and particular sins of greater guilt : we must 
vraAh off their deceitful colours, that they may appear in their 
hellish shape, and more deeply affect us. Men ave very averse 
to diis duty, and apt to conceal or extenuate their sins. The 
art of concealing and excuses is learnt from die fine transgressor. 
When God called, <« Adam where art thou ?" though his dread 
to appear before die divine presence was a tacit confession of his 
fiiuk, and his hiding .himself disoovend his sin ; yet he .does not 
acknowledge his sin, but alledges the oonseqoence of it, hb 
ahame, to be the cause of his guilty fear. ^ I heaad thy voices 
and was afraid, because I was naked." Gen. 3, 10. And to ex> 
teouate liis4>ffence, transfers his guilt on the woman, and con« 
atmctively refledts upon God as the cause of it : *' the woman 
which thou gavest me, gave me of the fruit, and I did eaiu" 
The wicked excuse did infinitely aggravate his sin. The woman 
lays her fault M the serpent's door, <* the serpent beguiled me." 
AaaoA prfetends that the people> compelled hfan to idolatry, and 
that the goMen eaif was not the effect of deiign and art, but of 
dianoe : <* I cast the gold into the fire, and there came out this 
calf." Exod; 2. Saul coloured his rebellion with the pretence of 
selig^ : ^ hp kept the best of the catUefor sacrifice." 1 Sam. 
15. 15. In short, as in sweating, it is observed thut a general 
sweat of thebody is- for its advantage, but the sweat of a part 
only is the symptom of a disease : so a clear unfeigned confitosion 
is for our profit, but a semi-confesiiion is countMirit| an indicsi^ 

* Alitar Titianii vi? itqae tcgendo* 


3Ay. CbtrfesiUm must be ihixed with s&rrow and Adine io the 
lemeaibnace of our past-sins. ) 

A pknang deep sorrow from sphitiudpriiicipieaaiidpenuadves 
k the u^iredieiit of an acceptable confesdoiu There is a natu- 
ral aorrow poeeeding from the impression of afflicting evils* 
Sense is very tender and apt to resent what is cppressive to it. 
A smner that has wasted his estate^ blasted his reputation, short** 
ened his life by his excesses^ and hastened his damnation, may 
fed anguish in his breast for his sins, the procuring causes of his 
panishmeBt. But this sorrowproceeds only from the sense of 
external eiils, not fiom the melted heait for the intrinsic evil of 
wit as marble pilbn ane wet, from the moisture of the ambient 
air. It is the miserable man, not the miserable sinner that 
mourns. This sorrow is consistent with the love of sin; and 
when the penal evil is removed, the sinner retvms to the pnuy 
tice of it* Canial sorrrow only respects a man's self as k sufler^ 
«: it is in bed, in the extreme dq^rees, ^< there is weeping for 
fiir ever* 

There is a godly sorrow, ot which the Hdy Spirit is the spring* 
It is.the pnniseof Godto his people, <' I will pour forth the 
qiiiit of grace and supplication upon the inhabitants of Jerusa« 
km, ami they shall see him whom they have pierced, and monni 
over him, as one mourns fior the death of hk firstHbom/' ' The 
persuasive of our sbrtow is answerable to its principle. The se-* 
riouB eontemphtioii of iwr UeeoBng dying Saviour, is a sptiftmi 
andpowerftd motive to melt us into the. tears of repentance, 
Ho»r coagnicuA is it, if the purchase of our paidpn cost our Sa:- 
vionr his bloody agony, that the implying d the pardon to us 
eholikl cost us die most bitter soRdw? Divine grief is more from 
the memory of the etils we have committed against oiir heavenly 
Fatlier^ than from the eidis we suAr. . Carnal sorrow is barren 
and unprofitable. U may be said <rf it, what this wise preacher 
«ays 0f wild mirths <^ What dost thou F' Only that isorrow that 
comes from heaiiren is accepted there : one spirittel tear is of 
more vii)ue.Aftd efficacy with God than a torrent of. natural sorw 

Raiiftmring sonrbw is an indispensable quaiifieation in order to 
«Br jnidflo, not merely from the wiU of the iaw-giver -as the reap* . 
mm of 0ur duty^ but from the «ongniity of the thing itself. It ie 
dterrahk^ tbat it is ihe wisdmiaod kindness of the God of na^ 

14 . B8RMON8 ON THB 

lure, that tli6 food that preserves life is pleasant to our taste, to 
invite us every day to eat, and renew our strength y but physic 
that is necessary for the recovery of health, is very distasteful, that 
our aversion to it may make us circumspect, to prevent alF 
excesses that are the causes of diseases. Thus the sorrowful con- 
Session of sin which is medicinal to the soul, is very afilicting; 
it wounds the spirit, and breaks the heart, that we may be jea- 
kms of ourselves, lest we eat of the forbidden fruit that requires 
so bitter a remedy. 

Godly sorrow, though it be very aiHicting to nature, yet the 
exercise of it is more satisfying to a sincere penitent, than all 
the pleasures of sin. In two cases grief is pleasant : when it is 
upon the account of a person dearly loved ; a parent indulges his 
sorrow for the death of a child that was the life of his life. Or 
when pain is beneficial and an advantage : as in the application 
of a plaster, we are pleased with the pain it causes, that being 
&sign and effect of its healing operation* Now both these con* 
siderations are mixed with repenting sorrow : for it principally 
arises from the reflection upon sin, as that which has so dkho- 
noured and. displeased the blessed God our maker, preserver, and 
fedeemer ; that we have preferred the pleasing our corrupt and 
licentious appetites, before the obeying *' his holy, just, and good 
wilL'' The repenting sinner dedaies his love to God by his grief 
for offending him, and voluntarily remembers his^ past sins, and 
is pleased in overflowing sorrow for them. And this sorrow is 
preparative for peace : ** unutterable groans" are introductive of 
^* unspeakable joys : the Holy Spirit '^ that convinces of sin is 
the blessed Comforter." 

The confession of sin must be mixed with shame. All the just 
causes of shame, guilt, turpitude, folly, and disappointment, are 
eomplicated in sin. The repenting sinner, by consdousoess and 
lefiection upon sin, that induces so heavy a guilt, that defiles 
tlie soul with so deep a pollution, that no ray of its original pu- 
rity remains, that debases it infinitely below its heavenly descent,' 
mourns with tean of confusion for v^hat he has done. Repent'- 
ing Ephraim bemoans himself, that he had been rebellious against 
the methods of God's mercy, like a refractory bttUodi unaccus- 
tomed to the yoke : and his recoiling thoughts made him to smite 
on his thigh, to be ashamed to the degree of confusion for his 
disobedience* How affecting an oliject he was in God's ej-e^ the 


immediafe answer declares : ^^ Is E^hraim ny dear son ? Is he 
a pleasant child ? for since- 1 spake against him, I do earnestly 
remember him still : therefore my bdwels are troubled for him ; 
I will snrely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord" Jer. 3K 
The psalmist reflecting upon his being almost vancpiished by a 
vexations temptation, degrades and vilifies himself, '' so. foolish 
was I and ignorant, and like a beast before thee." Psal. 7S« 
Ezra in the confession of the holy seed's mixing with heathen 
idolaters, saith, ^* O Lord, I blush and am ashamed at the 'knA 
deformity of their sin/' The apostle upbraids the Romans with 
a stinging reproach, '^ What fruit have you o£ those things where* 
of ye are now ashamed, the end whereof is death ?^' When a fiool- 
ish choice is made, and the folly is detected, and experience dis- 
appoints the expectation, tbe natural consequent is shame^ At 
the last day, when the filthiness and folly of men shall -be pub- 
lished before God, and all the angeb and saints, how mvch ra- 
ther would they be hid in the darkness of their graves, than be 
clothed with concision before that glorious and immense theatre? 
The sorrowful confession of sin, with deep shame here, will pre- 
vent the exposing the sinner to public shame hereafW. 
' 41y. G»i{/mi09t must have concoinitant with it, the fitdgir^ 
aurgehes as unwdrtiiy qfihe leaxt mercy ^ and deserving . severe 
funighment* The apostle assures us, ^^ if we would judge our- 
selves, we shodd not be judged." He does not say, af we are 
innocent we shall not be condemned, for then who ean appear 
before the Jii^ and enlightened tribunal of heaven ? But if we 
acknowlcf^ our guilt, and the righteousness of the sentence to 
which we are obnoxious, we shall be spared. , We cannot satisfy 
God's justice, but we mcut glorify* it : in this the adminsUe mer- 
cy of God appears. Suppose>a court on earth, wherein the rule 
d^ judgment were, that all the faults which the guilty confess and 
condemn themselves for, should be pardoned, and only those 
they conceal should be deadljr to them ; how willingfy and hum- 
bly would those who are conscious. of many capitd crimes, and 
are siunmoned to appear, accuse themselves ? In the court of 
heaven, if we are faithfol to God and our iown souls, in the con- 
fessing our sins^ and passing sentenee upon ourselves, we pre*, 
vent his sentence against us. 

51y. Prayer far pardon must be joined with the confession of 
sm : ^^ the Lord is good, and ready to forgive, and plenteous in 

4ft . SBRMDltt ON JHM 

mney utito all tbat call upcm him/' God who is ridi fai merejv 
has appointed prayer as the means of our receiving it ; it being 
most honourable to him, that we shoald have a serious sense of 
our wants ahd unworthiness, and our absdnte disdiility to sup* 
jdy than : and by our desires we should glorify his power and 
love, whereby he is all-sufficient and ready to bestow npon us his 
blessings. Prayer for pardon must have these ingredients : 1st. 
Humilify is the most becoming qualification of a suppliant to the 
high judge of the world, to reverse the sentence of eternal death* 
The deep apprehension of our guilt will humble us before his 
dreadful tribunal. 2dly. Fervency, which is the life of prayer. 
A cold prayer, the spiritless motion of the lips, is so ftur from 
inclining the divine mercy to pardon us, that it ioereases our 
guilt, and provokes God's displeasure. If our aj^pfehensions 
were as real and quick of our spiritual wants as of our temporal; 
our pr^rers would be as ardent for supplies. Our desires should 
be raised in the most intense dq;rees, in some proportion to the 
value of the blessing ; they should be strong, as our necessity to 
obtain it. The pardon of our sins is the effect of God's highest 
favour, of that love that is peculiar to his children, it is the fhttt 
of our Saviour's bloody sufferings ; without it we ere miserable 
for ever, and can we expect to obtaialt by a formal superficnl 
prayer ? It deserves the flower and zeal of our affections. Hour 
solicitous and vehement, and unsatisfied should we be, tiH we 
have the dear testimony fliat we are in a state of divine 
finrour? Only fervent prayers are r^;aided by God, and re* 
corded in heaven. We disvahie his pardon by our indifferencf 
and fiaUt desires. In our petitions for temporal things, our ei^ 
feotions should be temperate, always mixed with resigned sub** 
miflsioot to the will and ^ wisdom of our heavenly Father, who 
knows what is better for ue than we do, and loves us better than 
wt do ouiaelves: but in praying for the pardon of our sins, o«ur 
afieetions should be inflamed, tre should as it were ofler violenoe 
to the King ofheaven, and'he imsatisfied without it. 

Wfaatardent and repeated addresses were made by David far 
thn great, blessing : <^ Have mercy upon me, O Lord^ according 
to thy hmi^kiadness, accordilig to ite multiUidie of thy tender 

* Nam ^rojacnndii sptiBiinaB qusq; dabuDt Dii : charlor est illis homo 
fnam tlbl. Juotm. 


\ blot out my traaagreMoii. Wash me. tiioraqgUy bam 
mine imqiiity> and cteanae me from my sin. Purgie me wkh 
hyssqp, and I shall be dean : wash me, and I shall be whiter 
than snow, Delifer me from bloed^guiltiikessy O Gkxi, thou God 
of my sahalion.'" He prays as if the ghost of Uriah weie abvays 
in bis view^ coveted with Uood, and reproachmg him for his 
treaefaeroitt cnielty. The affidrs and pleaanres of his kingdom 
could not divert and calm his spirit^ till he w«s restored to the 
joyful sense of God's saving mercy. If it be said^ that David's 
oomplicaled sins were of a crimson^le, and justly terrified his 
eonseienoe uritfa the apprehension oi yengeanoe: I answer, it is 
true, but suppdsing^tfaat pierenlnig grace has kept us from sins 
of a high nature^ whereby we rimuld have inonrredgieater guilty 
and besB exposed to greater punishment^ yet even the best men 
are in infinite need of pardoning grace : for the least sin makes 
us guilty of eternal deaths and the infinite number of our ains> 
though acc o i d iug to the carnal conceits of men small, would be 
ovemriielming. What is weaker than a drop of water, yet the 
sea that is a collection of innumerable drops of watery does ofteA 
by an iireaistible inundation drown theland. The wind is a ccA* 
lection of mluiy vapours, which singly are of no.fbrce, yet it ofken 
tears up the strongest tmes^ and overthrows the firmest buildingsw 
If the numerous sins of oiie man's life were set 3n order befoi% 
his eyes^ he would sink into the depths of despair^ Were not the 
divine mer^ superabundant to our abounding sins. We must 
renew our requests for pardon every day : it is more necessary 
than to pray far our daily breads We contract new guilt every 
day : and as our Saviour tells us, ^^he that is washed needs to 
wfnh his feet," that is, the sins of frailty and daSy incursion 
ranst be pniged away by serious repentance^ and the application 
of the Mood ef Christ, ahdour earnest prayer for pardon. It is 
the cruel dmracter of satan, he accuses the << Saints beibre God 
day and nig^t :" he iaan ardent accuser, and watchful alwijyB to 
find matter to provoke God's displeisuie i^ust us. It is therC'^ 
fare a duty of daily rendutkmy to pray for our pardon. Besides, 
the n^i^ of seeking for the daily pardon of cmr oflhnces against 
God, aq;ue8 the demising his anger, and consequently the de^ 
spismg his love, which is infinitely provokmg. We are com*- 
manded not to let the '^ Sun go down upon our wrath, much less 
upon GodV Repentance is not an imtial act of sorrow^ but 


inost be renewed all our lives. God's pardoning us is lult a 
transient act, but continued, as conservation is a continued crea- 

Prayer for pardon must be mixed with faith in our <' blessed 
Advocate, who ever lives to make intercession for us." If we 
could fill the air with our sighs, and heaven with our teats, we 
could not incline the righteous and hot j God to paidon us : his 
justice is inflexible, and his pardoning mercy a sealed fountain ; 
it is by the precious merits and mediation of Us Son we are re- 
conciled to him. Jesus Christ is the same powerful compassion- 
flite Saviour, <' yesterday, to-day, and for ever." His obedient 
suflferings are of infinite value, and everlasting efficacy. 
. Lastly. Ontfemon of sin b a relative duty, and must be jaiiv- 
ed with forsaking qf m. The sharpest sorrow, the most con- 
founding shame for sin, the strongest desires for mercy, without 
the forsaldng of sin, are ineffectuaL There must be a renoun- 
cing of sin. in our hearts, a resolution firm and permanent against 
it, an avoiding the appearance and approaches of sin, and an ac- 
tual leaving it. If it be said, it is impossible we should preserve 
ourselves from all sin : St. John telk us, ^^ If any man saitb he 
has no sin, he is a liar, there is no tnith in hhn." I answer, we 
Xnust distinguish between sins : there are some, which while we 
are united to flesh, that is a principle of weakness, and are in 
this open state, surrounded with temptations, we cannot abso- 
lutely be freed from. Such are sins of ignorance and inadver* 
tence, and of sudden suireptioii : fi>r grace is not bestowed in 
such a degree of eminence to the saints here, whereby they may 
obtain a clear and final victory over them : but if we pray, and 
]watch, and strive against them, and mourn for their adherence 
to us, " God will spare us as a father spares his son that servea 
him." . And it is a certain sign of oar sincerity, if we are gradu- 
ally cleansing ourselves finrni them. If they grow and increase, 
it is a sad indication : as it is said, if a scald in the head spreads, 
it is a leprosy. Lev. 5. 13. But there are sins of a more 
heinous nature the not forsaking whereof excludes firom heaven: 
^such are enumerated by the apostle, << The works of the flesh 
jite manifest, adultery, fornication, undeaaness, laadviousness, 
idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulatioiis, .wrath, strife, 
seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, 
:and such like : of the which I have told you in . tithe past, that 


they which do such things^ shall not inherit the kingdom of 
God/' Gal. 5. Besides, if the love of any sin remains in the 
heart of a man, he cannot be justified here, nor glorified hereaf- 
ter. An indulged sin, thoagh small in thematter, is great in 
the diqiosition of the sinner. In short, God requires sincere re* 
pentance, eaqpressed in the confessing of our sins, not to inform 
him, fat neither the soUtode or secrecy xvhereki sin is committed, 
can- hide us firom his ail discerning eye : though there is no wit* 
ness to accuse and give evidence,, nay if the sinner could extin* 
guisfa his cQUsdenoe, yet God will set the sins of men in order 
before them, and convince the guilty, he needed not their con- 
fession to discover tfaem: but the humble, ingenuous and sor- 
rowful confeasion of sin is required, that his mercy may be more 
illnstrioiis in the pardon of our sins, and that the sinner may. fear 
to return to folly. And this confession must be attended with 
the foisaking of sins, in order to our pardon, because of his im- 
mutable perfections. A maldiBctor may justly be condemned for 
his orimes, and though he remains impenitent and obstinate in 
evil, may be pardoned, beeanse a temporal prince is capable of 
various apprehensions and passions, and may deflect from the 
rule of justice : but the Judge of the world is unchangeably righ- 
teous and holy, and cannot pardon sinners to the disparagement 
of his majesty, his purity and justice. 

Our pardoning the offences of others is an evangelical condi- 
tion of our obtaining pardon : we are commanded, ^^ When ye 
8tand praying, forgive if ye have ought against any: that your 
Father also which is in heaven may foi^ive you your trespasses. 
But if you do not. forgive, neither will your Father which is in 
heaven forgive your treq>asses." Mark 11. 25, 26. The com- 
mand is peremptory and univenral, frequently and severely urged 
upon us by our Saviour.^ The reasonableness and congruity of it 
IS most evident, if we:consider the di^arity of the object, or the 
number of offences. Our sins against God are relatively infinite, 
for his majesty and authority are truly infinite, which are despi- 
sed and abused by the transgression at his laws : they are against 
all the duty and motives of justice and gratitude that oblige rea- 
sonable, creatures to obey their Maker. Now the offences and 
ii^uries done to us are incomparably less : for we are mean crea- 
tures, far less in comparison to God, than a worm is to an angel; 
and by our sins are ^-^ viler than the earth.'^ Besides, the ^bli- 

VOL. 11. * D 


gition that should restnun men from being injurioaa to U9, ue 
of infinitriy a lower natim. The disparity in the number is very 
eonsiderable. Our sins against God are like the aand iqxm the 
•ea-ehore, their nvmber is astooisbiag: our im^ginatioDS have 
lieen continually evil, bom the daRvniag of our reason : but offen* 
oes against us are comparatively Hbw: for the variety of objeels 
in the world often divert the thoughts and passions of our ene* 
mies from us. We owe to die Lord ten thousand talents, a vast 
sum that can never be paid if it be not forgiven, and shall we be 
unwilling to brgiyt a few pence ? What is more becoming than 
that we who want a great pardon, should give a little one? 
The divine mercy is proposed as a model for our imitation. We 
must pardon entirely, and take no revenge for injuries done to us, 
faut return love for hatred, good for evil, for so God does to us. 
We must not only foigive, but forget injuries in the sense of Uxre; 
not Uke those who pardcxi in words, but retain the memory of 
offences, and upon a slight occasion renew their resentments. 
We must forgive great ofifences as well as small, and renew our 
pardon as often as offences are rqieated, unless vm will set 
bounds to the divine mercy. We must rejoice more in pardon- 
ing than in revenging injuries, and seek to be reconciled to those 
who are averse from us, for that is aooordiog to our pattern. It 
is pretended, that by bearing a single injury, we expose ouraetves 
to a double injury : but we must imitate our heavenly Father: if 
we do not follow him in forgiving, he will follow us in retaintag 
our sins. The psalmist tells us, ^ With the merciful God will 
show himself mercifal, but with the froward he will show himself 
froward." A holy and righteous punishment in retaliation of 
their sinful disposition. 

The pardoning injuries is contrary to corrupt nature, and the 
duty is difficult, but the reward is infinite. Though it seems to 
vilify us, as if defective in our minds, not to nndmtand infuries, 
or in courage not to repay them, which makes men hard to for* 
give ; yet upan calm consideration vro shall esteem it a duty ea^ 
and honourable : for it prevents the inflaming our passions, and 
the troubling of ourselves and othera : it is an act of royalty, and 
makes us superior to them : it is the noblest victocy, and often 
conquers and changes an enemy into a friend. And above all 
motives this should recommend it to us, it seals our pardon bom 
God, and conveys the most dear and comfortable aoiae of it to 

Fom€utvxifBfs or siks. SI 

08 : for, as the pBafaniat eaieeUentlf vgnes^ ^ He thai planted the 
ear, shall he not hear : he that firnaed the eje, shall he not 
see?" If we are by dWine gmor ineUned and enabled te pardon 
ftequeat ofifences agaiiMt us, shall not the God of all grace be 
ready to pardon our many offences BBgHamt btnr?' Our Sartour 
reasons from the love of natural parehts ; ^' If you that ace evift 
knew hew to give ^ood tlungs to ^poUr diiUbren, how much jbont 
shell your heaveftly Father give iJm holy spirit to those that ask 
it ?*' The illation is as strodg in fotgiring leve« If we who are 
ef an unforgiTing nature siacerdjr folfiye those ^d in}bTe us, 
and restore them to oiit fafdur^ how.nraoh nwreshdl Goft wbop 
is k»ve, fergive our sins, and be r^eonened to us-? 

4. Use of pstitiide* The dtviiie isrg^vtness sboaU be a pow« 
erfiil motive to thankAilness. David addresses his soul in aii 
ardent and lively mantter^ '< Hce$ the l4rd^ O taqr^soul, afid all 
that is within me bless hit hsly nvm" PsaL 103. 1, 3. He 
exeilea every ilculty, the wider9tilnj%% to consider aUd vahicf 
the mest^ of God, the nieitidlry.t^ I'^gister them, and rMtih m 
thankful sense <ff them, the aflfoetieiM to celebrate tfae»i Her 
repeats lAie caU> '^Bkss the Lord^ O my s0Uli artd forget net 41k 
his beikefite/* We are apt to foirgp$ fisvours^ and remeiiber pno-' 
Beneils ale wntteh in the dust, iigmries are engra- 
in nmrbk. Bdt strdng effeetfoas i»rill make indeiihle im- 
^ <rf tiitehMness. If wo duL]f cooaider the greatness and 
l^iodneaa oC Otf, and Mr meanness and uttwortbitttess, '^ifant we 
are less than the least of his mercies," we must be eenvinced 
e^Fery benefit we receive frofn (jfoi deserves to be lemfMibi^fed 
and aekMwk%ed urith seniHis tbankfiilness* Thai God dr^wa 
4 cuttam of rest ahsnt us in the nighty prdvides for us hr tiK day,, 
iegnrdi ua with a co mp ass i o^haibe eye^ and relieves tie i»oiiriraBtv 
and aosFOdrs, shcnld mam sddh deepraflbctions ae flbw into o*t^ 
ward dedblatidni of prittse* 

It is tmfy' osirfflnaat joleran recagniDon of hie b^etls is i«it si 
|»or doty ooqnpaDedjtwth hiif immense bounty to us-: otir tlnnk»^ 
gMog i» an echo to God's meteiflB,.that icpeats a idwaq^Mmt 
iriiir ca» onrfieidEng beeath addito his blesst^daess and ^ory,- Aali 
are in the highest degree of peifeietioii^ . and truly inftmCe? BuC 
it is meeft maaoaedde^ Aat as aU>ear blessittgs low tear his mer'* 
ey> they shodUfCal^hitei the sen. of hb glory & akul vAen ofewi 

D 2 


blew him/ he accepts oar^sinoerity, and does not despise' ovr 
dianksgtvtngs for want of perfection* 

In the recountfaig God's benefits, the psalmist mentions in the 
first place the pardon of sin, <^ who forgives all thy iniqaities/* 
as the prineipal and foundation of all the rest. This in a most 
powerM way entered into his heart, and kindled a sacred fire 
Aene. I wilt briefly show, that the pardon (tf sin is so divine a 
benefit, that it deserves our most solemn thankfiilness, and thar 
k inclines and disposes the soul to that duty. 

1st. That the pardon of our. sins desefves our most solemn 
diankfiihiess, will appear by an evident light, if we consider the 
nature and quality of the henefit, the means by which it is ob- 
tained, the ohvnmstances in the dispensing it, and the conse- 

(1.) The quality and the nature of the benefit. Our blessed* 
aess consi^ in the forgiveness of our sins. David inspired from 
heaven dedsres, ^* bleised is the man whose iniquity is forgiven, 
and vfhose sin is covered/' Ptal. 32. 1. The worst effect of sin 
is'tlie sieparation between God and the soul. In his presence ** is 
ftihiesir of joy," in his absence fiilness of sorrow. *' Go ye 
dOsed/' is 9B terrible a part of the sentence as the '' everlasting 
burning." Hell is the element of sin and misery : wherein the 
firemade fierce with brimstone, and the undyingworm of con* 
seience, torment the wicked. Now-the pardon of sin secures ua. 
fitnn the wrath of God, the snpreme evS, and the cause of all 
other evHs. 

i Besides, the love of God that pardons us is our sovereign good, 
and is the 'productive and conservative cause (tf all good:' it be* 
stows vpon iis celestial happiness, in comparison of which, all 
tile degrees of worldly honour, and power, and pleaaure, and 
ridies,^are but dross and dung. The pardon of sin has insqm- 
rably annexed to it the privilege' of adoption, and a title to the 
kingdom of glory. Our Saviour declared to the aposde, that 
the«od of the gospel is ^ to open the eyes of men^ and to turn 
them fixmi darkness to light, that they may receive the forgive- 
4iless of sins, and an inheritance among them udio are sanctified 
by faith that is in inie.".iActB 26^1& 

- God.pennitted the fiitl of man, to rtdse him to a more excel- 
kbt and stable felicity. Adam vm dignified wA dnnnnion over 

die lower worlds and seated a (Nriiioe in paradi»| famk Vb bappi« 
neaa depended upon Us obedience, and that upon the freedom oC. 
his W1II5 which proved a datigeroua endowment t^. his abuse of it^ 
He was fix>Iish and fiekk in the best state of nature: he affected 
an independent immortality, '^ and being in honour^.beoame Uko. 
the beasts that parish/' But the patdon of sin is the feundation 
of etaraal happiness. Those f< who are justi&ed sbatl be glpri* 
fied, and made equal to the BDgds" who are constant in good^ 
as die devib are obstinate in evil. • The blessed state above is 
secnre and unforfeitable : the saints are incapable of sinning and 

(2«) The means whereby our paadon is obtained* I shall not 
dare to determine, that God eonld not have pankmed ns Iqr his 
sovereignty without satis&ction to his justice, but he has been 
pleased to save us in a way most honourdble to himsdf, and com- 
fortable to us. The psalmist tells us, according *^ to the name 
of God, so is his praise/' Psal. 48. As his esccellent attributes 
are manifest in his works,, understanding creatures adore and 
oelebrate them. The wisdom of God so gloriously appears in 
the way of our salvati<»i, that the admiring ai^ls praise him for 
ever. And the goodness of God is so conspicuous in saving us 
by Christ, that our exuberant affections should be poured forth 
in thahkiiilness. The remissum of our sins is <f by redemption 
in hia blood/' It was an esqiression of David's piety, that- he 
would not serve God witii.<< that which cost him nothing," 2 
Sam. 24« 24. but purchase the sacrifice by a price : and it was 
the high expression of God's love, that he would not sanre us with 
that which cost hiiQ nothing, but vrith the sacred treasure of 
heaven, the precioos blood of Ins Son. Besides, the guilty con-- 
science has so quick a sense of God's revenging justice, that our 
assurance would not be so entire in his mercy,. without satisfac- 
tion made by the suffiBriags of our blessed Mediator. In this we 
have the advantage of DavU, who had not so clear a discovery 
of the means of our pardon, but a general knowledge of the far- 
givehessofsins;'yet that imimed siich Saming alfeotibns into 
his Imast, that he begms the cuebaristfcal psalm for that mercy, 
and concludes it vrith, << bless the Lord, O my son) :" but we 
that << have had Jesus Christ evidently set forth as crucified be- 
fore our eyes, to reconcile God to us;" we to whom it is revealed, 
<bat ^^ the robe, of our salvation" is woven out of his bleeding- 



boivds, in tke same proportion as our knovriedge of this myste* 
rious mercy, our thankfulness should exceed his. If any do not 
with the most ardent i^feetions acknowledge the mercy of for- 
giveness so dearly purchased, it is an unhappy sign he has no 
interest in it. 

(3.) The circumstances of dispensing our pardon. I shall con- 
sider two that make the divine mercy more glorious and worthy 
of our thanhfidness. 

That pardoning mercy was dispensed to us^ notwithstanding^ 
our continued rebellion against God. A prince is sometimes in- 
duced to pardon a criminal, by the solicitations of his friends, 
and by his prayers and tears ; but the divine goodness was the 
sole mover for us, f|nd interposed between juatioe and our of* 
finees. Instead of appeasing Ood by humble and moumfol sub- 
mission, and ardent addnsses for merey, we repeated the pro* 
vocations of his displeasare every day. How long did he with 
unwearied patience '^ wait to be graeious ?^ If after ten thousand 
denials of accepting bis merey, be ha4 fisraaken us, we had been 
as miserable as we are sinfiuL But notwithstanding our being 
inflexible to the innumerable calls of hip word, impenetrabte to 
the p«re motion of his Spirit, and insensible of his excellent 
goodness Ihat leads sinneia to repentance; though the love of 
heaven or fear of helleouU not prevail with us to forsake our 
sins : whe^ we were prepared 'for wralii, and averse and utterly 
indisposed far the receiving his mercy, then Us grace, as free as 
omnipotent, gave ui repentance unto life, and qualified us for 
panlony and bcatowsd it upon na. The extenuation of our sine 
is inconsistent with the ex&ltation of grace: but the move huai*^ 
ble we are in the deep sense d oar guik, the more thankfbl for 
the diving demeoey. That God was pleased to '* erofm ua 
wiah hmng-kindnesa and merey,'' when a killing ehai|;e ofin- 
manerable oflencea was levelled agaioit us, O go^eas, truly 
divine and infinite, and should aecordingfy aflect na with admi- 

^y. Pardoning mercy distingpskes betweefi ainneia ef equal 
guilt, and ofiten aams those of gfcntev guilt when others die eter* 
ni^ly ; tfiis comparative heightens God's love and our thMkM* 
>)ass. How many are surprised and cut off in a eouise cttin? 
how many die without repentance, and are under a notoriiftto 
tiecesaity of periahing? yet we that were as bad or warseyiieitlMa 

VOE6iy»tBS9 OV SINS. 55 

meked and made pliable by bis gocMfaem, nor betteied by liis 
jodgmeDtSy he spared^ and by his grace cleansed and dianged ns^ 
tha;t we mtghl partake of mercy. In thia dispensatkm the ques- 
tioa of the apostle may be put in its fiiU force^ '^ who made thee 
to (fiCer?'' Nothing within us, nothing without us, distin- 
guished vs from those that perish ; there were the same poUoted 
principles in our hearts, and the same rebdlkiDs sins in oar Krea: 
only the mercy ctf God that has no moving cause bat itself, made 
the difierence. Let the comparisra be contracted between na 
and oar associates in sin, and as the son-beaafis concentred in a 
bnmrng glass, it will more intene our thankfiil affections. How 
many that were joined in the commisuon of social sins, of in- 
temperance, vDcleanness, nnrighteooaness, and the Uke, are 
dead, and witkant the reserve of pardoning mercy, and some 
were reacoed from damnation, as doe to them as to the rest. At 
the last day, when there shall be an everlasting separation be- 
tween those at the right hand, and those at the left hand of the 
Jodge of the world, we shall rniderstand the riches of grace that 
distinguash between as and the partners of oar gaik : as by seeing 
OS jostilied and received into glory, their sad exclusion will be 
ag gr avate d to extwmity ; so by seeing them doomed to destmc- 
tkm for ever, the savii^ grace ei God to us will be more gk)- 

(4i) The consequents of pardon in the present life deserve our 
most aActkmaSe tkankfrdness. 

Far 6r8t, The pardon of sins gives us a regular title to all 
temporal blessings^ and the tniest sweetness in their fruition. 
God ia the universal and absohite pn^nrietary of all things in this 
worM, being made by his creating power, and continued by his 
preservative power. By our rebeHioos sins we were under a just 
deprration of them. Now the pardon of sin takes off the deadly 
farfiritttre^ and restates the use and benefit of temporal blessinga 
to vs. Is is tme, God by kis general bounty affinrds supplies to 
his enemies: ^^thesan rises with his cheerfiil light,, and the 
rain fidla npon the just and uigust ;'' and wicked men have a civit 
right to their possessions : bat they are not the gifts of his spe- 
cial bve to them. The prodigal was first pardoned, and then 
entertained vrith a feast. The love of God gives a cheerfiil tinc- 
tnre to all his benefits. It is emphatically said, '^ God, even 
Mr osBo God^ shall bless «s»'' As he is pleased to value and 

p 4 


accept the meflnest service that is mixed with our affections to 
him : a cup of cold water that oomei from the spring of love, 
shall have its reward : so his love raises the price of every bles- 
sing. The psalmist having set forth the riches, and prosperity, 
and peace of a kingdom,* breaks forth, '^ happy is the people 
that are in such a case/' But he presently revokes it, and as- 
cends with a gradation of light and force ; ^^ yea, happy is tha4 
people whose God is the Lord ;'' who are in a state of divine 
favour. Temporal blessings, if they are not the gifts of God re« 
Gonciled to us in the Redeemer, are snares that alienate the 
hearts of men from God, and foment their lusts, and prepare 
them for final destruction. The rich man had his good things 
here ; and was tormented after his sensual fruitions. A rebelli- 
ous sinner is spared for a time, and punished for ever. The king 
of Sodom was rescued from captivity by Abraham, and reserved 
for destruction by a shower of fire and brimstone. 

And secondly. The pardon of our sins allays and mitigates all 
afflictions in the present state. The conscience of guilt mixed 
with afHiction, is like the poisoning a sword that makes it wound 
more deadly. The spirit of a man may bear temporal evils ; 
that is, by counsel and constancy may support himself under 
them ; ^' but a wounded spif it who can bear ?" Conscience in 
anguish by the feeling of God's virrath for our sins, and fear of 
the extremity of it hereafter, is an intolerable evil. Let the 
affliction be a light touch upon the outward man, yet when the 
afflicted person considers, that it is sent from God as an enemy, 
and it is the beginning of his virrath that is a consuming fire, be 
16 dispirited and sinks under the weight of it. How can fi^il 
man encounter with (tended omnipotence, sinful man conflict 
immediately with the holy God ? The sense of guilt makes a 
man a terror to himself, and consequently makes afflictions to be 
more piercing and dolorous. Whereas when the soul is esta^ 
blbhed in the peace of God, it finds consolation in his pardoning 
love, superior to all kinds and degrees of external evils that can 
afflict us here. It is the happy privilege of the inhabitants of 
Zion, the holy city, ^< they shall not say they are sick, for their 
iniquities shall be forgiven.'' Isa. 33. ult. The divine Comforter 
fortifies their faith in the promises of the blessed issue out of all 
their afflictions : '< all things work together for the good of those 
who love God.'' Oujr love to God is the veflectioil of his bve t# 


«s, that i» powerfol so to order all evib, that they shall harmo- 
niously consphe to our eternal happiness. The impression of 
Has in the spirtte of God's children, makes them patient and 
submissive with resignation under all afflictions. It. is certain 
the ftstening of the mind in contemplation of an cx^Uent ob- 
ject, may caase so strohg a diversion, that bodily pains are much 
mitigated. The martyrs, by the poweriul impression of the 
glorious reward, seemed to be in an ecstacy, without feeling in 
the midst of their cruel sufferings. The prophet Habakkuk 
trramphantly declares, '^ although the fig-tree shall not blossom, 
neither shall fruit be in the vines : the labour of the olive shall 
fail, and the fields shall yield no nxeat : the flock shall be cut off 
firom the fold, and there shaU be no herd in the stalls/' Though 
all the supports and comforts of life fail, ^^ yet I i^lU rejoice in 
the Lord, I mil joy in the God of my salvation." Joy is the 
affection of prosperity ; but as the scalding drops of God's wrath 
upon the conscience turn all the comforts of a man into torment, 
so the cordial drops cf his love change afflictions into conso- 

I will now show that die pardon of. our sins produces an ex- 
cellent temper and disposition of soul to praise God. Love to 
the benefiietor, and joy in the benefit, are the incentives ot thank- 
fiilness. They tune the heart and tongue in the music of praise. 
When they are raised to a flame, they have a kind of charm, of 
npture and ecstatic force, and transport the soul above itself in 
expressions of praioe. These holy dfections in the angels and 
^ saints above are in their exaltation : and. the circle of their em- 
ployment is, to acknowledge and admire, to reverence and tnag- 
nify God, for his absolute excdlencies, and his relative benefits. 
Love and. joy are r^^idated by their oligeets.and motives. Ex- 
ceeding love and joy, when terminated on worldly things, are 
exceeding felly: they are empty, and vanishing, a sudden blaze 
that dies in a moment. But the pardon of our sins infinitely en- 
dears God to us, and produces a substantial permanent joy. His 
love, though our hearts be as hard as a rode, as cold and dead 
as the grave, will melt us, and kindle a holy heat of aflection, a 
kwe singular and supreme to God, according to the excellency of 
the benefit. Love will ingeminate the praises of God : '^ thou 
art my God, I will praise thee : tiiou art my God, I will exalt 
thee/' Psal 118. Our joy in. the benefit will be according to 


OUT extreme want of it, and the strength of oar desires to bbtaai 
it. Without the pardon of our sins, *' it had been better for na 
we had ne?er been bom }" or made in a lower rank ct creatures 
incapable of damnation. According to the confiotion of the 
greatness of our misery, our longings will be for deliverance : 
^ the desire aeeompiisbed is a tree of life." The tree of life was 
in the midst of paradise, th? centre of its pleasnres. Aeoording 
to the degrees <^ our desires, such is the sweetness of fruition* 
Now when the soul is overwhelmed with the fearAd apprehen- 
sions of everlasting death, how ardent are the desires of pardon ? 
hdw unsatisfied without it ? and what impresnons of joy are hit 
from the sealing its pardon ? Solomon tells us, ** that good 
news from a far country is like cooling water to one burnt up 
with thirst." How much more refreshing is the testimony of the 
blessed Comforter from heaven, to one fainting in the estuationa 
of c<mscience, that his sins are pardoned ? David expresses hia 
valuation and earnest longing for the fevour of God, and his joy- 
ful sense of it : <' there be many that say, who will show us any 
good ? Lord, lift up the light of thy countenance upon me : thoo 
hast put gladness tn my heart, more than in the time that their 
eom and wine increased :" Fsal. 5» an inward cordial joy, thai 
fsff exceeds the counterfeit joy » the countenance, that ends in 
heaviness. Now the thankful sense of a bene& is correspondent 
to the joyful sense of it, and the joyful according to our languish- 
ing longing aftev it. Ferrent prayer for the pardoning mcrey of 
God, and a frozen acknowledgment of it, are utterly inconsist- 
ent. There is no joy in die worM so sensSiIe ami aflheting, as 
the joy of one saived from present death. A eondemned ma^ 
values and rejoites more i» receiving two |jiie» where his pardon 
is contained, thatt in the eottveyance of • kingdenu Heaekiah^ 
when under Ae sentence of dnth in hia sidmess, how passionate 
w^e hia addreosos finr recovery? How^ exuberant were his J9f 
and thankfuhnss fbt hb rescue feam periahntg? ^ The living, 
the living, he shaB praise Aee, as 1 dothiaday.'' Isa^Sa I9L 
He resetvee to tfenew the ptwn of bis gracious preserver every 
day^; ^ the Lord saved me } thnrefove wt will sing my songs to 
the stringed instrnmenta aH Aeday»ef our life, m the hense ef 
the Lord,"^ Yen 201 Had he so qasdk and warn a s^iseof dM 
divinemercy that saved him from the grave, how much more 
»dbnt shoiiM our aeknowtedgmenti be foir the saving us fron 


hell ? If Tv*e have the feeling of ein, aa we have of sickness^ 
and are as duly sensible how much the life of the soul, our ex- 
cellent and immortal part, is to be preferred before the life of 
the frail and perishing body, our joy and thankfulness would be 
in the highest elevation, in remembering forgiving mercy. This 
will be the aigument of the high and everlasting praise of God in 

I shall conclude with this advice. Let us not content ourselves 
with verbal acknowledgments ot this real and glorious benefit : 
let our thanksgiving be joined with thankadoing; then we shall 
be accepted. Of this we have the most comforting assurance 
from God himself; <^ he that offers praise glorifies me : and to 
him that <Mdershis conversation aright, I vrill show the salvation 
rf God/' Psal. 50. ult. 







XT 18 the falesMd privilege obUuned by our SaMrimnr for his peo- 
pfey that sincere though imperfect sanctiiicstioii is graciouBly ac-* 
cepted of God the judge of all. Thts smcere holiness is strictly 
and indispensably required '^ by die law of faith, in the hand of 
the Mediator :" without it we cannot partake of the treasures 
of mercy and of glory that are revealed in the gospel. It is there* 
fore a matter that infinitely ooneems us, both in respect of our 
present peace and future blessedness, to make a true discovery 
of oar uprightness. And usually all the fears and inquiries about 
our apiritual state issue in this, whether we are upright or not? 
The aasurance of our uprightness, is a Ibuntain of reHef in aU 
perplexing jealousies about the favour of Ood : for aotwkhstand* 
ing our defects, ^^ he will spare us, as a fiither spares his son 
that serves hnn/' - 

This great question of our sincerity may be cleared by a due 
obsennag our faeaits and ways : for oonsrfence is' an inseparable 
faculty of the aonl, and even in Ae hitathen accused or excused^ 
as their actions were exorbitant or regular according to die in- 
ternal law, aiwl consequently gave testnnonies of tteir widced- 
nesa, or moral int^rity. The scripture indeed teUs us, '' the 
heekt of man is deoritfhl above all diings, and desperately mdL- 
ed> who can know it ?" But this primarily respeets the discern* 
ing it by otlieiai; as die apostle saith, << who knbfWl the things 
of • man, snfetbe spirit of a man iMA is hi him r There 
may bedie afleotation of the name of religion, joined widi a 
^Bsaflbctiott to the thing: there may be sdenm Birmatity without 
tordini godliness ; an acting of p^y and personating devotion 
bt wSm ends. Bui though the impure artist under a veil of hy- 
pDcasymayl)e4Nm^ealedfix^m o^ers, yet he is not from die 
eoQviedon of his o^vn mind. 

I diall add Aiither, that many from ignorance or carelessness, 
may presnne they fure fai a state of sahratkm, vi4Mn they are ^ in 
the gall of bitterness^ and bond of iniquity." There are many 


carnal shifts made use of to palliate the evil condition of men's 
souls, but their security proceeds from the neglect of due exa- 
mining their hearts and lives,- It will be ^ Tiun excuse at the 
last day, ^^ to plead, the serpent beguiled me : for it is not mere- 
ly our deceivableness, but willingness to be deceived, that expo- 
ses us to mistake our spiritual condition by the insinuations of 
satan. As the wise philosopher observes, "* a man is the first 
and principal flatterer of himself, apd therefore apt to be de- 
ceived by other flatterers. But if we take ^^ the candle of .the 
Lord," and impartially search ourselves, though the heart be 
auch a dark labyrinth, that every secret turning cannot be dis-o 
covered ; though all the deflections and errors of our ways can* 
not be exactly known, yet we may understand the habitual 
{rune of our hearts, and the course of our lives. 

It is the end of the following sermons, to direet men in the 
discussion of conscience, that they may not from an erring mind^ 
and corrupt heart, deceive th^nselves in a matter that so nearly 
conce.ms them, and incur the double punishment in proportion 
to their guilt, aa our Saviour foretelfi> '^ When the blind lead 
the blind, both &tl into, the ditch.'' 

Many useful rules are laid down by divines, whereby true 
grace may be diseemed from counterfeit : but' the plainest trial 
and level to the perception of the lowest christian, is, whether 
(here be a sincere respect to all God'« oomnumde, without the 
seaerv^ion of any known sin, how pleasant soever, to the carnal 
^>petites, or tiie exception against any known duty that is dis- 
pleasing to them. If men would retire from the vanities and 
business of the world into themselves^ and seavdi their spirits 
with that seriousness that is due to so weighty b matter ; if widi 
a resolution to know the state of their souh, if codacience were 
inquisitive as under. God's eye, ihdi has a fidl 'proapeet into eve* 
ry breast, they might have an inward testimony of tlieir since- 
rity or deceitfulness. The apostle refers the decision of our 
state wkh respect to -God, to the . testimony x)f the edigfatened 
conseieri^e : ^^ if our hearts condemn us not,'' (of any habHoel 
indulged: sin) .^' then we ha;ve peace rtowarda God. If our hoyta 
condemn us, God is greater than oiir beifta, and knowa.aU 
things." From the n^fect of trying Aeipselvea^ niany.Iive in a 
cloud of dehisim, and from inwa^ darkness paaa to outer dark** 
Q(»B for ever. 

« Plwf. de adal. 




P«AJL. XYIII. 23. 
** I WM ftlfto ttprlglit before htm : woA have kept myseir fmm miae Iniquity/ 

X HE title of this psalm declares the occasion of it : David 
^^ spake uato the Lord the words of this song, in the day that 
the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies^ and 
from the hand of Saul." . It is a clear evidence of his heavenly 
mind, that after bis victories and triumphs^ when his tlnrcme was 
established in peaoe^ he recoimts the signal acts of divine pro* 
vidence with holy ecstacies of praise and thankfulness^ and leaves 
an everlasting memorial of God's excellent goodness to him. 
Carnal pecsonsin extremitiesj may be ardent in requests for de- 
liverance) but when it is obtained^ they retain but a cold remem- 
brance of God's preserving mercy; nay^ they often pervert his 
benefits : the afSuence^ and ease^ and security of their ccwdition^ 
occasions the ungrateful foigetfiilness of their benefiactor. Self- 
love kindles desires for what we want^ the love of God inspires a 
holy heat in praises for what we enjoy. 
In the psalmj the inspired composer displays the divine per^- 

VOL. II. 2 


fections in lofty figures of speech, suitable to sacred poesy, .and 
in a relatiTe endearing way as manifested in his preservation. He 
attributes such titles to Gdd, as are significant of the benefits he 
received : sometimes God discovers the crafty and cruel designs 
that are formed against his people, his eye saves them, and he 
is styled their ^' light :'' sometimes he breaks the strength of their 
enemies, his hand and power saves them, he is styled their ^< de- 
fence/' Here the psalmist, with exuberiqit affections, multiplies 
the divine titles, '* the Liord is my rock, and my fortress, and my 
deliverer ; my shield, and my high tower, and my refuge, and 
my salvation 2" a rock is a natural, a tower an artificial defence ; 
both are used to express the safe protection he found in God. 
He then sets fcMth the extremity of his danger, to add a lustre 
to the name of his preserver : ** the waves of death compassed 
me ; the floods of ungodly men made me afraid : his ruin was 
imminent, and seemed to be inevitable : but in that distress, 
his fervent prayer, ^^ his crying to God" pierced the heavens, 
God heard '* his voice out at his temple," and qpeedily in the 
best season came for his deHveranee. . ^ He was aeen upon the 
wings of the wind ; he rode upon a cherub," (those swifiier spi- 
rits) ^^ and did fly." He dsiscribes the terrors of his coming 
agiunst his enemies : ^^ the Lord thundered firom the heavens ; 
he sent down his arrows, and scattered them : his lightnuig dis- 
comfited them." The acts of justice reversed, have the ensign of 
mercy on them : the drowning of the Egyptians in the red sea, 
was the preservii^ of the Israelites. Briefly, he ascribes his de- 
liveranoe to the favour of God as the sole mover, and the power 
of God as the mAe worker of it. ^^ He delivered me, because he 
delighted in me." His free and compassionate love was prima- 
rily active, and drew forth his pow^ in its most noble exercise 
for the salvation of David. Such an ingenuous andgrateAil sense 
the psalmist had of the divine mercy : this gave the sweetest re- 
lish of his deliverance ; this was his true triumph after the final 
conquest of his enemies. Indeed Ms eneimes were niyust and 
cruel, and God vindicated the justice of his cause agidnst them : 
therefore he saith, '' the Lord rewarded me aceordii^ to my 
righteousness ; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he 
recompensed me." He declares the holiness of his conversation : 
* ? I. have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly de- 

{Murted from my God." And as an eminent instance of this, he 
aaith, in the words of the text, ^^ I was upright also before him : 
and kept myself from mine iniqoity.?' 

In the text there b a solemn dk^claration of David's upright- 
ness^ by his attesting God the searcher and judge of the heart ; 
^ I was upright before him :'' and by an infallible proof of it, 
^ I kept myself from mine iniquity/' 

There is one difficulty to be removed before I come to dis- 
course upon the proposition, and that is, how this profession of 
uprightness is reconcileable with David's actions in the matter of 
Uriah? Whether we consider the quality of his sins, the crimson 
guilt, and killing circumstances Ibat attended them ; especially 
the deliberate and cruel contrivance of Uriel's death : or whe- 
ther we consider the feariul mterval between his sin and repent- 
ance : for Uke some fair rivers that in their current suddenly 
nnk under ground, and are lost in their secret passage, till at a 
great distance they rise and iaw again : thus it was with David, 
he that was so conspicuous in holiness <yf life, sunk into a gulf 
of sensuality and cruelty, and for a long time was unrelenting 
and unreformed, till by a special message from God by the pro- 
phet Nathan, he was renewed to repentance, and restored to 
the forfeited fovomr of God. 

To this objection some learned interpreters answer, that the 
declaration of his innocence and integrity, must be understood 
with a tacit exception according to the testimony of scripture 
concerning him, ^ that he did that which was right in the eyes 
of the Lord, and turned not aside from any thing that he com- 
manded him an the days of his life, save only in the matter of 
Uriah." That sin, though a dreadfol provocation, yet did not 
blast the uprightness of the rest of his life, and make it unaccep- 
table to God. 2. This affirmation of David may refer to his af- 
fficted state, when his conscience was tender and vigilant, and 
his paarions so anbdned, that though Saul, his most unrighteous 
and implacdble adversary, was at his mercy, and he couM as 
easily have cut off his head, as the lap of his garment ; though 
he was provoked to take his frill revenge on him, and put an end 
to his own fears, yet he rejected the motion with abhorrence ; 
^ God foibid I should lift up my hand against the Lord's anoint- 
ed :" he spared Saul, and would not by such an irregular act ob- 
tain the kingdom^ though elected to it by God himself. By this 

E 2 


we may take an eatimate of hia 'mUgtity, which God rewarded 
at last. 

The proposition that I shaD diaeourae of is this^ that the pre- 
serving a man's self from his iniquity, is an undeceiving evidence 
of uprightness. 

In the managing the doctrine, three things are to be consider- 
ed and unfolded. 

L What sin fnay be denominated a num's own. 

II. What the preserving one8$elf from that sin implies* 

III. How this is an undeceivii^ evidence of uprightness. 
I. What sin may be denominated a man's own. 

In general, every sin that a man commits may be styled his 
own, as it is the issue of his corrupt nature,* and the offspring of 
his depraved will. St. James expresses it, '' every man is tempt- 
ed,'' (that is, effectually) " when he is drawn away of his own. 
lust.'' The devil may solicit and excite, but without the con- 
sent of the will he can never fasten guilt upon us. Every actual 
sin is in some degree voluntary : but some sins, in an eminent 
propriety and peculiar manner, may be called our own ; such as 
there is a strong tendency to commit, either from the natural in- 
clination, or custom, that is an accessary nature, or from special 
i*espects that engage the will and affections. As in the natural 
body composed of various members, some are more dear and use- 
ful, as the right eye, and the right hand : so <' in the body of 
the sins of the flesh," as the corrupt nature is styled by the 
apostle, from the variety and union of the vicious affections, there 
are some particular lusts, either for pleasure or profit, are as 
*^ the right eye, or right hand," in our Saviour's language, so 
dear to men, that they jrill lose eternal life rather than be, sepa- 
rated from them. 

These reigning sins, that have a complete dominign in the un- 
regenerate, are of different kinds in several persons. . I will pro- 
ceed in the discovery of them. 1. By a direct %ht, from their 
causes. 2. By a reflex light, from their effects.. The causes of. 
special sins are either natural or moral : the natural are tlie dif- 
ferent temperaments of men's bodies, and the connexion of the 
passions, 'that so strongly draw the will, that we may as certain- 
ly understand what vicious actions are naturally consequent, as 
astronomers foretel the eclipses of the lights of heaven. 

1. I will begin with the consideration of the different tempe- 

or oPBMtnrN8Bs« 69 

nonents of men's bodies^ which are the secret springs of tKeir in«> 
elinations and aversions. It is requisite to premise, that origi- 
nal sin, the poison distiUedthroi^ all the fiacalties of man by 
prqragation, is an universal supreme evil: * It is a seminary of 
ail corrupt desires, from whence the issues of actual sins are de- 
rived : and that some are less inclined to notorious sins than 
others, is not from naked nature^ but from the singular distin- 
guishing mercy of God. 

This depravation, so general and deploraMe, was observed by 
the wiser heathens, who were ignorant of the cause of it, the re- 
bellious sin of Adam, the common father and representative of 
mankind. Thb corruption of nature doth not extenuate, but 
aggravate our guilt : as Umt psalmist with deep sorrow acknow- 
ledge^ his native inherent pollution ; " In sin was I conceived, 
and in iuicpiity brought forth.'' I know many bold inquiring 
wits have presumed to examine the decrees of God concerning 
the lapsed state of mankind : but it is much safer f to admire 
the divine providence, thantoai^e; to believe the revelation, 
than to dispute i^ainst it. 

But although the % corrupt nature virtually includes all sin, 
yet there is not dn equal propenffty to all in every person : as in 
waste neglected grounds, some weeds are ranker and rifer than 
others, from the quality of the soil ; so some kinds of sin are 
more predominant and evident in the lives of man, according to 
their peculiar dispositions. 

For the unfoWng this, we are to consider, that the soid of 
man in its state of union, has a continual dependence upon the 
body, both in its intellectual and -moral operations. Consider 
it as a spirit, and in its separate state, it is capable of acting as 
freely and independently as those pure intelligencies that are dis- 
tant from alliance with gross matter : but consider the spirit as 
a soul consociated with a body of flesh, there is a strange cir- 
clmg influence between the soul and the body: the dispositions 

* Tfaympftfa ff-dtdwy. Phtt. 

-f- Quaeris (n rationenii ego cTpavesro altitudinem. Tu ratioclnare, Dgo 
aitror. jiug, Serein, 7. de verb. Apost. 

t SfuUus oiDota vitia habct, sed Don in omnia natura pronns est: omnia 
in omnibns sant, sed dod omnia in singfVH extant. Omnia ioomoibns Insaoti 
•cd io quibmdam tingala emiaeot. Stnec. de benef. L« 4» 

E 3 

70 arKB sumB nuAi* 

of the body soilably incUne the soul, and the indinatioiu of the 
aoul affect the body. In the intellectfial operatioiis aa the ani- 
mal iipirita are qualified, aome are of subtile and quick wita^ 
others of stayed and solid minds ; some are fit far contemplation, 
others for action* And in moral actions the soul works by the 
actrre power of the sensitive fiumltiea, and the actions resemble 
the instniments. The complexion of our minds as well as man- 
ners is usually suitable to our natural temperature. I will more 
distinctly unfold this. In the human body there is the united 
figure of the world, the heavy earth, the liquid wat^r, the Mb- 
cite air, and active fire enter into its composition : from the mix-! 
ture of these ingredients results the temperature of the bodies ; 
and as the qualities proper to them are predominant, men are 
denominated sanguine or mdancholy, choleric or phlegmatic : 
such as the constitution is, such are the inclinations, and such are 
the actions that flow from them. It is observable, that brute 
creatures are either fierce or tame, bold (Mr fearfiil, stupid or do- 
cile, aa their blood b hotter or colder, of a finer or thicker con- 
texture. And in children there is an early disclosure of contrary 
dbpositions according to their temperaments : thus some are soft 
and ductile, others stiff and stubborn ; some are of a sweet plia- 
ble temper, drawn by counsel and the cords of love ; others of a 
baser cast, will not be led by reason and kindness, but must be 
conatirained by fear ; some are of an ingenuous disposition, blush- 
ing at any thing that is indecent and disparaging ; others defy all 
modesty, and will not change eountenance though surprised in a 
foul action. As die indini^on in animals to actions proper to 
their kind, is discovered by their offers before they are fit for ac- 
tion : birds will attempt to fly before their wings are farmed 5 so 
in children, inclinations to particular vices appear according to 
their different constitutions, hefoie their sensitive foculties are 
capable of complete acts. 

More particularly, those persons in whose complexion blood is 
predominant, are usually light and vain, sensual and riotous, in- 
solent and aspiring, bold and presumptuous: those in whom 
phlegm is the principal ingredient, are idle and slowj cold and 
careless in things of moment ; the most ardent exhortations are 
lost upon them, as bags of wool deaden the force of bullets, in 
yielding without resistance. Those who are timorous and deeply 
tinctured with melancholy, are suspicious, sour, and inexorable* 


The daik shadows of their nuodi are believed as visible testimo- 
nies of dangers ; and their silent suspicioDS as real proofe. They 
are jeahma of ell persons and things : if in conversation th^e be 
speech of the virtues they are eooscious to want, or the vices they 
are secretly goilty o^ they imagine it is directed to their r^ 
proach* They are intractable, and often revenge&l ) for mekn- 
eholy is a vieioiis humour that retains the impressions of the pas-' 
sions. Those who are choleric by nature^ are heady, various, 
violent, and create perpetual trouble to themselves and others. 
Sneh a soal and sadi a body united, are like two malefactors 
fiutened wkh one chain. In short, according to the elemental 
erasis of our bodies, objector affect our senses^ and the ftuacy^ with 
sIm lower appetite, are the ceoitre of the senses, and there is so 
near an activity and reference between the passions and the rea^- 
sdoable fecultiai, that die understaiKling and will receive impres- 
sions according, as the passions are excited and moved* 

It is observable, that the corrupt nature in the languge of 
scripture, is usually called flesh, not only as it is transmitted by 
eavnal piopagataon, but as it is drawn forth by carnal objects, and 
exerdsed by the carnal faculties. And as the same constituticHi 
is he^htened m some, and in a remisser degree, in others, so tha 
lusts proper to it are more or less exoibitant ; as the same sort 
of vines produce a stronger or weaker grape^ aoeording to the 
quality of the air and soil wherein they are ptanted. That vici* 
ous indinations spring from the diflerent temperament of men's 
bodies, there is a pregnant proof in the visible diversity of lusts 
that are peculiar in degrees of eminenee in soofte families, some 
countries, and several ages of men's Uves. We often see heredi- 
tary viees tiansmitled by descent : some femilies sre voluptuous, 
others vindietlv^; some sordid and eovetous, oth^s profuse; 
same ambitious^ odmrs setvile, resembling their parents, from 
whcmi the secret seeds of those dispositions are ingenerate m 
their temper* So in 4Merrat climates, acooiding to the impres- 
sion made on the natives by the air and diet, they are distin- 
guished by their *^ proper vices (tet so generally found in other 
nations) as by their countenances : some are formal and supersti- 
tions, others wild and barbarous; some are crafty and treache*- 

* Soot tain civitatam quam slnguloram bominaiD moree: fcoiei alias ira* 
cuDda, alin aculaces qandam timidaB qutedaiii in vioum & veoerem prooi- 
•res. Lhf. i»s«.1.46. 

B 4 


nius. Others are wanton uid luxurious* As some diseases rcsgii 
in some countries, that are less frequent, and not so fatal in 
other places. The apostle tells us of the Credans, that '^they 
are always liars, evil beasts, and slow bellies ;" their habitual vi* 
e^ fastened this universal character upon them. 

And aeccM'ding to the alteration made in the bodies of men in 
the several ages of life, their vicious affections run in several 
channels : the spring is the same, corrupt nature ; and the issue 
will be the same, the lake of fire ; but the course is different. 
St. John distinguishes the corrupt inclinations that are predomi- 
nant in the world, under three titles, '^ The lusts of the flesh, 
and the lusts of the eyes, and pride of life :" 1 John 2. these 
lusts have their proper seasons^ and sueoessively take the throne 
in men's hearts. 

' In youth, the lusts that in propriety are called the * '^ Lusts 
of the flesh,*' imperiously reign. Youth is a kind of natural 
drunkenness, the blood runs races, and with a heat and rapture 
hurries many into sensual excess and riots. Youth is highly pre- 
sumptuous, easily deceived, and f refractory to reason : the su- 
perior feculties, the understanding and will, are basely servile to 
the carnd appetites. The wise preacher intimates this in hie 
bitter irony ; ^^ Rejoice, O young man in thy youth, and let thy 
heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways 
of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes ; but know, for all 
these things God will Imng thee to judgment." Eccies. 11 • 
Vain mirth, and loose desires, are usually indulged in the spring 
of our age : therefore the apostle emphatically warns Timodiy, 
though a mortified young man, '^ Flee youthful lusts.'' 

In the matuier age, the sensual passions are cooler, less vigo- 
KNM and active, and youthful lusts are changed for other lusts 
that are not so scandalous, and leave not such a visible stain, b«t 
are as destructive to the soul. It is very observable in human 
nature, that as the affections in their sensiUe operations dea^, 
the understanding improves and recovers its ruling power : it ia 
visible in many instances, that men in their staid age despisa 

* IstB TolnptAtfs tlaae gusfos & tactns solae sunt hominibns communet 
cvBi bestHs, & ideo in pecudum namero babel ur, quisqvis est bii ferintt to* 
laptatibQs pras? ioctut. , Jug, QtL 

"^ Cwrcnii in ▼iiiam fleet I, monitor ibw atper. 

OF CrP&lGIlTKMSk 73 

those tlungs thtt had a ranshing force upon them in their unset- 
tled youth. * But when the mind is tainted with a iaise esteem 
of present things, (as it is in aH those who are in a stifte of poi- 
luted nature) it leads the will and affections to pursue riches and 
dignities. Carnal wisdom is distinguished by St. James into 
three kinds; it is '^earthly, sensual, devilish/' with respect to 
the tempting objects in the world, riches, pleasures, honours. 
The sensual wisdom is in contriving and appointing the means 
that may accomplish the desires of the flesh. After the flesh is 
satisfied, the earthly wisdom designs eartlily things, and uses such 
means as are fit to obtain them : to ascend in power and com»* 
mand, or to raise (estates, with wretched neglect of the kingdom 
of ^heaven and its righteousness, that should be sought in the first 
place, and with the most ardent affections and endearoars. In 
conjunetion with this, the devilish wisdom is practised'; for pride 
and ambition are satan's origind sin^ as envy and slander are his 
actsal sins. He is oontinually vexed at the recovery of fallen 
man, and is his constant accuser. And whilst men are eagerly 
contending for the world, they are excited from interest and en- 
vy, to blast and defeat their concurrents that would be superior 
or equal to them. This worldly wisdom, though a mwe solemn 
felly, yet is as wofid and pernicious as the sensual wisdom ; 
for God is injuriously robbed of his right, our highest esteem and 
affections; and men deceived with the poor pageant of the 
worlds neglect their last and blessed end, and justly perish for 

Old age has its peculiar vices. It is true^ it mortifies the af- 
fections to some vanities. Vespasian the Roman emperor was 
so tired with the pomp of his triumph, that in the triumphant 
way, he often reproached himself, that being an old man he was 
engaged inr such an empty and tedious show.' And Charles the 
fifth, in his dedimng age, preferred the shade of a doister befove 
the splendour of the empire. But it is attended with other vi- 
cious indkiataons. CMd men are usually querulous, impatient;, 
diseonteated, suspicious, vainly fearfiil of ccmtempt or want: and 
fiom thence, or some other secret cause, are covetous and sordid 

* ConTersis stodiis etas animsiqi Tirilit. Qwerlt opes, & amicitias, in* 
•ervil hosori. .,.*-*-• 

74 THB sums TEIAL 

in sparing agaioBt all the rules of reason and vdigiiia. * Cov«t< 
ousness is sl^ by die apostle, <« The root of all evil ;" and as 
the root in winter retains the sap, when the branehes have lost 
their leaves and verdure, so in old age, the winter of life ; cove- 
tonsness fveserves its vigour when other vices are fallen <dL 
Usually the nearer men approach to the earth, they are mora 
enrthly*roinded, and which is strange to amasement, at the sun- 
set of life, are providing ibr a long day. Briefly, every age has 
its special vices suitable to the constitution of men's bodies in 
them, and we must aceordingly make our inquiry to discover our 
own sin. 

The connexion of the passions duly observed, will disoover the 
predominant hist. The passkxns are the motions of the sensitivo 
appetite, whereby the soul approaches to an object that is repre- 
sented under the pleasant cdoun of good, or flies from an appre* 
hended evil. They are called passions, beeause in those mo* 
tions there is a flowing or ebbing of the spirits and humours, 
irom whence asensible change. is caused in the body, and the scwi 
is in unquiet agitations. It is very difficult to know their origi'*^ 
nal, though the sensible operattons are very evident : consider the 
soul as a q>irit, it is exempt irom them ; the spirit, as a soul, is 
liable to them. Whether they are derived irom the sonl to the 
body, or from the body to the soul, is hard to determine. They 
are of excellent use, when subordinate to the direction of the re- 
newed mind, and the empire of the sanctified will ; vriien in rise, 
degrees, add continuance, they are ordered by the rule of true 
judgment. What the winda are in. nature, they are in man : if 
the air be always calm without agitation, it becomes unhealth- 
fttl, and uhusefol for maintaining commerce between the distant 
parts of the world i f moderate winds purify the air, and serve for 
navigation. And thus our yohble passions are of bxoellent use, 
and when sanctified, transport the soul to the divine worlds to 
obtafai felicity above. Bat when they are exorbitant and tem- 
pestuous, they cause feaifiil disorders in men, and are the causes 
of all the sins and miseries in the world. From hence it is that 
sin in the scripture is usually expressed by lu^t) ^* The lusts df 
the flesh are manifest : those u4io are Christ's, have crucified 

* la frigidit temiaibvs TehemeiiUiif iiardetcit. 
f Ad altcriom noiceDda* 

or 17PRIGHTNSS8. 75 

the flesh, with the aiSsctions and lusts thereof/' Gal. 5« 
'< Every man that ia tempted, is tempted of his own lost." Jam, 
!• The reason is, because the corrupt desires of the soul, when 
inflamed, are the springs of its actings, and strongly engage the 
mind and will, and all the actiye powers, to procure their salaa- 

Now^in being the oUiqvity of the desiring faculty, we may 
discover what is the predominant sin, by considering what affeo* 
tidn is most ardent and rident, and consequently most depraved 
and disordered : and this we may, by observing the connexion 
between them ? for they generate one another. As the diaeaset 
of the body, though the disorder of nature, yet have certain eau* 
aes, and a regular course in their accession, inflammation, and 
revolution : as in the changes of an ague, a shivering cold is at- 
tended with a fiery heat, and that with an overflowing sweat ; in 
like manner the irregular passions are productive of one another. 
Love ia the radical aiFection, and when it leads to a desiied ob- 
ject, has always hatred in the rear, if disappomted and crossed in 
its desires: so joy in the firuition of a dear object, is attended 
with grief, that lies in ambush, and immediately seizes upon the 
floul when the object is withdraiwn* And as in the vibrations of 
a pendukun, the motion is always as strong in proportion one 
way, as it was the odier : so according to the excess cf love, will 
be the excess of grief. Of this we have an eminent instance in 
David, whose sonrow for the death of his rebellious son was as 
immoderate, as his love the cause of it. 

2. I shall now consider the moral causes of hi^itual sins, the 
various eircumstaacea of our lives, that are influential to give a 
custom to nature, and viciousness to custom. As the sea has 
roeics and sands, gulphs and currents, tempests and calms, so the 
present life has symbolicaUy in its different states, that endanger 
us in our pasaage tp the next world. The different conditions of 
life J will consider uud^ four heads. 

1. The several callings wherein men are engaged. 

2. The oppoftte states of prosperity or adversity that are at- 
tended with suitable temptations. 

3. The society with whom we are conversant. 

4. The quality of the times wherein we live. 

1. Let us search for the predominant sin in the callings 


wheriein vre are engaged ; for according to their quality, tempta* 
tions surround us, , and are likely to surprise us. The spider 
spins his web, where flies usually pass to entangle and destroy 
them: so the subtile tempter lays his snares in our callings 
wherein we are conversant. John the Baptist therefore, when 
the publicans addressed to him for instruction, << Master, what 
shall we do? said to them, exact no more than what is appoint- 
ed you : anfd to the soldiers he said, do violence to no man, nei- 
ther accuse any falsely ; and be content with your wages :" he 
warns them against rapine, and force, and injurious accusing 
others, of which sins publicans and soldiers were usually guilty. 
I will, to be the more instructive, particularly consider some call- 
ings, and the sins that evidently attend them. 

The sacred calling of ministers does not secure them from 
temptations ; but such is the corruption of their hearts, and of 
the world, that it exposes them to dangerous temptations. ' The 
devil scales us on the temple-side, and ofiten gets possession of 
our hearts. Ministers are often guilty of a spiritless formality ia 
the managing holy things. In the composing of sermons, the 
mind is exercised about the matter, order, and expressions, with- 
out holy affections suitable to divine truths : partly, because from 
custom the most solemn and concerning things pass through the 
soul without serious. r^;ard and application ; and partly, because 
the ministerial office obliging us to furnish ourselves with the 
knowledge of the admirable mysteries of godliness for the in- 
struction of others, we are apt to make that the only end of our 
'studies ; like vintners that buy great quantities ot wine for sale^ 
and not for their own use. There is not in many ministers a spark 
of that heavenly fire which the reflective meditation on spiritual 
and eternal truths inspires into the soul, which our Saviour came 
to kindle. Their knowledge is not lively and operative, but like a 
winter's sun that shines without vital heat. If they are enriched 
with rare talents, they are apt to profieme that holy ordinance ctf 
preaching, by secret aims and desires of vain-glory : the tempta- 
tion is more dangerous, because esteem and praise for intellec- 
tual excellencies that are peculiar to man, and wherein the emi- 
nence of his nature consists, are very pleasing, even to those who 
are of an unspotted conversation^ and free from carnal pollu- 


Chr]f8ostoin confesses of himself^ * diat when he preached to 
a thin auditory, his words died on his lips,, and his spirit was 
quenched ; but when he was encompassed with a numerous full 
assembly, his spirit was inflamed, and he breathed fire* The at- 
tention and applause of the hearers, the regarding one anothei 
with wonder, as if never man s^ake better, the reigning over the 
spirits of men by powerful oratory, are apt to kupire vain-glori- 
OMS conceits into the preachers. And many carried along by the 
current of their injudicious auditors, are curious to bespangle 
their discourses with light ornaments, to please the ear, and aie 
not studious to preach Christ and him crucified, in a style dis- 
tant from all shadow of vanity, to sa^e the soul. 

Another temptation attending that holy calling is, from hu- 
man passions, which ministers often bring up into the pulpit 
with them, and with a counterfeit zeal vent their animosities 
against those of whom they are jealous, as diminishing their se- 
cular interests. God under the law severely forbids the offering 
up sacrifices by conunon fire, but only by celestial, that was pre- 
served day and night upon the altar by the priests ^ it is symbo- 
lical, that the repreheasion of sinners by the servants oi God^ 
should not be expressed with heat of anger against their persons^ 
but with holy zeal ; that love to their soub should be the pure 
motive of the severest rebukes* 

Lastly* The great danger is, lest ministers have a respect more 
to the temporal reward of their o£Boe, than the divine end of it* 
Therefore St. Peter with that solemnity ei\joins evangelical pas- 
tors, " to feed the flock of God, taking the oversight thereof, not 
by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready 
mind : neither to act as lords over God's heritage, but to be en- 
samples to the flock.'' 1 Pet* 5* 2, 3* It is true, the labourer 
is worthy of his reward ; and '^ if we sow spiritual things, is it a 
great matter (as the apostle saith) if we reap your carnal 
things?" I Cor. 9. 11* But thoigh it is natural and regular 
to eat to live;, yet to live to eat is prod^ously brutish ; so it is a 
most guilty vile intention to use the sacred ministry for obtaining 
secular things. This will corrupt the heart, and hinder the dis- 
charging the office with sincerity and constancy : for the end is 

* Habet enim mnUitado vim qaandam talem, nt qnemadinodom tiblcen 
tioe tibiii caMie, orator line ■ttitUadine audieate eloqneai cue aon jpoiilt. 


tbe rale and measure of the meam^ and a worldly mhiitter will 
frame his aermons, and order his affairs to obtain the world. If 
it be for his secukr interest, he will appear as an apostle, fiill of 
zeal against errors and nns : but if the preaching the doctrines 
of truth and holiness be prejudicial to his worldly designs, he 
will neglect his duty to preserve the minds of men untainted frcMn 
destructive errors, he will mollify the threatenings of scripture, 
rebate their edge, and thereby harden the hearts of presumptu- 
ous sinners. As it b obsermi * of the vines, if they are sup- 
ported upon crooked stakes^ they will grow so ; so carnal preach- 
ers will conform themselves according to the humours of those 
upon whom they servilely depend. 

In courts of judicature, the temptations are intimated in the 
wise advice of Jethro to Moses, ^ that he should choose taen 
fearing God, and hating oovetouaness." Wi^ut the overruling 
fear of God, judges will not do their duty evenly and ooun^e- 
ously : human respects wiU tempt them to bend the rule to the 
obliquity of their minds and desires. When they are influenced 
by the fear or favour of inen, they will part with justice, and 
conscience, and true honoor, and their soufa. And bow often 
does the weight of gold turn the scales in juclgment, and pre- 
ponderate the reason of the canse with those who are most so* 
lemnly obliged to universal rectitude in the dischaige of theit 
ofice ? Judges should so impartially, and with that noble reso- 
lution perform their duty, as to discourage all attempts to per- 
vert them. Zeuxes having painted a boy canrying.some grapes, 
so coloured according to nature, that the birds pecked at them : 
t an observer said, the birds discredited the picture; for if the 
boy had been drawn witiii equal fife, they had not been so bold 
%o fly at the grapes ; a sign they fancied the grapes true, and the 
hoy painted. Thus whoever tempts those who sit in judicature 
to unwotthy things, disgraces their dignity, and constnicthrely 
declares that he esteems them to have an appearance ot virtue 
without siteere aeal for it. And how many who are pleaders^ 
by fallacious colours commend a bad cause, and discredit a good^ 

« Pra?itat ttastatiiiDiBam ad limiUtndiDeai lui yttem cooflgarat. Cotw 
met. I. 4^ 

1> Atps male exisUmare dc tabula, bm advalatoras tl pver ttmllto etiet 
PUm. lib. 35. 

OP UPRI6fiTNS88. 79 

and thereby expose themselves to that terrible denunciation, 
^ woe be to them that call good evil, and evil good." A dege- 
nenms mind, and mereenary tongue, vrill plead any cause to ob- 
tain the ends of avarice and ambition : as if, according to virhat 
an Italian lawyer said of himself, they were the advocates of their 
clients, and not of justice. 

In short, every calling has its temptations: in the various 
ways of commerce, there are deoeitfiil arts which an upright 
man observes and abh<N«. Some callings expose to more temp- 
tations than others ; so that without ciroumspeetion and care, 
men are undone in the way of their cdlings* Some engage per- 
sons in such a throng of busine», diat from one rising of the 
sun to another, tbey never seriously remember God or their soul. 
It is therefore a point of great wisdom in the choice of a calling, 
with a free judgment to consider what is feast Sable to tempta- 
tions, and affords more freedom of serving God, and legar^ng 
our spiritual state ; for the bocfy is not the entire man, and the 
present life is not his tmfy duration. The aposde directs chris- 
tians to choose such a state of Kfe, that they may have the ad« 
vantage of <^ attending upon the Levd without ^fistitiotion/' 2 
Cor. 7. as. 

I. shall add, that the several relations wherein we stand, as 
husbands, parents, masters, and wives, children, servants, have 
peculiar temptations; and many whose gen^vd conversation 
aeeros fiur and bkunefess, are not observant of their relative du- 
ties. A husband may be hamh and unkind, a parent Ibnd and 
viciousfy mdii^nt, (it was Eli's sin that brought nAk upon his 
family) a 'master may be severe and rigoraos. Superiors who are 
to instruct, and gtwem franilies by holy counsels and examples, 
often neglect their duty ; and by their eril carriage, set a copy 
which tiieir chikbeu and servants transcribe, and derive a wofiil 
guilt upon themselves from their multiplied sins. And how often 
are thos^ in lower reladpna careless of their proper duties : wives 
disrespectful, and not observant of their husbands, children dis^ 
obedient, servants unfrwtbful ? If consei«iee be enlightened and 
tender, it will regard the whofer compass of our duty, it will see 
and feel our sinfril neglects in any land, and make us careful ac^ 
cording to the extent of its obligation. 

2. The opposite states of prosperity and adversity, have suit- 
able temptations adherent to them. 

60 THfi S0RB TRUL 

Prosperit/ is beset with the thickest and most dangerous temp* 
tations. In. a garden the tempter lay in ambush, and made use 
of the fruit '^ that was pleasant to the taste, and pleasant to the 
eye, and desirable for knowledge ;" and by those allurements 
corrupted and ruined our first parents, to the loss of their inno- 
cence and felicity. Although prosperity be a blessing in itself, 
yet it is often more destructive than adversity, by the inseparable 
and engaging snares that surround the persons that enjoy it : 
pride, luxury, security, impiety, grow and flourish in prosperity. 
Affliction calls home the wandering spirit, makes us reflect with 
solemnity upon ourselves, excites us to arm our minds with re- 
ligious resolutions against the world ; whereas prosperity relaxes 
and dissolves the spirit, and foments the lusts of the flesh. 
Those who live in the courts of princes, where the height of ho- 
nour, and the centre of pleasure are, where ambition, hypocrisy, 
avarice, and sensuality rdgn, are encircled with dangerous in- 
chautments, -and usually are charmed and corrupted by them. 
The court life is splendid to. the eye, but very perilous ; like a 
ship that is finely carved and painted, but so leaky, that without 
ccmtinual pumping it cannot be kept above water ; so without 
the strictest guard over their hearts and senses, the prosperous 
cannot escape the '^ shipwreck of a good conscience, and &11 into 
many foolish lusts that drown men in perdition.'' Yet this state 
of life many aspire to as the most happy. When Lot separated 
from Abraham, he chose the ^^ pleasant fruitful country that was 
like the garden of the Lord.'' Gen. 13. Sad choice ! the. land 
was the best, but the inhabitants the worst : within a short time 
the cry of their sins reached as high as the throne of God, and 
brought down showers of fire and brimstone, that turned that 
natural' paradise into a hell. 

Riches have a train of temptations, and poverty is not exempt 
from them. It was the wise prayer of Agur, *^ give me neither, 
poverty nor riches, lest I be fiiU and deny thee, and say, who is 
the Lord ? Or lest I be poor and steal, and take the name of 
my God in vain." Piov. 30. 8, 9. A full estete entirely possesses 
the heart, and excludes the eternal worid from the thoughts and 
affections : it is therefore wise advice, " if riches increase, set not 
your heart upon them," intimating they are a snare to the most 
in the corrupt state. They oiien induce in men's minds an un- 
grateful oblivion of their divine Benefactor, as it is charged upon 


lanel) ^^ thdir hearts were exalted, therefore they have foigotten 
me/' They incline men to presume upon aelf-^sufficiency, and 
to rob God of the homage that is due ham bis creatures, an 
humble thankful dependance upon his pnmdence every day. 
The psalmist saith^ ^^ they trust in the wealth, and boast them- 
selves in the multitude of their riches%'' They are engaging 
snares to renounce religion, whenever the sincere, and open pro- 
fesssion of it, exposes our estates to hazard. .Briefly, aa . the 
Israelites made. an Egyptian idol of their f^gyptiaa jewels; so 
worldly things are abus^ for worldly lusts. The most who en*? 
joy proeperitiy, perish by the abuse of it : it is a rare effect of- 
divine grace to .preserve the heart and conversatioii pure in such^ 
a contagious air, whai a thousand fall at thy side^ and ten thou-, 
sand at thy right hand. And the contrary state of poverty and 
affliction in imy kind, if jshairp^ has ita peculiar temptations; dis- 
content, and the use of unlawful mesina to obtaia %vbat tlwy want 
and desire, is the sin of the poor. The afflicted are ready to 
&int under, the weight 9!. sanow : the loss of one cdmfort blasts 
all the content of their iives. .There is a perpetual dmiumption 
of their thoughts and time in revaolving the afflicting circum- 
st8|i^ of their oonditioo> and they are qpt to think as if Ood 
weie .regardless or very severe to them. Fearful dejpth ! they 
v?re.^hedly neglect the means that might alleiriate. their sorrows, 
and refuse to be. comforted^, aa if they were persons, consecrated 
to calamity ; thus Ufe is lingered oat in continual langui^ungs, or 
^ded.wi^h deadly grief. 

If the. affliction be singular and. e3Gtraordiiiaqr,80i;ow often 
increases to such dismal degrees, .that most wolul effects proceed 
from that passion* The aiigaish of spirit either breaks out i» 
unkindly and unholy expitasions, or ifiwardty festers with re- 
piniag> vexatious thoughts at their condition. Stubborn spiriu 
are im^^atient of the evUs Xhey suffer, and insensible and under- 
valuing of the hleswigs they possess. They neither look upward 
to tiie hand of God that disposes all evils, nor kiward to their 
^ns> . the most righteous procoring cause of them : but sarions 
refleetion would constrain thdB.ta acknowledge that God pu- 
nishes them less than their. sins, deserved, and that their dross 
needed the vehemence, of .the fire to purge it away : a meek yields 
ing ourselves, and a complying with the blessed ends of his af- 
flicting providence^ will make us to understand by eacperiehce^ 

YOU II. ^ F 


that all our ahnpait suflEerings were moat misely and divinely cr- 
derad by our heavenly Father. 

3. We must search for our peculiar sin in tfie society with 
whom we are eonveiaant* Our company that we choose^ and 
are fireqaently ci^;aged with, discovers us to others and may to 
ourselves. It is a true glass that by reflection makes Visible the 
countenance and complexion of our minds* Love proceeds firom 
likeness, and the election of friends from a correspondence in the 
tempers of men. It is true, there may be foreign' motives of 
friendship and commerce, with others from our secular affairs 
and interests ; but incUnation is the' internal cause di irienddup* 
K is visible, that carnality in its various kinds, cements firiend- 
riiips : the intemperate, the lasciviotts, the worldly, are endeared 
to one another by the resemblaiice in their minds and manneiis. 
Besides, escamples,: if ofti^ in our view, and especially of those 
whom welove,r have a sttaage power to chsngeus ihto their like- 
ness. )t is d)^ observation of thie mte man, ** he that has fel- 
kwship widi a proud maiiv^U ^ ^ilce him/" * The vicious 
affections of tbe heart transpiie in .words andactions, and in^ 
sensibly infect others : apd in Aoniltar 'society th(b oom%toiM «vil 
the more strongly infects, braig immediately conveyed. If our 
intimdte friends ase worldfy wke, who ^ mind earthly things,'' 
sagadoos to forteaol .advi^itages, : and astive to accomplish theiy 
designs, we may jvdgpe of;the strain of ekir affections ; for if our 
*^ conversations, were inJiea^ctt^'' if our frequent and serious dis- 
courses were of things above, how to improve spiritual riches^' 
our company .womU be ;lmgri«eful fa> thei»: without synipathy 
there can be no eomplacence.in society. The garKc aiMl onions 
U the Egyptian:, earth, is more laskefel to their palates than the 
bread of angels; . Berides,^ by Qonsiant femiliari^ Mr nl^nds are 
apt to be corrupted to value the Worid as our sidistautiai feUeity, 
and our hearts to be connoted with the love' of it^ wfai<;h is of 
the sprii^ of m^h's sins and.miaery; Thwif we are associaces 
with the voluptuous, .these will atqd into the bltaxt an allowainc^ 
oi sensuality, and a.dishke of hdness- as a sour severity. If un- 
regenerate men^ though of a^ .ciril convelsation, be our chosen 
and familiar friends, our zeal- fear reiigibn wiU decline, and luke*> 
Avarmness be insenj^iy idmed into as. Briefly, as the wax re- 

* flerpmt ? itia, & !■ pvozieiiis qacalq } IraBiUisnt $f coatactu sot est* ' 

eehres the figure of the seal that is applied to it, c^tir Blinds re- 
ceive a likeness from the impressions of examples^ Therefore & 
prudence discreet and severe is ne<tessary in the ehoice of our 
society. In the human life there is no toistake more dangeroto 
than in the choice of friends with whom we are usually conver*' 
sant. It is a comprehensive rule^ and tnost useffti for the guiding 
te safely to heaven^ to select the- wise and holy to be our bosom 
friends. As a ring touched by a loadstone draws another by an 
Impressed virtue^ so in hdy aociety there is divine grace at(nc«« 
tive of the hearts of others. '^^ H6 that walks mth the wise^ 
shall be wise ; but a companion of fools shall be afflicted i^^ that 
is the penal consequence xlt \Hihg oormpt^ by them« The 
sensual and hncurious^ by their eobverte^ pervert good disposi^ 
tions in others^ and hei^bten eviMnlt^linatioos into habits i they 
are satan's ihstmments to draw men into his snares^ more fdmi'* 
liar devils to tempt and destroy aouls. He .that chooser eVit 
eompany, is Kke one that voluntarily frequents a house infected 
with the plague ; who is either aHM and dnvahies life^ or des^ 
perate and seeks death. 

4. "We must consider the quality of the tifnes we live lii^ to 
discover what sin is predomiuant in us. There* are ^^ evil days^ 
in the vpostle'i language, with respect to the temptations and 
troubles that are concomitant with them, ^f and a wise circum- 
spect walkiQ^' is requisite to preserve our innocence and purityi^ 
Sometimes those who are dignified with titles and pbwers, axe 
leaders in sin, and their public' practices are so commandingly 
exemplary, that they easily prevail upon many to follow {hem; 
for tiiat is die way to idsinuate into their fevour, and obtaiiii se* 
cttlar advantages and rewards. From heuce it is that some, as 
if the opposite forms of religion were but different fashions of the 
same stuff, will put on a new livery according to tlie master they 
serve. They have a politic finth, you may coin them a^ PKilip 
and Mhi^, or an Elizabeth, as the mintage of the times vary^ 
Bui the eacimiple of ' the high and noble is no safe rule : a riile of 
gold, though of value for the matter, yet if crooked, .it is useless 
as k rule. &i some ages tlie'pokon sheds itsdf into the whole 
body ef a nation, thirt; rdsely any are untainted. ^The old world 
was drowned in' sensuality, and Noah only esbaped. And m the 
next age,' how did idolatry, like an overspreading leprosy infect 
the worlds ' and Abraham hardly escaped. In Jeremy's time the 


land mourned for oaths and axries ; men were ttimed breathing 
devils^ dnd spake the language of hell before they came there. 
Somethnes all degrees are so corrupt^ that vices pass for vhtaes^ 
the rage of duelling for heroic valour, luxury and sensucdity for 
innocent and amiable qualities, and holiness, though a divine 
eKcellency, and the very beauty of the Deity, is despised and 
derided : ^^ thu» men glory in their shame, and are ashamed of 
their glory/' Now there is no tyranny more violent than of a 
corrupt custom, no contagion more catching than of national 
sins. The apostle reminds the Ephesians, that in their heathen 
state ^^ they walked according to the course of the world/' We 
are therefore strictly commanded, '^ not to be conformed to the 
world, but transformed by the renewing of our minds, thiU we 
may prove what is the good, the acceptable and perfect will of 
God/' It is the eminent effect of grace to resist the torrent of 
the times, and to value the conscience of our duty before all 
worldly respects: accordingly it is recorded to the everlasting 
honour of Jehoshapbat, ^^ that he walked in the commandments 
of God, and not according to the doings of Israel/' 

I come to show how the peculiar sin may be discovered from 
Its effects, and the discovery from hence is more sensible, than 
from the causes : for divine grace may control the efficacy of 
the causes, that a christian may abhor the sin to which there are 
strong temptations, but effects emergent from inward hists, dis- 
cover the habitual frame of the heart. 

1st. The sin that is frequently and easily committeid, and dif- 
ficultly retracted, is a man's peculiar sin. 

(1.) Frequently. Single acts do not denominate a person, 
but habits that proceed from repeated acts, are characteristical. 
Noah's stogie act of drunkenness, which might proceed from his 
ignorance of the streiigth of the wine, or the weakness of his 
brain, did not argue his being addicted to it : but frequent re- 
lapses into that sin, denominate a man a drunkard. A train of 
sinful actions is from a dispasition strongly bent to tbem. If a 
man be of a choleric nature, anger will be his quotidian; if of 
a sanguine, licentious mirth will be his tertian. It is the cha- 
racter of man1n his unregenerate polluted state, he commits sin, 
it is his trade ; and as any particular lust has dominion in his 
heart, such is the course of his life. When the inclination leads 
to a calling, a man applies himself continually to it ; for the 


weYk produces delight, and the deKght strongly inclines him ta 
work : thus according to the tendency of our corrupt natures is 
the constant practice of sin. • We may as surely judge of the ac-^ 
tive powers of the soul hy the actions that proceed from them, 
as of the vigour of the sap in the root, by the number x>f the 
fruits of the tree. It is said of the scofiers, ^^ they walk after 
their own hists : which implies the habitual practice 4>f ^sin, the 
licence and pleasure they take in a carnal course. 

(2.) The sin that is easily committed is our own. As the di- 
vine nature in a saint makes him fit for every good work, but 
especially for the exercise of that grace that is eminently regent 
in his hearty upon the first call of conscience, he applies himself 
to bis duty : so the corrupt nature prepares men for evil works, 
and its special tendency is presently inflamed by a suitable ob- 
ject. This indication is clear, with respect to the sins of the de- 
siring and angry appetites. The more quick and speedy the 
power of a temptation is, the more strong is the vicious inclina- 
tion. When Achan saw a goodly Babylonish garment and a 
wedge of gold, he coveted them and took them : the immediate 
rise of his affection -upon the presence of the object, his presump- 
tuous sacril^, notwithstanding the terrible inteidict, was a con- 
vincing sign of his worldly mind. So it is said of the jroung.man 
in the Prov^bs, that W9i» enticed by the blandishments of J:he 
harlot, f'^ he went straightway after her/' When the alluring 
object presently inveigles the senses, and easily obtains th^ con- 
sent of the will, we may truly infer what passion reigns ip <tbe 
heart. So a man that is soon angry, whose passion like tinder 
takes fire at a spark, a small qccasion may.unde)B9tand what his 
nature is. A man, of " a cool spirit," of xneek and mortified 
passicms, is not easily incensed. 

(3.) The sin that is difficultly retracted. There are principles 
of conscience in lapsed nature, concerning good and evil that 
cannot be. rased out, and are improved and heightened by rer 
vealed light; fitun thence .there is often an internal conflict be- 
tween the convinced mind, and the corrupt heart : but the darr 
ling lust controls the efficacy of those principles, for nature and 
custom are of all things most hardly to be changed. Properties 
iaherent in the nature of things are inseparable : thus wallowing 
in the mire is natural to a swjine, and though washed, will return 
to it* When a lust is deeply rooted in nature, ^^ men cannot 


S6 THS SintX TRIAir 

cease from sin/' tVe have a sad instance of this in St, Austin, 
before his entire and blessed conversion. He declares, in his 
confessions, how extreme hard it was to divorce himself from 
sensual delights ; they ivere incarnated in his nature, engrafted 
into his affections, and the sqiaration from them was as the flay* 
ing him alive. When he prayed for chastity, it was with a re^ 
striction, '' Make me chaste, but not too soon :" in the vigour 
of his age, the sinning season, he was averse to be weaned from 
those poisonous breasts. Until divine graee changed his nature, 
he could never rescue himself from the entanglements of his ini-r 

Custom in sin usually proceeds from inclination ; and with as 
.strong a sway determines the corrupt will as original nature. 
^ Can the Ethiopian change his skin, and the leopard his spots? 
then may you who are aecustomed-to do evil do good" Dreads 
M difficulty I some habitual sinners are secure and stupid, and 
of such depraved obstinacy, that they will not resolve to cleanse 
themselves from their defilements. Itt others there are some 
sparks of religious fear; but notwithstandii^ the stings of con* 
science, continue in the practice of sin« Tiie charming lust so 
long indulged, is imperious and peremptory ; «and till omnipotent 
jgrace unbinds the charm, they are never released from the circle 
irf*' confessing their sins when their desires are sated, and commit* 
ting them with new heat and rapture upon the returning temp- 
tation. Though convictions be heightened into resoiutiotis, t}io 
next temptation hinders the effect : th^y rescind their solemn 
«nd sacred engagements, prefidiously break double chains, the 
law of Gk>d with their own vows, grieve his spirit and wound 
their own ; from hence it is evident that such sins 'are< pn^rly 
men's own. 

2ly. That lust to which others are subservient, has the supre« 
vaty in the heart. In all the dominions of satan, there is some 
apeeial hist that is his viceroy, and keeps possession for him. 
There is an order in the kingdom of darkness, one sin wants the 
assistance and countenance of another sometimes to disguise and 
palliate it, or for the doing it. The reigning sin has, as it were, 
ito court and council, its guard and attendants. To illustrate 
this by its contrary, it is observable there is a concatenation of 
virtues, and the superior virtue is assisted by other virtues in its 
exercise : as justice io dispensing what is due to others, is assist* 

or VFmQBTSBn. 82 

cd.b]rfaftitude and temperance^ which regulate fear and desire^ 
that often hinder ita most n^ble exercise : and the actions ioim^ 
dmtely flerwing from eourage or temperance, are ascribed to 
JBstioe, to which they are siAoervient ; for the end and intention 
constitiite the kinds in the ranks of moral things, either virtues 
or vices. It is the obserwition of the phibsopher, t^ one whp 
does an act of robbery that he may have money to corrupt a 
wemaiiy is not so much covetous as incontinent. Joseph's bre«> 
thien sold him into Egypt, dipped his garment in blood to der 
ome their frither, and tliereby contracted a crimson guilt; but 
enselty and tq^xicrisy were subordinate to their envy: they hated 
him, because the Cather's love to them was faint in comparison 
to the warm beams refleeted upon Joseph* 

Sty» The darling corruption engrosses the thoughts. There is 
a natural le^rity and featk^riness in the mind, a strange inconsisr- 
teney and disoirren^ of , the dioughts, but love will fasten them 
intensely upon its object. From hence it is that habitual and 
deligfatfal thoughts are the best discovery of our hearts and our 
spiritlisi state. Words and actionamay be overruled and coun^ 
tethit for divers reasons, but thoui^ts are the invisible producr 
tions <>f the soul, and without fear or madi, without restraint or 
disguise, un^issembKng^. discover the disposition of the heart. 
Thooghfta are thfe immediate oApring of the soul $ and as the 
waters that immtediflely flow from the spring are stiongest x>f the 
asincrai, mo the* thoughts are most deeply tinctured Mrith the af*- 
feotiona. A samt is therefore described by his <^ meditatmg in 
die taw of Gbd day and night,!' Psalm 1. which is the natural 
and necessary effect of hia del^^t-ki-it. ^ Uncmntecfeit religion 
and holineas coorfst in the onlei of love, as St. Austin briefly 
and foUy describeait. The Will is carried to its object and end 
ky^the'motisp iof love, and love applies the mind entirely to the 
diject tO'VAUtk it is strongly inclined. When the heart is cor- 
•cBpt, theordinary earrent. of the thoughts is in the channel of 
our hista. Tb^ 4Mitrivmg tiiodgfats, the denoes of the miad^ the 
oonteni|riattve'ti«Mlghls and inward nmsinga aracoMrenani about 
the beloved lu8| that angagea.the mind to it. Thus when- cove- 
tousness is the reigning passion, the mind is in continual exe^ 
else to compass secular ends: it is fiill of projects how ta order 

• Deanitio brerit ft vera Tirtotto, ordo est snorls. 

88 THB SURB r&lAt 

the meanff most suecessfiiily to increase riches, and how to re^ 
move whatever may obstruct the main design. The spirit is cap- 
tivated, and like a drudge in a mill is oontinoaUy grinding for 
the satisfaction of the earthly appetite. When the more sensual 
voluptuous passions are predominant, the eontriving thoughts are 
to make ^' provisions for the flesh to satisfy the lusts thereof.'' 
Rom. 13. 1. The understanding is debased to be the pander and 
caterer for the intemperate and incontinent appetites. The am-» 
bitious spirit lays the scene how to obtain fab denred honour^ 
and forecasts how to ascend to some place of eminence : so anger 
soured into revenge, envies at the excellencies and advance- 
ments of others, turns the mind to plot mischief. . 

The contemplative thoughts and musings of the mind, are also 
fixed on the darting, lust. As a holy believer, in whose heart 
the desire of enjoying God in heaven is the supreme affection, 
firequently ascends in his mind thither, and by solemn serious 
thoughts substantiates his future happiness, and has an unspeak- 
ably glorious joy in the lively hopes of it : thus the unrenewed 
heart turns the thoughts to the desired object, either in repre- 
senting it in ail its charms, or in reflections upon the enjoyment 
of what is past, or in expectation of what is to come, and pleases 
itself with the supposition instead of fruition. A proud person 
entertains vain-glorious thoughts of his own worth, and worships 
the vain idol himself: in his mind he repeats the echoes of 
praise, that his foolish flatterers lavirii upon him. It is recorded 
of Nebuchadnezzar, that as he walked in his palace, he said, 
** is not this great Babylon that I have built, fbr the house of 
the kingdom, by the might of my power, and for the honoor of 
my majesty ?'^ His high towering words were the expression of 
his thoughts, and discovered pride, to be the reigning passion of 
Kb heart. <The sensual wretch surveys his carnal paradise, aod 
pevBcnates the pleasures of sin by impure imaginatidDS : his fisncy 
runs riotously over tempting beauties : by an ac^fcive. contempJa^ 
•tiooilie ccoitraets a new stain, andifxhices a newgdlt upon him- 
self t he>eammits the same- sin .a iSumsaBd times, by renewing 
the plesBluit thoughts of it, and by carnal comiriacenee iii the 
remembrance. ; . . 

la the silence of the night, when a curtain of darknef» is drawn 
over the visible world, and the soul not diverted by sensible ob- 
Jecu, is m^ost fr^ee iu its operatipns^ ^ntla^ thoughts are con- 

OP vpmoBTsam. 89 

tertaht about the beloved rin. It is said of the malieioiu and 
Teveng^i, ^^ they plot mischief upon theb beds.'' The rich 
fcol was contriving how to bestow his fruits and goods, and en* 
tertaining himself with the thoughts of festival voiuptttOHs Kving, 
in the night wheran his soul was required. And in the morning 
the virgin thoughts are piostitttted to the beloved lust. In the 
time of divine worship, when the pure majesty and qpecial pre- 
sence of God shonld unite the thoughts, and corapose the soul 
to a holy solemn frame, then the beloved lust will be so impu- 
dent and outrageous as to break into the mind, die chamber of 
piesenoe, sad seat itself there. As Lot's wife led by an angel 
out of Sodom, turned a lingering eye towards it, so the carnal 
heart, even in rdigions service and addresses to Qod, reflects 
upon the sinfiil object, that has an attractive force lipon it. It 
is charged against those fine hypocrites m Eaekid y << they sit 
before thee as my people, and hear thy words, but they will not 
do them ; finr with their month thej show much love, but their 
heart goeth after their covetousness." Ezek. 33. 31. It is rec- 
koned aa an high aggravation of thehr guilt, '^ yea in my house 
httve I found thev wickednesi, saich the. Lord." Jer. 23. Ih 
.The fomiliar lust will haunt men in the divine presence. This 
makes them cold and careless in holy duties: this makes thei? 
Motion ^ finht and dihite, that God is infinitely provoked by 
them. In short, the darling hist does so entirely and intensely 
fix the mind upon it, that men's accounts are dreadfidly increased 
by the swarms of wicked thoughts that defile their souls : and 
in the day of judgment, that is called the ** day of revelation," 
-there will be a discovery made to their everiasting confiision. 

41y. The sui men desire to conceal from others, and from con- 
eeiettce, and are apt to defend or extenuate^ and are impatieM 
^ reproof fas it, has a special mterest in their alfections. Every 
sinner is a master of this art, to counterfeit the virtues he wnnts^ 
and disBemhle the vices that he allows. It is-the observatioa of 
^ Soloinon, God made maii upright, but he sought out usaaf 
inventions |" especially to palliate and hide, or to excuse his 
fiodts. SKn in its native deformity is so find, that men emjrioy a 
great deal of art and study, either to conceal it under a veil of 
darkness, or a deceitfiil mask of virtue, or by various excuses to 
lessen its guilt and ignominy. Adam patched up an apron of 
fig*leaves to cover his nakechiess, a resembjaoce of bis care to 

so .TIB svBJB mux 

lude bit tin. : DwnA ooqU not expect jto deteive God ; but to 
hide h]$ adiilteiy Ivitk Bathsbeba frooiiineD, be tends for Uridi 
iioin the ivmy, that be might have gone home to his ynSe. It ia 
observed of Cssar and Pompey, wboae ambitioua spirits aspired 
to soveeeign poarer^ they made use of some essoins of royalty, .to 
oeeuatom the people by degrcea to themj y«t were crafty to hide 
their design* .ORsar sometimes appeared. pubUcty ivith & wreath 
of laurel oa bis head ; but lest the people from his. weadng that 
appearance 6f a crown, should be jealous.of his.inteatioii^ prei- 
landed it was enly to supply his svant of hair, and cover his bald'* 
ness. Pompey wore a white iillet coriausly wroug^ jd>ont his 
leg, in pretence that his leg was hurt; but in truth, because ft 
was a diadem,' a royal oniament, * for which he.wms^ reproached 
by soibe strict ohaewer. Thei« are imiumenUa arts used to cp*> 
ver men's r^speetive sins* I shall only insUnce in dne that is 
usually praetiscd:*how do many, like the crafty lapwing that 
flutters at a distance from its nest, q>pe8r zeabvr against the tI^ 
S4ble sins of others, that under that shadowy deceit they may 
hide their own ? Thev words, feathered with severe censure, Ity 
idaroad, wounding the veputatibn of others for lessor lauks,' that 
they may not be suspected to be guiltyof worse sins seerstfy cha- 
riahedby them* 

But tf the \bdov«d sin be evident, satan assists the comqpt 
mind toi frame raeh colourable ^ pitetencea either to defend or e9c<- 
Cttse it, that it nl^ not appear in a ghastly ammier, attended 
with strict judgment and an everlasting helL" fWhcn a lust has 
enticed and drown awaythe willy the mind is engaged to ghre 
colour to ithe cpnsait, and either directly, €tr in an oblique way 
to represeat.ths sin, that it may appear Icsa odioos^ and more 
WiiaUe.! fiometknes tbe understanding is to perverted by die 
imptcssion of pleasure, that consdeace allowa concupiseenoe. k 
iS)A repeated observation of a t wise philosopher^ that^iees wete 
disgdsed -under 4he resemblance of viitdes, aixlv^es disparaged 
the «ames of vices ', from whence the imderstaoding and 

• Pompeio candMft Ouci» cina aUigaUm habeatiy dictum fait, non retort 
lo qua parte corporis sit diadema. jiuL QtlL 

+ y ilia aobis sab lirtutpm Bomiae obrepunt. TemerUas sub titulo forti- 
iadinis latet. Modcratio vocatur igoavia, pro canto timidiis accipitur. In 
bli natoo pericalo erratur. Settee Fallit ealm Tifiam specie vlrtutls dc 
aabra. Jatwa. 14« BmH 

will, the mind and manners were depraved, and shame was cast 
upon the virtuous, and boldness given to the vicious. Proiiise-< 
ness is stj^ed oiagnificeneej violence valour, dissoluteness gentilii* 
ty, fraud and craft prudence. On the contrary, sincerity .is 
blasted vnth the name 6f folly, patience.reputed stupidity, and 
conscience superstition. The proud will set off the kfty humour 
and carriage a» a decent greatness of spirit, and viliiy the hum* 
ble as few and sordid. The choleric will engage reason to jus- 
tify his passion ; he will alledge the provocation wduld anger an 
angel* The lukewarm in religion, will represent lukewatmness 
as a discreet temperai|ient between the vicious extremes of a wild* 
fir» teal, and a piofime ooldness and neglect. The earthly* 
mind^ will put flattering colours on covetouasiess, to make it 
appear a piaise-wdrthy virtue^ a prudent provision for time to 
tone. Itmsn are qi^ destitute o( defence, they yrill by a mild 
oonstraction extenuate the guilt of their darling - sin. The in* 
dontinetit person wiU make a candpy for his lust, jas only a hu* 
man frailty. : The- iiiteiiiperate: will ^xeuse his excess, as free 
miith tod haimless socdeCy. Many apoldgies are made for the 
una men indld^lly.c«»nmit$ some wiU plead in .excuse, a prone 
neeessfty-eif nature I* Mne, th^ oustom of the placed they live in; 
isome, idieir ^nseftled youth; ahy thing that may lessen the tur- 
pitude in^ the view -of conscience, or in the opinion of others, 
flow pl^idii^ afgfiM'love, ttnd Idve denominates the sin to be 
their own. * Firoih lienee it is that so many contract a despe^ 
itKte hardness^ ' ami Are ineeoverably depraved. But if men can*- 
>ttit hide or excuse tWir beloved sin^ they are impatient of re- 
proof tor it, and with secret'dificontetit, or- stormy passions, reject 
admcM^tieii. . -Some of iair tem|)ei^ and- conversation, if a minis^ 
ter or friend be fruAfiil- to their souls, and with holy zeid urges 
ibe divordng eommand of God between-them and their pleasant 
sins, and represents asneerely the guilt of their sinful course of 
iife, tfa^ be<*ome fictce and vehement, and recoil upon their re- 
provers, as arrogating imperions authority, or for rigour and se*- 
verity, or impertinence in admonishing them ; and sometimes re- 
criminate, that the reprover is as bad or worse himself: like a 
Tiver that passes without noise, till it meets with the arches of a 

* Hoc «q«e ooiniani cil, Tllia sua exeufare maliat qnam effiigsre. Smee^ 

92 /tHE S0RB TRIAL ^ 

bridge that stops its firee current, then it swells and roats. In 
short, the indulgent sinner will endeavour to defend his bosom 
sin, or to subdue his conscience that it may not torment him for 

51y. The sin that the enlightened conscience reflects upon, with 
anguish and bitter remorse, is usually that which has been indulged, 
and whereby God has been most dishonoured. There is so deep 
an impression of the Deity in the soul, and our duty and account- 
ableness, that it cannot be utterly defaced ; and though the re- 
bellious will and affections control it for a time, yet it remains 
for the conviction and punishment of delinquents. Conscieuce is 
a spy in our bosoms, and observes in order to a discovery j and * 
what is written in its register cannot be rased out. It is true, a 
spirit of slumber sometimes seiees upon the wicked, and consci-r 
ence is so stupified, that they sin without reflection and remorse; 
but there are times wherein conscience is roused up like a Uon, 
and tears '^ them in pieces" according to the fearful threatening. 
This is sometimes done by the powerful preaching of the word : 
the apostle describes *' the word of God'' by its admirable effi<p 
cacy; " It is quick and powerful, and sharper than dny two-ed- 
ged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder the soul and 
spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discemer of the 
.thoughts and intents of the heart." When the word by a pier- 
cing application discovers the bosom sin, and the fearfiil judg- 
ment that attends it, so that the guilty cannot obscure the evi- 
dence of the one, nor avoid the terror of the other, then consci- 
ence bleeds afresh that was seared before. There is recorded a 
wonderful instance of this in the ^' Acts of the Apostles :" when 
Paul the prisoner '^ reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and 
judgment to come," Felix trembled : * the discoursing of those 
virtues 'tliat were directly contrary to his habitual enormities^ 
ripped up his conscience to the quick, and struck into consterna- 
tion that lofty sinner. From hence it is that many decline a 
sharp and searching ministry, which is always the token of a 
guilty heart. The word shining upon the conscience (lil^e the 
reflection of the sun upon the waters that made them appear like 

« Per omnem saevitiam & libidinem jas rcgiam servili iogeoio exercuU, 
Tacit. Lib. 5. HUt. 

To kxv^ivttv f oStfftiytf • 


blood) makes sins to appear in their crimson guilt, their bloody, 
aggravations. Our Saviour tells us, that ^^ the evil doer neither 
loves nor comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved/' 
John 3. 20. Whei^a powerful preacher, as a second conscience, 
as if he knew the hearts and ways of men, sets their sins in or. 
der before their eyes, and closely applies the threatenings of di^ 
vine vengeance to them, conscience often joins with hioi, and as 
a faithful ecSio rq>eata the terriUe truths to their conviction and 

in times of affliction, ^^ when our sins find us oiit, we usually 
find out our sins%^' In full prosperity men are strangers at home^ 
and rarely look inward : they will not endure the inquisition und 
judicature of conscience : wealth and wickedness harden them 
against the most serious counsels, the most solemn repro^s and 
ardent exhortations : they are blind to the sun, and deaf to thun-* 
der ; but a sharp affliction clears the eyes, unlocks the ears, e/peim 
the heart, and pricks the tender vein. The awakened penitent 
will make an exact .search to fiud out the Achan, the troubler of 
the soul, and the spedal sin is so in the interpretation ot,the vi«- 
gilant and afflicted conscience. The bitter remembrance qi 
that sin is answerable to its guilt ; the more it was indulged, .th^ 
more the Jaw of God was despised, the more it wounds the spi^ 
rit : when the ple«isuTe is passed, nothing remains but the sting 
and poison« . Joseph's brethren, who so long had been insensible 
of their treacherous selling him to bondage and misery ; yet ip 
their feais conscience remembers it with aggravations of their 
unnatural cruelty : ^.^ And they said one to another, we are verily 
guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his 
soul, wh^n ^e besought us, and we would not hear ; therefore ia 
this distress come upon us.'' 

. Lastly. Consider the several kinds of sins to find out your 
own : some are of omission, some of commission ; some are spi- 
ritual and inward ; some are carnal, and acted with noise and 
notice; some distinctly flow from visible causes; some spring 
from an unsuspected fountain* There are many of a civil com- 
posed conveisation, who are careless of spiritual duties, of holy 
communion with God by raised solemn thoughts^ and ardent de- 
sires, of watchfulness over their hearts, to regulate their aims 
and affections by the pure law, and are insensible of their neg- 
lect and guilt. The unrenewed nature has a strong reluctance 

94 rem surb tbial 

ugainst spiritual duties. Many are rigtiteoos to meii, and M-« 
righteous towards God ; they do not pay those duties that are 
indispensably from reasonable creatures to the blessed Creator : 
the highest love for his perfections and benefits^ an obedient re- 
spect to his commands in their actions, a resigned submission to 
his wHI and Tirisdom, an entire trust in his fatherly prorid^nce, 
and zeal for his glory. Many rob him of that time that is con- 
secrated to his service : the Lord's Day, (though it is our privi- 
lege as well as duty to keep it holy) when the public worship ia 
at an end, as tf the remainder were unsanctified, they wret<*hedly 
waste in coifiplimental visits, in civil matters, in discourses im- 
pertinent to the solemn work of it. Many who are diRgent to 
povide for their frunilies, yet are as bad as infidels in neglecting. 
to instruct their children and servants in die saving doctrine dl 
the gospel, to command them to be circumspect in their ways, 
to set before them a living pattern of holiness, and carelessly suf- 
fer their precious souls to perish for ever. How many who am 
n6t guilty of open rebellious sins against the law, yet neglect the 
great indispensable duty of the gospel; an humble, unfeigned, en- 
tire closing with Christ as their Prtni6e and Sai^Our. They presume 
lipon their moral virtues, of the Safety and goodness of their condi-* 
tion : they never had a feeling sense of their vvant of tlie imputed 
righteousness of Christ to'recondletfaem to God, nor of the holy 
tspirit CO make them partakers of Che divine nature") aa if only the 
.profane, riotous, notbrious sinners, had need Of his ttiosf fh^edous 
inerits and mediation to abolish their guilt, and save them from 
hell, and of the hol]^ spirit to sanctify them; 'Froih hence it is 
that many civil persons remain in an unrenewed state, and are 
the natural subjects of satan,' and die in their sins. Some are 
regular in a course of religious duties^ they phiy, hiear the word; 
receive the sacrament, but vrithoiit those holy affd^fions that are 
the life dP religions duties, yet content themselves with the c^ctef -^ 
hal bodily service, which is neithei' ptelohlg to 'Gbd'nor'proiit- 
ible to their souls; 'Sbme cherish a liediet pride^ that they are 
fiot so bad as others y tome a vain j^resuMptidn of the divine fa- 
vour, because they serve God in 'a pu^ wa^'of worshlpf than 
others, when they lieglecr sutatantial religion that redMnmends 
iis to his gracious eyei Some will sever^y inflect up<m the visi* 
ble sins of others, whilst l^ere is an unperceived consimiption of 
the spiritual life in themselves. This may seem to proceed from 

OF imtiQmvBatt* 93 

the liatred .of m, tvhen the teal inwanl moCife is to quiet ocm- 
seieiice by an i^qpearance of seal against sin, and make it inob* 
seiTtfnt of ^ir ifltvardvohmtary, defeets. The mctot excellent 
things may be ooanterfeit, satan may transform hinurtelf into an 
angel of %Iit^ sinftd atfectioDS«nay be varnished and gilded^ so 
a«( to be mistaken for divine- graces. Briefly) the heart is an' 
ererlasting decaiirer) and wilhoat a perpetual* watcMiilness, we 
are in danger of dose ootraptioQB. that wttl blast our sincerity. 
To find out oar sin, it b recpiisita ti» search wheie We mdy think' 
there is littla reason to expect dto finding it. 

. 2. i.will now consider what : the preserving Idmself from Ins' 
peculiar ^itt implies. 

(1.) An abstaining from tfa&|nraotice of that lini.' When Da* 
vid had an opportmuty to destv^ Ssif I, bis mwigiiteoos and im« 
placable enemy, and securo httlself^ririienf eaDoitld to it by Abi-^ 
shai, who wOoU have diqiatahnl him at a Uowj yet he rejected 
die temptntioii' with abherrenae^ ;^^The bcsd^^lsrbid that I 
shoiikl stretdififftk my hnid'sgawt the LoidT^ An<dnted$'' 1 
Sam. 26. IL tfai»hcrpreseiNai Us'innocehee siQd^& 

Out Ssfionr: teUa; v% ^^ H« that comnftasia^ itf. a sehFlmt of 
sitt ^^ Icfan & an indnlgsnt cOMsa b# sib dedoMlnates a ptmott ^ 
sfarte of sin/ Hocbarebdnginast (Sioi^miA is> ntteriy inocmsiseent 
with moAitf. '^it'is'tms, an!>iq>right oian'may Asdl by stidden 
sncielrtaon, h^'attiasinoati^g inShndtyintoralbtilsiii, from which 
he ha8,ii:deiatle&aireisiod,.Bad haepshiraseK^iiith^ gtti^al cotttse 
of his life : and that sing^ act of lihx is « Id^mish Of Ms 1nt^tity> 
but reltei^ by -A ipeedy lepdatsliee, do«^ tfol deiltomihate him 
a bypdcnte^a; fittie iiiajr be : pMe ^frem an a<?eide«lal surprise by 
{e$rf-tkct^'thakl^i waHAm Audi of bipod firotri aiiger, yet not 
be ^Mf eMipkxsinir Jar tliei eompUxions/ |>ale imd sangiiine; 
aredra^ bjl t^p[|^/of nature^ ^tbefivriydhahicters of the 
piedteiinaBteiaitequK^ sfeiid p« .nisuaiiy Kidlbie lii the counte- 

-Btltalthoi«h anrnipi^htpesMi^fcedpsIl^^ tH^ ^iW 
Ma of 8|na'Aa^ ase deaily 9gkMt fitttdfttl IsMMSdiftce; tind su- 
pmakur^ 9»^ i yet wfaiht wo are clothed with flesh, the body 
of )dat does pitifiiiiUyieitJ^iwj Ai^^ttvptaekmjupt ha importu- 
nate as flies about us, (firom whom the tempter has his title) that 
it is^moral^ :i^ppe9ble-.to be ajssolutely ondefiled t therefore up- 
rightness requires that we should carefully consider our weak 


side^ what passions we are most inclinable to by our taupeTf 
and so diligently fortify ourselves against them, that they may 
not 'have dominion over us ; and though we cannot atrive, yet we 
may advance towards the eomplete conquest of sin* And in our 
endeavours against the sins to which we are most inclinable^ 
and that often foil us^ constancy is inseparable from sincerity. If 
we neglect the humUing of our soub for unavoidable infirmities, 
the earnest seeking for the divine mercy and graee, and a careful 
watching agajnst them, we so far decline from uprightness. 

(2.) It implies the mortifying the inward affection to that sin. 
The rule of our duty requires this : ^' Cleanse your hands ye sin- 
nersj purify your hearts ye double-minded.^'. Jam. 4. 8. The 
will is the prqper principle of sin, and from the depravation of 
the free friculty actual sins proceed* Ae.tbe Ions of the subject 
is the strength of the prince,, so the love of any sin {Reserves its 
dominion. There may be a coneurrence of circumstancies to hin« 
der the actual commission of m%, of which the heavt is guilty.' 
An uqdean person, when sqiacated ftaat the object of his impure 
desires, may languish in%s lusts, and by contemplative colnmis-i 
sion b^ guilty before God. * A malicious person may keep the 
fire of malice in his breast, withottt the least discovery by a spark 
or smoke in his words or actLoos, waiting for an (qipmrtunity that 
he may take his fiUI revenge, and is a murderer in his wishes* 
The rapacious desire of another's goods withcmt actual rabbcvy^ 
induces the guilt of theft. These naay be an invindUe bar be- 
tween the sinfol affection and the object. 

Sickness or age may so waste, liie vigour of the body, that we 
cannot perform the gross acts of sin : but this abstineaoehas no 
moral value, for it only proceeds from the disability of the instni- 
mental faculties. If one in a consumption leaves Us revelling 
and licentiousness, it is no sign of divine grace, but of wasted 
nature. As in a sick person the appetite fiuls, '^the soul abhors 
dainty meat ;** Job, 33. but if he recovers, his appetite revives, 
and is more craving for his abstinence; thus many who could not 
enjoy their pleasant lusts in the time of diseases, bemg restored 
to strength, their vicious affections are reincited by new tempta- 
tbns, and with greater excess act over their old.sins, as if they 

* Latro cit etfam aalequam inqsireC amrai i fedt e&in qaisqali qvantua 
volttlt, Saue^ 

would pay interest for their impatient forbearance. An old sin^ 
ner may retain and cherish the fire of hist in his hearty whent 
age has snowed upon his head : as in mount Mtna the sulphure^ 
oas fire and snow are near together. But as the philosopher ob<- 
serves^ if a young eye were p<it into an old man's head, he would 
see as clearly as ev^. So if natural Strength were restored in an 
unconyerted sinnety he would be as ardent and active in prose-' 
cutin^ his eamal desires as before^ 

Tcarrors of conscience may stc^ the current of tnen's lusts i 
fear has torment, and is inconsistent with the pleasures of sin 9 
the fear of visible vengeance, that sometimes strikes the wicked, 
or the apprehension of ju(^gment to come, may control the li- 
centious appetites from breaking forth into actual commission of 
sins. But as when the lions spared Daniel, it wa9 not fironr the 
change of their wild devouring nature, fer they destroyed his 
accusers immediately, *' but firokn the suspending their hurtful 
power : so when a strong fear lays a restraint upon the active 
powers, yet inward lust iiTthe same, and would licentiously com-* 
mit sin, were the restrunt taken away* 

The keying ones self firom sin, that is the sign of uprightness 
proceeds from the mortifieation of '^ the Sesh, with the affections 
and lusts thereof/' The apostle tells usy '^ carnal circumcision, 
without the circumeisibn of the heart, was of no avail to obtain 
the favour of God :*' so the outward forbearance of sin without 
inward purity, can never eommend us to the divine acceptance. 
Af rebel may be driven from the frontiers,' but so long as he keeps 
the royal city, he is unsubdued : so if a lust keeps possession of 
the heart, though the exeeutive powers may be retained or dis^ 
i^led from the outward acts, it still reigns. 

3. 1 shall now prove tbit the keeping a man's self from his 
special sin, is an undeceiving evidence of sincerity. 

1st. God approves it : *^ I was upright before htm. God has 
not eyes of flesh, he doth not see as manlBees/' The deepest 
breast is as clear as crystal in his s^ht. He ^^ weighs the spirits 
of men,'' and exactly knows what is true gold, and what is coun- 
terfeit. He is the searcher and judge of our hearts, and his 19- 
probation is the strongest seal of our uprightness. As God said 
to Abraham, *^ jiow I know thou (barest me, in that thou hast 

* Anwri Dcct, potirl son licet. 
Vol. II. G 


not withheld thy son, tUne onlysoh from me.'' Gen. 22. 12* 
So if we sacrifice at his command, the sin that is as dear to us 
as Isaac was to his father, the sin of otir love and delight, the 
8in that is ours by choice and custom, then we shall hear the 
blessed testimony from heaven, that we love God in sincerity ; 
he will own us as his firiends. Sincere christians can appeal to 
God in the psalmist's language, and with hfls affections ; <^ Lord^ 
search me, and try me, and see whether there be any way of 
wickedness in me :'' they are not conscious of any indulged 
course of sin, which would make them fearful of his pure and 
piercing eye. 

2dty. It wiU appear that the. keeping ourselves from our pecu- 
liar sins, b an a^allible proof of uprightness, by considering in 
what it consists. In scripture upr^fatoess is equivalent to per* 
fection and integrity, and opposite to gvihf. 

(1,) It is equivalent to perfection ; " mark the perfect man, 
and behold the upright ; for the end of that man is peaee.'' Psah 
37* 37. The absolute perfection of holiness is not attainable 
upon earth, none are refined to a height of purity without mix- 
tures and allays : but according to the mitigation of the gospel, 
the saints, whose aims, desires, and endeavours are to obtain 
perfection, are accepted in the blessed Mediator as perfect. 
Now the indulgence of any darling sin, is utterly inconsistent 
with perfection in the mild sense of the gospel, and oonsequehtly 
with i^nrightness. This will be more evident, by considering, 
that uprightness is equivalent with integrity. The psalmist prays^ 
** let integrity and uprigtri;ness preserve me." Integrity inqpltes 
an uniform equal respect to all the divine commands. When 
conscience of our duty .to God, and the reverence of Us autiiDrity 
shining in his law, inclines us to obey all his will, we are upright. 
Partial obedience that divides the precepts, and coknplies with 
those that are agreeing with our carnal affections and interest, 
and neglects the rest, is as inconsistent with sincerity as death 
and life. As the soul in the natural man is a vital, principle from 
whence all the actions of li£e and sense proceed ; so renewing 
grace is a principle of universal obedience. Heiod '^ did many 
things gladly, upon the preaching of John the Baptist :'' but he 
would not part with Herodias, his charming lust still had domi^- 
nion in his heart. The young man observed other commands of 
the law, but when our Saviour tried his integrity, by command- 


ing him ^ to seB all, and to give it to the podr, and he should 
have treasure in heaven 5" it is said, *« he went away sorrowful:'* 
covetousness was his bosom sin, and blasted the sincerity of his 

(2.) Uprightness is opposite to guile. Our Saviour gives this 
testimcmy of Nathaniel, " behold an Israelite indeed, in whom 
there is no guile;" a genuine son of Israel, whose character was 
sincerity. Guile implies a reserved affection for a particular sin, 
under a pretence of religious observing the divine law« The 
scripture sets forth by conjugal love, the dearest resemblance of 
the mutual love between Christ and his church. If a wife should 
take another besides her husband into her embraces^ she is an 
adulteress, false to her husband ; and all her amiable attractive 
society with him, is but the fine hypocrisy and pretence of love; 
Thus when one bosom sin is retained, the heart is false to God, 
notwithstanding the most specious devotion : the indulgent prac-» 
tice of one sin impeaches our integrity. 

(3.) To this I shall add select examples of uprightness re- 
corded in scripture. It is said of Noah, ^^ he was a just man, 
and perfect in his generations : for when the whole world lay in 
vrickedness, he preserved himself unspotted from their polhi^* 
tions:" this was a noble testimony of his uprightness in the 
esteem cf God. « Joseph repeBed the impure solicitations of ^lis 
mistress with indignation : '^ how shall I do this great wicked- 
ness, and sin against God ?'' David when old, and his blood 
and spirits so frozen, that no clothes could warm him, that a fair 
young virgin lying in his bosom was not blemished by him, was 
not from divine grace, but wasted nature.: but that Joseph in the 
vigour of his age, the sinning season, kept hliitkself undefiled,^ 
was the sure symptom of sincerity. Job has this testimony from 
God, that <^ he was a perfect upright man :" and in the depth 
of his affliction^ he teBs his suspicious friends, ** till I die, I will 
not remove my integrity from me : my heart shall not reproach 
me so long as I live ;" Job 31. 4, 5, 6, 7. that is, of reigning 
hypocrisy of which they had accused him. His uprightness he 
proves by an induction : he preserved himself from the sin of his 
age: in lus youth, when sensual lusts are impetuous, he '^ made 
a covenant with his eyes not to look upon a maid t" and for this 
reasoQ, because he was under ^' the inspection and observance of 
God." He kept himself from the sins of his calling : he was a 


macnstrate, 'and in the exercise of his office, ^^ his foot ncTer 
hasted to deceit, and no blot cleaved to his hand :'' upon this 
he appeals to the enlightened tribunal above, '< let me be weighed 
in the balance, that God may know my integrity.'' He kept 
himself from the sins of his condition ; for though high in dig- 
nity, yet so humble, *^ that he despised not the cause of his man- 
servant or maid-servant that contended with him :" though iir 
full prosperity, yet so compassionate, that as a ^ father he fed 
the poor, and clothed the naked." He was so sensible of hia 
dependant mutable state here, '^ that gold was not his hope, nor 
the fine gold his confidence :" and so heavenly and spiritual in 
his mind and affections, ^^ that he did not rejoice because his 
wealth was great, and because his hand had gotten much.'' 
This reflection upon the temper of his heart-, and his deport- 
ment in his prosperous state, was the main assurance of his in- 


- r. Let us be excited to make a judgment of ourselves by this 
rule. The true decision of our spiritual state, results from the 
testimony of conscience concerning our uprightness or insincerity. 
'^ If our hearts condemn us not" of predominant hypocrisy, some 
indulged habitual sin, '^ then have we confidence towards God," 
that we are accepted of him. If conscience be enlightened and 
feithful in the trial, a man cannot deliberately deceive himself: 
he must know whether his resolutions and endeavours be to obey 
*^ all the will of God ;" or, whether, like an intermitting puk^ 
that sometimes beats regirlariy, and then feultecs, he is zealous 
in some duties, and cold or careless in others ? Saul would offer 
sacrifice, but not obey the divine command to destroy all the 
Amalekites : for his partiahty and hypocrisy he was rejected of 
God. But it is the character of David, he was , a ^' man after 
God's own heart, in that he did all his will." It is not the au« 
thority of the lawgiver, but other motives that sway those who 
observe some commands, and are respectless of others. A ser* 
vant that readily goes to a fair or a feast when sent by his master, 
and neglects other duties, does not his master's command from 
obedience, but his own choice. Sincere obedience is to the roy- 


tdty of the divine law, and is commensurate to its purity and 

There are two requisites to make a certain sign of a thing: 
1. If the sign be never without the thing signified. 2. If the 
thing be >ficver without the^ign. The redness of the sky is but 
« contingent sign of fair weather, because the appearance of it 
«n the morning is often followed with storms and rain ; and 
sometimes a feir day is without that visible sign. But daylight 
is an infallible sign of the sun's being risen : for its aseending in 
.the horizon always causes day, and without the presence of the 
sun, all inferior lights can never cause day. Thus the abstaining 
from the beloved lust is a sure sign of uprightness : for it is in- 
txmsistent with hypocrisy, and the inseparable effect of sincerity, 
it is inconsistent with hypoerisy: till the divine grace cleanses 
the heart, alters the taste of our appetites, and purifies our affec- 
HoDBy we shail never detest and forsake our own sins that are 
deshed in our natures. 

k is true,^ there may be an abstainisg from some sins, when 
the heart is not eihcere towards God : for some particular sins 
are opposite to the respective tempers of men, and' the averse- 
neas from them is not the effect of supernatural grace, but of 
natural constitution. As that meat that is delicious to one pa* 
late, to another is distastefril ; so the sins that have a tempera- 
mental felish to some, are disagreeing to others. 

It is observed of those who are stung with a tarantula, the 
sweetest music does not move them till those notes are struck 
that are harmonious with 'their distemper, and then delightfully 
transported, they frdl a dancmg till their strength is spent. Thus 
temptations are prevalent according to the complexional lusts of 
human nature. But when there is no harmony and agreement 
between the objects without, and the afiections within, the 
tempter loses his design. A vohiptuous brate, whose heart is 
always smothering or flaming with impure desires, may have no 
inclination to eovetousness : a ^sovetous wretch, whose soul 
cleaves to the earth, may fed no temptation at the sight of an 
ex^isite beauty. Some are made captives by one passion, and 
some by another. In the mysterious fable, Perseus, who ejo 
countered the terrors of Medusa, was easily overcome by the 


102 ms SVRB TBlikh 

beauty of Andromeda. * Virtue victorious over fear ia 6!ten cor* 
rupted by pleasure. 

Besides, some lusts are of atepugnaxit nature. Tlus difference 
is observable between errors and truth, vices and virtues. Er- 
rors are inconsistent and irreconcileabic, and at ivar among 
themselves : but truth has an universal consent and mutual de- 
pendance in all its parts : there is no contrariety between natural 
and supernatural verities. Vices are sometimes so contrary in 
their ends and exercise, that they fiill foul upon one another^ 
that none can be so universally wicked, as to commit all sins, 
but if he be addicted to one must forsake the other. But there 
is a connexion between the graces of the Holy Spirit ; though 
' different in their objec;f» and natures, yet they have the same 
tendency, the glory of God and our own salvation, and are 
united in the subject. There is but one way to heaven, as there 
can be but one straight way to a place : but there are innttme«> 
rable deviations from it, as many ** crooked ways" to hell as there 
are sinful lusts that bring men thither. The prophet tells us, 
^' all we like sheep have gone astray, every one in his own way/' 
There are many by-paths that lead to destruction. 

We must also observe to prevent mistakes, there may be a 
forsaking of a particular sin that has been delightful and predo* 
minant, without sincerity towards God : for another lust may 
have got possession of the heart, and take the throne. There is 
an altctmate ^(uccession of appetities in the corrupt nature, accord- 
ing to the change of men's tempers or interests in the worlds 
As seeds sown in that order in a garden, that it is always fiill of 
the fruits in season : so original sin that is sown in our nature 
is productive of divers lusts, some in the spring, others in Ae 
summer of our age, some in the autumn, o^ers.in the winter. 
Sensual lusts flourish in youth, but when mature age has cooled 
these desires, worldly lusts succeed.; in old age there is no relish 
of sensuality, but covetousness reigns imperiously. And as the 
eonditions and interests of men alter, so their affections change ; 
they are not constant to their bosom-sins. Jfow he that expeb 
one sin, and entertains another, continues in a state of sin ; it is 
but exchanging one femiliar for another ; or to borrow the pro* 

• Victorq; Medosae Tictot in Aodroflneda. MtmU, 


phet'« expremiim, ^^ it is as if one should fly JBrom a lion^ and 
meet with a bear, that will as certainly devour him/* 

The forsaking our respective sin is the inseparable effect of 
uprightness. It has been proved before, that if the heart be di- 
Tided between obedience to the divine law, and inclination to 
any sin, it is fake to God. Repenting Ephraim said, <' what 
have I to do any more with idols?*' Hosea 14. An express- 
flion of vehement detestation : idolatry had been the reigning sin ^ 
of that tribe, and therefore the renouncing of idols was a clear 
convincing sign of their sound conversion. It is impossible that 
sincere love to God, and the habitual allowance of a known sin 
should be in the same heart, as for the ark of God and the idol 
of the Philistines to be placed on the same altar : uprightness is 
consistent with frailties, but not with chosen lusts. As loyalty 
to the prince is consistent with some actions contravening his 
laws, that proceed from ignorance or surprise : but loyalty is in- 
consistent with rebellion, that is open treason, or with treasona- 
ble designs that are secret rebellicm. So any sin that men pre* 
sumptuously live in, or consent to in their hearts, is absolutely 
inconsistent with uprightness. 

2. Let us be excited to keep ourselves with all diligence from 
our iniquity. This is the master-piece of mortification, the 
noble effect of renewing grace, and very difficult to the corrupt 
nature. To enforce this duty, I will propound those motives 
and meam as are very conducing for our peiformance of it* 

The motwes are, 

(I.) Habitual indulged lusts are irrecondleable with the state 
of grace ; they render the sinner, till forsaken, incapable of God's 
pardoning mercy here, and the heavenly glory hereaften The 
gospel is a gracious act of oblivion for the restoring of rebellious 
sinners to the favour of God : but the pardon is obtained upon 
conditions that are indispensable. Mercy is as»ired to penitent 
believers for all their sins of ignorance, and those frailties that 
%re the causes of their daily sorrow and watchfolness, and for all 
|yresumptuons sins retracted by repentance: but the Saviour of 
the world excludes the impenitent and unreformed from mercy; 
** unless ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Now when re- 
pentance is sound and solemn, the spirit is deeply wounded for 
that sin whereby God has been most dishonoured, and his law 
violated : the remembrance of it opens a full stream of tears^ 



^nd excites a holy hatred: and according to the d^eea of 691^ 
TOW and revenge, there will be care to preserve oorselvee from 
that sin. The psalmist saith^ ^^ blessed is the man to whom, the 
Lord imputes no iniquity, in whose spirit there is no guile ;" im- 
plying, that one reserved lust which is a certain argument of 
deceit in the fairest professors of religion, is a bar against th^ 
pardon of our sins. The .tenor of the unchangeable covenant of 
grace is, ^^ I will write my laws in their hearts ; and I will be 
merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities I 
\%iil remember no more;" God promises to reconcile their affec- 
tions to his commands* The law may be writtea in the mind 
and memory of an unsanctified person, for the ideas of the most 
repugnant thiiigs are consistent in those faculties ; but the hj^art 
is not capable of contrary objects : the love, of God's law expels 
the predominant love of sin. Now since the promise of pardon 
is in conjunction with inward sanctification, which implies an 
universal aversion from sin, it is evident that indulged habitual 
lusts are not capable of pardon : whatever quality the sin be of, 
whether of omission or commission, the allowance makes it des* 
tructive to sinners. As from what comer soever a blasting wind 
comes, whether from the east or the north, it destroys the fraits* 
If but one selected sin remains in the affections and practice, it 
pontracts t}ie m^iguity of all the rest, and will prpve deadly to 
^he ^o]ilf 

It is not a presumptuous reliance on the merits of Christ will 
*^ save men with their sins." 

The atonement made to divine justice by the precious sacrifice 
of the Lamb of God, was never designed for the reconciling God 
* to those who with depraved obstinacy continue in their sins : it 
is utterly inconsistent with the divine wisdom, holiness, justice, 
and truth, to appoint a s^rifice for tlie expiaticHi of final impe^ 
liitency : such out-sin the death of Christ, I will not say as to 
its infinite merit, bi|t as to the application and intended benefit 
of it. The value of his death to abolish the guilt, and the vir* 
tue of it to mortify the power x)f sin are inseparable. The pre- 
cious balm has a fragrant smell that revives the spirits, but with- 
out applying its substance to the woimd the scent will no( heal it* 
The soul must feel the power of Christ's sufferings to kill our sins, 
otherwise the pleasing belief of his righteousness will not justify 
us before God. The mercy-seat sprinkled with bis blood affords 

OF TJFHieiiTNBM. 106 

f roteetum bma the avenger to all relenting, returning sinners ; 
but juitiee will tear the presumptuous sinner from the horns of 
the altar. 

The most rigorous penance will not avail without mortifying 
the affection to sin : the most severe discipline to the body, is 
but like a mountebank's ^^lying the salve to the weapon with- 
out dressing the wound, that cannot work a sound cure. 

l*he dispensing of the Ueasure of merits to penitent pay« 
masters, and giving mercenary bills of exchange to receive right* 
eousness from others, is so wretdied and transparent a fallacy, 
that were not the mkids of men prodigiously stupified, it is im- 
possible they should believe it will avail them before the jndg- 
went^-seat dF God. 

Let our prayers be never so frequent and earnest, they are of 
4o prevalency with God whibt the beloved sin is retained. The 
eonditioo of our favourable audience is set down by Solomon in 
his divine prayer at the dedication of the temple ; '^ what prayer 
or supplication soever.be made by any man, or by all the people 
fit Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own 
heart, and spread forth his hand to heaven ; then hear thou in 
heaven, and beariqg forgive.'* 1 Kings 8. 38. If they shall be 
sensible of the bosom sin, of its pestilential malignity, and with 
repenting sorrow acj^nowledge and forsakeit, they are prepared 
objects of mercy. David saith, '* if I regard iniquity in my 
heart, the Lord will not hear my prayer.'' God sees through ail 
the disguises of hypocrites, and has a bright prospect into the 
heart, if any inrinuating infirmity be cherished there, it will make 
him averse from our persons and requests. 

It is not the performance of religious and charitable duties, 
ihat will purchase indulgen<^ for a beloved sin. The most costly 
sacrifices, %he most liberal charities, are neither pleasing to God, 
nor profitable to us, without an unfeigned renouncing ot our sins. 
It is a, carnal shift that many use to excuse the practice of a 
chosen sin, by the doing some good things : many strict ob- 
serven of the rituals of religion, are dissolute epicures: as if (hey 
might compensate for their voluntary defects in one duty by their 
«are in another. But if eonseience be not so far stupified that it 
can neither hear, nor see, nor speak, it is impossible but the 
guilty deceiver must be terrified with the words of St. James, 
*^ that whosoever shall keep the whole law, yet ofiend in one 


point, he is guilty of all :" the most strict observance of one pre- 
oept will not excuse disobedience to another : the TOhintary con« . 
tinued transgression of any command invdves a man under the 
guilt ofbreaktng the entire law, the divine authority being de- 
«pised that makes it binding. I will instance in one kind of sins. 
* Many that have increased their estates by craft and circumven- 
tion, or by violence and rapine, will bequeath part to pious uses, 
fwesuming by a kind of composition with God to be discharged 
•of their guil^ gains. St. Austin observes that some in his time 
thought it to be obedience to the command of our Saviour, 
^^ make yourselves friends of the mammon of. unr^hteousness, 
that when ye^fidl they may receive you into everlasting habita- 
tions.*' This is to defile and debase the name of the righteous 
and Holy God, it is to make him altogether like to corrupt men, 
as if he would be bribed to pattonize their wickedness. And in 
other cases, thus monstrously carnal men bend the rule of recti- 
tude to the obliquity of their desires. They are willing to de- 
ceive themselves, and imagine that only ministers of a preciser 
strain will terrify them with eternal judgment for ohe retained 
m; they desire and are apt to believe such a mercy, as will 
bring them to heaven with their sins in their bosoms. But the 
apostle'^wams us, <' be not deceived, God is not mocked ; as a 
nan sows, so shall he tesp/* 

There are sure and tender mercies for the upright ; but strict 
and certain justice for the wicked. Sincerity is so uniable and 
pleasing in God's eyes, that he graciously passes by many infir- 
mities upon that accoimt. It is said of Asa, '^ that his heart 
was perfect all his days,'' 2 Chron. 16. 17* and notwithstanding 
some gross faults, God accepted him. But when the heart is 
, corrupted by the love of some pleasant or profitable sin, it ren- 
.ders a person with the most qpecious services odious in God's 
jsight. In shoit, indulged known sins that men habitually com- 
mit in hopes of an easy absolution, are not tlie spots of God's 
diildren. It is so directly contrary to the divine nature, to that 
holy ingenuous fear of offending our heavenly Father resulting 

* PuUnt fc facere quod praceptuin est, dicsnt eoim nipcrem aUeast 
Mammona est iDiquitatis: erogare inde aliqnid maxime egeotibai sanctif hoe 
est, facere amicos de Mammooa Iniquitatis. Iiitellectui iste corrigeDdui est, 
imo d« Ubolis cordis dclendos t»U Noli taJcm piogere Dcam, jiitg, Ser. 25. 
deVer}). Dom. 

or BPBIGBTMBBi. 107 

from it^ that cmly the widied are capable of such a dspo^ion. 
PresuoiptiXHis sins are a contumeliocis abase of dhrine mercy, and 
exasperate that high and tender attribute to the coofonon of sin* 
.ners at the hist. '^ Do good, O Lord, unto those that be good^ 
and to them that are upright in heart. As far soeb as turn arida 
to thdr crooked ways, the Lord shall lead them forth with the 
workers of iniquity/' Psal, 125. 4. 

. (2.) We may, by divine grace, subdue the strongest lusts, that 
from our nature and temper, or from custom, and the interests 
of the carnal state have rule over us. The new covenant assures 
believers, that ** sin shall not have dominion over them, because 
they are not under the law but under grace/' The law strictly 
Jorbids sin, but the gospel ftunishes with strength to subdue it. 
It is fnie, inherent comiption has so divested men of sphituri 
atieogtb, that they cannot free themselves from the power and 
infection of sin : and when any hist is fomented by temptations, 
and has beim frequently gratified, it is more hard to be sub*- 

. The apostle speaks of some, ^^ whose eyes were ftillof adulte- 
xy, that could not cease from sin :'' they were in a state of car- 
nalitVy and loved to be so. When hist is imperious, and the 
will servile, men cannot wean themselves from the poisoned 
breasts. This dirability consists in the depraved obstinacy of the 
wiii, that aggnntates their sin and judgment. Yet so foolish ate 
aimers, aa to use this plea to make them excusable for their ha- 
bitual lusts i conscience checks them, and some faint desires they 
have to avoid their sins, but they cannot change their natures. 
They colour licentiousness with the pretence of necessity : they 
complain of their chains, to let loose the reins of their exorUtant 
desires in a course of sin. But natural comiption that involves 
OS under guilt, cannot make us innocent. It is true, if in our 
oQgiiiai condition, the human will had been stamped by fate with 
an vnalterabie indinalaon to sin, we eouM not have been guihy: 
^ for if there be no principles of liberty, all the names of good 
md evil are cancelled, and all moral means, instructions, per^ 
s, threatenings, are but lost labour. In brutes there are 
I natoral resemblances of virtue and vice, yet not worthy of 
reward or punishment ; only so for as by imagination they are 

* Vee boMs qvtsqt bcc main diet debeat, nee e»e Tsleat, niti voleDi. 


captdble oF imtniction and discipline, and by' coming near to rea- 
ion, have a little imitation of liberty, they are rewarded or pa- 
nished. But man in the condition wherein he was created, had 
perfect freedom, becoming the dignity of the reasonable creature, 
and was enriched with all the graces of which original righteous- 
ness was compounded : the harmonious orders, and coherent dis« 
positions of the soul and body qualified him for his duty. But 
in the state wherein his voluntary sin has sunk him, the body is 
often distempered by the annoyance of the mind, and the soul 
pays an unnatural and injurious tribute to the vicious appetites 
of the body : and when corruption is heightened by custom, and 
the natural propensity inflamed by temptations, any lust becomes 
more irresistible : so that without a new nature inspired from 
above, they cannot rescue themselves from the bondage of sin* 

Now the moraf impotence in men to vanquish their lusts, 
though it will be no qiology at the day of judgment, yet it will 
discourage them from making resistance : for who will attempt 
an impossibility ? Despair of success relaxes the active powers, 
cuts the nerves of our endeavours, and blunts the edge of indus- 
tay. It is related of the West- Indians, that upon the first incur- 
sion of the Spaniards into their country, they tamely yielded to 
their tyranny : for seeing them clad in armour which their spears 
could not pierce, theyfimcied them to be. the children of the 
0un, invulnerable and immortal. But an Indian carrying a Spa- 
niard over a river, resolved to try whether he were mortal, and 
plunged him under water so long till he was drowned. From 
that experiment they took courage, and resolved to kill their 
enemies who were capable of dying, and recover thehr dear liber- 
ty lost by so foolish a conceit. Thus men will languish in a 
worse servitude, if they frmcy the lusts of the flesh, their intimate 
enemies to be insuperable. Fear congeals the spirits, and dis- 
^ables from noble enterprises, which hope persuades and courage 
executes. Now we have an army of conquerors to encourage us 
in the spiritual war with the flesh, the worid, and satan, ene- 
mies in ccnnbination against us. How many saints have preser*- 
ved themselves unspotted from the most alluring temptations ? 
They were not statues, without sensible fieunilties, but ordered 
them according to the rule of life; they were not without a ccm- 
flict of carnal passions, but by the Holy Spirit subdued them : 
and though some obtained a clearer victory thw Qthers, yet ^all 


were irictorious by divine graee. The examples of ao many hdy^ 
and heavenly men, prove as dearly and comvineingly, that the 
strongest lusts may be subdued, as the walking of Diogenes de* 
monstrated there was progressive motion against the sophistical 
arguments of Zeno. " I can do all things, saith the apostle, 
through Christ that strengthens me." To omnipotent grace all 
things are easy. Our Saviour speaking ci the extreme difficulty 
of a rich man's salvation ; <^ that it is as easy for a camel to go 
through the eye of a needle, as for a rich man to enter into i^e 
kingdom of heaven,'' presently mitigates the difficulty ; ^^ what 
is impossible to men, is possible to God." He can sanctify a 
rich man, that his humility shidl be as low, as his estate is rabed 
above others ; that his affection shall be heavenly in the afflu- 
eii<ce of the world ; that trust in God shall be his deaiest trea- 
sure. Divine grace is a sure fountain of assistance to all that 
sincerely seek it. It is the promise of God, '< Ephraim shall say, 
what have I to do any more with idols ?" The idols that charm- 
ed their imaginations, should be rejected with deep abhorrence. 
Our Saviour cured the paralytic person that for thirty-eight years 
had been in a deqperate case, incurable by natural remedies : an 
emblem of the efficacy of divine grace in curing the most invete»> 
rute habits (^ sin. There are recorded some eminent instances 
of the power of grace in changbg the nature of men. Nico4e<- 
mus came to our Sayiour concealed, at first by night, as being, 
ashamed or afraid oS observation in the day : ^< but when he was 
bom again by the r«iovation of the spirit," what an admirable 
change was wrought in him : with a holy heat of aflfection he 
defended our Saviour when alive, in the presence of the phari- 
sees, his unrighteous and implacable enemies : he brought costly 
preparations for his funeral when dead: and these two^ glorioue 
effects of lus vakmr, are recorded by St. John with this addition^ 
(' this is that Nioodemus that came to Jesus by night." John 7. 
19. John 19. 37* . No passion is more ungoveniable than festit, 
yet even the apostles did not eqxress such fidelity and fervency 
fiir the honour ot their master. Another instance is of the jailos 
that kept the apostles prisoners : he was of a harsh cruel tem- 
per, a quality adherent to his office ; but grace so intenerated 
and softened his heart, that ^^ he took them the same hour of 
the night, and washed their stripes. Acts 16. 33. A visible 
and sudden effect of the spirit of love and power^ and of a sound 


iniiid. It 18 Teooniled of many who used ^^ curiom arts, tliey 
brought their magical books, though coanted worth fifty thoa* 
sanil pieces of silver, and burnt them : so mightily grew the word 
of God, and prevailed/' Acts 19. 19, 20. How insuperable 
soever sin is to naked nature, it may be subdued by grace. St. 
John gives an honourable testimony of the christians to whom 
he wrote: ^^ my UtUe children, ye are of God, and hatve over-» 
eome the evil one : for the spirit diat is in you is greater than 
diat which is in the world/' The Holy Spirit is not only great- 
er in hhnself than the tempter, but as fortifying weak christians 
is superior to the evil spirit, with all his train of artiflery, the 
manifold temptations which the world affords in his war against 
oar souls. Satan takes advantage, not only from our security, 
bat our pusillanimity : we are therefore <^ commanded to resist 
the devil, and he will flee from ns." * What is observed of the 
crocodile, is applicable to the great enemy <^ our salvation : he 
is terrible in his assaults upon the funt-hearted, but flies from 
those who are watchful to resist his temptations. 

To excite christians to make serious and hopeful trials for the 
subduing the strongest corruptions, I will select'two examples of 
the virtuous heathens, who restrained anger and lust, that are 
1^ most rebellious passions against the empire of the mind. 
Soerates by natural temper was choleric, yet he had so far redu- 
eed his passions under the command of reason, that upon any 
violent provocation, his countenance was more placid and calm, 
his voice more temperate, and his words more obliging ; thus by 
wise counsel and circumspection^^ he obtained a happy victory 
over himself. 

The other is of young Scipio, the Roman general in Spain, 
who when a virgin of exquisite beauty was presented to him 
among other captives, religiously abstained from touching her, 
and restored her to the prince to whom she was espoused. How 
do such examples of the poor pagans, who in the glimmerings of 
nature expressed such virtues, upbraid christians who ue servants 
to their corruptions in the light of divine revelation ? If by the 
practice of philosophy they kept themselves from the dominion! 
of their carnal appetites, shall not christians by a supernatural 
aid obtain a clearer victory over them ? In vun do men pre* 

• TerribiliB cootra fogaces b«c bestia, fusaz contra sequentei. PSn. 


tend want <if strength to vanquish their stubborn hisCs ; for if 
they sincerely seek for divine grace^ and are CEiithful in the use of 
means proper to tliat end^ they shall obtMu a blessed fi«edoni 
from the power of sin. 

(3.) The subduing the ruling lust^ will make the victoiy over 
other sins more easy. Our commission against sin, is like thitf 
of Said i^nst the Amalekites, to destroy them all : if any one 
be spared, it will prove as fatal to us as die Amalekite that dis- 
patched Saul, who suffered him to live when the whole lineage 
was docHned to utter excision. Now amongst the divers luats^ 
that war against the soul, some are the leaders that give vigour 
to the rest, that recal them when withdrawn, rally them when 
scattered ; and renew the fight against us. As the virtues of the 
sanctified mind, so the passions of the carnal appetile assist one 
another : therefore when the corrupt pasMon that was so danger- 
ously iofluentiai upon the rest; is subdued by divine grade, they 
necessarily decline, and are easify, n^yrtified. . . 

' The temperamental lust is the -root firom whence. many others 
spring and are fed, and the eradicating of that takes away the 
strength and life of other vidous Sections. The king of Spia 
oommanded his captions not to %ht against small or great, but 
only against the king of Israel ; and after he wa^ elaih,' the vic- 
tory over his army was presently obtained^ Let us direct our 
zeal against the leading lust, for all th^ servile lusts must &11 and 
die with it. * When Mithridates the king of Pontusy a fieree 
implacfible enen^ of the Romaiis was killed, their ji^ was exu- 
berant in sacrifices and feasts, eiteeming that ah army of ene- 
mies were extinguished in his death. 

Besides, one victory inspires coarage to achieve another. 
When David was to encounter with Goliab, he derived confi- 
dence from his experiuce; '^Tbe Lord that delivered me out of 
the paw of the lion, and out (tf the paw of the bear,, he will deli- 
ver me out of the hand of this Philistine."' 1 Sam. 17. 37. 
The visible expresses of the divine power in conquering die for- 
mer enemies of the church, were the rapport of thdr faith : 
'^ Avrafcet, awake, O arm of the Lord, and put on strength.; art 
(hou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon, Pha- 
raoh and the Egyptian army?" Isa. 51. 9. In our spiritual 

* In Has MithridaCe iofialtos hostes peUisse rati. Fhr, 

112 TM St^tLB TRIAL 

wmr&rej experience of the divine assistance is a cordial that for^ 
tifies the spirits : if the strongest and fiercest of our corruptions 
lie bleeding ready to expire^ we shall not fear the rest. The 
same grace that has subdued the reigning lust, will make an im- 
pvession of obedience upon our affections that are less powerAil 
in us. 

(4.) Consider how dearly our sins cost our Saviour, his sacred 
blood, to reconcile us to Qod, and to set us free from their do« 
minion. This is an argument purely evangelical, and most wor^ 
thy the breast of a christian. He dearly purchased a title to our 
love, and the serious contemplation cf his passion, has an admi- 
rable efficacy to inspire the flatoe, and consequently to make sin 
odious, that must be expiated and purged away by such bitter 
sufferings. Our sins brought our Saviour to the cross, and can* 
we entertain them in our hearts with the crimson guilt that 
cleaves to diem ? Can we live in the practice of them, and cru- 
cify him afresh ? He '^came to redeem us from all iniquity, and 
purify us to himself, a peculiar people zealous of good works/' 
How can we defeat the end and disparage the efficacy of hie 
death 7 How can we violate such dear obligations ? To che* 
rish apy sin is the most ungracious and unkind return to his 
bleeding dying love, who valued our souls more than his most 
precious life. Were it not visible by daily experience, that many 
are so prodigiously wicked, it would riuse our wonder how it is 
possible, that any christian to whom the love of the Son of God 
in dying for our suis is revealed, should indulge himself in any 
sin. If we did frequently and with solemnity and seriousness re^ 
member the death of our Saviour, and his blessed intention in it, 
we should find that change in our hearts in regard of our sins, as 
Ammon did in his affections to his sister Tamar : his incestuous 
love to her at first was a secret fire that consumed him ; but after 
he had dishonoured her, and polluted himself, his hatred of her 
was more extreme than his love before : thus the sins that have 
been as near to us as our bosoms, as pleasant as our eorrupt in- 
* dinations, as familiar and intimate as custom, that have deeply 
defiled our souls, we should with stronger detestation reject them^ 
than ever with delight we committed them. 

(5.) The blessed reward of uprightness- is a powerful motive 
to excite us to keep ourselves from our sins. The firmament is 
not sowe<l thicker vrith stars, than the scripture vritir precious 

or uFRioamBM* 119 

promisM to the upright. They have a peculiar interest in the 
kyve of God that is the feuutain of felicity : << The prayer of the 
upright 18 his delight/' Pior. 15. 10. He is most graciously 
ready to supply-all their wants^ satisfy their desires, allay their 
sorrows, overcome their fears. '^The Lord is a sun and a 
shield : he will give grace and glory,, and no good thing will he 
withhold from those that walk uprightly.'' Psal. 84. A com- 
pr^ensive promise of the blessings of time and eternity. 

The highest honour is the reward of subduing our rebellious 
lusts. '^ He that is slow to anger, is better than the mighty : 
and he that nileth his spirit, than he that taketh a city." Prov* 
16. 32. The quality of the enemy makes the victory more illus** 
trious. Now the rebellious passions that war agdnst the soul^ 
are enemies infinitely more dangerous than those who destroy .the 
bodies and estates (rf men. The conquest of armies and cities is 
achieved by boMness and strength, that are not the peculiar ex« 
cellendes of man, for the horse and the lion are superior to him 
in those respects : but the reducing his uiuruly aflfecdons into ho« 
ly order, is the effect of divine grace, wherein we resemble God* 
How many of the Cunous heroes, in the world's account, were 
worse than wiM beasts, enemies to humanity, that unnaturally 
and barbarously spilt the blood of thousands to purple their usur- 
ped royalty? But in subduing the tyramious passions of lust 
and anger under the sovereignty of the renewed mind, there is 
the happy union of innocence and victory. 

There are degrees in the exaltation of the saints, as the pas^ 
sioD8 their inward enemies which they subdued, wefe more stub^ 
bom, and hardly to be overcome. In some there is such a con* 
eord of humours, such a placid mild temper, that they enjoy a 
pacific possession of themselves : but this is the benefit of nature^ 
not of victorious grace. • Where there is litde resistance, there 
is no honour to overcome ; where there is no^matter of triumph, 
there is no glory in triumphing. But when in the natural tem* 
per there are seeds of indtation to fierce anger and inordinate 
hnt, and when those propensities are inflamed by temptations, if 
we subdue those disorderly and violent passions, it is the most 
noUe eflbct of divine grace. On the contrary, the sinner that 
yields himself to the sway of the carnal fq>petites, is '^die ser* 

• MsgU extra fUla quam cvm vlrtutlbof. TttciU Lib. I. ife Clmidf*. 


Tant of corruptioD :" 1 Pet. 4. is defiled aad debased in such s 
manner, that he is sunk below the beasts that perish : for what is 
baser than corruptioa, except the sinner that obeys it ? 

The peace and joy that is the reward of victory over our sins, 
cannot be understood but by experience. What a savour of life 
is the death of a reigiting sin ? What an angelical comfort was 
it to Joseph and the blessed mother of Christ, when the advice 
was brought from heaven to them in Egypt ; ^' Arise, for they 
are dead that sought the young child's life ?" What consolation 
does it afford, when the holy spirit witnesses with our spirits, 
that the enemy in our bosoms, that sought the life of our souls, 
is mortified by repentance ? the psalmist tells us, " Light is sown 
for the righteous^ and joy for the upright in heart/' Psal. 97. 
II. The present sense of God's favour, and the fiiture hop6 of 
glory, shed abroad that bright serenity in their breasts, that is, a 
reflection of heaven. 

In our extreinity, when a good and quiet conscience will be 
more valuable than crowns and sceptres, and solid Comfprts more 
worth than the world, how refreshing wiU the inward testimony 
be of our uprightness ? When Hezekiah was under the sentence 
of death, and his kingdom could afford him no comfort, ibk al- 
layed his sorrows, '^ Remember, O Lord, that I have walked 
before thee with an upright heart.'' Isa. 38. .3. This testimo- 
ny of conscience will calm our agonies, and expel the terrors of 
that last enemy : this lyben we are ready to die, will assure us 
that our Redeemer lives. The two substantial jo^, (how di- 
vine !) the one from the reflection upon the past life, the ot^et 
from the prospect of eternal life, are the blessed Mward of up- 
rightness. In short, the sum of felicity is expressly assured to 
them : '' The upright shall dwell in thy presence, where is ful- 
ness of joy, and rivers of pleasure flow for ever. 

(6.) Consider the wofiil effects of indulging the lusts, that by 
pleasure or profit bribe men to give consent to their commission. 
The naked light of reason diseovers sin, and makes it unea^. to 
conscience : but a strong light armed with terrors, the law of 
God, with tlie doom annexed to the precept against rebellious 
sinners, makes it fearful. The command is peremptory and uni- 
versal, with respect to all temptations and allurementarto sin, be 
they as dear and difficult to be parted with, as the " right eye, 
or jrigUt hand/' Mat. 5, the most, us^l and precioii? itjstru- 


ments of lifi^ yet they must with abhorrence be cast from us^ or 
'^ the whole man will be cast into hell fire, where the worm dies 
not, and the fire is not quenched." Mark 9. This terrible 
threatening is sadly repeated by our Saviour three times, to make 
the more powerful impression upon sinners. 

The guilty accusing conscience begins the everlasting hell 
here. Our Saviour saith, that ^' a woman when she is in travail^ 
hath sorrow because her hour is come ; but as soomas she is de- 
livered, sheremembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man 
is bom into world :*' but a sinner, after he hath brought forth 
his sin with pleasure, is struck with horror at the monstrous 
birth. When conscience is strongly awakened, it arraigns and 
condemns without partiality : the sinner is the executioner of the 
sentence upon himself. The torment of the spirit is invisible to 
othersy and in that the liker hell, and unavoidable. It is- as the 
cruel practice of the tyrant, related by the poet, who fastened a 
dead body and a living together, that the putrefaction and stench 
of the one, might cause a lingering death in the other : this is a 
little resemblance of the effect of the guilty conscience charged 
with '' dead works," and insepavabfe from the sinner. Ail the 
pleasure of the world cannot stupify the sense, or mitigate the 
torments of the wounded spirit* , 

In the approaches of death, the sins men have indulgently 
committed, return to the memory, and the ghastly apparition 
strikes them into consternation : the thoughts are fearfully trans*- 
ferred from the sick body to the guilty soul, from the considera** 
tion of the first death to the second, that imihediately attends it. 
In vain they desire to live, for time is irrevocably passtd, and the 
season of mercy expired : in vain they desire to die entirely, and 
put an end to their misery, for immortality is the inseparable but 
fatal privilege of their nature. If they look upward, revenging 
justice is ready to pass a heavy doom ; if beneath, a fearful depth 
is ready to swallow them up. Who can express the agonies and 
throws of the guilty conscience, the dismal degrees of the tor- 
menting passions in the wicked, under the apprehensions of eter- 
nal judgment ? Yet the most fearful apprehensions are not 
commensurate to the prepared plagues by vindictive justice fov 
impenitent sinners. " Who knows the power of God's wrath ?" 
The chosen expressions in scripture to represent" it, will be veri- 
fied in higher degrees, than can be inflicted 'from the most vehe- 

H 2 


ment and terrible things in the world. Fire is so tprmenting to 
sense, that no man can endure the pmnt of the flame of a candle 
upon his flesh: ^^Who then can dwell with devouring iire, and 
with everlasting burning ?" 

Besides, the damned are not only passive, hut active in their 
wretched state : there is a hell cf rancour and indignation within, 
and of fire and brimstone without them : what furious reflections 
will they make upon their votary madness, that for the seeming 
pleasures of sin that were but for a season, they should continue 
their rebellion agdnst omnipotent Deity, and bring upon them- 
selves his fierce and unchangeable displeasure. This infinitely 
aggravates their misery : after a million of years, the entire sum 
remains that revenging justice will exact for ever. The righte* 
ous Judge will never so far be reconciled as to annihilate them. 
Perfection of misery! Desperate sorrow! A life in torments 
that never dies, a death that never ends. 

Surely it is impossible for men that have reasonable minds to 
choose the pleasures of sin, that are like bubbles on the water 
that presently break and vanish, when attended with mbery that 
admits no ease or end. Is there any possible comparison be- 
tween them ? The serious belief of hell cannot consist with the 
knowledge and purpose of sin, , and the delightftil practice of it : 
either the belief of it will infiise and impress such efficacious vir- 
tue into men's minds that will restrain them firom sin, or the 
habitual course of sin will extinguish or eclipse the belief of the 

It is recorded of Croesus, when pursued by the army of the 
Persians, he filled a strsut passage between the mountains with 
boughs of trees and set fire to them, and thereby secured his re-* 
treat : if men were so wise as to set the fire of hell between the 
temptations of sin and their affections, it would be a sure defence 
from their spiritual enemies. But the scene of torments prepa- 
red for unreformed sinners, is little understood and less believed 
by men whilst they are in prosperity : though the Saviour of the 
world has in great mercy revealed them in such expressions, as 
may terrify even secure camalists, that only live to sense. Infi- 
delity lies at the bottom, and renders the most terrible truths in- 
effectual. There is such a riddle in the tempers of men, they 
are not sensible of divine mercies till deprived of them, nor of 
divine judgments till they feel them. But if right reason were 


Uttendied to, they must be convinced of unseen rewards and pu- 
nishment to be dispensed in the next state. For the light of na- 
ture discovers an essential difference between moral good and 
evil : from hence proceed the reflections of conscience either ap- 
proving or condemning our own actions, and making a judgment 
upon Uie actions of others by that common rule, according to 
which all acknowledge that men ought to live. This truth is so 
engraven in the human nature, that even the most wicked sin-* 
Hers, who endeavour, if it were possible, to make conscience so 
blind as not to see, and stupid as not to feel, yet cannot totally 
exclude the application of it to themselves, and will acknowledge 
the obligation of it in the general, and with respect to others. 
Now the law of Grod written in man's heart necessarily infers a 
judgment upcm the transgressors of it, and the judgment includes 
a punishment becoming the majesty of the Lawgiver that ordains 
it, and the extent of his power that executes it. Divine reveia* 
tion makes this truth mudi more dear and certain. The apos- 
tle tells us, '^ If we live after the flesh, we shall die :" and will 
God cease to be holy, and just, and true, that impenitent sinner^ 
may escape punbhment ? 

Bat there are some poisonous principles infused into the hearts 
of men, that encourage them in their sins, notwithstanding their 
assent to the doctrine of a future ju^;ment* 
- Some CBomot persuade themselves^ that God will be so strict 
and severe, that for a sin^ forbidden pleasure, when they re « 
spect other commands of his law, he will condemn them for ever. 
The secret presumption that one transgression will not provoke 
their Judge to extreme wrath, hardens them in a sinful course* 
But St. James declares, ^' He that offends i^ one point is guilty 
«f all" One known allowed sin that a man habitually eommits, 
involves him in the guilt of rebellion against ^the divine authority 
that made the law. It was observed before, Herod did some 
things acc(»dtng to John's divine instructions, but he would not 
part with Herodia^ and that one sin denominated him wicked. 
Many are like him, they observe some rules of religion, perform 
some duties, are asealous against some sins, but there is an Hero- 
dias, a sin pleasant to the taste of their temper, that they will 
not relinquish, and without any promise, nay against the threat* 
enings of God, they believe he will be merciful to them notwidi- 
Standing their wi^edness* This presumption is an unnatural 

H 3 

113 THB SURE TftlAL 

abuse of God's mercy. This exasperates that high and tender 
attribute : for what can be more provoking than to imagine that 
the divine mercj' should encourage sin, and protect unreformed 
sinners from the arrests of vindictive justice ? 

The blood that Ahab spared in Benhadad induced a deadly 
guilt, as that he spilt of Naboth ', as God spake by the prophet 
to him^ ** Because thou hast spared that man, whom I appointed 
to dastruction, thy life shall go for his life :" the application is 
easy, to spare the life of sin will cost the life of the sinner. One 
lust that adhering custom, or the closer nature, or any carnal 
interest so endears to men, that they do not sincerely desire 
and endeavour to mortify and forsake, will be fatal k> them for 

Some habitual sinners when terrified with the ^prehehsion of 
future judgment, (for God sometimes thunders in the conscience 
as well as in the air) endeavour to quiet their fears by presuming 
that the death of Christ wUl reconcile offended justice, and his 
blood cleaiise them from all sin. They wijl lean upon tbe cross 
to save them fix>m frdling into the bottomless pit, but not crucify 
one lust on it. The vanity of this has been showed before : I 
shall only add, that it is most opprobrious to the Son of God, 
and most destructive Co sinners ; for it is to make him the minis- 
ter of sin, as if he came into the world to compose a church of 
rotten and corrupt members, and unite it to himself: such a mys- 
tical body would be more monstrous than Nebuchadnezzar's 
image, of which the head wais gold, and feet was miry clay. 
And this will be most destructive to their souls ; for by turning 
the remedy of sin into an occasion of sinning, they derive a wolul 
guilt from the death of Christ instead of the precious benefits 
purchased by it for true believers. For an unreformed sinner ta 
oppose the blood of Christ to the fears of damnation, render his 
condition desperate. 

The most who continue in a sinful course, strive to elude the 
warnings of conscience, by resolving that after the season of sin- 
ning is passed, they will reform, and apply themselves to seek 
the favour and grace of God. But how hazardous, how incon- 
gruous is the delay of serious repentance? How hazardous? 
The lives of sinners are forfeited in law, their time is a reprieve 
depending merely upon the favour of the Judge, how <can they 
have a warrant for a day ? But they are young, and strong, and 

6lr OyRtOStNSM. H9 

think the Ablj of death and their last account to t)e at a great 
ctistance. Vain security ! as if defith were not in every place, 
and every hour, as near rebellious sinners as their sins that de- 
serve it : ^' if diou doest evil,"" says God to Cain, " sin is at the 
door/' Damnation is ready to tread upon the heels cf sinners, 
and if dnrine clemency and patience did not interpose, would 
immediately seise upon them. God sometimes shoots from the 
clouds, and breaks the strongest buildings into ruins : it is not 
the error of his hand, but his pity, that impenitent sinners 
escape his visible vengeance. But who can assure them of fii* 

- Besides, suppose that sinners who hate to be reformed whilst 
present temptations are so inviting, had a lease of time, can they 
command the grace of God ? They now suppress the motions of 
the Spirit, and in effect say to him, as Felix to St. Paul, awa- 
kening his conscience with a sermon ^^ of righteousness, and 
tempcfance, and judgment to come.: Go away for the present, 
when it is a convenient season I will call for thee.'' But 
will the holy Spirit assist them at death who have always resisted 
him in their liiws ? Without his powerful quickening grace^ 
they will be unielenting in their guilty polluted state : and can 
they have any regular hope to obtain repentanee unto life, when 
they have so often quenched his warm excitations ? Delay pror* 
ceeds from hardness of hsort, aad merits final desertion from 

How incongruous is it to expect, that divine mercy will accept 
of a deatk-bed repentance, that is merely by constraint of fear, 
and i, resolution to live well when they know they can live no 
longer? To continue in sin upon this conceit, that God wiH 
easily be reconciled to sinners at the last ; that confession with 
the mixed affections of sorrow and fear, for the sensible effects of 
sin in pains and sickness, and worse that immediately attend it 
in the next state, will obtam a total and final acquittance from 
our Judge, is an extreme dishonour to his ruling wisdom, his un^ 
spotted holiness, his incorruptiUe justice, and inviolable truth. 
The mercy of God that will justify all unfeignediy repenting be- 
lieving sinners for Christ's sdie, wAl justify God in the condemn- 
ing wiUttl obstinate sinners, who render themselves eternally 
unworthy of it. 

To conclude the motives; if we desire thetevour of God that 

H 4 ./ 

120 TBB 8UBB niAXt 

is better than life, if we fear his wn^th that is worse than deaths 
if we would obtain heaven, or escape hell, let us mortify our le* 
spective sios. 

I shall now propound the means that are requisite for the pre« 
serving us from our special sins. If the foiloiwing rules seem 
harsh and distasteful to the carnal mind, it is to be considered, 
that medicines for the recovery and preservation of health, are 
not sweetmeats irf a pleasant relish. 

(!•) In order to the keeping ourselves pure and upright, we 
must be inquisitive to understand intimately and distinctly what 
are the sins to which we are most liable : for he that doth not 
luiow what he should fear, is careless, and secure, easily disor- 
dered and vanquished by a temptation. Some lusts are open 
and notorious in the gross commission : others* lie deep and are 
of a harder disclosure. Ignorance is the strong defence of sin ; 
it begins in inward darkness : the captive is kept securely in the 
dungeon. The understanding directs the wiU, the will com«* 
mands the praetice : if the sin be undiscovered, we are not ae» 
quainted with our danger, and shall not avoid it. A principal 
part of our knowledge is terminated upon ourselves : . what is the 
weakest part with respect to our natures, minds, and aQeeticHiB ; 
otherwise not provided of defence^ we shall be overoome wHhoitl 

. Now by Bfiplymg the mfes that;^have beoi htgdy msicited on 
in explicating the doctrinal point, we may understand our peca^ 
Mar sins. If we consider oilr constttutiosi, we may know what 
sins are suitable to our tempers. Our frequent lapses me a sen- 
sible discovery how the weight oi nature inclines us. The re- 
fleeting upon the several ages of life, and our conditions in the 
world, will be an indication what sins endanger ouf souls : the 
young are strongly disposed to pleasures, the old to avarice, the 
healthful and prosperous to intemperance in the use of worldly 
things, the sick and afflicted to impat i ence, the rich to security, 
the poor to envy. 

. When the special sin is found stripped of its flattering cokyurs, 
divest it of its alluring dress, that it may appear in its fouL de* 
formity, and kindle an aversion in our breasts against it* The 
correcting vicious errora begins in the enlightened mind, * that 

* Et hoc ipium argvmentajii est in melios trantlati aoliiilf quod vitla sua 
qua ad hac ignorabat videt. Smim. Epitt. 6. 


jificovers tbem, and our {Hroneness to them. And since we ar« 
90 apt to disguise our darliog sins^ and to be partial to ourselves^ 
let us with the psalmist^ pray to the Father of lights^ <^ that he 
yyould search u^ and try us^ and see whether there be any way 
(tf ^ckedness in us, to discover it to us by the light of his word, 
lud cover it w}th his pardoning mercy^ and lead us in the wi^ 

. (2.) Diligent, watchfulness and circumspection is aneflfectual 
Sieans to keep ourselves from the sins that easily encompass u8« 
This implies prudence to discover dangeiSi and the exercise of 
the spiritual powers to prevent and resist them. Watchfiilneas 
ia ajUfiivevBal duty of constant revolution: there are respective 
duties that belong to persons according to their relatioas5 and 
9evei[al conditions : there are duties of stated times and seasons ; 
but the duty of watchfiilneas to prevent sin, extends to all in this 
frail state, according to our Saviour's command to his disciples^ 
^ .what I say unto you, I say unto all, watch i" and at all timesj 
for though we are not always engaged in actual fight, we are al- 
ways 19 the field, liable to manifold temptations, that are ready 
to surprise us up^ careless neglect of oar duty. Habitual grace 
if it be not drawn forth into exercise by constant watchfidnessj 
Ciaan^ fortify us against sin. 

A saint that is humble and watchfiil, preserves himself from 
the power aadjnfaction of sin, that another who in degrees of 
grace excels him, but reboea bis watch, is sadly foiled by. Jo-i 
feph, a y^ungr man, by vigilance, and avoiding the temptation, 
kqpt himself untainted from the impure sdicitations of his nus* 
tiess ; David, though of great experience in religion, and of 
eminent holiness, yet when he inteonitted his watch, how sud- 
denly was he suiprisiMl ? From a careless gjlanoe, curiosity passed 
into complacence^ complacence into lust,, lust into adultery, and 
|S an eternal example to excite our foar and caution. If theie 
be not a continued diligence, the same holy person that with 
defiance and indignation has resisted the tempter at some times, 
has beep vanquished at other times. Lot was righteous in 
{Sodom^ but how foully and wofiiBy Be fell in the mountain ? 

Now our c^ef care must be directed to avoid our special sins. 
It is a fimdamental rule in the christian life, that our weakest 
part is to be guarded with most jealousy, and fortified with the 
stroiigest defence : for the most firequent and' dangerous assaults 

122 TB£ 60IIB TAIAL 

are on the side that is most open to surprise, f The subtSe 
tempter addresses his insinuations in eompliance to our aflections : 
he knew the softness of Adam towards his wife, and ebose her 
to be the instrument of persuacBng him to eat of the forbidden 
fruit. Every one has a carnal part, that like Eve the mother of 
our miseries, is prevalent to corrupt us, and accordingly he suits 
his temptations. It was the crafty counsel of Balaam to Balaky 
Numb. 31. 16. not to encounter the Israelites with armed sol- 
diers, but with the allurements of women, by whom they were 
corrupted and seduced to impurity and iddatry ; and thereby 
provoked God's wrath, and were divested ot his protection. 
When Ulysses was employed to discover Achilles, who was con- 
cealed in the habit of a virgin amongst the maids of honour, he 
carried a f pack of toys, and a lance : and whilst i;he women 
were looking upon the ribbons, and lace, and glasses, AchiUes 
takes up the lance, that was suitable to his martial spirit, and 
so was discovered, and drawn to the Trojan war, that proved 
fetal to him. Thus the tempter is obserVant of our inclinations : 
he will interpret a blush, a glance, a smile, a discontented ges- 
tures, any signs of our affections, and by proper motives exdte« 
the desiring and angry appetites, and is usually euecessiul. • Hia 
advantage is chiefly from our security. It is easy to surprise a 
suspectless enemy. St. -Peter stndtly warns us, ** be sober, be 
vigilant ; because your adversary the devil, as a- roaring lion,^ 
wdketh about, seeking- whom' he may devour." - 1 Pet. 6» 8. 
His diligence is equal to his malice. If we are not wise and 
watehfiil, we shall fall into his snares.^ There is a fearlul in- 
stance of it in Adam, who k>st the image and favour of God in 
an hour, that his posterity cannot recover to all ages 5 yet there 
was no corruption in his nature, he was ftimished with sufficient 
grace: he might easily have repelled the motion to the confu- 
sion of the tempter 5 but through carelessness he neglected his 
duty to the eternal Lawgiver, sli^ted the double death, that of 
the soul and the body, that was threatened to deter him from 
am, and innocence did not preserve him from seduction. WhajK 
reason is there to make Us- watcMul, both against our spiritual 

« Eamasime qnteq; petitur, quapateL Stnec 

f Anna ego £emineii aaimniB motnra YirUeio mercibttB Insert i. OvU^ 

ov trpRiGHTKJiss; 123 

oiemies, and our own drowsiness, lest security steal upon us 
without observation ? for our hearts are as ready to sin as Satan 
is to tempt : besides the impression from tempting objects with- 
out us, there is treacherous^ danger within : our prime care must 
be to keep a severe command over our minds and hearts, to pre* 
vent the entrance of sin. The carnal appetite allures the will to' 
consent to the actual commission, by the mediation of the mind 
that represents the pleasures and profits of sin. Therefore con- 
science must be a vigilant sentinel to prevent, as far as is possi- . 
ble, the first springing thoughts, the first risings of the sinfiil 
affections. Sinftil thoughts and desires are possible acts, and are 
more odious to God than the gross commission is to men. The 
pernicious inspirations of the tempter are gradual: as one that 
kindles a fire with a small breath, cherishes the fiaint sparks till' 
raised into a flame; so warm desires are cherished by the' 
thoughts, till they break forth into a wilder flame. This is the 
most difiBcutt part of our duty ; we may more easily decline temp* 
tations firom without, than keep a consbant guard within. But 
there is no * excuse for the neglect of this duty, the consequence 
being of no less moment than salvation. '^ We are commanded 
to keep the heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of 
life, and of 4eath also." As the elective faculty is inclined and 
determined, such will be the quality of our actions, either holy 
and good, or vicious and evil, and such will be the reward in the* 
next state. It is true, it is morally impossible for even the best 
men to be so exact in their watch, but vain thoughts may sud- 
denly spring into the mind, and indeliberate motions may rise in 
the wiU, (uriiich should be matter of sorrow :) but we may sup- 
press those beginnings of sin, and prevent die morose thoughts, 
the musings of the mind upon the pleasure or profit, that makes 
tfae^ temptation so strong as to overcome us. If a watch be set at 
the gates of a town, to prevent any commerce Mkh infected 
places, though it is not possible to exclude pestilential vapours 
that mix with the air, and fly imperceptibly about, yet the per- 
sona and goods that e^me from infected places may be excluded* 
^ A child of God keeps himself, that the wicked one touches him 

* MmlU mat observanda pugnaBtibos, •! qaidem nnUa est negligentio 
Tenia, nbi de salute cenatur. Vegci^ 


not ;'' that 18, receives no defiling iiapressionB^ by yielding to his 

Our next care muat be to avoid the outward temptations, that 
are apt to excite those lusts that are most natural to us. The 
art of our sjHritual enemy is to make use of objects * without, 
to entice the affections within us* The world i^ords variety tf 
temptations, that through the senses pierce the heart and wound 
the spirit. It is therefore our duty and safety, with the strictest 
caution, to guard our senses. The most make no other use of 
their senses than the brutes ', it were well they made no worse. 
Tbb acts of the understanding are immanent and inviwble, the 
afiections mix with sensible objects, and are actuated with heat 
and motion from them. For this reason holy men have been so 
careful to lay a restraint upon the senses. Job <^ made a cove- 
nant with his eyes, not to look upon a maid.'' David prays, 
*' turn away mine eyes from beholding vanit>'/' When Solomon 
had SQ earnestly pressed the divine counsel << to keep the heart 
with diligence," he annexes most fitly for that end $ *' put away 
iom thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put fiur firom thee : 
tet thy eyes look right on, and let thy eyelids look straight before 
thee* Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be esta- 
blished : turn not to the right hand or the left; remove thy £oot 
from evil/' The sum of which counsel is, that we should so 
exactly guard our sensitive £acuUies, so order our words, ouc 
looks, our ways, as to preserve ourselves from every evil thing* 
Our great security is in flying from temptations. Lot was strictly 
commanded ^^ not to look back on Sodom :" his wifis, by casting 
a ]iogcnng eye towards it, was '* turned into a pillar of salt, 
tp season the world by her example, to beware of the occasiooa 

It b extreme folly to enter hito temptation : for as near as the 
melting of wax is when it is near the flame, so are the cwnal^ 
affiBctions of being enticed, and the will of consenting whep near 
yifl i^ning objccts. Our sad experience may instruct us, how 
prone our hearts are to yield to inviting occasions of sin^ and 
how. often we have been foiled by venturing into the confines of 
temptation. Solomon observes, '' surely in vain is the net spread 

* Eripiant omnc8 aDimo tine ynlacre Tires : bee mmt jacnndl causa cibnsq ; 


m Sight of any bird.'* Prov. I. 17. If the toils be never so crat 
tily Isddy and the bait be very enticing, yet a silly bird has that 
foresight and caution, that it will not be tempted to run into the 
net, but fly firom the present danger. What unaccountable folly 
16 it in men, though the temptations of sin are never so alluring 
to the carnal appetites, not to make use of the eye and wing, to 
fear and fly from the entanglements of iniquity. 

Besides, we forfeit the divine assistance, by entertaining thd 
temptations of sin. The promise of preserving grace is to ud 
while we are faithful to God : '^ he will keep us in all our ways,'* 
whilst we are constant in our duty, otherwise we cannot depend! 
upon his gracious presence and assistance. If a soldier be com-* 
manded by a general to fight a duel with an enemy, he will arm 
him with armour of proofs and secure him from treachery : but 
if one from vain glory, from rage or revenge, against the com^ 
mand of his superior shall engage in a duel, he fights vrith great 
hazard, and if he conquers, is punished for his disobedience* 
Thus if in the regular course of our lives, the divine providence 
so order things, that temptations approach us, upon our earnest 
and constant prayer^ we shall be famished with *^ the armour of 
God^ the shield of faith^ the sword of the Spirit, the helmet of 
salvation/' But if we run into temptations, we provoke him 
to desert us ; and if we are not overcome by them, yet for our 
transgi^essing his holy command, we are liable to his displeasure. 

Confirming grace is a continual emanation from the Holy 
Spirit^ without which we shall fall every hour. It is therefore 
extremely hazardous to venture into temptations : for the corrupt 
nature that with weight and idolence inclines us to sin, is within, 
and supernatural strength to control the combined efBcacy of the 
inclination, and the occasion is from above, which is justly witb« 
drawn when we *^ grieve the Holy Spirit,*' by eonverring with" 
the temptations of sin^ ^^ The fear of the Lord is clean," eflec- 
tiyely, as it induces an holy caution and circumspection to pre- 
serve ourselves from the defiling, captivating snares of sin. It ia 
a petition more necessary than that for our daily bread ; ^' leaA 
us not into temptation :" considering our in^parable frailty, and 
the arts of our spiritual enemies to take every adv&ntage over us, 
we should with all possible ardency of aflection pray, that we be 
not exposed to temptations, or not vanquished by them ; but if 


we rashly esqMMC ourselves, our piftyers will be an indictment 
against us, and we shall fall under condemnation. 

(3.) Serious resolutions, and solemn engagements, are 6( ex-* 
cellent efficacy to bind our deceitful hearts from yielding to sin. 
In the christian life a general resolution, is absolutely necessary, 
of being faithfiil to God, never to have correspondence with hiv 
enemies, but always to cleave to our duty, notwithstanding all 
the allurements or terrors of the world to supplant o«r integrity, 
and surprise our constancy. David tells us, '^ I have sworn and 
will perform it, that I will keep thy.righteous judgments.'' Psal. 
1 19. 106. The divine law binds us antecedently to our consent, 
but having taken the oath of fidelit}' to God, there is superin- 
duced a new obligation to (Baten us to his service. After this, to 
revolt from our duty, is rebellion heightened with the guilt of 
perfidiousness. Besides, solemn engagements against particular 
sins are necessary : Ephrmm ^^ shall say, what luive I to do any 
more with idols?" He had been enchatited with the love of 
idols, which he renounces with indignation. A practical decree, 
a steadfast resolution to forsake our sin, will produce a diligent 
use of means in order to that end. 

In resolving against sin, we must depend upon the present and 
perpetual assistance of the divine grace, without which our reso- 
lutions will neither be sincere nor effectual. Carnal men under 
judgments, do often relent and resolve against their sins ; from 
the convinced mind, transi^it wishes, and floating purposes of 
reformation arise : but till the heart be renewed by divine grace, 
the will is incomplete t there are secret and sometimes undis- 
cemed affections to sin, that by new temptations are drawn forth 
and betray them to satan. It is a charge against the hypocrites 
in the prophecy of Hosea, *^ they were like a deceitftd bow,*' 
that being ill made, or ill bent, never sent the arrow directly to 
the mark : sometimes after the carnal (acuities have been sated 
with the gross fruition, men renounce their sins^ and promise 
they \rill never '^ return more to folly :*' but those resolutions are 
as insufficient to fortify them against the new incursion of tempt- 
ing objects, as a wall of glass to resist the battery of cannon ; 
fpr there is no permanent overrcding principle in the heart, that 
makes the resolution steadfast against sin. But suppose the re- 
Bolutioivs be sincere^ and proceed from a full bent of the he^ 


against sin^ yet if divine grace do not ratify them^ a strong 
temptati<Hi.wiU break them^ as a gust of wind breaks the strings 
of a cobweb. St. Peter consulting his affection, not his strength, 
presumptuously engaged to his master, ^^ though all men forsake 
thee, I will not forsake thee :'* but in the time of trial, surprised 
with so strong a fear, that precluded serious recollection, and 
distracted his mind from the deliberate comparing of the evil of 
sin with th^^nstant dagger, he most unworthily denied his mas*, 
ter, and is a sad instance how weak and wavering the best men 
are, without the continual influences of the holy spirit to deter- 
mine their wills, and make them with unfainting courage perse- 
vere in their duty. 

There is a vast difference between the sight of a storm at sea^ 
and a ship in violent agitation by the winds and waves, and the 
miserable passengers with pale affrighted countenances, expect* 
ing present death, in a lively picture; and being in a real ship, 
in the midst of a real tempest, and in real danger of being swd- 
lowed up by the ocean. The sight of such a spectacle without 
fear, is but painted courage, as the object is upon which it is 
exerdsed : if one should presume that his heart were impenetra* 
ble to fear, because he sees the representation of esctreme danger 
without fear, it were egregious folly, and would be soon confu* 
ted if he were actually in extreme danger of perishing in the ra- 
ging 8ea« Thus there is a great difference between temptations 
represented, in our thoughts, and wlven immediately and really 
before us : and between religious resolutions when temptations 
are at a distance, and when actually incumbent on us. There 
may be such resolution^ conceived in the mind in the absence of 
temptations, that we may think ourselves guarded safely against 
our ains ; and yet at the first encounter of a strong temptation, 
ouir resolutions may cool and faint, and our vows of obedience 
Ihay vanish as the *^ morning dew before the heat of the sun i". 
there is such a levity and featheriness in our minds, such a muta- 
bility and inconstancy in our hearts. Therefore the scripture 
doth so frequently inculcate the duty of continual trust in God, 
to.assis.t us by his strength to overcome our spiritual enemies., 
Divine grace raises our thoughts into steadfast resolutions against 
•in, turns our resolutions into holy actions, our. actions into 
permanent habits. ** God works in us, to will and to do of his 
good pleasure." 


(4.) If upon interaiitting our watch^ we fall into the sin that 
we are prone to, speedy and deep repentance is necessary to re- 
cover the favour of God, and to preserve us for the future agunsfc 
it. Sins of relapse more easily prevail than in the first tempta*' 
tion; because the tenderness and reluctancy of conscience is less- 
ened by the commissioii of sin : they are more pernicious to the 
soul, fbr besides the enhancing ci guilt, the unclean spirit re- 
turns with more imperiousness from indignation that he was ex- 
pelled. If we have been eflectually tempted to sin^ let us pre- 
sently retract it by repentance : there will be a suspension of 
God's favour, whilst we continue without a due sense of our sin ; 
^^ let not the sun go down upon God's wrath,'' but with prayers 
and tears sue out his pardoning mercy. The neglect of present 
repentance is a step to final impenitence, that is unpardonable. 
• Who can tell the degrees of danger in continuing in sin a day? 
How many have been cut off in their early sins, and lost their 
time, and hopes, and soids for ever? But that which more spe- 
cially belongs to the present matter, is this, by the neglect of 
speedy repentance,^ sin is more difficultly retracted. By conti- 
nuance in sin, the heart is more unwilling and unable to mortify 
it. The habits of the mind difier from the habits of the body; 
these wear out by continuance, the others are more firm and 
poweifiil: they are second inclinations, and as violent as the first 
that are deeply set in corrupt nature. The heUiiig afresh wound 
is much more easy than an inveterate ulcer : the healing the 
aoul, and renewing it by repentance, is much more easy and 
8afe, presently after the wounding it by sin, than after continu- 
ance under the power and infection of sin. 

A deep heart-breaking sorrow will prevent relapses into sin. 
When conscience represents our sin in its killing circumstances, 
as committed against the knowledge of the divine law, and our 
vows of obedience, against the tender mercies, and dreadful jus- 
tice of God : that for the low and despicable satisfrustion of th^ 
sensual part, we have made ourselves unholy and unh^>py : from 
hence the soul is struck with a sorrow so pungent, that the lova 
of pleasure is mortified, and the sweetest sin is imbittered. The 

* Omnim Titla pesitm Imident, niai 4m rargvat oppresta ttnt i vekencn* 
tltti cfwtca invelenUa pagaaDdnm est s oam ▼olaeratt laoiUB fatilidr est dan 
a saDgalne recentia soot, abi corrapta Is malam tiicni ae Terteniiit dUKcilios 
caraatar. Stnee. ad Marc, 

tfeffoembrance of that perplexing angaish will heighten the aver- 
tton and resolution against sin : the soul will fly with horror the 
occasions of offending God, and recoil at the first glance of that 
dm that coist it so dear, and which if entertained, witt renei;^ its 
agonies. As one that narrowly escapes frotti bei)Ag consumed by 
fire, retains so strong an hnprcssion of thd terror, that makes 
him always circumspect Co avoid the like danger. ^* David's 
broken bones made'' him Understand what a fearftil tin adultery 
was, and cautious ever after. But a slight celhfession, a superfi- 
cial sorrov^, a few sad thoughts and tears, are soon foi^t : when 
the sinner presumes by a slight repentance to obtain reconcilia- 
tion with God, he is ^ady to aneswer the nekt tfemptation/ andf 
return to folly. 

(5.) Fervent and constant prayer for the rstitv^tig grace of' 
Grod, is indispensably necessary to preserve us fi'om our sins. It 
is by the spirit of holiness that " we mortify the deeds of the bo- 
dy :'^ thttt we put off the old man, and put on the new. Sanc- 
tifying grace introduces a new nature, the prolific and productive 
principle of a new life : it turns the current of the affections from' 
sin to holiness. This is as astonishing as the miraculous motion 
of the shadow upon Ahaz's dial, '^ that went ten degrees back- 
ward." Unregenerate morality may lop the branches, restrain 
from the gross acts, but sanctifying grace strikes at the root of 
sin, the inward affection. There are some medicines that will 
stop the fits of the falling-sickness for a time, but not expelling 
the cause, the disease invades nature again : so monj counsels, 
and politic respects, may stop the breliking forth of the lusts of 
the flesh, but the inward affection of sin remaining will make us 
apt to fall by the commission of it. San^ifying grace makes an 
inward universal change in the soul t he' that was unclean in his 
thoughts and desires, by the transforming power of the spirit, 
*^ loves pureness of heart," delights in it, and has a fixed hatred 
agwnst any thing that defiles: the soul that '* cleaves to the 
dust," and jpursues the acquisition of earthly things as his trea- 
sure, being refined and elevated 1^ grace, seeks the things above^ 
with vigorous endeavours. 

In this the diseases of the body differ firom those of the mind : 
* the first, notwithstanding the most earnest desh-e of cures, may 

* Pars uiDitatiilvelle sanafi fait, Ita est paucos icftUus plarei Krvi(»> 
km tenesDt. Senu. Epist, 2r, 

VOL, II. 1 

130 TAB BUl^ TRIAi^ 

be incurable : the other when the desires are sincere of spiritual 
bealiag, are in the ha{qpy way of cure, for vicious affections are 
the diseases of the soul. This change of the affections^ the ef- 
fect of supernatural grace, is obtained by fervent prayer. Our 
Saviour assures us^ that *^ our heavenly Father will freely and 
abundantly give the Hdy Spirit to those who ask it'' widi such 
ardent affections, as flow fron their feeling sense of the want of 
his influences. In humble prayer we acknovidedge our unworthi- 
neas, our weakness, our absolute necessity of divine grace to 
mortify our lusts : in believing prayer we glorify his mercy, and 
bis omnipotence, that be is both willing and powerlul to make 
us victorious over our wont enemies. The prayer of Jebosaphat^ 
when invaded by a vast army, conspiring the destruction of his 
kingdom^ is u copy tu be traaacribed by «6 » ^ O our God, we 
have no might against this great company that comes against us^ 
neither know we what to do, but our eyes are upon thee." 2 
Chron. 20. Thus satan, the world, and the flesh, are com* 
bined in warring against the soul, and we are utterly unable to 
resist them, we must therefore address ourselves ^^ to the God 
of all grace, to strengthen our inward mi|n. And since some 
lusts have sucb strong possession, that like that stubborn sort of 
apirits mentioned in the gospel, they cannot be expelled but by 
fasting and prayer, we must with the most zealous devotion^ 
prayer joined with fasting^ implore grace to subdue them. 

Prayer must be continual : if we intermit this recourse to hea- 
veuj we shall presently find ourselves like Samson when his 
hair was shaved, weak Ifke other qien. Grace in the saints ia 
not like ligbt in the sun, that qmnga fi:om itself^ but like the 
light of a lamp that is constantly led with supplies of oil^ other- 
wise the weak light will £unt and die. Inherent grace is main- 
tained by the continyal emanations £rom the holy Spirit : nay 
the habits of grace are drawn fmrth into act and vigorous exe^* 
cise, by supervenient exciting grace, without which they would 
be ineffective and useless. As there cannot be actual sight, un- 
less the ligiit in the eye be irradiated 1^ %ht of the air : «o 
without special assisting grace we cannot do aay spiritual good 
n6r ayoidevil : we shall be foiled by every temptatiouji eyea the 
best will leave God, and provoke God to leave them. Our Sa-> 
viour therefore enjoins his disciples the double duty, " watch 
and pray, lest ye enter into tempUtion." David vrith his sfvpra 


KBoIutieiis to be cbcumspect, joined his fenrent requests to Gods 
^ I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my 
tongne, I will keep my month with a bridle, while the wicked 
IB before me. Set a watch, O Lord, befimre my mouth, and keep 
the door of my lips/' Psal. 143. 3. His special guidaikce is ne-* 
cessary to fegulate our tongues, that we neither offend God, nor 
justly provoke men« 

(Lastly.) Faith in the Redeemer is a so^reign eflectual means 
for the mortifying sin. The Son of God incarnate is the foun-^ 
tain of inherent as well as imputed righteousness 2 grace and 
glory are eonyeyed to us by the hands of the Mediator. The su* 
pematural power to do good, and vanquish evil is firom him x 
^^ Of ourselves we cannot conceive a good thought ; through 
Christ strengthening us we can do all things/' Spiritual Mess-' 
ings he purchased for us by his humiliation, and confers in his 
exaltation. ^ He gave himself for his church, that he might 
sanctify it, and cleanse it by the washing of water and the word.'* 
Eph. 4. 8. Psal. 68. Being risen and ascended, he received 
of his Father divine gifts, and gives grace unto men. ^ He gives 
repentance/' which principally consists in the mortifying sin : 
f' he blesses us in turning us from our imquities." Acts. 5. 

The mortificatioa of sin is pecdiariy attributed to his death. 
1. With respect to its meritorious causality, that reconciled God 
to us, and obtained of him the sanctifying spirit, that is the seal 
of his love, to communicate *^ the divine nature to us, by which 
we escape the corruption that is in the world through faist." 
The redemption o! a captive may illustrate the redemption of 
sinners : for as in restoring a captive to liberty, there must be 
the payment of the ransom, and the breaking of his chains, so 
in redeeming a sinner there was the price laid down, the inva-* 
luable blood of the Son 'of God, to procure our spiritual freedom : 
for the ignominious and cruel bondage under Satan, was the pe^ 
nal effisct of the first transgression : and the invisible chains, the 
darkness of mind, the hardness of heart, the rebellion of will, 
the disorder of afleotions, and all the vicious habits that kept 
him in the bondage of satan, are to be broken and removed. 
For this reason it is said, <^ God sending his Son in the likeness 
qf sinfol flesh, and for sin condemning sin in the flesh :" that is, 
Christ dying as a sacrifice for sin, reconciled God, and the fruit 
pf that reconciliation, is the breaking the tyrann(ms empire of 

I 2 


Sin und^r t^hich We were involved^'that we may enjoy the liberty 
of the Sons of God. Sin brooght our Saviour to the cross, and 
he brought sin to the cross: when he died naturally, sin died 
legally, that is, was condemned to lose its power in the hearts 
and lives of believers. The exceUent ends of our Saviour's death 
are expressed by the sqpostle ; ^ he gave himself for us, that he 
might redeem us from all iniquity, abolish the guilt of sin, and 
purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works/' 2* 
By way of representation. As Christ died for sin,' we must die 
to sin : he expiated the guilt of all sin for penitent believers ; 
and a universal crucifixion of sin is the imitation of his death* 
The apostle insists on this as a truth of the clearest evidence to 
christians*, << know ye not that so many as were baptized into 
Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death ? therefore we are bu- 
ried with him in baptism ; that as Christ was raised up from 
the dead, by the glory of the Father, even so we also should 
walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together 
in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of 
his resurrection. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified 
with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that hence-* 
forth we shoiild not serve sin/' The sum of which reasoning is, 
that our crucifying the corrupt nature, with all its various affec- 
tions and lusts, is a lively resemblance of the death of Christy 
which was designed both to be operative in us of the death of 
sin, and to be significative of it. From whence it follows, it is 
the indispensable duty of all christians to transcribe the copy of 
his death in their hearts and lives. The death of Christ morti- 
fies sin by moral influence, as it is an expression of God's tran- 
scendent love to us, and his righteous and holy severity against 
sin ; both which are sueh powerful motives to destroy sin, that 
whoever does not feel their efiicacy, is dead as the grave^ with- 
out the least vital spark of gratefiil love to Christ. 

Now the unfeigned belief of the meritorious and efficacious 
sufferings of Christy is the means by which the value of hb death 
is applied, and the virtue of it derived to us fiir the killing of 
our sins. It is by faith we are united to him as our head, the 
fountain of spiritual sense and active power. *' He dwells in 
our hearts by fitith, and by the eminent operations of his spirit, 
strengthens the inner man. Faith excites us to mortify the in- 
habiting corruption, by arguing firom the love of Christ in dying 


for US ; he left heaven for us, shall not we leave earth for him ? 
he denied his natural innocent wills to submit to the death of the 
cross for our salvation ; shall not we deny our depraved rebelli- 
ous wills for his glory ? And unless desperate sinners, who are 
fallen as low as hell, who can resist such melting persuasions ? 
The apostle speaks with the most feeling expressions ; ^^ the love 
of Christ constrains us ; has an absolute invincible empire over 
us^ because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were 
all dead, that henceforth we should live to him who died for us. 
And it is the noble and sensible effect of quickening grace to 
mortify sin. Faith as it obliges, so it encourages to subdue our 
sins, by reflecting upon the end of Christ's death, which shall 
certainly be accomplished. St. Paul in his conflict with an in- 
cessant enemy, was fortified by an assurance from God, " My 
grace is sufficient for thee :'' the temptation was not presently 
removed, but strength conveyed by which he was superior to it. 
Our special sins so easily encompass us, that considering our 
imminent danger, we may fear the issue of the fight ; but the be- 
lieving remembrance of our Saviour's death, inspires new life 
and heat into us, knowing that he hath not died in vain. Faith 
raises the drooping spirit, by reflecting upon the compassionate 
willingness of Christ to relieve and strengthen us in the holy 
war. M^en he was upon earth, he prayed his father ^^ to keep 
us from the evil of the world.'* This was the copy of his conti- 
nual intercession for us in heaven ; from whence we are infallibly 
assured, that he is most tenderly inclined to assist us, and pre- 
serve us from the malignant influence of the world. For these 
reasons, faith in Christ has a cleansing virtue, a victorious effi- 
cacy attributed to it : *^ faith purifies the heart, and overcomes 
the world. A sincere believer that makes use of the divine or- 
dinances, prayer, hearing the word, the confirming sacrament, 
and other holy means for the subduing his corruptions, shall 
certainly obtain a fmal victory, and the reward of it, a triumphant 

1 3 





Matthew xxvi. 39, 


»g lt ae^ 

JL HE first man by rebellion against bis Maker, lost his inno« 
cence and felicity, and conveyed a sad inheritance of sin and mi"* 
aery to his universal progeny : ever since it has been esteemed a 
principal part of wisdom to prepare the minds of men to encoun* 
ter with innnmeEable evils that surround them, and, to presepe a. 
well-ordered contented state of soul, when actually under the 
greatest afflictions. All the lieiinous sophists of the world, the 
most celebrated professors of patience, could not attain to this 
skill. Their consolatary discourses composed with . ^it and elo* 
quence, are like artificial firuits of wax, that seem to surpass the 
productions of nature, but can only please the sight, and afford 
po real refreshment to the ta^ste. Or, like rings of steel that are 
joined by the attractive virtue c^ the loadstone, that make a 
chain fair.to the eye, but of no'strength and use. It was inex* 
pisable ignorance, their not resplving temporal evils to their pro^ 
fer original, the righteou^ providence of God. They erected a 
blind and foolish power under the title of fortune^ to. preside in 
(his sphere ,of mutability :. they always boast of their playing ^ 
prize with fortune^ and triumph over a phanton) qf th.eir own 
fiction. * This conceft was both impious and uncomfortftble; 
impious, to take the sciptre of governm^n^ firom God's hipd^ and 
attribute the foolish pleasure of for^une^ what, is ordered by his 
providence: aiid uncoinfortabl^, for they fancied .th^ir deity to 
be blind, witiiout discerniiig between the w:offtfay ^and unworthy, 
and inekorabl^ j^ the coinjplaints of the ii^ured, an4 the prayers 
of the miserable*. • The cpjopiiion. topics firom whenqe they har- 
dened themselves are, jdia^, none, are. exempted ^n this open state, 
frooi afflicting peci(}ents> the common tribute of mankind: that 
it is in vain to, stfjjggie with what is irresistible: that death is 
-tiiebalm mi^io^.qf all.evil^ ! A^d the best, of their .moral ar- 

- «-fl(e4 tantnm cnm^fortanaie diglatfiarl momentli ottoi'bos gloriantar« 


guments for patience under sufferings^ such as the dignity of tha 
reasonable soul; and diat nothing inferior to it should have pow- 
er, or is watthy to put it into confusion; that virtue is the no- 
blest perfection, and is increased by the most difficult exercise ; 
that it is best to yield up ourselves to the divine diqxisal. These 
argum^its are with infinite more advantage propounded in^ the 
sacred scriptures : and for christians to attend to the instructions 
of natural reason, and neglect the divine revelations of the gos# 
pel, is a folly like that of the silly Indians of Mexico, who ha- 
ving plenty of wax, the natural work of the bees, yet made vM 
of firebrands to light them in the night, that aflbrded a little 
light mixed with a. great deal of smoke. Briefly, they had but 
wavering conjectures of the future state, and the recompenceH 
thereof; firom whence are derived the most powerful motives of 
active and passive obedience to the commanding and disposing 
triB of God : but in the scripture are laid down in the clearest 
manner, and with infallible assurance, such principles as are ef- 
fectual to compose the mind t6 patient suffering, and tb meet 
with valiant resolution all the terrible contrarieties in the way to 
heaven. It dedares, that sin opened an entrance unto all the 
current advei^ties in the wdrld, which are the evident signs of 
Ood's displedsure agdnst it. In anguish we are apt to dispute 
with providence, and an imagination of inhoceitee kindlies discon- 
tent : of this impatience, some even of the best moral heathen* 
kere giukyj Tttm and Germanicus charged the gods with their 
imtimely, and, in their apprehension, undeserved deaths ; but the 
due sense bt tin ^11 humble ahd quiet the mind under suffer- 
ings ; it directs us to consecrate our sorrows, to turn the flowing 
stream into, the channel of repentance. %id thus the piission of 
js^ief, which, \{ terminated on external troubles, is barren and 
hnprofitable, it can tieither retrieve our lost comforts^' nor remove 
aiiy oppressing evil ; if it be employed for our offen<^, prepares 
tis for diVin^ mei^, and is infinitely beneficial to us.' ' ^d thu^ 
by curing the cause of afflictiohs, our guilt thit deserves thetti^ 
we takb a^y the malignity add poison of them. The word of 
€k)d assures u6, that all the perturbations and distords in the 
passages of our lives are orde^ by his wisdom and will, to that 
without extii^ishing the two eyeH of reatoh and faith, we niuA 
^icknowledge his providence^ and observe his diesign in aU^ which 
is either to excite us when guilty of a careless n^lect^ or . 


performance of our duty ; or to reclaim us from our excursions 
and deviations from the narrow way that leads to life. Indeed 
there is nothing mote common nor more fatal, than for afilicted 
persons to seek by carnal diversions and contemptible comforts^ 
to overcome their melancholy, and the sense of divine judgments ; 
and hereby they add new guilt, and provoke new displeasures. 
This presages and accelerates final ruin ; for such whom afflic- 
tions do not reform, are left as incorrigible. 

But above aU encouragements, the gospel sets before us the 
sufierings of our Redeemer, and directs all his disciples in since- 
rity to accustom themselves to the contemplaticm and expecta- 
tion oif troubles on earth : it tells them it is a branch of their re- 
ligion, to suffer with him that they may reign with him. And 
w^at is more reasonable, than if our Saviour oidured superlative 
sufierings to purchase eternal glory for us, that we should with 
the same mind bear lighter afflictions to prepare us for it ? If 
this principle be alive and active in our breasts, that our present 
afflictions shall determine in our foture happiness, when time 
shall cease and eternity succeed ; this will encourage us to serve 
God with our best affections when our days are overcast with 
aorrow, as in a bright prosperity : this will secure our passage 
through a stormy tempestuous world, as if it wsre a truly pacific 
sea, knowing that divine providence always guides us to the port 
of eternal tranquillity. This is the substance of what is ampli- 
fied in the following treatise. And whilst there are miseries in 
fhe world, no discourses are more seasonable and usefid than 
those that lighten our oppressing sorrows, and that enable us 
with uniformity and constancy in all the changes of this mortal 
life, to pursue our eminent end. The Holy Spirit, the great 
eomforter, apply these truths to the heisrts of the afflicted. 






Matt. xxvi. 39. 

*< And he went a little fnrtber, and fell on fait face* and prayed^ 8ayiog» O 
my Father, if it be possible, let this cap pasa from me : nevertheless, not 
as I will, but asthoo wilt." 

X HE words are our Saviour's prayer at his private passion in 
the garden. In paradise was the first scene of man's sin^ and in 
a garden the first scene of Christ's sorrows. 

He was now in the near view of his extreme suflerings; the 
fatal hour approached when he was to die with all the concur- 
rent circumstances of shame and cruelty. His nature was hu- 
man and holy^ and therefore apprehensive of misery and the 
wrath of God. In this exigency, ^^ he fell on his &ce,'' a pos- 
ture of humble reverence, and with earnestness prayed, saying, 
^^ O my Father," an expression of his steadfest trust in the love 
of God : ^^ if it be possible," not with respect to his absolute 
power, for by that he could easily have preserved him ; but with 
respect to his sovereign pleasure, and. eternal decree : *^ let this 
cup pass from me;" that implies a complete deliverance from 
the rage of the powers of darkness, and of the perverted world 
in conjunction with them. He suffered innocent nature to act 


as nature, for he submitted to our infirmities, but without our 
imperfections. '' Nevertheless not as I will, but aS'thou wilt:*' 
his petition was qualified with an act of submission ; the desire 
of his nature, that recoiled from such suflerings, was overruled 
by the resignation of grace. There was no repugnancy, but a 
subordination, between the sensitive will and the rational will, 
directed by his mind, that foresaw the blessed effects of hb suf* 
ferings, '< the glory of God,'' with the '^ salvation of lost man- 
. kind.'' And that just horror, with the strong aversion €S his 
nature firom such a terrible death, renders his willingness more 
conspicuous and meritorious. As man, the apprehension of it 
put him into an agony ; but as Mediator, by a firm resolutiim 
and clear choice he submittad to it. 

Now the example of our suffering Saviour, lays an obligation 
on us to transcribe his copy ; his titles in scripture declare both 
his eminency and exemplariness. He is our Head, and our 
Leader, the Captain of our salvation, whom we are bound to 
follow in taking up our cross : his sufferings were designed not 
only for our redemption, but for our instruction and imitation. 
What he commands as God, he performed as man, that we 
might voluntarily yield up ourselves to the holiness and equity of 
his law. Thus firmn the pattern of our Saviour's deportment^ 
the point of doctrine is this : 

The entire resignation of our wills to the disposing will of 
God, is the indispensable du^ of christians under the sharpest 

In the explication and proof of this point, I shall 

L Consider what is oonaistent with this fengnaUcfiu 

n. What is implied in it. 

ni. The rei^sons to convince us of this duty of res^nrng* of 
ourselves, and all our interests to God : and theti apply it. 

I. Consider what is eoosistent with thn voluntary resignation. 
That will appear in the following paiticulais. 

1. An eamesit deprecation of an impending judgment is reeon- 
cileable with our submission to the pleasure of God, declared by 
the event. Our Saviour witih humili^ and importunity desired 
the xtmwv;^ of the cup of bittemcss. We must distinguish be* 
tween God's law, and his decree and counsel : the law is the 
rule of our duty, and requires an entire exact subjection in aU 
our faculties> eyen in our internal desires^ in the first iQOtiona 


of the will : the least velleity, or rising of the heart against the 
divine command^ is irregular and culpable ; for not only the acta 
of sin are forbidden in every command respectively^ but all the 
ineitations of concupiscence^ before the deliberate judgment of 
the mind, or the actual consent of the will* But the decree of 
God is not the rule of our duty ; and. is secret till manifested by 
the event of things. This being premised^ the reasons are evident 
why we may pray against an affliction that threatens us^ without 
violating our duty. 

(1.) Because afflictions are evils which the will naturally de- 
clines, and are not desirable things in tliemselves. They are not 
beneficial and productive of our good by any propet efficacy and 
operation, but by the overruling providencei of God, sMid the grar* 
cious assistance of his Spirit. When Aaron's rod was put inta 
the sanctuary, and became green and flouririiing with blossoma 
and almonds, it was not from any inherent virtue of its own, but 
from the special influence of the divine power ; for the other roda 
remained dead and dry ; thus the happy effects of the afflicting 
rod are from divine grace. 

(2.) There are proper ten^tations (hat attend the afliicted 
state. Many ar^ eneompassed in a sad circle j their sins procure 
afflictions, and their afflictions oceasion many sins. Ipdeed^ 
tribulation that is sanctified^ by a happy gradation worketh pan 
tience ; and patience^ experience of the divine mercy ; and ex- 
perience hope ; and hope maketh not as)iamed. . But when it 
meets with a stubborn qpiritj there are fearful descenta of sin t 
tribulation excites impatience, and impatience causeth perplex- 
ity^ and that despair, and despaiTj confiision. The devil lays his 
trains in every condition^ and sometimes by immoderate sorrow, 
sometimes by inordinate joy, doth nuschief to the souL And as 
more perish by surfeits than abstinence, yet the diseases that are 
caused by emptiness, are more 4¥W^<m» ^lynd inio|uable tiiaa 
those that proceed from fuhiess : so more are ruined by pros- 
perity than adversity : but the guilty passions that ferment and 
rage in adversity, are more pernicious^ and more hardly tempered 
and subdued, than the luxurious appetites that are fomented and 
^rawn bftji by priaqperity. We ana diraeted by a«r Saviour to 
pray, that we may " not be led into temptation^ and to be de« 
livered from all evU" 

2. A mournful sense of afflictions sent from God^ is consistent 

144 rhE GEBAT DCTt 

with a dutifiil resignation of oursehres to his will. It was tha 
vain boast of the philosophers, that their instructions would for- 
tify men with such magnanimous principles, and generous spirits, 
as with an equal calm tranquillity of mind to encounter all the 
fierce and sorrowful accidents to which they might be exposed 
here : * they speak high against fortune and &te, and resolve 
stubbornly, that no misery, whether poverty or disgrace, tor- 
ments or death, should extort from them a confession that it was 
misery. It was one of their axioms, that a wise man is not sub- 
ject to the vicissitudes and instability of things here below ; that 
he suffers no conflict of contrary passions in his breast } that he 
IS always above in the f serene, where no tempests can disturb, 
no eclipse can darken his mind : but these proud pretensions 
were empty of reality. Indeed such a perfect exemption from all 
afflieting passicws, is neither possible nor regular in our present 
state : not possible, for the best 'men are not all spirit, but 
united to flesh ; and when the body is under strong pains, the 
soul sttifers in its sufferings ; and while we are thus compounded^ 
the loss of those comforts that support and sweeten the present 
life, must cause grief. It is easy to utter brave expressions, and 
lay down severe precepts in contempt of evils | when they are at 
a distance, but hard to sustain the spirit under the actual feeling 
of them ; it is one thing to discourse of a battle, and another 
to be engaged in the heat of it. But supposing by a philoso- 
phical charm the heart were so hardened as to be proof agauist 
the most piercing afflictions, such a forced insensibility is not 
regular, but proceeds from the extinction of humanity and piety; 
and that wiU appear by considering afflictions in a natural or 
m<Hral respect. 

(1.) In a natural respect, fimr so they are destructive or op- 
pressive evils, and a pensive feeling of them is suitable to the 
law of our creation : for the human nature is framed with such 

* Nihil Bgit dolor, qaamTis sis molestos, nuoqaam ie case confitebor ma^ 
lum. Poisidoniutn 

f Tklii est sapienUs aaifliw qsalU msadi sUUis super luiaa, senper UUc 
•erenum. Stmcm, 

t Magna Trrba ezcldmit, oini mors propins accessit, cnm tortor naaim 
poposcit, potsis iUI dlccre, CmiU provocabas nala absentia. 8im^ 


^Senses and* pamiohs, as according to God's ' intention should be 
affected suitably to the quality of their objects ; and if the soul 
acts rationally, it is moved accordingly. A saint on earth is not 
a saint in heaven, raised above all disasters and troubles, 
freed from all hurtful impressions irom without, and sorrowful 
impressions within, but is liable to afflicting evils : and it is be- 
coming his duty to have his passions pliable to hvs condition, but 
without excess ; the eyes must not. be drowned, nor dr}', but 
tenderly affected. 

(2.) Considered in a moral respect, as they are sent from the 
high and just providence of God, it is absolutely necessary there 
should be an humble resentment of his displeasure. This is a 
consequent of the former ; for if our affections are seared up, 
that we do not feel the stroke ; how shall we regard the hand 
that smites us ? If we are not sensible of afflictions, we are se- 
cure in our sins. Natural sorrow is introductive of godly sorrow. 
There are two extremes to be avoided by the afflicted, according 
to the direction of Solomon in the person of wisdom, and re« 
peated by the apostle : " My son, despise not thou the chasten- 
ing of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him.'" Some 
are discouraged and overborne by afflictions as insupportable : 
others are stubborn and careless^ and never lay them to heart : 
they never look upward to the original efficient cause, an offend* 
ed God, nor inwml to the impulsive deserving cause, their sins ; 
but esteem them fortuitous events that happen in this mutable 
state, without a design to correct and reform sinners ; or to pro- 
ceed from a blind necessity, things of course ; or merely regard 
the second causes and instruments of their troubles : accordingly, 
when they meet with calamities, all their care is by a perverse 
«hift to seek for relief only in temporal comforts ; without serious 
applying themselves to God, whose end in sending troubles, is 
to reclaim us from sin to holiness, frpm earth to heaven, from the 
creatures to himself. 

This secret atheism, like a benumbing opium, stupifies the 
conscience ; and the insensibility of God's hand inflicting evils, 
18 as different from christian patience and constancy, as a mortal 
lethargy is from the quiet, soft sleep of health : nothing kindles 
his anger more than neglecting it ; it is equally provoking with 
the despising of his Ufve : it is a symptom of a wretched state of 
'40ul ; if jthere proceed no. sighs .and groans, no signs of grief from 

Vol. II. K 


the sense of God's dbpleaaure, it is m sad e^idenee there is no 
spiritual life. Indolence under the eflfects of God's anger, is Hke 
the stillness of the dead sea, whose calm is a curse. The Jews^ 
though entitled the people of God, are deeply charged for this 
prodigious madness ; ^* O Lord, thou hast struck tKem, but they 
have not grieved ; thou hast eonsuined them, but they refused 
to receive correction : they have made their faces harder than « 
rock, they have refused to rctuni.** Jer. 5. 3. We have whole 
quarries of such obdurate wretches amongst us $ this impenitent 
disregard of God's hand is a dreadful presage of foture and more 
heavy judgments. ** Who ever hardened himself against the 
Lord, and prospered ? Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy ? 
Are we stronger than he ?'' The most refractory he can compel 
to acknowledge with bitter lamentations his wickedness toad 
weakness, how unable he is to contend with his Judge. But 
supposing a respite from punishment here, there is an helt pre* 
pared for stubborn sinners, where is weeping and wailing for 
ever. Wliom the rods do not awaken, the- scorpions shall. 

IL I shall now proceed to explicate iii4iat is included in the 
tesignment of ourselves to God in times of affliction. This will 
be made evident by considering the leading powers and faculties 
which grace sanctifies and works in^ according to their natural 

1. The understanding approves riie severest dispensations of 
providence to be good, that is for reasims, though sometimes 
unsearchable, yet always righteous, and for gracious ends to the 
saints^ When Hezekiah heard the heavy prophecy, that all bis 
treasures should be carried to Babylon, and his royal progeny 
should become slaves there, he said to Isaiah, '< good is the word 
of the Lord which thou hast spoken.'^ His sanctified mind ao* 
knowledged it to be a just correction of his vain pride, and 
quietly submitted to it : and as there is a satisftctioii of mind i& 
the rectitude, so in the graciousness of his proceedings. The 
misapprehension and misbelief of God's design in afBicting^ 
causeth impabieuoe and murmuring ; but when the mind is con* 
vinced, that he afflicts us for our benefit, that bodily diseases are 
medicinal advantages, the remedies of 'tiie soul; tlHit the loisce 
of earthly comforts prepare us for divine enjoyments ; that the 
way which is sowed with th(»rBs, and watered wkh tears, leads 
to heaven 5 the heart is compliaat with the diarpest m^^da of 


jntmdence* Bat these things will be more fully opened under 
the several heads of ailments to enforce the duty. 

2. This resignment principally consists in the consent and sub** 
jeetion of the will to the order* of hearen. The will is an isipe« 
rioos faculty, naturally impatient erf opposition to its desires, and 
we pay the highest honour to God in the lowest submission of 
our wills to his appointments. It is true, the will cannot make 
a direct choice of evil, nor love afflictions^ but the holy spirit by 
a powerful operation so disposeth it, as to renounce its own in- 
dhiations when discordant with the will of God. And the more 
humble, ready and entire the sid^mission is^ the more difficult 
and harsh the denial cS oar natural desire is^ the more sopema- 
tliral grace shines and is acceptable. It is the perfection of holi- 
ness to do what God loves^ and to love what God does. 'Hiere 
is a rare example of this in David's carriage, when under his 
greatest affliction : it was in his flight from his son Absalom, who 
endeavoured to deprive him of his kingdom and life. 2 Sam. 
15. 25. << Aad the king said unto Zadok the priest, carryback 
the ark of God into the city : if I shall find favour in his ^es, he 
win bring me again, and show me both it and his habitation ; but 
if he shall say, I have no delight in thee, behold here I am, let 
him do to me as seems good unto him.'' O happy frame ! his 
spirit was so equally balanced, that if God would suffer a rebel 
that violated the most tender and strict relations of a son and 
subject to a gracious father and sovereign, the murderer of his 
brother^ and a parricide in his desires, to usurp his throne, he 
humbly submitted to it* 

3. IVie duty of resignation consists in die composure ot the 
affections to a just measure and temper, when under the sharpest 
disc^line. Of the passions, some are tender and melting, others 
fierce and stormy, and if a ponderous oppressing evil happen, or 
the loss of that good that was very pleasing, they sometimes join 
'together, as the clouds at the same time dissolve in showers, and 

break forth in thunder and lightning. Now when sanctified rea«- 
son hath a due empire over them, and the soul possesseth itself in 
patience, it is a happy effect of resignation to the divine disposal. 
Of this we have an eminent instance in the afflicted saint fore* 
mentioned. When Da^d was so wickedly reproached by Shi- 
mei, and Abishai fired with indignation, would presently have 
taken exemplary revenge, bv stopping his breath for ever ; 2 

' K 2 


Sam. 16. 9j 10. ^^ Should this dead dog curse my lord the 
king ? Let me go over, I pray thee, and take oiF his head." 
How cool and calm was David's spirit ? he fek no aestuations 
nor tumults within, expressed no outrageous complaints, but 
said, ^' Let him ctirse, because the Lord hath said to him, curse 
David." There is a twofold excess of the sorrowful affections in' 
troubles : 

First. In the degrees of them. 

Secondly.' In the continuance. 

First ; in the degrees of them, when they exceed their causes* 
Afflictive things that deeply wound us, are usually represented by 
the reflection of sorrow, with all the heightening circumstances, 
the loss as invaluable, the evil as intolerable. As objects appear 
greater than their true proportion, when seen through a mist ; so 
do evils, apprehended through grief: and after such a false judg- 
ment the passions take their violent course, and the spirit sinks 
under overwhelming heaviness. The soul is disabled from per- 
forming what belongs to it, with respect to the generid aud par- 
ticular calling, and cannot with freedom wut upon God, but^ 
neglects its duty and felicity. It was the complaint of the af- 
flicted poet, Hei mihi quod miseros prudentia prima reUmqmt. 
The first effect of misefy is black confiisioD in the thoughts, that 
the mind doth not distinctly consider and apply such thing as 
would be effectual to mitigate, or remove it. Besides, as when 
the stream overflows the channel, it runs foul and turbid: so im- 
moderate sorrow often causeth secret discontent and anger at the 
Almighty, disquieting and tormenting risings of heart against his 
providence. Ail things are disordered and turbulent in the little 
and marvellous monarch of the soul. And such seeds of incita- 
tion are in our corrupt nature, that in the extremity of anguish, 
the furious passions swell into a storm, and break the restraints 
of reason and grace. Job in a hot fit expostulates strangely with- 
God, Job 10. 3, " Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest op- 
press ?" He was a holy man, and a prophet, who in the parox* 
ysm of his passion, Jer. 20. 14. ^' curst the day of his birth." 

Secondly ; there is an excess in the continuance. 

Deep grief doth more arrest the thoughts upon its object, than 
the affection of joy doth. The mind is not so easily diverted 
from what afflicts, as from what delights. The main strain of 
the syul is towards the mournful object } and in Uie midst of 


comfiirts to support the fiainting spirits, there still remains a sad 
^remembrance of that which torments: a swarm of stinging 
thoiights continually wound and inflame the breast : no counsels 
firevail, but the soul is resolved in its grief, and always restless 
-mth a bitter desire of what is irreooyerable. Thus the prophet 
-describes the misery of Rachel, " weeping for her children, and 
would not be comforted, because they were not." Jer. 31. 15. 
•As some venomous creatures turn all that they eat into poison ; 
so obstinate sorrow takes occasion from, every thing to increase 
itself* This consumes the strength, and the mourner liyes only 
to feel his misery, and thinks death too slow for him, that was so 
precipitate for the person lamented* Thus by the fixed contem^ 
friation of. its trouble, the soul is distracted from its heavenly 
^original, and from pursuing its blessed end, and indulgeth its 
•sorrow, as if the less of a temporal comfort were utterly undoing 
to it. 

This obstinate grief is inconsistent with a resigned frame of 
spirit* Though in peat afBictions, there will be a conflicted 
nature, and it is wisdom to let grief breathe forth,, and have a 
passage, yet grace iirill assuage the fury, and limit th^ time, by 
r^gaiding.the will of God, and by deriving from the springs of 
•oomfert aboie, some inward refreshings, when the streams below 
totally m. 

. I shall now popound the arguments that wiU clearly oonvince 
us of this duty of resignation ;. some of which are powerfiil to si- 
:knce all rebellious aiguings, and suppress all the iransfjolrts of 
-the passions ; others to raise the drooping spirits, and incline the 
•heart to a calm yielding, and complete sid)}ection. to. the divine 

I. The first argument ariseth from God's original supreme 
tip^t in our penons, and all things we enjoy. He is. the foun- 
tifo of being, and produced us out (rf the dqpth of our native nor 
dung^ and made us little kiwer than the angels. He is tl|e aur 
Aor of all our good, the. just and true proprietor of all bis i^s^ 
fits. From hence results his sovereignty and dominion over v», 
which is declared m his law, and the dispi^nsatipns of his provi* 
dence. His law isthe rule of our livfs^ and actions^ his govern^ 
ing providence the rule of our sufferings and passion^. There is 
hidiqpensably due, a free and fiill obedience to his commandsi 
and an entire universal resignation to the oideo^ pf his provi* 



dence. The enjoyment of all our blessings is from his pare 
goodness, and rich bounty, which requires our humble and affsc<i> 
tionate thankfulness ; and his resumption of them should be en« 
tertained with a holy and patient submission. He gives them 
freely, and may recal them at his pleasure. In whatsoever in* 
stance his will is declared, we must with humiKty and meekness 
submit ; for he hath an equal empire in disposing ail things that are 
equally his own, and we are bound by an equal obedknee Co ae« 
knowledge his dominion. When £it received the tembie message 
of the ruin of his family ; the final excision of it from the d^ity 
of the priesthood, he patiently submits : <^ It is the Lord, kt 
him do what seemeth him good,'' The mere desive of «»mp* 
tion from his overruling will, is a heinous sin ; aiid' a stnbboni 
uncomplianee with it in the issues of things, is direct i^beiKoo^ 
mixed with ingratitude, obstructive to our present peace, and fit* 
ture happiness. If the afflicted would for a while suspend their 
tears and sighs, and ^th free reason consider, that wlukt relation 
soever they had in their dearest loss, whether of a frither, a SGn^ 
of ahusbandor wife, or any other amiaUe and passiteate terms^ 
yet God hath a nearer right and juster dairo in those person^ 
being his by his best titles of creation and ndemptsao, it ymoM 
silence murmurings and impatience, and stop tlie aoope of inoiw 
dinate sorrow. Our property in thehi was derived fiitHil his>fii»> 
vowr, and oar' possession was depen^ng onhis mH, fot hm right 
in allhis creatures is unalienable. This conankmftion waa tho 
foundation' of Job's patienee ; when he was stripped of att hia 
OQtward comforts, how composed was he in his mind I how con^ 
•iderate in His words! he reflects upon his native poverty, '^ Ma^ 
ked came I into the world, and naked shall I return thither :'^ 
and adores God's dominion^ ^ The Lord hath given, and the 
Lord hath taken, blessed foe lus name.'' Add further, that which 
by immediate connexion folldws, the ooosideratioii of the gtaaevs 
fffajesty of God, and ocrr natural meannessand umvortfatuess. The 
distance and disproportion is so vast between him and us, thiut 
we are not able to conceive the full -and justadea o£ his excellent 
greatness : we are fitin to assist our nrinds in the thoughts of God 
by seutiUe representations ; and to express ourr odncepdoos. by 
borrowed terms ; his immensity by the ocean; 4iis eternity by the 
returning of a circle into itself; his power, by thunder; his mar 
jesty by the dun in its meridian splendora. As the Bjpag fisho^ 

OT BS$IGNATI02<« l51 

(ahoab cX whteh are met in tulitig to the Indies^) ean fly no 
longer than their wings remain moist ; when those membranes 
are dry, they cannot move^ and are forced to dip themselves 
i^^n in the sea, that hy softening them> tbey may renew their 
fliight: thus when we aseend in onr minds to God, we forni no 
conoepdons but what take their rise from sensible things, which 
infinitely fiill short of his perfections. Who can fiilly understand 
the traaaceadent excellencies of his nature ? Who can describe 
what is ineflable, and most worthy to be adored with silent ad* 
miration and eestacy of nand ? * *< He dwells in that light which 
is inaccesMbie ;" the angels, the most comprehensive spirits, 
'^ veil their &oes in the presence of his glory/' He is his own 
•riginal, but without beginning : alone, bat not solitary ; one 
ever blessed God, yet communicates his entire Deity to the Son 
and Spirit ; he is not divided in number, nor confused in unity* 
He is not compelled by necessity, nor changed by liberty, nor 
measured by time : if we ascend to the first fountains of all ages, 
then his infinite understanding comprehended in one clear view, 
the whole compass, extent and duration of all things* His pow«< 
erfiil winrd made the visible, and invisible, world, and upholds 
Ibam* That which was spoken with flattery, of a Roman empe^ 
xor, by f Seneca, (who as much- degecvrated from the dignity of 
a Stoical philosopher, in lidtiag Nero, as in biting Alexander) is 
absotitt^y,tm#-.Qf the sovereign Lord of the world: his provi* 
denoe is the band that unites the parts oi the universal eommouw 
wealth, the vital spirit and virtue thataustinns all: without his 
eye and hand, his dispositive wisdom and power, . the wholo 
frame would disband and fall hxto eenfiision and ruin. He ie 
seated upon the throne of the universe. " Thoosand Uiousands 
<rf glorious spiats nAiiiler unta him, and ten thousand tia»es Vm 
ihoBsand stmd before.bim," in the quality and humility of bis 
servants, ready to execute his commands. He is the Judge of 
the living and the dead, that disposeth of heaven and hell for 

* St. Hilary declares of hiiatelf, Non ttbl relietQm qnicqaAm aliud a n^ 
tsra sua intelligere, in qoo ms^iis officiam praestare condiiori suo posset 
quam ut taotum eum etse Intellig ret, qnaatus & Intelligl oon potest & potest 
credl« D« Trim. Ith, I. 

-f lUe eftt vinculum per quod res publica cohsret i Ille splrHas vitality 
quern tot mill la trail nnt ; ailiil ipsa futara nisi onat ft prsda si jneas Ilia iia» 
KrilMblraksutt^ MM. 4» Cfem. 

K 4 


ever. And what is man ? a little breathing dust. He is infi--* 
nitely above us, and so strangely condescends, in having a tender 
care of us, that the psaknist was swallowed up in ecstacy and 
amazement at the thoughts of it : '< Lord, what is man that 
thou art mindful of him ? or the son of man that thou regardest 
him ?" Nay, we are beneath his anger, as a worm is not wor- 
thy of the indignation of an angel. Now the more we magnify 
God^ and exalt his authority in our judgments, the more our wills 
are prepared to yield to him : ^^ His excellency will make us afraid 
to oppose his providence." When the Son of God appeared to 
Saul in his glory, and commanded in person, he presently lets 
fall his arms of dehance, and says, " Lord, what wilt thou have 
me to do ?" His resignation was absolute ; nothing was so hard 
to do, nothing so formidable to suffer ; but he was ready to ac- 
complish and endure in obedience to Christ. The more we de- 
base and vilify ourselves, the more easy it will be to bear what 
God inflicts; humility disposeth to 'submission. Our passions 
are not excited at the breaking of an ordinary glass ; but if a 
▼essel of crystal be broken, it moves us : the lower esteem we 
have of ourselves, the less we shall be transported for any breach 
that is made upon us. We • read in the histoiy of Job, many 
heavy complaints uttered by him of his suflferings, all the sad fi- 
gures of passicmate ek>quence made use of to represent them, and 
the fruitless essays of his friends, that did rather exasperate than 
appease his spirit : and it is very observable, that when the Lord 
interposed himself to justSy the ways of his providence, he did 
not charge upon him the guilt of hi« sins that deserved the seve- 
rest judgments, but appears in his glory, and reminds him of his 
original nothing. '* Where wast thou when I laid, the founda- 
tions of the earth? declare, if thou hast understiaiidiag*'' He 
opens to him some of the exeellencies of . the Deity in. the works 
of creation and providence, and the present effect was. Job ado- 
red with humble reverence the divine majesty, and. acknowledged 
his own unworthiness : ^' Behold, I am vile, what shall I answer 
thee ? I vrill lay my hand upon my mouth ; now mine eyes see 
thee, I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." The thick- 
est smoke by ascending, dissipates and vanishes. If the troubled 
scNil did ascend to heaven, and consider that even the w<»st evib 
are either from the operation or permission of the divine provi- 
dence, the cloudy disturbing thoughts and passions would be pre^ 

IbV ftBflGNATlON* 153 

sently scattered. David had a blessed experimei^ of 'this in his 
distress : ^^ I was dumb, and opened not my mouth, because 
thou didst it/' Psal. 39. 8. Such an awilil apprehenoon he 
had of God, as transcendently superior to him, and unaccount- 
able for his proceedings. When any impatient thoughts arise, 
we should presently chain them up, for there are feUy and fury in 
them : what am I, tliat my sullen spirit should dispute against 
the orders of heaven P that my* passions should resist the will of 
the highest Lord? that my desires should depose him from his 
throne ? For thus by implication and consequence they do, vi^o 
are vexed at his providence. A holy soul will tremble at the 
thoughts of it. •Methinks God speaks to the afflicted and dis^ 
turbed soul, in the words of the psdm, ^' Be still, and know 
that I am God.'" The actual consideration of his supremacy 
will be powerful to lay the growing storm of passions. Impati*? 
Mice ariseth from the ignorance of God and ourselves. 

II. The righteousness of God in all his ways, if duly consider- 
ed, will compose the afflicted spirit to quiet and' humble submis- 
sion. He is ne^^er injurious to us when he deprives us oi our 
sweetest and most precioos comforts,' beeause we have incurred 
the forfeiture of alL He is not cruel in laying the heaimst .pu- 
nishments upon Us, for we deserve them. If we were free £rom 
actual sins, yet our depraved nature, so repugnant to the pure 
law of God, involves us under an obligation to punishment. If 
we had not been attainted vrith the guittof original sin^^Tet the 
sins committed in the course of our lives, reidLe us defeplyobtiax- 
ious to divine jiistice : how. much move the coneunent guilt of 
orijginal and actual sins ? The adts of «ki are transient and pass 
away; but the guilt and stain of sin; idid'the coaseience of sin 
remain, and no less tluin eternal punishment is commctasvrate 
to the obliquity. From hence there is Ae clearest reason to jus- 
tify God in all hie proceedings. '< HigHteousness establishes his 
throne.'' The prophet saith, <^ thy rigbteeumess is like the 
great moontains, thy juc^ei^ are. a great deep." Psal. 36. 6; 
The special ends of God in severe diqf>ett8atioi»9 are sometimes 
indiscemifale, but never imjust ; his righteousness' is' obyious to 
every eye. The actual consideration of this, is pdwerftil to si-. 
lence the uproar of the passions, and to make us lie humbly at 
Us feet under the sorest chastisements* ^< I mH bear*tbe indig- 
nation of the Losd" (without munnnringy aakh the afflicted 

154 tBB «aBAT BITTT 

dmrch) ^ bceause I hmrt simied against him/' Mie. 7* 9. A» 
diaobedienor in our indinatioiis and actions, is a tacit rcflecUoa 
upon the equity of his law, as if the restraints of it were unreaao- 
nable ; so impatience and fretfcl discontent is upon the equity 
of his providence, as if the afflicting dispensations of it were noC 
due to us : and the sense of our sinfulness, and God's righteous* 
ness, is an excellent prereotive of it. If thou art in great afflic- 
tions, and feelest any tumultuous thoughts, any rebellious ri- 
•ingR within thee, consider thou art 9 sinner, guilty of ten thou* 
sand provocations, and darest thou appear before his enlightened 
and terrible tribunal, and challenge him for any unrighteous 
proceedings ? '< Wherefore doth a living man complain, a roan 
for the punishment of his sins ?" Lam* S. 39. Surdy it i^ meet 
to be sakd unto God, I will not o0»nd any more.. That which 1 
know not, .teach thou me i and if I have done iniquity, I will do 
no more. Job. 34. 31, 32. Besides, all the punishments of men 
heie, are with merciful allays, not in just proportion to their 
guilt. The church in its calamitous sttte, described m the most 
dole&d lamentations of Jercnriafai when the greateet number of 
the Jews perished by the sword, or fiimine. that attended the 
war, their city and temple were laid in ruins, end the unhappy 
people that escaped the Any of the Chaldeans, were the captives 
and triuiQphsfif their enemies; yet in that unpanlleied afflic« 
tion ebeacltnowledges,/* it is the LordVmereies that we are not" 
utterly uad totally ^ consumed Lam. 3. 22. $" and ktys her mouth 
in the dust, m postute of the lowtat abasemetit* And holy Earn 
reflectiiigiq>on that dreadful calamity, acknowledgeth their fu* 
nishroent was beneath their desert, as their deliverance was 
dbo^ their expectation: ^ and for all that is come upon us lor 
Mr evil deeds and gnat tieapaases, seeing thou hast punished us 
less than <m iniquitiee dessrve, and gtven us such a deliversnoe 
as this." Esm 9. 13. Our deserts ave leas than the least of 
God*t mercies, and our oAeoees greater than the gKBteft of his 
judgmentt. This should make us not only patisntly suhmity 
^< but humbly accept the punishment of our iniquity^ as £tr less 
than what is deserved.'^ Levit. 26. 4K If the sentenoe of death 
against ft malefactor be exchaiqped fur bunishmsnt, or hanisik^ 
ment be remitted for a short oonfaiementy Is there .not uMDouspa^ 
vably more cause ta be thankful for what is paidoaedy than to 
«omphdnfi9rwhati«soieiied?WhntfaigratitHdeisitto bo m^ 


pal^ent and mnnnttraig for these ^ light aflietmis that are but 
fix a moment,'' when we deserve an eternal and iompportable 
weight ef misery in hell? It is infii^ly more becoming us and 
safe, to aigue against our irregnlar passions, than to tiK his 
righteous diqpenaaitions. 

III. His power ia immense andnncontiolsble, and it is a vain 
attempt to contend with him, as if the eternal order of his de-» 
erees cooU be altered or broken. The contest between God 
and the sinner, is, whose will shall stand* It is bis glorious 
work to depress the proud, and anbdue the stubborn refractory 
qiirita* The punishment of the first pride in the angds, is an 
eternal and tteiUe esuunple of his powerful justice ; and bow 
intoleiable^acrime itis, that heaven eould not bear, but pre* 
eently c^Moed, and the guiky fUl into the bottanless pit* Now 
pride is a seminal evil^ and lies at-the met ef stubbornness and 
impatieiiee under judgments. Proud dust is apt to fly in God's 
fiM)e «pon ««ery motioQ of the afflicting passians^ And by the 
vesistBnee of adf-will he is provoked to mate- sever&y. ^ Woe 
betokhnthatetanres with Ms Maker." Isa. 45« 9. TUs to 
to be like a restive korse or mnle, witkout understanding, tba* 
flii^ and foams when the burthen is kid upon him, but gets 
nothing but biowa, without tha lemoval of the bustbeuw . It ia 
our duty and intesest to observe the blessed apostle's direction^ 
<< bumWeyouiselver under Ike migkty hand of God^ and hoahaU 
exalt you.'? } Pet. & 6. These is 4i^ passive .huaoUmg by his 
inesistikle providence^. and an acfciue volnntary hwaUmg, which 
implies a subgeetion to his law, and a submission to his proirir 
dence: this is ihfinitely pleslibg to him, it is the r^tht disposi* 
tion thatp r ep a ie s us for aliepey, and is the certain way of eical« 
tationi forAenGodcibtmashssend. The hunUe pna^aOimg 
euseelves attUs fleet to reeeive Wa eorseetien,' esHses his bowels 
to relent, nndalepa hia hand: the seeming fanmUiation of Ahak 
procured a respite of these ftarinl judgments •denounced against 
Us houset It is aaid of the genenMsty of the lioo^ that he qfMures 
his prestrafee ndtemary. . in abort, our sabntkn depends upon 
eor Iwaobtp iksmanntor under alBictife dispensatjoos. << We have 
had jMiers. of our flesh wkieh corrected us, and we gave them 
to f cf s n en^ shea we not asneh more be m nbjection to the fii^ 
tker of sinriis,. and live?" Hub. 12. 9. UnsnhmisMon induces 
n deadly <yairu»oo tte id b elBous . . 

156 tttB CRBAT BiriY 

: IV. His paternal love in sending afflictions^ is a sufficient ar^ 
gument to win our compliance with his- will. The blessed apos- 
tle applying lenitives to the afflicted, propounds two divine 
truths, that if seriously thought of, and steadfastly believed, are 
powerful to mitigate the acerbity of all sufferings, and support 
the spirit in the greatest agony. The first is, << God scourgeth 
every son whom he receiveth :" Heb. 12. 6. and the other that 
is joined with it is, <' Whom the Lord loves, he chasteneth." 

The rule is general : 

(1.) All his sons are under the discipline pf the rod ; and who 
would be so unhappy as to be exempted from that number, for 
all the prosperity of the worid ? Afflictions sanctliied, aie the 
conspicuous seal of their adoption and title to heaven : and who 
would forfeit the honour of that adoption, and lose the benefit 
annexed to it, the eternal inheritance, rather than patiently bear 
his fatherly chastisements ? Others that enjoy a perpetual spring 
of pleasure here, are declared bastards, and not sons : they are 
indeed within the compass of his universal providence, but not 
of that peculiar care that belongs to his sacred and select proge- 
ny. His corrections are an argument of his authority as our fa- 
ther, and an assurance that we are his children : ^this should in- 
duce us- not only with submissive temper of soul, but ilrith thank- 
folness to receive the sharpest correction from the . hands of our 
heavenly Father. This was the reason of our Sariour's meek 
yieldit^ himself to the violence and. cruelty of; his . enemies, 
f ^ The cup vrtiich my frtfaer hath given me, shall 1 not drink 

• (2.) Chastisement is the efleet of his paternal love ; he ts the 
father of our spirits, and that divine relation carries with it a q>e- 
cial love to the spirits of men, and in that degree of eminence, 
as to secure and advance their hiqspiiiess, though to the destruc- 
tion of the flesh. The soul is of incomparably more worth than 
the body, as the bright orient pearl' than the mean shell that 
contains it: tlus God most liigfaly values; tor this he gave so 
great a price, and on it draws his image. If temporal prosperi- 
ty were for our best advantage, how willingly woaM God b^tow 
4t on us? '^ He that spared not his own Son, bnt gave hhn 'up 
for us all, how shall he not with him also fredy give us all 
things?'' Rom. 8. 32. Which words, among M that the Hcrfy 
Ghost hath dictated to the interpreters of God's beart to bis peo:. 


pie, are most expressive of his love and bounty, and most for their 
comfort. He that gives graee and ^ory,the most real testimo- 
nies of his love, certainly withholds no good thing from them. I 
shall produce 'one convincing instance of this. St. Paul, who 
by an incomparable privilege was rapt up to the celestial para- 
dise, and heard ineffiible thhigs, yet was tormented by the angel 
of satan, and* his earnest repeated prayer for deliverance not pre- 
sently.granted.- Did not God love that blessed apostle, whose 
internal love to Christ almost equalled the senqihims, those pure 
everlasting flames, and was expressed in the invariable tenor of 
his life, by such miraculous actions and sufferings for the propa- 
gating and defence of the faith of Christ, and the glory of his 
name ? ^^ If we love him because he first loved us," as St. John 
testifies^ certunly he that returned such a superlative affection 
to Christ, received the greatest love from him. Now if Christ 
did love Paul, why did he not upon his earnest repeated prayer^ 
deliver him firom his wounding trouble, whatsoever it was? That 
permission was a demcmstraticm of the love of Christ to him, as 
it is acknowledged by himself; <^ lest I should be exalted above 
measure through the abundance of revelation^ there was given 
to me a thorn in the flesh, and the messenger of satan to buffet 
me.'' 2 Cor« 13. 7* That the afflictions of the sainta proceed 
from God's love, will be evident, by considering, 
. First. His gracious design in sending them. 

Secondly. His compassionate providence over them, and hit 
assisting power afforded to his people in their troubles. 

Thirdly. The happy issue of them. 

First ; His gracious design in sending them. ^' God doth not 
afflict willingly, but if need be ; not for his own pleasure, but 
for our profit, that we may be partakers of his hdiness. Heb. 
12. 10. The expression is high and emfrtiatical, ^^ his holi-' 
ness," the brightest glory of his nature, the divinest gift of his 

The two principal parts of holiness, are cearing from doing 
evil, and learning to do well. And afflictions are ordained and 
sent as pto&iAhle for both these effects. 

for the prevention or cure of «in, which is an evil incompara- 
bly worse in its nature, and terrible consequents in this and the 
next world, than aU the mere afflicting temporal evils. Sin de- 
files and debaaelh the soal> which, is the proper eacodlency of 

f 58 THB GBBAT BtrfT 

man, and separates from God our supreme good. '* Your sins 
have separated between you and your God, and have hid his 
face from you.'' Isa. 59. 2. All afflictions that can be&l us 
here in our peisons or concernment^ the most disgraeeftd acci- 
dents, the most reproachful contumelious slanders, the most 
loathsome contagious diseases, that cause our dearest friends to 
withdraw from us, yet cannot deprive us of union with God by 
fisith and love, nor of the fruition of his propitious presence. Ia- 
zarus when covered with ulcers, was kissed vrith the kisses of his 
mouth : but sin hath this pemidous eflfect, it separates from his 
ffracious presence here, and, if contimied in without repentance^ 
will eaclude from hb glorious presence for ever. Now afflictions 
are medicinal applications for the cure of sin, the £sease and 
<ieath of the soul, and therefore ininifeely woise than the sharp* 
est remedies. 

The begimiii^ and progress of conversion to God, aro usually 
by sanctified afflictions. Indeed, consideriiq^ our fbUy, and per- 
verse abuse erf his blessings, they are the most congruous means 
for our recovery. The light of God's law doA not so power*- 
fully convince us of the evil of sin, till felt in the eflfects of it. 
'^ Thy own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings 
shall reprove thee; know thereforo and see that it is an evil thing 
and a bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and 
that my fear is not in tbee, saith the Lord of hosts." Jer, 2. 19, 
The instructions trfthe rod are more sensible than of the word ; 
as the feeling of a tormentnig disease pnoduceth* another kind of 
understanding of it, than the rending of. its nature in books of 
physic ; and they make us more attentive to God's call, and 
leave a deeper impression on us. It is Elihu his observation^ 
<< if sinners be bound in fetters, and held in cords, then he shows 
them their works, and their transgressions, that they have ex^ 
eeeded." Job 36. 8. 9. Affliction clarifies then: sight, makes 
sin to be as heinous in the view of conscience, as in its own foul 
nature. It follows, *< he openeth also the ear to dkcipline, and 
commandeth that they return from their iniqnity*" Ver% 10. 
Gentle methods were lost upon them, bat by ^idgnents he ef- 
fectually commands, they relent and rafeum to their duty. Atbd 
afiter conversion, we need their disciplme, to make us more cfar* 
cumspect and obedient. The Psalmist declares, << it is good for 
me that I have been afflicted :'^ Psal. 1 19. for before he wasnf- 


fieted lie went Mtray : he was ledooed from the ertot of hia 
ways by his tronUes : and it was his experimental obaenrationy 
^ i know in fidthfiibitss'' (from the eonstaney of love) ^< thou 
hast a£Bieted me/' Nothing so cools our aeal to eternal things, 
a» the love of the woM. Vital heat declines and laagnishes, as 
the fevemh heat is inflamed ; and till we feel the vexations, we 
aie allured by the vanities of the world : therefore God is pleased 
by such bitter means to make us more holy and heavenly. 
Sometimes he removes vrith jeakmsy those objects to whkh our 
bsarts are so entirely engaged, that the eqjoyment of them in- 
teicepu the ascending of our aifectkms to himself. Besides, he 
vrill not suffer us to perish in prosperity. <^ We are chastened 
ct the Lord for our amendment, diat we may not be condemned 
vrith the unieformed woiid.'' 1 Cor. 1 1. And is not this an in- 
frdlible testimony of his love ? David sud, ^ let the righteous 
smite me, and it shall be a kindness ; let him reprove me, and 
it shall be an excellent oil.'' Psal. 141. 5. If he valued the re- 
prehensions that were not contumelious and injurious, not to up* 
braid but reform him, as a frwour and dear oUigationi how much 
more shoidd we the corrections ot our heavenly Father ? And it 
will be a greater incitement to an hamUe and grateful accept 
ance of this diseiplme, if we consider what a severe neglect it is, 
vAen God suffers the vricked to lead a voluptuous life vrithout 
disturbance: they are encircled with riches and honours, soften- 
ed vrith pleasures, dianned with eaaicing objects, and thus be* 
come hardened in sm ; they are riotous and kmurioos, and give 
the reins to their corrupt nnraly appetites without control $ the 
slaves of sense» led only by principles of pleasure, and hereby 
are inexousaMe, and made ripe for perdition, and reserved for 
final vengtsnee. OtherB, though not guilty of scandalous enor- 
mities, yet are by continual prosperity settled upon their lees, 
eareless and secuite, ^ neglect the great salvation," and say in 
their hearts, << it is good to be here/' and their damnation is ae 
certain, though not so visible, as of those vriio commit gross 
and open wickedness. Sad preteriiMm ! In the midst of plea^ 
snres they are truly miserable. They hacve just reason to be 
abandoned to sorrow, beii^'fonaken of the love of God. The 
bramble is not cut, when the vine is pruned tiH it bleeds, in or^ 
der lo itsfrttitfulness : this letting them alone to take their fill 
of pleasuiesj is «he«iry presage of final ruin. When the patient 


18 desperate, the physician lays no restraint upon the diseased 
appetite, but permits him to take what he craves. Heb. 4. 14. 

Besides, the intention of God is by afflietion to exercise and 
iUttstrate their graces. The most excellent christian virtues 
would be comparatively of little use, without hard trials* Un- 
feigned faith in the truth and power of God to accomplish his 
promises, sincere love to him, humble self-denial, persevering 
patience then appear in their radiancy and vigour. What a 
blessed advantage is it, by the loss of temporal comforts to in*- 
crease in the graces of the spirit ? They are the truert riches^ 
the fullest joy, and the highest honour of a christian. St. Peter 
declares, ''.the trial of our faith is much more precious than of 
gold thiU; perisheth ;" 1 Pet. 1. ?• it is refined and resplendent 
by the fire of affliction, and '' will be found unto praise, and ho- 
nour, and giory, at the appearing of Christ.^' It is the advice 
of St^ James, '' Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temp- 
tations. Knowing this, that the trial of your faith worketh pa- 
tience." Jam. 1. 2, 3. Though afflictions simply considered, 
may be very grievous, yet if we advisedly weigh, and rightly 
eompare thing?, even when our sorrowful passions are moved^ 
our judgments wiU esteem them matter of joy, not only in ex- 
pectation of future happiness^ but as divine grace is thereby 
ch^awn forth in the most noble operations. In short, the ulti- 
mate design of God in afflicting his people, is thereby to bring 
them to heaven. Affliction mortifies the lusts of the flesh, puri- 
fies the spirit^ '' and makes us fit for the inheritance of the saints 
in light." By persevering patience in sufferings, they are ap- 
proved of God, and obtain a right and title to the kingdom of 
glory. For according to the tenor of the covenant of grace, hea- 
ven shall be conferred as a reward to those that overcome. Rev. 
22. If there be no enemy, there will be no fight ; and if no 
fight, no victory ; if no victory^ no triumph ; only those who 
conquer are crowned. 

The beloved disciple, with his brother, though allied to our 
Saviour, by consanguinity, who expected by special favour to be 
gloried without a preparatory trial, yet he tells them, '' with- 
out drinking of his cup, they could not have ashare in his king- 
dom :" and this should reconcile our spirits to all our troubles; 
for the apostle declares, who was a competent judge, havipg 
been throughly acquainted with grieb, and had a prospect bta 

ttf KBSIGHATICnf^ 161 

Ae glorious kingdom ; << I rcdcon that the sufferings ctf this pre- 
aeut life are not worthy to be compared to the gbry that shaft 
be revealed iii us/' Rom. 8. 

Secondly. God's love is jdiseovered in his companionate pn>« 
vidence over them, tod as9i8tii% power affiwded to them in their 
afflictions : bespeaks to the afflicted and disconsolate, ^^ my soOj 
despise not thou the chastening of the Lofd^' nor faint when thou 
art rebuked of him :" Heb. .12* 5. to sweeten by that tender ex- 
presBioo, the rigomr of <fais>discipUiie; to signiiy his dear sympa« 
tigr with tbeir aoguish and mdferihgs. 

Heaarenly consolation! God himsdf beartf a shafe in th€&r sor« 
rovra, ^^ is afflicted in their affliotioDS :" and the effect jof this 
love is, that he'alwaya tampers and moderates their tfiais tdtbek 
stiengtb ; or increases *their-8trengdi i» proportion to tine Jtriai* 
His cofrections are detiberale dispensations) that proceed from 
jn4gnient, not ftdm ftny, which 1^ prophet ^earnestly deprecates. 
Jen 8, His rods are bomid np with lOMcy, his futh&in«» 
joins with his aflSMibn, in moderating. tfaeiT'Suferings. It is one 
ckcuse of the covenant of grace, made wth Christ, typilied by 
David, <* if his chiUraniyfedk tny Btatii|;es,'nad keep not my 
ecMnmandments, tlian wiU I ^visit thmr trasngressioii with a rod/' 
to amend not to dcatioy than ; '^^ bnt'l^y tovmg kindness iWill 
not take «way ftom th^m, nor snfler my faitbfiifaiesB to faiL'' 
ttei. S9. 81^ 32, S3. ^He apottle assines believers, <^ that God 
is fiiittaM, who will net saffbr thnm to be tempted above what 
they aire able, but will wiA the:templation makea way to escape, 
that they may be able to bear it.'' 1 Cor. 10. 13. Our Ren 
deemer in his ago&y was saKeved by heavenly succour, the pre* 
senee'of an angel with aC mhssage ctf coinfioA; St* Paul ibund 
it verified by his own expmenee, *^ that ^as tUe snieriik^g of 
Christ abounded in him, acpbls ebiisolaitioBs^dKamded by Christ,'' 
2 Cor.. 1* 5.. 2- Cos. 12; 9* and.the divine power was acoompiish- 
ed, illuBtrimisiy appeared in* supporting Hisf weakness* How 
many have enjoyed ' cnnrfttts of a moie preeioiB n^re, tited 
HMRre abundant, in wramtioi supplies ivmn tiae wodd, than in the 
possession of tfiem ? Vi^tsa there is a total eclipse betow, the 
Mesae4 Oominrtcff desreUs^ with light, and filb the aoul wttlf jey 
in believing. 

162 THJB 08XAT BVWt 

The historian tdls us of a * eltar vrin of water that springs 
from Mongibel» (that great furnace, that always sends forth 
smoke or flames,) yet is so cool, as if it distilled from a snowy 
moontain ; thus the saints in the fiery trial have been often re- 
freshed with divine comforts $ and such humble submissions, and 
gracious thanksgivings have proceeded from their lips^ as have 
been very comfertdble Co those di^t them. 

Thirdly. The issue out of ally is the most sensible declaration 
of God's love to them. The* continuance is limited by his ten* 
der lo?e, till they are prepared for mercy. The prosperity of the 
Mrieked is wine in the bc^nning, and lees at the bottom ; but 
the worst and afflicted state of the saints is first, and will at 
length oertunly end in felicity. lu the tragedy of Job, the devil 
was the author, Chaldeans and Sabeaas were the aotors, *^ but 
the end was fi-om* the LonL" We are instructed by the qfMStle, 
<' that althoi^ no chastisement for the present seems to be jay- 
Otts, but grievous, nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peace* 
able fruit of righteousness, unto them that are exercised there- 
by/' Heb. 12. I !:• h is an allusioD to the rewards in the Olym- 
pic games, when the persons that overeamie in Chose exercises, 
were crowned vrith wreaths of oiiveUat^es, the embkm of peace. 
Thus christians, who wkh unfasntiDg p ers erer a nee in their duly 
suffur affliction, shall be rewarded witii holiness in eonjunction 
with peace. This peaeeable fruit of righteousness is not the na« 
tural product of affiction : grapes do not spring from thorns^ nor 
figs firom thistles ; neither can it be so properly ascribed to the 
afflicted person, as to the powerfiil virtue, and special grace of 
the Holy Spirit, who aanctifies afflicdans, and makes them pro- 
fitable for effecting God's intention by them. And when the af* 
fficted person becomes more faumbl^ moie holy, more weaned 
from the world, mose res^;ned to the will of God, this <' fimit 
unto holiness" will compensate all their psoiis and sorrows. And 
in conjunction with holiness, there is a divine peace, a joyfiil 
calm and ipuetness of conscience, in the sense of God's fiiwNir ; 
his answers of peace are usually a reward, according to the ope- 
rations of grace : his comforts are dispensed as encouragements 
to obecHence. Besides, when the sittfid eorruptiMa are puiged 

« AciB qvaaTlB dcmlMOiB JRiua, w^m Crigsrs sate? ertiU &£«• 


mStf which caused perpetaal dEsturbance, and our aJFections and 
actions are correspondent to the divine iaw^ there is that clear"- 
ness and serenity of mind, that rest and ease in the soul, arising 
from its jast and due subordination unto Qoi which the disobe-- 
dient, in all their seeming prosperity, never enjoy. ^' There is 
no peace, saith my God, to the wicked/' These beginnings of 
happiness are obtained here, but the perfection of it is in the 
next life. '* Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for 
v^ben he is tried he shall receive the crdwn of righteousness, 
which God hath promised to them that love him/' James 1. 12. 
The richness and value of the '^ crown of life" is so great, that 
God, the most wise and just esteemer of things, gave the pre- 
cious blood of his Son to purchase it for us. It is a felicity so 
transcendent in its quality, and stable in its duration, that the 
blessed God cannot give us a greater ; for what greater good is 
conceivable than himself^ And what more stable enjoyment of 
it than efeemlty ? Tfie hope of this makes a christian blessed in 
the nddfit of the greatest miseries. ^^ Our light afflictions that 
are but for a moment, work for us a for'more exceeding and eter-« 
nal weight ctf glory.'' 2 Cor. 4. 

V. The mfinite wisdom of God orders all things in l^e best 
manner for his own glory, and the final good of his people. If 
he governed by absolute empire, none in heaven or earth might 
say unto him. What dost thou? But there is an inseparable 
connexion between his wisdom and his frill ; he is ^' the King 
eternal," and ^' the only wise Crod," 1 Tim. 1. as the apostle 
joins d^ose divine titles. In this the excellence of the divine 
liberty shines, that it is always regulated by infinite wisdom : 
<< he works all things according to the counsel of Jiis will :" 
Eph. 1. 11. this is spoken aecordii^ to human* conceptions, but 
must be undei^tood in a sense becoming the perfections of God : 
for counsel cannot properly be attributed to God, whose under- 
standifig is infinite, and in one view comprehends all things ', but 
as those things are most complete that are the product of our 
deliberate reasonings and deep contrivance } '^ so his work is 
perfect, for all his ways are judgment." Deut. 32. 4% Whoiever 
we are dissatisfied or displeased with his proceedings, it is fiorn 
the error of our minds, and the viciousncss of our affections 3 
we presume to correct his providence, as if he were defective in 
regulating the affairs of this lower world ; but '^ he i^ wonderful 

L 2 


in counsel, and excellent in working/' Isa. 28. 29. In the 
creation this rcf^lar and beautiful world was formed out of dark* 
ness and confusion : and his providence, that is now mysterious 
and veiled to us, will bring into glorious order and Sweet agree- 
ment, those things in their final resolution, that now seem so 
perplexed to our apprehensions. It was a confounding reproach 
from God to Job, " who is this that darkens counsel by words 
^\ithout knowledge ?" Job 82. 2. His passionate exclamations 
were such, as if the divine wisdom had not disposed all the af- 
flicting circumstances in the series of his suflerings ; and 'that 
holy man being convinced of his presumptuous folly, repeats the 
charc:e against himself with tears of confusion : *' who is he that 
hideth counsel without knowledge ? therefore have I uttered that 
I understood not, things too wonderful for me, which I knew 
not ; wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes :** 
Job 42. 3, 6. more particularly, 

1. AH things are so wisely ordered, that God shall be glorified 
in the event ; and it is the noblest disposition of a christian, to 
prefer the advancement of his glory, before aH the comforts of 
this life, and life itself. Our blessed Saviour in the forethoughts 
of his sufferings, was iii distress and perturbation of mind, like 
the darkening of the sky before a great shower : " now is my 
soul troubled, what shall I say ? Father, save me fi^om this 
hour,'* John 12. 27. But the short conflict of nature was pre- 
sently at an end, he willingly yielded up himself to be a sacrifice 
to the divine honour, and said, *^ Father, glorify thy name.** 
Moses and Paul, whose admirable zeal, had only a parallel be^ 
tween themselves in the same degree of holy heat, desired the 
salvation of the Jews before their own, if God might be more 
glorified !^t. This is the first petition in order and dignity, in 
that complete form of prayer composed by our Saviour, as the 
rule ct all our desires. *' Thy name be haltewed ainl glorified 
in us, and by us." The admirable history of Jephtha's only 
daughter, is applicable to this purpose ; she joyfiilly came forth 
to meet her father, returning victorious and triumphant after his 
war with the Ammonites. Judg. 11.36. He had made a rash 
vow, to oflFer up in sacrifice to God, whoever should first meet 
him afl:€r his victory, and upon the sight of his daughter was so 
deeply wounded with sorrow, tliat his triumph was converted 
into lamentations : but the grief was only in the father ^ for in 


that first sivpnse of such a terrible sentence to be executed upon 
her, she did not answer his tears with tears^ nor lamentations 
with lamentations, but said unto him, ^^ my father, if thou hast 
Oijpeaed thy mouth unto the Lord, do to me according to that 
which hath proceeded out of thy mouth, forasmuch as the Lord 
hath taken vengeance for thee on thine enemies." Methinks 
.the admirable love and generosity in a young virgin, to whom 
her &ther's honour and exaltation was more dear than her life, 
upbraids us for our unwilling submission to those providential 
dispensations that are ungrateful to flesh and blood wherein the 
glory oi God is advanced. If we were called to martyrdom for 
his truth, and our lives should bleed forth, as sacrifices on the 
altar, or our bodies be consumed as incense on the censer, it 
were an unjust and ungrateful complaint, to express passionate 
reluctancy against his providence. If there were no other con- 
sequences of our present sufferings, but the glorifying God, we 
should be content* That ,is the worthiest end which be pro- 
poseth to himself, and will accomplish : his divine excellencies 
will be illustrated by the wickedness of men, that at present ob- 
scures the ^lory of his government ; his wisdom, power, holiness, 
mercy and justice will be acknowledged, admired and magnified 
at last. 

2. His wisdom will order all things, even the most afflicting 
and dolorous, for the good of his people. This is a fearful para- 
dox to a carnal mind, that judgeth of good and evil, as present 
things are pleasant or unpleasant to sense, without regard to 
what is future. It is like Samson's riddle to the Philistines, 
^^ out of the devourer came meat, and out of the strong came 
sweetness.'' But to the mind that hath spiritual discerning, and 
judgeth of good and evil, as things are conducive or destructive 
to the happiness of the soul, it is a clear undoubted truth. ^' We 
know," saith the apostle with the greatest assurance, ^^ that all 
thiiigs work together for good to them that love God." Rom. 8. 
28. All things^ the most adverse to their present desires,, are so 
disposed and overruled by his providence, as if there were a secret ^ 
intelligence and concert between them, to promote the happiness 
of the saints : thus in mixed bodies the contrary qualities are re- 
duced to such a just measure and temperament by the wisdom of 
the divine Maker, .that a sound and healthful constitution results 
from them. We have a rare instance of this in the history of 




Joseph ; his envious brethren were the instraments of his exal* 
tation ', they sold him for a slave into Egypt to firustrate his pro- 
phetic dreams ; and there, by many admindile turns of providence^ 
he was advanced to the highest dignity ; and then was verified 
in him and his brethren^ '< that his sheaf arose and stood up- 
right, and their sheaves stood round, and did obeisance to his 
sheaf/' God had reserved purposes of greater good for Josephs 
than if he had continued under his fiither's tender eye and care ; 
therefore it is said in his history, that they perfidiously '< sold 
him, but God sent him." He that attentively reads the joumtes 
of the Israelites through the wilderness to Canaan, cannot bat 
wonder at the circuits and indirect motions in their tedious tra- 
vel for forty years; and when near the borders of the place, so 
long and ardently desired, they were often commanded to retreat 
in the same line wherein they had advanced to it : had they 
chose the shortest way, and ^disobeyed the divine conductor, 
they had never entered into the land of promise s but following 
the pillar that directed their march, though they seemed lost in 
their intricate wanderings, yet they obtained the joyfiil possession 
of it. This was a type of the saints' passage through a trouble- 
some world, to the true rest above, and that they are guided 
through many cross ways directly to the kingdom of heaven. 
'' Who knows," saith Solomon, <^ what is good for a man in this 
life, all the days of his vain life, which he spendeth as a sha- 
dow?" Ecdes. 6. 12. That which is desired with importunity, 
as tending to his happiness, often proves his woe: some had 
not been so wicked, and consequently so miserable, if their lusts 
had not been excited by riches and power : others had not been 
secured from destructive temptatioiis, but in a low and afflicted 
state, it is therefore both our duty and interest not to pray ab- 
solutely for any temporal thing ; but when our desires are most 
passionate, to say with the humility and holiness, the reverence 
and obedience of our Saviour, " not my will, but thine be done." 
We shall find ourselves more happy by the divine disposal of 
things, than if we had obtained our dearest wishes, and most ar- 
dent prayers. And when we shall come to the top of the holy 
hill, and look . down on the various circuits of providence by 
which we ascended, we shall then understand that wisdom and 
love conducted us safely to felicity ; we shall approve and ad- 
mire all the divine methods in order to our blessed end. Now 

OF hesignation; 167 

the belief 6f this should compose us to a patient and cheerfid 
fesignation of ocHrselvM to God's providence and pleasure. Who 
would not aecept of the eaansel of a friend that proceeds from 
love, though his judgment were not so exact as to be relied on ? 
Mvch more should we thankfiiMy receive the appointments of 
God, whose knowledge and affection are equally superlative^ in 
whom there is united the wisdom of a father's, and the tender«- 
ness of a mother's love to his chikken. Briefly, as Jonathan by 
tasting the honey 9X the end of his rod, had his eyes enlighten-^ 
ed ; eo the end of the severest .chastisements will convince them, 
tiiat the providence of God wds more benign and prq>itious than 
they cootd imagine. ^'His ways are as hi above our ways, and 
his thoughts above our thoughts, as the heasrens are above the 
earth.'' This point is applicable to us. 

(1.) By way of reproof for our unsubmissive behaviour in af- 
flictions, pur uncompliance with the divine disposals. Some are 
in a secret discontent at God's afflicting providence ; and this 
raiseth the -memory of former mercies, and takes away the relish 
of present mercies ; as the sweet showers of heaven that fidl into 
the sea are turned into its brackish taste : such neithcgr enjoy 
God nor themselves. What egregious folly and vile ingratitude 
is this I All we have, is from his most free ikvaqr ; and shall we 
peevishly slight his benefits, because our desires are not gratified 
in every respect ? Others are moved with anger and vexation 
for the evils that befal them : as the red hot iron under the blows 
of the hammer casts abroad fiery sparks ; so their stubborn fierce 
spirits, vdien afflicted, break forth in expressions of impatience 
and displeasure. They count it a base abjectness of mind, a de- 
spicable pusillanimity, to humble themselves under God's judg- 
ments, and with contrition for their sins to implore his clemency. 
^^ The voice of the Lord maketh the hinds to calve, the timorous 
and weak creatures : but when the heavens roar, the lions thun- 
der back again." Thus strong and stubborn sinners, when ^ey 
foel the effecu of God's anger, are raging and furious ip their 
-passions jmd expressions. ^* The foolish man pervertetb bU way^ 
his most grievous sufieriugs are the fruits of his sins, and bis 
heart feetteth against the Lord as the inflicter of them." Proy. 
19. 3. This is a high indignity to God, and an \njury to them- 
selves. For a vile creature, a base guilty iv'/etch to murmur and 
storm agunst God's righteous judgments, ajgi)fia-&.prodigious 

L 4 


forgetfiilness^ both of its dependance and obno3ciousness to the 
divine tribunal. It is said of the adherents of antichrist, ^^ That 
they were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of 
God, which hath power over the plagues, and they repented not 
to give him glory." Rev. 16. 9« Infinite insolence ! Such ob- 
stinate souls the prince of darkness possesses as his peculiar do- 
minion ; they have more need of convetsion than consolation. 
Besides, by impatience and vexatious fretting, they exasperate 
their pains, turn the rod into a serpent, vipers into dragons ; and 
God's mighty hand is more heavy by their resistance. Bold ex- 
postulations irritate his anger, rather than incline his mercy ; the 
Wilftd man never wants woe. <<With the froward," saith the 
psalmist, ** thou wilt show thyself froward,*' Psal. 80. or, as it 
is rendered in the margin wrestle. The strongest sinner is not 
a match for the Almighty ; if his anger excite his power, how 
^easily, ^* how sudden are they destroyed without remedy? Stub- 
born impatience under the inflictions of God's righteous provi-^ 
dence, is the nearest step to final ruin. Others are so dejected 
and broken with afflictions, that their continuance in the world 
it but a living death : every thing entertains their grief, and the 
best means afforded for their reviving and comfort are ineffectual. 
Sorrow flows into desptur, they lament and languish as if thdr 
case were hopeless and remediless. The fountain of this black 
stream, is a superlative esteem and affection to inferior things : 
and what is reserved for the blessed Creator? If a temporal loss 
be the most afflicting evil, it is a sign that God was not valued 
and loved as the chiefest good. The difficulty of receiving con- 
solation, shows the necessity of their being aflSieted : the lan- 
guage of such resolved sorrow •is, ** They have taken away my 
gods; .and what have 1 more?" The sole objects of theur feKcity 
are removed, and they refuse to be comforted ^ as if no less sa- 
crifice w6re due to the remembrance of their loss, but life itself* 
What a disparagement is this of the divine excellencies? *^ Are 
the consolations of God small to us ?'* Is not his love able to 
compensate the loss of a frail, mutable, mortal creatuna? Can- 
not he please and satisfy us without the fruition of one earthly 
comfort ? This dejection of spirit is equally undutifiil as uncom- 
fortable ; our griefe are spmetimes as vain and as guilty as our 
joys ; there is a tincture of disobedience in our tears ; for we are 
commanded ^^ to mourn as if we mourned not^ for the fashion of 

t)FriS»i0f«ATioy« 169 

the wofid pmm^h ^wf ;" and we. at onee break his lafv? and our 
own pe$ce. Our disobedien<;e in this is aggravated^ as being 
eonftrary not only lo the authority and sanctity of the Lawgiver^ 
but to his loving^-kindnesa and compafision. Ah^ the miserable 
blindness of human minds ! and t^he more miserable, because vo- 
luntary. Who is more deservedly unhappy than one that sits 
upon the bank of a river^ and yet is tormented and dies with 
thirst ? The clear^ fresh stream passeth before him, allures and 
invites faim^ but he will not stoop to drink ; this is the case of 
those who neglect and rduae tlie spiritual consolations in the 
gospel, John 3. 38, d9« that are ccmipared to the flowing rivers 
of living water, &r their cooling, refreshing quality. They meri- 
toriously and actively bring trouble to their soub ; their passion^ 
are the instruments of their misery. He that is his own execu- 
tioner, has no exenae of dying; he is justly, because wilfully mi- 

CouMder also what a reproach is cast upon Christianity, that 
4M> many viftooos heathens in great afflictions, were 'm some .mea- 
«ttre supported by the precepts of human wisdom; and that 
christians, to* whona there is revealed from heaven, that an eter- 
nal state of glory and joy shall be the reward of their patient Quf- 
ferings^ remain utterly disoonsoiate* I will single out one exam^ 
pie. Stilpon the philosopher, when his city was destroyed, with 
his wife and children, and he escaped alone firom the fire, being 
asked ndiether he had loat any thing? Replied, <^AU my trea- 
sures are vrith me/' justice, virtne, temperance, prudence, and 
this itiviolaUe principle, * not to esteem any.thmg as my proper 
^ood, that can be ravished from me : his mind was erect ai)d 
eteadfnst under the ruins of his^country. And others upon lower 
and less genemiig-oonsiderations, have bom up in their sufferings* 
How do suoh examples upbraid us, that their twilight excels our 
BMiiday brightaess ? If common cordials raised such courageous 
apirits in Aem, shall not the watm of life, the divine strong 
comfiorts of the goqiei, fortify us to bear all sufferings with a va- 
liant resignation to the good will of God ? Can the spirit of a 
man, l^ rational principiea sustain his infirmities, and cannot the 
spirit .of Qadf thegieat comforter, support 31s under all troubles ? 

* Omnia bona mea mecuni sunt. Jmtitia, 'virtue temperantia, prvdestia, 
fcoc iptna nlUI iMni patare qaad cripi poaiUt Scmc EpUU9, 

170 TUB GKSAT »vrr 

What a blot is this to religion ? Those who will Mt bo contfoit* 
ed, will not be christians ; by the same holy spirit who is stykd 
the comforter, we are the one and the other, if the precioiis 
promises of the gospel do not alleviate our sorrows, it is not from 
infirmity, but from infidelity. It is an incredible miracle, that a 
person can be in reality a christian, and not capable of consda- 
tion ; as if eternal life were not purchased by Christ for his peo- 
ple, or the present sufferings were comparable to the future glory; 
or the possession of it were to be obtained after a thousand yean 
of hard trial : but if it were delayed so long, that sensible dura- 
tion should sink our spirits ; for the misery that passeth with 
time, is not of moment with respect to the blessedness that is 
established for ever. 

(2.) Let us be excited to transcribe this divine lesson (so fiiH 
of excellency and difficulty) in our hearts and lives, it is easy 
in speculation to consent to the reasonabless of this duty, but 
how hard to practise it, and to bear not too sensibly such evils 
as are incurable here? A deliberate, universal, constant subjec- 
tion to God's will, though contrary to our carnal desires and in- 
terests, how rarely is it to be found among those who in tiUe and 
profession are his servants ? In active obedience, some will rea- 
dily perform some particular commands, but withdraw subjection 
from the rest; they seem to make consdeiice of the duties of 
piety, but neglect righteousness; or eke are just in their deml^ 
ii^, and careless of devotion. Some are liberal, but irreaoncila- 
ble; they will give for theur honour, but forgive no contempt or 
injury ; and as the dividing living twins destroys than, so the life 
and sincerity of obedience, that consists in the union and entire- 
ness of its parts, is destroyed by dividing oar respects to some 
commands, neglecting the rest. And in <* passivie obedience,'' 
many will submit to lighter and shorter aiBicticms, but if an evil 
comes that nearly touches the heart, or that remains long with- 
out redress, they become impatient, or so dejected as to neglect 
their duty. I shall therefore superadd to the former arguments, 
wherein the necessity, the equity, and the policy of our dutifol 
resignation to Ood's providence is clearly set forth, some other 
motives and directions, that may be useful and effectual for this 

Ist. Look fre<piently to Jesus Christ, the author and finisher 
of our faitii i the divine wisdom, to reform the worM^ assumed 


the liumaii nafeiire^ and expressed in a holy conversation upon 
earth, a living copy of his precepts^ to direct us in the various 
parts of our duty ; and because the exercise of humility^ self-de- 
nialy and the rest of the suffering graces^ is so difficult to our 
frail and tender nature ; he ascended the cross, and instructs us 
by suffering, to suffer with his affections, leaving us his example, 
as the btot lecture of our duty; his sufferings concern us not only 
in point 'of merit, but conformity. We can never enjoy the be- 
nefit of his passion, without following his pattern. His example 
18 the rule of the highest perfection, and we are under the great* 
est obligation to imitate and honour him who is our sovereign 
and Saviour, to whom we owe our redemption from everlasting 
misery, and the inheritance of glory. It is the apostle's advice 
to the afflieted, <* to consider him that endured such contradic- 
tion of sinners agunst himself, that ye be not wearied, and faint 
in your minds.'' Heb. 12. 3. The deduction is with greater 
force to make us humble and patient ; if we consider, 

(1.) The infinite dignity of his person. He was the eternal 
«nd only Son of God, and descended from the throne of his ma- 
jesty^ divested himself of his robes of insupportable light, that 
concealed and manifested his glory to the angels, Psal. 104. and 
was obedient to ^e death of the cross. What are the highest 
and best of men to him ? Were it not extremely unbecoming 
and undutiful for a subject to refuse obedience to a just law, if 
the king that qiade the law should voluntarily obser\'e it, and 
reserve no other advantage to himself, but the honour of enact- 
ing it? Our Saviour did not stand upon the dignity and liberty 
of his person, being equal with God, and our king, but entirely 
eomplied with the law, and shall we complain of its rigour? 

(2«) . The greatness of his sufferings. They were incomparable 
-as to their vdue, so in their degrees. He endured the equal ex- 
tremities of infiimy and torment, that are so contrary to the in- 
clinations ct mankind. He was crowned with a cruel diadem of 
thorns, seou^d, spit upon, derided, crucified : insensible nature, 
as if citable of understanding and affection, was disordered in its 
whole frame at his death. The heavens sympathized in eclipses 
of the sun, in the darkness of the air at mid-day, as midnight, 
the earth quaked with deep tremblings, and the rocks were rent 
asunder. And the sufferings of his soul from the incensed justice 
af God were inconceivably great. What is the worst we suffer^ 


either immediately froin God, or instrumentally from men to hia 
bitter passion? Our sufferings are but . superficial shadows of 
hiisery, compared to his deep sorrows. 

(3.) His sufferings were most undeserved : for he was the holy 
one of God, his conception without the least taint of sin, his life 
of strictest purity, and complete obedience to the divine law. 
We may read the process of our sins^ and understand their guilt 
in his passion. '^ He was made sin for us," (a sacrifice to atone 
the divine displeasure) '^ who knew no sin." As David when 
guilty of adultery and murder^ was fired with disdain at the rela- 
tion of an incompassionate rich man^ killing the single lamb of 
his poor neighbour^ and sparing his own numerous flock ; and 
when the prophet unveiled the parable, and surprised him with that 
piercing reproach^ ^' Thou art the man I" he presently by that 
fiction in another, was convinced of his own true guilty and was 
extremely afflicted in the sense of it ; thus we are apt to conceive 
indignation against the murderers of our Saviour, the apostate 
apostle, the malicious priests, the unrighteous judge^ tbe bloody 
addiers : but conscience (as a true Nathan) may charge us to 
have been in that wicked conspiracy against the Lord of glory, 
for our sins condemned and crucified him. 

And as our sins were the impulsive cause of his sufferings, so 
our good is the effect of them. He suffered the death of the 
cross, that his blood might be our ransom, his ignominy the pur- 
chase of our glory, his torments the merit of our blessedness, his 
death the seed of immortal life to us ; but we suffer the ju3.t pu- 
nishment of our own sins. 

(4.) His willing obedience, divine patience, and invincible con- 
stancy in suffering for us. In his distress, the whole army of 
heaven were in readiness for his protection and rescue, upon the 
least signification of his will : ^^ If I prayed to my father, he 
.would send me twelve legions of angels." Nay, he had the 
springs and keys of the divine power in his hands, and could by 
a word have destroyed his enemies ; but he ^^ freely gave himself 
for us ;" and without resistance, without complaint took up his 
cross. Now our Saviour, who had the fulness of the spirit, com- 
municates to ps the first fruits of it, faith and love, humiUty and 
.patience, peace apd joy, to support us under affliction. 

(5.) Consider the excellent reward of his sufferings. He was 
abased below men, and is advanced above all the angelical or- 


ders, and is the eternal argument of their praises : never were 
sufferings so grierous, never was issue so glorious. " For the joy 
that was set before him, he endured the cross, despised the 
shame, and is set down at the right haiid of the majesty on 
high." Heb. 12, 2. Now our blessed Saviour hath promised^ 
•^ To him that overcomes, will I grant to sit with me in my 
throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father 
in his throne." Rev. 3. 21, Unfainting perseverance in our duty, 
shall be rewarded with the glory of our Redeemer. And is not 
the prospect and expectation of this sufficient to confirm our 
minds, and make us patiently bear the greatest afflictions? 

2dly. The consideration of the suffering saints in all ages, is a 
powerful pervasive to patience. Thus the apostle James directs 
christians^ '^ Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken 
in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering af&iction 
and of patience.'' Jam. 5. 10. And we have great encourage* 
ment from hence, if we consider; 

(1.) That those who are of most precious account with God, 
and highly favoured by him, are usually exercised with sharp af- 
flictions. The singularity and greatness of a calamity exaspe- 
rate the sorrow, when it fs apprehended as a sigki of extraoidi- 
nary guilt in the afflicted, and of severe 'displeasure in God that 
sends it; but prevent trouble that ariseth from that apprehension, 
the scripture records the heavy afflictions that happened to God^s 
chosen servants and favourites. Mo»es, whom' God honoured 
with the most condescending and familiar discoveries of himself^ 
was tried by long afflictions. David, a man after God's own 
heart, was a long titne hurled to' and fro by tempestuous perse- 
cutions from his unjust and implacable enemies. Isaiidi, who 
was dignified with such heavenly revelations, that hia describing 
the sufferings of Christ seems rather the history of an evangelist^ 
than the viabn of a prophet^ waa sawn asundier. ' 

(2.) Their nature was asfraS as ours, their afflictions as cut- 
ting and sensiUe, yet' how patiently and courageously did they 
endure the most cruel sufferings? ' ^ ' 

(3.) We have the same blessed comforter to assist us as they 
had, the Holy Spirit. He that ift styled the spirit of power, in- 
fuseth a holy magnanimity to bear the heaviest sufferings. Now 
it is the apostle's inference from the history of the saints under 
the 01d Testament, some of whom died martyrs, and others lived 


martyrs, by their constant and generous suflering tariou^ evils for 
divine truth : ^^ Wherefore seeing we are compassed about witti 
so great a doud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and 
the sin that doth so easily beset us; and let us run with patience 
the race that is set before us/' Heb. 12. 1. The metaphorical 
expression, ^' a cloud of witnesses," imports a numerous com-' 
patiy, and is by some of the ancients interpreted as an allusion to 
the benefit we receive from the natural clouds, that refresh the 
air, and screen us from the scorching heat of the sun. The al- 
lusion is too subtile and strained, but the benefit is real ; Tor the 
admirable examples of their patience and courage are powerful 
to refresh sorrowful spirits, ^' We are encompassed with them as 
a theatre." There is no kind of affliction, and no part of our 
duty, whereof there is not presented to us some example for our 
encouragement and imitation. It is also worthy of observation, 
that christians have a special obligation, encouragement, and as- 
sistance to bear afflictions with cheerful spirits, above the belie- 
vers of the Old Testament. For under the Mosaic dispensation, 
outward prosperity, riches, honour, victory, kmg life, were the 
open expressions of God's favour, promised by Che terms of that 
covenant, as rewards to obedience. Yet even then, some of the 
most excellent saints were illustrious examples of patient suffer- 
ing afflictions. But in the gospel God hath declared, that his 
design b to train up his children by sufferings, for their friture 
hi^piness; that '^through many tribulations they must enter in- 
to the kingdom of God." And we find the truth of this by ma- 
nifold experience, fit>m the first ages of the christian church. 
St. John, by revelation, ^ beheld a great multitude, which no 
man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and 
tongues, that stood before th^ throne, and before the Iamb, clo- 
thed with white robes, and palms in their hands : and they all 
came out of great tribulation, and had washed thrir robes, and 
made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Rev. 7. 9. Now 
since the cross is an appendix to the gospel, we should with more 
prepared minds submit to it. Besides, if believers then, who 
enjoyed only star-light, less clear discoveries of the glorious 
world to come, were so patient and constant in suffering for the 
truth; how much more should we be animated in our troubles, 
to whom the *^ Sun of Righteousness" appears, revealing life and 
iounofftality by the gospel ? If they who were partakers 6f the 


Hoty Spirit in lesser degrees, were 8U]kported ; should not ehris- 
tioDS that receive the graces of the Spirit in richer abundance^ be 
more comforted ? 

3d)y. All creatures obey the will of the Creator ; all the lower 
rank ; ^ fire and hail, snow and vapours, and stormy winds fulfil 
his word/' Psal. 148. 8. The sun stood still till Joshua had 
completed his victory^ it started back to confirm the &ith of 
Heaekiab. Nay, sensible creatures will contradict their own 
natures at God's command. The ravens fed Elijah, and the liona 
spared DanieL And creatures of the superior order exactly ful-^ 
fil his will. ^'The ac^ls that excel in strength, do his com- 
mandments: hearkenintg to the vmce of his word/' Psal. 103. 
Tbey do not usurp up<m bis royalty, nor make use of their power 
to deny subjection to his pleasure. Now if the inferior creatures^ 
who are under less obligations, and cannot understand their 
duty; if superior creatures that excel us in nobility of nature, 
and digoity of state, perfectly obey God ; should not their ex* 
ample strongly incite us to submit to his will ? 

4thly. It is our most glorious perfection, to have our wills 
united to the <Uvine will. In heaven grace is in its exaltation, 
the qpirits of just men are made perfect^ by their compKance with 
the divine will that absolutely governs tiiere. A private will that 
eompounds with God upon sordid capitulations, that excepts 
against ddng or suffering what is distasteful and harsh to the car«- 
nal part; how unreasonable, how dsgenerous and base is it? 
But when th^ vrill is orient, enlarged, and uniform vntb God, 
it is ennobled. If our sk>w-paced thoughts could conceive things 
as easily, suddenly, and cleariy as the angels do, our minds would 
be in the highest elevati(Ki : * and is it not a more valuable and 
desirable perfsction to will as God dpes, than to understand as 
the angels ? 

, Besides, patience, has a special eminence above other graces, 
and advances a christian to the highest honour and perfection 
that, is attainable here. All graces ,are pf the same divine ex* 
traction, and have the same general efifect upon the soul : they 
come firom God, and produce a godlike temp^ and disposition : 
but they are distinguished by their objects and operations : some 
are heroic, exercised about great thingi, and produce more noble 

• Hie cfl disfaiu aaimw qsi M Deo tradidm Stta 


actions : others are humble, and coirrersant in meaner thingiy 
and their operations are less eminent. As amongst the buds, 
the eagles fly aloft, and only stoop for a great prey: the bees 
fly frdm Bower to flower, and extract a little dew, but it is all 
honey. It is the counsel of St. James to the afflicted, 'f let pa« 
tience have her perfect work,'' in bearing afiUetions, though 
heavy and coatimicd, *^ that you may be perfect and entire, 
wanting nothing.'' A singular perfection and eilcomiura is attri* 
buted to patience, in that the trial and exercise of it is the most 
difficult part of our duty, and wishout it we can neither ^bey the 
eommands, nor obtain fihe promises of the gospel. Patience is 
the truest fortitude, and draws forth other divine gr^lees in their 
excellent activity. What the temper is to material weapons that 
are bhmticd or broken in the combat without it, patience is to 
other graces, their strength is derived from it. This was the 
most giorioas perfection of Christ's obe^nce; ^' for it became 
him fcir whom^ are all things, and by whom are all things, in 
bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salva- 
^tion perfect through sufferings." Heb. 2. Patience is not only 
defensiipe armour, but has noble operations. When our Saviour 
was nailed V the cross, and was the mark wherein all the por» 
soned airows of rage and malice were received, he seemed only 
to suAer, yet even then pefformed the most dime exploits, and 
obtained die most glorious victory; he reeondled God, disarmed 
the law^ subdued satan, broke the gates of h«H, destroy^^death, 
and rescued us miserable forlorn captives. Upon tUs account 
Chryaostom breaks forth in rapturous expnesdioti8,'that our Sa^ 
viour sttflfering on the croes, was more glorious than in his crea- 
ting the world. Thus the patience of a christian, which in ap- 
peanmee is only a quiet bearing affliction 'from God, yet pro* 
duceth many blessed effects : a believer, while he feels the weight 
of God's hand, incessantly seeks his fece vritih the most arAent# 
aflfactians. He doth not murmur agiflnst tiie dispfeasure of God, 
but mourns bitterly that he hath desefved it. He surrenders him* 
self to the divine displeasure, which is the purest actof obedi* 
ence. He subdues his unruly passions, which id a more noble 
victory than the achievements of the most cdebrated conquerors; 
It Is true, the power of grace is very conspicuous in resisting 
pleasant temptations, the pernicious attractives of the senses and 
carnal appetites ; but more in the battles of patience, by how 

MMih it 19 mote easy to nature to be content wtiiwi cmtiecessaiy 
and superficial pleaaures, than to endure oppresring and painful 
mnh. I will produce an instance in both kinds^ recorded in 
•cripture^ for the vraefntion and imitation of all. The &8t ii 
Chat of Joseph, whose ompotted chastity was disooferad by re^ 
jeetiiig the fanpure deshes of his master's wife^ Three poweriiil 
tempters joined to draw his consent solitude, yosth^ and solicit 
tation ; solitude with itsrilfiioe, is often more persaamve to the 
oomnission of sia tbaii the strongest eloquence; because there 
beti^^none' that < sets, takes away the shame of being seen in 
guiky and foul aeliont. Youth is violent in its af^etltes, and 
needs no entrealieB to indiice it to gratify them i thesemialfan^ 
reigns, and has stidh araiidiing power ^upon the will, that to 
Mrmpt natare the temptittkm ia irresistible, and without diving 
aMngtfa^ an instance of overoolning it, would be aa rare as m 
phflsntx in the world* Besides^ Aiaeph was hsr shwe^ and wai^ 
tempted by entreaties mixed with inticements from, a superior, 
that (like a bow that draws strength from its bending) by makiog 
a show of suhjectien acquires a double empire. &it he had » 
ie^erence of his invisible observer and jw^x /' how shall I da 
this great ii^ckedness, and ste agunst God ?'' Now. that Joseph 
in the flower of his age, was not imboldened by. solitude, nor 
exited by concupiseence, nor pcNsoned by the. brnath of thfr 
hasiliBk, was an adnuraUe effect of divine grace. He preserved 
his sfaioeie and eoapitant huioeenee, as the sun its undefiled. lustroi 
IB the midst of dOi die iisaulent exhalations that ascend from the 

« "nw ether instanea is Job, whose victorious grace in thfl com-^i 
parison,. is oioia gkffimis than that of Joseph ; for as th^ lapses 
of tfaose^who'by tflirora and tements violate the law, are .leasi 
cnlpdUe, and more exscusaUe, than of those who by sensual al« 
hiMmenits -t^tesgitss .the divine rooiroandaj the human nature, 
being eiqiable of sueh * Aahtcms impreaBions as inlnitely exceeds 
all the pleasoKs of sense; and oonaeqMsntly the yielding for fear: 
ef -vehement pains and extMne evils, is kss voluntary than whati 
ppoeeeds from the loveof dsUgkts ; so propiertionabfy that virtue^ 
ii ttoM endnest that remains firm, and preserves us in our dutyy 

- - a mile placer aoamslieso OB CsfflMBtoj 

Vol. ir* u 


notwithtUnding &e batlerm of extreme evib, 'tium that whieb 
pres^ires us by flight firom the deceitful eenaitive good. 
. The Holy Ghost has given us a particular narrative of Job'e 
troubles, and his bdiaviour under them : the loss of a great estate 
vras but a preparative for w«vse calamities ; his ten children 
kere all destroyed in a day ; his body was covered with ulcers ( 
his wife, that in this desolate condition was only left to alleviate 
his sorrows, unspeakably increased them ; yet under this heavy 
weight of miseries, he did not express one unbecoming compiaist^ 
His patience exceeded all the pains of his body, imd grieb of 
his mind. Who loves Ood so ardently in his prosperity as he did 
in his afflictions? Like flaming torches^ that rev^aed^ thtt 
flame ascends with more fcrce to heaven. St. Austin admiring 
kis invincible temper, says, that lob half dead on diedttn{^itl| 
#a« stronger than Adam, when immortal in paradise ; for wkb 
ittdignatiou he repulsed his wifii, who was shtan's instrument to 
tftmpt him to despair and blasphemy. How graceful and amia«> 
ble a spectacle is « patient sainit?' He attracts the eye and heart 
ef God himself. What an honourable testimoniy proceeded frtxa 
kis mouth, concerning Job» to .vindicate his sincerity from tht 
malice of the accuser? ^* Hast thoti scan my servant Job^ thak 
diere is none like him on the earth?" Job 2. 8. UnpataUtleil 
saint ! who endured such a succession of tragical evmits with lm« 
mility and sabmissmn ! The active holiiie$s of his imisperoua 
Bfe is not recorded with that note of eoiiineQcy and adnmatioiiy 
as his patient .suffinings, fionr wbich Jbe is univer^y crowned wttk 
the praises of the saints in all ages. ^' Ye have heard of Um 
patience'of Jobl" He is aspeotthcie that draws the r^aidB-of 
all, more famous for his patience than his misery. It i4 the soyt 
ing of the Hatonic phihssopher, take away from the life of Her^^ 
eules, the tyrants he suppressed^ and, the iieree beasts b^dbw^^ 
his travels and combats wherein his courige was cawoised and 
appeared, and you lessen his virt«e^ thi^ hero is lost: he thajCin 
the opinion of die heathen wm*ld deserved a deity; and ja 
' downed with stais inr heaven, will not have a 9p$rk of glory on 
earth to preserve his fisme afive it memory* Thus, lake away 
from Job the Chaldean and Sabean robbers, .tte ehower of firt 
that consumed his estate, the whirlwind raised by infernal spirits, 
that destroyed his childrca, his diseases, and bi» cruel wife, the 

tMP mKnawATroN. 170 

ocercbes of his intuperable pdtiefice, md the hotiotiraUe rdnem^^ 
brance of Job is lost. If the prince of durknesa liad not tiiecF all 
his arts and strength to oferoome him^ and had fiot been foiled 
in his attempts^ his graces had not been so ithfstrious. St. Peter 
declares, <' that the spirit of gtory, and of God, rests npon'svf-^ 
fering christians.** They are the temptes of the Holy Spirit, the 
eeemal Dei^, wherein he disphys his dhrine virtue and glorious 
pow6r. In short, God usnally conducts his people to the sn*^ 
bliineat degrees of grace and glory by suffering ; the more they 
are tried and refined, the brighter their dromi will be* 

51y. It is oar felicity quietly to resign our wills to tfie Messed 
will of Gild. Pfttience, considered as a moral tirtue, frees u^ 
from many sorrows and vexations that are supervenient to a& 
affliction, and are caused ifeierely from the distemper, and unquiet 
disorderly agitations of our own passions. Nature instructs a dog 
by licking his wouiid to heat it, a lively emblem of the healing 
operatioQ of discreet patience to the afflicted spirit. Patience 
liiiea the yoke, and makes it softer and more easy to us. Be« 
sides, an humble and full submission to the will of God, as the 
rule of goodness, brings down the peace and joy of paradise into 
our souls. The glorified saints are raised idiove all disasten and 
Irolibles ; nothing-can disturb the serenity, or st«a the purity of 
their state : from this principle of perfection and Celieityy that: 
God's will b always accomplished, to which their wills aie en- 
tirety flobordinate, in obedience to his authority, and by their 
fKtp& inclination. As the waters which in the cxeasion God 
transported above the heavens, are not moved as these here be-« 
low by the ^rious agitation of the winds, but as if th^ were of 
a oeleatial nature^ bare the same regnlar motion with' the hea* 
rena. The angels, whose zeal for the hmour of God, and. love 
to the soob of men Ss incomparable, yet .diey see the rebellioB 
of Ilia sdbgeets, .whcMiy his gfery is obseered, «nd the.final des'* 
troctxm of febeBious stnners, without the least dintination of 
their felieity, because they atwvfs acquiesce id the divine urill, 
thttt orders all things for the best end.^ 'And ao frtf as our wHia 
are complying with the divine will, we enjoy « tniaquiHity of 
mind, which afflictive JKrcidents 'duinot disquiet. St. Austin 
describes blessedness to consist, us the accomplishment of our de-> 
sires, attd in hatvingonly regular desires : now a saint whose will 
ia absolutely resigned to God's will, &as a foretaste of blessedness. 

M 2 


here ; for whatsoever happens to him here, k from God's wiH 
that approves or permits it, and herein he finds satisfactioiu 
What a pnre undisturbed pleasure springs from this consideration^ 
that the wisdom and love oi God chooseth always what is best 
for us ? This will make us contented in every state ; even when 
our condition is not correspondent with our iiatural desires, our 
desires are graciously accorded with our condition. What ex» 
pensive industry has been used to procure the fancied philoso- 
pher's stone, that changes all metals into gold, which if obtained 
cannot make us happy ? For as the natural heat of the body 
does not proceed from the clothes, but from the body that warms 
them : we see persons in the fit of an ague shake with cold, 
though covered with fiirs : so true felicity doth not proceed from 
the outward condition, but from the temper of the mind. The 
rich often want content in the confluence of all things, and are 
often disquieted with the fears of losing thrir possessions : but 
acquiescence in the divine disposal always brings satisfaction to 
the soul. It is an inviolable treasure that cannot by the most 
violent evils be taken firom us. 

I shall annex two considerations more, to show how our feli"« 
city is promoted by our patient sufferings. 

1. It is a blessed assurance of our election by the most free 
and unchangeable love of God. The apostle tells afflicted chris-* 
tians, '' that whom he did foreknow, he did predestinate to be 
conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the fiiat- 
bom among many brethren.'' Rom. 8. 29. If we suffer with hia 
divine patience, with his humble and holy affections, it is a clear 
and certain evidence that we are apponited to reign with him. 
If we bear the image of our suffering Saviour in our earthly 
state, we shall bear his ^rious image in the heavenly. The 
well-grounded hope of this is very comfortable in the greatest 
afflictions, and will encourage us to persevere in humble suffer-* 
ings. For if his sovereign pleasure has ordained us to eternal life, 
how just is it that we should with an entire and resigned submis- 
sion yield up ourselves to the conduct of his wisdom, as to the 
ways by which we shall obtain it ? 

2. By a filial submission to God's chastisements, we have a 
blessed testimony of our ademption. It is the apostle's comfort-* 
able inference, <^ if ye endure chastisements, God. dealeth with 
you as with sons }'* that is, if without murmuring or fainting, if 


with that respect and subjection that is due to the high and holy 
providence of God, then we may be assured of his paternal rela- 
tion to us, and '^ his rod comforts us,'' as the strokes of it are 
an.aigumenc of his care and love to us. From hence proceeds 
inexpressible and peculiar consolation to afflicted christians : the 
same afiSiction as to the matter and circumstances, may be upon 
humble meek sufferers, and refractory stubborn sinners, <^ that 
kick against the pricks, but are distinguished by the intention of 
God. They are sent to the humble, as corrections from the 
wise love of a father, who dearly regards their souls ; to the ob- 
dnrate, as vengeance from the righteous severity of a judgei 
Upon the humble they fall as soft as a shower of snow; upon 
the other as the storm of fiery hail upon the Egyptians ; and 
the issue of them is as different as heaven and hell. 

Lastly, This sharp discipline continues but during our mino-^ 
rity here'; when we arrive at the state of perfection we shall not 
need it : and this life is but a short transition to the next world. 
What eomparison is there between a few years, and the Volume 
of eternal ages? It is the consolatory of the apo6tle, '^ the time 
is short, let those that weep be as if they wept not." Within a 
liltle while afflicted saints shall ascend to the region of blessed- 
ness ; and no cloud of sorrow, no shadow of fear, no darkness of 
anxiety, can reach so high to darken and disturb their felicity : 
** weeping can endure but for a night, and joy comes in the 
morning" of the everlasting day. ** For a moment have I hid 
my face from thee, but with everlasting kindness will I receive 
thee, saith the Lard" Isa. 5. Death is the last step out of 
mortality and misery. ^^ Be ye also patient, stablish your hearts, 
for the coming of the Lord draws nigh.'' Jam. 5. 

To these motives I shall add some directions for the perform* 
anee of this hard duty. 

Dtred. I. A steadfast faith in the dhrine providence and 
promises, will compose the soul to a quiet submission to God's 
pleasure in the sharpest troubles. 

All things are under the intimate inspection, the wise conduct, 
the powerful influence of his providence. This is one of those 
pfhne, universal, rich truths, from whence so many practical 
consequences are derived. By virtue of it we may infallibly con- 
dude, that all things that come to pass, arc di^osed in the best 
season, and best manner, for the best ends. If we were admit- 

M 3 


led to the coondl of state laboife^ and undefslood the imme&te 
reasons of every particular decree^ we could not be more infidH* 
bly assured ct the wisdom and goodness^ the rectitude and equity 
of his dispensations, Ihao bythis universal principle, that is i^ 
plicabte to all e?eiits, as light to every colour, that what God 
appoints is be^t. That we nlay feel the blessed influence of it 
more effectually, let us eonsidec that divine pmrkiettce extends 
to the whole creation : it is infinite, and overruling all things* 
iGod is pleased to represent it in scripture, acoordmg to the nar«> 
rowness of our capacity : as Elisha contracted himself to the sta-^ 
ture of the Shunamite's child, applying his mouth to his mouthy 
and his hands to his hands. 2 Kings 4. Thus it is said, ^ He 
rides upon the heavens,'* to signify his absolute power in order* 
ing all the mqtioiis of the most bigfa> vast, and ^drioos part of 
the irisible universe. '* He telkith the number of the stars ; he 
ealleth them all by their names/' The stars are ihe brightest 
^d most active parts of the vast region above us, and ace called 
the host of heaven, with reilpect to their number and order. God 
is their general ; and tbqtigh they seem innumerdbie to our sen-' 
•es, yet the fnuliituck is exactly known to him, and yields ready 
and entire plHKKence to his pleasure. From whence the psalmist' 
infers, *' Grei^t is the Lord, and of great power, bis understand- 
ing is infinite.'' Psal. 147. 5. 

. There, is nothing in the lower> world exempted from the emfflt^ 
and activity of God's providence. He is umnoveable, and moves 
all; invisiUe, yet appears in all. The most .casual things are 
not without his guidmice. ^^ A maadrew a bow' at a' venture,'* 
\ Kings 22. 34. without ei^press aim, but God directed the ar^ 
row through the joints of Ahab's armour, that penetrated to the 
q^rings of life. The minutest and iea^ considerable things are 
ordered by him. A sparrow does not fly or fall without hie dia^ 
^osali It is not an hyperbolical, expression of our Saviour, but 
an absolute truth, ^ that aU the hairs of our head are numbered, 
and not one falls to the ground without his licence." Mat. 10. 
The voluntary and most indetermined causes of things are under 
his cpnduot. The hearts of men even of kings thai bit most ab? 
4olute and unconfioed, are in the hand of the. Lord, he turns 
them according to his pleasure ; as the streanh of. water are by 
several tnen^cbee conveyed to refresh a garden^ by the skilful hus^t 
btndmnn, - 


' Ski, that b Ae miMt disorderly thing in the world, is not only 
ivithin the compass of his permission, but is limited and dispot 
sed by his providence : and such is his goodness, that he would 
not permit it, if his power could not overrule that evil, for 'a 
good that preponderates Uie evil. And all afflictive evils,* by bk 
own declaration, are the effects of his just and powerful provi^ 
denee. ^^ ts there any evil in the city, and I have not done it?" 
His providence is comprehensive and complete ; no unforeseen 
accidents in the freest and most contingent things, no involun*^ 
lary obstruction in the most necessary things, can break the en*^ 
tireness, or discompose the order of his providence. '^ The Lord 
is in heaven, he doth whatsoever he pleaseth in heaven and in 
earth, in the sea, and all the deep places.'^ How exactly and 
easily does he manage and overrule all things ? The whole world 
It his house, and atl the successive generations of men his-fami* 
ly ; some are his sons, and by voluntary subjection ; others his 
slaves, and by just constraint fulfil his pleasure. It was the say^ 
ittg of a wise king, instructed by experience, that the art of gon 
vcriments'was like the laborious travel of a weaver, thatrequiree 
the attention of the mind, and the activity of the body ; the eyes, 
hands, and feet, are all in exercise : and how often is the con^ 
Mttlire of human counsek, though woven with great care, yet 
tmexjieetedly broke ? So many cross accAdente interpose, so ma* 
iiy emergencies beyond all prevention start up, that frustrate the 
deiifg;m and hoj^es of the most potent rulers of this world. But 
God disposes all things with more facility tl^an one of us can 
WkCffe a grain of sand : the government of the world has a less 
proportion to his infinite wisdom and uncontrolable power, than 
a grain of sand hath to the strength of a man. His counsel sheiS 
flllwfiys s^and ; all second causes depend upon him in Uieir be«* 
ings, i\)M agency and influences. Nothing is exebuted' in tMtf 
visible kingdom below, but by express, order from his inviMble 
CQort ; and all occurrences are made use of (at the aceomplishin|^ 
tJhe designs of his electing mercy, in the glorification of his saints;' 
Neiw all that is comfortable and reviving, 4s contained in ihist 
principle. If his providence reaches to the birds of the air, and 
the lilies of the field, much more to the saints, in whom he hath 
a' propriety; and such is his condescending lov^, and inconcei- 
vable benignity, that he styles himself by the most endearing re« 
lation, '' their God/' They are thfe prime part of his vigilant 

M 4 


care. It is St. Austin's afiectionate ejacuktioo, • <^ O omi- 
potent goodness, that so particularly regardest every one of us, 
»9 if the sole objects of thy tender care, and all of us as single 
persons!" The sun applies its quickening influences for the pro- 
duction and grovk^h of a single plant as parti'nilarly as if there 
were no other things in the world to receive them ; yet at the 
same time it passes from sign to sig^n in the heavens, changes 
the scenes of the elements, produces new season^, and its active 
aad prolific heat, forms and transforms whatsoever is changed in 
n^tufe^ This is a fit resemblance of the universal and special 
Operations of divine providence ; whfrt a strong security cloth this 
give to a christian in the midst of all trouble in this corrupt and 
diaiigeable world P How will it clear the mind from those mise- 
rable perplexities, and quiet those improvident, precipitant pas« 
sions that so often afflict the afflicted ? Whatever evib befal the 
saints, are with the knowledge, the will, and by the eiSciency 
of God, materially considered ; and is he defective in wisdom, 
power, or goodness, that what he does, either might or ought 
to be better otherwise ? Indeed, sometimes the special ends of 
his afflicting providence are in such deep obscurity, that our line 
is too short to fathom, and the manner how God shall result 
from «vil is unknown ; but then we m^y conclude with evidence,* 
it is. for the best. When Cesarius a primitive saint was arguia|^ 
in himself, how that scripture could be true, that the earth was 
founded on the waters ; how the trnxe weighty element should 
not si^k^ and be overwhelmed by the other : he stopped ib» 
eoHTse of his thoughts by this reflection, '* I forgat myself wheqt 
I said to God, how can this be ?'' f And> admires that which he 
fould not c<Knprehend. For inferior reasons we often pray> that 
paittieular evils that are near, may be prevented; but if tbey 
overtake us, we may be satisfied that they are appointed by bis 
supreme reason and everlasting counsel. As in a concert frf mu-^ 
sic, the parts are not formed when they are sui^ but were com- 
posed before by the skill of the musician, and every part assigned 
convenient to the voices of the persons. Thus the various oon<# 
4itions and passages of our lives were so disposed by the sov^ 

* O bone omnipotcDs, qui sic anumqaemque oaatram taDquam solam CQf 
refe, & lie omnes tauqaam tiDgufos ! ^ug. Conf, lib, 13. 

+ PUM. 

reign wiadom of God from e^nAy^ und a^ loost fit .fiir iis. 
Whether the evils proceed more immediately and entirely from^ 
bis hand, or by the intercurrence^f jaecond causes; it is equally 
certain they come by the determinate counsel and foreknowlec^ 
of God« Our Saviour answers Pilate^ ^' thou couldest have no 
power at all against me, except it were given thee from aboVe/' 
All the afflictive evils that proceed bqm the malice of men, and 
increase their guilt andjudgmepty-.are ordered by his providence, 
for the spiritual and eternal good of hifi people ; this considera^ 
tipn will prevent much sin and trouble that the be^t men are. 
liable to in their perturbations and passions. There is nothing 
more exa*)perates an afflicted mind than the apprehension that 
pne unjustly suffers, 

Jjemler ex meriio quicquid putiareferendmn est : 
Qu4B vemi iaicKgne jHjsm dolenda vemU 

A righteous punishment even natmre^ consents is to be receive^ 
with meek subraissioD; but to be patient under unjust persecu«- 
tions, not to be provodied by iiyupqs and enemies, is pi^ie of the! 
hardest things in the world. If by a flash of lightning or by A 
f bower of rain, we are blasted or wet, we endure it patiently; 
but if one throw wildfire or water on us, we resent the indignity 
iritb anger qpd vexation* Now, if w® ^ o^ delibi^rate thoughts 
consider, that God not only permits, but sends all the evils we 
past unworthily suffer from men, and that he commands our 
quiet, humble behaviour under tbem ; nay, that be will overrule 
ill so as the issue shall be blessed, what tranquillity and acquies^ 
cence will it produce in the sbarp^t dispensations of t^a previ-. 
dence ? But on the contrary, exclude providence out of the 
world, and the mind is involved in darkness with all , its terrorsi, 
Atheism is tl^e gulf of inqpiety and infidicity. ^^ None saya„ 
where is God, my maker, that giwes songs in the n^t,'' that 
Averts poisons into remedies, the sadest evils into means of the 
best gopd, and our afflictions into consolations. He that lives 
without God in the world, if he loseth what he superlatively, 
loves, or &lk under an incurable evil, has no other remedy but 
a resolution to endure it as well as he can : and he is extremely 
miserable that has no joy here, nor hopes of it hereafter, not the 
^tcouragement of a happy issue to bear it patiently. 

18C Ttt cHkSAv nvn 

. In eonjoncfdon \Mth tbe bdttf of God's |Mmdenee, our Mief 
of his promises, that his troth is unchangeable) for the perform* 
loiee of thetn, is requisite to preserve the afflicted spirit in a 
ealni and submissive state. A present evil strikes the imagina- 
tion and senses in another manner than a future spiritual good; 
^k>w'^^ faith is the substance of things hoped for/' &c. Heb. 11« 
l! It makes invisible things to be the greatest realities to the 
soul; the steady reliance upon the divine attributes engaged 
them to fulfil his promises, and is of an invincible efficacy to 
strengthen the soul in every distress. '^ O Lord of hosts, blessed 
is the man that trusteth in thee/* Psal, 84. His uncontrolable 
power governs all the orders of creatures, and the honour of his 
truth is so sacred, *^ that heaven and earth shall pass away with"* 
out the failing oi any good thing promised to his people." Faith 
assists patience ; as the blood that is a natural balsam, flows to 
the wounded part to heal and consolidate it. These graces are 
inseparable, and are recorded with special observation, as the 
loutitains of coiinige under siiflfemigs. *< Here is the fisith and 
patience of the sdnts ; and wei Bte <fiiected to feliow them who 
through faith and patience havcf inherited the preibises." Rev. 
13, 10. Other graces are engaged in the christian combat, and 
strive for victory, hot fidthrand patience are crowtied. And to 
support US in great troubies,' a firm affiance in the divine pro* 
mises as belonging to us, is of infinite moment. ^ i wiB greatly 
^oiee, and trust in the Lord, my sonl shall be joyfot in my 
God.** Isa. 61. 10. The generd apprehension of God's mer* 
&f is ineffectual to support iis : and to clahn a title in him with* 
out a real' evidence, is vain. But a regular trust, an applicative 
frith, in eonjunction with mir sincere perfbrmihg the conditions 
4tfthe pronkises, is to a christian, iike the sacred locks ttf Sam* 
•on's hair, whilst they remained, he was invincible ; but when 
«fit off^ he became weak as other men. Our comforts rise add 
ftll according to the stronger or weaker degrees of our faith : 
Fetcr M^dked firm ttpon the wa;ves till he doubted, and then be* 
gan to srnk. One of the sorest and most dangerous temptathms 
of the aflficted is, that they are out of QodV favour. The 
mourning veil ^darkens the eyes of then- minds, :that they cannot 
see his compassionate countenance, they cannot reconcile his 
gracious promises with his providential dispensations ; the good 
things he hath^ prepared for hereafter, with the evil he aenda 


kece. Ab GideaD complittned to the angel^ ^' If God be with vay 
haw comes; aUtliis evil to us ?'* And the spirit of darkness takes 
the advantage of great troubles to tempt sad souls to despondent 
CT9 as if they were utterly forsaken of God. If this temptation 
pvevail^ ^ if the heavens be as brass, and the earth as iron ;'' if 
no iiifluenoiS descend from above, and there be no. springs be* 
fow; if divine and hnaian comforts fail, there remssns nothing 
bat desperate sorrow. ^ St. Austin, to repel this temptation, in* 
(roduceth Gad answering the afflicted -and discomforted; /* h 
this thy feikh ? Did I proinise temporal prosperity to you ? 
Weee.yott.inade a christian for this, that };%m might flourish in 
this world ?'' The faith of our adoptton is confirmed by his corw 
reotionSk If they .are profitable to t», if we ate refined not har- 
dened by, the fiery trials we iiave a elear testin^ony of our hiterest 
IB bios. '^ I wiQ bring tbean through tfaa fire, and they shaH be 
refined as silver and gold is tried ; ' and tbej^ ehall say, the Lord 
ismvGod.^'' JZe^. 13. 

. Briefly, l<lt us strengthen our faith of tbo glorious state, and 
fitnr title to it, and it will make iis-'fom against all the violent 
impressions' of adverrityi; it wiH ptoducea j^yfoiaxultation even 
ib the afflieted alate. The ohriatian that sritb ^tfteadfhst faith and 
Utteslisis.flonsidanlion looks on t|ie: iaestimabla inihite felicity^ 
ia n^gaidien of all tfainga m the world, in eonqpatison with it. 
Sacred histary reports of Saul the perseeottnv whu was trans^ 
fonn^ lAtM an aposde, that arsuddsq Hght fvom^heiMran of that 
oxcesaiviBibrightBesa eneompaased him, that he was simek blind^ 
and sawnn ikian; this un:f be easily and justly apjdiad^io everf 
aiiteere.beliavier in a noral sense » the fiht effect lof the spMtud 
tight that shines in the ^^ of his mind, and dis^vi6r» unseen 
eternal things, is to darken his sight of the things tfaat^ are tetof^ 
|Mial s evcn-the grtelest things here are not of sach-moment^ as 
to idlnve or' tennfy him ftom^proseoating his btessed^edd. Sainl 
Peter deolsores of peisecutad christians^ <^That believing, they 
t^Bodt with joy imspeakaU^ and fall of glory.'^ 1 Pet. 1. 8; 
The martyrs dearly embraced the cross of Christ, and prized the 
thorns of his crown, more than M the roses of pleasure, than all 
the diadems of earthly dignity, in expectation of the blessed re* 

« RctpMilt Ubl d«st, hisesise Mt fii«t tna? H«<libt promlsl} Ad: 
Imbc cfcrutiansi Cactus cs «t la wcalo aoreres ) '* 


ward. * TertttDian wrote to the nobk confessors of Christ that 
were imprisoned in Africa, ^^ How willing would we change our 
prosperity with your precious miseries ?" If weak nature be sen* 
sible of your hard restraint and sufferings, tidce fl^t by your 
thoughts to paradise. The persecutors cannot lay fetters upon 
your spirits, but when you please you may ascend to the king- 
dom of God, where you shall reign for ever. In the mean time 
counterpoise the darkness aud straitness, the loathsomeness and 
sufferings (rf' your priaon, with the light and amplitude, the riches 
and abundance^ the joy and glory of the celestial kingdom which 
no words are significant enough, or woithy to express. A saint 
whose blessedness is in heaven, cannot be made utterly unhappy 
by afflictions <m eiuth. f He will serve God with as much love 
and as good a will, when poor, despised, disconsolate, as in a 
flourishing condition ; and with this peculiar satisfaction, that his 
sincerity is then most evident : for the service that is without re- 
spect to a present salary, a temporal interest, is not base and 
mercenary. Besides, that obedience is more eminent and accept- 
able that is with sufferings, and the reward shall be answenJ>le 
to our obedience. One draught of the river that makes glad the 
city of God above, can sweeten all the bittemess of the world. 
In short, the christian's hope is in the apostle's expressi<»i, 
^< The anchor of the soul sure and steadfast, that enters within 
the veil ;" it is festened in heaven, confirmed by the fidelity of 
.God's promises, and the prevailing intercession of Christ, and 
secured to us in the midst of all the turbulent agitations in the 
wide sea .below. Hope makes us not only patient but Joyfiil in 
all our sufferings* A christian encouraged by the blessed hope^ 
pomes with joy to death, as the door that opens to the kingdom 
<^ gW> ^^ immortid blessedness. 

JMrect. 2. Let God be the supreme object of our esteem and 
affections ; and Whatsoever evils we sustain, will be made light 
and easy to us. The apostle assures us, ^' That all things," even 
die most afflicting, '^ work for the good of those that love God.** 

• Omnia splrUui patent, Tssare spiritq, tpatiare ipiritn. Nihil crni aea- 
tit in ner?o cam aDimua in ccelo est. Jd Martyr^ 

-f NuUoa lis dolor est de incurtatione mkloitim prmentlum, qnilnii adncia 
est fatorornm bonorum. Qaid hoc ad chriitianos, quid ad del serrot ? qoot 
paradirat invitat, q«HM gratia omnii & copia rc|^Ql cttkttii ezpeclat ? Qipr. 


Robi. 8. 26. That heavenly affection is not only tb^ eonditioo 
that intitles us to that promise, that by special privilege makes 
all the evils of this world advantageous to the saints; but it is 
the qualification by ivhich it is accomplished^ By love we enjoy 
God, and love ivill make us willing to do or suffer what he plea* 
seth, that we may have fuller communion with him. In God aU 
perfections are in traiyscendent eminence, they are always the 
same and always new. He gives all things without any diminu- 
tion of his treasures : he receives the praises and services of the 
angels, without any advantage or increase of hb felicity. By 
possessing him, all that is amiable and excellent in the creatures, 
.may be eiycyyed in a manner incomparably better than in the 
creatures themselves* His infinite goodness can supply all- our 
wants, satisfy all our desires, allay all our sorrows, conquer all 
our fears. One beam of his countenance can '^ revive the spirit 
dead in sorrow, and buried in despair.'' The prophet Jeremy in 
the desolation of his country, supports himsdf wjith his interest 
in God : *^ The Lord is my portion, saith my soul.'' Lam. S« 
24. The expression signifies the truth and strength of his affec- 
tionate choice of God as his chiefest good, what loss can make a 
christian poor, whose treasure is above ? What danger anxious^ 
whose heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord ? What disaster un- 
happy, whose blessedness is in heaven ? What death can destroy 
him, whose life ^< is hid with Christ in God?" Deprive him oC 
all the contents of this world, yet by communion with God, hearan 
descends to him, or he ascends to heaven, where God is aU in 
all : the blessed reward is not reserved wholly till hereafter. 
Divine joy is not deferred till our entrance into the celestial king>^ 
dom : there it is a refined joy firom all mixture of sorrow ; it is 
infinitely increased; there spiritual joy meets eternal joy | but it 
beg;ins here : the gracious soul has a taste and sig^t '^ how good 
the Lord is," as an earnest of the fiilness of joy in heaven* 
Hope brings some leaves of the tree of life, to letesh us withr 
their fingrancy ; but love of its firuits to strengthen us. As trans^ 
planted firuits, v^ere the soil is defective and the sun less favour- 
able, are not of that beauty and goodness as in their original 
country; so heavenly joys in this life are inferior in their degree 
to those of the blessed above, but they are very reviving. <^ In the 
mukitnde rf my thoughts within me, thy comforts delight my 
JDul." Psal. 94« 19. It is the triumphant exultation of the 

190 ivjB GABAT Dcnr 

prophet I " Althw j^ the fig-tne shall not blenom, neither shall 
fhiit be in the Yinesy the labour, of the aUre shall fail, and the 
iiekk shall yield no meat, the floek shall be oat off from the Ibid, 
and there shall be no herd in the stalls ; yet will I rejoice in the 
Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation/' Hab* 3. 17, 18. 
He supposeth himself in extremity, utterly destitute not only of 
the refreshments, but sapporis of life ; yet he knows how n6t only 
to be patient and contented, but joyfid in the most forbm con- 
dition* Joy is an affection proper to the happy state. *' In the 
day of prosperity rqoice." And m his deepest aflliction he had 
such a felicity in the favour of God, that no external want coidd 
diminish*. The tree of life brought forth fruits for erery moitth ; 
our blessed Redeemer, ^fied by it, has consolations for the 
most deplorable and desolate condition. If he sap to the aflUct-* 
ed soul, I am thy salvation, and within a little while thou shalt 
be with me for ever in glory, it sufficeth. ^'Rejoice in die LokI 
always ; again I say, rejoice. It is the most affeationate counsel 
of th^ apostle. These are net inaccessible heights of religion, 
and points of perfection, to which none can arrivey unless extra- 
ercKnary saints ; but are the ebcpeiimental practice cf bnmUe sin-* 
oere christians, that say with the psalmist, *< Whom have we in 
heaven but thee ? and these is none upon earth we desire besides 
thee.'' The gnilty principle of vexatious discontents and immo^ 
derate griefi under outward kisses and troubles is a hise jui^« 
ment ; that God without the world is.not suffident for our com- 
plete felicity ^ Who, unicBs a person distracted and Soolishy wonki 
say that ih^ ihagmScent feast of Ahasuems, that was prepared to 
sbsw the riohes And glory of his kingdom, was mean and poor> 
because there was not set before the numerous^goeste in dishes of 
goM, glass and acorns, the food of brutes ? It is equally frily to 
imagiiie that God, who k an infinite good,. suitaUe rto the qri- 
ritual immbrtai nature of the soal, and aU-suAcTent to fill the 
fast csfpacity and desires of our angelical frumMas, the und^- 
standing and will, by his ^orious perfectMNis; thai Ckid, I say^ 
caiinot make ns happy in his love, becanse oar lower animal h^ 
eulties, our senses, haive not in out eommuakiti with him srhut ia 
pleasing to thiir carnal appetites. The spouse in theeatttldes is 
represented as a *^ Lily among thorns," encompassed and op* 
pressed with injurious enemies, yet she breaks forth in trinlti- 
phant jot, << I am ihy beloved's, and he is mine ;'' by an irroMM 

^w KumesiA'neak 191 

cahte totttioa ske gave her heart to Chrirt, mi remproeally he 
gave himself to her ; she despised all inferior things aiid rested in 
hb love as her sole fislicity. In short, none arc eeneemed to lose 
the nveak light of a candle at noonnlay, when the sun fonas finth 
a deluge of light to illustrate all thkigs ; and the soul that enjoys 
the propitious presence of Ood^ is satisfied therewith whsn lower 
coHsforts fiul. 

Dtred. 3. Let us moderate our valuations and afiections to 
things below* 

Thisis aeonsequeticeof iheformeri far if the heart be fliU of 
God, it will Hot adrtitt any inferior object to rival him in his 
throne. If we comider the vast distanee between the perfect 
tions of the CrtMer, and the faint reflections of them in the crea* 
tuie^ our respeefte and love shonld be aceordidgly. Btaaon, an* 
therity, eatampl^, experience, convince as that all tbic^ below 
are empty vanities i it is restless fcHj to seek for happiness here^ 
and, to borrow the language of the ai^l, ''to seek the living 
toiong the dead:'' If our felicity be from the light and warmlli 
of ereatnrsa, how easily is it quenched> and we aie in inresovevar 
ble darkness? When there is exorbitant love, and di*otate joyj 
in the possesting, there will be extreme and de«|erate asAosr iw 
losing;. One irregular passion feeds and maintains tnolhte. . The 
heart is disposed to cto tr ary CKtremities, and passes frodt the fisd 
to the fifost : tht nnei|aal spirit swells or sinks, acoccding to thn 
outward odndition^ It is die wise advice of theapostle, '^ tbatCr 
we r^ice as if^lve rejoiced not/' * and then *' we steU weep an 
if we wept not/' Afflictions are intokraUe or Ught, ac c or dhy 
to cmr apprehension of them ; an indiflerency of temper to the 
tlungi of this world, disposeth to self-denial uOivenaHy, asr God' 
it pleased to try us^ Thi$ was the holy and happy teaiper ۤ 
David, ^ Surdy I bebaped and itnieted my^lf as a child that » 
weoniedoflus mother, my soul is even as a weanedohHd:'^ :IW» 
lai. iadiflerent to manage a sceptre or a sheep*hook, ao amlaig 
to God'l pleasure. If we can deny ourselves, we shall fainnUy. 
yiddto God* If we can sincerely say, **Moe ter wills,'' we 
shall readily repeat ollr Saviour's submission, <<But thy vviil bn 

• Poenam de advertti mandi file MBtlt, cai Intitia'ft gYoH* snfti» 1A Itrao^ 

W2 -Tftff «RBAt DWY 

Direcf. 4. A prudent forecast of posribte ef its as fiihire id 
us, arms us irtth patience to sustain them. Since man was ex- 
pelied from the tehvstrial paradise^ and is Mow the ceietftial, he 
u Kable to innumerable afflicting accidents. His condition here 
is like an open sea, so iroluble and inconstant, so violent and fo* 
Tious : sometimes the ships are raised upon the top of the waves^ 
as if they sailed in the air ; and sometimes plunged into the wo* 
ters, and ready to be swallowed up : such frequent changes hap- 
pen in our passage to eternity, and it is mercifiilly ordered so hf 
the divine wisdom, that we may so use the world, as not to 
abuse it and oarsehres, by overvaluing aiid dfeetlng it. It is m 
contemplation of Theodoret, that the sun and moon, the most 
glorious luminaries of heaven, and so bendMal to the earthy 
would be honoured as deities, if they always appeared with the 
aame invariable tenor of light : aiid theteftire God wisely disposed 
of their motions, that at the revolution of certain periods they 
should suffer an eclipse, that the ignorant world might be con- 
vinoed they were but parts of nature, appointed for the service of 
nan, and are not worthy ot dhrine honour. Thus we see that 
often ftie brightest «id jfuilest prosperity is eclipsed to convince 
•s by die miserable changes in this world, that the best estate of 
man is afcc^pecher vanity, and that these things are utterly insuf- 
frei^oit to make us happy, and are not woithy of the chief regard 
and affieetion of our immortal souls. To set our hearts on them, 
is to iniild on the sand, and to escpose onnelves to ruinous frdls 
by eveiy storm. A sudden blast overthrows the ftbric of fimcy, 
our conceited happineos in the enjc^ment of perishing things. 
Our greatest comforts may occasion our greatest afflictibns: 
** The glory of a iismiiy may occasion the grief of it.'* Now the 
oansideration of the mutable nature of things here bdow, keeps 
tile heart loose from them, fortifies us with proper thoughts to 
boar erils that happen, and prevents disappointments, that is an 
aggravating circumstance of oar troubles, iad a great vexation to 
the mind. The Israelites when transported from the land of 
Canaan to Babykm, felt the rigours of thdr captivity tiie more' 
aaiisibly, in that they ware confident in their term and state in 
that land, as thenr permuient inheritance; to be expelled from so 
rich a country wherein they promised themselves rest, was a high 
depve of tfieir misery. 
There is indeed a prevision of evils that may beU us, that har* 

n SBS1GK4T10N. 193 

toroieiic^ dutt aatidpates and exaaperates miany. Feiur, that 
gives the signal of approaching evils, often brings more terror 
than caution, and like a timorous sentinel by a false alarm, asto^ 
Hishes rather than prepares the mind to encounter with danger. 
Our Saviour strictly forbids such perplexing 'apprehensions of fu«* 
tnre evils, as most unbecoming christians, who are under the 
perpetual providence of their heavenly Father. <^Tahe no thought 
for the morrow, the morrow shall take thought for the things of 
itself/' Mat. 6. 34. But on the contrary, to be secure in oi^ 
prosperity, as if we should always enjoy a favourable course of 
things, as if our most flourishing comforts did not spring from an 
earthly original, and might be suddenly blasted, or easily cut 
down, is to lay ourselves open to surprising disorders and per^*- 
plexities, when evils befal us. It is the wise counsel of St. Peter 
to believers, ^' think it not strange cooceening the fiery trial, 
which is to try you, as if some strange thing happened to you :'^ 
1 Pet. 4. 12. for unexpected adversity falls upon the soul in its 
foil weight, and suddenly overthrows it. Uncomfortable acci* 
dents strike to the heart, when it is not armed to receive the 
blow : whereas the remembrance of our frail and fickle state^ 
makes us less troubled in afflictive changes, because prepared fot 
what mi^ happen to us. 

Direct. 5. Serious and moumfol reflections upon our guilt, 
and what we deserve from divine justice, is both a motive and a 
means to scqppress impatience and indignation, and to allay in- 
ordinate grief in our sufferings. We are directed by the wise 
preacher, << in the day oS adversity consider :** it is a proper 
season to review conscience, ^^ to search and try our ways," to 
take a sad and serious examination of our fives. If God should 
tXBCt the rigid aeoie of our debts, and make us as miserable as 
we are sinfiil, yet there is the greatest reason to justify him, and 
accuse ourselves ^ much more when our punishment is far bdow 
our deserts. 

Humility is the mother of meekness, they are graces of the 
same complexion and features. Our Saviour, in the order of the 
.beatitudes, first declared, ^< blessed are the poor in spirit," that 
-Have a iow conceit of themselves, as nothing in spirituals, and 
worse than nothing in sin ; as empty of all that is holy and good, 
and compounded of all evil : and ^< blessed are those that mourn," 
. ia a sense of their sins 5 and then, " bletted aie the jneek ;" and 


194 ram gjuut butv 

these are very eongniouslv joined, for mtAnen is a diapoeittoi 
inseparable from the other. He that duly considers himself lo 
be a wretched creature, a worthless rebel, and is humbly and sor- 
rowAilly affected for his unworthinens, his passions will be sub- 
dued ; and as melted metal reeeiTes any form, so he patiently 
suffers what God inflicts. A ^< broken heart" is an ^' acceptable 
sacrifice*' to God, Psal. 51. and implies a tender sense at «n, 
as the ofTeno^ and dishonour of the holy and gracious God, in 
allusion to a broken bone, that has an exquisite sense of anf 
hurt : and it may be extended to signify a heart that is com- 
l^iant and submissive to God's will, in allusion to a horse that 
is broken, and easily managed by the reins of the rider. Contri- 
tion for sin is always joined with resignation to the chastising 
providence of God. 

Besides, Godly sorrow will lessen natural sorrow. Sin first 
deserves our grief, and the sharpest aceents of our lamentation 
ahould be placed upon it ; and the more sensible we are of it, the 
lighter will affliction be to us. As the opening a vein stops by 
Tevulsion, a flux of blood in another part ; so the turning the 
stream of sorrow from affliction to sin, is a powerful means to 
make it pease : there is healtli in the bitterness of physic, and 
joy in the depth of this sadness. Briefly^ repentance inclines the 
|iea«t of God, and (^ns his tender compassion to the afl^Qted. 
We have an admirable example of this in the case of afflicted 
Ephnum : upon bis penitential complaint, the expression of his 
grief and shame for his sin, God graciously answers, '< is Ephraim 
iny dear son ? Is he a pleasant child ? For since I spake against - 
Um, 1 do earnestly remembtf him still : therefore my bowels are 
troubled Sot him; I will surely have mercy on him, saith the 
Lord." ier. 31. 20. When the relenting sinner is covered with 
tears, the great Comforter descends, and brings healing to the 
troubled waters : this adwceis more necessary for the afflicted, 
because usually the strokes of providence are properly a reproof 
and conrection for sin ; the application of a corrosive implies that 
some corrupt matter is to be dischaiged : God is provoked hf 
their neglects, and though love cannot hate, it may be angry ; 
attd witliQut renewing their repentance, and recovering his fa- 
vottr« their afflictiaQs are very uncomfortable. It is extremely 
sad to feel the sting of a guilty conscience within, and the dis-- 
fkeaaureof.Gtfd without. Tlie burden is heavy and oppressing^ 

WW vcaicauTioK.:' Mt 

itMTB I^d upon a tvomicM baek. It is -therdbre ovr bat wis-* 
4on and duty, *^ to search our heafts and try <mr ways^^' that 
we may discover what is the procuring cause of our troubles^ 
^* and turn unfeignedly to tte Lofd,** This will endear afflicted 
ioiib to God, and incline him to aSinrd gracious supports to them. 
It is true, sometimes our suflferings are designed for trial, espe* 
dally when they are for r^htoaasness sake. Counterfeit ccmu^ 
though with a fair stamp and iascriptaon, is discovered by the 
fire ; thus mere titular diristians, specious bypoorites, are made 
known by persecutions : but true tubstantial goM endures the fire 
without loss, and die mora it is tried, the more it is lefined* 
Thus the true christian, whom neither the gain of the worlds 
aor the loss of life can remove from the steadfast owning of the 
holy truth, has a clear manifestation of his sincerity. And it is 
a peculiar favour and honour, when God caJls forth his servants 
to the hardest trials for his name's sake ; it is the noblest way of 
service, a special conformity to the Son of ^God, more glorious 
than the resembling his power in doing miracles* In this the 
saints here have a capacity of serving God above the angels | for 
the obedience of the angels is always joined with their happiness, 
but the obedience of the saints here, is irften attended widi ad- 
versity, and is more valuable to them upon that account : as a 
soldier of courage and generesty, when he is chosen firom the 
vest of the army for eome bold eaqploit, values the choice of the 
general, as a signal mark of the esteem of his valoar and fidelity* 
^ To you it is given, not -only to believe, but to suffer for Christ's 
sake." This IS just miettter of joy. Innocence, vnth the fiuthfiil 
companion of it, a good conscience, makes our suflhrings from 
the rage and violence of men, to be eontfortable. There may h^ 
a feast mthin the house, when a storm of hail rattles upon .tba 
tiles. But it is som^imes so <»dered by divine providence, Jtbajt 
the evils we suflfer are of a mixed natuie, partly chastisements, 
and partly trials. - This was the case of the believing HebrewSj^ 
to whom the apostle Erects his counsel | Heh. 12. their perse- 
cution was firom the unrighteous Pagans . lor a cause purely reli- 
gious ; but it was permitted by the righteous God, as a punish- 
ment for their sins. And here the divine wisdom and goodness 
is admirable, that the same affliction is instrumental for the pu- 
rifying of his servants firom 'sin, and the advancement of Ms gkv 
nma goapd. The first and mofll immediate efeet of bia discif 

N 2 

I9i rOE GiBMP wm 

pHne, 18 the hdmUing and mncdfyitigtfeem^ to prepaid thtbi S(t 
his love, by which they are fortified to bear courageously the 
worst evils for his sake. 

Direct. 6. Apply the mind to consider the blesshigs we recetvej 
as well as the evils we endure. Whilai' the intense thoughts are 
fixed upon the cross, the soul is racked with inward tortures^ 
but did we turn our eyes upon our enjoyments, and the comforta 
that are interwoven with our troubles, it would be a means not 
only to compose us to putience but thankfulness. , The apostle 
directs us '< to trust in the living God, who gtveth all things 
richly to enjoy.*' 1 Tim. 6. 17. In the poorest and lowest state 
of life, we have many favours and effects of his rich bounty ;• and 
it is the ignorance of our deservings and of our enjoyments, that 
causeth discontent and murmuring mider our troubles. Particu- 
larlV) this consideration will be effectual to repress the discontent 
that is apt to kindle in our breasts, upon the sight of the diffe- 
rent dispensations of providence ; that «ome are exempted from 
the current adversitiies of the worid, and live in ease and plea-* 
sure, whilst we are deprived of many outward comlbrts* Sup- 
pose a sick person in extreme poverty, were received by a rich 
and liberal lord into his house, and convenient food, and pre* 
dons tnedieines wei^ provided for him, without his desert, or 
possibility of retribution } would he be so foolish and insolent, 
lu to complain of Unkind and unworthy usage,.. because some 
others in the fiimily have a more plentifiol table and richer habit 
allowed them ? On tiie contrary, let m look down to'those who 
are below us : how many are poor and miserable in the v^ant of 
all things needfiil for the support of life ? How inany are under 
tormenting pains^ or in deq>erate sadness, and have ho taste and 
comfort in their abundance ? How many are fallen into deep 
misery, and that aggravated by the afBicting memory of former 
happiness ? How many are ^rrounded by their cruel enemies, 
and see no refuge, no sanctuary for tbeir escape, but ia neces- 
sity of perishmgP Aiid can we pretend a betfer title to the 
mercies of God, than our fellow worms ? Our original is from 
nothing and our works are sinfel : that we ar^ not so desolate^ 
miserable as others, ^hen equally guilty, is from the rich good- 
ness of God, and should make us thankftd. ' 

Add further ; let the most afflicted saint in the world compare 
Iris condition with that of the most posperous wicked peraons, 

lor ftBSicRCATroK.* 99f 

ind the coiii(>ari8Jin will be eifectval to endear Odd to him, and 
quiet his passions under ^uflSsringSi 

The good^thlngs of this worM, in their abundance^ Tariety, 
and excellence, cannot make a ainner truly happy : the- miseries 
of this life m all kinds and' Agrees, cannot make a^obd man 
utterly miserable ; nay, they are inestimably more happy in their 
sufferings, than the widced in -their prosperity. Mftniia raina 
from heaven while they are in the wHdemess ; supports and eom«» 
forts are from the lore of Ood shed abroad in their heaits ; and 
their present atfl|M^^ons are a seed of eternal joy, to qualify and 
prepare them for the joy of heaven. Our Saviour, from whose 
judgment we receive t4e true weight! and measurestof- things to 
regulate our esteem and affections, declares his dfeeiplea,.Yrfaeii 
under the sharpest persecution of ^the tongues or haiMi of > their 
enemies, under disgrace^ ddumnies, tortures and deatli, eveii 
then he declares 4hbm ^^ blessed, for the kingdom of bsavisn be^ 
longs to tfaiem^*' imd hesveft Is $«ch a transeendent-bleisedness; 
that the lively hopexrfit, asxftfe inward aiid.end^ of '4QN1^ afflictioiui, 
makes us blessed here : and the most prosperous sinners are by 
the same infeUible nlle, miseRilfle beie ;r M the 1nt»iBtib(e» ir* 
renedtafale mitey that is^vdaided jinci-prq>ai«d* for theoi in hcH; 
they would deceive themselvts ^w6th the paintings of happiness^ 
with an airy'DBaginary faappfness: whttit the senses «re fiUed^ 
the soul is empty : but they shall nqt long enjoy l!be ease of thew 
ignorance and eeeurity ; the worid can do no more to make theai 
happy,, than if one-ehouhl eompouinl and temper a draught, and 
give it to the poor and miserable, that induces sleep andpleaaaat 
dreams for a few hours, but when they awake they aire «tiil poor 
and miserable. Our Saviour pronoonceth a woe to the rich and 
fall, ^^ to those that lai^ now, for they shaH weep and monm»'' 
their falB&4eoeitM felicity, will end in real misery. Itis * St. 
Austin's question, who would not prefer grief with a sober mind, 
before the jollity of a phrenzyf • Who would be a merry mad» 
man P for he is only happy in his fancy, tmd faneies himself so, 
only because he i^ distracted : and according to the rules of true 
wisdom, the worst ^tate of a saint, when lamenting dnd Ian* 

• SI duo iiUi proponaotar rfdere via mC flere ? Qais est qvl respoodeai 
aifi rldere ? ted tsotum pnevalet IjoYictiwinia Teritas at eligat homo saoa 
meate Hers, qoam mente alienata ridere. Augu9U TrMct di Bpist. 

N 3 


gttbhmg uniler ttCfMes, U more digibk than Ibe best e«Ut« of 
a sinner, when triumphing in prosperity. 
. DirecL 7* Lastly, frequent an4 fervent pcayer to the *' Fadier 
of mercies, and God of all consolation,'.' is a blessed means to 
support the spirit, and make it bumble ami obedient to the af- 
flicting pronden(:e of God. It is divine counsel, ^ is any afflict- 
ed, let him pray." It is prayer* opens the heart, ,aod carnal 
grief breathes out ; prayer opens heaven, and iinne joy floivs 
into the soul ; the King of glo^y keeps no state, there, is always 
jeasy access to bis throne, and bis ears' are always open . to bis 
humble suppltants. His most gracious nature inclines him to 
aostain us in our dejections. We have a powerful plea from bis 
compassians to encourage our prayers in. great trouble. ^< He 
will reganl the prayer ot the destitute, and not despise their 
pi!ay«r.^ The most glorious attribute of the Spirit, 'S the Com*- 
ibrter,'' is- Aiost useful and bene{kciai to afflieted suppliants : af* 
|K«tion is .the season, and ptw^ei .the sphere of his activity, 
That our pni]Fera may prevail^ thes« fiiUowing rules must be 

(I.) They tnost b« addiessed with an humble trust on the 
mercies lof God, that incline him to relieve and sustain the afflict* 
fA. Thus St. James directs tbt affliebed, '< to ask in faith, 
nothing wavering/' /am. h 6* We read in scripture of. his 
bowels, the light of his countenanee, hii melting eye, the soft, 
serene, compassi<mate expresses of his most graicioas nature to- 
wards his suflwng people* He doth not esteem himself more 
hABOured with die glorious. titles of our Cmi^or and King, than 
with the amiable endearing nanse of our father ; and with a con- 
fidence beooming that reUtion, we aie directed by bis dirine Son 
to make our requests to him. Jt .is> reecNrded of Augustus *,tlie 
emperor, that when one presented a petition to him in: a tinu)- 
XovA and shy manner, that generous] prince, whose humanity was 
equal to his dignity, was moved with, dispbsiisure, aS if it had 
^n a tacit reproach that h^ wsis of an untractable fieroe nature. 
Thus it, is a disjparagement of God's benignity and clemency, 
W!hen wo (^ay to him .in. a diffident oa&nner c hii^ is. more pleased 
in doing of us good, than we can be in receiving it. Indeed^ if 

• Yiderls obolam porH^ere elepliaotL HacroK 

of ftlSIttNATIONtf t9§ 

tkB pvooflliies of Ood did not encourage our hopes^ nve tbould not 
presmne so much of hk affection, as to lay the burden of our 
Gates and sorrows on h» arms ; but heaven is not fuller of stars 
tQ enl^;titen the darkness of the night, than the seripture is- of 
preeious promises for the Refreshing the disconsolate. When the 
church complained, '* the Lord bath forsaken me, and my Lord 
hath forgotten nie:^' Isb. 49. 14, 15, 16. what assurance doea 
he give of hb most tender and unchangeaUe love to her; *^ can 
a woman (biget her sucking ehild> that she should not have 
eompaasioo on die son of Ker womb 9 yea, they may forget, yet 
wiil I not loiget thee. Behold I have graven thee upon the 
pahns-of my hands :'' if he canfiot foi^ himself, he cannot for* 
get'hilr people^ kiehirdear titie^ <' God that comforU those 
vfb» arb east downw'' 2 Cor. 7* 

' Add to this, the interest of the saints in Jesus Christ,^ who 
ever Kves to make MSteiotasipn for them. None is more tenderly 
indined U> mercy^ fihafi be that has suffered misery : and he felt 
€wr sonrows, that he might afford relief and eoecour to us. Whilst 
our Sa^ou# wte upon the earth, and was foHowed by a multi* 
tnde of diseased miacMbt& pemoos^ virtue went out of him, and 
healed them all ^ and since his ascent to heaven, has he with- 
drawn that uttiveseal healim virtue, a^ad left us under irremedia^ 
hk and'unmiligabie aorrs^Ws f Did his compassionate eye regard 
all that Here aflicted, and are> we now out of his sight ? Then 
snch m» Ua indulgent humility^ that although he could have 
performed the cure by.a word, yet he readily oflered l^attend a 
aidt servant; ^ I #iU come and heal him :f' and now he is raised 
from Mb humble state on eanh to the tbaone of heaven^ does he 
disdain to esoend hi»mercihl band for our relief? No^ his heart 
and love ia the saose in heaven as upon the earth. It is true, he 
is exempted from all paasionate frailties, all afflicting affections 
AaC wre ineonsistent with the felicity and g^oiy of his kingdom : 
but he still retains the same solid loite, the same godlike com- 
passion, the same ready will to support and deliver his people in 
misery. . Nqr, if the ehaqgp of his state could have made any in 
him, it oould be no other than what is recorded to the immortal 
.honour of Vespasian^ * by one that had experience of his royal 

• Nee qalcqnam la te motSTtt fortum amplitodoi nisi ut prodeiM Untos* 
tfcm poMCS & TcUes. Pltn^ 

N 4 



bounty ; that the raising^ him to the imperial tln'one made no al* 
teration in his breast, but that his power was enlarged equal to 
his will of doing good. Our 8aviottr in his exattatioo at the 
right hand of God, has all power, €qual to his infinite love, that 
Is suitable to the permanent relation between htm and the saints: 
tie IS their head, and they his members : and was fch^e evm^sueh 
a mirade, or rather monster in natore, that the head the mcBt 
eminent part, the seat of all the senses, did not resent a wound 
made in the foot the lowest and most servile part of the body ? 
Does It not presently express its real complaints? For.tfae nant-* 
ral union of the parts communieates the sense of the painsuffisr- 
ed by any to the whole. And such is the spiritnai union between 
the divme head and his members, that from heaven ^ rebuked 
the cruel persecutor of the saints, in language expressing the vai* 
bn of charity between himself and them t *^ Saul, why perieeu- 
test thou me ?" • He does not say, why perseeotest thou my 
saints, why iny servants, but ^ why me?" Though he is not ca^* 
pable of any sorrowful sense, yet his affections -are quick and vi« 
^rous to his people. If it were possible that his joy, where«> 
with he is infinitely blessed, should be increased, it would be in 
the efAisions of his goodness to aflHcted christians, <^ let ns 
therefore comel>o1dly unto thef throne of grace, that we ntay 
obtain mercy, and find grace to help in tkne of need*^' How 
heavy soever the calamities are, let them not sink oar spilita in^ 
to despair, but raise them to iiearer approiaches to die God of 
consolation. • ' 

' (2.) The prayers of rtie afStieted mi»t be always with aobnrit« 
sive deference to the will and wisdom of God, as to the manner, 
the degrees, and time of his delivering them. Aiilictions are not 
peremptory and immutable dispensations, but conditlanal, far 
"holy and good ends, and we may humbly pfay for their temovad. 
It is no resisting of providenfce, to address to t^e divine majesty 
with frequent and fer^'ent requests, thAt he would please to take 
his chastising hand off from us. Cpon David's humble prayer, 
th^ destroying angel was command^ to cease; in 'the midst of 
judgment merCy interposed, ^ it is enough." But, we are apt 
to be impatient in our troubles, and by hasty impetuous desires 
of ease and deliverance, disturb our tranquillity and offend God. 

* Noo dicit qald saoctos meos, quid servos meos, sed quid me persequ^ 
ris? ^tif. 

. «P BBttEaiATIOM. 2Qt 

As dMiie fvbb ^OB diMved^with aihiuiiuitiMDybeinf; woras in Ibe 
nigbttbaii.'tfce'd^T, Impati8ittly:lDng for. the rising sun to dispel 
the opprattiag^hinnattfs, and ckoorthdr. spirits : so in our affile^ 
tkms'ive impaiidntly ceiiew ouc'»xac|iieiC9, ^< Lord,, how loi%? 
Lord, siaki-iiaile ;" vot/rqiOBioig/Oiinelvea on his wisdum and 
goodntMj #ho itiU'do hvhit ifhcttrfor us. God is^ioth oar b^ 
ther and pbfsiciaii, aadiwhenldiercomipt-hiiniours are purg^ 
away, will give eordbah and rMi^alives.to his. afflicted GfaOdren. 
ThepiopUet^t^sUrttS ^^ be thaitiiielieyes, Inakes not iMste ;'' ho 
dothool liy.fUBdue means aeek toycanedy. his eiirib^>nor..p«teioa-» 
afedy and ttaqnietfy aoUoit the. acooasplishaiAnt of Ahe. pMosiscs, 
hefimtlKSeBaonappbifli;^ by the divine decraer£^ to 

desm thaS Us jasiey should be diitplayed to the imjiadice of his 
JBMiwitihiBty; faathmnhly waits Cod's pieaaure* 

(30 Let tbeaasm dMres of thfe afflicted be ftr dimie. gvaoe, 
(whMr iafidror mdn iwasiiniy and nsefid than in fcranUes) that 
they may i^ify^^God,! smI obtairiL their efniaient end^ the.sahsa.^ 
tion of theit eqwbfUy them. We .are often rvmsf anient in oor 
prsyaiB Imi triTihl things^ nie^^tingthe most neeeaBsiy and iaii- 
portant. AsSf •:p«i8eaer loaded ivitli irons should passionately 
entreaty that his-ehains sho«ild'be.giyad9 not loosed* How ma^ 
ny spend their siUoas aft nUi o n a in .praying .for temporal things, 
srherein tfasb*hap|uaesB does not cansist. One* oi the reasons 
why Clod heape/upoh reballioaa sinaecs the- good things of this 
fife, lito insthi0t'j4sf.]it>w. daspbeahie they are m his acoonnt, 
things to be thfownawsy, as he seeois.to do. And he.ofken la*. 
isses the iietiiions of fab* sctvaiits .eooceming temporal tfaniga. 
* When Pelopsdas jnlereaded with. EpattiDondas the wise gover^^ 
Mr of the iaiebiM»:fil» Ihe freedom of a base fellow that iof 
aome eriaoe.was eomoiHted to {^i90it,'faedenied:hi8 request; and 
presently, released bias .npon the desite of a vile hadot: and gave 
this reasaPi it. was a fairoor npt.^ithy the dignity of Pelopidai, 
bat snitaMe taihe qHaliHir of sueh a petitioner. 

And sometimes we pray for things da^jeroas andhurtfiiltooar 
souls ) and it is beoomiog .theprovidenee and love <tf our heaven ] 
ly father^ to deny oar illMxninseUed desires. Let us therefore 
be more intent and importunate in our petitions^ that our afflic- 
tions may be rather sanctified than removed. We have neither 

' * Voa Sttdit Deal nbi qsod dignom daeit suit beneflctis. . Jra^i 

t02 IBM OBBAT wrrt 

uBderstnxBiig nor streng^^ boir to ovder •onehreiy Imrtolicar 
and improve great afflictions. St. Panl dedani, ^< I fasr^tekn- 
eSl in every condition to be content/' By the ieveiatk» of the 
gospel^ and the Holy Spirit's teaching that all his eaithly tnm- 
bles shoold end in the heavenly gbxy, he was instrvetcd in that 
science of the saints. We are therefaie directed, *^ H any man 
want wisdom/' that is, how to manage himself patientiy vnder 
afflictkns, '< let him ask it of God, vrho gives to all libe^lly and 
upbraids not." Jam. I. If afflictions are sore and sudden, it is 
very hard to compose and support the spirit. The passians are 
servants of sense, rather than obedient to reason, and by their 
first violent motions surprise the mind, and overeome it before 
it perceives the assault $ he that is not a master, is a slave to 
them. Or suppose no angry lenstanoe, no impetuous paHRNM 
in the afflicted breast, yet the lieait bleeds inwardly, and fidnts 
away. David had natural courage to enmunter a lion, yet he 
was so disconsolate in his trouUes, that he was fim to aigne 
against his sadness ; ^ why ait thou cast down, O my soul f 
wliyart thou disquieted withiii me?".PtaL 42. And having 
raised his drooping spirits, yet he relapsed to his first fiiintness, 
till by supplies from God he was confirmed in hope of ddiverance* 
,The apostle implores the gloriaua power of God, that the Colos^ 
sians might be ** strengthened with all mig^ unto aH patience^ 
.and loi^-siiffering vrith joyfidnesa.'' Ccd. L We ahonld sink 
under heavy sufferi^gsor be tired with the length of miseries^ 
without his immortal strength* But if the power of God assist 
A weak spirit, it will be finally victorious over aH the evila of the 
•world. How many martyrn of the tender sex, who ^would * natu* 
rally tremble at a drawn sword, yet by dBviue- support demised 
the tormentors, and all the instruments of ciurity f In them was 
an imitation of that mirade^ of dirine power, when, the three 
.chil<ben walked in the midetof the flaoring- farttaee^ untoudied 
by the fire. God- is styled *' the God of patience and consola- 
tion.'' It is his s(rie prerogative to conrfbrt the afflicted : ^^ I, 
even I, am he that comforts you." The woman in the gospel, 
*that had a bloody issue, no imman art could afbrd her* aid and 
-relief: and when her estate was wasted on the physicians, and 
her strength by her • disease, she c&me to oar Samur and by 
touching the hem of his garment was presently healed. Thus 
the afflioted spirit.^ whom no worldly things are able to support 

. CV EBSiaXATlON. 20ff 

od make je^, finds cverlattmg comfiort in God. He aettdiee 
the soul with his love, and establishes this persoisicm, ^^ that all 
tUAgs shaU toio Ant die best to his peopk." Neir by prayer 
the divine posver and &voQr is engaged, for our support and deli- 
▼emoee. Hovr enmy psalms of Damd b^n m teais, and end 
in triumph? In his great eari g wicy, when ready to be .swallowed 
np by hi^ enemies, he dispaiehed e flying prayer, to heaven for 
relief; ^ Lord, tkke hold of shield and bockler, and stand up 
for ray help :" and the Alm^hty appeased in anas for Us rescue. 
And he reeoonts another , blessed experience of the eficacy of 
pmyer $ ^' in the day when I cried^ thou amweredst me $ and 
strengthenedst me with strength in my soul*'' Psai. 138. The 
afliietion was still ineumb^ty but did not overwhelm him ; wUeh 
was a more graeiovs testimony .of God's love, than if it had 
merely been taken away. It is said of the distressed, . ^' they 
looked to hun, and were Ughtened.'' PsaL S4. 5. It is the 
perfection and pro priet y of the ssants in heaven to aee the gipri* 
oos &ee of God without veil or^shadow ; -but here some, rays of 
hia qoickening eoontenance cenfert his afflicted servants^ while 
diey lift tq> their eyes and heairu to his sanctnaiy,. a joyful light 
hieaks fiirtb, that leads them out of the dark labyrinth of their 
tvottbled thoiights. If the saints remain disoo^raiate, it is not 
fisr.want of mercyand power, in God to refteth th»r sorows, but 
from neglecting to improve their interest in him^ and deriving 
spiritual-eoinforu tem his fafaiessy by humUe bdieving prayer. 
When the diseipiea werejsurprised wiA astorm in the sea of Ti« 
jberias, they teiled with haad labour to saive the. ship thsa was 
Uce tobeovervriielmed krpitfae waves i* bat volL iavam^ till by 
their cries they waked our Saviour, who was asleep in the ship. 
f^ He lifts up his head and the pnnid waves presently rink; he 
qpMks a word of commsawi, and the boisteraoi winds, are silent; 
and a gteSf tempest is ehaagedsnto a gseait eahsi.!^. * This may 
My- represent the aflKeted smt^ of a ehMtiiui, their passions 
smK into li storm, tbeyjaei ready to be orerwfaefaiMd with tron« 
Ues, but it ii beeanse 'Christ slee]iB in them;' thisy have his pre* 
senee astf th^ had it 'ndt; <hsit eameet oDusfant priyer will 
lawakehimi and hbpnpltioiisfivesence.will secure them from 

• 91 SOS iomireC is U Cfcrlttat, tenpcststa litM boo patereria. Idto 
laeiMbot IfavU fsis GItfiitiii domlsbsu Nsvis tss cor tusm. Awg* 


•hipwrecky and make their breasts the tme "fmtiit eea^ and bnog 
them safely to the blessed eternal shore. 

Briefly; God teaches us to profit by ovr nlKftiom, Md thb 
affoids matter of joy and thaoksgiviag. The psahoiflt deciaresy 
^ Messed is the mfm whom thoa ehaatenest, and mtructest out 
of thy law." The divine teacher givts a right uaderstandiog of 
safferii^is, far what end tl^ are sent) and teaeheth hy the voice 
of the rod to obey his wokd. He.instruets us in our daty with 
the eiearest convietionsy and inftweth gracioos dbpOsitKiaa suita* 
hie to his doctrine. He givaa dkeeting light, and a eeeiog eye 
to perceive it ; hepresenta )le«ven)y tacoimayaientKj and pre- 
pares the heait to receive them. Now.wHat'St. Rattl epeeks of 
thecrossof Christ, is api^oabb tp:.the csosses.of the. sainti: 
<< God fdrbkl that I shonld«;lacy buti in the evoss of ^Ghri4t> by 
wUch the worU is eracifted to me, .and. I to it." The cross at 
Christ made the Jews- tod Pagan* th despise and reject the 90s* 
pel, estecnmg^ it to be groBs ioUy to eq>ect a gknrioiis immortal 
life, from one who was • ignomsaiausly put to death; yet that 
was the great argument oC.the apoelle's triumphant joy/ beeense 
he felt the vktueof it to nnUad.the.clianna erf the world so ad- 
mired by 4ianud ejres. He looked upon it with die same disaff 
feotioh and dau^pw i, aa one that is near expiring; it appealed 
in his eyescadier as a loedMMae objaet, than with aftdaUe qua- 

. Andif the eroBsiof a duisti^a. he the meana .of tnteHinL mor- 
tification, if thereby this mat deeming worid be readamd oon- 
tcmptible to him,.aad. his afiaatiottSiaBe inflamed to things above, 
be iKH findcanse tof^arj in^tiibalatiatt. To conchide this ar- 

There is no aflUctieii bowgrafit soever, though with, respect 
to natural. means mifcmovaUe and u^;imitigable, yet if iltjbe saac^ 
tifiad by divine grace, a ehristiab even.while he is aa afflicted, 
has more cause of joy than grie^ mom reaeoo to blfies. God lor 
it, than to repine and complain. ^^ l^jerery thing gjefp thanks^ 
far this is the win. of God in Christ JoiUb coiieei»ij|kg: yott." 1 
Tbess. L ,5. He turns aflUctaanb wto behefitSy and flm. aieo? 
aionate priuses are diie vfnn that i 


J) A N G E R 


Proverbs I. 22. 


J. HE experience of all ages hasTerified, that none are exposed 
to more dangerous trials than the prosperous in this world. The 
gieat tempter has foand the temptations of prosperity so insinu- 
ative and prevailing with men, that he attempted our blessed 
Sayiour; expecting, by the pleasant prospect of the kingdoms of 
this world, and their glory, to have fastened an impression upon 
his ^irit, and tainted his inviolable purity. But he found no- 
thing in our Saviour, not die least irregular inclinaticm to his al* 
lureinenti, and eould work nothing upon him*. It is otherwise 
with men bom of the flesh, in whmn there is a carnal heart (the 
centre of apostacy and corruption) that is easily inticed and over- 
come by diarming complacencies. Prosperity is a disguised poii> 
son, pleasant to the unwary sense, but deadly in the operation ; 
and the moie penucions in the efiieets, because less' dangerous in 
the opinions of men* The temptations of ptosperity are so fine- 
ipient and favoured by ns^ that they give vigour to the inward 
enemy, the sensual afiections, and boldnen to the mahctous temp- 
ter. They foment the camid appetites, that defile and debase the 
soul ; and are the more rebellious and exorbitant the moije they 
are gratified. 

Prosperity is the strongest obstacle against the conversion and 
reformation of sin^iers. Whilst they are plying their various 
pleasures, they have neither will nor Irisure to advert to the voice 
of oonscienee, so re|»oaefaliul mod stingmg to thenu • And many 
tines prosperity stnpifies oenseieBc^ that men are fearless of di^ 
vine judgments, involved in sensual security. They will not re- 
verence .and obey fiod's authority, till they fieel his power ; they 
abuse his blessings to pride -and vanity, idleness mid luxury, and 
are hardened in th«r impenitence, died with the deepest tincture 
<rf ingratitude: they drive on through a course of sin, till dieath 
puts a period to their hisu. How destructive^ how pc»al is pros* 

208 fRBFACE. 

perity to such graceless souls ? When God rains snares upon the 
wicked ; when the affluence of this world is abused to satisfy their 
vicious desires, it is a sad forerunner of the shower of fire and 
brimstone, and the. horrible tempest that shall overwhelm them 
at last. 

Others in prosperity are not openly profane, and boldly vicious, 
yet are corrupted, and insensibly destroyed by it. They over- 
value and over-delight in the good things of this world, and 
please themselves in an opinion&tive felicity in their present state. 
They enjoy the world with more aj^searance of reason, and less 
aensuality than the riotous and iuxurioufi ; but their oonversation 
with so many charming objects, alienates them from God. They 
do not sanctify him in their hearts, placing their highest esteem 
upon his most amiable excellencies, and their dearest delight in 
commmiion with him. They look upon religion as a sour aeve* 
nly, and count nothing delightfid, but what is suitable to the 
fleshly affections. . A daceit like that of a sick penon, wha feel- 
ing no pleaaure but in the easy intervais between his fits, and the 
remission of his distemper, should imagine that if he were freed 
iiom his disease, he should lose all pleasure? whereas the delights 
cf heahh are more ftdl and durable. The angels are inc^>able 
of sensual pleasures; their happiness arises from the perfection 
of good, not the allays of evil. The beasts are only capable of 
sensoal pleasures, the remedies .of natural evils, hunger, thirst, 
^mriness, or accidental evils, diseases and pains : and many are 
«6 sottisMy deceived, as to prefer brutish pleasnres that affect the 
•enles, before angdical joys that arise from the fruition of God's 
favour, and obedience to his laws. This is a sad symptotn of an 
hnrenewed heart, and an heavy presage of future. misery; for 
God will not be our everlasting joy in heaven, if he be not our 
exceeding joy iqxm the earth. 

Others surrounded with riches and hoBOUXS, are neither thank- 
ful to their divine bene&ctor, nor carefril to employ their pros*- 
perity and power for his'glory. The law of mercy requires a so- 
lemn a&ctionate recognition of God's benefits : but the current 
of prosperity drowns their sense 4»f the divine goodness^: and in- 
cogitant praetical atheism, is as dedtrue^ive asabsduteandspeeu- 
lative. And how many by the deceitfuteesB of riches, are 9pt to 
4mi^ne, that they possess with dominion wbat they receive io 


trust : they might be rich in good works, and if their hearts were 
according to their abiUty, be fruitful as paradise, but are as bar- 
ren as the sands of Africa. They are in a mighty debt for so 
many reeeived blessings, for which their account will be heavy 
and undoing with the highest Lend. These and many other 
.considerations, make it evident how dangerous prosperity is to 
the most that enjoy it here. 

It is therefore a point of high and holy wisdom how to manage 
prosperity so, as to avoid the impendent evils that usually follow 
it, and to improve it for our eternal advantage. This is the de* 
sign of the present treatise, and humbly recommended to the di* 
vine blessing, from one who most unfeignedly desires the salva- 
tion of men's souls, 






Pbov.' 1. 32. 

** The prosperity of fools 9bail destroy them." 

J.N the former yersee, the divine wisdom is Introduced in a very 
elegant' aiidpath'etica] manner, reclaiming men from their mi* 
ierable errors, to partake of' light and feKcity* The address i% 
directed toldheiti with ujtbrtidings and indignation at their folly, 
tiid vMi tender compassiioii for their rain. '^ How long ye sim- 
ple ones will ye love simplicity? and fools hate knemrledge?'* 
Thus it is sud of our Saviour, the incarnate wisdom of God, 
Marks. 5. '^that he looked on the pharisees with anger^ being 
griei^ kl the hardness of their hearts/' We have . also ex«- 
pfsssed, an earnest desire ^ their conversion, ^^ turn ye at my 
reproof/^ And that is seconded by agnicious promise, ** I wiU 
poor out my Spirit upon you," to illuminate and conduct you in 
the way of life/ But for their stupid obstinacy in despising the 
eotmsel, and rejecting the reproofe of wisdom, they wte surprised 
with utter destruction. This is described with that train of killr 
Ing circmnslances, that Hre the mobt forabte exdutions timely 
to prevent that evil, which neglecte<f, will be remediless : ^« be- 

o 2 

212 TH£ OANOEft 

cause I have called, and ye refused^ I have stretched out my 
haiid, and no man regarded ; I will also laugh at your calamity, 
and mock when your fear cometh : when your fear cometh as a 
whirlwind, when distress and anguish cmneth upon you, then 
shall they call on me, but I will not answer : they shall seek me 
early, but they shall not find me : for that they hated knowledge, 
and despised the fear of the Lord/' Vers. 24, 26, 27, 28, 29. 
In their distress they supplicate for mercy ; but as they were un- 
changed, notwithstanding all the gracious calls of God to repen- 
tance, so he is not moved by all their mournful entreaties, and 
takes pleasure in his righteous judgments upon them. Their 
final ruin is resolved into its proper cause ; the wilful hardness of 
sinners, and the abuse of those mercies that should have melted 
them into ai^ compliance with the divine giver of them. *' For 
that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the 
Lord." For '^ the turning away of the simple shall slay them ; 
and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them." 

The title of fooly is the usual, character of the sinner in the 
language of Wisdom ; and it is with great reason and congruity 
attributed to him, in opposition to prudence, the universal vir- 
tue and supreme director of human life. For as by prudence a 
man so governs himself, and regulates his actions, as to avoid 
impendent evils, and to obtain that good that is suitable to his 
necessities : so it is .th^ effect of fdUy, oOt to foresee evils i6 pre- 
vent them, and to neglect the season of obtaining what is good. 
And by how much the good is more valuable and desirable, and 
the evil is more pemidous and threatening ; in proportion, the 
folly is more unpardonable and wofol, that loses the one, and 
exposes to the other. And thi9 is justly phiu^d upon every wil- 
iiil impenitent sinner. 

Prosperity comprehends all things in the pr^r of nature, that 
are so much admired and desired by worldly men; ridies, 
honours, pleasures, health, strength, peace, plenty, §nd the 
abundant variety of what is grategil to Uie canml mind mi ap-r 

These blessings of God, abused imd perverted by the foUy of 
men, are turned into weapons of unrighteousness, to offend God, 
and wouiid their souls to everlasting death. 

The point I shall insist on, is this ; prosperit}/ abimd, U fatal 
and degtrudwe to foolish strnvers. 


In the treating on this argument, I will, 1. Show how pros* 
perity is destructive to the wicked. 2. That it is folly and mad^ 
Ress above all wondtt, when sinners abuse the blessings et God 
to their destruction, 3. How just, and certain, and heavy their 
destruction will be. 

L I will show how prosperity is destructive to the wicked* 
In order to the explicating of this head, some things are to be 

. 1st. This great worU^ with all the parts and creatures of 
which it is composed, has an inherent goodness and perfection 
convenient to the end for which it was formed by the Creator, 
and that was to be useful and comfortable to man in the service 
of God« There is no pestilence and contagion in the nature of 
things, that are pleasing to our faculties s they are dangerous, 
not as made by God, but. as managed by satan. They do not 
pervert the minds of men from any noxious inherent qualities^ 
but as they are corrupted by cpncupiscence. Upon this account 
St. John dehorting christians firom the love of the wprld, as in- 
ccmsistent with the love ot God, gives this reason of it, <^ for all 
that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, 
and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." 
1 John 2. 16. He signifies the objects, riches, honours, and 
pleasures, by the vidkiufl affections, that make them deadly to 
men. The poison is not in the flower, but in the spider. And 
the iq[>ostle speaking of the purifying virtue of the gospd, says, 
^^ that exceeding great and predous promises are given to us, 
that by these we may be partakers of the divine nature, having 
escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.'' 2 Pet. 
1. 4. This is evident by visible experience : for many holy men 
have enjoyed temporal blessings without the offence of God ; 
and have been more holy and heavenly in themselves, more be* 
neficial and good to others by mercies : whilst the sensual, like 
the cxsean that changes the sweet showers of heaven into its salt 
quality, turn the divine blessings into provision for their brutish 
lusts. It appears therefore that this contrariety of effects is not 
to be attributed to the quality of worldly things that is always 
uniform and alike, but to the different dispositions of the persons 
that use them. As the same food is healthful or hurtful as the 
stomach is dear or foul that receives it : in some it renews the 
blood and spirits, strengthens and preserves life; in others it in« 

o 3 

ereaaes tile tickly matter, feeds the diaeas^ and ixitigt dMh 
more pakifiilly and speedily. 

%lly. The primary design of God ia his most free and ridi h»* 
neiitSy is to endear himself to us^ and bind us to his senrice : for 
they are the most proper and convincing expresses of his love and 
goodness, And powerful . motives and persuasives to a gratefal 
ftorrespondence of love and obedience. '< I drew theai/' saitK 
Crod, *' with the cords of a man, with bands of love.'' Hoa. 1 1> 
4. GkkMJness duly considered, engages to pleaise the bedefiietor. 
it is therefore said l^ St. Paul, ^ that the goodness of Gtalleaai 
sinliers to repentance." Rom. 2. It is the most natural uneon-* 
strained consequence that the mind can regularly infer fvokti Us 
clemency and bounty. The hearts of men should be melted ki 
tender resentments of their unworthy conversation towards him^ 
and encouraged to return to their duty, since he will gracioufeily 
receive tho^ who unfelgnedly repent of their sins : but the event 
does not usually answer God's aim. Men are hardened in sin by 
his mercies. ^ 

Sdly. When the wicked abuse God's blessings, defeat hia kind^ 
ness, and frustrate the excellent ends of it, he most righteously 
and severely continues their prosperity, that foments thehr hists^ 
and renders them more wilful and incorrigible, and the mor^ 
guilty of their own damnation. What was Mud by SimeORy con« 
eerning the most glorious gift of God, our Saviour, is applicable 
in this caae ; ^* behold, this child is set for the fall of many in 
Israel, and for a sign that shall be spoken agahist.'* When l^e 
riches of grace offered in the gospel, are despised and neglected, 
the blessed Saviour of souls is most justly ordamed to be the oe- 
cmsion of their sorer punishment. So when the common benefit! 
iind mercies of God are ungratefully perverted by men, to the 
dishonour of the giver, they are by divine detennination ordered^ 
for the aggravating of their sins and sentence. Prosperity is a 
fatal ambush for their surprisal and ruin, according to that heavy 
impiieeation of the psalmist, ** let their table become a'snare ta 
them : and that which should have been for their welfore, let it 
become a trap, an occasion of their falling/' P4&1 69. 22: Thia 
judgment proceeds from the most terrible and inexorable dis" 
pleasure : it is better and more eligible to encounter all the 
storms of a raging world, than to enjoy the calm^and seeuiity^af 
ar prosperous sinner« For the intire afflicted we ave by imen^ tba 

(Mr]«Q«imnr« SMr 

mam eaatmttrmeixa^vi/iikeamB <6 <3od'» pnfkSkA thzone^ torin*^ 
^tnehift morey id^regard.atid-reliefe us : tun a«fiin^r^the more 
ML ftiiitM» be faaw-of tbe woMj tbe mm he fon^okes aaad pro-* 
fokes Gody.iuid themora he k abaiidmied to his worst enemies^ 
his hists^ aiiid«it«». This ndll be amplified more in thefoUow-' 
ing. parts of tbedisoiNirse* 

This being premised, we came to sbcMr kmr pibsperity ebueed 
is destractiverto miiiters^ both merit'orioiisty, as it kiduoes a deadly 
guilty and makes them obnoidous ta ito revenging wrath of God| 
and eiboiively ;*as: it is opposite to tha felicity and peifectioiv df 
man, that consists in the renovatio«i of theamage of God in the 
soul, and in joyfiil cobimttitibn with him fbr eves, T1h» mU ap^ 
pear by the foHowing eonsidamtions. 

1. Pfwpmkf is the ioniimUd incmakx qf the tAckms affec* 
tions, *^ the fleshly lasts that waf against the soul ;"' that deprive 
it of its beauty, order, fireedofo, and felieity. Man is-eompound-^ 
ed of flesh and spirit; by 'the one he oonmiiaicates in nature 
with the beasts, by the other he confines with the angels. By 
the originil lorw of aaion, the body was subject to the soul ; and 
though taken from the'ear th, <fid not c^pres^ it^ and hinder its 
heavenly 'flight }•'< Tke flesh did not lust agam the spirit, nor the 
spirit against the ilesh*'' Butas^the motion of the two eyes in 
tbe head is always mnferm, and directed the same way ; so rea- 
son and sense acoorded, the appetite^ were regular and concen- 
tric with the. nUind. Upon thfo lestablished order, the internal 
peace and hoKaess of man defbend. But by the rebeliious sin of 
Admn, the rfwA- lost its rc^ pow«r and freedom i and as in the 
fiiat tmfftsAm the soul infected tht body, so^now the body in- 
fects the sold. The carnal appetite, the spring <rf hist and an<^ 
{per (that wferaal pa» that rdgn^ so universally) overrides the 
rational Will, and ghfts law- to t&ea. 

The love of ^ensbal if>kiii8ures is natural to men | as tempta- 
tions are more^chslrming and itiereased, it is more predominant. 
The senses, the fenoy, and the passions, are in a conspiracy 
against the soul j and there is a cofntihual circuia^l^Oii m their 
working, they exeite one another. By the senseo pleasing things 
obtain, an eacy oitranee into the fancy ; and fancy has a strange 
power to charm or terriiy by febe representations ; it amplifies 
(be evil, and hei^tens the seeming good (rf things ; and by the 
inspiration of fencv, the passions are moved, and the pattiont 

o 4 


being alfaued, bribe end seduce the mioAf nrnd 6nm the consent 
of the will by the actual pleasure that is mixed in the gratifying 
of them. And as Adam lost his innocence and paradise by his 
compliance with the blandishments of his wife ; so the scml loses 
its purity and happiness, by yidding to the desires of the flesh 
that is in conjunction with it. For this reason, man in his fidlen 
state is called flesh, as if there were no other (mnciple in his na- 
ture, and of his operations. The spiritual and more noble £eicu1- 
ties, that were made for delightfid communion with God, are 
sunk into carnality. The description of men in their natural 
state, by the apostle, is a full proof of this : '^We aU had our 
conversation in times past in the lusts of the flesh, fulfillii^ the 
desires crf'the flesh, and of the mind/' Ephcs. 2. It is obser- 
vable that the hists of the flesh, that spring from the sensual part, 
are drawn forth into act by the concurrent wilb of the flesh, and 
of the mind. The nobler faculties, the understanding and will are 
depraved, and freely indulge the carnal appetites in their pursuit of 
pleasures. Prodigious degeneracy of the reasonable creature ! Of 
this we have a resemblance inthe marvellous tranabrming pow- 
er of nature. If a ciim be grafted into a tree of another kind, 
the fruit that grows on it will not be acccmling to the nature of 
the stock, but of the graft that overrules the sap, and turns it to 
its own quality. Thus the beast is grafted into the man, and the 
intellect!^ powers are corrupted and carnal. The mind is em- 
ployed to disguise the ignommy and guilt that attend the lusts 
of the flesh ; and the will consents to a subnussicm to those igno- 
ble and unruly appetites. Man has only this privilege, that he 
Is a more ingenious brute, to spring new pleasures, to make pro- 
vision for his sensual desires, and to accomplish them. 

Now in prosperity, when the senses aie entertained with va- 
riety of alluring objects, the fancy is more predominant and con- 
tagious : it has more force, vivacity, and extent, the more it is 
conversant about sensible things: and the polluted imagination is 
the most active and general principle of comq>ting the heart : for 
the mind transcribes a copy of what is ^tten in the fancy, and 
presents it with a false gloss to the will, that is ready to choose 
what bring* actual pleasure. And the sensitive afFections are ex- 
cited by the fancy, so that the presence oi a suitable object, fo- 
ments the warmth into heat, and turns the heat into fire, and 
the fire into a flame. And the more the carnal aflections are in« 

OF pBotPBmmr. 817 

MgeA, the more tbey are enlaigfd, the nore impoftanate and 
head-strong they become; and the soul is utterly disabled from 
leeoverti^ itself from the besotted vile prostitutiany to the igno« 
bk and unroly appetites. Millions had been less guilty and de-> 
filed^ and less miserable for ever^ if diey had not been sur- 
rounded by pleasant temptations and entanglements of iniquity. 

2. Proaperity occanonaUy incemes the ircudble appetite : for 
the usual inoentivea of anger, are the crossing the desires, and 
contempt ; and the stronger the desires, the more impatient they 
are to be controlled ; and in proportion to the height of mind, in 
the indignation for any contempt that is offered. Now prospe- 
rity makes the carnal desires more exorbitant, and consequently 
raging when frustrated. Violent burning desires, when control- 
led, provdie yident burning anger : and anger inflamed, extinr 
gttishes the calm light of reason, becomes blind and fririous in 
revenging apprdiended injuries. It is the inquiry joined with 
conviction, by St. James, <* From whence come wars and fight- 
mgs among you ? Come they not from your lusts that war in 
your members?'' James 4. 1. The voluptuous, ambitious, co- 
vetous passions wheti disappointed, are the common and natural 
causes of ail the bloody disorders in the world. 

The other cause of anger, is contempt, either real or suppo- 
sed; and that is more provoking to those, who raised by pros* 
perity, look with a distance of mind upon others below tiiem. 
Prosperity in any kind, swells men with a vain opinion of their 
worth and dignity; and makes them insdent and intolerable* 
There is a strange distemper of the eyes in some persons, idierever 
they look, their own image viribly encounters them. The reason 
of it is assigned by an inquiring philosopher, that the visive fa- 
culty has not spirits and vigour to penetrate through the air to 
«ee other things, and the air as a glass makes the reflection of 
their own image. Thus one of a shallow and weak understand- 
ing, is continually representing to himself his own conceited ex- 
edlencies. And prosperity increases their esteem of themselves 
unmeasurably above their just value. It is like a concave glass 
that breaks the rays, and dilates the visive ang^e ; and by a na- 
tural enchantment, makes an exorbitant figure, a dwarf to appear 
a giant. Now as pride is the usual concomitant of prosperity, so 
there is no passion so inseparable from pride, and so proper to it, 
as anger. ^^ By pride comes c(mtention ; Prov, 13, 10. it is the 

118 TBI BAwaa 

Mwervition of the wistst man, contmed by mii?«iMl eKpericnctf; 
Pride makes men imperious and impatient, bmterous and aiimtty 
against ail that i>ffeQd them. Pride, anger, and revoige, Kke 
serpents twine and wreath about one^ another. Pride interprsta 
an oflence as an high eontempt^ and raises anger; and anger 
pmvoked, takes proportMmable revenge to the oonoeived injuty* 
We have a tragical instance of this recorded in aeriptnre. 2 
Kings 8. 12, 13. Hazael when foretold by the mourning pro^ 
phet, that he wouM stain himtolf with the iuibcent bk>od of tiw 
israriites, ^<slay their young men with the sword, and dash dMr 
eUidren, and rip up their wonien with child t" he staitied at it 
as an execrable cruelty? ^ And Ha2ael said, but what, is tfay ser^ 
▼ant a dog that he should do this grekt tiling ? And EKsfaa an« 
swered, the Lord hath' showed me, that thou shah be king over 
Syria.'' Wh^ advanced to empire, h^ divesied Humanity. 
Pride armed with' power is 'furious at opposition; and the flaming 
passion, like a frightfM comet, presides and prodoces terrible ef- 
fects. ' Thus it is evident how tlie lusts of the flesh are ftMaeoted 
by prosperity. ■ .» - 

3. Prosperihf indknei mmers to an intjiom9 neglect iif tiM^ 
which is a sin of the highest imture, and prolific of immmeraMe 
evils. Ail sin is an irregularity, either in the excess or the de- 
fective dxtreme, eithefin'ovewaluing ai^d hwlngthe creature, or 
in the disesteem and indiflereaceto th^ Creator, 'and prosperity 
increases the a\«fBioti taf the camal heart -from God; in the saoie 
degtrees as it strengthens the propentity to the woild. For the 
opening' this, it *wiH be-necessarv to <}onsider the essential and 
eternal respeets due from the reasonable creature to God« Add 
they are four coniprehensive of all the rest. ' 

A solemn tbonkftd lecognition of him as the author of. -our 
beings, and all the eomforts we enfoy. Supreme love to him. 
An humble fear of his displeasure. Entife obedience to^his Will. 
As in diis regular universe, every kind of being has its proper 
end ; so it cannot be denied^ without the most evident abeordity^ 
that Ood in all these respects is the chief end of man. 

(1.) A solemn thankfel recognhaoa of God, as the author of 
ear foeii^, and all our eomforts, u cotitinuaBy due to hnn. The 
neglect of this is so contumelious to the majesty and glory of 
God, and so contrary to those most bindmg dbligatiooB to his mer- 
^ and goodness, that it is an offence infinitely provoking. la 

Of PMseBiiiTT* SI9 

e?ety |rao9gi«MioD:th» authoritjr of the Lali^i«r is despised ; bat 
tins immediately reflects dishonour upon the Deity. As a coQi<^ 
l^m Mmy n a btcmfa' of th^ Uaf '» Iaw% hit lieason not only 
vkdates his laws^ but strikes, iamiediatdy at ilia pefton and 4ig^ 
aity; Now. |»*osperiqr isdines sensua) persons to this unetcbed 
m^ect of God* The TfOtU, with all its desirsbk thin^ has the 
domimoEK and hik fo&atmoa'ot thie iwiderstaidings, memories; 
and hearts of men^ ' and aeries Aoiiighis^ viithinvluni a&etiani 
towards God ace.baEnished from tbaou It sb /the ckaraeler of a 
wicked person^ . bat , most proper to him in bis t>n)sperity> *^ Odd 
is luyt in aU hiathmghls/^ ^P6ti. ia4; Of* this {mpiatyUiei^ 
are several ^egfte^s thB.highaatis aJcpikat athi^ism, a disbelief of 
God and lus promdenoe; of 4iis iMng and hoftibty j aad thb ie 
sMietinses occasiokilQd'by pUatthlrpNisperilyL .'And. the oonse^ 
qaencea lue^ pride that bl^^ the alind^ as* it whre^ with Ii)^it-> 
mag^ and eooAd^ide in the' tbingb «f thb worid. Of this we 
have astonishing infancies' ia the- seriptiiie* NdbmiiadnezBaf 
taansportad ill a wn-.^^oiiMi.ABshiof joy^' ft ^tiv vfevir of hto 
iaagnifieeht worhsy .breaks forth in those lofty {asrientnesepMS^ 
6ta»; '^IsnolfthiagfeetrBabid that}I.'have*bii3tyfovi)iei]imsd 
oC my kingdotiiy by the m]^t;0f<;iny. powei9.aiidthe1konour of 
my majesty?'' as if he had been raised by Usiown power^ and 
didMtoiire his fjf^atness tta tke^Kmg of htavem THu^ %t is 
Kkatgtd against the flrinw oft T^rras^' *^ Thy heart k lil^d' up be-^ 
cinae of thy riches ^andthctai hast riaid^ I am agod^' and'sit hi th« • ; r^^ri 
seat of Gad f aBd:dieii settint ithine hevt as the heart of 'God/* ' f 
Esek. 28i 2» He4>resimieddMl hia.tbiMeAr giovy aadstdbi^ 
lity was like ikm diefam king«hMli,.thab«Bnnoti>e> shJOien^ and for« 
gc^ that he was a thii man kta mntride awld. Plentife) pros- 
perity is to'slrmigih tem^ariem td^adfeism^ that a wise eind holy 
nint earnestly .tJepieiafeed it as 'a 'peraieiouft snore: '^ Giv« me 
Aotricfaes^ lert ! he fiiU and deny, tfacte, and ssfy who 1^ the 
iMd ?'' Proy. BQi 9. .^\m eaifaal heait^ in the full ifiraition ^ 
the woiUy is a^ .tef aserii>e.tdhtoftfae ^oUrse of iriatata, or to ha^ 
adni eontrivaBce and* endeamuts, widiout any serioas aeknow^^ 
kdgnent of IM dhdae hhendily^ and' Beneftoenoe. Prodi^tii 
ingratitude^ and eqiiat folly t< As if lotie-ahooM imi^iie th^t a 
ibantsdif.of .water had aolrits^a^taid <from the sea^ but froth the 
amdble stonas^ Ais^Ugh whirii it imme<Uately and vi«bly springs. 

220 '^tiBM DAVME 

Or as if it were reqiUBite the hand of the giver shcmld he fts mi-^ 
Me 88 his gifts. 

Now although few arrive to this height of impiety in actual 
thoughts and open words; yet prosperous sinners are always 
guilty of an interpretative and virtual denial of God : they have 
not a solemn grateful remembrance of their benefiictor and his 
benefits, and a due sense ot their dependance upon him. It was 
the wise and holy counsel of Moses to Israel, <^When they 
riiould be possessed of Canaan,'' a place of delight and profit, 
Deut 6. 12. ^< When thou shalt have eaten, and art full, then 
bevrare lest thou foiget the Lord." The caution so enforced, in- 
timates a sinful disposition in the carnal heart, in prosperity to 
neglect God. There may be a notional remembranee of him in 
the mind^ a naked ascriptioii of all good things to his provi- 
dence, a compKmental visit in exterior worehip ; yet without an 
inward cordial sense of onr dear obligations for his most free &- 
vours* The apostle charges " the rich in this world, not to trust 
in .uncertain riches, but in the living God. So foolishly are men 
prone to depend for protection, reputation, and provision of all 
things upon their estates, as if they were unconsumablej and 
neglect God their rock, who is the alone suflBcient foundation of 
all our hopes and comfort. 

(2.) Supreme love to God is an indispensable duty from hien 
upon the account of his most amiable excellencies and benefits. 
^< Thou shalt love the Lord with all thy hearty with all thy soul, 
with all thy strength, and with all thy mind ; this is the first 
and great commandment, and consequently a coldness and in- 
differency to God, much move a strong aversion fit>m him, is a 
sin of the most heinous nature : now prosperity has a special 
malignity to disincline the heart from God. The su|Nreme love 
of God includes an act of the understanding, a tranaoendent 
esteem of his favour ; << thy loving-kindness is better than life ;'' 
it inspires the soul with ardent deshes afker. him ; ^ my soul fol- 
lows hard after thee ;'' it prodoees die most joyfiil satisfiiction in 
communion with him. The thoughts of God ave unspeakably 
5' precious and sweet j" the ordinances, Uie Messed means of 
fwav^ng his grace, are highly valued ; and sin that (Uspleases 
and separates from God, is hated as the greatest evil. Now the 
aoul must be refined to a heavenly temper, to some degieea of 

ot Fiioftrmtnnr. 221 

tkigelical purity, befiaie it is ei^bte of light to see biic qjiritiial 
excellencies, and lore to enjoy them. Md if the soal ' does not 
make the body heavenly and spiritual, the body will make the 
soul earthly and fleshly. From henee it is that the aibienee of 
things pleasing to tiie senses, fastens the carnal heatt to the 
world as its hi^piness and heaven ; it darkens the mind, and 
ijtifltes the affections, that the soul ^^ can neither tas^e nor see 
haw good the Lord is." It is the universal character of men^ in 
the carnal state ; <' they are lovers <^ pleasure, more than loveijs 
of God."' And a remisser degree of love is conqparative hatiied< 
A sin of astonishing gnjlt, and not less odious to God,and daimi-i 
tng'in its nature, thoogh Uttle observed and resented by canM 
mea i for the highest dishonour of God is complicated with diso^ 
bedienee in it. A sin that deserves and inflicts the sorest pu? 
nisbm^t; for God aloncj whose goodness is infimte, can make 
US perfectly and eternally happy : * and the spiritual separation 
from him is such an invaluable loss, that when truly understood, 
is the fbondation ot the heaviest sortoi^. 

(3.) The fear of God, is a most distant aflection ftom the 
beffft (rf the foolish sinner in his prosperity. The fear of reve-- 
nBtt^, and the awful esteem, of God, that' inooeeds from the * re^ 
flection upon his glorious greatness, is a grace thiit remains: i^ 
heiAren : the angels in all their bright degrees of ^jccellence cover 
tMeir faces before his throne* The fear of circumspection that 
restrains from displeasing him ^ upon the account of his justice 
and power, is a proper affection to men in the present state« 
The blessed in heaven are above this fear, being confirmed in a 
state of undiangeable perfection and felicity : the damned in hell 
are below this fear, in that no change can make their condition 
worse : but it is most useful and congruous in this middle statCr 
This fiMir of God is ^'the banning of wisdom,^' the first and 
cluefest part of it in respect of order and dignity. For the true 
notion of wisdom, consists in the fixresight of evils, in the choice 
jmd use of effectual means to avoid it, and it k the best wisdom 
,that avoids the greatest danger* This fear is the principle of 
4xmveraon from sin to hdiness ; exciting us to make God our 
friend, who is so dreadfiil an adversary, so holy and just, that 
he will not connive at am, and spare the guilty and impenitent; 

* Aa BSD p«na tatii eit te non amare ? Jwg. Cwf* 


$mA ao po«rerftil) ttait irithofie Woke lie oan utterly destroy Ids 
Iteont stabbom enemiei. ■ Carnal seeunty is directly <^o«te t» 
tills fear ef God, tflid iiolhi tig does nftore ti<tfden and fortiiy aeii 
in security, tiian a proeperovs statev The.Tohiptoous and sen^ 
soal are without apprehensioti -of danger, tift imminent and in 
their view. << Because they 'have no changes, therefore they fear 
not God. Psal. &S, lA. UAiHterrapted prosperity tempted thM 
to aitheistkai security t and ^ none are sblieiions and in atndety^ 
lest the sun, whose presence is the support And beauty of the 
world, shouM not arise in the morntng^ because its regular 
drarsc is Mablished and constant ; and it #ould 4»e a miracle 
contravening the order of nature- if it shouM b^ Stopped | thus 
the long enjoyment of plenty, and ease, and peace, renders men 
constantly secure and fearless^ as If the tenor of their prosperity 
were inftariable, ahdnoeril ooMd-disturb it; or Ht leMt tliey 
will setiback the expeetaHMn^of livB ht a groat distiUiee, like 
those profehe . scomers mentioned' by t'he prophet, ** they aay) 
the vision he sees is for many days to coifte, he propherfes of tlie 
times afiurolF,^ and with "a -brutish 'stupidity;- slight the ditine 
thi'eatenings. And from htnce.it follows^ that none are so re^ 
bellionsly and boldly disobedient, as rtieprO^peroAs 'sinner I whMl 
is the fourth thihg- to be coAsidcf^* 

' {4.y Entire cftiedienee ih due 'to the soprMne lawgHer,: Who is 
able toisaveanddc^roy for e^r: yet he is m^rcifbliy incUnrt 
to pardon the infirmities^ men,- ahd greater sins retracted by 
repentance. There are sMs dT igtiorance, wheni a man dashed 
.blindfold agahist the lawj and t>f sudden stir¥ej$!flon, when there 
is no time to delibeAite, and for recollectioh ; and the best are 
not exempted herefrom Ah9 of this nature 7 there are sins df 
deadly malignity, when men iare carele^ of God's commands, 
tod mdulge their lusts, tttt>iigH not^ffhoiit some remo*»eJ But 
the" prosperons sinner is usually most presumptuous, he sins with 
B high hand^ and incurs a greater guih, and shkill be exposed-t^ 
greater pumshmertt. When the feafof God is extinguished, hi«- 
ury jtakes <he reins, and breaks throagh the hedge of the law, 
without feeling the wounding thorns, the fcarfe! threatenings ih 
it ; and drives oh through all the degrees of sin. It is the ng" 
gravatiott of the IsraeCtes* 'ingratitude ; Jeshumn wabced fat, and 
kicked ; and lightly esteemed the rock of his salvation." Deut. 
32. 15. They were Hke beasts high fedj that become fierce and 


vatni^tliblet wW codiu». HO yql^ upon thMQ. The piOiparona 
aiiwier.iieciurely .d98(^^ the comBiatida of G^ and by an implH 
oit htMphemy daies hb ofibiHled onnifKileiie^^ aa if he.nnem 
stronger than. the LoiidU. .Heooncludea hi* salety firon» Ub pie- 
8^ sttccQ^,. ^^ and jt9sp in his heart, I shall hftve pc^e^ though 
I.walk ia the niigyagination^ of aide heart, and add sin to sin s tfie 
l#0rdiiilllw;tapaiehio),. biit.the.ang^oftbe l4ird sh^ snoke 
against that man to his destruction/' Deut. 29. 19, 20. . 

'4. PmiMri^ e^poie4:<d0ffg«roii«^ to ih» temp^ power of 
^otpiVi wttpse alibtilty# m^oe^.and diligence, ureialwayp ^xeiki-. 
sed.,ia itroMng rnm to feviHian* His deaUvotive .poi^w ^M»«t: 
make liyrdtato inlpctesioDSonthesoiil, butjie ttnipte hy ob- 
j^ota^tijlboat,, and^heiaffectiops w|thin ; lhir,war]d and.the flesh 
liinft ate i»< eoooftii^Uioo iidtKih«B«, He is aeoMUiigly. stifled; 
^6liM^ffiad'ql4lti«^ wpvld^:" .<2 fiot^^ A. ashe reigna in the .men;,^ 
theiWoiid^;b]it«MMgj^e:ih]iiga.of;t^^ mvid» tP.d^tai^ andeoissh^ 
lish his kingdom. He blinds their eyes by fl^i(ti9iD|t l^nptatiovSy 
deoeinep aa|d sfupiis^ dif»|ii.by;his fallaqies. f. . And alf^^ugh it; is 
diftci^ih^epiifte^^.ftnd^unftWhw.^^ perfijcir 

ii40 tbO:lOTlb MlMM»|'t.¥|iA: PfQI^VOy: «#A. «Homtfe..9vil^b<)Wt 
t^M0«fal:ft£.th0.!lsyUtf ;yM We.iir#.H4 tb4fehe>.aj:iri^je; i9Pr 
iB«r ID illNlcsiotf )of,«K^ . , ]^)M«^D)p^ jiti^i^^ai^apd l»y vaftiqg^ 
H>Ml«i^^^«il^K'^Y0i^ ^ ,Ofm(pvs .desii)ss,; prevailed wid^ 
him tftjfeairtfy ibe.bM) pf gloijf^ ^ ff.,Ha;W0(kaipo9fer(ul)y.ia t^ 
«^ldra»;p&diaok0di^fies^:' iGpbilft. 9* ^ Th^y:^ as it iiicM 
pq i fto^d awt.^9l«)dilf .his]$tRMg in^l\|iat«9Bs. fhey are sa^d^ 

ilm^itriMo^tiv^f^^f^)^^^ it \pm 

aUit^^liivtbftiic^tebfpgiof hffft^ti HDhj^n^^jr/the^MMyfas and.cr^ 

of tl^hlintar%i(th^i^qeNd^|itl:«rjk^^ aptx) ,^ tpil PWarf^ 

M iihM» ,rMMi^)Mos]3ieri^ .fiNtuMi^LHjimsviri^h; fih^ m«(eriBls 
«lN«aU)ertvwrt9'jJlrlattc^^^ jtud 

QiftfO daiii# |MBmcipa% iie in'spemil^ttcfQ^a^MliypnSfj^mlMr 
Iam**4mnte« a£jMsp!|iuMsJ> %liSb$^9Jfif/WWi^'j»9M^ 

:.^M^3XI»tf|eMinWtai(Vtatio9)i.\or» most :9pt '^o^seduoe fO^ 
aoidi ofiipmltsunmi. ^rAft(iift>M«ii4S[:lh0 itartf), Mhfn: rt»^« i». ^ 
oMgnit^tjbellvedoi ibel s<dl .4lMl Jtba sseed^ it is Douri^hed gnc} 
sp^ingiriip ^«j|Aspl»fpl hiary^l«. c^o Wbe^ temptaj^io^^ are ^^ 
lBUeite'<hn;hBM,;lh^.tm ieiMrKm^ widP.$anvto()eQ^yj^4 


are productive of aetoal sins. <^ Every mui is tempted (cttm ef« 
fectu by Satan) when he is drawn away by his own lust, and en-* 
ticed :" the sensual appetite b drawn forth by things grateful to 
it : ^^ then when hist hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin ; and 
sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." Jam. i. 11, 15. 
When the iqipetite has obtained the consent 6[ the will, the 
eompiete act of sin MIows ; and sin habitually indulged, endi in 

Some temptations of satan are of such a black complexion^ 
and so terrible to human nature^ that the soul resists them, till 
by violence and restless importunity it is overcome : but by the 
aitractives of pleasure he easOy prevails. As in cutting of tim- 
ber, if one strikes cross the grain, there is strong lesistaiice ; 
but if the blow follows the vein of the wood, it easily cleaves 
asunder. The temptations of riches, honour, and pleasures, are 
so deiightfiil, that the devil commaods or persuades men to a 
compliance with them. 

Besides, his malice in pleasant temptations is less disoemibie ; 
and consequently men do not by circumspection, and prayer for 
divine grace, preserve themselves firom the misdiief of them. If 
we are fiercely assaulted by unnatural temptations that cause ex- 
traordinary agonies of spirit, we seek for supernatural assistance^ 
and fortify ourselves with holy resolutions against the open ene» 
fny. But by the pleasures of sin, he insinuatei into mens' hearts, 
and feeds the deadly disease so gretefiilly, that they discover not 
their danger till past lecovery. Therefore he destroys more by 
his serpentine suggestions, by winnii^ charms, than by fleiy 
rage. Indeed he is never more a devil, than when bedee^ivss ; 
and we are divinely warned of his guile, devices, and wiles, that 
we may not be surprised and rained by our invirible adversary. 

2. Plentifid prosperity affords variety of temptations, which he 
makes use of to prevent the satiety and dislike that the same re* 
peated temptations wouhl cause. Since man was divided -from 
God, the true centre of the sonl, he breaks into a thousand irre> 
gular desires; and in the qxwtle's phrase, ^^ serves divers lusts 
and pleasures :'' and the vanities of the world do rather cloy 
than satisfy ; that which brings transporting joy at first, by con- 
tinuance becomes nauseous and insipid. Now the tempter, with 
the abundance of prosperity, so orders his temptations, as to take 
off the weariness of one pl^uure by another^ and keeps his shwea 

. or pfto6PBAinr« 225 

in tlie maipeal drcle of variety. As a rich Epicure provides a 
anivenie of luxury, commands the four elements to make a show^ 
* the earth, the air, the water, of their treasures, and the fire of 
its art to dress them, thereby to excite the languishing appetite^ 
to give a relish to intemperance, and satisfy the greedy eye, as 
well as the blind belly. Thus satan, the architect of pleasure, 
brings out oi his storehouse several kinds of delightful tempta- 
tions, to reinflame the carnal appetite when sated r without va* 
riety desire often fuls the man, and pleasure fails the desire. 
Vduptuaries are dissolved in the changing streams of pleasure. 

(3.) Idleness, that is o^n the concomitant of prosperity, 
gives him a tempting oppcvtunity, and makes men more recep* 
tive of his temptations. The sin and destruction of Sodom was 
from hence. '^ This was the iniquity ^f Sodom, pride^ fulness 
of bread, and idleness was in her, and her daughters.'' Ezek. 
16. 49. The idle person prevents the devil, beckons the tempter 
to do his oiBce. When the << house is empty," the mind not ex« 
erctsed with better employments, and the heart is loose and un« 
guarded, the tempter is invited to take possession. 

Idleness is directly opposite to life, as well as felicity. To 
lii«, is to be in action. Inanimate things are only bound with 
a dead reM. And amongst inanimate bodies, as they ascend in 
perfection, they are more active. The heavens that excel in si- 
tuation and qualities all things that are without life, are in con- 
tiBual motion. And man's felicity consists in the most perfect 
actions (rf the most perfect life ; in the vision and enjoyment <rf 
the blessed God. Now man naturally being averse from a state 
eootrary to life and felicity, if he is not employed in business be- 
coming the reasonable immortal soul, rather than languish in 
idleness, is active ^' in makii^ provision for the flesh, to fulfil 
the lusts thereof.'' Time is tedious, and that it may pass away 
pleasandy, men seek for diversions that are usually either sinfid 
in their own nature, or connected with sins. 

A lawful employment, is a double security against temptations: 
partly divine, as it entitles us to God's providenee over us; for 
whilst we are obeying -his command, we are encouraged by his 
promise, ^' that he will keep us in all our ways ;" either prevent 
temptations^ or affimi us assistance to vanquisb them: and 

« Nee niora, qsed pontof, q«o4 terra i qoad educaiaer, psacit. 
YOI*. II. F 


partly natural ; for whilst we are diligently exercisfed m a laWfuf 
calling, the mind is not at leisure to attend the temptation, and 
the senses do not so easily admit those objects that betray the 
soul. And it is observable, that God, who is merciful in his 
chastisements, orders that fallen man should obtain the fruits of 
the earth to support his life by the sweat of his brow, that his 
incessant labour might preserve him from idleness; which to 
corrupt nature is the seminary of so many vile lusts. 

(4.) As tlie temptations of prosperity make men an easy prey 
to satan, so they keep them in the most perfect apd miserable 
bondage under his power. When he has taken hold of their 
affections, '^ he Jeads them captive at his will." They are freely 
drawn by the pleasing force of his temptations : they are volun- 
tary slaves, and in love with their captivity. It was the cruel 
and crafty advice offered to the Athenians, to keep the subdued 
inhabitants «of Egina from rebelling, to cut off their thumbs, 
that they might be * incapable to manage a spear, and by war 
obtain a victorious rescue from their tyranny, but be fit to pull 
the oar in the gallies. It is an emUem of satan's dealing with 
his slaves ; for by the pleasures of sin, their hearts are weak, 
disabled from vigorous and holy resolutions to resist fais power; 
they cannot make use of the ^^ armour of God'' for their defence: 
* and their lusts are strong, they are patient of his drudgery, con- 
stant at the oar, and faithful to their chains. And from hence 
it is evident that men are never more dangerously under the des- 
tructive power of satan than when they enjoy prosperity. 

5. Prosperity is destructive to many, in that i$ c^fotds them 
aStcantages to corrupt others^ and redprocaUy exposes them to 
be corrupted by others. Persons in dignity, wealtt^ and power, 
when depraved in their inclinations and actions, aie like public 
fountains poisoned, that convey a spreading ruin abroad, f Their 
evil example has a pernicious influence, and more oommandii^g 
efficacy as a nile, than their laws they ordain as rulers. The 
manners of princes are as current as their money, that being 
stamped with their image and superscription, though the metal 
be base, passes freely among the people. The reason of it is 

* Ut remos ayere ponint« hattas tractare Hon posiiaL 

'^ Hsc eoim conditio raperiorum est at qnicqaid facianC pnecipere Tideaii* 
*tiir» & ])eraicio§i88lnitt est nal« rei maxiniu qnbq i autkor. Qminiil. 

OF l^aOSFERITT, '227 

evidait, for ivithoat the restraints of shame atid fear^ the sen- 
sual passions are riotous and licentious. 

Shame, is a displeasure at evils that are attended with dis- 
honour and infamy, especially at sinful evils that are so shamefijl 
in their own nature, that the most sordid things in comparison 
are less ignominious. Now foul vices when practised by men of 
conspicuous eminence, do not .seem with that turpitude and de- 
fcMinity as is inherent in their nature. As a muddy vapour drawn 
up by the sun, and enamelled with the rays of light, appears 
amiable to the eye, not dreggy and foul as it is in itself* Innu^ 
merable miscarry by the vicious examples of persons in honour ; 
for when sins are gilded over with creditableness, many think it 
necessary to be unholy> that is, truly vile, that they may be 
fashionably noble. And when those that are in power abuse it, 
as a privilege for licentiousness in sin> inferiors are viciously bold, 
expecting facility and indulgence in the pardoning those faults 
of which their superiors are guilty : and those who do not fear 
to be punished, do not fear to siu. Thus amongst the heathens, 
^ lasci^ousness was lawless, because they ascribed their vicious 
passions to their supposed deities, and did not fear their reven- 
ging justice for what was practised by them. Besides, prosperity 
exposes the rich and great to be more corrupted by others. Ser- 
vile spirits will be cruelly obsequious to the humours and lusts 
of those upon whom they depend, and the ready instruments of 
accomplishing their irregular desires. It is their interest to 
please them, from whom they receive favours and benefits. And 
how few have so firm a virtue, as to break the twisted tempta- 
tions of pleasure and profit ? The rich and great in the world, 
are usually attended with a train of dependants, or vicious asso-i 
ciates, whose compliance is very influential to harden a vicious 
tdiaposition into a corrupt habit. These are underworkers to 
satan the master-tempter, and feed the double element of infer- 
nal fire, hist and rage, in the breasts of those with whom they 
c<mverse. It is the peculiar misery of men in a high and flou- 
rishing ocmdition, that they have many f flatterers, and few 
friends. Few or none dare fiButhfiilly represent their sins and 

* Ipia vUia reMgioM Maty atqne son modo ooo vitantar, ted colantnr. 

f Noo me potts mti amico tf adalatore. Bkocion Jniiputrk 

F 2 


danger, lest the sight of their guilt in its true reflection, ahooM 
offend them. As love is blind to others, so especially to one's 
self; and mercenary wretches, by the most vile flattery, endea- 
vour to make them believe of themselves, virhat is pleasing to 
them to believe.. Such, to ingratiate, will commend the mere 
shadoAvs of virtue, as substantial virtue ; and excuse real gross 
vices, as but the shadows of vice. By deceitful arts they odour 
and conceal the native ugliness of sin, under a thin appearance 
and name of * virtue. The arrogant and revengeful, they call 
generous ; the covetous, frugal ; the lascivious, gentle ; the pn>- 
di^ral) ma(2;nificent ; the malicious, wary and cautions ; the bru- 
tish and secure, courageous. The oonversation of such is infi- 
nitely dan^rerous and corrupting: for under the disguise of 
friendship they are the most deadly enemies. What greater 
danp;er of being poisoned can there be, than when by ait the 
taste of poison is taken away firom the poison, and there is no 
suspicion of the traitor that gives it ? Thus it is further evident, 
that prosperity is very dangerous to the souk of men. 

6. The prosperify of simers tmMlhi renders ike means <^ 
grace ineffectual, that should reclaim and reform them, and con-* 
sequently their destruction is remediless. The means of grace 
are internal or external : internal, the motions of the Holy Spirit, 
and the convictions and excitations of conscience : external, the 
ministry of the word, and the counsels of faithful fnends ; all 
tvhich are usually made frustrate and inefficacious by the vices 
and lusts of the prosperous. 

(1.) Prosperity makes sinners more incapable of receivmg the 
heavenly impressions of the Spirit, and obstinate in resisting 
his gracious working. ^* The flesh and the Spirit are contrary :" 
Gal. 5. And accordingly as the carnal appetite has dominion 
and overrules in men, such is their opposition to his restraints 
from evil, or his motions to what is holy and good. ** The sen- 
sual have not the Spirit." Jude. They wilfully refuse to give 
admission to him, when by inward impulses he solicits them ; 
and have a stubborn and active contrariety to his attributes and 
gracious operations. He is styled ^^ the l^iritof power, and 
love, and a sound mind.'' He communicates a sacred sovereign 
virtue to the soul, whereby the irregular passions are reduced to 

• Nallii titlii detttot pretioM nomlfla, Mh, 


the obedience of the sanctified mind, and the reignfng po^er of 
shi is dissolved. He is a free spirH, and restores the soul to true 
and perfect liberty, by enlarging the will, and making it com- 
mensurate with the divine will : and from hence it is the insepa- 
rable character of a converted person, he is willing to do what 
God will have him do, and to be what God will have him be. 
But sensaal persons, by the pleasant infusions of servility from 
the tempter, and carnal objects, have lost their power and * de* 
sire of spiritual liberty, and resist the Holy Spirit, when he 
•fers to break the bands of their lusts. The Spirit in converting 
the soul, inspires it with heavenly love to God for the ever-satis- 
fying beauty of his perfections ; and from love proceeds intellec- 
tual delight in communion with him, in affectionate ascents to 
him, and his gracious descents to the soul : but the sensual are 
fastened in the mire of their sordid pleasures, and can take no 
heavenly flight, and relish no divine comforts. The Spirit pro- 
duces ^^ a sound mind,'' to judge sincerely of things as they are. 
And from hence the corrupting vanities of the world lose their 
attractive charms, and eternal things appear in their reality and 
excellency, and are chosen and sought with persevering diligence. 
But the sensual heart is a perpetual furnace, whose smoke dark- 
ens the mind, that it cannot discover sublime and heavenly ex- 
cellencies ; and whose impure heat fires the will, that it is earnest 
in die pursuit of fleshly pleasures. Briefly, nothing does more 
quench the Spirit in his illuminating, quickening, and attractive 
operations, than sensuality : and nothing more heightens sensu- 
ality, and increases the averseness of carnal men to the holy law 
of God, and makes their conversion more difiicult than prosperity. 
Indeed, the Spirit of God can by effectual grace convert the most 
wiprepared habituate sinner, the most obstinate enemy of holi- 
ness ; he can melt the most rocky stubborn heart, into a holy 
softness and compliance with its duty; for creating power is of 
iofidlible efficacy j and there are some objects and miracles of di- 
vine grace, that are the everlasting monuments of its glorious 
power in subduing the most fierce violence of rebellious sinners. 
But the Spirit of God does not work as natural agents, that are 
acthre to the extent of their power. The winds blow with all 
their force, and the sun enlightens the air with all its lustre. 

^ Nee it poue earere Tf lim. 



The holy Spirit U an intelligent and voluntary agent, whose ]iower 
in working is regulated by his will, and directed by his wisdom* 
There are some things repugnant to the divine attributes, that 
it is impossible God should do them : the apostle saith, <' that 
God cannot lie,'' for it is contrary to his truth, one of his es<- 
sential perfections. And it is as impossible that he should do 
any thing unbecoming his wisdom. He threatened the sensual 
world, ^' my Spirit shall not always strive with man, for he is 
flesh ;" Gen. 6. that is, corrupt and indulgent to his fleslily ap- 
petites, and always opposing and controlling the pure motions of 
the Spirit. We read that our Saviour <^ could do no mighty 
works in his own country, because of their unbelief :" Mark 6. 
5. not as if their infidelity abated his divine power, but they were 
unprepared to receive benefit by them, his miracles would have 
been cast away upon such inconviucible persons. Who will sow 
the barren sands, or water dead plants^ or give a rich cordial to 
a furious patient that will spill it on the ground ? And it is an • 
act of justice to deprive sinners of those inspirations which they 
have so long resisted. Those who are tender and tractable, and 
' unfeignedly resign up themselves to his conduct in the ways of 
life, shall receive more powerful influences to perfect the blessed 
work begun in them : ^^ he will give more gr&ee tp the humble;'' 
but those who are so far from valuing his graces and comforts, 
that should be received with the highest reelect, that they un- 
gratefiilly despise them, and rebel against his motions and coun- 
sels, he righteously deserts. jSt. Stephen in bis charge against 
the Jews, to complete this aggravation of their sins, r^roacbes 
them ; ^^ ye stiffnecked, and uncircumcised in heart, and ears, 
ye always resisted the Holy Ghost." A^s ?• The obstinate sin- 
ner rebels against his authority, and contemns his mercy. The 
tempter with his charms is presently entertained, as the devils 
easily entered into the swine ; but the Holy Spirit with his gra- 
cious offers is rejected. Wretched indignity ! rather to obey « 
slave and an enemy, than the lawful spvereign. 

If the saints grieve the Spirit of God, by a wilAil neglect of his 
assisting grace, and fall into presumptuous sins, although from 
the perfection of his nature he is not capable of passionate grief, 
yet he infinitely dislikes their sins. And as grief when it is op- 
pressing, causes the spirits to retire to the heart, and nature is 
as it were shut up in its springs, and obstructed from communi- 


t^tfting Bgility and vivacity in the ordinary operations of the senses : 
thus the Holy Spirit when grieved withdraws^ and there follow 
a disconsolate eclipse and interruption of his reviving quickening 
piesence. But the indulgent habituate sinners, provoke him 
finally to leave them to their own lusts. It is true^ his deserting 
them is usually gradu^ as in a consumptive person the stomach, 
the colour, the strength, decline by degrees, till nature sinks ir<- 
lecoverably under the disease ; so the motions of the Spirit in 
those who have often repelled them^ are not so frequent and 
vigorous as before ; his after-calls are weaker, wasting, and dying 
every day, till his total withdrawing from them. How fearful 
and hopeless is the state of-' such a sinner ? This spiritual judg- 
ment always proceeds from inexorable severity, and ends in the 
eternal ruin of sinners. For without the Spirit's supernatural 
working, they can never be ^* renewed to repentance," never re- 
conciled to God. They may for a time live in a voluptuous 
course, or fdlow the business of the world ; and a little breath 
may separate between them and hell, but they shall at last die in 
their sins, in an unpardofiable state for ever. It is said of the 
Jews, << they rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit, therefore he 
tamed tobe their enemy, and fought against them.'' 

(2.) The convictions and excitations of conscience are pre- 
vented, or made ineffectual ^y the prosperity of sinners. • Con- 
science is the applicative mind that respects practice ; it directs 
in our dutyy both by inhibitions from what is evil, and by insti- 
gations to what is good ; and by comparing our actions with 
the rule, testifies our itinocence or guilt, and approves or con- 
demns U9. 

This intellectual ray was planted in us by the wise God in our 
ereation, and extended to the divine law, the object and end of 
it, to keep us to our duty. And fiince our revolt, it is being en- 
lightened and sanctified the vital principle of conversion to God, 
the povirerful means of rescuing the lapsed soul from its prostitu- 
tion to the flesh, and recovering it to a temper of purity be- 
coming its original excellence, and relation to the Father of spi- 
rits. It is true, the bw of God is the primary rule of our duty, 
and the Holy Spirit is the efficient of our renovation ; but the en- 
'lightened conscience b the immediate rule, and the immediate 
mover of us to return to our duty. And if conscience, which is 
the eye of the soul, be covered with a film of ignorance, if it be 

p 4 . ' 

232 TUB OANQSa> 

bleared with the fiUse glitterings of the world,' if it totaUy neglaoto 
Its office, or makes but a cold application of saving terrors th^ 
may control the licentious appetites, if it be disregarded, when it 
suggests and excites to our duty, the sinner is hardened and aet* 
tied in his lost state. Now prosperity foments the sensnal affec- 
tions, that obscure the light of conscience, that corrupt its judg^ 
ment, that smother and suppress its <&iates, or despise and 
slight them, that it is powerless, though constituted God's depu- 
ty to order our lives. 

Affected ignorance is the usual concomitant of sensual lusts : 
for the enlightened omscience will convince, and condeQin men 
for their pollutions, and force them here to feel the beginning of 
sorrows, and thereby make them apprehensive what the issues 
and consummation will be hereatter, and this will cast an aspersion 
of bitterness upon their sweet sins, and lessen the foil pleasure of 
them. From hence our Saviour tell^ us, *^ Every one that loves 
to do evil, hates the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his 
deeds should be reproved ;" John 3. 20. that is, by the instniet^ 
ed and awakened conscience. Men love darkness to cover their 
nakedness and foul deformity. They mre averse from knowing 
their duty, and will not search, lest they should discover such 
terrible troths that cross their sensual humour. The apostle 
foretels, ^^ That scoffers should come in the last days, who aie 
wUIingly ignorant," 2 Pet. 3. 5. of the beginning and end of the 
vrorld, as if there were no divine maker of all things, who has 
power to destroy them, and consequently no judge to whom men 
must be accountable for their disobedience to his laws: they as- 
sent to the most evident absurdity, that all things were and shall 
continue in the same tenor : and the cause of their willing igno- 
rance is insinuated in the character that describes them, that 
they '^ might walk after their own lusts,'' mote securely, freely, 
and joyfolly* 

Sensual lusts do not only hinder men's search, after knowledge, 
but obscure the light of conscience, and corrupt its judgment. 
There is such an intimate communion between the soul and the 
body, that interchangeably they corrupt one another : the sins of 
the flesh sink into the spirit, and corrupt the moral principles, 
hottk whence the sensible conscience springs of good and evil. 
And the sins of the spirit, infidelity, incogitancy, error, security, 
break out in the deeds of the body, and make the flesh nlore oat- 

OF PH08PSE1TY. 233 

ngemis in its desires, St, Paul declares, that ^' unto the defiled 
and unbelieving, nothing is pure ; but even their mind and con* 
sdence is defiled/' Titus K 15, A purged heart is requisite 
for a dear mind ; but where lust dwells, it taints and perverts die 
practical judgment, from whence so many disorders follow in the 
life. The natural conscience in many cases, in its simple judg^ 
ment of things, sinctf ely declares what is to be done, and what 
to be avmded ; but when compounded and stained with a tiaoi- 
ture of sensuality, it judges aocording to the desires* The rdbel* 
lioua Israelites in the wilderness are described, <^ It is a people 
4bat do err in their hearts :" Psal. 57* 10, the heart was the er- 
roneous fountain of all their miscandi^ies, and forty years instruo- 
tion could do them no good. Those who are given up to carnal 
delights, and are in a cenfederacy wilii the gioss senses, even 
thiSir directive and judging faoulty is canud in its apprehensioas. 
A reprobate oiind, and vile aftctiens, are natuatty and judicially 
the cause and effect of one another, E^en natural Cniths that 
are pUn and bright, as the .essential distsnetion .between moral 
good and evil, between virtue and viee, and the belief of a judg- 
ment to come, that i» inseparably connected with it; jwt through 
the perveiaeness and crookedness of men's hearts, aie strangely 
dariiened. Men wish acoovdiBg to their carnal interest; and 
what they widi, they woirid fiun believe; and as whca them was 
oo '^ King in Israel, every one did what wa^ good in his own 
eyes :" so if there were no after-redconing, men would, without 
the chedL of oonscience, foUow the iralls of the iesh, therefore 
they are atheists in desire, and if not scared by the pangs of a 
^throbbing eonsoience, will be so in their thoogfata. 

The heathens cancelled the law of nature, and transgmsstd all 
^the niles of duty and deooram ; tJKy securdy iaibiged those lusts 
that are a derogation and debasemeBft to the leaaondble creature, 
and make men bdow men. The reason of this prodigious dege- 
neracy was, their manners corrupted didr mindi. St, Paul 
charges the Ephesians, not to <^ walk as the other Gentiles, in 
the vanity of their minds, having the understanding darkened, 
being aliaiated finom the life of God, through the ignorance that 
is in them, because of the blindness of their heart ; who being 
past fading, have given themsdves over to lasciviousness, to work 
all undeanness with greediness/' Ephes. 4; 17, 18, 19. A 
dead consdence, and a dissohite life, are insqpaiaUe, And how 


maoy that are surrounded with the celestial beams of the gospd^ 
are as impure and impenitent, as those in (be black night of Ra« 
ganism ? They stand at the entrance of the bottomless pit, yet 
do not smell the brimstone that enrages the fire there : the flames 
of their lusts, have seared their consciences to a desperate degree 
of hardness and insensibility. Of such the apostle speaks, '< But 
these, as natural brate beasts, made to be taken and destroyad, 
apeak evil of the things they understand not, and shall utterly 
perish in their own oorraption ; and shall receive the reward of 
imiighteousness, as they diat count it pleasure to riot in the day 
time ; spots they are, and blemishes, sporting themselves with 
their own deceivings, while they feast with you/' 2 Pet. 2. 12, 
13. They violated all the prescriptions and restraints of natural 
reascHi, they had lost all the ingenuous bashfiilness of the human 
nature,' and pleased themselves in their taise licentious principles, 
whereby they endeavoured to justify their enormous actions, and 
set a superficial gloss upon their foul deformities. Now a sedu* 
ced ^and seducing mind, make the conversion of a sinner most 
difficult. WMbt the judgment condemns vrfiat the affections ap«* 
prove, men are not so invincibly and irrecoverably lost ; die enh'gfa* 
tened conscience is an earnest of their return to their duty. But 
ndien the spirit is deceived, the flerii always prevails ; and men 
are most dissdute, corrapt, and desperately wicked. Our Savi- 
our says, ^* If the light diat is in us be c^kness, how great is 
that chrkness?'' How disorderly and ruinous will the course 
be ? '^ If the salt hath lost its savour, wherewith shall it be 
salted ?'^ If the conscience, that should be as salt to preserve 
the soul fi'om tainting pleasure^ be corrupted, wherewith can it 
be restored? 

(3.) Fleshly hsts smother and suppress die dictates and testi- 
mony of the enUghtened conscience, that they are not influential 
upon the life. The dictates of conscience are in a direct line, 
instructing and advising men in their duty : the testimony is by 
reflection upon their errors firom the divine rule, and condemning 
them for their guilt. 

1st. The dictates of the enlightened conscience are suppressed. 
It is the observation 1 of * the philosopher, concerning aensual 
persons, that they have reason in the fkculty and habit, but not 


in the lise and exercise. The practical understanding declares 
our duty^ that it is absolutely necessary to obey God ; and men 
assent to it in the general : but when this principle is to be ap» 
plied to practice in particulars that are ungrateful to the corrupt 
will, lust draws a veil over it^ that it may not appear to check 
the sensual inclinations. Whilst the mind, seduced by the sen- 
ses, is intent upon the pleasing object, it does not actually and 
strongly consider the divine command ; and conscience is brought 
under the control of the impetuous passions. The light of rea* 
SOD, as well as of divine revelation, discovers, that the blessed 
beginning, and the bi^ipy end of man, is to be like God, and to 
enjoy his love ; but when there is a competition between his fa- 
Toor, and the things <rf the world, the carnal heart suppresses the 
dictates of the mind, and makes a blindfold choice of things pre- 
eent and sensible, as if man were all earth, and there <tore no 
^ark of heaven within him. 

The heathens are chai^ by St. Paul,— ^^ That they with- 
held the truth in unrighteousness.'' The notion of God as the 
supreme Lawgiver, and to be obeyed according to his law impres- 
eed upon conscience, was a natural truth, and should have reign- 
ed in their hearts and lives ; but they would not suffer it to exert 
its power in ordering their actions. There is a natural miracle 
seen in Egypt every year; vrfien the river Nilus overflows the 
plains : many living creatures are half formed, and part remains 
alimy earthy without life or motion. 

JUera pan vioU, rudiseftpars altera tdlug. 

Stxdi monsters were the ungodly and unrighteous heathens ; half 
men in their understandings, and half mud in their filthy afleo^ 
lions. And there are innumerable such monsters in the chris* 
fiatt world* 

2dly. The testimony of conscience is suppressed and neglected 
by the prosperous sinner. If conseience be in some degree righ- 
teous, and faithful in its office, '^ and reproves him, and sets his 
sins in order before his eyes ;" he v^U not rq^ard its earnest 
warnings. He is as unwilling to hear that sincere witness in his 
bosom, as Ahab was the inflexible prophet Micaiah ; of whom he 
^d, ^< I hate him, for he doth not prophesy good of me^ but 

236 THB DAN6B1I 

eviL" Prosperity aflbrds many diferaions, whereby the mnner 
shifts oflf conversing with coDscienoe, and remains engaged in his 
sinful state. ^^ I hearkened, and heard/' saith the prophet Je* 
lemy, ^' but they spake not aright ; no man repented of his 
wickecfaiessy saying, what have I done?'' What foul ignominious 
acts, how defiling and debasing my soul, how ofienrive to. the 
pure eyes of God> who is so glorious in majesty, and dreadful in 
power? Such a sight of sin would make the conscience broil, 
and chill the passions, and urge sinners to return to their duly. 
But whilst they prosper, they are obstinate in rebellicm ? << Every 
4me turned to his course, as the hofse rushes into the battle.'^ 
As the hone when inflasMd, by the noise and other accidents of 
war, furiously tushes to his own destruction : thus sianeis when 
they encounter alluring objects that divert the mind from serious 
consid^ation, either they do not discern, or wiU not observe the 
dangers before them, and with as little consideration, and as mudi 
fierceness as the beasts venture upaa dieir own destruction. 
Conversion is the product of the most serious and sad thought!, 
from which a prosperous sinner is most averse. 

The external means for converting sinners, are usually inefibo- 
tual upon them whilst they enjoy prosperity. 

First. The ^' Gospel is the power of God to salvation to them 
that believe *" and the preaching of it is by divine institution the 
4»dinary means of conversion. God could by the immediate il- 
lumination of the mind, and infincnce upon the vrill and afiee- 
tions, convert sinners from the errors of their ways ; but his wis* 
dom and condescending goodness makes use of the ministry of 
men to convey the word of truth and life to the world. This 
way is very oongruous, both to the compounded nature of man, 
by the senses to work upon the soul, and to the native freedom 
of his will : for tliough the siqiematural agnit infrdlibly changes 
the heart, yet the instrument can only direct and persuade men, 
as those who are endowed with intelkctual and elective faculties; 
and thus the efficacy of divine grace is insinuated, in a way sui^ 
able to the reasonable nature. The ministers are styled the light 
of the world, to discover to men their undone condition by sin, 
and to point out the way to their everlasting peace. Our blessed 
Redeemer saves the lost remnmit of mankind by the sacred mi- 
nistry ; and where there are no ^^ evangelical preachers sent,'^ or 


only a doleful sticcession of blind guides, what * Tertullian says 
of Scythia, a country that by the extremity of the cold, is hard 
and dry, and perpetually barren, but the residence of fierce cruel- 
ty, is applicable to a nation, the hearts cf men are frozen to their 
rins, thnre is no melting in the tears of true repentance, no holy 
heat, only their brutish lusts are ardent and active. But where 
the ambassadors of Chrkt are faithful, and ssealous to induce sin- 
ners to break off their sins by repentance, and to be reconciled to 
God, there are none more incapable of the sanctifying power of 
the gospel, than mnners in prosperity. 

(1.) Pride, the vice o{ prosperity, makes them fierce and stab- 
bom against the hdy and strict rules of the word. *< We wilt 
not hearken to thee, but will certainly do whatsoever goes out of 
our own mouth." Isa. 44. 16, 17. If a faithful minister repre- 
sents the inside of their foul souls, their uncomely passions are 
raised against him : if he recommends the earnest study of holi- 
ness, and godliness^ they entertain his counsels with derision and 
disdain. Those to whom the dearest and most affectionate ho- 
nour is due, being spiritual fathers and phyMcians, are despised 
in their persmis and oflice, by fbols in their prosperity. They 
condemn what they do not understand, and affect not to und^- 
stand what c<mdemns them. Th^ hear sermons to censure, and 
eensure that they may not be troiibied by them. What hope b 
there of reducing haughty scomera to the obedience of the gos- 
pel ? Even the miracles and ministry of our Saviour were without 
success upon the. pharisees, <* who heard and derided him.'' If 
such are convinced in their minds, and not disarmed of their 
pride and seUUwUl, they refiise to yield '^thenaelves to the 
IjosA" Meekness is a requisite cpaalificatioa lor reoeiving the 
word with its saving virtuew '^We are directed to Uy aside 
aU filtbiiiess, and supetfluity of ssRightiness ; : aad ^with meekness 
toreoetve. the ingrafted word, that » aUe to save our souls.'' 
We ateprepared fi>r ^'divine grace,'' by a derioas sense ct our 
want of it, and-eamest desire to obtain it.: ^^ He fiUs the huikgry 
with good things and !the rich, he sends empty away." None are 
so insensible of tUeir spirttaal waats^ and avene from the fanimble 
aeknowledgniait'^of then^ as the prosporoas sinner; and none 
more uriikely to obtaiaainritnal riches. . 

* Oiislft torpeniy onmia rigeot, tola feritat csleff 

fi38 tflfi DANGStt 

(2.) Infidelity that is occasioned and confirmed by prosperity 
in sin, renders the gospel ineffectual to the salvation of mem 
<< The word preached did not profit the Jews, not being mixed 
with faith in them that heard it/' Heb. 4. 2. A steadfast be- 
lief of divine revelations, is the principle of obedience : withoot 
it, motives of the highest strain are ineffectual. Eternal things 
are not within the ptospect of sense, and though set forth with 
the clearest evidence of reason, and enforced with the greatest 
earnestness of affection, yet the sons of darkness sleep profound- 
ly in their sins. If heaven with its joys and glory be revealed in 
the most affecting manner, it has no more efficacy to move 
them, than charming music to awaken one out of a lethargy : 
only violent remedies, bleeding, scarifying, and burning, are pro- 
per and powerful for his recovery. If they are warned, that the 
everlasting king will shortly open the clouds, and come with 
tmjlile majesty to the universal judgment, and require an ac^ 
count for his abused mercie»: their hearts are apt to reply, as the 
priests did to Judas, " what is that to us ? see ye to it." The 
terrors of the Lord no more affiH^t them than thunder does the 
deaf, or lightning the blind. In short, though charged and ad- 
jured by all th^ threatenings of the law and the neglected gospel, 
though entreated by all the precious promises of mercy, they con- 
tinue hardened in their voluptuous sins : they despise the eternal 
rewards of holiness and wickedness, as incredible and imperti- 
nent, and ministers as men of vain talk and imaginations. .For 
the infidel aenses are not affected with things future, and sinners 
whikt prosperous, are under their dominion. 

(3.) Suppose in preaching the w<Mrd, a sharp ray of truth darts 
throi]^ the deep and settled darkness of the heart, yet it is soon 
damped, and without saving effect upon sinners in their prospe- 
rity. They may be terrified but are not subdued by the ^< armour 
of light ;" for they presently take sanctuary in the wotld to eaeape 
the strokes of it. The carnal passions dare not appear before 
aoeh objects as awaken the conscience; the senses stnmgly ap- 
ply the mind to things that touch them ; the fancy is the spring 
of distraction in the thoughts, and these reign in their full power 
in prosperous sinners^ so that they do not by serious considera^ 
tion apply things of eternal consequence to themselves. The 
heart of man with difficulty changes its end ; the outward actions 
may be suspended or overruled for a time, but the krve that is 

' OF PftOSTBRlTt. 239 

natural and predominant in the heart to the present world, can^' 
not be purified and raised to heaven, without the divine efficacy 
of the word applied by most solemn and frequent thoughts. How 
plain and convincing are the words of our Saviour ; <f^hat will 
it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and lose his own 
soul ?" But how few in hearing them, have found their souls 
that were lost in the corrupting vanities of this world ? The 
most seem not to know they have immortal souls, whilst they 
live as if they had none. The reason is, they v^ll not consider 
duly their invaluable worth, and the wofnl folly in neglecting 
them. When the bird often straggles from the nest, the eggs 
are chilled and unproiific, for want of its warming incubation. 
IMvine truths are without life and vigour, when they only lie in 
the memory, without serious and frequent reflections on them. 
Many are enlightened, but not affected ; or aflected, but not 
resolved; or resolved, but their resolutions are not prevaifm^ 
and permanent, because the word ' does ^^ not sink into their 
minds," by deep consideration. 

Secondly. The other external means of recovering a sinner 
from die snares of death, is private admoniticm, dtfaer authori- 
tative, or merely charitative, by showing him his sins, and the 
fearful consequences that attend them. The neglect of this duty, 
is a sign and effect of the gieatest hatred, as the jcommand of it 
impUes, " thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart, and suf- 
fer sin to lie upon him" The performance of it, vritb prudence 
and meekness, with dear and earnest love, has a special advan-* 
tage and efBcaqr, being directly applied to the person whose 
soul is concerned. The reproofe of a preacher are levelled in 
common against the sins of men, but not applied in particular 
to every simier. It is the office <rf conscience, to bring home to 
every man's bosom, what is proper to his- case ; and singularly 
to observe in himself, what is spoken in the general. But in 
private admonition, the superior or friend supplies the. duty oC. 
conscience. And (in this* sense) '^ woe be to him that is alone !" 
that wants a fruthful friend to supply the duty of conscience, . ei- 
ther to preserve him from /ailing into sin, or to raise him when 
down. Now a pnmpetcm. sinner is most unlikely to receive the 
benefit designed by admonition. If the patient does not assist 
tbe jcure, by receiving holy counsels with humility, respect, and 
thankfulness, they prove ineffectual, and much more if they be 


rejected with wenenen and contempt* When 8 superior, (like 
a father that hokb a child over a pit, to make him fear where 
there is dai^er) widi solemnity admonishes him of his gailt and 
approaching judgments, he is apt to slight his person as cen- 
sorious, and his admonition as impertinent. When a friend by 
foithfu) reproof endeavours to save hh soul from sin and hell, he 
entertcuns his reproof 'with scorn, or with conviction and indig- 
nation. Thus the wise observer of men dedares the careless 
wretched disposition of sinners in their prosperity, by their sor- 
rowful reflections in adversity : ^* thou shak mourn at the last, 
when thy flesh and thy body are consumed, and say, how have 
I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof? And have 
not obeyed the vmce of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to 
them that instructed me?" Prov. 5. 11, 12, 13. Instruction 
to prevent sin, reproof to correct sin, were disregarded with an 
implicit hatred, or rejected vnth absolute and express hatred. 

To conchide this part of the ailment; experience sadly 
proves that sinners are never reclaimed from their stubborn folly 
but by sharp afflictions. They will not believe the evil of sin, 
till by a real and sensible conviction they take a measure of the 
evil they have done, by the evil they sufler. Affliction tames 
the stubborn heart, and makes it humble and rrienting. Even 
Pharaoh that was a bold atheist in his prosperity, and stood up- 
on hig^ terms with Moses, saying, <' who is the Lord, that i 
diould d)ey him?*' Yet was an bumble suppliant in his distress: 
<« and Phnnoh sent, and caUtd far Moses and Aaron, and said 
unto them, I have sinned: the Lord is righteous, and I and- my 
people are wi^ed. Entreat the Lord that there be no more 
mighty thundeiings, and hail.'' Exod. 9. 27, 28. This is set 
forth m a trae and lively comparisoo by the pro|rihet Jersmy : 
^ as a wild aas used to the wilderaess, that smiA up the wind 
at her pleasure : ^' in her occasion. Who can torn her away?" 
ler. 2. 24. When fired with lost, she ranges about swiftly, 
without a rider to guide, and curb to restrain her. '^ All they 
that seek her, will not weary themselves ; but in her month they 
shall find her :" it is in vain to pursue her then, but when she is 
bagged and heavy, they will tame her. Thoa when sinner* are 
prosperous, the call of God, and conseienoe, and of teaotam, 
do not stop them in their voluptuous course^ but aflUctkn 
fines and reduces them to obedience. 

6f PVU^V^KflY. S4T 

f. Prosperity renders men averse to suffering for the sake qf 
Christ, when they are called to give testimony to his truth, and 
aupport his cause, Self-denial, with respect to the present life^ 
and all the ornaments, comforts, and endearments of it, is abso- 
lutely necessary by the law of Christianity, when the preserving 
of it IB contrary to the glory ^ Chri^, and ineonsistent with our 
duty to hhn. ^^ Then said Jesus to his disciples, if any roan 
will dome after me, let him deny himself,' and take up his crossr 
and follow me/' Mat. 6.' 24. The cross implies all kinds and 
degrees of suffering, from the least afflicting evil, to death with 
ignominy and torment. And how just is it, if we expect to be 
glorified by his sufferings, that we should willingly suffer for his 
glory. At the first preaching of the gospel, many were ^^ offend-* 
ed at the cross of Christ: 1 Cor. 1. ^3. they esteemed it folly^ 
to expect eternal Hfe from one that was put to death, and that 
he should bring them to the highest gk>ry, who suffered in the 
lowest weakness. Our Saviour was concealed from their carnal 
eyes, by the overshadowing train of his afflictions. And the 
'^ cross of Christ," Gal. 5. 11 . that is to be voluntarily and 
obediently taken up by his disciples*^ is a greater ofifence to the 
world, than that to whieh he i^as nailed. It is a harder lesson^ 
that we must obtain^ glpi^y by our own sufferings, than that it 
was purchased by our Saviour's. The mind more willingly as-^ 
sents to the reasoAs of his sufferings, tiian of ours r in the first, 
it .only oioounters with fEtlse prejudices, and vain shadows that 
darken that mighty mystery ; but in the second, it must over- 
come the natural, love of this life, add the pleasures of it, which 
are so predominant in men« The alKanee to the body, aiid the 
allurements of the World,- are* the cduses of forsaking religion, 
when the owning of it will cost lis dear. And those who enjoy 
prosperity, are most easily terrified from their duty to Christ } 
thfi aocouBt of which is open to reason, both from some general 
coimderations, and from special, that respect sufferings for reli- 
l^n^ The general considerations are two. 

.(1.) The livihg in (rieasures and soft delicacy, eniervates the 
nw M wn i li n e vigour of the spirit, and damps resohition, that it pre- 
sently faints when assaulted with difficulties. The spirit of a 
man^ enccmraged by just, and wise, asid generous reasons, will 
stand finnly under heavy troubles: but idBa breaks the native 
strength of mind', and like a secret sudden palsy, that slacken? 


242 TMK I>ANGXft 

the nennes/and loosens the joiats, csuaes a trembfing and inca-' 
paeity of bearing e^ls* The least glimpse of danger^ makes the 
fearful to retire: like some, that apprehensive of the rising 
winds, will not ventare any fiirther in a boat, than that one oar 
may be on the shore, whilst the other strikes in the wat^. The 
timorous, when afflktions attend the futhfiil profession of the 
gospel, usually are treacheraus to' God, to their soulsj and to the 
truth. To Ood (whose servants they are by the dearest titles) 
by contradicting their duty, which is to suffer cheerfully for his 
gospel and his glory, when called forth : and by revolting from 
his service, they occasion such dishonourable unworthy conoep* 
tions ai him, as if he were regardless of his suffering servants, 
and would not gl<»riously reward those who are . faithful to the 
death, the seal of their loyalty and perseverance : they are trea- 
cherous to their souls, by preferring the interest of the perishing 
flesh, before the happiness of the immortal part : they betray 
the truth, by exposing it to a suspicion of fatsehood ; for as the 
eonArming religion by suflerings, doth most effectually recom* 
mend it to the belief and aflbctions of others; so the deni<d ctit, 
or the withdrawing our testimony in times of danger, will incline 
others to judge that it is-not the truth, or at least of no great 
moment, that. the professors of it do not think worth their «uf« 
fering. How many faint-hearted persons have thus betrayed the 
Son of God again, and their consciences, and their religion ? 
Their faith that sparkled in pro^ierous times, when troubles 
come, is a quench^ coal, raked up in the cold pate ashes of dis* 
trustful fears, without any divine light or heatr 

(2.) Prosperity makes men unthoughtfiil and careless of evils 
that may happen. '^ I said in my proqf>erity, I shall never be 
moved." Carnal joy, (the afiectiott of prosperity) and folly are 
nearly allied, and flatter men as if their ease and calm would 
never be disturbed : and by supine n^igence, they are unpro- 
vided for the encountering with evils. According to our circum- 
spection in prosperity, such is our courage in adversity *, and by 
how much the less affliction is expected, so much the more are 
we perplexed when it seizes upon us. The last d^, that shall 
strangely surprise the world in its deep security, is compared to 
lightening for its suddeimess and terror. Our Saviour therefore 
plainly has foretold, that the cross is the appendix of the gospel^ 
that it is the property of error to persecute^ and the lot of truth 

ov p&osPB&rry. 243 

to be p^rieaited : he comisels his disciples to imitate a wise 
builder, that competes the expence before he begins the ikbric, 
lest having laid the foundation, and not being aUe to finish it, 
he be exposed to the just censiire of foHy« So christians are to 
forecast the injuries and troubles they are likely to suffer for re- 
ligion, lest when the temp^t threatens, they shamefully desert 
it. And how heavy will their doom be? « The fearfol/' that 
are not storm-proof, *' and the liars," that openly renounce ^hat 
they believe, and profess what they do not believe, '' shall be with 
bifidels, idolaters, and murderers, cast into the lake that buma 
with fire and brimstone.** Rev.' 21. 8. 

The special reasoM why prosperity makes men so disponed td 
quit the truth in times of danger, are, because it weakens the 
principles firom whence christian magnanimity springs; and those 
fite unfAgned faithj and diomelove. As in natural things the 
formative virtue determinates the matter to such a being, and 
disposes to such operations in proportion to the principles from 
which it resultsi: so in moral things, the soul is disposed and re- 
gulated in its actings ^correspondently to its principles, and is 
either carnal or spiritual. The universal principle of carnal per- 
sons is to be happy here : their eyes are ever engaged upon, and 
their desires ever thirsting after* sensual satisfaction : *^ who wiU 
show us any good ?'' and by consequence their main care is, to 
obtain and secure temporal things, the materials of their happi- 
ness. The supernatural principle of a saint is to please God, 
and enjoy his favour. Aa men believe they love, and as they love 
they live. 

Ist. Unfeigned fcdth of the rewards of the gospel, is necessary 
to keep a christian steady in his course, through all the storms 
and tides of this mutable worlds '^ It is a imthfal saying, if we 
die with him, we shall also live with him. If we suffer vrith him, 
we shall reign with him.'* 2 Tim 2. 11, 12. The apostle usually 
prefaces with that strong assurance, '^ it is a faithfol saying,'* 
when the truth is of eminent importance, and contrary to the 
sentiments of carnal nature, ^' if we die with him, we shall also 
live with him." Our Saviour dedicated martyrdom in his own 
person : his death was a ransom for us to God, and a sealing tes- 
timony of the gospel to men : " he witnessed before Pontius Pi- 
late a good confession/* I Tim. 6. 13. The terror of the Roman 
tribunal, nor the rage of the Jews, could not make him retract 

a 2 


the divine Ovth which he had* so aften decUrM> that he wtt the 
Son of God, come from heaven to tave the world : and when the 
cro99 with its infamy and horror was in his view, he avowed his 
heavenly kingdom^ And all those '' who suflfer with him," for 
his truth, and in conformity to his pattern, with his meekness 
and patience, his eharity and constancy, shall reign with him; 
And what is more powerful far the consolation and establishment 
of christians,, than that their sufferings for Christ shall end in 
g\ofy. ** This is the ^ctory that overcometh the worid, even 
our faith/' 1 John 5. This did miracles in the first ages of the 
church, conquering all that was terrible to flesh and blood. The 
heathens despised the hopes of christians as wretched illusions, 
and with impious scorn upbraided them for their constancy under 
persecutions^ * where is the God ^ that can raise the dead, and 
not rescue the living?' Unbelief is blind, and^ cannot see beyond 
this world tothe eternal state. But faith in the blessed Re- 
deemer, opens a^ prospect into the worid to come, so full of glory, 
that no person that has aa understanding and will to discourse 
and choose, if he steadfastly believes it, but must despise all the 
evils that the wit and strength of persecotors can inflict in com- 
parison of it« '< I reckon," saith the iqiostle, '^ that the suffer- 
ings of the present life," in all their kinds and degrees, *^ are not 
to be oonpared with the glory that shall be revealed." Rom. 8. 
18. Enlightened christians esteemed their sufferings for the 
cause ol God, no argumeats of his weakness, but his wisdom, to 
exercise and try their loyalty and cordial obedience before he re- 
warded them ; and had reason to admire his providence, not to 
suspect his power and love. They knew that the power of ty- 
rants could only reach the body^ the vile, frail, and mortal part 
of man ; but the preeious soul wm entirely exempted from their 
rage ; and fsuth assured them of a glorious resurrection after 
death. The body of a martyr shall be revived as a phoenix out 
of its ashes ; when the body of a persecutor shall be <]ui.ckened, 
as a serpent out of a dunghil, the one to be glorified, the other 
tormented for ever. The belief of this made them extremely 
valiant in the face of all their threatening cruel enemies. But 
'•' the evil heart of unbelief, causes a departure from the living 
God." Heb. 3. 12. He that suspects God's fidelity in his pre* 

» Mia»FnU 


taises, win tuspend his own : nature will shriirtt at the 4ir8t sight 
bf imminent dangers. An infidel, that *lives as if he w^ere all body, 
and no immortal soul, judges the loss of the present Hfe, and the 
comforts of it, as his utter undoing and total perishing. He has 
bn appearance of reason to secure his present posse<)sions,' what- 
ever becomes of religion ; for he expects no future good, that wlH 
infinitely more than counteivail his present loss : and that pros- 
perity inclines men to atheism and infidelity, has been proved 

2d!y. The iove qf God mspiresbeKevers wWi a heavenly forti- 
tnde,' to endure the worst ^Is that may b€fal them for his sake. 
^ Perfect love casts out fear;" T John 4. 18. keeps its supremacy 
inviolate in the midst of the greatest dangers. Love is an active 
invincible affection, " as strong as death/' that none <;an van- 
quish. The love of Crod is a never-dying flame in the hearts df 
the saints, because it depends upon the unchangeable love of God 
to them. " We love him, because he first loved us." 1 John 4. 
I'O. Lave esteems God as the greatest reward. A saint does 
not so much love God for heaven, though a plaee of inconcei- 
vable glory, as heaven for God, because fie there reveals his per- 
fections to his people. This holy love, makes the christians 
foithful and obsequious to Christ, and to prefer his honour in- 
comparably before the present world. The martyrs of the di- 
finest courage, were animated by this holy affection : they ^ loved 
not their lives unto the death," but cheerfully offered them as a 
sacrifice to his praise. Love kindled in them a sacred vehe- 
men^^, in despising all the glittering temptations of the worM, 
Love inspired them with a victorious patience, to blunt* the edge 
of cruelty. They never repented the choice of his religion, but 
rejoiced when his glory was set forth by their ignominy, and 
when their love to Christ appeared in its radiancy and vigour 
through their sufferings. Love is the fmnciple of constancy, by 
which religion reigns on earth, and is crowned in heaven. 

On the contrary, when ridies^ honours, and pleasures, are the 
idols of men's lieads and hearts, the chief objects of their esteem 
and affections, they will sacrifice their souls rather than lose the 
world, their dear felicity. Therefore St. John earnestly deboits 
christians, ** love not the world, neither the things that are in - 
^he world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is 
pot in him :" they are utterly inooouslent } partly because the 


346 THB |»ANCai» 

heart cannot ba entirely set upon contrary objects^ and partif 
because love to the one requires what is directly contrary to lore 
to the other. From hence Su James vehemently upbraids cama| 
professcffs^ *^ ye adulterers, and adnltresses, know ye not that the 
friendship of the world is enmity with God ? whosoever therefore 
will be a friend of the world, is tha enemy of God.'^ The world 
is the powerful star, whose aspect he regards, and though with 
the di^onour and displeasure of God, he will by irreligious com- 
pliance secure his temporal interests. The pure refined truth of 
the gospel, that has passed the fiery tnal, bewill corrupt and 
embase by carnal temperaments: the precious truth so dearly 
bought by the blood of the martyrs, he will vilely sell for tha 
things of this wop*ld. Nay of a professor, he will by degrees turn 
persecutor of those who steadfiustly own the truth. The love of 
the world so strangely inchants and infects the mind, that a false 
veligion which a man did abhor from, yet when recommended 
by secular advantages, will appear tolerable, then eligible, then 
uecessary ; and consequently tlie divine .tiytb must be suppressed 
that contradicts it. 

There are such frequent examples of this in every age, that to 
iiwist upon many ps^rticular instaaces, were to tell gieat. numbers 
of the d^ to pppire that men are mqrta|. . The young man that 
so earnestly addressf d himsejf to Christ for his direction bow to 
obtain etenial 4ife, ^ylleii oommanded to >^ give all his estate to 
the poqr, and to foUow Christ:" he would not gain at so dear, a 
rate '^ celestial treasures,, but wefit awiay . sorrowful''. Where- 
upon our Saviour dedares with splemuity to liis disciples, ^' ye* 
rily I say unto you, that a rich maa shall hardly enter into the 
kingdom of heaven." We read of two tribes of the Israelites, 
that chose their iobeiitapce on this sid(9 Jordan, ai^d wpaid. not 
have a share in the land of iCanaan^: thus the earthy, minded 
piefer.the present world, the object of their choice a<id.k>ve, be- 
fore the heavenly Canaan. The ecclesiastical historian *• relates, 
that in the time of persecution by Decius, the rich men jamong 
the christians, were most easily and nodsf^rabiy foiled : the. love 
.of the world was a daogeroifs earnest ip tbe^r, hearts, of their re- 
volting back to Pagan idolatryj and the bondage of. satan. And 
in the time of the Arian persecution, how many who by their 

• £ueb. lib. «. 

titka md'Oficm w«e ifiecially oUiged to ^^ be volmt for th^ 

truth, and to contend ofurnestly for the fiuth ;" yet did •coobiido>« 

date their (irofeBQiqii lo their. asfuring amhition and tweedy ava« 

rice ? The slandard of their reUgipn wae the f^tch aH the ^tsJ^e : 

Ihey had a politic.faith, and appeared either orthodox <tf Arian, 

ae the paUic fttvoar shined upm truth or heresy^ they sobbed <mr 

Savkntf of the honour of hie disity (O astonishment I) rather than 

part with, their beioTed dig^Mtie^ and ricbe& So powerful ace 

human re$peeti in those who Mind earthly things. Xiroat foree 

k requisite to pinek vft a tree that has its roote spread and deeply 

fiaetened in the earth; and it cannot be so entirely eeparfOed, but 

that part of tbe roots will be broken : thus when the affections 

afe deeply set in the worlds and by pleasures and riches fastened 

to ity bow hardly is it rent from it I every fibre of the hearil is 

broken with sovnow* As Lot's wife^ when by an angel ibreed 

out. of Sodoni, yet cast a Ei^ermg affectionate look after it, and 

was tttrned into a. pillar of salt. The separation i» as^ bitter as 

tbe poneaskm is sweet : and none are more unwillingiy divor ced 

from the world, than those who enjoy the confiaence of earthly 

hi^ineas. Now when secular interest outweighs du^, when 

^pfwreai; danger indoces to deny the truth of Christ 9 bow torrid 

Ue and uaaYoidafale will be the punishment of that disloyalty ? 

Our SasiouKs threatraing is universal^ ^ whosoever shaH deny 

BBS hefans »ie% him will I deny before my Father which is in 

heafen." M^^ 10. 33. A most ri^teoos and dreadfiil letribu- 

tion ; they denied him as theiv lioid, and he denies them as hie 

eervanta. ^ They usurped the tkle of christians, the relation of 

bis disciples, and in the last day he iHU publicly disown them. 

When that sad sentence shall eome from their Judge, <^ depart 

ye cursed, 1 know, ye not ;'' what coidusion, what anguish will 

seiflie upon tibem ! They shall be banished from his gtoricniB king** 

deUQ, excommunicated from his blessed society, and tormented 

wMi the rebellious angels for even It is true, tins universal an 

pwemptory threatening, milist be understood wilb an ^Eoeption 

of those who after their fidiing away are restored by repentance. 

Sometimes a christian that has dehbert^ly and entirely devoted 

himself to Chivst, that has sincerely resolved rather to part witK 

his life, than that for which life is worthy the enjoying; yet by 

strong temptations has been &iat-heaited and denied the truth : 

like one that disamnds in the height of afever, the will be made 



in his eoiftposed nind : but afterwardB cruch hsve resumed new 
courage, and have^ by enduring the sharpest tufferiii^, eonfiraied 
the truth, and ascanded to heaved in a fiery chariot. 

Lastly. The jmrnperky qf $umar9 i$ the great temptation to 
delay repentance itU their state is desperaite. Nothing filh heU 
with so many lost eaahy as the fwtting off r epen tance till here- 
after. How many diseases would he eared in time, if they 
threatened present death ? But their malignity being of n slow 
operation, they are despbed a» aat worth the Crottble of a cure, 
till they are desperate. It is iu aphkual diseases, as it is in thooe 
of the body : for sin that is a aiefaiess unto death, might be pre* 
^rented by speedy repentance ; but many, not apprehending pre* 
sent danger, neglect the preckws remedy tiil they are desperatdy 
ruined. '^ To day if you will hear his voice, harden not your 
heai«s." Heb. 3. 7. the command respecta the season as weH 
as thisf duty. As our obtdience must be entire without reserves, 
so it must bo pMsent without delay, even in our early age, and 
e<Hitflraed in the mhole tenour of our life. The worm of con- 
science sometimes nips security, and there is a strange unkm of 
^ contrarieties in the breast of a sinner, that makes himinexcusa^ 
hie ami incurabie. He oomplaias of the bondage to his iuats^ 
yet takes pleasure in it : he is convinced it will he deatmctiTey 
yetvokmtariijr contimies in that sweet capimfy. ' If ooucienee 
be trooUaome, he pecifiea.it with an intention to reSatm here- 
after^ andthinkB that a, future repentance vriU be sufficient to 
furepere &>r a fiiture judgment. And none are so easily and- wit 
lingly deceived tp their cvcrlastiflig ruin by this pretence, as those 
who enjoy the present worid. Prospecity makea them forgetfid 
of the grave, and human vidwkudes, and hardens them in deq) 
security. It wasihe divine prayer of Moses, ^' so teach us to 
number our days, as tp apply our hearts unto wisdom ;'' imply- 
ing, that th« great cause of men's destiuctive CoUy, is firom not 
reflecting upon tiie shortness aod unoertmnty of their lime here. 
J)eatb is certain to the oM^ and life uncer^n to the young. 
7ber« ve maoy back doovs to the grave, and men are fed sur* 
prkio^y thither. The |;ime of then- residence here is fixed by 
the Amf^ determiiietion, and isoneealed from their eyes. How 
mauy in their yop^i ai^d prosperity have presumed upon a long 
life, yet ^n|K;|^pectGdly ifave ^^ retq^ped to their eitftb ;" as a wail 
covej^d wi(tb ivj^ tb^ ioils ou » |su4<lw with itsgreeu gmamei)tS| 

o» Mosmtrrr. 249 

hf its ifreight and iveakiiess. The hoiir of death, h the hour of 
men's destiny for ever. There is no space of repentance in the 
inteival between death and judgment; but the sont immediately 
after its departure, receives a decisive irrevocable doom, that is 
91 part eioeouted, and shall be publicly and entirely executed at the 
last day. Yet men boldly venture to continue in dieir pleasant 
sins, upou the forlorn hope of a season to repent hereafter. As-- 
tonishing enormous folly! as if they were assured of time, and 
the divine grace. And thus it is fully proved how fatal and des- 
tructive praqMritj is to the widced. 

. IL The second thing to be considered, is the felly of prosper 
rous sinnefa. Folly is the cause of their abusing prosperity, and 
the effect ot their prosperity abused. The most proper notion of 
(oily is, that the understanding mistakes in judging and com* 
paring things } from wbenee the will slides into error, and makes 
an unworthy choice : and according to the weight and conse- 
quence of tUngs, the more remarkable is the degree of folly in 
not diseermng their differences. Now vrtien men value and are 
del^hted in temporal prosperity as their happiness, and heaven 
with its glory and joys is neglected and vilified in the comparison^ 
it is folly above all wonder; faHy of so rare and singular a na* 
tare, diat if the jiRlaeiitivie Ssculty were not eoivapted, it vmmt 
they should: be guilty ot it. IWs will appear 4>]r 
the esasli al and inseparaUe propertieB of mto^ 
fslicitgr; it is perfaotive and satisifying of man in bis sapremer 

• !• The perfsccioo of aMui doss principally consist in the ex- 
cellencies of his qiiritaal and immortd part : * as in the various 
kinds of ereatures^ there is something that is their proper exoeU 
leocy, for which they were made, and accordiiigfy are valued i 
OB stsaigth or beanty, swiftnan or 4»nrage< so^ the first and 
ebief aod proper excellency of man, ss the rationd mim], that 
^stiognisbes him Irom the hrutes^ Mid gives bhn a natural and 
, ic^lar doovnion over then, it is Ae highest and divinest Ul^ 
caityof tbesQoi; ood from hence the deduelmiis dear, that 

* In caoe lai^acitas prima est, gi ioveBtigare debet feras, cur^us fii conse* 
^1| aadacia t^ mortfere ft ioTadere. Iil in quoq ; optimom e>i, co- nasci- 
t^r, quo e^qtetvr. i« homlne opitmvm qaid Sft } ratio. Hoc aniinana an* 
lMedit,deo«seqiuiBr. i&imc. £f ail. 76. 


mc felieity ct|iMM» iti tiie perfections of Ai fldnd. If the excel-' 
Iflneies of all other ereaturts were umted in man^ they ooiild de* 
live no true worth to hkn^ heeanee they cannot adorn and perfect 
what k his proper exeeUenee. Now, according to the ipality of die 
ebject8, about which the mind is cenversant, it is- either tainted 
and depreetatcdy or purified and exalted. To apply it to sensual 
worldly things, how to ^^ increase riches, and madce provision for 
te^esh, to fidfil its Usts," is mons truly viUl^ing, than if a 
ponee shoiUd eoipiby his counsellors of state, and the judges of 
his courts, in the offices of his kitchen, or to dig in the coal-pits. 
The mind is corrupted and debased by applieation to inferior pe* 
^faing things, as gold and silver are aUayed, and lose of thdr 
purity and value, by a mxtura wi^ copper and tin. God alone 
is the sovereign objeot of the mind, with respect to its dignity 
sod capacity, its supericv and nohlest operations : and by con* 
taoiplatitig bis ^orious attributes andexocUencics, who is best in 
^i«Mi^ aiid< best to us ; the mmd is enlightened and enlarged, 
lenewed and ruaed, made holy and heavenly, full of beauty, or- 
der, and Iraoquilfity, and tranaforoied into ttie likeness of the di" 
^rim perfestioBS. 

2*. Ail the pmperity in the world caanot bring true satisfec- 
tMLjtoliiift thatraajcfys, iti fer itia disprnportionate ao the spiri« 
taU asid laamoital hiiture of the soul. Tins ism eleur by reason, 
that it maf aaem as needless and impettiia»l»:^ insist on it, as 
IQ use asgvakeiits;ta prove that goU and diatoandst are not proper 
food for the body : but the self-deceivmg folly of the carnal heart, 
sorenamcand tif the vam^ of ilis worUy {that like the pleasure 
ef it fiiaita,. is eounteifcit and deadly) anaioes. it^ necessary to in- 
eoioafte known tsitfia, tfatet men may timaiy. prevent the sad con^ 
^p^aeneesof ttieh.&Uy, and not beiaocessavias to their torment- 
ing cenvicticm by leiqaerieBce. Itia true, carnal and material 
things, pkasrfntljr affeet the oaftwantman ; yet such a vanity is 
ih them, that thejf! are naithea a pure^nor a prevalent good, with 
Mspeet to the natural and civil state of man here. Riches, and 
honoun^ and sensual pleasures^ are not withMt a mixture of bit-^ 
temess, that corrupt the content that men expect in them ; they 
are not efficacious to remove or allay the evil to which all are 
exposed in this open state. A sharp disease makes all the jojfs 
of the wqrid insipid and despicable. But suppose them in their 
elevation, they cannot supply the wants and exigencies, nor satisfy 

OF raosKBrnr. $$% 

ihe desires of the soi^ They caniiot reitore m^ ti>^ the favoor 
of God) and ble«sed commutiion with him ; nor retiew the image 
of hift h^liiiiess in theip. They are but a vain name,, a naked 
shfi^w of felicity^ and entirely depend upon the sitnpiicUy and 
faaciee cf men. for thek valuation. The apostle ther^fcire telle 
iis^ that, they ^^ that will be rich, fall into tempta^n, and a 
aoare, and into many foolish lust^/' Those who resolve and la^ 
bour to get riches^ thinking to find felidty in thein> .ai« misled 
\>y as .gross folly, as those whopresume by 'their costly propara*^ 
tions to turn brass or lead into gold. For if it be ioUy to desire 
and attempt what is in^ossible, it is equaHy so iik those who 
seek for joyfiil satisfaction in wealth, and in any other eecidar 
things, as in the Alchymists, that waste their real estates £9^ 
imaginary tieaaures. 

Besides ; the happiest wnditipn here, as it is like the moon^ 
^hat at the brightest is spotted and imperfect ; ao eclipees are no& 
Je«8 strange to it t^an to th^t planet. The worU . is at the best 
pf a traasienit use^ and the pleasant error of the carnal mind, will 
be of short .cof tinuapce* Within a little while, Ihat which wae 
declared with i^ich solemnity by the angel. in the Revelation; 
'/ He Ufted up ibis hand to heaven, and ^wore byt him that lives 
lor ^ver^ (h»t tgne^stuili he no more ;" will be .tme:of every wat'^ 
tal.peison* . Th^jrich niap that was sorveying. his ostAe with 
palpal compkmea^ a|id e3it«i£9g bis hqpe» of volaptiimts/liffiqg 
to. many yeaias, was. snrpitsed. with. the. fiital.senltece; '^Tiioo 
fopl, this night fthidtthysotf .be reqpifnBd of thto: then whose 
ehal) those th^ be..wh|^ thou bmt presided?: Lubi 12.. aOs 
Now, pan ^hat be. our h^ppi^ness Aat is df siuch ati uocertain^tefi 
mure, tbat;^very howrna«9f be snatehedftemns, or weifiromit? 
If one should . with jg«eat>eHpil8ces. buSd a mansion*»haMae„ and 
phmtgardi^ m.a pbee subject tp jvecpient earthipial^esy that 
would .overturn, all auto cotifitww; wsauld. nothis folly be cmupi* 
CQous? Yet how many pniotine ihemselves^whatilicy would de^ 
ipde ii^uoth^s? They set their heart upon the things of the 
wo^ld, that are liable to a thousand changes, «nd must shortly be 
parted with for fi^ti The stoes of honour, than axesDiaweUed 
with airy titles pi greaitoess, and the flattering respects of others^ 
must shortly be divested of all ; and when laid in their tombs, 
the trophies of vanity, will be.iiaensihie of the renown and ap- 


plauses of the world. * Alexander the Great k long aince dead 
to the pleasure of his immortal name. And deadi will make a 
final separation between the rich and their treasures, and put an 
end to all the delights of men. Now what felly is it to prefer a 
felicity, that is deceitful in the enjoyment, and leaves the sod 
empty when it most fiHs it, that is so vain and transitory, before 
an eternal heaven ; a blessedness that surpasses oar hopes, that 
secures our fears, that satisfies our immense desires ; a blessed- 
ness that the human understanding in all the capacity of its 
thoughts is not able to comprehend ; a blessedness becoming the 
majesty and inagnificence of God that bestows it. What mad- 
ness, to despise heaven, as if the eternity of the next world were 
but a moment, apd to love this world, as if this momentary life 
were an eternity. The full aggravation of this, dies the love of 
the world with the deepest tincture of folly : as will appear by 
considering, ^ 

(1.) It is a vohintary chosen fcrfly. Thus the divine wisdom 
with passion reproaches wretched sinners, ^ How long ye simple 
anes, will ye love simpBcity?" Prov. 1. 22. This heightens 
their character to love so obstinately, what is so unlovely and un- 
becoming the reasonable nature. The light of reason and reve- 
lation discovers the vanity of the worid : it is not for want of evi- 
denee, but fat want of using the light, Chat men do not discern 
tlieir wretched mistrice* God complains in the prophet, << My 
people doth not consider.'' Isa. 1 . The means of restoring men 
to a sound tnind, is by due consideration. The soul retires from 
the world, and makes « solemn inquiry; for what end am I cie- 
ated? For what do I* consume my time? If my endeavouis 
are all for the earth, what remains ibr heaven ? ^ What do I pre- 
paie, wkat shall attend me, what ahali I meet in the next state ? 
How long will it be before I must leave tins visible worid, and 
after the irrevocable step into the next, immediately appear before 
the enlightened tribunal of God, whose judgment is so strict, 
that the << Righteous are scarcely saved,'* and so heavy, tksit the 
stvongest sinners cannot endure? Can the world prevent my 
doom to bell, or release me from it? Will the remembrance of 
the enjoyments bere^ afford any refreshment in everlasting bum-** 

• Msrto all piscerdcll* imtoortBl sao 

0» PBOSPBlLlTT. 2&3 

ingkf By audi sad and frequent soliloquies, the victous sensual 
aflfection^ are eradicated, and the heart is transplanted from earth 
to heityen. If men would wisely ponder things, if conscience, 
the sincere and unsuspected judge did hold the balance, and put 
into one scale the glory, the riches, and pleasures of this world ; 
and into the other, the promises that belong to" godliness bere^ 
and hereafter, how despicably light will they be found ? It was 
truly said^ that false scarlet appears with lustre, till compared 
with, the rich and true; so the fictitious felicity of this world is 
very specious, and ravishes the mind of men, till compared with 
celestial felicity. Worldly honour is counterfeit, because it is no 
certain aigument of inherent worth : vain-glory and real infamy^ 
often meet in the same person : yet it is admired, and ambitious- 
ly sought, till compared with the <^ Honour of the saints/' 
What is a reputation and honour with the worms and moles of 
the earth, eompared with the himour that comes from the esteem 
of Goc^ and angeb^ and other blessed spirits above, who incoidpa- 
rably escceed all mortals in number, and infinitely in understands 
ing ? What is a vanishing shadow of reputation, against an 
eternal inestimable weight of glory ? What are the riches of this 
world, goldy and silver, and jewels, for guning of which so many 
lose their souls, but vile trash compared with the sacred treasures 
of heaven, the graces .of the saints ? What are the empty de« 
lights of the senses, compared with the '^ Peace of consdenoe, 
and joy in the Holy Ghost," that can sweeten all our swrows 
here, and the fulness of joy that springs from God's presence in * 
heaven ? If men would make judicious comparisons, their affec- 
tions would cool towards perishing vanities. But they will only 
look upon what is pleasant and attractive in the world, without 
regarding its miserable defects, without considering what is infi* 
oitely better and most worthy of their ardent desires and vigor<^ 
ous endeavours. They are so pleased with their error, so enga^ 
ged in the sweet captivity of the wodd^ that they cannot extri* 
cate themselves if they would^ because they will not if they 

(2.) It is a culpable and guilty folly. When children prefer 
things of lustre before things of value^ their childish toys^ befiire 
real treasures ; when they choose a little present enjoyment, be» 
fore a future good that is mcomparably better, their fdfy is in* 
nocent^ because reason cannot display its operations. In theiai 


but when men, who are -capable to distinguhti between tie diingif 
that '' are seen and temporal, and the things that are not seen 
and eternal ;" when they sottishly prefer tensible thiilgs before 
•piritual, notwithstanding the vast diflerence between them, both 
in the quality and duration, their choice is so criminal, as de- 
serves an everlasting hell. If Esau had been a child when he 
sold his birthright for a mess of pottage, his folly had been excu- 
sed ; for he was compelled by hunger ; and the glorioos dignity 
of the birthright was disproportionate to his appetite and under- 
standing : but in his mature age, when capable to understand his 
•aterest, to part with so sacred and precious an advantage, for a 
little sensual satisfaction, was so '^ profone an act,'' that he was 
justly deprived of the divine blessing that was annexed to the 
birthright. That beasts arc wholly led by their sensual appe- 
tites, is natural and regular, their voraeity and cruelty, folly and 
filthiness, envy and fiiry, are not vicious passions^ because sense 
is the superior faculty in them. But when men are so brutish, 
that the objects that please their eyes, and carnal senses, are the 
only attractives of their affections, it is unnatural and monstrous; 
because reason should have the supremacy in them. If a woman 
remain in a single state, she has power over her actions, and may 
fredy govern herself; but if married, is subordinate to her hus- 
band : and disobedience to his authority and prudent counsels, is 
culpable. The body considered as the seat of the senses, has 
natural appetites, and might enjoy what is suitable to them ac- 
cording to their capacity ; but united with an immortal spirit, that 
is stamped with the living image of God, its desires must be li- 
mited and directed by the mind, and the pleasing of sense in ac- 
tions forbidden by the mind, is rebellion i^nst the ruling facul- 
ty. If one be under a disease that wine inflames and increases^ 
and the physician forbids it as deadly, yet the patient will judge 
mly by his palate whether wine be good for him ; were it not a 
kind of brutishness worthy of the evil that attends it ? Such 
ferverse folly are men guilty of in their sensual satisfoctions, 
whereby the soul is unspeakably wronged, and God highly dis* 
honoured, who has given to man a more excellent spirit, than to 
the fovrts of the air, that he may judge of things, not as they ap- 
pear, but as they are. 

(3.) It is the most ignominious folly. Shame arises from the 
•wise of a debased excellence : the understanding is the most ex- 

OP pfiosmuinr. 255 

eeUent faddty ia mm*, and nothing brings a greater dbreputa* 
tion to him, than when he b deceived by the ignorance or in- 
considerateQesa of his mind* And the delusion is most shameful 
in matters of great moment. Now for a man to exchange his 
soal, that is of angelical eminence, for transitory vanities; O foi- 
iy! how enormous, how astonishing 1 ThoLord Jesus, who as 
the Creator and Redeemer of souls, perfectly knew their worth, 
puts the question, so as to imply the strongest denial, ^^ What is 
a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his 
own soul ? or, what shall a man give in exchange for hb soul ?" 
The vanity of the purchase, and the value of the loss, b such, 
that no man, conscious of hb immortality in the next state, but 
must acknowledge that he b an infinite loser, and prodigious 
fool, that gains the world by the loss of his soul. It ii said of 
the ancient * Germans, that in their commerce with the Ro» 
mans, receiving silver for their amber> that has no virtue but to 
draw straws to it^ they were amazed at the price. And certainly 
the great tempter cannot but wonder at the foolish cxehaoga 
that men make, in giving their immortal soub to him for pe» 
rishing vanities ; and having tUs soomfiil advantage, will mudi 
more upbraid them hereafter, than ever he allured them here. 

The shame that attends tbb folly, is sometimes felt by simieis 
in thb world ; when they are shaken out of their stupifying shun* 
ber, and fully awaked to discover their evil choioe. Thus the 
apostle speaks, <' What fruit had you of those things whereof 
you are now ashamed, for the end of those things b death P'' 
When the memory of sin b revived, with a true judgment of it^ 
that which '< has emptiness in the bq;mning, and death in ths 
issue, must hove shame in the middle.'' Jer. !?• 11. The pro* 
phet telb us, <' He that getteth riches^ and not by right, shall 
leave them in the midst of his days, and at hb end shall be a 
fool." He was a fool all along in hb deceiving of others, thongk 
reputed worldly wbe $ but in the issue, when that which he gain* 
ed cannot be kept ; and the soul being lost, can never be reco« 
vered; by the conviction of hb conscience, he is a fool, and r^ 
fleets upon his past folly with confusion. But at the last day^ 
the shame of foolish sinners shall be displayed before the eyes 
of the whole world. It is foretold^ that '< some shall rise to 

• PNUaMBlraateiMcipiant* Tteit. 

256 THB l>AN<»ft 

shame Hhd everlasting contempt." Dan. 12* 2. Obsearity k 
the mask of shame, but to be exposed a spectacle of scorn before 
a thT0i^;ed theatre; ia the aggravation and eminence of the 
shame. How confounding will the shame of sinners be in the 
universal confluence of angels and saints, and the presence of the 
glorious God, the judge of all ? The sense of their guilt and fol- 
ly will sting them for ever. 

(4.) It is the most wofiil folly. Here such miacluevous e0ects 
proceed from it as deserve the saddest lamentations. The un- 
derstanding, the highest faculty, the beauty and excellency of 
mip is blinded, the will is fettered by corrupt passions, and the 
whole man miserably enslaved to satan. What a spectacle of 
compassion was Samson in the slavery of the Philistines ? He 
that had been general and judge of Israel, was deprived of his 
sight, and divine strength : his wariike hands, that had been of 
equal power with an army, and performed such glorious achieve- 
ments, v«ere employed in turning a mill^ the work of a beast : 
and his misery was pointed and made sharper by the insulCation 
of his enemies. The true emblem of the d^enerate state of 
men ; the soul that was created in the image of God, and had a 
peaceful sovereignty over the sensual appetites, a superiority over 
sensible things, is now enslaved and employed in the vile drud* 
gery of sin, and become the derision of the devils. This is little 
thought of, or lamented, but therefore the more wofiiL The loss 
of the kingdom was not so dismal a judgment to Nebudiadnez- 
zar, as the loss of his understanding. When his reason was ta- 
ken away, and the heart of a beast was given him ; it was the 
lowest and saddest degradation. 

3vA hereafter the misery of foolish sinners ^11 be extreme. 
The apostle tells us, that the love of the world causeth '' Men 
to (all into temptation and a snare^ and into many foolish and 
hurtfol lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition." 
1 Tim. 6. 9. The eiqiressions are fuU to exaggerate the horror 
of their ruins, and to signify that it is absolute and irrecoverable. 
The lusts of men are equally foolish and pernicious j they please 
themselves in the enjoyments of the. world, and are secure, as if 
bathing in the fountains of felicity, when ready to.be swallowed 
up in the whirlpool of death. By sensual vanities they are 
estranged from God, careless of their duty, and are finally sepa- 
rated from his blessed presence* And as the enjoying of God^ 


without a possibility of losing biin^ is oar consmnmate happixiess; 
so to lose him, withottt hopes of ever enjoying him^ is extreme 
misery. The foolish sinner is not affected viith this now| whilst 
he lives in pleasure, he is content to be without God in the 
world ; but hereafter, when he shall be deprived of these slight 
short-lived pleasures, and shall know the invaluable loss of his 
hap[}iness^ sorrows will overwhelm him for even As it befel that 
infidel in 2 Kings 8. he saw the plenty, but was not suffered to 
taste of It ; so the damned shall see the glory of heaven shining 
ill the saints, but shall not partake of it. 

This misery will be amplified under the following h^ads. 

III. We are to consider the justice, the certainty and the hea- 
viness of the destruction^ that shall seize on foolish sinners that 
abuse prosperity. 

1« To illustrate the justice of God in their destruction, I shall 
only insist on that reason that is so admirably amplified in this 
chapter for their conviction ; that is, their destruction is the firuit 
of their own choice. Provi 1. The divine wisdom allures and 
invites them, by all the most tender and powerful persuasives, to 
forsake their ruinous course, and ^' the spirit of grace should be 
poured upon them,'' which is the earnest of glory; but they 
would not be convinced and reformed ; they ^* loved simf^icity," 
the vain volatile pleasures of sin^ though attended with perdi* 
tioii : '^ They hated knowledge/' godliness, though reeommend«> 
ed by the assurance of a blessed eternal reward: therefi>re* their 
destruction is resolved into their own choice. Indeed no man can 
directly and Absolutely choose misery, or reject happiness, but 
virtually and by real consequence the most do. A prodigal that 
wastes hb estate, does not intentionally and deliberately choose 
poverty, but thus he thinks, this expence is for my honour, this 
for my pleasure, and proceeding to innumerable expences, he at 
last beoomes poor, aiKi his poverty is voluntary, because it is the 
issue of^ his voluntary exorbitant profuseness. The evil of si% 
though it be destructive, and in that respect not eligible by man, 
yet it is pleasing to^his corrupt nature : and the depraved will is 
so allured by the present pleasure, that it anticipates the reflec- 
tions of the mind, and chooses to gratify the propensions of na^ 
ture, with a brutish disregard of the terrible consequences of sin. 
And the present disconvenience of serious piety to the carnal 
heart, causes an averseness firom it^ notwithstancUng the heavenly 

vol.* If. E 


felicity that is promised to it. Men prefer eamal sweets before 
communion with God ; and though not ignorant of the issue, 
continue in their sins. Deut. 32. 6. And it is the exactness of 
justice, to deprive sinners of that blessedness which they obsti- 
nately refused, and to bring on them the misery they perversely 
choose. And when at the last day the Son of God shall charge 
upon sinners their neglect of his compassionate and repeated 
calls, that he often knocked at the door to get an entrance into 
their hearts, but ail in vain, the world was there, and barred it 
against him. The guilty graceless souls will be struck with a 
defenceless silence, not able to nlake a request for pardon, but 
with despairing tears must submit to their righteous condemna- 
tion. The equity of God*s wr.ys, and the iniquity of men's will, 
at the last be clear to every eye. Then all the blessings they re* 
ceived will rise up in judgment against them, as proofs of their 
wickedness, that makes them more guilty, and deservedly mise- 
rable. Then conscience, that is now stupified by scnsnality, will 
make furious reflections upon the folly of their choice, and be 
more tormenting than the infernal fiends. When Croesus, the 
rich king of Lydia, was bound to the stake, and the fire kindled 
for his burning, he lamentably cried out, ^' Solon, Sdon, Solon ;" 
and being asked the reason of it, declared, that in the height of 
his prosperity, that wise Grecian had advised him to prepare for 
a revolution from his glory and greatness into a miserable state, 
and his neglect of that counsel was more tormenting than tbe 
loss of his kingdom. • How piercing wiH the remembrance be to 
lost souls of their despising the instructions, warnings, and gra- 
cious methods of the divine wisdom, to have prevented their 
ruin ? that fnercy was so often and so rebelliously resisted P This 
will be the hell of hell. 

2. The certainty of their destnictioh is next to be considered. 
It is unchangeably established by the divine oidinaliioii, that the 
pleasures of sin shall end- in the misery of obstinate sinners. 
This is declared in the word of God, ^^ If ye live aceonling to 
the fleshy ye shall die :** Rom. 11. and as it is fimnded in distri- 
butive justice, so it shall be ex6cuted firom faisftnith* Our Savi- 
our tells us, '^ Heaven and earth shall pass away, but one jot or 
tittle of the law shall not be unfiilfilied.'' Mat. 5. ^AIl the threat- 
^ehihgs of it, in their fearful Extent, shtdt be aecomplished npixk 
impenitent sinners, the proper objects of vengeanee. God ** can- 

of nospBRiTT. 259 

not 6eay hitnseif '^ in ceasing to be holy and true^ ahd his powei' 
seconds his word, to inflict the full efifects of it upon the guilty 
and hmpenitent ; for a time they are spared, that they might re- 
pent : for mercy is not only ov«r all the works of God, but para^ 
mount to all his attributes, it suspends his power from acts of 
vengeance, it delays and mitigates his justice ; we may appeal 
from justice to mercy in the court of heaven : but when God^s 
mercy 1ms been affronted and exasperated, by the continual abuse 
of his benefits, when it is renounced and forfeited by sinners, their 
destruction is irreversible : for it is mercy alone atones his righ- 
teous anger; and this being so fearfully provoked, there is no ad- 
vocate in his bo^om to plead for them. Did he not expel from 
heaven the rebellions angels, spirits of a higher order, and more 
excellent endowments than men, and in their njimber perhi^ 
exceeding the whole progeny of man ? Now as the apostle, con- 
sidering that the* Israelites, the chosen people of God, and dear 
to him above all others ; yet when they became unfroitiul, were 
broken off ftom the true "Olive tree,'* and the wild Gentiles 
were grafted into it, leaves this caution in eternal memory, '* Be 
not high-minded, but fear. ' For if he spared not the natural 
branches, take heed test he sjmre not thee.*^ Rom. 11. 20, 21. 
We may strongly infer, if God ** spared not the angels that sin- 
ned, in their first act of disobedience, but cast ihem down to hell, 
and delivered them into chaihs of darkness, to be reserved unto 
judgfment,'' certainly he wiH not spare sinftd men that hate to be 
reformed, and continue in the .voluptuous course of sin to the 
last* iThe seciire and fooKsh sinners, that now make a mock of 
sin, and have so Tar lost their innocence and ingenuity, that 
shame and requett^or their *foul actions fis Cdunted a vicious in^ 
firmity, a degenerous hninour, they shall understand in what de- 
gree sin ir hateful to the holy God. They who now sleep out 
all the denvndatlsos of the law^ will find at last,/ '^ they have to 
do'* with a terrible inexorable God : ^' Because I have called, 
and ye refused, I have' stretched out my hand, and no man re- 
garded ; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would 
have none of my reproof: I aleo Will laugh at your calamity, and 
mock when your fea^-comes : irfien your ifear 'eonies as desola- 
tion, and your destruction comev as a whirlwind^ when distress 
and anguish come upon you. Then shall they cieill upon me, but 
I will not answer; they shall seek me early, hut shall not find 

R 2 


me. For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear 
of the Lord/' Piw, 1. 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29. This dreadful 
threatening is plointed against foolish sinners who abuse prosperi- 
ty : when those who shmt their eyes against danger, shall be con- 
strained to open them, and see die fearftil face of death attended 
with judgment, and judgment with an eternal hell : when diseases 
in the body, and anguish in the soul, shall assail them at once, 
like t^o clouds that by collision break forth in thunder, and they 
inoamiuHy cry for mercy, their prayers will be rejected with 
scorn, and their ruin be remediless. 

The carnal 'conceit, that God will graciously receive sinners 
when the world haar left them ; that when by calamitous con- 
straint they are at last brought to confess their wickedness, and 
are only sorro^l for the evil consequences of it, the conceit that 
they shall find mercy,- is atheism of as blasphemous a nature as 
the denial of a God : for to ascribe such a mercy to God, as is 
inconsistent with his wisdom, holiness, justice, and truth, is to 
deprive him of his purest perfections, and in effect to usgod him. 

In the rebellions of their lives, they expressed open enmity 
against God ; and their devotion at their death, is secret flatteiy 
in his account. For thus it is said by the psalmist of such sin- 
ners ; *^ When he slew them, then they sought him : and they re- 
turned and inquired early after God. Nevertheless, tbe^ did 
flatter him with their mouth, and lied to him with their tongues. 
For their heart was not right with him, and they were not stead- 
fast in his covenant." Psal. 78. 34, 36, 37. 

It is true, God is rich in mercy, and most willing to pardon 
returning sinners, when their contrition is sincere ; when they are 
truly sorrowful, that sin has made them unholy as well as un- 
happy, that they have abused the mercies of God, our gracious 
Creator and preserver, compassionate Redeemer, and blessed 
comforter, as well as provoked his anger : and when the resolu- 
tions of amendment are so deeply rooted, as would prove effec- 
tual if they should be tried by lengthening of their time in this 
worid. But those who defer their repenting whilst God defers 
punbhing, and like the unjust steward, never think of making 
provision for their souls, till they are cited to give an account of 
their unrighte^s and ungra^efbl abuse of his blessings : those 
who renounc:: their sins when Unable to commit them, and re- 
Mve to live well when they can live no longer, have great reason 

or t»MsPEiinT. Ml. 

to Guspect their own hearto, and to be fearful of their future state. 
If a minister be called to assist such in their dying hours, there 
is infinite reason he should be cautious of assuring them of par- 
don and salvation, lest natural sorrow be mistaken for godly sor- 
row^ and the repentance dedared by them, would be retracted 
upon new temptations : it is safe to imitate a * discreet physici- 
an^ that is unwilling to declare what he fears will be the issue of 
the disease, but modestly insinuates the danger to those that are 
about the sick person : the good God can do all things^ he can 
revive the almost spent and expiring, O pray for him. It is ad- 
▼ice given by a skilful herbalist, that particular care is necessary 
in planting the seed of the Carduus, for if they are not set up- 
right, they d^:enerate and produce a wild herb. The gospel is 
eoinpared to seed, and if the conditional promises of pardon and 
salvation are not received in the heart aright, if the comfort of 
them be not applied according to the qualifications that are re- 
quisite to give us an interest in them, they produce a vain pre- 
sumptidn, a fake hope, a delusive peace, instead of an unfe^ed 
faith, a purifying hope, a soUd peace. God declares it with the 
moet sacred selemoily, << As J live, saith the Lord God, I have 
»o pfeasme ia the death <tf tfie wicked;*' Ezek. 33. 11. if the 
carnal heart (like the devil who abused scripture, by leaving out 
part of it) shall aot consider what folbws, ^' but that the wicked 
turn firom his way bnd live," but shall harden and fortify itself in 
sin^ with hopecr of impunity, God will rejoice in their just de- 
struction. He tdk us that a coaverted sinner shall be forgiven; 
but that conversion must be unifi^rm and lasting; ^^ If the wick- 
ed turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all 
my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely 
live and not die.'' Eaeelu 18. 21. He has promised to ^^be 
found of those that seek him :" but we are commanded ^< to 
seek the Lord whilst he may be found ;'' implying, it is not in 
our power when we please to find him with his pardoning mer- 
cy and assisting grace. To apply the word of God against the 
mind of God^ is injurious to his honour^ and pernicious to delu- 
ded souls. 

• Stai anceps itiedicus, doo videt bonam quod promit(at| timet mat am 
prdDUDciare oe terreat : modestam tamen isuun cOBcipit seoteotianii deus bo« 
mi9 omDia potest, orate pro ilio. Aug. 

R 3 


3. The heaviness of destruction will be acooiding to ti|e aj^ira.* 
vation of their sin, who abuse prosperity. 

(1.) It is a ain most ^ntraiy to the acknowledged duty of 
man, and unbecoming the reaaocable nature; It is an univenal 
concession, that springs from the purest light oi reason, that we 
'^ should return good for good :'' Mat. 5) 46. the heathens agreed 
in it. To be ddfective in obaerrance, and thankful respects to a 
benefactor is unnatural, but to requite evil for good, is so direct 
a violation of the ingenuous prindples of humanity, ttuit one is 
prodigiously wicked in doing it ; he ceases to be a mtm, and be-* 
comes a devil. Now this black guilt cleaves to those who abuse 
prosperity. The blessings of God are strong and sweet obliga- 
tions to love him, yet ^ their perverse hearts are thereby alienated 
from him : his mercies engage and enable them to serve and glo« 
rify him, but are used to gratify their lusts, and to make them 
more capable and presumptuous to oflfend him. Prosperity makes 
them luxurious and secui^ ^ riches make them sin at a hi^ier rate ; 
the patient providence of God, that waits for their repentance (such 
is their desperate comtpti<Mi) fortifies them in their rebellion against 
him. This was the reason of that stinging reproach of Moses to 
Israel, << Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and un« 
wise ?*' Deut. 32. 

(2.) The abuse of prosperity is most injurious and provoking 
to God. To fiin agunst his law, is an high affront to his majes- 
ty ; but to sin against his love and benefits is more contumelious 
to him. The apostle calls it, a '^despising of God^s goodness i" 
Rom. 2. what is more contumelious, than to employ his benefits 
feyr the pleasing our ^< dishonourable vik affections?'' As the 
gift of a friend is slighted that is put to a base use ; or as one 
that will not be reconciled by ihe presents of a friend, despises 
his gifts : thus when the favours of God do not melt the heart 
into kindly resentments; and endear him to us, they are deqiised. 

If a favourite, that were raised by a prince to4he h^est Iuh 
nour and trust, should betray h|s magazines, both arms and 
treasures to his enemy, oouM there be a fouler wickedness ? and 
of this heinous nature is their wickedness, who abuse the mercies 
of God in the service of sin, and implicitly betray them into the 
devil's hands, who maliciously wars against God. What a con* 
Amuelious indignity heightened with the basest ingratitude waa 

OF PR08PJUUTT. .263 

Jeroboam guilty of> who changed the g^ory of the incorruptible 
God, into an image like a corruptible beast, * God advanced 
him to the throne^ and he depressed the Deity to the rank of 
stupid calves. What a hateful obuiae of his bounty was it, that 
the Israelites tUhied the jewels of gold wherewith he enriched 
them by the Egyptians^ into a detestable idol : of such wicked- 
ness are men deeply guilty^ when the predous blessings that 
God bestows upon them^ are made the idols of their heads and 
hearts, and rob him of the hooour and love that is incommuni- 
cably due to him. 

. What can more provoke thc| jealous God? Mercy is his 
dearest glory, in whieh he peculiarly delights ; it is the attribute 
of which he is most tender, and th^ abuse of it is to stab him to 
the heart. 

Fr6m henoe we may justly infer> the punishment of such sin- 
nets will be most heavy, in exatt proportion to their most odious 
ingratitude. Damnation is the recompence of every impenitent 
dinner, and is tlmmost fearful effect of God's wrath. Temporal 
judgments are ^' but the smdke of his anger,'" Deut. 29. the 
naming coals are in hell. But there, are degrees of torment in 
liell, according to the number and quality of men's sins. ^^ Those 
who despise the goodness of God,, treasure up wrath against the 
day of wrath." As they continually abuse his bounty and pa«> 
tience, thqr inetease his vengeance, which will be as terrible as 
his patience was admirable. The judgment of Babylon was a 
fitriet proportion to her iuxusy : " how much she hath glorified 
herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give 
her." Rev. 18. 7* Justice will exact all the arrears of abused 
mercies* The lovers of this w<»Ul ihall pass from ** their good 
things/' to theflame* that Uye by the breath of God's revenging 
wrath. Dolc£il exchange 1 an hour's feeUng of that fire is ituae 
tormenting, than an age's enjoyment of this world in all its 
abundanee is pleasmg* But tjhwg^ tho word of God has dis- 
.eovered the swift and thick^eoming sorrows that shall seize upon 

the wicked, yet so foolisb and obstinate are. sinners in prosperity, 
,th^y will.not be persuaded to fly from the wrath to come ! The 

light of .reason^ and iUuminatioo of faith, is too weak to make 

♦ DcMiUani ad loViaiB cvexit, & itte Dcnm ad bovci demisit, Pcf. 

E 4 

264 TtlB OAI9GSIL 

them sensibte of thdr danger : they wtU not be oonvifloed, tiSi 
•hut up in the darkness of helU 

It novr follows, that by apillication we shoidd make this great 
doctrine more useful to ourselves. 

In the general, it is of excellent use to rectify our judgments 
about the things and men of the world. The most are miserably 
deluded, and live in a blindness so gross and misleading, that 
they are secure when near steep ruin. Asdepius being blind, 
mournfully complained, that he was fain to be led by a child : 
but carnal men are voluntarily guided by sense and fancy, the 
false lights that rule in children, and Mindly follow, without con- 
sidering who is their leader, and whither they are led. Or like 
one in a slumber, is strongly affeeted with slight things : a seene 
of fancy in a dream transports him as a glorious reality : a prick 
of a pin makes him start as fisarfuHy as if a viper bit him e thus 
carnal men are as deeply affected with temporal good and evil 
things, as if they were eternal, wherein their blessedness or mi* 
eery conrists. And there is nothing of greats use and defence 
to the soul, than to make a true judgment of things that greally 
and nearly concern us. From thence proceeds a wise choice, a 
well ordered conversation, and upoa it our blessed end depends. 
For as the rudder is to a ship, the will is to man ; if it be duly 
turned, it conducts him safely to fielieity. 

The particular just inferences from the doctrine are, 

1. Temporal prosperity is not a certain sign of God's special 
favour. There are some benefits dispersed by a general provi- 
dence to all, like the common benefits of a prince to all widiin 
his dominions : some are like special gifts to his favourites: of 
the first kind are riches and honours, and whatever is the sup- 
port or comfort of the present life : of the second are spiritual 
and heavenly blessings, the graces and comforts of the Holy 
Spirit of God, the infallible seal of his love to us. The psahnist 
prays, " remember me, O Lord, with the favour thou bearest 
unto thy people : O visit me with thy salvation :" Psal. 106. 4. 
there is a favour common to all men as his creatures, and the 
Ihiits of it are promiscuous to the evil and the good : but the 
favour from whence proceed grace and glory, b the privilege of 
his chosen. 

2. IThe temporal prosperity of the wicked is consistent with 
Ood's hatred. When men turn his blessing into the fuel of 

of MofittftltY. 265 

thrir ta8t»9 ttnd his patience into an advantage of shming more 
aecurely, how flourishing soever they are in the world, he looks 
on them with an avenging eye* *^ He hates all the workers of 
iniquity." His seeming connivance is no argmnent that he is 
not highly provoked by their sins^ or that they may obtain an 
easy pardon. Yet this is the inward principle of the gross and 
outward sins in the Hvies of men, though unobserved by them. 
As the vital heat is not felt in the heart, that is the cause of all 
the beat that is felt in the outward parts of the body. ^ These 
things hast thou done,'' saith God to the rebellious sinner, <^ and 
I kept silence," that is, suspended the terrible effects of justice, 
'^^ thou thoughtest I was altogether such a one as thyself." Psal. 
50. Astonishing Uindness ! not to discern the apparent antipa- 
thy of such connexions. As if God's forbearance of the guilty 
were forgiveness : and rebellion against his commands, and the 
kve of sm which is enmity to him, were consistent with the 
fruition of his favour. But we have the* most clear and convin"* 
ving assurance, God cannot be pleased with men, without their 
being made like him in righteousness and true holiness. He sees 
and hates sin, and abhors the rinners though for a time they are 
spared. Justice and patience are his attributes : <' he is sknr to 
anger, 'and great in power, and will not acquit the guilty/' 
Nahum. 1.3. ^' He endures with much long^suflering the ves- 
sels of wrath, till they are fitted for destruction." Rom. 9. 22. 
The presumptuous sinner that is encouraged and hardened, as 
if ain were not so hatefol to God, because he enjoys the wotid 
in abundance, and expects an easy remission at last, fearfolly 
deceives his soul : ^^ he sows the wind, and shall reap the whirl- 

3. The prosperity of the wicked is so fiir from being a sign of 
-God's love, that it often proceeds from his deepest displeasure. 
It is a cufse candUed over with a little vaoidiing sweetnes, but 
deadly in the operation. It makes them careless of God and 
their soub, of heaven and eternity^ and they become incorrigible 
in their perverse wills and wicked wi^, and irrecoverable in their 
-lost state. Prosperity induces security, that presages and acce<> 
lerates their ruin* It is exp re s se d as the most feaHul and sorest 
judgment by the prophet^ ^* the Lord hath poured out upon you 
the spirit of deep sleep/' Isa. 29. 10. an insensibleness of the 
worst evils^ their sias^ and the infinite danger that attends them. 

ru» OANCMEca 

This jw^ment is utualty iniicted from tbe rigbteoiis God by die 
prosperity of the wicked^ and extremely provokes him, it being 
a sin of tbe greatest guilt, as well as a pwushment of fonaer 
bigh proTocaticQS. It is a distingqisbing judgment inflicted upon 
his oiemiesy from which his chiMren are exempted* Other 
Judgments that cause grief and trouble to sinueis, often incline 
his compassions to them ; but this ju^;ment inflames his wmth. 
In shorty the prosperity of the wid^ here, is a &tal sign they 
mn resChred Cor the severity of justice, fior their abuse of tbe riches 
of his mercy : and of all judgments that is the most terriUe, that 
insensibly destroys, and certainly brings damnation. 

4. From henoe we are instiiioted to look iipon prosperous sin- 
ners wi A pity, not with emry and indignation. They please 
themsefanes, and triumph in their conceited happiness, as the 
psahniBt expresseth it, ^' whilst be lived, he blessed his aaol" 
But how contrary is the opinion of vain men to the judgment of 
Cifarist ; he pronounces (and upon lus sentence depends eternity) 
^^ woe unto you that are rich/' for ye have received your conso- 
lation! ''.woe unto you that are foil/' forye shall hunger: '' woe 
unto you that langh now, for ye shall mourn and weep*'" And 
we are told by die inspired prophet, '' man that is i^ honour, 
and understands not,'' (that does not consider the vanity and 
frail tenure of his present flourishiim; state ; nor his dnty and in- 
terest to employ bk ridies, power, and greatness, for securing 
his evertasting fclidty) is like '' the beaoto that perkh," Psal« 49. 
stupid and insensible of qppvoachiag ruin $ as the beast that was 
to be sacrificed, did not perceive that the gikUog its horns, and 
adorning it with garlands, was a sign it was destined to death. 
They now live in ease and pleasures; but they must shortly re- 
move from their rich possessions, and s|dendid palaces, to the 
dark regions of woe, and death wUl be an enhance into endless 
Mnrows. ^' The'foug^ter of fools is like the crackling of thorns 
under the pot," Eodes. 7* n short blase 4oon damped.and ex- 

It.is a dreadful imprecation of tbe holy psalmist; '' let then 
way be dark and slippery ; and let the angel of the Lprd perse- 
cute them.*' Psal 35. 6. * To fly in the dark, and in . atippffqr 

« QorfeaiU via teoebrn, & lubriciun. Tesebru loljiia quit oon horresi? 
Lubricum lolom qois oon caveat ? In tenebrii Ik labrico qua is } tJbi pedem 
figis ? Saot istae magnae poeoac homlnami jivgy * 

OF* rBosras&mr. 267 

places, and so to fall into the mire and pits, is a fit emblem of 
their condition, who are prosperous and wicked. They are hood* 
winked by prosperity, in a vcduntary darkness, and see not the 
precipices Uiat surround them : and how dippery is their way by 
so numerous and insinuating 'temptaticms; how easily, how fi«« 
quent]y and dangerously do they fall, and both defile and wound 
themselves ? Briefly, they are truly miserable here, even whilst 
they most pleasantly and contentedly enjoy the world, they are 
accumulating the treasures of wrath, and preparing new torments 
for their souls : they stand upon brittle ice, and hell is beneath 
ready to swallow them up in its deepest gulf. As it is said by th^ 
apostle, ooncerning the saints darkened by sorrows here, -that 
their ^' gk>rious life is bid in God,-' Col. 8. and shall iHustriously 
appear with Christ at his second coming: so the terrible death 
of th^ wicked, whilst they flourish here, is hid fiKvm the eyes of 
sense, but shall be revealed in the day of wrath. And to a wise 
observer, to & serious believer, the prosperous sinner is the* most 
unhappy and compassionate object in the world ; for he perishes 
by sudi a flattering kind of deaths that he is neither apprehensive, 
nor affected with his danger. 

And when an iUumanate chrieftian arees the marks of dsimnation 
in sinners^ whom pfosperity deceives and hardens, he cannot but 
be tenderly moved, and is obliged most earnestly to pray to the 
merciful ^^ Father of spirits," whose grace is omnipotent, that he 
WjQuId recover their lapsed soak, bleeding to eternal death. If 
there be any heavnil^ charity in our breasts^ it will meit our 
hearts, and dissolve us in tears to prevent, or at least to solem- 
nize and lament their heavy destiny. 

5* From hence we are instructed to judge truly and wisely of 
Afflieiions: they are the necessary and merdfid di^nsations of 
hea^on^ to reeovor smnera corrupted by prosperity, and to retinm 
them to God. Sense, though its principal end is to preserve the 
body, .is not ahvays a fit judge of things beneficial to it ; liie ap- 
petites and aTcrsioiis ave sometimes pemieidus: ope in « dropsy 
drinks to quench his thifst,^ aiid.miiMases his distemper. A bit* 
ter potion ia rejected by a sick child, not considering that a 
medicine, not sweetmeats, can cure his disease. The pleasure of 
the taste, is no certiun indication of what is wholesome for 
health } much more incapable is sense to judge of what is useful 
for the soul. Reason is entirely renounced, and fallacious sense 

268 THB HAtlGJkR 

is in the throne^ when prosperity vnth its gaudy allurements h 
esteemed as our happiness, and adreraity is abhorred as the 
worst misery. The wise man instructed by dear experience, tells 
us, ^^ it is better to go to the house of mournings than to go to 
the house of feasting : for that is the end of all men, and the 
living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter : for 
by the sadness of the countenance, the heart is made better. 
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart 
of fools IS in the house of mirth." Ecdes. 7. 2, 3, 4. Prosperity 
irritates and fortifies the sensual vile affections, the pleasing of 
which is fetal to the * soul. As it is observed by the natural 
historian, that the sparkling colour and dehcious relish of wine, 
tempts men to drinkii^i; without thirst, and from intemperance, 
innumerable diseases flow. 

Prosperity diverts the mmd from considering the things that 
belong to our eternal peace, and the will from consenting to 
them. The thoughts are so scattered abroad, that few are left 
pi home, duly to ponder the miserable effects of sin. Now in 
this the rules of natural and spiritual medicine agree, that one 
extreme is to be cured by another. The devil cruelly destrojs 
the souls of men by the pleasures (tf sin ; f and God, the wise 
and compassionate phyncian, recovers them by Utter sorrows, 
the most congruous and powerful means for that blessed effect. 

Affliction makes us retire within our hearts, and shuts out the 
noisy throng of workUy dis^acting objects ; and then truth and 
oonsdenee, that were under unrighteous restraints, will break 
the fetters, and speak loudly and terribly to the sinner. Afflic- 
tion fixes the mind upon those objects, that duly considered, are 
able to terrify the most determined and resolved sinner. There 
is no man so prodigiously bad, so perfeeCly a bmle, but has at 
times some twinges of conscience, some workings in his spirit, 
some desires of salvation. Even Balaam, iPidio in the judgment 
of the angel was more stupid than the ass he rode on, yet had 
some springings in his heart towards heaven ; '' O that I might 
die the death of the righteous, and my last end may be like his :" 

* Vino debimui quod etiam noD titieDtet bibioma. PSn. 

+ Nemo veDeoom temperat felle& elleborOjsed conditii pulmeDtii id oali 
tijich, Ita diabolm letale quod cooflcit^ rebtts {ratissinilfl & acce^tisiinU 
Imbttit. Tert. 

OP viio8P£ftiTr« 260 

but these are fleeting and variabley and so Mreak in comparaoii 
of Che opposite desires of the flesh, while picsperity continues, 
that they prove abortive. Now aflUction deadens the flaniing edge 
of the afiiection to vanity. When the sinner feels the truth of the 
divine threatening, then he is efiectually convinced of the evil of 
sin, and understands, by the banning of sorrows here, what 
the issues will be hereafter, and retracts his fodish choice.. In 
the time of a£9iction, '' our sins find us Mmt ;" and it is most 
likely we shall then find our sins out, and with repenting tears 
acknowledge tbem, and with hatred renounce them. 

Now the connderation of the designed benefit by aflictions, 
flhoilld recondk them to our wills, and persuade us, with patience 
and thanUulneM, to accept of them as the testimonies of God's 
peculiar favour. Our Saviour declares, <^ as many as I love, I 
rebuke and chasten ; be zealous and repent." Rev, 3. God is 
often most angry, when he makes no sensible discovery that he 
is so : thus he threatens the rebellious Jews, ^' I will make my 
fiiry towards thee to rest, and my jealousy shall depart firom thee, 
and I will be quiet, and will be no. mpre. angry :" Exek, 16. 42. 
implying a final divorce, a leaving them to their impure idohi* 
tries, without more correction* If there be such a hardness of 
heart as the fire cannot mdt, such & rust that the fire cannot 
purify, God wHi not waste his judgments on such desperate sm- 
ners. He withdraws his chastinag hand, as hopeless of their 
amendment, and that desertion is a fatal signature of reproba- 
ti^. And on the contrary, many tfanes God's love is most ten- 
.der and compassionate to us, when to sense there is the least 
evidence of it. Even the heathens, * in the twilight, between 
the darkne» of idolatry, and the light of nature, discovered that 
afflictions were the privilege of those that are singularly beloved 
of God. And christians have a more sure word for their instruc- 
tioD, *^ «iiom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourgeth every 
son whom he receivas." Heb. 12. There is not a stronger evi- 
dence of his iatherly wise love, than the discipline of the rod j 
and the afflicted returning sinner may, with an adoptive assu- 
rance come to the throne of grace. By afflictions the world is 
less enticing and hurtful to us, and heaven is more amiable and 
desirable : the things that are seen, are vilified and distasted ; 

• Senee. tfe protidentia. 

270 . TBS watamtL 

and invirible tiling* are sought with our h^;heit esteem and ie* 
spect, and zealoos endearoiin. Those* huts that spring, and 
grow, and flourish in prosperity, are blasted and wither, and die 
in adverrity. ^ Those who forget God when prosperous in the 
worid, are taught by the voice of the rod to adoce his majesty^ 
obey his l8(ws, imitate his holmess, and humbly to accept of his 
meroy. By afflictions the sensual appetites aie subdued, and 
brought into order; a low state, is a protection from many strong 
and destructive temptations, f Sickness that brings near the 
grave, and makes us ieel how Ml we aw, renden the worid 
despicable, that by their lusts so poweiiully infatuates men to 
their ruin. Sanctified afflietmi, is a happy preparative for the 
iiilness of joy in the blessed presence ot God. The first to whom 
our Saviour promised the rest and joy of paradise, was the com- 
panion of his cross. 

Let us therefore, with firee judgments, and smoare aflSectionsf, 
make an estimate of' all sensible things, not jodge ourselves to be 
in the favour of God, by the good things received here, nor un- 
der his wrath by evU ; let us not be surprised at the prosperity 
of the widced, nor shaken at tiie afflictions of die godly, but 
regulate our thoughts by the unen^ wisdom of God, so cieariy 
revealed in his wprd. ^ Ke is propitious, when he denies or 
takes from us those temporal enjoyments that we are apt to 
abuse ; and severe when ht bestows them, and seems to indulge 
men's carnal aiffections. ft Is but a little whfle, and the plea- 
sures of sinners; and the afflietions of the sdnts, will end in a 
state directly contrary to what is enjoyed or soflered here. 
^ With God a thousand years are but as one day :'* the worid 
IS not of a week's stan<fing in the divine account: he measura 
all things by eternity: the vessels of mercy are by sanctified af- 
flictibns made fit for eternal gtoiy. ^' The vessds pt wrath are 
by the abuse of his bounty atid patience, fitted for eternal des- 

In the last place. From hence we should be warned to be al- 
ways circumspect to avoid the evils that usually ifttend prosperity, 

* Inter advem mclior. Taeii, 

i- Optifflos DOS esse dum iofimii samni. ' P/tn. Ub, 5. 

t Propitius Deas com male amamiiSy negat qaod amamiu: iratvs aates 
dat amanti quod male amat. Jug. 


to improfe it to our eternal advantage. Prosperity h not like an 
infected gwmeiit, tbat transfoseB a contagious maiigiiiljr iato - 
eivery one that' wean k* A pewoiir timt is rich and honourabley 
and in power^ may net onlf be a saint, but the more a saint by^ 
his dedicating and employing the ^fts of God to his glory, and 
the public golid. It is a pofait of high and holy wisdoili, and 
only taugiit in the schoolof ^Jeaven, ho^ to maliage the opposite 
states of die present life, so w ilot to be vainly, awelling in pros^ 
perity, nor broken and fliagg&tg.in adversity, but to peeserve a^ 
equanimity, a constant and bonpoaed mind, the Uea^i^ imita-* 
tion of the divine ^mehangeaUknesa. ' St. Paul saith, widbout vajn 
arrogance, ^ I faioir both hovrto be abased, and Lkkioiv how to 
abound: every where, and in aH thin^ I am mafenNted,. bOlbto 
be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to su&r.need«'' 
Phil. 4. 12. It was a secret of spirit, not learned from nien^ 
butfrdmthelioly'l^iritof €ipd» In some nonets it is a more 
iSflkmlt UcrciBe to manage 'proaperity than adMhity* Manyiure 
like Hannibal, victorious in ams^ whilst conflicting witii ad^er-r 
. aity, asid vanquished by enticing ^etturea. It is obatrved of th^ 
lamps in some of the. Reniain tonUbs, ^that have burnt for mittjr 
i^ea^ andare bright vdiiiat Injpt elese,. drntas soon as they^ave 
c^^ened t^.the air, a breatSi of .iMd.actiagttidiea them : thna the 
virtues of somcishine/in. Ji iartP3te&ed conditioh^ whenthcri^ «re 
no tenqitations, no occasion of quenching thems'rlmt -wbfili 
bnoiq^ht ibithinto the dp««i-(mdd, and abouU. appeiriin con* 
spicuous operations, thrir virtues are of so weak Imd consnpipr 
tiveasBpirit^ tbht the light cxpiriwaad dies, fireni the piety 
cf David wanf dbiHed by proqifesBty. . It is aaid,. iipth: aA emphari^ 
eoneemiag Jiehoshapliat, thai. he ^^ walked ia..the*fimt ways of 
his fiither. IHnud:" 2 Cfaidn. 17*3. intimating that his rel^ 
gion vnA ImI so exact whto he was an thethMne, at in his ba- 
it ik dqtally lip^oelknt as diOerit^. To be hoiyjmd heatwiay in 
the mUit of .sanaind .temptmg:.ol9ciGta,. i^ th^iidearoBt; diaeomy 
^f ther tnilh and power of dmte gvaee^ of. the piety,' iQgenliit]r, 
and gehe re ri ty of the christian qf>irit« Uamilitjr and.modesty in 
a low condition, an not .so: jMraise-worthy, as the labaenoa tof 
them is odious : but humility in a state of honour, is more illus- 
triouA than tjhe splendour oC external dignity. Temperance in a 
cottage, where are only supplies of hunger and thirst, seem? 

272 THK lusomft 

rather tbe effect of necesnty, than of wise ebeice : but to be 
temperate vAnen abiindaiice kdA variety tempt the teosual appe- 
tites, when the sparldiog oolowr and delicious relish of the parest 
wines tempt the fiincy and the pakte, is virtue iu beigltt and 
excellency. To be pioas, and weaned from the world in afflic- 
tions, is no wonder ; but in proqierity and power to be serious 
in religion, and despise tbe splendid vanities of the worid, is vir- 
tue of a superior order. * What is observed of the parfoming 
gums of Arabia the happy, is iq»plicable in this matter: those 
that distil freely from the tree, cxttl in purity, in fiagrancy, uid 
vahie, wtiat comes from it when the bark of it is cut. Thus 
obedience that comes from the heart in lote with God for his 
benefits, is nme vafanUe and precious than what is the eflfect of 
compulsion, that comes from the heart wounded with terrors in 

I shall add farther, the using prosperity aright is most com- 
fortable. The love of God can swesten affictions, ami make a 
dinnerofgreeaherbsassavoniy as if they grew in paradise: and 
It gives a quick and h%h taale to all our temporal blessings. 
When his lore is conveyed and sealed to us by the gifts of bis 
providenee, we have the purest enjoyment of them. Now when 
prosperity is made subservient to hk gfawy, when it endean obe- 
dience to US, weinnre.an infisUshie testimony it is from his special 
fkvourtous. '' \ 

' The rules how'to manage proapsrjijf for our everiastbg good, 

1. Let us preserve an humble sense. of our original meanness, 
continual frailty, and sinfiil unwesdiiness in the midrt of prosper 
rity. Men are apt to be faigh-oninded, and to cherish undue 
conceptions of tbslr worth when raised in the world : as if they 
were not as inferior to the majesty of God, arn^as liable to his 
impartial justice as otiiers : they lose the knowledge of themsdves 
in a mist of vanity.' Thu pnavriLcs <^ the high and holy One 
that inhabits eternity," to Uast them in tbenr most iobrishing 
and secure statCj and convince them how dcfeitfiil and^insuffi* 
cieif t the grounds of their pride are. '^ He puts them in feai^ 
that they may know themselves to be but men.'' Psal. 9. There 

* SpoDte manani pretiosior lador est, eltcititi corticU vntnere viUor Js" 
^Icatar. SoNn^ 

t>y niosFSBJTY. 273 

an andi great and just aUays of the vain mind^ nicli correctives 
of pride, that it u strange that any temporal prosperity should 
occasion swelling arrogance. The psalmist considering the glory 
of God shining in the heavens^ is in an ecstacy at his condescend- 
ing goodness. " What is man that thou art mindful of him P 
Or the son of man that thou regardest him ?" His original is 
from the earthy the lowest element : all that he possesses, to 
supply, his wants and satisfy his desires, is from pure mercy : and 
the more eminent the advantage of some is above others in this 
world, the greater are their receipts and obligations : and who 
would be proud that he is in a uMghty debt ? Rich and poor^ 
honourable and mean, are distinctions among men ; but in re- 
spect to God all are equally mean and low. Neither do these 
things give any inherent worth, and make persons more aocepta^ 
ble to God. Poor Lazarus who was a miserable spectacle, his 
body corroded with ulcers, yet had a precious soul under it : the 
glorious angels descended from heaven to receive it at the point 
of death> and convey it to the reviving presence of God ; but the 
rich man was cast into hell. Besides^ how uncertain are all the 
admired things of this world I 

Is he truly rich whose whole estate lies in a ship abroad^ that, 
b to pass through seas exposed to tempests, and infested with 
pirates, and runs a douUe hazard of being robbed or cast away? 
And the consideration thereof, is a proper argument to cause us 
to keep a low mind in a high condition. It is the apostle's coun- 
sel, ^< let the rich,'* and the great in the wocld, ^ rejoice in that 
he is made low : because as the flower of the grass he shall pass 
away :** Jam. I. 10. when the florid beauty is displayed, it pre- 
sently withers. How many survive their estates and dignities, 
and by unforeseen revcrfutions beeome poor and low. Many that 
were overflowing in riches and pleasures^ are as dry and desolate 
as the desart. And is it not a disparagement to our reason to 
admire shadows, and be proud of transient vanities P But sup«- 
pose they continue with men here, can they preserve the body 
from diseases and death, or the soul from oppressing sorrows P 
And is it not miserable folly to pride themselves in secular great- 
ness, that is so insufficient to prevent the worst evils ? But 
especially the consideration how man is vilified by sin, should 
make him be abased and low in his own eyes. • As that blessed 
martyr, bishop Hooper, says, « Lord, I am hell, thou art heaveni 

you lu » 

274 TUB DANftEK 

I am a sink of sin, thou art the fountain of holiness/ And the 
more gracious and bountiful Grod is to men, the more sinful 
should they appear to themselves. Humility discovers our na- 
tive poverty, in the midst of rich abundance ; our true vilenes^ 
in the midst of glittering honours, that nothing is ours but sin 
and. misery ; and makes us say, with the spirit of that humble 
saint, *^ we are less than the least of ail God*s mercies/* Now 
the more of humility, the more of heaven is in the soul : it is 
that disposition that prepares it to receive the graces and com- 
forts of the Spirit in an excellent degree. " God resists the 
proud ;** the self-conceited and aspiring he is at defiance with, 
^* and abhors them ;'* he justly deprives them of spiritual trea- 
sures, who value themselves and bear it high for the abundance 
of this world : " but he gives grace to the humble." The dye 
sense of our wants and unwdirthiness makes us fit to partake d 
divine blessings. 

2. A meek temper and deportment, is an excellent preservar 
tive from the evil of prosperity. Humility and meekness are al- 
ways in conjunction, and most amiable in the eyes of God and 
men. '' A meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God 
of great price.** 1 Pet. 3. 4. They are the brightest jewels that 
adorn humanity, and shined so gloriously in our blessed Saviour, 
the supreme pattern of perfection, and are propounded as sig- 
nally imitable by us. ." Learn of me for I am meek and lowly,*' 
When he came in his regal office, he is thus described, *' rejoice 
greatly, O daughter of Sion : behold thy king cometh unto thee ; 
"he is just, and having salvation, lowly.** Zach. 9. 9. The church 
Is excited to rejoice in his mild monarchy. And christians, who 
in profession are his disdples, are commanded to be ^' gentle, 
and to show all meekness to all men.** Tit. 3. 3. This especi- 
ally concerns those who are in a superior order : for prosperity is 
apt to make men insolent and intolerable, and to treat with a 
haughty roughness those that are below them. But there is 
nothing more becoming men in prosperity and power, than a 
sweetness of spirit, not easily provoked by injuries, and easily 
pardoning them ; a gracious condescension expressed in words 
and actions, even to all inferiors. And especially meekness is 
necessary in a submissive receiving reproofs for sin, whether by 
the ministry of the word, or by a faithful friend. Prosperity is 
liever more dangerous, than when sin takes sanctuary in it^ 

09 PRosnttiTY. 275 

when men think riches and power to be a privilege to free them 
from sound and searehing reproof, and damn themselves with less 
eontradiedon. And an humble submission, with respect to the 
authority of God and an ingenuous tractableness, with respect to 
the sincere affection of those who are faithful in their counsels 
for oar souls, is an eminent instance of meekness, and preserves 
from the danger of prosperity. 

3. Solemn and affectionate thanksgiving to God for his mer- 
cies, sanctifies prosperity. This is the certain consequent of an 
humble disposition of s6ul. Pride smothers the receipts of God's 
fiivours : thankfulness is the homage of humility. This is infi-* 
nitely due to God, who renews our lives as often as we breathe, 
and renews his mercies every moment ; yet so unjust and un- 
gratefiil are men, especially in prosperity, that they strangely 
neglect it. From hence are those divine warnings so solemnly 
repeated to the Israelites, ^ when thou shalt have eaten, and art 
ihll, then beware lest thou forget the Lord.^' Deut. 6. II, 12. 
And, ^< lest when thou hast eaten and art fall, and hast built 
goodly houses, and dwelt therein, then thy heart be lifted up, 
and thou forget the Lord thy God.'' Deut. 8. 12. This was the 
wicked effect of their prosperity : *' according to their pasture so 
were they filled ; they were filled, and their heart was exalted, 
tiierefbre have they forgotten me.'' Hos. 13. 6. There is a great 
backwardness in a carnal heart to thanksgiving for mercies. 
Prayer in our distress, is a work of necessity, but thankful praise 
is an act of duty ; carnal love is the cause of the one, divine love 
of the other. Even David how ardently does he eoccite his soul 
to the performing this duty ; '' bless the Lord, O my soul, and 
an that is within me bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O 
my strtiti and forget not all his benefits.^ Psal. 103. 1, 2. The 
earnest and repeated address to make a lively and fervent im« 
pression upon his soul, is a tacit intimation of the drowsy negli-* 
gence he found in himself. This duty is spiritual, and to be 
perfonned by the soul that is our noble part, and capable to un- 
derstand our obligations to the divine goodness. Indeed, it is 
ofUn expressed in the vocal praises of God, Psal* 34. 2. for there 
is a natural correspondence between the tongue and the hearty 
as between the hand of a clock, and the motion of the wheels 
within : but the chief part is performed in the soul, and is eoly 
of vahie and acceptance with God^ who is the maker^ the 

a 2 

276 ran ^angbr 

•eaieher, and die judge of our hearts. Therefore the holy 
IMalmist calk ^^ upon his soul, and all that is within htm» every 
faculty to unite in the praises of God :" the understanding to 
consider the several arguments of praise and thankfuhiess, to 
esteem and to admire the divine goodness, to asciibe the ^ory 
^ that is due to God for his mercies : the memory to register his 
benefits ; the will and affections to love him for his mercies^ and 
Above them. 

. Thankfulness implies a solemn recognition of the mercies of 
Ood^ with ail the ciroimstances that add a lustre to them, to af-. 
feet us in as vigorous a manner in our praises for the blessings we 
enjoy, as we ai-e in our prayers for what we need. Not only 
eignal mercies, but o^mmon aaid ordinary should be continually 
.acknowledged by us^ And since our memories are so slippery 
as to the retaining of favours, injuries are iaseribed in marble, 
benefits written in die dust : we should every day review the 
mercies we enjoy, to quicken a^r praises for them, and to make 
impressions not soon defaced, ThankMness implies a due va- 
luation of. God's benefits { this wiU be raised, by considering the 
author, the great God : the meanest i^ercy from bis hand, is a. 
high favour* As the guilt of sin arises from the greatness of the 
object ; though some «iu9 are comparatively wall, yet none is 
in its intrinsie aatuie a small evil : so. though ef mercies, some 
are in eompsrisoki eminent, and some are ordinary, yet eveiy 
mercy b great widi respect to the author from whence it comes: 
and the tbapkfiil estetm of mercies, will rise • in proportion to 
the sense of our ukiworthiness. A constant poverty of spirit' in 
seflerting upon csii: own vileness, that there is not merely a want 
ef desert in us, with respect to God's Messings,^ but a desert of 
his heavy jhdgmeo^, williieight^n our esteeip of them. Jf^ this 
end it. is Tery usefiil, that the prosperous would consider those 
below, them, how many bietter thim dieispelves are[ under pppres* 
ting wants, tormenting painsy h|B|irt*br^a)|^ sorfows^ whom you 
may trace by their tears every day $. and vl^atifiee and rich mercy 
is it, that they enjoy the affluence of ail tbiMW.: tt^ distiinguif^hn 
ing goodness, ^bouM be aekiHiwledged with a wspm rapture. of 
ftfeetion to the divine Benefactor. To oompare o^reelves with 
! that excel us in grac^» will make us humblei and with 
who are below us in outward blesBinfp, friUr make u^ 

or PROSt>BRITT. 277 

The prosperous lave special oU^atioDB to be most conversant 
in this celestial duty » there are variovs graces and duties that are 
^nly' useful in this imperfect state, and shall exphe >^th us t as 
tepentance, faith, hopcf, patience, &e« the reward of them will be 
eternal, but the exercise is limited to present life ; but love and 
frndse retnaiB in heaven. The saints eternally adaiire, love, and 
bless God for his mercies. And the sincere and constant per- 
formance of this duty, is most pleasing to God^ and profitsAle to 
•us : iat thanlihlness to our blessed benefactor, engages his heart, 
«and opent the treasures of his bounty more liberally to iti^ The 
way to obttiii new benefits, is not to suitbr former favours Co be 
lost in ungratefiil oblivion. In short, it is the best and stkrest 
evidence of our tbuik&hiess to God, when his mercies are effee* 
tual motivtti to please him. We cannot always make aA .actual 
commentoration of his benefits, but an habitual remembrance 
should ever be in our hearts, and influential in our lives. *^ Thy 
lovingkindacss is before mine eyes,'' (saith holy David) ^^and 
I have walked in thy truth ;" unfeignedly respected aU thy com- 

4. The fear of God, and a vigilant care to avoid the sins that 
'6d easily encompass us^ are necessary in pvesperity. The secure 
-assist satan in bis war agsunst the soul ; but watchfiilness disarms 
the temptien Circumspieetion is rtetev more a duty, than when 
pleasures without, and passions within, conspife to betray us. It 
is'uaefiil to reflect upon the great numbers who have been cor- 
rupted and ruined by prosperity : that the vices of the dead may 
secure the virtues of the living. The '<fear of God is clean,'' 
effectively, as it preserves fiomsm«' k is Solomon'^ advice to 
young men, that enjoy the world in its flower, and in the season 
of their sinning, that they wouU remember that God for all thehr 
vanities will bring them to judgment* This oousideratioi) will be 
•poweifiil to prevent the risings of the comipt aflections, or to 
■suppress their growth, ^aiid hinder Iheir accomplishment* But 
with the excellently tempered soul, an ingenuous fear fi-om the 
consideration of God's mercies, is an efiectaal restraint firom sin. 
It is said, '^ they shaH fear the Lord, and his goodness t" fear to 
offend,* and grieve, and lose his goodness* This fear does not 
.infnnge the comfort of the soul, but preserve apd improve it ; 
servile fear, when the soul is afiraid to bum, not to sin, is a judi- 
cial forced impression, the character of a slave ; but an ingenuous 

s 3 


grateful fear, that springs from the sense of Che dhine gooAaess, 
is a voluntary aflfection becoming a child of God, and cherished 
by him. <^ The fear of the Loid is his treasure." This watch- 
fulness must be universal against all temptations to which we are 
incident by prosperity : otherwise we shall be guilty of alike ibUy 
with those that shut and fortify one gate, and leave the other 
open to the enemy. And it must be as continual as our tempCa- 
tions. '< Blessed is the man that feareth always.'' 

5. A moderate use of worldly things, is an exceUent preserva- 
tive from the evil adhering to them. It is a divine Messii^, to 
inutake of the gifts of God with contentment and tranquittity, 
especially it is sweet to taste his love in them. *^ God gives to a 
roan that is good in his sights wisdom, and knowledge, and 
joy :" that is, to use temperately and comfortably, outward bless- 
logs. But the flesh is the devil's solicitor, and persuadea men 
with a freer fancy, and looser affections, to enjoy the world, than 
is consistent with the prosperity of their souls. When Diogenes 
observed with the many sick and- languishing persons, the hydro- 
pic, consumptive, and other diseases, that came to the temple of 
iEsculaphjs for recovery, and that after their sacrifices they made 
a luxurious feast, he cried out, is this the way to recover heakh? 
If you were sound, it is the speedy and effectual way to bring dis- 
eases, and being diseased, to bring death toyou. It is applica- 
ble iu a higher sense ; the intemperate use of sensual delights, 
weakens the life and vigour of the soul in a saint, and certainljr 
brings death to diseased souls, that habitually indulge their cor- 
rupt affections. The apostle saith of the licentious ^ woman, 
*^ She that lives in pleasure, is dead while she lives :'' an allusion 
to a torch that is consumed by its own flames. Sensual hists are 
cherished and pampered by prosperity, and the carnal heart over^ 
rules the whole man. Our Saviour charges his disciples to be- 
ware of <^ surfeiting and drunkenness." The indulging the lower 
i4ppetites, is natural to men, but chiefly incident to those in pros- 
,perity. * The great care of such should be, to use worldly 
things with that modesty and measure, that the divine part, the 
soul, may be untainted by them : that it may neither over-value 
nor over-delight in them. Tlie first degeneracy of man is by 
sensual satisfaction. This expelled him from paradise^ and keeps 

• Utentii modest a non amastU afecCa. 


him .ai)t eter. since. The exceas of pleasures darken the mind^ 
stupify the conscience, extinguish the radiancy and vigour of the 
spirk.' /^ Wine and women take away the heart." Hos, 4. 11. 
The apoatle speaks of those who are abandoned to pleasures^ they 
^<are past feeling;" Ephes. 4. 19. without a quick and tender 
aense' of their sin and danger. That we may not in an unlawful 
degree. use lawful things, we should always be ordered by the 
principles of fear and restraint, not indulging ourselves to the ut- 
most of what may seem allowed : for to be upon the confines of 
sin, exposes us to be easily overthrown the next gust of a temp* 
tation. It is a.divine command, that christians should '' rejoice 
as though they rejoiced not, and buy as though they possessed 
not; and use the world as not abusing iu'* I Cor. 7. 30, 31. 
A christian should converse with tlie world, as a carnal person 
couveiiies with heaven ; he prays for spiritual blessings with that 
coldness, aa if he had no desire to obtain them y he hears the 
word with that carelessness, as if he had no desire to profit by it; 
he performs other religious duties without a heart, as \i he had 
no desire to be saved ; such an indifferency of spirit in outward 
enjoyments, is our duty and safety. It is a prodigious disorder, 
and the great * cause of the siias and miseries of m^ that their 
affections are lavishly waited upon trifles^ their love, desires, and 
delights are let forth in their &ill vigour to the honours, riches, 
and pleasures of this world, but are wretchedly remiss to spiritual 
and etarnal things. They would enjoy the worid aa their heaven 
and felicity, and use God for their necessity. And (hus by em- 
bracing vanishing shadows, they lose the most substantial and 
durable good» It is a point of great wisdom to consider the se* 
veral respects of .temporal things, as they respect our sensitive 
part, and the present life, and as they respect our souls and the 
foture state i and to use them, that the outward man may be a 
n^ore active and ready instrument of the soul in working out our 
own salvation. 

6. Let the fairoui of God, and communion with him be most 
precious and joyful to us in the midst of prosperity. 'The high* 
est esteem and most ravishing apprehensions of God, the dearest 
delight in him as the nu)st excelknt suitable good, and in whom 
the soul has the most intimate propriety, is the honour due to his 

• OmnitliamaiiapcrvertiafMendUatiYeUe, &iit«iidurrtti« Aug, 
s 4 

280 TH£ DAireBE 

incomparable perfection. The holy paalmiat often declares hb 
transcendent valuation, and inflamed aflection towards God; 
" How precious are thy thoughts unto me, O God I'' Psal. 139. 
17) 19. (no artifice of words could fully eiqpress it) '^ how great 
is the sum of them? If I should count them, they are more in 
number than the sand ; when I awake I am still with thee.^' Am 
if he breathed not ofteoer than he thought of God with revcrenee 
and complacency. Thus also he despises all that carnal men 
pursue with violent desires, in comparison of God's fiivoor, 
'^There be many that say, who will show us any good f" that is^ 
a sensual good, for nothing is pleasant to them, bnl what appears 
in a fleshly fashion. <' Lord, lift thou up the light of thy coun- 
tenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my hearty more 
than in the time that their com and their wine increased.^ PsaL 
4. 6, 7. The carnal man, who is a stranger to spiritual joys» 
has a sweeter relish of carnal things, than a saint that has a new 
nature, that deadens the appetite to dre^y delights : and in the 
vintage and harvest there is a spring-tide of carnal joy x yet Da« 
vid feels a more inward joy and cordial contentment in Che frui- 
tion of God's favour, than a natural man has in the flower of his 
worldly felicity. Nay, he prizes the favour of God brfoce life it- 
self, which is our most precious possession in this world. << Thy 
lovingkindness is better than liife, therefore my lips shall praise 
thee." Psal. 63. Communion with God, is the beginning of 
heaven, and diflers from the fulness of joy that is in the divine 
presence above, only in the degrees and manner of fruition. As 
the blushes of the morning are the same light with the glorious 
brightness of the sun at noon-day. The natural man is averM 
from this heavenly duty, and most in prosperity. It is the obsef 
vation of holy Job ; '< They spend their days in wealth ; tberefere 
they say to the Almighty, depart from us ; we desire not the 
knowledge of thy ways." It is the malignant property of worldly 
things, to deface the notions, and cause a disrelish of sublime 
and spiritual things. The objeets that pleasantly affect the car- 
nal faculties, draw the soul from God. This ie the principal and 
universal temptation of the present worid, by the corruption of 
our hearts, and never so dangerous as in our prosperity. It is a 
rule in building, that chief care must be taken for the oontriving 
of windows, for the transmission at a liberal light to refresh the 
inhabitants. Now to build in a plain where the heavens are 

dr raoftnEitY. 281 

tipen ob «iU tides, and the pure light thlnes, it is eas^ to mAk 
ttae house eonvenieckt i b«l to take a ktminoii^ fid>ric in a city 
thiclc set with houses, and straitened for room, requires art^ and 
the builditig nriist be higher ; thiK a person l^at is surrounded 
with the honowrs, riches, and pleasures of the world, that are so 
q>t to darken the soul, and to exdude the influend^ of heaven, 
luM need of holy skill to preserve a fite communication with 
God, and to be alwaya recqidve of his grace. Ilien holy duties 
should be frequent and fervent, wherein the soul ascends to God 
1^ raised desires, and God descends into the soul, by the operas 
tions of his sanetifying and comforting spirit. And as we see in 
nature, the flowers of every kind open their leaves to the rising 
ami, to be revived with his vital heat ; so we should every day 
upen our beasts to God in prayer and praises. Axid since aH his 
Bsereiea hwite and eaadoot iu t^ tk* bUes«d author, and tempo^ 
lal benefits are sensible arguments of his love ; those vtrho most 
tidily enjoy tbem^ are ohi%ed infinitely more to value and del 
light in the giver, than in the g^ themselves. If the' ^ heart 
be set upon tiehes^^' which it is very apt <^ to be vAieti they in^ 
urease,*' or upen pleasures, God is neglected and vHilled : and 
though many are not openly vidous and pro&ne, yet so plea- 
aantly the cUngi^ of the worid insinusite into tfadr aff^ions, that 
they cannot ^' taste how good the Lord is f a sad indication of 
tkehr unregenerate state : for the ffivine nature in a saint, indines 
lum to God OS his supreme good, his only treasure and exceeding 
joy; and as soon as he b^ns to breathe the life of hoKness, he 
diflo to the vasiitiea of the tn^orld. And when prosperity alienates 
tile heart from God, it is His suldy destructive, as when it draws 
fiorlh the sensual appetites into exorUtant and foul actions. A 
eooanniption kills as siuely as a calenture. Those who abuse 
Ifae finronia of God to impiety and hixury, throw themselves head-^ 
kng into Ae bottomless pit; and those who hi theh* abundance 
me remiss and odd towards Godj gradually descend thither : Tor 
God will not be our joy for ever in heaven, if he be not our ex- 
ceeding joy upon the earth. 

But wten in the midst of prosperity the soul is filled with a 
noble admimtion cf the divine excellendes, when it tastes in* 
eomparsbly more sweetness m the love of God, from whence out- 
ward blesdi^ are derived, than in the things themselves, when 
the chief joy ariaas froos the contemplation of his favour in 

298 tHE njo^Wk 

Chriaty whereby we are pardoned, and preiened to be.UsWe* 
tfareoy coheirs with him of the imaiortal. and unde^ed inherit^ 
ance, then we know how to abound. Our Savkwr commands hU 
fiisciples not to ^* rejoice that qpirits-were subject to them/' Luke 
10. 20. thoi^ an admirable testimony of his favour, but that 
*' their names were written in heaven." Much less should this 
perishing world be the matter of our joy, in comparison of our 
title, and the blessed h^e of heaven. Spiritual joy purifies and 
fortifies the soul agauMt the enHiaring and .oomiptiag alhue- 
jnents of the world. '^ The Joy of the Lord is their strength^"' 
that of which be ia the autbior and object, is both^noductiva and 
preservative of the vigour of the sool, to resist the charms of the 
worM. It IB said of Orpheus, when he passed by the Syrens, 
who by their charming voices subdued men to sleep, and tfaea 
.destroyed them, that ha-playfid on hiaJbarp, amLtheaveei. sound 
made him despise their singing, and prevented the danger. The 
fable is fitly moralized : joy in the Lord, as our portion, and that 
infinite sweetoess that is in communion vrith him, makes such an 
impression upon the soul, that the ensnaring, and. destructive 
pleasures of the world are abhorred in comparison with them. 
That firm peaCe and pure joy, '^ passes the undeivtaivling," qui 
most comprehensive faculty ; whereas all the pleasures, of the 
world do not satisfy oar senses. 

7. Wh^i riches and power are employed for the ^ry of God 
and the good of others, they are a happy advantage, to tboae that 
possess them* All benefits are virUial obligations; and the 
greater our receipts are, the greater our aceonnta wiU.be. God 
has a sovereign right in all things we have,, and they are not. to 
be employed merely for our pleasure and profit, but according to 
his will, and for his honour. It is true, he ei^oys bis own eter* 
nity, his own ^ry and blessedness, to which there is no possibi* 
lity of accession : his essential glory cannot be increased, but his 
declarative glory may be more manifested in the eyes, of men; 
and he strictly requires that we should use his gifts, so^ to show 
forth his glory, to declare how highly we value his g^ry, and 
bow ardently we desire and endeavour that others should bless 
and praise him. Thus men in high dignity should govern their 
greatness so, as to make it subservient to this Uiessed end, that 
the wisdom, power, holiness, justice, .and mercy pf God, may be 
manifested in their administration* And tbqaQ who enjoy a: pre* 


aent abundanee^ should^ acoordiiig to their capacity, relieyethe 
wants of otben. The wise God has ordered several degrees in 
the sodety of men, the rich and poor; that the inequality may 
he an occasion of the exercise of charity. And it is a special fa- 
▼our, that he is pleased to make some his treasurers to dispense 
his benefits to his liunily. Whilst others can only be charitable 
in their compassionate desires, he giyes^ to some an ability of dif- 
fiime goodness ; and it is injustice missed with foul ingratitude, 
not to pay tbaC tribute of. which he has appointed the poor to be 
hia receivers, not to abound in good works, when from his most 
free and special favour, be euables men to imitate and honour 
him who «» rich in m«rcy« It is more <^ blessed to give than to 
receive/' The present reward is excellent : it is our Saviour's 
. -encouragement, ^* Give alms of such things as you have/' ac« 
eordiQg to. your capacity, '^ and behold all things are clean unto 
you." As. under the law^ by offering the first firuits in the tem- 
ple> the whole harvest was consecrated and blessed ; so by a cha- 
.ritaUe .distribution, the rich have a pure and comfortable enjoy- 
ment of their estates. And the reward hereafter will be glorious 
by infinite degrees, exceeding the most costly and liberal charity. 
rlt is the. encouragement used by the apostle, ^< Charge them that 
are rich in this worlds that they do good^ that they be rich in 
good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate ; laying 
up in stofe Cm* themselves a good foundation for the time to 
come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." 1 Tim. 6. Some 
by corrupt prodigpdity waste their estates, are profiise as the sea; 
some heap up riches as the sand, and both must be responsible 
to the righteous Lord, who will severely call them to an account 
. for the abuse of his blessings. But those who according to their 
utmost aMlity honour him with dieir substance, and by their cha- 
rity and beneficence open the hearts and lips of many in thanks^ 
givings to God, shall be accepted and rewarded from the divine 

Especially doing good to those whom God loves, who bear his 
image, who are peculiarly related to him, shall have an excellent 
reward. The apostle tells us,«.Mat 1 1. that some by entertain- 
it^ strangers, recdved ai^ls :'the honour is incompvably great- 
er, that in relieving the godly, Jesus Christ, the Lord of angel% 
is fed and clothed in his members. And at the last day he will 
publicly own those acts of mercy as done to himself: then he will 


give to the contented poor Me crown of patience^ and to the cha^ 
ritable rich, the crown of liberelit}*. In short, riches and honour, 
power and prosperity, are temptations to the carnal, that draw 
forth their hists, and increase their gulft and misery ; but to wise 
and &ithfiil ehristians, they are talents improved for their mas- 
ter's honom*, and their own everiaalting good. 
* 8. A firm resohiCion to part with ail possesskms and dignities, 
when God's honour, and the testimony of his troth requiies it, is 
an excelient antidote against the evil of prosperity. God doth 
Somedmes call forth his servanfas to hard trials, to declare with 
taiore strength and eridence their love to his name, their zeal for 
advancing his glory ; sataai is ati irrecondteaMe enemy to God 
and his saints ; and inspires the perverted world with his own 
malice against them. Rage has no reason : the Jews woidd ex«* 
communicate the blind man, because he saw, and ascribed the 
glory of the miracle to our Saviour : and Lazarus anuat die, be^ 
rause he was raised from the grave. Now when a christian m 
prepared for this noble act of aelf-denid, to forsake aH things 
•when his duty to Christ requires it ; this preserves him from the 
ensnaring temptations of prosp e rity. 

It is observable, the same divine dispositfon of soul, makes us 
temperate in the use of present abundance, and patient in thfc 
loss of it. The low esteem of earthly things, joined* with the 
lively hope of heaven, renders the enjoyment of the world less 
delightfid, and the loss of it more tolerable. * The philosopher 
and courtier says of himself, that he always in his prosperity kept 
a great distance between his aflections and riches with honours; 
and in the change of his state, they we^ rather taken eas^ 
away, than rent from him. According to the temper of the 
mind, the * diflerence is as sensible in the parting with outward 
things, as between clipping the hair, and tearing it off with vio- 
lence. Nay, the glory of heaven does so eclipse the faint and 
fading lustre of this world, that a believer not only patiently but 
cheerfully makes the exchange of the one for the other. ^* Mo- 
ses preferred affiction with the people of God before the crown 
'of Egypt, because of the reward above that was in his view.*' 
*Heb. 1 1. And the christian Hebrews took '^joyfully the spoil- 
ing of their goods, knowing that they had in heaven a better and 

• iDtervallnm inter me & ilia magouai halHii : itaq; abstnlit ilia aoD aval- 
>U. Senec Coat. 0d Helv. 


an enduring substance. The blessed hope will preserve us from 
being foiled by prosperity when it surrounds us, and from sinking 
in adversity. Like Mertyllus' shidd, that secured him in the 
fields and saved him being shipwrecked at sea, by wafting him to 
the shore. 

Lastly, Earnest and constant prayer to God for divine grace, 
is a sovereign means to preserve those who are in prosperity from 
the danger that attends it. ^^ I know how to abound/' Phil.' 4. 
eays the apostle ; and immediately adds, ^' I can do all things 
through Clurist that strengthens me.'' Supernatur^ strength in 
an eminent degree is requisite to keep us «itire and upright in 
the dangerous conflict vAth the pleasant temptations of this 
world: and that strength is derivol from Christ, and obtained 
by humble prayer. It is St. Austin's observation, * that Elisha- 
want^ a doable fottioa of Elijah's spirit, because he was in 
pubEc honour ; and exposed to a more dangerous trial, and ex* 
traordinary grace was necessary for him ; but Elias was under 
continual persecution. The trees that are exposed to storms, are 
strong and firm ; but those in the sunny vallies are brittle and easily 
blown down. We are directed to ask wisdom of God for the go* 
veming of ourselves in afflictions, ^^ that in patience we may pos- 
sess oar souls," and the turbulent passions may not cause rebel* 
lious dis(»der8, but thf sanctified mind may use afflictions for our 
spiritual and eternal good. And it. is as necessary to b^ hea- 
venty vrisdom for governing ourselves in prosperity, that when 
temptations are frequent, and favoured by our joyful afiections, 
which are equally vehement and exorbitant as the sad affections^ 
reason may keep the throne, and manage prosperity, so as we 
may obtain our blessed end. Such is the malice of satan, that 
he incessantly desires leave to tempt us, and love to our souls 
should make us pray continually for confirming grace against his 
temptations. Briefly, if the gnod things of this worid make us 
more humble and holy, more fearful to offend God, and careful 
to please him ; if they are motives to renew our homage and 
thankfiilness to him, if they are used in subordination to his glo- 
ry, they are the testimonies of las present favour, and the pled- 
ges of our fiitnre felicity. Our blessed Saviour keeps the best 
wine for Us obedient fiiends till the last. 

• iBUzeas cum maicno bonore Sc Kcoli dignitate prophetias donum habu- 
It: Bliat profttgw & penecaiat. 



S Cob. tii. 1. 


^^ # 0o> 

X HE great design oF God in his saving mercies^ is to trans- 
fonn us into the image of his unspotted holiness. We are elected 
to be holy ; redeemed to be holy ; called to be holy ; and at last^ 
we shall be received into heaven, " and made glorious in holiness^ 
without spot or blemish/' 

It was worthy of the descending Deity into this lower world, 
to instruct and persuade men, by his perfect rules and example, 
to be holy as God is holy in all manner of co|nversation« 

The enemy oi souls, in combination with the carnal mind, nse 
all their arts to cool our endeavours in following holiness ; and 
raise an army of objections to dismay us, and stop our progress 
to perfection. Sometimes the deceiver inspires a temptation 
with so. soft a breath, that it is not discerned : he suggests the 
counsel of Solomon, ^ be not righteous overmuch :" the inteiv- 
tion of the wise preacher, is to. direct us iii the exercise of com- 
passionate charity towards others, and not to censure them with 
rigour aiid severity for human frailties ; the tempter perverts his 
meaning, to make us remiss in religion and shy of strict holiness. 
Moral men value themselves upon their fair conversation ; they 
are not stained with foul and visible pollutions, but are exter- 
nally sober and righteous; and they will advise, that men should 
not take a surfeit of religion, but rise with an appetite ; that it 
is wisdom to use so much of religion as may quiet the clamoiu^ 
of conscience, secure reputation; and afford some colour of com- 
fort : but it is a spice of folly to be over religious, and justly 
exposes persons to derisionj as vainly nice and scrupulous. They 
commend the gplden mean, and under the pretence of temper, 

The objection in some part of it is specious, and apt to sw?iy 
the minds of men that do not attentively consider things, To 

\OL. II. T 


discover its false colour^ and to make a true and safe judgment 
of our duty, it will be useful to consider. 

It is true, there is a mediocrity between vicious extremes, 
wherein the essence of inferior moral virtues consists ; for they 
are exercised upon objects of limited goodness, and must be re- 
gulated both in our affections and actions, correspondently to 
the degrees of their goodness. Thus fortitude is in the middle, 
between base fear and rash boldness ; and the more firm and 
constant the habitual quality of fortitude is, the more eminent 
and praise-worthy it appears. But in spiritual graces, that raise 
the soul to God, whose perfections are truly infinite, there can 
be no excess. The divinest degrees of our love to God, and 
fear to offend him, our endeavours in their height and excellency 
to obey and please him, are our wisdom and duty. 

That part of the objection, that strict holiness will expose us 

to scorn, is palpably unreasonable. Did ever any artist bhish 

to excel in the art that he professes ? Is a scholar ashamed to 

excel in usefiil learning ? And shall a christian, whose high and 

holy calling obliges him to live becoming its dignity and purity, 

be ashamed of his accurate conversation? Can we be too like 

God in his holiness, his peculiar glory? Can that be matter of 

contempt, that is the supreme honour of the intelligent creature? 

A saint, when despised with titles of ignominy of' the carnal 

worid, should bind their scorns as a diadem about his head, and 

wear them as beautiful ornaments. The apostles rejoiced, that 

they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Christ. 

What reproaches did the Lord of Glory suiSer for us ? And what 

pride and folly is it, that we should desire to be ^orified by his 

iuffering reproaches, and not willingly endure reproach ibr his 

glory ? Our continual and ardent endeavours to rise to perfec* 

tion, commend us to our Sovereign and Saviour. A cold dead 

heathen is less offensive and odious to him than a lukewarm 


It is a common objection, that to live in all things according 
to rule, to walk circumspectly and exactly, to be oxifined to the 
narrow vi ay, will not only infringe, but desteoy our liberty. This 
is so precious a possession, that men vrill defend their liberty 
with their lives : an ingenuous person will rather wear a plain 
garment of his own, than a rich livery, the mark of servitude. 
But if men will appeal to their understandings, they will cleariy 


discern that the wordj Uberty, is abused, to give countehance to 
licentiousness. There is a free subjection, and a servile liberty : 
the apostle tells the Romans, <^ when ye were the servants of 
sin, ye were free from righteousness ; and being made free from 
sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 

The soul has two faculties, the understanding and will : the 
object of the understanding is truth, either in itself, or appear- 
ance ; the object of the will b goodness, either real or counter* 
feit. Liberty is radically }n the understanding, which freely de- 
liberates, and by comparative consideration, directs the will to 
choose good before evil ; and of good the greater, and of evil 
the less. When the understanding is fully illuminated of the 
absolute goodness of an object, without the least mixture of evil, 
and represents it to the will, it is an act retrograde in nature, 
and utterly repugnant to the rational appetite, to reject it. The 
indifference of the will proceeds from some defects in the object, 
or in the apprehension of it ; but when an infinite good is duly 
represented to the wiU, the choice is most clear and free. Of 
this there is an illustrious example in the life of Moses ; ^' he 
refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter ; choosing 
rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy 
(he pleasures of sin for a season : esteeming the reproach of 
Christ, greater riches than the treasures of Egypt : for he had 
an eye to the recompence of reward." His enlightened mind 
considerately pondered the eternal reward with the transient 
pleasure of sin^ and his judgment was influxive on his will, to 
choose the glorious fiiturity, before the false lustre of the court. 
What is the goodly appearance of the present tempting world, 
but like the rainbow, painted tears? The heavenly felicity is 
^bstantial aiid ^isiying. Where the spirit of the Lord is, 
there is liberty. He dispels the darkness of the mind, and by 
its illuminating giadance, turns the will to accept and embrace 
those objects thaC exceedingly satisfy its vast desires and capa- 
city. This is an eminent, part of the divine image engraven on 
the soul in its creation : for God is sovereignly free, '^ and does 
all things according to the counsel of his will." Our servitude 
VTBS by seduction $ Eve being deceived, was in the transgression. 
Our liberty is restored by light ; the truth makes us free. The 
necessity that proceeds from external compulsion, and from the 
indeliberate and strong sway of nature, that determines to one 

T 2 


thing, is inconsistent with liberty. The understanding is ft fVee 
faculty in the apprehension of objects, the will free in the elec- 
tion of them t but in the consequent choice of the will, that in- 
fallibly proceeds from light and love, the perfection of its free- 
dom consists. Wlien God and his commands are duly repre- 
sented in their amiable excellencies, the love of the Lawgiver, 
and his laws^ certainly produces obedience to it with choice and 
complacency. David expresses his affection to the divine law, 
and the principal motive of it, ^' I love thy law, because it is 
pure." As the hands are free when they are directed by the eyes 
and will ; so a saint, that with understanding and voluntary ve- 
neration worships God, and obeys his precepts, *' which is our 
reasonable service,'' exercises and enjoys the truest, sweetest, 
and most honourable liberty : * *^ if the Son make you free, you 
are free indeed.*' Freedom and felicity are inseparable : servi- 
tude is the fatal concomitant of vice. When a philosc^her w as 
asked, vihat advantage he had obtained by the study of philoso- 
phy, he replied, ^ this among others, that if all the lavts were 
cancelled, a philosopher would live as uniformly, according to 
the rules of decency and honesty, as before.' A christian that 
has an inviard principle of divine knowledge and love, without 
the constraint of penal laws, will from a clear judgment and 
election obey God \i ith delight and constancy. 

There is a servile liberty. There are three mistakes in the 
world of eternally destructive consequence to the souls of men ; 
concerning wisdom and folly, happiness and misery, liberty and 
servitude. Some are seeming wise, whose ignorance is esteemed 
judgment ; such are the worldly wise, who contrive and labour 
to lay up treasures for themselves here, but are not rich towards 
God. Our Saviour gives them a true character, ^^ they are fools." 
Others are esteemed happy in enjoying what they love ; whereas 
if they set their love upon those objects that deserve not that 
principal affection, but are pernicious to their souls, they are 
truly miserable in the fruition of them. It is the sign of God's 
severe displeasure to give men up to satisfy their vile affections. 
Some are seeming tree, whose bondage is esteemed liberty. 
Carnal men presume of their liberty, because they follow the 

* Id regno oati lumus, parere Deo est regnare* In virtate posita est yer^ 
Criicitaa. 8em. de Fiia BtuiM^ 


swing of their appetites : ^' but they serve divers hists and plea* 
8ures, and are under the dominion of satan^ taken captive by 
him at his will/' As if a horse that takes a career in a pleasant 
plain were free when the bridle is in his mouth, and he is curbed 
by the rider at his pleasure. The apostle^ say of idolaters, 
^^ that what they sacrificed to idols, they sacrificed to devils ;" 
it is equally true, that when men serve their lusts, they serve the 
devil, constnictively doing things pleasing to him. 

When man turned rebel against God, he became an absolute 
slave : his understanding is now in ^' the chains of darkness,'' un« 
der ignorance and errors; his will is enslaved by infamous lusts; 
his affections'are fettered by insnaring objects. If '' no man can 
serve two masters," how wretched is their condition, whose nu* 
merous and fierce passions exact things contrary, and are their 
tyrants and tormentors continually. St. Peter speaks of impure 
persons, " their eyes are full of the adulteress ; they cannot 
cease from sin :" this is true of all sinners, whose hearts are pos* 
sessed by any kind of lusts. They are hurried by them against 
the reason and rest of their minds, to the commission of sin ; 
-which is the most cpiel and contumelious bondage ; and the 
more shameful because voluntary. But they are insensible of 
those subtle chains that bind the soul, and think themselves to 
be the only free jnen : as when the angel awakened Peter, to re* 
lease him from prison, he ^^ thought he saw a vision ;" so when 
they are excited to go out of their dark prison, they think the 
freedom of duty, the gracious liberty of the sons of God, to be 
a mere imagination. Like one in the paroxysm of a fever, who 
sings and talks high, as if he were in perfect health, but after 
the remission of the disease, feels his strength broken with paius, 
and himself near death : thus within a little while, when the fu* 
nous precipitancy of their passions is cooled and checked by 
aflSictions, they will feel and sink under the weight of their woful . 

Another objection, and pernicious fallacy of the tempter, 
whereby he frights many young persons from the strictness of a 
holy life, is, that religion is a sour severity ; they must renounce 
all delights, turn capuchins, if they seriously engage themselves 
in a religious course, and resolve to strive after pure and perfect 
holiness. But there is neither truth nor terror in this suggestion 
to the enlightened mind. It is impossible true holiness should 

T 3 


make men joyless, and in the least degree miserable, which ia in 
the highest perfection in God, who is infinitely joyful and blessed. 
Religion does not extinguish the joyful affections, but transplant 
them from Egypt to Canaan. The pleasures of sin (which are 
only forbidden) in the first taste, ravish the carnal senses : but 
like Jonathan's honey, they kill by tasting, when the sweetness 
is vanished, the sting remains. Whereas the joy that proceeds 
from the exercise and improvement of divine grace, <' and the love 
of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost, the eternal 
Comforter,'' the present reward of it is vital and reviving, the 
foretaste of eternal life. It is true, carnal men are strangers to 
this joy, they cannot relish divine delights ) but the Spirit of 
God, like a new soul, inspires the sanctified with new thoughts, 
new inclinations, new resolutions, and qualifies them, that spiri- 
tual objects are infinitely pleasing to them. And whereas carnal 
pleasures are but for a season, and within a little while die, and 
end in bitter distaste, (Amnon's excessive love was suddenly 
turned into more excessive hatred) spiritual joys are increasbg 
and ever satisfying. Now it is an infallible rule to direct our 
choice, that is true happiness, which the more we enjoy, the 
more highly we value and love. 

I thought it fit to show the unreasonableness of these objec- 
tions, that are perverse and pcSsonous, which if not removed, 
would blast my design and desired success, in the subsequent dis- 
courses. But it is more easy to prove our duty to follow holiness, 
than to persuade men to practise it. I shall only add, that the 
reward of holiness being so excellent and eternal, our zeal should 
encounter and overcome all difficulties that oppose our obtaining 
'^' The strongest and swiftest wings are too slpw to dispatch 
our way to heaven. The Lord give his blessing to make sacred 
truths effectual upon the souls of men. 




2 Cor. vii. !• 

*< Hating therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let ns cleanse ourselves 
from all filthioess of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness lo the fear of God." 


The coherenca opened. The iaconsisteocy and danger of the commanloD of 
christians with infidels. The dignity of believers prohibits it. The pro- 
mise of ditine communion obliges them to separate from contagious con- 
▼erse with nnbeUtvers. The infereace from those motives* The clean- 
sing from all poUutloos, and perfecting holiness, purifying themselTcs is 
the duty of christians. A principle of holiness, actuated by the supplies 
of the Spirit, is requisite to enable christians to purify themselves. The 
pothstlons of the flesh from the deslriag and the angry appetite. They de. 
fl1e<and debase bassan nature. The dificolty of pnrifyiog from nncleaa- 
ness, and the causes of it specified. Means for pnrifyiog. 

X HE words are argmnentative^ inferrii^ the indiapensable duty 
of chrifltiaiis to preserve themselves untainted from the idolatrous 
impure world, by the considera^on of the promises specified in 
the pcecedent chapter: ''What fellowship hath righteousness 
witbunrighteousne^? And what communion hath light with. 

T 4 


darkne«8S ? And what concord hath Christ with Belial ? What 
part hath he that believes with an infidel ?" The form of ques- 
tions evidently implies the absolute inconsistency between them ; 
and the danger from such communion. We are not in paradise, 
where the viper and the asp were innocent, and might be handled 
without danger from their poison ; but in a contagious world, full 
of corrupters and corrupted. He represents the dignity of true 
believers : ** Ye are the temple of the living God : he hath said, 
I will dwell in them ; and walk in them ; and I will be their 
God, and they shall be my people." The unclean* spirits that 
possessed the man spoken of in the gospel, dwelt among the 
tombs, the repositories of the dead, in their corruption and rot- 
tenness ; but the Holy Spirit dwells only in living temples, purified 
and adorned for his habitation. The apostle enforces his advice; 
*^ ^Vherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, 
saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will re- 
ceive you, and will be a Father to you, and ye shall be my sons 
and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." The promise contains 
the highest honour, and most perfect felicity of the reasonable 
• creature. 

In the text are observable, 

L The title wherewith the apostle addresses to them, ** Having 
therefore, dearly beloved." 

II. The matter of the address : to strive after pure and perfect 

III. The motives: the exceeding great and precious promises 
assured to them from the mouth of God himself. 

I. The title, ** Having therefore these promises dearly belo- 
ved." The title expresses the truth and strength of the affec- 
tion. To recommend his counsel to their acceptance. Light 
opens the mind by clear conviction, but love opens the heart, by 
persuasive insinuation, and makes an easy entrance into the soul* 
He seems to divest himself of his apostolical commission, and in 
the mildest and most tender manner mixes entreaties with his 
authority : as in a parallel place, '' I beseech you brethren by 
the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, &c." 1 Cor. 1. 10. 

II. The matter of the address : the cleansing us from 9II pol- 
lution of flesh and spirit,- and the changing us into the unspotted 
image of God's holiness. These are the comprehensive sum of 
renewing grace, and are inseparable. The Holy Spirit worbi 


both together in the saints ; as the sun, by the same emanation 
of light, dispels the darkness of the air, and irradiates it. Bt^ 
they are not merely different notions, but different parts of sane* 
tification. For the corruption of nature is not a mere privation 
of holiness, as darkn^ess is of light, but a contrary inherent quali- 
ty; the principle of all sinful evils. We are commanded " to put 
off the old man, and to put on the' new : to cease to do evil, and 
to learn to do well.'' Col. 3. Isa. 1. 

We must purify ourselves from the pollutions of flesh and spi- 
rit. The soul and body, in the state of depraved nature, are like 
two malefactors festened with One chain, and by their strict 
union infect one another. The pollution is intimate and radical, 
diffusive through all the powers of the soul, and members of the 
body. <^ The spirit of the mind," the supreme faealty, with the 

• will and affections, want renewing. We are commanded to per- 
fect holiness ; to aspire and endeavour after our original holiness, 
and to be Idways advancing, till we arrive at the final consum- 
mate state of holiness in heaven. 

<< In the fear of God.'' That grace has an eminent causality 
and influence in this sanctification of christians. It is a powerful 
restraint from sins in thoughts and acts, in solitude and society, 
to consider Crod's pure and flaming eye, that sees sin wherever it 
is, in order to judgment. Holy fear emntes us to exercise every 
grace, and perform every duty, in that manner, that we may be 
approved and accepted of God. 

III. The motive arises from the excellency of the promises, 
and the qualifications requisite for the obtaining them. It is 
promised, -*' that God wiU dwefi in us, and walk in us ;" whose 
gracious presence is heaven upon earth. Strange condescension! 
that the God of glory should dwell in tabernacles of day; far 
greater than if a king should dwell in a cottage with- one of his 
poor subjects. He will adopt us into the line of heaven : '' I 
will be your Father, and ye shall be my- smis and daughters." 
The qualifications are, tht purifying oursehres from all defile- 
ments, and striving to be entirely holy. By the order of God, , 
every leper was to be exchided tnm the camp of Israel ; and. will 
he have communion with the souls of men, overspread with the 

• leprosy, and covered with the ulcers of sin? - There is a special 
emphasis m the words, << Saith the Lord Almighty." Without 

*the cieansiDg and renewing of sinners. Omnipotence cannot re-- 


ceive tbem into, his favour and family. There are &tal bits fix- 
ed^ which the unholy cannot break through. 

The proposition that arises from the words is this : <' The 
promises of the gospel lay the most powerful obligations on 
christians^ to strive for the attainment of pure and perfect holi- 

In the management o{ this subject, I wiU first consider the du- 
ty as acted upon ourselves. 

2. The parts of it : the deansing fi^ni tin, and perfecting ho- 

3. The force of the motives ; the precious and invaluable pro- 
mises of the gospel : and make application of them* 

I« The duty. We are commanded to cleanse ourselves, which . 
is oar duty, and implies an ability derived from Christ to perform 
it. It may seem strange that mmi, in their depraved state, 
ahould be excited to renew themselves : ^^ Who can bring a dean 
thing out of an undean ? not one ;" Job 14. 4. yet ibis duty is 
frequently inculcated upon us. " Wash ye, make ye dean ; put 
away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes.'' Isa. 1. 
'^ O Jerusalem, wadi thy heart from wickedness ;. how long shall 
vain thoughts lod^ vrithin thee ?" Jer. 2. . <^ Cleanse your 
hearts ye sinners; purify your hearts ye double-minded.'^ Jam. 
4. A dear answer may be given to this. 

1. There is no productive principle of holiness in lean's cor- 
rupt nature, but strong aversions from it, and indinations to what 
is cimtrary to it. There is a ivi^erable impotency.to all spiritual 
good, better expressed with teajrs. than words. It is natural and 
hereditary, more difficultly cured than what i9 acddental. God 
is the sole efficient in the regeneration of (he so^l, .and the first 
inft»i<m of grace, and the principal in the growth and improve- 
ment of it. The Holy Spirit does, not work grac^. in us, as the 
sun forms gold in the earth, without any sense in qiirsdves of his 
operations ; but we fed tbem in all our facplti^ congruously to 
their nature, enlightening the mind, exdting.the consdence, tam- 
ing the will, and purifying the affections. 

2. After a pinciple of life and holiness is planted .in us, we 
are, by a continual supply of strength firom Chriqft, assisted to 
exercise it in all the ac^ that are propet to th0 divine life. 
There is a resemblance between the fruits of theefurth, and the 
graces of a christian : seed must be first sowed in the earthy be- 


fore it aprings out of it ; and when it is sowed^.the natural qualir 
ties of the earthy coldness and dryness, are so contrary to fructi- 
fying, that without the influences of the heavens, the heat of the 
sun, and showers of ran, the seed would be lost in it. Grace k 
drawn forth into flourishing and fniitfulnefis by the irradiatittg 
and warm influx of the Spirit. But we are subordinate agents 
in carrying on the work of grace to perfection. The i^postle ex- 
horts us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling ;.for 
it is God works in us to will and to do. Carnal men abuse the 
fireeness of grace to looseness and security, and the power of 
grace to negUgmee and lasiness. Our dependance on God in- 
fers the use of means to save our souls. Our Saviour commands 
us to '^ watch and pray, that we may not ent^ into temptation.'^ 
To watch without prayer is to presume upon our own strength : 
to pray without watching is to presume upon the grace of God* 
The Lord's prayer b the rule of our duty and desires : we are ^o^ 
gaged by every petition to co-operate and concur with divine 
grace to obtain what we pray for. Naamaa presumed he should 
be immediately cleansed from his leprosy by the prayer of EIi« 
aha; but he was commanded to go and wash himself in Jordan 
seven times for his purification. A stream preserves its crystal 
clearness by continual running ; if its course be stof^ed, it will 
stagnate and putrefy. The purity of the soul is preserved by the 
fxmstant exercise of habitual grace. In short, we must be jea- 
lous of ourselves, to prevent our being surprised by sin, and con- 
tinually address ^ to die throne of grace, for the obtaining grace 
and mercy in time of need;" and by iaith ap{)ly the blood of 
sprinkling, that has a cleaatting efficacy. The death ct Christ 
meritoriously proeuies the spirit of life and renovation, and is the 
strongest engagement upon christians to mortify those sins that 
were the cause of his agonies and sufferings. 

IL The parts of it. The parU of the duty are to be consi* 
dered : the cleansing us from the defilements of flesh and spirit, 
and the perfcMcting holiness. 

First. The cleansing must be universai, as the pollution is: we 
<are directed to '^ deaose our hands, and pnrify our hearts," Jam. 
4. 8. that we may draw near to God with aceeptanee. It is ob^ 
aervable that, In a general seme, all sins are the works of the 
Aesh : whatever is not divine and spiritual is carnal, in the Ian- 
fudge of acriptuie* For since, the separation of men from God 


by the rebellious sin of Adatn, the soul is sunk into a mte of 
carnality^ seeking for satisfaction in lower things ; the two jarring 
opposite principles are flesh and spirit^ lusting against one ano- 
ther. It is as carnal to desire vain-glory, or to set the heart on 
riches, as to love sensual pleasures : for our esteem and lore are 
entirely due to God for his high perfections ; and it is a dispa- 
r^;enient to set them on the creatures, as if he did not deserve 
them in their most excellent degrees. Whatever things are be- 
low the native worth of the soul, and unworthy of its noblest 
operations, and are contrary to its blessed end, defile and vilify 
it. A more precious metal mixed with a baser, as silver with 
tin, is corrupted, and loses of its purity and value : but in a con- 
tracted sense sins are distinguished ; some are attributed to the* 
spirit, and some to the flesh. The spirit is always the principle 
agent, and sometimes the sole agent in the commission of sm^ 
and the sole subject of it : of this sort are pride, infidcfity, envy^ 
malice, &c. There are other sins, wherein the body conspires 
and concurs in the outward acts : they are specified by the apos«> 
tie, and distingubhed according to the immediate springs from 
whence they flow; the desiring and the angry appetites. *^ The 
works of the flesh are manifest, adultery, fornication, undean- 
ness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emu- 
lations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, . envyings, murders, 
drunkenness,, revellings, and such Hke.'' Gal. 5. 19, 20^ 21. 
Col. 3. 5, 8. The cleansing firom carnal foul lusts, is like the 
washing one that is fallen into the mire, which is a mixture of 
the two lowest elements, heavy earth and slippery water, .that 
defile by the touching them. The more spiritual lusts are like 
the stormy winds, and smoky fire, in which the two higher ele- 
ments are contained. Pride swells the mind, and causes violent 
agitations in the thoughts : anger darkens and fires it. The lusts 
of the flesh are tenacious by the force of the imagination, when 
conversant upon objects presented by the senses ; but the lusts of 
the spirit are formed and wrought in its own forge^ without th* 
concurrence of the sensual facylties. 

The lusts of the desiring appetite, intemperance and unclean- 
ness, are so polluting, that the consciousness of such crimes will 
cover the guilty with confiision. Of all the debaung titles, 
whereby the devil is characterized in scripture, none is more vili-^ 
fying than that of the unclean spii-it : this is attributed to hiQi 

t7l41?OLBB1> AND SKWltCSD. 301 

ftotn th6 general nature of sin. But there is sueh a notorious 
turpitude in lusts grossly carnal^ that they defile and defame the 
sinner in a special manner^ not only as a rebel against God, but 
the servant of corruption. The understanding is the leading su- 
preme faculty : sense that rules in beasts, should serve in man. 
Now what does more vilify him, than to be dissolved in filthy 
pleasures, to be drowned in a sea of wine ; than a life sensual 
and dissolute, drawn out in a continual connexion of dreggy de- 
lights ? Gaming succeeds feasting, the ball follows the comedy, 
the impurities of the night the intemperance of thcf day. Sen- 
sual lusts degrade men from the nobility of their nature, the dig- 
nity of their condition, as if they were all flesh, and had not a 
spirit of heavenly original, to regulate and restrain their lower 
appetites within the limits of purity and honour. The slaves of 
sense ^' are like the beasts that perish.^' Psal. 49. He that is a 
beast by choice, is incomparably more vile than a beast by na- 
ture. It would infect the air to speak, and pollute the paper to 
write, their secret abominations, wherein they lie and languish; 
imd it is natural for men to die in those sins wherein they live^ 
they seal their own damnation by impenitence. 

How difficult • the purging of tfa^se passions is, experience 
makes evident The radicated habits of uncleanness and intem- 
perance are rarely cured. It is the vain boast of the Roman phi- 
Imopher, * Nobis ad nostrum arbitrium nasci Ucei : but we 
must first die to ourselves, before we can be bom of ourselves : 
the forsaking a sinfiil course is necessarily antecedently to the 
ordering the conversation according to the rules of virtue. How 
few instances are there, of persons recovered from the practice 
Bnd bondage of those lusts, by the vrise counsels of philosophers! 
It is in vain to represent to them, that sensual lusts are prolific 
of many evils ; that intemperance is pregnant with the seeds of 
many diseases : it prepares matter that is inflammable into fevers ; 
it is attended with the gout, stone, cholic, dropsy, &c. which are 
incomparably more tormenting, than the pernicious pleasures of 
taste are delightfiil. Represent to them the foul progeny of las- 
civiousness, rottenness in the body, wasting the estate, infamy, 
to sacrifice what is most valuable for the sake of a vile woman ; 

• Soi. de brevit* vit« 

302 spiarrvAL fbrfbction 

the wiMst considerations are lost upon them^ they are too weaft 
a bridle to check their brutish lusts. 

But are not these lusts easily subdued in christians, who have 
the advantage of clearer light, stronger motives, and more liberal 
assistance of grace, to rescue them from the power of sin? 

The wise observer tells us, '* I find more bitter than death, the 
woman whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands are as 
bands : whoso pleases God, shall escape from her, but the sinner 
•hall be taken by her. Behold this have I found, saitb the 
preacher, cdmting one by one to find out the account, but I find 
not: one man of a thousand have I found, but a woman among 
all these have I not found/' EccL 7. 26, 27> 28. 

It is astonishing, that for a short dream of pleasure, men 
should despise heaven and hell, what is most desirable, and moat 
fearful. How just is the reproach mixed with compassion and 
indignation, ^' how long ye simple ones will you love simplicity^ 
and fools hate ktfowledgep" Prov. i. 

It is worth the inquiry, how men are sottishly seduced to live 
nnchastely and intemperately, against the reason and rest of their 

1. The great temptation to sin is the love of pleasure ; accord- 
ingly, the degrees of sensual pleasure, being more intense in 
those carnal faculties that are for the preserving and propagating 
life, espedally when heightened by the camai fancy, the law of 
the members prevails against the law of the mind. It is said of 
unclean persons, whose eyes are full of the adulteress, they can- 
not cease from sin ; they cannot disentangle themselves from the 
embraces of the circling serpent. 

2. Carnal pretences are made use of to defend, or at least 
excuse the sin of intemperance, which makes it more easily in- 
dulged, and pernicious in eflect. Men, if it were possible, 
would rin without sin, without discovering the guilt and turpi- 
tude of it, that they may enjoy their pleasures without accusing, 
xecoiltng thoughts, which \iiU turn the sweetest wine into vine- 
gar. Now since meats and drinks are necessary ibr our vital 
euppoit, and the measure is uncertain and various, according to 
the dispositions and capacities of men's bodies, intemperate per- 
sons feed high, and drink deep, without reflection or remorse^ 
and pretend it is for the refreshment of nature. 


3. Fleshly lusts steal into the throne by degrees. An excess 
of wickedness strikes at first sight with horror* No prodigal de-* 
Bigned to waste a great estate in a day; yet many from immense 
riches have fallen into extreme poverty. This expence is for 
his pleasure^ this for his honour^ this will not be ruinous ; thus 
proceeding by d^ees^ till all be squandered away, he becomes 
voluntarily poor. 

An intemperate person begins with lesser measures, and is not 
frequently cyvertaken : conscience for a time resists, and suqiend^ 
die entireness of his consent to the temptation : he drinks too 
much for his time, for his health and estatej but he will not to- 
tally quench his reason : yet by degrees he becomes hardened, 
and fireely indulges vhis appetite till he is drowned in perdition. 
A lascivious pefson begins with impure glances, tempting w<Nrds 
and actions, and proceeds to unclean mixtures. 

4. Sensual lusts stupify conscience ; they kill the soul in the 
tye, and extinguish the directive, and reflexing powers. *' Wine 
and women take, away the heart /' that it is neither vigilant nor 
tender. Chastity and temperance, joined with prayer to the 
Father of lights clarify and brighten the' mind, and make it re* 
ceptive of sanctifying truths ; but carnal . predominant passions 
sully and stain the understanding by a nistural efficieilucy, and by 
a moral and meritorious efficiency. When the spirits that are 
requisite for intellectual operations, are wasted for the use of the 
body, the mind is indisposed for the severe exercise of reason. 
Although the dupbaitions of the body are not directly operative 
upon ,the spirit, yet in {heir present state of union, there is a 
strange sympathy b^nveen the constitution of the one, and the 
conceptioBs and inclinations of the other. Luxury and lust fasten 
a rust and foulness on the mind, that it cannot see sin. in its 
odious deformity^ hor virtue in its unattaintable beauty. They 
raise a thick.mist that darkens reason, that it cannot discern 
approaching dangers. The judicative (acuity is by the righteous 
judgmtotnof God, impaired and jcomipted^. that it does not seri- 
cmdiy.oomider the descent and worth of the soul, its duty and 
accoiints Jbr all things done in the body ; but as ^ the spirit in 
man were for no othor use, but to animate the organs of intem- 
perance and lust, they follow their, pleasures with greediness. * 

* Vox & amor ▼inumque nihil moderabile 8fiadeDt| Ilia padore caret, 
liber amorqne meto* Ovii, 


It is said of the young man, enticed by the flatteries of the har* 
let, that he goes after her like an ox crowned with garlands, 
that insensibly goes to be sacrificed. He looks to the present 
pleasure, without considering the infiatmy, the poverty, the dis- 
eases, the death and damnation, that are the just consequents of 
his sin. The sensual are secure : the effects of carnal lusts wne 
visible in the darkness of heathenism. 

Lusts alienate the thoughts and desires of the soul from con- 
verse with God : his justice makes him terrible to the conscience, 
and holiness distastefiil to the affections of the unclean. We 
read of the Isradites, they were so greedy of the onions and gar- 
lic, and flesh-pots of Egypt, that they despised the food of an- 
gels ; the manna that dropped from heaven. Till the soul be 
defecate from the dregs of sense, and refined to an angelic tem- 
per, it can ^^ never taste how good the Lord is,'' and will not 
forsake sensual enjoyments. The conversion of the soul pro- 
ceeds from the enl^htened mind, and the renewed will^ ravished ^ 
with divine delights that overcome all the pleasures of sin. 
There are, for our caution, recorded in the scripture, two fearful 
examples of the enchanting power of lust. Samson enticed by 
his lust, became a voluntary slave to a wretched harioC, that first 
quenched the light of his mind, and then the light of his body, 
and exposed him to the cruel scoim of his enemies. Solomon by 
indulging his sensual appetite, lost his wisdom, and was induced 
by his idolatrous concubines, to adore stocks and stones ; and 
became as very an idol -as those he worshipped, ^^ that have eyes 
and see not, ears and hear not :'' he rebelled against God, who 
had made him the richest and wisest king in the world, and mi- 
raculously revealed his goodness to him. Dreadful consequence 
of sensuality ! 

5. There is a special reason that makes the recovery of the 
sensual to sobriety and purity, to be almost impossible. The in- 
ternal principle of repentance, is the enlightened conscience, re- 
flecting upon past sins, with heart-rbreaking sorrow and detesta- 
tion. This is declared by God concerning Israel ; ** then shall 
ye remember your evil ways, and your doings not good, and shaU 
loath yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities, and your 
abominations." Ezek. 36. 31. The bitter remembrance of sin i$ 
the first step to reformation. Now there are no sinners more 
averse and incapable of such reflections, than those who have 


been immersed in the delights of sense. The unclean wretch 
remembers the charming objects^ and exercise of his lusts with 
pleasure ; and when his instrumental faculties are disabled by 
sickness or age, for the gross acts, he repeats them in his fancy, 
renews his guilt, and the sin is transplanted from the body to 
the soul. The intemperate person remembers with delight the 
wild society wherein he has been engaged, the rich wines wherein 
he quenched his cares, the ungracious wit and mirth that made 
the hours slide away without observation. * Now it is a rule 
eoneemkig remedies applied for the recovery of the mck, that 
physic is ineffectual without the assistance of nature ; but the 
case of the sick is desperate, when the only itie<Uei&e, proper for 
hia cure, inerenaes the disease, and brings death more certainly, 
and speedily. Those who are defiled by carnal lusts have a spe-* 
' cial curse ; they provoke God to withdraw his grace, according 
to that fearfiil threatening, ^-^ my spirit shall not always strive 
with man, for he is flesh ;" and aftw so desperate a forfeiture, 
they are seldom redeemed and released from the chains of dark- 
ness wherein they are bound. Accordingly Solomon frequently 
repeats this observation ; <^ the strange woamn flatters with her 
words : her house inclines to the dead, and h» paths to the dead. 
None that go upto. her return again, neither take they hold of 
the path of life. The mouth of k strange woman is a deep pit : 
he that is abhorred of the Lord shall irreeoverabty fall therein." 

If it be swd, that thia rq^reeentalion of the deploradile state of 
the undeao, seems to cut off all hopes of their redaiming and 
salvation, and may induce despair: I answer, with our Sttviour, 
in another instance, ^^ with men it is impossible, and not with 
God; ior with God all things are pessible/' Mark ID. 27. He 
can open and cleanse, adorn and beautify, the most obstinate 
and impure heart* He can, by omi^ratenl^^ace, change a 
brutish soul into an angjelie, and plant a divine nature, <' that 
abl^ora and escapes the corruption in the world tlirough lust." 
2 Pet. 1. 4. Notwithstanding the severity of the threatening, 
yet the divine mercy and grace has been exercised and magnified 
in the renewing such polluted creatures. The apostle tells the 
Corinthians, <^ they were fornicators and adulterers, but 

« RepngnaDle natovs aihil nwiliciBO proficiet. GrfSr. 
vol,. II. U 

806 sPiRrruAL psrfection 

were washed^ sanctified- and justified in the name of the Lord 
Jesus Christ." 

1. Let them address their requests to God, that he would 
cleanse them fi-om the guilt of their sins in the blood of Christ, 
the only fountain of life ; -and ^ baptize them with the Holy 
Ghost as with fire/^' to purge away their dross and pollutions. 
An unholy life is the offspring of an unclean heart. The loose 

( vibrations of the^ impure eye, the enticing words of the impure 
tongue, the external caresses and incentiTes of lust, are fmm the 
heart. The heart must be purified, or the hands cannot ^ 

2. Suppress the first risings of sin in the thoughts and desires. 
Sins at first are easily resisted ; but indulged for a time, are 
difficultly retracted. 

3. Abstun from ail temptations to these sins. As wax near 
the fire is easily mdted, so the carnal alleetions are suddenly 
kindled by tempting objects. The neglect of this duty fills the 
world with so many incorrigible sinners, and hell with so many 
lost souls. Men venture to walk ammig snares and serpents 
widiout fear, and perish for the negleet of cireumspectioB. 

4. Do not presume that you will forsake those sins hereafter, 
which you are unwiHii^ to forsake at present. There is in many, 
a conflict between eonviction and corruption : they love sui, and 
hate it ; they delight in it, and are sorry for it ; they caoaot 
live without it, nor with it, in several respects : new to iiuiet 
conscience, and indulge their lusts, they please themeehee with 
resolutions of a fiitui^ reformation. The tempter often excitaa 
men to eonsent for once, and obtains his aios : but it is a vo- 
luntary distraction to think men mxj, without apparent danger, 
yield to a present temptation^ resolving to resist future tempta- 
tions : for if when the strength is entire, a temptation capthratea 
a person, how much more easily will he be kept in bondage 
when the enemy is more tyrannous and usurping, more bold and 
powerfol, and treads upon his neck, and he is more disabled to 
rescue himself? The enlightened nigral conscience is armed 
gainst sin; and if men regarded its dictates, if they believed 
and valued eternity, they might preserve themselves from many 
defilements : but God has never promised to recover sinners by 
special grace, who have neglected to make use of common grace. 


In short, consider what is more torm^ting than all the pleasures 
of sin, that are hut for a season, can be delightful^ the reflection 
of the guilty accusing conscience, and the terrible impression of 
an angry God for e? er« 

CHAP. 11. 

Anser is m lui of the Heah. No paision Icm capable •£ couiei. Difedioat 
to preveot its rise and reign. Motives to extioguish It. The lost of the 
eyes, and pride of life, are joined with the laits of the fleth. Covetousnrst 
eoosldered. It is radically in (be andentandtiaff, prloclpally in fbe will, 
TirtnaUy ia the aetions. The love «f it produces naay viei<Mis afcctlaat. 
It Is discovered io gettiag, saving, and using an estate. The difficolty «f 
caring covetonsness, made evident from the causes of it; and the unsuc- 
cestfalness of means in order to it. It is the root of all evH. Exclodet 
from heaTen. It is the most osfaaaoaabla paarian. Tha pmeot world 
caanot alford perfection or s a ti a f acHoa to the Imaiortal soul, Th« prap^ 
means to mortify covetoasness. 

Secondly. AnGER is another lust of the lesk Of all the 
passions none is less capabk of counsel, nor more lebeiKavs 
against the empire of reason : * it daritens the mind^ and causes 
snch a fieree agitatioii of the spbits^ as when a storm fllb the air 
with black doudSy and tcnrible flashea- of figktning. It often 
breaks fdrth so suddenly, tJnt as some acute dJaettseSy if checked 
at first, bfecome moro violeiit^ thete is no tfaaa for remedy, nor 
place for cure ; so there b such an irrevocable precipitancy of 
Hat pasMona, tkat the endeaTonr to repreas tlieir Any, enrages 
them. It is astoniahing What enoniioua oxoaaaes tod miaehiefe 
are caused by it i How aoany houses are turned into dens of 
dragons, hour many kiiigdoma into ieUs of >bIood, by this fietee 

To prevent its rise and reign, the most necessary counsel is, 
if possible, to quench the fimt ^ariu that appear, which are 
seeds pregnant with fire. . But tf it be kilidlad da not Csed the 

* Nescio atruA nagis detestabile vitiuio sit, ac defbniie," Sen. ife Tp* 

V 2 


fire by exasperating words. A pradent siletice will be mcNte ef- 
fectual to end a quarrel, than the most sharp and piercing reply 
that confounds the advei-sary. Julius Caesar would never assault 
thme enemies with arms^ whom he could subdue by hunger. * 
He that injuriously reviles us, if we revile not a^rain, and he has 
not a word from us to feed his rage, will cease of himself ; and 
like those who die with pure hunger, will tear himself. He- 
zekiah commanded his counsellors not to say a word to Rab* 

Try by gentle and meek addresses to compose the ruffled minds 
of those who are provoked. It is the observation of the wisest 
of men, '* that a soft answer breaks the bones :" it is usually 
successful to make stubborn spirits compliant. Indeed some are 
so perverse in their passions, that the miMest words will incense 
|hem; no submission, no satisfaction will be accepted; their 
anger causes mortal and immortal hatred. But these are so for 
from being christians, they are not heathens ; but divested pf all 

If wngtr has rushed into the bosom, that it may not rest there, 
cancel the remembrance of the provocation. The continual re- 
flecting in the thoughts upon an injury, hinders reconciliation. 
The art of oblivion, if practised, would prevent those resent- 
ments that eternize quarrels, f For this end, let us consider 
wiiat may lessen the offence in our esteem : in particular, if veiy 
injmioiia words an spoken against us by one in a transport of 
aogerj they should be more easily despised, when they seem 
more justly pitivoking; for Aey proceed from rage, not from 
reason ; and no person, that is of a wise and sober mind, wiU re- 
gard them, but as wocds spdie by a nek man in the height of a 

Now to make us eare6d to prevent or allay this pasRon^ it will 
be requisite to coaaider the indmation and sway cf our natures; 
aonae as soon take fire as dry thonss, and retain it as knotty 
wood. Now it is a fundamental nde of lifie, that our weakest 
part must be guarded with the most jealousy, and fortified with 

* Idem ease elbl contiliam adYerms hAtienl, qaod pleritqiie medicit contra 
vMa corpof HID : iAmm poUnt qiiam ferro sopenwdi. 

f Qnare fert agri rabiem ft phenetici verba ? Kanpe qaia netclre vidca- 
tar qaid faciaat. Scn^ L$*de. Ira, 


tfce Strongest defence : there we must expect the most dangerous 
and frequent assaults of satan : there he will direct his battery, 
and place his scaling-ladders. Let therefore the following con- 
siderations settle in our hearts. How becoming an understand- 
ing creature it is to defer anger ? For the passions are blind and 
brutish } and without a severe command of them^ a man forfeits 
his natural dignity. What is more unreasonable^ than for a man 
deeply to wound himself^ that he may have an imaginary satis- 
faction in revenging an injury ? Into what a fierce disorder is 
the body put by anger ? The heart is inflamed, and the boiling 
spirits fly up into the head, the eyes sparkle, the mouth foams, 
and the other symptoms of madness follow* Inwardly, the an- 
gry man suflers more torments than the most cruel enemy caa 
inflict upon him. A man of understanding is of a cool spirit. 
It was the wise advice of Pyrrhus, * to those whom he instructed 
in the art of defence, * that they would not be angry : for anger 
would make them rash, and expose them to their adversary. 
He that hath mst role over his own spirit, is like a city broken 
down, and without walls;' and consequently exposed to i^ine 
and spoil by every enemy. Satan hath an easy entrance into 
them, and brings along with him a train of evils. We are there • 
fore directed to n'atch against anger, ** and not to give place to 
the devil." Eph. 4. Consider how honourable it is to pass by an 
oflence : it is a royalty of spirit ; an imitation of God, in " whose 
eyes the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit is of great price." 
The greater the oflence, the greater the glory of pardoning it. 
How pleasant it is t << The soul is possessed in patience ;" it is 
oool and quiet; there is a divine and heavenly consent of the 
mind, the will and aflections. f The breast of a dispassionate 
nan is the temple of peace. Besides, let us frequently remember 
our want of the divine compassion : there is no man so innocent, 
unless he absolutely forgets that he is a man, and his many frail- 
ties, but desires that the cause of his life, in the day of judg- 
ment, tnay be tried by the tribunal of clemency; for no man can 
then be saved but by pardon. The due consideration of this will 

* Ne ira&carentor. Ira enim perturbat artem : eC qaa neceat tanCuiDy 
noo qua careat atpicit. Sen, de lu 

f Nee est quisqaaoi cui tam talde innocentin saa placeat, at Don stare in 
c«a«pecttt clemeotiam paratam banaois erroriboi s^vdeat. Stm^ dt Ckm* 

V 3 


make us more hardly provoked, aod more easily appeased wkk 
those who ofiend us. 

Let us pmy for the descent of the dove-like Spirit into our 
bosoms, to moderate and temper our passions. '^ Meekness is 
the ihiit of the Spirit/' Gal. 5. 22. There is a natural meek- 
ness, the product of the temperament of the humours in the 
hody ; this is a rare felicity : there is a moral meekness, the 
praduct of education and counsel ; this is an amiable virtue : 
there is a spiritual meekness, that orders the passions according 
to the rule of the divine law, in conformity to our Saviour's ex- 
ample ; this is a divine grace, that attracts the esteem and love 
of God himself. This prepares us for communion with the God 
of peace here, and in heaven. 

To obtain this excdient frame of spirit, let us be humble in 
our minds, and temperate in our aflfections, with respect to those 
things that are the incentives of passion. The false valuations of 
ourselves, and the things of this world, are the inward causes of 
sinful auger. Contempt and disdain, either real or apprehended, 
and the crossing our desires of worldly enjdyments, inflame our 
breasts. Our Sariour tells us, he is <^ meek and lowly;" and 
meekness is joined with temperance, as the productive and 
conservative cause of it. He that doth not over-value himself, 
nor inordinately affect temporal things, is hardly provoked, and 
easily appeased* 

Thirdly, I will consider the two other vicious affections, joined 
by St. John with the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and 
pride of life ; from which we must be purged, or we are inca- 
pable of the blessed relation of God's children, and of his &voiir. 
The infamous character of the Cretians, is proper to the ambi- 
tious, covetous and voluptuous ; ^' that they are evil beasts, and 
slow bellies/' Covetousness is a difiusive evil, that corrupts the 
whole souL It is radically in the understanding, principaHy in 
the wiU and affections, virtually in the actions. 

1» It is radically in the understanding. Men are ibst en* 
chanted in their opinion of riches, and then chained by their af- 
fections. The worldly-minded overvalue riches, as the only real 
and substantial happiness; the treasures of heaven, which are 
spiritual and future, are slighted as dreams, that have no exist- 
ence but in the imagination. They see no convincing charms in 
grace and glory : the lustre of gold dazzles and deceives them ; 

UM^QLMtD AKD J»fFf>acSI>« 311 

they w31 not believe it is dirt. Gold is their sun and 9hield, that 
supplies them with the most desirable good things in their 
esteem, and preserves them from the most fearful evils. Gain is 
their main design^ and utmost aim : their contrivances and pro- 
jects are, how to maintain and improve their estates ; and the 
most pleasant exercise of their thoughts, is to look over their in* 

2. Covetousoess is prindpally in the will, the place of its resi- 
dence ; it is called, ^'tbe love of money :" there is an inseparable 
relation between the heart and its treasure. We are directed, 
^' If riches increase, set not your hearts upon them.'' It is ob- 
servable, that the eager desire to procure riches, is often subor- 
dinate to other vicious affections, either to prodigality or pride. 
Prodigality excites to rapine and extortion, from the violent mo- 
tive of indigence, that is its usual attendant, and from the con- 
spiring lusts of sensuality, which languish, unless furnished with 
new supplies and nourishment. Or pride urges to an excessive 
procuring of wealth, to maintain the state and pomp of the vain* 
glorious. Now if these vicious affections are corrected, the inor- 
dinate desire of riches will be suddenly cured. 

But covetousness, in its proper sense, implies the seeking rich* 
es for the love of them, not respectively to their use. From 
hence it is the most unreasonable affection, and more inexcusable 
than any that are derived from the carnal appetites. Now love 
is the leading affection, and produces, 

(1.) Immoderate desires of riches : for what is loved for itself, 
is desired with an unlimited appetite. Covetousness, ^' like the 
grave, never says it is enough.'' 

(2.) Immoderate joy in possessing them. A covetous man is 
raised and ravished vabove himself, in the sight of his treasures : 
be thinks himself happy without reconciliation and communion 
- with God, wherein heaven consists. It was a convincing evi- 
dence of Job's sacred and heavenly temper, that he did " not re- 
joice because his wealth was great, and his. hand had gotten 
much." Job 31. 25. 

(3.) Anxious fears of losing them. The covetous suspect eve- 
ry shadow, are fearful of every fancy, wherein their interest is 
concerned. They are vexed with the apprehensions, lest they 
should be oppressed by the rich, robbed by the poor, circumvented 
by the crafty, or suffer loss by innumerable, unforeseen and inevi- 

V 4 

312 6PIJtIT0AL PBRmcnoM 

table accidents. Content is the poor man's riches^ when posses* 
sion is the rich man's torment. 

(4.) Heart-breaking sorrow in being deprived of them. - Uyaa 
touch their treasure^ you wound their hearts. According to the 
rule in nature, what is possessed with joy, is lost with grief; and 
according to the degree of the desires, such will be the despair 
when they are frustrated. Poverty, in the account of the ca^ et- 
ous, is the worst of evils, that makes men absolutely desolate. 
Blind unhappy wretches ! Eternal damnation is the extremesC 
evil. It is infinitely better to be deprived of all their treasures^ 
and go naked into paradise, than to fall laden with gold into the 
pit <^ perdition. 

3. Covetousness is virtually in the actions ; which are to be 
considered either in the getting, sai^ng, or using an estate. 

(1.) The covetous are inordinate and eager in their endea* 
vours, to get an estate. They ''rise early, lie down late, and eat 
the bread of carefulness :" they rack their brains, waste their 
strength, consume their time ; they toil and tire themselves to 
gain the present world : for when lust counsels and commands, 
violence executes. Their eyes and hearts, their aims and endea- 
vours, are concentrated in the earth. '' Who will show us any 
good ?" is their unsatisfied inquiry. They are greedy and earn** 
est to obtain great riches ; for they measure their estates by their 
desires, and they will use all means, fair or firaudulent, to amass 
wealth. The lucre of giun is so ravishing, they will not make a 
stand, but venture into a house infected with the plague, to get 

(2.) They are sordid in saving, and contradict all divine and 
human rights by robbing God, their neighbours and themselves, 
of what is due to them. A covetous man robs God, the proprie- 
tor, in neglecting to pay what he has reserved for works of piety 
and charity, as an acknowledgment^ that all is firom his bounty : 
he robs the poor, his deputed receivers: he defirauds himself; for 
God bestows riches for the support and comfort of our lives, that 
we may with temperance and thanksgiving^ enjoy his benefits : * 
he wants what he has, as well as that he has not. 

(3.) They are defective in using riches. If they do works ex- 
ternally good, the spring and motive is vicious; and the ends 

* Avaro tarn deeit quod habct, quam quod ooo babef. 


more Burdy discover men than their actions^ They do not acts 
(rf piety and charity in obedience and thankfulness, to imitate 
and honour God, but sometimes for reputation and fame ; as the 
Pharisees, Mat. 6. (whose inseparable properties were pride and 
covetousness) dispensed their alms with the sound of a trumpet, 
to call the poor together. Other sins require shades and retire* 
ments, but pride to be conspicuously distinguished from others. 

The covetous sometimes do good^ to compound with God^ and 
appease conscience, for their unrighteous prociunng riches : their 
gifts are sin*ofiering8 to expiate the guilt contracted by ill-gotten 
goods, not thank-o£f«ring8 for God's free favours and benefits. 
To countenance their opinion and practice, they alledge our Sa- 
viour's counsel, <^ Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of 
unrighteousness, that when ye fail^ they may receive you into 
everlasting habitations :'' Luke 17. as if bestowing part of their 
unrighteous gains, would purchase discharge from the arreiars due 
to divine justice. Can there be a more monstrous perverting the 
lectitude of truth, to conform it to the crooked lusts of men ? * 
St. Austin speaking of this vain and impious presumption of some 
in his time, advises them, ^ Do not form such an unworthy con- 
ception of God, as were very unbecoming a good man : he is not 
to be bribed by oflferings of robbery, as if he were a party in the 
robbery : such alms and legacies are so far from propitiating him, 
that they cry for vengeance against those that offer them.' Yet 
how many, who have raised great estates by unrighteousness, 
cpiiet their accusing thoughts by resolving to bequeath some pious 
legacie8,,when they ^all leave the world ? And how often when 
a rich man dies, his last will dies with him, and is buried in ob- 
livion ? How can an unrighteous man confide in the conscience 
of another, when his own has been so unfaithftil ? Besides, that 
is only ours that remains when all our debts are paid j and till 
there be restitution of what by deceit or force was unjustly got, 
there is nothing to give. 

A covetous man is very dcffective in the manner of giving/ 
There are internal affections to be mixed with the acts of cha- 
rity. They must be done with readiness and alacrity; and not 
wrung out, as a man presses sour grapes : for there is no moral 
vahie in benefits so obtained. God loves a cheerfiil giver. Cha« 

* Noli talem tibi piosere deam. Jug. Sim, 35. di Verh Dom. 

314 s^tmrruAL nftncnoir 

rity mmt be nnoonstriiiied as wdl as unooiifiaid ; firee, and i»* 
apecting ail in their wants and nuseries. Now ocuvetottaBess makes 
<Hie as unwilUng to part with his nKmey, as to have the bloody 
the treasure of life, drawn from his veins. We are directed to 
put on bowek of oompaasiony and to remember them in boads^ 
as bound with them. CoK 3. 8. Covetoasness infuses an unte- 
lenting frame into the breast, hardens the bowels, and makca 
them incapable of melting impressioDS, The hmguishing looks, 
the pleading eyes, the com|riaints and calamities of the misera- 
ble, do not affect those in whom covetousness reigns : the tender 
inelinations of humanity are quenched by it. 

The covetous will not give in proportion to their abilities, and 
the exigencies of others. It is true, an estate is ofken more in 
reputation than in reality, and there cannot be a visiUe oonvin- 
cing-proof of covetouflness from the meanness of the gift; but 
there is a secret proof from the conscicnoe of the giver, and 
known to God. The viddow that gave two mites to die sacred 
treasury, vras more libesal than diose who threw into it richer 
gifts. " God accepts ncooiding to w4iat a man has, and not ae» 
cording to what he has not.'' A covetous man, thoi^gh rich, 
will pretend the emaUness of his estate to excuse and palliate his 
illiberal giving ; and makes himself doubly guilty, offi^gnedp^ 
▼erty, and real avarice, in God's sight : but '' • libcnl man de- 
viseth Kb^al things:*' he duly considers the droomstances of per* 
eons in want; and esteems a juat4)ccasion of charity, to bo a 
golden opportunity, and will be noble and magnificent. 

I will now consider the difiiculty of the cure. This will be 
evident from the causes of the disease^ and the frequent unsuc- 
cessfulness of the means in Ofder to it. There is no kind of sb- 
nera more inconvindble and incunMe, than the worldly-minded. 
It is a rule without exception, thoae sins which have the greatest 
.af^arance of reason, and the least of sensuality, are the most pku« 
^ible and prevailing. So long as there are remains of reason in 
mankind, there will be modesty ; and brutish hists will expose to 
ahame. The high birth and honourable rank of the undean, 
cannot varnish and disgmse their impurities, but render them 
more infamous and odious. Besides, unless men are not prodi- 
giously bad, if they are not free from fault, they vrill not defend 
their intemperance and incontinency. If there be any spark of 
conscience alive, it discovers and condemns those sins, and assists 


« faidifid coonflellor in their cure. But the covetous, by many 
hit preteneeS) justify themsehres: the i^Kistle expresses them 
« by the cloftk of covetousnesss/' 1 Thes. 2. 5. to hide its fil- 
thiness. They pretend to be frugal, but not covetous : they al- 
ledge the example of those who are reputed wise, who prosecute 
the gains of the world, as the main scope of their actions : they 
will tell you, it is necessary prudence to improve all opportunities 
to increase their estates, to secure them from evils that may hiqp- 
pen $ and to neglect providing for our families is worse than infi- 
delity. Thus reason is engaged to join with the affection. 
From hence the covetous are not only enamoured with the un- 
worthy object, but averse from the cure of the vicious affection* 
The love of money smothers the mind with ignorance, and dark* 
«D8 its seffBity) that the filthiness of the sin is indiscernible. 
The covetous are like peieons sick beyond the sense of their dis* 
«afle, and near death, without feeling the presages of it. Be* 
aides, tho^e corrupt affections, which in their rise and d^;rees 
depend upon the humours of the body that are mutable, are 
sometimes with force, and violence canried to their objects ; but 
when tbe disporition of the body is altered, they flag, and dis*- 
tastee succeed : but the root and principle of covetousness is in 
Ac will$ and when that is depraved, it is diabolical in obstinacy. 
The most fieree and greedy beasts, when they have glutted their 
ravenous appetites, * do not presently seek after new prey; but 
covetousness, like a dropsy thirst is inflamed by drinkipg, and 
enraged by inarearing ridies. And whereas other vicious desires 
Are weakened and broke by lapse of time, covetousness derives 
new life and vigour from age. The thoughts and affections of 
the OMetotts are never more deefdy tainted wUi the earth, than 
whMi they drasv near to their Cttal period, and their bodies must 
be rseolved inlo their original elements. 

Tbe diffioalty of tbe eure is evident from the ineffieien^ of the 
means used to effect it. The divine authority of the scripture, 
the eiearest reason, the plainest experience, are often used in vain 
to refenn the covetous. Of a thousand persons, in whom covet- 
4Nisness is the regent hist, scarce ten are cleansed and changed 
from covetous to be liberal. 

1. The word of God has no commanding persuasive power 

* Cftaetnitm seqattnr eora penalam majoramqae famet. 


upon them. The word declares, that " covetousness is idola- 
try ;" for it deposes God, and places the world, the idol of men's 
heads and hearts, in his throne : it deprives him of his regalia^ 
his royal prerogatives, which he has reserved to himself in the 
empire of the world. He is infinitely jealous of our transferring 
them to the creature. Our highest adoration and esteem^ our 
confidence and trust, our love and complacency, our depeiidance 
and observance, are entirely and essentially due to him. *' Who 
in the heaven can be compared to the Lord? Who among the 
sons of the mighty can be likened to him?*' Psal. 89. 6, 
** Whom have ' I in heaven but thee ? and there is none upon 
earth I desire in comparison of thee." Psal. 73. 25. <^The 
Lord is my portion, saith my soul.*' Lam. 3. <^ The name of 
the Lord is a strong tower^ the righteous fly to it, and are safe* 
Behold, as the eyes gf servants look to the hands of their mas- 
ters ; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until he have 
mercy upon us." Prov. 18. 10, 11. These scriptures are de- 
clarative of those eternal respects that are due to God firom rea- 
sonable creatures ; and he is highly dishonoured and displeased, 
when they are alienated Irom him. Now the covetous deify the 
world : ^' The rich man's riches are his strong city, and as an 
high wait, in Ms imagination." He will trust God no fiirther 
than according to visible supplies and means : he takes not God 
fer his strength, ** but trusts in the abundance of his riches.'* 
His heart is possessed and polluted with the love of the worid, 
and God is excluded : therefore we are commanded, '' not to love 
the world, nor the things of it : if any man love the worid, the 
love of the Father is not in him." He is provoked to jealousy, 
the most severe and sensible attribute, by the coldness of men's 
love. From hence it appears how this comprehensive sin is in-' 
jurious to God. The psalmist tells us, that the covetous are not 
only the objects of God's anger, but abhorrence : thus he brands 
them, " The covetous whom the Lord abhors." The words are' 
of the most heavy signification. If his lovingkindness be better 
than life, his hatred is worse than death. 

It is the root of all evil, in persons of all conditions, civil anit 
sacred. This bribes those that are in the seat of judgment, to 
dear the guilty ; and which is a bolder crime, to condemn the 
innocent. Of this there is recorded a cruel and bloody instance, 
in the death of Nabotb^ occasioned by Ahab's covetousncss. 


This corrapts the preachers of 4he word^ to speak to the lusts, 
not the eonsciencea of men, upon whom they have a -servile de- 
pendance : and as the spirit of delusion is never more the spirk 
of delusion, than under the appearance of an angel of light ; so 
his ministers are never more his ministers, than when they per- 
vert the word of God to support sinful practices by corrupt prin- 
ciples. Covetousness makes men faint and false in the time of 
trial : they will save the world with the loss of their souls. In 
short, it was the impulsive cause of a sin of the greatest guilt 
that ever was committed, in betraying the Son of God ; and his 
suffering the most cruel and ignominious death : a sin never to 
be expiated, but .by the flames that shall consume this worlds 
the place wherein he suffered. 

CovetooBiess esceludes all, in. whom it is predominant, from 
the kingdom of heaiven. Lasarus may as soon be esqielled from 
Abraham's bosom, as a covetous man may be received into it. 
<^ Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor effemi- 
nate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor 
covetous, nor. drunkards, norrevilers, nor extortioners, shall in- 
.herit the kiiigdom of God. A covetous wretch is in as direct a 
.progress to damnation, as the most notorious sinners, guilty of 
the most filthy lusts, natural and unnatural. Did m^ believe 
and prize. heaven, how would this terrible denunciation strike 
them throii^h ? But what tongue has so keen an edge, as to cut 
a passage throiigh rocks, the hardened hearts of the covetous ? 
The word cannot enter into the conscience and conversation of 
the earthly-minded. If you discourse ^^ to them of righteousness 
and judgment to come, they are. not at leisure to hear,'' or will 
not attend. Tell them of another world, when they are ready 
to be expelled from this present world. We have a most con- 
vincing instance of inefficacy of divine instruction upon the cove- 
tous. Our Saviour directed Ins auditory to the best use of rich^ 
es, in doing good to the saints in their wants, '^ that after death, 
they might be introduced into everlasting habitations : and it is 
said, '* that the pharisees, who were covetous, heard all these 
things, and derided him/' Luke 10. 14. They were fixed in their 
principles and resolutions to increase and secure their wealth : 
they had their religion in numerato ; gain was their godliness ; 
and were so strongly conceited of their own wisdom, that they 
despised the authority^ counsel, and love of the Son of God. 

318 spiRiTUAX. nEiBcnoir 

2. Thelofveof money^'diflcorered in heiqiiiig up riches^ and 
the tenacious humour in keeping them, is directly contrary to 
the clearest reason, and perfectly vun. The nation of Tanity 
consists either b the change and inconstancy of things, or when 
they haYC not reasonable and worthy ends. In both respects, 
oovetottsness is vanity : for the object of that passion is the pre- 
sent world, the sphere of mutaUKty ; and the immoderate care 
and labour to obtain and ptcso rv e it, is not for a 8(did, substan* 
tial, but a mere imaginary good* In this sense, the most beau- 
tiful colours, were there no eyes to see them, and the sweetest 
^sounds, were there no ears to hear them, are vanities. Accord- 
ing to this role, the greedy denre of ridies for riches sake, whidi 
is the most prqper notion of avarice, is the most unreasonable 
and vain aflfection ; for it has no end. The apostle tells us, that 
*' an idol is nothing in the world ;'' the matter of it may be gold 
or silver, but it has nothing of a deity in it. He that wonhips 
it, worships an object not only most unworthy of adoration, but 
which has no existence, but in the foncy of the idolater. So he 
that loves money far itself, sets his aflection upon an end that 
has no goodness, but in his foolish ima|fination, and consequent- 
ly is no true and valuable end. This will be evident, by consi- 
dering there is a double end to which huriiane aedons should be 
directed ; the particular immediate end, and the usivierBal last 
end. The particular end to which reason directs in acquiring 
money, is to supply us with necessaries and eonveiiiencies in the 
present state ; and this is lawful, when our care and labou!^ to 
obtain it, nre not inordinate nor immoderate. >FVuitioii gives 
life and sweetness to possession. Solomon observes with a se- 
vere reflection, ^ there b one of whose labour there is no end, 
who is not satisfied with riches, heidier suth he, for wbimi do I 
labour, and bereave my soul of good ; this is also vanity, and 
sore travel.'' If one has a caMnet full of peails, and has not a 
heart to make use of them, it is 9II one as if it were foil of cher- 
ry-stones : for there is no true value in the possession, but in or- 
der to the true and noble use of them. This draws so deep of 
folly, that it is amazing that reasonable men should hyve money 
for itself; but the covetous have reprobate minds- without judg- 
ment, and discerning faculties without using them. 

The universal and last end of our actions, consists in the eter- 
nal enjoyment of God. Now the possession of the whole world. 


18 of uo advantage toward the obtaining ftitiire happiness : nay, 
it deprives men of heaven, both as the love of the world binds 
their hands from the exercise of charity, and as it aUenates their 
hearts from the Iovq of God. 

The present world cannot afford perfection or satisfiiction to 
an immortal spirit* 

(1.) Not perfection. ^ The understanding is the highest itAcu]* 
ty in man, and raises him abo?e the order of sensible creatures ; 
and this is exceedingly debased by overvaluing earthly things. 
Indeed sense and fancy, that cannot judge aright y»f objects and 
actions, if they usurp the judgment^seat, the riches of this world 
appear very goodly and inestimable. There is no lost more de« 
grades the eternal soul of man hoai the nobility of its nature,' 
than covetousness : for the mind is dencnninated and qualified 
from the objects, upon which it is conversant. Now when men's 
thoughts are grovelling on the earth, as if there were no spark of 
heavoi in them, when their main designs and contrivances are to 
amass riches, they become earthly, and infinitely fall short of 
their or^pnal and end. 

(2.) Riches cannot give satisfiiction to the soul, upon the ac* 
count of their vast di8pr<qKwtion to its spiritual nature and capa^ 
dty, and eternal duration. Yon may as reasonably seek tor pa- 
radise under the icy poles, as for fiill contentment in riches. 
The kingdoms of the world, with all their .treasures, if actually 
possessed, eankiot satisfy the eye, modi less the heart. There, 
is no suitableness between a spiritual substance, and earthly 
things. The capacity of the soul is as vast as it9 desires, which 
can only be satisfied, with good truly infinite : but carnal men, in 
4 delusive dream, mistake shadows for substance, and thin ap- 
pearances for redities. Besides, the fashion of this world passes 
away: riches take wings, and like the eagle, fly to heaven, or 
the possessors of them Ml to the earth. The soul can only be 
satisfied in the fruition of a good, as everlasting as its own dura- 
tion. In shorty the favour of Crod, the renewed image of God 
in the. soul, and communion with him, are the felicity of reason- 
able creatures. 

(3.) .The plainest eiqperience does not convince the covetous 
<|f their folly, and correct them. It is universally visible, that 
riches cannot seeum men £mn mieeries and mortality : they are 
like a reed, that has not strength to support, but ^atpn esato 


wound any one Chat rests on it. Earthly treasures cannot secve 
us from the aqger of God, nor the violence and fraud of men. 
How often are fieur estates ravished from, the owners? But sup- 
pose they are continued here to the possessor, they are not anti* 
dotes against the malignity of a disease ; they cannot purchase a 
privilege to exempt the rich from death. And is he truly rich 
that must be deprived of his tre&sures when he leaves this world, 
and ^nter naked and solitary into the next world, where he will 
be poor for ever ? He is rich that carries with him divine graces 
and comforts, the treasures of the soul, when he dies, and takes 
possession of the inheritance ^^ undefiled, that passes not away." 
How often do worldly men in their last hours, when the thoughts 
of the heart are declared with most feeling, and least affectation, 
condemn their unaccountable foUy, for their having set their 
'< adections on things below, and neglecting things above ;*' that 
with such fervour and constancy they prosecuted their secular 
ends, and were so coldly affected to eternal things, as unworthy 
of their care and diligence ? Those forl(Nm wretches in their ex- 
tremities, with what significant and lively expressions do they 
decry the vanity of this worM, and the vanity of their hearts in 
seeking it ? It is related of Philip king of the Macedonians, that 
while one was pleading before him, he dropped asleep ; and 
waking on a sudden^ passed sentence against the righteous cause : 
upon this the injured person cried, < I a)>peal/ The king with 
indignation asked, ^ to whom ? He replied, ^ from yourself sleep- 
ing, to yourself waking ;' * and had the judgment reversed that' 
was against him. Thus in matters of eternal moment^ if there 
be an appeal from the sleeping to the wakiiig thoughts of men, 
when death opens their eyes to see the dross of false treasures, 
and the glory of the true, wliat a change would it make in their 
minds, affections and actions ? But O folly and misery ! they 
but superficially consider things, till constrajioed when it is too 

From these considerations we understand the reasons of our 
Saviour's declaring, '^ It is as easy for a camel to go through the 
eye of a needle, as for a rich man," that trusts in his riches^ 
^^ to enter into the kingdom of heaven." " But what is impos- 

• Q«M dignam itoUdli neatilMiiliiiipreoeor* opm haawm amblant t et cm 
falM f raTi mole paraveriat, ttt«i vera c«f BMcaot bona. . 


tible with men, is possible with God/' He can by so strong a 
light represent the eternal kingdom to men's minds, and purify 
their affections, that they shall so use the world, that they may 
enjoy God. We should from hence be- excited to watchfulness 
against this sin. Our Sariour gave a double caution to his dis- 
ciples, '^ take heed and beware c^ covetousness/' In some, the 
leprosy appears in their foreheads j their company, their conver- 
sation, make it evident, that the w^M is " set in their hearts :'* 
in others, the leprosy is in their bosoms ; their affections. are in- 
tensely and entirely set on the world, though the discovery is not 
so visible : none but the circumspect <^an be safs* 

In order to the mortif}'ing this lust, the following means,, with 
the divine blessing, will be-v^ry usefsK The inward causes of 
the greedy desires and tenacious humour istt^ covetous, are the 
irregular esteem* of riches, and consequently, the jealousy of lo* 
sing what is so highly valued ; and solicitude to prevent aH pos- 
sible iuture wants. Now to take away^these causes, consider, 

!• There are treasures infinitely more precious and durable, 
and more worthy of our esteem an^ love, than aU the gold that 
is drawn from the mines in Peru, the trtie enrichments of the 
soul ; without which a man, possessed of all the weahh of the 
flota, is not rich towards Godj but ^'wretched, and miserable, 
and poor, and blind, and naked/* Rev. 3. God offers himself 
to be our portion, who is rich in all perfections, whoKe treasures 
are unsearchable and unwasted : if we seek his love, and grace 
to love him, we $lhM' inherit ^ substance and durable riches.'' 
The apostle, when the scales were fiedlen from his ^es, discover- 
ed such '< an excellency in the knowledge of Ohrist^ that he 
counted all tliirigs loss and dung, thai he might have an interest 
in him/' This eminent advantage there is in seeking heavily 
treasures, we shall certainly obtain %hem, and never be deprived 
of them; whereas the most eager ]^rsuit of 'earthly riches^ is 
uncertamly successful ; and if we do acquit^ them, they will cer- 
tainly be lost. 'Now' as inward bleeding that endangers life, is 
stopped by revubion, in opening a vein ;■ so if Che stream of our 
affections be directed to things above, it will stop theiv infpetu* 
ous <iurrent to things beknv. 

2. The liberal-use of riches fbr the gtory of God, and in cha- 
rity to others, is the best means to secure the tenor of our tem* 
pora) possessions : for the neglect of pi^ng the tribute we owe 


322 spiftrruAL pbrfbctioh * 

to God, makes a forfeiture of our estates ; and be can by r^ftft 
and power resume them in a moment* Beskks, there is no epi« 
thet more proper to be joined with riches, than uncertain, b 
that man certainly rich, whose entire estate is in a ship, sailnig 
through dangerous seas, and open to frequent piracies ? There 
is DO greater a distance between- a tem^t and a shipwreck, 
than between often and always. Innumerable disasters are in- 
minent, and nearly thfettteo the undoing of the richest mans 
but God who commands the winds and the seas, and governs 
the wills of men, whose providence orders the most fortuitous 
evento, has promised, <^ that the liberal man^ who deviseth li"> 
beral things, he shall stand :" he has a special protection ; and 
as he is like to Gpd in givjoig, so he shall be in not being poorer 
for his giving. The apostle fncourages christians not to be oo- 
vetous ; by this argument, God has said, '< I will never leave 
thee, nor forsake thee." We may firmly rely on his promise $ 
for truth is the foundation of trusty and rest on his providence 
which is omnipotent. 

Add to this consideration^ there is an aocessional security to 
the charitable from the assistance of others. Man is sociable bjr 
instinct, and the civil life that is proper to him, will be dissobed 
without mutual assistance. It ts ordered by the rale of provi- 
dence, that there is no man so completely sufficient in himself 
so absolately and independoitly happy, but he wants the coun- 
sel, the courage,, the help of others. It is usual^ that he who 
possesses most can do less, and (hat he that has less can do 
more : from hence it follows, that the wealth of the one, and 
the strength of the other ; the giving that wherein one abouadsi 
and the receiviqg that whidi the other wants, makes such an 
equipoise between the rich and the poor, that they cannot be 
disjoined. Experience declaies, there is nothii^ does more ^i- 
dear and engage the aflections of others to us, than acts of kindr* 
ness. Beneficence joined with innocence, render men vencfabU 
and amiable, conciliate esteem and love ; ^^ for a good man one 
would even dare to die :" whereas the covetous and inoompas* 
sionate, not only provoke God) (for he that abuses a benefit^ 
despises the benefactor ; and by imprisoning thdr treasures with- 
out doing good, the abuse- is as real, as by a riotous wasting 
them) but are exposed to hatred and contempt ; aod if a disas* 
t&r surprises them, a secret joy touches the hearts of others. 


To distribute, is a means to increase riches : it is a rule not 
only in spirituals, but in temporals ; *' as a man sows, so he 
shall reap/' both in the recompences of justice, and the rewards 
of mercy: he that sows bountiftilly, shall reap bountifully. 
Charity is a productive grace, that enriches the giver more than 
the receiver. ^^ Honour the Lord with thy substance, and the 
fintfiruits of thy increase ; so shall thy bams be filled with plen^ 
ty, and thy presses burst out with new wine. He that gives to 
the poor, lends to the Lord :'' Prov. 8. 9, 10. he signs himself 
our debtor for what is laid out for him, and he will pay it with 
interest ; not only with eternal treasures hereafter, but b out- 
ward blessings here. Riches obtained by regular means, are the 
eifects and efliisions of his bounty ; but sometimes by admirable 
ways, he gives a present reward, as'-by his own hand. As there 
are numerous examples 'f>f God's blasting the covetous, either by 
a gangrene in their estates, that consumes them before their 
eyes, or by the luxury and proAiseness of their children ; so it is 
as visible he pumpen the Hierciftil, sometimes by a secret bless- 
ing dispensed by an invisible hand, and sometimes in succeeding 
thdr diligent endeavours in their callings. 

But it is objected, the liberal are not always jHrosperous. To 
this a clear answer may be given. 

(1.) External acts of charity may be performed from vicious 
motives, without a mixture cf internal affections, which malie 
^epi accepted of God* 

(2.) Supposing a ehrfsdan abounds in works of charity, and 
is not rewarded here, this speci&l case does not infringe the truth 
of God^s promise ; for temporal promises are to be interpreted 
with an exception, unless the wisdom and love of God sees it 
better not to bestow them : but he alwap rewards them in kind, 
or eminently in giving more excellent blesshigs. The crown of 
Hfe is a reward more worthy the desires of a ehrtstfan, th^ the 
thiiqp of this world. Our Saviour assures the young mi^, *^ sell 
all, and* give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in hea- 
ven.'' Eternal hopes are infinitely more desirable than temporal 
po sse ss i ons. The apostle ^^ charges the rich to do good, to b^ 
rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, 
laying up for themselves a good foundation, (not of merit, but 
assurance) against the time to come, laying hold of eternal life.'' 
ITim. 6. 18, 19. If I could dlVect the covetous, how to ex* 

X 2 


cbange « weffbt of silver for an equal weight of gold» or a-wr ^ 
of gold for an equal weight of diamoDds, how attentively would 
they hear, and earnestly follow such profitable counsel? But 
what comparison is there between earthly and heavenly treasures? 
Godliness^ of which the grace of charity is an excellent part, 
^' 18 profitable for all thiiigs," it makes our profit eternally pro- 
fitable. It is the wisdom as well as duty of belifveis, to lay up 
treasures, not on earth, tha land of their banishmaat, but in the 
celestial country, the place of their nativity. 


Pride considered io its aaturev kinds, and degrees. It eontistt in an iaat* 
derate appetite of superiority. It is moral or spiritual. Arrogance, fain* 
glnry, and ambition, are branches of ft. A secret nndoe conceit of oor 
own excellencies, tlie inordinate desire of praise, the asylrin^ after high 
placet, aad titles of hoaonr, are4he ei^u of pride. Spiritnai pride cos* 
sidcred. A presuming upon self^uflicicncy to obtain men's eiyds : a rrii* 
ance upon their own direction and ability to accomplish their designs. 
Sins committed with design and deliberation are from tneolence. A Tais 
presaaiptioB of the goodness of Boa't spiritasl ctlatcs. Pride Is te the 
front of those sins that God hates. Pride is odious in the sight of larj. 
The difficulty of the cure apparent from many considerations. The proper 
means to allay the tumonr of pride* 

Fourthly. PrIDE of life is joined with the lusts of the flesbt 
and the lust of the eyes. Pride destroyed both worlds ; it tcana- 
formed angeb into devils, and expelled them from heaven ; it 
degraded man from the honoiu: of his creation^ into the. condi* 
tion of the beasts that perish, and e:q>eUed him firom paradise* 
I will consider the nature, several kinds and degrees of ity and 
the means to purge us from it. 

The nature of this vice consists in an irregular and immode- 
rate appetite of superiority j and has two parts; the one is the 
affectation of honour, dignity, .and power, be]«md their true va- 


lue and wortli ; the other is the arrogating them as due to a per*- 
son beyond his just desert. Th^ kinds of it are moral and spiri«« 
tual, which are sometimes concealed in the mind and will^ but 
often declared in the aspect and actions. Accordingly it is ei- 
ther arrogance that attributes an undue pre-eminence to a map's 
seif^ and exacts undue respects firom others ; br vain-glory, that 
affects and is fed with praise ; or ambition, that hotly aspires 
after high places, and titles of precedency and power : all which 
are comprised in the universal name of pride. 

1. Pride includes a secret conceit of our own excellencies^ 
which is the root of all its branches. Self-love is so natural, and 
deeply impressed in the heart, that there is no flatterer niore 
subtle and concealed, more easily and willingly believed, than 
this aflR&ction. Love is blind towards others, and more towards 
oneself. Nothing can be so intimate and dear, as when the lo- 
ver, and the person beloved are the same. This is the principle 
of the high opinion, and secret sentiments men entertain of their 
own special worth. *' The Heart is deceitful above all things,'* 
and above all things deceitful to itself. Men look into the en- 
chanting glass of their own fancies, and are vainly enamoured 
with the fiilse reflection of their excellencies. Self-love hinders 
the sight of those imperCections, which discovered, would lessen 
the liberal esteem of themselves. The soul is a more obscure 
object to its eye, than the most distant stars in the heavens. 
Seneca tells of some that had a strange infirmity in their eyes^ 
that wherever they turned, they encountered the visible moving 
image of themselves. Of which he gives this reason; * * It pro- 
ceeds from the weakness of the visible faculty, that for want of 
spirits derived from the brain, cannot penetrate through the dia- 
phonous ah*, to see objects'; but every part of the air is a re- 
flecting glass of themselves.^ That which he conjectured to be 
the cause of the natural infirmity, is most true of the moral, the 
subject of our discourse. It is from the weakness of the mind^ 
that the jucficative faculty does not discover the worth of others, 
but sees only a man's self, as singular in perfections, and none 
superior, or equal, or near to him. A proud man will take 

• lofirmaTii ocvloriim, non potest ne proximam mrtm perrampcre* ^ed 
resUtiU 5m. lib. pretemat, quest. 


Std sptmrrOAl PSRncnoK 

a rise from any adrantage to foment pride : some from tk€ 
perfections of the body, beauty or strength; some from the 
circumstance of their condition, riches, or honour ; and every 
one thinks himself sufficiently furnished with understanding: for 
reason being the distinguishing excellency of a man from the 
brutes, a defectiveness in that is very diigracefiil and the title of 
fool, the most stinging reproach ; as is evident by our Saviour's 
gradation : '* Whoever is angry with his brother without m cause 
is liable to judgment ; whoever says Racha," that expresses his 
anger oontumeliously, '^ is subject to the council ; but whoever 
shall say fool, shall be punished with helUfire/' Therefore men 
Bie tpt to presume of their intellectual abilities : one says, I have 
not learning, as those who are pale with study, and whose lamps 
shine at midnight, but I have a stock of natural reason; or I 
have not a quick apprehension, but I have a solid judgment : I 
have not eloquence, but I speak good sense. The high oon«> 
ceit of men*s own worth declares itself several ways : sometimes it 
is transparent in the countenance ; <' There is a generation, 
how lofty are their eyes, and their eye-lids are lifted up/* 
Sometimes it is manifest in haughty carriage : if others do not 
express eminent respects to them, it is resented as a neglect and 
injury. Their apparel at first made to hide shame^ proclaims 
their pride. 

2. An inojrdinate desire of reputation and praise, is another 
branch of pride. The desire of praise is sowed in the hiiman 
tiature for excellent ends ; to restrain them from those aUuring 
lusts that will ruin their reputation, and to excite them to do 
things noble and beneficial to the public. Praise, the reward of 
doing good, is a powerful incentive to improve and secure the ci- 
vil felicity. The wise king tells us, ** A good name is rather to 
be chosen than great riches.'* It is a recompence God has pro* 
mised, '^ The upright shall be praised.'* 

The apostle excites us to strive after universal hcrfincss, by 
motives from reputation as well as from conscience ; '* Whatso- 
ever things are true,*' for conscience, honest, for fame^ '' what* 
soever are just and pure,** for conscience, ^' whatsoever are love- 
ly,** for esteem, ** if there be any virtue in ourselves, and prmse 
from others,'* to propagate it, <^ think on these things." But 
Hie inflamed desire of praise from men^ the beinjg incensed 


Agaimt otiiars as envious or enemies that deny it^ ihe assuming 
it for unworthy causes, (where there is no true virtue, there is no 
just praise) the terminating it on ourselves, and not transferring 
it to God, aie the effects of a vain^glorious mind. Pride under- 
values goodness in itself, and respects it only iinr the shadow that 
attends it. Praise is a music so enchanting, that it inclines men 
to believe that to be true which is pleasing, and which they de- 
sire others sbonki believe to be true. A philosq)her, when a box 
of ointment of precious composition was presented to him, feel- 
ing his spirits revived with its fragrancy, broke forth with indig- 
nation against those effeminate persons that perfume their hair 
and habits with it for vicious ends, and made the use of it dis- 
graceful. But when praise, that is so sweet and powerful a mo- 
tive to encourage generous minds to the exploits of virtue, is be- 
stowed on worthless persons, it is more detestable. The poison- 
ous flowers of fake praise are pernicious to those who are decei- 
ved and pleased with them. It is the infelicity of those who are 
in the highest dignity, to whom it is uneasy to descend into 
themselves, and take a sincere serious view of their internal state, 
and to whom truth is harsh and displeasing, they are in great 
danger of being corrupted by flatterers. Flattery is the familiar 
figure of those who address to princes: sometimes by fine iraud 
and unsuspected artifice they give the countenance of truth to a 
lie, in representing them to excel in wisdom and virtue. But if 
princes be so vain-glorious that moderate praise is esteemed a di- 
minution to their greatness, and only the strongest perftimes af- 
fect tbeiff sense, th^ will represent them as half deities, as se- 
oond suns to the world. It was the judicious observation of 
Galba in his discourse with Piso, whom he designed to be his 
succe^^or in the empire of Rome. * ^* Wc »peak with simplicity 
between ourselves ; but others will rather apeak with our state 
than with our persons.'' In short, all that have an eminent ad- 
vantage to bestow favours and benefits are li,able to be deceived 
by flatterers, who are like concave>^glasses, that represent small 
objects in an exorbitant figure : they will feed the humours of 
those upon whom they depend, and speak things pleasing to 
them, and profitable to themselves. It is their surest security to 

• Btiam ego se in limipUelwIne Inleriiotltodieloqiiimvrt cetcri lUieii- 
tias can fortona noitra» quam nobiscnnu TacU% BUi, 1. 1* 


328 BPiEiTOAi. nRncnoN 

rememW, that flatterers kave a double tongue, and $peak wkk 
one to tbeiBy and with anotlier of them. 

In short, virtae like the sua is crowned with its owa beams, 
and needs no foreign lustre ; and it argues a sound miad lo 
esteem praise as a re«iltance from virtue, and virtoie (ot itself: 
but a proud man as proud, prefers the praise and shadow of vir» 
tue before the reality : as a vain woman would rather wear a coun^ 
terfeit necklace that is esteemed true, than one 0t the finest ori«- 
ental pearls that is esteemed oountcrfeit. 

3. Ambition, or the hot aspiring after hi§^ plaees, and titles 
of precedency and power, is another hranch of pride. The desire 
of superiority in this instaaee, is ae natural Aod umvenal, that it 
b manifest in persons of the lowest, rank ^ servants, shqiherdSf 
labourers, desire power over others la their <eonditioiu *\ It is like 
fire, the more it is fed, the more it is increased. Aiibition, if 
reinforced by emulation, will venture through foul ways, by trea- 
chery, by oppression, and by indignities, to obtain digmty* If 
any cross accident spoil their feathers of flying to their mark, they 
fall into melancholy : if any competitors be preferred, they are 
ready to say, it was not virtue or merit, but favour and finrtnne 
that advanced them ; and that their own desert makes them uo-* 
fortunate ; f accordti^ to the two properties of pride, to exalt 
themselves, and depress others. 

Spiritual pride is distinguished from moral, as it more directly 
and immediately dishonours God. It is true, pride is the poison 
of every sin ; for in transgressing the divme law, men pieier the 
pleasing their corrupt wills and depraved appetites, before the 
obeying the sovereign and holy wiU of God : but in aorae sins 
there is a more immediate and explicit contempt of God, and 
especially Xn pride. I9lns of this nature exceedtngly ptoviAe and 
kindle his displeasure. 

When men presume upon a seif-sufficiency of counsel, or pow* 
er, or riches, to obtain their ends. This sin waa chaiged upon 
Sennacherib ; *^ I will punish the fruit of the proud heart of the 
king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks : for he saith, by 
the strength of my hand I have done it, and by ray wisdom I am 

• Facit avidos nimU telicitas, oec Un lemperalM cspidilaUi, at la M 
^aod contigk de siaanti Sen. 

f PnemUviriiiiaaiy%aiay«loQiafter«ivlcU»adcftaiL Tatm 


fmitxA.^' ba- 10- 12, IS. The folly is equal to the hnptety ; 
as it 18 expressed by the prophet, <^ Shall the axe boast against 
him that hews with it? Or the saw magnify itself agaimC 
him that shaketh it?'' Thus God speaks to Pharaoh king of 
Egypt ; ^* Behold I am against thee^ the great dragon that lies 
in the midst of his waters, which has said, my river b mine own, 
{O blasphemer !} and I have made it for myself." Thus Nebu« 
chadnezaar boasted, walking in has palace, *^ Is not this great 
Babylon that I have built for the house of my kingdom, by the 
m^^ of my power, and the glory of my majesty ? I have laid 
the foandations thereof on the eentre of the earth, and raised its 
towers to the heavens." 

This pride is attended with rdianee and eoniidence in their 
4mn directmn to contrive, and ability to accompli^ their de- 
eigna ; and with assnming the glory of all their success entirely to 
themselves. The prood manage their affiurs independently upon 
the providence of God, who is the author of all our faculties, and 
the efl^caay of them, and totally neglect the two essential parts 
4^ naCaial niigion, prayer and praise; or very slightly perform 
the external part, without those inward aflections that are th^ 
spirit and life of them. It was the wise prayer of Hagar, '< Give 
me not riches, lest I be fiiU, and deny thee." God strictly cau- 
tions his people against this dangerous sin, <' Beware thou forget 
not the Lord, and say in thy heart, my power, and the might 
of my hand, halh gotten me this wealth : remember it is he that 
gives the power to getriehes." Dent. 3. 17, 18. And it is 
equally dangerous, lest men should attribute victories or prospe* 
rity^ in any kind, to their own counsel and resohition, their pru* 
deaee and. power, without humble and thankful observing and 
acknowledging the divine providence, the fountain and original 
of all our bksrings. 

Whatever the kinds of sin be, when committed agamst know* 
kdge with design and deliberation, they proeoed from insolence 
and obsttnacy. The Israelites are eherged with this ag^vatioil 
in their simiiQg; ^^Tfaey dealt proudly, and hardened thdr 
necks, smI bearkened.oot to the oommandments, and refosed to 
obey.'* Neh. 9« 16, 17. Proud sinuen are intiodueed boast* 
ii^; ^ Oar tongues are obt own, who is Lord over ui?''^ They 
wiU endure no restrainto, but are lawless and loose, as if they 
were above ftar and danger* It is true, there are few so prodi^ 


gioosly wicked a9 to speak thus ; but men's actions have a la* 
guage as declarative of their words : and sinning presumptuously 
with a high hand, is constructively a denial, and despising of the 
dominion and power of the Lawgiver } as if be had no right to 
command, nor strength to vindicate, the honour of his despised 
Deity. In the last judgment the punishment of rebellious sin-» 
ners will be according to the gl<Nry of God's majesty, and the ex- 
tent of his power that was contemned and vilified by them. 

When divine judgments are sent to correct the distdute disor* 
den of the world, and sinnc;^ should with tenderness and trem- 
bling << hear the voice of the rod, and who has appointed it;'' 
yet they proceed in their wickedness, as if God were not alwa^ 
present to see their sms, nor pure to hate them, nor righteous to 
exact a severe judgment for them, nor powerful to inflict it ; this 
aigues intolerable pride and obstinacy. God and mmnexs are ve* 
ry unequal enemies : the eflfects of his displeasure should be recei- 
ved with obsequiousness, not with obduration: therefore the 
apostle puts that confounding question, '< Do you provoke the 
Lord to jealousy? are you stronger than he ? Can you encounter 
with offended omnipotence ?" To deqpise his anger is as provo- 
king as to despise his love. It is astonishing, that dust and ashes 
should rise to such an incorrigible height of pride, as to fly in 
the &ee of God : '^Whoever hardened himself against him, and 
prospered?" All that are careless of God's design to refonn 
them by affietions, that seek for relief in diverting bunness 
or ]deasures, provoke God to more severe inflictioaa of his anger: 
but those surly proud natures that are exasperated by sufferings, 
and wrestle with the strongest storms, are in conrinaation with the 
stubborn spirits of hell, and shall have their portion with them. 

Lastly, When men have a vain presumption of the goodness of 
their spiritual state, of the degrees of their goodness, and thdr 
stability in goodness, not sensible of their ccntianal want of re- 
newed supplies from heaven, they are guilty of spiritual piide^ 
Of this there are two instances in scripture; the one in the 
diurch of lukewarm Laodicea, the other in the Pharisee, men- 
tioned by our Saviour. The first said, ^^ I am rich, and increa-f 
sed in goods, and have need of nothing ; and knowest n<»t,. that 
thou art wretched, and poor, and miseraUe, and blind^ and na- 
ked." Rev, 3. The pharisee, to raise the esteem of his own 
goodness, stands upon comparison with others, whos^ vices may 

mnoumo and mrw0iamD* 831 

te a foil to his seeming graces : be said, <' I am not as other 
.men are, extortioners, adulterots, or even as this ptMiean.^' It 
is true, he superficiaUy thanks God, but the air of pride tran- 
spires through his devotion, by vahiing himself above others 
worse than himself; as if his own virtues were the productive 
cause of his distinguishing goodness. If humility be not mixed 
in the exercise of every grace^ it is of no value in God's esteem : 
the humble unjust publican was rather justified than the proud 

This spiritual pride is very observable in the superstitious, who 
measuring divine things with human, from that mixture of ima- 
ginations, introduce carnal rites into the worship of God, and 
vahie themselves upon their opinionative goodness : they mistake 
the swelling of a dropsy for substantial growth, and presume 
themselves to be more holy than others, for their proud singula- 
rity. Superstition is like ivy, that, twines about the tree, and is 
its seeming ornament, but drains its vital sap ; and under its vejr- 
dant leaves covers a carcass : thus carnal ceremonies seem to 
adorn religion, but really dispirit, and weaken its efficacy. Pha* 
risaical prid<s is fomented by a zealous observance of things un* 
commanded in religion, neither pleasing to God, nor printable 
to men. On the contrary, some visionariea pretend to such a 
sublimity of grace and eminent sanctity, that they are above the 
use of divine ordinances : they pretend to live in immediate com- 
munion with Gqd, as the angels ; and dazzled vrith specious spi* 
ritualities, they n^lect prayer, hearing the word, and receiving 
the sacrament, the means of growing in grace, as if they were 
arrived at perfection. This is the effect of spiritual pride and 

For the mortifying this vicious dispositicm, consider that pride 
is in a high degree injurious and provoking to God, An ordi- 
nary malefactor breaks the king's Uws, but a rebel strikes at his 
person and crown. The first and great commandment b to ho- 
nour God with the highest esteem and love, with the most hum- 
ble adoration ; consequently, the greatest sin is the despising his 
mi^esty, and obscuring his glory. Thero is no sin more clearly 
opposite to reason and religion : for the most essential duty and 
character of an understanding creature, is dependance and dbser- 
vance of God as the first cause and last end of all things, recei- 
ving with thankfiihiess his benefiU} and referring them all to hif 

332 sriBiTDAL nRncnoir 

glory. Pnde contnidielB natural juatiee, by latercepting die 
grateftil affiectioDate ascent of the soul to God, in eelebrating lirli 
gieatness and goodness. A proud man constroetlvely puts him- 
self out of the number of God's creatures^ and desenrea to be er^ 
eluded from hia tender providenee. The jealousy of God, his 
most severe and sensible attribute, is kindled for this revdture of 
the creature from its duty, and the depriving him of his proper 
^ory. It is true, God's declarative glory is not profitable to ' 
him : but he will not give his glory to another, nor permit ano- 
ther to usurp it : his coneeasion and consent would be directly 
contrary to the etemad rule of righteousness, and therefore im* 
possible without the denial of himself. 

Pride is in the front of those sins which God hates, and are an 
abomination to him : '^ A proud look,'* that is seldom disjoined 
from a proud heart. God ^ looks upon the proud afar off with 
a holy disdain :*' Prov. 6. 16. he resists the proud. Pride u the 
most pernicious o{ all vices : for whereas any single vice is oppo- 
site to its contrary virtue: undeanness expels chastity; covetous- 
ness, liberality ; pride, like an infectious disease, tamts the sound 
partSy corrupts the actions of every virtue, and deprives them of 
thdr true grace and glory. Pride is so offensive to God, that he 
sometimes permits his children to fSsO into sins of another kind 
to correct pride. And he is an unskiHul physician that cures one 
disease by a worse. When the apostle was liable to the tempta- 
tion of pride, for his celestial visions, satan was permitted to buf- 
fet him. A strange dispensation, that the prince of pride was let 
loose to instruct him in humility. 

The fearful examples of God'9 wrath upon the proud, must 
convincingly prove how odious they are in his sight. The angels 
fell by pride, and ore the most cursed creatures of the creation^ 
and bound with chann of darkness to the judgment of the Great 
Day. Adam was rick of the same disease, which involved him 
and his progeny under the sentence of the first and second death. 
How many great kings, for the insolent forgetfulness of their frail 
condition, were by divine vengeance cast down from the height 
of their glory, and made spectacles of ignominious misery! The 
proud and stubborn Pharaoh that defied the Almighty, and said, 
** Who is the Lord, that I should obey him, and let Israel go ?" 
that threatened, ** I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide 
the spoil r^' like the raging sea that roars, and foams^ and sw<ell% 

IllteflltiiMig to 4toivii Ae latid ; bat wh«ti it ia cone to its sfi- 
poititejd lioiila^ the weak nmid, Iks if its fiiry were tumed into 
fear, retires into ito own channel; diat proud king was tamed 
by frogs and flies, and at last diomied wil^ his army in the Red 
Sea* Sennachtrih ao high flown with the ooneeit of his irrosis- 
lible strength, that he ebdlenged heaipen, '< who is your God ? 
that he sbould be aide to dtfver yon out of diy hands?'' fonnd 
there was a just power above, thai in one night destroyed his 
mighty army, and aftenj^ard cut him off in his idolatry. Nebu- 
chadnezzar the head of gM in the figure repreeenting the esH 
piles of the world, was for his pride turned a grazing ametig the 
beasts, and by his fall was the argument of the insnkation, 
'^ thou saidst in thy heart, I will ascend into heavtsn, I will ex- 
alt my throne «boVe the stais of God : I will asoend above the 
height of the eloads,, I will be Kke the Most High. How art 
thou faHen ftom^ heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning f how 
ait thoil eut down to the ground that didst weaken nations ?" 
Isa* 14. 12, 13, 14. Herod for usBKping divine hotaour was de- 
foured by woms. In every i age thele are instances of God^a 
terrible wrath upon the proud* 

Pfide is very odious u the sight of men : therefore it often 
barrows the^mMk of humility. to obtain its ends : but it is always 
odious to God, udio sees the most intimate workings of It in the 
heart, A proud man is an enemy to the more excellent and 
worthy : he is pleaskl vnth the vices and infeticities of others, as 
thfqF afford an advantage to exalt himself above them, and grieved 
at their virtues and happiness which render them more vahiable 
than hiBMeE 

Pride is the parent of contention': it exasperates the sense of 
& small oSenee, poto-an edge upon anger, and has often aflbrded 
tragieal subject^ that have MM the scenes with tears and blood. 
Umnihty produces patiettce : tbr it mieihes a miui tower in his 
envn eyes, than he* is ' in the opinion of others. Pride treats 
odiers with contempt And censure, and thereby provokes them 
to turn reverence into deqiising, and love into hatred t when a 
proud man fidls into misery, he is the least lamented. 

That the cure of this lust is very diflkuit^ will be evident by a 
yariety of conridersitions. 

Pride is the sin to which angels and men in their best state 
were peculiarly liable. The angels intermitting the vision <if the 


diTine glory ) and reflecting upon their exeeHencies, were int<nd« 
eated with self admiration. It w strange to amazement, that 
they should so suddenly unlearn their natures, and diaelaim their 
Maker, who had prevented them with his excellent benefits, and 
raised them to tliat bright eminence above other creatures. Man 
in the state of unstained innocence, when all perfections of body 
and mind entered into his composition, with ail his luminaries 
and graces, was corrupted by pride. '* You shall be Kke gods,'' 
was the temptation that corrapted him. Prodigious disorder f 
His pride begins when his true glory ends i and his humility ends 
when his stiame begins. 

In the depravsed nature of man, pride is the radical reigning 
sin, that first lives and last dies. It is called *^ the pride of Kfe.'* 
Pride spring^ up in the heart of a diiid, and continues to ex« 
tieme age. . Other vices have their seasons, which being expired 
they wither and decay. Carnal pleasures change their oatnres, 
and become distasteful ; but pride flourishes and grows in every 
age. EccL 12. Now it is usually in vain to give counsels of wis- 
dom to those who are sunk into foUy, the proper season is to 
instruct and caution, when it may be preventive <rf folly. 

The difficulty of the cure is increased, in that like a heetic 
fever, it is not easily discerned till it is dmost ineuraUe. Some 
vices are odious from the visible matter of them, mtemperance, 
undeanness, and injustice, by defrauding and <^rassing others ; 
but pride is often excited and drawn forth by the same thii^ 
wherein virtues are exercised, and distinguished only by the end,' 
which is often coneeakd firom our own sight. The pharisee is a 
signal instance of this. A man may visibly despise the ponq» 
and vanities of die world, and this may raise his esteem in the 
minds of real saints ; and the outward practice of goodness will 
be productive of the praise of goodness in others ; tiiis will aflbrd 
a strong temptation of pride. All the operations of virtnes, even 
the exevcise of humiUtyy that are the matter and aiguraent of 
praise, may be incentives of pride ; and those diseases are ex- 
tremely dangerous, whieh are nourished by that food that is ne« 
cessary to supp<Mrt life. The old serpent when he cannot seduce 
men by carnal temptations, which are easily discovered, inspires 
with so soft a breath the opinion of their own virtues^ that they 
are insensibly tainted. 

The d^re<rf external honour and power beyond what they 


dka^nt to be desired, and wbat is due to the penons desirous of 
them, is not easily discovered : partly, in that the aspiring after 
dignity is, in the universal consent of men, an argument and in* 
dicatiOD of a sublime spirit ; whereas the modest refusal of it, 
exposes to infamy, as if the refuser had a leaden soul, whose 
body is rather its sepulchre than its instrument : and the heart is 
the arch deceiver, the most partial parasite, and its natural 
falseness is fomented by the artificial flatteries of servile spirits. 
Every man is a stranger to hitnsjeif ; as the eye sees things with- 
out, but is blind as to seeing itself. Men study to know more of 
others than of themselves, and therefore know less. 

In curing the diseases of the soul, we are directed by the 
method of curipg the diseases of the body ; whieh is sometimes 
by medicines contrary to their nature, and sometimes by those 
which are like to it. The feverish heat is not only quenched by 
cooling juleps, but by cordials that fortify the vital heat, which 
ooBSumes the peccant humours that fcnnent the fever. 

h Consider those things which may allay the tumour of pride 
and vanity. Reason is the perfection of man, and the knowledge 
of God and ourselves is the perfection of reason : from hence 
proceeds the magnifying God, and vilifying ourselves. 

. God is the eternal Jehovah, '^ and there is none besides him." 
He alone has an independent and infinite existence. All other 
things are from his efficiency : every spark of life, and degree of 
being is firom him. Without the least strain of his power he 
made the world, and as easily upholds it. All created things 
have but an appearance and show of being, in him alone is the 
solidity and stability of being for ever. He dwells in light un* 
af^roAchaUe, not only to n^Ntal eyes, but to the iqunortai 
angels. He is the <wly wise, and good, and immortal Being. 
In the present state, great and wimU are not words of absolute 
but comparative signification, with respeqt to the various condi- 
tions of men ; as one pearl is called great resp^tively to another^ 
though small in itself: but there is none absolutely great but 
God, who is truly infinite. In heaven, where the blessed spirits 
have the most immediate and fullest view of the Deity, '^ the 
Lord ahne is exalted.'' 

2. Consider that the whole world intellectual and sensible, 
compared to God, is but as <' the drop of the bucket, and the 
dust of the balance :" and what part are we of that drop and 


dust ? If we consider men in the state of primitive aatnre, it is 
an evident principle written in their hearts, with characters of 
the clearest light, that it is their most reasonable duty, entirely 
to renounce themselves, and to devote themselves to the g^oiy of 
God : but if we consider them as creatures and sinners, that can 
assume nothing as their own, but their sins and miseries, the pe- 
nal consequents of them ; this will humble us below the brutes, 
who never transgressed the order of their creation. We are less 
than the least '^ of all God's mercies,'' and our sins deserve the 
heaviest of his judgments. 

Consider the men that most excel others, are as naked of na- 
tural good, as destitute of moral and spiritual good as others. 
^' Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of lights :'' 
and as those are the best gifts that come from him in that notion, 
so they are most depending upon him, and are continued by ir- 
radiations from him. There is a difference between the impres- 
sions of sounds, and the emanations of light in the air. S<mnds 
are propagated by successive motion from one part of space into 
another, afker the first cause, the sounding instrument is silent. 
But a line of light extended through the air, depends entirely 
and necessarily upon the original pmnt of light from whence it 
proceeds. The rays of light that fill the air, in the first instant 
that the sua withdraws from die horizon, all vanish. Thus aO 
spiritual gifts depend continually upon the influxive presence of 
God. Now how can we be proud of his most precious gifts, of 
which we make a forfieiture aiid cannot possess without humility? 
The most eminent advantages which some have above others, 
are the shining marks of his bounty. How absurd is it for one 
to boast of wealth, who daily livAf «ipon alms ? The more we re- 
ceive, the higher are our obligatioBs, and the more heavy will be 
our account. The mind is darkened with the thickest dregs of 
ignorance that no light can penetrate, that arrogates the honour 
sdhh fiiee favours, and bountiful hand So the creature. - 

To be more instructive, let us consider what are the usual in- 
centives of pride, and we shall discover that igncmmee aad vBsdtf 
are alwsys mixed with them. 

Women, by men's wretched idolizing them, are vainly proud 
of their beauty, and more jealous lest their faces be deformed 
than their soub. Now what is flesh and blood, but a mixture 
<»f earth and water? What is beauty, a superficial qppearance^ 


a flower blasted by a thousand accidents ? How soon are tlie 
tolours ~and charms of the face vanished ? How often does it 
betray them to those sins, that are signally punished with the 
foulest deformity and rottenness ? The most beautiful are not 
tess mortal than others : they must shortly be the prey of death> 
and pasture of worms, and can such a fading toy inspire pride 
into them ? 

' Some are swelled with the conceit of their riches : but this is 
▼ery unreasonable, for no external accession can add re^l. value to 
a person, foob only worship a golden calf. If any air of pride 
rises in a rich possessor, it may as justly provoke God to recal 
his blessings as he Uberally bestowed them. 
• Others presume upon the nobility of their extraction; but 
whoever our more immediate parents be, if we ascend in our 
thoughts, we must come to our grand progenitor Adam, the son 
of the earth, and fountain of mankind. All are streams from 
him ; if some slide along in the low grounds, and some are re- 
ceived in marble repositories, they all flow from the same origi-> 
nal. How often* do the honourable tarnish the. colour and lustre 
of their Mood by degenerous actions ? How often are the rich 
and great forsaken of their dependants, and only attended by a 
train of miseries, maintained by their expences? Such revolu- 
tions are not more strange than eclipses are to the moon. 
. Some are raised to the height of secular honour ; and there is 
nothing sends up more hot, fuming, and intoxicating spirits, 
tlian sovereign power. Humility in a state of the highest ho>- 
nour, is a very rare virtue. But there are many things, which 
duly considered, will lower the train of pride even in lyings. 
The pre-eminence of external order, is seldom joined with the 
pre-eminence of inherent excellencies. How many wear royal 
cfowns, that are slaves to their lusts, and govern others who 
cannot govern themselves? Besides, there is no height and 
eminence upon earth, but is encompassed with precipices and 
perils. The throne leaves some, and all must leave the throne. 
The greatest mofwrcfas, and the most proud of their, greatness^ 
must descend into the grave, without their sceptres and flatterers, 
and be confined to a dark solitude, where they shall have no 
other state or carpets, but the worms to cover them, and corrup- 
tion under them* There is but one kingdom that cannot be 
shaken, and one immortal King. In the next world, they must 

VOL. !!• Y 


Stand upon alenrel with the meanest wretehesy and be accountable 
to the high and everlasting Judge, for their management of hia 

There is nothing men value themselves more than upon the 
account of their understandings ; ''knowledge pu8s up/' But 
how little do we know ? Pride is the effect of great presumption^ 
and little knowledge. Suppose one by ex])enmentsl curionty 
and inquiries could know ail things in the latitude of the seostble 
creation, this were but a refined kind of vanity, and oodd not 
afford satis&ction to an immortal spirit. In short ; suppose m 
person eminently endowed with divine qualities, wherein the re- 
semblance of God consists, there cannot be the least reason of 
pride, for they are all graces di^nsed. from the sovereign unac- 
countable pleasure of God, who makes the most excellent saint 
to differ from others. 

2. It will be an excellent means to cure pride, to cimvince 
the minds of men, what n true honour, and direct their desires 
to it. 

The wisest of kings has told us, '' that bdbre honour is ho- 
miiity.'' Pride is a degenerous passion, * debases a man, anA 
brings him into miserable bondi^, enslaves him to tiie ignorant 
multitude. Dependanoe upon the opinion and appfamse of the 
people, whose humours are very changeable, is so mieasy, that 
the ambitious often bite their heavy chmns, though sometimes 
they kiss them because they are gilded. But humility preserves 
the true and noble fireedom of the mind of man, secures his dew 
liberty, and peaoefiil dominion of himselfi This is the effect of 
excellent wisdom. 

3. Humility is the most precious ornament in Ciod's sight: f 
and to be approved by the divine mind, and accepted by the di- 
vine will, is the highest honour, most worthy of our ambition. 
It is like the precious balm, that mixed with other liquors sinks 
to th^ bottom : but then it is visiUe, and most araiabte in the 
eyes of God. The apostle's ambitious labour wis, " whether 
present or absent to be accepted of hhn.'' Neiw what is the vua 

• Qiiain f|«M«m Imudan tspleQClA statiio t$ae in»xtamn», nos »1laadc pea* 
dcre, noo extrlmecin aut bene avt mala facieadi laipsBsai- hsbne ratleati* 
Cic. 1 5. Ep. 13. 

i Nihil lianlIltatSMibUmiosapsdD«Dn. Jiitr. 


esteem and foding breath of ixren, compared witb the acceptance 
of God? Doth a learned man value the praise of the ignorant 
given to his composures, and disregard the approbation of the 
learned^ the proper judges of it ? Is worldly honour a certain 
indication of real worth, or can it satisfy the desires of the soul ? 
A piece of rotten wood shines in the dark ; but when the day^ 
light appears, forfeits its lustre : so in the darkness of this world, 
titles 0^ honour seem glorious, but in the morning of eternity 
they lose their flaming brightness, and vanish for ever. It is 
true magnanimity, to despise the praise of men, and to 
seek and value the honour that comes from God only. Af- 
ter this shoH; life, men are dead for ever to the pleasure of their 

I shall conclude this part of our subject with observing, that 
humility is a virtue not known to the philosophers, who thought 
it to be opposite to magnanimity : but it is especially recom- 
mended in the gospel as a most amiable and excellent grace. 
We are commanded to '^ do nothing through strife or vain-glory, 
but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than them- 
selves." Phil. 2. 3. This may seem an unreasonable lesson, and 
inconsistent with sincerity. But although the difference between 
men in civil things, and intellectual perfections be clear; yet in 
moral qualities, we knowing our own defects and secret faults, 
may prefer others, whose concealed excellencies are visible to 
God, before ourselves. The apostte Paul though he so excel- 
lently '' represented the King of saints in his life," acknowledged 
hioiself to be the chief of siimers. It is observable that St. Peter 
in the account of his fell and repentance, recorded by St. Maork, 
who wrote the gospel by his direction, aggravates his sin more 
than is expressed in the gospel of St. Luke and St. John, where 
hiB' denial is related, but not his cursing and swearing, saying, 
<^ I know not the man :" and his repentance is not so AiDy de- 
clared : for the other' evangelists tell us, ** he wept bitterly" in 
the reflection upon his denial of Christ, but it is only said in 
Mark, when ^^ he thought on it he wept." 

Many excellent promises are made to the humble. They ar« 
declared blasted by our Sialnoiir, who are not rich in treaauvesi 
<< but poor in spirit : God will revive the spirit of the humble: 
he will give graite to the humble, and hear tlieir prayers." We 
are assured though the Lord be high, yet he has a respect to the 

Y 2 


lowly : he sets his esteem and love on them, regards and relieves 
them: huniility attracts the eye and heart of God himself. 
Job was never more accepted of God than when he abhorred 

1 shall add this consideration, that should be of infinite weight 
with us : the Son of God came down from heaven, to set before 
us a pattern of humility. He does in a special manner instruct 
us in this lesson : *^ learn of me, I am meek and lowly.'' Never 
could glory ascend higher than in his person, nor humility descend 
lower than in his actions. There are the deepest imprinting 
passages of humility in the whole course of his despised life and 
ignominious sufferings. What can be more honourable than to 
imitate the humble King of Glory ? 


lofidelity, bypocrityy envyt are in a special sense poHations of the spirit. 
Ttie unreasonableness of infidelity. Hypocrisy considered : it sometimes 
proceeds from ignorance and error. Sins are liid under the appearance of 
irirtues. The steadfast belief of God's pore eye, an effectual means to care 
it. Envy at tlie good of otliers, witli malice wishing them evil. The ne- 
cessity of regeneration evident from the consideration of Inward defile- 
ments. Motives to cleanse the spirit. Qpd is highly dishonoured by tliesi. 
They are more easily contracted, and more frequently committed, than 
those that are acted by the sensitiYe faculties. Tliey are more tnevrable. 
The injections of satan distinguished from those sinfal thoughts that arise 
from the hearts of men.' They are our infelicitiet, 

JL shall now proceed to consider some other sins, that in a spe- 
cial sense,' are the poUutumg qf the 9pirit It has been ob- 
served already, that in carnal sins, the spirit is the principal 
agent, but of other sins it is the subject. Such are infidelity, 
hypocrisy, envy and malice, by which the mind becomes dark 
and impure. 


L Tf^deUty^ whether proceeding from secret atheism, or open 
deism, rejects revealed religion, as unnecessary and groundless. 
But the arguments that are drawn from the clear and living 
springs of nature to prove the being of God, are of such convin- 
cing evidence, that none but those whose interest it is, that there 
were no supreme Lawgiver and Judge to call them to an account 
for their actions, can doubt of his eternal existence. Now that 
there is a God, being proved, the necessary consequence from 
that principle is, that he must be honoured and served according 
to his own will, and that it becomes his wisdom and goodness 
to reveal his will to men, the rule cS their duty, and that this be 
done in the most instructive and permanent way, in writing, 
thai is less liable to. corruption than oral tradition, and that the 
Holy Scripture has in it such conspicuous characters of its de«- 
scent from heaven, besides the most undoubted testimony that 
it was written by men divinely inspired, and inMlible, that with* 
out violating the rules of sound discourse we must yield our as- 
sent to its divine authority, and supernatural doctrines revealed 
in it. . I shall not here amplify and illustrate: these pnticulara, 
having in some discourses, formerly published^ on the existence 
of God and the immortality of the soul, and the divinity of the 
christian religion, manifested how desperate the cause of the 
atheists and deists is to unpnjndioed minds. 

Now though the deduction specified, be .accordii^ to the true 
rule of ratiocination, yet there are some that account it a' slavery 
to fix. their belief upon any authority, but will be firee in believe 
ing as they are in their actions. I will therefore briefly produce 
some proofs of the truth of christian religion, that carry .'an 
nncontroiable evidence. in them: the abolishing iddatr}' in the 
Pi^an worid, in the time foretold by the prophets, is a palpa- 
ble proof thiftt christian religion was frt>m the troe God. The 
instruments of this great work, were a few' fishermen, that 
had neither learning, nor anus,. nor treasures: patience was 
their strength, poverty their choice, di^ace their honour : that 
without any fiirce, but of illumination and persuasion, of hu- 
mility and charity, and enduring the most terrible sufferings, 
they should ''vanquish the pride of philosophers, the tyrannous 
power of princes, the rebellious opposition of men's carnal lusts^ 
is not conceivable without the assntance of divine strength, that 
convinced the most obstinate enemies that the doctrine was 

Y 3 

342 sivBiTOAL nsmcnoN 

dhrine, by the mnrades dope in coniinnation of it. Besides^ 
that which the wise men in ail ages were seardihig for, that is^ 
the perfection of the law of nature, (at first engraven in the 
hearts oF men hy the Author of it) hot in vain : for akhou^ 
philosophy affords some notices of good and evi], anfficieot to 
check many notorious vices, yet it is not snficient to direct men 
fai their universal duty towards Ood, others, and themselves: 
but the gospel is an instractive light of our full duty : it speaks 
to the heart, and changes its thoughts and affections, and re- 
forms the life according to the pure and perfect rule revealed in 
it. Now could an imposture produce such a perfection of virtue 
in the inndced world ? The true interpretation of the moral law 
in the gospel is from God alone. Voob hcndnem mm sanat. 
Could such a change be made: witWout visible niirades ? If the 
christian religion was piatitkd and propagated without the con- 
firmation of miracles, it wef]e a transcendent miracie. And 
though we saw not the miracles done by the apdsdes, yet we 
see the permanent effects of them, in the bdief and fives of tnia 
diristians. Infidels are apt to reply, if they saw mif ades per- 
formed to assure 4hem of the divinity of the christian reU^on, 
they would believe it. It is a vain pretence that men would 
submit to the power of God declared by miracles, who deny ina 
authority made known in that eq(iin.ent degree of evidence in 
his wosd. Abraham answered the rich man, who desired a mes- 
senger from the dead might be sent to convat his brethren^ 
<^ they have Moses and the prophets, and if they hear not tfaen^ 
liiey would not be persuaded though one rose from the dead/' 

In short, those who resist so strong a fight as shines in the 
asKpture, the dehision of their mind is from thck depraved 
hearts. Sp^ddative truths obtain the pmsent and easy asscat of 
the mind ; but truths directive of practice, if opposite to men'a 
bsts, though their evideWe be nnexGeptionablc, jset the carnal 
mind is veiy fvene from receiving, them. This aocomit is given 
of the phwiaeea' infidelity, ^ |iiey repented not that they might 
bdievje ip him." Nf at. 21 . 32. When the will is engaged in the 
love of m, and rebels against the sanctity and severity of the 
gospel commands, it is congnioms to rqect i^ The commit 
affections hinder the due apphcatian of the mind to copsider the 
motives of credibility, and stain the mind that it does not sin- 
cerely judge of tbem. Tiiough infidels pretend to be the only 


ikuoKomg wits of the age, to have the orades of feaaon in 
their breaats, and deapiie others aa captives of a blind belief, 
yet their ibily ia palpable and pcnai, for having provoked God 
by tbttr infidelitry ihey are left to .the power of their lasts, and 
«f the tempter^ and aink deeper into darkness^ and become more 
hardened and prasumptnous. Thqse who embark with these 
distracted pilots in snch dangecons seas, have a mind to perish 
ior ever. ■ 

2. Sbfpearitff ia a spiritual pointio^ In its theological eon* 
aideratioQ it implies a eounteifeitiiig aeligien and viitne : an a^ 
feotation of the name joined with a disaffedaon to the thi^g. 
** The having a fiEmn of godliness, with denying tlie power cl it/' 

(1.) Every titular christian, who professes a subjection to 
Cfaoriaty and lives in habitaal disobadieace to his commands^ is 
aa hypociite. Theactions are the jaeamate issues of the heart 
whereitt they are fimned, and the clearest diaeovery of it. A 
lebellions coarse of sin, declares a person to be an usfidd, not- 
ifrithatanding bis owning Chrst to be our Ung : his life is a 
continual lie t 4ie vainly presumes Aac God is bis Father, when 
-bis actions dedava him to lie a child of the devil. John 8. 
41. 44. 

(2.) Hypocriqr in a stneier aanse is, when men presume their 
apiritaal qonditioa to be good, upon febe grounds. It is ob* 
aarvable, no man is a I^ypoerite to himself out of choice; he 
does not deliberaialy deceive himself: but one may be a hypo* 
crite sritinttt his knowledge by ignorance and error. He nmy 
think his inetinai^iim to seme virtuea, and Ins afcrsiDtt from some 
vices, to be divine giaee: but ayn^athies and antipathies pro* 
coed often firamiMeuial temper, and not from the renewed mind 
and wiU, from judgment and choice. A tame dcg is as truly a 
iicast as a wild wolf. A man that performa only some good 
ehings, and abatainij from some evil, ftom natural oenscienoe, i# 
•a truly in the atate of polluted natuye, aa '<»ie that is whfrfly 
careless of his-doty, and freely indulges every carnal lusl. One 
fnoy be ewet in i^ht matters^ as the pharisees ia tything mia$, 
and cnromin, and n^iect substantial duties ; he may be aeaioua 
in the outwards paits of religious womhip^ and n^lect rightcous* 
neosand mtory, and tbtnk to- compensate his defects in the du- 
ties of one tlUe, by strict observing the duties of the other: 

Y 4 


this is pemidoixs hypocrisy. The suhtility and strength of satak 
are employed to deceive men by an airy religion^ by an opinion«- 
ative goodnessy to prevent their being awdoened from their 
drowsy and deadly state. It is worthy of notice, tbe tempter 
has a doable operation in the minds of men : he deoeiTcs the 
hypocritical with false hopes, by concealing or extenuating their 
sins, to induce them to presunse of the favour of God, and to se* 
cure his quiet possession of them : he troubles the sincere with 
vain terrors, by concealing th«r graces, to diseburage tbeu* .pro- 
gress ill the way to heaven : he is an envious explorator, and 
searches to find out their defects, to accuse them to God ; and 
he defames God to them, as if he would not spare Im sons that 
serve him : he is triumphant in the unsanctified, and militant in 
the suntsL 

(3.) Som&hide their cryiqg sins under the.colouraUe i^tpear^* 
ance ofvirtues ; and pretend to holiness, that they may ein with 
less suspicion, and more security. He willspteak of those sins 
in others with severity, which he freely indulges in himself. The 
characteni of religion are drawn in his oountenaace, but his lusts 
jBie deeply engraven in his faeiirt* These oUr Salviaur compares 
to painted sepulchres, thatiwitbin contain sordid dust, and rot- 
tenness. This is perfect hypocrisy; a deadly potlution^ that 
woimds the vitals, aears the ^eoDscielleie^ (fueiidb^ aU goodness 
in the will ; for this hypocrite is vduntarily so. Hypocrisy in 
theheart is bke poison in a spring* that .epreads iUelf through 
•all the veins of the conversation. This sin onr Saviour never 
speaks of but with detestaticm; fo^ this he denounced such a 
heavy woe against the pharisecs, .Ihatuaed religion as a maafcii% 
habit to appear glorious in the.«yes of men, and disguised thdr 
worldly aims in devotions ; and '^ made lo«g pffa]«rs to be 
esteemed of men. This is so odious to God, that he forbids all 
the emblems and resemblanoes of.it to the Jews, Jinsey^^wookey 
'garments,. and miscelain com. Chir defects acknowledged widi 
ingenuity, excite his compassion ; hut counterfeit virtues excite 
his indignation: for what can be tnore pDavoking,dian to ap* 
pear to be like God in holiness, the glory of. the Deiiy^ for this 
«nd, to be secretly wicked, and to affront his onmiacience^ as if 
•he could not discern them through all their close and dark con* 
«ealments. A hypocrite is feaiful of men, bht faces God« Pride 
nixed with hypocrisy was the devil's original sin, *^ he abodb 


not in the tnith ;'' and religious hypocrites are his natural chil- 
dren. The hottest climate in hell will be their habitation : far 
onr Saviour threatens some nijinefs their portion with Iqrpocikes; 
diat is, aggravated damnation. This sin is difficultly cured, in 
that it is not easily discoyeted by men, and does not expose to 
shame ; but is subservient to many caoial ends. Men cannot 
dire into the hearts of others, and cannot discern between the 
.paint of hypocrisy, and the life of holiness. The piixture at 
beautiflilcoltarain the cowHienanoe, may be so artificial, that 
at a distance it may be thought to be natural. Besides, hypoi* 
4»risy turns the remedy into poison : for the frequent exercise of 
religious, duty, which is the means to sanctify us^ eoafirms and 
•liardens hypocrites. 

The e&ctufld means to cure it, is a stead&st belief of the pure 
joid flaanf^peye.of God ; who sees sin ^herevec it ia, and ^^ wiH 
bring it into judgment." A hypocrite may hide U^.'siA from the 
eyes of others, and sometimes from his own constsienoey bDut can 
neier impose upon God. And as nothing so confounds men with 
Awnt^ as to be found fake and perfidious in tiieird^diogs ; how 
'much moce>rill the hypoerites be Covered with colAi^ion: at the 
.great day, nntbefi they shaU-tippear naked, with, their loathtome 
.ulcers,. before inownerable' ^o^s mid saints P ^^ They will -desife 
the riwks to btdethem frooi.tbal' glorious assemMy*" ' 

The stead&st belief of this great truth wiU cense: frequent and 
-solegtai thoughts of God, as our inspector and- ji|^ : ^' I have 
set the.Lsdrd.always before me ; he is at my right -hand, I shall 
•not be moved ;'', this was the effset of David's faith* This. wiU 
produce sinoenty in lefigioli uAres^tive to the eyes of ii<eri ; 
and preserve us from secret sins. It is the paescription of our 
.Saviour; '^ beware- ye jof the leeveo of the pbArisees, which, is 
hypocrisy,: for there is notU^ covered, that shall tiot -be re** 
vealed ; neiober bid, that shall not be known : whatsoever ye 
have spOfcm in daikkue^s, shuUbiebevd in. the light; and that 
jwbMp y^ have spclten in the ear in closets, sliall be prodnimrd 
^ the house tops/' Uke 12, 1, 23. : 

. S. £htiy at the good of g^thers^ and malice, wishing^tbevi evil, 
ia a.deep> pollution of the spirit. This abaohitely alienates men 
from the netMfe wi life of God : for the clearest ocmception we 
have of the Deity is^ that be is good^ and does ff>od. This is 
'^ntnlry not otdy to sujpematttral graoe^ bnt to naimral ccmsci- 


«Bce ; and tonis a man into a iiend. Thit vice ia inmedBaldf 
attended with its pumshmcnt. The eorioiw bmui is his own tor- 
mentor, and has the vipers fiste in the fable, << tliat in hkingthe 
fie, wounded itaelf. Besides, this stops the descent of divine 
Messings, and tanis the pctkioos of the cnvions^ into imprecap 
tioos against theaMelvss. 

To finish this liaad, it is dbaervaUe, nothing more sfaeoveia 
the necessity of renovation, than the dafikmenta off the spirit. 
As biids by incobation hatch their baoed; so from sinfidthovg^ts 
and desires actual sins proceed. O^r Saviour teUs ns, ''out of 
die heart pnoceed muvden, adulteries, fomicatioQs, thefts, fisiae^ 
mtness, Uaspbemies, wfaieh defile a man" Mat. 15. 19. It 
is above all things necessary, to keep the heart $ '^ for the issaes 
of death flow from it.'' The design, eontnvanee, and consent 
to ein, ase jn the heart ; the body is only the inatraasent of sia. 
To enforce tUs ooonsei, thei« are many motives* 

(I.) God ia infinitely dishonoured and displeased by the sins 
^ our spirits : ior the soul it of near allianoe with fio^ and cf 
inoompMrably more value than the vile body ; theKfete tl^e deft- 
ling it is hi|^ provoking. The soul is the place of bis special 
lesidenoe ; and the entertaining si|i in it, is a ^fooler ^indigni^^ 
than Ae bringing dung into die chamber of pMseuoo >ef a king. 
We should be more eweAil to approve our thoughts 4nd 4asms 
to God, than our words and actions to men. 

(S.) They are, more eaaify eontraeted than tfaoie which nae 
acted by the selisitive fceulties i they secretly insinuate into the 
aoul. BxtcMsl sins reqwre fit time, and piaoe, and means fior 
their coman^sion ; and are otoi b to de r ft d by the moral rascmtnto 
of fear and «hame i but speoulative sins may be oomnitaed yritfa- 
out convenient drsitmstanees. in whatorer piaoe, or ^Mspany, 
tnen are, they may refiie into their bearts> and pleaae d^emsdves 
witb^vieious thoughts «nd derites of future sins, and deirices bow 
to make proviBion for the flesh ; urith carnal repreaentatteiM and 
^emplaceiicy of the sins they have eonnnitted: th^ Inay pemo^ 
nate the pleasures of sin in the scene c( tmcy $ and the inu^- 
sM^on oFdid mns hMsomes a nesr temptatiooy and d^cfrfy ataina 
dieir minds : an^ as it is usual, what pleases is lavoured and de- 
fended, ^ey by eamal diseonne pervert scripture to ooont^nanee 
Aeir hists ; which is the highest wickedness. 

(^0 Spiritual sins are moat Asquently committed, bfing of 


^fOMck Apatdi, without the toil of the \}otif : from hence their 
number is as the sand upon the sea-shore* They infinitely in- 
crease men^s accounts Mrith the high and eternal judge ; whose 
understanding is as searching as it is unsearchable. The judg- 
ment of the last day is distuignished from the process of inferior 
human courts, which are confined to take cognizance onfy of 
men's intentions by oveit-acts ; for then there shall be a <* reve- 
lation of ihe thou^ts and aecrets of the heart/' 

(4.) Spiritual sins are more incurable than those that are done 
by the body : for when the sensitive faculties by diseasei and 
1^ are disabled, then tlie vicious habits of the soul indy be 
eirctng ; and like the poison of a serpent^ be more deadly by 
age. * 

Notwitfastaading iawanl polh^ioos induce such a guilt, yet 
carnal men are apt to think that till sin be perfected in the gross 
act^ it is not deadly : and>for this they pervert scripture ; where- 
in it is said, ** that when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth 
sin ; and sin when it is finished, brings forth death/' But in 
God's sight, the contemplative commission of sin, renders one 
as truly guilty as the actual ; and consent to the doing it, renders 
as obnoxious to his enlightened and impartial tribunal, as the 
performance. His pure and perfect law, the rule of our duty, 
forbids all defilements fleshly and s^iiiitual, and that shall be the 
rule of our judgment* And as the soul is the first and principal 
agent in sin, it shall first receive therreoompence of it : in the 
interval between death ^d the resurrection, while the body is 
without sense io the grave, jth,e squl is ti^n^ented in bell. 

Before I proceed to the next head, it will be vseAil to add, 
that many «ncere saints are in perplexity from the injections of 
aatan, fearing they arise from their own hearts. 

1st. They may be distinguished by their quality : unnatmft 
thiaughia against owrsdvea, mofi blasphemous of God, are usually 
firom the teni|rtcr. 

2ifly. Wbfn they make tcrriUe impiestioiis «pon our spirits, 
they are his fiery darts : for the native oftpring qf our hearts are 
eonoeifcd with freedom knd complaeency. 

3dty, Thegrsre our infelicities, bat -induce m guiif when re- 
silted by us* A rape may be comniitted on the mind ; and as 

9 ViiiMuiBtoiileriateBiienist, im. 


the raTished virgin, that cried out for rescue from violence^ was 
declared by God himself innocent ; so when the tempted soul, 
with strong cries, prays for divine relief, God will not lay those 
terrible injections to our charge. Our Saviour '^ was tempted 
by the unclean spirit, yet was holy, harmless, and undefiled ;" 
and has a compassionate teciderness for those who are tempted, 
and will make them partake of tlie fruits of his glorious victory/ 
It is true, if the injections of satan are cherished by the carnal 
mind, they are ours by adoption, though of his begetting. The 
devil putln\he heart of ludas, the design of betraying Christ, 
but it was entertained by his covetous mind, and involved him 
under tlie heaviest guilt. Thcinclinatimis of carnal men are to 
various sins, to which they are more indinable by the tempta* 
tions of sat»n i but that does not ei^cvse them from guilt. 

. CHAP; V. 

Tb€ perfec^n oif b^liocH coiyMercd. , Tie perfection «f iQaoceoce. Tbt 
perfection of groce. "the perfectioo of f lory. The esgeotial perfecttoo of 
grace consists in ftincerity. Constancy procerda from it. Integral perfec- 
tion, comparatiTe perfection. Intellectual and moral. The threefold com- 
pariBOQ of moral perfection*' Relative perfectioo' according to the con* 
di tions of Uie ^M\fM U ihisUffli. .^^olute porfectioo only attained in 

I> • ' . •. . ...:.... 
NOW come .to discourse oflUeLperfection of hoUaess, the sub-; 
lime object and aim of the desires and endeavours of sincere 
christians. I shjaU premise there is a threefold perfection of 
grace, apd t he perfectioo . of ^ofy . 

First. The perfectioaofiinni6i(Qnce.r Gqd made man upright^ 
in the bright image of hia.hnUn^' The excellency of Uie ef- 
ficient caiAe^ infers the extaelbmcy of the: eflhct : and the final 
cause was for his own glory, and man's happiness, in order^to 
which he was endowed with those. moral perfections, as qualiged 


him to obtain that end. There was an exact regularity in all 
his faculties : the enlightened mind directed the will; .the will 
commanded the affections, the afiections ruled the senses. He 
had power to stand, but was free to fall : with his original per* 
lection there was a possibility of sinning and dying. The eyes 
of his mind were dear, discovering his duty ahd felicity; and 
the assisting grace of God was like the sun shining in the air to 
actuate his visive faculty; but he wilfully shut his eye, and fell 
from that height of happiness into a pit without a bottom. 

Secondly. The perfection of grace : this in the language of 
scripture signifies uprightness and sincerity, and is attributed to 
the saints in several respects, which I will particularly consider. 
Thirdly. The perfection of glory. This implies a. union of all 
excellencies in a sovereign degree. The church in . the present 
state is compared to the moon, that receives light from the sun 
in half its globe„ but in the next state will be filled with light 
as a ball of crystal penetrated by the sun-beams. The church 
shall be '^ glorious in holiness, vidthout spot or wrinkle, or any 
such thing.*' Natural righteousness was of short continuance, 
as nature left to itself always is : but the supernatural state is 
not only ^^ undefiled, but lades not away.'' The perfection of 
paradise was frail, for man in his best state was changing : from 
this root hi3 ruin sprang: but the perfection of heaven is immu- 
table, for there God '^ is all in all.'' His influxive presence ia 
the productive and conservative cause of their holiness and bles- 

I will now consider the perfection of grace that is attributed 
to the saints in the present state. 

1. There IS an essential perfection^ that consists in the un* 
ehaHgeable nature of things, and is absolutely requisite to the 
kind. A gradual perfection belongs to individuals, and is vari- 
oas : all gold is not refined to the same degree and height of 
purity : but true gold, though in the lowest degree of fineness, 
will endure the fiimace and the touchstone, and by that trial is 
discerned from counterfeit metal. There arc different degrees of 
active heat in fire : sometimes it flamesy but always burns, if 
fed with combustible matter. 

JNow the essence of true holiness consists, in a conformity to 
the nature and will of God, whereby a saint is distinguished firom 


the unrenewed world, and is not actuated by their principles and 
precepts, hot governed by their nmidms and customs 

TheT« are different degrees of holinesB in the saints, but since* 
rity is inseparable from the beilig of it. 

(I.) This includes a conformity in the heart and Kfe to God. 
As a good complexion flourishes in the countenance from the root 
of a good constitution within : so real holiness shining in the 
conversation, proceeds irom an internal principle of life seated in 
the mind and heart. The understanding esteems the precepts of 
God's law, as best in themselves, and best for us : the will con- 
sents to the sanctity and royalty of the law. David declares, ^< I 
esteem all thy commandments to be right : and I hate every false 
way." If the divine will be the reason of our obedience, it will 
be impartial. Many elude duty, and deceive conscience by par- 
tial respects to the law: they will make amends fin- delinquencies 
in some things, by supererogating in others that are suitable to 
their carnal ease and interest. Thus the pharisees were mighty 
sons of the church, veiy accurate in sanctimonious forms, great 
pretenders to piety, but stained religion with injustice and un- 
eharitableness. They pretended to love God, bAt haf6d their 
neighbour : they fasted twice a week, but devoured widows' hou- 
ses : they were veiy nice in observii^ the numerous rites of reli- 
gion^ but n^lected the duties of slibstantial goodMss. There is 
Bot a' matt axact resemblance between the immediate sight of 
the Uct, and the sight of it by reflection in a cEear and ttue glass, 
than the spirit of the old pharisees is like the formalist in every 
age. Thus among the papists, how many under the veil of vir- 
ginity conceal the grossest impurities, and under the appearand 
of poveity, are covetous and rapacious? But our Saviour telb 
us, '^ unless our righteousness exceeds the righteousness of tkie 
scribes and pharisees, we cAmaot colter into the kiiigdoni of hea- 
ven/' If our obedience be not of e^al extent to the* rule, if 
there be an indidgen^ to contravene any prteept, th« wohis of 
St. Jame^ are decisive and convincing* <' Whoewr shall keep 
the whole law, and yet oflend in one instance, be is gufltyof all." 
In one allowed sin of omission or conmissioii, the«e i^ a univer- 
sal disobedience to the authority of the Lscwgiver* Although th^ 
best saint on earth is not without sin^ yet the lemt is^ vftckout 


(2.) Sincerity produces constancy. There is a strict con- 
nexion between the leacfing faculties^ and their inward opera- 
tions, with the oatward actions. According to the renewed tem- 
per of the mind and will, such is the tenor of the life. Pure re- 
ligion and undefiled before Godj that is exercised from divine 
principles, and eternal motives, will fortify a christian against 
ail temptations : he will neither be alhired nor terrified from his 

Some when religion is in public esteem, are forward profes- 
sors : but if the testimony of truth exposes them to reproach, as 
seditious and disloyal, and the consequences of that reproach, 
they will comply with the temper of the times to secure their se- 
cular interest. And as there are change of ganneBts, summer 
and winter-gahnents according to the seasons of the yter, so they 
have change of religions as the times vary. Persecution disco- 
vers them to have been formal professors, without the spirit and 
depth of religion in their hearts. But sincere christians are con- 
spicuously such in the fiery trial. It is observed in digging welb 
in the hot months of July and August, if a vem of vi^ter flows, it 
is a sign of a hating spring: thus if in the burning- beat erf" per- 
secution the profession of .the pure religion is dedared^ it is an 
argument it proceeds from sincere grace, ^^ that wiH be springing' 
up t6 everlasting life." There are numerous examples of the 
holy martyrs, who despised the enraged world, as a swarm of an* 
gry flies, and turned persecution into a pleasure, aind with unde- 
clining fervour and courage persevered in the confession of Clnist, 
till they obtained the crown of eternal life. IJnkigoti feitli and 
sincere love nte the strongest security against apostacy : he that 
is fimnd at tbe cestve, is unshaken by storms^ The double- 
minded, whose hearts are divided betwen the eniigfatcned con- 
science, and tbcar eamd affections, are *^ unstcMe io* all their 

Seine have short e^qaring fits of devotion : while they are in 
afflicting cnreumstanoes either by terrors of conscience, or disea- 
ses in dieir bodies, or disasteis ill their estates, tliey resolve to be 
tegular and reformed in their lives, t» widk cir^mspectiy and 
exactly : but.^hen Cbey sore released from tbeii^ troubles, th^ de- 
generate from t&eir designs, and fidsify their resolutions,. and like 
a lite slipt from his chain, that returns to his fietceiiess with his 
Hber^, so tbey rielsfm into their oM rebellious sins. The reasonr 


is, they were not inwardly cleanaed from the love of sin, nor 
changed into the Ukeness of God. In all their miseries they 
were in the state of unrenewed nature, though restrained from 
the visible eruptions of it. But real saints have their conversa- 
tion all of a colour : in prosperity and adversity they are holy and 

In short, sincere christians study the divine law to know the 
extent of their duty, and delight in the discovery of it ; they do 
not decline the strictest scrutiny. It is David's prayer, ** Lard, 
search me and try me, and see whether there be any way of 
vtdckedness in me," and discover it to me that I may forsake it. 
Conscience will be quick and tender like the eye, which if any 
dirt be in it, weeps it out. There may be rebels in a loyal city, 
but they are not concealed and cherished : the loyal subjects 
search to discover them, and cast them out : but the hypocrites 
^ hate the light, because their deeds are evil :" they cherish a 
wilAil ignorance, that they may freely enjoy their lusts. The 
sincere christian aims at perfection : he prays, resolves, watches, 
Q)ouma and strives against every sin. This is as necessary to 
uprightness, as it is impossible we should be without spot or ble- 
mish here: but the hypocrite, though he externally complies 
with some precepts of easy obedience, yet he will not forsake hn 
swf et sins. Now if any sin be entertained or renounced by a 
person, he is um^enerate, and a captive of satan : as if a bird be 
ensnared by one 1^, it is as surely the prey of the fowler, as if it 
were seized by both wings. 

I shall only add, sincerity commends us to God, it gives valae 
to the meanest service, and the.want of it corrupts the most emi- 
liient service. Jehu's zeal was a bloody murder, though the de- 
struction of Ahab's family was commanded by God. 

The consciousness of sincerity rejoices the living saint with 
present comfort, and the dying with the hopes of future happi- 
ness. The apostle, when surrounded with calamities, declares, 
" this is our rejoicing, the testhnony of our conscience, that with 
simplicity, and godly sincerity, we have had our conversation in 
this world." 1 Cor. 1. 12. Hezekiah having received a mortal 
message by the prophet, addressed himself to God; '^ Remem- 
ber, O Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked befens thee, in 
truth, with a perfect heart." Truth and perfection, are equiva- 
lent; this was a reviving cordial in his dying hour. A sincere 


life is attended with a happy death, and that is attended with a 
more happy life. God is the rewarder of moral virtties, with 
temporal blessings, but he is the eternal reward of godly since* 
rity. This is the first notion of perfect holiness in the present 

2. There is an integral perfection of holiness : that is, an en- 
tire conjugation of ail those sanctifying graces of which the 
image of God consists. The new creature in its forming is not 
like the effects of art, but the living productions of nature. A 
sculptor in making a statue of marble, finishes the head, when 
the other part is but rude stone. But aH the parts of a child in 
the womb, are gradually formed together, till the body is com- 
plete. The Holy Spfrit hi renewing a man, infuses a universal 
habit of holiness, that is comprehensive of ail the variety, of graces 
to be exercised in the life of a christian. As the corrupt nature, 
styled the old man, is complete in its earthly members, all the 
lusts of the flesh, both of the desiring and angry appetite, and 
disposes without the corrective of restraining-grace, the natural man 
to yield to all temptations : he will be fierce with the contenti- 
ous, licentious with the dissolute, intemperate with the drunkard, 
lascivious with the impure, impious with the scotners of religion. 
Thus the divine nature, styled the new man, is complete in all 
spiritual graces, and inclines and enables the sanctified to do 
every good work. The fruit of " the Spirit, is love, joy, peace, 
long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temper- 
ance/' Although they are distinguished in their activity, and 
particular objects, yet they always are joined in the same subject^ 
and concentrate in God, who is immutably holy and one. They 
are mixed in their exercise without confusion : as in a chorus, 
the variety of voices is harmonious and conspiring. Spiritual 
graces according to the di^grees of their perfection, such is the 
degree of their union. Every real saint is conftH-mcd to Christ, 
of whom ** he receives^ grace for grace.'* There are spiritual 
gite of arbitrary dispensation : ^* the word of wisdom, the M'ord 
of knowledge, the gifts of healing, the works of miracles," aire se- 
parately given. 1 Cor. 12. But when the Spirit prepares a soul 
for his habitation, he purifies it from sin, and adorns it with eve- 
ry grace ; if there be a defect of any grace, the opposite sin in its 
power remains in the soul, and makes it impossible for the Holy 
Spirit to dwell there. 

VOL. IT. z 

854 apiRiTOAi. PXMBonoN 

. It is to be olMcnred, that when a promise is made to any par* 
ticolac ^race in scripture, that grace is to be considered in union 
with other graces. Our Saviour teUs us, '' Whoever believes 
shall be saved :" and St. Paul, inspired by the Spirit of our Sa- 
viour, saith, " That faith separate from charity is o( no avail for 
sakation. Though I have all faith, so that I dould remove 
mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." A faith that 
does not work by love, and is not productive of obedience, is of 
Ao saving efficacy. St. James puts the question, ^' What doth 
it profit, my brethren, though a man says, he hath fiuth, and 
hath not works ? Can faith save him ?" It is evident it does 
not : for nothing asserts or denies more strongly than a question. 
He that does not by faith in the Son of God live a holy Kfe, 
must die for ever. St. John assures us, '' That we are in a state 
of favour with God, if we love the brethren. We know Uiat we 
have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren." 
1 John 3. 14. But the sincerity of our love to the children of 
God, is ^^ proved by our love to God, and keeping his command- 
ments," 1 John 5. 2. and is inseparable from it. Wherever sal- 
vation is promised to a particular duty, it must be understood in 
a collective sense. We read, ^^ Whoever shall call upon the 
name of the Lord, shall be saved :" Acts 2. 21. but a prevailing 
prayer must proceed from a h6ly person, ^^ that keeps the com- 
mands of God, and does those things that are pleasing in his 
sight." 1 John 3. 21. The prayer must be mixed with faith 
and fervency : ^^ The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous nuui 
avails much." James 5. 16, The connexion of saving graces 
cannot be broken. St. Peter excites us, '* to give all diligence 
to add to our faith," in the mysteries of godliness, <^ virtue;" an 
active power to render it lively and operative, otherwise faith is a 
mere speculative dead assent: '^To virtue, knowledge;" pru- 
dence to direct its exercise in the seasons wherein, and the man- 
ner how our duties are to be performed : " To knowledge, tem- 
perance," to regulate our appetites and enjoyments in the use of 
things pleasing to the senses : " To temperance^ patience," to 
endure the evils to which we are exposed in this lower state; 
which is equally, if not more necessary and excellent : for human 
nature is more affected and tempted by sharp, pains and gri^ 
than delighted with [Measure : widiout the exercise of these gra- 
ces, our religion will be by fits and flashes^ with interrupting m« 

xnivojjmjb and' tirtoncni>* S55- 

tervflk: '^To patience, godliness;'* that is, a respect to the 
commands of God as our role, and his glory as oar end, that is 
distiogabhed from mere morality, that proceeds only from human 
reason, and respects the civil happiness : ^ To godliness, brotherly-^ 
kindness :" a sincere lore to ail of the same heavenly extraction^ 
in whom the image of God shines i ^ And to brotherly-kindness, 
eharity :'' that extends to alf the partakers of onr common na- 
ture. All spiritual graces take their residence together in the 
soul ; not one singly enters, arid keeps entire possession. Onr 
Saviour tells the young man who hud lived so r^ularly, that he 
was lovely in hia eyes > *' If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell all, 
and give to the poor, and come follow me" He wanted charity 
and aelf-denial to make his obedience entire. 

3. There is a camparatioe perfection : this in scriptkire is in- 
tellectual or moral. 

(1.) Intellectual perfection. The apostle excites the Hebrews, 
*^ Wherefore leaving the doctrine of the beginning of Christ, let 
us go on to perfection :" Heb. 6. 1. to more eminent degrees in 
the knowledge of the gospel, both of the supernatural doctrines 
of the gospel, or the duties contained in it. Of the first the 
apostle is to be understood, ^^ We speak wisdom among those 
tilmt are perfect :" that is, declare divine mysteries to those who 
are prepared to receive them. The light of nature declares the 
being erf God, and his essential perfections, wisdom, power, and 
goodness, shining in his works; but not his counsels, in order to 
oar salvation : ** No man hath seen God at any time : the only- 
begotten, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared 
him/' John 1. 18. There are some notices of good and evil, 
of virtue and- vice, by the instructive light of reason, but not suf- 
ficient to inform us of oilr fiill duty. The discovery of the purity 
and perfection of the moral law is from God. The gospel, Kke 
a dear and equal glass, that discovers the beauties and blemishes 
of the hte, makes known to us what defiles, and what beautifies 
the soul. 

Now it is our duty to increase in knowledge, both in the ex- 
tent and d^rees, and in the quality and efficacy of it. 

Ist. In the extent and degrees. There is a mutual depend- 
ance of divine truths ; one illustrates and infers another : there is 
an harmonious agreement between them : one f»upports another ; 

z 2 


and it is our duty to apply our minds intenady to understand 
them. How many that have the revelation of the gospd, are 
mean proficients in the school of heaven ! Of these the apostle 
speaks with reprehension, <' They needed to be taught again, 
the first principles of the oracles of God ; and are become such 
that had need of milk, and not of strong meat : whereas others 
were come to full age, and had their senses exercised, to discern 
more perfectly good and evil." How many professors need the 
first principles of religion to be planted in them ? They pretend 
to exempt their ignorance from discredit, that it only belongs to 
the ministers of the word to study the mysteries of religion : but 
it is of infinite consequence, ^^ they should be wbe to salvation." 
Our Saviour tells us, '^ This is life eternal, to know thee to be 
the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." 
The dispensation of the gospel is a state of perfection : it is the 
full and final declaration of God*s will, in order to our future 
blessedness : it is not a provisional establishment as the levitical 
law : there is no other alliance to be made between God and 
men ; no other sacrifice to be offered for sin : all the types and 
prophecies are completely fulfilled in Christ. Now some under- 
stand more clearly and distinctly the contrivance and parts of cfor 
mysterious redemption ; and are comparatively perfect. All the 
treasures of the world are in real value infinitely inferior to sa- 
ving truths. There may be knowledge without saving grace : but 
no saving grace without knowledge. The understanding is the 
leading faoilty : conversion b^ns in the renewed mind ; <^ Ye 
were darkness, now ye are light in the Lord." The gospel can- 
not be profitable for our holiness and comfort, but by the inter- 
vening of the enlightened applicative understanding ; the omsci- 
ence, that discovers the will of God to us, from whence our im- 
mediate obligation arises to obey it. 

It is true, some doctrines of the gospel are fundamental, and 
some are perfective: some are not of that consequence and clear- 
ness as others ; and the ignorance of them is not damning, nor 
the knowledge of them saving. But every divine truth is worthy 
of our attentive consideration, according to our capacity; kit 
they contribute to our perfection. We should strive to advance 
in knowledge ; that as the sun gradually ascends the horizon, till 
it gives light to the day, and day to the world; so our know* 

tn>nR>LI>BI) AKJ> SNFORGBB. 357 

ledge of Christ shoald be more clear and extensive, tiil we are 
completely transformed into his glorious image : ^^ When we 
shall see him as he is^ we shall be entirely like him/' 

2dly. As our knowledge is more vital, affective and practical, 
it IS more perfective of us. Divine truths have a goodness in 
them, and are not duly known, withont a steadfast belief of their 
truth, and a just valuation of their goodness ; when the convic- 
tion of the mind, and the consent of the will, is influential upon 
our lives. The knowledge of som^ things is. merely speculative: 
one knows that the eclipse of the sun is from the interposing of 
the moon between that globe of light and our sight, and the 
mind acquiesces in the theory; for it is of no practical use^ but 
the knowledge that sin separates between God and us, and inter- 
cqsts the light of his coimtefiance from shining upon us, is infi- 
nitely profitable to make us fiearful to offend him,' that we may 
not be deprived of the joyfiil sense of his love. Spiritual know- 
ledge includes a correspondent permanent impression upon the 
heart, and in the life to the nature of sanctifying truths. In ci- 
vil matters there is a knowledge of discourse and direction, and a 
knowledge of performance : .«id in holy things there is a know- 
ledge of apprehension bsdA in words, and a luiowiedge that ^^ or- 
ders the conversation aright.'' The first is not only fruitless, but 
accidentally pemicioas ; aeeording to Solomon's expression, *^ he 
that increases knowledge increases sorrow.'' . A smaller d^ee of 
knowledge of God and Christ that is productive of love and obe- 
dience, is fsa more valuablethan a more large and accurate know- 
ledge of the divine attributes, of the union of the natures and of- 
fices of Christ, that is not fruitfiil in good works t as a iipot of 
ground cultivated according to its quality, is more profitable than 
a large field that lies waste. 

(2.) Moral perfection is evident by a threefold comparison. 
1. Of the saints with visible sinners. 2. Of the saints among 
themselves. 3. Of some eminent acts of grace with lower acts 
in the same kind. 

1st.. The comparison of sainte with visible sinners, makes them 
appear ais perfect. It is true, there is a mixture of principles in 
the best here, of flesh and spirit, inherent corruption, and infii- 
sed grace, and the operations flowing from them accordingly are 
mixed. But as one who has not the brightest colours of white 
and red in the complexion, appears an excellent beauty^ set off 

z 3 


by the preeeaoe of a blackmoor^ so the beauty of holineas ia a 
caiat, though mixed with blemishes, appean complete, when 
compared with the foul defonnity of sinners. Thus the cqiposi- 
tion between them is expressed, ^^ he destn^ the perfect and 
the wicked." Job 9. 22. It is recorded of Noah, that << he 
was a just and perfect man in his generation :" Gen. 6. in an 
age when wicketloess reigned, when chastity was expetted finmi 
the number of virtnes, and modesty was censored as a ▼ioei 
iwhen impiety was arrired at the h^hest pitch, and the dehige 
was necessary to purge the world from such sinners : then the 
sanctity and piety of Noah shined as brightness issues from the 
Btars. He appesred perfectly good^ eompared with the piodigi- 
caisly bad. 

• 2dly. In eaoap^ring the saints aaiong themselves, s<Miie are 
styled perfect* There are diiFerent degrees among sinners : some 
are so disposed to wiekednes, that they m&y be denominated 
from as many viees that po ss e s s their sonls, * as the evil spirit 
in the maa spoken of ia the gospel, raswered, his name was 
Legion, from the number of devils that possessed him. f They 
drive through ail the degrees. of sin so violently and fiuioasly, 
that compared to them, otlier ainneia seem innooaat, and are fer 
leas obnoxious to judgment; 

Thus there are singular saints whose graees are so eonspiciuios 
and convincing, ahd & universal holiness appears in their con- 
versation, as makes them venerable amoQg thevici<ma: /their 
presence will restrain the disaabte from exeeases either in wandi 
«r actions, as eftctaally as a magistrate by the terror of his 
power. Other saints, though sincere^ yet there, is such a mixture 
of shades and lights m their actions, that they are in low esteem. 
Compare meek Moses with the passionate prophet Jonai^ who 
justified his anger to the fi»^ of God himself, ^ I do well to be 
angry even unto death.'' We read of Moses, that he was " tik 
meekest man upon the iaee of the earths" of .this there is re- 
corded a very eminent effeet and evidence : when Asron and 
Miriam had eontumelionsly and secBtiously spoke against hhn, ss 
if he had usurped undue authority, ^' hath xbt Lord oniy spoken 
by Moses ? hath he not also spoken by ns?*^ Numb. 12. 2. He 

• SoIm habet teeleraa, qakqafd |^«iic4lflMi eouMi. CUuA»Sm 
t Id aao Casiare anilloi Mari«i €ts«. 


might by a sharp reply have coitfounded them, bat he was silent* 
Several circumstances conciir to heighten the value of his vic« 
tory over himself. There was a double offence, and violation 
of the respects due to the dignity of his person, and the near- 
ness of the relation : this accusation was public before the con- 
gregation of Israel ; in the heat of the contention, when there is 
a great disposition to be fired by anger, when the silent and pa« 
tient bearing the indignity might be interpreted as a conviction 
of bis guilt, yet he cainUy endured their false eharge. How great 
is the disparity between Moses aad Jonah ? 

Sdfy. In comparing some raisetl acts of grace, with lower in 
the- same kind, there is a perfection attributed to them. * As it 
is in diamonds, many small ones are not of equal value with one 
great one, though of equal weight with it : so one act of piety, 
of fsMi, of charity, of self-denial, may for its rareness, exem- 
plariness, and efficacy, have sueh a divine degree of worth in it^ 
that it &r excels many less illustrious effects of those graces. 
As a single act of wickedness may be so extremely evil, so enor- 
i&oiAsiy vicious as to exceed many crimes in its pollution and 
guiit of the same kind. There are some instances of this in 
icripture : Ahaz in the time of his distress, <^ did yet trespass 
more against the Lord.'' Judgments in their nature and God's 
design are fit means to soften the obdurate, as iron is made mal- 
leable by the flre : but to kick against the pricks, to be more 
stubborn by the iniiction of wrath, that should correct men into 
their duty, is a wickedness so unnatural and prodigious, that it 
has left a brand of infamy on him for ever : *^ t^is is that kii^ 
Ahas,?' that desperate rebel against God. The idolatry of M»^ 
sassahwas ^gravated with such open contempt of God, that 
made it infinitely more provoking than the secret idolatry of 
Others. It is related, <' he set a carved imi^, that he had nlade, 
in the house* of God, of which God had said to David, and to 
Solomon hi» son, in this house will I put my name for ever.'' 
He deposed God, and with the boldest defiance set an idol in his 
throne before his fiEure. 

'" 1 will produce some instances of the exercise of grace fn its 
radiancy and power, both in doing and suffering. 
• Abraham received a command, " take now thy son, thy only 

' « Facere plurima medtocriter & nnom allqaid lotignf ter. PHn. Bp. 29« 

z 4 


son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and go to the land of Moriah, 
and offer him there for a burnt-offering." How many circom- 
fitanccs with respect to nature and grace, increased the difficulty 
of his obedience ? The command was so hard, God would not 
permit the fulfilling it. Isaac was the object of his moat ardent 
desires, in whom he lived more dearly than in himself: when 
his own life was almost expired, and was miraculously renewed 
in his son, the heir of the promise, in *' whose seed all the na« 
ttoos of the world were to be blessed :" how grievous to human 
affections, not only to be a spectator, but actor, the priest to 
offer the sacrifice] Yet ^' he rose early," and ^^ went to the 
plaee of which God had told him." He applied himself without 
relenting or delay, that would have argued unwillingness, in such 
a severe trial. He built an altar, bound Isaac, and laid him on 
the altar, and stretched out his hand to slay him, if he had not 
been coui)termanded by a call from heaven. In '^ this work was 
his faith made perfect ;" and appears in its exaltation. This 
was an act so pleasuig to God^ that he declared his approving and 
accepting it by a voice from heaven. His obedience to the di- 
vine command to leave his country, and go into a strange ^md, 
was the excellent effect of his faith in the promise of God, but 
less illustrious than the offering of his son.. 

The self-denial of Moses was as perfect and admh-able in its 
kind^ '^ When he was come to years, he refused to be called 
the son of Pharaoh's daughter." When he understood the value 
of a crown, with the honours, and riches annexed to it : in the 
age of youth and strength, when ' the carnal appetites are vehe- 
mently inclined to pleasjures, and there was an opportunity oi the 
freest fniition : then he rather chose to suffer '^ affliction with 
the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a sea- 
son/' It is pmdeot advice not to choose when the passions are 
in a ferment and disorder : it is like eating meat in a fever, that 
increases the feverish heat, and destroys the vital. A terrible 
temptation hinders deliberation, and a free judgment of what is 
our duty to choose : a pleasant temptation corrupts the nuad, 
th^t we do fiot discern the true frorn th^ false good. Yet Moses 
in that time of his life, when the se^isi^^I passioQs are most in* 
flamed and urgent, had his mind so clear and calm, that be de- 
liberately, and with a full choice preferred disgrace, poverty, 
and persecution, before the variety of attractive delights^ that 

vv9ouya> and enforced. 361 

ravish the carnal senses. Such was the soverdgnty of his faith^ 
that it coDipased the unruly passions^ and kept them in obe* 

The patience of Job^ is as rare an instance, who was exposed 
to all the cruelty and arts of the tempter to overcome him. If 
we consider the nature of his- afflictions, and their immediate 
succession like waves of the sea, that he was suddenly and un-* 
expectedly stripped of his estate, deprived of his children, and 
his body was covered with loathsome and painful ulcers, that 
satan was confident his misery would so exasperate his spirit, 
that he would blaspheme God to his face, yet he blessed him 
with the most humble reverence and resigned submission to his 
sovereign will. Add another consideration, when his wife that 
•hookl have been a conaiiarter, insiftted over him, and became a 
tempter, he repelled her with a holy zeal and constancy. The 
tempter neither by assaults on his body, nor by treachery in his 
wife, could prevail. In him ^' patience had its perfect work." 
It is recorded as the most celebrated instance in that kind : 
'^ you have, heard of the patience of Job, and seen the end of the 
Lord." I shall only add the example of the three Hebrew mar- 
tyrs, who when the proud and cruel king commanded them to 
bow to the golden idol, or threatened to cast them into the 
burning furnace, with unshaken courage exposed themselves to 
his fury, to preserve their integrity. In them perfect love cast 
out fear. 

4. There is a relatioe perfection of holiness according to the 
several conditions of the saints in this life. As in a garden, there 
are trees that produce different fruits, and ci different degrees of 
goodness : the vine, the fig*tree, the apple-tree : if an apple- 
tree produce the best fruits in its kind, though not equal to the 
fmit of the vine, it is perfectly good. Thus in the world there 
are several conditions of life among men : some are in places of 
dignity and superiority: others of subjection and service. A 
servant that is faithful and diligent, '^ adorns the gospel," and 
excels in that relation, and is equally accepted of God, as others 
in a higher order. He that gained two talents was esteemed as 
faithful, as he that gained five, because the profit resulting 
from the improvement, was in proportion to the stock intrusted 
with him. 

There is a perfection relative to the various spiritual state of 


christians here. St. John addrtsses his counsel to christians 
under several titles, to children, to yoang men, and lathers, 
with respect to their different ages in Christianity. A child, is 
perfect in the quality of a child, when he has the statere, the 
strength, the understanding that is becoming his age, dioogfa he 
is distant from diat complete state to which he wiU arrhre in his 
mature age. A young man has the perfection proper to his age. 
A new convert that has such degrees of knowledge and hofiness 
as are suitable to the means and his time of advancement by 
them, is esteemed complete in that state of grace. Some are 
entered into the school of heaven, and are in the first lessons of 
Christianity ; others have made a higher progress in it, ^^ to the 
iukiesB of the stature,'' 

Beyond the perfection attainable here, there is an abaobCt 
perfection of holiness in the extent of its parts, and intention of 
degrees : it is our present duty to aspire and endeaTour after 
this, but attained only in heaven, where every saint is renewed 
into the perfect image of God, and made ^* glorious in faoUncss,'' 
the great end of our Saviour's love in dying for us. By grada* 
tions christians ascend to that consummate state^ the period of 

in<9OLl>B0 AND BNFOftCBD. 863 


ParticQlur graces eontidered, the internal priDciplei of perfection. DiTfne 
faith doctrinai, jnttifyiof, and in the disposal of providence. Doctrinal 
faith is not insagioation, nor reason. The olgects of it. The motives con> 
sidered. The essential perfections of God. Faith in diTine revelation, 
if the most reasonable act of the human miod, God's trnth a principle 
immediately evideiit. His jurisdiction reaches to men's vnderstanding^, 
God never requires our assent to snpernatnral troths, but he allbrds saA- 
cieot conviction, that they are revealed by him. God reveals himself in 
scripture by human expressions according to our capacity. "We are 
obliged to believe sapernaturat doctrines nofkrther than they are revealed, 
To attempt the comprehcnaive knowledge of them, is perfectly vain } it It 
impossible, impertinent* and dangerous. Curiosity often fatal to faith. 
Ad answer to objections, that supernatural doctrines are not reconcileable 
to reason. That when men use all means sincerely to know the troth of 
ibc«, and are not convinced of it^ tiiey thall not be eondeamed for in* 
volnataryy specolatlve errors, 

I WAX now particularly consider those graces that are of a more 
excellent nature^ and have a more powerful causality and in^ 
fluenee in the lives of christians. Faith and love, hope and fear^ 
are the internal principles of the christian religion. 

I. I will first discourse of divine faith^ the first principle and 
finindation of religion, as the apostle declares : ^^ he that comes 
to God, must believe that he is, and the rewarder of them that 
diligently seek him.'' Heb« 11. The belief of his being and 
bounty, is the motive of' holy worship. 

This grace is most honourable to God, and beneficial to us. 
The understanding is our supreme faculty, and by submitting it 
to divine revelation, we ptty the most humble homage to him. 
By &ith we coneeive of God, becoming his divine perfections*: 
in believing the revelation he has made of his nature, which is 
as inoompiehensiUe as it is invisible, and the declaration of his 
wiH^ though the things promised are encompassed with opposi- 
tion and seeming iinpossibililiies, we glorify his perfect veracify 
«nd omhipoteaee in the highest manner. He that believes the 
di^dne testimony, ^ sets his seal that God is true; ratifies his 
word in the most solemn manner. 


Faith is most beneficial, to us. It is the root of the spiritual 
life, from whence all other graces derive their flourishing and 
fhiitfiilness. It is not only productive of its own acts, but excites 
and animates every grace in its distinct exercise : like the ani- 
mal spirits, that give motion and vigour to all the senses. Faith 
in Christ conveys to a weak christian a kind of omnipotence : 
the apostle declares, *^ I can do ail things through Christ that 
strengthens me." Heb. 11. The most eminent effects of oth^ 
graces, either active or suffering, fortitude, zeal, self-denial^ 
patience, are attributed to faith ; as the honour of a victory is 
ascribed to the general, by whfMe conduct and courage the bat- 
tle is managed, though it is obtained by the valour of the sol- 

^' By faith we are justified" Rom. 5. 1. firom the guilt of our 
many and mighty sins. *' We are purified from their deep pol- 
lutions :" Acts 15. we are adopted into the line of heaven} and 
are saved from misery extreme and eternaL 

I wUl consider divine faith under three heads. 1. Dootriiial 
faith. 2. Justifying faith. 3. Faith in the disposal of all things, 
by the ruling providence of God. 

L Doctrinal faith I will consider, 1. In its nature. 2. The 
objects of it. 3. The motives* 4* The efficacy. 

The nature of it. All the notions of fsith agree in this ; it is 
tf dependance upon the truth of another. Thus tnist is called 
faith ; bec^ause it relies upon the truth of a promise : and one is 
aaid to keep his faith invidate, when be jierforms the promise 
that another relied on. Faith. in the propriety of expression, is 
an assent for the veracity of the speaker : accondingly, divine faith 
is a firm assent of the mind to things, upon the authority of di- 
vine revelation. It is distisguished from imagination, and firom 
comprehensive reason. 

Faney draws a copy of those objects that are perceived by the 
external senses, or compounds many copies together, but creates 
no images of things not perceptible by the senses. We can 
imagine mountains of gold, because we have seen gold and 
mountains : we conceive monstrous mixtures in dreams ; but no 
actors can sftpear on the theatre of fancy, but in borrowed habits 
from sensible things. But the objects of fieuth are such things, 
" as eye hath not seen^ nor ear heard,'' and transcend the cup^r- 
city of the imagination to conceive, and of tlie external senses to 


fepresent : yet infidels blasf^me the eternal truths of divine 
things, as the fictions of fancy. 

Faith is distinguished from science, acquired by study, and 
from reason. Reason* implies a progress from one degree of 
knowledge to another, by consequences drawn from the firBt to 
the second : but faith assents to things upon the account of su- 
perior authority that reveals them, and commands us to believe 
them. The same things may be the objects of faith and 8f rea« 
son^ but in difierent respects: reason may discover them, by 
ascending from effects to their causes^ or descending from causes 
to their effects: faith receives them as revealed in scripture; 
** by faith we know the worlds were made 5'^ Heb. U. which 
may be proved by clear reason. 

The objects of faith. The general object of faith is the word 
of Grod; the special, are those doctrines, and promises, and 
things, that reason cannot discover by its own light, nor perfect- 
ly understand when revealed. The word of God contains a nar- 
rative of things past, and predictions of things to come : the de- 
struction of the old world by a deluge of waters, and the con- 
sumption of the present world by a deluge of fire, are objects of 
faith : but the unity of the divine nature, and the trinity of divine 
persons, the incarnation <tf the Son of God, his eternal counsels 
respecting man's redemption, never entered into the heart of man 
to conceive ; but aie as far above our thoughts, as the heavens 
are above the earth, and cannot be comprehended. 

God may be considered absolutely in himself, or as revealing 
himself and his will to us. We have some knowledge of his be- 
ing and divine attributes, wisdom, power, goodness in his works 
ofcreation and providence; but we believe in him, as declaring his 
mind and will to us in his word. We may know a pertcm, and his 
excellent virtues intellectual and moral, but we cannot l^elieve in 
him without some discovery of his thoughts and affections to us. 

The moiioes of belief are ta be considered. Divine faith must 
have a divine foundation. Faith may be absolutely true, and re** 
latively false. Many believe the doctrine of the gospel, u^on 
no otl^r grounds than the Turks believe the alcoran ; because 
it is the reigning religion of their country, and by the impression 
<rf example : from hence their faith b like the house built on the 
sand ; and when a storm arises, is in danger of fitdling. 'The 
firm foundation of faith is the essential supreme perfeotioos of 


God ; unerritig knofwleAge^ immuUble truth, infiaite goodness^ 
almighty power. It is equally imposaible that he should be de- 
qeived or deceive. His infinite understanding is the foundation 
of his perfect veracity. And whatsoever is the object of his will, 
ia the object ^ his power ; for to will and to do are the same 
thing in him. 

It is true, the kno^edge of thmgs by experimental sense, is 
a dearer percef^tton thmi the persuasion of them by faith. . The 
first is to see the original, the other is to see the c(^y, that usu- 
ally falk short of it. It is therefore sud, ''we now see in a glass 
darkly :** but the divine testimony in itself has the moat convin- 
dng evidence^ aboVe the assurance we can have by the report 
of our senses, which often deceive us, through the indisposition 
tf the faculty, or the unfitness of the medium, or distance of 
the objects, or tlie knowledge of things by diacursive ratiocina- 
tion* The objective certainty of foith is infallible. We know 
with the highest assurance, that God can no mora lie, than he 
ean die. It is said, '' all things are posnble with God;'* but to 
lie or die are not possibilities, but passibilities ; not die efiects 
of power, but proceed from weakness. We know the sacred 
scriptures are the word of God, by the signatwes of his perfec- 
tions, wisdom, holiness, goodness, justice ; and by the miracles 
performed by the penmen of them, that proved they were divine- 
ly inspired ; and consequently infallible in what th^ wrote* , 

From hence foith is often expressed by knowledge. Nicode- 
mus gives this testimony of oiir Saviour^ we koow dioa art a 
teacher come from God. John 3. 2. *'. We believe and aresure^ 
thou art th^t Christ, the Son of the living God.'' 'f We know 
that if the house of this earthly tabemade be dissolved, we have 
a building made urithout hands, eternal in the heavens." 2 Cor. 
S. 1. " We know that he was inanifiested, 'that he might take 
away sin.'' John 1. 5. '' We know that when Clurist shaD Bp- 
pear, we shall be like him ; for we shall see him as he is." 1 
John 3. 3. 

( I wiD not insist upon the particular supernatural doctrines re- 
vealed in the gospel, for there is little new to be said upon these 
points: if men with renewed minds and hearts considered the 
testimony of scripiture, there would need no more arguing : but 
I will lay down some considerati<Hia, that prove divine feith to 
be the reasonable act of the human understanding, 2* Answer 


(be (4>J€ctfoiia dtedged to jut^ the dbbelief of divine doctrines^ 
that we are not able to conceive nor comprehend. 

1st. That •God is true, is a principle immediately evident, not 
dependently upon an antecedent motive. This, by its native ir- 
resistible evidence, is b^ond all dispute, and exempted from all 
critical inquiries. There is no principle written in the minds of 
men with clearer characters. It was the saying of a wise hea^ 
then, '^ if God would converse visibly with m«i, he would as- 
sume lig^t for a body, and hare truth for his sonl." God is 
most jealous of the honour of his truth.'' *' Thou hast magni- 
fied thy word above all thy name." Tnith is the supreme cha^ 
racter of the Deity. The apostle builds the assurance of chris^ 
tians upon the promised, and their strong consdation upon tidi 
infallible rock, '< God that camioC lie." Heb. 6. From hebce 
it follows, that in supernatural doctrines, we must first cohsH 
der the autfiority of the revealer, and then the nature of doc* 

2dly. God's jurisdiction extends to our lUMierstandings, as weB 
as to our wilU : he rules our understandings by light, our wilb 
by empire* If God did coihmand us to believe only truths in 
themselves evident,,our receiving them would not be an undoubt* 
ed respect to bis authoHty ; but to believe his testimony without 
the evidence of things, is an obedience worthy of hinu And we 
are equdly obliged to believe his testimony concemihg the truth 
of things, notwithstanding the reluetaney of the carnal mind, 
and their seeming repugnance to the naiival notions of reason | 
as to obey bis precepts, notwithstandii^ the reluctancy of t^ 
corrupt will, and the inclinations to f(6rbidden thSnga. 

3dly. God never requites our assent to supematuriU things re« 
vealed in his word, but affolrds sufficient conviction that they are 
divine revelations. When God deputed any by commission for 
an extraordinary work, be always afforded a.li|^t tx> discover ibt 
commission was ubcount^eit. Mosies was sent fi'om God with 
a command to Pharaoh to release the Israelites fixim their cruel 
servitude ; and he had the wonder-working rod, to authorize his 
conunission, and confirm, the truth of his message by miracles. 
The divinity of the scripture, the rule of faith, shines with that 
dear and strong evidence, that only those whose minds are pre- 
vented with a conceit of the- impossibility of the doetrines con- 
tained in it^ and perverted by tbeir passions, can resist it. Cot 


loared objects are not discerned more dearly by their ccrfoorBi 
nor light by its lustre, than that the scriptures are of divine re- 

■ Reason is an essential faculty of man, and by it we are direct- 
ed why to believe, and what things are revealed as objects of 
faith. To believe, and not to understand the reason of our be- 
lief, is to turn faith into fcJly and extravagance. The men of 
Samaria were first induced to believe in Christ, " for the testi- 
mony of the woman that told them, come and see the man that 
hBs told me all that ever I did :" John 4. but when they heard 
Christ speak, they said, ** now we believe, not for thy words, 
for we have heard, and know, that he is the true Saviour of 
the world." The understanding is convinced by reason of the 
divinity of the scriptures : and as a pole supports a vine, but does 
not give life and virtue to its root, so reason assists faith in 
directing it to the scriptures, the nde of it, but faith In the mys- 
teries of the gospel derives its life from God the author of themw 
By reason we discover the refattion, order, distinction, and 
dependaace of revealed truths : and reject the vain opinions of 
men, when proposed as divine oracles ; and the fruits of fancy, 
that are proposed as mysteries of faith. ^ 

4thly. God reveals himself to us in scripture by humane ex- 
pressions, according to our capacity of receiving the knowle<%e 
of dhrine things : and we are to understand them in their appa- 
rent sense, unless the precise liiteral sense contains an evident 
contradiction to what is certainly known by reason, and dispara- 
ging the divine perfections. The sure rule of interpreting them, 
is to separate whatever is defective in them, and apply them to 
God in the highest degree of perfection. We read of the hands 
and eyes of God in scripture, which signify the perfection of 
God's knowledge and power : they are the organs by which men 
do and know things : but it is infinitdy unworthy of God to 
think that the divine operation has need of such instruments^ 

Thus the communicating of the divine nature from the Father 
to the Son, is expressed by generation, which is the most noUe 
production of one living creature from another, especially of an 
intelligent creature, with all its properties r '^ but who can de* 
clare his generation?" We must not c6nceive it with the im- 
perfection of human generation, wherein the effect is separate 
from the cause, and successive to it. For it is a contradictkMV 



tiiat God should beget a Son in his most perfect image, but he 
must be eternal as the Father ; other\v]9e, he would be defective 
ill the resemblance of the first perfection of the Deity. AH re- 
semblances of God in scripture have their disparity and defects, 
which must be separated from him. But excepting such cases, 
t lie word of God is to be understood in its proper sense. For 
we must suppose that God speaks to us with an intention that 
we should understand him, otherwise it were not just to require 
us t6 believe it : our minds could not firmly assent to his word, 
but would be floating between faith aiid doubts. And if God 
intends we should understand his meaning, how can we recon« 
cile' his wisdom with his will, if he does not speak to us iu the 
same sense as men do to one another. 

5th1y. We are obliged to believe supernatural doctrines no 
farther than they are revealed. God does not require our assent 
to an object beyond the merit of it : that is, the degrees of its 
revelation. We cannot see an object more fully than it is visi- 
ble. The truth of evangelical mysteries is clearly revealed, the 
manner of them is not discovered. To attempt the comprehen- 
sive knowledge of them, is perfectly vain : for it is impossible, 
impertinent, and of dangerous consequence. 

It is impossible. Supernatural truths cannot be primarily and 
immediately discovered by reason, but are only known to the di- 
vine mind, lihd communicated to created understandings accord- 
ing to the pleasure of God. " No man hath seen God at any 
time ; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Fa- 
ther, has declared him.'' John 1. 18. The gospel is called the 
mystery of " Christ, the mystery of God the Father, and of 
Christ,'* Eph. 3. 4. Col. 4. 3. Because God and. Christ is 
the author, and revealer of it. God contrived in the secret of 
his eternal wisdom, the design of our redemption, and revealed 
it in his own time : it is therefore *^ called the mystery of his 
will." Eph. 1.9. It is called « the mystery of faith :" 1 Tnu. 
3. 9. that is, it is received by faith. It is called *^ the mystery 
of the kingdom of God ; Mark 4. II. Rom. I. 19, 20. con- 
cealed fi-om the world, and only known in the church. The 
sublime doctrines of the gospel it is impossible for Che clearest 
spirits of men to discover, without s{5ecial revelation, were they 
as pure as they are corrupt, and as sincere as they are perverse. 
This word mystery is never applied to the revelation that God 
has made of his wisdom in the firaming the world, and in the 

VOL. 11. A a 


eflfecU of his providence^ because since the creation^ it has been 
exposed to the sight of all reasonable creatures. Men were not 
commanded to believe in order to salvation, till by experience 
they were convinced of the insufficiency of reason to direct them 
how to be restored to the favour of God. The i^ostle declares, 
" for after that in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom 
knew not God, it pleased God, by the foolishness of preaching 
to save them that believe." 1 Cor. I. 21. The doctrine of the 
Trinity is purely supernatural : for the internal distinction of the 
persons in the divine nature, by their incommunicable characters, 
is only proper to God. The counsels of the divine will are 
above any created understanding : " who knows the things of a 
man, but the spirit of a man ? so none knows the things of God 
but the spirit of God." The angels arc superior spirits to us^ 
and excel us in sublimity and perspicacity of understanding, but 
they could never know the decrees of God, though in his imme- 
diate presence, but as giadually revealed : it is said of the myste- 
ries of his counsels, ^^ they desire to look into them." We can<- 
not form a conception in our niinds, but what takes its rise from 
sensible things. 

The attempt is impertinent : for God has revealed those great 
mysteries sufficiently for saving faith, though not to satisfy rash 
curiosity. There is a knowledge of curiosity and dbcourse, and 
a knowledge of doing and performance. The art of navigation 
requires a knowledge how to govern a ship, and what seas are 
safe, what are dangerous by rocks and sands, and terrible tem- 
pests, that often surprise those who sail in them : but the know- 
ledge of the causes of the ebbing and flowing of the sea is not 
necessary. To believe savingly in Christ, we must know that 
he is the living and true God, and true man, that died for our 
redemption; but it is not necessary that we should know the 
manner of the union of his two natures. It is prudent to confine 
our inquiries to things which are possible and profitable to be 
known. The discovery of the manner of divine mysteries is not 
suitable to the nature of faith, " for it is the evidence of things 
not seen :" the obscurity of the object is consistent with the cer- 
tainty of the assent to it : and it is contrary to the end of revela- 
tion : which is to humble us in the modest ignorance of divine 
mysteries which we ^*annot comprehend, and to enlighten us in 
those things which arc requisite to be known. " It is the glory 
of God to conceal a matter." He saveth us by the submission of 


bith, and not by the penetration of reason. The nieanest un* 
derstandiog, as well as the most raised, are equally capable of 
salvation. The light of faith is as much below the light of glo- 
ry^ as it is above the light of nature. 

It is of dangerous consequence. There is an hydropic cu- 
riosity, that swells the mind wih pride, and is thirsty after the 
knowledge of things unsearchable. This curiosity has otten been 
fatal to faith. It is like a man's endeavour to climb up to the 
inaccessible point of a rock that is very hazardous, to see the 
son in its brightness, which may safely be seen from the plain 
ground. The searching into the unsearchable things of God's 
nature and decrees, h&s been the occasion of many pernicious er- 
ton. It is like the silly moth's fluttering about the burning 
fight, till its wings are singed* Beside, the affecting to be wise 
above what is written, and to attempt to make supernatural 
doctrines more receivable to reason by insufficient arguments, 
weakens the authority and credit of revelation : the endeavour 
to make them more easily known, makes them more hard to be 
believed. To venture to explicate them beyond the revelaticm 
of them in scripture, is like a man's going out of a fortress 
wherein he is safe, into an open field, and expose himself to the 
assaults of his enemies. 

. I will now consider the objectiona against supernatural doc- 

First. It is alledged they are irrecondleable with reason ; and 
it is not possible for the understanding to believe i^nst its own 
light and judgment. In answer to this specious objection, the 
following particulars are to be comidered, 

1st. Sense, reason and faith, are the instruments of our ob* 
tuning knowledge. Sense is previous to reason, and reason pre- 
pares the way to.fiuth. By our senses we come to understand 
natoral things, by our understandings we oome to believe divine 
things. Reason corrects the errors of sense, faith reforms the 
judgment of reason. The stars seem but glittering points ; but 
reason convinces us they are vast bodies, by measuring the dis* 
tanee, that lessens their greatness to our sight. We cannot ima* 
gine that there are men whose feet are directly opposite to ours, 
and are in no danger of fiEdling; but reason demonstrates there 
are Antipodes. It is as absurd for reason to reject divine testi- 
mony, and violate the sacred respect of faith, as for seoie to 

A a2 


cbntHMlkt the clearest principles of reason* To deny supernatu- 
ral truths, because they are above our conception and capacity, 
16 not only against faith, but against reason, that acknowledges 
its own imperfection. 

It is true,, reason and taith are emanations from the father of 
lights, and cons^equently there cannot be a real repugnance be- 
tween them ; for " God cannot deny himself:" errors are often 
contrary ; but truth is always harmonious with truth : if there 
seem to be an opposition, it proceeds not from the light of the 
reasonable mind, but from the darkness that encompasses iC It 
is certain, that a proposition that contradicts right reason, the 
general light of nations, that have nothing common between 
them hut the human nature, cannot he true : as the doctrine of 
£picuni<i, " that God was not to be worshipped, because he had 
no need of our service.;" and the popish doctrine <^ tranaubstan- 
tiation, that imputes contradictions to God. 

We must distinguish between things that cannot be discovered 
by reason, nor comprehensively known when they are reveakd, 
and those that are contrary to reason. . In paradise reason was 
an inferior and imperfect light : Adam could not perfectly know 
God. lie dwells in light inaccessible, not only to mortal eyes, 
but to the immortal angels : they cannot penetrate to the centre 
of his pevfectianf). The propositions that involve a contradiction, 
have the plain characters of falsity ; but the doctrines of the gos- 
pel, that. are ihcQmprehensible,:.have the characters of sublimity. 
Reason cannot .measure the. extent, nor reach the *^ height of the 
love of Christy th^ passes knowledge. Eph^ 3. 19^ That su- 
pernatural doctrines are .incomprehensible iiow they are revealed, 
K one. argument to prove they couhl ne\'er be. invented and dis- 
covered by men : for that wbieh^ naturally cannot enter, into the 
Blind of man, cannot naturally ;prDcecd out of it.. 

2dly. Since the fall reaaon in Weakened, and ita light is clouded, 
hi the narroRv wad low spi)ere of natural things, how often is reason 
mistaken aqd, lost in a labyrinth ? There is m>t a.iliMver, a fly, 
a stone,! bpt is a mystery. r Ave cannot fully micbrstand the v^e* 
tation of the one, nor theiseiiaation.of the other, nor the motion 
of the other. Let us make a trial of the light of reason upon 
ourselves, aitd we shall discover its defeets. • Who'can* daaeem 
the vital bands; wherewith the soul and body are combined ? By 
what -power does the sOul rqire^ent absent objects? Sounds with* 


out noise, colours without tinctures, light without clearness, 
darkness without obscurity. What account can be given of the 
admirable operations of the soul in dreams, when the senses are 
suspended from working, and the body seems to be a warm car- 
cass. It is one of those secrets, that human wits labour in vain 
to explain, how it composes discourses so just and regular, as to 
the invention and style, which by their impresi^ion in the memo- 
ry, we know were not the effects of wild faucy^ but of sober judg- 
ment; and that awake, and intent, we could not so speedily and 
orderly frame. It is as strange as that an artificer should work 
more exactly with his eyes covered, than seeing; that a painter 
should draw a face better in the dark, than in open day- light. 
That man were totally deserted of reason, who not being able to 
see things that are but a just distance from his eyes, would not 
acknowledge that things distant from him the extent of the ho* 
rizon, are beyond bis sight. We are finite beings ; there b some 
proportion between our minds and our natures : * if we cannot 
understand ourselves, what folly is it to presun^e that we know 
God ? *^ Canst thou by searching find out God ? Canst thou 
find out the Alnnghty unto perfection ? It is high as heaven, 
what canst thou do? Deeper than hell, what canst thou know? 
The measure is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea." 
Job 11. 7) 89 9* Who can unfold the divine attributes? They 
are not confosed in their unity, nor divided in number ; they are 
not separable qualities, but his essence : he is not only wise, but 
wisdom ; not only lives, but is life. We cannot speak of some 
attributes without distinction, wisdom and power ; nor of others, 
without a seeming opposition, justice and mercy ; yet they are 
the same divine nature, and cannot be separate but in our 
thoughts. He is eternal without succession ; with '^ him there 
is no past, and to come : he sees all things with one view; not 
only events that proceed from the constraint of natural and ne- 
cessary causes, but that depend upon causes variously free and 
arbitrary. " This knowledge is too wonderful for us.'' To be- 
lieve no more than we can understand, uroeeeds from the igno- 
rance of God's nature, f and our own :iFor the divine nature iit 
truly infinite, and our minds are narrow and finite. 

* Quo inteUertuin deiim capiat homo, qui ip«uin intcllectum quo eum Tult 
eft pere oon capiat ? 4^g. Ub^ de, Trin, c I, 

f lufioitus loiDiensus, t^ soli i<bi tantusi quantus est noiuft; nobis >ero, 

A a r^ 


Sdiy. The human understanding in our lapsed state, is dark 
and defiled, weakened and vitiated. Of this we have innumera* 
ble instances. Although the Deity be so illustriously visible in 
the creation, yet even the wiae heathen represented him in audi 
a degree of deformity, as is highly blasphemous. They could not 
conceive his infiniteness, but made every attribute a God. They 
transformed the glory of the immortal God, into the likeness of 
an earthly dying man. And the papists transform a mortal man 
into the likeness of the great God. They attribute to the pope a 
power of contradicting the divine laws : (or though God, in the 
second commandment, so strictly forbids the worship of images, 
and has annexed to the prohibition the most terrible threatening, 
of '^visiting the iniquity of the fttthers upon their children, to 
the third and fourth generation ;" yet in defiance of the majes^ 
of the Lawgiver, the pope commands all his adorers to warship 
the images of the dead saints : he arrogates a power to dispense 
with oaths, the most sacred bands of human society, and thereby 
authorizes perjury. 

41y. Though reason is not able to conceive and comprehend 
supernatural mysteries, yet it can never demonstrate that they 
cannot be. Who can prove by irresistible evidence, that God, 
who is an infinite good, cannot by an infinite communication of 
himself be in distinct subsistencies ? It is true, our reason may 
find unaccountable difficulties, that one should be three in the 
subsistence of persons ; and three, one in nature : but there can 
be no proof that it is impossible, without the perfect understand- 
ing the nature of God. The incarnation of die Son of God, is 
matter of astonishment, that two natures so different and im- 
mensely distant, as finite and infinite, mortal and immortal, 
should be so intimately and inseparably united in one person, 
without confiision of their properties : but we have the strongest 
reason to believe, that God knows his own nature, and is to be 
believed upon his own testimony. If the matter of his testimony 
be inconceivably great, we must exalt faith, and depress reason. 
If we will believe the word of God no fiuther than it is compre- 
hensible by our reason, we infinitely disparage him : tat this b no 
more than the credit we give to a suspected witness. 

pectus augustam, & ideo lie eaoi dif n« atinuuBiUf ««ai lacttlnabilcai did* 
■BUS. M. FtUx. 


5Iy. The doctrine of the Trinity and incarnation have a clear 
connexion with other truths^ that right reason comprehends and 
receives without reluctancy. That men transgress the laws of 
Godf natural conscience is their accuser^ an essential faculty of 
the human nature^ that can neither die with them, nor without 
them : that every sin needs pardon, is most evident : that God b 
just, is known by the general light of reason in all men : that it 
is becoming God to pardon sin in a way honourable to his jus- 
tice, is as certain : now the satisfaction of divine justice requires 
the enduring the punishment ordained by the law, and equal to 
the guilt of sin. The guilt of sin rises from the majesty of the 
Lawgiver, who is dishonoured by it, and the satisfaction must be 
by a person of equal dignity, and consequently only God can 
make satisfaction. Now reason dictates, that he that satisfies, 
and be that receives satisfaction, must be distinguished : for it is 
not reasonable that the same person be the judge and the cri* 
miual ; therefore there must be two distinct persons in the 
Deity : from hence the reason of the incarnation is evident ; for 
the Deity b incapable of suffering, and it was necessary that the 
dignity of the divine nature should give value to the sufferings. 
It was therefore requisite that the Deity should assume our na- 
ture capable of suffering, atid the salvation of the worid should 
result from their conjunction. This doctrine is very honourable 
to God, and beneficial and comfortable to man ; which are the 
amspicttoos characters, and strongest evidence of a doctrine truly 
divine : this maintains the royalty of God, and the rights of jus* 
tice ; this secures our pardon and peace, and removes all the dif- 
ficulties and doubts that are apt to rise in the minds of men, 
whether God, infinitely provoked by our rebellious sins, will be 
reconciled to us ? It is our duty to admire the mysterious doc- 
trines of the gospel, which we do understand, and to adore those 
we do not. We may observe the same connexion in errrors as 
in divine truths ; fw they who rob our Saviour of his natural glo- 
ry, his etemd Deity, vilify and disbelieve the value and virtue of 
his priestly office, by which our pardon is obtained. In short, 
the fabric of our salvation is built on the contrivance and consent 
of the divine persons, and the concurrence and concord of the 
divine attributes. 

6Iy« The belief of supernatural things may be confirmed by 
comparisons and examples of things in nature; for they prove 

A a 4 

376 . sptRiruAi. pBRFBcnov 

mnd persuade that a thing may be. Our Ssvioar, to cure the in- 
fidelity of the phariseesy tells them, '^ Ye err, not knowing the 
scripture, and the power of God." In the book of scripture we 
read the declaration of God's will ; in the book of nature we see 
the effects of his power. The apostle says, ** The weakness of 
God is stronger than men." The expression is strange to a 
wonder ; for it seems to attribute a defect to God : but he speaks 
in that manner, to declare with emphasis, that God is always 
equal to himself, and has no need to stnun his power to over* 
come the strongest opposition. The same apostle argues against 
infidels, that say, ** How are the dead raised up^ And with 
what bodies do they come ? Thou fool, that which thou sowest 
is not quickened except it die ; * and that which thou 9owest, 
thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain ; it may 
chance of wheat, or some other grain ; but God giveth it a body 
as pleaseth him." If our eyes are witnesses of such an admira- 
ble resurrection in nature, which our understandings cannot com- 
prehend, shall it not confirm our belief of the resurrection of the 
body, the wonder of grace, when it is promised by God the au- 
thor of both. All difficulties vanish before infinite power. St 
Paul declares, <' I know in whom I have believed, that he is able 
to keep that I have committed to him till that day." We are 
assured *^the Lord will change our vile bodies into the likeness 
of his glorious body, by the power whereby he can subdue all 
things to himself." The belief of the resurrection is drawn from 
the clearest springs of nature and scripture. 

71y. It is a prudent foundation of judging things attended with 
difficulties, to compare the difficulties, and to determine our judg- 
ment for that which has least. Now it is certainly much more 
suitable to the reasonable mind to acknowledge, that things may 
be true which we are not able to conceive and comprehend, than 
to deny the natural and proper sense of many clear and express 
texts of scriptures, that declare those things. And by this we 
may judge of the glosses of Socinus, and his followers, who with- 
out reverence of the majesty of God, and the sincerity of his 
word, rack the scriptures to make them speak what they do not, 
and use all arts to silence them in what they do reveal. Unh^>- 

* Pnemisit dens nfttiiram mafi^istram, sub miBsaros prophetiam, Qt faciliot 
£redaa prophetiie diecipalus oaturs. Tert, 


py men ! that affect to be esteemed ingenious and snbtile, to the 
extreme hazard of their own salvation. How much safer^ and 
more easy is it to believe the plain sense of the scriptures, than 
the turns and shifts that are invented to elude it, and extricate 
heretical persons oat of the difficulties that attend their opi- 

I shall add, thedoctrine c^the Trinity is so expressly set down 
in the gospel of Christ, that it is impossible the Son of God, who 
is infinite and eternal love, who gave himself lor our redemption, 
should have declared it, and engaged his disciples in all ages and 
places in an error of such dreadful consequence, as the wcM^hip* 
ping those who are not God. 

Secondly. It is alledged, that if a person sincerely searches in- 
to the scripture, and cannot be convinced that the supernatural 
doctrines of the Trinity, and others depending upon it are con- 
tained in them, he shall not be condemned by the Righteous 
Judge of the world for involuntary and speculative errors. 

To this I answer. 

This pretence has deceived many who were guilty of damn- 
able heresies, and there is great reason to fear deceives men still. 
5^ The heart is deceitful above all things," and most deceitful to 
itself. Who can say that neither interest nor passion, neither 
hope nor fear, neither anger nor ambition, have intervened in his 
inquiry after truth, but he has preferred the knowledge of divine 
truths before all temporal respects, and yet he cannot believe 
what the scripture reveals of the nature of God, and the econo- 
my of our salvation : let this imaginary man produce his plea, for 
I believe there was never any such. There are many that make 
reason the sovereign nUe of faith, and determine such things 
cannot be true, because they cannot understand how they can be 
true. Prodigious inference ! the most absurd of all errors, that 
makes the narrow mind o( man the measure of all things. This 
is the proper principle of that horrible composition of heresies 
and execrable impieties, which so many that are christians in 
profession, but antichrisUans in belief, boldly publish. * They 
will choose to err in matters of infinite importance, rather than 
confess their ignorance. And which is astonishing, they will 

* iEmaofmitor imperitret Utaii, iasolenter in del rebus ignaioi. Jffil cf« 
Trim. ^ t« 

378 tPiAiTUAL nuBcnoiv 

readily acknovrfedge the defectiveneas of reamn wkh respect to 
the understanding of themselyes ; but insolently aifogate, a rig^ 
to determine things in the nature of God. 

It is tme^ ignorance the more invincible, is the more excusa- 
ble : but when the error of the mind is from the vicioiia will, 
both the error and the cause of it are sinfiil and inexcusable. 
When the corrupt wiD has an influence upon the understaa«fiQg, 
and the mind is stained with some carnal lust, when a tempta- 
tion diverts it from a serious and sincere considering the reasons 
that should induce us to believe divine doctrines, their unbelief 
win be justly punished. The scripture declares, ** that an evil 
heart is the cause of unbelief:" pride, and obstinacy of mind, 
and carnal lusts, are the cause that so many renounce those eter- 
nal truths by which they should be saved. 

Thirdly. It is alledged, that speculative errors cannot be 

To this I answer. 

The understanding of man in his original state, was light in 
the Lord, and regnl&r in its directions, now it is dark and disor- 
dered : and in the points of religion that are revealed, any error 
induces guilt, and if obstinately defended exposes to judgment. 
Some truths are written because necessary to be bdieved, others 
are to be believed because written* 

According to the quality of the truths revealed in scripture, 
such is the hurtfiilness of the errors that are opposite to them. 
Some truths are necessary, others profitable : some errors are di- 
rectly opposite to the saving truths ct the gospel, others by eon-- 
aequence undermine them. '< Those who deny the Lord that 
bought them, are guilty of damnable hereues,'' capital errors, 
<< not holding the head.'' Col. 2. 19. 

The doctrine of the Trinity is not a mere speculative truth, nor 
the denial <^ it a speculative error : the trinity is not only an ob- 
ject of faith, but of worship. In baptism, we are dedicated to 
the Sacred Trinity, ^' in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost," which clearly proves they are of the same authority and 
power, and consequently of the same nature : for it is impossible 
to conceive of three infinite beings, for by necessity one would li- 
mit another. The apostle declares, " Without controversy great 
is the mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh :" the na- 
ture and end of this divine mystery, is to form the spirits of man 


to betieve, and love, and obey God. For in it there is the clear* 
est revelation of .God's admirable love to men, cS his niispotted 
holiness, his iucorruptible justice, the great motives of religion. 
In that divine doctrine we have the most ravishing image of pie* 
ty and virtue, the most becoming the nature of God to give, and 
of man to receive. 

Briefly ; God commands us to believe in his Son : without 
faith in him we are incapable of redemption by him. When 
Christ performed miraculous cures, he required of the persons 
whether they did believe in his divine power, and what he decla- 
red himself to be. Electing m&ey ordains the means and the 
end : the apostle ^^ gives thanks to God^ because he has chosen 
the Thessalonians to salvation, through sanctification of the Spi* 
rit, and the belief of the truth.'' 2 Thes. 2. Holiness and faith 
in the doctrine of the gospel, are indispensable qualifications in 
the learned and ignorant, that would be saved by the Son of 
God. It is a high contempt of the truth and goodness of God^ 
not to yield a firm assent to what he has revealed concerning our 
salvation by his incarnate Son. He that believes not the lecatd 
that God hath given of his Son, ^^ makes God a liar." 1 John 
5. 10. This infinitely provokes him, and inflames his indigna* 
tion. To disbelieve the testimony that Jesus Christ has g^ven of 
the divinity of his person and doctrine, is to despise him, it robs 
him of his essential and his acquired glory by the work of our 
redemption. There can be no true love of God without the 
true knowledge of him, as he is revealed not only in his woffcs^ 
but in his word. Our Saviour, friio is ''the way, the truths 
and the life," has declared, when he gave commission to his 
apostles to preach the gospel to the world, ''whoever believes 
and is baptized, shall be saved, whoever believes not shall be 
damned." We cannot make laws to be the rule of God's judg- 
ment, but must receive them. However some may flatter erring 
persons in their security, it will be found in the great day, that 
infidelity in the light of the glorious gospel, will have no excuse 
before God. 

The doctrine of the gospel is like the pillar of cloud and of 
fire, that was darkness to the Egyptians, but enlightend the Is- 
raelites in their passage out of Egypt : it is concealed firom the 
proud, and revealed to the humble. The human mind is impe* 
rious and turbulent, and averse fi'om submitting to God'3 autho* 


rity, who commands the wise and most understanding to yield fnD 
assent to his word, as the meanest capacities. <' The natural 
man receives not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are 
foolishness to him, neither can he know them, because they are 
•piritually discerned.'' There is no proportion between the fa- 
culty and the object. You may as well see an angel by the light 
of a candle, as see the great mysteries of the gospel by the natu- 
ral mind, their reality, beauty, and excellency, so as savingly to 
believe them. <' Faith is the fruit of the Spirit:" Eph. 1. 17- 
who is styled the '^ Spirit of wisdom and revelation," who dis- 
covers the object, and enlightens the mind to see it, and by free 
preventing-grace inclines the will to embrace it. '^ The Holy 
Sprint alone can pull down strong holds, and cast down imagi- 
nations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the know- 
ledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obe- 
dience of Christ." 1 Cor. 10. The Spirit overconoes the pride 
of the natural understandii^ by the authority of the revealer, and 
enlightens the ignorance of it by the infallible revelation, ^^o- 
lence, and temporal resects, may by terrors and allurements 
make men hj'pocrites, but cannot make them sincere believers : 
there will be a form of religion without, and atheism within. It 
is special grace inspires the elect of God with light to see spiri- 
tual things, and requires special thankfiilness. 

Let us humbly pray to the Father of mercies, and of lights, 
that he would reveal the mysteries of his kingdom to the minds 
of men. " If the gospel be hid, it is hid to those that are lost, 
in whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them 
who believe not, lest the Kght of the glorious gospel of Christ, 
who is the image of God, should shine into them/' 2 Cor. 4. 
3, 4. 



The power #f faith, to overcome all that is opposite to oor saWation. A 
•peciilative asveot to supernatoral truths, is oot savins, '^c efficacy 4>f 
faith aigainst temptations of the world, proceeds from the nature of its oh* 

. jecti, and the degrees of assent, and the frequent application of them to 
our heart«« There is an incomparable difference betwi'en the good and' 
evil things that are present, and those that are future. The evidence and" 
importance of future good things, and our interest in them, fixes onr esacnt, 
and makes it effectual. Justifying faith considered in its nature and puri- 
fying virtue. -Ftiiih in the ditposafs of the Divine Providence, is a fuoda- 
mental principle from whence mAoy practical consequences are derived; 
Tne heathens had very disparaging conceits of God*s providence. The 
scripture declares tliat nothing happens without (be knowledge, the will, 
either permissive or approving, and (he orderiug-providence of God. This 
is very influential on the lires of men, 

X Will nc>w consider .the power and efficacy of faith, to over- 
come all that is opposite to our salvation. 

i shall premise, there is a common delusion that has a perni- 
cious influence upon the minds and lives of many, that those are 
true bdMvers, ^o yield a -dbr and barren assent to the myste*- 
ries. of thief gospel, without the practical belief of them. They do 
not foment and authorize -doubts' by the pr'etencfe of 'reason, nor. 
fxcite revolts in their minds', and entertain objections against su-^ 
pernatufal truth ; but they never felt the spirit and power of faith 
in raising them above the low descents of carnal minds, and set- 
ting their affections on things above. The love of the presei>t 
world, like a stupifying wine, causes in them a forgetfuiness of 
heavcR, and that whicK 'is' the most dangerous idolatry in the 
sight of Gbd, is seated ^ their hearts. THe understanding sub- 
mits 00 divine revelation, but the will is rebellious against the di- 
vine* doniimands. They believe what is necessary to believe, but 
not what is necessary to do. They are satisfied with a specula- 
tive ftnth) that costs nothing, and will go Ivith them .to hell, for 
the devils believe supernatural truths. They are rich in the no- 
tions of fSf^h, but poor in the precepts of obedience. Now in 
the language of scripture, saving faith and knowledge of divine. 
things are productive of such affections and actions as are corre- 

382 tftmiTUAL Fm&ncnoN 

spondent tb the nature of the things believed. If the head be 
enlightened, and tHe heart in darkness, if one professes never so 
fully his assent and adherence to all the articles of faith, and the 
beams of fiiith are not visible in his conversation, he is an infidel. 
** He that says, I know Christ," or which is equivalent, *^ be- 
lieve in him, and keeps not his commandments, is a Kar, and the 
truth is not in him.'' 1 John 2. 4. Every habitual sinner is an 
unbeliever. Unfeigned faith receives the word of God in all its 
parts, doctrines, commands, promises ; not only as infallibly true, 
but superlatively good and precious, and entirely embraces them, 
with a despising of all things that may come in competitkm vrith 
them, and expresses the esteem and love of them in the pracdce. 
The two inseparable properties of saving faith are, it is humble 
and submissive to divine revelation, it is dutiful and obedient to 
divine precepts. 

This being premised, I will consider the power of faith, pro* 
ceeding. 1. From the nature of the objects upon which it is 
exercised. 2. From the d^;rees of its assent and adherence to 
them. 3. From the serious and frequent application of the ob* 
jccts to our heart. 

1. From th^ nature of the objects upon which it is exercised; 
now between them, and the most enticing good things, and the 
most fearful evil in this present state, there it an incomparable 
difference. The apostle tells us, ^ This is the victoiy that over-* 
comes the worlds even our £uth.'' 1 John 5. Victory supposes 
a fight, and a fight supposes an eoemyi the enemy is declared, 
the world, including the men of the world, and the things of it. 
This enemy is in combination with the devil and the flesh. He 
is styled the <' Prince of this world," that manages the tempta- 
tions of it for the ruin of souls. He tries his poisons according 
to the dispositions of men, in hopes :of working in them. He 
presents to some a charming cup^ to intoxicate them with the 
pleasiu-es of sin : he tempts others with things of lustre, with ti- 
tles of honour and dignity, that dazzle their minds, that they 
cannot give a true and safe judgment of things : he allures ocheia 
with riches. And as heat is doubled by reflection, so he eofoieea 
his temptations, from the prevalency of these motives upaa men , 
in all places and times. If these methods are unsMCOes^ul to 
tfim men from God, he tries to make terrible impressiona open 
the minds of men by afflicting evils, by the rage of the perverse 


world. Now faith is the victorious prindple that defeats all hi^ 
designs, and overcomes all his strength. In mechanical opera- 
tions, we judge by the force of the mover, how easily a weight 
will be moved. Thus when eternal realities are by faith put into 
the scales against temporal vanities, they infinitely outweigh 
them. The apostle makes a judicious comparison ; ^' Our light 
afflictions that are but for a moment^ work out for us a far more 
exceeding and eternal weight of glory." 2 Cor. 4. He ex- 
tremely vilifies things present, and magnifies things future. All 
that is pleasant or painfiil here is but for a moment, and in true 
value is infinitely inferior to the good things, and the evil to 
come. ^' I count," saith the apostle, '^the afflictions of the pre*, 
^nt time are not to be .compared with the glory that shall be re- 
vealed:" and since the injipressions of pain are incomparably 
stronger, and more affecting human nature than impressions o[ 
pleasure ; one sharp pain deadens the sensitive faculties to the most 
vehement pleasures. We are assured by irresistible evidence, 
that the happiness of this world is in true value infinitely inferior 
to the happiness of the next. The most pleasant things here 
ca^mot satisfy the. parrow faculties of sense : <* The eye is not sa- 
tisfied with seeing,, nor the ear with hearing;" but the favour of 
God, and the bjes^ed effects of it, pass all understanding, our 
most comprehensive faculty. 

There is xnore shadow than light in our brightest condition ; 
more gall than honey in our sweetest fhiitioos ; but suppose the 
appearance of worldly happiness, gilded with specious tinctures,, 
v^ere truly great and goodly, joyfiil and satiafj^g, aecoivding to 
the fimcies of caiiuiil mep, yet the price would extremely fall, by: 
eon^idering they ^e of.no Jopger continuance than the flight and* 
expiring breath of our present life. The glory of this world is> 
like a flash of *ligh|tning in its appearing and^ vanishing^ The 
longest line of tin^, firom its first rise to its last period, is but su 
point to eternity .^ . Now that happiness which is fiKling, is not' 
true happiness pi its own nature, nor eorrespondent to^oor rea*. 
aonable desires : for the apprehension of its approaching end,, 
will imbitter the relish of the present enjoyment. 

But the happiness of the next life is doubly infinite, in the 
degrees and duration. The least part of that happiness is a per- 
fect freedom fi'om any touch or shadow of evil. Human lan- 
guage has not words worthy or fully significant to describe it*. 


Gody who is an infinite good and goodness, communicates him- 
self to the immortal soul, according to its utmost capacity and 
desires. It seems im|>068iUe for men to offer such violence to 
their understandings, as calmly considering, and in cold blood, 
to prefer the fashion ** of this world that passes away," before 
the perfect and unchangeable happiness in the next world. 

2. According to the degrees of our assent to futare eternal 
things, subh is their victorious power in our souls. The objec- 
tive efficacy of things is not from their existence, but (nrni their 
evidence to our minds. Now according as our af^nrehensions are 
^more clear, and our belief more steadfast of things future, such 
impressions are made either of terror or desire in our breasts. 
The apostle defines faith to be, *'' the substance of things hoped 
for, the evidence of things not seen/' Heb. 11. It represents 
things future and distant, as present and in our actual possession. 
A superficial fluctuating belief of the good or evil things in the 
next state, is of no force to encounter present temptations, and 
vanquish the carnal affections. The report of the senses con* 
ceming things present, will preponderate the 'authority of God's 
word, that declares things future infinitely to exceed them. All 
fire has heat, but not strong enough to melt down gold and sil- 
ver. There is an assent in every degree of faith, but not able to 
overcome the world, A radicated firm belief of the infallible 
truth, the transcendent goodness, and our sure right in heavenly 
things, will cause all the false colours of 'this world, the shadows 
in masquerade, to disappear. 

The evidence and importance of things, fbces our re8oluti<His 
to adhere to them. TiH» son of a king, and heir of a kingdom, 
will invincibly assert the truth of his relation and title. A sin- 
cere believer of the heavenly glory, and his- eiemal interest in it, 
will live in that faith, and die in it ; and die for it, if necessity 
require. The belief of it has a vital taSte, a joy sincere and 
sweet, that makes the pleasant temptationsof the- world nauseous. 
As fiuth is the foundation and basis of hope, '* it is the substance 
of things hoped for," so hope is reciprocally as a strong pillar 
that establishes the basis upon which it is fixed : for one volun* 
tarily and steadfastly believes that which is for his advantage and 
comfort. The serious belief of the prepared plagues for those 
who are unfaithfiil to God, and their souls hereafter, will make 
all the evils threatened and inflicted upon the godly here^ to be 

viitotoAb AHti tvPoiiCBt}. 885 

eontempCibie. If we are siurfoitlicfeil with an; arm/ of ^vils^ let 
faith draw forth the powers of the w^ld to come^ ^^ we shall be 
more thaa conquerors." There are many temptations we caii* 
not avoid ; there are none but we may Tflnquish by the power 
of faith. The fear of God^ like Aaron's rod turned into a ser-» 
pent, that swallowed up the rods of the ms^eians, will over^* 
rule the fear of men^ and make those evih that to naked nature 
are invincibly easily endured* Thi» is evident from the <^ouTage 
and constancy of the martyrs, who despised the proudest tyrants 
wpwi their thrones, and die most cruel executioners upea the 
scaffold : the effects of faith in the time of its triumph* If tb^ 
same cA>jects have not the same efficacy in. the minds of men, 
it is for want of &ith. If £aith declines, we shall faint and di^ 
away. Peter walked on the sea while he relied on the word of 
Christ, but when a blast of wind shook his faith, he presently 
sunk. The apostles doubted of Christ's power, when a storm 
fiiU upon the ship : our Saviour first rebuked their fear, before he 
laid the storm, ^^ why are ye afraid, O ye of little faith ?" as a 
danger more near, and of woise eonsequence* 

Let us try the singular efficacy of faith, by exercising it up* 
on eternal objects : let our. faith represent to us in as lively a 
mamier the eternal judgment, as Enoch had a prospect of it | 
'^ behold the Lord comes with^ten thousand of his saints, to judge 
all the ungodly :" kt fsith direct its view to him, rending the 
heavens, and ^^ coming iii his own glory," as the Son of God | 
and '' in his Father's glory ,'^ as constituted by him to be Judgf| 
of the world $ '^ and in the g^y of the mighty angels/' his at-* 
tendants : let faith contemplate the Judge upon a <^ white 
throne,'' the eteUem of his holiness, whom none can surpri$e or 
resist : let faith. make that day as present, when there will be no 
place for repentance ; when the fountain of mercy to sinners will 
l^ sealed for ever; when the books of eternal 1^ and death 
shall be opened, and all men shall receive 9A irrevocable judg-* 
ment ; a judgment so fearfiii, that sinners how great and terri* 
ble soever they were in this world to others, shall ^' call to the 
mountains to ^1 on them, and the hiUs to cover them, from the 
wrath of the Lamb : for his day is come." A judgment so strict^ 
*« that the righteous shall scarcely be saved." Now what im* 
pressions of tormenting fear, or reviving hopes, will the strong 
belief of the eternal judgment, and the consequenees of it, mak« 

VOL. II. B b 

386 nTinntAh pSEFxcmoN 

in U8^ when heaven «nd hell shall divide all men, accordiog at 
we are prepared or unprepared for the trial of that deciding day? 
How will it make us circumspect and cautious to avoid evil^ ac- 
tive and Ardent in doing good ? for every thing must be brought 
in judgment. How ambitious and diligent to be accepted of our 
Judge ? Let faith open a window into heaven, and represent 
the saints in tht'ir sun-like brightness, their glory and jovy and 
triumphant felicity in the eternal kingdom, '^ where God is ail 
in all." How will the believing view of this, rectify our minds, 
and convince us that nothing deserves our high esteem and iove^ 
but the favour and fruition of the blessed God ? 
• Let faith open the fatal gates of hell, that are ever shut upon 
the damned, and discover the scenes of woe, the sights of hor- 
ror, the tormenting passions of reprobates, their desperate aor« 
row for the loss of heaven, and fierce indignation that others 
enjoy it ; both which are implied in their ^^ weeping, and wail- 
ing, and gnashing of teeth/' How powerfiil will this represen- 
tation be, to keep us in awe and order, to control the hiHs, 
and licentiousness of carnal appetites ? How would thn double 
vision make us esteem all the good things here as vile as dross, 
and all the evil as light as feathers, in comparison of eternal 
things? How would this inspire us with resolutions to take 
^ heaven by violence, and to fly firom the wrath to come ?" 

3. The efficacy of faith proceeds from the serious and frequent 
application of eternal objects to our minds and hearts. All that 
are christians in profession, prefer in the idea and speculation 
eternal things before temporal ; but in practice and choice, the 
most prefer temporal before eternal. Present and sensible things 
strongly affect the carnal faculties, and excite the natural in- 
clinations tliat were dormant in the absence of aDuring objects; 
but when awakened, they distract and scatter the mind from a 
just comparing of thii^ present and things future ; and the will 
applies the thoughts to what is delightful to the carnal part, and 
the application determines the choice. The interposition of 
earthly things, eclipses the light of faith, and weakens the reflec- 
tions of that light upon the mind : a strong temptation defaces 
the impression of things future, though infinitely great ; and cmi- 
sequently the passions prevail, and faith is vanquished. What 
man that has heaven and hell in view, and considers that the 
day of death and judgment are equally uncertain as to the fixed 


time, arid equally certain as to the 6vent ; and that this short 
life must issue eitiy^ into rivers of pleasure for ever, or into an 
abyss of endless misery, can be doubtful a moment, what to 
choose, and what to avoid ? Yet it b evident, that vast num- 
bers of men that are between, two eternities; are indifferent and 
unconcerned, into which their lot shall b^ determined. Th^ 
enchanting world darkem.the remtaibrance^ and damps the de<» 
sire of hesven, and ettinguiahes the fear of hell. Transient 
thoughts of fCiture things caoQOt.eicette and influence the affec* 
tions, nor regulate the hviH and anions, according as the mo^ 
ment of them requires. Moaes despised the p^mp and pleasures 
of the Egyptian court, and chose afflictions with the people of 
God, ^^ because he had an intent and fixed eye upon the future 
reward/' Paul had a Ite^eniy vision^ the idea of which was 
always bright in bia 'memory, apd a heavenly cooverdation. Now 
faith suppUes the want of vision ; and if its acISs are not in* 
temipted by earthly objectsy will eontUiuaUy inspire us with 
suitable affcfctions ^ to ^eternal tbifiga. i Above all other means 
let us fly to prayer, that the 'Holy Spirit^ by his illuttiinating 
guidance, wouM direct our minds^ and aetuaie our faith : *^ we 
have received the Spirit, Ihtet we niay know the things given us 
of God/' 1 Cor. '2. 12.. that th^ Spirit would be our remem- 
brancer, jmd stsdngly impresa eternal things upon us : without 
•his infiiMnce oio- consideratiott will be cold and ineffectual 

2. There is -a jtt9t\fying faith. The apostle declares^ « being 
justified by faith, we have peace with God." Thia is very clearly 
opened in the gospel; yet there have been lately published some 
contentioi» writings about it, mixed with such railleries and c(mr 
tumelies, that have opened a scandalous scene, and exposed re- 
ligion to the derision of Iffieirtines, and pro&ne spirits, and af- 
.fectcd the godly with sont)wfnl impressions, and with earnest 
longings after the kingdoms of li^ht and love, where ignorance 
.and strife are abolished for ever. Injurious language convinces 
none, but renders the minds of men more averse from instruction: 
we are not likely to discover the truth in a mist of passion ; but 
when truth is calmly conveyed, the mind is more attentive to re* 
ceive it, and its convincing and persuasive power insinuates into 
us. Christian love would lessen the number, and allay the heat 
of our controversies. 



I hate disoouraed eliewtwre conceming jostifjiiig fiuth^ ^ aod 
ihall now tery briefly glance at some tUngs^ ^wherein its iMture 
and purifying virtue consists. 

Justification is an act of God as supieme Judge, inrested witk 
the relation of a Father, wherein his migesty and mercy ar^ 
equally ilhistrious, in pardoning oor sins, and eonferring upon us 
a right to eternal life, for the satisfisetioR aad merits of Christ's 
righteousness impOted to us, and recevred by fiuth. Faith is the 
condition that qualifies us to have pardon applied to us; I John 
12. and its nature consists in receiTing Christ upon the terms of 
the gospel ; that is, our unfeigned accepting him as ^< our Prinee 
and Saviour,'' Acts 5. 31. and entiie rdianee upon him. The 
general belief of the gospel is not justifying faith ; but our regu* 
lar trust in the pardoning grace of God, necessarily includes oor 
performing the condition of the promise; that is, a rdianee on 
Christ, joined with a sincere resolution to obey Um. A parti* 
cular persuasion that our sins are pardoned, is not justifying 
faith : we are commanded to believe, that we may be pardoned. 
Many sincere believers have distracting doubts about theb pir* 
don: the matter being of inbiite importance, they are £eaffal 
in die inquiries of their title to it. And others are deceived widi 
presumption instead of faith in Christ, and security instead of 
peace with God. And by this we may rniderstadd from wheno^ 
the purifying virtue of faith, as it justifies, proceeds ; fiar it ner 
cessarily supposes us to be under the guilt of sin, and in desperate 
misery ; that we are obnoxious to GckI's tribunal, who is a righ- 
teous and holy Judge, angry and incensed fiir our sins, ted will 
be a revenging Judge to all tfiat continue in their guilty staSe$ 
and that our pardon and right to eternal life are to be entire^ 
ascribed to the sovereign mercy of God, the original cause, and 
the blood of Christ, Bom. S. 85. the meritorious cause of it. * 
<^ Now faith works by love ;" the love of God to us appreheodsd 
by faith, and our love to him, which h the refleotion of his beam 
shining in our hearts, and is the powerfid principle of obedience 
to him. The well^-grounded belief that God will save us,- and 
bring us to eternal glory, does naturally and necessarily inspiiv 
the breast of a christian with a holy fear of sin that provtAes 
him, and a constant care to please him in ail things. Besides, 

• SemoDS on the Foff Weoesi of 8iot» 

PNvetPBD jam vtfWwxmD. 889 

God in dispensing liit ^nkMung^mefey^ recjuiret our peneve- 
ranoe in » holy copvenalion. What our Saviour said to the man 
miraculoiidy cured of bia inveterate ^diaeaae, *< Behold, thou art 
iQade whole ; sin no more kst Br worae thing befal thee/' John 
6* 14. ia virtually aaid to every pardoned believer:- when God 
apeafcs ^peam to hia people/' it is with this caution, <<Let 
then not return any more to felly/' I shall undenaaother bead 
apeidL oJF faiths as the e&ctual means of our sanctifieation 5 and 
now will pioeeed. 

3. Faith in the dupoioi qf aU things hy the mfdIUble jprovt* 
defuse qf Gody is one of those muversal principles, thoae prime 
and great truths, rieh in prBctical consequences, that are power- 
fid to compose and calm our minds and hearts in the bidst of 
the visibie disorders and oon&»ien of tiiii^ in the present world. 
The heathens measmed the divine perfections by Ihe compass of 
their .narrow understandings. They could not conceive, that one 
God was able to order all things, and formed a vast number of 
subordinate gods, to whom the care of paftkular things was com- 
mitted. They Maspfaemed him in their imaginations, thinking 
him to be like mcMtal kings, insufficient to govern immediately 
aeveral kingdoms and nations, divers in their customs and lan- 
guages; who are constrained to man;q;e their affurs by the num- 
hai^ vanely and order of offioen : viceroys to divide the govern- 
ment, counsellors to advise about occarreiicea of moment, secre- 
taries to give commissions and make dbpatofacs, judges to dis- 
pense the hiws, military-offioers to prevent tumults. 

Others eonfined his piesenee and agency to the heavens, and 
aequestered him from the lower world, the mutable spltere^f the 
aletnents, and of men and their actions, leaving them under the 
dominion of fortune. Others thought that he was so content 
with his own felicity, that all things without lum were diataat 
-from his thoughts somI care, and that to. regard and regulate the 
•multitude of emeigeneies in this lower w«rl4» would -disturb bis 
Jshoity. Thus the professors of ^sdom, like .the' foolish Har- 
fMte that Seneca speaks 0^ who insensible of her own blind- 
ness, always complained the sun was down and the house dark, 
thought all dimgs wen left at random^ in loose diwirder^ and 
^confusion here below. Nay some of the clearest spirits, and 
.^most virtuous among the heathen, could not reconcile the oppres- 
sions and infelicities of good men, and the prosperity of the 

B b 3 


^ wicked, with the rectitude and eqniCy of the divine providence; 
and expressed their discontents in the style and accent of their 
passions. Of this we have two eminent instances : Brutus, who 
with inviolable integrity, had as a senator managed the public af- 
fairs, and with undeclining courage endeavoured to recover hb 
country from ignominious bondage; when vanquished by the 
usurpers, broke out into a tragical complaint, * *< O virtue, I 
worship thee as a substantial good, a deity ; but thou art an 
empty name, an idol." The emperor Titus, who was the de- 
light of mankind for bis goodness and benignity ; surpriied with 
death in his flourishing age, accused heaven that his life was un- 
justly snatched from f him. '< The ways and thoughts of God 
in the government of the world are above the ways and thoughts 
of men, as the heavens are higher than the earth." And if his 
wisdom had not descended from heaven, and discovered itself in 
the sanctuary, *^ We should.be foolish, and like the beasts that 
perish." Psal. 73. 

But the word of God ussures us, that nothing happens in this 
tumultuous and tempestuous world, without the knowledge, the 
will, either approving or permissive, and efficiency of God so far 
as to dispose the worst evils by his powofril providence subordi- 
nately to his main end, that is alway good. X Nothing is so higji 
as to be exempted from the dominion, nor so low as to be exciu- 
ded from the care of his providence. 

( 1 .) We are assured that all things and persons are under the 
eye and inspection of his providence. No silence, no solitude 
nor darkness can hide the designs and actions of the wicked, nor 
the sufferings of his people from his perfect knowledge. How 
many millions of inhabitants are in the world, how different their 
conditions and circumstances, ebbing or flowing, but they are all 
actually and distinctly known to God. Without his universal 
and infellible knowledge, it were impossible that God should go- 
vern the world and judge it. Torquatus Manlius, a noble Ro- 
man, though blind through age, was chosen consul and general, 
to rule the state, and the army. But no arguments, no entiear 

* O virtas te colol ut ren, «€d oomen inane es. 

f CoeTumque nultura conquesius f ripi sibl Yitam immerenfi. Suet, 

% Nod specie ned ordinc placent nam Yitioruniy nostrarum doo est aothor 
dcHi ted ordinaton jivg* 


lies could persuade fakn to coBBent to it : he answered, * ^' That 
it was absdiitely absvid, that the lives and estates of otheiB 
should be committed to hia praridence and protection, who must 
manage ail things by the eyes of others." The perfection of 
God's knowledge qualifies him to govern the wocld, and is the 
ferandation of trust in him. '* He tells the number of the stars,"' 
that seem innumerable, PsaL 147. 41. And firom. hence the 
psalmist encourages the clmrch, that was then dispersed in cap- 
tivity, that he *' could gather the out-casts of Israel," though 
acattered in strange countries, <^ and build up Jerusalem/' He 
not oiriy ^' numbers the stars, but the hairs of our heads;" Luke 
12. 7' that are of so small consideration. All creatures are sup- 
ported in their beings and operations by bis power, therefore it is 
impossible they should be without his ^^nowledge, and that any 
thing should be done by them, or befai them without his dispo*- 
sing wiM. 

(2.*) The providence of God is not Anerely theoretical, but ac<> 
4ive, and orders all things. <' He rides upon the heavens:" Deut. 
26. that is, regulates their motions as easily as a skilful rider 
manages a horse. The stars, that in the language of scriptofe 
are the '< armies of heaven," for their number, order, and axs- 
tions, '<he caHs by their names:" Psal. 147. 4. that is, abso* 
htely commands them, fbr his call is always effectual, and ex- 
actly accomplished. As in the creation, ^' He spake, and it was 
done-: he commanded, and it stood fast." So 'in the conversa* 
t^on and government of the world, his word is as powerfiiL 
^' Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created Jthese 
things, that bringeth out their host by number : he calleth them 
all by names, by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong 
in power, not one fiaileth." Isa. 40. 26. He is not only the 
God '<of the hills, but of the valUes:" 1 Kings 20. there is 
nothing so inconsiderable, but is under the immediate disposal of 
his providence. A sparrow worth but << half a farthing, does not 
lall to the ground, nor a hair of ^our heads without his disposaL" 
Matt. 10. All the casualties and contingencies in the world are 
ordered by him. The arrow shot at a venture was directed by 
an invisible eye and hand, to smite the king of Israel between 

* Impadcntem & gaberoatorem, & imperatorem esse, qui cum alienis ocu- 
lis ei omnia agenda sunt^ postulat sibl aliorum cupita & vitos commil(i« 

Livs * . " 

Bb 4 


903^ spiEiTiTAL nKracTfoif 

the joints of his harness, and woaod him to death. 1 Kangs 22. 
Tlie most arbitrary' and free causes are. under his determinate in- 
fluenee. The hearts *' of kings are in his hands, and are turned 
by him as rivers of waters," whieh a gardener tiums iitfo sefeiil 
channels for to make his ground fraitfiil. Sin that is directly 
contrary to his law, is not only permitted and ratrained, but or* 
dered as a means to iUustrate his providence, jnstice and good- 
ness. Joseph's malicions brethren eoM him into Egypt, but God 
sent lum to make provision for the fomily of Jacob m a time of 
extreme fomine. He permitted the lying spirit to deoetve Ahab, 
by inspiring his false prophets to encourage him to go to Rsb- 
moth^gilead, that he might foU in battle. He gives riches and 
honour to his enemies, who presumptuously break hia laws of 
the greatest coosequeace, and foresees they will abuse them, and 
prod%ally perish. 

It was an incredible conception to the heathen, that one God 
was able to govern the world: but bis ^< power and under* 
standing are truly infinite *," and it is more easy to him, than for 
a man to lift a feather. The accideota in this world are inan- 
meraUe, but cannot distract an infinite eternal mind, nor cause 
weariness in the Almighty* Every agent must be united by ac- 
tive power with the objects upon which it immediately works, 
•The power of God is hia essence, not a separable quali^^ he is 
intimate and present with all things. One mm is aufficient to 
measure times, distinguish seasons, and to preserve an entiie 
world of living cre atu res ; the meanest worm or herb is duaished 
by iti heat, as if all its influences, were eonfiaed for their preser- 
vrag. And is not an infinite God sufficient to support, aqd dia- 
pose all things ? 

(3.) Divine providence is more qpeeial and tender towards God's 
peculiar people. ^ The eyes of the Lord run to and fro through 
the whole earth, to show himaelf stiong^in behalf of those whose 
hearts are perfect towards him.'' 2'GfaroD. 16. . '^ His tender 
mereies,'' (bis extensive attribute) ''are over all his works i" bat 
more emmeatly exercised according to their degrees of ^oochiess, 
and his propriety in them. Our Saviour infers by the dearest 
consequence, that the divine providence, that reaches to the feU^ 
ing of a yarrow, is much more concerned for his people ; ac^ 
cordingly encourages his disciples, " Fear not, ye are of more va- 
lue than many sparrows. God is the Saviour (^ ail men, cspe- 

cially of fStkoob who believs/' Now as whm tbe rtaton of acorn- 
mftiul has a direct aspect npoo vm^ it more atioogly hinds us to 
obey God; so in^n the.feaseo of a promise has a peculiar re* 
apect to iis^ it engages God more strongly to pseserve «• God 
has a right to aU manlcind hy a general tenure, h«t a special in« 
terest in the godiy* Heis the Kiii^ of nations^ and the King of 
aaiots t it is. his dearest txtle^ above all the titks of majesty ascri*- 
bed to hinu They are precioas in* his esteem, '' his treasure, his 
jewels^" Exod* 19. the most valnable part of his- treasure, the 
*^ Jewels of his crown,'' Zeeh. 3. Mai. 3. the most radiaiA and 
rich jewels. Propriety and preciousness engage his powerfid and 
pfopitaons providmiee for their good. • They are csqiosed to many 
evils ior iheir idation to him their heavenly Father, and for his 
im^pe sfaming in them : ^ Fot.thy sake are we killed ail the day 
long z^* they are like a flock of sheep among woh^es and tigers, 
anable to defend tbemsehres. His oompassionate love excites 
his power for their pr eservatioiu ^* The seal <tf the Lord of hosts 
ahali d(0 this.'' His love kiclines him, and his promise engages 
him never to leave nor forsake Aem : when they are ready to do* 
apair, he is ready to deliver. Now the firm belief of the imiir«P- 
aid piovidenee of God, and his special care finr his people^ is Gkjs 
a nftdder to a ship, without whiah it is jeonstcsHied to yield to 
every storm ; but guided by it, sails with every wind to its de- 
signed port. When God entered into a covenant with Abraham, 
he aasures him, << I am the Almighty God, walk befiare me and 
and be perfect.'' Gen. 17. 1* Every deiection tram our duty, 
proceeds either from thchope of obtdmog some temporal good, 
or the fear of incurring some teaaporal evil : these passions are 
very fevoible in men's breasts« We see how powerfU Ihey are in 
sensitive creatnrer; even in a i^vejtioinH^s coursing a'hare, hope 
adds wings to the feel of the one, and fear adds wings to the feet 
of the other. hl«n wiAout faith ia God, will break through his 
laws, when temptations work on thdr hope or.fearf for they are 
under the dominion jof sense : but the belief of God's alKsuffiei- 
eney, that he is ^^a sim to supply" us with all truly desirable 
good things, <'a shield to secure'' us from dl destructive evib, 
confirms onr dependanee on him, and engages our obedienoe to 
. This conduces to our present peace, and fiiture blessedness. 

394 ■ ^vuarVAir WKtmrnnm 

There are secret springs of providence that work sometimes in aa 
extraordinary manner for the presenring bis people. Joseph was 
raised from a prison to a prindpafity. The poor prophet was 
fed by a raren, when the wicked king was like to starve in his 
palace. The malicioas design of Haman, to destroy the whole 
nation of the Jews, was frustrated, and reflexively pernicious to 
himself, by a strange concurrence of circunstanees, ordered by 
divine providence. The faithful companions of Daniel, vriio re^ 
signed themselves to his will and wisdom, were rescued from the 
finmace and fiury of the proud king by an angeh 

But many times the saints of God are involved in common ca^ 
lamities : inundations, earthqqakes, the pestilential air, sword, 
famine, make no difference between the innocent and the guilty : 
** The sun rises upon the evil, and the good ;'* Che thunder fidls 
on the good and evil : nay, as our Saviour tells his disciples, 
'^ They shall weep and lament, when the world rejoices :" John 
16. 20. but he comforts them with the assurance, *^ that their 
aoiTow shall be turned into joy.'' The aposde declares, '^ We 
know all things work together for good to them that love God.'' 
Rom* 8. 28. There are mysterious depths in the economy of 
providence, diat the short line of our reason cannot sound : but 
we may rely upon the promise of God, ** who can bring light^ 
-out of darkness." We have an illustrious proof of his univereal 
providence, in the regular disposal of natural causes, superior, 
middle, and lowest, in such a union, that from the insuperable 
discord of natures, the insuperable concord of operations pro- 
ceeds, for the preserving of the world. The afflictions of the 
saints are medidnal to prevent or recover them from sin : and 
what man of understanding does not esteem his physician, that 
prescribes bitter remedies for his health, before a cook, that pre- 
pares things pleasant to his taste. Faith sees the love of a Fa- 
ther through a cloud of tears ; and that he is as gracious when 
he corrects us for our transgressions, as when he encourages us 
in his service. In the suffisrings of his people from the wicked- 
ness and wills of their enemies, his wisdom and power appear in 
ordering them for ^cellent effects : for the same things that in- 
crease the guilt and punishment of their enemies, increase the 
graces and reward of the saints. << These light afflictions that 
are but for a moment^ work out for them an exceeding eternal 


wdght dl gkNry.'' 2 C(Mr. 4. 1. When all the foMs of provi- 
dence shall be opened, we shall clearly understand every dispenr 
aation was as it ought to be, and for the best. 

The belief of this is the reason of those commands ; *^ Be 
icareful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and thanksgi- 
ving, let yotir requests be made known to God: and the peace 
of God that passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and 
minds, through Jesus Christ/' Phil. 4. 6, 7. An unbelieving 
4ieart anticijpates future evils, exasperates present evils, and 
makes sharp reflections on past evils. It midies men dead with 
fear, drunk with sorrow, mad with oppression. Faith in the gra- 
'.-cious providence of God, frees us from vain fears, sad prognos- 
tics, and the miserable perplexities that torment the minds c^ 
men. Musing on our miseries is like chewing a bitter pill, that 
is readily swallowed by resignation to the blessed will of God, 
the rule of goodness. Faith enlightens us to consider things 
with a rectified judgment, and not with the partiality of the pas- 
sions. In the church's extremity, when the conspiring enemies 
are great in number and power, faith raises the drooping spirits, 
<< If God be for us, who can be against us ?'" When Antigonus 
was ready to engage in a sea-fight with Ptolomy*s Armada, and 
the pilot cried out, ^^ How many are they more than we V* 
The courageous king replied, ^^ It is true, if you count their 
numbers ; but for how many do you value me ?" One God is 
all-sufficient against all the combined forces of earth and helL 
We are therefore commanded to ^' cast all our care on him } for 
•he cares for us." It is very dishonourable to God to distrust 
him in doing our duty : for it proceeds either from a jealousy of 
his goodness, or low thoiights of his power ; as if he were.unable 
and unwilling to save us. A prudent use of means is requisite, 
otherwise we do not trust but tempt his providence : there is a 
vicious carelessness, and a virtuous care ; but diffident and anxi- 
ous cares, as if all things run at random with<Hit the <Mrdering of 
our heavenly Father, is not only fniitless, but pernicious. The 
apostle tells the believing Hebrews, '^ Ye have need of patience, 
that alter ye have done the will of God, ye may inherit the pro- 
mise :*' some ^Is would admit of no consolation without the 
, promise : " But the just shall live by faith," of God's presence 
with them to support and relieve them in their sorrows, and of a 
perfect and gracious deliverance out of them. God will shortly 

398 apiBinui. MBixenw 

pnt an end to the nelioe of tte i4cked> and the palieiiQe of tte 
sainu. In the next state, whfn he has deaied our «gbt» we 
<^ shall justify his wisdflin/' and chscover that all events were di- 
yioely ordered^ and ate beantiAil to admifation. Nov in the 
eburch's distiess we are i^pt to say wilii Gideesy ^< If the Lead 
be with 118^ why then is all this be£iilen us?" Bat then we shaU 
pun t\m current of oar wonder upon our ignorance and infidd* 
ty $ that notwithstanding the evidence of the word, and the ex- 
perience of the saints, prove that God tnnis.aU tempotal evils to 
jtheir spiritnal good, yet we are unbelieving. 


taw tke lM«8a mffcctiMi. Mea sre dfotingaUbel by tkeir wilh, ratWr 
Umo by tbtir «ii4cntui4liiei. Holy lova km tht mpnmmfiy saosy other 
graces. The excelleocief of love tpecified. LoTe to God the first con* 
mand in order aod dignity. The causes and properties of it considered. 
The ahtolttte aad relative perfeetloat of God, the motiTet of our love. The 
Jboaeila reoekvcd fvan CM is ibe order of Mtere, creatloa and prenerra- 
tioQ. The JoTe of God appears in ita foil force in oar redemptioo. We 
must learn of Christ how to love him. Love most descend from God to our 
neighbonr. It is eommended in scripture. The extent and qualifications 
of it. Ic oBOtt bo f iseerey pare and f^rrcBt. The forgiving tnjaries, an 
cxcalleot effeet of love. * 

IL X HE seeond particular grace thi^ we should strive to in- 
crease, is kee. It is the apostle's prayer for the Phaippians, 
^^ That their love may abound more and more in knowledge^ and 
aH understanding/' Love is the affection <rf union: of tUswe 
-have an iliastrioDs instance recorded in scripture, '*That the soul 
of Jonathan was knit with the sold of David; and Jonathan loved 
him as his own soiiU'' Love is to be directed to adouble object, 
God and our neighbour. 

1 will eottttder the «mUency of this sanctified affection^ and 

ks dercve aind rafeicnee to tbesupreme aad tubovdiiistfer object* 
of it. > 

Ir i$ miuirite to fmoim^ tiwt Idreirdie leading Election that 
draws the whole tnda with it; not onljr deeife and jojr, that aid 
of near aUianoe with it, bat anger and hatred, between which af-^ 
feetibos Bad love there is arepagnanoe and eHkire opposition, are 
iiiseparaUe from it: for a?enion and fli^ from evS, proeied 
froBOi the love of rfdme good diat the evil dqiifves as .of« Froin 
henoe it loilowa, that it is a laaftcer: of the highest eonseqncnee^ 
by wisdom discreet and severe^ to dinsdt dor hrve to worthy ob4 
jeeta. Love is the prindpal ct aB il|e passions^ and either skic^ 
tifies and rfefines theih from fhe rioiiqaes of carnal infection, or 
seduces and cotrnjpts thenu The nnnd is so dduded by ownal 
hnre, and ovemikd by pleasant emnv Aat it prefins aeasuat hap4 
pineas before spiritnal, that is saitable to the natore and dignity 
of the souL ^ If th^ light that is in thfce be darkness^ how great 

^ The angeb of. light are disdngaialied from the angels of dark'^ 
ness, not so mncb by knowledge akidpdwQr, as by idve and hoK* 
ness. The! davih are immortal spirits,' but nnder die tyrannoos 
power of hatred and revenge^ of envy, and nudicc, wUchaie 
their sins and tonnent. 

Men are not distingoisbed so mwekby their understandings as 
tfaehr wilb r not merely by knbwialge bat love, the fast act of the 
will, the fdcoliy thit rules in man, and obqrs God., lliere may 
be knowledge of the divine law, and an approving it, by those 
who do not practise it : far the contemplation of its gbodn&a'and 
equity constrmns.the mind to assent tait». - From hence we may 
infaUihly infer, thttt the radical difftrenoe, and distfdgaishing 
character' between a samt, and obeun tibe state of |ioHalBd n** 
tare, is tfie aflectioA of lovo^with ttspcoi to its objects and de^ 
grees. Love to God as olur soveieigb happiness, Is the imm^* 
ate cause of ow oonvehion and^fe^anhm ifith Urn. Love toi iv- 
dons obgeets^ or virhen with «n ibtempencte corrent it desoonds to 
things not deserving its aidant degtees^ aliteatesr the heart fim 
God. Hblioeit is die drdes of lore. Tlie excelleney of holy 
love will appear in the fUlowing considemtions. 

Love hu die «ttprsm«ky amoi% aU Ife grpoe^ of the Spirit. 
This in the moat proper aense^ is the fire, our Saviour came to 
kindle on die mtik. The apostle dedarn^ that << charity k 


greater dian faith and hope ;'' which are evangdtcal graces of 
eminent usefulness : for, 

1. It is the brightest part of the divine image in os. ^< God is 
hive:" it. is the most adequate notion of the Deity, and more 
significant of his blessed natnre, than miy other single attribute. 
The most proper and lionoiirable conception we can toon of the 
Ddty, is love directed by iafimte wisdom, and exercifled by infi- 
nite power. Faith and hope camiot be aaeribed to God ; they 
imply imperfection in their natore, and necessarily respect an 
absent object. Now all tilings are present to the knowledge of 
God, and in his power and possession. But love is his essential 
perfection; the productive principle of all good. Love trans- 
forms us into hb likeness, and infiises the divinest temper into 
the soul. In the acts of other graces we obey God ; in the acts 
of love we imitate him. 

This may be illustrated by its contrary : there are sins of van-* 
ou9 kinds and degrees ; spiritual and carnal : spiritual, such are 
pride, malignant envy, irreooncileable enmity, delight in mischief 
which are the proper charaetecs of the devil> and denominate 
men his iwtural sons. Carnal sins, which the soul immersed 
in flesh indulges, all riotous excesses, intemperance, inconti-* 
nence, and the like, of which a mere spirit is not capable^ deno- 
minate men the captives aend slaves of satan. Now spiritual 
sins induce a greater guilt, and deeper pollution than carnal. 
The exacter resemblance of the evil one, makes sinfid men more 
odious to God. 

2. Love is more extensive in its influence than fiiith and hope; 
their operations are confined to the person in whom they are. 
The just lives by his own faith, and is saved by his own hope, 
vrithont communicating Hfe and salvation to others : but it is the 
spirit and perfection of love to be beneficial to aM. Love com- 
forts the afflicted, relieves the indigent, directs those who want 
counsd. It is the vital cement of mankind. In the universe 
conversation and reciprocal kindness is the blood and spirits of 
society, and love makes the dreulatbn. 

3. Love gives value and acceptance to all other gifts and grai- 
ces, and their operations. The apostle tdls us, f^ Though I 
have the gSt of prophecies, and understand all mysteries, and all 
knowledge ; though I have all faith, and could remove mountains, 
and have not charity, I am nothiog. And though I heetow al 


iny goods to feed die poor, and though I give my body to be 
burned, and hare not charLtyi it profiteth me nothing." With* 
out charity^ faith is but a dead assent; hope is like a tympany^ 
the bigger it grows^ the more .dangerous it proves* The most 
diffusive beneficenee without love, is but a sacvifiee to vanity* 
It is not the richness of the gift, but the love of the giver, that 
makes it accepted and rewarded in heaven. '< The vndow's two 
mites cast into the treasury of the temple, were bf more value,'' 
in our Saviour's account, <^ than the rich (rfferings of others ;** 
for she gave her heart, the. most precious and comprehensive 
gift, with them. " The giving.our bodies to be burned" for the 
truth and glory of the gospel, b the highest expression of obedi- 
ence, which the angeb are not capable of performing ; yet with* 
out charity, martyrdom is but a vainglorious blaze, aud the seal- 
ing the truth with our blood, is to seal our shame and folly. 
Sincere love vihtn it cannot express itself in suitable effects, has 
this privilege, to be accepted in God's sight, as if it were exube- 
rant and evident in outward actions ; for ^^ God acc^ts the will 
for the deed : if there be first a willing mind, and it is accepted 
according to what a mm hal^, and not according to. that he 
bath not/' 

4. Love is the perfection of the law, the sum. and substance of 
every precept. * All plurticular duties, though distinguished in 
the matter, are united in love, as their principle and centre. St, 
Austin observes, '^That all other virtues, piety, prudence, hu- 
mility,s chastity, temperance, fortitude, are love diversified by 
other names. LiberfJ love gives supplies to the poor, patient 
love forgives injuries." 

Love is the end and perfection of the gospel. '^ Now the end 
of the commandment is charity, out of a pure heart, and a good 
conscience, and faith unfeigned." Some restrain the word com- 
mandment to the law, thinking that the gospel is only com- 
pounded of promises : but they misunderstand the. difference be- 
tween the two covenants. It is not in that the one commands, 
and the other does not command, but in the mature of the duties 
commanded. The law commands to do for the obtaining of 

* Temperantiam dicimoi, amorem sese deo integram, iocorroptumque ser« 
▼antem, fortUudioem, amorem omnia propter deara facile perferenteo. 
Prudentiam amorem bene diicernentein ea, quibas adjavemvr, teadere la 
deun. Lik. d§ Mar. 

400 . spntrroAi. naBcrioii 

life, die gospel coramatids to believe fntmintimL . ^TKb ia die 
eommand of God, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesoi 
Christ." 1 John 3. 23. 1 Tim. 1; 18. 1 Thau 4. 2. Acts 
14. 15. The wovd Mpe^yyi^iia, ia bf the apostle vsed fiir the 
doetriae of the gospel : as the end of a scienoe or art, is the 
peilbetion of the understanding in those tbiQgs which are the 
praper sid>ject of the science* The end of philosophy is know* 
ledge and moral virtne ; the end bi rhetoric is eloquence, Thm 
the end of the gospel, the diirine doctrine of our salvatioOy is 
love, a celestial pcffiectiott. Faith in the redeeming mercy of 
God, is the prodoct of the gospel, not of the law, and love is the 
end of fiiith : now the end is more excellent than the means t# 
obtain it In this respect, love is greater than £uth. Brieflj^ 
love is styled the '^ Bond of perfection,'' as it unites and coo* 
summates other graces, oomptehends uid fastens them. Love 
to God draws forth all the active poweis of the soul in obedi- 
ence. He that with a full and fervent will applies himself to his 
duty, will more easily, pleasantly, and exaotly, perform it. The 
love of God will form the soul into a more entire eonfbmuty to 
his nature, and obedience to his law, and raise it to a greater 
eminency of holiness than the clearest knowledge of all pieoeptf 
and rules can do. 

5. <<Love never feils." The gtfks and graces of the Spirit are 
dispensed and continued according to our different states. Some 
are necessary in the present state of the church, with respect to 
our sins and tfoubha, firom which there is no perfect fieedon 
here. Repehtanee is a dnt^ of constant revolution ; fcv while 
vre are clothed with frail flesh, '' in many things we offend all.'' 
He is the best saint who seldom falls, and speedily rises. What 
Tertullian said of himself is applicable to all, ^^ we ate bom fer 
repentance.*' What is more becoming a christian, whUe so ma- 
ny defects and defilementa cleave to him, than a mournful sense 
of them ? This in our dying hoo» will make our Redeemer more 
predous to us, and our reliance npon his merits and mediatioa 
more eomfertaUe. Repentance should accompany us to the 
gates of heaiven: but repentance ceases for ever, when there ii 
entire innocence. Faith is as necessary as life ; for we are justi- 
fied by it from the condemnation of the law: but in the future 
state there is no U9e of it; for in heaven all sins are pardoned, 
and in hell no sins are forgiven. Faith gives us the prospect of 


lieaven, hope iiniits for it, but love alone takes the poMcflsioik 
Faith resigns to fruition, hope vanishes in the enjoyment of aoir 
desired happiness, but love is in' its exaltation. The graces re-* 
quisite for our militant sti^e, are spiritual armour : the shield of 
faith, the helmet of hope, and when our warfare is ended, they 
are useless. But love and peace and joy, are robes suitable to 
our triumphant state. 

It is true, there are some acts of love that suppose want and 
misery, as acts' of bounty and compassion, for there are no ob« 
jects in heaven to whom they may be expressed. Perfect happi- 
ness excludes all evil. But love in its nature implies no imper* 
fection, and is eternal as the soul, the subject in whom it reigns, 
and as God, and the blessed spirits, the objects upon whom it is 
conversant. In heaven it is more pure and refined. Here the 
love of God takes its rise from the love of ourselves, there it is 
principally for the amiable excellencies inherent in himself. 
Here the love of the saints is not absolutely pure : but in heaven, 
whatever is desireable in love is continued, and what is carnal 
and defiling is purged away. The smoky fire is changed into a 
spiritual flame. The acts of it are more intense, and the exer- 
cise is without interruption. In heaven the saints are enlighten- 
ed with knowledge from the *^ father of lights," and inflamed with 
love fi-om God, " who is love :" the more fiilly he is enjoyed, the 
more fervently he is loved. Without love there can be no felici- 
ty in heaven : for as desire without fruition is a torment, so pos* 
session without delight is stopidity^r 

The joy of heaven arises either from the direct fruition of God, 
or from the reflection upon the happiness communicated to ttie 
saints : and love is the cause of that joy. Love to corporeal 
things often declines in our possessing them : for curiosity is soon 
cloyed, and experience discovers the imperfections that were con- 
cealed, and according to the cooling of love is the lessening of 
joy. From hence proceeds distaste, and a fickle flight from one 
thin^ to another, without ever receiving any satisfaction. But 
the amiable perfections of God are truly infinite ; and the more 
clear the vision, the more satisfying the fruition is. The bright- 
ness and influence of the divine presence, maintains equal love 
and joy in the blessed. According to the degrees of excellency 
in the object, and the vigorous exercise of the comprehensive fa- 
culties, the understanding and will upon it, such is oitr felicity; 

VOL. II, c c 

409 . «PtElTtJAL FSRVSCnOir ' 

Wben the beakns of God's face am reoenwd into the prepared 
aool, it is ravished with unspeakable sweetness and security, ia 
his ever satisiying goodness and beauty. 

The perfect and mutual love of the saints causes a fid! over* 
flo\ving joy in heaven. Sincere love is always bciievoleut,*a]id 
according to its ardency, is the desire of the happiness of those 
who are the objects of it. From hence the delight of the saints 
above is redoubled, by the sense of their penonal bappiness, and 
the reSeotion upon the happiness of all that blessed society, who 
are cemented by that dear affection. Sorrow is allayed by the 
sympathy of our fi^ends, but joy is heightened by communicatioo. 
Sorrow, like a stream divided in many cbannek, runs more shal* 
low : but joy, like a sun-beam, reflects with more intense heat 
from the breast of one endeared to us by love. In heaven there 
is an eternal ecstacy of love and joy. 

I shall now proceed to consider our Idve to God, which ^* k 
the first and great command'' in order and dignity. It is the 
universal command that binds all persons, and in aU timesi 
Some precepts are* particular, and res^pect the several relations of 
men, either natural, civil or spiritual. Other conunaods, though 
general, yet are to be performed in special seasons. Prayer is a 
universal duty, for all are in a state of dep^ndanee upon God^ 
and it is the af^inted means to obtain his favour and benefits : 
it is a 'duty of daily revolution, for we continually stand in need 
of his tender and powerful providence to bestow ^ood things, 
and avert evil ; but this, not t^ be our exclusive ^exerdse. For 
there are other duties to which we i^ust attend, thpt require a 
great part of our time. * If there be a disposition in the hearty aa 
aptness for that holy duty, though the .season be distant^ it. is 9uf* 
ficient for our acceptance with God. But love iu all periods of 
time must be in exercise : for obedience must ever be praHisedi 
and that is animated by the love of God, the spring amI son! of 
it. The life of a christian is a continual cxenjse of bumUe, 
and dutiful love. 

I will consider the causes and prc^rties of this aanctified af* 

Love is an affection drawn forth by desire in the absence of its 
object, resting in complacency when the object is present. The 
attractive of it is goodness,, which implies a convenience and 
agreement between the object and the ftumlty. The appetito ia 

VlfWU>n> AMD 3KNVOBCSD. 4(tt 

excitied by (he apprehesaioh. In the sensttire Batwe, withotit 
percafiillion and agieement, there ean be no demre and delights 
The eye m not friea»ed with the most exquisite music, being mw 
di$ceniible and muiiitabie to it* The ear, though estoctly tem^ 
pered, is ttot affected \Vith li^t, the first and feivest of sensitive 
beauties : for ev^ sense has its proper object to |«4iich it is con* 
fined, and eatmot pereeire or taste any pleasnre in another. 

And such .is the frame Joi the human soul ; the enlightened 
undesstanding instructs and excites the will to esteem and love, 
choose and embrace God as the supreme good, for his absolule 
inherent perfections, and his relative attributes, whereby he is 
infinite^ die best and the most amiable being in himself> and 
the most beneficial to.i|8. The internal perfections of the Deity, 
tiioi^h they are all the same divine nature, for otherwise they 
eonld. not he truly infinite, yet we may conceive as distinguished 
in a thfeefeld order : either as natnral, or intellectual, or mo^ 
lal. Natural perfections ; setf-^zistenoe,' eternity, immensity, 
omnipotence r . iBtelleetual perfections; knowledge, comprehend 
shre of all things that are, and all things within the poss&ility of 
being; wisdom sufficient to g^ovem and order innumerable 
woride: tobrtd.pcfffeetiona, hoHness, goodness, justice and truth. 
Now the union of these perfections in God, deserves we should 
j^otify him #ith all the degrees ot our understandings and wills, 
with the highest veneration and esteem, and the most ardent al>- 
Ibctiens. If the .weak and tcanBient resemblance of some of the 
dtvme excelleneies ia the Cfeatuies from whom we neither receive 
nor expect any benefit, raise our esteem, and draw our love, how 
mnch more should the essential perfections of God fill us with 
a dm ira ti o n , and tbe deafest affections to him ! His ahsohite per*- 
feGfcions are not the objects of our desires, fiv he is aititeiy pos*- 
eeeaed oCthem> and can never be divested of them, but of our 
lovnondjoy. . 

. Consider God in hb relative attributes to us, as our maker, 
preserver, and benefactor, as our redeemer that saves us fix>m an 
everlasting hell, and has purchased and prqiared eternal glory 
for us, and prepares ns for it. 

The eternity, omnipresence, and omnipotence of God, are 
awfiil attiftntes^ and deserve our most humble adoration ; for he 
that tives for ever, can punish for 6ver> yet in conjunction with 
his propitious, beneficent attributee^ goodness, clemency and be^ 

c c 2 


nignity, tte amiible perfecCioitt, and deserve our tti^Unr and 
miperlatiTe love ; for eternal power confen and mamtatiiiB onr 
happiness. ^* At thy right hand are pleasures for evermore/' 
The first rise of our love is from the sense of his benefits : but 
we must love him above his benefits, and vahie his benefits fer 
his soke, as they are the testimonies of his love. This inspifed 
a holy heat in the psalmist's breast, ** what shall I render to the 
Lord for all his benefits ? That the impressions of his benefits 
may sink and settle into our hearts, I wiU comider, the prmd- 
pie frbm whence they proceed, the- greatnas ft thcm> and God'a 
end in bestowing them. 

* 1. The priMcipfe of aH his benefits is his most free and pure 
goodness. The psalmist declares, << thou art good, and doest 
good." It is true, his high perfections are very resplendent in 
his works, yet this induced no necessity upon God; for declara- 
tive glory resulting firom the exercise and effects of hisafetrBniteB, 
was not necessary. He was from all eternity infinitely glorioos 
and blessed in himself. Neither was any motive or aseiit in us 
to determine his wiH either fo create or redeem us. For antece- 
dently to the first- act of his goodness, we had no beii^, and 
consequently no possibilitj^ or shadow of desert, and after 4Mir sin, 
we were deservedly miserable. 

2. Let us consider the greatness of his benefits, that if it were 
possible, we may not miss a gniin of their weight. 

(1 .) In the order of nature. << He made us, and not we onr- 
selves. The human body, composed of as many miradeB as 
members, was the design of his mind, the various art aad work 
of his hands. He immediately forpied the body of Adam of the 
vit|;in earth ; and though in the coarse of nature our parents 
contribute to the matter of our bodies, yet he organises dwm in 
that perfection, he disposes aH the parts in that order and pnK 
portion as is requisite for comeliness and use. The paafanist 
speaks of this with those lively expressions, '^ I will praise thee, 
for I am fearfully and wonderfiilly made, marveUooa we thy 
works, and that my soul knows right well* I was made in se- 
cret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 
Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect, and in 
thy book all my members vi^re written." If one member had 
been defective, the eye, the hand, the tongue, if one sense had 
been wantmg, what inconvenience^ what deformity had ensued ? 

To a bady of flesh the divine Maker united an ittiaortal soul^ 
^capable to biow and love^ to obey and enjoy hUn^ who is the 
fionntain of felicity : aaoul incomparably more precious in the 
account of jO«r Creator and Redeemer, than all the world. * It 
heightens the goodness of God, that he first prepared the .worid, 
oeaiewed it, and approved .iji as good, and then introduced man 
as his viteroy to possess and rule iL The great universe he did 
not make for the mere show of his power, but for the demonstra- 
tion of his goodness unto man. The reflection upon these first 
benefits, our b^xig reasonable creatures, which is the foundation 
of ail tidier benefits, how should it engage us to love and serve 
onr Maber^ with all our powers in tbeir|best.icapacities? Qurob* 
ligation is founded in natural and divine jrigbt. The law of con^ 
aeeretiag the fisst fruits was figurative of this* Love is the first 
aftetfon iof the heart, the first fruit of the soul. If God did so 
strietly exsect the payment of the first fruits, can we think he is 
lees jealous of our lave^ and less severe in requiring it should be 
oonseerated to him ? The fiiiits of a young plant arc not more 
pleasing to hiiD than <if an <4d tree ; hut he would instrjuct us to 
give the fast aflisetions of our souls to him. 

If we taiee our thoughts, and distin^y consider ereating good- 
ness^ our afibetions will be more inflamed in the sense of it. We 
were bom in titstant spaces of time^ according to his eternal be- 
nevolent decree. Notwithstanding the different temporal dr- 
cmnsfanoea of onr eoming into the world, we are all equally obli- 
ge to his eternal goodness. Let us consider, that in the pure 
possifaftUty of being, we were not distinguished from an infinite 
mindber that shall never be, (for as his power is without any 
limits but his will, the possible production of men is without 
number) yet he was pleased to raise us into actual bemg. This 
was a most firee fovour ; and by reflecting on it, unless we are 
dead as the grave, we shall find a vrarm lively sense of it in our 
hearts. If a prince exalt and enrich a favourite, his own interest 
is mixed with the honour and profit of the favourite ; for he ex- 
pects service from him : but God, whose happiness is infinite 
and indeficient, cannot receive any benefit firom the service of 
the creature : his fovours are above all desert, and beyond all re- 
qmtal. • • * 

* Vidtt, honorans 5^ eonsignans, ff dispunf^ens bonUatem openm digna* 
tleae compcctvi. Ttrt. I. 2. C$n, Mart. 

c c3 

406 sptiuTtTAL wawci w y 

(2.) If we eon.^ider God as our preserver and bendketor, our 
obligations to love and thankfulness are infinile. The fitsC being 
and uninterrupted duration of the world is from the same power* 
fill cause : for nothing can make itself when It is- not, nor pre- 
serve itself when it is. Some have revived that erroneous opinion, 
that as a clock formed by an artificer, and the w^ftts drawn iip, 
regularly strikes the hours, and continues its motion and soand, 
in the absence of the artificer : so the perpetud concourse of tiie 
divine providence is not necessary for the support and operations 
of every creature, but nature may work of itset^^ and tuiti the 
wheels of all things within its compass. But the instance' tt de^ 
fective, there being an extreme disparity between the work of an 
artificer, in forming a clock, whose mskter is independent upon 
him, aiid God's giving the first bemg to the creataaes, with pow- 
ers to act bv his actual concurrence : for every creature is main- 
tained by a successive continual production. To affect us, con- 
sider, the proserver of men brought us safciy into the worM 
through the " dark valley of death,'^ where thousands arte span- 
gled in the birth. ^ We are borne by him from the belly, and 
carried from the womb. Isa. 46. 3. How compassionate was 
his goodness to as in our inCsncy, the state of wants and weak- 
ness, when we were absolutely incapable of prociuring sopplies, 
or securing ourselves from many dangers surrounding us ? Hie 
preparing the milk'fbr our nourishment is the work sf the God 
of nature. The bkaod of the mother, by the seerat ehanneb of 
the veins; is transfused into the breasts, and is a iinng spring 
there.- They are^ but two, because it is the ordinary law of na- 
ture to have but two children at a bicth. They are planted near 
the heart, which is the forge of natural beat, and transfiarma the 
blood .collected fai the breasts into milk. And there' is a myste- 
ry of love in it ; for the mother in the same time nourisfaes her 
child with delight, regards and embraces it. 

From infancy his merey gtoma vp with, us,- aoid never foisahes 
us. He is the God of our lives. • He -cfaaws a cacCain of pro- 
tection and rest about us in the' n^hc, and repairs our front frb- 
culties ; otherwise our bddfies would soon decay into a disBohi- 
tioA. ^< He spreads our table, andfiUs our cup. . He is the 
length of oaf days.'' There is such a composition- of ccmtraiie- 
ties in the humours of the body, so many veins and arteries, and 
nerves, that derive the vital and animal spirits from the heart 

and bead.ta all the parts, we are^expoted to so misMiy cbetraiDti^ 
aeeidents^ that were not the tender providenoe of our true ^Gthe? 
Idwaya watcbfui over vb, we should presently fail and die. ^ 

' <^ The Lord is a sun and a shield :" as the mn is a^ unrversal 
principte of hfe and motion^ and pours forth UsUeasures of light 
and heat without any loss and impoverishing : thus God conrnnn 
nieates his Uessings to ail the progeny of men. He is a shield^ 
protecting us from mnumerable evils, unforeseen and. inevitable^ 
wkhout his preventing goodness* Weoe we only hept alive, an4 
sighed odt our days in gnef and ^fmin, were our paange to the 
next state trough a barren vrilderness, without any i«freshing 
springs and showers, this were infinite mercy : for if we duly 43oni 
sider his greainess and onr meanness, his hoKHess and 'justice, 
and bur siirfMness, it would cause us to look up to-Ood with ad« 
miration^ and down to ourselves with confusion, that ooriivesso 
frail, dnd so often forfeited, are pvesemed. * Thedinrch in ade^ 
solate state acknowledges, ^* It is the Lord^s mescyi that we ore 
not consumed, because his mercies are renewtd -every mornii^.''^ 
Lam. 3. 22« It is mercy upefU mercy, aii is ''mercy-; Our Sa* 
wour, -with tespeet to his humble state, saye^." I am a vi^m,' 
i^nomanf*" hut we are serpents, andnowotms-: and as it is: 
Usual to destroy venomous creatures in the e^, hefore they havi» 
^ne actual misohief, we that are children of wrath by nature, 
whose Gonstitoti^ is poison, might have been ju8% destroyed 
in the concepticm. This ravislwd* the paafanist into an eestaey 
of wonder, whilst he oontemphitod the glorioos lights of heaven^ 
^ what Is man that thou' art mindful of him, or the son of man 
€hat thon shouldest regard and relieve him ?" He. bestows innQ'* 
nnevable and inestimable benefits upon a race of nebels that bold-' 
If- hveak his laws, and abuse his favours : he not only suspends 
his judgments, bit dispenses his blessings to those that infinitely 
provoke him. Now, can we be unaffected with . hn iadulgeat 
demency, his immense bounty, hk condescending and compaa* 
sionate goodness ?' Why does he load us with bH benefits every 
day, hut for bis goodness sake^ and to endear' himself .to us ^ 
For he is alw«iys re^y to open his bountiful haad^ if we do not 
shut onr breasts^ and harden oar heaits, not to receive his gifts. 
His mercy is like the widow's miraculous oil, that never ceased 
in pouring out, while there was any vessel toi receive it : then 
the flowing vein was stopped. How is it posuhie such rich' and 

c c 4 

406 spfRrruAL vBuncnm 

eontinued goodness abonld not insinnate itaalf into our soda and 
engage our love to our bWaaed beoefiKtor ? Can we degenerate 
•o far from luiman nature, nay betow the aensitiTe (for the dull 
ox, and staptd^aaa, serve those that feed them) as to be ene- 
Biies to God ? Hew prodigious and astonishing is this degene»- 
lacy! V 

(3*) The love of €kid appears in its full force and glory, in our 
redemption. The eloquence of an angel, would be very diqpro- 
portioned to the dignity and greatness of this argument, much 
more the weak expressions of aaen. That we may the more dis- 
tinctly conceive it, I will briefly consider the greatness of the be- 
nefit, and the means of obtaining it. 

Man in- Us state of unstained imioesnce, was Aurnished with 
power, to persevere, but left in the hand of his own counsel. He 
was drawn by a soft seducer to eal of the forbidden tree, and in 
that single instance was guilty of universal disobedience. He 
was engi^^ in a deep revoltore with the apostate spirits, and 
incurred the sentence of a doable death, both of die h^y and of 
the souK* Now iRhere was the miraculous physician to be found, 
that could aave.us from eternal death ? Who could appease God, 
and abolish sin ? God was affected with tender pity at. the sight 
of our misery, and ** though the morning stars, that fell from 
heaven, are now wandering stars, for whom the blackness of 
darkness is reserved for ever," yet he was pleesfd to recover man 
from that desperate atate, in a way heooming his' perfections. 
Tills was the prodnct of his most free love. God's will and 
Christ's willingness were the springs of our redemption ; for he 
might have pari jure : with the /same just severity have dealt 
with us as with the rebellioua angels.. There was no legal con- 
straint upoii our Saviour to die far as, for ^' he was holy, harm- 
less, undefiled, and separate from sinners :" there was no vio- 
lent constraint, .for he oould with one word have destroyed his 
enemies : the depth of his wisdom, the strength of his power, 
the glory of his fadiiiess and justice were illustriously revealed in 
tliis great worky bat love was the regent littrij^ttle that called 
forth the other jnSo their distinct exercise and acts : most wise, 
omnipotent and holy love aatved us. What the psalmist speaks 
of the divine perfoctions in Inakihg U9, ^^ I am fegifullf aiyl won- 
derfolly made,'" is in a nobler sense verified in our salvation, we 
are fearfolly adMiwonderfolly nedeemcid^ by the concord of those 

teem uyi rrcc oD cileAle attrilNile8, vindiotm juttioe, aad savin; 
mercy* Our rebdlum was to be expiated by the Ughest perfec* 
tien of obedience; and thereby the honour of (kid's moral go-* 
Temment to be rqratred. For this end the Son of God disrobed 
himself of his gloty, and put on the livery of our frail ftesh, '< and 
in the form of a servant became obedient to the death of the 
cross, to rescue us from the curse of the law:'' he intercepted the 
heavy stmke of vengeance, that had sunk us into the- the centre 
of sorrows, and restored us to the fiivonr aud fruition of Obd. 

Our misery was extreme and without end : if misery, though 
intolerable, has a determined issue, the passing of every day les« 
sens it: but if it be above all patienoe to endure, and without 
hope of remission or release^ this thought strikes deadly inward. 
A brute has some memory of past pains, and a fMing of present^ 
but no apprehension of foture pakis : it is the woful prerogative 
of the reasonable nature, to exaqserate the sense of misery by 
the foresight of its continuaaee, md to feel the weight of etemi* 
ty every moment. Lost souls are dead to all the vital sweetness' 
of being, to all aense of happinesa, and live to the quickest feel* 
ing of misery for over. 

Our rescue frem this uttisery ia more aftectmg, if we consider, 
that withottt our Saviour's interpoaaig, our state: was desperate: 
to pass from death to life is a double life* We are translated 
from the guilty, Msetched slate of rebels, into the blessed state of 
the children of God, and are heirs of eternal glory. S'he dura-- 
tion is as valuiMeas the felicity, and douUea the gift : mmorlality 
and immutability are insepasaUe in heaven. God has made sit 
ys ^^ goodness to pass befare us" in our sahration. Goodness^ 
how amiable, how attractive and endearingi .To die for ano- 
ther is the most noble kind of love, but diere are 'degrees in that; 
kind : to dieiot an enemy, for a rebd, is the higfacot degree of 
that love« Now the Sod of God assumed to tiie supreme excd^ 
kiicies of the 'divine nature, the taader infirmitiecl of the humanr' 
nature, that he- might be a propitiatory sacrifice for oursinsr 
<< In this God commended his love to us, that wlien we were sm- 
aers he gave bis. Son to die tor us." Rom« 5. Astonishing 
love ! ^^ it passes ^1 understanding." The Jews aaked our Savi« 
our with woader, '^ how is it that thou being a man makest thy- 
self God?" We may imagine with equal wonder, how being the 
$on of God, bp descended ^ from the throne of majesty in hea» 

415 nrnnvAL nBMBotwm 

im/' Mtt 16. IS. and fltooped-ao low as to becaaio ima? St. 
Peter illmiiiDated by divine level^OD, confaticd^ ^ Thou art tk 
Christ the Son of the Hiiog God." Bat pressatly after, iriien 
our Saviour foretold, that he *' inuAt go to Jentsaksn, and be 
lulled there/' Peter b^an to rebuke hjin» saying, '< Be it &r 
from thee, this shall not come unto thee.'' He could not eon^ 
eeive bow such distant and discordant esstrcflMs as the Son of the 
living God, and death, oould meet in Christ : but his love to as 
united them. A love above all oompariBOn, but with the lose of 
his Father Co us. In the sacrifice of Isaac there was afamt re-> 
semblance of this. Abraham canried the knife and the fire, and 
leaac cacried the wood, and Mmself the sacrifice, and vrith equal 
9teps th^'asosnded the mount. A type of the conouirrent love 
^ the divine persons to us, in the process of Christ's snfierings* 
<^ The FaAer laid upou him the ini<|utty of us all : surely he has 
bom onr grieis^ and endured our sorrows." Isa. 53. Admirable 
eacess of hive I The Father gave up his innocent and <mly Sen, 
the bright image of his glory, to. cmd sufferings. This .^< Ian 
macubte lily" was pierced wil^h thorns. The. Son gave snch life 
for us as no creature can give, and suffered saeh a death for us 
9s no creature can snfien He descended to oar.lowest i 
to raise us to the highest degrees of happiness* Who i 
«bo force of these reflections? It may seem that only the lepiw- 
hates in heU, that have sinned beyaad the intended virtue and 
application of his'sufierings, can be unafeeted with then. 

From benoe this comllary regidariyirilows, that, it is onr daty 
(0 consecrale our highest esteem aad love to our. Bcdoemer. 
Supreme love is due to supreme exeeUeneies, and far Ae greatest 
benefits. In oiir Saviour ^ sU the treasures. «f .wisdom and 
bnowladge are -hid," and all the treasures of grace and merqr are 
^ened to enrich us. What indignity, what ingmtitttde 1b it, to 
be coklly aftcted to him, whs by the dearest titles tnfinitety do- 
aenwa oar loim ? How unreasonaUe and unnaliiral is it, to look 
upon fahn mth an indifferent eye, w4io'dkd for-iis, and wham 
the angeb continnany behold in a double ecstscy of adniratioa 
i|nd joy? It is most just that our love should ascend to him in 
thankfiiiness, as his descended to us in benefits^ ' B«t oar pover- 
ty must cxeuse the* not entire payment of our hnmeMe debt, and 
anc fervent desires to love him better. If we content ourselves 
with, hikewarm affections, it is most dishonourable to him: the 

OGidnm of Me, as well as^^tbe heat of eiimity ia very provoiuBg' 
tp our Skrioitr. 

r. It'shodd tte 'dnr conttent p#acfioe, by di8e«|raivte aodTeflexivA' 
meditmtioii) to in c r eo Bo the holy heat of oiic ItfiiDCtiottt to CfarUk* 
lie requves a love ef judgment and choice: the lo?e of juUnral. 
i|ieiiiiatioh is indebhcrate^ Sl^khout oommly and ncftds no eascStar^ 
tie»s: tfaefttre<m tistt:dovrnwafdfroeiy. fint bve to Christ is 
siljieroatiua)^ 'famh with respect' to :the object aitd the quality of* 
l(M AfieetMHu The lore of G&i is.the prindpal oUtgatim of tho 
iaw^ Eiid the principal*diity of .the veasonajhle 9iA renewed ena^ 
ttiire t the most jwt and anuafakidiity, yet so iDohstrAu^is the dsn^ 
pfsration of ^ hvnan natiiiey' that dimergraaeas reqaisite tb. 
recover its fifeand lilierty. ' c! k.- - 

. :Tliei prerenting' pteaaores of sin powess tW «siL We-ihiist 
tterefore earnestly firay that the Holy J^farit woiikl iUtnumate 
our miudi, ^<^,ahd"dii^fict u4«iii' the lone of' G6d^" tKat he wiD piir 
rify our. aiibcsmis^' and rvUethem ito heavem The eiteose of. 
qor thOUgfatB is; too weak oBd faint to mriie indeifalB impreseioBS 
of love ia:air heads; Ijo«e;is.an'iemiBeDbfaBt''of tbe'Sflidl* 
^ Tie toaeolf Hod ik shed afaaoad in' the tearrby^ the Holy Spr* 
lit given )»tts/'.: Them is a stiNvoig tide of.seasuid'dcbires that 
onriea tis ddiMward, whidi wo eaanot siem» wiibeiiit the gales of 
the;S{urit t&mtkm our' way to CHfist*^ Btit it is mii^iuistent with 
the wisdom add, :«iU bfOod, for aosiito ekpeet Jan. inapiration 
from heavehv and aeglect the propac ^Bfsaris, tUs coittUeUog thm 
poNser&il ineenli^esref iove to- tMlt riledoeiiies, 'hii othu^iiig. axael« 
ienc;^ and idvhhiable henefias. iiSt^ Panl ^eOenres, If ThSelovd af> 
Christ coMstiaiai us; far we tM»ju^ if ode diadrM.faU, then 
wec^ all .dehd^ dndr that he died far al^that they afightidBrfe to 
ImnJ' . if aU he mt cold and dapdwithniy thia will iaoaase the 
aaiercdfire, aad.inflame the aSMRsetis. ' ' ^ 

' But^aa theiiight of the sari, ^dlfteed in Ae air, faies BOthihig; 
hmfthebeamoxoatnlcted in a glass. kindle fpro)ierm%fefieK 3 so tho< 
oonaidering of the- ioasmon' salvation^ will not' be.saqffiese£iBg» nor 
ao'wann'and soften the heart, as the serious af]f)licasiv!e thoiighia 
df it t6 mttelveS': Ae ^lesde expeesses it, <^ Who tosed me, ami 
gave himself fas mi." Gal. -2. The appropttatii^ ;by a c(ear 
faith, and senous thoughts, his dying lore to the soid, wiQcansa 
an irirefiiBtible affeetioa to him, ^ stronger than death." 
\ye*mutt learn of Christhow to love him« His .hx^ was. eiKr 

412 •muTUAL nAfwnoii 

;»e»i€d in the most real actiooB, and exMvinmg evidciiee : it was 
an incarnate love, a beneficent lofe, prodoctSre of our aalvatacm ; 
our love most be prodiictive of obedfeaoe. This k die sorest 
trial of it, ** If ye kure me, yon will keep ihy word," sahh our 
SaTioor. The firost of fear will hinder the bredcing^ forth of car- 
nal hists into notorious acts, as the cold of winter binds the earth, 
that noxious weeds cannot spring up : bat die heat of love is pro- 
ductive of all the fruits of righteousness. Love to Christ will 
make every coowiand pleasant, and the exaetest obechence to be 
voluntary, liberal, and ingenuous. Fear my enforce constancy 
for a time, but love is a Tital principle, continualiy operative in 
all the transkioas oi this life. This «ecaie» obedience. Christ 
has fastened us to h» service by a chain composed of his most 
precious benefita: by d» pardon of our innumerable sins, and to 
whom '^ much is foigiven, they love much." Fear tries in vain 
to make an affiance between the flesh and spirit, obeys some 
oommands, and transgresses otfaen ; bat kwe reepects all. Pear 
induces a desertion of ous duty,, when evils neariy threat^ us ; 
httl l9ive encounters dieoi with such a character of asswanee, as 
becomes those who este^ it a finrour and honour to sillier for 
Christ. Soiue are hardened i^fsinst afflictions, and eadme with 
courage ptrMcntieos for the eagase of Christ, but yield to pleasant 
temptations t Kke the <^ manna'' tint would endare the fire, bat 
melted in the heat of the sun: but love to Chrkt, by an overco- 
ming delight, renders the pfeaanres of am nanaeous nadinaipid. 

In shoit, die properties ot naaoral love am uniled.in die love 
of Christ. Love wili transport ns to heaven, and tnnsfenn ns 
into his likeness. Love vriH mdce us sealous m constant and 
eooceUentendeavopis to be coraphtdy ou ntu s in e d to him. Re- 
semblance is the common principle of all unions in nature : it is 
preparative to love, and the elect of it. Experience is a sensi- 
ble demonstratiQn of this* For the love of friends^ if in a degree 
of eminencef.cauaes a perfect sympathy, an exact oorrespondenee 
in their tempers* The exercise of love in the moot precious 
eiteem of him, in burning desires after a propriety in him, in the 
sftveetest coni|dacency in communion vnA him, are iatimate and 
inseparable quabties in all the loven of Christ. Love to him is 
always joined with an irreccHicileable halxed of sin> that cost him 
so dear to expiate its guilt. Our love entirely and intensely is 
doe to hiniy and no lower degree is accepted. For ft is a diqia* 


ragement and infiiiitely unworthy of him. To content ounehrm 
with a less affeetion, is not oidy &r distant from perfection^ but 
from the first disposition of a satwt. The teaderest and strong* 
est idfiKtions in natwre must be regnlated and subordinate to the 
love ci Christ, Our love to him must be singular and supreme. 
Briefly, his love to us is beneficent, ours is obedient. He values 
no love without obedience, and no obedience -without love. 

Love must descend from God to our neighbour. This duty is 
so often commanded and commended in the gospel, that we may 
firom thence understand its exedfency. The bdoved disciple 
that lay in the besom of Christ, firom that spring of love derived 
the streams that flow in his writings. He^dedares '< that God is 
love, and he that loves, chreHs in God, and God in him.'' 1 
John 4. 1 1. He makes it an evidence that we are bom of God, 
of our renewed state, and ^ that we ore passed from death to life." 
1 John 4r 7* Our Saviour enjoins it with a note of eminency, 
as '* lue new command, as the distinctive character of his disci* 
pies, as the special qualification of those at his right hand, in the 
day of judgment," to recommend it to our love and obedience* 
He- tells us, that to ^'loveourneiglibour as ourselves," is like 
the most divine precept of ^< loving tlie Lord our God." We 
read in that solemn prodamatkn of God's name, when his glory 
passed befiire Moses, that to the title of *< Lord God," there was 
inmiediately annexed, ^'Mereifid and gracious, abundant in 
goodness ;" to sigmfy, that goodness is his dearest glory : and in 
the divme law, next to piety to God, charity to our neighbour is 
commaniled, to signify how pleasing it b to him. The gospel 
eohpses all other instiCutioas by the preeqit of universal love, and 
inspiring a ddightfiil disposition in christians to exercise it. 
This adorns the gospel, and recommends it to the esteem and 
aflbcttons of men. A person innocent and pure, but of a severe 
and harsh temper, condemns by his holy conversation the pro* 
fime and scandalous : but a good man charms and captivates the 
hearts ct others, that one would '* dare to die for him." Rom» 
5. This duty is prescribed in the extent and qualifications of it. 

In the esBtmif it reaches to all within die compass of humani- 
ty; to strangers and enemies, in all our dealings. <^Let all 
things be^done with diarity." 1 Cor. 16. 14. The relation of 
consanguinity is the natur^ cause of a benevc^nt affectioa to alt 
men. The likeness of kind jprevente mischief between the moaf 

414 . srtwnvAL nafBcnon . 

fieree and huttfiil crealilres: we nmwr bfestfd tbEit lipna devour 
lions, or vipen bile npeis ;. md iiulets we add benafioenee to in- 
Doceoce, we are but in the raflk of brulee. The loie (rf good 
will is eaqEnesied by prolnottng their good, and pre?entii^ evils; 
by rejoicing in their prosperity, and felieviog them in their afflio- 

This lore is move radicated in the breasts of men^ by coorider- 
kig the conditions of nature, wherein they are e<|ual : wbe^ier 
the ordinal happy state .of their crealian^ or tbw miseraUe 
wretched state since their &I1. SiouUtude, either in happiness 
or misery, unites men's affections. How low and deapisable so 
great a part of mankind is at present, yet. the ranembcanee that 
all men were equal in their first. hanoeaaUe and b^ppy oonditien, 
inhabitants of paradise, and bydepntttimi lards of. the world, 
will raise onr esteem, «id be an incsentiTe of kind affections to 
them : and since the foil, the ealamitons condition of mankind is 
a proper motive of mutnal assittance to one asMther : society in 
miseries endears the sufferers, jnd paoduees a tender sympathy 
between thena. None aie so merdfiil aa thobe ,wfao by experi* 
ence know what it ts to be misernUe. The eoosid^ation of the 
common evils to which ail aimesqiosed in thepreaeait state^ in» 
duces a strong obligation to tbe.aAees of lore and kindness. 

But the principal and dhmecanleof love, is the bw of Chris^ 
that enjoins us to do ''good ioal^, but especially to the house- 
hold of faith ;" for the spiritual rdation Is more intimate and ex- 
cellent than the natural : tfiat we are thfeoflbpting of Ae same 
heavenly Father, united as members tb the sameglorions head, 
renewed to a divine life by tfi€j same Holy Spirit, inc or pura U d 
into the same spiritual fomify.'- -iThiadfection pcoceeds from the 
tipper springs of grace $ the eiomse of it is immediately terminn- 
ted on men, but uki|nately respects die glory of Ood, for whose 
sake it is performed. '* To do good, and distribute, faiget not; 
fin* with such sacriftees God is wdl pleased.'^ In short, onr hw6 
to God must be soprenle, add for himself; oer love to men, and 
other things, only in the degrees he allows, and not for them* 
sehes, but for God, who commands to love tbMn as tiiey bear 
his image, or are instnnnental in the perforasanee of our dutyt 
otherwise we are in danger of being dienated (Ma the love of 
Ood, when any person or thing becomes a temptation to us to 
^o any thing either to obtain or preserve them against his will. 


Biit if \pe Unn tHenl only for his sake, w€ abatt nmUky part w^)! 
tliem as a snare, or offer tbem as a sacrifice, if his will requires 
k : as if we love some particuhur meat because it is heallhfbl, atkl 
not because it is pleasant; upon the ficsi discovery that it is hun-» 
fill, we shall reject it. 

The properties of this love are speeified in the command. 
. L It must be rincm. . The apostle directs, ** Let love be 
without dissimulatieiu'' Love is essentiaUy sincere ; it is seated 
in the. hearty and expressed in real actions ; it is eoidial and ope- 
rative : there isv an empty noise of love find respects that proceeds 
firom a double heart, not ehtise and ingenuous. Some by iaif 
promises work and wind men to obtain their ends^ * and then 
slip through :theai. How:often are the sinoere deceived by the 
liberal expresnona of lowe untried and untrue, mistaking a shi- 
ning counterfeit tot a real ruby.^ But though the human eye 
cannot see through > the disguise, he that commands sincere' love, 
piercea into the heart, and if it be wanting there, his anger burns 
against the vain pretenders to it. 

Some vnH seem to grace cithers with a flourish of words, that 
they mlqr tax them more freely, and without suspicion. To 
praise Without a gnmnd of ve^l worth, is sordid flattery $ but td 
commend .with a mitcfaieroas intent, is the worst treachery. ' 

Some will assist the sick day and night, and seem to s)rmpa- 
thise with, tbem in their pains and sorrows ; but their design ii 
to obtain a rich legacy : they appear like mourning doves, f but 
are reisl vultures^ that smell a carcass to feed on. 
• There are others less gmity, who esteem compliments to b« 
courtly defendes ; and though it is i^ot their design to be inju-^ 
rious to those whom they caress, yet' their love is only from thd 
tongue/ which in the apostle's expression, ^ is but a tmklii^ 
cymbal." Their pretended friendship is like leaf-gold, very ex-^ 
tensive, bat soon wora off for want of depth. 

. Others are mercenaries, that like the heathens, '^ do gcfod to 
those from whom they reqmve good ;" their love degenerates In^ 
to traflfe, and does not proceed ^m a divine principle. Inge* 
nuous and christian spirits haye not such crooked inclinations^ 

• Irrumpeat adiilatio blaadiUs, penioittiD tiri affectM vesensm, & fStt 
cui^ae utilitas. 2Vic«Y. 

f VoUur wt candever expeclst. . > 


a]wa^ reflecting upon their own interest. It is trne^ diristian 
love declares itself in sltemate acts of kindness, but is also exer« 
cised where there are no such inducements. This is to imitate 
our heavenly Father, '^ who does good to all^" without any de- 
sert in the receivers^ and beyond all requital. 

Affliction is the furnace wherein sincere friends are tried^ and 
discerned from the deceitful ; their afflictions are cominon } their 
compassions and cordial assistance are common. This is the 
most ceitain and significant character of unfeigned love^ not to 
fail in a calamitous season. Job aggravates his sorrows by this 
reflection^ ^' that his friends dealt deceitfully ;" as brooks that 
run in a full stream in winter, when snow Calls, and there is no 
want of refireshing waters $ but when it is hot, Ihey are dried up, 
and vanbh. We may securely rely on their fHendahip^ who 
afford us * undesired supplies in time of trouble. 

The observatimi of the wise philosopher is verified in every 
age, ^^ That men in a flourishing condition are surrounded with 
friends, but in an afflicted are forsaken." This consideration 
should inflame us with a holy ambition of the friendship of God; 
for his sincere love is most tenderly expressed in our distress: t 
the psalmist enforces his request by this motive^ *^ Be not fieur off, 
for trouble b near." It b often seen, that men fly from thdr 
acquaintance, whai the clearest trial b to be made of their affec- 
tions ; but then the blessed God draws nearest to us, and affords 
relief and comfort. 

2. Our love must be pure* ^^ Seeing you have purified your 
soub in obeying the truth through the Spirit, unto unfeigned love 
of the brethren ; see that you love one another with a pure heart 
fervently." 1 Pet. 1. 22. The purity of love either respects the 
cause of it, or the exercise and effects of it. The cause of pure 
love is the divine command, and the divine pattern set before us. 
The love of God to men is a leading rule to us : he loves them ac- 
cording to the resemblance of his imitable perfections in them ; and 
consequently, the more holy and heavenly, the more righteous and 
gracious men are, the more they should be endeared to our affiec- 

« It is Aristotle's role, BoDun amicmn ad gaudla vocatan adcsse dcbere, 
ad adversa spoate. £/A, c. 11. 

f Florentes amicofQin torba circom sedit : circa evenos ingefis solitiidtt 
est I £t node fof iuot, vnde protMUttur. Sen. Kp, 9. 


tions. This is to loTe God in them, and according to their true 
loveliness : this is to love them by the impression of that love 
wherewith God loves himself. Our Saviour tells us, '* They that 
do his Father's will, are his brothers, sisters, and mothers/^ 

There is an impure love, that proceeds from the simiKtude of 
vicious affections, and is entertained by sinfiil society, that is fa- 
tally contagious. The tempter most forcibly allures when he is 
least suspected. He conceals the serpent's sting in the tongue 
of a firiend. The friendship of the world is contracted and 4:e- 
mented by sensual lusts ; and the end of it will be the torment- 
ing the corrupters and the conupted together for ever. 

The exercise and effects of pure love principally respect the 
soul, the more> excellent and immortal part of our friends^ We 
are commanded to ^' exhort one another, while it is called to- 
day, and to provoke one another to love, and good works/' Ex- 
hortation includes instruction and admonition : the giving coun- 
sel how to preserve the purity, and secure the salvation of the 
soul ; how to prevent sin, and to cure it by the conviction of con- 
science when ignorant of its duty, by the excitation of tlie affec- 
tions when cold and slavish, and direction to order the conver- 
sation aright. The performance of this duty is inseparable from 
pure and unfeigned love, and the neglect of it is an argument of 
deadly hatred. ** Thou shak not hate thy brother in thy heart, 
nor suffer sin to lie upon him." Lev. 19. 17. If you discover 
any prognostic or symptom of a disease growing in a friend, that 
threatened his life, what a cruel neglect were it not to advise and 
urge him to apply the best means for his preservation ? Much 
more are we obliged to rectify the errors in judgment, and mis- 
carriages in conversation, which they are guilty of: especially 
since spiritual diseases are infinitely more dangerous, and are not 
so easily discerned and felt as bodily are. To suffer unconcern* 
edly a friend to lie and languish in a course of sin, i^ soul-wuc- 
der; and in murder there are no accessaries, every one is a prin- 
cipal. It is prophesied conceniing the time of approaching judg- 
ment, ^' that iniquity shall abound, and the love of many wax 
eold," by not convincing sinners in order to reform them. This 
exercise of love must be frequent, " while it is called to-day ;'* 
and solemn, without bitterness and contempt, or a seeming in- 
difference of the success, tbat it may be evident it does not pro- 
ceed from a censorious humou% or an impertinent curiosity, but 

VOL, II. D d 

418 smLiruAL PERncnoN 

from pure love. It must be attended with earnest prayer to the 
Father, and physician oF spirits, to give healing virtue to it ; 
otherwbe it is but moral counsel : and it must be received with 
meekness and gratitude. The rejecting holy counsel discovers a 
double leprosy ; for the rise of it is^from pride iu the understand- 
ing.^ Self-conceit; and pride in the will, perverse obstinacy* 
The mutual discharge of this duty, is the most precioifs, desira* 
ble and advantageous bene&t of friendship. We must perform it 
to all within the compass of our direction and warm influence : 
we must imitate the angel's earnest counsel to Lot, <^ escape for 
thy life out of Sodom, not to delay, that he might not be consu-r 
med." O that this angelical zeal and compassion possessed the 
breasts of christians. 

It may justly cover with confiision many who profess entire 
friendship to others, and yet their conversation with them is di- 
rectly opposite to the rules of friendship laid down by the wise 
and virtuous heathens. Scipio prescribed this first and inviolable 
rule of friendship, ^^ That we never desire our friends to do acts 
of moral turpitude, nor do them though desired.'* Another as 
useful a rule is laid down by Lnlius; * '^ it is the inseparable 
property of sincere friendship, to give and receive admonition : to 
give it freely not harshly : to receive it meekly, not with recoil 
and reluctaucy." These virtuous heathens will rise in judgment 
against many, who by sordid and base acts, by filthy lusts and 
filthy lucre, foment and maintain their friendship : that count it 
the surest preservative of friendship, to nourish and foment the 
spring and streatto of the sensual appetite, that will issue into the 
lake of fire. 

3. Love must be feroenU The degree respects the inward af- 
fection, and the outward effects of it. There is such a union of 
affections between the saints, that one is as it were transfused in- 
to another ; their afflictions are mutual, their compassions and 
assistance arc mutuaL This iotenseness of love is signified by 
^ Loving our neighbours as ourselves :" in similitude and like- 
ness. How ardent are our desires, and earnest our endeavours 
for our temporal happiness ? and principally (if we are enlighten- 
ed) for our eternal happiness. Accordingly we should be affect* 

* HaRe prtaa l€K !■ amlef tfa f aaeUtur : at Deque rogeBii rat torpet, ne* 
que facMsot Jrof ali« 


ed and deHgent for procuring the present and future happiness of 
others. How vigihint and aetire are we to prevent imminent 
aod destructiTe eviis that threaten us here, but specially if we are 
serious and considering, to ** escape from the wrath to come ?" 
we should be proportionably carefiil to rescue others from tempo- 
ral or spiritual evils to which they are obnoxious How jealous 
are we of our own reputation, how unwilling to incur censure, to 
have our faults aggravated, and to bear the prints of infamy ? 
Love to our neighbour should make us tender of their good 
names, to conceal their faults, or to make a favourable construc- 
tion of them, and not to expose them to shame ; and to vindi- 
cate them, when their enemies would make them appear culpa- 
ble by calumnies. In short, our love must be so sincere, pure 
and fervent to our brethren, that we may have a clear and com- 
fortable evidence, **that we are born of God, and that God 
dwells in us, and we in him.'* But among christians, how rare 
is christian love ? Their love is excessive to themselves, and de- 
fective to others. 

The forgwing injuries^ is an excellent effect of christian love. 
This implies an entire disposition and resolution to pardon all 
offences, declaring itself in real acts, when there is occasion. 
This duty is hard and distasteful to corrupt nature : the apostle 
enjoins us, ** see that none render evil for evil, follow that which 
is good." The manner of the expression intimates our prone- 
nesa to acts of revenge. For vicious self-love makes us more apt 
to retain the sense of injuries than of benefits. How many re- 
ceive signal favours, and within a little while neglect their bene- 
factors, withdraw grateful respects and converse with them : as it 
is not usual to walk in a vineyard, when the vintage is passed. 
Bot if an injury be once offered, it is provoking as if it were re- 
acted every day, by the continual remembrance of it. But the 
command is strict and universal, and allows no freedom, but of 
voluntary obedience. To make us feel the weight of the duty, 
and to be more tenderly sensible of it, our Saviour tells us, ^< If 
yon do not forgive, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your 
trespasses.'* An unforgiving temper is an invincible bar against 
our obtaining divine mercy. We can neither receive pardon, nor 
have it continued, nor enjoy the comfortable sense of it, without 
pardoning others. It is a sin of such malignity, that it invenoms 
poison itself; it actuates the guilt of all other sins; and sealathe 

D d 2 



doom of the vnrelenting and hardened against the oflending bro- 
ther. The servant that upon his humble request, had ten thou^ 
sand talents forgiven, yet upon his cruel exacting three hundred 
pence from his fellow-servant, his pardon was reversed, and he 
was delivered to the tormentors, till his debt was entirely paid. 
The lines of this duty are clearly drawn in the divine pattern set 
before us. God pardons sins entirely, " he blots them out as a 
thick cloud :" the saints in heaven are as accepted in hk s^t, 
as the angels that always obeyed his commands. He pardons 
frequently : ** In many things we offend all.'* It would tire the 
hand of an angel to register the pardons issued from the throne 
of grace to rebellious sinners. He pardons sins 'of a very provo* 
king nature : he ^^ makes our crimson sins to be as white as 
snow, ai^l scarlet sins as white as wool." The provocation b^ 
gins on our part, the reconciliation begins on God's part. He 
^' beseeches us to be reconciled," as if it were hia interest that 
we should i)ot be destroyed by his severe justice. God can de- 
stroy his enemy in the twinkling of the eye, in the beating of the 
pulse, yet he supports and comforts them every day. Our Savi- 
our has set us the highest pattern of forgiving love : when he was 
nailed to the cross, he pjrayed for his cruel murderers, ** Father 
forgive them, they know not what they do^" How persuarare 
should his pattern be ? Shall we be so tenderly sensible of &e 
hatred of an enemy, and so stupidly insensible of our Saviour'9 
love ? Shall the resenting remembrance of injuries deface in 19 
the dear inemorial of his purchasing blessedness for us ? His 
precious blood appeased the just anger of God, and shall it not 
cool and calm our inflamed passions ? 

In imitation of God and Christ, we must abstain from all re- 
venge of the greatest evils suffered by us : we must extinguish any 
inclination to revenge. Sin b^ins in the desire, and ends in the 
action. We must not take the least pleasure, that evil be&ls 
one that has been injurious to us ; for the root of it is devilish. 
Though the reparation of an injury may in some cases be neces- 
sary, yet revenge is absolutely forbidden : to retaliate an evil 
without any reparation of our losses, is to do mischief for mis- 
chief s sake ; which is the property of satan : as on the contrary 
to do good for evil is such a divine perfection, that the devil does 
not assume the resemblance of it, it is so contrary to his curse4 


Some will conceal their anger for a time, wiuting for an op- 
portunity to take revenge without the appearance of passion : 
their malice, like slow poison^ does not cause violent symptoms, 
but destroys life insensibly. 

Some have such fierce pa^ions, tfaaC strike fire out of the least 
provocation ; their breasts are changed into a Tophet. 

Some inflame their resentmenfis, by conmdering every circum- 
stance that will exasperate their spirits. 

But the command is, *^ Be not overcome with evil, but over- 
come evil with good." The duty is so pleasant in its exercise, 
and attended with such comfortable consequences, that it is re- 
commended to our reason, and our affections. '* Love suffers 
long ; love bears all things, endures all things :" and what is more 
engaging than the delightful disposition of love? The doing 
good for evil often gains the heart ct an enemy : if there be any 
vital spark of hmnanity, it cannot be resisted. There is an in- 
stance of it recorded in scripture : Sanl the unrighteous and im- 
placable enemy of David, yet being spared when he was entirely 
at his mercy, was moved and melted into tenderness : ^' Is this* 
thy voice, my son David ?" Before, he in contempt called him 
the son of Jesse. *^ Thou art more righteous than I > I will da 
thee no more evil/' 

How will some of the heathens condemli christians, both as to 
the rule and practice of this duty ? for whereas it is esteemed to 
be the character of pusillanimity or stupidity to bear frequent 
and great injuries tmreveDged, one of their poets mixed this 
counsel among other excellent rules of morality, <* That man is 
arrived at an heroic degree of goodness, who is instructed in a 
dispassionate manner to bear great injuries.'' And when Phoci- 
on, who had deserved so highly, of the Athenians, was condemned 
mijustly to die, his son attending him to receive his last com- 
mands, imioediately before his death, he charged him never to 
V revenge it cm the Athenians; ^ 

p d 3 



Divide hop« hai ao emioeot causality in tiw life of a diritUaii. The natire 
of christian hope. It it the character of a eaiot. It it natorai, coofruont, 
and necessary to a taint in the pre»eot state. It is distinguished from car- 

• nal presumptioD by its purifying virtue. Fear considered in its nature and 
cleansing virtue. The Altribntes of God, the motivei of holy fear. There 
is a fear of reverence, and of caation* It it consistent witii finitk, and the 
affections of iave, ho|>e, and joy. It is the fountain of fortitude. 

III. JJlVINE h&pe haa an eminettt casuality and influenoe in 
the life of a christian* St. John apeakkig of the gloriom likeness 
of the sainta t0 Christ in the diriitt world, infieos from it, ** Eire* 
ry man that has this hope io hin, pudfies himaeif, even as he 
it piire." 1 John 3.. 3. Three things are observable in the 
words. •• ; . . , . 

First. The character of a^diristian by his-hc^: ''Every man 
that has thi^ hopi^ in. him." 

Secondly. The distinction of this hope fronl it& conoteifett^ by 
hs insdpajlahlereffect, f^ Pnrifies hiinaelf." 
« Thirdly. Tiie.i:egulating of xhe e&ct by ita.pattein; ''£ven 
as he is purei"<». 

First. The'cbifracter of a .^hostiaD by. hia bapei .Christian 
hope, is a firm ei^imstation of fiitiif e. haj^iness : tmM distangiuahed 
from waridly hbpes^.by the excaUeocy tnk the object, .and the atat 
bBity of ita/fMtfdatlou^ The objectis; an etasal aCalie^if gkiy 
and jdy, wheiiein We 4hi^ll beKCQafonhed'tathiiSont oiiiod, 
WorkUy hopes aire t^rminitfi^'OQ .empty raiiiabin^: things^ g^Ued 
oyer mth.rhe:thin..4ppeair^Dl9e. of r gtxad. Th&fbilndbti^ of ifit 
vine hope are the unchangeable truth :.«f God^. arid hisiUn^ghty 
])0wer, that always seconds his w<Mrd. " God cannot lie,'' and 
consequently neither deceive our faith, nor disappoint our hqies; 
and he can do all things. The apostle declares the ground of 
his confidence ; '' I know in whom I have believed ; and I am 
persuaded, that he is able to keep t^at which I have committed 
to him, against that day." All the persons in the Deity are en- 
gaged for our assurance add copnfort. Sometimes it is aaid^ 

triVFOl0XJ> AMD BNrOKCSD. 423 

^ That our hope may be in God :" and, << Oar Lord Jeans Christ 
our hope:'' and, ^^ That we may abound in hope, through the 
power of the Holy Ghost." 1 Pet. 1. 21. Worldly hopes are 
always uncertain in this sp