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Full text of "Directions for weak Christians; and The character of a confirmed Christian, with a preface by H ..."


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r . 











KXCTOK or PAPWOmVM n. a«>s«, cambkidoxihikx, 




fj ^\ 


PART !.• 


Editor's Preface ix 

Baxter's Preface xxi 

The Text opened. What it is to receiTe Christ The nature 
of justifying faith in its three essential acts. How to know 
that we have received Christ. What it is to walk in him. 
What to be rooted, to be grounded, and built up, &c . . 1 

The Doctrine of the necessity of weak Christians seeking 
stability, confirmation, and increase of grace. What confir- 
mation is, in the understandings 'will, affections, and in the 
life .'.*.'.• 9 


Twenty Motives to convince weak Christians of the great need 
of growth and confirmation 14 

A Lamentation fbr the Weaknesses of Christians : in their 
knofdedge, in their practice, in public worship, in inward 
grace, in outward obedience; about 'known duties, con- 
fession, reproof &c. ; their uucharitableness, backbiting, 
pride, &C 48 

* The two first pages are omitted, as being addressed to Baxtxk's flock 
at Kidderminster, and as containing a line of illustration unsuited to the 
taste of these futidious days. 



Ten more Considerations to convince tbem that it is not 
trifling, but great things which God requireth at their bands 62 

Twenty Directions for confirmation and increase of grace • 8& 



The character of a strong confirmed Christian . . • . • 159 

1. He liveth by such a faith in unseen things, as govemeth 

his soul instead of sight 166 

2. He bath cogent reasons for his religion 169 

3. He seeth the well-ordered frame of sacred Terities, and 

the integral parts in their harmony ; and setteth not up 
one truth against another 171 

4. He adheretb to them, and practiseth them, from an in- 

ward connatural principle, called the Divine Nature, 
and the Spirit of Christ 172 

5. He serveth not God for fear only, but for love • . . .174 

6. He lovetb God, 1. Much for his goodness to himself; 

2. and more for his goodness to the church; 8. and 
most of all for his essential goodness and perfection • .176 

7. He taketh this love and its expressions for the heart and 

height of all bis religion 179 

8. He bath absolutely put his soul and all his hopes into the 

hand of Christ, and liveth by faith upon him as his 
Saviour 181 

9. He taketh Christ as the teacher sent from God, and his 

doctrine for the truest wisdom, and leameth of none but 

in subordination to him 183 

10. His repentance is universal and efiectual, and hath gone 

to the root of every sin 185 

11. He loveth the light, as it showeth him his sin and duty; 
and is willing to know the worst of sin, and the most of 
duty 188 

12. He desireth the highest degree of holiness, and hath no 
sin which he had not rather leave than keep, and had 
rather be the best though in poverty, than the greatest 

in prosperity .•••... 191 



IS. He itvedi npon God and heareii as tke end, reward, and 
motiTeofhisUfe 193 

14. He ooiintedi no coat or pains too gjeat for the oUaining 
it, and hath nothing so dear which he cannot part with 

for it 195 

15. He is daily exercised in the practice of self-denial, as 
(next to the love of God) the second half of his religion 198 

16. He hath mortified his fleshly desires, and so fiir mastereth 

his senses and appetite, that they make not his obedience 
very oneasy or uneven 203 

17. He preferreth the means of his holiness and happiness in- 
comparably before all provisions and pleasures of the flesh 205 

18. He is crucified to the world, and the world to him by the 
cross of Christ, and contemneth it through the belief of 
the greater things of the life to come ...••.. 2u8 

19. He foreseeth the end in all his ways, and judgetb of all 
things as they will appear at last 211 

20. He liveih upon God alone, and is content with his favour 
and approbation, without the approbation and favour of 
men 215 

21. He hath absolutely devoted himself, and all that he hath, 

to God, to be used according to his will ...... 217 

22. He hath a readiness to obey, and a quick and pleasant 
compliance of his will to the will of God 219 

23. He delighteth himself more in God, and heaven, and 
Christ, and. holiness, than in all the world: religion is 
not tedious and grievous to him 221 

24. He is conscious of his own sincerity, and assured of his 
justification, and title to everlasting joys 228 

25. This assurance doth not make him more careless and 
remiss, but increaseth his love and holy diligence . . . 230 

26. Yet he abhorreth pride as the first-born of the devil, and 
is very low and vile in his own eyes, and can easily en- 
dure to be low and vile in the eyes of others . . . .231 

27. Being acquainted with the deceitfulness of the heart, and 
the methods of temptation, he liveth as among snares, 
and enemies, and dangers, in a constant watch ; and can 
conquer many, and subtle, and great temptations, through 
grace 234 



28. He hath counted what it may cost him to he sayed/ and 
hath iresolved not to stick at suffering, hnt to bear the 
cross, and be conformed to his crucified Lord, and hath 
already in heart forsaken all for him 235 

29. He is not a Christian only for company or carnal ends, or 
upon trust of other men's opinion, and therefore would 
be true to Christ, if his rulers, his teachers, his company, 
^d all that he knoweth, should forsake him .... 240 

30. He can digest the hardest truths of Scripture, and the 
hardest passages of God's providence 242 

31. He can exercise all his graces in harmony, without neg- 
lecting one to use another, or setting one against 
another 243 

32. He is more in getting and using grace, than in inquiring 
whether he have it, though he do that also in its place . 244 

33. He studieth duty more than events, and is more careful 
what he should be towards God, than how he shall here 

be used by him 246 

34. He is more regardful of his duty to others, than of theirs 

to him, and had much rather suffer wrong than do it . 246 

35. He keepeth up a constant government of his thoughts, 
restraining them from evil, and using them upon God, 
and for him 249 

36. He keepeth a constant government over his passions, so 
far as that they pervert not his judgment, his heart, his 
tongue, or actions • • 250 

37* He governeth his tongue ; employing it for God, and re- 
straining it from evil 252 

38. Heart-work and heaven-work are the principal matters 
of his religious discourse, and not barren controverdes 

or impertinencies 254 

39. He liveth upon the common great substantials of religion, 
and yet will not deny the smallest truth, or commit the 
smallest sin, for any price that man can offer him . . 255 

40. He is a high esteemer, and careful redeemer of time, and 
abhorreth idleness, and diversions which would rob him 

of it 261 

41. His heart is set upon doing all the good in the world that 

he is able : it is his daily business and delight . • • . 263 



42. He truly loveth his neighbour as himwlf 26^ 

43. He hath a special love to all godly Christiaxis aa soch, 
and sooh aa will not stick at cost in its due expressions, 
nor be turned into bitterness by tolerable differences . 266 

44. He forgiveth injuries, and loveth his enemies, and doth 
them all the good he can, from the sense of the love of 
Christ to him 268 

46. He doth as he would be done by ; and is as precise in 
the justice of his dealings with men as in acts of piety 
to God 271 

46. He is faithful and laborious in his outward trade or call- 
ing, not out of covetousnessi but obedience to God . .273 

47. He is very conscionable in the duties of his several rela- 
tions, in his fiunily or other society, as a superior, infe- 
rior, or equal • 274 

48. He is the best subject, whether his rulers be good or bad, 
though infidel and ungodly rulers may mistake and use 
him as the worst 276 

49. His trust in God doth overcome the fear of man, and pettle 
him in a constant fortitude for God 283 

50. Judgment and zeal are conjoined in him : his judgment 
kindleth zeal, and his zeal is still judicious 286 

51. He can bear the infirmities of the weak, and their cen- 
sures and abuses of himself; and requiteth them not 
with uncharitable censure or reproach 289 

52. He is a high esteemer of the unity of Christians, and 
abhorreth the principles, spirit, and practices of division 291 

58. He seeketh the church's unity and concord not upon 
partial, unrighteous, or impossible, but upon the possible 
righteous terms here mentioned 302 

54. He is of a mellow, peaceable spirit : not masterly, domi- 
neering, hurtful, unquiet, or contentious 310 

55. He highliest regardeth the interest of God, and men's 
salvation in the world, and regardeth no secular interest 

of his own, or any man's, but in subserviency thereto . 316 

56. He is usually hated for his holiness by the wicked, and 

censured for his charity and peaceableness by the factious 
and the weak ; and is moved by neither from the way 
of truth 322 



57. Though he abhor ungodly soul-destroying ministers, yet 
he reverenceth the office as necessary to the church and 
world ; and highly valueth the holy, faithful labourers . 323 

58. He hath great experience of the providence, truth, and 
justice of God, to fortify him against temptations to 
unbelief 325 

59. Though he greatly desireth lively affections and gifts, yet 
he much more valueth the three essential parts of holi- 
ness : 1. A high estimation in the understanding of 
God, Christ, holiness, and heaven, above all that can be 
set in any competition ; 2. A resolved choice and adhe- 
sion of the will, to these above and against all com- 
petitors; 3. The seeking them first in the endeavours 
of the life; and by these he judgeth of the sincerity of 

his heart 327 

60. He is all his life seriously preparing for his death, as if it 
were at hand, and is ready to receive the sentence with 
joy; but especially he longeth for the blessed day of 
Christ's appearing, as the answer of all his desires and 
hopes . 329 

Six uses of these characters 336 


A WOBK of Baxter's needs no other introduction to 
the public, than the name of its author. Few, if any, 
of our religious writers, have been more generally and 
deservedly popular. But the very circumstance of 
Baxter's popularity as an author, and the consequent 
multiplicity of his writings, has caused some of his 
works, which were valuable enough to have given 
celebrity to other names, to remain partially overlooked. 
This has been the case, to a certain extent, with the 
Treatise which is here presented to the public. No 
new edition of it has appeared for many years ; and in 
consequence of the scarcity of copies, it has not been 
sufficiently known to be properly appreciated. It is 
one of a series of works which, as Baxter informs us, 
he was recommended to undertake by Archbishop 
Usher, the first of them being the " Call to the Uncon« 
verted,*' and the others relating to the practical exercise 
of religion in the heart and life. The ministerial use- 
fulness of Baxter, and his great experience as a shepherd 
of Christ's flock, qualified him beyond any man of his 
day to do justice to these subjects. Accordingly he 
wrote as " one that had authority," or as one standing 
on an eminence, from whence he could discern all the 
inequalities, the windings, the deceptions, and false 
appearances, of the human heart. 

A 3 

editor's preface. 

This work was dedicated to Baxter's flock at Kid- 
derminster, amongst whom he had preached the word 
of life with the zeal of an apostle, both publicly and 
from house to house, during sixteen years. The sub- 
stance of it had been delivered to them from the pulpit. 
After eight years of involuntary absence, he thus renews 
his religious instructions, and presses upon their notice 
the important truths which he had formerly taught 
amongst them being present, that now much more '^ in 
bis absence they might work out their salvation with 
fear and trembling." He mournfully, but affectionately, 
recals to their- remembrance the years which he had 
spent in their society ; speaks of the comfort he had 
enjoyed in ministering to them; and declares his 
sorrow * at not being permitted to continue his labours 
amongst them at a time when his greater experience 
would have rendered him more usefU. Then he en- 
treats them to receive the word of exhortation, that they 
might grow in grace, and be preserved unto the king- 
dom of their blessed Master. 

The directions, though dedicated to Baxter's former 
flock, are not less applicable to Christians in general. 
The work is full of deep thought, wisdom, and ex- 
perience. He unfolds the secret workings of the heart, 
as one who had long and accurately observed what had 
passed within himself, and describes all the forms and 
indications of spiritual disease, as a physician who has 
often and successfully prescribed for them. Ho speaks 

* So attached was he to hii flock at Kidderminster, that he 
made every exertion to condnue amongst them. Whilst he 
refused a bishopric, he entreated to be permitted to retain this 
cure ; and when this was denied him, he offered to be the curate of 
the vicar, with or without any pecuniary allowance for his services^ 
or to serve there on any terms. 


asooe who imdenDood the important dntaes of m minifter 
of Christ, and had been long aecnstomed to feed the 
flock committed to hie diarge. He had finrhimeelf fully 
and kierocahly choeen the eerrice of 6od» aa hia duty, 
kia portion, and hia pleasure. His soul was possessed 
by a solemn and oTcrwhelming feeling of the importance 
of eternal things ; and, therefore, when be speaks of 
them, it is the Toice of one who baa taated the grace 
of God, and la so filled with its sweetness as to feel a 
koly indignation and surprise at the folly of those who 
re|ect it. He reasons with you, he exhorts, encourages, 
charges yon to Utc as those who have received mercy, 
and who look to be compaoions of angels, and to dwell 
with God in glory. Himself rejoiciog in the service of 
God, he invites you to join in the work of prayer and 
praisei As one who baa himself entered into the 
aanctoary of God, he anxiously exhorts his fellow- 
Ottistians not to remain without, or to loiter near the 
entrance, but to come in and partake of the rich mercies, 
the overflowing refeeshments, prepared for those who, 
casting away every wish of returning to the world, 
desire to ^ dwell in the house of the Lord for evif*** 

The period at which this treatise was published, gives 
additjonal interest to the objects which the author had 
in view. He saw and deplored the low ebb of religion 
amongst the great body of professing Christians, and 
anxiously desired to do what he could to fen the 
expiring embers, and rekindle the " love of many which 
had waxed cold.** In his early life the flood-gates of 
iniquity had been opened, and the bands which hold 
society together had been severed ; and wicked men, 
acting under the garb of piety in the pursuit of their 
selfish and ambitious prcgects, had infiicted a deadly 
wound upon that religion which they dishonoured by 


pfrofeflung. In his later life it had become the puipoae 
and ayatem of a depraved government (as if snoh 
MidcednesB could be the means of its future security) 
to corrupt, persecutCi and banish those vital principles 
o£ religion to which it falsely attributed the overthrow 
of the British monarchy. Thus in the midst of bad 
examples, a powerful corrupting influence, and that 
re-action of popular feeling which had become impatient 
of every thing of religion but its outer forms, it is not 
aurprising if many halted in their christian course, and 
many more walked not uprightly according to the truth 
of Qod, A melancholy picture of the state of religion 
in those times is presented to us by the excellent Howe. 
He observed the growing deadness to religion in the 
generation which had risen up, and as one after another 
of his fellow-labourers, like the elders who outlived 
Joshua and restrained the wickedness of Israel, was 
called away, he mourned over the sinking cause of truth, 
and almost prophetically declared that the Spirit of 
Qod was retiring, and a '' deadly darkness was drawing 
on/'* In such times as these did Baxter put forth all 
his energies to stir up the feith of his fainting brethren, 
and to exhort those who were growing cold to *' remem- 
ber their first love.'* He saw the standard of christian 
practice daily lowered, and therefore redoubled his 
efforts to rally round him those who were still faithful 
to their Lord and Saviour. He endeavoured to make 
them ashamed of that coldness, and carelessness, and 
love of the world, which was grieving the Spirit of 
God, and injuring the cause of truth. With this as his 
object, he enters upon the practical examination of the 
duties of religion, directs Christians how to proceed in 

* Howe's Funeral Sermon for Dr. Bates — near the conclusion. 

editor's preface. xiii 

the varioiM drcnmstances of life, happily for themselveti 
and to the benefit of others ; and then nrgea them, by 
etecy possible argament, to walk as it becomes their 
h^ and heavenly calling. He exhorts his weaker 
biethren to greater diligence in religion, and shows them 
the misery of that wavering and doubtfulness which 
shnts out the glorious light of Ood's countenance, and 
makes the very liberty of the children of God a state of 
bondage. He would by no means suffer them to linger 
on the borders of Christianity, but bids them enter this 
fiiir land of promise, " go up and down in the length 
and breadth thereof," taste of its abundance, and rejoice 
in its excellency. 

The arrangement of the work is not such as would 
have been adopted by a writer of the present day ; it is 
sometimes overcharged with the machinery of divisions 
and distinctions. But this is a trivial fiiult, for which 
large amends are made by the accuracy of detail with 
which the author treats his subject. 
■ The plain and expressive title of the work is not such 
as would have been selected by an author of the present 
day. Whether it be refinement or fastidiousness which 
in our times withholds men from speaking the truth in 
plain words, another generation will be the competent 
judge. In the mean while we have no right to find 
fault with Baxter for the faithfulness and simplicity 
with which he addresses his advice to those who most 
stand in need of it. There are few, indeed, who are 
willing to be considered weak and childish in spiritual 
matters, or who feel the diseases of their souls so painful 
and burdensome as to compel them to apply to a 
physician, and fidthfully make use of his remedies. 
This unwillingness to come and be healed of our sick- 
nesses, is what keeps us in a weak and fainting state ; 


this fear of being thought children, that which makes tis 
continue in all the imbecility of childhoocU If we would 
learn any thing from the holy man whose name is 
prefixed to these pages, we must not shrink from being 
considered weakly or childish, and insufficient, whilst 
he lays open the causes of our weakness, of our frequent 
failures in duty, of our want of stedfastness and holy 
affection ; whilst he tells us why we find so little pleasure 
in the ways of Ood, and shows us how we may attain 
to a more confirmed and happier state of mind. 

The first part is an address to weak Christians, 
showing them the ill effects of resting satisfied with 
their low attainments, and urging them to growth in 
grace ; and this is concluded by specific directions for 
the regulation of their conduct* The second part is the 
portraiture of the true confirmed Christian. It is drawn 
in contrast with that of the weak Christian, and the 
hypocrite, or seeming Christian. It embraces a great 
many particulars, in which the comparison is instituted. 
Thus whilst he exhibits the character of the real Chris- 
tian in every circumstance of life, and shows what 
manner of person he is in his conduct and principles 
before God and man, he tears away the mask from all 
false pretenders to religion, and proves to them liie 
emptiness of their vain professions. At the same time 
he manifests a deep concern for the weakest Christian 
who holds the truth in sincerity, lest he should " bruise 
the broken reed, or quench the smoking flax." 

With regard to this new edition, one observation must 
be made. It has been deemed advisable to make sub- 
stitution for a few obsolete words, where either they were 
such as would not be understood by the majority of readers, 
or had acquired a different meaning from that in which 
they were used by the author. Scarcely, however, has 

KMTOR's preface. XT 

one gttnuiiie English woxd been erased ; Baxter, it may 
be observed, knew well the force of his native tongue, 
and aldiongh at times somewhat slovenly in style, 
availed himself of its resources. Besides, a few sen- 
tences have been omitted for various reasons, stated 
wiieiie the omission occurs. But these are so few as 
acarcely to deserve mention, imless it be that an omission 
has been made at the very beginning of the work, 
because the line of illustration which runs through it is 
ill adapted to the taste and manners of the present day. 
Baxter appears to have been apprehensive, lest he 
should be accused of exposing to the world the faults 
and weaknesses of Christians. To speak of them was 
necessary to his plan. Nor does he ever make mention 
of them in any other temper, than that of one who 
deeply deplored their existence. He mourns as a father 
over the weaknesses of his children, and labours hard 
to persuade them to apply the proper remedies. He is 
actuated by the same spirit as the apostle, who, when 
speaking of certain opposers of the truth, thus expressed 
his deep feeling for them : " Of whom I tell you even 
weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of 
Christ." It was an essential part of his plan to point 
oat the evils which affect the church of God, through 
the failings of weakly and unstable, though sincere 
Christians, as well as through the wickedness of false 
professors, who had been the means (alas ! too fatally 
in those days) of bringing odium upon the cause of 
religion itself. To attribute these faults and failings of 
professing Christians, which arise only from their im- 
perfect reception, or absolute rejection of the vital prin- 
ciples of the faith of Christ, to that faith itself, is a 
perversion of reason. Never let them be chaiged upon 
religion, nntil tome of its precepts can be proved to 

xvi editor's preface. 

countenance them. As well may you lay to the door 
of learning the ignorance of the ill-instructed, or blame 
the sun because it shows the motes that are dancing in 
its rays. Our holy religion condemns these faults, 
declares their proper character as hateful in the sight 
of God, and whilst it speaks of pardon to the penitent 
sinner, it hides not the guilt of his offences, or exte« 
nuates their aggravated character. It is no part of the 
object of the word of God to spare the pride of human 
nature, or to hide any of its delinquencies. The Holy 
Spirit shrinks from thus, as it were, making himself a 
participator in human transgression, by covering up or 
excusing the sins of even the best of men. No : let 
them be known, let them be eternally recorded, but let 
not the holiness of God be dishonoured. Rather, as 
says our author, '^ a Noah, an Abraham, a Lot, a David, 
a Solomon, a Peter, shall be dishonoured by God in 
holy record to all ages, that God may not be more 
dishonoured by them." God has no need of conceal- 
ments and palliations in order to recommend his service 
amongst mankind. His law stands directly opposed to 
1^ sin ; nay, the very essence of sin is in the transgres- 
sion of his law ; and, therefore, he at once disowns and 
protests against the wicked actions even of his most 
&ithful servants and children, lest any should imagine 
that he was not of " purer eyes than to behold iniquity." 
Nor is it for them to murmur because his holy nature 
so condemns their sins. If you have the sincerity of the 
apostle, who having sinned " went out and wept bitterly,** 
you will be content with him to confess your transgres- 
sion, and make what reparation you can for the wrong 
you have inflicted upon the cause of God. It is a bad 
sign for us when we are more susceptible of the honour 
which Cometh from man, than the honour which cometh 

editor's p&eface. xvii 

firom God, and had lather that an unputation should he 
fiutened upon religion than upon ourselves. Let theiei 
be a marked line of distinction ; let it ever he declare^i 
that the faults, the failings, the weaknesses, the evil 
tempers of Christians, have no connexion with the holy 
religion which they profess. That they are not freer 
firom these corruptions is truly lamentable, when we 
consider the heart-stirring motives by which they are 
influenced. But whenever these flaws in the character 
of Christians can be discerned, let them be only charged 
(where the fiemlt lies) upon poor human nature, which 
is so slow in choosing the things of God, and so irreso* 
lute in pursuing them even after it has experienced 
their excellency. The practical rule is very simple, 
that, fl)llowing the example given in Scripture, we 
attempt not to defend the failings of Christians, and 
still less our own ; and that, instead of being solicitous 
to diminish their flagrancy, we be ready to confess it, 
and declare how opposed they are to God, his truth, 
and his laws. We must, in fact, love the honour of 
God and religion, better than our own honour, or that 
of those who are dearest to us. Let Baxter be judged 
on this principle ; it is that upon which he has acted in 
the composition of this treatise. 

So much with reference to the nature of this work : 
may its re-publication be useful. Not a few of the 
lessons it teaches are peculiarly applicable to the present 
day. Christians are still exposed to the same tempta- 
tions, and subject to the same weaknesses ; and there is 
a remarkable similarity between the besetting sins of 
this our age, and that of Baxter. It is lamentable that 
one generation should not be wiser from the failures of 
that which went before. But such is the fact ; in every 
page of the history of human nature, we And that expe- 

xviii editor's preface. 

rience is discarded ; and that the pocur creature which is 
blind to the ftiture, is scarcely less blind from its incon- 
sideration to that which has gone by. Otherwise, the 
saying of the wise man, or rather of the Spirit of God^ 
would not be fulfilled, " that which hath been is now, 
and that which is to be hath already been.'* 

But with respect to the service of God it ought not 
to be so. The failures of to-day ought not to be the 
fiiilures of to-morrow ; our weakness and irresolution 
ought not to be perpetual. Our zeal for God*s glory 
should be increasing, burning with a steadier light ; our 
love to him more constraining ; our charity more diffu- 
sive; our faith more powerftil and pervading in its 
influence. We should remember, that since our pri- 
vileges as Christians are great and honourable, since we 
regard ourselves as the children of God, and as in that 
relationship " crowned with glory and honour," sin in 
us has more of a disgraceful and aggravated character. 
In proportion as we are brought near the holy presence 
of God should sin be put away from us ; and whilst 
we rejoice in hope of seeing the glory of God, and of 
being promoted to a higher order of being, we are bound 
to live in accordance with our future expectations. 

It seems a mysterious circumstance respecting Baxter, 
and many of his contemporaries, men who, both within 
and without the pale of the Church of England, formed, 
so to speak, the Augustan age of English divinity ; that, 
distinguished as they were by talents and piety, they 
should in their day and generation have spent their 
strength almost in vain, and laboured to little purpose. 
But though their labours seem to have been blighted for 
a season, whilst the withering blast of infidelity passed 
over them, and intolerance and party spirit swept 
away the kindly influences of christian charity ; yet now, 

editor's preface. xix 

at length, has the Lord of the harvest prospered the 
woik of their hands, and made the seed, which was so 
slow in vegetating, productive of abundant increase. 
Many are the instances in which the works of these holy 
men have been blessed to the conversion of sinners ; 
and many are the Christians whom they have been the 
means of instructing and building up in their most holy 
fiuth. So may it be with the work which is now re-issued 
firom the press ; may the Divine blessing prosper it, to 
the edification of many. Thus will the object of him 
who ventures to commend it to the reconsideration of 
the public, and introduce it to a new generation, be 
folly accomplished. 

Latenburt Hill, 
Month 3, 1S35. 


That you may neither misunderstand this book nor 
me, I owe you this pre-advertisement, that it was 
preached in a lecture at Kidderminster, in Worcester- 
shire, about seven or eight years ago (1658) : that the 
sad experience of the distempers of weak well meaning 
people, though not in that place, yet in those times 
(especially of those who ran after the most gross de- 
ceivers, distracted the churches, reviled, afflicted, and 
busily attempted to pull down the pastors, and actually 
pulled down the higher powers, whom God forbad them 
to resist,) was the chief occasion of the preaching of 
these sermons : and that the special reasons for my 
publishing them now, are these that follow. 1. Because 
I perceive not that yet people are sufficiently humbled 
for those miscarriages, or have yet well found out their 
sins, which by many and sore judgments have found 
them out. 2. Because I perceive that it is too ordinary 
to speak to weak Christians only by way of comfort, 
and too rare to show them the evil of their distempers ; 
and that the very terms are used as if they imported 
nothing, but what is to be loved or tenderly gainsayed : 
and most that hear themselves called '* weak Christians*' 
do take it for a word of honouring pity, and feel in it 
no humbling matter of reproof; as if the comfort of 
being a living man did nullify the trouble and pain of 

xxii Baxter's preface* 

infiancy, of a lethargy, a leprosy, a fever, gout, or stone. 
The scandals which have dishonoured religion in this 
age, do tell us that it is not all a preacher's work to 
convince and convert the infidels and profane ones, 
but that much of it lieth in detecting hypocrisies, 
and humbling the weak, and healing their distempers, 
and saving and raising them from their falls. The 
thoughts of the case of such Christians as these did 
tempt Augustine once to doubt whether there were not 
a purgatory ; it seemed so hard to him to believe, either 
that men who in the rest of their lives were godly and 
honest, should go to hell, or that men so guilty of par- 
ticular Climes and scandals (of which their ignorance 
and error kept them from repenting) could go straight to 
heaven : and no doubt but it was the heinous sins and 
great distempers of men professing godliness, which 
caused human reason to invent and entertain this doc- 
trine of purging-pains ; but when God hath cast men 
into many purgatories, and yet they repent not, I fear 
it threateneth worse than purgatory, 3. Moreover I 
remembered the request of that learned, pious, peace- 
able Abp. Usher, which I mentioned in the Preface to 
my Call to the Unconverted ; according to which I had 
before published, 1. That Call. 2, Directions against 
miscarrying in the work of Conversion. 3. And this I 
intended for the third part when I began it, but was 
hindered from bringing it to the purposed perfection, (the 
fourth part, being Directions for Peace of Conscience, 
being extant long before.) 4. But that which since 
urged me to this publication was, that the last sermon 
i/diich I preached publicly was at Blackfriars, on this 
text. Col. ii. 6, 7 } and presently after, there came forth 
a book called Farewell Sermons, among which this of 
mine was one. Who did it, or to what end I know 

baxtxb's prbfacb* xxiii 

noty nor dolfa it concern me to inquire ; but I took it 
as an injury, both as it was done without my knowledge 
and against my will, and to the offence of my superiors ; 
and because it was taken by the notary so imperfectly, 
that much of it was nonsense ; especially when some 
fineigners that lived in Poland, Hungary, and Hel- 
vetia, were earnest to buy this with the rest of my 
wiitingB, I perceived how far the injury was like to go, 
both against me and many others of my brethren. 
Therefore finding since, among the relics of my scat- 
tered papers, this imperfect piece which I had before 
wiitten on that text, I was desirous to publish it, as for 
the heme&L of weak Christians, so to right myself^ and 
to cashier that farewell sermon. 

If the reader will but peruse these directions impar- 
tiaUy, and read them as he doth the prescripts of his 
pfayiiciani, which are not written merely to be read, 
but must be daily practised, whatever it cost him, as he 
loreth his life ; then I make no doubt, notwithstanding 
the weakness of the composure, but it may further the 
cure of his spiritual weaknesses and distempers, and of 
the consequent troubles and losses of others and himself. 
I bope I shall not meet with many, besides malignant 
hypocrites^ who will be so impenitent and peevish, as to 
fly in the &ce of the reprover and director, and say 
thftt I open the nakedness of many servants of Christ, 
to the reproach and dishonour of religion. I have told 
yon from the word of God, that it is God's way, and 
mgoat be oursi to lay the just dishonour upon the sinner, 
that it may not fidl upon religion and on God: and 
that the ddending or excusing odious sins, in tenderness 
of the persons who committed them, is the surest and 
woFSt way to bring dishonour (first or last) both upon 
rdi|^ and on them. A Noah, a Lot, a David, a 

xxiv Baxter's prefacb. 

Solomon t a Peter, Sec, shall be dishonoured by God in 
holy record to all ages, that God may not be more dis- 
honoured by them ; and the truly penitent are willing 
that it should be so, and account their honour a very 
cheap sacrifice to offer up to the honour of religion, 
which they have wronged. And till you come to this, 
you come short of true repentance. He that defendeth 
his open sin (unless he could deny the fact) doth as 
bad as say " God liketh it ; Christ bid me do it ; the 
IScripture is for it, or not against it ; religion taught it 
me, or doth not forbid it me ; the godly allow it, and 
will do the like." And what can be said more blasphe- 
mously against God, or more injuriously against religion, 
the Scriptures, and the saints ? But he that confesseth 
his sin, doth as good as say, " Lay all the blame on me 
who do deserve it ; and not on God, on Christ, on 
Scripture, on religion, or on the servants of God : for I 
learned it not from any of them, nor was encouraged 
to it by them — ^none are greater enemies to it than 
they ; if I had hearkened to them, I had done other- 
wise." It is one of the chief reasons why repentance is 
so necessary, because it justifieth God and godliness. 

And, alas ! it is too late to talk of concealing those 
weaknesses and crimes of Christians, which are so 
visible before all the world ; which have had such 
public effects upon churches, kingdoms, and states ; 
which have kept almost all the christian churches in a 
torn and bleeding woful state, for so many hundred 
years, to this present day; which have separated the 
diurches of the east and west, and defiled both, and 
have drawn so much blood in christian countries, and 
keep us yet like distracted persons, gazing strangely at 
our nearest friends, and running away, by peevish sepa- 
ration, from our brethren, with whom we must live in 

Baxter's prkfacb^ zx? 

haaTcii ; and mirtakingly uiiiig those ts enemies, with 
idiom (if ne are Christiaiis, as we pcofiMs) we are united 
in the same Head« and by the same S]nrit, which is a 
Spoot of k>Ye. In a word, when om: £iults are so oon- 
s^eooQS as to harden the infidels, heathens, and un- 
godly, and to hinder ihe conversion of the world ; and 
when they sound so loud in the mouths of our common 
leproadiing enemies ; and when they have contracted so 
nmch malignity as to refuse a cure, by such wars, divi- 
maoM, church desolations, plagues, and flames as we 
haTO seen ; it is then too late to say to the preachers of 
rq^entance, '' Be silent, lest you open the nakedness of 
Christians, and disgrace religion and the church." We 
BHiat not be silent, lest we disgrace religion and the 
dinrch to save the credit of the sinners. 

Whoever readeth the holy Scriptures, and ever under- 
stood the christian fidth, must needs know that nothing 
in all the world is so much against every one of our 
emnrs and misdoings. It is only for want of more 
religion, that any professors of religion do miscarry: 
nothing but the doctrine of Christianity and godliness 
did at first destroy the reign of their sin ; and nothing 
else can subdue the rest, and finish the cure. It is no 
disgrace to life that so many men's lives are burdensome 
with sii^kness, which the dead are not troubled with ; 
Qor JB it any disgrace to learning, that scholars (for 
want ef more learning) have troubled the world with 
their contentious disputes; nor is it any disgrace to 
raas<m, that men's di£Eerent reasons (for want of more 
leaaon) doth set the world together by the ears. We 
can never magnify you enough as you are Christians 
and godly, unless we should ascribe more to you than 
your bounteous Lord hath given you, who hath made 
you little lower than angels, and crowned you with 


xxvi Baxter's preface. 

glory and honour, (Psal. viii. 5, 6.) But your sins are 
so much the more odious, as they are brought so near 
the holy presence, and as they are aggravated by 
greater mercies and professions : and God is so far from 
being reconciled, or reconcilable, to any one of them, 
that though he see not such iniquity in Jacob, as is in 
heathens and the ungodly, (because it is not in them to 
be seen,) yet he seeth more aggravated iniquity in such 
sins as you do commit, in many respects, than in the 
heathens* And that which is our common tsrouble is, 
that you hurt not yourselves alone by your iniquities ; 
families are hurt by them ; neighbours are hurt by 
them ; churches are distracted by them ; kingdoms are 
afflicted by them ; and thousands of blind sinners are 
hardened and everlastingly undone by them. The 
ignorant husband saith, *' I will never follow sermons nor 
Scriptures, nor be so religious, while I see my wife that 
maketh so much ado with religion, to be as peevish, and 
discontented, and foul-tongued, and imkind, and con- 
temptuous, and disobedient, as those that have no reli- 
gion." The master that is profane saith, " I like not 
your religion, when that servant which most professeth 
religion in my house, is as lazy and negligent, and as 
surly and saucy, and as ready to dishonour me and 
answer again, and as proud of his little knowledge, as 
those that have no religion at all." The like I might 
say of all other relations. All the dishonour that this 
casteth upon grace is, that you have too little of it ; and 
it is so weak in you, that its victory over your flesh and 
passions is lamentably imperfect. A servant hearing a 
high commendation of a gentleman, (that he was of 
extraordinary wisdom, and godliness, and bounty, and 
patience, and afi&bility, and what not,) did think with 
himself, how happy a man were I, if I could but dwell 


in this man's house, which at last he procured, but ere 
bng went away. His friend meetiiig him, asked him 
how he came so quickly to forsake his happiness I Did 
not hia master prove as was reported ? He answered, 
" Yes, and better than report could moke him, or I could 
snr have believed ; but though my master was so good, 
my miatress was so unreasonable, and clamorous, and 
eruel, that she would beat us, and pull us by the hair, 
■ad throw scalding water upon us, and there was no 
Imng with her." So faith, I hope, is the master in 
your hearts ; and that is as good as can be well be- 
lieved : but the flesh is mistress, which should be bnt 
a servant ; and that maketh such troublesome work 
with some of you, that some quiet natured infidels are 
leas vexatious companions than you. Nay, and I won- 
der if you can be very confident of your own sincerity, 
as long as such fleshly vices and headstrong passions 
do keep up the power of a mistress in you. I wonder 
if you do Dot fear, test (as a woman said, I will call my 
husband lord with Sarah, if I may have my will fulfilled, 
Bo) grace and faith should have no more than the re- 
gent titles, while your flesh hath so much of its will fiil- 
iilled. I know too many cheat themselves into comfort 
with the false opinion, that because they have a party in 
them that striveth against their sins, it is a certain sign 
that they have the Spirit and are sanctified, though the 
flesh even in the main doth get the victory ; and I 
know that many have sincerity indeed, who yet have 
many a foil by boisterous passions and fleshly inclina- 
tions ; but I am sure till yon know which party is pre- 
dominant, and truly beareth the governing sway, you 
can never know whether you are sincere. As once a 
servant, when his master and mistress were fighting, an- 
swered one at the door, who desired to speak with thu 



xxviii Baxter's preface. 

master of the houde, ** You must stay till I see who 
gets the better before I can tell you who is master of 
the house ;'* so truly I fear the conflict is so hard with 
many Christians, between the Spirit and the flesh, and 
holdeth so long in a doubtful state, and sense and pas- 
sion, and unbelief and pride, and worldliness and self- 
ishnessj prevail so much, that they may stay themselves 
a great while before they can be well resolved which is 
master. For (to prosecute my similitude) in innocent 
man, spiritual reason was absolutely master, and fleshly 
sense was an obsequious servant, (though yet it had a& 
appetite which needed government and restraint). In 
wicked men, the fleshly sense and appetite is master, and 
reason is a servant ; though reason and the motions of 
the Spirit may make some resistance. In strong Chris- 
tians, spiritual reason is master, and the fleshly sense 
tmd appetite is a servant, but a boisterous and rebellious 
servant, tamed according to the degrees of grace and 
spiritual victory ; like a horse that is broken and well 
ridden, but oft needeth the spur, and oft the reins ; 
so that a Paul may cry out, " O wretched man," &c. In 
a weak Christian the Spirit is master, but the flesh is 
mistress, and is not kept in the servitude which it was 
made for, as it ought ; and therefore his life is blem- 
ished with scandals, and his soul with many foul corrup- 
tions ; he is a trouble to himself and others. The good 
which he doth is done with much' reluctancy and weak- 
ness; and the evil which he forbear^th is oftentimes 
very hardly forborne. His flesh hath so much power left, 
that he is usually uncertain of his own sincerity, and 
yet too patient both with his sin and his uncertainty ; 
and he is many times a greater troubler 6f the church 
than many moderate unbelievers. The hypocrite, or 
almost Christian, hath the flesh for his master, as other 

Baxter's preface. xxix 

wicked men ; but reason, and the commoner grace of the 
Spirit, may be as mistress with him, and may have so 
much power and respect above a state of utter servitude, 
as may delude him into a confident conceit that grace 
hath the victory, and that he is truly spiritual, when 
yet the supremacy is exercised by the flesh. ** He that 
hath an ear to hear, let him hear : To him that over- 
cometh will I give to eat of the tree of life.*' " He 
shall not be hurt of the second death.'* " He shall eat 
of the hidden manna." " He shall have power over the 
nations. I will give him the morning star." " I will 
confess him before my Father and the angels." '' He 
shall be a pillar in the temple of God, and go out no 
more: I will grant to him to sit with me in my 
throne."— Rev. ii. 7, 11, 17, 26, 28; and iii. 5, 12, 21. 



R BADE as, 

It is a. matter of greater moment than I can express, 
what idea or image of the nature of godliness and Chris- 
tianltf is imprinted upon men's minds. The description 
which is eKpressed in the sacied Scriptures is true and 
full ; the thing described is rational, pure, perfect, un- 
blamnhle and amiable : that which is expressed in the 
lives of the most is nothing so, but is purblind, defiled, 
maimed, imperfect, culpable, and mixed with so much of 
the contrary quality, that to them who cannot distinguish 
the chaff from the wheat, the sickness from the life, it 
seemeth an unreasonable, fanciful, loathsome, and vexa- 
tious thing ; and bo far from being worthy to be pre- 
(erred before all the riches, honours, and pleasures of the 
world, it seemeth worthy to be kept under as a troubler 
of kingdoms, societies, and souls. And doubtless this 
monHtrons expression of it in men's lives, is because the 
perfect expression of it in God's word, hath not made a 
true impression upon the mind, and consequently upon 
the heart : for as it is sound doctrine which must make 
sound Christians, so doctrine worketh on the will and 
affections, not as it is in itself and as delivered, hut as it 
is understood, believed, remembered, considered; even as 
it is imprinted on the mind, and used by it. And as in- 
terposed matter, or defective application, may cause the 
image on the wax to be imperfect, though made by the 


most perfect seal, so is it in this case : when one man 
doth defectively understand the scripture description of 
of a godly man, or Christian ; and another hy misunder- 
standing, mixeth false conceptions of his own ; and 
another by a corrupt depraved will doth hinder the un- 
derstanding from believing, or remembering, or consi- 
dering and using what it partly apprehendeth ; what 
wonder if the godliness and Christianity in their hearts 
be unlike the godliness and Christianity in the Scrip- 
tures? When the law of God in nature and Scripture is 
pure and uncorrupt, and the law of God written imper- 
fectly on the heart is there mixed with the carnal law 
in their members, no marvel if it be expressed accord- 
ingly in their lives. 

I have therefore much endeavoured, in all my writings, 
and especially in this, to draw out the full portraiture of 
a christian or godly man indeed, and to describe God's 
image on the soul of man, in such a manner as tendeth 
to the just information of the reader's mind, and the 
filling up of the wants, and rectifying the errors which 
may be found in his former conceptions of it ; and I do 
purposely inculcate the same things oft, in several writ- 
ings, (as when I preached I did in all my sermons,) that 
the reader may find that I bring him not undigested, 
needless novelties, and that the frequent repetition of 
them may help to make the deeper and fuller impres- 
sion ; for my work is to subserve the Holy Ghost, in 
putting God's law into men's hearts, and writing it out 
truly, clearly, and fully, upon their inward parts, that 
they may be made such themselves, by understanding 
thoroughly what they must be, and what a solid Chris- 
tian is, and that thus they may be bom again by the 
incorruptible, immortal seed, the word of God which will 
live and abide for ever ; and may purify their souls in 


obe3ring the tmtfa through the Spirit He is the best 
lawyer, pbysiciui, soldier, &c. who hath his doctrine in 
his brain, and not only in his books, and hath digested 
his reading into an intellectual system and habit of 
knowledge. If ministers had an hundred times over 
repeated the integral portraiture or character of a sound 
Christian, till it had been as fiimiliar to the minds and 
memories of their hearers as is the description of a ma- 
gistrate, a physician, a schoolmaster, a husbandman, a 
shepherd, and such things as they are well acquainted 
with, it would have been a powerful means to make 
sound Christians ; but when men's minds conceive of a 
Christian, as a man that differeth from heathens and infi- 
dels in nothing, but holding the christian opinions, and 
using different words and ceremonies of worship, and 
such like, no wonder if such be but opinionative lifeless 
Christians ; and if their religion make them no better 
than a Seneca or Plutarch, I shall never believe that 
they are any surer to be saved than they. And such a 
sort of men there are that suppose Christianity to consist 
but of these three parts : 1. The christian doctrine 
acknowledged, which they call faith ; 2. The orders 
and ordinances of the christian church and worship, 
submitted to, and decently urged, which they call godli- 
ness ; and, 3. The heart and life of a Cato, Cicero, or 
Socrates adjoined. But all that goeth beyond this, 
which is the life of Christianity and godliness, a lively 
faith, and hope, and love, a heavenly and holy mind and 
life, from the renewing indwelling Spirit of God, which is 
described in this treatise, they are strangers to it, and 
take it to be but fancy and hypocrisy. These no- 
Christians do much to reduce the church to infidelity, 
that there may be indeed no Christians in the world ; 
for my part I must confess, if there were no better 


Christians in the world than these, I think I should be 
no Christian myself; and if Christ made men no better 
than the religion of Socrates, Cato, or Seneca, and did 
no more to the reparation and perfecting of men's hearts 
and lives, I should think no better of the christian reli- 
gion than of theirs ; for the means is to be estimated by 
the end and use, and that's the best physician that hath 
the remedies which are fittest to work the cure. If God 
had not acquainted me with a sort of men that have 
really more holiness, mortification, spirituality, love to 
Gbd, and to one another, and even to enemies, and more 
heavenly desires, expectations, and delights, than these 
men before described have, it would have been a very 
great hinderance to my £»ith. 




€%t ^<tft 9«rt. 






As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the 
JLardf so ftalk ye in him : rooted and built up 
in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have 
been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiv- 
ing. — Col. ii. 6, 7, 

The Apostle Paul spoke with a father's affection 
of those, ^amongst whom he went preaching the 
kingdom of God.* He anxiously watched over them 
as his children, desiring to build them up in the 
faith of Christ. Sometimes he rejoiced with them 
in their stead&stness ; sometimes he mourned over 
their divisions. He abounded towards them in 
reproof, exhortation, and encouragement, as to- 
wards his Mear children.' He warned them to 
take heed, lest he shoidd have ^ laboured for them 


in vain/ and they should have ' run in vain ;' lest 
they should be ' fallen from grace, and Christ 
should profit them nothing.' We find him, as 
one that is yet between hope and fear of them, 
directing and exhorting them to spiritual steadfast- 
ness, and growth, and perseverance to the end ; 
and this is the work which we here find him upon 
with the Colossians in this text, which containeth, 
1. A supposition of a work (the great work) already 
done, viz. that * they have received Christ Jesus 
the Lord.' 2. An inference of further duty, and 
exhortation thereto, which, in sum, is their con- 
firmation and progress. The parts of this duty 
are expressed in several metaphors. The first is 
taken from a tree or other plant, and is called our 
* rooting in Christ.' After the receiving of Christ, 
there is a further rootedness in him to be sought. 
The second is taken from a building, and is called 
a ^ being built up in him,' as a house is upon the 
foundation. All the work is not done when the 
chief comer-stone and foundation is laid.. The 
third part is taken from those pillars and stronger 
parts of the building which are firm upon the 
foundation, and is called a being ^ stablished or 
confirmed in the faith.' And having made mention 
of faith, lest they should hearken to innovations 
and the conceits of men under the pretence of fidth, 
he addeth, * as ye have been taught,' to shew them 
what faith or religion it is that they must be esta- 
blished in, even that which by the apostles they 
had been taught. And lastly, he expresseth the 
measure that they should aim at, and one special 


way in which their faith should be exercised, 
' abounding therein in thanksgiving.' It is of 
little importance whether we take the relative to 
refer to Christ, and read it with the Vulgate, 
* abounding in him with thanksgiving ;' or, as the 
Ethiopic, * abound with thanksgiving to him;* or 
whether we take it as relating to thanksgiving it- 
self, as the Arabic translator, and some Greek 
copies have it, * abounding in thanksgiving,' or 
^ abounding in such thanks^ving ;' or, as the ordi- 
nary Greek copies and the Syriac translator, re- 
ferring it to faith, ^ abounding in it, (that is, in that 
&ith,) with thanksgiving.' For in the upshot it 
comes to the same, ^ to abound in Christ,' and * to 
abound in &ith in Christ,' and ^to abound in a 
believing thanksgiving to Christ.' And all this is 
comprehended in one foregoing general of * walk- 
ing in Christ,' the whole life of a Christian being 
divided into these two parts, — ^receiving Christ, and 
walking in him. 

Here are these several terms, therefore, briefly 
to be opened. 1. What is meant by * receiving 
Christ Jesus the Lord.' 2. What is meant by 
walking in him. 3. What by being rooted in him. 
4. What by being built up in him. 5. What by 
being confirmed or stablished in the faith. 6. What 
by this directive limitation, *as ye have been taught.' 
7. What by abounding therein with thanksgiving. 
And, for the first, you must observe the act and 
the object: the act is, * receiving;' the object is, 
* Christ J^esus the Lord.' To receive Christ, is not 
only (as some aimotators mistake it) to receive his 



doctrine, — though it is certain that his doctrine must 
be received, and that the rest is implied in this, — 
but when the understanding receiveth'the gospel 
by assent, the will also accepteth or receiveth 
Christ as he is ofiered, by consent: and both these 
together are the receiving of Christ; that is, the 
true justifying faith of God's elect. It is not, there- 
fore, a physical passive reception, as wood receiveth 
the fire, and as our souls receive the graces of the 
Spirit; but it is a moral reception, or reputative, 
which is active or metaphorical. This will be 
better understood when the object is considered, 
which is, 'Christ Jesus the Lord.' To receive 
Christ as Christ, or the anointed Messias, and as 
the Saviour and our Lord, is to believe that he is 
such, and to consent that he be such to us, and to 
trust in him, and resign ourselves to him as such. 
The relation we do indeed receive by a proper 
passive reception; I mean, our relation of being 
the redeemed members, subjects, disciples of this 
Christ. But the person of Christ we only receive 
by such an active, moral, reputative reception, as 
a servant by consent receives a master, a patient 
by consent receives a physician. So that it is the 
same thing that is called ^ receiving Jesus the 
Lord,* and * believing in him,' as it is expounded, 
John i. 12, 

There are three great observable acts of faith 
essential to it: — the first is, assent to the truth of 
the gospel; the second is, consent or acceptance 
of Christ and life as the offered good ; the third is, 
affiance in Christ for the accomplishing of th^ ends 


of his office. Now the word faith doth most pro- 
perly express the first act aad the last; and the 
word 'receiving* doth most properly express the 
middlemost: but whichever term is used, when 
justifying ^th is spoken of, all these are intended 
or included. By what hath been said you may 
discern whether you have received Christ or not ; 
for your £uth may be known by these acts, which 
are its parts: 1. If you sincerely believe the gos- 
pel to be true; which must be with a belief so 
strong at least as that you are resolved to venture 
your happiness upon this belief, and let go all for 
the hope that is set before you. 2. If an ofiered 
Christ, in his relation, as a full and perfect Saviour, 
be heartily welcome to you. If you consent to 
the gospel ofier, and are but truly willing to be 
his, and that he be yours in that relation. Faith 
is not only called a receiving of Christ, but is often 
expressed by this term of 'willing' him. And 
therefore the promise is to 'whosoever will;' and 
the wicked are denied a part in Christ, because they 
'will not have him reign over them ;' and 'will not 
come to him that they may have life,' even because 
they ' would none of him,' which is because they 
are not true believers or disciples of Christ. 3. If 
you thus by consent take Christ for your Saviour, 
teacher, and Lord, it must needs follow, that you 
fiducially rely upon him, or trust him to accom- 
plidi the ends of his relations : that you trust to 
him for deliverance from the guilt, and power, and 
punishment of sin, and for quickening, strengthen- 
ing and preserving grace, and for everlasting life ; 


that you resign yourselves up to him as his dis- 
ciples, to leam of him with a confidence or trust 
that he will infallibly teach you the way to happi- 
ness ; and that you also give up yourselves to him 
as his subjects^ with a trust that he will govern you 
in truth and righteousness, in order to your salva- 
tion, and will defend you firom destroying enemies. 
This muph is of the very being of faith, or * the 
receiving Christ Jesus the Lord.' And these parts 
ai^e inseparable ; he that hath one in truth hath all. 
Whenever we find in Scripture, the promise of 
justification or salvation made to us, if we beUeve, 
it is this believing, and none but this, that is in- 
tended. It is not only believing in Christ as a 
sacrifice or priest, that is the faith which justifieth, 
and believing in him as a teacher, or Lord, that 
sanctifieth ; the effects are not thus parcelled out to 
several essential parts of this same faith, but it 
is this one entire faith in all these essential parts 
that is the undivided condition of all these benefits; 
and in that way of a condition of the firee promise 
it doth procure them. So much for the meaning 
of the first words, * receiving Christ Jesus the 
Lord.' I will be briefer about the next. 

The second is * walking in him,' which is the 
living as Christians, when once we are become 
Christians; and using that Christ to the ends which 
we received him for, when once we have received 
him. Two things are necessary to such as we that 
have lost our way : the first is to get into the right 
way (and that is, to get into Christ, who is the way); 
the other is to travel on, when we are in it; for 


it is not enough to bring us to our journey*s end, 
that we have found out the right way. 

The next word to be explained is * rooted/ 
which doth not intimate that any are really planted 
into Christ, without any rooting in him at all ; but 
by * rooted * is meant ^ deeply rooted : for the 
roots increase under ground as well as the tree 
above ground. Rooting hath two uses, and both 
are here impUed. The first is for the firmness of 
the tree, that blustering winds may not overturn it ; 
the second is for nutriment, that it may receive that 
nourishment from the earth which may cause ite 
preservation, growth, and fruitfulness. This is the 
rootedness of Christians in Christ, that they may 
be confirmed in him against all assaults, and may 
draw from him that nutriment which is necessary to 
their growth and firuit 

The next term is * built up in him.* No house 
consisteth of a bare foundation. Five things are 
expressly contained in our being ^ built up in him.* 
The first is, that we are united, or conjoined to 
him, as the building is on the foundation. The 
second is, that we rest wholly on him as our 
support, as the building doth on the foundation. 
The third is, that we are also conjoined one unto 
another-, and are become one spiritual building in 
the Lord. The fourth is, that the fabric doth 
increase in bigness, as the house doth, by being 
built up ; so that it importeth our increase in grace, 
and the increase of the church by us. The fifth is, 
the fitness of the building to its intended ends and 
use. Till it be built up, it is not fit for habitation ; 


and till Christians are built up, God hath not 
that use of them for which he doth intend 

The next term is, * stablished or confirmed in 
the faith/ which signifieth but that strengthening 
and fixing of us that may prevent our fall or 
shaking; and it compriseth these two things: 
first, that we be soundly bottomed on Christ, 
who is our foundation; and, secondly, that we 
be cemented and firmly joined to each other. And 
this comprehendeth their stability in the doctrine 
of faith ; and therefore he addeth, * as ye have 
been taught,' to fortify them against heresies, 
which, indeed, are all but novelties; that so they 
may know how to try the doctrines that afterward 
should be offered them, and stick fast to that which 
the apostles taught. 

He next requireth them to * abound therein,' to 
let them know, that as it is no small blessing which 
they expect by Christ, so they should not rest in 
small degrees of grace or duty; but' especially the 
duty of * thanksgiving,' which is an evangelical 
and celestial duty, and so admirably beseems a 
people that have partaken of such admirable salva- 
tion, and is so suitable to our mercies and our 
condition, and God's just expectation. As it is 
love and grace whose eternal praise is designed 
by the gospel, and are magnified in the church by 
the Redeemer's great and blessed work ; so it is 
returns of love, and praise, and joy, that should 
be the most abounding or overflowing part of all 
our christian aflections and performances. After 


this explication, you may see that the sense of the 
text lieth plain in this proposition. 

Doct, * Those that have savingly received Christ 
Jesus the Lord, must be so far from resting here, 
as if all were done, that they must spend the rest 
of their days in walking in him, being rooted and 
built up in him, and stablished in the &ith as the 
apostles taught it, and abounding in it, especially 
with joyftd praises to our Redeemer.' 

And because that my design is only to direct 
young Christians how they may come to be esta- 
blished and confirmed in Christ, I shall therefore 
pass over all other things that the full handling of 
this text requireth, and shall only give you, 1. A 
short intimation here what this confirmation and 
stability is (which shall be more fully opened to 
you in the directions). 2. And shew you the need 
of seeking it And, 3. How you may attain it. 

1. This confirmation is the habitual strength of 
grace; distinct firom present actual confirmation 
by the influence of grace from God : for though 
God may in an instant confirm a weak person, 
against some particular temptation, by his free 
assistance, yet that is not it which we have here to 
sp6ak of, but habitual confirmation in a state of 
grace : and, ordinarily, we may expect that God's 
cooperating assisting grace should bear some pro- 
portion with our habitual grace ; even as in nature 
he concurreth with the strongest men to do greater 
works than he causeth the weak to do ; and with 
the wisest men to understand more than the foolish 
do : I say but that ordinarily it is thus. 



A confirmed Christian, as contrary to a weak 
one, 1. Is not to be judged of by his freedom 
firom all scruples, doubts, or fears. 2, Nor by his 
eminency in men's esteem or observation. 3. Nor 
by his strength of memory. 4. Or fi*eedom of 
utterance in praying, preaching, or discourse. 
5. Or by his seemly deportment and courtesy 
towards others. 6. Nor by his sedate, calm, and 
lovely temper, and freedom firom haste and heats, 
which other tempers are more prone to. 7. Nor 
by a man-pleasing or dissembling faculty, to bridle 
the tongue when it would open the corruption of 
the mind, and to suppress all words which would 
make others know how bad the heart is. Thece 
are many endowments, laudable and desirable, 
which will not shew so much as sincerity in grace ; 
knd much less a state of confirmation and stability. 

But confirmation lieth in the great degree of all 
those graces which constitute a Christian. And 
the great degree appeareth in the operations of 
them. As, 1. When holiness is as a new nature 
in us, and ^veth us a promptitude to holy actions, 
and maketh us firee and ready to them, and maketh 
them easy and familiar to us : whereas the weak go 
heavily, and can scarce drive on and force their 
minds. 2. When there is a constancy or firequeney 
of holy actions, which sheweth the strength and 
stability of holy inclinations. 3. When they are 
powerfiil to bear down oppositions and temptations, 
and can get over the greatest impediments in the 
way, and make an advantage of all resistance, and 
despise the most splendid baits of sin. 4. When 


it is still getting groiindy and drawing the soul 
upward and nearer to God, its rest and end. And 
when the heart groweth more heavenly and divine, 
and stranger to earth and earthly things. 5. And 
when holy and heavenly things are more sweet 
and delectable to the soul, and are sought and used 
with more love and pleasure. All these do shew 
that the operations of grace are vigorous and 
strong; and, consequently, that the habits are so 

And this confirmation should be found, 1. In 
the understanding. 2. In the will. 3. In the 
afiections. 4. In the life. 

L When the mind of man hath a larger compre* 
hension of the truths of God, and the order and 
method and usefulness of every truth; and a 
deeper apprehension of the certainty of them, and 
of die goodness of the matter expressed in them ; 
when knowledge and faith come nearest unto sight 
or intention, and we have the fullest, the truest, and 
the firmest, and most certain apprehension of things 
revealed and unseen; when the nature, and the 
reasons, and the ends and benefits of the Christian 
religion, are all most clearly, orderly, constantly, 
and powerfully printed on the mind, — then is that 
mind in a confirmed state. 

2. When the will is guided by such a confirmed 
understanding, and is not brutishly resolved, he 
knoweth not for what or why; — ^when light hath 
fixed it in such resolutions as are past all notable 
doubtings, deliberations, waverings, or unwilling 
backwardness ; and a man is, in seeking God and 


his salvation^ and avoiding known sin, as a natural 
man is about the questions, whether he should pre- 
serve his life, and make provision for it; and 
whether he should poison, or famish, or torment 
himself; — when the inclination of the will to God, 
and heaven, and holiness, are likest to its natural 
inclination to good as good, and to its own felicity ; 
and its action is so free as to have least indeter- 
mination, and to be likest to natural necessary acts, 
as those are of blessed spirits in heaven ; — when 
the least intimation from God prevaileth, and the 
will doth answer him with readiness and delight ; 
and when it taketh pleasure to trample upon all 
opposition; and when all that can be offered to 
corrupt the heart, and draw it to sin, and loosen 
it from God, prevaileth but as so much filth and 
dung would do, (Phil. iii. 7 — 9,) — this is a con- 
firmed state of will. 

3. When the affections do proceed from such 
a will, and are ready to assist, excite, and serve it, 
and to carry us on in necessary duties ; — when the 
lower affections of fear and sorrow do cleanse, and 
restrain, and prepare the way; and the higher 
affections of love and delight adhere to God, and 
desire and hope do make out after him, and set the 
soul on just endeavours ; — when fear and grief have 
less to do, and are delivering up the heart still more 
and. more to the possession of holy delight and 
love; — and when those affections, which are rather 
profound than very sensible, immediately towards 
God himself, are sensible towards his word, his 
servants, his graces and his ways, and against all 


sin; — then are the affections, and so the man, in a 
confirmed state. 

4. When ourselves, our time, and all that we 
have, are taken to be God's, and not our own, and 
are entirely and unreservedly resigned to him, and 
used for him; — ^when we study our duty, and trust 
him for our reward; — when we live as those that 
have much more to do for heaven than for earth; 
and with God, than with man or any creature; — 
when our consciences are absolutely subjected to 
the authority and laws of God, and bow not to 
competitors; — when we are habitually disposed, 
as his servants, to be constantly employed in his 
works, and make it our calling and business in the 
world ; as judging that we have nothing to do on 
earth, but with God, or for God; — ^when we keep 
not up any secret desires and hopes of a worldly 
feUcity; nor purvey for the pleasure of the flesh, 
under the cloak of faith and piety, but subdue the 
flesh as our most dangerous enemy, and can easily 
deny its appetite and concupiscence; — when we 
guard all our senses, and keep our passions, 
thoughts, and tongues, in obedience to the holy 
law; — ^when we do not inordinately set up ourselves 
in our esteem or desire, above or against our neigh- 
bour and his welfare, but love him as ourselves, and 
seek his good, and resist his hurt as heartily as 
our own; and love the godly with a love of com- 
placence, and the ungodly with a love of benevo- 
lence, though they be our enemies; — when we are 
feithftd in all our relations, and have judgment to 
discern our duty, that we nm not into extremes; 


and skilly and readiness, and pleasure in performing 
it, and patience under all our sufferings, — this is the 
life of a confirmed Christian (in various degrees, as 
their strength is various). 

And now I shall proceed to persuade such to 
value and seek this confirmation, lest with dull 
unprepared minds my following directions should 
be lost; and then I shall give you the directions 
themselviss, which are the part that is principally 
intended. And first for the motives. 

1. Consider that your first entrance into Chris- 
tianity is an engagement to proceed: your receiving 
Christ obligeth you to walk and grow up in him. 
A fourfold obligation your very Christianity layeth 
upon you, to grow stronger, and to persevere. 

(1.) The first is, firom the very nature of it; even 
firom the ofiice of Christ, and the use and ends 
to which we do receive him. You receive Christ 
as a physician of your diseased souls; and doth 
not this engage you to go on to use his medicines 
till you are cured? What do men choose a phy- 
sician for, but to heal them? It were but a foolish 
patient that would say, ^Though my disease be 
deadly, yet now I have chosen the best physician, 
I have no more to do; I doubt not of recovery.' 
You took Christ for a Saviour, which engageth 
you to use his saving means, and submit to his 
saving works. You took him for your teacher and 
master, and gave up yourselves to be his disciples: 
and what sense was in all this, if you did not mean 
to proceed in learning of him? It is a silly conceit 


for any man to think that he is a good scholar, 
merely because he hath chosen a good master or 
tutor, without any further learning of him. When 
Christ sent out his apostles, it was for these two 
works: — first to disciple nations and baptize them; 
and then to go on in teaching them to observe all 
things whatsoever he commandeth them. Christ is 
the way to the Father; but to what purpose did you 
come into this way, if you meant not to travel on 

(2.) Moreover, when you became Christians, you 
entered into a solemn covenant with Christ, and 
bound yourselves, by a vow, to be fiuthfiil to him to 
the death; and this vow is upon you. It is better 
not*to vow, than to vow and not perform. In taking 
hkn to be the Captain of your salvation, and Ustii^ 
yourselves under him, and taking this oath of 
fidelity to him, you did engage yourselves to fight 
as fisdthfiil soldiers, under his conduct and com- 
mand, to your lives' end. And as it is a fooUsh 
soldier that thinks that he hath no more to do 
but Ust himself and take colours, and need not 
fight; so it is a foolish and ungodly covenanter 
that thinks he hath nothing to do but to promise, 
and may be excused from performance, because 
that promising was enough ; when the promise w&s 
purposely to bmd him to perform. 

(3.) Moreover, when you became Christians, you 
put yourselves under the laws of Christ : and these 
laws require you to go further, till you are con- 
firmed; so that you must go on, or renounce your 
obedience to Christ. 


(4.) Lastly, when you became Christians, you 
received such exceeding mercies, as do oblige you 
to go much higher in your affections, and much 
further in your obedience to God. A man that is 
newly snatched as from the jaws of hell, and hath 
received the free forgiveness of his sins, and is put 
into such a state of blessedness as we are, must 
needs feel abundance of obligations upon him to 
proceed to stronger resolutions and affections, and 
not to stop in those low beginnings. So that if 
you lay these four things together, you will per- 
ceive that the very purpose of your receiving Christ 
was that you might walk in him, and be confirmed 
and built up. 

2. Besides, your conversion is not sound, if you 
are not heartily desirous to increase. Grace is not 
true, if there be not a desire after more; yea, if 
you desire not perfection itself. An infant is not 
born to continue an infant, for that were to be 
a monster; but to grow up unto manhood. As the 
kingdom of Christ in the word is likened by him 
to a little leaven, and to a grain of mustard-seed 
in the beginning, which afterward makes a won- 
derful increase; so his kingdom in the soul is of 
the same nature too. If you are contented with 
that measure of holiness that you have, you have 
none at all, but a shadow and conceit of it. Let 
those men think of this that stint themselves in 
holiness, and plead for a moderation in it, as if it 
were intemperance or folly to love God, or fear 
^im, or seek him, or obey him, any more than they 
do; or as if we were in danger of excess in these. 


If ever these men had feelingly^ and by experience, 
known what holiness is, they would never have been 
possessed with such conceits as these. 

3. Consider what abundance of labour hath been 
lost, and what hopes have been frustrated, for want 
of proceeding to a rooted confirmation. I say not 
that such were truly sanctified ; but I say they were 
in a very hopeiiil way, and went far, and by gomg 
fiirther, might have attained to salvation. The 
heart of many a minister hath been glad to see their 
hearers humbled, and bewailing sin, and changing 
thdbr minds and lives, and becoming forward pro- 
fessors of godliness; when a few years* time hath 
turned all this joy into sorrow: and one of our 
hopefiil seeming converts doth grow cold, and lose 
his former forwardness ; another falls to desperate 
sensuality, and turns drunkard, or fornicator, or 
gamester; another turns worldling, and drowneth 
all his seeming zeal in the love of riches and the 
cares of this life ; and another (if not many to one) 
is deluded by some deceiver, and infected with 
some deadly errors, and casts ofi* duty, and sets 
himself, like a hired instrument of hell, to divide 
the church, oppose the gospel, and reproach and 
slander, and rail at the ministers and professors 
of it, and to weaken the hands of the builders, and 
strengthen the ungodly, and serve the secret ene- 
mies of the truth. Those that once comforted our 
hearts in the hopes of their conversion, do break 
our hearts by their apostasy and subversion, and 
becopae greater hinderances to the work of Christ, 
and^ greater plagues to the church of God, than 


those that never professed to be religious. Those 
that were wont to join with us in holy worship, 
and went up with us to the house of God as our 
companions, do afterwards despise both worshippers 
and worship. Whereas, if these men had been 
rooted and confirmed, you should never have seen 
them fall into this misery. O how many prayers, 
and confessions, and duties, do these men lose? 
How many years have some of them seemed to 
be religious, and after all have proved apostates ; 
and the world, and the flesh, and pride, and error, 
swallow up all. See then what need you have to 
be rooted, confirmed, and built up in Christ. 

4. Consider also, how much of the work of 
your salvation is yet to do when you are converted.^ 
You have happily begun, but you have not finished. 
You have hit off the right way, but you have your, 
journey yet to go ; you have chosen the best com- 
mander and fellow-soldiers ; but you have many a 
battle yet to fight. If you are Christians indeed, 
you know yourselves that you have many a cor- 
ruption to resist and conquer, and many a temp- 
' tation yet to overcome, and many a necessary work 
to do. And there is a necessity of these after- 
works as well as of the first. For these are the 
use and end of your conversion, that you may * live 
soberly, righteously, and godly in this present 
world, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts.' 
* For we are his workmanship, created in Christ 
Jesus for good works, which God hath ordained 
that we should walk in them.' And how can infants 
go through all these works ? Which of you would 


desire an infimt or cripple to be your servant? 
But though God be in this more merciful than many 
yet he may well expect that you should not be still 
infants. What work are you like to make him in 
this decrepit and weak condition ! O pitiful blind- 
ness ! that any man who knows that he hath a soul 
to save, should think an infant-strength propor- 
tionable to those works and difficulties that stand, 
between him and everlasting life ! In the matters 
of this life, you feel the need and worth of strength : 
you will not think an infant fit to plough or sow, 
or reap or mow, or travel or play the soldier ; and 
yet wiU you rest satisfied with an infant-strength, to 
do those great and matchless works which your 
salvation lieth on ? 

5. Moreover, the weak unconfirmed souls are 
usually full of trouble, and live without that assu- 
rance of God's love, and that spiritual peace and 
comfort, which others do possess. One would think 
no other arguments should be necessary to make men 
weary of their spiritual weaknesses and diseases 
than the pain and trouble that always attend them. 
It is more pain to a sick man to travel a mile, than 
to a sound man to go ten. To the lame or feeble, 
every step hath pain, and all that they do is 
grievous to them ; when far more would be a 
recreation to one that is in health. O, therefore 
delight not in your own languishings ! Choose not 
to live in pain and sorrow, but strive after confir<!> 
mation and growth in grace; that, overgrowing 
your infirmities, you may overcome your sad com- 
plaints and groans, and may be acquainted with 


the comfortable life of the confirmed. O, how 
roundly and cheerfiilly would you go through your 
work; how easy, and sweet, and profitable would 
it prove to you, if once you were strong, confirmed 
Christians ! Alas ! the souls of those that are not 
confirmed, lie open to every temptation of the 
malicious enemy of their peace ; and how smaU a 
matter will disquiet and unsettle them ! every pas- 
sage in Scripture which they understand not, and 
which seems to make against them, will disturb 
them. A minister cannot preach so plainly or so 
cautiously, but somewhat which they understand 
not will be matter of their disquiet. Providences 
will trouble them, because they understand them 
not. Afflictions will be bitter to the mind as well 
as to the body, and will immoderately perplex 
them, because they understand them not, or Lave 
^ot strength to bear them and improve them. Th6 
sweeter mercies of prosperity will much lose their 
.sweetness for want of holy wisdom and strength to 
digest them. And what man would choose such a 
weak and languishing state as this, before a con- 
firmed healthful state ? Will you run up and down 
for physic when you are sick? and will you no 
more regard the health and stability, and spiritual 
peace and vigour of your souls ? 

6. Unless you become a confirmed Christian, you 
have not even the true use and benefit of God's 
ordinances. Meat is digested by the healthful 
stomach, and its effects are seen upon them, and 
they are strengthened by it. And so is the con* 
firmed Christian by God's ordinances. But to the 


weak unconfirmed soul, how much of the means of 
grace is even as lost! How little sweetness do 
they find in means ; and how little good can they 
say they get by them ! I deny not but some good 
they get, and that they must use them still! for 
though the sick have little relish of his meat, yet be 
cannot long live without it; and though it breed 
'UOt strength or health, yet it maintaineth that lan- 
guishing life ; but this is all, or almost all. What 
a sad thing is this to yourselves, and unto us; 
when ministers that are as the nurses of the 
church, or stewards of the household, to give them 
all their meat in due season, must see that all that 
ever they can do for you, will do no more than 
keep you alive ! Yea, how often are you quarrelling 
with your food, and you do not like it; or you 
cannot get it down, something still ails it for matter 
or manner ; or else, if the minister displease you, 
your feeble stomachs do loathe the food, because 
you like not the cook that dressed it, or because 
his hands are not so clean as you desire! ^The 
full soul loatheth an honey-comb, but to the hun- 
gry every bitter thing is sweet' Or if you get it 
down, you can hardly keep it, but are ready to cast 
it up to our faces. And thus a great deal of our 
labour is lost with you; holy doctrine lost, and 
sacraments and other ordinances lost, because you 
have not strength to digest them. Labour, there- 
fore, to be established and built up. 

7. I beseech you look upon the face of the world, 
and see whether it have not need of the strongest 
helps ; whereas the weak and sick are burdensome 


to Others^ rather than fit to help the distressed. 
It is a multitude among us, and abroad in the 
world, that are ignorant, and ungodly, and in 
the depth of misery ; and if there be but a few 
to help them, those few should not be as babes. 
Abundance of this multitude are obstinate in their 
sin, blind and wilful, captivated by the devil, and 
have sold themselves to do evil: and shall such 
miserable souls as these have none but children or 
sick folks to help them? I tell you, sirs, their 
diseases prove too hard for the skilfullest physi- 
cians : it will put the wisest man in England to it, 
to persuade one obstinate enemy of godliness to 
the hearty love of a holy life, or to cure one old 
superstitious person of his self-conceitedness, or 
one covetous person of his love of the world, or <Mie 
old drunkard or glutton of his sensuality. How 
then will silly, ignorant Christians ^be able to per- 
suade them? I know it is not the ability of the 
instrument, but the will of God that is the principal 
cause ; but yet God useth to work by instruments 
according to their fitness for the work. What a 
case is that hospital in, where all are sick, and no 
healthfiil persons among them to help them! Poor 
weak Christians! you are not able much to help 
one another ; how much less to help the dead un 
godly world! Woe to the world if it had no better 
helpers! and woe to yourselves, if you had not 
the help of stronger than yourselves (seeing it is 
God's way to work by means). Alas! a child or 
sick person is so unfit to labour for the family, and 
to work for others, that they are the burdens of the 


family, and must be provided for by others. They 
are so mimeet to help others in their weakness, 
that they must be carried, or attended and waited 
on themselves. What a life is this, to be the bur- 
dens of the church, when you might be the pillars 
of the church ! to be so blind and lame, when you 
might be eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame ! 

I speak not this to extenuate God*s mercies to 
you; nor to undervalue the great felicity of the 
saints, even the poorest and weakest of them. I 
know that Christ is tender of the weakest that are 
sincere, and will not forsake them. But though 
you are so fiir above the dead world, even in the 
bed of your groaning and languishing, yet, O how 
fiur are you below the confirmed healthful Christian ! 
You are happy in being alive, but you are unhappy 
in being so diseased and weak. You are happy in 
being of the family, and fellow-citizens with the 
saints; but you are unhappy in being so useless 
and unprofitable, and burdensome. For, indeed, 
you live but as the poor of the parish ; not only on 
the alms of Christ, for so we do all, but on the alms 
of your brethren's assistance and support. And I 
know that in worldly matters you will rather 
labour with your hands, that you may have to give 
to them that need, than be troublesome to others, 
and live upon charity. I know that the time is not 
yet come, that there shall not be a beggar in 
Israel, I mean one that needs not our continual 
relief. The poor we shall have always with us. 
even the poor in grace, to exercise our charity; 
and I know* that the strong must bear Mrith their 


infirmitiesy and exercise compassion on them. But 
yet you should remember the words of Christ, * It 
is more honourable to give than to receive.* And 
therefore be persuaded to bestir yourselves for 
spiritual health, and strength, and riches, that the 
multitudes of needy miserable souls may have some 
help from you ; and that when they come to your 
doors, you may not turn them away with so cold 
an answer, * Alas ! we have nothing for ourselves.' 
Were you but strong confirmed Christians, what 
blessings might you be to all •« about you! what a 
stay to the places where you live! Your lips 
would feed many as a tree of life. The ear that 
heard you would bless you, and the eye that saw 
you would bear you witness. You would be to 
poor souls, as bountiful rich men are to their 
bodies, the support and relief of many that are 
needy. You would not eat your morsels alone, 
nor would you see any perish for lack of clothing, 
but the loins of the poor would bless you. O 
pity the poor world, that needeth more than chil- 
dren's help; and grow up unto confirmation. O 
pity the poor church, that abounds with weaklings, 
that is pestered with childish, self-conceited quar- 
rellers, and needeth more than children's help; 
and grow up to confirmation. O pity yourselves, 
and live not still in so childish, sickly, and beggarly 
a condition, when the way of riches and health is 
before you; but up and be doing, till you have 
attained confirmation. 

8. Yea, this is not all ; you do not only deny the 
church your assistance, but most of the troubles and 


divisions of the church are from such unsettled 
weaklings as you. In all ages^ almost^ these have 
made the church more work than the heathen per- 
secutors did with fire and sword. These novices, 
as Paul calleth them, that is, young beginners in 
religion, are they that most commonly are * pufied up 
with pride, and fall into the condemnation of the 
devil.' These are they that are easiest deceived by 
seducers, as being not able to make good the truth, 
nor to confute the plausible reasonings of the adver- 
saries : and withal th^y have not that rooted love 
to the truth and ways of God, which should hold 
them fiist; and they quickly yield, like cowardly 
soldiers that are able to make but small resistance. 
And as Paul speaks, they are * like children tossed 
to and fi^o, and carried about with every wind of 
doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning crafti- 
ness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.' If you 
will still continue children, what better can we 
expect of you, but thus to be tossed and carried 
about? Thus you gratify Satan and seducers when 
you little think of it; and thus you harden the 
ungodly in their way ; and thus you grieve the 
hearts of the godly, and especially of the faithful 
guides of the flocks. Alas ! that so many of the 
children of the church should become the scourges 
and troublers of the church, and should set their 
teeth so deep in the breasts that were drawn out for 
their nourishment ! If you were never drawn to do 
any thing to the reproach of the church, yet what a 
grief must it be to us, to see so many of yourselves 
miscarry ! 'Ah,' thinks a poor minister, ' what hopes 



had I once of these professors ! and are they come 
to this?' O marky Sirs^ the Apostle's warning, 
(Heb. xiii. 9,) * Be not carried about with divers 
and strange doctrines.' And his way of prevention 
is, ^ that the heart be established with grace.' 

9. Consider, also, that it is a dishonour to Christ 
that so many of his family should be such weaklings, 
so mutable, and unsettled, and unprofitable as you 
are. I do not mean that it is any real dishonour 
to him: for if all the world should forsake him, they 
would dishonour themselves, and not him, with any 
competent judge; as it would dishonour the be- 
holders more than the sun, if all the world should 
say that it is darkness. But you are guilty of dis- 
honouring him in the eyes of the misguided world: 
O, what a reproach it is to godliness that so many 
professors should be so ignorant and imprudent; 
and so many so giddy and inconstant; and so 
many that manifest so little of the glory of their 
holy profession ! All the enemies of Christ without 
the church, are not capable of dishonouring him 
so much as you that bear his name, and wear his 
livery. While your graces are weak, your corrup- 
tions will be strong : and all those corruptions will 
be the dishonour of your profession. Will it not 
break your hearts to he^ the ungodly pointing at 
you as you pass by, to say. Yonder goes a covetous 
professor ; or Yonder goes a proud, or a worldly, or 
a sensual^ or a contentious professor? If you have 
any love to God, and sense of his dishonour, me- 
thinks such sayings should touch you at the heart 
While you are weak and unconfirmed, you will, like 


childreny stumble at every stone, and catch many 
a fall, and yield to temptations which the stronger 
easily resist; and then you become a stumbling-block 
to others, since all your &ults by fooUsh men will be 
charged on your religion. If you do but speak an 
ill word of another, or rail, or deceive, or overreach 
in bargaining, or £bS\ into any scandalous opinions 
or practice, your religion must bear all the blame 
with the world. Ever since I can remember, it 
hath been one of the principal hinderances to 
men's conversion, and strengtheners of the wicked 
in their way, that the godly were accounted a 
sort of peevish, unpeaceable, covetous, proud, 
self-seeking persons ; which was a slander as to 
the most, but too much occasioned by the scan- 
dalousness of some. And methinks you should be 
afraid of that woe from Christ — * Woe be to him 
by whom otknce cometh.' If you be children, you 
may have the woe of sharp castigations ; and if you 
be h)rpocrites, you shall have the woe of everlasting 
sufierings. The world can judge no fiirther than 
they see : and when they see professors of holiness 
to be so like to common men, and in some things 
worse than many of them, what can you expect but 
that they should despise religion, and judge of it by 
the professors of it, and say, * If this be their reU- 
gion, let them keep it to themselves ; we are as well 
without it as they are with it.' And thus will the 
holy ways of God be vilified through you. If you 
will not excel others in the beauty of your conver- 
sation, that in this glass the world may see the 
beauty of your religion, you must expect that they 



should take it but for a common thing which 
bringeth forth but common fruits to their dis- 
cerning. You should be such that God may boast 
of, and the church may boast of, to the face of the 
accuser: then would you be an honour to the 
church, when God may say of you as he did of Job, 
' Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is 
none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright 
man, one that feareth God and escheweth evil ? ' If 
we could say so of you to men of the world — * See 
what men the godly are, there is none such among 
you; men of holiness, wisdom, uprightness, sobriety, 
meekness, patience, peaceable and harmless, living 
wholly to God, as strangers on earth and citizens 
of heaven ; ' — then you would be ornaments to your 
holy profession. Were you such Christians as the 
old Christians were, (Acts iv.) we might boast of 
you then to the reproaching adversaries. 

10. Moreover, till you are confirmed and built 
up, you may too easily be made the instruments of 
Satan, to further his designs. The weakness of 
your understandings, and the strength of your 
passions, and especially the interest that carnal 
self hath remaining in you, may lay you open 
to temptations, and engage you in many a cause 
of Satan, to take his part against the truth. And 
how sad a case is this to any that have felt the love 
of Christ ! Have you been warmed with his won- 
drous love, and washed with his blood, and saved 
by his matchless mercy; and may it not even 
break your hearts, to think that, after all this, you 
should be drawn by Satan to wound your Lord, to 


abuse his honour, to resist his cause, to hurt his 
church, and to confirm his enemies, and gratify the 
devil? I tell you, with shame and grief of heart, 
that abundance of weak, unsettled professors, who 
we hope have upright meanings in the main, have 
been more powerfiil instruments for Satan, to do his 
work for the hindering of the gospel, the vilifying 
of the ministry, the dividing of the church, and the 
hindering of reformation, than most of the noto- 
riously profime have been. What excellent hopes 
had we once in England, of the flourishing of piety 
and happy union among the churches and servants 
of Christ ? And who hath not only firustrated these 
hopes, but almost broken them all to pieces ? Have 
any had more to do in it than weak, unstable pro- 
fessors of religiousness? What sad cmifiisioiis are 
most parts of England in at this day, by reason of 
the breaking of churches into sects and shreds, and 
the contentions and reproaches of Christians against 
Christians, and the odious abuse of holy truth and 
ordinances ! And who is it that doth this, so much 
as unstable professors of piety? What greater 
reproach almost could have be£sdlen us, than for 
the adversary to stand by, and see Christians at 
variance, hating, and persecuting, and reproaching 
one another ; and that our own hands should pull 
down the house of God, and tear in pieces the 
miserable churches, while men are striving who 
shall be the master of the reformation ? O what 
a sport is this to the devil, when he can set his 
professed enemies by the ears, and make them fall 
upon one another! — when, if he have any notable 


work to do against the church and cause of Christy 
he can call out unstable Christians to do it ! K he 
would have godliness be scandalized, who hath he 
to do it but professors of godliness ; some of them 
to give the scandal, and others to aggravate and 
divulge it? Would he have a church divided; how 
quickly doth he find a bone of contention ; and 
who should do it but the unstable members of it ? 
Would he have the truth opposed, and error and 
darkness to be promoted ; who must do it but pro- 
fessors of the truth ? Persuade some of them that 
truth is error, and error is truth, and the work will 
be done: they will furiously march out against their 
master, and think they do him service while they 
are fighting against him, and scorning, and shaming, 
if not killing his servants. Would he have public 
divisions maintained among all the churches of the 
world ; it is but possessing the weaker, unstable 
pastors and people, with a perverse zeal for mere 
words and notions, as if the life of the church did 
therein consist ; and they will be the devil's instru- 
ments at a beck, and all that will not word it as 
they, shall be called heretics, and the church shall 
have new articles added to its faith, under pretence 
of preserving and expounding the old ones. And 
thus when Satan hath a work to do, if heathens and 
infidels cannot do it, it is only to call out Christians 
to do it: if drunkards and malignant enemies 
cannot do it, it is but calling .out some unstable 
professors of godliness to do it, and possessing 
the more injudicious part of the pastors with some 
carnal ends or blind consuming zeal. 


O Christians ! in the name of God^ as you would 
avoid these devilish employments, labour for con- 
firming strengthening grace; and rest not in your 
childish weakness and instability. If you are deli- 
vered firom Satan, and have truly renounced him, 
and tasted the great salvation of Christ, methinks 
you should even tremble to consider what a thing it 
would be, if, after all this, you should prove, through 
your weakness, so serviceable to the devil, and so 
injurious to your dearest Lord. What ! must those 
abuse him whom he hath redeemed from damnation? 
must those hands be employed to demolish his king- 
dom, that were washed by him, and should have 
built it up? — ^as if you were like Judas, that even 
now hath his hand with his Master in the dish, and 
(nresently lifts it up against him. 

11 • Moreover, while you are weaklings and 
unconfirmed, you will exceedingly encoiurage the 
ungodly in their false hopes, by being so like them 
as you are. When they see that you excel them so 
little, and in many things are as bad or worse than 
they, it strongly persuadeth them that their state is 
as good as yours, and that they may be saved as 
well as others, seeing the difierence seemeth to be 
80 small. They know that heaven and hell are 
much unlike, and vastly distant; and therefore they 
will hardly believe that they must be thrust into hell, 
when men that seem so little to differ from them 
must go to heaven. You would not believe how it 
hardeneth them in their sin when they see professors 
do as bad ; and how it settleth them in presumption 
and impenitency to perceive your faults. When a 


minister hath laboured to make the sins of the un- 
godly odious to him^ and to break his heart with 
the terrors of the Lord, O, how it quieteth him, and 
healeth all again, to see the like sins, or others as 
bad, in the professors of religion ! ' If these,' saith 
he, ^ may be saved, notwithstanding such and such 
sins, what cause have I to fear! ' O, wretched, un- 
profitable, scandalous professors! when we have 
studied an^ preached for men's conversion many a 
year, you go and undo all that we have done, by the 
scandal, or levity, or imprudence of an hour. When 
we have almost persuaded men to be Christies, you 
unpersuade them, and turn them back again, and do 
more harm by the weakness and scandal of your 
lives, than many of us can do good by life and doc- 
trine. When we have brought sinners eten to the 
door of life, you prove their enemies, and take them 
out of our hands again, and bring them back to their 
old captivity. Doth it not pierce your very hearts 
to think of it, that ever one soul, much more so 
many, should be shut out of glory, and burn in ever- 
lasting misery, and you should have a hand in it? 
Consider of this, and methinks you should desire 
confirming grace. 

12. And methinks it should be very grievous to 
you, to be so like to the ungodly yourselves, and that 
Satan should still have so much interest in you. 
Holiness is God's image; and doth it not grieve you 
that you are so little like him? By his graces he 
keeps possession of you : and doth it not grieve you 
that God hath no more possession of you, but that 
Satan and sin should so defraud him of his own? 


Will he condescend to dwell in so low a worm, so 
oft defiled with its iniquities? and doth it not wound 
you to think that even there he should be so strait* 
ened, and thrust into comers by a hellish enemy, as 
if that simple habitation were too much for him, and 
that dirty dwelling were too good for him, and as if 
you grudged him so much of the leavings of Satan, 
who had taken up the beginning of your days in sin? 

Your corruption is the very image of the devil : 
and doth it not affiright you to think that you should 
be so like him? You are charged not to be ' con- 
formed to this world,* but to *be transformed by the 
renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is 
that good, that acceptable, and perfect will of God :' 
and yet will you stop in a state so like to those that 
perish? He that hath the least measure of saving 
grace, is likest to the children of the devil, of any man 
in the world that is not one of them. Seek there- 
fore to increase. 

13. And I beseech you consider that your ex- 
cellency, and the glory and lustre of your graces, is 
one of God's appointed means for the honour of his 
Son, and gospel, and church, and for the conviction 
and conversion of the unbelieving world: and there- 
fore, if you use not this means, you rob God and the 
church of that which is their due, and deprive sinners 
of one of the means of their salvation. You are 
commanded to ' let your light so shine before men, 
that they may see your good works, and glorify 
your Father which is in heaven.' Christians, be 
awakened in the name of God to consider what you 
iiave to do with your graces; — you have the living 



God to please and honour by them! As the excel- 
lency of the work doth honour the workman, so 
must your graces and lives honour God. You have 
the souls of the weak to confirm by your lives, and 
the souls of the ungodly to wm by your lives. You 
should all be preachers, and even preach as you go 
up and down in the world, as a candle lighteth which 
way ever it goeth. As we are sent to save sinners, 
as ambassadors of Christ, by public proclamation of 
his will ; so are you sent to save them as his servants 
and our helpers, and must preach by your lives and 
familiar exhortations, as we must do by authoritative 
instruction. A good life is a good sermon ; yea those 
may be won by your sermons, that will not come to 
ours, or will not obey the doctrine which they hear. 
Even to women that must keep silence in the church, 
doth Peter command this way of preaching, ^ that 
if any of them have husbands that obey not the word, 
they may without the word be won by the conversa- 
tion of the wives.' Thousands can understand the 
meaning of a good life, that cannot understand the 
meaning of a good sermon. By this way you may 
preach to men of all languages, though your tongues 
had never learnt but one : for a holy, harmless, hum- 
ble life, doth speak in all the languages of the world 
to men that have eyes to read it This is the univer- 
sal character and language, in which all sorts may 
perceive you speak the wondrous works of the Holy 
Ghost. I charge you therefore. Christians, deprive 
not God of the honour you owe him, nor the church, 
or souls of wicked men, of this excellent, " powerfiil 
help, which you owe them, by continuing in your 


weakness, and unsettled minds, and spotted lives; 
but grow up to that measure that may be fit for such 
a work. As you durst not silence the preachers di 
the gospel, so do not dare to silence yourselves firom 
preaching by your holy exemplary lives. And, alas ! 
do you think that feeble, giddy, scandalous profes- 
sors, are like to do any great good by their Uves? 
Would you wish the poor world to write after such 
a crooked and blotted copy? Will it win men's 
hearts to a love of hoUness, to talk with a Christian 
that can scarce speak a word of sense for his reli- 
gion ; or to see a professor as greedy for a little gain 
as the veriest worldling that hath no other hope; or 
to hear them rail, or lie, or slander, or to see them 
turn up and down like a weathercock, according as 
the wind of temptation sets, and to follow every 
new opinion that is but put off with a plausible 
fervency? Do you think that men are like to be 
won by such lives as these? 

14. Do you consider what great things you must 
make account to sufier for Christ? You must for- 
sake all that you have. You must not save your 
lives, if he bid you lose them. You must suffer 
with him, if you will be glorified with him. You 
may be called to confess Christ before the kings or 
judges of the earth : and then, if you deny him, he 
will deny you ; and if you be ashamed of him, he 
will be ashamed of you, (unless you be brought to 
a better state.) You may be called to 'the fiery 
trial,* and to suffer also ^ the spoiling of your goods,' 
and, in a word, the loss of all. And do you think 
that you shall not find use for the strongest graces 


then ? Have you not need to be confirmed^ rooted 
Christians, that must expect such storms? Are 
infants meet for such encounters? Have you not 
seen how many that seemed strong have been 
overthrown in a time of trial; and yet will you 
stop in a weak estate? Perhaps you will say, 
* We cannot stand by our own strength ; and 
tlierefore Christ may uphold the weakest, when the 
strongest may fall.' To which I answer, it is true ; 
but it is God's common way to work by means, and 
to imitate nature in his works of grace : and there- 
fore he useth to root and strengthen those that he 
will have to stand and conquer; yea, and to arm 
them as well as strengthen them, and then to teach 
them to use their arms. ' Finally, my brethren, be 
strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be 
able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For 
we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against 
principalities, against powers, against the rulers of 
the darkness of this world, against spiritual wick- 
edness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the 
whole armour of God, that ye may be able to 
withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to 
stand.' You must look, ' when you are illuminated, 
to endure a great fight of afflictions; to be made a 
gazing-stock both by reproaches and afflictions, and 
to be companions of them that are so used : and 
therefore ye have need of patience, that, after ye 
have done the will of God, ye may receive the 
promise.' If you will endure in the time of perse- 
cution, the word must take deep rooting in your 


hearts. And you must be ^ founded on a rock/ if 
you look to stand in time of storms. 

In the mean time, it is a fearful thing to see in 
what a wavering condition you seem to stand ; like 
a tree that shakes, as if it were even falling ; or 
like a cowardly army that are ready to run before 
they fight : and, like cowardly soldiers, you are still 
looking behind you, and a small matter troubleth, 
and perplexeth, and staggereth you, as if you were 
ready to repent of your repentings. And must 
God have such servants as these, that, upon every 
rumour or word of trouble, are wavering and look- 
ing back, and ready to forsake him ? 

15. Consider, also, that the same reasons that 
moved you at first to be Christians, should now 
move you to be confirmed thriving Christians : for 
they are of force as well for this as for that. You 
would not have missed your part in Christ for all 
the world, if indeed you have the least degree of 
grace. And if the beginning be good and neces- 
sary, the increase is neither bad nor needless. If a 
little grace be desirable, surely more is more de- 
sirable. If it was then but a reasonable thing that 
you should forsake all for Christ, and follow him ; 
it is surely as reasonable that you should follow 
liim to the end, till you reach that blessedness 
which was the end for which at first you followed 
him. What, Christian! hast thou found God a 
hard master, a barren wilderness to thee; or his 
service an unprofitable thing ? Say so, and I dare 
say thou art a bastard, (to use the Apostle's phrase, 
Heb. xii. 8,) and not a Christian. Some trial thou 


hast made of him: what evil hast thou found in 
him^ or what wrong hath he ever done thee^ 
that thou shouldst now begin to make a stand, as 
if thou wert in doubt whether it be best to go 
further ? If ever Christ were needful, he is need- 
fill still; and if ever heaven and holiness were 
goody they are good still : and therefore go on till 
thou hast obtained more, and forget not the reasons 
that first persuaded thee. 

16. Nay, more than so, you have the addition of 
much experience, which should be an exceeding 
help to quicken your afiections. When you first 
repented and came unto Christ, you had never had 
any experience in yourselves of his saving special 
grace before, but you came in upon the bare hear* 
ing and believing of it: but now you have tasted 
that the Lord is gracious; and you have received 
at his hands the pardon of sin, the Spirit of adop* 
tion, the hope of glory, which before you had not; 
you have had many a prayer answered, and many 
a deliverance granted ; and will you make a stand, 
when all these experiences do call you forward? 
Should not new motives and helps, thus added' to 
the old, be the means of adding to your zeal and 
holiness ? Surely, more wages and encouragement 
do bespeak more work and diligence: and there- 
fore see that you increase. 

17. And most or many of you have cause to 
consider how long you have been already in the 
family and school of Christ. If you are but newly 
entered, I may well exhort you to increase, but I 
cannot reprove you for not increasing. But, alas ! 


what a multitude of dwarfs hath Christ, that are 
Uke in&ntSy at twenty, or forty, or threescore years 
of age ! What ! be so many years in his school, 
and yet be in the lowest form ! * For when for the 
time ye ought to be teachers, you have need that 
one teach you again which be the first principles of 
the oracles of Gdd, and are become such as have 
need of milk, and not of strong meat : for every one 
that useth milk is unskilful in the word of right- 
eousness, for he is a babe : but strong meat belong- 
eth to them that are of full age, that by reason of 
use have their senses exercised to discern both good 
and evil.* O, poor, weak, diseased Christian, hast 
thou been so many years beholding the face of God 
by faith ; and yet art thou no more in love with him 
than at the first ? Hast thou been so long making 
trial of his goodness; and dost thou see it and 
&vour it no more than in the beginning? Hast thou 
been so long under his cure ; and art thou no more 
healed than the first year or day? Hast thou been 
hearing and talking of heaven so long ; and yet art 
thou no more heavenly nor ready for heaven ? Hast 
thou heard and talked so much against the world 
and the flesh ; and yet is the world as high in thee 
as at first, and the flesh as strong as in the begin- 
ning of thy profession ? O, what a sin and shame is 
this ; and what a wrong to God and thee ! 

Yea consider here, also, what means thou hast 
had, as well as what time. O, who hath gone 
beyond thee for power, and plenty, and purity of 
ordinances ; or at least how few! Surely, few parts 
of all the earth are like to England, for the showers 


of heaveiiy and the riches of the precious ordi- 
nances of God! You have sermons till you can 
scarce desire more ; and those so plain that men can 
scarce tell how to speak plainer ; and so earnest, as 
if the servants of Christ would take no nay, even 
almost as if they must perish if you perished. You 
have as frequent, as plain, and powerful books. 
You have the warnings and examples of the godly 
about you. And what yet would you have more ? 
And should a people thus fed be dwarfs continually? 
Is ignorance, and dulness, and earthliness, and sel- 
fishness excusable, after all these means ? Surely, 
Sirs, it is but just that God should expect you all to 
be giants ; even heavenly grown, confirmed Chris- 
tians : whatever others do, it should be so with you. 
18. And methinks it should somewhat move you 
to consider, how others have thriven in less time, 
and by smaller means by far than you have had; and 
how some of your neighbours can yet thrive by the 
same means that you so little thrive by. Job, who 
was so magnified by God himself, had not such means 
as you. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, had none 
of them such means as you. ^ Many prophets and 
righteous men have desired to see those things which 
ye see, and have not s^en them; and to hear 
those things which ye hear, and have not heard 
them.' Though John Baptist was greater than any 
of the prophets, yet the least of you that are in the 
gospel kingdom are greater than he, in respect of 
means. As the times of the gospel have far clearer 
light, and give out greater measures of grace ; so 
the true genuine children of the gospel should, 


taking them one with another, be far more con- 
firmed, strong, and heavenly, than those that were 
under the darker and scantier administrations of the 

And do you not see and hear how far you are 
outstripped by many of your poor neighbours, that 
are as low in natural parts, and as low in the world 
and the esteem of men as you ? How many do 
shine before you in knowledge, and meekness, and 
patience, and a blameless upright life; in fervent 
prayers, and a heavenly conversation! — men that 
have had as much need to look after the world as 
you; and no longer time to get these qualifications ; 
and no other means but what you have had, or 
might have had as well as they. And now they 
shine as stars in the church on earth, while you are 
like sparks, if not like clods. I know that God is 
the firee disposer of his graces ; but yet he so seldom 
Esdleth any, even in degrees, that be not wanting to 
themselves, that I may well ask you, why you might 
not have reached to some more eminency, as well as 
these about you, if you had but been as careful and 
industrious as they ? 

19. Consider that your holiness is your personal 
perfection ; and that of the same kind you must have 
in glory, though not in the same degree. And 
therefore if you be not desirous of its increase, it 
seems you are out of love with your souls, and with 
heaven itself: and when you cease to grow in holi- 
ness, you cease to go on any further to salvation. 
If you would indeed yourselves be perfect and 
blessed, you must be perfected in this holiness, 


which must make you capable of the perfect fruition 
of the most holy God, and capable of his perfect 
love and praise. There is no heaven without a per- 
fection in holiness. If, therefore, you let fall your 
desires of this, it seems you let fall your desires of 
salvation. Up then and be doing ; and grow as men 
that are growing up to glory : and if you believe that 
you are in your progress to heaven, being nearer your 
salvation than when you first believed, see then that 
you make a progress in heavenly-mindedness, and 
that you be riper for salvation than when you first 
believed. How ill doth it become men to make any 
stand in the way to heaven ; especially when they 
have been in the way so long that we might have 
expected, before this, they should have been, as it 
were, almost within sight of it ! 

20. Consider, also, that little grace, little glory ; 
and the greater measure of holiness, the greater 
measure will you have of happiness. I know 
that the glory of the lowest saint in heaven will 
be exceeding great; but, doubtless, the greatest 
measure is unspeakably most desirable. And as 
it will not stand with the truth of grace for a man 
to be satisfied with a low degree of grace, though 
he plead the happiness of the lowest Christian, 
and his own unworthiness of the least degree ; so, 
at least, it ill beseems an heir of glory to desire 
but the lowest degree of glory, though he plead 
the happiness of the lowest saint in heaven, and 
his own unworthiness of the lowest place. For 
he that will be so content with the smallest glory as 
not to have hearty desires of more, is accordingly 


content to have in himself the smallest measure 
of the knowledge and love of God; and to be 
loved in the smallest measure by him ; and to have 
the least enjojnnent of him ; and to bear the smallest 
part in his praises, and in pleasing and glorifying 
him for ever. For all these things are our happi- 
ness itself: and how well this agreeth with a 
gracious frame of mind, I need not any further tell 

Buty because some make question of it, whether 
the degree of glory will be answerable to the degree 
of holiness, I shall prove it in a few words. 

(1 .) It is the very drift of the parable of the talents 
in Matt. xxv. He that had gotten most by im- 
provement was made ruler, proportionably, over 
most cities. Not he that had been at the greatest 
bodily labour in religion, nor every one that had 
passed the greatest sufferings ; but he that had got 
most holiness to himself and honour to God by 
the improvement of his talents, and so had doubled 

(2.) The degrees of holiness, hereafter, will be 
divers, as are the degrees of holiness here ; * for as 
men sow they will reap ;' and there is no promise 
in Scripture that men that die with the smallest 
holiness shall be made equal to them that died 
with the greatest holiness. And that the greatest 
holiness hereafter, must have the greatest happi- 
ness, is past denial. For 1. Holiness in heaven 
is an essential part of the felicity itself. It is 
the perfection of the soul. 2. The use of it is 
for perfect fruition, and perfect exercise of love 


and praise, which are the other parts of glory. 
And God will not give men powers, capacities, 
and dispositions, in heaven, which shall be in 
vain: as he giveth hungering, and thirsting, and 
love, so will he give proportionable satisfaction; 
and not tantalize his servants in their blessedness, 
and leave a part of hell in heaven. 3. And holi- 
ness is pleasing to God in its own nature; and 
therefore the greatest holiness will greatliest please 
him ; and he that most pleaseth God, hath the 
greatest glory. These things are plain. 

(3.) Moreover, we have great reason to conceive 
of the state of the glorieed, in some congruency 
with the rest of the workmanship of God. But 
in all the rest there is a difference or imparity; 
therefore we have reason to think it is so here. 
On earth, there are princes and subjects in the 
commonwealth ; and pastors and people in the 
churches; and several degrees among the people 
as to gifts and comforts. Among the devils, there 
are degrees ; and among angels themselves there 
are principalities and powers, and thrones and 
dominions. And why, then, should we imagine 
that the heavenly Jerusalem shall not be so too ? 

(4.) And Christ plainly intimateth that there is 
a place on his right hand and his left to give, in 
that kingdom, though as the Son of Man he had not 
the principal disposal of it: * And then the kingdom 
must be delivered to the Father, and God be all 
and in all ;' and therefore the Mediator, as such, 
have somewhat less to do than now. And when 
Christ telleth us of Lazarus in Abraham's bosom, 


and of many from the east and west sitting down 
with Abraham^ Isaac, and Jacob, he intimateth to 
us, that every place in heaven is not so high as 
Abraham's bosom, nor a sitting with Abraham, 
Isaac, and Jacob. So that I take it as a plain 
revealed truth, that divers degrees of holiness will 
have divers degrees of glory hereafter. 

The chief argument to the contrary is fetched 
from the parable of the labourers, that, coming in 
at several hours, received every one a penny. But 
this is much misunderstood; for here is not a word 
in it contrary to our assertion. The parable only 
saith that glory shall not be proportioned to the 
time; but they that come the later shall have 
never the less for that; which is nothing to our 
question about the degree of holiness: for many 
that are first in time, may be least and last in 
holiness ; and many that are last in time may, in 
that little time, come to be best and greatest in 
holiness, and, consequently, in glory. The para- 
ble, in Matt, xxv., shews that God will give dif- 
ferent degrees of glory, according to the difference 
in improvement of our talents. And the other 
parable shews that he will not give out his glory 
according to men's time and standing in the church, 
seeing a weaker Christian may be of longer stand- 
ing, and a stronger of a later coming in. And what 
show of discord is there between these ? And 
yet it is doubtful, in the judgment of good expo- 
sitors, whether the parable of the penny do speak 
of heaven at all or not; or whether it speak not 
only of the vocation of the Gentiles, and taking 


them into the gospel church in equality with the 
believing Jews: though the Jews, being God's 
ancient people, had been longer in the vineyard, 
and the Gentiles were called but as at the eleventh 
hour, yet God will make the Gentiles equal in the 
grace of vocation, because in this he hath not en- 
gaged himself, but may do with his own as he list: 
Whichever of. these two is the thing intended in 
the text, or possibly both, it is certain that this 
general is the sum of the parable, ^that the first 
may be last, and the last first;' that is, that God 
will not give men the greatest reward, that were 
first called; but he never said that he would not 
reward them most, that had done him the truest 
service and were highest in holiness. 

Object. * But the reason is, may I not do as I 
will with my own?' True, but you must remember 
what it is a reason of, even of the cause in question, 
and may not by you be extended to other causes, 
without a warrant. You never read that he equally 
pardoneth the believer and the unbeliever, or sav^th 
the regenerate and unregenerate, and then gives 
this reason of it — May I not do as I will with my 
own? For this can be no reason for any thing 
which he hath revealed that he will not do. Prove, 
first, that he will do it; and then bring your reasons 
why ; but not before. So that it extendeth not to 
the case of different glory, upon different degrees 
of holiness ; for this he hath revealed that he will 

So much, and perhaps too much, to satisfy the 
doubtful. Now I desire to return to the dull and 


languishing Christian^ and beseech him to remember 
what a difference there will be between one saint 
and another, in glory! And O, who would not 
aspire after the highest measure of holiness, in hope 
of a high degree of glory ? Christian, hadst thou 
not infinitely rather love God with the greatest love 
than with a less, and be beloved again with the 
greatest of his love ; — I mean, by partaking of the 
greatest efiects of it, and the fullest sense of his 
everlasting favour ? Remember this ; and sure it will 
persuade thee to gird up thy loins, and run as for 
the incorruptible crown, and press on to the mark 
for the prize of the high calling, and not to sit down 
with weak beginnings ; especially when the way is 
so sweet as well as the end, and the greatest holi- 
ness hath here also the greatest spiritual reward, 
and is attended with the greatest peace and joy in 
the ordinary course of God's dispensations; and 
when all the knocks, and fells, and cries of Chris- 
tians, in this life, proceed firom^the childish weakness 
of their spirits ; and almost all the woes and cala- 
mities that attend us — our shames, our pains, our con- 
tentions and divisions, and the lamentable difficulty 
that seems an impossibility of healing them or pre- 
venting more— all is from the corruptions that are 
the companions of our weakness; and could we but 
grow up to a manhood of understanding, humility, 
meekness, self-denial, and the love of God in Christ, 
and of one another, we might then have some hope 
of the cure of all. Alas ! that men are so sensible of 
the difference between a weak body and a strong, a 
sick and a sound, a child and a man, an idiot and a 


man of wisdom, (though all of them have human 
nature,) should yet be so little sensible of the great 
difference between a weak Christian and a strong, a 
sick and a sound, (comparatively sound,) a childish, 
and a manly, wise, confirmed Christian ! Did you 
well know the difierence, you would shew us that 
you make a greater matter of it. 

And now, Christian reader, I entreat thee soberly 
to consider of these motives, whether they do not 
shew thee reason enough to move thee to look after 
higher things, and not to stay in an infancy of holi- 
ness. It is a blessed mercy, I confess, that God 
hath given thee a true conversion, and the smallest 
measure of the heavenly Ufe. I do not move thee 
to undervalue it ; nay, I am blaming thee for under- 
valuing it : for, if thou didst not undervalue it, thou 
wouldst earnestly desire more. Thou hast cause to 
bless God to all eternity, and to all eternity thou 
shalt bless him, for m^ddng thee a new creature, even 
a living member of his Son ; and I know that thy 
condition is unspeakably better than the greatest 
prince's or emperor's upon earth, that is void of holi- 
ness. I know that thou hast still ground of exceed- 
ing consolation ; I am not taking thy comforts from 
thee ; I know God despiseth not the day of small 
things ; and that Christ will not ^ quench the smoking 
flax, nor break the bruised reed,' nor cast off the 
poorest infants of his family, nor lose any one of the 
lambs of his flock. But yet, for all this, I must tell 
thee, that there is a great deal of difference in ex- 
cellency, and strength, and comfort, and happiness. 


between one sanctified person and another ; and if 
thou be so apt to be over-covetous of worldly riches 
where God forbiddeth it, and limiteth thy desires, 
and where there is no such necessity or excellency 
to entice thee, why shouldst thou not cherish that 
holy covetousness which God expressly commandeth 
thee ; * Covet earnestly the best gifts :' and which 
he hath promised a blessing to ; ^ Blessed are they 
which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for 
they shall be filled ? ' This is not spoken of them 
that have no righteousness, but of them that have 
it, and ftdn would have more : for, 1. There is no 
such promise made to any that are short of saving 
faith. It is not any common grace that God makes 
this promise to, but a special grace. And, 2. It is 
evident that no man can thus hunger and thirst after 
righteousness without righteousness ; for even this 
hungering and thirsting is a degree of true sancti- 
fication. You would not take up with a cottage or 
smoky cabin, if you could have a palace ; nor with 
dry bread, if you could lawftilly have plenty ; nor 
with a torn or threadbare coat, if you can have 
better ; nor with a poor, laborious, toilsome life, in 
disgrace and the reproach of men, if you could have 
honour and ease and abundance. And yet will you 
take up with so poor a stock of holiness, and so 
dark a mind, and small a measure of heavenly light, 
and so cold a love to God and glory, and so barren 
and common a kind of Itfe ? God hath commanded 
you, that having food and raiment, you should there- 
with be content ; but he never commanded you that 
being cmce converted and made an infant in grace. 


you should therewith be content. So content you 
must be as not to murmur ; but not so content as 
not to desire more. 

You can see the difference I doubt not in others, 
between a little grace and more ; O, that you would 
but see this for yourselves ! If you have a froward 
wife, or husband, or child, that hath a harsh and 
passionate nature, and hath so much grace only as 
to lament this when they are calmed, and to strive 
against it, but not to forbear the often exercise of it; 
though such a nature may be pardoned to the peiii- 
tent, yet it may prove such a thorn in your own side, 
and such a smoke or continual dropping in your 
house, as will make you 9^weary of it. I have oft 
known men that had wives of so much folly and pas- 
sion, and unruliness of tongue, that yet they hoped had 
some savi{ig grace, that made them even a-weary of 
their lives, and wish that they had met with a gentle 
nature. And methinks you should know that cor- 
ruption in yourselves is much more dangerous and 
hurtful to you than any that can be in wife or hus- 
band; and should be much more ofiensive and 
wearisome and grievous to you. tt is a desperate 
sign of a liiad heart that can bearVith corruption 
in themselves, and cannot bear with it in wife of 
husband, or those that do them wrong by their cor- 
ruptions. If weakness of grace do leave your 
nearest friends thus liable to wrong and abuse you, 
and this trouble you ; consider that your own weak« 
ness leaves you liable to far greater and ofter o£^M;es 
against God; and this should trouble you much 


Let me give you another instance : If you have a 
pastor that is truly godly, and yet is so weak that he 
ean scarcely speak with any understanding or life, 
the message that he should deliver, and withal is 
indiscreet, md as scandalous as will stand with 
grace ; what good is this man like to do for all his 
godliness? At least you will soon see a lamentable 
difference between such a one and a judicious, con- 
vincing, holy, heavenly, powerful, and unspotted 
man. O what a blessing is one to the place ! and 
die other may be a grievous judgment; and you 
would be ready to run away from his ministry. 
Why, sirs, if there be so great a difference between 
pastor and pastor, where both have grace, methinks 
you diould see what a difference there is also be- 
tween people and people, even where all have grace. 
•For truly poor ministers find this to their sorrow in 
iheir peofde, as well as you can find it in them. 
Some ministers have a stayed, confirmed, judicious, 
humble, meek, self-denying, teachable, peaceable, 
and eiqperienced people; and these walk com- 
finrtably, and guide them peaceably, and labour with 
them cheerfiilly : and O what beauty and glory is 
upon such assemblies ! and what order, and growth, 
and ccmifort is among them ! But alas, how many 
ministers iiave< a fiock (even of those that we hope 
are godly) that grieve them by their levity, or weary 
tiuem by their unteachable ignorance or self-conceit^ 
edness, or hinder their labours by errors and quar- 
rels, and perverse opposition to the truths which 
they do not understand ? So that there is a great 
diflferaicebetweeD people and pec^le that are godly. 



Brethren, it is far from the desire of my heart, 
to cast any unjust dishonour upon saints; much 
less to dishonour the graces of God in them. No; 
I take it rather for an honour to that immortal 
spark, that it can live among its enemies and not be 
conquered — and in the waters of corruption, and 
not be quenched. But yet I must take up a just 
complaint, that few of us answer the cost of our 
redemption and the provisions of God, or are neiar 
such a people as our receivings or professions re- 
quire we should be. It is one of the most grievous 
thoughts that ever came to my heart, to observe 
how the lives of the greatest part of professors do 
tend to dishonour the power and worth of grace in 
the eyes of the world ! and that the ungodly should 
see that grace doth make no greater a difference, 
and do no more upon us than it doth ! Yea, it is 
a sore temptation oftentimes to believers, to see 
that grace doth no more in the most, but that so 
many are still a shame to their profession. 

I must confess that I once thought more highly 
of professors, as to the measure of their grace, than 
experience now will suiSer me to think. Little did 
I think that they had been so unstable, so light, so 
ignorant, so giddy, as to follow almost any that do 
but whistle them. What a dreadful sight it is to 
see, how quickly the most odious heresies do infect 
and destroy even multitudes of them, and that in a 
moment, as soon as they appear ! the grossest mists 
of the bottomless pit are presently admired as the 
light of God. 

If a church-divider do but arise, how quickly 
doth he get disciples ! 


If a papist have but opportunity, he will lightly 
catch some as oft as he doth cast his net If he 
cannot prevail barefaced^ it is but putting on the 
visor of some other sect. 

O9 sad day, that ever these things should come 
to pass ! and that we are forced to utter them, having 
no possibility of concealing them from the world ! 
Were these men confirmed and stablished in the 
fiiith? Were these men rooted and built up in 
Christ? Alas, sirs, if any deceivers come among 
us, how few of our people are able to withstand 
them, and defend the truth of God against them ! — 
but they are caught up by the devil's falconers, as 
the poor chickens by the kite, except those that fly 
under {he wings of a judicious settled minister. 

If an anabaptist assault their baptism, how few 
<ji them can defend it ! And, silly souls, when they 
ind themselves nonplussed, they suspect hot their 
own unfurnished understandings, or inexperienced 
unsettled hearts, but suspect the truth of God, and 
suspect their teachers, be they never so far beyond 
th^n in knowledge and holiness ; as if their teachers 
had misled them, whenever these unprofitable in- 
fimts are thus stalled. 

If a papist be to plead his cause with them, how 
few have we that can answer him ! 

If an infidel should oppose the Scripture, or 
Christ himself, how few among us are able to de- 
fend them, and solidly give proof either of the 

truth of Scripture, or of the faith that they do pro- 

And this is not all (though it is a heart-breaking 



case)^ but even in their practice^ alas^ what remiss- 
ness, and what corruptions do appear ! How few 
in secret do keep any constant watch upon their 
hearts, and fear and abhor the approach of an evil 
thought ! Nay, how few are they that do not leave, 
their fancy aknost common, and ordinarily ev^i feed 
on covetous, proud, malicious, or lustfid thoughts^ 
and make no great matter of it, but live in it from 
day to day ! How few do keep up life and coA- 
stancy in secret prayer or meditation! How few 
are the families where the cause, and worship^ and 
government of Christ is kept up in life and honour; 
and where all is not dissolved into a littler-weary, 
disordered* heartless performance ! 

Look into our congregations, and judge 1)ut by 
their very looks, and carriage, and gestures,, how 
many even of those that we think the best, do ao 
much as seem to be earnest and serious in prayer 
or praise, when the church is upon that wcnl^l 
Though it be the highest and noblest part of worw 
ship, and should be done with all the heart and 
might, and with a participation of a kind of aQge* 
lical reverence, devotion, and spirituality ; and if it 
were so, we should see it by some of the signs of 
reverence and affection : yet, alas, when we think 
the best of. them should be striving with God, or 
wrapped up in his praises, they do but hear us pray 
as they hear us preach, and think they have done 
fair to give us the hearing. They sit on their seats 
in prayer, or use some crooked leaning gesture, 
perhaps looking up and down about them, perhaps 
half asleep ; but few of them with eyes, and hands, 


and hearts, lift up to Heaven, do behave them- 
selves as if they beUeved that they had so nearly to 
do with God. I know reverent gestures may easily 
be counterfeited : but that shows that they are good, 
when hypocrites think them a fit cover fcur hypo- 
crisy; for they are used not to borrow credit from 
evil, but from some good to be a cover to the evil : 
and it leaveth the neglects of the godly more inex- 
CDsaUe, when they will not go so far herein as hy- 
pocrites themselves, nor by their behariour in a 
public ordinance, so much as seem to be seriously 
employed with God 

And if we try the graces or obedience of pro- 
fessors, alas, how small shall we find them in the 
most ! How Utde are most acquainted with the life 
of fiuth ! How little do they admire the Redeemer 
and his blessed work ! How unacquainted are they 
#itfa the daily use and high improvement of a 
Saviour; for access to God, and supportation, and 
corroboration of the soul, and for conveyance of 
daily supplies of grace and help against our spiri- 
tual enemies ! How few are they that can rejoice 
in tribulation, persecution, and bodily distresses, 
because of the hopes laid up in heaven ; and that 
can live upon a promise, and comfortably wait on 
God for the accomplishment ! How few that live 
as men that are content with God alone, and can 
cheerfully leave their flesh, and credit, and worldly 
estate to his disposal, and be content to want or 
sufifer when he sees it good for them ! What re- 
pinings and troubles possess our minds if the flesh 
be not provided for, and if God do but cross us in 


these worldly things ; as if we had made our bar- 
gain with him for the fleshy and for this world, and 
had not taken him alone for our portion ! How few 
can use prosperity in riches, and health, and repu- 
tation, with a mortified, weaned, and heavenly mind ! 
Nay, how few are there that do not live much to the 
pleasure of the flesh, and pamper it as indulgently, 
under the appearance of temperance and religion, 
as others do in grosser ways ! Do but try the 
godly themselves by plain and faithful reproof of 
their corruptions, and see how many of them you 
will find, that will not excuse them and take part 
with the enemy, and be ofiended with you for your 
close reproof. If any of them be overtaken with a 
scandalous fault, and the pastors of the church shall 
call them to open confession, and expression of re- 
pentance, though you would little think a penitept 
man should once stick at this, and refuse to do any 
thing that he can do to repair the honour of God 
and his profjsssion, and to save the souls of others 
whom he hath endangered, yet how many will you 
find that will add a wilful obstinacy to their scandal, 
and will deliberately refuse so great, and clear, and 
necessary a duty : so great is the interest of self 
and flesh in them, and, consequently, so little the 
interest of Christ, that they will live in impenitency 
in the eye of the church, and venture on the high 
displeasure of God, come of it what will, and resist 
the advice of their best, and wisest, and most im- 
partial friends, rather than they will so far deny 
themselves as to make such a free and faithful con- 
fession. They are, many of them, so much for 


holy discipline, that they are ready to fall out with 
church and ministers, and to be gone to a purer 
society, because it is not exercised. But on whom? 
On others only, and not upon them. When they 
need discipline themselves, how impatient are they 
<^ity and how do they abhor it; and what a stir do 
they make before they will submit! even more, 
s<Mnetimes, than a drunkard or a swearer, so small 
is their repentance and detestation of their sin, — 
whereby they shew that their zeal for discipline and 
reformation is much out of pride, that others may 
be brought to stoop, or be cast out from them ; and 
not out of a sincere desire to have the refining and 
humbling benefit of it themselves. 

And if any among them be either faulty or re- 
ported so to be, who is forwarder than many pro- 
fessors of godliness, to backbite them, and speak of 
their £aiults when they cannot hear, nor answer for 
themselves, nor receive any benefit by it; and if 
another, that hates backbiting, do but reprove them, 
they wiU slander him also for a defender of men*s 
sins! But when they should go in Christ's way, and 
tell men of their fiiults, and draw them to repen- 
tance, and, if they hear not, take two or three, and 
speak to them again, how hardly can you draw them 
to the performance of this duty ! What shifts and 
firivolous excuses have they then ! Nay, they will 
reproach the church or minister for not casting such 
out, or not keeping them firom communion, before 
they have done, or will be persuaded to do these 
duties that must go before. 

Alas, how little hearty love is there to Christ in 



his members^ even in them that are confident they 
love the brethren ! How few will do or sufier much 
for them^ or reUeve them in their want as suffering 
with them ! How small a matter, a word, a seeming 
wrong or disrespect, will turn their love into es* 
trangedness or bitterness ! If they be tried by an 
ill word, or a wrong, how touchy, and froward, and 
impatient do they appear ; and it is well if they 
prove not ddwnright malicious, or return not revilii^ 
for reviling. 

Alas, how much pride prevaileth with many that 
seem to go far in the way of piety ! how wise are 
they in their own conceits ! how able to judge 
of controversies, and how much wiser than their 
teachers, before they (^ give a good account of 
the catechism or fundamental truths ! how well do 
they think of themselves and their own parts and 
performances ! how ill do they bear dis-esteem or 
undervaluing! and needs they must be noted for 
somebody in the world ! 

How worldly, and close-handed, and eager of 
vgain, are many that say they despise the world and 
take it for their enemy ! if any duty be cross to 
their profit or credit with men, how obstinate are 
they against it ! and such interest hath the flesh in 
them, that they will hardly believe that it is their 

How censorious are they of others, especially that 
difier from them in lesser things, and how unapt to 
judge themselves! O how few are the Christians 
that are eminent in humility, meekness, and self- 
denial, that are content to be accounted nothing, so 


that Christ may be all^ and his honour may be 
secured ! that live as men devoted to God, and 
honour him with their substance, and freely expend, 
yea study for advantages, to improve all their riches 
and interest to his service ! How few are they that 
live as in heaven upon earth, with the world under 
their feet, and their hearts above with God, their 
happiness ! that feel themselves to live in the work- 
ings and warmth of love to God, and make him 
their delight, and are content with his approbation 
whoever disapproveth them ! that are still groaning 
or reaching and seeking after him, and long to be 
with him; to be rid of sin, and see his blessed face, 
and live in his perfect love and praises ! that love 
and long for the appearance of Jesus Christ, and can 
heartily say, * Come Lord Jesus, come quickly !' 
How few are they that stand in a day of trial ! if 
they are tried but with a foul word, if tried but with 
any thing that toucheth their interests, if tried but 
with the emptiest reasonings of deceivers, much 
more if they be tried with the honours and greatness 
of the world, how few of them stand in trial and do 
not fall and forget themselves, as if they were not 
the men that they seemed to be before ! what then 
would they prove if they were tried by the flames ? 
Mistake me not ip all this sad complaint, as I 
intend not the dishonour of godliness by this, but of 
ungodliness (for it is not because men are godly 
that they have these faults, but because they are not 
godly more). So here is no encouragement to the 
unsanctified to think themselves as good as the 
more religious, because they are charged with so 


many faults ; nor do I affirm all these things to be 
consistent with true grace that I have here expressed : 
but only this, that professors that seem godly to 
others are thus too many of them guilty ; and those 
that have true grace may have any of these &ults in 
a mortified degree, though not in a reigning pre- 
dommant measure. 

But methinks, sirs, you should, by this time, be 
convinced and sensible how much we dishonour God 
by our infirmities ; and what a lamentable case it is 
that the church should consist of so many infants, 
and so many should be so little serviceable to God 
or the common good, but rather be troublers of all 
about them : alas, that we should reach no higher, 
that yet no greater things should be attained ! 
what an honour would you be to your profession, and 
what a blessing to the church, if you did but answer 
the cost and pains of God and man, and answer the 
high things that you have been acquainted with and 
profess ; that we could but boast of you as God did 
of Job, and could say to Satan or any of his instru- 
ments, ^ Here be Christians rooted and stablished in 
the faith, try whether you can shake them or make 
them stagger, and do your worst T ' Here is a man 
eminent in meekness and humiUty, and patience and 
self-denial, discompose and disturb his mind if you 
can — draw him to pride or immoderate passion, or 
censoriousness, or uncharitableness, if you can: here 
are a people that are in unity, and knit together in 
faith and love ; of one heart, and one soul, and one 
lip — do your worst to divide them or break them 
into parties^ or draw them into several minds and- 


ways, or exasperate them against each other : here 
are a people established in mortification^ and that 
have crucified the flesh with its aflections and lusts — 
do your worst to draw them to intemperance in 
eitting, or drinking, or recreations, or any of the 
delights of the flesh ; or to puff them up by great- 
ness and prosperity, and make them forget them- 
selves or God. Try them with riches, or beauty, 
or vain-glory, or other sensual delights, and see 
whether they will turn aside, and be ever the less 
in communion with God, and enticed to forget the 
joy that is set before them ; or will not rather despise 
your baits, and run away from alluring objects as 
their greatest dangers : daunt them, if you can, by 
threatenings ; try them by persecution, by fire and 
sword, and see whether they are not past your 
shaking, even rooted, confirmed, and built up in 

O what a glory would you be to your profession 
if you could attain to this degree? could we but 
truly thus boast of you, we might say our people are 
Christians of the right strain. But when we must 
come about you like men in a swoon, and can hardly 
perceive whether you are alive or dead, and can 
jBcarce discern whether you have any grace or none, 
what a grief is this to our hearts, what a perplexity 
to us in our administrations, not knowing whether 
comfort or terror be your due ; and what a lan- 
guishing uncomfortable life is this to yourselves, in 
comparison of what you might attain to ! 

Rouse up yourselves. Christians, and look after 
higher and greater things, and think it not enough 


that you are barely alive. It is an exoeeding 
righteousness that you must have if you iirill be 
saved, even exceeding all that the unsanctified do 
attain : for, * except your righteousness exceed even 
the righteousness of scribes and pharisees, you shall 
in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.' But 
it is yet a more exceeding righteousness that you 
must have if you will be confirmed, built up, and 
abound, and would honour your profession, and 
cheerfully, successfully, and constantly go on in the 
journey, the race, the warfare, that you have begun; 
you must then exceed yourselves, and exceed all 
the feeble, unstable, wavering, infant Christians that 
are about you : and, to persuade you yet further to 
look after this, I shall here annex a few motives more. 
1. Consider, Christian, that Mt is a God of ex- 
ceeding infinite greatness and goodness that thou 
hast to do with, and therefore it is not small and 
low matters that are suitable to his service.' O if 
thou hadst but a glimpse of his glory, thou wouldst 
say that it is not common things that are iaeet for 
such a dreadful Majesty. Hadst thou but a fuller 
taste of his goodness, thy heart would say — * This 
pittance of love and service is unworthy of him.' 
You will not ofier the basest things to a king, much 
less to the highest King of kings : * If ye offer the 
blind for sacrifice, is it not evil ? and if ye offer 
the lame and sick, it is not evil? offer it liow to 
thy governor : will he be pleased with thee, or ac- 
cept thy person ? saith the Lord of hosts.' * But 
ye have profaned it' (his great name), * in that ye 
say, the table of the Lord is polluted; and the 


fimit thereof, his meat, is contemptible. Ye have 
said also. Behold, what a weariness is it ! and ye 
have snofied at it, saith the Lord of hosts : and ye 
brou^t that which was torn, and the lame, and the 
nek ; thus ye brought an offering : should I accept 
this at your hand ? saith the Lord. But cursed be 
the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and 
▼oweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt 
thing: for I am a great King, saith the Lord of 
hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen.* 
If you better knew the majesty of God, you would 
know that the best is too little for him, and trifling 
is not tolerable in his sendee. When Nadab and 
Abihu ventured with fidse fire to his altar, and he 
smote them dead, he silenced Aaron with this 
reason of his judgment: * I will be sanctified in 
them that come nigh me, and before all the people 
I wiU be glorified.* That is, I will have nothing 
common oflBnred to me, but be served with my own 
holy peculiar service. When the Bethshemites were 
smitten dead for looking into the ark, fifty thou« 
sand and seventy men of them, they found that God 
would not be dallied with, and cried out, * Who is 
able to stand before this holy Lord God V 

2. It was an exceeding great price that was paid 
for your redemption ! for ' ye were not redeemed 
with corruptible things, as silver and gold, firom your 
vain conversation received by tradition firom your 
fiubers ; but by the precious blood of Jesus Christ' 
It was an * exceeding great love' that was manifested 
by God the Father, and by Christ, in this work of 
redemption, such as even poseth angels and men to 


study it and comprehend it ; and should all this be 
answered but with trifling from you ? Should such a 
matchless miracle of love be answered with no 
greater love ? especially when you were purposely 
redeemed from all iniquity^ that you might be 
sanctified to Christ * a peculiar people, zealous of 
good works.' It being therefore so great a price 
that you are bought with, remember that * you are 
not your own/ but must glorify him that bought you 
* in body and spirit.' 1 Cor. vi. 20. 
* 3. Consider also, that it is not a small, but an 
exceeding glory that is promised you in the gospel, 
and which you live in hope to possess for ever. 
And, therefore, it should be an exceeding love that 
you should have to it, and an exceeding care that 
you should have of it. Make light of heaven, and 
make, light of all. Truly it is an unsuitable, un- 
reasonable thing, to have one low thought, or one 
careless word, or one cold prayer, or other perform- 
ance, about such a matter as eternal glory. Shall 
such a thing as heaven be coldly, or carelessly, 
minded and sought after ? shall the endless fruition 
of God in glory, be looked at with sleepy heartless 
wishes ? I tell you, sirs, if you will have such high 
hopes, you must have high and strong endeavours. 
A slow pace becomes not him that travelleth to 
such a home as this : if you are resolved for heaven, 
behave yourselves accordingly. A gracious, re- 
verent, godly, frame of spirit, producing an accept- 
able service of God, is fit for them that look to 
' receive the kingdom which cannot be moved.' The 
believing thoughts of the end of all our labours must 


needs convince us that we should be ' stedfast, and 
unmoveable^ always abounding in the work of the 
Lord.' O hearken, thou sleepy slothful Christian, 
doth not God call, and conscience call, ' Awake, 
and up, and be doing, man! for it is for heaven!' 
Hearken, thou negligent lazy Christian! do not God 
and conscience call out to thee, ' O man, make haste 
and mend thy pace, it is for heaven!' Hearken, 
thou cowardly faint-hearted Christian ! do not God 
and conscience call out to thee, ' Arm man, and see 
thou stand thy ground ; do not give back, nor look 
behind thee ; but fall on, and fight in the strength 
of Christ ; for it is for the crown of endless glory ! ' 
O what a heart hath that man that will not be 
heartened with such calls as these ! methinks the 
very name of God and heaven should awaken you 
and make you stir, if there be any stirring power 
within you. Remissness in worldly matters hath 
an excuse, for they are but trifles ; but slackness in 
the matters of salvation is made inexcusable by the 
greatness of those matters. O let the noble great- 
ness of your hopes appear in the resolvedness, 
exactness, and diligence of your lives. 

4. Consider also, that it is not only low and 
smaller mercies that you receive from God, but 
mercies innumerable, and inestimable, and exceed- 
ing great; and, therefore, it is not cold affections 
and dull endeavours that you should return to God 
for all these mercies. Mercy brought you into the 
world, and mercy hath nourished you and bred you 
up, and mercy hath defended and maintained you, 
and plentifully provided for you — your bodies live 


upon it — ^your souls were recovered by it — ^it gave 
you your being — it rescued you from misery— -it 
saveth you from sin and Satan, and yourselves — ^all 
that you have at present, you hold by it — all that 
you can hope for, for the ftiture, must be from it — 
it is most sweet in quaUty — what sweeter to miser^ 
able souls than mercy? It is exceeding great in 
quantity. The mercy of the * Lord is in the hea- 
vens, and his faithfrilness reacheth to the clouds. 
His righteousness is like the great mountains ; his 
judgments are a great deep.' ' O how great is 
his goodness which he hath laid up for them that 
fear him; which he hath wrought for them that 
trust in him before the sons of men ! ' * His mercy 
is great unto the heavens, and his truth unto the 
clouds.' And O what an insensible heart hath he 
that doth not understand the voice of all this 
wondrous mercy ! doubtless it speaketh the plaiiies^ 
language in the world ; commanding great returns 
from us of love, and praise, and obedience, to the 
bountifril bestower of them. With David we must 
say, * Blessed be the Lord ; for he hath shewed me 
his marvellous kindness in a strong city. Q love 
the Lord, all ye his saints : for the Lord preserveth 
all the faithfril.' And, again, ' Teach me thy way, O 
Lord ; I will walk in thy truth : unite my heart to 
fear thy name. I wiU praise thee, O Lord my God, 
with all my heart ; and I will glorify thy name for 
evermore. For great is thy mercy towards me ; and 
thou hast deUvered my soul from the lowest hell.* 
Unspeakable mercies must needs be felt in deep 
impressions, and be so savory with the gracious 


soul, that methinks it should work us to the 
higher resolutions ; — ^unthankfiilness is a crime that 
heathens did detest ; and it is exceeding great un- 
thaokfulness if we have not exceeding great love 
and obedience, under such exceeding great and 
many mercies as we possess. 

5. Consider that they are exceeding great helps 
and means that you possess to fiirther your holiness 
and obedience to God ; and, therefore, your holiness 
and obedi^ice should also be exceeding great. You 
have all the book of nature to instruct you ; every 
creature may teach you God, and calls loud upon 
jrou to persuade your hearts yet nearer to him ; 
every work of disposing providence is an instructor 
and persuader of you ; every leaf and line of Scrip* 
ture is a guide or spur to you ; you have ministers 
able and willing to hdp you ; you have the help of 
Ibe communion of saints; the help of die examples 
of the good; and the warnings of the judgments of 
God upon the wicked ; the helps of sermons ; the 
helps of sacraments; the helps of prayer, and holy 
meditation, and conference; mercies to encourage 
you; afflictions to excite you : what more would you 
have ? and yet will you be in&nts, and do no more 
with ail your helps? But this I touched upon before. 

6. It is an exceeding great necessity that is upon 
you, and therefore your resolutions should be ex- 
ceeding high, and your diligence exceeding great ; 
for all you are converted, your salvation Ueth yet 
upon your stability and perseverance. * Christ hath 
reconciled you in the body of his flesh through 
death, to present you holy, and unblameable, and 


unreproveable in his sight ; if ye continue in the 
faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away 
from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard/ 
(Col. i. 22, 23.) God will not be an accepter of 
persons, you must stick to his terms if you will par- 
take of his salvation ! He will not make two words 
with you ; he hath told you what he expecteth of 
you; and that he will have. Death will not be 
bribed, nor put by — judgment is coming on-^ 
there is no shifting out of the hands of God — and, 
under such pressing necessities as these, what 
Christians should we be ! how stable and abundant 
in &ith and righteousness ! 

7. It is a great account that you have to make, 
and therefore a great preparation that should' be 
made. When you shall be brought before the living 
God, and all your times, and thoughts^ and ways, 
must be called over, and you see what follows, and 
are waiting for the final doom, then there will be no 
dull thoughts in your hearts ; all will be then lively, 
and quite above this careless frame. Then even 
the wicked will have strong desires^ ^ O that we had 
taken another course — that we had but prevented 
this dreadful doom, whatever it had cost us ! * And 
should not believers now be awakened to great and 
careful preparations for such a day as this ? 

8. For trifles here are great endeavours used : — 
to climb up into honour or riches in the world ; to 
satisfy the flesh ; to lay up a treasure on earth, and 
labour for the meat that perisheth. O what en- 
deavours then should be used for the heavenly 
everlasting treasure ! 


9. Consider also how forward and diligent should 
those men be that are sure they can never go too 
high^ nor be too diligent^ when they have done their 
best ; nay, that are certain that the best do come so 
abundantly shorty that they must after sit down and 
lament that they were no better. O there is not 
the holiest saint on earth but will confess^ with 
lamentation, how little his love to God is, in com- 
parison of what it should be ! how short all falls 
below our duty — below the glorious majesty of 
God — below the precious love of Christ — ^below the 
worth of precious souls — ^below the weight of end- 
less glory — ^below the mercies that should warm our 
hearts — ^below the great necessity that is on us — 
and, consequently, below their own desires. Look 
therefore after greater things while you may attain 

10. Lastly, Consider what abundance of great 
engagements are on you that are sincere believers, 
more than upon others. 

(1.) You are more nearly related to Christ than 
any others are, and therefore you should be more 
tender of offendmg him, and more eminent in love 
and service to him. You are his household servants, 
and will you not labour for him and stick to him ? 
you are his friends, and should a friend abuse him — 
should not a friend be frdthful ? You are his dear 
adopted children, and his spouse ; and should not 
you be faithftil to the death — should not all the love 
and service that you have be his ? 

(2.) You have bound yourselves to him by more 
serious frequent vows and covenants than other men 


have done. How many persons and places and 
necessities of yours can witness against you, if you 
be not firm and forward for the Lord. As Joshua 
said to Israel, ^ Behold, this stone shall be a witness 
unto you, lest you deny your God ;' so I may say, 
the places where you have kneeled, and prayed and 
promised, will be witnesses against you, if you be 
not firm to God; the churches that you have 
assembled in — the places you have walked in, m 
your solitary meditations — the persons that have 
heard your promises and professions — the world 
about you that hath seen your forwardness, will all 
witness ag&inst y6u if you be not firm. 

(3.) It is you that have the life and kernel of mer- 
cies, others have but the crumbs that fkll from your 
tables ; others have common mercies, but you have 
the great and special mercies that accompany sal- 
vation : ^ All things are yours,' and should not you 

* be Christ's?' Of you it is that God is so exceed- 
ing tender, that he chargeth yoiir enemies hot to 
touch you; and tells them that touch you, that they 

* touch the apple of his eye.' And should Hot you 
abound in love and holiness ? — ^and should you not 
be as tender of his favour and his law, and honour, 
as of the apple of your eye ? Should not he that 
toucheth the name, and law, and honour Of God, 
by profaning them by sin, be as one that toudii^di 
the apple of your eye ? 

(4.) You have a spirit and heavenly life within you, 
which the rest of the world are unaicquainted with. 
And can you think it' is' not something ei^traordinary 
that Gcyd must fieeds expect from ycm? Will yidti 


not ^ walk in the Spirit" which is given you, and 
mortify the flesh by it? Is there not more expected 
from the living than the dead? Surely, He that 
hath made you ^ new creatures/ and made you 
' partakers of the divine nature/ doth expect some- 
what divine in your afiections and devotions, and 
that you be somewhat more than men. 

(5.) Moreover, it is you, above others, for whom 
the word and messengers of God are sent. We 
must speak to all ; but it is you that God's special 
eye is upon, — it is your salvation that he intends to 
accomplish by us. * There were many widows in 
the days of Elias, and many lepers in the days of 
EUsha; but it was but to^ one of them that the 
prophet was sent. We make the ungodly multitude 
even rage against us, and ministers are hated for 
magnifying the grace of God to you, and declaring 
his special love to you above others. When Christ 
himself had spoken the fore-cited words, it is said 
in tiie next verses, that ^ all they in the synagogue, 
when they heard these diings, were filled with 
wrath, and rose up and thrust him out of the city, 
and led him to the brow of the hill whereon their 
city was built, that they might cast him down head- 
loikg.' This was the entertainment of Christ himself 
when he did but declare how few it is that God will 
save, and for whose sakes he specially sends his mes- 
sengers. And must we incur all this for magnifying 
you, and will you dishonour yourselves ? Is all our 
study and labour for you, and our lives for you, and 
dl things for you — ^and will not you be wholly, and 
to die utmost of your strength, for God? Are you 


culled out of all the world for salvation^ and will 
you not answer this admirable difierencing grace 
by an admirable difference from those that must 
perish^ and by an admirable excellency in meek- 
ness, humility, self-denial, and heavenliness, above 
other men ? 

(6.) Moreover, you know more, and have a greater 
experience to assist you than others have ; and 
therefore you should excel them accordingly. Others 
have but heard of the odiousness of sin, but you 
have seen and felt it. Others have heard of God's 
displeasure ; but you have tasted it to the breaking 
or bruising of your hearts. You have been warned 
at the very quick, as if Christ had spoken to your 
very flesh and bones, * Go thy way, sin no more, 
lest a worse thing come unto thee.' And, as Ezra 
said, ^ After all that is come upon us, should we 
again break thy commandments, wouldst thou not 
be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us V So, 
if after all your spiritual experiences, — after so 
many tastes of the bitterness of sin, and groans, 
and prayers, and cries against it, you shall yet live 
as like to the wicked as you dare, and be familiar 
with that which hath cost you so dear ; how do 
you think that God must take this at your hands ? 
You have tasted of the sweetness of the love of' 
Christ, and wondered at the unspeakable riches of 
his grace; you have tasted the sweetness of the 
hopes of glory, and of * the powers of the world to 
come.' You have perceived the necessity and ex- 
cellency of holiness, by inward experience ;• — and 
if, after all this, you will draggle on the earth, and 


live below your own experiences^ contenting your- 
selves with an infiuicy of love, and life, and fruitful- 
ness, how much do you then transgress against the 
rules of reason and of equity ? 

(7.) Moreover, all the world expecteth much more 
from you than from any others. God expecteth 
more from you ; for he hath given you more, and 
meaneth to do more for you. Must you be in the 
eternal joys of Heaven, when all your unsanctified 
neighbours are in torments, and yet will you not 
more endeavour to excel them ? Is it not unrea- 
sonable to expect to be set eternally at so vast a 
distance from the ungodly world, even as far as 
heaven is from hell, and yet to be content to difier 
here but a little from them in holiness ? The Lord 
knows that poor forsaken impenitent sinners will do 
no better, but rage and be confident till they are 
past remedy: he looks for no better from them than 
to neglect him, and slight his Son, and word, and 
ways, and to go on in worldliness and fleshly living; 
to be filthy still, and careless, and presumptuous, 
and self-conceited still. But he expects better things 
from you ; and good reason, he hath done more for 
you, and prepared you for better things. The 
ministers of Christ do look for little better from 
many of their poor ignorant ungodly neighbours, 
but even to rub out their days in security and self- 
deceit, and to be barren after all their labours, if 
not to hate us for seeking to have saved them. But 
it is you that their eyes are most upon; and you 
that their hearts are most upon. Their comfort, 
and the fruit of their lives, lies much in your hands : 


St. Paul saith, (1 Thess. iii. 7—9.) * Brethren^ we 
were comforted over you^ in all our affliction and 
distress, by your faith : for now we live, if you stand 
fast in the Lord. For what thanks can we render 
to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we 
joy for your sakes before our God : night and day 
praying exceedingly, that we might see your fece, 
and might perfect that which is lacking in your 
faith V You see here, that your pastors' lives are in 
your hands : if you stand fast, they live. For the 
end of life is more than life ; and your salvation is 
the end of our lives. If the impenitent world reproach 
us, and abuse and persecute us, we suffer joyfully, as 
long as our work goeth on with you. But when you 
are at a stand, — when you are barren and scanda- 
lous, and passionate, and dishonour your profession, 
and put us in fears lest we have bestowed all our . 
labour on you in vain ; this breaks our hearts above 
any worldly cross whatsoever. O, when the people^ 
that we should rejoice and glory in, shall prove 
unruly, self-conceited, peevish, proud, every one 
running his own way, falling into divisions, conten- 
tions, or scandals, this is the killing of the comforts 
of your ministers : when the ungodly shall hit us in 
the teeth with your scandals or divisions, and say, 
* These are the godly people that you boasted of^ 
see now what is become of them { this is the smoke 
to our eyes, and the gall and vinegar that is given 
us by the adversary : and though still we know that 
our reward is with the Lord, yet can we not choose 
but be wounded for your sakes, and for the sake (^ 
the cause and name of God. 


Yea, the world itself expecteth more from you than 
others. When men talk of great matters, and pro- 
iess^ as every Christian doth, to look for the greatest 
matters of eternity, and to live for no lower things 
than everlasting fellowship with God and angels, no 
wonder then if the world do look for extraordinary 
matters from you. If you tell them of reaching 
heaven^ they will look to see you winged like 
angels, and not creeping on earth like worms. If 
you say that you are more than men, they look 
you should shew it by doing more than men can do ; 
even by denying yourselves and forgiving injuries, 
and loving your enemies, and blessing those that 
curse you, and contemning this world, and having 
your conversation in heaven. O, sirs, believe it, it 
is not small or common things that will satisfy the 
expectations of God or men, of ministers, or of the 
world themselves, concerning you ! 

(8.) Yea, moreover, God himself doth make his 
boast of you, and call out the world to observe your 
excellency : he sets you up as ^ the light of the 
world,' to be -beheld by others. He calls you, in 
his word, * his peculiar treasure above all people ;' — 
^a peculiar people, purified, and zealous of good 
works.' He called you ' a chosen generation, a 
royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, 
that ye should shew forth the praises of him that 
hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous 
light: ye are as lively stones, built up a spiritual 
house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacri- 
fice, acceptable to God, by Jesus Christ.' You are 
' bom again, not of corruptible seed, but of 



incorruptible/ and are ^made meet to be partakers of 
the inheritance of the saints in light.* God hath ^ de- 
livered you from the power of darkness, and trans^ 
lated you into the kingdom of his dear Son, in whom 
you have redemption through his blood, the remis- 
sion of sins.' — * The Spirit itself beareth witness 
with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 
and if children, then heirs ; heirs of God, and joint 
heirs with Christ.' — ' All things shall work togedier 
for your good.' — ' He that spared not his own Son, 
but gave him up for us all, how shall he not with him 
also freely give us all things?' Nothing but the 
illuminated soul can discern ' the riches of the glory 
of God's inheritance in the saints, and what is the 
exceeding greatness of his power to usward who be< 
lieve, according to the working of his mighty power/ 
^ When we were dead in sins, he hath quickened 
us together with Christ, and hath raised us up 
together, and made us sit together in heavenly 
places in Christ Jesus ; that in the ages to come he 
might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his 
kindness towards us through Jesus Christ^' He 
hath * brought us nigh that were far off,' so that 
' by one Spirit we have access to the Father by 
Christ ; and are now no more strangers and foreign- 
ers, but fellow-citizens of the saints, and of the 
household of God.'— ^^ We are members of the body 
of Christ; we are come to Mount Zion, and unto 
the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, 
and an innumerable company of angels, to the ge- 
neral assembly and church of the first-born, which 
are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, 


and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to 
Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant.' 

Brethren, shall the Lord speak all this, and more 
than this, in the Scripture, of your glory, and will 
you not prove yourselves glorious, and study to 
make good this precious word? Doth he say, * The 
righteous is more excellent than his neighbour,' and 
will you not study to shew yourselves more excel- 
lent indeed ? ShaU all these high things be spoken 
of you, and will you live so far below them all? 
What a heinous wrong is this to God ! He sticks 
not in boasting of you, to call you ^ his jewels ;' and 
tells the world he will make them one day discern 
the * difierence between the righteous and the 
wicked, between him that serveth God, and him 
that serveth him not' He tells the world, that his 
coming in judgment will be ' to be glorified in his 
saints, and to be admired in them that believe.' It 
18 openly professed by the Apostle John, * We know 
that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in 
^ckedness.' He challengeth any * to condemn you, 
or lay any thing to your charge,' professing that it 
is he * that justifieth you ;' casting the saints into 
admiration by his love — * What shall we say to these 
things ? If God be for us, who can be against us?' 
He challengeth * tribulation, distress, persecution, 
fiunine, or nakedness, peril or sword, to separate 
you if they can from the love of God.' He chal- 
lengeth ' death and life, angels, principalities, and 
powers, things present, and things to come, height 
and depth, or any other creature, to separate you,* 
if they are t^ble, ' from the love of God in Christ 


Jesus our Lord.* Shall the Lord of heaven thus 
make his boast of you to all the world, and will you 
not make good his boasting? Yea, I must tell you, 
he will see that it be made good to a word ! — ^and if 
you be not careful of it yourselves, and it be not 
made good in you, then you are not the people that 
God thus boasteth of. He tells the greatest perse* 
cutors to their faces, that the meek, the humble^ 
' little ones ' of his flock, ^ have their angels beholding 
the face of God in heaven ;' and that, at the great 
and dreadful day of judgment, they shall be set ' at 
his riirht hand' as his sheep, with a ^ Come ye blessed, 
inherit the kingdom/ when others are set at his left 
hand as goats, with a ^ Go, ye cursed, mto everlasting 
fire.' He tells the world, that * he that receiveth' a 
converted man, that is become as ' a little child, re* 
ceiveth Christ himself:' and that, * whosoever shall 
offend one of these little ones that believe in him, it 
were better for him that a millstone were hanged about 
his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.* 
O, sirs! must God be thus wonderfully tender of 
you, and will you not now be very tender of his in* 
terest and your duty ? Shall he thus difference you 
from all the rest of the world, and will you not study 
to declare the difference ? The ungodly even gnash 
the teeth at ministers, and Scriptures, and Christ 
himself, for making such a difierence between them 
and you ; and will you not let them see that it is 
not without cause ? I intreat you, I require you> 
in the name of God, see that you answer these 
high commendations, and shew us that God hath 
not boasted of you beyond your worth* 


(9.) Consider this as the highest motive of all I 
God doth not only magnify you and boast of you ; 
but also he hath made you the living images of his 
blessed self, his Son Jesus Christy his Spirit and 
bis holy word; and so he hath exposed himself, 
his Son, his Spirit and his word, to be censured by 
the world, according to your lives. 

The * express image of the Father's person is the 
Son.^ The Son is declared to the world by the 
Holy Ghost, The Holy Ghost hath mdited the 
holy Scriptures, which, therefore, bear the image of 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This holy word, 
both ^ law and promise,' is ^ written on your hearts^ 
and put into your inner parts,' by the same Spirit. 
So that as God hath imprinted His holy nature in 
the Scriptures, so hath He made this word the seal, 
to imprint again His image on your hearts. And 
you know that common eyes can better discern the 
image in the wax than on the seal. Though I 
know that the hardness of the wax, or something 
lying between, or the imperfect application, may 
cause an imperfection in the image on the wax, 
when yet the image on the seal is perfect. And, 
therefore, the world hath no just cause to censure 
God, or Christ, or the Spirit, or the word, to be im- 
perfect, because that you are so ; but yet they will do 
it, and their temptation is great. O sirs, how would 
your prince take it of you, or how would your poorest 
friend take it of you, if you should hang forth a 
cteformed picture of them, to the view of all that 
shall pass by : and should represent them as blind, 
or l^rous, or lame, wanting a leg, or an arm, or an 


eye ? Would they not say that you unworthily ex- 
posed them to scorn ? So, if you will take on you 
to be the living images of God, of Christ, of the 
Spirit, and the word; and yet will be blind, and 
worldly, and passionate, and proud, and unruly, 
and obstinate ; or lazy and negligent, and little dif- 
fering from those that bear the image of the devil : 
what do you but proclaim that the image of God, 
and of Satan and the world, do but little difier? 
and, that God is thus unrighteous and unholy a$ 
you are ? 

(10.) Lastly, consider, ' that the faithful servants 
of Christ are few ; and, therefore, if those few disr 
honour him, and prove not fast to him ; what do 
you but provoke him to forsake all the world,' and 
make an end of all the sons of men. It is but ^ a 
little flock to whom he will give the kingdom.* It 
is but a few from whom God expecteth any great 
matter : and shall those few prove deceitful to him? 
It must be you or none that must honour the 
gospel, you or none that must be exemplary to the 
world ; and shall it be none at all ? shall all the 
workmanship of God abuse him ? shall he have no 
honour from any inferior creature ? how can you 
then expect that he should preserve the world? 
For will he be at so much care to keep up a world 
to dishonour and abuse him ? If the turning of men's 
hearts prevent it not, he would come and ^ smite 
the earth with a curse.' For the * land that beareth 
tliorns and briars, is rejected, and is nigh unto 
cursing, whose end is to be burned.' ^ If, therefore, 
Israel play the harlot, yet let not Judah sin/ If 


the vessels of wrath prepared to destruction, will be 
blind, and sensual, and filthy still, yet let pollution 
be &r firom the sanctified. ' Such were some of you, 
but ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are jus- 
tified,' O let the Lord be magnified in His saints. 
Blot not out his image. Receive not his impressions 
defectively, and by the halves. Let the name of the 
most Holy One be written in your very foreheads. 
O that you would be so tender of the honour of the 
Lord, and shine forth so brightly in holiness and 
righteousness ; that he that runs might read whose 
servants you are, and know the image and super- 
scription of God upon the face of your conversa- 
tions ! that, as clearly as light is seen in and from 
the sun, and the power, and wisdom, and goodness 
of God is seen in the frame of the creation and of 
Scripture, so might the same shine forth in you : 
that you might * be holy as God is holy,' and ^ per- 
fect as your Heavenly Father is perfect ;' that they 
that would know God may see him in his saints, 
where his image is, or should be so lively and dis- 
cernible. And they that cannot read and understand 
the Scripture, or the works of creation, or disposing 
Providence ; may read and understand the holy and 
heavenly representations of your lives. 

Men are apt to look afler images of the Godhead, 
because they are carnal, and far from God. O you 
that are appointed to bear his image, see that you 
so represent him to the eyes of the world, as may 
be to his glory, and not to his dishonour, and 
take not the name of God in vain ! 

It is so desirable for God, and for the church, 


83 DntEcnoNs for w£ak christians. 

and for your own peace and happiness^ that Chris* 
tians should grow up to a ripeness in grace, and be 
rooted, built up, confirmed, and abound, according 
to my text; that it hath drawn out fiK>m me all 
diese words of exhortation thereunto. Though one 
would think, that to men of such holy principles 
and experience, it should be more than needs. But 
if all will but senre to awaken the weak to a diligent 
progress, I shall be glad, and have my end. The 
great matter that I intended, when I began this 
discourse, is yet behind; and that is, the giving 
you such directions as may tend to your confirma- 
tion and perseverance ; which I shall now proceed 
to: but I intreat every reader that hath any spark 
of grace in his soul, that he will resolve to put these 
^directions in practice, and turn them not off with 
a bare perusal, or approbation. Let me reap but 
thus much fruit of all my foregoing exhortations, 
and I shall not think my labour lost. 






Be sure thai the foundation be well laid, both in 
yowr heads and hearts; or else you can never 
attain to confirmation, nor be savingly built up. 

To this end you must know what the foundation 
189 and how it must be soundly laid. The founda- 
ticm hath two parts or respects, according to the 
&culties of the soul where it must be laid. . The 
first is the truth of the doctrine and matter, and the 
second is the goodness of it. As true, the founda- 
tion is laid in our understandings ; as good, it is 
laid in the will. Concerning both these we must, 
therefore, first consider of the matter of the founda- 
tion, and then, of the manner how that must be 
received or laid. And the foundadon is that matter, 
or object, of our faith, and hope, and love, which is 
essential to a Christian : that is, to the Christian 
saving faith, hope, and love. This hath been 
always contained in our baptism ; because baptising 
us, is making us visible Christians, or the solemn 
entrance into the state of Christianity. As therefore 



we are baptised into the name of the Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost, renouncing the flesh, the 
world, and the devil: so the doing of this un- 
feignedly, without equivocation, according to the 
Scripture sense of the words, is the essence of 
Christianity, or the right laying of the foundation. 
So that the foundation principle, or fundamental 
matter, is God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 
The secondary foundation, or fundamental doctrine, 
is those Scripture propositions that express our 
faith in God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost 
When we name the three persons as the object of 
the Christian faith, we express names of relation, 
which contain both the persons, nature, and offices, 
or undertaken works : without either of which, Go4 
were not God, and Christ were not Christ, and the 
Holy Ghost were not, in the sense of our articles 
of faith, the Holy Ghost. As we must, therefore, 
believe, that there is one only God ; so we must 
believe that God the Father is the first in the Holy 
Trinity of persons : that the whole Godhead is per- 
fect and infinite in being, and power, and wisdom, 
and goodness, (in which all his attributes are com- 
prehended; but yet a distinct understanding of them 
all, is not of absolute necessity to salvation.) That 
this God is the creator, preserver, and disposer of 
all things, and the owner and ruler of mankind, 
most just, and merciful : that as he is the beginning 
of all, so he is the ultimate end, and the chief good 
of man, which, before all things else, must be loved 
and sought. This is to be believed concerning the 
Godhead, and the Father in person. Concerning 


the Son, we must moreover believe, that he is the 
same God with the father, the second person in 
Trinity, incarnate, and so become man, by a personal 
union of the Godhead and manhood : that he was 
without original or actual sin, having a sinless 
nature, and a sinless life : that he fulfilled all 
righteousness, and was put to death as a sacrifice 
for our sins, and gave himself a ransom for us ; and 
being buried, he rose again from the dead, and 
afterward ascended into heaven, where he is Lord 
df all, and intercedeth for believers : that he will 
come again and raise the dead, and judge the 
world, the righteous to everlasting life, and the 
wicked to everlasting punishment : that this is the 
only Redeemer, the Way, the Truth, and the Life; 
neither is there access to the Father but by him, 
nor salvation in any other. Concerning the Holy 
Ghost, we must believe that he is the same one 
God, the third person in Trinity, sent by the 
Father and the Son, to inspire the prophets and 
apostles ; and that the doctrine inspired and mira- 
culously attested by him is true: that he is the 
sanctifier of those that shall be saved, renewing them 
after the image of God in holiness and righteous- 
ness, giving them true repentance, faith, hope, love, 
^d sincere obedience ; causing them to overcome 
the fiesh, the world, and the devil ; thus gathering 
a holy church on earth to Christ, who have by his 
blood the pardon of all their sins, and shall have 
everlasting blessedness with God. 

This is the essence of the Christian faith as to 
the matter of it As to the manner of receiving it 


by the understanding, 1. It must be received as 
certain truth of God's revelation, upon the credit of 
his word, by a lively efiectual belief; piercing so 
deep, as is necessary for its prevalency with the will. 
2. And it must be entirely received, and not only a 
part of it : though all men have not so exactly 
formed distinct apprehensions of every member of 
this belief, as some have, yet all true ChristiaBS 
have a true apprehension of them. We feel by 
daily experience, that with the wisest, some matter^ 
are truly understood by us ; which yet are not so 
distinctly and clearly understood, as to be ready {ot 
an expression. I have oft, in matters that I am 
but studying, a light that gives me a general, im- 
perfect, but true conception, which I cannot yet 
express ; but when another hath helped me to form 
my conception, I can quickly and truly say, that 
was it that I had an unformed apprehension of 
before, and it that I meant, but could not utter { 
not so much for want of words, as for want of a fidl 
and distinct conception. 

The matter of our Christianity to be received 
by the will, is as foUoweth. As we must consent to 
all the forementioned truths, by the belief of the 
understanding, so the pure Godhead must be re^ 
ceived as the fountain, and our end: the Father^ 
as our owner, ruler, and benefactor, on the title 
of creation and redemption; and as our everlast^ 
ing happiness. The Son, as our only Saviour 
by redemption, bringing us pardon, reconciliation^ 
holiness, and glory ; and delivering us from sin and 
Satan, and the wrath and curse of God, and from 


hell. The Holy Ghost as our guide and sanctifier. 
All which containeth our renouncing the flesh, the 
worldy and the devil, and carnal self, that is the 
point of their unity, and the heart of the old man. 
This is the good that must be embraced, or ac- 
cepted by the will. 

And secondly, as to the manner of receiving it, 
it must l^ done unfeignedly, resolvedly, unre* 
servedly, or absolutely, and habitually, by an in* 
ward covenanting of the heart, as I have formerly 
explained it And this is the essence of Christianity; 
this is true believing in God, the Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost ; this is the foundation, and this is the 
right laying of it. 

And now the thing that I am persuading you to 
18 to see that this foundation be surelv laid, in 
head and heart. 

And 1. That it may be surely laid in the head, 
you must labour; 1. To understand these articles. 
And 2. To see the evidence of their verity, that you 
may firmly believe them. And 3. To consider of 
the worth and necessity of the matter revealed in 
them, that your judgments may most highly esteem 
it. This is the sure laying the foundation in the head. 

To these ends you should first learn some cate- 
chism, and be well acquainted with the principles of 
reUgion ; and also, be much in reading or hearing 
the holy Scriptures, and inquiring of your teachers 
and others that can help you: and see that you 
take your work before you, and step not higher till 
this be done : and then, all other following truths, 
and duties, and promised benefits, must all be so 


learnt as to be built upon this foundation, and 
joined to it, as receiving their life and strength from 
hence ; and never looked upon as separated from 
this ; nor as more excellent and necessary. 

For want of learning well, and believing soundly, 
these principles, essentials, or fundamentals of 
Christianity, some of our people can go no further, 
but stand all their days in their ignorance, at a 
nonplus : some of them go on in a blind profession, 
deceiving themselves, by building upon the sand, 
and hold true doctrine by a false unsound belief of 
it : and when the floods and storms do beat upon 
their building, it falls, and great is the fall thereof 
With some of them it falls upon the first assault of 
any seducer that hath interest in them, or advantage 
on them ; and abundance swallow up errors, be- 
cause they never well understood, or firmly be- 
lieved fundamental truths. With others of them, 
the building falls not until death, because they lived 
not under any shaking temptations. But it being 
but a perseverance in an unsound profession, will 
nevertheless be ineffectual to their salvation. 

2. When you have thus laid the foundation in 
your understanding, be sure, above all, that it be 
firmly laid in your heart or will. Take heed lest 
you should prove false and unsteadfast in the holy 
covenant ; and lest you should take in the word but 
into the surface of the soul, and not give it depth of 
earth and rooting; and lest you should come to 
Christ but as a servant upon trial, without making 
an absolute resignation of yourselves to him ; of 
which I warned you in the former directions. 



O ! this is it that makes our people fall so fast in 
a day of trial ; some shrink in adversity ; and some 
are enticed away by prosperity : greatness and 
honour deceiveth one^ and riches run away with 
another, and fleshly pleasure poisons a third ; and 
his conscience, religion, salvation, and all, he sacri- 
ficeth to his belly, and swalloweth it down his 
throat ; and all the love and goodness of God, the 
blood of Christ, the workings of the Spirit, the 
precepts, and promises, and threatenings of the 
word, and the joy and torments which once they 
seemed to believe, all are forgotten, or have lost 
their force : and all because the foundation was not 
laid well at the first. But because this was the 
very business of the former directions, I will dis* 
miss it now. 


Think not that all is done when once you are 
converted; but remember that the work of your 
Christianity then comes in, and must be as long as 
the time of your lives. 

Of this, also, I shall say but little, because it is 
the drift of all the moving considerations before- 
going. I doubt it is the undoing of many, to ima- 
gine, that if once they are sanctified, they are so sure 
in the hands of Christ, that they have no more care 
to take, nor no more danger to be afraid of, and at 
last think that they have no more to do as of neces- 
sity to salvation ; and thus prove that indeed they 


were never sanctified. I confess, when a man is 
truly converted, the principal part of his danger is 
over : he is safe in the love and care of Christ, and 
none can take him out of his hands. But this is 
but part of the truth ; the other part must be taken 
with it, or we deceive ourselves. There is still a 
great deal of work before us, and holiness is still the 
way to happiness ; and much care and diligence is 
required at our hands: and it is no more certain 
that we shall be saved by Christ, than it is that we 
shall be kept in faith, and love, and holy obedience 
by him. It is as true that none can separate us 
firom the love of God, and firom a care to please 
him, and firom a holy diUgence in the work of our 
salvation, as that none can take us out of his hands, 
and bring us into a state of condemnation. He thai 
is resolved to bring us to glory, is as much resolved 
to bring us to it by perseverance in holiness and 
diligent obedience ; for he never decreeth one with- 
out the other; and he will never save us by any 
other way. 

Indeed, when we are converted, we have escaped 
many and grievous dangers ; but yet there are many 
more before us, which we must by care and diligence 
escape. We are translated firom death to life, but 
not firom earth to heaven. We have the life of 
grace, but yet we are short of the life of glory. 
And why have we the life of grace, but to use it 
and to live by it? Why came we into the vineyard, 
but to work ? And why came we into the army of 
Christ, but to fight ? Why came we into the race, 
but to run for the prize ? — or why turned we into 


the right way^ but to travel in it ? We never did 
God fidthiiil service till the day of our conversion, 
and then it is that we begin ; — ^and shall we be so sot- 
tish as to think we have done, when we have but 
b^un ? Now you begin to live, that before were 
dead ; — ^now you begin to awake, that were before 
asleep; — and therefore now you should begin to 
work, that before did nothing, or rather a thousand- 
fold worse than nothing. Work is the efiect of Ufe ; 
- — ^it is the dead that lie still in darkness, i^nd do 
nothing : if you had rather be alive than dead, you 
should rather delight in action than in idleness. It 
b now that you set sail, and begin your voyage for 
the blessed land; — ^many a storm, and wave, and 
tempest, must you yet expect ; — many a combat with 
temptations must you undergo; — many a hearty 
prayer have you yet to pour forth; — ^many and 
many a duty to perform to God and man. Thiiik 
not to have done your care and work till you have 
done your lives ; — whether, you come in at the first 
hour, or at the last, you must work till night, if you 
will receive your wages. And think not this a 
grievous doctrine. It is your privilege ; it is your 
joy, your earthly happiness, that you may be so em- 
ployed; that you, that till now have lived like 
swine, or moles, or earthly vermin, may now take 
wing and fly to God, and walk in heaven, and talk 
with saints, and be guarded by angels ; — ^is this a life 
to be accounted grievous ? Now you begin to come 
to yourselves ; to understand what you have to do 
in the world ; to live like men, that you may live 
like angels : and, therefore, now you should begin 


accordingly to bestir you. I would not have you 
retain the same measure of fears of God*s displea- 
sure, nor the same apprehensions of your misery, 
nor the doubts and perplexities of mind which you 
were under at your first conversion ; for these were 
occasioned by the passage in your change ; and the 
weakness of your grace in that beginning, and your 
former folly, made them necessary for a time : but I 
would have you retain your fear of sinning, and be 
much more in the love of God, and in his service^ 
than you were at first. Temptations will haunt yoo 
to the last hour of your lives ; if, therefore, you 
would not fall by these temptations, you must watdi 
and pray to the last. Give not over watching till 
Satan give over tempting, and watehing advantages 
i^ainst you. The promise is still but on conditiooi 
that you persevere and abide in Christ, and continue 
rooted and steadfast in the faith, and overcome and 
be faithful to the death, as you may see in John xv. 
throughout; Johnviii. 31.; Rev. ii. andiii. ; CoLi. 
22, 23. ' Work out,' therefore, * your salvation 
with fear and trembling.' If you have begun re- 
solvedly, proceed resolvedly. It is the undoing of 
men's souls to think that all the danger is over, and 
to lose their apprehensions of it, when they are jret 
but in the way; — when their care and holy fears 
abate, their watch goes down, the soul is laid open 
as a common wilderness, and made a prey to every 
lust And therefore, still know, your work is not 
done till your life be done. 



Be sure thai you understand wherein your esta- 
blishment and growth consistethy that you may not 
miscarry by seeking somewhat else instead of it: 
nor think you ftave it when you have it not ; or 
that you want it, when you have it, and so be 
needlessly disquieted about it. 

For your assistance in this, I shall Airther shew 
you wherein your confirmation and growth consist- 
eth in its several parts, both as it is subjected or 
exercised in your understandings, your wills and 
iifiections, and your conversations. 

I. As holiness is in the understanding, it is com- 
monly in Scripture called * light' and ' knowledge/ 
as comprehending the several parts. And the con- 
firmation and growth of this must consist in these 
seven following parts : — 

K It is ordinary with new converted Christians 
to see the great essential truths of the Christian 
profession with a great imperfection, as to the evi- 
dences that discover them. Either they see but 
some of the solid evidence, overlooking much more 
than they see ; or, more usually, they receive the 
truth itself upon some low insufficient evidence at 
first, and then proceed to a kind of mixture, taking 
it upon some evidences that are valid and sufficient, 
and joining some that are invalid with them. But 
you must grow beyond this infancy of understand- 
ing : when you see greater and sounder evidences 


for the truth than you did before ; and when you see 
more of these soUd evidences, and leave not out so 
many as you did ; and when you lay smaller stress 
upon the smaller evidences, and none upon those 
that are invalid, and indeed no evidences, then are 
your understandings more confirmed in the truth ; 
and this is a principal part of their growth. So we 
find the Samaritans of Sychar : ' Many of them 
believed on him for the saying of the woman, which 
testified, He told me all that ever I did.' (This was 
the first fciith upon a weaker evidence.) * And many 
more believed, because of his own words, and said 
unto the woman. Now we believe, not because of 
thy saying, for we have heard him ourselves, and 
know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of 
<the world.' Here is a notabl^ confirmatiim and 
growth, by believing and knowing the same thing 
which they believed before ; — it was before believed 
on weaker evidence, and now upon stronger. Thus 
Nathaniel by Philip's persuasion was drawn lo 
Christ ; but when he perceived his omniscience, that 
he knew the heart, and things that were distant and 
out of the reach of common knowledge, he is con- 
firmed, and saith, ^ Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, 
thou art the King of Israel.' And yet Christ tdleth 
him that there were far greater evidences yet to be 
revealed, which might beget a more confirmed, 
stronger faith : ' Because I said unto thee, I saw 
thee under the fig-tree, believest thou ? Thou sfaalt 
see greater things than these : verily, verily, I say 
unto you, hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and 
the angels of God ascending and descending up<m 


the Son of man.' There is not one Christian, of 
many thousands, that at first hath a full sight of the 
solid evidences of the Christian doctrine ; but must 
grow more and more in discerning those reasons for 
the truth which he believeth, which in the begin- 
ning he did not well discern. It is not the most 
confident belief that is always the strongest con- 
firmed belief; but there must be sound grounds and 
evidence to support that confidence, or else the con- 
fidence may soon be shaken ; and is not sound even 
while it seems unshaken. And here young begin- 
ners must be forewarned of a most dangerous snare 
of the deceiver ; because at first the truth itself is 
commonly received upon feeble and defective grounds 
or evidence. It is the custom of the devil, and his 
deceiving instruments, to shew the young Christian 
the weakness of those grounds, and thence to con- 
clude that his cause is naught : for it is too easy to 
persuade such that the cause hath no better grounds 
than they have seen ; for having not seen any better, 
they can have no particular knowledge of them. 
And they are too apt to think over highly of their 
knowledge, as if there were no more reasons for the 
troth than they themselves have reached to, and 
Otheir men did see no more than they. And thus 
poor souls forsake the truth, which they should be 
built up and confirmed in; and take that for a rea- 
son against the truth which is but a proof of their 
own infirmity. I meet with very few that turn to 
any heresy or sect, but this is the cause : they were 
at first of the right mind, but not upon sound 
and well-laid grounds; but held the truth upon 


insufficient reasons ; and then comes some deceiver, 
and beats them out of their former grounds^ and so 
having no better, they let go the truth, and conclude 
that they were all this while mistaken. Just as if in 
my infancy I should know my own father only by 
his clothes; and when I grow a little bigger^ one 
should tell me that I was deceived, this is not my 
father, and to convince me should put his clothes 
upon another, or tell me that another may have such 
clothes, and hereupon I should be so foolish as to 
yield that I was mistaken ; and that this man is not 
my father ; as if the thing were false because my 
reasons were insufficient. Or, as if you should ask 
the right way on a journey, and one should tell you, 
that by such and such marks you may know your 
way ; and you think you have found those marks a 
mile or two short of the place where they are : but 
when you understand that those are not the marks 
that you were told of, you turn back again before 
you come at them, and conclude that you have 
missed the way. So is it with these poor deluded 
souls that think all discoveries of their own imper- 
fections, and every confutation of their own silly 
arguments, to be a confutation of the truths of God, 
which they did hold: when, alas, a strong well- 
grounded Christian would make nothing of defend- 
ing the cause which they give up, against more 
strong and subtle enemies ; or, at least, would hold 
it fast themselves. Well ! this is the first part of 
your growth in knowledge, when you can see more or 
better evidences for the great truths of Christianity, 
than you saw before. 


2, Moreover^ you must grow to a clearer appre- 
hension of the very same reasons and evidences of 
the truth, which you saw before. For when a weak 
Christian hath the best arguments and grounds in 
the world, yet he hath so dim a sight of them, that 
makes them find the slighter entertainment in his 
afl^tions. The best reason in the world can work 
but little on him that hath but a little understand- 
ing of it There are various degrees of knowledge, 
not only of one and the same truth, because of the 
diversity of evidence, but of one and the same 
evidence and reason of that truth. I can well re- 
member myself, that I have many a year had a 
common argument for some weighty truth, and I 
have made use of it, and thought it good, but yet 
had but little apprehension of the force of it : and 
many years after, a sudden light hath given me (in 
my studies) so clear an apprehension of the force of 
that same argument which I knew so long, as that 
it hath exceedingly confirmed and satisfied me more 
than ever I was before. I beseech you. Christians, 
consider of this weighty truth : it is not the know- 
ledge of the truth that will serve your turns, with- 
out a true and solid knowledge of that truth : nor 
is it the hearing or understanding of the best 
grounds, and reasons, or proofs, in the world, that 
will serve the turn, unless you have a deep and 
solid apjHvhension of those proofs and reasons. A 
man that hath the best arguments, may forsake the 
truth, because he hath not a good understanding of 
those arguments : as a man that hath the best 
weapons in the world may be killed, for want of 



strength and skill to use them. I tell you, if you 
knew every truth in the Bible^ you may grow much 
in knowledge of the very same truths which you 

3. Moreover, a young ungrounded Christian 
when he seeth all the fundamental truths, and seeth 
good evidence and reasons of them, perhaps, may 
be yet ignorant of the right order and place of 
every truth. Its a rare thing to have young pro- 
fessors to understand the necessary truths metho- 
dically; and this is a very great defect. For a 
great part of the usefulness and excellency of par- 
ticular truths consisteth in the respect they have to 
one another. This, therefore, will be a considerable 
part of your confirmation and growth in your un- 
derstandings ; to see the body of Christian doctrine 
as it were at one view, as the several parts of it are 
united in one perfect frame; and to know what 
aspect one point hath upon another ; and which are 
their due -places. There is a great difference be- 
tween the sight of the several parts of a clock or 
watch, as they are disjointed and scattered about, 
and the seeing of them conjoined, and in use and 
motion. To see here a pin, and there a wheel, and 
not know how to set them all together, nor ever see 
them in their due places, will give but little satisfac- 
tion. It is the frame and design of- holy doctrine 
that must be known, and every part should be dis- 
cerned as it hath its particular use to that design, 
and as it is connected with the other parts. By 
this means only can the true nature of theology, 
together with the harmony and perfection of truths 


be clearly understood. And every single truth also, 
will be much better perceived, by him that seeth its 
place and order, than by any other. For one truth 
exceedingly illustrates and leads in another into our 
understanding. Nay, more than so, your own hearts 
and lives will not be well ordered if the method or 
order of the trtiths received should be mistaken. 
For the truths of God are the very instruments of 
your sanctification, which is nothing but their effects 
upon your understandings and wills as they are set 
home by the Holy Ghost. Truths are the seal, and 
your souls are the wax, and holiness is the impres- 
sion made. If you receive but some truths, you 
will have but some part of the due impression: 
nay, indeed, they are so coherent, and make up the 
sense by their necessary conjunction, that you can- 
not receive any one of them, sincerely, without re- 
ceiving every one that is of the essence of the 
Christian belief. And if you receive them disor- 
derly, the image of them on your souls will be as 
disorderly as if your bodily members were mon- 
strously misplaced. Study therefore to grow in the 
more methodical knowledge of the same truths 
which you have received ; and though you are not 
yet ripe enough to discern the whole body of theo- 
logy in due method, yet see so much as you have 
attained to know, in the right order and placing of 
every part. As in anatomy it is hard for the wisest 
physician to discern the course of every branch of 
veins and arteries, but yet they may easily discern 
the place and order of the principal parts, and 
greater vessels ; so it is in divinity, where no man 



hath a perfect view of the whole, till he come 
to the state of perfection with God; but every 
true Christian hath the knowledge of all the 
essentials, and may know the order and places of 
them all. 

4. Another part of your confirmation and growth 
in understanding, is in discerning the same truths 
more practically than you did before, and perceiving 
the usefulness of every truth for the doing of its 
work on your hearts and lives. It was never the 
will of God that bare speculation should be the end 
of his revelations, or of our belief. Divinity is an 
effective practical science, therefore must truths be 
known and believed, that the good may be received, 
and a holy change may be made by them on the 
heart and life. Even the doctrine of the Trinity 
itself is practical, and the fountain of that which is 
more easily discerned to be practical. There is not 
one article of our faith but hath a special work to do 
upon our hearts and lives, — and therefore a special 
fitness for that work. Now the understandings of 
young Christians do discern many truths, when they 
see but little of the work to be done by them, or of 
the special usefulness of those truths to those works. 
This, therefore, must be your daily inquiry ; and in 
this you must grow — as, if you come into a work- 
man's shop, and see a hundred tools about you, it is 
a small matter to discern the shape and fashion of 
them, and what mettle they are made of. But you 
will further ask. What is this tool to do, and what 
is that to do ? If ever you will learn the trade, you 
must know the use of every tool. So must you, if 


you will be skilful Christians, be acquainted with 
the use of the truths which you have 'received ; — 
and know, that this truth is to do this work, and 
that truth to do that work, upon the soul and life. 
A husbandman may know as many herbs, and flow- 
ers, and fruits, as a physician, and be able to tell 
them all by name, and say this is such an herb, and 
that is such a one, and to perceive the shape and 
beauty of them. But he knows little or nothing 
that they are good for, unless to feed his cattle ; 
whereas the physician can tell you that this herb is 
good against this disease, and that herb against 
another disease, and can make use of those same 
herbs to save men's lives, which other men tread 
under foot as useless. A countryman may see the 
names that are written on the apothecary's boxes, 
but it is the physician that knows the medicinal use 
of the drugs ; so many men that are unsanctified 
may know the outside of holy doctrine, that little 
know what use is to be made of it ; and the weak 
Christian knows less of this than the grown con- 
firmed Christian doth. Learn, therefore, every day 
more and more, to know what every truth is good 
for — ^that this is for the exercise and strengthening 
of such a grace, and this is good against such or 
such a disease of the soul. Every leaf in the Bible 
hath a healing virtue in it ; they are the leaves of 
the * Tree of Lifip ;' every sentence is good for some- 
thing : * All scripture is given by inspiration of God, 
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for cor- 
rection, for instruction in righteousness, that the 
man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished 


unto all good works.' 2 Tim. iii. 16, 17. Not a 
word is without its usefulness. 

5. Moreover, you must grow, not only in know- 
ing the usefulness of truths, but also in knowing 
how to use them, that you may have the benefit of 
that worth that is in them. Many a man knows 
what use a workman's tools are for, that yet knows 
not how himself to use them; and many a one 
knows the use and virtue of herbs and drugs that 
knows not how to make a medicine of them, and 
compound and apply them. There is much skill* to 
be used in knowing the seasons of application, and 
the measure, and what is fit for one, and what for 
another, that we may make that necessary variation 
which diversity of conditions doth require. As it is a 
work of skill in the.pastors of the church to * divide 
the word of God aright,' and * speak a word in season 
to the weary,' and * give the children their meat in 
due season,' so is it also a work of skill to do this 
for yourselves, to know what scripture it is that doth 
concern you ; and when, and in what measure, to 
apply it ; and in what order, and with what advan- 
tages or correctives, to use it, as may be most for 
your own good. You may grow in this skill as long 
as you live — even in ynderstanding how to use the 
same truths which you have long known. O what 
excellent Christians should we be, if we had but 
this holy skill, and hearts to use it ! We have * the 
whole armour of God' to put on and use — but all 
the matter is how to use it. The same * sword of 
the Spirit,' in the hand of a strong and skilful 
Christian, may do very much, which, in the hand of 


a young unskilful Christian, will do very little, and 
next to nothing. A young raw physician may know 
the same medicines as an able experienced physi- 
cian doth — ^but the great difference lieth in the skill 
to use them. This is what must make you rich in 
grace^ when you increase in the skilful use of truths. 
6. Moreover, your understandings may be much 
advanced, by knowing the same truths more expe- 
rimentally than you did before : I mean such truths 
as are capable of experimental knowledge. Expe- 
perience giveth us a far more satisfactory manner of 
knowledge than others have, that have no such ex- 
perience. To know by hearsay is like the knowing 
of a country in a map ; and to know by experience 
is like the knowing of the same country by sight. 
An experienced navigator, or soldier, or physician, 
or governor, hath another manner of knowledge 
than the most learned can have without experience; 
even a knowledge that confirmeth a man, and makes 
him confident. Thus may you daily increase in 
knowledge about the same points that you knew 
long ago. When you have ^tasted and seen that 
the Lord is gracious,* you will know him more ex- 
perimentally than you did before ; — when you have 
tasted the sweetness of the promise, and of pardon 
of sin, and peace with God, and the hopes of glory, 
you will have a more experimental knowledge of 
the riches of grace than you had before ; — and when 
you have lived a while in communion with Christ 
and the siunts, and walked awhile with God in a 
heavenly conversation, and maintained your inte- 
grity, and kept yourselves unspotted of the world, 


you will then know the nature and worth of holi- 
ness by a knowledge more experimental and satis- 
factory than before. And this is confirmation and 
growth in knowledge. 

7. Moreover, you must labour to grow in a higher 
estimation of the same truths which you knew be- 
fore; and this will be a consequent of the fore- 
mentioned acts. A child that findeth a jewel may 
set by it for its shining beauty, when yet he may 
value it many thousand pounds below its worth. 
You see so much wisdom and goodness in God, the 
first hour of your new life, as causeth you to prefer 
him before the world ; — and you see so much neces- 
sity of a Saviour, so much love and mercy in Jesus 
Christ, as draweth up your hearts to him ; — and you 
see so much certainty and glorious excellency of 
the life to come, as makes you value it even more 
than your lives. But yet there is in all these such 
an unsearchable treasure, that you can never value 
them near their worth ; — ^for all that thou hast seen 
of God, and Christ, and glory, there is a thousand 
times more excellency in them yet to be discerned ; 
— for all the beauty thou hast seen in holiness, it is 
a thousand-fold more beautiful than ever thou didst 
apprehend it ; — ^for all the evil thou hast seen in sin, 
it is a thousand-fold worse than ever thou didst per» 
ceive it to be. So that if you should live a thousand 
years, you might still be growing in your estimation 
of those things which you knew the first day of 
your true conversion ; — for the deeper you dig into 
this precious mine the greater riches will still appear 
to you. There is an ocean of excellency in one. 


article of your belief, and you will never find the 
banks or bottom till you come to heaven, and 
then you will find that it had neither banks nor 

And thus I have shewed you what confirmation 
and growth is needfiil for your understandings, even 
about the very same truths which at first you knew. 
And now I shall add — 

8. You must also labour to understand more 
truths for number than at the first you understood, 
and to reach to as much of the revealed will of God 
as you can, and not to stop in the mere essentials.^ 
For all divine revelations are precious, and of great 
use ; and none must be neglected. And the know- 
ledge of many other truths is of some necessity to 
our clear understanding of the essentials ; and also 
to our holding them fast, and practising them. ^ Se- 
cret things belong to God, but things revealed, to us, 
and to our children.* 

But here I must give you this further advice : — 
1. That you proceed in due order, from the funda- 
mental points to those that lie next them ; and do 
not overpass the points of next necessity and weight, 
and go to higher and less needful matters, before 
you are ready for them. 2. And also see that you 
receive all following truths that are taught you, as 
flowing from the foundation, and conjoined with it. 
Disorderly proceedings have unspeakably wronged 
the souls of many thousands, when they are pre- 
sently upon controversies and smaller matters, be- 
fore they understand abundance of more necessary 
things that must be first understood. This course 



doth make them lose their labour, and worse; — ^it 
deceiveth the understanding instead of informing it; 
and thereupon it perverts the will itself, and turns 
men to an heretical, proud, or perverse frame of 
spirit ; and then it must needs mislead their prac-- 
tices, and cause them, like deluded men, to be 
zealous in doing mischief while they think they are 
doing good. In common matters you can see, that 
you must learn and do things in their due order, or 
else you will but make fools of yourselves. Will 
you go to the top of the stairs or ladder without 
beginning at the lower steps ? Will you sow your 
ground before you manure or plough it? or can you 
reap before you sow it ? Will you ride your colt 
before you break him? Will you rear an house 
before you frame it ? — or will you teach your chil- 
dren Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin, before they 
learn English ? — or to read the hardest books be- 
fore they learn the easiest ? — or can they read 
before they learn to spell, or know their letters? 
No more can you learn the difficult controversies 
in divinity (as about the exposition of obscure pro- 
phecies or doctrinal doubts), till you have taken up 
before you those many great and necessary truths 
that lie between. It would make a wise man pity 
them, and be ashamed to hear them, when young, 
raw, self-conceited professors will fall into confident 
expositions of Daniel, the Revelations, or the Can- 
ticles, or such like — or into disputes about firee-will, 
or predestination, or about the many controversies 
of the times — when, alas, they are ignorant of a 
hundred truths (about the covenants, justification, 


and the like), which must be known before they can 
reach the rest. 

By this much that I have said already, you may 
understand that, (though we should reach as far as 
we can, in knowing all necessary revealed truths), 
yet, the principal part of your growth in knowledge 
when once you are converted, consisteth, not in 
knowing more than you knew before as to the 
number of truths ; but, in knowing better the very 
same fimdamental truths which you knew at first* 
This is the principal thing that I would here teach 
you. Abundance are deluded by not knowing this. 
You see here you have seven several things in 
which you must daily grow in knowledge about 
the same truths which you first received. 1. You 
must see better and sounder reasons and evidences 
for the fimdamental truths than you saw at first, or 
more such evidences than you did then perceive. 
S. You must grow to a clearer sight or apprehen- 
sion of those same evidences. 3. You must see 
truths more methodically, all, as it were, at one 
view ; and all in their due proportion and place, as 
the members of a well composed body, and how 
they grow together, and what strength one truth 
affi>rds to another. 4. You must see every truth 
more practically than before, and know what use it 
is of for your hearts and lives, and what you must 
do with it. 5. You must learn more skill in the 
using of these truths when you know what they 
are good for, and must be better able to manage 
them, on yourselves and others. 6. You must 
know more experimentally than you did at first 


7. You must grow into a higher esteem of truths. 
All this you have to do, besides your growing in 
the number of truths. And I must tell you, that, 
as it was these essentials of Christianity that were 
the instrumental causes of your first conversion, and 
were more needful and useful to you then, than ten 
thousand others ; so it is the very same points that 
you must always live upon : and, the confirmation 
and growth of your souls in these will be more 
useful to you, than the adding of ten thousand 
more truths which yet you know not ; and, there- 
fore, take this advice, as you love your peace and 
growth. Neglect not to know more, but, bestow 
many and many hours in labouring to know better 
the great truths which you have received, for one 
hour that you bestow in seeking to know more 
truths, which you know not. Believe it, this is the 
safe and thriving way. You know already, that God 
is [ all-sufficient, and infinitely wise, and good, and 
powerful ;' and, you know not, perhaps, the nature 
^f free will, or of God*s decrees of election and re- 
probation, or a hundred the like points. True 
knowledge of any of the revealed things of God is 
very desirable : but yet, I must tell you that you 
are forty times more defective here, in your know- 
ledge of that of God which you do know, than of 
the other which you know not ; that is, the want of 
more degrees of this necessary knowledge is more 
dangerous to your souls, than the total want of the 
less necessary knowledge. And .the addition of 
more degrees to the more needful parts of know- 
ledge, will strengthen and enrich you, more than 


the knowing of less necessary things, which you 
knew not before at all. You know Christ crucified 
already; but, perhaps, you know not certain con- 
troversies about church government, or the defini- 
tions and distinctions of many matters in divinity. 
It will be a greater growth now, to your knowledge, 
to know a little more of Christ crucified, whom you 
know already, than to know these lesser matters, 
which you know not yet at all. If you had already, 
a hundred pound in gold, and not a penny of silver, 
it will more enrich you to have another purse 
full of gold than a purse fiiU of silver. Trading in 
the richest commodities is liker to raise men to 
great estates, than trading for matters of a smaller 
rate. They that go to the Indies for gold and 
pearl, may be rich, if they get but little in quantity : 
when he may be poor, that brings home ships laden 
with the greatest store of poor commodity. That 
man that hath a double measure of the knowledge 
of God in Christ, and the clearest, and deepest, and 
most effectual apprehensions of the riches of grace, 
and the glory to come; and yet never heard of 
most of the questions in Scotus, or Ockam, or 
Aquinas's sums, is far richer in knowledge, and a 
much wiser man than he that hath those contro- 
versies at his fingers' ends, and yet hath but half 
his clearness and soUdity of the knowledge of God 
and Christ; of grace and glory. There is enough in 
some one of the articles of your faith, in one of God's 
attributes, in one of Christ's benefits, in one of the 
Spirit's graces, to hold you study all your lives, and 
afford you still an increase of knowledge. To know 


God the Father, Son, and Spirit, and their relations 
to you, and operations for you ; and your duties to 
them ; and the way of communion with them, is 
that knowledge in which you must still be growing, 
till it be perfected by the celestial beatifical vision. 
Those be not the wisest men that can answer most 
questions ; but those that have the fullest intellec- 
tual reception of the infinite wisdom. You will 
confess, that he is a wiser man that hath wisdom to 
get and rule a kingdom, than he that hath wit 
enough to talk of a hundred trivial matters which 
the othet is ignorant of. He is the wisest physician 
who can do most to save men's lives ; and, not he 
that can best read a lecture on anatomy, or, is 
readiest in the terms of his art. Knowledge is to 
be esteemed according to the use of it, and the 
dignity of its object: and not according to the 
number and subtlety of notions. And, therefore, I 
beseech you all that are young, and weak in faith, 
take much more pains to grow in the fuller acquaint- 
ance with the same faith which you have received, 
than to be acquainted with smaller controversial 
truths which you n6ver knew. Men used to call 
these higher points, because they are more difficult; 
but, certainly, the articles of your faith are much 
higher in point of excellency, though they are 
lower in the due order of learning them; as the 
foundation is the lowest part of the building, and 
is first laid; but is that which must bear up all 
the rest. 

And here you must observe how gracelessly and 
unlike to Christians, those men speak that say. 


^ they care not for reading such a book, or hearing 
such a minister; because he tells them no more 
than they know already;' and, on that account, 
some of them stay from church, because they hear 
nothing but what they know already. It is a certain 
sign that they do not know already, the blessed nature 
of God, and the riches of Christ, which they say they 
know. For if they did, they could not hear or think 
too much of them. They would long to know more, 
and therefore to hear more of the same things. It 
is a sign the minister takes the course that tends to 
your edification and enriching in knowledge, when he 
is most upon the great and most necessary truths. 
All saints do make it their study to ' comprehend 
the height, and breadth, and length, and depth, and 
know the love of God in Christ ;' but, when they 
have done, they confess that it ' passeth knowledge.* 
It is a graceless wicked soul, in a state of damna- 
tion, that conceits that he knows so much of God 
and Jesus Christ, and the essentials of Christianity, 
that he cares not for hearing these things any 
more; but had rather have novelties, and let 
these alone; and feeleth not need of knowing 
much more, and more of the same truths; and 
of using and living upon these vital principles 
which he knows. You have eaten bread, and 
drank beer, an hundred times, but perhaps, you 
never did eat of sturgeon or whale, of a bear or a 
leopard, of chesnuts or pig-nuts, or many strange 
and- dangerous fruits, in all your life : and yet I 
hope you will not seek after these, because they are 
novelties ; and give over eating bread, because you 


have eaten of it already : nor will you churlishly re- 
fuse to go to a feast because there is no meat but 
what you have eaten of before. We have not a 
new God to preach to you, nor a new Christ, nor a 
new Spirit, nor a new gospel, nor a new church, 
nor a new faith, nor a new baptismal covenant, nor 
a new heaven, or hope, or happiness, to propound. 
Your growth in methods, and definitions, and dis- 
tinctions, and in additional points of knowledge, is 
principally to be valued as it cleareth your under- 
standings in the foresaid great essential points, and 
brings you up to God himself. Some wretches 
think they have quickly learned past the essential 
articles of faith ; and ere long, they are past the 
higher points ; and shortly, they are past the Scrip- 
ture itself; and, throw it by as a scholar that hath 
learnt one book, and must be entered into another. 
They understand not that the ministry and Spirit 
are but to teach them the word of the gospel ; but 
they think they must outgrow the word and ministry, 
and the Spirit must teach them some other doctrine, 
or gospel, which the written word doth not contain. 
I pray mark the Apostle's warning, Heb. xiii. 9. 
* Be not carried about with divers and strange doc- 
trines ; for it is a good thing that the heart be 
stablished with grace.' And Eph. iv. 14. * That 
we henceforth be no more children, tossed to. and 
fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, 
by the sleight of man and cunning craftiness.' 

II. Having shewed you wherein your growth con- 
sisteth in the understanding, I shall be short in the 
rest; and next, I must tell you wherein itconsisteth 


in the will. And that is, 1 . When, upon good under- 
standing and deep consideration, you are more fixedly, 
habitually, absolutely, and practically, resolved for 
God and glory than before. So that you are grown 
more beyond all shaking doubtfulness or wavering of 
mind, and beyond all unevenness, mutabilitv, and in- 
constancy. When a man is thus satisfied, that none 
but God hath title to him, or can make him happy, 
and that none but Christ can reconcile him to God, 
and that it were a madness to make any other choice ; 
and, thereupon, is settled and firm as Mount Zion, 
and says, ' Whom have I in heaven but thee, and 
there is none on earth that I desire besides thee:* 
when you are firmly resolved, that let God do with 
you what he will, and come of it what will, you will 
never choose another master, or saviour, or rule, or 
happiness, or way, or body, than you are in ; and 
will never forsake the path of holiness ; this is the 
fixed stability of the will, and the more of this, the 
more you grow. 2. And when you have the lowest 
esteem of the creatures, and greatest and most re- 
solved averseness to all that would draw you firom 
God ; and can meet the greatest worldly or fleshly 
allurements with a holy contempt; this shews a 
settled confirmed will. 3. And also, when you are 
speedy in holy resolutions, and see nothing in a 
temptation, how great soever, that can make you 
demur upon it, or make a stop in a Christian course; 
but, go on to do as if the tempter had said nothing 
to you, and the fiesh and the world had no interest 
in you; and you do not so much as stand to think 
on it, whether you should yield to sin or not, as 


abhorring to call such a matter into question ; this 
shows a confirmed fixed will : and the more of this, 
the more of holiness. 

III. The strength and growth of holy afiections 
consist principally in these particulars : 1 . When the 
afiections are lively and not dull ; so that we make 
out after God and heaven with vigour and alacrity. 
2. When they are ready at hand, and not to seek, 
and need not a great deal ado to quicken them, or 
call them in. 3. When they are most pure and 
unmixed, having least of the creature and most of 
God in them. 4. But principally (and the surest 
point to try them by) when they contain in them, or 
accompany, the foresaid confirmation and resolved- 
ness of the will. For it is more the willingness 
that is in or with our affections, than the heat of 
them, that we must judge them by. 5. And lastly, 
when they follow the best guidance of the under- 
standing : when they are hottest about the greatest 
matters, and not about the smaller, or more doubtful 
things: when they are obedient and yielding to 
faith and holy reason, and not too ready to hearken 
to sense, and be moved about fleshly sensible things. 
In these things lieth the growth of your afiections. 

IV. And then, lastly, for your conversations, your 
stability and growth consist: 1. In the readiness 
of your obedience. 2» In the fulness and universal 
exactness of it. 3. In the resolved conquest of all 
temptations that would prevent you. 4. In the 
diligent use of all those means that may further 
confirm and strengthen you. 5. In the evenness of 
it, that It be constant and not mixed with scandals^ 


and stops in the way, or stepping out into by-paths* 
6. In your fruitfulness and profitableness to others, 
according to the proportion of your talents ; that 
you study to do good, and do it with all the care, 
and wisdom, and diligence, you can. 7. In the 
spirituality of it, that God be the principal and the 
end of all ; and that all be animated from the believ- 
ing consideration of his attributes, and the views of 
everlasting blessedness. So that you have such 
lively fixed intentions towards God, that you can 
perceive that you do all, even common things, of 
purpose for his pleasure, will, and glory : and, that 
the love of God doth carry you about firom duty to 
duty ; and constrain you to it. 8. And lastly, in 
the measure of your present attainment of the end 
and fruits of your obedience. For a taste of these 
ends is here to be attained. When your inward 
graces are more confirmed and increase, and your 
talents are doubled; and when you bring God a 
great deal of honour in the world; so, that his 
graces shining in your works, your Father is glori- 
fied; and when yourselves are readier to go to 
God, and meet your Redeemer, and long more for 
his appearing ; in all these, consisteth the stability, 
growth, and excellency of your conversations. 

And now, by all that I have said, you may see 
wherein your stability, strength, and growth, doth 
not consist. 1. It doth not most, or much, consist 
in speculations or less useful truths. 2. It doth 
not consist in the mere heat of affections : for zeal 
may be misguided, and do hurt; and may prove 
sometimes, but a mere natural or sinful passion. 


3. It consisteth not in mere fears, or purposes, that 
you are frightened into against your wills. 4. Nor 
doth it consist in the common gifts of grace or 
nature. 5. Nor yet in running into groundless 
singularities, and unusual strains. But, in a word, 
it consisteth in holy love, kindled by effectual faith. 
When a firmly believing soul is fullest of love to 
God, and Christ, and holiness, this is the most 
confirmed state of the soul ; and in this your chiefest 
growth consisteth. 


My next advice to all young Christians for their 
confirmation, and growth in grace, is this. 

Grow downwards in humility; be low and small 
in your own eyes; and affect not to be high or 
gre,at in the eyes of others ; and stiU keep a deep 
apprehension of the greatness and danger of the 
sin of pride ; but specially of that called spiritual 

It is the tree that hath the shallowest, weakest 
rooting that most shaketh, and is soonest over- 
thrown. The deeper roots, the higher growth, for 
the most part. The building that hath not a deep 
foundation, is soonest shaken and overthrown. 
Christ is our foundation ; and humiliation digs deep 
into the heart. Pride is commonly thought to be 
the devil's first or chiefest sin ; sure I am it is the 
proud that fall into his condemnation. The pride 
of our first parents affecting to be as gods in 


knowledge, was the inlet of all our sin and misery ; 
and the tempter still followeth the way that he hath 
found to be so successful. It is pride, that like a 
storm or tempest, doth set all the world in the rage 
and contention, and differences, and confusion, that 
we see them in. It is pride that hath filled the 
church with divisions ; and it is pride that causeth 
the apostasy of most that fall away. And, the more 
men have of it, the less do they usually discern it 
in themselves : I am sure the less do they hate it 
and lament it. And though one would think that 
young beginners and weak Christians, that have 
little to be proud of, should be out of the danger of 
this temptation; yet experience tells us that it is 
they that fall by it, more than the wiser and stronger 
Christians that have more to glory in. For, the 
more men increase in wisdom, the more do they 
know their own unworthiness, their emptiness, and 
ignorance, and manifold sins : and the more do 
they know of the holiness and jealousy of God ; 
and the more do they know of the evil of sin, and 
see what abundance of knowledge and grace they 
yet want : so that the more holy wisdom and ex- 
perience, the less pride. But folly is the parent 
and nurse of pride. Children will be proud of toys 
and things of no value. There are two or three 
things that make young Christians in greater danger 
than others. 1. Because they come so lately out of 
darkness, and so great a change is made upon their 
souls, that it makes them the more sensible of it; 
and therefore, the readier to have high thoughts of 
themselves. Though one would think that the 


remembrance of former folly, and late dejectedness, 
should keep them low ; yet, with too many, that is 
quickly gone, and they know not how to receive a 
comforting message, but they make it an occasion of 
lifting up. 2, The ignorance of these novices or 
young Christians, is such, that they little know 
what abundance of things they are yet ignorant of. 
Little do they know what knowledge they yet want 
They think there is little more to be reached to 
than is in their sight ; and therefore, suppose them- 
selves somebody in the school of Christ, because 
they have learned the first lesson. 3. And by 
reason of this ignorance, they know not how to 
value the higher attainments and understandings of 
others ; but look on the wisest as little wiser than 
themselves, because they are unacquainted with 
the matter of their wisdom, and, therefore, over- 
look it as if it were none, and consequently think 
too highly of themselves. 4. And withal, they 
have not that experience of their own hearts that 
should make them jealous of them as ancient Chris- 
tians have. 

The humble soul is still in an empty craving 
temper : he hungereth and thirsteth after righteous- 
ness, and therefore shall be satisfied. No man 
setteth so high a price on Christ and grace, and all 
the means of grace. Even the crumbs are welcome 
to him which the proud despise : — ' The full soul 
loathes the honey-comb, but to the hungry every 
bitter thing is sweet.' Therefore such beggars are 
welcomest to God ; — ^he hath respect to the humble 
contrite soul ; — * the hungry he fiUeth with good. 


but the rich he sendeth empty away ;' — * He giveth 
more grace to the humble, when the proud are ab- 
horred by him.* The church of Laodicea, that 
said, ' I am rich, and increased with goods, and 
have need of nothing,' was ' miserable, and poor, 
and blind, and naked.* As many, that are proud of 
their honour and birth, run out of all by living 
above their estates, when meaner persons grow rich, 
because they are still gathering, and make much of 
every httle,— so proud professors of religion are in 
a consumption of the grace they have, while the 
humble increase by making much of every little 
help, which is slighted and neglected by the proud ; 
and by shunning all those spending courses which 
the proud are plunged in. Be sure to keep mean 
thoughts of yourselves, of your knowledge, and 
parts, and grace, and duties ; and be content to be 
mean in the esteem of others, if you would not be 
worse than mean in the esteem of God. 


Exercise yourselves daily in a life of faith upon 
Jesus Christ as your Saviour^ your Teacher, your 
Mediator, and your King ; as your Example, your 
Wisdom, your Righteousness, and your Hope, 

All other studies and knowledge must be merely 
3ubservient to the study and knowledge of Christ. 
That vain kind of philosophy which St. Paul so 
much cautioneth Christians against, is so far yet 
from being accounted vain, that by many, called 


Christians, it is preferred before Christianity itself; 
and to shew that it is vain while they overvalue it, 
they can shew no solid worth or virtue which they 
have got by it ; but only a tumefied mind, and an 
idle tongue like a tinkling cymbal. We are * com- 
plete in Christ, in whom dwelleth all the fulness of 
the Godhead bodily.' No study in the world will 
so much lead you up to God, and acquaint you with 
him, especially in his love and goodness, as the 
study of Christ, his person, his office, his doctrine, 
his example, his kingdom, and his benefits. As 
the Deity is your ultimate end, to which all things 
else are but helps and means; so Christ is that 
great and principal means by whom all other means 
are animated. Remember that you are in continual 
need of him, for direction, intercession, pardon, 
sanctification, for support and comfort, and for 
peace with God. Let no thoughts therefore be so 
sweet and frequent in your hearts, nor any discourse 
so ready in your mouths, (next to the excellencies 
of the eternal Godhead,) as this of the design of 
man's redemption. Let Christ be to your souls as 
the air, the earth, the sun, and your food, are to 
your bodies, without which your life would presendy 
fail. As you had never come home to the Father 
but by him, so without him you cannot a moment 
continue in the Father's love, nor be accepted in 
one duty, nor be protected fi*om one danger, nor be 
supplied in any want: — * for it pleased the Father^ 
that in him should all fulness dwell;' — * and by 
him,' it is, that, * being justified by faith, we have 
peace with God, and have access by faith unto this 


grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the 
glory of God.* And it is ' in him/ the Head, that 
we must ' grow up in all things, from whom the 
whole body doth receive its increase.* You grow 
no more in grace than you grow in the true know- 
ledge and daily use of Jesus Christ But of this I 
will say no more, because I have said so much in 
my directions for a sound conversion. 


Let the knowledge cmd love of God, and your 
obedience to him, he the works of your religion; 
and the everlasting fruition of him in heaven be the 
continual end and ruling motive of your hearts and 
lives ; — that your very conversation may be with 
God in heaven. 

You are so far holy as you are divine and hea- 
venly. A Christian indeed in casting up his 
accounts, being certain that this world doth make 
no man happy, hath been led up by Christ to seek 
a happiness with God above. If you live not for 
this everlasting happiness, — if you trade not for 
this, — rif this be not your treasure, your hope, and 
home, the chief matter of your desires, love, and 
joy, — ^and if all things be not pressed to serve it, 
and despised when they stand against it — you live 
not indeed a christian life. God and heaven, or 
God in heaven, is the life and soul, the beginning 
and the end, the sum, the all, of true religion : and 
therefore it is that we are directed to lift up our 


heads and hearts, and begin our prayers with ^ Our 
Father which art in heaven/ and end them with 
ascribing to him ' the kingdom, the power, and 
the glory, for ever.' It is not the creatures, but 
God the Creator, that is the Father, the guide and 
the felicity of souls— and therefore the ultimate end 
and oligect of all religious actions and affections; 
Dwell still upon God, and dwell in heaven, if you 
would understand the nature and design of Chris- 
tianity. Take God for all — that is, for God. Study 
after the knowledge of him in all his works ; study 
him in his word ; study him in Christ ; and never 
study him barely to know him, but to know him 
that you may love him; take yourselves as dead 
when you live not in the love of God; keep still 
upon your hearts a lively sense of the infinite dif* 
ference between him and the creature ; look on all 
the world as a shadow, and on God as the sub- 
stance. Think not all the pleasures, honours, or 
riches of the world, worthy to be named in cotor 
parison of heaven ; nor the greatest of men worthy 
to be once thought on in comparison of Grodr as 
one straw or feather won or lost, would neither 
much rejoice or trouble you, if all the city or land 
were yours. So live as men whose eyes are opaii, 
and who discern a greater disjnroportion between 
the portion of a worldling and a saint. Let CFod be 
your king, your father, your master, your friend, 
your wealth, your joy, your all. Let not a day go 
over your heads in which your hearts have no con* 
verse with God in heaven : when any trouble over- 
taketh you on earth, look up to heaven^ and 


remember that it is there that rest and joy are 
prepared for believors. When yoa are mider any 
want, or cross, mr smtow, fetch not yom- comibrt 
firom any hopes of deliverance here on earth, but 
fixMn die place of your final full ddiveranoe. If 
you feel any strangeness and badcwardness on your 
minds to heavenly amtemjJalions, do not make 
light of them, bat presendy by fiuth get op to 
Christ, who must make yoor thoughts of heaven 
&miliar, and seek a remedy before your estraqged- 
ness increase. The soul is in a sad condition when 
it cannot fetch comfort and encouragement fincmi 
heaven ; for then it must have none, or worse than 
none. When the thoughts of heaven will not 
sweeten all your crosses, and relieve your minds 
against all the incumbrances of earth, your souls 
are not in a healthful state : it is time then to search 
out the cause, and seek a cure, before it come to 

There are three great causes of this dark and 
dangerous state of soul, which make the thoughts 
of heaven ineffectual and uncomfortable to us, which 
therefore must be overcome with the daily care and 
diligence of your whole lives. First, unbdief, 
which maketh you look towards the life to come 
vrith doubtii^ and uncertainty: and this is the most 
common, radical, powerful, and pernicious impedi« 
ment to a heavenly life. The seomd is the love of 
jneseat things, which being the vanity of a poor, 
low, fleshly mind, die reviving of reason may do 
much to overcome it; but it is the sound belief of 
die life to come diat must indeed prevail. The 



third is the inordinate fear of deaths which hath so 
great advantage in the constitution of our nature, 
that it is commonly the last enemy which we over- 
come, as death itself is the last enemy which Christ 
overcometh for us. Bend all your strength, and 
spend your days in striving against these three 
great impediments of a heavenly conversation : and 
remember that, so far as you suffer your hearts 
to retire from heaven, so far they retire from a life 
of Christianity and peace. 


In the work of mortification, let self-denial be 
the first and last of aU your study, care, and dili- 

Understand how much of the fallen depraved 
state of man consisteth in the sin of selfishness: 
how he is sunk into himself, in his fall, from the 
love of God and of his neighbour, of the public or 
private good of others: and how this inordinate 
self-love is now the grand enemy of all true love to 
God or man, and the root and heart of covetousr 
ness, pride, voluptuousness, and all iniquity. Let 
it be your work, therefore, all your days^ to 
mortify it, and watch against it. When you feel 
yourselves partial in your own cause, and apt to 
be drawing from others to yourselves, in point of 
reputation, precedency, or gain, and apt to make 
too great a matter of every word that is spoken 
against you, or every little wrong that is done yoii^ 


observe then the pernicious root of selfishness, from 
whence all this mischief doth proceed. Read more 
of this in my Treatise of Self-denial. 


Take your corrupted fleshly desires for the 
greatest enemy of your souls; and let it be every 
day your constant work to mortify thefl^sh^ and to 
keep a watch upon your lusts, and appetites, and 
every sense. 

Remember that our senses were not made to 
govern themselves, but to be governed by right 
reason ; and that God made them at the first to be 
the ordinary passage of his love and mercy to our 
hearts, by the means of the creatures which repre- 
sent or manifest him unto us: but now, in the 
depraved state of man, the senses have cast off the 
government of reason, and are become the ruling 
power, and so man is become like the beasts that 
perish. Remember then, that to be sensual is to 
be brutish ; and though grace doth not destroy the 
appetite and sense, yet it subjecteth it to God and 
reason. Therefore, let your appetite be pleased in 
nothing, but by the allowance of right reason : and 
think not that you have reason to take any meats, 
GT drink, or sport, merely because your flesh 
desireth it; but consider whether it will do you 
good or hurt, and how it conduceth to your ulti- 
mate end ? It is a base and sinful state to be in 
servitude to your appetite and sense! when, by 


using to please it, you have so increased its desires, 
that now you know not how to deny it and displease 
it ; when you have taught it to be like a hungry 
dog or swine, that will never be quiet till his hunger 
be satisfied ; whereas a well-governed appetite and 
sense is easily quieted with a rational denial. 


Take heed lest you Jail in love with the worlds or 
any thing therein^ and lest your thoughts of any 
place or condition which you either possess or hope 
foTy do grow too sweet and pleasing to you. 

For there is no one perisheth, but for loving 
some creature more than God ; and complacency is 
the formal act of love. * Love not the world, nor 
the things that are in the world; for if any man love 
the world, the love of the Father is not in him.' 
Value all earthly things as they conduce to your 
Master's service, or to your salvation, and not as 
they tend to the pleasing of your flesh. It is the 
commonest and most dangerous folly in the world, 
to be eager to have our houses, and lands, and 
provisions, and every thing aboAt us in the most 
pleasing and amiable state: whereas this is the 
acknowledged way to hell, and the only poison of 
the soul. Are you not in more danger of over- 
loving a pleasing and prosperous condition than a 
bitter and vexatious state ? and of overloving riches, 
honour, and sensual fiilness and delights, rather 
than poverty, reproach, and mortification ? and do 


you not know that if ever you be damned, it will be 
for loving the world too much and God too little? 
Is it for nothing that Christ describeth a saint to 
you as a Lazarus in poverty and sores, and a lost 
soul, when in the body, clothed in purple and silk, 
and fiuing sumptuously every day ? did not Christ 
know what he did when he put the rich man upon 
this trial, to part with all his worldly riches, and 
follow Christ for a treasure in heaven ? All things 
must be esteemed as loss and dung for the know- 
ledge of Christ and the hopes of heaven, if ever 
you will be saved. You must so live by faith, and 
not by sight, as not to look at the temporal things 
that are seen, but at the things eternal which are 
unseen. And one that is running in a race for his «- 
life, would not so much as turn his head to look 
back on any one that called to him to stay, or to 
look aside to any one that would speak with him in 
his way. Thus must we forget the things that are 
behind, as counting them not worthy a thought, or 
remembrance, or a look. If you feel this poison 
seize upon your hearts, and your condition in the 
world (or at least your hopes) begin to grow too 
sweet and pleasing to you, presently make haste to 
Christ, your physician, and take his antidote, and 
cast up the poison as you love your souls. You 
must know no other pleasure in your outward 
mercies, but as God appeareth in and by them, and 
as they tend to profit you and further you in God's 
service, or to promote your own or others' good, 
but not as they are provision for the flesh. See 
my book of Crucifying the World. 



Cast not yourselves mlfuUy upon temptations, 
but avoid them as far as lawfully you can: andtf 
you are cast upon them unwillingly, resist them 
resolutely, as knowing that they come to entice you 
into sin and hell, from God and your everlasting 
happiness; and therefore be well acquainted with 
the particular temptations of every company, caUr 
ing, relation, business, time, place, and condition 
of life ; and go always furnished with particular 
antidotes against them all. 

Strong grace will do no more against strong 
temptations, than weak grace against weak ones. 
Temptation is the way to sin, and sin is the way to 
hell. If you saw the dangerousness of your station 
when you cast yourself upon temptations, you 
would tremble and fly as for your lives. I take 
that man as almost gone already, who chooseth 
temptations, or avoideth them not when he may. 
Especially be acquainted with the diseases and 
greatest dangers of your soul ; and there keep up a 
constant watch. Are you liable to a gluttonous 
pleasing of your appetite ? avoid the temptation ; 
set not that before you which may be your snare ; 
let a little, and that of the least tempting kind of 
food, be your ordinary provision. Sit not at the 
glutton's table (who fareth deliciously every day) if 
you would escape the glutton's sin and misery. Or 
if the provision be of other men's disposal, at least 
rise quickly and be gone. Are you inclined to 


please your appetite in drinking ? avoid such strong 
drink as may tempt your appetite ; and avoid the 
place and company that draweth you to it. Are 
you inclined to fleshly lusts ? avoid the presence of 
such of the other sex as are a temptation to you ; 
look not on them, nor talk of them ; but above all 
take heed of nearness, and familiarity, and privacy 
with them, and of all opportunity of sin. When 
the devil hath brought the bait to your hand, and 
telleth you, now you may sin without any molesta- 
tion or discovery, you are then in a very dangerous 
case. Some that think they would not be guilty of 
the sin, will yet tempt themselves, and delight to 
have it in their power, and to have the opportunity 
of sinning, and to come as near it as they dare ; 
and these are gone before they well perceive their 
danger. So if you are inclined to pride and ambi- 
tion, avoid the society of those that tempt you to it; 
come not among superiors and gallants, or such as 
kindle your ambition. A retired life, in company 
of mean and humble persons, is fittest for one that 
hath your disease. * Mind not high things, but 
condescend to men of low estate.' 

But if you cannot avoid the temptation, be sure 
yet to avoid the sin ; take it as if you saw and heard 
the devil himself persuading you to sin, and damn 
your souls. Abhor the motion, and give not the 
devil a patient hearing, when you know what he 
cometh about: resolution scapeth many a danger, 
which those are ruined by who stand disputing and 
dallying with the tempter. Especially look about 
you when the tempter ^mployeth great men, or 

o 3 


learned men, or godly men, or nearest friends, to 
be his instruments. And if their subtilty puzzle 
you, go to the stronger and more experienced 
Christians for advice and help. ^ Watch and pray, 
that you enter not into temptation.' It is a dreadfid 
thing to think what persons temptations have over- 
thrown; how wise, and learned, and excellent 
men have been over-witted by Satan, and sinned 
like fools, when they have let go their watch : if we 
be as resolved as Peter, temptations may quickly 
change our resolutions, if God leave us to ourselves 
and we grow presumptuous or secure; and then 
our very reason will lose its power, and false repre- 
sentations will make things appear to us quite con- 
trary to what indeed they are, and those reasonings 
will seem probable to us, which at another time we 
could easily see through as mere deceit. Tempta- 
tion, as it prevaileth, doth damp and cast asleep our 
graces, and charm and bewitch all the faculties of 
the soul. 


If it be possible y make choice of such a pastor 
for the help and guidance of your souls ^ as isjudi' 
cious, experienced, humble, holy, heavenly yfcUtkfd, 
diligent, lively, and peaceable ; that Uveth not in 
separation from the generality of the sober godly 
ministers and Christians where he Uveth. 

I. Think not of bemg sufficient for your- 
selves, without the help of those whom Christ hath 


appointed to be watchmen for your souls. As you 
cannot live without the teaching and the grace of 
Christy so Christ doth vouchsafe you his teaching 
and his grace by the ministry of his own officers, 
whom he hath appointed to that end and use. It 
is marvellous to observe how Christ chose rather to 
convert men by the preaching and miracles of his 
aposdes than by his own ; and how he would not 
fiilly convert Paul without the ministry of Ananias, 
though he spoke to him from heaven himself, and 
reasoned the case with him against his persecution ; 
md how he would not fully convert Cornelius and 
his household without the ministry of Peter, though 
he sent an angel to direct him to a teacher; nor 
would he convert the Ethiopian eunuch without 
the ministry of Philip, nor the Jailor without the 
ministry of Paul and Silas, though he wrought a 
miracle to prepare for his conversion; and Paul 
must plant and Apollos must water, before God will 
give the increase; and though all true Christians 
are taught of God, and must call no man on earth 
the master of their fiiith but Christ, yet have they 
their teachers, &thers, and instructors under Christ, 
who are helpers of their joy, though they have not 
dominion over their faith ; and are overseers, though 
not lords and owners of the flock ; and are ministers 
of Christ by whom he teacheth, and stewards of the 
mjrsteries of God, and ambassadors by whom he 
beaeecheth sinners to be reconciled to God, having 
committed to them the word of reconciliation. 
These are labourers together with God upon his 
husbmdry and building; some being master-builders 


and others superstructors. Christ knew the neces- 
sity that the mfants of his family had of such nurses, 
and he knew what numbers of such weak ones 
there would be in comparison of the strong; or 
else he had never appointed the strong to such an 
office ; and having appointed it he will keep up the 
honour of his officers, and will send you his alms, 
your food, your physic, your pardon, your privi- 
leges, by their hands. If you be drawn by seducers 
to forsake or neglect the ministry of Christ's officers, 
you forsake or neglect your helps and mercies, you 
refuse his grace, you are like infants that scorn 
their nurse's help, and like subjects who reject all 
the officers of the king, and like the chickens that 
forsake the hen ; you forsake the school and Church 
of Christ, and may expect to be quickly caught up 
by the devil as stragglers that have no defence or 

II. Yet is there great difference between one 
minister or pastor and another, as much as between 
physicians, lawyers, or men of any other function. 
And there being no case in the world that you are 
so much concerned to be careful in as the instruct- 
ing, and conduct, and safety of your souls^ you 
have exceeding great reason to take heed whom 
you choose to commit the care and conduct of your 
souls to. It is not enough to say, that he is a true 
ordained minister, and that his administrations are 
not nullities, no more than to say of an ignorant 
physician or cowardly captain, that he hath a valid 
license or commission, when for all that> if you 
trust him, it may cost you your lives. Nor is it a 


wise man's answer, to say, that God giveth his grace 
by the worst as soon as by the best, and by the 
weakest as soon as by the strongest, and therefore I 
need not be so careful in my choice. For though 
God have not confined the working of his Spirit to 
the most excellent means, yet ordinarily he worketh 
according to the means he useth; and this both 
scripture, reason, and daily experience fully prove. 
God worketh rationally on man as man ; that is, 
as a rational free agent, by moral operation, and 
not by a mere physical injection of his grace. 
When we see the man that is made wise unto 
salvation by mere infusion of wisdom, without a 
teacher or the study of the word of God, or when 
we see God work by his word as by a charm, that 
a few words shall convert a man, though the speaker 
or hearer understand them not, then we may hearken 
to this conceit: and then we may think that a 
heretic may as well teach you the truth as the ortho- 
dox, or a schismatic teach you unity and peace as 
well as a catholic peaceable pastor ; or a man that 
is ignorant of the mysteries of regeneration and 
holy communion with God may best teach you 
that which he knoweth not himself; and an enemy 
to piety and charity may teach you to be pious and 
charitable as well as any other. But I need not 
say much more of this, for all parties would never 
so strive to have such ministers as they like, and 
to put out such as they dislike, if they thought nol 
that the difference between ministers and ministers 
were very great* 

See therefore that the guide whom you choose 


for your souls be^ 1. Judicious; for an injudi- 
cious man may pervert the scripture, and lead 
you into error, and heresy, and sin, before you 
are aware: yea, though he be a zealous fervent 
preacher, yet, if he be injudicious, he may igno- 
rantly give you poison in your food, as the experi- 
ence of this age hath lamentably proved. 

2. See, if possible, that he be an experienced 
man, that knoweth by experience on himself not 
only what it is to be regenerate and sanctified, and 
made a new creature, but also how all the combat 
between the spirit and the flesh is to be managed, 
and what are the methods and stratagems of 
the tempter, and what are the chief helps and 
defensatives of the soul, and how they are all to be 
used ; for it is not harder to be a judicious physi- 
cian, or lawyer, or soldier, without experience, than 
a judicious pastor ; and, therefore, the Holy Ghost 
commandeth that he be not a novice or raw inex- 
perienced Christian. 

3. See that he be humble, for if he be puffed 
up with pride, he falleth into the condemnation of 
the devil ; and then he will either scorn the labour 
of the ministry as a drudgery (to preach in season 
and out of season, to beseech, and exhort, and 
stoop to the poorest of the flock) ; or else he will 
speak * perverse things to draw away disciples after 
him;' or he will, as Diotrephes, reject the brethren, 
as loving himself to have the pre-eminence, and will 
oversee the church by constraint, for filthy lucre, 
as being a lord over God's heritage. See Doctor 
Hammond on this Text, 1 Pet v. 2, 3. 


4. See that he be holy in his life; for though 
this be not essential to his office, yet the unholy 
are inexperienced, yea, and have a secret enmity in 
their hearts against that holiness which they should 
daily preach, and will usually be shewing it by 
discouraging speeches against that serious piety 
which they should promote ; and they will neglect 
most of the personal care of their flock, and will 
unpreach by their lives the good which they preach 
by their tongues, and harden and embol4en the 
people in their sins, and make them believe that 
they believe not what they preach themselves. 
Choose not an enemy of holiness to lead you in 
the way of holiness (a way that he never went 
himself), nor an enemy of Christ to conduct you 
in the Christian warfare, when he is a servant of 
the devil, the world, and flesh, against whom you 

5. See that he be of a heavenly mind, or else his 
doctrine will be unsavory and dry, and he will be 
preaching some speculations or barren controversies 
instead of heavenly edifying truth. 

6. See that he be faithful and diligent in his 
ministry, as one that knoweth the worth of souls, 
and will not sell them or betray them to the devil 
for filthy lucre, or his fleshly ends; nor make 
merchandize of them, as desiring rather theirs than 
them, and preferring the fleece before the safety of 
the flock ; but one that imitateth the pattern. Acts 
XX., and in meekness instructeth those that are 

7r See that he be a lively serious preacher ; for 


all will be little enough to keep up a lively serious- 
ness in such dull and frozen hearts as ours : a cold 
preacher, with cold hearts, is like to make cold 
work. He that speaks senselessly and sleepily 
about such matters as heaven and helU doth by the 
manner of his speech contradict the matter. When 
hard-heartedness, and security, and deadness^ and 
lethargic drowsiness, is the- common and dangerous 
disease of souls, let him that loveth his soul and 
would not perish by his disease, make use of a 
physician and remedy that is suited to the cure, 
and not of one to rock him asleep, or give faim an 
opiate to increase his malady. 

8. See also that he be one that is of a truly 
catholic spirit, not addicted to a sect, nor to divi- 
sions in the church, nor one that liveth in a sepa- 
ration or distance from the generality of the godly 
sober ministers. For you take him not for your 
guide, as separated from the catholic church, but 
as united to it, and a member of it ; as valuing the 
judgment of all the church above the judgment of 
any one pastor, and knowing that you are your- 
selves to be kept in the unity of the church,, and 
not seduced into a sect ; and that the pastors are 
to be the bonds and ligaments of the body, that 
by their help it may grow up in love and unity, 
and not the dividers of the body ; as captains and 
inferior officers in an army, that are to conduct 
jeach soldier in unity with the army, and not to 
separate, and make every troop or regiment an 
army by itself, that they may be the petty generals. 
In a word, read some good visitation sermons, 


which tell you what a minister must be^ and choose, 
if possible, to live under such a minister ; I say, if 
possible, for I know to many it is not possible. 
Wives, and children, and servants (while they are 
bound), cannot leave their husbands, parents, or 
masters; and strong Christians who are called to 
do good to others, must prefer that before such 
advantages to themselves ; and many other impedi* 
ments may deny men such a blessing : but yet I 
say, undervalue not so great a mercy, and neglect 
it not where lawfully it loay be had, and prefer 
nothing before it (as a just impediment) which is 
not really more worth. And remember that divines 
do commonly resolve the case of the infidel nations 
of the world, that they are inexcusable in their 
infidelity, because, when they hear that other 
nations profess to know the way to heaven, they 
do not in so great a case go over sea and land to 
inquire after the doctrine which we profess. And 
if the Tartarians, Indians, and other nations, are 
bound to send to Christian nations for preachers 
of the Gospel, I only leave you proportionably 
to measure your case by theirs (allowing for the 
disproportion), and to consider how far you should 
deny your worldly profit, in removing your habi- 
tations, for such helps as your own necessities 



Make choice of such Christians for your fam- 
Uar friends and the companions of your Ihes as 
are holy^ humble, heavenly^ serious^ mortified^ 
charitable, peaceable, judicious, experienced and 
fixed in the ways of God; and not of ungodly 
persons, or proud, self-conceited, censorious, dtvid- 
ing, injudicious, inexperienced, sensual, worldly, 
opinionative, superficial, lukewarm, or unsettled 

The reasons of this direction you may perceive 
in what I said under the last. Your company is 
a matter of exceeding great concernment to you, 
as one of the greatest helps or hindrances^ comforts 
or discomforts of all your lives, especially those 
that you dwell with, and those that you choose for 
your familiars and bosom friends; and therefore 
(so fkr as God's providence doth not forbid you 
and make it impossible) choose such as are here 
described, or at least one such for your bosom 
friend, if you can have acquaintance with no more. 
It is of unspeakable importance to your salvation 
with whom you are associated for most &iniliar 
converse. A good companion will teach you what 
you know not, or remember you of that which you 
forget, or stir you up when you are dull, or warm 
you when you are cold, and watch over you and 
warn you of your danger, and save you from the 
poison of ill companions. O what a help and 
delight it is to have a holy, judicious, fidthfiil friend 


to open your heart to, and to walk with in the 
ways of life ! And how exceeding hard is it to 
scape sin and hell, and get well to heaven, in 
company and £uniliarity of the servants of the devil, 
who are posting unto hell. Let not your compar 
mons be worse thim yourselves, lest they make you 
worse ; but as much wiser and better as you can 


Subdue your possums, and abhor all uneharit' 
able principles and practices, and live in love ; 
unaintaimng peace in your fawUies and with your 
neighbours, but especially in the church of God. 

Love as you would be loved ; yea, love if you 
would be loved, for there is no surer way to pur- 
chase love; and love because you are so freely 
loved by that God whose wrath you have so oft 
deserved: let the thankful feeling of his love in 
Christ even turn you wholly into love to God and 
man. Abhor every thought, and word, and deed, 
which is contrary to love, and tendeth to the hurt 
of others; and hate the backbitings and bitter 
words of any, which tend to make another odious, 
and to destroy your love to any one that God com- 
mandeth you to love. Allow that moderate passion 
which is the fruit of love, and tendeth only to do 
good; but resist that which inclineth you to hatred 
or to do evil. The more men wrong you, remem- 
ber that you are the more watchfrilly to maintain 


your love, knowing that these temptations are sent 
by the devil on purpose to destroy and quench it, 
and fill your heart with uncharitableness and wrath. 
Give place to the wrath of others, and stand not 
resisting it by words or deeds; * recompense to no 
man evil for evil,' in word or action. Especially 
be most tender of the union of true Christians^ and 
of the church's peace : when you hear the men of 
several sects representing one another as odious, 
understand that it is the language of the devil to 
draw you from love into hatred and divisions ; and 
when you must speak odiously of men's sins, speak 
charitably of their persons, and be as ready to speak 
of the good that is in them as of the evil. Believe 
not that dividing ungrounded doctrine,, which 
telleth you that you cannot sufficiently disown the 
errors of any party in doctrine, and worship, and 
discipline, without a separation or withdrawing 
firom their communion; and which telleth you that 
you are guilty of the ministerial faults of every 
pastor that you join with, or of the faults of all that 
worship which you are present at; which would 
first separate you from every worshipping society 
and person upon earth, and then lead you to give 
over the worshipping of God yourselves. You 
must love Christians as Christians, though they have 
errors and faults repugnant to their Christianity; 
and you must join in worship with Christians as 
Christians, though their worship hath errors and* 
faults repugnant to the right order and manner of 
worship; so be it you join not in that worship 
which is substantially evil, and such as God doth 


Utterly disown ; or that you commit no actual sin 
yourselves, or that you approve not of the errors 
and faults of the worshippers, and justify not their 
smallest evil ; or that you prefer not defective faulty 
worship before that which is more pure and agree* 
able to the will of God. For while all the wor- 
shippers are &ulty and imperfect, all their worship 
will be so too : and if your actual sin, when you 
pray or preach defectively yourselves, doth not 
signify that you approve your faultiness, much less 
will your presence prove that you allow of the 
fiuildness of others. The business that you come 
upon is to join with a Christian congregation in the 
use o£ those ordinances which God hath appointed, 
supposing that the ministers and worshippers will 
all be sinfully defective in method, order, words, or 
circumstances ; and to bear with that which God 
doth bear with, and not to refuse that which is God*s 
for the adherent faults of men, no more than you 
will refuse every dish of meat which is unhand- 
somely cooked, as long as there is no poison in it, 
and you prefer it not before better. 


Keep up a constant govetTiment over your 
thoughts and tongues ; especiaUy against those 
particular sins which you are stronglyest tempted 
iOf and which you see other Christians most over^ 
taken with. 

Keep your thoughts employed upon something 
that is good and profitable; either about some 


useful truths, or about some duty to God or many 
of your general or particular calling; yea, about 
all these in their several seasons: learn how to 
watch your thoughts, and stop them at their first 
excursions, and how to quicken them and make 
them serviceable to every grace and every duty. 
You can never improve your solitary hours, if you 
have not the government of your thoughts. 

And as the thoughts must be gov^ned because 
they are the first and intimate actings of good or 
evil, so the tongue must be governed as tihe first 
expresser of the mind, and the first instrument of 
good or hurt to others. Especially take heed of 
these sins which the fiiultiness of most profiessors of 
religion doth warn you to avoid: 1. An ordinary 
course of vain jesting and unprofitable talk. 2. Pro- 
voking, passionate, inconsiderate words, that tend 
to kindle wrath in others. 3. Backbiting, censur- 
ing, and speaking evil of others without any just 
call, when it is either upon uncertain reports, or 
uncharitable suspicion, or tendeth more to hurt than 
good. 4. A forward venting of our own conceits, 
and a confident pleading for our uncertain unproved 
opinions in religion, and a contentious wrangling 
for them, as if the kingdom of God lay in them ; 
and a forwardness in all company to be the speaikers 
rather than the hearers ; and to talk in a magii- 
terial teaching way, as if we took ourselves to be 
the wisest, and others to have need to learn of i». 
But especially take heed of speaking evil of those 
that have wronged you, or of those that dxSet firom 
you in some tolerable opinions in religion; and 


hate that devilish uncharitable vicey which maketh 
many ready to beUeve any thing or say any thing, be 
it never so false^ of those that are against their sect ; 
yea, of whole parties of men that di£fer from them, 
when there is not one of a thousand of all the 
party that ever they were acquainted with, or ever 
could prove the thing by, of which they are accused. 
By the means of these bold uncharitable reports, 
the devil hath imspeakably gained against Christ, 
and the kingdom of mahce hath won upon the 
kingdom of love ; and most Christians are easier 
known to be fiictious by hating or slandering one 
another^ than they can be known to be Christ's 
disciples by loving one another. And while every 
sect, without remorse, doth speak reproachfully and 
hatefiilly of the rest, they learn hereby to hate one 
another, and harden the infidel and ungodly world 
in hating and speaking evil of them all : so that a 
Turk or heathen need no other witness of the 
odiousness of all Christians, than the venomous 
words which they speak against each other. And 
as foul words in quarrels prepare for blows; so 
these malicious invectives upon difierences in reli* 
gion, prepare for the most cruel persecutions. 

From my own observation, which, with a grieved 
soul 1 have made in this generation, I hereby give 
warning to this and all succeeding ages, that if they 
have any regard to truth or charity, they take heed 
how they believe any &ctious partial historian or 
divine, in any evil that he saith of the party which 
he is against: for, though there be good and 
credible persons of most parties, yet you shall find 


that passion and partiality prevail against con- 
science, truth, and charity, in most that are sick 
of this disease. And that the envious zeal which 
is described, Jam. iii., doth make them think they 
do God service, first in believing false reports, and 
then in venting them against those whom their zeal 
or faction doth call the enemies of truth ; so that 
there is little credit to be given to their reproaches 
unless some better evidence is brought to prove the 
thing. Nay, it would astonish a man to read the 
impudent lies, which I have often read, obtruded 
upon the world with such confidence, that the 
reader will be tempted to think, surely all this 
cannot be false: yea, about public words or 
actions, where you would think that the multitude 
of witnesses would deter them firom speaking it, 
if it were not true, and yet all as false as tongue 
can speak. Therefore, believe not pride, or fisu^cm, 
or malice, in any evil that it saith, unless you have 
better evidence of the truth. 

Most christian is that advice of Dr. H. More, 
that '^ all parties of Christians would mark all the 
good which is in other parties, and be more forward 
to speak of that than of the evil : '* and this would 
promote the work of charity in the Church, and the 
interest of Christianity in the world ; whereas the . 
overlooking of all that is good, and aggravating all 
the evil (and falsely feigning more than is true), is 
the work of greatest service to the devil, and c^ 
greatest enmity to Christianity and love, that I 
know commonly practised in the world. Keep 
your tongues from all such hellish work as this. 



Let every state of Ufe and relation th<U you are 
in he sanct^ed unto God, and conscionably used : 
and to that end, understand the advantages and 
duties of every condition and relation, and the sins 
and hindrances and clangers which you are most 
liable to. 

The duties of our relations are a great part of the 
work of a Christian's life : as magistrates and sub- 
jectSy pastors and flocks, parents and children, 
husband and wife, masters and servants ; as supe- 
riors in gifts or places, or inferiors, or equals ; as 
neighbours and companions ; in our teaching and 
learning, ruling and obeying, bu}dng and selling. 
Be conscionable in all these, which are your own 
relations, if you will live as Christians and be 
acceptable unto God. An ungodly or oppressing 
mfigistrate ; a murmuring rebellious subject ; an 
ungodly, negUgent, or factious pastor; an unteach- 
able, refractory, ungodly flock ; a husband, parent, 
or master, without religion, love, or justice ; a wife, 
or child, or servant, without love and dutiful obedi- 
ence, and fiiithful diligence; a proud, contemptuous 
superior; a malicious, censorious inferior; an unjust, 
uncharitable neighbour ; a deceitflil buyer or seller, 
bclrrower or lender ; and a self-seeking friend, and 
seducing, unprofitable companion; are all as far 
from pleasing God by the rest of their works or 
professions of religion, as they are from being obe- 
dient to his will. They provoke him to abhor their 



prayers and profession, and to tell them that he will 
rather have ' obedience than sacrifice ; * if you are 
false to men you are not true to God : it is ' he that 
feareth God and worketh righteousness' that ii 
^accepted of him;' and the unrighteous shall not 
inherit the kingdom of God, 


Live (M those that have all their powers, receiv- 
ings, and opportunities to do good with in the world, 
andmust be answerable how they have improvedaU; 
and as those who believe that the more good they 
do, the more they do receive, and the greater is the 
honour, the profit, and the pleasure of their lives. 

To do no harm, is an honour which is common 
to a stone or a clod of clay, with the most innocent 
man. If this were all the excellency that you aim 
at, it were better that you had never been bom, for 
then you would certainly have done no harm* Re- 
member that to do good is the highest imitatiozi of 
God, supposing that it proceed from holy love, and 
be done to the jdeasing and glorifying of God, ^t 
the principle and end be suitable to the worL 
Remember who hath told you that 'it is more 
blessed to give than to receive ;' and hath fMromised 
that ' He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a 
prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward ; and be 
that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a 
righteous man, shall receive a righteous man's 
reward : and whosoever shall give to drink unto 


one of these little ones a cup of cold water, only, in 
the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he 
shall in nowise lose his reward;' (supposing that he 
have no better to give.) * Give to every man that 
asketh of thee ; * (according to thy ability.) ' Give, 
and it shall be given to you.* Take that day or 
hour as lost in which you do no good, directly or 
preparatorily ; and take that part of your estate as 
lost, with Which, directly or remotely, you do no 
good. Remember how the judgment must pass on 
you at last, according to the improvement of your 
several talents. When your time is past, and your 
estates are gone ; or your understandings, or your 
strength decayed ; and your power and greatness is 
levelled with the poorest ; it will be an unspeakable 
comfort to you, if you are able to say, We laid them 
out sincerely to our Master's use ; and an unspeak- 
able terror to you to say. They were lost and cast 
away on the service of the flesh. If, therefore, you 
are rulers, and are entrusted with power, study how 
to do all the good with your power that possibly you 
oan: if you are ministers of Christ, lay out your 
time^ and strength, and parts in doing good to the 
souls of all about you ; study hoW you may be most 
serviceable to the church and cause of Christ If 
you are rich men, study how to do all the good with 
your riches that possibly you can do (not violatii^ 
the order appointed you by God) ; in your neigh- 
bourhoods, and in all your famiUes and relations, 
study to do the greatest good you can; take it 
dMnkfoUy, as a great mercy to yourselves, vrbnm. 
opportanity to do good is offered you ; and content 



not yourselves to do a little, while you are able to 
do more. ' Be not deceived, God is not mocked; 
for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also 
reap. For he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the 
flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the 
Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And 
let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due season 
we shall reap if we fidnt not. As we have therrfore 
opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially 
to those who are of the household of fidth. He 
which soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly, and 
he which soweth bountifully shall reap bountiflilly. 
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, 
so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity ; for 
God loveth a cheerful giver. To do good, and to 
communicate, forget not; for vrith such sacrifices God 
is well pleased. For we are his workmanship, 
created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God 
hath before ordained that we should walk in them.' 
Let doing good be the business and employment of 
your lives ; preferring still the public good before 
the private good of any, and the good of men'« 
souls before that of the body ; but yet neglecting 
none, but doing the lesser in order to the greater. 

Olyection. — But I am a poor obscure person, 
that have neither abilities of mind, or body, or 
estate ; and what good can I do ? 

Answer. — There is ho rational person that is not 
entrusted with one talent at the least, and that is not 
in a capacity of doing good in the world, if they 
have but hearts, and be but willing. If you had 
neither money to give, nor tongues to speak for 


Grod, and to provoke others to do good, yet a holy, 
humbley heavenlyi patient, blameless life, is a power- 
ful means of doing good, by shewing the excellency 
of grace, and convincing the ungodly, and stopping 
the mouths of the enemies of piety, and honouring 
the ways of God in the world : such a holy, harm- 
less, exemplary life is a continual and a powei*ful 
sermon ; and for ' giving, if there be first a wilUng 
mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, 
and not according to that he hath not.* 2 Cor. viii» 
12. If you are unfeignedly willing to give if you 
had it, God taketh it as done: what you would 
have given, is set down on your account as given 
indeed. The widow's two mites were praised by 
Christ as a bountiful gifl, and a cup of cold water is 
not unrewarded to the willing soul. No one there- 
fore is excusable that liveth unprofitably in the 
world. But yet men of power, and parts, and wealth, 
have the greatest reckoning to make: their ten 
talents must have a proportionable improvement ; it 
is a great deal of good that they must do ; * For to 
whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much 
required ; and to whom men have committed much, 
of him they will ask the more.' Luke xii. 48. 



Redeem your time, and highly value every minute, 

and spare for no labour in the work of your salva^ 

iion: dream not of an easy, idle, sluggish life, as 

sufficient to your high and glorious ends ; nor rest 


in a customary and outside way of duty ^ without 
regard to the life and the success. 

If any thing in all the world require all our powers 
and time, it is that for which all our powers and 
time are given us, and which, we are sure, will a 
thousand -fold recompense us for all. O what's 
sottish kind of stupidity is it, for a man to trifle in 
the wRy to eternity, that hath an endless life of joy 
or sorrow depending on the preparations of so short 
a life. How little doth he know the worth of his 
soul, the joys of heaven, the terrors of hell, the 
malicious diligence of Satan, or the difficulty of 
salvation, that can idle and play away whole hours 
of time, and pray as if he prayed not, and seem to 
be religious when he is not in good earnest ; and 
bestirreth not himself so much to escape hell-fire, 
and to obtain everlasting joys with Christ, as he 
would do to escape a temporal death or misery, or to 
obtain some dignity or riches in the world. 
therefore, as ever you care what becometh of your 
souls, and as ever you will have comfort in the 
review of your present life, make not a jest of 
heaven and hell ; trifle not in your race and war- 
fare ; dally not with God and conscience ; play not, 
and dream not away your time ; know the worth of 
an hour's time, for the sake of your work and of your 
souls, as it is commonly known by dying men. But 
of this I have spoken already in my "Now or 
Never," and "A Saint or a Brute," and in the third 
part of the " Saint's Rest" 



Sii down and cawU what it may cost you to be 
Christians indeed, and to be saved. Beckon not 
on prosperity, or a cheap religion, but resoke to 
take up the cross and follow Christ in suffering, 
and to be crucified to the world, and by many 
tribulations to enter into the kingdom qf heaven. 

< All that will live godly in Christ shall sufier 
persecution/ It is not all that are baptized and 
called Christians, but all that will live godly in 
Christ Jesus. It is godliness, and not the bare 
name of Christianity, which the serpent's seed have 
so great an enmity to. I have elsewhere cited an 
excellent saying of Dr. Thomas Jackson's, to prove 
that this is to be expected under Christian, as well 
as heathen governments ; and that it is not through 
the goodness of the great ones of the world, but 
the cowardliness of our hearts, that the ministers of 
Christ are not ordinarily martyrs. Though God 
may possibly exempt you from any notable su£fer- 
fering for his cause, yet it is not wise or safe to ex- 
pect such an exemption ; for that will hinder your 
preparation for suffering; and a mind prepared to 
suflfer is essential to true Christianity : and no man 
that is not a martyr in resolution and disposition 
can be saved. If the ' fiery trial ' come upon you, 
let it not seem a ^ strange' unexpected thing. When 
* persecution ariseth because of the word,' the un* 
rooted, unsound, unsettled Christian, is presently 
<^nded, and £sdls away. Then they will £dl to 


distinguishing aiid carnal reasoning, and prove any 
thing lawful which is necessary to their peace. 'As 
many as desire to make a &ir shew in the flesh, 
they constrain you to be circumcised, only lest they 
should sufier persecution for the cross of Christ.* 
Shrink not for sufferings ; ' fear not them that can 
but kill the body.' Never doth the Spirit of God 
and glory so much rest upon believers, as in their 
greatest 'sufferings for righteousness' sake;' and 
never have they cause of more 'exceeding joy.' 
Prosperity doth not so well agree with a life of 
faith, as sufferings and adversity. ' Our light 
affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for iis 
a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory ; 
while we look not at the (temporal) things which 
are seen, but at the things (eternal) which are not 
seen.' ResTd Rom. viii. 33. to the end. 


If you fall into any sin, rise speedily by a 
thorough repentance; ami take heed both of delays 
and of a palliate cure. 

Take heed of trusting to a general repentance 
or a converted state, instead of a particular repent- 
ance and conversion from every sin, especially if 
in any respect you have sinned presumptuously. 
For it is not a true general repentance which 
reacheth not to every known particular. If temp- 
tations have cast you down, take heed of lying 
there, but presently get up again: — what the 


apostle saith of« ' wrath/ the same I may say of 
other falls, ' let not the sun go down upon them^r* 
but go out with Peter and weep with him, if you 
have sinned with him. If your bones be out of 
joint, or broken, get them set presently, before they 
settle in their dislocation : and let the cure be tho- 
rough, and spare not for a little pain at first. Let 
as open confession as the case requireth, and as 
full restitution, signify the sincerity of your repent- 
ance ; for a gentle handling of yourselves may undo 
you, — ^and palliation is the hypocrite's cure. O take 
heed lest you presume to sleep one night in your 
unrepented sin ; and take heed lest delay encourage 
the tempter to offer you the bait again and again, 
and to say. Why not once more ? Why may you not 
be as well pardoned for twice as for once ; and for 
thrice as for twice ? &c. It is dangerous playing or 
sleeping at the brink of hell. Away from the 
temptation and occasion of your sin; stand not 
disputing, but resolve and be gone ; and ^ sin no 
more, lest a worse thing come unto you.' Stick not, 
man, at the shame or loss or sufiering, which confes- 
sion, restitution, or reformation, may bring; but 
remember that you can never escape damnation at 
too dear a rate. This is Christ's meaning, when he 
speaketh of ^ cutting off a right hand,* or ' plucking 
out a right eye,' if it ' offend ;' that is, ensnare and 
tempt you unto sin. Not that you should do so in- 
deed, for you have an easier way to avoid the sin ; 
but that, this is far the lesser of the two evils, to 
lose a hand or eye, than to lose the soul, and there- 
fore to be chosen if there were no other remedy; 



If the thief had no other way to forbear steaBng 
than to cut off his hand ; or the fornicator to cure 
his lusty than to put out his eyes^ it were a cheap 
remedy. A cheap and easy superficial repentance 
may skin, over the sore, and deceive a hypocrite ; 
but he that would be sure of pardon^ and free bam 
fear, must go to the bottom. 


Live as with decdh corUmually in your ejfe, 
and spend evert/ day in serious preparation far U^ 
thai when it cometh^ you may find your work dis- 
patched; and may not then cry out in vain to God 
to try you once again. 

Promise not yourselves long life ; think not of 
death as at many years' distance^ but as hard at 
hand. Think what will then be needful to your 
peace and comfort^ and order all your life accord- 
ingly, and prepare that now, which will be needful 
then. Live now while you have time, as you will 
resolve and promise God to live, when on your 
death-bed you are praying for a little time of trial 
more. It is a great work to die in a jojrfiil assu- 
rance and hope of everlasting life, and vrith a long- 
ing desire to depart and be with Christy as best of 
all. O, then, what a burden and terror it will be 
to have an unbelieving, or a worldly heart, or a 
guilty conscience ! Now, therefore, use all possible 
diligence to strengthen faith, to increase love, to be 
acquitted of guilt, to be above the worlds to have 


the mind set free from the captivity of the fleshy to 
walk with God, and to obtain the deepest, most de* 
lectable apprehensions of his love in Christ, and of 
the heavenly blessedness which you expect* Do 
you feel any doubts of the state of immortaUty, or 
staggering at the promise of God through unbe* 
Uef ? Presently do all you can to conquer them, 
and get a clear resolution to your souls, and leave it 
not all to do at the time of sickness. Are the 
thoughts of God and heaven unpleasant or terrible 
to you ? Presently search out the cause of all, and 
labour in the cure of it as for your lives. Is there 
any former or present sin which is a burden or terror 
to your consciences ? Presently seek out to Christ 
for a cure, by faith and true repentance; and do 
that to disburden your consciences now, which you 
would do on a sick-bed ; and leave not so great and 
necessary a work to so uncertain, and short, and 
unfit a time. Is there any thing in this world that 
is sweeter to your thoughts than God and heaven, 
and which you cannot willingly let go? Mortify it 
without delay ; consider of its vanity ; compare it 
with heaven; crucify it by the cross of Christ; 
cease not till you account it ' loss and dung,' for 
the excellent knowledge of Christ and Ufe etemaL 
Let not death surprise you as a thing that you never 
seriously expected : Can you do no more in {»repa* 
ration for it than you do ? If not, why do you wish 
at death to be tried once again ? and why are you 
troubled that you lived no better ? But if you can, 
when think you should it be done ? Is the time of 
uncertain painful sickness better than this ? O how 


doth sensuality besot the world! — and inconside* 
rateness deprive them of the benefit of their reason! 
O, sirs! if you know indeed that you must shortly 
die^ live then as dying men should . live : choose 
your condition in the world, and manage it as men 
that must shortly die ; — use your power, and com- 
mand, and honour, and use all your neighbours, 
and especially use the cause and servants of Christ 
as men should do that must shortly die. Build and 
plant, and buy and sell, and use your riches, as 
those that must die, remembering that the fashion 
of all these things is passing away. Yea, pray and 
read, hear and meditate, as those that must die. 
Seeing you are as sure of it as if it were this hour; 
in the name of God, delay not your preparations* 
It is a terrible thing for immortal souls to pass 
out of the body in a carnal, unregenerate, unpre- 
pared state ; and to leave a world which they loved 
and were familiar with, and go to a world which 
they neither know nor love, and where they have 
neither heart nor treasure. The measure of faith 
which may help you to bear an easy cross, is not 
sufficient to fortify and encourage your souls, to 
enter upon so great a change. So also bear all 
your wants and crosses as men that must shortly 
die; — fear the cruelties of men but as beseemeth 
those that are ready to die. He that can die well, 
can do any thing, or suffer any thing ; and he that 
is unready to die, is unfit for a firuitfiil and com- 
fortable life. What can rationally rejoice that man 
who is sure to die, and is unready to die, and is yet 
unfiirnished of dying comforts? Let nothing be 


now sweet to you, which will be bitter to your dying 
thoughts. Let nothing be much desired now, 
which will be unprofitable and uncomfortable then. 
Let nothing seem very heavy or grievous now, 
which will be light and eaay then;-let nothing 
now seem honourable, which will then seem des- 
picable and vile. Consider of every thing as it will 
look at death ; that when the day shall come which 
endeth all the joys of the ungodly, you may look 
up with joy, and say, — Welcome heaven ; this is 
the day which I so long expected, which all my 
days were spent in preparation for, which shall end 
my fears, and begin my felicity, and put me into 
possession of all that I desired, and prayed, and 
laboured for ; when my soul shall see its glorified 
Lord : for he hath said, ^ If any man serve me, let 
him follow me ; and where I am, there shall also 
my servant be : if any man serve me, him will my 
Father honour:* -even so. Lord Jesus, remember 
me now thou art in thy kingdom, and let me be with 
thee in Paradise. O thou that spakest those words 
so full of inexpressible comfort to a sinfiil woman 
in the first speech after thy blessed resurrection, 
(John XX. 17.) * Go to my brethren, and say unto 
them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, 
and to my God and your God.' Take up now this 
soul that is thine own, that it may see the glory 
given thee by the Father; and instead of this 
life of temptation, trouble, darkness, distance, and 
sinful imperfection, I may delightfully behold, and 
love, and praise, thy Father, and my Father, and 
thy God and my God. ^ Lord, now lettest thou 


thy servant depart in peace !' — ' Lord Jesus^ receive 
my spirit !' 

And now I have given you all these directions, I 
shall only request you in the close, that you will set 
your very hearts to the daily serious practice of 
them; for there is no other way for a ripe con- 
firmed state of grace : and as ever you regard the 
glory of God, the honour of your religion, the 
welfare of the church and those about you, and the 
living and dying comforts of yourselves, O do not 
sluggishly rest in an infant state of grace ! Did 
you but know how a weak and strong faith difier, 
and how a weak and a sound confirmed Christian 
differ, as to the honour of God, and the good of 
others, and especially to themselves, both in life 
and death, it would quickly awaken you to a cheer- 
ful diligence for so high and excellent an end. Did 
you but well understand the wrong that Christ and 
the Gospel have sustained in the world, yea in 
England, by weak, diseased, distempered Chris- 
tians, your hearts would bleed, and with shame and 
grief it would be your secret and open lamentation. 
Stir up then the grace that is given you, and use 
Christ's means, and do your best, and you will find 
that Christ is not an insufficient physician, nor an 
ineffectual Saviour, or an empty fountain ; but that 
he is filled with all the fiilness of God, and hath 
Spirit and life to communicate to his members ; and 
that there is no want which he cannot supply, and 
no corruption or temptation which his grace is not 
sufficient to overcome. 






AHD or 





C)e |^f(0iilr llatt of tie Bitwiion% Cot 9iBeat G)rtftimi9. 




Sfc. ^c. 

In the explication of the text, which I made the 
ground of the foregoing discourse, I have shewed 
you that there is a degree of grace to be expected 
and sought after by all true Christians, which put- 
teth the soul into a sound, confirmed, radicated 
state, in comparison of that weak, diseased, totter- 
ing condition, which most Christians now continue 
in. And I have shewed you how desirable a state 
that is, and what calamities follow the languishing, 
unhealthful state even of such as may be saved. 
And, indeed, did we but rightly understand how 
deeply the errors and sins of many well-meaning 
Christians have wounded the interest of religion in 
this age ; and how heinously they have dishonoured 
God, and caused the enemies of holiness to blas- 
pheme, and hardened thousands in popery and 
ungodliness, in probability to their perdition : had 
we well observed when God's judgments have be- 
gun, and understood what sins have caused our 
wars, and plagues, and flames ; and, worse than all 


these, our great heart-divisions, and church-distrac- 
tions, and convulsions; we should ere this have 
given over the flattering of ourselves and one ano- 
ther in such a heaven-provoking state ; and the 
ostentation of that little goodness, which hath been 
eclipsed by such lamentable evils. And instead of 
these, we should have betaken ourselves to the 
exercise of such a serious deep repentance as the 
quality of our sins, and the greatness of God's 
chastisements, do require. It is a doleful case to 
see how light many make of all the rest of their 
distempers, when once they think that they have 
so much grace and mortification as is absolutely 
necessary to save their souls; and expect that 
preachers should say little to weak Christians but 
words of comfort, setting forth their happiness: 
and yet if one of them, when he hath the gout, or 
the dropsy, doth send for a physician, he would 
think himself derided or abused, if his phjrsician, 
instead of curing his disease, should only comfort 
him by telling him that he is not dead. What 
excellent disputations have Cicero and Seneca, the 
Platonists and Stoics, to prove that virtue is of 
itself suflicient to make man happy? And yet 
many Christians live as if holiness were not the way 
and means to their felicity, or at best but a small 
part of their felicity itself; or as if felicity itself 
grew burdensome, or were not desirable in this life; 
or a small degree of it were as good as a greater. 

And too many mistake the will of God, and the 
nature of sanctification, and place their religion in 
the hot persecution of those mistakes : they make a 


composition of error and passion, and an unyield- 
ing stiflBiess in them, and siding with the church or 
party which maintaineth them, and an uncharitable 
censuring those that are against them, and an un- 
peaceable contending for them ; and this compo- 
sition they mistake for godliness, especially if there 
be something of godliness and truth in the compo* 
sition, though corrupted and overpowered by the 

For these &ilures in many well-meaning zealous 
persons the land mourneth, the churches groan; 
kingdoms are disturbed by them ; families are dis- 
quieted by them ; godliness is hindered, and much 
dishonoured by them ; the wicked are hardened by 
them, and encouraged to hate, and blaspheme, and 
oppose religion ; the glory of the Christian faith is 
obscured by them; and the Infidel, Mahometan, 
and Heathen world, are kept firom faith in Jesus 
Christ, and many millions of souls destroyed by 
them. I mean, by the misconduct of the weaker 
sort of Christians, and by the wicked lives of those 
carnal hypocrites, who, firom custom or worldly 
interest, do profess that Christianity which was 
never received by their hearts. 

And all this is much promoted by their indis- 
cretion, ^o are so intent upon the consolatory 
opening of the safety and happiness of believers, 
that they omit the due explication of their descrip- 
tion, their dangers, and their duties. 

One part of this too much neglected work I have 
endeavoured to perform in the foregoing treatise; 
another I shall attempt in this second part. 


There are five degrees or ranks of true Christians 
observable, 1. The weakest Christians, who have 
only the essentials of Christianity, or very Utde 
more, as infants that are alive, but of little strength 
or use to others. 2. Those that are lapsed into 
some wounding sin, though not into a state of dam- 
nation : like men at age, who have lost the use of 
some one member for the present though they are 
strong in other parts. 3. Those that have the 
integral parts of Christianity in a considerable mea- 
sure, are in a sound and healthful state, though 
neither perfect nor of the highest form or rank of 
Christians in this life, nor without such infirmities 
as are the matter of their daily watchfulness and 
humiliation. 4. Those who are so strong as to 
attain extraordinary degrees of grace, who are, there^ 
fore, comparatively, called perfect, as Matt. v. 45. 
5. Those that have an absolute perfection, without 
sin, that is, the heavenly inhabitants. 

Among all these, it is the third sort or degree 
which I have here characterized, and which I con- 
trast with the first sort and the hypocrite. I meddle 
not now with the lapsed Christian as such, nor with 
those giants in holiness, of extraordinary strength, 
nor with the perfect blessed souls in heaven ; but it 
is the Christian who hath attained that confirmation 
in grace, and composed, quiet, fruitfiil state which 
we might ordinarily expect if we were industrious, 
whose image or character I shall now present 
you with. I call him ofttimes a Christian indeed, 
in allusion to Christ's description of Nathaniel; 
and as we commonly use that word for one that 


answereth his own profession without any notable 
dishonour or defect : as we say, such a man is a 
scholar indeed, and not as signifying his mere sin- 
cerity ; I mean one whose heart and hfe is so con- 
formed to the principles, the rule, and the hopes of 
Christianity, that, to the honour of Christ, the true 
nature of our religion is discernible in his conversa- 
tion ; in whom an impartial infidel might perceive 
the true nature of the Christian faith and godliness. 
If the world were fuller of such living images of 
Christ, who, like true regenerate children, represent 
their Heavenly Father, Christianity would not have 
met with so much prejudice, nor had so many 
enemies in the world, nor would so many milUons 
have been kept in the darkness of heathenism and 
infideUty by flying from Christians as a sort of 
people that are common and unclean. 

Among Christians there are ^ babes,' that must 
be fed with ^ milk,' and not with ' strong meat,' that 
are 'unskilful in the word of righteousness,' and 
novices, who are unsettled and in danger of an 
overthrow. In these the nature and excellency of 
Christianity is little more apparent than reason in a 
little child. And there are strong, confirmed Chris- 
tians, who 'by reason of use have their senses 
exercised to discern both good and evil,' and who 
shew forth the glory of him ' that hath called them 
out of darkness into his marvellous light ;' of whom 
God himself may say to Satan and their malicious 
enemies, as once of Job, ' Hast thou not seen my 
servant Job?' &c. This Christian indeed I shall 
now describe to ypu, both to confute the infidel 


slanders of Christianity, and to unteach men those 
false descriptions which have caused the presump- 
tion of the pro&ne, and the irr^ularities of erro- 
neous sectaries ; and to tell you what manner <^ 
persons they be that God is honoured by; and what 
you must be if you will well understand your own 
religion. Be Christians indeed, and you will hare 
the comforts indeed of Christianity ; and will find 
that its fruits and joys are not dreams, and shadows, 
and imaginations, if you content not yourselves with 
an imagination, dream, and shadow of Chriatianity. 
or with some clouded spark or buried seed. 

The Characters. 

I. A Christian indeed, (by which I still mean, 
a sound confirmed Christian,) is one that contentetfa 
not himself to have a seed or habit of fidth, but he 
liveth by faith, as the sensualist liveth by sight or 
sense ; not putting out the eye of sense, nor living 
as if he had no body, or were not in a world of 
sensible objects; but as he is a reasonable creature, 
which exalteth him above the sensitive nature, so 
faith is the true information of his reason, about 
those high and excellent things which must take 
him up above things sensible. He hath so firm 
a beUef of the life to come, as procured by Christ, 
and promised in the Gospel, as that it serveth him 
for die government of his soul, as his bodily si^it 
doth for the conduct of his body. I say not that 


he is assaulted with no temptations, nor that his 
fisdth is perfect in degree, nor that believing moveth 
him as passionately as sight or sense would do; 
but it doth effectually move him through the course 
and tenour of his life, to do those things for the life 
to come which he would do if he saw the glory of 
heaven, and to shun those things for the avoiding 
of damnation which he would shun if he saw the 
flames of bell. Whether he do these things so 
fervently or not, his beUef is powerful, effectual, 
and victorious. Let sight and sense invite him to 
then: objects, and entice him to sin and forsake his 
God, the objects of faith shall prevail against them, 
in the bent of an even, a constant and resolved life. 
It is things unseen which he taketh for his treasure, 
and which have his heart, and hope, and chiefest 
labours. All things else which he hath to do are 
but subservient to his feith and heavenly interest, 
as his sensitive feculties are ruled by his reason. 
His faith is not only his opinion, which teacheth 
him to choose what church or party he will be of; 
but it is his intellectual light by which he liveth, 
and in the confidence and comfort of which he 
dieth. * For we walk by faith, not by sight ; ' we 
groan to be clothed upon with our heavenly house : 
* Wherefore we labour, that whether present or 
absent we may be accepted of hinu' ^ Now the 
just shall Uve by faith.' And (HeK xi. 1,) ' Faith 
is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence 
of things not seen.' Most of the examples in 
Heb. xi. do shew you this truth, that true Christiaiis 
Hve and govern their actions by the firm belief of 


the promise of God, and of another life when this 
is ended. ^ By faith, Noah being warned of God 
o{ things not seen as yet, moved with fear, pre- 
pared an ark to the saving of his house ; by which 
he condemned the world, and became heir of the 
righteousness which is by faith/ — ' Abraham 
looked for a city which had foundations, whose 
builder and maker is God/ — * Moses feared not 
the wrath of the king : for he endured, as seeing 
him who is invisible.' So the three witnesses, and 
Daniel himself, and all believers, have lived this 
life, as Abraham the father of the faithful did; 
who, as it is said of him, ^ Staggered not at the 
promise of God through unbeUef, but was strong 
in faith, giving glory to God.' The &ith of a 
Christian is truly divine; and he knoweth that 
God's truth is as certain as sight itself can be, 
however sight be apter to move the passions: 
therefore, if you can judge but what a rational man 
would be, if he saw heaven and hell, and all that 
God had appointed us to believe, then you may 
conjecture what a confirmed Christian is, (though 
sense do cause more sensible apprehensions.) 

2. The weak Christian also hath a fidth that is 
divine, as caused by God, and resting on his word 
and truth. And he so far liveth by this faith, as 
that it commandeth and guideth the scope and 
drift of his heart and life ; but he believeth with 
a great deal of staggering and unbeUef, and there- 
fore his hopes are interrupted by his troublesome 
doubts and fears ; and the dimness and languor of 
his fidth is seen in the £untness of his desires, and 


i£he many blemishes of his heart and life; and 
sight and sensual objects are so much the more 
powerful with him, by how much the light and 
life of faith is dark and weak. 

3. The hypocrite, or best of the unregenerate, 
believeth but either with a human faith, which 
resteth on the word of man, or else with a dead 
opinionative faith, which is overpowered by infi- 
^lity, or is Uke the dreaming thoughts of a man 
jisleep, which stir him not to action : he liveth by 
sight and not by faith ; for he hath not a faith that 
will overpower sense and sensual objects. 

II. 1. A Christian indeed not only knoweth why 
he is a Christian, but seeth those reasons for his 
religion which disgrace all that the cunningest 
atheist or infidel can say against it, and so far 
satisfy, confirm, and establish him, that emergent 
difficulties, temptations, and objections, do not at 
all stagger him, or raise any deliberate doubts in 
faim of the truth of the word of God. He seeth 
first the natural evidence of those foundation-truths 
which nature itself maketh known ; (as that there 
is a God of infinite being, power, wisdom, and 
goodness, the creator, the owner, the ruler, and 
the &ther, felicity and end of man; that we owe 
faim all our love and service; that none of our 
fidelity shall be in vain or unrewarded, and none 
shall be finally a loser by his duty ; that man, who 
is naturally governed by the hopes and fears of 
another life, is made and liveth for that other life, 
where his soul shall be sentenced by God his 
judge> to happiness or misery, &c.) : and then he 



discerneth the attestation of God to those super- 
natural^ superadded revelations of the Gospel, con- 
taining the doctrine of man's redemption ; and he 
seeth how wonderfully these are built upon the 
former, and how excellently the Creator's and 
Redeemer's doctrine and laws agree, and how 
much countenance supernatural truths receive from 
the presupposed natural ones ; so that he doth not 
adhere to Christ and religion by the mere engager 
ment of education, friends, or worldly advantages, 
nor by a blind resolution, which wanteth nothing 
but a strong temptation (from a deceiver or a 
worldly interest) to shake or overthrow it ; but he 
is built upon the rock, which will stand in the 
assault of Satan*s storms, and the gates of hell 
shall not prevail against it. 

2. But a weak Christian hath but a dim and 
general kind of knowledge of the reasons of his 
religion, or, at least, but a weak apprehension of 
them, though he have the best and most unanswer- 
able reasons ; and either he is confident in the daik 
upon grounds which he cannot make good, and 
which want but a strong assault to shake them, or 
else he is troubled and ready to stagger at every 
difficulty which occurreth ; every * hard saying ' in 
the scripture doth offend him, and every seeming 
contradiction shaketh him ; and the depth of the 
mysteries which pass his understanding, do make 
him say, as Nicodemus of regeneration, * How can 
these things be V And if he meet with the objec- 
tions of a cunning infidel, he is unable so to defend 
the truth, and clear his way through them, as to 


come off unwounded and unshaken, and to be more 
confirmed in the truth of his belief, by discerning 
the vanity of all that is said against it. 

3. The seeming Christian either hath no solid 
reasons at all for his religion, or else, if he have the 
best^ he hath no sound apprehension of them : but 
though he be never so learned and orthodox, and 
can preach and defend the faith, it is not so rooted 
in him as to endure the trial ; but if a strong tempt- 
ation from subtlety or carnal interest assault him, 
you shall see that he was built upon the sand, and 
that there was in him a secret root of bitterness, and 
an evil heart of unbelief, which causeth him to 
depart firom the living God. 

III. 1. A Christian indeed, is not only confirmed 
in the essentials of Christianity, but he hath a clear 
delightfiil sight of those usefiil truths which are the 
integrals of Christianity, and are built upon the 
fundamentals, and are the branches of the master- 
points of faith. Though he see not all the lesser 
truths, (which are branched out at last into innumer- 
able particles,) yet he seeth the main body of sacred 
verities delivered by Christ for man's sanctification, 
and seeth them methodically in their proper places, 
and seeth how one supports another, and in how 
beautiful an order and contexture they are placed ; 
and as he sticketh not in the bare principles, so he 
receiveth all these additions of knowledge, not 
notionally only, but practically, as the food on 
which his soul must live. 

2. A weak Christian (in knowledge) besides the 
principles or essentials of religion, doth know but a 



few disordered scattered truths, which are also but 
half known, because while he hath some knowledge 
of those points, he is ignorant of many others which 
are needful to the supporting, and clearing, and 
improving of them : and because he knoweth them 
not in their places, and order, and relation, and 
aspect upon other truths ; and, therefore, if tempta- 
tions be strong, and come with advantage, the weak 
Christian in such points is easily drawn into many 
errors, and thence into great confidence and con* 
ceitedness in those errors, and thence into sinfiil, 
dangerous courses in the prosecution and practice of 
those errors. Such are, like ^ children, tossed up 
and down, and carried to and fro by every wind of 
doctrine, through the cunning sleight and subtlety 
of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.' 

3. The seeming Christian, having no saving prac* 
deal knowledge of the essentials of Christianity them- 
selves, doth therefore, either neglect to know the 
rest, or knoweth them but notionally, as common 
sciences, and subjecteth them all to his worldly 
interest ; and therefore is still of that side or party 
in religion which upon the account of safety, honour, 
or preferment, his flesh commandeth him to foUow: 
either he is still on the greater, rising side, and of 
the ruler's religion, be it what it will ; or, if he 
dissent, it is in pursuit of another game which pride 
o\ fleshly ends have started. 

IV. 1. The Christian indeed hath not only 
reason for his religion, but also hath an inward 
connatural principle, even the Spirit of Christ, which 
is a new nature, inclining and enlivening him to a 


holy life, whereby he mindeth and savoureth the 
things of the Spirit ; not that his nature doth work 
blindly, as nature doth in the irrational creatures ; 
but at least it much imitateth nature as it is found in 
rational creatures, where the inclination is necessary, 
but the operations free, and subject to reason; it is a 
spiritual appetite, in the rational appetite, even the 
will, and a spiritual visive disposition in the under-* 
standing ; not a &culty in a faculty ; but the right dis- 
position of the Acuities to their highest objects, to 
which they are by corruption made unsuitable. So 
that it is neither a proper power in the natural sense, 
nor a mere act, but nearest to the nature of a seminal 
disposition or habit. It is the health and rectitude 
of the &culties of the soul. Even as Nature hath 
made the understanding disposed to truth in general, 
and the will disposed or inclined to good in gene* 
ral, and to self-preservation and felicity in particular; 
so the Spirit of Christ doth dispose the understand- 
ing to spiritual truth, to know God, and the matters 
of salvation, and doth incline the will to God and 
holiness; not blindly, as they are unknown; but 
to love and serve a known God. So that whether 
this be properly or only analogically called a nature, 
or rather should be called a habit, I determine not ; 
but certainly it is a fixed disposition and inclination, 
which Scripture calleth the * divine nature,' and * the 
seed of God abiding in us.' But most usually it is 
called * the Spirit of God,' or of * Christ in us :' * If 
any man have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is 
none of his.' And again, * By one Spirit we are 
all baptized into one body :' — therefore we are sai4 


to be *in the Spirit/ and 'walk after the Spirit/ and 
' by the Spirit to mortify the deeds of the body.' 
And it is called^ ' the Spirit of the Son/ and ' die 
Spirit of adoption^ whereby we cry Abba^ Father ;' 
or are inclined to God^ as children to their &ther; 
and the ' Spirit of grace and supplication.' From 
this Spirit, and the fruits of it, we are called * new 
creatures/ and ' quickened' and 'made alive to God.' 
It is a great controversy, whether this holy disposi- 
tion and inclination was natural to Adam, or not; and, 
consequently, whether it be a restored nature in us, or 
not. It was so natural to him as health is natural to 
the body, but not so natural as to be a necessitatii^ 
principle, nor so as to be inseparable and unlosaUe. 

2. This same Spirit and holy inclination is in the 
weakest Christian also, but in a small degree, and 
remissly operating, iso as that the fleshly inclination 
oft seemeth to be the stronger, when he judgeth by 
its passionate strugglings within him: though, 
indeed, the Spirit of life doth not only strive, but 
conquer in the main, even in the weakest Christians. 

3. The seeming Christian hath only the inefiec* 
tual motions of the Spirit to a holy life, and effectual 
motions, and inward dispositions to some common 
duties of religion : and from these, with the natural 
principles of self-love and common honesty, with 
the outward persuasions of company and advan- 
tages, his religion is maintained, without the rege- 
neration of the Spirit. 

V. From hence it foUoweth : 1. That a Christian 
indeed doth not serve God for fear only, but for 
love ; even for love both of himself and of his holy 


work and service : yea^ the strong Christian's love 
to God and holiness, is not only greater than his 
love to creatures, but greater than his fear of wrath 
and punishment. The love of God constraineth 
him to duty : ' Love is the fulfilling of the law ;' 
therefore the Gospel cannot be obeyed without it. 
He saith not, O that this were no duty! and O 
that this forbidden thing were lawful ! (though his 
flesh say so, the Spirit, which is the predominant 
part, doth not) ; but he saith, * O how I love thy 
law ! O that my ways were so directed that I might 
keep thy statutes !' For * the spirit is willing' even 
when *the flesh is weak:' — he serveth not God 
against his will ; but his will is to serve him more 
and better than he doth : he longeth to be perfect, 
and perfectly to do the will of God, and taketh the 
remnant of his sinful infirmities to be a kind of 
bondage to him, which he groaneth to be delivered 
from : to will even perfection is present with him, 
though not perfectly, and though he do not all that 
he willeth : and this is the true meaning of Paul's 
complaints, Rom. vii. Because ' the flesh warreth 
against the Spirit, he cannot do the good that he 
would;' that is, he cannot be perfect, for so he 
would be. His love and will excel his practice. 

2. The weak Christian also hath more love to 
God and hoUness than to the world and fleshly 
pleasure : but yet his fear of punishment is greater 
than his love to God and holiness. To have no 
love to God is inconsistent with a state of grace, 
and so it is to have less love to God than to the 
world, and less love to holiness than to sin ; — but 


to have more fear than love is consistent with sin* 
cerity of grace ; yea, the weak Christian's love to 
God and holiness is joined with so much backward- 
ness and averseness, and interrupted with weariness, 
and with the carnal allurements and diversions of 
the creature, that he cannot certainly perceive whe- 
ther his love and willingness be sincere or not : he 
goeth on in a course of duty, but so heavily, that 
he scarce knoweth, whether his love or loathing of 
it be the greater. He goeth to it as a sick man to 
his meat, or labour : all that he doth is with so 
much pain or indisposedness, that to his feeling his 
averseness seemeth greater than his willingness, 
were it not that necessity maketh him willing. For 
the habitual love and complacency which he hath 
towards God and duty, is so oppressed by fear, and 
by averseness, that it is not so much felt in act as 

3. A seeming Christian hath no true love of God 
and holiness at all, but some ineffectual liking and 
wishes which are overborne by a greater backward- 
ness, and by a greater love to earthly things ; so 
that fear alone, without any true effectual love, is 
the spring and principle of his religion and obe- 
dience. God hath not his heart, when he draweth 
near him with his lips : he doth more than he 
would do, if he were not forced by necessity and 
fear ; and had rather be excused, and lead another 
kind of life. Though necessity and fear are very 
helpful to the most sincere, yet fear alone without 
love or willingness is a graceless state. 

VI. 1. A Christian indeed doth love God in 


Uiese three gradations : he loveth him much for his 
mercy to himself, and for that goodness which con- 
sisteth in benignity to himself; but he loveth him 
more for his mercy to the church, and for that good- 
ness which consisteth in his benignity to the church* 
But he loveth him most of all for his infinite per- 
fections and essential excellencies ; — his infinite 
power, and wisdom, and goodness, simply in him- 
self considered. For he knoweth that love to him- 
self obligeth him to returns of love, especially 
difierencing saving grace. And he knoweth that 
the souls of millions are more worth incomparably 
than his own, and that God may be much more 
honoured by them than by him alone : and there- 
fore he knoweth that the mercy to many is greater 
mercy, and a greater demonstration of the goodness 
of God ; and therefore doth render him more 
amiable to man. And yet he knoweth that the 
essential perfection and goodness of God, as simply 
in himself and for himself, is much more amiable 
than his benignity to the creature; and that He that 
is the first efficient must needs be the ultimate final 
cause of all things : and that God is not finally for 
the creature, but the creature for God, (for all that 
he needeth it not,) ^ For of him, and through him, 
and to him, are all things.' And as he is infinitely 
better than ourselves, so he is to be better loved 
than ourselves : as I love a wise and virtuous per- 
son, though he be one I never expect to receive any 
thing firom, and therefore love him for his own sake, 
and not for his benignity or usefulness to me ; so 
must I love God most for his essential perfections^ 



though his benignity also doth represent him 
amiable. As he is blindly selfish that would not 
rather himself be annihilated or perish, than whole 
kingdoms should all perish, or the sun be taken out 
of the world ; (because that which is best must be 
loved as best, and therefore be best loved :) so is he 
more blind who in his estimative complacential love 
preferreth not infinite eternal goodness before such 
an imperfect silly creature as himself (or all the 
world.) We are commanded to * love our neighbour 
as ourselves/ when God is to be * loved with all the 
heart, and sod, and might,' which therefore signi- 
fieth more than to love him as ourselves ; (or else 
he were to be loved no more than our neighbour.) 
So that the strong Christian loveth God so much 
above himself, as that he accounteth himself and all 
his interests as nothing in comparison of God ; yea, 
and loveth himself more for God than for himself: 
though his own salvation be loved and desired by 
him, and God must be loved for his mercy and 
benignity; yet that salvation itself, which he de- 
sireth, is nothing else but the love of God; wherein 
his love is the final felicitating act, and God is the 
final felicitating object ; and the felicity of loving is 
not first desired, but the attractive object doth draw 
out our love, and thereby make us consequentially 
happy in the enjoying exercise thereof. Thus God 
is ^ All and in all ' to the soul. 

2. A weak Christian also loveth God as one that 
is infinitely better than himself and, all things : (or 
else he did not love him at all as God.) But in the 
exercise he is so much in the minding of himself, 


and so seldom and weak in the contemplation of 
God*s perfections^ that he feeleth more of his love 
to himself^ than unto God ; and feeleth more of his 
love to God as for the benefits which he receiveth 
in and by himself^ than as for his own perfections ; 
yea, and often feeleth the love of himself to work 
more strongly than his love to the church, and all 
else in the world. The care of his own salvation is 
the highest principle which he ordinarily perceiveth 
in any great strength in him ; and he is very little 
and weakly carried out to the love of the whole 
church, and to the love of God, above himself. 

3. A seeming Christian hath a common love of 
God as he is good, both in himself, and unto the 
world, and unto him. But this is not for his holi- 
ness ; and it is but a general inefiectual approbation 
and praise of God, which foUoweth a dead inefiec- 
tual belief: but his chiefest predominant love is 
always to his carnal self, and the love both of his 
soul and of God is subjected to his fleshly self-love. 
His chiefest love to God is for prospering him in the 
world, and such as is subservient to his sensuality, 
pride, covetousness, presumption, and false hopes. 

VII. 1. A Christian indeed doth practically take 
this love of God, and the holy expressions of it, to 
be the very life and top of his religion, and the very 
life, and beauty, and pleasure of his soul; — ^he 
makes it his work in the world, and loveth himself 
(complacentially) but so far as he findeth in himself 
the love of God ; — and so far as he findeth himself 
without it, he loatheth himself as an unlovely car- 
case : and so &r as his prayers and obedience are 


without it^ he looks on them but as unacceptable 
loathsome things. And therefore he is taken up in 
the study of redemption^ because he can no where 
80 clearly see the love and loveliness of God as in 
the face of a Redeemer, even in the wonders of love 
revealed in Christ. And he studieth them, that 
love may kindle love. And, therefore, he delight^ 
eth in contemplating God's attributes and infinife 
perfections; and in the beholding of him in the 
frame of the creation, and reading his name in the 
book of his works, that his soul may, by such steps, 
be raised in love and admiration of his Maker: — 
and, as ^ it is a pleasant thing for the eyes to behold 
the sun,' or light, so is it to the mind of the Chris- 
tian indeed to be frequently and seriously contem- 
plating the nature and glory of God : and the exer- 
cise of love in such contemplations is most of his 
daily walk with God. And therefore it is, also, that 
he is more taken up in the exercises of thanks- 
giving, and the praises of the Almighty, than in the 
lower parts of godliness : so that though he neglect 
not confession of sin and humiliation, yet doth he 
use them but in subserviency to the love and praise 
of God; and rejoiceth in casting out every thing 
which becomes not a heart that is to entertain its 
God. He placeth not the chief part of his religion 
in any outward duties, nor in any lower preparatory 
acts ; nor doth he stop in any of these, however he 
neglect them not. But he useth them all to advance 
his soul in the love of God; and useth them the 
more diligently, because the love of God, to which 
they conduce as to their proper end, is so high and 


excellent a work. Therefore, in David*s Psalms, 
you find a heart delighting itself in the praises of 
God ; and in love with his word and works in order 
to his praises ; as in Psal. cxvi. 1, &c. ; ciii. ; cvi. ; 
cxlv. ; cxlvi. &c. 

2. The weak Christian is taken up but very little 
with the lively exercises of love and praise, nor with 
any studies higher than his own distempered heart : 
the care of his poor soul, and the complaining of 
his manifold infirmities and corruptions, is the most 
of his religion ; and if he set himself to the praising 
of God or to thanksgiving, he is as dull and short in 
it as if it were not his proper work. 

3. The seeming Christian liveth to the flesh ; and 
carnal self-love is the active principle of his life : 
and he is neither exercised in humiliation or in 
praise sincerely, being unacquainted both with holy 
joy and sorrow; but knowing that he is in the 
hands of God, to prosper or destroy him, he will 
humble himself to him to escape his judgments, and 
praise him with some gladness for the sunshine of 
prosperity ; and he will seem to be piously thanking 
God when he is but rejoicing in the accommodations 
of his flesh, or strengthening his presumption and 
fidse hopes of heaven. 

VIII. 1. A Christian indeed is one that is so 
apprehensive of his lost condition, imworthiness, 
and utter insufficiency for himself, and of the office, 
perfection, and sufficiency of Christ, that he hath 
absolutely put his soul and all his hopes into the 
hands of Christ ; and now liveth in him and upon 
him; as having no life but what he hath firom 


Christ, nor any other way of access to God, or 
acceptance of his person or his service, but by him. 
In him he beholdeth, and delightfully admireth, the 
love and goodness of the Father ; — in him, he hath 
access with boldness unto God ; — through him, the 
most terrible avenging Judge is become a reconciled 
God ; and he that we could not remember but with 
trembling, is become the most desirable object of 
our thoughts. He is delightfully employed in look- 
ing into the unsearchable mystery ; and Christ doth 
even ^ dwell in his heart by faith : and being rooted 
and grounded in love,' he ' apprehendeth with all 
saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, 
and height,' and knoweth ' the love of Christ, which 
passeth knowledge.' He perceiveth that he is daily 
beholden to Christ, that he is not in hell, that sin 
doth not make him like to devils, and that he is not 
utterly forsaken of God : he feeleth that he is be- 
holden to Christ for every hour's time, and every 
mercy to his soul or body, and for all his hope of 
mercy in this life, or in the life to come. He per- 
ceiveth that he is dead in himself, and that ^ his life 
is hid with Christ in God.' And therefore he is as 
* buried and risen again with Christ ;' even * dead 
to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ.' He 
saith with Paul, (Gal. ii. 20,) * I am crucified with 
Christ : nevertheless I live : yet not I, but Christ 
'liveth in me : and the life which I now live in the 
flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who 
loved me, and gave himself for me.' Thus doth he 
live as truly and constantly by the * second Adam,' 
who is a ^ quickening spirit,' as he doth by the 


* first Adam/ who was a * living soul.' This is a 
confirmed Christian's life. 

2. But the weak Christian, though he be also 
united unto Christ, and live by faith, yet how lan- 
guid are the operations of that faith ! How dark 
and dull are his thoughts of Christ ! How little is 
his sense of the wonders of God's love revealed to 
the world in the mystery of redemption! How 
little use doth he make of Christ ! And how little 
life receives he from him ! And how little comfort 
findeth he in believing, in comparison of that which 
the confirmed find ! He is to Christ as a sick per- 
son to his food ; — he only picketh here and there a 
little of the crumbs of the Bread of Life, to keep 
him from dying ; but is woefully unacquainted with 
the powerfiillest works of faith. He is such a be- 
liever as is next to an unbeliever, and such a mem- 
ber of Christ as is next to a mere stranger. 

3. And for the seeming Christian, he may un- 
derstand the letter of the Gospel, and number 
himself with Christ's disciples, and be baptized 
with water, and have such a faith as is a dead 
opinion ; but he hath not an effectual living faith, 
nor is baptized with the Holy Ghost, nor is his 
soul engaged absolutely and entirely in the cove- 
nant of Christianity to his Redeemer : he may have 
a handsome well-made image of Christianity, but 
it is the flesh and sense, and not Christ and faith, 
by which his life is actuated and ordered. 

IX. 1. A Christian, indeed doth firmly believe 
that Christ is a ^ teacher sent from God,' and that 
he came from heaven to reveal his Father's will, 


and to bring life and immortality more fully M 
light by his Gospel ; and that if an angel had been 
sent to tell us of the life to come^ and the way 
thereto, he had not been so credible and venerable 
a messenger as the Son of God : and therefore he 
taketh him alone for his chief teacher, and knoweth 
no master on earth but him, and such as he ap- 
pointeth under him; his study in the world is to 
know a crucified and glorified Christ, and God by 
him, and he regardeth no other knowledge^ nor 
Useth any other studies but this, and such as are 
subservient to this. Even when he studieth the 
works of nature, it is as by the conduct of the 
restorer of nature, and as one help appointed him 
by Christ, to lead him up to the knowledge of God. 
And, therefore, he perceiveth that Christ is made 
of God unto us wisdom as well as righteousness; 
and that Christianity is the true philosophy; and 
that the wisdom of the world, which is only about 
worldly things, from worldly principles to a worldly 
end, is foolishness with God: he taketh nothing 
for wisdom which tendeth not to acquaint him more 
with God, or lead him up to everlasting happiness. 
Christ is his teacher, either by natural or super- 
natural revelation, and God is his ultimate end in 
all his studies, and all that he desireth to know in 
the world. He valueth knowledge according to its 
usefulness ; and he knoweth that its chief use is to 
lead us to the love of God. 

2. Though the weak Christian hath the same 
Master, yet, alas, how little doth he learn! and 
how ofl is he hearkening to the teaching of the 


flesh ! and how carnal and common is much of his 
knowledge? how little doth he depend on Christ 
in his mquiries after the things of nature ! and how 
apt is he to think almost as highly of the teaching 
of Aristotle, Plato, Seneca, or at least of some ex- 
cellent preacher, as of Christ's ! and to forget that 
these are but his messengers and instruments to con- 
vey unto us several parcels of that truth which is 
his and not theirs, and which, naturally or super* 
naturally, they received from him; and all these 
candles were lighted by him who is the Sun ! And 
how little doth this weak Christian refer his com- 
mon knowledge to God ! or use it for him ! or to 
the furtherance of his own and others' happiness ! 

3. And the seeming Christian, though materially 
he may be eminent for knowledge, yet is so far 
from resigning himself to the teachings of Christ, 
that he maketh even his knowledge of Christian 
verities to be to him but a common carnal thing, 
while he knoweth it but in a common manner, and 
useth it to the service of the flesh, and never yet 
learned so much as to be a new creature, nor to 
love God as God above the world. 

X. 1. A Christian indeed is one whose repent- 
ance hath been deep, and serious, and universal, 
and is unchangeable : it hath gone to the very roots 
of sin, and to the bottom of the sore, and hath not 
left behind it any reigning unmortified sin ; nor 
any prevalent love to fleshly pleasures : his repent-» 
ance did not consist in some reproachful words 
against his sin, and then allow him to rest satisfied 
with its confession instead of its mortification* Nor 


doth he only repent of his open sins, and those that 
are most censured by the beholders of his life ; but 
he specially perceives the dangerous poison of pride, 
and unbelief, and worldliness, and the want of the 
love of God, and all his outward and smaller sins 
do serve to shew him the greater malignity of these, 
and these are the matter of his greatest lamenta- 
tions. He taketh not up a profession of religion 
with strong corruptions secretly covered in his 
heart; but his religion consisteth in the death of 
his corruptions and the purifying of his heart : he 
doth not secretly cherish any sin as too sweet or 
too profitable to be utterly forsaken, nor overlook 
it as a small inconsiderable matter ; but he feeleth 
sin to be his enemy and his disease, and as he 
desireth not one enemy, one sickness, one wound, 
one broken bone, one serpent in his bed, so he 
desireth not any one sin to be spared in his soul, 
but saith with David, * Search me, O God, and 
know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; 
and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead 
me in the way everlasting.* He liveth in no gross 
or scandalous sin, and his mfirmities are compara- 
tively few and small ; so that if he were not a 
sharper accuser of himself than the most observant 
spectators are, that are just, there would little be 
known by him that is culpable and matter of re- 
proof. He ^ walketh in all the commandments and 
ordinances of God blameless,' as to any notable 
failure. He is ^ blameless and harmless, as the son 
of God, without rebuke in the midst of a crooked 
and perverse generation; among whom he shineth 


as a light in the world.* The fear, and love, and 
obedience of God is the work and tenour of his 

S. But the weak Christian, though he hath no 
sin but what he is a hater of> and fain would be 
delivered from, yet alas how imperfect is his deli- 
verance ! and how weak is the hatred of his sin, 
and mixed with so much proneness to it, that his 
life is much blemished with the spots of his ofiences. 
Though his imbelief, and pride, and worldliness 
are not predominant in him, yet are they, or some 
of them, still so strong, and fight so much against 
his &ith, humility, and heavenliness, that he can 
scarcely tell which hath the upper hand ; nor can 
others that see the failings of his life, discern 
whether the good or the evil be most prevalent. 
Though it be heaven which he most seeketh, yet 
earth is so much regarded by him, that his heavenly* 
mindedness is gready damped and suppressed by it. 
And though it be the way of godliness and obe- 
dience which he walketh in, yet is it with so many 
stumblings and falls, if not deviations also, as make 
him oft a burthen to himself, a shame to his profes- 
sion and a snare or trouble to those about him. His 
heart is like an ill-swept house that hath many a 
sluttish corner in it; and his life is like a moth- 
eaten garment, which hath many a hole which you 
may see if you bring it into the light. 

3. And for the seeming Christian, his repentance 
doth but crop the branches, it goeth not to the root 
and heart of his sin: it leaveth his fleshly mind and 
interest under its dominion; it polisheth his life, 


but maketh him not a new creature; it casteth 
away those sins which the flesh can spare, and 
which bring more shame, or loss, or trouble with 
them, than worldly honour, gain, or pleasure : but 
still he is a very worldling at the heart; and the 
sins which his fleshly pleasure and felicity consist* 
eth in, he will hide by confessions and seeming 
oppositions, but never mortify and forsake: as 
Judas, who, while he followed Christ, was yet a 
thief and a covetous hypocrite. 

XL 1. Hence it foUoweth that a Christiaii 
indeed doth heartily love the searching light, that 
it may fully acquaint him with his sins : he is truly 
desirous to know the worst of himself, and there- 
fore useth the word of God as a candle to shew 
him what is in his heart, and bringeth himself 
willingly into the light: he loveth the most search- 
ing books and preachers: not only because they 
disclose the &ults of other men, but his own : he is 
not one that so loveth his pleasant and profitable 
sins, as to fly the light lest he should be forced to 
know them, and so to forsake them ; but because 
he hateth them, and is resolved to forsake them, 
therefore he would know them. John iii. 19 — 2l» 
Therefore he is not only patient under reproo&, 
but loveth them, and is thankful to a charitable 
reprover ; and maketh a good use even of malicious 
and passionate reproofs. He saith as Job, * That 
which I see not, teach thou me. If I have done 
iniquity, I will do no more.' His hatred of the 
sin, and desire to be reformed, sufler not his heart 
by pride to rise up against the remedy and reject 


reproof. Though he will not falsely confess his 
duty to be his sin, nor take the judgment of every 
selfish, passionate, or ignorant reprover to be infal- 
lible, nor to be his rule ; yet if a judicious impar- 
tial person do but suspect him of a fault, he is 
ready to suspect himself of it, unless he be certain 
that he is clear. He loveth him better that would 
save him from his sin, than him that would entice 
him to it ; and taketh him for his best friend who 
dealeth freely with him, and is the greatest enemy 
to his faults ; and a flatterer he taketh but for the 
most dangerous insinuating kind of foe. 

2. But the weak Christian, though he hate his 
sin, and love reformation, and loveth the most 
searching books and preachers, and loveth a gentle 
kind of reproof, yet hath so much pride and sel- 
fishness remaining, that any reproof that seemeth 
disgraceful to him goeth very hardly down with 
him ; like a bitter medicine to a queasy stomach : 
if you reprove him before others, or if your reproof 
be not very carefully sugared and minced, so that it 
rather extenuate than aggravate his fault, he will be 
ready to cast it up in your face, and with retortions 
to tell you of some faults of your own, or some 
way shew you how little he loveth it, and how little 
thanks he giveth you for it. If you will not let 
him alone with his infirmities, he will dislike you, 
if not fall out with you, and let you know, by his 
smart and impatience, that you have touched him 
in the sore and galled place. He must be a man 
of very great skill in managing a reproof, that 
«hall not somewhat provoke him to distaste. 


3. And for the seeming Christian^ this is his 
^ condemnation, that light is come into the world, 
and he loveth darkness rather than hght, because 
his deeds are evil.' He cometh not to ' the light, 
lest his deeds should be discovered and reproved.' 
He liketh a searching preacher for others, and 
loveth to hear their sins laid open, if it no way 
reflect upon himself: but for himself he liketh best 
a general or a smoothing preacher ; and he fiyeth 
from a quick and searching ministry, lest he should 
be proved and convinced to be in a state of sin 
and misery. Guilt maketh him fear or hate a 
lively searching preacher, even as the guilty pri- 
soner hateth the judge. He loveth no company so 
well as that which thinketh highly of him, and 
applaudeth and commendeth him, and neither by 
their reproofs nor stricter lives, will trouble his 
conscience with the remembrance of his sin, or the 
knowledge of his misery. He will take you for 
his enemy for telling him the truth, if you go about 
to convince him of his imdone condition, and telf 
him of his beloved sin : sin is taken to be as him- 
self; — it is he that doth evil, and not only sin that 
dwelleth in him; and therefore all that you say 
against his sin, he taketh it as spoken against him- 
self ; and he will defend his sin as he would defend 
himself: he will hear you till you come to touch 
himself, as the Jews did by Stephen, when they 
heard him call them ^ stiflhecked resistors of God,' 
and * persecutors;' then they were ' cut to the heart, 
and ground their teeth at him.' And as they did by 
Paul : ' they gave audience to this word, and then 



lift up their voices and said, Away with such a fel- 
low from the earthy for it is not fit that he should 
live.' The priests and pharisees would have laid 
hands on Christ, when ^ they perceived that he spake 
of them.' And Ahab hated Micaiah, because he 

* did not prophesy good of him, but evil.' De- 
servedly do they perish in their sin and misery, 
who hate him that would deliver them, and refuse 
the remedy : ' Whoso loveth instruction loveth 
knowledge, but he that hateth reproof is brutish.' — 

* He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, 
shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without 

XII. 1. A Christian indeed is one that un- 
feignedly desireth to attain to the highest degree of 
holiness, and to be perfectly freed from every thing 
that is sin. He desireth perfection, though not with 
a perfect desire. He sitteth not down contentedly 
in any low degree of grace. He looketh on the 
holiest (how poor soever) with much more reverence 
and esteem, than on the most rich and honourable in 
the world. And he had far rather be one of the 
most holy, than one of the most prosperous and 
great ; — he had rather be a Paul or Timothy, than 
a Caesar or an Alexander. He complaineth of 
nothing with so much sorrow, as that he can know 
and love his God no more ! How happy an ex- 
change would he count it, if he had nlore of the 
knowledge and love of God, though he lost all his 
wealth and honour in the world. His smallest 
sins are a greater burden to him than his greatest 
corporeal wants and sufferings. As Paul, who. 


because he could not perfectly fulfil God's law, and 
be as good as he would be, crieth out, as in bondage, 
' O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me 
from this body of death V 

2, And for the weak Christian, though he is ha- 
bitually and resolvedly of the same mind, yet, alas, 
his desires after perfection are much more languid 
in him ; and he hath too much patience and recon- 
ciledness to some of his sins ; and sometimes taketh 
them to be sweet : so that his enmity to his pride, 
or covetousness, or passion, is much abated, and 
suffereth his sin to waste his grace and wound his 
conscience, and hinder much of his communion with 
God. He seeth not the odiousness of sin, nor the 
beauty of holiness, with so clear a sight as the con* 
firmed Christian doth. He hateth sin more for the 
ill effects of it than for its malignant hateful nature. 
He seeth not clearly the intrinsic evil that is in sin, 
which maketh it deserve the pains of hell. Nor 
doth he discern the difference between a holy and 
an unholy soul, so clearly as the stronger Christian 

3. And as for the seeming Christian, though he 
may approve of perfect holiness in another, and 
may wish for it himself, when he thinketh of it but 
in the general, and not as it is exclusive and de- 
structive of his beloved sin ; yet, when it cometh 
to particulars, he cannot away with it ; — he is so fiur 
from desiring it, that he will not endure it. The 
name of holiness he liketh ; and that preservation 
from hell which is the consequent of it ; but when 
he undprstandeth what it is, he hath no mind to it 


That holiness which should cure his ambition and 
pride, and make him contented with a low condition, 
he doth not like : he loveth not that holiness which 
would deprive him of his covetousness, his intem- 
perance in pleasant meats and drinks ; his fleshly 
lusts, and inordinate pleasures. Nor doth he 
desire that holiness should 'employ his soul in the 
love of God, and in daily prayer and meditating 
on his word, and raise him to a heavenly life on 

XI I L 1. A Christian indeed is one that maketh 
God and heaven the end, reward, and motive of his 
life ; and liveth not in the world for any thing in 
the world, but for that endless happiness which the 
next world only can afford. The reasons which 
actuate his thoughts, and choice, and all his life, are 
fetched from heaven. The interest of God and his 
soul, as to eternity, is the ruling interest in him. As 
a traveller goeth all the way, and beareth all the 
difficulties of it, for the sake of the end or place 
that he is going to ; (however he may talk of many 
other matters by the way ;) so is it with a Christian : 
he knoweth nothing worthy of his life and labours 
but that which he hopeth for hereafter. This world 
is too sinful, and too vile, and short, to be his feli- 
city. His very trade and work in the world, is to 
lay up a treasure in heaven, and to * lay up a good 
foundation against the time to come, and to lay hold 
on eternal life.' And therefore his very heart is 
there ; and he is employed in seeking and * setting 
his afiections on the things above.' And his con- 
versation and traffic is in heaven. He * looketh 


not at the things which are seen, which are tem- 
poral, but at the things which are not seen, which 
are eternal.' He is a stranger upon earth, and 
heaven is to him as his home. 

2. The weak Christian also hath the same end, 
and hope, and motive ; and preferreth his hopes of 
the life to come before all the wealth and pleasures 
of this life: but yet his thoughts of heaven are 
much more strange and dull; — he hath so much 
doubting and fear yet mixed with his faith and 
hope, that he looketh before him to his everlasting 
state, with backwardness and trouble, and with 
small desire and delight ; — ^he hath so much hope of 
heaven as to abate his fears of hell, and make him 
think of eternity with more quietness than he could 
do if he found himself unregenerate ; but not so 
much as to make his thoughts of heaven so firee, and 
sweet, and frequent, nor his desires after it so strong, 
as the confirmed Christian's are. And therefore 
his duties, and his speech of heaven, and his endea- 
vours to obtain it, are all more languid and incon* 
stant ; and he is much proner to fall in love with 
earth, and to entertain the motions of reconciliation 
to the world, and to have his heart too much set 
upon some place, or person, or thing below, and to 
be either delighted too much in the possession of 
it, or afHicted and troubled too much with the loss 
of it. Earthly things are too much the motives of 
his life, and the reasons of his joys and griefi: 
though he hath the true belief of a life to come, 
and it prevaileth in the main against the world, yet 
it is but little that he useth it to the commanding, 


and raising, and comforting his soul, in comparison 
of what a strong believer doth, 

3. But the seeming Christian would serve God 
and mammon, and placeth his chief and certainest 
happiness practically upon earth : though specula- 
tively he know and say that heaven is better, yet 
doth he not practically judge it to be so to him ; 
and therefore he loveth the world above it, and he 
doth most carefully lay up a treasure on earth, and 
is resolved first to seek and secure his portion here 
below ; and yet he taketh heaven for a reserve, as 
knowing that the world will cast him off at last, 
and die he must, there is no remedy ; and therefore 
he taketh heaven as next unto the best; as his 
second hope; as better than hell; and will go in 
religion as far as he can, without the loss of his 
prosperity here : so that earth and flesh do govern 
and command the design and tenour of his life ; but 
heaven and his soul shall have all that they can 
spare, which may be enough to make him pass with 
men for eminently religious. 

XIV. 1. A Christian indeed is one that, having 
taken heaven for his felicity, doth account no 
labour or cost too great for the obtaining of it : 
he hath nothing so dear to him in this world which 
fae cannot spare and part with for God and the 
world to come. He doth not only notionally know 
that nothing should seem too dear or hard for the 
securing of our salvation; but he knoweth this 
practically, and is resolved accordingly. Though 
difficulties may hinder him in particular acts, and 
his executions come not up to the height of his 

K 2 


desires, yet he is resolved that he will never break 
terms with Christ : there is no duty so hard which 
he is not willing and resolved to perform ; and no 
sin so sweet or gainful which he is not willing to 
forsake : he knoweth how unprofitable a bargain he 
makes who winneth the world and loseth his own 
soul ; and that no gain can ransom his soul, or 
recompense him for the loss of his salvation. He 
knoweth that it is impossible to be a loser by God, 
or to purchase heaven at too dear a rate : he know- 
eth that whatsoever it cost him, heaven will fiilly 
pay for all ; and that it is the worldling's labour, 
and not the saint's, that is repented of at last. He 
marvelleth more at distracted sinners for making 
such a stir for wealth, and honours, and command, 
than they marvel at him for making so much ado 
for heaven. He knoweth that this world may be 
too dearly bought, but so cannot his salvation : yea, 
he knoweth that even our duty itself is not our 
smallest privilege and mercy: and that the more 
we do for God the more we receive, and the greater 
is our gain and honour : and that the sufferings of 
believers for righteousness' sake do not only prog-* 
nosticate their joys in heaven, but occasion here 
the greatest joys that any short of heaven partake 
of. He is not one that desireth the end without 
the means, and would be saved so it may be on 
cheap and easy terms ; but he absolutely yieldeth to 
the terms of Christ, and saith with Augustin, * Da 
guodjubeSf etjube quod vis : Cause me to do what 
thou commandest, and command what thou wilt.' 
Though Pelagius contradicted the first sentencei 


and the flesh the second, yet Augustine owned both^ 
fuid so doth every true believer. He greatly com- 
plaineth of his backwardness to obey, but never 
complaineth of the strictness of the command : he 
loveth the holiness, justness, and goodness of the 
laws, when he bewaileth the unholiness and bad* 
tiess of his heart : be desireth not God to command 
him less, but desireth grace and ability to do more. 
He is so &r from the mind of the ungodly world, 
who cry out against too much holiness, and making 
«o much ado for heaven, that he desireth even to 
ireach to the degree of angels, and would fain have 
<God's will to be done on earth as it is done in 
heaven; and therefore the more desireth to be in 
heaven that he may do it better. 

2. The weak Christian hath the same estimation 
and resolution ; but, when it comes to practice, as 
his will is less confirmed and more corrupted and 
divided, so little impediments and difficulties are 
great temptations to him, and stop him more in 
the way of his obedience. All his duty is much 
more tedious to him, and all his sufferings are muc& 
more burthensome to him than to confirmed Chris- 
tians ; and therefore he is easier tempted into omis- 
sions and impatiency, and walketh not so evenly or 
comfortably with God. When the spirit is willing, 
it 3deldeth oft to the weakness of the flesh, because 
it is willing in too remiss a degree. 

8. But the seeming Christian (though notionally 
and generally he may approve of strictness) yet se- 
cretly at the heart hath always this reserve, that he 
^ill not serve God at too dear a jrate. His worldly 


felicity he cannot part with for all the hopes of Ufe 
to come, and yet he will not, he dare not renounce 
and give up those hopes, and therefore he maketh 
himself a religion of the easiest and cheapest parts 
of Christianity, (among which sometimes the strictest 
opinions may fall out to be one part, provided they 
be separated from the strictest practice) : and this 
easy cheap religion he will needs beUeve to be true 
Christianity and godliness, and so will hope to be 
saved upon these terms. And though he cannot 
but know that it is the certain character of a hypo- 
crite to have any thing nearer and dearer to his 
heart than God; yet he hopeth that it is not so 
with hun, because his convinced judgment can say 
that God is best and the world is vanity, while yet 
his heart and affections so much contradict his 
opinion as almost to say. There is no God ; for his 
heart knoweth and loveth no God as God, — that is, 
above his worldly happiness. He is resolved to 
do so much in religion as he findeth necessary to 
delude his conscience and make himself believe that 
he is godly and shall be saved ; but when he cometh 
to forsake all and take up the cross, and practise 
the costliest parts of duty, then you shall see that 
mammon was better loved than God, and he wiU 
go away sorrowful, and hope to be saved upon easier 
terms : for he was never resigned absolutely to God. 
XV. 1. A confirmed Christian is one that 
taketh self-denial for the one-half of his religion, 
and therefore hath bestowed one-half of his endea- 
vours to attain and exercise it. He knoweth that 
the fall of man was a turning to himself from God> 


and that selfishness and want of love to God are the 
sum of all corruption and ungodliness, and that the 
love of God and self-denial are the sum of all reli- 
gion, and that conversion is nothing but the turning 
of the heart firom carnal self to God by Christ ; and 
therefore on this hath his care and labour been so 
successfully laid out, that he hath truly and prac- 
tically found out something that is much better than 
himself, and to be loved and preferred before him- 
self, and which is to be his chiefest ultimate end* 
He maketh not a God of himself any more, but 
useth himself for God, to fulfil his will, as a crea- 
ture of his own, that hath no other end and use* 
He no more preferreth himself above all the world, 
but esteemeth himself a poor and despicable part of 
the world ; and highlier valueth the honour of God 
and the welfare of the Church, wd the good of many, 
than any interest of his own. Though God in nature 
hath taught him to regard his own felicity and to love 
himself, and not to seek the glory of God and the good 
of many souls in opposition to his own ; yet hath he 
taught him to prefer them (though in conjunction) 
much before his own: for reason telleth him that 
man is nothing in comparison of God, and that we 
are made by him and for him ; and that the welfare 
of the Church or public societies is better, in order 
to the highest ends, than the welfare of some one. 
Selfishness, in the unregenerate, is like an inflam- 
mation or imposthume, which draweth the humours 
from other parts of the body to itself; the interest 
of God and man are all swallowed up in the regard 
that men have to self-interest : and the love of God 


and our neighbour is turned into self-love* But 
«elf is as annihilated in the confirmed Christian, so 
that it ruleth not his judgment, his affections, or his 
choice ; and he that lived in and to himself, as if God 
and all the world were but for him, doth now live to 
God as one that is good for nothing else, and findeth 
himself in seeking him that is infinitely above himself* 
2. And the weak Christian hath attained to. so 
much self-denial, that self is not predominant in 
him against the love of God and his neighbour ; but 
yet, above all other sins, too great a measure of 
selfishness still remaineth in him. These wordsi 
own, and mine, and self, are too significant with 
him ; every thing of his own is regarded inordi- 
nately with partiality and too much selfishness. A 
word against himself, or an injury to himself, is 
more to him than worse against his brother*, he is 
too little mindful of the glory of God, and of the 
public good, and the souls of others; and even 
when he is mindful of his own soul, he is too re^ 
gardless of the souls of many, that, by prayer, or 
exhortation, or other means, he ought to help. As 
a small candle lighteth but a little way, and a small 
fire heateth not far ofi*, so is his love so much con« 
fined that it reacheth not far firom him : he valueth 
his friends too much upon their respect to please 
himself, and loveth men too much as they are par*^ 
tial for him, and too little upon the pure account of 
grace, and their love to Christ and serviceableness 
to the Church. He easily overvalueth his own 
abilities, and is too confident of his own under* 
standing, and apt to have too high conceits of an; 


opinions that are his own; he is too apt to be 
tempted unto uncharitableness against those that 
cross him in his interest or way : he is apt to be 
too negligent in the work of God, when any self- 
interest doth stand against it ; and too much to seek 
himself, his own esteem, or his own advantage, when 
he should devote himself to the good of souls, and 
give up himself to the work of God. Though he 
is not like the hypocrite that preferreth himself 
before the will of God and the common good, yet 
selfishness greatly stoppeth, interrupteth, and hin- 
dereth him in God's work : and any great danger, 
or loss, or shame, or other concernment of his own, 
doth seem a greater matter to him, and oftener 
tumeth him out of the way, than it will a confirmed 
Christian. They were not all hypocrites that Paul 
speaketh of in that sad complaint, * For I have no 
man like-minded (to Timothy) who will naturally 
care for your state, for all seek their own, not the 
things which are Jesus Christ's ; ' that is, they too 
much seek their own, and not entirely enough the 
things that are Christ's ; which Timothy did natu- 
rally, as if he had been born to it, and grace had 
made the love of Christ, and the souls of men, and 
the good of others, as natural to him as the love of 
himself. Alas, how loudly do their own distempers 
and unhappy miscarriages, and the divisions and 
calamities of the Church, proclaim, that the weaker 
sort of Christians have yet too much selfishness, 
and that self-denial is lamentably imperfect in them. 
3. But in the seeming Christian selfishness is still 
-the predominant principle : he loveth God but fojr 



himself, and he never had any higher end than self. 
All his religion, his opinions, his practice is ani- 
mated by self-love and governed by it, even by the 
love of carnal self. Self-esteem, self-conceitedness, 
self-love, self-willedness, self-seeking, and self-saving 
are the constitution of his heart and life. He will 
be of that opinion, and way, and party in religion, 
which selfishness directeth him to choose : he will 
go no farther in religion than self-interest and safety 
will allow him to go. He can change his friend, 
and turn his love into hatred, and his praises into 
reproach, whenever self-interest shall require it 
He can make himself believe, and labour to make 
others believe, that the wisest and hoUest servants 
of God are erroneous, humorous, hypocrites, and 
unsufTerable, if they do but stand cross to his opi- 
nions and interest. For he judgeth of them, and 
loveth or hateth them, principally as they conform 
to his will and interest, or as they are against it 
As the godly measure all persons and things by the 
will and interest of God, so do all ungodly men 
esteem them as they stand in reference to them* 
selves. When their factious interests required it, 
the Jews, and specially the Pharisees, could make 
themselves and others believe that die Son of God 
himself was a breaker of the law, and an enemy to 
Caesar, and a blasphemer, and unworthy to live on 
the earth ; and that Paul was a pestilent fellow, and 
a mover of sedition among the people, and a ring- 
leader of a sect, and a profaner of the temple. And 
which of the prophets and apostles did they not 
persecute ? Because Christ's doctrine doth cross the 


interest of selfish men, therefore the world doth so 
generally rise up against it with indignation, even 
as a country will rise against an invading enemy ; 
for he Cometh to take away that which is dearest to 
them, — as it is said of Luther, that he meddled with 
the pope's crown and the friars' bellies, and there- 
fore no wonder if they swarmed all about his ears. 
Selfishness is so general and deeply-rooted, that 
(except with a few self-denjring saints) self-love and 
self-interest ruleth the world: and if you would 
know how to please a graceless man, serve but his 
carnal interest, and you have done it. Be of his 
opinion, (or take on you to be so,) applaud him, 
admire him, flatter him, obey him, promote his 
preferment, honour and wealth, be against his ene- 
mies, — ^in a word, make him your God, and sell 
your soul to gain his favour, and so it is possible 
you may gain it 

XVI. 1. A Christian indeed hath so far mor- 
tified the flesh, and brought all his senses and ap- 
petite into subjection to sanctified reason, as that 
there is no great rebellion or perturbation in his 
mind ; but a little matter, — a holy thought, or a 
word firom God, — doth presently rebuke and quiet 
his inordinate desires. The flesh is as a well- 
broken and well-ridden horse, that goeth on his 
journey obediently and quietly, and not with striving, 
and chafing, and vexatious resisting : though still 
flesh will be flesh, and will be weak, and will fight 
against the spirit, so that we cannot do all the good 
we would ; yet, in the confirmed Christian it is so 
&r tamed and subdued, that its rebellion is much 


less, and its resistance weaker, and more Easily 
overcome. It causeth not any notable unevenness 
in his obedience, nor blemishes in his life : it is no 
other than consisteth with a readiness to obey the 
will of God. They that are Christ's have crucified 
the flesh, with the affections and hists thereof: 
they run not as uncertainly ; they fight not as one 
that beateth the air : but they keep under their 
bodies, and bring them into subjection, lest by any 
means they should be castaways. They put on the 
Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the 
flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof.* As we see to a 
temperate man how sweet and easy temperance is, 
when, to a glutton or drunkard, or riotous liver, 
it is exceeding hard; so it is in all other points 
with a confirmed Christian. He hath so far cru- 
cified the flesh that it is as dead to its former lusts ; 
and so far mastered it that it doth easily and quickly 
yield : and this maketh the life of such a Christian 
not only pure, but very easy to him in comparison 
of other men's. Nay, more than this, he can use 
his sense (as he can use the world, the objects of 
sense) in subserviency to faith and his salvation. 
His eye doth but open a window to his mind to 
hold and admire the Creator in his work ; his taste 
of the sweetness of the creatures is but a means, by 
which the sweeter love of God doth pass directly to 
his heart ; his sense of pleasure is but the passage 
of spiritual holy pleasure to his mind ; his sense of 
bitterness and pain is but the messenger to tell his 
heart of the bitterness and vexatiousness of sin* 
As God, in the creation of us, made our senses but 



as the inlet and passage for himself into our minds, 
(even as he made all the creatures to represent hijn 
to us by this passage,) so grace doth restore our 
very senses to this their holy original use; that 
the goodness of God, through tha goodness of the 
creature, may pass to our hearts, and be the effect 
and end of all. 

2, But for the weak Christian, though he have 
mortified the deeds of the body by the Spirit, and 
lives not after the flesh, but is freed from its cap* 
tivity ; yet hath he such remnants of concupiscence 
and sensuality as make it a far harder matter to him 
to live in temperance, and deny his appetite, and 
govern his senses, and restrain them from rebellion 
and excess. He is like a weak man upon an ill-* 
ridden headstrong horse, who hath much ado to 
keep his saddle and keep his way. He is stronglier 
inclined to fleshly lusts, or excess in meat, or drink, 
or sleep, or sports, or some such fleshly pleasure, 
than the mortified temperate person is, and therefore 
is ofler guilty of some excess : so that his life is 
a very tiresome conflict, and very uneasy to himself; 
because the less the flesh is mortified, the more 
able it is to raise perturbations, and to put faith 
and reason to a continual fight. And most of the 
scandals and blemishes of his life arise from hence, 
even the successes of the flesh against the spirit; so 
that though he live not in any gross or wilful sins, 
yet, in lesser measures of excess he is too frequently 
overtaken. How few there be that, in meat and 
sleep, do not usually exceed their measure! And 
thjey are easily tempted to libertine opinions, which 


indulge the flesh, having a weaker preservative 
against them than stronger Christians have. 

3. But the seeming Christian is really camaL 
The flesh is the predominant part with him, and 
the interest of the flesh is the ruling interest. He 
washeth away the outward filth, and, in hope of 
salvation, will be as religious as the flesh will give 
him leave, and will deny it in some smaller matters, 
and will serve it in a religious way, and not in so 
gross and impudent a manner as the Atheists and 
and openly profane ; but for all that he never con- 
quered the flesh indeed, but seeketh its prosperity 
more than the pleasing of God and his salvation: 
and among prayers, and sermons, and holy con- 
ference, and books, yea, and formal &stings too, he 
is serving the flesh with so much the more danger- 
ous impenitency by how much the more his cloak 
of formality hindereth him from discerning his sin. 
Many a one that is of unblemished reputation in 
religion, doth constantly serve his appetite in meat 
and drink (though without any notable excess), and 
his fleshly mind, in the pleasure of his dwelling, 
wealth, and accommodations, as much as some pro- 
fane ones do, if not much more. And whenever it 
Cometh to a parting trial, they will shew that the 
flesh was the ruling part, and will venture their 
souls to secure its interest. 

XVII. 1. Hence it foUoweth that a Christian 
indeed preferreth the means of his spiritual benefit 
and salvation incomparably before all corporeal com- 
modities and pleasures. He had rather dwell under 
the teaching and guidance of an able experienced 


pastor, though it be cross to his prosperity and 
worldly gain, than to live under an ignorant or 
dead-hearted preacher, when it furthereth his 
trading, or more accommodateth his flesh ; though 
yet he must not remove when God layeth any re- 
straint upon him, by his duty to his family or 
others. He had rather, if he be a servant, dwell in 
a &mily where he may do or receive most spiritual 
good, than in a carnal family where he may have 
more ease, and better fare, and greater wages. 
If he be to marry, he had rather have one 
that hath wisdom and piety without wealth, than 
one that hath riches .dthout wisdon. and piety. 
He is gladder of an opportunity (in public or pn* 
vate) for the profit of his soul, than of a feast, or a 
good bargain, or an opportunity for some gain in 
worldly things. 

2. And the weak Christian is of the same mind 
in the main. He valueth mercies and helps for 
his soul above those for his body; but it is 
with less zeal and more indiflerency, and there- 
fore he is more easily and ofter drawn to the omit- 
ting of spiritual duties and neglect of spiritual helps 
and mercies, and goeth to them with more averse- 
ness, and as driven by necessity, and is much less 
sensible of his loss when he misseth any such spi- 
ritual helps. 

3. But the seeming Christian, being a real world- 
ling, doth serve God and mammon ; and mammon 
with the first and best. He had rather miss a 
sermon than a good bargain or commodity ; he had 
rather dwell where he may thrive best, or have most 


^ase and pleasure, than where he may find th€ 
greatest helps for heaven. He will be religious, 
but it must be with an easy, and a pleasant, and 
merry religion; which may not be too niggardly 
•with his flesh, nor use it too strictly, unless when 
•one day's austerity may pocure him an indulgence 
for his liberty all the week following. He will 
make his bargain with Christ so as to be sure that 
he may not lose by him : and he will not believe 
that God is pleased with that which is much dis- 
pleasing to his flesh. 

: XVIII. 1. The Christian indeed is one that 
is ' crucified to the world, and the world is as a 
crucified thing to him.* He hath overcome the 
world by faith, and followeth Christ in the pursuit 
t>f it to a perfect conquest. He hath seen through 
all its vanity, and foreseen what it will prove at 
last : he hath found that it cannot quiet conscience, 
nor reconcile the guilty soul to God, nor save it 
fi*om his consuming wrath ; nor serve instead of 
God or heaven, of Christ or grace ; but will cast 
off its servants in their last extremity, naked and 
and desolate, into remediless despair; and therefore 
he is resolvedly at a point with all things under the 
sun. Let them take the world for their portion 
and felicity that will ; for his part, he accounteth 
all things in it dung and dross in comparison of 
Christ and things eternal. All the preferments, 
and honours, and command, and wealth, and great- 
ness of the world, do not seem to him a bait 
considerable enough to make a wise man once 
question whether he should persevere in faithfulness 


to God, or to tempt him to commit one wilful sim 
He would not speak, or own a lie, or approve the 
sin of any other, for all that worldlings enjoy in 
their greatest prosperity while they live. He 
accounteth his peace with God and conscience, and 
his communion with Christ in the greatest poverty^ 
to be incomparably better than all the pleasures 
and commodities of sin ; yea, the very reproach of 
Christ is better to him than all the treasures of 
court or country. Grace hath mortified and anni- 
hilated the world to him ; and that which is dead 
and nothing, can do nothing with him against God 
and his soul. He looketh on it as a carrion^ 
which dogs may love and fight for ; but is unfit to 
be the food of man. He is going to the land of 
promise; and therefore will not contend for an 
inheritance in this howling wilderness. Whether 
he be high or low, rich or poor, are so small a part 
of his concernments, that he is almost indifferent to 
them, farther than as the interest of God and souls 
may accidentally be concerned in them. The 
world, set against God, and heaven, and holiness, 
doth weigh no more in his estimation than a feather 
that is put in the balance against a mountain, or all 
the world. He feeleth no great force in such 
temptations as would draw him to win the world 
and lose his soul. His eye and heart are where 
his God and treasure is — above ; and worldly 
wealth and greatness are below him, even under 
his feet. He thinketh not things temporal worth 
the looking at, in comparison of things eternal. He 
thinketh that their money and riches do deservedly 


perish with them, who think all the money in the 
world to be a thing comparable with grace. 

2. And the weak Christian is of the same judgment 
and resolution in the main ; but yet the world re- 
taineth a greater interest in his heart : it grieveth him 
to lose it ; it is a stronger temptation to him. To 
deny all the preferments, and honours, and riches of 
it, seemeth a greater matter to him, and he doth it 
with more striving and less ease. Sometimes the 
respect of worldly things prevaileth with him, in 
lesser matters, to wound his conscience, and maketh 
work for repentance ; and he so entangleth himself 
in worldly cares, and prosperity tasteth so sweet 
with him, that grace even languisheth and &11^ 
into a consumption, and almost into a swoon* So 
much do some such let out their hearts to the 
world which they renounced, and scrape for it widi 
so much care and eagerness, and contend with 
others about their commodities and rights so ear- 
nestly, that they seem to the standers by to be as 
worldly as worldlings themselves are, and become 
a shame to their profession, and make imgodly 
persons say, * Your godly professors are as covetous 
as any.' 

3. But seeming Christians are the servants of the 
world. When they have learnt to speak hardliest 
of it, it hath their hearts. Heaven, as I said before, 
is valued but as a reserve, when they know they 
can keep the world no longer. They have more 
sweet and pleasing thoughts and speeches of the 
world than they have of God and the world to 
come. It hath most of their hearts when God 


is most preferred by their tongues ; there it is 
that they are daily laying up their treasure, and 
they must leave it at the parting hour, when they 
go naked out as they came naked in. ' The love 
of deceitful riches choketh the word of God, and it 
withereth in them, and becometh unfruitful.' They 
go away sorrowful because of their beloved riches, 
when they should part with all for the hopes of 
heaven. Yea, though they are beggars, and never 
have a day's prosperity in the world, for all that 
they love it better than heaven, and desire that 
which they cannot get. Because they have not an 
eye of faith to see that better world which they 
neglect, they take it for an uncertain thing: nor 
are their carnal natures suitable to it, and therefore 
they mind it not. When an hypocrite is at the 
best, he is but a religious worldling : the world is 
nearer to his heart than God is, but ' pure religion 
keepeth a man unspotted of the world.' 

XIX. 1. A confirmed Christian is one that stiU 
seeth the end in all that he doth, and that is before 
him in his way ; and looketh not at things as at the 
present they seem or relish to the flesh, or to short- 
sighted men ; but as they will appear and be judged 
of at last. The first letter maketh not the word, 
nor the first word the sentence, without the last. 
Present time is quickly past ; and therefore he less 
regardeth what things seem at present, than what 
they will prove to all eternity. When temptations 
ofier him a bait to sin, with the present profit, or 
pleasure, or honour, he seeth at once the final 
fibame: he seeth all worldly things as they are 


seen by a dying man^ and as after the general con- 
flagration they will be. He seeth the godly, in his 
adversity and patience, as entering into his Master's 
joys : he seeth the derided, viUfied saint, as ready 
to stand justified by Christ at his right hand, and 
the Hes of the malicious world as ready to cover 
themselves with shame. He seeth the wicked, in 
the height of their prosperity, as ready to be cut 
down and withered, and their flesh to turn to dust, 
and their souls to stand condemned by Christ at his 
left hand, and to hear, * Go, ye cursed, into ever- 
lasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.' 
Therefore it is that he valueth grace, because he 
knoweth what it will be ; and therefore it is that he 
flieth from sin, because he knoweth the terrors d 
the Lord, and what it will prove to the sinner in 
the end ; and how dinners themselves will curse the 
day that ever they did commit it, and wish, when it 
is too late, that they had chosen the holiness and 
patience of the saints. And therefore it is that he 
pitieth rather than envieth the prosperous enemies 
of the church, because he foreseeth what the *end 
will be of them that obey not the gospel of Christ; 
and that if the righteous be scarcely saved, where 
^shall the ungodly and sinner appear V If the 
wicked unbelievers saw but the ending of all things 
as he doth, they would be all then of his mind and 
way. This putteth so much life into his prayers, 
his obedience, and patience, because he seeth the 
end in all. 

2. And the weakest Christian doth the same in 
the main, so far as to turn his heart from things 


temporal to things eternal ; and to resolve him in 
his main choice, and to conduct the course of his. 
Kfe towards heaven. But yet, in particular actions^ 
he is often stopped in present things, and forgetfully 
loseth the sight of the end, and so is deluded and 
enticed into sin for want of seeing that which 
should have preserved him. He is like one that 
travelleth over hills and vallies, who, when he is 
upon the hills, doth see the place that he is going 
to, but, when he cometh into the vallies, it is out of 
his sight. Too oft doth the weak Christian think of 
things as they appear at the present, with little sense 
of the change that is near : when he seeth the baits 
of sin, whether riches, or beauty, or meat and. 
drink, or any thing that is pleasing to the senses,. 
the remembrance of the end doth not so quickly 
and powerfully work, to prevent his deceived 
imaginations, as it ought. And when poverty, or 
shame, or sufferings, or sickness, are presented to 
him, the foresight of the end is not so speedy and 
powerftil in clearing his judgment, and settling his 
resolution, and preventing his misapprehension and 
trouble, as it ought. And hence come his oft mis- 
takes and falls ; and herein consisteth much of that 
foolishness, which he confesseth when repentance 
bringeth him to himself. 

3. But the seeming Christian hath so dim and 
doubtftil a foresight of the end, and it is so fre- 
quently out of his mind, that things present do 
carry away his heart, and have the greatest power 
and interest with him, and are most regarded and 
sought after in this life. For he is purblind, not 


thing to be judged of men, whether they justify or 
condemn him; because they are £iillible and have 
not the power of determining any thing to his great 
commodity or detriment, nor is it their judgment by 
which he stands or falls. He hath a more dreadfiil 
or comfortable judgment to prepare for: man is of 
small account with him in comparison with God. 

2. And though with the weakest true Christian 
it is so also as to the predominancy of God's esteem 
and interest in him, yet is his weakness daily 
visible in the culpable effects. Though God have 
the chiefest place in his esteem, yet man hath much 
more than his due. The thoughts and words of 
men seem to such of &r greater importance than 
they should. Praise and dispraise, fiivours and 
injuries, are things which afiect their hearts too 
much : they bear not the contempts and wrongs of 
men with so quiet and satisfied a mind as beseemeth 
those that live upon God. They have so small 
experience of the comforts of God in Christ, that 
they are tasting deeper of other delights, and spare 
them not so easily as they ought to do. God, 
without friends, or house, or land, or maintenance, 
or esteem in the world, doth not fiilly quiet them ; 
but there is a deal of peevish impatience left in 
their minds, though it doth not drive them away 
from God. 

3. But the seeming Christian can better take up 
with the world alone than with God alone. God 
is not so much missed by him as the world : he 
always breaks with Christ when it cometh to for- 
saking all. He is godly, notionally and professedly, 


and, therefore, may easily say that God is liis 
portion, and enough for those that put their trust 
in him: but his heart never consented truly to 
reduce these words to practice. Wlieri it comes to 
the trial, the praise or dispraise of man, and the 
prosperity or matters of the world, do signify more 
with him than the favour or displeasure of God, 
and can do more with him. Christ, and riches, 
and esteem, he could be content with ; but he can- 
not away with a naked Christ alone. Therefore he 
is indeed a practical atheist, even when he seemeth 
most religious : for if he had ever taken God for 
his God indeed, he had certainly taken him as his 
portion, felicity, and all ; and, therefore, as enough 
for him without the creature. 

XXI. 1. From all this it followeth that a Chris- 
tian indeed, hath, with himself, devoted all that he 
hath to God ; and so all that he hath is sanctified. 
He is only in doubt oft times, in particular cases, 
what God would have him do with himself and his 
estate ; but never in douht whether they are to be 
wholly employed lor God, in obedience to his will 
80 far as he can know it : and, therefore, doth 
estimate every creature and condition purely as it 
relateth to God and life eternal. Holiness to 
THE Lord, is written upon all that he hath and 
doth. He taketh it as sent from God; and useth 
it as his Master's goods and talents, not chiefly for 
himself, hut for his Master's ends and will. God 
appeareth to him in the creature ; and is the life, 
and sweetness, and glory of the creature to him. 
His first question in every business he undertaketh, 


or every place or condition that he chooseth^ is, 
How it conduceth to the pleasing of God and to his 
spiritual ends? ^Whether he eateth, or drinketh, 
or whatever he doth, he doth all to the glory of 
God/ The motto engraven on his heart is the 
name of God, with, ^ of him, and through him, 
and to him, are all things : to him be glory 
for ever, amen. He liveth as a steward that 
useth not his own, though yet he have a sufficient 
reward for his fidelity: and he keepeth accounts 
both of his receivings and layings out; andreckoneth 
all to be worse than lost which he findeth not ex- 
pended on his Lord's account For liimself, he 
asketh not that which is sweetest to the flesh, but 
that which is fittest to his end and woik: and 
therefore desireth not riches for himself, but his 
daily bread, and food convenient for him; and, 
having food and raiment, is therewith content, 
having taken godliness for his gain. He asketh not 
for superfluity, nor for any thing to consume it on 
his lusts, nor to become provision fw his flesh, to 
satisfy its inordinate desires : but, as a runner in 
his race, he desireth not any provisions which may 
hinder him: and, therefore, * forgetting the ihii^ 
which are behind (the world which he hath turned 
his back upon), he reacheth forth to the things 
which are before (the crown of glory), and pressetb 
toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling 
of God in Christ Jesus :' not turning an eye to any 
thing that would stop him in his course. Thus 
while he is employed about things below, his mind 
wd conversation is heavenly and divinei w^eaH 


things are estimated and used purely for God and 

2. But the weak Christian, though he have all 
this in desire, and be thus affected and resolved in 
the main, and liveth to God in the scope and course 
of his life, yet is too often looking aside, and 
valuing the creature carnally for itself; and oft- 
times useth it for the pleasing of the flesh, and 
almost like a common man. His house, and land^ 
and friends, and pleasures, are relished too carnally 
as his own accommodations : and though he walk 
not after the flesh but after the Spirit, yet he hath 
too much of the fleshly taste, and is greatly out in 
his accounts with God, and tumeth many a thing 
from his Master's use to the service of the flesh ; 
and though he be not as the slothful, wicked ser- 
vant, yet is it but little improvement that he maketh 
of his talent. 

3. But the seeming Christian being carnal and 
selfish, while his notions and professions are spi- 
ritual and divine, and his selfish and fleshly interest 
being predominant, it must needs follow that he 
esdmateth all things principally as they respect his 
fleshly interest, and useth them principally for his 
carnal self; even when in the manner he seemeth 
to use them most religiously, as I have said before ; 
and so to the * defiled nothing is pure.' 

XXII. 1. A Christian indeed hath a prompti- 
tude to obey, and a ready compliance of his will to 
the will of God. He hath not any great averseness 
and withdrawing, and doth not the good which he- 
doth with much backwardness and striving against- 



it ; but, as in a well-ordered watch or clock the 
spring or poise easily sets all the wheels a going, 
and the first wheel easily moveth the rest, so is the 
will of a confirmed Christian presently moved, as 
soon as he knoweth the will of God. He stayeth 
not for other moving reasons : God's will is his 
reason. This is the habit of subjection and obe- 
dience, which makes him say, ' Speak, Lord, for 
thy servant heareth ;' and ^ Lord, what wouldst thou 
have me do V and * Teach me to do thy will, O 
God.' ' I delight to do thy will, O God ; yea, thy 
law is within my heart.' The law written in 
our heart, is nothing else but the knowledge of 
God's laws, Ttrith this habit or promptitude to obey 
them ; the special fruit of the Spirit of grace. 

2. But a weak Christian, though he loves God's 
will and way, and be sincerely obedient to him, yet, 
in many particulars, where his corruption contra- 
dicteth, hath a great deal of backwardness and 
striving of the flesh against the Spirit ; and there 
needs many words and considerations, and vehe- 
ment persuasions, yea, and sharp afflictions, some- 
times to bring him to obey ; and he is fain to drive 
on his backward heart, and hath frequent use for the 
rod and spur, and therefore is more slow and uneven 
in his obedience. 

3. The seeming Christian is forward in those 
easy, cheaper parts of duty, which serve to delude 
his carnal heart, and quiet him in a worldly life; 
but he is so backward to thorough, sincere obe- 
dience in the most flesh-displeasing parts of duty, 
that he is never brought to it at all ; but either 


he wiU fit his opinions in religion to his will, and 
will not believe them to be duties, or else he will do 
something like them in a superficial, formal way ; 
but the thing itself he will not do : for he is more 
obedient to his carnal mind and lusts than he is to 
God, and forwarder much to sacrifice than obe* 

XXIII. 1. A Christian indeed doth daily de- 
light himself in God, and findeth more solid content 
and pleasure in his commands and promises than in 
all this world. His duties are sweet to him, and 
his hopes are sweeter; religion is not a tiresome 
task to him ; the yoke of Christ is easy to him, and 
his burthen light, and his commandments are not 
grievous. That which others take as physic, for 
mere necessity against their wills, he goeth to as a 
feast, with appetite and delight. He prayeth be^ 
cause he loveth to pray ; and he thinks and speaki 
of holy things because he loveth to do it: an4 
hence it is that he is so much in holy duty, and so 
unwearied, because he loveth it, and taketh pleasure 
in it. As voluptuous persons are oft and long at 
their sports, or merry company, because they love 
them and take pleasure in them ; so are Christians 
oft and long in holy exercises, because their hearts 
are set upon them as their recreation and the way 
and means of their felicity. If it be a delight to a 
studious man to read those books which most 
clearly open the abstrusest mysteries of the sciences, 
or to converse with the most wise and learned men, 
and if it be a delight to men to converse with theii* 
dearest firiends, or to hear firom them and read their 


letters ; no marvel if it be a delight to a Christian 
indeed to read the gospel mysteries (^ love, and to 
find there the promises of everlasting happiness, 
and to see in the &oe of Jesus Christ the clearest 
image of the eternal deity, and foresee the joys 
which he shall have for ever. He stickedi not in 
superficial formality, but, breaking the shell, doth 
feed upon the kernel. It is not bare external duty 
which he is taken up with ; nor any mere creature 
that is his content ; but it is God in oreatures and 
ordinances that he seeketh and liveth upon, and 
therefore it is that religion is so pleasant to him. He 
would not change his heavenly delights, which he 
findeth in the exercise of fidth, and hope, and love 
to God, for all the carnal pleasures of this world. 
He had rather be a door-keeper in the house of 
God than to dwell in the tents or palaces of 
wickedness. A day in God's courts is better to 
him than a thousand in the court of the greatest 
prince on earth. He is not a stranger to that joy 
in the Holy Ghost, in which the kingdom of God 
doth in part consist ^ In the multitude of his 
thoughts within him, the comforts of God do delight 
his soul.' ^ His meditation of God is sweet, and he 
is glad in the Lord.' The freest and sweetest of 
bis thoughts and words run out upon God and tb^ 
matters of salvation. The word of God is sweeter 
to him than honey, and better than thousands id 
gold and silver. And because ' his delight is in 
the law of the Lord,' therefore doth he ^ meditate in 
it day and night.' He seeth great reason for all 
those commands, ' Rejoice evermore :' ^ Let the 


righteous be glad, let them rejoice before God, yea, 
let them exceedingly rejoice ;' * Be glad in the 
Lord and rejoice ye righteous ; and shout for joy 
all that are upright in heart.' He is sorry for the 
poor imhappy world, that have no better things 
than meaty and drink, and clothes, and house, and 
land, and money, and lust, and play, and domineer* 
ing over others, to rejoice in: and heartily he 
wisheth that they had but a taste of the saints' 
delights, that it might make them turn from their 
grovelling, unclean, unsatisfiu^tory pleasures. One 
look to Christ, one promise of the gospel, one serious 
thought of the life which he must live with God 
for ever, doth afford his soul more solid comfort 
than all the kingdoms on earth can afford. And 
though he live not continually in these high de« 
lights, yet peace with God, and peace of conscience, 
and some delight in God and godliness, is the 
ordinary temperature of his soul, and higher de-> 
grees are given him in season for his cordials and 
his feasts. 

2. But the weak Christian hath little of these spi- 
ritual delights: his ordinary temper is to apprehend 
that God and his ways are indeed most delectable : 
his very heart acknowledgeth that they are worthiest 
fund fittest to be the matter of his delights ; and if he 
could attain assurance of his special interest in the 
love of God, and his part in Christ and life eternal, 
he would then rejoice in them indeed, and would 
be gladder than if he were Lord of all the world. 
But, in the mean time, either his fears and doubts 
9xe damping his delights, or else (which is much 


worse) his appetite is dull, and God and holiness 
relish not with him half so sweetly as they do with 
the confirmed Christian ; and he is too busy in 
tasting of fleshly and forbidden pleasures, which 
yet more deprave his appetite, and dull his desires 
to the things of God ; so that though in his estima- 
tion, choice, resolution, and endeavour, he mudi 
preferreth God before the world; yet, as to any 
deUghtful sweetness in him, it is but little that he 
tasteth. He loveth God with a desiring love, and 
with a seeking love, but with very little of a delight- 
ing love. The remnant of corrupt and alien affec- 
tions do weaken his aflecdons to the things above; 
and his infant measure of spiritual life, conjunct 
with many troublesome diseases, allow him very litde 
of the joy of the Holy Ghost Nay, perhaps he hath 
more grief, and fear, and doubts, and trouble, and pei^ 
plexity of mind, than ever he had before he turned 
imto God ; and perhaps he hath yet less pleasure 
in God than he had before in sin and sensuality. 
Because he had his sin in a state of fruition, but he 
hath God only in a seeking, hoping state : he had 
the best of sin, and all that it will ever afibrd him ; 
but he hath yet none of the full felicity which he 
expecteth in God : the firuition of him is yet but in 
the prospect of hope. His sensual, sinful life was 
in its maturity, and the object present in its most 
alluring state : but his spiritual life of faith and 
love is yet only in its weak beginnings, and the 
object absent firom our sight He is so busy at 
first in blowing up his little spark, not knowing 
whether the fire will kindle or go out, that he hath 


little of the use or pleasure eitlier of its light or 
warmth. Infants come crying into the world, and 
afterwards oftener cry than laugh : their senses and 
reason are not yet perfected, or exercised to partake 
of the pleasures of life. And when they do come 
to know what laughter is, they will laugh and cry 
almost in a breath : and those weak Christians that 
do come to taste of joy and pleasure in their reli- 
gious state, it is commonly but as a flash of light- 
nings which leaveth them as dark as they were 
before. Sometimes in the beginning, upon their 
first apprehensions of the love of God in Christ, 
and of the pardon of their sins, and the privileges 
of their new condition, and the hopes of everlasting 
joy, their hearts are transported with unspeakable 
delight ; which is partly from the newness of the 
thing, and partly because God will let them have 
some encouraging taste to draw them further, and 
to convince them of the diflerence between the 
pleasures of sin and the comforts of believing. But 
these first rejoicings soon abate, and turn into a 
life of doubts, and fears, and griefs, and care, till 
they are grown to greater understanding, experience, 
and settledness in the things of God : the root must 
grow greater and deeper before it will bear a 
greater top. Those Christians that, in the weakness 
of grace, have frequent joys, are usually persons 
whose weak and passionate nature doth occasion it ; 
some, women especially, that have strong phanta- 
sies and passions are always passionately afiected 
with whatsoever they apprehend ; and these are like 
a ship that is tossed in a tempest, that is one while 



lifted up as to the clouds, and presently cast down 
as into an infernal gulf: they are one day in great 
joy, and quickly after in as great perplexity and sor- 
row; because their comforts or sorrows do follow 
their present feeling, or mutable af^preheasions. 
But when they come to be confirmed Christiaiis, they 
will keep a more constant judgment of themselves, 
and their own condition, and constantly see thdr 
grounds of com£3rt; and when they cannot raise 
their souls to any high and passiiHiate joys, th^ 
yet walk in a settled peace of soul, and in such 
competent comforts, as make their lives to be easy 
and delightful, being well pleased and contented 
with the happy condition that Christ hath brought 
them to, and thankful that he hath not left them in 
those foolish, vain, pernicious pleasures, whkb 
were the way to endless sorrows. 

3. But the seeming Christian seeketh and takeih 
up his chief contentment in some carnal thing. If 
he be so poor and miserable as to have nothing in 
possession that can much delight him, he will hope 
for better days hereafter, and that hope shall be his 
chief delight: or, if he have no such h(^, he will 
be without delight, and shew his love to the world 
and flesh, by mourning for that which he cannot 
have, as others do in rejoicing in what they do 
possess ; and he will, in such a dei^perate case at 
misery, be such to the world as the weak Christian 
is to God, who hath a mourning and desiring love 
when he cannot reach to an enjoying and delighting 
love. His carnal mind most savoureth the things 
of the flesh, and therefore in them he findeth or 


seeketh his chief delights ; though yet he may 
have also a delight in his superficial kind of relir 
gion, his hearing, and reading, and praying, and in 
his ill-grounded hopes of life eternal : but all this is 
but subordinate to his chiefest earthly pleasure. 
* Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my 
ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and for^ 
sook not the ordinances of their God : they ask of 
me the ordinances of justice ; they take delight in 
approaching unto God.' And yet all this was sub^ 
jected to a covetcms, oppressing mind. * He that 
l^eceived the seed into stony places, the same is he 
that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth 
it; yet hath he not root in himself^ but dureth for 
a while; for when tribulation or persecution 
ariseth because of the word, by and by he is 
oflfeoded.' Whereby it appeareth that his love to 
the word was subjected to his love to the world. 

Oai. But there are those who seem to have no 
fleshly delights at all, and yet are not in the way to 
salvation : m., some o[ the religious orders of the 
pi^ts, who afflict their flesh. Ans. Some oi 
tb^DD undergo their fiistings and penance for a dayi 
that they may sin the more quietly all the week 
after; and some of them {nroudly comfort themselves 
with the fancies and omceit of being and appearing 
more excellent in austerity than others; and all 
these take up with a carnal: sort of pleasure. As 
proud persons are pleased with their own Or others' 
conceits oi their beauty, or wit, or worldly great* 
iiess; so prouder persons are pleased with their 
own and others' conceits of their holiness: and 


verily they have their reward. But those of them 
that place their chiefest happiness in the love of 
God, and the eternal fruition of him in heaven, and 
seek this sincerely according to their helps and 
power, though they are misled into some super- 
stitious errors, I hope I may number with those 
that are sincere ; notwithstanding all their errors 
and the ill effects of them. 

XXIV. 1. A confirmed Christian doth ordi- 
narily discern the sincerity -of his own heart, and, 
consequently, hath some well-grounded assurance 
of the pardon of his sins, and of the favour of God, 
and of his everlasting happiness; and, therefore no 
wonder if he live a peaceable and joyful life. For 
his grace is not so small as to be undiscemible, not 
is it as a sleepy buried seed or principle, but it is 
almost in continual act ; and they that have a great 
degree of grace; and also keep it in lively exercise, 
do seldom doubt of it Besides that they blot not 
their evidence by so many infirmities and ialls, 
they are more in the light, and have more acquaint- 
ance with themselves, and more sense of the abun- 
dant love of God, and of his exceeding mercies, 
than weak Christians have; and therefore must 
needs have more assurance. They have boldness 
of access to the throne of grace, without irreverent 
contempt; they have more of the spirit of adopti(m, 
and therefore more childlike confidence in God, and 
can call him Father with greater fireedom and com- 
fort than any others can. ^ And we know that we 
are of God, and that the whole world lieth in 


S. But the weak Christian hath so small a degree 
of grace, and so much corruption, and his grace is 
so little in action, and his sin so much, that he 
seldom, if ever, attaineth to any well-grounded 
assurance, till he attain to a greater measure of 
grace. He difiereth so little from the seeming 
Christian, that neither himself nor others do cer- 
tainly discern the difference. When he searcheth 
after the truth of his faith, and love, and heavenly 
mindedness, he findeth so much unbelief and 
averseness from God, and earthly-mindedness, that 
he cannot be certain which of them is predominant ; 
and whether the interest of this world, or that to 
come, do bear the sway: so that he is often in 
perplexities and fears, and more often in a dull 
uncertainty. And if he seem at any time to have 
assurance, it is usually but an ill-grounded persuasion 
of the truth : though it be true which he apprehend- 
eth, when he taketh himself to be the child of God, 
yet it is upon unsound reasons that he judgeth so, or 
else upon sound reasons weakly and uncertainly dis- 
cerned ; so that th^e is commonly much of security, 
presumption, fancy, or mistake, in his greatest 
comforts. He is not yet in a condition fit for full 
assurance, till his love and obedience be more full. 

3. But the seeming Christian cannot possibly in 
that estate, have either certainty, or good pro- 
bability that he is a child of God, because it is not 
true. His seeming certainty is merely self-deceit, 
and his greatest confidence is but presumption, be- 
cause the Spirit of Christ is not within him, and 
therefore he is certainly none of his. 


XXV. 1. The assurance of a confirmed Chris- 
dan doth increase his alacrity and diligence in duty^ 
and is always seen in his more obedient, holy, 
firuitful life. The sense of the love and mercy oi 
God is as the rain upon the tender grass. He ia 
never so fruitful, so thankful, so heavenly, as when 
he hath the greatest certainty that .he shall be 
saved: the love of God is then shed abroad upon 
his heart by the Holy Ghost, which maketh hiia 
abound in love to God. He is more * stedfcist, 
unmoveable, and always abounding in the work df 
the Lord,* when he is most certain that his laboor 
shall not be in vain in the Lord. 

2. But the weak Christian is unfit yet to manage 
assurance well ; and therefore it is that it is not 
given him: graces must grow propcnrtioDably 
together. If he be but confidently persuaded that 
he is justified and shall be saved, he is very apt to 
gather some consequence firom it that tendeth to 
security and to the remitting of his watchfulness 
and care. He is ready to be the bolder with sin, 
and stretch his conscience, and omit some duties, 
and take more fleshly hberty and ease, and think, 
* Now I am a child of God I am out of danger, I am 
sure I cannot totally fall away.' And though his 
judgment conclude not, ^Therefore I may venture 
further upon worldly, fleshly pleasures, and need 
not be so strict and diligent as I was;' yet his 
heart and practice thus conclude. And he is most 
obedient when he is most in fear of hell ; and he is 
worst in his heart and life when he is most confident 
that all his danger is past. 



8. But the seeming Christian, though he have no 
^assurance, is hardened in his carnal state by his 
presumption. Had he but assurance to be saved 
without a holy life, he would cast off that very 
image of godliness which he yet retaineth. The 
c<Hiceit of his own sincerity and salvation is that 
which deludeth and undoeth him. What sin would 
not gain, or pleasure draw him to commit, if he 
were but sure to be forgiven ? It is fear of hell 
that caiiseth that seeming religion which he hath; 
and therefore if that fear be gone, all is gone ; and 
all his piety, and diligence, and righteousness is 
pome to nought. 

XXVI. 1. For all his assurance, a confirmed 
Christian is so well acquainted with his manifold 
imperfections, and daily failings, and great unwor- 
thiness, that he is very low and vile in his own 
eyes ; and, therefore, can easily endure to be low 
and vile in the eyes of others. He hath a constant 
sense of the burden of his remaining sin ; especially 
he doth even abhor himself when he findeth the 
averseness of his heart to God, and how little 
he knoweth of him, and how little he loveth him in 
comparison of what he ought, and how little of 
heaven is upon his heart, and how strange and 
backward his thoughts are to the life to come» 
These are as fetters upon his soul : he daily 
groaneth imder them as a captive, that he should 
be yet so carnal and unable to shake off the remnant 
of his infirmities, as if he were sold under sin, thai 
is, in bondage to it He hateth himself more fot 
the imperfections of bis love and obedience to God 


than h3rpocrite8 do for their reigning sin. And 
how he longeth for the day of his deliverance ! He 
thinketh it no great injury for another to judge of 
him as he judgeth of himself, even to be less than 
the least of all God's mercies : he is more troubled 
for being over-praised and over-valued than for 
being dispraised and vilified ; as thinking those that 
praise him are more mistaken, and lay the more 
dangerous snare for his soul. For he hath a 
special antipathy to pride ; and wondereth that any 
rational man can be so blind as not to see enough 
to humble him : for his own part, in the midst of 
all God*s graces, he seeth in himself so much dark- 
ness, imperfection, corruption, and want of further 
grace, that he is loathsome and burdensome con- 
tinually to himself. If you see him sad or trtmbled, 
and ask him the cause, it is ten to one but it is 
himself that he complaineth of. The frowardest 
wife, the most undutiiul child, the most disobedient 
servant, the most injurious neighbour, the most 
malicious enemy, is not half so great a trouble to 
him as he is to himself. He prayeth abundantly 
more against his own corruption than against any of 
these. O could he but know and love God more, 
and be more in heaven, and willinger to die, and 
fi*eer from his own distempers, how easily could 
he bear all crosses, or injuries from others ! He 
came to Christ's school as a little child, and still he 
is little in his own esteem : and therefore disesteem 
and contempt from others are no great matter with 
him. He thinks it can be no great wrong that is 
done against so poor a worm, and so imworthy a 


sinner as himself, except as God or the souls of 
men may be interested in the cause. He heartily 
approveth of the justice of God in abhorring the 
proud; and hath learned that Christians are Mn 
honour to prefer one another.' * Let us not be 
desirous of vain-glory, provoking one another, 
envying one another. 

2. But the remnant of pride is usually the most 
notable sin of the weak Christian: though it 
reigneth not, it foully blemisheth him. He would 
fain be taken for some body in the church : he is 
ready to step up into a higher room, and to think 
himself wiser and better than he is. If he can but 
speak confidently of the principles of religion, and 
some few controversies which he hath made himself 
sick with, he is ready to think himself fit to be a 
preacher. He looketh through a magnifying glass 
upon all his own performances and gifts ; he loveth 
to be valued and praised ; he can hardly bear to b6 
slighted and dispraised, but is ready to think hardly 
of those that do it, if not to hate them in some de- 
gree. He loveth not to be found fault with, though 
it be necessary to his amendment ; and though all 
this vice of pride be not so predominant in him as 
to conquer his humility, yet doth it much obscure 
and interrupt it : and though he hate this his pride, 
and strive against it, and lamenteth it before God, 
yet still it is the sorest ulcer in his soul : and should 
it prevail and overcome him, he would be abhorred 
of God, and it would be his ruin. 

3. But in the hypocrite pride is the reigning sin ; 
the praise of men is the air which he liveth in ; he 


was never well acquainted with himself, and never 
felt aright the burden of his sins and wants ; and 
therefore cannot bear contempt firo^i others. In- 
deed, if his corrupt disposition turn most to the 
way of covetousnessi tyranny, or lust, he can the 
easier bear contempt from others, as long as be 
hath his will at home ; and he can spare their love 
if he can be but feared and domineer. But stiU his 
pride is predominant; and when it a£fecteth not 
much the reputation of goodness, it afifecteth the 
name of being rich or great Sin may make him 
sordid, but grace doth not make him humbk. 
Pride is the vital spirit of the corrupted state oi 

XXVII. 1. A confirmed Christian is acquainted 
with the deceitfulness of man's heart, and the par- 
ticular corrupt inclinations that are in it, and 
especially with his own ; and he is acquainted with 
the wiles and methods of the tempter, and what are 
the materials which he maketh his baits of, and 
what is the manner in which he spreadeth his nets. 
He seeth always some snares before him ; and 
what company soever he is in, or what business 
soever he is about, he walketh as among snares 
which are visible to his sight ; and it is part of his 
business continually to avoid them. He liveth in a 
continual watch and warfare ; he can resist much 
strongs and more subtile temptations than the weak 
can do ; he is always armed, and knoweth what are 
the special remedies against each particular snare 
and sin ; and he carrieth always his antidotes about 
him, as one that liveth in an infectious world, and 



in the midst of a froward and perverse generation, 
from which he is charged to save himself. 

2. And the .weak Christian is a soldier in the 
army of Christ, and is engaged in striving against 
sin ; and really taketh the flesh and world, as well 
as the devil, to be his enemies ; and doth not only 
strive, but conquer in the main. But yet, alas ! 
how poorly is he armed ; how unskilfully doth he 
manage his Christian armour; how often is he 
fiuled and wounded ; how many a temptation is he 
much unacquainted with ; and how many a snare 
doth lie before him which he never did observe? 
And oft he is overcome in particular temptations 
when he never perceiveth it, but thinks that he 
hath conquered. 

3* But the hj^ocrite is fast ensnared when he 
glorieth most of his integrity, and is deceived by 
his own heart, and thinketh he is something when 
he is nothing. When he is thanking God that he 
is not as other men, he is rejoicing in his dreams, 
and sacrificing for the victory which he never ob- 
tained. He is led by Satan captive at his will, 
when he is boasting of his uprightness ; and hath a 
beam of covetousness, or pride, or cruelty, in his 
own eye while he is reviling or censuring another 
for the mote of some difference about a ceremony 
or tolerable opinion. And usually such grow worse 
and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 

XXVIII. 1. A Christian indeed is one that 
hath deliberately counted what it may cost him to 
follow Christ and to save his soul; and, knowing 
that suffering with Christ is the way to our reigning 


with him, he hath fully consented to the tenns of 
Christ He hath read in the Gospel, that ' bearing 
the cross and forsaking all' is necessary to those 
that will be Christ's disciples ; and accordingly in 
resolution he hath forsaken all, and looketh not 
for a smooth and easy way to heaven. He con- 
sidereth that all 'that will live godly in Christ Jesus 
must suffer persecution,' and that through many 
tribulations we must enter into heaven ;' and, there- 
fore, he taketh it not for a strange or unexpected 
thing if the fiery trial come upon him. He doth 
not wonder at the unrighteousness of the world, as 
if he expected reason, or honesty, justice, or truth, 
or mercy in the enemies of Christ and the instru- 
ments of Satan. He will not bring his action 
against the devil for unjustly a£9icting him ; he will 
rather turn the other cheek to him that smiteth him, 
than he will hinder the good of any soul by seeking 
right ; much less will he exercise unjust revenge : 
though, where government is exercised for truth and 
righteousness, he will not refuse to make use of the 
justice of it to punish iniquity and discourage evil- 
doers ; yet this is for God and the common good, 
and for the suppression of sin, much more than for 
himself. Sufiering doth not surprise him as a thing 
unlocked for : he hath been long preparing for it, 
and it findeth him garrisoned in the love of Christ: 
yea, though his fleeh will be as the flesh of others, 
sensible of the smart, and his mind is not senseless 
of the sufferings of his body, yet it is some pleasure 
and satisfaction to his soul to find himself in the 
common way to heaven, and to see the predictions 


of Christ fulfilled, and to feel himself so far con- 
formed to Jesus Christ his head, and to trace the 
footsteps of a humbled Redeemer in the way before 
him. As ^ Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh/ 
so doth the Christian ^ arm himself with the same 
mind.' He rejoiceth that he is made ' partaker of 
the sufferings of Christ, that when his glory shall 
be revealed, he may also be partaker of the exceed- 
ing joy :' yea, he taketh the reproach of Christ for 
a treasure ; yea, a greater treasure than riches, or 
man's favour can afford. For he knoweth if he be 
reproached for the name or sake of Christ he is 
happy; for thereby he glorifieth that God whom 
the enemy doth blaspheme, and so the Spirit of 
Grod, and of glory, resteth on him. He liveth and 
sufiereth as one that from his heart believeth, that 
they are blessed that are persecuted for righteousness' 
sake, for great is their reward in heaven. And ^they 
are blessed when men shall revile them and persecute 
them, and say all manner of evil against them falsely 
for Christ's sake.' In this 'they rejoice and are 
exceeding glad, as ' knowing that herein they are 
' followers of them who through faith and patience 
inherit the promises.' If he be offered upon the 
sacrifice and service of the faith of God's elect, he 
can rejoice in it as having greater good than evil. 
He can suffer the loss of all things, and account 
them dung that he may ' win Christ, and be found 
in him, and know him, and the power of his resur- 
rection, and the fellowship of his sufierings, being 
made conformable to his death.' Not out of surliness 
aiKl pride doth he rejoice in sufferings ; as some do 


that they may carry the reputation of holy and 
undaunted men^ and seem to be &r better and 
constanter than others. When pride maketh men 
sufier they are partly the' devil's martjnrs, though 
the cause be never so good; though it is much more 
ordinary for pride to make men suffer rejoicingly in 
an ill cause than in a good, the devil having more 
power on his own ground than on Christ's. But it 
is the love of Christ, and the belief of the reward, 
and the humble neglect of the mortified flesh, and 
the contempt of the conquered world, that maketh 
the Christian suffer with so much joy. For he 
seeth that the judge is at the door, and what tor- 
ments the wicked are preparing for themselves; 
and that as certainly as there is a God that govemeth 
the world, and that in righteousness, so certainly 
are his eyes upon the righteous, and his &ce is 
set against them that do evil. And though sinners 
do evil a hundred times, and scape unpunished, 
whilst their dajs are prolonged, yet vengeance will 
overtake them in due time. It shall be well witb 
them that fear the Lord ; he keepeth all the tears 
of his servants till the reckoning day. If then judg- 
ment begin at the house of God, and the righteous 
be saved through much suffering and labour, what 
shall be their end that obey not the Gospel, and 
' where shall the ungodly and sinner appear?* 

2. And the weak Christian is one that will for- 
sake all for the sake of Christ, and suffer with him' 
that.he may be glorified with him, and will take his 
treasure in heaven for all. But he doth it not with 
the same easiness, and alacrity, and joy, as the- 


confirmed Christian doth. He hearkens more to the 
flesh which saith, ' Favour thyself:' sufieringis much 
more grievous to him; and sometimes he is waver- 
ing, before he can bring himself fully to resolve and 
let go all. 

3. But the seeming Christian looketh not for 
much suffering : he reads of it in the gospel, but 
he saw no probability of it, and never believed that 
-he should be called to it in any notable degree : he 
tibought it probable that he might well escape it; 
and therefore, though he agreed verbally to take 
Christ for better and worse, and to follow him 
through suiSerings, he thought he should never be 
put to it. And indeed his heart is secretly resolved, 
that he will never be undone in the world for Christ : 
some reparable loss he may undergo ; but he will 
not let go life and all. He will still be religious, 
and hope for heaven; but he will make himself 
believe (and others if he can) that the truth lieth on 
the safer side, and not on the suffering side ; and 
that it is but for their own conceits and scrupulosity 
that other men sufier who go beyond them. Many 
good men, he says, are of his opinion, and therefore 
he may be good also in the same opinion, though 
he would never have been of that opinion if it had 
not been necessary to his escaping of sufferings. 
And thus, what flourish soever he maketh for a 
time, when persecution ariseth he is offended and 
withereth ; unless he be so deeply engaged among 
the sufiering party, that he cannot come off without 
perpetual reproach, and then perhaps pride will 
make him suffer more than the belief of heaven 01^ 


the love of Christ could do. And all this is because 
his very belief is unrooted and unsound, and he 
hath secretly at the heart a fear that if he should 
suffer death for Christ, he should be a loser by 
him, and he would not reward him, according to his 
promise, with everlasting life. 

XXIX. 1. A Christian indeed is one that fol- 
loweth not Christ for company, nor holdeth his 
belief in trust upon the credit of any in the world; 
and therefore he would stick to Christ, if all that I^ 
knoweth or converseth with should forsake him. If 
the rulers of the earth should change their religion, 
and turn against Christ, he would not forsake him: 
if the multitude of the people turn against him ; 
nay, if the professors of godliness should fall off, 
yet would he stand his ground and be still the 
same : if the leamedest men, and the pastors of 
the church, should turn from Christ, he would not 
forsake him; yea, if his nearest relations and 
friends, or even that minister that was the means of 
his conversion, should change their minds, and for- 
sake the truth, and turn from Christ or a holy life, 
he would yet be constant and be still the same ; and 
what Peter resolved on he would truly practise, — 
' Though all men should be offended because of 
thee, yet would not I be offended: though I 
should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee.' 
And if he thought himself, as Elias did, left alone, 
yet would he not bow the knee to Baal. If he 
hear that this eminent minister falleth off one day, 
and the other another day, till all be gone, yet still 
the foundation of God standeth sure ; he fidleth not, 


because he is built upon the rock. His heart saith, 
Alas ! whither shall I go, if I go from Christ ? la 
there any other that hath the word and spirit of 
eternal life ? Can I be a gainer if I lose my soul ? 
He useth his teachers to bring him that light and 
evidence of truths which dwelleth in him when they 
are gone ; and therefore, though they Ml away, he 
fidleth not with them. 

2. And the weakest Christian believetb Vith a 
divine faith of his own, and dependeth more on 
God than man. But yet if he should be put to so 
great a trial, as to see all the pastors and Christians 
that he knoweth change their minds, I know not 
what he would do : for though God will uphold all 
his own whom he will save, yet he doth it by means 
and outward helps, together with his internal grace, 
and keepeth them from temptations when he will 
deliver them from evil : and therefore it is a doubt, 
whether there be not degrees of grace so weak, as 
would &il, in case the strongest temptations were 
permitted to assault them. A strong man can stand 
and go of himself, but an infant must be carried ; 
and the lame and sick must have others to support 
them. The weak Christian falleth, if his teacher 
or most esteemed company £dl : if they run into an 
error, sect, or schism, he keeps them company. 
He groweth cold, if he have not warming company : 
he forgetteth himself, and letteth loose his sense 
and passion, if he have not some to watch over him 
and warn him. No man should refuse the help of 
others, that can have it ; and the best have need of all 
God's means : but the weak Christian needeth them 



much more than the strong, and is much less able to 
stand without them. 

3. But the seeming Christian is built upon the 
sandy and therefore cannot stand a storm. He is a 
Christian more for company, or the credit of man, 
or the interest that others have in him, or the en- 
couragement of the times, than from a firm beUef 
and love of Christ ; and therefore falleth when his 
props are gone. 

. XXX. 1. A strong Christian can digest the 
hardest truths, and the hardest works of Provif 
dence. He seeth more of the reason and evidence 
of truths than others ; and he hath usually a moie 
comprehensive knowledge, and can reconcile those 
truths which short-sighted persons suspect to be 
inconsistent and contradictory : and when he cannot 
reconcile them, he knoweth. they are recondleable, 
for he hath laid his foundation well, and then he 
reduceth other truths to that, and buildeth thcsn 
on it ; and so he doth by the hardest providences. 
Whoever is high or low, whoever prospereth or is 
afflicted, however human affairs are carried, and all 
things seem to go against the church and cause of 
Christ, he knoweth yet that God is good to Israel, 
and that he is the righteous Judge of all the earth, 
and that the righteous shall have dominion in the 
morning, and it shall go well with them that fear 
the Lord: for he goeth into the sanctuary, and 
foreseeth the end. 

2. But the weak Christian is very hard put to it, 
when he meeteth with difficult passages of Scripture, 
and when he seeth it go with the righteous according 


to the work of the wicked^ and with the wicked 
according to the work of the righteous. Though 
he is not overturned by such difficulties, jret his foot 
is ready to slip, and he digesteth them with much 
perplexity and trouble. 

3. But the seeming, unsettled Christian is often 
overcome by them, and tumeth away from Christ, 
and saith. These are hard sajongs, or hard provi* 
dences, who can bear them? And thus unbelief 
thence gathereth matter for its increase. 

XXXL 1. A Christian indeed is one that can 
exercise all God*s graces in conjunction, and in their 
proper places and proportion, without setting one 
against another, or neglecting one while he is 
exercising another. He can be humbled without 
hindering his thankfulness and joy ; and he can 
be thankful and jo3rful without hindering his due 
humility. His knowledge doth not destroy, but 
quicken his zeal: his wisdom hindereth not, but 
furthereth his innocency. His faith is a help to his 
repentance, and his repentance to his faith. His 
love to himself doth not hinder, but help his love to 
others ; and his love to God is the end of both. 
He can mourn for the sins of the times, and the 
calamities of the Church, yea, for his own sins and 
imperfections, and yet rejoice for the mercies which 
he hath in possession or in hope. He findeth that 
piety and charity are necessarily conjunct; and 
every grace and duty is a help to all the rest : yea, 
he can exercise his graces methodically, which is 
the comeliness and beauty of his heart and life. 
2. But the weak Christian, though be have ev^ 

M 2 


grace, and his obedience is universal, yet can he 
hardly set himself to any duty, but it hindereth him 
from some other duty, through the narrowness and 
weakness of his mind. When he is humbling him- 
self in confession of sin, he can scarce be lively 
in thankfulness for mercy: when he rejoiceth, it 
hindereth his humiliation ; he can hardly do one 
duty without omitting or hindering another. He is 
either all for joy, or all for sorrow ; all for love or 
all for fear, and cannot well do many things at 
once ; but is apt to separate the truths and duties 
which God hath inseparably conjoined. 

3. And for the seeming Christian, he exerciseth 
no grace in sincerity, nor is he universal in his 
obedience to God, though he may have the image 
of every grace and duty. 

XXXII. 1. A Christian indeed is more in.^t- 
ting and using his graces, than in inquiring whether 
he have them. He is very desirous to be assured 
that he is sincere ; but he is more desirous to be so: 
and he knoweth that even assurance is got more 
by the exercise and increase of grace than by bare 
inquiry whether we have it already. Not that he 
is a neglecter of self-examination ; but he oftener 
asketh, What shall I do to be saved ? than^ How 
shall I know that I shall be saved? 

2. But the weak Christian hath more of self, and 
less of God in his solicitousness. And though he 
be willing to obey the whole law of Christ, yet he 
is much more solicitous to know that he is out of 
danger, and shall be saved, than to be fully plead- 
ing unto God; and therefore, proportionably, he 


Is more in inquiring by what marks he may know 
that he shall be saved, than by what means he may 
attain more holiness, and what diligence is neces- 
sary to his salvation^ 

3. But the seeming Christian is most careful how 
to prosper in the world, or please his flesh ; and 
next, how he may be sure to escape damnation 
when he hath done ; and, least of all, how he may 
•be conformed to Christ in holiness. 

XXXIII. 1. A Christian indeed doth study 
duty more than events ; and is more careful what 
he shall be towards God, than what he shall have 
from God in this life. He looketh to his own part, 
more than unto God^s, as knowing that it is he that 
is like to fail ; but God will never fail of his part. 
He is much more suspicious of himself than of 
God ; and when any thing goeth amiss, he blameth 
himself, and not God's providence. He knoweth 
that the hairs of his head are numbered, and that 
his Father knoweth what he needeth; and that 
God is infinitely wiser and fitter to dispose of him 
than he is to choose for himself; and that God 
loveth him better than he can love himself: and 
therefore he thankfully accepteth that easy indul- 
gent command, — ^ Cast all your care on him, for 
he careth for you : take no thought what you shall 
e&t or drink, or wherewith you shall be clothed.' 

2. But, alas ! how guilty is the weak Christian of 
meddling with God's part of the work ! How sin- 
fully careful what will become of him, and of his 
family and affairs, and of the Church, as if he were 
afraid *lie8t God should prove forgetful, unfiuthful, 


Of insufficient for his work; so imperfect is lus 
trust in God. 

3. And the seeming Christian really trusteth him 
not at ally for any thing that he can trust himself or 
the creature for. He will have two strings to his 
bow if he can ; but it is in man that he placeth his 
greatest trusti for any thing that man can do. 
Indeed, to save his soul, he knoweth none but God 
is to be trusted, and therefore his life is still pre- 
ferred before his soul; and consequently man, 
whom he trusteth most with his life and prosperity, 
is really trusted before God, however God may 
bave the name. 

XXXIV. 1. A Christian indeed is much more 
studious of his own duty towards others, than of 
theirs to him. He is much more fearful of doing 
wrong, than of receiving wrong. He is more 
troubled if he say ill of others, than if others speak 
ill of him. He had &r rather be slandered himself 
than slander others ; or be censured himself than 
censure others ; or be unjustly hurt himself than 
unjustly hurt another ; or to be put out of his own 
possessions or right than to put another out of his. 
He is oftener and sharper in judging and reproving 
himself than others. He falleth out with himself 
more frequently than with others ; and is more 
troubled with himself than with all the world be* 
sides. He taketh himself for his greatest enemy, 
and knoweth that his danger is most at home ; and 
that if he can escape but from himself, no one in earth 
or hell can undo him. He is more careful of his 
duty to his prince^ his parents, his pastor, or his 


master, than theirs to him: he is much more 
unwilling to be disobedient to them in any lawful 
thing, or to dishonour them, than to be oppressed, 
or unjustly afflicted, or abused by them. And all 
this is, because he knoweth that sin is worse than 
present suffering, and that he is not to answer for 
other men's sins but for his own ; nor shall he be 
condemned for the sins of any but himself; ahd 
that many millions are condemned for wronging 
others, but no one for being wronged by others. 

£• And the weak Christian is of the same mind 
in the main; but with so much imperfection, that 
he is much more frequent in censuring others, and 
complaining of their wrongs, and finding fault with 
them, and aggravating all that is said or done 
against himself, when he is hardly made sensible 
of as great miscarriages in himself; as having much 
more uncharitableness, partiality, and selfishness, 
than a confirmed Christian hath. There are few 
things which weakness of grace doth more ordina- 
rily appear in, than this partiality and selfishness 
in judging of the &ults or duties of others and of 
his own. How apt are (not only hjrpocrites, but) 
weak Christians, to aggravate all that is done 
against them, and to extenuate or justify all that 
they do against another 1 Oh what a noise they 
make of it, if they think that any one hath wronged 
them, defamed them, disparaged them, or en* 
croached on their right 1 If God himself be blas- 
phemed or abused, they can more patiently bear 
it, and make not so great a matter of it. Who 
lieareth of such angry complaints on God's behalf 


as on men's own? of such passionate invectiveSy 
such sharp prosecutions, against those that wrong 
both God and men's souls, as against those that 
wrong a selfish person? (and usually every man 
seemeth to wrong him, who keepeth firom him any 
thing which he would have, or saith any thing of 
him which is displeasing to him.) Go to the assizes 
and courts of justice ; look into the prisons, and 
inquire whether it be zeal for God, or for men's 
selves, which is the plaintiff and prosecutor? and 
whether it be for wronging God or them that all 
the stir is made ? Men are ready to say, God is 
sufficient to right himself; as if he were not the 
original and end of laws and government, and 
magistrates were not his officers, to promote obedi*' 
ence to Him in the world. 

At this time, how universal is men's complaint 
against their governors ! how common are the cries 
of the poor and sufferers, of the greatness of their 
burdens, miseries, and wants ! But how few lament 
the sins against government, which this land hath 
been sadly guilty of! The pastors complain of the 
people's contempt; the people complain of the 
pastors' insufficiency and lives; the master com- 
plaineth how hard it is to get good servants, that 
will mind their business and profit, as if it were 
their own ; servants complain of their masters for 
over-labouring them, or using them too hardly; 
landlords say that their tenants cheat them ; and 
tenants say that their landlords oppress and grind 
them. But if you were Christians indeed, the 
commonest and saddest complaints would be against 


yourselves : I am not so good a ruler^ so peaceable 
a subject^ so good a landlord^ so good a tenant, so 
good a master, so good a servant, as I ought to be. 
Your ruler*s sin, your subject's sin, your landlord's 
^n, your tenant's sin, your master's sin, your ser* 
vant's sin, shall not be charged upon you in judg- 
ment, nor condemn you, but your own sin. How 
much more, therefore, should you fear, and feel, 
and complain, of your own than of theirs. 

3. As for the seeming Christian, I have told you 
already that selfishness is his nature and predomi^ 
nant constitution ; and according to self-interest he 
judgeth of almost all things^ — of the fitults and 
duties of others and himself; and therefore no maq 
seemeth honest or innocent to him, who displeaseth 
him, and is against his worldly interest. Cross him 
about mine and thine, and he will beknave the 
honestest man alive, and call his ancient friend his 
enemy : but of his dealings with them he is not so 
scrupulous, nor so censorious of himself* 

XXXV. 1. A Christian indeed is much taken 
up in the government of his thought!^, and hath 
them so much ordinarily in obedience, that God 
and his service, and the matters of his salvation, 
have the precedency in them ; and his eye is fixed 
on his end and duty ; and his thoughts refiise not 
to serve him for any work of God to which he 
calleth them. He sufiereth them not to be the 
inlets or agents for pride, or lust, or envy, or 
voluptuousness, or to contrive iniquity ; but if any 
such sparks fi'om hell are cast into his thoughts, he 
presently laboureth to extinguish them; if they 



intrude, he letteth them not lodge or dwell theiei. 
And though he cannot keep out all disorder or 
vanity, or inordinate delights, yet is it his en- 
deavour, and he leaveth not his heart in any thing 

to itself. 

2. The weak Christian also maketh conscience 
of his thoughts, and alloweth them not to be the 
inlets or servants of any reigning sin : but, alasi 
how imperfectly doth he govern them ! what a deal 
of vanity and confusion is in them ! how carelessly 
doth he watch them ! how remissly doth he rebuke 
them, excite them and command them ! how oft are 
they defiled with impurity and uncharitableness ! 
and how little doth he repent of this, or endeavour 
to reform it ! and little serviceable are his thoughts, 
to any high and heavenly work, in comparison of 
the confirmed Christian. 

3. And the seeming Christian is very little em- 
ployed about his thoughts ; but leaveth them to be 
the servants of his pride and worldliness, or sensu- 
ality, or some reigning sin. 

XXXVI. 1. A Christian indeed is much em- 
ployed in the government of his passions ; and hath 
so far mastered them, as that they prevail not to 
pervert his judgment, nor to discompose bis heart 
so far as to interrupt much his communion with 
God, nor to ensnare his heart to any creature, nor 
to breed any fixed uncharitableness or malice in 
him, nor to cause his tongue to speak things in- 
jurious to God or man, to curse, or swear, ot rail, 
or lie, nor yet to cause him to hurt and injure any 
in his heart ; but when passion would be inordinate, 


either in delights or desires, orsaigef, or grief, or fear, 
or hope, he flieth to his helps to suppress and govern 
them. (Though fear is more out of man's power 
than the rest, and therefore ordinarily hath less of 
sin.) He knoweth that Christ hath blessed the 
meek ; and bid us learn of him to be ^ meek and 
lowly ;' and that * a meek and quiet spirit is in the 
sight of God of great price.' It is, therefore, his 
care and course, to * give place to wrath,' when 
others are angry ; and Mf it be possible, as much 
as in him lieth, to live peaceably with all men;' yea 
to * follow peace' when it flieth from him. And 
not when * he is reviled to revile again,' nor to 
Areaten or revenge himself on them that injure 
him. Reason and charity hold die reins, and 
pa9si<Mi is kept under: yea, it is used holily for 
God, Slow to anger he is in his ovm cause, and 
watchful over his anger even in God's cause. 

S. But the weak Christian doth greatly shew his 
weakness, in his unruly passions, (if he hav6 a 
temper of body disposed to passion.) They are oft 
rising, and not easily kept under; yea, and too 
often prevail with such unseemly words, as make 
him become a dishonour to hb profession. Oft he 
resolvedly luid promiseth and prayeth for help ; and 
yet the next i^rovocation sheweth how little grace 
be hath to hold the reins. And his passionate 
desires, and delights, and love, and sorrows, are 
oft as unruly as his anger, to the ftirther weakening 
of his soul : they are like ague fits, that leave the 
health impaired. 

S. And the seeming Christian hath much less 


power over those passions, which must subserve hig 
carnal mind* For anger, it dependeth much upon 
the temperature of the body; and if that iodine 
him not strongly to it, his credit or common dis^ 
cretion may suppress it; unless you touch his 
chiefest carnal interest, and then he wUl not only 
be angry, but cruel, malicious, and revengeful. 
But his carnal love, and desire, and delight, which 
are placed upon that pleasure, or profit, or honour, 
which is his idol, are indeed the reigning passions 
in him ; and his grief, and fear, and anger, are but 
the servants unto these. 

XXXVII. L A Christian indeed is one that 
keepeth a constant government of his tongue. He 
knoweth how much duty or sin it will be the instru- 
ment of: according to his ability and opportunity, 
he useth it to the service and honour of his Crer 
ator, in speaking of his excellencies, his works 
and word; inquiring after the knowledge of him 
and his will; instructing others, and pleading for 
the truth and ways of God ; and rebuking the im- 
piety and iniquities of the world, as his place and 
calling doth allow him. He bridleth his tongue 
from uttering vanity, filthiness, ribaldry, foolish and 
uncomely talk, and jests ; firom rash and irreverent 
talk of God, and taking of his name in vain ; firom 
the venting of undigested and uncertain doctrines, 
which may prove erroneous and perilous to men's 
souls; fi*om speaking imprudently, unhandsomely, 
or unseasonably about holy things, so as to expose 
them to contempt and scorn ; from lying, censuring 
others without a warrantable ground and call ; firom 


backbiting, slandering, false accusing, railing and 
reviling, malicious, envious, injurious speech, which 
tendeth to extinguish tiie love of the hearers to 
those he speaketh of; from proud and boasting 
speeches of himself, much more from swearing, 
x^ursing, and blasphemous speech, and opposition 
to the truths and holy ways of God, or opprobious 
speeches, or derision of his servants. And, in the 
government of his tongue, he always beginneth 
with his heart ; that he may understand and love 
the good which he speaketh of, and may hate the 
evil which his tongue forbeareth; and not hypo* 
critically to force his tongue agdnst or without his 
heart. His tongue doth not run before his heart, 
but is ruled by it. 

2. But the weak Christian, though his tongue be 
sincerely subject to the laws of God, yet frequently 
miscarrieth, and blemisheth his soul by the words 
of his lips ; being much ofter than the confirmed 
Christian overtaken with words of vanity, meddling, 
foUy, imprudence, uncharitableness, wrath, boasting, 
venting uncertain or erroneous opinions, &c. ; so that 
the unruliness of his tongue is the trouble of hia 
heart, if not also of the family, and all about him. 

3. The seeming Christian useth his tongue in 
the service of his carnal ends, and therefore allow«> 
etii it so much injustice, uncharitableness, falsehood^ 
and otiier sins, as his carnal interest and desires 
require; but tiie rest, perhaps, he may suppress, 
especially if natural sobriety, good education, and 
prudence do assist him : and his tongue is al waya 
better than his heart. 


XXXVIIL 1. The religious discourse of a 
confirmed Christian is most about the greatest and 
most necessary matters: heart-'Work and heaven* 
work are the usual employment of his tongue and 
thoughts: unprofitable controversies, and hurtful 
wranglings, he abhorreth ; and profitable contiro* 
versies he manageth sparingly, seasonably, chari- 
tably, peaceably, and with caution and sobriety, as 
knowing that the servant of the Lord must not 
strive, and that strife of words perverteth the hear- 
ers, and hindereth edifying. His ordinary discourse 
is about the glorious excellencies, attributes, rela* 
tions, and works of God, and the mystery of re- 
demption; the person, office, covenant, and grace 
of Christ ; the renewing, illuminating, sanctifying 
works of the Holy Ghost ; the mercies of this life, 
and that to come ; the duty of man to God as his 
Creator, Redeemer, and Regenerator ; the comrp* 
tion and deceitfiilness of the heart ; the methods of 
the tempter ; the danger of particular temptations, 
and the means of our escape, and of our ^owth 
in grace ; and how to be {nrofitable to others, and 
especially to the Church. And if he be called to 
open any truth which others understand not, he 
doth it not proudly to set up himself as the master 
of a sect, or to draw disciples after him, nor make 
cfivisions about it in the Church, but soberly, to the 
edification of the weak. And though he be ready 
to defend the truth against perverse gainsaj^rs in 
due season^ yet doth he not turn his ordinary edi- 
fying discourse into disputes, or talk of controver- 
sies ; nor hath such a proud pugnacious soid, as to 


assault every one that he thinks erroneous, as a man 
that taketh himself for the great champion of the 

2. But the weak Christian hath a more unfruit- 
fal wandering tongue ; and his religious discourse 
is most about his opinions or party, or some 
external thing, as which is the best preacher, or 
person, or book ; or if he talk of any text of Scrip- 
ture, or doctrine of religion, it is much of the outside 
of it ; and his discourse is less feeling, lively, and 
experimental : yea, many a time he hindereth the 
more edifying, savoury discourse of others, by such 
teligious discourse as is imprudent, impertinent, or 
tumeth them away from the heart and life of the 
matter in hand. But especially his opinions, and 
distinct manner of worship, are the chief of his 

3. And for the seeming Christian, though he can 
affectedly force his tongue to talk of any subject in 
religion, especially that which he thinks will most 
honour him in the esteem of the hearers ; yet, when 
he speaketh according to the inclination of his 
heart, his discoui*se is first about his fleshly interests 
and concernments, and next to that of the mere 
externals of religion, as controversies, parties) and 
Che several modes of worship. 

XXXIX. L A Christian indeed is one that so 
liveth upon the great substantial matters of religion, 
as not willingly to commit the smallest sin, nor to 
utter the smallest falsehood, nor to renounce or 
betray the smallest holy truth or duty, for any price 
that man can offer him. The works of repentance. 


faithy and love, are his daily business, which take 
up his greatest care and diligence. Whatever 
opinions or controversies are afoot, his work is 
still the same : whatever changes come, his reli^on 
changeth not : he placeth not the kingdom of God 
in meats^ and drinks, and, circumstances, and cere- 
monies, either being for them or against them ; but 
in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy 
Ghost : and he that in these things serveth Christ, 
as he is acceptable to God, so is he approved by 
such a Christian as this, however factious persons 
may revile him. The strong Christian can bear the 
infirmities of the weak, and not take the course 
that most pleaseth him, but that which pleaseth his 
neighbour for his good to edification. The essen- 
tials of religion, faith, and love, and obedience, are 
as bread and drink, the substance of his food. 
These he meditateth on, and these he practiseth, 
and according to these he esteemeth of others. 

No price can seem sufficient to him to buy his 
innocency ; nor will he wilfiilly sin, and say it is a 
little one, nor do evil that good may come by it; 
nor ofifer to God the sacrifice of disobedient fools, 
and then say, I knew not that I did evil : for he 
knoweth that God will rather have obedience than 
sacrifice, and that disobedience is as the sin of 
witchcraft And he that breaketh one of the least 
commands, and teacheth men so, shall be called 
least in the kingdom of God ; and he that teacheth 
men to sin by the example of his own practice, can 
little expect to turn them from sin by his better 
^instructions and ezhortatiops. He that vnll deli- 


berately sin in a small matter, doth set but a small 
price on the favour of God and his salvation. Wil- 
ful disobedience is odious to God, how small soever 
the matter be about which it is committed. Who 
•can expect that he should stick at any sin, when his 
temptation is great, who will considerately commit 
the least, especially if he will approve and justify 
it? Therefore the sound Christian will rather 
forsake his riches, his liberty, his reputation, his 
fiends, and his country, than his conscience ; and 
rather lay down liberty, and life itself, than choose 
to sin against his God, as knowing that never man 
gained by his sin. The sin that Saul was rejected 
for seemed but a little thing, and the sin that 
.Uzzah was slain for ; and the service of God, even 
his sacrifice and his ark, were the pretence for both. 
The sin of the Bethshemites, of Achan, of Gehazi, 
of Ananias and Sapphira, which had grievous pu- 
nishments, would seem but little things to us. And 
it is a great aggravation of our sin to be chosen, 
deliberate, justified, and fathered upon God, and to 
pretend that we do it for his service, for the wor- 
shipping of him, or the doing good to others ; as if 
God would own and bless sinful means, or needed 
a lie to his service or glory ; when he hateth all the 
workers of iniquity, and requireth only the sacrifices 
of righteousness. He abhorreth sacrifice from pol- 
luted hands ; they are to him as the ofiering a dog ; 
and he will ask, who hath required this at your 
hand? *The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination 
to the Lord.'* * It is not pleasing to him : all that 
eat thereof shall be polluted*' The preachingi the 


pra3ring, the sacraments of wilftil sinners, especially 
when they choose sin as necessary to his service) 
-are a scorn and mockery put upon the most Holy 
One; as if your servant should set dung and carrion 
before you on your table for your food : such oikt 
Christ vinegar and gall to drink. 

S. In all this, the weakest Christian that is sincere 
is of the same mind, saving that, in his ordinary 
course, he useth to place too much of his religion 
in controversies, and parties, and modes, and cere- 
monies (whether being for them or against them), 
and allow too great a proportion in his thoughts, 
and speech, and zeal, and practice ; and hindereth 
the growth of his grace by living upon less edifying 
things, and turning too much from the more sub- 
atantial nutriment. 

S. And the seeming Christians are here of dif- 
ferent ways. One sort of them place almost all 
their religion in pharisaical observation of little, 
external, ceremonial matters ; as their washings, 
and fastings, and tythings, and formalities, and the 
traditions of the elders; or in their several opinions, 
and ways, and parties, which they call, * being of the 
true church,' as if their sect were all the church : 
but living to God in faith and love, and in a 
heavenly conversation, and worshipping him in 
spirit and truth, they are utterly unacquainted mih. 
The other sort are truly void of these essential parts 
of Christianity, in the life and power, as well as the 
former : but yet, being secretly resolved to take up 
no more of Christianity than will consist with their 
worldly prosperity and ends, when any sin seemetb' 


'necessary to their preferment or safety in the world, 
their way is to pretend their high esteem of great 
matters^ for the swallowing of such a sin as an incon- 
Mderable thing; and then they extol those larger 
souls that live not upon circumstantials, but upon the 
gireat and common truths and duties, and pity those 
allien of narrow principles and spirits, who, by un^ 
necessary scrupulosity, make sin of that which is no 
sin, and expose themselves to needless trouble. And 
they would make themselves and others believe that 
it is their excellency and wisdom to be above such 
trifling scruples: and all is because they never took 
God and heaven for their all, and therefore are 
^resolved never to lose all for the hopes of heaven ; 
and therefore to do that, whatever it be, which their 
worldly interest shall require, and not to be of any 
religion that will undo them. 

And three great pretences are effectual means in 
this their deceit. One is because, indeed, there are 
a sort of persons that tythe mint and cummin, while 
they pass by the greatest matters of the law, and 
that are causelessly scrupulous, and make that to be 
a sin which indeed is no sin : and when such a 
scrupulous people are noted by their weakness, and 
under dishonour among wiser men, the hypocrite 
hath a very plausible pretence for his hypocrisy, 
in seeming only to avoid this ignorant scrupulosity, 
and taking all for such who judge not his sin to be 
a thing indifferent. 

Another great shelter to the credit and conscience 
rf this hypocrite is, the charity of the best, sincerest 
Christians, who always judge rigidly of themselves 


and gently of others. They would rather die than 
wilfully choose to commit the smallest sin them- 
selves; but if^they see another commit it, they 
judge as fiivourably of it as the case will bear, and 
hope that he did it not knowingly or wilfully ; for 
they are bound to hope the best till the worst be 
-evident. This being the upright Christian's casCi 
the hypocrite knoweth that he shall stiU have a 
place in the esteem and love of those charitable 
Christians, whose integrity and moderation makedi 
their judgments more valuable : and then for the 
judgment of God he will venture on it; and for the 
censures of weaker persons, who themselves aie 
censured by the best for their censoriousness, he 
can easily bear them. 

And another covert for the hjrpocrite in this case 
is, the different judgments of learned and religious 
men, who make a controversy of the matter: and 
what duty or sin is there that is not become a con- 
troversy? Yea, and among men otiierwise well 
esteemed of, except in the essentials of religion. 
And if once it be a controversy, whether it be a sin 
or not, the hypocrite can say, I am of the judgment 
of such and such good, learned men.; they are very 
judicious, excellent persons, and we must not judge 
one another in controverted cases : though we differ 
in judgment, we must not differ in affection. And 
thus, because he hath a shelter for his reputation 
from the censures of men, by the countenance of 
such as accompany him in his sin, he is as quiet 
as if he were secured from the censures of the 


XL. 1. A Christian indeed, is one that highly 
^ueth time. He abhorreth idleness, and all diver- 
mons which would rob him of his time, and hinder 
him from his work ; he knoweth how much work 
he hath to do, and of what unspeakable consequence 
to his soul, if not also to others; he knoweth that he 
hath a soul to save or lose ; a heaven to win ; a hell to 
8cape ; a death and judgment to prepare for; many 
a sin to mortify, and many graces to get, and 
exercise, and increase ; and many enemies and 
temptations to overcome ; and that he shall never 
have more time of trial ; but what is now undone, 
must be undone for ever. He knoweth how short 
and hasty time is, and also how uncertain; and how 
short many hundred years is to prepare for an 
everlasting state, if all were spent in the greatest 
£ligence: and, therefore, he wondereth at those 
miserable souls that have time to spare, and waste 
in those fooleries which they call pastimes ; even in 
stage-plays, cards, and dice, and long and tedious 
fisastings, delights, compliments, idleness, and over* 
long or needless visits, or recreations. He mar- 
yelleth at the distraction or sottishness of those 
persons that can play, and prate, and loiter, and 
feast away precious hours, as if their poor unprepared 
souls had nothing to do, while they stand at the 
very brink of a dreadful eternity, and are so fearfully 
unready as they are. He taketh that person who 
would cheat him of his time, by any of these fore- 
named baits, to be worse to him than a thief that 
would take his purse from him by the highway. O 
precious time! how highly doth he value it when 


he thinks of his everlasting state^ and thinks what 
haste his death is making, and what reckoning he 
must make for every moment: idiat abundance ot 
work hath he for every hour, which he is grieved 
that he cannot do ! He hath a calling to follow, 
and he hath a heart to search, and watch, and 
study ; and a God to seek and faithfully serve, and 
many to do good to ; and abundance of particular 
duties to perform, in order to every one of these: 
but, alas! time doth make such haste away that 
many things are left undone, and he is afraid lest 
death will find him very much behindhand; and 
therefore he is up and doing, as one that hath use for 
every minute ; and worketh while it is day, because 
he knoweth that the night is coming when n(Mie 
can work. Redeeming time is much of his wisdom 
and his work ; he had rather labour in the house of 
correction than live the swinish life of idle and 
voluptuous gentlemen or beggars, that live to no 
higher end than to live, or to please their flesh ; or 
to live as worldlings, that lose all their lives in the 
service of a perishing world. He knoweth how 
precious time will be ere long in the eyes of those 
that now make light of it, and trifle it away as a 
contemned thing, as if they had too much. 

2. The weak Christian is of the same mind in 
the main : but when it cometh to particular prac- 
tice he is like a weak or weary traveller, that goeth 
but slowly and maketh many a stop. Though his 
fiwe is still heaven-wards he goeth but a little way in 
a day ; he is too easily tempted to idle, or talk, or 
feast, or play away an hour imlawfully, so it be not 


his ordinary course, and he do it but seldom : lie 
laketh not the loss of an hour for so great a loss as 
the confirmed Christian doth ; he could sooner be 
persuaded to live, though not an idle and unpro- 
fitable, yet an easier, less profitable life. The 
world and the flesh have far more of his hours than 
diey ought to have ; though his weakness tell him 
that he hath most need of diligence. 

3. But the time of a seeming Christian is most 
at the service of his fleshly interest, and for that it 
is principally employed; and for that he can redeem 
it, and grudge if it be lost. But as he liveth not to 
God, so he cannot redeem his time for God. He 
loseth it even when he seemeth to employ it best : 
when he is praying, or otherwise worshipping God, 
and doing that good which feedeth his false hopes, 
he is not redeeming his time in all this. While he 
18 sleeping in security, and deluding his soul with a 
few formal words, and an hnage of religion, his 
time passeth on, and he is hurried away to the 
dreadfiil day, and his damnation slumbereth not. 

XLL 1. A Christian indeed is one whose very 
heart is set upon doing good ; as one that is made 
to be profitable to others, according to his ability 
and place, even as the sun is made to shine upon 
the world. He cannot be content to live idly or 
to labour unprofitably, or to get never so much 
for himself, and live in never so much plenty him-> 
self, unless he someway contribute to the good of 
others. Not that he grudgeth at the smallness of 
his talents, and lowness and obscurity of his place ; 
for he knoweth that God may dispose his creatures 


and talents as he pleases, and that where much is 
given much is required : but what his Lord hath 
entrusted him with he is loth to hide, and willing to 
improve to his Master's use. He is so £Bur from 
thinking that God is beholden to him for his good 
works, that he taketh it for one of his greatest 
mercies in the world that God will use him in doing 
any good. And he would take it for a very great 
suffering to be deprived of such opportunities, or 
turned out of service, or called to less of that 
kind of duty. If he were a physician, and denied 
Uberty to practice, or a minister, and denied liberty 
to preach, it would far more trouble him that he is 
hindered from doing good, than that he is deprived 
of any profits or honours to himself. He doth not 
only comfort himself with the foresight of the re- 
ward; but, in the very doing of good, he findeth so 
much pleasure, as maketh him think it the delight- 
fiillest life in the world ; and he looketh for most of 
his receivings from God, in a way of duty. 

2. But the weak Christian, though he have the 
same disposition, is far less profitable in the world. 
He is more for himself, and less able to do good to 
others ; he wanteth either parts, or prudence, or 
zeal, or length ; yea, he is oft like the infants and 
sick persons of a family, that are not helpful, but 
troublesome to the rest. They find work for the 
stronger Christians, to bear their infirmities, and 
watch them, and support and help them*. Indeed 
as an infant is a comfort to the mother, through the 
power of her own love, even when she endureth 
the trouble of its crying and uncleanness, so weak 


Christians are a comfort to charitable ministers and 
people ; we are glad that they are alive, but sadded 
often by their distempers. 

3. The seeming Christian liveth to himself^ and 
all his good works are done but for himself, to keep 
up his credit, or quiet his guilty conscience, and 
deceive himself with the false hopes of a reward, 
for that which his falseheartedness maketh to be 
his sin. If he be a man of learning and good 
parts, he may be very serviceable to the church ; 
but the thanks of that is due to God, and little to 
him, who seeketh Jhimself more than God, or the 
good of others, in all that he doth. 

XLII. 1. A Christian indeed doth truly love his 
neighbour as himself: he is not all for his own com- 
modity ; his neighbour's profit or good name is as his 
own ; he feeleth himself hurt when his neighbour is 
hurt; and if his neighbour prosper he rejoiceth as if 
he prospered himself; though his neighbour be not 
united to him in the nearest bonds of Christianity 
or piety, yet he is not disregardful of the common 
unity of humanity. Love is the very soul of life. 

2. But the love that is in weaker Christians, 
though it be sincere, is weak as they are, and mixed 
with too much selfishness, and with too much 
sourness and wrath. Little matters cause differ- 
ences and fallings out. When it cometh to mine 
and thine, and their neighbours cross their interest 
or commodity, or stand in their way when they are 
seeking any preferment or profit to themselves, you 
shall see too easily, by their sourness and conten- 
tion, how weak their love is. 



3. But in the seeming Christian selfishness is so 
predominant, that he loveth none but for himself 
with any considerable love ; all his kindness is 
firom self-love, because men love him, or highly 
value him, or praise him, or have done him some 
good turn, or may do him good hereafter, or the 
like. If he hath any love to any for their own 
worth, yet self-love can turn all that to hatred if 
they seem against him, or cross him in his way; 
for no man that is a lover of the world, and flesh, 
and carnal self, can ever be a true friend to any 
other; for he loveth them but for his own ends, 
and any cross interests will shew tlie fisilsehood of 
his love. 

XLIII. 1. A Christian indeed hath a special 
love to all the godly ; such as endeareth his heart 
unto them; and such as will enable him to visit 
them and relieve them in their wants, to his own 
loss and hazard, according to his ability and op- 
portunity; for the image of God is beautiful and 
honourable in his eyes; he loveth not them so 
much as God in them, Christ in them, the Holy 
Spirit in them ; he foreseeth the day when he shall 
meet them in heaven, and there rejoice in God 
with them to eternity; he loveth their company 
and converse, and delighteth in their gracious 
words and lives ; and the converse of ungodly 
empty men is a weariness to him, unless in a way 
of duty, or when he can do them good. * In Ws 
eyes a vile person is contemned, but he honoureth 
them that fear the Lord.' Other men grieve his 
soul with their iniquities, while he is delighted widi 


the appearances of God in his holy ones, even the 
excellent ones on earth ; yea, the infirmities of 
believers destroy not his love ; for he hath learned 
of God himself to difference between their abhorred 
frailties and their predominant grace, and to love 
the very infants in the family of Christ ; yea, though 
they wrong him, or quarrel with him, or censure 
him in their weakness, he can honour their sincerity 
and love them still; and if some of them prove 
scandalous, and some seeming Christians fall away, 
or fall into the most odious crimes, he loveth reli- 
gion never the less, but continueth as high an esteem 
of piety and of all that are upright as he had 

2. The weak Christian sincerely loveth all that bear 
his Father s image ; but it is with a love so weak, 
even when it is most passionate, as will sooner be 
abated or interrupted by any tempting diiSerences : 
he is usually quarrelsome and froward with his 
brethren, and apter to confine his love to those 
that are of his own opinion or party ; and because 
God hath taught him to love all that are sincere, 
the devil tempteth him to censure them as not 
sincere, that so he may justify himself in the 
abatement of his love ; and weak Christians are 
usually the most censorious, because they have the 
smallest degree of love, which covereth faults, and 
thinketh no evil, and is not suspicious, but ever apt 
to judge the best, till the worst be evident. * It 
beareth all things, believeth all things (that are 
credible), hopeth all things, endureth all things.' 
But it is no wonder to see children &11 out, even 



about their childish toys and trifles ; and what the 
dissensions of the children of the church have done 
against themselves in these kingdoms I need not, 
I delight not, to record. * And I, brethren, could 
not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto 
carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed 
you with milk, and not with meat ; for hitherto ye 
were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye 
able, for ye are yet carnal; for whereas there is 
among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are 
you not carnal, and walk as men V 

3. The seeming Christian may have some lote 
to real Christians, even for their goodness' sake; 
but it is a love subservient to his carnal self-love, 
and therefore it shall not cost him much. As he 
hath some love to Christ, so he may have some 
love to Christians ; but he hath more to the world 
and fleshly pleasures, and therefore all his love to 
Christ or Christians will not make him leave his 
worldly happiness for them ; and therefore Christ 
at the day of judgment will not inquire after empty 
barren love, but after that love which visited and 
relieved suffering saints. An hypocrite can allow 
both Christ and Christians such a cheap superficial 
kind of love as will cost him little : he will bid them 
lovingly, * Depart in peace, be you warmed and 
filled.* But still the world is most beloved. 

XLIV. 1. A Christian indeed doth love his 
enemies, and forgive those that injure him, and this 
out of a thankftil sense of that grace which forgave 
him a far greater debt : not that he thinketh it un- 
lawful to make use of the justice of the government 


which he is under for his necessary protection, 
or for the restraint of men*s abuse and violence; 
nor is he bound to love the malice or injury, though 
he must love the man ; nor can he forgive a crime, 
as it is against God or the common good, or against 
smother, though he can forgive an injury or debt 
that is his own ; nor is he bound to forgive every 
debt, though he is bound so far to forgive every 
wrong as heartily to desire the good of him that 
did it. Even God*s enemies he so far loveth as to 
desire God to convert and pardon them, while he 
hateth their sin, and hateth them as God*s enemies, 
and desireth their restraint. But those that hate, 
and curse, and persecute himself, he can unfeignedly 
love, and bless, and pray for ; for he knoweth that 
else he cannot be a child of God ; and that to love 
those that love him is not much praiseworthy, being 
no more than heathens and wicked men can do. 
He is so deeply sensible of that wondrous love 
which so dearly redeemed him, and saved him 
from hell, and forgave him a thousandfold worse 
than the worst that ever was done against himself, 
that thankfulness, and imitation or conformity to 
Christ in his great compassions, do overcome his 
desires of revenge, and make him willing to do 
good to his most cruel enemies, and pray for them 
as Christ and Stephen did at their deaths. And 
he knoweth that he is so inconsiderable a worm, 
that a wrong done to him as such is the less con- 
fiiderable ; and he knoweth that he daily wrongeth 
God more than any man can wrong him, and that 
he can hope for pardon but on condition that he 


himself forgive, and that he is far more hurtful to 
himself than any other can be to him. 

2. And the weakest Christian can truly love an 
enemy and forgive a wrong; but he doth it not 
so easily and so iully as the other ; but it is with 
much striving, and some unwillingness and averse* 
ness, and there remaineth some grudge or strange- 
ness upon the mind : he doth not sufficiently forget 
the wrong which he doth forgive ; indeed, his for- 
giving is very imperfect, like himself, not with 
the freeness and readiness required. 'With all 
lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, for- 
bearing one another in love.' * Put on, therefore, 
(as the elect of God, holy and beloved) bowels of 
mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, 
long-suffering, forbearing one another and forgiving 
one another ; even as Christ forgave you, so also 
do ye.' * Avenge not yourselves,' &c. 

3. As for the seeming Christian, he can seem 
to forgive wrongs for the sake of Christ; but if he 
do it indeed it is for his own sake, as because it is 
for his honour, or because the person hath hum- 
bled himself to him, or his commodity requireth 
it, or he can make use of his love and service for 
his advantage, or some one hath interposed for 
reconciliation who must not be denied, or the like : 
but to love an enemy indeed, and to love that man 
(be he never so good) who standeth in the way of 
his preferment, honouf , or commodity in the world, 
he never doth it from his heart, whatever he may 
seem to do. The love of Christ doth not constrain 


XLV. 1. A Christian indeed is as precise in 
the justice of his dealings with men as in acts of 
piety to God ; for he knoweth that God requireth 
this as strictly at his hands : * That no man go 
beyond, or defraud his brother in any matter ; for 
the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also 
have forewarned and testified.' He is one that 
' walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and 
speaketh the truth in his heart, that backbiteth not 
with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, 
nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. If 
he swear to his own hurt, he changeth not; he 
putteth not out his money to (unjust or unmerciful) 
usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent.' 
He obeyeth that injunction, ^ Thou shalt not 
defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him; the wages 
of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all 
night until the morning.' He can say, as Samuel^ 
* Whose ox or ass have I taken ? or whom have I 
defrauded ? whom have I oppressed ? or of whose 
hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes 
therewith, and I will restore it? And they said, 
Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, 
neither hast thou taken aught of any man's hand.' 
And if heretofore he was ever guilty of defrauding 
any, he is willing to his power to make restitution ; 
and saith, as Zaccheus, * If I have taken any thing 
from any man by false accusation, I restore him 
four-fold.' Though flesh and blood persuade him 
to the contrary, and though it leave him in want, 
he will pay his debts, and make restitution of that 
which is ill-gotten, as being none of his own ; he 


will not sell for as much as he can get, but for as 
much as it is truly worth ; he will not take advan- 
tage of the weakness, or ignorance, or necessity of 
his neighbour ; he knoweth that * a false balance is 
abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his 
delight ;' he is afraid of believing ill-reports, and 
rebuketh the backbiter ; he is apt to take part with 
any man behind his back who is not notoriously 
inexcusable, not to justify any evil, but to shew his 
charity and his hatred of evil speaking, especially 
where it can do no good ; he will not believe evil 
of another till the evidence do compel him to 
believe it ; if he have wronged any by incautious 
words, he readily confesseth his fault to him, and 
asketh him forgiveness, and is ready to make any 
just satisfaction for any wrong that he hath done ; 
he borroweth not when he seeth not a great pro- 
bability that he is like to pay it ; nor will remain 
in debt, by retaining that which is another man*s 
against his will, without an absolute necessity. 
* Owe no man any thing, but to love one another.* 
For to borrow when he cannot pay is but to steal. 
Begging is better than borrowing for such. ' The 
wicked borroweth and payeth not.' 

2. And the weak Christian maketh conscience 
of justice as well as acts of piety, as knowing that 
God hath no need of our sacrifices, but loveth to 
see us do that which is good for human society, 
and which we have need of from each other. But 
yet he hath more selfishness and partiality than 
the confirmed Christian hath, and therefore is often 
overcome by temptations to unrighteous things : 


as to stretch his conscience for his commodity, in 
buying or selling, and concealing the faults of what 
he selleth, and sometimes overreaching others : 
especially he is ordinarily too censorious of others, 
and apt to be credulous of evil reports, and to be 
overbold and forward in speaking ill of men behind 
their backs, and without a call, especially against 
persons that difier from him in matters of religion, 
where he is usually most unjust and apt to go 
beyond his bounds. 

3. The seeming Christian may have a seeming 
justice: but really he hath none but what must 
give place to his fleshly interest ; and if his honour, 
and commodity, and safety require it, he will not 
stick to be unjust ; and that justice which wanteth 
but a strong temptation to overturn it is almost as 
bad as none. If he will not seize on Naboth*s 
vineyard, nor make himself odious by oppression or 
deceit; yet, if he can raise or enrich himself by 
secret cozenage, and get so fair a pretence for his 
injustice as shall cloak the matter from the sight of 
men, he seldom sticketh at it It is an easy matter 
to make an Achan think that he doth no harm, or a 
Gehazi think that he wrongeth no man, in taking 
that which was oflfered and due. Covetousness will 
not confess its name, but will find some reasonings 
to make good all the injustice which it doth. 

XL VI. 1. A Christian indeed is faithful and 
laborious in his particular calling, and that, not out 
of a covetous mind, but in obedience to God, and 
that he may maintain his family, and be able to do 
good to others ; for God hath said, ^ In the sweat 



of thy face thou shalt eat thy bread ;* and ^ six days 
shalt thou labour ;' and ^ with quietness men must 
work and eat their own bread/ and ^ if any will not 
work, neither should he eat.' Abraham, and Noah, 
and Adam, laboured in a constant course of employ- 
ment. He knoweth that a sanctified calling and 
labour is a help, and not a hinderance to devotion, 
and that the body must have work as well as the 
soul, and that religion must not be pretended 
for slothful idleness, not against obedience to our 
Master's will. 

2. The weak Christian is here more easily de- 
ceived, and made believe that religion will excuse a 
man from bodily labour, and, under the colour of 
devotion, allow him to live idly. * They learn to be 
idle, wandering about from house to house, and 
not only idle, but tatlers also, and busybodies, 
speaking things which they ought not.' Slothful- 
ness is a sin much condemned in the Scriptures. 

3. The seeming Christian in his labour is ruled 
chiefly by his flesh. If he be rich, and it incline 
him most to sloth, he maketh small conscience of 
living in idleness, under the pretence of his gentility 
or wealth: but if the flesh incline him more to 
covetousness, he will be laborious enough ; but it 
shall not be to please God by obedience, but to 
increase his estate, and enrich himself and his 
posterity, whatever better reason he pretend. 

XLVII, 1. A Christian indeed is exactly con- 
scionable in the duties of his relation to others in 
the family and place of his abode. If he be a 
husband, he is loving, and patient, and faithful to 


his wife ; if he be a father^ he is careful of the holy 
education of his children ; if he be a master, he is 
just and merciful to his servants, and careful for 
the saving of their souls ; if he be a child, or 
servant, he is obedient, trusty, diligent, and careful, 
as well behind his parents or his master's back as 
before his face; he dare not lie, nor steal, nor 
deceive, nor neglect his duty, nor speak dishonour- 
ably of his superiors, though he were sure he could 
conceal it all ; for he knoweth that the fifth com- 
mandment is enforced with a special promise, and 
that a bad child, or a bad servant, a bad husband 
or wife, a bad parent br master, cannot be a good 

2. But weak Christians, though sincere, are 
ordinarily weak in this part of their duty, and apt 
to yield to temptations, and carry themselves 
{MToudly, stubbornly, idly, disobediently, as eye- 
serviuits that are good in sight ; or to be unmerciful 
to inferiors, and neglecters of their souls ; and to 
excuse all this from the faults of those that they 
have to do with, and lay all upon others, as if the 
fault of husband, wife, parent, master, or servant, 
would justify them in theirs, and passicm and par- 
tiality would serve for innocency. 

3. And the hypocrite ordinarily sheweth his 
hypocrisies, by being false in his relations to man, 
while he pretendeth to be pious and obedient unto 
God. He is a bad master, and a bad servant, 
when his self-interest requireth it, and yet thinketh 
himself a good Christian for all that ; for all men 
being faulty, it is easy to find a pretence from all 


men that he doth abuse, to cover the injury of his 
abuse. Cain, Ham, £U, Absalom, Judas, &c. are 
sad examples of this. 

XLVIII. 1. A Christian indeed is the best 
subject, whether his prince be good or bad, though 
by infidel and ungodly rulers he be oft mistaken for 
the worst. He obeyeth not his rulers only for his 
own ends, but in obedience to God ; and not only 
for fear of punishment, but for conscience sake. 
He looketh on them in their relations as the officers 
of God, and armed with his authority, and there- 
fore obeyeth God in them* He permitteth not 
dishonourable thoughts of them in his heart, much 
less dare he speak dishonourably of them. He 
knoweth that every soul must be subject to the 
higher powers, and not resist ; and that there is no 
power but of God : * Whosoever therefore resisteth 
the power, resisteth the ordinance of God ; and he 
that resisteth shall receive to himself damnation.' 
Therefore in all things lawful he obeyeth them; 
and though he must not, and will not obey them 
against God, yet will he suffer patiently when he 
is wronged by them, and not only forbear resist- 
ance by arms or violence, but also all reproachful 
words, as knowing that the righting of himself is 
not so necessary to the public order and good, as 
the honour of his rulers is. Usurpers may pro- 
bably charge him to be a traitor, and seditious and 
rebellious, because he dare not approve of their 
usurpations ; and when several are contending for 
the government, and in a litigious title the lawyers 
mislead him, when the controversy is only among 


them, and belongs to their profession, it is possible 
he may mistake as well as the lawyers, and take 
bim to have the better title that hath the worse ; 
but in divinity he knoweth there is no controversy, 
whether every soul must be subject to the highest 
power, so far as he can know it, and that prayers 
and patience are the subject's arms, and religion is 
80 fiur from being a warrant to resist, that it plainly 
forUddeth disobedience and resistance, and none 
are more obliged to submission and quietness than 
Christians are. The spirit of Christianity is not of 
this world : their kingdom and their hopes are not 
of this world ; and therefore they contend not for 
dignities and rule, much less by resisting or rebel- 
ling against their lawful governors. But they are 
resolved to obey God, and secure their everlasting 
portion, and bear all the injuries which they meet 
with in their way, especially from those whom God 
hath set over them. There is no doctrine that ever 
was received in the world so far from befriending 
seditions and rebellion as the doctrine of Christ ; 
nor any people in the world so loyal as Christians, 
while Christianity retained its genuine simplicity, 
till proud, domineering, worldly men, for carnal 
ends, pretended themselves to be Christians, and 
perverted the doctrine of Christ, to make it warp 
to their ambitious ends. Suffering seemeth not so 
great a matter to a holy, mortified, heavenly mind, 
as to tempt him to hazard his salvation to resist it. 
No man is so likely to be true to kings as he that 
believeth that his salvation lieth on it by the ordi- 
nance of God ; and princes that are wise and just 


do always discern that the best Christians are their 
best subjects, though those that are unbelieving and 
ungodly themselves have ever hated them as the 
greatest troublers of the earth ; audit hath ever been 
the practice of the enemies of Christ and godliness 
to do all they can to engage the rulers of the earth 
against them, and to persuade them that the most 
godly Christians are persons of disloyal and unquiet 
minds ; and by vexing and persecuting them they 
do their worst to make them such as they falsely 
called them. Even Christ himself was crucified as 
an enemy to Caesar, and Pilate driven to it by the 
noise of them that cried out, that if he * let them 
go, he was not Caesar*s friend.' John xix. 12. They 
first tempted him with the question, * Whether it 
were lawful to give tribute unto Caesar?' And 
though they could this way take no hold of him, 
yet this was the first article of his accusation : * We 
have found this fellow perverting the nation, and 
forbidding to give tribute to Caesar.' And how 
loyal would those rebellious Jews seem, when they 
thought it the only way to engage the Roman 
power against Christ ! Then they cry out * We 
have no king but Caesar ! ' And this was the com- 
mon accusation against the Christians both by Jews 
and Gentiles. The language of the Jews you may 
hear firom Tertullus, Acts xxiv. 5, * We have found 
this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition 
among all the Jews throughout the world, and a 
ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.' And at 
Thessalonica, the charge against them was, that 
they turned the world upside down, and did all 


contrary to the decrees of Caesar. And thus the 
best Christians have by such been slandered from 
age to age, because the devil and his instruments 
know not how sufficiently to molest them, except they 
engage the rulers against them. But yet all this 
doth not conquer the patience and loyalty of con- 
firmed Christians. They are wiser than that wise 
man whom, as Solomon saith, ' Oppression maketh 
mad.' If usurpers or malicious liars shall a thou- 
sand times call them rebellious and seditious, it 
shall not drive them from their due subjection ; 
they can patiently follow their Lord and the ancient 
Christians in the enduring of such slanders, and 
suffering as enemies to Caesar, so they do but 
escape the sin, and be not such as malice calleth 
them; they had rather die as reputed enemies to 
government than to be such indeed; they prefer 
subjection before the reputation of it, for they look 
not for their reward from princes, but from God. 
If they can preserve their innocency, they can bear 
the defamation of their names, being satisfied in 
the hopes of the joyful day of the judgment of 
Christ, which will fully justify them, and set all 
right ; indeed, they know that a state of subjection 
is easier and safer than places of command, and 
that it is easier to obey than govern; and so far 
are they from envyuig men's greatness, and from 
desiring dominion, that they pity the tempted, and 
dangerous, and troublesome state of those in power, 
and are thankful to God for their quieter and safer 
station. They heartily pray for kings, and all that 
are in authority, not that by their favour they may 


rise to places of wealth and honour, but ' that 
under them they may live a quiet and peaceable life 
in all godliness and honesty.' Yea, though infidel 
princes hate and persecute them, they continue to 
pray for them, and to honour their authority, and 
will not thereby be driven from their duty. If 
God cast their lot under infidel, ungodly, and 
malicious governors, they do not run to arms to 
save themselves, or save the gospel, as if God had 
called them to reform the world, or keep it from the 
oppression of the higher powers ; nor do they 
think it a strange intolerable matter for the best 
men to be lowest, and to be the sufiering side, and 
so fall to fighting that Christ and the saints may 
have the rule ; for they know that Christ's kingdom 
is not of this world (that is, not a visible monarchy, 
as his usurping vicar doth pretend), and that Christ 
doth most eminently rule unseen, and disposeth of 
all the kingdoms of the world, even where he is 
hated and resisted, and that the reign of saints is 
in their state of glory, and that all God's graces do 
fit them more for a sufiering life than for worldly 
power. Their humility, meekness, patience, self- 
denial, contempt of the world, and heavenly minded- 
ness, are better exercised and promoted in a sufiering 
than a prosperous reigning state. When they think 
of the holy blood which hath been shed by heathen 
Rome, from Christ and Stephen till the days of 
Constantine, and the far greater streams which 
have been shed by the bloody papal Rome, where- 
ever they had power, in Piedmont, Germany, 
Poland, Hungary, in Belgia, England, and in other 


lands — the thirty or forty Aousand murdered in a 
few days at the Bartholomew massacre in France, 
the two hundred thousand murdered in a few weeks 
in Ireland — they are not so unlike their sufifering 
brethren as to think that striving for honours and 
command is their way to heaven. When Christ 
hath foretold them that self-denial under the cross, 
tribulation and persecution, is the common way, so 
far are they from fighting against the injuries and 
cruelties of their governors, that they account the 
reproach of Christ to be greater riches than all their 
treasures, and think they are blessed when they are 
persecuted, and say with Paul, ^ God forbid that I 
should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I 
unto the world.* And again, ' Therefore I take 
pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, 
in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake ; for 
when I am weak then I am strong.' ' Nay, in all 
these things (when persecuted and killed all the 
day long, and counted as sheep to the slaughter) 
they are more than conquerors through Christ;* 
they obtain a nobler conquest than that which is 
obtained by the sword. 

2. But the weak Christian having less patience, 
and more selfishness and passion, is easier tempted 
to break his bounds, and, with Peter, to run to his 
unauthorized sword, when he should submit to suf- 
fering. And his interest and sufierings cause his 
passion to have too great a power on his judgment, 
so that he is easilier tempted to believe that to be 
lawful which he thinks to be necessary to his own 


preservation, and to think that the gospel and the 
church are falling when the power of men is turned 
against them, and therefore he must, with Uzzah, 
put forth his hand to save the ark of God from 
falling. He is more troubled at men*s injustice and 
cruelty, and maketh a wonder of it to find the 
enemies of Christ and godliness to be unreasonably 
impudent and bloody, as if he expected reason and 
righteousness in the malicious world. His sufier- 
ings fill him more with discontent and desires of 
revenge from God, and his prosperity too much 
lifts him up. And in the litigious claims of pre- 
tenders to supremacy he is oft too hasty to interest 
himself in their contentions, as if he understood not, 
that whoever is the conqueror will count those 
rebels that were on the other side, and that the 
enemies of Christ will cast all the odium upon 
Christianity and piety, when the controversy is 
only among the statesmen and lawyers, and belongs 
not to religion at all. 

3. The seeming Christian will seem to excel all 
others in loyalty and obedience when it maketh for 
his carnal ends. He will flatter rulers for honours 
and preferment, and always be on the rising side, 
unless when his pride engageth him in murmurings 
and rebellions. He hath a great advantage above 
true Christians and honest men to seem the most 
obedient subject, because he hath a stretching con- 
science that can do any thing for his safety or his 
worldly ends. If he be among papists, he can be a 
papist; if among protestants^ he is a protestant; 
and if he were among Turks, it is like he would 


rather turn a Mahometan than be undone. No 
prince or power can command him any thing which 
he cannot yield to, if his worldly interest require it. 
If there be a law for worshipping the golden image, 
it is the conscionable servants of God, and not the 
time-servers, that refuse to obey it, Dan. iii. If 
there be a law against praying, (Dan. vi.) it is 
Daniel, and not the ungodly multitude that disobey 
it. If there be a command against preaching, 
(Acts iv. 17, 18), it is the holy apostles and best 
Christians that plead the command of God against 
it, and refuse obedience to it, ver. 20 — 29. The 
self-seeking temporizing hypocrite can do anything, 
and yet he obeyeth not while he seemeth to obey : 
for it is not for the authority of the commander that 
he doeth it, but for his own ends. He never truly 
honoureth his superiors, for he doth not respect 
them as the officers of God, nor obey them for his 
sake with a conscionable obedience. He feareth 
the higher powers as bears or tigers that are able 
to hurt him, or useth their favour as he useth his 
horse, to do him service : were it not for himself, 
he would little regard them. The true Christian 
honoureth the basest creature more than the hypo- 
crite and worldling honoureth his king; for he 
seeth God in all, and useth the smallest things unto 
his glory; whereas the worldling debaseth the 
highest by the baseness of his esteem, and use, and 
end, for he knoweth not how to esteem or use the 
greatest prince, but for himself or for some worldly 
ends. 2 Tim. iii. 3, 4. 

XLIX. 1. A Christian indeed is a man of courage 


and fortitude in every cause of God ; for he trustr 
eth God, and firmly believeth that he will bear 
him out. He knoweth his superiors, and hath a 
charitable respect to all men; but, as for any selfish 
or timorous respect, he hath the least regard to man, 
for he knoweth that the greatest are but worms, 
whose breath is in their nostrils, that pass away as 
shadows and return to dust; and that the most 
potent are impotent when they contend with God, 
and are unequal matches to strive against their 
Maker, and that it will prove hard for them to kick 
against the pricks ; and that whoever seemeth now 
to have the day, it is God that will be conqueror at 
last. ' Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son 
of man, in whom there is no help : hid breath goeth 
forth, he retumeth to his earth : in that very day 
his thoughts perish. Happy is he that hath the 
God of Jacob for his help : whose hope is in the 
Lord his God.' * Woe to him that striveth with 
his Maker.' He knoweth that it is more irrational 
to fear man against God, than to fear a flea or a 
fly against the greatest man. The infinite dispro- 
portion between the creature that is against him, 
and the Creator that is for him, doth resolve him to 
obey the command of Christ : * Be not afraid of 
them that kill the body, and aAer that have no 
more that they can do. But I will forewarn you 
whom you shall fear : fear him which, after he hath 
killed, hath power to cast into hell ; yea, I say unto 
you, fear him.' ' Hearken unto me, ye that know 
righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law: 
fear ye not the reproach of man, neither be afraid of 


their revilings : for the moth shall eat them up like 
a garment^ and the worm shall eat them like wool : 
but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my 
salvation from generation to generation.* ' I gave 
my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that 
plucked off the hair : I hid not my face from shame 
and spitting. For the Lord God will help me; 
therefore shall I not be confounded : therefore 
have I set my face like a flinty and I know that I 
shall not be ashamed. He is near that justifieth 
me ; who will contend with me ? let us stand toge- 
ther : who is mine adversary ? let him come near 
to me. Behold, the Lord God will help me ; who 
is he that shall condemn me ? lo, they all shall wax 
old as a garment ; the moth shall eat them up.* 
' Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nos- 
trils ; for wherein is he to be accounted of?' 
' Cursed be the man that trusteth in man,' &c. 
' Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord/ &c. 
Alas, how terrible is the wrath of God in compa- 
rison of the wrath of man ! and how easy an enemy 
is the cruellest afflicter, in comparison of a holy 
sin-revenging God. Therefore the confirmed Chris- 
tian saith, as the three witnesses, ' We are not 
careful to answer thee in this matter. The God 
whom we serve is able to deliver us ... . But if 
not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will 
not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image 
which thou hast set up.' When Daniel knew that 
the decree was past, he prayed openly in his house, 
as heretofore. ' Moses feared not the wrath of the 
king : for he endured, as seeing him that is invisible.' 


* The righteous are bold as a lion.' * When they saw 
the boldness of Peter and John^ they marvelled/ 
Paul's bonds made others bold ; ' Perfect love casteth 
out fear ;' ' If ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy 
are ye : and be not afraid of their terror, neither be 
troubled ;' so that we may boldly say, * The Lord is my 
helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.' 

2. But the weak Christian, though he also trust 
in God, is much more fearful, and easily daunted 
and discouraged; and ready with Peter to be 
afraid if he perceive himself in danger. He is 
not valiant for truth, though he can forsake all 
(even life itself) for Christ, yet is it with a deal of 
fear and trouble; and man is a more significant 
thing to him than to the stronger Christian. 

3. But tlie seeming Christian doth fear man more 
than God, and will venture upon the displeasure of 
God to avoid the displeasure of men that can do 
him hurt ; because he doth not soundly believe the 
threatenings of the word of God. 

L. 1 . A Christian indeed is made up of judgment 
and zeal conjunct ; his judgment is not a patron of 
lukewarmness, nor his zeal an enemy to knowledge; 
his judgment doth not destroy but increase his zeal; 
and his zeal is not blind nor self-conceited, nor 
doth run before or without judgment. If be be of 
the most excellent sort of Christians, he hath so 
large a knowledge of the mysteries of godliness, 
that he seeth the body of sacred truth with its parts 
and compages or joints, as it were, at once. It is 
all written deeply and methodically in his under- 
standing: he hath, by long use, his senses exercised 


to discern both good and evil. He presently dis- 
cemeth where mistaken men go out of the way, and 
lose the truth by false suppositions, or by false 
definitions, or by confounding things that differ. 
And therefore he pitieth the contentious sects and 
disputers who raise a dust to blind themselves and 
others, and make a stir to the trouble of the Church, 
about things which they never understood : and in 
the sight of that truth which others obscure or con- 
tradict, he enjoyeth much content or pleasure in his 
own mind, though incapable persons zealously re- 
ject it. Therefore he is steadfast, as knowing on 
what ground he setteth his foot. And though he 
be the greatest lover of truth, and would with 
greatest joy receive any addition to his knowledge, 
yet ordinarily by erroneous zealots, he is censured 
as too stiff and self-conceited, and tenacious of his 
own opinions, because he will not entertain their 
errors and obey them in their self-conceitedness : 
for he that knoweth that it is truth which he 
holdeth, is neither able nor willing to hold the 
contrary (unless he imprison the truth in unright- 
eousness.) But if he be one that hath not attained 
to such a clear comprehensive judgment, yet with 
that measure of judgment which he hath, he doth 
guide and regulate his zeal, and maketh it follow 
after, while understanding goeth before. He treadeth 
on sure ground, and knoweth it to be duty indeed 
which he is zealous for, and sin indeed which he is 
zealous against ; and is not put to excuse all his fer- 
vour and forwardness after with a n&n putarem, or 
I had thought it had been otherwise. 


2. But the weak Christian either hearkeneth too 
much to carnal wisdom, which suppresseth his zeal, 
and maketh him too heavy and dull and indifferent 
in many of his duties and the concernments of his 
soul, permitting the world to take up too much of 
the vigour of his spirit : or else he is confident in 
mistakes, and verily thinks that he understandeth, 
better than many wiser men, those things which he 
never understood at all. He chooseth his party by 
the zeal that he findeth in them without any judi- 
cious trial of the truth of what they hold and teach. 
He is very earnest for many a supposed truth and 
duty, which proveth at last to be no truth or duty at 
all ; and he censureth many a wiser Christian than 
himself, for many a supposed sin which is no sin, 
but perhaps a duty. For he is always injudicious, 
and his heat is greater than his light (or else his 
light is too flashy without heat.) Peremptorily he 
doth set down some among the number of the most 
wise and excellent men, for keeping him company 
in his mistakes ; and he boldly numbereth the best 
and wisest of his teachers with the trangressors, for 
being of a sounder understanding than himself, and 
doing those duties which he calleth sins : and hence 
it is that he is a person apt to be misled by appear- 
ances of zeal, and the passions of his teachers pre- 
vail more with him than the evidence of truth. He 
that prayeth and preacheth most fervently is the 
man that carrieth him away, though none of his 
arguments be truly cogent. If he hear any hard 
name against any opinion or manner of worship, he 
receiveth that prejudice which tumeth him more 


against it than reason could have done : so the 
bugbear name of Heresy, Lutheranism and Cal- 
Tmism, frighteneth many a well-meaning papist both 
&om the truth and almost from his wits : and the 
names of Popery, Arminianism, Prelacy, Presbyte- 
rianisn), Independency, &c. do turn away the hearts 
of many from things which they never tried or un- 
derstood. If a zealous preacher do but call any 
opinion or practice antlchristlan or idolatrous, it is 
a more effectual terror than the clearest proof. Big 
and terrible words do move the passions, while the 
understanding is abused, or a stranger to the cause ; 
and passion is much of their religion. And hence, 
alas, is much of the calamity of the church. 

3, But the seeming Christian is only zealous 
finally for himself, or zealous about the smaller 
matters of religion, as the Pharisees were for their 
ceremonies and traditions ; or for his own inven- 
tions, or some opinions or ways in which his honour 
aeemeth to be interested, and pride is the bellows 
of his zeal : but as for a holy zeal about the sub- 
stance and practice of religion, and that for God as 
the final cause, he is a stranger to it. He may have 
a zeal of God, and of and for the law and worship 
of God as the material cause, but not a true zeal for 
God as the chief final cause. 

LI. 1. A Christian indeed can bear the infirmities 
of the weak : though he love not their weakness, yet 
he pitieth it, because he truly loveth their persons. 
Christ hath taught him not to break the ' bruised 
reed,' and to ' gather the lambs in his arms, and 
carry them in his bosom, and gently lead them that 


SQQ mREcrioMS for weak christians. 

are with young/ If they have diseases and disCeiih 
pers^ he seeketh in tenderness to cure them, and 
not in wrath to hurt and vex them. He tumeth not 
ihe infants or sick persons from the fiunily^ because 
they cry or are unquiet, uncleani infirm and trouble- 
some : but he exerciseth his love and pity upoo 
4heir weaknesses. If they mistake th^r way, or aie 
ignorant, and peevish and froward in their mistakesi 
he seeketh not to undo them, but gently to. reduce 
them. If they censure himself, and call him erro^ 
neous, heretical, antichristian, idolatrous,, because 
he concurreth not with than in their mistakes, he 
beareth it with love and patience, as he would do 
the peevish chidings of a child, or the frowardness 
of the sick. He doth not lose his charity, and set 
his wit against a child, and aggravate the erimes^ 
and being reviled revile again ; and say, you are 
schismatics, hypocrites, obstinate, and fit to be 
severely dealt with : but he overcoraelh them widi 
love and patience, which is the conquest of a saint, 
and the happiest victory both for himself and them; 
It is a ' small matter to him to be judged of man.' 
He is more troubled for the weakness and disease 
of the censorious, than for his own being wroi^ed 
by their censures. 

2, But the weak Christian is readier to eenswe 
others than patiently to bear a eensure himself. 
Either he stormeth against the censurers as if they 
did him some insufferable wrong, (through the ever- 
great esteem of himself and his reputation,) or eke 
to escape the fangs df censure, and keep up Mb re- 
pute indi them, he complietb widi the censorious, 


uid overruns his judgment and conscience to be 
well spoken of, and counted a sincere and stead&st 

3. But the seeming Christian is so proud and 
selfish, and wanteth charity and tenderness to the 
weak, that he is impatient of their provocations ; and 
would cure the diseases of the servants of Christ, by 
cutting their throats, or ridding the country of them. 
If a child (la but wrangle with him, he crieth, Away 
with him, he is a troiibler of the world ; He taketh 
nore notice of one of their infirmities than of all 
their graces : yea, he can see nothing but obstinacy 
and hypocrisy in them, if they do but cross him in 
his opinions or reputation, or worldly ends. Sel- 
fishness can turn his Itypocrisy into malignity and 
cruelty, if once he take them to be against his inte- 
rest. Indeed his interest can make him patient: he 
can beer with them that he looketh to gain by, but 
not with them that seem to be against him. The 
radical enmity against sincerity that was not mord' 
fied, but covered in his heart, will easily be again 

LII. 1. A Christian indeed is a great esteemer 
of the unity of the church, and greatly averse to all 
divisions among believers. As there is in the na- 
tural body an abhorring of dismembering or sepa~ 
rating any part from tlie whole ; so there is in the 
mystical body of Christ. The members that have 
life cannot but feel the smart of any distempering 
attempt ; for ahscision is destruction : the members 
die that are separated from the body. And if there 
be bat any obstruction or hinderance of communion, 
o 2 


it will be painful or unusefuL He feeleth in 
himself the reason of all those strict commands, 
and earnest exhortations : ' Now I beseech you, 
brethren^ by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be 
no divisions among you ; but that ye be perfectly 
joined together in the same mind and in the same 
judgment' Again: * If there be any coiis<^- 
tion in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fel- 
lowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 
fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like-minded^ having the 
same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let 
nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but 
in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better 
than themselves. Look not every man on his own 
things, but every man also on the things of odiers.' 
Or as the same apostle exhorted the Ephesians: 
* I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you 
that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye 
are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with 
long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; 
endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the 
bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, 
even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 
one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and 
Father of all, who is above all, and through all, 
and in you all. But unto every one of us is given 
grace according to the measure of the gifl of Christ' 
He looketh at uncharitableness and divisions with 
more abhorrence than weak Christians do at drunken- 
ness or whoredom, or such other heinous sin. He 
feareth such dreadful warnings, as Acts xx. 29, 30: 


' For 1 know this, that after my departing, shall 
grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing 
the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, 
speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples 
after them.' And he cannot slight such a vehe- 
ment exhortation, as Rom. xvi. 17, 18: ' Now I 
beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause 
divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine 
which ye have learned ; and avoid them. For 
tbey that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, 
but their own belly ; and by good words and fair 
speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.' There- 
fore he is so far from being a divider himself, that 
when he seeth any one making divisions among 
Christians, he lookeih on him as on one that is 
slashing and mangling the body of his dearest 
friend; or as on one that is setting fire on his 
house ; and therefore doth all that he can to quench 
it, as knowing the confusion and calamity to which 
it tendeth. He is of a Christian, and therefore of 
a truly catholic spirit ; that is, he makelh not him- 
self a member of a divided party or a sect; he 
rcgardeth the interest and welfare of the body, the 
universal church, above the interest or prosperity 
of any party whatsoever; and he will do nothing 
for a party which is injurious to the whole, or to 
tlie christian cause. The very names of sects and 
parties are displeasing to him; and he could wish 
that there were no name but that of ChrisUans 
among us, save only the necessary names of the 
criminal, such as that of the Nicolaitanes, by which 
those that are to be avoided by Christians must be 



knowa. Christianiiy is confined to so harrow it 
compass in the world, that he is unwilling to con- 
tract it yet Into a narrower. The greatest paity <if 
divided Christians, whether it be the Greeks or 
Papists, is too small a body (of him to take for the 
catholic (or universal) church. He admireth at the 
blindness and cruelty of faction, that can make men 
damn all the rest of the church for the interest df 
their proper sect; and take all those for no Chr»^ 
tians that are better Christians tiian themselves. 
Especially the papists, who unchurch all the church 
of Christ, except their sect ; and make it as neces- 
sary to salvation to be a subject of the Pope as to 
be a Christian : and when, by their great corrupt 
tion and abuses of Christianity^ they have more 
need of charitable censures themselves' dian almait 
any sort of Christians, yet are they the b<^dfisl 
condemnors of all others. The confirmed Christian 
can difference between the strong and weak, the 
sound and unsound members of the church, without 
dismembering any, and without unwarrantable 
separations firom any. He will worship God in the 
purest manner he can ; and locally join with those 
assemblies where, all things considered, he may 
most honour God, and receive most edification; 
and will not sin for communion with any. He will 
sufficiently difference between a holy orderly assent 
bly, and a corrupt disordered one ; and between an 
able faithful pastor, and an ignorant or worldly 
hireling : and he desireth that the pastors of the 
church may make that due separation by the holy 
discipline of Christ, which may prevent the people's 


disorderly separation. But for all this, he will not 
deny his presence upon just occasion to any chris- 
tian congregation that worshippeth God in truth, 
though with many modal imperfections, so be it 
they im|>ose no sin upon him as necesaary to his 
communion with them. Nor will he deny the 
spiritual communion of faith and love to those that 
he holdeth not local communion with. He know- 
eth that all our worship of God is sinfully imperfect; 
and tJiat it is a dividing principle to hold, that we 
may join with none that worship God in a faulty 
manner ; for then we must join with none on earth. 
He knoweth that his preaence in the worship of 
God, Is no sign of his approbation of all tiie failings 
of pastors or people in their personal or modal 
imperfections, as long as he jolneth not in a wor^ 
ship so corrupt as to be itself unacceptable to God. 
While men who are all imperfect and corrupt are 
the worshippers, the manner of their worship will 
be such as tiiey, in some degree imperfect and cor- 
rupt. The solid Christian hath his eye upon all 
the churches in the world, in the determining of 
such questions. He considereth what worship is 
offered to God in the churches of the several parties 
of Christians, the Greeks, Armenians, Abytisiniane, 
Lutherans, &c., as well as what is done in the 
country where he liveth ; and he considereth whe- 
ther God disown and reject the worship of almost 
all the churches in the world, or not ; for he dare 
no further reject them than God rejecteth them : 
nor will he voluntarily separate from those assem- 
blies where the presence of Christ, in his Spirit and 


acceptance, yet remaineth. And his fuller acquaint- 
ance with the gracious nature, oflSce, and tenderness 
of Christ, together with greater love to his brethr«i, 
doth cause him in this to judge more gently than 
young censorious Christians do. And his hamble 
acquaintance with his own infirmities maketh him 
the more compassionate to others. If he should 
think that God would reject all that order not, and 
word not their prayers aright, be would be afiraid of 
being rejected himself, who is still conscious of 
greater faultiness in his own prayers, than a mere 
defect in words and order ; even of a great defec- 
tiveness in that faith, and desire, and love, and 
zeal, and reverence which should be manifested in 
prayer. Though he be more apprehensive than 
others of the excellency and necessity of the holiness 
and spirituality of the soul in worship ; yet withal 
he is more judicious and charitable than the peevish 
and passionate infant Christians, who think that 
God doth judge as they do, and seeth no grace 
where they see none ; and taketh all to be super- 
stitious or fanatical, that differ from their opinions 
or manner of worship; or that he is as ready to 
call every error in the metiiod or the words of 
prayer, idolatry or will-worship, as those are that 
speak not what they know, but what they have 
heard some teachers whom they reverence say 
before them. ' He that dwelleth in love, doth 
dwell in God, and God in him,' and he that dwet 
leth in God, is liker to be best acquainted with his 
mind concerning his children and his worship, than 
he that dwelleth in wrath, and pride, and partiality. 


2. But the weak Christian (though so far as he 
hath grace, he is of the same minil, and abhorreth 
discord and division among the flock of Christ, yet) 
being more dark, and selfish, and distempered, he 
is much more prone to unwarrantable separations 
and divisions than the stronger Christian is. He 
ia narrower sighted, and looketh little further than 
his own acquaintance, and the country where he 
liveth, and mindeth not sufficiently the general state 
of the churches through the world, nor under- 
standeth well the interest of Christ and Christianily 
in the earth. His knowledge and experience 
being sniat), his charity also is but small ; and a 
little thing tempteth him to condemn another, and 
aggravate his faults, and think him unworthy of 
the communion of tlie saints. He is much more 
sensible of the judgment, and affections, and con- 
cernments of those few with whom he doth con- 
verse, and that are of his opinion, than of the 
judgment, and practice, and concernments of the 
universal church. He knoweth not how to prefer 
the judgments and holiness of some that he think- 
eth more excellent than the rest, without much 
undervaluing and censuring of all others that ; 
not of their opinion : he cannot choose the actual 
local communion of the best society, without some 
unjust contempt of others, or separation fi-om them. 
He hath not so much knowledge as may sufficiently 
acquaint him with his ignorance ; and therefore he 
is apt to be unreasonably confident of his present 
apprehensions, and to think verily that all Ms own 
conceptions are the certain truth ; and to think 
o 3 


them ignorant or ungodly, or very wetk at least 
that differ from him; for he hath not dioroughly 
and impartially studied all that may be said on dtt 
other side. The authority of his chosen teadwr 
and sect is greater with him (if he fall into that 
way) than the authority of all the most wisiB and 
holy persons in the world besides. What the 
Scripture speaketh of the unbelieving world, he it 
apt to apply to all those of the church of Christ 
that are not of his mind and par^. And when 
Christ commandeth us to come out of the woild, he 
is prone to understand it of coming out from the 
church into some stricter and narrower societf; 
and is apt, with the papists, to «ppropmte the 
name and privileges cf the ohurdi to his party 
alone, and to condemn all othars. EspedaUy if 
the church-governors be carnal and self-«eeking or 
otherwise very culpable, and if discipline he ne» 
glected, and if profaneness be not sufficiently dis^ 
countenanced, and godliness promoted; he thinketk 
that such a church is no church, but a profane 
society : God hath taught him by repentance to see 
the mischief of ungodliness; but he yet wanteth 
that experience which is needful to make him know 
the mischiefs of church-divisions. He had too much 
experience himself of the evil of pro&neneas b^ire 
his conversion; but he hath not tried Ihe evil of 
schism ; and without some sad experienoe of iti 
fruits, in himself or others, he will^ hardly know it 
as it should be known. Because it is the custom 
of some malignant enemies of godliness to call the 
godly, heretics, schismatics, factious sectaries, isCy 


therefore the very names do come into credit with 
him ; and he thinks there are no such ()er»ons in 
the world, or that there is no danger of any such 
crimes, till he be taught by sad expei-ieiice that the 
professors of sincerity are in as much danger on 
that side as on the other ; and that the church (as 
well as Christ) doth suffer between two thievCB, 
the profane and the dividers, Paul was unjustly 
called the ringleader of a sect, and Christianity 
called a heresy and a sect every where spoken 
against. But for all that, heresy Is a fruit of the 
flesh, and some heresies are called damnable, as in 
2 Pet. ii. 1 ; and they are the trial of the church, 
to difference the approved members from the chaff*. 
And an obstinate heretic is to be avoided by true 
believers. And the Pharisees and Sadducees are 
well reputed to be several sects. And dividers and 
divisions are justly branded in Scripture, as afore- 
said. There must be no schism in the body of 
Christ. The following of selected teachers in a 
way of division from the rest, or opposition to them, 
doth shew that men are carnal in too great a mea- 
sure, though it be not in predominancy, as in the 
profane. What saith Paul to the Corinthians : 
' And i, brethren, could not speak unto you, 
as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, as unto 
babes in Christ, I have fed you with milk, and 
not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to 
bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are 
yet carnal : for whereas there is among you envy- 
ing, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, 
and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of 


Paul ; and another^ I am of Apollos ; are ye not 
carnal?' How much more when he that is for 
Paul doth censure and rail at Cephas and Apollos? 
He that hath seen the course of men professing 
godliness in England in this age^ may easily and 
sadly know how prone weak Christians are to 
unjust separations and divisions^ and what are the 
efiects. He that had heard many zealous in 
prayer, and other duties^ and the next year seen them 
turning from their brethren^* and railing in the 
open congregations at the ablest, holiest, self-deny- 
ing ministers of Christ, and at their flocks, and shall 
see how poor souls separate themselves from the 
flock of Christ, will no longer doubt whether the 
weak be inclinable to schism, but will rather lament 
the dangerousness of their station ; and know that 
all is not done when a sinner is converted from an 
ungodly state. Study the reason of those three 
texts, Ephes. iv, 13 — 16; * For the edifying of the 
body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the 
faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, 
unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature 
of the fulness of Christ : that we henceforth be no 
more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about 
with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, 
and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to 
deceive ; but, speaking the truth in love, may grow 
up into him in all things, which is the head, even 
Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined 

* The words of the author have been partially changed, for a 
reason which will be obvious to any one who refers to a previous 
edition. His meaning has been faithfully retained. 


together, and compacted by that which every joint 
supplied], according to the efiectual working in the 
measure of every part, maketh mcrease of the body 
to the edifying of itself in love/ Here you see 
the children are apt to be carried into dividing 
parties. And they are aptest to be proud, and that 
way to miscarry, see 1 Tim. iii. 6 : ^ Not a novice 
(or raw young Christian), lest being lifted up with 
pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.* 
And then followeth the effect. Acts xx. 30 : ^ Also 
of your own selves shall men arise, speaking per- 
verse things, to draw away disciples after them.* 
I would not have you groundlessly accuse any 
Christian with a charge of pride ; but I must tell 
you, that the childish pride of apparel is a petty 
business, in comparison of that pride which many 
in sordid attire have manifested, who in their igno- 
rance do rage and foam out words of falsehood and 
reproach against Christ's ministers and servants, as 
if they were all fools or impious in comparison of 
them ; speaking evil of that which they never un- 
derstood ; the lifting up the heart above the people 
of the Lord, in the pride of supposed holiness, is 
incomparably worse than pride of learning, honouri 
greatness, wit, or wealth. Nay, it hath oft been to 
me a matter of wonder to observe how little all those 
plain and urgent texts of scripture, which cry 
down division, do work upon many of the younger 
Christians, who yet are as quickly touched as 
any, with a text that speaketh against -profaneness 
and lukewarmness. In a word, they are often of 
the temper of James and John, when they would 


&in have had Christ have revenged himself on his 
opposers by fire from heaven : ^ They know not what 
manner of spirit they are oV They think verily 
that it is a holy zeal for God, when it is the boiling 
of passion, pride, and selfishness. They fed not the 
sense of such words as Christ's, John xvii. 20 — 24: 
* I pray also for them who shall believe on me, 
through their word ; that they all may be one, as 
thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee ; that they also 
may be one in us, that the world may beUeve that 
thou has sent me,' &c. 

S. And as for the seeming Christians, in this they 
are of several sorts. When their carnal interest 
lieth in compliance with the major part and stronger 
side, then no men do more cry up unity and obe- 
dience: what a noise do many thousand papist 
prelates, Jesuits, and friars, make with these two 
words throughout the world ! Unity and obedience 
(unto them upon their terms) do signify principally 
their worldly greatness, wealth, and power. But 
if the hypocrite be engaged in p(»nt of honour or 
other carnal interest on the suffering side, or be out 
of hope of any advantage in the common road, then 
no man is so much for separation and singularity as 
he. For he must needs be noted for somebody in 
the world, and this is the chidP way that he findetiii 
to accomplish it. And so being lifte4: up with pride, 
he falleth into the condemnation of the devil^ ai^ 
becomes a firebrand in die church. 

LIII. 1. A Christian indeed is not only zealous 
for the unity and concord of believers, but he 
seeketh it on the right terms, and in the way that 


19 titCest to attain it. Unity, peace, and concord, are 
like piety and honesty, things so unquestionably 
good, that there are scarce any men of reason and 
common sobriety, that ever were heard to oppose 
them directly and for themselves : and therefore all 
that are enemies to them are yet pretenders to them, 
and oppose them. 1, In their causes only. 2. Or 
covertly and under some other name. Every man 
would have unity, concord, and peace in his own 
way and upon his own terms. But if the right 
terms had been understood and consented to ks 
sufficient, the christian world had not lain so many 
hundred years in sin and shame and ruins as it hath 
done. And the cause of all is, that Christians 
indeed, that have clear confirmed judgments, and 
strength of grace, are very few; and for number 
and strength unable to persuade or overrule the 
weak, the passionate and false-hearted worldly 
hypocritical muldtudc, who bear down all the 
counsels and endeavours of the wise. 

The judicious faithful Christian knoweth that 
there are three degiees or sorts of christian com- 
mimion, which have their several terms. 1. The 
universal church communion, which all Christians, 
as such, must hold among themselves. 2. Parti- 
cular church communion, which those that ar? 
conjoined for personal communion in worship do 
_^old under the same pastors and among themselves. 
p8. The extraordinary intimate communion that 
■ Bome Christians hold together, who are bosom 
friends, or are specially able and tit to be helpful 
and comfortable to each other. 


The last concemeth not our present business: 
we must hold church communion with many that 
are unfit to be our bosom fiiends, and that have no 
eminency of parts or piety, or any strcmg persuading 
evidence of sincerity. But the terms of cath<dic 
communion heknoweth are such as these: 1. They 
must be such as were the terms of church commu* 
nion in the days of the apostles. 8. They must be 
such as are jdainly and certainly exf^-essed in the 
holy Scriptures. 3. And such as the universal 
church hath in some ages since been actually 
agreed in. 4. And those points are hkest to be 
such, which all the difiering parties of Christians 
are agreed in as necessary to communion to this 
day (so we call not those Christians that deny the es- 
sentials of Christianity.) 5. Every man in the former 
ages of the church was admitted to this catholic 
church communion, who in the baptismal vow or 
covenant, gave up himself to God the Father, Son, 
and Holy Ghost; as his Creator, Redeemer, and 
Sanctifier, his Owner, Governor, and Father, re- 
nouncing the flesh, the world, and the devil. And 
more particularly as man hath an understanding, a 
will, and an executive power, which must all be 
sanctified to God, so the creed was the particular 
rule for the credenda^ or things to be believed ; and 
the Lord's prayer for the petenda^ or things to be 
willed, loved, and desired; and the ten command- 
ments for the agenda^ or things to be done : so that 
to consent to these rules particularly, and to all the 
holy Scriptures implicitly and generally, was the 
thing then required to catholic communion. The 


belief of the doctrine being necessary for the sancti- 
fying of the heart and Ufe, the belief of so much is 
of necessity, without which the heart cannot be 
sanctified, or devoted in covenant to God our 
Creator, Redeemer, and Regenerator ; and without 
which we cannot love God (as reconciled to us in 
Christ,) above all, and our neighbours as ourselves. 
So that in a word, he that can tell what the bap- 
tismal vow or covenant is, can tell what is necessary 
to that catholic church communion, which belongeth 
to Christians as Christians, at how great a distance 
soever they dwell from one another. 

And then for particular church communion, which 
is local and personal, it is moreover necessary, 1. 
That each member acknowledge and submit to the 
same pastors. 2. That they be guided by them in 
the convenient circumstances and adjuncts of wor- 
ship. For if some persons will not consent or sub- 
mit to the same pastors that the body of the church 
consentedi and submitteth to, they cannot have com- 
munion particularly and locally with that church, 
nor are they members of it ; no more than they can 
be members of the same kingdom that have not the 
same king ; and there being no solemn worship per- 
formed but by the ministry of those pastors, they 
cannot join in the worship that join not with the 
minister. And if some members will not consent 
and submit to the necessary determination of the 
adjuncts or external modes of worship, they cannot 
join in local, particular church communion where 
that worship is performed : as if the pastor and the 
body of the church will meet in such a place, at such 


a day and hour, and some members will not meet 
with them at that place and day and hour, they can^ 
not possibly then have their local personal commu<- 
oion. Or if the pastinr will use such a translation 
of the Scriptures^ or such a version of the Psalms^ 
or such a method in preaching and prayer^ or such 
notes or books and other Hke helps ; if any mem- 
bers will not submit, nor hold ccmimunion with die 
rest, unless that translation, or yersion, or method 
of preaching, or praying, or notes or books be laid 
aside, he cannot have communion while he refuseth 
it If the pastor and all the rest will not yield to 
him, he must join with some other church that he 
can agree with. And as long as the catholic church 
communion is maintained (which eonsisteth in uniQr 
of the christian^ovenant, or of Christianity, or ci 
faith» love and obedience) the difference of modes 
and circumstances between particular churches must 
be allowed without any breach of charity or without 
disowning one another : and he that cannot be a 
member of one particular church, may quietly join 
himself to another without condemning that which 
he dissenteth from, so far as to hinder his catholic 
communion with it; (even as among die papists, 
men may be of which order of rehgious persons 
they best like, as long as they submit to their gene- 
ral government.) And here the strong judicious 
Christian for his part will never be guilty of church^ 
divisions. For, 1. He will make nothing neees^ 
sary to churchH^ommunion, which any sober, pious, 
peaceable minds shall have any just reason to ex- 
cept against, or which may not well be manifested 


to be for the edification of the church. 2. Andhe 
will bear with the weak dissenters, bo far as will 
stand with the peace and welfare of the church. 
3. And he will particularly give leave to such weak 
ones as cannot yet hold communion with him, being 
peaceable, and not promoting heresy, ungodliness 
or sedition, to join to another church where they 
can hold communion, with peace to their own con- 
sciences ; as long as they continue their foreaud 
catholic communion. For the strong know that 
• they must not only (bear with) but (bear) the inflr- 
mitiea of the weak, and not please themselves, but 
every one of them please his neighbour for his good 
to edification, for even Christ pleased not himself.' 
And so they will ' receive one another, as Christ 
also received us to the glory of God, not despising 
the weak, nor rejecting them that God receiveth.' 
And thus you may see how easy a matter it were to 
unite and reconcile all the christian world, if the 
principles of the judicious confirmed Christian might 
be received and prevail ; and that it is not he that 
is the cause of the abundance of sin and calamity 
which divisions have caused, and continued in the 
church. But that which now seemeth an impossible 
thing may quickly and easily be accomplished if all 
were such as he : and that the difficulty of recon- 
ciling and uniting Christians lieth not first in find- 
ing out the terms, but in making men fit to receive 
and practise the terms fi-om the beginning received 
by the clnirches. This is lArinensis's Quod semper, 
uhique, et ab ominbus receptum est (supposing still 


that the magistrate be submitted to by every soul, 
even as he is the keeper of both tables.) 

2. But the weak Christian is too easily tempted 
to be the divider of the church, by expecting that it 
be united upon his impossible or unrighteous terms. 
Sometime he will be orthodox oyennuch, or rather 
^ wise in his own conceit/ and then none are judged 
fit for his communion that be not of his opinion, in 
controverted doctrinals {e. g. predestination, the 
manner of the work of grace, fireewill, perseverance, 
and abundance such :) sometime he will be righteous 
overmuch, or (to speak more properly) superstitious. 
And then none are fit for his communion, that wor- 
ship not God in that method and manner for cir- 
cumstantials which he esteemeth best: and his 
charity is so weak that it fireeth him not from think- 
ing evil, and so narrow that it covereth not either 
many or great infirmities. The more need he hath 
of the forbearance and charity of others, the less 
can he bear or forbear others himself. The strong 
Christian must bear the infirmities of the weak; 
but the weak Christian can scarce bear with the 
weak or strong : nay he is oft too impatient with 
some of their virtues and duties, as well as with 
their infirmities. He is of too private a spirit, and 
too insensible of the public interest of the Church of 
Christ. And therefore he must have all the world 
come over to him, and be conformed to his opinion 
and party, and unite upon his mistaken narrow terms 
if they will have communion with him : I mean, it 
is thus with him when the temptation on that side 


prevaileth. And sometime he is overcome with the 
temptation of domination, to make his judgment the 
rule to others ; and then he quite overvalueth his 
own understanding, and will needs be judge of all 
the controversies in the church ; and taketh it as 
insufferable, if wiser and better men do not take him 
as infallible, and in every thing observe his will. 
And when his brethren give him the reason of their 
dissent, as his judgment is not clear enough to un- 
derstand them, so his passion and partiality are too 
strong to suffer his judgment to do its part. And 
thus ofttimes he is a greater hinderance to the 
church's unity, than the enemies of the church 
themselves. For he hath not judgment enough to 
guide him the right way, and yet he hath so much 
zeal as will not suffer him to keep his errors to him- 

3. And all these distempers that are but in a 
lower degree in the weak Christian, are predomi- 
nant ill the hypocrite. The church shall have no 
concord or peace if he can hinder it, but what is 
consistent with his carnal interest, his honour, or 
wealth, or dignity in the world. The pride and 
covetousness which rule himself, he would have to 
make the terms of concord, and to rule all others. 
It is hypocrites in the church that are the greatest 
cause of discord and divisions ; having selfish spirits, 
principles and ends, and having always a work of 
their own to do, which suits not well with the work 
of Christ ; and yet Christ's work must be subjected 
to it, and ordered and overruled by it. And while 
they pretend to go to the Scriptures, or to councils 



or fathers for their reasons, indeed tbey go first iot 
them to their worldly interest ; and then would fain 
hire or press the Scripture, churchy or fiithers to 
serve their turn, and c<»ne in a^ witaesses <m theii 
side. And thus the church, aa well as Christy is 
betrayed by the covetous Judases of his own fiunily : 
and the servants of the world, the flesh and de^ 
that take up the livery of Christ, and usurp the 
name and honour of Christians, do more efiectually 
hinder the concord and prospmty of the churebi 
than any open enemies do. And those that are is- 
deed no Christians, do cause Christianity to be re« 
proached : even as sjhcs and traitors that sute hir^ 
by the enemy to take up ajrms in the army whidi 
they fight against, that they may. betray it by their 
fraud, and do more harm to it, by raising mutimes 
and by false conduct, than a multitude of professed 
enemies could have done. It is proud and worldly 
isarnal hypocrites that hinder most the eonccnrd of 

LIV. I. A confirmed Christian is of a peace- 
able spirit He is not masterly, domineeringi tur«- 
bulent, cruel, seditious, factious, or contentious. 
He is like ripened firuits, that are mellow and sweet, 
when the younger greener firuits die sour and harsh* 
He is not ^ wise in his own conceit,' astd iherelbre 
not over urgent in obtruding his conceits on otb^Ki 
nor quarrelsome with ail that cannot entertain tliem; 
nor will he easily lay men's salvation or damnation, 
no, nor the church's peace upon them. ' He is 
kindly affectioned to others with brotherly love, yea, 
loveth hk neighbour as hiBisd£' And therefore be 


^doth to others as he would they should do to hhn;' 
and useth them as he would be used by them : and 
then how far they are like to suSer by him, you may 
easily judge. For ' Love worketh no ill to his neigh-* 
bour.' He is above the portion of the worldlings 
attd a contemner of that vanity which carnal men 
account their felicity ; and therefore he preferreth 
love and quietness before it, and can lose his right 
when the interest of love and peace requireth it. 
He is become as a little child in his conversion, 
and is low and little in bis own eyes, and therefore 
contendeth not for superiority or preeminence, either 
in place or power, or reputation for his learning, 
wisdom or piety ; but ^ in honour preferreth others 
before himself.* ' He mindeth not high things, but 
condescendeth to men of low estate,' and therefore 
will not contend for estimation or precedency, nor 
scramble to be highest, though he rise by the ruins 
of men's bodies and souls. Mf it be possible, as 
much as lieth in him, he will live peaceably with all 
men.' For he is not one that by word or deed will 
avenge himself; but when the wrath of others is up 
Vke a blustering storm, he giveth place to it, he 
boweth before it, or goeth out of the way. * If hi^ 
enemy hunger, he feedeth him; if he thirst, he 
giveth him dnrink, when oppressors would deprive 
not only an enemy, but the righteous of their meat 
and drink : and thus he melteth his hardened ene^ 
mies, by heaping kindnesses upon them when they 
are wrathful, and proud, and contentious, and dcf 
turn wrong, or use provoking words against him ; hd 
it' * not overcome of their evil to imitate them^ btt# 


he overcometh their evil with his good.* If God have 
^yen him more knowledge and abilities than others, 
be doth not presently set up himself to be admired 
for it, nor speak disdainfully and contemptuously of 
those that are not of his mind : but he sheweth 
* out of a good conversation^ his works with meek- 
ness of wisdom/ and by doing better than tbe 
unwiser do. He is endued with ^ the wisdom from 
aboye, which is first pure, then peaceable, gende, 
easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruit, 
without partiaUty (or wavering in persecution, as 
Dr. Hammond renders it) and without hypocrisy.' 
And thus ' the fruit of righteousness is sown in 
peace of them that make peace.' As he is ^ taught of 
God to love his brother,' so that same teaching, widi 
experience of the effects, assureth him, that they 
who pretend to be wiser and better than others, 
when they have bitter, envious zeal and strife in 
their hearts, vainly glory and lie against the truth. 
' This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is 
earthly, sensual and devilish. For where envying 
and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.' 
(Read but the story of the Jewish zealots in Jose- 
phus, and the heretical zealots in all ages of the 
church, and you will perceive the truth of this.) 
When such quarrelsome spirits are filling the church 
with contentions or vexations about their meats, and 
drinks, and days, &c. the Christian indeed under- 
standeth that the kingdom of God consisteth not 
of such things as these, but in ^ righteousness, and 
peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost ; and he that in 
these things serveth Christ, is acceptable to God, 


and approved of (wise and sober) men. Therefore 
he followelh after things wliich make for peace, and 
things wherewith one may edify another ; and will 
not for meats, &c. destroy the work of God.' He 
stayeth not till peace be ofl'ered hira, or brought 
home to him, but he ' followeth peace with all men, 
as well as holiness.' If it fly from him, he pursueth 
it : if it be denied him, he seeketh it, and will not 
refuse to stoop to the poorest for it, and to beg it of 
his inferiors, if it were upon his knees, rather than 
be denied it, and live an unpeaceable disquiet life. 
For he believeth, that ' blessed are the peace-makers, 
for they shall be called the children of God.' 

2. And the weak Christian hath the same spirit, 
and therefore the love of peace is most predominant 
in him. But alas, he is too easily templed into re- 
ligious passions, discontents, contentious disputa- 
tions, quarrelsome and opprobrious words ; and his 
judgment lamentably darkened and perverted when- 
ever contentious zeal prevaileth, and passions do 
perturb the quiet and orderly operations of his soul. 
He wanteth both the knowledge and the experience 
and the mellowness of spirit, which riper Christians 
have attained. He hath a less degree of charity, 
and is less acquainted with the mischiefs of unpeace- 
ableness : and therefore it is the common course of 
young professors, to be easily tempted into unpeace- 
able ways : and when they have long tried them (if 
they prove not hypocrites) to come off at last upon 
exi>erience of the evils of them ; and so the young 
Christians conjunct with some hypocrites make up 
the rigorous, tierce, contentious and vexatious party. 


and the aged riper Christians make up the holy, 
moderate, healing party, that groan and pray for 
the church's peace, and mourn in secret both for 
the ungodliness and violence which they cannot heal. 
Yea the difference is much apparent in the bodes 
and sermons which each of them is best pleased 
with. The ripe experienced Christian loveth those 
sermons that kindle love and tend to peace; and 
love such healing books as do narrow difierences, 
and tend to reconcile and heal, such as Bishop 
HalFs Peacemaker^ and Pax terrts^ and aD his 
writings ; and Bishop Davenant's, Bishop Mor- 
ton's, and Bishop Hall's Pacificatory Ejnsiks to 
Dur^eus, and Mr. Burroughs's Irenicon, Ludov* 
CrociuSf Amyraldus^ Junius, Paneus^s, and many 
other Irenicons written by foreign divines, to say 
nothing of those that are upon single controversies. 
But the younger uncharitable Christians are better 
pleased with such books and sermons as call them 
aloud to be very zealous for this or that con- 
troverted point of doctrine, or for or against some 
circumstance of worship or church discipline, or 
about some fashions, or customs, or indiflerent 
things, as if the kingdom of God were in them. 

3. But the seeming Christian is either a mere 
temporiser, that will be of that religion whatever it 
be which is most in fashion, or which the higher 
powers are of, or which will cost him least: or else 
he will run into the other extreme, and lift up him- 
self by affected singularities, and by making a bustle 
and stir in the world about some small and contro- 
verted point, and careth not to sacrifice the peace 


and safety of the church, to the honour of his own 
opinions. And as small as the Christian church is, 
he must be of a smaller society than it, that he may 
be sure to be amongst tlie best; while indeed he 
hath no sincerity at all, but placeth his hopes in 
being of the right cliurch or party or opinion : and 
for his party or church, he burneth with a feverish 
kind of zeal, and is ready to call for fire from heaven; 
and to deceive him, the devil sendeth him some from 
hell, to consume those that are not of his mind : yet 
doth he bring it as an angei of light to defend the 
truth and church of Christ. And indeed wlieji the 
devil will be the defender of truth, or of the church, or 
of peace, or order, or piety, he dotb it with the most 
burning zeal : you may know him by the means he 
useth. He defendetli the church by forbidding the 
people to read the Scriptures in a known tongue. 
and by imprisoning and burning the soundest and 
holiest members of it, and abusing the most learned 
faithful pastors, and defendeth the flock by casting 
out the shepherds, and such like means ; as the 
oiurders of the Waldenses, and tlie massacres of 
France and Ireland, and the Spanish inquisition, and 
Queen Mary's bonfires, and the Powder-plot; yea 
and tlie Munster, and the English rage and frenzies, 
may give yon fuller notice of. He that hath no 
holiness, nor charity to be zealous for, will be zeal- 
ous for his church, or sect, or customs, or opinions. 
And then this zeal must be the evidence of his piety ; 
and so the inquisitors have thought they have reli- 
giously served God by murdering his servants : and 
it is the badge of their honour to be the devil's 


hangmen, to execute his malice on the members of 
Christ ; and all this is done in zeal for religion by 
irreligious hypocrites. There is no standing before 
the malicious zeal of a graceless Pharisee, when it 
riseth up for his carnal interest, or the honour, and 
traditions, and customs of his sect. ' And they 
were filled with madness, and communed with one 
another what they might do to Jesus.* The zeal 
of a true Christian consumeth himself with grief to 
see the madness of the wicked : but the zeal of &e 
hypocrite consumeth others, that by the light of the 
fire his religiousness may be seen. You may see 
the Christian's fervent love to God, by the fervent 
flames which he can sufier for his sake : and you 
may see the fervent love of the hypocrite, by the 
flames which he kindleth for others. By these he 
crieth with Jehu, ^ Come and see my zeal for the 

LV. 1. A Christian indeed is one that most 
highly esteemeth and regardeth the interest of God 
and men's salvation in the world; and taketh all 
things else to be inconsiderable in comparison of 
these. The interest of great men, and nobles, and 
commanders ; yea and his own in temporal respects, 
as riches, honour, health and Ufe, he taketh to be 
things unworthy to be named in competition with 
the interest of Christ and souls. The thing that his 
heart is most set upon in the world, is that God be 
glorified, and that the world acknowledge him their 
King, and that his laws be obeyed, and that dark* 
ness, and infidelity, and ungodliness may be cast 
out ; and that pride, and worldliness, and fleshly 


lusts may not hurry the miserable world into perdi- 
tion. It is one of the saddest and most amazing 
thoughts that ever entereth into his heart, to con- 
sider how much of the world is overwhelmed in 
ignorance and wickedness, and how great the king- 
dom of the devil is, in comparison of the kingdom 
of Christ ; that God should forsake so much of hia 
creation ; that Christianity should not be owned in 
above the sixth part of the world ; and popish pride 
and ignorance, with the corruptions of many other 
sects, and the worldly carnal minds of hypocrites, 
should rob Christ of so much of this little part, and 
leave him so small a flock of holy ones, that must 
possess the kingdom. His soul consenteth to the 
method of the Lord's Prayer, as prescribing us the 
order of our desires. And in hia prayers he seeketh 
first (in order c^ estimation and intention) the hal- 
lowing of God's name, and the coming of his king- 
dom, and the doing of his will on earth as it is done 
in heaven, before his daily bread, or the pardon of 
his sins, or the deliverance of his own soul from 
temptations and the evil one. Mark him in his 
prayers, and you shall find that he is, above other 
men, taken up in earnest petitions for the conversion 
of the heathen and infidel world, and the undeceiving 
of Mahometans, Jews, and heretics, and the clearing 
of the church from those papal tyrannies, and fop- 
peries, and corruptions, which make Christianity 
hateful or contemptible in the eyes of the heathen 
and Mahometan world, and hinder their conversion. 
No man so much lamenteth the pride, and covetous- 
neas, and laziness, and unfaithfulness of the pastors 


of the church, because of their doleful consequences 
to the Gospel and the souls of men ; and yet with 
all possible honour to the sacred office which they 
thus profane. No man so heartily lamenteth the 
contentions and divisions among Christians, and the 
miserable destruction of charity thereby. It grieveth 
him to see how much selfishness, pride, aoid malice 
prevaileth with them that should shine as lights in a 
benighted world, and how obstinate and incurable 
they seem to be, against the plainest means and 
humblest motions, for the church's edification and 
peace. He envieth not kings and great men their 
dominions, wealth, or pleasure; nor is he at all am*- 
bitious to participate in their tremendous exaltatimi: 
but the thing that his heart is set upon is, that the 
' kingdoms of the world may all become the king- 
doms of the Lord,' and that the Gospel may ererf 
where ^ have free course and be glorified,' and the 
preachers of it be encouraged, or at least ' delivered 
fi'om unreasonable and wicked men.' Little careth 
he who is uppermost or conquereth in the world, or 
who goeth away with the prefermtots or riches of 
the earth (supposing that he &il not of his duty to 
his rulers), so that it may go well with the affidrs of 
the Gospel, and souls be but helped in the way to 
heaven. Let God be honoured, and socds converted 
and edified, and he is satisfied. This is it that 
maketh the times good in his account : he thinketh 
not as the proud and carnal church of Rome, that 
the times are best when the dergy is richest and 
greatest in the world, and overtop princes, and 
claim the secular power, and live in worldly pomp 


and pleasures. But when holinefis most aboundeth, 
and the members of Christ are iikesl to their head, 
and when multitudes of sincere believers are daily 
added to the church ; and wlien the mercy and holi- 
ness of God shine forth in tlie numbers and purity 
of his saints. It is no riches or honour that can be 
heaped upon himself or any others, that make the 
times seem good to him, if knowledge and godliness 
are discountenanced and liindered, and the way to 
heaven is made more difficult; if atheism, infidelity, 
ungodhness, pride, and malignity do prevail, and 
truth and sincerity are driven into the dark, and 
when ' he that departeth from evil makelh himself a 
prey ; ' when ' the godly man ceaselh, and the 
faithful fail from among the children of men; when 
every man speaketh vanity to his neighbour, and 
the poor are oppressed, and the needy sigh, and 
the wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men 
are exalted.' The times are good when the men 
are good, and evil when the men are evil, be they 
never so great or prosperous ; as Nehemiah, when 
he was cup-bearer to the king himself, yet wept and 
mourned for ihe desolations of Jerusalem. Who- 
ever prospereth, the times are ill when there is a 
' famine of the word of the Lord," and when ' the chief 
of the priests and people do transgress, and mock 
God's messengers, and despise his words, and 
misuse his prophets;' when the apostles are 'charged 
to speak no more in the name of Christ.' It is a 
test enough to make one tremble, to think into 
what a desperate condition the Jews were carried 
by a partial selfish zeal, who both ' killed the Lord 


Jesusy and their own prophets, and have persecuted 
us ; and they please not God, and are contrary to all 
men: forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that 
they might be saved, to fill up their sin alway : for 
the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost' 
When the interest of themselves and their own 
nation and priesthood did so far blind and pervert 
them, that they durst persecute the preachers of the 
Gospel, and ' forbid them to speak to the people that 
they might be saved,' it was a sign that wrath was 
come upon them to the uttermost. A Christian 
indeed had rather be without Jeroboam's kingdom, 
than make Israel to sin, and make the basest of the 
people priests, and ' stretch out his hand against the 
prophet of the Lord.' He had rather labour with 
his hands, as Paul, and live in poverty and rags, so 
that the Gospel may be powerfully and plentifiillj 
preached, and holiness abound, than to live in all 
the prosperity of the world with the hinderance of 
men's salvation. He had rather be a door-keeper 
in the house of God, than be a lord in the kingdom 
of Satan. He cannot rise by the ruins of the church, 
nor feed upon those morsels that are the price of 
the blood of souls. 

2. And the weakest Christian is in all this of the 
same mind, saving that private and selfish interest 
is not so fully overcome, nor so easily and resolutely 

3. But here the hypocrite sheweth the falseness 
of his heart ; his own interest is it that chooseth his 
religion ; and, that he may not torment himself by 
being wicked in the open light, he maketh himself 


believe that whatsoever U most for his own interest, 
is most pleasing unto God, and most for the good 
of souls, and the interests of the Gospel ; so that the 
camal Romish clergy can persuade their consciences 
ihat all the darkness and superstitions of their 
kingdom, and all their opposition of the light of the 
Gospel of Christ, do make for the honour of God 
and the good of souls, because they uphold their 
tyranny, wealth, and pomp, and pleasure; or if 
they cannot perauade iheir consciences to believe 
so gross a Ue, let church and souls speed how they 
will, they will favour nothing that favoureih not 
their interest and ends ; and the interest of the flesh 
and spirit, of the world and Christ, are so repug- 
nant, that commonly such worldlings take the 
serious practice of godliness for the most hateful 
thing, and the serious practisers of it for the most 
■ nsuflerable persons. The enmity of interests with 
the enmity of nature, between the woman's and the 
serpent's seed, will maintain that warfare to the end 
of the world, in which the prince of the powers of 
darkneas shall seem to prevail (as he did against 
our crucified Lord) ; but he shall be overcome by 
his own successes, and the just shall conifuer by 
patience, when they seem most conquered. The 
name, and form, and image of religion, the carnal 
hypocrite doth not only bear, but favour, and him- 
self accept; but the life and serious practice be 
abhorreth, as inconsistent with his worldly interest 
and ends. For these he can find in his heart, with 
Ahab, to hate and imprison Micaiab, and prefer his 
four hundred flattering prophets. If Luther will 
p 3 


touch the pope's crown, and the friars' bellies, they 
will not scruple to oppose and ruin both him and 
all such preachers in the world, if they were able. 

LVI. 1. A Christian indeed, is one whose holi- 
ness usually maketh him an eyesore to the ungodly 
world; and his charity, and peaceableness, and 
moderation, maketh him to be censured as not strict 
enough, by the superstitious and dividing sects of 
Christians. For seeing the church hath sufiered 
between these two sorts of opposers ever since the 
suffering of Christ himself, it cannot be but the solid 
Christian offend them both, because he hath that 
which both dislike. All the ungodly hate him for 
his holiness, which is cross to their interest and 
way ; and all the dividers will censure him for that 
universal charity and moderation, which is against 
their factious and destroying zeal. Even Christ 
himself was not strict enough (in superstitious ob- 
servances) for the ceremonious zealous Pharisees. 
He transgressed (with his disciples) the tradition of 
the elders, in neglecting their observances, who 
transgressed the commandment of God by their 
tradition. He was not strict enough in their un- 
charitable observation of the Sabbath day. John, 
that was eminent for fasting, they said, had a devil 
* The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and 
they say, Behold a man, gluttonous and a wine- 
bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners; but 
wisdom is justified of her children.' And the weak 
Christians did censure those that durst eat those 
meats, and do those things which they conceived to 
be unlawful; they that err themselves, and make 


God a service which he never appointed, will cen- 
sure all as lukewarm, or temporisers, or wide con- 
scienceJ men, that err not with them, and place 
not their religion in such superstitious observances, 
as ' touch not, taste not, handle not,' &c. And the 
raw censorious Christians are odended with the 
charitable Christian because he damneth not as 
many and as readily as they, and shutteth not enow 
out of the number of believers, and judgeth not 
rigorously enough of their ways. In a word, he is 
taken by one sort to be too strict, and by the other 
to be too compliant or indifferent in religion, be- - 
cause he placotii not the kingdom of God in meats 
and days, and such like circumstances, but in 
' righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost,' 
And as Paul withstood Peter to his face, for drawing 
men to make scruple or conscience of things lawful, 
so is tiie sound Christian withstood by the super- 
stitious, for not making scruple of lawful things. 

2. And the weak Christian is in the same case, 
so long as he followetb prudent, pious, charitable 
guides ; hut if he be taken in the snares of super- 
stition, he pleaseth the superstitious party, though 
he displease the world. 

3. And whereas the solid Christian will not stir 
an inch from truth and duty, to escape either the 
hatred of the wicked, or the bitterest censures of 
the sectary or the weak, the hypocrite must needs 
have one party on his side ; for if both condemn 
him, and neither applaud him, he loseth his peculiar 

LVII, 1, The confirmed Christian dolh under- 


Stand the necessity of a faithful ministry, for the 
safety of the weak (as well as the conversion of the 
wicked), and for the preservation^of the interest of 
religion upon earth; and, therefore, no personal 
unworthiness of ministers, nor any calumnies of 
enemies, can make him think or speak dishonour- 
ably of that sacred office. But he reverenceth it as 
instituted by Christ; and though he loaths the folly 
and wickedness of those that run before they are 
sent, and are utterly insufficient or ungodly, and 
take it up for a living or trade only, as they would 
a common work, and are * sons of Belial that know 
not the Lord,* and cause the * offering of the Lord to 
be abhorred;' yet, no such temptation shall over- 
throw his reverence to the office, which is the ordi- 
nance of Christ ; much less will he be unthankful 
to those that are able and faithful in their office, 
and labour instantly for the good of souls, as wilUng 
to spend and be spent for their salvation. When 
the world abuseth, and derideth, and injureth them, 
he is one that honoureth them, both for their work 
and Master's sake, and the experience which he 
hath had of the blessing of God on their labours to 
himself; for he knoweth that the smiting of the 
shepherds is but the devil's ancient way for the 
scattering of the flock; though he knoweth that 
' if the salt have lost its savour, it is good for 
nothing, neither fit for the land, nor yet for the 
dunghill, but men cast it out, and it is trodden under 
foot: (he that hath ears to hear, l^t him hear).' Yet 
he also knoweth, that * he that receiveth a prophet 
in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's 


reward ;' and that he that ' receiveth them, receiveth 
Christ; and he that despiseih them,' that are sent 
by him, ' despiseth him.' He therefore readily obey- 
eth those commands : ' Obey them that have the 
rule over you, and submit yourselves, for they watch 
for your souls as those that must give account.' 
' We beseech you, brethren, to know them which 
labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, 
and admonish you ; and to esteem them very highly 
in love for their work sake, and be at peace among 
yourselves.' ' Let the elders that rule well be 
counted worthy of double honour ; especially they 
who labour in the word and doctrine,' 

9. But though the weak Christian be of the same 
mind, so far as he is siinctified, yet is he much more 
easily tempted into a wrangling censoriousness 
against his teachers, though ihey be never so able 
and holy men i and by seducers may be drawn to 
oppose them or speak contemptuously of them, as 
the Galalians did of Paul, and some of the Corin- 
thians : accounting him as their enemy for telling 
them the truth, when lately they would have plucked 
out their eyes to do him good. * 

S. But the hypocrite is most easily engaged 
■gainst them, either when they grate upon the guilt 
of his bosom-sin, or open hia hypocrisy, or plainly 
cross him in his carnal interest; or else when his 
pride hath conquered his sobriety, and engaged him 
in some sect or erroneous way, which his teachers 
are against, and would reduce him from. 

LVIIL 1. A Christian indeed is one that hath 
stored up such manifold experience of the fulfilling 


of God*s promises, and the hearing of prayers, and 
of the goodness of his holy ways, as will gready 
fortify him against all temptations to infidelity, 
apostasy, or distrust. No one hath stronger temp- 
tations usually than he ; and no one is so well ftn*- 
nished with weapons to resist them. The arguments 
of most others are fetched out of their books only; 
but he hath, moreover, a life of experiences to con- 
firm his faith, and so hath the witness in lumself. 
He hath tried and found that in God, in holiness, in 
faith, in prayer, which will never sufier him to for- 
sake them. Yea, it is Uke that he hath upon record 
some such wonders in the answer of prayers, as 
might do much to silence an infidel himself. I 
am sure many Christians have witnessed such de- 
monstrations of the extraordinary hand of God, as 
have done much to destroy the remnants of their 
own unbelief. 

2. But the experiences of the younger, weaker 
Christians, are much shorter, and less serviceable 
to their faith : and they have not judgment enough 
to understand and make use of the dealings of God, 
but are ready to plead his providences untQ evil 
ends and consequences, and to take their own pas- 
sionate imaginations for the workings of the Spirit t 
it is ordinary with them to say (this or that wais set 
upon my heart, or spoken to me), as if it had been 
some divine inspiration, when it was nothing but 
the troubled workings of a weak distempered brain : 
and it is their own phantasy and heart that saith that 
to them, which they think the Spirit of God within 
them said. 


3. And the hypocrite wanteth those establishing 
experimenta of the power of the Gospel, and the 
hearing of prayers, and fulfilling of promises, and 
communion with Christ in tlie Spirit ; and therefore 
he is the more open to the power of temptations, 
and a subtle disputer will easilier corrupt him, and 
carry him away to flat apostasy : for he wanteth the 
root and witness in himself. 

LIX. 1. A Christian indeed is one that highly 
valueth sanctified affections and passions, that all 
he doth may be done as lively as possibly he can : 
and also holy abilities for expression. But he much 
more valueth the three great essential constant parts 
of the new creature within him : — that is, 1. A high 
estimation of God, and Christ, and heaven, and 
holiness in his understanding; above all, that can 
be set in any competition. 2. A resolved choice 
and adhesion of the will, by which he preferreth 
God, and Christ, and heaven, and holiness, above 
all that can be set against them, and is fixedly re- 
solved here to place his happiness and his hopes. 
3. The main drift aTid endeavours of his life, in 
which he ' seeketh first the kingdom of God and 
his righteousness.' In these three (his highest esti- 
mation, his resolved choice and complacencies, and 
his chief endeavours) he taketh his standing constant 
evidences of his sincerity to consist : and by tlieae 
he trieth himself as to his state; and not by the 
passionate feelings or atifections of his heart, nor by 
his memory or gifts, or orderly thinking or expres- 
sion, And it is these rational operations of his soul 
in which he knoweth that holiness doth principally 


consist ; and therefore he most laboureth to be strong 
in these. 1. To ground his judgment well ; 2. And 
to resolve to fix his will ; 3. And to order his con- 
Tersation aright. Yet highly valuing sensible afiec- 
tions and gifts of utterance, but in subserviency to 
those which are the vital acts. 

2. But the weak Christian usually placeth most 
of his religion in the more affectionate and expressive 
part. He striveth more with his heart for passion- 
ate apprehensions^ than for complacency and fixed 
resolutions. He is often in doubt of his sincerity, 
when he wanteth the feeling affectionate workings 
which he desireth, and thinketh he hath no more 
grace than that he hath sensibility of expressive 
gifts. And so as he buildeth his comfort upon 
these inconstant signs, his comforts are accordingly 
inconstant : sometime he thinketh he hath grace, 
when his body or other advantages do help the 
excitation of his lively afiections. And when the 
dulness of his body, or other impediments, hinder 
this, he questioneth his grace again, because he 
understandeth not aright the nature and chiefest 
acts of grace. 

3. The hypocrite hath neither the rational, nor 
the passionate part in sincerity ; but he may go 
much further in the latter than in the former. A 
quick and passionate nature, though unsanctified, 
may be brought to shed more tears, and express 
more fervour, than many a holy person can. Espe- 
cially upon the excitation of some quickening sermon, 
or some sharp affliction, or great conviction, or at 
the approach of death. Few of the most holy 


persons can constantly retain so lively, fervent, 
passionate repentinga, and desires and resoiution» 
to amend, as some carnal persons have in sickness. 
The power of fear alone doth make them more 
earnest, than love maketh many a gracious soul. 
But when the fear is over, they are the same again. 
How oft have 1 heard a sick man most vehemently 
profess his resolutions for a holy life, which all 
have come to nothing afterwards? How oft have 
1 heard a common drunkard with tears cry out 
against himself for his sin, and yet go on in it ? 
And how many gracious persons have I known, 
whose judgments and wills have been groundedly 
resolved for God and holiness, and their lives have 
been holy, fruitful, and obedient, who yet could not 
shed a tear for sin, nor feel any very great sorrows 
or joys ? If you judge of a man by his eamestuess 
in some good moods, and not by the constant tenor 
of his life, you will think many a hypocrite to be 
better than most saints. Who would have thought 
that had seen him only in that lit, but that Saul had 
been a penitent man, when ' he hft up his voice and 
wept, and said to David, Thou art more righteous 
than I ; for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I 
have rewarded thee evil.' A smaller matter will 
raise some sudden passions, than will renew the 
soul, and give the pre-eminence to God, and holi- 
ness, and heaven, in the judgment, will, and conver- 

LX. I. A Christian indeed confirmed in grace, 
is one that maketh it the business of his life to 
prepare for death ; and delayeth not his serious 


thoughts of it, and preparations for it till it surprise 
him ; and therefore when it cometh it findeth him 
prepared, and he gladly entertaineth it as the mes- 
senger of his Father, to call him to his everlasting 
home. It is not a strange unexpected thing to 
him, to hear he must die : he died daily in his 
daily sufferings, and mortified contempt of worldly 
things, and in his daily expectation of his change. 
He wondereth to see men at a dying time, surprised 
with astonishment and terror, who jovially or care- 
lessly neglected it before ; as if they had never 
known till then that they must die ? or as if a few 
years' time were reason enough for so great a diffe- 
rence. For that, which he certainly knoweth will 
be, he looketh at, as if it were even at hand; and 
his preparation for it is more serious in his health, 
than other men's is on their death-bed. He usedi 
more carefully to bethink himself what graces he 
shall need at a dying time, and in what case he 
shall then wish his soul to be ; and accordingly he 
laboureth in his provisions now ; even as if it were 
to be to-morrow. He verily believeth that it is in- 


comparably better for him to be with Christ, than to 
abide on earth, and therefore (though death of itself 
be an enemy, and terrible to nature) yet being the 
only passage into happiness, he gladly entertaineth 
it. Though he have not himself any clear and 
satisfactory apprehensions of the place and state of 
the happiness of departed souls, yet it quieteth him 
to know that they shall be with Christ, and that 
Christ knoweth all, and prepare th and secure th for 
him that promised rest. Though he is not firee 


from all the natural fears of death, yet his beUef 
and hope of endless happiness doth abate tfaoge 
fears by the joyful expectation of the gain which 
followeth. (See my book called the Last Enemy, 
and the Last Work of a Believer, and that of Self- 
denial against the Fears of Death.) 

But especially he loveth and longeth for the 
coming of Christ to judgment : as knowing that then 
the marriage-day of the Lamb is come, and then the 
desires and hopes of all believers shall be satisfied: 
' Then shall the righteous shine as stars in the 
kingdom of their Father ;' and the hand of violence 
shall not reach them. Every enemy then is over- 
come, and all the Redeemer's work is consummated, 
and the kingdom delivered up unto the Father. 
Then shall the ungodly and the unmerciful be 
confounded, and the righteous filled with everlasting 
joy, when their Lord shall throughly plead their 
cause, and justify them against the accusations of 
Satan, and all the lies of his malicious instruments. 
O blessed, glorious, joyful day, when Christ shall 
come with thousands of his angels to execute ven- 
geance on the ungodly world, and to be 'glorified 
in his saints, and admired in all them that i 
believe!' When the patient followers of the Lamb 
shall behold him in glory, whom they have believed 
in, and shall see, that they did not pray, or hope, 
or wait in vain! When Christ himself and his 
sacred truth shall be justified and glorified in the 
presence of the world, and his enemies' mouths for 
ever stopped: ' When he shall convince all that are 
ungodly of all their ungodly deeds, which they have 


ungodly committed^ and of all their hard speeches 
which ungodly sinners have spoken against him !* 
Where then is the mouth that pleaded the cause 
of infidelity and impiety? and reproached the 
serious holiness of believers ? and made a jest of 
the judgments of the Lord? Then what terrors 
and confusion, and shame, what fruitless repentings 
will seize upon that man, that set himself against 
the holy ones of the Lord, and knew not the day of 
his visitation, and embraced the image and form of 
godliness, while he abhorred the power. The joys 
which will then possess the hearts of the justified, 
will be such as now no heart can comprehend. 
When love shall come to be glorified in the highest 
expression, to those that lately were so low ; when 
all their doubts, and fears, and sorrows, shall be 
turned into full contenting sight, and all tears shall 
be wiped away, and all reproaches turned into glory, 
and every enemy overcome, and sin destroyed, and 
holiness perfected, and our ^ vile bodies changed, and 
made like the glorious body' of Christ; then will 
the love and work of our redemption be fully 
understood; and then a saint will be a saint 
indeed; when with Christ they shall * judge the 
angels and the world,' and shall hear firom Christ, 
* Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the king- 
dom prepared for you from the foundation of the 
world,' * enter ye into the joy of your Lord.' Then 
every knee shall bow to Christ, and every tongue 
shall confess that he is Lord, ^ to the glory of God 
the Father ;' then sin will fully appear in its malig- 
nity, and holiness in its lustre unto all : the proud 


will then be abased, end the mouths of all the 
wicked stopped ; when they shall see to their confu- 
sion the glory of that Christ whom they despised, 
and of those holy ones whom they made their scorn : 
in vain will they then knock when the door is shut, 
and cry, ' Lord, Lord, open unto us ;' and in vain 
will they then wish, O that we had known the day 
of our visitation, that we might have ' died the death 
of the righteous, and our latter end might have been 
like his.' 

The day of death is to true believers a day of 
happiness and joy ; but it is much easier for them 
to think with joy on the coming of Christ, and the 
day of judgment, because it is a day of fuller joy, 
and soul and body shall be conjoined in the blessed- 
ness ; and there is nothing in it to be so great a. stop 
to our desires, as death is, which naturally is an 
enemy. God hath put a love of life, and fear of 
death into the nature of every sensible creature, as 
necessary for the preservation of themselves and 
others, and the orderly government of the world; 
but what is there in the blessed day of judgment, 
which a justified child of God should be averse to! 
O, if he were but sure that this would be the day, 
or week, or year of the coming of his Lord, how 
glad would the confirmed Christian be ! and with 
what longings would he be looking up, to see that 
most desired sight ! 

2. And the weak Christian is so far of the same 
mind, that he had rather come to God by death and 
judgment, than not at all : (except when temptations 
make him fear that he shall be condemned.) He 

33S ■ 

II the ■ 


hath fixedly made choice of that felicity, which till 
then he cannot attain. He would not take all the 
pleasures of this world, for his hopes of the happi- 
ness of that day : but yet he thinketh not of it 
with so strong a faith, and great consolation, nor 
with such boldness and desire, as the confirmed 
Christian doth; but either with much more dull 
security, or more perplexity and fear. His thoughts 
of God and of the world to come are much more 
dark and doubtful; and his fears of that day are 
usually so great as make his desires and joys scarce 
felt : only he thinketh not of it with that contempt 
or stupidity as the infidel or hardened sinner ; nor 
with the terrors of those that have no God, no 
Christ, no hope, (except when temptation bringeth 
him near to the borders of despair.) His death 
indeed is unspeakably safer than the death of the 
ungodly ; and the joys which he is entering into 
will quickly end the terror; but yet he hath no 
great comfort at the present ; but only so much trust 
in Christ, as keepeth his heart fi:om sinking into 

3. But to the hypocrite or seeming Christian, 
death and judgment are the most unwelcome days, 
and the thoughts of them the most unwelcome 
thoughts. He would take any tolerable life on 
earth, at any time, for all his hopes of heaven; and 
that not only through the doubts of his own sin- 
cerity (which may sometime be the case of a tempted 
Christian), but through the unsoundness of his be- 
lief of the life to come, or the utter unsuitableness 
of his soul to such a blessedness, which maketh him 


look at it as less desirable to htm, thao a life of 
fleshly pleasures here. All that he doth tor heaven 
is upon mere necessity, because he knoweth that die 
he must, and he had rather be in heaven than in 
hell, though he had rather be in prosperity on earth 
than either: and as he taketh heaven but as a re- 
serve or second good, so he seekelh it with reserves, 
and in the second place : and having no better pre- 
parations for death and judgment, no marvel if" they 
be his greatest terror. He may possibly, by bis 
self-deceit, have some abatement of his fears, and he 
may by pride and wit seem very valiant and comfort- 
able at his death, to hide his fear and pusillanimity 
from the world. But the cause of all his misery 
is, that he ' sought not first the kingdom of God 
and his righteousness,' and laid not up a treasure in 
heaven, but upon earth, and loved this world above 
God, and above the world to come; and so his 
heart is not set on heaven, nor his affections on the 
things above ; and therefore he hath not that love 
to God, to Christ, to saints, to perfect holiness, 
which should make that world most desirable in his 
eyes, and make him think unfeignedly that it is 
best for him to depart and live with Christ for ever. 
Having not the divine nature, nor having lived the 
divine life in walking with God, his complacency 
sad desires are carnal according to the nature which 
he hath. And this is the true cause (and not only 
bis doubts of his own sincerity) of his unwillingness 
to die, or to see the day of Christ's appearance. 

And thus I have shewed you firom the word of 
God, and the nature of Christianity, the true cha- 

336 Diuormrs mt mmoe dHMW)44ll». 

racters of ike doiifitiiiediGilHMlbify<iiid'4I^UlM<>#^ak 
Christian, and o(4lMqi^dteidf Cfatytittiii'i'i ylriii.fr^ 

The uAos |br wbiisb J -tiavti jdmwn ^^ lbtia»cdia> 
racters, and 'Wludij the rd^tdor is Ukiwmk/^ of theot; 
are these» , ;.■». . #-•/» .>• *f/-'i;;tii jir!«r- 

I. Here the^ weak. Christian and .the-jbygoivile 
may see what manner of perao&i they ought .to jboi 
Not only how unsafe ,it is .to reviaia ia ».9tdte,'of 
hypocrisyi but. also kow unco«iforta))le^ ftndtunset^ 
viceable, and troublespme it i6,;jtOii?eiPaiK uu.a«tsliB 
of weakness and diseasedneasi wba4 ^tolfyX^^ 
indeed a. sign of. hyfj^ocrisy) is it tci^lkiiikytifiJ Jhkii 
but grace enough to save nsai ;I .would dmteiM 
more, or I. would h^ well eontdnXhoJkrwijyenijomr 
tent if you.bave )>ut:life heee,.tp tdiffiurBticleiyiMkiitia 
the dead 2 . If. you were continuali^iiiifaKy^ .tkat 
must be fed and carried, and made dicMa byidfthesBj; 
or if you had a continual gout, or.«tQP6^^ OBjl6|raq^» 
and lived in continual want and^miseif ,^y^u irblild 
think that life alone is not enough; ^and^ithat^nifl 
vivere tanium sed t>aler0,vUQ «9i <^ itbsitr iifc; iA^iiH^ 
comfortable, when we^. have nothingctwl^ilk, anckail 
the delights of life are gon& v ilei^t lietlteHiiaNi^ 
tinual pain and .want is.-weipy, qf^ bi>^cUib,la£(ibi» 
cannot separate it from.tboso. oniami^mo «ttejift 
knoweth how necessary^ streng(Jk;jff>ies,^iHBttuKiclifr) 
to do any considerable!, servioex^os^ (i#dli> a«ld htm 
many pains attend the dirraififii iwiitMifitiifcilitwijif 
the weak, and what great xluibpnqiit iwnuUhijla 
Christ and religion, by the faults 


of many that shall be pardoned and saved, would 
certainly bestir him with all possible care to get out 
of this sick or infant state. 

II. By this you may see who are the strong 
Christians and who are the weak : it is not always 
the man of learning and free expressions, that can 
speak longest and wiseliest of holy things, that is the 
strong confirmed Christian ; but he that most excel- 
leth in the love of God and man, and in a heavenly 
mind and holy life. Nor is it he that is unlearned, 
or of a weak memory, or slow expression, that is 
the weakest Christian ; but he that hath least love 
to God and man, and the most love to his carnal 
self, and to the world, and the strongest corrup- 
tions, and the weakest grace. Many a poor day* 
labourer or woman, that can scarce speak sense, is 
a stronger Christian (as being stronger in faith, and 
lovei and patience, and humility, and mortification, 
and self-denial) than many great preachers and doc- 
UxB of the church. 

III. You see here what kind of men they be that 
we call the godly ; and what that godliness is which 
we plead for, against the malicious serpentine gene- 
ration. The liars would make men believe, that by 
godliness we mean a few affected strains, or hypo- 
critical shows, or heartless lip-service, or singular 
opinions, or needless scrupulosity, or ignorant zeal ; 
yea a schism, or fiiction, or sedition, or rebellion, or 
what the devil (dease to say. If these sixty cha- 
racters describe any such thing, then I will not deny, 
that in the way that such men call heresy, factioui 
schism, singularity, so worship we the God of our 


3S8 PIREOTIOW l^m^ WS»k^i GPHH9^nE4M* 

Slithers; but iC not** ibc^ ).iQr4.refauki^iti«B»e>,r$ft;Ua^ 
and hasten the.4ay wbe|».jttos)'jyfK^J^>aj^l;^ 
put to silence^' : ■,.:.»;: ■■• ..r:.,..i ..; ; .^^^■iy..^ 

IV. By this al«P you HMy.see ,how,ii^f^^Guaprf)le 
the enemies of Christianity and godUneasi^re^ stud 
for what it is that. they. hate' and injure it^ ;J^4}^c^ 
any thing in all this character 0f aCh^ftJiau^ 4M 
desenretb the. suspicion or hatred of Jdm.WQi^i 
what harm is there in it 7 or what will it da<9gain^ 
them ? I may say to them of his.sariFaots as.^Qinst 
did of himself, * Many good works Iw^'e. I .fbew^ 
you from my Father: for which of theaif .w,ork$^^do 
ye stone me?' Many heavenly graces are in the 
sanctified believer : for which of these do jyuMfi hale 
and injure him? I know that gpodn|»$a,i^ /SO in 
in credit with human nature, that you mU.w^si^ 
a^}theiJe)ws>«did» ' For a good woilavfef^t^pfi^tl^ 
m^%,\\Hktl9K Waaphemy;' we hate tbei^^r^>%{g94r 
liudss, butibr hypocrisy and sin* Bul^ if il.h^r^ 
indeed, L Speak not against godliness ..its^l^ ^ 
against the stifictest performance of.ou^.;4^ty*ti;|^ 
Yea plead for giodlinesSyaod couiitQna|[|G^ af^mP^ 
mote it, while you speak against ,hypo^j;i^4i94i^¥^ 
3. And choose out the hypocrite, wbos^cf^Jhafiac^Wf Af 
here truly set before^ youi.and, letihiq^ l?>^it^p)^it(9 
of your enmity aaddi^tasji^e?: let it,(Gi}) Qn)tbRf¥(i^^ 
are woridli^gs ^nd i timenS«rve^,.>^p4KFi}I<:f s^flf^ 
their consji^iencea to l^eir carpal rint^es^ff^i^^ 
do any tiling tp save their: akii|>;;andb^nS'fa}|f| j^ 
Christ, cm )mfd\yheMm-iQa^y,j9i^l^f,,s^ 
but onlyJn^ubordinatiaQ.{t^(|th)?9i§G^i^-: .|4# it^fis 
said of CopstiM^tius, ^hat ha c<Hnm^M^<4t<J9>^MIf<(^ 


9^rfhfitts 'SliiduM'be turti^ o^t of their places that 
woiild' ^t tenodnce ChMstiatiity^r and when he had 
thereby tried them, he turned out all the apostates, 
(iantf kept iri the sin^erfe) iaind tbld -ihem ; * They 
eoiurid i^t be true to faitn, that were nbt tme^ to their 
God and Saviour/ 4. And see that you be not hypo- 
crites yb^rselves. You profess yourselvesChristians : 
aiid what !^ it to be a Christian indeed, you may 
Ifere ^rceive* If any that fell under the character 
of hypocrites (or worse) shall vilify or hate the sin^r 
cfet^e Christians as hypocrites, 'what a horrid aggra^ 
v^tioti of their hypocrisy will it be ? 
^^' Indeed it is the bedt and strongest Christians that 
hk^^ tndst of the hatred both of thennbc^Iieving and 
Ae hypbcrttita) worid. And for ay owh part, I 
fttttet >^nfesSj that the very observation of the uni- 
yeraat'impkdsible emnity, which is undeniably seen 
tklreiighotit thetrorld, betweeci the ^wotnan^s and the 
lierp^fiB '^el^' (being such as is Hdt found among 
ite^ other sorts of men <vn ether o^^casidns) doth not 
ar little' iebnfirm my belief of Aie hdy Scriptures, and 
s^eineth t6 be An argument not w«U to be answered 
by^ahy ertenly of the Christidti cause. That it should 
be^'bi^eM t^ two fhist brothers that ever were 
MtAii^tYii Wa^lA^ and stbpiii nbtbing lower than 
^^din^thid rtj^teotts blood^^ Abel, for no other 
tsQ^^; but'bebltise die worktf of Cain^were evil, and 
Ms' bt«dlhe^§ H^hteotis : ahd diat it should go down 
M ffae^^Ophfete, 'i&nd {3hri^,-ahd the apostles, and 
pMMii^-BAniif&n&tontih^^to this day throughout 
th^^esrth : atid'thfekt'the profession of the same reli- 
gion doth ikyt alter it, but rather enrage the enmity 

S40 DiRBCMMtli iMt%ii^'K t^Mk^A^. 

of hypocriMi H^iti^tldtAii'iKyi; dttidtis ¥ticP»iii*«9e 
in the religton'wMth ty9*A^i^Veii>)MJifi^.^ffiife 
are thmga Adl ^ko^^gbbd^Bkieti^ 
save oitly frem -tfiii jpredittiiohi/ flnal^V^rfti^bf <lf^ 

word Or'6rodi ■'■'■' ^'■' -. =1.^ v;::u /ivji? ifiib 

V. Also you niay hence percdivef;- Tidw^Stfefl- 
ingly injurious hypoeritea atld acandaldttsCh^ffiilis 
are to the iiMie of Christy knd t^tise ^f Chti^iNmSfy 
and godliness in 'the world. • The Uind' i&aUciaite 
enemies of filith alid godliimss^ i^fcead bf jtic^ng 
of them by "the sacred rale, do Iook<Aily^tb ^Ae j/rt])- 
fessors, and think of religion a^ they ibitik ^ them. 
If they see the professors of Ohrifertianity tb be eovef- 
ous, proud^ usnrpersi tirae^^servers^^eff-Mtdt^n, 
cruel, schismati^^l, rebeBioiis,:theypre8eiitlyc}kfi^ 
all this uj>oh tlieir ileligion, and godlin^sist tittst'bm 
the blaiiie, When all comes but for want'orgi6d&reife 
and religion. And all the world hath nd^doti^ iS6 
much against these and all other sins as Chi^st Itaft 
done. What, if Christ's disciples strrrt 'Who sh«ffl 
be the greatest ? Is it to be brought 'against iiUBtt, 
who girdeth himself to wash and wipe theit -feie^, 
and telleth them, * that except thfey be doni^ferttd, 
and become as little childi^n, they shall' litii eh^i 
the kingdom of God;* and addetfi, * that tlibugH' the 
kings of the Gentiles do exercise lordship ot^H^fefetf, 
and they that exercise authority ufpbn' kheii ' fetffe 
called benefactors, yet ye shall not h6 sbV 'Is it- to 
be brought against him that hath said to tlie'eld^, 
* Feed the flock of God which is among you, taidng 
the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but wil- 
lingly ; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind ; 

n^^th^B as .teeing iQrcJ^.ietjE^ifSo^'* ^^'i^®* but 
b^mg ex{impjQs.to.th^,|bpk,f,V Ji^iiMiy.ieallQd Chris- 
tiaas shall be truly 8chi8n)ati^i>^tiQUSj or turbu- 
lent^ isif a &uk in bim that h^tb. frayed the Father 
that they may all be one, and hath ^o vehemently 
intreated them ^ that they speak the same thing, and 
that there be no divisions among themi ^nd that they 
be perfectly joined together in the saoae mind, and 
in the same judgment ;' tfnd hath charged them to 
' mark them that cause divisions and offences con- 
trary to the doctrine which they had learned, and 
to avoid them?' If any called Christians shall be 
seditious or rebellious, or as the papists believe, 
that the clergy are from under the jurisdiction of 
kingSy and that the pope bath power to excommu- 
nicate princes, and absolve their subjects froioi 4^ir 
allegiaAce, and give their domiiii|on,:tQi^b^ff^i.j[a^(i^ 
is deoreed in the General Coull^^ at .tbilvI^Ml^T^ib 
4m4er Innocent the Thirds Can. S^);* Is.^li^thi^^tl;^ 
6^t of Christ, who hath paid tribute to CsBsar, and 
b,9th commanded that every soul be subject to the 
higher powers, and not resist, .and this : lor con- 
8cien(:^' ^^k?? and hath bid his disciples rather to 
turn the other cheek than to sedc revenge; and 
Ij^h tpld them, tha^ they that. uae the 3wprd (of 
r^^lio^i, or revengi^, or cruelty) d^aH perish by the 
awpr4. , If any Christiai^s wMl, ,mder pretence of 
i^eligipPy set upa crfiel inquisitipni or ikill.men to 
Gonv,ert,4^epi,; or he<?ow!e- * «lf-Jpye?s„ covetous, 
bpfM^t9r§> prpudii blaspb?m)€irs, idi$Q))ied)eDt to pa- 
reatS|,,unthank£ul, unholy, without^ nsitiiral affec- 
ti<Q»».,truce-^hr6akei:8^ ^Ise acpu^er4, incontinent, 

Q 3 

S40 PIRECT10M8 roa weak christians. 

'fieree, despben of those that ate gaod«' &c Is 
this the fimlt of him who hath: forbUdeii all this? 
If for their owiv domination^ lusty or covetousaess, 
mencalled ChristiaiM will be worse than htatjbens 
and wolves to one another) is this the finik of him 
that hath made it his sheep«mark by which we 
most be known to all men to be his disciples, ^ that 
we must love one another ? ' and hath told them, 
that if they bite and 'devour one another^ they 
shall, be consumed one ct another?' and hath 
blessed the merciful, as those that shall find 
mercy, and hath uAd men that what they do to 
his little €«es, sliall be taken as if it were done to 
himself; and hath commanded the 'strong to bear 
with the infirmities of the weak, and not to. please 
themselves ;* and ' to receive one another as Christ 
received us;' and hath told those that ofifend but 
' one of his little ones,' that it ' were good finrthat 
roan that a millstone were hanged about his neck, 
and he were drowned in the depth of the sea;' and 
hath told hin that ' smiteth his fellow -servants, 
that his Lord will come in a day when he looketh 
not for him, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint 
him his portion with the hypocrites, where shall be 
weeping and gnashing of teeth.' I wonder what 
men would have Christ do, to firee himself and the 
Christian religion from the imputation of the sins 
of the hypocrites, and the weak distempered Chris- 
tians. Would they have him yet make stricter laws 
(when they hate these for being so strict already?) 
Or would they have him condemn sinners to 
more grievous punishment, when they are already 


<tfeiided at> tbe severity of iusithiteateiiings ? O what 
an)a:inyighftcso4Bs igenenratioQ^aie/ihi^ eii^ that 
bkme the law 'beeau^e* men ^br^aki M .and blame 
religiott, because many are' not ifeiigious' enough ? 
As if the sttn must be hated^ becaMs& that^shadows 
and dungeons do want light; ^or>li£B/ and health 
viust be hated^ because many are sick'aHd'pained 
by their diseases ! But Christ will shortly stop all 
the mouths of these unreasonable men f and O how 
easily will he justify himself, his lawsy and all his 
holy ways, when all iniquity idiall be for ever silent! 
And though ' it must needs be that of&nce^ come, 
yet woe to the world because of ofiemres, and woe 
>to the man by whom they come.' II i-.'t. . 
.^ The wrong that Christ receiteth from) hypocrites 
and scandalous Christians (of all ranks and places) 
is not to be e^imated. These ares the-canses that 
Christianity and godliness are> soeontemptible in 
the eyes of the world! that Jews;! and. Heathens, 
And Mahometans, are still unconvcvted and deriders 
of the faith; because they see I'suek scandalous 
tyranny and worship among the I^apiats,! and such 
flcaodalous lives amor^ the greatest part of pro- 
fessed Christians in the world :i whereas if the. papal 
: tyranny were turned into the Christian ministry, 
4aid their irrational fopperies, and) histrionic hypo- 
rcritioal worship were changed into a' reverent, 
mtiontl, and spiritual worship ; and due cruel, carnal, 
worldly lives of men called Christians, were changed 
into self-denial, love and holiness : in a word if 
Christians were Christians indeed, and such as I 
Jiave here described from their rule ; what a powerful 


means would it be of the cPP^ersioa of all the 
unbelieving worU? Chrisliamtj. would then be in 
the eye of the world, as* the sw m its. bi:ighU}e98, 
and the glory of it would daazle the eyes of behold- 
ers, and draw in millions to inquire after Christ, 
who are now driven from him by the sins of hypo- 
crites and scandalous believers. 

And this doth not contradict what I said before, 
of the enmity of the world to holiness, and that the 
best are most abused by the imgodly: for even 
this enmity must be rationally cured, as by the 
error of reason it is fed. God useth, by the power 
of intellectual light, to bring all those out of dark- 
ness whom be saveth, and so bringeth them from the 
power of Satan to himself. Men hate not holiness 
as good, but as misconceived to be evil. Evil, I 
say to them, because it is opposite to the sensusl 
pleasures which they take to be their chiefest 
good. And the way of curing their enmity, is by 
shewing them their errors, and that is by shewing 
them the excellency and necessity of that which 
they unreasonably distaste. 

VI. Lasdy. In these characters you have some 
help in the work of self-examination, for the trial 
both of the truth and strength of grace. Perhaps 
it will be objected, that in other treatises I have 
reduced all the infallible marks of grace to a smaller 
number. To which I answer, I still say, that the 
predominancy or prevalency of the interest of God 
as our God, and Christ as our Saviour, and the 
Spirit as our Sanctifier, in the estimation of the 
understanding, the resolved choice of the will, and 


the government of the life, against all the iVoridly 
interest of the flesh, is the only infallible sign of a 
justified regenerate soul. But this whble hath itianj 
parts, and it is abundance of particulars in which 
this sincerity is to be found: even all the sixty 
characters which I have here named, are animated 
by that one, and contained in it. And I think to 
the most, the full description of a Christian in his 
essential and integral parts, (yet shewing which are 
indeed essential,) is the best way to acquaint them 
with the nature of Christianity, and to help them in 
the trial of themselves. And as it were an abuse of 
human nature, for a painter to draw the picture of 
a man, without arms, or legs, or nose, or eyes, 
because he may be a man without them : so would 
it have been in me to draw only a maimed picture 
of a Christian, because a maimed Christian is a 
Christian. Yet because there are so many maimed 
Christians in the world, I have also shewed you 
their lamentable defects ; not in a liianner which 
tendeth to encourage them in their sins and wants 
under pretence of comforting them, but in that 
manner which may best excite them to their duty, 
in order to their recovery, without destroying the^r 
necessary supporting comforts. 

O happy church, and state, and family, which 
are composed of such confirmed Christians ! where 
the predominate temperature is such as I have here 
described ! Yea happy is the place where magis- 
trates and ministers are such ; who are the vital 
parts of State and Church, and the instruments 
appointed to communicate these perfections to the 

346 iHRKcnoMs for weak ghrbtians. 

rest. But how much more happj is the new Jeru- 
salem! the ciiy of the living' God, where the perfected 
sjnritB of the just in perfect life, and light and lore, 
are perfectly beboldingy and admiring, and praising, 
and pleasing the eternal God, their Creator, Re- 
deemer, and Sanctifier for ever! where the least 
and meanest is greiBiter and more perfect than the 
confirmed Christian here described! and where 
hypocrisy is utterly excluded, and imperfection 
eeaseth, with scandal, censures, uncharitableness, 
division, and all its other sad effects : and where 
the souls that thirsted after righteottsnesa shall be 
fully satisfied ; and love God more than they can 
now desire 1 And never grieve themselves or others 
with their wants or weaknesses, or misdoings any 
more. And, O blessed day, when our most blessed 
Head shall be revealed from Heaven with his 
mighty angels, and shall come to be glorified in his 
saints, and admired in all them that now believe ; 
whose weakness here occasioned his dishonour, and 
their own contempt ! When the seed of gi^ce is 
grown up into ^lory, and all the world, whether they 
will or not, shall discern between the righteous and 
the wicked, between him that serveth God, and him 
that serveth him not ; between the clean and the 
unclean, and between him that swearedi, and him 
that feareth an oath. And though now ^ our life is 
hid with Christ in God,* and it yet appeareth not 
(to the sight of ourselves or others) what we shall 
be; yet then ^when Christ who is our life shall 
appear, we also shall appear with him in glory.' 
Away then, my soul, from this dark, deceitful, and 
vexatious world ! Love not thy diseases, thy fetters, 


and calamities : groaa daily to thy Lord, and ear- 
nestly groan to be clothed upon with thy house 
which is from heaven, that mortality may be 
swallowed up of life I Join in the harmonious 
desires of the creatures, who groan to be delivered 
from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious 
liberty of the sons of God. 'Abide in him, and 
walk in righteousness, that when he shall appear, 
thou mayest have confidence, and not be ashamed 
before him at his coming.' Join not with the evil 
servants, who say in their hearts, our Lord delayeth 
his coming, and begin to smite their fellowHservants, 
and to eat and drink with the drunken, whose Lord 
shall come in a day when they look not for him, 
and in an hour that they are not aware of, and 
shall cut them asunder, and appoint them their 
portion with the hypocrites, where shall be weeping 
and gnashing of teeth. O watch and pray that 
thou enter not into temptation ! And be patient, for 
the Judge is at the door ! Lift up thy head with 
earnest expectation, O my soul, for thy redemption 
draweth near ! Rejoice in hope before thy Lord, 
for he Cometh ; he cometh to judge the world in 
righteousness and truth. Behold he cometh quickly, 
though faith be failing, and iniquity abound, and 
love waxeth cold, and scoffers say, Where is the 
promise of his coming ! Make haste, O thou whom 
my soul desireth ! and come in glory as thou first 
camest in humility ! and conform them to thyself in 
glory, whom thou madest conformable to thy sul^ 
ferings and humility ! Let the holy city, new 
Jerusalem, be prepared as a bride adorned for her 
husband ; and let God's tabernacle be with men ! 
that he may dwell with them and be thevt Go^l, ^sA 

348 DiascTioNs for weak christians. 

wipe away their tears ; and death, and sorrow, and 
crying, and pain may be no more, but former 
things may pass away! Keep up our faith, our 
hope, our lo?e! and daily vouchsafe us some 
beams of thy directing consolatory light in this our 
darkness : and be not as a stranger to thy scattered 
flock, in this desolate wilderness! but let them 
hear thy voice, and find thy presence, and have 
such conversation with thee in heaven, in the 
exercise of faith, and hope, and love, which is 
agreeable to their low and distant state. Testify 
to their souls that thou art their Saviour and head, 
and that they abide in thee, by the Spirit which 
thou hast given them, abiding, and overcoming in 
them, and as thy agent preparing them for eternal 
life. O let not our dieirkness, nor thy strangeness 
feed our odious unbelief! O shew thyself more 
clearly to thy redeemed ones ! and come and dwell 
in our hearts by faith ! and by holy love, let us 
dwell in God, and God in us ! that we grope not 
after him, as those that worship an unknown God. 
O save us from temptation ! and if the messenger 
of Satan be sent to buffet us, let thy strength be 
manifest in our weakness, and thy grace appear 
sufficient for us. And give us the patience which 
thou tellest us we need, that having done thy will, 
we may inherit the promise. And bring us to the 
sight and fruition of our Creator, of *whom, and 
through whom, and to whom are all things ; to 
whom be glory for ever.' Amen. 


■> • *^.