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Full text of "The practical works of the Rev. Richard Baxter, with a life of the author, and a critical examination of his writings"















AUTHOR or "the life of john owen, d.d.j" " bibliotheca biblica," etc. 

VOL. X. 

















nicnARD Eo^vAnDs, cuanf counr, fleet street, London. 







Admonitory epistle iii 

The contempt of Godliness rebuked 9 

Godliness described : what it containeth j and what I mean 

by Godliness throughout this treatise 12 

Signs of true Godliness 19 

Directions for such as will be soundly and sincerely godly . . 22 

The design of the treatise 26 

The text explained 28 

1. Obs. Nearest natural relations are not always of one mind 

in the matters of salvation . 33 

2. Obs. When Christ cometh into the house, he is presently at 
work for the hearers' souls ibid. 

3. Obs. When the word is preached we must hear 34 

4. Obs. The humility of disciples in those times 35 

The sense of the text in seven doctrines ibid. 

Doci. 1. One thing is needful : it is one thing that is absolute- 
ly necessary j but they busy themselves about many, that 

neglect this one 36 

In what respect it is one, and but one ibid. 

How the troubling matters of the world are many 38 

How far the one thing is necessary 40 

Quest. Are not other things needful in their places ? 43 

The application, I . By way of inquiry, how you have sought 

the one thing necessary 45 

How a true Christian dififereth from all hypocrites 47 



1 . Whatever you have been doing in the worlds you have but 

lost your time, if you have not done the one thing needful 50 

2. And you have lost all your labour 51 

3. You have been busily undoing yourselves 54 

4. You have unmanned yourselves, and lived below your rea- 
son, and as beside your wits 57 

The madness of them that are afraid of being godly, lest it 

make them mad 59 

5. You have but abused and lost all your mercies 63 

6. You have neglected Christ, his grace and Spirit 65 

7. Your hopes and peace are but delusions and irrational . . 66 
Use 2. To lament the distracted course of worldlings .... 6S 
Use 3. Exhortation : what course will you take for time to 

come ? 74 

Consider 1. It is necessity that is pleaded with you 76 

2. It is but one thing that God hath made necessary ... 82 

3. This one thing is that good part S4 

4. This good part is offered you, and you have your choice, 
whether God or the world, heaven or earth, shall be 

your portion 87 

Quest. How is it in our choice } have we freewill ? . . . 88 

5. If you choose it, it shall never be taken from you ... 91 
A full confutation of those ungodly ones that deny the neces- 
sity of a holy life in Thirty Queries 95 

Object. It is not godliness, but your precise way that we call 

needless. The particulars of a holy life examined 109 

1 . Much preaching and hearing ...• Ill 

2. Reading the Scriptures 112 

3. Fervent prayer 113 

4. 5. Diligent instructing families 114 

6. The holy observation of the Lord's day justified .... 116 

7- Strictness of life in avoiding sin II9 

8. The rigour of church discipline I'^l 

Object. It is but few that are so strict 124 




Holiness and its fruits are the best part : wherein the liappi- 
ness of saints consisteth 1'25 

Why most men choose it not. What is set in the balance 
against it 134 

The excuses of refusers answered 136* 


What he must do in reason, that will be resolved which is the 

best part and way : and who shall be the judge 13H 


Twenty Queries for the full conviction of all rational men 
that are willing to understand the truth, that there is a life 
to come of happiness to the godly, and misery to the un- 
godly : with fifteen Queries for the conviction of infidels, 

that the Gospel is the infallible word of God 165 

(Those that have not read the second part of my " Saints' 
Rest," and '' Treatise against Infidelity," and doubt of 
the truth of the Scripture or the life to come, may read 
this third chapter first, and so proceed to the rest of 
the book.) 
Clem. Writer's Objections answered 181 


Holiness is best for all societies . 184 

1. It uniteth all in one head and centre ibid. 

*2. It hath the most uniting, excellent, powerful end of duty 185 



3. It takes away the ball of the world's contention that 
breaketh societies 186 

4. It destroyeth selfishness, which is the destroying principle ibid, 

5. It hath the most righteous laws 187 

6. It is contrary to all disturbing evil ibid. 

7. It efifectually disposeth the mind to duty 188 

8. It cleanseth the very heart, and killeth secret sin . . . ibid. 

9. It cementeth societies with unfeigned love ibid. 

10. It maketh princes and rulers a double blessing : mani- 
fested in five particulars ibid. 

1 1 . It maketh the most loyal and obedient subjects .... 191 
For, 1. It makes them know themselves ibid. 

2. And to see God in theif rulers 192 

3. And to obey and submit for conscience sake .... ibid. 

4. And destroyeth self-seeking 193 

5. And consisteth in charity ibid. 

6. Procureth divine blessings ibid. 

7. And makes men meek, and patient^ and forbearing . ibid. 

8. Disposeth to concord ibid. 

9. Assure th of the greatest rewards of obedience .... 194 

10. And confirmeth against all temptations to disobedience ibid. 
Object. Have not the greatest rebellions been caused by 

your godly men, as the Waldenses, Bohemians, French, 

and others nearer us ? Answered ibid. 

Specially to Papists 198 

12. Godliness makes men true to their covenants 199 

13. It teacheth the true method of obeying 200 

14. It maketh men of public spirits ibid. 

15. It maketh it their business to do good 201 

16. It makes men love enemies, and forgive wrongs . . . ibid. 

17. It interesteth societies in the favour and protection of 
God ibid. 

18. It is the surest way to all supplies ibid. 

19. It is the honour of societies 202 

20. It must be best that is so heavenlv ibid. 


Times of holiness are the best times 203 

Those tliut say it never was a good world since there was so 
much godliness, and so much preaching, are fully confuted 
by twenty Arguments : and their cavils answered 206 




Holiness is the only way of safety 2^1 


Holiness is the only honest way. The dishonesty of the un- 
godly proved '. 230 


Holiness is the most gainful way : proved 245 


Holiness is the most honourable way. A reproof of the re- 
proach of holiness in England : and full proof of the ho- 
nour of a godly life 258 

Object. It tends to make the godly proud to tell them of their 
honour. Awsw. Many reasons for full confutation of this 
objection 284 

The baseness of the ungodly 291 


Holiness is the most pleasant life 295 

Proved, I. From the nature of the thing j and, 

1 . From the revelations of God, and the knowledge of 
believers 296 

2. From the will and affections ; the nature and opera- 
tions of grace therein 303 

3. From the quality of external holy duties 309 

4. From the objects of holy acts 329 

Objections answered 334 

II. From the helps and concomitants 337 



III. From the effects 336 

The tiggravations of the delights of holiness compared witli 

the delights of sin 341 

Object. Of the sad lives of believers, answered 350 

Object. Doth not God command men to fast and mourn ? . . 256 
Use I. Reproof to those that can find no matter of pleasure 

in a holy life 357 

The greatness of their sin and misery 359 

Directions, shew^ing such graceless persons w^hat to do, that 

they may come to delight in God and godliness 365 

Use II. Reproof to those self-troubling Christians, who live 

as sadly as if there were little pleasure to be found in God 370 

Considerations fit to cure this sad disease 371 

Quest. Whether it be not hypocritical affectation, to seem 

conformable, for fear of discouraging men from religion : 

fully answered 37C 

Object. I could rejoice, if I knew my title to the promises . . 379 

Object. I have cause of sorrow 380 

The Considerations prosecuted 381 

Twelve Directions to sad, self-troubling Christians, how they 

may live a joyful life, and find delight in God and godliness 890 


Preface « • • • • » cccciii 

The text opened 407 

I. What Martha's sin m particular was 408 

II. Whether we are not like to be more guilty of the like . . ibid. 

III. In what kind this sin is usually committed 409 

Quest. What are these needless, sinful things ? answered 413 

IV. What are the common excuses of this sin 415 

V. What is the evil of it that deserveth such reproof 417 

VI. What use we should make of Christ's reproof 420 

Directions how to judge of needless things 427 

Cases of conscience answered 428 

Obs. That they that choose unnecessary or less necessary em- 
ployments, are apt to account religious exercises less neces- 
sary, and to censure those that choose them 434 



Doct. That when wiser Christians and their better choice and 
work, are accused by them that preferred less needful 
things, Christ will be the Advocate and Judge, and will 

defend and justify the wrongfully accused .... 442 

Commended to the consideration of I. The accusers of 

the godly for their duty to God • - •• . 443 

How great a sin malignant and false accusing is 451 

II. To the accused 453 

III. To those that are yet in doubt what cause to choose 457 
Use 1. That all men would take this sure and necessary direc- 
tion of Christ for the choice of their comforts, hopes and 
happiness 4fi3 

Use 2. Be thankful for that grace of Christ which caused you 
to make the wisest choice 467 

Use 3. If none can take it from us, let us not cast it away 
ourselves 469 




A lamentation for the case of the deluded, malignant, mili- 
tant world 481 


Whom I mean by godly persons, and whom by malignant 
enemies to godliness 504 


Undeniable reasons against malignant enmity to serious god- 
liness 520 




Objections and false accusations answered 537 


A humble expostulation with the English Papists, who by 
information and prosecution seek our ruin 556 







VOL, X. 


To my dearly beloved Friends , the Inhabitants of Kidderminster 
in Worcestershire: and my late Auditors in the City of Lon- 
don. Confirming grace, with patience, love, and peace, be 

Dear Friends, 

Once more, through the great mercy of God, I have liberty 
to send you a preacher for your private families, which may 
speak to you (truly and plainly, though not elegantly) when 
I cannot, and when Ilie silent in the dust. I take it for no 
small mercy, that I have been so much employed about the 
great and necessary things, in despite of all the malice of sa- 
tan, who would have entangled me, and taken up my time, in 
personal vindications and barren controversies. As I never 
knew that I had one enemy in the world that ever was ac- 
quainted with me ; so those that know me, dissuading me 
from apologies against the accusations of those that know 
me not, have spared my time for better work. Though there are 
about fifty writings (in whole or part) against me published 
(by Infidels, Seekers, Familists, Enthusiasts, Quakers, Pa- 
pists, Antinomians, Levellers, Covenant-breakers, State-sub- 
verters. Church-dividers, besides impatient dissenting bre- 
thren, and dependents that took it for the rising way), I yet 
find no cause (as to the present age, and those that know 
me) to be at any great care or pains for a defence ; while 
malicious lies do make men wonder, that wrinkled envy 
should be so mad as to come so naked on the stage, and 
shew her ugly deformities to the world, and could not stay 
at least till wit had helped her to a cloak. 

I was also, when I first intended writing, under another 
temptation ; being of their mind that thought that nothing 


should be made public, but what a man had first laid out his 
most choice art upon; I thought to huve acquainted the 
world with nothing but what was the work of time and dili- 
gence. But my conscience soon told me, that there was 
too much of pride and selfishness in this ; and that humility 
and self-denial required me to lay by the affectation of that 
style, and spare that industry, which tended but to advance 
my name with men, when it hindered the main work, and 
crossed my end. And providence drawing forth some po- 
pular, unpolished discourses, and giving them success be- 
yond my expectation, did thereby rebuke my selfish 
thoughts, and satisfy me that the truths of God do perform 
their work more by their divine authority, and proper evi- 
dence, and material excellency, than by any ornaments of 
fleshly wisdom. And (as Seneca saith) though I will not 
despise an elegant physician, yet will I not think myself 
much the happier, for his adding eloquence to his healing 
art. Being encouraged then, by reason and experience, I 
venture these popular sermons into the world ; and especi- 
ally for the use of you, my late auditors, that heard them. 
I bless God that, when more worthy labourers are fain to 
weep over their obstinate, unprofitable, unthankful people, 
and some are driven away by their injuries, and put to shake 
off the dust of their feet against them ; I am rather forced to 
weep over my own unthankful heart, that did not sufficient- 
ly value the mercy of a faithful flock, who parted with me 
rather as the Ephesians wdth Paul (Acts xx. 37.), and who have 
lived according to this plain and necessary doctrine which 
they had received. Among whom. Papists, that persuade 
men that our doctrine tendeth to divisions, can find no divi- 
sions or sects, who have constantly disowned both the am- 
bitious usurpations which have shaken the kingdom ; and 
the factions, censoriousness, and cruel violence in the 
church, which pride hath generated and nourished in this 
trying age. Among whom I have enjoyed so very large a 
proportion of mercy, in the liberty of so long an exercise of 
my ministry, with so unusual advantage and success, that I 
must be disingenuously unthankful if I should murmur and 
repine at the present restraining hand of God. But I must 
say with David, (2 Sam. xv.25.) " If I shall find favour in the 
eyes of the Lord, he will bring me again, and shew me the 
ark and habitation (there or elsewhere use me in his service). 


But if he say, I have no delight in thee, behold here I am, 
let him do to mfe as it seemeth good unto him." 

And now with this treatise, let me leave you these few 
seasonable requests. 

1. Be faithful to your faithful pastors. Think not that 
you can live in order and safety without their ministry. 
When you can, attend their public ministry ; refuse not their 
more private help. Read well my two sheets for the Minis- 
try. Where the lawful pastor is, there the church is. Be 
not either impiously indifferent in your worshipping of God, 
or peevishly quarrelsome with what is commanded or prac- 
tised by others, nor disobedient to authority in lawful things. 

2. Maintain still your ancient love, and unity, and peace 
among yourselves, and improve your company and converse 
to the advantage of your souls. Be daily interlocutory 
preachers to one another. Speak as the oracles of God ; 
and preach by a holy, patient, harmless, charitable and hea- 
venly life. This kind of preaching none can silence but 
your own corruptions. 

3. Improve the profitable books which are among you. 
1. Read them frequently, and reverently, and seriously to 
your families, when you have called them together, and 
prayed for God*s blessing. 2. Carry them abroad with you, 
and when you fall into company where you cannot better 
spend your time, read to them some seasonable passage of 
such writings. 3. Give or lend them to those that need, 
and want either purses or hearts to provide them ; and get 
them to promise you to read them, and inquire after the suc- 
cess. By such improvement, books may become such se- 
conds or substitutes for public preaching, as that they may 
not be the least support of religion, and means to men's edi- 
fication and salvation. 

4. Make special and diligent provision ta satisfy your- 
selves and others against popery, which is like to be none 
of the least of your temptations. To this end I pray you 
read well the single sheet against Popery which I published, 
and give of them abroad to others where there is need. Read 
also my other books against it : my " Safe Religion," and 
" Key for Catholics," and " Dispute with Mr. Johnson," and 
Dr. Challoner's ** Credo Sanctam Ecclesiam CathoHcam ;" 
and when their sophistry puzzleth you, 1. Call your able 
pastors to debate it. 2, And remember that they have the 


Scripture and the far greater part of the universal church, 
and the senses af all the world to confute, before they can 
make good the cause of their ambitious clergy. If you are 
but sure you know bread and wine when you see, and feel, 
and smell, and taste them, then you are at the end of con- 
troversy with the Papists. Above all, see that you maintain 
the love of God, and a heavenly mind, and mortified affec- 
tions, and grow not opinionative, superficial, or loose in your 
religion. For he that is heartily of no religion, is prepared 
to be of any religion. And it is because men are false to 
the acknowledged truth, that they are given up to make a 
religion of deceit and falsehood. Your fidelity to your king 
and country, obligeth you to do your part to preserve the 
subjects from a disease so injurious to them. Saith Dr. 
Sherman, in his late " Account of Faith" against the Papists,. 
Pref. p. 4,5. * If kings would think upon it, there might be 
no popes ; since if popes could well help it, there should be 
no kings.' 

6. Take heed of all temptations to turbulent resisting of 
authority, or other unlawful means in the obeying of your 
passions or discontents. As God chose most eminently to 
glorify his power under the law of works, and the spirit of 
bondage to fear did much prevail ; but under the Gospel he 
hath chosen most eminently to magnify his goodness, love, 
and mercy ; so accordingly is the impress made upon his 
servants' hearts. They are animated by love, for the propa- 
gating of love, and therefore must work with instruments of 
love. And if we had well learned the doctrine and example 
of our Lord, and made it our work to love all, and to do good 
to all, and hurt to none, and with meekness and patience to 
let any hurt us, rather than do any thing for our own de- 
fence, which is against the law of love, we should see that 
Christianity would better thrive, when it would be better un- 
derstood by the practice of the professors. Often have I 
noted that a whole flock of sheep will run away from the 
smallest dog, and yet there are few of them killed by dogs, 
because they are under their master's care ; whereas, a wolf 
or fox is pursued by all, and few of them suffered to live. 
And oft have I observed, that when men that shift for them- 
selves can scarce pass the streets, yet children play in the 
way of carts and coaches without hurt, while every one takes 
it for his care to preserve them, that cannot take care of, and 



preserve themselves. And though the deer that is within 
the park is killed when the owner please, yet he is preserved 
there from others, when the wild and straggling deer that are 
abroad, are a prey to any man that can catch or kill them. 
He that saveth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth it for 
Christ shall save it. 

The Lord establish, strengthen, direct, and preserve you 
to his kingdom, and keep you from the passions of corrupt- 
ed nature, and from the snares and rage of a deceitful, ma- 
licious world. I beseech you continue yet your prayers for 
him that desireth no greater advancement in the world, than 
to be 

The servant of Christ, and 

Helper of your joy, 


.Tune 7, 166*. 



Shewing the Necessity of Holiness. 



It hath been the matter of my frequent admiration, how 
it can be consistent with the natural self-love and reason- 
ableness of mankind, and the special ingenuity of some above 
others, for men to believe that they must die, and after live 
in endless joy or misery, according to their preparations in 
this life, and yet to make no greater a matter of it, nor set 
themselves with all their might to inquire what they must 
be, and do, if they will be saved ; but to make as great a 
business and bustle to have their wills and pleasure for a 
little while, in the small impertinent matters of this world, 
as if they had neither hopes or fears of any greater things 
hereafter. That as some melancholy persons are * csetera 
sani,' as rational as other men in all matters saving some 
one, in which yet their deliration maketh them the pity or 
derision of observers ; so many that have wit enough to 
avoid fire and water, and to go out of the way from a wild 
beast or a madman, yet have not the wit to avoid damnation, 
nor to prefer eternal life before a merry passage unto hell. 
Yea, that some that account themselves ingenious, and men 
of a deeper reach than the unlearned, can see no further 
through the promises or threatenings of God, than through 
a prospective or a tube, and have no wit thatlooketh beyond 
a grave ; yea, are ready to smile at the simplicity of those 


that care whether they live in heaven or hell, and use but as 
much diligence for their salvation, as they use themselves 
for that which Paul accounted dung. 

Many a time I have wondered how the devil can thus 
abuse a man of reason, and such as think themselves no 
fools ! and how such inexpressible dotage can stand with 
either learning, ingenuity, or common understanding ; and 
what shift the devil and these men make to keep them from 
seeing, that have eyes, or from seeing the heavens, that can 
see the smallest dust or atom. But my admiration is abated, 
when I consider that the wit that serveth to move a pup- 
pet is not enough to rule a kingdom ; and that sleeping rea- 
son is as none ; and that it is the very art and business of 
the devil to charm sinners to sleep and wake at once. 
' Dormire Deo, at mundo vigilare ;' to be asleep to God, 
and awake to the world. And that present things engage 
the senses, and call off reason from its work ; and that the 
seeming distance of the life to come, occasioneth the neglect 
of stupid, half-believing souls, till they find it is indeed at 
hand ; even as death, though certain, affecteth few in youth 
and health, as it doth when they perceive that they must pre- 
sently be gone. And withal, that a man is not a man in act 
till he be considerate ; and that it is as good to be without 
eyes, as still to wink. We know what detained ourselves 
so long in sleep and folly, and we know what makes us yet 
so slow, and therefore we may know what it is that thus un- 
maneth others. 

Reader, if thou be one of these unhappy souls ; Whether 
thy brain be so sick as really to think that there is no life 
to come for man, or that there needs no such care and dili- 
gence to prepare for it ; or whether thy heart be so corrupt 
and bad as to be against the things which thou confessest 
to be good and necessary ; or whether thy reason be cast so 
fast asleep, as never soberly to consider of the only thing 
of everlasting consequence and concernment to thyself; or 
whether thy heart be grown so dead and stupid, as to be 
past feeling, and never moved or affected with the things 
which thou hearest and knowest, and considerest to be so 
great and necessary; which ever of these be thy sad condi- 
tion, I have now this one request to thee, as a friend that 
truly desireth thy salvation ; and 1 tender it to thee with a» 
earnest a desire, as if thou sawest me upon my knees en- 


treating thee for the Lord's sake, and for thy souPs sake, 
and as ever thou hopest for the comfort of ii dying man, 
and as ever thou carest what becomes of thy soul for ever, 
and as ever thou wilt answer it to Christ and thy own con- 
science with peace at last, that thou neither deny me, nor 
put me off with a careless reading, nor with contempt or 
disregard. My request to thee is but this reasonable thing. 
That thou wilt so long make a stand in thy way, and grant 
me so much of thy time, as once to read throughout this 
treatise, and seriously to consider of what thou read- 
est, and heartily to beg of God upon thy knees, to teach 
thee and lead thee into the truth, and then to be true to 
God and to thy conscience, and resolvedly to do that which 
thou art convinced is right, and best, and necessary. This 
is all my request to thee at the present. Put me not off 
with a denial or neglect, as thou wilt answer it to God, and 
as thou wilt not be a wilful self-condemner. Hast thou 
spent so many hours and days in vain, and cannot I beg a 
few hours of thee, to read and think of thy everlasting state ? 
If thou darest not read and think of what can be said about 
such things as these, it is a sign thy case is indeed so bad, 
that thou hast more need than others to read and think of 
them. I know the devil dare not give thee leave to do it, if 
he can hinder thee ; for fear lest thy eyes should be opened 
to see, and thy heart awakened to feel the things which he 
so laboureth to keep away from thy sight and feeling, till it 
be too late. And wilt thou grant him his desire to thy dam- 
nation, or Christ and his servants their desire to thy salva- 
tion ? Think of it well before thou answer it by word or 

Being in hope that thou hast granted my request, (to 
read, consider, pray for help, and faithfully do what God 
shall teach thee,) I shall now begin to open thee the way to 
the matter of this treatise. The sum of my business is to 
teach thee, (1 Tim.iv.8.) that " bodily exercise (in religion) 
profiteth little, but godliness is profitable to all things, 
having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which 
is to come." I think it meet therefore to tell thee here in 
the beginning, what Godliness is, which the apostle distin- 
guisheth from * bodily exercise,' in matters of religion, and 
which I have proved so necessary and excellent in this trea- 
tise. And this 1 must do ; 1. Lest thou deceive thy soul by 


taking something else for Godliness. 2. And lest thou lose 
thy labour in the reading of this book, and hearing what 
Scripture and preachers say for Godliness. And 3. Lest 
thou wrong me and thyself, (according to the custom of this 
malicious age,) by imagining that by Godliness, I mean 
either superstition, or hypocrisy, or schism, or that I am 
persuading thee to sedition, humour, or needless singu- 
larity, under the name of Godliness and religion. I shall 
therefore tell you distinctly here. What Godliness is indeed; 
and what it is not. 

In general. Godliness is our devotedness to God. 
And all these things following are essential to it, and of in- 
dispensable necessity to salvation. 

I. That materially it contains these three things. 

1. The true internal principle, soul, and life of Godli- 
ness ; which is the Spirit of God ; Rom. viii. 9. The Di- 
vine nature ; 2 Pet. i. 4. The new, and soft, and single 
heart ; Jer. xxxii. 39. Ezek. xi. 19. The seed of God abid- 
ing in us ; 1 John iii. 9. 

2. The intention of the true ends of Godliness ; which is 
the reward in heaven; Matt. v. 11, 12. Luke xviii. 22. 
Matt. vi. 20,21. Rom. viii. 17, 18. The pleasing of God 
and the beatifical vision and fruition of him with Christ and 
his triumphant church in the New Jerusalem for ever. 

3. The reception and observation of the true rule of God- 
liness ; which is the will of God revealed partly in nature, 
and fully in the Holy Scriptures. This must be in our very 
hearts; Psal. xxxvii. 31. Jer. xxxi. 33. and with delight 
we must meditate in it day and night; Psal.i. 2. To cast 
away and despise the law of God, is the brand of the rebel- 
lious ; Isa. V. 24. 

II. It is essential to Godliness that it formally contains 
these three relations. 

1. It is adevotedness of ourselves, as his own, to God 
as our OWNER, or Proprietary, or Lord; quitting all pretence 
to any co-ordinate title to ourselves, and resigning ourselves, 
absolutely, (and all that we have) to him that by the right of 
creation and redemption is our Lord ; Psal. c. 3. cxix.94. 
John xvii. 6. 

2. Godliness containeth a devotedness of ourselves as 
subjects, to God as our supreme and absolute Governor, to 
rule us by his laws, his oflScers, and his Spirit ; to give up 


ourselves to be ruled by him as our King ; to learn of him as 
our Teacher ; to work for him as our Master ; to fight under 
him and follow him as our Captain and Commander ; Isa. 
Ixiii. 19. ix. 6. Luke xix. 27, &c. 

3. Godliness containeth a devotedness of ourselves as 
beneficiaries to God in Christ as our great Benefactor in 
love and gratitude ; or as children to our reconciled Father, 
to love him, and thankfully obey him, and depend on him, 
and be happy in his love. 

III. It is essential to Godliness, and necessary to salva- 
tion, that this devotedness to God be with a true renuncia- 
tion, resistance, and forsaking of three great contraries or 
enemies to God and us. 

1. Of the devil ; as the deceiver and principle of wick- 

2. Of the world (its profits, honours, and pleasures), as 
the bait by which the devil would deceive us, and steal away 
our hearts from God, and take up our time, and turn our 
thoughts from the one thing necessary. 

3. Of the flesh, as the rebelling faculty that would exalt 
itself above our reason, and be pleased before God, and so 
would take its pleasure as our felicity and end, instead of 
the true felicity and end. 

IV. It is essential to Godliness subjectively, that God 
have the preeminence above all creatures ; 1. In the habi- 
tual estimation of our judgments, preferring him as the 
Most Great, and Wise, and Good, before all others. 2. In 
the wilFs habitual consent and choice ; refusing all in com- 
parison of him, and choosing him as our Lord, our Ruler, and 
our Best, and consenting truly to the relations in which he 
is offered to us. 3. In the will's resolution to seek him and 
obey him, and endeavour to express these inward principles, 
so as to prefer no competitor before him. 

V. The soul, or internal part of Godliness consisting es- 
sentially in the things already mentioned ; the body of it, or 
Godliness expressive and visible consisteth in these three 

1. In our covenant with God the Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost ; our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier ; our Owner, 
Governor, and Father (or Benefactor). It is essential to vi- 
sible, expressive Godliness, that there be such a covenant 
made ; and regularly it is to be solemnized by baptism. And 


those that are baptized in infancy, must necessarily renew, 
and perform it themselves when they come to age, and that 
understandingly, deliberately, freely, and seriously. 

2. Godliness visible and expressive consisteth in our pro- 
fession of that devotedness to God, and that forsaking of the 
devil, the world, and the flesh, which we have before describ- 
ed as the essence of internal godliness, and to which in the 
holy covenant we oblige ourselves. Christ will be confess- 
ed before men, and will be ashamed of them before God 
and angels, who are so far ashamed of him before men, as 
ordinarily to refuse to own him and confess him. Thepub*- 
lic worshipping of God in Christ, in prayer, thanksgiving, 
praises, and sacrament, is appointed as the professing acts, 
by which we openly own our Lord. And therefore ordina- 
rily the assembling ourselves together for this public wor- 
ship is not to be forsaken, through negligence or fear ; but 
with Daniel we must pray though we are sure to be cast to 
the lion's den. For though no duty be at all times a duty, 
yet the disowning of our God, or denying him, or being 
ashamed of him, or inordinately afraid of man, is at all times 
a sin. And ordinarily and seasonably to profess true god- 
liness, our subjection and devotedness to God, is essential 
to external godliness. 

3. Visible, expressive Godliness doth essentially consist 
in the practice of our fore-described covenant and profes- 
sion. That our faces be truly heavenwards, and that our 
walk be in the way of God, though we sometimes slip and 
stumble, and if we step aside, that we turn not back again, 
but return by repentance in our way. That the drift, and 
aim, and bent of our lives be for God and our salvation, and 
that there be in us no sin, which truly and habitually we had 
not rather leave than keep. And that our great business in 
the world be the pleasing of God, and the saving of our 
souls. And that neither honours, nor profits, nor pleasures 
of the flesh, have the preeminence, and be preferred. That 
Christ be not put under the great ones of the world, nor put 
after your commodity, nor put off with the leavings of the 
flesh, but that all be made to stoop to him, and take his leav- 
ings. All this is of necessity to salvation, and essential to 
expressive godliness. 

By this time, reader, thou must easily see, 1. That God- 
liness is not an ineffectual opinion, or dead belief. If thou 


wert the most orthodox professor, or preacher in the world, 
thou art ungodly if thou have no more. All have not faith 
that say the creed. The notional apprehension, and the prac- 
tical judgment are often contrary. The opinion that is in- 
sufficient to change the heart, to move the will, to renew the 
life, shall prove insufficient to save the soul. 

2. You may see that Godliness is not the adhering to a 
party, though such a party as pretendeth to some special ex- 
cellency, or calls itself the only church, or the purest church. 
It is a sin to make and cherish parties, divisions, and fac- 
tions, in the universal church, and it is not godliness to sin. 
A godly man, through weakness, may be of a sinful party, 
but that is contrary to his godliness. He will worship God 
with his best, and be where he may have best advantage to 
his soul, and therefore if he can, will hold personal local 
communion with the best and purest congregations ; but not 
as separating from the rest, and betaking himself to a party 
set against the church universal, or a party sinfully distant 
from others in the church universal. The grand design of 
the devil is, when men will needs look after religion, to 
make them believe that to be of such a church, or party, is 
to be religious, and to trust to that instead of godliness for 
the saving of their souls. And carnal, self-seeking teachers 
are the principal instruments of this deceit ; who for their 
honour or commodity would draw away disciples after them, 
and make poor souls believe that they must be their follow- 
ers, or of their side, or opinion, or church, if they will be 
saved. The Papist saith. You must follow the pope, and be 
of our church, or you are no true catholics, nor in the true 
church, and cannot be saved. And some other sects say the 
like of their churches. And how many thousand ungodly 
wretches do think to be saved, because they are of such a 
church or party. But the catholic, or universal church is 
the whole company of believers headed only by Christ ; and 
godliness must prove thee a living member of this society, 
unless thou wilt be burnt with the withered branches. And 
God will never condemn any one that is truly godly be- 
cause he is not of this sect or party, or of that. And the 
Papists that are the most notorious sect and grand dividers 
of the church, and condemners of the justified, shall know 
one day, that ambition was not true religion ; and that the 
name of unity, and universality and antiquity, were unmeet 


instruments to be used to the destruction of unity, and con- 
tradiction of universality and antiquity ; and that God hath 
s€t apart himself the man that is godly, though the accuser 
of the brethren would cast such out ; Psal. iv. 3. And who 
shall condemn when itiis Christ th at justifieth? Rom. viii.33. 

3. You may see now, that Godliness is not any mere ex- 
ternal act of worship. External worship there must be, and 
that with all decency and reverent behaviour. But it is hy- 
pocrisy if there be nothing but the corpse without the inter- 
nal godliness which is the life and soul. Bodily exercise is 
here by the apostle distinct from godliness. 

4. You may now see that Godliness is not the mere for^ 
bearance of the outward acts or practice of any sin. For 
else a sleep, or a prison might make a man godly by restrain- 
ing him from the acts of sin. He is ungodly that would ra- 
ther live in the sin which through some restraint he doth 
forbear. If you would do it, you have done it, in God's ac- 

5. You may see also that whatsoever religiousness, obe- 
dience, or endeavours subject Christ to the flesh and world, 
and make him give place to them and come behind, do not 
deserve the name of Godliness. You are not godly, how far 
soever else you go, if God and your salvation take not place 
before all the honours, profits, and pleasures of the world. 
As he is not God that hath any greater, wiser, or better than 
himself; so that is not Godliness which giveth the preceden- 
cy practically to any thing but God ; that pretendeth never 
so highly to honour him, and yet more esteemeth their own 
honour with the world : or that professeth love and obedi- 
ence to him, and yet loveth and obeyeth a lust before him, 
and sets more by love and obedience to themselves, than by 
their own or other men's love or obedience to God. All 
these are the cheating counterfeits of Godliness. 

6. And if none of these be Godliness, much less doth it 
consist in any sin ; in superstition, idolatry, or in cruelty, 
blood, and persecution through a carnal zeal ; in a bringing 
all others by violence to our proijd, impious wills, in mur- 
muring, sedition, rebellion, or resisting lawful powers, under 
pretence of propagating religion. Godliness consisteth not 
in Jesuitical contrivances, and undermining others, and equi- 
vocations and pious frauds. In disturbing kingdoms, kill- 
ing kings, blowing up parliaments, absolving subjects from 


allegiance, and giving away the dominions of temporal lords, 
if they will not obey the pope in exterminating their here- 
tics (as is decreed to be done in the Approved General Coun- 
cil at the Lateran under Innocent 111. Can. 3.) ; nor doth it 
consist in murdering thirty thousand or forty thousand trea- 
cherously in a few weeks, as in France, or much above twice 
as many in Ireland ; nor in butchering Christians by hun- 
dreds or thousands, as they did long ago by the Waldenses 
and Albigenses, and Bohemians ; nor in racking and tormient- 
ing them by inquisition ; nor in frying them in the flames of 
fagots, as in Queen Mary's days, and frequently elsewhere. 
This is the religion of the father of malice, that thirstg for 
blood, and not of the merciful Prince of Peace. Godliness 
is not the running to arms, and pulling down governments 
to set up the proud, selfconceited actors, under pretence of 
setting up Christ and preparing for his kingdom ; snatching 
in their dream at crowns and kingdoms, and finding when 
they awake that they have caught a gallows. When the Friars 
had spawned the turbulent people among us in England, 
that thought they must do any thing, and overturn the go- 
vernments of the world to make Christ the fifth monarch, 
and bring him from heaven to reign visibly on earth before 
he is willing to come, I must confess I oft thought that their 
cunning was much more wonderful to keep these people 
from being undeceived, than at first to deceive them. To 
keep them (in despite of all our discoveries and warnings) 
in such furious blindness, as to go on and do their father's 
work, and rage against these that told them their original, 
and whither they were going. The poor seduced people ne- 
ver read such books as Friar Campanella's ** de Regno Dei, 
et sacerdotio Christi," &c. wherein he brings up all the pro- 
phetical texts in Isaiah, Daniel, &c. which these men use, 
laboureth to shew what a golden age is coming, in which di- 
visions shall cease, and unity become the strength and beau- 
ty of the world, and this by the universal reign of Christ ; 
and what a happy people the saints will be, and how they 
shall then judge and rule the world (and, O the comfort ! the 
time is near), and just such words he useth for his fifth most 
glorious, universal monarchy, as others now do. But when 
all comes to all, the mystery unveiled is but this ; that Christ 
must reign by the pope his deputy; and that all princes and 

VOL. X. c 


nations must submit and stoop ; and their kingdoms must 
all become the kingdoms of the Lord and of his Christ, to be 
governed by his deputy, the pope ; and (the power falsely 
called spiritual, being first well settled) the other key or 
sword also (the temporal), must for unity sake be put into 
the same hand. The heavens therefore should rejoice, and the 
earth be glad, for the Lord thus cometh to judge the world. 
The fifth monarchy is at hand : the universal, holy reign of 
Christ, not by profane princes, but by his Holiness the Pope, 
and by the saints (the Friars, Jesuits, Monks, and Clergy), 
that shall judge the world, to whom ere long all knees shall 

But you will say. We are so far from joining with these 
Friars, that we hate the pope much more than you do. I 
answer. You have received their frame of doctrine of the uni- 
versal fifth monarchy that is at hand. There is but one thing 
to do, and you are theirs ; which is, to convince you that he 
is not to come and reign here personally, but by his great 
vicegerent. And they that could bring you to believe things 
more improbable, may more easily bring you to them from 
your unreasonable conceit. 

Pardon this digression ; I thought meet to tell you that 
Godliness lieth not in breaking the law of God, nor in obey- 
ing pride, nor being the enemies of government and order in 
the world, nor in an impatient striving by right or wrong, to 
break away from the yoke of suffering, that God for our sin 
(or for his cause) shall lay upon us. And now I have fully 
and distinctly told you, what Godliness is, and what is not. 
And now go thy way, malicious soul, and say if thou 
dare, (as the deviFs informers frequently do) that it is sedi- 
tion, or faction, or schism, or disobedience, that we draw the 
people to under the name of Godliness. Hold on if thou wilt 
a little longer in such impudent calumniations against me 
and other ministers of Christ. But know that thy day is 
coming, and that for all these things thou shalt come to judg- 
ment ; and if thou justify the ungodly, yet remember, that 
" It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment ; and 
he that saith to the wicked. Thou art righteous ; the people 
shall curse him, nations shall abhor him ;" Prov. xxiv. 23, 24. 
♦* He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the 
just, even they both are abomination to the Lord ;" chap. 
xvii. 16. *' Woe unto them that call evil good, and good 


evil; that put darkness for light, and light for aarKness ; 
that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter ; — which jus- 
tify the wicked for reward, and take away tlie righteousness 
of the righteous from him. Therefore as the fire devoureth 
the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root 
shall be rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as the 
dust ; because they have cast away the law of the Lord ot 
Hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel ;" 
Isa. v.20.23,24. Let the malicious serpent accuse Job 
before God ; in the end it shall turn to his own confusion. 
And if any of the princes of the earth, will by dogs be pro- 
voked to destroy the priests, or by jealousy kindled by ma- 
licious whisperers, be incited to do by the servants of Christ, 
as they did by the Waldenses, Bohemians, and Protestants 
in many places, &c. we will remember the memorable words 
of David, 1 Sam. xxvi. 18, 19. and let the sufferers imitate 
him in the submissive part, " Wherefore doth my Lord pur- 
sue after his servant? For what have I done, or what" evil is 
in my hand ? Now therefore I pray thee let my Lord the 
King hear the words of his servant. If the Lord have stirred 
thee up against me, let him accept an offering. But if it be 
the children of men, cursed be they before the Lord ; for 
they have driven me out this day from abiding in the inhe- 
ritance of the Lord, saying, Go serve other gods." (By go- 
ing where they are served.) 

Having fully shewed you what Godliness is, I now be- 
seech thee, reader, to inquire, Whether this described case 
be thine ? Art thou devoted to God without reserve, as be- 
ing not thine own but his? And hast thou devoted all thou 
hast to him with thyself, to be used according to his will? 
Art thou more subjected to his authority, and observant of 
his laws and government, than of man's ? And can his word 
do more with thee, than the word of any mortal man, or than 
the violence of thy lusts and passions ? Art thou heartily 
engaged to him as thy felicity, and dost thou give up thyself 
to him in filial love, dependance, and observance, as to thy 
dearest friend and father ? Dost thou most highly esteem 
him, and resolvedly choose him, and sincerely seek him, pre- 
ferring nothing in thy estimation, choice, resolution, or en- 
deavour before him ? Try by these and the other particulars 
in the description, whether you are godly or ungodly; and 
do it faithfully. For the day is at hand, when the ungodly 


shall not stand in judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of 
the just;" Psal.i.5. 

And besides the marks expressed in the description, let 
me offer you some from the plain words of the text, that you 
may see what God accounteth Godliness, and consequently 
how to judge yourselves. 

1. In John iii. 3. 5, 6. it is written, " Verily, except a man 
be born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. — 
That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is 
born of the Spirit is spirit." " If any man be in Christ, he 
is a new creature ; old things are passed away, behold all 
things are become new ;" 2 Cor. v. 17. ** If any man have not 
the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his ;" Rom. viii.9. 

From these texts you may see, that a heart and life made 
new by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, is absolutely necessary to 
true Godliness. 

2. " O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes ;" 
Psal. cxix. 5. "To will is present with me ;" Rom.vii. 18. 
" Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none on 
earth, &c. ;" Psal. Ixxiii. 25. " The desire of our soul is to 
thy name, and to the remembrance of thee ;" Isa.xxvi. 8. 

From these and such like texts it is evident, that the 
principal desires of a godly man, and the choice of his will 
is to be what God would have him be. 

3. *' His delight is in the law of the Lord, and therein 
doth he meditate day and night ;" Psal. i. 2. *' As newborn 
babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow 
thereby;" lPet.ii.2. 

From these and such like texts it is manifest. That all 
the godly do love the word of God, as the food of their 
souls, and the director of their lives. 

4. " Lay up for yourselves a treasure in heaven, &c. 
For where your treasure is, there will your hearts be also. 
Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness ;" 
Matt. vi. 20, 21.33. "Enter in at the strait gate — strive 
to enter in — for many shall seek and shall not be able ;" chap, 
vii. 13. Luke xxiv. " Give diligence to make your calling 
and election sure ;" 2 Pet. i. 10. 

From these and such texts you may discern, that Godli- 
ness consisteth in such diligence for salvation, as to seek it 
before any earthly things, and not think the labour of a holy 
life too niucli for it. 


5. Rom. viii. 1 . 5. 6—8. 13. Gal. v. 18, 19. Read them, 
and you will see that Godliness consisteth in living after the 
Spirit, and not after the flesh, and in mortifying the deeds 
of the body by the Spirit, living not by sensuality, but by 

6. " And this is the condemnation, that light is come 
into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, be- 
cause their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil 
hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds 
should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the 
light," &c. John iii. 19, 20. " And the king of Israel said to 
Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah, by whom we 
may inquire of the Lord. But I hate him ; for he doth not 
prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat 
said. Let not the King say so ;" 1 Kings xxii. 7,8. 

From these and such like texts you see, that the godly 
love the discovering light, and the most certain, faithful 
preacher ; but the ungodly cannot endure the light which 
sheweth them their sins, nor love the preachers that tell them 
their sin and misery. 

7. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, 
if you love one another ;" 1 Cor. xiii. John xiii. 35. " We 
know that we have passed from death to life, because we 
love the brethren ;" 1 John iii. 14. ** In whose eyes a vile 
person is contemned, but he honoureth them that fear the 
Lord ;" Psal. xv. 4. 

From these and such like texts it is evident, that all 
that are truly godly, have a special love to those that are 
godly. They love and honour Christ in his image of saints. 

8. Acts ii. 42. and iv. 32. You may see, that the godly 
love the communion of saints, to join with them in holy 
doctrine, fellowship, and prayers. 

9. " Pray continually ;" 1 Thess. v. 17. " Christ spake 
a parable to them to this end, that men ought always to pray, 
and not to wax faint ;" Luke xviii. 1. " Behold he prayeth ;" 
Acts ix. 1 1 . "I will pour out — the spirit of prayer and sup- 
plication — ;" Zech. xii. 10. " The Spirit helpeth our infir- 
mities ; for we know not what to pray for as we ought," &c. 
Rom. viii. 26. 

From all these and such like it is evident, that prayer is 
the breath of a godly man. He is a man of prayer. When 
he wanteth words, he hath desires with tears or groans. 


10. *'This people draweth near me with their lips, but 
tb6ir hearts are far from me— ;" Matt. xv. 8,9. "God is a 
Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit 
and in truth;" John iv. 23, 24. 

From such texts it is evident, that every godly man doth 
make the inward exercise of his soul the principal part of 
his worship unto God, and doth not stick in bodily exer- 
cise, or lip service. 

11. "As forme and my household, we will serve the 
Lord;" Josh. xxiv. 15. So Deut. vi. and xi. and 1 Pet.ii. 
17, 18. and iii. 10. and Eph. v. and vi. 

From many such texts it is evident, that godly men de- 
sire the sanctification of others, and make conscience of the 
duties of their relations, and would have their households or 
friends to serve the Lord as well as they. 

12. Luke xi V. 26. 33. xviii. 22. Matt. x. 37. Rom. viii. 

From these and other texts it is evident, that all things 
are below Christ and heaven in the practical esteem of a 
godly man, and that he will forsake them all rather than he 
will forsake him. All these are Scripture marks of Godli- 

Having hastily run over these things to help you in the 
trial, I will add some directions to help you in the practice, 
and therein yet more fully to acquaint you. Wherein true 
Godliness doth consist. 

Briefly to lay down before you first the mere enumeration 
of the chief points wherein sound Godliness doth consist, to 
help your memories, while you see them close together. 1. 
Sound Godliness consisteth in a solid understanding of the 
substantial points of religion. 2. In a sound belief of the 
truth of God's word, and the reality of the unseen things. 
3. In an adhering to the holy Scriptures as the divine rule 
of faith and life. 4. In the love of God in Jesus Christ, ex- 
cited by the belief of his love revealed by Jesus Christ. 5. 
In true humility, and low thoughts of ourselves, and low ex- 
pectation from others. 6. In a heavenly mind that most re- 
gardeth the things above, and seeketh them as our only fe- 
licity at home. 7. In self-denial, and mortification, and 
temperance, and victory over the desires of the flesh. When 
we can deny our own conceits, and interests, and wills for 


God j and are dead to the world, and are not servants to our 
fleshly appetites or senses, or to the things below. 8. In 
thankfulness for received mercies, and praising the glorious 
name of God. 9. In the willing and diligent use of the 
means that God hath appointed us for salvation. 10. In 
charity or love to all men, even our enemies ; and a special 
love to true believers. 11. In a love to the holy commu- 
nion of saints, especially in public worship. 12. In a ten- 
der desire of the unity of the saints, and their concord and 
increase of charity ; and a trouble at their discord and divi- 
sions. 13. In dealing justly in our places with all men, and 
carefully avoiding all that may be injurious to any. 14. In 
studying to do all the good we can, and doing it to our 
power; especially to the household of faith. 15. Inacon- 
scionable discharge of the duties of our relations, as rulers, 
teachers, parents, masters, subjects, and inferiors. 16. In 
watchfulness against temptations, and avoiding occasions of 
!>in. 17. In serious preparations for sufferings and death, 
and patient bearing them when they come. These are the 
things that Godliness doth consist in. 

And now out of all I will draw up ten practical direc- 
tions, which in a special manner I would entreat you to prac- 
tise, if you would be solidly godly, and not be deceived 
with names or counterfeits. 

Direct. 1. Be sure to live upon the substantial of re- 
ligion, and let them receive no detriment by a pretence of 
zeal for lesser points : lay not your religion in uneffectual 
opinions ; and let lower truths and duties keep their places, 
and not be set above the higher. 

Direct. 2. See that your religion be principally seated in 
the heart. Understand it as well as you can (lest it be taken 
from you) ; but never think it is savingly your own while it 
is but in the brain. So much you believe indeed as you 
love, and as hath imprinted the image of God upon your 
hearts. Ever see that your wills be resolved for God and 
holiness ; and that you be able truly to say, I would be per- 
fect ; and I would fain be better than I am. 

Direct, 3. Be sure you take up with God alone, as your 
whole felicity, and think not that there is a necessity of the 
approbation of men, or of liberty, plenty, life, or any thing 
besides God. Do not only think that there is a God, and 
a life of glory for you, but live upon them, and be moved 


and actuated by them ; trust to them, and take them for 
your part. Live by faith, and not by sight. 

Direct. 4. Live dfiily upon Christ as the only Mediator, 
without whom we have no access to God, acceptance with 
him, or receivings from him. Look for all that you have 
from God to come by him ; live on him for reconciliation, 
for teaching, for preservation, for communication, for con- 
solation, and for salvation. Let Christ make your thoughts 
of God more familiar, as now reconciled and condescending 
to us. 

Direct. 5. Obey the sanctifying motions of the Spirit: 
and if you have disobeyed, repent ; not despairing, but re- 
turning to obedience ; but see that you live not in any 
known sin, which a sanctified will can enable you to avoid. 
Resist sins of passion; but most carefully take heed of sins 
of interest, deliberately chosen, and kept up as necessary or 

Direct. 6\ Make it the principal work of your religion and 
your lives, to inflame your hearts with the love of God, as 
he is presented amiable in his wonderful grace in Jesus 
Christ. Strive no further to affect your hearts with fears 
or griefs, or other troubling passions, than as tendeth to the 
work, of love, or is a just expression of it. Go daily to pro- 
mises, and mercies, and Christ, and heaven, of purpose for 
fuel to kindle love : be much therefore in thankfulness and 
praise, which are works of love. All goeth on sweetly, and 
easily, and acceptably that is carried on by love. That is 
the best soul, and most like to God, that hath most of love 
to God and godliness. And that is the best service, and 
most like to the work of heaven, that hath most of love. 
Let the principal striving and pleading with your hearts be 
to kindle love ; and your principal complaints, for the want 
of it. 

Direct, 7. Keep up charity to all, even unto enemies ; 
and special love to all the godly. And therefore hate back- 
biting and slandering, and making the worst of other men's 
actions : take them as thieves that come to rob you of your 
charity. He that speaks evil of another, persuadeth you so 
far to hate him, (unless it be in charity, persuading you to 
seek his cure.) Hear the reproacher and backbiter under- 
$tandingly, as if he said in words, as he doth in sense, * I 
pray you hate such a man, or abate your love to him.' As 


the way to cause love is to represent the object lovely, which 
doth much m^re than command me to love it ; so the way 
to cause hatred, is to represent the object hateful or unlove- 
ly, which is more than to bid us hate our brother. And he 
that hateth his brother is a manslayer ; and none such have 
eternal life abiding in them. Away therefore with those 
volumes of learned slanders and reproaches, begotten be- 
twixt uncharitableness and self-love, (or pride ;) and take 
them as the devil's books, that are written to draw thee to 
hate thy brother. Frown also upon the censorious : take 
heed also of divisions and parties, because they are enemies 
to universal love, and are but imposthumes or boils of the 
church, where zeal and love are diseasedly drawn into a nar- 
row compass ; and that is appropriated to a few, that should 
be common to all believers. Cherish meekness and pa- 
tience, and reject all that carnal zeal or envy, contention 
and animosities, which are contrary to love. Read and 
study well the third chapter of St. James, and the epistle of 
St. John. 

Direct. 8. Understand the preciousness and use of time. 
Love diligence the better, because it is a redeeming of time ; 
a doing much in a little time. Hate that which would rob 
you of so precious a commodity. 

Direct. 9. See that there be no predominant selfishness 
or worldly interest unmortified at the heart. Study duty, 
and do it faithfully, and trust God with life, estate, and 
events ; and shift not for yourselves by sinful means. 

Direct, 10. Maintain your authority over your sense and 
fleshly appetites. Captivate not reason to the brutish part ; 
especially under pretence of liberty. Use your bodies as 
may strengthen them, and best fit them for the work of 
God : let them have so much delight in things allowed as 
conduceth to this; but take heed of making the delights of 
flesh and sense your end, or allowing yourselves in an unpro- 
fitable pleasing of your enemy ; or of corrupting your minds, 
and relishing too much sweetness in the things of the flesh, 
and losing your relish of spiritual things. Set not the bait too 
near you : keep the gunpowder from the fire. He that believ- 
eth that if ever he be damned, it will be for pleasing his flesh 
before God, and if ever he be saved, he must be first and 
principally saved from the inordinate pleasures of the flesh. 


will not be so forward as brutish infidels are, to seek out for 
delights, and plead for all that pleaseth them as harmless. 

Having thus in the introduction shewed you what God- 
liness is, and how it may be known, and what you must 
do to be soundly and gjincerely godly, I hope you are pre- 
pared for the following discourse, of the Certain Necessity 
and Excellency of Godliness, which tends to fetch over the 
delaying, resisting, unresolved wills, of those that are yet in 
the BRUTISH state, and are strangers to the dispositions, 
employments, desires, hopes, and joys of true believers. 
The Lord concur effectually with his blessing. Amen. 

LUKE X. 41,42. 

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou 
art careful and troubled about many things; but one thing 
is needful ; and Mary hath chosen that good part which shall 
not be taken away from her. 

In order to the decision of the great controversy practically 
managed through the world. Whether Godliness or Worldli- 
ness and Sensuality be better? I have already performed 
the first part of my task, in proving the certainty of the 
principles of Godliness and of Christianity ; which of itself 
will infer the conclusion, which I undertake to prove, that 
the reasons for Godliness are so sure, and clear, and great, 
that every one must be a saint or a brute. He that will 
not choose a life of holiness, hath no other to fall into but 
a life of sensuality. Either the superior faculties proper 
to a rational nature must be predominant ; and then we can 
be no less than saints : or else the inferior, brutish facul- 
ties will be predominant; and then, (though from your na- 
tural powers you are called men, yet) if you may be deno- 
minated from your intended end and from the use of your 
faculties in order to that end, you are but an ingenious 
kind of brutes ; exceeding apes and monkies in the cun- 
ning contrivance of your unhappy designs, but incompara- 
bly worse in your successes ; because you were indeed in- 
trusted with the noble faculties and gifts of men, while you 


captivated them unto your appetites and sense, and lived but 

to the END of BEASTS. 

The second thing that I have to do, for the conquering 
all opposition to this conclusion, is to prove the N ecessity 
of holiness, which (beingnow to speak to such as profess 
to believe the Holy Scriptures,) I may easily do from this 
plain and pregnant text. To which I shall annex such co- 
gent reasons as may silence those that will not acquiesce 
in the authority of the holy word. 

So great is the difference between a dreaming opinion 
in religion, (called a dead faith,) and a serious, hearty, prac- 
tical belief, that if they that say (and do but say) they be- 
lieve the Holy Scriptures, and yet are ungodly, had soundly 
believed, considered, and digested this very text, it would 
have made such a change both in their hearts and lives, as 
would have told them by happy experience, that the Gospel 
is not a dead letter, nor saving faith a lifeless, ineffectual 
thing ; and that God sent not his Son into the world only to 
be complimented with, and reverently treated with a few 
good words ; nor his Gospel and ministers merely to be en- 
tertained with a demure, silent, and respectful audience ; 
nor hath proposed his kingdom to be merely the matter of 
commendation or discourse. But that as man is a creature of 
a noble and capacious nature, so he hath a high and noble 
end, and consequently the highest employment for his rea- 
son ; and that religion is the most necessary and must be 
the most serious business in the world. Did they believe 
this text, as verily they pretend to believe the Gospel, it 
would help to the recovery of the understandings of the 
ambitious, and make the proud ashamed of their glory, and 
settle the drunken, aspiring minds of those that think ^ it 
worth more than their salvation, to sit upon the highest 
perch. It would call off the covetous worldling his immo- 
derate seeking provisions for the flesh, and save them that 
are drowned in the cares of this life, by shewing them the 
true and necessary treasure. It would spare them many a 
vexatious thought, and a great deal of unnecessary labour, 
and prevent the shame and horror that must befal them, when 
in the end they find their labour lost, and all their expecta- 
tions frustrated. It would quickly stop the mouths which 
prejudice, ignorance, malignity, enmity and deliration have 
opened against a life of faith and serious godliness ; and 


cause them that scorn it as a needless thing, to make it their 
daily business and delight. It would tell the sluggish, sense- 
less sinner, that he hath work of everlasting consequence 
upon his hand, and that it is no time to dream or loiter : and 
it would tell the brutish sensualist that there are more sweet 
and durable delights ; and the time-wasting fool that time 
is precious, and he hath none to spare and cast away, having 
so great a work to do. It would set men on seeking with 
greatest diligence, the kingdom which before they did but 
dream of; and would turn the very stream of their hearts 
and lives on that which before they minded but as on the 
by. In a word, it would make the earthly to become hea- 
venly-, and the fleshly spiritual, and the slothful to be dili- 
gent, and rotten-hearted sinners to become renewed saints, 
as all must do that ever will be saved. And if these words 
of Christ be not thus received by you, and work not such 
wonders on men's hearts, it is not because there is any want 
of fitness in the text, but because men's hearts are hardened 
into a wilful contempt of the most precious truths, which in 
themselves are apt to change and save them. 

Of all ways of teaching, history is accounted one of the 
most effectual ; because it hath the greatest advantage on 
our apprehensions, as setting our lesson before our eyes in 
the great character of example, and not only in the smaller 
letter of a naked precept. And of all history, what can be 
more powerful, than, 1. Where one of the actors is the eter- 
nal Son of God ; and that not above our reach in heaven, 
but here in our flesh, on the stage of this sublunary world ? 
2. And the other actors are such as most fitly represent the 
different actions of all the world, at least that live within 
the sound of the Gospel ; and lay open the great question 
about which the world is so much divided. 3. And when 
the matter itself is of the greatest consequence that can be 
imagined ; even concerning the present choice and resolu- 
tion of our hearts, and that expending of our time, and that 
business and employment of our lives, on which our endless 
life dependeth. All this you have here set out even to the 
life, before your eyes, in the glass of this example in my text : 
and the Lord of life doth call you all to see your faces in 
it ; and here plainly sheweth you what will be expected from 
you ; and what you must be, and do, and trust to ; and this 
not in any long and tedious discourse, that might overwhelm 


your memories, or weary your attentions; but in very brief, 
though full expressions. 

As Jesus entered into Bethany, Martha (who it seems 
wias the owner of the house) received and entertained him. 
No doubt but a great company followed Jesus ; or his disci- 
ples, that ordinarily accompanied him, at least. Martha 
thinks that having entertained such a guest, it were a great 
neglect, if she should not provide for him and for his fol- 
lowers ; and therefore she is busy in doing what she can ; 
but the number is so great, that she is oppressed with the 
care and trouble, and findeth that she hath more to do than 
she is able : her sister, that she thought should have helped 
her in such a case, is sitting with the disciples at the feet of 
Christ, to hear his word. Martha seeing this, is offended at 
her sister, and seems to think thatChrist himself is too neg- 
lective of her, or partial for her sister ; and therefore thus 
pleads her cause with Christ, " Lord, dost thou not care 
that my sister hath left me to serve alone ? Bid her there- 
fore that she help me." As if she had said, * Is it a fit thing 
that both thyself and all this company should be unprovided 
for, and have neither meat nor drink ? Or is it fit that all 
should be laid on me, even more than I can do, while she 
sits hearing with the disciples ? Deal equally and merci- 
fully, and bid her help me.' And indeed most people would 
think that this was but a reasonable motion, and that when 
Christ was made the judge between them, he should have 
decided the case on Martha's side ; but he did not so : But, 
1. Instead of commending Martha for her care and diligence, 
he sheweth her error, by a gentle, but yet a close reproof: 
*' Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many 
things." 2. Instead of reproving Mary for negligence of 
her duty in the house, he highly commendeth her for the 
seasonable doing of a greater work : " Mary hath chosen 
the good part." 3. He groundeth the reason of his judg- 
ment on the different nature and use of their employments : 
** One thing is needful ;" in comparison of which, the rest 
were all unnecessary things, and such as then might have 
been neglected. 4. And so he passeth sentence on Mary's 
side, that the good part which she hath chosen, " shall not 
be taken away from her :" in which he not only answereth 
Martha with an express denial, as if he should say, ' I will 
not take off Mary from the work which she hath chosen ;' 


but also on that occasion doth point out the durable nature 
of the good which she had chosen, and promise the con- 
tinuance of it. 

Concerning Martha, some expositors run into two ex- 
tremes. Some think that she was an unregenerate world- 
ling, and savoured only fleshly things, and that these words 
of Christ describe her state as one that had not yet made 
choice of the one thing needful, and the better part. But 
it is only her present action that Christ doth reprehend and 
censure, and not her state. Her entertainment of Christ, 
and speeches to him, and other passages, give us great pro- 
bability that she was a true disciple, as after it is said that 
Jesus loved her ; John xi. 5. 

On the other side, one learned annotator thus paraphras- 
eth the words of Christ to Martha, * Thou takest a great 
deal of unnecessary, though not culpable pains;' as if 
Christ's words were no reprehension of her, nor her course 

But the plain truth lieth between these two extremes. 
Martha, though most probably a true disciple, was here to 
blame, in preferring a lesser duty before a greater, and doing 
that unseasonably, which in due time was to be done, and 
in neglecting an opportunity for the hearing of Christ's word, 
which Mary took. It was not only blameless, but a duty in 
itself to make provision for Christ and his attendants ; but 
she should have been hearing first while he was preaching, 
and taken that opportunity for the benefit of her soul. It 
was no ordinary preacher that was come under her roof: 
his stay was not like to be long : his doctrine concerned her 
salvation : she knew not whether ever she should have the 
like opportunity again ; and therefore she should have rather 
stayed for his own direction, when to go make provision for 
their bodies, than to have omitted the hearing of his word. 

But you will ask perhaps, * When a sermon and other 
worldly business fall out at once, are we always bound to 
hear the sermon?' 

I answer, no, not always ; for else in great cities that have 
frequent preaching, you should do nothing else but hear. 
We have a body as well as a soul, and must have meet em- 
ployment for both ; and must make due provision for both ; 
and must be serviceable to the bodily welfare of others, and 
to the common good. Our bodily labour and temporal em- 


ployment must be conscionably followed, as well as our spi- 
ritual ; for God hath determined that ** in the sweat of our 
faces we shall eat our bread ;*' Gen. iii. 19. And even in 
innocency Adam was put into the garden to dress or till and 
keep it ; Gen. ii. 15. With quietness we must ** labour and 
eat our own bread ; and if any will not work, neither should 
he eat ;" 2 Thess. iii. 10. 12. See PauFs example, " Neither 
did we eat any man's bread for nought ; but wrought with 
labour and travail night and day, that we might not be 
chargeable to any of you ;" 2 Thess. v. 8. We must " la- 
bour, working with our hands, that we may have to give to 
him that needeth ;" Ephes. iv. 28. And if our bodies have 
not competent employment, they will grow such rusty, unfit 
instruments for the soul to work by, that when melancholy 
or other diseases have disabled them, the soul itself will have 
the loss ; and he that will do nothing but hear, and pray, 
and meditate, is likely shortly to be scarce able to pray and 
meditate at all, (unless it be one of a very strong and health- 
ful constitution). 

No one therefore from this determination of Christ to 
Martha, is to be driven from their lawful calling into a con- 
trary extreme. But this was not the case between Mary and 
Martha : it was a special opportunity which then was to be 
taken. We must first seek God's kingdom, and its righ- 
teousness, and prudently take such opportunities for our 
souls as we can, without omitting greater duties, and as our 
case requireth ; not taking as much food as we can ingest, 
but as much as we can digest : it is possible to eat too much, 
but not to digest too well. A Christian must have prudence 
when two duties come together, to know which at that pre- 
sent time is the greatest, and to be preferred ; which de- 
pendeth much on the necessity, and the ends ; the good that 
will follow the doing of them, and the hurt that will follow 
the omission. And without this prudential discerning of 
time and duty, we shall never order our conversations right, 
but shall live in a continual sin when we are doing that, 
which in its own nature and season is our duty. 

A poor man may not read and hear so frequently as a 
rich (ordinarily) ; nor a servant as the master ; because there 
would greater evils follow the omission of their common la- 
bour at that time. 

Thus much being said for the explication of the text, 


there is no more necessary but what will fall in most conve- 
niently with the matter. The sense is, as if Christ should 
have said, 'Martha, Martha, I know thou dost all this in 
love to me, and meanest well in it ; and it is no more than 
what is thy duty in its proper season ; but O ! what is the 
food that perisheth in comparison of that which endureth to 
everlasting life ! It is my meat and drink to do the will of 
him that sent me, in feeding and in saving souls. Thou hadst 
now an opportunity to hear my word, the word of the Son of 
God, thy Saviour, and thereby to have promoted thy ever- 
lasting happiness, as Mary doth ; and this should have been 
preferred even before this provision for our bodies ; and if 
for this thou hadst now omitted thy care and labour about 
meat and drink, I would not at all have been offended with 
thee : thou hadst thy choice, and Mary had her choice ; thou 
hast chosen care and trouble about many things, and made 
thyself a great deal ado ; but Mary hath chosen that one 
thing that was necessary, which is the better part, and there- 
fore it shall not be taken from her, but she shall possess the 
benefit of her choice,* 

Where note, for the fuller understanding of it, the true 
opposition between the case of Mary and Martha. 

1. As to the matter ; Martha had many things in hand, 
a multifarious care and trouble ; but Mary had but one. 

2. As to the manner and effects of their employments ; 
Martha was full of care and troubles, distracted or disturbed 
by the cumbrance of her businesses ; but Mary was quietly 
hearing and learning how to be free from care and trouble, 
and how to attain everlasting rest. 

3. As to the quality of their business ; Martha's was of 
less necessity or concernment, though good and honest in its 
place ; but Mary's was about the thing of absolute necessity. 

Also Martha's was good in its season, but a lesser good ; 
but Mary's was that good part, which containeth all other 
good or referreth to it, and therefore was to be preferred. 

4. And therefore as to the continuance ; Mary's being a 
more eligible employment, and about an everlasting treasure, 
shall not be taken from her, when the fruit of Martha's em- 
ployment will quickly have an end. 

Yet in these different cases, each one had her choice ; 
had Martha chosen better, she had had better. And the 
choice much proceeded from the judgment and disposition : 


Had she judged better, and been inclined better, Martha 
would have chosen better. 

Before we come to the principal Doctrines, we may pro- 
fitably note these observations by the way : 

1. Note here, that the nearest natural relations (as bro- 
thers and sisters, yea, parents and children) are not always 
of one mind or way in thematters of their salvation. Greater 
diiference may be between them, than this between Martha 
and Mary in the text. They may rise up against each 
other, and seek each others' lives, as Christ foretold, Mark 
xiii. 12. And therefore father, mother, brother, sister, and 
all are to be denied for Christ (that I say not hated, as Christ 
saith, Luke xiv. 26.) when they stand in opposition to him. 
The same parentage and education made not Esau and Ja- 
cob of a disposition, or of one mind or way ; nor Isaac and 
Ishmael ; nor Shem and Ham ; nor would restrain Cain, the 
first man born into the world, from cruelly murdering his 
brother, upon a difference about their religions, caused by 
his own ungodly mind ; even because his ** own works were 
evil, and his brother's righteous and acceptable to God ;" 
1 John iii. 12. And therefore parents must patiently submit 
(having done their duty), if even the children of their bodies 
should prove reprobates. And brothers and sisters must 
submit, if these in so near a relation be castaways. God 
hath not promised that all our kindred shall be saved. Re- 
joice that you are not yourselves forsaken ; and be glad that 
anjT and so many are sanctified, though further from you in 
the flesh ; and love them in their more excellent relation to 
Christ and you. 

2. Note here, how our Lord doth spend his time in the 
place and company where he is. When he entereth into a 
house, he is presently at work in teaching poor souls the 
way to God ; or else how could Mary have been employed 
in hearing him ? In our places and measure we should imi- 
tate him in this. Can you come into any house or company 
and find nothing to say or do for God ? Are there none wiser 
than yourselves that you may learn of, as Mary did of Christ? 
Nor none more ignorant whom charity requireth you to 
teach ? Nor none that need a quickening word, to mind 
them of their everlasting state ? As soon as worldly, or vain 
ungodly people get together, they are presently upon some 

VOL. X. D 


worldly, or vain discourse. And if you be indeed a heaven- 
ly and spiritual people, should you not be mor€ ready when 
you come together, for heavenly, spiritual discourse ? Have 
you not a thousandfold more to set your tongues on work? 
The necessities of the hearers, the hopes of doing good, the 
presence of God, the sense of the duty, the sweetness of the 
subject, th€ avoiding of sin, and the blessing of God's ac- 
ceptance to yourselves ? O had we but the skill, and will, 
and diligence, that this interlocutory preaching by holy con- 
ference doth require, what a supply-party would it be for 
the promoting of men's salvation, where the more public 
preaching of the Gospel is wanting ? Who can forbid us 
by familiar discourse to exercise our charity, in minding 
poor, regardless sinners of the life to come ? and exhorting 
them to due preparation and repentance ? and to open to 
them the riches of Christ, and set forth his love, and draw 
them to embrace him ? 

3. Note here, how carefully we should take the present 
opportunities of our souls, to hear and learn as Mary did. 
She stands not cavilling like our full-stomach hearers, that 
ask. How can you prove that I am bound to hear such a lec- 
ture, or to come to church and hear a sermon twice on the 
Lord's day, or to come to the minister to ask advice, or be 
instructed by him ? No more than a hungry man will ask. 
How prove you that it is my duty to eat every day ? Or 
than a sick man will say. How prove you that I am bound 
to seek to the physician, to go or send to his house, and to 
look after him? As there is much in the very new nature, and 
health, and relish of a gracious soul, to decide such contro- 
versies as these without any subtlety of argument, so a 
Christian's prudence and care of his salvation will tell him, 
that when Christ hath a voice to speak to him, it beseemeth 
him to have an ear to hear ; and that the sermon telleth the 
hearer the season of his duty, and the offer of a mercy telleth 
when it is our duty to accept it, without any other more par- 
ticular obligation ; unless when we can truly say as before 
God, that some duty that at that time is greater, hindereth 
us. These are easy questions to those that savour the things 
of the Spirit. When Christ is speaking, Mary will be hear- 
ing ; and lesser things shall not call her off. 

If any shall say, * So would we too, if we could hear 
Christ/ I answer. Remember that he never intended to 


abide himself on earth, and teach his church personally by 
his own mouth ; but hath appointed messengers and officers 
to proclaim his law unto the world, and tender them his 
grace, and saith, ** He that heareth you heareth me ; and he 
that despiseth you despiseth me" (Luke x. 16.), and he that 
'* despiseth, despiseth not manbut God ;" 1 Thess. iv. 8. And 
he that will not now believe and hear Christ speaking by his 
ministers, when he is acknowledged to be the Son of God, 
and his sealed word halh had so long possession in the world, 
would hardly have regarded Christ himself in a time when he 
appeared in the form of a servant, and was found in fashion as 
a man, and was believed on but by a few persons then count- 
ed but inconsiderable. 

4. Note also, the humility and teachableness of disciples 
in those times, who were wont to sit learning at their teach- 
er's feet. Which was then an ordinary case, and not of 
Christ's disciples only. Paul was brought up " at the feet 
of Gamaliel;" Actsxxii. 3. Not like the proud and self- 
conceited part of our hearers in these times, that come to 
hear somewhat for their malicious or contentious minds to 
quarrel with, and expect that their teachers tell them nothing 
but what is agreeable to their own conceits, and think us to 
be injurious to them, if we would heal their ignorance or im- 
piety, and make them any wiser or better than they are ; and 
that reproach us and set themselves against us as their ene- 
mies, if we will not be ruled by them, and humour them in 
all our administrations, as if we were the patients and they 
the physicians, we the learners and they the teachers, yea, 
we their servants, and they our guides and rulers in the mat- 
ters of our own office. 

But let us come closer to the words themselves, and con- 
sider of the instructions which they afford us. Which are 

Doct, I. It is but one thing that is of absolute necessity, 
but it is many things tjjat those are taken up with, that neg- 
lect that one. 

Doct. II. The one] thing needful leadeth to content ; but 
the many things of the world do trouble, and disquiet, and 
distract the soul. 

Doct. III. All men where the Gospel is preached, have 
their choice whether they will seek and have the one thing 


necessary, or trouble and distract themselves with the many 
things that are unnecessary. 

Doct, IV. They that choose the one thing necessary, do 
choose the good part ; and they that choose any other, do 
make an evil and unhappy choice. 

Doct. V. The one thing needful shall not be taken from 
them that choose it ; but they that choose it not, shall have 
no better than they choose. 

Doct, VI. Those that make the bad unhappy choice, are 
apt to grudge at them that choose better, and will not think 
and do as they. 

Doct, VII. When the matter is brought before the Lord 
Jesus Christ, he will not take part with those that murmur 
at his servant's choice, and speak against them ; but will 
commend their choice, and condemn the contrary. 

All this you see lie plain here in the text, and it is all 
worthy our larger consideration. But the first is like to 
hold me so long, that to avoid proxility, the rest shall be but 
touched under that. 

Doct, I. One thing is needful. It is one thing only that 
is absolutely necessary j but many things that men busy 
themselves about, that neglect this one. 

In handling this, I must shew you, 

I. In what respect it is that this needful thing is said to 
be but one. 

II. How it is that the troublesome matters of the world 
are called many. 

III. Whereto and how far this one thing is necessary. 

IV. Whether the rest are indeed unnecessary. 

V. I shall assist you in the application of it to yourselves, 
that it may reach the end to which I do intend it. 

I. In what respect is the needful thing but one ? 

Which will be the easier understood, when you know 
what the one thing needful is. And it is, most directly, that 
which is our end. To be saved, and to please the Lord, or to 
glorify God and enjoy him in glory for ever. Which com- 
prehendeth or implieth the necessary means. 

And this blessed state is one, considered, 1. Objective- 
ly. It is one God that we have to please, and to behold, and 
love, and praise for ever. 2. It is one formally ; that is. It 
is only the soul's fruition of this one God that is our end 


and blessedness. And thus the end being principally meant, 
it is said that one thing is necessary ; though the means may 
be more than one that are necessary to obtain it. 

And yet even with respect unto the means, it may be 
said that one thing is necessary, by a general, comprehen- 
sive speech, as one containeth many parts. As to cure a 
sickness may be said to be the one thing needful to preserve 
a man's life ; when yet that cure must be done by many acts 
and means. The means are but one thing as denominated 
from their end ; even our everlasting happiness. And they 
are but one as denominated from their original, they being all 
but the will of God revealed in his word for man's direction 
to salvation. And they are all one in the principal stock that 
proceedeth from this original or root ; and that is, the Lord 
Jesus Christ himself, who is therefore eminently called * the 
way ;' because there is no other way or means, but what 
standeth in a due subordination to the Redeemer as the chief 
means, as well as to the pure Godhead as the end. 

Also as all the means of God's appointment have a union 
of nature or similitude with the end. And as God's image 
is one in all his children, so is it, in their kind and measure, 
in all his ordinances and means. They also in their kind 
and place are partakers of the Divine nature. The name of 
God is as it were written upon them, and his blessed nature 
legible in them. 

Also the means are all but one, as all are parts of one 
holy frame, which most harmoniously concur to the doing 
of one work : as all the wheels and other parts are but one 
coach which carryeth us to our journey's end. As Christ 
and his church are one body (1 Cor.xii. 12.), so Christ and 
all subordinate means for the recovery and salvation of his 
own, are one kingdom of God, and one way to the Father, and 
one salvation ; I shall more fully open it under the next head. 

And now for the negative, you may discern by what is 
said, 1. That here is no such unity as even in the end must 
confound God and man, or his glory and our salvation. 

2. Nor is here any such unity as doth confound the end 
and means ; no, not the Godhead with the manhood of the 
Redeemer, much less with the inferior kind of beings. 

3. Nor is there any such unity as doth confound all the 
means among themselves, and make all one ; or exclude the 
rest by exalting one ; but rather each one doth suppose the 


rest to constitute the perfect frame. Christ doth not exclude 
faith, nor faith exclude repentance ; nor faith and repentance 
exclude obedience ; nor doth the office of one of these e^^- 
clude the use and office of the rest. Public duties exclude 
not private, nor do private exclude public. One part ex- 
cludeth not another. Reading excludeth not preaching, nor 
both of them praying ; but their nature and use bespeaketh 
a conjunction. The whole body is not an eye or hand ; nor 
doth the unity exclude but include even the smallest mem- 

4. Nor is there such a unity as excludeth difference of 
degrees. For one means may be more necessary and excel- 
lent than another. And the same person by growing doth 
differ from himself as he was before ; and one will hereafter 
excel another in glory, as they do in holiness and faithful 
improvement of their talents. 

II. Let us next lay both together, and see how the trou- 
bling matters of the world are called ' many' in opposition 
to this one. 

And 1. Every creature to a sensual man, is made by him 
in some sort his end and god. For he doth not use it only, 
and refer it as the godly do, to an end that is one ; but he 
would enjoy it and make it objectively his end itself, and so 
idolize it. And therefore though in the general notion of 
delight they all agree ; yet materially, what abundance of 
ends and gods have carnal men ? Every sense must have 
its own delight ! The eye must have its delight, and the 
appetite its delight ; and so of the rest. 

2. And also these fleshly baits and pleasures are discor- 
dant even among themselves. They draw the sinner several 
ways ; and one of them fighteth against the other. The 
riches of the sensualist do usually contradict his ease ; and 
often his voluptuous humour ; and his ambition and pride 
doth bridle his disgraceful lusts ; and one sin will not let 
another have its end, but robbeth him of the poor expected 
fruit. And thus they do distract the sinners, and tear their 
very hearts in pieces; and divide and dismember them, 
where God would heal them and unite them in himself. And 
the toilsome cares and labours by which these things must 
be obtained, are many, and oft contrary to each other ; and 
a great deal of stir it is that a deluded sinner makes to little 


The sum then of both these heads is this. The matter 
of a Christian's faith, and religion, desire, hope, and love, is 
therefore called one thing, because God who is one, is the 
sum of all. It is but one sun, though it hath many beams, 
and all those beams are nothing but the emanations of the 
sun ; and have nothing but what they have from it. God 
is all to the religion and soul of a true believer ; and there- 
fore all to him is one. Creatures, and duties, and ordinan- 
ces, which are many, are all but one to him in God. His 
faith beholdeth them, and his affections relish them, as unit- 
ed all in God. 1. As their spring from whom they flow. 
2. And as the life by whom they are all animated ; and as 
the matter and sense which they signify and import. 3. And 
as their end to which they tend, and in which they all ter- 
minate and agree. 

Many branches are but one tree, and have one stock ; and 
many members are one body, because they are animated 
with one soul. Many letters, syllables, and words may 
make one sentence ; and many leaves may make one book, 
and treat but of one subject. Many actions of a plough- 
man are called ploughing, and of a weaver, weaving, &c. as 
being all united in one end. I know these similes have their 
dissimilitude, but this is the sum; that It is God that the 
believer seeth, and seeketh, and loveth, and converseth with, 
and intendeth in all the ordinances of grace, in all his duties, 
and in all the creatures ; and in God they are united, and 
one thing to him. He hath nothing to do at church, or at 
home, in private or public, but live to God, and seek after 
the everlasting enjoyment of him. If weakness and temp- 
tation put any other business into his hands, he is so far 
stepped out of the Christian way. In his very common la- 
bours and mercies (so far as he is holy), God is to him, the 
spring, the life, the sweetness, the beauty, the strength, the 
meaning, and the end of all, and therefore all in all. 

But the creatures in the hands and use of the ungodly, or 
of the godly, so far as they use them sinfully, have no such 
unity. Though in themselves they so depend oh God, that 
none can make a separation, nor can they at all exist with- 
out him ; yet in the sense, estimation, ends, and use of the 
ungodly, the creatures are separated from God, and are as 
branches cut off from the tree ; and departing from God, 
these men are gone from unity, and are lost, distracted and 


confounded in the multitude of the creatures ; and will tie* 
ver have unity till they return to God. 

III. In the next place let us consider. What is the ne- 
cessity that is here spoken of, and how far this one thing is 
necessary to us. 

And 1. One thing is necessary morally, for itself, which 
is our ultimate end. When other things are necessary but 
for that. 

2. Comprehensively of the means we may say, that one 
thing, that is, sanctification, is necessary to the pleasing of 
God ; which is to be regarded, 1. As the end of obedience^ 
and 2. As the end of love ; by the obedient soul in way 
of duty ; and by the loving soul devoted to God, as its de- 

The world hath many contrary masters, and therefore 
hath many things to do to please them ; and when they have 
done their best, they cannot please them all, but may leave 
more displeased than they please. For those that they must 
please, expect impossibilities ; and many a single person 
perhaps may look for as much as you can give to all. And 
they have such contrary interests, which you must humour, 
that the same things that one expects to please him, will ve- 
hemently displease another ; and perhaps the more displease 
the other, because it is pleasing to that one. 

And ourselves have our contrarieties in ourselves, and 
are as hard to be pleased by others or ourselves. We have 
our sensual desires which are unreasonable and inordinate, 
unseasonable and importunate, and will take no nay. A 
sensual, covetous, ambitious fancy, is a bottomless vessel : 
your pouring in doth no whit fill it. It is a devouring gulf; 
a consuming (that I say not an unquenchable) fire. Like the 
horseleech it crieth. Give, give, and the more you give, the 
more it craveth, and is never less satisfied than when it hath 
glutted itself with that from which it seeketh satisfaction. 

But God is one, and with this one thing is he pleased ; 
even with a holy heart and life. He hath no contradictory 
interests or assertions ; and therefore hath no contradictory 
commands ; that which must please him, must be suitable 
to his blessed nature. He is infinite in wisdom, and there- 
fore hath no pleasure in fools, that bring him sacrifice, and 
refuse obedience, and *• know not that they do evil ;" Eccles. 
V. 1. And have not the wit to know what they do, and 


whom they speak to ; and to know that which only is worth 
the knowing. How often do we read him rejecting the sa- 
crifice of the wicked, and casting their most costly offerings 
in their faces, as things that he abhorreth, when they come 
to him without that humble, loving, and obedient heart, which 
herequireth ! " Their oblations are vain, the multitude of their 
sacrifice is to no purpose, and incense is an abomination to 
him ; their feasts and sabbaths his soul hateth, they are a 
trouble to him, he cannot bear them" (Psal. 1. 8. &c. Isa. i. 
11, 12—20.), if they come without the " one thing neces- 
sary." Without this he careth not for their fastings, or for- 
malities ; Isa. Iviii. 5. It is not *' thousands of rams, or ten 
thousand rivers of oil, nor the fruit of their body, if they 
would give it for the sin of their soul," that he will accept. 
" But he hath shewed thee, O man, what is good. And 
what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and love 
mercy, and walk humbly with thy God?" Mich. vi. 7, 8. 
The conclusion of the whole matter is this : " Fear God, and 
keep his commandments ; for this is the whole duty of man ;" 
Eccles. xii. 13. 

You are never the better beloved of God for being rich, 
or honourable in the world, nor yet because you are poor, 
or in a mean condition, nor because you are sick or well, 
weak or strong, comely or uncomely ; but because you love 
him through his Son, and " believe in him whom the Father 
hath sent ;" John xvi. 27. ** Without faith it is impossible 
to please God ;" Heb. xi.6. The " new man must be put on, 
which is renewed in knowledge, after the image of him that 
created him, where there is neither Greek, nor Jew, Barba- 
rian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all in all ;" Col. 
iii.lO, 11. "For in Christ Jesus circumcision availeth no- 
thing, nor uncircumcision, but anew creature, and faith that 
works by love, and the keeping of the commands of God ;" 
Gal.v. 6. vi. 15. ICor.vii. 19. 

This one thing (** even Godliness which is profitable to all 
things) is necessary in us, (supposing the necessaries in 
Christ) to render us acceptable to the holy God. And with- 
out this all the accomplishments imaginable will make us 
but as " sounding brass, or as a tinkling cymbal;" 1 Cor. 
xiii. 1. 

"■ 3. One thing is needful to the saving of our souls ; with- 
out which all things else are vain. There are many ways to 


hell; but to heaven there is but one. There are a thousand 
ways to delude and blind a soul, but only one for its true 
and saving illumination. Erroneous sectaries are blinded in 
some particular points, by the seducing words of men. And 
ungodly sensualists are blinded in the main, and damnably 
err from the necessary, practical doctrines of salvation, be- 
ing deceived by the inclination of their own concupiscence. 
Errors are multifarious, and abound even in many that in- 
veigh most fiercely against the erroneous. But truth is sim- 
ple. We have one Teacher to instruct us, one Spirit to en- 
lighten us, one word of God to be our rule, one light to 
guide us through all the darkness and mazes of the world, 
and recover our deluded, darkened minds. Thousands are 
ready to draw us away from God. Temptations lie thick on 
every hand. Within us, and without us ; before us, and on 
each side. Which way can you look or go, but you will 
meet with baits and snares. And if Eve be once deceived, 
Adam is the more easily overcome. When the appetite and 
senses are ensnared by their objects, and imagination cor- 
rupted, the understanding is in danger of deceit. You may 
go into a hospital, and see a variety of diseases; but health 
is one and the ^ame. One hath the pestilence, and another 
hath the leprosy, and another a palsy, arid another is dis- 
tracted ; but among a thousand people in health, you see no 
such difference. Health only is formally the cure of all. 

What abundance of miserable sinners be in the world, 
that are almost at hell already ? But only one sort of men, 
even the regenerate, are rescued by grace, and shall be saved 
from it. Many inventions have men found out for their de- 
struction ; but there is no way but by Christ, through faith 
and holiness, to their salvation. Set as light by Christ and 
holiness as you will, and deride it as foolishly and perverse- 
ly as you please, you will find at last, that this /way or none 
must bring you to heaven. Either ignorance, or pride, or 
covetousness, or malice, or gluttony, or voluptuousness, or 
lust, or any one sin of a hundred may be your ruin. But 
there is only one salve to heal these sores ; and only one 
cordial or antidote that can expel these several sorts of poi- 
son from your hearts. " Godliness is profitable to all things ;" 
1 Tim. iv. 8. 

Drudge for the world as long as you will, and gape after 
honour, and applause from men, and try a thousand ways for 


your content ; but when you have all done, you must return 
by sound repentance into the way of holiness, or you are 
lost for ever. When you have slighted grace, you must give 
up yourselves to the power of that grace. When you have 
set light by a life of holy love to God, and the fruition of 
him in glory, you must make it your treasure and delight, 
and your hearts must be upon it, or you are undone ; Matt, 
vi. 21. When you have made a jest of a holy life, you must 
come about, and take yourselves that course that you jested 
at, though you be as much jested at by others ; yea, and 
make it the principal business of your lives, or perish in hell 
under the vengeance of the Almighty, whose justice you pro- 
voked, and whose mercy you neglected. Choose you whe- 
ther, but one of them will be your part. Even as Saul, that 
was " exceeding mad against believers, and persecuted them 
even to strange cities" (Acts xxv. 10, 11.), was glad to be- 
come one of them himself, though he suffered as much as he 
had caused them to suffer; and accounted it the greatest 
mercy of his life, that God vouchsafed him such a change, 
whatever it cost him. 

IV. Quest. ' But is nothing necessary but this onp ? Are 
not other things also needful in their places V 

Answ. I told you that other things are not other, so far 
as they stand in due subordination to this one, or are the 
parts of it. He that saith to a sick man, * You would do 
well if you had such a skilful man for your physician/ doth 
not by these words intend to exclude his apothecary, or his 
medicines, or the taking of them, or the instruments and 
means by which they are applied ; but rather includeth and 
implieth all these in the one thing mentioned to which they 
do subserve. So all God's graces, and all the means of 
grace, and Christian duties, are contained or implied in the 
one thing necessary, or supposed to it. Because it is one 
thing that is necessary as the end, therefore many means are 
necessary to the obtaining of it. Though there be also a 
kind of unity (as hath been shewed) among those means. 

Quest, ' But are not outward things also necessary ? Must 
we not have food and raiment? and must we not labour and 
provide it, and take care for our families, and follow our call- 
ings? Must we not by lawful means avoid reproach and 
poverty in the world V 


Atisxu, In the way of duty it is as necessary that we la- 
bour in our callings, and provide things honest, and sub- 
serve God's providence for the maintenance of ourselves and 
others ; and the things of this life are needful so far as life is 
needful, that we may have time and strength to do our 
works, and be supported while we seek the one thing need- 
ful. But that which is not necessary for itself, but for ano- 
ther thing, is not simply or principally necessary. So far 
as heaven may be obtained, and the work of Christianity 
done without the accommodations of the flesh, so far these 
worldly things are needless. There is no necessity that you 
be rich or honourable ; or that you live in health or wealth ; 
or that you escape the hatred, and reproach, and trouble of 
a malicious world ! There is no necessity that you should 
save your lives when Christ requireth them. For he that so 
saveth his life shall lose it ; Matt. xvi. 25. And that use- 
fulness (which you may in a lower sense call necessity) that 
any of these things are of, is but in their respect to the one 
thing necessary, as they are sanctified means to the service 
of God and our salvation. If your daily bread be to be call- 
ed necessary, it is not for itself, or for fleshly pleasure, nor 
ultimately for your life itself; but to sustain your life while 
you are seeking after life eternal, and serving him that is the 
Lord of life. Your credit, or honour, or pleasure in the 
world, are no further necessary or useful to you, than they 
promote this great end for yourselves or others. Nothing 
but God is simply necessary for himself, and nothing else is 
any way truly necessary but for him. 

And therefore as by necessity of precept you must labour 
in your callings, and seek provision for yourselves and fa- 
milies, you must most carefully watch your hearts that your 
desires and labours be not carnal, as tending only to carnal 
ends ; but that you sincerely subject the things desired, to 
the one thing necessary, for which you must desire them ; 
and therefore that you desire but such measures and propor- 
tions, as are most suitable to that end which is only for it- 
self desirable : even life itself must not be desired simply 
and ultimately for itself. 

As you must pray but for your daily bread, and be con- 
tent with food and raiment, so you must see, that these be 
but for better things ; even in order to the doing of the will 


of God, the promoting of his kingdom, and the hallowing of 
his name, which mu^t be first and most desired. The order 
of your duty is, to **seek first the kingdom of God and his 
righteousness," and then other things are promised with it; 
Matt. vi. 33. And therefore for it, must be desired and 

And if your very food and life must be desired but for 
this everlasting end, then it is still but one thing that is ne- 
cessary, and finally to be desired. For the means is willed 
but with an imperfect willing, because not for itself; and 
that only hath our full and perfect love, which is loved for 
itself. Even in the act of love unto the means, it is more 
properly the end that is loved than the means, and the 
means is chosen for that end. So that you see that for all 
the necessity of creatures, and of diligence in our callings, 
the truth is still clear, that it is only one thing that is truly 

V. Use 1. The understanding is the subservient faculty, 
to let in that light, which may by direction and excitation, 
guide the will. Having shewed you the truth, I am next to 
shew you how you may improve it, and so to apply it, as 
may best help you to apply it to yourselves. 

And if I should here fall upon things impertinent, or 
make it my work to tickle your ears, or exalt myself in your 
esteem, by an unseasonable ostentation of learning or elo- 
quence, or carry on any such corrupt design, while I should 
faithfully do the work of God, my text itself w^ould openly 
condemn me. If one thing be needful, it is that one that I 
must do myself, while I am exhorting you to do it. And 
woe be to^ me, if I should lay by that, to do any other unne- 
cessary work, even to fish for the applause of carnal wits, 
while my very subject is the reproofs of Christ against a 
much more tolerable error. 

And as to the manner of my admonition, if one thing be 
needful, I hope you will allow me to be as plain and serious 
as I can, about this one. And my first address to you shall 
be for trial. 

And I shall make it now my earnest request to you, that 
you will bethink you how much you are concerned, to com- 
pare your hearts and lives with this passage, and judge your- 
selves by the word of God that is now before you. And for 
your own sakes do it seriously and faithfully, as passengers 


that are hasting to the great assize. What say your con- 
sciences, sirs, to this question? Have you indeed lived in 
the w^orld as men that believe that one thing is necessary ? 
Hath this one had your chiefest care and labour, and have 
you chosen rather to neglect all other things than this ? 
Look behind you, and judge of the course that you have ta- 
ken by the light of this one text. I do not ask you. Whether 
you have heard that one thing is necessary ; nor whether you 
have talked of it, and confessed it to be true ; nor whether 
you have been called Christians by yourselves and others, 
and have come to church, and forborne those sins that would 
have most blemished your honour in the world. This is no- 
thing to the question. Thus many thousands do, that were 
never acquainted with the one thing necessary. Nor do I 
ask you, Whether you have used to allow God half an hour's 
lip-service, or formal, drowsy prayer at night, when you have 
served the world and flesh all day ? Nor whether you have 
been religious on the by, and given God some lean devotions 
which cost you little, and which your flesh can spare without 
any great diminution or detriment in its ease, and honour, and 
profit, and sensual delights. Nor whether you run to some 
kind of duties of religion, to make all whole, when you come 
from wilful reigning sin ; and so make religion a fortress to 
your lusts, to quiet your consciences while you serve the 
flesh. I confess such a kind of religiousness as this, the 
world is acquainted with. But this is unanswerable to the 
rule before us. 

But the question is. Whether this one thing hath been 
the treasure and jewel of your estimation; the darling of 
your affections ; the prize of your most diligent endeavours, 
and the only felicity of your souls ? 

Sirs, as lightly as you hear this question now, you will one 
day find that your lives, yea your salvation, lieth upon your 
answer to it. Can you truly say, as before the Searcher of 
hearts, that it is he that hath had your hearts ? That this 
one thing hath been more esteemed by you, than all the 
world besides ? That other things have all stooped unto 
this one, and served under it? And that this hath had the 
stream of your most hearty affections, the drift of your en- 
deavours, and hath been the matter that you have had first 
to do, and the thing for which you have lived in the world ? 
If this be not so, never talk of your Christianity for 


Bhame. Your religion is vain, if this be not your religion. 
Alas, I know that we have all of us yet too much of the flesh, 
and are too cold in our affections, and too slow and uneven 
in our endeavours for our end. But yet for all that 1 must 
still tell you, (as I have often done because it is necessary) 
that here lieth the diflference between the truly sanctified 
soul, and all the hypocrites and half-Christians in the world. 
Every true Christian is devoted unto God, and hath made a 
hearty and absolute resignation of himself and all that he 
hath unto him; and therefore loveth him with his superla- 
tive, most appretiative love, and serveth him with the best 
he hath, and thinks nothing too good or too dear for God, 
and for the attainment of his everlasting rest. Christ hath 
the chiefest room in his heart, and the bent and drift of his 
life is for him. He studieth how he may best serve and 
please him with his time, his interest, and all that he hath ; 
and if he fall, as it is contrary to the habitual resolution of 
his soul, and contrary to the scope and current of his heart 
and life, so he riseth again by repentance with sorrow for 
his 8in, and loathing of himself, and sincerely endeavours to 
amend, and goeth on resolvedly in his holy course. This is 
the state of every one that is in a state of life. 

But for all hypocrites and half-Christians, their case is 
otherwise. The world and flesh is dearest to them, and 
highest in their practical estimation, though not in their 
speculative ; and it hath their highest affections of love and 
delight, and the very bent and stream of heart and life, 
while God is served heartlessly on the by, for fear lest they 
be damned when they can enjoy the world and sin no longer, 
and is put off with the leavings of the flesh, and hath no 
more of their hearts, their tongues, their time, their wealth, 
than it can spare. They ask their flesh how far they shall 
be religious, and will go no further than will stand with their 
prosperity in the world. With the first and best they serve 
the flesh, and with the cheapest and the refuse they serve 
the Lord. When they go highest in their outside carnal re- 
ligiousness, they go not beyond this hypocritical, reserved 
state ; and usually, as Cain, they hate Abel for offering a 
more acceptable sacrifice. God must take up with this from 
them, or be without. They always serve him with this re- 
serve, though it be not always explicit and discerned by them, 
* Provided that it may go well with me in the world, and I 


may have some competent proportion of honour, profit or 
pleasure, and rehgion may not expose me to be undone.' If 
God will not take them on these terms (as most certainly he 
never will), he must go look him other servants; and so he 
will ; and make them know at last unto their sorrow, that he 
needed not their service, but it was they that needed him, 
and the benefits of his service. 

I thought meet (though I have done it oft before) to give 
you this diflference between the hypocrite and the sincere. 
And now it is my earnest request unto you all, that you will 
presently call your souls to an account, and know which of 
these two courses you have taken ; and which of these two 
is your own condition. 

If nature had made you such strangers to yourselves, as 
that you were unable to answer such a question, I would ne- 
ver trouble you with it ; but I suppose by faithful inquiry, 
you may know this much of yourselves, if you are but will- 
ing. You know where it is that you have dwelt, and what it 
is that you have been doing in the world, and you can review 
the actions of your lives, though they have been of smaller 
consequence. Why then may you not quickly know if you 
will, so great a thing, as What hath been the end and busi- 
ness for which you have lived in the world till now ? Have 
you been running so long, and know not yet what is the 
prize that you have run for ? Have you forgot the errand 
that you have been so long going on? Have you been busy 
all your days till now, and know not about what or why? 
Certainly this is a thing that may be known, if you are willing 
and diligent to know it. It is for one of these two that you 
have lived ; for the world, or for God. To please your flesh, 
or to please God and be saved. Either to make provision 
for earth or heaven. Which of these is it? Deal plainly 
with yourselves, for your salvation is deeply concerned in 
the account. 

Perhaps you will say, that it was for both ; for as you 
have a soul and body, so you must look to both. Yea, but 
so as one that knoweth, that one thing is needful. As your 
body is but the prison, the case, the sei-vant, of your souls, 
so it must be provided for and used but as a servant, and 
maintained only in a fitness for its work. But the question 
is. Which of them hath had the preeminence ? Which hath 
had the life of your aflfections and endeavours. Which of 


them was your end ; about which hath been the chief busi- 
ness that you have most carefully and diligently carried on? 
This is the great question. 

You cannot have two masters, though you may have ma- 
ny instruments and fellow-servants. You cannot accepta- 
bly serve God, if you serve mammon. Every wicked man 
may do something in religion, and every good man may do 
something that is contrary to religion. A carnal man may 
do something for God, and for his soul ; and a spiritual man 
ought to do something subordinately for his body, and too 
often, alas, doth something for it inordinately. But which 
bears the sway? and which is first sought? and which comes 
behind, and but the leavings of the other ? 

" Be not deceived : God is not mocked. Whatsoever a 
man soweth, that shall he reap. If you sow to the flesh, of 
the flesh you shall reap corruption ; but if you sow to the 
Spirit, of the Spirit shall you reap everlasting life;" Gal.vi. 
7, 8. " Love not the world, nor the things that are in the 
world (for themselves). For if any man love the world (with 
his chiefest love), the love of the Father is not in him ;" 
1 Johnii. 15. Is it not a wonder that any reasonable man 
can be such a stranger to himself, as not to know what he 
lives for, and what hath had his heart, and what hath been 
the principal business of his life? Some by matters you 
may easily forget or overlook ; but can you do so by your 
end, which hath been your chiefest care and business ? 

If indeed you no more know your own minds, nor what 
you have all this while been doing in the world, ask those 
that you have conversed with ; and judge by the effects and 
signs. Others can tell what you have most seriously talked 
of. They may conjecture by their observation, what you 
have most carefully sought, and resolutely adhered to: 
whether it be God or the flesh ; this world or heaven? The 
one thing needful, or the many troubling trifles in your way. 
It is like that wise and godly observers can help you to dis- 
cern it ; though sensualists will but deceive you. 

A man's love, at least his chiefest love, cannot be hid, 
but will appear in his behaviour. If you love God above the 
world, you will seek him and his glory before the world ; 
and if you do so it may partly be discerned, if you have con- 
versed with discerning men. Heaven and earth are not so 

VOL. X. E 


like, nor the way to each of them so like, but it may partly 
be discerned which way men are going, and what they drive 
at in their daily course. 

But I will urge you no further to the trial. I will take 
it for granted that your consciences are telling many of you, 
that you have been troubled about many things, while the 
one thing needful hath been neglected. And if indeed this 
be your case, suffer me to tell the guilty plainly, what it is 
that they have done. 

1. Whatever you have been doing in the world, you have 
lo^t your time, if you have not been seeking the one thing 
necessary. If you have been gathering riches, or growing 
up in honour as the rush groweth in the mire (Job viii. 11.), 
or filling your purses or your barns, or pleasing your fancies 
and flesh ; you have but fooled away your time, and done 
just nothing, and much worse. Nothing is done, if the one 
thing necessary be undone. Believe it, time is a precious 
thing, and ought not to have been thus cast away. When 
you come to the end of it, the worst and proudest of you 
shall confess it is precious. Then, O for one year more ! O 
for a few days or hours more, to make sure of this one thing 
which you should have spent your lives in making sure of. 
Will you then think thus, and yet can you now afford to 
cast away twenty or thirty years upon nothing? If time be 
worth nothing, your lives are worth nothing. And why 
should a man desire to live for nothing ? You love your 
lives too much, and yet will you so contemptuously cast 
them away ? He hath lost his life, who hath lost the end of 
his life. The loss of a hundred pounds in money is not (to 
yourselves) so great a loss, as the loss of a day's or an hour's 
time. What then is the loss of so many years? Did you 
ever well consider of this ? If you live a thousand years, it 
is all lost, if you have not spent it in making sure of the one 
thing necessary. For is not that lost, and worse a thousand 
times than lost, that is spent in crossing the end that it is 
given for? and which is no comfort, but terror in the review, 
and which leaveth no fruit, but grief and disappointment? 
Let me tell you. If you hold on thus unto the end, you will 
wish and wish a thousand times, either that you had never 
had an hour's time, or else that you had had hearts, to have 
better perceived the worth and use of it, than to cast it away 


tas you have done upon nothing. It is but one thing that is 
worth your time and lives. 

2. Whatsoever else you have been doing, you have lost 
all your labour with your time, if this one thing needful have 
been neglected. No doubt you have been busy since you came 
into the world ; but to little purpose. You might as well 
have been idle, as so laboriously doing nothing. No doubt 
many a journey you have rode and gone, and many a hard 
day's labour you have taken, and sharpened perhaps with 
care and grief. But you have lost it all, if it were a hun- 
dred times more, if it have not been laid out upon the one 
thing necessary. 

And is it not a pitiful thing that men of reason, should 
vex themselves, and toil their bodies, and suffer hunger, and 
thirst, and weariness, and make such a stir and pudder in 
the world, and all for nothing, and in a vain show ? How 
many mornings have you risen to your labour, and how ma- 
ny days and years have you spent in it, and now it is all lost! 
How many thoughts and fears, and cares have possessed and 
pestered your minds, and now they are all lost ! Some of you 
have followed your trades, and some your husbandry, and 
some have run up and down after recreations. Some of you 
have been scraping riches, and some contriving to keep up 
their reputation, and some to satisfy their appetites, and live 
in pleasure and contentments to the flesh ; and now look 
back upon all that you have done and gotten, and tell your- 
selves whether all this be not lost, yea, alas ! much worse 
than lost. If you be not ready to pass this conclusion at 
the very heart, it is because your hearts are yet blinded and 
hardened in sin ; but God will soon bring that to your hearts 
that shall convince you of it. If God have made use of any 
worldly, sensual person of you, for public good, of church 
or state, as men do of thorns for hedging to their lands, or 
of briars to stop a gap, or of firewood to warm their family ; 
yet as to any durable benefit to yourselves, I may well say 
that all your labour is lost. 

And this is not all ; but the pains also that you have ta- 
ken in your formal, hypocritical religion, your hearing, read- 
ing, receiving sacraments, and pretended prayer, all the 
thoughts that ever you had of death, and judgment, and the 
life to come, and all that you have done with reservations 
and by halves for youf own salvation, this also is all lost. 



Except as a less measure of misery may go for gain. If you 
miss of the one thing necessary, you do but lose your labour, 
whatever else you seem to gain. 

A great stir you make in seeking for preferment, or do- 
minion over others, or about your lands, your honours, or 
your delights ; so great that your neighbours can scarce live 
quietly by you ; and the kingdom cannot be quiet for some 
of you, nor your own consciences be quiet within you for 
the desperate work that you engage them in, which they 
know must be heard of another day. And when all is done 
you will find you have been but hunting of a feather. You 
would see this now if God would open your eyes by grace. 
But if you miss of so seasonable an information, you will see 
it too late in the land of darkness. When death hath open- 
ed your eyes, and your impenitent souls do suddenly awake 
in another world, you will understand that you made all this 
stir but in your sleep. As busily and seriously as you act- 
ed the part of lords and ladies, of gentlemen, tradesmen, or 
husbandmen in the world, if you did not seriously and first 
do the work of true believers for the world to come, you will 
then find too late that your labour is lost, and all was acted 
but as in a dream. 

Do you believe this now, or do you not? If you do, will 
you yet go on ? If you do not believe it, shew me now what 
you have gotten by all this stir that you have made in the 
world, that will follow you one step further than the grave, 
and that you can say shall be your own to-morrow ? If you 
were to die this hour, will it be any lasting comfort to you, 
that you have laboured to be rich or honourable, or that you 
have attained it ? or that you had your glut of sensual de- 
lights ; and a merry life as to the fleshly pleasure as long as 
it would last ? Will you die the more comfortably for any 
of this ? or much the less ? That yet you are alive, is the 
great mercy of God, and not to be ascribed to any of these. 
And when you cease to live, then these will be your grief 
and torment. 

Beloved hearers, I have no desire, the Lord knows, to 
discompose your minds, or to disquiet you with any molest- 
ing, unnecessary scruples ; nor causelessly to dishonour either 
you or your employments. But I must needs say that it is 
a doleful case, that men in their wits should spend a life of 
precious time, and also a great deal of care and labour, in 


doing nothing, and much worse than nothing, when they 
have a work of everlasting consequence to do, and they 
know that the devil's chiefest hopes do consist in the suc- 
cess of these diversions ! I must seriously profess to 
you, that I am constrained by the word and teachings of 
God, and by undeniable reason itself, to look upon all the 
labour of your lives, the highest, and the busiest, but as the 
picking of straws, of playing with a feather, or riding upon 
a staff or a hobby-horse, or such like actions as children, 
fools, or madmen use, as long as you mind not, and seek not 
after the one thing necessary. Whatever they may be to 
others, they are no wiser or better to yourselves. This is my 
judgment; yea, this is the judgment of the Spirit of God; 
Phil. iii. 8. If Paul was not mistaken, your gain itself is to 
be accounted loss, and all but dung, in comparison of the 
knowing and winning of Christ, that you might be found 
in him, and have his righteousness. Think not the name 
of dung too base, which God himself hath written here upon 
your highest endowments and honours, by his Spirit. And 
indeed what will they all do more than dung to procure you 
the favour of God, or the pardon of your sins ? If you offer 
him gold, will it do any more than if you offered him so 
much dirt ? Is not the prayer of a beggar heard as soon as 
of a lord or gentleman? If they would do any thing to buy 
you peace of conscience, or everlasting life, or if they would 
but keep you alive on earth, I should not marvel at your 
course. But when they will do none of this, but make your 
way to heaven more difficult, yea, your salvation a thing im- 
possible while you thus live after the flesh (Rom. viii. 13. X 
how then can any easier sentence be passed upon your 
choice? Be you the greatest or the wisest in your own es- 
teem, or in the esteem of others of your mind, I believe, yea, 
I am sure, that you are all this while but laboriously idle, 
and honourably debasing yourselves, and delightfully tor- 
menting yourselves, and wisely befooling yourselves, and 
thriftily undoing yourselves for ever. I have reason to say 
that your rising, and honourable, and voluptuous employ- 
ments, are not only like children's play in the sand, and 
making them houses with sticks and stones ; but so much 
more pitiful, as the reason which you abuse exceedeth theirs* 
And could you all attain to be lords and ladies, I should 
look upon you but as a king or queen upon a chess-board, as 


to any felicity that it bringeth to yourselves ; whatsoever 
U9e the overruling providence of God may make of you for 
his churches. The wise merchant is he that seeking pearls 
doth find this one of greatest price, and selleth all that he 
hath and buyeth it ^ even all the worldly treasures which 
you so highly value ; Matt. xiii. 45,46. There is more true 
riches in this one pearl, than in a thousand loads of sand or 
dirt If you will load yourselves with mire and clay, con- 
ceiting it to be your treasure, your back will he broken be- 
fore you will have enough to make you rich. 

O sirs, with what eyes, with what hearts do you use 
to read such passages of Christ that speak so plainly to you, 
as if he named you, and so piercingly as one, would think 
should make you feel, Luke xiii. 19 — 21. " Soul, thou hast 
much goods laid up for many years ; take thine ease, eat, 
drink, and be merry. But God said to him. Thou fool, this 
night shall thy soul be required of thee ; and then whose 
shall those things be which thou hast provided ? So is he 
that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not ricli towards 
God." Would you have Christ speak plainer to you ; or 
more closely apply it, that you may perceive he speaks to 
you ? You have lost all the labour of your lives ; but that 
is not all. 

3. But furthermore consider, that if the one thing need- 
ful have been neglected, whatever else you have been doing 
or whatever you have got (unless as preparatory to this), you 
have not only lost your labour, but you have all this while 
been busily undoing yourselves, and labouring for your own 

If it were but the loss of your time and labour, you would 
then die but as brutes, and be as if you had never been ; and 
to those that have brutified themselves, this will seem more 
tolerable, than to live in holiness to God. But alas, you 
have done much worse than this ! You have not only been 
digging your own graves, but barring up against yourselves 
the doors of heaven, and kindling the unquenchable fire to 
torment you ; Mark ix. 4. 

I beseech you give me a considerate hearing, you ambi- 
tious gentlemen, you covetous worldlings, and you that 
»erve your lusts and pleasures ! Do you think you had been 
doing the work of wise men, if you had all this while been 
burning your own fingers, or cutting your own flesh, or set- 


ting your own or your neighbours* houses on fire ,' What 
would you have us call that man that would live in such em- 
ployments as these, and yet would be accounted wise or ho- 
nourable? Do I need to tell thee, as Nathan did David, 
that " thou art the man ?" Do I need in so plain a case to 
tell you, that you have been doing worse (I speak not rash- 
ly), a thousand times worse against your souls, than this 
would have been which is supposed to be only against your 
bodies ? Alas ! self-destroyers, what do you mean ? Did 
God send you hither on no better an errand than to kindle 
and blow the tire of his wrath, and fall into it when yon have 
kindled it ? Have you no better work in the world to do, 
than to prepare yourselves a place in hell, and with a great 
deal of care, and cost, and stir, to labour for damnation, as 
if you were afraid of losing it? 

I know you will say, * God forbid, we hope better, we in- 
tend no such thing.' But alas, the question is not. What 
you intend, but what you are doing ? Not whether it be 
your desire that everlasting death should be the wages of 
sin, but whether it be the law and unchangeable will of God? 
Rom. vi. 23. If you seek not first God's kingdom and his 
righteousness, and look not after the one thing needful, with 
your chiefest estimation, resolution, and endeavour, as sure 
as Christ is true, this will prove your case at last, though 
now you wink, and wilfully go on, and will not believe it. 
As sure as the Gospel is true, this is true. There are but 
two ends, heaven and hell ; and if you miss the former, you 
fall into the latter. ** If you live after the flesh, you shall 
die," whatever you imagine ; and you must " mortify the 
deeds of the flesh by the Spirit," if you "will live ;" Rom. 
viii. 13. If you see a man cutting his own throat, and you 
ask him, ' What are you doing, man? — will you kill your- 
self ?' and he answereth you, * No, God forbid ; I have no 
such meaning ; I will hope better ;* would you think that 
this would save his life ? or that his hopes and meanings 
would prove him ever the wiser man ? I tell you, from the 
word of God, it is one of the plainest truths that is there 
contained, that if you value not, choose not, and seek not 
the one thing needful above all other things whatsoever, you 
are all this while but sowing the seeds of endless misery, 
whose fruit you must reap in ** outer darkness, where will be 
weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth ;" Matt. xiii. 


42.50. You are " treasuring up wrath against the day of 
wrath, and the revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 
who will give to every man according to his works ;" Rom. 
ii. 5, 6. You are sowing in pleasure to the flesh, in eating . 
and drinking, and mirth, and honour ; but you shall reap 
in corruption, lamentation, and woe ; Gal.vi. 7, 8. ** For 
woe to you that now laugh, for you shall mourn and weep. 
Woe to you that are rich (and have no better, but want the 
everlasting riches), for you have received your consolation. 
Woe to you that are full (and yet are empty of Christ and 
grace), for you shall hunger i" Luke vi. 24,25. These are 
the words of Christ himself, and therefore true if Christ be 

Yea, more than this ; let me have leave to tell you, (for 
why should I not tell you of your greatest folly, and that 
which is necessary for you to know?) as long as you 
neglect the one thing necessary, you are acting the part of 
 the most deadly enemies against yourselves. No enemy 
that you have in all the world, could do that against you, as 
you do against yourselves. You abhor the devil ; and I 
blame you not ; for his malice and enmity deserveth it : but 
you do much worse against yourselves than the devil him- 
self could ever do. To tempt you to sin is not so much as 
to consent to it and commit it. He can but entice you, and 
constrain you. It is you that are the neglecters of your 
Maker and Redeemer, and the wilful rejecters of your own 
felicity. Satan doth bad enough against you by temptation, 
but you do worse by yielding and sinning ; much worse than 
all the devils in hell could do against you. For God hath 
not given all of them so much power over you, as he hath 
given you over yourselves. 

Lord, what a distracted case is the ungodly world in ! * 
They hate any man else that they do but imagine is their 
enemy ! Though he do but diminish their worldly wealth 
or honour, they cannot forgive him. If a man give one of 
them a box on the ear he cannot bear it. And as for the de- 
vil, who is the common enemy, they spit at his name, and 
think they bless themselves from him. And yet these same 
men do spend all their care, and time, and labour, in doing 
more against themselves, than all their enemies could do in 
earth or hell ; and are worse than devils to themselves ; and 
yet they never fall out with themselves for it ; but can for- 


give themselves as easily as if they did themselves no harm. 
This is true, too true, sirs, as harsh as it seemeth to your 
ears. And if it displease you to hear of it, bethink your- 
selves what it is to do it ; and how God and all wise men 
must judge of you that have no more mercy on yourselves. 
Certainly it is much worse to do it, than to tell you what 
you do. God tells men of their sin, and God doth nothing 
but what is good ; but it is themselves only that commit it. 
I beseech you do but understand what you are doing, as long 
as the one thing necessary is neglected by you. 

4. Consider also, that whatsoever else you have been do- 
ing in the world, if you have not done the one thing need- 
ful, you have unmanned yourselves, and lived below your 
reason, and in plain English, you have lived as besides your 

I give you no harder language than God himself hath 
frequently given you in his word, and than you will shortly 
give yourselves, if you repent not; yea, and sooner if you 
do repent. If you have (in this) the use of your reason, 
you must needs know what you have your reason for. And 
I beseech you tell me for what you have it, if not to serve 
and please your Maker, and prepare for your everlasting- 
state ? Is it only that you may know how to plough and 
sow, and follow your trades and pleasures in the world, and 
satisfy your flesh a little while, and then die as the beasts 
that perish ? None of you, I suppose will say so, that calls 
himself a Christian. If God had made you for no higher 
things than beasts, he would have given you no higher fa- 
culties and endowments. As they be not made to enjoy 
God, so they have no knowledge of him ; he sendeth not his 
word to them, and calleth them not to learn the knowledge 
of his will. But you know, or may know, that there is a 
God, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek 
him ; and are capable of loving him, attending him, and 
serving him, and therefore of enjoying him. Beasts are not 
ruled by the hopes and fears of a life after this. For their 
nature and end do not require it. But men must be thus 
ruled, or else there can be no sufficient ruling of them, in an 
ordinary way : which shews that the nature of men is ca- 
pable of the things which are the matter of their hopes and 

Verily, sirs, 1 think as to any good that cometh by it. 


there is very little difference between having reason, and 
having none, if we had nothing to do with it, but cunningly 
to lay up our food, and make provision for this corruptible 
flesh, and had not another life to mind. It were no such 
great difference, in my opinion, as it commonly goes for, 
whether we were men or dogs, if it were only for the matters 
of this transitory life. For though I may not deny but yet 
man were the nobler creature, yet alas the difference would 
be but gradual and small, as an ape or dog excels a swine. 
And as to his happiness, it is doubtful whether man would 
not have the worst of it. For as brutes have not man's 
knowledge, so they have not his toil and trouble of mind, 
his care, and fear, and griefs, and disappointments. Nor 
have they so terrible forethoughts of death through all their 
lives, as man must have, much less such fears of what w ould 
follow after death. 

And therefore I may boldly say, that you have thrown 
away your wits, and laid by your reason as to the principal 
use of it, if you have forgot, or have not chiefly sought the 
one thing necessary. Where were your wits when a lump 
of flesh was preferred before immortal souls ? and when the 
trouble and dung of a transitory world, was more esteemed 
than God and endless glory ? Where were your wits when 
you might have had Christ, and life in him, and his pardon- 
ing, healing, sanctifying grace, and you had no mind of him, 
and were not sensible of your necessity, and passed him by 
with as much neglect, as if you could have been saved with- 
out him ? When you might long ago have made sure of 
heaven ; and now you are even ready to drop into hell, and 
stay but for a fever, or consumption, or some other disease 
to cut the thread, and turn the key, unless a speedy, sound 
conversion shall yet prevent it. What have you done in all 
your lifetime that should make a wise man judge you rea- 
sonable ? Is that your reason to be ' Penny wise and pound 
foolish ;' to be wise to do evil, and to have no knowledge to 
do good? Jer. iv.22. To run up and down for I know not 
what, and to leave that undone that you were created and 
redeemed for? Can you think that it is reasonable to make 
such ado for the air of dying men's applause, and to be well 
thought of, or to live like gentlemen, or to the contentment 
of a fleshly mind, when you know that you are just ready to 
pass out of this world into an endless life of joy or torment. 


(yea, certainly of torment, it' you thus hold on) t Where ah 
these things will afford you no relief or benefit ; but the me- 
mory of your course will be the fuel of your misery. Can 
that man be wise that damns his soul ? Can he deserve the 
name of a sober man, that will sell his salvation for so short, 
so small, so filthy a pleasure as sin affordeth ? Is he worthy 
the name or reputation of a wise man, that hath not wit 
enough to escape eternal fire ? nor wit enough to forbear 
laying hands upon himself, and doing all this against his 
own soul ? What think you, is not the case plain enough ? 

Be not offended if I speak yet plainer to you ; for in a 
case so lamentable, how can we be too plain or serious ? 
Suppose you knew a prince or lord, that had an itch upon 
him, which the physician offereth speedily and easily to 
cure ; but he hath so much pleasure in scratching, that he 
doth not only refuse the cure, lest it deprive him of his de- 
light, but he will give his kingdom or lordship to one that 
will scratch him but a little while, though he be sure to live 
a beggar after, all his days. I put it to yourselves. What 
name you would give this man, or what esteem you would 
have of him. Do you think that any ungodly, worldly per- 
son is wiser than this man ? Alas, their case is so much 
worse, that thepe is no comparison. They are more foolish 
than your hearts can now conceive, or than I am able fully 
to express. You have now the itch of pride and lust; and 
your throats must be pleased in your meats and drinks; and 
you itch after riches, and honour, and recreations ; and 
Christ telleth you by his word, that these are but your sick 
desires, and that the pleasing of them tends to kill you ; 
and he offereth you for nothing a safe, and certain, and spee- 
dy cure. But you refuse it, and will not hearken to him. 
You must be scratched, whatever it cost you. You must 
have your riches, and honour, and fleshly pleasure, as the 
felicity which you cannot part with, though it cost you your 
salvation. Though God be neglected, and his favour lost,, 
and your souls be lost, and the one thing needful cast aside, 
you must have your carnal imaginations gratified. And is 
this your wisdom ? The Lord bless us from such a kind of 

Yet this is not the worst. I will shew you one strain more 
of the distraction of the ungodly world. If these men do but 
see one person of a hundred that are more diligent for hea- 


ven than earth, to fall into melancholy, or distress of soul ; 
or suppose it were into some loss of reason, they presently 
cry out against religion, and strictness, and preciseness, and 
making so much ado to be saved ; and say it is the way to 
make men mad. Hence comes the proverb of the Papists 
(* Spiritus Calvinianus est spiritus melancholicus') ; and of 
the profane among ourselves, that ' A Puritan is a Protes- 
tant frightened out of his wits.' They dare not study the 
Scripture so much, nor meddle with such high matters as 
their salvation, nor* be so godly, nor meditate on the world 
to come, lest it should drive them out of their wits. O mi- 
serable men ! As if it were possible for you to be more dan- 
gerously mad than you are already ! (Unless by growing 
unto greater wickedness !) Do you lay out your wit, and 
strength, and time in feeding a corruptible body for the 
grave, and spend your lives in running after your own sha- 
dows, while your everlasting life is forgotten or neglected ? 
Do you sell your Saviour with Judas for a little money ; and 
change your part in God and glory, for the brutish pleasures 
of sin for a season ? And are you afraid of altering this 
course of life, and turning to God, lest it should make you 
mad ? Lord, what a besotting thing is sin ! What a cunning 
cheater is the devil ! What a deluded, distracted sort of 
people are the ungodly ! Will you run from God, from 
Christ, from grace, from mercy, from Scripture, from the 
godly, and from heaven itself for fear of being mad ? Why 
what greater madness can you fear than this ? What worse 
is human nature capable of? Unless it be the addition of a 
further measure of the same, and unless it be to hold on in 
that way, and persecute the contrary with such like aggrava- 
tions of your madness, I know not of any worse that you 
should fear. Will you run to hell to prove yourselves to be 
in your wits ? Again I say, the Lord bless us from such 
a kind of wit. Nay, hell itself hath no such distractedness 
as yours. The difference between the one thing needful, 
and your many things, is there better, though too late, un- 
derstood ! Is loving God the way to be mad ? and loving 
the world and fleshly pleasures the way to be wise ? Is con- 
versing with God in humble prayer, and believing his love, 
and loving him, and delighting in him, and speaking of his 
name, and word, and works unto his praise, and hoping to 
live with him for ever, 1 say is this (which is the work of a 


believer) a liker course to make men mad, than serving the 
devil, and drudging in the world, and living under the curse 
of God, and in continual danger of damnation ? What men 
are they that dare entertain such horrid, and unreasonable 
suggestions ? 

I confess we are not unacquainted with the sadness and 
melancholy that some persons have contracted by religious 
employments ; and perhaps one of a thousand may lose their 
wits. But I must tell you all these following points, that 
will shew you that religion is not to be blamed for it, nor 

1. It is ordinarily persons of the weaker sex, or of very 
weak brains, and very strong passions, that are naturally in- 
clined to it, and are not able to bear any long and serious 
thoughts, about matters of that moment, which are apt to 
make the deepest impressions. But persons that naturally 
are of sound and calm dispositions, are seldom troubled with 
any such effects. 

2. It is usually the case of persons that mistake the na- 
ture of religion, though not in the main, yet in some parti- 
culars of great concernment ; that study not sufficiently 
the love of God declared to us in our Redeemer, but feed 
their grief and troubles only by the thoughts of their own 
infirmities , and that consider not that the chief part of reli- 
gion doth consist in love, and joy in the Holy Ghost, and in 
thanksgiving and delightful praising our Creator. So that 
it is not long of religion if men will leave out the chief part 
of religion, and make themselves a religion of so much only 
as may break their troubles. 

3. And I must further tell you, that as I have had oppor- 
tunity of knowing the state of as many troubled, distemper- 
ed minds as any one of you, whoever he be ; so I must needs 
bear witness, that I have met with many that have been dis- 
tracted by worldly cares, or sorrows, or discontents, for one 
that ever I knew distracted with the cares about the matter 
of their salvation. And yet though it be worldly care and 
sorrow that most commonly bringeth death and madness, 
you will not therefore give over your callings, and resolve 
that you will meddle no more with meat, or drink, or clothes, 
or houses, or lands, or friends, or children. Nay, it were 
well if you would be brought to moderation, and taken off 
your inordinate desires. 


And yet in the conclusion I must tell you, that, though 

i know that the loss of a man's understanding is a very 

grievous affliction, and such as I hope God will never lay 

upon me, yet I had a thousand times rather go distracted to 

Bedlam with the excessive care about my salvation, than 

be one of you that cast away the care of your salvation for 

fear o( being distracted, and will go among the infernal 

Bedlams into hell for fear of being mad. The height of your 

carnal wisdom is more deplorable than their distraction. 

For God will condemn no man because he is distracted, nor 

so much as blame him for it, unless as it is the fruit of sin, 

no more than he will condemn or blame an idiot or a beast 

because they have no use of reason. If David had been 

what he feigned himself to be, (1 Sam. xxi. 13, 14.) it would 

not have cast him out of God's favour, so far as one sin 

did, much less so far as the ungodly are. A man may go to 

heaven for such a madness. But you that have reason for the 

world, but none for God ; that are wise to do evil, that have 

wit to destroy yourselves, and serve the flesh, but none to 

look after your recovery and salvation ; it is you that shall 

have the stripes, the many, the great, the endless stripes. 

You that have so much wit as that you glory in it, and think 

yourselves wiser than the rest of the world, and yet have not 

wit to know, and love, and serve your Maker ; nor to value 

and seek first the one thing necessary, it is you that will 

prove the miserable fools. 

If you had not a natural capacity of understanding, you 
had had no sin. But now you have no cloak for your sin, 
when you have the worldly wisdom, which is foolishness with 
God, and have a sinning, selfdestroying wit, and are wilful- 
ly void of the wisdom that should save you (1 Cor. i. 25. 
iii. 19. Jer. viii.9.), when you have not a necessitated, but 
a voluntary distraction ; and " this is your condemnation, 
that light is come into the world, and you have loved dark- 
ness rather than light, because your deeds were evil ;" John 
iii. 19. 

If you think this wilful and senseless neglect of the one 
thing needful is not a sufficient evidence to prove that mi- 
serable distraction which I charge upon yon, will you but 
believe your Maker, and let the word of God be judge be- 
tween us, and mark what language it giveth to such as I 
now describe, 2 Thess. iii. 2. Jer. iv. 22. Eccles. vii. 25. 


2 Pet. ii. 12. Psal. xcii. 6. xciv. 8. Jer. x. 8. 14. Deut. 
xxxii. 6. Psal. Ixxiii. 3. 22. 2 Sam. xiv. 10. In these 
places your course hath no better titles, than * unreasona- 
ble, foolish, brutish, sottish,' &c. even from the God of wis- 
dom himself, who is the fittest to give you the character 
that you deserve. When you have truly considered of your 
way, if indeed you find that you have dealt like wise men, 
hold on and say so at the last, when you have eaten the fruit 
of your doing, and have seen the end. 

5. Furthermore consider, that whatever else you have 
been doing in the world, if the one thing necessary be yet 
undone, you have lost and abused all the mercies that God 
hath bestowed on you. Many a thousand precious mercies 
have been given you. And to what use, but to help you to 
everlasting mercy, and to prevent your everlasting misery ! 
This is the end, and this is the life and excellency of all your 
mercies. For all present mercies have the nature of a means 
to a further end. And the goodness and nature of the means 
consisteth in its fitness to promote the end. And therefore 
you have lost all the mercies that you have received, if you 
are never the nearer your end for them, and if they have not 
promoted the love of God, and your salvation. You have 
had health, and strength, and time, and peace, and liberty, 
and some of you also wealth and honour in the world. But 
you have lost them all, if your salvation be not furthered by 
them. Many a preservation you have had, when others have 
been cut off before your faces ; and many a deliverance from 
dangers known or unknown, and much of the fruit of that 
patience of God, which hath till now attended you in your 
sin. Many a sermon you have heard, and many a warning 
you have had, and you have been planted in God's vineyard, 
and daily watered with the ordinances of grace. But all 
these are lost, if the one thing necessary hath been neglect- 
ed. Nothing in this world doth you good indeed, any fur- 
ther than it promoteth your everlasting good. And do you 
think that you have dealt kindly or justly with God, to deal 
so contemptuously with all his mercies, as to cast them 
away, and tread them under foot ? When you want but food, 
or raiment, or liberty, or health, you value them and pray 
for them; and when you have them what do you do with 
them, but throw them as in the channel, and sacrifice them 
to your lusts and enemies ? When death looketh you in the 


face, you begin to know the worth of time, and then, O what 
would you not orive for a little more, and that God would try 
you a few years longer. And when you have time, what do 
you with it, but serve the devil, and cast it away for nothing, 
and spend it in preparing for everlasting sorrows ! How can 
you for shame cry to God for mercy in your next distress, 
when you have contemptuously thrown away the mercies of 
twenty, or thirty, or forty years already. If your own chil- 
dren should ask you for meat or drink, and when they have 
it should throw it to the dogs ; or ask you for money, and 
cast it into the dirt, and do thus a hundred and a hundred 
times over, would you go on to give it them because they 
cry for it ? 

O sirs, that you could but use your reason in the matters 
for which it was given you by your Maker ! Either time 
and mercy is worth something, or nothing ! If it be worth 
nothing, never beg for it, and never be sad when it is taken 
from you. Why make you such a stir for that which is no- 
thing worth ? (1 mean your corporal mercies, for spiritual 
merqies you can be too well content to be without.) But if 
they be worth any thing, why do you cast them away, and 
make no better use of them? What good do you with them? 
or what good do they do you ? Believe it, sinners, God 
doth not despise his mercies as you do. He will not always 
give you meat, and drink, and health, and strength, and life 
to play with, and do nothing with. He will teach you bet- 
ter to value them before he hath done with you. Not that 
he thinks them too good for you, but he would have them 
be better to you than you will let them be. Ho would have 
every bit you eat, to be used to strengthen you in your walk 
to heaven, and every hour of your time to help you towards 
eternal happiness, and every present mercy to further your 
everlasting mercy ; that so by the improvement their value 
might be advanced, and they may be mercies indeed to you. 
Be ruled by God, and you shall receive more in one mercy, 
than you do now in a thousand. But if you will do nothing 
with them, blame him not if he take them from you, and leave 
you destitute of what you knew not how to use. 

^i^y* your sin is greater than merely to cast away your 
mercies. You do not only lose them, but turn them all into 
a curse, and undo your souls with that which is given for 
the SMStentation of your bodies. While you know no bet- 


ter use of mercies, than to please your senses, and accom- 
modate your flesh, and forget the one thing needful, which 
is the end of all, you turn them all into sin, and fight against 
God by them, and strengthen his enemy and your own, and 
block up your way to heaven by them, and treasure up wrath 
for the dreadful day, when your wealth shall be a witness 
against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire ;Jas. v. 1 — 3. 
Rom. ii. 5. You contemptuously cast that bread to dogs, which 
he giveth you to supply your own necessities. You treacher- 
ously carry over his provision to the enemy. Consider this, 
you that say you hope to be saved, because God is merciful. 
You have found indeed that God is merciful, by large expe- 
rience. But if you do not learn, and quickly learn to make 
a better use of his mercies, abused mercy will prove your 
everlasting misery. O what a reckoning will you have ! 
What a load to press you down to hell ! Unless you would 
have used them better, it had been easier for you, if these 
temporal mercies had been denied you. Can that man look 
to be saved by mercy, that would not be entreated to con- 
sent that mercy should save him in the day of salvation ; in the 
accepted time ; but served the devil with those very mercies 
that would have saved him ? God sendeth you his mercies 
to kill your sins, and sanctify you, and engage you to him- 
self; and if you will feed your sins with them, and make 
them your idols, and forsake God for them, and be false to 
him, to your covenant, and your duty, and neglect that one 
thing for which he gave them to you, you do not only lose 
them but turn them to a curse. And alas, poor sinners, 
what will you have to fly to, to trust in, or to comfort you, 
when mercy abused hath not only forsaken you, but falls 
upon you as a mountain, and feedeth your aggravated, end- 
less misery ? 

6. Moreover, whilst you neglect the one thing necessary 
you neglect Christ himself, and reject the saving benefit of 
his bloodshed, and refuse the healing work of his Spirit, and 
the precious benefits which he hath offered you in the Gos- 
pel. And how can you escape if you neglect so great sal- 
vation ? Heb. ii. 3. How will you be saved when you refuse 
the only Saviour ? There is indeed enough in Christ to heal 
and save the humbled soul, that thirsteth for his righteous- 
ness and salvation, and valueth and seeketh him as a Sa- 

VOL. X. F 


viour; and if you would thus come to him, you might have 
life: John V. 40. But while you give yourselves to please 
the flesh, and follow the world, and look so little after Christ, 
or after the ends and benefits of his sufferings and grace, 
Christ is as no Christ to you ; and grace is as no grace to 
you ; and the Gospel is as no Gospel to you ; and you will 
be never the more saved, than if there had no Saviour ever 
come into the world, or there had never grace been given to 
the world, or there had never been promise made, or Gospel 
preached to the world. For Christ will not save them that 
continue to neglect him, and set light by all the mercy that 
he ofFereth, and the salvation which he hath purchased, and 
do not esteem and use him as a Saviour, and cannot find 
enough in God and glory, to take off their hearts from the 
pleasures and idols of the flesh. If Christ " would have ga- 
thered you as a hen gathereth her chickens imder her wings 
and you would not" (Matt, xxiii. 37.), you will be as far from 
being saved by him, as if you had never heard of his name. 
And yet that is not all : if you prevent it not by true 
conversion, you will wish a thousand and a thousand times 
that this were all. But there is worse than this ; for Christ 
will not leave a man of you as he finds you. If you are so 
far in love with worldly wealth and fleshly pleasure, that you 
can taste no sweetness in his grace, and see no desirable 
glory in his kingdom, he will make you taste the bitterness 
of his wrath, and feel the w^eight of his severest justice. The 
most compassionate Saviour is the most dreadful Judge to 
those that will not be saved by his grace. It will be easier 
for Sodom and Gomorrah' in the day of judgment, than for 
those that were the obstinate refusers of his Gospel ; Matt, 
vi. 11, 12. " He that despised Moses' law, died without 
mercy, under two or three witnesses ; of how much sorer 
punishment shall he be thought worthy, that hath trodden 
underfoot the Son of God?" Heb.x.28,29. " See therefore 
that ye refuse not him that speaketh : for if they escaped not 
that refused him that spake on earth, how much more shall 
not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from 
heaven?" Heb. xii. 23. 

7. As long as you neglect the one thing needful, what- 
ever good conceits of yourselves you have entertained, and 
whatever hopes, or peace, or comfort you have built upon 
those conceits, they are all but mere delusions, and irrational, 


like the laughter oC a madman, that is no comfort to the 
slanders by, who know that it is but the fruit of his distem- 
per, and maketh him an object of more compassion. What 
wisdom is it to look high and carry it gallantly in the world, 
when you know not but vengeance may overtake you the 
next hour ? Alas man, thou hast to do with God ! Though 
thou see him not, it is he that upholds thee, and observeth 
thee, and looketh for love and duty from thee, and will be 
glorified by thee, or thou shalt dearly answer it. God will 
not be neglected and abused at so cheap a rate as sottish 
infidels imagine ; " He despisetli thee, if thou despise him ;*' 
(1 Sam. ii. 20.) and thou despisest him if thou despise his 
messengers, and word, and ways ; Luke x. 16. 1 Thess. iv. 8. 
And if God despise thee, what honour is it to thee to be 
stout-hearted and high in thy own conceit, and to live ap- 
plauded by thyself and others ? Think of yourselves as well 
as you will, God counteth you worse than the basest brutes, 
as long as you make yourselves so by neglecting the one 
thing for which you have your reason. When you swagger 
it out in the world, you do but gingle your fetters, and glory 
in your shame ; Phil. iii. 18, 19. While fools admire you, 
God abhorreth you ; he '* laugheth you to scorn, and hath 
you in derision," as he expresseth himself after the manner 
of men ; Prov. i. 26 — 28. Psalm ii. 4. When you are 
proud of your riches, or honour, with such as yourselves, 
you are but proud of the bonds of your captivity ; 2 Tim. 
ii. 26. Though you live as carelessly and merrily, and laugh 
as heartily, and sport yourselves as fearlessly as if all were 
safe, and nothing ailed you, yet your mirth is but your mad- 
ness ; (Eccles. vii. 4. 6. ii. 2.) and God seeth that your day 
(a woful day) is coming, (Psal. xxxvii. 13.) ; and you know 
not but you may the next hour be tormented in hell, that 
this hour are so pleasant and confident on earth. And is this 
a desirable or rational kind of mirth ? Did you but now 
foresee the end, did you see what you must see, or feel a 
little of what you must feel, you would presently be far from 
mirth or laughter ; it would spoil your sport, and turn your 
tune to doleful lamentations. O short, unsatisfactory plea- 
sure ! O endless, easeless woe, how quickly wilt thou sur- 
prise them that little dream of such a change ! You say re- 
ligion is a melancholy thing ; but verily your condition is so 
much worse than melancholy, that it may make a man me* 


lancholy to think of men in so sad a case. If any thing in 
the world will make a man melancholy, methinks it should 
be to stand in your unhappy state, and thence to look into 
eternity, and to think of your enmity to heaven, and that you 
have no part in Christ, no title to his kingdom ; and to think 
what haste you are making to your infernal home, and how 
fast the wheels of night and day do hurry your unprepared 
souls to judgment, and that your "judgment lingereth not, 
and your damnation slumbereth not," as the Holy Ghost 
speaketh ; 2 Pet. ii. 3. Whether you sleep or wake, be sure 
it sleepeth not. In a word, to neglect the one thing need- 
ful, is to neglect heaven itself and your salvation ; to neg- 
lect heaven is to lose it ; and lose heaven and lose all. And 
what comfort can the forethoughts of life everlasting afford 
a soul in a state of sin, that is passing to everlasting misery ? 
And what comfort can any thing in this transitory life afford 
that man, that hath no matter of comfort in the life to come, 
yea, that must there live in endless sorrows ? O let me not 
taste of that frantic and unreasonable mirth, that tendeth 
to such heaviness, and driveth away those wise, recovering 
thoughts that are necessary to prevent it I For the Lord's 
sake, and for your soul's sake, all you that neglect the one 
thing needful, will you but search the Scriptures, and soberly 
consider whether all this be not certain truth ; and if it be, 
how it should affect you, and what a change in reason it 
should make upon you ! I have done with this Use. If you 
have taken a survey of your own hearts and lives, will you 
next, for the exercising of your compassion, look a little 

Use 2. If one thing be needful, and the neglect of this be 
so unreasonable, so unmanly, and so dangerous as we have 
seen it proved, then what an object of compassion and la- 
mentation is the distracted world ! Look upon this text of 
Scripture, and look also upon the course of the earth, and 
consider of the disagreement, and whether it be not still as 
before the flood, that all the imaginations of man's heart are 
evil continually ; Gen. vi. 7. Were it but possible for a man 
to see the affections and motions of all the world at once, as 
God seeth them, what a pitiful sight would it be ! What a 
stir do they make, alas poor fools, for they know not what ! 
while they forget, or slight, or hate the one thing necessary. 
What a heap of gadding ants should we see, that do nothing 


but gather sticks and straws ! Look among persons of eve- 
ry rank, in cities and country, and look into the families 
about you, and see what trade it is that they are most busily 
driving on, whether it be for heaven or earth ! and whether 
you can discern by their care and labours that they under- 
stand what is the one thing necessary ? They are as busy as 
bees, but not for honey, but in spinning such a spider's web, 
as the besom of death will presently sweep down ; Jobviii. 
14. They labour hard ; but for what ? for the food thatperish- 
eth, and not for that which will endure to everlasting life ; 
John vi.27. They are diligent seekers ; but for what? Not 
first for God, his kingdom and righteousness ; but for that 
which they might have had as an addition to their blessed- 
ness ; Matt. vi. 33. They are still doing ; but what are they 
doing ? even undoing themselves by running away from God, 
to hunt after the perishing pleasures of the world. Instead 
of providing for the life to come, they are making provision 
for the flesh to fulfil its lusts ; Rom. xiii. 14. Some of them 
hear the word of God ; but they choke it presently by the 
deceitfulness of riches, and the cares of this life; Lukeviii. 
14. They are careful and troubled about many things ; but 
the one thing that should be all to them, is cast by as if it 
were nothing. Providing for the flesh and minding the 
world, is the employment of their lives. They trouble them- 
selves with it, and trouble their families, and their nearest 
relations, and ofttimes trouble the whole town or place 
where they live ; so that unless we will let them have their 
bone to themselves, and give them our cloak when they 
have taken our coat, and say as Mephibosheth ' Let 
him take all,' there is no living quietly by them. A dog at 
his carrion, or a swine in his trough, is not more greedy than 
many of these sensualists, that labour of the ' Caninus appe- 
titus' to their trash. But to holiness they have no appetite, 
and are worse than indifferent to the things that are indeed 
desirable. They have no covetousness for the things that 
they are commanded earnestly to covet; They have so 
little hunger and thirst after righteousness, that a very lit- 
tle or none will satisfy them. Here they are pleading al- 
ways for moderation, and against too much, and too earnest, 
and too long. And all is too much for them that is above 
stark naught, or dead hypocrisy ; and all is too earnest and 
too long, that would make religion seem a business, or would 


engage them to seem serious in their own profession, or put 
them past jest in the worship of God, and the matters of 
their salvation. Let but their servants or children neglect 
but their worldly business (which 1 confess they should not 
do), and they shall hear of it with both ears. But if they 
sin against God, or neglect his word or worship, they shall 
meet with more patience than Eli's sons did. A cold re- 
proof is usually the best ; and it is well if they be not en- 
couraged in their sin ; and if a child or servant that begins 
to be serious for their salvation, be not rebuked, derided, 
and hindered by them. If on their days of labour they over- 
sleep themselves, they shall be sure to be called up to work 
(and good reason) ; but when do they call them up to 
prayer? when do they urge them to read, or consider, or 
confer of the things that concern their everlasting life ? 
The Lord's own day, which is appointed to be set apart for 
matters of this nature, is wasted in idleness or worldly talk. 
Come at any time into their company, and you may have 
talk enough, and too much, of news, or of other men's mat- 
ters ; of their worldly business, sports, and pleasures. But 
about God and their salvation, they have so little to say, 
and that so heartlessly and on the by, as if they were things 
that belonged not to their care and duty, and no whit con- 
cerned them. Talk with them about the renovation of the 
soul, and the nature of holiness, and the life to come ; and 
you shall find them almost as dumb as a fish, as dry as a 
chip, or as erroneous or insensible as those that speak but 
words by rote, to shew you how little they savour or mind 
the things of the Spirit. The most understand not matters 
of this nature, nor much desire or care to understand them. 
If one would teach them personally, they are too old to be 
catechised or to learn, though not too old to be ignorant of 
the matters which they were made for, and are preserved for 
in the world. They are too wise to learn to be wise, and 
too good to be taught how to be good ; though not too wise 
to follow the seducements of the devil and the world, nor 
too good to be the slaves of satan, and the despisers and ene- 
mies of goodness. If they do any thing which they call a 
serving of God, it is some cold and heartless use of words to 
make themselves believe that for all their sins they shall be 
saved ; so that God will call that a serving of their sins and 
abominations, which they call a serving of God. Some of 


them will confess that holiness is good ; but they hope God 
will be merciful to them without it And some do so hate 
it, that it is a displeasing, irksome thing to them, to hear 
any serious discourse of holiness, and they detest and deride 
those as fanatic, troublesome precisians, that diligently seek 
the one thing necessary. So that if the belief of the most 
maybe judged by their practices, we may confidently say, 
that they do ;not practically believe that ever they shall be 
brought to judgment, or that there is any heaven or hell to 
be expected ; and that their confession of the truth of the 
holy Scriptures, and their profession of the articles of the 
Christian faith, are no proofs that they heartily take them 
to be true. Who can be such a stranger to the world, as 
not to see that this is the case of the greatest part of men ? 
And which is worst of all, they go on in this course against 
all that can be said to them, and will give no impartial, con- 
siderate hearing to the truth which would recover them to 
their wits, but live as if it would be a felicity to them in hell 
to think that they came thither by wilful resolution, and in 
despite of the remedy. And is it not a sad prospect to a 
man that believeth in the word of God, and life to come, to 
look upon such a distracted world ? O sirs, if Jesus Christ 
be wise that condemneth their course and them, then cer- 
tainly all these men are fools. And if Christ knew what he 
said, we must needs think that they know not what they do. 
O what is the matter that reasonable men should have no more 
use of their reason in things of such importance, than thus 
to neglect their everlasting state for a thing of naught? 
Did God make them unreasonable, or give them understand- 
ings incapable of things of such high concernment ? Or 
rather, have they not drowned their reason in sensuality, and 
wilfully poisoned it with malicious averseness to God and 
holiness ? What is the matter that the one thing needful is 
no more regarded ? Hath God made them believe that they 
shall dwell here for ever, and never die ? No, surely ; this is 
so gross a lie, that the devil himself cannot make them be- 
lieve it. They know that they must die, as sure as they are 
alive. And yet they prepare not, but waste their days in 
scraping in this dunghill world, as if they were to go no fur- 
ther. Did God never warn them by a sermon, or sickness, 
to prepare for th« life which they must live for ever ? Yes, 
many a time ; but they would take no Svarning. Did God 

72 A SAINT OR A ijR 


never tell them that after this life there is another, where 
they must live in endless joy or torment? Yes, and they 
professed that they did believe it. They heard it a hundred 
times over, till they were weary of hearing it. Did God 
make them believe that they shall die like beasts that have 
no further to go, nor any other life to live ? No ; if they do 
believe this, it is the devil and not God that maketh them 
believe it. What then is the matter that the one thing 
needful is no more regarded ? Hath God shut up their souls 
in desperation, so that it is in vain to seek, or trouble them- 
selves for that of which there is no hope ? O no ! his com- 
passion hath provided them a full remedy ; by the death of 
his Son redemption is procured, and he hath made them a 
deed of gift of Christ, and pardon, and eternal life, and ten- 
der^ it to them, that upon their acceptance it may be theirs. 
Many a time he hath offered this mercy to them, and many 
a time hath he urged them to accept it. He hath set before 
them life and death, and given them their choice, and di- 
rected and persuaded them to choose aright. Impossibility 
of attainment is not their hindrance ; for mercy beseecheth 
and importuneth them to accept it, and grace and salvation 
are brought unto their hands. Owonderful! What then is left 
to take off a reasonable creature from minding and preferring 
its own everlasting, great concernments ? Is it because they 
have done their work already, and having made sure of heaven, 
have time to turn themselves to other matters ? Alas, no, 
the most are far from any such asssurance ; and have done 
but little to procure it. If they were to die this hour, they 
know not where their souls shall be the next. And if death 
even now should lay its terrible hands upon them, they have 
no other comfort than to yield unto necessity, and leave 
their souls by a short security, to try the passage of their 
unavoidable change, unless they are comforted by such pre- 
sumptuous self-deceit, which the next moment after death 
will vanish, and never return unto them more ; Job viii. 13, 
14. xi.20. xxvii.8. Prov. xi. 7. 

This is the case of the miserable world ; but they have 
not hearts to pity themselves, nor can we make them wil- 
ling to be delivered, because we cannot make them know 
their case. If a man fall into a pit, we need not spend all 
the day to persuade him that he is there, and to be willing 
to be helped out of it. But with these fleshly, miserable 


souls, the time that should be spent by themselves and us 
for their recovery, must be spent to make them believe that 
they are lost ; and when all is done we leave them lost, and 
have lost our labour, because we cannot prevail with them 
to believe it. Drown they will, and perish everlastingly, be- 
cause the time that should be spent in saving them, must be 
spent in making them know that they are sinking, and after 
all they will not believe it; and therefore will not lay hold on 
the hand that is stretched forth to pull them out. The narrative 
of the savage people of Soldania doth notably represent their 
stnte. Those people live naked, and feed upon the carrion- 
like carcases of beasts, and hang the stinking guts about 
their necks for ornaments, and wear hats made of the dung, 
and carve their skins, and will not change these loathsome 
customs. Some of them being drawn into our ships, were 
carried away for England. When they came to London and 
saw our stately buildings, and clothing, and provisions, they 
were observed to sigh much, which was thought to have 
been in compassion of their miserable country, which so 
much differed from ours. When they had stayed long among 
us, and got so much acquaintance with our civility and or- 
der, and all that belongs to the life of man, as that they were 
thought fit to communicate it to their countrymen, the next 
voyage they were brought back, and set on shore in their 
own country, to draw some of the rest to come into the 
ships, and see and enjoy what they had done (who had pur- 
posely been used as might most content them). But as 
soon as they were landed, they leaped for joy, and cried, 
* Soldania,' and cast away their clothes, and came again in 
the sight of our ships, with dung on their heads and guts 
hanging about their necks, triumphing in their sordid nak- 
edness. Just so do worldly, sensual men, in the matters of 
salvation^ If against their wills they are carried into cleaner 
ways and company, and the beauty of holiness, and the joys 
of heaven are opened to them, they are weary of it all the 
while ; and when we expect they should delight themselves 
in the felicity that is opened to them, and draw their old ac- 
quaintance to it, and be utterly ashamed of their former base 
and sinful state, they are gone when the next temptation 
comes, and return with the dog unto their vomit, and with 
the washed swine to wallow in the mire (2 Pet. ii. 21, 22.), 


and glory in their filth and shame, and only mind their earth- 
ly things ; Phil.iii. 18. 

Use 3. By this time you may see yourselves that the dis- 
ease of sinners is in their own hearts, and it is that that must 
be healed if they will be saved. But what should we do to 
get into those hearts, to search your sores and work the 
cure ? 1 come now to the principal part of my message to 
you; but will you indeed entertain it, if it prove itself to be 
from God ? How the case standeth with mankind, you have 
heard in my text from Christ himself. How one thing is 
needful ; and how the busy, idle world is diverted from this 
one thing, by many needless, troublesome things to their 
own destruction. If hence I warn you of your danger, and 
tell you of your duty, and exhort you to take another course 
than you have done, I hope you will confess I do but what is 
needful both for you and me, and what you have no reason 
to contradict. Come then for the Lord's sake, and let us 
treat practically and successfully about so great a business ; 
and make something of it before we leave it ; and end not 
till we amend what we find amiss. What course then will 
you take for the time to come? Will you go on to trouble 
yourselves about many things, and neglect the one thing 
needful, as you have done ? Dare you harbour such a pur- 
pose ? or dare you stifle those thoughts and motions that 
would tend to better purposes ? Or may I not hope that the 
light hath ashamed your sleepiness and works of darkness, 
and that you are grieved at the heart for the sinful negli- 
gence of heart and life, and resolved now to be new men ? 
For God's sake resolve, sirs. What will you do ? Waver 
not, but resolve ! It is more than a thousand lives that lieth 
on your resolution. I come to you this day as the minister 
of the great Pastor of the flock, that spake these words, not 
only to acquaint you, if you know not, or to remember you 
if you know, that one thing is needful ; but also with au- 
thority to command you in his name, to value it, to love it, 
to choose it, to seek it, and labour for it as the one thing 
needful. What say you, will you or will you not ? This 
unspeakable mercy I offer you from the Lord. He is wil- 
ling to put up at your hands all that is past, and to lay all 
your sins on the score of Christ, and freely to forgive you 
through the virtue of his blood, if you will now at last be- 


think you better, and come to Christ, and live as men that 
know what they have to do. If you will but see your for- 
mer folly, and heartily bewail it, and set your hearts on the 
one thing needful, he will encourage you, and help you, and 
bid you welcome, and number you with his sons, though 
you have lived as his enemies. Though you have lived like 
swine and serpents, he will put you in his bosom, if you will 
but be washed and changed by his grace. Though you have 
set more by your worldly riches than by his glory, and have 
set more by the favour of mortal man, than by his favour, 
and though you have set more by your bellies, and your 
brutish pleasures, and little toys, than you have done by 
everlasting life, he will yet be merciful to you, and put up 
all these indignities at your hands, and take you into his 
dearest love, if you will but now become new creatures, and 
give your hearts to him that made them, and seek that first 
that is worth the finding, and lose not the rest of your lives 
and labour upon unprofitable things. What can you say 
against this offer ? Is it not inconceivable and unspeakable 
mercy ? O what would the damned give another day for 
such an offer ? O what would you yourselves give another 
day for such an offer, if you now neglect it ? What say you 
then, will you accept of this offer of mercy while it may be 
had, and close with grace, while gl-ace would save you, or 
will you not ? As ever you look for mercy in the hour of 
your distress when nothing but mercy can stand your souls 
in any stead, take mercy now while it maybe had. Refuse 
it not when it is offered you, as you would not be refused 
by it when hell and desperation would devour you. If you 
slight it because it is free, you slight it because it is great, 
and therefore greatly to be valued. Think not hereafter to 
have it at your beck, if you neglect it now when it seeks for 
your acceptance. Do not say, I will a little longer keep my 
sins, and a little longer enjoy my pleasures, for I can have 
Christ's offer at any time before I die. O little dostthouknow 
what a stab such a trifling purpose may give to the very 
heart of all thy hopes and happiness ! and how terribly God 
may make thee know how ill he taketh thy unthankfulness 
and contempt ! and how dear one other week of sinful plea- 
sure may cost thy soul ! In the name of God I warn you, 
do not so despise everlasting happiness ! Do not so tram- 
ple on the blood of Christ, if you would be saved by it 5 



Do not abuse the Spirit of grace, if you would be sanctified 
by it! Play not any longer with the consuming fire, the 
wrath of a jealous and Almighty God ! Jest not with dam- 
nation ! Though grace be now offered you, it will not be at 
your command. Despise this motion, and you may be out 
of hearing before the next. What can you expect, if you 
will slight such mercy, but either that death should shortly 
bring you to your reckoning, or that God should leave you 
to yourselves, and give you up to the hardness of your 
hearts. And if you will needs choose the world, and fleshly 
pleasure, and God and glory shall be thus contemptuously 
passed by, you may take your choice, and see what you will 
get by it. But remember what an offer you had this day^ 
and that heaven was once within your reach, and that it 
might have been yours for ever if you would. 

But because I am loath to leave you so, I will try by 
some such arguments as the reason of man must needs ap- 
prove. Whether yet you may not be brought to yourselves, 
and yield to grace that you may be saved. And they shall 
be the arguments that lie before you here in the text. 

1. Remember, it is necessity that is pleaded with you in 
my text. One thing is necessary. Necessity, and your own 
necessity, is such an argument, as one would think of itself 
should turn the scales, and fully resolve you, and put you 
past any further deliberation or delay. If necessity, your 
own necessity, and so great necessity to so great an end, 
will not prevail with you, what will ? Necessity is that *in- 
o;ens telum,' that natural reason taketh to be irresistible. 
Men think they may do almost any thing, if they can say 
necessity commandeth it. * Omnem legem frangit, magnum 
illud humanaB imbecillitatis patrocinium,' saith Seneca. 
What is it that necessity seemeth not sufficient to justify 
with the most ? And we will grant the argument to be un- 
deniable, if it be from absolute necessity indeed, and if men 
will not dream that it is more necessary to be rich, or ho- 
nourable, or to live, than to be holy, and to be blessed with 
God, and to please him that created them. * Ubi necessitas 
incumbit, non ultra disputandum est, sed celerrime et forti- 
ter agendum * Words signify nothing against necessity. 
Reason is but hindering, troublesome folly, when it pleadeth 
against necessity. ' Omni arte> omni ratione efficacior ne- 
cessitas. Curt.* In worldly matters how quick-sighted, - 


how resolute, how active is necessity ! What conquerable 
difficulties will it not overcome ! what labour will it not en- 
dure, if it have but the encouragement of hope ! And yet 
this necessity is indeed no true necessity at all. For that 
which is necessity but to my credit, or estate, or health, or 
life, can be no more necessary than is my credit, and estate, 
and health, and life itself. When men do but fancy a ne- 
cessity where there is none, yet that will carry them through 
thick and thin. But O sirs, you have a real, undeniable ne- 
cessity to be holy, and to set yourselves to the work of your 
salvation ; such a necessity as is founded in your nature, 
and laid on you by your Maker, and as all the true reason in 
the world will confess, to be indispensable necessity. 

' Faxis ut libeat quod est necesse. 

Make no more words then, but resolve and stir when it is 
a matter that must be done. It is pity and shame that the 
amiableness of God and holiness will not prevail with you 
of themselves. But if you cannot yet perceive them to be 
delectable, acknowledge them to be necessary. Be asham- 
ed that pretended necessity for the body should be more 
powerful with others, than real necessity for salvation is 
with you. Look upon almost all the travail and labour that 
is under the sun, and all the diligence that is used here in 
the world, and consider whether it be not a thousandfold 
smaller necessity than I am now pleading with you, that 
setteth almost all on work ? The rich will not toil and la- 
bour, but will take their ease, because they think they are 
under no necessity ; but the poor will labour, because they 
must. Though the command of God to rich and poor should 
make them equally diligent in their several callings, in obe- 
dience to their Creator ; yet many thousands that labour all 
the year in obedience to their own necessities, would soon 
give it over and take ease, if they could but be well maintain- 
ed without it, notwithstanding the commands of God. And 
the poor that reproach the rich for idleness, would be idle 
themselves if they were but rich. The tradesman followeth 
his trade, and the husbandman his hard labour all the year, 
and what reason will they give you, if you ask them why 
they do it, but this, * We cannot live else. We must do it 
to maintain ourselves and families.' And is not the reason 


a thousand times Btronger for our souls ? May we not bet- 
ter say, * We must please God, and set our hearts on the life 
to come, and mind and seek the one thing needful, whatever 
becomes of other things ; for we cannot live else ; we can- 
not be saved else/ 

Necessity makes the traveller trudge from morning till 
night ; and the carrier to follow his horses through fair and 
foul from year to year. It makes some dig into the bowels 
of the earth, in mines and coal-pits ; and some to hale barges ; 
and some to cut through the terrible ocean, and venture 
their lives among the raging waves and storms ; and some 
even to beg their bread in rags from door to door. And O 
what will not necessity do that can be done ? And yet how 
many thousands trifle or do nothing for their souls, as if there 
were no necessity of being saved ; or no necessity of being 
holy that we may be saved. When alas, all the necessity in 
the world is no necessity at all, in comparison of this. You 
must beg, or starve, or famish, if you do not work. But 
you must burn in hell, if with fear and diligence you work 
not out your own salvation ; (for all that it is God that work- 
eth in you.) Phil. ii. 12. You must lie in prison if your debts 
be not paid. But you will be cast into outer darkness, if by 
the pardon of your sins, you be not discharged from your 
debt to God. You may become beggars if you be idle in 
your callings. But you will be the prisoners of hell, and 
shut out of all the happiness of the saints, if you labour not 
for the food that doth not perish, and strive not to enter in 
at the strait gate, and give not diligence to make your call- 
ing and election sure; John vi. 27. Matt. vii. 13. Luke 
xiii.24. 2Pet. i. 10. You must suffer hunger and naked- 
ness if you have not food and raiment. But you must suf- 
fer everlastingly the wrath of God, if you have not the one 
thing necessary. You will be the scorn and laughingstock 
of men, if you fall under their contempt, and lose your ho- 
nour. But you will be the enemies of God, and hated by 
him, if you continue to contemn his grace. 

O had you but seen the life to come, you would say, 
there is a necessity of attaining it! Had you been one 
hour in hell, you would think that there is a necessity of es^ 
caping it, and that there is no necessity to this. 

What say you to all this ? Is it not of truth and weight ? 
Can you deny it ? Or should you make light of it ? None 


but an infidel can deny it ; and none but a deadhearted nin- 
ner can make light of it. Believe the word of God, and the 
truth of it will be past question with you. Consider but 
that you are men that have immortal souls, and the weight 
of it will appear inestimable to you; above contempt ; above 
neglect. Believe it, sirs, you may as well see without light, 
and be supported without earth, or live without food, as be 
saved without holiness, or happy without the one thing ne- 
cessary; Heb. xii. 14. Johniii.3.6. Matt, xviii. 3. And 
when this is resolved of by God, and established as his stand- 
ing law, and he hath told it you so oft and plainly, for any 
man now to say, * I will yet hope for better ; I hope to be 
saved on easier terms, without all this ado,' is no better than 
to set his face against the God of heaven, and instead of be- ^ 
lieving God, to believe the contradiction of his own ungod- 
ly heart ; and to hope to be saved whether God will or not ; 
and to give the lie to his Creator, under the pretence of trust 
and hope. It is indeed to hope for impossibilities. To be 
saved without holiness, is to see without eyes, and to live 
without life. And who is so foolish as to hope for this ? 
Few of you are so unreasonable as to hope for a crop at har- 
vest, without ploughing or sowing ; or for a house without 
building ; or for strength without eating and drinking ; or 
to sleep and play, when you have nothing to maintain your 
families, and say. You hope that God will maintain both you 
and them. And yet this were a far wiser kind of hope, than 
to hope to be saved without the one thing necessary to sal- 
vation ; and without a heart that is set upon it, and a life 
that is employed for it. It is the Holy Ghost that calleth 
you to answer the question, " How shall we escape if we 
neglect so great salvation?" If you know how, then enter 
the lists with God, and dispute the cause with him. How 
will you escape, if you be neglecters of the only way that he 
hath provided for your escape ? Is there any power or in- 
terest of men or angels that can procure your escape ? How 
can that be done, that God hath resolved shall not be ? 

I beseech you now, beloved hearers, to remember this 
urgent motive of necessity, and use it when you are tempted 
to delay or trifle about the business of your salvation, as if 
it were some indifferent, needless thing. Without worldly 
riches you may be rich in faith : without worldly honours, 
you may have the honour of being the sons of God ; and 


without worldly pleasures, or health, or life, you may have 
the favour of God and life eternal. But without the one thing 
needful, you have nothing that is durably or satisfactorily 
good, but are undone for ever. Without the things of the 
world, you live in want for a little while, and then you will 
be equal to the greatest princes. But without this one thing, 
you must live in endless woe and misery, and be far worse 
than the basest prisoner in the dungeon, or than the toads 
and vermin that lie in the most unclean holes or sinks of the 
earth. And yet dare you delay another day before you 
make so necessary a change ? You have hearts of stone, if 
your own necessity thus urged upon your consideration will 
not awake you. If your hearts were not dead within you, 
while you hear these things, one would think such a neces- 
sity should make you feel, and resolve upon a speedy change, 
and make you stir in the diligent performance. Can you go 
on in security, in negligence, and worldliness, when you hear 
of your necessity, that you must change, or you are lost for 
ever? O stupid souls, that will not be moved with necessi- 
ty of everlasting consequence ! O what hath God, or Christ, 
or heaven, or holiness done against these men, that will ra- 
ther lie in hell for ever, than they will live in the love and 
service of this God, and in the practice of holiness, and in 
the hopes of heaven ! How meet are they for hell, that will 
venture upon it deliberately and upon choice, to escape the 
trouble of living in the holy love, delight, and service 
of the ever blessed God ! that is, to escape the trouble of 
heaven. Is it so great a sin to shut up the bowels of com- 
passion against our brother in his need ? And it is not more 
unnatural to deny compassion to yourselves in your own ne- 
cessity, and in the greatest necessity ? O poor sinners, re- 
member your necessities I Your own, your great, your abso- 
lute necessities. When you hear men that gather alms cry, 
' Remember the poor,' doth it make thee think. What a poor, 
necessitous soul have I to remember ? As Paul saith of 
preaching to others, I may say much more to you, of 
minding and practising this great work of your salvation ; 
" Necessity is laid upon you, and woe to you if you do it 
not ;" 1 Cor. ix. 16. Woe to you that ever you were born, 
and that ever you were reasonable creatures, or rather, that 
ever you so abused your reason, if you neglect and miss of 
the one thing necessary. 


I know you have other wants to be supplied, and other 
matters to look after in the world. But alas, how small are 
they ! God will supply all your other wants, if you will first 
and faithfully look after this; Phil. iv. 19. Matt. vi. 33. 
1 Pet. V. 7. Or if life and all go, you will find all in heaven. 
But if you miss of this one thing, nothing in the world can 
make supply, or do you good. And though now your feel- 
ings tell you not these things, alas how quickly will God 
make you feel, and teach you by that sensible way that you 
would needs be taught by ! 

Awake then, you sluggish, careless souls ! Your house 
over your heads is on a flame ! The hand of God is lifted 
up ! If you love yourselves, prevent the stroke. Vengeance 
is at your backs. The wrath of God pursueth your sin ; and 
woe to you if he find it upon you when he overtaketh you : 
Away with it speedily. Up and be gotie, return to God ; 
make Christ and mercy your friend in time, if you love your 
lives. The Judge is coming ; for all that you have heard of 
it so long, still you believe it not. You shall shortly see 
the Majesty of his appearance, and the dreadful glory of his 
face, and yet do you not begin to look about you, and to 
make ready for such a day ? Yea, before that day, your se- 
parated souls shall begin to reap as you have sowed here. 
Though now the partition that stands between you and the 
world to come, do keep unbelievers strange to the things 
that most concerneth them, yet death will quickly find a 
portal to let you in ; and then sinners, you will find such do- 
ings there as you little thought of, or at least did sensibly 
regard on earth. Before your corpse can be wrapped up in 
your winding-sheets, you will see and feel that which will 
tell you to the quick, that one thing was necessary. If you 
do die without this one thing necessary, before your friends 
can have finished your funerals, your souls will have taken 
up their places among the devils in endless torment and des- 
pair ; and all the wealth, and honour, and pleasure, that the 
world afforded you, will not ease you. This is sad, but it 
is true, sirs, for God hath spoken it. 

Up therefore, and bestir you for the life of your souls ! 
Necessity will awake the sluggard. Necessity, we say, will 
break stone walls. The proudest will stoop when they per- 
ceive necessity. The most slothful will bestir them when 
VOL. X. tJ 


they feel necessity. The most careless will look about them 
and be industrious in necessity. Necessity is called the ty- 
rant of the world, that can make men do any thing that is 
possible to be done. And yet cannot necessity make you 
cast away your sins, and take up a holy and heavenly life ? 
Necessity will make men fare hard, and work hard, and tra- 
vel hard ; go bare, and suffer much ; yea it will even cut off 
a leg or arm to save their lives. And yet can it not prevail 
with reasonable creatures, to cast away the poison of a fruit- 
less, filthy, deceitful sin, and to be up and doing for their 
salvation ! O poor souls ! Is there, think you, a greater 
necessity of your sin than of your salvation ? and of pleas- 
ing your flesh for a little time, than of pleasing the Lord, 
and escaping everlasting misery ? I beseech you consider 
your own necessities. 

2. Consider also, that it is but one thing which God hath 
made necessary for you. And I shewed you before, how that 
the means themselves, though they are many, have a certain 
unity in their harmony and connexion, and as they centre in 
the ultimate end, which is one. If God had sent you upon 
such a multitude of errands as the flesh and the world doth, 
and set you on such disagreeing, contrary works, then you 
had been excusable if you had neglected some of them. 
But he hath sent you but upon one errand; even to seek 
and make sure of everlasting life ; and therefore if you neg- 
lect this one, you are inexcusable. If the world be divided 
into a thousand opinions, or go a thousand several ways, 
they may thank themselves, who are the authors of this con- 
fusion ; but God is no cause of it, or friend to it. He hath 
made them but one work, and set them but one way to hea- 
ven, and given them one Master, Jesus Christ, to teach that 
way ; and written but one law, even his hx>ly Scripture, to 
be their sure and constant guide. And if men would stick 
to this one Master, and not make flesh and blood their mas- 
ter, or the multitude their master, or the rulers of the world, 
or the custom of their forefathers the master of their faith ; 
and if they would stick to this one word of God, and not 
run after the traditions of men, they would not be in such a 
maze, nor of so many minds as now they are. But they do 
in their doctrines as they do in their practice. God hath 
marked them out but one way in the holy Scripture, which 
is the good and the sure way, the way that Peter and Paul, 


and the rest of the apostles went to heaven in, and this way 
will not serve men's turns, but will run a hundred ways in- 
stead of this one : and they must make new ways which the 
apostles of Christ were never acquainted with. 

If God had loaded your memories with many things you 
might possibly have said, we cannot remember them all ; 
but he hath set you finally but one thing to remember, even 
to lay hold on everlasting life, and press on to the crown 
that is set before you ; and he hath an ill memory that can- 
not remember one thing, and such a thing as this too. 

It may be you are ignorant and cannot learn many things ; 
but God hath set you but this one thing to learn as of abso- 
lute necessity : and he is dull indeed that cannot learn one 
thing, and such a thing too. If you cannot understand the 
depths of sciences, nor reach the height of learning that 
others do attain, yet learn this one thing, to know God in 
the Redeemer ; and if you know this, you know all. Paul 
was not only contented with this knowledge, but " resolved 
to know nothing else but Christ and him crucified ;" that is, 
nothing that is wholly alien to this : nothing but what doth 
keep its due subordination to this, and so may be reduced 
to the knowledge of Christ; ICor.ii. 2. He would not 
own any other knowledge as knowledge, but disclaimeth it 
as ignorance and foolishness, though it seemed wisdom in 
the eyes of the world : chap. iii. 19, This seeming know- 
ledge and wisdom of the world, that is totally disjunct from 
Christ, is part of the all that we must sell to buy the pearl, if 
we will obtain it ; Matt. xiii. 46. And part of the " all things" 
which Paul accounted dung and loss, that he might " win 
Christ and be found in him ;'* Phil. iii. 7 — 10. For they 
that know not this one thing, know nothing, whatsoever they 
may seem to know : and they that would go beyond the 
knowledge of Christ, and think it too low for them, and 
trouble their brains and the church with their speculations, 
they do not know indeed, but dream. And if they would 
see their faces in the glass of Scripture, 1 Tim. vi.4. " They 
are proud, knowing nothing, but doating about questions 
and strifes of words ; whence cometh envy, railing, evil sur- 
misings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and 
destitute of the truth." 

Moreover, if your strength be so small that it will not 


suffice for every thing, at least you should lay it out on this 
one thing. 

Your time, I know, is small, your lives are short, and 
therefore you may say. We have not time for many things ; 
but when you have but one thing given you to do, that must 
be done, you may sure find time for this, for which you have 
your time. 

If you set your servant to work, and bid him be sure to 
do one thing, whatever else he do, you will not take it well 
if that one shall be neglected. If you send him on an errand, 
and bid him be sure to remember one thing whatsoever he 
forget, you will not take it well if he forget that one. If 
you trust him but with one thing, and bid him be sure to 
keep that one, you will not take it well if that be lost ; es- 
pecially if he wilfully throw it away. 

O consider whether this be not your case. God hath 
sent you into this world but on one errand, even to make 
sure of everlasting life, and will you neglect that one? He hath 
trusted you with one thing, and will you cast away that one ? 
He hath given you one lesson to learn, even to please him 
and to save your souls, and will you not learn and remember 
that one. If you had forgot your food and raiment, or for- 
got the houses you dwell in, it had been a small matter in 
comparison ; but to forget that one work that must be done, 
that one friend that you must always trust to, that one place 
that you must live in for ever, this is most unreasonable ; 
and when you have recovered your understandings, you 
shall confess it to be so. 

3. Consider further, that this one thing is that good 
part: you see it is here called so. *' Mary hath chosen 
that good part — ." Other things seem good to sense, and 
to perverted reason that is blinded by sense ; but this is it 
that seemeth good to reason illuminated by the spirit of 
faith. Other things seem good for a while, but this is that 
good that will still be good. 

I may not only say, that the good of other things is small 
in comparison of this, but that it is nothing at all, but as it 
is related unto this. This is that good that makes all things 
else good that are good. As they come from God^ and re- 
veal God to us, and lead us up to God, and are means to 
this eternal life, so they are good ; but otherwise there is 
no goodness in them. 


And therefore, seeing that goodness is naturally the ob- 
ject of man's will, one would think you should quickly be 
resolved of your choice. Sensual good is but a nominal 
good, if it reacli not higher. All that you hunt after so 
eagerly in the world, is nothing but real vanity and vexation, 
a sliadow of good, a picture of profit, a dream of delight, 
which one frown of God will turn into astonishing horror 
and despair : like a tender flower that is nipt with one frosty 
night, or withered with one scorching day : but it is only 
this one thing, that is the solid, substantial, and enduring 
good. The pleasure of the flesh is a good that is common 
to men with brutes ; they can eat, and drink, and play, and 
satisfy their lusts, and master one another as well as you. 
But it is the spiritual good that is proper to a reasonable 
creature. The pleasure of the flesh may melt you into fool- 
ish mirth, and make you like drunken men, that are gallant 
fellows in their own eyes, while sober men are ashamed of 
them, or pity them, or they become a laughingstock to 
others. But it is this one thing only which is that good 
which wisdom itself will justify. A man that is tickled may 
laugh more than he that is possessed of a kingdom, or hath 
the desires of his heart ; but he is not therefore to be ac- 
counted the happier man, nor will any wise man so account 
him. O sirs, one would think that to men that have read 
and heard what we have done, and have had that experience 
which we have had, these things should be plain and past 
all question; and that spiritual, heavenly, everlasting things 
should be confessed by us all to be that good part that 
should possess all the fervent desires of the soul. 

But O that we could see the truth of this belief in the 
choice of your wills, and the drift of your endeavours! If 
God would open your eyes and shew you things as they 
are, and save you from your wilful blindness, you would 
then see which is the better part, and you would be ashamed 
that ever you should make any question of it. That is the 
good part, which beareth the most lively image of God, 
which is goodness itself, yea, which possesseth us of thi& 
good. That is the good part which will make us good, and 
not that which deceiveth us and makes us worse. That is 
the good part which the wisest and best men judge to be so, 
yea, which God himself doth judge to be so; and not that 


which the most blind, deluded sinners do judge the best. 
That is the good part which is best at last, and which is an 
enduring good, and not that which perisheth in the using, 
and flieth from us when we have greatest need. That is the 
good part which all men will say is good in the conclusion; 
which the wicked themselves, that are now of another mind, 
will confess at last to be the best ; and not that which is 
commended only in prosperity, while the frensy or dream 
of sensuality doth beguile men, and which they will all cry 
out against at last. If you would know which is the best 
part, take counsel of God, and see what he saith, and ask men 
of wisdom and of greatest experience, that have tried both, 
and men that have staid the end, and seen what fleshly plea- 
sures, and profits, and honours can do for them : for how 
can men make so true a judgment that do not either stay the 
end, or else foresee the end by faith ? Do not take their 
judgments that are drunk with their sensual delights, and 
that will confess they must repent themselves, and there- 
fore confess they must be of another mind. Take not their 
judgments that neither have seen, nor yet foresee the end ; 
the worst is yet to come with them. Their states and minds 
are near a change. The day is near when they will say, 
that heaven was the better part, and be convinced by pun- 
ishment, that would not be convinced by instruction. 

Surely, sirs, it is so easy a question to reason itself, 
where sin hath not blinded it, whether God or the world be 
the better part, that one would think there should be left 
no room for doubting. Dare any of you speak out and say, 
that earth is better than heaven, or sin than grace, or tem- 
poral pleasure than eternal happiness ? I think you dare 
not. Shame will forbid you, and conscience will contradict 
you, if you should say so. And will you commend God by 
your words, and discommend him by your lives ? Will you 
say heaven is best, and yet seek the world before it ; and 
not let it have the best of your affections and endeavours ? 
Shall it be highest in your mouths, and lowest in your hearts 
and lives ? Shall it have the first place in your prayers, 
and the last in your labours ? Why then you commend God 
but to his dishonour, and your condemnation. You extol 
heaven and heavenly things but to the confusion of your own 
faces, that yourX)wn confessions may be brought in hereaf- 


ter as witnesses against you. In the name of God therefore 
I charge you, if you know which is the better part, condemn 
not yourselves by making choice against your knowledge. 

4. Consider also, that this good part is offered you, and 
you have your choice, whether God or the world, whether 
heaven or earth shall be your portion. 

It is not purchasing, or proper meriting, but choosing 
the good part, that you are called to. It is not, Mary hath 
purchased or merited the better part, but, hath chosen the 
better part. 

Two things are here contained. (1.) That it is not mat- 
ter of impossibility that you are called to : you are not ex- 
cluded from the hopes of salvation, by any exceptions that 
God hath put in against you in his promises ; but it is con- 
ditionally made as well to you as to others. 

(2.) And the condition is not any thing unreasonable, 
but your own consent. Christ and salvation are offered to 
your choice. If you will but prefer them before the trifles 
of the world, you may have them. The door of grace is 
open to you as well as to others. If you will but enter you 
may live. You are not left in a remediless case, nor given 
over to desperation. You cannot say, * Repenting and be- 
lieving will do us no good ; we cannot have Christ though 
we were never so willing.' You cannot say, * We would 
fain have Christ and his Spirit to sanctify us, but we can- 
not ; we are willing to be his disciples, but he is not willing 
to accept us, and to be our Saviour.' You cannot say so, 
and say truly. You cannot say he is set to sale to you, and 
that he expecteth such a price as you are unable to give, ; 
for you are called to take him freely ; and though this be 
sometimes called buying, yet it is " a buying without mo- 
ney and without price ;" Isa. Iv. 1 — 4. And though you 
must " sell all you have" for this valuable pearl (Matt, xiik 
46.), yet that is but a metaphorical selling, a parting with 
your sin and fleshly pleasure, as troubles and impediments 
that would ke^p you from salvation. As a sick man sells 
his diseases for health ; or at least, as he hath health by for- 
bearing some hurtful things that please him ^ or as a pri- 
soner purchaseth the liberty that is freely given him, by 
consenting to come forth and cast off his fetters. Your 
hands are full of dirt, and God offers you gold, and you can- 
nqt receive it till you throw away the dirt. This is your 


purchase. You give God nothing as a valuable price for 
his mercy, but you throw away the sin that is inconsistent 
with your happiness. Still I shall tell you, you may have 
Christ if you will. Pleasures and profits are flattering you 
to your destruction, and God calls you from them, and of- 
fereth you his Son and everlasting life, and entreateth you 
to accept them. And here you have your choice. The offer 
is, " Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life free- 
ly ;" Rev. xxii. 17. And if you will but choose that happi- 
ness that is offered you, and Christ the way to that happi-, 
ness, all the world cannot bereave you of your choice. It 
is brought to your hand and urged on you. You have now 
your choice, whether you will have Christ or the flesh, grace 
or sin, heaven or hell. As you choose, so you shall have. 
And if you miss of life, it will be because you did not choose 
it. Even because you " would not come to Christ that you 
might have life" (John v. 40.), and " would not have him to 
rule over you" (Luke xix. 27.), and " would not have the Lord 
indeed for your God" (Psal.lxxxi. 11.), and " did not choose 
the fear of the Lord" (Prov. i.29.) ; yea, when ** Christ would 
have gathered you, would not be gathered;" Matt. xxiii. 
37. It is this "turning away of the simple that doth slay 
them, beoau&e they refuse when Christ calls them, and re- 
gard not when he stretcheth forth his hand, but set at naught 
his counsel, and will have none of his reproof;" Prov. i.24, 
25. 32. See therefore that you refuse not him that speak- 
eth ; for if you turn away from him that speaks from heaven, 
and neglect or make light of so great salvation, how do you 
think it possible you should escape? Heb. xii.25. ii. 3. 
Matt. xxii. 5. 

But perhaps some of you will think to excuse yourselves 
for want of freewill, and say, ' How is it in our choice, when 
. God must give us to will and to do ? and we can do nothing 
of ourselves ? Have we freewill or power to choose the bet- 
ter part? You must not set up the power or will of man too 


Answ, No ; it is you that would set up your wills too 
high, in making us believe that you are not wilfully ungod- 
ly and impenitent, but omit all the good, and do all the evil 
that you do, because you cannot help it. You cannot but 
know that he is the sinner to be blamed and punished, that 
can and will not, rather than he that would but cannot do 


good, and forbear the contrary. You know that it is wilful- 
ness, and not unwilling impotency that the venom of ma- 
lice and naughtiness lieth in ; and therefore you are excus- 
ing your wills, and laying all upon your impotency, which is 
but to excuse your faults. I would make you know the base- 
ness of your wills, and that it is long of your badness that 
you are like to be undone, if grace prevent it not by your 
thorough conversion. I do not say that you have any power 
but what you have from God ; but I say you have the na- 
tural and legal power, and more than power, even a grant 
and offer of such a mercy from God. You have human fa- 
culties, and leave, and offers, and entreaties ; and you may 
have Christ and life as he is offered if you will. When I 
say it is in your choice, I do not say that you have the wit 
or the heart to make a right choice. No ; if you had but so 
much wit and grace, I need not use all these words to you 
to persuade you to choose the better part. Your wills are 
free from any force that God puts upon them to determine 
them to sin ; or from any force that satan or any enemy you 
have can use to determine them to sin. All they can do is 
morally to entice you. God doth not make you sin. If 
you choose your death, and forsake your own mercy, it is 
not God that determineth your wills to make this choice. 
Yea, he commandeth, and persuadeth, and urgeth you to 
make a better choice. And though satan tempt you, he can 
do no more. You have so much power, that you may have 
Christ if you will. You cannot say, I am truly willing to 
have Christ, and cannot. Thus much freewill undoubtedly 
you have. 

But I must confess that your wills are not free from the 
misguiding of a blinded mind, nor from the seduction of a 
sensual inclination ; nor from a base and wicked disposition 
of your own. This kind of freewill you shew us that you 
have not. But is your wickedness your excuse ? and is 
your wilfulness your innocency'.' What then can be culpa- 

Sirs, I would not have you abuse God, and befool your- 
selves with names and words, saying, you have not power 
and freewill, as if you might thus excuse your sin. I have 
opened the matter in plain terms to you, that children may 
understand it, though learned men have endeavoured to ob- 
scure it. God giveth you your choice, though your own 


wickedness do hinder you from choosing aright. You have 
a price in your hands, but fools have not a heart to their 
own good ; Prov. xvii. 16. I know that you want both 
wisdom and a sanctified will ; and I know that your minds 
and wills are contrarily disposed. You need not tell me that 
you are wilful and wicked, when there must be so many 
words spoken, and so many books written, and so much 
mercy and patience of God, and so many afflictions from his 
hand, and all will not serve to make you choose the better 
part. But if you were willing, if you were truly willing, 
the principal part of the work were done. For if you are 
willing, Christ is willing ; and if Christ be willing, and you 
be willing, what can hinder your salvation ? 

Having laid this groundwork from the plain word of 
God, methinks I may with this advantage now plead the 
case, even with common reason. One thing is needful ; the 
good part is that one ; and this is tendered to you by the 
Lord. What is it then that you do make choice of? and 
what do you resolve ? May you have Christ, and pardon, 
and everlasting life, and will you not have them ? Shall it 
be said of you another day, that you had your choice, whe- 
ther you would have Christ and life, or sin and death ; and 
you chose destruction and refused life ? I beseech thee, 
reader, whosoever thou art that readest these lines, that thou 
wouldst a little turn thine ears to God, and withdraw thy- 
self from the delusions of the flesh and world, and use thy 
reason for thy everlasting peace ; and consider with thyself 
what a dreadful thing it will be, if thou be everlastingly shut 
out of the presence of God, upon thy own choice ? And if 
thou lose thy part in Christ, and pardon, and everlasting 
glory upon thy own choice. And if thou must lie in hell- 
fire, and conscience must tell thee there for ever. Thou hast 
but the fruit of thine own choice. Heaven was set open to 
me as well as others. I had life, and time, and teaching, 
and persuasions as well as others ; but I chose the pleasure 
of sin for a season, though I was told and assured that hell 
would follow ; and now I have that which I made choice of, 
and taste but the fruit of my own wilfulness ! Will not 
such gripes of conscience be a hellish torment of themselves, 
and an intolerable vexation, if thou hadst no more ? Had 
you rather have sin, than Christ and holiness ? Alas, I see 
by your lives you had ! But had you rather have hell than 


God and glory ? If not, then choose not the way to hell. 
Why do you give God such good words, and prefer your sin 
when you have done, before him ? Why do you speak so 
well of Christ and heaven, and yet refuse them ? Why do you 
speak so ill of sin and hell, and yet choose them to the loss 
of your salvation? Surely if you were soundly persuaded 
that Christ is better than the world, and holiness than sin, 
you would choose that which you say is the best. For that 
which men think indeed to be the best, and best for them, 
they will choose and seek after. And therefore, when you 
have said all that you can in commendation of grace and a 
holy life, no wise men will believe that you are heartily per- 
suaded of the truth of what you say, as long as you run 
away from Christ, and follow the flesh, and take that course 
that is contrary to your profession. For that which you 
like best you will certainly choose and seek with the great- 
est care and diligence. Now you have your choice ; if you 
would have the better part, now choose it. 

5. I have one other motive yet from the text to persuade 
you to choose the better part. If you choose it, it shall ne- 
ver be taken from you. You hear this is the resolution of 
Christ himself concerning Mary's choice, and that which is 
spoken of her will be as true of you, if you make the same 
choice. If all the enemies you have in the world should 
endeavour to deprive you of Christ and your salvation, they 
cannot do it against your choice. If by power or by policy 
they would rob you of your portion, they cannot do it. For 
which way should they do it ? They cannot turn the heart 
of God against you, nor make him break his covenant with 
you, nor repent him of his gift and calling which he hath ex- 
tended to you. For he is unchangeable, and loveth you 
with an everlasting love ; Mai. iii. 6. Jer. xxxi. 3. Isa. liv. 
8. Jer. xxxiii. 20,21. 23. 1.5. Rom.xi.29. They cannot 
undermine the rock that you are built upon, nor batter the 
fortress of your souls, nor overcome your great Preserver 
and defence, nor take you out of the hands of Christ ; Psal. 
Ixxiii. 26. xxxi. 2, 3. Ixii. 2. lix. 9. 16. John x. 28. 
Cast not away the salvation that is offered you, and then 
never fear lest it be taken from you. See that you choose 
the better part, and resolvedly choose it, and it will be cer- 
tainly your own for ever. For man cannot take it from you, 
nor devils cannot take it from you, and God will not take it 


from you. Rust and moths will not corrupt this treasure ; 
nor can thieves break through and steal it from you ; Matt. 
vi. 19,20. 

But you cannot say so of worldly riches. If you choose 
to be lords and princes on the earth, you cannot have your 
choice ; but if you could, you cannot keep it. If you choose 
the wealth and credit of the world, and were sure to p-et it. 
you were as sure to leave it. For naked you came into the 
world, and naked you must go out ; Job i. 21 . If you choose 
your ease, and mirth, and pleasure, these will be taken from 
you. If you choose the satisfying of your fleshly desires, 
and all the delight and prosperity that the world can afford 
you, yet all must be taken from you, yea quickly and easi- 
ly taken from you. Alas ! one stroke of an apoplexy, or a 
few fits of a fever, or the breaking of a small vein, or many 
hundred of the like effectual means, are ready at the beck of 
God, to take you from all that you have gathered for your 
flesh. And then whose shall all these things be ? None of 
yours I am sure, nor will they redeem your souls from death 
or hell; Luke xii. 20. Psal.xlix. 7. If you be in honour, 
you abide not in it, but are (as to your body) as the beasts 
that perish. If you think to perpetuate your houses and 
your names, this your way is but your folly, though your 
posterity go on to approve your sayings, and succeed you 
in your sins \ Psal. xlix. 11 — 13. "The worldly wise man 
doth perish with the fool : as sheep they are laid in the grave. 
Death shall feed on him, and the upright shall have domi- 
nion over them in the morning ;" ver. 10. 14. " They shall 
soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green 
herb;" Psal. xxxvii. 2. "I have seen the wicked in great 
prosperity, and spreading himself like a green bay-tree; yet 
he passed away, and lo he was not ; yea, I sought him, but 
he could not be found ;" ver. 35, 36. 

You think it a fine thing to have the fulness of the crea- 
ture, to be esteemed with the highest, and fed and clothed 
with the best, and fare deliciously every day, as the rich 
man, Luke xvi. But hath he not paid dear, think you for 
his riches and pleasure by this time ? His feeding and ful- 
ness was quickly at an end ; but his torment is not yet end- 
ed, nor ever will be. You think it a brave thing to clamber 
up to riches, and that which you call greatness and honour 
in the world ; but how quickly, how terribly must you come 


down ! " Go into the sanctuary of God and understand your 
end. Surely God hath set them in slippery places, and 
casteth them down into destruction. How are they brought 
to desolation as in a moment ! They are utterly consumed 
with terrors. As a dream when one awakeneth, so at the 
awakening, shall their image (or shadow of honour) be des- 
pised ;" PsaLlxxiii.17— 20. 

How short is the pleasure, and how long is the pain ! 
How short is the honour, and how long is the shame ! What 
is it under the sun that is everlasting? You have friends, 
but will they dwell with you here for ever ? You have houses, 
but how long will you stay in them ? It is but as yesterday 
since your houses had other inhabitants, and your towns 
and countries other inhabitants, and where are they all now? 
You have health, but how soon will you consume in sick- 
ness? You have life, but how soon will it end in death? 
You have the pleasure of sin ; you say unto yourselves, "Eat, 
drink, and be merry," but how soon will all the mirth be 
marred, and turned into sadness, everlasting sadness ! 
When youhear, ** Thou fool, this night shall they require thy 
soul, and then whose shall these things be ?" Luke xii. 20. 

O miserable wretch ! If thou hadst chosen God instead 
of thy sin, and the everlasting kingdom instead of this world, 
thou wouldst not have been thus cast off in thy extremity. 
God would have stuck better to thee. Heaven would have 
proved a more durable inheritance. For it is a " kingdom 
that cannot be moved ;" Heb. xii. 28. The day is near when 
thy despairing soul must take up this lamentation, ' My 
dearest friends are now forsaking me. I must part with all 
that I laboured for, and delighted in. I have drunk up all 
my part in pleasure, and there is no more left. My merry 
company, and honours, and recreations are past and gone ; 
I shall eat, and drink, and sport no more. But God would 
not have used me thus, if I had set my heart upon him and 
his kingdom. O that I had chosen him and made him my 
portion, and spent these thoughts, and cares, and labours, 
for the obtaining of his love, and pi*omised glory, which I 
spent in the pleasing and providing for the flesh ; then I 
should have had a happiness that death could not deprive 
me of, and a crown that fadeth not away. Neither life, nor 
death, nor any creature could have separated me from his 
love. I need not then have gone out of the world as a pri- 


soner out of the gaol, to the bar, and to the place of exe- 
cution. My departing soul should not then need to have 
been afraid of falling into the hands of an tmreconciled God, 
and so into the hands of the devils as his executioners, nor 
of passing out of the flesh to hell.' 

O poor sinners, for how short a pleasure do you sell 
your hopes of everlasting blessedness, and run yourselves 
into endless pains ! O what comparison is there between 
the time of your pleasure, and the everlastingness of your 
punishment ! How short a while is the cup at your mouths 
or the drink in your bellies! or the harlot in your em^ 
bracements ! or the wealth of the world in your possession ! 
And how long a time must you pay for this in hell ! How 
quickly are your merry hours past! but your torments will 
never be past. When your corpses are laid in the grave, 
men can say, * Now he hath done his satisfying the flesh 
and following the world,' but never man can truly say, ' Now 
he hath done suffering for it.' Your life of sin is passing as 
a dream, and your honours as a shadow, and all your busi- 
ness as a tale that is told ; but the life of glory which you 
rejected for this, would have endured for evermore. Sup- 
pose as many thousand years as there are sands on the sea, 
or piles of grass on the whole earth, or hairs on the heads of 
all the men in the world, yet when these many are past, the 
joy of the saints, and the torments of the wicked are as far 
from an end as ever they were. The eternal God doth give 
them a duration, and make them eternal. 

When our joys are at the sweetest, this thought must 
needs be part of that sweetness, that their sweetness shall 
never have an end. If our short foretaste be joy unspeaka- 
ble and full of glory, what shall we call that joy which flows 
from the most perfect fruition and perpetuation? 1 Pet. i. 
7,8. We have joy here, but alas how seldom! alas, how 
small in comparison of what we may there expect ! Some 
joy we have, but how oft do melancholy, or crosses, or losses 
in the world, or temptations, or sins, or desertions interrupt 
it ! Our sun is here most commonly under a cloud, and too 
often in an eclipse ; and we have the night as often as the 
day. Yea, our state is usually a winter ; our days are 
cold and short, and our nights are long. But when the flou- 
rishing state of glory comes, we shall have no intermissions 
nor eclipses. " The path of the just is as the shining light, 


that shineth more and more unto the perfect day ;" Prov. 
iv. 18. And the perfect day is a perpetual day, that knows 
no interruption by the darkness of the night. '* For there 
shall be no night there, nor need of candle or sun ; for the 
Lord God giveth them light, and they shall reign for ever 
and ever ;" Rev. xxii. 5. This is the life that fears no death, 
and this is the feast that fears no want or future famine ; the 
pleasure that knows nor fears pain ; the health that knows 
nor fears sickness ; this is the treasure that fears no moth, 
or rust, or thief; the building that fears no storm nor de- 
cay ; the kingdom that fears no changes by rebellion ; the 
friendship that fears no falling out ; the love that fears no 
hatred or frustration ; the glory that fears no envious eye ; 
the possessed inheritance that fears no ejection by fraud, or 
force, or any failings ; the joy that feels or fears no sorrow; 
while God who is life itself is our life ; and while God who 
is love, is the fountain and object of our love, we can never 
want either life or love. And whilst he feeds our love, our 
joyful praises will never be run dry, nor ever go out for want 
of fuel. This is the true perpetual motion, the circulation of 
the holy blood and spirit from God to man, and from man 
to God. Being prepared and brought near him, we have 
the blessed vision of his face, by seeing him ; and by the 
blessed emanation of his love, we are drawn out perpetually 
and unweariedly to love him and rejoice in him ; and from 
hence incessantly to praise and honour him. In all which, 
as his blessed image and the shining reflections of his re^ 
vealed glory, he taketh complacency, which is the highest 
end of God and man, and the very term of all his works and 

I thought here to have ended this first part of my dis- 
course ; but yet compassion calls me back. I fear lest with 
the most I have not prevailed ; and lest I shall leave them 
behind me in the bonds of their iniquity. I daily hear the 
voice of men possessed by a spirit of uncleanness, speaking 
against this necessity of a holy life, which Christ himself so 
peremptorily asserteth. I hear that voice which foretelleth 
a more dreadful voice, if in time they be not prevailed with 
to prevent it. One saith, * What need all this ado ? This 
strictness is more ado than needs.' Another saith, * You 
would make men mad, by poring so much on matters that 
are above them/ Another saith, * Cannot you keep your 


your neighbours be V Another saith, * I hope God is 
more merciful than to damn all that be not so precise/ 
Another saith, * I shall never endure so strict a life, and 
therefore I will venture as well as others.' The sum of all 
is, they are so far in love with the world and sin, and so 
much against a holy life, that they will not be persuaded to 
it ; and therefore to quiet their consciences in their misery, 
they make themselves believe that they may be saved with 
out it, and that it is a thing of no necessity, but their com- 
ing to church and living like good neighbours may serve 
the turn without it, for their salvation. And thus doth the 
malicious serpent, in the hearts of those that he possesseth, 
rise up against the words of Christ. Christ saith that this 
is the one thing needful. And the serpent saith. It is more 
ado than needs ; and What needs all this ado ? Though 
I have fully answered this ungodly objection already in 
my " Treatise of Conversion ;" and more fully in my 
** Treatise of Rest," part 3. chap. 6 ; yet I shall once 
more fall upon it. For death is coming, while poor delud- 
ed souls are loitering ; and if satan, by such senseless rea- 
sonings as these, can keep them unready in their sin, till the 
fatal stroke hath cut them down, and cast them into endless, 
easeless fire, alas, how great will be their fall ! and how un- 
speakably dreadful will be their misery ! Whoever thou be, 
whether high or low, learned or unlearned, that hast dislik- 
ed, opposed, or reproached serious, godly Christians, as Pu- 
ritans, and too precise ; and that thinkest the most diligent 
labour for salvation to be but more ado than needs, and hast 
not thyself yet resolvedly set upon a holy life, I require at thy 
hands so much impartiality and faithfulness to thy own im- 
mortal soul, as seriously to peruse these following Questions, 
and to go no further in thy careless, negligent, ungodly 
course, till thou art able to give such a rational answer to 
them, as thou darest stand to now at the bar of thine own 
conscience, and hereafter at the bar of Christ. 

Quest, 1. ' Canst thou possibly give God more than is his 
due ? or love him more than he deserveth ? or serve him 
more faithfully than thou art bound, and he is worthy of?' 
Art thou not his creature, made of nothing? and hast thou 
not all that thou art and hast from him ? and if thou give 
him all, dost thou give him any more than what is his own ? 
If thou give hiai all the affections of thy soul, and all the 


most serious thoughts of thy heart, and every hour of thy 
time, and every word of thy mouth, and every penny of thy 
wealth (in the way that he requireth it), is it any more than 
is his due ? Should not he have all, that is Lord of all ? 

Quest. 2. ' Is it not the first and great commandment, 
** Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and 
soul, and might ?'* ' And do not heathens confess this by 
the light of nature? And hath not thy tongue confessed it 
many a time? And doth not thy conscience yet bear wit- 
ness that it is thy duty ? And is it possible thou shouldst 
thus love him, with all thy heart, and soul, and might, and 
yet not seek and serve him with all thy heart, and soul, and 
might? or can the most sanctified person do anymore, if he 
were perfect ? 

Quest, 3. * Dost thou not confess that we are all sinners? 
And that the best is still too bad ? And that he that loveth 
and serveth God most, doth yet come exceeding short of his 
duty V And yet wouldst thou have such men come shorter ? 
and darest thou persuade them to do less ? Must not the 
best confess their daily failings, and beg pardon for them 
from the Lord, and be beholden to the blood of Christ, and 
lament their imperfections ? And yet wouldst thou have them 
be such odious hypocrites, as to think they serve God too 
much already, while they confess that they come so short ? 
Shall they confess their failings, and reproach those that 
endeavour to avoid the like ? Shall the same tongue say, 
* Lord be merciful to me a sinner,' and ' Lord, I am good 
enough already. What need there so much ado to please 
and serve thee any better?* What would you think of such 
a man ? ' 

Quest. 4. ' Is it not an unquestionable duty to grow in 
grace ? and to press towards perfection as men that have not 
yet attained it?' 2Pet.iii. 18. Phil.iii. 12— 14. And must 
Paul, and Peter, and the holiest on earth, still seek to grow 
and labour to be more holy ? and shall such a one say, 
' What need I be more holy?' that are utterly unsanctified. 

Quest. 5. ' Is it not one of the two grand principles of faith 
and all religion, without which no one can please God V 
Heb. xi. 6. Whoever cometh to God must believe first that 
God is; (that there is a God, most powerful, wise and good). 
Secondly, that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek 

VOL. X. H 


him. This is one of nature's principles. It is the diligent 
seekers of God that he will reward. And yet dare a fleshly, 
negligent sinner reproach the diligent seeking of God, and 
take it for a needless thing, and say, * What needs all this 
ado?' Are not these the atheist's seconds; even next to 
them that deny that there is any God, or that blaspheme 
him? And indeed, if he be not worthy of all the love and 
service that thou canst give him, he is not the true God ! 
Consider therefore the tendency of thy words, and tremble. 
Quest, 6. * Doth not that wretch set up the flesh and the 
world above the Lord, that thinks not most of his thoughts, 
and cares, and words, and time, and labour for the world to 
be too much ado, and yet thinks less for God and heaven to 
be too much?' And dost thou think in thy conscience that 
the flesh is better worthy of thy love, and care, and labour, 
than the Lord ? Or that earth will prove a better reward to 
thee than heaven ? Who, thinkest thou, will have the better 
bargain in the end ? The fool that laid up riches for him- 
self, and was not rich to God, and shall lose all at once that 
he so much valued, and so carefully sought (Luke xii. 20, 
21.), or he that laid up his treasure in heaven, and there set 
his heart, and sought for the never-fading crown ? (Matt. vi. 
20, 21. 33.) and counted all as loss and dung for the excel- 
lent knowledge of Jesus Christ? Phil. iii. 8. Do you think 
that there is any thing more worth your care, and time, and 
labour, or can you more profitably lay it out ? 

Quest. 7. * Have you not immortal souls to save or lose?' 
And are not your bodies for their service, and to be used and 
ruled by them? And should not your souls then have more 
of your care and diligence, than corruptible flesh that must 
turn to dirt? 

Quest. 8* * Dare any one of you say that you are wiser 
than the all-knowing God ?' Is not thy wisdom less to his, 
than a glowworm's light is to the sun ? And hath not God 
most plainly and frequently in his word commanded thee a 
holy life ? Yea every part and parcel of it is nothing else 
but the obeying of that word; for if it be not prescribed by 
the Lord, it is not holiness, nor that which I am pleading 
for. And when the living God hath told the world his mind 
and will, shall a sinful man stand up and say, * I am wiser 
than my Maker ; I know a better way than this ; what need 
there all this stir for heaven?' What dost thou less than 


thus blaspheme, and set up thy foUy above the Lord, when 
thou condemnest or reproachest holinesa which he com- 
mandeth ? 

Quest* 9. * Dare you say that God is not only so unwise, 
but so unrighteous and tyrannical, as to give the world un- 
necessary laws, and set them upon a needless work V What 
king so tyrannical as would require his subjects on pain of 
death to go pick straws against the wind ? What master or 
parent so foolishly cruel as to command their servants or 
children, to weary themselves with hunting butterflies, and 
following their own shadows ? And darest thou impute 
such foolish tyranny to the God of heaven, as if he had made 
a world, and set them upon a needless work, and command- 
ed them to tire themselves in vain ? 

Quest. 10. * Can a man be too diligent about that work 
which he was made for, and is daily preserved and maintain- 
ed for, and for which he hath all the mercies of his life?' 
Thou hadst never come into the world but on this business, 
even to serve and please God, and prepare for everlasting 
happiness. And are you afraid of doing this too diligently ? 
Why is it, thinkest thou, that God sustaineth thee ? Why 
diedest thou not many years ago, but only that thou might- 
est have time to seek and serve him ? Was it only that thou 
mightest eat, and drink, and sleep, and go up and down, and 
fill up a room among the living ? Why, beasts, and fools, 
and madmen do all this, as well as thou. Why hast thou 
thy reason and understanding, but to know and serve the 
Lord ? Is it only to know how to shift a little for the com- 
modities of the world? or is it not to know the way to life 
eternal ? Look round about thee on all the creatures, and 
on all the mercies which thou dost possess ; every deliver- 
ance, and privilege, and accommodation ; every bit of bread 
thou eatest, and every hour of thy precious time, are all giv- 
en thee for this one thing needful. And yet wilt thou say 
that this one thing is needless, for which thou hast all things ? 
Thoumayest then say, that God made the world in vain ; and 
preserveth and governeth it in vain. For all this is but for 
his service, which thou callest vain. 

Quest. IL * Doth not reason tell thee, that the place in 
which thou must live for ever, should be more diligently 
minded and prepared for, than this in which thou must con- 
tinue but for a while V Alas, it is so short a time that w;» 


must be here, that it makes all the matters of this world (as 
such) to be inconsiderable things, as dreams and shadows. 
What great matter is it for so short a time, whether we be rich 
or poor, well or sick, in credit or in contempt ; whether we 
laugh or weep, when our part will be so quickly acted, and 
we must go naked out of the world as we came into it I 
For so short a time, a poor habitation may serve the turn, as 
well as the most splendid palace. A painful, obscure, afflict- 
ed life may do as well as the most plentiful provisions, and 
the greatest ease and worldly honours. The purple and fine 
linen, the silks and bravery will be soon forgotten ; and the 
soul in hell will be no more the better for them than the rot- 
ten carcase in the grave. The taste of the delicious meats and 
drinks will quickly be forgotten ; and sportful youth will be 
turned into cold and languid age ; and the most confirmed 
health into dolorous sickness ; and mirth and laughter into 
mournful groans. And is such a transitory life as this more 
worthy of your care and greatest diligence, than life eternal ? 
O ! one would think that the world that you must be ever, 
ever in, should never, never be forgotten ! There is the 
company that you must live with for ever. There is the 
state that you shall never change. There is the joy or tor- 
ment that shall have no end ; and while you forget it you 
are posting to it, and are almost there. And can you be too 
careful for eternity ? 

Quest, 12. ' Consider also but the infinite joys of heaven, 
and tell me, whether thou dost think they are not worthy the 
greatest cost or pains that thou canst be at to get them ? 
Dost thou think that heaven is not worthy of the labour 
that is bestowed for it by the most holy saints on earth ? 
Will it not requite them to the full ? Will any that come 
thither repent that they obtained it at so dear a rate ? If 
now thou couldst speak with one of those believers mention- 
ed in Heb. xi. that " lived as strangers and pilgrims on 
earth," as ** seeking a better, even a heavenly country ;" that 
preferred the " reproach of Christ before the treasure of 
the world," and chose " affliction with the people of God," 
before the " pleasures of sin for a season ; that were tortur- 
ed, not accepting deliverance, that they might receive abet- 
ter resurrection ; that had trial of cruel mockings and scourg- 
ings, and of bonds and imprisonments, and were stoned, 
sawn asunder, tempted, slain with the sword, wandered 


about in sheep-skins, and goat-skins, being destitute, af- 
flicted, and tormented, though men of whom the world was 
not worthy :" Would any one of these now tell you, that 
they did or suffered too much for heaven ? or that it was not 
worth ten thousand times more ? If thy tongue dare say 
that heaven is not worth the cost or trouble of a holy life, 
(or if thy life say so, though thy tongue dare not) thou 
judgest thyself unworthy of it, and sentencest thyself unto 

Quest. 13. ' And are the torments of hell so small and to- 
lerable, that thou thinkest a holy life too dear a means for 
to prevent them?' Dost thou believe the threatenings of the 
Lord, that he will " come in flaming fire to take vengeance 
on them that know not God, and obey not the Gospel of our 
Lord Jesus Christ ; who shall be punished with everlasting 
destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glo- 
ry of his power ;" 2 Thess. xviii. 9. And yet canst thou say, 
' What needs all this ado to escape such endless misery?' 
Thou wilt take any medicine to cure but the gout or stone, 
if once thou have felt them. Thou wilt draw out a tooth to 
prevent the pain of it. And is holiness so hateful or griev- 
ous a thing to thee, that thou will venture on hell itself to 
avoid it? If so much of hell be in thy heart already, blame 
none but thyself if thou have thy choice. 

Quest. 14. ' Why wast thou baptized into the covenant of 
holiness, to God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, if thou 
think it needless to perform thy covenant V A holy life is 
no more than in baptism thou wast solemnly engaged to. 
There didst thou renounce the flesh, the world, and the de- 
vil ; and tookest God for thy portion and absolute Lord, 
and gavest up thyself to be ruled by him, and saved by 
Christ, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit ; and dost thou 
now say, * What needs all this ado V Are we all by our 
baptismal vow engaged to a needless thing ? I tell thee, 
there is not the most holy man on earth, that doth any more 
than what he is bound to by the covenant relations which 
he undertook in baptism. 

Quest. 15. Moreover, What a hypocrite art thou to pro- 
fess thyself a member of the holy catholic church, if holi- 
ness, which is the life of the church, seem needless to thee I 
Why dost thou profess to believe and desire the communion 
of saints, if the life of saints seem needless to thee, and thou 


wilt not have communion with them in their sanctity ? Dost 
thou not plainly renounce thy covenant, and faith, and du- 
ty, when thou renouncesta holy life as a thing unnecessary ? 

Qjiest. 16. *Dost thou think, or darest thou say, that the 
bloody death, and holy life of Jesus Christ were more than 
needs in order to thy salvation V Unless thou be a profess- 
ed infidel, I know thou darest not say so. And if thy soul 
were worth the sufferings of the Lord of life, is it not worth all 
the cost and labour of thy duty ? Christ lived a life of per- 
fect holiness ; he never sinned ; he fulfilled all righteous- 
ness ; he prayed all night, and with greatest fervency ; 
preaching and doing good was his employment. Though 
he hated pharisaical superstition, and the teaching for doc- 
trines the commandments of men, and serving God according 
to men's traditions, yet was there never so holy, and pure, 
and precise, and strict, and heavenly a life as Jesus Christ's. 
And this was for our redemption, and our example. And 
darest thou say that this was needless? Should we not en- 
deavour to imitate our pattern ? Are they better that are 
most like Christ, or they that are most unlike him ? And 
which dost thou think is most like Christ, the lioly or the un- 
holy ? Sure we that fall so short of the example that Christ 
hath given us, are far from being more diligent than needs, 
when Christ went not too far, nor was too strict, that went 
so very far beyond us. 

Quest. 17. ' Look upon all the institutions of the Lord. 
On magistracy, and ministry, and the great works of their 
office. On prayer, and preaching, and sacraments, and dis- 
cipline, and all other ordinances of God ; and also on all the 
frame of the holy Scriptures ; and also on all the workings 
and graces of the Holy Ghost ; and tell me whether thou 
darest say, that all or any of these are in vain ? and whether 
that holiness which all these are appointed for, can be a vain 
and needless thing?' 

Quest, 18. ' Darest thou say that Christ doth more than 
needs in his intercession for us with the Father now in hea- 
ven V It is he that sendeth the Spirit to sanctify us. It is 
he that prayeth that we may be sanctified by the truth ? 
We have no grace and holiness but what we have from him. 
And darest thou say he doth too much ? It is he that sends 
his ministers to call men to a holy life. Look into his word 
and see whether the doctrine which they preach be not there 


prescribed to them ; and the duties of holiness there com- 
mended. If therefore it were erroneous or excessive, it 
would be long of Christ, and not of his messengers or dis- 
ciples, that speak and do no more for holiness than he bids 
them ; but fall exceeding short. 

Quest 19. * Art thou wiser in this, and more to be believ- 
ed, than all the ancient prophets, and apostles, and servants 
of God in former ages, and than all that are now alive on 
earth, that ever tried a holy life?' The Scripture will tell 
thee that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and all the rest of 
the saints that were then most dear to God, were so far from 
thinking that a holy life was more than needs, that they 
thought they could never be holy enough, and blamed their 
defects when they excelled such as now thou blamest as too 
precise. And if thou wilt prefer the words and example of 
a worldling, or of a sottish, sensual man, before the judg- 
ment and example of these saints, the company that thou 
choosest, and the deceivers whom thou followest, shall be 
also thy companions in calamity, where shall be weeping 
and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see the saints from east 
and west, from north and south, sit down with Abraham, 
Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, 
and you, and such as you, thrust out. Even when the last 
in time (whom you here despised) shall be equal to the first 
and ancient saints ; Luke xiii. 27 — 30. Why do you hypo- 
critically honour the names and memorials of the prophets, 
apostles, and other former saints, and keep holydays for 
them, and yet reproach their holy co urse, and prefer the j udg- 
ment of a drunkard or a malignant enemy of godliness before 
theirs ? For so you do when you argue against a holy life. 

Quest, 20. * Dost thou think that there is now one soul 
in heaven or hell, that is of thy profane opinion, and would 
say,that a diligent, holy life is more ado than needs formenV 
salvation?' Certainly those in heaven have more know- 
ledge, and experience, and love to God and man, and good- 
ness, than to be of so impious a mind, or once to entertain 
such beastly thoughts. And those in hell, though still un- 
holy, have learned to their cost to know the great necessity 
of holiness ; and would tell you, if they could speak with 
you, that the most strict and heavenly life for millions of ages 
were not too dear for the escaping of the everlasting misery. 
Why else do we find one of them in Luke xvi. described 


as to be desirous, that one from the dead might be sent to 
his brethren, to warn them that they come not to that place 
of torment? And what is it that he would have had them 
warned of, but that they should live a holy, self-denying 
life, and with all their diligence lay up a treasure in the life 
to come instead of living so sensual, and voluptuous, and 
ungodly a life as he had lived. The scope of the story tells us, 
that this would have been his message, if he might have sent. 
. Quest, 21. * Dost thou think in thy conscience that at the 
hour of thy death, or at least at judgment, thou shalt think 
thyself that holiness was imnecessary V Doth not thy heart 
tell thee that then thou shalt be of another mind? and wish 
with the deepest desires of thy soul, that thou hadst lived 
as strictly, and prepared for everlasting life as seriously, and 
served God as diligently as ever did any saint on earth ? 
But alas, those wishes will be then too late. Now is thy 
day ; and now thou takest thy work to be needless : and 
to see the necessity when time is gone, will be thy torment, 
but not thy remedy. Not one in this congregation, or town 
or country, not one in England, or in all the world, but shall 
be forced at last, whether lie will or no, to justify the wis- 
dom of the godly, and the worst of you shall then, with ten 
thousand fruitless groans, desire that you had imitated the 
most holy persons that you knew. Not a tongue then shall 
say, * What needs all this ado for heaven V Not a man there 
dare call his neighbour Puritan, nor take up a contemptu- 
ous jeer against the diligent servants of the Lord. 

Quest. 22. * Is not that man at the heart against the Lord, 
that reproacheth his serious, diligent servants, and counts 
his work a needless thing V Men are more willing to please 
those that they love, and more ready to do the works they 
love. If your son or servant speak against your service, 
but as you do against God's, what would you think of their 
affections? Doubtless it is no better than a secret hatred 
to the holiness of God, and a serpentine enmity to his holy 
ways, that causeth all these senseless cavils, and impious 
speeches, against the life that he hath commanded us to live. 

Quest. 23. * Is it not most unreasonable impiety, for that 
man to speak against too strict, exact obedience, and against 
serving God too much, that hath served the world, the flesh 
and the devil in the vigour and flower of his days, and tliis 
with pleasure, and never said. It is too much?* When thou 


wast drinking and sporting thou wast not weary. When it 
comes to a matter of riches, or honour, or ease, or pleasure, 
to gratify thy worldliness, pride, laziness, and voluptuous- 
ness, then thou never sayest. It is too much ! And is all too 
little for sin and the devil, and all too much for thy soul and 
God? Let conscience tell thee whether this be just. 

Quest. 24. ' Is it not a foolish wickedness for that man 
to cry out against making haste to heaven, and going so fast 
in the ways of God, that hath loitered already till the even- 
ing of his days, and lost so much time as thou hast done V 
If thou hadst begun as soon as thou hadst the use of reason, 
and remembered thy Creator in the days of thy youth, and 
never lost an hour of thy time since then till now, thou hadst 
done no more than what thy God, thy soul, and all right 
reason required of thee ! For surely he that made thee, 
hath in wisdom proportioned thy time to thy work, and hath 
not given thee an hour too much. A long life is short 
enough to prepare for everlasting. And shall a loitering re- 
bel that hath wasted so much of his little time, cry out. 
What needs so much ado ? 

Quest. 25. ' Is it not the graceless, miserable sort of men 
that cry out. What needs all this ado V Certainly it is. For 
Scripture and reason, and experience tell us, that all that 
are godly, are of another mind. The more grace they have, 
the more they would have. The more they love God, the 
more they would love him. The more good they do, the 
more they would do. Do you not see how they labour af- 
ter more grace ? and hear how they complain that they are 
no better ? O how it would glad them to be more holy and 
more heavenly ! It is therefore the strangers and despisers 
of grace, that never knew by experience, the nature, and 
power, and sweetness of it, that say, * It is more ado than 
needs.' And is it not a most unreasonable thing for a man 
that hath no saving grace and holiness at all, to cry out 
against excess of holiness ? And for a man that is in the 
captivity of the devil, and ready suddenly to drop into hell 
if death do but strike the fatal blow before he be regenerate, 
to talk against doing too much for heaven ? And for a man 
that never did God one hour's pleasing service (Heb. xi. 6.) 
to prate against serving God too much ? O poor wretch ! 
were thine eyes but opened, thou wouldst see that of any 
man in the town or country, this language ill beseemeth 


thee. When God hath been so long offended, and thy soul 
is almost lost already, and death and hell is hard at hand, 
and may swallow thee up in endless desperation for aught 
thou knowest, before thou hast read this book to the end, 
or before thou see another year, or month, or day, is it time 
for such a one as thee to say, * What needs so much ado V 
One would think if there be any life in thee thou shouldst 
stir as for thy life ; and if thou have a voice to cry, thou 
shouldst cry out to God both day and night in fervour of thy 
soul, even now while mercy may be had, lest time should 
overslip thee, and thou be shut up in the place of torment. 
If hell-fire will not make thee stir, what will ? Should a 
weak Christian that is cast behindhand by his negligence 
but once speak against a diligent life, he were exceedingly 
to blame. But for thee that art yet in the gall of bitterness, 
and the misery of an unregenerate state, to speak against 
holy diligence for salvation, when thou art in such great and 
deep distress, and like a man that is drowning, or a house 
on fire, that must presently have help or perish ; this is a 
madness that hath no name sufficient to express it by ; which 
it is a wonder that a rational soul should be guilty of. 

Quest. 26. ' Art thou not afraid of some sudden ven- 
geance from the Lord, for thus making thyself his open ene- 
my, and contradicting him to his face ? Mark his language, 
and then mark thine. Christ saith, " Enter in at the strait 
gate ; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth 
to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat ; be- 
cause strait is the gate, and norrow is the way, which lead- 
eth unto life, and few there be that find it ;" Matt. vii. 13, 14. 
" Strive to enter in at the strait gate ; for many, I say unto 
you will seek to enter in, and shall not be able ;" Luke xiii. 
24. '' See then that ye walk circumspectly (or exactly), not 
as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time -" Ephes. v. 15, 16. 
" For I say unto you, that except your righteousness exceed 
the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in 
no case enter into the kingdom of heaven ;" Matt. v. 20. 
** Wherefore brethren, give all diligence to make your call- 
ing and election sure ;" 2 Pet. i. 10. " Work out your sal- 
vation with fear and trembling ;" Phil. ii. 12. " Seeing then 
all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons 
ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, look- 
ing for and hasting to the coming of the day of God ;" 


2 Pet. iii. 11, 12. *' And if the righteous scarcely be saved, 
where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear ;" 1 Pet. iv. 18. 
** Lay not up for yourselves a treasure on earth, &c. but lay 
up for yourselves a treasure in heaven, &c. For where your 
treasure is there will your hearts be also ;" Matt. vi. 19 — 21. 
*• Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness ;" 
Matt. vi. 33. *' Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but 
for that which endureth to everlasting life ;" John vi. 27. 
** The kingdom of heaven sufFereth violence, and the violent 
take it by force ;" Matt. xi. 12. " Know ye not that they 
which run in a race, run all, but one receiveth the prize ? 
So run that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth 
for the mastery, is temperate in all things. Now they do it 
to obtain a corruptible crown ; but we an incorruptible. I 
therefore so run, not as uncertainly : so fight I, not as one 
that beateth the air ; but T keep under my body, and bring 
it into subjection ; lest that by any means when I have 
preached to others, I myself should be castaway ;" 1 Cor. 
ix. 24 — 27. " Wherefore do ye spend your money for that 
which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, eat ye 
that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fat- 
ness; incline your ear, and come unto me ; hear and your 
soul shall live ; and I will make an everlasting covenant 
with you ," Isa. Iv. 1 — 3. " Be fervent in spirit, serving the 
Lord ;" Rom* xii. 11. " For the grace of God that bringeth 
salvation, hath appeared to all men ; teaching us that deny- 
ing ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, 
righteously, and godly in this present world ; looking for 
that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great 
God and our Saviour Jesus Christ ; who gave himself for us, 
that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and sanctify to 
himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works ;" Tit. ii. 
11 — 14. " Cursed be he that doth the work of the Lord de- 
ceitfully ;" Jer. xlviii. 10. " Whatsoever thy hand findeth 
to do, do it with thy might. For there is no work, nor de- 
vice, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave whither thou 
goest ;" Eccles. ix. 10. 

These and such like are the sayings of God, by which 
thou mayest easily understand his mind concerning the ne- 
cessity of a serious, diligent, holy life. And shall a blind 
and wretched worm come after, and dare to contradict him, 
and unsay all this, and say, * What needs so nmch ado V 


What! darest thou thus openly resist God to his face? 
What art thou ? and what is thy word, that we should regard 
it before the word of God ? 

Quest. 27. * Dost thou not know that by thy speaking 
against a diligent, holy life, thou gratiiiest the devil, and 
openly servest him, and sayest the very things that he would 
have thee say V What can more please him, and advance his 
kingdom, and suit his malicious ends, than to stop and cool 
men in the service of the Lord, and make them believe that 
holiness is but a needless thing ? If the devil might have 
leave to walk visibly among men, and speak to them in their 
language, he would speak to them as thou dost, and say the 
same things, which he puts into thy mouth ; and would do 
all that he could to keep men from a holy life. And darest 
thou thus openly play his part ? 

Quest. 28. * Canst thou think (when eternal life is at the 
stake) that a man so weak in the midst of so many hindrances 
and enemies, hath cause to count his diligence unneces- 
sary?' When satan, like a roaring lion, is seeking day and 
night to devour thee (1 Pet. v. 8.), when his malice, subtlety 
and diligence is so great, and so unwearied ; when his in- 
struments are so many, so subtle, and so powerful ; when 
the world aboundeth round about thee with such dangerous 
enticing snares and baits ; when thy traiterous flesh so near 
thee is thy most perilous enemy, incessantly drawing thee 
from God unto the creature ; and when thou art so impotent 
to resist all these assaults ; art thou then in a condition fit to " 
cry out against the greatest diligence for thy soul ? Should 
a man going up the steepest hill, when it is for his life, be 
afraid of going too fast? When thou hast done all thou 
canst, it is well for thee that ever thou wast born, if it suf- 
fice. If weaknesses and enemies cause such a difficulty 
that the righteous themselves are scarcely saved (that is, 
with much ado), is it then time for thee to ask. What needs 
so much ado. 

Quest. 29. ' Dost thou not deal exceeding unthankfully 
and unequally with God ? When he thinks not the sun and 
moon, and all the creatures too good to serve thee, nor all 
his mercies too great for thee ; no, not the blood of his be- 
loved Son, nor his Spirit, nor heaven itself if thou wilt ac- 
cept them in his way ; wilt thou think thy best too good for 
him ? and thy most diligent service to be too much ? When 


thy all is next to nothing ; and thy best doth not profit the 
Almighty, but thyself, and the gain will be thy own. If 
a man should think it too much to put off his hat and thank 
thee, when thou hast given him a thousand pounds ; or to go 
a mile for thee, when thou hast saved his life ; thou wouldst 
say he were not a man, but a monster of ingratitude. But 
thy unthankfulness is ten thousandfold worse to God, who 
would deliver thee from everlasting torments, and give thee 
everlasting glory, and save thee from satan and all thy sins, 
if thou wilt but take his safe remedies ; and thou churlishly 
refusest, as if all were not worth so much ado. 

Quest. 30. ' Dost thou know what a life it is that thou 
accountest an unnecessary toil V It is a life of the greatest 
safety, commodity, honour, and delight, (besides the justice 
and honesty of it) of any in the world ; and indeed thou 
canst not choose any other but at thy peril, and to thy 
greatest loss and ruin, and to thy present and everlasting 
shame and sorrow. It is the sweetest and most pleasant life 
on earth, that thou ignorantly accountest such a tedious 
toil. The manifestation of this shall be my work in the se- 
cond part of this discourse. 

And now I dare affirm, that when the dreadful God shall 
shortly judge thee who hast read or heard these words, it 
will be found indelibly written upon thy conscience, that 
thou hadst here such reasons laid before thee, to prove the 
necessity of a serious, diligent, holy life, as all the wit in 
earth or hell is not able solidly to confute ; and that an un- 
godly, sensual life is most unreasonable ; and that, if after 
this, thou continue in an unsanctified, fleshly state, thou 
shalt justly perish as one that wilfully refused salvation, 
as in dispute of God, his mercies, and his messengers, and of 
the plainest, undeniable truth and reason : and that in refus- 
ing to be a SAINT, thoumadest thyself in the greatest matters 
no better than a brute, wilfully subjecting thy reason to thy 
sensuality, and judging thyself unmeet for everlasting hap- 

But here I know the self-deceiving hypocrite will object, 
* That all this that I am proving so diligently is confest, and 
nothing to the point in question : which is not, Whether 
one thing be needful, and holiness be of necessity to salva- 
tion '? For who denieth this ? But the question is, Whe- 


ther it be this puritanical, precise way of serving God which 
only deserves the name of holiness ? and whether they be 
not as truly godly and sanctified that say their prayers morn- 
ing and night, and go to church on Sundays, and follow 
their businesses the rest of the week, without any more ado V 

Answ, Either it is the substance of holy duties, or but 
the circumstances, which you quarrel at as puritanical and 
precise. If it be only the circumstances (as whether we 
should receive the Lord's supper standing, or kneeling, or 
sitting ? whether we should pray publicly without book, 
or in the book? and whether a Scripture form or another be 
better? and whether a continued speech, or versicles, an- 
thems, and oft-repeated words and sentences be better ? 
What form of church government is best? by diocesan bi- 
shops, or by all the pastors ? and the like), it is not such 
things as these that I am pleading with thee. Though 
some of them are matters of considerable moment for the 
helping or hindering men in godliness ; yet it is greater mat- 
ters than these that I am now contending for. Agree with 
us practically in the substance ; in faith, repentance, love, 
obedience, mortification, heavenliness, humility, patience, 
and serious diligence and zeal in all, and then I am none of 
those that will condemn or censure you ; but one that will 
rejoice in you, as those that I hope to rejoice with for ever. 

But if it be the substantial duties of godliness that you 
resist, while you own but the name of godliness in the ge- 
neral, I must tell you that it is not names and generals that 
will save you ; nor prove that you have yourselves one spark 
of grace. Nothing more easy and common than for the 
most ungodly to say, they are all for a godly life ; and God 
forbid that any should be against it ; when yet they hate 
and reject it indeed, when it comes to the practice of those 
particular duties in which it doth consist. It is not godli- 
ness that they hate and reproach, but it is fervent prayer, 
holy conference, meditation, self-denial, mortification of the 
desires of the flesh, heavenlymindedness, &c. In general, 
they will say that God's law must be obeyed, and his will 
preferred before their own. But when it comes to the par- 
ticulars, they love him not above all, they take his name in 
vain, they keep not holy his day, they disobey superiors that 
would reform them, they are envious, malicious, covetous, 
lustful, and break all the commandments in particular, which 


in general they profesB to keep. As if your servant should 
promise to do your work ; and when you set him to it, one 
thing is too hard, and another he is not used to, and so he 
hath iiis exceptions against the greatest part which he un- 
dertook. As if one should wound one of you in the head, 
and stab you to the heart, and cut off an arm or a leg, and 
say, * I wish the man no harm. It is not the man that I hate 
or hurt, but only the head, the heart, the arm, &c.' Even so 
it is not holiness that these men hate, and speak against ; 
but it is so much praying, and meditating, and reading the 
Scriptures, and making such a stir about religion when less 
ado may serve the turn. 

But, wretched soul, if thou have not the wit to see the 
contradictions of thy deceitful tongue, and the venom of thy 
malignant heart, dost thou think that such sottish shifts as 
these will blind the eyes of heavenly justice, and save thee 
from the vengeance of a holy God, which he hath denounc- 
ed against rebellious hypocrites ? But come on ; let us try 
whether the several parts of godliness which thou question- 
est, or callest Puritanism or preciseness, are not most ex- 
pressly and peremptorily commanded in the word of God. 

1. Is it so much preaching and hearing sermons that 
thou quarrellest with ? Hear then how Christ and his apos- 
tles preached, and how they required men to hear : " And in 
the morning rising up a great while before day, he went out 
and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. And 
Simon, and they that were with him followed after him ; and 
when they had found him, they said unto him. All men seek 
for thee. And he said. Let us go unto the next towns, that 
I may preach there also ; for therefore came I forth ; and 
he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee ;" 
Mark i. 35. 37 — 39. " And straightway many were gather- 
ed together, insomuch that there was no room to receive 
them ; no, not so much as about the door, and he preached 
the word unto them ;" chap. ii. 2. " And they went into a 
house, and the multitude cometh together again, so that they 
could not so much as eat bread : and when his friends heard 
of it, they went out to lay hold on him ; for they said. He is 
beside himself;" chap. iii. 19 — 21. " And daily in the tem- 
ple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach 
Jesus Christ ;" Acts v. 42. *' They that were scattered went 
every where preaching the word;** chap.iv.4. " I kept 


back nothing that was profitable to you, but have shewed 
you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house. 

Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock 

over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to 
feed the church of God which he hath purchased with his 

own blood Therefore watch, and remember that by the 

space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night 
and day with tears ;" chap. xx. 20. 28. 31. " How shall they 
believe in him of whom they have not heard ? and how shall 
they hear without a preacher?" Rom. x. 14, 15. "Every 
way whether in pretence or in truth Christ is preached, and 
I do therein rejoice, yea and will rejoice ;" Phil. i. 18. " It 
pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them 
that believe ;" 1 Cor. i. 21. "Whom we preach, warning 
every man, and teaching every man, in all wisdom, that we 
may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus," &c. Col. i. 
28, 29. " I charge thee therefore before God and the Lord 
Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his 
appearing and his kingdom, preach the word ; be instant in 
season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long- 
suffering and doctrine ;" 2 Tim.iv. 1,2. " Necessity is laid 
upon me ; yea, woe unto me if I preach not the Gospel ;" 
ICor.ix. 16. 

What say you now ? do we not fall much short of those 
that we should imitate, rather than do too much in preach- 
ing ? But what need we more than the text itself, where for 
hearing, Mary is so commended, and her sister blamed for 
neglecting it, though it was to make provision for Christ 
himself and those that were with him? "And upon the 
first day of the week, when the disciples came together to 
break bread, Paul preached to them, being to depart on the 
morrow, and continued his speech until midnight ;" Acts 
XX. 7. " Let every one be swift to hear;" James i. 19. 
" He that hath an ear, let him hear;" Rev. ii. 7, &c. " Je- 
sus said, My mother and my brethren are those which hear 
the word of God and do it ;" Luke viii. 21. I hope you see 
this duty is past question. 

2. Is it the reading of the Scripture that is the Puritan- 
ism, or too much ado that you blame? Or is it the frequent 
meditating on such high and holy things? Hear what the 
Spirit saith of this. " Blessed is the man that walketh not 
in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of 


sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful; but his de- 
light is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he medi- 
tate day and night. — The ungodly are not so — ;" Psal. i. 
1, 2. " O how 1 love thy law ! it is my meditation all 
the day. Thy testimonies are my meditation. Mine eyes 
prevent the night-watches, that I might meditate in thy 
word ;" Psal. cxix. 97. 99. 148. *' 1 have esteemed the words 
of his mouth more than my necessary food ;" Job xxiii. 12. 
*• The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of 
gold and silver;" Psal. cxix. 72. " Have ye not read the 
Scriptures ?" Markxii. 10. The eunuch " sitting in his cha- 
riot read Esaias the prophet;" Acts viii. 28. ** Give atten- 
dance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine ;*' 1 Tim. iv. 13. 
I hope you see also that this part of godliness is past question* 
3. Is it much and fervent prayer that is the preciseness 
or too much ado that you make question of? Hear then 
what the Holy Ghost doth say of that. " In every thing by 
prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests 
be made known to God ;" Phil. iv. 6. " Pray without ceas- 
ing. In every thing give thanks ; for this is the will of God 
concerning you ;" 1 Thess. v. 17, 18. " And he spake a para- 
ble to them to this end, that men ought always to pray and not 
to faint ;" Luke xviii. 1 . "I say unto you, though he will not 
rise and give him because he is his friend, yet because of his 
importunity, he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. 
And I say unto you. Ask and it shall be given you ; seek 
and ye shall find ; knock and it shall be opened unto you ;" 
Luke xi. 8, 9. " He went out into a mountain to pray, and 
continued all night in prayer to God ;" Luke vi. 12. Daniel 
would not give over praying three times a day in his house, 
for thirty days* space at the king's command, no, not to 
save his life from devouring lions. David saith, '* Seven 
times a day do I praise thee ;" Psal. cxix. 164. " Arise, 
cry out in the night ; in the beginning of the watches pour 
out thy heart like water before the face of the Lord ;'* Lam. 
ii. 19. It is part of the wicked atheists* description that 
" they call not upon the Lord ;" Psal. xiv. 4. " Pour out 
thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and the fa- 
milies that call not on thy name ;" Jer. x. 25. " The Lord 
is nigh to all that call upon him, to all that call upon him in 
truth;" Psal. cxlv. 18. When Paul was converted, the 

VOL. X. 1 


Lord lets Ananias know it by this token, " for behold he 
prayeth ;" Acts ix. 11. " These all continued with one ac- 
cord in prayer and supplication;" Acts i. 14. The three 
thousand converts *' continued stedfastly in the apostles' 
doctrine, and fellowship, and breaking of bread, and in 
prayers ;" Acts ii. 42. *' Continue in prayer, and watch in 
the same, with thanksgiving ; withal praying also for us, 
that God would open to us a door of utterance, to speak the 
mysteries of Christ ;" Col. iv. 2. '* Continuing instant in 
prayer;" Rom. xii. 12. ''The effectual, fervent prayer of 
a righteous man availeth much ;" James v. 16. " For every 
creature is sanctified by the word of God and prayer ;" 1 Tim. 
iv. 5^ " She that is a widow indeed and desolate, trusteth 
in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night 
and day;" 1 Tim. v. 5. "Praying in the Holy Ghost;" 
Jude 20. ** Night and day praying exceedingly ;" 1 Thess. 
iii. 10. " Praying always with all prayer and supplication 
in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance 
and supplication for all saints ; and for me, &c." Ephes. vi. 
18. " What prayer or what supplication soever shall be 
made of any man, or of all thy people Israel, when every 
one shall know his own sore, and his own grief, and shall 
spread forth his hands in his house, then hear thou from 
heaven, &c." 2 Chron. vi. 29. 

I hope by this time, if you have eyes, you see that more 
frequent and fervent prayers than any of us use (and that 
without book), were used by the ancient servants of the 
Lord, and were not thought too much ado, nor more ado 
than God requireth of us. 

4. Is it constant, diligent teaching, instructing and ca- 
techising your families, and labouring that yourselves and 
they may understand and practise the law«of God ? Hear 
also what the Spirit saith of this; and then judge, whether 
it be too much preciseness. 

** My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my 
commandments with thee, so that thou incline thine ear 
unto wisdom, and apply thy heart to understanding ; yea, if 
thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for un- 
derstanding ; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for 
her as for hidden treasures ; then shalt thou understand the 
fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God;" Prov. ii. 
1 — 5. •* And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy 


heart, and with all tliy soul, and with all thy might. And 
these words which I command thee this day shall be in thy 
heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy chil- 
dren, and shalt talk of them when tliou sittest in thy house, 
and when tliou walke«t by the way, and when thou liest 
down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them 
for a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be as frontlets be- 
tween thine eyes; and thou shalt write them upon the posts 
of thy house, and on thy gates;*' Deut. vi.5— 7. 11. 18—20. 
" For I know Abraham that he will command his children 
and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of 
the Lord ;" Gen. xviii. 19. " But as for me and my house, 
we will serve the Lord ;" Josh.xxiv. 15. " Train up a child 
in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not de- 
part from it ;" Prov. xxii. 6. ** Bring them up in the nurture 
and admonition of the Lord ;" Eph. vi.4. These and many 
such passages shew you that the most diligent instructing 
of your families is not more ado than God requireth, but a 
most weighty, needful part of godliness. 

5. Is it the meeting of divers neighbours together (dis- 
tinct from church meetings) that you question ? Why, if it 
be schismatical in opposition to the public meetings, or to 
do any unlawful work, we are against it as well as you. 
But if it be but for the redeeming of their time, for their 
spiritual advantage, and orderly, peaceably, and soberly 
observed, by some that have more time, or care of their 
souls, than the rest of their neighbours ; sure you will not 
for shame imagine, that neighbours may lawfully meet to 
make merry, and feast, and sport, and confer about their 
worldly business, and yet may not meet to pray, and praise 
God, and repeat what instructions they have received of 
their teachers, and prepare for and improve the public or- 
dinances? Hear what the Spirit saith also to this. In the 
text here you find just such a meeting, where Christ was 
teaching, and Mary and his disciples hearing, and Martha 
cumbered with providing for the company, and blamed for 
neglecting the advantage for her soul. Peter came out of 
prison to the house of Mary, where many were gathered to- 
gether praying; Acts xii. 11?. Cornelius ** called together 
his kinsmen and near friends" to hear Peter, who there 
preached to them, converted and baptized them ; Acts x. 
24. I need to instance in no more, because this was the 


ordinary practice of Christ and the apostles. If you say. 
Those were times of persecution ; I answer. True; but, 1. 
Yet such times in which public assemblies were ordinarily 
held, and public preaching used. 2. And as the good of 
men's souls required it in times of persecution, so when the 
good of souls requires it, in times of liberty, it is from the 
same general reason a duty ; but never forbidden by Christ 
in any times of greatest prosperity and peace. 

6. Is it the holy observation of the Lord's day that is the 
preciseness that you cannot away with ? Of all men, it be- 
seems not them to quarrel at this, that own our homilies, 
and with the Common Prayer, use after the fourth com- 
mandment to say, ' Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline 
our hearts to keep this law ;' when they have heard, * Re- 
member that thou keep holy the sabbath-day, thou, thy son, 
thy daughter, thy man-servant, thy maid-servant, thy cattle, 
and the stranger that is within thy gates.' You see all the 
aforesaid duties must be performed, and public assemblies 
for God's worship and our instruction continued : and there- 
fore there must be some known appointed time for these. 
And do you know any other day that is fitter ? I think you 
will not pretend to that. You would not have another day 
instead of this ; but you would have no day at all for such 
holy works, but a day for ease, and idleness, and sports, 
and vain discourse, and pleasures, with some little formal 
public worship intermixed to cheat your souls. It is not 
then the day, but the serious, diligent, holy employment 
and duty that you are against ; and that I have proved to be 
God's will before. Doubtless, if you leave all men to serve 
God when they will, without any stated time, his worship 
will soon be brought to nothing, and they that pretend to 
keep every day holy, will keep none. Look upon the places 
where the Lord's day is kept holy, and see whether godli- 
ness flourish not there incomparably above all other places. 
And I think none can doubt but that more souls have been 
converted and brought home to God on that day than on 
any day of the week, if not than all the rest beside. And 
there is not the most peevish, malignant soul of you, that 
can with any show of reason pi^ove that the holy observation 
of the Lord's day is unlawful, if it were not necessary ; so 
that we are at least on the safest side of the hedge. For we 
can say that we can take a most happy opportunity for the 


good of our own souls, and the worshipping of God ; and 
that we are sure to do that which is no sin. Our adversaries 
themselves do nob charge us with doing that which is for- 
bidden, but that which they conceit unnecessary. But if we 
should do as they, and neglect this day, we are not sure but it 
may be a great sin ; (nay, indeed, we are sure it would be so.) 

But what saith the Holy Ghost now to this question ? 
To pass by the fourth commandment at this time, the letter 
of it, and the equity and reason of a seventh day, the ad- 
vantage of reason why there should be no less under the 
Gospel, and such like; I shall only now say these two 
things. (I.) It is plain in Scripture that (* de facto') the 
apostles and churches used to meet for holy communion in 
God's worship on the Lord's day ; and consequently that 
this was appointed by the apostles, or immediately by Christ 
himself, there being then no other who pretended to any 
such authority; and that apostolical allowance no man 
questioneth. The apostles then having the extraordinary 
gift of the Spirit, by which they were enabled infallibly to 
make known the will of God, and being commissioned as 
well as enabled hereunto ; as their writing of the Holy Scrip- 
tures, so their constitutions for the ordering of the church, 
being the effects of that authority received from Christ, and 
that ability given them by the Spirit, are divine, and princi- 
pally the acts of Christ and the Holy Ghost, whose agents 
the apostles were. Now that the first churches did by their 
appointment observe the Lord's day for holy actions, is ap- 
parent. As Christ first laid the groundwork by rising on 
that day, so he began that very day to preach unto Mary the 
comfortable doctrine of his ascension in words that deserve 
to be written in gold, or rather in the deepest room of every 
true believer's heart; " Go to my brethren, and say unto 
them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my 
God and your God;" Johnxx. 17. The first sermon that 
ever was preached on a Lord's day, even on the first Lord's 
day by Christ himself, even to a beloved penitent woman, 
whom he chose to be as it were his apostle to his apostles, 
to deliver them this message as from him. 

On the same day the disciples being assembled, he owned 
and blessed their assembly, and gave them the Holy Ghost 
and apostolical power. 

When Thomas being absent from the assembly the first 


Lord's day, did miss the sight of Christ and was unbelieving, 
Christ left him a whole week in his unbelief, and would not 
heal him till the next Lord's day, which he honoured with 
that cure. Then the disciples being met again, Christ came 
among them, and convinced Thomas. 

On another Lord's day they were all with one accord in 
one place, and the Holy Ghost was in the extraordinary 
measure given them. And Acts xx. 7. it is mentioned as 
the custom of the disciples, to come together on the first 
day of the week to break bread ; and Paul then preached to 
them even till midnight. And 1 Cor. xvi. 1,2. the collec- 
tions for the saints were made every first day of the week in 
all the churches of Galatia, and at Corinth, because they had 
then their holy assemblies. And therefore Rev. i. 10. it is 
called peculiarly The Lord's day. 

(2.) But to clear this past all rational doubting, we find 
in all the writings of the ancients, and histories of the 
church, that all the churches through the world unanimous- 
ly observed the Lord's day as instituted by Christ, or the 
Holy Ghost in the apostles ; none ever questioning or con- 
tradicting it, that I ever read of. He that hath read the 
writings of the ancients, and denieth this, is unworthy to 
be disputed with. The practice of the universal church is a 
full exposition of the forecited Scriptures ; and though it 
be no law to us itself, yet is it a full discovery of the fact, 
(telling us what was the primitive practice,) and so a disco- 
very of the law. And shall any private ignorant man come 
in after one thousand, six hundred and twenty-six years, 
and say the apostles and all the churches in the world have 
been deceived till this day, and we must rectify the mistake? 
Shall these fellows come in at the end of the world, and call 
the apostles and all t^e churches of all ages Puritans, for 
keeping holy the Lord's day ? Or will any but a brain-sick 
person hearken to such shameless men as these ? 

Object. * But the ancient churches did not keep that day 
as a sabbath, but only as a day for public worship.' 

A71SW. We will not stick with you for the name. We 
urge you not to call it the sabbath, (though the ancients 
sometimes did so : see our Homilies " Of the Place and 
Time of Prayer,") if you will call it as Scripture and the 
churches did, by the name of the Lord's day. And it was 
then the custom of the churches to spend almost all the day 


in public worship and holy communion, and therefore they 
had but little time for any private duties that day. And 
yet (though the private practices of particular persons on 
that day belittle mentioned in church-history,) no man can 
prove that they used to spend any remaining hours of that 
day as common time in common business. So that to quarrel 
against the holy observation of the Lord's day, is but to quarrel 
with the Holy Ghost and the apostles, and all the churches of 
all ages since, and with the happiest season for the worship- 
ping of God,and seeking our own and other men's edification. 
7. What is there yet remaining then that you quarrel 
with as too much preciseness ? Is it the strictness of men's 
lives in forbearing sin, and not doing as their neighbours 
do, in rioting, and vain recreations, and delights? For this 
I need not stand to justify them, with any impartial, sober 
man. If sin be evil, and displease God, and deserve dam- 
nation, he that most fully and carefully avoideth it, is the 
honestest and the wisest man. You will not blame your 
child or servant for being loath to offend and disobey you, 
even in the smallest matter. You like not him that offereth 
you the least abuse, so well as him that offereth you none. 
You had rather be well than have the least disease. You 
will not take a little poison ; nor would you feel a little of 
hell. Why then should we not avoid the least sin so far as 
we are able ? If sinning be good, then devils are the best 
creatures, and angels and Christ (in his manhood) the worst. 
But if sin be the greatest evil, what will you call those men 
that do not only wilfully commit it, but plead for it, and re- 
proach those that would fain avoid it? Or what if some of 
those that you reproach, are mistaken in some point, and 
take that to be a sin that is none ? Or what if you think it 
to be no sin which they scruple ? Will you blame a man 
that loves God, to be afraid of that which he suspecteth may 
offend him? Or will you blame him that cares for his sal 
vation, to make as sure of it as he can, and to keep as far 
from the brink of hell as he is able ? How is it that you 
observe not that your very reproaches do confute them- 
selves ? What is it that you are offended at in the servants 
of the Lord? Is it good or evil? Surely it is some fault 
or other of theirs, that you will pretend to be the cause. 
For scarce any but the devil himself will openly and pro- 
fessedly oppose goodness under the name of goodness. 


And if it be a (real or supposed fault that you speak against 
them for, doth it not intimate that they should avoid all 
faults, as far as they are able ? And yet will you at the same 
time reproach them for being too strict, and fearful to offend 
as if it were their fault that they are unwilling to be faulty ? 
But let us hear what God saith of this. " Fools make a 
mock at sin ;" Prov. xiv. 9. **' Righteousness exalteth a 
nation ; but sin is a reproach to any people ;" ver. 34. And 
yet you make the avoiding it a reproach. "If thou doest 
well, shalt thou not be accepted ? and if thou doest not 
well, sin lieth at the door ;" Gen. iv. 7. " Be sure your sin 
will find you out;" Numb, xxxii. 23. "Sin when it is 
finished bringeth forth death ;" James i. 15. " Abstain 
from all appearance of evil ;" 1 Thess. v. 22. " But I say 
unto you, that for every idle word that men shall speak, they 
shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For 
by thy words thou shalt be justified ; and by thy words thou 
shalt be condemned j" Matt. xii. 36. 37. " Whosoever shall 
break one of the least of these commandments, and shall 
teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven ; 
but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be 
called great in the kingdom of heaven ;" Matt. v. l9. " But 
I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother 

without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment but 

whosoever shall say. Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell- 
fire ;" ver. 22. " I say unto you, that whosoever looketh 
on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery al- 
ready with her in his heart ;*' ver. 28. " I say unto you, 
swear not at all : neither by heaven, for it is God's throne ; 
nor by the earth, for it is his footstool : but let your com- 
munication be yea, yea; nay, nay; for whatsoever is more 
than these cometh of evil ;'* ver, 34 — 37. " But above all 
things, my brethren, swear not ; neither by heaven, neither 
by the earth, nor by any other oath ; but let your yea be 
yea, and your nay, nay, lest you fall into condemnation ;" 
" But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it 
not be once named amongst you as becometh saints : neither 
filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not con- 
venient; but rather giving of thanks;'* Ephes.v. 3, 4. An 
hundred such passages of Scripture I might recite, that 
might quickly satisfy you what Godexpecteth, and whether 
it be too much preciseness to feur the smallest sin. 


8. But perhaps it is the rigor of their church discipline 
that maketh you offended with those that you count too 
pure and precise; because they will not let other men alone, 
but are reproving them, and bringing them to open peni- 
tence and confession of their open sins, and casting those 
out of the communion of the church, which do refuse it. 
Aiisw. But do they do this of themselves, or doth God com- 
mand it them ? Do you think that the communion of 
sainO. is to be turned into a rabble of impiety ; and the 
church into a swine-sty ? Do you not know that the canons 
of the ancient churches for many hundred years after Christ, 
are stricter in this discipline by far, than those that now of- 
fend you by their strictness? And hear what the Holy 
Ghost saith, " Thou shaltnot hate thy brother in thy heart; 
thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer 
sin upon him;" Lev. xix. 17. " If thy brother trespass 
against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him 
alone ; if he hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But 
if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, 
that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may 
be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell 
it unto the church ; but if he neglect to hear the church, 
let him be unto thee as a heathen man or a publican ;" 
Matt, xviii. 15 — 17. " For I verily as absent in body, but 
present in spirit, have judged already as though I were pre- 
sent concerning him that hath done this deed, that in the 
name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered toge- 
ther, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
to deliver such an one to satan, for the destruction of the 
flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord 
Jesus — Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole 

lump ? Purge out therefore the old leaven Now I have 

written to you not to keep company ; if any man that is 
called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, 
or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, with such an 
one no not to eat therefore put away from among your- 
selves the wicked person ;" 1 Cor. v. " Now we command 
you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye 
withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disor- 
derly, and not after the tradition which he received of us 

And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note 

that man, and have no company with him, that he may be 


ashamed ;" 2 Thess. iii. 6. 14. " If there come any unto you, 
and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, 
neither bid him God speed ; for he that biddeth him God 
speed, is partaker of his evil deeds ;" 2 John 10,11. ** Confess 
your faults one to another;" James v. 16. " Give, I pray 
thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession 
unto him, and tell me now what thou hast done ; hide it not 
from me ;" Josh. vii. 19. " He that covereth his sins shall 
not prosper, but whoso confesseth and forsaketh ther dshall 
have mercy;" Prov. xxviii. 13. Doth not all this justify 
the exercise of discipline, and condemn the neglect of it? 

9. But, (saith the impious person,) why make they such 
a difference between themselves and other men ; extolling 
themselves as the only servants of the Lord, and condemn- 
ing others as ungodly and children of the devil, and terrify* 
ing men's consciences with the fears of hell ? 

Ansv). If any do so against such as are sanctified and 
renewed, and have the Spirit of Christ, and live to God, 
they deal uncharitably : and if you dislike their censorious- 
ness, so do I, and so do all the sober, considerate servants of 
the Lord. But if it be only against the carnal, unsanctified 
world that they do thus, it is God that maketh the differ- 
ence, and not they. Do you not find the whole Scripture 
dividing all the world into two ranks, the godly and the un- 
godly ? the regenerate and the unregenerate ? the converted 
and unconverted ? the sanctified and unsanctified ? the car- 
nal and the spiritual ? the earthlyminded and the heavenly- 
minded? the pardoned and unpardoned ? the justified and 
unjustified? the children of God and the enemies of God? 
the servants of God and of the devil ? the heirs of heaven 
and the heirs of hell ? To prove this would be to repeat the 
Bible. Read Psalm i. x. xv. xxvii. Matt. v. Rom. viii. 
John iii. Matt. xiii. 1 John iii. &c. Do you not find 
Christ himself acquainting you beforehand that one sort 
shall be set at his right hand in judgment, and the other at 
his left? and one part sent to life everlasting, and the other 
to everlasting punishment? Matt. xxv. Do they speak 
any more of the everlasting torments, the worm that dieth 
not, the fire that is unquenchable, than Christ himself hath 
done? Matt. xiii. 2. 2 Thess. i. &c. Do you love to be 
flattered into hell, and deceived in a matter of everlasting 
consequence ? Is it not better for you to search your hearts. 


and try whether you have the Spirit of Christ or not ; and 
then search the Scripture, and try whether any man be his 
that hath not his Spirit (Rom. viii. 9.), or can be saved that 
is not converted and born again of the Spirit? Matt, xviii. 
3. John iii. 3. 6. " Examine yourselves whether you be in 
the faith. Prove your ownselves. Know ye not your own- 
selves how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be repro- 
bates?" 2Cor. xii. 5. 

10. But you will say that the reason of your distaste 
against these that are so forward in religion is, that they are 
inwardly as bad as others, and as proud and worldly ; and 
why do they not excel others in good works, as much as 
they do in their devotions? 

Answ. 1. So they do, according to their ability. Twen- 
ty years' trial and more I have had of them since I was a 
minister of Christ, and I can truly say that, ordinarily, I 
have known of many a shilling, if not pounds, that have 
come from the purses of these that you call Puritans and 
precise, for one groat or penny that I have known come from 
most others about me of their rank, to any pious and cha- 
ritable use. But all that are godly, are not rich ; and though 
Christ extolleth the widow's two mites, the standers-by re- 
garded them not; Matt. xii. 42,43. " If there be first a 
willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, 
and not according to that he hath not ;" 2 Cor. viii. 12. 
And he that hath said, " Take heed that you do not your 
alms before men to be seen of them ; otherwise you have no 
reward of your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. vi. 1.) ; 
hath hereby kept his servants from making the world ac- 
quainted with much of their deeds of charity. And for the 
sins of the heart that you charge them with, they are known 
to none but God, unless they be discovered in their lives. 
But malice in all ages hath been used to such unproved 
slanders of the servants of the Lord. 

2. But suppose them as bad as malice doth imagine : is 
that any reason why both they and you should not be bet- 
ter ? It is holiness and not sin that I am pleading for. Is 
their godliness and care of salvation necessary, or not ? If 
it be, why do you not imitate them in that ? And if you 
know any fault in them, take warning and avoid it. But be 
not so mad as to run into hell, because some fall in the way 
to heaven, or some miss the way that seemed to go thither. 


Imitate not the Judas in Christ's family, but the rest of his 
disciples, and that not in their falls, but in their faith and 
piety. All that shall be saved, have both holiness towards 
God, and justice and charity to men. *' The wisdom from 
above is firs;t pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be en- 
treated, full of mercy and good fruits ;" James iii. 17. If you 
want the first, you are ungodly ; if the latter, are hypocrites. 
And if the hypocrite and the ungodly will stand snarling here 
at one another, they shall perish together, in that misery 
that will convince them that neither of them were the heirs 
of life ; when saints, and none but they, shall live with Christ. 

Object. * But it is but a few that are of so strict a mind 
and life; and shall none be saved but these few?* 

Arisw. Christ hath told you whom he will save. He will 
not falsify his word, nor take the unsanctified into heaven 
for want of company. He hath told you that the gate is strait, 
and the way narrow that leads to life, and few there be that 
find it ; Matt. vii. 14. and that it is a little flock to whom the 
Father will give the kingdom ; Lukexii. 32. You shall not want 
company in heaven, nor find comfort in your company in hell. 

But if you would have the number of the godly to be 
greater, why do you not increase it by your joining with 
them ? Why do not all the town and parish agree together, 
and bind themselves in a covenant to serve and seek the 
Lord, as the Israelites ; Josh. xxiv. 2 Chron. xv. 12, 13. O 
happy people that will thus accord, and heartily perform it ! 

And now, beloved hearers, I have finished this first part 
of my task, and proved to you the necessity of a holy life. 
That " one thing is needful," while you pitifully cumber 
yourselves about " many things," is the message that from 
Christ I have been hitherto delivering to you. What say 
you? Are you yet resolved to seek this one thing with the 
chiefest of your desires, and care, and labour, or are you 
not? Dare any one of you say that you have not heard that 
which should resolve a sober, considerate man ? I think 
you dare not. But if you dare, I am sure you shall never 
be able to make it good, and justify your words to God, or 
to your consciences at last, or to any wise, impartial per- 
son. Now take your choice, whether you will now be 
SAINTS, and for ever like angels ; or now belike brutes, 
and for ever like devils. For one of these must be your 
case, as sure as you have heard these words. 



Clearly proving by Reason as well as Scripture : I. 
In general, that Holiiiess is best, and necessary to 
our felicity, II. Particularly, that it is best, 1. 
For Societies. 2. For Individual Persons, And 
more distinctly, (1.) T'hat it is the only way to 
Safety, (2.) Of Honesty, (3.) The most Gain- 
ful way, (4.) The most Honourable. (5.) The 
most Pleasant, and therefore to be chosen by all that 
will obey true Reason and be happy. 


Holiness and its fruits are the best part. Wherein the Happi- 
ness of Saints consisteth. 

LUKE X. 4 

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen the good part, 

which shall not be taken from her, 

1 HOUGH I have before taken up this latter part of the text 
by way of motive, in the conclusion of the former part of 
this Treatise, I am very loath that a subject of so great im- 
portance should be so lightly passed over. And therefore, 
by God's assistance, I shall attempt a fuller handling of it. 
The Necessity of Holiness I have spoken of already. It is 
the Goodness of it that I am next to speak of. 


And before I enter upon it, let me entreat thee reader, who- 
ever thou art that openest this book, to remember that I am 
writing, and thou art reading of the greatest and highest 
matters in the world ; and therefore come not to it with 
common affections, and read not this as thou wouldst do a 
history, or a rhetorical oration, to find delight for a curious 
mind ; but confessing thyself a scholar to Christ, with re- 
verence take thy lesson from him, as that which thou cam- 
est into the world to learn, and which all thy comforts, thy 
hopes, thy safety, and thy everlasting happiness depend 

And here in the entrance, I will freely tell you what 
raoveth me to fall upon this subject, and be so earnest with 
you in this point. One thing is the observation of the care- 
lessness and wilfulness of the most, that live in the neglect 
of holiness and everlasting life, for all that can be said to 
persuade them to a wiser course. While they all profess 
themselves to be Christians, and to take the Scripture for 
the word of God, and confess this word in particular to be 
true, that it is heaven and holiness that are the most neces- 
sary, and most to be desired and sought after, yet will they 
not be moved to live according to this profession, nor to 
love that most which they confess to be the best, nor to seek 
that first which they confess to be most needful. They have 
the case here decided by the mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ 
himself, and as plainly, and fully, and peremptorily decided 
as they could wish. If they were infidels, and understood 
but the law of nature, even reason might tell them that there 
is no doubt of it, but that eternal life is more to be sought 
after than transitory things. And yet they live as if the 
case had never been decided by Christ or by reason ; or as 
if they had never heard of any life but this. Look into most 
towns, and see whether there be not more at Martha's work 
(and worse) than at Mary's. Look into most families, and see 
whether they be not with Martha, troubling themselves with 
many things, when the good part is almost cast aside. Even 
in the families of lords, knights, and gentlemen, that are 
doubly obliged to God, and pretend to be wiser than the 
ignorant vulgar, the matters of their salvation are turned out 
of doors, or thrust into a corner, and the matters of their 
bodies do take up the day. How many Marthas for one 
Mary shall we find among both rich and poor ! 


Yea, that is not the worst, but they that are so blind and 
wicked as to choose the worse part themselves, would have 
all about them do so too. And as Martha grudged at Ma- 
ry's practice, and complaineth to Christ against her, so 
these repine at the choice of the godly, and think them but 
melancholy, crack-brained people, that make more ado for 
their salvation than they need. And they are not content to 
keep such ungodly thoughts in their breasts, to their own 
damnation, but they must be the devil's mouth to spit re- 
proach in the face of holiness, and consequently in the face 
of Christ, as if they bid defiance to the Lord, and would 
make it their employment to jeer and scorn men's souls 
from heaven. If one in a family do with Mary choose the 
better part (though without any neglect of their calling in 
the world), the rest make a wonder of them, and some de- 
ride them ; and some hate, and vilify, and threaten them, 
and few will imitate them. And who more forward to dis- 
taste and despise them than the masters of the families that 
are bound to teach and lead ihem in that way ! So that a 
poor soul (even in a land and age that countenanceth holi- 
ness more than almost any other in the world) can scarcely 
sit at the feet of Christ, and learn his word, and seek his 
kingdom and righteousness first, but they are gazed at, and 
censured and derided, as if they did some very foolish, need- 
less, yea, or wicked thing ! As if it were the only folly for 
a man to follow Jesus Christ, and obey his God, and save 
his soul, and do that work with greatest diligence, for which 
he is a man, for which he hath his life, and time, and mer- 
cies, and which if he neglect, he is lost for ever ! The Lord 
have mercy upon the poor deluded world ! Whence comes 
this general damp and dotage upon the understandings and 
the hearts of men ; of great men, of learned men, of men that 
are accounted wise in the world ! 

It is good and evil that constituteth all that wonderful 
difference that is between the reasonable creatures, both 
here and hereafter. The good of holiness, and the evil of 
sin do make the difference between the godly and the wick- 
ed. The good of everlasting happiness, and the evil of ever- 
lasting misery, doth make the difference between the glori- 
fied and the damned. Goodness in general is so naturally the 
object of man's will, that evil as evil cannot be desired, and 
good as good cannot be hated. What then is the matter that 


few attain the greatest good, and few will escape the greatest 
misery? It is because they would not choose that good, 
and refuse the way and cause of misery. But how cometh 
it to pass that men will make no wiser a choice ? Is the 
case so doubtful that they cannot be resolved in it ? Every 
man would have that which he thinks is best for him. Why 
do men follow after wealth, or pleasure, or credit in the 
world, but because they take it to be best for them ? Why 
do they set so light by holiness, and Christ, and heaven, but 
because they apprehend them not to be best for them? 
Would men refuse, and obstinately against all persuasions 
refuse a holy life, if they took it practically to be best for 
them ? What ! will they contrive their own destruction ? 
Do they long to do themselves a mischief, and the greatest 
mischief in the world ? No, that is not the case ; but the 
matter is this : Their senses draw them another way ; their 
eye, their ear, their taste, their feeling, every sense hath a 
pleasure of its own, and this sense or flesh is violent and un- 
reasonable, and would fain be satisfied ; and reason that was 
given us to rule it, is bribed, and blinded, and perverted by 
it, and so is ready as a servant to obey it, and to take its 
part ; and the fleshly mind discerneth not the things of God, 
for they are spiritually discerned. The will also, and the 
aflections are, by the bias of a fleshly inclination, corrupted 
and habitually lean to the fleshly part. And that which 
men love, they will easily think well of, and are glad of any 
thing like reason to defend it ; and that which is against the 
inclination of the will, will hardly be thought well of, and 
any thing like reason will serve against it. This depravation 
of the mind and will of man, enslaved and ruled by the flesh 
or sensuality, is the very cause that most men will not 
choose the better part, and so the cause of their perpetual 
misery. And till the Holy Ghost send in a heavenly light 
of wisdom into the mind, to shew them the true difference 
between the good and the evil ; and a new inclination into 
the will, that shall turn their hearts from the evil to the 
good, they will still go on, and the matters of God will seem 
foolishness to them, and they will take those men for the 
veriest fools that follow the wisdom of the Lord, and pro- 
vide carefully for eternal life ; and they will take those for 
the wisest men, that are most contrary to the God of wis- 
dom, and that dare leap most fearlessly into hell. Or if this 


be not their opinion, but conviction force them to a wiser 
kind of language, yet will it be their practical estimation, 
and their hearts, as their choice and lives will easily declare. 
For " that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which 
is born of the Spirit is spirit ;" John iii. 6. The fleshly man 
will have a fleshly mind and will, and openly or secretly will 
live after the flesh, and such are the heirs of death ; Rom. 
viii. 5. 7. 13. Fleshly generation cannot make a spiritual 
mind or heart in any, but it must be by spiritual regenera- 
tion. And therefore "except a man be born again of the 
Spirit," as well as of "water, he cannot enter into the king- 
dom of heaven ;" John iii. 3. 5. 

This inward ditference of inclination is the true cause of 
the difference of the judgments, and the courses of men, 
about the matters of God and their salvation. 

This is it that makes so many to think none wise but 
those that are more dangerously mad than men in Bedlam ; 
and that makes so many others stand in doubt as men unre- 
solved what to choose, and what course to follow. As if it 
were really a difficult point for a man to be resolved in, whe- 
ther it be best and wisest to follow the teachings of God or 
of the flesh ; and to seek first the kingdom and righteous- 
ness of God or to make a pudder for nothing in the world ; 
and to tickle this itching flesh awhile, though they must 
smart for it for ever, or to master the flesh and live to God ! 

In a word, the world are half unresolved. Whether it be 
better to be holy with God's promise of eternal glory, or to 
take the pleasures of sin for a season, and neglect this holi- 
ness, though this course be threatened by the living God 
with everlasting; torments ? This is the true state of the 
question, which I say one part of the world doth seem to be 
unresolved in, and another part are resolved on the worser 
side, against their souls and a holy life ; and onlythose that 
the illuminating, sanctifying Spirit hath resolved, do choose 
the needful, better part. 

The reason of this distracted judgment of the moat, is 
within themselves. It is not because that there is any such 
difficulty in the case, as should put a wise man to a stand ; 
nor is it because they have not sufficient evidence in the 
word, or that God denied them teachers, books, or any ne- 
cessary means for their information. The light is among 

VOL. X. K 


them, but they love it not because their hearts and deeds are 
evil, and their darkness doth not comprehend it ; and this is 
their delusion, and their condemnation ; Johni. 6 — 8. iii. 19. 
When I am preaching to a congregation of many hundred 
or thousand souls, if the salvation of all that people did lie 
upon any other question no harder than this that we have in 
hand, so it were such as fleshly interest, and corrupted minds 
and wills had no quarrel against, how easily, how surely 
should I save the souls of all that heard me ! Reader, let me 
have thy judgment. If the question were. Whether light or 
darkness be the better ? — Whether a dead corpse be better 
than a living man ? — Whether a cottage for a day, or a rich 
habitation for term of life be better — Whether as much drink 
as will make thee drunk, or a night's lodging with a whore, 
be better than lands and lordships for thy lifetime, or for a 
thousand years ? — Whether one sweet cup with shame and 
beggary all thy life after, or one bitter draught with perpe- 
tual prosperity, should be rather chosen ? — Whether a sick 
man were better take an unpleasing medicine that would 
cure him, or a pleasant poison that would kill him ? — Whe- 
ther he were better pay a little to the physician, or die to 
save his money? — Whether that prince be wise that will sell 
his kingdom for a cup of wine, or for children's rackets? — 
Or whether that child be virtuous that cannot abide his fa- 
ther's sight, or house, or commands, but loveth better to do 
that which he knows displeaseth him, or tumble in the dirt 
with swine?— I say, if any of these were the question to be 
resolved, and the salvation of all that heard me lay upon the 
true resolution, I leave it to your own judgments, whether I 
were not like to save the souls of all that heard me? And 
yet in a case as clear in itself, and much more clear, how 
few do we prevail with ! Is not the question, Wliether God or 
the creature, holiness or sin, earth or heaven, short or ever- 
lasting pleasures should be preferred? as plain to a wise man 
as any of those that I mentioned before? Is it not as plain 
a case to a man of judgment. Whether holiness, with ever- 
lasting joys, be better than fleshly pleasures with damnation? 
as Whether a kingdom be better than a jail, or gold than dirt, 
or health than sickness ? Yet do your salvations lie upon this 
question, this easy question. I must again repeat it : All 
your salvations lie upon the practical resolution of this easy 
question. Be but resolved once that God is best for you. 


and heaven is best for you, and accordingly make your re- 
solute choice, and faithfully prosecute it, and God will be 
yours, heaven vi^ill be yours as sure as the promise of God is 
true. But if you will not choose God and glory as your 
best, but will choose the world and simple pleasures as better 
for you, you shall have no better than you choose, and shall 
suffer a double condemnation for neglecting and refusing so 
great salvation. 

You hear now by men's talk, and you see by their lives 
that the world is divided upon this question. What it is that 
is best for a man, and which is his best and wisest course. 
One part (and the greater) think in their hearts that present 
prosperity is best, because they think that the promised 
happiness of the life to come is a thing uncertain ; or if 
there be such a thing, they may have it after the pleasures 
of sin : These are the infidels. 

Another part have a superficial dead opinion, that hea- 
ven and holiness are best ; but the love of the flesh and 
the world lieth deeper at their hearts, and beareth the greater 
sway in their lives ; and these are the hypocrites ; that is. 
Christians in opinion and profession, and so much of their 
practice as will stand with their fleshly interest, but infidels 
in their practical estimation, and at the heart, and in the re- 
serves and secret bent of their lives. 

Another part, being illuminated and sanctified from 
above, believe the certainty and excellency of glory, and see 
the vanity and vexation of this life, and taste the sweetness 
of the love of God, and perceive the necessity and sweet- 
ness of that holiness, which others so abhor, and hereupon 
give up themselves to God, and set themselves to seek for 
the immortal treasure, and make it the principal care of their 
hearts and business of their lives to escape damnation, and 
live with Christ in endless glory. 

All the world consisteth of these three sorts of men, in- 
fidels, hypocrites, and true believers. Now the question is. 
Which of these three are in the right ? Both the other do 
condemn the hypocrite that halteth between two opinions ; 
and one thinks that Baal is God, that the world is best, and 
therefore he gives up himself to it ; and the other thinks 
that the Lord is God, and heaven is best, and therefore he 
gives up himself to it. And if it would do any thing with 
those that doubt, towards the turning of the scales, to teH 


you which side Christ is on, it is told you here in my text, 
as plain as the tongue of man can speak, ** One thing is 
needful. Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not 
be taken away from her." 

The doctrine which 1 am now to handle to you from the 
plain words of the text, is this ; 

Doct. * That those that prefer the learning of the word of 
Christ, to guide them by holiness to everlasting happiness, 
before all the lower matters of this world, are they that 
choose the better part, even that which shall never be taken 
from them.' 

If now the word of Christ alone would serve your turn, 
I had done my work, I needed not to go any further. You 
would be now resolved, that heaven and holiness is best, 
and would set your hearts and lives to seek it ; and so it 
would be your own for ever. But this text hath long stood 
in the Gospel, and men have heard and read it often, and yet 
the most are not persuaded ; and therefore I must try to 
open it a little further to you, and plead it with you, and 
work the reason of it upon your minds. 

Reader, our business is but to inquire. What it is that is 
best for man to set his heart on and seek after in his life, and 
enjoy for ever? I say, it is the everlasting enjoyment of 
God in heaven. For Christ saith so. If thou think other- 
wise let us debate the case. If thou believe as I do, live as 
thou professest to believe. If men did but deeply and 
soundly know what it is that is best for them, it would set 
right their hearts and lives, and make them happy. But 
not knowing this, is it that keepeth them from God and ho- 
liness, and everlastingly undoes them. 

Though I have often opened this heretofore on oth^r oc- 
casions, yet my present subject now requireth. I. That I 
tell you what that is that here is called " The good part." 
II. What it is that is set against it, and by fleshly minds 
preferred before it. And having briefly opened these two 
things, I shall come to the comparison, and shew you which 
is the better part. 

I. That which Christ calls here, that good part, is, 1. 
Principally the end of man, or our everlasting happiness 
with God in heaven. 2. Subordinately, the means by which 
it is attained. 3. That happiness which is the end, compre- 


hendeth in it these particulars, which if you distinctly appre- 
hend, you will much the better understand the nature and 
excellency of it, 

1. The true believer hath the small beginnings and earn- 
ests, and foretastes of the everlasting blessedness in this life 
in his approaches to God, and living upon him by faith and 
love, and in his believing apprehensions of the favour of 
God, the grace of Christ, and the happiness which in heaven 
he shall enjoy for ever. 

2. At death the souls of true believers do go to Christ,, 
and enter upon a state of happiness. 

3. At the last day, the body shall be raised and united to 
the soul, and the Lord Jesus Christ will come in glory to 
judge the world, where he will openly absolve and justify 
the righteous, when he condemneth the ungodly, and will be 
glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that do be- 
lieve, and the saints shall also judge the world, and be them- 
selves adjudged to everlasting glory. 

4. Their everlasting habitation shall be in the heavens, 
even near unto God, and in the presence of his glory. 

5. Their company will be only blessed spirits, even the 
holy angels and glorified saints, with whom we shall be one 
body, and constitute the new Jerusalem and be perfectly one 
in God for ever. 

6. Their bodies shall be perfected and made immortal, 
spiritual, incorruptible, and glorious bodies, shining as the 
stars in the celestial firmament. No more subject to hun- 
ger, and thirst, or cald, or weariness, or shame, or pain, nor 
any of the frailties that now adhere unto them, but be made 
like the glorified body of Christ. 

7. The souls of the saints united to these bodies shall 
also be perfected, having far larger capacity to know God, 
and enjoy him than now we have; being freed from all ig- 
norance, error, unbelief, pride> hardheartedness, and what- 
soever sin doth now accompany us ; and perfected in every, 
part of the image of God upon us. 

8. The eyes of the glorified body shall in heaven have a 
glory to behold that is suitable to their bodily capacity. 
Heaven being not a place where the essence of God is con- 
fined, but where a prepared glory will be manifested to make 
happy the angels and saints with Christ. And whatever 
other senses the glorified bodies shall then have (whether for. 


mally or eminently, we cannot now conceive what they will 
be) they will all be satisfied with suitable delights from God. 

9. The blessed person of our Redeemer in our nature 
glorified, will there be the everlasting object of our delight- 
ful intuition and fruition. An object suitable to the eye of 
the glorified body itself. We shall for ever live in the sight 
of his face, and in the sense of his unspeakable love. 

10. The glorified soul (whether mediately or immediately) 
shall behold the infinite, most blessed God, and by knowing 
him, be perfected in knowledge. As we shall see the person 
of Jesus Christ, and the glory of God with open face, and not 
as in a glass, as now we do, so we shall know so much of 
the essence of the Deity as we are capable of, to our felicity. 

11. With the knowledge of God, and the beatifical vi- 
sion will be joined a perfect love unto him, and closure with 
his blessed will. So that to love him, will be the everlast- 
ing employment of the soul. 

12. This love will be drawn forth into everlasting praise; 
and it will be our work before the throne of his glory, to 
magnify the Lord for ever. 

13. In all this love, and praise, and glory, and in the full 
fruition of the eternal God, we shall rejoice with full and 
perfect joy, and we shall have full content, delight, and rest. 

14. In all this blessedness and glory of the saints, the 
glory of God himself will shine, and angels shall admire it, 
and the condemned spirits with anguish shall discern it, that 
God may be glorified in our glory. 

15. In all this happiness of believers, and his own glory, 
the Lord will be well pleased, and that blessed will which is 
the beginning and the end of all, will be accomplished, and 
will have an eternal complacency, as the saints shall have an 
endless complacency in God. 

This is the glory promised to the saints j this is that 
good part which they choose. 1 cite not the texts of Scrip- 
ture that prove all this, because the things are all so plainly 
and frequently expressed in the premises. And I shall have 
occasion to do somewhat of this anon. And so (in brief) I 
have told you what the good part is. 

II. We are next to inquire. What it is that is put by world- 
ly, carnal men, into the other end of the scales, and is set 
up in comparison with all this everlasting glory ? Yea, what 
it is that is preferred by ungodly men before it ? What it i& 


that sin and the world will do for men? What do they tind 
that lose the Lord ? What do they get that miss of heaven ? 
What do they choose, that refuse the needful, better part ? 
And here I am even amazed at that which I must give 
you an account of. O wonderful, astonishing thing, that 
ever such base, unworthy trifles should, by reasonable men, 
be put into any comparison with God ! Wonderful, that so 
much madness and wickedness can enter into the mind and 
heart of man, as to let go all this glory for a toy ! And yet 
more wonderful, that this should be the case of the greatest 
part of men on earth I And yet more wonderful, that so ma- 
ny make so mad a choice, even when the case is opened to 
them, and plainly opened, and frequently opened ; and when 
they are carefully entreated to be wiser, and importuned to 
make a better choice ! 

In a word, all that is set against the Lord, and all that is 
preferred before this everlasting life, and all the portion of 
ungodly men, is no more than this : The pleasure of sin for 
a season ; the satisfying of the flesh. A little ease, and pelf, 
and fair words from men as miserable as themselves ; and all 
this but for a little, a very little time, when temperance is as 
sweet at least ; a little that is excessive or forbidden, in 
wealth, or meat, or drink, or clothes, or lust, or other fleshly 
pleasures, is the joy, and the heaven, and the god of the un- 
godly. The fleshly pleasures which are common to the beasts, 
and a little vainglory among men, and this for a short uncer- 
tain time (and then to pass to everlasting punishment), this is 
the chosenportionof the wicked. This is all for which they^re- 
fuse the Lord, and for which they refuse a holy life. This is all 
for which they part with Christ, and part with their everlasting- 
peace ! This is all that they have for heaven and their salvation! 
and all for which they sell their souls! To the everlasting shame 
of sin and sinners, it shall be known that this was all ! To the 
abasing of our own souls, that sometime were guilty of this 
madness, I shall tell you again that this is all ! To the hum- 
bling of the best, to the confounding of the wicked, and the 
amazement of us all, I must say that this is all ! This dirt, 
this dream, this cheat is all that the wicked have for God 
and glory ! This nothing is all that they obstinately prefer 
and choose before him that is all in all ! O wonderful mad- 
ness, stupidity, and deceit! so common! so wilful ! and so 


incurable ! till tender mercy and grace shall cure it, in them 
that shall be saved. 

Well, the balance is now set before you. You see what 
is in the one end and in the other. You see the part that be- 
lievers choose, and the part that is chosen by the rest of the 
world. And are you not yet resolved which is best, and 
which to choose ? 

Two sorts I look to meet with here, to whom I shall ap- 
ply myself distinctly before I come to the comparative work. 
First some will tell me, that all these are needless words ; 
and that there is no man so senseless as to think that tem- 
poral things are better than eternal, or the world than God, 
or sin than holiness. 

Answ. O that this were true ! how happy then were all 
the world ! I grant that many are superficially convinced, 
that are not converted ; and that many have a slight opinion 
that heaven and holiness is best, that yet have no love to it, 
and will not seek it above all. But their practical judgment 
doth not go along with their opinions. They relish the world 
as sweetest unto them. In the prevailing, deepest thoughts 
of their hearts, they set most by the pleasures of this world. 
Why else is their hearts most towards them? Why else do 
they choose them, and refuse to live a holy life ? Why have 
they no delight in God ? and why have we so much ado 
with them, to bring them to a heavenly mind and life, and 
all in vain ? What ! will not men be persuaded to choose 
that which they know is best for them ? 

Object, ' Temptations are strong, and men are weak, and 
so men go against their knowledge.' 

Answ. 1. What do temptations prevail with you to do? 
Is it not to think well of sinful pleasures, and to think more 
hardly of the ways of God ? Is it not to like a worldly, flesh- 
ly life better than a holy life? If not, how can you follow 
those temptations ? And if it be so, then they draw you for 
that time to think that fl;eshly pleasures are the better part. 

2. But if indeed it be as you say, you are the most inexcus- 
able miscreants in the world. What! do you know that God 
is best for you, and yet will you fly from him ? Do you know 
that heaven is the only happiness, and yet will you seek this 
world before it. Do yau know what is best for you, aad will 
not have it? and what is worst, and yet will keep it? Will 


you go to hell, and know whither you are going. And will 
you run from heaven and damn yourselves, and know that 
you do so ? yea, and that while we day by day entreat you 
to the contrary? If this be the case of any one of you, the 
God of justice shall teach you to know what you are doing, 
by his everlasting vengeance. Heaven and earth shall be 
witness against you , your own consciences, and such con- 
fessions of your own shall bear witness against you ; that 
you justly perish, and are damned, because you would be 
damned, and are shut out of heaven because you would not 
be persuaded to come thither. 

Object. * But we hope we may have both pleasure liere, 
and heaven hereafter ; and that we may be saved by the mer- 
cy of God and the blood of Christ, without the sanctification 
of the Spirit, and though we do not live a holy life.' 

Answ. And who gave you these hopes ? Is it God, on 
whom you pretend to trust ? or the devil that doth deceive 
you ? Certainly not God ; for he hath told you over and 
over, that he will save none but the sanctified (Acts xxvi. 18.), 
and *' that except a man be born again, even of the Spi- 
rit as well as of water, he cannot enter into the kingdom of 
God" (Johniii. 3. 5.), and that " without holiness none shall 
see the Lord ;" Heb. xii. 14. And is it God that persuadeth 
you that his word is false? Doubtless it is the devil. When 
God had told Adam and Eve, " that in the day that they 
did eat the forbidden fruit, they should die the death," was 
it not the serpent that gave them hopes of living, and told 
them that they should not die ? If you be at that pass that- 
you will take on you to trust in God, and yet will rot believe 
him, but your trust is but trusting that God is a liar, you are 
as foolish in your presumption, as heathens are in their infi- 
delity. For who is worse, he that believeth that there is no 
God (as Atheists do), or he that believeth that God is a liar, 
which is to be no God, and worse ? 

If therefore you do believe indeed that heaven is best, 
you must needs believe that holiness is necessary ; yea, and 
best too, when heaven consisteth so much in perfected holi- 
ness. And therefore you must choose and seek with the 
greatest diligence, that happiness which you confess is best, 
or never hope that it will be yours. O did you at the heart 
believe it to be best, and that for you, you would love it, and 

1«>8 A SAINT Oil A BRUTK. 

seek it, and be a holy people without delay. You cannot 
so turn away from that which you heartily judge to be best 
for you indeed. 

But the most that I have to deal with, are they that cannot 
be persuaded at the heart, but that feasting, and drinking, 
and lust, and wealth, and worldly honour are better for them 
than a holy life, with such promises of heaven as God hath 
left us. For all or most ungodly men have this persuasion 
next their hearts, whether they observe it, and know of it or 

Now with such deluded, unbelieving souls, I am next to 
plead this weighty cause. If thou that readest this be one of 
them, that takest a worldly felicity, with God's threatenings, 
to be better, and rather to be chosen than holiness, with his 
promise of future happiness, I will now debate the case with 
thee, and undertake by the light of Christ, to open the hor- 
rible folly of thy mistake. And if I do not give thee such 
sound and weighty undeniable evidence, that no man of 
reason should resist, to prove the choice of holy persons to 
be the wisest, and their part the best, I will give thee leave 
to call me a liar, and a deceiver for ever. 


What in Reasofi he must do that would be certainly resolved 
which is the best part and way. And who shall be Judge. 

But before we come to the debate, I have two questions to 
put to thee, that in reason must be first resolved. 

The first is. Whether thou art willing to know the truth, 
and resolved to choose the best part when thou knowest it ? 
It is in vain for me or any man to reason with thee, if thou 
wouldst not know ; and to shew thee the truth, if thou hate 
it, and wilt not acknowledge it when thou seest it ; and to 
bring thee in the clearest light, if thou be beforehand resolv- 
ed to shut thy eyes. And if thou wilt not choose that which 
thy conscience shall be convinced thou shouldst choose, as 
being absolutely best, to what purpose then should it be re- 
vealed to thee? Wouldst thou be a happy man or not ? 
Wouldst thou have joy or sorrow? good or evil ? Stop here. 



and before thou goest any further, make me this promise be- 
fore the Lord, That thou wilt not wilfully resist the light, 
and that thou wilt choose, and presently, and resolvedly 
choose, that part that thy conscience shall tell thee upon cer- 
tain evidence is the best. Promise but this, which no man of 
reason should refuse, and then we may make something of 
our debate. 

My second question is, Who it is that shall be judge be- 
tween us in this debate? or whose witness it is that you will 
take for current ? 

I am willing to stand to the judgment of any that under- 
stand the case, and are impartial. 1 hope you will consent, 
that we shall take the most competent witnesses and judge. 
And if so, 1. You know that the devil is no competent judge. 
It is he that persuadeth you that present delights are the 
better part, and rather to be chosen than a holy life. But 
he is God's enemy, and therefore no wonder if he speak 
against him. He is your deadly enemy ; and therefore no 
wonder if he would deceive you. He is cast out of heaven 
himself, and would not have you possess the room that he 
hath lost. He is a wicked, lying spirit, and therefore is not 
to be believed. He is a murderer from the beginning, and 
therefore will not speak for your salvation ; Job viii. 44. If 
the devil be to be believed, then none are wiser than the un- 
godly, sensual, worldly men ; and none are in a worse con- 
dition than those that are despised by the world for holiness, 
and that suffer all things for a life unseen. But the enmity 
that is planted in your very natures against the devil, I hope 
will help you to confess, that he must not be the judge. 

2. And truly ignorant, ungodly men are unmeet judges. 
And it is they that bawl against religion, and speak against 
they know not what. 1 . They are blind by nature, and more 
blind by customary sin. And must a blind man be your judge 
or witness in a case of everlasting moment? 2. They are in- 
experienced in the ways of God. How can they judge of a 
state that they were never in, and of a way that they never 
went ? They never tried the work of the new birth, nor ne- 
ver tried the holy exercise of faith, or love, or any grace, and 
therefore you may as well take the judgment of a simple man 
concerning another country, that was never there, or con- 
cerning navigation, that never was at sea, or concerning 
learning that never read a book, or concerning music that 


never touched an instrument, as the judgment of anunsanc- 
tified man concerning holiness, and communion with God ; 
unless it be those that have a common convincing light, that 
causeth them to approve of that which they neglect them- 

3. And certainly your own sensuality and fleshly minds 
are unfit judges of the case, for they also are blind and in- 
experienced. They are not suited unto spiritual things. 
To which I may add, 3. That they and ungodly men are par- 
tial in the case, and therefore unfit to be witnesses or judges. 
All the Scripture speaks against the devil, and the wicked, 
and the lusts of the flesh ; and therefore tthey are a party, 
even the party that is to be ejected. 4. Yea, they are ene- 
mies, and therefore their testimony or judgment is not to be 
regarded. And what else will speak a word against a holy 
life, but the devil, the flesh, and wicked men? Not any. 
And therefore let it be concluded that these are incompetent 
judges in the case. 

But who then shall be judge? Let God be judge, let 
Christ be judge. Who can, who dare refuse this Judge? 
Refuse him not ; for none but he is fit and competent. Re- 
fuse him not ; for he will be Judge whether you will or no ; 
and therefore your refusal will be vain. 1. He is most wise, 
and knoweth all things ; and therefore cannot be deceived. 
2. He is infinitely good, and therefore cannot do any wrong. 
He is impartial, and respecteth not the persons of the great- 
est. He is most just, and therefore cannot pass an unjust 
sentence. 3. He only is the Judge that hath full authority 
to make a final decision of the case. 4. And in a word, he 
is so absolutely perfect, that he is liable to no just exceptions, 
nor can men or devils have any thing to say against his judg- 
ment. Are you agreed then that God shall be your Judge ? 
Will you take that for the better part, which he calls better? 
If so the controversy is at an end. The living God hath 
given us his judgment long ago. If you ask me. Where ; I 
will tell you anon, when I have examined some of the wit- 
nesses of the case. 

And though I am resolved to own no proper final judge 
but God, yet under him there are many witnesses that are 
worth the hearing. Indeed I am content to refer the cause 
to any one that doth but know what he saith, and is not un- 
faithful; (reserving to God the final judgment.) 


And 1 . Go to the wisest men on earth, and let them be 
witnesses. What think you of all the prophets and apos- 
tles, and of all the ancient fathers of the church? Were not 
these men wiser than you, or than the sottish scorners that 
revile the ways which they never went, and speak evil of 
that which they understand not? [f prophets and apostles 
were not for holiness against a fleshly, worldly life, then I 
will be of your mind. But if they all as with one heart and 
mouth do cry down sin, and cry up holiness, why should 
you then refuse their testimony? Are you wiser than all 

2. What think you of all the godly, able ministers of 
Christ that are now alive, or ever were? Are they not wiser 
than you, and a few drunkards that have scarce wit enough 
to do the devil's service, without such sottishness as shames 
his cause ? Have none of Christ's ministers, that spend their 
days in studying and searching after knowledge, more wit 
even in the matters of God, than a carnal gentleman, or 
ignorant, malicious wretch, that never used the means for 
knowledge as these have done ? In any other matter you 
will allow men that have made it the study of their lives, to 
know more than you. If you want counsel for your estates, 
you will go to one that hath studied the law. If you are 
sick, you will sooner seek advice of one that hath made it 
the business of his life to understand diseases and remedies, 
than to one that never studied it. You will sooner take the 
judgment of every tradesman in his trade, than your own or 
another's that never learned it. Allow but those men to be 
competent witnesses that have bent their thoughts and 
prayers, and cares this way, and the controversy is resolved. 
For what is it that all our sermons plead for, but holiness in 
order to everlasting happiness? What is it that so many 
thousand books are written for, but for holiness ? Open the 
books of the wisest men, and see which side it is that they 
are on ? Go to the wisest, ablest ministers, and ask them 
which is the better part? 

3. If wisdom suffice not, let the best and most honest 
men be witnesses. Who better than Christ, than his apos- 
tles, than all the holy martyrs and confessors of the church, 
and all the doctors and faithful ministers of Christ ? Which 
side think you were they on that laid down their lives for 
the cause of Christ? Sure they that would rather burn at a 


stake, or suffer all the scorns and torments of the world, 
than forsake a holy, heavenly life, did take it to be better 
than all the pleasures or profits of the world. Sure all the 
holy doctors and pastors of the church that lived such holy 
lives themselves, and spent their days in praying, and watch- 
ing, and meditating, and preparing for the life to come, con- 
temning all the vanities of the world, did think that this was 
the better part, which they followed after with so much dili- 
gence and patience as they did. 

Hear me a few words, you proud and self-conceited sin- 
ners, that will plead for your ungodly ways, and plead 
against a holy life, and quarrel with the most faithful admi- 
nistrations of your pastors. It is a matter of everlasting 
moment that you and me do differ about ; and which of us 
is most likely to be in the right? I confess I am a weak 
and ignorant man; but is the sottish, ungodly quarreller 
any wiser than I am ? How camest thou man to thy know- 
ledge, that thou thinkest thyself wiser than me, and all the 
pastors of the church ? My knowledge, that is but little, 
hath cost me almost forty years hard study. Hast thou read, 
and meditated, and studied more ? Hadst thou better helps 
and means of knowledge? God usually giveth his gifts in 
the painful use of means. If I should think myself wiser in thy 
trade, and able to control thee, thou wouldst judge me a self- 
conceited fool. What hast thou done for thy knowledge that 
I have not done ? Hast thou prayed for it day and night ? 
So have I. Hast thou had any private way of learning that 
no man knoweth ? Truly I have marvelled at the faces of 
many ignorant, careless men, that they do not blush when 
we have thus expostulated with them, when they quarrel 
with their teachers, and set against them with as brazen a 
face as if they were all doctors, or had studied forty years, 
and we were as they are ; yea, as if they were wiser than all 
the apostles, doctors, and pastors of the church. Were it 
not a wonder indeed if God should give more knowledge 
about the matters of salvation to a sensual, voluptuous gen- 
tleman, or to an idle drone, or a fellow that scarce ever read 
over the Bible, and to such as live a worldly, fleshly, and 
ungodly life, than to all his ministers and servants that love 
his laws, and meditate in them day and night, and live in 
prayer, and other holy exercises, and make it their daily 
care and business, to conform their hearts and lives to tlie 


holy doctrine which they study ? Surely God will sooner 
reveal liis mind to a diligent searcher, that feareth and lov- 
eth him, than to a lustful epicure, or a drunken, swearing, 
worldly sot. He that every day abuseth the Holy Ghost 
that should be his Teacher, is not so likely to come to know- 
ledge, as he that humbly learneth and obeyeth him. It is a 
strange evidence that most wicked men do give us to prove 
themselves wiser than their teachers ; when they can scarce 
give us a wise account of the principles of religion contain- 
ed in a catechism, they will prove themselves wise by des- 
pising wisdom, and railing at the wise. They prove them- 
selves learned by reproaching the learned. They prove 
themselves godly enough to be saved, by hating and scorn- 
ing them that are godly ; and prove themselves the servants 
of Christ, by speaking against his service. They prove 
themselves wise enough to teach or quarrel with their 
teachers, by refusing to learn, and to be any wiser, and by 
babbling out their sinful folly. And when the}'^ have done, 
they prove that their hearts for all this are as good as the most 
precise, by prating against that holiness which is the only 
health and goodness of the heart, and by shewing us to our 
grief that they neither know what goodness is, nor what is 
in their hearts. They prove to us that they have hopes for 
all this, of being saved and seeing the face of God, by hating 
them that are pure in heart, that have the promise of seeing 
his face ; Matt. v. 8. and by reviling or forsaking the way 
of salvation, and by shewing us on their souls the open 
marks of the wrath of God, and of a state of condemnation. 
This is the devil's logic ; and this is the wisdom of the wick- 
ed. They may next go further, and prove that they are 
chaste by reviling chastity ; and prove that they are sober by 
speaking against sobriety, and by wallowing in their vomit ; 
or prove that they know all arts, and trades, and sciences 
by reviling them. And as they now prove that they are the 
freemen of Christ by shewing us the devil's fetters upon 
them, so if they hold out, they will shortly have nothing to 
prove themselves in heaven, but by shewing us the flames of 
hell which they endure. 

If therefore all the holiest and wisest men on earth may 
be admitted to be witnesses, then holiness must be your best, 
and all things else be nothing worth in comparison of it. 
5. Moreover, if yet you would have more witnesses, shall 


those be heard that have tried both states, the state of sin, 
and the state of holiness ? and that have gone both ways ; 
and therefore are able to speak to us by experience ? 

If you were to take advice about any worldly business, 
you would choose a man of experience for your counsellor ; 
an experienced physician for your bodies ; and an expe- 
rienced tradesman for your work. You will sooner believe 
a traveller that hath seen the places he speaks of, (if he be 
honest,) than another. Godly men have tried both ways : 
alas ! they have known, and too much known the way of 
sin ; and they have tried the holy way that you dislike. I 
think therefore that they are competent witnesses. And if 
their witness be worth any thing, the cause must go against 
the ungodly ; for their lives tell you their judgment. 
Their hatred to sin, their diligent seeking after God, their 
constant endeavours in a holy course, their suffering any 
thing rather than forsake this holy way, when once they have 
sincerely chosen it ; all these do fully acquaint you with 
their judgment. Do you think it is for nothing that the 
holy servants of the Lord, do stick so close to him, and la- 
bour so constantly in his work ? Surely if they had not 
found that this way is beyond comparison the best, you might 
draw them from it, into a state of ungodliness again ; at 
least fire, and sword, and torment might persuade them to 
forsake it. Something he findeth in it that is good, that 
will let go his life and all the world for it. 

What say you now ? have you any just exceptions against 
the testimony of these experienced men? The ungodly can- 
not be competent witnesses ; for they have tried but one 
side : they have had experience of a profane, a fleshly, world- 
ly life ; but they never yet tried a holy life. And therefore 
how should they be fit to tell you what good is in the way 
of God, which they never travelled in ? Or what gain is in 
the heavenly treasure, which they never traded for? Or 
what beauty is in the face of Christ and glory, which they 
never had an eye of faith to see ? Or what sweetness is in the 
hidden manna, which they never tasted? If you say that 
many that have tried the way of godliness, have turned from 
it, and are against it ; I beseech you weigh my answer. 

1. It is not one of a hundred that doth so, no, not in 
the«e apostatizing times, when all seducers are let loose. 


And is one man's judgment more regardable than a hundred, 
yea, many hundred ? 

2. Nay, it is no one at all ! Those that you say turn off, 
are only such as tried an opinionative religiousness, and 
some of the outward duties of Christianity, but they never 
tried the power of a living, rooted faith, nor the predomi- 
nant love of God in the soul, nor a living hope of the hea- 
venly glory, nor the sweetness of a heavenly life, nor the 
mortitication of the fleshly interest, and true self-denial. 
These are the vital parts of Christianity, which these few 
apostates never tried ; though some of them have had some 
acquired counterfeits of them, and some good gifts of com- 
mon grace, and think that none had more than they had. 

Sinner, I beseech thee for the Lord's sake, deal faithfully 
with thy poor soul, when all lies at the stake. Wilt thou 
take the judgment of a swaggerring gallant, or a scoffing, 
worldly, or ungodly sot, that none of them ever truly tried 
a state of holiness: and wilt thou refuse the judgment of 
God, and of all his servants that have tried it? Go to any 
godly man, and ask, him which of these ways he hath found 
by experience to be best; and hear what he will say to thee. 
He will be ashamed to hear thee make a question of it. He 
will tell thee, * Alas ! friend, I was once deceived by sin, 
and deceived with the pleasure of my flesh, and the glittering 
glory and riches of this world, as you are now. I once was 
a stranger to the life of faith, and the hopes of heaven, and 
the holiness of the saints. But it was by the mere delusion 
of the devil, and it was the fruit of the blindness and dead- 
ness of my heart. I knew not what 1 did, nor where I stood, 
nor what I chose, nor what I set light by ! I never well 
considered of the matter, but carelessly followed the sway of 
my fleshly inclination and desires ! But now I see I was 
the devil's slave, and my pleasures were my fetters, and my 
own corrupt affections were my bondage ; and now I find 
that I did but delude my soul ; I got nothing by all that the 
world did for me, but provision for my after-sorrows ; I had 
been now in torments if I had but died in that condition. I 
would not be again in the case that I was in for all this 
world, or a thousand such worlds! That life that once I 
thought the best, hath cost me dear, even the breaking of 
my heart ; and a thousand thousandfold dearer would have 
VOL. X. r. 


cost me, if the dearest blood and recovering grace of my 
dearest Lord had not prevented it. O had I not been un- 
speakably beholden to the mercy of the Lord, even to that 
mercy which I then made light of, I had been undone for 
ever ; I had been laid under everlasting desperation before 
this. Now I find that there is no life so sweet as that which 
I then was so loath to choose ! Now it is my only grief that 
I was holy no sooner, and can be no more holy than I am. 
O that I had more of that quickening, comforting, saving 
grace ! O that I were further from my former sinful, fleshly 
state ! O that I could get nearer God, though I parted with 
all the prosperity of this world ! I now find what 1 lost by 
my continuing in sin so long ; but then I knew it not. O 
friend, as you love your soul, take warning by me, and make 
use of my experience, and give up yourself to God betimes !' 
This, or to this purpose, would the answer of an experienced 
person be, if you should ask him, which is the better way ? 

But if you say, that ' thus we would be ourselves the 
judges, and bring the matter into our own hands ; I answer 
you, 1. It is true we would be ourselves your helpers, and 
do the best we could for your salvation : and if you will 
neither help yourselves, nor give us leave to help you, take 
what you get by it ; we have done our part. 

But 2. I will not yet so part with you. I will further 
make you this reasonable offer. I demand of thee, whoever 
thou art that readest these words, Whether thou know of 
any man on earth that thou thinkest to be a wiser man than 
thyself? If not, thou art so like the devil in pride, that no 
wonder if thou be near him in malignity and misery. If 
thou do know of any wiser than thyself, go with me, or with 
some faithful minister to that man, and ask him. Whether a 
diligent, holy life be not much better than any other life on 
earth? And if he do not say as 1 say here, and^ as Christ 
saith in my text, that * the godly choose the better part,' or 
else if I prove him not a very sot before thy face, I will give 
thee leave to brand my understanding in thy esteem, with 
the notes of infamy and contempt. 

Yea, more than so, I will allow thee to go to one that 
differeth from me in the way of his religion. Ask an Ana- 
baptist, if thou think him more impartial, whether a holy 
and heavenly heart and life be not the best ? and try whe- 
ther he will not say as 1 do. Ask those that you call Epis- 


copal, or Presbyterian, or Independents, or Separatists : 
ask an Arminian, or one of the contrary mind : yea, ask a 
Papist, and see whether he will not say as I do. It is true, 
they are every one of them of minds somewhat different 
about some points in the order and manner of their seeking 
God. But all of them, that are but sober men, will confess 
as with one mouth, that God should be loved above all, and 
sought and served above all, and that all should live a holy, 
diligent, heavenly life. 

2. But yet if all this will not satisfy you, I will come yet 
lower. Who is it that you would have to be judge or wit- 
ness in this case ? Is it thy malignant, or worldly, or drun- 
ken, and ungodly friend ? I am contented that the case be 
referred even to him, and to as many of them as thou wilt, 
upon condition that he will but first try the way that he is 
to judge of. Let him but make an unfeigned trial of a life 
of holy faith, and love, and obedience, and self-denial, as 
long as I have done, and we will receive his testimony. 
Nay more, let him thus try a life of holiness, (inwardly and 
outwardly,) but one year ; yea, or but one month, or day, or 
hour, and we will take his testimony. But to be judged by 
a man in a matter of salvation, that speaks of what he never 
knew nor tried one hour, but speaks against he knows not 
what, this i« a motion too bad to be made to a very bedlam, 

6. If yet you are not resolved which is the better part 
and way, to whom do you desire to refer it? Shall heathens, 
Jews, and Infidels be judges? Why if they be, they will 
give the cause against you. Jews and most of the heathen 
world do profess to believe a life to come, where some are 
happy and some are miserable ; and they commonly profess 
that all men should obey their Maker, and make it their 
chiefest care and labour in this life to be happy in the next : 
heathens will confess this. And yet I suppose you will 
easily confess that these men are none of the fittest judges. 
The way to life by Jesus Christ they do not understand. 
But that the world is vanity, and nothing to be preferred be- 
fore our happiness in the world to come, this they will com- 
monly acknowledge. And if the* lives of the most of them 
contradict this profession, yet still they are forced to con- 
fess the truth; and truth is not the less truth, because they 
that confess it will not obey it. Nay, what greater testimo- 
ny can you wish to silence your unbelieving thoughts, than 


the witnesses of the enemies of the truth, who as they con- 
demn themselves by bearing witness to that which they re- 
fuse to practise, so shall their witness aggravate your con- 
demnation, if you will live below it. What, are you Chris- 
tians, and yet refuse to come up in your choice and lives to 
the doctrine of heathens and infidels ? 

7. I know you will think at least that those heretics that 
are daily bawling against us, will not be partial on our side. 
If you think that this doctrine is contrived by us for any ends 
or interests of our own, hearken then to our enemies. These 
railing Quakers that can scarce tell how to speak a word of 
the ministers of Christ, but what is the spawn of venom- 
ous, fiery, bitter malice, do for all this cry up holiness of 
life. Though they corrupt the doctrine of Christ so odi- 
ously, and speak like heathens in many of their ecstasies and 
writings, yet do they openly cry down your sensual, worldly 
ways. Do you not hear how they rail at us for your sakes 
that are vicious and ungodly, and tell us that you are the 
fruit and shame of our ministry ? Though these words be the 
fruit and shame of their malicious heresy (for all the world 
may know that it is our daily work to procure your conver- 
sion, and that you keep your sins and refuse a holy, heavenly 
life, in despite of us), yet I must tell you that these wretches 
shall condemn you. The streets and congregations have 
heard them cry out against your ungodly lives, and yet you 
will not turn to God. Must good and bad, must ministers 
and raging heretics give in their testimony against you, and 
yet will you not be satisfied and come in ? 

8. If yet you know not the better part, to whom will you 
appeal ? Will you go to the multitude and put it to the vote, 
not only aihong Christians, but throughout the world ? Truly 
there is no great reason for this, when most men are so blind 
and wicked ; but yet if you should, they would go against 
you, twenty, if not a hundred to one. I know well enough 
that when it comes to practice, they will not live a holy life, 
and shew thereby a root of bitterness. But if you ask them 
what their judgment is, whether God or the world, whether 
heaven or earth, whether holiness or sin be best and to be 
chosen, most men are against you, and would give it you as 
their judgment under their hands, that God and everlasting 
life should be first sought. Though by this confession they 
condemn themselves, yet is it their confession. As I told 


you before, the Jews are for this doctrine ; the Turks and 
other Mahometans are for it ; most of the heathen world is 
for it, doctrinally, though they will not practise it. Only 
there are three sorts against it in the world, that ever I heard 
of. One sort are the Cannibals that eat men's flesh, and go 
naked, and live like beasts, and never heard of another life ; 
and some such savages as they. Another sort are a few of 
the heathen philosophers and their followers, that differ in 
this from all the rest. A third sort is here and there a de- 
bauched apostate, that by the righteous judgment of God 
are so far forsaken by his grace, for their pride and falsehood 
against the truth, that they have lost the belief of a life to 
come, and live under the visible plagues of God upon their 
souls, as men that have sinned wilfully against the truth, and 
have " no more sacrifice for sin, but a fearful looking for of 
judgment and fire that shall devour the adversary;*' Heb. vi. 
6,7. X.26. And are near the state of the devils themselves 
that are reserved in the chains of spiritual darkness to the 
judgmentof the great day ; Jude6. Jobxxi. 30. And will 
you take the judgment of here and there a forlorn wretch, a 
deplorate apostate, an epicure, or a country of inhuman can- 
nibals, before the judgment of the most wise and godly, and 
of almost all the world? What excellency hath the under- 
standing of these singular men, that it should be so valued 
above all others ? You know partly in this place, who they 
be that are of this opinion. And is their number, or wisdom, 
or conversation such as should move you to be of their opi- 
nion? Shall half a dozen desperate apostates of ungodly lives 
seem wiser to you than all the world? And yet I am per- 
suaded that if you go to any, even of these few apostates, 
whatever they think, they will confess that a holy life is best. 
And yet have you not witness enough against yoiL? 

9. Who then shall be the judge? Shall we appeal to 
the very things themselves, and to the daily experience of 
the world ? You see that worldlings labour for the wind. 
You see that all their care and pains will not avoid the stroke 
of death, that turneth the proudest flesh into a clod, and mak- 
eth dirt of the greatest prince. You see that wealth and ho- 
nour do but mock men, and leave them in the grave to dark- 
ness and corruption. And when you are sure that this will 
be the upshot of all your fleshly pleasure and worldly gains, 
are you not satisfied past all doubt, that the smallest hopes 


or possibility of another life should be sought with far more 
care than this ? 

10. If none of these witnesses be regarded by thee, I 
know not whom to appeal to, but thyself ! And wilt thou 
needs thyself decide the case? Hast thou knowledge and 
experience, honesty and impartiality enough to fit thee to be 
judge ? If thou hadst, thou wouldst make no doubt of it, 
but have been resolved for heaven and holiness ere this. Thy 
unresolvedness proves thee blind and partial, and very much 
forsaken by the Spirit of light. And should such a one be 
judge? But go to, I will much refer thy case to thyself 
(reserving still the final judgment to the Lord) upon these 
just and reasonable conditions. 

(1.) Wilt thou first thyself but use those necessary means 
for knowledge, in reading, fasting, praying, watching, medi- 
tation, conference with the wise, and such like, as all those 
do that come to ripe and saving knowledge ? If I refer my 
health to thee as my physician, thou must not refuse to 
try my pulse, and use the means to find out the disease. 
Wouldst thou be my lawyer, and refuse to read my evi- 
dences, and study my case? And wilt thou needs be 
judge thyself of the matters of thine own felicity or misery, 
and yet refuse to read, and hear, and pray, and meditate, and 
use the necessary means of understanding ? Wilt thou lie 
in bed and work out thy salvation ? Wilt thou make use of 
no ones eyes but thy own, and yet wilt thou wink or draw 
the curtains, or shut the windows, and cast away thy spec- 
tacles, and neither come into the sunshine, nor use a candle ? 
This is but to say, I will wilfully condemn my soul, and none 
shall hinder me. 

(2.) But yet another condition I must propose. If thou 
wilt but (as I said before of others) a while make trial of a 
holy life, and try in thyself what faith, and hope, and charity 
are, and try what self-denial is, I will then refer the matter 
to thyself. Go back from God if thou find any reason for it; 
and turn from Christ, and heaven, and holiness, if thou do 
not like them. But if thou wilt needs be the judge, and wilt 
not be persuaded to try the thing, thou art a partial, self-de- 
ceiving judge. 

(3.) But if this much cannot be obtained, at least be con- 
siderate in thy judging. If thou wilt but take thyself aside 
from the noise of worldly vanities and deceits, and commune 


seriously with thy heart, and bethink thee as before the Lord, 
and as one that knows he must shortly die, whether heaven 
or earth should be sought most carefully, and whether God 
or thy flesh should be served most resolvedly and diligently; 
and if thou wilt but dwell so long upon these manlike thoughts 
till they are digested, and truth have time to shew its face, 
I dare then leave the question to thyself. The next time that 
the sermon or any affliction comes near thee and awakeneth 
thy conscience, do but withdraw thyself into secret, and so- 
berly bethink thee of the matter, what hopes thou hast from 
the world, and what thou mayst have from God ; what time 
is, and what eternity is, and give but conscience leave to 
speak, and then I will venture the issue upon thy conscience. 
For thee I mean, though I must stick to a better judge my- 
self. Doth not conscience sometimes tell thee, that the ho- 
liest persons are the wisest, and that thy labour is more like 
atlast to be lost and repented of, than theirs ? Doth not con- 
science sometimes make thee wish that thou wert but in as 
safe a case as they; and that thou mightestbutdie the death 
of the righteous, and that thy last end might be as theirs ? 

(4.) But if all this will not serve the turn, thou shalt be 
judge thyself; but it shall be when thou art more capable of 
judging. If God by grace shall change thy heart, I will 
stand to thy judgment. If he do not, when thy graceless, 
guilty soul shall pass out of thy pampered, dirty flesh, and 
appear before the dreadful God, I will then leave the case to 
thy conscience to judge of. To all eternity it shall be part- 
ly left to the judgment of thy conscience, whether sin or ho- 
liness be better ? and whether saints or careless sinners were 
the wiser? and whether it had not been better for thee to 
have spent that life in preparing for thy endless life, which 
thou spentest in slighting it, and caring for the world and 
flesh. Then thou shalt be judge thyself of these matters ; 
but under a more severe and righteous Judge. And so as 
shall make thy tearing heart to wish with many a thousand 
groans, that thou hadst judged wiser in time. 

But because that judgment will be to desperation, and 
too late for hope or any help, let conscience speak when thou 
liest sick, and seest that thou art a dying man. Then judge 
thyself whether a holy or a worldly life be better ; and whe- 
ther it had not been thy wiser course to have sowed to the 
Spirit, that so thou mayst reap everlasting life, than to have 


sowed to the flesh, from which thou now lookest to reap no 
better than corruption. Be not deceived. God is not mock- 
ed. " Whatsover a man soweth, that shall he also reap :" 

But because it will be very late to stay till thy own death 
draw so near thee, go but to thy neighbours that lie in sick- 
ness, looking for the stroke of death. Yea, to thy compa- 
nions in sin and folly, and ask them then which way is bet- 
ter. Ask them then which is the better part. Whether now 
they had rather be the most holy saints, or such as they have 
been ? Whether now they had not rather they had spent 
their time in the most careful seeking for everlasting life, 
than in doing as they have done ? Say to thy old companion 
now, * Brother, I see you are near your end ; the mortal 
stroke of death is coming ; you are now leaving all the plea- 
sures of this world. I pray you tell me now your judgment, 
whether mirth, and sport, and feasting, and drinking, and 
wealth, and honour, be more to be sought than life eternal ? 
and whether hearing and reading the word of God, and pray- 
ing, and meditating, and flying from sin, be as bad or as 
needless a thing as we have formerly taken it to be ? Had 
you rather appear before the Lord in the case of those that 
we derided as Puritans, and too precise for making such ado 
about salvation, or in the case that you and I have lived in V 
Ask but this question to thy old companions, and try whe- 
ther the consciences of almost all that reproach their end, do 
not bear witness against ungodliness, and do not justify the 
holy diligence of the saints. It is but two days since, a poor 
drunkard of a neighbouring parish being ready to pass out 
of this world, did send hither, and to other parishes, in the 
terrors of his soul, to desire our congregations to take warn- 
ing by him, and to strive with God if possible, for some mer- 
cy for his soul, that was passing in terrors into another world 
because of the guilt of his odious sin. 

Well, sirs, I have gone along with you to all the creatures 
in this world, that have any fitness to judge in this case, and 
if all these will not serve, we must go to another world for 
judgment, or stay till you come there. 

11. And really do you think if we could speak with angels 
or departed souls, that they would not consent with God and 
all believers in their testimony ? O how they would rebuke 
their madness, that make any doubt of so great, so plain, so 


sure a truth as this, of the necessity and the excellency of a 
holy life. None are so fully resolved of this question as they 
that have tasted the end of both, and past the righteous judg- 
ment of the Lord. They that are feeling the anguish of their 
consciences, and the tormenting displeasure of Almighty 
God, are satisfied by this time, whether the godly or ungod- 
ly were the wiser men, and whether sanctity or sensuality 
were the better course. They that are rejoicing with Christ 
in glory, are satisfied perfectly in this question, and are far 
from repenting of their choice ; Luke xvi. Christ tells you 
enough, in the case of the rich man and Lazarus, how men 
judge in the life to come. 

12. But if all these witnesses will not serve you, what 
shall we say to you? Whom will you choose to be your 
counsellor? There is none left that I remember, unless you 
will go tp the devil for advice. But against this I have told 
you enough before. Will he speak for holiness that is a spi- 
rit of uncleanness ; and will he shew thee heaven that labour- 
eth purposely to hide it from thee, till thou have lost it ? or 
will he let thee see 'the odiousness and danger of thy sin, 
when it is the snare and bait hf which he hopeth to undo 
thee ? But yet for all this, let me tell thee that thou mayst 
learn even from the tempting enemy himself, the truth of that 
which I am now asserting. For as the devil himself believ- 
eth it when he persuadeth thee not to believe it, so the very 
nature and manner of his temptations may help thee to per- 
ceive that heaven is attainable, and holiness is the only way. 
Would he make so much ado about it, to keep thee from the 
believing it, and seeking it, if there were not a heaven for 
thee to find ? Why is he so eager to draw thee unto sin, if 
sin be not hurtful to thee ? Dost thou not feel the importunity 
of his temptations ? It is easy to observe them. Why is he 
so much against a holy doctrine, and a holy life, and a holy 
people, if it were not that he knows the necessity and worth 
of holiness for thy good ? The actions of a knowing enemy 
may do very much to acquaint us with the truth. Besides 
this, he hath oft appeared in bodily shapes (as I am able to 
prove by undeniable evidence); sometimes to entice men 
to sin, and sometimes to be God's executioner to afflict them 
for it, and sometimes to make a covenant with witches and 
conjurers for their souls, as many a hundred of them have 
confessed at their death. And why should he be so desirous 


of thy soul, if thou hadst none to lose ? or so desirous to de- 
ceive thee, and deprive thee of salvation, if there were none 
for thee to lose ? and if this were not the chief concernment 
of thy soul, why should thy chief enemy so much regard it? 
Thou seest that he is not so careful to deprive thee of thy 
fleshly pleasure. He careth not how much thou hast of this. 
The more the glutton is pleased with his cheer, and the more 
the drunkard delighteth in his cups, and the more the forni- 
cator is pleased in his filthiness, and every voluptuous per- 
son in his voluptuousness, the devil is pleased so much the 
more. He cares not if thou have all the kingdoms of the 
w^orld, if he can deprive thee of the everlasting kingdom. Nor 
will he grudge thee the glory and honour of the world, if he 
can but keep thee from the heavenly glory. He will allow 
thee the hypocrite's reward, which is the applause of men, if 
he can but keep thee from the saint's reward, which is the 
favour of God. He cares not how much of thy good things 
thou hast here, if he can deprive thee of the everlasting good. 
It is his desire that thou have thy portion in this life, that 
thon mayst miss the believer's portion in the next. Cer- 
tainly the devil himself, by his temptations, apparitions, and 
contracts, doth plainly tell us of a life to come, and what it is 
that conduceth most to our good or hurt, our joy or torment ; 
and consequently teacheth us what to choose, by tempting 
us so palpably and eagerly to refuse it. 

You see now what a jury of witnesses I have brought in, 
to testify which is the better part. The devil and the wicked 
are added to the rest, because you will hear no better wit- 
nesses. If you will, here are enough whose testimonies are 

But when all is done, it is the Lord that is and will be 
Judge. All these are but witnesses to dispose thee to receive 
his sentence. Thou art no believer, till the authority of the 
word of God will serve to satisfy and resolve thee. 



Full proof (in twenty Queries) from Reason itself that tliere is a 

Life to come, and Holiness is the way to it, and the Better 

Fart. And that the Gospel is the certain word of God (in 

ffteen Queries more) with Answers to the Injidel's Objections. 

And by this time I come somewhat nearer to the infidel, 
and am ready to answer his foregoing question, * Where shall 
I find the judgment or testimony of the Lord?' * O,' saith 
the unbeliever, * if I were but sure that there were a life here- 
after, where the godly and wicked shall be differently reward- 
ed, as the Scripture speaks, then I must confess he were no 
better than a madman that would prefer this world, or wil- 
fully live in sin, and would not seek heaven with all his might, 
and be as earnest in holiness as the strictest saints ! But I 
am not sure that this is true, and that there is any such dif- 
ference after death, to be expected.' 

Answ, Alas, poor wretch ! Art thou at that pass? Hast 
thou so far lost the knowledge of God, and of thyself, and of 
thy end and business here, and of the word and works of 
God, as to turn worse than Jew, or Turk, or heathen, even to 
think thyself a beast, that hath no life nor happiness but this ? 
If this be thy case, I cannot now stand to deal with thee ac- 
cording to thy necessity. I am now dealing with them that 
confess a life hereafter. And because we cannot in all our 
writings repeat over the same things, I desire thee to peruse 
what I have already written for such as thee, in the second 
part of" The Saint's Rest," and in a treatise called, *' The 
Unreasonableness of Infidelity ;" and at present take only 
some brief advertisements for thy conviction. 

Query 1. And first, whereas you say, you are not sure of 
a life hereafter, I demand of you. Whether you are sure that 
there is not such a life ? I am sure you are not. If you think 
you are (which none but a debauched man can think, that 
hath put out the eye of natural light), let us hear your proof, 
and you shall soon be told the vanity of it. But if you are 
not sure that there is no such life, then I would know of you. 
Whether a possibility of such everlasting things deserve not 
greater care and diligence than is used by the most holy saint 
on earth ? You say, you are not sure that there is a heaven 


for saints. But what if it prove true (as nothing more true), 
will you sit still, and lose it for you know not what? or for 
want of a little care in seeking it ? You say, you know not 
whether there be a hell for ungodly men, or no. But what 
if it prove true (as certainly it will), where are youthen? 
Will you venture yourselves upon the possibility of such an 
endless loss and torment, which now you might on reasona- 
ble terms escape? You will confess that a possibility of a 
kingdom should be more regarded than the certainty of a pin 
or a feather. And a possibility of some tormenting disease 
but for twenty years, should be more carefully avoided than 
the certain stinging of a nettle. 

Query 2. You say. You are not sure that there is a life 
to come. But are you sure to continue the life you have ? 
Or is it any great matter that you are called to lose, for the 
obtaining of that life, that you are not sure of? You know 
the contrary, or easily may do. You are sure that you have 
not long to be here. Nothing more sure than that you will 
shortly die. And you are not sure but it may be to-morrow. 
And while you are here, it is nothing worth the naming (but 
what hath reference to another life) that you do possess. 
What have you to your flesh, but meat, and drink, and sleep, 
and lust, and such kind of bestial delights, which is better to 
be without than have, if we could also be without the need 
of them. Can you call these by the name of happiness, with- 
out renouncing your reason and experience ? You say, you 
know not what God will do for you hereafter. But you know 
what sin and the world will do for you here. Even nothing 
but hold you in a transitory dream, and then dismiss you in- 
to rottenness and dust. If you were not certain of another 
life, as long as you are most certain of the vanity of this, 
doth not reason tell you, that a possible everlasting glory, 
should be preferred before a certain vanity ? If you were 
not sure to get any thing by God and a holy life, yet as 
long as you are sure, even as sure as you live, that you can 
lose nothing by it, that is worth the talking of, is not the 
case then resolved, which way is the better? If you say, you 
shall lose your fleshly pleasures ; I answer. They are not 
worth the having. The pleasure doth not countervail the 
trouble ; no more than the delight of scratching (as I said 
before) doth countervail the trouble of the itch. Moderation 
and temperance is sweeter than excess. If too much be bet- 


ter than enough, and that which hurteth nature better than 
that which helpeth it, then self-destroying and fighting 
against your bodily welfare, would be best. Is not a tempe- 
rate meal more pleasant than a gluttonous surfeit, that is 
worse to the feeling of the glutton the next day ? Is not com- 
mon food that costeth not much, and kindleth no trouble- 
some itch in a man's appetite, more pleasant than enticing, 
costly dainties ? Is not so much drink as nature requireth, 
much better than that which makes the stomach sick, the 
brain witless, if not the purse pennyless, and breedeth many 
noisome diseases to the flesh, and hasteneth death, that hast- 
eth of itself? By that time the gaudy apparel, the dainty 
fare, and drink is paid for; and by that time the flesh hath 
suffered all that pain and sickness that are the ordinary fol- 
lowers of excess, methinks you should say, that if there were 
no hell, your sin were a punishment itself, and that in this 
life, it brings more pain than pleasure, and that suc'hkind of 
pleasure was not worth the keeping, to the hazard of the least 
possibility of an everlasting life. Wouldst thou under thy 
hand and seal, give away thy hopes and possibility of ever- 
lasting life, and run the hazard of an everlasting torment for 
the pleasures of sin, or to avoid the trouble of a holy life ? 
Why then thou mayst as well even sell it all for pins, or 
points, or children's rackets. Then thou art as foolish as the 
worst of witches, that sell their souls to a lying spirit, that 
whatever he doth promise them, doth pay them with nothing 
but calamity and deceit. When thou comest to know bet- 
ter what it is that the world can do for thee, thou wilt then 
confess there was nothing in it, that should not have been 
slighted for the smallest hopes of an everlasting life. Dost 
thou think the world will be much better to thee for the time 
to come than hitherto it hath proved? Deceive not thyself; 
it will prove the same ; yea, and worse at last. Look back 
now upon all the pleasures of thy life, from thy infancy to 
this day, and tell me what the better thou art for them. If 
this were the hour of thy death, would all the profits or plea- 
sures of thy life be any comfort to thee, or make thy death a 
whit the easier ? Have the dust or bones of the carcases of 
voluptuous sinners any comfort or benefit now, by all the 
pleasure of their former sin ? Surely I need not all these 
words to a man of common understanding, to convince him 
that if heaven were as uncertain as the infidel doth imagine. 


a man of reason should venture all that he hath upon the 
mere possibility ; because his all indeed is nothing, and he 
is sure he can be no loser by the bargain, it being not so 
much as the venture of a pin for the possibility of a crown. 

Query 3. But that is not all. What if I shall prove to 
thee past all denial, that even in this life, holiness is far the 
most delightful, gainful, honourable life, and that the ungod- 
ly live in a continual misery? Will not this serve turn to 
convince thee that a holy life should be undertaken for a 
mere possibility of heaven, if we had no more? Read but 
the proofs of this anon, and if I make it not good to thee, 
call me a deceiver. But if I prove that holiness is the sweet- 
est life on earth, and heaven the sure reward hereafter ; and 
that sin is a misery itself to the sinner, and hell the certain 
punishment hereafter, then see that thou confess that God is 
a good Master, and the devil a bad one ; for at last thou 
shalt be forced to confess it. 

Query 4. Well ! You say, you are not sure that there is 
another life for man. But have you used the means to make 
it sure to you, and to be well resolved ? If you have, then 
you have impartially searched, and prayed, and meditated on 
the word of God, and heard what can be said by wiser men, 
for that which you say you are not sure of; but if you have 
trusted to your own understanding, and neglected medita- 
tion, prayer, inquiry, and other needful means, what wonder 
then if you be uncertain, even whether there be a heaven or 
hell? It is no disgrace to physic, or astronomy, or music, 
or languages, or navigation, but to you, if you say that you 
are uncertain of all their conclusions, when you never stu- 
died them, or at least never studied them with that diligence 
and patience as those must do that will attain a certain sa- 
tisfying knowledge. 

Query 5. Moreover, if you are so uncertain of a life to 
come, I would ask you. Whether in all your search and stu- 
dy, you have behaved yourselves as learners, or rather as 
proud, self-conceited men, that think themselves wise enough 
before they learn, to try and judge their books and teachers. 
If this be your case, no wonder if you be infidels. If you 
come with such a disposition to read a book of astronomy, 
or physic, you will never learn. If you go to any schoolmas- 
ter, or to learn any language or science, and think yourselves 
able before you have learnt them, to try and .judge your 


teacher and all the books you read, and so will reject all that 
you do not understand, or agreeth not with your former con- 
ceits, you will sooner prove doting fools than scholars, and 
sooner be the derision of rational men, than come to the 
knowledge which you pretend to seek. Come to Christ's 
school as little children in meekness and humility, and a 
willingness to be taught, and patiently contiuue in the use 
of means till learning can be obtained, before you think your- 
selves fit to censure the truth of God which you are learning, 
and then tell me whether God doth not resolve you. 

Query 6. Moreover, I would know of you that doubt so 
of tlie life to come. Whether you have been true to so much 
light as you received, and have lived in obedience to the 
truth which God revealed to you. Or rather whether you 
have not wilfully and knowingly lived in some secret or open 
sin, and striven against the light and Spirit of Christ, and 
abused the truth which you have known, and used violence 
with your own consciences ? If so (which it is ten to one is 
your case), it is no wonder if you are infidels, forsaken of 
God, whom you first forsook, and given up to pride and self- 

Query 7. If man have no life to live but this, and no fur- 
ther end of his actions than a beast, nor any further account 
to give, then he is indeed but one of the higher sort of beasts, 
differing but gradually from a dog, as a dog doth from a 
swine. And if this be indeed thy judgment of thyself, I de- 
mand. Whether or no thou be content to be used as a beast? 
Wilt thou not take it ill to be called or judged a beast by 
another l Or wouldst thou have others judge better of thee 
than thyself? Wouldst thou have no man regard thy pros- 
perity or life any more than a beast is to be regarded? A 
beast hath no property, no not of that which nature hath 
given him. You accuse not yourselves of doing him any 
wrong, when you deprive the sheep of his fleece, nor when 
you make a constant drudge of your horse or ox. And do 
you think it lawful before God, for any one that can but 
master you, to do the like by you? To strip you naked, and 
to make packhorses of you, and use you as their slaves ? 
We take it to be no sin to take away the lives of beasts, if it 
be but for our own commodity. We kill oxen, and calves, 
and sheep, and swine, and fowl, and fishes for our daily food. 
And is it lawful before God for others to do so by you ? 


Should nothing restrain them butwant of powerto overcome 
you? If you say that you are beasts, as beasts you should 
be used. 

Query 8. Moreover J would know of you. Whether you 
think that there is any other world, which spiritual inhabi- 
tants do possess ? If you say no, you go against all reason 
and experience. Against experience, because that many a 
hundred witches, and many apparitions and haunted houses 
have put the matter out of question (for all that many reports 
of such things have been false). And against all reason, be- 
cause we see that this inferior world is every where replen- 
ished with inhabitants. The earth hath men and beasts, the 
air hath birds, the water hath fishes. And can a man of com- 
mon reason then, think that the superior regions which we 
see, and which we see not (which for greatness, and for 
splendour and excellency, are a thousandfold above this 
earth), should all be uninhabited and destitute ! and that 
there are not creatures also there, for excellency and number 
incomparably beyond the inhabitants of this lesser, lower 
world ! Certainly nothing is made in vain, nor are the works 
of God so monstrously disproportioned and discomposed, as 
for the more noble parts to be only for the baser. The hea- 
vens that are over us, and all the vast and most excellent 
parts of the creation, have a use that is answerable to their 
excellency. God makes not cottages to be inhabited, and 
palaces and cities to lie waste and desert to no use. 

But if you grant there is another world proportionably 
replenished with creatures, you may easily see from thence 
a probability, that man shall be translated thither. Why not 
the soul of man, as well as those spirits that in assumed 
shapes have made their appearance unto man? As all things 
ripen to their perfection, why should it seem any more im- 
probable that the soul shall pass hence into the world of spi- 
rits, than that the chicken shall come out of the shell, and 
the infant out of the womb, into so wide and light a world 
as this, when before they were shut up in a narrow darkness, 
and never heard nor knew any thing of that world which they 
enter into ? 

Query 9. Do you know why it is that God hath given 
man that knowledge, and freewill, and capacity to seek ano- 
ther life which beasts have not, if he be intended for no other 
life than beasts ? If God be not most wise, he is not God. 


If he be, then he maketh not so excellent faculties as these 
in vain, but fitteth all his creatures to their uses. Every 
workman will do so by his work. Why is a knife made keen, 
but to cut with ? And what are the wheels of your watch 
or clock made for but to shew you the hour of the day ? 
Look now into the whole frame of the soul of man, and 
judge by its aptitude what it is made for. 

(1.) Man is capable of knowing that there is a God, and 
knowing his attributes, which beasts are not, because they 
be not made to enjoy him. 

(2.) Man is capable of knowing his relation to this God, 
that he is our Creator, and we his creatures ; he our Lord, 
and we his own ; he our Ruler, and we his subjects ; he our 
Benefactor, and we his beneficiaries. And we are capable 
of knowing our duty in these several relations. And cer- 
tainly all this is not in vain. 

(3.) Man is capable of knowing that the everlasting love 
of God is that alone that can make him happy. And why 
would God shew him this, if he were not capable of enjoy- 
ing it ? Reason tells men that nothing here can make us 
happy, and that God can do it. 

(4.) Man is capable of knowing that certain duties are 
to be performed in order to the pleasing of his Lord, and 
what those duties are ; which would not be if we were not 
capable of pleasing him, and so of being happy in him. 

(5.) Man is made capable of desiring after the everlasting 
love of God ; and that above all things in this world. And 
God hath not made such desires in vain. 

(6.) Man is capable of loving God as an object everlast- 
ingly to be enjoyed, and that above all other things. 

(7.) Man also is capable of referring all the creatures un- 
to God, and using all things but as means to this everlasting 
end. Thus to believers. And surely all this is not in vain. 

(8.) Man is a creature that cannot regularly be moved 
according to his nature, to the performance of his duty to 
God and man, unless it be by motives fetched from the life 
to come. Take off that poise, and all his orderly motions 
will soon cease. Nothing below such everlasting things are 
fit or sufficient morally to govern him, and cause him to live 
as man should live. 

(9.) He is possessed of actual fears of everlasting punish- 

VOL. X. M 


ment, and shall never perfectly overcome these fears by his? 
greatest unbelief. 

(10.) He is capable of fetching his highest pleasures from 
the forethoughts of everlasting happiness, and receiving from 
hence his encouragement in welldoing and foretaste of the 
reward. Now this being the natural frame of man, as is past 
denial (when brutes have no such thing at all), let reason 
judge whether the God of nature have made this nature of 
man in vain, that we see hath suited every other creature to 
its use ; our horses to carry us, and our ox to draw for us, 
and the earth to bear its several fruits for them and us. And 
hath he mistaken only in the making of man, and gone be- 
yond his own intention, and fitted him for those uses and en- 
j oyments that he was never meant for ? These are not impu- 
tations to be cast upon the most wise and gracious God. 

Query 10. Moreover I demand of you. What is the end 
of man, and all these special faculties, if there be no life for 
him after this ? Either he hath an end which he is to intend, 
or he hath none. If none, then he hath nothing to do in the 
world. For all actions of man are nothing else but the in- 
tending of some end, and the choice and use of means for the 
attaining it. Man must lie down and sleep out his days, if 
this be true that he hath no end. Nay, sleep itself hath some. 
And he cannot choose but intend some end and seek it, if he 
would never so fain, unless he would take some opiate stu- 
pifying potion, or run mad. And he that made him al- 
so, and placed him here, had some end in it. For if man 
had thus no end, he could have no maker or efficient cause. 
For every rational efficient intendeth an end in all his works. 
(And he that made men rational, is eminently much more 
knowing than his creature.) And if we had no maker, then 
we have no being, and so are no men. 

But if man unquestionably have an end, it is either some- 
thing that is more noble or baser than himself, and some 
state that it is better or worse than that in which he seeks 
his end. Baser it cannot be ; for that were monstrous, that 
baser things should be the end of the more noble. Beasts 
are ma3e for man, and therefore not man for beasts. The 
earth is made for beasts and men, and therefore we are not 
made for the earth. Our means is not our end. If you grant 
that we are made for the God that made us (as nothing more 
sure), then how is it that God can be our end if there be no 


life but this ? 1. Here we are but in seeking him, and still 
are forced to complain that we fall short. Here we are but 
in the use of means. 2. We find that our knowledge, de- 
sires, and love will here reach no higher than to carry us on 
towards that perfection that is in our eye, and not to satisfy 
the soul. The creature that doth attain his end, hath rest in 
it, and is better than before. But we have nothing here like 
rest, and should be in a worse condition hereafter, if we had 
no more. 3. Here we sin against the Lord, and wrong him 
more than we serve him. We know but little of him and his 
work ; and serve and praise him but a little, and not accord- 
ing to the capacity of our nature. And therefore if he have 
not a higher end for us, and we a higher end to seek than 
any is in this world to be found, our natures seem to be in 
vain. For my part, though it be in weakness, I must needs 
say it is my trade and daily work to serve my God, and seek 
after an immortal blessedness. And if I thought that there 
were no such thing to be had, and no such use for me, I 
must needs stand still, and look about me, or in my practice 
unman myself by a brutish life, as I had brutified myself in 
my estimation and intention. For what could I find to do in 
the world ? What should I do with my reason and know- 
ledge, or any faculty above a beast, if I had no higher a work 
and end than beasts ? Verily, if I had lost the hopr.s of ano- 
ther life, I knew not what to do with myself in the world ! but 
must become some other creature, and life some other kind 
of life, than now I live. 

Query 11. Moreover, I desire you to consider, * Whether 
it be credible to a man of reason, that God made his noblest 
creature in this world with a nature that should be a neces- 
sary misery and vexation to itself above all the misery of the 
baser creatures ? and that the wiser any man is, the more 
miserable he must needs be V 

This is not credible. Yet thus would it be, if there were 
no life but this. For, (1.) The knowledge that man hath of 
a superior good (which beasts have not) would tantalize him 
and torment him. To know it, and must not partake of it, 
is to be used as a horse that is tied near his provender, which 
he must not reach. 

(2.) The love, and desires, and hopes, that I before de- 
scribed, would all be our vexation. To love and desire that 


which we cannot attain, and that with the chief of our affec- 
tions, is but to make us miserable by virtue. 

(3.) To use all those means, and do the duties before- 
mentioned in vain, when we are not capable of the end, is 
but to roll a Sisiphus' stone, and to be made to wash black- 
amores, or to fill a bottomless tub. 

(4.) No creature here but man, hath fears of any misery 
after death, and therefore none would be here so miserable. 
There is no infidel but must confess, that for aught he knows 
there may be a life of punishment for the wicked. And this 
' may be' will breed more fears in a considerate man, than 
death itself alone could do. 

(5.) Or if there were no fear of that, yet man hath reason 
to think beforehand of his death, and to think of his abode in 
darkness, which beasts have not. To think of being turned 
to a stinking carrion, and to a clod, and so continuing for 
ever, without any hope of a resurrection, would be matter for 
continual horror to a considering man, which brutes are not 
molested with. And wise men that can foresee, would be 
tormented more than fools. All this is incredible, that God 
should make his nobler creature to be naturally most miser- 
able ; and give him knowledge and affections, and set a cer- 
tain death, and possible torment continually before his eyes, 
to torment him, without any remedy! And beside the hoped 
life hereafter, there is none. 

Query 12. ' Do you think that the belief of another life, 
is needful or useful, to the well governing of this world, or 
not V If you say no, (1.) Why then do infidels and brutists 
say, that religion is but the device of men for the governing 
of the world ? and that without it subjects would not be rul- 
ed ? You confess by this your frivolous objection, that the 
world cannot be ruled well without the belief of a life to 

(2.) And it is most manifest from the very nature of man, 
and from the common experience in the world, 1. If man be 
well governed, it must be either by laws containing rewards 
and penalties, or without. Not without. For, 1. All the 
world doth find it by experience, that it cannot be ; and 
therefore every commonwealth on earth is governed by laws, 
either written, customary, or verbal. 

2. If the love of virtue for itself should prevail with one 

A SAINT OR A BllUT£. 165 

of a thousand, that would be nothing to the government of 
the world. 

3. Nor could anymanbe effectually induced to lovevirtue 
for itself, according to the doctrine of the brutists. For vir- 
tue itself is made no virtue by them, but a deformity of the 
mind, while they overthrow the end, and object, and law, that 
it is measured and informed by (as I shall more fully open 
to you anon). It is therefore most certain that no nation is 
or can be governed as beseemeth man, without proposed pu- 
nishments and rewards. 

And if so, then these must be either temporal punish- 
ments and benefits, or such as are to be had in the life to 
come. That temporal punishments and benefits cannot be 
motives sufficient for any tolerable (much less perfect or suf- 
ficient) government, is a most evident truth. For 1. ' De fac- 
to,* we see by experience, that no people live like men that 
be not governed by the belief of another life. The nations 
that believe it not, are savages almost all ; living naked and 
bestially, and knowing nothing of virtue or vice, but as they 
feel the commodity or discommodity to their flesh. They 
eat the flesh of men, for the most part, and live as brutishly 
as they believe. And if you say that in China, it is not so, 
I answer, one part of them there believe the immortality of 
the soul, and most of them take it as probable, and so the 
nation hath the government which it hath, from everlasting 

And if you say that the ancient Romans had a suffici- 
ent government, I answer, 1. The most of them believed a 
life to come, and it was but a few that denied the immortali- 
ty of the soul ; and therefore it was this that governed the 
nations. For those that believed another life, had the go- 
vernment of the few that did not believe it, or else the go- 
vernment itself had been more corrupt. 2. And yet the 
faultiness of their belief appeared in the faultiness of their 
government. Every tyrant took away men's lives at plea- 
sure. Every citizen that had slaves (which was common) at 
pleasure killed them, and cast them into the fishponds. The 
servants secretly poisoned their masters, and that in so great 
numbers, that Seneca saith, Epist. 4. ad Lucul. that " the 
number of those that were killed by their servants, through 
treachery, deceit, or force, was as great as of them that were 
killed by kings ;" which was not a few. 


2. It is apparent that the world would be a wilderness, 
and men like wild, ravenous beasts, if they were not govern- 
ed by motives from the life to come. 

1. Because tlie nature of man is so corrupt and vicious, 
that we see how prone they are to evil, that everlasting mo- 
tives themselves are too much ineffectual with the most. 

2. Every man naturally is selfish, and therefore would 
measure all good and evil with reference to themselves, as it 
was commodious and incommodious to them. And so vir- 
tue and vice would not be known, much less regarded. 

3. By this means there would be as many ends, and, 
laws, or rules, as men , and so the world would be all in a 

4. If necessity forced any to combine, it would be but as 
robbers, and strength would be their law and justice ; and 
he that could get hold of another man's estate, would have 
the best title. 

5. All those that had but strength to do mischief, would 
be under no law, nor have any sufficient motive to restrain 
them. What should restrain the tyrants of the world, that 
rule over many nations of the earth, if they believe no pu- 
nishment after death, but that their laws and practices should 
be as impious and bestial, as their lusts can tempt them to 
desire ? What should restrain armies from rapes and cruel- 
ty, that may do it unpunished ? or popular tumults that are 
secured by the multitude ? 

6. And there would be no restraint of any villany that 
could but be secretly committed. And a wicked wit can ea- 
sily hide the greatest mischiefs. Poisoning, stabbing, burn- 
ing houses, defaming, adultery, and abundance the like, are 
easily kept secret by a man of wit, unless a special provi- 
dence reveal them (as usually it doth). 

7. At least, the probability of secrecy would be so great, 
and also the probability of sinful advantage, that most would 

8. And all those sins would be committed without scru- 
ple, which the law of man did appoint no punishment for ; as 
lying, and many odious vices. 

9. If one man, or two, or ten, should be deterred from 
poisoning you, or burning your houses, or killing your cat- 
tle, &c. by human laws, a thousand more would be let loose 
and venture. 


10. All the sins of the heart would have full liberty, and 
a defiled soul have neither cure nor restraint. For the laws 
and judi^ments of men extend not to the heart. All the world 
then might live in the hatred of God, and of their neigh- 
bours, and in daily murder, theft, adultery, and blasphemy 
of the heart. Within they might be as bad as devils, and 
fear no punishment ; for man can take no cognizance of it. 
And it is the heart that is the man. You see then what per- 
sons the infidels and brutists would have us all be ! What 
hearts and lives mankind should have according to their laws ! 
Be devils within ; and murder, and deceive, and commit 
adultery as much as you will, so you have wit to escape the 
gallows, and you are scholars fit for such bestial masters. 

1 1 . Yea, let me add this one more mischief : Hereby they 
would destroy all charity and good works, except the very 
bestial love of those that please men's lust* For no laws of 
men compel men to the love of God or man ; nor much to 
good works. Who would do any thing comparatively, that 
believed not a reward and punishment hereafter ? If we give 
all that we have to the poor, we can here have no reward but 
the breath of a man's mouth, which at death we understand 
not. Take down the everlasting ends and motives, and all 
good works, and inward virtues too that should produce 
them, are taken down. 

And by this time you may see what a litter of bears, what 
a pack of ravening dogs, what cannibals the world should be 
turned into, by the doctrine of the brutists, that deny the 
life to come. 

Well ! but perhaps you will by this time have so much 
sense, as to confess that threatenings and punishments, 
hopes and fears of the state of another life are necessary to 
the wellgoverning of this world. And if so, I desire no more, 
to satisfy any man that believes there is a God (and that is 
any man that hath not drowned his wits in sin). For 1 . This 
will then shew that the nature of man is formed for another 
life ; and God did not make him such in vain. 2. And cer- 
tainly if everlasting motives must be put into the laws that 
govern us, and into our hopes and fears, then it is not possi- 
ble, but such things there are to be expected. For any man 
to imagine that God would make a world, which he cannot 
govern but by falsehood and deceit, this is to say that God 
is no God. For all lying and falsehood comes either from a 


want of power, or wisdom, or goodness, when men either 
cannot make good their words, or otherwise attain their ends; 
or when they have not wit to know what is, or was, or will 
be, or when they are so bad, as to be disposed to deceive. 
But he that ascribeth any of these to God, doth worse than 
to say that there is no God. If I hate deceit and lying my- 
self; the God that gave me all that little good which I have 
must hate it more. Dream not of any but a worm, or fool, 
or impious tyrant, that needs and loves deceit and falsehood 
to attain their ends. Judge by the frame of heaven and earth, 
and by that little good that is in good men, whether the liv- 
ing God be one that needs such hellish engines to rule the 

If therefore in order to the government of mankind we 
must needs believe a life to come, it is certainly true. And 
why do you not believe that which government requireth you 
to believe ? 

Query 13. Moreover I demand of you, 'Whether you 
take God indeed to be the Governor of this world, or not V 
By ' governor,' I mean properly, one that ruleth the rational 
creature as such, by moral means, even laws and executions. 
I exclude not his potential, efficacious operations, but con- 
clude a necessity of moral government. I know a self-con- 
ceited, popish infidel hath endeavoured to persuade the world 
that God's sovereignty and moral government are metapho- 
rical expressions, arising from the misconceivings of weak 
men ; and that wiser men like himself do conceive of God's 
government only as of an artificer's disposal of his works-, 
that physically accomplisheth all his will. As if God's na- 
tural causations, and his moral, were inconsistent ; or as if 
God were not wise and good as well as Almighty ; or did not 
in his government of men demonstrate his sapience in his 
laws, and his goodness in attractive benefits, as well as his 
power in mere natural motion ; or as if man were not a rati- 
onal creature, and a free-agent, and were not to be governed 
according to his nature, by objects suited to his intellect and 
will, but must be used and ruled like a stone or beast ; or as 
if God could not infallibly attain his ends by a sapiential 
government, and by preserving the liberty of the will, as' well 
as by a mere necessitating causation ! This man was so en- 
amoured upon his supposed skill in physic and metaphysics, 
that he not only lost his morality, but grew to be such an 


enemy to it, as to blot out all true morality, civility, policy, 
and economy at a dash ; and stands with the rest of the 
proud faternity, as a monument of God's justice against the 
proud, so deplorately forsaken even in the reason that he 
glorieth of, that children may perceive his folly. He that is 
all for operations of power, as excluding sapiential govern- 
ment by laws, and their just executions, doth think sure that 
a horse hath more of the image of God than a man. For he 
is much stronger. Brutish force would be more excellent 
than the attraction of goodness and the conduct of wisdom, 
if the government (which is no government) that these men 
dream of were the most excellent. As he will allow his ar- 
tificer to shew as much at least of his wit, by making a watch 
or clock that shall, though by a necessity, move without the 
finger of the workman continually moving it ; so methinks 
he should allow the infinitely wise and gracious God, to be 
nevertheless wise or gracious, if he rule the rational free- 
agent, without a physical necessitation, by a gracious attrac- 
tion and sapiential conduct, agreeable to the reason and li- 
berty of the creature, as long as we exclude not the co-work- 
ing of Omnipotency, nor deny the infallibility of divine pre- 
definition, which may be secured with the security of the 
creature's liberty. 

In a word, to deny God to be the Sovereign Governor of 
the world in proper sense ; 1 . Is a denying him to be God ; 
it being a term of relation, comprising government, and not 
of mere nature. When it is commanded us that we have no 
other gods, and when we are required in the holy covenant 
to take the Lord for our God, and give up ourselves to him 
as his people, it most plainly expresseth that his governing 
authority, or his sovereignty is comprehended in the term 
God. And indeed, having made a rational, free creature, 
whose nature requireth moral government, it followeth by 
necessary resultancy, that he that had sole authority and 
sufliciency, must be his sovereign. 

2. These proud blasphemers that deny God's proper go- 
vernment, do contradict the very drift of Scripture, that call- 
eth him our king and governor, and requireth our subjection 
and obedience. 

3. They deny the being of God's laws, both the law of 
nature, and the written laws, and so blot out the word of 
God, and the sense and use of all his works. Though they 


allow them a certain physical operation on us, yet as laws 
they do obliterate them : that is, as they are ' norma officii 
et judicii,' our rule of duty and expectation, and God's re- 
solved way of judging. 

4. They hereby overthrow all duty as such, and make 
good actions to be but as the motion of the arrow that hits 
the white, and to have none but a physical goodness in them. 
For there can be no proper obedience, where there is no 
proper government or law. 

5. Hereby also they deny all inward virtue : for this also 
can have but a physical goodness, if government and laws be 

6. Hereby they deny the being of sin. For where there 
is no law and government, but mere physical necessitating 
motion, there is no transgression. And therefore when they 
make a deal of talk about purging away sin, it is not sin in- 
deed that they mean, but a mere physical disease to be phy- 
sically expunged. 

7. Hereby they deny all the proper judgment of God by 
Christ at the last day, and make his judgments to be nothing 
but execution. 

Yea, and 8. All proper execution is denied, as vindic- 
tive, or remunerative, and so all justice. 

9. The authority of every prince on earth is overthrown. 
For there can be no authority but from God's sovereign au- 
thority, any more than any being without derivation from 
the first being. They may talk to the ignorant of contracts, 
and people's wills being the original of governing authority, 
and deify the multitude and make them give that which they 
never had ; but a mean understanding may perceive their 

10. Hereby they destroy all human laws, that must re- 
ceive their strength from God's laws, or have none ; and so 
they absolve all subjects in the world from conscientious 
obligations to obedience. If God have no proper governing 
laws but physical motions, then we are no further obliged to 
obey men, by any law of God, than we are effectually moved 
to it, and than we do obey them. And if so, then we can 
owe no more obedience to parents, masters, or princes, than 
they force us to ! If they can make us obey them well and 
good : if not, we break no law of God by disobedience. 

These and many such like are the consequents of that 


horrid doctrine that denieth God to be the Sovereign Ruler 
of the world. In a word, it dasheth out at once all govern- 
ment, laws, justice, obedience, good works, and all morality, 
dissolving the whole frame of the universal monarchy of the 
world, and denying God to be our God, and man to be man 
and his subject. 

But if you yield that God is the Governor of the world, 
it is then most evident that there is a life to come. For if 
he govern us, it is by laws and judgment. And if by laws, 
which are they ? There is nothing known among rational 
men, by the name of a law of God, which containeth not pro- 
mises and threatenings of rewards and punishments hereaf- 
ter. He hath no laws for the governing of this world, that 
contain no motives but from temporal things. And I shew- 
ed you before, that he need not, he cannot govern the world 
by falsehood and deceit. And we see here by experience, 
that there is no such execution in this life of the laws of 
God, as are sufficient to the ends of government. The wick- 
ed prosper, and destroy the just: the best do most deny 
their flesh, and are oppressed by others. You see this in 
yourselves, and make it an argument for your infidelity. 
But stay a liftle till the assizes come. It follows not that 
there is no government or justice, because the thief or mur- 
derer is not hanged before the assizes, or as soon as he hath 
done the fact. Eternity is long enough for their punish- 
ment. If God then be the Governor of the world, as most 
certainly he is, then is there a reward and punishment here- 
after ; and God*s day will come, when man's is past. 

Query 14. My next question is, ' Whether you think 
that God should be loved and obeyed or notT If not, then 
certainly none should be loved or obeyed. For none de- 
serves it, if he deserve it not, from whom we are, and have all 
our benefits. But if he be, then I further question you, 

* Whether it be likely or possible, that any man, or at 
least all the best people in the world, be losers by God, and 
their love and obedience to him?' And whether it be credi- 
ble, that goodness and obedience to the Lord, should be the 
constant, certain way to men's undoing, loss, or misery ? I 
think you will say, if you believe that there is a God, that 
this cannot be. For certainly he that sets us at work, will 
own us in it, and save us harmless. An honest man W\\\ 
take it for a disgrace to him, that his service should be the 


shame and misery of his servants, and he should make them 
no satisfaction. If God be not able to bear us out, he is not 
God ; and his wisdom and goodness assure us that he will 
do it. So that there is no possibility that goodness should 
be man's loss, and any should finally be losers by God. On 
this assurance I am encouraged to lay out all my time and 
labour, and dare boldly venture all that I have, in the work 
of God : for I am sure I cannot lose by him. 

But be thou judge thyself whether his service would not 
make us losers, if there were no life but this, (though I con- 
fess the loss would be small and short.) Who are so hated, 
and persecuted as they that serve God best ? How many 
thousands of them have been fain to give up their bodies to 
tormentors, and their lives to the devouring flames ? The 
very work of God consisteth in flesh-displeasing things ; to 
deny ourselves and contemn this world, and live soberly, 
and righteously, and godly in the world, and to be for this 
the scorn of men is the lot of the obedient. 

If you say. This is not the lot of any but those that are 
over-righteous, I answer, 1. We cannot be over-obedient to 
God. 2. You contradict the experience of all ages. Even 
the form of godliness is hated by the profane ; and tempe- 
rance by the drunkard; and he shall be their scorn that runs 
not with them to excesses of riot. Seneca tells us that it 
was so even at Rome among the heathens, that he was their 
derision that would not be as bad as the rest. If therefore 
in this life only we had hope, we were of all men most mi- 
serable ; 1 Cor. XV. 19. Not but that even here we have the 
far better life than wicked men : but that is because it sa- 
voureth of the life to come, to which it hath relation. Other- 
wise we should lose our credit, ease, pleasure, profit in the 
world, and have nothing for it. Faithfully labour for God, 
O my soul, and never fear being a loser by his work. 

Query 15. I further ask, * Whether you would be alone 
of this brutish opinion, or would you have all others of your 
mind?* If you would not have others believe as you do, it 
seems you think not well of your own opinion, but take it to 
be naught for men to hold. And why should not all men 
hold it if it were true ? But if you would have all of that 
mind, it were time for you to look about you. Certainly the 
law-makers would make other laws than now they do, and 
men would lead other kind of lives. And what security you 


would have of your goods, or houses, or lives a week, from 
the malice or covetousness of others, I cannot imagine. You 
would not dare to travel by the way, or look out among men : 
you could not trust your servants, nor your wives or hus- 
bands, because there would be nothing but temporal punish- 
ment to restrain them, which cunning might escape. I do 
not think but you would rather have servants, or neigh- 
bours, or husband, or wife, that believe a life to come, than 
those that do not, if you had tried others but a little while, 
and seen how little they were to be trusted, and consequent- 
ly how bad your opinion is. 

Query 16. And I would know, * Whether you pretend to 
any honesty and conscience or not? If not, you will give 
us leave to judge of you, and trust you accordingly. If you 
do, then upon what ground is it possible for you to be ho- 
nest? If you believe no life to come, you must take your 
pleasure hereon earth for your chiefest happiness: and you 
cannot believe any proper government of the world by the 
laws, rewards, and punishments, sufficient to restrain men 
from their sin. Virtue can be no more virtue, if God no 
more regard it ; and sin is no sin, if against no law. Indeed 
while you live among believers, where vice is in disgrace, 
you may for your credit seem to be virtuous : but your pro- 
fession alloweth us to judge that you avoid no evil that you 
dare commit, if it do but suit with your fleshly interest. He 
that believeth no life to come, and tells me so, doth bid me, 
in effect, to suppose him resolved for all wickedness imagi- 
nable, so far as he dare, and hath temptations and opportu- 
nity. Are you of this brutish judgment? I shall expect 
from you then no better than a brutish life ; and trust you 
less than I would do a brute, because you have more interest 
and temptation to do evil, and more cunning to perform it. 
Are you brutists in opinion ? Then you are already habi- 
tually perfidious, cruel, covetous, malicious, murderers, 
whoremongers, thieves, liars, and worse, if any thing be 
worse I For honest you cannot for shame expect that any 
should esteem you. I will not believe a word you say, fur- 
ther than some interest of your own is concerned in the 
truth of it. 

Query 17. ' If it be not the very light and law of nature 
that teacheth and obligeth a man to believe a life to come, 
how comes it to pass, that all the world, except a few sa- 


vages and cannibals, and here and there an apostate among 
us, do universally profess to believe it?' The Jews, the 
Turks, the heathens of most nations, besides the Christians, 
do all make it an article of their belief. We differ indeed 
about the vi^ay, (and yet all are agreed that godliness and 
honesty, fearing God and doing righteousness, are necessa- 
ry ;) but that there is another life, v^^e are in almost all the 
world agreed. And will you go against the light of human 
nature itself ? Or with what face can you expect that here 
and there such a wretch as you should be thought wiser than 
all the world, till you give us better evidence of your wis- 
dom ? And how justly do they perish that will follow you ? 

Query 18. * Are not those that believe the life to come, 
of holier lives (for the generality) than those that do not?' 
And whether is it like that God should reveal his mind to 
them, or unto wicked wretches? and is it more likely that 
he should forsake all the holy persons of all ages, and give 
them up to deceit in the greatest matters, who most diligent- 
ly study and pray for knowledge, rather than forsake those 
sensual wretches that wilfully forsake him ? 

Query 19. * Is there not in thy own conscience, at least 
sometimes, some fears yet left of a life to come V I believe 
there is ; and when thou hast done thy worst, thou wilt hard- 
ly perfectly overcome them. Doth not conscience say, * O 
but what if there should be a hell for the ungodly? Where 
am I then?' Hearken then to thy conscience. 

Query 20. ' Dost thou believe that spirits in borrowed 
shapes have oft appeared unto men, and in voices spoken 
to them, to draw them to sin, or to perdition?' If thou do 
believe it, thou mayst easily believe that there is a hell which 
they are so busy to persuade us to, and a heaven of which 
they would deprive us. If thou believe not that there have 
been such apparitions, I am able to give thee undeniable 
testimonies. Read what I have said in my " Treatise 
against Infidelity" of this. Read Regimus, Bodin, Danseus, 
Malleus Maleficorum, &,c. of Witches ; and read a little book 
called ** The Devil of Masson," where is abundant testimo- 
ny of his vocal conference, for about a quarter of a year to- 
gether, in the house of a godly minister in a populous city, 
before Papists, Protestants, and all. Many I could give 
you that were done here at home. 

In these twenty questions I have but endeavoured to pre- 


pare you to believe, by shewing you the very light of na- 
ture : but it is a lively faith in the word of God that effec- 
tually prevaileth against infidelity ; and therefore next let 
us come to that. I will not so much lose my time as to cite 
particular texts of Scripture, for that which is the very work 
and drift of the Scripture. But because thou canst have no 
shift in the world for thy brutish unbelief, but by denying 
the Scripture to be the word of God, I refer thee to that 
which I have written in the books forementioned to prove it ; 
and at this time shall add to what is there said, but these 
few questions. 

Quest. 1. * If the Scripture be not the word of God, how 
could it tell us of the making of the world, and such like 
things, which none but God alone could tell V I know you 
will say, I know not whether it tells us true or not ; or whe- 
ther the world were not, as Aristotle thought, from eternity. 
But tell me this then, (to pass by the rest now ;) How comes 
it to pass that in all the world there are no books or monu- 
ments known of any longer standing than the time that 
Scripture assigneth to the creation? It is not six thousand 
years since the creation. If the world had lasted thousands 
and millions of years before, is it possible that all its anti- 
quities should be lost, and not one to be seen, nor mentioned 
by any man in all the world ? (For the fabulous tales of 
some in China, without all proof, are not worth the mention- 
ing.) Certainly some book would have been saved, or some 
cities, or lasting piles, or stony monuments preserved, or 
some sign or tradition kept alive, of some of all those many 
thousand years. 

If you say, that writing or printing were not then known, 
you come to that which confounds you more. How is it 
possible that in so many hundred thousand years, the world 
grew to no more experience, and arts and sciences were ri- 
pened no more, when now they have ripened in a shorter 
time ? How is it that printing and writing were not found 
out? and that all sciences and arts are of so late invention, 
and as it were, but in their youth? Certainly knowledge is 
the daughter of experience, and experience the daughter of 
time ; and therefore if the world had been from eternity, it 
must needs have been many a hundred thousand years ago, 
at a far higher state of knowledge than is yet attained in the 
world. For every age receiveth the experiences and writings 


of the former, and hath opportunity still to make improve- 
ment of them. At least the world could not have been ig- 
norant so long of printing, w^riting, and a hundred things 
that are certainly of late invention. It is therefore an in- 
credible thing that an eternal v^^orld should lose all the me- 
morials and monuments of its antiquity, before the Scripture- 
time of the creation. And therefore doubtless it began but 

Quest. 2. ' And if God v^^ere not the Author of the Scrip- 
ture, how come so many clear and notable prophecies of it 
to be fulfilled ?' How punctually doth David, and Isaiah 
(liii.) describe the sufferings of Christ, and Daniel foretel the 
very year ! and so of many others. 

Quest, 3. ' And how comes it all to contain but one en- 
tire frame conspiring to reveal the same doctrine of grace 
and life ;' (at first more darkly, and in types and promises, 
and afterwards more clearly in performance,) when the wri- 
ters lived at hundreds and thousands of years distance from 
each other? 

Quest. 4. And if thou hadst not a blinded, prejudiced 
mind, thou wouldst perceive an unimi table majesty and spi- 
rituality in the Scripture, and wouldst savour the Spirit of 
God in it as its author, and wouldst know by the image and 
superscription, that it is the word of God. It beareth inim- 
itably the image of his power, and wisdom, and goodness ; 
so that the blessed Author may to a faithful soul be known 
by the work. 

Quest. 5. If the Scripture came not from the Spirit, it 
could not give or cause the Spirit ; if it bore not God's image 
itself, how could it print his image upon the souls of so many 
thousands as it doth? The image of God is first engraven 
on the seal of his holy doctrine, and thereby imprinted on 
the heart. There is no part of that holy change on man, 
but what that holy doctrine wrought. If therefore the 
change be of God, the doctrine that wrought it is of God ; 
for both of them are the same image, answering each other, 
as that on the seal, and on the wax. But it is most certain 
that the holy change on the soul is of God. The nature of 
it sheweth this : for it consisteth in the destruction of our 
sin, and the denial of ourselves, and the raising the heart 
above this world, and the total devoting of ourselves, and 
all that we have to God, and conforming ourselves to his 


will, and resting in it, and seeking and serving him with all 
our power, against all temptations, and living in the fervent 
love of God and of our brethren, and desires after everlasting 
life ; and a taking Christ for our Lord and Saviour, to re- 
concile us to God, and do all this in us by his Spirit. And 
surely such a work as this must needs be of God. If it be 
good, it must needs be originally from him that is most good : 
this is undeniable. (And he that will say, this is evil, is so 
much of the devil's nature and mind, that it is no wonder if 
he follow him, and be brutified.) And you cannot say, that 
the work is good, and the doctrine bad ; for the work is no- 
thing but the impress of the doctrine. And God doth not 
use to appoint or use a frame of falsehoods and deceits, as 
his ordinary means to renew men's souls, and work them to 
his will. 

Perhaps you will say, that you see no such change made 
by the word, nor any such spirit given by it unto men, but oilly 
the effects of their own imaginations. But, 1. The question 
is. Whether they are true or false imaginations? God's 
truth causeth that impress on the mind of man, which you 
call his imaginations : for where should truth be received, 
but in the mind? and how should it work but by cogitation 1 
They are cogitations above and contrary to those of flesh 
and blood, that are wrought by this holy doctrine. It is ne- 
vertheless of the Spirit, because it moveth man by considers 

2. And if you see not a work on the hearts of the rege- 
nerate appearing in their lives, which raiseth them to a far 
better state than others, it can be no better than strangeness 
or malice that can so far blind you. 

3. But if it be so with you, give leave yet to the persons 
that know this holy change in themselves, to believe the 
more confidently the word that wrought it. We know that 
we are renewed and passed from our former spiritual death 
to life : and therefore that it was the truth of God that did 
the work of God upon us. Nothing but truth can sanctify : 
but the word doth sanctify ; therefore the word is truth. 

Indeed the holy church of Christ throughout all ages of 
the world, hath been his living image, and so a living wit« 
ness of his word, as shewing by their lives the transcript of 
it in their hearts. It is easy for any that know them, ex- 

VOL. X. N 


cept the maliciously blind, to perceive that the true servants 
of Christ are a more purified, refined, honest, conscionable, 
holy, heavenly people than the rest of the world. For my 
part, I am fully convinced of it ; 1 see it ; there is no com- 
parison ; for all their imperfections, which they and I lament, 
I am fully satisfied that there is much more of God on them 
than on others. And therefore there is much more of God 
in the doctrine that renewed them than in any other. The 
church is the living Scripture, the pillar and ground of the 
truth (1 Tim. iii. 16.) ; the law is written in their hearts 
(Heb. viii. 10.) better than it was in the tables of stone ; 2 
Cor. iii. 3. And by their holy love and works, the world 
may know that Jesus Christ was sent of the Father, and may 
be brought to believe on him, by their unity; John xvii. 
21 — 23. Matt. V. 16. God would not concur so apparently 
and powerfully with a false doctrine, to make so great a 
change in man ; nor so far own it, as to use it for the doing 
of the most excellent work in all this world, even the ga- 
thering him such a church, and sanctifying to himself a pe- 
culiar people, zealous of good works ; Tit. ii. 14. 

If you say that some of the heathens have been as good : 
I answer, 1. The goodness found in them, is but temperance, 
fidelity, and such like ; and not a holy spirituality, or hea- 
venliness, no, nor a thorough conscientiousness in what they 

2. That good was rare in comparison of that which the 
Gospel worketh, as well as small. 

3. That good which they had, was wrought only by some 
scraps or parcels of the same holy truth that is contained in 
the Scriptures. And therefore even so much truth among 
the heathens as profited them to any reformation, was the 
word of God, and owned by him. 

Quest. 6. Do you believe that Jesus Christ did rise again 
from the dead, or not? and that he and his disciples did 
work those many uncontrolled miracles, or not? If you do 
believe it, then what need you further testimony to prove the 
doctrine to be of God ? or to prove that there is a life to 
come ? Shall the Captain of our salvation himself rise from 
the dead, and' conquer death, and ascend up into heaven, 
to shew us that there is a life to come, and yet will you not 
* believe it? Or would God lend to any man his power to 
confirm a false doctrine to the world ? If so, then 1 . It 


would be God himeelf that should mislead us. For it is he 
that worketh the miracles, or granteth special power to the 
instrument to do it. 2. Man should be unavoidably misled. 
For if a man rise from the dead, and raise others, and give to 
thousands the gift of languages, healing, and the like, and 
all this have no greater contrary evidence from God of some 
contradiction or controlment, I am unavoidably deceived ; 
and neither my greatest innocency or diligence, or any other 
help from men, could possibly relieve me. And he that can 
believe that the infinitely Powerful, Wise, and Good, is either 
necessitated or disposed to deceive the world, and rule them 
by deceit and falsehood, and to lend his power to confirm a 
doctrine that he hateth, and is against himself, this man in- 
deed believeth not that there is any God. 3. Even thebru- 
tists themselves, and all the infidels with whom we talk, will 
confess that if they should see Christ rise, or see such mira- 
cles, they would believe : and therefore they do confess that 
they are cogent evidence to those that know of them. 

Object, * Did not the sorcerers in Egypt work miracles V 
Ansv). 1. Wonders they did, but not miracles. 2. They 
were controlled, and shamed, and disowned by God by Mo- 
ses* contradictory, conquering miracles. 

Object, * But some might have died between the magici- 
ans* wonders, and Moses* controlment, and so have been un- 
avoidably lost.' Answ. 1. The time was near, and that not 
likely of those that knew of them. 2. At the first wonder 
of the magicians, Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods, 
(Exod. vii.22.) and therefore the conquest obliged them to 
suspend belief of the other. 3. The miracles of Moses were 
not to reveal a new doctrine of salvation that could not other- 
wise be known ; but partly to convince Pharaoh that the 
Lord was God, and partly to cause him to let go the Israel- 
ites. The people's salvation lay not on the latter ; and the 
former they had abundant means to know by the works and 
light of nature itself. And the magicians* wonders were not 
to reveal a new false doctrine any further than to contend 
against Moses* miracles ; and if they had, yet being against 
the doctrine of the whole creation, that revealeth the Crea- 
tor, no man could be excusable for believing them, because 
God hath given so full a testimony before against them, so 
that this objection is plainly but an impertinent cavil. 

But I doubt not but you will say, that you are not sure 


that Christ rose again, and that ever such miracles were 
done. I ask therefore, 

Quest. 7. Whether it be possible, that so many and so 
wise and godly men (as their writings prove them) should 
give up their lives and all that they had and could have 
hoped for in this world, to persuade the world that they saw 
Christ risen, if it were false ; and to draw them to believe a 
falsehood that tended to the worldly ruin of them' all ? 

Quest. 1. And is it possible that if they had been so bad 
and mad, that so many thousands would have believed them 
when their own frequent miracles, language, &c. were the 
witness of their fidelity to which they openly appealed ? and 
this in the very age and place where all these things might 
easily be confuted if untrue ? If I should pretend to con- 
vince the world by language not learned, and by other mi- 
racles and gifts which I never had, would countries, or any 
sober persons believe me ? or should I not be the common 
scorn ? Would the churches of the world have been planted 
by pretended miracles that never were ? Would they all have 
given up estates and lives upon an evident lie ? It was easy 
for them all to see and hear whether these things were done 
or not. And therefore he that seeth those churches which 
were the proper effects of miracles, may know the cause ; a 
real effect had a real cause. 

Quest. 9. Was it possible that so many hundred or thousand 
persons, dispersed about the world on a sudden, could with- 
out coming near each other, agree both upon one and the 
same false doctrine throughout, and on the same practices to 
deceive the world ? 

Quest. 10. Is it possible that among so many thousands, 
thattorments, or death, or common ingenuity, would not have 
forced some to have repented, and opened the deceits of all 
the rest?' 

Quest, 11. ' Is it possible that so many heretics that did 
fall from them and set against the true apostles, would none 
of them have disclosed the deceit, if really the miracles had 
not been done V 

Quest. 12. Is it possible that none of the Jews, their bit- 
ter enemies, nor any of the learned Romans of that age, would 
have discovered the fraud, and by writing confuted matters 
of fact, being public, and if false, so easily confuted V 

Where are the books that ever any one of them wrote to dis- 


prove any of these miracles ? If you say the Christians burnt 
them ; give us the least proof of it if you can. When did 
any Jew complain of such a thing ? Nay, how could the dis- 
persed, persecuted Christians destroy the writings of their 
reigning enemies ? The writings of Jews and Romans then 
written remain to this day, and had fuller human advantages 
of preservation than any that are against them. No Jews or 
Romans complained, or to this day complain of such a thing, 
nor tell us of any such writings of theirs, that ever were in 
the world. 

Quest. 13. Nay, the Jews confessed the miracles them- 
selves, and had no shift left for their unbelief, but by blas- 
pheming the Holy Ghost, and saying that they were done by 
the power of the devil. 

Quest. 14. All the dispersed churches and Qhristians of 
the world, have universally concurred in delivering us down 
these matters of fact, and the writings that contain them ; 
and this as a thing that they grounded all their hope of sal- 
vation on, and for which they contemned this present world. 
And the enemies that gainsaid their doctrine, did not gain- 
say these matters of fact. Could this be feigned ? 

Quest. 15. Have I not fully manifested in my book 
against Infidelity (to which I must again dismiss you), that 
there is a full and infallible evidence, that this Scripture was 
written by the apostles and evangelists, and these miracles 
done, as there is that any of the statutes of this land are the 
current statutes of those parliaments that are said to make 
them? And your lands and lives are held by the credit of 
these statutes. 

A word or two to the objections of a masked infidel of 
this country. Clem. Writer. 

Saith he, * Men be not commanded to believe these sta- 
tutes on pain of damnation. Therefore the case is not like.* 
Answ. But men are commanded to obey them upon pain 
of death ; and believing is prerequisite to obeying ; there- 
fore the case is like. Death is the utmost penalty that man 
can inflict ; or if there be greater, it all runs on the same 
foundation. And sure that evidence that proves men culpa- 
ble for breaking men*s laws must prove him culpable for 
breaking God's. You have no other eyes to read the laws 
of God, than those by which you read man's laws. And 
doth it follow that God must not condemn you for breaking 


bis laws, when men do but hang you for breaking theirs ? Sure 
God's laws and man's may be printed in the same character, 
^ and read with the same eyes, and both have the same natural 
means of delivery, and yet the sin and punishment differ as 
the authority doth. 

Object. * But (saith he) can the miracles confirm the 
Scripture, when it is the Scripture that reports the miracles '/ 

Answ. 1 . Cannot a statute tell you what parliament made 
it, and what matters of fact were the occasion, and also what 
shall be your duty upon pain of death? so that the makers 
and facts shall give force unto the law, and yet the law re- 
veal the maker and facts ? Do not church constitutions do 
the same ? The Scripture hath two parts : the history and 
the doctrine. May not the history confirm the doctrine, and 
that doctrine oblige us to our duty ? 

2. But you suppose that the miracles and facts can only 
be known by a divine belief of the history. But this is false. 
The common evidence that all statutes, histories, and actions, 
in the world have to make them certain to posterity (as Ci- 
cero's or Virgil's writings, or Caesar's reign, &c.), the same 
have the books and miracles of Scripture to us. And by 
these we can know them * de facto' to be such, before we be- 
lieve them by a divine faith. And as the Scripture is a histo- 
ry that hath the same evidence as the best of histories have, 
so it may concur with abundance of other evidence (which 
I have recited in my " Determination against Infidelity," and 
in my ** Key for Catholics,") to prove the facts ; and then 
those facts will fully prove the truth of all the doctrines 
which they attest, and consequently, we shall add to our hu- 
man faith and knowledge, a divine faith concerning the hia- 
tory itself. 

Object. 3. * But (saith this writer) if God had meant that 
the Scripture should be a law to all, he would not have writ 
it in a language which they understand not.' 

Answ, 1. Any thing will serve to make an infidel, when the 
mind is corrupted and deplorate. Were they no laws which 
the Romans wrote in Latin, for the government of all the na- 
tions in the Roman world ? It was enough that the rulers of 
the provinces caused them to be so far understood by the 
people as was necessary to a righteous government. I mean 
those laws that were added to the proper laws of that people. 

2. Was there any one language then that all the world 


understood ? And was it not enough that God appointed 
the ministerial office purposely to preserve and publish this 
Gospel to the world from generation to generation ? And 
is not translating (whether by voice or writing) apartofthat 
preaching or explication ? Did not the ministers of Christ 
preach the same doctrine to the world then, in the several 
languages of the nations where they came ? And were not 
the Scriptures presently translated according to the use of 
the churches ? Upon how silly a pretence then would your 
imperial majesty impose it on the God of heaven, to write 
his word in as many languages as are in the world, if he woul4 
be believed ? 

I will trouble you with no more such wretched cavils. 
These three are the main strength of three pamphlets writ- 
ten against the holy Scriptures and me, by this apostate. 
Their sum is, * Man is man ; therefore we are not sure that 
Scripture is true, or that God is God.* I mean, * Man can- 
not understand the minds of others but by signs. All signs 
whether words or deeds, have some ambiguity, or liableness 
to misunderstanding ; therefore nothing can be known con- 
cerning God or man by signs.' These are not his words; 
but the true scope and life of all the writings of him and all 
the infidel seekers. 

If you chide me for troubling the Christian reader here 
with so much against infidels and brutists, I answer, 1. 1 did 
it because that sort increase, and threaten the land. 2. Be- 
cause the strengthening of the belief of the best Christians 
is the removing the cause of all their weakness and com- 
plaints. 3. And principally, because when once the certain 
truth of another life is manifested, he must be a bedlam or 
worse that will not be godly, or that will open his mouth 
any more against a holy life. What ! is it possible for a so- 
ber man to believe that he is so near an everlasting joy or 
misery, and yet to neglect it, and oppose them that make it 
their chiefest care and labour to prepare for it ? The brut- 
ist hath drowned his reason ; and the careless professor laid 
it to sleep ; the malicious, ungodly professor of Christianity 
tights against it, and only the serious, holy Christian doth 
use it for his everlasting good. 



Holiness is best for' all Societies. 

Reader, if thou be but a man that hast the free use of thy 
reason, I have already removed the greatest impediment out 
of thy way, and said enough by confuting thy infidelity, to 
prove that godliness is the better part. Thou hast nothing 
left now to say against it, but what fighteth against reason 
in the open light, and therefore I shall find an easier task 
with thy understanding in all that follows, though with thy 
corrupted will and concupiscence the conflict yet maybe as 

Well ! if yet thou art not resolved, that diligent, serious 
godliness is that good part that all should choose, and bet- 
ter than all thy worldly pleasures, I shall now discover it to 
thee in these particulars. 

I. I shall shew you that godliness is best for all societies. 

II. That it is best for every person. And 1. It is the 
safest way. 2. It is the most honest way. 3. That it is the 
most gainful way. 4. That it is the most honourable way. 
And 5. That it is the most pleasant and delightful way. Yea, 
that there is no other true safety, honesty,profit, honour, or 
delight but what is to be found in this way. I lay not only 
all the reputation of my understanding, but all the hopes and 
happiness of my soul upon the proof of this point. If I 
prove it not, I will confess myself a fool and undone for ever. 
But if I prove it, let the ungodly make this sad confession, 
and choose the better part while they may have it. 

I. And first, That Godliness is the best for all societies 
(that are just) I prove thus : 

1. Godliness doth unite or centre all societies in the only 
Head and Centre of unity ; that is, the blessed God himself. 
A commonwealth will never have peace in a state of rebel- 
lion against their sovereign (unless he be one that they can 
overcome). Nor soldiers in a state of mutiny against their 
general. Nor scholars in shutting out their master. God is 
the only Sovereign of the whole world. The godly all unite 
in him. Ungodliness is rebellion against him. The rebels 
are always in his power. There is no peace nor safety there- 
fore, nor any unity, but an agreement in rebellion for a while 


to any that are not by holiness united in him, and loyal sub- 
jects to him. •* There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the 
wicked ;" Isa. xlviii.22. 

Object. ' But do we not see that the main divisions of the 
world are about religion ? Answ, 1. It is true; but not by 
the truly religious. The great quarrel of the world is against 
religion in the life and practice of it. 2. It is unholy men 
that cannot abide to be accounted unholy, that are the chief 
dividers. 3. Among the truly godly, there is no division in 
the main, but only differences about the smaller branches of 
religion, which are numerous, and less discernible, and less 
necessary than the common truths. They are all agreed of 
truth enough to bring them to heaven ; and therefore enough 
to unite them in dear affection upon earth. Nay, there is not 
one of them that hath not a special love to all that he dis- 
cerneth to be the servants of the Lord. If any be without 
this, he is ungodly. And we are not to answer for the mis- 
carriages of every infidel or ungodly man, that will put on 
the name of Christianity and godliness. If there should be 
fallings out among the godly, they cannot rest till they are 
healed and set in joint again. But you must not then be so 
unjust as to conclude, that we can have no unity, till we are 
in all things of a mind. May not men of various complex- 
ions be of one society ? Are not the multitudes of veins and 
arteries in your bodies, united in the trunks and roots? Is 
not the tree one, that hath many branches ? 

Object, * But God whom you will needs unite in, is far 
from us, and his mind unknown, and so is not the mind of 
princes ; and therefore we cannot unite in God.* 

Answ. In things necessary to our future happiness and 
present unity in special love, the mind of God is more plainly 
and fully opened to us, than the mind of any prince unto his 
subjects. What precepts can be plainer, than to love God 
above all, and our neighbour as ourselves, and first to seek 
the kingdom of God, and to repent and believe in Christ ? 
How plain are the articles of our faith and the ten com- 
mandments ! Divisions have been about niceties ; I hope 
God will call back his churches to the ancient simplicity and 
practical Godliness, and then the Christian world will be 
agreed, except the wicked. 

2. Godliness propoundeth and prosecuteth the most 
uniting, excellent, powerful end, for all that duty that should 


advance societies ; and therefore must needs be best for all 
societies. God and heaven is the common end of all the 
godly. They are agreed every man of them in one end ; and 
so are not others. Their end hath that power in its attrac- 
tive excellency, by vi^hich it can do the greatest things that 
are to be done with the will of man. The ends of the un- 
godly are small and childish toys. Our end also is as the 
sun, sufficient for all ; and therefore not a matter of conten- 
tion. All may have God as well as one, without diminish- 
ing the happiness of any. 

3. Godliness takes away the ball of the world's conten- 
tion, that sets men every where together by the ears. It 
teacheth men to slight the honour and vainglory that the 
gallants will fight and die for, and to contemn that wealth 
that towns, and countries, and kingdoms are divided and de- 
stroyed by. It teacheth men to slight that money, the love 
of which is the ** root of all evil ;" 1 Tim. vi. 10. It shew- 
eth men a better treasure, and not only verbally, but effec- 
tually teacheth them to trample upon that which the tumul- 
tuous world doth so much scramble for, and seek by such 
rapine, oppression, deceit, and blood. If all the ambitious 
climbers and state-troublers were truly godly, they would 
quietly seek for higher honours. If all the covetous noble- 
men, soldiers, landlords, and rich men were truly godly, they 
would never set both city and country into combustions, and 
poor oppressed families into complaints, for the love of mo- 
ney. If thieves turned godly you might travel safely, and 
spare your locks and keep your purses. If tradesmen were 
all truly godly, deceit would not so break their peace. What 
is there for societies to strive about, when the bone of con- 
tention is taken away, and godliness hath cast down the idol 
of the world, that did disturb them ? 

4. Godliness takes down the great disturbing and divid- 
ing principle in man's soul ; and that is, selfishness. And 
it both commandeth and worketh self-denial. Every ungod- 
ly man hath a private end, and a private spirit, and interest, 
that is dearer to him than any other. So many ungodly men 
as there are, so many ends and interests. And how then can 
there be a possibility of unity ? The wisest lawgivers could 
never yet contrive an effectual course for the uniting of all 
these. If selfishness were down, I scarce know what should 
trouble the peace of kingdoms, cities, families, or any other 


societies. " Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself;" or, 
" Thou shall not covet," is the sum and conclusion of all the 
law of God, concerning our carriage one to another. And it 
is godliness and nothing else that perfectly teacheth and tru- 
ly (though imperfectly here) effecteth this self-denial. But 
of this elsewhere. 

5. Godliness hath the most perfect righteous laws ; and 
therefore is best for all societies. If God can make better 
laws than man, then this is past all question. His laws re- 
quire nothing but what is for men's good. They prescribe 
nothing that is dishonest or unjust. They promise the great- 
est rewards to the obedient. They drive on the backward by 
the threatening of the greatest punishments. Their autho- 
rity is highest and most unquestionable. They all proceed 
from one absolute sovereign, and are the same to all the peo- 
ple of the world. They change not, but are to endure to the 
world's end. Whereas all the laws of men are limited to 
their own dominions, and endure but while their power can 
enforce them. They are subject to error and injustice ; and 
are not the same in one country as in another ; or in one age 
as in the former ; and their rewards and punishments are but 
temporal ; and therefore, though under the laws of God, they 
are necessary for the government of commonwealths, yet 
without God's laws they would be utterly insufficient. 

6. The way of holiness is contrary to all evil whatsoever, 
and therefore hath nothing to disturb a commonwealth. It 
is true, we cannot say so of the persons, because they are but 
imperfectly sanctified. Were they in all things such as their 
Lord, and rule, and religion do require, they would have no- 
thing that might be injurious to any. But surely as a sick 
man or a lame, is better than a dead corpse ; and as a man 
of mean understanding is better than an idiot, and a mean 
scholar better than the illiterate ; so a man imperfectly sanc- 
tified, is better in a commonwealth, than the ungodly. You 
blame not the laws of this land, because that thieves and 
murderers break them. The laws are good, if they oblige 
men to nothing but what is good, though bad men break 
them. The rules of the Christian religion are most perfect, 
and direct or command men nothing that is evil. There may 
be faults in us, but there is none in the holy laws which we 
desire and endeavour to obey. Religion therefore is the way 


to the perfecting and securing of all societies, and tlie want 
of it subverteth them. 

7. Holiness doth not only tell men of a right way, and 
shew them their duty, but also effectually disposeth their 
very minds to the performance of it, and causeth them to 
walk therein. The nature of it is, to be the very right dis- 
position of the heart, and right ordering of the life. The 
truly gracious soul is habitually an enemy to all known sin, 
and addicted to obey in all known duties. And surely persons 
thus habituated are more like to live according to their dis- 
positions, than others to live well that hate the good in their 
hearts which they should practise. Men's laws can com- 
mand good, but cannot give men good hearts to practise it, 
as God doth by his servants. If you cannot tell whether 
wicked men that love sin, or godly men that hate it, are bet- 
ter members of a commonwealth, you know not what socie- 
ties are for. 

8. Holiness destroyeth the root of iniquity, and teacheth 
men to hate even secret sins, which are in the heart, or which 
none can see but God alone. The laws of men restrain the 
subjects but from open injuries ; butholiness restraineth men 
from doing the most secret wrong to others, or once think- 
ing, speaking, or contriving any evil against them. It reach- 
eth the conscience ; it cleanseth the heart, from whence all 
evil doth proceed; 2Sam. xii. 12. Deut. xxvii.24. Psal. 
xc. 8. Eccles. xii. 14. A man fearing God, as such, dare 
not deceive or wrong another, though he were sure that it 
would never be known on earth. For he knoweth that the 
Lord is the avenger of such things ; 1 Thess. iv. 6. 

9. Holiness cementeth the members of all societies with 
the strongest cement of endeared love. It bindeth them to- 
gether in the bond of charity. He is not godly that loveth 
not all men, even his enemies, with that common love that 
is due to humanity, and that loveth not all that fear the Lord 
with a special love ; Psal.xv.4. John xiii. 34,35. xv. 12. 
17. IJohniii. 14.23. iv. 7. 11, 12.20. Lukevi.27. 

10. Holiness maketh princes and rulers a double blessing 
to their people. It maketh them the more divine, and bear 
the more excellent image of God. How precious is the name 
of a David, a Hezekiah, a Josiah, a Constantine, a Theodo- 
sius, (though they had all their falls,) in comparison of the 


name of a Saul, a Jeroboam, an Ahab, a Nero, a Julian ! 
O how sweet is the name of a godly king in the subjects' 
mouths ! Even those that are enemies to godliness as in 
themselves (because they cannot endure to be curbed and 
troubled with it), do yet use to admire and honour it in their 
kings and governors. Authority and holiness conjunct are 
two such rays of the heavenly Majesty and Goodness as place 
man in the state of highest excellency on earth, and make 
him so much to resemble his Creator, as hath given such the 
highest place in the esteem and honour of the world, of any 
mortals. And it is not easy for a people to value such holy 
and pious princes and governors too highly, or to be suffi- 
ciently thankful for them unto God. 

(1.) Holiness effectually teacheth governors to rule for 
God. To set him highest, and make it their work to seek 
his glory, and to avoid all selfish, contradictory interests ; 
and to own nothing that stands at enmity with his honour ; 
but to judge that they have most happily attained the ends 
of their government and lives, if they have promoted the Gos- 
pel and kingdom of Christ, and the work of holiness in the 

(2.) Holiness will cause rulers to prefer God's laws be- 
fore their own ; and to be examples to the subjects of obedi- 
ence to God ; and to desire that all men should stand in far 
greater awe of God than of them. It will make them care- 
ful to form all their laws and government to the pleasing of 
God, and promoting men's obedience to his laws ; and to 
take heed that there be nothing in them injurious to Christ, 
or contrary to his will. It will teach them with David to in- 
quire of God, and make him their counsellor. And with Jo- 
siah, to "search the book of the law," and humble themselves 
when they have violated it. And with Joshua, "not to suf- 
fer it to depart out of their mouths, but to meditate in it day 
and night, that they may observe to do according to all that 
is written therein." And then God hath promised to make 
" their way prosperous, and to give them good success ;" 
Josh. i. 8. 

(3.) Holiness will cause the rulers of the world to love 
those that are holy, and to promote the communion of saints, 
and to be nursing fathers to the church, even that part of the 
holy catholic church, which they are intrusted with ; and to 
protect them from the violence of men. It will keep them 


from the sins of Jeroboam, that corrupted God's Worship, and 
put forth his hand against the prophet that spoke against it. 
Whereby God will be engaged to be their protector in peace 
and war. When princes and people that fall out with holi- 
ness and take part with the flesh, and set themselves against 
the servants, the worship, and the ways of Christ, do put 
themselves from under his protection, and put themselves 
under the battering and piercing strokes of his displeasure. 
And woe to him that striveth with his Maker, and that kicks 
against the pricks of his severity ; Isa. xlv. 9. Acts ix. 5. 
xxvi. 14. The fatal ruin of the kingdoms of the world, or at 
least the final ruin of the persons, is from their enmity and 
rebellion against the Lord, and because they will not be his 
kingdoms, but hate and quarrel with his ways, and persecute 
his servants. And godliness preserveth princes and magis- 
trates from this sin and ruin. 

(4.) Holiness will cause the rulers to hate sin in them- 
selves and others, and to remove the abominable thing from 
before the eyes of God's jealousy, and to '* drive away the 
froward ; and not to know the wicked and the proud, and to 
cut off the slanderer, and the wicked doers, and to set no 
wicked thing before their eyes ;" Psal. ci. ** In their eyes 
a vile person will be contemned, but they will honour them 
that fear the Lord." By this means their kingdoms may be 
holy, and God will delight in them, and dwell among them, 
and it shall be said of them, as Jer. xxxi. 23. " The Lord bless 
thee, O habitation of justice, and mountain of holiness.'* 
And when Israel is ** holiness to the Lord, all that devour 
him shall offend, evil shall come upon them, saith the Lord ;" 
chap.ii.3. The holy examples, and holy government of 
godly kings and magistrates, will draw the hearts of the peo- 
ple to holiness, and cause it to flourish in the land. Where- 
as the wicked examples and government of the ungodly tend- 
eth to make all about them wicked. For as Solomon saith, 
Prov. xxix. 12. " If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants 
are wicked." And then they are fuel for the wrath of God, 
both as offenders, and as enemies. For they will be still re- 
belling and opposing him : and carnal interests and enmity 
will pervert them to use the reprovers as Asa, and Amaziah, 
and Jeroboam, and Jezebel, and Joash did ; and to think with 
Saul that Doeg was the best subject that would kill the 
priests at his command;^ and those tlie worst that would not 


betray them or destroy them ; and to say to false accusers, 
as he did to the Ziphites, (1 Sam.xxili.21.) '* Blessed be ye 
of the Lord, for ye have compassion on me." And saiththe 
Lord, (Isa. xxvii. 4.) ** Who would set the briars and thorns 
against me in battle ? I would go through them, I would 
burn them together." 

(5.) Holiness will save princes and rulers from the great 
and dangerous temptations of their riches, and honours, and 
power, and pleasures, and will teach them to mortify the 
flesh, and live after the Spirit (Rom.viii. 1.6. 13.), and will 
keep them hereby from those sins that would subject them 
to the consuming wrath of the impartial God, and will bring 
them to heaven notwithstanding all the impediments of the 
Vi^orld, even as a camel through a needle's eye, by the Power 
to which all things are possible. And doubtless that which 
maketh men most acceptable to God, and tendeth to the ever- 
lasting happiness of the persons, must needs be better for all 
societies than that which prepareth them for damnation, and 
keepeth them here, under the indignation of the Lord. See 
2Sam.xxiii. 3. Lev. xxv. 43. 46. 53, Isa. xxxii. 1. Rom. 
iii.4— 6. xii.8. 

IL And as holiness thus maketh the most excellent 
princes and happy governors, so it maketh the most loyal 
and obedient subjects, and is the most powerful preserver 
of peace in all societies. 

If any shall say, that the people that are accounted holy 
have caused as great contentions and rebellions in the world 
as any other, witness the wars in France, Savoy, Bohemia, 
Scotland, England, &c. I shall first prove undeniably from 
the nature of the thing, that true godliness must needs make 
the best subjects, and tend to the happiness of common- 
wealths, and then I shall more nearly answer the objec- 

1. Holiness effectually teacheth subjects to know them- 
selves ; to know their weakness, and meanness, and unwor- 
thiness, and to know their places and their proper work. It 
kills that pride that makes men think that none are so fit to 
rule as they; and it makes them so humble as to think them- 
selves unworthy of protection in the meanest station. And 
also it so takes them up with a higher ambition, and sets their 
hearts on the greater things, that they are dead to the am- 
bition of the world, and can easily leave these things to 


others. Their kingdom is not of this world. They are 
taught to expect affliction and persecution, and not aspire 
after crowns. No man can deny that this is the lesson set 
them by their Lord, and the covenant which they make with 
him when they become his servants. Whereas the ungodly 
having their portion in this life, and relishing and minding 
most the things of the world, will snatch, and scramble, and 
turn every stone, and do any thing within their reach for 
worldly honours. 

2. Holiness teacheth subj ects to see God in their rulers, and 
honour and obey them as his officers, even with an honour 
and obedience participatively divine. And no men can give 
them a higher honour than they that thus honour them on 
God's account ; and no men can give them so full, and firm, 
and constant obedience, as they that obey God in their go- 
vernors. No man can give them higher titles than they that 
take them to be the officers of God. Carnal men obey their 
governors merely as men that are able to do them good or 
hurt. If they were sure to receive no damage by contemning 
them, they cared not to trample them in the dirt. Though 
that people sinned in desiring a king, yet when they had 
chosen that kind of government, and Saul was set over them, 
those that went with him were such " whose hearts God had 
touched ; but the children of Belial said. How shall this 
man save us? and they despised him and brought him no 
presents;" ISam. x.27. 

3. Holiness causeth subjects to obey and submit for con- 
science sake. They do it because God himself hath com- 
manded them to do it. They pay tribute, and give honour 
and obedience because it is part of their obedience to God, 
required of them in the fifth commandment, which is the first 
with promise. Outward prosperity is especially promised to 
them that honour their parents and superiors. And the com- 
mands and promises of God, with the bonds of conscience, 
do tie men faster to their duty, and restrain them more effec- 
tually from disobedience than the words of men alone can do. 
Conscience holdeth strongly and constantly ; and it holdeth 
as well in secret as in public ; so that if a man were sure to 
do a mischief and never be discovered, he would nevertheless 
abhor it, as being not unknown to God and conscience. A 
man that feareth not God and conscience, will never stick to 
do a mischief, if he may escape the eye and revenging hand 


of man. Faux will set fire to the train to blow up king and 
parliament, if he see but a probability of escape. But he 
that feeleth the bonds of God upon him, dare not rebel. 

4. Holiness destroyeth self-love which is the spring of 
all discontents and disobedience ; and teacheth a man to own 
no ends or interests but what stand in due subordination to 
the honour of God and the common good ; and in due co-or- 
dination with the welfare of our neighbours. Whereas, the 
ungodly are every man of them an idol to himself. Self is 
the only lord and law, set up against God, and king, and 
country. And if God, or king, or country be served by 
them, it is but in subserviency to themselves, as they look 
to attain some wealth, or dignity, or honour by it. The self- 
seeking man is faithful and trusty to no man but himself. 
And the self-denying man hath no great temptation to be 

5. Holiness doth partly consist of charity, and teacheth 
men to do as they would be done by. And how can it go ill 
with any societies where love prevaileth,and men are as loath 
to wrong as to be wronged, and to do hurt to others as to 
themselves ? 

6. Holiness brings down God's blessing on each particu- 
lar subject ; and maketh a people the delight of God : and 
brings them under the promise of his favour. " Godliness is 
profitable to all things, having the promise of the life that 
now is, and of that which is to come ;" 1 Tim. iv. 8- What 
abundance of promises are there to the obedient I Isa. i. 19. 
Deut. iv. 30. Exod. xxiii. 22. Deut. xi. 27. xiii. 4. xxx. 2. 
8.20. Jer.vii.23. xi.4.7. &c. 

7. Holiness maketh men meek and patient, and teacheth 
subjects not to make too great a matter of any injury that is 
done them ; nor to censure unwarrantably the actions of 
their superiors ; nor to murmur and stir up discontents , but 
quietly to bear all in obedience to God, and for the common 

8. Holiness disposeth men to unity and concord, and is 
as much againsJt discord and division as healthful nature is 
against wounds and sickness. ** Whence are wars, but from 
the lusts that war in your members V James iv. 1. The ser- 
vant of the Lord must not strive. The new command of spe- 
cial love to one another, and the strange forbearance, con- 

VOL. X. o 


cession, condescension, forgiving, and loving enemies them- 
selves, required in the Gospel, must needs do much if truly 
practised to preserve the peace of any nation. 

9. Holiness assureth us of so great a revy^ard to those that 
obey their superiors in things lawful, and offers us so much 
better things upon our patience and submission, than ever 
disobedience or rebellion can attain, that hereby it must 
needs tend to the quiet and benefit of societies. He that is 
bound to " rejoice and be exceeding glad" in his "persecu- 
tion, because his rev^rard in heaven is great," hath small rea- 
son to contrive, or fight, or sixi to escape the persecution to- 
gether vi^ith the reward 5 Matt. v. 1 1, 12. 

10. Holiness teacheth men both to continue obedient and 
faithful against all temptations, and also to propagate the 
same resolutions, and to draw all others to obedience with 
us. It was the excellency of Christ's example, that he would 
be obedient even when he was fully accused of treason, and 
charged as an usurper of Caesar's right. If we should be 
called seditious, disobedient, and rebellious when we are 
most loyal, it must not move us from our loyalty at all. In 
all these ten particulars I have shewed, that in the nature of 
the thing, it is undeniable that godliness is the strength and 
beauty, and safety of kingdoms, and of all societies ; in 
that it engage th the subject as well as the governors, in all 
that tendeth to their peace and welfare. 

And now you may see by what is said, that there can be 
no weight in the objection which pretendeth from the case 
of the Waldenses, Albigenses, Bohemians, French, &c. to 
produce experience against what I am proving. Health may 
as truly be said to be the cause of sickness, as godliness to 
be the cause of treachery, rebellion, or disloyalty ; there be- 
ing nothing in all the world except God himself, so contrary 
to these as godliness is. 

But you will ask. Whence is it that we have the aforesaid 
instances ? I answer, sometimes not authority, but malice 
and cruelty driveth poor Christians to a stone wall, and if 
they turn again when they can fly no further, accuseth 
them of rebellion ; as it was with the Waldenses, the Bohe- 
mians, &c. Sometimes princes and states fall out among 
themselves, and cannot agree about their titles, and the 
bonds and degrees of their power. And then whoever the 
people are against, they are sure from that side to hear the 


most opprobrious titles, and be used accordingly if it be in 
their power. Sometimes the right of government is not ea- 
sily or generally known ; as in the contention between the 
houses of York and Lancaster here. And then as one party 
•conquereth one year, and another the next, so the people 
must be called traitors and rebels by each party that pre- 
vaileth, if they obeyed and served the other party against 
them. And if they refuse to obey and defend either of them, 
they will be condemned by both. Sometimes the polity of 
empires and commonwealths is so imperfect and obscure in 
the constitution, that the several parties that pretend to in- 
terest, cannot agree about their rights, nor the lawyers agree 
among themselves. And the people cannot be thought to 
be wiser than the lawyers •in the affairs of their profession. 
If Nero and the senate of Rome had each of them command- 
ed the Christians to aid them against the others, it would ncfk 
have been easy for the wisest and holiest of the Christians 
then to know which part they should have adhered to and 
assisted- Paul thought not meet to decide any such con- 
troversy. He commanded every soul to be subject to the 
higher powers, and not resist ; but he tells them not whether 
Caesar or the senate was the higher powers in a case of con- 
test and division. Sometimes a traitor usurpeth the govern- 
ment, and Christians think when they see him settled and in 
possession, that, though they hate his usurpation, yet they 
are bound to honour and obey him as being possessed of the 
government. Thus Gregory the great too hastily and flat- 
teringly owned and applauded Phocas ; and the Christian 
bishops ordinarily subjected themselves to the emperors that 
came in by blood and violence. Thus the bishops of Rome, 
and of other churches in Italy and the adjacent parts, sub- 
mitted themselves (I think too soon) as soon as they per- 
ceived him to be conqueror, to Theodoricus ; and so they 
did to other conquerors. Sometimes, as the general coun- 
cils of Basil, Constance, &c. determined that a council is 
above the pope, and declared the contrary to be a damnable 
heresy, and commanded the bishops and people to obey them 
against the pope; so senates, and parliaments, and the ma- 
jority of statesmen and lawyers may tell the people that are 
unacquainted with such law cases, that in this or that tliey 
are bound to obey them, upon highest penalties, and that 
they shall receive to themselves condemnation if they resist 


them ; and so may mislead such as intend nothing but to 
obey the higher powers for conscience sake. And though 
the error and commands of councils and parliament excuse 
not * a toto* an illiterate laic that understandeth not those 
matters, yet surely ' a tanto' it is some excuse. 

And sometimes oppression maketh a man mad ; Eccles. 
vii. 7. And sometimes impatience prevaileth with the weak 
to do things unwarrantable ; and human passion blindeth 
reason, and sometimes temptations prevail in this as in other 
cases. And sometimes hypocrites, that never had any true 
religion, do shew their carnal disquisitions, and unmortified 
lusts, and passions, and pride, by their rebellion against their 
lawful governors ; and then religion must bear the blame of 
the actions of that counterfeit religion, and of those crimes 
which it doth most prohibit and condemn. 
• In a word. Be the accusation against any particular per- 
son just or unjust, nothing is more sure and clear than that 
he is most unjust that will charge the Christian religion as 
guilty of countenancing any rebellions, conspiracies, sedi- 
tion, disobedience, faction or divisions. Christ went before 
us in his own example to pay tribute to Csesar ; and com- 
manded us to give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and 
their false accusing him and condemning him as an offender 
against Caesar, did no whit move him from the duty of his 
state of humiliation. What can be more against all treason 
and perfidiousness, than that holy doctrine which command- 
eth us the most exact performance of every lawful promise, 
much more of our oaths, and duties of allegiance ? What 
can be more against rebellion than that holy doctrine which 
teacheth us a life of patience and meekness, condemning 
private revenge, and commanding us rather to turn the other 
cheek to him that smiteth us, and to give our coat to him 
that taketh away our cloak, and to go two miles with him 
that would compel us to go one ; that is, to suffer yet more, 
rather than revenge ourselves, or break peace, or order or 
raise wars, to escape such injuries. It is a crucified Christ 
that conquered by suffering, that is our example. And our 
religion is but our conformity to him in his sufferings and 
his holiness. He hath made it part of our duty to himself 
to obey kings and rulers, and all superiors, not only the good 
but the froward, and to take it patiently if we suffer for well- 
doing, and not to return so much as a reviling dishonouring 


word, or murmuring, rebellious thought. It is not fighting 
for ourselves, but following him with the cross, and forsak- 
ing all that we have, that Christ hath made the work of his 
disciples, and the necessary condition of his promise of sal- 
vation ; Luke xiv.33. There is no master in all the world, 
that so strictly commandeth patience and forbearance, and 
forgiving, and love, and peace, and submission to one ano- 
ther as Jesus Christ doth. He sets the hearts of all his ser- 
vants on another kingdom, and tells them they have greater 
things to mind than riches, or honours, or domination upon 
earth. He taketh the bone of contention from before them, 
and bids them leave such things as these to the men of the 
world, that have their portion in this life. You may as 
honestly say that the sun is the greatest cause of darkness, 
as that Christ and holiness are the cause of seditions, rebel- 
lions, treasons, or perfidiousness in the world. All the world 
set together hath not done so much as he hath done against 
them. If men threaten hanging and quartering to such of- 
fences, Christ threateneth damnation in hell-fire to them. 
And would you wish him to inflict a sharper punishment, or 
more severely to manifest his hatred of the crimes ? 

I tell you therefore if you should find rebellion and sedi- 
tion among Christians, it is but as you may find corruption 
in the bodies of the living, which is contrary to life and 
health, and to be found much more among the dead. I am 
not here pleading for individual persons, but for Christianity 
and godliness. If any professed Christians forsake the way 
of patience and subjection, and turn to rebellion and disloy 
alty, they do so far forsake religion and godliness, and much 
more wrong and offend their heavenly master, than their king 
and governors. Plead who will for the wickedness of such 
men, for my part I will not. I am sure Christ will not plead 
for their sin which he condemneth. He may justify them 
from it, upon repentance ; but he will never justify them for 
it and in it. It is not because they are godly, but for want 
of godliness, that any men have ever been guilty of rebel- 
lions, or resisting lawful powers : as Dr. Ward hath fully 
proved in his sermon on Rom. xiii.2. Nothing moretendeth 
to the ruin of rulers and people, than to hearken to the devil 
and the enemies of holiness, that would persuade the world 
into a conjunction with them in the enmity against the way 
of godliness and the faithful servants of the Lord, upon prcr 


tence that they are adversaries to the governors and govern- 
ment. It is a weighty truth that the foresaid doctor begins 
his sermon vi^ith : 'Among all the stratagems of the devil, tend- 
ing to the undermining of religion, and the subversion of the 
souls of men, though there cannot be any more unreasonable, 
yet there was never anymore unhappily successful than the 
creating and fomenting an opinion in the world, that religion 
is an enemy to government, and the bringing sincerity and 
zeal in religion into jealousy and disgrace with the civil pow- 
ers. It was by this jealousy blown into the heads of the 
high-priests and the Sanhedrim amongst the Jews, and of 
Hepd and Pontius Pilate, that Christ himself was accused, 
condemned, and executed on a tree. By this the apostles 
were haled before the governors of provinces ; forced from 
one city to fly to another. For this they endured bonds and 
sundry kinds of death. It was through this fancy that the 
Christians for three hundred years together, endured the 
rage of heathen emperors, being destitute, afflicted, and tor- 
mented. Our Lord Christ was traduced as an enemy to Cae- 
sar, a man refractory to the Roman laws, and a nonconform- 
ist to the religion and law of his country.' Thus and more 
that author. So that it is no new thing for the most inno- 
cent, and holy, and excellent persons to suffer as enemies of 
the government where they lived; nay, it hath been the com- 
mon case ; nor is it strange to hear religion and holiness 
charged with these crimes which they are most against. 

As for the malicious slanders of the Papists against the 
reformed churches, as if they had promoted all their refor- 
mations by rebellion, they have been confuted sufficiently 
by many. At this time, I shall only desire the reader that 
would be satisfied in this, and understand the Protestant 
doctrine in these points to read Bishop Bilson's " Difference 
between Christian Subjection, and Unchristian Rebellion." 
Especially p. 382, and from 494 to 522. Also " Hooker's 
Eccles. Polit. the last book (lately published). 

And if he would know whether it be an article of the 
very religion of the Papists, that the pope may give away the 
dominions of temporal lords that deny transubstantiation, or 
hold such like points which he calleth heresy, or that will 
not exterminate all that hold them, out of their dominions, 
and that he may discharge their subjects and vassals from 
their allegiance, I only entreat him with his own eyes to read 


the decrees of their approved general council at the Lateran, 
under Pope Innocent III. and let him but believe his eye-, 
sight. And for their case and confutation, let him also read 
King James's Ansvv^er to Perron's Oration. 

Having thus interposed an answer to their objection, that 
say religion hath brought forth rebellions (which I confess 
that religion which teacheth rebellion hath done ; but the 
Christian religion which condemneth it, and engageth men 
against it as aforesaid, doth not), I now proceed to some 
other proofs, that godliness is the greatest security and es- 
tablishment to kingdoms and all societies. 

12. Godliness above all things engageth men to be true 
to their covenants : to keep all their oaths and promises of 
obedience to kings and other superiors ; and to be faithful 
and trusty in all their duties to one another. So horrid is 
the sin of perjury and covenant-breaking, that God hath 
condemned it, not only in the holy Scriptures, but also in 
the law of nature. He will not bear with it in the greatest 
princes ; how then shall perfidious subjects escape? What 
fair excuses had Saul for his breaking the v6w and covenant 
with the Gibeonites ? He might have said, 1. They procur- 
ed it from Joshua by a mere cheat, and therefore no benefit 
belonged to them from their own sin and fraud. 2. That 
Joshua not knowing who they were, ' ignorantis non est con- 
sensus.' 3. That God had forbid to spare any of these na- 
tions. 4. That it was not Saul that made this oath and 
covenant, but Joshua. 5. That Saul did it in zeal for the 
people of Israel. Yet for all this in David's days there was 
a famine in the land for this sin of Saul, which was not ex- 
piated till seven of his sons (or posterity) were hanged at the 
Gibeonites' request. And though David might well see that 
he might be censured as contriving all this himself for the 
extirpation of the line of Saul, yet would he not forbear the 
execution ; 2 Chron. xxi. And when the people murmured 
at Joshua, and the heads of Israel, for sparing them at first, 
they are answered with the obligation of the invfsible oath ; 
Josh. ix. 

So though Zedekiah was the king of Babylon's captive, 
force could not excuse his perjury and covenant-breaking, 
but God severely condemned and avenged it. 

So that every subject that hath but bound himself in al- 
legiance to his sovereign, is under such an obligation as to fi 


true believer is more dreadful to violate, than it is to suffer 

Yea, God hath written such a law against perjury, even 
in nature itself, that he must needs be afraid of it that is not 
a flat atheist, lest his appeal to God do bring the vengeance 
of God upon him. And in this life the perjured ordinarily 
meet with that divine revenge which is the forerunner 
of eternal vengeance. The perjured are unfit for human 
society ; hated by God, and never more to be trusted by 
man, till sound repentance make a change. Which made 
Augustine determine, that he that urgeth another to for- 
swear himself, is as much worse than a murderer, as killing 
the soul is worse than killing the body. Seeing then that 
religion doubleth these sacred bonds, and casteth hell-fire 
into the face of the perjured and perfidious, it must needs be 
a singular preserver of kingdoms and all societies, which fall 
in pieces where these bonds are loosed ; and fall into the 
hands of God, who is a consuming fire, especially to perjur- 
ed men. 

13. Moreover, it is only godliness that obeyeth with true 
loyalty, and carrieth on all works methodically for the com- 
mon good. As he that will obey every justice of peace in 
all things that he commandeth, without respect to the laws 
or will of the sovereign power, may be sooner a traitor than 
truly obedient, (for every justice or lord may arm him against 
his prince) ; so he that will obey the princes of the earth, 
without respect to the will or interest of the eternal God, 
will be but a traitor to God, under pretence of obeying princes, 
that are but his officers and servants. But the godly begin 
at God in their obedience ; and therefore they proceed me- 
thodically, and obey men upon right grounds and in their 
proper places. It is not the vast absolute obedience to man 
that is the best. He that should command men causelessly 
to fire his country, or to destroy the innocent, or to ravish 
virgins or men's wives, were not to be obeyed, as Doeg obey- 
ed Saul ; but God is first to be obeyed. It is he that begins, 
proceeds, and ends with God, that is sure to do no wrong, 
nor be misled. 

14. Holiness possesseth men with a public spirit, and 
maketh the case of others to be our own, and teacheth us to 
do as we would be done by ; and giveth every man that hath 
it, a compassion to others in their distress, and an earnes,t 


desire after their welfare, and a rejoicing in it ; when ungod- 
ly men are all for themselves ; Psal. cxxxvii. 1 Cor. xii. 
25—27. xiii. Acts ii. 44. Matt.vii. 12. Mark xii. 33. 

15. Godliness engageth men in doing good, as the very- 
business of their lives, which is to be rewarded with everlast- 
ing happiness. So that besides what is forced from men by 
law, they are to be still in the exercise of charity, and to be 
'* zealous of good works ;" and to make it their study to do 
all the good they can. And therefore they are certainly the 
most profitable members in any society, that are most truly 
godly ; Luke X. 29, 30. &c. Deut.xv.9. Luke vi. 38. Gal. 
vi.9, 10. 

16. Moreover, holiness teacheth men to forgive wrongs, 
and to love our enemies, and to let go our right, rather than 
to break peace and revenge our wrongs ; and to forbear even 
going to law contentiously, and where our putting up inju- 
ries merely to ourselves may suffice for the avoiding it ; 
Luke vi. 27—29. Matt. vi. 14, 15. 1 Cor. vi. 7. And what 
contention can there be when these rules are practised, ex- 
cept when the interest of God or others is violated, which 
is not in our power to remit, [f you say, that these things 
are good if they are practised, I answer, 1. You confess 
then that holiness is good ; for the rule is good, whether it 
be practised or not. 2. I answer, that so much as any man 
is sanctified, he doth practise it. And therefore if any man 
live not according to the rule which he professeth to live by, 
that is, from the remnant of that sin within him, which the 
wicked plead for, and for want of more of that godliness 
which you distaste. Make him more holy, and he will do all 

17. Holiness secureth every society, and interesteth them 
in the most impregnable defence ; even in the love and fa- 
vour of the Lord ; and in his many sure and precious pro- 
mises. He hath engaged his almightiness and fidelity for 
such, and tendereth them as the apple of his eye, and hath 
promised that he will be their defence (Zech. ii. 8. Psal. v. 
11. vii. 10. lix. 9. 16, 17. Ixii. 2.), whereas the ungodly are 
under his curse ; Psal. i. 6. xxxvii. And which of these so- 
cieties is more like to be happy ? 

18. Godliness is the surest way to furnish every society 
with all the blessings that are truly good for them. For they 
have the favoiir and promise of him that is the giver of theia 


all; Rom. viii.28. Psal.xxxiv. 10. Ixxxiv. II. xxiii. "God- 
liness is profitable to all things, having the promise of the 
life that now is, and of that which is to come ;" 1 Tim. iv. 8. 
vi. 6. Matt. vi. 33. But wickedness is the certain way to 
ruin. " Even one sinner destroyeth much good ;" Eccles. 
ix. 18. And one godly man hindereth much evil, as the case 
of Joseph, Moses, Daniel, and many others tell you, 

19. Moreover it is godliness that is the honour of all so- 
cieties. Without this their wisdom is mere folly, and their 
riches are but the fetters of their slavery, and canker to gnaw 
them and testify against them, and their greatest victories 
may be but murders which shall damn them ; and their splen- 
dour in the world is but the sign of their misery in the eyes 
of all foreseeing men. "Righteousness exalteth a nation, 
but sin is a reproach to any people ;'' Prov.xiv. 34. What 
glory can be equal to the glory of our interest in God, and 
of our being his people, and doing his work, and having his 
presence ? 

20. Lastly, How can that be worst on earth, that is so 
good in heaven ? The perfection of holiness hereafter, with 
the holy love, and praises, and enjoyments of the saints, will 
be their glory. If you think this worst in your societies on 
earth, what do you but renounce it ? If heaven be worst for 
you, come not hither. If the participation of that which is 
the felicity of the glorified, be not the felicity of all socie- 
ties, I desire none of their felicity. 

What if saints from heaven would come down and dwell 
among you here on earth ? I beseech you as men of reason, 
answer me these two questions. 

(1.) Whether you do not know or verily believe, that 
they would be more holy, and pure, and exact, and strict, 
and more averse to all sin, than any of those are that now 
you dislike as too precise ? 

(2.) Whether you would therefore call them Puritans, and 
hate them, and cast them out, or imprison them, or take them 
for the troublers of your countries, or rather for the honour 
and blessing of your countries ? W hat you would do by them 
that do by those that come nearest to them among you. 



Times of Holiness are the best Times. 

And now I have been giving you all this evidence, I dare 
leave it to the judgment of any man that is fit to judge, whe- 
ther it be the godly or ungodly that are the better magis- 
trates, or better pastors of the churches, or better members 
of the commonwealth, or of any society. Judge now whe- 
ther the places and times are not better that are most godly. 
And whether it be the godly or the ungodly that are the 
troublers of the world. 

And yet it hath ever been the practice of ungodly men, 
to charge it upon them that fear the Lord, that all the trou- 
bles of the world are long of them. ' We were all quiet, (say 
they) before this religion and preciseness troubled us ; and 
this is it, that since it came among us, hath set us all toge- 
ther by the ears.' But if these men be yet unreasonable, I 
desire them to consider, 

1. That this hath always been the old complaint of the 
most wicked men, which God himself hath testified against. 
When Lot did but gently admonish the abominable Sodomites 
to forbear a villany not to be named ; " I pray you brethren 
do not so wickedly" (Gen. xix. 7 — 9.), what said they to him, 
and how did they take it? Why, " they said. Stand back : 
and they said again. This one fellow came in to sojourn, and 
he will needs be a judge ; Now will we deal worse with 
thee than with them." Is not this the case between us now ? 
How are we unpeaceable ? Because we are against sin ? If 
we would hinder men from vi^ronging God, and from con- 
demning their own souls, and others, then forsooth, we are 
their troublers, and we judge them, and we disturb their 
peace ? Just like the Sodomites, * These precise fellows (say 
they) will needs be our judges, and we must be ruled by 
them ; before they came among us we had none of this ado.' 
But did not God, think you, decide the controversy aright? 
He first took Lot and his family away that the Sodomites 
might be troubled with that precise and busy fellow no more; 
and then he sent fire from heaven on Sodom, and consumed 
them all, " making them an example, suffering the vengeance 
of eternal fire ;" Jude 7. Or as it is fully set forth by the 


Holy Ghost, " Turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah 
into ashes, he condemned them with an overthrow, making 
them an example to those that after should live ungodly. 
(Mark this.) And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy 
conversation of the wicked. (For that righteous man dwell- 
ing among them, in seeing and hearing vexed his righteous 
soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.) The Lord 
knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to 
reserve the unjust to the day of judgment to be punished;" 
2 Pet. ii. 6—9. 

And now who is it that was troublesome, and the cause 
of evil ? Was it Lot, or was it Sodom ? Take heed lest God 
take the Lots that trouble you from among you, and when 
you are rejoicing that you are rid of them, he serve you worse 
than he served Sodom. 

In the days of Noah, no question but that preacher of 
righteousness seemed to the world a singular and a selfcon- 
ceited fellow. But did not God decide the controversy whe- 
ther it were Noah, or they, that were the troublers of the 
world ? Saith Peter, 2 Pet. ii. 5. " God spared not the old 
world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of 
righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the 

When Israel fell before the men of Ai, it was a doubt 
who it was that was the cause of that calamity ; but God 
proved it to be Achan, who is stoned upon this sentence of 
Joshua; " Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trou- 
ble thee this day ;" Josh. vii. 25. 

2. And consider, I pray you, what a quietness it is that 
you have, before you are troubled by the godly ? It is a 
quietness in the highway to hell. You had the privilege of 
damning your souls without disturbance from these precise 
controllers. Hath not Christ told us, that the devil is thus 
like " a strong man armed, that while he keepeth his palace, 
his goods are in peace : but when a stronger than he shall 
come upon him and overcome him, he taketh from him all 
his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth the spoils ;" 
Luke xi. 21, 22. The hearts and the nations that are not 
conquered by Christ, are the devil's garrisons and posses- 
sions. Do you think that it is best that he possess them 
still in peace ? Or that the preachers of Christ, that plant 
his ordnance against them, and batter them, till they are 


forced to yield, are therefore busy, troublesome fellows? 
What is it for, but for your deliverance, that are satan's cap- 
tives at his will ? 2 Tim. ii. 25, 26. 

3. And might you not on this ground also account Christ 
himself the troubler of the world, as much, and a thousand 
times more than us? For he doth more to disturb men in 
their sins than any of us : and he doth more for holiness 
than all the world besides. And in this sense he confess- 
eth and foretels us, that he came not to send peace but divi- 
sion into the world, into towns, and countries, and families ; 
Luke xii. 51 — 53. If we can have no peace with you, unless 
we will disobey our Lord, and serve the devil and the flesh, 
and damn our own souls, and suffer you to do the like, then 
keep your peace among yourselves ; we will none of that 
peace; we have no mind to buy your friendship and good 
words at such a rate ! If your peace will stand with our 
peace with God, and peace of conscience, we will gladly 
accept of it : if it will not, we can be without it. Your souls 
are like sores that may not be searched, or a broken bone 
that must not be set, for fear of hurting you. You are like 
men that must have that which would kill them ; or like chil- 
dren, that will cry if they be but taken out of their dung, or 
kept from fire, or from knives. If we do but cross you in 
the way to hell, we trouble you, and we break the peace. 
Yea, and if we will not cast away our souls everlastingly 
for company! And is this the case? Is this the breaking 
of your peace ? The Lord will shortly be a righteous Judge 
between you and us, and tell you who it was that was the 
troubler of the towns and countries, and of the world. 

You find Ahab and Elijah at this contest. Ahab takes 
him for the troubler of Israel when a heavy famine was 
among them. Elijah saith. No ; but it was Ahab and his 
father's house that had troubled Israel by their wickedness, 
1 Kings xviii. 17, 18. And which think you was in the 
right, the prophet or the king? 

Why sirs, what is it that godliness doth, that it should 
be taken for the troubler of the world, when ungodliness is 
taken for your peace ? Is it our persuading or hindering 
you from sin that troubleth you ? And will not the ever- 
lasting fruit of it trouble you more ? Then even say, that 
washing you, or sweeping your houses, or curing your sores, 
or sickness, or persuading you not to kill yourselves, is a 


troubling of you ! Or is it (as the Lord hath told us it will 
be. Matt. v. 10, 11. John xv. 18, 19. 1 Pet. iv. 4, 5.) be- 
cause we are not such as you, and will not do as you do, 
and be of your opinion, and forsake our Lord to keep you 
company? Is it not with good reason? When we know 
you cannot save us harmless, and will not answer for us be- 
fore the Lord? We know that every man must answer for 
himself, and therefore we durst not trust to you, if you 
would promise us to bring us off: it is best for you to study 
better how to answer for yourselves. But if you are resolv- 
ed on it, that ungodly you will be, and that you will ven- 
ture on hell to escape a holy life, why should you not give 
us leave to pity you, and to forbear your folly, and to save 
ourselves ? Will it do you any harm that others should be 
saved, or that others should be godly? Your own sanctifi- 
cation indeed cannot stand with your lusts and fleshly plea- 
sures ; but another man's may. It will take none of your 
vainglory, or wealth, or sensual delights from you, that an- 
other man is sanctified or devoted unto God. And there- 
fore be not angry with us, if we obey the Holy Ghost, that 
calleth to us, " Save yourselves from this untoward genera- 
tion ;" Acts ii. 40. 

Object, * O but (saith the ungodly crew) it was never a 
good world since there was so much religion, and preaching, 
and preciseness, and so much ado about serving God ! It 
was a better world, when we had but a short service read on 
Sundays, and played, and merrily talked together the rest 
of the day ! There was more love and good neighbourhood 
then amongst men than there is now. There was not then 
so much deceit, and cozening, and oppressing, and covetous- 
ness in the world , there was more peace, and plenty, and a 
better world it was than now.* 

Matters of peace and plenty change often in the same 
age. And certainly you have as little hindrance now, from 
being as good as you have a mind to be, as ever your fore- 
fathers had. Two things I have to say to your objection. 

1. If this be true that the world is so bad, which part is 
it of the world that you mean ? Is it all, or some ? Not 
all sure ; that were too horrible censoriousness to say. Then 
God would presently destroy the world. Sodom had one 
Lot, and his family in it. Well ! it is but some then that are 
so bad. And which part is it ? Is it the godly, or the uu- 


godly ? If godliness be naught, then heaven is naught, 
where there is nothing else ; and then take it not ill to be 
shut out. If it be the ungodly that are naught, that is it 
that I am saying. It is time then to leave it, and to turn to 
God. Is it not you yourselves that make the complaint 
that are the men that make the world so bad ? Is it not you 
that are so covetous and worldly that you have nothing for 
the poor, and no time to spare for the work that you were 
made for ; nor scarce any room, to think or speak of the life 
to come ? Is it not you that have so little charity that you 
even hate men for loving and serving God, and seeking dili- 
gently to save their souls? It is true that there was never 
greater v/ickedness in the world than since there hath been 
so much preaching. But what is that wickedness and in 
whom ? It is the despising and disobeying the calls of God, 
and the hating and neglecting of a holy life. Those that are 
saved by the Gospel, may say that it was a happy message 
unto them ; but those that slight it, and wilfully sin in the 
openest light, may well say that it is a bad world with them ; 
and worse it is, and will be for ever, if they be not convert- 
ed, than if they had never heard the Gospel. It is you, and 
such as you, that despise the mercies of the Lord, that make 
it a bad world ; and then you impudently complain of it, 
and charge it on them that will not be as bad as yourselves ; 
and take away the candle and shut the windows, that the 
light may not trouble you. 

2. Well ! but say you the world was better when there 
was less preaching, and less ado about the serving of God, 
and our salvation. I do not believe you, and I will tell you 
why, yea, why I am certain that your words are false. 

1. Because you contradict the Lord. God saith those 
times are best when there is most of the light of the Gospel, 
and most helps for our salvation, and when the people are 
most holy. The increase of light and holiness is a principal 
part of the glory of the kingdom of Christ, and of the pro- 
mises to the Gospel church, as you may see, Isa. ix. 2. 
xxxvi. 26. xlii. 6. Ix. 3. Matt. iv. 16. Luke ii. 32. John 
iii. 19, 20. The word of God is the greatest blessing under 
heaven, together with a heart to obey and practise it. 
" Blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it ;" 
Luke xi. 28. Psal. i. 1, 2. cvi. 3. cxix. 1. God himself 
pronounceth them blessed that meditate day and night in his 


law, and that make it their whole delight ; and because of 
the increase of light and holiness, extolleth the times of the 
Gospel far above those of the law, affirming the least in this 
kingdom of God to be greater as to the honour and privilege 
of his station, than the prophets, or John Baptist ; Matt, 
xi. 11, 12. And would you wish me to believe such igno- 
rant men as you, before the God of heaven that contradict- 
eth you ? 

2. I will not believe you, because your objection is no- 
thing but a blasphemous accusation of the living God. If it 
were true that preaching is bad, it is Christ then that is bad 
that doth command it. But I am sure that Christ is not 
bad ; and that such as blaspheme him do it to their cost. It 
is he that hath laid a necessity on us, and woe be unto us if 
we preach not the Gospel (1 Cor. ix. 16.) ; and that chargeth 
us to feed the flock of God ; 1 Pet. v. 2. Yea, the Spirit 
chargeth us " before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who 
shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his 
kingdom, that we preach the word, and be instant in season, 
out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering 
and doctrine.'' If any one be to be blamed for all this preach- 
ing and stir for heaven, it is Christ that chargeth it so strictly 
upon us. And if thou dare lay the blame upon the Lord, 
speak out, and stand to it at judgment. 

3. I know it is false that you say, that the world is the 
worse for all this preaching and godliness, because it is 
against the very office of Christ, and of the Holy Ghost. 
Christ was a diligent preacher himself, and dare you accuse 
him for it? He came into the world to bring us the light of 
heavenly truth : and dare you say that it were better be 
without it? It is the work of the Holy Ghost to illuminate 
and sanctify men ; and do you think that he doth us hurt? 
Christ died to wash and purify by the word and Spirit, the 
church which is his body, that he might present it spotless 
to the Father (Eph. v. 26, 27.); and darest thou say that 
Christ came to do us harm? By this despising of his bene- 
fits, thou shewest that thou hast yet no part in him or in his 
saving benefits, but art in the gall of bitterness and bond of 
thy iniquities, and thy heart is not right in the sight of God. 
4. Moreover thou art not to be believed, because you 
speak against the experience of all the prophets and apostles 
of Christ. David had rather be " a doorkeeper in the house 


of God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness -" and judged 
** a day in his courts to be better than a thousand ;" (Psal. 
Ixxxiv. 10.) and accounted them the blessed men that might 
even dwell in the house of God, and be daily taken up in 
holy praise and worship; Psal. lxv.4. xcii. 13. xxiii. 6. 
When he was forced from the house and public worship of 
God, it was his daily lamentation, and he fainteth, and pant- 
eth, and longeth after the house and worship of God again. 
" How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts ! My 
soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord : 
my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. — — 
Blessed are they that dwell in thy house ; they will be still 
praising thee. Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee, 
in whose heart are the ways of them;" Psal. xlii. Ixxxiv. 
2 — 5. The prophet Isaiah saith, "In the way of thy judg- 
ments O Lord have we waited for thee : the desire of our 
soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee ; with 
my soul have I desired thee in the night ; yea, with my 
spirit within me will I seek thee early." This was the 
mind of all the prophets and apostles ; and God hath told 
us that it is the practice of all blessed men to " meditate on 
God's word day and night;" Psal. i. 2. And yet you will 
say that it was a better world when there was less of this ! 
O self-condemning hypocrites ! Why do you so much pro- 
fess to honour the prophets, apostles, and martyrs of Christ, 
if you think that they were the troublers of the world, and 
that their doctrine and practice makes us worse ? Why do 
you honour them with the name of saints, and yet despise 
both their doctrine and practice in those that do but endea- 
vour seriously to imitate them ? Why keep you holidays 
in remembrance of the dead saints, and say that the world 
is the worse for the living saints ? O horrible hypocrisy ! 
to honour their names, and hate their doctrine and course of 
life, and say that the world was never good since it was trou- 
bled with such as they ! Do we trouble you with our preach- 
ing, and praying, and our stir for heaven? How would 
Christ and his apostles have troubled you, that went so far 
beyond us in all these, and made a greater stir than we, and 
turned the world (as their enemies charged them) upside 
down! Acts xvii. 6. So busy was Christ in preaching and 
doing the work of God, that he neglected to eat his meat for 
it; John iv. 34. and his fleshly kindred would have laid 

VOL. X. p 


hands on him, as if he had been beside himself; Mark iii. 
21. It seems if you had then lived, you would have been 
among the wicked enemies of Christ and of his disciples, 
and have said, ' It was never a good world, since these busy 
fellows made so much ado with their religion !' 

' 5. Moreover, you speak against the inward feeling and 
certain experience-of all true Christians in the world. They 
all have tasted and found that excellence in the holy ways 
and ordinances of the Lord, that they value them above all 
the world. With David they esteem them above gold and 
silver ; Psal. cxix. 72. With Solomon they say that " all 
the things that we can desire are not to be compared to 
them;" Prov. iii. 15. viii. 11. And with Job they value 
the word of God above their necessary food ; Job xxiii. 12. 
And with Paul they " count all things loss and dung in com- 
parison of the excellent knowledge of Christ ;"• Phil. iii. 7, 8. 
They know that it is a thousand times better with them, since 
God converted them to a holy life than it was before, as well 
as you know that you are better in your health, than you 
were in sickness. Try whether you can make men that ever 
were among those where plague, and war, and famine reign- 
ed, to believe that it was never a good world since this plague, 
and war, and famine ceased. You may as soon make wise men 
believe this, as make experienced godly men, to believe that it 
is worse with them for their turning to the Lord, and living 
holy, heavenly lives. You can never by all your doting 
and self-conceited prating, make those believe whom God 
hath sanctified, that they were in a better case before, when 
they were the slaves of satan, and served sin, and were under 
the wrath and curse of God. They feel that within them 
that will never suffer them to believe you. The health of 
their recovered souls ; their experience of the goodness of 
the ways of God ; the comforts they have had in the pardon 
of sin and the hopes of glory, do make them know that you 
talk distractedly, when you tell them that they were better 
before, or that the world is the worse for the grace of God. 

6. And we cannot believe you, when you speak evil of a 
holy course, because your words are against all religion, and 
common reason ; and much more, destructive of the Chris- 
tian faith. If God be not to be loved with all our hearts, 
and served with our greatest care, then he is not God ; or 
then there is no such thing as religion to be regarded. A 


God that is worse than the creature, is no God. If we must 
not " seek first the kingdom of God, and the righteousness" 
thereof (Matt. vi. 33 ), as Christ hath commanded, then it is 
in vain to seek it at all. If there be no heaven or hell, let 
us lay by all religion. But if there be, that man th^t thinks 
it not worth his greatest care and diligence to be saved, doth 
forfeit the reputation of his reason with his soul. Will you 
believe that man that saith he believeth that there is an ever- 
lasting glory to be sought, and made sure of in this life of 
our pilgrimage and warfare, and yet thinks it not worth our 
seeking for above all, and worthy all our cost and labour ? 
He speaks a gross and blockish contradiction. A heaven 
no better than earth, is no heaven. A heaven that is not 
worthy the labour of a holy life, is no heaven. And a God 
that is not worthy of all that we can do, is no God. Eithe^ 
plainly say that you are Pagans and worse, and believe not 
any life but this ; or else live as Christians, if you will be 
called Christians ; say not that you believe there is a hell, if 
you think a holy life too dear to escape it. 

7. Yea this is not all,'but your words do tend to brutish- 
ness itself. Pagans did believe (for the most part) a life 
after this. And Julian that apostate infidel himself doth 
prescribe to all his idol priests a very strict and religious life, 
according to the religion which he owned, and professeth 
that all care, and temperance, and piety should be used to 
please God, and obtain the happiness to come. And shall 
men called Christians take the very infidels for Puritans, 
and be worse than heathens ? If we have not another life to 
look after, then what are we but beasts that perish ? If you 
think that you die like beasts, call yourselves beasts, and 
never more own the name of men. If you are not beasts, but 
men, then have you souls to save or lose, to be happy or mi- 
serable for ever. And is it not worth all our care and labour 
to look after them ? 

8. Another reason why I will never believe you, that the 
world was better when there was less preaching and religion, 
is because you speak against the very end and nature of 
preaching and religion. For the word of God is written and 
preached to this very end, to make men better. And is that 
the way to undo the world, to persuade them to amend ? O 
impudent, malignant tongues ! What doth the word of God 


speak against but sin ? Doth it any where speak against 
any thing that is good ? or doth it any where command you 
any thing that is bad ? Let the bitterest enemy of God upon 
earth say so and prove it if he can. I here in defiance of the 
devil, and all his instruments and servants, challenge them 
in their bitterest malice, to say the worst they can of the Gos- 
pel, or of true religion, and prove that ever it encouraged men 
to sin, or that ever any was a loser by it ! O wonderful ! 
Must the God of heaven indite such laws against all evil, 
condemning it, and threatening damnation for it ; and yet 
will these wretches have the faces to say that it is long of the 
Scripture or of religion that the world is evil ? What ! will 
preaching against your wickedness make you wicked ? If 
it do, be it known to the faces of you, that it is you, and not 
•preaching, that shall be one day found to be the cause, and 
be condemned for it. Must princes and parliaments make 
laws to hang thieves and murderers ; and when they have 
done, will you say it is long of them and their laws that men 
are robbed and murdered ? Why, this is not yet so impu- 
dently unjust as you deal with God. For they threaten but 
hanging, and he threateneth everlasting damnation against 
sin ; and executeth it on all the unconverted, as sure as he 
threateneth it. And would you have him yet do more to 
testify his dislike of sin? Tell me, thou that blasphemest 
the holy commandments of thy Creator, Wouldst thou have 
him do more than everlastingly to damn unconverted sinners 
to prove that he is no friend or cause of sin ? What should 
he do more ? Is there a greater plague than hell to threat- 
en ? Or wouldst thou have him do more to shew how much 
he loveth goodness, than to command it, and persuade men 
daily to it, and to promise everlasting glory for their reward ? 
Is there any greater reward to be promised ? I tell thee, 
blasphemer, to the justifying of my Lord, that all the world 
hath never done the thousandth part against men's faults 
as God hath done. Never were there stricter laws against 
them, than his laws ; and never more terrible executions. 
And yet wilt thou say, that it is long of God, or Scripture, 
or religion, that the world is naught ? If thou stay a little 
longer impenitently in thy blasphemy, till death have but 
given thee the mortal stroke (and it is hard at hand), thou 
shalt then be answered in another manner, and God will ea- 


sily justify himself, and stop all such vile and arrogant 
mouths, and confute thee with an everlasting vengeance. 
Remember that thou wast forewarned- 

9. Yea, furthermore, you are confuted and shamed by 
your own complaints. What is it that you quarrel with the 
law of God for ? Is it not because it is so strict, and forbid- 
deth sin, and threateneth damnation for it? Is it not because 
it requireth so much goodness, and telleth you that none of 
the unconverted, ungodly shall be saved ? And what is it 
that you quarrel with the godly for ? Is it not for serving 
God, and because they will not be as bad as others? And 
yet the same tongues dare blaspheme the laws of God, and 
say the world is the worse for them! And the same tongue 
dares revile the godly as the cause that the world is so bad ! 
What should one say to such unreasonable men, that will at 
the same time murmur at the holy word and ways of God, 
because they contradict the wickedness of the world, and 
threaten them with hellfire because they repent not, and yet 
"say it is long of this very word, and the preaching and obey- 
ing of it in a holy life, that the world grows worse ? O im- 
pudent mouths ! that at once revile the servants of Christ, 
because they will not be as bad as others, and yet say that 
it is they that make the world so bad. God will very shortly 
stop such unreasonable mouths. 

10. And if your words were true, then it would follow 
that all God's greatest mercies are worth nothing, yea, that 
they are a hurt to us, and curses rather than blessings. What 
is the Gospel worth, if the reading, and preaching, and prac- 
tising of it do make the world worse, and only trouble men ? 
What are all God's ordinances worth, if this be the fruit of 
them ? And why hath he appointed pastors and teachers for 
his church, if this be all the good they do ? Nay, what is 
Christ himself worth to the world, if those are the worst men 
that most obey him, and study his word, and diligently seek 
him ! O unworthy souls ! Is this all your thanks to God 
for a Christ when you are lost by sin ? and for the Gospel 
that ofFereth you everlasting life ? and for the ministry of 
your pastors that would teach you the way of life ? May we 
not take up the prophet's exclamation, Isa. i. 2. " Hear, O 
heavens, and give ear O earth : I have nourished and brought 
up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox 
knoweth his owner and the ass his master's crib ; but this 


people doth not know the Lord, nor consider." Your beast 
doth not take his provender to be naught for him, and rather 
choose to be without it. And you are worse than beasts in 
your dealing with the Lord ; and when he hath provided you 
a Christ, a Gospel, teachers, and holy ordinances, even the 
most precious things in the world, you unthankfully refuse 
them, yea, and reproach them ; and take them to be naught 
for you, and say that it is long of them that the world is so 
bad ! O horrid ingratitude ! when miserable souls are in the 
captivity of sin and satan, and within a few steps of ever- 
lasting fire, the God of mercy sends his Son, his word, and 
minisiters, to help them out, and setvthem free, and save them 
from hell before it be too late : and what entertainment have 
they ? They are reviled by these wretches as if they came 
to make them worse, and do them a mischief, and not to 
save them ! Righteous is the Lord that condemneth such as 
would not be saved, and as took salvation for an inj ury . And 
just were God, if he should take away the Gospel, and his 
ministers, and his people, from so unthankful and unworthy 
a generation as this that are weary of them, and say they are 
the troublers of the world, and think that they do them more 
hurt than good ; and as the Gadarenes by Christ, desire him 
to depart out of their coasts ; Matt. viii. 34. Be content 
awhile, unworthy souls ! you shall not long be troubled with 
a Christ, or with the Gospel, or with preaching, or with pray- 
ing, or with the company of these precise people, that you 
so much dislike. Sleep on but a few nights more, and pass 
on but a few days further, and you shall come to a place be- 
fore you look for it, where you shall never have their com- 
pany more, and where you shall be out of the reach of preach- 
ing, and praying, and holiness, and hope. And in the mean 
time, were it not for the sakes of those whom God will con- 
vert and save, this troublesome Gospel and holy people should 
be taken from you, and given to a people that will be more 
thankful and more fruitful, because " you put it from you, 
and have judged yourselves unworthy of everlasting life ;'^ 
Actsxiii. 46. Matt. xxi. 41. No thanks to you that Eng- 
land is not like the Indians, and as miserable as you would 
have it. 

11. And why should we believe you when we see that 
you judge clean contrarily for your bodies, than you do for 
your souls ? I have never heard any of you say. It was ne- 


ver a good world since our land was fruitful, and since so 
much corn came to the market. It was a better world when 
men had nothing but roots to feed on. And yet would you 
be believed, when you say that it was better when men had 
not so much of the Scripture, and of Christ and holiness, the 
food, the life, the health of souls ? 

12. And I the less believe you, because I find that this 
hath been the common speech of others in all former ages. 
They that lived in the days of your fathers, said so of the 
former times, ' It was formerly a better world than now.' 
And if you had lived in those days of your fathers* forefa- 
thers, you would have heard them say the same. It is com- 
mon with men to feel the evil that is present, and to praise 
the days that are past, whose evil they felt not, or have for- 
gotten. But hear what God saith, Eccles. vii. 10. " Say not 
thou. What is the cause that the former days were better 
than these ? for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this." 
" The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be ; and 
that which is done, is that which shall be done, and there is 
no new thing undei: the sun ;" chap. i. 9. 

13. And little cause have we to believe you, when we 
have present experience that your words are false. We see 
that those are the best that are most godly. He is blind that 
seeth not an exceeding difference betwixt them and such as 
you that speak against them. Do not we see that they are 
sober, when some of you are drunken 1 and that they are 
seeking heaven when you are seeking the world ? and that 
they are providing for their souls and pleasing God, and em- 
ployed in the most sweet and heavenly works, while you are 
pampering the flesh, or making provision to satisfy its lusts ? 
Do we not hear their speeches are of God, and their salva- 
tion, and things that edify, while you curse or swear, or talk 
filthily, or idly or unprofitably like dreaming or distracted 
men ? And yet would you make us believe that you are as 
good as they, and that religion makes men worse ? 

But you say, that for all this they are secretly as bad as 
others. Foolish malice ! If it be secret how do you know 
it? If you know it, how is it secret ; and it is marvel that 
you do not make it known ! Is it not easy to say so by a 
Job, or a Samuel, or by Christ himself, if saying so may serve 
turn, and a wicked tongue may pass for truth ? You may 
say that in secret I commit all the sins imaginable ; and how 


can I disprove you, when I have no witness, but only by de- 
siring you to prove it if you can ? But O happy are the ser- 
vants of the Lord, that are even in secret always in the pre- 
sence of their Judge, who will bear witness for them, and jus- 
tify them against malignant tongues ! 

But you say, that they are as covetous as other men, 
though they are more religious. But this is as shameful a 
falsehood as the former. Do we not see the contrary in the 
open fruits ? Covetous men are the forwardest to call others 
covetous, because they would have nobody hinder or cross 
them in their covetous desires or designs. And then they 
are saying, * O such a professor used me thus, and such a 
one did thus ;' and usually they partially relate the case as 
their own covetous hearts incline them passionately to judge 
it. And perhaps they may meet with a worldly hypocrite, 
that seemeth religious ; which is no more to the disgrace of 
religion, than Ham was in the family of Noah, or Absalom 
in the house of David, or Judas in the family of Christ. Do 
not you call yourselves Christians yourselves ? And yet 
Christianity is never the worse, because you are wicked that 
profess it. But sure I am that the servants of Christ are not 
comparable to you in covetousness. For as I find God de- 
scribing them in his word, to be a people " dead to the world, 
whose conversation is in heaven." so I see that they can spare 
time from worldly business, while " they and their household 
serve the Lord ;" and so cannot you. They are seeking hea- 
ven, when you are seeking earth. And we may know what 
a man loveth, if we know what he seeketh. And again I must 
bear witness from my own experience, that in this place 
where I live, I have reason to believe, that where other men 
of their ability give a penny to the poor for charitable uses, 
those that you call precise, and think too religious, do give 
six, if not twice six, and some of them much more than I will 
express. There are few weeks but we have occasion to try 
it by voluntary collections for some needy persons, or cha- 
ritable uses ; and therefore we have much opportunity to 
know ; besides contributions at sacraments, and other pub- 
lic occasions. 

But you say, that in former times there was more love 
among neighbours thaii is now. Then there was more fami- 
liarity and kindness, and less hatred, and malice, and con- 
tention, than now. I answer. Am 1 not sure by constant ex- 


perience, that there is far more love among the godly than 
among you ? Do I not see how dear they are to one ano- 
ther, and how sweetly and familiarly they converse together, 
and join in prayer and holy exercises, and confer about their 
everlasting state ? Do I not see that they are ten times more 
liberal to relieve each other in distress than you are? Many 
and many a time I have seen them give ten or twenty shil- 
lings in collections to relieve godly people in distress, when 
those of you that are richer give but two-pence or a groat to 
your companions in the like collections. And what makes 
them be so much together, if there be not love among them ? 
I profess to you I never yet saw any thing that is worthy the 
name of love and peace among any other sort of men. 

But perhaps you will say, that there are contentions and 
differences among them about religion, which the world was 
never troubled with before. To which 1 answer, 1 . What 
differences or contentions do you see among them in this 
town or parish ? Among five hundred people that you count 
precise, what one is there among us that is either Anabap- 
tist, or Separatist, or Antinomian, or Arminian, or of any 
other sect? What one that separateth from any ordinance 
of public worship ? What differences do you know among 
us ? Is there here any more churches than one ? Do you 
hear any contendings ? Do you see any thing like a differ- 
ence among us all ? For my part, I know of none. Nor but of 
one in the parish (that is turned from us), which is a simple, 
ignorant, harmless man, that turned Anabaptist. For as for 
the apostate infidels that join with you that are ungodly, we 
have nothing to do with them, but lament their misery. 

14. Another thing that hindereth our belief of you, is, 
that we see that it is only ignorant or wicked men that are 
of this opinion, and say that the world is the worse for god- 
liness, or the preaching of the Gospel. Not a man saith so 
that knoweth what he saith, and that ever felt the power and 
sweetness of the Gospel upon his soul. But only those that 
are blinded by the world and serve the flesh, and are drown- 
ed in lust, and know not what they speak against. And 
shall we regard the judgment of such men? 

15. And moreover, when you say that the world was bet- 
ter when there was less godliness and teaching, you contra- 
dict all history, and therefore are not to be believed. You 
know not well what is before you ; much less do you know 


what hath been in your forefathers' days. Be it known to 
you, we have as full advantage to know that as you have. 
Many and many a large volume have I read concerning the 
state of the world before us, which tells us of far greater 
wickedness in our forefathers' days than are in these. If 
you will not believe me, I will shew it to any of you, that 
can read and understand, at any time when you will come to 
me. I will shew you the words of the chroniclers, and his- 
torians of those ages, that make more lamentable complaints 
of the vices of those times, and tell us of far more evil then, 
and of a far greater scarcity of good, than can be truly spok- 
en concerning us. And are you that never saw those days, 
to be believed before them that saw them? 

16. And I am sure also that you speak falsely, because 
you make the most barbarous heathens to be most happy, 
and the worst of men to be the best. If it be best where 
there is the least religion, and least teaching, or meddling 
with holy things, then are the naked Indians the best, and 
the cannibals that live on the flesh of men. These be they 
that are least troubled with preaching and religion. And if 
you think that these miserable souls are best and most hap- 
py, I pray you go to them, and be happy with them. And 
by my consent the magistrate shall promote your happiness 
and send you thither. 

17. And would you have us believe you, when you con- 
tradict yourselves ? Out of your own mouths will we silence 
or condemn you. It is Christ that teacheth us to be holy. 
And do you not pretend yourselves to believe in Christ ? 
That which you dislike as a troublesome or needless thing, 
is nothing but serious Christianity itself. And do you not 
say yourselves that you are Christians ? Do not you profess 
the articles of the Christian belief? And what do we but 
practise that which you profess ? We do but obey that God 
whom you say you believe in, as the Father Almighty, Ma- 
ker of heaven and earth, and all things. We do but love the 
Lord our Saviour, whom you say you believe in as your Sa- 
viour. We do but obey the Holy Ghost that sanctifieth all 
that God will save, whom you also profess to believe in your- 
selves. We practise that communion of saints which you 
deride, and yet profess that you believe. We seek after the 
remission of sin, and that life everlasting, which you take on 
you to believe yourselves. And will you profess to believe 


these things, and yet say they are naught, or that it was ne- 
ver a good world since they were regarded and practised 1 
And do you not profess to take the ten commandments for 
the law of God, which all men should obey ? And what do 
we but endeavour to obey them ? All that which you hate 
as too much preciseness, is nothing but the obeying of these 
ten commandments. And O that we could do it better ! 
And do you not use in the saying of the Lord's prayer, to 
pray that the name of God may be hallowed, and his king- 
dom come, and his will be done, yea even as it is done in 
heaven ? And yet will you say with the same mouth, that it 
was never a good world since God's name was hallowed, and 
since his kingdom was advanced, and his- laws so much re- 
garded, and his will obeyed? O hypocrites! Is this your 
praying ? and do you look such prayers should be accepted 
which you hate and.speak against yourselves ? You pray 
that you may not be led into temptation, but delivered from 
evil ; and yet you run into temptation, and take that evil to 
be good. How oft have I heard men, when the Command- 
ments have been repeated, which require us to take the Lord 
only for our God, and not to take his name in vain, and to 
remember to keep holy the Sabbath-day, to join in it as their 
prayer, " Lord have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to 
keep this law ;" and when they come home, revile those peo- 
ple that are willing to keep it, and that will not take God's 
name in vain, and forbear the keeping holy his day, as they 
do themselves. Either give over professing the Christian 
belief, and using the Lord's prayer, and praying that you 
may keep the commandments of God, or else give over re- 
viling those that do it. Either say plainly that you are hea- 
thens and no Christians ; or else never say that a Christian 
life is hurtful to the world, nor make it the matter of your re- 

18. And I must needs say that L am the more assured 
that your words against religion are false, because I know 
that they please the devil, who is the father of lies ; and are 
just such as he would have you speak, and would speak him- 
self if he had but liberty, and his appearance would not mar 
the cause. When thou art railing at godliness, and saying 
that this religion is the trouble of the world, and that the ser- 
vants of Christ are but a company of busy hypocrites, just so 
would the devil have thee speak. I can prove it fully from 


the Scriptures, and from his nature and designs. You could 
not speak more agreeably to his mind. If he had hired you, 
and written down every word which he would have you 
speak, you could not more punctually obey him. Do you 
plead against holiness, and for a careless, ungodly life ? Do 
you despise the righteous, and justify the wicked? Just so 
would the devil have you do. If he stood by you, and promp- 
ted you (a sindeed he doth, though you do not know it) those 
are the very words that he would have you say. Indeed when 
he is compelled the devil himself speaketh better than you, 
as in Acts xvi. 17. he saith, "These men are the servants of 
the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation." 
These are better words than yours. But he is left to him- 
self, and speaketh of his own, he speaketh just as you do. 
And shall we believe you when the devil sets you on, and 
you speak the words of the lying spirit? 

19. And I the less believe you, when you say that the 
world is the worse for preaching and religiousness, because 
I know from whence this comes. You take that to be the 
best, that is the worst; and that to be the worst, that is in- 
deed the best. You judge after the flesh, and take those for 
the best times when you have most prosperity, and may sin 
with the least contradiction and molestation, and be least 
troubled in your sensual course. These are your good days 
which wise men know to be your slavery and misery. It is 
never a good world with you, when your consciences are 
troubled, and your sores are lanced, and satan cannot keep 
his garrison in peace ; and when you cannot be permitted to 
drink, and swear, and game, and revel without control. 
And if this be your good world, I had rather have a prison 
or a pair of stocks with Christ and the Gospel which you de- 
spise, and with the means and hopes of the world to come, 
than to have your good world, which is but the quietest pas- 
sage to damnation. You are not yet to be believed. Stay 
till you see the end, and what becomes of it, and then tell us 
which was the good world. 

20. Lastly, If all this will not serve, I will silence yoo 
and shame you, if you have any shame left. If religion and 
so much serving of God do make the world worse, and those 
be the worst times where there is most of these, then heaven 
would be worse than earth or hell, even the worst place in all 
the world. For no place hath so much holiness as heaven. 


No where is there so much ado about the, praise and service 
of God, as there is in heaven. There they do nothing else 
but that which you revile, and that in highest fervour and 
perfection. They rest not day or night saying, " Holy, holy, 
holy. Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come ;" 
Rev. iv.8. Dost thou know the man on earth that is most 
precise, and holy, and diligent for God ? Why the lowest 
of the saints in heaven go quite beyond him. And in good 
sadness, dost thou take heaven to be the worst place ? and 
think that so much holiness will make it troublesome ? Bear 
witness then against thyself. Out of thy own mouth art 
thou condemned. How canst thou expect to be admitted 
into heaven, that takest it for so bad a place ? Thou teachest 
God to thrust thee back, and say to thee, * Begone ; here is 
nothing but holiness, which you could not abide. You shall 
go to a place where religion and holiness shall not trouble 

Well, sirs, consider now as men of reason, of all these 
twenty reasons which I have given you, and then tell me, 
whether that be not the better world, and the better soul,' 
where there is the most faith and holiness. 


Holiness is the only way of Safety. 

I HAVE proved to you that holiness is best for common- 
wealths, and given you many general undeniable evidences, to 
prove that it is best for all men in particular. I shall now 
come to the particular evidences, and shew you wherein it is 
that it is best for all men. 

There are three sorts of good that men have to look after. 
The first is the security of their life and being ; the second 
is their moral wellbeing ; and the third is their natural well- 
being. This last also is divided into three branches, and con- 
sisteth in our profit, our honour, and our pleasure. 

So that here are five several sorts of goodness to be con- 
sidered of, and you will find that holiness is best, beyond all 
comparison, in each respect. 1. Ih fespect of Safety. 2. In 


point of Honesty. 3. In point of Gain. 4. In point of Ho- 
nour. And 5. In point of Pleasure or Delight. If I prove 
not every one of these, then tell me, I promised more than I 
could perform. But if 1 do prove them, I look that you that 
read it, should promise presently to come in to God, and a 
holy life, and faithfully perform it. 

1. And that holiness is the safest v^ay, I prove 
thus. 1. That man is in a safer state that is delivered from 
the power of satan, than he that is in his bondage, and tak- 
en captive by him at his will. But all the unsanctified are 
in this captivity, and all the sanctified are delivered out of 
it ; as 'the Scripture most expressly tell us, Epljes. ii. 1 — 3. 
" And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses 
and sins ; wherein in time past ye walked according to the 
course of this world, according to the prince of the power of 
the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of diso- 
bedience ; among whom we also had our conversation in 
times past, in the lusts of our flesh, fufilling the desires of 
the flesh, and of the mind/' &c. So 2 Tim. ii. 25, 26. " In 
meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God 
peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledg- 
ing of the truth, and that they may recover themselves out of 
the snare of the devil,who are taken captive by him at his will." 
And Acts xxvi. 17, 18. '* I send thee to open their eyes, and 
turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of sa- 
tan unto God." And Col.i. 13. "Who hath delivered us 
from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the 
kingdom of his dear Son." Satan is the ruler and the jailor 
of the ungodly, that leadeth them to sin, and so to destruc- 
tion, and keepeth them for torments at the day of wrath. 
And is he safe that is in the devil's power ? If he should 
appear to thee, and lay hold of thee, thou wouldst not think 
that thou wert safe. But his possession of thy soul is far 
more dangerous. Thou dost not believe that thou art in his 
power. But thy blindness sheweth it ; and thy enmity to 
the way of holiness sheweth it ; and thy ungodly life doth ful- 
ly shew it ; and the Scripture affirmeth it of all such ; and 
what need there any further proof? But the sanctified are 
all delivered from this slavery ; and though the devil may 
rage against them, he shall not prevail. 

2. Moreover, those that are united to Jesus Christ, and 
are become the living members of his body, are certainly 


safer than those that are yet strangers to him, and have no 
special interest in him. But all that are sanctified are thus 
united to Christ, and made his members ; and all the unsanc- 
tified have no part in him. *' He that hath the Son hath life, 
and he that hath not the Son hath not life ;" 1 John v. 12. 
John XV. 6, 7. 9, 10. " If a man abide not in me, he is cast 
forth as a branch, and is withered, and men gather them, and 
cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in 
me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, 
and it shall be done unto you. As the Father hath loved me, 
so have I loved you ; continue in my love. If ye keep my 
commandments, ye shall abide in my love." " Ye are my 
friends, if ye do wliatsoever I command you;" ver. 14. 
" Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he 
might sanctify and cleanse it, with the washing of water, by 
the word ; that he might present it to himself, a glorious 
church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but 
that it should be holy and without blemish. No man ever 
hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even 
as the Lord the church. For we are members of his body, 
of his flesh, and of his bones ;" Eph. v. 25—27. 29. 30. 

Judge by these passages whether the sanctified are not 
safe. If the love of Christ, and his merits, and his power 
cannot keep them safe, then nothing can. If the Saviour 
cannot save them, none can. Is not the very flesh of Christ 
safe ? Are not the members of his body safe ? Are not his 
friends, his spouse, and beloved safe ? If Christ can save us 
we are safe. For who can conquer him? or who can take 
us out of his hands ? John x. 28. If he " be for us, who shall 
be against us ?" and if he justify us, who shall condemn us ? 
Rom. viii. 33 — 35. 

But is it so with the ungodly ? No ; they have no part 
nor lot in this matter, but are in the gall of bitterness and 
bond of iniquity, because " their heart is not right in the 
sight of God;" Acts viii. 21.23. 

Moreover, he that hath escaped the curse of the law, and 
hath his sins forgiven him, and is justified from all things 
that could by the law be charged on him, is safer than he 
that is under the curse, and hath all his sins yet lying on his 
soul. But the first of these is certainly the case of the sanc- 
tified, and the other of the unsanctified. " As many as are 
of the works of the law are under the curse ; for it is written. 


Cursed is everyone thatcontinueth not in all things that are 
written in the book of the law to do them. Christ hath re- 
deemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us ;" 
Gal. iii. 10. 13. For all have sinned, and come short of the 
glory of God ;" Rom. iii. 23. And Mark iv. 12. shews, that 
the unconverted have not their sins forgiven them. " He 
that believeth on him is not condemned, but he that believ- 
eth not is condemned already ;" John iii. 18. And Acts 
xxvi. 18. "To open their eyes, and turn them from dark- 
ness to light, and from the power of satan unto God, that 
they may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance 
among them that are sanctified by faith that is in me." 
** There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, 
that walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit;" Rom. viii. 1. 
Abundance more such passages of holy Scripture do assure 
us that all the unsanctified are unpardoned, and all the sanc- 
tified are justified, and delivered from the curse. And which 
of these are in the safer state ? 

Did one of you owe ten thousand pounds more than you 
were worth, or had you committed twenty known felonies or 
murders, would you think yourselves safe without a pardon ? 
Would you not be looking behind you, and afraid of almost 
every man you see, lest he came to apprehend you ? O what 
a case is that man in that hath so many thousand sins to an- 
swer for ! and hath such a load of guilt upon his soul ! and 
so many terrible threatenings of the law in force against him ? 
Do you not fear every hour, lest death arrest you, and bring 
you to the prison of the bottomless pit ? But the sanctified 
is delivered from this danger. A thousand sins indeed were 
against us ; but we have a pardon of them all to shew. In 
Christ we have "redemption through his blood, the forgive- 
ness of sins ;" 1 Col. i. 14. The law hath nothing now against 
us, and therefore we are safe. 

4. Those are safer that are dearly beloved of the Lord, 
and reconciled to him, and taken for his children, than those 
that are his enemies, and hated by him, and under his dis- 
pleasure. But most certainly the former is the state of all 
the sanctified, and the latter is the state of the ungodly. 

You shall see both in the words of God, Psal. v. 4, 5, 
" Thou art not a God that hast pleasure in wickedness ; nei- 
ther shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand 
in thy sight : thou hatest all the works of iniquity." " My 


defence is of God which saveth the upright in heart. God 
judgeth the righteous ; and God is angry with the wicked 
every day ;" Psal. vii. 10, 11. " Thou lovest righteousness, 
and hatest wickedness ;" Psal. xlv. 7. *' Those mine enemies 
that would not I should reign over them, bring them hither, 
and slay them before me ;" Luke xix. 27. " We were by na- 
ture the children of wrath ;" Ephes. ii. 3. A hundred more 
such places shew you the state of the unsanctified. 

But how different is the case of the renewed upright soul ! 
"Ye are the temple of the living God : as God hath said, I 
will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, 
and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from 
among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch 
not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and will be a 
father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, 
saith the Lord Almighty ;" 2 Cor. vi. 16 — 18. " But as ma- 
ny as received him, to them gave he power to become the 
sons of God ;" John i. 12. " The Spirit itself beareth wit- 
ness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. And if 
children, then heirs, heirs of God, and j oint h eirs with Christ ;" 
Rom. viii. 16, 17. " And they shall be mine, saith the Lord 
of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels ; and I will 
spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him ;" 
Mai. iii. 17. "I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, 
and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more ;" 
Heb. viii. 12. " And you that were sometime alienated and 
enemies in your minds by wicked works, yet now hath he re- 
conciled, in the body of his flesh through death, to present 
you holy and unblamable, and irreprovable in his sight ;" 
Col. i. 21, 22. " Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiv- 
en, whose sin is covered ; blessed is the man to whom the 
Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no 
guile ;" Psal. xxxii. 1,2. " He that toucheth you, toucheth 
the apple of mine eye ;" Zech. ii. 8. 

Judge now by these plain expressions from the Lord, who 
it is that are in the safer state, the godly or the ungodly. Is 
he the safer that is hated by the God of heaven, or he that is 
most dearly loved by him ? He that is under his displeasure, 
or he that is his delight ? Why man, if God be against thee, 
thou art no where safe ! not in the strongest castle! not in 
the greatest army ! not iu the highest dignity ! not in the 

VOL. X. Q 


most merry company ! Thou knowest not but a commission 
is gone out for death to strike thee in thy next recreation, 
or fit of mirth ! How knowest thou but death is ready to 
strike, while thou art eating, or drinking, or talking, or sleep- 
ing ? Thou hast no security from an angry God. Till he^ 
be reconciled, thou art no where safe ! This may be thy fa- 
tal day or night for aught thou knowest. And if once the 
mortal blow be struck, and thy soul be taken from thy body 
unrenewed, O man, where then wilt thou appear ! O won- 
derful stupidity ! that thou dost not eat thy bread in fear, 
and do thy work in fear, and sleep in fear, and live in fear, 
till thou be sanctified ! 

But to the soul that hath God for his security, what can 
be dangerous ? or what condition (while he keeps close to 
God) can be unsafe ? " The Father that gave us unto Christ 
is greater than all, and no man can take us out of his hands ;" 
John X. 28, 29. Conquer heaveii, and conquer the saints ! 
There is their city, their garrison, their conversation ; Phil, 
i. 20. Heb. xi. 10. 16. What enemy, what policy, what pow- 
er can endanger him, that God will save and hath undertak- 
en for ? We were never safe one day or hour, till we were 
friends with God. " The eternal God is thy refuge, and un- 
derneath are the everlasting arms;*' Deut. xxxiii.27. "God 
is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble ; 
therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and 
though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. 

God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved. 

God shall help her, and that right early. The Lord of 

hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge ;" Psal. xlvi. 
1, 2. 5. 7. " He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most 
High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will 
say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, 
in him will I trust ;" Psal. xci. 1, 2. This is the confidence, 
and joy, and glory of the saints. " I will sing of thy power, 
yea I will sing aloud of thy mercies in the morning, for thou 
hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble. 
Unto thee, O my strength will I sing : for my God is my de- 
fence, and the God of my mercy ;'* Psal. lix. 16, 17. ** Thou 
art my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation ;" 
Psal. Ixxxix. 26. See Psal. xxvii. 5. Ixi. 2. Ixii. 2.6.7. 
xciv. 22. Prov. xviii, 10. " The name of the Lord is a strong 
tower: the righteous run into it and are safe ;" chap. xxi.31. 


" Safety is of the Lord ;" Psal.lv. 8. Quietly may we re- 
pose ourselves to rest, for it '* is the Lord only that maketh 
us dwell in safety." But is it thus with the ungodly man ? 
O no ! When " they say peace and safety to themselves, sud- 
denly destruction cometh upon them as travail upon a wo- 
man with child, and they shall not escape;" IThess. v.3. 
" For their rock is not like our rock, even our enemies them- 
selves being judges ;" Deut. xxxii. 31. '* Why else do they 
desire in times of danger that they were in the case of the 
servants of the Lord ? If they thought themselves as safe as 
the regenerate, why do they wish at the hour of death, that 
they might but " die the death of the righteous, and their 
latter end might be as his ;" Numb, xxiii. 10. 

Moreover, he is certainly more safe, that is a heir of the 
promises, and hath the word of God engaged for his safety/ 
than he that hath no promise from God at all, nor any such 
security to shew. But all the faithful have interest in the 
promises, in which the ungodly have no share. Surely he is 
safe to whom the Lord hath promised safety. O what a pre- 
cious treasure might I here open, to shew you the safety of 
true believers ? I will cull out but a few of the promises for a 
taste. " The turning away of the simple shall slay them, and 
the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso heark- 
eneth unto me, shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from 
fear of evil ;" Prov. i. 32, 33. " Whoso putteth his trust in 
the Lord shall be safe ;" chap. xxix. 35. " My son, let them 
not depart from thine eyes : keep sound wisdom and discre- 
tion ; so shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace unto thy 
neck : then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot 
shall not stumble. When thou liest down, thou shalt not 
be afraid : yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be 
sweet. Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation 
of the wicked when it cometh. For the Lord shall be thy 
confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken ;" chap, 
iii. 21— 23. " The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety 
by him, the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he 
shall dwell between his shoulders ;" Deut. xxxiii. 12. " Cast 
thy burden on the Lord, and he shall sustain thee, he shall 
never suffer the righteous to be moved ;" Psal. Iv. 22. *' God 
is in the generation of the righteous ;" Psal. xiv.5. " The 
eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open 
to their cry. The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth and 


delivereth them out of all their trouble. Many are the afflic- 
tions of the righteous ; but the Lord delivereth him out of 
all. He keepeth all his bones- Evil shall slay the wick- 
ed, and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate ;" Psal. 
xxxiv. 15. 17. 19, 20. " For the Lord loveth judgment, and 
forsaketh not his saints, they are preserved for ever: but the 
seed of the wicked shall be cut off;" Psal. xxxvii. 28. " Mark 
the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that 
man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed to- 
gether. The end of the wicked shall be cut off. But the 
salvation of the righteous is of the Lord ; he is their strength 
in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them and 
deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they 
trust in him ;" ver. 37. 39. 43. " My flesh and my heart fail- 
'eth, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for 
ever ;" Psal. Ixxiii. 26. *' Can a woman forget her sucking 
child, that she should not have compassion on the son of 
her womb ? Yea, they may forget ; yet will not I forget thee. 
He hath said, I will not fail thee nor forsake thee ;" Isa. 
xlix. 15. " Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, 
or what ye shall drink," &c. Heb. xiii. 5. Matt. vi. 25. " Fear 
not them which kill the body, and are not able to kill the 

soul The very hairs of your head are all numbered;" 

Matt. X. 28. 30. ** Fear thou not, for I am with thee : be not 
dismayed, for I am thy God. I will strengthen thee ; yea, 
I will help thee ; yea, Lwill uphold thee with the right hand 
of my righteousness;" Isa. xli. 10. See ver. 13, 14. chap, 
xliii. 1, 2. "Fear not, for I have redeemed thee. I have 
called thee by thy name : thou art mine. When thou passest 
through the waters, I will be with thee ; and through the ri- 
vers, they shall not overflow thee ; when thou walkest through 
the fire thou shalt not be burnt," &c. *' The Lord preserv- 
eth the way of his saints ;" Prov.ii.3. " O love the Lord 
all ye his saints ; for the Lord preserveth the faithful ;" Psal. 
xxxi. 23. " He preserveth the souls of his saints; he deliver- 
eth them out of the hands of the wicked ;" Psal. xcvii. 10* 
'* The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him : to all 
that call upon him in truth. He will fulfil the desires of them 
that fear him : he also will hear their cry, and will save them. 
The Lord preserveth all them that love him : but all the wick- 
ed will he destroy ;" Psal. cxlv. 11—23. " Say not, I will 
recompense evil ; but wait on the Lord, and he will save 


thee i" Prov. xx. 22. " He is faithful that hath promised;* 
Heb. X. 23. 

I hope the believer will not be weary to read over all these 
precious promises, which are his security from God, for soul 
and body. I sum up all in that one, 1 Tim. iv. 8. " Godliness 
is profitable to all things, having the promise of the life that 
now is, and of that which is to come." Judge whether god- 
liness be the safest state. Can a man of so many promises 
be unsafe? But instead of these the ungodly are threatened 
with everlasting vengeance. 

6. He is safer that hath continually a guard of angels, as 
certainly all the faithful have, than he that hath none, but is 
a prisoner of the devil, as the ungodly are. 

Hear the Scriptures : ** The angel of the Lord encampeth 
round about them that fear him, and delivereththem;" Psal. 
xxxiv. 7. *' He shall give his angels charge over thee, to 
keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their 
hands lest thou dash thy foot against a stone;" Psal. xci. 
11, 12. "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little 
ones : for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do al- 
ways behold the face of my Father which is in heaven ;" 
Matt. xviii. 10, "Are they not all ministering spirits sent 
forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation ?'* 
Heb. i. 14. And have the wicked any such attendance for 
their security ? No : but a fearful captivity to the devil. 

7. Lastly, That is the safest state where man is safe from 
the greatest evil. Everlasting misery is the great evil which 
the godly are initially saved from. They are liable to afflic- 
tions as well as others, but not to damnation, and therefore 
they are safe. They must be sick and die as well as others; 
but they shall escape eternal death. Yea, they are already 
"passed from death to life" (1 John iii. 14.), and have " eter- 
nal life begun with them ;'* John xvii. 3. " He that hath the 
Son hath life ;" 1 John v. 12. "Verily, verily, I say unto 
you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent 
me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condem- 
nation, but is passed from death unto life ;" ver. 22. " Mar- 
vel not at this : for the hour is coming in which all that are 
in the graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth; they 
that have done good to the resurrection of life, and they that 
have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation ;" ver. 28, 
29. " The ungodly are not so ; but are like the chaff which 


the wind driveth away: therefore the ungodly shall not stand 
in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righ- 
teous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous ; but 
the way of the ungodly shall perish ;" Psal. i. 3 — 6. 

If yet you are unresolved whether godliness be the only 
way of safety, I dare say it is because you believe not the 
holy Scriptures ; for there the doubt is as fully decided as 
any one in all the world. O how blessed is the state of the 
poorest, most afflicted saint, that may always say, ' My soul 
is safe ! If my health, or wealth, or friends be gone, yet am 
I safe from everlasting misery. Other things I shall have 
as God seeth best for his honour and my spiritual good ; but 
salvation I may be sure of, if I abide in Christ.' What needs 
he fear, that hath escaped hell ! But O the dreadful case of 
the ungodly ! that are passing to damnation when they never 
think of it ! Their bodies may be strong, their riches great, 
and they may fare sumptuously every day ; Lukexvi. 19. 
But O what a case are their poor souls in ! and where will 
they be when this mirth is ended ! ver. 25. They are not 
safe from hell one hour. 


Holiness is the only Honest Way, 

We have tried whether the way of godliness or ungodliness 

be the safest. Let us next try which is the most honest, of 

which one would think we should never meet with a man so 

shameless as to make a question. But experience telleth us, 

that such there are, yea, and that they are very common. 

Even in their reproaching of a holy life, they will join the 

boastings of their own honesty, and say, 'Though we swear 

or are drunk now and then, and make not such a stir about 

God's service and our salvation, yet we are as honest as these 

more precise people, that make more ado, and censure us as 

ungodly.' As truly and wisely as if a common whore should 

ijiay, * I am as honest as these precise people that will not 

play the harlot, as I do.' And as wisely as if a thief should 

say, * Though I steal for need, 1 am as honest as these pre- 


cise people that will not steal.' But yet we have this ad- 
vantage by these shameless boasts, that still the name of ho- 
nesty is in credit, and the worst men honour it, by pretend- 
ing to it, while they dishonour themselves by their renounc- 
ing the thing itself, and by the impudency of their pretences. 

Honesty is nothing but true virtue, or the moral good- 
ness of the mind or actions. An honest man and a good man is 
indeed all one /caXoc or KoXoKayaOog with the Greeks ; one that 
is both inwardly virtuous, and manifests it in the cleanness 
and integrity of his life, in the sight of men. All men, for 
aught I can perceive, would be accounted honest. This re- 
putation honesty hath among its vilest enemies, that they 
approve the name, and would not appear to be its enemies, 
till they have put some other name upon it. While they 
hate honesty, and persecute it, they would be called honest 
men themselves. And therefore by the consent of all the 
world, friends and foes, that is the best way which is the 
most honest. 

O that you would all but stand to this, rn the choosing 
of your course, and in your daily practice ! Will you all 
agree upon a holy life, if I prove it past all doubt to be the 
most honest ? O that you would ! Yea, if I prove that 
there is no man truly honest in the world, that is not truly 
godly. If you would stand to this, you would soon be 
changed. Indeed it is nothing but dishonesty that we would 
have you changed from. And if you will not stand to this, 
but will refuse honesty when you know it, for shame lay by 
the name of honesty, and wish not men to call you honest 
any more. Either be what you would be called ; or give men 
leave to call you as you are. Let us come then to the trial, 
and see who is indeed the honest man, the godly or the un- 

1. I have already told you, that God who is the most in- 
fallible Judge, hath given his sentence on his people's side. 
If you will think yourselves that it is not those that thieves 
and harlots call honest that are so likely to be honest, as 
those that wise men and virtuous men call so ; we have then 
far greater reason to conclude, that it is not those that you 
call honest, that are so fit to be judged such, as those that 
God calls so. How say you? Will you not freely give us 
leave to take God's judgment or word before yours? If not, 
we will take leave. And tjod calls all the ungodly by the name 


of evil and wicked men ! and the godly are they that he call- 
eth upright, good, and honest. The whole Scripture, you 
know, if you know any thing of it, speaketh in this language. 
It is they that " hear the word and keep it, and bring forth 
fruit with patience, that receive it into honest and good 
hearts ;" Luke viii. 15. This is the life that is ** acceptable 
in the sight of God our Saviour, which is in all godliness and 
honesty." These are inseparable, godliness and honesty ; 
1 Tim. ii. 3. Indeed the Greek word here is that which sig- 
nifieth gravity and seemliness of behaviour; but that which 
is frequently translated ' good' is it which signifieth the tru- 
ly honest. And you know none of the ungodly are ever call- 
ed good in Scripture, but clean contrary. " The righteous- 
ness of the upright shall deliver them, but transgressors shall 
betaken in their own naughtiness;" Prov. xi.6. So ver. 
18—20. " The wicked worketh a deceitful work, but to him 
that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward. As righ- 
teousness tendeth to life, so he that pursueth evil, doth it to 
his own death. They that are of a froward heart are an abo- 
mination to the Lord ; but such as are upright in their way, 
are his delight." Every where you see how God abhorreth 
the ungodly, and extolleth those that love and fear him. 
Christ calleth the ungodly " evil men, that out of the evil 
treasure of their hearts do bring forth evil things ;" Matt, 
xii. 35. All is evil ; the life evil, the heart evil, and the man 
evil. " The righteous man is more excellent than his neigh- 
bour, but the way of the wicked seduceth them ;" Prov. xii. 
26, And Psal. 16, David called the godly " the excellent, 
in whom is all his delight." It is an excellent spirit that is 
in them (Dan. iii. 12.14. Ixiii.), and an excellent way in 
which they go (1 Cor. xii. 31.), and an excellent knowledge 
which the Spirit's illumination causeth them to attain; Phil, 
iii. 18. Ephes. iii. 18, 19. You have God's judgment of the 
case, if that will satisfy you, who it is that is the best and 
most honest man, the holy or the unholy. 

2. Do you think that that man is an honest man, that will 
deny you your due, and rob you of all that is your own ? or 
rather, is not the just man the honest man, that will give 
every man his own ? I know you will give your voices for 
the latter. O then take heed lest you condemn yourselves ! 
If you be not holy, your own testimony doth condemn you. 
For it is only the godly that give God his own, when the un- 


godly rob him of it. Hast thou not thy life, and time, and 
maintenance from God ? Hast thou not thy reason, and thy 
affections, and all thy faculties from him ? And should not 
all thou hast be employed for him ? Thou art a dishonest 
man that grudgest, yea deniest him one day in seven, when 
thou owest him all. Thou art a dishonest man that givest 
away thy Maker's due unto his vilest enemies : that wast- 
est thy means or strength on sin : that spendest thy pre- 
cious time on vanity : that abusest his creatures to the satis- 
fying of thy lusts, and that livest to thy flesh, when thou 
shouldst live to God. Thou robbest him of all which thou 
givest to his enemies ; and of all which thou dost not use to 
his service. It is less dishonesty to rob thy master that trust- 
eth thee with his goods, than to rob the Lord that trusteth 
thee with thy time, and parts, and all things. O blind, un- 
worthy sinners !' What makes you think him an honest man 
that robbeth his Maker, or denieth him his own, when you 
call him a dishonest man that robbeth but such silly worms 
as you, that in respect of God have nothing of your own ? 
Art thou better than God, that it should be called dishonesty 
to wrong thee, and no dishonesty to wrong him, or deny him 
that which is his own? God hath an absolute title to you, 
and that on more accounts than one. You are his own, as 
you are his creatures. " All souls are mine," saith the Lord ; 
Ezek. xviii. 4. And he hath title to thee by redemption, as 
well as by creation. For " to this end Christ died, and rose, 
and revived, that he might be Lord of the dead and of the 
living ;" Rom. xiv. 9. " We are not our own ; we are bought 
with a price ; and therefore should glorify God in our bodies 
and our spirits which are his ;" 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20. ** For if 
one died for all, then were all dead, that they which live 
should not henceforth live to themselves, but to him that died 
for them and rose again;" 2Cor. v.44, 45. And as you 
yourselves are God's own as being your Creator and Re- 
deemer, so all that you have is his own as the bestower, or 
as your Master that trusteth it in your hands. " Now there- 
fore if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, 
then ye shall be a peculiar treasure to me above all people ; 
for all the earth is mine;" Exod.xix.5. And saith God to 
Job, Jobxli. 11. "Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is 
mine ; the world is mine, and the fulness thereof." " What 
hast thou which thou didst not receive V' 1 Cor. iv. 7. Thou 


hast not a minute of time which thou owest not to God ; nor 
a thought, nor a word, nor a farthing of thy estate. And is 
it not the basest injustice and dishonesty to give these to 
thy flesh, and deny them to him, and think his service an 
unnecessary thing? If thou wilt give the world and thy 
lusts any thing, let it be that which thou canst truly call 
thine own. As God saith to the idolaters, Ezek. xvi. 18, 19. 
*' Thou hast set mine oil, and mine incense before them ; my 
meat also which I gave thee," &c. so may he say to thee. It 
is his time which thou hast consumed in idleness and in sin- 
ful delights ; and his provision by which thou hast fed thy 
lusts. But the sanctified manfs devoted to God. His stu- 
dy is to give him his own. All the business of his life which 
you account his overmuch strictness and preciseness, is no- 
thing but his honesty to God, in giving^him his own. You 
look your horse should travel for you, and your ox should 
labour for you, and your servant work for you, because they 
are your own. And shall not we give up all that we have to 
God, that are much more his own ? Will you hang them that 
take your own from you, and count them honest that deal 
worse with God ? Say not. If Christ were here we would 
give it him : for he hath told you how you should use all his 
talents in his laws ; and if you deny them to the poor, or any 
holy use that he requireth them, you deny them unto him. 
Read Matt. xxv. and x. 40—42. 

3. Do you think that an unnatural man is an honest man ? 
One that will abuse his father or mother, and scorn the 
bowels from which he sprung? All the world is agreed on 
it, that such are dishonest. " Honour thy father and mo- 
ther," is called " the first commandment with promise ;" 
Exod. xxi. 17. " He that cursethhis father or mother shall 
surely be put to death." See Prov.xx. 20. xxx. 17. "The 
eye that mocketh at his father, and refuseth to obey his mo- 
ther, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young 
eagles shall eat it." To be " without natural affections," is 
the brand of highest wickedness; Rom. i. 31. 2 Tim. iii. 3. 

And do you not know that it is worse to be without holy 
affections to the God that made you, and the Christ that 
bought you, and to despise, forsake, or abuse the Lord ? 
Thou hadst thy being more from him than from thy parents. 
They knew not how thy parts were formed ! It was he that 
gave thee thy immortal soul : it is by him that thou hast 


lived until now ; much more than on the food thou eatest, or 
the air thou breathest in. And art thou so unnatural as to be 
ungodly, and deny him thy love, and care, and service, that 
hath made thee? and to call a holy, heavenly life, a needless 
toil ? " Do you thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and 
unwise? Is he not thy Father that hath bought thee? hath 
he not made thee, and established thee?" Deut. xxxii. 6. 
If an unholy man be an honest man, that is so unnatural as 
to cross the end of his creation, and deny his service to the 
Lord that made him ; then he is honest that spits in his fa- 
ther's face, and despiseth his mother that brought him forth. 
4. Do you think that he is an honest man that is un- 
thankful ? It is agreed on by all the world, that unthank- 
fulness is a principal point of dishonesty. He is no honest 
man that will abuse or despise those by whom he liveth, or 
that have engaged him by kindness. If you were so used 
yourselves by one whose life or estates you had preserved, 
would you not say, ' What an unworthy wretch is this? 
have I deserved this usage at his hand?' Why all the un- 
thankfulness against men in the world, is not to be compared 
to thy unthankfulnsss against God. What are the benefits 
which man hath given thee in comparison of his ? Did ever 
man do any thing for thee that is comparable to thy crea- 
tion, and redemption, and offering thee salvation from ever- 
lasting misery, and a room with angels in everlasting glory ; 
besides every hour's mercy that ever thou hadst here in this 
world ? And is that an honest man that will requite this 
God with profaneness and ungodliness, and return him sin 
for all his mercies, and refuse to live a holy life? Doth thy 
flesh deserve all thy care and labour, and is this God unwor- 
thy of it, and dost thou call his service a needless work ? If 
ingratitude can make a man dishonest, thou art then a dis- 
honest man. But it is the business of the godly to give 
themselves to him that made them, and to exercise their 
thankfulness in their capacities, for these greatest mercies. 

5. Do you think that a cruel, unmerciful man, or a loving 
and njerciful man is the more honest? Surely I shall here 
have all your voices. He that hateth those that hurt him 
not, and would kill them, and set their houses on fire, and 
carrieth malice in his face and speech, will be called an ho- 
nest man but by few. And he that is loving, and studieth 
to do good to all about him, will be counted honest. Why 


try the ungodly and the saints by this ; no more malicious 
men in the world than the ungodly. They have an enmity 
even to the God that made them (Col. i. 21.), and to the 
Christ that bought them (Luke xix. 27.), and to the word 
of God that ofFereth them salvation, and would lead them to 
eternal life, and hate the knowledge of the way of life ; Prov. 
i. 22. They are enemies to the servants of the Lord, and 
hate the upright that desire their salvation, and would but 
draw them from their sins ; Prov. xxix. 10. ix. 8. They 
curse those that bless them, and persecute those that pray 
for them; Matt. v. 44. The first wicked man that was born 
into the world, did " kill his brother, because his own works 
were evil, and his brother's righteous ; 1 John iii. 12. 

But this is not their greatest cruelty : they are enemies 
to their own salvation. They will run into hell in despite 
of Christ and all the preachers in the world. For there is 
but one way thither, the way of ungodliness, and that way 
they will go. Yea, that is not all, but bloody wretches, 
they would have all the country do as they do, and be damn- 
ed with them. They are angry with a man if he will not 
live an ungodly life, and tipple, and swear, and do as they. 
They revile him if he will not give over his diligent serving 
of the Lord, which is all one as to fall out with men because 
They will not forfeit heaven, and run from God, and damn 
their souls, and all for nothing ! When they might more 
mercifully scorn us because we will not give over eating, or 
that we will not cut our own throats. And are these cruel 
persons honest men? Is that merciless wretch an honest 
man, that is not content to cast away his own everlasting 
happiness for nothing upon his fond conceits, but must 
needs have others do so too ? that is not content to wrong 
the Lord, but would have others wrong him also? The de- 
vil is honest if these be honest. 

But for the godly, it is their desire, their care, their work 
to save themselves, and further the salvation of all others. 
O how they long to hear of the conversion of towns and 
countries ! and how glad are they when they hear it ! Not 
for any worldly commodity to themselves, but because they 
rejoice at the good of others. And what would they not do 
to promote it, which they could do? 

6. Do you think that a perfidious, unfaithful man, or a 
faithful man that will not be hired to break his word, is the 


honester man? Sure this is no hard question neither. A 
knight of the post, that will say and unsay, swear and for- 
swear, and will betray his dearest friend for a groat, is taken 
by few for an honest man, in comparison of him that will 
rather die than lie and be unfaithful. Why nothing is more 
plain, than that all of you that are ungodly, are treacherous 
to the Lord himself. You are perfidious covenant-breakers : 
you owe him yourselves wholly on the grounds that I before 
expressed ; and yet you are unfaithful to him : you have all 
from him, and you serve his enemy with it. You call him 
your God, and will not love, nor honour, nor serve him as 
your God ; Mai. i. 6. You bound yourselves to him in your 
baptism, and many a time since, by a solemn vow or cove- 
nant ; but you live in the treacherous breach of it continual- 
ly. You covenanted to take the Lord for your God ; and 
yet you will not seek him, nor be ruled by him. You cove- 
nanted to take Jesus for your Saviour ; and yet will not be 
saved by him from your sins; Matt. i. 21. You covenant- 
ed to take the Holy Ghost for your Sanctifier, to purify your 
hearts and lives ; and yet you resist his holy motions, and 
hate his sanctifying word and work, and some of you will 
mock at sanctification and the Spirit. And can the soul of 
man be guilty of greater unfaithfulness or treachery ? You 
covenanted to forsake the flesh, the world, and the devil ; 
and now you serve them more than Christ, and think your 
time is better bestowed for them, than in the service of the 
Lord ! And is this your covenant-keeping ? No traitors, 
no perjured wretches in the world are dishonest men, if these 
be not dishonest. 

But now it is the care of godly men to keep the cove- 
nants they have made with God. All that which you re- 
proach them for as too much preciseness, is but the perform- 
ance of their baptismal vow. And if you be against the 
keeping our covenants with God, should you not be against 
the making them ? Are you not ashamed to be so forward 
to engage your children to God in baptism, and when you 
have done, would have them be ungodly, and break the vow 
they make ? Will you by your profession of Christianity, 
and coming to the Lord's table, renew your covenants with 
Christ yourselves, and yet make no conscience to break 
them, and plead against the keeping of them? We promise 
holiness, and the serving of God, and forsaking the world, 


at every sacrament, and whenever we promise but to be 
Christians. And are you for the making of these promises, 
and yet for the breaking of them, and revilers of those that 
endeavour but to keep them ? O fearful impudency ! Is 
this your honesty ? And would you have us all as faithless 
and dishonest, even with God? This was the perfidious- 
ness of the Jews ; Ezek. xvi. 8. ** I sware unto thee, and en- 
tered into a covenant with thee, and thou becamest mine." 
We are married in baptism to Christ ; and is adultery with 
the world, and forsaking our husband, no dishonesty ? Why 
then what is ? 

7. Moreover, do you think that a murderer is an honest 
man ? I know you will say, no. Why nothing more sure 
than that migodly men are murderers of themselves, and as 
I said, would undo others. They " hate their own souls," 
saith God, Prov. xxix. 24. They destroy themselves ; Hos. 
xiii. 9. There is but one way to hell, and that they will 
take, and that when they are plainly told of it. Not a man 
in hell, but brought himself thither. And O how many do 
their mocks, and persuasions, and evil examples keep out 
of heaven, and bring to the same misery ! And are these 

8. Do you take them to be honest men that are common 
cheaters or deceivers, and that in matters of greatest value ? 
I think you do not. Why such are the ungodly. They de- 
ceive and are deceived; 2 Tim. iii. 13. They deceive them- 
selves, by " thinking themselves something, when they are 
nothing ;" Gal. vi. 3. They make themselves believe that 
they have honesty and saving grace when they have none ; 
and that they are in a state of safety and in the favour of 
God, when they are near to everlasting misery, and in God*s 
displeasure. And thus they will think, though their souls 
are at the stake, and the mistake be the greatest hindrance 
of their conversion ; and though God have plainly told them 
in his word, whom he will save, and whom he will not. Yea, 
against all the plain discoveries in the Scripture, and all the 
marks of death upon themselves, and the open ungodliness 
of their lives, and all the warnings of their teachers, they 
will needs believe that their state is safe, and that they may 
be saved without conversion. What wilful self-deceivers 
are these ! Their hearts are " deceitful above all things," 
and they know them not j Jer. xxii. 9. And thus they are 


hardened by the deceitfulness of their own sin ; Heb. iii. 13. 
Sin first deceiveth them, and so killeth them; Rom. vii. 11. 
Tf they were not foolish and deceived, they would not serve 
their lusts and pleasures ; 2 Tim. iii. 3. These miserable men 
did never yet learn that lesson, which one would think they 
should willingly learn, " Let no man deceive himself;" 1 
Cor. iii. 18. They will needs think that they are Christians, 
and have so much religion as will save them, when God ex- 
pressly telleth the curser, swearer, railer, scorner, and all 
that live in wilful sin, that ** If any man seem to be religious, 
and bridle not his tongue, (and so for other wilful sins,) but 
deceiveth his own heart, that man's religion is vain ;" James 

And as they deceive themselves, so they are the common 
cheaters of the world. They tell them as smooth a tale as 
if all were fair and right, when they are pleading against 
God, reasoning men out of their faith and reason. When 
Eve had sinned, she tempted Adam. The drunkard will 
tempt others to be his companions ; and so will the fornica- 
tors and voluptuous sensualists. The ungodly will persuade 
those about him to be ungodly ; and when he hath not a 
word of solid reason to speak against the holy diligence of 
the saints, a jeer or scorn shall serve to deceive instead of 
reason. And if he dare not stand to what he saith to the 
face of a minister, or any but the ignorant that cannot gain- 
say him, he will take his time, and speak when none are pre- 
sent that can contradict him. O how many thousands are 
now in misery that were cheated thither by the scorns and 
cavils of ungodly men ! And how many thousands have 
lost all hopes of heaven by their deceits I Could you but 
ask many thousands that are now in misery, * How came you 
to choose so unhappy a way?' they would tell you, ' We 
were deceived by the words of wicked men ! The cavils 
and scorns of ignorant sinners have cheated us of our salva- 
tion.' The very calling a diligent servant of Christ by the 
name of a Puritan or Precisian, hath kept many a thousand, 
even in England, from the fear and diligent serving of the 
Lord. And surely this is a silly argument. And are these 
honest men that are the factors of satan the great deceiver, 
in cheating themselves and others into hell ? 

But the godly deal plainly with themselves and others. 
They are willing to know the truth of their condition, and 


not to make themselves believe that which God never made 
them believe. They promise not salvation to themselves on 
any lower terms than God hath promised it. They have no 
hope of being saved without holiness. They set not God's 
mercy asjainst his truth, nor the merits of Christ against his 
covenant. They know that God is better acquainted with 
the ways and effects of his own mercies than we are. And 
therefore though they hope to be saved by God's mercy, it 
is by his sanctifying mercy, and not to be saved without 
sanctification ; that is, without salvation itself and the ne- 
cessary means. They know that it is abundant mercy to be 
saved in a way of holiness, and desire no other saving mer- 
cy. Yea, they know that sanctification and glorification 
both, are greater mercy than glorification alone, if it were 
possible to be alone. This is the doctrine that the godly 
do believe, and this they practise, and this they teach others, 
and this they have learnt of God ; and therefore they are no 

9. Moreover, do you think that he is an honest man that 
is an enemy to the public good ? or rather he that is a com- 
mon benefactor? The best of the heathens thought it one of 
the highest parts of virtue, to be serviceable to many, and 
devote ourselves to the common good. But wicked men 
are the very plagues of a land. For their sakes it is that 
judgments come upon us. It is they that would let in the 
plague of sin which would undo us. He that sets fire to 
the thatch, doth do no worse against your towns, than wick- 
ed men that would kindle the tire of the wrath of God by 
their crying sins. Read the Scriptures, and see who it was 
that caused Israel to perish in the wilderness, but unbeliev- 
ing sinners. Who troubled Israel, and made them fly before 
their enemies, but one Achan ? Josh. vii. And what but 
sin was the cause of their captivity and present desolation ? 
Was it Lot or the Sodomites that brought down from hea- 
ven the lire of vengeance ? Was it Noah or the world of the 
ungodly that brought down the flood? Are these honest 
men that provoke God to forsake the land, and are the ver- 
min and destroyers of our peace and happiness? But you 
know that God hath promised his blessing to the godly, and 
to the places where they live ofttimes for their sakes, as Jo- 
seph's case and others tell us. 

10. That man can be no honest man that wanteth the 


very principle of honesty, and that intendeth not the end 
that is necessary to make any action truly honest : but such 
are all ungodly men. 

(L) The principle of true honesty is the high esteem of 
God and everlasting life, in our understandings, and the be- 
lief of God's revelations necessary to the attaining of that 
life, and the prevailing love of God in the heart, and the love 
of man for his sake. Without these principles of honesty, 
no man can be honest. How can he be an honest man that 
bdlieveth not his Maker? He that taketh God for a liar, 
hath no reason to be taken for any better himself. For 
would he be thought better than he takes God himself to be? 
Nor can he in reason be expected to believe any man else : 
for none can be better than God. And is that an honest 
man that professeth himself a liar, and taketh all men to be 
so too ? 

And how can that be an honest man, that loveth not 
God so well as his fleshly lusts and pleasures ? And this is 
the case of all the wicked. If they did not love their riches 
and honour, and sensual pleasures more than God, they 
would not keep them against his command, nor lose his fa- 
vour rather than lose them, nor seek them more carefully 
than they seek him and his kingdom, and think of them and 
speak of them with more delight. And certainly he that 
loveth his riches, or honours, or filthy sins, better than God 
and heaven itself, must needs be thought to prefer them be- 
fore his nearest friends, or the common good. And is that 
an honest man that would rather cast off father or mother 
than cast off his filthy sins ? and that would rather forsake 
his chiefest friend, than forsake his vices? and would sell 
his friend, or the commonwealth, for a little gain or plea- 
sure, even for a whore, or for drunkenness, or such like 
things ? I think you would none of you say that this were 
an honest man, that would not leave so small a matter for 
the life of his friend, or for the preservation of the common- 
wealth. And can you expect that he should prefer any 
friend before God and his salvation? If he will sin against 
God, and sell his salvation for his sin, can you think he 
should more regard any man, how dear soever ? There is no 
true honesty in that man where the love of God doth not 

VOL. X. R 


2. Moreover if the honouring and pleasing of our Lord, 
and the saving of our souls be not the end and principal mo- 
tive of our actions, there can be no true honesty. It is essen- 
tial to honesty that God be our end. If you would know 
what a man is, first know what he intendeth, and maketh 
the end and mark of his life. And so you must do if you 
wouldjudgeof his actions. The end is the principal ingredient 
that makes them good or bad. If a thief love God because he 
prospereth him in stealing, or because he giveth him strength 
and opportunity ; this is a wicked love of God. If a drunkard 
love God for giving him his drink, and a whoremonger love 
God for strengthening him in his lust, will you call this ho- 
nesty ? Every wicked man doth make his sensual, present 
pleasure his principal end through all his life. If he love his 
neighbour, it is but carnally, as a dog loveth him that feed- 
eth and stroketh him. If he seem to be a good common- 
wealth's man, it is but for vainglory or carnal accommoda- 
tions ; and he fighteth for his king or country but as a dog 
doth for his bone. If he give to the poor, it is but that which 
he can spare from his belly ; and it is either in a common 
pity, or for vain applause, or he thinks by it to stop the 
mouth of justice, that God may let him alone in his sins, or 
save him after all his wickedness. This is' no more an ho- 
nest man, than he that makes a trade of stealing, and will 
pay tithes of all that he steals, or give some part to the church 
or poor, that God may pardon him, and save him when he 
hath done. All the religion, and all the charity of wicked 
men, is but for themselves ; and that which hath no higher 
end than carnal self, is truly no religion or charity. It is 
only the sanctified man that is honest ; for it is only he that 
is devoted to God, and doth the works of his life to please 
and glorify his Maker. There is more honesty in the very 
eating and drinking of the sanctified, than in the prayers, 
and sacrifices, and alms-deeds of the ungodly. Or else God 
would never have said as he hath done, that *' unto the pure 
all things are pure : but to them that are defiled and unbe- 
lieving is nothing pure, but even their mind and conscience 
is defiled" (Tit. i. 15.) ; and that " every creature is sancti- 
fied by the word of God and by prayer" (1 Tim. iv. 4, 5.) ; 
and that the prayer and sacrifice of the wicked is abomina- 
tion to the Lord, and he abhorreth and loatheth them ; when 


the prayer of the upright is his delight ; Prov. xv. 8. xxi. 27. 
Isa. i. 13. Prov. xxviii. 9. viii. 7. xi.20. For the sanc- 
tified in their very eating and drinking do make it their end 
to glorify God, and to be fitted for his service ; 1 Cor. x. 31. 
But the ungodly do all, even in their duties that seem most 
holy, but for a selfish, carnal end. So that it is plain that 
he that vvanteth the necessary principles and end, that must 
inform an honest mind and life, can have no honesty of mind 
or life. ** Now the end of the commandment is charity, 
out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith 
unfeigned ;" 1 Tim. i. 5. 

But perhaps you will say, that there hath been honesty 
found among heathens : and therefore this doctrine cannot 
hold. To which I answer, 1. If this were true, yet it is prov- 
ed, that there is no comparison between their honesty and 
the true Christian's. 2. But indeed, there was never true 
honesty found in any ungodly man. But something that is 
like to honesty they may have. Materially they may do the 
same outward acts that honest men do ; and this the world 
accounteth honesty, that seeth not the inside, and the ends, 
and therefore give the name to the matter without the form. 
And such may be honest ' secundum quid,* but not * simpli- 
citer.* An analogical honesty they may have, and be less 
dishonest than some others. And so as Robin Hood was 
called an honest thief that would rob none but the rich, and 
sometimes bring a yoke of oxen that he had stolen, and give 
them to the poor that had none ; so may a heathen and un- 
godly man be honest. But men must be denominated (and 
so must their actions) according to what is predominant in 
them. And therefore we must say, if we will syjeak proper- 
ly, that no ungodly man is honest. 

If you ask. How then it comes to pass that such are ac- 
counted honest men, and that the world discerneth not the 
honesty that consisteth in a holy life ? I answer, 1. Because 
that all the ungodly have an enmity to holiness. And ma- 
lice blindeth men, that they cannot see the good that is in 
those they hate. 2. Because they do not know what godli- 
ness is, and therefore know not the honesty of it appearing 
in its principles, ends, and rule. For it is not effectually 
known by any but those that have it. 3. Because all car- 
nal men do judge after the flesh ; and as they are to them- 
selves their highest end, so they do judge of all things else, 


according to that end. He is an honest man with them that 
is for them, and furthereth their commodity, or answereth 
their desire. Mark them whether they judge not those to be 
the most honest men, that suit themselves most to their 
minds and wills, and say and do as they would have them. 
And so among thieves there are none so honest men as their 
companions, nor among drunkards none so honest as they 
that will sit with them, and waste their time, and prate like 
idiots over a pot of ale, forgetting that death and judgment 
are posting toward them while they sit there. And among 
harlots their mates seem honest. So that dishonest men are 
not fit judges of honesty. That which is fitted to their cor- 
rupted mind is best with them. And this is their honesty. 
By this time you may see, if you are not wilfully blind, 
that the way of godliness is the only honest way ; and there- 
fore you must either be godly or dishonest ; and pretend not 
any longer that you are honest while you are ungodly ; un- 
less you will increase your shame by your contradictions. 
The Scripture description of one that is honest is, that " in 
simplicity and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom, but by 
the grace of God, he hath his conversation in the world ;" 
2 Cor. i. 22. The honesty which the Gospel teacheth, and 
which God will own is this, " That denying ungodliness and 
worldly lusts, we live soberly, righteously, and godly in this 
present world, looking for that blessed hope and the glori- 
ous appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus 
Christ ;" Tit. ii. 12, 13. " A godly seed" is opposed to the 
fruit of adultery ; Mai. ii. 15. And when David lamenteth 
the decay of honesty in the world, his language tells you 
whom he took for honest men, Psal. xii. 1. "Help Lord, for 
the godly man ceaseth ; for the faithful fail from among the 
children of men;" andver.8. you may perceive what he thinks 
of others : " The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest 
men are exalted." To '* serve God with reverence and god- 
ly fears" is the true honesty ; Heb. xii. 28. And now choose 
you whether you Vi^ill be honest or ungodly ; but be sure 
that it is the godly that are esteemed honest, and accepted 
by the Lord; and however the world judgeth, "Know that 
the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself," as he 
tells you, Psal. iv. 3. 



Holiness is the most Gairifulway, 

We have certainly found out already the safest way, and 
the MOST HONEST way. We are next to inquire which way 
is most profitable. And one would think that this should be 
as easily resolved as the rest. I am sure if God be wiser 
than man, and his holy word to be believed, the question is 
decided, and beyond dispute. Saith Paul, lTim.vi.5, 6. 
" Men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, suppose 
that gain is godliness,'' or that it is better than godliness, and 
therefore their godliness to be suited to their worldly gain. 
" But (it is) godliness with contentment which is the great 
gain." Yea, " godliness is profitable to all things, having 
the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to 
come ;" ITim. iv.8. 

But to what end should I cite more words of Scripture-, 
for a point which all the Scripture moveth ? It is not pos- 
sible that any man can be unresolved in this, that under- 
standeth and believeth the word of God. But yet because 
I see that commodity is so much looked after in the world, 
and almost all are for the gainful way, as they apprehend it, 
and therefore it is plain that godliness is not practically be- 
lieved to be the most gainful way (or else men would follow 
it as eagerly as they do their worldly gain). I shall there- 
fore open to you somewhat of that gain that godliness doth 
bring ; and if you can say that any other course will prove 
as gainful, and make it good, then take that course. But if 
you cannot, consider what you have to do ; and do not re- 
fuse your own commodity. 

1. The first part of our gain, which is the sum of all the 
rest, is God himself who is become our God, through Jesus 
Christ. He is in covenant with all the saints (Psal.1.5.), 
and this is the covenant, " I will be your God, and you shall 
be my people ;*' Jer. vii. 23. Ezek. xx^vi. 28. Jer. xi. 4. 
XXX.22. Lev. xxvi.45. Ezek. xi. 20. xxxvii. 23.27. 2 Cor. 
vi. 16. He is a God to others, as a king is a king to traitors, 
whom he will condemn. But he is a God to his people, as 
a king is related to his faithful subjects, and a father to his 
dearest child. When he calleth himself * our Father,' he 


speaketh so much of his children's happiness, as is their ad- 
miration as well as their joy. But when he calleth himself 
our God, he speaks as much as can be spoken. 

To be * our God' is to be * the Infinite, Power, Wisdom, 
and Goodness engaged to us for our good, and to be ours 
according to our necessity and capacity.' 

This, O ye worldlings, is the riches of the saints ! This 
is the wealth that we will boldly boast. Boast you of your 
houses, and lands, and money, and we will boast of our God. 
Have you houses, and towns, and countries at command ? 
Be it so ; but the saints have the God of the world to be their 
God. Have you kingdoms and dominions ? We have the 
God of all the earth ; the King of kings, and Lord of lords. 
Set all your riches in the balance against him, and try what 
they will prove. Set all the world, and the kingdoms, and 
the glory, and the wealth of it in the balance, and try whe- 
ther they are any more to God, than one dust or feather to 
all the world \ yea, they are ** nothing, and less than nothing; 
vanity, and lighter than vanity itself;" Isa.xl. 16, 17. This 
one jewel containeth all our treasure. He is ours that hath 
all things. " What then can we need ?" Psal. xxiii. 1. He 
is ours that knoweth all things. Who then can overreach 
us, or undo us by deceit ? He is ours that can do all things. 
What then should we fear ? and what power shall prevail 
against us ? He is ours that is goodness and love itself. 
How then can we be miserable ? or what imperfection can 
there be in our felicity ? " They that trust in their wealth, 
and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches, none 
of them can by any means redeem his brother (nor himself) 
that he should live for ever, and not see corruption ;" Psal. 
xlix. 6, 7. 9. ** But God will redeem us from the power of 
the grave ; for he shall receive us ;" ver. 15. ** Let the 
workers of iniquity boast themselves awhile ;" Psal. xciv. 4. 
" Let the wicked boast of their heart's desire, and bless the 
covetous whom the Lord abhorreth ;" Psal. x. 3. " It is 
the Lord that is king for ever and ever ; thatheareth the de- 
sires of the humble ; that prepareth our hearts, and prepar- 
eth his ear to hear ;" ver. 16, 17. " Our souls shall make 
their boast in God ;" Psal. xxxiv. 2. ** O taste and see that 
the Lord is good ! blessed is the man that trusteth in him." 
But you cannot say truly. Blessed is the man that hath hinds 
and lordships; blessed is the man that hath crowns and king- 


doms. Yea, truly you may say, " Cursed is the man that 
trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and withdraweth 
his heart from the Lord ;" Jer. xvii. 5. " Fear the Lord ye 
his saints, for there is no want to them that fear him ;" PsaL 
xxxiv. 8 — 10. But when you have all the world, you cannot 
say that you have no want. ** Confounded then be the co- 
vetous idolaters, that boast themselves of their idols ;" PsaL 
xcvii. 7. " But in God will we boast all the day long, and 
praise his name for evermore ;" Psal. xliv. 8. What have 
you but the gleanings of our harvest, and the crumbs that 
fall from the children's table ? Our God is he that giveth 
you your prosperity. He droppeth you these leavings^ from 
the redundancy of his goodness, when he hath given himself, 
his Son, and all things to his own. All that we want, and 
all that our souls desire, is in God. ** We have none in hea- 
ven but him, nor any in earth that we desire besides him ;" 
Psal. Ixxiii. 25. " His lovingkindness is better to us than 
life;*' Psal.lxiii. 3. "Our flesh and our heart faileth us 
(and all the creatures fail us), but God is the strength of our 
hearts and our portion for ever ;*' Psal. Ixxiii. 26. Verily, 
the riches of all the princes of the earth is less in compari- 
son of him that is the treasure and portion of the saints, than 
a straw is to all the earth, or a little dirt to the shining sun. 
2. Would you yet hear more of the riches of believers 
(though more than God there cannot be). " The Lord Jesus 
Christ is their Head and Husband ; their Saviour and Inter- 
cessor at God's right hand." They are married to him. 
His merits are theirs for all those uses to which they need 
them. "It is he that justifieth. Who tken shall condemn 
them? 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 ?" Rom. viii. 32. 34. " Christ is the pearl of infinite 
value," for whom we have willingly sold all ; Matt. xiii. 45, 
46. And what are all your treasures to this treasure ? Ask 
Paul, and he will tell you, that had tried both. " His gain 
he counteth loss for Christ ; yea, all things he accounted but 
loss and dung,forthe excellency of the knowledge of Christ;" 
Phil. iii. 7, 8. It is love incomprehensible, surpassing know- 
ledge, that is revealed to us in Christ;" Eph.iii. 18, 19. 
" The riches of Christ are unsearchable riches ;" ver. 8. It 
is Christ that bindeth up our broken hearts ; that is the 
Peace-maker and Reconciler of our souls to God. What he 


hath done for us and what he will do, I shall tell you anon. 
But the ungodly have no part in him, nor have they any such 
treasure, that will do for them what Christ will do for us. 
Their treasure is the wrath of God, which they are ** heaping 
up against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous 
judgment of God ;" Rom.ii.5. " All the treasures of wis- 
dom and knowledge are hid in Christ ;" Col. ii. 3. And he 
hath them for us, according to our measure, as being our 
Treasury, our Head, and made of God to *' us wisdom, and 
righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption ;" 1 Cor. i. 
30. They are " exceeding riches of grace" that are shewed 
in the kindness of God through Jesus Christ, to all that are 
sanctified by that grace ; Ephes. ii. 6 — 8. Yea, that you 
may see there is no comparison, even that which you abhor 
in a Christian's case, and account his misery and the worst 
of Christ, is better than the best of your condition, and 
than that for which you lose your souls. For the " very re- 
proach of Christ is greater riches than the treasures of the 
world ;" Heb. xi. 26. And it is the reproach that we under- 
go for Christ, that you most abhor, and the treasures of the 
world that you most highly esteem. It is greater riches to 
be one of them that are scorned and derided for the sake of 
Christ, than to be one of them that hath the wealth of the 
world at his dispose. And if the reproach of Christ be greater 
riches than all yours, what then is his life, and love, and be- 
nefits ? his grace and glory ? 

3. Would you have the riches of the saints yet further 
opened to you? Why, the Holy Ghost is in covenant with 
them as their sanctifier and comforter. And he is not only 
theirs himself, by covenant and relation, but he also dwell- 
eth in them by his graces, and restoreth the image of God 
upon them. They are the " tempies of the Holy Ghost, 
which is in them ;" 1 Cor. vi. 19. And by the Spirit, and by 
faith, Christ dwelleth in their hearts ; Ephes. iii. 17. Rom. 
viii. 11. 1 Cor. iii. IG. God himself doth dwell in them, and 
converse with them, and write his law in their hearts, and 
teach them himself by this his Spirit ; 2 Cor. vi. 16. Heb. 
i. 10. X. 16. " Hereby we know that he dwelleth in us, by 
the Spirit which he hath given us ;" 1 John iii. 14. Yea, ** he 
that is joined to the Lord, is one spirit ;'* 1 Cor. vi. 17. For 
**the Lord is that Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is 
there is liberty j" 2 Cor. iii. 17. ** We are an habitation of 


God through the Spirit ;" Ephes. ii. 22. ** Because we are 
sons, God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, 
whereby we cry, Abba, Father;" Gal. iv. 6. By this Spirit 
the saints have "access unto the Father;" Ephes. ii. 18. 
and by this it is, that they are quickened to prayer and ho- 
ly worship, and their infirmities are helped; chap. vi. 18. 
Rom. viii. 1 1 . 26. By this they " fight against the flesh, and 
overcome it;" Gal.v. 17, 18. Rom. viii. 13. In this they 
** live, and walk, and work ;" Rom. viii. 1.5. Gal.v. 16.25. 
This Spirit is the " testimony of their adoption" (Rora. viii. 
16.), and the " seal and earnest of their heavenly inherit- 
ance ;" 2 Cor. i. 22. v. 5. Ephes. iv. 30. By this they " are 
new born ;" John iii. 5, 6. " And put off the old man which 
is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and being renew- 
ed in the spirit of their minds, do put on the new man, which 
after God is created in righteousness and true holiness ;" 
Ephes. iv. 22 — 24. By the illumination of this Spirit, they 
have a new understanding, and are brought "out of dark- 
ness into the marvellous light of Christ" (1 Pet. ii.9.), that 
they " may know what is the hope of the Christian vocation, 
and what is the riches of the glory of Christ's inheritance in 
the saints ;" Ephes. i. 18. In a word, by this Spirit their sins 
are mortified, their souls renewed, and made like to God, and 
they " become a holy priesthood, a peculiar people unto 
Christ, and in this Spirit have communion with him ;" Rom. 
viii, 13. Tit. iii. 5. 1 Pet. ii. 9. Tit. ii. 14. 2 Cor. xiii. 14. 
And what is all the riches of this world, to this heavenly 
treasure, the Spirit of the Lord? They that have this Spi- 
rit, are taught by it to set light by all your riches, and to es- 
teem one day's communion with Christ above all the gold 
and glory of this world. And that which sets the soul of 
man so far above riches, is better than those riches. As your 
lands and honours do set you above the pins and points that 
children take for their treasure, and set as much by as you 
do by yours ; so the Spirit of Christ and the life of faith, 
doth set the souls of true believers a thousandfold more 
above your riches, than you are above your children's toys. 
If yet you see not the riches of saints consider but the 
wonderful expression, 2 Pet. i. 4. That they " have exceed- 
ing great and precious promises given them, that by these 
they may be partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped 
the corruption that is in the world through lust. And caa 


there be more on earth bestowed on man, than to be made 
partakers of the Divine nature ? As it would be a greater 
gift to a brute, to be made a man, and have manly riches, 
than to have a store of provender suited to his brutishness ; so 
is it greater riches to the ungodly to be sanctified and made 
partakers of that nature that is called Divine by God him- 
self, than to have provision for unmortified lusts, and to have 
all the contentments of a fleshly mind. It were a greater gift 
to an idiot, to be made a wise and learned man, than to be 
furnished with feathers or sticks to play with. So is it here. 
4. Every truly sanctified man, is restored from the mise- 
ry that he was brought into by sin. He hath all his sins for- 
given him, and is freed from the curse of the law, by the me- 
rits of Christ, and the promise of the Gospel. " For in him 
we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness 
of sins ;" Col. i. 14. " And by him all that believe are jus- 
tified from all things, from which they could not be justified 
by the law of Moses ;" Acts xiii. 39. " When we were dead 
in our sins, we were quickened with Christ, and had all our 
trespasses forgiven us ;" Col. ii. 13. Ask a wounded con- 
science that groaneth under the weight of sin, and under the 
sense of God's indignation, whether forgiveness of sin be a 
treasure or not? I am sure they that now are past forgive- 
ness, and feel what sin is in the bitter fruits, would give ten 
thousand worlds, if they had them, for the pardon of their 
sins : and would account forgiveness a greater mercy than 
all the riches and kingdoms of the world. What a heavy 
curse did the Spirit of God pass upon Simon Magus, for 
thinking that money was a valuable thing to purchase the 
Holy Ghost with ! " Thy money perish with thee, because 
thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased by 
money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter, for 
thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore 
of this thy wickedness," &c. Acts viii. 20, 21. The name 
of Simon Magus is odious to us all ; and yet I doubt that 
most among us exceed him in the sin for which he is thus 
cursed. For he thought the gift of the Holy Ghost to be 
better than his money, or else he would not have offered his 
money for it. But most men take their money to be better 
than the gift of the Holy Ghost. If he that would have pur- 
chased the Holy Ghost, yeaa lower and less necessary gift of 
the Spirit, was pronounced wicked, and cursed with such a 


heavy curse, what are they that set more by their money 
than by the special gift of the Holy Ghost, yea that hate and 
deride it, and plead against its sanctifying work ? The time 
is near when your riches will fail you, and your prosperity 
die, and your sins will live ; and then there is none of you 
all but will say that pardon and grace are greater riches than 
all the world. 

5. Moreover, the ungodly have angels to attend them and 
be their guard, as I have proved to you before. And are 
horses, andkine, and oxen, think you, greater riches than the 
guard and ministration of the angels of God ? Heb. i. 14. 
Psal. xci. 11, 12. 

6. And surely the very communion of saints and ordi- 
nances of God which in the church we here enjoy, are greater 
riches than all the world. We are now " no more strangers 
and foreigners, but fellow citizens of the saints, and of the 
household of God ;" Ephes. ii. 19. We are members of that 
well tempered body, where all the members are obliged and 
disposed to have the " same care one for another," that if 
** one suffer all suffer, and if one be honoured all rejoice ;" 
1 Cor. xii.25, 26. As weak as Christians are, and as worth- 
less in your eyes, one of their hearty spiritual prayers, and 
one word of their holy savoury conference, doth profit us 
more than all your treasures will ever profit you. While the 
Divine nature is in them, somewhat divine will proceed from 
their mouths, and be seen in their lives, which is worth more 
than all the riches of the world. And O how fruitful are the 
holy ordinances which we partake of, both in the church's 
communion, and alone in our retirements ! A poor Chris- 
tian can get more in a sermon which you. sleep under, or de- 
ride, than you will get by your trades or livings while you 
live. He findeth greater treasures in one chapter of the Bi- 
ble, or in one good book, than you can get out of all your 
lands or labour. The best of your livings will not yield you 
so much commodity in seven years, nor in seven thousand 
years, if you could so long keep them, as a believing soul 
can get from God in one hour's prayer, even in secret, where 
he is not by man observed. You do not believe this, that 
are ungodly. I know you do not heartily believe it ; for else 
you would try it, and not continue in your ungodliness. But 
they that try it, know it to be true, or else what makes them 


continue in it, and live upon their holy communion with God 
and his servants, more resolvedly than you do on your lands 
and labours? Somewhat you may conjecture they find in 
holy duty, that makes them so instant in it as they are. 

7. Another part of our commodity by holiness, is the pro- 
mise and assurance of the love of God and of our salvation ; 
and the peace of conscience that followeth hereupon. All 
true believers have objective certainty; that is, the thing 
is certain in itself, whether they perceive it or not. And they 
may have subjective or actual certainty in themselves if they 
do their parts. And is not a certain title to a lordship or a 
kingdom greater treasure than the possession of a straw ? 
Much more is God's promise of everlasting glory a greater 
treasure than all your wealth. As heaven is infinitely better 
than earth, so the promise of God is the best security. 
Though we be not with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and do 
not yet see the face of God, yet have we a promise that spee- 
dily we shall be there, and shall see that which they see, and 
enjoy all that which they enjoy. The poorest Christian hath 
all that in promise under the hand of God himself, which an- 
gels and glorified saints have in possession. They can shew 
you a better title to heaven, though they are unworthy in 
themselves, than any of you can shew to your lands or houses, 
in your deeds or leases. As poor and simple as that godly 
man is whom you despise, he is an " heir of heaven, and a fel- 
low heir with Christ ;" Rom. viii. 17. Gal.iii.29. Heb.i. 14. 
xi. 9. When we had " the washing of regeneration, and the 
renewing of the Holy Ghost, and were justified by grace, we 
were made the heirs of eternal life, according to the hope" 
that is given us by the Gospel ; Tit. iii. 5. 7. And God that 
hath given them those " better things that accompany sal- 
vation, is not unrighteous to forget their work and labour 
of love, if they do but shew the same diligence to the full as- 
surance of hope unto the end, and be not slothful, but fol- 
lowers of them, who through faith and patience inherit the 
promises ;" Heb. vi. 9 — 12. ** For this cause was Christ the 
Mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death, for 
the redemption of the transgressions under the first testa- 
ment, they which are called may receive the promise of the 
eternal inheritance ;" Heb. ix. 15. And " we know that he 
is faithful that hath promised." And if your bills, and bonds, 
and deeds, and leases, be part of your riches, we shall much 



more take the promise of God for our everlasting happiness 
in heaven, to be far greater riches. 

8. And yet we may put this among our riches, or at least 
as the overplus given us by God, that we have better advan- 
tage even for the matters of this world, than the ungodly 
have. For we have a promise that we shall lack nothing that 
is good for us; Psal.xxiv. 10. And so have not they. We 
have warrant to cast all our care on God, who by promise 
is engaged to care for us ; 1 Pet. v. 7. We are commanded 
to be (anxiously) " careful for nothing, but in all things make 
known our requests to God," as little children that care not 
for themselves, but go to their father for what they want ; 
Phil. iv,6. It is enough for us whatever we want, that " our 
heavenly Father knoweth that we want it ;" Matt. vi. 32. 
Who hath charged us to disburden our minds of these vexa- 
tious cares, and to " seek first his kingdom, and the righte« 
ousness thereof," and promised us that '* other things shall 
be added to us ;" Matt, vi.33. We have also a promise that 
** all things shall work together for our good;" Rom.viii. 
28. And therefore we shall have more from things of this 
life, than the ungodly have. Yea, more by the want of them 
than they by the possession. For if they do us good in our 
graces and communion with God, and in the matter of our 
salvation, they help us to that which is of far higher value 
than themselves. Poverty to a true believer, is better than 
riches to the ungodly that destroyeth himself by them, when 
the believer is helped by his poverty. Imprisonment to Paul 
and Silas, was better than liberty to their persecutors. And 
thus in the fruits and saving benefits, ** all things are ours ;" 
1 Cor.iii.22. We have the love of God with what we pos- 
sess, be it more or less, when the wicked have his wrath with 
it. And who would have their riches on such terms ? 

9. Another part of the gain of godliness is, that it 
puts us into a readiness to die, and a fitness to appear be- 
fore the Lord. Though all the godly have not so great a 
readiness as to desire to be presently dissolved, yet all of 
them are in a safe condition, and are so far ready, that death 
shall pass them into a blessed state. " For we know that if 
our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have 
a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in 
the heavens. And in this we groan earnestly, desiring to be 
clothed upon with our house which is from heaven. And 


God that hath given us the earnest of his Spirit, hath wrought 
in us, to be always confident (or at least give us cause), 
knowing that whilst we are at home in the body, we are ab- 
sent from the Lord. (For we walk by faith, and not by sight.) 
We are confident I say, and willing rather to be absent from 
the body and present with the Lord ;" 2 Cor. v. 1, 2. 8, 9. 
Though the abode of the godly in the flesh is usually more 
needful to those about them, yet to themselves their death 
is gain, and therefore they have cause to ** desire to depart, 
and be with Christ, as being far better ;" Phil. i. 21.23, 24. 
For sin, which is the sting of death, is mortified, and the 
curse of the law, which is the strength of it, is relaxed or 
nullified to us by the Gospel ; so that the believer may tri- 
umph and say, " O death where is thy sting ? O grave where 
is thy victory ?" (1 Cor. xv. 55, 56.) and " to give thanks to 
God that giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus 
Christ ;" ver. 57. Verily I would not exchange my part 
(though alas too small or dark a part) in this one privilege 
of true believers, for all the wealth and dominions on earth. 
O the faceof death will soon make the glory of all your great- 
ness to vanish, and the beauty of your flourishing estates to 
wither ; and all that you now glory in to appear as nothing. 
And then how glad would you be to change portions with 
the holy servants of the Lord, whom you now despise ! 
When once you hear, " Thou fool, this night shall they re- 
quire thy soul ! and whose then are all those things that thou 
hast provided?" (Lukexii.20.) then in a moment you will 
change your minds, and cry out of the world as nothing 
worth, and wish you had busied your hands in laying up a 
better treasure. This is one difference, O ungodly wretch, 
between a holy servant of God and thee ! Death cannot un- 
do him, but it will undo thee. It cannot take his riches from 
him ; for his God, his Christ, his holiness, the promises are 
his riches ; but it will separate thee and thy wealth for ever. 
It will put an end to all his troubles, and fears, and griefs ; 
and it will put an end to all thy prosperity, and to all thy 
mirth, and hope for ever. A godly man dare die : or if he 
ignorantly fear it, yet shall it be the end of all his fears ; but 
thou darest not die, and yet thou must ; or if thou ignorant- 
ly hope of a happiness after it, yet will it nevertheless end 
all thy hopes. O what a mercy it is to be ready to die ! 

10. But the great unspeakable riches of the saints is in 


the life to come. We have here the hope and the foretaste ; 
but it is only there that we shall have our portion. \ on see 
what a poor Christian is according to his outward appear- 
ance. But you see not what he will be to eternity. There 
is the kingdom for which we hope, and for which we run, 
and wait, and suffer. If God be true, and his Gospel true, 
then heaven shall be the portion of the sanctified. But if it 
were otherwise, then we would confess their hopes are vain. 
Heaven is our riches, or we have none. There have we laid 
up all our hopes ; and in these hopes we will live and die, as 
knowing they will not make us ashamed ; Rom. v. 5. ix.33. 
1 John ii. 28. We believe that we shall live with Christ in 
glory, " shine as stars in the firmament of our Father, and 
be " made like to the angels of God," and shall see his face, 
and praise his name, and live in his everlasting love and joy; 
for all this he himself hath promised us ; 1 Thess. iv. 17, 18. 
Dan. xii. 3. Matt. xiii. 43. Luke xx. 36. Rev. xxii. 4. 
Matt. XXV. 21. 

And now, poor worldling, what is all your gain and riches 
in comparison of the least of these ? Do you think in your 
judgments that there is any comparison? Or rather doth 
not sin and the world even brutify you, and make you lay by 
the use of your reason, and live as if you knew not what you 
know? Your treasure is all visible, when ours is unseen, 
and therefore I may bid you bring it forth, and let us see it, 
whether indeed it be better than the treasure of the saints. 
Let us see what that is that is better than God, and ever- 
lasting glory. What ! is a little fleshly ease or mirth ; a lit- 
tle meat, and drink, and pleasure ; a little more money, or 
space of ground to use than your neighbours have ; are these 
the things that you will change for heaven, and prefer be- 
fore the Lord that made you ? O poor miserable sinners ! 
Are you not told that you have your good things here ? But 
what will you have hereafter when this is gone ? Luke xvi. 25. 
When your wealth is gone, and your mirth is gone, your 
souls are immortal, and therefore your misery and horror 
will continue, and never be gone. As the wealth of the god- 
ly is within them, and above the reach of their enemies, and 
surer than yours, so is it the more durable, even everlasting. 
When all your riches are upon the wing, even ready to be 
gone, and leave you in sorrow, when you are most highly 
valuing thera, you have it now, but it is gone to-morrow. 


" And what is the hope of the hypocrite though he hath gain- 
ed, when God taketh away his soul ? Will God hear his cry 
when trouble coraeth upon him ?" Job xxvii. 8, 9. Let the 
words of Christ decide the controversy, if indeed you take 
him for your Judge. " If any man will come after me let him 
deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For 
whosoever will save his life shall lose it, and whosoever will 
lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man pro- 
fited if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ? 
Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ? For the 
Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his 
angels, and then he shall reward every man according to his 
works;" Matt. xvi. 24—27. 

Well, sirs, you that are all for getting, and for wealth, 
judge now if you have not lost your reason, whether a holy 
or unholy, a heavenly or an earthly life be the more profitable 
way ! I would not draw you to any thing that you should 
lose by. If I speak not for your gain, reject my words as 
contemptuously as you please. But if I do, then be not 
against your own commodity. Will such silly gain as the 
world affords you, do so much with you as it doth; and shall 
not the heavenly inheritance do more ? Shall all this stir be 
made in the world for that which you are ready to leave be- 
hind you, and will you not lay up a treasure in heaven where 
rust and moths corrupt not, and where you may live for ever? 
Matt. vi. 20. What profit now have all those millions of souls 
that are gone from earth, by all the wealth they here possess- 
ed ? Hear, sinners, and bethink you in the name of God. 
You are leaving earth and stepping into eternity, and where 
then should you lay up your riches ? Would you rather have 
your portion where you must stay but a few days, than where 
you must dwell for ever ? O " Labour not for the meat that 
perisheth," in comparison of " that which endureth to ever- 
lasting life, which Christ will give you," if you will follow 
him ; John vi. 27. Make you friends of this wealth that the 
world abuseth to " unrighteousness, that when all fails be- 
low, you may be received into the everlasting habitations ;" 
Luke xvi. 9. Make not yourselves a treasure of corruptible 
riches, and set not your hearts on " gold and silver, lest the 
rust of it be a witness against you, and eat your flesh as it 
were fire ; and lest ye heap up" anotherkind of treasure than 
you dream of against the last days. How many of you have 


cause to weep and howl for your approaching miseries, even 
then when you are glorying in your prospeiity? James v. 
1 — 5. Are you for commodity ? Refuse not then the best 
commodity. Be not enemies to them, or to those holy mo- 
tions, that make for your everlasting profit. Take but the 
most gainful course for yourselves, and we are pleased. If you 
know any thing better than God and glory, and any riches 
that will endure any longer than eternity, why do you not 
shew it us, that we may join with you ? But if you do not, 
why will you not hearken to the servants of the Lord, and 
join with them ? ** Wherefore, saith the Lord, do you spend 
your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for 
that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and 
eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in 
fatness. Incline your ear, come unto me, hear and your souls 
shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you;" 
Isa. Iv. 2, 3. If there be not more to be gotten by Christ, and 
by prayer, and by the promises, and a holy life, than there 
is by sin, or than there is by all your friends, or lands, or 
trades, or care, or labour here, then take your course, and 
turn your back on God, and spare not. But if you are 
ashamed to say so, be ashamed to think so, or to live so. 

Verily sirs, if the Gospel be true, you must be every man 
of you saints, or miserable. Holiness is the only thriving 
way. Yea, the only saving way. If you forsake this way, 
you are losing while you are gaining, and losing by your 
gains. You are but making Achan's bargain, that by his gold 
did purchase a storm of stones that dashed out his brains ; 
Josh. vii. You are running after Gehazi's gains, that 
thought he had got riches, and it proved a leprosy. You are 
trading with the devil, though you see him not, and will not 
believe it, even as certainly as the miserable witches, that 
sell him their souls for a few fair promises, and when they 
have done have the most miserable life of any. You are lay- 
ing up but Judas's treasures, which quickly grew too hot to 
hold, and too heavy for his conscience to bear; and he would 
fain have rid his hands of it if he knew how ; and because he 
cannot he hangs himself, and rids himself out of the ashes 
into the flames. O covet not such undoing gains, which 
you all know as sure as you breathe, that you must let go. 
Believe but your Redeemer and you shall know that there 

VOL. X. s 


are greater and better things before you. Gather not stones 
when you may be gathering pearls. Hear me, poor sinner ! 
If God and heaven, if grace and glory seem not better riches 
than this world, thou judgestthyself to have no part in them. 


Holiness is the most Honourable way. 

We are resolved, if Scripture and reason can resolve us, that 
godliness is the safest, the most honest, and the most gain- 
ful course. I shall next shew you that it is the most honour- 
able course. I know the world thinks otherwise of it. In 
most places it is a matter of reproach to be but serious and 
diligent in God's service. And though in this place, and at 
this time, through the great mercy of God, it is not so with us, 
unless it be with here and there a sottish drunkard, yet there 
are too few places that are so much freed from this plague. 
And it is not yet I fear forgotten of God, since the very prac- 
tice of a godly life, was a matter of greater scorn and deri- 
sion, than to have been the profanest swearer or drunkard. 
If a man would not have gone to the alehouse with them, nor 
sworn, or spoke profanely as they did ; and if he made any 
serious mention of the Scripture, or the life to come ; if he 
reproved any gross offender, if he prayed and instructed his 
family, and spent the Lord's day in holy exercises, this was 
enough to brand him with the name of Puritan or Precisian, 
and make him the common byword of the town, and (let him 
be never so conformable to bishops and ceremonies) if once 
he went under the name of Puritan, he was looked upon as 
Lot in Sodom, by the open enemies of piety, who insulted 
over them, and lived securely in open wickedness. This is the 
chiefest sin that God hath been scourging this nation for, if 1 
am able to understand his judgments. I know men are apt to 
interpret providences according to their own interests and 
conceits. But 1 take the help of the Scripture, and the ex- 
|)erience of former ages for my interpretation ; and I am ve- 
rily persuaded (not excluding other sins) that the great sin 


for which God hath plagued England by a sharp and bloody 
war, was the common scorn that was cast upon his service, 
it being made the derision of too many in the land. I never 
came into any place, where mere serious diligence for salva- 
tion was not branded with the name of Puritanism and too 
much preciseness ; and those that abstained from iniquity 
were as owls among their neighbours, even the very wonder 
and the reproach of those about them. When this is made 
a principle that all must hold that ever hope to be accepted 
with the Lord, in (Heb. xi. 6.) that " he is a rewarder of them 
that diligently seek him." This is the next point in our 
faith, to the believing that there is a God. And yet among 
us that called ourselves Christians, the diligent seeking of 
the Lord was so far from being thus esteemed of, that it was 
the surest way to make a man contemptible and odious unto 
many. The jealous God did long endure this horrible indig- 
nity, but would not still endure it from us. Must he make 
a holy law for the government of the world, and shall the 
obeying of it be derided ? Is he our sovereign Lord, having 
by creation and redemption the right of ruling us, and shall 
we scorn them that will be ruled by him ? Those that will 
not have Christ rule over them, will surely be destroyed ; 
Luke xix. 27. And shall those escape that scorn his service ? 
Holiness is the image of God, and unholiness the devil's 
image. And when the image of God is made a scorn, and 
the devil's image had in honour, and that by them that call 
themselves Christians, was it not time for God to arise to 
judgment? Was it not enough that God was slighted by 
them, and his service turned out of doors, but it must be 
made a byword ? Is there but one way pleasing unto God, 
and but one way that leadeth to salvation, and must that one 
way be the common scorn? For these things God had a con- 
troversy with this land ; and he hath pleaded his cause with 
fire and sword, and spoke by a voice that will not be derid- 
ed. He hath entered into j udgment with priests and people. 
He will not always support and maintain a people to deride 
him. O England ! hadst thou none to make the football of 
thy scorn, but the servants of the most high God ? Did he 
not tell thee that they were his jewels? Mai. iii. 1. And that 
" he that touched them did touch the apple of his eye ?" Zech. 
ii. 8. Will he give his Son for them, and will he glorify them 
with himself, and make them equal to the angels ? Luke xx. 


36. And didst thou think he would give thee leave to make 
them the scorn and ofFscouring of the world ? Hadst thou 
none to make the football of thy contemptuous sport, but 
the sons of God, the spouse of Christ, yea his members, and 
the heirs of heaven ? O foolish nation, hadst thou none to 
deride and make thy byword but Christ himself ? Yea, it was 
Christ himself, though thou wilt not believe it ! " Inasmuch 
as thou didst it to one of the least of these his brethren, thou 
didst it unto him ;" Matt.xxv. 40. "In all their afflictions he 
was afflicted" (Isa. Ixiii. 9.) ; and therefore in all " their re- 
proaches he was reproached." All those that were derided 
for holiness, were derided upon Christ's account. If holi- 
ness be vile and to be scorned, then God himself is vile and 
to be scorned, and consequently is no God ; and what greater 
blasphemy could be uttered by the tongue of man ? For 
God is holiness itself. In us it is but a beam, from him 
the shining glorious Sun. If a little in us imperfect 
worms be hated by thee, how wouldst thou hate the perfect 
holiness of God ? And if we deserve thy scorns for our obe- 
dience (alas, our too imperfect obedience), it must fall upon 
him that made the law, and gave us these commands. If he 
be too precise that imperfectly obeyeth God, what will you 
say of God himself that commandethmore than any of us all 
performeth, and that chargeth us on pain of damnation to 
obey him? O how much more wisely would you do, 
if you daily studied, and diligently obeyed those laws your- 
selves ! If the rulers of the earth would remember him that 
is the King of kings, and did serve the Lord with fear, and 
rejoiced before him with trembling, and kissed the Son to 
prevent his anger, and their perishing in the way ! Psal. ii. 
11, 12. O England! had thy disobedient inhabitants never 
heard, how vain their rage and imaginations would be, when 
they " set themselves and took counsel against the Lord and 
his anointed, saying. Let us break their bands asunder, and 
cast away their cords from us?'' Did they never hear that 
the deriders were derided by him that sitteth in the heavens, 
and how he will shortly speak to them in wrath, that speak 
against his ways in malice, and will vex them in his sore dis- 
pleasure, that vexed his servants for the doing of his plea- 
sure ! Will they not believe, till hell have taught them that 
in despite of all his enemies, he will set his Son the King of 
saints upon his holy hill of Sion ? Psal. ii. 1 — 9. Had they 


never heard how hard at last it will prove for them to kick 
against the pricks ? Acts ix. 5. And will they not know by 
any other means but feeling, that he will destroy those as his 
enemies that "would not have him to reign over them?" 
(Lukexix. 27.) and that he will "break them with a rod of 
iron, and dash them in pieces -like a potter's vessel?" Psal. 
ii.9. O scorners ! did you never read his words, 1 Sam. ii. 
30. " Them that honour me I will honour, and they that de- 
spise me shall be lightly esteemed ?" Behold, ye despisers, 
and wonder and perish I for this word shall be fulfilled upon 
you, and the work be wrought which you would not believe 
when God foretold it, and will not yet understand and be- 
lieve though it be declared to you ; Acts xiii. 41. Think not 
that the infirmities of the godly do justify your contempt of 
godliness. Think not that a Judas in Christ's family will 
justify you for making a scorn of his family, and persecuting 
his disciples ! or that a Ham in the ark, or the sin of Noah 
will warrant you to make them as bad as the destroyed world 
for whom God had done so much to save ! Think not when 
you have jeered at a holy life, that God will take it for a 
good excuse, to tell him that you had found a fault in his 
servants, or a hypocrite crept into his church. He hateth their 
faults much more than you; but will you thft-efore hate their 
goodness ? Condemn the breaches of his laws and spare not; 
but will you therefore condemn the keeping of them ? O 
England ! if thou hadst had the grace or wit to use Christ 
better in his ways and servants, he would have used thee bet 
ter, and dealt more gently with thy inhabitants, and thy flames 
and calamities might have been prevented. Often wast thou 
told from 2 Chron. xxxvi. 14. what it was that captivated Israel 
and made their priests and people to be the heathens' slaves. 
" When the Lord God sent unto them by his prophets, be- 
cause he had compassion on his people and his dwelling- 
place, they mocked the messengers of God and despised his 
words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord 
arose against his people, till there was no remedy." But 
alas, thou hast gone much further than this. Israel mocked 
the prophets ; but I remember not that it is ever said of them, 
that the way of godliness itself was made a common scorn 
among them; but still they gloried in the Lord and in the 
law, and in the temple, and the holy worship. But here, if 
a man did but talk of heaven, or of any holy subject, or re^ 


prove a swearer, or not join with them in their impieties, the 
common cry was, * This is one of the holy brethren : 
here is one of the saints : it will never be well till we are rid 
of these Puritans and Precisians.' How often have I heard 
almost the same words from Englishmen, as Lot did from the 
Sodomites, " This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he 
will needs be a judge (Gen. xix. 9); when they lived " in 
their lasciviousness, lusts, excess of drink, revellings, ban- 
quettings, and abominable profanation of holy things, they 
thought it strange that we ran not with them to the same 
excess of riot, speaking evil of us," but forgetting the ac- 
count that their Judge was ready to require of them ; 1 Pet. 
iv. 3—5. 

Well ! have you yet taken warning by the judgments of 
the Lord ? God hath begun to take away the reproach of 
holiness, and through his great mercy to us it is more ho- 
nourable in England than formerly it hath been. Ls it ho- 
noured by you ? Or are you hardened to perdition ? Fear- 
ful is the case of him, whoever he be, that after all the gen- 
tle and terrible warnings of the Lord, dare think or speak 
reproachfully of a holy life ! Yet hear the calls of the Eter- 
nal Wisdom ; " How long ye simple ones will ye love sim- 
plicity, and the%corners delight in scorning ; and fools hate 
knowledge? Turn you at my reproof;" Prov. i. 20 — 22, 
&c. But mercies and judgments are lost on the hard-heart- 
*jd. " Let favour be shown to the wicked, yet will he not 
learn righteousness : in the land of uprightness will he deal 
unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord. 
When the hand of the Lord is lifted up, they will not see ; 
but they shall see and be ashamed for their envy at his peo- 
ple, and the enemies' own fire shall devour them ;" Isa. xxvi. 
10, IL And then as they " set at naught his counsel, and 
would none of his reproof," but mocked them that feared 
God ; so will he also " laugh at their calamity, and mock 
when their fear cometh. For that they hated knowledge, and 
did not choose the fear of the Lord." Prov. i. 25—27. 29. 

I will add but this one word of terror. To scorn at ho- 
liness is to scorn at the Holy Ghost, whose office or work it 
is to sanctify us. As the Father hath commanded us to be 
holy as he is holy (1 Pet. i. 16.) ; and made it his image on 
us y and as the Son hath come to destroy unholiness (1 John 
iii. 8.), and give us an example of perfect holiness, and sane- 


tify to himself a peculiar people (Titua ii. 14.); so is it the 
undertaken work of the Holy Ghost, as sent therefore from 
the Father and the Son, to make holy all that God will save. 
And though I say not that it is the unpardonable blasphemy 
against the Holy Ghost, to scorn his very work and office, 
yet I say it is a blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, so near 
that which is unpardonable, that the thoughts of it should 
humble all that have been guilty, and make men fear so 
horrible a sin. But ** blessed is he that walketh not in the 
counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, 
nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful ; but his delight is in 
the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and 
night." " The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wick- 
ed, but he blesseth the habitation of the just. Surely he 
scorneth the scorners, but he giveth grace unto the lowly ;' 
Prov. iii. 33, 34. These are the true sayings of the Lord, 

I thought not meet to pass by this necessary reproof of 
the contempt of holiness, which this land hath been so guilty 
of, and which hath undone so many souls, and made such 
desolations in the land. And now you shall see that I am 
able to make good the grounds of this reproof, and that ho- 
liness is no dishonourable thing. 

1 . The holy servants of the Lord have dhe most honour- 
able master in all the world. This only is sufficient to weigh 
down all the honours of the world, if it were ten thousand 
worlds. When the builders of the temple were asked their 
names by the officers of king Darius (Ezra v. 10, 11.), their 
answer was, " We are the servants of the God of heaven 
and earth." No king on earth, no angel in heaven hath a 
more honourable master. To be the highest officer of the 
greatest prince, is a title as much more base than this, as a 
man is baser than the Infinite God. If God cannot put suf- 
ficient honour on those that are related to him, tell us who 
can ? When Moses went to Pharaoh for the Israelites' de- 
liverance, he was to speak in the name of the Lord ; and 
when Pharaoh spake contemptuously of the Lord, as one 
that he knew not and would not obey, how wondrously 
doth God vindicate his honour and his people ! Let men 
be called knights and lords, and kings, and emperors ; may 
I but be truly called the servant of ^the God of heaven, I 
shall not envy them their honours ! Our relation to so glo- 
rious a majesty doth put an inexpressible honour upon the 


poorest person and the lowest works. A servant of the Lord 
is more honourable in rags, in a smoky cottage, or the mean- 
est state, than the Emperors of Constantinople or Tartary 
are in all their wealth and worldly glory. And if you think 
not so yourselves, why do you so much honour them when 
they are dead ? What was Peter and Paul, and the rest of 
the apostles, but poor despised men in the world, that tra- 
velled about to preach the Gospel? and what was their ho- 
nour but to be the holy servants of the Lord ? Yet now they 
are dead, you are desirous to keep holydays in an honourable 
memorial of them, and kings and princes reverence their 
names. What were the martyrs whose memories are now so 
honourable with us, but a company of hated, persecuted 
men, that were used by others as butchers do their beasts, 
and worse ? But because they were the servants of the Lord, 
and suffered for his truth and cause, their names are ho- 
nourable, and the names of their greatest persecutors do 
even stink. It is said of Constantine the Great, (who was 
himself greater by his holiness than his victories,) that he 
was wont to reverence the bishops that had been sufferers 
for Christ, and kissed the place where the eye abode that 
one of them had lost for the Gospel's sake. The Christian 
princes that rulell the world, were wont to honour the poor- 
est, mortified, retired servants of Christ, that had cast off 
the world, as perceiving that he is more honourable that 
contemneth it, than he that enjoyeth it. The nearest to 
God undoubtedly are the most honourable. 

2. Consider, that as it is God that the saints are thus 
related to, so their relation is so near, and their titles so ex- 
ceeding high, which God himself had put upon them, that it 
advanceth them to the greatest height of honour that men 
on earth can reasonably expect. Yea, with holy admiration 
we must say it, so wonderful is the honour which the glo- 
rious God hath put upon his poor, unworthy servants, that 
they durst not have owned it, nor thought such titles meet 
for men, if God himself had not been the author of them! 
Nor could they have believed that God would so advance 
them, if he had not both revealed it, and given them faith to 
believe his revelation. As if it were not enough for us to 
be his servants, he calleth us his friends ; " Greater love 
hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his 
friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command 


you. Henceforth I call you not servants ; for the servant 
knoweth not what his Lord doeth : but I have called you 
friends ; for all things that I have heard of my Father, I 
have made known unto you ;*' John xv. 13 — 15. 

( 1 .) Abraham " was called the Friend of God ;" Jam. ii. 23. 

(2.) And they are called the Lord's jewels ; Mai. iii. 17. 

(3.) They are called his beloved, and dearly beloved ; 
Deut. xxxiii. 12. Psal. Ix. 5. cxxvii. 2. Cant. ii. 16. vi. 
3. vii. 10. Holy and beloved are inseparable. " Beloved 
of God, called to be saints ;" Rom. iv. 7. '* The elect of God, 
holy and beloved ;" Col. iii. 12. They are the dearly belov- 
ed of his soul (Jer. xii. 7.); for they are " accepted in the 
beloved" (Eph. i. 6.) ; even in the " beloved Son in whom 
the Father is well pleased ;" Matt. iii. 17. xvii. 5, 

(4.) They are called children, or adopted sons ; Gal. iv. 
6. John i. 12. And he disdaineth not to be called their 
Father; Heb. xii. 9. Matt, xxiii. 9. 2 Cor. vi. 18. " I will 
be a father to you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, 
saith the Lord Almighty;" Mai. iii. 17. He will spare 
them^as a man spareth his son that serveth him. 

(5.) They are called also the heirs of heaven ; Rom. viii. 
17. A more honourable heritage than earth affords. 

(6.) They are called " a peculiar people to the Lord" 
(Tit. ii. 14.) ; and his " peculiar treasure ;" Exod. xix. 5. 
Psal. cxxxv. 4. 

(7.) They are called " kings and priests to God ;" Rev. 
i. 6. They are a" chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a 
holy nation, a peculiar people ;" 1 Pet. ii. 9. 

(8.) The sanctified are called the spouse of Christ ; Cant. 
iv. 8 — 13. Because of the similitude of the holy covenant 
which they make with Christ to a marriage covenant ; and 
because of the dearness of his love to them, and the near- 
ness and sweetness of his communion with them. Matt, 
xxii. 2. 4. 9. The Lord is said to be married to them ; Jer. 
iii. 14. And their Maker calls himself their Husband ; Isa. 
liv. 5. 

(9.) Yea more, they are called the members of Christ ; 
1 Cor. vi. 15. xii. 12. They are the " body of Christ and 
members in particular ;" ver. 27. We are " members of his 
body, of his flesh, and of his bones, loved and cherished by 
him, as a man doth his own flesh;" Ephes. v. 25. 28 — 30. 
32. They are kept by the Lord as the apple of his eye ; 


Deut. xxxii. 10. And he that ** toucheth them, toucheth 
the apple of his eye;" Zech ii. 8. What nearness! what 
dearness do those terms express ! 

(10.) Yea, they are said to be one with Christ ; ** He' that 
is joined to the Lord is one spirit;'* 1 Cor.vi. 17. "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 believe 

that thou hast sent me. That they may be one, even as 

we are one ; I in them and thou in me, that they may be 
made perfect in one ;" John xvii. 21 — 23. Not that they are 
one in Godhead, or personality, or office with Christ, but 
most nearly conjoined as subjects to their prince, that make 
one body politic, and as a wife to a husband, and nearer than 
these can express, in that they have the communication^ of 
his Spirit. 

Judge now by all these wonderful titles, whether any but 
an atheist or infidel can deny, that the godly are the most 
honourable people in the world? If it be not a contempti- 
ble thing to be the son of a king, how much less to be the 
sons of the Eternal King. Deny the honour of those that 
are so nearly related to him, and you deny the honour of 
himself, and consequently deny him to be God. Atheism is 
the beginning and end of all. 

3. Moreover the servants of the Lord have the most ho- 
nourable natures or dispositions in the world. And the ho- 
nour that ariseth from a man's intrinsical disposition, is far 
greater than that which accrueth to himfrom his parentage^ 
or wealth, or worldly greatness, or any such extrinsic acci- 
dents. Many a proud and worthless person doth boast of 
the nobility of their ancestors, and tell you what blood doth 
run in their veins ; when they have debased souls, and no- 
thing advanced them or their ancestors, but their riches or 
the pleasure of some prince ; and they know that the beg- 
gars at their doors did come from Noah as well as they. 
The surgeon findeth no purer blood in their veins, than in 
the beggars ; nor are their carcases any more sweet or love- 
ly ; and therefore if their manners are worse, they are more 
base than honest beggars. It is the mind that beareth the 
true stamp of nobility. They are the noblest that have the 
noblest souls. All the silks and velvets in the world, will 
not make an ape as honourable as a man, nor an idiot as a 
vvise man. Solomon in all his royalty was not clothed like- 


some of the flowers in the field (Matt. vi. 28, 29.) ; and yet 
he was more honourable than they. A corpse may be most 
sumptuously adorned ; a crown may be set on the head of 
an image. Such as the mind is, such is the man. And that 
the souls of the sanctified are more nobly qualified than those 
of other men is easily demonstrated. For, 

(1.) Christ dwellethin them by faith, and by his Spirit ; 
Eph. i. 17. ii. 22. We are the temples of the Holy Ghost ; 

1 Cor. vi. 19. The new nature of the saints hath no meaner 
an Author than the Lord himself. It is the Divine power 
that giveth us all things that pertain to life and godliness \, 

2 Pet. i. 3. As it is the honourable work of God the Father 
to be our Creator, and of God the Son to be our Redeemer ; 
so is it the honourable work of God the Holy Ghost to be 
our Sanctifier. And therefore as it is a blaspheming of the 
Creator to vilify the creation ; and a blaspheming of the Re- 
deemer to vilify the redemption ; so is it a blaspheming of 
the Sanctifier to vilify sanctification. Though I say not that 
it is the unpardonable blasphemy, yet a fearful blasphemy 
it is. O that those wretches knew their crime, that mock at 
the special work of the Holy Ghost! 

(2.) The new creature is illuminated with a heavenly 
light, and cured of its former mortal blindness, and is 
" brought out of darkness into marvellous light;" (Eph. i. 
18. Acts xxvi. 18. Col.i. 13. 1 Pet. ii. 9.) ; and is taught 
of God ; John vi. 45. 1 Thess. iv. 9. 1 John ii. 27. And 
it is more honourable to see, than to be blind, and to live in 
the open light, than in a dungeon. And it is the highest 
matters in the world that the gracious soul is savingly ac- 
quainted with. It is more honourable to have the know- 
ledge of the profoundest sciences, than of some low and 
poor employment. And it is more honourable to have the 
saving knowledge of God, and of the life to come, which the 
poorest sanctified person hath, than to have the most ad- 
mired fleshly wisdom, or all the common learning in the 
world. What high, and excellent, and necessary things 
doth grace acquaint the Christian with ! He knoweth him 
that is the cause of all things else, having himself no cause. 
He knoweth him that is knowledge itself, and that knoweth 
all things He knoweth him that is eternal, that never be- 
gan, and shall never end ; that is greater than the world ; 
that is more glorious than the sun ; that can do all things 


because he is Almighty ; and yet can do no evil, because he 
is most good and holy. He knoweth him that made the 
world and all things, and holdeth them in the hand of his 
omnipotency, and ruleth them by his wisdom, and doeth all 
things according to the good pleasure of his will. He know- 
eth him that is man*s felicity, to know whom is eternal life. 
He knoweth the Redeemer, and the riches of his grace and 
promises. He knoweth the diseases of his own soul, and 
their danger and cure. He knoweth what end he hath to 
aim at, and the work that he was made and redeemed for to 
do ; the temptations which he must resist ; the enemies 
which he must conquer ; the duties which he must perform. 
He knoweth his Redeemer's laws and covenants ; what he 
commandeth, promiseth, and threateneth, and to whom. 
He knoweth what will be hereafter : and where he shall live 
when this life is ended ; and what he shall do ten thousand 
years hence, yea, unto all eternity. He knoweth what will 
become of all the godly and ungodly (that die such) in the 
world, and where they shall be for evermore. In a word, 
he knoweth whence he came, whither he is going, and which 
way he must go. He knoweth God as his Maker, Governor, 
and End. He knoweth that God that he must please, and 
how to please him, and how to be saved, and to live with 
God for ever. This is the honourable knowledge of the 
sanctified ; which no men have but they alone. The cun- 
ning politicians of the world have none of it (as such). The 
speculators of nature, the great mathematicians, the learned 
doctors, famous for their skill in languages, philosophy, 
and the theory of divinity, are oft without it. They have 
more of the words, and notions, and forms, and methods, 
than unlearned saints have ; but they want the thing that 
these are made for. They have the signs, and the godly 
have the thing signified. They have the body of theology, 
and the godly Christian hath the soul. The ungodly doc- 
tors have better skill to break the shell, but the godly Chris- 
tian only knows how to eat the kernel. The learned may 
be better at the office of a cook, to dress the meat ; but only 
the godly do feed on it, and digest it. Knowledge is to be 
valued, (as all creatures are) according to its usefulness. 
As it is more honourable to know how to govern a kingdom, 
command an army or navy, or save men^s lives, than to make 
a fiddle or a hobby-horse ; so it is ten thousandfold more 


honourable, to know how to order our hearts and lives, and 
to walk with God, and obtain the everlasting glory, than to 
know how to get the riches, and pleasures, and vainglory of 
the present world. 

(3.^ The sanctified are made alive to God, when other men 
are dead to sin; Rom. vi. 11. 13. Eph.ii.l. And the poor- 
est man alive is more honourable than the carcase of an em- 
peror. " A living dog is better than a dead lion ;" Eccles. 

(4.) The sanctified are cleansed from the filthiness of their 
sins, which are the most odious defilements in the world : 
and they are purified by the blood and spirit of Christ ; 
lJohni.7.9. Eph. v. 26. 2Cor.vii. 1. The " word of 
Christ hath made them clean ;" John xv. 3. Their hearts are 
" purified by faith ;" Acts xv. 9. 1 Pet. i. 22. 1 John iii. 3. 
And therefore the most odious part of their dishonour is re- 
moved ; " sin is a reproach to any people ;" Prov. xiv. 34. 
Whatever it may seem before ungodly men, it is sin that is 
your shame before the Lord. And this reproach the godly 
are now cleansed from. Though it be a dishonour to them 
that they were ungodly once, it is their honour that now they 
are not such ; and that they are clothed with the righteous- 
ness of Christ. 

(5.) The holy nature of the saints disposeth their hearts, 
and inclineth their wills to the highest and most honourable 
things. As in their knowledge, so in their inclinations they 
are above the baseness of the world. The nature of man is 
not to feed as beasts, and horses, and dogs do : he is above 
their food ; and above their converse and kind of life. That 
will not content him that contenteth them. And the new na- 
ture of a sanctified man, is above the delights and contents 
of the ungodly. His heart cannot endure to take up with 
that kind of life. To mind nothing but this world, and to 
have no pleasure but to the flesh, and live as an utter stran- 
ger to God, and not to feed on the heavenly delights, and 
riches of the Gospel, but live as if there were no such thing, 
this sensual life is below his inclination, as feeding on dross, 
or conversing only with swine or cattle, is below the nature 
of a man. The noble soul is that which is inclined to the 
most noble objects ; even to God, and holiness, and ever- 
lasting life, and cannot endure the poor, and low, and sordid 
life of men, that have their portion here; Psal. xvii. 14. No- 


thing that is corporeal, or transitory, yea nothing below God 
can satisfy a holy soul. It is this holy disposition that fits 
men for holy duties, and that is their fitness for eternal hap- 
piness. If angels were not more holy than devils, and god- 
ly men than the ungodly, heaven could not hold them, nor 
could they any more see or enjoy the Lord, than they that 
are cast into outer darkness. And therefore if you dare say 
that the holy are no more honourable than the unholy, you 
must say that the holy angels are no more honourable than 
the devil, which sure you will scarce be so desperate as to 

(6.) Holiness in the godly is the image of God, in which 
we were created, and according to which we are renewed by 
the Holy Ghost ; Eph. iv. 24. Col.iii.lO. Gen. i. 27. And 
what can be spoken more honourable of a creature, than that 
he hath his Maker's image, unless as to the degree, that some 
have more of it than others ? It is the honourable title of 
the Son himself, that he " is the brightness of his Father's 
glory, and the express image of his person." This is above 
the honour of any, or of all the saints. But to have the 
image of God in wisdom, and holiness, as all have that are 
sanctified, is a wonderful dignity to be given to a creature, 
and so low and unworthy creatures as we are. His commands 
tell us what are the qualifications of his people. " As he 
which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy, in all manner 
of conversation. For it is written. Be ye holy, for I am ho- 
ly ;" 1 Pet. i. 15, 16. And how high a command, and strait 
a rule is that given us by Christ, Matt. v. 48. " Be ye there- 
fore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is per- 
fect." Well may it be called and exceeding righteousness, 
surpassing the Scribes and Pharisees, which all have that 
enter into the heavenly kingdom ; ver. 20. There is nothing 
under heaven that is known to man so like to God, as a ho- 
ly soul. Remember this the next time you reproach such. 
AH you that are the serpent's seed, remember when you spit 
your venom against holiness that it is the image of God that 
your enmity is exercised against. O what a strange conjunc- 
tion of malignity and hypocrisy appeareth in the enemies of 
God among us ! A picture of Christ that is drawn by a 
painter, or a forbidden image of God that is carved by an 
image-maker in stone, that hath nothing but the name of an 
image of God, these they will reverence and honour, (though 


God hath forbidden them to make such image of him). The 
Papists will pray before them, and the profane among them 
are zealous for them; when in the mean time they hate the 
most noble images of God on earth. Forbidden images of 
God have been defended, by seeking the blood of his truest 
images. Do you indeed love and honour the image of God ? 
Why then do you hate them, and seek to destroy them ? and 
why do you make them the scorn of your continual malice? 
Can you blow hot and cold? Can you both love and hate? 
both honour and scorn the image of God? Search the Scrip- 
ture, and see whether it be not the sanctified, heavenly, dili- 
gent servants of the Lord that are the honourable images 
which he owneth, and magnifieth, and glorieth in before the 
world. If this be not true, then go on in your hatred of them 
and spare not. These are not images of stone, but of Spirit ; 
not images made by a carver or a painter, but by the Holy 
Ghost himself. Not hanged upon a wall for men to look on, 
but living images, actuated from heaven, by spiritual influ- 
ence from Christ their head, and shining forth in exemplary 
lives to the honour of their Father whom they resemble ; 
Matt. v. 16. It is not in an outward shape, but in spiritual 
wisdom, and love, and holiness of heart and life, that they re- 
semble the Creator. Whether you will believe it now or not, 
be sure of it, you malignant enemies of holiness, that God 
would shortly make you know it, that you choose out the 
most excellent image of your Maker under heaven, to pour 
out your hatred and contempt against. And inasmuch as 
you did it unto his most noble images, you did it unto him. 
(7.) If all this be not enough to shew you the honourable 
nature of holiness, I will speak the highest word that can be 
spoken of any created nature under heaven, and yet no more 
than God hath spoken ; even in 2 Pet. i. 4. where it is ex- 
pressly said, that the godly are " partakers of the Divine na- 
ture." I know that it is not the essence of God that is here 
called the Divine nature that we partake of ; we abhor the 
thoughts of such blasphemous arrogancy, as if that grace 
did make men gods. But it is called the Divine nature, in 
that it is caused by the Spirit of God, and floweth from him 
as the light or sunshine floweth from the sun. You use to 
say the sun is in the house, when it shineth in the house, 
though the sun itself be in the firmament. So the Scripture 
eaith that God dwelleth in us, and Christ and the Spirit 


dwelleth in us, when the heavenly light, and love, and life, 
which streameth from him dwelleth in us ; and this is called 
the Divine nature. Think of this, and tell me whether high- 
er and more honourable things can easily be spoken of the 
sons of men. " God is love; and he that dwelleth in love 
dwelleth in God, and God in him :" 1 Johniv. 16. O won- 
derful advancement ! high expressions of a creature's digni- 
ty ! Blessed be that eternal love that is thus communica- 
tive, and hath so ennobled our unworthy souls ! With what 
alacrity and delight should we exalt his name by daily praises 
that thus exalteth us by his unspeakable mercies ? " Bless- 
ed is the people that know the joyful sound : they shall walk 
O Lord in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall 
they rejoice all the day, and in thy righteousness shall they 
be exalted. For thou art the glory of our strength ; and in 
thy favour our horn shall be exalted. For the Lord is our 
defence, and the Holy One of Israel is our king ;" Psal.lxxxix. 
15 — 17. Ixxv. 19. " Let them praise the name of the Lord ; 
for his name alone is excellent : his glory is above the earth 
and heavens. He also exalteth the horn of his people , the 
praise of all his saints ;" Psal. cxlviii. 13, 14. He hath " first 
exalted our blessed Head, even highly exalted him by his own 
right hand, and given him a name above every name ;" (Acts 
ii. 33. V. 31. Phil. ii. 9.) and with him he hath wonderfully 
exalted all his sanctified ones. " For it became himfor whom 
are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many 
sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect 
through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth, and they 
that are sanctified, are all of one : for which cause he is not 
ashamed to call them brethren ;" Heb. ii. 10, 11. " For as 
the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members 
of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ;" 
1 Cor. xii. 12. What greater honour can man on earth 
be advanced to? And the honour of the just is communi- 
cative to the societies of which they are members. The 
churches are called holy for their sakes. " By the blessing 
of the upright the city is exalted ; but it is overthrown by the 
mouth of the wicked ;" Pro v. xi. 1 1 . " Righteousness exalt- 
eth a nation ; but sin is a reproach to any people ;" chap, 
xiv. 34. Let therefore both the persons and congregations 
of the saints continually exalt the name of God. " O 
bless the Lord for ever and ever, and blessed be his glorious 


name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise ;" Neh. 
ix.5. "The Lord liveth, and blessed be our Rock, and ex- 
alted be the God of our Rock of our salvation;" 2 Sara. xxii. 
47. " I will extol thee O Lord, for thou hast lifted me up ;" 
Psal. XXX. 1. " And now shall my head be lifted up above 
mine enemies round about me : therefore will I offer in his 
tabernacle sacrifices of joy ; I will sing, yea, I will sing 
praises unto the Lord ;" Psal. xxvii. 6. " The Lord is their 
strength, the saving strength of his anointed. He will save 
his people, and bless his inheritance, and feed them also, and 
lift them up for ever ;" Psal. xxviii. 8,9. " The Lord lift- 
eth up the meek, and casteth the wicked down to the 
ground ;" Psal. cxlvii. 6. Thus shall it be done to them 
whom God honoureth. " He will deliver them and honour 
them;'* Psal.xci.l5. 

4. And as the sanctified have the most honourable dispo- 
sitions, so have they the highest and most honourable de- 
signs. The end of their lives is incomparably above other 
men's. The rest of the world (though they may talk of hea- 
ven, and wish for it rather than hell, when they can live no 
longer) do indeed drive on no greater trade, than providing 
for the flesh, and feathering them a nest which will quickly 
be pulled down ; and like the spider, spinning themselves a 
web, which death will shortly sweep away. But the design 
and daily business of the godly is for everlasting glory. 
" They look for a city that hath foundations, whose builder 

and maker is God. They confess themselves strangers 

and pilgrims on earth, thereby declaring that they seek a 
country. And truly if they were mindful of that (deceitful 
world) which they came out of (and have forsaken), they may 
have opportunities (and too many invitations) to return to it. 
But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly. 
Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for he 
hath prepared for them a city ;" Heb. xi. 10. 13 — 16. This 
noble end ennobleth both the persons and conversations of 
believers. To rule a kingdom is a more noble design than 
to play with children for pins or points. But to seek the 
everlasting kingdom is far above all the highest designs that 
are terminated upon earth. If everlasting glory with God in 
heaven be a more noble state than a worldly life, then must 
the seeking it be a more noble design. Paul sheweth you the 

VOL. X. T 


difference very pathetically, Phil. iii. 18. " For many walk (of 
whom I told you often, and now tell you weeping) that they 
are the enemies of the cross of Christ ; whose end is destruc- 
tion, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their 
shame, who mind earthly things. But our conversation is 
in heaven." That is, we live as citizens of the heavenly Je- 
rusalem, and not as those that are here at home. It is hea- 
ven that sanctifies persons' minds ; that they study and care 
for, and labour and live for in this world. And therefore 
though in their natural capacity, they are but as other men, 
yet in their moral and relative capacity, I think I may say 
without hyperbole, that they are much more advanced above 
the dignity of the great unsanctified princes upon earth than 
reason, and learning, and manly designs advance a man above 
a beast. It is the nobleness and baseness of the end that 
doth honour or debase the agent ; and therefore none are tru- 
ly honourable but those that seek the spiritual, the high eter- 
nal honour. 

5. The employment, as well as the designs of the godly, 
do prove them to be the most honourable. Both the end and 
matter do shew the excellency of their work. As the end ho- 
noureth the person, so doth it honour all the works that are 
means thereto. The first thoughts of a godly man when he 
awaketh, and the last when he lieth down (if he observe his 
rule) are usually for heaven. When you are conversing with 
worldly men, about these common worldly things, they are 
in prayer or holy meditation conversing with God, about the 
matters of his service, and their salvation. Their hearts are 
toward him : their thoughts are on him : they are devoted to 
him : their daily business is to serve him. *' When I awake 
(saith David, Psal. cxxxix. 28.) I am still with thee." " I 
will bless the Lord who hath given me counsel. My reins 
also instruct me in the night season. I have set the Lord al- 
ways before me } because he is at my right hand, I shall not 
be moved ;" PsaL xvi. 7, 8. The life of the godly is called in 
Scripture, *' a walking with God." Such was the course of 
Enoch, Noah, and Abraham; Gen. v. 22. 24. vi.9. xvii. 1. 
xxiv. 40. " They walked before God" (Gen. xlviii. 15.), and 
in his ways ; Deut. xxviii. 9. They " love the Lord their 
God with all their heart and soul (as to the sincerity of it) ; 
and walk after him, and fear him, and keep his command- 
ments, and obey his voice, and serve him, and cleave unto 


him ;" Deut. xiii. 3, 4. And can an inhabitant of this world 
have a more honourable employment than to serve the Lord ? 
and a more honourable state than to walk with God ? Should 
we not have thought such words intolerable to be used of the 
best on earth, if God had not been himself the author of them, 
and put them into onr mouths ? Hear more of his own ex- 
pressions concerning the conversations of his servants : 
" God is faithful by whom ye were called unto the fellowship 
of his Son Jesus Christ;" 1 Cor.i.9. "And truly our fel- 
lowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ ;" 
1 John i. 3. By ' fellowship,' is not meant here, a society of 
equals. God forbid we should think so blasphemously. But 
it is a communion of the beloved, sanctified creature with his 
blessed Creator, agreeable to his distance. In their secret 
addresses, his servants have communion with him. Their 
prayer is nothing else but a humble speaking to the living 
God, for the supply of all their wants. In their praises and 
thanksgivings it is God that they deal with ; and the " words 
of their mouths, and the meditation of their hearts are ac- 
ceptable in the sight of their Redeemer ;" Psal. xix. 14, They 
pour out their souls before him, and he openeth his ears and 
his bosom unto them; Psal. Ixii. 8. x. 17. "He will feed his 
flock like a shepherd : he will gather the lambs with his arm, 
and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that 
are with young;" Isa. xl. 11. And in the public worship of 
God in the holy assemblies, his servants also have commu- 
nion with him. It is him that they hear whoever be the mes- 
senger. It is him that they admire, and praise, and magnify. 
" Come (say they) and let us go up to the mountain of the 
Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob : and he will teach us 
of his ways, and we will walk in his paths — Come, and let us 
walkinthelightof theLord;"Isa.ii.3.5. "Wehavethoughtof 
thy lovingkindness O God in the midst of thy temple ;" Psal. 
xlviii. 9. "In his temple doth every man speak of his glory ;" 
Psal. xxix.9. Yea, the common employments of the godly 
are sanctified, and thereby advanced above the highest ac- 
tions of the wicked. For it is God and glory that is in all 
their ultimate ends. " Whether they eat or drink, or what- 
ever they do, they do it to his glory ;" ICor. X.31. That is, 
they intend his glory as their end, and they do it in reverent 
obedience to his will, and in a holy manner behaving them- 
selves as may honour him whose work they do. And lie tliat 


hath the face to say, that prayer, praise, thanksgiving, me- 
ditation, holy conference, and other works of holiness and 
righteousness, are not a more honourable employment than 
the sordid drudgery of the world, must say also that the life 
of a worldling is more honourable than the life of the holy 
angels and the heavenly host. They are obeying and prais- 
ing God, and living in the sense of his dearest love, while 
you are sinning and scraping in this earth. And can you 
believe that your life is more honourable than theirs ? If 
not, you must confess that the godly that come nearest the 
work of angels, do live a more honourable life than you. 
When Christ called Peter to leave his fishing and follow him, 
and be his servant, he tells him that he will make him a fisher 
of men, as intimating that it was a more honourable work to 
catch souls by the Gospel, and win them to God and to sal- 
vation, than to catch fishes. To please God and save our 
souls, and further others in obeying him to their salvation, 
is the highest work that the sons of men are capable of while 
they live in flesh. 

As the priests were sanctified to draw nearer unto God, 
than the common people, and to be employed in his most 
holy service, so are the godly separated by grace from the 
ungodly world, and brought nearer God, and used by him in 
the noblest works. " In a great house there are not only 
vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood, and of earth, 
and some to honour, and some to dishonour ;" 1 Tim. ii. 20. 
" If a man therefore purge himself from sin, he shall be a 
vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the Master's use, 
and prepared unto every good work ;" ver. 21. The vessel 
that swine are fed in, is not so honourable as that which is 
used at a prince's table. If you would know what use the 
godly are employed in, read 1 Pet. ii. 5. 9. " As lively stones 
they are built up a spiritual house : they are a holy priest- 
hood to ofier up spiritual sacrifices unto God, which shall be 
acceptable by Jesus Christ. They are a chosen generation, 
a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people that they 
should shew forth the praises of him who hath called them 
out of darkness into his marvellous light." The holy Scrip- 
tures tell you the work of saints. Compare them with the 
work of the drunkard, the glutton, the gamester, the forni- 
cator, or the covetous, or ambitious worldling, and let your 
reason tell you which is the more honourable. " O fear the 


Lord O ye saints ; for there is no want to them that fear him ;" 
Psal. xxix.9. "O love the Lord all ye his saints; for the 
Lord preserveth the faithful;" Psal. xxxi.23. "The hea- 
vens shall praise thy wonders O Lord : thy faithfulness also 
in the congregation of the saints* God is greatly to be fear- 
ed in the assembly of the saints : and to be had in reverence 
of all them that are about him ;" Psal. Ixxxix. 5.7. These 
are the employments of the saints. 

6. Moreover, the godly have the most honourable enter- 
tainment by the God of all the world. They are bid welcome 
when others are rejected. The door is opened to them that 
is shut against the wicked. They are familiar with Jesus 
Christ, as the children of the family, when others are stran- 
gers whom he will not know. " I will profess unto them, I 
never knew you ; depart from me ye workers of iniquity ;' 
Matt.vii.23. "For the Lord knoweththe way of the righteous : 
but the way of the ungodly shall perish ;" Psal. i. 6. The 
faithful are feasted by him, when the rest are examined with a 
** Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having on a wedding 
garment ? Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into outer 
darkness ;" Matt. xxii. 12, 13. They are called the chil- 
dren that have the bread, and the rest are called the dogs ; 
of which some are without, and those ^vithin do feed but on 
the " crumbs that fall from the children's table ;" Matt. xv. 
26, 27. Rev. xxii. 15. Hear the Lord's invitation and his 
promise : " Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that 
which is good ; and let your soul delight itself in fatness. In- 
cline your ear, and come unto me, hear and your soul shall 
live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you ;" 
Isa. Iv. 2,3. Who is it that is admitted into the "tabernacle 
of the Lord, and who shall dwell in his holy hill ? He that 
walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh 

the truth in his heart. In whose eyes a vile person is 

contemned, but hehonoureth them that fear the Lord ;" Psal. 
XV. 1, 2. 4. " The upright shall dwell in the presence of the 

Lord ;" Psal. cxl. 13. " God will save Sion, and the 

seed of his servants shall inherit it, and they that love his 
name shall dwell therein ;*' Psal. Ixix. 35, 36. And " bless- 
ed is the man whom thou choosest, O Lord, and causest to 
approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts : he 
shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy 
holy temple ;" Psal. Ixv. 4. Saith David, " Mine eyes shall 


be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with 
me : he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. 
Yea, Christ entertaineth faithful souls with a spiritual feast 
of his own flesh and blood. His flesh to them is meat in- 
deed, and his blood is drink indeed ; John vi. 55. And " he 
that eateth and drinketh these shall live for ever ;" ver. 54. 
56. The returning prodigal is met with joy, and quickly em- 
braced in his father's arms ; the fatted calf is killed for him ; 
a ring and new apparel is provided for him ; and music must 
express the joy of his recovery ; Luke xv. O how welcome 
are converted sinners to the God of mercy ! And as they are 
welcome at their first return, so are they in all their attend- 
ance on him, and addresses to him, and service of him, while 
they continue in his family. They have boldness now " to 
enter into the holiest, by the new and living way that is con- 
secrated \' and are invited " to draw near with a true heart 
in full assurance of faith ;" Heb. x. 19. 22. " In Christ we 
have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of 
him ;" Ephes. iii. 12. And " God hath made us accepted in 
the beloved, to the praise of the glory of his grace ;" chap, 
i. 6. " We are living sacrifices, acceptable unto God ;" Rom. 
xii. 1. And our services though weak, are " sacrifices ac- 
ceptable and wellple^sing to him;" Phil. iv. 18. 2Tim. ii. 
3. V. 4. When the "prayers of the wicked are abhorred of 
the Lord, his people serve him acceptably in reverence and 
godly fear ;" Heb. xii. 28. He answereth their prayers, and 
often speaketh peace unto them, and signifiethhis acceptance 
of them. If they could bring him a house full of gold and 
silver, they would not be so welcome to him as they are in 
bringing him their hearts, their humbled hearts, their brok- 
en, tender, melted hearts, that burn in love to him, and flame 
up towards him in desires and in holy praise. " To this man 
will I look, saith the Lord, even to him that is poor and of 
a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word;" Isa. lxvi.2. 
This is the honourable entertainment of the saints. 

7. And they are members of the most honourable socie- 
ty in the world. The church is the kingdom of Jesus Christ 
(Luke i. 33. Col. i. 13.) ; the kingdom of God (chap. xvii. 
21. xviii. 17.); the kingdom of heaven; Matt. iii. 2. xiii. 
31.33.44. It is the school of Christ, or his university, in 
which believers are his scholars, learning to know him, and 
serve him, and praise him for ever, and trained up for ever- 


lasting life ; Acts xi. 26. Luke vi. 13. Matt. v. 1, 2, &c. It 
is the family or household of God ; Eph. ii. 19. 1 Tim. iii. 
15. Heb. X. 21. 1 Pet. iv. 17. It is the spouse, yea the 
body of Christ ; Eph. v. 25. So loved by him, that he gave 
himself for it, becoming the price of our redemption, and 
thought not his life too deararansom, nor his blood too pre- 
cious to cleanse and save us ; ver. 25, 26. Tit. ii. 4. The 
church, which every godly man is a living member of, is a 
society chosen out of the world, to be nearest unto God, and 
dearest to him, as the beloved of his soul, to receive the 
choicest of his mercies, and be adorned with the righteous- 
ness of Christ, and to be employed in his special service ; 
1 Pet. ii. 4, 5. 9. John xv. 19. Eph. i. 4. Psal. cxxxii. 13. 
cxxxv. 4. Eph. V. 1. The Lord that redeemed them is their 
King and Head, and dwelleth in the midst of them, and walk- 
eth among them, as the people of his special presence and 
delight ; Psal. ii. 6. Ixxxix. 18. cxlix. 2. xlvi. 5. Isa. xii. 6. 
Jer. xiv. 9. Zeph. iii. 5. 15. 17. Rev. i. 13. ii. 1. Psal. 
xcv. 2. The church is a heavenly society, though the mili- 
tant part yet live on earth. For the God of heaven is the 
Sovereign and the Father of it. The glorified Redeemer is 
their Head. TheSpirit of Christ doth guide and animate them. 
His laws revealed and confirmed from heaven, direct and go- 
vern them. Heaven is their end ; and heavenly are their dis- 
positions, employments, and conversations. There is their 
portion and treasure; Matt. vi. 20, 21. And there is their 
very heart and hope. *' They are risen with Christ, and 
therefore " seek the things that are above. For their life is 
hid with Christ in God ;" Col. iii. 2 — 4. Their root is there; 
and the noblest part of the society is there. For the glo- 
rified saints, and in some sort, the angels are of the same so- 
ciety with us, though they are in heaven, and we on earth. 
The whole family in heaven and earth is named from one and 
the same head ; Eph. iii. 15. " We are come unto Mfeunt 
Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Je- 
rusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the ge- 
neral assembly, and church of the firstborn, which are writ- 
ten 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, and to the blood of sprinkling,*' &c. Heb. xii. 
22 — 24. This is the honourable society of saints, the eye, 
the pearl of the whole creation. 


8. Moreover, the godly have the most honourable at- 
tendance. The creatures are all theirs : though not in point 
of civil propriety, yet as means appointed and managed by 
God their Father, for their best advantage. The angels of 
God are ministering spirits for them : not as our servants, 
but as God's servants for our good. As ministers in the 
church are not the servants of men, but the servants of God 
for men. And so, '* whether Paul or ApoUos, or Cephas, or 
the world, or life, or death, or things present or to come, all 
are ours ;" 1 Cor. iii. 22. The shepherd's servant is not the 
servant of the sheep, but for the sheep. And so the angels 
disdain not to serve God in the guarding of the weakest saints. 
As I formerly shewed you from Heb. i. 14. and Psal. xci. 
11,12. and xxxiv.7. " The angel of the Lord encampeth round 
about them that fear him, and delivereth them. For he giv- 
eth his angels charge over us, to keep us in all our ways : 
they shall bear us up in their hands, lest we dash our foot 
against a stone." Sun and moon, and all the creatures, are 
daily employed in our attendance. O how wonderful is the 
love of God to his unworthy servants in their advancement ! 
Remember it when thou art scorning at the servants of the 
Lord, or speaking against them, that those poor, those weak 
despised Christians, that thou art vilifying, have their ** an- 
gels beholding the face of God their Father in the heavens. 
Take heed therefore that ye despise not the least of these." 
It is the warning of Christ, Matt, xviii. 10. The same bless- 
ed spirits that attend the Lord, and see his face in blissful 
glory, do attend and guard the meanest of the godly here on 
earth. As the same servants use to wait upon the Father 
and the children, in the same family, or the bigger children 
to help the less. 

9. And it is the honour of the godly, that they that are 
themselves most honourable, do honour them. To be mag- 
nified by a fool, or wicked flatterer, is small honour ; but to 
be magnified by the best and wisest men, this is true honour. 
We say that honour is in him that giveth it, and not in him 
that receiveth it. But it is God himself that honoureth his 
saints. It is he that speaketh all these great and wondrous 
things of them, which I have hitherto recited. Search the 
texts which I have alleged, and try whether it be not he. 
And surely to have the God of heaven to applaud a man, and 
put honour upon him, and so great honour, is more than if 


all the world had done it. Yet we may add (if any thing 
could be considerable that is added unto the approbation of 
God), that all his servants, the wisest, and the best, even his 
holy angels, are of the same mind, and honour the godly in 
conformity to their Lord. 

And here Christian, I require thee from the Lord, to con- 
sider the greatness of thy sin and folly, when thou art too 
desirous of the applause of men, especially of the blind, un- 
godly world ; and when thou makest a great matter of their 
contempt or scorn, or of their slanderous censures. What ! 
is the approbation of the eternal God so small a matter in thy 
eyes, that the scorn of a fool can weigh it down, or move the 
balance with thee? If a feather were put into the scales 
against a mountain, or the whole earth, it should weigh as 
much as the esteem or disesteem of men, their honouring 
thee, or dishonouring thee, should weigh against the esteem 
of God, and the honour or dishonour that he puts upon thee 
(as to any regard of the thing itself; though as it reflecteth 
on God, thou mayst regard it). He is the wise man that God 
calls wise ; and he is the fool that God calls fool, (and that 
is every one that ** layeth up riches for himself, and is not 
rich towards God ;" Luke xii. 20, 2L) He is the happy man 
that God calls happy ; and he is a miserable man that God 
counts miserable ; and who those are you may see in Psal. i. 
and many Scriptures before cited. Hear the words (and you 
that are believers lay up the blessed promise) of Christ him- 
self, John xii. 26. ** If any man serve me, him will my Father 
honour." And who cares then for the dishonours of all the 
wicked of the world ? Our " tried faith as more precious 
than gold, will be found unto praise, and honour, and glory, 
at the appearing of Jesus Christ ;" 1 Pet. i. 7. See 2 Tim. 
ii. 2L We must learn therefore to imitate our Lord; and 
not to receive our honour from men ; and not to imitate the 
wicked " that receive honour one of another, and seek not 
the honour that cometh from God." There is enough for us 
in God's approbation. And yet all his servants do imitate 
their Lord ; and his judgment is their judgment ; and whom 
he honoureth, them do they honour ; angels, and saints, and 
all that enter into the tabernacle of the Lord, do " contemn the 
vile, and honour them that fear the Lord ;" Psal. xv.4. And 
though no man's judgment or praise be valuable in compa- 
rison of the Lord's, yet the honour and praise that is given 


by the wise and godly, is more than a thousand times as 
much from ignorant ungodly men. If the Athenian orator 
regarded the censure of Socrates more than of all the rest of 
his auditors, we have cause to judge the eulogies of experi 
enced holy men a greater honour than of thousands of the 
wicked, and greater than all their contempt or scorn is able 
to weigh down. The applause of the wicked is ofttimes a 
dishonour in wise men's eyes. Was it not Balaam's chiefest 
honour to hear from Balak, " I thought to promote thee to 
great honour, but the Lord hath kept thee back from honour ;" 
Numb. xxiv. 11. The honour that God keepeth a man from 
is no honour ; but is an honour to be kept from such honour 
by the Lord. Innocent poverty is incomparably more ho- 
nourable than riches by iniquity, which is the greatest shame. 
10. Lastly, it is unspeakable, everlasting honour that ho- 
liness doth tend unto, and which holy men shall enjoy with 
God. The very relation of a godly man to his everlasting 
glory, is an honour ten thousand times surpassing the ho- 
nour of all the kingdoms of the world. If you did but know 
that one of your poor neighbours should certainly be a king, 
would you not presently honour him, even in his rags ? You 
may know that the saints shall reign with Christ, as sure as 
if an angel from heaven had told you so, and more ; and 
therefore how should a saint be honoured ? If God had but 
legibly marked out some among you for salvation, and writ- 
ten in their foreheads ' This man shall be saved,' would not 
all the parish reverence that man ? Why, a heavenly mind, 
and the love of God, self-denial, and holy obedience, are hea- 
ven-marks infallible, as true as the Gospel, and written by 
the same hand as the Gospel was, I mean by the Spirit of 
God himself. If a voice from heaven should speak now of 
any person in the congregation, and say, ' This man shall 
reign in heaven for ever,' would it not be an honour above all 
your worldly honours ? Why, holiness is God's image, and 
the Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance, and beareth wit- 
ness with our spirits, that we are the sons of God, and have 
the promise, and seals, and oath of God for our certainty ; 
yea, and the knowledge of God in Christ is the beginning of 
eternal life. And what would we have more ? The presence 
of Christ in a little of his glory upon the mount, transported 
the three disciples : and the glimpse of the glory of God 
which Moses saw, did make his face shine that the Israelites 


could not behold it. The approach of the saints to God in 
holy worship here on earth, are exceeding honourable, be- 
cause they anticipate of heaven, and it is upward that they 
look. " Glory and honour are in his presence : strength and 
gladness are in his place." The soul that is beholding God 
by faith, and conversing with the heavenly inhabitants, is 
quite above all earthly things : and as angels are more ho- 
nourable than men, and heaven than earth, so are believers 
that converse in heaven with angels, yea with Christ himself 
by faith, more honourable than terrestrial carnal men. 

But the great honour is behind ; yet near at hand ; when 
the promised crown is set upon their heads. O mark the ho- 
nour that is promised them by the Lord of truth. The soul 
itself before the resurrection of the body, shall be with 
Christ ; Phil. i. 23. Even present with the Lord ; 2 Cor. v. 
L 8. *' If any man serve me, let him follow me, and where 
I am there shall also my servant be ;" John xii. 26. And at 
the resurrection Christ that hath " loved the church and gave 

himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it will 

present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or 
wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and 
without blemish ;" Eph. v. 25, 26. Will they not be honour- 
able even in the eyes of the ungodly world, when they hear 
the sentence of their Lord, ** Come, ye blessed of my Fa- 
ther, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foun- 
dation of the world ;" Matt. xxv. 34. and ver. 23. " En- 
ter thou into the joy of thy Lord." When Christ "shall 
come to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them 
that believe ;" Mark here, that it is one end of the coming 
of Christ, to be glorified and admired in his saints : " Be- 
hold the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to ex- 
ecute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungod- 
ly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have 
ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which un- 
godly sinners have spoken against him j" Jude 14, 15. " Our 
hearts shall be established, unblamable in holiness before 
God even our Father at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ 
with all his saints ;" 1 Thess. iii. 12, 13. We shall then praise 
him " that hath loved us and washed us from our sins in his 
own blood, and made us kings and priests to God ;" Rev. 
i.5,6. " He that overcometh shall be clothed with white 
raiment, and confessed by Christ before the Father and the 


angels of heaven ;" chap. iii. 5. Yea, he shall be a pillar in 
the temple of God, and go out no more : and Christ will 
write on him the name of God, and the name of the city of 
God, New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from 
God, and his own name ;" ver. 12. Yea, he will " grant 
to him to sit with him in his throne, as he himself hath 
overcome and is set down with his Father in his throne ;" 
ver. 21. And he will honour his saints to be judges of an- 
gels, and of the world; 1 Cor. vi.2, 3. And "they that over- 
come and keep his words unto the end, to them will be given 
power over the nations, and they shall rule with a rod of iron, 
and break them to shivers as the vessels of a potter ; even as 
Christ received of his Father ; and he will give them the 
morning star ;" Rev. ii. 26, 27. " He that hath an ear to 
hear let him hear" the glorious things that are promised to 
the saints. " The high praises of God shall be in their mouths 

and the two-edged sword in their hands to execute on 

the wicked the judgment written, such honour have all his 
saints ;" Psal. cxlix. 6. 9. Then shall we hear the praises of 
the heavenly society saying, "We give thee thanks, O 
Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come, 
because thou hast taken to thee thy great power and hast 
reigned, and the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, 
and the time of the dead that they should be judged, and that 
thou shouldst give reward unto thy servants the prophets, 
and to the saints and them that fear thy name, small and 
great, and shouldst destroy them that dwell on the earth.'* 
" Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the king- 
dom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear ;" 
Matt, xiii.43. Yea, " they shall be equal to the angels of 
God ;" Luke XX. 36. This is the inheritance of the saints in 
light, of which God is now making us meet to be partakers ; 
Col. i. 12. If " all that sat in the council against him, saw 
Stephen's face as it had been the face of an angel" (Acts vi. 
15.), what shall be the glory of the saints when themselves 
shall see the face of God, and his name shall be written in 
their foreheads ; (Rev. xxii. 4.) when the ungodly world shall 
know, that holiness was the most honourable state 7 

But perhaps some will say, that ' this language will make 
them proud. To tell them that they are the most honoura- 
ble persons in the world, is the way to make them the proud- 
est persons.' 


To which I give you a manifold answer that your objec- 
tion may not have the least pretence that it is unsatisfied. 

1. Worldly honours are of a more swelling nature than 
heavenly honours ; and yet it would scarcely be taken well, 
if this conclusion should pass for current, that the most ho- 
nourable are the most proud. For then it would follow that 
none are so vile, so like the devil, so unlike God i and so 
the princes and nobles of the earth would become the most 
despicable persons in the world, and their very honour itself 
would be their dishonour, and so no honour. And if world- 
ly honours will not warrant you to conclude the persons to 
be most proud, much less will the heavenly honour. 

2. There is the more need and the less fear of the honour of 
the godly, because it is the blessing of a humbled soul. God 
casts them down before he lifts them up. It is only the hum- 
ble that he exalteth. They feel their sin and misery before 
they know their honour. A broken heart hath need of heal- 
ing, and a fainting soul is fittest for a cordial. You need 
not fear when you refresh the sick, lest it should make them 
wanton, as it may do the sound. A comfortable word to 
one that is lamenting over the dead, and weeping at a grave, 
is not so likely to make them proud, as to others in prospe- 
rity. A drooping and discouraged soul is hardly raised high 
enough, and kept from sinking. They have had the sentence 
past upon them, and have had the rope as it were about their 
neck : they have been at the very gates of hell ; they have 
seen by faith what work, what woes there are for sin in the 
life to come, and therefore thes© souls have need to hear of 
their felicity. 

3. Moreover, they have a great deal of work to do ; and 
their strength and courage is too small ; and the work is such 
as flesh and blood cannot away with, much less afford them 
sufficient strength for. Such labourers must have encourag- 
ing, strengthening food. Their work is such as will keep 
them under. God doth not keep his servants idle ; and there- 
fore they are in less danger of waxing proud and wanton. 
'* They shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of 
our God f Isa. xxxv. 1 — 4. And why is this foretold them? 
" Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble 
knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart. Be strong, 
fear not ; behold your God will come with vengeance, even 
God with a recompence ; he will come and save you ;" 


" Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the fee- 
ble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, lest that 
which is lame be turned out of the way, l3ut let it rather be 
healed;" Heb.xii. 12, 13. We are commanded, IThess.v. 
14. as to " warn them that are unruly so to comfort the fee- 
ble-minded, and support the weak.'* 

4. Moreover, the godly have the greater need of such en- 
couragements, because they have much suffering to undergo. 
They have all your hatred and scorns to suffer, and all the 
adversities of the world, with which their Father shall please 
to exercise them. And he that layeth the burden on them, 
will give them strength by strengthening means. God's net 
hath corks as well as leads. If birds had not feathers as well 
as flesh, they would be unable to fly. As Christ himself was 
encouraged to endure the contradiction of sinners, and to 
" bear the cross, and despise the shame by looking at the joy 
that was set before him, and so for the suffering of death was 
crowned with glory and honour" (Heb. xii. 2, 3. ii. 9.), so 
will he have his people tread in his steps, and take up their 
cross and follow him, and deny themselves and all the world; 
yet so as to '* look at the recompence of reward, and seek 
for glory, honour, and immortality," and by these to be ani- 
mated to the work and patience of the saints, as expecting 
to be glorified with him, when they have suffered with him ; 
Matt. xvi. 24. x. 38. Heb. xi. 26. Rom. ii. 7. viii. 17, 18. 
As the angel said to Elijah, 1 Kingsxix.7. " Arise and eat, 
because the journey is too great for thee," so God encourag- 
ethhis servants by his honours and rewards, because the jour- 
ney, the labour, the suffering is too great without such en- 
couragement to be cheerfully undergone. And in the strength 
of these consolations they bear the cross. 

5. The objection is most against the Lord. If it be an 
error to honour and extol the godly, as tending to make them 
proud, it is God himself that is the owner of it. The words 
that I have recited to you are his own words. Do we devise 
these sayings ? or do we not shew them you in the Scripture ? 
And dare you charge God with error, or encouraging pride ? 
Do you think he knew not what he said, when he spake such 
honourable things of his servants ? Did he need you to have 
taught him to have indited his word, and to have warned him 
that he make not his servants proud ! as if he hated not pride 
as much as you. 


6. Yea, God will do more than this for his servants ; he 
will advance them to salvation, and yet he will not make them 
proud. There is no pride in heaven, though there be the 
greatest glory. The angels are most glorious, and yet least 
proud. If you would not wish God to keep men out of hea- 
ven lest it make them proud, you should not grudge at his 
honouring them on earth, with the mention of their heaven- 
ly titles upon that account. 

7. The exaltation of the saints is a spiritual exaltation, 
which is not so apt to make men proud, as carnal exaltation 
is. Charity pufFeth not up, as airy knowledge doth. It is 
selfishness that is the life of pride (which consisteth in ex- 
cessive self-esteem, and desire of an excessive esteem with 
others, and to be magnified by them). And nothing but 
grace can subdue this selfishness, and therefore nothing else 
can destroy pride. 

8. Moreover, the honour of the saints is the less like to 
make them proud, because humility is part of the grace that 
is bestowed on them. To be proud and holy is to be sick 
and well, to be light and dark : they are plain contraries. 
No man is proud but for want of holiness ; and therefore that 
holiness should efficiently make men proud is impossible, 
any more than health can make men sick, or darkness can 
be caused by light. And if objectively any be proud of his 
holiness, that is but in such a measure as he is unholy. Ho- 
liness doth ever mortify pride, and contain humility and self- 
denial, as an essential part. All Christ's disciples learn of 
him in their measure to be meek and lowly. 

9. Let experience try you whether it be not some world- 
ly honour, or parts and gifts, that are the much commoner 
objects of pride than holiness. I have oft heard talk of men 
being proud of their humility and holiness ; but the tempta- 
tions of my own soul have comparatively lain but little that 
way ; nor have I observed it the common case of others, in 
any proportion with other kinds of pride. Riches and ho- 
nours, and beauty and dignity, I see people ordinarily proud 
of. And I see many proud of counterfeit graces, that have 
none that is sincere (as far as may be perceived by others) 
to be proud of. And I see many proud of their learning, and 
knowledge, and nimble tongues, a hundredfold more than 
ever I found true Christians proud of the love of God, and a 
heavenly mind. Alas, we have much ado for the most part, 


to discern that we have any of this at all, and to find so much 
of it in ourselves as is necessary to our support and thank- 

10. Lastly, Consider what abundance of means the Lord 
hath adjoined as antidotes with his servant's honours to keep 
them from being puffed up with pride ; and then tell me whe- 
ther you dare charge God with error or want of wisdom in 
this thing. 

1. The nature and life of holiness consisteth in the souFs 
retiring home to God, and adhering to him, and walking as 
before him. And there is not a more powerful means in the 
world, to keep humble the soul, than the knowledge of God. 
O, when a poor sinner hath but any lively apprehensions of 
the greatness and glory of the Lord, it amazethhim, and le- 
velleth him with the dust, and abaseth him in his own es- 
teem, and maketh him say with Job, " Behold I am vile, what 
shall I answer thee ? I will lay my hand upon my mouth. 
I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine 
eye seeththee; wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust 
and ashes ;" Job xl. 4 — 6. One glimpse of God were enough 
to humble any soul that truly knoweth him. A godly man 
hath still to do with that Majesty that continually aweth 
him. His heart is with him ; his thoughts are on him ; his 
work is with him. It is his word that he read eth, and hear- 
eth, and discourseth of, and therefore as his word, with re- 
verence and godly fear, as knowing that our God is a con- 
suming fire ; Heb. xii. 28, 29. It is God that he prayeth to, 
that he meditateth on, and he praiseth, and hath still to do 
with. And therefore no wonder if he walk humbly with so 
holy and great a God. 

2. The sin and misery that once they were in, while they 
knew not God, will do much to keep humble a gracious soul 
as long as they live. Though God so forget our sins as to 
forgive them, yet we can scarce forgive ourselves, or at least 
can never forget them. Though he see no sin in his servants 
as he seeth it in the world, nor so as to hate and condemn 
them for it ; yet they see that once they were as bad as the 
world, and were children of wrath as well as others. They 
condemn themselves when God doth justify them ; and set 
their sins before their faces, which God doth cast behind his 
back. O, those dark, those ungrateful, and those perilous 
days, will never be forgotten by the renewed soul I The 


thoughts of them shall ever keep us humble. When we look 
on the wicked, misjerable world, to think that such were ma- 
ny of us, though mercy have washed, and sanctified, and jus- 
tified us. 

3. Moreover, God hath so contrived the way of their sal- 
vation, that they shall have all by a Redeemer, and by most 
free grace, and none shall be justified by the works of the 
law, nor by any merit of his own ; but boasting is excluded 
by the law of faith ; Rom. iii. 19. 27, 28. And we shall have 
nothing but what we receive besides and contrary to our de- 

4. And alas too much corruption still remaineth in us. 
We have " flesh that fighteth against the Spirit ;" Rom. vii. 
24. Gal. V. 17. " We know but in part," and love God but 
in part, and serve him with such constant weakness, that 
these things are usually such humbling matters to a graci- 
ous soul, that were it not for the Comforter, they would be 
unable to look up. O to feel how dark we are ! how far from 
God ! how strange to heaven ! how little we believe, and 
know, and love ! these are humbling thoughts indeed to a 
soul that is acquainted with itself. No poverty, beggary, or 
the reproach in the world, would be so humbling to them. 
To find such remnants of that odious sin, that cost them 
dear, and had cost them dearer, if it had not cost their Lord 
so dear, this is constant matter of humiliation. 

5. And too often do their corruptions get advantage of 
them, and produce some actual sin, of thought, word, or 
deed : and this also must be grievous to them. 

6. The very bodily infirmities of believers are a constant 
help to keep them humble. They have all this " treasure but 
in earthen vessels;" 2Cor.iv. 7. Their souls are here so 
poorly lodged in corruptible tabernacles of earth, and so 
meanly clothed with frail, diseased, mortal flesh, that it is 
madness to be proud. 

7. And the many and great afflictions of the godly, are 
medicines that are purposely given them by their Physician 
to cure pride, and keep them humble. Why else must their 
sufferings be so many ? and why must they daily bear the 
cross ? but that they may be conformed to the image of 

8. And to the same end it is that God doth let loose upon 

VOL. X. u 


them so many enemies. All satan's temptations and the 
world's allurements and vexations, and all their disappoint- 
ments here, and all the scorns and mocks of the ungodly, 
and the censures and slanders of wicked tongues, and often 
bitter persecutions, what are they but the bitter medicines 
of God (permitted and ordered by him, though caused by 
the devil and wicked men), to save the servants of the Lord 
from the sin and danger of being lifted up ? Do you say, 
that their honour will make them proud ? Why, you that 
thus oppose them and despise them, are curing them of their 
pride, and do not know it; as scullions scour the rust off the 
vessels for their master's use ; and as leeches draw out the 
blood that causeth the disease ; and as the Jews by their sin 
promoted the redemption of the world by the death of Christ. 
When God seeth his servants in danger of being lifted up 
above measure, he oft sendeth a messenger of satan (who 
may be an executioner of God's chastisements) to buffet 
them (2 Cor. xii. 7.), sometimes by slanders, sometimes by 
reproaches, sometimes by imprisonments, or greater suffer- 
ings, and sometimes by horrid troublesome temptations. 

9. The very foresight of death itself is a humbling means, 
and the last enemy death is yet unconquered, and our bodies 
must corrupt in dust and darkness, and be kept in the grave 
as common earth, till the resurrection, that the soul may not 
grow proud that hath such a body. 

10. And the day of judgment is so described to us in 
the Scripture, as tends to keep the soul in awe and in humi- 
lity. To think of such a day, and such a reckoning, before 
such a God, methinks should humble us. 

11. And our absolution and glorification at that day, is 
promised us now but conditionally, (though God will see 
that the condition be performed by all that he will save.) 
And therefore the poor soul i,s oft so far to seek about the 
certain sincerity of his own faith and repentance, that most 
of the godly are kept in fears and doubtings to the death. 
Yea, and humility and self-denial are part of this condition ; 
and all their honour and glory with Christ is promised to the 
humble only. Humility is commanded them in the precept ; 
humility is it that they are exhorted to by the ministers ; 
and pride is threatened with everlasting wrath, and describ- 
ed as the devil's image. So that holiness hath all the ad- 
vantages against pride that can be here expected. 


12. To conclude; the godly know that as they have no- 
thing but from God, so they have nothing but for God : so 
that their own honour is for him, more than for themselves 5 
and it is essential to their holiness, to make God their end, 
and set him highest, and refer all to his pleasure and glory. 
So that you see now that we may honour them that fear the 
Lord (Psal. cxv, 4.), without being guilty of making them 
proud, and that we must not deny them the honour that God 
hath given them as their due, for fear of their being proud 
of it. Though this, as all things else, must be prudently 
managed to particular persons, according to their various 

And therefore let me here warn all you that profess the 
fear of God : take heed lest you be proud of any thing that 
God hath honoured you with ; for if you be, you see what 
an army of reasons and means you sin against ; and conse- 
quently how great your sin will be. And your consciences 
and the world shall be forced to justify God and his holy 
ways, and to prove against you, that it was not long of them 
that you were proud, and that none in the world was more 
against it than God and holiness ; and that it was not be- 
cause you were so religious, but because you were no more 
religious. And if pride of knowledge, gifts, or whatsoever, 
be unmortified in you, it will certainly prove that you are 
none of the sanctified ; when your profession of sanctity will 
never prove that sanctity was a cause or confederate in your sin. 

And now I have shewed you the honour of godliness, let 
us briefly (and but briefly,) consider of your honour that re- 
ject it, and see then whether the godly or ungodly are more 

1. Ungodly men have the basest master in the world. 
Would you know who ? Let Christ be judge ; " Ye are of 
your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will 
do ;" John viii. 44. They are " taken captive by the devil 
at his will" (2 Tim. ii. 26.) ; that is, to do his will. It is he 
that stirreth you up to filthy talking, to speak against godli- 
ness, to curse and swear, and you do his will. His will is that 
you should neglect a holy life, and you do his will. His will is 
that you live not after the Spirit, but after the flesh, and you 
do his will. O poor souls ! do you think it is only witches 
that expressly covenant with him, that are his miserable ser- 


vants ? Alas ! it is you also, if you do his will. For (if you 
will believe either God or common reason) ** to whom you 
yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to 
whom you obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience 
unto righteousness;" Rom. vi. 16. The godly themselves 
were the servants of sin, till they " obeyed from the heart 
the doctrine of the Lord," ver. 17. And are you not come 
to fair preferment, to be the devil's drudges ? Though he 
should clothe your bodies with purple and fine linen, and 
feed you sumptuously every day, yet indeed you are no bet- 
ter, as the case of that miserable man may tell you, Luke 
xvi. It is the greatest baseness to have so base a master. 

2. And it is but an ignoble, base design that the ungod- 
ly carry on in the world. What is it but to provide for, and 
please their flesh? It aimeth at nothing beyond this life. 
And a beast can eat, and drink, and sleep, and play, and sa- 
tisfy his lust, as much as they, A swine can carry a mouth 
full of straw to his lodging, and a bird can build a nest for 
her young ones. And what do ungodly men more in the 
world, whether gentlemen or beggars, the flattered gallants 
or the poor day-labourers, if they be not such as first seek 
heaven, and live to God, what do they but make a pudder in 
the world, about a little dirt or smoke? and find themselves 
somewhat to do that is next to nothing, instead of that for 
which they were created? and busy themselves about no- 
thing till their time is gone, and the night is come when 
none can work? If you would judge of a man's designs, 
foresee his attainments. If you can tell what end it is that 
they come to, you may know how to judge of their inten- 
tions and their course. Their corpses, you know have no 
greater a happiness, (after a few foolish merry hours) than 
to lie in the earth as filth or dust. You can see no honour 
attained there. It is a child indeed that thinks a gilded 
monument over a rotten carcase, is any great matter of ho- 
nour or benefit to it. And if you look after the soul, (by 
the prospective of the word of God,) alas, it goeth to far 
greater dishonour. And is this it that worldlings make 
such a stir for ? 

3. The work also that they are employed in, is like the 
design. Sin, which is the basest thing in the world, is their 
employment. The work of a scullion, or the basest honest 
trade you can imagine, is a thousand times less dishonoura- 


ble than sin. Yet flattered gallants believe not this, when 
they can please their flesh without losing the reputation of 
worthy gentlemen ! Nor will our common ungodly people 
be persuaded of it, that are more ashamed to be found pray- 
ing than sinning, and to be called Puritan than a good fel- 
low or a swearer j and that think they are as good men as 
others, when up to the ears in the drudgery of the devil : as 
if the filth of sin were no dishonour to them, which nothing 
but the Spirit and blood of Christ is able to wash out. 
These are the men that Paul mentioneth with weeping, that 
mind earthly things, " whose god is their belly, and who 
glory in their shame;" Phil. iii. 18. 

4. Moreover, it is a base disposition that ungodly men 
are possessed with. Though their natures are essentially 
noble, as being the work of God, and capable of most glo- 
rious things ; yet have they made them dispositively vile : 
they are fleshlyminded, earthlyminded, ignorant of heavenly 
things, not savouring the things of the Spirit, but like the 
serpent, crawling on earth, and feeding on the dust. Grass 
is sweeter to a horse than junkets ; and a little money or 
vainglory is sweeter to a fleshly mind than God and glory, 
and all the treasures of saints and angels. A swine never 
thinks of God or heaven, but of his draff" and sty. Ease, and 
good cheer, and money, and the flattery of men, are the god 
and the heaven of sensual men. And are not these men of 
base, dishonourable spirits ? Unworthy men ! might you 
liave an everlasting life, and will you prefer a few days flesh- 
ly pleasure? As sure as you may know the baseness of a 
swine or dog by what they feed upon, so surely may you 
know the baseness of a carnal mind, by the baseness of its 
desires and delights. 

5. It is also a base society that ungodly men are mem- 
bers of. They are in the " kingdom of darkness ;" Col. i.. 
13. Acts xxvi. 18. And are " dead in sin, in which they 
walk according to the course of the world, according to the 
prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in 
the children of disobedience, among whom they have their 
conversation ;'* Eph.ii. 1 — 3. Devils are their invisible com- 
panions, and wicked men their visible ; but they have none 
of the presence and favour of the Lord, nor any communion 
with him in the Spirit. 

6, The greatest dishonour of the ungodly is, that the God 


of heaven ref'useth to honour them; yea, he despiseth them, 
yea he dishonoureth them with the most contemptuous titles. 
And certainly God knoweth what he saith of them ; and it 
is impossible that he should do them wrong. Yet doth he call 
them the seed of the serpent, that stand at enmity with his 
flock ; Gen. iii. 15. He calls them his enemies, and accord- 
ingly will use them ; Luke xix. 27. He calls them dogs and 
swine, and the children of the devil; Johnviii.44. Matt, 
vii. 6. They dishonour and despise him, and he will disho- 
nour and despise them, and hath resolved that their very 
names shall rot ; Prov. x. 7. 

7. But it is the everlasting shame that will tell us what 
was the honour of the ungodly. When Christ shall be 
ashamed of them before his Father and the heavenly angels 
(Matt. viii. 38.), and shall tell them that he never knew them ; 
Matt. vii. 23. When all their former pomp and splendour 
will be turned into perpetual shame and sorrows, then where 
is the honour of the ungodly world? Where then are their 
flatterers ? Who boweth to them, and calleth them Right 
Honourable and Right Worshipful any more ? Where now are 
their sumptuous houses and attendance ? Now they have 
other kind of servitors, and other language, and other usage 
than they had on earth. And the poor wretches that storm- 
ed at a faithful minister for foretelling these woeful changes 
to them, and speaking so dishonourably of them, as to tell 
them of their sin, are at last saying a hundredfold worse of 
themselves, than ever we did say against them. Then they 
shall need none to call them fools, and vile, and wretches, 
but their own consciences, that will speak it out, and speak 
it again ten thousand times, and never be bribed to forbear. 
O how base a despicable generation will the ungodly then 
be (that now speak so stoutly and look so high) when God 
shall everlastingly frown them into contempt and misery, and 
the glorified saints shall look down upon them without com- 
passion, even praising the justice that for ever doth torment 
them ! Then let the kings and nobles of the earth maintain 
their ancient honours if they can. Or let them take com- 
fort in the remembrance of their former dreams, and try whe- 
ther this will be to them instead of a drop of water. 

Well, sirs, I have faithfully told you from the word of 
God, of the honour of the godly, and the baseness of the un- 
godly, that you may be. resolved, which is the better part 


If yet you will not see, you shall see and be ashamed ; Isa. 
XX vi. 1 1. When you have heard your last and dreadful doom, 
and seen the Lord make up his jewels ; "then shall you dis- 
cern between the righteous and the wicked ; between him 
that serveth God, and him that serveth him not ;" Mai. iii. 
17, 18. 


Holiness is the most Pleasant way. 

I HAVE proved beyond all reasonable contradiction that ho- 
liness is the safe, the honest, the profitable, and the honour- 
able state and course. But my hardest task is yet to be 
done ; and that is, to prove it the most pleasant way. And 
the difficulty of this is not at all from the matter, but from 
the persons with whom I have to do. For nothing is plea- 
sant unto men but what is suitable to their natures, and ap- 
prehended by them to be for their good, or in itself more ex- 
cellent than their good. That is pleasant to one man that 
is loathsome to another. As the food and converse is de- 
lightful to a beast, that is loathsome and as bad as death to 
man, so one man's pleasure is another's pain. Even about 
the common matters of this life, variety of complexions, edu- 
cations, customs, and dispositions, doth cause a variety of 
affections ; the difference between the sanctified and un- 
sanctified, the spiritual and the carnal mind, doth cause a 
greater contrariety. If therefore the error of wicked minds, 
or the distemper of your souls, do make the best things seem 
the worst, and the sweetest things to seem most bitter, this 
is no confutation of my argument, that proves the way of 
godliness most pleasant. If I would prove that wine is 
pleasanter than vinegar, or bread than dirt or ashes, I mean 
not to appeal to the appetites of the sick; it is the sound and 
healthful that must be judges. If a man will suffer his mind 
to be possessed with prejudice and base thoughts of God 
himself, no wonder if he cannot love him, nor take any de- 
light in him. 



And if men have a malignant enmity to godliness, no rea- 
son will persuade them that it is most pleasant, but what 
persuades them from that enmity. No reason will persuade 
a slothful person that labour is better than sleep and idle- 
ness ; no reason will persuade a drunkard, glutton, or volup- 
tuous wretch, that abstinence and continence are the sweet- 
est life. Could we change their hearts, we should change 
their pleasures. Such as men are, such are their delights. 
But the thing that I undertake, is, to manifest to any com- 
petent discerner, that holiness is the most pleasant course ; 
and that all the pleasures of the earth are nothing to the plea- 
sures which the godly find in God, and in a holy life. And 
if any be not of this mind, it is because his soul's diseases 
have made him an incompetent judge. And that godliness 
is the most pleasant state of life, will appear to you, I. From 
the nature of the thing itself. II. From the encouragements 
and helps with which it is attended. Ill, From the eflfects 
and fruits. 

I. The nature of holiness is to be found, i. In the un- 
derstanding. II. In the will and affections. And in. In the 
practice of men's lives. And in all these I shall shew you 
that it is the most delightful course. 

I. Knowledge in itself is a pleasant thing to human na- 
ture. Ignorance is the blindness of the soul. It is not so 
pleasant for the eye to behold the sun, as for the mind of 
man to discern the truth. To know good and evil had ne- 
ver been the matter of so strong a temptation to Adam, if 
knowledge had not been very desirable to innocent nature. 
How hard do many even ungodly persons study to know the 
mysteries of nature. And nothing hath more strongly tempt- 
ed some wretches to witchcraft or contracts with the devil, 
tlian a desire of knowing unrevealed things, which by his 
means they have hoped to attain. A studious man hath far 
more natural, valuable delight in his reading and successful 
studies, than a voluptuous epicure hath in his sensual de- 

But it is a special kind of knowledge that holiness doth 
(initially) consist in, which transcendeth in true pleasure all 
the common wisdom of the world. For, 

1 . How pleasant a thing must it needs be to know things 
of so high a nature ! To know the Almighty, living God ; 
to behold his wisdom, goodness, and power, in his glorious 


works ; to be led to him by all the creatures, and hear of 
him by every providence, and find his holy, blessed name in 
every leaf of his sacred word ; how sweet and pleasant a 
thing is this ! To know the Divine nature, persons, attri- 
butes, and will ; to know the mystery of the incarnation, of 
the person, nature, undertaking, performance of the bless- 
ed Mediator, Jesus Christ ; to know his birth, his life, temp- 
tations, conquests, his righteousness, his holy doctrine and 
example, the law and promise, the law of nature and the co- 
venant of grace ; the sufferings, resurrection, ascension, glo- 
rification, and intercession of our Lord ; to know his king- 
dom, laws, and government, and his judgment, with his re- 
wards and punishments ; to know the sanctifying works of 
the Holy Ghost, by which we are prepared for everlasting 
life ; and to know that life (though but by faith) for which 
we are here prepared ; how high and pleasant a thing is this! 
If it be pleasant to know the course of nature, in those high- 
er parts that are above the vulgar reach, what is it to know 
the God of nature, and the true use and end of nature ? 
What high things doth the poorest Christian know ! He 
knoweth the things that are invisible. 

Think not that faith is so void of evidence as not to de- 
serve the name of knowledge. We know the things which 
we do believe. Nicodemus could say from the evidence of 
miracles, " We know that thou art a teacher come from God ; 
for no man could do these miracles that thou dost, except 
God be with him ;" John iii. 2. " We know that God spake 
to Moses" (chap. ix. 29), say the Jews. We know that the 
Scripture testimony is true ; chap. xxi. 24. " We know (even 
by believing) that if this earthly house of our tabernacle were 
dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with 
hands, eternal in the heavens ;" 2 Cor. v. 1. " We know that 
when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see 
him as he is;" 1 John iii. 2. " At that day ye shall know that 
I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you ;" chap. xiv. 
20. We know that no whoremonger or such like shall in- 
herit eternal life ; Eph. v. 5. We know that our " labour is 
not in vain in the Lord ;" 1 Cor. xv. 58. Many such pas- 
sages of Scripture tell us, that faith is a certain knowledge, 
and that invisible things revealed by God are certainly known. 
We know what saints and angels are now doing in the high- 
est heavens ; for God hath told us. We know the most high 


and glorious things revealed by God, which we never saw. 
And is not the pleasure of such knowledge greater than the 
pleasure of all the wealth, the honour, and sensual enjoy- 
ments in this world ! I durst almost refer the case to one of 
you that are most befooled by your own sensuality. If you 
could go to-morrow and meet with a soul from heaven, or 
with an angel, that could tell you what becomes of souls, and 
what is done in another world, would you not rather go to 
such a conference, than go as far to a drinking, or a bowling, 
or some such recreation? I think you would, if it were but 
to satisfy your curiosity and desire of knowing. Why then 
should not the servants of Christ more delight in the read- 
ing and hearing the words of Christ, that came from the bo- 
som of the Father, that hath seen God, and is with God, and 
is God himself, thattelleth them more certainly of the invi- 
sible things than any saints or angels can tell them? Why 
should not this, I say, be sweeter to them than all the flesh- 
ly pleasures in the world ? O that I could know more of 
God, and more of the mystery of redemption, even of an obe- 
dient, crucified, glorified Christ ; and more of the invisible 
world, and of the blessed state of souls, on condition I left 
all the pleasures of this world to sensual men ! O that I had 
more clear and firm apprehensions of these transcendent, 
glorious things ! How easily could I spare the pleasures of 
the flesh, and leave those husks to swine to feed on! O 
could my soul get nearer to God, and be more irradiated with 
his heavenly beams, my mind would need no other recrea- 
tion, and I should as little relish carnal pleasures, as carnal 
minds do relish the heavenly delights. As earthly things are 
poor and low, so is the knowledge of them. As things spi- 
ritual and heavenly are high and glorious, mysterious and 
profound, the knowledge of them is accordingly delightful. 
" And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness. 
God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, 
seen of angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the 
world, received up into glory ;'' 1 Tim. iii, 16. " Faith is the 
evidence of things not seen ;" Heb. xi. 1. It is far more plea- 
sant by faith to see the Lord, than to see any creature by the 
eye of flesh ; and sweeter by faith to see heaven opened, and 
there behold our glorified Lord, than to see a horse-race, or 
stage-play, or any of the fooleries of the world. 

2. The knowledge of things to come is specially desired. 


and godliness containeththat faith which knoweth things to 
come. How glad would men be to be told what shall befal 
them to the last hour of their lives ! The woman of Samaria 
(John iv.) called out her neighbours with admiration to see 
Christ, as one that had told her all that she had done. But 
if he had told her all that ever she would do, for the time to 
come, and all that ever should befal her, it might have as- 
tonished her much more. Believers know what hath been, 
even before the world was made, and how it was made, and 
what hath been since then, and they know what will be to all 
eternity. A true believer knows from Scripture, whither 
men's souls go after death, and how their bodies shall be 
raised again, and how Christ will come to judge the world, 
and who shall then be justified, and who shall be condemn- 
ed ; and what shall be the case of the godly and the ungod- 
ly to all eternity. And is it not more pleasure to know these 
things, than to possess all the vain delights of the earth ? 
Can the flesh afford you any thing so delightful ? 

3. Especially, it is desirable and pleasant to know those 
things that most concern us. Needless speculations and 
curiosities we can spare. There is a knowledge that brings 
more pain than pleasure ; yea, there is a knowledge that will 
torment. But to know our own affairs, our greatest and most 
necessary affairs ; to know our threatened misery to prevent 
it, and to know our offered happiness to attain it ; to know 
our portion, our honour, our God, what can be more plea- 
sant to the mind of man I Other men's matters we can pass 
by. But to know such things concerning our own souls as 
what we must be and do for ever, and what course we must 
take to be everlastingly happy, must needs be a feast to the 
mind of a wise man. Ask but a soul that is haunted with 
temptations to unbelief, whether any thing would be more 
welcome to him, than the clear and satisfying apprehensions 
of a lively faith ? Ask one that lieth in tears and groans, 
through the feeling of their sin, and the fears of the wrath of 
God, and doubtings of his love, whether the satisfying know- 
ledge of pardon and reconciliation, and divine acceptance, 
would not be more pleasant to them, than any of your mer- 
riments can be to you? Ask that poor soul that hath lost 
the apprehension of his evidences of grace, and walks in 
darkness, and hath no light, that seeks, and cries, and per- 
ceives no hearing whether the discovery of his evidences. 


the assurance that his prayers are accepted, and the light of 
God's countenance shining on him, would not be better to 
him than any recreation, or any pleasure the earth affords ? 
Ask any man at the hour of death, that is not a block. 
Whether now the knowledge of his salvation would not be 
better and more pleasant to him, than all the lust, or sport, 
or honours of the world. 

4. The knowledge of the best and most joyful matters 
must be the best and most pleasant knowledge. And no- 
thing can be better than God and glory. Nothing can be 
sweeter than salvation ; and therefope this must be the sweet- 
est knowledge. I had rather have the pleasure of one hour's 
clear and lively knowledge of my salvation, and of the spe- 
cial love of God, than to be exalted above the greatest prince, 
and to have all the pleasures that my senses can desire. 
The delights of the flesh are base and brutish, and nothing 
to the spiritual, heavenly delights of the renewed mind. 

5. The manner of our holy knowledge maketh it more de- 
lightful. 1. It is a certain and infallible knowledge. It is 
not a ' may be,' or bare possibility. It is not, * It is possi- 
ble there may be a heaven and happiness hereafter.' But it 
is as true as the word of God is true. We have his own 
hand, and seal, and earnest for it. Even his precious pro- 
mises, and oath, confirmed by miracles, and fulfilled prophe- 
cy, and bearing his own image and superscription, and shin- 
ing to us by its own light. We have in our hearts the spi- 
rit which is God's earnest, by which we are sealed up to the 
day of our final full redemption. And if the soul yet stag- 
ger at the promise of God through the remnants of unbelief, 
that shall not make the promise of God of none effect ; but 
his foundation shall still stand sure. His word shall not 
pass till all be fulfilled, though heaven and earth shall pass 
away. A message by one that were sent to us from the dead, 
were not more credible than the word of God. And this 
certainty of holy faith and knowledge is a very great con- 
tentment to the soul. When the glory of the saints is a thing 
as sure as if we saw it with our eyes, and as sure as these 
things which we daily see, it is a great pleasure to the soul, 
when it can but apprehend this joyful certainty. 

2. And that there is a certain easiness and plainness in 
the great and necessary points of faith, as to the manner of 
revelation, doth add much to Faith's satisfaction and delight. 


The points that life and death lie on, are not left so obscure 
as might perplex us, lest we did not know the meaning of 
them. But they are so plain, that he that runs may read 
them; and the simple, that are but honesthearted, may cer- 
tainly understand them. Which quiets, and pleaseth, and 
satisfies the mind. 

3. And yet there is an exciting difficulty in many things, 
that are offered to our knowledge, which doth but make our 
holy studies the more delightful. If the word of God were 
so plain and obvious to all, that it might be all understood 
at the first reading, the plainness would bring our sacred 
knowledge into contempt, as being an easy, common thing. 
Things common and easily got are little set by. But when 
the plainness is such as may prevent our despair and dissa- 
tisfaction, and yet the difficulty such, that it may hold us in 
study, and prevent our contempt, it makes the most delight- 
ful knowledge. It is pleasant to find some daily addition to 
our light, and to be on the gaining and thriving hand, and 
this upon our diligent search. Successes are as pleasant as 
a present fulness of supplies. The daily blessing of God 
upon our studies, and humble learning, addeth to our de- 
light. So that all this set together, may shew you hoW plea- 
sant a thing it is to have the knowledge of a saint. 

Especially if you add that he hath an experimental, and 
so a sweeter knowledge than the most learned men have that 
are ungodly. He hath tasted that the Lord is gracious, and 
he hath tasted the sweetness of his love, and of all the riches 
of his grace in Christ, and of his full and precious promises, 
and of the inward powerful workings of his spirit. His ex- 
perimental knowledge is the most delightful knowledge. 

The pleasure of natural knowledge is great, but the plea- 
sure of saving knowledge is much greater. I do not believe 
that ever any of the ambitious troublers of the world, that let 
go heaven that they may rule on earth, have half the pleasure 
in their greatness and usurped dignities, as an honest student 
hath in his book, and studious exercises and successes. But 
if you compare the pleasures of their greatness and com- 
mands with the pleasure of a true believing soul, in his life 
of faith, and sweet forethoughts of his heavenly inheritance, 
[ must plainly tell you that we disdain the comparison. 
Again I say, that if you will compare the drunkard's, the for- 
nicator's, or the ambitious or covetous man's delight, with 


the solace that I find in my retired studies, even about na- 
tural common things, I disdain the comparison. But if you 
compare their pleasure with that little, alas too little plea- 
sure that I find in the believing thoughts of life eternal, I do 
not only disdain your comparison, but detest it. 

Were I minded to be long, I would shew you from these 
twelve particular instances, the abundant pleasure of holy 

1. What a pleasant thing it is to know the Lord, the eter- 
nal God, in his blessed attributes ! The most dim, glimmer- 
ing knowledge of God is better than the clearest knowledge 
of all the mysteries of nature. 

2. How pleasant is it to know the works of his creation! 
How, and why, and when he made the world, and all that is 
therein ! 

3. How pleasant is it to know the blessed Son of God, 
and to behold the face of his Father's love that is revealed 
in him as his fullest image ! 

4. How pleasant is it to know the law and Gospel, the 
matter and the method, the literal and spiritual sense ; to 
see there the mind and will of God, and to see our charter 
for the heavenly inheritance ; and read the precepts, and the 
promises, and the examples of the faith and patience of the 
saints ! 

5. How pleasant is it to know the heavenly operations of 
the Holy Ghost, and the nature and action of his several 
graces, and the uses of every one of them to our souls ; and 
especially to find them in ourselves, and to be skilled in 
using them ! 

6. How pleasant is it to know the nature and frame of the 
church of Christ which is his body, and to know the diflTer- 
ence and use of the several members ! To understand the 
office of the ministry, and why Christ hath set them in the 
church, and how much love he hath manifested therein ; that 
they should preach to us, and offer us reconciliation in his 
name and stead (2 Cor. v. 19.), and marry us unto Christ in 
baptism, receiving us in his name into the church and holy 
covenant ; and that in his name and stead they should de- 
liver us his body and blood, and absolve the penitent sinner 
from his sins, and deliver him a sealed pardon, and receive 
the returning, humbled soul into the church of Christ, and 
communion of his saints. 



7. How pleasant is it to know the nature and use of all 
Christ's ordinances. The excellencies of his holy word ; the 
use of baptism, and the refreshing, strengthening use of the 
supper of the Lord ; the use and benefit of holy prayer, and 
praises, and thanksgiving, and church order, and all parts of 
the communion of the saints ! 

8. Yea, there is a holy pleasure in knowing our very sin 
and folly. When God bringeth a sinner to himself, though 
his sin be odious to him, yet to know the sin is pleasant ; and 
therefore he prayeth that God would shew him the bottom of 
his heart, and the most secret or odious of his sins. 

9. And it is pleasant to a Christian to know his duty. 
It very much quieteth and delighteth his mind, when he can 
but know what is the will of God. When the way of duty 
is plain before him, how cheerfully can he go on, whatever 
meets him ! and how easy doth it make his labour and his 
suffering ! 

10. Yea, it is pleasant to a believer to understand his 
very danger. Though the danger itself be dreadful to him, 
yet to know it, that he may avoid it, is his desire, and his 

11. And how pleasant is it to understand all the helps, 
encouragements, and comforts, that God hath provided for 
us, in our way ! and how many more are for us, than against 
us ! 

12. But above all, how pleasant is it to know by faith, 
the life that we must live with God for ever, and what he will 
do for us to all eternity, in the performance of his holy cove- 

I do but briefly name these instances of delightful know- 
ledge, which are sweeter to the holy soul than all the plea- 
sures of sin to the ungodly. Do you think that any of you 
hath such solid pleasure in your sins, as David had in the 
law of God, when he meditated in it with such delight, and 
faith. " How sweet is it to my mouth ! even sweeter than 
the honey and the honeycomb." Surely you dare not com- 
pare with him in pleasures. 

II. Another part of holiness that is pleasant in the na- 
ture of it, is that which is subjected in the heart and affec- 
tions. And here is the chiefest of its sweetness and de- 

1. The very compliance of the will with the will of God, 


and its conformity to his law, doth carry a quieting plea^iure 
in it. That soul is most happy that is nearest God, and 
most like him ; and that soul may well be fullest of delights 
that is most happy. And that soul is nearest and most like 
unto God, whose will is most conformed to his will. The 
trouble of the heart is its unsettledness, when it is not bot- 
tomed on the will of God. When we feel that God's will' 
doth rule and satisfy us, and that we would fain be what he 
would have us be, and rest in his disposing will, as well as 
obey his commanding will, this gives abundant pleasure and 
quietness to the soul. 

2. The holy workings of charity in the soul, are exceed- 
ing pleasant. All the acts of love to God and man are very 
sweet. This is the holy work, that is its wages. 

1. The love of God is so sweet an exercise, that verily, 
my soul had rather be employed in it with sense and vigour, 
than to be lord of all the earth. O could I but be taken up 
with the love of God, how easily could I spare the pleasure 
of the flesh ! Might I but see the loveliness of my dear Crea- 
tor, with a clearer view, and- see his glory in his noble works ; 
might I but see and feel that saving love which he hath ma- 
nifested in the Redeemer, till my soul were ravished and fill- 
ed with his love, how little should I care who had the plea- 
sures of this deceitful world ! Had I more of that blessed 
Spirit of adoption, and more of those filial affections to my 
heavenly Father, which his unutterable love bespeaks ; and 
were I more sensible of his abundant mercy, and did my soul 
but breathe and long after him more earnestly, I would pity 
the miserable tyrants of the world, that are worse than beg- 
gars while they domineer, and taste not of that kingdom of 
love and pleasure that dwelleth in my breast. All the plea- 
sures of the world are the laughing of a madman, or the 
sports of a child, or the dreams of a sick man, in comparison 
of the pleasures of the love of God. 

2. And the love of holiness, the image of God hath its 
degree of pleasure. And so hath the love of the holy ser- 
vants of the Lord. There is a sweetness in the soul in its 
goings out after any holy object, in spiritual love. Yea, 
more, our very common love of men, and our love of ene- 
mies, hath its proportion of pleasure, far better than the sen- 
sual pleasure of the ungodly. To feel so much of the ope- 
rations of grace, and to answer our holy pattern, in loving 


them that hate us, doth give much ease and pleasure to the 
mind. The exercises of love to God and man, and that for 
his sake, are the exceeding pleasure of a gracious soul. 

And here by the way, you may take notice of one reason 
why hypocrites and ungodly men find no such sweetness in 
the exercises of religion ; because they let alone the inward 
pleasant work of love, which is the soul and life of outward 
duty. This inward work is the pleasant work ; while they 
are strangers unto this, their outward duties will be but a 
toil, and seem a drudgery or a wearisome employment. 

3. There is a pleasure even in holy desires : when a Chris- 
tian feeleth his heart enlarged, in longing after the welfare of 
the church and the good of others. Though the absence of 
the thing desired be a trouble, yet the exercise of a holy de- 
sire (which is an act of love) is pleasant to us. If the lust- 
ful have a pleasure in their vile desire, and the ambitious and 
the covetous have a pleasure in their vain and delusory de- 
sires, the wise, well-guided desires of a true believer must 
needs be pleasant. 

4. Especially when desire is accompanied with hope. 
All the pleasures of this world are far short of affording that 
rest and quiet to the soul, as the hope of glory doth to the 
believer. O happy soul that is acquainted by experience, 
with the lively hopes of the everlasting happiness ! It is not 
the hope of corruptible riches, nor of a fading inheritance, 
but of the crown thatfadeth not, and of the precious, certain 
durable treasure ! It is not a hope in the promise of deceit- 
ful man, but in the word of the everlasting God ! The soul 
that hath this anchor, needs not be tossed with those fears 
and cares, and anxieties of mind, that worldly men are sub- 
ject to. This hope will never make them ashamed. If a 
man were in a consumption, or sentenced to death, would not 
the hopes of life, upon certain grounds, be more pleasant to 
him, than sport or mirth, or lustful objects, or any such pre- 
sent sensitive delights ? Much more if, with the hopes of 
life, he had the hopes of all the felicities of life, and of the 
perpetuity of all these. O may I but be enabled by faith to 
lift up the eye of my soul to God, and view the everlasting 
mansions, and by hope to take possession of them, and say. 
All this is mine in title, even upon the promise of the faithful 
God ! What greater pleasure can my soul possess, till it en- 
ter on the full possession of those eternal pleasures ! O poor 

VOL. X. X 


deluded, worldly men ! What is the pleasure of your wealth 
to this? O brutish sinners ! What is the pleasure of your 
mirth and jollity, your meat and drink, your pride and bra- 
very, your lust and filthiness, in comparison of this ? O poor 
ambitious, dreaming men, that make such a stir for the ho- 
nour and greatness of this world ! What is the pleasure of 
your idol-honour, and short vainglory in comparison of this? 
While you have it, you have no hope of keeping it ; you are 
troubled with the thought of leaving it. Had we no higher 
hopes than yours, how miserable should we be ! 

5. The trust and repose of the soul on God, which is ano- 
ther part of the life of grace, is exceeding pleasant and 
quieting to the soul. To find that we stand upon a rock, 
and that under us are the everlasting arms, and that we have 
so full security for our salvation as the promise and oath of 
the immutable God, what a stay, what a pleasure is this to 
the believer ! The troubles of the godly are most from the 
remnants of their unbelief. The more they believe, the more 
they are comforted and established. The life of faith is a 
pleasant life. Faith could not conquer so many enemies, 
and carry us through so much suffering and distress, as you 
find in that cloud of testimonies, Heb. xi. if it were not a 
very comfortable work. Even we that see not the salvation 
ready to be revealed, may yet greatly rejoice, for all the ma- 
nifold temptations, that for a season make us subject to some 
heaviness; 1 Pet. i. 5, 6. And we " that see not Jesus Christ, 
yet believing can love him, and rejoice with joy unspeakable 
and full of glory ;" ver. 8. The God of hope doth some- 
times "fill his servants with all joy and peace in believing, 
and makes them even abound in hope through the power of 
the Holy Ghost ;" Rom. xv. 13. 

6. Yea, joy is itself a part of the holy qualification of the 
saints, and of the renewed state that grace hath brought 
them into. " For the kingdom of God as it consisteth in 
righteousness, so in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost ;" Rom. 
xiv. 17. Believers *' receive not the spirit of bondage again 
to fear ;" that is, they are not under the bondage of the law, 
nor have the spirit or state of mind which is suited to those 
legal impositions and terrible comminations, but they " have 
received the Spirit of adoption by which they cry, Abba, Fa- 
ther ;" that is, as they are brought under a more gracious 
dispensation, and a better covenant and promises, and God 


is revealed to them in the Gospel as a reconciled father 
through his Son, so doth he treat them more gently as recon- 
ciled children, and the Spirit which answereth this gracious 
covenant^ and is given us thereupon, doth qualify us v<rith a 
childlike disposition, and cause us, with boldness, love 
and confidence, to call God Father, and fly to him for 
succour and supply in all our dangers and necessities. And 
how pleasant it must be to a believing soul, to have this Spi- 
rit of adoption, this childlike love and confidence, and free- 
dom with the Lord, me thinks you might conjecture though 
it is sensibly known by them only that enjoy it. " The fruit 
of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, &c. (Gal. v. 22.), when the 
word is first received by believers, though it may be in much 
affliction, through the persecutions and cross that attend the 
Gospel, yet is it ordinarily " in the joy of the Holy Ghost ; 
1 Thess. i. 6. The Holy Ghost is the comforter of true be- 
lievers. And if he have taken it upon him as his work, he 
will surely do it, in the degree and season fittest for them. 
And if joy itself be part of the state of grace and holiness, 
you may see that it is the most delightful, pleasant course. 
7. Yea, that we may have a pleasant and comfortable life, 
the Lord hath forbidden our distracting cares, and fears, and 
doubts, and our inordinate sorrows ; and commanded us to 
cast our care on him, and promised to care for us (1 Pet. v. 
7.); and he hath bid us "be careful for nothing, but in all 
things make our wants known to him ;" PhiL iv. 6. And 
can there be a course of life more pleasant than that which 
doth consist in faith, and love, and hope, and joy, that is 
built on God, and animated by him, and that excludeth inor- 
dinate cares and sorrows, as health doth sickness ? Where 
it is unlawful to be miserable and to grieve ourselves, and no 
sorrow is allowed us, but that which tendeth to our joy ; 
where it is made our work to " rejoice in the Lord, yea al- 
ways to rejoice ;" ver. 4. A servant or tradesman will judge 
of the pleasure of his life by his work. If his work be drud- 
gery, his life is tedious and filled with grief. If his work be 
pleasant, his life is pleasant. Judge then by this of a holy 
life. Is it care, and fear, and anguish of mind that God com- 
mandeth you? No ; it is these that he forbiddeth. " Care 
not: Fearnot,'* are his injunctions ; Isa.xxv. 4. xli. 10. Do 
you fear reproach? Why, you do it contrary to the will of 
God, who biddeth you *' Fear not the reproach of men ;" Isa, 


li. 7. Do you fear the power and rage of enemies ? Why, 
it is contrary to your religion so to do. God biddeth you 
" fear them not ;" chap, xliii. 5. 13, 14. xliv. 2. 8. Do you 
fear persecution or death from the hands of cruel violence ? 
Why, it is contrary to the will of God that you do so. " Fear 
not them which kill the body," &c. Matt. x. 26.28. 31. O 
blessed life ! where all that is against us is forbidden, and 
all that is truly joyous, and delightful, and necessary to 
make us happy is commanded us, and made our duty ; which 
is contrary to misery, as life to death, and as light to dark- 
ness. Come hither, poor deluded sinners that fly from care, 
and fear, and sorrow. If you will but give up yourselves to 
Christ, you shall be exempted from all these, except such as 
is necessary to your joy. You may do any thing, if you 
will be the servants of the Lord, except that which tendeth 
to your own and other men's calamity. Come hither, all 
you that call for pleasure, and love no life but a life of mirth. 
Let God be your master, and holiness your work, and plea- 
sure then shall be your business, and holy mirth shall be 
your employment. While you serve the flesh, your pleasure 
is small, and your trouble great ; vexation is your work, and 
unspeakable vexation is your wages. But if you will be the 
hearty servants of the Lord, rejoicing shall be your work and 
wages. If you understand not this, peruse your lesson, Psal. 
xxxiii. 1. " Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous, for praise is 
comely for the upright." *' Light is sown for the righteous, 
and gladness for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, 
ye righteous ; and give thanks at the remembrance of his 
holiness ;" Psal. xcviii. 11, 12. " Let all those that trust in 
thee rejoice : let them ever shout for joy, because thou de- 
fendest them : let them also that love thy name be joyful in 
thee ;" Phil. iii. 1. Psal. v, 11. "Be glad in the Lord, and 
rejoice ye righteous, and shout for joy all ye that are up- 
right in heart ;" Psal.xxxii. 11. " Let thy priests be cloth- 
ed with righteousness, and let thy saints shout for joy;" 
Psal. cxxxii. 9. 16. " I will also clothe her priests with sal- 
vation, and his saints sh^U shout aloud for joy ;" Psal.xvi. 
Such precepts and promises abound in Scripture, which tell 
you if you will be saints indeed, that joy and gladness must 
h^ your life and work. I know objections will be stirring in 
your minds. But forbear them but a while, and I shall ful- 
ly answer them anon. 


2. I have told you wherein the inward part of holiness 
is delightful. I shall briefly shew you that the outward part 
also is very pleasant, and fit to feed these inward joys. And 
1. Let us view the duties that are more directly to be per- 
formed unto God. And 2. The works of charity and righ- 
teousness unto men. 

1. How sweet is it to be exercised in the word of God ! 
In hearing or reading it with serious meditation ! For the 
man that hath been revived by it, renewed, sanctified, saved 
by it, to hear that powerful, heavenly truth, by which his soul 
was thus made new ! For the soul that is in love with God 
to hear or see his blessed name on every leaf!. To read his 
will, and find the expressions of his love, his great, eternal , 
wondrous love ; how sweet this is, experience tells the 
saints that feel it. If you that feel no sweetness in it, be- 
lieve not them that say they feel it, at least believe the 
word of God, and the professions of his ancient saints. " O 
how I love thy law! it is my meditation all the day. How 
sweet are thy words unto my taste ! yea, sweeter than the 
honey, and the honeycomb. I have rejoiced in the way of 
thy testimonies as in all riches. I will delight myself in thy 
statutes : I will not forget thy word. Thy testimonies are 
my delight and my counsellors. I will delight myself in thy 
commandments which I have loved, and I will meditate in 
thy statutes. The law of thy mouth is better to me than 
thousands of gold and silver. Unless thy law had been my 
delight, I had perished in my affliction. I will never forget 
thy precepts, for with them thou hast quickened me. Thy 
testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever : for they 
are the rejoicing of my heart. I love thy commandments 
above gold, yea, above fine gold. I rejoice at thy word as 
one that findeth great spoil. Great peace have they that 
love thy law, and nothing shall offend them ;" Psal. cxix. 
14. 16. 24. 47. 72. 92, 93. 97. 103. 111. 117. 162. 165. 

I should but weary you to recite one quarter of the ex- 
pressions of holy men in Scripture concerning the sweetness 
and pleasures which they found in the law of God. In a 
word, it is the work and marks of the blessed man, that *' his 
delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he me- 
ditate day and night; Psal. i. 1,2. Do you think that an 
impleasant, tedious life that doth consist in such employ- 


2. Another holy duty is prayer, both secret and with 
others ; in families, and public assemblies. And do you 
think it is a grievous, tedious work for a needy soul to beg 
of Godj that is so ready to relieve him? For a guilty soul 
to pray to God that is so ready to forgive him? For a sin- 
ful soul to return to God (and confess his sins, and beg for 
mercy), that is so ready to meet him and entertain him ? 
For a loving soul to converse with God, when there is a mu- 
tual complacency between them ? Is it grievous for a child 
to speak to his Father ? or are you weary of the presence of. 
your dearest friend ? What is there in holy prayer that 
should grieve or weary us ? Sure it is not his company that 
we speak to. For it is his presence that makes heaven. 
And sure it is not the employment. For it is but asking, 
and asking for the best and choicest thing, and asking in 
our necessities for that which we must have, or we are un- 
done for ever. And is it unpleasant to pray to a bounteous 
God, in our necessity, and that for the bestand most pleasant 
things ? Perhaps there ma,y be some of you that think it is 
but labour lost, and that you could better spend those hours, 
and that God regardeth not our prayers, and that indeed we 
speed never the better for them, and therefore you have 
no pleasure in them. And no wonder ! If you are atheists and 
believe not that there is a God, you cannot love him, or rejoice 
in him. If you believe not his promises, how should they 
give you any comfort ? If you believe not that he regard- 
eth prayers, no wonder if you have no heart to pray. They 
that say, " It i» vain to serve the Lord, and it is no profit to 
us to keep his ordinances" (Mal.iii. 14.), will also say, ** What 
a weariness is it;" chap.i. 13.; and will give him but a lame 
and lifeless service. If you did believe your friend to be 
your enemy, you would have small pleasure in him, Mis- 
conceits may easily make you loathe the things that are most 
delighlful. The thoughts of heaven itself yield little plea- 
sure to them that believe not that there is a heaven, or what 
it is. The light is not pleasant to the blind ; nor any object 
of our talk or smell to those that have lost these senses. I3 
music unpleasant because it delighteth not the deaf? for 
shame do not charge the sweet and blessed ways of God with 
that which is the fruit of your own corruption. If your lungs 
be rotten, you may be out of breath with speaking, the most 
delightful words, or walking in the most pleasant fields or 


gardens. But the cause of the weariness is within you. If 
you have the hearts of infidels, op graceless, stupid, worldly 
sinners, you are so unfit to approach the Most Holy God in 
holy prayer, that I marvel not if you go to it as a bear to the 
stake, as an ox to the yoke, or as an offender to the stocks. 
For the God that you pray to, is a hater of all the workers 
of iniquity, and a consuming fire ; and therefore no wonder 
if his terrors should meet you, and leave you but little de- 
light in prayer. (Though it is wonder that they do not fol- 
low you, and meet you in all your ways, and leave you less 
delight in the omission of it.) But if you had the hearts of 
believing, holy men, and had tasted in prayer what they 
have tasted, and had their experience of the success, you 
would then be easily persuaded that prayer is neither a vain 
nor an unpleasant work. Surely it is not unpleasant to a 
burdened soul to disburden itself before the Lord ; [nor to a 
sinner that hath felt the weight, the smart, the sting of sin, 
to cry for mercy, and healing to him that is able and willing 
to shew mercy ; nor is it unpleasant for him that knows the 
worth of grace and glory, to lie upon his knees in begging 
them of the Lord. All those that have felt how good it is 
to draw near to God, had rather have leave to pray in hope, 
than to please their senses with any delights that earth af- 
fordeth. There is force in prayer (through the grace that 
hath appointed and doth accompany it) to procure comfort 
to the distressed mind, and safety to them that are in dan- 
ger ; relief to them that are in want, and strength to thera 
that are in weakness. Prayer is good for ail things that are 
good ; and good against all things that are evil. It is good 
against temptations, dangers, enemies, and sin. It is good 
against sorrows, fears, and cares; yea, against poverty, 
shame, and sickness. For the God that prayer goes to, and 
makes use of, is sufficient against all, and our only help. 
Turn away now from God if you dare, and cast off earnest, 
constant prayer, as if it were a tedious, unpleasant thing ; but 
be sure the time is coming when thou, even thou that thus 
despisest it, wilt betake thyself to prayer, and cry. Lord, 
Lord, when it is too late, or when anguish and terror seize 
upon thee. Sickness and death, and the terrors of the Lord 
will teach thee to pray, as useless and tedious as now you 
think it. Yea, and teach you to do it earnestly, that now put 
off all with a few frozen, heartless words. ButO it is sea- 


sonable believing prayer that is comfortable : it is the prayer 
of faith, and love, and hope that is pleasant : but the prayer 
of too late repentance in hell> and the prayer of despair and 
horror, that cannot procure a drop of water, afford no plea- 
sure, as they procure no relief. 

3. Another duty that holiness consisteth in, is thanks- 
giving and praise to the God of our salvation. He that 
knows not that this work is pleasant, is unacquainted with 
it. If there be any thing pleasant in this world, it is the 
praises of God, that flow from a believing, loving, soul, that 
is full of the sense of the mercies, and goodness, and excel- 
lencies of the Lord; especially the unanimous conjunction 
of such souls, in the high praises of God in the holy assem- 
blies. Is it not pleasant even to name the Lord ? to mention 
his attributes? to remember his great and wondrous works? 
to magnify him that rideth on the heavens, that dwelleth in 
the light that cannot be approached, that is clothed with 
majesty and glory, that intinitely surpasseth the sun in its 
brightness ; that hath his throne in the heavens, and the 
heaven of heavens cannot contain him ; and yet he delight- 
eth in the humble soul, and hath respect to the contrite ; 
yea, dwells with them that tremble at his word ? Is any 
thing so pleasant as the praises of the Lord ? How sweet is 
it to see and praise him as the Creator, in the various won- 
derful creatures which he hath made ! How pleasant to ob- 
serve his works of providence, to them that read them by the 
light of the sanctuary, and in faith and patience learn the in- 
terpretation from him that only can interpret them ! But 
O how unspeakably pleasant is it to see the Father in the 
Son, and the Godhead in the manhood of our Lord, and the 
riches of grace in the glass of the holy Gospel, and the ma- 
nifold wisdom of God in the church, where the angels them- 
selves disdain not to behold it ! Eph. iii. 10, 1 1. The prais- 
ing of God for the incarnation of his Son, was a work that a 
choir of angels were employed in as the instructors of the 
church: Luke ii. 13, 14. There is not a promise in the 
book of God, nor one passage of the life and miracles of 
Christ, and the rest of the history of the Gospel, nor one of 
the holy works of the Spirit upon the soul, nor one of those 
thousand mercies to the church, or to ourselves or friends, 
that inlinite goodness doth bestow, but contain such matter 
of praise to God, as might fill believing hearts with pleasure. 


and find them most delightful work : much more when all 
these are at once before us, what a feast is there for a gra- 
cious soul ! 

O you befooled fleshly minds, that find no pleasure in 
the things of God, but had rather be drinking, or gaming, or 
scraping in the world, awaken your souls, and see what you 
are doing ! With what eyes do you see, with what hearts 
do you think of the works, and word, and ways of God, and 
of the holy employments that you are so much against ? For 
my own part, I freely and truly here profess to you, that 1 
would not Exchange the pleasure that my soul enjoyeth in 
this one piece of the holy work of God, for all your mirth, 
and sport, and gain, and whatever the world and sin affords 
you ; i would not change the delights which I enjoy, in one 
of thes^ holy days and duties, in the mentioning of the eter- 
nal God, and celebrating his pi^ise, and magnifying his 
name, and thinking and speaking of the riches of his love, 
and the glory of his kingdom, no, not for all the pleasure of 
your lives. O that your souls were cured of all those dan- 
gerous diseases, that make you loathe the sweetest things ! 
You would then know what it is that you have set light by, 
and would marvel at yourselves, that you coiild taste no 
sweetness in the sweetest things ! Can you think that your 
work or your play, your profits or your sports, are compara- 
ble for pleasure to the praises of the Lord ? If grace had 
made you competent judges, I am sure you would say there 
is no comparison. Hear but the testimony of a holy soul, 
yea, of the Spirit of God by him. " Praise ye the Lord ; for 
it is good to sing praises to our God : for it is pleasant, and 
praise is comely;" Psal. cxlvii. 1. " Praise ye the Lord : 
sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise in the con- 
gregation of saints. Let Israel rejoice in him that made him; 
let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. For the 
Lord taketh pleasure in his people : he will beautify the 
meek with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory: let 
them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of 
God be in their mouth, &c.;" Psal. cxlix. 1, 2. 4—6. " O 
come let us sing unto the Lord; let us make a joyful noise 
to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his pre- 
sence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise to him 
with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great 
King above all gods ;" Psal. xcv. 1 — 3. " O sing unto the 


Lord a new song : sing unto the Lord all the earth. Sing 
unto the Lord ; bless his name ; shew forth his salvation 
from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his 
wonders among all people : for the Lord is great, and greatly 

to be praised Honour and majesty are before him, 

strength and beauty are in his sanctuary ;" Psal. xcvi. 1 — 4. 
6. Did not this holy prophet find it a pleasant work to 
praise the Lord ? Yea all that love the name of God should 
be joyful in him; Psal. v. IL Every one of his upright 
ones may say with the prophet, " I will greatly rejoice in 
the Lord : my soul shall be joyful in my God ; for he hath 
clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered 
me with the robes of righteousness, as a bridegroom deck- 
eth himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself 
with her jewels. For as the earth springs forth her bud, and 
as the garden causeth the things sown in it to spring forth ; 
so the Lord will cause righteousness and praise to spring 
forth before all the nations ;" Isa. Ixi. 10, 11. It is a pro- 
mise of joy that is made in Isa. Ivi. 6 — 8. " To the sons of 
the stranger that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, 
and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every 
one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh 
hold of my covenant ; even them will I bring to my holy 
mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer." 
What a joyful thing is it to a gracious soul, when he may see 
the reconciled face of God, and feel his fatherly reviving 
love, and among his saints may speak his praise, and pro- 
claim his great and blessed name, even in his temple, " where 
every man speaketh of his glory !" Psal. xxix. 9. If the 
proud are delighted in their own praise, how much more will 
the humble soul be delighted in the praise of God ! When 
the love of God is shed abroad in the heart, and faith doth 
set us as before his throne, or at least doth somewhat with- 
draw the veil, and shew us him that lives for ever ; and when 
the force of love doth open our lips, that our mouths may 
shew forth his praise, it is pleasant both to God and us. 
The Lord himself doth put on joy, as delighting in his peo- 
ple's praise, and when they join obedience with holy wor- 
ship, they are pleasant in his eyes; Jer. ii. 24. Isa. xlii. 1. 
Ixii. 4. Zeph. iii. 17. " He meeteth him that rejoiceth and 
worketh righteousness, and that remembers him in his 
ways ;" Isa. Ixiv. 5. Would you taste the sweetest life on 


earth? Learn then to delight yourselves in God. Do you 
want recreation? Be acquainted with his praise. Is there 
not a better cure for melancholy here among the servants of 
the Lord, than in an alehouse, or in the company of trans- 
gressors ? Their carnal pleasures are unwholesome for you, 
like luscious fruits that will make you sick. But the de- 
lights of faith are safe and healthful. Fleshly pleasure is 
windy and deceitful, and weakeneth and befools the soul : 
but the joy of the Lord is our strength ; Neh. viii. 10. A 
little may be too much of fleshly pleasures ; and it is of very 
hard digestion, and leaves that behind that spoils the sport : 
but the further you go in the delights of faith, the better 
they are, and the sweeter you will find them. You may 
quickly catch a dangerous surfeit of your fleshly pleasures ; 
but of spiritual delights, the more the better ; for they are 
curing, reviving, and much confirm and exalt the soul. Our 
spiritual pleasures are so heavenly, and have so much of God 
and glory in them, that they must needs prepare the soul for 
heaven, and be excellent helps to our salvation. 

O therefore, if you would live a pleasant life, draw near to 
God, and by faith behold him, and by love adhere to him, 
and t9,ke a view of his infinite goodness and all his perfec- 
tions, and behold him in his wondrous works, and then break 
forth into his cheerful praises, and you shall taste such plea- 
sures as the earth aff'ordeth not. Launch forth into the 
boundless ocean of eternity, and let your hearts and tongues 
expatiate in the praise of the heavenly majesty, and use this 
work, and ply it close, and be not too seldom, or customary, 
or careless in it, and you shall find the difference between 
the pleasures of faith and of the flesh, of a holy and of a sen- 
sual life. ** Ye that stand in the house of the Lord, in the 
courts of the house of our God, praise the Lord ; for the 
Lord is good : sing praises to his name, for it is pleasant ;'' 
Psal. cxxxv. 2, 3. ** Let my mouth be filled with thy praise, 
and with thy honour all the day ;" Psal. Ixxi. 8. " Sing 
unto the Lord : bless his name ; shew forth his salvation 
from day to day. Honour and majesty are before him : 
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary ;" Psal. xcvi, 2. 6. 

O that the Lord will but shine upon my, soul with the 
light of his countenance, and open my heart to the enter- 
tainment of his love, and hold a gracious communion with 
my soul, by his Holy Spirit, and keep open these doors to 



me, and continue this liberty of his house and ordinances 
which we enjoy this day, that I may join with a faithful, 
humble people, in holy communion, and in his praise and 
worship, and that with a heart that is suitable to these works ! 
I shall then say with David, " the lines are fallen to me in 
pleasant places ; I have a goodly heritage ;" Psal. xvi. 6. 
I will ask for no greater pleasures, or honours, or advance- 
ment in this world ! Let who will surfeit on the pleasures 
of the flesh ; here doth my soul delight to dwell ! " One 
thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that 
I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, 
to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his holy 
temple. For in the time of trouble he will hide me in his 
pavilion ; and in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide 
me : he shall set me up upon a rock. And then shall my 
head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me : there- 
fore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy, I will sing, 
yea, I will sing praises to the Lord ;" Psal. xxvii. 4 — 6. 
Till I come to the promised everlasting pleasures, I shall ask 
of God no greater pleasures. These would be as much as 
my soul in the prison of flesh can bear. Till I come to the 
land of promise, may I but have these clusters of its grapes 
in my present wilderness, I shall not repine : " My heart 
here shall be glad, and my glory shall rejoice, and at death 
my flesh shall rest in hope." For as the Lord now sheweth 
me the " path of life," so in his" presence is fulness of joy, 
and at his right hand are pleasures for evermore ;'* Psal. xvi. 
9. IL 

4. Another pleasant holy duty, is our holy communion 
with Christ and his church in the Lord's supper. 

This is a holy feast that is purposely provided by the 
King of saints for the entertainment of his family, for the re- 
freshing of the weary, and the making glad the mournful 
soul. The night before his bitter death, he instituted this 
sacramental feast ! He caused his disciples to sit down 
with him, and when they had partaken of the passover, the 
sacrament of promise, and had their taste of the old wine, he 
giveth them of the new, even the sacrament of the better co- 
venant, and of the fuller Gospel grace. He teacheth them 
that his death is life to them ; and that which is his bitterest 
suffering, is their feast; and his sorrows are their joys, as 
our sinful pleasures were his sorrows. The slain Lamb of 


God our passover that was sacrificed for us, that takoth away 
the sins of the world, was the pleasant food which sacra- 
mentally he himself then delivered to them, and substantially 
the next day offered for them. " The bread of God is he which 
cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 
He is " the living bread which came down from heaven : if 
any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever : and the 
bread that he giveth is his flesh, which he hath given for the 
life of the world. Except we eat the flesh of the Son of 
man, and drink his blood, we have no life in us. Whoso 
eateth his flesh and drinketh his blood, hath eternal life, and 
he will raise him up at the last day. For his flesh is meat 
indeed, and his blood is drink indeed. He that eateth his 
flesh and drinketh his blood, dwelleth in Christ, and Christ 
in him. As the living Father hath sent the Son, and heliv- 
eth by the Father, so he that eateth him, shall live by him. 
This is that bread that came down from heaven : not as the 
fathers did eat manna and are dead : he that eateth this 
bread shall live for ever -,*' John vi. 33. 50, 51. 53—58. 

I know that to an unbelieving, carnal wretch, the sacra- 
ment is but a common thing. For Christ himself and his 
Gospel is no better in his eyes. He discerneth not the 
Lord's body : he only quieteth and deludeth his conscience 
with the outward form. He hath not faith to feed on Christ. 
But to a lively faith, what sweetness doth such a feast afford ! 
We have here communion with the blessed Trinity, in 
the three parts of this eucharistical sacrament ! As the Fa- 
ther is both our Creator and the offended majesty, and yet 
he hath sent his Son to be our Redeemer ; so in the first part, 
which is the consecration, we present to our Creator the 
creatures of bread and wine, acknowledging that from him 
we receive them and all, and we desire that upon our dedi- 
cation, by his acceptance they may be made sacramentally 
and representatively the body and blood of Jesus Christ. 

In the second part of the eucharist, which is the com- 
memoration of the sacrifice offered on the cross, we break 
the bread and pour forth the wine, to represent the breaking 
of Christ's body, and shedding of his blood for the sin of 
man ; and we beseech the Father to be reconciled to us on 
his Son's account, and to accept us in his beloved, and to 
accept all our sacrifices through him. So that as Christ now 
in heaven is representing his sacrifice to the Father, which 


he once offered on the cross for sin, so must the minister of 
Christ represent and plead to the Father the same sacrifice, 
by the way of commemoration, and such intercession as be- 
longeth to his office. 

The third part of the eucharist is the offer and parti- 
cipation ; in which the minister representing Christ, doth 
by commission deliver his body and blood to the penitent, 
hungry, believing soul : and with Christ is delivered a sealed 
pardon of all sin, and a sealed gift of life eternal. All which 
are received by the true believer. 

An unbeliever knoweth not what transactions there are 
between the Lord and a holy soul in this ordinance, where 
the appearances are so small. A bit of bread and a sup of 
wine are indeed small matters : but so is not this communion 
with God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. What a com-^ 
fort is it that the offended majesty will accept a sacrifice at 
our hands, and enter a treaty of peace with the offenders ! 
Yea, that he will provide the sacrifice himself, and the most 
precious in the whole world ; that he will signify this his 
acceptance of the sacrifice, and how he is pleased in his well- 
beloved Son ; and that he accepteth his Son's intercession 
in the heavens, and his ministers' intercession, and his 
church's prayers on earth through Christ ! Seeing Christ 
must be glorified with his Father, and not continue visible 
among us, what could we desire more from him, than the 
threefold representative which he hath left behind him, to 
supply the room of his bodily presence ? Even the repre- 
sentation of himself by the sacrament, by his ministers, and 
by the Holy Ghost, which is his substitute within for the 
efficacy of all. O what unspeakable mysteries and treasures 
of mercy are here presented to us in a sacrament ! Here we 
have communion with a reconciled God, and are brought 
into his presence by the great Reconciler. Here we have 
communion with our blessed Redeemer, as crucified, and 
glorified, and offered to us, as our quickening, preserving, 
strengthening Head. Here we have communion with the 
Holy Ghost, applying to our souls the benefits of redemp- 
tion, drawing us to the Son, and communicating light, and 
life, and strength from him unto us ; increasing and actuating 
his graces in us. Here we have communion with the body 
of Christ, his sanctified people, the heirs of life. When the 
minister of Christ by his commission representeth a cruei- 



fied Clirist to our eyes, by the bread and wine appointed to 
this use, we see Christ crucified as it were before us, and 
our faith layeth hold on him, and we perceive the truth of 
the remedy ; and build our souls upon this rock. When the 
same minister by Christ's commission, doth offer us his body, 
and blood, and benefits, it is as firm and valid to us, as if 
the mouth of Christ himself had offered them. And when 
our souls receive him, by that faith which the Holy Ghost 
exciteth in us, the participation is as true as that of our bo- 
dies receiving the bread and wine which represent him. O 
do but ask a drooping soul, that mourns under the fears of 
God's displeasure, how he would value a voice from heaven, 
to tell him that all his sins are pardoned, and that he is dear 
to God, and judge by his answer what is contained and offer- 
ed in a sacrament ! Ask him how he would take it, if Christ 
should speak those words himself to him, which he hath gi- 
ven his ministers commission in his name to speak? " Take, 
eat, this is my body, which is broken for you." It is the 
same Christ, the same pardon and salvation, that is offered 
us by the messengers of Christ, and which he personally 
offered himself to his disciples. When you must all appear 
at the bar of God, O what would you not give for a sealed 
pardon, which in a sacrament is given freely now, to the be- 
lieving soul ! Judge now by this whether it be a joyous or- 
dinance ! When the poorest Christian this day receiveth 
that, which the greatest prince, that is ungodly, would then 
give all the world for if he had it. For want of that pardon. 
Christian, which thou must now receive, many thousands 
will tremble at the bar of God, and be overwhelmed with his 
wrath for ever ! Ask a soul that groaneth under the lan- 
guishings of his grace, and the burden of any strong cor- 
ruption, how he would value the mortifying and quickening 
grace of the Holy Ghost, that would break his bonds, and 
give him light, and life, and strength ; and by his answer 
judge of the value of a sacrament. We have here the great- 
est mercies in the world, brought down to us in sensible re- 
presentations, that they might be very near us, and the means 
might be suited to the frailty and infirmity of our present 

If the sealed message of God's reconciliation with us, 
and a sealed pardon of all our sins, and a sealed grant of 
everlasting life, be not more pleasant and desirable to your 


thoughts, than all that earth and flesh can yield you, it is 
because you are alive to sin, and dead to God, and want that 
spiritual sense and appetite, by which you might be compe- 
tent judges. If God, if Christ, if grace, if the foretastes of 
glory can afford no pleasure to the soul, then heaven itself 
would not be pleasant. But if these are sweet, the sacra- 
ment is sweet that doth convey them. 

Well, poor stubborn, carnal sinners ! you have been in- 
vited to this feast as well as others ! we are sent to call you, 
and even compel you to come in, (though upon the terms 
and in the way of Christ,) but you have no great list ; but 
somewhat else doth please you better. And will it prove 
better indeed to you at the end? Well, take your own 
choice ! If an alehouse be better than the table of the Lord ; 
if your merry companions do please you better than the com- 
munion of the saints, or if you cannot submit to the order 
and discipline of the family of Christ, that you may partake 
of his provision, you may follow your own corrupt desires, 
and see whither they will lead you ! But here it is that I 
shall choose my pleasures, till I reach the everlasting plea- 
sures. And though in this low communion of imperfect 
saints, we see but in a glass, and have but some small im- 
perfect tastes of the glorious things which hope expecteth ; 
yet this is more than all that earth and flesh can yield ; and 
it is most pleasure that by these is revealed, sealed, and re- 
presented. Sacraments can assure us of perfect joys, though 
they give us but little joy in hand. 

Object* * But if sacraments be so pleasant, why then 
(saith a disconsolate soul,) have I found no more pleasure or 
comfort in them V Answ. Even in the soul that is made 
alive by grace, diseases may much corrupt the appetite, and 
make the sweetest thing seem bitter. Are not sacraments 
sweet to you? and do you not delight in the communion of 
God and of his saints ? I will not say much to you, lest it 
seem digressive, but briefly ask you these few questions. 

Quest. 1. Are the thoughts of God, of Christ, of heaven 
sweet to you? If they be, methinks the ordinances should 
be sweet ! If they be not, it is no wonder that you set light 
by sacraments, if you can set light by Christ and heaven 

Quest. 2. Is not sin grown sweet to you? If it be, the 


ordinances will not be sweet : no, nor unless your sins grow 

Quest, 3. Doth not the world grow sweet to you, and 
your condition or expectations, and your thriving state, more 
pleasant to you than heretofore? If so, no wonder if sacra- 
ments and all spiritual things, do lose their sweetness. 

Quest. 4. Have you been faithful in your preparation, 
by free confession, true humiliation, strong resolution, hun- 
gering and thirsting after Christ, and all this furthered by 
diligent self-examination ? An unprepared soul must blame 
itself, if it find not the sweetness of the ordinance. The 
holy appetite and relish, that is necessary to your delight, 
must be stirred up much in your preparations. 

Quest, 5. Are you careful and conscionable, humble and 
holy in your lives ? If you neglect God in your ordinary 
conversations, and walk not with him on other days, you 
are unlike to meet him comfortably here. And if you are 
slight and careless in your ordinary duties, you will find here 
that God took notice of it. 

Quest. 6, Do you faithfully endeavour to exercise faith, 
repentance, love, and all sacramental graces in the use of 
the ordinances ? You come not to a mere receiving, but to 
a work. Have your souls been adorned with the wedding 
garment, and do you come hither for a meeting with the 
Lord Jesus Christ? Do you see him by faith, and take all 
that is here represented to you, as if you had seen the things 
themselves? Do you remember that your Lord is coming, 
and do you lift up your heads in the expectation of your re- 
demption, and do this in remembrance of him till he come ? 
An idle loitering in God's work is not the way to find the 
sweetness of it. 

Clemens Alexandrinus Strom, lib. i. init. gives it as a 
reason why every one took his own part of the bread of the 
sacrament in those times, because man being a free agent 
must be the chooser or refuser of his own happiness : the Pa- 
pists on the contrary do but gape, and the priest doth pop the 
bread into their mouths, (having first persuaded them that it 
is not bread.) Do you not expect to receive the spiritual 
benefits, just as the Papists do receive the bread, as if you 
had nothing to do but gape ? As if your presence here were 
as much as is to be expected from you for your edification ! 

VOL. X, Y 


How can you taste the sweetness that is offered, when you 
do not exercise your spiritual senses? 

Quest. 7. Do you exercise faith, as well as feeling, in 
judging of the benefit of sacraments? Pardon, and justifi- 
cation, and title to salvation are benefits which in themselves 
you cannot feel. It is by believing the promise that you 
must know them. If God have promised a blessing on his 
ordinance, it is sure to the faithful soul as if we felt it, though 
perhaps we may seem long without it. Heaven itself which 
is the principal end of ordinances, will not be attained in 
this life, and yet the ordinance is not in vain. 

Quest, 8. Have you the true understanding of the use of 
sacraments, of the abundant love that is here set forth, and 
the freeness and fulness of the promise here sealed ? If not, 
no wonder if you taste not the sweetness, when you know 
not how to break the shell, that you may feed on the kernel 
of the ordinances. 

Quest, 9. Have you not troubled your own souls, and 
muddied your comforts by causeless doubts and ignorant 
scruples, about the gestures, or manner, or persons that you 
joined with, or some such circumstances as these? If so, 
no marvel if you lose the comfort. 

Quest. 10. Or at least, have you not been negligent in the 
review, and after improving of the ordinances, and have you 
not thought that all was done when you had received? Any 
one of these miscarriages may make this pleasant duty bit- 
ter, or at least deprive you of the most of the delight. But 
if your hearts be suited to the work, and you deprive not 
yourselves of the offered consolation, you shall find that 
God deals bountifully with you, and will feast you even 
with angels' food. 

5. The public worship being all thus sweet, how sweet 
are the Lord's days, these holy seasons that are wholly con- 
secrated to this work ? How light is the Christian, that 
hath this day cast off his worldly cares, and business, and 
cogitations, and hath set himself apart for God, as if there 
were no world to mind ! On the week-days he doth walk with 
God ! but so that his necessary worldly business doth fre- 
quently divert and distract his mind. But what a sweet 
and happy day is this, when he may strip himself of these 
distractions, as he doth of his workday coarser clothes, and 
may wholly apply himself to God ? As the bee goes from 


flower to flower, labouring at all, but with a pleasant labour, 
to gather honey, and prepare for winter, so doth the Chris- 
tian, especially on the Lord's day, employ himself in labour 
and delight; and the more he laboureth the more is his de- 
light. From prayer he goeth to reading, and to the instruct- 
ing of his family if he be a superior, or learning if he be an 
inferior, and have helps. From private worship to public, and 
from public to private again ; and gathering honey (food and 
sweetness) to his soul from all. 

Tell me, you childish, brutish wantons, do you think in 
your hearts, that you have as much solid joy and pleasure in 
a play-day, or in your idle games, or in spending the Lord's 
day in idleness, or sports, as we have in the holy works of 
God ? Do you think our delight is not more than yours ? 
To our shame, but to the praise of God, we must say that we 
have tried both ways. We know what it is to play away 
much of the Lord's day, and what it is to employ it in wait- 
ing on the Lord. But since we knew the latter, we wish we 
had never known the former. That is our recreation which 
is your toil, and that would be our poison, and stocks, and 
toil, which is your sport and recreation. 

6. Another delightful portion of our work, is holy con- 
ference with the experienced servants of the Lord. There 
are many things considerable in holy conference that make 
it delightful. 

1. It is the conference of dearest friends. The special 
love that all the godly have to one another, doth exceedingly 
sweeten their communion. The very presence of those that 
we most dearly love, is a pleasure to us. Much more their 
sweetest, edifying discourse. 

2. Their conference proceedeth-from the Spirit of grace, 
and therefore is gracious, savouring of that Spirit : and all 
the breathings and manifestations of that blessed Spirit are 
very acceptable to those that have the Spirit themselves, and 
so can savour spiritual things. 

3. Their conference is about the highest, the most neces- 
sary, the most excellent things. About the most blessed 
God and his several attributes ; his will, works of creation, 
and disposing providence of nature and grace. About the 
wonderful mysteries of redemption ; the person, life, and 
sufferings of the Redeemer, his offices, and the performance 
of them, on earth, and in heaven, in his humiliation and his 


exaltation ; and of the sweet relations that we and all his 
church do stand in, to Christ our Head, our Saviour, and Re- 
deemer ; as also about the gracious workings of the Holy 
Ghost, in first begetting an increase of holiness. To open 
to each other the powerful workings of that grace that hath 
raised them above all the creatures, and brought them to a 
contempt of earthly glory, and set their hearts on the invisi- 
ble God, and on eternal things, that hath renewed them in 
the inner man, and made them hate the things they loved, 
and mortified their oldest, strongest sins, and quickened 
them in the exercise of every grace ; all this is edifying, 
sweet discourse to gracious souls. 

4. And the rather because it is about the most pertinent 
affairs. They are things that do so nearly concern us, that 
we are glad to speak with those that understand them. It 
is our own case, which we hear our brethren open. They 
speak our very hearts, as if they had seen them ; because it 
is the same work of the same Spirit that they describe. Yea 
when they complain of their infirmities, it is with our com- 
plaints, and they tell us of that which we are troubled with 
ourselves ; and we perceive that we are not singular in our 
troubles, but that our case is the case of other servants of 
the Lord. 

5. And it is the more pleasant to converse with the god- 
ly, because they speak not by hearsay only, but by expe- 
rience. They tell us of the discoveries that illuminating 
grace hath made to their own souls ; and of the many evils 
they have been saved from ; and the communion they have 
had with God, and the prayers which he hath heard, and the 
many and great deliverances he hath granted them. They 
relate their conflicts with temptations, and their conquests; 
their strivings against their ancient lusts, and how they have 
overcome them ; and the sweet refreshings which their souls 
have had in the exercise of love, and faith, and hope. They 
can dive into the ocean of mercy, and speak of the abundant 
kindness of the Lord, and earnestly awaken and invite each 
other to praise him for his goodness, and to declare his won- 
drous works for the children of men. They can direct each 
other in their difficulties, and encourage each other in holy 
ways, and strengthen one another in holy resolu tions, and com- 
fort one another with the same comforts that they themselves 
have been comforted with by the Lord. And may not our hearts 


rejoice and burn within us, while we discoursre of such im- 
portant things as these, in such a serious, experimental, edi- 
fying manner ? They can discourse together of their meet- 
ing before the throne of Christ, and of the blessed converse 
which they shall have in heaven, with the Lord himself, and 
with the holy angels, and where they shall be, and what they 
shall do, to all eternity, in the presence of God, where is ful- 
ness of joy, and before him where are the eternal pleasures. 
O Christians I did not your graces languish by your own 
neglects, and your souls grow out of relish with these spiri- 
tual and most excellent things, your speeches of them would 
be more savoury ; you would be more frequent, lively, and- 
cheerful in your discourse of holy things ; and then your 
converse would be more edifying and delightful to each other. 
We shew so little of grace in our conference, that makes it 
to be but little different from other men's. And (which is 
the most common case, and very doleful) we most of us re- 
main so ignorant and imprudent, that we mar holy confer- 
ence by our mixtures of unwise expressions, and disgrace it 
to others by our injudicious weakness. This is the bane of 
Christian discourse ; even the want of holy skill and wisdom, 
and of understanding to speak of the things of God, accord- 
ing to their transcendent worth and weight, as much (and 
more) than the want of zeal. But if we could discourse of 
these holy matters aright, with wisdom and with seriousness, 
how sweet, how fruitful would the company of holy persons 
be ! We should be still among them, as in the family of 
God, and should hear that which our souls do most desire to 
hear ; and we should preach to one another the riches of 
grace in our familiar discourse ; and souls might be convert- 
ed by the conference of believers, and not all left to the pub- 
lic ministry. Every man would be a helper to his neighbour. 
"For the tongue of the just is as choice silver, though the 
heart of the wicked is little worth : the lips of the righteous 
feed many, but fools die for want of wisdom ;" Prov. x. 20, 
21. " The lips of the wise disperse knowledge ;" chap. xv. 
7. " Righteous lips are the delight of kings" (chap. xvi. 13.), 
" and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning ;" ver. 21. 
" The lips of knowledge are a precious jewel ;" chap. xx. 15. 
" A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth, 
and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled ;" chap, 
xviii. 20. " The mouth ef the righteous speaketh wisdom. 


and his tongue talketh of judgment; the law of his God is 
in his heart ;" Psal. xxxvii. 30, 31. 

Tell me, I beseech you, you that can be so merry in an 
alehouse, or in any vain and idle company, why should you 
think that it is not to us a far sweeter thing to talk of holy, 
edifying matters, than it is to you to talk of vanity ? Is the 
subject of your discourse more fit to delight a man of wis- 
dom ? Do you talk of better things than God, or of higher 
things than heaven ? Or of things that more nearly concern 
you, than the matters of everlasting consequence ? 

When I haye heard such people talking and laughing as 
if they had been the merriest people in the world, I have 
sometimes hearkened to their discourse, to hear what talk it 
was that made them so merry; and it hath been nothing but 
impertinence and folly, like a man's talking in his sleep; 
enough to make a man's head ach to hear them. I should 
be quickly tired of their delights. The blowing of the wind, 
or the falling of the rain, or as Solomon saith, "the crackling 
of thorns in the fire,'* hath as much in it to please my ear, 
and much less to displease it, than such men's discourse. 

Go to a company of merry fellows, as you take them, and 
to a company of serious, godly, prudent people, and secretly 
write down all the words that you hear from both compa- 
nies, and read them over together when you come home, and 
tell me which is the pleasanter discourse. What a hodge- 
podge of nonsense, impertinence, levity, immodesty, world- 
liness, pride, and folly shall you find in one, and what sa- 
voury, necessary, edifying, encouraging, and comforting 
speeches will you find you have gathered from the other ! 

It is far pleasanter to be among the singing birds, the 
bleating sheep, yea the chattering daws, than these idle, prat- 
ing, foolish companions. For with the former, you shall have 
some natural good, without any mixture of sinful evil. But 
in foolish, prating company, what shall you perceive, but 
how nature is depraved, how sinners are beside themselves, 
how satan doth befool them, and how God is forgotten while 
he is present with them, and they are laughing in the devil's 
chains, and at the very brink of death and hell ! And can a 
man be merry to hear such mirth as this ? It is a sad spec- 
tacle to see men laugh in Bedlam ; but much more to see 
them merry in the fetters of their sin, and under the threat- 
enings and wrath of God. Were you but men of right com- 


posed minds, I durst refer it to yourselves, whether holy com- 
pany and discourse be not like to be much pleasanter than 

Do you think that the discourse of learned men, about 
arts and sciences, history, and the like, is not more pleasant 
than your idle talk? Much more is the holy discourse of 
saints about the things of their salvation. Whether do you 
think the company and discourse of Christ, and his prophets 
and apostles, or of your merry companions, should be the 
more delightful ? Can you for shame say, the latter were 
the best? Why, you know that Christ, and his prophets and 
apostles, had no such idle talk as yours. It was holy things 
that they discoursed of. 

Can you for shame say, that you love God above all, and 
yet have more pleasure in prating over a pot of ale than in 
speaking reverently of God ? Or would you be believed 
when you say, that your hearts are set on heaven, when you 
have more delight in talking of any earthly trifle ? Well, I 
shall leave it to your consciences, and to the judgment of 
any that will speak with reason, whether the holy converse 
and conference of the godly, be not in itself a more delight- 
ful thing than all the merriments, the dotages, and fooleries 
of the ungodly. If you think not so, it is because your re- 
lish and appetite is depraved, the devil hath deluded you, and 
sin bereaved you of your wits. 

III. I have told you of the pleasantness of the duties of ho- 
liness, which are to be performed more directly toward God. 
Let us now consider of the rest of a Christian life. Which 
consisteth in our duties to be performed towards men. And 
these are all comprehended in the works of charity and of 

1. And certainly the works of charity are delightful. 
There is not a pleasanter work in the world than to do good . 
Even proud men find a great delight in the reputation or 
name of doing good ; that they may be accounted the great 
benefactors of the world, that is, to be as earthly gods among 
their neighbours, and as the sun is to the lower world, that 
all may be below them, and live by their influence. This is 
the top of that prosperity that sinful ambition doth aspire to. 
And if the name of welldoing be so pleasant to the proud, 
the conscience of the thing itself should be more pleasant to 
the upright. Open bounty is the hypocrite's glory ; but to 


do good in secret is the believer's pleasure, " for their Father 
which seeth in secret, shall reward them openly :" yea, the 
very delight of doing good, and especially a great or public 
good, a spiritual and everlasting good, is a reward unto it- 
self. It is the speech of Christ recited by Paul, Acts xx. 
35. that " it is more blessed to give than to receive." 

There are many things concurring that make it very plea- 
sant to do good. It proceeds from the power of love ; and 
the exercise of love is pleasant. And love makes our bre- 
thren to be to us as ourselves, and consequently their welfare 
is as our own, and rejoiceth us as if ourselves received all 
that they receive. And what abundant pleasure then hath a 
believer ! When so many thousands of his brethren do re- 
ceive so many thousand benefits daily from God himself, 
and all these are to the Christian, through the union and 
power of love, as if he had received them all himself. But 
especially when he himself is the instrument of conveyance. 
The poor have comfort in receiving of relief ; but nothing in 
comparison of his that gives it, if it be done for the sake of 
Christ, in uprightness of heart. A poor man receiveth from 
the giver perhaps but an outward small commodity ; but the 
upright giver receiveth from God the sense of his acceptance, 
and peace of conscience, with the promise of an everlasting 
recompence. Amite, or a cup of cold water, given to a pro- 
phet in the name of a prophet, or to a disciple in the name of 
a disciple, shall certainly be rewarded ; Matt. x. 40 — 42. 

A true believer is covetous to do good, as others are to 
receive it, and studieth for opportunities of laying out his 
gifts and wealth for God, as others study to gather it for 
themselves. As a worldling studieth for a good bargain, 
that he may grow rich ; a true believer studieth for oppor- 
tunities to lay out that he hath for God, and to improve his 
Master's stock to the best advantage. The covetous doth 
not more long to get more, than believers do to be rid of that 
they have, in the way, and on the terms, as may do most 
good, and be best accepted. And they are even afraid lest 
opportunities of doing good should overslip them, and the 
seed-time should pass by. A believer knows that, as his 
life and soul, so his worldly riches, are nowhere sure but in 
the hand of God. And therefore if they can procure his se- 
curity, and get him to receive it, and return it them in hea- 
ven with the promised advantage, they have then secured it 


indeed. All is lost that God hath not, in one way or other; 
and all is secured that he hath, and for which we have his 
promise. This is "laying it up in heaven;'* Matt. vi. 21. 
While we keep it, we cannot secure it from thieves. When 
we have disposed of it according to the will of God, upon 
the warrant of his promise, it is then in his custody, and then 
it is safe. Neither rust or moth can then corrupt it, nor the 
strongest thieves break through and steal. To be good and 
do good is most like unto God ; and therefore must needs be 
the sweetest life. 

2. Works of justice also have their pleasure. For they 
demonstrate the justice of God himself, from whom they do 
proceed. That which is most pleasant to God, should be 
most pleasant unto us. And as he hath bid us "not forget 
to do good and to communicate, because with such sacrifice 
he iswellpleased" (Heb. xiii. 16.), so he hath told us that he 
" delighteth in the exercise of lovingkindness, judgment and 
righteousness in the earth ;" Jer. ix. 24. ** He hath shewed 
us what is good : and what doth he require of us, but to do 
justly, and love mercy, and walk humbly with our God ;" 
Mich. vi. 8. And therefore he commandeth Israel, Hos. xii. 
6. "Turn thou to God. Keep mercy and judgment, and 
wait on thy God continually." Private justice between man 
and man, and family justice between parents and children, 
masters and servants, and political justice between the ma- 
gistrates and the people, do all maintain the order of the 
world, and procure both public and private peace. It is sel- 
fishness and injustice, tyranny, oppression, disobedience, 
and rebellion, that procure the miseries of the world. But 
righteousness is safe and sweet. 

3. You have heard of the pleasure of holy actions, both 
internal and external. The truth is evident also from the 
objects of these facts, and the matter from which a believer 
may derive his pleasures. And O what an ocean of delight 
is here before us ! Were our powers, capacities, and acts but 
answerable to the objects, we should presently have the joys 
of heaven. 

1. A believer hath the ever blessed God himself to derive 
his comforts from. He hath his nature and attributes to be 
his comfort. He hath his near relations to afford him com- 
fort; and this is more than to have all the world. It is a 
God of infinite power, and wisdom, and goodness, that we 


believe in, that we love, and worship, and obey. It is also 
a Father reconciled to us, that hath taken us in covenant to 
him as his people, through Jesus Christ. And where shall 
we find comfort if not in God ? It is in vain to look for that 
from any creature, that is not to be found in him. Poor 
worldlings ! you have nothing that is worth the having, but 
the crumbs that fall from the children's table. God is our 
portion, and the world is yours ; and yet you have less even 
in this world than we. You have the shadow, and we have 
the substance : you have the shell, and we the kernel : you 
have the straw and chaff, and true believers have the corn : 
your comforts are shaken with every storm, and tossed up 
and down by the justice of God, or the pride of man. But 
God that is our portion is unchangeable. Yesterday, to-day, 
and the same for ever. We have " a kingdom that cannot 
be moved ;" Heb. xii. 28. Persecutors cannot take our God 
from us, nor can any thing separate us from his love; Rom. 
viii. 36. They may separate us from our houses, from our 
countries, from our friends, from our riches, our liberties, our 
lives ; from our books, our company, and ordinances, but not 
from God, who is our great delight. In poverty, in perse- 
cutions, in sickness, and at death, we have still our interest 
in God. A Christian is never in so low a state, but he hath 
a God to whom he may go for comfort, who is more to him 
than your sweetest pleasures. Is it not a pleasure to have 
such a God as can cure all diseases, supply all wants, over- 
come all enemies, deliver in all dangers, and hath promised 
that he will do it so far as is for our good ! If he want wa- 
ter that hath the sea, or he want land that hath all the earth, 
or he want light that hath the sun, yet doth he not need to 
want delight that hath the Lord to be his God, if he do but 
keep in the paths of grace. And are you yet unresolved, whe- 
ther godliness be the most pleasant life ? Take all your plea- 
sures, and make the best of them, may I but have the Lord 
to be my God, and I hope I shall never desire to change 
with you. 

2. A holy life is therefore pleasant, because we have a 
full sufficient Saviour, from whom we may daily fetch de- 
light. The eternal Son of God is become the healer of our 
wounds, our Peace-maker with the Father, the Conqueror 
of our enemies, the Ransom for our sins, the Captain of our 
salvation, the Head of his church, and the treasure of all our 


hopes and joys! Sin and misery are the works of satan, 
which Christ came into the world to destroy. If hypocrites 
can steal a little peace to their consciences, from a false con- 
ceit that they have a part in Christ, what comfort may it be 
to the true believer, that hath a sure and real interest in him! 
That is the sad and miserable life when you are out of Christ, 
and strangers to his covenant, and cannot say his benefits are 
yours, but you are yet in your sins, without his righteousness. 
But when we have a special interest in him, the foundation of 
our everlasting joy is laid, and the heart of his sin and misery 
is broken. What fear or sorrow can you name, that I may 
not fetch a sufficient remedy against from Christ ? What 
can the prince of darkness say to our discomfort, which we 
may not answer by arguments from Christ? By this judge 
of the comfort of a holy life. If the godly overlook the 
grounds of joy, that are laid in Christ, and live in a mistaken 
sorrow, that is not for want of reasons and warrant to re- 
joice, but for want of a right discerning of those reasons. 
But what have you that are ungodly, to answer against all 
the terrors of the law ? or to answer against all the accusa- 
tions of your consciences ? or to comfort you against the 
remembrance of your approaching misery ? While you have 
no part in Christ you have no right to comfort. One thought 
of Christ to a believing soul, may afford more delight than 
ever you will find in a sinful life. 

3. Moreover, we have the Holy Spirit of Christ, that is 
purposely given us to be our Comforter. And if that be not 
a pleasant life that is managed by such a guide, and that be 
not most likely to be a joyful soul, that is possessed by the 
Spirit of joy itself, there is no joy then on earth to be ex- 
pected. Hath God promised his Spirit to comfort you that 
are wicked in your sin? No ; it is the malicious and de- 
ceiving spirit that is your comforter, that by his comforts he 
might keep you from solid, spiritual, everlasting comforts. 
But the repenting, believing soul that is united unto Christ, 
and hath already had the Spirit for his conversion, it is he 
that hath the promise of the Spirit for his consolation. And 
if that be not the most comfortable life, where the God of 
heaven becomes the comforter, we cannot then know the ef- 
fect by the cause. If life itself will quicken, if light itself 
will illuminate, the comforting Spirit will certainly comfort 


in the degree and season as God seetli meet, and the soul is 
fitted to receive it. 

4. Moreover, we have the whole treasury of the Gospel 
to go to for our delight. And little doth the sensual, unbe- 
lieving soul know what sweetness, what supporting plea- 
sures may be from thence derived. 1 had rather have the 
holy word of God to go to for contents, than the treasures 
of the rich, oi^the pleasures of the sensual, or the flatteries 
and vainglory of the ambitious man. All that the world doth 
make such a pudder about, which they ride and run for, 
which they so much glory in, will never afford them so much 
content, as one Scripture promise will do to a truly faithful 
soul. I must profess before angels and men, that I had ra- 
ther have one promise of the love of God, and the life to 
come, which is contained in the holy Scriptures, than to have 
all the riches, pleasures, and honours of this world. My God, 
this was my covenant with thee, and to this I stand. O 
blessed be the Lord, that hath provided us such a magazine 
of delight as is this heavenly, sacred book ! The precepts 
appoint us a pleasant work. The strictest prohibitions do 
but restrain us from our own calamities, and keep out of our 
hands the knife by which we would cut our fingers. The 
severest threatenings do but deter us from running into the 
consuming fire ; and hedge about the devouring gulf, lest 
we should foolishly cast ourselves therein. And these are 
the bitterest parts of that holy word. But when we read the 
promises of a Saviour, and the wonderful history of his in- 
carnation, and of his holy, self-denying life ; his conquests, 
miracles, death, resurrection, ascension, intercession, and 
his promise to return ; when we read of the foundation which 
he hath laid, and the building which he intends to finish 5 of 
his rich, abundant promises to his chosen, what provision do 
we find for our abundant joys ! No strait can be so great, no- 
pressure so grievous, no enemies so strong, but we have full 
consolation offered us in the promises, against them all. We 
have promises of the pardon of all our sins, and promises of 
heaven itself; and what can we have more ? We have pro- 
mises suited to every state, both prosperity and adversity. 
What do we need which we have not a promise of? And 
the word of God is no deceit. What but a promise can com- 
fort them that are short of the possession ? May I not have 


more joy in sickness with a promise, than the ungodly with- 
out a promise in their health? A promise in prison sets a 
man as at liberty. A promise in poverty is more than riches. 
A promise at death is better than life. What I have a pro- 
mise of, I may be sure of; but what you possess without a 
promise, you may lose (and your souls and hopes with it) 
this night. There is no condition on earth so hard to a man 
that hath interest in the promises, in which he may not have 
plentiful relief. We live by faith, and not by sense. And 
we reckon more on that as ours, which we hope for, than 
which we do possess. We are sure that there is no true fe- 
licity on earth. If then we have a promise of heaven, when 
infidels lie down in the dust with desperation, have we not 
a more comfortable life than they ? 

5. Moreover, we have heaven itself to fetch our comfort 
from. Not heaven in sight, or in possession ; but heaven in 
promise, and seen by faith. And if heaven will not afford 
us pleasure, whence shall we expect it? Even sensual men 
can rejoice as well in what they see not, if they are assured 
it is theirs, as in what they see. And why then may not be- 
lievers do so much more? A worldling, when he seeth not 
his money in his chest, or at use, or his lands and cattle that 
are from him, can yet rejoice in them as if he saw them. And 
should not we rejoice in the certain hopes of heaven though 
yet we see it not? When I am pained in sickness, and roll 
in restless weariness of my flesh, if then I can say, I shall be 
in heaven, may it not be the inward rejoicing of my soul ? 
You know where you are, but you know not where you shall 
be. The believer knoweth where he shall be, as truly as he 
knoweth where he is (unless it be one that by his frailty hath 
not reached unto assurance, who yet hath reached unto hope). 
What great matter is it if I lay in the greatest pain, if I can 
say, I shall have everlasting ease in heaven ? or if I lay in 
prison, or in sordid poverty, and can say, I shall shortly be 
with Christ? or if I had lost the love of all men, and could 
say, that 1 shall everlastingly enjoy the love of God ? 

Most of your comforts do come in by the way of your 
thoughts. And what thoughts should so rejoice the soul as 
the thoughts of our abode with Christ for ever ? If a day in 
the courts of God be so delightful, what is ten thousand mil- 
lions of ages in the court of glory ; and all then as fresh as 
at the first day ? There it is that our sin will be put off; our 


carnal enmity laid by ; our temptations will be over ; our 
enemies will all have done ; our fears and sorrows will be at 
an end ; our desires will be accomplished ; our differences 
be reconciled ; our charity perfected ; and our expectations 
fully satisfied ; and hope turned into full fruition. O may I 
but be able, with stronger faith, and fuller confidence, to say 
that heaven is mine, and when this tabernacle is dissolved, I 
shall be with Christ, my life and my death will be delightful, 
and I need not complain for want of pleasure. Let who will 
take the pleasures of the flesh, may I but have this. In prayer, 
in meditation, in holy conference, in every duty, it is the ex- 
pectation of approaching blessedness that drops in sweet- 
ness into all. No wonder if it can sweeten a course of duty 
when it can make light the greatest sufferings, and turn pain 
into pleasure, death into life, as being unworthy to be com- 
pared unto the glory which shall be revealed. 

But the wicked have none of these delights, unless they 
steal a little by self-deceit. They may make their best of 
their present pleasures, and of the cup while it is at their 
mouths, and of their wealth and honour while it is in their 
hands. But it is little pleasure that they can fetch from hea- 
ven ! The thought of it may rather feed their terrors. What 
pleasure they can pick out of the dirt let them make their 
best of. But heavenly pleasures are above their reach. 

So much for the objects of a holy life, from whence a be- 
liever may fetch his pleasure. 

Object. * But you tell us only of the pleasant part ; but 
the troublesome and bitter part you say nothing of.' 

Answ, Come on, and say your worst of a holy life, and tell 
us which is that bitter part. 

Object. ' The Scripture requireth us to mortify the 
flesh, to renounce the world, to forbear our pleasures, to de- 
ny ourselves, and to take up our cross and follow Christ ; 
and will you call this a pleasant life V 

Answ. And do you indeed think this so sad a business? 
Here are three things contained in this objection, as the mat- 
ter thatseemeth so displeasing to you. 1. The parting with 
your sins. 2. The sufferings that are principally for sin. 
3. The sufferings that are principally for the cause of Christ. 

1. And do you think sin is so lovely a thing that a man 
cannot live merrily without it ? Sin is the breach of the laws 
of God, and the injury of the heavenly Majesty, and the pro- 


vocation of his hot displeasure, and the poison and sickness 
of the soul. And is it your sport to abuse the Lord ? Is 
your pleasure gone, if you may not injure the God that made 
you ? What natures, what sinful hearts have you, that must 
have such pleasures ? Cannot a man live merrily unless he 
may provoke the God of heaven, and trample upon mercy, 
and despise salvation ? Can you not live in pleasure unless 
you may drink poison, or keep your sickness, or tumble in 
the dirt ? One would think that mischief to ourselves or 
others should be small pleasure to an honest mind. It is no 
pleasure to you to spit in the face of your dearest friends, or 
to abuse your parents, or to provoke your neighbours ; and 
is it such pleasure as you cannot forsake to abuse the Lord, 
and wrong your souls ? The pleasures of sin do tend to pain. 
Some pain doth usually attend it here, and much more here- 
after. God would prevent your pain and misery, by prevent- 
ing or destroying your sin. And do you accuse his word, 
because it would keep you from so costly, so bitter, so dan- 
gerous delights ? It is for your pleasure, that this plea- 
sure is forbidden you. The sweetness of the poison of 
sin will be soon gone, when the gripings of the tormented 
conscience do remain . You will forbear the most delightful 
fruits or drinks, if your physician tell you they will hazard 
your life, or torment you afterwards. You are short-sighted 
and short-witted, and look but to the present relish of things, 
and choose them if you taste them sweet ; but God looks to 
your everlasting pleasures. So that you may well reckon it 
among the pleasures of a holy life, that you have such pre- 
servatives against the greatest sorrows ; and that you are 
kept from the pleasures that will be bitterness in the latter 

Yea, at the present hath not drunkenness more trouble 
attending it than sobriety ? Reckon up the consuming of 
men's estates, the troubles of their families, the sicknesses 
of their bodies, the shame and contempt that it bringeth on 
them here, and the wounds of their consciences, and tell me 
whether it were not more pleasure to forbear those cups than 
to drink them. And hath not gluttony more trouble attend- 
ing it than temperance ? By that time the charge be paid, 
the sickness that fulness breedeth be endured, the physician 
paid, and all the effects of gluttony overcome, you will find 
that the pleasure was little to the pain. The like I may say 


of uncleanness, worldliness, passion, pride, and all other sins 
that usually bring a punishment with them. 

2. And then for castigatory sufferings, it is not godli- 
ness that is the cause of them (as sufferings). Sin less, and 
suffer less. Provoke not God, and he will spare the rod. 
Do you hurt yourselves like careless children, and then blame 
God for bidding you take heed ? God doth not punish men 
for holiness, and welldoing. It is for want of holiness that 
you are punished. I think therefore it is part of the plea- 
sure of a holy life, that it keeps men out of the way of pu- 
nishment. You must have pain, and unpleasant physic, when 
once you have taken a surfeit of sensual delight, and made 
yourselves sick with too much of the creature. Holiness 
would have prevented this. And when that is too late, it 
would cure it by the cheapest means that your health will bear. 
Is it not then unreasonable, when you have troubled your- 
selves, to blame your physician for troubling you in order to 
a cure ? 

3. And for those sufferings that are principally for Christ, 
consider, 1. That they are also originally from sin, and there- 
fore you may know what to blame for the bitter part. 
Though the time, and place, and manner, and measure of 
your sufferings may proceed from the gracious providence of 
your Lord ; yet that supposeth that sin had brought you in- 
to a state of suffering in general before; which Christ did not 
presently and plenarily remit and take off, but disposeth of 
them by his wisdom, as may make most for his glory and 
your good. 2. And will you grudge at a little transitory 
pain, that is usually requited with comforts in this life, and 
rewarded with pleasures unspeakable hereafter ! You grudge 
not to cast away your seed in hope of an increase at harvest ; 
nor do you murmur at your daily labour if it be but blessed 
with success. And will you grudge to pass through suffer- 
ings to glory, to sow in tears that you may reap in joy? It 
is but few that suffer martyrdom, or any great matter for the 
cause of Christ, especially in our days. And those few have 
usually more joy than sorrow. If you knew the joys of mar- 
tyrs, you would never so shrink at the sufferings of martyrs. 
And for a few mocks and scorns of foolish men, it is scarce- 
ly worth the name of a suffering. Nor is it so much as wick- 
ed men suffer in their sin. As godliness is a shame among 
the foolish, wicked men, so wickedness is a shame among all 


that are pious, wise, and sober. And why should not the 
shame of sin be more loathed than the undeserved shame of 
honesty ? Alas, all this is nothing to the sorrows of the un- 
godly. A little of the vinegar of affliction will make us re- 
lish our prosperity the better, and through our frailty is be- 
come a necessary sauce to that luscious state that we are so 
apt to surfeit on ! Do you not see what lamentable work 
prosperity, victories, honour, and worldly wealth and power 
have made in the world ? and shall we grudge at that neces- 
sary, moderate affliction that saveth us from the like over- 
throws ? O how few are able to withstand the temptations 
of great or long prosperity! Experience of the frequent, 
woeful falls of prospering men, that seemed once as firm as 
any, hath made me fear when I hear of the exaltation of my 
friends, and the less to grieve for their adversity or my own. 
Holiness therefore is the most pleasant way, notwithstand- 
ing the afflictions that do attend it. And if God will give 
me an increase of holiness (of faith and love, and a heavenly 
mind), though it be with an increase of my afflictions, I hope 
I shall take it as an increase of my pleasure, and give him 
the praise of so merciful a dispensation. And thus I have 
proved to you from the nature of holiness, that it is the most 
pleasant way. 

11. I should next shew you the delights of holiness from 
the helps and concomitants that promote our pleasure. But 
because I am afraid of lengthening my discourse too much, 
I shall only name a few things of many. 

1. God being our God in covenant, his love is to the ho- 
ly soul, as the sun is to our bodies, to illuminate, warm, re- 
vive, and comfort them; and did not sin cause some eclipses 
or raise some clouds, or shut the windows, we should rejoice 
continually, and find how sweet a thing it is, being justified 
by faith, to have peace with God. 

2. We are in covenant with Jesus Christ, who interced- 
eth for our peace with God. And the Father always heareth 
his intercession ; John xi. 42. And therefore that measure 
of comfort which he seeth suitable to our present state, we 
shall be sure of. " Who shall condemn us ? when it is Christ 
that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the 
right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us ;" 
Rom. viii. 34. " We have a great high-priest that is pass- 

VOL. X. z 


ed into the heavens, even Jesus the Son of Ood ; one that is 
touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and was in all 
points tempted like as we are, but without sin ;" and there- 
fore through him we may " come boldly to the throne of 
grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in 
time of need;" Heb. iv. 14 — 16. What comforting words 
hath he spoken to us in the Gospel, and what comfortable 
relations hath he put us into ! He calleth us his friends, if 
we do his commandments, as if servants were too low a title ; 
John XV. 14, 15. " Peace he leaveth with us : his peace he 
giveth to us ; not as the world giveth, commanding that we 
let not our hearts be troubled or afraid ;" chap. xiv. 27. To 
those that love him, he hath promised his Father's love, and 
that they will "come to him, and make their abode with him; 
ver. 23. " If any man serve him, let him follow him ; and 
where Christ is, there shall his servant be ; if any man serve 
Christ, him will the Father honour;" chap.xii.26. 

3. That we might have sure consolation, the Spirit of 
Christ is given to be our comforter ; and we are in covenant 
with him also, who surely will perform his covenants. 

4. The servants of Christ have his holy image, the mark 
of his children, which is the indwelling evidence of hislove^ 
to assure them of their happiness. 

5. They have manifold experience of the kindness of their 
Father, in hearing their prayers, and helping them in their 
straits, and delivering them in their distresses. 

6. They have also the help of the experience of others, 
even of all the godly with whom they do converse, who can 
comfort them with their comforts, and tell them how good 
they have found the Lord. 

7. They have the ministers of Christ appointed by office 
to be the helpers of their faith and joy ; to be the messengers 
of glad tidings to them, and to tell them from God of the 
pardon of their sins, and of his favour to them in Christ , and 
to heal the brokenhearted, and preach deliverance to the cap- 
tives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty 
them that are bruised, &c. Lukeiv. 18. To have a deputed 
officer of Christ to absolve the penitent, and deliver them 
pardon in the name of Christ, and to pray for them, and di- 
rect them, and resolve their doubts, and shew them the pro- 
mises that may support them, and help to profligate their 
temptations, mu^t needs be much to the comfort of believers. 


As the care of a father is the comfort of the child, and the 
care of the physician is a comfort to the sick. 

8. They have all the ordinances suited to their comfort ; 
the word read, preached, and meditated on ; the sacraments 
and the public praises of God, and communion of the saints 
(of which before). 

9. They have multitudes of mercies still about them, and 
every day renewed on them, to feed their comforts. 

10. They have a promise that " all things shall work to- 
gether for their good;" and that so all their afflictions them- 
selves shall be their commodities, and death itself shall be 
their gain (Rom. viii. 28. Phil. i. 21 .), and all their enemies 
shall be subdued by Christ the prince of their salvation. 

So that from this much you may see, that for joy and 
pleasure, there is no life that hath the advantages that a ho- 
ly life hath. " As for the ungodly they are not so ; but are 
like the chaff which the wind driveth away ;" Psal. i. 4. 
These pleasures grow not in their wicked way, nor do such 
strangers know believers' joys. 

III. Lastly, I should also have shewed you the pleasure 
of holiness by the effects ; but here also to avoid prolixity, 
I will but name a few. 

1. Holiness is pleasing to God himself; and therefore it 
must needs be pleasant to the saints that have it. For it is. 
their end and chiefest pleasure to please God. They know 
that this is the end for which they were created, redeemed,, 
and renewed ; and therefore that is the most pleasant life to 
them, in which they find that God is best pleased. And 
therefore " they labour, that whether present or absent, they 
may be accepted of him ;" 2 Cor. v. 9. They are " a holy 
priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifice, acceptable to God 
by Jesus Christ ;" 1 Pet. ii. 5. 

2. Holiness must needs be pleasant to the soul, because 
it is the spiritual health of the soul, and the means and cer- 
tain evidence of its safety. And health is a constant, sen- 
sible delight. And to know that our souls have escaped the 
danger of the wrath of God, and everlasting misery, must 
needs be a greater pleasure than any of the matters of this 
world can afford. One serious thought of the salvation, 
which holiness is the earnest of, may give that true content- 
ment to the soul, that all the wealth and glory of the world 
can never give. 


-3. Holiness removeth fears and troubles, and therefore 
must needs be a pleasant state. It removeth the fears of the 
wrath of God, and of damnation, and the fears of all destruc- 
tive evils. It tends to heal the wounded soul, and pacify the 
clamorous conscience, and abate all worldly and groundless 
sorrows, for which the wicked have no true cure. 

4. Holiness is the destruction of sin, and sin is the cause 
of all calamities, and therefore holiness must needs be plea- 

6. Holiness doth consist in rejoicing graces, that are ex- 
ceeding pleasant in the exercise ; as faith, hope, love, pa- 
tience, &c. yea it consisteth in joy itself; Rom. xiv. 17. 

6. It fits the soul for communion with God, who is the 
fountain of delights ; and it brings us near him, and acquaints 
us with him as a God of love ; and therefore must needs be 
a pleasant state. 

7. You see by experience, that when once men have tried 
a holy life, they think they can never have enough of it. The 
more holy they are, the more holy they would be. He that 
hath most would fain have more. And the weakest desireth 
no less than to be perfect. And do you think men that have 
tried it, would so long after more and more, if it were not 
pleasant ? 

Judge also by the labour and diligence of the godly, who 
** seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness," and 
make it the principal business of their lives. Would they 
make all this ado for nothing ? or for that which is a matter 
of no delight ? 

Judge also by the delights which they voluntarily for- 
sake, when they let go all their sinful pleasures, and renounce 
all the glory of the world ; would they make this exchange 
if they had not found a more pleasant course, and that which 
tends to everlasting pleasure? 

8. You see also that the truly godly, when once they have 
tried a lioly life, will never go back again to their former 
pleasures, but loathe the very remembrance of them. It is 
not all the honours, and riches, and pleasures in the world, 
that can hire them to forsake a holy life. Sure therefore 
they find it the most pleasant course ; if not in sensible de- 
lights, yet at least in easing their consciences, and securing 
their minds from the terrors that sinful pleasures would pro- 
duce. If they found that godliness answered not their ex- 


pectation, they have leisure enough, and temptations too 
many, to turn back into the state from whence they came. 
But how would they abhor such a motion as this ! 

9. If holiness were not a pleasant thing, it could not help 
us to bear up under all our afflictions, nor make us rejoice in 
tribulation, as it doth. That which can sweeten gall and 
wormwood must needs be very sweet itself. That which 
can make reproach, and scorn, and poverty, and imprison- 
ment either sweet or tolerable, is sure itself a pleasant thing. 

10. Lastly, if holiness were not pleasant, it could not 
make death itself so easy, nor take off its terrors, nor cause 
the martyrs to suffer so joyfully for Christ. Death is the 
king of terrors, and so bitter a cup, that it must needs be a 
pleasant thing indeed, that can sweeten it. 

Besides all this that hath been said, let me briefly have 
some general aggravations of the delights of holiness, and 
compare it as we go with the delights of the ungodly. 

1. The delights of holiness are the most great, and glori- 
ous, and sublime delights. They are fetched from the most 
great and glorious things. It is God, and his grace, and 
everlasting glory that feed our pleasures. Whereas, the de- 
lights of sensual men are fed with trifles. What do they re- 
joice in but the fooleries of sin, and the filthiness of their 
own transgressions I What is it that contenteth them, but 
a dream of honour, or the good will and word of mortal men. 
or a brutish sportfulness, or the pleasing of the itch of lust, 
or the provision that they have laid up for the flesh ? The 
treasures of a kingdom excel not the treasure of a child's pin- 
box the thousandth part so much as heaven excels the trea- 
sures of the ungodly. Judge therefore by the matter that 
feeds their pleasure, which of the two is the more pleasant 
life ; to sport in their own shame, and laugh at the brink of 
misery with the ungodly, or to delight ourselves in the love 
of God, and rejoice in the assured hope of glory with the true 
believer ? 

2. The delights of holiness are the most rational, well- 
grounded, sure delights. They are not delusory, nor ground- 
ed on mistakes or fancies. They are warranted by the truth 
and all-sufficiency of God, and the certainty of his promise, 
and the immutability of his counsels, and the sure reward 
prepared for his saints. None but a lying, malicious devil, 
or his instruments that participate of his nature, or a blind 


corrupted, partial flesh, will ever go about to question the 
foundations of our faith and comforts. The hopes and com- 
forts that are built upon this rock, will never fall, nor make 
us ashamed. 

But the ungodly rejoice in their own delusions. It is 
ignorance and error that they are beholden to for their mirth. 
They laugh in their sleep, or as madmen in their distraction. 
Did they know that satan rejoiceth in their joys, and that an 
offended God is always present, and how poor a matter it is 
that they rejoice in, it would mar their mirth. If they saw the 
hell that they are near, or well considered where they stand, 
and what a case their souls are in, they would have little list 
to play or laugh. If they knew aright the shortness of their 
pleasures, and the length of their sorrows, and in what a 
doleful case their wealth and fleshly delights will leave them, 
it would turn their laughter into mourning and lamentation. 
So that they rejoice but (as a sick man in a frenzy, or as a 
fool upon some good news to him that is false) upon mere 

3. The delights of holiness are the most pure delights, 
and most entire and complete. There is no evil in it mixed 
with the good, and therefore nothing to interrupt the joy. 
Our joys indeed are too much interrupted; but that is not 
from any hurt that is in a holy life ; but by the contrary sin, 
which holiness must work out. If men take poison, let them 
not blame nature that strives against it, if they are sick ; but 
let them blame themselves, and the poison, that puts nature 
to expel it. In holiness itself there is nothing but good, and 
therefore nothing that should grieve us. 

But it is far otherwise with sensual delights. As they are 
sinful, they are wholly evil. As they are natural, feeding 
upon the creature alone, they are as it is, a mixture of vani- 
ty and vexation. Every creature hath its unsuitableness and 
imperfection, by which it disturbeth even where it pleaseth, 
and troubleth where it comforteth, and frustrateth and dis- 
appointeth more than it satisfieth. The more we love it, 
usually the more we suffer by it. That thing which we most 
excessively love, is ordinarily our sharpest scourge. That 
friend whom we most excessively love, is usually our greatest 
sorrow ; either by their failing our expectations, or by our 
failing theirs, or our insufficiency to accomplish the good 
which we desire of them. If they prove unkind, it is more 


grievous than the unkindness of many others. If they prove 
faithful, how deeply do we suffer with them in all their suf- 
ferings ! Their wants do pinch us as our own. Their re- 
proaches are our shame. Their losses take as much from 
us. Their sickness paineth us. Their death half killeth us. 
And he that is so happy as to have many such friends, is so 
unhappy as to have more burdens, fears, and griefs to suf- 
fer, and more deaths to die than other men. But especially 
to ungodly men, these earthly comforts arfe uncomfortable, 
because they have none of the divine delights that are the 
kernel and the spirits, but take up with the shell or husk. 
And because their mirth is mixed with their own misery, 
which conscience sometimes gripes them for with such deep 
remorse as cools their comforts. And some thoughts of the 
shortness of their pleasures will be stepping in, and ending 
them before their time. So that the bitterness of worldly 
things surpasseth the delight. 

4. The delights of holiness are deep and solid, and there- 
fore do establish and corroborate the hearts. But sensual 
delights are like children's laughter ; they are slight, and 
outside, and flitting, and vain. As children laugh in one 
breath, and cry in the next ; so worldly joys are followed at 
the heels by sorrows. For they lie not deep, and fortify not 
the heart against distresses, as the delights of faith and holi- 
ness do. 

5. The pleasures of the saints are the gift of God, and 
allowed of by him ; commanded by his word, and promoted 
by his promises and mercies, and are but the fruits of his 
everlasting love. And being so divine, they must needs be 

But the pleasures of ungodly, worldly men are partly for- 
bidden and condemned by God, and partly contradicted and 
confounded, by his terrible threatenings, and the discovery 
of his wrath. " There is no peace saith the Lord, to the 
wicked ;" Isa. xlviii.22. lvii.21. God doth disown and pro- 
test against their peace. If they will keep it, and make it 
good, it must be against his will. He forbiddeth joy to a 
rebellious people. "Rejoice not O Israel for joy as other 
people : for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God ;" 
Hos. ix. 1. He calleth them to ** weeping and mourning, and 
renting of the heart ;" Joel ii. 12, 13. Hear what God saith 
to them in their greatest pleasures, James v. 1 — 5. " Go to 


now ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall 
come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your gar- 
ments moth-eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered, and 
the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat 
your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together 

for the last days : Ye have lived in pleasure on earth, 

and been wanton. Ye have nourished your hearts as in a 

day of slaughter " A man would think it should either 

turn them, or torment them, and fill their hearts with con- 
tinual horror, to find God thus solemnly protesting against 
their peace, and sentencing them to woe and sorrows. 

6. The pleasures of the godly are clean and noble, and 
honest and honourable. They delight in things of the great- 
est Worth, for which they had their natures, their time, and 
all. But the pleasures of sinners are base and filthy. They 
delight as swine in wallowing in the mire : and as the dog 
to eat his own vomit ; 2 Pet. ii. 22. They delight to wrong 
the God that made them, and by whom they live, and to cross 
the ends of their lives and mercies ; and to drive away all 
true delights, and to undo themselves. This is the matter 
of their delight. 

7. The devil is a great enemy to the delights of holiness ; 
which is a sign that they are excellent. He doth what he 
can to keep men from a holy state, lest they should meet 
with the happiness that attends it. And if he prevail not in 
this his chief design, he doth what he can to fill up the lives 
of believers with calamities. All the enemies [that he can 
raise up against them, shall by temptations, scorns, or inju- 
ries, assault their comforts. All the storms that he can raise 
shall be sure to fall upon them. How busy is he to fill them 
with fears and doubtings ! and to cast perplexing thoughts 
into their minds ! or to mislead them in some perplexing 
ways ! and fasten on them entangling doctrines, or disquiet- 
ing principles ! How cunningly and diligently will he argue 
against their peace and comforts, and seek to hide the love 
of God, and dishonour the blood, and grace, and covenant of 
Christ, and cross the comforting workings of the Spirit! 
How subtilly will he question all our evidences, and extenu- 
ate all God's comforting mercies, and do all that he can that 
the godly may have a hell on earth, though they shall have 
none hereafter. It is sure an excellent joy and pleasure, 
which satan is so great an enemy to. 


8. The delights of holiness do make us better. They are 
so far from disordering the mind, and leading us to sin, that 
they compose and purify the mind, and make sin much more 
odious to us than before. No man hates sin so much as he 
that hath seen the pleased face of God, and tasted most the 
sweetness of his grace, and tried the pleasant paths of life. 
And therefore it is, that when a believer comes from fervent 
prayers, or from heavenly conference or meditation, or from 
hearing the blessed word of life, laid open plainly, and ap- 
plied powerfully to his soul, he would then abhor a tempta- 
tion to sensual delights, if they were set before him. Till 
we lose the relish of holy things, and suffer our delight in 
God to fade, we are seldom taken in the snares of any flesh- 
ly vanities. Money is dirt to us, and honour a smoke, and 
lust doth stink, as long as we maintain our delights in God. 
He is the best and highest Christian, that hath most of these 
spiritual delights. 

But fleshly pleasures make men worse. They intoxicate 
the mind, and fill it with vanity and folly. They are the 
snares to entrap us ; and the harlots that do bewitch us, and 
defile the soul that should be chaste for God. The noise of 
this sensual, foolish mirth doth drown the voice of God and 
reason, so that in the most needful matters they cannot be 
heard. In their hunting and hawking, dicing and carding, 
drinking and revelling, feasting and dancing, how little of 
God or heaven is on the sinner's mind ! Seldom is the soul 
so unfit for duty, so incapable of instruction, so hardened 
against the word and warnings of the Lord, as in the depth of 
sensual delights. Then it is that they are " foolish, disobedi- 
ent, and deceived," when they are serving divers lusts and 
pleasures," as Paul that had tried both ways confesseth. Tit. 
iii. 3. None so unlike to be the servants of Christ, as they 
that are " clothed in purple and fine linen, and that fare 
sumptuously (or deliciously) every day ;" Luke xvi. To live 
" in rioting and drunkenness, in chambering and wantonness, 
in strife and envying, and to make provision for the flesh to 
fulfil the lusts thereof," is the description of one that walks 
not honestly, and is far from a Christian's life and hopes ; 
Rom. xiii. 13, 14. It is those voluptuous, sensual sinners, 
that most obstinately shut out all the reproofs, and refuse 
him that speaketh to them from heaven, and will not so much 
as soberly consider of the things that concern their everlast- 


ing peace; and therefore are oft so forsaken of grace, that 
they grow to be scorners of the means of their salvation, and 
" being past feeling do give themselves over to lascivious- 
ness, to work all uncleanness with greediness ;" Eph.iv. 19. 
Which then is most desirable? the healing or the wounding 
pleasure? the quickening or the killing mirth? the whole- 
some or the poisonous sweet? the delights that mend us and 
further our salvation, or corrupting pleasures that drown men 
in perdition ? 

9. The delights of holiness are of kin to heaven. They are 
of the same nature with those that saints and angels have with 
God (though we must acknowledge an inconceivable differ- 
ence). It is the same God and the same glory that now de- 
lighteth us as seen by faith, which shall then delight us when 
seen by intuition with open face. We are solacing our- 
selves in love and praise, with the same employment that we 
must have in heaven. And therefore if heaven be the state 
of the greatest joy and pleasure, the state of grace, and work 
of holiness, that is most like it, must needs be next it. 

But sensual pleasures are bestial and sordid, and so far 
unlike the joys of heaven, that nothing more withdraws the 
mind, or maketh it unmeet for heaven. 

10. Lastly, The delights of holiness are durable, even 
everlasting. The further we go, the greater cause we have 
of joy. It is not a mutable good that we rejoice in, but in 
the immutable God, the Ancient of days, and in that Christ 
that loveth his spouse with an everlasting love ; and in the 
sure and faithful promises ; and in the hopes of the kingdom 
that cannot be moved. The spring of our pleasure is in hea- 
ven, and our rejoicing is but the beginning of that which 
must there be perpetuated. Death cannot kill the joys of a 
believer ; the grave shall not bury them ; millions of ages 
shall not end them ! Here may they be interrupted, because 
the pleased face of God may be eclipsed, and sin and satan 
may cast malicious doubts into our minds ; and the neigh- 
bourhood of the flesh will force the mind to participate of 
its sufferings. But still God will keep their comforts alive, 
at least in the root, and help them in the act, as we have need 
of them, and are fit for them. And in the world of joy for 
which he is preparing us, our joy shall be perfected, and ne- 
ver have interruption or end. Holy festivals and ordinances, 
and sweetest communion of saints, and dearest love truest 


friends, and perfect health and prosperity in the world, and 
all other comforts set together, that this world affords, are 
but short emblems and small foretastes of the joys which 
the face of God will afford us, and we shall have with Christ, 
his saints and angels, to all eternity. 

But sensual pleasures are of so short continuance, that 
they are gone before we feel well that we have them. The 
drunkard, the glutton, the fornicator are drinking but a su- 
gared cup of poison, and merrily sowing the seeds of ever- 
lasting sorrow : satan is but scratching them (as the butcher 
shaves the throat of the swine) before he kill them. One 
quarter of an hour ends the pleasure, and leaves a damp of 
sadness in its room : he that hath had forty or fifty years' 
pleasure, hath no relish of it when it is past ; but it is as if 
it had never been, and much worse. He that hath spent a 
day, or month, or year in pleasure, hath no more at night, 
or at the year's end, when it is gone, than he that hath spent 
that time in sorrow. The bones and dust of thousands lie 
now in the churchyard, that have tasted many a sweet cup 
and morsel, and have had many a merry, wanton day ; and 
are they now any better for it, than if they had never known 
it? and are not the poor and sorrowful there their equals? 
And doubtless their souls have as little of those pleasures as 
their dust. In heaven they are abhorred : in hell they are 
turned into tormented flames, and remembered as fuel for 
the devouring fire. There are gluttons, but no more good 
cheer : there are drunkards, but no more drink : there are 
fornicators, but no more lustful pleasures : there are the 
playful wasters of their time, but no more sport and recre- 
ation : there are the vain-glorious, proud, ambitious souls, 
but not in glory, honour and renown ; but their aspiring 
hath cast them into the gulf of misery, and their pride hath 
covered them with utter confusion, and their glory is turned 
to their endless shame. Those that are now overwhelmed 
with the wrath of God, and shut up under desperation, are 
the souls that lately wallowed here in the delights of the 
flesh, and enjoyed for a season the pleasure of sin ; and now 
what fruit have they of all their former seeming happiness ? 
He that is feasted and gallantly adorned and attended to- 
day, is crying for a drop of water in vain to-morrow ; Luke 
xvi. 23 — 26. Christ tells you the gain of earthly riches, and 
the duration of earthly pleasures, to the ungodly, Luke vi. 


24,25.; "Woe to you that are rich, for you have received 
your consolation : woe to you that are full, for you shall 
hunger : woe to you that laugh now, for you shall mourn 
and weep ;" that is. You that live a sensual life, and take up 
your pleasure and felicity here, shall find that all will end 
in sorrow. But, " blessed are ye that hunger now, for ye 
shall be filled : blessed are ye that weep now, for ye shall 
laugh ; V. 21 . ; that is. You that are contented to pass through 
sorrows and tribulation on earth, to the kingdom where you 
have placed your happiness and hopes, shall find your sor- 
rows will end in joy ; and therefore you are blessed while 
you seem miserable to the world. " Ye shall weep and la- 
ment; but the world shall rejoice : and ye shall be sorrow- 
ful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy ;" John xvi.20. 
*' Now you have sorrow ; but I will see you again, and your 
heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you ;" 
verse 22. We have a constant interest in the Fountain of 
all joy ; and if our sun be clouded, it is but for a moment. 
" Our Maker is our Husband ; the Lord of Hosts is his 
name : and our Redeemer the Holy One of Israel ; the God 

of the whole earth : For a small moment may he forsake 

us, but with great mercy will he gather us. In a little wrath 
he may hide his face from us for a moment ; but with ever- 
lasting kindness will he have mercy on us, saith the Lord 
our Redeemer. As he swore that the waters of Noah should 
no more go over the earth, so hath he sworn that he will not 
be wroth with his people, nor rebuke them. For the moun- 
tains shall depart, and the hills shall be removed ; but his 
kindness shall not depart from us, nor the covenant of his 
peace be removed ; saith the Lord, that hath mercy on us ;" 
Isaiah liv. 5 — 19. *' For his anger endureth but for a mo- 
ment ; in his favour is life : weeping may endure for a night, 
but joy cometh in the morning ;" Psal. xxx. 5. Storms may 
arise that may affright us ; but how quickly will they all be 
over ? " Come my people (saith the Lord, Isaiah xxvi. 20.) 
enter into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee ; 
hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indig- 
nation be overpast." 

And as the momentary sorrow of the godly is forgotten 
in everlasting joy, so the joy of the wicked is but for a mo- 
ment, and is drowned in everlasting sorrows. " Knowest 
thou not this of old, since man was placed upon earth, that 


the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the 
hypocrite is but for a moment? Though his excellency 
mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the 
clouds ; yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung : they 
which have seen him shall say. Where is he 1 He shall fly 
away as a dream, and shall not be found : yea, he shall be 
chased away as a vision of the night : the eye also which 
saw him, shall see him no more ; neither shall his place any 
more behold him;'' Job xx. 4 — 9. " They take the timbrel 
and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organs : they 
spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the 
grave ;" Job xxi. 12, 13. 

It would grieve a considerate believer to look on a 
worldly, sensual gallant, in the midst of his vainglory, or 
any unsanctified man in his mirth and pleasure, and to think 
where that man will shortly be, and how the case will be al- 
tered with him, and where his sport and mirth will leave 
him. As it would sadden our hearts to see one of them 
struck dead in the place, or to see the devil fetch them 
away, and spoil the game ; so should it grieve us to foresee 
the stroke of death,-^and the condemnation of their souls to 
everlasting misery. And can that man much value the plea- 
sure of ungodly men, that doth foresee this end ? Would 
you not laugh at him that were a prince but for a day, and 
must be the scorn of the world to-morrow ? or that would 
choose one day of mirth and pleasure, though he knew it 
would fill the rest of his life with pain and misery ? If folly 
and stupidity were any wonder, it were a wonder that un- 
godly men can be merry, when their consciences tell them 
that they are not sure to stay one hour out of hell ; nor to 
hold on their mirth till the end of the game. But while 
they are saying, " Soul, take thy ease, eat, drink and be 
merry ;" they may suddenly be told from God, " Thou fool, 
this night shall thy soul be required of thee ;" and then 
whose is thy wealth ? and then where is thy sport and mirth ? 
Luke xii. 19,20. As the tender flowers and roses of the 
spring do fall^before the nipping frosts, and will not live in 
winter storms ; no more will your fading mirth endure the 
frowns of God, the face of death, nor scarce a serious fore- 
thought of the day that you are near. And such matter of 
horror is continually before you, while you are under the 
wrath and curse of God, in a carnal unregenerate state, that 


you are beholden to folly, security and stupidity for that 
ease which hindereth your everlasting ease. 

So that all things considered, I must seriously profess, 
that (however the ungodly have some pleasant dreams, and 
may live awhile in carelessness and stupidity, or fleer in the 
face, while the beginning of hell is in their consciences, yet) 
I must judge, that a life of faith and holiness are unspeak- 
ably sweet, if it were but for this, that they save the con- 
science from the gripes, and fears, and terrible thoughts, 
that either sometime feed on the ungodly, or are ready to 
devour their mirth and them. So sad and frightful a thing 
it is to be unsanctified, and in a state of sin, that it is a high 
commendation of the delights of holiness, that they so much 
deliver us from those grievous terrors, and are so powerful 
an antidote to preserve the heart from the wicked's pangs 
and desperation. Believe it, when conscience, death, and 
judgment are the messengers to declare your endless sor- 
rows, you will then wish, and ten thousand times wish, that 
you had some of the faith end holiness of the saints, to be a 
cordial to your sinking hearts ; and then you would take it 
as a matter of unspeakable joy, to be found in such a state 
as you now count sad and melancholy. Ask but a dying 
man, whether fleshly pleasure or godliness be the sweeter 
thing? Now when the delusions of prosperity are gone, 
which do men most relish, and which is it that they would 
own? By the consent of all the wise men in the world, I 
may well conclude that a holy life is incomparably the most 

But I know there are many things that seem to cross all 
this that I have spoken, which will be the matter of the ob- 
jections of ungodly men, and therefore must have an an- 
swer, before we pass any further. And the principal objec- 
tion is from the too common case of those that fear God, 
who walk so sadly, and doubt, and complain, and mourn so 
frequently, and shew so little cheerfulness and joy, when 
many of the ungodly live in mirth, that you will think I speak 
against experience, when I say that a life of holiness is so 
pleasant, and therefore that it is not to be believed. You 
will say, * Do we not see the contrary in the sadness of their 
faces, and hear it in their sad lamenting words?' 

To this I must give many particulars in answer, which 


when you have laid together, you may Bee that all this makes 
nothing against the pleasantness of the ways of God. 

And, 1. You must difference between the entrance into 
holiness, and the progress ; and between a new beginner, that 
is but lately turned from his ungodliness, and one that hath 
had time to try and understand the ways of God. Those that 
are entering, or but newly come in, must needs have sorrow. 
But what is the cause of it ? Not their godliness but their 
ungodliness. I mean, it is their ungodliness which they la- 
ment, though it be godliness that causeth them to lament it. 
Can you expect that an ingenuous man should see his sin, 
and look back on so many years' transgressions, and not be 
grieved ? To see that he hath so long abused God, and lost 
his time, and neglected his salvation, and that he hajth lain 
so long in so miserable a state, must needs cause remorse in 
the conscience that hath any feeling. And will you say that 
godliness is unpleasant, because it makes a man sorrow for 
his ungodliness ? If a man that hath killed his dearest friend, 
or his own father, be grieved for the fact when he cometh to 
repentance, will you blame his repentance or his murder for 
his grief? Will you say. What a hurtful thing is this re- 
pentance ! or rather. What an odious crime was it that must 
be so repented of! Would you wish a man that hath lived 
so long in sin and misery, to have no sorrow for it in his re- 
turn ? Especially when it is but a healing sorrow, preparing 
for remission, and not a sorrow joined with despair, as theirs 
will be that die impenitently? Observe the complaints of 
penitent souls, whether it be their present godliness, or their 
former ungodliness, which they lament ? Will you hear a 
man lament his former sinful, careless life, and yet will you 
lay the blame on the contrary course of duty, which now he 
hath undertaken ? You may as wisely accuse a man for land- 
ing in a safe harbour, because he there lamenteth his loss by 
shipwreck while he was at sea. Or as wisely may you blame 
a man for rising that complaineth how he hurt himself by his 
fall. And as honestly may you accuse the chastity of your 
wife, because she lamenteth her former adultery; or the fi- 
delity of your friend or servant, because he lamenteth his 
former unfaithfulness. 

But though the pangs of the new birth be somewhat griev- 
ous, and we come not into the world of grace without some 
lamentation, yet this is not the state of the holy life, into 


which we enter; nor are those pangs to continue all our days. 
2. You must distinguish between the weaker and the 
stronger sort of Christians, and consider that children are apt 
to cry ; but it is not therefore better to be unborn. Sickness 
is querulous, and the weak are froward ; but it is not there- 
fore better to be dead. The godly are not perfectly godly. 
They are sinners while they are saints. They have holiness, 
but they have corruption with it. Their sin is conquered, 
but yet not totally rooted out. The relics do remain though 
it do not reign. And it is the remnant of their unholiness 
that they lament, and not their holiness. They grieve not 
that they are godly, but that they are no more godly. It 
troubleth them not that they are come home to Christ, but 
that they have brought so much of their corruption with 
them. Hearken whether they complain of their humility or 
their pride ; of their faith, or unbelief; their confidence, or 
their distrust; their repentance, or their hardness of heart. 
It is not their heavenlymindedness that troubleth them, but 
their earthlymindedness. Nor is it their spirituality, but 
their carnality. Nor is it the duties, but the weakness and 
faultiness of their souls;;in duty. Not that they do it, but 
that they do it no better. It is more holiness that they beg for, 
and lament the want of. And will you say that holiness is 
unpleasant, because men would so fain have more of it ? 
You would reason with more wisdom in another case. If a 
man that hath tasted meat or drink, complain because he hath 
no more, you would not blame'his food for that: nor gather 
from thence that it is unpleasant, or that famine is more de- 

3. You must distinguish between those Christians that 
have fallen since their conversion, into any great and wound- 
ing sin, or nourish some vexatious distempers ; and those that 
walk more uprightly with God, and maintain their integrity 
and peace. No wonder if David, after his sin, complain of 
the breaking of his bones and heart ; and if Peter go out 
and weep bitterly. The servants of Christ do know so much 
of the evil of sin, that they cannot make so light of it, as the 
blind and obdurate world that are past feeling. That sin 
which hath cost them formerly so dear, and hath cost Christ 
so much dearer on their behalf, must needs cost some smart 
in the penitent soul. Sickness is felt because it supposeth 
the subject to be alive ; but the dead feel not that they are 


dead and rotten. And it doth not follow that therefore death 
is more desirable than sickness. It is because they are so 
like to the ungodly, that the servants of Christ do grieve and 
complain. But so far as they feel the healthfulness of their 
souls, and conscious of their sincerity and upright conver- 
sations, they have greater comfort than the world can afford 

4. You must distinguish between those Christians that 
by misapprehensions are unacquainted with their own feli- 
city, and those that better understand their state. If a man 
be never so holy, and know it not, but by temptations is 
brought to doubt, whether he be not yet in his unsanctified 
state, no wonder if this man be grieved at these fears. But 
his grief is not because he is sanctified, but because he is 
afraid lest he be unsanctified. And this shews that holiness 
is most lovely in his eyes ; or else why should he be much 
troubled, when he doth but doubt whether he be holy or not ? 
If a rich man by a false report should believe that he is rob- 
bed of his goods and treasure, or that his houses are burnt 
when it is not so, he will mourn or be troubled till he know 
the truth. And will any be so foolish as to conclude from 
thence, that riches are more uncomfortable than beggary? 
Had you not rather be rich, though for a time you know it 
not, than to live in certain, continual want ? If a man that is 
in health be persuaded by mistake that he is in a consump- 
tion, he will be troubled by his mistake. But will you thence 
conclude that sickness is more comfortable than health ? Is 
it not better to have health with those mistaken fears, thar^ 
to live in sickness ? Methinks you should rather argue on 
the contrary side. How sweet is health when the fear of los- 
ing it is so troublesome ! How bitter is sickness and death, 
when the very fear of them is so grievous ! And so you 
should say. How sweet is holiness, when it is so troublesome 
to those that have it, so much as to fear lest they have it not! 
and. How miserable a life is it to be ungodly, when it is so 
grievous to the servants of Christ even once to fear lest 
they are ungodly ! 

But go to those Christians that know themselves, and are 
truly acquainted with their sincerity and their privileges, and 
see whether they walk so uncon^fortably as those mistake 
,en, doubting souls, You will find them in another case, an(J 

VOL. X. A A 


hear other kind of language from their mouths ; even the joy- 
ful praises of their Redeemer, and the thankful acknowledge 
ments of his abundant love. How sweet unto their souls is 
the remembrance of kindness ! and how delightful a work is 
it from day to day to magnify his name ! 

5. You must also distinguish between those weak, mis- 
taken Christians, that understand not the extent of the cove- 
nant of grace, and those that do understand it. If a believer 
by mistake should think that the grace of the Gospel extend- 
ethnot to such as he, because he is unworthy, and his sins are 
great, no wonder if he be troubled. As you would be if you 
should conceive that your lease were not made to you, but to 
another; or as a malefactor would be if he thought his pardon 
belonged not to him, but to another man. But hence yon 
should rather observe the riches and excellencies of the Gos- 
pel, and the happiness of the heirs of promise, than dream 
that it is better be strangers to the holy covenant still. They 
are better that have a promise of life and understand it not, 
than they that have none. But those that know the freeness 
and fulness of the promise, and study with all saints to com- 
prehend what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and 
height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth know- 
ledge (Eph. iii. 18, 19.), do use to walk more comfortably ac- 
cording to the riches of that grace which they do possess. 

6. Consider also, that most of these complaining Chris- 
tians are glad that they are in any measure got out of their 
former state, and therefore apprehend their cause to be bet- 
ter than it was before. Or else they would turn back to the 
state that they were in ; which they would not do for all the 
world. And therefore they take a godly life to be far more 
pleasant to them that do attain it. 

7. Moreover, the sorrow of believers is such as may con- 
sist with joy. At the same time while they are grieved that 
they are no better, they are gladder of that measure of grace 
which they have received, than they would be to be made the 
rulers of the world. While they are mourning for the rem- 
nant of their sins, they are glad that it is but a remnant that 
they have to mourn for. Yea, while they are troubled be- 
cause they doubt of their sincerity and salvation, they are 
more sustained and comforted with that little discerning 
which they have of their evidences, and with their hopes of 
the everlasting love of God, than they could by all your sin- 


ful pleasures. Try the most dejected, mournful Christian, 
whether he v^ould change states and comforts with the best 
and greatest of the ungodly. The soul of man is so active 
and comprehensive, that it can atonce both rejoice and mourn. 
While they mourn for sin, and feel affliction, believers can 
have some rejoicing taste of everlasting life. 

8. Yea, the godly sorrow of a believer is the matter of his 
joy. He is gladder when his heart will melt for sin, than he 
would be to be your partner in your carnal pleasures. He 
would not change the comfort that he findeth in his penitent 
tears for all your laughter. 

9. The joy of a believer is intimate and solid, as I said 
before, according to the object of it, and not like the fleering 
of a fool, or the laughter of a child, or the sensual mirth that 
Solomon called madness. And therefore it is not so dis- 
cernible to others as carnal mirth is. And therefore you 
think that the servants of Christ are void of pleasure when 
they have much more than you. It is little ridiculous acci- 
dents and toys that make men laugh ; but great things give 
us an inward, sweet content and joy, which scorns to shew 
itself by laughter. And what can be a fitter object of such 
great content, than to be a member of Christ, and an heir of 

10. Moreover, this sorrow of the godly is but medicinal, 
and a preparative to their after joys. It doth but work out 
the poison of sin, which would mar their comforts, and drive 
them to Christ, and fit them to value him, and taste the sweet- 
ness of his love and grace. 

11. And as it is not the state and life of a Christian, but 
his fasting-days, or time of physic, so the comforts of the 
godly ordinarily do far exceed their sorrows, at least in weight, 
if not in passionate sense. They have their hours of sweet 
access to God, and of heavenly meditation, and delightful 
remembrance of the experiences of his love, and perusal of 
his promises, and communion with his people ; and of the 
exercise of faith, and hope, and love. And with those Chris- 
trans that have attained stability and strength, these com- 
forting graces are predominant ; and their life is more in love 
and praise, than in vexatious fears and sorrows. And it 
should be so with all believers. Love is the heart of the new 
creature. It is a life of love, and joy, and praise, that Christ 
calls all his people to ; and forbids them all unnecessary 



doubts and sorrows ; and keepeth them up so strictly from 
sin, that he may prevent their sorrows. And if you will judge 
whether holiness be a pleasant course, you must go to the 
prescript, and consider the nature and use of holiness, and 
look at those that live according to the mercies of the Gos- 
pel ; and not look at the dejections and sorrows of those that 
grieve themselves by swerving from the way of holiness ; as 
if you would judge that health is unpleasant because you 
hear a sick man groan. And yet even these weak and mourn- 
ful Christians usually have more joy than you. The very 
preservation of their souls from that despair which sin would 
cast them into if they had not a Christ to fly to, and the lit- 
tle tastes of mercy which they have felt, and the revivings 
that they find between their sorrows and the hopes they have 
of better days, are enough to weigh down all your pleasures, 
and^aH^their own sorrows. 

12. Lastly, consider that this is not the life of perfect joy, 
and therefore some sorrows will be intermixed. Comfort 
will not be perfect till holiness be perfect ; and till we arrive 
at the place of perfect joy. What is wanting now while we 
live in a troublesome, malignant world, shall shortly be made 
up in the heavenly Jerusalem, when we have admittance into 
our Master's joy. And then all the world shall be easily con- 
vinced, whether sin or duty, a fleshly or a holy life, hath the 
greater pleasures and contents. 

Object. * But it is not only the weakness of professors, 
but the very way that is prescribed them, that must bear the 
blame. For they are commanded to fast, and weep, and 

Answ. 1. That is but with a medicinal necessary sorrow, 
for preventing of a greater sorrow. As bitter medicines and 
bloodletting, and strict diet, are for the prevention of death. 
God first commandeth them to take heed of sin, the cause of 
sorrow. But if they will fall and break their bones, they 
must endure the pain of setting them again. 

2. And doth not Christ command his servants also to re- 
joice? and again rejoice, and always to rejoice? Phil. iii. 1. 
iv. 4. 1 Thess. v. 16. Doth he not command them to live in 
the most delightful works of love and joy, and thankful men- 
tion of his mercies ? I tell you, if Christians did but live as 
God requireth them, and by his plenteous mercies doth en- 
courage them to live, they would be the wonder of the world 


for their exceeding joy ; they would triumph as men that are 
entering into rest, and make the miserable, ungodly princes 
and great ones in the world observe their low, contemptible 
condition, and see by the comfort of believers, that there are 
far higher joys than theirs to be attained. Did Christians 
live as God would have them, according to their dignity and 
felicity, they would make the world admire the spirit, and 
hopes, and comforts that do so transport them. They would 
be so taken up in the love and praise of their Redeemer, that 
they would scarce have leisure to observe whether they be 
rich or poor, or to regard the honours or dishonours of the 
world. These little things would scarce find room in their 
affection, they would be taken up so much with God. If 
they were sore with scourging, and their feet were in the 
stocks, they would there sing forth the praise of him that 
hath assured them of their deliverance and everlasting joy, 
as Paul and Silas did, Acts xvi. They would rejoice in po- 
verty, in disgrace, in pain, and nothing would be able to over- 
come their joy. They would pity the tyrants and sensual epi- 
cures that have no sweeter pleasures than those that the flesh 
and this deceitful world affords. O the joy that believers 
would have in their secret prayers ! in their heavenly medi- 
tations ! in their holy conference ! in the reading of the pro- 
mises ! and much more in their public praises and commu- 
nion, if they did but follow more fully the conduct of that 
Spirit that hath undertaken to be their comforter ! What 
makes believers slight this world, and take all your pleasures 
to be unworthy of their entertainment or regard, but that 
they have had a taste of sweeter things, and by faith are over- 
grown these childish vanities ? [f God and his favour be 
better than such worms as we, and the heavenly glory better 
than these transitory toys, you may well conceive that the 
believer's joy, that is fed by these, must be greater (at least 
in worth and weight) than all the pleasures of this subluna- 
ry world. If therefore you love a life of pleasure, come over 
to Christ, and live a holy, heavenly life ; and believe one 
that hath made some trial, yea believe the Lord himself, that 
holiness is the only pleasant life. 

And now as we have seen it plainly proved, that the life 
of holiness is the most pleasant life, so from hence we may 
see two sorts reproved, that (in different measures) are found 
to be transgressors. 


The first is, those blind ungodly wretches, that can find 
no pleasure in a holy life, when they can find pleasure in 
their worldly drudgery, and in their sensual uncleanness, 
and their childish vanities. They have the God of infi- 
nite goodness to delight in ; but to their impious hearts 
he seemeth not delightful. They have his power, and wis- 
dom, and holiness, and truth to love, and admire, and trust 
upon, and his excellent works to behold him in, and his holy 
laws, and gracious promises to meditate on ; but they have 
small delight in any such employment. They have leave as 
well as any others to open their hearts to God in secret, and 
in prayer and praise to recreate their souls, and to hold com- 
munion with the saints of God, and to be exercised both in 
public and private in his worship, and to order their families 
in his fear, and to manage their affairs according to his word ; 
but they find no pleasure in such a life as this, but are as 
backward to it as if it were a toilsome and unprofitable bu- 
siness, and are weary of that little outside worship which 
they do perform. They have heaven set before them to seek 
after, and to make their portion and delight, but they have 
small delight to think or speak of it. Their hearts are un- 
suitable to these high, holy and spiritual things. They are 
matters that they are strange to, and have no firm and con- 
fident belief of, but an uncertain, wavering, weak opinion : 
and therefore they are too far off to be their delight. " They 
eay to God, Depart from us ; for we desire not the knowledge 
of thy way. What is the Almighty that we should serve 
him? and what profit should we have if we pray unto him?'* 
Jobxxi. 14,15. If they do come to the public assemblies, 
and join there in the outward part of worship, they find lit- 
tle life and pleasure in it, because they are strangers to the 
reward and spiritual part, which is the kernel. They look 
more at the preacher's gifts, and the manner of his doctrine 
and delivery, than at the spiritual necessary matter that is 
delivered. They have some pleasure in a neat composed 
speech, that seemeth not to accuse them any more than 
others, and grateth not on their tender ears with plain and 
necessary truth ; but suffers them to go home as quietly as 
they came thither. But if the preacher touch them to the 
quick, and endeavour faithfully to acquaint them with 
themselves ; or if he have no eloquence or accurateness of 
speech to please them with, but be guilty of any unhand- 


someness of expression, or modal imperfections, they are 
weary of hearing him, and think it long till the glass be run, 
and perhaps instead of tasting the sweetness of wholesome 
truth, they make it the matter of their derision and con- 

But let them be at cards or dice, at hawking or hunting, 
or at any idle sports and vanities, and they can hold out 
longer with delight. At drinking, or feasting, or idle talk- 
ing, they are not so weary. Yea, in the labours of their call- 
ing, when their bodies are weary, their minds are more un- 
wearied ; and in their fields and shops they have more delight 
than in the spiritual, holy service of the Lord. They are ne- 
ver so merry as when there is least of God upon their hearts 
and in their ways. And it is one of the reasons that hinder- 
eth their conversion, lest it should deprive them of their mirth, 
and cause them to spend the remainder of their days in un- 
comfortable heaviness. If sin were not sweet to them, con- 
version would be more easy. The pleasure which they find in 
creatures by their sin, is the prison and fetters of their soul's 
captivity. If this be thy case that readest these lines, I beseech 
thee lay to heart these following aggravations of thy sin. 

1. How blind and wicked is the heart that can find more 
pleasure in sin than holiness ! Is the creature pleasant to 
thee, and God unpleasant ? What a shame is this to thy un- 
derstanding and thy will ! It proclaimeth thy pernicious fol- 
ly and impiety. If thou hadst no more wit than to be pleased 
more with stones than gold, with dung than meat, with shame- 
ful nakedness than clothing, thou wouldst not be judged 
wise enough to be left to thy own dispose and government. 
But the folly which thou dost manifest, is unspeakably great- 
er. Darkness is not so much worse than light, and death is' 
not so much worse than life, as sin is worse than holiness, and 
the world than God. And is the worst more pleasant to thee 
than the best 7 It is a fool indeed, to whom '* it is a sport 
to do mischief;" (Prov. x. 23.) and so great a mischief as sin 
is ! and yet hath no delight in understanding ; chap, xviii, 2. 
" Delight is not seemly for such fools ;*' chap. xix. 10. 

And how wicked is that heart as well as blind, that is so 
averse to God and holiness! Doth not this shew thee, 1. 
the absence of God's holy image I 2. And the presence of 
Satan's image upon thy soul ? 

Nothing doth more certainly prove what a man is, than 


the complacency and displacency of his heart. If you knmv 
what it is in yourselves or others, that pleaseth and displeas- 
eth most, you may certainly know whether you have the spi- 
rit and grace of Christ or not. This is the durable, infalli- 
ble evidence, which satan shall never be able to invalidate, 
and which the weakest Christians can scarce tell how to de- 
ny in themselves. Could they be more holy, it would please 
them better than to be more rich. Could they believe more, 
and love God more, and trust him more, and obey him bet- 
ter, it would please them more than if you gave them all the 
honours of the world. They are never so well pleased with 
their own hearts, as when they find them nearest heaven, and 
have most of the knowledge of God, and impress of his at- 
tributes, and sense of his presence. They are never so well 
pleased with their lives, as when they are most holy and 
fruitful, and may most fully be called " a walking with God." 
They are never so much displeased with themselves^ as when 
they find least of God upon their hearts, and are most dark 
and dull, and indisposed to holy communion with him. They 
are never so much weary of themselves, as when their lives 
are least fruitful, holy, and exact. And this is a certain evi- 
dence of their sincerity. For it shews what they love, and 
what it is that hath their hearts or wills. And it is the heart 
or will that is the man in God's account. God takes a man 
to be what he sincerely would be. As he is, so he loveth 
and willeth ; and as he loveth and willeth, such he is. His 
complacency or displacency are the immediate sure discove- 
ries of his bent or inclination. This certain evidence poor 
doubting souls should have oft recourse to, and improve. 

And on the contrary, it is as sure an evidence of your 
misery, when you " savour not the things of the Spirit*' (Rom. 
viii*5 — 7.), and when it pleaseth you more to be great, than 
to be good ; to be rich, than to be religious and righteous ; 
to serve your lusts, than to serve the Lord. When you set 
more by the applause of men, than by the approbation of 
God; and had rather be far from God than near him, and be 
excused from a holy life than used to it, and constant in it. 
When you take the world and sin for your recreation or de- 
light, and a godly life for a melancholy, wearisome, and un- 
pleasant course. This certainly shews that you have yet the 
old corrupted nature, and serpentine enmity against the Spi- 
rit and life of Christ, and are yet in the flesh, and therefore 


can no more please the Lord, than his holy ways are pleas- 
ing unto you (Rom. viii.6 — 8.), and it proveth that you are 
yet in the gall of bitterness, and the bonds of your iniquity, 
and that your hearts are not right in the sight of God, and 
that you are the slaves of satan, whose nature you partake of 
by which you are thus alienated from the Lord. 

Didst thou know God as Faith doth know him, his lov- 
ingkindness would be better to thee than life itself; Psal. 
Ixiii. 3. If thou didst love him (as it is like thou wilt pre- 
tend thou dost), it would be meat and drink to thee to enjoy 
his love, and do his will. And if thou know him not by faith, 
nor cleavest to him by unfeigned love, how canst thou 
pretend to have his image ? 

How would you judge of that man's heart, that were no 
better affected to his friend, to his parents or children, or 
other relations, than you manifest yourselves to be to God ? 
If he can take no pleasure in the company of his wife or 
children, but is glad when he is far from them, in the com- 
pany of strangers, or harlots, or prodigals, would you not say 
this man had a base, unmanly disposition ? Express but such 
an inclination in plain words, and try how honest, sober men 
will judge of them. Muchmore would it be odious to Chris- 
tian ears, if you should tell God plainly. We can find no plea- 
sure in thee, or in thy holy ways ; thy word and service are 
unsavoury and wearisome unto us. We had rather be talk- 
ing or busied about the matters of the world. We have far 
more pleasure in recreations and sensual accommodations, 
than in remembering thee and thy kingdom, and than we find 
in the life that is called holy. Would not such words as these 
be called impious by every Christian that should hear them? 
And is not that an impious heart then, which speaketh thus 
or is thus affected, and that an impious life that manifesteth 
it, though dissembling lips are ashamed to profess it. 

If God be not more to be loved and delighted in than any 
thing, or all things else, he is not God. If heaven and holi- 
ness be not sweeter than all the pleasures of earth and sin, 
let them have no more such honourable names. Let sin and 
earth then be called heaven ; but woe to them that have no 

2. What monstrous ingratitude is that man guilty of, that 
when God hath provided, and Christ hath purchased such 
high delights, and freely tendered them to unworthy sinners. 


will say, I find no pleasure in them, and take them for no de- 
lights at all ? When the Lord beheld thee wallowing in thy 
filth, and laughing in thy misery, and making a sport of thine 
own perdition, he pitied thee, and provided and offered to 
thee the most noble and excellent delights, that thy nature 
is capable of enjoying. And wilt thou cast them back un- 
thankfuUy in his face, and say. They are unpleasant, tedious 
things ? If your child did so by his meat or clothes, yea or 
a beggar at your door did so by his alms, you would think it 
proved his great unworthiness. If he throw away the best 
you can give him, and say. It is naught, there is no sweet- 
ness in it, would you not think it fit that want should help 
to mend his relish, and cure his ingratitude ? And will you 
do so yourselves by Christ and holiness, and say as those, 
Mai. i. 13. " What a weariness is it!" Take heed lest you 
provoke the Lord to cast you into a state in which you shall 
have more cause to be weary. If you are weary of reading, 
and praying, and hearing, and other holy exercises, and wea- 
ry of heartsearcing, penitent meditations, will you not be 
more weary of hellfire, and of the dolorous reviews of this 
your folly, and of the endless, easeless, remediless sense of 
the wrath of God, and gripes of your own self-tormenting 
consciences! How just is it with God to give those men 
somewhat that they have cause to be weary of, that will be 
thus weary of his sweetest service, and reject the greatest 
mercies he can offer them, as if they were some burdensome 
worthless things ! 

3. Will you have any pleasure at all, or will you have 
none ? If any, in what then will you place it, and whence will 
you expect it, if not from God in a holy life? If God be thy 
trouble, what then is fit to be thy delight ? Darest thou say 
in thy heart or with thy tongue, that sin and sensuality is 
better? Darest thou say that a good bargain, or other world- 
ly gain, or cards, or dice, or other sports, or ease, or good 
cheer, or an alehouse, or a whore, are pleasanter things than 
walking with thy God in faith and holiness, and expectation 
of the everlasting joys ? Heaven and earth shall bear witness 
against thee, and common reason shall bear witness against 
thee, for this inhuman, impious folly and ingratitude, if ever 
thou appear at the bar of God, with the guilt of such unrea- 
sonable sin. What ! is God no better in thine eyes, than a 
filthy, brutish, sinful pleasure ? And is the love of God no 


sweeter a work than the love of sensual delights ? Saith 
blessed Augustine, *' He that will sell or exchange his soul 
for transitory commodities, doth censure Christ to be a fool- 
ish merchant, that knew no better what he did, when he gave 
his life for those souls, that you will not lose a sin for/ So 
I may say here. Hath Christ bought for you holy and ever- 
lasting pleasures, at the price of his own most bitter pains, 
and precious blood, and do you now think them no better 
than your fleshly, bestial delights ? Is it Christ or you, think 
you, that is mistaken in the value of them ? Did he shed 
his blood to purchase you that which is not worth the part- 
ing with a cup of drink for, or the parting with your pleasure 
or unjust commodity for ? Sure he that judgeth thus of 
Christ, is far from believing in him, with any true Christian, 
saving faith. 

4. If you can find no pleasure in God, and in a holy life, 
you may be sure that he will have no pleasure in you. Won- 
der not if you find in your greatest need, that you are abhor- 
ed and loathed by the Lord, when you loathed the very 
thoughts and mention of him, in the day of your visitation. . 
Marvel not if the Most Holy God do take no pleasure in a 
loathsome sinner, when the sinner is so ungodly, that he 
takes more pleasure in the most sordid, fading trifles than in 
God. You may offer the sacrifice of your heartless, hypocri- 
tical prayers and praises unto God, and he will count them 
abomination, and cast them back as dung into your faces, and 
tell you that he hath no pleasure in the sacrifice of such fools. 
Read in his own words, Prov. xv. 8. and xxi. 27. Isa. i. 13. 
Eccles. v. 4. As you are weary of serving him, so he is weary of 
your services, and it is a " trouble to him to hear them ; and 
when you spread forth your hands he will hide his eyes from 
you, yea when you make many prayers he will not hear ;" 
Isa.i. 14, 15. When the Jews offered their deceitful sacri- 
fices, and said, " Behold what a weariness is it !" God sent 
them word that he hath no pleasure in them, nor would 
regard their persons, nor accept a sacrifice at their hands 
(Mai. i.8 — 10), and their solemn feasts he counteth dung. 
And dung would be no acceptable present or feast to your- 
selves, if it were offered you instead of meat; Mal.ii.3. 
** My soul (saith the Lord) loathed them, and their soul ab- 
horred me ;" Zech. xi. 8. As he ** that despiseth him shall 
be slighted by him'^ (1 Sam. ii. 30.), so he that loatheth him. 


shall be loathed by him. " If any man draw back (saith the 
Lord) my soul shall have no pleasure in him ;" Heb. x. 38.) 
*' For he is not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness, nei- 
ther shall evil dwell with him : the foolish shall not stand in 
his sight : he hateth all workers of iniquity ;" Psal. v. 4, 5. 
And little do you now imagine what a horror it will be to 
you in the day of your extremity, for God to tell you that he 
hath no pleasure in you. When you look before you into an 
eternity of woe^ which you have no hope to escape but by 
the mercy of the Lord, and he shall dash that hope by tell- 
ing you that he hath no pleasure in you, it will give your 
souls the deadly wound that never shall be healed. In vain 
then shall you wish that you had chosen in time the durable 
delights, and not the pleasures of filthy sin for so short a 
season ; and to your torment you shall know whether God 
or the world was more worthy of your sweetest affections and 
delights ; and how deservedly they are " all damned that 
obey not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness ;" 
2Thess. ii. 12. " Who knowing the judgment of God, that 
they which commit such things are worthy of death, not on- 
ly do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them ;" 
Rom. i. 32. If you will count it your pleasure to riot in the 
day-time, rather than to walk and work by the light, you 
must look to receive the due reward of such unrighteous- 
ness ; 2 Pet. ii. 13. If it be your sport to sin, and to do mis- 
chief (Prov.x. 13.), you shall have small sport in suffering 
the punishment of your wilful folly. 

5. If God and holiness seem not pleasant to you, then 
heaven itself cannot seem pleasant to you, if you consider it 
truly as it is. For the heavenly felicity consistethin the per- 
fection of our holiness, and the perfect fruition of God him- 
himself, by sight, and love, and joy for ever. If the little 
holiness be unpleasant and irksome to you which appeareth 
in the imperfect saints on earth, what pleasure could you 
take in that supereminent holiness which is the state and 
work of the celestial inhabitants ? If the thoughts and men- 
tion of God be unpleasant to you, and his holy praises da 
seem to you as matters of no delight, what then would you 
do in heaven where this must be your everlasting work ? 
And if heaven seem a place of toil and trouble to you, how 
just will it be that you are everlastingly shut out? How 
can you for whame beg of God to glorify you, when you take 


the glory that he hath promised for a misery 7 If you think 
that there is a heaven of such sensual pleasures as you de- 
sire, or that any shall be saved that only choose heaven as a 
less and more tolerable misery than hell, you will shortly find 
your expectations deceived. 

Lay all these five Considerations together, and you may 
perceive what miserable souls those are, that can find plea- 
sure in the perishing trifles of the world, and none in a holy 
heavenly life. Be assured of this whosoever thou art, that 
if God and heaven, and a holy life, be not a thousand times 
sweeter and more delightful to thee, than any thing that this 
world can afford to thy contentment, it is not for want of 
matter of superabundant delight to be found in God and in 
his holy ways ; but it is for want of reason, or faith, or con- 
sideration, or a suitable heart in thee, which may make thee 
fit to know and taste the pleasures which now thou art unac- 
quainted with. And is it not a pity that such infinite de- 
lights should be set before men, and they should lose them 
all for want of a heart and appetite to them ? and should 
perish by choosing the lowest vanities before them? 

I do therefore earnestly beseech thee that readest these 
words, if thou be one of these unhappy souls, that canst find 
no pleasure in God and holiness, that thou wouldst speedily 
observe and lament that blindness and wickedness of thy 
heart, that is the cause of this infatuation and corruption of 
thine apprehension and rational appetite ; and that thou 
would presently apply thyself to Christ for the cure of it. 
To which end I advise thee to these following means. 

Direct. 1. If you would taste the pleasure of a holy life, 
bethink you better of the necessity and excellency of it ; 
and cast away your prejudice and false conceits, which have 
deceived you, and tiirned your minds against it. A child 
may be deluded to take his own father for his enemy, if he 
see him in an enemy's garb, or be persuaded by false sug- 
gestions that he hateth him. A man may be persuaded to 
hate his meat, if you can but make him believe that it is poi- 
son : or to hate his clothes, if you can but make him believe 
they are infected with the plague. If you will suffer your 
understandings to be deluded, so far as to overlook the ami- 
able nature of holiness, and to think the image of God is but 
a fancy, or that a heavenly life is nothing but hypocrisy, and 
that it is but pride that maketh men seek to be holier than 


others, and that makes them they cannot go quietly to hell 
in despite of the commands and mercies of the Lord, as 
others do. I say, if the devil, the great deceiver, can possess 
you with such frantic thoughts as these, what wonder if you 
hate the very name of holiness? How can you find pleasure 
in the greatest good, while you take it for an evil? If you 
will believe all that the devil and his foolish malicious instru- 
ments say of God and of a holy life, you shall never love God, 
nor see any loveliness, or taste any sweetness in his service. 
Direct. 2. Come near and search into the inwards of a 
holy life, and try it a little while yourselves^ if you would 
taste the pleasure of it : and do not stand looking on it at a 
distance, where you see nothing but the outside; nor judge 
by bare hearsay which giveth you no taste or relish of it. 
The sweetness of honey, or wine, or meat is not known by 
looking on it, but by tasting it. Come near and try what it 
is to live in the love of God, and in the belief and hope of 
life eternal, and in universal obedience to the laws of Christ, 
and then tell us how these things do relish with you. You 
will never know the sweetness of them effectually, as long 
as you are but lookers on. It was the similitude which Pe- 
ter Martyr used in a sermon which converted the noble Nea- 
politan Marquis of Vicum, Galeacius Caracciolus, who for- 
sook wife, and children, and honours, and lands, and country, 
and all, for the liberty of the reformed religion of Geneva. 
Saith he, ' If you see the motion of dancers afar off, and hear 
not the music, you will think they are frantic. But when you 
come near and hear the music, and observe their harmonical, 
orderly motion, you will take delight in it, and desire to join 
with them.' So men thatjudgeatadistanceofthe truth andho- 
ly ways of God, by the slanderous reports of malignant men, 
will think of the godly, as Festus of Paul, that they are be- 
side themselves ^ but if they come among them, and search 
more impartially into the reasons of their course, and speci- 
ally if they join with them in the inwards and vital actions 
of religion, they will then be quickly of another mind, and 
not go back for all the pleasures or profits of the world. In 
the works of nature (and sometimes of art) the outside is so 
far from shewing you the excellencies, that it is but a comely 
veil to hide them. Though you would have a handsome 
cover for your watch, yet doth it but hide the well-ordered 
frame, and useful motions that are within. You must open 


it, and there observe the parts and motions if you would pass 
a right judgment of the work. You would have a comely 
cover for your books ; but it is but to hide the well compos- 
ed letters from your sight, in which the sense, and use, and 
excellency doth consist. You must open it, if you will read 
it and know the worth of it. A common spectator wlien he 
seeth a rose or other flower or fruit-tree, thinketh he hath 
seen all, or the chiefest part. But it is the secret, unsearch- 
able motions and operations of the vegetative life and juice 
within, by which the beauteous flo^vers and sweet fruits are 
produced, and wonderfully differenced from each other 
that are the excellent part and mysteries in these natural 
works of God. Could you but see these secret inward 
causes and operations, it would incomparably more content 
you. He that passeth by and looketh on a beehive, and 
seeth but the cover, and the laborious creatures going in and 
out, doth see nothing of the admirable operations within, 
which God hath taught them. Did you there see how they 
make their wax and honey, and compose their combs, and 
by what laws, and in what order their commonwealth is go- 
verned, and their work carried on, you would know more than 
the outside of the hive can shew you. So it is about thelifeof 
godliness. If you saw the inward motions of the quicken- 
ing spirit upon the soul, and the order and exercise of every 
grace, and by what laws the thoughts and affections are go- 
verned, and to whom they tend, you would then see more of 
the beauty of religion than you can see by the outward be- 
haviour of our assemblies. The shell is not sweet, but serves 
to hide the sweeter part from those that will not storm those 
walls, that they may possess it as their prize. The kernel of 
religion is covered with a shell so hard that flesh and blood 
cannot break it. Hard sayings, and hard providences to the 
church, and to particular believers, are such as many cannot 
break through, and therefore never taste the sweetness. The 
most admired feature and beauty of any of yourbodies (which 
fools think to be the most excellent part of the body) is indeed 
but the handsome, well-adorned case thatGod by nature doth 
cover his more excellent inward works with. Were you but 
able to see within that skin, and but once to observe the won- 
derful motions.heart, and brain, and the course of the blood 
in the veins and arteries, and the several fermentations, and 
the causes and nature of chylifications, and sanguifications, 


and the spirits, and senses, and all their works : and if you 
saw the reason of every part and vessel in this wondrous 
frame, and the causes and nature of every disease ; much 
more if you saw the excellent nature and operations of that 
rational soul, that is the glory of all, you would then say that 
you had seen a more excellent sight than the smooth and 
beauteous skin that covers it. The invisible soul is of great- 
er excellency than all the visible beauties in the world. So 
also if you would know the excellencies of religion, you must 
not stand without the doors, or judge of it by the skin and 
shell, but you must come near, and look into the inward rea- 
sons of it, and think of the difference between the high em- 
ployments of a saint, and the poor and sordid drudgery of the 
ungodly ; between walking with God in desire and love, and 
in the spiritual use of his ordinances and creatures, and con- 
versing only with sinful men, and transitory vanities ; be- 
tween the life of faith and hope, which is daily maintained 
by the foresight of everlasting glory, and a life of mere na- 
ture, and worldliness, and sensuality, and idle compliment 
and pomp, which are but the progenitors of sorrow, and end in 
endless desperation. Come near, and try the power of God's 
laws, and of the workings of his Spirit : and think in good 
sadness of the place where you must live for ever, and the 
glory you shall see, and the sweet enjoyment and employ- 
ment you shall have in the presence of the eternal Majesty : 
and think well of all the sweet contrivances and discoveries 
of his love in Christ ; and how freely they are offered to you ; 
and how certainly they may be your own ; peruse the pro- 
mises, and sweet expressions of love and grace ; and exer- 
cise your souls in serious meditation, prayer, thanksgiving, 
and praise ; and withal remember, that none but these will 
be durable delights ; and tell me whether a life of sport and 
pride, and worldliness, and flesh-pleasing, or a life of faith and 
holiness be the better, the sweeter, and more pleasant life. 

Direct. 3. If you would taste the pleasures of a holy life, 
youmust apply yourself to Christ in the use of his appointed 
means, for the renewing of your natures ; that his Spirit may 
give you a new understanding and a new heart, to discern 
and relish spiritual things : for your old corrupted minds 
and hearts will never do it. They are unsuitable to ih(& 
things of God, and therefore cannot receive them nor savour 
them, nor be subject to jthe holy laws j 1 Cor. ii. 14, J5, 


Rom. viii.5 — 8. The appetite and relish of every living 
creature is agreeable to its nature. A fish hath small plea- 
sure in the dry land, nor a bird in the deeps of water j grass 
and water is sweeter to an ox than our most delicate meats 
and drinks. Corruption and custom have made you so vi- 
cious, that your natures are not such as God made them at 
the first, when he himself was man's desire and delight ; but 
they are now inclined to sensjial things, being captivated by 
the fleshly part, and have contracted a strangeness and en- 
mity to God. And therefore those hearts will never relish 
the sweetnesses of a life of faith and holiness, till faith and 
holiness be planted in them, and they be born again by re- 
generating grace. For that " which is born of the flesh is 
flesh," (and but flesh ; and therefore doth reach no higher 
than a fleshly inclination can move it:) " and that which is 
born of the Spirit is spirit ;" and therefore will relish and 
love things spiritual. 

Direct. 4. Lastly, if you would taste the pleasures of a 
holy life, you must' forbear those sinful fleshly pleasures, 
which now you are so taken up with. For these are they 
that infatuate your understandings, and corrupt your appe- 
tites, and make the sweetest things seem loathsome to you. 
As the using of vain sports and filthy lusts abroad, doth 
make such persons weary of their own relations, and fami- 
lies, and business at home ; so all the glutting of the mind 
with vanity, and using yourselves to sinful pleasures is it 
that turns your hearts from God, and maketh his word and 
ways unsavoury to you. You must first with the prodigal, 
Luke XV., be brought into a famine of your former pleasures, 
be denied the very husk, and then you will remember that 
the meanest servant in your Father's house, is in a far better 
case than you, havingbread enough, while you perish through 
hunger. And hence it is that God doth so often promote 
the work of conversion by affliction ; and by the same means 
carrieth on the work of grace in most that he will save. 
Cannot you tell how to leave your sensual pleasures? What 
will you do when sickness makes you weary of them ? Wea- 
ry of your meat, and drink, and bed ? weary to hear talk of 
that which now doth seem so sweet ; and to say, I have no 
pleasure in them? Cannot you spare your friends, your 
sports, your bravery, your wealth, and other carnal accom- 

VOL. X. B B . 


modations ? What will you say of them, when pain disgrac- 
eth them, and convinceth you of their insufficiency to stand 
you in any stead ? These things that you are now so loath 
to leave, may shortly become such a load to your souls, as 
undigested meat to the stomach that is sick, that you can 
have no ease till you have cast them off. 

Away therefore with these luscious vanities betimes, 
which vitiate your appetites, and put them out of relish with 
the things that are truly pleasant. O what a shame it is to 
hear a man say, ' I shall never endure so godly, and spiri- 
tual, and strict a life ;* when he can endure and take plea- 
sure in a life of sin ! You may more wisely lie down in the 
dunghill or the ditch, and say, * I shall never endure a cleaner 
diet;' or company only with enemies and wild beasts, and 
say, ' 1 shall never endure the company of my friends.' 
What! is God worse than the creature, and heaven than 
earth ? and so much worse, as not to be endured in your 
thoughts and affections in comparison of them ? You will 
never know your friends till you forsake these deceivers ! 
Nor ever know the pleasures of a holy life, till you will let 
go the poisonous pleasures of sin. And then you may find 
that sanctification destroyeth not, but changeth and reco- 
vereth your delights, and giveth you safety for the greatest 
peril, health for sickness, friends for enemies, gold for dross, 
life for death, and the foretastes of rest for tiring vexation. 

2. The second sort that are hence to be reproved, are 
those weak and troubled servants of the Lord, that live as 
sadly as if they found more grief than pleasure in the ways 
of God. 

Indeed it is to be lamented that few of the heirs of life 
do live according to the happiness and dignity of their call- 
ing ; nor are the great things that God hath done for them 
so apparent in the cheerfulness and comforts of their lives 
as they should be. But some that are addicted to dejected- 
ness, do in a greater measure wrong Christ and themselves, 
being always feeding upon secret griefs, and torturing them- 
selves with doubts and fears, and acquainted with almost no 
other language but lamentations, self-accusations, and com- 
plaints. These poor souls usually discover honest hearts, 
that are weary of sin, and low in their own eyes, and long to 
be better, and do not disregard the matters of their salva- 
tion as dead-hearted ungodly sinners do. Their complaints 


shew what they would be ; and what they would be sincere- 
ly, that they are in God's account. But yet they live so 
far below the sweet delights which they might partake of, 
and so far below the provisions of their Father's house, and 
the riches of the Gospel, that they have cause to lament their 
excessive lamentations, and more cause to reform this sad 
distemper, and no cause to indulge it, as usually such do. 
And though with the most of them some natural passions 
and weaknesses, and some melancholy distempers are so 
much the cause, as may much excuse them ; yet because it 
is an evil which must be disowned, and reason must be the 
means, where people have the free use of reason, I shall lay 
down some of the great inconveniencies of this sad distem- 
per, and beseech those that tender the honour of God, and 
would do that which is most pleasing to him, and love not 
their own calamity, that they will soberly consider of what 
I say, and labour to regulate their minds accordingly. 

1. I desire the dejected Christian to consider, that by 
his heavy and uncomfortable life, he seemeth to the world to 
accuse God and his service, as if he openly called him a ri- 
gorous, hard, unacceptable Master, and his work a sad un- 
pleasant thing. I know this is not your thoughts : 1 know 
it is yourselves, and not God and his service that ofFendeth 
you ; and that you walk heavily not because you are holy, 
but because you fear you are not holy, and because you are 
no more holy. I know it is not of grace, but for grace that 
you complain. But do you not give too great occasion to 
ignorant spectators to judge otherwise? If you see a ser- 
vant always sad, that was wont to be merry while he served 
another master, will you not think that he hath a master 
that displeaseth him ? If you see a woman live in continual 
heaviness ever since she was married, that lived merrily be- 
fore, will you not think that she hath met with an unpleas- 
ing match? You are born and new born for God's honour ; 
and will you thus dishonour him before the world ? What 
do you (in their eyes) but dispraise him by your very coun- 
tenance and carriage, while you walk before him in so much 
heaviness ? The child that still cries when you put on his 
shoes, doth signify that they pinch him ; and he dispraiseth 
his meat that makes a sour face at it ; and he dispraiseth his 
friend, that is always sad and troubled in his company. He 
that should say of God, ' Thou art bad, or cruel, and unmer- 


ciful/ should blaspheme. And so would he that saith of 
holiness, ' It is a bad, unpleasant, hurtful state/ How then 
dare you do that which is so like to such blaspheming, when 
you should abstain from all appearance of evil? 1 Thess.v. 
22. Canst thou find in thy heart thus to dishonour and 
wrong the God whom thou so much esteemest, and the grace 
which thou so much desirest ? For a wicked man that is 
far from God, to go heavily or roar in the horror of his soul, 
is a shame to his sin, but no dishonour to God and holiness. 
But for you that are near him, in relation, engagement, and 
attendance, to walk so heavily, reflects on him to whom you 
are related, and from whom you look for your reward. 

2. Consider also, what a lamentable hindrance you are 
hereby to the conversion and salvation of souls ? Your 
countenances and sad complainings do affright men from 
the service of the Lord, and as it were call to them, to keep 
off and fly from the way that you find so grievous. You 
gratify satan, the enemy of Christ, and holiness, and souls, 
and become his instruments (though against your wills) to 
affright men from the way of life. As the Papists keep their 
deluded proselytes abroad from truth and reformation, by 
giving them odious descriptions of the Protestants, as if they 
were heretics, proud, frantic, mad, and scarcely men, and 
when they burn them, they adorn them with pictures of the 
devil ; even so doth satan keep poor souls from entertain- 
ing Christ and truth, and entering the holy paths, by making 
them believe that the servants of Christ are a company of 
distempered, melancholy souls, and that godliness is the 
way to make men mad ; and that he that will set his heart 
on heaven, must never look more for a merry, comfortable 
life on earth. Hence comes the proverb of the malignant 
formalists and profane, that ' A Puritan is a Protestant 
frightened out of his wits.' And will you confirm this slan- 
der of the devil and his instruments ? Will you entice men 
to believe him ! Will you make yourselves such pictures of 
unhappiness, and wear such a visor of calamity and misery, 
as shall frighten all that look on you and observe you, and 
discourage them from the way which they see accompanied 
with so much sorrow ? As you hang up dead crows in your 
field to frighten the rest from the corn, and as murderers are 
hanged in irons to terrify all that see them from that crime, 
or as the heads of traitors are set up to the same end, as pro- 


claiming to all passengers, ' Thus must you be used, if you 
will do as they ;' just so would satan fill you with terrors, 
and overwhelm you with grief, and distract you with cause- 
less doubts and fears, that you may appear to the world a 
miserable sort of people ; and then all that look on you will 
be afraid of godliness, and think they see as it were written 
in your foreheads, * Such drooping pitiful creatures must 
all be, that will lead so precise and heavenly a life." Do 
you think your carnal neighbours and acquaintance will not 
be deterred from a holy life, when they see that since you 
turned to it, you do nothing but complain, and droop, and 
mourn, as if you were worse than you were before? And 
was it not enough that you hindered their conversion before, 
when you were in your ignorance and sin, by your wicked 
examples and encouragements, but you must hinder it still 
by your dejected, discouraging countenances and conversa- 
tions ? Yea, perhaps your later excessive troubles may do 
more to hinder their conversion, than your persuasions and 
examples did before. And can you find in your hearts to lay 
such a stumblingblock as this in the way of your miserable 
acquaintance, to keep them from salvation? Will it not 
grieve you to think that you should have so great a hand in 
men's damnation, even since you are returned to God your- 
selves? I know by your sorrows and complaints, that the 
perdition of a soul is no small matter in your eyes. O there- 
fore take heed of that which may procure it. The use that 
satan would have you make of these very words is, to go 
away with more dejection, and to say, * What a wretch am 
I ? even unmeet to live, that by my griefs am not only mi- 
serable myself, but also hinder the salvation of others.' And 
thus he would draw thee to grieve over all thy griefs again 
and because thou hast exceeded in thy sorrows, to be more 
excessive ; and so to add one sin unto another ; and to do 
more, because you have done too much. So that grief is all 
that he can allow thee ; and one grief shall be made the rea- 
son of another, that thou mayest run thus in a round of mi- 
sery, and stop in grieving, and go no further : whereas thou 
shouldst so grieve for Such grief, as may call thee off, and 
stay thy grieving ; and thy repenting should be the cure and 
forsaking of thy sin, and not the renewal of it. 

But on the other side, if thou couldstlive a heavenly joy- 
ful life, that the glory of thy hopes might appear in thy coun- 


tenancc, thy conference, and conversation, how many might 
hereby be drawn to Christ, and caused to think well of the 
ways of God ? Did the godly but exceed the rest of the 
world, in holy joy and cheerfulness of mind, as much as they 
exceed them in happiness and in the causes of true joy, what 
an honour would it be to Christ and holiness, and what an 
attractive to win the ignorant to embrace the motions of sal- 
vation ! How easily would they let go their sinful pleasures, 
their gluttony^ and drunkenness, and filthiness, and gaming, 
if they did but see by the carriage of believers, that they 
were like to exchange them for much greater joys ? You 
cannot expect that ignorant men, that never tried a holy life, 
and have a natural enmity against it, should see the excel- 
lency of it immediately in itself; but they will judge of re- 
ligion by the persons that profess it. That shall seem to 
them the best religion, that hath the best and happiest pro- 
fessors : and those seem to them the happiest and best, that 
have the greatest comforts, and conquer most the trouble oi 
their minds. You can expect no other, but that country 
people, that know not the nature of medicines themselves, 
should judge of them by the success, and think that he fol- 
loweth the best advice, who is most healthful, and of longest 
life. And so will the ignorant judge of the holy doctrine 
and commands of God, by the lives of those that seem to fol- 
low them. O therefore behave yourselves in the church of 
God, as those that remember that they live in the presence 
of a world of men, whose happiness or misery hath much 
dependance on your lives. If you were debating the case 
with a sensual wretch, would you not tell him that holiness 
is a state of greater pleasure than his sin ? Tell him so then 
by your example, as well as by your words : let him see as 
well as hear of the confidence and comforts of true believers. 
Were Christianity exemplified in the lives of Christians, how 
excellent a state would it appear ! were we but such as the 
holy doctrine and Christian pattern requireth us to be, even 
the blind, malicious world would be forced to admire the at- 
tainments of the saints : though they might hate them, yet they 
would admire them. Were we such as Stephen, that was full of 
faith and the Holy Ghost, and could stedfastly look up to 
heaven by faith, and see there the glory of the living God, 
and Jesus standing at his right hand, till we were raised to 
his boldness in defence of the truth, and his quiet submission 


to the greatest sufferings, the world would not then be able 
to resist the wisdom and spirit by which we speak, but the fa- 
ces of believers would sometimes appear to the terror of their 
persecutors as the faces of angels, as Acts vi. 5. 10. 15. vii. 
51, 55, 56. 60. They are high and glorious things that are as- 
sured to us in the promises of the Gospel. Did but these 
things appear, in the stedfast faith, the confident hopes, de- 
sires, and joys of us that do expect them, believers then 
would be the wonder of the world; and our joys would so 
shame their dreaming, childish,brutish pleasures, that doubt- 
kss multitudes would flock in, to see what it is that so de- 
lighteth us, that they might be made partakers of our joys. 
Even as Simon Magus himself when he saw the miraculous 
gift of the Holy Ghost, would fain have bought that gift 
with money ; so men that are yet carnal, in the gall of bit- 
terness and bond of their iniquities, will yet see a desirable 
excellency in the joy of the Holy Ghost, and wish they were 
partakers of such joys, though yet they are unacquainted 
with the way to attain it. 

I do therefore entreat you all that believe and hope for 
an everlasting crown, that you will shew the poor deceived 
world the preciousness of your faith and hopes, and the high 
prerogative of the saints, in your answerable cheerfulness 
and joy, and live not with dead and uncomfortable hearts, 
as those that have nothing but a vexatious, transitory world 
to comfort them ; much less to be more dejected than these 
wretched souls. Do you not desire the conversion of your 
carnal friends, and all about you ? Would you not be glad 
if you could further it ? O that you would try this pleasant 
way ! and shew them that you have found the invaluable 
treasure ! And as the rich live in greater pomp, and at higher 
rates than the poor, so you that speak of the riches of grace, 
and live in the family of the Lord, O shew the world the 
dignity of your state, by your holy courage and comfortable 
behaviour, and by your living above the pleasures and griefs 
of unbelievers ! When they glory in their prosperity, do 
you glory in the Lord : when they boast themselves in their 
riches or reputation, do you imitate holy David, who pro- 
fesseth, " I will bless the Lord at all times ; his praise shall 
continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast 
in the Lord ; the humble shall hear thereof and be glad. O 
magnify the Cord with me, and let us exalt his name toge- 


ther;" Psal. xxxiv. 1—3. And Psal. xliv. 8. "In God we 
boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever." By 
such spiritual joyfulness your lives w^ould be a continued 
sermon ; and you might thus preach home more souls to 
Christ, than the most excellent preacher by bare persua- 
sions. Poor sinners would begin to pity themselves that 
live so far below the saints ; and they would think with them- 
selves, * It is not for nothing that these men rejoice, and are 
comfortable even in the loss of all those things that we take 
all our comfort in!' For the honour of your dearest Lord, 
and for your own felicity, and for the sake of the miserable 
souls about you, I beseech you Christians do your best to 
reach this sweet and most joyful life, and to avoid those in- 
ordinate troubles and despondencies which are like to cross 
these blessed ends. And pray for me and the rest of his 
servants, that the Lord will forgive us our dishonouring his 
name, our wronging of our own souls, and our discouraging 
the world from living unto God, by our living so far below 
his mercies, and so unanswerable to the unspeakable trea- 
sures of his saints ; and that for the time to come, we may 
lay this duty more to heart, and by the comforting Spirit may 
be elevated to the performance of it. 

But I suppose some will say, ' To tell me how I should 
live for the encouragement of others is but to draw me to 
an hypocritical affectation and counterfeiting of joy and 
courage; as long as I am unable inwardly to rejoice, and 
can see no sufficient cause of my rejoicing in myself.' 

Atisw. 1. I shall by and by shew you that you have suf- 
ficient, yea, unspeakable cause of joy. 2. And now I shall 
only say that you are not to suspend and forbear your com- 
fort, till you have full assurance of your own sincerity ; your 
probabilities, and weakest faith, and hope, will warrant a 
more comfortable life than you can live. And it is not hy- 
pocrisy, but a necessary duty to do the outward actions that 
are here commanded us, though we cannot reach to that de- 
gree of inward comfort that we desire : for we do not hereby 
affirm ourselves to have the joy which we have not: (I am 
not persuading any man to lie :) but only we express as fully 
as we are able that little which we have. And a little indeed 
a very little of such a high and heavenly nature, grounded on 
the smallest hopes of everlasting life, will allow you in the 
expression of it, to transcend the greatest flelights of the 


ungodly. And as we do perform the external part, both as 
a commanded duty, and as a means to further the inward 
rejoicing of the soul; so outward solemnity and feasting in 
the days of thanksgiving, are as well to further inward joy, 
as to express it. Even as mean attire, and fasting, and hum- 
blest prostrations before the Lord, on days of humiliation, 
are as much to further inward humiliation as to express it. 
The behaviour of the body hath au operative reflection on 
the mind, and therefore should be used not only for the dis- 
covery, but for the cure of the soul. If you cannot restrain 
your anger as you desire, it is no hypocrisy, but your duty 
to hide it, and to refrain from the sinful effects. And if you 
can but use yourselves some time to behave yourselves in 
your anger, as if you had no anger, in meekness of speech 
and quietness of deportment, anger itself will be the more 
quickly subdued, and in time will be the more easily kept 
out. If you cannot restrain your inordinate appetite to meat 
or drink, for quality or quantity ; it is yet no hypocrisy, but 
your duty, to hold your hands, and shut your mouths, and 
refrain the things to which you have an appetite. And if 
you will but use yourselves a convenient time to forbear the 
thing, you will subdue the appetite. If the drunkard will 
forbear the drink, and the glutton his too much desired dish, 
and the sportful gamesters their needless and sinful recrea- 
tions, they will find that the fire of sensuality will go out, 
for want of fuel. As the too wanton poet saith concerning 
wanton love, 

" Intrat amor mentes usu : dediscitur usu : 
Qui poterit sanum fingere, sanus erit," 

Use kindleth it, and use quencheth it. He that can but 
live as a sound man, shall at last become a sound man. If 
you cannot overcome your inward pride as you desire, you 
must not therefore speak big, and look high, and swagger it 
out in bravery, and accompany with gallants, to avoid hypo- 
crisy : but you must speak humbly, and be clothed soberly, 
and accompany with the humble. And 1. This is the per- 
formance of one part of your duty. 2. And it is the expres- 
sion of your desires to be more humble, and consequently of 
some humility contained in these desires. 3. And it is the 
way to work your hearts to that humility which you want, 
or the way in which you must wait on God for the receiving 


of it. So if you cannot overcome the love of the world as 
you desire, do not therefore forbear giving to the poor, for 
fear of hypocrisy ; but give the more, that you may perform 
so much of your duty as you can, and may the sooner over- 
come your worldly love. Some trees will be killed with of- 
ten cropping. But if they will not, it is better that a poison- 
ous plant should live only in the root, than sprout forth and 
be fruitful. 

Even so, if you cannot overcome your inward doubts, 
and fears, and sorrows, as you desire, yet let them not be 
fruitful, nor cause you to walk so dejectedly before the world, 
as to dishonour God and your holy profession. "And if you 
have not the inward comfort you desire, express your de- 
sires, and the hopes and smallest comforts that you have to 
the best advantage for your Master's honour. And you will 
find that a holy cheerfulness of countenance, expression, 
and deportment, will at last mucli overcome your inordinate 
disquietments, and much promote the joys which you desire. 
But yet that you may see cause lor the cheerfulness to 
which I now exhort you, I next add, 

3. If thou have but one spark of saving grace, it is not 
possible for thee now to conceive or express the happiness of 
thy state, and the cause thou hast to live a thankful, joyous 
life. If thou have no grace, thou art not the person I am now 
speaking to. If thou have no grace, whence is it that thou so 
much desirest it ? What is it that causeth thee to lament the 
want of it, and walk so heavily, but because thou art so much 
in doubt of it ? If thou truly love it, thou hast it, (for it is only 
grace that causeth an unfeigned love of grace). And if thou 
love it not, why canst not thou more quietly be without it ? 
Why dost thou make so much ado for it ? But if thou have 
it in the least degree, and so art born again of the Spirit, thou 
hast with it an unspeakable degree of delights. The God of 
life and love is thine ; the Lord Jesus Christ is thine ; the 
Spirit is thine ; the promises are thine ; and heaven itself is 
thine in title, and shall be thine in full perpetual possession. 
The God that made and ruleth all things, is reconciled to 
thee, and is thy Father ; having by grace in Christ adopted 
thee to be his Son; Rom. v. 1, 2. 10, 11. viii. 1. 16, 17. Gal. 
iv.6. 2 Cor.vi. 18. The Son of God is become thy Head, 
and thou art become a member of his body, as " flesh of his 
flesh, and bone of his bone (which no man ever yet hath hat- 


ed) ; Ephes.v. 23. 27.29,30. Thou art become the temple 
and residence of the Holy Ghost. Thy title to heaven is in- 
comparably more sure than any man's human title to his pos- 
sessions or inheritance on earth. And what rejoicing can 
be too great for a man in thy condition ? O what a life 
should that man live ! with what sweet delight should he be 
transported, that hath the Spirit of Christ now living in him, to 
prepare him, and seal him up for an endless life with Christ! 
He that shall be shortly so full of glory, should not be emp- 
ty now, when he remembereth what he must shortly be. 
Doth it beseem him now to dwell in grief, and refuse conso" 
lation, that must in a few days be swallowed up with joy? 
If thou that sittest here in heaviness, wert assured that short- 
ly thou shouldst be with Christ, and made a blessed compa- 
nion of angels, and possessed of thy Master's joy, a joy that 
hath no bounds or ends, would not thy conscience then tell 
thee, that thou greatly wrongest such abundant mercy, in 
that thou art no more affected with it ? and that thy want of 
joy doth express thy too much want of thankfulness. Dost 
thou sit there like a child of God, like an heir of heaven, and 
a co-heir with Christ? Rom. viii. 16, 17. Doth that sorrow- 
ful heart, and that dejected countenance become one that 
must live with Christ for ever, in such resplendent glory as 
thou must do ; and that hast but a few more days to live, till 
thou takest possession of these endless joys? The Lord par- 
don and heal our unbelief. Did faith more effectually play 
its part, as it is the evidence of things not seen, and withdraw 
the veil, and shew us, though but in a glass, the glory which 
we must see with open face, it would be wine to our hearts, 
and oil to our countenances, and make our poverty, sickness, 
and death, more comfortable than the wealth, and health, 
and life of the ungodly. 

I know you will say still, that you could rejoice if you 
were sure all this were yours; but when you rather think 
you have no part in it, it can be but small comfort to you. 

Answ, 1. But who is it long of that you have still such 
fears ? Have you not in your souls that love to holiness, 
that desire after it, that hatred and weariness of sin, that love 
to the searching, discovering use of the word of God, that 
love to the brethren, which are the evidences of your title, 
and to which God hath plainly promised salvation ? If then 
you have your title in the promise, and your evidences in 



your hearts, and yet will be still questioning whether you 
have them or no, and whether the kingdom shall be yours, 
your weakness and inccnsiderateness causeth your own sor- 
rows. And when you have sinfully bred your doubts, will 
you insist on them to excuse your following sins ? 

2. Are you not sure that Christ and his benefits are yours? 
I am sure they are yours, or may be if you will : and nothing 
but your continued refusal can deprive you of them. For 
this is the very tenor of the promise. And if you will not 
have Christ and his offered benefits, why do you so dissem- 
ble as to take on you to mourn because you have them not ? 
But if you are willing they are yours. 

Object. * But (you will say) if we had nothing but cause 
of comfort, we would rejoice : but we have cause of sorrow 
also. How can we live comfortably under so much sin and 

Answ, By this account you will never rejoice till you come 
to heaven ; for you will never be free from sin and suffering 
till then. Nay, it seem^ you would have no man else rej oice, 
and so would banish all comfort from the world. For there 
is no man without sin and suffering. 

But what can there be of any weight to prohibit a sin- 
cere belief from seasonable, spiritual rejoicing ? Have you 
sin ? It is not gross and reigning sin. And sinful infirmi- 
ties the best of the saints on earth have had. As your sin 
must be your moderate sorrow, so the pardon of it, and the 
degree of mortification which you have attained, and the pro- 
mise you have full deliverance, should be the matter of your 
greater joy. Are your graces weak? Be humbled in the 
sense of that your weakness, but rejoice more that they are 
sincere and will be perfect. Are your afflictions great ? Be 
humbled under them. But rejoice more that they are but fa- 
therly chastisements, proceeding from love, and tending to 
your greater good ; and that you are saved from the consum- 
ing fire, and shall live in everlasting rest, where affliction 
shall be known no more. Is it possible for that man that 
hath the love of God, and shall have heaven for ever, to have 
any suffering that should weigh down these, and be matter 
to him of greater sorrow than this of joy ? Can you imagine 
that there is more evil in your infirmities and sufferings than 
there is good in God, and happiness in heaven ? Is it rea- 
son and equity that you should look at sin only, and not at 


grace ? and at what you want only, and not at what you have 
received? Seeing you have more cause of joy than sorrow, 
should you not distribute your affections proportionable as 
there is cause ? I dissuade you not from seasonable, mo- 
derate sorrows. But should not your joy be much greater, 
as long as the cause of it is much greater? 

4. And here I would entreat you to consider well of the 
tenor of God's commands concerning this matter in the Gos- 
pel, and of the examples of the saints there left on record. 
And then tell me which course it is that God is best pleased 
with ; your cheerful or your dejected course of life ! I find 
that though I pity the sad and miserable, yet I had rather 
myself have a cheerful than a drooping, grieving, troubled 
companion and friend. Because I desire one suitable to my- 
self in the state I would be in ; and I delight in the welfare, 
and not in the distress and misery of my friend. And surely 
God that is love itself, and hath created joy in man to be his 
happiness, and hath placed so much of misery in sorrow, can 
never be so delighted in our distress and trouble, as in our 
content and joy. As he hath sworn that he takes no plea- 
sure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they repent 
and live ; so we may boldly conclude that he takes no plea- 
sure in the anguish and dejectedness of his children, but ra- 
ther that they walk in love and cheerful obedience before him. 
But his word will fully and plainly tell you what temper it 
is that is most pleasing to him. It is a light and easy bur- 
den that Christ doth call us to bear ; and it is his office to 
ease us, and give us that labour and are heavy laden with 
burdens of our own ; Matt. xi. 28, 29. He was anointed 
to preach the Gospel, or glad tidings of salvation to the poor; 
and sent to " heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance 
to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, and to 
set at liberty them that are bruised, and to preach the ac- 
ceptable year of the Lord ;" Luke iv. 18, 19. When he was 
to leave the world, how carefully did he provide for the com- 
fort of his disciples ! Commanding them not to " let their 
hearts be troubled" (John xiv. 1.), and promising to send the 
Comforter to them, and that he would come to them, and not 
leave them comfortless ; ver. 16. 18. 26. Repeating it again, 
ver. 27, 28. " Peace I leave with you : my peace I give unto 
you : not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your 
hearts be troubled, neither be afraid." Nay, he engageth 


them as they "love him to rejoice, even because he went 
unto the Father." He engageth them in the dearest love to 
one another that their lives might be the more comfortable. 
He foretelleth them of his sufferings and of their own, lest 
being surprised their sorrow should be the more. He pro- 
miseth them that their " sorrow shall be turned into joy" 
(John xvi. 20.), and that " in him they shall have peace, when 
in the world they shall have tribulation" (ver. 33.), directing 
them to prayer, and promising to hear them, that " their joy 
may be full" (ver. 24.), and promiseth that " none shall take 
it from them" (ver. 22.), telling them of the " mansions that 
he prepareth for them," and that it ** is his will that they be 
with him, and behold his glory," that nothing might be want- 
ing to their joy ; Johnxiv.2,3. xvii. 23,24. When he ap- 
appeareth to them after his resurrection, his salutation is, 
'* Peace be unto you ;" chap. xx. 19.21. 26. The abounding 
and multiplying of his holy peace, is the desire and saluta- 
tion of Paul to the churches in all his epistles. Gal. vi. 16. 
Ephes.vi.23. Rom. xv.33. lCor.i.3. Rom.i.7. Gal.i.3. 
Phil. i. 2. Col.i.2. 2Thess.i.2. 1 Tim. i. 2. Tit. i. 4. Phi- 
lem.3. So Peter, 1 Pet. i. 2. ii.1,2. 2John3. 3Johnl4. 
The Gospel itself is a message of glad tidings; Lukeviii. 1. 
^Acts xiii. 32. And it is the work of the ministers of Christ, 
to preach peace to the sinful world through him (chap.x. 
36), and to beseech them to be reconciled to God (2 Cor. v. 
19,20.), and to bring peace to the houses where any of the 
sons of peace abide ; Matt. x. 12, 13. Luke x. 6. Triumphing 
joys and proclamations of peace were the entrance of Christ's 
kingdom. This angels proclaim, chap. ii. 14. " Glory be to 
God in the highest : on earth peace : good will towards men." 
This the new inspired disciples proclaim, chap.xix.37, 38. 
''The whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice, and 
praise God with a loud voice, for all the mighty works that 
they had seen, saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in 
the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven, and glory in the 
highest." What abundance of commands for rejoicing are 
in the Scripture ! "Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous : 
for praise is comely for the upright;" Psal.xxxi. 1. " Light 
is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in 
heart. Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous, and give thanks at 
the reniemberance of his holiness ;" Psal.xcvii. 11, 12. " Re- 
joice evermore ;" 2 Thess. v. 16. " Finally, my brethren, re- 


joice in the Lord ;" Phil. iii. 1. " Rejoice in the Lord al- 
ways, and again I say rejoice ;** chap. iv. 4. " Be careful 
for nothing : but in every thing by prayer and supplication 
with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto 
God ;** ver. 6. And thus are the godly ordinarily describ- 
ed, even in their deepest sufferings and distress. " Being 

justified by faith we have peace with God and rejoice in 

hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory 
in tribulation ;" Rom. v. 1, 2. Phil. iii. 3. It is the descrip- 
tion of a regenerate man ** to worship God in spirit : to re- 
joice in Christ Jesus ; to have no confidence in the flesh." 
IPet. i.6. 8. It is the description of believers "to rejoice 
greatly in a Christ not seen, even with joy unspeakable and 
full of glory : though for a season if need be, they maybe in 
heaviness through manifold temptations." Even in the fiery 
trial we must rejoice, ** as being partakers of the sufferings 
of Christ, that when his glory shall be revealed, we may be 
glad also with exceeding joy ;" 1 Pet. iv. 12, 13. " When all 
manner of evil is spoken of us falsely, for the sake of Christ, 
and when we are hated of all men, and reproached, we must 
rejoice and be exceeding glad, and leap for joy, as know- 
ing that our reward in heaven is great ;" Luke vi. 22, 23. Matt, 
v. 11, 12. The apostles were "as sorrowful, yet always re- 
joicing: as having nothing, and yet possessing all things;" 
2 Cor. vi. 10. Rejoicing in their suffering for believers (Col. 
i. 24.), even when they were " beaten rejoicing that they were 
counted worthy to suffer for the name of Christ ;" Acts v. 
39, 40. The rich must " rejoice in that he is made low," as 
well as the "brother of low degree in that he is exalted ;" Jas. 
i.9, 10. The eunuch, when he was but newly converted " went 
on his way rejoicing ;" Acts viii. 39. " There was great joy in 
Samaria,whentheyhad received the word of God;" Acts viii. 
8. " The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the taberna- 
cles of the righteous. The statutes of God are the rejoicing 
of their heart ;" Psal. cix. 111. xix. 8. " All those that trust 
in God should rejoice, and shout for joy, and all that love 
his name should be joyful in him ;" Psal. v. 11. xxxiii. 21. 
" Let the righteous be glad: let them rejoice before God, 
yea, let them exceedingly rejoice ;" Psal. Ixviii. 3. " Let us 
therefore desire to see the good of his chosen, and rejoice in 
the gladness of his nation, and glory with his inheritance ;" 
Psal. cvi. 5. " Sing unto the Lord : sing psalms unto him: 


talk of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name: 
let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord;" Psal. cv. 
1 — 3. «' The saints shall shout aloud for joy ;" Psal. cxxxii. 
9. 16. " Be glad in the Lord, O ye righteous, and shout for 
joy all ye that are upright in heart ;" Psal.xxxii.il. "Be- 
hold my servants shall rejoice : but ye shall be ashamed. 
Behold my servants shall sing for joy of heart : but ye shall 
cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spi- 
rit ;" Isa. Ixv. 13, 14. 

Abundance such passages tell you what manner of per- 
sons it is that God delighteth in, and what he would have 
you be and do. These I have recited to shame the godly 
out of their indecent troubles and dejectedness, as you would 
shew a child his face in a glass when he crieth, that he may 
see how he deformeth it. The very " kingdom of God con- 
sisteth in righteousness, and peace, and j oy in the Holy Ghost. 
If you would live as is most pleasing unto God, and as be- 
seemeth those that are indeed believers, let the joy of be- 
lievers be (as far as possible) your ordinary frame. And if 
by sin you wound your souls, and bring smart upon your- 
selves, dwell not in that wounded, smarting state ; but go to 
your Physician, and beg of God that he will " restore to you 
the joy of his salvation, and make you to hear the voice of 
joy and gladness,'* that your " broken heart and bones may 
rejoice;" Psal. li. 8. 12. 

And take notice throughout all the Scripture, whether 
you find the servants of God so much complaining of their 
want of assurance, and of their frequent doubtings of their 
own sincerity and his love. I think you will find this a very 
rare thing in the ancient saints. They were sensible of sin 
as well as we ; and they were as sensible of God's afflicting 
hand, and oft (as Job, David, Hezekiah, &c.) complained 
under it, perhaps with some excess, and too much question- 
ing God's favour to them, as if he had forsaken them. But 
(besides and without any such affliction) to live in ordinary 
trouble of mind through the doubting of their sincerity, and 
of God's special love, and to be exercised in the complain- 
ing and disconsolate way as now abundance of Christians 
are, this I find little of in the Scripture saints. The reason 
was not because they had more holiness and less sin than 
many that now are thus cast down. For the Gospel time ex- 
celleth theirs in degrees of grace ; and I think the greater 


care that Christians have of their hearts, and of inward rec- 
titude, and communion with God, and their fuller apprehen- 
sions of the hfe to come, and so of their greatest hopes and 
dangers, is one great cause. But yet there are worse con- 
curring causes. The love of God, and his readiness to shew 
mercy, should not be more questioned now, when it is so 
abundantly revealed by Christ, than it was in times of dark- 
er revelation. The servants of God did formerly conceive 
that nothing but sin could make man miserable ; and there- 
fore when they had sinned, they repented ; and instead of 
continuing doubts and fears, they bent their resolutions 
against their sins; and having cast away their gross and wil- 
ful sins, and continuing the conflict against their unavoida- 
ble infirmities, which they hated, they knew that the door of 
mercy was still open to them ; and that " if any man sin, we 
have an advocate with the Father, who is the propitiation." 
The time that is now spent in doubting and complaining, and 
asking, How shall 1 know that I sincerely repent, was then 
spent in repenting and reforming, and using the means that 
God hath appointed for conquering of sin ; and then trusting 
to his grace and covenant in the blood of Christ for pardon. 
And it would be better with us if we did thus. Judge now 
by all these Scriptures, and by the course of former saints, 
how God would have you behave yourselves. Do you not 
read a hundred times of their joy, and thanks, and praising- 
God, and calling upon others to praise him, for once that 
they perplexedly question their sincerity ? 

But perhaps you will say, that your strength is so weak, 
and your sins and enemies so strong, and your duty so im- 
perfect and unworthy, that having such continual cause of 
trouble, you cannot choose but walk in heaviness, and in fears. 
I answer you, (1 .) But why do you not tell what you have, 
as well as what you want ? Have you not greater cause to 
say. My sins being mortified at the root, and all forgiven, 
and my soul renewed, and reconciled unto God, and I being 
made an heir of heaven, how can I choose but live in joy ? 

(2.) Are you heartily willing to forsake your sins, and over- 
come the things of which you so complain; or are you not? 
If you are not, why do you complain of them, and will you 
not consent to let them go, and use God's means to overcome 
them? If you are willing, then they are but your pardoned 

VOL. X. * c c 


infirmities ; for that is the difference between infirmities and 
reigning sins. Whatsoever sin consisteth with a great ha- 
bitual willingness to avoid that and all other sins than to keep 
them, is but an infirmity ; for it stands with present saving 
grace, and is always habitually or virtually repented of, and 
actually, when grace, by knowledge and consideration, hath 
opportunity and advantage to produce the act. 

(3.) And when once you are truly ingrafted into Christ, 
he is your worthiness, and your righteousness, and the trea- 
sury of your souls ; and what you want in your own posses- 
sion, you have in his hands ; and as what you have is but 
his gift, so what you want he is able and ready to supply. 
Look not too much to yourselves, as if your safety and hap- 
piness were principally in your own hand. " God hath giv- 
en us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath 
the Son, hath life ;" 1 John v. 10, 11. It is through him that 
we can do all things, so far as he strengtheneth us : and 
without him we can do nothing. Make use of him therefore 
as the Lord of life, and joyfully acknowledge all that you re- 
ceive, and stand not dejectedly lamenting that you need him. 
If you would have the waters of life, go to the fountain, and 
do not sit down and fruitlessly vex yourselves with com- 
plaining of your wants, instead of seeking for supplies. Is 
there not an all-sufficient Physician of souls at hand? Doth 
he not freely offer you his help ? What though you are not 
suddenly cured? Wounds may be caused in an hour, but 
they use not to be cured in an hour. Stay his time, and use his 
remedies, and cheerfully trust him, and you shall find the cure 
successfully go on, though it will not be finished till death. 

5. Consider also, that it must needs be the best and most 
desirable life, which is most like to our life in heaven. And 
therefore as heaven is a state of joy, so joy is the highest and 
best condition on earth. He is the best and happiest man, 
that is most like to the glorified saints and angels. And 
judge yourselves whether a dejected or a rejoicing Christian 
be most like to these inhabitants of heaven. 

Object. * But (you will say) by that rule we should not 
mourn at all (for they do not). Whereas God delighteth in 
the contrite soul, and Christ blesseth mourners and weepers. 

Ansiv. (1.) Your resemblance of the saints in heaven must 
be proportionable in all the parts. You must labour first to 
be as like them as you can in holiness, and then in joy. If 


you could be as far from sin as they, you need not mourn at 
all. But because you cannot, you must have moderate, re- 
gular sorrows and humiliation, while you have sin. But yet 
withal you must endeavour to imitate the heavenly joys, ac- 
cording to the measure of your grace received. 

(2.) And it is such a regular contrition, consisting in hum- 
ble thoughts of ourselves, and tending to restore us from our 
falls and sorrows, unto our integrity and joy, which God de- 
lighteth in. And it is such mourners as these, and such as 
suffer for righteousness' sake from men, that Christ pro- 
nounceth blessed. But the inordinate troubles of the soul, 
that exclude a holy delight in God, though he pardon, yet 
he never doth encourage. 

6. Consider also, that a great part of your religion, yea 
and the most high and excellent part, doth consist in the 
causes from, and effects of this holy joy and cheerfulness. 
( 1 .) As to the causes of it, they are such as in themselves are 
requisite to the very being of the new creature. Faith and 
love, which are the head and heart of sanctifying grace, are 
the causes of your spiritual joy. And unwilling, heavy, forc- 
ed obedience, may proceed from mere fears, and this will not 
prove an upright heart. But when once we believe everlast- 
ing glory, and love Christ as our Saviour, and the Father as 
our Father and felicity, and love a holy frame of heart and 
life, as the image of God and that which pleaseth him, then 
our obedience will be cheerful and delightful, unless acci- 
dentally we trouble ourselves by our own mistakes. If you 
can truly make God, and his will and service your delight, 
you may be sure you love him, and are beloved by him, as 
being past the state of slavish fear. 

(2.) And I have shewed you that joy in the Holy Ghost is 
itself one part of that grace in which God's kingdom doth 
consist. Though not such a part as a Christian cannot 
possibly be without, yet such as is exceeding suitable to 
his state, and necessary to his more happy being. 

(3.) And without this holy delight and joy, you will deny 
God a principal part of his service. How can you be thank- 
ful for the great mercies of your justification, sanctification, 
adoption, and all the special graces you have received, or for 
your hopes of heaven itself, as long as you are still doubting 
whether any of these mercies are yours or not, and almost 
ready to say that you never received them ? Nay, you will 


be less thankful for your health, and life, and food, and wealth, 
and all common mercies, as doubting lest they will prove but 
aggravations of your sin and misery. And for the great and 
excellent work of praise which should be your daily sacri- 
fice, but especially the work of each Lord's day, how unfit 
is a doubting, drooping, distressed soul for the performance 
of it ? You stifle holy love within you, and stop your mouths 
when they should be speaking and singing the praises of the 
Lord, and disable yourselves from the most high, and sweet, 
and acceptable part of all God's service, by your unwarrant- 
able doubts and self vexations. And when all these are laid 
aside, how poor and lean a service is it, that is left you to 
perform to him ! Even a few tears, and complaints, and 
prayers ! which I know God will mercifully accept, because 
even in your desires after him there is love ; but yet it is far 
short of the service which you might perform. Nay, your 
heavenlymindedness will be much suppressed, as long as you 
are sadly questioning whether ever you shall come thither, 
and it will be yours or not. 

7. Are you not ashamed to see the servants of the devil 
and the world so jocund, and yourselves so sad that serve 
the Lord ? Will you go mourning so inordinately to heaven, 
when others go so merrily to hell ? Will you credit satan 
and sin so much, as to persuade men by your practice, that 
sin afl'ordeth more pleasure and content than holiness ? 

8. You could live merrily yourselves before your conver- 
sion, while you served sin ; and will you walk so dejectedly 
now you have repented of it, as if you had changed for the 
worse, or would make men think so ? I know you would not 
for all the world be what you were before your change. Why 
then do you live as if you were more miserable than before? 

9. You would be loath so long to resist the sanctifying 
work of the Spirit : and why should you not be loath to re- 
sist its comforting work ? It is the same Holy Ghost that 
you resist in both. Nay, you dare not so open your mouths 
for wickedness, and plead against sanctification itself, as you 
open them on the behalf of your sinful doubtings, and plead 
for your immoderate dejections. If you should, how vile 
would you appear ? 

10. Lastly consider, that God will lay sufferings enough 
upon you for your sins, and suffer wicked men to lay enough 
on you for well-doing, and you need not lay more upon your- 


selves. You have need to use all means for strength to bear 
the burdens that you must undergo : and it is the joy of the 
Lord, and the hopes of glory, that are your strength. And 
will you cast away the only supports of your soul, and sink 
when the day of suffering comes ? How will you bear po- 
verty, or reproach, or injuries ? How will you meet approach- 
ing death, if you feed your doubts of your salvation and of 
the love of God in Christ, which must corroborate you? O 
weaken not your souls that are too weak already : weaken 
not your souls that have so much to do and suffer, and that 
of so great necessity and importance. While you complain 
of your weakness, increase it not by unbelieving, uncomfort- 
able complaints. Gratify not the devil and wicked, mali- 
cious men so far, as to inflict on yourselves a greater calam- 
ity than all their malice and power could inflict. It is a 
madness in them that will please the devil, to the displeas- 
ing of God, though the pleasing of their own flesh be it that 
moveth them to it. But for a man to please the devil, and 
displease God, even when he displeaseth his own flesh by it 
also, and bringeth nothing but sorrow to himself by it, this 
is in some respects more unreasonable than madness itself. 
Many cast away their souls for riches, and honours, and car- 
nal accommodations ; but who would do it for poverty, sick- 
ness, or disgrace ? So though many undo their souls for 
fleshly pleasures and delights, yet he is a strange man in- 
deed that will offend God even for self-tormenting grief and 
trouble. O therefore, dear Christians, as you have let go all 
your sensual pleasures for the pleasing of your Lord, do not 
let go the pleasures of his love, for which you have let go all. 
" The Lord taketh pleasure in his people, even in them that 
fear him, in those that hope in his mercy, and the meek he 
will beautify with salvation;" Psal.cxlvii.il. It is meet 
therefore that his people take pleasure in the Lord ; that the 
" saints be joyful in glory ; that they sing aloud upon their 
beds, and that the high praises of God be in their mouths.'* 
O let not the Spirit of God be thought to be like the evil 
spirit that vexed Saul, that filled his mind with melancholy, 
anguish and confusion. It is the evil spirit that renteth and 
tormenteth those that it possesseth ; though the Spirit ot 
God doth humble and by ordinate sorrow prepare for joy: 
but its proper work is to sanctify, and to comfort, and es-. 
tablish the believer with peace that passeth understanding. 


As it is a greater sign of the operation of the Spirit of Christ 
to restore the lapsed by a spirit of meekness, and to bear 
one another's burdens, and exercise tenderness, compassion 
and charity, than to censure and envy, and call for fire from 
heaven : so even at home (though there we are allowed to be 
more rigid and censorious) it is a more sure and satisfactory 
discovery of the Spirit of grace within us, if we are raised to 
a sweet delight in God, and quieted in his love, and carried 
out in cheerful obedience, thankfully acknowledging the 
grace that we have received, and waiting in the use of means 
for more, than if we are only turmoiled and troubled in our 
minds, and tossed up and down with unprofitable griefs and 
fears, that abate our love to God, and our holy joys. It is 
the still voice that doth most fully acquaint us that it is 
Christ the Prince of Peace that speaketh to us : though at 
first when he findeth a sinner in a state of enmity and re- 
bellion, he often useth to thunder and lighten, and call to 
him as to Saul, " Why persecutest thou me ?" Wilt thou 
kick against the pricks ? Wilt thou fight against heaven ? 
Or canst thou bear the wrath of God Almighty ? Yet to the 
humbled penitent soul, there is none in all the world so ten- 
der as Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, the church's husband, 
that cherisheth them as his own flesh. O that you did but 
know the greatness and tenderness of his love to you, while 
you lie trembling under the unjust apprehensions of his 
wrath I It would then so transport you with ravishing de- 
lights, that the world would see that the saints of the Most 
High have higher pleasures than the world afFordeth. 

But I know you will say, 'Alas, what need you exhort us 
to spiritual pleasures and consolations ? Do you think there 
is any man in love with sorrows, or unwilling to live in a joy- 
ful life ? O that you could tell us how we might attain it ; 
and you should quickly see that we are willing.' 

Anstv, And if you are so willing to attain it, as to be also 
willing to use the means, you shall more quickly see that I 
shall certainly inform you how you may attain it ; and how 
you may come to find a life of holiness to be the most sweet 
and pleasant life. I therefore desire and require you to 
practise these Directions following. 

Direct. 1. Make it your first and principal business to 
attain the fullest fixed knowledge of God in his attributes, 
and covenant relations to you. 


1 . Study him in his attributes. If infinite goodness take 
not up the soul with love and with delight, it is because it 
is not known. Where there are all things that the soul of 
man deisiires to its highest felicity and content, and yet con- 
tentment and delight is wanting, it must needs be ignorance 
and distance that is the cause. If the sun seem not light to 
you, it is because you have not eyesight, or look not on the 
light. If you find no pleasure in the most pleasant food, it 
is because your appetites are diseased, or you do not taste 
it. If your most suitable and most affectionate friend seem 
not amiable to you, it is because you know not his suitable- 
ness and love. So if the eternal God, that is infinitely pow- 
erful, wise and good, most perfect and most suitable to your 
highest affections, do not possess you with abundant plea- 
sures and delights of love, it is because you are unacquaint- 
ed with him. Study then, his infinite perfections, and be 
much with him in secret prayer and meditation, where the 
retired soul having fewest avocations, is fittest for the most 
near familiar converse. And still remember that it is Love 
itself that you have to do with. For God is love. It is the 
Fountain of all delights and pleasures that you draw near to. 
It is a cold heart indeed that fire itself cannot warm, and a 
dead heart indeed that life itself cannot revive. Conceive 
of God as God, and you will delight in him : abhor all un- 
worthy diminutive thoughts of him : set up his love and 
goodness in your estimation, as infinitely above all the crea- 
tures. Believe it, the love of your dearest friends, is an in- 
considerable drop to the ocean of his love. Think not of 
him as cruel, or an enemy, if you would love him or delight 
in him. Love and delight are never forced by bare com- 
mands and threatenings, but drawn forth magnetically by 
attractive goodness. Were not God most amiable, and 
friendly, and desirable to us, it is not saying, Love me, or I 
will damn thee, that would ever have caused man to love 
him ; but rather to fear, and hate, and fly from him. Think 
but of God's love, and goodness, and fidelity, as you do of 
his power, and then you will find that there are rivers of 
pleasure in his presence, and fulness of joy at his right hand, 
the foretastes whereof are the only delights that can quiet 
the troubled thirsty soul. 

2. And if you say, ' What is all this to me, any more than 
to the ungodly world, on whom the wrath of God abideth V 


I answer, thou art in covenant with him, and he is thine in the 
covenant relations, even thy reconciled Father, thy Saviour, 
and thy Sanctifier. No husband is so inviolably bound to a 
wife, nor will so faithfully answer his relation, as the blessed 
Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier unto thee. Didst thou well 
know and consider what it is to have God himself to be thine 
in covenant to all these uses, and to all the ends that thou 
canst reasonably desire, it would fill up thy soul with satisfy- 
ing delights. 

There is nothing that thou wantest, but what belongs to 
God to give thee, in one of these three great relations. And 
sooner shall the day be turned into night, and the frame of 
nature be dissolved, than God will violate his covenant of 
grace. " Thus saith the Lord, if you can break my covenant 
of the day, and ray covenant of the night, and that there 
should not be a day and night in their season ; then may also 
my covenant be broken ;" &c. Jer. xxxiii. 20, 21. " Fear 
not, for thou shalt not be ashamed, &c. For thy Maker is 
thy Husband ; the Lord of Hosts is his name ; and thy Re- 
deemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of the whole earth 
shall he be called : for the Lord hath called thee as a woman 
forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou 
wast refused, saith thy God : for a small moment have I for- 
saken thee, but with great merfcies will I gather thee. In a 
little wrath 1 hid my face from thee for a moment; but with 
everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord 
thy Redeemer. For this is as the waters of Noah unto me : 
for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more 
go over the earth ; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth 
with thee nor rebuke thee : for the mountains shall depart, 
and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart 
from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be re- 
moved, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee ;" Isa. liv. 
4, 5, &c. And though yet we have our troublesome imper- 
fections, it belongeth to our God, *' through the blood of the 
everlasting covenant, to make us perfect in every good work 
to do his will, working in us that which is well pleasing in 
his sight through Jesus Christ, that to him may be the glory 
for ever;" Heb. xiii. 20, 21. It is his work " to comfortall 
that mourn ; to appoint to them that mourn in Zion, and to 
give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the 
garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might 


be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord» 

that he might be glorified. They shall be named the 

priests of the Lord ; men shall call them the ministers of our 

God. Everlasting joy shall be unto them.— — For the 

Lord will direct their work in truth and make an everlasting 
covenant with them. All that see them shall acknow- 
ledge them that they are the seed whom the Lord hath bles- 
sed ; therefore should we greatly rejoice in the Lord ; and 
our souls should be joyful in our God : for he hath clothed 
us with the garments of salvation ; he hath covered us with 
the robes of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself 
with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her 
jewels ;'' Isa. Ixi. " A new heart also will I give you, and a 
new spirit will I put into you, and I will take away the stony 
heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh, 
and I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk 
in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do 

them and I will save you from all your uncleanness,'' 

&c. Ezek. xxxvi. 25 — 27. 29. " And they shall be my peo- 
ple, and 1 will be their God : and I will give them one heart 
and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of 
them, and of their children after them ; and I will make an 
everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away 
from them to do them good ; but I will put my fear in their 
hearts, and they shall not depart from me : yea, I will rejoice 
over them to do them good/' &c. Jer, xxxii. 38 — 41. " Happy 
are the people that are in such a case ; yea, happy is that 
people whose God is the Lord ;'' Psal. cxliv. 15 

Nature doth not give you such security that the sun shall 
shine, and that the streams shall run, that the earth shall be 
fruitful, as the covenant of the Lord doth give you all that is 
necessary to your happiness. Study therefore the mercies 
and riches of the covenant. 

Direct, 2. Understand and remember that it is your co- 
venant consent, that it is the condition of your title to all the 
following blessings of the covenant. 

I add this as supposing you will say, * What are all these 
benefits to me, unless I were sure that I were indeed in the 
covenant V It is not your merit, but your consent that is re- 
quired. God offereth himself to be your reconciled Father, 
and Christ to be your Saviour, and the Holy Spirit to be your 
Sanctitier. Do you consent to this, or not? All the ques- 


tion is, whether you are willinp^ ; and whether your sin be not 
so sweet to you, that you will rather venture your souls on 
the wrath of God, than you will be saved from it. If you 
heartily consent, assuredly you are in the covenant, and the 
benefits and the joy and comfort are yours. If you do not 
consent, instead of despairing, presently consent, and re- 
fuse not your happiness while you lament your misery. 

Object. ' But it is not only covenant-making, but cove- 
nant-keeping that must save us : and I have broke my cove- 
nant, and therefore have no title to the benefits.' Answ, What 
covenant have you broken ? This covenant in question that 
engageth you to God, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost? If 
thou hast broken this, you have withdrawn your consent : 
for while you heartily consent, you break it not in any es- 
sential part. As it is not every breach of the laws, that makes 
a man a traitor or rebel, nor every fault or falling out between 
husband and wife that dissolveth their relation ; so is it not 
every sin, nor any that is consistent with true co^nsent to the 
terms of the covenant, that is a covenant-breaking forfeiture 
of the benefits. If you would not have God to be your por- 
tion, your Father, your Saviour, and your Sanctifier, you are 
then covenant-breakers : and if you be so, consent ye, and 
return to your fidelity, and the comforts of the covenant may 
yet be yours, for all your former violation. 

Direct. '3, Moreover, if you would find the pleasure of a 
holy life, see that the flesh befool you not into an over-high 
estimation of any worldly thing, that so your appetites may 
not be corrupted with such contrary, unwholesome pleasures, 
nor your hearts be overwhelmed with worldly cares, or griefs, 
or troubles. If you will glut yourselves with other kind of 
pleasures, you cannot expect that holiness should be your 
pleasure. You cannot find your delight in God, when you 
turn from him to seek it in the creature. If you sought for 
less in friends, and health, and prosperity in the world, you 
might have more in God. How should you find content in 
God, when you set so light by him, that the promise of be- 
holding him in endless glory will not please you, unless you 
may also have your fleshly desires, or selfish inclinations 
pleased here ? This is it that perverteth your judgments and 
affections, and causeth you to injure God and yourselves. 
You first fancy that it is an excellent thing to be rich and 
renowned and to rule over others, or to have plenty of all ac~ 


commodations for your flesh ; and then because God satis- 
fieth not these carnal fancies, you think he neglecteth you, 
or deals hardly with you ! As if every person in the town 
should murmur because they are not bailiffs or justices; when 
if they had the wit to know it, they are but kept from a dou- 
ble encumbrance, and from a burden which perhaps would 
break their backs. When the people are thus befooled by 
the flesh into brutish conceits of the nature of felicity, and 
into an overvaluing of these worldly things, they are then 
always either tickled by deluding pleasures, or troubled for 
the crossing of their carnal wills, so that they grow out of 
relish and liking with the true and durable delights. Take 
heed therefore of this carnality. 

Direct, 4. Study the greatness of the mercy which you 
have received. You abound with mercies ; and yet under- 
value them and overlook them, and sweeten not your souls 
with the serious observation and remembrance of them : you 
study principally your afflictions and your wants ; and thus 
when you live in a land that floweth with milk and honey, 
you will not feed on the prepared feast, but keep still the 
gall and wormwood in your mouths ; and how then should 
you be acquainted with the pleasures of a holy life ? 

Yea, you must use to look more to the spiritual part of 
all your mercies, and see the love of God that appeareth in 
them ; and taste the blood of Christ in them, and lose not 
the kernel ; and take not up with the common carnal part, 
which every wicked man can value and enjoy. Consider in 
all your mercies, what there is in them for the benefit of your 
souls, much rather than how they accommodate your flesh. 
Could you do thus, you would find the benefit of afflictions ; 
and that the denial of what you counted necessary mercies, is 
not the smallest of your mercies. And thus judging truly 
by the Spirit, and not by the flesh, there is no condition (ex- 
cept that of sin) in which you might not find cause of joy. 

Direct.^. Take heed of sinning: keep still upon your 
watch against temptation ; sin is the cause of all your suf- 
ferings ; when it promiseth you delight, it is preparing for 
your sorrow ; when it flattereth you into presumption, it is 
preparing for despair ; when it promiseth you secresy and 
security, it prepareth for your shame : and be sure your sin 
will find you out ; Numb, xxxii. 23. If therefore you have 
offended, delay not your repentance ; and spare not the flesh 


in your return ; but (unless the honour of God forbid it) take 
shame to yourselves by free confession, and make the fullest 
reparation of the injury that you can to God and man. If 
you would thus get out the thorn that vexeth you, the ways 
of God would be more pleasant. 

Direct, 6. Daily live in the exercise of faith, upon the 
everlasting pleasures : dwell as at the gates of heaven, as 
men that are waiting every hour when they are called in. 
and when death will draw aside the veil, and shew them the 
blessed face of God. And take heed that the enmity of in- 
terposing death, prevail not against the joys of faith. But 
look to Christ that hath conquered it, and will conquer it 
for you : and if thus you could live as strangers here, and as 
the citizens of heaven, that are ready to step into the immor- 
tal pleasures, you would then taste the pleasures of a holy life, 
in the firstfruits and foretastes thereof. It is your treasure 
that must delight you ; as your heart must be there, so your 
pleasure must be derived thence. Strangers to heaven will be 
strangers to the believer's joys ; as the pleasure of the car- 
nal world consisteth in the sense of what they have in hand ; 
so the pleasure of believers consisteth in the fore-apprehen- 
sions of what they shall enjoy with God for ever. If there- 
fore you exercise not those apprehensions ; if you look not 
frequently, seriously and believingly into the world that 
you must live in for ever, how can the comforts of that 
world illustrate and refresh you in this present world ? The 
light and heat,which is the beauty and life of this lower world, 
proceedeth not from any thing m this world, but frum the sun 
which is so far above us, and sends down hither its quicken- 
ing influence and rays. They are not the genuine comforts 
of Christianity, which are not fetched from the world above. 

Direct, 7. If you would have the experience of the plea- 
sures of a life of faith and holiness, neither desire or cherish 
any feajs or sorrows, but such as are subservient to faith, 
and hope, and love, and preparatory to thankfulness and joy. 
Think not religion consisteth in any other kind of sorrows. 
Nay, if any other should assault you, be so far from taking 
them for your duty or religion, as to resist them, and lament 
them as your sin. That is true and saving humiliation, 1. 
Which makes you vile in your own eyes, and loathe your- 
selves for sin. 2. And maketh you more desirous to be deliv- 
ered and cleansed from your sin, than to live in it; how sweet 


or gainfnl soever it may seem ; and 3. Which maketh you 
set more by a Saviour to deliver you, than by all the plea- 
sures, riches and honours of the world. Whatever want of 
grief or tears you find, if you have these signs, your repen- 
tance and humiliation is sincere. Do not therefore refuse 
your peace because you have not greater sorrows ; nor dis- 
turb your souls by struggling for excessive sorrow : take 
not part with them, but do your best to cast them out, if they 
are such as would destroy your love and joy, and drive you 
from Christ, and hinder your thanksgivings. Know that the 
life of your religion consisteth in the holy love of God and 
of his image, and servants, and holy ways. Love is your 
duty, your felicity, and reward : therefore let all tend to the 
exercise of love, and value most those means which most 
promote it ; and think yourselves best when you abound 
most in love ; and not when you are overwhelmed with those 
fears and griefs which hinder love. Study therefore above 
all, the love of God revealed in Christ, which is the best 
attractive of your love to him; and hateall suggestions 
which would represent God unlovely and undesirable to you. 

Direct. 8. Use cheerful company ; not carnal, but holy ; 
not such as waste their time in unprofitable frothy speeches* 
or filthy, or profane, or scornful jestings : but such as have 
most of the sense of love and mercy on their hearts ; and are 
best acquainted with a life of faith, and whose speeches and 
cheerful conversations, do most lively manifest their sense 
of the love of God, and of the grace of Christ, and the eter- 
nal happiness of the saints. There is a delightful and en- 
couraging virtue in the converse of joyful, thankful, heaven- 
ly believers : use it therefore if you can have it. 

Direct. 9. In your addresses to God in holy worship, be 
sure that praise and thanksgiving have its due proportion. 
They are the chief, and most excellent and acceptable part, 
and therefore let them not have the smallest room. Though 
your sins and wants be as great as you imagine, it is yet your 
duty to praise the excellencies, and attributes, and works 
of your Creator, and to be thankful for the preparations 
made by Christ, and freely offered you, so that they shall cer- 
tainly be yours, if you accept them. But much more thank- 
ful should you be that have but the evidence of desire and 
consent to prove your interest in Christ and in his covenant. 

I would entreat poor troubled fearful souls to resolve up- 


on this one thing, which is reasonable, necessary, and in their 
power, that when they are upon their knees with God, they 
will spend as much of their time and words in confessing 
mercies and praising God, as in confessing sin, and con- 
demning themselves, and lamenting their wants, and weak- 
nesses, and distress. Though they cannot do it cheerfully 
as they should, let them do it as they can. And at last while 
they keep in the right way of duty, and use themselves to 
the commemoration of that which is sweet and grateful to 
the soul, religion itself will become sweet and grateful ; and 
cheerfulness of heart will be promoted by our own consid- 
erations and expressions. The same I desire of them as 
to their thoughts ; that they will do their best to spend 
as many thoughts and as much time upon mercy, as upon 
sin and misery ; and upon the goodness and love of God in 
Christ, as upon his threatenings and terrors. 

Direct. 10. If you would taste the comforts ofa holy life, 
be sure that you give up yourselves to Christ without re-* 
serve, and follow him fully, and place all your hopes and 
confidence in his promised rewards : serve him with your 
best, yea, with your all ; and not with some cheap and heart- 
less service. Comforts are the rewards of faithfulness : they 
that do God the most sincere and costly service, and save 
nothing^ from him which he calleth them to lose, are most 
like to be encouraged by his sweetest comforts. It is slug- 
gish neglects and unfruitfulness, doing no good in the world, 
but thinking to be saved by a dull profession, that makes 
so many uncomfortable professors as there be : though I 
know that on the other extreme, too many live in pining sad- 
ness, by not understanding the covenant of grace, which ac- 
cepteth of sincerity, and secureth the weak and infants in 
the family of Christ. But yet the barren, unprofitable Chris- 
ti >ns (I mean that comparatively are such, though they be 
sincere) shall find that God will not encourage any in sloth - 
fulness by his smiles and consolations. 

Direct. 11. If you would know the rest and comfort of 
believers, see that you rest in the will of God in all condi- 
tions, as the centre and only bottom for your souls. His will 
is not to be reduced to yours : strive therefore to bring yours 
most fully and quietly to his. God's will is the universal 
original and end of all things ; and there is no felicity or 
rest for man, but in the fulfilling, and pleasing, and dispo- 


sals of his will. Be not too desirous of the fulfilling of your 
own wills, and murmur not against the disposals of the will 
of God. It cannot but be good which proceedeth from that 
will which is the spring of good. The accomplishment of 
God's will is the perfection of all created beings, being that 
end for which they are all created. If you rest in your 
own wills, your rest will be imperfect, disturbed and short 
of duration ; for your wills are the wills of weak and vicious 
men : they are frequently misguided by an ignorant mind, 
and perverted by a corrupt and biassed heart : but God's 
will is never misguided ; nor ever determined of any thing 
but for the best. If you rest here, you rest in safety; you 
may be sure you shall never be deceived by him. As you pray 
that his will may be done, acquiesce in the doing of his will ; 
and whatever befal you, repose and satisfy your hearts in this. 
Direct. 12. Lastly, let me add, that when you have all the 
Directions that can be given, you trust not too much to your 
own understanding and skill for the application of them to 
yourselves, in any weighty, difficult cases. But as you will 
not think it enough for the health of your bodies, to have 
physic books and physic lectures, unless you have also a 
physician who knoweth more than you, to direct you in the 
application ; so think it not enough that you have the best 
books and sermons, unless you have also a faithful and ju- 
dicious pastor, whose advice you may crave in particular 
difficulties, and who may direct you in the discovery of your 
own diseases, and applying the fittest remedies in their sea- 
son and measures, with such rules and cautions as are ne- 
cessary to the success. If God had not known that there 
Would still be many children and weak ones in his family, 
that would stand in need of the instruction, support, and 
encouragement of the strong, he would never have settled 
pastors in his church to watch over all the flocks, and to be 
always ready at hand, for the confirmation and encourage- 
ment of such as need their help. Th^re had been no physi- 
cians, if there had been no diseases. Tire not your physi- 
cians with needless consultations for easy and ordinary 
cases ; but be not without them in your greater straits, and 
wants, and doubts. And " blessed be God, even the Father 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the 
God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation, 
that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trou- 


ble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of 
God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our 
consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be 
afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is 
effectual in the enduring of the same suffering, which we 
also suffer ; or whether we be comforted, it is for your con- 
solation and salvation;" 2 Cor. i. 4 — 6. While you are 
sick or infants, the stronger must support you. You cannot 
stand, or go, or suffer of yourselves : and God is so tender 
of his weak and little ones, that he hath not only given 
strength to others for their sakes, and commanded the strong 
to bear the burdens and infirmities of the weak ; (Gal. vi. 1, 
2. Rom. XV. 1 — 4.) but also established the ministerial 
office much for this end. " For the priests' lips should keep 
knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth ; for 
he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts ;" Mai. ii. 7. Not 
that we should disclose our consciences, and depend for 
guidance on every ignorant or ungodly man, that hath the 
name and place of a priest. Even among the Papists, men 
have leave to choose such confessors as are fittest for them. 
If the priests *' depart out of the way, and cause many to 
stumble at the law, and corrupt the covenant of Levi, the 
the Lord will make them contemptible and base before all 
the people, according as they have not kept his ways, but 
been partial in the law;" Mai. ii. 8,9. But use those that 
are qualified and sent by the Spirit of God ; who ** in sim- 
plicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by 
the grace of God, have had their conversation in the world, 
especially to youwards ;" 2 Cor. i. 12. Such as " you have 
acknowledged in part, that they are your rejoicing, as you 
also are theirs in the day of the Lord Jesus ;" ver. 14. Not 
using them as such as have dominion over your faith, but as 
those that by office, qualification, and willingness and dis- 
position are helpers of your joy; ver. 24. 

In the faithful practice of these Directions, you will find 
that Holiness is the most pleasant way ; and that the godly 
choose the better part; and that the ungodly sensualists do 
live as brutes, while they unreasonably refuse to live as 







VOL. X. D » 


It is not a needless subject which I here offer about need- 
less or less needful things. Little do most men think how 
much of their wisdom or folly lieth in their right or wrong 
valuing and using things lawful, and that have an inferior 
sort of goodness ; and how much their salvation or damna- 
tion is herein concerned. Men are condemned for an evil 
love, but not for the love of evil as evil. Nature is against 
that. To love a lesser good too much, and a greater too lit- 
tle ; to love the end but as the means, and the means as the 
end, is an evil love ; * Non malum volumus, sed male.' It is 
the act that is evil when the object is good, either in deed, 
or in the apprehension of the lover. He may will hurt as 
hurt to another, but it is as conceited to be some good to 
himself. Apprehension of good or evil, that is, practical 
judgment, ruleth the wills and actions of the world. Of how 
great moment then is it to have a truly informed judgment, 
and to have teachers that will thus truly inform us ! Not 
about matter of mere talk and dispute, that little concerneth 
us, but about that which is good or evil to ourselves, and to 
know indifferent things to be indifferent. It is the pernici- 
ous enmity of the fleshly appetite to the soul, that it biass- 
eth the practical judgment and will to take things indiffer- 
ent to be good and desirable, and almost necessary ; and a 
small sensible good to be a great one, and a great good, 
which displeaseth sense and appetite, to be small, if not a 
hurtful evil. 

And indeed the Holy Ghost hath told us (Rom. viii. 5—8.) 
that this is the difference between the truly godly and un- 
godly, that one is spiritually minded, and the other carnally 
that is, one savoureth things spiritual, and judgeth of things 
according to spiritual reason and interest, and loveth and 
chooseth them for spiritual goodness ; but the carnal have 


no such gust, judgment, or love, but value things as the ap- 
petite and interest of the flesh inclineth them. Be they both 
of the same calling, education, and profession, if both were 
pastors of churches, and preachers of the same doctrine, yet 
this difference is at the hearts of spiritual and carnal men ; 
and it usually appeareth to others in their lives. If they be 
public persons, they will shew men what things they value, 
and what gain it is that they pursue. The flesh loveth not 
mortification, nor the cross ; it is always against spiritual 
laws and life, and spiritual worship and persons, so far as they 
cross their carnal interest. He that will worship God, that 
is a Spirit, in spirit and truth, must have a judgment that 
most valueth spiritual things, and place his love and hope on 
spiritual delights and happiness. A carnal mind that sa- 
voureth only carnal things, and neither is nor can be subject 
to God's spiritual law, will hardly relish spiritual worship, 
or a spiritual kind of life. 

One of the greatest signs of a hypocrite is, making a 
great matter of little (worldly and fleshly) things, and mak- 
ing a little matter of great things. All the things of the flesh 
and world are things indifferent in themselves, or almost in- 
different, further than their relation to spiritual good doth 
make them become good or evil ; good if they further it, and 
evil if they hinder it. But the hypocrite is never indifferent 
toward them ; he feeleth no great need of spiritual thoughts, 
spiritual counsel, or discourse, or preaching, or books, or 
company. Perhaps he can bear them, but he can be with- 
out them ; and doth neither much desire them, or delight in 
them. A history, or romance, or merry jest, or game is more 
pleasant to him. But his thoughts are serious for his carnal 
commodity, pleasure, and reputation ; what he shall eat and 
drink, and wherewith he shall be clothed. If his house, his 
maintenance, his meat and drink be not such as the flesh de- 
sireth, especially if it be put to straits and sufferings, his 
sense of it is as quick, and his complaint as serious, as if he 
were half undone, or it were some great matter at least that 
he complaineth of. The complaints and tears of many that 
are in some straits or sufferings should cause wiser tears from 
serious believers, to see men so miserably carnal, like chil- 
dren that cry for a pin or a feather, as if they had lost their 
greatest good. 

Seriousness is it that sheweth what is next to a man's, 


heart. It is seriousness and earnestness about fleshly vani- 
ty, and want of seriousness about things spiritual and eter- 
nal, which is ^he temperament and character of the hypo- 

And here I would entreat some that 1 hope are godly, to 
forbear so suspicious and disgraceful a course as they are 
openly guilty of; 1 mean when they talk so concernedly and 
eagerly about their meat, and drink, and clothes, and every 
fleshly thing, as if their hearts were set upon them. Passion 
and chiding if all be not as their fancies or appetite would 
have it, doth shew that they are dangerously diseased at 
least. This meat is not well drest, and the other is too little, 
or too much ; and that sauce is not rightly made, and some- 
thing or other is still amiss. And all these are talked of as 
seriously as if the fleshly appetite were the man. In a word, 
the more serious any man is about great things, the more in- 
different he will be about things indifferent. And the more 
indifferent a man is about the greatest things, the more earn- 
est and serious vvill he be about things indifferent ; and * vice 
versa,' the more serious he is about things indifferent, the 
more indifferent he will be about the one thing necessary. 
Taking great things for small, and small things for great ; 
necessary things for indifferent, and indifferent or smaller 
things for necessary, is the folly, and the sin, and the dam- 
nation of the ungodly. And because all men will do as they 
are, it is also the corrupter, troubler, and divider, of the 
Christian societies, in doctrine, worship, discipline, and con- 
versation, and the confounder of the world. Of which faith 
and serious godliness is the remedy, which valueth and us- 
eth all things as they are. 

September 29, 





LUKE X.41. 

Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art 
careful and troubled about many things ; but one thing is 

Having long ago published some sermons on the One 
Thing Needful, in a Treatise called, " A Saint or a Brute," I 
find by more experience than I had then, that it is more ne- 
cessary to say something on the former part of the text than 
I thought it was. I then lived among poor, labouring, honest 
people, vi^ho had indeed some temptations from outward 
wants, but little from wealth and superfluities, nor had lei- 
sure to waste time upon so many trifles as I see rich and idle 
persons think they have. 

It is here very considerable, 1. That the Author of this 
reproof was one who was not to be suspected to mistake 
through ignorance, or want of love to Martha. And though 
he lived in a low manner, and not as the rich, yet it was not 
because he wanted such things that he blameth the minding 
of unnecessary things, for he was Lord of all ; and for our 
sakes he became poor, yet suffered as rich men, that are sup- 
posed to be usually the greatest sinners. "He made his 
grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death :" Isa. 

2. And that his reproof was very serious and compas- 
sionate, repeating her name, " Martha, Martha " 
• 3. The person reproved was not a wicked, fleshly, world- 
ly person ; but one that was beloved by him, and a religious 


4. The matter which she is reproved for is partly positive 
expressed (being " careful and troubled about many things"), 
and partly implied as privative ; not preferring the one thing 
needful at that time so much as she should have done. 
Which implieth, 1. That the many things were needless, or 
less needful things. 2. That they took up both her unsea- 
sonable time, and the cares of her mind, unto her trouble. 

I need no more words to convince you that Christ here 
teacheth us this lesson, viz. 

' That care and trouble about many needless or less need- 
ful things, hindering them from the due minding of the one 
thing needful, is a sin which Christ reproved in Martha, and 
therefore blameth in all others who are guilty of it.' 

Here, I. Let us consider what Martha's sin in particular 
was. II. Whether we are not like to be more guilty of the 
like. III. In what kind this sin is usually committed. IV. 
What are the excuses for it. V. What is the evil of it which 
deserveth such reproof. VI. What use we should make of 
Christ's reproof. 

1. Martha's sin (already mentioned) was overmuch care 
and trouble about her table for Christ's entertainment, while 
Mary sat hearing his holy discourse ; which shewed that she 
had less appetite than Mary to the holy doctrine of Christ, 
that could be more easily without it. 2. And that she over- 
valued the lower part, his bodily entertainment. 

. Yet there were these extenuations of it. 1. It was not 
doing any sinful work in itself. 

2. It was not needless in its time and measure. 

We are allowed to pray for our daily bread ; and here is 
no mention of any superfluities or excess : and so worthy a 
guest deserved the best provisions : and it is probable that 
Martha was the chief housekeeper, to whom it most belong- 
ed. And no doubt it was a work of love and honour to 
Christ. Yet though it was for his own person, and had such 
excuses, Christ would not take part with it, or forbear to 
blame it. 

And indeed one half of her fault lay in blaming her sister 
that was wiser, aud chose better than herself; and Christ 
spake this as much to justify Mary, as to blame Martha, as 
the following words shew. 

II. Andif we judge but by her quality and case, and ours, 
we are far liker to be thus culpable than Martha was. For, 


1. That country was poor in comparison of ours, and had 
not half the temptations to many needless things, as we have 
by our riches and their effects. 

2. Christ would not have endured such vanities and ex- 
cesses as we are usually guilty of. 

3. It is like, Martha, that was so familiar with Christ, 
was less addicted to vanities than we now are. 

4. Our common vanities, for which few of the better sort 
blame themselves, have no such extenuations or excuses as 
the case of Martha had. 

III. But we need no more to convince us, than to name 
some of the many instances in which our sin is far, yea, very 
far worse than Martha's. 

1. How much of most men's thoughts and time is taken 
up with the needless cares to grow richer, and be better pro- 
vided in the world ? From one end of the year to the other 
how great a proportion is thus laid out? Cannot we serve 
God's providence, and labour in our callings, and do our 
duty, without such a; measure of care and trouble ? Into how 
narrow a compass do worldly cares and troubles cast God's 
service, and men's cares and thoughts of their endless state 
in the hearts and houses of most meji ! These thorns and 
briars are so rank and plentiful, that they choke much of the 
seed of the Gospel, and make true godliness and heavenly 
delight to wither away, and come to little. 

2. How many needless cares and troubles have most about 
God's part and providence, which belongs not to them; fear- 
ing what may befal them, lest they should be poor or op- 
pressed, or suffer by others, when they should spend those 
thoughts in caring for their duty, and trusting the love and 
faithfulness of God ? And no other care will avoid their suf- 

3. How much needless, yea, and brutish thoughts and 
works have many to please and gratify their appetites? 
What a base, and yet costly service have they that serve a 
greedy throat, and a beastly fancy ! 

Had God taken away many men's health, and appetite, 
that meat and drink had been loathsome to them, it had been 
a mercy to many such, who by the pleasure that they have 
in these, are made slaves to the flesh, and sinks of shameful 
sin, and the football of temptations, and live under continual 


wounds of conscience ; and when the cup is absent, they are 
sinning in their imaginations and desires, and are contriving 
how the next meal or day to gratify their appetites again. I 
speak not of the reeling, befooled drunkard, or the spewing 
glutton, but of them whose care is for throat and belly, that 
make a great matter of the pleasing or displeasing of their 
appetites, and think and talk of it so seriously, as if it were 
some needful or important thing; that are displeased in mind 
if their throats be not pleased, and they fare not sumptuous- 
ly or deliciously every day. When the poor Israelites had 
not tasted bread or flesh for many years in a wilderness, nor 
so much as the Egyptian onions, but only manna, they are 
killed by God's justice because they murmured ; and when 
they asked flesh, it is said, " They asked meat for their lusts" 
(Psal. Ixxviii.) ; that is, for their mere appetites, without ne- 
cessity, for life or health. But how much further do most 
go now, exceeding even the princes or great men in Israel in 
the matter and manner of their diet (as I believe the most in 
England do), and yet never blame or suspect themselves ! 
Turks can forbear wine at Mahomet's command, and the 
Rechabites, because their father bid them; and if the physi- 
cian forbid strong drink or wiiie to the sick they can forbear; 
but sensual sinners will rebel against God for their desired 
bait, and their heart and thoughts are set upon it. 

4. How much also of many vain people's thoughts and 
care is spent about needless ornaments of apparel ! Do we 
need any other proof than the opening of our eyes in the 
streets, yea, in the holy assemblies, as well as in places of 
evil fame ? Dives is noted by Christ to wear purple and silk, 
or as we translate it, fine linen ; and then those tha^ were 
gorgeously apparelled were in king's houses ; but how few 
here of the vulgar, yea, of servants, affect it not now that can 
but procure it! If the highest do but take it up, inferiors 
quickly strive to imitate them. In my short time the garb 
of England is so changed, that but fifty years ago men would 
have gazed at such as painted Indians, or outlandish strang- 
ers, or ugly ruffians, that had gone as most civil and religi- 
ous people do in this city now. Paul would have forborne 
wine and flesh while he had lived, rather than this liberty 
should hurt his weak brother's soul. But if the scandal of 
our pride and gaudery do make many weak persons turn 


Quakers to fly from it, how few for to avoid this would avoid 
the most gaudy, and efleminate, or ruffianly fashion of clothes 
or hair ? And instead of receiving reproof from such Qua- 
kers, they are hardened the more because of the weakness 
of their reprovers. I am loath to name those gauds with 
which especially the female sex do openly shew their vanity, 
which tell all beholders what needless trifles take up much 
of their time, and cost, and care. And alas, for men's stupid 
folly all this is, while thousands want food and raiment, while 
whole countries are impoverished by cruel wars,when dreadful 
flames have consumed ourwealth, and rebuked our pride, and 
humbling diseases have shewed us what flesh is ; and when 
our daily feeling tells us it is perishing ; and while we are 
going to a loathsome grave, and see the dust and bones of 
those whom we are following ; and the plain warnings of 
Peter, 1 Pet. iii, 3 — 6. and many such stand in the Bible as 
<iiphers to them. 

5. How many needless things take up the rich, about 
their houses, furniture, retinue, and entertainments ? Espe- 
cially those that are most proud, and most curious and vain. 
Conveniency must be a pretence for sinful cost and labour; 
handsomeness or decency must be a pretence for needless 
charge in furniture, while the poor go almost naked. Clean- 
liness must be a pretence for their servants spending much 
of the day and year in needless vanities, which might be 
much better spent. Not to be accounted careless or un- 
cleanly by others of the like vanity seems to be excuse 
enough for a multitude of needless curiosities. To find poor 
people work, doth pass for an excuse for employing servants 
and tradesmen in making and providing all these need-nots, 
as if they might not have been better employed for the com- 
mon good, and encouraged to learn some better trades ; as 
if they knew, not how narrow a coffin, and little furniture 
must shortly serve them. The report of good housekeeping 
and entertainments must justify the excesses, and chargea- 
ble, needless superfluities of the rich. 

6. What needless cares and business have many to avoid 
the contempt or hard thoughts of others ! How near goeth 
it to a proud heart what is thought and spoken of them! 
And their avoiding of contempt must be the reason of most 
of the forementioned vanities, in their dress their houses, 


their retinue, and the rest ; when alas, they*have another 
kind of judgment to prepare for, and they, and those whose 
thoughts they so much regard, are almost dead and dust al- 

7. What a deal of some men's care and thoughts are spent 
in needless contrivances for power and greatness in the 
world ! What works find some Ahithophels and Hamans 
for their minds ! As if it were needful for a man to fall at 
last from a higher place than the rest about him ; or to have 
his will fulfilled by all others ; or to have the souls or lives 
of many to answer for ; or to be more strongly allured to the 
damning love of this world than other men ; or to be envied 
by many ; or to be a ruler of others, before one knoweth how 
to be obedient to God, and to rule himself. And O what 
worse than needless troubles, even horrible wickedness, doth 
this ambition lead many to ! Even to be the plagues of the 
earth, and incarnate devils, by bloody wars, and cruel op- 
pressions, desolations, and persecutions. 

8. Yea, some of lower rank have such imperious idol 
wills that nothing must cross them, or be said or done by 
any about them, but as they would have it. And yet it is 
two to one but so many persons and things will cross them, 
and go quite contrary to their wills, as that their disease will 
be their continual torment. And they will be like one in 
winter that cannot bear the cold, and yet must bear it ; or 
like a poor man that is a servant to his appetite, and hath 
not wherewith to please it ; or like one thatdwelleth by the 
sea, and cannot bear the sight of the water ; or in a wood, 
and cannot bear the shaking of a leaf. Such worse than need- 
less troubles doth an idol will produce. 

9. And how much time is lost in vain and needless talk 
about things not justly pleasing, and no way profiting our- 
selves and others ! A vain tongue being the index of a vain 
mind, as if mind and tongue had no higher or better subjects 
or employment. 

10. And in this city it is not a little time that is taken 
up with needless sports and recreations. I will not honour 
the gamester's trade with so soft a name as needless work ; 
nor the playhouses, nor the houses of excess and lust. But 
if cards, dice, and stage-plays had never been branded and 
condemned by the ancient canons of the Christian churches. 


and did not notoriously bear the marks of temptation, and 
much gross folly and sin, yet vanity and needlessness should 
be enough to make men that believe in another world, and 
the shortness of this life, to abhor them, and better spend 
their time. There is a sort of pleasure and recreation that 
is needful. That which fits us best for our necessary works 
and duties, preserving by motion the health of the body, or 
refreshing the weary spirits of hard students. But God hath 
left no man in such a penury of recreation but that he may 
find more useful, profitable, manly, time-saving, and safe 
ones, than gaming or stage-plays, or romances, and such en- 
snaring, befooling, unprofitable time-wasters are. 

11. And among all the needless, deceitful vanities, un- 
profitable studies and arts are not the least. When Corne- 
lius Agrippa had strained his brain to such curiosities that 
he passed for a conjurer, and had written a commentary up- 
on Lullius' arts after many others ; he concludeth all with an ho- 
nest and Christian-like treatise, * De Vanitate Scientiarum,' 
commending the study and practice of God's word as the only 
true wisdom. And though I have marvelled at the Carthage 
council, which forbade the reading of heathens' books, I ne- 
ver wondered that men's excess herein should be rebuked, 
nor that Paul called men to beware lest they were deceived 
by vain philosophy, and to avoid opposition of sciences 
falsely so called. Languages, logic, metaphysics, physics, 
mathematics, &c. have their use ; but he is a learned man 
indeed who rightly applieth them to that use, and separateth 
the needful from the needless part, the certain from the un- 
certain, truth from falsehood, and presumptuous conceits ; 
the plausibleness of the thing inviteth many to waste their 
time in unprofitable studies, who durst not have spent it in 
playhouses and gaming ; and yet I doubt to many it will 
prove no better. 

Query, But the doubt is, * What are these'^needless, sin- 
ful things, that seemeth needless to one that is not so indeed, 
or to another ? Cynics call decencies, and ornaments, and 
conveniences, and pleasure needless.' 

Arisw. I. That is needless which doth no good. 

2. Those things that do more hurt than good. 

3. Those things which answer not the cost and labour 
which is bestowed upon them. 

4. Those things that are good, but hinder and deprive us 


of a greater good, which we may well spare, but are hin- 
drances to the one thing necessary, which we cannot spare y 
all these are certainly needless, if not worse. 

But because vain persons are hardly convinced, till God 
by light or fire do convince them, I will help them by these 
few questions following. 

Quest, 1. Is that act which you plead for a thing which 
God doth any way command you directly or indirectly? If 
not, how can it be needful to you '? You will say. Are there 
not some things indifferent and lawful which are no duties ? 
Answ, 1. There are natural things which are not moral (either 
virtue or vice) ; as your health or sickness, and such things 
as are God's works, and not yours ; of these I speak not. 2. 
There are actions of your own which are merely natural, nei- 
ther commanded nor forbidden, and that is all those which 
are no matter for rational choosing or refusing, such as have 
no moral use ; as winking with the eye, which foot I shall 
first put forward ; which of two equal things, in meat, drink, 
and apparel, &c., I shall take (not choose), when it is need- 
ful that I do one, but it is perfectly indifferent which. But 
the things which I am speaking of are of no such nature, but 
such as belong to rational choice, and are accordingly chos- 
en by you. 

Quest. 2. Would your consciences trouble you for it as 
any sin, if you omitted the thing which I call needless ? I 
suppose not. 

Quest. 3. Is it to please God as an act of obedience that 
you do them ? Is your curiosity, and your vain attire, and 
the rest forementioned chosen to please God, or to please 
your fleshly sense and fancy, or the world ? 

Quest. 4. Will it be any hurt to you, or real loss, if they 
be omitted, or be denied you ? 

Quest. 5. Have you got any thing by them already, or not 
lost more than you have gotten ? 

Quest, 6. Are they things that the better or the worse 
sort of persons more mind and plead for ? Whose delights 
are cards, and dice, and plays, and vain fashions ? Is it the 
most heavenly, or the most fleshly persons that are most ea- 
ger of them, and most use them ? 

Quest. 7. Do you find that they more help or hinder you 
in prayer and other holy exercises? Especially your hea- 
venly delights ? 


Quest, 8. How do they relish with you when you think 
of death and judgment? Are they a comfortable part of 
your preparation? Had you rather then review and answer 
for your time spent in these, than in greater things ? 

If you will but set conscience to answer these questions, 
methinks you should soon perceive yourselves what things 
they be that are needless, and therefore not to be chosen, 
and consequently unlawful. 

But that you may see that I drive you not to any extremes, 
I shall negatively add, 

1. I do not number all our thoughts, care, and labour for 
our bodies, children, or others, about things needful and con- 
venient, to be these needless things. 

2. Nor is our diligent labour in a constant calling need- 
less; he that will not labour, St. Paul saith, should not eat; 
this is a part of our obedience to God, " Six days shalt thou 

3. Nor is it needless to labour for more than we need 
ourselves, that we may have to give to him that needeth, and 
to do good to others. 

4. Nor is it needless to do our best for our bodily health 
ta fit our bodies to be able and cheerful servants to our souls. 
That food, that recreation and pleasure, which is necessary 
to fit body or mind for service, and the work of a Christian 
life, is not vain. 

5. All men are not called to the same kind of labour and 
employment. That is needful to one, which is not to ano- 

6. The lowest things which we do in obedience to God, 
if it were but sweeping the streets or chimnies, is not to be 
numbered with the needless things, but rather a comfortable 
exercise of humility and obedience. 

But every man must prefer the greatest thing. 

IV. What are the common excuses of this sin ? 

Object. 1. * Some say, that it is but few persons, at least 
not all, that are fitted for, and called to great employments. 
They that cannot do greater matters must do lesser. 

Answ, All are not called to govern kingdoms, nor to be 
teachers and pastors of the church ; but all have some ta- 
lent, which they must use and answer for ; and all may do 
somewhat which tendeth to the common good ; the servant 
of labour that plougheth, soweth, and reupeth doth serve the 


commonwealth ; and if his master live idly, and spend his 
time in gaming, plays, or other vanity, can he excuse it by 
claiming a greater incapacity than his servant had ? A ma- 
son, a carpenter, a tailor, a chimney-sweep, do that which is 
needful to be done ; and shall rich men live idly, and do no 
good, because they are rich ? 

Object, 2. ' I was not bred up to labour ; they' that were 
bred up to it must use it.' 

Answ, If you were not bred up to some calling or employ- 
ment, profitable to yourself and others, you were bred in sin, 
and then it were time to break it off. Idleness, with pride, 
and fulness, are noted to have been Sodom's sins ; and will 
you not amend because you were bred in sin ? Can you bear 
the doom of the unprofitable, slothful servant? Matt. xxv. 
Or will it excuse you because you have been slothful from 
your youth ? 

Object, 3. ' God doth not require toil and labour from 
those that are rich, and need it not.' 

Answ. God doth not require the same kind of labour 
from all ; but if he give you more than the poor, he re- 
quireth not less, but more from you ; that is, your constant 
diligence in more profitable work ; else you may as well say. 
That God is the Governor of none but the poor ; or that he 
looketh for least service where he giveth most wages. 

Your labour is not only to supply your own needs, but to 
profit others, and for the common good. 

And the more you do in way of duty, the more you re- 
ceive and profit yourselves. Idleness is your own loss to 
soul and body. 

Object. 4. * Men need recreation and relaxation.' 
Answ, What do you need it for ? Is it not for your work, 
and your health, to enable you to work ? Use no more than 
furthereth your health and work, and that shall not be called 

Object. 5. ' Little things are useful in their places : Christ 
saith of some such, " Those ought ye to have done, and not 
to leave the other undone." ' 

Answ, No doubt but there are things good and needful 
of several degrees ; all are not of the most needful kind. 
But what is this to that which is not needful ? Or thathin- 
dereth more needful things, as afore described ? 

Object. 6, * Old men are incompetent judges of the case 


of youth, as not having their inclinations to sports and 
pleasures ; and all men, especially divines and lawyers, and 
such like grave men, who are themselves taken up with great- 
er matters, are incompetent judges of the affairs of women, 
their clothes, their furniture, their expenses, and their em- 
ployments, and are apt to call all needless which is below 
their work. 

Answ, Yet Christ thought himself meet to judge of the 
choice of Martha and Mary, and Solomon to give directions 
to women, and so did St. Peter and St. Paul. Old men were 
once young, and know what youthful inclinations are ; and 
grave men that live among women, see their business, and 
know their reasons. And if all sorts of persons shall judge 
ministers, lawyers, and judges incompetent to judge of their 
tradings, actions, and affairs, and so appropriate the judg- 
ment of them to themselves alone, then all persons will by 
their own judgments be always in the right, and none will 
be capable of amendment; the proverb is, ' A stander-by 
may see more than a player;' but it is confessed that a just 
judge must hear and consider the whole case. 

Object. 7. * We shall be derided if we are singular.* 
Answ. Will God deride you for obeying him ? Hath not 
he said, " Be not conformed to this world?" You will be 
derided and persecuted too by wicked men, if you will be 
true to Christ, to godliness, sobriety, and honesty ; and is 
that a good reason why you should be sensual, worldly, and 
ungodly '? 

V. But what is the sin here reproved, &c. ? What harm 
is it to be thus careful and troubled about many things that 
are not comparatively needful ? 

Atisw. 1 . To prefer little things before greater, and thus 
to employ ourselves, is a wilful debasing of our souls, which 
should be exercised about that which is answerable to the 
dignity of their natures ; as it is a debasing of a prince to 
use him as beggars, or in sordid work ; and as it were below 
a wise man to talk at the rate of fools and children ; so is it 
a debasing of a soul that is made for things of endless con- 
sequence to employ it upon needless trifles. Pride maketh 
men think well of themselves, and look high in the world, 
and disdain to be set low in men's thoughts, words, or em- 

VOL. X. E E 


ployments ; and yet when God commandeth them to look 
higher, they choose a low and sordid life. 

2. It is a wilful contempt of the most excellent things : 
God and our Redeemer, grace and glory, are before us, and 
should be remembered and sought in the first place ; and it 
is a contempt of them needlessly to turn from them our 
minds and time to vanity. The mind of man is not infinite, 
but narrow, and cannot be employed on many things at once ; 
if it be taken up with trifles, it cannot choose Ijiit neglect 
greater things. And for God, and Christ, and heaven, to be 
set by, while we play with toys, is profane contempt. 

Object, * We cannot be always thinking of God and hea- 

Answ. But you must always be serving God in one kind 
or other, and always doing that which tends to heaven ; as 
you are not all day meditating of the light, but you are all 
day using it. 

3. This taking up our minds and time with needless 
things, is a great injury to ourselves by neglect of our own 
greatest benefit and necessities. Did but men know what 
they have to mind and seek, it would be their speedy cure. 
Alas ! we are all behindhand in our great and necessary bu- 
siness ; and these triflers usually are more behindhand than 
others. They have more to do of unspeakable consequence 
than all their time and diligence will serve for, as it deserv- 
eth, (having lost so much already,) and yet have they so much 
to spare for trifles. 

O that these loiterers knew their necessity and their 
work ! 1. You have a God to know, of whom you are too 
ignorant ; you have his word and will to know, which you 
are yet much unacquainted with. 2. Do you know what it 
is to get, keep, use, and strengthen a lively belief of the 
word of God, and the unseen world ? 3. Do you know what 
it is to get assurance that God is your reconciled Father, 
that Christ and salvation are yours ; that you are truly sanc- 
tified, and shall live in heaven for ever? 4. Do you know 
what it is to get the heart in love with God, and to long after 
conimunion with him in glory ? 5. Do you know what it is 
to get down all the lusts of the flesh, and watch against all 
the snares of sense and vain imagination, and to escape the 
love of these alluring pleasures, and the danger of particu- 


lar sins of sensuality ? 6. Do you know what it is to sub- 
due all your carnal affections and passions, and to get in 
their stead a zeal for God, and to be fervent in his service? 
7. Do you know what it is to get above the love of riches, 
and to escape all the snares of covetous desires ? 8. Do you 
know what it is to keep a holy government of your thoughts, 
and to employ them in their proper work ? 9. Do you know 
what it is to rule your tongues, in forbearing evil, and using 
them for that which they are made for ? 10. And do you 
know what the spiritual, sincere, and constant use of all 
God's worship is, word, prayer, sacraments, &c. 11. Do 
you know what it is to renew repentance for our renewed 
sins ? 12. And to keep down all pride, and to walk humbly 
before God and man ? 13. Do you know what it is to love 
others as yourselves ; to do as much good to all men's souls 
and bodies as you can ? 14. And what it is to discharge all 
the duties of your several relations, to all your superiors, in- 
feriors, and equals ? 15. And what it is to find out the cor- 
ruptions and deceitfiilness of your own hearts, and well to 
understand yourselves? 16. And what it is to understand 
the nature and danger of all satan's temptations, and to es- 
cape or overcome them ? 17. And what it is to obey all the 
motions of God's Spirit ? 18. And to use all our daily mer- 
cies well ? 19. And to bear afflictions patiently, and profit 
ably ? 20. And to be above the love of this body and life, and 
ready to die ? 21 . And to live in the joy and comfort which 
beseemeth the children of God, the members of Christ that 
wait in hope of endless glory? Do but understand what 
all, or half this is, and conscionably do it, and then spend 
the rest of your time in cards, dice, plays, vain adornings, 
curiosities, and other trifles. 

4. Consider also that time and life are very short, and 
very uncertain, and therefore not to be spent on needless 
things by one that standeth at the door of eternity. 

5. The experience of other men should move us : all right 
repenting men, and most dying men, wish that their time 
had not been so wasted, but spent on that which was neces- 
sary to the great ends of life. 

6. Conscience telleth most that have not seared it, that 
at death and judgment we are like to wish that needful 
things had taken up all our time. 

7. It is a wrong to our great Creator and Preserver, that 


we should thus waste our time while he maintaineth us, as 
if he gave us life and mercy for such vanity. 

8. The example of Christ and his saints is a reproof of 
all such vanity ; we find not that they thus spent their 
thoughts and time. 

VI. The uses we should make of this are these. 
1. Parents may hence learn for what employment they 
should educate their children in the world, what they should 
teach them, and to what trades and callings they should set 
them ; not to such as will spend their lives in vanities ; but 
such in which they may be most useful to themselves and 
others in the world. Not that all can be of the best or high- 
est callings, but all should be educated for the most use and 
service, and all employed in the best which they are fit for. 
It is a debasing of your children to intend them for no bet- 
ter than to live at ease to get money ; a heathen would tell 
you, that usefulness to the commonwealth is more to be re- 
garded ; and a Christian knoweth that the serving of God in 
the greatest profiting of ourselves and others, must be pre- 

II. Let us all review our lives, and see here how much 
we have to repent of; and let us see also what cause of la- 
mentation we have for the common guilt of all sorts, against 
these and such like words of Christ. 

But to prevent your misunderstanding of me, I first pro- 
fess that I intend not to make you cynics, or superstitious, 
nor to persuade you that it is necessary to your salvation to 
live nastily and indecently ; nor that it is any part of your 
holiness or perfection to be singularly sordid, and to avoid 
things comely and convenient, as some old hermits and an- 
chorites, and divers Popish saints seemed to think. I am 
not drawing you to imitate that present sect among us, that 
set up at first with a holiness which consisted much in for- 
bearing cuffs, and bands, and hatbands, and ribands, and 
saying thou instead of you, and withal in open reviling the 
most faithful ministers. It is not a superstitious ** touch 
not, taste not, handle not ;" (Col. ii. 20, 21.) I am commend- 
ing to you ; but I fear lest the contrary common extreme be 
much more dangerous. I would not speak against your 
smallest convenience, so far as it become not a time-wasting 
snare, and hindered not your heads, hearts, and lives from 
greater necessary things. I know that when St. Paul speak- 


eth often for providing things honest, and living honestly, 
he meaneth things decent, and of good report ; to expose 
one's self purposely to be laughed at, as St. Francis, and such 
others are s^id to have done, is no just exercise of piety or 

But alas what a doleful spectacle is it, to one that believ- 
eth whither we are going to see what it is that most men are 
doing, and what it is that they leave undone ! I am not now 
speaking of the time that is spent in direct evil ; but little 
do men know how dangerously they sin in spending too 
much in things that have some good, and in preferring con- 
veniences, and small bodily pleasures and commodities, be- 
fore the great and needful things ; who can doubt but it was 
a decent and good thing for Martha to make provision for 
Christ, and to attend and serve him ? Are not most of your 
unseasonable cares and troubles about much smaller matters 
than this ? But at the time when greater things should be 
done, even these are culpable cares and troubles ; much more 
those many little trifles, which only pride and folly calleth 
needful. And verily we have all so much of this necessary 
work to do, that leaveth us little room or time to spare for 
things which most men spend much of their lives in ; so 
great and urgent are our main concerns, as should make 
every wise man study diligently to put by as many of the 
less diverting matters as he can. He that had money to lay 
out for his ransom, or for his life, or necessary livelihood, 
would spend little on small matters, till he were sure he had 
enough to spare. Hearken but wisely to God and con- 
science ; foresee whither you are going, and what you have 
to do, and of what inconceivable importance, and then con- 
sider whether you have room and time for all or any of those 
diverting trifles which are the chiefest care and business of 
the unbelieving carnal world. 

This needless business plainly sheweth that you have 
low and little souls. As children playing in the sand shew 
their difference from men that apply themselves to manly 
business, so your over-business about your ornaments, 
dresses, compliments, rooms, and many such trifles, doth 
tell others (whether you will know it yourselves or not,) that 
you have both childish understandings, (and worse, because 
you are at age,) that set too much by little things ; and that 
you have too much carnality of affection, when you have so 


much mind of trifling neednots. And worst of all, it plainly 
sheweth that you greatly want a sounder belief and deeper 
sense of your great business and interest in the world, and 
live not in the sense of the nearness of death, and things 
eternal, as wise believers should still do. 

I am not saying that you should always have the sinful 
fears and sadness, which the sentence of death doth bring 
on most ; I had rather you were quite above these to the 
last. Nor do I say you should always have just the same 
kind of passions, or do all things just in the same manner, 
as you ought to have and do if you were sure to die to-mor- 
row. But I must say, that you should have the same wis- 
dom, and the same esteem of God, and of the world, of soul 
and body, of heaven and earth, of eternity and time, of duty 
and sin, of necessaries and trifles, as you will then have ; 
and the same holy affections, and diligence, and practice of 
life, which this wisdom will then teach you to wish that you 
had sooner had. O let there not be too great and shameful 
a difference between your living and your dying thoughts. 
If your father, or child, or husband, or wife, were on their 
deathbed, or going to execution, would not all be ashamed 
of you, that should hear you talk to them about cards, or 
plays, or fine clothes, or laces, or greater worldly toys than 
these? Yea, if you were taken up yourselves about your 
own ornaments, dressings, curiosities, and troublesome tri- 
flings, who would not say that you were disgracefully sense- 
less of your own and your dying friend's condition ? O pro- 
mise not yourselves more time than God hath promised you I 
Dream not that you dwell further from the grave than you 
do : you know not what it is to live as Christians, or as men, 
if you know not that all our life should be spent in our 
best preparation for death. Though you must do much 
which you would not be just found doing, you must do no- 
thing but what you can then comfortably review, nor spend 
a moment in that which then you must wish that you had not 
spent it in. And whether time-wasting trifles and neednots 
will be comfortably remembered then, by one that hath rea- 
son and faith, and had so little time, and so much to do with 
it, methinks it might be easy to foresee. 

Verily if you spent your time in no greater matters, than 
in getting gold and worldly glory, crowns, and kingdoms, 
merely for your flesh, and the greatest pleasures of a carnal. 


transitory life, you will in the everlasting review be con- 
founded and tormented in remembering your self-abasing 
folly. And are your many little trifles then of more worth 
to make you a just excuse? Gentlemen, ladies, and gentle- 
women, do not only bear with me, but be willing and thank- 
ful that I deal plainly with you, when it is not for me, but 
for yourselves : it is such as you that are most ordinarily and 
inexcusably guilty of this sin and folly. The poor labour- 
ing countryman and tradesman indeed is inexcusable that 
will be diverted from the care of his everlasting state, even 
by his most lawful and necessary labours : but usually their 
guilt is less far than yours in all these following respects. 

1. That which they do is profitable to the commonwealth, 
and so is good, and part of their duty in itself considered. 
To plough, and sow, and reap, and make you bread, and 
drink, and clothes, &c. But what good cometh to the com- 
monwealth by your curiosities, and vanities, and plays, and 
compliments, though decency, and cleanliness, and hand- 
someness, and avoiding contempt and reproach be vainly 
pretended for them. They gather, and you waste. They 
are the bees, and you are the drones. They labour, and you 
consume it on your lusts and fancies. God bid them labour 
six days, but he never bade you make such a stir for mere 
unnecessary vanities. 

2. Necessity is some reason for what they do, though it 
be no good excuse for leaving undone greater things. They 
must maintain themselves and families, and pay you your 
rents. But what necessity have you to waste thoughts and 
times about your many unprofitable toys ? Martha had 
some excuse, but you have none. 

3. God giveth you more wages, and therefore doth ex- 
pect more work ; you are stewards of more trust, and there- 
fore have more to give up an account of. 

4. They can say, Christ and his apostles, and all good 
men, have laboured and done such things as we do ; and it 
is part of his law, that if we will not work we shall not eat; 
and Solomon's mother, a queen, and he the wisest king by 
her teaching, describeth the virtuous woman to be one that 
worketh willingly with her hands on wool and flax, that ris- 
eth before day to look to her household, and her candle 
goeth not out by night; and eateth not the bread of idle- 


ness ; (when too many of the rich do eat no other.) The 
labours of your tenants have such precedents as these. But 
have you any such for your needless formalities and toys? 
Did Christ or his apostles spend their time in prating of un- 
profitable things, or in idleness, or plays, or gaming, or in 
childish neatifying their bodies, or such like ? Was St. Pe- 
ter of your mind when he wrote to Christian women, that 
" their adorning be not outward, of plaiting the hair, and of 
wearing gold, or of putting on of apparel, but the hidden 
man of the heart; in that which is not corruptible, even of 
a meek and quiet spirit, which is in God's si