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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"

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* VOL. XL 



















Premonition • Hi 

Epistle Dedicatory • v 

Preface • xxvii 

CHAP. I. Of the nature of Selfishness, as opposite to God j 

invading his prerogative in ten particulars . . 57 

II. Reasons of the necessity of Self-denial 7^ 

HI. Use 1. A general complaint of the prevalency of 

Selfishness 82 

IV. The prevalency of Selfishness in all relations • • 87 

V. The power of Selfishness upon men's opinions in 

religion 93 

VI. Men's great averseness to costly or troublesome 

duties 96 

VII. Men's tenderness of Self in cases of suffering . . 102 

VIII. The partiality of men's judgment in their own 

cases 103 

IX. The great power and prevalency of Selfishness 

discovered 110 

X. Consectaries : 1 . This evinceth the fall of man, 

and original corruption. 2. It tells us what 
to expect from man, and gives us the truest 
prognostic of affairs, so far as the will of man 
determine th them. 3. It warranteth a mode- 
rate incredulity and jealousy of man. 4. It 
calleth us to be jealous of ourselves 115 



CHAP. XI. (/se2. To try our Self-denial, whether it be 

sincere 117 

Xil. Exercise Self-denial. Ten cases in which Self 

must be denied • • • • 120 

XIII. I. Selfish dispositions to be denied j and 

I . Self-love. 194 

XIV. 2. Self- conceitedness must be denied •••^ 128 

XV. Self-will must be denied • 139 

XVI. Selfish passions to be denied l48 

XVII. Self-imagination to be denied 150 

XVIII. Inordinate appetite to be denied . , 152 

XIX. II. Self-interest to be denied. And 1. Pleasure. 

1. That of the taste. 2. Lustful plea- 
sures to be denied 158 

XX. 3. Wanton talk, love-songs, &c. to be denied. . 165 

XXI. 4. Idle and worldly talk to be denied 168 

XXII. 5. False stories, romances, and other idle 

tempting books I76 

XXIII. 6. Vain sports and pastimes to be denied . . 177 

XXIV. 7. Vain and sinful company to be denied • • 182 

XXV. 8. Pleasing accommodations, houses, gardens, 

horses, &c 1 84 

XXVI. ©. Self-denial in apparel needful 18S 

XXVII. 10. Self-denial against ease, and idleness, 

and worldly peace 195 

XXVIII. 11. Delight in worldly prosperity to be 

denied ....•• •, < . . . 201 

XXIX. 12. Children and relations how to be denied 204 

XXX. 13. Revengeful passions to be denied ...... 211 

XXXI. 14. Useless history and news to be denied. . 212 

XXXII. 15. Unnecessary knowledge and delight 

therein, to be denied ..,..,.. 2I'* 

XXXIII. 16^^A factious desire of the success of our 

own opinions, and the thriving of our 

own parties, as such, to be denied . . 219 

XXXIV. 17. Carnal liberty to be denied. There is 

a holy liberty, which none must deny : 
and an indifferent liberty j hoAy far this 
must be denied ...,..., 222 

XXXV. 18. Our native country and habitations to 

be denied 229 

XXXVI. 19. Bodily health and ease from pains ..^ 231 



CHAP.XXXVII. 20. Natural life to be denied 236 

XXXVIII. Twenty reasons to move us to deny our 
lives, and yield to violent or natural death 
with comfortable submission, when God re- 
quireth it 241 

XXXIX. An answer to such doubts as are raised by 

the fears of deatli 2G4 

XL. Directions to procure a willingness to die .... 267 
XLI. III. Self-denial in point of honour and pride. 

1. Of climbing into dignities, or high places 273 
XLII. 2. The love and commendations of others, 

to be denied 278 

XLIII. 3. The reputation of wealth to be denied . . 279 
XLIV. 4. Comeliness and beauty to be denied .... 280 

XLV. 5, Strength and valour to be denied 282 

XLVI. 6. Wisdom and learning to be denied .... 283 
XLVII. 7. Reputation of spiritual gifts and abilities 

to be denied , . 284 

XLVII I. 8. The reputation of being orthodox, how 

to be denied 289 

XLIX. 9. The reputation of godliness and honesty, 

how to be denied 291 

L. 10. A renowned and perpetual name to be denied 298 
LI. Quest. I. Whether Self-denial consist in renounc- 
ing propriety ? » 309 

Lll. Quest. 2. Whether it consist in renouncing mar- 
riage ? 310 

LIII. Quest. 3. Whether it lie in solitude and re- 
nouncing secular affairs? 3 }2 

LIV. Quest. 4. Or in renouncing public offices and 

honours? 3J3 

LV. Quest. 5. Or in denying our relations? 314 

LVI. Quest. 6. Whether Self-denial require us to 
give more to godly strangers, than to kindred 

that are ungodly ? 316 

LVII. Quest. 7- How we must love our neighbours 

as ourselves ? 318 

LVIII. Quest. 8. What penance or self-revenge it 

requireth ? * ibid. 

LIX. Quest. 9. Must all passion be denied ? 320 

LX. Quest. 10. How far must we deny our reason ? ibid. 
I^XI- Quest. 11. How far must we be content with 

God's afflicting will ? &c 321 



CHAP. LXll. Quest. VZ. May God be finally loved as our 

felicity and portion, for ourselves ? 322 

LXIII. Motives to Self-denial: 1. Selfishness is the 

grand idolatry 325 

LXIV. 2. It is the enemy of all moral good 32S 

LXV. 3. It is contrary to the state of holiness and 

happiness 335 

LXVl. 4. Self-seeking is self-losing : Self-denial is 

our safety 337 

LXVII. 5. It is the powerful enemy of all ordinances 341 

LXVIII. 6. It is the enemy of all societies, and rela- 
tions, and common good 347 

LXIX. 7. It corrupteth and debaseth all that it dis- 

poseth of 354 

LXX. 8. Deny Self, or you will deny Christ 356 

LXXI. 9. The selfish deal worse with God than with 

the devil 358 

LXXII. It is the heaviest plague to be left to our- 
selves 359 

LXXIII. IV. Ten directions to get Self-denial 36*0 

The conclusion • • 368 


Preface ccclxxxiii 

CHAP. I. What true Patience is, and is not, towards God 
and man. How we possess our souls in Pa- 
tience. What Impatience is worst ? Wherein 
lieth the sinfulness of Impatience towards 

God 385 

II. Arguments and helps for patient and obedient 

sufferings in particular instances 397 

Case i. Jn pain and sickness of body : particular helps . . 398 

II. Under the sentence of death, against inordinate 

fears 402 

III. Under poverty and want, through losses, or any 

other causes -> 405 

IV. Under the sufferings and death of friends 409 

1. Of children 410 

3. Of ungodly kindred 411 

3. Some dear friend, who died in pain or misery ibid. 

4. Some pillars in church or state 403 



Cask V. Unkindness and injury of friends and relations. . 415 

VI. Injuries from malicious enemies 419 

1 . Personal ibid, 

2. Persecuting 421 

VII. Oppression and injustice by men of wealth and 

power 431 

VIII. Superior's sufferings by bad children, servants, 

tenants or subjects • 439 

IX. False accusations, defamations 3 duty made odious 

crimes ; reputation ruined 443 

X. Vexatious, strong temptations of Satan, especially 

to melancholy persons 448 

XI. Settled doubts of sincerity and salvation. Temp- 

tations to despair 450 

XII. The loss of teachers, and suitable means of 

grace and salvation 460 

XIII. When God seemeth not to bless means to us j 

preaching, praying, &c. 468 

XIV. Weakness of grace, knowledge, faith, love, 

comfort, great corruptions 477 

XV. When God doth not bless the labours of our call- 

ings, ministers', parents' endeavours for chil- 
dren, for near relations, tradesmen, endea- 
vours for the church 483 

XVI. The common sin and misery of the world, and 

fewness of wise and godly men 49 1 

XVII. The sad distemper and divisions of Christians, 

and the hurt they do to the world, and to one 
another, and the dishonourable state of the 
church 498 

XVIII. Heavy judgments on the land by plagues, po- 

verty, fire and wars 502 

XIX. The prosperity and triumphs of wicked enemies 

of the church 507 

XX. No probability in any visible means that ever the 

world should be much better. Twelve gene- 
ral directions to get and use Patience in every 
case 510 




1 linve no man likeminded who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their 
own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's," 

Phil. H. 20, 21. 






I TAKE the love of God and Self-denial to be the sum of all 
savinj^ grace and religion ; the first of the positive part, and 
the second of the oppositive or negative part : and 1 judge 
of the measure of my own, and all other men's true piety, 
by these two. And it is the rarity of these two, which as- 
sureth me of the rarity of sincere godliness. O how much 
selfishness, and how little love of God, are too often found 
among those contenders for supposed true doctrine, true 
worship, true discipline, and the true church ! Who can 
say that their zeal for these things doth eat up themselves, 
their charity, their peaceableness, and their brethren ? The 
same men that will not abate an opinion, a formality, a sin- 
gularity, for the church's peace and concord, or for the in- 
terest of love, and the healing of our wounds, will as hardly 
abate a jot of their wealth, their worldly honour, their car- 
nal interest, or selfish wills ; which shews that their zeal 
and seeming orthodoxy and wisdom (as in them) is not from 
above, but from beneath ; James iii. 15 — 17. 

O that men knew what heart's-ease Self-denial bringeth, 
by mortifying all that corrupteth and troubleth the souls of 
sinners ! And if that part of religion which seemeth hard- 
est and harshest, be so sweet, what is our love and delight 
in God, but the foretaste of heaven itself. 

But the soul is seldom fit to relish this doctrine aright, 
till some special providence or conviction have made all the 
world notoriously insufficient for our relief. But he that in 
or after sharp affliction, will still be selfish in a predominant 


degree, is next to hopeless. I remember, that one account- 
ed of eminent wisdom% a little before he forsook the land 
of his nativity, made this the first word that ever he spake 
to me, * I thank you especially for your book of Self-de- 
nial ;' and when we are going out of the world, we shall all 
be much fitter to relish and understand the doctrine of Self- 
denial, than now we are. 

But though undeniable reason thus presented, by the 
grace of God, do much cure some particular souls, yet alas, 
the world, the most of the church visible, and the land is so 
far uncured, as that selfishness still triumpheth over our in- 
nocency, piety and peace, and seemeth to deride our hopes 
of remedy. Were profession as rare as true Self-denial, I 
should be of their mind who reduce the church into a much 
narrower room than either the Roman, the National, the 
Presbyterian, or Independent. Alas, how few are those true 
believers, whose inordinate Self-love, Self-conceited- 
NESs, Self-will, and Self-seeking, are truly conquered 
by Faith, and turned into the love of God as God, and 
of the public good, and of their neighbour as them- 
selves ; and into a humbled understanding, conscious 
of its ignorance ; and into a humbled submissive will, 
which is more disposed to follow, than to lead ; and into a 
life entirely devoted to God, and to the common good ! 

But this complaint was made before ; but what we most 
feel, we are most inclined to utter ; and to press that on 
others which we find most necessary to ourselves. And I 
must say, that of all the books which I have written, I pe- 
ruse none so often for the use of my own soul, in its daily 
work, as my ** Life of Faith," and this " Of Self-denial," 
and the last part of the ** Saints' Rest." 

One little thing I will here tell the reader, that no book 
of mine (except the two first) had ever the word ' dedicatory' 
joined to the Epistle by my consent, but I have very often 
prohibited it in vain ; whether by the oblivion or self-con- 
ceit of the booksellers or printers, I cannot tell. Not that 
I condemn the word in others, but that my Epistles were 
still of so different an importance, as did require a different 


"■ The late Lord Chief Justice Oliver St. John. 





Providence having deprived me of the opportunity of 
nearer converse with you, which heretofore 1 have enjoyed, 
yet leaving me the same affections, they work towards you 
as they can ; and have chosen here to speak to you in the 
hearing of the world, that my words may remain to the ends 
intended, when a private letter may be burnt or laid aside. 
Flattery, I am confident, you expect not from me, because 
you know me, and know me to be your friend. (And yet 
my late monitor hath made many smile, by accusing me of 
that fawning crime.) I am told what it is to bless my friend 
with a loud voice, Prov. xxvii. 14. I have learned myself, 
that^ " open rebuke is better than secret love ;" and that, 
" faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an 
enemy are deceitful ;" Prov. xxvii. 5, 6. And therefore I 
shall do as I would be done by. Faithfulness and useful- 
ness shall be the measure of my message to you ; and they 
have commanded me to set before you this lesson of self- 
denial, and earnestly entreat you, that you will faithfully 
read, and learn, and practise it. Though I judged you have 
le^frned it long ago, I think it not needless to mind you of 
it again ; my soul being astonished to see the power of self- 
ishness in the world, even in those that by confessions and 
prayer, and high professions, have frequently condemned it. 
Yet this is the radical, mortal sin. Where this lives, all 
sins virtually live. Say that a man is selfish, and (in that 
measure) you say all that is naught of him, as to his inclina- 
tion. That selfishness is the sum of vice, and the capital 
enemy of God, of commonwealths, of order and government 


of all grace and virtue, of every holy ordinance and duty, 
especially of unity and brotherly love, and of the welfare of 
our neighbours, and of our own salvation, I have manifested 
to you in the following discourse. But alas, what need we 
words to manifest it, when the flames of discord, and long 
continued divisions among brethren^ do matiifest it ! When 
hatred, strife, variance, emulation, backbiting, violence, re- 
bellions, bloodshed, resisting and pulling down of govern- 
ments, have so long Ikmentably declared it ! When such 
havoc is made by it before our eyes, and the evil spirit goes 
on and prospereth, and desolation is zealously and studious- 
ly carried on, and the voice of peace-makers is despised, or 
drowned in the confused noise ! " Presumptuous are they, 
self-willed, they have not been afraid to speak evil of digni- 
ties;" 2Pet. ii. 10. To speak evil? Was that the height 
of presumption and self-willedness then? Alas, how much 
further hath it proceeded now ! Even under the cloak of 
liberty and religion ! How many conquerors that have often 
triumphed over their enemies, are conquered by themselves, 
and live in continual captivity under this homebred, most 
imperious tyrant ! 

Whence is it but for want of self-denial, that there is 
such scrambling for rule and greatness, for riches and ho- 
nours, among all, as if they thought it more desirable to fall 
from a high place than a low I And at death, to part with 
riches than with poverty ! And at judgment, to have much 
to answer for, than little ! And to go to heaven as a camel 
through a needle's eye, than by the more plain and easy way ! 

Whence is it but for want of self-denial, that men are so 
hardly convinced of their sins, be they never so open, and 
odious, and scandalous, if they be but such as will admit of 
an excuse before the world ? Most sins that are confessed, 
are such as seem not to be disgraceful, or such whose jus- 
tification would double the disgrace, or such as are confes- 
sed in pride, that the confessor may gain the reputation of 

Whence is it but for want of self-denial, that Christian 
love is grown so cold, while all profess it to be the badge of 
Christ's disciples ? And that so many professors have so 
little charity for any but those of their own opinions ; un- 
less it be a slandering charity, or a persecuting, or murder- 
ing charity ? That all is commendable, or excusable, that is 


done by men of their own conceits ; and all condemnable, 
or a diminutive good, that is found in those that differ from 
them ; especially if they dispute, or write against them. 

Whence is it but for want of self-denial, that men who 
know that whoredom, and drunkenness, and theft, are sins, 
can yet be ignorant (in the midst of light) that discord and 
church-divisions are sins ? And that they hear him with 
heart-rising, enmity or suspicion, that doth declaim against 
them ? As if uniting were the work of satan, and dividing 
were become the work of Christ. I mean not dividing from 
those without, but dividing in his church, and among his 
members ; who are all baptized with one Spirit, into one 
body (1 Cor. xii. 13.), even the body of Christ, (not of the 
pope,) of which even apostles are but members, (and there- 
fore Peter was not the head) (1 Cor. xii. 27, 28.) ; which is 
so tempered together by God, that there should be no schism 
in it, but that the members should have the same care one 
of another (1 Cor. xii. 24, 25.) ; and that for all the plain 
and terrible passages against divisions, that are found in 
the word of God, it seems to some a venial sin, and to others 
a commendable virtue, if not a mark of Christian piety. I 
may seem to speak incredible things of the delusions of 
selfish professors of religion, if they were not attested by 
the common and lamentable experience of the times. 

And whence is it but for want of self-denial, that peace- 
makers succeed no better in their attempts ? That while all 
men cry up peace and unity, most men are destroying them, 
and few are furthering them, and fewer do it with zeal and 
diligence ; so few, that they are borne down in the crowd, 
aud speed no better than Lot among the rabble of the Sodom- 
ites, that cried out against him, *' This one fellow came in 
to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge : now will we deal 
worse with thee than with them ;" Gen. xix. 9. How long- 
have some been longing, and praying, and moving, and la- 
bouring for peace among the professed sons of piety and 
peace in England ; and all (for ought I see) almost in vain ; 
unless to the condemnation of a selfish, unpeaceable gene- 
ration ! (But yet let the sons of peace plead for it, as long 
as they have a tongue and breath to speak). 

Whence can it be but for want of self-denial, that magis- 
trates professing a zeal for holiness, regard no more the in- 
terest of Christ ; but that the name (and but the name) of 


liberty (a liberty that hath neither moral good or evil in it), 
is set in the balance against the things of everlasting con- 
sequence, and thought sufficient to overweigh them ? And 
that the mere pretence of this indifferent carnal liberty, is 
thought an argument of sufficient weight, for the introduc- 
tion of a wicked damning liberty, even a liberty to deceive 
and destroy as many as they can, and to hinder those that 
endeavour men's salvation? And what is the argument 
pleaded for all this ? It is partly a pretence of tenderness 
and mercy ; and partly because men cannot be made reli- 
gious by force. And must such ignorant and juggling con- 
fusions serve turn, to cheat a nation of their religion and 
liberties, and many thousands of their salvation ? As if all 
the controversy were, whether we should force others to be 
of our religion ? When it is only or principally, whether 
we may hinder them from robbing us of our own ; and from 
tempting unstable souls to sin and to damnation ; and from 
hindering the means of men's salvation ; and from the open 
practice of idolatry, or ungodliness : and if we cannot force 
them to the Christian faith, cannot we hinder them 
from drawincT others from it ? And are we unmerciful to 
them, if we give them leave to damn themselves (for that is 
the mercy that is pleaded for), and only hinder them from 
damning others ? Is it cruelty, or persecution, to hinder 
them from enticing souls to hell, as long as they may freely 
go thither themselves ? I should rather think that if we 
did our best to save themselves, it were far from cruelty : 
for example ; if infidel or Papists' books be prohibited, what 
cruelty or persecution is this? If Quakers be hindered 
from railing at God's ordinances in the open streets and 
assemblies, what cruelty or persecution is this? But some 
think it enough for this toleration, that they think as confi- 
dently they are in the right, as we do that they err! And 
so do heathens, Mahometans, and infidels. And what h 
shall every man have leave to do evil, that can but be igno- 
rant enpugh to think (or say he thinks) that he doth well ? 
And must magistrates rule as men that are uncertain whe- 
ther there be a Christ, or a church, or a heaven, or hell, be- 
cause some are found in their dominions so foolish or im- 
pious as to be uncertain of it ? In plain English, is it any 
hindrance to men's salvation, and furtherance of their dam- 
nation, to be made infidels. Papists, and such as deny the 


essentials of Christianity, or not? If npt, then away with 
Christianity and reformation ; why do we pretend to it our- 
selves? But if it be, will merciful rulers set up a trade for 
butchering of souls ; and allow men to set up a shop of poi- 
son, for all to buy and take that will? Yea, to proclaim 
this poison for souls, in streets and church-assemblies, as if 
men's souls were no more worth than rats, or mice, or hurt- 
ful vermin, or it were some noble achievement to send as 
many as may be to the devil ? Judge impartially, whether 
all this be not for want of self-denial. If selfish interest 
led them not to this, and if they were more tender of the in- 
terest of Christ than of their own, than of men's souls than 
of their flesh, it would not be thus. But the same argument 
that tempts the sensual to hell, doih tempt such magistrates 
to set up liberty for drawing men to hell. The wicked sell 
their souls to spare the flesh, and let go heaven to enjoy 
the liberty of sinning ; and run into hell to escape the trou- 
ble of a holy life : and such magistrates sell the people's 
souls to spare the flesh of the deceivers ; and in tenderness 
and mercy to their bodies, they dare not restrain men from 
seeking their damnation. Is faith and holiness propagated 
by persuasion, and not by force? Surely then infidelity, 
popery and ungodliness, are propagated by persuasion too f 
Again I tell you, self-love doth make such rulers wiser than 
to grant commission or liberty to all that will, to entice their 
soldiers to mutinies or rebellion, their wives to adultery, 
their children to prodigality, or their servants to thievery : 
hut their love of Christ and men's salvation is not so strong 
as to satisfy them whether men should be hindered from 
raising mutinies in his church, and from destroying souls ! 
Forsooth they tell us that Christ is sufficient to look to his 
own cause. Very true, (and they shall one day know it). 
But must he not therefore teach or rule by men? Is not 
adultery, murder, theft, rebellion, against the cause of Christ, 
and his laws, as well as popery and infidelity ? And must 
they therefore be let alone by man ? Christ is sufficient to 
teach the world, as well as to govern. But doth it follow 
that men must be no teachers, under him? Nothing but 
selfishness could cause this blindness. 

And because I know that this stream proceeds from tlie 
Roman spring, and it is their great design to persuade the 
world, that it belongs not to magistrates to meddle with re- 


ligion, but only to cherish them that the pope approveth of, 
and to punish those whom the pope condemns, and that 
Christ must govern and judge of matters of religion himself; 
that is, bj'^ his pretended Roman vicechrist ; I shall only now 
say this, that if Rome were acquainted with self-denial, and 
if the selfish, carnal interest of riches and rule, and worldly 
greatness had not blinded them, they could never have be- 
lieved themselves, that Christ did appoint the pope of Rome 
to be his universal vicar ; and that princes and magistrates 
in their own dominions, have not more power to judge who 
is to be tolerated or punished by the sword, than the pope 
of Rome ; when no priest, or prelate upon earth (as such) 
hath any thing to do with such a judgment ; no, not in the 
places where they live. All that they have to do therein, 
is to judge who is the heretic, or offender, in order to his 
censure and excommunication ; but it is magistrates only 
that must judge who is the heretic or offender, in order to 
corporal punishment or restraint. And this I undertake to 
make good against all the Papists in the world : much more, 
that the Roman tyrant hath no such power at the antipodes, 
and in all the Christian nations of the earth. 

Remember in all this, that I speak not against a tolera- 
tion of godly, tolerable men. Episcopal, Presbyterian, Inde- 
pendent, Anabaptist, &c. that will walk in charity, peace and 
concord ; we shall never be well till these are closed. 

But do we not know that Papists have Italy, and Spain, 
and Germany, and France at hand to help them ? And that 
if we grant them such a liberty as shall strengthen them and 
make way for their power, we give them our own liberty, and 
are preparing faggots for our own martyrdom, and giving 
away the Gospel, that by wonders of mercy hath been till 
now preserved, (and I hope shall be preserved in despite of 
Rome and hell). Nor yet do I plead for any cruelty against 
a Papist, but for a necessary defence of the interest of Christ 
and the souls of men, and the hopes of our posterity. True 
humanity abhorreth cruelty. 

Did magistrates well know their dependence upon God, 
and that they are his officers, and must make him their end, 
they would not take their flocks to be their masters, though 
they may take them for their charge ; nor would they set up 
a carnal interest of the multitude against the pleasing of 
God, and men's salvation : nor would they think so highly 


of men's conceits and wills, as to judge it a matter of so much 
moment, to allow them in religion to say and do what they 
list. If allowing a man's self in the practice of known sin 
is inconsistent with a state of grace, and a sign of a misera- 
ble slave of satan, I leave it to you to consider, what it will 
prove to allow others, even countries and nations, in known 
sin. And if rulers know not that setting up an universal 
vicechrist, and worshipping bread (though they think there 
is no bread) with divine worship, and serving God in an un- 
known tongue, with other points of popery, are sin 5 and 
that opposing and reproaching the holy Scriptures, ordinan- 
ces and ministry, are sin ; woe to such rulers, and woe to 
the nations that are ruled by such. O what a blessing is a 
holy, self-denying magistracy to a nation ! If one could have 
told you twenty years ago, that you, and such as you should 
be rulers in this land, how confidently would you have pro- 
mised an universal encouragement to godliness, and a vigo- 
rous promoting the cause of Christ, and a zealous suppres- 
sing of all that is against it ! Little would you or I have 
thought, that after professors of godliness were in power, so 
many years should have been spent in destroying charity and 
unity, and cherishing ahnost all that will stand up for the 
devil, and plead his cause against the doctrine, and discipline, 
and worship, and churches, and officers of Jesus Christ , and 
that in their days it should have been put to the question. 
Whether the ministry itself should be taken down ? and that 
men in power should write for liberty, for all that will call 
itself religion, even popery not excepted, (nor, I think, infi- 
delity or Mahometanism itself) ; and that those that write 
so should be men in power. My heart would have risen 
against him as an odious calumniator, that should have pre- 
sumed to tell me, that such men as have attempted this 
would ever have come to such a pass : and t should have 
encountered them with Hazael's question, '* Are they dogs, 
that they should do so vile a thing ?" and exercise such 
cruelty on souls, and seek to bring back the people of God 
to the Romish vomit, and set up the greatest tyranny on 
earth, and all under pretence of a religious liberty ? 

But alas, it is not magistrates only that are so wanting 
in self-denial. Ministers also are guilty of this crime, or 
else we should not have been so forward to divisions, and so 
backward to the cure ; nor would men of this profession, for 


the interest of their opinions and parties, have cherished dis- 
sension, and fled from concord, and have had a hand in the 
resisting and pulling down authority, and embroiling the 
nations in wars and miseries. And whence is it but for want 
of self-denial, (for our own faults must be confessed) that 
the ministers of Christ are so much silent in the midst of 
such heinous miscarriages as the times abound with? I know 
we receive not our commission as prophets did, by imme- 
diate, extraordinary inspiration : but what of that ? The 
priests that were called by an ordinary way, were bound to 
be plain and faithful in their office, as well as the prophets ; 
and so are we. How plainly spoke the prophets, even to 
the king ! and how patiently did they bear indignities and 
persecutions ! But now we are grown carnally wise and 
cautelous ; (for holy wisdom and caution I allow ;) and if 
duty be like to cost us dear, we can think that we are ex- 
cused from it. If great men would set up popery in the land 
by a toleration, alas ! how many ministers think they may 
be silent, for fear lest the contrivers should call them sedi- 
tious, or turbulent, or disobedient, or should set men to rail 
at them and call them liars and calumniators; or for fear they 
should be persecuted, and ruined in their estates and names. 
If they do but foresee that men in power and honour in the 
world will charge them with lies or unchristian dealing for 
speaking the words of truth and soberness against the in- 
troduction of popery and impiety, and that they shall be 
made as the scorn and offscouring of all the world, and have 
all manner of evil sayings falsely spoken of them for the sake 
of Christ, his church and truth, they presently consult with 
flesh and blood, and think themselves discharged of their 
duty ; when God saith, '' If the watchman see the sword 
come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not 
warned ; if the sword come and take any person from among 
them, he is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood will 1 
require at the watchman's hand;" Ezek. xxxiii. 6. And 
were we no watchmen, yet we have this command, " Thou 
shall not hate thy brother in thy heart ; thou shalt in any- 
wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him ;" 
Lev. xix. 17. Yet now many ministers will be cruelly silent, 
lest they should be charged with malice, and hating those 
they are commanded to rebuke. The sword of violence I 
persuade them not to meddle with ; but were it not for want 


of self-denial, the sword of the Spirit would be more faith- 
fully managed against the sins of the greatest enemies of 
Christ and of the Gospel, than it is by most, though it should 
cost us more than scorns and slanders, and though we knew 
that bonds and afflictions did abide us. 

And verily, I cannot yet understand, that the contempt 
and scorn of the ministry in England is fed by any thing so 
much as selfishness. Could we be for all men's opinions and 
carnal interests, (O what experience have I had of this !) all 
men, for aught I see, would be for us. Is it a crime to be a 
minister? Doubtless it is then a crime to be a Christian. 
And he that rails at us as ministers to-day, it is like will rail 
at us as Christians to-morrow. But if such will vouchsafe 
to come to me, before they venture their souls, and soberly 
debate the case, I will undertake to prove the truth of Chris- 
tianity. The world may see in Clem. Writer's exceptions 
against my "Treatise against Infidelity," what thin transpa- 
rent sophisms, and silly cavils, they use against the Chris- 
tian cause **. When they have well answered, not only that 
treatise, but Du Plessis, Grotius, Vives, Ficinus, Micrelius, 
and the ancient apologies of the Christian writers of the 
church, let them boast then that they have confuted Chris- 
tianity. The devil hath told me long ago in his secret temp- 
tations, as much against the Christian faith, as ever I yet 
read in any of our apostates ; but God hath told me of much 
more that is for it, and enabled me to see the folly of their 
reasonings, that think the mysteries of the Gospel to be 

But if it be not as ministers and Christians that we are 
hated, what is it then ? If because we are ignorant, insuffi- 
cient, negligent or scandalous, why do they not by a legal 
trial cast us out, and put those in our places that are more 
able, diligent and godly, when we have provoked them to it 
and begged it of them so often as we have done '^ ? If it be 
because we are not Papists, it is because we cannot renounce 
all our senses, our reason, the Scripture, the unity, judg- 
ment and tradition of the far greatest part of the universal 

*» See my Reasons of the Christian Religion, since written. 

c I may, with Tettullian, call all our enemies to search their court records, and 
see how many o( us have been cast out or silenced for any immorality, but for obeying 
conscience against the interest, or wills, of some who think that conscience should 
give place to their commands. Read the two or three last chapters in Dr. Ilolden's 
Aual. fidei. 


church. If I have not already proved that popery fighteth 
against all these, and am not able to make it good against 
any Jesuit on earth, let them go on to number me with he- 
retics, and let them use me as they do such, when I am in 
their power. If we are hated because we are not of the 
opinions of those that hate us, it seems those opinions are 
enemies to charity ; and then we have little reason to em- 
brace them. And if this be it, we are under an unavoidable 
necessity of being hated : for, among such diversity of 
opinions, it is impossible for us to comply with all, if we 
durst be false to the known truth, and durst become the ser- 
vants of men, and make every self- conceited brother the 
master of our faith. If we are so reviled, because we are 
against an universal liberty of speaking or writing against 
the truths and ways of Christ, and of labouring in Satan's 
harvest, to the dividing of the churches, and the damnation 
of souls, it is then in the upshot, because we are of any re- 
ligion, and are not despisers of the Gospel, and of the church, 
and of men's salvation ; and because we believe in Jesus 
Christ. I have lately found by their exclamations, and com- 
mon defamations, and threatenings, and by the volumes of 
reproaches that come forth against me, and by the swarms 
of lies that have been sent forth against me through the land, 
that even the present contrivers of England's misery, (liberty, 
I would say) and of toleration for popery, and more, are 
i themselves unable to bear contradiction from one such an 
inconsiderable person as myself ; and they have got it 
into the mouths of soldiers, that my writings are the cause 
of wars, and that till I give over writing, they shall not give 
over fighting (though I do all that I am able for peace ^). 
And if this be so, what a case would they bring the nation 
into, by giving far greater liberty to all, than ever I made 
use of! Unless they still except a liberty of contradicting 
themselves, they must look for other kind of usage, when li- 
bertinism is set up. Yea, if they will seek the ruin of ilw 
church and cause of Christ, they must look that we should 
^ take liberty to contradict them, and to speak for Christ and 

'• Read Mr, StubJjs's and Mr. Eogers's booVs against rae j and the soldiers openly 
thus calumniated me and threatened my death, as the said authors desired Jhein to 
call me to a trial, even for spcakitig and writing against their casting down the govern- 
ment of the laud, aj)d setting up themselves, and attempting at once to vote out all i he 
parish ministers. 


the souls of men, till they have deprived ub of tongues, o^ 
pens, or lives ; and they must expect that we obey God ra- 
ther tlian men, and that, as Paul did Peter (Gal. ii. 1 1.), we 
withstand them to the face ; and that satan shall not be un- 
resisted, because he is transformed into an angel of light; 
nor his ministers be unresisted, because they are transform- 
ed into the ministers of righteousness ; nor the false apos- 
tles and deceitful workers, because they are transformed into 
the apostles of Christ; 2 Cor. xi. 13 — 15. Nor must they 
think to do so horrid a thing, as to weave their libertinism, 
and toleration of popery, into a new fundamental constitu- 
tion of the commonwealth, which parliaments must have no 
power to alter, and that the ages to come shall curse us for 
our silence, and say that ministers and other Christians were 
all so basely selfish, as for fear of reproaches or sufferings 
to say nothing, but cowardly to betray the Gospel with their 
country ^ If the rattling of the hail of persecution on the 
tiles, even on this flesh, which is but the tabernacle of our 
souls, be a terrible thing ; how much more terrible is the in- 
dignation of the Lord, and the threats of him who is a con- 
suming fire ! If you can venture your life against an enemy 
in the field, we are bastards, and not Christians if we cannot 
venture ours, and give them up to persecuting rage, as long 
as we know that we have a master that will save us harmless, 
and that the God whom we serve is able to deliver us, and 
that he hath charged us not to fear them that kill the body, 
and after that can do no more, 8lc. ; and that he hath told us 
that we are blessed when men revile us and persecute us, 
and say all manner of evil against us falsely for his sake ; 
bidding us, " rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is our 
reward in heaven ; for so persecuted they the prophets that 
were before us ;'' Matt, v, 10 — 12. And when we are told 
that " he that will save his life shall lose it ; and whosoever 
shall lose his life, for the sake of Christ, shall find it;" Matt. 
xvi. 25. And when we know that we own a cause that shall 
prevail at last, and resist them " whose end shall be accord- 
ing to their works ;" 2 Cor. xi. 15. 

And what though this be unknown to the opposers ; that 
will not warrant us to betray a cause that we know to be of 

* I know that it hardenctii thousands in impenitency, to say tliat others have 
done worse ; and is tlie matter mended with you? And will it also ease men in hell 
to think that some others suffer moref 


God; nor will the ignorance of others excuse us for neg- 
lecting known truth and duty. If the souls of private per- 
sons be worth all the study and labour of our lives, and we 
must deal faithfully with them, whatever it shall cost us ; 
surely the safety of a nation, and the hopes of our posterity, 
and the public interest of Christ, is worthy to be spoken for 
with much more zeal, and we may suffer more joyfully, for 
contradicting a public destroyer of the church, than for tel- 
ling a poor drunkard or whoremonger of his sin and misery. 
Hitherto I have permitted my pen to express my sense 
of the common want of self-denial in the land : now give 
me leave, as your most affectionate, faithful friend, to turn 
my style a little to yourself, and earnestly to entreat of you 
these following particulars, 

1. In general that as long as you live you will watch 
against this common deadly sin of selfishness, and study 
continually the duty of self-denial. We shall be empty of 
Christ, till we are nothing in ourselves. *' Blessed are the 
poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Self is 
the strongest and most dangerous enemy that ever you 
fought against. It is a whole army united ; and the more 
dangerous because so near. Many that have fought as va- 
liantly and successfully against other enemies as you, have 
at last been conquered and undone by self. And conquer 
it you cannot without a conflict ; and the conflict must en- 
M dure as long as you live ; and combating is not pleasing to 
the enemy ; and therefore as long as self is the enemy, and 
self-pleasing is natural to corrupted man, (that should be 
wholly addicted to please the Lord), self-denial will prove a 
difficult task : and if somewhat in the advice that would 
engage you deeper in the conflict, shoiild seem bitter or un- 
grateful, I should not wonder. And let me freely tell you, 
that your prosperity and advancement will make the work 
so exceeding difficult, that since you have been a Major 
General, and a Lord, and now a Counsellor of State, you 
have stood in a more slippery, perilous place, and have need 
of much more grace and vigilancy, than when you were but 
Baxter's friend. Great places and employments have great 
temptations, and are great avocations of the mind from God. 
And no error scarcely can be small, that is committed in 
public, great affairs ; which the honour of God, and the 
temporal and spiritual welfare of so many, do in some sort 


depend upon. These times have told us to our grief, what 
vii3toiy and prosperity can do, to strengthen the selfish prin- 
ciple in men : they have swallowed camels since they were 
lifted up, that would have strained at gnats in a lower state. 
The ministry, and ordinances, andholy communion that once 
were sweet to them, are grown into contempt. Centaury 
and wormwood are excellent helps to procure an appetite 
and strengthen the stomach ; but marrow and sweetness 
breed a loathing. The vertiginous disease is not so strong 
with them that are on the ground, as with them that stand 
on the top of a steeple. I had rather twenty times look up 
at them that are so exalted, than stand with them, and have 
the terror of looking down. Had not professors been in- 
toxicated by prosperity, they had not believed and lived so 
giddily. I have often seen men's reason marred with a cup 
or two too much, but seldom by too little. And too many 
I have known, that have wounded conscience and sold their 
souls for the love of prosperity and wealth ; but none that 
ever did it for poverty. For a rich man to be saved is im- 
possible to man, though all things are possible with God ; 
Matt. xix. 26. Luke xviii. 27. For my own part, I bless 
God that hath kept me from greatness in the world, and I 
take it as the principal act of friendship that ever you did 
for me, that you provoked me to this sweet, though flesh- 
displeasing life of the ministry, in which I have chosen to 
abide. I had rather lie in health on the hardest bed, than fj 

be sick upon the softest : and I see that a feather-bed mak- 
eth not a sick man well. The sleep of the labouring man 
is sweet : the ploughman's brown bread and cheese is more 
savoury to him, and breedeth fewer sicknesses than the ful- 
ness and variety of the rich. This country diet doth not 
cherish voluptuousness, arrogancy, vainglory, earthlymind- 
edness, uncharitableness, and other selfish diseases, so much 
as worldly greatness doth. 

Experience telletli us that most men are best in a low es- 
tate ; insomuch that a bad man in sickness will speak bet- 
ter, and seem more penitent and mortified, than many better 
men in health. It is a wonderful hard thing to live like a 
Christian in full prosperity ; and to be above this world, and 
have lively apprehensions of the invisible things, and live a 
heavenly conversation, in health and wealth, when our flesh 
hath so much provision at hand, to accommodate and please 

VOL. XI. c 



it. Prosperity doth powerfully corrupt the mind ; it breed - 
eth many dangerous errors and vices ; and it maketh use- 
less that knowledge which men have ; so that though such 
men can speak the same words as another, about the mat- 
ters of the life to come, it is but dreamingly, and without 
life. Their knowledge hath but little power on their hearts 
' and lives. The world is so great with them, which is as no- 
thing, that God and everlasting life are as nothing to them, 
which are all. They are so full of the creature, that they 
have no room for Christ ; and so busy about earth that they 
have butlittle time for heaven ; and taste so much sweetnessin 
their present pomp, that they cannot relish the true and du- 
rable delights. They know their morals, as they know some 
astronomical or geometrical verities, by an opinion or un- 
efFectual knowledge ; so that indeed they know not what 
they know. Pausanias in his prosperity desiring to hear 
some secrets of philosophy, had no more from Simonides, 
but, 'Remember that thou art a man ;' he contemned this at 
the present, as a ridiculous memento of that which no man 
could forget ; but when he was reduced to an extremity, he 
then remembered the philosopher's lesson, and perceived 
there was more in it than he understood when he contemn- 
ed it. 

How little is there in a prosperous state, that should 
seem desirable in a wise man's eyes ! Why is it that great 
%d travellers and statesmen, and all that have most tried the 

world, desired to withdraw from it toward the evening of 
their age, and to retire themselves into a private life, that 
they may there look towards eternal things, and cry out of 
the vanity and vexation which they have here found ? Must 
we not conceive them wiser after much experience than be- 
fore ; and therefore wiser in their recess, than in their aspir- 
ings ; and therefore that it is folly to be ambitious, and wis- 
dom to contemn the world ? Why else do dying men most 
contemn it ? Dear friend, you will think of these things 
more understandingly and more feelingly one of these days, 
when you come to die, than you can do now. I would not 
for all the world have been without the advantages of look- 
ing death so often in the face, as I have done since you first 
knew me. If I have been but awhile without this sight, and 
have but conceited that yet I have many years to live, alas, 
how it hath enervated my knowledge and my meditations ! 


So that twenty times thinking the same holy thoughts, will 
not do so much as once will do, when I seem to be nearer 
my everlasting state. 

And what doth worldly greatness add to your real worth 
in the eyes of God, or of wise men ? Magistracy, as a thing 
divine, I honour : but James hath taught me, not to be par- 
tial to the rich as rich, and call up the man with the gold 
ring and gay attire, and say to the poor, * Sit there at my 
footstool.* As to be proud of fine clothes is a childish or 
womanish piece of folly, below a man ; so to be proud of 
victories, and dignities, and wealth, and worldly honours, 
is the vanity of an infidel or atheist, and below a Christian 
that hath the hopes of heaven. If a man be holy, he is 
above his worldly greatness, and beareth it as his burden, 
and feareth it as his snare. And if he be carnal, he is the 
faster in his misery ; and golden fetters are stronger than 
any others. A pebble-stone on the top of Atlas is but a 
pebble ; and a pearl is a pearl in the bottom of the sea. A 
nettle on the top of a mountain is but a nettle ; and a cedar 
in the lowest valley is a cedar. If God dwell with the con- 
trite, and have respect to him that is poor and humble, and 
trembleth at his word, it seems they are most to be respect- 
ed, and are the most honourable, if God can put more honour 
upon us by his approbation than man. God will not ask 
us, where we have grown (in order to our justification) but 
what fruit we have borne : nor whether we were rich or 
poor, but whether we were holy or unholy : nor what was 
our station, but how we behaved ourselves in it. 

Prosperity usually breedeth a tenderness, and sickly 
frame of soul, so that we can scarce look out of door, but 
our affections take cold ; and can scarce feed on the most 
wholesome food, but we receive it with some loathing, or 
turn it to the matter of some disease. But to worldly vani- 
ties, it breeds a canine appetite ; so that ambitious wretches 
are like dogs, that greedily swallow the morsel that you cast 
them, and presently gape for more. But wholesome poverty 
hardeneth us against such tenderness and infirmities, and 
breedeth not such diseases in the soul. 

" A poor man's rod when thou dost ride, 
Is both a weapon and a guide ;" 

Saith our serious poet. I sleep most sweetly when I have 


travelled in the cold ; frost and snow are friends to the seed, 
though they are enemies to the flower. Adversity indeed is 
contrary to glory, but it befriendeth grace. Plutarch tells 
us, that when Csesar passed by a smoky, nasty village, at 
the foot of the Alps, some of his commanders merrily asked 
him, v^^hether there was such a stir for commands, and digni- 
ties, and honours among those cottages, as there was at 
Rome ? The answer is easy. Do you think that an Antony, 
a Mark, a Jerome, or such other of the ancient retired 
Christians, were not wiser and happier men than a Nero or 
a Caligula, yea, or a Julius or Augustus Csesar? Is it a de- 
sirable thing to be a lord or ruler, before we turn to common 
earth ; and as Marius that was one day made emperor, 
and reigned the next, and was slain by a soldier the next ; 
so to be w^orshipped to-day, and laid in the dust if not in 
hell, to-morrow? It was the saying of the emperor Severus, 
' Omnia fui, sed nihil expedit ;' and of king David, " I have 
seen an end of all perfection.'' O value these things but as 
they deserve ! Speak impartially ; are not those that are 
striving to get up the ladder, foolish and ridiculous, when 
those that are at the top, have attained but danger, trouble 
and envyj and those that fall down are accounted misera- 

" Sed nulla aconita bibuntur 

Fictilibus " Juvenal. 

There are more draughts of poison given in golden than in 
earthen vessels, saith the poet. The Scythian, therefore, 
was no fool, who, when the emperor Mich. Paleologus sent 
him precious ornaments and jewels, asked what they were 
good for ; whether they would preserve him from calamity, 
sickness or death ; and sent them home when he heard they 
were of no more use. You desire not the biggest shoes or 
clothes, but the meetest ; so do by your dignity and estate. 
As you must ask your daily bread, so must you desire no 
more ; neither poverty, nor riches, but convenient food ; yet 
so as to learn to abound and to want, and in every state to 
be content : bearing riches and dignity if cast upon you, 
without seeking ; but not desiring or gaping after them, nor 
glorying in them; undergoing them as a burden with pa- 
tience and self-denial, and carefully using all for God ; but 
neither desiring nor using them for carnal self. ** They that 


will be rich (or great) fall into temptation and a snare, and 
into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in 
destruction and perdition : for the love of money is the root 
of all evil, which while some coveted after, they have erred 
from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many 
sorrows;" 1 Tim.vi.9, 10. 

Remember where you begun, and where you must end. 
Naked you came into the world, and naked you must return 
to dust. You brought no riches hither, and none shall you 
take hence, unless you learn the blessed art of making friends 
of the unrighteous mammon, and laying up a good founda- 
tion against the time to come, and laying up a treasure in 
heaven, by the right improvement of your present mercies. 
Though our life be not circular, but progressive, the end, as 
to our naturals, is more like to the beginning than to the 
middle. If we die not children, yet more like to children 
then we live. It is sad that the height and perfection of our 
age should be the height of our folly; and that childhood 
and retired age should be least entangled with these vani- 
ties. And it is a lamentable stupidity that alloweth self so 
confidently to play its game, so near eternity, where one 
would think the noise of damned souls, and the triumphant 
joys of blessed saints, that passed to rest by the way of self- 
denial, should mar the sport, and turn their pride into shame 
and trembling ; and the great things of mortality that are 
even at hand, should drown the noise of pomp and pleasure, 
and make the greatness of this world appear an inconsidera- 
ble thing. The Lord grant that you be no less humble, and 
heavenly, and true to Christ, and above this world, than 
when you and I had our first familiar converse, (and sure by 
this time you should be much better). It is said of Agatho- 
cles, king of Sicily, that having been a potter's son, he 
would always have together, earthen and golden vessels at 
his table, to remember him of his original. You tread on 
earth, and bear about you such evidences of your frailty, as 
serve to tell you whence your flesh is, and whither it is go- 
ing, and how it should be used now. Remember also your 
spiritual new birth, by what seed you were begotten, and by 
what milk you were nourished, and see that you degenerate 
not, and do nothing unworthy that noble birth, and the hea- 
venly nature then received. 

II. And remember that self-denial is never right, unless 


it be caused by the love of God ; and as you deny yourself 
so you entirely and unreservedly devote yourself to him 
To this end I crave your observation of these few unquest- 
ionable precepts. 

1. Take heed of unbelief, and dread all temptations tend- 
ing to it, and live by that faith which maketh absent things 
to be to you as present, and things unseen, as if they were 
seen. When heaven once loseth its interest in the soul, the 
world may play 'rex/ and delude and destroy us at its plea- 

2. Take heed of all intrusions of selfishness : especially 
overvalue not your own understanding in the things of God. 
Draw not a great picture of a little man. Be not easily 
drawn to contemn the judgments of those that have searched 
the holy Scriptures, with equal diligence and humility, and 
with much; more advantages of retiredness, and time, and 
helps, than you. 

3. Take heed of engaging your hand, or tongue, or se- 
cret thoughts, against the faithful ministers of Christ; but 
further the work of Christ in their hands with all your power. 
I am no prophet, but yet presume to say, that if the re- 
proaches of a faithful ministry in England be purged away 
without some dreadful judgment of God on the apostate re- 
proachers, or else a desertion of the nation, by a removal of 
our glory, I shall wonder at the patience and forbearance of 
the Lord. It is a dreadful observation, to see so much of 
the spirit of malignity possessing those that once said they 
fought against malignants. And that the ministers and ser- 
vants of the Lord, are railed at by many of them, as formerly 
they were by the worst of those that their hands destroyed ; 
and with this dreadful aggravation, that then it was but some 
that were reviled, and now with many it is all : then it was 
under the name of Puritans and Roundheads, and now it is 
openly as ministers, under the name of priests, and black- 
coats, and presbyters, and pulpiteers. What have these 
souls done, that they are so far forsaken by the Lord? The 
Judge of all the world is at the door, that will plead his ser- 
vants' cause in righteousness. It is hard kicking against 
the pricks. He that despiseth, despiseth not men, but God. 
Persecution under pretence of liberty, is heightened with 
hypocrisy, and is one of the greatest sins in the world. But 
men are not catched in spiders' webs, though flies are : our 


Lord will make us a way to escape. Persecution never con- 
quered Christ; and because he lives, we shall live also. 
Here is the faith and patience of the saints. 

I know that malice wants not words to cloak their iniqui- 
ty : he that hath will and power to do hurt, hath so much wit 
as to pretend some reason for it : though I think that ma- 
lice did never walk more nakedly, since the primitive perse- 
cutions, than it doth in England at this day. Their princi- 
ples and profound contrivances they can hide, but their 
malignity goes stark naked, and is almost grown past shame. 
They talk against mercenary ministers as if they had never 
read ICor.ix., Mai. iii., and such I^other Scriptures; or as 
if they envied food and raiment to them that watch and la- 
bour for their souls, to whom they are commanded to give 
double honour (1 Tim. v. 17.), when they envy not provender 
to their horses, nor fodder to their labouring ox, nor the 
crumbs to their very dogs ^. But the matter is, that their 
wit is too scant and narrow for their malice 5 and therefore 
the Popish and malignant enemies have no fairer pretence 
to cast out the ministry, than by this engaging the covetous- 
ness of the ignorant and ungodly sort against them. They 
talk of our want of a just call ; but what is it in point of 
calling that is wanting? Abilities say some, succession 
say others, miracles say others ; and indeed it is what the 
interest of selfish men doth dictate to the accusers. O that 
they would tell us what is the due call ; and where is the 
ministry on earth that hath it, if we have it not ? If they 
would have all laid by that work not miracles, we may see 
what they would have done to the church. If we are not 
what they would have us be, and do not what they would have 
us do, why do they not come in charity and meekness, and 
shew us the course that we should take? If we are fools, 
or beside ourselves, it is for them. The God whom we 
serve, that will shortly judge us, is our witness, that we have 
chosen the calling that we are in, for their salvation and for 
his glory ; and that we labour in it in season and out of sea- 
son to please Christ, and to profit them, rather than to please 
or accommodate our flesh. You brought me into the ministry ; 
I am confident you know to what ends, and with what inten- 
tions I desired it : 1 was then very ignorant, young and raw : 

^ The Quakers and other sclf-estceiucrs are never the more reconciled to us, now 
wc have been eleven years turned out of all. 


though my weakness be yet such as I must lament, I must 
say, to the praise of the great Shepherd of the flock, that he 
hath since then afforded me precious opportunities, much 
assistance, and as much encouragement as to any man that 
I know alive. You know my education and initial weak- 
ness was such, as forbiddeth me to glory in the flesh : but 
I will not rob God of his glory, to avoid the appearance of 
ostentation, lest I be proud of seeming not to be proud- I 
doubt not but many thousand souls will thank you, when 
they have read that you were the man that led me into the 
ministry. And shall I entertain a suspicion that you will 
ever hearken to those men that would rob you of the reward 
of many such works, and engage you against the King of 
saints ? Is it gain, or ease, or worldly advantages that con- 
tinueth me in the work ? Let me speak as a fool, seeing it 
is for the Lord, in imitation of Paul, that was no fool. Was 
I not capable of secular and military advancement as well 
as others that are grown great? Did I ever solicit you so 
much as for my arrears (which is many hundred pounds)? 
You could scarce do the thing that would gratify my flesh 
more, than to silence and depose me from the ministry. 
Might I consult with the flesh, I should be more against my 
own employment than many of my enemies are. Did I but 
turn physician I could get more worldly wealth, and my pa- 
tients would not be so froward, and quarrelsome, and un- 
thankful as most ministers find their carnal auditors to be. 
When men come to me for physic for their bodies how sub- 
missive are they : and how they entreat, and what thanks 
after will they return I But when we would help their souls, 
what cavils, and quarrels, and unthankful obstinacy do we 
meet with ! We must be much beholden to them to accept 
our help, and all will not serve turn. My patients that have 
bodily diseases will pay me if I would take it ; but if by 
giving them twice as much as I receive, I could satisfy and 
further the case of diseased souls, how joyful should I be ! 
And must we deny ourselves and all things in the world for 
our peoples' sake, and after all be reproached, as if we were 
a mercenary generation and sought ourselves ? O how will 
God confound this ingratitude when he comes to judge! 

Something they might say if the ministers of England 
had the provision of the French and other Popish clergy. 
(1 will not presume to compare now our calling, fidelity and 


maintenance with magistrates, judges and men of other pro- 
fessions). Should I suppose the magistracy epitomized in 
you, and the ministry in me, I should give you an undue 
advantage ; for I suppose there are far more ministers better 
than me than there are magistrates better than you ; and 
yet I think you would not judge of me as the ministers are 
judged of. As there are no such commissioners for ejection 
of scandalous, insufficient, negligent magistrates as are for 
the ejection of such ministers, so if there were, I should not 
doubt but you would quickly see which part were liable to 
more exceptions. But when I look on the faithful ministers 
round about me, how many of them could I name, with whom 
my conscience tells me 1 am not worthy to be compared in 
holiness, 1 am then amazed at the ingratitude of the apos- 
tates of this age. How constantly and zealously do they 
preach in public, at home and abroad, some of them many 
times a week ; how diligently do they instruct the ignorant 
in private, from house to house; how unblamably, and 
meekly, and self-denyingly do they behave themselves ; and 
are men that once made profession of religion become the 
enemies of such a ministry? " O my soul, come not thou 
into their secret ; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not 
thou united :" Gen.xlix.6. I had rather be in the case of 
Turks, yea, of cannibals, than of those men. 

I know that many think our very ignorant dividers to 
have more illumination, and that the pastors of the flocks are 
carnal, ignorant men ; (as the blind man that rushed against 
another, and asked him whether he were blind, that he could 
not go out of his way ?) But I have long tried the spirits, 
and I have found that these camelions have nothing within 
but lungs : and that straw and little sticks may make the 
quickest and the lightest blaze, but will not make a durable 
tire as the bigger fuel doth. A bittern hath a louder voice 
than a swan or eagle; and in some one thing a bungler may 
excel a better workman ; and what if one minister excel in 
one gift, and another in another, and few in all ; is not this 
like the primitive administration ? You be not angry with 
your apple-tree that it bears not plums, nor with your pear- 
tree that it bears not figs. 

But I have been too tedious. I beseech you interpret 
not any of these words as intended for accusation or unjust 
suspicion of yourself: God forbid you should ever fall from 


that integrity that I am persuaded you once had. But my 
eye is on the times with grief, and on my ancient, dearest 
friend with love : and in an age of iniquity and temptation 
my conscience and the world shall never say that I was un- 
faithful to my friend and forbore to tell him of the common 

Dear friend, take heed of a glittering, flattering world. 
Remember that greatness makes few bad men good, and few 
good men better. As Seneca saith, * The carcase is as truly 
dead that is embalmed, as that which is dragged to the grave 
with hooks.' 

And this I say, " The time is short : it remaineth that 
they that weep, be as if they wept not ; and they that re- 
joice, as though they rejoiced not: and they that buy, as 
though they possessed not ; and they that use this world, as 
they that use it not; for the fashion of this world passeth 
away;'' ICor.vii. 29 — 31. And when the soul of the worldly 
fool is required of him, then whose shall all their dignities, 
and honours, and riches be ? In the meantime, God j udgeth 
not by outward appearance as man j udgeth, nor honoureth 
any for being honoured of men. 

* Solus honor merito qui datur, ille datur.' — Juvenal, 

These truths (well known to you) I thought meet to set 
before your eyes, not knowing whether I shall ever more 
converse with you in the flesh ; and also to desire you 
seriously to read over these popular sermons (persuaded to 
the press by the importunity of some faithful brethren that 
love a mean discourse on so necessary a subject). " Watch 
and pray, that ye enter not into temptation." I rest. 

Your Friend, 


September 1», 1669. 




I HERE presetit to your serious consideration, a subject of 
such necessity and consequence, that the peace and safety 
of churches, nations, families and souls do lie upon it. The 
eternal God was the beginning and the end, the interest, the 
attractive, the confidence, the desire, the delight, the all of 
man in his upright uncorrupted state. Though the Creator 
planted in man's nature the principle of natural self-love, as 
the spring of his endeavours for self-preservation, and a 
notable part of the engine by which he governeth the world, 
yet were the parts subservient to the whole, and the whole 
to God ; and self-love did subserve the love of the universe 
and of God ; and man desired his own preservation for these 
higher ends. When sin stepped in it broke this order ; and 
taking advantage from the natural innocent principles of 
self-love, it turned man from the love of God, and much 
abated his love to his neighbour and the public good, and 
turned him to himself by an inordinate self-love which ter- 
minateth in himself, and principally in his carnal self, in- 
stead of God and the common good ; so that self is become 
all to corrupted nature, as God was all to nature in its in- 
tegrity. Selfishness is the soul's idolatry and adultery, the 
sum of its original and increased pravity, the beginning and 
end, the life and strength of actual sin, even as the love of 
God is the rectitude and fidelity of the soul, and the sum of 
all our special grace, and the heart of the new creature, and 
the life and strength of actual holiness. Selfishness in one 
word expresseth all our aversion positively, as the want of 
the love of God expresseth it privatively ; and all our sin is 
summarily in these two, even as all our holiness is summarily 


in the love of God and in self-denial. It is the work of the 
Holy Ghost by sanctifying grace to bring off the soul again 
from self to God Self-denial therefore is half the essence 
of sanctification. No man hath any more holiness than he 
hath self-denial. And therefore the law (which the sanc- 
tifying Spirit writelh on the heart) doth set up God in the 
first table, and our neighbour in the second, against the 
usurpation and encroachment of this self. It saith nothing 
of our love and duty to ourselves, as such, expressly. In 
seeking the honour and pleasing of God, and the good of 
our neighbour, we shall most certainly find our own felicity, 
which nature teacheth us to desire. So that all the law is 
fulfilled in love, which includeth self-denial, as light in- 
cludeth the expulsion of darkness, or rather as loyalty in- 
cludeth a cessation of rebellion and a rejection of the leaders 
of it, and as conjugal fidelity includeth the rejection of 
harlots. The very meaning of the first commandment is, 
" Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,*' &c., 
which is the sum of the first table, and the commandment 
that animateth all the rest. The very meaning of the last 
commandment is, *' Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy- 
self;" which is the summary of the second table, and in 
general forbiddeth all particular injuries to others, not 
enumerated in the foregoing precepts, and secondarily 
animateth the four antecedent precepts. The fifth com- 
mandment looking to both tables and conjoining them, com- 
mandeth us to honour our superiors in authority, both as 
they are the ofiicers of God, and so participatively divine, 
and as they are the heads of human societies, and our sub- 
jection necessary to common good : so that self-denial is 
principally required in the first commandment, that is, the 
denying of self as opposite to God and his interest ; and 
self-denial is required in the last commandment, that is, the 
denying of self, as it is an enemy to our neighbour's right 
and welfare, and would draw from him unto ourselves. Self- 
love and self-seeking as opposite to our neighbour's good, 
is the thing forbidden in that commandment ; and charity, 
loving our neighbour as ourselves and desiring his welfare 
as our own, is the thing commanded. Self-denial is required 
in the fifth commandment in a double respect, according to 
the double respect of the commandment: 1. In respect to 
God, whose governing authority is exercised by governors. 


their power being a beam of his majesty, the fifth command- 
ment requiring us to deny ourselves by due subjection, and 
by honouring our superiors ; that is, to deny our own aspir- 
ing desires, and our refractory minds and disobedient self- 
willedness, and to take heed that we suffer not within us 
any proud or rebellious dispositions or thoughts that would 
lift us up above our rulers, or exempt us from subjection to 
them. 2. Jn respect to human societies, for whose good 
authority and government is appointed ; the fifth command- 
ment obligeth us to deny our private interest, and in all 
competitions to prefer the public good, and maketh a promise 
of temporal peace and welfare in a special manner to those 
that in obedience to this law do prefer the honour of govern- 
ment and the public peace and welfare before their own. 
Thus charity as opposed to selfishness and including self- 
denial, is the very sum and fulfilling of the law ; and selfish- 
ness is the radical comprehensive sin (containing uncharita- 
bleness) which breaks it all. 

And as the law, so also the Redeemer, in his example and 
his doctrine doth teach us, and that more plainly and ur- 
gently, this lesson of self-denial. The life of Christ is the 
pattern which the church must labour to imitate ; and love 
and self-denial were the summary of his life : though yet he 
had no sinful self to deny, but only natural self. He denied 
himself in avoiding sin j but we must deny ourselves in re- 
turning from it. He loved not hisJife in comparison of his 
love to his Father, and to his church. He appeared without 
desirable form or comeliness. " He was despised and rejec- 
ted of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. 
He bore our griefs, and carried our sorrows, and was esteem- 
ed stricken, smitten of God, and afilicted. He was wounded 
for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities ; the 
chastisement of our peace was laid upon him. The Lord laid 
upon him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and af- 
flicted, yet he opened not his mouth. He is brought as a 
lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is 
dumb, so he opened not his mouth. He was taken from 
prison and from judgment. He was cut off out of the land 
of the living ; for the transgressions of his people was he 
stricken. It pleased the Lord to bruise him. He put him 
to grief;" Isa. liii. What was his whole life but the exer- 
cise of love and self-denial? He denied himself in love to 


his Father, obeying him to the death, and pleasing him in all 
things. He denied himself in love to mankind, in bearing 
our transgressions, and redeeming us from the curse, by be- 
ing made a curse for us ; Gal.iii.13. " He made himself of 
no reputation, and took upon him the formof a servant, and 
was made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion 
as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto 
ydeath, even the death of the cross ;" Phil.ii.6— 8. And this 
he did to teach us by his example, to deny ourselves, to '* be 
likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, oi' 
one mind, that nothing be done through strife or vainglory, 
but in lowliness of mind, that each esteem the others better 
than themselves : looking not every man after his own mat- 
ters, but every man also after the things of others ; and thus 
the same mind should be in us that was in Christ Jesus ;" 
Phil. ii. 3 — 5. He denied himself also in obedient submis- 
sion to governors. He was subject to Joseph and Mary ; 
Luke V. 51. He paid tribute to Ceesar, and wrought a mi- 
racle for money rather than it should be unpaid ; Matt. xvii. 
24 — 26. He disowned a personal worldly kingdom (John 
xviii. 36.) ; when the people would have made him a king, he 
avoided it (John vi. 15.) as being not a receiver but a giver 
of kingdoms. He would not so much as once play the part 
of a judge or a divider of inheritances, teaching men that 
they must be justly made such, before they do the work of 
magistrates ; Luke xii. 14. And his Spirit in his apostles 
teacheth us the same doctrine; Rom.xiii. lPet.ii.l3 — 17. 
Ephes. vi. 1. 5. And they seconded his example by their 
own that we might be followers of them, as they were of 
Christ. What else was the life of holy Paul and the rest of 
the apostles, but a constant exercise of love and self-denial ? 
Labouring and travelling night and day, enduring the basest 
usage from the world, and undergoing indignities and ma- 
nifold sufferings from unthankful men, that they might please 
the Lord, and edify and save the souls of men ; and living 
in poverty, that they might help the world to the everlasting 
riches. In a word, as love is the fulfilling of the whole law 
as to the positive part, so is selfishness the evil that stands 
in contrariety thereto, even self-conceitedness, self-willed- 
ness, self-love and self-seeking ; and thus far self-denial is 
the sum of our obedience as to the * terminus a quo :' and 
Christ hath peremptorily determined in his Gospel, that ** if 


any man will come after him, be must deny himself and take 
up his cross and follow him :" and that whosoever will put 
in a reserve, but for the saving of his life, shall lose it ; " and 
whosoever will lose his life for his sake, shall find it;" Matt, 
xvi. 24, 25. And that he that doth not follow him, bearing 
his cross, and that " forsaketh not all he hath for him, cannot 
be his disciple ;" Luke xiv. 27. 33. 

According to the nature of these holy rules and exam- 
ples, is the nature of the workings of the Spirit of Christ 
upon the soul. He usually beginneth in shewing man his 
sin and misery, his utter insufficiency to help himself, his 
alienation from God, and enmity to him, his blindness and 
deadness, his emptiness and nothingness, and then he brings 
him from himself to Christ, and shewethhim his fulness and 
sufficiency, and by Christ he cometh to the Father, and God 
doth receive his own again. It is one half of the work of 
sanctification, to cast ourselves from our understandings, 
our wills, our affections, and our conversations ; to subdue 
self-conceitedness, self-willedness, self-love and self-seek- 
ing : to mortify our carnal wisdom, and our pride, and our 
concupiscence, and our earthly members. And the other 
(and chiefest part) consisteth in setting up God where self 
did rule ; that his wisdom may be our guide ; his will our 
law, his goodness the chiefest object of our love, and his ser- 
vice the work and business of our lives. The Spirit doth 
convince us that we are not our own, and have no power at 
all to dispose of ourselves or any thing we have, but under 
God as he commands us. It convinceth us that God is our 
Owner and absolute Lord, and that as we are wholly his, so 
we must wholly be devoted to him, and prefer his interest 
before our own, and have no interest of our own but what is 
his, as derived from him, and subservient to him. Fear doth 
begin this work of self-denial ; but it is love that brings us 
up to sincerity. 

The first state of corrupted man is a state of selfishness 
and servitude to his own concupiscence ; where pride and 
sensuality bear rule, and have no more resistance than now 
and then some frightening, ineffectual check. 

When God is calling men out of this corrupted, selfish 
state, he usually (or oft at least,) doth call them into a state 
of fear ; awakening them to see their lost condition, and 
terrifying them by the belief of his threatenings, and the 



sense of his indignation; and making use of their self-love, 
to cause them to fly from the wrath to come, and to cry 
out to the messengers of Christ, " What shall we do to 
be saved ? '' 

Some, by these fears are but troubled and restrained a 
little while, and quickly overcoming them, settle again in 
their selfish, sensual, senseless state. Some have the be- 
ginnings of holy love conjunct with fear (of whom more 
anon). And some do, from this principle of self-love alone, 
betake themselves to a kind of religious course, and forsake 
the practice of those grosser sins that bred their fears, and 
fall upon the practice of religious duties, and also with some 
kind of faith do trust on the satisfaction and merits of Christ, 
that by this means they may get some hopes that they shall 
escape the everlasting misery which they fear. All this re- 
ligion, that is animated by fear alone, without the love of 
God and holiness, is but preparatory to a state of grace ; and 
if men rest here, it is but a state of hypocrisy or self- deceiv- 
ing religiousness : for it is still the old principle of selfish- 
ness that reigns. Till love hath brought man up to God, he 
hath no higher end than himself. 

The true mark by which these slavish professors and hy- 
pocrites may discern themselves, is this ; they do the good 
which they would not do, and the evil which they do not, 
they would do. They had rather live a sinful life, if they 
durst ; and they had rather be excused from religious duties 
(except that little outward part, which custom and their cre- 
dit engage them to perform). They are but like the caged 
birds, that though they may sing in a sunshine day, had ra- 
ther be at liberty in the woods. They love not a life of per- 
fect holiness, though they are forced to submit to some kind 
of religiousness, for fear of being damned. If they had their 
freest choice, they had rather live in the love of the creature, 
than in the love of God ; and in the pleasures of the flesh, 
than in the holy course that pleaseth God. 

The third state is the state of love : and none but this is a 
state of true self-denial, and of justification and salvation. 
When we reach to this we are sincere ; we have then the 
spirit of adoption, disposing us to go to God as to a Father. 
But this love is not in the same degree in all the sancti- 
fied. Three degrees of it we may distinctly observe. 1. Oft- 
times in the beginning of a true conversion, though the seed 


of love is cast into the soul, and the convert had rather en- 
joy God, than the world, and had rather live in perfect ho- 
liness, than in any sin, yet fear is so active, that he scarce 
observeth the workings of the love of God within him. He 
is so taken up with the sense of sin and misery, that he hath 
little sense of love to God, and perhaps may doubt whether 
he hath any or none. 

2. When these fears begin a little to abate, and the soul 
hath attained somewhat of the sense of God's love to itself, 
it loveth him more observably, and hath some leisure to think 
of the riches of his grace, and of his infinite excellencies, and 
attractive goodness, and not only to love him because he 
loveth us, and hath been merciful to us, but also because he 
is goodness itself, and we were made to love him. But yet 
in this middle degree of love, the soul is much more fre- 
quently and sensibly exercised in minding itself than God, 
and in studying its own preservation, than the honour and 
interest of the Lord. In this state it is, that Christians are 
almost all upon the inquiry after marks of grace in them- 
selves ; and asking, * How shall I know that I have this or 
that grace, and that I perform this or that duty in sincerity, 
and that I am reconciled to God, and shall be saved?' Which 
are needful questions, but should not be more insisted on 
than questions about our duty and the interest of Christ. 
In this state, though a Christian hath the love of God, yet 
having much of his ancient fears, and self-love, and the love 
of God being yet too weak, he is much more in studying his 
safety than his duty ; and asketh oftener, * How may I be sure 
that I am a true believer?' than, ' What is the duty of a true 
believer ?' There is yet too much of self in this religion. 

3. In the third degree of love to God, the soul is ordi- 
narily and observably carried quite above itself to God ; and 
mindeth more the will and interest of God, than its own con- 
solation or salvation. Not that we must at any time lay by 
the care of our salvation, as if it were a thing that did not 
belong to us ; or that we should separate the ordinate love 
of ourselves from the love of God, or set his glory and our 
salvation in an opposition ; but the love of God, in this de- 
gree is sensibly predominant, and we refer even our own 
salivation to his interest and will. In this degree, a Christian 
is grown more deeply sensible he is not his own, but his 
that made him and redeemed him ; and that his principal 



study must not be for himself, but for God ; and that his own 
interest is in itself an inconsiderable thing, in comparison of 
the interest of the Lord, and that rewarding us with conso- 
lation is God's part, and loving and serving him is ours (as- 
sisted by his grace) ; and that the diligent study and prac- 
tice of our duty, and the lively exercise of love to God, is 
the surest way to our consolation. 

In our first corrupt estate we are careless of our souls, 
and are taken up with earthly cares. In our estate of pre- 
paration we are careful for our souls, but merely from the 
principle of self-love. In our first degree of the state of 
saving grace we have the love of God in us ; but it is little 
observed, by reason of the passionate fears and cares of our 
own salvation, that most take us up. In our second degree 
of holy love, we look more sensibly after God for himself, 
but so that we are yet most sensibly minding the interest of 
our own souls, and inquiring after assurance of salvation. In 
our third degree of saving grace, we still continue the care 
of our salvation and an ordinate self-love ; but we are sen- 
sible that the happiness of many, even of church and com- 
monwealth, and the glory of God, and the accomplishment 
of his will, is incomparably more excellent and desirable than 
our own felicity ; and therefore we set ourselves to please 
the Lord, and study what is acceptable to him, and how we 
may do him all the service that possibly we can, being con- 
fident that he will look to our felicity, while we look to our 
duty ; and that we cannot be miserable while we are wholly 
his, and devoted to his service. We are now more in the 
exercise of grace, when before we were more in trying whe- 
ther we have it : before we were wont to say, * O that I were 
sure that I love God in sincerity !* now we are more in these 
desires ; * O that I could know and love him more, and serve 
him better! that I knew more of his holy will, and could 
more fully accomplish it ! And O that I were more ser- 
viceable to him ! And O that 1 could see the full prospe- 
rity of his church, and the glory of his kingdom !' This high 
degree of the love of God, doth cause us to take ourselves as 
nothing, and God as all ; and as before conversion we were 
careless of our souls, through ignorance, presumption or se- 
curity, and after conversion were careful of our souls, 
through the power of convincing, awakening grace ; so now 
we have somewhat above our souls (much more our bodies) 


to niin(] and care for: so that though still we must examine 
and observe ourselves, and that for ourselves, yet more for 
God than for ourselves : when we are mindful of God, he will 
not be unmindful of us : when it is our care to please him, 
the rest of our care we may cast on him, who hath promised 
to care for us. Even when we suffer " according to his will, 
we may commit the keeping of our souls to him in well do- 
ing, as to a faithful Creator ;" 1 Pet. iv. 19. And it is not 
possible in this more excellent way (1 Cor. xii. 31.) to be 
guilty of a careless neglect of our salvation, or of the want of 
a necessary love to ourselves ; for the higher containeth the 
lower, and perfection containeth those degrees that are found 
in the imperfect. This neglect of ourselves through the love 
of God, is consequentially the most provident securing of 
ourselves : this carelessness is the wisest care : this igno- 
rance of good and evil for ourselves, while we know the 
Lord, and know our duty, is the wisest way to prevent the 
evil. To be something in ourselves, is to be nothing; but 
if we be nothing in ourselves, and God be all to us, in him 
we shall be something. Be not wanting to God, and I am 
sure you cannot be wanting to yourselves. He will reward 
if you will obey. 

I have shewed you hitherto the nature and necessity of 
self-denial. O that I could next shew you the nations, the 
churches, that are such indeed as I have described ! But 
when I look into the world, when I look into the churches 
of all sorts, and consider men of all degrees, my soul is even 
amazed and melted into grief ; to think how far the most 
forward professors are swerved from their holy rule and pat- 
tern ! O grievous case ! How rare are self-denying men ! 
Nothing in the world doth more assure me that the number 
that shall be saved are very few, when nothing is more evi- 
dent in Scripture, than that none but the self-denying shall 
be saved ; and nothing more evident in the world, than that 
self-denying men are very few. Would God but excuse men 
in this one point, and take up with preaching and praying, 
and numbering ourselves with the strictest party, then I 
should hope that many comparatively would be saved. 
Would he give men leave to seek themselves in a religious 
way, and to be zealous only from a selfish principle, and 
would he but abate men this self-denial and the superlative 
love of God, I iihould hope true godliness were not rare. 


But if self-denial be the mark, the nature of a saint, and this 
as effected by the love of God, then, alas, how thin are they 
in the world ! And how weak is grace even in those few ! 
It is the daily grief of my soul to observe how the world is 
captivated to SELF ; and what sway this odious sin doth 
bear among the most forward professors of religion ; and 
how blind men are that will not see it ; and that it hath so 
far prevailed that few men lament it, or strive against it, or 
will bear the most suitable remedy. Alas, when we have 
prevailed with careless souls, to mind their salvation, to read 
and pray, and hold communion with the godly, and seem 
well qualified Christians, how few are brought to self-denial ! 
And how strong is self still in those few ! What a multi- 
tude that seem of the highest form in zeal, and opinions, and 
duties, delude themselves with a selfish kind of religious- 
ness ! And it grieveth my soul to think, how little the most 
excellent means fprevail, even with professors themselves, 
against this sin I What abundance of labour seemeth to be 
lost, that we bestow against it ! When I have preached over 
all these following sermons against it, (though grace hath 
made them effectual with some, yet) selfishness still too'much 
bears sway in many that heard them. O what a rooted sin 
is this ! How powerful and obstinate ! Men that seem di- 
ligently to hear, and like the sermon, and write it, and re- 
peat it when they come home, and commend it, do yet con- 
tinue selfish. And ^they that walk evenly and charitably 
among us in all appearance, as long as they are smoothly 
dealt with, when once they are but touched and crossed in 
their self-interest, do presently shew that there is that with- 
in them which we or they before perceived not. It was 
(doubtless) from too much experience of the selfishness 
even of professors of religion, and of the successfulness of 
temptations in this kind, that satan did tell God so boldly, 
that Job would sin if he were but touched in his self-in- 
terest ; ** Doth Job (saith he) fear God for nought ? Hast 
thou not made an hedge about him, and about all that he 
hath on every side ? Thou hast blessed the work of his 
hands, and his substance is increased in the land : but put 
forth thy hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will 
curse thee to thy face ;" Job i. 9 — 1 1 . As if he should have 
said, * Glory not of Job or any of thy servants : it is not thee 
but themselves that they seek : they serve thee but for their 


own commodity : it is self and not God that ruleth them, 
and that they do all this for. Seem but to be their enemy, 
and touch their self-interest, and cross them in their com- 
modity, that they may serve thee for nothing, and then see 
who will serve thee.' This was the boast of satan against 
the saints of the Most High, which hypocrites that encou- 
raged him hereto would have fulfilled ; and which God doth 
glory in confuting ; and therefore he gives the devil leave to 
try Job in this point, and putteth all that he hath into his 
power ; ver. 12. And when satan by this succeeded not, 
he yet boasteth that if he might but touch him more nearly 
in his self-interest, he doubted not to prevail. " Skin for 
skin, yea all that a man hath will he give for his life : put 
forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and 
he will curse thee to thy face ;" Job ii. 4, 5. This confi- 
dence had satan, even against such a servant of the Lord, 
" That there was none like him in the earth, a perfect and 
upright man, that feared God and eschewed evil ;" Job i. 8. 
And though the power of grace in Job did shame the boasts 
of satan, yet how frequently doth he prevail with men that 
seem religious ? How truly may we say of many among us, 
' Now they seem godly, but let the times turn, and godliness 
undo them in the world, and then see whether they will be 
godly. Now they seem faithful to their pastors and bre- 
thren ; but give them a sufficient reward, and see whether 
they will not play the Judas. Now they seem peaceable, 
humble men ; but touch them in their self-interest, cross 
them in their commodity or reputation by an injury, yea, or 
by justice, or necessary reproof, and then see what they will 
prove.' O that the devil could not truly boast of thousands 
that by a few foul words, or by xjrossing their self-willedness, 
he can make them speak evil of their neighbours, and fill 
them with malice and bitterness against their truest friends ! 
O where are the men that maintain their love, and meekness, 
and concord any longer than they are pleased, and their wills 
and interests are complied with, or not much contradicted ? 
Besides what I have more largely spoken of this common 
master, sin, in the following discourse, take notice here of a 
few of the discoveries of it. 

1. Observe but the striving there is for command and 
dignity, and riches, and this even among professors of reli- 
gion, and judge by this whether they are self-denying men. 


Who is it for but themselves tliat men make such a stir, for 
offices and honours, and places of superiority ? Surely if it 
were for the good of others, they would not be so eager and 
so forward. We cannot perceive that their charity is so hot, 
as to make them' so ambitious to be serviceable to their 
brethren. If that be it, let them keep their service till it be 
desired or much needed, and not be so eager to do men good 
against their wills, and without necessity. As Greg. Mag. 
saith of the ministry, * Si non ad elatiohis culpam, sed ad 
utilitatem adipisci desiderat, prius vires suas cum eo quidem 
subiturus onere metiatur ; ut et impar abstineat, et ad id 
cum metu cui se sufficere existimat accedat.' Men use not 
to be ambitious of duty or trouble. He that desireth go- 
vernment ultimately and principally for himself, desireth ty- 
ranny, and not a lawful government, whose ultimate end is 
the common good. And will not the wrath of the King of 
Kings be kindled without so much ado, or hell be purchased 
at cheaper rates, than all the contrivance, cares and hazards 
that ambitious men do draw upon themselves ? * O ambitio, 
(inquit Bernardus) ambientium crux, quomodo omnes tor- 
ques? Omnibus places, nil acrius cruciat, nil molestius in- 
quietat, nil tamen apud miseros mortales celebrius negotiis 
ejus.' Wonderful ! that such abundant warning tameth not 
these proud, aspiring minds ! They setup or admired them 
but yesterday, whom they see taken down or despised to- 
day, and see their honour turned to scorn, and yet they imi- 
tate their folly ! They see the sordid relics of the most re- 
nowned conquerors and princes levelled with the dirt ; and 
yet they have not the wit to take warning, and humble them- 
selves that they may be exalted ! They know how death 
will shortly use them, and read of the terrors that pride and 
ambition bring men to ; but all this doth not bring them to 
their wits. When death itself comes, then they are as sneak- 
ing, shrinking worms as any ; and the worm of ambition that 
fed upon their hearts in their prosperity, doth breed a gnaw- 
ing worm in their consciences, which will torment them 
everlastingly. But, (ut Juvenal,) 

' — — Mors sola fatetur, 

Quantula sunt hominum corpuscula. ' 

This * ^rugo mentis,' as Ambrose calls it, and ' regnandi 
dira cupido/ (ut Virgil,) doth keep men from knowing what 


they know, and denieth them the use of their understand- 
ings. All former professions are forgotten ; repentings are 
repented of ; the best parts are corrupted and sold to the 
devil (as truly, as witches sell themselves, though not so 
grossly), 8^d men are any thing that self would have them 
be, where the humour of ambition doth prevail, and this se- 
cret poison insinuateth itself into the mind: this 'subtile 
malum (ut Bernard) secretum virus, pestis occulta, doli ar- 
tifex, maler hypocrisis, livoris parens, vitiorum origo, tinea 
sanctitatis, excaecatrix cordium, ex remediis morbos creans, 
ex medicina languorem generans.' The God of vengeance 
that abhorreth the proud, and beholdeth them afar off, and 
that did cast aspirers out of paradise, will shortly take these 
gallants down, and lay them low enough, and make them 
wish they had denied themselves. 

2. Observe but men's desire of applause, and their great 
impatience of dispraise, and judge by this of their self-de- 
nial. Who is it that is angry with those that praise them, 
yea, though they exceed their bounds, and ascribe more to 
them than is due ? Saith Seneca, * Si invenimus qui nos 
bonos viros dicat, qui prudentes, qui sanctos, non sumus 
modica laudatione contenti ; quicquid in nos adulatio sine 
pudore congessit, tanquam debitum prehendimus : optimos 
nos esse, sapientissimosque affirmantibus assentimus, quam 
sciamus illos saepe multa mentiri. Adea quoque indulgemus 
nobis, ut laudari velimus in id, cui contraria maxime faci- 
mus.' Even proud men would be praised for humility, and 
covetous men for liberality, and fools for wisdom, and igno- 
rant men for learning, and treacherous hypocrites for since- 
rity and plain honesty ; and few of the best do heartily dis- 
taste their own commendations, or refuse any thing that is 
offered them, though beyond desert. But if tbey think 
they are lightly or hardly thought of, or hear of any that 
8peak against them, or dishonour them in the eyes of men, 
you shall see how little they can deny themselves. O how 
the hearts of many that seemed godly men, will swell against 
them that speak to their disparagement ! What uncharita- 
ble, unchristian deportment, will a little injury produce ! 
What bitter words ! What estrangedness, and division, if 
not plain hatred, and reviling, and revenge ! Yea, it were 
well (in comparison) if a due reproof, from neighbours or 
from ministers (that are bound to do it by the Lord) would 



not draw forth this secret venom, and shew the world the 
scarcity of self-denial. Let others speak never so well of 
God, and of all good men, and be never so faithful and ser- 
viceable in the church, yet if they do but speak ill of them 
(though it is like deservedly and justly), these ««lfish men 
cannot abide them. By this you may perceive what interest 
is strongest with them ; v/ere they carried up from them- 
selves by the love of God, they would delight to hear the 
praise of God, and of their brethren, and be afraid to hear 
their own ; and say from their hearts, " Not unto us, O Lord, 
not unto us, but to thy name be the glory ;" Psal. cxv. 1. To 
praise another may be our gain (in the discharge of a duty, 
and exercise of love) ; but to be praised ourselves, is usually 
our danger. Pride needeth no such fuel or bellows. ' Non 
laudato, sed laudantibus prodest,* saith Augustin. * Esse 
humilem est nolle laudari in se : qui in se laudari appetit, 
superbus esse convincitur.' Idem. It is the expectation of 
these proud and selfish men, thattempteth men to the odious 
art of flattery, when they find it is the way to please. And 
when one is flattering, and the other pleased with it, what a 
foolish and sordid employment have they? ' Et Vani sunt 
qui laudantur, et mendaces qui laudant/ saith Augustin. It 
is God to whom the praise is due, whom we know we cannot 
praise too much, v/hose praises we should love to speak and 
hear. * In laude Dei est securitas laudis ; ut laudator non 
timet, ne de laudato erubescat,' saith Augustin. We may 
boldly praise him, of whom we are sure we never need to be 
ashamed. It is God in his servants that we mustfpraise, and 
it is only his interest in our own praise, that we must regard. 
3. Observe but upon what account it is that most men's 
affections are carried to, or against their neighbours, and 
then j udge by this of their self-denial. Even men that would 
be accounted godly, do love or hate men according as their 
self-interest commandeth them, more than according to the 
interest of Christ. Let a man be never so eminent in holi- 
ness, and never so useful and serviceable in the church, and 
one that hath proved faithful in the greatest trials, if he do 
but oppose a selfish man, and be thought by him to be against 
him, he hateth him at the heart, or hath as base, contemp- 
tuous thoughts of him, as malice can suggest. He can as 
easily nullify all his graces, and magnify his smallest infir- 
mities into a swarm of crimes, by a censorious mind and a 


slanderous tongue, as if virtue and vice received their form 
and denominations from the respect of men's minds and ways 
to him ; and all men were so far good or evil, as they please 
him, or displease him ; and he expects that others should 
esteem men such as he is pleased to describe or call them. 
Let all the country be the witnesses of a man's upright and 
holy life, yea, let the multitude of the ungodly themselves be 
convinced of it, so far as that their consciences are forced 
to bear witness of him, as Herod did of John, ** That he was 
a just man and a holy" (Mark vi. 20.) ; yet can the selfish hy- 
pocrite that is against him, blot out his uprightness with a 
word, and make him to be proud, or false, or covetous, or 
what his malice pleases ; yea, make him a hypocrite, as he 
is indeed himself. No man can be good in their eyes that is 
against them : or if he be acknowledged honest in the main, 
it is mixed with exceptions and charges enough to make him 
seem vile, while they confess him honest : and if they ac- 
knowledge him a man, they will withal describe him to be 
plaguy or leprous, that he shall be thought not fit for hu- 
man converse. * Such a man is an honest man (say they) ; 
but he is a peevish, humorous, self-conceited fellow.' And 
why so ? Because he is against some opinion or interest of 
theirs. He is proud, because he presumeth to dissent from 
them, or reprehend them. He raileth, every time he open- 
eth their errors, or telleth them of their misdoings. He is a 
liar, if he do but contradict them, and discover their sins, 
though it be with words of truth and soberness. In a word, 
no person, no speeches, or writings, no actions can be just, 
that are against a selfish man. In differences at law, his 
cause is good, because it is his : and his adversary's is al- 
ways bad, because it is against him. In public differences 
the side that he is on (that is for him) is always right, let it 
be never so wrong in the eyes of all impartial men : the cause 
is good that he is for, (which is always that which seems for 
him) though it be undoubted treason and perfidious rebel- 
lion, accompanied with perjury, murder and oppression; and 
the cause must be always bad that is against him ; and they 
are the traitors, and rebels, and oppressors that resist him. 
His own murders are honourable victories, and other men's 
victories are cruel and barbarous murders. All is naught 
that is against themselves. They are affected to men accord- 
ing to their self-interest: they judge of them and their ac- 

xlii PREFACE. 

tions according as they do affect them : they speak of them, 
and deal by them, according to this corrupted judgment. 

But as for any that they imagine do love and honour 
them, they can love them and speak tenderly of them, be 
they what they will. A little grace or virtue in them, seem- 
eth much : and their parts seem excellent that indeed are 
mean. If they drop into perjury, fornication, treason, or such 
like scandalous sins, they have always a mantle of love to 
cover them. Or if they blame them a little, they are easily 
reconciled, and quickly receive them to their former honour. 
If they have any thing like grace, it is easily believed to be 
grace indeed, if they be but on their side : if they have no- 
thing like grace, they can love them for their good natures, 
but indeed it is for themselves. 

When this self-love describeth any person, when it writ- 
eth histories or controversies about any cause or person that 
they are concerned in, how little credit do they deserve! 
Whence is it else that we have such contrary descriptions 
of persons and actions in the writings of the several parties 
as we find? How holy, and temperate, and exceedingly in- 
dustrious a man was Calvin, if the whole multitude of sober, 
godly men that knew him may be credited ; or if we may be- 
lieve his most constant, intimate acquaintance ; or if we may 
judge by his judicious, pious, numerous writings : and yet 
if the Papists may be believed (contrary to the witness of a 
Popish city where he was bred), he was a stigmatized So- 
domite ; he was a glutton (that eat but once a day, and that 
sparingly); he was an idle, fleshly man, (that preached 
usually every day, and wrote so many excellent volumes) ; 
and he died blaspheming and calling on the devil, (that is, 
in longing and praying for his remove to Christ, crying 
daily, * How long, Lord ! how long !') and how comes all 
this inhuman forgery about ? Why one lying Pelagian apos- 
tate, Bolseck, wrote it, (whom Calvin had shaved for his 
errors,) and a peevish Lutheran, Schlasselburgius, hath re- 
lated part of it from him ; and this is sufficient warrant for 
the Papists, ordinarily to persuade their followers it is true, 
and with seared consciences to publish it in their writings, 
though Massonius and some other of the soberer sort, among 
themselves, do shame them for the forgery. So do they by 
Luther, Beza, and many more. 

Among ourselves here, how certainly and commonly is it 


known to all impartial men acquainted with them, that the 
persons nicknamed Paritans in England, have been (for the 
most part) a people fearing God and studying a holy life, and 
of an upright conversation ; so that the impartial did bear 
them witness that in the scorner's mouth, a Puritan was one 
that was, ' Integer vitae, scelerisque purus ;' and this was the 
reason of their suffered scorn; and that the name was the 
devil's common engine in this land, to shame people from 
reading and hearing sermons, and praying, and avoiding the 
common sins, and seriously seeking their salvation. A Pu- 
ritan was one that " Believeth (unfeignedly) that God is : 
and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" 
(Heb. ii. 6.) ; that strives to enter in at the straight gate, and 
lives as men that believe that heaven is worth their labour, 
and that God's kingdom and its righteousness should be first 
sought ; Matt. vi. 33. And yet if Fitz Simon and other 
Jesuits, and Bishop Bancroft, Dr. P. Heylin, Mr. Thomas 
Pierce s, and other such among us are to be believed, what 
an abominable, odious sort of people are they (and especial- 
ly the Presbyterians, who are the greatest part of them), what 
intolerable, hypocritical, bloody men ! And what is the rea- 
son of these accusations? Much is pretended; but the sum 
of all is, that they were in some things against the opinions 
or interests of the persons that abuse them. The Jesuits 
know that they were averse from their doctrines and prac- 
tices. The rest were angrv because some of them would be 
excused from two or three ceremonies, and from vowing 
obedience to the ceremony-makers. Yea, many of their ac- 
cusers think themselves injured, if not oppressed and per- 
secuted, as long as they are withheld from silencing, eject- 
ing or persecuting these, that would fain serve God accord- 
ing to his word, as the sufficient rule, and have nothing im- 
posed on them in matter of worship, but necessary things, 

e So common it is for selfish men to mate their gainsayers as odious as they oao 
devise, that I confess I wondered that I met with no more of this dealing myself from 
Papists, Anabaptists, or any that have turned their style against me ; and at last 
Mr. Pierce hath answered my expectation, and from my own confession (not know- 
ing me himself) hath drawn my picture, that I am proud, lazy, false, a hypocrite, un- 
just, a reader, &c. And from this Bolseck's credit, I make no doubt but the Papist* 
witl think they may warrantably describe me (if I be thought worthy their remem- 
brance) in all following ages; though now I have nothhig from them but good 
words. But it is a small thing to be judged by man, especialiy when our souls 
cnjov the Lord 


according to the apostle's decree. Acts xv. 28. By all this 
judge how rare self-denial is, when the interest of men's own 
opinions, persons or parties can cause such unchristian deal- 
ing from self-esteeming professors and preachers of the Gos- 
pel. Selfishness is the greatest liar, and slanderer, and the 
most malicious calumniator in the world. 

4. Observe but how light most make of their own sins, 
and how easily they aggravate the sins of others ; and how 
light they make of the good that is in others, in comparison 
of that which is in themselves, or those that are of their side ; 
and judge by this of their self-denial! Judah would have 
judged Thamar hardly ; but he was not so severe against 
himself! David pronounceth very peremptorily the sentence 
of death against the offender, till he heard from Nathan, 
" Thou art the man." How hard is it to convince a selfish 
hypocrite of any sin that will admit of an excuse or cloak ! 
All the town can see the pride of some, the covetousness of 
others, the unpeaceable, unchristian behaviour of others, and 
yet themselves, that should most observe it and best discern 
it, perceive it not, nor will by any means be brought to see 
it. No minister can put them down when they are justify- 
ing themselves, nor make them humbly and heartily confess 
that they have sinned. (But God will ere long convince 
them irresistibly, and teach their tongues another kind of 
language.) Let the case of another come before them, and 
how readily will they adjudge him to penitent confession, 
reparation, restitution, and thorough reformation ; but the 
case is altered when it becomes their own. Such incompe- 
tent judges are these selfish hypocrites. 

5. Observe but how easilj'^ men fall out with one another, 
and how hardly they are reconciled, and how much ado any 
peacemaker shall have to end the difference ; and observe 
also whether all the quarrel be not about some selfish in- 
terest, and judge by this of their self-denial. When do 
they so fall out with men for wronging God, or the Gospel, 
or their own souls, as they do for wronging them ? 

And if a minister that can bear an injury against himself 
do faithfully rebuke them that deal injuriously against Christ, 
and against the church, and the souls of men (especially if 
they be great men in the world that are reproved), it is strange 
to see how self makes them storm, though they have read 
what a mark of rebellion and prognostic of misery it was. 


even in kings, to reject the reproofs of the messengers of the 
Lord ; much more to hate or persecute the reprover. 

6. Observe also how forward many are, unreasonably to 
exalt their own understandings above those that are far wiser 
than themselves ; and judge by this of their self-denial. 
Though their brethren and teachers have studied, and prayed, 
and sought after knowledge, ten or twenty times more than 
they, and have as faithfully obeyed according to their know- 
ledge, and indeed be incomparably beyond them in under- 
standing, yet how commonly shall you meet with unstudied, 
inexperienced novices (notably described, 1 Tim. iii. 6. vi. 4.) 
of undigested notions, and green and raw apprehensions, 
that are so puffed up with a little smattering, seeming know- 
ledge, that they despise both ministers and people that be 
not of their mind, and vilify them as a sort of ignorant, de- 
luded men. And do they indeed excel us in knowledge as 
much as they pretend ? O that they did ! that so we might 
see the church furnished with wiser, better teachers, and 
might ourselves have the privilege of being their hearers, 
and of being better instructed by them ! But how evident 
is it to all that have eyes that it is in pride and not in know- 
ledge that they excel ; and that all this comes from the do- 
minion of self, and that they speak evil of the things they 
know not! Jude 10. 

7. Observe also, how far men are carried by the fond 
overvaluing of their own opinions against all reason and 
former promises, and against all bonds to God and man, and 
then judge of their self-denial. If once they feel a new ap- 
prehension, it tickleth them with delight, as being an eleva- 
tion of their understandings above other men's ; and as pa- 
rents are fond of their children, because they are their own, 
so are the proud through the corruption of their minds as 
fond of an opinion which they call their own, if there beany 
thing of singularity in it to make them seem persons of more 
than ordinary understanding. And when they are once pos- 
sessed of it how partially do they indulge it! How light 
do they make of the strongest arguments that are brought 
against it ! How contemptuously do they think and speak 
of the persons, the judgments, the writings, the reasonings, 
of any that are against them ! Nay, usually they will not be 
persuaded so much as once to read the writings that con- 
tradict them ; or if they do, it is with so much prejudice and 

xlvi PREFACE. 

partiality, that they have in their minds confuted them, be- 
fore they read or understand them: and instead of consider 
ing the weight of arguments, and comparing faithfully cause 
with cause, they only study what to say against their adver- 
sary (for so they account those that would cross or confute 
their opinions). 

Nay, observe but what a change a new opinion makes 
upon them, in reference to their former friends. How strange 
do they look at them that cannot follow them in their fan- 
cies, thougjh before they were their bosom friends; yet 
without any change in themselves, they have lost their in- 
terest in these changelings ; and though before they ho- 
noured and praised them, yet all is changed when they them- 
selves are changed ; and their friends must seem to have 
lost their wits and honesty (or never to have had any) as soon 
as themselves have lost their humility and charity. How 
much am I able to say of this from sad experience of the 
change of many of my ancient friends ! Some of them are 
changed to a reproaching of the Scripture, church, and min- 
istry, and ordinances, and to a denying of the Christian faith ; 
and these I have lost (for they have lost themselves) ; and 
indeed these have constrained me to withdraw from them 
my ancient love of complacency, though I have a love of 
compassion to them still. Others are secretly ensnared by 
the Papists ; and these I have lost (though they seem to bear 
me some respect). Others are changed to opinions which 
they think meet to hide ; and these look strange at me, 
especially since I wrote against these hiders. Others are 
changed in the point of baptism ; and these are greatly 
offended with me, for dissenting and giving the reasons of 
my dissent. And what uncharitable dealings some of them 
have been guilty of I shall not now express \ Some of them 
have turned to one opinion, and some to another, and almost 
all that make these turns have left their charity behind them. 
Some of them take up new causes in the commonwealth ; 
and these are as angry with me as the rest, because I can- 
not follow them in their changes. How many ways hath a 
man to lose a selfish friend ! I was once beloved by all these 

'• They waylaid the messengers that I sent letters by to friends, took them from 
them by force, and sent tJiem to Sir H. Vane, to the Council of State, to the trouble 
of those I wrote to, though notliing was found but innocency. And this was by my 
old professed friends of Bowdley, who differed from me in nothing but uifant baptism, 
and their changes of our govennnent ; and yet thus studiously sought my utter ruin. 

PREFACE. xlvii 

men ; and now 1 am either hated or looked at as a stranger 
(at least) ; when I am where I was when 1 had their love. 

If I know my heart I speak not this in any great sense of 
the loss of my own interest, but in the sense of the lament- 
able power and prevalency of self-love and self-concfeited- 
ness in the world. And while I am bitterly censured by 
almost every party, how easily could I recover my interest 
and reputation with any one of them, if I could but be of 
their mind and side ! How wise and how honest a man 
could I be with the Anabaptists, if 1 would but be rebap- 
tized and turn to them. And how much should I be valued 
by the Papists if 1 would turn to them. The like I may say 
of all the other forenamed parties ; for every one of them 
have by word or writing signified so much to me. Even 
the Grotian prelatists would wipe their mouths and speak 
me fairer if 1 could turn to them. Mr. Pierce himself, that 
hath exceeded all men (in his late book abounding with 
visible falsehoods and unchristian abuse of the servants of 
the Lord, whom he calleth Puritans) yet telleth me, p. 212. 

* We contend for your fellowship, and daily pray for your 
coming in ; if you, by name, should have occasion to pass 
this way, and present yourselves with other guests, at the 
holy supper of our Lord, no man on earth should be more 
welcome; but if you and your partners will continue your 
several separations, and shut yourselves out from our com- 
munion, as it were judging yourselves unworthy of the king- 
dom of God, and excommunicating yourselves,' &c. — See 
here the power of selfishness ! A man that is painted out 
as lazy, a reader, a proud hypocrite, and much more, should 
be as welcome as any man on earth, if he will but have com- 
munion with them in their way ! How much more if he were 
but of their party! This would cure hypocrisy, pride, and 
all these crimes. And till we can comply with them, we 

* excommunicate ourselves, and judge ourselves unworthy 
of the kingdom of God !' He that thinks that bishops 
should not be, as now, diocesan, and undertake many hun- 
dred parishes, and then feed and govern them by others ; 
and he that submits not to their mode, in a surplice, or some 
form of prayer, doth therefore judge himself ' unworthy of 
the kingdom of God ;' as if God's kingdom were confined 
to them, and lay in meats and drinks, and not in righteous- 
ness and peace ! And as if we continued in an excommu- 

xlriii PREFACE. 

nication of ourselves, because we are not of their party ; 
when yet we deny no Protestants to be our brethren, nor 
refuse local communion with them, so they will grant it us 
on Scripture terms ; which if they will not, we will yet hold 
communion with them in several congregations. But thus 
it appeareth how strong self-interest is in the world ; and 
how charitable men are to those of their own opinions or 
parties, and how easily many do take liberty to speak their 
pleasure against any that are not of their mind. 

8. Observe also how forward men are to teach, and how 
backward to be learners, and then judge of their self-denial. 
Why are so many unwilling to enter by the way of ordina- 
tion, but (too commonly) because they judge better of their 
own abilities than ordainers do, and therefore suspect that 
they may be rejected by the ordainers, or disgraced at the 
least, while they think highly of themselves. But if they 
were self-denying men, they would think the sober, faithful 
pastors much fitter judges of their abilities than themselves, 
and would not run before they are sent. Many that re- 
proach the ministers as deceivers, will needs be themselves 
the teachers of the people ; as if they should say, * We (silly, 
ignorant souls) are wiser and fitter to be teachers than you ; 
come down and let us take your places.' In conference you 
may observe that most are forwarder to speak than to hear ; 
which shews that they overvalue their own understandings. 
And so much are proud men delighted to be thought the 
oracles of the world, that if you will but seem to hearken to 
them, and learn of them, and yield to their opinions, you 
win their heetrts, and shall be the men that have their com- 
mendations. Insomuch that some late ambitious persons 
that have thought to rise by the art of dissimulation, have 
found that there is no way for the deceiving of the people, 
and procuring the goodwill of most, like this ; even to seem 
of every man's opinion that they talk with, and to make 
every sect and party believe that they are their friends and 
of their mind ; especially if you will seem to be changed by 
their arguments, and give them the glory of your convictions 
and illuminations, you will then be the dearly beloved of 
their hearts. In all this you may see the rarity of self-denial. 
Yea, in the very work of God, too many of the most zealous 
godly ministers that have been the instruments of converting 


many souls, are touched a little with the temptation to this 
selfishness, looking too much to their own part in the work. 
9. Observe but how commonly with men called Chris- 
tians, the interest of Christ is trodden in the dirt, when it 
seemeth to cross any interest of their own. An argument 
drawn from the commands of God, or the necessity of the 
church or of the souls of men, seems nothing to them if their 
honour, or gain, or greatness, or safety, do stand up against 
it, and be inconsistent with its conclusion. Hence it is that 
the souls of hypocrites do cheat themselves by a carnal re- 
ligiousness, serving God only in subservience to themselves. 
Hence it is that hypocrites do^ most shew themselves in 
matters of self-interest ; in the cheap part of religion they 
seem to be as good as any ; as zealous for their party and 
opinions (which they call the truth) ; and as long and loud 
in prayer, and for as strict a way of discipline with others ; 
but touch them in their estates or names ; call them to costly 
works of charity, or to let go their right for peace, or public 
good, or to confess and lament any sin that they commit, 
and you shall then see that they are but common men, and 
self bears rule instead of Christ. Hence also it is that sa 
many persons can bear with themselves in any calling or 
trade of life that is but gainful, be it never so unjust, and 
will not believe but it is lawful, because it is profitable ; for 
they suppose that gain is godliness ; 1 Tim. vi. 5. Hence it 
is that so many families will be so far religious as will stand 
with their commodity, but no further ; yea, that so many 
ministers have the wit to prove that most duties are to them 
no duties, when they will cost them much labour or disho- 
nour in the world, or bring them under suflferings from men. 
And hence it is that so many carnal politicians do in their 
laws and counsels always prefer the interest of their bodies 
before God's interest and men's souls ; yea, some are so far 
forsaken by common reason, and void of the love of God 
and his church, as to maintain that magistrates in their laws 
and judgments must let matters of religion alone ; as if that 
self, even carnal self, were all their interest, and all their 
God ; and as if they were of the profane opinion, ' Every 
man for himself and God for us all ;* or as if they would 
look to their own cause, and bid God look to his. 

From the power of this selfishness it is that so many 
princes and states turn persecutors, and stick not to silence, 



banish (and some of the bloodier sort, to kill) the ministers 
of Christ, when they do but think they stand cross to their 
carnal interests ; and if you will plead the interest of Christ 
and souls against theirs, and tell them that the banishment, 
imprisonment, silencing or death of such or such a servant 
of the Lord, will be injurious to many souls, and therefore 
if they were guilty of death in some cases, they should re - 
prieve them, as they do women with child, till Christ be 
formed in the precious souls that they travail in birth with 
(so their lives be not more hurtful by any contrary mischief, 
which death only can restrain, which is not to be supposed 
of sober men) ; yet all this seems nothing to a selfish per- 
secutor, that regards not Christ's interest in comparison of 
his own. Self is the great tyrant and persecutor of the 

10. Observe also how few they be that satisfy their souls 
in God's approbation, though they are misjudged and vilified 
by the world ; and how few that rejoice at the prosperity of 
the Gospel, though themselves be in adversity ; most men 
will needs have the hypocrite's reward. Matt. vi. 2., even 
some commendation from men ; and too few are fully pleased 
with His eye that seeth in secret, and will reward them 
openly ; Matt. vi. 4. 6. And hence it is that injurious cen- 
sures and hard words do go so near them, and they make so 
great a matter of them. Those times do seem best to selfish 
men which are most for them ; if they prosper and their party 
prosper, though most of the church should be a loser by it, 
they will think that it is a blessed time ; but if the church 
prosper, and not they, but any suffering befal them, they 
take on as if the church did stand or fall with them. Self- 
interest is their measure, by which they judge of times and 

11. Observe also how eagerly men are set to have their 
own wills take place in public businesses, and to have their 
own opinions to be the rule of the church and commonwealth, 
and then judge by this of their self-denial. Were not self 
predominant there would not be such striving who should 
rule, and whose will should be the law ; but men would 
think that others were as likely to rule with prudence and 
honesty as they. How eager is the Papist to have his way 
by an universal monarch ! How eager are others for one 
ecclesiastical national head ! How eager are the popular 


party for their way ! As if the welfare of all did lie in their 
several modes of government. And so confidently do the 
Libertines speak for theirs, that they begin now to make 
motions that our parliament-men shall be hanged or beheaded 
as traitors, if any should make a motion in (a free) parlia- 
ment against the general liberty which they desire. Won- 
derful ! that men should ever grow to such an overpowering 
of themselves and overvaluing their own understandings, as 
to obtrude so palpable and odious a wickedness upon par- 
liaments so confidently, and to take them for traitors that 
will not be traitors or grossly disobedient against the Lord. 
Self-denial would cure these peremptory demands, and 
teach men to be more suspicious of their own understand- 

12. Lastly, Observe but how difficult a thing it is* to 
keep peace (as in families and neighbourhoods) so in churches 
and commonwealths, and judge by this of men's self-denial. 
Husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, masters and ser- 
vants, live at variance, and all through the conflicts that 
arise between their contrary self-interests. If a beast do 
but trespass on a neighbour's grounds ; if they be but as- 
sessed for the state or poor above their expectations ; if in 
any way of trading their commodity be crossed ; you shall 
quickly see where self bears rule. This makes it so difficult 
a work to keep the churches from divisions. Few men are 
sensible of the universal interest, because they are captivated 
to their own ; and therefore it is that men fear not to make 
parties and divisions in the church ; and will tear it in pieces 
to satisfy their interests or selfish zeal. Hence it is that 
parties are so much multiplied, and keep up the buckler 
against others, because that selfishness makes all partial. 
Hence it is that people fall off from their pastors, or else 
fall out with them, when they are crossed in their opinions, 
reproved for their sins, or called to confess or make restitu- 
tion, and perhaps that they may sacrilegiously defraud the 
church of tithes or other payments that are due. Hence it 
is also that members so often fall out with one another for 
foul words, or differences of judgment, or some point 
or other of self-interest; nay, sometimes about their 
very seats in the place of worship : while every man is for 
himself, the ministers can hardly keep them in charity and 


And is any of this agreeable to our holy rule and pat- 
tern? No man can think so that hath read the Gospel, but 
he that is so blinded by selfishness as not to understand what 
makes against it. And here besides what is more largely 
spoken after, let me tell of a few of the evils of this sin, and 
the contrary benefits of self-denial. 

1. The power of selfishness keeps men strangers to 
themselves ; they know not their original nor actual sins 
with any kindly humbling knowledge. The very nature of 
original sin doth consist in these two things, Privatively, in 
the want of our original love or propensity to God as God; 
I mean the privation of the root, or habit, or inclination to 
love God for himself, as the beginning or end of us and all 
things, and the absolute Lord, and infinite, simple, inestima- 
ble good. And positively, in the inordinate propensity or 
inclination to ourselves, as for ourselves, and not as duly 
subordinate to God. The soul having unfaithfully and re- 
belliously withdrawn itself from God, in point of love and 
subjection, it becomes its own idol, and looks no higher 
than itself, and loveth God and all things but for itself (and 
principally for its carnal pleasure) ; and the propensity to 
this, with the privation of the soul's inclination to God, is 
original sin ; the disposition suited to the actual sin that 
caused it, which was a retiring from God to self. He that 
feeleth not this evil in himself hath no true knowledge of 
original sin : and it is the want of the sense of this great 
evil (and so the want of being acquainted with their hearts) 
that causeth so many to turn Pelagians, and to deny the 
being of original sin. 

2. Both selfishness and the want of a true discernment 
of it, doth breed and feed abundance of errors, and teach 
mei\ to corrupt the whole body of practical divinity, and to 
subvert many articles of faith which stand in their way. 
How comes the world to be all in a flame about the universal 
reign of the pope of Rome, but from the dominion of selfish- 
ness"? Whence is it that the nations of the earth have been 
so troubled for patriarchs, metropolitans and diocesans that 
must do their work by others, and for many things that (at 
best) can pretend to be but human, indiflferent, changeable 
forms, but from the prevalency of self? Whence is it that 
men's consciences have been ensnared, and the churches 
troubled by so many ceremonies of men's invention, and the 

PRKFACK. liii 

church must rather lose her most faithful pastors, thau they 
be permitted to worship God as Peter and Paul did ; hath 
not selfishness and pride done this? It is self that hath 
taught some to plead too much for their own sufficiency, 
and to deny the need of special grace. And so far hath it 
prevailed with some of late, as to lead them doctrinally to 
deny that God is the ultimate End of man, and to be loved 
for himself, and above ourselves and all things ; but only 
(they say) he is our 'finis cujus vel rei' to be loved ' amore 
concupiscentiae/ In a word, it is this woful principle that 
hath corrupted doctrine, discipline and worship in so many 
of the churches, 

3. We shall never have peace in church or commonwealth 
while selfishness bears sway. Every man's interest will be 
preferred before the public interest, and rise against it as oft 
(which will be oft) as they seem inconsistent. This is the 
vice that informeth tyranny, whether it be monarchy, aris- 
tocracy or democracy, when selfish interest is preferred be- 
fore the common interest. This makes our people too wise 
or too good to learn or to be guided by their pastors, and 
€very man (of this strain) seems wise enough to lead off a 
party of the church into a mutiny against the pastors and 
the rest. This makes the labours of reconcilers unsuccess- 
ful, while selfishness engageth so many wits, and tongues, 
and pens, and parties, against the most necessary equal terms 
and endeavours of such as would reconcile. Were it not for 
these selfish men, how soon would all our rents be healed : 
how soon would all our wars be ended ; and all our heart- 
burnings and malicious oppositions be turned into charitable 
consultations for a holy peace ! If once men were carried 
above themselves, they would meet in God the centre of 

4. It is for want of self-denial that we undergo so many 
disappointments, and suflfer so much disquietment and vex- 
ation. Were our wills more entirely subjected to the will 
of God, so that his will were preferred before our own, we 
should rest in his will, and have no contradictory desires to 
be disappointed, and no matter left for self-vexation. Had 
we no disease we should feel no pain ; and it is our self-will 
rebelling against the will of God that is our disease. Self- 
denial removeth all the venom from our hearts : persecution, 
and poverty, and sickness may touch our flesh, but the 


heart is fortified so far as we have this grace. O how hap- 
pily doth it quiet and calm the mind, when things befal us 
that would even distract a selfish man ! O happy man 
where God is all and self is nothing ! There duty, and love, 
and joy are all, and trouble and distress is nothing. These 
are not our matters now ; partly because we are above them, 
and partly because they belong not to our care, but to his 
providence. Let us do our duty and adhere to him, and let 
him dispose of us as he sees meet. Who would much fear 
a tyrant or any other enemy, that saw God and glory, which 
faith can see ? Did we see the glorious throne of Christ, 
we should be so far from trembling at the bar of persecutors, 
that we should scarce so much regard them as to answer 
them; the infinite glory would so potently divert our minds. 
As we scarce hearken to our children's impertinent bab- 
blings when we are taken up with great affairs, so if a tyrant 
talk to us of hanging or imprisonment, we should scarce 
hearken to such trivial impertinencies, were we so far above 
ourselves as faith and love should advance the soul. 

I have further shewed you in the following treatise, how 
self-denial disableth all temptations ; how it conduceth to 
all eminent works of charity, but especially to the secret 
w^orks of the sincere. It is of absolute necessity to salva- 
tion : it is the thing that hypocrites are condemned for want 
of: it is the wisdom of the soul, as being the only way to 
our own security: and it is the holiness and justice of the 
soul (as it is conjunct with the love of God), in' that it res- 
toreth to God his own. The excellency of grace is manifested 
in self-denial. To do or suffer such little things as self is 
not much against, is nothing ; but to be nothing in ourselves 
and God to be our all, and to close with our first and blessed 
end, this is the nature of sanctification. 

Alas, poor England (and more than England, even all 
the Christian world), into what confusion and misery hath 
selfishness plunged thee ! Into how many pieces art thou 
broken, because that every hypocrite hath a self to be his 
principle and end, and forsakes the true universal end! 
How vain are our words to rulers, to soldiers, to rich and 
poor, while we call upon them to deny themselves ! And 
must we lose our labour? and must the nation lose its peace 
and hopes? Is there no remedy, but selfishness must undo 
all? If so, be it known to you, the principal loss shall be 


your own : and in seeking your safety, liberty, wealth and 
glory, you shall lose them all, and fall into misery, slavery 
and disdain. Deny yourselves, or save yourselves, if you 
can. God is not engaged to take care of you, or preserve 
you, if you will be your own, and will be reserving or saving 
yourselves from him. And though you may seem to pros- 
per in sslf-seeking ways, they will end, yea,' shortly end in 
your confusion. You have seen of late years in this land, 
the glory of self-seekers turned to shame ; but it is greater 
shame that is out of sight. The word and works of God 
have warned you. If yet the cause and church of God shall 
be neglected, and yourselves and your own affairs preferred, 
and men that shall not be tolerated to abuse you, shall be 
tolerated to abuse the souls of men, and the Lord that made 
them ; and if God must be denied because you will not deny 
yourselves, you shall be denied by Christ in your great ex- 
tremity, when the remembrance of these things shall be your 
torment. Hearken and amend, or prepare your answer; for 
behold the Judge is at the door. 


LUKE IX. 23, 24. 

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny 
himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me : for whosoever 
will save his life shall lose it ; hut whosoever shall lose his life for 
my sake, the same slhall save it. 


What Selfishness and Self-denial are, at the root. 

I HAVE already spoken of Conversion in a foregoing dis- 
course, both opening to you the true nature of it, and the 
reasons of its necessity, and persuading men thereunto. But 
lest so great a work should miscarry with any for want of a 
more particular explication, I should next open the three 
great parts of the work distinctly and in order : that is, I. 
From what it is that we must turn. II. To whom we must 
turn. III. And by whom we must turn. For though I 
touched all these in the foregoing Directions, and through 
the discourse, yet I am afraid lest so brief a touch should be 

The first of these I shall handle at this time from this 
text, meddling with no more but what is necessary to our 
present business. 

You may easily see that the doctrine which Christ here 
proclaimeth to all that have thoughts of being his followers, 
is this, that, * All that will be Christians must deny them- 
selves, and take up their cross and follow Christ, and not 


reserve so much as their very lives, but resolve to resign up 
all for him/ 

Self-denial is one part of true conversion ; for the open- 
ing of this I must shew you, 

I. What is meant by self. 

II. And what by denying this self. 

III. And the grounds and reasons of the point. 
And IV. I shall briefly apply it. 

1. 1. Self is sometimes taken for the very person, con- 
sisting of the soul and body simply considered ; and this is 
called natural or personal self* 2. Self is taken for this 
person considered in its capacity of earthly comforts, and in 
relation to the present blessings of this world, that tend to 
the prosperity of man as in the flesh ; and this may be called 
earthly self (yet in an innocent sense). 3. Self is taken for 
the person as corrupted by inordinate sinful sensuality ; 
which may be called carnal self. 4. Self may be taken for 
the person in his sanctified estate ; which is spiritual self. 
6. And self may be taken for the person in his naturals and 
spirituals conjunct, as he is capable of a life of everlasting 
felicity ; which is the immortal self. 

II. By denying self, is meant disclaiming, renouncing, 
disowning and forsaking it. Self is here partly as a party 
disjunct from Christ, and withdrawn from its due subordina- 
tion to God, and partly as his competitor and opposite ; and 
accordingly it is to be denied, partly by a neglect, and 
partly by an opposition. 

Before I come to tell you how far self must be denied, J 
must tell you wherein the disease of selfishness doth con- 
sist ; and for brevity we shall dispatch them both together. 

And on the negative, 1. To be a natural individual per- 
son distinct from God our Creator, is none of our disease, 
but the state we were created in ; and therefore no man 
must under pretence of self-denial either destroy himself, or 
yet with some heretics aspire to be- essentially and perso- 
nally one with God, so that their individual personality 
should be drowned in him as a drop is in the ocean. 

2. The disease of selfishness lieth not in having a body 
that is capable of tasting sweetness in the creature, or in 
having the objects of our sense in which we be delighted, 
nor yet in all actual sweetness and delight in them ; nor in 
a simple love of life itself; for all these are the effects of the 


Creator's will. And therefore this self-denial doth not con- 
sist in a hatred or disregard of our own lives, or in a destruc- 
tion of our appetites or senses, or an absolute refusal to 
please them in the use of the creatures which God hath 
given us. 

3. Yea, though our natures are corrupted by sin, self- 
denial requireth not that we should kill ourselves, and des- 
troy our human natures that we may thereby destroy the sin. 
Self-murder is a most heinous sin, which God condemneth. 

4. Our spiritual self, or self as sanctified, must not be so 
denied as to deny ourselves to be what we are, or have what 
we have, or do what we do. We may not deny God's graces, 
nor deny that they are in us as the subject, nor may we res- 
train the holy desires which God exciteth in us, or deny to 
fulfil them, or bring them towards fruition when opportunity 
is offered us. 

5. We may not deny to accept of any mercy which God 
shall offer us, though but a common creature : nor to use 
any talent for his service if he choose us for his stewards ; 
much less may we refuse any spiritual mercy that may fur- 
ther our salvation. It is not the self-denial required by 
Christ, that we deny to be Christians, or to be sanctified by 
the Spirit, or to be delivered from our sins and enemies; or 
that we deny to use the means and helps offered us, or to 
accept of the privileges purchased by Christ ; much less to 
deny our salvation itself, and to undo our own souls. In a 
word, it is not any thing that is really and finally to our hurt 
and loss. 

But (as to the affirmative) I shall shew you what the dis- 
ease of selfishness indeed is, and so what self-denial is. 

1. When God had created man in his own image, he gave 
him a holy disposition of soul, which might incline him to 
his Maker as his only felicity and ultimate end. He made 
him to be blessed in the sight of his glory, and in the ever- 
lasting love of God, and delight in him, and praises of him. 
This excellent employment and glory did God both fit him 
for, and set before him. 

But the first temptation did entice him to adhere to an 
inferior good, for the pleasing of his flesh and the advance- 
ment of himself to a carnal kind of felicity in himself, that 
he might be as God, knowing good and evil. And thus man 
was suddenly taken with the creature as a means to the 


pleasing of his carnal self, and so did depart from God his 
true felicity, and retired into himself in his estimation, affec- 
tion and intention ; and delivered up his reason in subjec- 
tion to his sensuality, and made himself his ultimate end. 

With this sinful inclination are we all born into the 
world, so that every man according to his corrupted nature 
doth terminate his desires in himself; and whatever he may 
notionally be convinced of to the contrary, yet practically 
he makes his earthly life and the advancement and pleasure 
which he expecteth therein, to be his felicity and end. 

Self-denial now is the cure of this : it carrieth a man from 
himself again, and sheweth him that he never was made to 
be his own felicity or end ; and that the flesh was not made 
to be pleased before God ; and that it is so poor, and low, 
and short a felicity, as indeed is but a name and shadow of 
felicity ; and when it proceeds to that, a mere deceit. It 
sheweth him how unreasonable, how impious and unjust it 
is, that a creature, and such a creature, should terminate 
his desires and intentions in himself: and this is the prin* 
cipal part of self-denial. 

2. As God was man's ultimate end in his state of inno- 
cency, so accordingly man was appointed to use all creatures 
in order to God, for his pleasure and glory. So that it was 
the work of man to do his Maker's will, and he was to use 
nothing but with this intention. 

But when man was fallen from God to himself, he after- 
wards used all things for himself, even his carnal self; and 
all that he possessed was become the provision and fuel of 
his lusts ; and so the whole creation which he was capable 
of using, was abused by him to this low and selfish end, as 
if all things had been made but for his delight and will. 

But when man is brought to deny himself, he is brought 
to restore the creatures to their former use, and not to sacri- 
fice them to his fleshly mind ; so that all that.he hath and 
useth in the world, is used to another end (so far as he de- 
nyeth himself) than formerly it was ; even for God and not 

3. In the state of innocency, though man had naturally 
an averseness from death and bodily pains, as being natural 
evils, and had a desire of the welfare even of the flesh itself: 
yet as his body was subject to his soul, and his senses to his 
reason, so his bodily ease and welfare was to be esteemed. 


and desired, and sought, but in a due subordination to his 
spiritual welfare, and especially to his Maker's will. So that 
though he was to value his life, yet he was much more to 
value his everlasting life, and the pleasure and glory of his 

But now when man is fallen from God to himself, his 
life and earthly felicity is the sweetest and dearest thing to 
him that is. So that he preferreth it before the pleasing of 
God, and everlasting life ; and therefore he seekethitmore, 
and holdeth it faster, as long as he can, and parteth with it 
more unwillingly. As innocent nature had an appetite to 
the objects of sense, but corrupted nature hath an enraged, 
greedy, rebellious and inordinate appetite to them, so inno- 
cent nature had a love to this natural, earthly life, and the 
comforts of it ; but corrupted nature hath such an inordinate 
love to them, as that all things else are made subordinate to 
them and swallowed up in this gulf ; even God himself is 
so far loved as he befriendeth these our carnal ends, and 
furthereth our earthly prosperity and life. 

But when men are brought to deny themselves, they are 
in their measures restored to their first esteem of life, and all 
the prosperity and earthly comforts of life. Now they have 
learned so to love them, as to love God better ; and so to 
value them, as to prefer everlasting life before them ; and so 
to hold them and seek their preservation as to resign them 
to the will of God, and to lay them down when we cannot 
hold them with his love, and to choose death in order to life 
everlasting, before that life which would deprive us of it. 
And this is the principal instance of self-denial which Christ 
giveth us here in the text, as it is recited by all the three 
Evangelists that recite these words,*' He that saveth his life 
shall lose it," &c., and, " What shall it profit a man to win 
all the world, and lose his soul?" By these instances it 
appears, that by self-denial, Christ doth mean a setting so 
light by all the world and by our own lives, and consequently 
our carnal comfort in these, as to be willing and resolved to 
part with them all, rather than with him and everlasting life ; 
even as Abraham was bound to love his son Isaac, but yet 
so to prefer the love and will of God, as to be able to sacri- 
fice his son at God's command. 

And the Lord Jesus himself was the liveliest pattern to 
us of this self-denial that ever the world saw ; indeed his 


whole life was a continued practice of it. And it hath oft 
convinced me that it is a special part of our sanctification, 
when I have considered how abundantly the Lord hath exer- 
cised himself in it for our example. For as it is desperate 
to think with the Socinians that he did it only for our ex- 
ample, so it is also a desperate error of others, to think that 
it was only for satisfaction to God, and not at all for our ex- 
ample. Many do give up themselves to flesh-pleasing upon 
a misconceit that Christ did therefore deny his flesh to pur- 
chase them a liberty to please theirs ; as in his fasting and 
temptations, and his sufferings by the reproach and ingrati- 
tude of men, and the outward poverty and meanness of his 
condition, the Lord was pleased to deny himself, so especi- 
ally in his last passion and death. As I have shewed else- 
where, he loved his natural life and peace : and therefore in 
manifestation of that he prayeth, " Father, if it be thy will, 
let this cup pass from me :" but yet when it came to the 
comparative practical act, he proceeded to choose his 
Father's will with death, rather than life without it, and 
therefore saith, " Not my will (that is, my simple love of life) 
but thy will be done." In which very words he manifesteth 
another will of his own besides that which he consenteth 
shall not be done, and sheweth that he preferred the pleasing 
of his Father in the redemption of the world before his own 
life. And thus in their measure he causeth all his members 
to do ; so that life, and all the comforts of life, are not so 
dear to them as the love of God and everlasting life. 

4. When God had created man he was presently the 
owner of him, and man understood this, that he was God's 
and not his own ; and he was not to claim a property in 
himself, nor to be affected to himself as his own, nor to live 
as his own, but as his that made him. 

But when he fell from God, he arrogated practically 
(though notionally he may deny it) a property in himself, 
and useth himself accordingly. 

And when Christ bringeth men to deny themselves, they 
cease to be their own in their conceits any more : then they 
resign themselves wholly to God as being wholly his. They 
know they are his both by the right of creation and of re- 
demption ; and therefore are to be disposed of by him, and 
to glorify him in body and spirit which are his ; 1 Cor. vi. 
19,20. Rom. xiv.9. To be thus heartily devoted to God 


as his own, is the form of sanctification : and to live as 
God's own, is the truly holy life. 

5. As man in innocency did know that he was not his 
own, so he knew that nothing that he had was his own, but 
that he was the steward of his Creator, for whom he was to 
use them, and to whom he was accountable. 

But when he was fallen from God to himself, though he 
had lost the right of a servant, yet he graspeth at the crea- 
ture, as if he had the right of a lord : he now takes his goods, 
his lands, his money to be his own ; and therefore he thinks 
he may use them for himself, and give God only some small 
contribution, lest he should disturb his possession : he saith 
as the impious ones, Psal.xii.4., "Our lips are our own, 
who is Lord over us ?" Though all of them know specula- 
tively that all is God's, yet practically they take it and use 
it as their own. 

But when grace teacheth them to deny themselves, it 
strippeth them naked of all that they seemed proprietors of, 
and maketh them confess that nothing is their own, but all 
is God's, and to God they do devote it, and use it for him, 
and give him his own ; which the first Christians signified 
by selling all and laying at the apostles' feet. And there- 
fore he asketh God what he shall do with it, and how he 
shall use it; and if God take it from him, he can bless the 
name of the Lord with Job (Jobi. 21.), as knowing he taketh 
but his own ; and can say with Eli, *' It is the Lord, let him 
do what seemeth him good ;" 1 Sam. iii. 18. He knows that 
God may do with him as he list (Matt. xx. 15.), and that he 
can have nothing but of his bounty; and therefore that it is 
his mercy that leaveth him any thing ; but it were no wrong 
to him if he took away all. And thus he understandeth that 
he is but a steward, and therefore must use all that he hath 
for him that he received it from. If he have children, his 
desire is to know which way they may be most serviceable 
to God ; and to that he will devote them. If he have wealth, 
or honour, and power among men, his care is to know which 
way he may employ them for his Master's use, and so he 
will employ them. If he have wit and learning, his care is 
to serve God by it. If he have strength and time, he is 
thinking which way to improve them for his Lord. And if 
vain companions, or the world, or fleshly delights would 
draw him to lay them out for them, he remembers that this 


were to waste his Master's stock upon his enemies. So that 
though the sanctified man hath all things, yet he knows 
that he hath nothing. All things are his as God's steward, 
but nothing is properly and ultimately his own. All things 
are his for God ; but nothing is his for his carnal self, nor 
ultimately for his personal or natural self. Upon this ground 
he gives the devil, the world and the flesh a denial when 
they would have his time, his tongue, his wit, his wealth, or 
any thing that he possesseth : he telleth them, * They are 
none of mine, but God's ; I received them,^ and I must be 
accountable for them. I had them not from you, and there- 
fore I may not use them for you : I must give to God the 
things that are God's : that v/hich is yours I will readily 
yield you. Justice requireth that every one have his own.' 
And thus self-denial doth take off the sanctified from giving 
that which is God's unto themselves. 

Object. * But do we not lawfully use his mercies for our- 
selves ? Are not our meat, and drink, and clothes, and 
houses, and goods our own, and may we not use them for 
ourselves V 

Answ. Improperly they are our own : so far our own,, 
as that our fellow-servants may not take them from us with- 
out our Lord's consent : as every servant may have a pecu- 
liar stock entrusted in his hands, or may have his tools to 
do his work with, which indeed are his Master's, but are his 
to use. But as to a strict property they are none of ours, 
but God is the only Proprietary of the world. 

And for the use of them, it may be for ourselves in sub- 
ordination to God, but never ultimately for ourselves. We 
may not use one creature but ultimately and principally for 
God. When we eat or drink we must never make the pleas- 
ing of our appetite our end, but must do it to strengthen, 
and cheer, and fit ourselves for the service of God ; and 
therefore we must first ask God and not our appetite, what 
and how much we must eat and drink : and we must no fur- 
ther please our appetite, than the pleasing of it doth fit us 
for the service of God. It is the express command, 1 Cor. 
X. 31., *' Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do 
all to the glory of God." You may not wear your clothes 
merely and ultimately for your bodies, but only to fit your 
bodies for God's service ; and therefore you must advise with 
his word, and with your end what you should put on. You 


may not provide a house to dwell in, nor friends, nor riches, 
nor any thint^ else for the pleasing of your flesh, as your 
ultimate end, but for the service of your Lord. For you 
must '* put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provi- 
sion for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof;" Rom. xiii. 14, 
6. As man had his being and wellbeing from God, so is 
it God only that can preserve and continue them. Innocent 
man understood this, and therefore lived in a dependance 
upon God; looking to his hand for the supply of his wants, 
and casting all his care upon him, and trusting him wholly 
with himself and all, and not distracting his own mind with 
cares and distrustful fears, but quieted and contented his 
mind in the wisdom, goodness and all-sufficiency of God. 

But when man was fallen to himself from God, he desired 
presently to have his portion or stock in his own hands, and 
grew distrustful of God, and began to look upon himself as 
his own preserver (in a great measure), and therefore he fell 
to carking and caring for himself, and to studious contri- 
vances for his own preservation and supplies. He searched 
every creature for himself, and laboured to find in it some 
good for himself, as if the care of himself had wholly de- 
volved on himself. I have been as much troubled to under- 
stand that text in Gen.iii.22. as any one almost in the Bible, 
being somewhat unsatisfied with some ordinary expositions ; 
and yet it is too hard for me. But this seems to me the most 
probable interpretation ; that in his estate of innocency, 
Adam was as a child in his Father's house, that was only to 
study to please his Father, and to do the work that he com- 
manded him, but not to take any thought or care for himself, 
for while he was obedient, it was his Father's part to preserve 
him and provide for him, to keep off death and danger, and 
supply all his wants. And therefore though man had the 
faculty or power of knowing more perfect than we have now, 
yet he did not need to trouble himself about these matters 
of self, because they belonged to God ; and consequently 
had not the actual consideration or knowledge of them, for 
that would have been but a vain and troublesome knowledge 
and consideration to him ; for though the knowledge of all 
things necessary to be known, was part of his perfection, 
yet the actual knowledge of many things unnecessary and 
vexatious or tempting, may be part of a man's infelicity and 
misery ; and so '* he that increaseth knowledge increaseth 



sorrow;" Eccl.i. 18. As man that foreknoweth his own 
death, is through the fear of it all his lifetime subject to 
bondage (Heb. ii. 15.), and the fear is more grievous than the 
death itself, when a beast thatknoweth not his death is freed 
from those fears. Indeed in our fallen estate there is some 
use for more of this kind of knowledge than before : but in 
innocency man needed only to know his Maker, and his will 
and works, and the creature as his utensils, and the glass in 
which he was to be seen, and to fear with moderation the 
death which he had threatened, merely as threatened by him. 
But by the temptation of satan man grew desirous to be past 
a child, at his Father's finding, and under his care, and would 
take care and thought for himself, and know what was good^ 
or evil for himself as to the natural man ; and so far turned 
his eye to the creature to study it for himself, when he 
should have studied God in it ; and to search after good and 
evil to himself in it, while he should have searched after the 
attributes of God in it, and daily gazed with holy love and 
admiration upon his blessed face that shined in this glass : 
and so he would use the creature directly for himself, which 
he should have used only for God's service. And thus I 
conceive man did indeed by his fall attain to much more 
actual knowledge as to the number of objects than he had 
before ; which knowledge was indeed in itself considered 
physically good, but not good to him as any part of his 
felicity or his virtue, but rather by participation his sin and 
misery, as being unsuitable to his condition. It was better 
with him when he knew one God, and all things in God, as 
they conduced to the love and service of God, and were 
suitable to his state, than when he turned his mind from 
God, and fell to study the creature in itself, and for himself, 
as good or evil to himself, and so lost himself and his un- 
derstanding in a crowd of unnecessary and misused objects ; 
like a foolish patient that having a most judicious and faith- 
ful physician that will take care of his health, and provide 
him the best and safest remedies, doth grow to an eager 
desire to be acquainted himself with the nature of each 
medicine, and to be skilful in the cure of his own disease, 
that he may trust his physician no longer, but may be his 
own physician ; and therefore hearkeneth to a seducer that 
tells him, * The physician doth but keep thee in ignorance, 
lest thou shouldst be as wise as he, and able to cure or pre- 


serve thyself ; hearken to me, and I will teach thee to know 
all these things thyself, and so thou mayst take care of thy- 
self/ So man was seduced by satan to withdraw himself 
from the fatherly cafe of God, by a desire himself to be wise 
for himself in the knowledge of all that in the creature which 
might be directly good or evil to himself, so taking on him- 
self the work of God, and casting off the work that God had 
set him, and withdrawing himself from his necessary depen- 
dance on his Maker. And accordingly much of this selfish 
knowledge of the creature he did attain; but with the woful 
loss of the divine knowledge of the creature, and of the filial 
soul-contenting knowledge of God ; yea, and of himself, as 
•in his due subordination to God. This seems the sense of 
this text, and this is the case of fallen mankind. 

Naturally now every man would fain have his safety and 
comforts in his own hand. He thinks them not so sure and 
well in the hand of God. O what would a carnal man give 
that he had but his life and health in his own hand, and might 
keep them as long as he saw good ! When he is poor, he 
had rather it were in his hand to supply his wants, than in 
God's ; for he thinks it would go better with him. When 
he is sick, he had far rather it were in his own hand to cure 
him, than in God's 5 for then he should be sure of it. If he 
be in any strait, he cannot be content with a bare promise 
for his deliverance ; but unless he see some probability in 
the means and work, and unless he be acquainted with the 
particular way by which he must be delivered he is not sa- 
tisfied ; for he cannot trust God so well as himself. Is not 
this the case of all you that are carnal? Would you not 
think your case much safer and better if it were in your own 
hands, than you do now it is in God's ? What would you 
not give, that you were but as able to give ease, and health, 
and wealth, and honour, and life to yourselves, as God is ! 
Hence it is that you so anxiously contrive for yourselves, 
and trouble yourselves with needless cares ; because you 
dare not trust God, but think you are fallen to your own care 
and finding. You think yourselves quite undone when you 
have nothing left you but God and his promise to trust upon, 
and when you see nothing in yourselves and the creature to 
support you. And thus are all men fallen from God to 

But sanctification teacheth men that self-denial which 


according to its measure, doth heal them of this disease. 
Though some actual knowledge of good and evil, and some 
care of our natural selves be now become a necessary duty, 
as suited to our lapsed state, which yet had never been but 
through sin : yet that which is sinful self-denial doth des- 
troy. It sheweth man that he is every way insufficient for 
himself, and that he is not the fountain of his own felicity ; 
nor doth it belong to him, but to God, to preserve him and 
secure his welfare. He seeth what a folly it is to depart 
from the tuition of his heavenly Father, and as the prodigal 
son to desire to have his portion in his own hands. Expe- 
rience tells him with smart and sorrow that he hath not been 
so good a preserver of himself, nor used himself so well as 
to desire to be in the same hands any longer that hath so 
abused him. Yea, he knoweth that it was God that indeed 
preserved him, while he was over-solicitous about it himself, 
and would needs have the managing of his own affairs. He 
now believes that he can be nowhere safe but in the hands 
of God, and no way sufficiently provided for, but by his wis- 
dom, love and power : nor dare he trust himself hereafter 
with himself or any creature. He finds that he hath but tur- 
moiled and distracted his mind by undertaking the manage- 
ment of his own preservation : and that he hath brought 
himself into a wilderness, and lost himself and ravelled his 
own affairs : when if he had committed himself to God, and 
been satisfied in his wisdom, love and power, all had been 
kept safe and sound, and man had not been lost, nor his es- 
tate thus shattered and overthrown. And therefore the re- 
turning, self-denying convert is brought to an utter distrust 
of himself, and resolved hereafter to trust himself upon no- 
thing below All-sufficiency and Infinite love. He is so of- 
fended with himself for his former self-destruction, and for 
undoing himself so foolishly, that he calls himself to account 
and into judgment for it, and condemneth himself as a trai- 
tor to God, and a murderer of himself, and will no more be 
in the hands of so treacherous a delinquent ; but as the eyes 
of a servant are on the hand of his master, so are his eyes 
on God for all supplies. And this is the part of the work of 
the Spirit of adoption, who teacheth us to cry Abba, Fa- 
ther : and as children, not to be very careful for ourselves, 
but to run to our Father in all our wants, and tell him what 
we stand in need of, and beg relief: and *' to be careful for 



nothing ; but in every thing by prayer with supplication and 
thanksgiving; to make known our requests to God;'* Phil, 
iv. 6. And this acquiescence of the soul in the love of God, 
is it that " keepeth our hearts and minds in that peace of 
God which passeth understanding," (ver. 7.) so that the more 
self-denial, the less is a man dependent on himself, or trou- 
bled with the cares of his own preservation ; and the more 
doth he cast himself on God, and is careful to please him 
that is his true preserver, and then quieteth and resteth his 
mind in his all-sufficiency and infinite wisdom and love ; and 
so is a mere dependant upon God. 

7. Moreover, it is the prerogative of God, as absolute 
owner of us, to be the sole disposer of man, and of all the 
other creatures ; and to choose them their condition, and 
give them their several talents, and determine of the events 
of all their affairs, as pleaseth himself. And innocent man 
was contented with this order, and well pleased that God 
should be the absolute disposer of him and all. 

But when man turned from God to self, he presently de- 
sired to be the disposer of himself; and not of himself only, 
but of all the creatures within his reach. How fain would 
selfish, corrupted man be the chooser of his own condition! 
His will is against the will of God, and he usually disliketh 
God*s disposal. If he had the matter in his own hands, al- 
most nothing should be as it is ; but so cross would they be to 
God, that all things would be turned upsidedown. If it were 
at their will, there is scarce a poor man but would be rich ; 
and scarce a rich man but would be richer. The servant 
would be master; the tenant would be landlord ; the hus- 
bandman and tradesman would be a gentleman ; the labourer 
would live an easier life ; his house should be better ; his 
clothing should be better ; his fare should be better ; his 
provision should be greater ; his credit or honour with men 
should be more ; the gentleman would be a knight, and the 
knight a lord, and the lord would be a king, and the king 
would be more absolute, and have a larger dominion. Nay 
every man would be a king, and learn the doctrine of the 
Jews, and many of this age among us, to expect that the 
world should be ruled by them ; and they should reign as 
lords and princes in the earth. If it were with selfish men 
as they would have it, there is scarce a man that would be 
what he is, nor dwell where he doth, nor live at the rates that 


now he liveth at. The weak would be always strong ; and 
the sick would be well, and always well ; and the old would 
be young again, and never taste the infirmities of age ; and 
if they might live as long as they would, I think there are 
few of the unsanctified that would ever die, or look after 
heaven as long as they could live on earth. * O what a brave 
life should I have,' thinks the selfish, unsanctified wretch, 
' if I were but wholly at my own disposal, and might be what 
I would be, and have what I would have !' What would men 
give for such a life as this ! Had they but their own wills, 
they would think themselves the happiest men on earth : 
that is, if they could be delivered from the will of God, and 
be from under his disposal, and get the reins into their own 
hands ! 

Nay this is not all, but the selfish person would be the 
disposer of all the world within his reach, as well as of him- 
self. He would have kingdoms at his disposal, and all things 
carried according to his will. He would have all his neigh- 
bours have a dependance upon him ; very bountiful he would 
be, if he were the lord of all ; for he would be the great be- 
nefactor of the world, and have all men beholden to him, 
and depend upon him. If he see things that little concern 
him, he hath a will of his own that would fain have the dis- 
posal of them. If he hear of the aiFairs of other nations, 
some will he hath of his own, which he would have fulfilled 
in them, at least so far as any of his own interest may be in- 
volved in the business. 

But when sanctification hath brought men to self-denial, 
then they discern and lament this folly. They see what silly, 
giddy worms they are, to be disposers of themselves, or of 
the world. They see that they have neither wisdom, nor 
goodness, nor power sufficient for so great a work. They 
then perceive that it were better make an idiot the pilot of 
a ship, or an infant to be their physician when they are sick, 
or the disposer of their estates, than to commit themselves 
and the world to their disposal. They see how foolishly they 
have endeavoured or desired to rob God of his prerogative : 
and therefore they return from themselves to him, and give 
up all by free consent to his sole disposal, that so he may do 
with his own as he list. He finds that he hath work enough 
to do of his own, and is become too unfit for that ; and there- 
fore he dare no more undertake the work of God, for which 


he is infinitely unfit. He finds that the more he hath his 
own will, the worse it goes with him ; and therefore he will 
give up himself to God and stand to his will. If he feels 
that providence doth cross his flesh, and that he hath po- 
verty, when the flesh would have riches ; and shame, when 
that carnal self would have honour j and labour, when the 
flesh would have ease ; and sickness, when the flesh would 
have health ; he would not for all that have the work taken 
out of the hand of God, but truly saith, ** Not my will, but 
thine be done ;" and believeth that God's disposal is the 
best ; and that his Father knows well enough what he doth ; 
and if it were put to his choice, whether God or he should 
be the disposer of his estate, and honour, and life, he had 
rather it were in God's hands than his own; and would not 
undertake the charge if it were offered him. ' Alas,* thinks 
he, * I am almost below a man, and am I fit to make a God 
of? I come off so lamely in the duty of a creature as de- 
serves damnation ; and am I fit to arrogate the work of the 
Creator V 

8. Moreover, it is the high prerogative of God to be the 
Sovereign Ruler of the world ; to make laws for them, which 
must be obeyed ; and to reward the obedient, and punish the 
disobedient. God is King of all the earth ; even King of 
kings, and Lord of lords ; and all shall obey him, or be 
judged by him for their disobedience. 

But sin turned man into a rebel against heaven, and a 
traitor to his Maker ; so that now the selfish, unsanctified 
man disliketh God's government, at least in the particulars, 
and would govern himself. The law of God contained in his 
word and works he murmurs at as too obscure, or too pre- 
cise and strict for him. He finds that it crosseth his carnal 
interest, and speaks not good of him but evil ; and therefore 
he is against it as supposing it to be against him, and his 
pleasure, profit and honour in the world. If men had but the 
government of themselves, what a difference would there be 
between their way and God's? If corrupt, unsanctified, 
selfish man might make a law for himself instead of the word 
of God, what a law would it be? and how much of the law 
of God should be repealed ? If sinners might make a Scrip- 
ture, you should find in it no such passages as these, " Ex- 
cept a man be converted, or born again, he cannot enter into 
the kingdom of heaven : without holiness none shall see 


God." If self might make laws, you should not read in 
them, " If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die ; but if by the 
Spirit ye mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." Nor 
should you there find, that " the gate is strait, and the way 
is narrow that leads to life, and few there be that find it ;" or 
that " the righteous are scarcely saved/' As all the Scrip- 
ture is now for holiness, and against profaneness, ungodli- 
ness and sensuality ; if self had the framing of it, it should 
all be changed, and it should at least speak peace to fleshly- 
minded men. All those true and dreadful passages that 
speak fire and brimstone against the unsanctified, and 
threaten everlasting torments, should be razed out; and 
you should find no talk of damnation in the Scripture for 
such as they ; no talk of " the worm that never dieth, or the 
fire that is never quenched ;" or of " Depart from me all ye 
workers of iniquity ; I know you not ;" or that "the way of 
the ungodly shall perish ;" or that *' God doth laugh at 
them, because he seeth that their day is coming." Abun- 
dance of the Bible would be wiped out, if carnal self had but 
the altering of it. Nay, it would be quite made new, and 
made a contrary thing. The articles of our creed would be 
changed : the petitions of our rule for prayer would be most 
altered : every one of the ten commandments would be al- 
tered, as I shall after shew. Idolatry should be no sin, but 
the principal law ; for self would be set up as the idol of the 
world. Will-worship would be no sin ; men would be held 
guiltless that take the name of God in vain ; the Lord's day 
should be a day of mirth and carnal pleasure ; every subject 
would be the sovereign; and every inferior the superior : re- 
venge would be made lawful for themselves, though not for 
others : fornication and adultery would be no mortal sin ; 
stealing would be made tolerable to themselves : it should 
be lawful to them to do any wrong to the name and reputa- 
tion of another. In a word, every man would do what he 
list, and his will should be his law, and himself should be his 
own judge; a gentle, tender judge no doubt. Thus would 
self rule. 

But sanctification brings men to deny this self; and to 
lay down the arms of rebellion against God ; and to see how 
unfit we are to rule ourselves ; that we are too foolish, and 
simple, and partial to make laws, and too partial also and 
tender to execute them ; and that as we were made to obey^ 


SO obey we must, and come again into our ranks, and will- 
ingly subject ourselves to the Sovereign of the world. Self- 
denial teacheth a man to hate his own carnal wisdom and 
reasonings that rise up against the laws of God ; and to love 
them the worse because they are thus his own : and to love 
the laws of God the better, because they are God's, and be- 
cause they are against his carnal self. The stamp of God on 
them doth make them current with him, when if they had 
but the private stamp of self, he would disown them as 
counterfeit or treasonable. He hath indeed a flesh that is 
restrained by God's laws, and striveth against them ; but he 
thinks never the worse of the law for that, but approveth 
and liketh it in the inner man : and if he might have his 
choice, he would not blot out one commandment, nor one 
direction, nor one article of faith, nor a tittle of the law, be- 
cause that self is not the chooser in him ; but he hath learned 
to submit to the will and wisdom of the Lord. 

And though he love himself, and have a nature that is 
unwilling of suffering, and feareth the displeasure of God, 
and the threatenings of his holy law ; yet doth he unfeign- 
edly justify the law, and acknowledge it to be holy, and just, 
and good ; and would not have the very threatenings of it 
to be repealed and blotted out, if he had his choice ; for he 
knows that the determinations of God are the best, and that 
none but he is fit to govern, and therefore he desires that he 
himself may be taught better to obey, and not that he may 
rule ; and wisheth that he were more conformed to the law : 
and not that the law were conformed to him ; and fain he 
would have his own will brought up to God's, but wisheth 
not God's will to be crookened and brought down to his. 
As far as men have self-denial, this is so. 

9. Moreover, as it is God's prerogative to be the sove- 
reign Ruler of ourselves, so also of all others as well as us. 
But when sin had set up self, man would not only rule him- 
self, but would rule all others. An eager desire there is in 
the unsanctified, selfish heart, that he might be ruler of town 
and country, and all might be brought to do his will. And 
hence it is that there is such resisting and grudging at good 
governors, and that men are so ambitious, and fain would be 
highest, because they would have their own wills fulfilled by 
all, and therefore would have power to force men to it. 
Hence it is that there is such a stir in the world for crowns 


and kingdoms ; and few men have ever been heard of, that 
have refused a sceptre when it was offered them, yea, or that 
would not step out of their way for it, and wound their con- 
sciences, and hazard all their hopes of heaven for it, if they 
found themselves in a likelihood of obtaining it ; because 
where self doth reign at home, it would reign also over all 
others. Nothing more pleaseth the carnal mind, than to 
have his will, and to have all men do as he would have them, 
and to see all at his beck, and each man seeking to know 
his pleasure, ready to receive his word for law. This is the 
reign of self. 

But sanctification teacheth men self-denial, doth make 
them look first at the doing of God's will ; and would have 
all the world obedient to that ; and for their own wills, they 
resign them absolutely to God's, and would not have men 
obey them but in a due subordination to the Lord. As they 
affect no dominion or government but for God, so they de- 
sire not men to obey their wills any further than it is neces- 
sary to the obedience of God's will, to which they are ser- 
viceable and conform. The self-denying, sanctified man 
hath as careful an eye up and down the world for God's in- 
terest, as the self-seeker hath for his own : and as eagerly 
doth he long to hear of the setting up of the name, and 
kingdom, and will or laws of God in the world, as the am- 
bitious man longs for the setting up of his own. And it as 
much rejoiceth the holy, self-denying man to hear that God's 
laws are set up and obeyed, and that the world doth stoop 
to Jesus Christ, as it would rejoice the carnal, selfish wretch 
to be the lord and master of all himself, and his will become 
the law of the world. A holy, self-denying man would be 
far more glad to hear that Africa, America, and the rest of 
the unbelieving part of the world were converted to Christ 
by the power of the Gospel, and that the heathens were his 
inheritance, and the kingdoms of the world become the 
kingdoms of Christ, than if he had conquered all these him- 
self, and were become the king or emperor of the world. 
For as self is the chief interest of an unsanctified man ; so 
Christ and the will of God, is the chief interest of the sanc- 
tified : for he hath destroyed the contradictory interest of 
self, and renounced it, and hath taken God for his end, and 
Christ for the way, and consequently for his highest interest; 
so that he hath now no business in the world but God's bu- 


siness ; he hath no honour to regard but God's honour ; he 
hath none to exalt but the King of kings ; he knows no gain 
but the pleasing of God ; he knows no content or pleasure 
but God's pleasure : for the life that he now lives in the 
flesh, he lives by faith of the Son of God, that hath loved 
him and given himself for him ; and thereby hath drawn him 
out of himself to the fountain and end of love : and so it is 
not he that lives, but Christ liveth in him ; Gal. ii. 20. 

10. Lastly, it is the high prerogative of God, to have the 
honour, and power, and glory ascribed to him, and be praised 
as the author of all good to the world : and his glory he will 
not give to another. Man and all things are created, and 
preserved, and ordered for his glory : nor shall man have any 
glory but in the glorifying of his Lord : when we fell short 
of glorifying the Lord, we also fell short of the glory which 
we expected by him. 

But when sin turned man from God to himself, he be- 
came regardless of the honour of God, and his mind was 
bent on his own honour, so that he would have every knee 
bow to himself, and every eye observe him, and every mind 
think highly of him, and every tongue to praise and magnify 
him. It doth him good at the heart, to have virtue, and 
wisdom, and greatness ascribed to him, and an excellency in 
all ; and to have all the good that is done ascribed to him, 
and to be taken to be as the sun in the firmament that all 
must eye, and none can live without, and to be esteemed the 
benefactor of all. When he hears that men extol him and 
speak nothing of him but well, and great things ; and when 
he sees them all observe and reverence him, and take him as 
an oracle for wisdom, or as an angel of God, O how this 
pleaseth his unsanctified, selfish mind ! Now he hath his 
end, even that which he would have; and "verily," saith 
Christ, " they have their reward." 

But when sanctification hath taught men to deny them- 
selves, they see then that they are vile and miserable sinners, 
and loathe themselves for all their abominations ; and are 
base in their own eyes, and humble themselves before the 
Lord, and abhor themselves in dust and ashes, and say, " To 
us belongeth shame and confusion of face ; not unto us, O 
Lord, not unto us, but to thy name give the glory ;" Dan.ix. 
7, 8. Psal. cxv. L The holy, self-denying soul desireth no 
glory and honour, but what may conduce to the glory and 


•honour of his Lord : his heart riseth against base, flattering 
worldlings, that would rob God and give the honour to him ; 
nor can they do him a greater displeasure than to ascribe 
that to him which belongeth only to God, or to bring to him 
or any creature, his Maker's due. If God be honoured, he 
takes himself as honoured, if he be never so low ; if God be 
dishonoured, he is troubled, and his own honour will not 
make him reparation. As he liveth himself to the glory of 
God, and doth all that he doth in the world to that end ; so 
would he have all others do so too. And if God be most ho- 
noured by his disgrace and shame, he can submit. 

And thus I have shewed you the true nature both of self- 
ishness and of self-denial. But observe that I describe it as 
it is in itself; but yet there is too much selfishness in the 
best, which may hinder the fulness of these effects. But 
self-denial is predominant in all the sanctified, though it be 
not perfect. 


Reasons of the Necessity/ of Self denial to Salvation, 

III. And now you have seen the true description of self-de- 
nial, and I hope, if you have studied it, you know what it is 
that is required ; I shall next shew you some of the reasons 
of its necessity, and prove it to you beyond dispute, that it is 
no indifferent thing, nor the high attainment of some few of 
the saints, but a thing that all must have that will be saved, 
being of the very essence of holiness itself; so that it is as 
possible to live without life, as to be holy without self-de- 
nial ; and as possible to be saved whether God will or no, 
as to be saved without self-denial in a predominant degree. 
And if any of you think it strange that salvation should be 
laid on so high a duty, and that no man can be a true dis- 
ciple that denieth not himself, even to the forsaking of his 
life, and all, when God requireth it, I shall shew you that 
reason that should easily satisfy you. 

Reason 1. ' Till a man deny himself, he denieth God, and 
doth not indeed believe in him, and love him, and take him 
to be his God.' And I hope you will grant that no man can 
be saved that believes not in God, nor loveth him, nor takes 


him for his God. He that will deny God and yet think to 
be saved, must think to be saved in despite of God. The 
first article of our faith, and of our baptismal Christian co- 
venant is, * to believe in God the Father, and take him for 
our God, and give up ourselves to be his people.' But this 
no man can do without self-denial. For by all that I have 
S4«id in the description of it, you may see that selfishness is 
most contrary to God, and would rob him of all his high pre- 
rogatives, and God should be no God, if the selfish sinner 
had his will : and he doth not heartily consent that he shall 
be God to him. I have formerly told you, that self is the 
God of wicked men, or the world's great idol ; and that the 
inordinate love of pleasure, profits .and honour, in trinity, is 
all but this self-love in unity ; and that in the malignant tri- 
nity of God's enemies, the flesh is the first and foundation, 
the world the second, and the devil the third. Every man is 
an idolater so far as he is selfish. God is not a bare name : 
he that takes away his essence, or attributes and preroga- 
tives, and yet thinks he believeth in him, because he leaveth 
him his names and titles, doth as bad as they that set up an 
image, and worship that instead of God, or that worship the 
sun or moon as gods, because they somewhat represent his 
glory ; for sure a bare name hath as little substance as an 
image ; much less can you say it hath more than the sun. 
Now selfish, ungodly men do all of them rob God, and give 
his honour and prerogatives to themselves, and put him off 
with empty titles : they call him their God, but will not 
have him for their end, their portion and felicity, nor give 
him the strongest love of their hearts : they will not take him 
as their absolute Owner ; and devote themselves and all they 
have to him, and stand with a willing mind to his disposal. 
They will not take him for their sovereign, and be ruled by 
him, nor deny themselves for him, nor seek his honour and 
interest above their own. They call him their Father, but 
deny him his honour ; and their master, but give him not 
his fear • Mai. i. 6. They depend not on his hand, and live 
not by his law, and to his glory ; and therefore they do not 
take him for their God. And can you expect that God 
should save those that deny him, and would dethrone him, 
that is, his very enemies ? 

Reason 2. * Yea, more than so ; God will not save those 
that make themselves their own gods, when they have re- 


jected him.' But all these unsanctified selfish men do make 
themselves their own gods ; for in all the ten particulars 
before mentioned, they take to themselves the prerogatives 
of God. 1. They would be their own end, and look no fur- 
ther. 2. They use all creatures but as means to this end ; 
yea, God himself is esteemed but for themselves. 3. They 
love their present life and prosperity better than God. 4. 
They would be their own, and live as their own, and not as 
those that are none of their own. 5. They would have the 
creatures to be their own, and use them as their own, and 
not as God's. 6. They must care for themselves, and shift 
for themselves, and dare not trust themselves wholly upon 
God. 7. They would dispose of themselves and their own 
conditions, and of all things else. 8. They would rule them- 
selves, and be from under the laws and government of God. 
9. They would be the rulers of all others, and have all men 
do their wills. 10. And they would be honoured and ad- 
mired by all, and have the praise ascribed to them. And if 
all this be not to set up themselves as gods or idols in the 
world, I know not what is. Certainly God is so far from 
having a thought of saving such vile idolaters (in this con- 
dition), that they are the principal objects of his high dis- 
pleasure, and the fairest marks for his justice to shoot at: 
and he is engaged to pull them down, and tread them into 
hell. Should God stand by and see a company of rebellious 
sinners sit down in his throne, or usurp his sovereignty and 
divine prerogatives, and let them alone, yea, and advance 
them to his glory ? No, he hath resolved that " he that 
humbleth himself shall be exalted, and he that exalteth 
himself shall be brought low." And what higher self-exal- 
tation can there be, than to make ourselves as gods to our- 
selves ? And therefore v^^ho should be brought lower than 
such ? 

Reason 3. ' No man can be a Christian that takes not 
Christ for his Lord and Saviour ; but no man without this 
self-denial can take Christ for his Lord and Saviour, and 
therefore no man without self-denial can be a Christian and 
so be saved.' He that makes himself his end, cannot make 
Christ, as Christ his way ; for Christ is the way to the Fa- 
ther, and not to carnal self. Nay, the business that Christ 
came upon into the world, was to pull down and subdue 
this self. Moreover, whoever taketh Christ for his Saviour, 


must know from what it is that he must save him ; and that 
is principally from self: and no man can take Christ for his 
Saviour that renounceth not self-confidence, and is not wil- 
ling to be saved from the idolatry of self-exaltation. No 
man can take Christ for his Master or Teacher, that comes 
not into his school as a little child, renouncing the guidance 
of carnal self, and sensible of his need of a heavenly teacher. 
No man can take Christ for his King and Lord, and give up 
himself as his own, and as his subject, that hath not learned 
to deny that self that claims property and sovereignty in 
his stead. There is no antichrist, nor false Christ, that ever 
was in the world, that doth more truly oppose Christ, and 
resist him in all the parts of his office, than carnal self. It 
is this that will not stoop to his righteousness, or to his 
guidance, and to his teaching and holy government. Self 
is the false Christ or saviour of the world, as well as the false 
god. And therefore there can be no salvation where self is 
not denied and taken down. 

Reason 4. * He that believeth not in the Holy Ghost, and 
taketh him not for his Sanctifier, cannot be a true Christian, 
or be saved. But no man without this self-denial believeth 
in the Holy Ghost, and taketh him for his Sanctifier.' And 
therefore without this self-denial no man can be a true 
Christian, or be saved. The very nature of sanctification 
consisteth in the turning a man from himself to God : in 
destroying selfishness, and devoting the soul to God by 
Christ. And therefore it is past dispute, that none but the 
self-denying are sanctified ; and therefore none but they do 
truly take the Holy Ghost for their Sanctifier, and truly be- 
lieve in him. So far as men are in love with the disease, 
it is certain they will not use the physician. 

Reason 5. ' No man is a true Christian and in a state of 
salvation, that denieth, renounceth or rejecteth the word of 
God.' But all men that have not self-denial (that hear the 
word of God) do renounce, deny it, or reject it; and there- 
fore no man without self-denial is a true Christian, or can 
be saved.' In the Scriptures it is that we have eternal life : 
it is they that must make us wise to salvation ; the man 
that will be blessed, must meditate in them day and night 
(Psal. i. 2.) ; and it is not the hearers but the doers of them 
that are blessed. But nothing is more clear, than that the 
voice of Scripture calleth aloud on all men to deny them- 


selves ; and that the scope of it is to cry down self, and set 
up God in Jesus Christ. It is the very drift and meaning 
of it from end to end to take down self, and abase men in 
their own eyes, and bring them home to God from whom 
they are revolted. 

Reason 6. ' No man can be a Christian or be saved with- 
out saving grace.' But no man without self-denial hath 
saving grace. For it is the nature of every grace to carry 
man from himself to God by Christ. It is the work of godly 
sorrow to humble proud man, and break the heart of carnal 
self. It is the work of faith, for a self-denying soul to pass 
out for hope and life to Christ. It is the work of love to 
carry us quite above ourselves to that Infinite goodness 
which we love. It is the nature of holy fear to confess our 
guilt and insufficiency, and to suspect ourselves, and dread 
the fruit of our own ways. Confidence doth bottom us upon 
God, and hope itself doth imply a despairing in ourselves. 
Thankfulness doth pay the homage to him that hath saved 
us from ourselves. And every grace hath self-denial as half 
its very life and soul. And therefore it is certain that no 
man hath any more grace than he hath self-denial. 

Reason 7. * They that reject the ministry and the fruit of 
all the ordinances of God, are not true Christians, and can- 
not be saved.' But so do all among us that have not self- 
denial. For the use of the ministry is to call home sinners 
from themselves to God. The use of every ordinance of 
God, is to get or keep down carnal self, and exalt the Lord. 
Confession is nothing but self-abasing : and he must confess, 
that will have the faithful and just God to forgive him ; for 
"he that covereth his sin shall not prosper;" lJohni.9. 
Prov. xxviii. 13. Prayer is a confession of our own empti- 
ness, insufficiency and unworthiness, and a flying from our- 
selves for help unto another. In baptism we come as con- 
demned prisoners for a pardon, as it were with ropes about 
our necks, and strip ourselves of the rags of our filthiness, 
that by the blood of the Lamb we may be washed from our 
blood, and our sins may be buried as in the depth of the 
sea. In the Lord's supper we renew the same covenant, and 
receive the same renewed pardon ; and still fly from our- 
selves to Christ for life ; and renounce our carnal selves by 
solemn covenant, as a people coming home to God. So that 
never was any ordinance of God, effectual and saving on 


the soul of any, further than it brought them to self-denial, 
or preserved, exercised or manifested it. 

Reason 8. ' He that can do no work sincerely, nor go one 
step in the way of life, is no true Christian, nor in a state of 
life.' But this is the case of all that have not self-denial. 
For self is their principle, rule and end : and he that hath 
either a false principle, rule or end, cannot be sincere in any 
of the means ; much less when he is out in all of these. A 
selfish man is seeking himself in his very religion : and is 
serving himself when he seemeth to be serving God. And 
indeed he doth not any service sincerely unto God, because 
he makes not God his end ; and therefore cannot be ac- 

Reason 9. * No man is a true Christian, or can be saved, 
that sticks in the depth of his natural misery, in his lapsed 
state.' But so do all men that have not self-denial ; for it 
is self that they are fallen to, and must be saved from. 

Reason 10. * No man can be a true Christian and be saved, 
that is not a member of the holy catholic church, and the 
communion of saints.' But so are none but the self-denying ; 
for every true member of the church hath a public spirit, 
preferring the church's interest to his own, and suffering with 
fellow-members in their suffering, and having a care of one 
another ; 1 Cor. xii. 25,26. But the self-seeking unsancti- 
fied person is a stranger to this disposition. 

Reaso?i II, ' He that is led by the greatest enemy of God 
and his own soul, is not a true Christian, nor in a state of 
life.' But so is every man that hath not learned to deny 
himself. For self is the greatest enemy of God and us. 
Escape but your own hands and you are out of danger. All 
the devils in hell cannot destroy you, if you would not be 
your own destroyers. 

Reason 12. Lastly, * It is a plain contradiction to be 
saved without self-denial.' For as it is self that we must 
be saved from both as our end and means and greatest enemy, 
so to stick in self is still to be lost and miserable, and there- 
fore not to be saved. So that the case is as plain as a case 
can be, that no man can be a true Christian or disciple of 
Christ without self-denial ; and consequently none without 
it can be saved. I have been the briefer upon the argu- 
ments, because the matter of some of them may come to be 
more fully opened anon in the application. 




Use 1. A gejieral Complaint of the Prevalency of Selfishness. 

IV. And now we have seen from the words of Christ the 
absolute necessity of self-denial, and that there is no true 
Christianity nor salvation without it, let us next take a view 
of ourselves and of the world, and judge of our condition by 
this certain rule. 

Look well into yourselves, and into the world, and tell 
me whether you find not cause to lament, 1. That true 
Christianity is so rare a thing, even among the professors of 
Christianity, seeing self-denial is so rare. 2. That grace is 
so weak and small in the most of the regenerate, seeing self- 
denial is so little and imperfect. 

O ! if the name of Christians would prove us Christians, 
and the magnificent titles we give to Christ would prove 
that we are his true disciples ; if reading, and hearing, and 
outward duties, and a cheap religiousness would serve turn, 
we have then great store of Christians among us ! If Christ 
would have left out this one point of self-denial from his 
laws and conditions of salvation, what abundance of disciples 
would he have had in the world ! and how many millions 
might have come to heaven, that now must be shut out! It 
is this point that hindereth all sorts of heathens and infidels 
from being Christians. The Jews will believe in no Christ 
but one that will restore their temple and outward glory, 
and make them great, and rulers of the world ; and there- 
fore they will not be the servants of that Christ that calleth 
them to the contempt of all these things, and of life itself, 
for the hopes of an invisible kingdom. The Mahometans 
had rather believe in Mahomet that giveth them leave to 
please their lust, than in Christ that calleth them to mortifi- 
cation and self-denial, and tells them of nothing but suflfer- 
ing and patience, duty and diligence, till they come into 
another world : the idolatrous heathens abhor Christianity, 
when they hear how much they must do and suffer, and all 
for a reward in the life to come. It is an informing instance 
that Pet. Maifseus gives us in his Indian History of the first 
king of Congo that was baptized : he quickly received the 
articles of faith, and the form of worship, and the outside 


and cheaper part of religion ; and so did many of his nobles 
and followers ; but when he was called to confession, and 
understood that he must leave his gluttony, and drunken- 
ness, and whoredom, and oppression, and inordinate plea- 
sures, he would be a Christian no more ; his nobles per- 
suading him that the forsaking of all his mirth, and pleasure, 
and delights of the flesh, and taking up so strict a life, was 
too dear a price to pay for the hopes of a life to come ; and 
it was better keep the pleasure they had, and put another 
life to the venture : and thus Christianity had been quickly 
banished that kingdom again, if it had not taken deeper 
rooting in his son and heir Alphonsus, and made him ven- 
ture his crown and life for the sake of Christ. And thus is 
it at the heart with the most, even of baptized persons, and 
those that take themselves to be Christians : because it is 
the religion of the country, and they are taught that there is 
no salvation without it, they will be baptized and be called 
Christians, and say their prayers, and come to church, and 
say they believe in God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, 
and they will go as far with you in religion as they can with- 
out denying themselves ; but for the rest, which is the life 
and truth of Christianity, they will not understand it, or be- 
lieve that it is of such necessity : ' God forbid,' say they, 
* that none should be Christians and be saved, but those 
that thus deny themselves, and take up their cross and for- 
sake all they have, and accept not life itself from Christ.' 
They say they believe in Christ, and yet they say, ' God for- 
bid his word should be true ;' or, * God forbid we sh«>uld 
believe Christ that hath spoken this in the Gospel I' See 
what kind of Christians multitudes are ! Every man and 
woman on earth that take themselves for true Christians, 
and yet do not deny themselves, even life and all for the 
sake of Christ and the hope of everlasting glory, are mere 
self-deceivers, and no true Christians at all. '* He that will 
save his life,'' saith Christ, " shall lose it;" that is, he that 
in his coming to Christ, and covenanting with him, will put 
in an exception for the saving of his life, and will forsake all 
for Christ if he be put to it, except life itself, this man is no 
true disciple of Christ, and shall be so far from saving his 
life, that he shall lose both heaven, and life, and all ; and 
the justice of God shall take from him that life which he 
durst not resign to the will of mercy ; and he shall lose that 


for nothing, which he would not lose for Christ and heaven. 
It is impossible for that man to be Christ's disciple, that 
loveth his life better than Christ and the hopes of the life 
everlasting; Matt. x. 37, 38. Luke xiv. 26,27.33. Some 
self-denial there may be in the unsarictified : many of them 
would leave a little pleasure or profit rather than be damned ; 
and many had rather suffer a little, than venture upon eter- 
nal sufferings. But I beseech you remember that this is 
the lowest degree of self-denial that is saving, to set more 
by Christ and the hopes of glory, than by all this world and 
life itself; and to be habitually resolved to forsake life and 
all, rather than to forsake him. No less than this is proper 
self-denial, or will prove you Christians and in a state of life. 
This was the trial that Christ put one to, that had thought 
to have been his disciple ; " Yet lackest thou one thing ; 
sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and 
thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come, follow me ;" 
Luke xviii. 22. Not that every man must actually sell all, 
but ever}?^ man must set more by heaven than all, and there- 
fore part with all when Christ would have him; and he that 
is not thus resolved, let him go never so far in all other 
things, doth yet lack " one thing," and such a " one thing" 
as he shall never be saved without. For the meaning of the 
text is, that Christ would try by this command, whether he 
set more by any thing than him, and whether he set more 
by heaven or earth ; and so would have us all to judge of 
ourselves by the same evidence within, though he put not 
all on the same way of discovering it. Many a man can 
deny self the superfluities of pleasure, and as this rich man 
did, can avoid enormous crimes, and say of whoredom, and 
theft, and drunkenness, and oppression, and gross deceit, 
" All these have I avoided from my youth." Education may 
moderate some selfish desires, and natural temper may 
further that moderation ; and custom, and good company, 
and holy precepts may yet do more ; and wit may teach men 
to do or suffer somewhat rather than to run on the wrath of 
God ; and therefore many thousands may deny self the plea- 
sure of some inordinate lust, or of some recreation, or excess 
in meat or drink, and yet be far from denying life and all, 
and so from the true self-denial of a Christian : nay, a man 
may deny self for self in many particulars, and so may please 
self more than he denieth it. Many a civil ingenuous gen- 


tleman and other persons, will forbear the disgraceful sins of 
drunkenness, filthy speaking, whoredom, incivility, notorious 
profaneness, even because they are disgraceful, and there- 
fore are against the interestof self ; so much as self can pos- 
sibly spare, a carnal heart may be brought to part with. 
But still self is alive and predominant within them, still it is 
the ruling end and principle. But to go out of self to God, 
and resign up ourselves to him, and possess no interest but 
him and in him, and to have nothing that we esteem, or love, 
or care for in comparison of him, knowing that for him we 
were made, redeemed, preserved and sanctified, and there- 
fore desiring to be wholly and only his, and to have no cre- 
dit, no goods, no life, no self, but what is his, for his service, 
at his will and at his disposal, and government, and provi- 
sion ; this is the true self-denial, which the Spirit of God 
worketh in a prevailing, though not a perfect measure, in 
every gracious, believing soul. 

But alas, sirs, how strange is this in the world, and how 
weak and low in the souls where it is found ; and what mat- 
ter of lamentation would a survey of the world or of our- 
selves present us with ! Is not SELF the great idol which 
the whole world of unsanctified men doth worship ? Who 
is it that ruleth the children of disobedience, but carnal self? 
For what is all the stir and strivings, the tumults and con- 
tentions of the world, but for self? This ruleth kingdoms, 
and this is it that raiseth wars ; and what is it, except the 
works of holiness, but self is the author of? Look unto the 
thrones and kingdoms of the earth, and conjecture how many 
self hath advanced and placed there, and how few have staid 
till God enthroned them and gave them the crown and scep- 
tre with his approbation. Among all the nobles and great 
ones of the earth, that abound in riches, how few are there 
that were not set a-work by self and ruled by it, in the get- 
ting, or keeping, or using their riches, dignities and honours ! 
Look on the great revenues of the nation, and of the world, 
and consider whether God or self have the more of it. One 
man hath many thousands a year, and another hath many 
hundreds, and how much of this is devoted to God, and how 
much to carnal self? And the poor that have but little, 
would think us injurious to them if we should call to them 
for any thing from God, who have not enough for themselves ; 
when indeed God must have all, and self must have nothing. 


but what it hath by way of return from God again, and that 
for God, and not for self, but as subservient unto him. Alas, 
of many hundred thousand pounds a year, which the inhabi- 
tants of a country possess among them, how little hath God 
that should have all, and how much hath self that should 
have nothing ! O dreadful reckoning when these accounts 
must be all cast up ! Judge by the use of all, whether self 
have not the dominion of all. If men throw out to God his 
tenth, which is none of their own ; or if they cast him now 
and then some inconsiderable alms, when in his members he 
is fain to beg for it first, they think they have done fair, 
though self devour all the rest. Is it more, think you, for 
God or self that our courts of law are filled with so many 
suits, and lawyers have so much employment ? Is it more, 
think you, for God or self that merchants compass sea and 
land for commodity ? Who is it that the soldier fights for, 
is it for God or self ? Who is it that the tradesman deals 
for, that the ploughman labours for, that the traveller goes 
for, is it more for God or self? Who is it that the most of 
men's thoughts are spent for, and the most of their words 
are spoken for, and the most of their rents and wealth laid 
out for, and the most of their precious time employed for, 
is it for God or self? Consider of it whether it be not self 
that finally and morally rules the world. What else do most 
live for or look after ? And is not the common piety, reli- 
gion and charity of the world, a mere sending God some 
scraps of the leavings of carnal self ? If the flesh be full, 
or have enough, then God shall have the crumbs that fall 
from its table, or at most so much as it can spare : but till 
the flesh have done and be satisfied, God must stay even for 
these scraps and crumbs ; and if they can but say, ' I want 
it myself, or have use for it myself,' they think it a sufficient 
answer to all demands. One may see by the irregularity of 
the motions of the world, the confusions, and crossings, and 
mutabilities, and contradictions, the doing and undoing 
again, the differences and fierce contendings, that it is not 
God, but self that is the end and principle of the motions. 
Nay, most men are so dead to God, and alive only to them- 
selves, that they know not what we mean when we tell them, 
and plainly tell them what it is to live to God, and what it 
is to serve him in all their affairs, and to eat, and drink, and 
do all things for his glory ; but they ask in their hearts as 


Pharaoh, "Who is the Lord, that I should serve him?" 
And when they read these passages about self-denial, and 
about referring all to God, they will not understand them ; 
for they are unacquainted with God, and know no other god 
in deed but self, though in name they do. 

Nay, it were well if self were kept out of the church, 
and out of the ministers of the Gospel, that must teach the 
world to deny themselves ; that it did not with too many 
choose their habitations, and give them their call, and limit 
them in their labours, and direct them in the manner and 
measure ; it were well if some ministers did not study for 
self, and preach and dispute for self, and live for self, when 
they materially preach against self, and teach men self-denial. 
And then for our people, alas, it rules their families, it ma- 
nageth their business, it drives on their trades ; it comes to 
church with them, and fights within them against the word, 
and perverteth their judgment, and will let them relish no- 
thing, and receive nothing but what is consistent with self- 
ish interest. In a word, it makes men ungodly, it keeps 
them ungodly, and it is their very ungodliness itself. O ! 
were it not for carnal self, how easily might we deal with all 
sorts of sinners ! But this is it that overcometh us. 


The Prevalency of Selfishness in all Relations. 

Beside all the generals already mentioned, it will not be 
amiss to give you some particular instances of the power of 
selfishness, and the rareness of self-denial in the world, that 
you may see what cause of lamentation is before us. 

I. How ready and speedy, how effectual and diligent, 
how constant and unwearied are they in the service of self ! 
And how slow and backward, how remiss and negligent, 
how inconstant and tired are they in the works that are 
merely for God and their salvation ! Do I need to prove it 
to you? You may as well call for proof whether there are 
men in the world. I were best for instance begin next 
home. Many ministers think it a drudgery and a toil that 
God requireth at their hands to confer with every family in 
their parishes, and instruct them privately in the matters of 


salvation. But see what self can do : if the same men have 
but their tithe to gather, they will not think it a needless 
thing, to go or send to every family, and speak with them 
all about their own business. At least if it were any consi- 
derable sum, they would not lose it for want of speaking for. 

Our neighbours do many of them think it much that we 
should call them to be personally instructed or catechised, 
and they will not come at us ; but say, ' What needs all this 
ado ? have we not teaching enough at church. It is chil- 
dren that must be catechised, and we are past children.* 
You see how little interest God and their ministers and their 
own salvation have in them ; but will you see what carnal 
self can do more ? Had I but money enough, I would un- 
dertake to make them come to me, and follow me as a horse 
will follow his provender ! Had I but ten pounds a piece to 
give them, yea, or but ten shillings, 1 do not think I should 
have any refuse to come and fetch it, unless it were those 
that are now the most forward in seeking relief for the wants 
of their souls. Had I but the estates or lives of all these 
men in my power, how easily would they be ruled, and how 
diligently and submissively would they attend, that now for 
God and their everlasting life, disdain to come and seek in- 
structions ! And yet these men would scarce believe you, 
if you should tell them that self and the world is made their 
God, and that God himself is denied and rejected by them. 

Moreover, a long time I have been persuading all the fa- 
milies in the town and parish to read the Scripture, and 
daily call upon God together. I have proved it their duty 
from Scripture, and this doth not prevail. But see what 
flesh and self can do ! If these men were but sure of ten or 
twenty shillings a time, for every morning and evening that 
they pray together, I warrant you, whatever the heart did, 
the lips should be taught to do their part. O how busy 
would all the town and parish be to learn to pray, that now 
look not after it ! I do not believe that there is ever a house 
among them all that would not shortly set up prayer, if they 
were but paid for it after these rates. Judge now whether 
God or self bear sway among these men, and whether soul 
or body be more regarded. 

Moreover, we have too many drunkards in the town, that 
no means that we can use will restrain and keep sober. They 
love the drink, and they cannot forbear ; and tell them of 


God*s word, that doth threaten them with damnation, and 
they will for all that be drunk the next day. But if one of 
these wretches might have but ten pounds a week on con- 
dition he would forbear, I do not think for all this, but he 
could forbear. Or if he were sure that for every cup of drink, 
he should drink after it a cup of gall, I warrant you he would 
soon begin to abate. 

We have abundance of ignorant, sensual men that for love 
of sin refuse church-government, and will not come under it. 
But if the magistrate would but make a law, that all men 
shall be members of a particular church, and submit to dis- 
cipline, or forfeit but twenty shillings a month, how few re- 
fusers should we have in all the town or country ! 

We have many that seldom come to hear in the public 
assemblies ; but let the parliament make a law that they 
shall pay for their refusal, and how readily will it bring the 
most of them ! (unless they have hopes that the law will not 
be executed.) And judge now whether self or God have 
greater interests in these men's hearts. 

I see but one piece of self-denial among this sort of peo- 
ple in this town, and that is this : though the officers are to 
give the money to the poor which they have from swearers, 
drunkards, unlicensed and abusive ale-sellers, profaners of 
the Lord's day, &c., yet that sort of the poor themselves do 
hate those officers that are zealous in their duties. This is 
strange, that the love of money doth not change them. But 
whether it be that they can deny their flesh for the devil, 
though not for God ; and in enmity to godliness, though not 
to further it ; or whether it be that the officers do use to 
give their money to an honeeter sort of poor, and these have 
none of it, I cannot well tell. 

And having given so many sad instances of the power of 
self, and scarcity of self-denial in others, I hope the magis- 
trates will not take it ill if we help them to discern this ene- 
my in themselves, nor be offended that they come last, unless 
it were in a more honourable cause. I hear the best and 
wisest men that I can meet with, complain that in most pla- 
ces, alehouses flourish under the magistrates' noses ; and 
that whoredom, swearing, profaning the Lord's day shall sel- 
dom be punished, but when they are .very much urged to it, 
nor then either if it will but displease a neighbour, or a friend, 
especially if it be a worshipful swearer or drunkard that is 


to be punished. We see in most places, that it is more than 
the justice can do to put down one alehouse of many that 
they confess should be suppressed ; and I doubt but few can 
keep them from increasing. Men say that there is so much 
ado before they can have justice from many of them, and 
those that seek it are counted but for busy, troublesome 
fellows, that men are ready to let all alone. And whence is 
all this, that men in power can do so little against those that 
have no power to resist them ? Why, alas, the cause is plain ; 
self is against it. They have none but God and ministers, 
and a few precise fellows to persuade them to it : and they 
have no greater motives than what are fetched from heaven 
and hell to move them to it ; and these are but small matters 
with them (I speak of the unsanctified). It must be one 
that hath greater interest in them than God, that must per- 
suade them to it. It must be more powerful matters than 
the promises of heaven and the threatenings of damnation, 
that must prevail with such moderate gentlemen as these. 
And who is it that can do this, that God and their salvation 
may not do ? Why even self, carnal self. If you know but 
how to engage their own self-interest in the business, I war- 
rant you it will go better on. Let but every informer be paid 
well for his pains, and every justice have a hundred pounds 
from the exchequer for every due execution of such laws, and 
how roundly v/ould the work go on ! Then they would not 
say, * We cannot do it,' or * We are not bound to look after 
them.' Do you think I wrong them or speak without proof? 

1 will leave it to your judgment when I have given you but 
these few instances. Let but the plague break out in the 
town, and infect but a quarter as many houses as here are 
infectious alehouses that harbour tipplers and drunkards, 
and see whether the magistrates of this or any town will not 
a little better bestir themselves, and send to search after in- 
fected places, and nail up their doors, and write on them, 
* Lord have mercy on us,' that all may take warning and keep 
away. They will not here be offended with informers, nor 
say, * Am I bound to look after them V And why are they 
not as zealous against sin as against the plague ? Great 
reason ; self is for sin, and God only is against it ; but self 
is against the plague, because it is concerned in it. Sin doth 
but hurt the soul, and bring them to hell-fire ; but the plague 
destroys their body ; and this is the greater matter with them. 


because they have flesh and sense to judge of it ; but they 
have not faith to believe the other. 

Again, let but one house in the town be on fire, and alK 
are up to quench it, and the bell is rung, and the magistrate 
doth not think that he wants a call himself to look after it. 
And when the fire of hell is kindling in an alehouse, that is 
nothing, but must be let alone ; there is no such zeal nor any 
such haste. And why so ? Why, one they see in good sad- 
ness, and perceive that it is fire indeed ; but the other they 
believe in jest, as if it would prove but a painted fire. 

Again, let but an ungodly fellow slander the magistrate 
or call him all to naught, especially if he give him but two 
or three boxes on the ear, and see whether he will let that 
man alone. But let the same man abuse the name of God, 
and break his laws, and with too many he may be let alone, 
unless they be urged to do justice. And how comes this dif- 
ference? Why self is touched in one, and it is but God (but 
God ! O atheists !) that is touched in the other. Self can do 
more with them than God can do ; (remember still when I 
say that self can do more with them than God, that I speak 
not of what God could do by his omnipotency if he would ; 
but of the final causality^ or the small interest that God hath 
in their hearts by holy faith and love). 

Again, let but a servant rob the magistrate, and carry his 
money and goods to an ale-seller to receive ; and try whe- 
ther he will look after him and the ale-seller. And why not 
as soon and as zealously, when ale-sellers receive men's sons 
and servants, and drown men's understandings, and turn them 
into beasts ? Why ? because in one it is but God and men's 
souls that are concerned (a matter of nothing) ; but in the 
other it is self (a great matter with them). 

Shall I give you but one instance more, that the ale- 
sellers themselves will take my part in, so far as to bear me 
witness that it is true ! Here are farmers of the excise that 
have power to know what alehouses are in the town, and 
their gain lieth on it ; and there shall scarce a man in town 
or country sell ale so secretly but they will know it ; nor sell 
a barrel but what they are acquainted with. They do not 
say, * I am not bound to go search after them ;' nor that they 
be not able to discover them, and to bring them to pay ex- 
cise. But the justices (too commonly) can overlook abun- 
dance that the exciseman can find ; and they cannot make 


one of twenty pay, when the other can : and what is the 
matter? Why one works for self and money, and the other 
works but for God, and his own and other men's salvation 
(a small matter) ! See then beyond denial what self and 
money can do with such men, when God and men's salvation 
can do next to nothing. 

But I must desire you not to mistake me, and think I 
speak this of any honest, godly magistrate, and abuse the 
good by joining them with the bad. No, far be it from me 
to be so injurious. For it is evident that they can be no 
good men, nor have any true love of God in their souls, 
that are such in a predominant sense as I have here des- 
cribed. It is not in my thoughts to lay this blame on any 
honest, godly magistrate ; for none but the ungodly would 
do as I have mentioned, and prefer themselves before the 
Lord, and the bodies of men before the souls. 

And, alas ! if the sovereign powers of the nations of the 
world were not too sick of the same disease, gain would not 
be accounted godliness, but godliness the greatest gain ; and 
carnal policy would not go for piety, but true piety would 
go for the surest policy. It would not be so common in 
most nations to have the truth and cause of Christ disowned, 
and his servants persecuted, and their lives and blood to be 
made a sacrifice to carnal self and worldly interests. Nor 
would the breaches of the churches be so long unhealed, and 
grow wider and wider, and few much regard them ; but all 
have their own work to do, which must be looked after. 
Yea, and the cause of Christ and the Gospel must be trod 
down if it stand in the way of their own. And the churches 
must be set on fire by their wars and contentions for their 
selfish interests. And if self were not too strong among us, 
we should not have had such connivance at doctrinal and 
practical abominations, nor so much delay or neglect of heal- 
ing the discomposed churches, and uniting the divided Chris- 
tians, or attempting it more effectually than we have done. 
But because I desire to speak to none but those that are 
within my hearing, I will return home to ourselves. 

The holy ordering and instructing of families, and sup- 
pressing sin in children and servants, is one of the most ef- 
fectual works for the building up of the church, and the 
glory and stability of the commonwealth. O if parents and 
masters would but sanctify their houses to the Lord, and 


teach their families the will and fear of God, and do their 
best (by punishment, when instruction will not serve) to hin- 
der sin, how fast would reformation then go on ! And what 
hindereth ? why carnal self. If it were but for worldly com- 
modities they would do more. Would you have me prove it? 
Let experience speak. Let a servant or child go prayerless 
to their work, and few regard it ; but they will not go with- 
out meat, or drink, or clothes. The master will suffer them 
to neglect God*s service ; but if they neglect his own, and 
should do him no more or better service than they do to God, 
they should soon hear of it, and be turned out of door ; and 
they were no servants for him. They will teach their chil- 
dren to do their own work, or set them apprentices to learn 
it ; but the work of God and their salvation, they shall for 
them have little teaching in, how plainly soever God hath 
commanded it them ; Deut.xi. 18, 19. vi. 6 — 8. Ephes.vi.4. 

Let a servant or child reproach his master or parent, or 
call them all to naught, and they think not fit to put up 
that (nor indeed is it) ; but let them swear by the name of 
God, or break his laws, and they can patiently bear with it, 
and a cold rebuke, like Eli's, will serve turn. They can get 
them into field or shop to work together, but they cannot 
get them before and after to prayer together. And why is 
all this ? Why one is for self, and the other is for God : 
one is for the body, and the other is for the soul. So that 
you see what self can do, and how commonly it is the mas- 
ter of families, towns and countries, because it is the master 
in men's souls. 

God must be loved above all, and our neighbour as our- 
selves ; but if God were allowed but so much love as a very 
neighbour should have, it would not be all so ill with the sel- 
fish world as now it is. But because I have been so long on 
this first discovery of the power of self, and the scarcity of 
self-denial, I will be shorter in the rest that follow. 


The Power of Selfishness upon Men's Opinions in Religion. 

2. Another instance of discovering the reign of selfishness 
in the world, is, * The great power that it hath to form men's 


opinions and conceptions in religion.' Though the under- 
standing naturally be inclined to truth, yet a selfish bias upon 
the soul, especially on the will, doth commonly delude it, and 
make the vilest error seem to be truth to it, and the most use- 
ful truth to seem an error. The will hath much command 
over the understanding ; and when selfishness is become the 
very habit, the bias, the nature of the will, you may easily 
conjecture how it will pervert the understanding. But what 
need we more than experience to satisfy us? Do you not 
see that where self is but deeply engaged, the judgment is 
bribed or overmastered, and carried from the truth ? So that 
as the eye that looks through a coloured glass, doth see all 
things as if they were of the same colour as the glass ; so the 
understanding that is mastered by a selfish inclination, thinks 
every thing is truth that savoureth his self-interest. And 
here I shall oiFer you some more particular instances. 

1 . We all see that almost all the world is of that religion 
or opinion which hath the countenance of the government 
that they live under, and the persons that have greatest power 
on their reputation ; or at least which is consistent with their 
safety, if not rising and prosperity in the world. The Turks 
are commonly Mahometans ; the subjects of Rome, and 
Spain, and Austria, &c. are generally Papists ; those in Den- 
mark, Sweden, Saxony, &c. are generally Lutherans ; those 
of Scotland, England, Helvetia, &c. are commonly Cal- 
vinists (as they are called). I know the power of education 
is great, and hearing evidence only on one side, may bias a 
well-meaning man ; but Papists and Protestants (as to the 
learned part) have the books of the contrary-minded at 
hand ; and therefore that opinions should run in a stream, 
and whole countries almost be of a party, must needs be 
much from the power of selfishness, because they are swayed 
by them that have the power of their reputation, and estates, 
and liberties in the world. 

2. Moreover, when a man is by custom grown self-con- 
ceited, or by the power of pride is wise in his own eyes, how 
hard a matter do we find it to convince such men by the 
clearest evidence ! They will not see, when they can hardly 
wink so close as to keep out the light. It is their opinion, 
and therefore shall be so ; and they will hold it because it 
is their own. 

3. Especially if it be an opinion of a man's own inven- 



tion, which is doubly his own, both as he is the contriver 
and possessor, how close will he stick to it, too commonly 
beyond the evidence of truth, because that self hath so great 
an interest in it ! 

4. Yea, if a man be but deeply engaged for it, either by 
laborious disputes, or confident owning it, or any way, so as 
that his credit lieth on it, how tenacious will he be of it, be- 
cause of the powerful interest of self! 

5. And if it be but an opinion that seems to befriend any 
former opinion that we have much engaged for, how much 
doth selfishness usually appear in our inordinate propensity 
to it! 

6. Also if we live in days of persecution, how easily do 
we receive those opinions that would keep us from prison 
and fire ! Or if any suffering lie upon it, we commonly take 
that side to be the right that is safest to the flesh, (except 
when self would be advanced by the occasion of sufferings). 
And in prosperity, if there be any controversy arise, which 
our gain is concerned in, how easily believe we the thriving 
opinion ! If any oath, engagement, or duty be imposed on 
us by those who have power to do us harm, the generality 
are for it be it what it will. In all these cases it is com- 
monly carnal self that is the judge. 

And how far self commands in such cases, you may see 
by these discoveries following. 

1. In studying the case, men's thoughts run almost all 
one way. They study what to say for their own opinions, 
and how to answer all that is against them ; but they study 
but very little what may be said on the other side. They sit 
at their studies with a biassed will, inclining or command- 
ing their understanding what to do ; even to prove that to 
be true, which they would have to be true, whether it be so 
or not. 

2. And hence it is that the weakest arguments on their 
own side do seem sufficient, if not invincible ; and they stand 
wondering at the blindness of all those men that cannot see 
the force of them ; but no arguments seem to have any 
weight, that are brought against them. And all this is from 
the power of self. 

3. Yea, sometimes when they are silenced, and know not 
what to say for their opinions, nor how to answer the argu- 
ments for the contrary, yet they can say, * We are of this 


mind, and we will be of this mind.' And why, but because 
it is espoused to them and their own? 

4. And hence it is, that if a man be but an admirer of us, 
or of our own opinion in other things, we are readier to re- 
ceive an opinion from him than from another. 

5. And hence it is that disputations do so seldom change 
men's minds, because they take it to be a dishonour to be 
changed by another (unless it be a person of great renown) ; 
we envy to an opposite the glory of altering our understand- 
ings ; but if we may have the doing of it ourselves by the 
power of our own understandings and studies, we will some- 
times yield to change our minds. He is a stranger to the 
ungodly world that seeth not how much self-interest doth, 
to master their understandings, and turn their hearts from 
the holy doctrine of Christ, and how much it doth to make 
them like or dislike their teachers, or any point or practice 
in religion. And he is a stranger even among divines them- 
selves, that seeth not the sway that self doth bear in their 
judgments, and disputes, and course of life, and the choice 
of their party or society to which they join themselves. 


Men's great Averseness to Costly or Troublesome Duties. 

3. Another discovering instance of the rarity of self- 
denial, is this, ' The great averseness of men to any costly, 
or troublesome, or self-denying duty,' how necessary soever, 
how plainly soever revealed in the Scripture, and how ge- 
nerally soever acknowledged by the church : as if self had a 
negative voice in the making of laws for the government of 
the world, and none must be binding without his consent. 
I shall come down to some more particular instances. 

1. The great duty of charitable relieving our brethren in 
necessity to the utmost of our power, is commonly made al- 
most nothing of in the world. And men cheat their souls by 
thinking they are passed from death to life, because they 
love the brethren with such a cold and barren love as will 
neither lay down estate for them, nor venture life for them, 
but think they are real Christians, because they can say as 
the believers that James mentioneth, " Depart in peace, be 


ye warmed and filled ; but give them not that which is ne- 
cessary thereto ;" James ii. 16. Though it be told them 
plainly by Christ himself, that it is not a fruitless, ineffec- 
tual love, but that which causeth them to feed, and clothe, 
and visit the saints, that must stand them in stead at judg- 
ment (Matt. XXV.), and the apostle asketh them, " How the 
love of God can dwell in that man, that sees his brother have 
need, and shutteth up the bowels of his compassion from 
him;" 1 John iii. 17. Yet do men think by dropping now 
and then a penny, they have discharged all this great duty. 
And when they see many ways by which they might promote 
the Gospel, and help the church, and serve God with their 
estates, yet self will not let them see the meaning of the 
plainest Scriptures that do require it. 

2. When men should practise the great duty of forgiving 
injuries, trespasses and debts, and of loving our enemies, and 
blessing them that curse us, and praying for them that hate 
and persecute us, how stubbornly doth selfishness resist 
these duties I What abundance of words may you use in 
vain, with most men, to persuade them to any of this work ! 
No, they must have their right, and that which is their own, 
though it be to the undoing of their brother. Passion and 
revenge even boil within them, and the thoughts of an in- 
jury stick in their minds; and if they do take on them dis- 
semblingly to forgive it, yet they cannot forget it, nor hear- 
tily love a brother that displetaseth them, much less an ene- 
my : and all this is from the dominion of self, and shews 
that it prevaileth above God in the soul, and therefore shews 
a graceless heart. 

3. When the ministers of the Gospel themselves should 
be painful in their great and necessary work, and should 
watch over all the flock (Acts x. 28.), ** warning every man 
and teaching every man in all wisdom, that they may pre- 
sent every man perfect in Christ Jesus" (Col. i. 28.) ; con- 
descending to men of the lowest sort, and teaching them in 
season, and out of season, what reasonings and shifts will 
self bring to resist so great and excellent a duty, and prove 
it no duty ; and that God will give them leave to spare their 
pains ; and all because of the powerful interest of self! 

4. And let the same ministers have a disordered flock, 
that hath scandalous members, especially if they be great 
ones, or many, and how rarely will they do their duty to 



them, in plain reproof, and in case of impenitency and con- 
tinuance in sin, by public admonition and rejection! What 
shiftings and cavillings will they find against this displeas- 
ing work of discipline I even when they will reproach a man 
themselves whose opinion is against discipline, and when 
they have preached, and written, and disputed so much for 
it, and almost all parties are agreed of the necessity of it in 
the substance ; yet when it comes to practice, it cannot be 
done without procuring men's hatred and opposition, and 
laying us open to much incommodity, and therefore self doth 
persuade us to forbear ; and whether God or self have the 
more servants, even yet in a reformed ministry, I leave you 
to judge, as your observation of the congregations through 
the land shall direct you. But were it not for self, I should 
undertake to do more for discipline and personal instruction 
with most ministers by one argument, than I have done by 
a volume, and you might see an unanimous concurrence in 
the work, and consequently a great alteration in the churches. 
5. And whence is it but from selfishness, that plain and 
close application in our sermons is taken to be an injury to 
those that think themselves concerned in it ? If a minister 
will speak alike to all, and take heed of meddling with their 
sores, they will patiently hfear him ; but if he make them 
know that he meaneth them in particular, and deal closely 
with them about their miserable state, or against dny spe- 
cial, disgraceful sin, they fall a railing at him, and reproach- 
ing him behind his back ; and perhaps they will say, they 
will hear him no more. * O!' saith the selfish, ungodly wretch, 
* I know he meant me to-day : had he nobody but me to 
speak against?' As if a sick man should be angry with the 
physician, for giving directions and medicines to him in par- 
ticular, and say, * Had he nobody to give physic to but me ? 
Were there not sick men enough in the town besides me V 
When Christ told the despisers of the Gospel of the certain 
and dreadful destruction that was near them, it is said that 
" When the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his para- 
bles, they perceived that he spake of them, (a heinous bu- 
siness !) and therefore they sought to lay hands on him, but 
that they durst not do it for fear of the multitude ;" Matt. 
xxi. 41. 44, 45. 

6. Nay, let a minister preach but any such doctrine as 
seems consequentially to be against self, and to conclude 


hardly of them, and they are ready to say, as Ahab of Mi- 
caiah, " I hate him ; for he prophesieth not good of me, but 
evil ;" 1 Kings xxii. 8. Let us but tell them how few will 
be saved ; what holiness, and striving, and diligence is ne- 
cessary, though we have the express word of God for it 
(Heb. xii. 14. Matt. vii. 13, 14. Luke xiii. 24. 2 Pet. i. 10.), 
yet because they think that it makes against their carnal 
peace, they cannot abide it. Plain truth is unwelcome to 
them because it is rough, and grates upon the quick, and 
tells them of that which is troublesome to know : though 
they must know their sin, and danger, and misery, or else 
they can never escape it ; yet they had rather venture on 
hell, than hear the danger. And as a sottish patient, they 
love that physician better that will tell them there is no dan- 
ger, and let them die, than he that will tell them, * Your 
disease is dangerous ; you must bleed, or vomit, or purge, or 
you will die,' O what a wrong they take it to be told thus ! 
If a minister tell one of them that hath the death-marks of 
ungodliness in the face of his conversation, * Neighbour, I 
must deal plainly with you ; your state is sad ; you are un- 
sanctified, and unjustified, and in the slavery of the devil, 
and will be lost for ever, if you die before you are converted 
and made a new creature ; and therefore turn presently as 
you love your soul,' it is ten to one but he should have a re- 
proachful answer instead of thanks and obedience. And all 
this shews that self bears the rule. 1 will give one instance 
from the Gospel, that will tell you plainly the power of self. 
In Luke iv. 20. &c. you read of an excellent sermon preached 
by Jesus Christ himself, so that all did wonder at his gra- 
cious words : yet few were converted by it, but they fell on 
cavilling against him, because of his supposed parentage and 
breeding. Whereupon Christ telleth them that Elias and 
Elisha, though most excellent prophets, were sent but for 
the sake of a few, and therefore it was no wonder if of all 
that multitude it was but a few that should be converted 
and saved by him. This very doctrine so nettled these 
wretches, that the text saith, that " all they in the synagogue, 
when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and 
rose up and thrust him out of the city, and led him to the 
brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might 
cast him down headlong ;" ver. 28, 29. See what entertain- 
ment such doctrine had even from Christ himself! As if 



they should have said, ' What ! are we all unconverted and 
ungodly? Shall none be saved but a few such as you?* 
Self was not able to bear this doctrine, they would have had 
his life for it. 

7. Again, let but a minister or a private Christian deal 
closely with ungodly men or hypocrites about their parti- 
cular sins, by private reproof, and see whether self be not 
lord and king in them. O how scurvily they will look at 
you ! and their hearts do presently rise against you with 
displeasure, and they meet you with distaste and passion, 
and plead for their sins, or at least excuse or extenuate them ; 
or bethink themselves what they may hit you in the teeth 
with of your own. Or if malice itself can fasten nothing on 
you, they let fly at professors, or those that they think are 
of your mind and way. In a word, they shew you that they 
take it not well that you meddle with them, and let not their 
sin alone, and look to yourselves, for all that God hath ex- 
pressly commanded us, "Thou shalt not hate thy brother in 
thy heart : thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and 
not suffer sin upon him ;" Lev. xix. 17. And, " Exhort one 
another daily, while it is called to-day, lest any be har- 
dened by the deceitfulness of sin ;" Heb. iii. 13. So Matt, 
xviii. 15, 16. Try but plain dealing with your neighbours 
one twelvemonth, with as much prudence, and love, and le- 
nity as will stand with faithfulness ; and when you have 
done, I dare leave it to yourselves to judge, whether God 
or self have the more servants in the world, and whether self- 
denial and sanctification be not very rare. 

8. Yet further, you see it is the duty of Christians to 
admonish and faithfully reprove one another ; but because 
most men take it ill, and plain dealing will displease and 
lose a friend, how few even of professors will be brought to 
perform it ! yea, of those that expect a minister should re- 
ject the offender, when it cannot be done till after admoni- 
tion, and impenitency thereupon. No, this is a troublesome 
duty, and self will not give them leave to do it. 

9. Moreover, you know that church-government and 
discipline is an undoubted ordinance of Christ, which the 
church hath owned in every age ; (though in the execution 
some have been negligent, and some injurious;) and that 
open, scandalous sins must have open confession and repen- 
tance, that the ill effects may be hindered or healed, and the 


church see that the person is capable of their communion, 
and that the absolution may be open and well grounded. 
And yet let any man (except the truly penitent and godly) 
be called, after a scandal, to such a necessary confession, 
and how hardly are they brought to it ! What cavilling shall 
you have against the duty ! They will not believe that it is 
their duty ; not they ! And why so ? is it because it is not 
plainly required by God ? No, but because it tends (they 
think) to their disgrace ; and self is against it : and when 
you have shewed them such reasons for it that they cannot 
answer ; yet, the sum is, they will not believe it ; or if they 
believe it, they will not do it. What ! will they make them- 
selves the laughing-stock and talk of the country ? No, they 
will never do it ; and it is an injury, they think, for God or 
man to put them upon it. God commands, and self forbids ; 
God bids them yield, lest they perish in impenitency ; self 
bids them not to yield, lest they shame themselves before 
men : God persuadeth, and self dissuadeth, and which is it 
that most commonly prevails ? (Though to avoid the shame 
of excommunication, self also will sometimes make them 
yield.) Did but the magistrate by a penalty often or twenty 
pounds upon refusers, persuade them to this, not one of a 
hundred would then refuse ; but when God urgeth them with 
the threatening of hell, the wages of impenitency, they make 
little or nothing of it : as if they could escape it by not be- 
lieving it, or some way or other could deal well enough with 
him. Judge by the performance of this one duty, whether 
God or self have more disciples. 

10. Lastly, let me instance in one duty more. Suppose 
a deceitful tradesman, or oppressing landlord, or any one 
that gets unlawfully from another, is told from the word of 
God that it is his duty to make restitution, either to the per- 
son, or to his posterity, (or to God by the poor, if neither ^ 
can be done ;) and to give back all that ever he thus unjustly 
came by, though he had been possessed of it (without dis- 
grace) never so long : see what entertainment this doctrine 
will have with the most. Self will not lose the prey that it 
hath got hold of, till death shall wring it out of its jaws, and 
hell make them wish they had never meddled with it, or else 
had penitently and voluntarily restored it. O what abun- 
dance of objections hath self against it ! and no answer will 
satisfy from God or man. Of a thousand unjust getters, how 


many do restore, and say as Zaccheus, " Behold Lord, the 
half of my ^oods I give to the poor ; and if I have taken any 
thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him four- 
fold?" Lukexix. 8. 

Nay, let us instance in a duty of lesser self-denial, than 
this of restitution. If two do but fall out, and one give rail- 
ing words to the other ; or if one slander his neighbour and 
do him wrong ; though it be undoubtedly the will of Christ 
that he penitently ask him forgiveness that he hath wronged 
(Luke xvii. 4.), yet proud-hearted, selfish men will refuse it. 
What ! will they stoop to such a fellow, and ask him for- 
giveness (especially if it be their inferior) ? No, they scorn 
it ; never talk to them of it more 5 they will never do it. And 
why so? would not God have them do it? Hath not he 
said, ** He that humbleth himself shall be exalted ?" Yea, 
but what tell you them what God saith, and what Scripture 
saith, as long as self, and flesh, and pride are against it. 
Judge now by these ten duties that I have named, whether 
God or self be king with most. 


Men's exceeding Tenderness of self in case of ant/ Suffering, 

4. Another discovering instance of the dominion of self, 
and the scarcity of self-denial, is,* The exceeding tenderness 
of ourselves in any case of suffering, and the great matter 
that we make of it, and our displeasure against all that are 
the causes of it, be it never so just.' I shall here also give 
you some more particular instances. 

L When did you ever see an offender (at least very few) 
that justified the judge, and heartily confesseth that his pu- 
nishment is due (unless some few at the gallows, when the 
sight of death takes down their pride)? But at most, every 
one that suffereth for his fault doth repine at it, and at them 
that caused it, and think they have wrong, or are hardly 
dealt with. If all the swearers, cursers, profaners of the 
Lord's day, drunkards, or ale-sellers that harbour them, or 
are otherwise guilty, were accused by their neighbours, and 
punished by the magistrate but according to the law, how ma- 
ny of all these arethere that would not be displeased with the 


accusers and with the magistrate, and think himself wronged, 
and bear them a grudge in his mind that did it? And why 
so? Is it not just and according to the laws of God and 
man? Must we make astir in choosing parliament-men? 
and must they sit there month after month, and use their 
utmost skill and diligence to make such laws as are necessary 
for the common good, and when all is done, must not these 
laws be executed ? Why then it were better spare the par- 
liament-men the labour of sitting about them, and ourselves 
the trouble of choosing us parliament-men, than do all this 
for nothing. What ! is every ale-seller, or drunkard, or 
swearer, or profane person, wiser than all the parliament and 
the prince, or are they all better, and juster, and honester 
than they ? No ; but it is self that stands up against all. 
It is in vain to tell them of kings, or parliaments, or laws, 
or common good, as long as you go about to cross the flesh, 
and trouble them in their private interest; set but self 
against all, and all goes down before it as nothing. There 
is scarce a thief or a murderer that is hanged, but thinks he 
hath hard measure, because it is against himself. 

2. Nay, it is not only penalties, but words, that men are 
very sensible of, if they be but against themselves. An 
angry or disgraceful speech, or any contempt or disrespect, 
doth seem a great matter against them ; and they have ag- 
gravations enough to lay upon it. So tender are they of 
themselves, that you may see how little they denythemselves. 

3. Yea, God*s own corrections do seem so heavy to them, 
that they murmur and are impatient under them. A little 
loss or cross to self doth lie as a mountain on them. Poverty, 
or sickness, or disgrace, or troubles, do make them com- 
plain as if they were almost quite undone : and all this 
shews how little they have learned to deny themselves. 


The Partiality of Men's PracticalJudgment in their own Case. 

5. Another discovering instance of the dominion of self, 
is, 'The strange partiality of men's practical judgments when 
the cause is their own, and the equity of their judgments 
when the case is another man's.' 


For particular instances of this, you may take up those 
that were mentioned before. I will give you but a few. 

1. Take but a dull and backward minister (for I know 
you will expect that I begin next home), and he that is most 
averse to particular instruction, and discipline, and self- 
denying duties, will be content that another man should 
perform them, and will commend and extol him for a worthy 
man; except he perceive that another*s diligence disgraceth 
his selfishness and negligence, and then indeed he may pos- 
sibly repine at it. 

2. A man that will not come near us to be instructed or 
catechized, will yet let his children or servants come. Why 
what is the matter ? Doth he more regard their salvation 
than his own? or hath he not a soul to save or lose as well 
as they ? and hath he not need of teaching ? Yes ; but 
they are not himself: if they learn a catechism, it is no trou- 
ble to him : if their ignorance be opened, he takes it to be 
less dishonour to him than if he shew his own. He can 
yield to their submission without self-denial, but not to his 

3. Take a common glutton or drunkard that cannot for- 
bear, but must needs have that which the flesh desires, and 
they can be content that another man be temperate and 
sober ; and if a neighbour should have the cup before him 
as they have, or a provocation to their appetite, they could 
be content that they let it alone ; yea, they can tell them 
that it is the best way, and give them good counsel ; and 
yet when the case is their own, it is otherwise. I have 
known drunkards that would persuade their children to take 
heed of it, and swearers that would whip their children for 
swearing, and persons that would not read or pray, that 
would be content to have their children do it. And w§iy is 
all this ? Why that which goes by their own throats, must 
cost them self-denial in the displeasing of their greedy ap- 
petites ; but that which goes by the throat of another doth 
cost them nothing : self is not so much against their chil- 
dren's abs'tinence and reformation as their own. 

4. The same magistrate that will not trouble himself and 
displease his neighbours, by suppressing alehouses and pu- 
nishing vice, will perhaps be content if it were done by 
another ; so that self might have none of the trouble and 
ill will. 


5. Some men that will not instruct their families, nor 
pray with them morning and night, will confess it is well 
done of others that do it. Yea, some that will not be per- 
suaded to a holy, heavenly life, will confess it is the best 
and wisest course, and approve of it in others, and wish 
they might but die in such men's case ; and yet they will 
not themselves be brought to practise it. They will com- 
mend Peter, and Paul, and the fathers, and the martyrs for 
a holy life, and as I said, keep holy-days for them, and yet 
they will not be persuaded to imitate them. And why so '? 
Why it costs them nothing to commend holiness in others ; 
but to practise it themselves, must cost them self-denial. 

6. If another man be so ingenuous as to forsake an old 
self-espoused opinion, which their reputation seems to lie 
upon, and this upon their arguing, or in conformity to their 
minds, they will commend his great self-denial and sincerity; 
but yet they will not do so themselves, where the case is 
perhaps more clear and necessary. 

7. Take a man that is never so worldly and unmerciful, 
that gives not to the poor any considerable part of his estate, 
nor doth any thing worth the mentioning for the church, 
and yet this man will consent that another shall be as boun- 
tiful and charitable as he will : when you can hardly screw 
a groat out of his purse, he will be content if another will 
give a hundred ; and he will commend the liberal, and speak 
well of them, when he will not imitate them. And why is 
this ? Why it costeth him nothing for another to be liberal, 
and therefore he can advise it, or consent to it without self- 
denial ; but self is against it when he should do it himself. 

8. Take the most selfish, unsanctified man, that cannot 
love an enemy, nor forgive a debt or a wrong, and he will 
yet commend it in another, and advise them to it, and speak 
well of those that will do so by him. And why is this ? 
Why it costeth him nothing to have another man love an 
enemy, or forgive a debt or wrong; but he cannot himself 
do it without self-denial. 

9. Those men that love not to be touched themselves by 
the minister's application, can yet endure well enough that 
others be dealt as sharply with as may be ; and they are 
glad to hear any sharply reproved whose sins they do dislike. 
The covetous man loves to hear us reprove the drunkard, 
and the drunkard is content to have the covetous repre- 


hended : erroneous professors, dividers and hypocrites do 
hate the minister that reprehendeth their own sin, and can 
scarce endure to hear him, but say he is bitter, ora persecutor, 
or raileth at the godly ; (alas, that wickedness should have so 
impudent a plea!) but they can freely give us leave to deal 
as plainly as we will with the openly profane : scarce any 
sect can endure you to speak against their own mistakes ; 
but you may speak as freely against the contrary-minded 
as you please. How easily can Papists endure one to speak 
against Protestants ; or Anabaptists endure one to speak 
against infant baptism ! And the openly profane can well 
enough endure to have sects, and schismatics, and heretics 
reproved ; and why is all this, but from the dominion of self, 
and the scarcity of self-denial in the v^orld ? To have an- 
other rebuked, toucheth not self, and therefore may be borne. 
The poor man loves to hear us preach against the vices 
of the rich, and to reprehend the luxury of gentlemen, and 
the cruelty of oppressors : the subject too often loves to 
hear the ruler's faults laid open : the counti-yman loves to 
hear the courtiers', the ministers', but especially the lawyers* 
faults laid open ; here you may speak freely ; but self must 
be let alone, upon pain of their displeasure, and many a 

10. So also in case of personal close reproof; those that 
cannot endure it themselves, do think it the duty of others 
to endure it, and expect that others should submit to them; 
and if any will say, * Neighbour, I thank you for your plain 
and friendly dealing, and having so much compassion on 
my soul, as to help to save me from my sins. I confess I 
am a vile unworthy sinner ; but by the grace of God I will 
do so no more ; or if I be any more overtaken, I pray you 
tell me of it, and let me not alone in it/ I say, if another 
should answer them thus, and thank them for their reproof, 
they would think the better of him, and take it well. But 
yet they will not do so themselves ; for it costeth ^elf no- 
thing to have another submit and humble himself. 

11. So those that are most backward to the admonish- 
ing of others, lest they lose their love, can like to have a 
minister or another do it ; for that doth not put them to 
deny themselves. 

12. Nay, take a scandalous professor that is drawn to 
public confession as a bear to the stake, and if it were an- 



other man's case, he would think it but reasonable and meet, 
and would persuade him to it. If another had committed 
the same sin against God as he hath done, or had slandered 
or wronged him, and would freely without urging, confess 
in the congregation with tears in his eyes, that he hath sin- 
fully provoked God, and offended the church and wronged 
his brother, and laid a stumbling-block in the way of the 
ungodly and the weak, and dishonoured his holy profession, 
and fs never able to make satisfaction for such heinous sins, 
and is unworthy any more to be a member of the church, 
and to have any communion with Christ or them ; and should 
earnestly entreat them to pardon him, and pray for him, and 
retain him in their communion, and entreat God to pardon 
him ; would not the stander-by think this were well done, 
and a better way to his recovery than to refuse it ? And 
all is, because that self is not touched in another man's case ; 
unless he apprehend it like to become his own ; and then 
he may be against it, and scoff at this as too precise a course. 

13. Take also the extortioner, or any man that hath de- 
frauded or injured another, and that will not be persuaded 
to make restitution of all that he hath got amiss ; and let 
this man hear of the case of Zaccheus, and he will say it was 
well done ; or let another's case be propounded to him, and 
he can tell them, that, * Restitution is the safest way ; what- 
ever it cost you, it is fit that every man should have his own.' 
Self will give him free leave to consent to another man's 
restitution ; but not to his own. 

14. Moreover, suppose that persecution were afoot, and 
a man must either knowingly sin against God, or lose his 
estate, and part with all that he hath in the world, and burn 
at a stake for the cause of Christ : the selfish, unsanctified 
person will not be persuaded that this is his duty, or at least, 
he will not be persuaded to submit to it ; he cannot suffer, 
nor burn ; he will trust God with his soul, rather than men 
with his body (as such speak that despise God, and reject 
him, and prefer the world before him. and call this trusting 
him). But if this were another man's case, they could tell 
him that it is better displease men than God, and that it is 
better venture a short life, than an endless life ; and that it 
is little profit to win all the world, and lose his own soul ; 
and that it is the wisest way to make sure work for eternity, 
and not to venture on endless misery ; and they could con- 

108 TREAT rsi: of self-denial. 

sent that another should rather suffer than sin ; why else 
do they commend the martyrs for it ? and what is the reason 
for this strange partiality ? Why, self is the great ruler, and 
God hath but the name. Self is partial in their own cause, 
but not in another man's ; and therefore they can consent to 
his suffering without self-deniaJ ; and hence comes the dif- 

15. Moreover, when offenders murmur at their punish- 
ment, ask but the standers-by, and they are of another mind. 
When the ale-seller thinks he is wronged if he be put down, 
ask but the poor women whose husbands used to be drunk 
there, and whose children lack meat, and drink, and clothes, 
because the alehouse devours that which should buy them, 
and they will be quite of another judgment, and think you 
love not God or the country, if you will not suppress them. 
16. Also when you hear men extenuating their sin, and 
excusing it, put but the case as another man's, and let them 
not understand that it is their own, and you shall hear an- 
other judgment. So Nathan came about David, and put 
but a far lower case as another's about the robbing a poor 
man of his only sheep, and he could presently say and swear, 
" As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall 
surely die, because he had no pity ;" and his anger was 
greatly kindled against the man ; 2 Sam. xii. 5, 6. But why 
was he not as angry with himself for a greater sin ? O ! self 
had got the better in that grievous fall, till grace broke his 
heart by true repentance. So when Judah heard of Thamar's 
fornication, he commandeth, " Bring her out that she may 
be burnt;" Gen.xxxviii. 24. But when he understood that' 
it was by himself, the case was altered. 

17. Let a man that has been provoked by injuries and ill 
words, have done or spoken as bad himself against another, 
and he can make but a small matter of them, or think they 
should be easily put up or pardoned, when yet the same 
words spoken against him, do seem intolerable. 

18. Let a man speak with others in poverty, sickness or 
any affliction, and what good counsel can he give him to 
submit to God, and take all patiently ! But let the suffering 
be his own, and he cannot take the counsel that he gives. 

19. Nay more, men are not only partial for themselves, 
but for any that are near themselves, or that self is related 
to. Let another man's son or servant do evil, and you can 


be content that he be rebuked or corrected ; but if it be a 
son, or kinsman, or servant of your own, the case is altered ; 
it is then a wrong to punish him, because of his relation to 
you. Let a stranger do amiss, and you can give way to 
justice ; but if the drunkard, or ale-seller, or swearer be your 
friend, then he must be borne with and forgiven, and the 
justice must be entreated for him. 

Let a scandalous or insufficient minister or schoolmaster 
be offered to any place, if he be a stranger you can be con- 
tent that he be rejected; but if he be a kinsman, or child, 
or friend of yours, what an alteration doth this make in the 
case ! Then he must be borne with and tried, ard you hope 
he will mend, and his faults are made the least of, and his 
virtues more than indeed they are. 

Nay, any man that doth but love yourselves, and honour 
you, and think highly of you, shall have a more favourable 
construction for all his words, and actions, and intentions, 
than one that you imagine is against you, or hath low 
thoughts of you, oris against your interest or opinion. 

Sirs, I have run into abundance of instances, but not a 
quarter so many as might be given ; and all is to meet with 
the turnings and windings of this serpent, self; and to let 
you see (if light itself can make you see, against the blind- 
ing power of self) how rare self-denial is in the world, and 
what a large dominion self obtaineth. 

I would here have added some more discoveries, as, 6. 
From the excessive care, and cost, and labour that almost 
all the world is at for self; and the little they are at for 
God, or the good of others. 7. The large proportion that 
is expended on self, in comparison of God and others. 8. 
The zeal of men to vindicate self, but the little zeal for God 
or others. 9. The rigorous laws that are made in the cause 
of self (thieves and traitors must die), and the remissness of 
lawgivers in the cause of God ; blasphemy, malignity and 
impiety are not so roughly handled. 10. The firmness of 
men to carnal self, and their great mutability and unfaithful- 
ness to God. But I had rather omit somewhat than to be 
too tedious, and therefore I go no further in these discoveries, 
save only to add a few of those aggravations that shew you 
the extent of self s dominion, as you have seen the sad dis- 
coveries of the reality of it. 



The great Power and Frevalency of Selfishness discovered. 

And that you may see what cause we have for our lamenta- 
tions, consider the greatness of selfish tyranny in these 

1. Consider what a power it is that self beareth down in 
the world. The commands of the God of heaven are over- 
come by it. The promises of eternal life are trod under foot 
by it. The threatenings of endless torments are nothing to 
it. It casts by heaven ; it ventures upon hell ; it tramples 
upon the precious blood of Christ ; it will not hear the voice 
of wisdom itself; nor the voice of goodness and mercy it- 
self; it refuseth him that speaks from heaven ; love itself is 
not lovely where self is judge ; it quencheth all the motions 
of the Spirit ; it despiseth ministers ; it turneth mercies in- 
to wantonness and sin. Like Sampson it breaks all bonds 
that are laid on it ; and till it be weakened itself, there is no 
holding, no ruling, no saving the soul that is ruled by it. 

2. Consider also the exceeding number of its subjects. 
Truly if there were no other proof that the sanctified and 
the saved are very few, this one is so full and sad a proof, 
that it tempteth me sometimes to think them much fewer 
than willingly I would do. Alas, how few self-denying per- 
sons do you meet with in the world ! Yea, in the church ! 
Yea, among the stricter professors ! Look over all the world, 
and see how few you can find at work for any one but for 
carnal self! If you observe the courts, and see whose work 
is done most there ; and look into the armies of the world, 
and see who it is that ruleth there ; if you look upon the 
affairs of nations, and the wars of princes, and their con- 
federacies, and see who it is that rules in all, how little will 
you see (save here and there) but carnal self? It is self 
that makes the cause and manageth it ; it is self that maketh 
wars and peace. Come down into our courts of justice, 
and whose voice is loudest at the bar but self's? and who 
is it commonly else that brings in the verdict? at least, who 
is it else that made and followeth on the quarrel ? How 
many causes hath self at an assize, for one that God hath! 
Come lower into the country, and who is it that ploughs 



and sows ? who is it that keeps house or shop but self? I 
mean, what else but carnal self is the principle ? What else 
but carnal self is the end ? What else but the will of self is 
the rule ? And what else but selfish commodity, or pleasure, 
or honour are the matter, or some provision that is made for 
these? and consequently what else but self-respect is the 
form? For the end informeth the means as means, and 
therefore all that is done for self, is self-service and self- 
seeking. In a word, as God is all in all to the sanctified, 
so self is as all in all to the ungodly. And alas ! how great 
a number are all these ! 

3. Consider that it is a sin that is nearer us objectively 
than any other sin ; and the nearer the more dangerous, 
Alas ! that a man should turn his own substance into poi- 
son, and feed upon it to his own destruction ! If you have 
drunk yjoison, you may cast it up again, or nature may do 
much to work it out; but if your own blood, and humours, 
and spirits be turned into venom, that should nourish and 
preserve your life, what then shall expel this venom, and 
deliver you? 

4. Moreover it is the most obstinate disease in the 
world. No duty harder (except the love of God) than self- 
-denial. O ! how many wounds will self carry away and yet 

keep life, and heal them all ! How commonly do we con- 
vince some carnal gentlemen that ** one thing is needful ;" 
and that it is a better part than earth, and honour, and sen- 
suality that must be chosen, or else they are undone ; and 
the more they have, the more they must forsake, and the 
more self-denial is required to their salvation ; and that all 
their lands, and wealth, and honours, and all their wit, and 
parts, and interest must be at the service of their Maker and 
Redeemer ; and that when they have all in the world that 
they can get, that all must become nothing, and God must 
become all ; their treasure mast become the dross and dung, 
and Christ must become their treasure, or they are lost ; I 
say, how oft do we convince men of all estates of these im- 
portant, evident truths ! And yet this self is still alive, and 
keeps the garrison of the heart; and all that we can have 
from most of them, is, as the rich man, Luke xviii. 23,24., 
to be very sorrowful that they cannot have heaven at easier 
rates, and that Christ will not be a servant unto self, or that 
they cannot have two masters ! They go away sorrowful 


(but away they go) because they are rich ; which makes 
Christ say upon this observation, ** How hardly shall they 
that have riches enter into the kingdom of God !" But 
when the disciples were troubled at his observation, he lets 
them know that it is self and not riches that is indeed the 
deadly enemy. It is the selfish that trust in riches, and 
love and use them for themselves, and deny not themselves, 
and devote not all to God, that will be kept out of heaven 
by them ; or in Clirist's own words, it is " he that layeth up 
treasure for himself, and is not rich towards God ;" Lukexii. 
21. Conquer self, and conquer all. 

5. Moreover, self is the most constant malady ; the sin 
that doth most constantly attend us. Many actual sins 
may be laid by, and we may for the time be free from them. 
But selfishness is at the heart, and lives with us continually ; 
it parteth not from us sleeping or waking ; it goes to the 
worship of God with us; it will not stay behind in the holiest 
ordinance ; it will not forbear intermixing itself in the purest 
duties, but will defile them all. So that above all sins in 
the world, it is this that must have the strictest and most 
constant watch, or else we shall never have any peace for it. 

6. Yea, this self doth lamentably survive even in the sanc- 
tified soul, among the special graces of the Spirit, and la- 
mentably distempereth the hearts and lives of too many of 
the godly themselves. Not that any godly man is selfish in 
a predominant sense ; or> that self is higher or more power- 
ful in his heart than God, for that is a contradiction ; such 
a man cannot be a godly man (without conversion). But 
yet the very remnants of conquered self, what a smoke do 
they make in our assemblies, and what noisome scent in the 
lives of many godly men ! What a stir have we sometimes 
with those that we hope are godly, before we can get them 
to an impartial judgment ; to lament their own foul words, 
or other miscarriages, and to humble themselves, or freely to 
forgive another that hath wronged them ! Especially to 
confess disgraceful sins in any self-denying manner ! How 
close stick they to their own conceits ! how lamentably do 
they improve them, to the contempt of ministers, and trouble 
and division of the church ! How wise are they in their own 
eyes, and how hardly yield they to any advice that crosseth 
self! How hardly are they brought to any dear and costly 
duty ! How much do they indulge their appetites and pas- 


sions ! and how cheap a religion do many think to come to 
heaven with ! We can scarce please some of them they are 
so selfish ; either because we cross them in their opinions, 
or in their ways ; or because we allow them not so much spe- 
cial countenance and respect as self would have ; or deny 
them somewhat which self desires. If they have any use 
for us, if we leave not more public or greater work which 
God hath set us on, and allow thrm not that part in our time, 
or labours, or other helps, which God and conscience will 
not allow them, they are offended and take it ill, that self is 
not preferred before God and the public service. Their selves 
are so dear to themselves, that they think we should neglect 
all to serve them. 

Let the most useful minister live in a place that hath the 
plague, or other contagious mortal sickness ; and most that 
are visited will take it ill if the minister come not to them, 
though they know that his life is hazarded by it, and that 
his loss to the whole church is more to be regarded than the 
content Or benefit of particular persons ; and it is not the 
pleasing of them, nor their benefit by him then that will 
countervail the church's loss of him. What is this but too 
much preferring self (I hope not habitually, but) in that act, 
before the church and honour of God ? 

Let a minister or any other man resolve to bestow all that 
God hath given him for his service, on the poor, or pious 
uses ; perhaps he shall displease as many as he pleaseth, be- 
cause he hath not enough for all ; and if he give to nineteen, 
the twentieth will say, * He passed by me ; and I am never 
the better,' And thus this insatiable, unreasonable self will 
hardly be pleased ; and among the godly how much doth it 
prevail ! O how many ministers in England can tell by sad 
experience, how much of self sCirviveth in professors !^ so 
much that we can hardly rule them, or keep them from 
breaking all to pieces, and every man running a way of his 
own. The ruin of England's expected reformation ; the fall 
ofour hopes in too great a measure; the multiplying of sects; 
the swarms of errors ; the rage against the most faithful mi- 
nisters ; the neglect of discipline, and obstinate refusal of 
penitent confessions, and humbling, self-denying duties ; the 
backwardness to learn ; the forwardness to be teachers : the 
high esteem of weak parts, and weaker grace ; the common- 
ness of backbiting, censuring and slandering, especially 



those that are not of their fond opinions ; the rising designs 
of many ; the tenderness of their reputations ; the contend- 
ing for pre-eminence ; all these, with many others, do too 
loudly tell the world how much of self and how little self- 
denial is in many that seem godly. 

7. But yet this is not the highest discovery of the power 
of carnal self. Though it is sad to think that it should be 
so potent in any that have grace ; yet it is more sad to think 
that it hath too much power in the wisest and most learned 
magistrates and ministers, that should be the greatest ene- 
mies of it in the rest. A magistrate, as a magistrate, is for 
the common good. Political societies consisting of sove- 
reign and subject, are therefore called commonwealths, from 
the final cause, which is the common good or weal of all ; 
so that it is essential to a magistrate to be for the common 
good. And yet self creeps in, and makes such work with 
many of them, that it is hard to judge whether it have left 
them the essence of the magistracy, and whether they should 
be called magistrates or no. 

But yet it is more sad, that the learned, godly preachers 
of self-denial should have so little of it, as too many have. 
Alas, that ministers do not remember how ill Christ took 
the first contendings among his disciples, who should be the 
greatest ; that they do not imprint upon their minds the 
image of Christ's setting a child before them, and after gird- 
ing himself, and washing their feet. I think those men that 
make a sacrament of this, do err much less than those that 
forget it. And I suspect that our contrariety to this exam- 
ple, will tempt some ere long into this contrary extreme, and 
it may be set up as a sacrament indeed. O woful case I to 
be daily lamented by all the compassionate members of the 
church ; that the learned, zealous pastors of it are the leaders, 
fomenters, and continuers of her divisions : and when they 
have opportunity to seek for healing, they want a will ; and 
so much of self surviveth in them, that though God call to 
them for peace and unity, and the bleeding church is begging 
it of them on their knees ; yet self hath such power over 
them, that God is not heard, and the church cannot be re- 
garded ; but peace, and piety, and all must be sacrificed to 
the will and interest of self; as if they were the priests of 
self, and the honour of God and peace of the church were 
the dailv sacrifice which they have to offer ! Not a motion 


can be jmade for reform^tipn qr unity, but sQftie selfish mi- 
nisters uise up to strangle it, under pretence of mending the 
terms. Not a consulta.tion can be held, but self creeps in, 
yea, openly appears, and ravqls the wqrk, and will needs be 
the doer of all that is done, or nothing must go on that is 
done against it. 

O blessed nation, if self-^denial were more eminent and 
predominant therein! O precious ministry, and great and 
honourable, if we 'truly sought our honour in the habit of 
children, and by being the servants of all ! O happy churches, 
abounding in holiness and peace, if once the pastors and 
people were better skilled in the practice of self-denial ! I 
must confess, to the praise of God's grace, many such mi- 
nisters and people I have had the happiness to converse 
with ; and how sweet the fruit hath been both to them and 
me, both they and I are ready to confess. But one self- 
seeking, unmortified minister, is enough to disturb a whole 
society, and break Xhp good endeavours of many. And„ 
alas ! how many such are abroad, that talk of almost nothing 
but their opinions, or parties, or carnal interests, and are not 
in the harvest as reapers to gather, but as wild beasts that 
are broken in to make spoil, or Sampson's foxes to set all 
on fire; running up and down from country to country with 
firebrands at their tails, and sti^igs in their mouths, which 
they call by the reverend name of zeal. 

But you may think I have been long in discoveries, ag- 
gravations and complaints ; and therefore I will go no fur- 
ther in that sort of work, but only ftp adjoin these three or 
four practical cqnsectaries following. 


Some weighty Consectaries. 

' Consect, 1 . So common and potent is selfishness in the world, 
that.it is enough to convince a rational, considerate man of 
the truth of the doctrine of the fall of man, and of original 
corruption, against all the objections that all the Socinians 
or Pelagians in the world do make against it. He that 
thinks that God made man in this distempered, distracted 
state, that selfishness doth hold the world in, hath unrea- 


sonable thoughts of the workmanship of God. Hethatseeth 
even children, before they can speak or go so selfish as they 
are, and all mankind, without exception, to be naturally as 
so many idol gods in the world, and can believe that this is 
the image of God, in which they were created, doth make 
the image of satan to be the image of God. No wiser, no 
better is the doctrine that denieth original sin, where self 
hath such a tyrannical, universal reign in all the world. 

Consect. 2. So deep rooted, and powerful, and universal 
is this abominable vice, that it must teach us what to expect 
in all places we live in, and may help us to make the truest 
prognostics, or most probable conjectures of any mutations 
where the will of man is like to be the determiner. Know 
once but where self-interest lies, and you may know what 
almost all men will endeavour, and might write a probable 
prognostication of the changes that are like to be in states, 
and kingdoms, and anywhere in the world, were it not for 
the interposition of two greater powers that have got the 
victory of self; and that is grace, and divine, over-ruling 
providence. I say were it not that these step in, and cross 
self, and hinder its designs, you might foresee in self-interest 
the changes that are made in human aflPairs. 

Consect. 3. And so potent and common is the dominion of 
self, that it may warrant an honest, moderate incredulity and 
jealousy of almost all men, in cases where the interest of 
self is much concerned. Let him be never so ingenuous, let 
his parts and profession be never so promising, let his for- 
mer engagements to you be never so great, let him be your 
own brother ; yet be not too confident of him, if his carnal 
self be concerned or engaged against you. For you shall 
see by experience, as long as you live, that self will still bear 
dominion in the most. 

Consect. 4. Above all, every wise and godly man should 
herein maintain the greatest jealousy of his own heart. Keep 
the heart above all keepings ; and keep out self above all 
sins whatever. Take heed of selfishness as ever you would 
be Christians, and live as Christians, and have the peace of 
Christians. And to that end be always suspicious of every 
cause, opinion, controversy, or practice, where self is much 
concerned. The very names of Self and Own, should sound 
in a watchful Christian's ears as very terrible, wakening 


words, that are next to the names of sin and satan ; and at 
least carry in them much cause of suspicion. 

And this hath led me up to the next use of the point. 


Use 2. To Try our Self-denial : the Sincerity of the least 


Of Exhortation. 

Beloved hearers, I have now before me as great a sin and 
danger to deter you from (even selfishness and its effects), 
and as great a duty to offer to your entertainment (even self- 
denial; as any (save one) that I am acquainted with in the 
world. The raising up the soul to God is indeed the greatest 
work ; but the mortifying of the flesh, and the denying of 
self is surely the next to it, being a real part of the change. 
You hear ministers tell you of the odiousness, and danger, 
and sad effects of sin ; but of all the sins that ever you heard 
of, there is scarce any more odious and dangerous than this, 
and yet I doubt there are many that never were much trou- 
bled at it, nor sensible of its malignity. My principal re- 
quest therefore to you is, that as ever you would prove Chris- 
tians indeed, and be saved from sin, and damnation that fol- 
lows it, take heed of this deadly sin of selfishness, and be 
sure you be possessed with true self-denial ; and if you have 
it, see that you use and live upon it. 

And for your help herein, I shall, 1. Tell you how your 
self-denial must be tried ; and 2. How it must be exercised ; 
and 3. I shall give you some further reasons to persuade you 
to it ; and 4. Some directions for the procuring and 
strengthening it. 

The trial of your self-denial may be performed by the 
help of the signs that have been given you before. In the 
ten particulars mentioned in the beginning, you may see what 
is selfishness, and what is self-denial. But for your further 
satisfaction, I shall only tell you in a few words, how the 
least measure of true self-denial may be known. And, in 
one word, that is thus : * Wherever the interest of carnal self 
is stronger and more predominant habitually than the in- 


terest of God-, of Christ, of everlasting life, there is no true 
self-denial or saving grace ; but where God's interest is the 
strongest, there self-denial is sincere.' If you further ask 
me how this may be known, briefly thus : 

1. What is it that you live for? what is that good which 
your mind is principally set to obtain? and what is that end 
which you principally design and endeavour to obtain, and 
which you set your heart on, and lay out your hopes upon? 
Is it the pleasing and glorifying of God, and the everlasting 
fruition of him ? Or is it the pleasing of your fleshly mind 
in the fruition of any inferior thing ? Know this, and you 
may know whether self or God have the greatest interest in 
you. For that is your God which you love most, and please 
best, a;nd ^ould do most for. 

2. Which do you set most by, the means of your salva- 
troti and the glory of God, or the means of providing for 
self and flesh ? ]>o you set more by Christ and holiness, 
which are the way to God ; or by riches, honour, and plea- 
sures, which gratify the flesh? Know this, and you may 
know whether you have true self-denial. 

3. If you are truly self-denying, you are ordinarily ruled 
by God, and his word and Spirit, and not by carnal self. 
Which is the rule and master of your lives ? Whose word 
and will is it ordinarily that prevails ? When God draws, 
and self draws, which do you follow in the tenor of your life ? 
Know this, and you may know Whether you have true self- 

4. If you have true self-denial, the drift of your lives is 
carried on in a successful opposition to carnal self, so that 
you not only refuse to be ruled by it, and love it as your 
God, but you fight against it, and tread it down as your 
etietttf. So that you go armed against self in the course of 
yoiir lives, and are striving against self in every duty ; and 
as others think, it then goes best with them, when self is 
highest and pleased best ; so you will know that it then 
goeth best with you, when self is lowest, and most effec- 
tually subdued. 

5. If you have true self-denial, there is nothing in this 
world s6 dear to you, but on deliberation you would leave 
it for God He that hath ahy thing which he loveth so well 
that he cannot spare it for God, is a selfish and unsanctified 
wretch. And therefore God hath still put men to it, in the 


trial of their sincerity, to part with that which was dearest 
to the flesh. Abraham must be tried by parting with his 
only son. And Christ makes it his standing rule, ** He that 
forsaketh not all that he hath, cannot be my disciple ;" Luke 
xiv. 33. Yet it is true that flesh and blood may make much 
resistance in a gracious heart; and many a striving thought 
there may be, before with Abraham we can part with a son, 
or before we can part with wealth or life ; but yet on delibe- 
ration, self-denial will prevail, and there is nothing so dear 
to a gracious soul, which he cannot spare at the will of God, 
and the hope of everlasting life. If with Peter we should 
flinch in a temptation, we should return with Peter in weep- 
ing bitterly, and give Christ those lives that in a tempta- 
tion we denied him. For, habitually, God is dearest to 
the soul. 

6. f n a word, true self-denial is procured by the know- 
ledge and love of God, advancing him in the soul to the de- 
basing of self. The illuminated soul is so much taken with 
the glory and goodness of the Lord, that it carrieth him out 
of himself to God, and as it were estrangeth him from him- 
self, that he may have communion with God ; and this makes 
him vile in his own eyes, and abhor himself in dust and ashes ; 
he is lost in himself, and seeking God, he finds himself again 
in God. It is not a stoical resolution, but the love of God 
and the hopes of glory that make him throw away the world, 
and look contemptuously on all below, so far as they are 
mere provision for the flesh. 

Search now, and try your hearts by these evidences, 
whether you are possessed of this necessary grace of self- 
denial. O make not light of the matter, sirs, and presume 
not of it, till you find good grounds ! For I must tell you 
that self is the most treacherous enemy, and the most insi- 
nuating deceiver in the world. It will be within you when 
you are not aware of it, and will conquer you when you per- 
ceive not yourselves much troubled with it ; and of all other 
vices is both the hardest to find out, and the hardest to cast 
out ; the hardest to discover, and the hardest to cure. Be 
sure therefore in the first place that you have self-denial ; 
and then be sure that you use it and live in the practice of 
it. And for this I must give you more particular advice. 



In what respect Self' must be Denied. 

II. And here I beseech you take heed of self in all these 
following respects. L. You must deny self as it is opposite 
to God, and a competitor with him, and the idol of the soul 
and of the world ; and this is in all the ten respects which I 
mentioned in the beginning, and therefore shall not now re- 
hearse. And this is the principal part of self-denial. 

2. Self must be denied as it is but conceived as sepa- 
rated from God ; and would be an end in a divided sense 
from God. For ourselves and all things else are created 
contingent, dependent beings, and must not be once thought 
of as if we were either our own beginning, or end, or in any 
capacity, but subservient unto God. Self becomes a satan, 
when it would cast off its due subordination to God, and 
would be any other than the workmanship of God, depend- 
ing on him, and ruled by him, and living to him, loving him, 
desiring him, and seeking after him, and either mourning 
when we miss him, or rejoicing when we find communion 
with him. 

3. Self must be denied as it stands up against the truth 
of the Gospel, and blindly and proudly quarrelleth with that 
word which faith relieth upon for justification and salvation. 
Carnal self is both the most incompetent judge of the word 
of God, and of spiritual affairs, and also the most forward, 
and arrogant, and audacious, for all it is so incompetent. 
And this is the damnable fountain of unbelief. That self is 
an incompetent judge of the word and ways of God, is evi- 
dent : for, (1.) It is a natural enemy to them, and an enemy 
is no competent judge, " Because the carnal mind is enmity 
against God ; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither 
indeed can be;" Rom.viii. 7. Deny therefore this enemy 
the power of judging the word of God. Ill-will never saith 
well. Enmity is credulous of all evil, and overlooks the 
good, and is accompanied with false surmises, and wresteth 
every word, and suspecteth or maketh an evil sense where 
there was none : there is not a worse expositor in the world. 
And therefore no wonder if such a nature of enmity can find 
matter df quarrel with the very Scripture itself, and with a 


holy life, yea, with God himself; for it is him especially that 
the enmity is against. 

(2.) Moreover self is a party, and therefore an incompe- 
tent judge. It is self that the Scripture principally speaks 
against. All over the Gospel there are the words of disgrace, 
and the arrows of death directed against the very heart of 
carnal self. God there proclaimeth and manageth an open 
war against it. And shall a party be the judge ? Shall the 
traitorous delinquent be the judge? A child will hardly 
speak well of the rod, whatever he do by the corrector ; but 
it is not to be expected that a thief should love the halter, or 
the gallows. God's word is the weapon that self must be 
slain by; and therefore self must be an incompetent judge 
of it. 

(3.) Moreover self is quite blind in the matters of God. 
" The natural man discerneth them not, nor can do, because 
they are spiritually discerned ;" 1 Cor. ii. 14, And the ig- 
norant and blind are incompetent judges. 

(4.) And the selfish man is no good student in the laws 
of God ; even when he readeth the letter, he doth not mind 
or savour the spirit of them, ** For they that are after the 
flesh, do mind the things of the flesh ; but they that are after 
the Spirit, the things of the Spirit;" Rom. viii. 5. A fair 
world it would be, if every collier should judge the privy 
council, and the judges of the land, or if every thief should 
sit upon his accuser and his judge, and every traitor should 
judge the prince. And a thousandfold more insufficient is 
self to judge the word of God. And yet as insufficient as it 
is, it is exceeding arrogant, and steps up into the judgment- 
seat, at every chapter that is read or heard : and if this blind 
and malicious judge be unsatisfied, forsooth the Scripture 
must be dark or contradictory, or what he pleases. This hor- 
rible, presumptuous arrogancy of self is it that hath opened 
so many mouths against the blessed doctrine of salvation 
and made so many wretched apostates in the world, and cast 
so many others into doubtings of that word by which at last 
they must be judged, and which should have been the ground 
of their faith and hope. 

4. Moreover, self must be denied as it stands up ao-ainst 
the Lord Jesus Christ. When Christ is presented in his 
wonderful condescension, in his incarnation, and mean, des- 
pised life, and in his ignominious death, proud self is oflTended 


at so low a Saviour, and disdaineth that humiliation which 
his own necessities did require, and despiseth Christ because 
he became despised, and a man of sorrows, in our stead. 
When he is propounded as the remedy of a miserable soul, 
and as our only life, and righteousness, and hope, self doth 
seduce the soul to undervalue him : it will not easily 
be convinced of so much misery as to need such a remedy : 
it is too well to value such a physician ; it is too righteous 
to value the righteousness of a Mediator. It hath too much 
life and hope at home, in its own supposed innocency or 
sufficiency, to set much by the hopes that Christ hath pur- 
chased, and to live in him. 

O down with self, that Christ may be Christ to you ! 
How shall he come in, while self is the porter that keeps the 
door? How shall he pardon you, when self will not suffer 
you to feel the want and worth of pardon ? How shall he 
bind up your hearts, when self will not suffer them to be 
broken ? How shall he clothe you with his righteousness, 
while self keeps on your^own defiled rotten rags? Down 
therefore with self, that Christ maybe exalted. Away with 
your own conceited righteousness, that he may be your 
righteousness ; down with |'your selfish, foolish wisdom, 
that the supposed foolishness of God may be your wis- 
dom. Level this mountain, which satan hath built up in 
enmity against the holy mountain of the Lord. 

5. Moreover, self must be denied as it is the great re- 
sister of the Holy Ghost. The sanctifying Spirit hath no 
greater enemy, at least, except the devil himself. One half 
of the work of sanctification, is to destroy this carnal self; 
and therefore no wonder if hence it find the chief resistance. 
Not a holy motion can be made to the soul, but self is against 
it. No work hath the Spirit to do upon us, but self is ready 
to gainsay it, and contradict it, and work against it ; when- 
ever therefore this mortal principle is contending against the 
Spirit of God, dishonouring holiness, dissuading you from 
duty, persuading you to sin, down with it and deny it, as 
you would be true to the Spirit and yourselves. 

6. Moreover, self must be denied as it traitorously com- 
plieth with the enemies of Christ and your own salvation, 
when it takes part with satan, and pleads for sin, and saith 
as wicked men say, and "entereth a conspiracy with all that 


would undo you, and all this under pretence of your own 
good. Whenever it speaks for sin, you may be sure it 
speaks against God and you, and therefore it is reason you 
should deny it. Self also must be denied when it riseth up 
against the supposed tediousness or difficulty of duty ; when 
it grudgeth at a holy life, and saith, * What a stir is here 1 
what a weary life is this ! what do I get by serving God V 
Now self is playing the traitor against God and you ; and 
therefore deny it. 

7. Moreover, when self doth rise up against sufferings^ 
and make you believe that they are intolerable, and that it 
is unreasonable for a man to forsake all that he hath for fear 
of a sinful word or deed, when we sin every day, when we 
have done our best ; it is time now to stop the mouth of self, 
for it plays the devil's game against God and you, and would 
persuade you to prefer a short, uncertain, miserable life, be- 
fore eternal life, and to give up yourself to wilful sin, be- 
cause God beareth with the sins of men's infirmity. It is 
reason that you should deny so unreasonable an enemy to 
God and you. 

8. Moreover, self must be denied when it stands up against 
the ordinances of God. When it pleadeth against the argu- 
ments of the word, and findeth fault with the law that it 
should obey, and quarrelleth with prayer and all holy duties, 
and would make all instituted means ineffectual for your 
saving good, it is time now that you deny it. 

9. When self doth rise up against the officers of Christ, 
and would make you believe your teachers fools, and you 
are wise ; that they are beside the truth, and you are in the 
right; or that they speak against you out of malice or sin- 
gularity, or some such distemper, and so would deprive you 
of the saving benefit of their doctrine and office, it is time 
now to deny self, if you know but what belongeth to your 
peace. And though I grant that you must not follow a 
teacher into a certain sin and error, yet when it is not God, 
but self that riseth up against your teachers, and possesseth 
you with a spirit of bitterness, disobedience, contradiction 
and malignity, this self must be denied. 

10. Lastly, As self is against the good of our neighbour 
or human societies, it must be denied ; for we must love our 
neighbour as ourselves ; that is, both self and neighbour 
must be loved in a due subordination to God, as means to 


his glory, and in this notion of a means, the love should be 
equal; though there is also a natural love in order to self- 
preservation put into us by the Creator, which our love to 
every neighbour is not to equal in degree, yet our love to 
societies should exceed it ; and our love to a neighbour 
should come so near it, that we should * deligere proximum 
proxima dilectione,' love him as a second self, and so study 
his welfare, as to promote it to our power, and not to covet 
or draw from him ourselves, nor do him any wrong. This 
is the sense of the tenth commandment, and sum of the 
second table. 


I. Selfish Dispositions must be Denied; and, 1. Self-love. 

Having seen in what respects and upon what accounts it 
is that self must be denied, I am next to tell you the parti- 
culars of that selfish interest that must be denied, and the 
parts that are contained in this needful work. 

And here you must remember what saving faith is, that 
seeing how self opposeth it, you may know wherein it must 
be denied. 

* Saving faith is such a belief in Christ for reconciliation 
with God, and the everlasting fruition of him in glory, as 
makes us forsake all the things of this world, and give 
up ourselves to the conduct of the word and Spirit, for the 
obtaining of it.' 

When a man can strip himself of all the pleasures, and 
profits, and honours of this world, first in his estimation, 
and love, and resolution, and then in the actual forsaking of 
them at the call of God, because of the firm belief and hope 
that he hath of the fruition of God in glory, as purchased 
and promised by Jesus Christ ; this is a Christian, a disciple 
of Christ, a true believer, and none but this. And (as I have 
told you) as God in unity, and Father, Son and Holy Ghost 
in Trinity, is the object of our saving faith, so carnal self in 
unity, and pleasure, profits and honours in trinity must be 
renounced by all true Christians ; as being that which we 
turn from, when we turn to God. So that, in brief, to deny 
yourselves doth generally consist in denying all your own 


dispositions and interests whatsoever, as they are against 
God the Father, Son or Spirit, or stand not in a due subser- 
viency to him. And this interest which you must deny, 
consisteth in your pleasures, profits and honour ; of these 
therefore I shall speak distinctly, though but briefly. 

1. You must begin at the denial and mortification of 
your corrupt and selfish disposition, or else you can never 
well deny your selfish interest. It is not enough to keep 
under this selfishness by denying it somewhat tliat it would 
have, but the selfish inclination or nature itself must be so 
far mortified and destroyed, that it shall not reign as for- 
merly it did. For this which we call selfishness is not your 
very persons, nor any spiritual or right natural desire of your 
own good ; but it is the inordinate adhering of the soul to 
yourselves, by departing from God, to whom you should 
adhere, and so a carrying over God's interest and honour to 
yourselves. Holiness is an inclination and dedication to 
God, by which two we are said to be separated to him : and 
wickedness is an inclination, and addictedness or devoted- 
ness to ourselves above God, or as separated from God ; and 
this inclination, disposition or separation of man to himself 
instead of God, is it that I call self or selfishness ; and this 
self must itself be destroyed as to the predominant degree. 
And therefore let us first observe wherein this selfish 
disposition doth consist, which must be destroyed ; and 
then secondly, wherein the selfish interest doth consist that 
must be denied. 

And first, the selfish disposition consisteth in these 
several parts that follow. 

1. The principal part of it consisteth in an inordinate 
self-love. This is a corruption so deep in the heart of man, 
that it may be called his very natural inclination, which 
therefore lieth at the bottom, below all his actual sins what- 
soever ; and must be changed into a new nature, which prin- 
cipally consists in the love of God. This is original sin it- 
self, even in the heart of it. This speaks what man by nature 
is ; even an inordinate self-lover ; and as he is, so he will 
act. In this, all other vice in the world is virtually con- 
tained ; even as all grace is in the love of God ; which made 
the schoolmen say, that love is the form of all grace ; not 
as they are this or that grace in particular ; not of faith as 
faith, nor of hope as hope ; but of faith, hope, &c. as vital 

12G treatise: of self-denial. 

or gracious acts. Because the respect to the eud is essen- 
tial to the means as a means ; and tbecefoce the respect to 
God as the end, is essential to faith, hope, Sec. as a means 
to him : and therefore that grace (of love) which is terminated 
on the end, must have an essential participation, concurrence 
or influence on those that are directly terminated on the 
ways or means, and must convey somewhat of its very es- 
sence to them; and so far as ;they partake of that essence 
of love, so far are they indeed those special g:races which 
carry the soul to God its end. And in this sense we may 
allow the distinction between * fides,' ' spes,' &c., ' formata 
charitate' (which is true Christian faith and hope), and ' fides,* 
* spes,' &c., ' informis' (which is but an opinion and a dream). 
And so itis in the body of sin ; when self-love doth reign, it is 
the heart of wickedness : and though every sin hath its own 
specific nature, yet all are virtually in self-love, and are so 
far mortal, or prove men graceless, as they are informed by 
the essential communication of self-love ; for self being the 
end, informeth all the means as they respect it. 1 say the 
more to you of this, because indeed it is a weighty truth, for 
the right understanding of the true nature of grace and sin ; 
and I doubt many are in the dark for want of understanding 
and considering it. A man that feareth and loveth God, 
and an unsanctified man may be both overtaken with the 
same sin ; perhaps a gross one, as Noah's, or David's and 
Peter's was ; and this may be a mortal sin in the ungodly, 
I mean, such as proves him in a state of death, and yet not 
so in the gracious person. The wicked will deride this in 
their ignorance, as if we made God partial ; but it is no such 
matter. The Papists cannot endure it, but suppose Peter, 
David and Noah, were quite without the love of God, and 
so were again unsanctified men ; but this is their error. It 
was not from the power of reigning self-love, and the habit- 
ual absence of the love of God, that these men (or any saints) 
did sin, but from a particular act of mortified self-love by a 
surprise upon the neglect of the actual exercise of the love 
of God. But all the sins of unsanctified men, or at least 
their common sins, are from the habitual reign of self-love, 
and the habitual absence of the love of God ; and therefore 
the sins of the saints are, as the schoolmen speak of the 
graces of the ungodly, unformed : they be not mortal sins 
in the sense aforesaid, because they be not naturalized, in- 


formed, animated by the malignity and venom of the mortal 
end and principle, which is habitual, reigning self-love : but 
those of the wicked are sins informed by this inordinate 
self-love as an habitual, reigning sin ; and therefore being 
animated by its malignity are mortal : yet say not that this 
makes God partial, and not to hate the same sin in one as 
he doth in another. For two things must be taken in, 1. 
Where the heart is sanctified, such sins are strangers : per- 
haps one godly man often or twenty may be guilty of one 
of them, as Noah was of drunkenness, once in all his life 
(since his conversion) ; for it will not stand with grace to 
live in them ; for such as a man's love, and inclination, and 
nature is, such will be the drift of his life. And would not 
you have God make a difference between those that sin 
once, and those that live in it? 2. Besides, will not any 
honest man make a great difference of the same acts accord- 
ing as they come from different hearts ? You will not take 
a passionate word from a father, husband or wife, so ill as 
the same word from a malicious enemy. If an unthrifty son 
should spend you twenty shillings wastefully, you will not 
prosecute him as you would do a thief or an enemy that 
takes it from you violently. Wilful murder and casual man- 
slaughter have not the same punishment by the law of the 
land. If you will make such a difference yourselves of the 
same words or deeds as they come from different meanings 
and affections, quarrel not with God for doing that which 
you confess is just and necessary to be done. 

The faculty where this disposition is principally seated, 
is the will ; which in man is the heart of morality, whether 
good or evil. And the principal act is an inordinate adhe- 
sion of man to himself, and complacency in himself: and 
this is the inordinate self-love that must be first mortified. 

2. The next faculty that self hath corrupted, is the un- 
derstanding ; and here we first meet with the sin of self- 
esteem, which is the second part of selfishness to be morti- 
fied. It is not more natural for man to be sinful, vile and 
miserable, than to think himself virtuous, worthy and ho- 
nourable. All men naturally overvalue themselves, and 
would have all others also overvalue them. This is the sin 
of pride. But of this I must speak by itself. 



Self-conceitedness must be Denied, 

3. The next part of selfishness to be mortified, is in the 
same faculty, and it is called self-conceitedness. And it 
consisteth of two parts : the first is a disposition to selfish 
opinions or conceits that are properly our own. And the 
second is to think better of those conceits than they do de- 

1. Naturally men are prone to spin themselves a web of 
opinions out of their own brain, and to have a religion that 
may be called their own ; and it is their own in two respects ; 
1. Because it is of their own devising, and not of God's re- 
vealing or appointing. 2. Because it suiteth with their own 
carnal ends and interests. Men are far readier to make 
themselves a faith, than to receive that which God hath 
formed to their hands. And they are far readier to receive 
a doctrine that tends to their carnal commodity, or honour, 
or delights, than one that tends to self-denial, and to abase 
themselves, and exalt the Lord. 

2. And when they have hatched or received such opinions 
which are peculiarly their own, they are apt to like them 
the better, because they are their own, and to value them 
because of the interest of self. O sirs, that you did but 
know the commonness and danger of self-conceitedness in 
the world ! Even with many that seem humble, and verily 
think that it is the Spirit of God that beareth the greatest 
sway in their understandings, yet self doth there erect his 
throne ! O how secretly and subtilely will self insinuate, 
and make you believe that it is a pure self-denying light 
which guideth you, and that what you hold, is merely by 
the cogent evidence of truth, or the illumination of the Spi- 
rit, when it is but a viper that self hath hatched and doateth 
on, because it is her own. Because the Papists have gone 
too far in teaching men to depend on the church and on 
their teachers, therefore self-conceitedness takes advantage 
of their error, to draw men into the contrary extreme, and 
make every infant Christian to think himself wiser than his 
most experienced brethren and teachers, and every raw, un- 
studied Christian to think himself wiser than those that have 


been searching into the word of truth by study and prayer 
almost all their days, and therefore to cry down that learn- 
ing, wisdom and study, which they are unacquainted with ; 
that seeing they have it not themselves, they may at least 
be thought as wise men without it, as those that have it, 
and so may provide for the reputation and interest of self. 
O wh.t sad work hath this great sin of self-conceitedness 
made in the world ! In too many places men make it their 
religion to strive who shall be greatest for wisdom and abi- 
lities in the eyes of men ! and it is the very work of their 
prayers, and conference, and teaching to exercise self-con- 
ceitedness, and to make it appear that they are somebody 
in knowledge ; hence is it that they are so apt to fall upon 
novelties which either few receive, or none before them- 
selves devised, that being singular, self may be the more ob- 
served, and they may have something which may be called 
their own. Hence also it is that they are so little suspicious 
of their own opinions, never bending their studies impar- 
tially to try whether they are of God or not, but rather to 
maintain them, and to find out all that can be said for them, 
and against the contraryminded. Hence is it that men 
have such light and contemptuous thoughts of the judgment 
of those that excel them in knowledge, and that the voice of 
Corah, and those other conspirators (Numb. xvi. 3.), is grown 
so common in the mouths of ignorant proud professors. 
" Ye take too much upon you (say they to their guides and 
teachers) seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of 
them, and the Lord is among them : wherefore then lift ye 
up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?" It is 
the holiness of the congregation, and all its members, and 
the presence of God himself among them, that is pleaded 
against the superiority of Moses and Aaron, as if with so 
holy a people, that had God himself to be their Teacher and 
Guide, there were no need of men to be lift up above the 
congregation of the Lord; but it was self that was intended, 
whatever was pretended. From this self-conceitedness also 
it is that the weightiest common truths that self hath no 
special interest in, are so little valued, and relished, and in- 
sisted on ; and that a less and more uncertain point which 
self hath espoused, shall be more relished, insisted on, and 
contended for ; hence also is most of the common confidence 
of men in their own opinions ; that when the point is 



doubtful, if not certainly false, in the eyes of wiser men 
than themselves, yet ** the fool rageth and is confident," 
Prov. xiv. 16. He can carry on a conceit of his own with as 
brazen a face, and proud contempt of other men's argu- 
ments, as if he were maintaining that the sun is light, and 
other men pleaded to prove it dark, when, alas, it is self-in- 
terest that is the life, the strength, the goodness of the 
cause. Hence also it is that men are so quarrelsome with 
the words and ways of others, that they can scarce hear or 
read a word, but these pugnacious animals are ready to 
draw upon it, as if they had catched an advantage for the 
honouring of their valour, and were loath to lose such a prize 
and opportunity for a victory and triumph : hence it is that 
hissing at the savings and doings of others, is the first, and 
most common, and most sensible part of their commen- 
taries ; and that they can make heresies and monsters not 
only of tolerable errors, but of truths themselves if they 
have but the inexpiable guilt of crossing the wisdom of 
these self-conceited men. Hence it is that opinions of their 
own are more industriously cultivated and studiously 
cherished, by a double if not a tenfold proportion of zeal 
and diligence, than common truths that all the godly in the 
world have as much interest in as they, though the com- 
mon truths be incomparably the greater. And hence it is 
that men are so tenacious of that which is their own, when 
they more easily let go that which is God's ; and must have 
all come to them, and every man deny his own judgment, ex- 
cept themselves ; and that it must be the glory of others to 
yield to them, and their glory to yield to none, but to have 
all men come over and submit to them. All these are the 
fruits and discoveries of self as it reigns in men's under- 
standings, who possibly may think that it is Christ and the 
Spirit that is there exalted. 

Yet mistake me not ; I do not say or think that a man 
should forsake a certain truth for fear of being accounted 
self-conceited, nor that he must presently captivate his own 
understanding to a more learned man, or the stronger, or 
more numerous side, for fear of being self-conceited. Much 
less must I deny that grace of God that hath made me sav- 
ingly wise by his illumination, that was formerly foolish, diso- 
bedient, and deceived in the days of my ignorance. The 
world must give us leave to triumph over our own former 


folly with Paul (Tit. iii.3— 7); and say with the same Paul, 
that we were no better than mad when we were enemies to 
the Gospel (Acts xxvi. 1 1 .), and with the man in John ix . 25, 
*' One thing 1 know, that whereas I was blind, now I 
see." It is no self conceitedness for a man that is brought 
from the blind distracted state of sin, into the light of the 
sanctified, to know that he is wiser than he was before ; and 
that he was formerly besides hsimself, but now is come to 
his understanding again. Nor is it any self-conceitedness 
for the meanest Christian to know that a wicked man is 
more foolish than he ; or for a minister or any man that God 
hath caused to excel in knowledge, to hold fast the truth he 
knows, and to see and modestly oppose the errors of ano- 
ther, and to know that in that he is wiser than they. God 
doth not require that we shall turn to every man's opinion, 
and reel up and down from sect to sect, and be of the opi- 
nion of every party that we come among, and all for fear of 
thinking ourselves wiser than they. David knew he had 
more understanding than his teachers (Psal. cxix. 98, 99.) ; 
and true believers fear not to say, ** We know that we are of 
God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness ;" 1 John v. 
19. iii. 19. ii.3. And Paul would not forbear the reproving of 
Peter, for fear of being thought to be self- conceited; Gal. ii. 
Some men are so desperately self-conceited that they take 
every man to be self-conceited that is not of their conceits. 

But when self is men's instructor, and chooseth their text, 
and furnisheth them with matter, and nothing is savoury but 
what is either suited to the common interest of self, or 
which it hath not a special interest in; when men are abso- 
lutely wise in their own eyes, and comparatively wiser than 
those that kr.ow much more than they ; when self-interest 
serves instead of evidence to the receiving, retaining, or 
contending for a point; when men think they know that 
which indeed they do not know, and observe the little which 
they do know, more than an hundredfold more that they are 
ignorant of; doubtless here is self-conceitedness with a wit- 
ness ; and they that will not see it in a lower degree, methinks 
should see it in such a case as this. He that will not be- 
lieve that a man is drunk when he reels and stammereth, 
may know it when he lieth spewing in the streets. 

Well, sirs, I beseech you see that self in the understand- 
ing be mortified and pulled down. It is the throne of God, 


the lanthorn of holy truth, the temple of the Spirit, and shall 
self rule there ? The understanding is it that guideth the 
soul and all the actions of your lives ; and if self rule there, 
what a ruler will you have ; and what a case will heart and 
life be in! If your eye be dark, your light be dark, how 
great will be your darkness ! and if it be selfish, it is cer- 
tainly so far dark. O believe the Holy Ghost ; " Seest thou 
a man wise in his own conceit ? there is more hope of a fool 
than of him ;" Prov. xxvi. 12. For a mere fool that is igno- 
rant only for want of teaching hath no such prejudice against 
the truth, as the self-conceited have ; nor is it so hard to 
make him know that he is ignorant, nor yet to make him 
willing to learn. He that knoweth himself to be blind, is 
willing to be led. Moreover the self-conceited have much 
to unlearn, before they can be fit to receive the truth in a 
saving manner. O how many thousands are undone by self- 
conceitedness ! It is this that keeps out knowledge, and 
every grace, and consequently all true peace and comfort ; 
and this it is that defendeth and cherisheth all sin. Let us 
shew men the plainest word of God for duty and against sin, 
and shew them the clearest reasons, and yet self-conceited- 
ness bolts the door against all. Yea, so wonderfully doth this 
sin prevail, that the ignorant, silly people, that know almost 
nothing, are as proudly self-conceited as if they were the 
wisest men. They that will not learn, and cannot give an 
account of their knowledge, in the very catechism or prin- 
ciples of Christian religion, neither can pray, nor scarce 
speak a word of sense about the matters of salvation, but ex- 
cuse themselves that they are no scholars, yet these very 
people will proudly resist their teachers, though they were 
the wisest and most learned men in the land. Let us but 
cross their conceits of doctrine or practice in religion, about 
their own title to church privileges, or fitness for them, and 
they are confident and furious against their ministers, as if 
we were as ignorant as they, and they were the wisest men 
in the world. So that pride and self-conceitedness makes 
people mad, or deal like madmen. We cannot humble men 
for sin, nor reclaim them from it, till they know the sin, and 
the danger of it. And self-conceitedness will not let them 
know it, no, nor let the.m come to us to be taught ; but they 
are wise enough already ; and if we tell them of the sin and 
danger, they are wiser than to believe the word of God or 


US ! They will tell us to our faces, they will never believe 
such and such things, which we shew them in the Scripture. 
O the precious light that shineth round about you all, and 
would make you wise, if self-conceitedness did not keep it 
out by making you seem wise already ! These men that thus 
deceive themselves, by seeming wise to themselves, must 
become fools in their own eyes, if ever they will be truly 
wise (1 Cor. iii. 18.) ; and confess themselves, as Paul him- 
self did, that they were foolish and deceived, when they 
served their lusts and pleasures ; Tit. iii. 3. This pride and 
self-conceitedness is like the barm in the drink, that seems 
to fill up the vessel, but indeed works it all over : this is the 
knowledge that puifeth up (1 Cor. xiii. 4.), like the pot that 
by boiling seemeth to be filled, that was half empty before, 
but it is empty in the bottom, and presently boils over, and 
is emptier than before. So is it with the self-conceited, that 
have a superficial knowledge, while they are empty at the 
bottom, and by the heat of pride, that little they have boil- 
eth over to their loss. It is the humble that God reveals 
his secrets to, and the hungry that he filleth with good 
things, and the full that he sendeth empty away. He will 
have no disciples that come not to his school as little chil- 
dren, teachable and tractable, not thinking themselves too 
old, or too wise, or too good to be taught. If you would 
see the mysteries of the Gospel savingly, you must even 
creep to Christ on your knees, and cry, '* Lord be merciful 
to me a sinner !" He will not lift up your minds and hearts 
to heaven, till you think yourselves unworthy to lift up your 
very eyes to heaven, because you have sinned against heaven. 
And if you were even lifted to heaven, should you there but 
be lifted up with pride or self-conceitedness, you should 
soon have a prick in the flesh, to let out that dangerous, ve- 
nomous wind that puffs you up. 

And if you should have any knowledge of the most pre- 
cious truths, as long as you are thus proud and self-con- 
ceited, it will not be savoury and effectual on your hearts. 
Humility feedeth, and pride starveth every grace. The Spirit 
of God will not dwell with the proud : he will beat you out 
of yourselves, unless you drive him away from you. Some 
seeming raptures and comforts the self-conceited have, which 
are but the deluding flatteries of self, and the encourage- 
ments that satan giveth to his servants. (For satan will 


needs be a comforter for a while, as the Holy Ghost is to 
the saints ; and his followers also have their joys.) But it 
is the humble soul that hath the solid comforts ; from the 
dust of humiliation, we have the clearest sight of glory, and 
consequently, the sweet tastes of it. As high as the rain 
comes from it, it is the lowest vallies that receive it most, 
and retain it. Faith itself will not prosper in the proud and 
self-conceited ; to such the Gospel will be foolishness or an 
offence. It is only the humble that savingly close with its 
mysteries. Humility cherisheth the fear of God, and makes 
us say, ' How shall we do this evil ? or neglect this duty V 
But self-conceitedness and pride is blind and bold, and des- 
troyeth in men's apprehensions, the difference between things 
sacred and common, the holy and the unclean ; it disposeth 
them to such an unreverent boldness with holy things, as 
usually ends in a profane contempt : so that such can at 
last despise holy ordinances which they should live upon. 
Repentance and this pride are deadly foes. To be penitent 
and proud, is to be hot and cold, alive and dead. Though 
Christ love not to find you in the dust of earthlyminded- 
ness, yet he loves to find you in the dust of humility. The 
publican that hanged down the head, did hit the way better 
to the sight of God, than the self-conceited Pharisee. The 
most self- denying humiliation is the nearest way to heaven, 
and the most self-exalting pride is the surest and nearest 
way to hell. I would rather sit with Mary washing and 
wiping the feet of Christ, than ask, as the mother of James 
and John, to sit at Christ's right hand and left hand in his 
kingdom. Mary was in a manner thanked for the love of 
her humility ; and they were in a manner denied the request 
that so little savoured of self-denial. Our Lord does not use 
to thank people for their service, and yet he did that which 
was next to it, to this humble, self-denying, penitent wo- 
man. He doth not use to deny his own disciples an hea- 
venly request ; and yet he did that which was next to a de- 
nial, when self brought him the petition. He that hath 
taught us not to press to the highest room, lest with shame 
we hear, ' Sit lower,' doth hereby tell us what we must expect 
from himself. And he that hath bid us sit down at the lower 
end, that we may hear " Friend sit up higher," doth express 
his purpose for humble, self-denying souls. I had rather 
from the dust hear his * Come up higher, than from self- 


exaltation to hear *' Come down lower." O ! you that are 
proud, self-conceited wretches, did you but know what good 
it doth an humble soul, to feel Christ take him up from the 
dust, you would soon fall down that you might taste their 
comforts in his lifting up. O what a blessed feeling it is, to 
feel one's self in the arms of Christ ! Our compassion that 
makes us run to take up one that falls before us, is a spark of 
that compassion in Christ. Who meddles with him that walks 
before us? but a man that falls down in a swoon, we are all 
ready to lay hands on ! O happy fall, that makes us feel the 
arms of Christ ! Though the fall into sin be never the bet- 
ter, that occasioneth it, yet the fall into humiliation is bet- 
ter, that prepareth for it. He that in his agony had an angel 
to minister to him, will not leave the self-denying humble 
soul, without his angel, or some way of relief that is suita- 
ble to the necessity. Christ himself will not communicate 
himself to the proud and self-conceited. He is wisdom, but 
not to them that are wise in their own eyes already. He is 
righteousness, but not to them that justify themselves. He 
is sanctification, but not -to those that never found their own 
uncleanness. He is redemption, but to none but those that 
feel themselves condemned. He hath the white raiment, 
and the treasures of grace and glory ; but it is only for those 
•that penitently feel that they are poor, and miserable, and 
blind, and naked. Truly sirs, though I have no mind to 
trouble the well-grounded peace or comfort of any of your 
souls, yet I would advise you, if you have never so good 
thoughts of yourselves, suspect lest it should be the fruit of 
self-conceitedness ; and if you should have never so much 
peace and joy, look well whether it come from God or self- 
conceit! And if it come not in against self, it is ten to one 
but it comes from self. If your peace and comfort be not 
won from Christ, in a way of self-denial, and as the spoils 
of the flesh, you have it not in the ordinary way of God. 
Did you come to your joy and peace by humility, and self- 
denial, and patience, and mortification, and by becoming 
little children, and the servants of all, and by learning of 
Christ to be meek and lowly ? If not, take heed lest you 
nourish a changeling, an imp of hell, and a selfish brat, in- 
stead of the fruit of the Spirit, the peace and joy of the 
Holy Ghost. If you feel no great matter at home to trouble 
you, you are too righteous to be justified by Christ. If 


you groan not under your ignorance and unbelief, you are 
too wise to be Christ's disciples. If you mourn not under 
the load and pain of sin, you are too well to be Christ's pa- 
tients. If you are readier to justify and excuse yourselves, 
than to condemn yourselves, and had rather hear yourselves 
praised, than reproved, admonished, or instructed, and like 
Diotrephes, love to have the pre-eminence, you are too high 
for Christ to take any acquaintance with you ; and too full 
of self to have any room for his love, and Spirit, and hea- 
venly consolations. He that gave us the parable of the im- 
portunate widow (Luke xviii. 2 — 5.), would have us under- 
stand that bare necessity is not enough to fit us for relief 
(for then the w^orst of men should be the fittest), but it must 
be necessity so felt, as to humble us, and drive us to impor- 
tunity with God. The prodigal was miserable when he was 
denied the husks ; but he never felt his father's embrace- 
ments till he came to himself by denying himself, and re- 
turning to his father. And this the self-conceited will not 
be persuaded to. The first that must touch Christ after his 
resurrection, is not a king, nor a lord, no, nor a man, but a 
woman that had been a sinner. When she held him by the 
feet, love did begin low in humility, but it tended higher, 
and ended higher. Christ hath told us that where much is 
forgiven, there will be much love. For there is most of the 
fruits of God's love, and least of self, and most to abase 
self. It is not possible that love to Christ should dwell 
or work in any but the humble, that feel at the heart that 
they are unworthy of love, and worthy of everlasting wrath. 
The proud and self- conceited cannot love him; for they 
cannot be much taken with Christ's love to them, except as 
the Pharisee, in a way of self-flattery. But the poor soul 
that was lost, will heartily love him that sought and found 
him ; and he that was dead, will love when he finds himself 
alive ; and he that was condemned both by God and con- 
science, will surely love the Lord that ransomed him ! And 
it is the apprehensions that men have of themselves that 
much causeth all this difference. The self-abhorring, self- 
judging, self-denying sinner is melted with the love of God 
in Christ, because it is to such a worthless, sinful wretch. 
' What Lord,'saith he, *is the blood of Christ, the pardon of 
sin, the Spirit of grace, the privileges of a child, and ever- 
lasting glory for such an unworthy wretch as I, that have so 


long offended thee, and so much neglected thee, and lived 
such a life as I have done, and "am such an empty unprofit- 
able worm?' O what a wonder of mercy is this ! But the 
full soul loathes the honeycomb. The self-conceited un- 
humbled sinner looks as mindlessly at Christ, as a healthful 
man at the physician, or an innocent man at a pardon. 

And that good that is in the proud and self-conceited 
doth seldom do much good to others (much less to them- 
selves). As such do but serve themselves, SlO ordinarily 
God doth not bless their endeavours ; but as they are per- 
verted, they are the litest to pervert others, and propagate 
their self-conceitedness : two words from an humble self- 
denying man, doth oftentimes more good than a sermon 
from the self-conceited. 

I admonish you therefore in the name of God, that you 
take heed of this part of selfishness and mortify it. It will 
else keep out God, and almost all that is good. If you are 
proud and self-conceited, you will hear a minister rather to 
cavil with him, than to be edified : and when any thing from 
God doth cross your foolish wisdom, you will but slight it, 
or make a jest at it : and if any truth of God do strike at the 
heart of your selfish interest, you will but fret at it, and 
secretly hate it, and perhaps, as the devil's open soldiers, 
publicly reproach it ; and as the Jews did against Stephen 
(Acts vii. 54.), even gnash the teeth at the preacher, or 
as they did by Paul ; " They gave him audience to that 
word (even that word that made against themselves) and 
then lifted up their voices, and said. Away with such a fel- 
low from the earth ; for it is not fit that he should live ;" 
Acts xxii. 22. This entertainment we still meet with from 
our hearers, when self hath brought them the next step to 

O sirs, suspect your own understandings ; think not of 
them beyond the proportion of your attainments, nor beyond 
your experience, and the helps, and time, and opportunities 
which you have had for knowledge, nor beyond the measure 
of your diligence for the improving of these ; for these are 
God's ordinary way of giving in a ripeness in knowledge. 
Read and study Heb. v. 12. 14. 1 Tim. iii. 6. Set not up 
your own conceits too boldly against those of longer stand- 
ing and diligence in holy studies, much less against your 
teachers, and much less against a multitude of ministers ; 


and much less against all the church of God ; and least of all, 
against God himself, as speaking to you by the Holy Scrip- 
tures. O take warning by the swarms of heresies and scan- 
dals that have been caused by self-conceitedness and pride. 

Object. * If you may think yourself wiser than me and 
others without self-conceitedness, why may not I think my- 
self wiser than you and such others, without self-conceited- 

Answ, I may not do it in the cases before-mentioned. I 
may not think myself to be what I am not, nor exalt myself 
above them that are wiser than I, nor against my guides, or 
the church of God. 

Object, ' But it is but your conceit that you are wise 
enough to be a teacher, or wiser than dthers, and why may 
not I as well conceit it?' 

Artbiv. No man on his own conceits must become a 
teacher; but the judicious of that calling must call them, 
and judge of their abilities. And conceits are as the ground 
of them is. The true understanding of the grace that we 
have received is a duty, and fitteth us for thankfulness ; but 
the false conceit that we have what we have not, is a dan- 
gerous delusion ; " For he that thinketh he is something 
when he is nothing, deceiveth himself;" Gal. vi. 3. What 
if a blind man should argue as you do with one that sees, 
and say, ' You say that you see so far oiF, and why may not 
I say so too?' Would you not answer him, ' I know that 
which I say to be true, and so do not you V And what if he 
still go on and say, * You think that I am blind, and I think 
that you are blind ; and why may not I be believed as well 
as you?' Would this kind of talk prove the man to have his 
eyesight, or should it make me question whether I have 
mine? He that seeth knoweth that he seeth, whoever ques- 
tion it ; and if another make doubt of it, let men that have 
eyes in their head be judges, but not the blind. But I confess, 
spiritual blindness hath this disadvantage, that whereas I 
can easily make any other blind man know that he is blind, 
and therefore be willing to be led or helped, here the more 
blind men are, most commonly they are the most confident 
that they see, and scornfully say, as the Pharisees to Christ, 
" Are we blind also ?" John ix. 40. For pride will not let 
them know their ignorance. The same light that cureth 
ignorance must reveal it. Especially when men are born 


blind and never knew the saving illumination of the saints, 
they will not believe that there is any other light than they 
have seen. But I have been somewhat long on this part; I 
pass now to the next. 


Self -will to he denied. 

4. The fourth part of selfishness to be mortified, is self- 
will. And this is the fruit of self-conceit, and also a natural 
corruption of the soul ; and a most deep-rooted obstinate 
vice it is. Every wicked man is a self-willed man, against 
God, and all that speak for God. And till self be mortified 
in the will, there is no saving grace in that will. 

Quest, * But what will is it that is to be called a self- 

Answ, Not that which is from God and for God ; but 
all the rest. 1. That will that is not fetched from God, and 
moved by his will, as the lesser wheels in a clock are moved 
by the first wheel and by the poise, is no better than self- 
will. A will that is not dependent on God's will, is an idol, 
usurping the prerogative of God ; for it is proper to him to 
be dependent upon none, and to have a will that is not 
ruled by a superior will. Little do the most know how 
great a sin this is, to be self-willed. You have a will to 
something or other continually ; and it is your will that 
ruleth the rest of your faculties and actions : but what is it 
that ruleth your will? whence do you fetch the rise and 
reason of your desires ? Is it from God's will, or is i^ not? 
You pray to God, " Thy will be done," and do your own 
wills answer these prayers ? or are they hypocritical, dis- 
sembling words ? If indeed it be God's will that you would 
have fulfilled, then will the knowledge of that will of God 
determine your own wills. As a servant dependeth on his 
master's will, for all the work that he is to do, and doth not 
what he will himself, but what his master will have him do ; 
and as a scholar dependeth on his master's will, and learneth 
only such books and lesions as he sets him ; so must we 
depend on the will of God, and know what is his will, before 
we give way to any will of our own. The reason why you 


choose any trade or calling, or course of life, should be the 
will of God. If you are in poverty, and desire to be richer, 
and that to please your own will, and not that you think 
that it would be any more pleasing to God, this is self- 
willedness. If you desire any change in your condition, if 
you undertake any thing in the world, know why you do 
this ; whether it be principally because you think it is the 
will of JGod, or because it is your own will. I tell you 
again, you should not have one wish ot desire in your souls, 
till you can prove or find that God would have it so ; and if 
your own wills be made the absolute rulers of your ways, 
you make gods of yourselves, and God will deal with you 

2. Yea, if you think the will of God is according to your 
will, and you are moved the more to it on that account, yet 
if your own wills do lead and make the first choice, and 
God's will be brought in but to follow and encourage yours, 
this is still self-willedness and self-idolizing. This is the 
common trick of the ungodly. They first give way to their 
own self-will, and then they will go to Scripture for some- 
what to bear them out ; and will needs believe that God's is 
agreeable to theirs, that so they may go on with peace of 
conscience. They go for counsel to God as Balaam did, not 
sincerely to know the will of God, with a resolution to obey 
it, but with a desire that God would conform his will to 
theirs. I tell you if the matter be never so much com- 
manded in the Scriptures, and never so agreeable to the 
will of God, yet if you desire, and do it from yourselves, and 
not for this reason, because it is the will of God, and do not 
let God's will lead your own, but let your own will lead, and 
God's will follow, this is no better than self-willedness, were 
the matter never so good in itself. 

3. If the end that moveth your will, be not the service 
and glory of God, but only your own interest, this is but 
self-will. God giveth you leave to look to yourselves as 
his servants, in a due subserviency to him. But if you will 
principally look at your own interest, and make light of 
God's, and fetch the reason of your will and desires from 
your own ends and commodity, rather than his glory, this 
is an ungodly selfish will. And yet alas, how many are 
there that know not any better frame of will than this ! If 
they were truly to give an account of the principal reason 


and motive of every desire of their hearts, why they would 
have this, or why they would do that, must they not confess 
it is for themselves, because it serveth their own ends or in- 
terests, and because it pleaseth their own wills, and not 
because it furnished them better to serve and please the will, 
of God ? If you ask men in their buying and selling, and 
marrying, and trading, and dealing with men, why it is that 
they do this or that, can they truly say, ' I do it because I 
think in this way I can do God the best service, and the 
church and commonwealth most good, and this is my 
chief reason V Alas, I fear they are too few that have any 
higher principal end and motive than Self. Self-will is the 
spring of their whole conversations, that sets them upon all 
they do. Nay doubtless, in the very duties of religion, in 
praying, hearing, reading and the like, they are but serving 
self, while they take on them to serve God ; and their holiest 
devotions are but such a serving of God, as flatterers will 
serve their prince or landlord with, merely that he may do 
them a good turn, and may serve their ends, and be service- 
able to them ; or else as some Indians serve the devil, for 
fear of him lest he should do them a mischief. The will that 
is moved chiefly by self-interest, is a self-will. 

4. And much more is it self-willedness, when men con- 
tradict the will of God ; when Scripture saith one thing and 
they another ; when they disrelish God's laws, and dislike 
the work that he sets them on ; when they have a will to 
that which God forbids, and would fain be doing with unlaw- 
ful things ; yea, and it doth not satisfy their corrupt desires 
to see that the express will of God is against them; this' is 
self-will in a high degree. 

5. So also when men's wills are to that which is against 
the honour and interest of God ; which would hinder his 
Gospel, and the saving men's souls, and is displeasing to 
him, this is self-willedness in a high degree. 

And thus you see what it is to be self-willed. And now 
do but consider whether this part of self be commonly denied 
in the world. Among the millions of desires that are in men's 
hearts, how few of them are kindled by the commands of 
God, or moved by his interest and glory ! How commonly 
are the word and ways of God distasteful to the world! How 
illido men like the disposals of his providence ! And what 
a striving is there in their wills against him ! And were it 


not that God is above them and unconquerable, and they 
know that striving will not help them, you should have most 
of the world in open war against the God of heaven ; I speak 
no more than I am able to prove. The dominion of self 
is so great in the wills of all that are unsanctified, that their 
wills are utterly against the will of God; and it is merely 
because there is no remedy that they submit to him so far 
B.8 they do. These very persons that think they love and 
serve him as well as the precisest, would be in arms against 
him before to-morrow, and pull God out of heaven, if it were 
in their power : or if they had but as much hope to prevail 
against God, as they have against his servants, what work 
would be in the world ! I know these men will not believe 
this by themselves : no, self is too strong in them to let 
them so far know themselves ; but the case is plain. For as 
God himself tells us, that ever since the fall an enmity is 
put between Christ and this serpentine seed ; so we see it 
manifested by daily sad experience. How generally is the 
will of God disliked by the world. What hath God spoke 
against in his word but sin ? and what else hath he com- 
manded his messengers to cry out against? And yet what is 
there that more pleaseth the minds of the most? And how 
stubbornly do they resist not only God, but magistrates 
and ministers that would draw them from it? What is it 
that God commendeth to the world so much as an holy and 
heavenly life ? And what is the* heart of most men more 
against? and how much do they strive against all our per- 
suasions that would bring them to it? and how obstinately 
do they resist us, if not deride and scorn that holiness which 
the will of God hath so abundantly commended to them ? 
His whole word speaks for it; his prophets, apostles, and 
all his servants are examples of it ; his son Jesus Christ in 
his sacred person, and office, and holy life, hath yet more 
notably commended it to the world ; and it was a principal 
part of his business in the flesh, to set men a pattern of ho- 
liness and self-denial : and yet many scorn it, and hate it, 
and most dislike it, and even fight against this holy will of 
God, that is, against God himself, if they had but any hope 
to get the better. There is no doubt of it, though they 
vrill not know so much by themselves. Do you think it is 
for nothing that God calleth them his eneiuies, and resolveth 
them the reward of enemies, even because they would not 


have Christ to rule over them? Luke xix. 27. Doubtless 
God sentencelh no man unjustly : if he say they are such, 
and condemn them as such, it is certain that they are such. 
O but the intinite dreadful God is out of their reach ; but 
they be not out of his reach. Their malice cannot hurt him 
any more than it can stop the course of the sun ; but his 
displeasure will quickly bring them down. In the mean- 
time, these wretches should consider what a God they have 
had to do with, that beareth with their malignity. The sun 
or moon forbear not to shine even on the dogs that bark at 
them. Thy rebellious self hath hitherto been maintained 
by the mercy of that will of God which thou hast resisted ; 
but this patience will not always last : take therefore this 
necessary advice in time. Down with thine own idolatrous 
self-will ; know not a will or desire in thyself, that is not 
moved by the will of God, even by his word as thy ground, 
and his pleasure and honour as thy chiefest end. Destroy 
that will that springs but from self, and is moved but by the 
interest of self. Slay it before the Lord as his enemy, as 
Samuel did Agag. Though an hypocritical Saul will spare 
this king of rebellion, designed to destruction, yet so will 
not an obedient servant of God. I will not bid thee offer 
it in sacrifice to God's will, for it is too vile to be an accept- 
able sacrifice ; but utterly destroy it as the accursed thing. 
Know not hereafter such a thing within thee as a will that 
is originally or finally thine own. If the word and the glory 
of God be the movers of it, thou mayest call that God's 
will, as well as thine own; it is thine subjectively, but it is 
God's as the principal efficient and end. O that you did 
but know what your own wills are, and what they have done 
against you, and what they may yet do, if they be not mor- 
tified ! You would not then be so indulgent to them, and 
pamper and please them, and be so desirous to have your 
own wills as you have been. To this end I pray you consi- 
der but of these particulars following. 

1 . The will of man is the terrestrial throne of God. It is 
there that he must reign. The will is to rule all the inferior 
faculties; and God is to rule the will. And shall self pre- 
sume to dethrone the Lord, and sit down in his place ? He 
that rules the will rules the man. And shall self be thy 
ruler ? And will God put up all this? 

2. It is God only that hath the sovereign authority, and 


self hath none but under him. We are not our own ; and 
therefore have nothing to do with ourselves but at the will 
of God that is our owner. Take heed therefore of this 

3. Thy own will is a corrupt and sinful will, and therefore 
unfit to be thy governor : what, wilt thou chuse an unjust, 
a wicked, and unmerciful governor, that is inclined to do 
evil? Why such is thine own will; but the will of God is 
perfectly good, that hath not the least inclination to evil, 
nor possibility of such a thing. Be ruled by it, and you are 
most certain to have the most just, and holy, and faithful, 
and merciful ruler in the world. To prefer self-will before 
the will of God, is as the Jews, to prefer a murderer, Ba- 
rabbas, before the Lord of life. 

4. Moreover, our own wills are guided by a dark under- 
standing : and therefore ready on every occasion to turn 
aside. Though the will commandeth, yet the understanding 
guideth it : and therefore as the dark understanding is 
commonly at a loss, or quite mistaken, judging evil to be 
good, and good to be evil ; so the will must be an unhappy 
governor, that followeth the direction of so ignorant a 
counsellor. But if you will deny your own wills, and be 
ruled by the will of God, you need not fear misleading, see- 
ino^ his wisdom is infallible and infinite. Chuse not a blind 
guide then, when you may have the conduct of wisdom it- 
self; when God is content to be your governor, prefer 'not 
such foolish sinners as yourselves before him. 

5. Moreover, your self-will hath almost undone^you al- 
ready ; it hath been the cause of all your sin and misery : 
never any hurt befell you, or any man on earth, but from 
self-will. And yet will you follow it still, and take no 
warning, as if it had not done enough against you? But on 
the contrary, you were never hurt in all your lives by follow- 
ing the will of God ; unless it be such a hurt as the searching 
or cleansing of a sore, without which it cannot be healed ; 
or such a hurt as the taking of physic, without which you 
can have no cure. Tell me if you can, whenever the will of 
God did wrong you? when did you speed the worse for the 
following of his counsel ? Look back upon your lives, and 
tell me whether all your smart and loss have come from your 
following God's will or your own ; and which you think you 
have more cause to repent of. 


6. There is none followeth self-will to the end, but ift 
everlastingly undone by it ; it leadeth directly to the dis- 
pleasing of God's will, and so to hell : but on the contrary, 
there is none that sincerely and finally follow the will of 
God, that ever do miscarry ; he is the safest conductor ; he 
never led a soul to hell. All that follow him, live with him ; 
for whither should he lead them but to himself? And where 
God is, there is life and glory. To obey his will, is to 
please his will ; and to please him, is our very end. It can- 
not go ill with them that please the Lord and Judge of all 
the world, the dispenser of all rewards and punishments. 

7. Your own wills are so mutable as well as misguided, 
that they will bewilder you, and toss you up and down in 
perpetual disquietness ; though I know you think that is 
the only way to your content, and nothing will content you 
unless you have your will. But you are lamentably deluded ; 
your wills are like the will of a man in a fever, that would fain 
have cold water, which pleaseth him in the drinking, but af- 
terwards may be his death. You love that which hurteth 
you; yea, that which is no better than poison to your souls. 
You would soon undo yourselves, if you had your own wills. 
It is none of the least of God's mercies to you to cross your 
wills, and to deny you that which you have a mind to. You 
will not let your children eat or drink what they will, but 
what you will, that know better what is good for them. A 
patient can deny his own will for his health, and submit 
himself to the will of his physician ; and should not you 
much more submit to God? Yea, you should desire him to 
deny your own wills, whenever he seeth them contrary to 
his will, and to your own good : had you but the skill of 
judging aright of God's dealings, lam persuaded that upon 
the review of your lives, you would find, that God hath 
shewed you more mercy in the crossing of your wiils, than 
in accomplishing them. Be not therefore too eager for 
the time to come, to have what you love, till you are surer 
that you love nothing but that which is good for you, and,; 
which you should love. The present contenting of diseased 
self-will, is but the breeding after disquietness. But in the 
will of God you may have full and durable content. For 
his will is always for good, and therefore hath nothing that 
should cause your discontent. His will is still the same and 
unchangeable ; and therefore will not disquiet you by mu- 



tations. He knows the end at the beginning, and sets you 
upon nothing but what he is sure will comfort you at the 
last. It belongeth to his will and not to yours to dispose 
of you and all your affairs. And therefore there is all the 
reason in the world, that God*s will should be set up, and in 
it you should rest yourselves content, and that self-will 
should be denied as the disturber of your quietness. 

8. Moreover, self-will is satan's will, and stirred up by 
him against the Lord. How else do you think the devil 
rules the children of disobedience, but by self-conceit and 
self-will ? If therefore you would deny the devil, deny self- 
will ; for in being ruled by it you are ruled by him ; and 
in pleasing it, you please him. God himself tells you this in 
plain expressions, Eph. ii. 1 — 3. They that walk in tres- 
passes and sins, and so are dead in them, according to the 
course of this world, and in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling 
the desires of the flesh and of the mind, these the Holy 
Ghost there tells you, do walk according to the prince of 
the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the 
children of disobedience. 

9. It is the very perfection and felicity of man, to be 
conformed to the will of God, and to rest with full content 
therein ; and it is the corruption and misery of man, to have 
a selfish misguided will of his own, and strive against 
his Maker's will. And so far as you stick in your own wills, 
and are set upon them, and must have them fulfilled, and 
cannot rest in the will of God, so far you are still unsancti- 
fied and unsaved, and in the power of your great disease. 
And so far as you are dead to self-will, and look up to the 
will of God both for direction and content, and will that 
which he willeth, even because he willeth it, and would have 
you will it, and can rest your souls in this as full satisfac- 
tion, * It is my Father's will, and therefore best;' so far are 
you sanctified and restored to God. 

10. Lastly, let me tell you, that it is best for you to deny 
self-will in time, and give your wills to the will of God ; for 
when you have done all that you can, God will have his 
will, and you shall not have your own will long. You may 
strive against the will of God, but you shall not frustrate it. 
You may break his laws, but shall not escape his judgments. 
You may rebel against his commanding will, but you can- 
not resist his punishing will. When you have done your 


worst, it is God's will that must stand ; and such a will as 
is little to the pleasure of your wills. But self-will is never 
of long continuance ; its content is short. Now you will 
have your will, let God say what he will to you; you love 
to please your appetite in meats and drinks ; you love to 
be carnally merry, and spend your time in vain sports and 
pleasure ; you love to be respected and humoured by all, 
and to be honoured and counted somebody in the world ; 
you love to be provided for, for the time to come, and to be 
wealthy that you may take out of a full heap, or at least not 
want for the contentment of your flesh ; and therefore you 
must have your wills, and have that you love, if you can tell 
how to get it : but how long will you have your wills ? How 
long will you have that you love, though God forbid it? 
When death comes, will you have it then? When you lie 
in pain, expecting every hour to appear in another world, 
will you then have your wills? When you are in hell, will 
you then have your wills, or that you love? O sirs, self- 
will is short-lived, as to its delights and pleasure ; but the 
will of God is everlasting. And, therefore, if you take up 
with your own wills, how short will be your content ! But if 
you look for content in the will of God, you will have ever- 
lasting content. Your own wills may be crossed by every 
trifle ; any man that is greater than you can cross them ; 
yea, those that are under you, can cross them. The poorest 
beggar can rob you, or scorn you, or raise a slander of you, 
or twenty ways can cross your self-wills ; a hundred acci- 
dents may cross them. Your very beast can cross you ; 
and almost any thing in the world can cross you ; much 
more can God at any time cross you ; and cross you cer- 
tainly he will : so that in your own wills there is no rest nor 
happiness. But if you could bring your wills to God's, 
and take up your full content in this, ' It is the will of 
God,' then what a constant, invincible content might you 
have 1 Then all the world could not disturb you and rob 
you of your content, because they cannot conquer the will 
of God : his will shall be done ; and so you should always 
have content. 



Selfish Passions to be Denied. 

5. Another part of selfishness to be mortified and denied, 
is, selfish passions. The soul is furnished with passions by 
God, partly for the exciting of the will and other faculties, 
that they do not sluggishly neglect their duties ; and partly 
to help them in the execution when they are at work : so 
that they are but the wheels or the sails of the reasonable 
soul, to speed our motion for God and our salvation, and 
not to be employed for carnal self. When passions and 
affections are sanctified and used for God, they are called 
such and such particular graces, and the fervour of them is 
an holy zeal ; but when they are used for carnal self they are 
our vices; and the heat of them is but fury, or carnal zeal, 
and the height of vice. But how rare is it to meet with men 
that are meek and patient in their own cause, and passion- 
ate in a holy zeal for God ! I know many are passionate in 
disputes and other exercises about religion, and think that 
it is purely zeal for God, when self is at the bottom of the 
business, and ruleth as well as kindleth the fire, when they 
scarce discern it, and little know what spirit they are of; but 
pure zeal for God, conjoined with self-denial, is exceeding 
rare. How few can say, that their love to God is greater 
and hotter than their love to themselves ! The desires of 
men are strong after those things that supply their own ne- 
cessities, and please their own corrupted wills ; but how 
cold are they after the honour of God I How averse are men 
from that which hurteth the flesh ; as to go into a pest- 
house, or to take deadly poison, or to suffer any pain ; but 
few are so averse to the breaking of the law of God. A hard 
word, or a little injury done to themselves, will put them 
into a passion, so that their anger is working out in re- 
proach, if not in more revenge : but God may be abused from 
day to day, and how patiently can they bear it ! There are 
few carnal minds but can more patiently hear a man swear, 
or curse, or scorn at Scripture and a holy life, than hear him 
call them rogue, or thief, or liar, or any such disgraceful 
name. It seems an intolerable dishonour with selfish per- 
sons that are advanced by pride to be great in their own 


eyes, for a man to give them the lie, or to reproach their 
parentage, or make them seem base; but they can hear 
twenty oaths and reproaches of the truths or ways of God, 
as quietly and patiently as if there were no harm in them. 
Their own enemies, whom God commandeth them to love, 
they hate at the heart; but the enemies of God and holiness, 
whom David hated with a perfect hatred (Psa. cxxxix. 21, 
220, do little or nothing at all offend them. It is not thus 
with self-denying gracious souls. When David heard Shimei 
curse him, he commanded his soldiers to let him alone, for 
God had bidden him ; that is, by that afflicting providence 
on David he had occasioned it, and by the withdrawing of 
his restraint, he had let out his malice, for a trial for David. 
Thus David could endure a man to go along by him cursing 
him, and reviling him as a traitor, and a man of blood, and 
throwing stones at him ; and he rebuked Abishai that would 
have taken off his head ; 2 Sam. xvi. 7 — 10. But when the 
same David speaks of the wicked, the froward, the slan- 
derer, the proud, the liar, and the deceitful, he resolveth that 
he will not know them, they shall not dwell in his house, 
nor tarry in his sight; he hateth them; they shall depart 
from him ; he will cut them off, and early destroy them from 
the land, and from the city of the Lord ; Psal. ci. So was 
<it with Moses : when God was offended by the idolatry of 
the Israelites, he was so zealous that he threw down the ta- 
bles of stone, in which God had written the law, and broke 
them ; but when Miriam and Aaron spake against himself, 
he let God alone with the cause, and only prayed for them ; 
for saith the text, *' He was very meek above all the men 
that were on the face of the earth ;" Numb. xii. 3. Phineas's 
zeal for God did stay the plague, and was imputed to him 
for righteousness ; when the selfish zeal of Simeon and Levi 
was called but a cursed anger, and brought a curse on them 
instead of a blessing from their dying father, that they 
should be divided in Jacob, and scattered in Israel; and left 
them the name of instruments of cruelty ; Gen xlix. 5 — 7. 
Take warning then from the word of God ; and use your 
* passions for God that gave them you; but when it is merely 
the cause of self, be dead to passion, as if there were no 
such thing within you. If the wrong be done to you, 
think then with yourselves, * Alas, I am such a silly 
wretched worm, that a wrong done to me is a small matter 


in comparison of the least that is done to God ; it is not 
great enough for indignation or passion.' Remember, that 
it is God's work to right your wrongs, and your work to 
lament and hinder the abuse of God. And therefore if men 
curse you, or revile you, or slander you, if God's interest in 
your reputation command you to seek the clearing of it, 
then do it, but not for yourself, but for God : but otherwise, 
be as a dead man that hath no eyes to see an injury, nor ears 
to hear it, nor heart to feel it, nor understanding to per- 
ceive it, no, nor hands to be revenged for it : this is to 
be mortified, and dead to self. When passion begins to stir 
within you, ask, ' What is the matter? who is it for? and 
who is it that is wronged?' If it be God, ask counsel of 
God, what he would have you to do, and let your passion 
be well guided and bounded, and then it will be acceptable 
holy zeal : but if it be but self that is wronged, remember 
that you are not your own ; and therefore take no thought 
of the business, but leave God to look to his own, and do 
with it as he please : if you are his, your cause is his, and 
therefore let him look to it that is concerned in it more than 
you, and that hath said, " Vengeance is mine, and I will 


Self-imagination to be Denied. 

6. Another part of self to be mortified and denied, is 
self-imagination. It is the selfishness of men's thoughts, 
that is the vanity of their thoughts ; and these are the ima- 
ginations that are only evil continually. The thoughts 
should be let out on God and his service ; so that our medi- 
tation of him should be sweet, and we should delight in the 
Lord (Psal. civ. 34.); and in the multitude of our thoughts 
within us, his comforts should delight our souls (Psal. xciv. 
19.). His word should be our meditation all the day (Psal. 
cxix. 97. 99.) ; and in his law we should meditate day and 
night (Psal. i. 2.). God should be the spring, the end, the 
sum of all our thoughts ; if we find a thought in our minds 
that savoureth not of God, yea, that is not sent by him, 
and doing his work, we must disown it, apprehend it, and 


cast it out. But alas, how contrary is the case with the 
most ! As self is advanced highest in their imagination, so 
doth it there attract and dispose of the thoughts. What 
are all the thoughts of unsanctified men employed for, but 
for themselves and theirs ? Their fantasies hunt about the 
world ; but it is their own game and pleasure that they 
range about. The thoughts of one man run upon his covet- 
ousness, and another man's upon his filthy lusts, and ano- 
ther man's on his sports and pleasures, and another man's 
upon his honour and reputation with men ! They feed the 
imaginations of their mind upon almost nothing but selfish 
things ; sometimes delighting themselves with the very 
thoughts of men's esteem of them, or of their worldly 
plenty, or of their sinful lusts and pleasures > and sometimes 
troubling themselves with the thoughts of their wants, or 
low condition, or crosses, or injuries from men; sometimes 
contriving how they may attain their desires, and carking 
and caring for accomplishing their selfish ends : morning 
and evening, at home or abroad, aslhe thoughts of the sanc- 
tified are on God, and heaven, and the way thereto, so the 
thoughts of the unsanctified are all upon self, and the inte- 
rest of self, and the means thereto. O cleanse your minds, 
sirs, of this great self-pollution ; keep them more clean and 
chaste to God. Deny self this room in your imaginations^ 
and waste not thoughts and precious time, on such unjust 
and unprofitable employment. It is an impertinency, to be 
so much solicitous about the charge of God, and to care so 
much when he hath bid us " be careful for nothing.'* It is 
a debasing of our minds to feed them so long on so low an 
object, when they might be taken up with God. Care not 
therefore what you shall eat or drink, or wherewith you shall 
be clothed ; for after all these things do the selfish unsanc- 
tified Gentiles seek ; and our Father knoweth that we have 
need of all these things : but seek ye first the kingdom of 
God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be 
added to you ; Matt. vi. 31—33. Self doth but rob you of 
the fruit of your thoughts which you might reap by feeding 
them on God. 



Inordinate Appetite to be Denied, 

7. The last part of self to be denied, is your inordinate ap- 
petites, excited by the senses, commonly called the sensi- 
tive appetite. These are not to be themselves destroyed ; 
for the appetite is natural and necessary to our welfare : but 
the inordinate desire is to be denied, and the appetite re- 
strained, and no further satisfied than is allowed by the 
word of God ; and by this means the inordinacy of it may 
come to be mortified. Though selfishness hath defiled the 
whole man, yet sensual pleasure is the chief part of its in- 
terest, and therefore by the senses it commonly works, and 
these are the doors and windows by which iniquity entereth 
into the soul. And therefore a principal part of self-denial 
consisteth in denying the sensitive appetite. 

Qmst. ' But how far is this appetite to be denied V 
Answ. 1. Whenever it craveth any thing that is forbid- 
den : this is past doubt. It must not be pleased to the dis- 
obeying of God. 2. When it enticeth us towards that 
which is forbidden, and would be feeding on the baits and 
occasions of sin ; unless the thing desired be necessary, it 
is here to be denied. For sin and hell are dangers that no 
wise man will draw too near to. 3. Whenever the pleasing 
of the sense conduceth not to God's service, and doth not 
fit or furnish us for our duty, it is unlawful. 

Quest, * But may not the creatures be received for de- 
light as well as for necessity V 

Answ, It is an ill-expressed question ; as if delight itself 
were never necessary. Necessity is either absolute, as of 
those things without which we cannot be saved ; or it is 
only to our bettering and the greater securing of our salva- 
tion; and so it is taken for that which is any way useful 
and profitable to it ; directly and indirectly. We may and 
must make use of the creatures, 1. Not only for our own 
necessity, but principally for the service and glory of God ; 
I Cor. X. 31. And 2. Not only for our absolute necessity, 
3ut also when they in any measure further us in or to the 
service of God ; so be it they be not on any other account 
unlawful. 3. We may use the creatures for delight, when 


that delight itself is a means to fit us for the work of God, 
and is sincerely sought for with that intent. But we may 
not use them for any other delight, but that which itself is 
necessary or useful to God's service. Reasons are evident. 
(1.) Because we should else make that delight our ultimate 
end, which is as bad as brutish ; for either it must be an 
end, or means. If it be not used as a means to God as 
our ultimate end, it must be our ultimate end in itself, 
which is no better than to take his place. (2.) That action 
is idle, and consequently a sinful misemploying of our fa- 
culties, which doth not conduce to the end that we were 
made for, and live for. (3.) It is a misemploying of God's 
creatures, and a sinful casting them away for any end 
which is not itself a means to the great end of our lives. 
All is lost that is no way useful to God and our salvation. 
It is contrary to the end of their creation and ours. (4.) It 
is a sinful robbing God of the use of his talents, if we use 
them for any end that is not subservient to himself as the 
chief end. For certainly he made all things for himself, and 
that which is not employed for him, is taken from him 
injuriously. All men must answer for the mercies which 
they have received ; whether they have so used them for 
God, as that they can give him his own with the improve- 
ment. (5,) The sensitive appetite by reason of its inordi- 
nacy, is grown a rebel against God and reason ; and an 
enemy to him and to ourselves. And no man should unne- 
cessarily please or feed so dangerous an enemy. Sin doth 
most make its entrance this way ; and most men lie in sin 
before our eyes, by pleasing their senses : and shall we run 
ourselves on such a great and visible danger, against the 
warning of so many experiences? Yea, we know that we 
have been often this way overtaken ourselves, and that abun- 
dance of sin hath crept in at these passages ; and yet shall 
we plead for liberty to undo ourselves? The godly are so 
conscious of their weakness or proneness to sin, that they 
are jealous of themselves ; and therefore it beseemeth not 
such to do any thing needlessly that may tempt them to it, 
and is so likely to prove a snare. If Paul must beat and 
tame his body to bring it into subjection, lest when he had 
preached to others, he should be cast away himself (1 Cor. 
ix. 27.), much morehave we need to be watchful that are more 
weak. We are commanded expressly to make no provi- 


sion for the flesh, to satisfy the lusts (or desires) thereof 
(Rom. xiii. 14.) ; and therefore they that eat, or drink, or do 
any thing else for the mere satisfaction of the desires of the 
flesh, and for its delight, do break this express command of 
God. And how is it said, that they that are Christ's have 
crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts, or desires 
thereof, if they may use the creatures merely to delight and 
please the flesh ? this is not crucifying its affections and 
desires ; Gal. v. 24. 

Job's covenant with the eyes that they gaze not on allur- 
ing objects (Job xxxi. 1.), was an act of self-denial that 
others need as well as Job. Such a covenant with our taste, 
and with our ears, and with every sense, that they move not 
but by the consent of God and reason, and let not in any 
sin into the soul, is a most eminent part of this necessary 
duty. David's adultery and murder did first make its en- 
trance at the eye. Had Noah more jealously watched his 
appetite, he had not by drunkenness been a warning to 
posterity. It was Achan's eyes that betrayed his heart to 
gold, and silver, and rich attire, though an accursed thing ; 
Josh.vii. 20, 21. What sin almost doth not enter at some 
of these ports ? 

Be sure therefore that no sin be without its guard : ac- 
custom yourselves to deny them, and the conquest will be 
easy. It is not to deny them any thing that is useful to you 
for God's service, and a true means to your holy ends, that 
I advise you to ; but only that which would betray you by 
delighting in them. It is not to destroy the body, but to 
tame it, keep it under, and bring it into subjection : and 
this must be done. To move to this, consider yet further 
these three or four things more distinctly. 

1. It is for want of this part of self-denial that the world 
is so full of scandals, and the consciences of men so full of 
wounds, and professors walk so unevenly with God, and 
seem to be but as other men. Here one drops intp tippling, 
if not stark drunkenness; and there another into wantonness^ 
if not fornication ; and many live in gluttony, and never see 
it nor repent of it ; and many are drowned in covetous 
desires and practices ; and some give up themselves to sen- 
sual pastimes ; and all because they do not make this cove- 
nant with their senses, nor have ever yet learned to deny 
themselves ; but because it pleaseth them, they think it is 


not displeasing to God ; and that it is no sin, but a part of 
their Chistian liberty : yea, many of them think that by this 
doctrine of self-denial, we would deny them the use of the 
mercies of God, and consequently hinder them from thank- 
fulness for them : and thus they make a religion of pleasing 
the flesh, which is the deadly enemy to God and religion. 
They imagine a liberty purchased them to please it, and 
fulfil its desires; and they measure out mercies as they 
please it, and they would return God a fleshly thanks for 
these mercies, and offer him a sacrifice as the heathens did 
to Ceres and Bacchus ; whereas the Gospel knoweth no 
mercy, but either eternal mercy, or that which is a means to 
it; nor will it call that a mercy which hath not a tendency 
to God ; nor did Christ purchase us any liberty, but what 
is from sin or punishment, and is for his service : he did 
not suffer in the flesh to procure us liberty unprofitably to 
indulge and please the flesh, and to strengthen our enemy, 
and by use to give it the mastery, when this mastery is the 
damnation of most of the world. If Christians had learned 
more to deny their senses, they would walk more blame- 
lessly and inoffensively in the world; if they would keep at 
a distance from the bait, and when they cannot do so, yet 
shut up these doors, that it may be at a distance from their 
minds, how safely would they walk that now are stumbling 
at every creature that is given for their relief! The objects 
of sense are these lower things, so contrary to the objects 
of faith, that the more we love one of them, the less we shall 
regard the other ; and therefore these are always work- 
ing against each other. And as the objects of faith are then 
most sweet and powerful with us, when faith is set most 
fully upon them ; so the objects of sense are then most 
powerful to draw us from God, when the doors of sense are 
set wide open, and the appetite let loose upon them. 

2. And you may further observe, that almost all the 
grossest sins in the world, do begin with some little liberty 
of the senses, which at first we take for a lawful or indiffer- 
ent thing. The filthiest whoredoms do usually begin in 
lustful looks, and thoughts, and speeches, and so proceed 
to lascivious behaviour, and so to filthiness itself. And the 
glutton and the drunkard are first ensnared by the eye, and 
then by tasting, and so proceed by little and little to excess : 
see therefore that you keep as for from the baits of sensuality 


as you can : and lay a command upon your senses to for- 
bear : if you look upon it, you are next to touching it, and 
if you touch it, you are next to tasting it, and if you taste it, 
you are like to let it down, and if you let it down, you are 
like to venture again, and let down more ; and all must up 
again, or you are lost. And therefore keep out the first 
beginnings, and think with yourselves, * If sin be the poison 
of my soul, the digesting of it will be my ruin : and if T 
cannot digest it, why should I let it down ? And if I may 
not let it down, what reason have I to be tasting it? and if 
I should not taste it, why should I touch it or be meddling 
with it ? and if I may not meddle with it, why should I look 
upon it or hearken to them that would entice me to it V So 
that the denying of your senses and your appetite, is the 
sure and easy way to prevent those dreadful gripes that else 
may follow. 

3. Moreover, if you deny not your sensitive appetites, you 
will never be acquainted with heavenly delights. The soul 
cannot move two contrary ways at once, towards earth and 
towards heaven. When you gaze upon this world and feed 
your appetites with fleshly delights, you have no heart or 
mind to the delights above. It is the soul that retires from 
creature, and sensual objects, that is free for God, and ready 
to entertain the motions of grace. Not that I would have 
you turn hermits and monks, and forsake the company of 
men and all worldly business ; no, it is a higher and nobler 
course that I propound to you : even in the midst of the 
world to live as without the world, and as if there were no- 
thing before you for sensuality to feed upon : to live so 
fully to God in the world, that you may see God in all the 
creatures, and converse with him in those same objects, by 
which the sensual are turned from him : and to live in the 
greatest fulness of all things, as if there were nothing but 
penury to your flesh, and seeing God in all, and using all 
for God, and denying self, where you have opportunity to 
please it; this is the most noble life on earth. But if you 
find that you cannot attain to this, and that you cannot deny 
yourselves the delights of earth, unless you withdraw from 
the sight of the objects ; do so and spare not, so far as may 
consist with your serviceableness to God and human so- 
ciety : but still you shall find that whether earthly delights 
are present or absent, your minds must retire from that 


which doth allure and gratify the flesh, if ever you would 
enjoy communion with God, and taste of the delights of an 
heavenly conversation. 

4. And by pleasing your senses, you will increase their 
vicious, inordinate desires. The more you gratify them, the 
more they will crave : you feed the disease by yielding to 
such desires ; but never think to quiet it by contenting 
it. The more the flesh hath, the more it would have. 
The only way to abate the rage of sensual desire, is to deny 
them, and use them constantly to that denial. The safest 
food and raiment is that which best strengtheneth and fur- 
nisheth us for God*s service, with the least consent and 
pleasure to our sensual appetites and desires. And the same 
I must say of house, and lands, and labours, and friends, 
and all the creatures ; that is the best state of life in which 
God is served and pleased best, with the least content and 
pleasure to the flesh. Carnal delights and spiritual are so 
contrary ; the one so drossy and sordid, and the other so 
sublime and pure, that they will not well consist together; 
but the delights of the flesh do corrupt or weaken the spiri- 
tual delights. 

5. Lastly consider, what a base unmanly thing it is for 
man to be a slave to his sensitive appetite. As truly as the 
horse was made to be ruled by the rider, and all the brutes 
to be under man, so was the appetite and all the senses 
made to be ruled by reason ; and no sense should be pleased 
till reason do consent : a beast has no rule for his eating 
and drinking but his appetite ; and therefore man's reason 
is to moderate him: but a man hath a better guide than 
appetite or sense to follow : you should not eat a bit or 
drink a drop merely because the appetite would have it, but 
reason must be advised with, and God must give advice to 
reason. A swine that will drink whey till he burst his belly, 
is blameless, because he knew not the danger, and had not 
reason to restrain him : but a man that hath reason, and yet 
will eat, and drink, and sleep, and use the creatures merely 
to please the appetite of his flesh, is utterly inexcusable. 
What must the light of reason be put out, or put under the 
cover of sensual concupiscence ? Must a nature that is kin 
to angels, be enslaved to that which is kin to beasts ? Un- 
worthy is he of the honour or glory of a saint, that casteth 
away the honour of his manhood, and makes himself a very 


beast. What else doth that wretch, that when he seeth a. 
dish before him that he loves, doth never ask whether it be 
wholesome or unwholesome, but eats it as a horse doth his 
provender, merely because his appetite would have it ; yea, 
perhaps though he know, or be told that it is unwholesome, 
yet as long as it pleases his taste, he cares not ? And what 
else doth that wretch, that when he sees the cup, must needs 
be tasting? he loves it, and that is reason enough with him. 
What a base unmanly thing is it (much more unchristian), 
to be a slave to a fleshly appetite ! Would one of these 
gentlemen-gluttons, drunkards, or whoremongers, or any of 
our voluptuous epicures, that must needs have that they 
love, be contented to become a servant to a beast? Would 
you take a dog or a swine for your master, and serve 
them, and obey them, and do what your brutish master 
would have you? Why, what is the matter that many of 
our worshipful and honourable beasts do not see that they 
do as bad ? What is your own fleshly sensual appetite any 
better than that of a beast ? A dog hath as a good a scent 
as you ; and a swine hath as good a taste or sight as you, 
also as strong a lust as you. What great difference is there 
betwixt the serving your own flesh and another's, your own 
brutish part, or any other brute that lives about you? Won- 
derful ! if the favour of God be nothing with you, and if 
damnation be nothing with you, that yet you are insensible 
of your honour in the world, and that you that cannot put 
up a disgraceful word or blow, can yet put up at your own 
hands such a bestial indignity, as the subjecting of a ra- 
tional immortal soul, to that brutish flesh, which was made 
to be its servant ! 


II. Self-interest. And 1. Pleasure, And 1. Of the Taste to 

he Denied. 

I HAVE told you what the selfish disposition is that must 
be mortified and denied ; and now I must tell you what is 
the selfish interest that must be denied : having described 
self-denial from the faculties, I must now describe it by its 


The selfish interest consisteth in this trinity of objects, 
pleasure, profit, and honour, not spiritual, but carnal ; not 
heavenly, but worldly pleasure, profit, and honour. Some- 
times, all these are comprehended in the word ' pleasure' 
alone ; and then it is taken more comprehensively, and not 
only for sensual pleasure, called voluptuousness, as it is 
here in this distribution ; and sometimes all is comprehend- 
ed in the term ' world,' and selfishness in the word * flesh ;* 
the world being that harlot with which the flesh commits 
adultery. So 1 John ii. 15, 16. " Love not the world, nei- 
ther the things that are in the world. If any man love the 
world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is 
in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and 
the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world : 
and the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he 
that doeth the will of God, abideth for ever." To these 
three heads therefore we shall reduce all that we have to 
say of this matter. 

1. The selfish, fleshly pleasure that must be denied, con- 
sisteth in these particulars following, which I shall but briefly 
touch, because they are so many. 1. One principal part 
of sensuality or self-interest, consisteth in meats and drinks 
to please the appetite. So far as these are taken to fit us 
for God's service, and used to his glory, so far they are 
sanctified, as before was said ; but when they are merely 
to please the appetite, they are offered to an enemy, and are 
a fuel to lust. Do you see any thing that your appetite de- 
sireth, whether meats or drinks, whether for quality or 
quantity ? Take it not, touch it not, merely upon that ac- 
count ; but enquire whether it tend to the strengthening 
and fitting your bodies or minds for the service of God ; 
and if so, take it ; if not, let it alone. If your appetite had 
rather have wine than beer, or strong beer than small, take 
it not merely on that account : if your appetite would fain 
have one cup more, when nature hath as much as is profit- 
able, deny that appetite. If your appetite would fain be 
tasting of any thing that is not for your health, deny that 
appetite. If it would fain have one bit more, when you 
have had as much before as is wholesome or useful to you, 
deny that appetite : or else you are guilty of flesh-pleasing, 
and plain gluttony. 

Quest. ' But is it not lawful at a feast to taste of another 


dish, or eat another bit, when I think that nature needs no 
more ? What perplexities then will you cast men into, to 
know how many morsels they may eat?' 

Answ. It is gluttony, and no better, to take the creatures 
of God in vain, and sacrifice them to a devouring throat, 
which should be used only for his service. That which is a 
man's ultimate end, is his God. What would you have 
plainer than express words of Scripture, that tell you, that 
whether you eat or drink, it must be all to the glory of God 
(1 Cor. X. 31.) ; and that the fleshly do make their bellies 
their gods (Phil. iii. 19.) ; and therefore when you have 
taken as much as suiteth with your end, the service and 
glory of God, you must not take more for another end, the 
pleasing of your fleshly desires. But for the scruples that 
you mention, about the just proportion, we need not be dis- 
quieted with them ; for God hath given sufficient means to 
direct us, to know what is for our good, and what is super- 
fluous ; and it is our duty in an even and constant way to use 
our reason, and keep as near the due proportion as we can ; 
and when we know that this is our desire and endeavour, it 
were a sin against God to trouble ourselves with continual 
or causeless scruples or fears, lest we do exceed or miss the 
rule. For what can we do more, than go according to the 
best skill we have, and if for want of skill we should a little 
mistake, it is pardoned with the rest of our daily infirmities; 
and to trouble a»d distract ourselves with causeless fears, 
would more unfit us for God's service, than some degree of 
mistake in the proportion would do, and so would be as great 
a sin as that which we feared. And therefore our way is 
quietly and comfortably, without distracting fears or scru- 
ples, to do our best, and use our prudence with self-denial, 
and remember that we have to do with a Father that knows 
the flesh is weak when the spirit is willing. But yet wilfully 
to cast away one cup or one morsel, on the pleasing of our 
appetites, when it no way fits us for the service of God, and 
will do us no other good, this is not self-denial but sensuality. 

Quest. ' But nature knows best what is good for itself, 
and therefore that which it desireth is to be judged best: 
a beast liveth as healthfully as a man, that obeyeth his ap- 
petite only. Is it not lawful to take either meat or drink on 
this account, that the appetite is pleased with it ?' ^ 

Answ. 1. Some beasts would presently kill themselves 



in pleasing their appetites, if man that is rational did not 
rule, restrain and moderate them. A swine will burst him- 
self with whey in half an hour. A beast in new after-grass 
will surfeit, if he be suffered. No beast knows poison from 
food, but would soon perish by it, in obeying his appetite. 
2. And yet as a beast has no reason, so he is better provided 
to live without reason, than man is. His appetite is not so 
corrupted by" sin as ours is! Original sin hath depraved 
and enraged our appetites. And if man hath not more use 
for his reason than a beast, even in ordering his natural ac- 
tions, God would not have given him reason to rule his ap- 
petite, and commanded him to use it herein. And who 
knows not that if man did follow his appetite alone as beasts 
do, he were like to murder himself the next day or week, or 
at least in a very little space? The appetite would pre- 
sently carry us to that for quality, or quantity, or both, that 
would cast us into mortal diseases, and soon make an end 
of us ; and in those diseases, the pleasing it usually would 
be certain death. And indeed this is a beastly doctrine, 
that man that hath reason to rule his sensual inclinations, 
should lay it by, and please his appetite without it like a 
brute ! What more do all gluttons, drunkards, and whore- 
mongers, but follow their fleshly desires ? And if the de- 
sires of the flesh might be followed, who would not be such 
as they, in some measure? That which is no sin in a beast, 
is a heinous sin in a man, because man hath reason to rule 
his appetite, and a beast hath none, and therefore is not ca- 
pable of sin. And for the body, it is certain that most of 
the diseases in the world are bred and fed by the pleasing 
of the appetite ; and J think that there are few that are laid 
in their graves, but this was the cause of it, though the 
ignorant know it not, and the sensual are loath to believe it. 
And for the question, * Whether we may not take any 
meat or drink purposely to please the appetite?' I answer, 
yes, as a means to fit us for duty ; but not as your chief 
end. I. Sometimes, especially in weak bodies, the very 
pleasing of the appetite doth recreate nature, and further 
strength. 2. And sometimes the appetite shews what sort 
of food nature will best close with and concoct, so that as 
to the quality, if reason have nothing against it, it hath 
something for it ; because it is a sign that it is like to be 
best digested, which is more desired. And so if you thus 



far follow the appetite, as a sign directing your reason what 
is best, and take nothing ultimately to please it, but by 
pleasing it to preserve the health or vigour of your bodies 
for God's service ; thus you may do, and yet be self-deny- 
ing : for this is not a sensual serving of our flesh. But if 
you will, 1. Take that which reason tells you is unhealthful in 
quality. 2. Or that which reason tells you is either hurtful, 
but needless and unprofitable in the quantity. 3. Or have 
mastered your reason so far by your appetite, that you will 
not believe that is hurtful or needless which you love, but 
judge what is good for you, merely by your appetite, as a 
beast. 4. Or if you make the pleasing of your appetite your 
chief end, in any meat or drink that you take ; all this is 
bestiality, sensuality, carnality, gulosity, and contrary to 
true moderation and self-denial. 

Live therefore like men, and not like beasts ; like Chris- 
tians, and not like atheists and epicures : he hath as base 
a god as most of the vilest heathen idolaters, that makes 
his belly his god. He that cannot deny himself a delicious 
cup or morsel, would ill deny himself a kingdom if it were 
made the bait of sin. He that will not displease his appe- 
tite in so small a matter, would hardly leave his estate, or 
liberty, or life, if he were put to it, either to sin, or leave 
them. As he is a faithful servant to God indeed, that will 
not displease him in the smallest matter, so he is most fully 
obedient to the flesh, that cannot deny it the least thing 
that it desireth. Though I know that the smallness of the 
matter doth often so relax the cautelousness of the godly, 
that they venture on a small thing, who would not on a 
greater : yet even with them it is some aggravation of the 
sin, that they cannot bear so small a matter as the displeas- 
ing of their appetites in such a trifle : and that they cannot 
deny themselves, where they may do it at so cheap a rate ; 
and that they have the hearts to displease God, and wrong 
their souls, for a cup or a morsel which their appetite hath 
a mind to. He sets little by heaven or the favour of God, 
that will venture it for so small a thing. It hath ofttimes 
abated my compassion to dying men, when I have known 
that their death was caused by a wilful obeying their appe- 
tite against the persuasion of their physician ; and be the 
person never so dear to me, I feel that there is a somewhat 
in nature that inclineth us to consent to the sufferings of the 


wilful, or abateth our pity of them in their misery. It was 
an aggravation of Adam's sin, that a forbidden morsel could 
entice him to venture on the wrath of God, and the ruin of 
himself and his posterity. And it will be a double aggra- 
vation of your sin, if you will take the same course, and 
take no warning by him, or by the sinning world that hath 
followed him to this day, " When the woman saw that the 
tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eye; 
and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the 
fruit thereof and did eat;" Gen. iii. 6. Thus entered sin, 
and death by sin. 

2. Another part of self-interest to be denied, is the pleas- 
ing of lustful venereous inclinations. Not only in avoiding 
the gross act of adultery and fornication itself, but also in 
avoiding the pleasing of any of the senses by lascivious ac- 
tions that lead to this : especially some men that are natu- 
rally prone to lust, have need to set a work both faith and 
reason, and sometimes call for help from others to quench 
the dangerous hellish flames ; for it is a sin that God hath 
spoken terribly against, and that so often that intimateth 
man's proneness to it, and expresseth God's detestation of 
it. And seldom doth Paul rebuke it, but he reckoneth up 
the several kinds, that he may make it odious, and none may 
escape. " Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which 
are these, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lascivious- 
ness, &c. of the which I tell you before, as I have also told 
you in time past, that they which do such things shall not 
inherit the kingdom of God ;" Gal. v. 19. The sins which 
he would not have the Ephesians name, are, " Fornication 
and all uncleanness, neither filthiness nor foolish talking, 
nor jesting, which are not convenient: because no whore- 
monger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an 
idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and 
of God ;" Eph. v. 3 — 5. So " Mortify therefore your mem* 
bers which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, 
inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness 
which is idolatry ; for which things' sake the wrath of God 
Cometh on the children of disobedience;" Col. iii. 5, 6. 
" Be not deceived ; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor 
adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with 
mankind, &c. shall inherit the kingdom of God ;" 1 Cor. vi. 
9, 10. "The law is made for whoremongers, for them that 


defile themselves with mankind/' 8cc. 1 Tim. i. 10. "Whore- 
mongers and adulterers God will judge;" Heb. xiii. 4. 
Read also, 1 Cor. v. 11. Matt. xv. 19. Heb. xii. 16. 
1 Thess. iv. 3. Rom. i. 28, 29, &c. 1 Cor. vi. 13, 18. and 
X. 8. ** These filthy dreamers defile the flesh," &c. Jude 
7, 8. " But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the 
lust of uncleanness — Having eyes full of adultery, and that 
cannot cease from sin ;" 2 Pet. ii. 10. 14. Abhor therefore 
this filthy damnable sin, which God abhorreth. And to 
that end please not the flesh by any beginning of it, or any 
thing that savoureth of it, or makes way to it. Chambering 
and wantonness are mentioned by the apostle among the 
fulfilling of the fleshly lusts ; Rom. xiii. 13, 14. The al- 
lurements of the lusts of the flesh and wantonness was the 
course of the wretched apostates, 2 Cor. xii. 21. Mark vii. 
22. And Christ himself hath told you, that ** he that look- 
eth on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery 
already in his heart;" Matt. v. 28. Suffer not therefore 
your eye to entice your hearts, by gazing on beauty or any 
alluring objects ; touch them not, come not near them with- 
out necessity. The fire of lust doth need no blowing up ; 
but in some it needeth all that ever they can do to quench 
it. Fly therefore from the temptations and occasions, if you 
would escape; cast not yourselves upon opportunities of 
sinning; let temptations have as little advantage as you 
can. A weak Christian may walk more evenly that flieth 
from temptations, and keeps at a distance from that which 
would ensnare him, than a strong Christian that suffers the 
bait to be near him. David's woeful experience could tell 
you, what it is to give way to a wandering, lustful eye, when 
Joseph's resolution may tell you what an advantage it is, to 
fly away and not to stand a parley with temptations. As 
ever you would escape this sin, this horrible soul-destroy- 
ing sin, keep off from all opportunities of committing it, and 
live not with temptations near you : especially take heed 
that you suffer not an unclean spirit to possess your minds ; 
but cast out the first impure thoughts with abhorrency. O 
the daily filthiness that lodgeth in the thoughts and imagi- 
nations of some men ! They can scarce look on a woman 
of any comeliness, but they have presently some filthy 
thought. If they attempted actual uncleanness, a chaste 
person may easily reject them with detestation ; but in this 


secret way of heart-filthiness, they will commit fornication 
with whom they please, and as many as they please, and as 
often as they please ; but the ruin and sin are only their 
own. As you love the favour of God, the credit of the 
Gospel, and the peace and salvation of your own souls, deny 
yourselves not only the lust of uncleanness, but of unchaste 
behaviour, and wanton dalliance, and the filthiness of your 
thoughts. For how unfit is that mind to converse with 
God, and to be employed in holy ordinances, that cometh 
but newly from thinking of filthiness, and feeding on lust! 


Wanton Discourse, Songs, S^c. to be Denied. 

3. Another part of self-interest or sensuality to be denied, 
is, the use of wanton, filthy discourse, and of wanton books, 
and songs, and ballads, commonly called love-songs. As 
these are the fruits of vain minds that do invent them, so 
do they breed and feed the like vanity in others. Indeed 
they are the devil's psalms and liturgy, in which he is served 
with mirth and jollity, by persons of corrupt and sensual 
minds. They that will not be at the pains to learn a cate- 
chism, will learn a wanton song or ballad, which one would 
think should be as hardly learned. When we desire them 
to learn any thing that is necessary to their salvation, they 
tell us that they are no scholars, and they have weak memo- 
ries, and they cannot learn. But they can learn an idle tale, 
or a filthy song, though they are no scholars, and though their 
memories be weak. Their weak memories are strong enough 
to keep any thing that is naught ; like a riddle that will 
not hold the corn, but it will hold the straws and rubbish ; 
or like a sieve that will not hold the milk, but it will hold 
the hairs and filth. And so much greater is this sin than 
many others, because it is studied for, and laboured for, and 
therefore is committed purposely, resolvedly, and with de- 
light, and not as some other sins which men are tempted 
to by sudden passions or surprisal ! What abundance of 
children are sent to school to the devil, and must bestow 
many days and hours in learning their lessons ; and when 


they have learned them, he must hear them say them over, 
usually more than once a day ! As they are at work in their 
shops or fields, they are at it, either by wanton songs, or 
ribald, filthy talk : yea, they be not ashamed to sing them 
as they go about the streets : mark this, you that are the 
servants of Christ! Will you evermore be ashamed of 
your Master, or of his holy service? will you be ashamed to 
confess him in the open streets, or to be heard at prayer, or 
reading, or singing the praise of God in your houses ; when 
the devil's servants are trained up in their very childhood 
to sing his psalms in the open streets, and publicly to serve 
him without fear or shame ? May not a man conjecture by 
their education, what trade they are intended for ? They 
that serve an apprenticeship to a trade, are sure intended 
to live upon it. One would think by the talk and the songs 
of many of our children in the streets, that the parents had 
bound them apprentices to a brothel-house, and intended 
that their trade should be fornication, whoredom, and all 
uncleanness ! why else do they learn the art of talking of 
it, but in order to the art of practising it? Sure I am, they 
are the apprentices of satan : and a doleful case it is to 
think on ; that as the Turks do take the children of Chris- 
tians, and breed them up to be their army of janizaries, to 
fight against Christians, as their stoutest soldiers, when 
they come to age ; so the devil and their own parents do 
take the children that in baptism were dedicated once to 
Christ, and listed under his command, and they teach men 
to fight against Christ, by cursing, and railing, and swear- 
ing, and mocking at godliness, and by bawdy songs and 
ribaldry. Christ telleth us that " out of the abundance of 
the heart the mouth speaketh ;" and therefore they cannot 
in reason blame us, if we judge of their hearts by their 
tongues : for though the tongue be too often better than 
the heart, it is seldom worse. And surely if many of our 
wretched neighbours may be judged of by this rule of 
Christ, we must needs conclude that they have lustful, fil- 
thy adulterous hearts ; what else can we think of them when 
their discourse and songs are filthy, but that their hearts are 
filthy ? Christ hath warranted us to conclude, that rotten 
speeches come from the abundance pf a rotten heart. Young 
people, I beseech you regard your credit, if you regard not 
your salvation. Will you openly proclaim in the ears of 


the world that you are trained soldiers of the devil, learning 
to be whores or whoremongers, or that you have lust and 
whoredom in your hearts? Is it your meaning to tell this 
to all the town? what doth it in your mouths, if it be not 
in your hearts? will you not judge by a man's language 
what countryman he is ? If he speak Welch, you will think 
he is a Welchman : if Irish, you will think he is an Irish- 
man ; if English, you will conjecture he is an Englishman : 
and if you speak the language of harlots and brothel-houses, 
what can we think but that you are such yourselves, or at 
least that you are learning to be such ? For shame do not 
so disgrace your parents that breed you up, and the houses 
that you live in ! What may folk think and say, when they 
hear you talk filthily, and singing filthy songs? will they 
not think that you have adulterers or filthy persons to your 
parents, that teach or suffer you to learn such things? and 
that they are bringing you up for their own profession ? 
Will they not think that you live in whore-houses, and not 
in Christian families ? Do not for shame proclaim this sus- 
picion of your parents, or the families you dwell in, in the 
hearing of the world, unless you think it an honour to be 
harlots. It would make the ears of a modest person glow 
on his head, to hear the ribbaldry that is ordinary in some 
profane families ; especially in many inns and alehouses, 
where the quality of the company and the nature of the em- 
ployment is such from whence no better can be expected. 

Let all that would be accounted Christians, deny and ab- 
hor this part of sensuality in themselves and theirs. Again 
consider the command of God ; " But fornication, and all 
uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not once be named 
amongst you, as becometh saints : neither filthiness, nor 
foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient; but 
rather giving of thanks :*' Eph. v. 3, 4. ** Let no corrupt 
communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which 
is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace 
unto the hearers ; and grieve not the holy Spirit of God :" 
Eph. iv. 29, 30. Mark here, how such filthy speech is called 
* corrupt' communication, or rotten like carrion in a ditch, 
which should cause all that pass by to stop their noses. 
And yet this is our people's sport : what say these wretches, 
' May we not jest and be merry, when we mean no harm, 
without all this ado ?' Have you no honester mirth than 


this ? nor more cleanly jests than these? will you feed upon 
that which is carrion, or corrupt, and make it your junkets 
to delight your palate ? will you make merry with that which 
God condemneth, and threateneth to shut you out of his 
kingdom for, and makes the mark of the unsanctified, and 
chargeth you not once to name it, that is, not without dis- 
taste and rebuke ? Have you nothing but filthiness, and the 
service of the devil, and the wrath of God to play with, and 
to make merry with ? *' It is a sport to a fool to do mis- 
chief;" Prov. X. 23. I may well say of this, as Solomon of 
another sin, *' As a madman that casteth firebrands, arrows 
and death, so is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and 
saith, Am not I in sport?'* Prov. xxvi. 18, 19. It is mad 
sporting with sin, especially to choose it purposely for a re- 
creation ; and especially such an odious sin as this, that 
infecteth others, and banisheth all gracious edifying con- 
ference, and increaseth the corruption of the mind, and 
prepareth people to actual whoredom, self-pollution, and 
abominable uncleanness : for thoughts and words are but 
preparative to deeds. 


Idle and Worldly Talk to be Denied. 

4. Another part of sensuality to be denied, is, idle and 
worldly talk, which most men make their daily recreation. 
It is not to be made light of that Christ himself hath told 
you, that for every idle word men shall give account in 
the day of judgment (Matt. xii. 36, 37.); such an account 
as that they shall be charged on you as sins ; and if they 
be not repented of, and pardoned through the blood of 
Christ, they will be your condemnation, as well as greater 
sins. By idle words is meant, not only all wicked, and all 
lying words, which are vain in a high degree and worse; but 
also useless unprofitable speeches, that tend not to any 
good, and which you have no call to speak (Tit. iii. 9.); 
and that which the apostle calls * foolish talking,' Eph. v. 4. 
When that Christian wisdom is left out that should guide 
and season our speech, and direct it to some good end : 
especially when by vain jesting men will make fools of 


themselves to please others : or when they lay by Christian 
gravity, and by jesting affect to become ridiculous (Eph. 
V, 4.), much more when men jest with holy things, and 
speak unreverently, contemptuously or scornfully of the 
matters of God, which is impiety in a high degree : the same 
may be said of proud boasting words, and of multitude of 
words, even when the matter is good, but the multitude of 
words unseasonable and unprofitable ; as also of rash un- 
considered words, that tend to stir up strife and passion : as 
also censuring, backbiting, reproach, flattery, dissembling, 
and many the like : but the thing that I principally speak 
of now, is the pleasing of a man's self by a course of idle, 
unprofitable talk. And alas, how common is this sin ! Not 
only the foolish multitude are guilty of it, but persons of 
judgment, and gravity, and reputation. How many may you 
come in company with, before you shall have any edifying 
communication, that tends to minister grace to the hearers ! 
Vanity is become the common breath of the greatest part. 
What the better can any man be for their discourse, unless 
by taking warning by them, to avoid the vanity which we 
hear them guilty of? Even ancient persons, with whom the 
words of wisdom should be found (Job xii. 12.), and who 
should be examples unto youth, are yet given up to idle talk ; 
and an old story is more savoury with them than heavenly 
discourse : even parents and masters that should be exam- 
ples to their families, will in their hearing multiply idle 
words, as if they would teach to be vain as they are; when 
alas, the souls of those about them have need of other man- 
ner of discourse ; and it is another task that God hath set 
them ; Deut. vi. 6 — 8. and xi. 18, 19. Whence is it that 
children learn a course of idle, foolish talking, more than of 
their own parents ? For one word of God, and the doctrine 
of the Gospel, an4 the matters of salvation, that their fami- 
lies hear from most of them, they hear a hundred, yea a 
thousand of the world, and of unprofitable things. Had 
God but the tithe of their woids, we should account them 
very pious. And they that cannot spare him the tithe of 
their words, I doubt do not allow him the tithe of their af- 
fections, and would not allow him the tithe of their increase, 
if they could tell how to keep it. Not but that with some 
persons, that are called to much worldly business, more 
than ten parts of their daily speeches may lawfully be about 


the creatures : but then even those with godly men are ul- 
timately for God, and so are sanctified, and not unprofitable: 
and also they are glad to redeem what time they can for 
speeches of a higher and more excellent subject. 

And the commonness of this sin of idle talk, yea, with 
many that we hope are godly, doth make me think that it is 
thought to be a smaller matter than it is ; and I doubt this 
conceit is it that makes it to be so common. And therefore 
I shall here give you some of the aggravations of this sin, 
that you may hereafter judge of it as it is, and not be en- 
couraged in it by false apprehensions. 

1. A custom of vain words, is a sign of a vain and empty 
mind : were the heart but full of better things, the tongue 
would be employed in better speeches. Either the head or 
heart, or both is empty and vain, in that measure as the 
tongue is vain. " A dream cometh through the multitude of 
business, and a fool's voice is known by the multitude of 
words ;" Eccles. v. 3. *' The words of a wise man's mouth 
are gracious ; but the lips of a fool will swallow up him- 
self;" Eccles. X. 12. " A fool is full of words ;" Eccles. 
X. 14. And therefore Solomon opposeth the tongue of the 
Just, and the heart of the wicked, " The tongue of the just 
is as choice silver : the heart of the wicked is little worth ;" 
Prov. X. 20. See Prov. xvii. 27, 28. " The mouth of the 
righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh judg- 
ment :" and whence is this? "The law of his God is in his 
heart : none of his steps shall slide ;" Psal. xxxvii. 30, 31. 
It is a sign that a man hath little feeling of the greatness of 
his own sin, of the greatness of God's love in Christ, of the 
greatness of the joy that is set before him, of the greatness 
of duty that lieth on him, when he can spend so much of 
his time in talking of mere vanity. You cannot get a dy- 
ing man, or a man that is taken up with any important bu- 
siness, to jest and prate with you of idle matters. It is only 
alienated idle minds that can give way to a course of idle 
words : nay, it is a sign that conscience is not so tender as 
it ought to be, when men can knowingly go on in a course 
of sin : doth not conscience ask you what you are doing, 
and whether this discourse do tend to edification, and the 
cherishing of grace? What consciences have you that 
look no better after your tongues, but will let them wander 
so long after vanity, before they call them to account? Do 


you remember God's presence, and withal his holiness and 
jealousy? Can you talk so idly and God standby, and 
hear every word, and put down all? How can you be so 
contemptuously fearless of his presence? 

2, The tongue of man is a noble member, called our glo- 
ry, Psal. XXX. 12. and Ivi. 8., given us for the praise of our 
great Creator, and for other high and noble ends. And 
should it be abased and abused to idleness and vanity ? You 
will not take the clothes that adorn your bodies to clothe a 
maukin, or sweep the oven, or wipe your dishes with ; and 
why should you use your tongues to filth, or base unprofit- 
able things, that are given you for the noblest uses in the 
world, even the honour of God, the edifying of your bre- 
thren, the reproof of sin, and your own salvation? 

3. Consider, what abundance of great and needful em- 
ployment you have for your tongues, and then tell me, whe- 
ther you should spare them to idleness and vanity ? O what 
work hath that little member to perform! what matters 
have you to mind and talk of! what transcendent subjects ! 
what matter of highest excellency, and greatest necessity ! 
You have a life of sin to look back upon and lament : you 
have many a sin to confess to others : you need much help 
against temptations, and for the strengthening and exer- 
cise of your graces : what need to make sure of your title 
to salvation ! and to prepare for death, and to get ready the 
graces that you must use in your last necessities ! and yet 
have you words to spare for vanity? What abundance of 
poor souls about you are ignorant, hard-hearted, sensual, 
covetous, empty of grace, in a state of death, and need all 
that ever you can do for their recovery, and all too little ; 
and yet can you find in your heart to talk with them of vain, 
unprofitable things? Alas sirs, most of the persons about 
you are within a step of death, and going to the bar of God, 
and want nothing but one stroke of death to make them 
past help, and send them to damnation : and can you find 
in your hearts to talk idly to such men ? O cruel unmerci- 
ful people, that regard no more your neighbours' miseries ! 
If you came to them at the point of death, or if their houses 
were on fire, would you sit down and tell them an old tale, 
or talk of the weather, or this trifle, or that? what an ab- 
surdity would this be, and insensibility of your brethren's 
case? And will you do so in a case ten thousandfold 


greater? Can you find in your heart to stand jesting and 
prating with a poor unregenerate man that is within a step of 
hell ? Have you not more need to call to him to look about 
him in time, and to remember eternity, and to turn and 
live? If you see but the nakedness of the poor, or the 
sores of a cripple, it should move you to compassion : and 
will not men's ignorance and ungodliness move you ? Their 
miseries cry aloud to you for pity, though themselves are 
silent, * O help to save us from sin and hell, as you have the 
hearts of men,' and yet will you stop your ears, and fall a 
prating and jesting with them? you rob them of the means 
that God hath commanded you to use for their recovery. 
God hath commanded, that " the word of Christ dwell in 
you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one an- 
other" (Col. iii. 16.); yea, that you " daily exhort one ano- 
ther while it is called to day, lest any be hardened through 
the deceitfulness of sin ;" Heb. iii. 13. 

Nay, you have the great mysteries of the Gospel to dis- 
course of with the godly ; the glorious things of everlast- 
ing life to make mention of to one another ; yea, you have 
the high praises of God to advance in the world, and all his 
blessed attributes to magnify, and all his glorious works to 
praise, and all the experience of your own souls to lay open, 
and his many and great mercies towards you to admire and 
thankfully confess. And yet have you leisure for idle talk ? 
For number of objects, you have God and all his works in 
heaven and earth (that are revealed) to talk of ; you have 
all his providences, all his judgments, all his mercies, and 
all his word : and is this not field large enough for your tongue 
to walk in, but you must seek out more work in vanity it- 
self ? For greatness, you have the greatest things in all the 
world to mind and talk of : for necessity, you have the 
matters of your own and other men's salvation to discourse 
of: for excellency, you have God and his image, and works, 
and ways, and heaven itself to talk of: for delightfulness, 
you have the sweetest objects in the world, even goodness 
itself, salvation, and the way to it, to be the matter of your 
discourse. And lest one thing should weary you, you have 
a world of variety to employ your speeches on ; even God, 
and all his works, and word, and ways before-mentioned. 
And is it not a shame to talk of vanity, yea, to go seek for 
recreation in vanity, while all these stand by, and offer 


themselves to be the subjects of yourwise, and fruitful, and 
delightfullest discourse. Consider whether this be wise or 
equal dealing. 

4. Moreover a course of idle talk, is a thief that robs us 
of our precious time. And he that knows what God is, or 
what duty is, or what his soul is, or what everlasting joy 
or torment is, will know that time is a commodity of greater 
worth than so contemptuously to be cast away for nothing. 
O remember when thou art next in idle talk, did God make 
thee for this ? doth he continue thee among the living, and 
keep thee out of hell, and yet prolongeth thy days, that 
thou shouldst waste thy time in idleness and vanity ? Hast 
thou so many sins to mortify, and so many other works to 
do, which heaven or hell lieth on, and so short and uncertain 
a time to do them in, and yet hast thou leisure for idle talk ? 

5. Moreover, this sin is so much the greater, because it 
is not a rare or seldom sin, but frequently committed and 
continued in. It is not like the sin of David or Noah, that 
though greater, yet was but once committed : but this is 
made great by the number and continuance. How many 
thousand idle words have you been guilty of in your time ! 

6. And it is a sin that tendeth to greater sins. For idle 
words are the ordinary passage to backbiting, railing, lying, 
and contentious words, " In the multitude of words there 
wanteth not sin, but he that refraineth his lips is wise ;" 
Prov. X. 10. Thus " a fool's lips enter into contention ; 
his mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of 
his soul ;" Prov. xviii. 6, 7. " In the multitude of dreams, 
and many words, are divers vanities : but fear thou God ;" 
Eccles. V. 7. " The lips of a fool will swallow up himself; 
the beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness, and 
the end of his talk is madness ;" Eccles. x. 12, 13. Idleness 
is the beginning, but worse than idleness is the end. 

7. It is a sin that habituateth the speakers and hearers 
both to vanity : use makes us disposed to that which we 
use. It will grow strange to you to speak of better things 
when you are used to vanity. And the use of hearing you, 
is an exceeding wrong to the souls of the hearers. And a 
small matter confirmeth such bad hearts as the most have, 
in the vanity that they are in. You cast water on their graces 
and your own, if there were any. If any of them had better 
thoughts, your idle talk doth drown and divert them. 


8. And it is a sin that hindereth abundance of edifica- 
tion that holy conference might bring. It is a precious 
striving course for Christians to be communicating expe- 
riences, and declaring the exercises and lovingkindness of 
God, and exciting one another : and this you lay by, and 
turn to vanity. Nay, perhaps some other that is in the com- 
pany maybe purposed to set upon such profitable discourse, 
and your idle talk doth hinder them, and suppress the ex- 
ercise of God's graces for your good. At least there may 
be much precious matter in them, that wants but vent, and 
if you would but begin, it may be poured forth as precious 
ointment. Many wise and able men are too backward in 
beginning edifying discourse, that yet are exceeding, fruit- 
ful when you have once set them a-work. And idle talk is 
the hinderer of this. 

9. And it is a very fruitless sin. You offend God for 
nothing. What get you by an hour's idle talk ? or what 
have you to tempt you to it ? 

10. And it is a wilful sin, and usually accompanied with 
much impenitency, which makes it much the greater. Men 
use not to lament it, and call themselves to account for it, 
and say, * What have I done?' but go on in it as if it were 
no sin. 

And now you see the greatness of the sin, I beseech you 
make more conscience of it than you have done. And that 
you may avoid it, observe these brief directions. 

Direct. 1. Labour for understanding in the matters of 
God : for that is it that must furnish the tongue, and pre- 
vent vanity ; Prov. xi. 12. x. 19. A foolish head will have 
a foolish tongue. 

Direct, 2. Get a deep impression and lively sense of the 
matters of God upon the heart. For a man never talks 
heartily, that talks not from the heart. He that is full of 
the love of God, possessed of the Spirit of Christ, taken up 
with the riches of grace and of glory, will scarce want mat- 
ter to talk of, nor a holy disposition to set him a-work : 
for the word of God will be as a fire in his heart ; he will be 
weary with forbearing, till the flames burst out, Psal. cxix. 
11 . xl. 8. Ivii. 7. cxix. 111. xxxix. 3. Jer. xx. 9. The hearty 
experienced Christian is usually the fruitful Christian in 
word and deed. 

Direct, 3. Preserve a tender conscience, that may check 


you when you begin to turn to vanity. The fear of God is 
the soul's preserver; Psal. xix. 9. Prov. xvi. 6. xxiii. 7. 

Direct, 4. Walk as before the Lord : live, and think, and 
speak as in his presence. If the presence of an angel would 
call you off from idle words, what then should the presence 
of God himself do ! Dare you run on in idle, foolish prat- 
ing, when you remember that he heareth you ? 

Direct, 6. Keep out of the company of idle talkers, lest 
they entangle you in the sin : unless when you have a call 
to be among them ; Prov. xiii. 20. We are apt to let our 
discourse run with the stream. 

Direct. 6. When you are with the ungodly, maintain in 
you a believing compassion to their souls ; and then the 
sense of their condition will heal your discourse. 

Direct. 7. Provide matter of holy discourse of purpose 
beforehand. As you will not travel without money in your 
purses to defray your charges ; so you should not go into 
company without a provision of such matter as may be pro-^ 
fitable for the company that you may be cast upon. Study 
and contrive how to suit your speeches to the edification of 
others, or else to draw good from others, even as ministers 
study for their sermons. 

Direct. 8. Speak not until you have considered what is 
like to be the effect of it, and weighed the quality of the 
person, and other circumstances to that end. Do not speak 
first, and consider after, but first think, and then speak. 

Direct. 9. Be still sensible of the worth of time and op- 
portunity, and then you will be as loath to cast it away on 
idle talk, as a good husband will be to cast away his money 
for nothing. 

Direct. 10. Keep up a sense of your own necessity, which 
may provoke you to be better husbands of your tongues and 
time : and engage those you converse with, to mind you of 
your idle talk, and take you off it as soon as you begin. 

Direct. 11. See that your heart and tongue, and all be 
absolutely devoted to God ; and then you will question any 
by-expense of words : and "Whatsoever you do in word or 
deed, you will do all in the name of Christ, and to the glory 
and praise of God ;" Col. iii. 17. 1 Cor. x. 31. 

Direct. 12. Be resolute for God, and be not ashamed to 
own him and his cause. A sinful bashfulness hinders much 
good. Observe these directions for this part of self-denial. 



False Stories, Romances, and other tempting Books. 

5. Another point of sensuality to be denied, is, the read- 
ing or hearing of false and tempting books, and those that 
only tend to please an idle fancy, and not to edify. Such 
as are romances, and other feigned histories of that nature, 
with books of tales, and jests, and foolish compliments, with 
which the world so much aboundeth, that there are few but 
may have admittance to this library of the devil. Abun- 
dance of old feigned stories, and new romances are in the 
hands, especially of children, and idle gentlemen, and filthy, 
lustful gallants, or empty persons that savour not greater 
matters, but have spirits suitable to such gauds as these. 
But if they were only toys, I should say the less ; but hav- 
ing seen by long observation the mischief of them, I desire 
you to note it in these few particulars. 

I. They ensnare us in a world of guilt, by drawing us to 
the neglect of those many, those great and necessary things 
that all of us have to mind and study. O ! for a man or wo- 
man, that is under a load of sin, unassured of pardon and 
salvation, that is near to death, and unready to die, to be 
seen with a story or romance in their hand ; what a gross 
incongruity is this ! It is fitter the book of God should be 
in your hand. It is that which" you must live by and be 
judged by. There is much that you are yet ignorant of, 
which you have more need to be acquainted with than fa- 
bles. Are you not ignorant of a hundred truths that you 
should know, that God hath revealed to further your salva- 
tion : and can you lay them all by to read romances ? Are 
you travelling towards another world with a play-book in 
your hand ? O that you did but know what greater matters 
you have to mind and to do ! Do all that you have to do 
first, that is of a thousand times more worth, and weight, and 
need ; and then come to me, and I will answer your objec- 
tions, ' What harm is it to read a play-book?' First, quench 
the fire of sin and wrath that is kindled in your souls ; and 
see that you understand the laws of God, and read over 
those profitable treatises of divines, that the world abound- 
eth with, and your souls more need, and then tell me, what 
mind or time yoii have for fables. 


2. Moreover it dangerously bewitcheth and corrupteththe 
minds of young and empty people, to read these books. Na- 
ture doth so close with them, and delight in them, that they 
presently breed an inordinacy of affection, that steal away 
the heart from God, and his holy word and ways. It cannot 
be that the love and delights of the heart can be let out on 
such trash as tliese, and not be taken off from God and the 
most needful things. That is the most dangerous thing to the 
soul, that works itself deepest into the affections, and is 
most delighted in, instead of God. And therefore I may 
well conclude that play-books, and history-fables, and ro- 
mances, and such like, are the very poison of youth, the 
prevention of grace, the fuel of wantonness and lust, and the 
food and work of empty, vicious, graceless persons ; and it 
is great pity that they be not banished out of the common- 

3. Moreover they rob men of much precious time, in 
which much better work might be done : much precious 
knowledge might be got while they are exercised in these 
fables. Those hours must be answered for : and there is 
not the worst of you but then had rather be able to say, * I 
spent those days and hours in prayer, and meditating on the 
life to come, and reading the law and Gospel of Christ, and 
the books which his servants wrote for my instruction,' than 
to say, * I spent it reading love-books, and tale-books, and 
play-books.' All these considered, I beseech you throw 
away these pestilent vanities, and take them not in your 
hands, nor suffer them in the hands of your children, or in 
your houses, but burn them as you would a conjuring-book, 
and as they did. Acts xix. 19. that so they may do no mis- 
chief to any others. 


Vain Sports and Pastimes to be Denied. 

6. Another part of fleshly interest to be denied, is, vain 
sports and pastimes, and all unnecessary recreations. For 
this also is one of the harlots that the flesh is defiled with. 
Recreations are lawful and useful if thus qualified. 1 . If 
the matter of them be not forbidden : for there is no sport- 



ing with sin. 2. If we have a holy. Christian end in them, 
that is, to fit our bodies and minds for the service of God : 
and do not do it principally to please the flesh. If without 
dissembling, our hearts can say, ' I would not meddle with 
this recreation, if I thought I could have my body and mind 
as well strengthened and fitted for God's service without it.' 
3. If we use not recreations without need, as to the said 
end ; nor continue them longer than they are useful to that 
end ; and so do not cast away any of our precious time on 
them in vain. 4. If they be not uncivil, excessively costly, 
cruel, or accompanied with the like unlawful accidents. 5. 
If they contain not more probable incentives to vice than to 
virtue : as to covetousness, lust, passion, profaneness, &,c. 
6. If they are not like to be more hurtful to the souls of 
others that join with us, than profitable to us. 7. If they be 
not like to do more hurt by offending any that are weak, or 
dislike them, than good to us that use them. 8. If they be 
used seasonably, in a time that they hinder not greater 
duties. 9. If we do it not in company for us to join with. 
10. Especially if we may make a right choice of recreations, 
and when divers are before us, we take the best ; that which 
is least offensive, least expensive of time and cost, and which 
best furthereth the health of our bodies, with the smallest 

These rules being observed, recreations are as lawful as 
sleep, or food, or physic. 

But, alas, they are made another thing by the sensual un- 
godly world. Sometimes theymust sport themselves with sin 
itself, in the abuse of God's name, and servants, and crea- 
tures : tippling, and profane courses are some men's chiefest 
recreations : and though the law of the land forbid most of 
their sports, and the law of God commandeth them to obey 
all the laws of men that are not against the law of God, yet 
this is a matter of nothing to their consciences. And let the 
matter be never so lawful, they make all impious by a car- 
nal end. It is none of their intention to strengthen and fit 
themselves for the service of God, and a holy, righteous 
life, by their recreations ; but it is merely because their 
fancy and flesh is pleased in them : even as the drunkard, 
glutton, or whoremonger, that have no higher end than plea- 
sure, an^ can give no better account why they feed their lust, 
but because they love it, and it is their delight; just so is 


it with sportful youths and gallants. How few of many 
thousands can you come to that are at cards, dice, or danc- 
ing, that can truly say, they would not do any of this but 
for God, and to fit themselves for his service ! Did you 
ever know such a one? I believe in some better kind of 
recreations you may know some such ; but scarce in these. 
Alas, this sin is not of so small a stature as too many impe- 
nitent souls imagine. It is one of the crying sins of the 
land, and I believe one that brought down the vengeance of 
the late war upon us ; and yet it is not half cured after all. 
The gentry of England, that should have been educated in 
learning and the fear of God, and been the examples of the 
people in temperance and holiness, have been lamentably 
brutified and drowned in thi&^with other parts of gross) sen- 
suality. Instead of serious prayer, and holy conference, and 
instructing of their families, cards and dice took up the 
time, and cursing and swearing were the common attend- 
ants of them ; and their children and servants learned of 
them, and took the same course. They bestowed more time 
in these, and in hunting, hawking, bowling, cocking, stage- 
playing, and such like, than they did in the serious wor- 
shipping of God ; yea, than they did in the works of any 
lawful calling : for indeed they lived as without a calling, 
doing very little else but rise, and dress them, and compli- 
ment those about them, and drink, and eat, and so to their 
sports at home or abroad, and then to eating and drinking 
again, and so to their vain discourses, and so to their beds 
again : and this was the ordinary course of their lives : "they 
sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play," Exod. 
xxxii. 6. ICor. X. 7. In the sins of Sodom did they live, 
** pride, fulness of bread, and idleness," Ezek. xvi. 49. They 
trod the steps of him that Christ had told them, did cry in 
vain for a drop of water to cool his tongue (Luke xvi. 19.), 
gallantly clothed, and fared deliciously every day (or sump- 
tuously). Their whole life almost was a sacrifice to their 
flesh, to their belly, their fancies, and their lusts ; till God 
broke in upon them in his wrath, and found them another em- 
ployment, and shortened their store, and diminished their full 
estates, and brought them into contempt and trouble; and yet 
how common is the sin to this day? " Woe unto them that 
rise up early in the morning that they may follow strong drink, 
that continue till night, till vi^ine inflame them ; and the harp 


^nd the viol, the tabret and pipe, and wine are in their 
feasts ; but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither 
consider the operation of his hands : therefore my people 
are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge, 
and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude 
dried up with thirst : therefore hell hath enlarged herself, 
and opened her mouth without measure, and their glory, 
and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth 
shall descend into it ;" Isa. v. 11—14. ** Woe to them that 

are at ease in Zion, that stretch themselves on their 

couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves 
out of the stall, that chant to the sound of the viol, and in- 
vent to themselves instruments of music that drink 

wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief oint- 
ments : but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph ;" 
Amos vi. 1. 4 — 6. 

The precious time that this sort of men lay out in their 
needless sports and recreations, is more worth than all their 
estates ; and if their sin had no other aggravation but this. 
I confess I should take it for a far greater sin than any 
that thieves are usually hanged for at the gallows ! What ! 
for men that have received more from God than others, and 
are obliged more to him, and are capable of doing him more 
eminent service, for such as these to live like epicures ! and 
when they are hastening to an endless life, to waste the 
most, yea, almost all this precious time in flesh-pleasing 
sensuality ! I think it is one of the greatest sins in the 
world ! And no wonder that Christ made such a choice of 
such a one as these, to acquaint them who they are that 
shall be damned, Luke xvi. And if conversion make not a 
wonderful change on them, they must look undoubtedly to 
speed as he ; and to have the same account of the cause of 
their misery, " Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime re- 
ceivedest thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things : 
but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented ;" Luke 
xvi. 25. 

Abundance of them bestowed more upon hawks and 
dogs, than would have maintained many poor families : and 
play for large sums at cards, and dice, and cookings, and 
horse-races. Covetousness, and luxury, and passion, and 
swearing, and cursing, were the virtues that their sports did 
exercise : and others must be their companions in the same 


impieties, that they perish not alone. Unmerciful and op- 
pressing they are in their very sports, treading down the 
hedges and corn of poor men, in following their game, and 
never making them reparation for their loss, but raging at 
them if they do but complain. No fitter company for them, 
than the most impious swearers, and ribald filthy speakers, 
and the like: who was offended at it, they cared not; but 
made it tin additional part of their sport, to cast a scorn at 
those thai durst not and would not be as bad as they. And 
all this is, when they have variety of civil, cheap, inoffen- 
sive recreations at hand, which might better have fitted a 
Christian's end. 

And the youthful part of the vulgar, are, in their degree, 
of the same spirit with those epicures, and of the like prac- 
tice, as far as their estates and leisure will allow them. Wit- 
ness the eagerness of the rabble in following after wakes, 
and may-games, cock-fighting, dancing, dice, and cards, 
and such like exercises. And more pleasure they have in 
these than in prayer, or God's praises, or holy instructions, 
or conferences. As much as the most sordid whoremonger 
or drunkard is enslaved in his proper flesh-pleasing sin, so 
much are our voluptuous youths and others addicted to 
gaming, sports, and pastimes, and enslaved to this flesh- 
pleasing sin of theirs. Ah poor people ! Doth time run on so 
fast, and are you hastening to the dreadful bar of God : and 
do you want pastime? Is your work so great, and your time 
so short, and utterly uncertain; and yet must you hunt 
about for pastime? Must it go with you in heaven or hell 
for ever, as you spend this hasty inch of time, and yet have 
you days or hours to spare for needless recreation ? O what 
a cursed thing is sin, that can so bereave men of the use of 
reason, in that one thing for which their reason was given 
them ! Yea, we can scarce convince these poor deluded 
souls that they do amiss ; but they say, ' What harm is 
there in cards, or dice, or hunting, or bowling, or such like 
recreations ? How shall we live without recreation V Answ. 
But is there no harm in needless flesh-pleasing, and in the 
loss of precious time, to men that are ready to step into 
eternity ? O that ever men should make such a question ! 
Suppose your recreations were the most lawful in the world 
in their own nature ? Can there be a greater villany, than 
to set your hearts on them, and make a god of them, and 


cast away precious hours on them, in using them needlessly ? 
Recreations are your physic, or your sauce ; and therefore 
must not become your food, nor made a meal of. They are 
only as whetting to the mower, which must never be used 
but when there is need ; to spend half a day in needless 
whetting, deserves no wages. O did you know but what is 
your work, and time, and what is before you, you would be 
better husbands ; and then you might so contrive your busi- 
ness, as to lose no time in recreations. For either your call- 
ing puts you on the labour of the mind, as students, or of 
the body, as labouring men. If study be your calling, you 
need no exercise of recreation but for your bodies, for va- 
riety of studies is the best or sufficient for the mind: and 
two hours' walking is bodily recreation enough in a day, 
for almost any student that is in a capacity to labour : and 
if you be labouring men, or your calling lie in bodily motion, 
then you need no recreations for your bodies besides your 
callings, but only for your mind : and if you love God and 
his word, what better recreation for your minds can you de- 
vise, than thinking of the love of God in Christ, and medi- 
tating on the law of God (Psal. i. 2.), and calling upon him, 
and rejoicing in his praises, and the communion of his 
saints ? Is not a day in his courts, better than a thousand 
any where else ? The Spirit of God by David said so, Psal. 
Ixxxiv. 10. But alas, it is this unmortified flesh, and ty- 
ranizing sensuality that blindeth you, that you caniiot see 
the truth : or else all this would be aS plain to you as the 
high way. 

Vain Company to be Denied, 

7. Another sensual vice to be denied, is, a love to vain, 
ungodly company. This is a sin that I think none but ut- 
terly graceless men are much carried away with. For the 
godly are all taught of God to love one another (1 Thess.iv. 
9.), and to delight in the saints as the most excellent on 
earth (Psal. xvi. 2, 3.), and to take pleasure in their com- 
munion : and to look on the ungodly with a differencing be- 
lief, as foreseeing their everlasting misery, if they return 


not: so that it is the ungodly that 1 have now to speeik to. 
Some fall in love with the company of good fellows, as they 
call them : and some love the company of harlots, and some 
of gamesters ; and most of merry, pleasant companions, and 
men that are of their own disposition : and the love of such 
company, enticeth them to the frequent committing of the 
sin. They would not go to gaming but for company ; they 
would not go to the alehouse but for company; and when 
they are there, perhaps they will swear, and drink, and mock 
at godliness for company. But are you willing also to go 
to hell for company? Is the company of those sinners, bet- 
ter than the company of God, and his favour? Were it not 
better to be that while with him in prayer, or about his 
work ? If you love a tippling fellow better than God, speak 
out, and say so plainly, and never dissemble any more, nor 
say that you love God above all, or that you are Christians. 
Have you more delight in the company of them that would 
entice to sin, than in the company of the godly that would 
draw you from it? This is a most certain mark, that yet you 
are the children of the devil, and in a state of damnation. 
It is not possible for a sanctified child of God to do so. 
See the description of the man that shall be saved, in Psal. 
XV. 4. " In his eyes a vile person is contemned, but he ho- 
noureth them that fear the Lord.'* Birds of a feather will 
flock together. The company which you love, shews what 
courses you love, and what you are. You delight in the 
company of those that Christ will judge as his enemies ; 
and how then will he judge of you ? You delight most in 
the company of those notorious fools, that know not the 
plainest and most needful things in all the world ; that know 
not that God is better than the world, and holiness than sin; 
and know not the way of their own salvation. If you are 
content to have the company of the ungodly for ever, you 
may take it here. But if you would not dwell in hell with 
them, do not go on in sin with them. O when you shall see 
those very men arrested by death, and haled at the bar of 
God, and cast into damnation, then you will have no mind 
of their company ! Then, O that you could but say, that 
you were none of them ! Like a man that is enticed by thieves 
to join with them ; but when the hue and cry overtakes them, 
and they are apprehended, how glad would he be then to 
be from among them ! I tell you sinners, if grace recover 


you, you shall wish in the sorrow of your hearts that you 
had never seen the faces of those men that enticed you to 
evil ; but if grace do not recover you, you shall wish ten 
thousand times in hell that you had never seen their faces : 
but then your wishes will be in vain. In the name of God 
bethink yourselves, whether your companions can bear you 
out at last, and save you from the wrath of God, and warrant 
your salvation? Nay, whether they can save themselves ; 
alas, you know they cannot : God saith, " If you live after 
the flesh, ye shall die" (Rom. viii. 13.); and if these men 
say (as the devil to Eve) "You shall not die," are they able, 
think you, to make it good ? What ! can they overcome 
the God of heaven? O sirs, away, as you love your souls, 
from such mad and miserable company as this. 


Pleasing Accommodations, Buildings, Gardens, Houses, S^c. 

8. Another sensual delight to be denied, is, pleasing ac- 
commodations, in buildings, rooms, walks, gardens, grounds, 
cattle, and such like. It- is lawful to be thus accommo- 
dated, and lawful to desire and use such accommodations, 
with such cautions as I gave before about recreations, 1. If 
you do not with Ahab desire to be accommodated by that 
which is another man's, coveting your neighbour's posses- 
sions, or unlawfully procuring it. 2. If you be not at too 
much cost upon such things, expending that upon them that 
should be laid out upon greater and better things. 3. But 
especially, if you desire such accommodations for right 
ends, sincerely referring all to God's honour, and desiring 
them, not principally to please your own fancy, and carnal 
mind, but for the enabling you the better and more cheer- 
fully to serve God. Nothing but God may be loved for it- 
self. When the pleasing of the flesh and fancy is the ut- 
most thing we look at in any of our desires, they are wicked 
and idolatrous. Our houses therefore must be fitted to ne- 
cessary uses, and not to inordinate delights. Our gardens, or- 
chards, walks, and such like, must be first suited to necessity, 
and then so uiuch delight as is useful to us for the promoting 
of our holiness; but not to any useless tempting delight. 


But worldlings and sensual persons will not be tied to 
these Christian rules. Alas, it is the farthest matter from 
their minds, to make heaven the end of all their earthly pos- 
sessions and accommodations. They may hypocritically 
talk of God, and of serving him by their estates ; but really 
it is the pleasing of a fleshly mind that is the thing which 
they intend. They have more delight in their houses, and 
gardens, and lands, and cattle, than in God and the hopes 
of life everlasting. They desire fair houses that they may 
bethought to be no mean persons in the world, and that they 
may please their humours that run after creatures for felicity 
and content. I would desire such men to consider these 

1. All these are but the baits of satan to delight you 
and entangle your desires, and find you work in seeking af- 
ter them, while you neglect far greater matters. Can you 
have while to look so much after superfluities and delights 
in the world, when you have necessaries yet to look after 
for your souls ? Have you not greater things to mind than 
these, which these occasion you to neglect? 

2. Do you really find that they conduce to your main 
end, even to make you more holy, or more serviceable to 
God ? Nay, do not your own consciences tell you, that 
they hinder you, and cross those ends ? And yet will you 
go against your experience ? 

3. If you are humble, conscionable Christians, you feel 
cause enough already to lament, that your love to God and 
delight in him, is no more ; and yet are you preparing snares 
for your souls, to steal away that little remnant of your 
affections, which you seemed to reserve for God ? 

4. If you have any spark of grace in you, you know 
that the flesh and the world are your most dangerous ene- 
mies ; and you know that the way that the world doth undo 
men, is by enticing them to over-value it and over-love 
it ; and that those that love it most, are deepest in a state 
of condemnation ; and the less men love it, the less they are 
hurt or endangered by it. And do you not know that you 
are liker to over-love a sumptuous house, with gardens, 
orchards, and such accommodations, than a mean habitation? 
Why should you be such enemies to your own salvation, 
as to make temptations for yourselves ? Have you not temp- 
tations enough already ? Do you deal with those you have 


SO well, and overcome them so easily and so constantly, as 
that you have reason to desire more? If Christ your gene- 
ral send you upon a hotter service, you may go on with cou- 
rage, and expect his help ; but if you will so glory in your 
own strength, as to run into the hotter battle, and call for 
more and stronger enemies, it is easy to conjecture, how 
you will come off. If you are Christians, know yourselves ; 
you know that in the meanest state, you are too prone to 
over-love the world, and that under God's medicinal afflic- 
tions, you cannot be so weaned from it as you ought ! Are 
you not daily constrained to groan and complain to God 
under the burden of too much love of the world, and too 
much delight in worldly things ? If this be not your case, 
I see not how you can have any sincerity of saving grace. 
And if it be your case, will you be so sottish, and hypocri- 
tical, as to complain daily to God of your sin, and in the 
mean time to love and cherish it? to groan under your dis- 
ease, and wilfully eat and drink that which you know doth 
increase it? What will you think of a man that will pray 
to God to save him from uncleanness, and yet w^ill dwell no 
where but in a brothel-house ? What do you better, that 
must needs have the world in the loveliest garb, and must 
needs have house, and grounds, and all things in that plight, 
as are fittest to entice the heart ; and then will complain to 
God, that you over-love the world, and love him too little? 
To your shame you may speak it, when you do it so wilfully, 
and cherish the sin which you thus complain of. If God call 
you into a state of fulness and temptations, watch the more nar- 
rowly over your affections, and your practices ; and use no 
more of the creatures for yourself, if you have ten thousand 
pounds a-year, than if you had but a hundred ; but do not 
seek and long for temptations : wish not for danger, unless 
you were better able to pass through it. 

5. Remember when your fancies desire such things, not 
only that it is an enemy that desireth them, and to please your 
enemy is not safe for you ; but also that it is the way that 
most have perished by, to have the world before them in 
too pleasing and lovely a condition. Remember Nebuchad- 
nezzar's case (Dan. iv. 30.), that for glorying in his pompous 
buildings, was turned as a madman among the beasts. Re- 
member the rich man's sad example, Luke xii. 20. and xvi. 
and think whether it be safe to imitate them. If men must 


perish for loving the creature more than God, methinks you 
should long most for that condition, in which the creature 
appeareth least lovely, or is least likely to steal your love 
from God, and in which you may love him and enjoy him 

6. And bethink you how unsuitable it is to your condi- 
tion, to desire sumptuous buildings, and enticing accom- 
modations to your flesh. Have you not taken God for your 
portion, and heaven for your home 7 And are you not 
strangers and pilgrims here ? And is noi God and ever- 
lasting glory sufficient for you ? You profess all this, if you 
profess to be Christians ; and if you be not, you should not 
profess that you are. And what! do you begin to repent of 
your choice ? Must you yet turn to the pomp and vanity of 
the world again? And will you quit your hopes of God and 
glory? Ah, poor souls! what little need have you of such great 
matters on earth ? You have but a little to do with them ! 
and but a little while to stay with them ! And will not a 
mean habitation, and shorter accommodations serve you for 
so short a time ? Stay but a while, and your souls shall 
have house-room enough in heaven or hell, and a narrow 
grave of seven feet long will serve your bodies till the resur- 
rection. And cannot you make shift with an ordinary ha- 
bitation, and with small and common things till then? 
Naked you came into the world, and naked you must go out: 
make not then so great a stir in dressing, and undressing, 
and feathering a nest, that will be so soon pulled down. 

7. And it is a dangerous sign that your time on earth is 
short, when you have most content in outward things. I 
have told you once in another discourse (which I have since 
seen more of) that people that much set their hearts upon 
any earthly thing, do use to be snatched away by death just 
when they have attained it, before they can have the com- 
fort of possessing it. Just when their houses are built ; just 
when their debts are paid, and their estates cleared and set- 
tled ; just when they have such and such a thing which they 
earnestly desired, then they are gone ; as the fool in Luke 
xii. 20. " This night shall thy soul be required of thee; then 
whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?" 

8. And you do but prepare for a double sorrow, when 
you must leave all these. Do you think that the more you love 
or delight in any thing below, you will not be the more loath 


to leave it? Do not think only of the present content, but 
ask your hearts, * Shall I be more willing to part with a sump- 
tuous house, and commodious gardens, walks, and fields, 
than with a mean habitation, and less pleasing things V O, 
how it tears the very heart of the worldling, when he sees 
that he must for ever leave all that which he set so much by, 
and which hath cost him so dear ! If he set his heart but 
on a horse, or any creature, the loss of it is a double suffer- 
ing. Much more will he be wounded with the loss of all, 
that his mind was so much set upon. 

Remember, therefore. Christians, that as these accom- 
modations are mercies which you must faithfully use, when 
they are cast upon you; so they are snares not to be sought 
after ; and matter for your self-denial to neglect. As they 
are provision for the flesh to fulfil its desires, you must not 
know them. You have a building of God to mind and look 
after ; a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, 
and it better beseemeth you, earnestly to groan, to be so 
clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up of life, 2 Cor. 
V. 1, 2.4. Possess present things as not possessing them; 
and use them as not abusing them, for the form of them 
passeth away. 


Apparel as used for this Carnal End, ^c. 

9. Another object of sensuality to be denied, is apparel, 
as desired for this carnal end. Though clothing be a con- 
sequent of sin, yet now to man in this necessity it is a mercy 
and a duty, so be it we use it with such cautions as in the 
foresaid cases is expressed. 1. That our end be the furnish- 
ing our frail bodies for the work of God, and the preserving 
them from that shame, and cold, and hurt which would unfit 
us for his service. 2. And that our apparel be fitted as near 
as we can to these ends; that is, to healthful warmth, and 
comeliness ; and that under the name of comeliness we do not 
fit them to carnal ends, to set us out to the eyes of men, and 
to raise their esteem of our worth or comeliness of person : 
but be satisfied if we avoid the shame of nakedness and con- 
temptible unhandsomeness. 3. To which end we should see 


that we affect not to rise above tliose of our own rank, nor 
equal ourselves in apparel with our superiors ; but go with 
the lower sort of our condition. 4. And that we imitate 
not the fashions of light and vain persons ; but keep com- 
pany in our attire with the most wise and sober, and grave 
persons about us. 5. And that we bestow no needless cost 
upon our attire, because we must be accountable for all that 
God entrusteth us with. 6. And that we change not cause- 
lessly. Thus must apparel be used : the cheapest that is 
warm and comely, according to the fashion of the gravest 
persons of our rank, and the lowest of them. 

But alas, this childish trifle the devil hath made a bait 
of sensuality. The care that people have about it, the cost 
they bestow on superfluities, their desire to go with the 
highest of their rank, to say nothing of mutable and immo- 
dest fashions, do shew to what end it is that they use it. I 
desire these kind of people to think ofthe&e few things that 
I shall say to them. 

1. This vanity of apparel, is the certain effect of the 
vanity of your mind ; you openly proclaim yourselves to be 
persons of a foolish, childish temper, and poor understand- 
ing : among the most ungodly people, they that have but 
common wisdom, do look upon this vanity of inordinate ap- 
parel as quite below them. And therefore it is commonly 
taken to be the special sin of women, and children, and 
lightheaded, silly, empty men. Those that have no inward 
worth to commend them to the world, are silly souls indeed, 
if they think any wise folks will take a silken coat instead 
of it! It is wisdom, and holiness and righteousness, that 
are the ornaments of man ; and that is his beauty which 
beautifieth his soul. And do you think that among wise 
men fine clothes will go instead of wisdom, or virtue, or ho- 
liness? You may put as fine clothes upon a fool as upon 
a wise man ; and will that, think you, make him pass for 
wise ? When a gallant came into the shop of Apelles, that 
famous painter, to have his picture drawn, as long as he 
stood silent, the apprentices carried themselves reverently 
towards him, because he shone in gold and silver lace ; but 
when he began to talk, they perceived he was a fool, and 
they left their reverence, and all fell a laughing at him. 
When people see you in an extraordinary garb, you draw 
their observation towards you, and one asketh, who is yon- 

1^0 tui:atisr of self-denial. 

der that is so fine ? And another asks, who is yonder ? And 
when they perceive that you are more witless and worthless 
than other folks, they will but laugh at you and despise you. 
Excess in apparel is the very sign of folly, that is hanged 
out to tell the world what you are, as a sign at an inn-door 
acquaints the passenger that there he may have entertain- 
ment. You draw folks to suspect that all is not well with 
you, where there needs all this ado. It is sure a sorry house 
that needeth many props; and a diseased body that needeth 
so much medicining; and a deformed face that needeth 
painting ; and what is gaudy attire to the body, but such 
as painting is to the face ? If I see artificial teeth in your 
heads, I must think that you want natural ones that were 
better. If I perceive your breath to be still sweetened by 
art, I shall suspect that it would stink without it. And if I 
see people inordinately careful of their apparel, I must needs 
suspect there is some special cause for it : all is not well 
where all this care and curiosity is necessary. And what is 
the deformity that you would hide by this ? Is it that of 
your mind? Why you bewray it more? You tell all that 
see you, that you are empty, silly souls, as plainly as a mor- 
rice-dancer, or a stage-player, doth tell folks what he is by 
his attire. Is it the deformities of your bodies that you 
would hide this way? I confess, that is the best excuse 
that can be made for this excess : for apparel will do more 
to hide the deformities of the body than of the mind. But 
the shape of your clothes is fittest for this (so far it is fit to 
be attempted :) for the bravery of them will do little, but 
draw men's observation the more upon your infirmity. If 
you say that you have no such extraordinary necessity, then 
I must say that you do yourselves wrong to entice people to 
suspect it. 

2. And also you make an open ostentation of pride, or 
lust, or both, to all that look upon you. In other cases you 
are careful to hide your sin, and take it for an heinous injury 
if you be but openly told of it and reproved : how comes it 
then to pass that you are here so forward yourselves to 
make it known, that you must carry the signs of it open 
in the world ! Is it not a dishonour to rogues and thieves, 
that have been burnt in the hand or forehead, or must ride 
about with a paper pinned to their backs, declaring their 
crimes to all that see them ; so that every one may say. 


yonder is a thief, and yonder is a perjured man : and is it not 
much like it for you to carry the badge of pride or lust 
abroad with you in the open streets or meetings? Why do you 
desire to be so fine, or neat, or excessively comely? Is it not 
to draw the eyes and observations of men upon you? And to 
what end ? Is it not to be thought either rich, or beautiful, 
or of a handsome person? And to what end desire you 
these thoughts of men? Do you not know that this desire 
is pride itself? You must needs be somebody, and fain you 
would be observed and valued ; and fain you would be noted 
to be of the best or highest rank that you can expect to be 
reckoned of: and what is this but pride? And I hope you 
know that pride is the devil's sin, the firstborn of all ini- 
quity ; and that which the God of heaven abhors ! so that it 
were more credit for you in the eyes of men of wisdom to 
proclaim youselves beggars, sots, or idiots, than to proclaim 
your pride. And too oft it shews a pang of lust as well as 
pride ; especially in young persons ; and few are so forward 
to this sin as they. This bravery and finery is but the fruit 
of a procacious mind ; it is plainly a wooing, alluring act. 
It is not for nothing that they would fain be eyed, and be 
thought comely or fair in others' eyes! Somewhat they 
want ; you may conjecture what ! And even married peo- 
ple, if they love their credit, should take heed by such 
means of drawing suspicion upon themselves. Sirs, if you 
are guilty of folly, pride and lust, your best way is to seek 
of God an effectual cure, and to use such means as tends to 
cure it ; and not such as tend to cherish it, and increase it ; 
as certainly fineness in clothing doth. But if you will not 
cure it, for shame conceal it, and do not tell every one that 
sees you what is in your heart: what would you think 
of one that should go up and down the street, telling all 
that meet him, ' I am a thief,' or * T am a fornicator,' would 
you not think that he were a compound of foolery and 
knavery ? And how little do you come short of this that 
write upon your own backs, * Folly, pride and lust,' or tell 
them by your apparel, ' Take notice of me : I am foolish, 
proud, and lustful?' 

3. And if you be so silly as to think that bravery is a 
means of honour, you should withal consider that it is but a 
shameful begging of honour from those that look upon you, 
when you shew them not any thing to purchase or deserve 


it. Honour must be forced by desert and worth, and not 
come by begging ; for that is no honour that is given to the 
undeserving. It is but the shadov^^ of desert, and will con- 
stantly follow it among the wise and good, but never go 
without it. Your bravery doth so openly shew your desire 
of esteem and honour, that it plainly tells all wise men that 
you are the less worthy of it. For the more a man desireth 
esteem, the less he deserves it. And you tell the world by 
your attire that you desire it ; even as plainly and foolishly 
as if you should say to the folks in the streets, * I pray think 
well of me, and take me for a handsome, comely person, 
and for one that is above the common sort.' Would you 
not laugh at one that should make such a request to you ? 
Why, what do you less, when by your attire 3^ou beg esti- 
mation from them? And for what, I pray you, should we 
esteem you? Is it for your clothes? Why I can put a sil- 
ver lace upon a mawkin, or a silken coat on a post, or an 
ass. Is it for your comely bodies ? Why a wicked Absa- 
lom was beautiful, and the basest harlots have had as much 
of this as you : a comely body, or beautiful face doth oft 
betray the soul, but never saveth it from hell. And your 
bodies are never the comlier for you dress, whatever they 
may seem. Is it for your virtues that you would be esteem- 
ed ? Why pride is the greatest enemy to virtue, and as 
great a deformity to the soul as the small-pox is to the body; 
and he that will think you ever the honester for a new suit, 
or a silver lace, doth as little know what honesty is as your- 
selves. For shame, therefore, give over begging for esteem, 
at least by such a means as inviteth all wise men to deny 
your suit ; but either let honour come without begging for, 
or be without it. 

4. Consider also that excess of apparel doth quite con- 
tradict the end that proud persons do intend it for. I con- 
fess it doth sometimes ensnare a fool, and so accomplish the 
desires of the lustful ; but it seldom attaineth the ends of 
the proud : for their desire is to be more highly esteemed, and 
almost all men do think the more meanly of them. Wise 
men have more wit, than to think the tailor can make a wise 
man or woman, or an honest man or woman, or a handsome 
man or woman : good men pity them, and lament their folly 
and vice, and wish them wisdom and humility. In the eyes 
of a wise and gracious man, a poor self-denying, humble. 


patient, heavenly Christian, is worth a thousand of these 
painted posts and peacocks. And it so falls out that the 
ungodly themselves frustrate the proud person's expecta- 
tions. For as covetous men do not like covetousness in 
another, because they would get most themselves ; so proud 
persons like not pride in others, because they would not 
have any to vie with them, or overtop them, and be looked 
upon and preferred before them. None look with such scorn 
and envy at your bravery, as those that are as silly and sin- 
ful as yourselves, who cannot endure that you should excel 
them in vanity ; so that good and bad do ordinarily despise 
or pity you for that which you think should procure your 

5. Consider also, that apparel is the fruit or consequent 
of sin, that laid man naked and open unto shame ; and is it 
fit that you should be proud of that which is ordained to 
hide your shame ; and which should humble you, by minding 
you of the sin that caused the necessity of it? 

6. And you should bethink you better than most gallants 
do, what account you mean to make to God for the money 
that you lay out in excess of bravery. Will it, think you, be 
a good and comfortable account, to say, * Lord, I laid out 
so much to feed and manifest my pride and lust,* when such 
abundance of pious and charitable uses did call for all that you 
could spare? Many a lord, and knight, and gallant bestoweth 
more in one suit of clothes, or in one set of hangings, or in 
the superfluous dress of a daughter, than would keep a fa- 
mily of poor people for a twelvemonth, or that would main- 
tain a poor scholar for higher service than ever they them- 
selves will do ; and many a poor boy or girl goeth without 
a bible, or any good books, that they may lay out all they 
have on their backs. 

7. Lastly, I beseech you not to forget what it is that you 
are so carefully doing; and what those bodies are that 
you so adorn, and are so proud of, and set out to the sight 
of the world in such bravery. Do you not know yourselves ? 
Is it not a lump of warm and thick clay, that you would 
have men observe and honour? When the soul that you 
neglect is once gone from them, they will be set out then 
in another garb. That little space of earth that must re- 
ceive them, must be defiled with their filthiness and corrup- 

VOL. XI. o 


tion ; and the dearest of your friends will have no more of 
your oompany, nor one sm6ll or sight of you more, if they 
can choose. There is not a carrion in the ditch that is more 
loathsome than that gallant painted corpse will be a little 
after death. And what are you in the mean time ? Even 
bags of filth, and living graves, in which the carcases of 
your fellow-creatures are daily buried and corrupt. There 
is scarce a day with most of you, but some part of a dead 
carcase is buried in your bodies, in which, as in a filthy 
grave, they lie and corrupt, and part of them turneth into 
your substance, and the rest is cast out into filthy excre- 
ments. And thus you walk like painted sepulchres ; your 
fine clothes are the adorned covers of filth, and phlegm, and 
dung. If you did but see what is within the proudest gal- 
lant, you would say the inside did much differ from the out- 
side. It may be a hundred worms are crawling in the 
bowels of that beautiful damsel, or adorned fool, that set 
out themselves to be admired for their bravery . If a little 
of the filth within do but turn to the scab or the small-pox, 
you shall see what a piece it was that was wont to have all 
that curious trimming. 

Away then with these vanities, and be not children all 
your days ; nay, be not proud of that which your children 
themselves can spare ! Be ashamed that ever you have been 
guilty of so much dotage, as to think that people should 
honour you for a borrowed bravery, which you put off at 
night, and on in the morning ! O poor deluded dust and 
worms'-meat ! lay by your dotage, and know yourselves : 
look after that which may procure you deserved and perpe- 
tual esteem, and see that you make sure of the honour that 
is of God. Away with deceitful ornaments and gauds, and 
look after the inward real worth. Grace is not set out and 
honoured by fine clothes, but clouded, wronged and disho- 
noured by excess. It is the inward glory that is the real 
glory. The image of God must needs be the chiefest beauty 
of man : let that shine forth in the holiness of your lives, 
and you will be honourable indeed. Peter telleth you of 
such a conversation of women as may win their unbelieving 
husbands without the word. And what is it? " While 
they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear ; 
whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning, of 
plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of 


apparel ; but the hidden man of the heart, in that which is 
not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spi- 
rit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after 
this manner in old time, the holy women that trusted in 
God adorned themselves, being in subjection to their hus- 
bands;" \ Pet. iii. 1—5. 


Ease, Quietness and worldly Peace to be Denied. 

10. Another part of carnal self-interest to be denied, is, 
ease, quietness, and worldly peace, which the slothful and 
self-seekers prefer before the pleasing of God. Both the 
ease of the mind and of the body are here comprehended ; 
and slothfulness in God's nearest service, and also in the 
works of our callings to be reprehended. 

The same fleshly power that draweth one man to whore- 
dom, and drunkenness, and covetousness, doth draw ano- 
ther to sloth, and idleness. It is but several ways of pleas- 
ing the same flesh, and obeying the same sensuality. And 
because that idleness and sloth is so great and common a 
sin, and yet made so light of by the most, I shall briefly 
tell you the mischiefs of it, and the reasons that should make 
you hate it. 

1. Slothfulness doth contradict the very end of our crea- 
tion and preservation, and the frame of our nature ; and so 
provoketh God to cut us off, and cast us as useless into the 
fire. Who dare so wrong the wisdom of God, as to say or 
think that he made us to do nothing ? If a man make a 
house, it is to dwell in ; if he make a watch, it is to tell him 
the hour of the day, and every thing is for its proper use. 
And is man made to be idle ? What man, that is the noblest 
inferior creature, and an active creature, fitted for work, and 
the highest work 1 shall he be idle? Justly may God then 
hew him down as a dead and withered tree, and suffer him 
no more to cumber his ground. 

2. Slothfulness is a sin thatloseth the precious gifts of 
God. Our faculties and our members are his gifts and ta- 
lents, which he hath committed to us to use for his service ; 
so are our goods and all that we have : and shall we hide 


them in a napkin, or idly neglect to use them? O, what 
abundance of excellent mercies lie useless and idle, because 
you are idle that should use them ! Every hour that you 
lose in idleness, what noble faculties, and large provisions 
are all laid by ! As much as in you lieth, you make the 
whole creation to be, and work in vain. Why should the sun 
shine an hour or minute for you in vain? Why should the 
earth bear you an hour in vain ? Why should the springs 
and rivers run for you an hour in vain ? Why should the air 
refresh you an hour in vain ? Why should your pulse beat 
one stroke in vain ; or your lungs once breathe a breath in 
vain? Shall all be at work for you to further your work, 
and will you think that idleness is no sin? 

3. Moreover, laziness and sloth is a sin that loseth you 
much precious time. All the time is lost that you are idle 
in. Yea, when you are at work, if you do it slothfully, you 
are losing much of your time. A diligent person will go 
further, and do more in an hour, than the lazy flesh-pleaser 
will do in two. When the slothful is praying, or reading, 
and working in his calling, he is but losing half his time, 
which diligence would redeem. And is our time so short and 
precious, and yet is idleness an excusable sin? what, loiter 
so near night ! so near eternity, when we have but a little 
time to work ! O, work while it is day, for the night is 
coming when none can work. Were it but for this, that 
sloth doth steal so much of our time, I must think it no bet- 
ter than an heinous thievery. 

4. And by this means we rob ourselves. We might be 
getting some good all the time that we are idle ; or doubly 
advantage ourselves, if sloth did not keep us company in 
our work. *' The slothful is brother to him that is a great 
waster;" Prov. xviii. 9. Slothfulness is self-murdering; 
men die while they lie still and wish. It is a sin that fa- 
misheth soul and body ; " The desire of the slothful killeth 
him, because his hands refuse to labour ;" Prov. xxi. 25. It 
is the common cause of beggary and want ; and what com- 
fort can you have under such afflictions which you bring 
upon yourselves ? If you want food or raiment, if your 
wives and children are in want, how can you think that God 
should take care of you and afford you relief, when you bring 
this on yourselves by pleasing your flesh which is his ene- 
my? If a soldier get hurt by trucking with the enemy, he 


may rather look that his general should hang him than re- 
lieve him. And how should good men be moved to com- 
passionate you ? If God doth impoverish you, and you 
come to want by innocency or a righteous cause, they must 
needs be ready to relieve you : but if sloth, or pride, or glut- 
tony, or drunkenness bring you to it, till you repent, I see 
not how they should relieve you, at least any further than 
to keep you alive. For if you are set to please your flesh 
by idleness, must I join with you to please it by such sup- 
plies as shall cherish you in your sin ? No, one flesh-pleaser 
is enough for one man ! If you will please it either by idle- 
ness, or by luxury, yourselves, expect not that others should 
please it by your relief, and make provision for your sin. If 
I may not make provision for my own flesb to satisfy its 
lusts, neither must I do it for another. 

But that is not the worst, slothfulness is the common 
cause of men's damnation ; when they see a temptation and 
danger before them, slothfulness hindereth them from resist- 
ing it : when heaven is offered them, slothfulness makes 
them sit still and lose it. They must run, and strive, and 
fight, and conquer, and these are not works for a slothful 
person; especially when they must be continued to the 
death. So that it is manifest, that most men in the world 
are undone soul and body, by the sin of sloth. 

5. And by this you rob others as well as yourselves ; you 
owe the world the fruit of your labour ; you rob the souls of 
men, to whom you should do good. You rob the church, 
that should be bettered by you. You rob the common- 
wealth, of which you are a member, and should have benefit 
by you. You owe your labours to church and common- 
wealth, and the souls of men, and will you not pay so great 
a debt? You deserve no room in the church or common- 
wealth, but to be cut off as an unprofitable member, if you 
bring no advantage to them. They say the bees will not 
suffer a drone in the hive. Nay, if you be hired servants, you 
plainly rob your masters if you are slothful, as much as if 
you stole their money or goods. If you buy a hundred sheep 
of a man, and he let you have but fourscore, doth he not rob 
or cheat you ? And if a man buy a year's or a day's labour 
of you, and you let him have but half a year's labour, or half 
a day's labour, because of your sloth, do you not defraud or 
rob him of the other half? So that the idle are thieves to 


themselves, to the church, and the souls of men, to the com- 
monwealth, and those that they are related to ; even to their 
wives and children, for whom they should provide due main- 
tenance by their labour. 

6. And you are injurious to the honest poor, in that you 
disable yourselves from relieving them : when God com- 
mandeth you to work with your hands, not only for your- 
selves, but that you may have to give to them that need ; 
Eph. iv. 28. What if all men should do as you do, how 
would the poor be maintained, and the church and common- 
wealth served ? 

7. Yea, worst of all, you are guilty of robbing God him- 
self. It is him that you owe your labours to, and the im- 
provement of all the talents' that he lendeth to you ; and 
idleness is unfaithfulness to the God of heaven that setteth 
you on work : even in working for men, you must do it ulti- 
mately for God. " Not with eye-service as men-pleasers, 
but in singleness of heart, fearing God : and whatsoever ye 
do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men ; know- 
ing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the in- 
heritance, for ye serve the Lord : but he that doth wrong, 
shall receive for the wrong which he hath done ;" Col. iii. 
22, 23. If it be an offence to wrong man, what is it to 
wrong God? And if you may not be slothful in the works of 
a man, what a crime is it to be slothful in the work of the 
God of heaven ? The greater your master is, the more hein- 
ous it is to be lazy in his service. Remember the curse on 
them that do the work of the Lord deceitfully, Jer. xlviii. 10. 
All work that you have to do is the work of the Lord. 

8. And consider, that the idle, forfeit the protection and 
provision of God ; even their daily bread. For must he 
support and feed you to do nothing ? His own rule is, " that 
if any man will not work, neither should he eat," 2 Thess. iii. 
10. And if he may not eat, we may not relieve him. 

9. And if idleness had not been a heinous sin, the apostle 
would never have commanded us to avoid the company of 
such, as if they were unfit to converse with Christians, 2 
Thess. iii. 

10. Consider what abundance of work we have to do, 
and of how'fe;reat importance ! O, what a deal have we to 
do for our -poor souls, and for many about us, besides all our 
bodily enipl6yment iu the world ! Methinks, every man 


that knows why he is a man, and what it is, in an inch of 
time to work for everlasting, should never find an hour for 
idleness in his life, but still cry out, * How short and swift 
is time, and how great and long is the workl* A man that 
had all the town on fire about his ears, or a man that were 
fighting for his life, or a man that were in a leaking vessel 
ready to sink under him, might better be lazy, than a man 
that is at work for an endless life. 

11. Moreover, idleness is a base kind of vice: it is the 
imitation of a block or a stone that lieth still, when that 
which hath life will be in action. 

12. And it is usually a continual sin, or at least makes 
up a great part of the lives of many that are addicted to 
it : a drunkard will not always be drunk ; and a liar will 
not always be lying ; but a slothful person will be most 
commonly slothful. 

And, to conclude, lay all this together, and think what 
a reckoning a slothful person is like to have, that by his sin 
is always running behindhand, and will have the neglected 
time, and means, and mercies of almost all his life to an- 
swer for. 

And now you see the greatness of this sin, abhor it, and 
awake from it. You have much to do, and souls to save; 
and the case of your flesh and fleshly minds is one thing 
that must be denied, before it can be accomplished. The 
slothful is still craving, yet a little slumber, and yet a little 
ease ; and he is still upon delays, even when he is convinced 
of his danger and his duty : when he knows that he must 
turn or die, yet he is delaying and putting off" till another 
time. And so the vineyard and garden of the sluggard, are 
grown over with nettles and weeds ; and he hath scarce a 
duty to do, but there is a thorny hedge, or a lion in the way. 
Deny this ease, and be up and doing. 

And there are three sorts of persons that have especial 
need of this advice. The first is those that by the phleg- 
matic distemper of their bodies, are more prone to heav- 
ness and slothfulness than others. The more such are dis- 
posed to it, the more should they watch against it, and re- 
sist it. 

The second sort are beggars, and other idle, wandering 
persons, that make a trade of idleness, and worse! such also 
as ballad-singers, stage-players, jugglers, cheaters, and most 


ale-sellers that spend their time in tippling and talking with 
their guests ; and other idle persons, that will spend whole 
hours together in twatling and talking idly, and of other 
men's matters. All these live in a course of flesh-pleasing, 
and of heinous sin ; and must better learn to deny the flesh 
before they can be the true disciples of Christ. This is not 
the life that God called you into his vineyard for ; no, nor 
that he sent you into the world for, to waste your short and 
precious days in potting, and piping, and prating, and other 
ways of idleness : nor should such be suffered in a com- 

The third sort are, too many lords, knights, and gen- 
tlemen, that think because they have enough to maintain 
them, that it is lawful to live an idle life ; or if they do any 
thing that is profitable to the commonwealth, it is rather as 
a recreation than as a calling : now and then an hour, in the 
midst of their pleasures and idleness, is the most. It is a 
miserable life that this sort of persons live ; even in the sins 
of Sodom (which cry for the vengeance of Sodom), pride, 
fulness of bread, and idleness. As if these persons that 
have most wages should do God the least work, and they 
that have most of his stock in their hands, should make the 
least use of it ; or those that are obliged to God by the 
greatest mercies, should do least in manifesting their thank- 
fulness or fidelity ! What incongruities are these ! Who 
should be so busy and laborious as those that have the 
greatest account to make, and those that are to be exem- 
plary to the rest ? Truly, gentlemen, I must deal plainly 
with you, that idleness, and the expression of it among the 
most of you, in hunting, and hawking, and bowling, and 
complimenting, and visitations, and vain discoursings, and 
excess of drinking, and tedious meals, is become the com- 
mon shame of your order, and must be corrected before your 
honour or consciences can be recovered; and I am so far 
from any partiality in this censure of you, that I must tell 
you, if I knew one of my own profession that was guilty 
but of the tenth part of some of your idleness, I would do 
my best to rid the church of him, and have him cast out 
among the sensual. And you may do well sometimes to ask 
yourselves, whence it comes to pass, that negligent idle mi- 
nisters must be sequestered and turned out of all, and idle 
magistrates let alone ? One reason is, because gentlemen 


can better cheap compel a minister to painfulness than 
themselves, and punish ministers for negligence, than them- 
selves. And another reason is, because all faithful minis- 
ters themselves, in love to the church, are the seekers of 
this severity ; but magistrates are few of them so self-deny- 
ing, and forward to seek for such severity against the idle 
and negligent of their own order. But doth not your calling 
require diligence, as well as ours ? It is a brutish, ungrate- 
ful conceit, of any man, to think that he may live idly, be- 
cause he is rich. The richest men in the world are bound 
to as diligent labour as the poorest, though not in the same 
kind. And yet I can perceive that most of the poor are 
even of the same mind ; and when they labour hardest, they 
are idle in God's account, because they would live idly if 
they could. It is no thanks to them that they labour ; for 
it is necessity that doth constrain them. I can hear them 
say, that they would not work, at least but little, if they 
had but money enough. God will judge these as idle per- 
sons, be(iause he takes the will for the deed. You must 
labour in obedience to God, and work as his servants, and 
that with cheerfulness and delight, and deny that self and 
flesh that would have ease, if ever you would have the 
heavenly reward. 


The Delight of Thriving and Prosperity , ^c. 

11. Another selfish interest to be denied, is, a delight in 
prosperity, and seeing ourselves thrive, and our designs 
succeed for worldly things. The possession of these things 
doth not so much delight, as the hopes and successes of our 
endeavours to attain them. The very thoughts of prosper- 
ing in our undertakings, and of being in a thriving course, 
and likely to reach some higher things which are in our eye 
and hope, is the greatest part of the content of worldlings. 
Men think that the world can do more for them than it can, 
and is sweeter than it is, and therefore they are very eager 
in seeking it, and please themselves much with the thoughts 
of their supposed felicity ; but when they have reached the 


matter of" their desires, they find it is not the thing they 
took it for. But in the meantime they feed themselves with 
fancies and expectations, and think that though this doth 
not content them, which they have attained, yet such or 
such a thing more would do it ; and when they have that, 
yet something more would do ; and still, though they come 
short of the felicity they expect, yet it pleaseth them that 
they think they are in the way to it, and see their endea- 
vours seem to prosper. The poor man that hath a desire 
but to reach to a competency, doth please himself much 
when he perceiveth that he is fair for it. Much more do 
the rich in the prospering of their designs, for the increase 
of their riches ; and thus the " turning away of the simple 
doth slay them, and the prosperity of fools doth destroy 
them ;" Prov. i. 32. If their prosperity be such an eye- 
sore even to the godly in temptation, when they judge ac- 
cording to the flesh, no wonder if it be a great matter in 
their own eyes ; Psal. Ixxiii. 3. If the best are in danger of 
puffing up with carnal delight and confidence in their at- 
tainments, and saying in their prosperity, *' we shall never 
be moved," Psal. xxx. 6., no wonder if it be much more so 
with others. Prosperity is as strong a trial to many as 
suffering for Christ ; O, how eager is the flesh upon this 
bait, and how close doth it cleave to what it doth attain ! 

See then that in this you deny yourselves : not in re- 
fusing prosperity when God bestows it on you, but in re- 
fusing the sensual delights which it afFordeth the flesh to 
satisfy its lust. Not in pulling down your houses, or cast- 
ing away your estates, or hindering your increase; but, 1. 
See that you do not promise yourselves too much in the 
creature ; feed not your carnal fancies with vain hopes. 
Think not too highly of a prosperous state. Judge not of 
it as it accommodateth the flesh, but as it either helps or 
hinders you for God and heaven ; and then you will per- 
ceive that it is a heavy charge and burden to the best, if 
not a dangerous temptation. O, if you knew but how dear 
the most do pay for their prosperity, you would pity them, 
and have lower thoughts of prosperity. 

2. Seek not after prosperity too eagerly. Seek first 
the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and then if 
other things be cast in, or added to you, take them thank- 
fully, but with self-suspicion and holy fear ; but run not 


after them. ** Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but 
for that which endureth to everlasting life;" (John vi. 27.) 
and then take your daily bread as from your father's pro- 
vision. Labour about the world, in obedience to God ; but 
not for the world as your ultimate end. 

3. When prosperity is given you by God, then above 
all take heed how you use it. Let carnal self and corrupt 
desires fare never the better for it, if you had all the coun- 
try, or were princes in the earth ; but as you have it from 
God, remember you have it for God, and use it for him. 
When the flesh would be pleased and lifted up, whether 
with delicious meats and drinks, or carnal pomp, applause 
or ostentation, or by sports, or idleness, or any other sen- 
sual delight, deny it these desires, as much as if you had 
no riches, and use nothing but for health and the service of 
God ; and tell the flesh, * It was not for thee, to the pleasing 
of thy desires, that God hath prospered me, but it was for 
his own more blessed ends ; and therefore I will not serve 
or please thee by my prosperity, but him that gave it me.' 
Do not think you have ever the more liberty to gratify your 
appetites in eating and drinking, because you are rich, or 
to gratify your flesh in inordinate sleep, or ease, or sports, 
or idleness ; but let the flesh have as little as if you had the 
meanest estate, in which necessity did not deny you that 
which might fit you for the work of God. 

Quest, But may not a gentleman fare better than a poor 
man? And may he not spend more time in ease or recre- 
ations ? Or may he not wear more sumptuous apparel ? 

Answ, 1. A rich man that hath a greater family, must 
have a greater quantity of provision than a poor man that 
hath but few ; and so must the poorest too that hath the 
like number. And for the quality : many poor are deprived 
of that which is most healthful through their necessity ; 
and therefore here it is lawful for the rich to go beyond 
them, and to use so much of the creature as is most health- 
ful and useful to their duties. But for all this, the richest 
man in England hath no more allowance to eat or drink 
one bit or cup for the mere pleasing of his carnal appetite, 
without any higher end, than the poorest man that is : it is 
a sin to both. It was a rich man that was tormented in 
hell fot taking up his good things in this life, in being 
clothed in purple and fine linen, and faring deliciously or 


sumptuously every day. Luke xvi. 22. And the same an- 
swer I must give to the rest of the question, if a poor man 
want that ease, or sleep, or recreation, that would fit him 
for God's service; a rich may take it, but not a jot more. 
He may not lie one hour in bed, nor spend one hour in talk, 
or sports, or long dinners, beyond what is useful to his 
Christian ends, let him be never so rich. Rich men have 
as much work to do as the poor, and as much need to watch, 
pray and fast, and study to prepare for death and judgment, 
which will not spare them because they are rich. If it be 
far hardest for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of 
God, by Christ's own testimony, then it is clear that rich 
men have far greatest need to be painful to overcome their 
dangers, and make sure work for their immortal state. 
3. And as for apparel, I grant, that rich men that are ma- 
gistrates, or in any office or calling that requires it, may 
lawfully go in richer apparel than the poor ; but this should 
not be one jot to please their carnal, proud fancies, or gratify 
inordinate fleshly desires, but merely for health, and for 
such ornament as tendeth to the honour of their office : so 
that God, and not self, must be the end of all. Take 
warning therefore by the ruins of so many thousands as 
prosperity hath undone, and by so many dreadful passages 
of Scripture which shew the danger of it; and see that if 
you prosper in any worldly thing, you offer it all to God, 
and deny yourselves, and prosper not to the flesh. 


Children and Relations how to be Denied. 

12. Another selfish interest is in friends and children, and 
other near and dear relations, and this is also to be denied. 
Not that you should imitate those unnatural heretics 
that tell us that fathers and mothers, and brethren, and 
sisters, and husbands, and princes, and wives, and subjects, 
are all carnal relations that must be disowned, any further 
than justice binds us to a retribution to parents, or others 
that have been at pains or cost upon us. No, this is worse 
than heathenish impiety, and not only against the fifth 
commandment, but abundance of the plainest passages 


through the Scripture. To be without natural aflPection, 
and disobedient to parents, is part of the character of those 
impious professors of whom Paul prophesied, 2. Tim. iii. 
2, 3. " If Christian servants have heathens to their masters, 
they must not therefore cast off the yoke, but count them 
worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doc- 
trine be not blasphemed : and if they have believing mas- 
ters, they must not despise them because they are brethren, 
but the rather do them service because they are faithful." 
This is the doctrine of the Gospel, which establisheth, and 
not dissolveth, our relations : and ** if any teach otherwise, 
he is proud, knowing nothing, but doating about ques- 
tions and strifes of words ;" 1 Tim. vi. 1 — 4. Believing 
wives must stay even with unbelieving husbands, and win 
them to Christ by an eminent subjection, chastity, mo- 
desty, and piety; 1 Pet. iii. 1 — 6. 1. Cor. vii. 13, 14. And 
the like may be said of other relations. God calls us not, 
as Popish votaries conceive, to renounce and separate from 
Our natural and other near relations, on pretence of being 
devoted to him. The words of Paul, 2 Cor. v. 16, are 
abused by them. It is true, we must know no man after 
the flesh, no not Christ himself; that is, as esteeming them 
principally for carnal excellencies, as personages, greatness, 
birth, &c., or to carnal advantages and ends, or preferring 
the body and common relations before the inward spiritual 
worth and spiritual relations ; and thus we must not know 
either parents, or children, or husbands, or wives, after the 
flesh ; nor should a Christian know or do any thing after 
the flesh as a carnal man : but yet, as we still continue our 
relation to Christ as his disciples, and servants, and mem- 
bers, and redeemed ones, for all that we know him not after 
the flesh, so must we continue our relations to others, and 
be faithful in the duties of those relations, and this after the 
Spirit, and for God. 

So that by this you may see, that it is our relations, car- 
nally considered, that are the fleshly interest which we must 
not know ; that is, as they are looked upon as any part of 
that self, or of the interest of that self which would be its 
own end and God, and which is opposite to God, or not 
subordinate to him. To look upon your children more as 
yours than as God's is a carnal selfish thought : to love 
them inordinately, and more because they are your own 


than because they are God's, and to love your. own interest 
in your children more than God's interest in them, is a 
splfish regarding them after the flesh. Grace doth not de- 
stroy nature, nor natural relations or affections ; but it 
sanctifieth them all to God, and carrieth us above it and 
destroyeth it, as glorious intuition destroyeth gracious 
knowing in part, that is, by perfecting it. Before sanctifi- 
cation, we know, esteem, regard, and love our parents, 
children, husbands, wives, merely as thus related to us, and 
in these carnal respects, and rise no higher; and if we had 
conversed with Christ himself, and eat and drank in his 
presence, and loved him accordingly, it would have been 
but a selfish, carnal knowledge, esteem, and love. But now 
we are sanctified, as God is exalted^ and self-denied and 
annihilated, as opposed or separated from God, so are all 
things that belong to self; and therefore, if we had loved 
parents, or Christ himself, with such a carnal, selfish love 
before, yet now we love them with higher love, that carrieth 
self and all to God. And thus even self is so destroyed (as 
opposite to God and separate from him), as thereby to be 
exalted as united and subservient to him. And so is the 
love of friends, relations, or Christ himself (if we had loved 
him as a natural kinsman or brother, as some did that yet 
believed not in him) ; it is destroyed, but by an exalting, 
perfecting destruction. Just so far as self is dead, so far 
carnal knowledge and self-interest in friends is dead, and 
their dearness to us for that interest, and self and they are 
all advanced and dedicated unto God. And thus it is that 
the apostle would be understood, and thus it is that self 
must be denied in your relations ; but because much duty 
consisteth herein, I shall moreover tell you the several 
parts of it in a few directions which shall mostly extend to 
other relations, but principally to parents, because they are 
aptest to exceed. 

1. See that it be God more than yourselves that you 
love in your children and other relations; and to that end, 
see what of God is in them, as they are his creatures, as 
devoted to him, as any way gifted by him for his service, 
as sanctified if they are such. He that loveth any creature 
for itself, and doth not principally love God in them, loveth 
them but carnally. 

2. See therefore that you value and love those most, that 


have most of God in them, and the best of his endowments. 
Love a crooked, deformed child, that is godly, better than 
the most comely, or beautiful, or witty, that is ungodly. 
When parents have a humorous, unreasonable love, to one 
child above the rest, without desert, or to a worse before a 
better, this is but a carnal, selfish love. 

3. Lofe none excessively, but with a moderate love, 
such as shall allow God and holiness the preeminence : so 
that when you have the most love for your relations, you 
may have more for God, at least in the estimation, resolu- 
tion, adhesion of your souls to him, if not in the passionate 
part of love. 

4. See that you subject them to the government of 
Christ ; labour to win all other relations to him, and devote 
your children to him betimes, that they may be his as soon 
as yours. While they have no wills of their own to use, 
they are to choose with your wills ; that is, you are to make 
choice for them : and therefore if you unfeignedly dedicate 
them to God, you have small reason to doubt of his accept- 
ance. This all parents do virtually that are godly ; for he 
that is himself devoted to God by sanctification, doth with 
himself devote all that he hath, and virtually all that ever 
he shall have : and if he understand himself, he will do it 
actually. And hence it is that the seed of believers (yea, 
of one believer,) are said to be holy ; not only or chiefly 
because they are yours, born of your bodies, nor merely from 
a promise of God, that hath no pre-supposed reason from 
the subject; but because they are the children of one that 
hath devoted himself, and all that he hath, to God : and if 
he understand himself, doth actually offer, dovote, and de- 
dicate his child to God in the solemn baptism, ordinance, 
and covenant. And God will sure accept all, that upon his 
own invitation are consecrated and offered to him. 

5. See that you submit them heartily to the dispose of 
God : so that whatever he doth with them, for sickness or 
health, for poverty or riches, for honour or dishonour, for 
life or death, you can patiently bear it, and say as Eli, " It 
is the Lord, let him do as seemeth him good;" 1 Sam. iii. 
18. Murmur not if God afflict and take them away, even 
at once, as he did the sons of Job ; or if he should afflict 
you in them, as he did David in Amnon and Absalom. Re- 
member that as the resignation of life itself, is the point by 


which Christ, under the Gospel, doth try men's faith, so it 
was the resignation of an only son, which was next to life, 
by which he would try Abraham, the father of the faithful, 
before the incarnation of Christ. If therefore you will be 
children of Abraham, you must walk in the steps of faithful 
Abraham, and remember that your children are not your 
own ; and be content that God do with his own as he 

6. Make God their portion as much as in you lieth, and 
seek more for a spiritual than a temporal felicity for them, 
and acquaint them with their Creator in the days of their 
youth : as believing, that those of them that are the holiest 
are the happiest. 

7. Devote your children to such callings and employ- 
ments in which they are likeliest to be most serviceable to 
God. Consider their dispositions and parts, and then never 
ask what kind of life is the most honourable or gainful for 
them, but in what way and course of life they may most 
serve God, and be most useful to his church j and to that 
let them be devoted. 

8. Favour them not in sin ; and suffer them not to dis- 
honour God that they are devoted to : remember Eli's ex- 
ample. Gentle reproofs, instead of necessary severe cor- 
rection, is called by God, " a despising him, and preferring 
his sons before him" (1 Sam. ii. 29, 30), even because his 
" sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not ;" 
1 Sam. iii. 13. Take heed, as you love yourselves or them, 
of taking their parts against God, or against correction, and 
excusing the sin by which they do dishonour him. 

9. Give them not, for their carnal advancement in the 
world, that part of your estate which is due to God. You 
owe it all to him ; and in the disposing of it, he hath limited 
you to begin at home, and provide so for your children that 
they may have their daily bread, and so much more as they 
are in likelihood the fittest stewards to improve for God. 
But if you see the public state of the church or common- 
weal to stand in need of your assistance, and you shall then 
give almost all to your children, to make them rich and 
great in the world, and put off the works of greater moment 
with some poor, inconsiderable alms or legacy, this is to 
prefer self before the Lord ; even as it is imagined to sur- 
vive in your progeny, even when natural self can no longer 


enjoy it. It is a wonder, how so many men, seeming holy 
and devoted to God, can quiet their consciences in such a 
palpable sin as this. If one of them have two hundred, or 
three hundred pounds a year, it is a wonder if he leave a 
hundred a year of it to any pious or charitable use ; but if 
he leave forty or fifty pounds to the poor, or build some 
small almshouse, he thinks he hath done well : all the rest 
must go to leave his son in equal dignity and riches in the 
world as himself. But of this I spoke before. 

10. Lastly, be sure that you be very suspicious of self, 
when the case of your children or any dear relation is before 
you : for self is near you, and will stick close, and will not 
easily be thrust out of your councils, nor shaken off. And 
therefore in your own case, and your children's case, or the 
case of your near friends, you will have much ado to over- 
come the cunning and strong temptations to partiality, if 
you were the holiest saint on earth (though overcome them 
you will in the main, if you have true grace) : but if you 
are dead professors, it is twenty to one but they will 
overcome you, and you will show the world that you are 
selfish hypocrites, and more for your children and friends 
than God. 

Let me here give a few instances in this warning. 

1: How often have we seen it here and elsewhere, that 
people that make some show of religion, and are forward 
to have vice punished, and discipline exercised, yet when 
it falls on any children, or near relations of their own, they 
are as much against it as they are for it in others ; yea, rise 
up with passion and bitter reproaches of officers, ministers, 
or others that are the causes of it. As one hypocrite is 
tried when he denieth to suffer for Christ himself, so others 
show themselves hypocrites sooner by preferring their 
children ; yea, their sinful children ; yea, the present ease, 
or profit, or credit of their children, before their duty and 
the honour of God. And they will rather have God pro- 
voked, sin unpunished, and their children's own salvation 
hazarded, than they will have them justly and regularly 
chastised ; yea, some of them rise up as malignant enemies 
asaint them that do it. 

2. Again, when God hath convinced you of duty, if a 
carnal friend, a husband, or a parent, do but contradict it, 



and persuade you from a known duty or a holy life, how 
commonly do men obey, because forsooth they are their 
friends that do persuade them ? 

3. Moreover, when the case falls out that a man cannot 
follow God and his duty, and be true to his soul, but he is 
like to lose his friends ; how commonly is God denied, that 
friends may not be denied, and conscience wounded, and 
duty balked, that the favour of friends may not be lost. 
O, saith one, they are the friends that I live by, my liveli- 
hood is in their hands, I am undone if they cast me off! 
Well, take them, and make thy best of them, and keep them 
as long as thou canst ; if thou canst live better without God 
than them, or canst spare God's favour better than theirs, 
and they are better friends to thee than Christ is, and would 
be, take thy course, and judge at last whether the friend 
that thou didst choose, or that thou didst neglect and abuse, 
was the better, and would have stood thee in more stead in 
thy deepest extremities. Christ hath resolved you once for 
all, that he that loveth father or mother more than him, is 
not worthy of him, and cannot be his disciple : nay, if he 
hate not father, and mother, and all ; that is, if he will not 
cast them all away, and forsake them as men do hated 
things, rather than forsake Christ and the glory which he 
hath promised ; Luke xiv. 26. 33, And therefore, seeing 
Christ hath thought meet to instance, in the forsaking of 
carnal friends for his sake, as a duty of all that will be his 
disciples, you may see that this is a very considerable part 
of your self-denial ; and, doubtless, it is a point that 
Christians are usually put to the trial in, or else Christ 
would not have instanced in it. Few turn to' Christ, but 
their carnal friends will turn from them. No greater ene- 
mies to a man in the matters of his salvation (except carnal 
self), than carnal friends ; and therefore either God or they 
must be denied. For when God is for holiness, and they 
against it : when they are for sinful pleasures and gain, and 
God against it, both cannot be pleased ; and therefore one 
of them must be denied, God or they. 



Revengeful Passions to be Denied. 

13. Another part of self-denial consisteth in the denying 
of revengeful passions, that provoke us against those that 
have done us wrong, or that we judge to be our enemies. 
It is the common saying of such persons as are disposed to 
this sin, that * revenge is sweet ;' it easeth the minds of mali- 
cious persons to have their will upon their adversaries, and 
to see them at their feet. Nothing of all his honours and 
prosperity could satisfy Haman till he was revenged of 
Mordecai. As a burning, festering, boil, or imposthume, is 
eased by opening and vent, so is a boiling passionate mind, 
when by railing speeches, or revengeful actions, it venteth 
itself against them that they hate. But in this also self 
m,u8t be denied by all that will be Christ's disciples, for he 
forgiveth none but those that can heartily forgive another : 
and that we may know that this is a part of self-denial of 
great necessity, he hath put it into our prayers, and will 
not have us so much as ask for forgiveness ourselves, if we 
cannot forgive : that we may know, that seeing it is not to 
be asked for on lower terms, it is not to be hoped for. The 
forgiving grace of God in Christ, doth so melt and over- 
come the hearts of all true Christians, that it disposeth 
them in their measure to imitate him in forgiving : and 
they cannot find in their heart to take another by the throat 
for a hundred pence, when their Lord hath forgiven them 
ten thousand talents : Matt, xviii. 24. 28. The grace that is 
most gloriously manifested in the Gospel, must needs make 
the deepest impression on the soul, and consequently con- 
form the soul into its image : and doubtless this is love, 
and compassion, and forgiving mercy ; and therefore he that 
cannot love his enemy, bless them that curse him, and pray 
for them that hate and persecute him, and return good for 
evil, can be no child of God ; Matt. v. 44 — 46. It is an 
inhuman oblivion of our own condition, for a man to seek 
revenge of another for a trifle (for it can be no greater, as 
it is against such simple worms as we), when so many and 
heinous sins have been forgiven us. Doth God remit to us 


the everlasting torments, and shall we inflict on another the 
venom of our private spleen ? I know the furious Bedlams, 
and malicious wretches, do take all this but for unsatisfac- 
tory talk, and it is not words that will serve their turns to 
repair their honour, and ease their devilish rancorous minds. 
Flesh and blood, say they, cannot endure it. Aribw. And 
therefore, ** flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of 
God, nor corruption inherit incorruption ; 1 Cor. xv. 50. 
Grace can do more than flesh and blood ; and if you cannot 
forgive, you cannot be forgiven. If it be so hard for you 
to forbear, yea, to love an enemy, it shall be as hard to you 
to be saved, and escape the portion of the enemies of God; 
and if the word of God's command be but wind with you, 
the word of his promise shall be as ineffectual to your sal- 
vation, as the word of his precept and persuasion was in- 
effectual to your conversion and obedience. As " God is 
love,'* so his sanctified ones are turned into love : love is 
their new nature, and love is not of a revengeful disposi- 
tion. Love is the divine nature in us, and malice provoking 
to revenge is the devilish nature ; and a believer is more 
afraid of the anger of God, than to take his sword of re- 
venge out of his hand. He hath learned, " Avenge not 
yourselves, but give place to wrath : vengeance is mine, 
and I will repay, saith the Lord. Be not overcome of evil, 
but overcome evil with good;" 1 Pet. ii. 21. 23. 1 Thess. 
iv. 6. Rom. xii. 19. 


New;, Vain Histories, and other Men*s Matters, S^c. 

14. Another piece of carnal pleasure to be denied, is the 
delight men have in reading unprofitable histories, and 
hearing news that do not concern us, and meddling with 
other men's matters where we have no call. 

With some fancies this is a notable part of carnal de- 
light: many school-boys, and young effeminate wits, are 
as much poisoned and carried away with reading romances, 
feigned histories, and tale-books, and play-books, as by 
almost any piece of sensuality. O, the precious hours that 
have been lost upon this trash and trumpery ! but of this I 


spoke before : that which now I speak is, even true history 
and reports, as matter of mere news, to please a busy, rang- 
ing mind. History is a very profitable study, if it be used 
for right ends, and be rightly chosen. It is a very great 
help to understand the Scriptures, and to know the former 
and present state of the church ; and see the wonderful 
works of providence, that otherwise would be as lost to us. 
It is not fit that the wondrous works of God should die 
with those that have seen them, and not be transmitted to 
posterity. God should have the honour of his glorious 
works from generation to generation, and how shall that be 
if all be forgotten? He that knoweth nothing of any age 
but that which he lives in, is as foolish as he that knows 
nothing of any country or town but that which he lives 
in. Some history is essential to our faith, and much more 
is integral to it ; and yet much more is very serviceable to 
it. He that hath not some competent acquaintance with 
Church history, wdll be at great disadvantages in the hold- 
ing and defending his faith itself against an infidel, or the 
purity of religion against a papist. And he that knoweth 
not the present state of the world, and of the church through 
the world, doth scarce know how to order his affections, or 
compose his prayers even in those greatest petitions, about 
the honour, and kingdom, and will of God. They cannot 
grieve with the church in grief, nor mourn with it when it 
mourns ; so that it is a great duty of a Christian to labour 
to understand by history the former and present state of 
the church : and it is a great mark of a gracious soul that 
longs to hear of the prosperity of the saints and free pro- 
gress of the Gospel ; and a mark of a graceless person that 
careth not for these things. 

But when history is not used to acquaint us with the 
matters of God, or to furnish us with useful knowledge, but 
to please a ranging, carnal mind, then it is but sinful sen- 
suality or vanity. Many persons have no such delight to 
read the useful history of church affairs, as they have to 
read the curiously penned, though less useful history of 
other matters. Though I know that the history of the 
whole world is very serviceable to the knowledge of divine 
things, yet they that use it to holy ends will make choice 
accordingly, and be no more in it than may suit with those 
ends. It is the most human, with the most light, ridi- 


culous passages, that are most pleasing to vain unsanctified 
wits ; but the godly delight in it so far as it shows them 
something of God, and leadeth them to him. In the very 
reading of Scripture, a carnal reader may be much pleased 
with the history, that hath no savour in the doctrine, but is 
weary to read it : and yet I must add this caution by the 
way ; if we find a carnal kind of delight in Scripture history, 
or any other that is profitable, we must not therefore cast 
off the history, but seek after the cure of our disease, that 
we may spiritually take pleasure in all for God, and he may 
be the beginning, and end, and the life, and the all of our 
studies and delights : and though our carnal deSght in 
news and history be a sin in us, yet God doth sometimes 
make it an occasion of good by leading us to that holy 
truth, which after may be the means of our sanctification^ 
though at first we received but as a novelty. 

And so the carnal pleasure that many have in hearing 
news, and sitting with folks that will talk of other men's 
matters, or things that concern them not, is nothing but a 
sinful pleasing of the fancy, and loss of time, and neglect 
of greater matters which call for all our time and care. It 
was the vice of the Athenians, " for all the Athenians and 
strangers that were there, spent their time in nothing else 
but either to tell or to hear some new thing" (Acts xvii. 21); 
yea, novelty of doctrine and religion, and teachers, is a 
snare and bait to carnal fancies, which many are taken by 
that are forsaken of God, having first forsaken him, and 
proved false to the truth received. 


Unnecessary Knowledge, and Delight therein, 

15 Another part of carnal pleasure which self must be 
denied in, is, a desire after unnecessary knowledge, and de- 
light therein. This is the common sin of man, but not of 
all alike. Even they 'Ihat can live without the knowledge 
of the saving principles of religion, do yet itch to know un- 
profitable things ; and many a foolish question they will be 
asking about matters unrevealed, or that concern them not, 
when they overlook that which their salvation lieth on : but 


the more learned sort, and especially more prying wits, and 
those that are bred up among disputes, are the pronest to 
this sin : and though it be an odious vice, yet it so be- 
fooleth many, that they reckon it confidently among their 

God cannot be known too much, nor can any n^an be 
too much in love with the true knowledge of God in Jesus 
Christ. Without this knowledge the mind is not good, nor 
can the heart be sanctified, or the man be saved ; nor can any 
man know too much of the will and word of God ; nor yet 
of his works in which he revealeth himself to the world. 
But the carnal knowledge which is to be denied, is of an- 
other nature than the sanctified knowledge of believers. I 
shall show you the diflference in certain particular respects. 

1. This desire to know, which is in the unsanctified, is 
partly from mere nature and partly from a distempered fancy, 
which is like a corrupt, enraged appetite, that chooseth that 
which is unwholesome, and yet is over greedy after it. But 
the desire after knowledge in the sanctified, is kindled by 
the love of God, and the love of those holy and heavenly 
things which they are inquiring after. It is not the love 
of God that sets ungodly men upon their studies, but a 
common and carnal desire to know : and this appears in the 
end, which is next. 

2. This carnal knowledge is but to feed, and furnish, and 
please a carnal fancy ; because it is some adding to our un- 
derstandings, and because it is naturally pleasant to know, 
and because it brings in some novelty and variety, and be- 
cause it makes us seem wiser than other men, and furnisheth 
us with matter of discourse and ostentation, and rids the 
mind of some troublesome doubts ; therefore, even the worst 
have a mind to know. But this is the knowledge that 
must be denied : that which must be valued and sought 
after, is, to know God, that we may love, and reverence, 
and trust, and admire, and honour him, and enjoy him. To 
know Christ, that we may have more communion with him : 
to know the word and works of God, that in them we may 
know his nature and his will, and knowing his will, may serve 
him and please him : these must be the ends of Christian 
knowledge. There is nothing in the world that God hath 
revealed, but in its place we may be willing to know, so that 
we stick not in the creature, or sense of the words, or cora- 

j^S ^^M ^ 


mon verities, but use every thing as a book or looking- 
glass : we love not a book so much for the letters, as for 
the matter which they contain ; and we love not a glass 
for itself, so much as for its use to show us the face which 
we would see in it : so if we go to the creatures but as a 
book, in which we may read the mind of God, and see his 
nature, and as a glass in which his glory doth shine forth, 
our study and knowledge will be sanctified and divine. 
And thus, as Paul would know nothing but Christ crucified, 
so every Christian should be able to say that he would know 
nothing but God in Christ : for though we know a thousand 
matters, and that of the lowest nature in themselves, yet as 
long as we study them not for themselves, but for God, it is 
not them that we know so much as God in them ; and so 
all is but the knowing of God : even as in our duty, though 
the works may be many and mean that we are employed in, 
yet all is but the serving of God, as long as we do them all 
for him. This is the main difference between an unsancti- 
fied scholar, and a servant of God in all their studies : one 
of them is but recreating his curious fancy or inquisitive 
mind, and seeking matter of honour and applause, or some 
way or other studying for himself : but the other is search- 
ing after the nature and will of his Creator, and learning 
how to do his work in that manner as may please and honour 
him most. So that when they are reading the same books, 
and studying the same subjects, they are upon quite dif- 
ferent works, as having contrary ends in all their studies : 
the one is content with bare speculation and airy know- 
ledge, which puffeth up ; and the other studieth and knoweth 
practically to feed the holy fire of love in his heart, and to 
guide, and quicken, and strengthen him for obedience. 

3. Moreover, there is a difference commonly in the sub- 
ject which they most desire to know : for though there is 
no truth but a wicked man may know, which a true Christian 
knoweth, and also but few truths but what he may for selfish 
ends be desirous to know ; yet ordinarily a carnal heart is 
much more forward to study common sciences than divinity, 
and in divinity to study least the practical part, and to be 
most in points that exercise the brain, and lie further from 
the heart ; but the sanctified man delighteth most in know- 
ing the mystery of redemption, the riches of grace, the 
glory which he hopeth for, the nature and will of God, the 

.r . ^' ^ m ^ 


Tin: ATI SE oi' self-di:nial. 217 

way of duty, the temptations that are before him, and his 
danger by them and the way to escape, with such other 
useful truths which he must live upon. One feeds upon the 
air and chaff of words and notions, or common truths ; and 
the other is taken up with the most spiritual, heavenly, and 
necessary matters : yea, it is not so much the truth, as the 
matter or thing revealed by it, which the Christian looks 
after : it is not only to understand the meaning of the 
Scripture, but to find, and love, and enjoy that God, that 
Christ, that Spirit, that life, which is revealed in those words 
of Scripture ; but the hypocrite sticks most in a gramma- 
tical, superficial kind of knowledge. 

4. Moreover, carnal love of knowledge doth draw the 
soul from God to the creature : it is self and the creature 
that is sought after in it, and therefore the more such know- 
ledge, the further from God. This was Adam's temptation 
and sin, to desire to know good and evil for himself, so 
that he might have less need to live in an implicit belief 
of God, and dependance on him, but might be acquainted 
what was good and evil for himself, that he might trust 
himself, and live to himself; but spiritual knowledge carrieth 
us from self. 

5. Carnal knowledge would break God's bounds, and 
would needs know that which God hath not revealed, and 
pry into the secrets of heaven : with a presumptuous im- 
modesty they would reach to that which is above man, 
while they are wilfully or negligently ignorant of that which 
should heal them of their brutishness. They are so shallow 
that they comprehend not any one of the smallest creatures 
of God, and yet they have arrogant, proud conceits, that 
must be satisfied about the highest mysteries : and though, 
through their own unpreparedness and ignorance, they know 
not that which else they might know, and cannot see the 
strength of a reason which the wise can see, yet will they 
sooner quarrel with the light than with their eyes, and sus- 
pect the reasons and words of God rather than their pur- 
blind minds. But spiritual knowledge is modest, and hum- 
ble, and obedient, and presumeth not to climb any higher 
than the ladder, lest he lose more by such a step too high, 
than he got by all his labour hitherto ; and find himself all 
in pieces at the bottom, while he would needs climb above 
the top. He finds work enough in what God hath com- 


manded him to study in his word, and therefore hath no 
leisure to look after things that God hath hid from him : 
it is for the use of knowledge that he would know, and 
therefore he hath no great mind of that which is useless ; 
and he knows that God is the best judge of that, and 
therefore he takes that to be best for him which is pre- 
scribed him. 

6. Carnal students are apt to learn in the ways which 
their interests and fancies lead them to, but holy students 
learn of God in his prescribed way ; that is, 1. In his church, 
which is his school. 2. And in and by his holy Scripture, 
which is the book he sets us to learn. And 3. By his minis- 
ters, whom he commandeth to teach us. 4. And in obedi- 
ence to his Spirit, that must make all effectual. And 5. 
In fervent prayer to God for that Spirit and a blessing. 
This is God*s way in which he will bring men to saving 

7. Also, carnal students observe not (commonly) God's 
order in their learning ; but they begin at that which suiteth 
best with their carnal interest or disposition, as being least 
against it ; and they catch here and there a little, and make 
what they list of it, and force it to their carnal sense, and to 
speak for that which their minds are most affected to. But 
the sanctified student begins at the bottom, and first seeks 
to know the essentials of religion, and points that life lieth 
most upon ; and so he proceeds in order, and takes the 
lesson which God and his teachers set him, and takes up 
truths as they lie in order of necessity and use. 

8. And in the manner also the difference is great. The 
carnal student searcheth presumptuously, self-conceitedly, 
and unreverently, and speaks of holy things accordingly, 
and censureth them when he should censure himself and 
actions by them, and bendeth the words of God to his own 
carnal interest and will. But the spiritual student searcheth 
meekly with fear and reverence, with self-suspicion and 
consciousness of his exceeding darkness, and with a willing- 
ness and resolution to submit to the light for conviction 
and for the guidance of his conversation. 

And now you see what carnal studies are, remember that 
to avoid them is part of your self-denial. Restrain your 
ranging fantasies and understanding, as you would do a 
ranging appetite. If you have a mind that would fain reach 


higher than God hath given you light in Scripture, or a mind 
that must needs be satisfied of the reasons of all God's ways, 
and murmureth if any of its doubts be unresolved, remem- 
ber that this is self that must be denied ; and if any be wise 
in his own eyes, he must become a fool, that he may be wise 
(1 Cor. iii. 18.), and as little children must you come to the 
school of Christ, if you will indeed be his disciples. And 
remember that this intellectual voluptuousness, licentious- 
ness, and presumption of carnal minds, is a higher, and in 
some respects greater and more dangerous vice, than bru- 
tish sensuality. And you may cheat and undo your souls 
in a civil course of carnal, selfish studies, as well as in a 
course of more gross and sensual voluptuousness. 


Factious Desire of the Success of our oiun Opinions and Parties, 

as such, &)C, 

16. Another selfish interest to be denied, is, the factious 
desire of the success of any odd opinions which we have 
espoused, and of the increase and prosperity of any dividing 
party in the church which we have addicted ourselves unto. 
It exceedingly delighteth a carnal mind, that his judg- 
ment should be admired, and he should be taken as the 
light of the country round about him ; and therefore when 
he hath hatched any opinion of his own, or espoused any 
whereby his singularity may be manifested, or by which his 
selfish interest maybe promoted, he is as careful to promote 
these opinions, and the party that holdeth with him, as a 
covetous man is to promote his gain. There is indeed as 
much of self in many men's heresies and church-divisons, 
as any sensualist hath in his way. And hence it is that a 
zeal for selfish opinions is easily got and easily maintained ; 
when zeal for the saving truths of God is hardly kindled, 
and hardly kept alive. Yea, multitudes in the world do 
make the very truth to be the matter of their carnal interest 
in it; while they some way get a seeming peculiar interest, 
and promote it but as an opinion of their own, or of their 
party, and use it for selfish, carnal ends. And hence it is 
that many that are called orthodox, can easily get and keep 


a burning zeal for their orthodox opinions, when practical 
Christians do find it a very hard matter to be zealous for 
the same truths in a practical way. Many ungodly men 
will be hot in disputing for the truth, and crying down all 
that are against it, and perhaps so far exceed their bounds, 
that the godly dare not follow them ! And the reason is 
clear. Whether it be truth or error that a man holds, if he 
hold it but as a conceit of his own, or as the opinion of his 
party, or to be noted in the world, as one that hath found 
out more truth than others, or any way make it but the mat- 
ter of his selfish interest, nature and corruption will furnish 
him with a zeal for it ; it is easy to go where sin and satan 
drives, and to be zealous where zeal hath so small resist- 
ance ; and to swim down the stream of corrupted nature. 
But it is not so easy to be zealous in the practical saving 
entertainment of the truth, and exercising that faith and 
love to God and holy obedience which truth is sent to work 
in us. A schismatical or opinionative use of truth itself, is 
but an using it for self against the God of truth ; and it is 
no more wonder to see men zealous in this, than to see men 
forward and hot in any evil ; we cannot tell how to quench 
or restrain this selfish, carnal kind of zeal. But when men 
should use the truth for God and their salvation against sa- 
tan, and sin, and self, then it is hard to make them zealous ; 
they are like green wood, or wet fuel on the fire, that will 
not burn without much blowing, and soon goeth out when 
it seemeth to be kindled, if once you leave it to itself. Paul 
spoke not nonsense when he said, " For ye are yet carnal ; 
for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and di- 
visions, are ye not carnal and walk as men ? For while one 
saith, I am of Paul, and another I am of Apollos, are ye not 
carnal?" 1 Cor. iii. 3 — 5. How secretly soever it may lurk, 
there is doubtless much of self and flesh in heresies and un- 
just divisions. I know that most of them little perceive it. 
James and John in their zeal, which would have called for 
fire from heaven, did not know what spirit they were of. 
But God would not have spoke it, if it were not true, ** Now 
I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions, 
and offences, contrary to the doctrine which ye have learn- 
ed, and avoid them : for they that are such, serve not our 
Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly ; and by good words 
and fair speeches, deceive the hearts of the simple ;" Rom. 


xvi. 17. Though they little believe that there is any such 
wickedness in them as this, yet the Spirit of God, that is 
the searcher of hearts, is acquainted with it ; and assureth 
us, that both at the bottom and the end, church-dividing 
courses have a carnal, selfish nature: it is some secret in- 
terest of self, (though scarce discerned) that kindleth the 
zeal, and carrieth on the work ; it is not God that is served 
by the divisions of his church. Many sects now among us, 
do put a face of truth and zeal upon their cause; but self is 
the more dangerously powerful with them, by how much the 
less suspected or observed. The Papists, under the pretence 
of the church's union, are great dividers of the Christian 
world, unchurching the far greatest part of the church, and 
separating from all that be not subjects of the Pope of 
Rome : and do you think it is not self and flesh that is the 
principle and life, and the end of this their schism? Were 
it not for the upholding of their usurped power and worldly 
immunities, and greatness of the clergy, it is morally impos- 
sible that so many men of reason and learning could concur 
in such a schism, and in so many gross conceits as go along 
with it. It is not the pope that they are principally united 
in ; for the greatest part of them, it is too evident that it is 
selfish and fleshly interest that is their centre, to which the 
pope is but a means. Hence it is that many of their Jesuits 
and Friars are carried abroad in the world, with such a 
fire of zeal, to promote their cause, that they will compass 
sea and land for it, and day and night are busy at the work, 
to pl6t, and contrive, and insinuate, and deceive, and think 
no cost or pains too great. For a selfish, sinful zeal and di- 
ligence hath so many friends, and so little hindrance, that it 
is easily maintained ; but so is not the healing, peaceable, 
practical, and holy zeal of true believers. 

Well ! consider what I say to you from the word of the 
Lord : there is a selfish, di5^^iding zeal in religion, which must 
be denied as well as whoredom or drunkenness. If you ask 
me how it is known ; briefly now I shall only tell you this 
much of it: 1. That it is usually for either an error or a par- 
ticular truth, against the interest or advantage of the body 
of unquestionable Christian verities. They can let religion 
suffer by it, so their opinion do but thrive. 2. It is usually 
for an opinion by reason of some special endearment or in- 
terest of their own in it. 3. They cry up that opinion with 


a zeal and diligence much exceeding that which they be- 
stow upon other opinions of equal weight; and lay a gi eater 
stress upon it, than any show of reason will allow them. 
4. They usually are zealous for a party and division, against 
the unity of the Catholic church. 5. Their zeal is most 
commonly turned against the faithful pastors of the church ; 
for it is hard to keep in with schism, and with faithful pas- 
tors too : and if the ministers will not own their sin and 
error, they will disown the ministers. The Anabaptists, 
and other sects of late, would never have been so much 
against Christ's ministers, if the ministers had not been 
against their way. 6. Their course doth in the conclusion, 
bring down religion, and hinder the thriving of the Gospel 
and of godliness. Mark, what is the issue of most of those 
ways, that these men are so hot for ! Doth it go better 
or worse with the church and cause of Christ in general, 
where they are, than it did before ? Is religion in more 
strength and beauty, and life, and honour? Or doth real 
holiness more abound ? If so, be not too hasty to censure 
their zeal. But usually all these dividing ways, are the dis- 
eases of the church ; which cause its languishing, decay, 
and dissolution. 7. Lastly, this selfish zeal is commonly 
censorious, and uncharitable, and diminisheth Christian 
love, and sets those reproaching and despising each other, 
that should have lived in the union and communion of 
saints. Where you find these properties of your zeal and 
desire, for the promoting of your opinions or parties in re- 
ligion, you have great reason to make it presently your bu- 
siness to find out that insinuating self, which maketh your 
religion carnal, and to deny and mortify it. 


Carnal Liberty to he Denied : what. 

17. Another selfish interest to be denied, is, carnal liberty. 
A thing that selfishness hath strangely brought of late into 
so much credit, that abundance among us think they are 
doing some special service to God, their country, the church, 
and their own souls, when they are but deeply engaged for 
the devil, by a self-seeking spirit, in a carnal course. For 


the discovery of this dangerous, common disease, I must 
first tell you, that there is a threefold liberty which must 
carefully be differenced. 1. There is a holy, blessed liberty 
which no man must deny. 2. There is a wicked liberty, 
which no man should desire. 3. And between these two 
there is a common, natural, and civil liberty, which is good 
in its place, as other worldly matters are, but must be de- 
nied, when it stands in competition with higher and better 
things ; and, as all other worldly matters, is holy when it is 
holily esteemed and used ; that is, for God ; but sinful 
when it is sinfully esteemed and used, and that is for carnal 

I. The first of these is not to be denied, but all other li- 
berty to be denied for it. This holy liberty consisteth in 
these following particulars. 1. To be freed from the power 
of sin, which is the disability, the deformity, the death of 
the soul. 2. From the guilt of sin, and the wrath of God, 
and the curse of the law. 3. To be restored to God by 
Christ, in union, reconciliation, and sanctification ; and our 
enthralled spirits set free, to know, and love, and serve him, 
and delight in him. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there 
is liberty ; 2 Cor. iii. 17. God is the soul's freedom, who is 
its lord, and life, and end, and all. 4. To be delivered from 
satan as a deceiver, and enemy, and executioner of the wrath 
of God. 5. To be freed from that law or covenant of works, 
which requireth that which to us is become impossible. 
6. To be freed from that burdensome task of useless cere- 
monies, imposed on the church in times of infancy and 
darkness. 7. To be freed from the accusations of a guilty 
conscience, and those self-tormentings which in the wicked 
are the foretastes of hell. 8. To be freed from such tempo- 
ral judgments here as might hinder our salvation, or our 
service of God. 9. To be free from the condemnins sen- 
tence at the last day, and the everlasting torments which 
the wicked must endure. 10. And to be delivered into the 
blessed sight of God, and the perfect fruition and pleasing 
of him, in perfect love, and joy, and praise to all eternity. 
This is the liberty which you must not deny, which I there- 
fore name, that by the way you may see, that it is not for 
nothing that the other sorts of liberty are to be denied. 

II. The second sort of liberty is, that which is wicked 
and directly evil, which all men should deny ; and this is a 


freedom from righteousness, as the apostle calls it, Rom. vi. 
20. To be free from a voluntary subjection to God, and 
free from those sighs and groans for sin, and that godly 
sorrow which the sanctified undergo ; and to be free from 
all those spiritual motions and changing works upon their 
hearts, which the Spirit doth work on all the saints ; to be 
free from holy speeches, and holy prayer, and other duties, 
and from that strict and holy manner of living which God 
commandeth ; to be at liberty to sin against God, and to 
please the flesh, and follow their own imaginations and 
wills, let God say what he will to the contrary : to be free 
to eat and drink what we love and have a mind of, and to be 
merry, and wanton, and lustful, and worldly, and take our 
course without being curbed by so precise a law, as God 
hath given us ; to be free from a heavenly conversation, and 
those preparations for death, and that communion with God 
which the saints partake of: this is the wicked liberty of 
the world, which the worst of carnal men desire ; and the 
next beyond this, is a liberty to lie in the fire of hell, and a 
freedom from salvation, and from the everlasting joy and 
praises of the saints. If freedom from grace and holiness 
deserve the name of freedom, then you may next call dam- 
nation a freedom. 

And it is part also of this sinful, miserable liberty to be 
free from the government, and officers, and good laws which 
rule the church and commonwealth. And such wretches 
there are in the world, that seriously judge it a desirable 
liberty to be free from these. They think that their country 
is free, when every man may do what he list, and they have 
no king or other governors, or none that will look after 
them, and punish their miscarriages ; and they think the 
church is free, when they have no pastors, or when pastors 
have least power over them, and they may do what they list. 
And indeed if they were rid of magistrates and ministers, 
they were free ! As a school is free that hath shut out the 
master, or have rejected him, and teach and rule one ano- 
ther ! And as a ship is free when the master and pilot are 
thrown overboard ; and as an army is free when they have 
cast off' or lost their commanders ! Or to speak more fitly, 
as a hospital is free when they are delivered of their physi- 
cian; and as the madmen in bedlam are free when they have 
killed, or escaped from their keepers ! As infidels keep their 


fi-eedom, by refusing Christ in himself; so carnal dividers 
and heretics keep their freedom, by refusing his officers, 
and Christ in those officers ; " For he that heareth them, 
heareth him ; and he that despiseth them, despiseth him ; 
and he that despiseth, despiseth not man but God;" Lukex. 
16. 1 Thess. iv. 8. 

And another part of this ungodly liberty is, to be free 
from the exercise, at least, of this power of magistrates and 
ministers, so far as not to be restrained from sin, though they 
be not free from the state of subjects. To swear, and be 
drunk, and live as most ale-sellers, on the damning sins of 
others, and make a trade of selling men their damnation, and 
to have no magistrate punish them, no officer trouble them, 
and no neighbour accuse them ; this is their liberty. To 
game, and roar, and revel, and have nobody say to them, 
why do you so, is part of their liberty. To have leave with- 
out restraint to make all others as bad as themselves, and 
if they are infidels or heretics, to persuade other men to it: 
if they hold any opinion against the God that made them, 
against Christ, against the Spirit of God, against the word 
and laws of God, against his ministers, his church, his ordi- 
nances, against any necessary point of faith, or if they have 
any false conceit that leads straight to hell, that they may 
have full power, licence, and authority, to bring as many as 
they can to be of the same mind, that they may not be un- 
profitable servants to the devil, nor go to hell alone, this is 
a great part of their impious liberty. And because the 
name of conscience is become honourable, they call this by 
the name of liberty of conscience ; when indeed it is liberty 
of practice that they mean, and not liberty of conscience ; 
for their conscience cannot be altered by force, nor touched 
by the sword. It is they that deprive men of the liberty of 
their consciences, whilst by false teaching they put out the 
eye of conscience, and enslave it to sinful, false conceits. 
And conscience is science ; and error is not science but ig- 
norance ; and therefore as error is not conscience, but the 
destruction of conscience ; so liberty to error, is no liberty 
of conscience, but a liberty to destroy conscience : much 
less is it liberty of conscience to sin against God, and draw 
others from conscience into error, and poison men's souls, 



and hinder the Gospel, and promote the work and kingdom 
of the devil. 

And many of our miserable, sottish people take it for a 
part of their desired liberty to be free from ministers* spi- 
ritual oversight and government, and not be catechised or 
called to an account, or examined about the state of their 
souls, nor questioned about their lives, but that they may 
do what they will, and have sacraments, and all ordinances 
on what terms and in what manner they will, and to have 
ministers bow their judgment to theirs, and lay their con- 
sciences at the feet of every carnal, ignorant wretch, and be 
but their servants to do what they would have them ; this is 
the liberty that satan's servants do desire. 

And withal, that they may be free from necessary pay- 
ments for the safety of the commonwealth, and from the ne- 
cessary retribution to God, for the church and poor, yea 
from giving but the ministers their own ; all this they take 
for part of their liberty. But they are all such liberties as 
Christ never purchased, and the Gospel never bestowed, 
and never made the owners happy : it is a liberty to starve 
their own souls, and go quietly to everlasting torment, and 
not be molested by preachers and puritans, but to sin against 
God, and damn themselves, and be let alone, and have no- 
body tell them of it, or ask them, why will you do so ? In 
a word, it is that liberty that Christ died to save his people 
from, and which the Gospel would take down, and the Spi- 
rit, ministry, and ordinances would overthrow, and which 
no wise and good man hath reason to desire ; and it is that 
liberty which God will save all those from, whom he will 
save from the flames of hell. 

III. The third sort of liberty is that which is in itself in- 
different, or to be reckoned among the common, transitory 
benefits of this life, which with God's blessing is a mercy ; 
and well used may do good, but otherwise is hurtful, or lit- 
tle worth. This liberty is not the natural liberty of the will, 
which in regard of its own illicit acts is nothing but the 
power of self-determination ; and in regard of internal impe- 
rate acts, is nothing but a power or freedom to do what we 
will. For these are so our own, if not ourselves, that no 
man can take them from us ; at least the first. Nor is it the 
ethical liberty of the soul from sin by gracious habits ; for 
this is ever good, as was said before. Nor is it a political 


liberty from those tyrannous laws or practices of men that 
would root out the Gospel and pull down the kingdom of 
Christ, and set up iniquity. This liberty must be desired, 
and not denied, even when we submit ourselves to prose- 
cution; but it is, 1. The civil liberty of being from under 
the government of others and of having a hand in govern- 
ment ourselves. 2. The liberty of being from under the go- 
vernment of strangers, conquerors, or enemies. 3. The li- 
berty of choosing our own governors, and having them not 
by other men's election set over us. 4. A liberty from 
burdensome payments and taxes, which are of no necessity 
to our good. 5. A liberty from arbitrary government, and 
from being liable to the mere will and passions of men. 6. 
A protection from the abuses and injuries of others. 7. And 
a liberty for our bodies from the restraint of imprisonment. 
All these are things that in themselves are naturally good ; 
and especially the two last are very great mercies. But yet 
as the five first are smaller matters, so all of them are but 
temporal, transitory things, and not to be regarded in com- 
parison of Christ and the heavenly liberties. The dearest 
of them must be denied when they stand in the way of duty, 
and cannot be had on terms of innocency. To sin for li- 
berty, is to leap out of the frying-pan into the fire, as the 
proverb is; to become the prisoners of the devil, that we 
may not be the prisoners of men ; to enslave the soul for 
the liberty of the body. Believe it, sin makes deeper galls 
than bolts or scourges do : it is an easy durance to lie in 
gaol, in comparison of lying in sin, or under the wrath of 
God. At the farthest, death will free you from imprison- 
ment, but death alone will not free you from sin. It is but 
men's foolish conceits that makes imprisonment so grievous 
to the most. It is the same earth that they tread on, and 
the same air that they breathe in as before. The great trou- 
ble is that they have not their wills ; for when their own 
wills do as much confine them, it is then no trouble. I can 
confine myself to one room, to one chair, the far greatest 
part of the year for my studies ; and why should I not bear 
as well to be so confined by another, if my own will could 
but comply with it? Never grudge at restraint or impri- 
sonment then, but find out some employment in it, whereby 
you may be serviceable to God, or at least serve him by 
your sufferings, and then rejpice in it, and bring your minds 


to your condition, and bo you may set yourself at liberty 
in spite of the greatest tyrant in the world. Imprisonment 
is but a penal restraint ; and if it be not involuntary, it is 
scarcely penal : it is therefore in your power whether you 
will be prisoner or not, because it is in your power whether 
it shall be involuntary or not. Be but willing of your con- 
finement, and you are at liberty ; and though you are not 
out of the place, you are out of the prison. The same room 
that is a prison to the rest, is none to the keeper that guards 
them, because apprehending it to be for his commodity, he 
is willing of it, and their prison is his home. And if you do 
but apprehend how you are called from temptations, and 
have an opportunity of honouring God, or at least of being 
more humbled and mortified, and so bring your mind to 
consent to your habitation, it is become your home and place 
of freedom : however he is unworthy of the liberty of the 
saints, that cannot deny the liberty of his habitation or bo- 
dily abode for the attaining of it. 

And for the things that men make such a stir about in 
the world, under the name of their civil liberties, some of 
them are no liberties, but fancies or miseries, and the rest of 
them are no further to be valued than they are subservient 
to the kingdom of Christ, and the good of souls. Conceited 
people call it their liberty to be governed rather by four hun- 
dred than by one, or by popularity than by other forms of 
government, and a great stir they make about this, as if their 
felicity did consist in it; when as the true liberty of a com- 
monwealth consisteth in the fullest conformity of their laws 
and their execution to the will of God ; in being free from 
all laws or passions of men that encourage iniquity, and are 
against the Gospel or the common good, and peace and wel- 
fare of the body: in a word, to have government best fitted 
to the ends of government, which is such a temporal safety 
and prosperity as most conduceth to the service and honour 
of God ; but the species of government is none of this liberty 
in itself considered. A people may be at much more liberty 
under a pious monarch than an impious or unskilful demo- 
cracy. The free choice of the most when they are bad (as 
where is it better?) may enslave the best; and the awe and 
interest of the rich is commonly such upon the people, that 
a free choice is somewhat strange. And that sort of go- 
vernment may be fittest for one people, that is unfit for an- 


other ; and their happiness lieth not in the species of go- 
vernment, let them stretch their wits to invent new forms as 
long as they will, but in the predominancy of God and his 
interest in the hearts of the governors, and in their laws, their 
officers, and execution. This is it, and nothing but this in 
government, that will give the commonwealth that desirable 
liberty, in which their welfare doth consist. 

And therefore those persons are enemies to the liberty of 
their country, that under that name would advance such 
kind of popular interest as is plainly against the interest of 
Christ; and must have magistrates and ministers restrained 
from doing the work of the omnipotent Sovereign, the one 
froin punishing sin (if it be against the first table, or come but 
under the name of conscience), and the other from exercis- 
ing church discipline, and all under pretence of the people's 
liberties. All these are carnal liberties to be denied. 


Our Native Country and Habitations Denied. 

18. Another part of carnal self-interest to be denied, is, 
our native country, or place of habitation, with all the com- 
forts and accommodations they afford us. It is lawful to 
have some special love to our own country ; but not such as 
shall prevail against the love of Christ, or seem sufficient to 
entangle us in sin. We must shew our love to it princi- 
pally by desiring and endeavouring, that God's name may 
be hallowed, and his kingdom maintained, and his will ful- 
filled among and by our countrymen ; but if they should 
turn enemies to the Gospel or to godliness, we must love the 
servants of God abroad, much better than his enemies at 
home ; and wish the success of his servants, though of other 
countries, against his enemies, though they were of our 
own. And if we cannot serve God, or enjoy the freedom of 
a good conscience at home, another nation, though it were 
in the utmost parts of the earth, where we may better serve 
God, must seem abetter place to us. And if we be banish- 
ed or necessitated to forsake our country, we must not stick 
at it, for the cause of Christ. It is none of the greatest 


trials to be put to remove from one country to another, as 
long as we have necessaries, wherever we come. We have 
the same God to be with us, and take care of us, beyond the 
sea, as at home; the same earth, and air, and sun to shine 
upon us; the same Spirit, and grace, and promises to accom- 
pany us ; the same saints of God, and ordinances of wor- 
ship, may be had in other countries as our own. It is a 
kind of childishness to make such a matter of being driven 
out of one kingdom into another, when we have the same or 
greater mercies in the other. All is but our Father's house ; 
and we do but remove from room to room. " The earth is 
the Lord's and the fulness thereof." As I said before of im- 
prisonment, so I say of banishment : it is in our own wills 
by consenting to it, to make it no banishment. If you will 
make an affliction and a great matter of it, you may. A 
merchant or factor can live for his commodity, far from 
home, even among Turks and infidels, and take it for no ba- 
nishment ; much more should you do for the sake of Christ. 
Every place is our own country where our master's work 
lieth. We are but pilgrims ; and as long as we are not out 
of our way, we need not complain much of being out of our 
country. Indeed we are here but strangers, and this is not 
our country, and therefore let us not over-love it upon a mis- 
take. The apostles of Christ did purposely leave their 
countries, and travel about the countries of the world, to 
bring them the doctrine of salvation by Christ. And is it 
not better be walking lights to illuminate the world, than 
candles shut up within the walls of our own habitation ? 
" By faith Abraham, when he was called to go into a place 
which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed, and 
went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he so- 
journed in the land of promise, as in a strange country, 
dwelling in tabernacles — for he looked for a city which had 
foundations, whose builder and maker is God ;" Heb. xi. 8, 
9. 19. " They confessed that they were strangers and pil- 
grims on the earth ; for they that say such things, declare 
plainly that they seek a country: and truly if they had been 
mindful of that country from whence they came out, they 
might have had opportunity to have returned : 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;" ver. 13—16. It was the sorest kind of 


banishment that the saints endured, that is mentioned, 
•' they wandered about in sheep-skins and goat-skins, being 
destitute, afflicted, tormented ; of whom the world was not 
worthy : they wandered in deserts and mountains, and in 
dens and caves of the earth ;" Heb. xi. 37, 38. We judge our- 
selves unworthy of Christ and the new Jerusalem, and our 
heavenly cQuntry, if we cannot deny an earthly, sinful coun- 
try for them. 


Bodily Health and Ease from Torments. 

19. But a far greater interest of self to be denied, doth 
consist in our bodily health and ease, and from those pains 
and torments which persecutors use to inflict upon the 
godly. An averseness to suffering is natural to man, and 
in itself no sin ; but an excessive averseness doth signify 
too much tenderness of the flesh, and too little power of 
reason, which should quiet the mind when it cannot abate 
the pain of the body, and must use to submit to a lesser 
evil to avoid a greater ; or to obtain a greater good than it 
depriveth us of: Paul and Silas could sing with their bodies 
sore and their feet in the stocks. To be joyful in tribula- 
tion should be no strange matter to a saint, much more with 
a patient submission to undergo it. We may not thrust 
ourselves into the fire, nor choose suffering without a call ; 
but we must suffer rather than sin, and choose the wounds 
and hurts of the body before the wounds and losses of the 
soul. But because flesh and blood will draw back, and 
make too great a matter of sufferings, I shall briefly give 
you ten considerations, that may persuade you herein to 
deny yourselves ; and in two cases I desire you to make use 
of them. First, in case you have no way to escape suffering 
but by sinning, then deny yourselves and choose to suffer. 
Secondly, in case of God's afflictions, which unavoidably 
lie upon you, then deny yourselves by a quiet and patient 
submission ; and for both consider, — 

1. That is the best condition for us in which we may be 
most serviceable to God. And if we suffer for righteous- 
ness, we may serve God as well in such suffering as in a 


prosperous state ; or if God himself afflict us, we may serve 
him in our affliction : our patience then is the service that 
we are called to. The sufferings of the saints have done 
very much to the promoting of the Gospel and building of 
the church : men will see that there is somewhat worth the 
suffering for in the Christian religion, and see that heaven 
is taken by believers for a certain thing, when they can let 
go earth for it : they will be moved to inquire, what it is 
that moves you to such constancy and patience ; and why 
should we not be willing of that condition in which we do 
our master the best service, whatever the doing of it shall 
cost us ? The commodity of our end is the chiefest com- 

2. That is the best condition for us in which we may 
have most of God. But certainly we may have as much, 
and usually more, of God in suffering, especially for his 
cause, than we can have in prosperity ; especially when we 
sin to escape these sufferings. Is it bodily ease, or God, 
that you set most by? It will be seen by your choice. If 
you prefer your ease before him, you must expect to have 
no better than you choose : if you prefer him before your 
ease and prosperity, you must be gladder of God with ad- 
versity and pain, than of prosperity and ease without him. 
A beast hath health and ease as well as you, and yet you 
will not think him as happy. If you are tormented, or lose 
your health for Christ, you lose nothing but what a Turk or 
infidel hath ; yea, but what a beast hath as well as you ! 
But you may have that of God, by the advantage of your 
suffering, that none but saints have ; and God's presence 
can make a suffering state as sweet as a prosperous. And 
he hath given you ground in his promises to expect it, 
" When thou passeth through the fire, I will be with thee ;'* 
Isa. xliii. 1 — 3. *' There hath no temptation taken you, 
but what is common to man ; but God is faithful, who will 
not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able : but 
will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that 
you may be able to bear it ;" 1 Cor. x. 13. " If ye be re- 
proached for the name of Christ, happy are ye ; for the spirit 
of glory and of God resteth upon you : on their part he is 
evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified ;" 1 Pet. iv. 
14. ** If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be 
ashamed, but let him glorify Qod on this behalf;" ver. 16. 


What is the Scripture fuller of than comforting promises 
to the sufferers for Christ? To fly from such sufferings 
then, is but to fly from the presence of God and our own 

3. At least these sufferings further our sanctification, 
and make us better. And is not that our best condition 
that makes us best? Common experience, as well as Scrip- 
ture, may satisfy us that a suffering state doth very much 
further humiliation and mortification, and bring men to a 
deeper sense of sin, and help all the truths of God to work, 
and make them more sensible and serious than in prosperity. 
Then we do not only hear, but feel that sin is evil, and that 
the world is vain, and that the threatenings of God are true. 
Why, Christian, if thou didst but know that thou shouldst 
have more of the Spirit and its graces, and less of sin, in a 
suffering estate than in ease and plenty, wouldst thou not 
even choose it and be glad of it ? Is not sin worse than 
suffering to thee, and holiness better than ease and peace ? 
Alas, what senseless, careless persons should we be, if it 
were not for the help of suftering ! Grace useth to work by 
means, and this is the common means. 

4. Consider, that pain and suffering we shall have, whe- 
ther for Christ or not. The worst men undergo almost as 
much by ordinary sicknesses, and losses, and crosses, as the 
martyrs do that suffer for Christ : sin will bring suffering, 
and it is better have that which is sanctified by the interest 
of Christ, than that which is not. 

5. And a Christian that hath so much ado to curb and 
rule the flesh in prosperity, methinks should the more pa- 
tiently bear adversity, because God sets in by it, and helps 
him to subdue the flesh, and tame the body, and bring it 
in subjection. And as it is but this burdensome flesh that 
suffereth, which hath been the cause of so much suffering 
to our minds, so our warfare against this flesh, which we 
manage through the course of our lives, goes on more pros- 
perously in the time of its sufferings than in prosperity. A 
weakened enemy is more easily conquered. Do not therefore 
too much take part with the suffering flesh, but self deny- 
ingly justify the proceedings of the Lord. 

6. And consider that the pains and suffering will be but 
short. It is but a little while, and you shall feel no more 
than if vou had felt nothing ; and that which shortly will 


not be, is next to that which is not. As it makes all the 
pleasures and glory of the world to be a dream, and next to 
nothing, because it is but a while, and they are gone, and 
never return again : so it makes our sufferings next to no- 
thing, that they are passing away, and almost over. And 
then all tears will be wiped from your eyes ; and pain will 
be forgotten, or remembered only to increase your joy. 
When you are past the brunt, and safe with Christ, you will 
never repent of your sufferings on earth, nor will it trouble 
you then to think of the shame or sickness, or pain or tor- 
ment, that here you were put to undergo. Yet a little while 
and all will be over. 

7. In the meantime, consider also that they are all de- 
served sufferings : you deserve them from God, though not 
from man ; nay, they are a thousandfold less than your 
deservings. If free grace have pardoned you the main, and 
rescued you from the torments of hell, methinks the remem- 
brance of this wonderful mercy should make you patiently 
bear the fatherly chastisements that tend to the perfecting 
your deliverance. 

8. And so much the rather, because they are sufferings more 
gainful to you than the greatest prosperity is to the world. 
When you have suffered for Christ as much as your natures 
are able to bear, you need not fear being losers by him : as 
he is engaged by promise to make you amends, and to give 
you the reward of inheritance of glory, so he is easily able 
to accomplish it. All the saints of God are in the way to 
glory, but his suffering saints are in the nearest way. All 
his servants are unspeakably gainers by him, but his suf- 
ferers are in the most thriving way ; they shall have an 
eminency of reward, or a reward above the common reward. 
'* These are they that come out of great tribulation, and 
have washed their robes and made them white in the blood 
of the Lamb ; therefore are they before the throne of God, 
and serve him day and night in his temple, and he that 
sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them ;" Rev. vii. 14. 
The churches therefore glory in their martyrs, and for the 
patience and faith of Christians in all the persecutions and 
ti'ibulations which they endure, " a manifest token of the 
righteous judgment of God, that they may be counted 
worthy of the kingdom of God, for which they suffer; seeing 
it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation 


•to them that trouble them ; and to thiem that are troubled, 
rest with the saints ;" 2 Thess. i. 4 — 6. *' Peter said, behold 
we have forsaken all and followed thee ; what shall we 
have therefore ? And Jesus said unto them, verily I say 
unto you, that ye which have followed me in the regenera- 
tion, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his 
glory, ye shall also sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve 
tribes of Israel,: and every one that hath forsaken houses, 
or brethren, or sisters, or wife, or children, or lands, for 
my names sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall in- 
herit everlasting life ;" Matt. xix. 27 — 29. And is it not 
better suffer under these terms of inconceivable advantage, 
than to suffer in a natural way for nothing ? 

9. And consider, that if suffering seem so great a matter 
to you, that you are resolved, though by the way of sin, to 
avoid it, you will escape it at so dear a rate, that you will 
wish a thousand times you had endured it. There is no 
escaping of Christian suffering when you are called to it, but 
by running into eternal suffering. There is no escaping the 
prison,, and torment, and fire of martyrdom, when you are 
called to it, but by running into the fire of hell. God can 
deliver you indeed on easier terms, by forbearing to call you 
to it, or rescuing by his power ; but you cannot rescue 
yourselves by refusing to suffer and yielding to sin, without 
paying dearer for your freedom than it is worth. And there- 
fore deny yourselves, and bear what God shall call you to, 
lest Christ deny you, and make you suffer a thousandfold 
more to all eternity. 

10. Lastly, consider also, that this part of self-denial is 
it that Christ hath fully and purposely taught us by his own 
example. Are you better than the Lord of life? And did 
they not use him worse than you are used ? Do they slander 
you? And did they not so by him, calling him a gluttonous 
person and a wine-bibber, and a friend of publicans and 
sinners, a sabbath-breaker, an enemy to Caesar, a deceiver ; 
yea, one that had a devil, and cast out devils by Beelzebub ? 
Do they put a fool's coat on you, and a reed in your hand, 
and make a laughingstock of you ? Remember what they 
did by Christ. They mixed scorn and cruelty together when 
they crowned him with a crown of thorns, and struck him 
when they had covered his eyes, and bid him read wha 
smote him. And do they worse than this by you ? They 


spit in his face, and saved a murderer, that he might be sure 
to die. And do they worse than this by you 1 " Run there- 
fore with patience the race that is set before you, looking 
to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the 
joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the 
shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of 
God { for consider him that endured such contradiction of 
sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your 
mind ;" Heb. xii. 1 — 3. " If, when ye do well and suffer 
for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God, 
for even hereunto were ye called ; because Christ also suf- 
fered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow his 
steps, who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. 
Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again j when he suf- 
fered, threatened not, but committed himself to him that 
judgeth righteously ; 1 Pet. ii. 20 — 23. 

Upon all these considerations, you may see that in the 
greatest afflictions or torments of the flesh, we have reason 
enough for the practice of self-denial : and therefore as Christ 
used Peter, when he persuaded him to have favoured him- 
self, and to have avoided suffering, when it was necessary 
for us, bidding him, " Get behind me Satan, thou art an 
offence to me, for thou savourest not the things that be of 
God, but those that be of men ;" Matt. xvi. 23. So do you 
deal by carnal self, when it would persuade you to favour 
yourselves, and put by suffering by yielding to sin. Take 
this self to be but a satan to you, that savoureth not heavenly 
things but earthly, and command it to be silent, and to get 
behind you ; and do not so much as make your flesh of your 
counsel, nor hearken to any of its advice, in case of suffer- 
ing for Christ. 


Natural Life to be Denied. 

20. But the greatest point of self-denial is yet behind : 
nothing is so near to self as life : nothing that nature doth 
so highly value, and dearly love, and tenderly look to, and 
unwillingly let go. And yet this also must be denied for 
Christ. All other parts of selfish interest are as it were 
summed up and contracted in this ; and many a one can 


yield in other points that, when he comes to this, is utterly 
stalled, and will go away sorrowful, rather than follow 
Christ to the death. Nothing in this world is so dear to 
natural man as his life ; and, therefore, death is a thing 
that he knpws not how to choose, nor to submit to, if he 
could avoid it. 

In three cases only, I remember that heathens them- 
selves have chosen death. First, in case of some extreme 
torment or other misery, which they had no other hope to 
prevent or end. But this was but a choosing a speedier or 
easier death before a more grievous death, though remote ; 
or before a death that had so great a misery for its fore- 
runner ; or at least before such a life as is a continual death. 
And so the conquered heathens would frequently kill them- 
selves, to prevent a more dishonourable, cruel death, from 
the hand of the conqueror : and so many a one in incurable 
misery wisheth rather to die than endure it, partly because 
that the suffering is so great as to overcome all the comforts 
of life (for I yield that some degrees of misery with life are 
more terrible to nature than death) ; and partly, because that 
they know they must die at last however. Secondly, in a de- 
sire of fame, that they may leave behind them an honourable 
name when they are dead. But this is not to desire death 
but life. Fain they would live for ever ; and because they 
know that it cannot be obtained (on earth), they had rather 
die some honourable death a little sooner, that their names 
may live when they are dead, than to die ignominiously 
shortly after. Thirdly : and some have chosen to die for 
the public good of their country ; but as it is very uncertain 
whether the desire of a living name were not their greater 
motive, so it was but a choosing a present death for their 
country, before a later unavoidable death without any such 
advantage. In all these cases a natural man may venture 
on death that knows he cannot escape it long, but must 
shortly die whether he will or no ; but if they could avoid 
it, there are very few would submit to death but believers, 
and none but in one of these cases : — 1. To end or avoid 
some extreme, intolerable, incurable misery. 2. To deliver 
their country or friends. 3. And whether any would do it 
upon their ungrounded hopes of better things in the life to 
come, I leave to consideration. But if it be taken for 
granted that a natural man may love — 1, the comforts of 


life above itself; 2, and the good of his country, or the worlds* 
or his children, above his life; 3, or some carnal felicity 
falsely conceited to be had in another life ; yet it is certain, 
that none but a sanctified believer can love God better than 
his life, or can prefer those spiritual, heavenly joys, which 
consist in the holy love and fruition of God, before his life ; 
and therefore he that for these can deny his life, is indeed a 
Christian, and none but he. Though it be an ungrateful 
vs^ord to the ears of some, I must say it again, and none but 
he ; for this is the very point in which Christ, for instance, 
doth put our self-denial to the trial, " he that will save his 
life, shall lose it/' Whether you love an immortal, holy life 
with God, or this earthly, fleshly life better, is the great 
question on which it will be resolved whether you are 
Christians or infidels at the heart, and whether you are 
heirs of heaven or hell. Some love to God may be in the 
unsanctified, but not a love to him above their Mves ; and in 
some cases they may submit to death, but not for the love 
of God. But both these set together, that is, a submitting 
to death for the love of God, or a loving of God above this 
life, is the most infallible proof of your sincerity. 

I confess flesh and blood must needs think this is a very 
hard saying ; and though they might consent to acknow- 
ledge it a duty, and a reasonable thing to die for Christ, 
and a note of excellency, and a commendable qualification 
of some few extraordinary saints, yet it goeth very hardly 
down with them that it should be the lowest measure of 
saving grace, and that the weakest Christian must have it 
that will be saved : for, say they, what can the strongest do 
more than die for Christ? But to this I answer, 1. There 
is no room for objections against 6o plain a word of God. 
It is the wisdom of God, and not our reason, that disposeth 
of the crown of life ; and therefore it is his wisdom, and not 
our reason, must determine by what we shall attain it. And 
if God say plainly, that *' if any man come to Christ, and 
hate not his own life (that is, love it not so much less than 
Christ, that for his sake he can «se it as a hated thing is 
used), he cannot be his disciple" (Luke xiv. 26), it is too 
late for the vote of man, or all the clamour of foolish reason, 
to recall this resolution. The word of God will stand wheft 
they have talked against it never so long : we may destroy 
ourselves by dashing against it, but we cannot destroy or 


frustrate it. 2. And whereas men ask, what can the strongest 
do more than die for Christ? I answer, abundance more: 
they can die for him with far greater love, and zeal, and 
readiness, and joy, than the weak can do, and so bring much 
more honour to him by their death. Though there be no 
higher way of outward expressing our love to Christ, than 
by dying for him ; yet the inward work of love may be in 
very different degrees, in persons that use the same expres- 
sion of it. Some may come to the stake with a little love, 
comparatively, and some with fervent, hot affections : some 
have much ado to yield to die, and some die so cheei fully, that 
they rejoice in the opportunity of honouring God, and pass- 
ing to him. Yea, and in the expressions there is much dif- 
ference in the manner : some give up themselves with so 
much readiness, as works more on the standers by, than 
their mere patience, or the death itself. And some are drawn 
so hardly to it, as drowneth much of the honour and fruit 
of their martyrdom. Of this, read Mr. Pink's sermon on 
Luke xiv. 26. 

Object, * But nature is of God, and nature teacheth us 
to love and save our lives : and is it like that the God of 
nature will command and teach us to cast them away, and 
so contradict his own law of nature ?' 

Answ. 1. As nature teacheth you to love your lives, so 
God doth not forbid you. But, 2. Is it natural to man to 
be reasonable, as well as to be sensitive and animate ? To 
have a reasonable soul, as to have a temporal life? 3. And 
doth not reason tell us by the light of nature, that God 
should be loved better than our lives ? If it did not, yet by the 
help of supernatural light, even reason clearly tells us this; 
and it is no contradiction for God to tell you, * love your lives, 
but love him better.' And he that bids you seek the pre- 
servation of your lives, doth plainly except, that you resign 
them to his dispose, and that you seek not to save them from 
him when he commandeth you to lay them down. So that 
it is not simply against nature, to consent to die ; but when 
it is for him that is the Lord and end of life, it is agreeable 
to nature ; that is, though it be against our natural inclina- 
tion, as we are animate and sensitive, yet it is agreeable to 
our true nature as reasonable. And therefore lay all toge- 
ther, and it is to be said to be agreeable to nature simply in 
in such a case, because it is agreeable to the principal part 


in nature which should be predominant : it is agreeable to 
nature also, that reason should dispose of the inferior powers 
of the soul. 

Object. * But when you have said all that you can, as long 
as you plead against my nature, I cannot consent to what 
you say ; words are but wind. To persuade me to consent 
to die, is as much as to persuade me not to feel when I am 
hurt, or to be hungry, thirsty, or sleepy, which are not in 
my power, because these things are natural.' 

A71SW. 1. Though hunger and thirst, and other natural 
and sensitive appetites and passions, be not in your power, 
yet a consent of the will to deny these is in your power. As 
natural as it is to hunger and thirst, your superior faculty 
of reason can prevail with you to suffer hunger and thirst in 
a siege or sickness, when the suffering of it will save your 
life. You will be ruled by your physician to forbear not 
only many a dish, but many a meal which your appetite de- 
sireth ; and your reason can persuade you to suffer the open- 
ing of a vein, and the drawing out of your own blood, yea, 
or the cutting off a member, when it is to save your life ; for 
all that feeling and self-love is natural to you. And you 
are not acquainted with the nature of friendship, if you 
would not suffer much for a friend ; nor with humane affec- 
tions, if you would not suffer much for parents, or children, 
or your country ; so that your will is free though your sense 
be not free, nor your natural appetite. Though you cannot 
choose but feel when you are hurt, you might consent to 
that feeling for a greater good. 2. And according to the 
tenour of this objection, you may as wisely and honestly 
plead for most of the wickedness of the world, and say, * it 
is natural to me to lust, and therefore I may play the adul- 
terer and fulfil it. It is natural to me to desire meat and 
drink, and therefore I may eat and drink as long as I desire 
it. It is natural to me to seek to hurt those that I am angry 
with, or hate ; and therefore I may beat or kill them.' If 
you must deny the passions and sensitive appetite, and the 
inferior faculties of nature in one thing, why not in another? 
These lower powers are made to be ruled by reason, as beasts 
are made to be ruled by men, and more ; and therefore, see- 
ing this argument from nature is but from the brutish part 
of nature, it is but a brutish argument. And if yet you say, 
that for all these words, death is so great an enemy to you. 


that you cannot choose it : I answer, that is because your 
reason is not illuminated and elevated by faith, to see the 
necessity of choosing it, and to see those higher and better 
things which by this means you may obtain. Had you that 
heavenly life of faith and love which the Spirit worketh in 
the saints, it would carry you above this present life, and 
take you up with higher matters, and shew you that (and 
so shew it you) as should procure your own consent to die. 

But because this is the great point that Christ doth pur- 
posely here try our self-denial by, and a point of such great 
necessity to be looked after, I shall stay a little longer on 
it, while I give you, 1. Some reasons to move you; and 
2. Some directions to assist you, to get a self-denying sub- 
mission to death when Christ requireth it. 

The many lamentable defects in grace which the in- 
ordinate fear of death doth intimate, I have already opened 
in the fourth part of the * Saints' Rest ;' and therefore may 
not now repeat them, but shall add some few considera- 
tions more. 


Twenty Reasons for denying Life. 

1. Consider that our lives are not our own, but God, that 
doth require them, is the absolute Lord of them : more truly 
than you are owner of any thing that you have in the world, 
is he the owner of your lives and you. And therefore both 
in reason and justice we should be content that he dispose 
of his own. If he may not freely dispose of you and your 
lives, you may as well deny him the dispose of any thing, 
and so deny him to be God ; for he hath the same right to 
you as to any thing else, and the same power over you. And 
therefore if you consent that he shall be God (for which he 
needs not your consent), you must consent that he be the 
owner and disposer of all, and of you as well as all things 
else : otherwise he is not God. 

2. You can be content that the lives of others, yea, that 
all the world, should be at God*s dispose : in reason you 



cannot wish it should be otherwise. You are content that 
the lives of emperors and kings, that are greater than you, 
should be at his dispose. And is there not the same reason 
that he dispose of your life as of theirs ? Are you better 
than they, or more your own ; or hath the world more need 
of you than them ? Or rather, is it not unreasonable selfish- 
ness that makes so unreasonable a difference with you ? If 
reason might serve, the case is plain. 

3. You are contented that far greater matters than your 
lives should be at God's dispose. The sun in its course, 
the frame of nature, heaven and earth, and all therein, are 
at his dispose, and would you wish it otherwise ? Days and 
nights, and summer and winter, and times and seasons, are 
at his dispose ; and you dare not murmur that all the year 
is. not summer or daylight, and that there is any night or 
winter. The angels of heaven are at his dispose to do his 
will, and are content to be used on earth for your service, 
and they desire not to be from under his dispose. And 
should you desire it ? or rather desire that his will may be 
done on earth as it is in heaven ? If you would not have the 
crowns and kingdoms of the world at his dispose, and 
heaven and earth are at his dispose, you would not have him 
to be God ; but if you would have these greatest things 
at his dispose, what are you then, that your lives should 
be excepted? 

4. Whom would you have to be the disposer of men's 
lives but God ? Is any other fit for the undertaking ? No 
other can give life but he ; and no other can preserve and 
continue it but he ! If your life had been in any creature's 
hand, you had been dead long ago ; for no creature is able 
to uphold itself, much less another also. Is any creature 
wise enough to order the world and the affairs thereof? Is 
any creature powerful enough to dispose of the world and 
all things in it? Is any creature good enough to do it with- 
out the communication of its imperfection, which would dis- 
order and destroy all ? I know you make no doubt of any 
of these things. No creature is fit to be God ; and there- 
fore none is fit to undertake the work of God : and there- 
fore it must be God or none that must have the disposal of 
your lives and you. 

But I know what it is that self would have ! You would 
have the disposal of your own lives, or else have God to 


dispose of them as you would have him, which comes all to 
one. But how unreasonable is this? Would you alone 
have the disposal of your own lives? Or would you have 
all men else in the world also to have the disposal of theirs? 
If all should have this privilege, what a miserable privilege 
would it prove ! No man then would die ; and then either 
you must forbear marriage, or what would you do with your 
posterity, when there were no room on earth ? And then 
you could not punish a malefactor with death ! And what 
a world would it be, if all men were disposers of themselves, 
when there would be as many different ends and minds as 
men ? Every man would be for himself, and an enemy to 
others ; and the world would run every man on his own 
head, and a madder confusion than can be imagined would 
seize on all. If you would have every man have the dispose 
of his own life, you would have as many Gods as men, and 
so have no God ; and you would have as many kings or 
rulers as men, and so have no ruler : and you would have 
the world to be no world, when God were to them as no 
God. And if you would not have it thus with all, what 
reason have you to desire it for yourself? What are you 
more than all the world, that you should be exempted from 
the common state of mortals, and be at your own disposal 
more than they, and be instead of God unto yourselves? 

5. You think it neither cruelty nor injustice, that the 
lives of brutes should be much at your disposal ! Your poor 
fellow-creatures must die when you require it. Birds, and 
beasts, and fishes, even multitudes of them, must die to 
feed you ; yea, even for your delight, to make you a feast, 
when you have no necessity. The most harmless sheep you 
will not spare ; the most laborious ox, the most beautiful 
bird, must give up their lives to satisfy your pleasure. And 
is not God ten thousand thousand times, even infinitely 
more above you, than you are above your fellow-creatures ? 
Is one creature fitter to kill another, and afterwards devour 
it, and become its grave, than God to dispose of the 
lives of all ? 

6. Where could you wish your lives to be better, than 
in the hand of the most wise and gracious God? If you 
may rest content, or have confidence in any, it is in him. 
You need not doubt of his goodness, for he is goodness and 
love itself. And therefore though you see not the world 


to come that you are passing to, yet as long as you know 
that you are in the hands of love itself, what cause have you 
of disquiet or distrust ? And that you know that he is wise 
as well as good, and alpaighty as well as wise ; and there- 
fore as he meaneth you no harm (if you are his children), so 
he will not mistake, nor fail in the performance. You need 
not fear lest your happiness should miscarry for want of 
skill in him that is omniscient, or for want of will in him 
that is your father, or for want of power in him that is om- 
nipotent. You may far better trust God with your lives 
than yourselves, for you have not wisdom enough to know 
what is best for you, nor skill to accomplish it, nor power 
to go through with it ; nay, you love not yourselves so well 
as God doth love you. Did you but believe this, you would 
better trust him. You can trust yourselves in a narrow 
ship upon the wide and raging seas, when you never saw 
the country that you are going to ; and all because you be- 
lieve that the voyage is for your commodity, and that you 
have a skilful pilot. And cannot you commend your souls 
into the hand of God, to convey you through death to the 
invisible glory, as confidently as you dare commit your lives 
to the conduct of a man, and to a tottering ship in a hazard- 
ous ocean ? You can trust your lives on the skill of a phy- 
sician ; and cannot you trust them on the will of God ? If 
you had your choice, whether your lives should be at your 
own dispose, or God's, you should far rather choose that God 
might dispose of them than yourselves ; as it is better for 
an infant to be guided and disposed of by the parents than 
by itself. A good king will not kill his own subjects need- 
lessly, and a natural father or mother will not needlessly 
kill their own children^ yea, a very brute will tenderly che- 
rish their young. And do you think that God, who is in- 
finitely good, will causelessly or injuriously take your lives? 
Or that he doth not mean you good even in your death ? 

Object. * But how can I think it for my good to die ; and 
to have my nature dissolved? 

Armv. Paul " did desire to depart, or be dissolved, and 
to be with Christ as best of all ;" Phil. i. 23. And did not 
he know what was for his good as well as you ? He was 
" willing rather to be absent from the body and present with 
the Lord, than at home in the body and absent from the 
Lord ; and therefore groaned earnestly, desiring to be cloth- 


ed upon with his house which is from heaven, that mortality 
might be swallowed up of life ;" 2 Cor. v. 1 , 2. 4. 6. 8. When 
the hen hath sat to hatch her young ones, they must leave 
the shell as good for nothing, and must come into a world 
which they never saw before. And what of that? Should 
they murmur at the breaking of their former habitation ? 
Or fear the passage into so light, so wide, so strange a place, 
in comparison of that in which they were in before ? No 
more should we murmur at the breaking of these bodies, 
and casting the shell of flesh, and passing under the con- 
duct of angels, into the presence of the Lord. God is but 
hatching us here by his Spirit, that he may bring us out into 
the light of glory. And should we grudge at this ? 

7. And what if God call you to sacrifice your lives to 
him, as he called Abraham to sacrifice his son ? What if he 
call you to come to him by a persecutor's hand ? Or at least 
to be willing of your natural death ? He calls you but to 
give up a life which you cannot keep ; and to do that wil- 
lingly, which else you must do whether you will or not : 
willing or unwilling, die you must ! How loath soever you 
are, you are sure to die! You may turn you every way, 
and look about you on the right hand and the left, to all 
the friends and means in the world, and you will never find 
a medicine that will here procure immortality, nor ever 
escape the hand of death. " It is appointed to all men once 
to die, and after that the judgment ;" Heb. ix. 27. And no 
man can change the decrees of Heaven. And seeing all your 
turnings and unwillingness cannot avoid it, is it not better 
to submit to it willingly than unwillingly? God doth im- 
pose it on you as a necessity. Your willingness may make 
a virtue of necessity, and out of necessity extract a reward ; 
but your unwillingness may turn your suffering into your 
sin, and a necessary death unto an unnecessary misery now 
(and hereafter if you be not true believers), as Paul saith of 
his ministerial labours, ** If I do this thing willingly, I have 
a reward : but if against my will, a dispensation is commit- 
ed to me : for necessity is laid upon me" — 1 Cor. ix. 16, 17. 
So I may say in the present case : if you give up your lives 
willingly in the love of God, you have a reward ; but if you 
do not, necessity is upon you, and die you must, whether 
you will or no. You may escape the reward by your un- 
willingness, but death you cannot escape. And methinks 


you should see that it is little thanks to you, to give up that 
life which you cannot keep ; and yet this is all that God re- 
quireth. Perhaps you think, that though you cannot keep 
it still, yet somewhat longer you may keep it. But you be 
not sure of that. The next hour may God deprive you of 
it. And O, what a dreadful thing it were, if as soon as you 
have denied God your lives, he should snatch them from you 
in his fury, and cast you into hell ! And if he should dis- 
train for his own, as soon as you have denied it him ! And 
you should die as enemies, that would not die as martyrs, and 
as his friends ! And in this sense hath my text been many 
a time fulfilled, " He that will save his life shall lose it." 

8. Consider also, that it is upon terms of the highest advan- 
tage imaginable to yourselves, that God calls you to resign 
and lay down your lives. It is not indeed to lose them, but to 
save them, as my text doth promise you, '* He that loseth his 
life shall save it." No more than you lose your clothes which 
you put off at night, and put on again in the morning ; or 
rather, no more than you lose your dirty, rotten rags, when 
you put them off at night, and are to have in the morning a 
suit of princely attire in their stead. Will any man say, 
these rags are lost ? At least they will not say that the man 
is a loser by the change. That is not lost that is committed 
to God, upon the ground of a promise. Nor that which is 
laid out in his service, at his command. Reason will tell us, 
that no man can be a loser by a course of submissive obedi- 
ence to God. You cannot be at so much cost for him, or 
offer him so dear a service, which he is not able and willing 
to satisfy you for a thousandfold. God will not be beholden 
to any man. You cannot bring him in your debt, beyond 
what he doth by his bountiful promise ; but if you could, 
he would not continue in your debt. You will make no- 
thing of your death, if you do not either undergo it for 
Christ, or bear it submissively by the power of heavenly love 
constraining you. Merely to die whether you will or no, 
as a fruit of sin, is common to the most ungodly men; but 
if the love of God can make you voluntarily submit to death 
(whether natural, or violent from persecutors), what a glo- 
rious advantage may you make of it! Y^ou will 1. Put 
your salvation more out of doubt than any other course in 
this world could do. For whosoever perisheth, it is most 
certain that such as these shall be saved. 2. And therefore 


you may die with the greatest confidence and joy, as having 
seen the matter of your doubts removed, and dying in the 
very exercise of those graces that have the promise of sal- 
vation; and in such a state as hath the fullest and most fre- 
quent promises in the Gospel. 3. And then the crown of 
martyrdom is the most glorious crown. You will not have 
an ordinary place in heaven. These are that part of the 
heavenly host that stand nearest to the throne of God, and 
that praise him with the highest joys, who hath brought 
them through tribulations, and redeemed them by his blood. 
If a man should make a motion to you to exchange your 
cottage for a palace and a kingdom, you would not stick at 
it as if it were against you, because you must leave your 
ancient home : and how much less should you be against 
it, when you are but moved to step out of your ruinous cot- 
tage into glory, when it would shortly fall upon your heads, 
and you must leave it whether you will or no, for nothing. 

9. What reason have you to be so tender of the flesh? 
Is it the greatness of its sufferings that you stick at? Why, 
you put poor beasts and birds to as much, and so do the 
butchers daily for your use; and they must suffer it. And 
why should the body be so dear to you? For the matter of 
it, what is it but earth? And wherein is it more excellent than 
the beasts that perish ? I think God hath purposely cloth- 
ed your souls with so poor a dress, that you should be the 
less unwilling to be unclothed, and might learn to set more 
by your souls than by your bodies, and to make more care- 
fully provision for them. It seems he hath purposely lodged 
you in so poor a cottage, that you should not be at too 
much care for it, nor be too loath to leave it. You have its 
daily necessities, and infirmities, and pains, and somewhat 
of its filth and loathsomeness, to tell you of its meanness ; 
and why should you be so loath that so poor a cottage, so 
frail a body, should be turned to dust? Dust it is, and to 
dust it is sentenced. When the soul hath left it but a week, 
men can scarce endure to see it or smell it ! And should 
the breaking of such an earthen vessel be so unpleasing a 
thing to you? And for its usefulness, though so far as it is 
obedient, it was serviceable to your souls and God, yet 
was it so refractory, ill-disposed, and disobedient, that it 
proved no better than your enemy. Many a temptation it 
hath entertained and cherished ; and many a sin hath it 


drawn you to commit; those senses have let in a world of 
vanity ; those wandering eyes have called in covetousness, 
and pride, and lust. Those greedy appetites have been so 
eager on the bait, that they have too oft borne your faith 
and reason, and drawn you to excess in meats and drinks, 
for matter or manner, for quality or quantity, or both. 
Many a groan those sins have cost you, and many a smart- 
ing day they have caused you, and a sad, uncomfortable life 
you have had by reason of them, in comparison of. what you 
might have had. And this flesh hath been the mother, or 
nurse of all. You were engaged by your baptismal covenant 
to fight against it, when you entered into the church ; and 
if you are Christians, this combat hath been your daily 
work, and much of the business of your lives. And yet are 
you loath to have the victory, and see your enemy under 
feet? Do you fight against it as for the life of your souls, 
and yet are you afraid lest death should hurt it or break it 
down? Have you fought yourselves friends with it, that 
you are so tender of it? When you are the greatest friends 
to it, it will be the most dangerous enemy to you. And do 
not think that it is only sin, and not the body, that is the 
flesh, that is called your enemy in Scripture. For though it 
be not the body as such, or as obedient to the soul, yet is 
it the body as inclining to creatures, from which the sinful 
soul cannot restrain it ; and it is the body as having an in- 
ordinate sensitive appetite and imagination, and so distem- 
pered, as that it rebels against the Spirit, and casteth off 
the rule of reason, and would not be curbed of its desires, 
but have the rule of all itself. Was it not the very flesh 
itself that Paulsaith he fought against, and kept under, and 
brought into subjection, lest he should be cast away? ICor. 
ix. 26, 27. Why should sin be called ' flesh and body' but 
that it is the body of flesh that is the principal seat of 
those sins that are so called? " If ye live after the flesh, 
ye shall die ; but if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify the 
deeds of the body, ye shall live;" Rom. viii. 13. ** If ye 
sow to the flesh, of the flesh ye shall reap corruption;" Gal. 
vi. 8. That which is first in being, is first in sin ; but it is 
the flesh or embryo endued with sense, that is first in being. 
Be not therefore too tender of that which corruption hath 
made your prison and your enemy : many a time you have 
been put to resist it, and watch and strive against it, and 


when you have been at the best, it hath been hindering you 
to be better; and when the spirit was willing the flesh was 
weak, and quickly hath it caused your cooling and declen- 
sion. Many a blessed hour's communion between God and 
your souls, that flesh hath deprived you of: and therefore, 
though still you must love it, yet you should the less grieve 
or be troubled at its sufferings, seeing they are but the fruits 
of its sin, and a holy contentedness should possess your 
minds, that God should thus castigatorily revenge his own 
quarrel and yours upon it. 

10. But yet consider, that were you never so tender of 
the body itself, yet faith and reason should persuade you to 
be content, for God is but preparing even for its felicity ; 
his undoing it is but to make it up again. As in the new 
birth he broke your hearts and false hopes, that he might 
heal your hearts, and give you sounder hopes instead of 
them ; so at death he breaketh your flesh and worldly hopes, 
not to undo you, and leave it in corruption, but to raise it 
again another manner of body than now it is, and give it a 
part in the blessedness which you hoped for. If in good 
sadness you believe the resurrection, what cause is there 
for so much fear of death? You can be content that your 
-roses die, and your sweetest flowers fall and perish, and the 
green and beauteous complexion of the earth be turned into 
a bleak and withered hue, because you expect a kind of re- 
surrection in the spring. You can boldly lie down at night 
to sleep, though sleep be a kind of death to the body, and 
more to the soul, and all because you shall rise again in the 
morning ; and if every night's sleep (or one at least) were a 
gentle death, if you were sure to rise again the next morn- 
ing, you would make no great matter of it. Were it as com- 
mon to men to die every night, and rise again in the morn- 
ing, as it is to sleep every night and rise in the morning, 
death would not seem such a dreadful thing. Those poor 
men that have the falling-sickness, do once in a day, or in 
a few days, lie as dead men, and have as much pain as many 
that die ; and yet because they use to be up and well again 
in a little time, they can go merrily about their business the 
rest of the day, and little fear their approaching fall. How 
much more should the belief of a resurrection unto life con- 
firm us against the fears of death ! And why should we not 
as quietly commit our bodies to the dust, when we have the 


promise of the God of heaven, that the earth " shall deliver 
up her dead," and that this body '* that is sown in corruption, 
shall be raised in incorruption? It is sown in dishonour, it 
is raised in glory : it is sown in weakness, it is raised in 
power : it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual 
body/' So great and wonderful the change will be, as now 
is inconceivable ! We have now a drossy lump of flesh, an 
aggregation of the elements to a seed of life, which out of 
them forms itself a body, by the Divine influx. Like the 
silkworm, which in the winter is but a seed, which in the 
summer doth move and attract that matter from which it 
gets a larger body, by a kind of resurrection : but it is ano- 
ther manner of body (I will not say of flesh), which at the 
resurrection we shall have. Not flesh and blood, nor a na- 
tural body, but of a nature so spiritual, sublime, and pure, 
that it shall be indeed a spiritual body. And think not that 
this is a contradiction, and that spirituality and corporeity 
are inconsistent ; for " there is a natural body, and there is 
a spiritual body :" the root of the fleshly, natural body, was 
the " first man Adam, who was made a living soul," to be the 
root of living souls. The root of the spiritual body is Christ, 
who being a " quickening Spirit," doth quicken all his mem- 
bers by his Spirit, which Spirit of grace is the seed of glory ; 
and as from a holy and gracious Saviour we receive a holy 
and gracious nature, so from a glorified Saviour we shall re- 
ceive a glorious nature : we are now " changed from glory 
to glory" in the beginning, as "by the Spirit of the Lord;" 
but it is another kind of glory that this doth tend to. 
** Howbeit, that is not first which is spiritual, but the natural, 
and afterwards the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, 
earthy : the second man is the Lord from heaven." And from 
each of them we partake of an answerable nature. " As is the 
earthy, such are tliey that are earthy," even all of us in our 
fleshly state, having earthy bodies from an earthy Adam, 
and natural bodies from the natural Adam. " And as is the 
heavenly, such are they that are heavenly ;" for Christ makes 
men like himself, even first gracious, and then glorious, as 
Adam begets us like himself, that is, natural (and sinful). 
And therefore all those that have " followed Christ in the re- 
generation," shall follow him into glory, and having con- 
quered by him, shall reign by him and with him ; and having 
received the holy nature here which is the seed of glory, they 


shall receive the glorious nature there, which is the per- 
fection of that grace : and so as Christ hath a heavenly 
spiritual body, and not an earthy, natural body, so shall his 
members have, that they may be like him. ** And as we have 
here borne the image of the earthy," in having first a natural, 
fleshly body, " we shall also bear the image of the heavenly 
Adam," in having a spiritual body, that is not flesh. Now, 
lest any doubt of it (saith the Spirit of God), ** this, I say, 
that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God ; 
neither doth corruption inherit incorruption ;" 1 Cor. xv. 

Object. * If there were but as much likelihood of a resur- 
rection, as there is of the reviving of the plants in the spring, 
I could believe it, for there is a life remaining in the root or 
seed ; but the body of man hath neither root nor seed of 
life, and therefore it is contrary to nature that it should 

Arisw. 1. If it be above nature, that is all, it is not con- 
trary to it ; or not so contrary as to be above the power of 
the Lord of nature. Will you allow no greater works for 
God than such as you can see a reason of, and can assign 
a natural cause of? What did nature in the creation of 
nature ? It was not certainly any cause of itself! If Christ 
rose without a natural cause, even so shall we. 2. But why 
may I not say that the dead body of man hath a living root, 
as truly as the plants in winter? The soul is the root of the 
body, and the soul is still alive ; and Christ is the root of 
the soul, and he is still alive. For though we are dead, " yet 
our life is hid with Christ in God : and when Christ, who is 
our life, shall appear (at the spring of resurrection), then 
we shall also appear with him in glory ;" Col. iii. 3, 4. And 
though there be no physical contact between this living 
soul and the body, yet there is a relative union, and a deep 
rooted love of the soul to its body, and inclination to it; so 
that it is mindful of it, and waiteth with longing for that horn- 
when the command of God shall send it to revive that body. 
It is not incredible that a silly snail should, by its natural 
life and power, make for itself a beautiful habitation ; or 
that the life of a rose-tree, that was buried in the root, should 
fabricate a sweet and beauteous rose, by which it may make 
an ostentation of its invisible self to the world. In how 
small a room doth the life of a silkworm lie (of which I 


spoke before) in the winter! That little grain of seed is 
such as yields no sign of life to the beholder : yet doth it 
form itself a larger body, and that body spin its silken web 
out of its own substance ; and in that, house itself in a husk, 
and take to itself another shape, and thence become a winged 
fly, and so generate more. But nearer us, in the generation 
of man, the vital principle in the seed doth quickly, with 
concurrentcauses, form itself abody. The warmth ofthehen, 
or other bird, can turn the egg into a chicken. Why then 
may not the living soul, that is the root and life of the body 
in the dust, be the instrument of God to reform its own body ? 
As certainly it will be the principle that shall reinform it. 
But you say, the body being dead hath no natural root, nor 
way of recess to life again, because the privation is total. 
To which I answer ; first, the relative union between the 
soul and it, and the soul's disposition to the return into its 
body, is as potent a cause of its reviving as the natural union 
of the root and the branches ; if, withal, you consider that 
Christ is the root of the soul. Rational agents, if perfect, 
will work as certainly as natural ; for natural causes do no- 
thing but by a power communicated to them from an intel- 
lectual cause, even God himself. Why should nature do 
any of these things, but because God, that makes and ruleth 
all, will have it to be so? Now Jesus Christ is the political 
head of the church. The body in the grave hath its own 
relation to him. Christ is still living,, and resolved, and 
engaged by promise, and inclined by love, to revive that 
body. And as Christ is the life of the soul, so the soul is 
the life of the body ; and this soul, as I said, is waiting to 
be sent again into it. And when the hour comes, what can 
hinder? The love of the soul to its body, and its desire to 
be reunited, is a kind of natural cause of the resurrection. 
A candle not lighted is as far from light, and as much with- 
out it, as a dead body is without life : and yet one touch of 
a lighted candle will light that which never was lighted be- 
fore. And so may one touch of the living soul that is now 
with Christ, put life into the body that lieth in the dust. 
And as the lighted candle makes the other like it, and com- 
municateth of its own nature to it; so doth the glorified 
soul communicate a new kind of excellency to the body, 
which it never had before ; even to be a spiritual, glorious, 
incorruptible, and immortal body. In the first creating of 


man, the new formed body, as to the matter of it, was no 
better than the body of a beast or any common piece of 
earth. But the soul made the difference; when a rational 
soul was breathed into that body, it advanced the very body 
to a dignity beyond the body of brutes, even such as the 
natural body of man had before sin. When Christ was 
about to repair fallen man, it was the Spirit of Christ in- 
forming the soul, that caused the renewed soul to communi- 
cate again a dignity to the bodies of sanctified men above 
other bodies. And so when the body was dead because of 
sin (having the root of sin and death within it, and being 
mortal therefore), yet the spirit was life because of righte- 
ousness (being the root of holy and righteous dispositions, 
and the new life in man himself) ; Rom. viii. 10. For Christ, 
the principal root of life, and the spirit and holiness, are 
first in order of nature in the soul, and but by communica- 
tion, and secondarily in the body. Butcontrarily, sin made 
its entrance by the body, and hath its root and seat, first in 
order of nature in the body; and it is so communicated to 
the soul : thus sin comes in at the backdoor, even at the 
wrong end, and by the baser part: but grace comes in the 
right way, by the nobler part ; sin hath its root in the viler 
part; but Christ hath his seat first in the better part. And 
yet I must add, 1. That sin is not ripe till it reach the will, 
though it enter by the flesh and senses : it is not formed, 
nor to be called sin, till it reach the will, and as there it is 
situated: but yet the thing itself is first in and by the flesh. 
2 And the will is truly the seat of originial sin itself, as 
well as the sensitive part; but not the first root of the cor- 
ruption. Though sin be worst in the rational part, because 
the corruption of the best is the worst, yet it is not first 
there. But holiness is first also in the soul, and so commu- 
nicated to the body, And so also glory itself will be. And 
therefore take notice of the wise and gracious providence 
of God, that taketh the soul to heaven beforehand that it 
may be first glorified, and so may be fit to communicate 
glory to the body : and so as the natural soul dignified the 
natural body, and the sanctified soul did sanctify the body, 
so the glorified soul by re-union with the body, shall com- 
municate its nature to the body at the resurrection, and so 
it will be made spiritual, immortal, and incorruptible b}^ the 
soul; and the soul and body are made such by Christ. 


So that by this time you may see that there is more 
reason for the resurrection, for all the body is turned to 
earth, than there is reason that a candle that is gone out 
should be lightjgd again by another ; or than there is rea- 
son that I should put on my clothes in the morning which 
I put off at night. It is true, those clothes have no power 
to put on themselves; nor is there any natural necessitating 
cause of it; but yet there is a free cause in me, that will in- 
fallibly (if I live and be able) produce it ; for nature dis- 
poseth me to abhor nakedness, and desire my clothes, and 
therefore in the morning I will put them on. And so nature 
teacheth the separated soul to desire a re-union with its 
body ; and therefore when the resurrection morning comes, 
it will gladly take the word from Christ, and give that vital 
touch to the body that shall revive it, and so put on its an- 
cient garment ; but wonderfully changed from fleshly to 
spiritual, from dishonourable into glorious. 

And now I hope you see, that you may put off these 
clothes with patience and submission, and that it is no 
wrong to the flesh itself to be put off", but tendeth to its 
highest advancement at the last ; though the first cause of 
sin, and the nest of sin shall be so broken first, that it shall 
first be seen what sin hath done, before it be seen what 
grace will do ; and the fruit of our own ways must first be 
tasted, before we shall fully feed and live upon the blessed 
fruit of the grace of Christ. 

11. Moreover, as there is a resurrection for the body 
itself, and that to a more perfect estate than it can here 
attain, so the whole nature shall be perfected beyond our 
present comprehension. This life was not intended to be 
the place of our perfection, but the preparation for it. As 
the fruit is far from ripeness in the first appearance, or the 
flower while it is but in the husk or bud ; or the oak when 
it is but an acorn ; or any plant when it is but in the seed ; 
no more is the very nature of man on earth. As the infant 
is not perfect in the womb, nor the chicken in the shell, 
no more are our natures perfect in this world. Methinks 
for the sake of the body itself, much more of the soul, if 
we are believers, we should submit contentedly to death. 
While you are here you know that creatures will fail you, 
enemies will hate you, friends will grieve you, neighbours 
will wrong you, satan will tempt you and molest you ; the 


world is changeable, and will deceive you ; all your com- 
forts are mixed with discomforts ; the body carrieth about 
with it calamities enough of its own to weary it. What 
daily pains must it be at for the sustentation of itself in its 
present state; and yet what grief and sorrow must it un- 
dergo ! Every member hath either its disease, or a dispo- 
sition thereto. What abundance of passages can pain and 
sickness find to enter at ; and how many rooms that are 
ready to receive them ! As every member hath its use, so 
every one is capable of sorrow ; and the sorrow of one is 
at least as much communicated to the whole, as the useful- 
ness is ; the pain of the simplest member, even of a tooth, 
can make the whole body weary of itself. What is the 
daily condition of our flesh, but weakness and suffering, 
with care and labour to prevent much worse, which yet we 
know cannot long be avoided : the sorrow of many a man's 
life hath made him wish he had never been born : and why 
then should he not wish as much to die, which doth ten 
thousandfold more for him, if he be a Christian, than to be 
unborn would have done. Not a relation so comfortable, 
but hath its discomforts; not a friend so suitable, but hath 
some discordancy ; nor any so amiable and sweet, but hath 
somewhat loathsome, troublesome, and bitter. Not a place 
so pleasant and commodious, but hath its unfitness and dis- 
commodities ; not a society so good and regular, but hath 
its corruptions and irregularities. And should we be so 
loath to leave (whether naturally or violently) such a life as 
this ? When the fruit is ripe, should it not be gathered ? 
When the corn is ripe, would you have it grow there and 
not be cut ? When the Spirit hath hatched us for heaven, 
should we be so loath to leave the shell or nest? When we 
are begotten again to the hopes of immortality, should we 
be so desirous to stay in the womb? O, sirs, it is another 
kind of life that we shall have with God ! They are purer 
comforts, that stay for us above. But if you will not have 
the grapes to be gathered and pressed, how can you expect 
to have the wine? Methinks our flesh might have enough 
ere this time, of sickness, and pain, and want, and crosses, 
and should be content to lie down in hope of the day when 
these shall be no more. 

Little would an unbeliever think what a body God will 


make of this, that now is corruptible flesh and blood! It 
shall then be loathsome and troublesome no more. It shall 
be hungry, or thirsty, or weary, or cold, or pained no more. 
As the stars of heaven do differ from a clod of earth, or from 
a carrion in a ditch, so will our glorified, immortal bodies 
differ from this mortal, corruptible flesh. If a skilful work- 
man can turn a little earth and ashes into such curious 
transparent glasses, as we daily see ; and if a little seed 
that bears no show of such a thing, can produce the more 
beautiful flowers of the earth ; and if a little acorn can bring 
forth the greatest oak ; why should we once doubt whether 
the seed of everlasting life and glory which is now in the 
blessed souls with Christ, can by him communicate a per- 
fection to the flesh that is dissolved into its elements? 
There is no true beauty but that which is there received 
from the face of God : and if a glimpse made Moses' face 
to shine, what glory will God's glory communicate to us, 
when we have the fullest endless intuition of it! There 
only is the strength, and there is the riches, and there is the 
honour, and there is the pleasure ; and here are but the 
shadows, and dreams, and names, and images of these pre- 
cious things. 

And the perfection of the soul that is now imperfect, 
will be such as cannot now be known. The very nature 
and manner of intellection, memory, volition, and affec- 
tions, will be inconceivably altered and elevated, even as 
the soul itself will be, and much more, because of the 
change on the corruptible body, which in these acts it now 
makes use of. But of these things I have spoken so much 
in the * Saints' Rest,', that I shall say no more of them now, 
but this : that in a believer that expects this blessed change, 
and knows that he shall never till then be perfect, there is 
much unreasonableness in the inordinate unwillingness and 
fears of death. 

12. You know that fears and unwillingness can do no 
good, but much increase your suffering, and make your 
death a double death. If it be bitter naturally, make it not 
more bitter wilfully. I speak this as a violent death for 
Christ, as well as of a natural death ; for as the one cannot 
be avoided if we would, so the other cannot be avoided 
when Christ calleth us to it, without the loss of our salva- 


tioii ; and therefore it may be called necessary as well as the 
other. Necessary suffering and death is enough without 
the addition of unnecessary fears. 

13. Nay, were it but to put an end to the inordinate 
fears of death, even death itself should be the less fearful to 
us. These very fears are troublesome to many an upright 
soul; and should we not desire to be past them ! Asa 
woman with child is in fear of the pain and danger of her 
travail, but joyful when it is over; so is the true believer 
himself too oft afraid of the departing hour : but death puts 
an end to all those fears. Is it the pain that you fear? Why, 
how soon will it be over! Is it the strangeness of your souls 
to God, and the place that you are passing to ? This also 
will be quickly over ; and one moment will give you such full 
acquaintance with the blessed God, and the celestial inha- 
bitants, and the world in which you are to live, that you will 
find yourself no stranger there ; but be more joyfully fami- 
liar and content than ever you were in the bosom of your 
•dearest friend. 

The infant in the womb is a stranger to this lighter, 
open world, and all the inhabitants of it ; and yet it is not 
best to stay there. You can sail for commodity to a coun- 
try that you never saw; and why cannot you pass with peace 
and joy to a God, a Christ, a heaven that you never saw? 
But yet you are not wholly a stranger there ; is it not that 
God that you have loved, and that hath first loved you? 
Have you not been brought into the world by him, and lived 
by him, and been preserved and provided for by him? And 
do you not know him? Is it not your Father, and he that 
hath given you his Son and his Spirit ? Have you not found 
an inclination towards him, desires after him, and some 
taste of his love, and communion with him, and yet are 
you wholly unacquainted with him ? Know ye not him 
whom you have loved above all ? In whom you have trust- 
ed? And whom you have daily served in the world? Who 
have you lived to but him? For whom else have you laid 
out your time and labour ? And yet do you not know him? 
And know you not that Christ that hath purposely come 
down into flesh that you might know him ? And that hath 
shewed himself to you in a holy life, and bitter death, and 
in abundant precious Gospel mercies, and in sacramental 
representations, that so he might entertain a familiarity with 

VOL. XI. s 


you, and infinite distance might not leave you too strange 
to God? Know you not that Spirit that hath made so 
many a motion to your soul? That hath sanctified you, 
and formed the image of God upon you, and hath dwelt in 
you so long? And made your hearts his very workhouse, 
where he hath been daily doing somewhat for God? It is 
not possible that you should be utterly strange to him that 
you live to, and live from, and live in; and not know him, 
by whom you know yourselves and all things, nor see that 
light by which you see whatever you see. 

O but, you say, you never saw him, and have no distinct 
apprehension of his essence. Answ. What! would you 
make a creature of him, that can be limited, comprehended 
or seen with fleshly, mortal eyes? Take heed of such ima- 
ginations. It is the understanding that must see him ; you 
know that he is most wise, and good, and great ; and that 
he is the creator, and sustainer, and ruler of the world, 
and that he is your reconciled Father in Christ; and is this 
no knowledge of him? And then, the heaven that you are 
to go to, is it that you are an heir of, where you have laid 
up your treasure, and where your hearts and conversation 
hath so long been ; and yet do you not know it ? You have 
had many a thought of it, and bestowed many a day's la- 
bour for it, and yet do you not know it? O, but you never 
saw it for all this ! Answ, It is a spiritual blessedness that 
flesh and blood can neither enjoy nor see ; but by the eye 
of the mind you have often seen, at least some glimpse of 
it : you know that it is the present intuition and full frui- 
tion of God himself and your glorified Redeemer with his 
blessed angels and saints in perfect love, and joy, and 
praise. And if you know this, you are not altogether 
strangers to heaven. And for the saints and heavenly inha- 
bitants, you are not wholly strangers to them. Some of 
them you have known in the flesh, and others of them you 
have known in the spirit; you are fellow-citizens with the 
saints, and of the household of God, and therefore cannot 
be utterly unacquainted with them. 

But methinks the stranger you are to God and to hea- 
ven, and to the saints, the more you should desire to be 
there where there is no strangeness : this is not the time or 
place of most intimate acquaintance. If you would be ac- 
quainted, you should draw nearer and not draw back. It 


is death that must open you the door into that presence 
where strangeness will be no more. 

And if it be the doubts of your interest in Christ and 
life that makes you shrink and loath to die; consider, that 
to refuse to die for Christ, is the way above all to increase 
those doubts ; but to give up your lives for him, or cheer- 
fully to surrender your souls to him at his call, is the readi- 
est, surest way in the world to prove you at present in a 
state of grace ; besides that you will be hastened into a 
state of glory, where you shall be quickly and fully passed 
all doubts of your state of former grace. In a word, as all 
the fears and sorrows of this life will then be at an end, so 
with the rest will our fears of death : and therefore death 
should be the more welcome; because it is the end, as of 
all other troubles, so of these disturbing fears. 

14. Consider also what a multitude have trod this bloody 
way before you. Almost all that ever were born have died, 
and are now in the world that you are passing to. You are 
not the first that entered at this narrow gate. The dearest 
saints of God have died. If Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Da- 
vid, Peter, and Paul could not escape the stroke of death, 
what are you that you should murmur to follow such and so 
many that have gone before you? You need not fear being 
solitary in heaven. There are millions and millions more of 
saints, than there are on earth : many that you knew, and 
millions more that will then be as dear to you as if you had 
known them. Is it not better be among innocent souls than 
a defiled, guilty world? Is it not better be where no sin 
entereth, and never a lust or passion comes, than to live 
as among wild beasts, with furious, unreasonable sinners? 
Is it not better be wherelight is perfect, and all your doubts 
are fully resolved, than in darkness, and perplexity, and 
among an ignorant, blind generation, that are enemies to 
the light that you desire ? Is it not better be where is no- 
thing but the perfect love of the infinite God, in perfect 
saints and blessed angels, than to live among perverse, un- 
godly men that make you almost weary of your lives ? If it 
be a delight to us to read the writings of the illuminated 
saints of God, and we think them such jewels and orna- 
ments in our libraries, what a pleasure it would be to converse 
with them that wrote these books, and that in their celestial 
perfection, where they have attained a thoasand times more 


light than before they had ; and where all the doubts are re- 
solved which their books could not resolve. O, blessed 
society, in comparison of that we now converse with! 

15. Nay more, lest the bloody way of death should seem 
too strange and terrible to us, the Lord Jesus our head hath 
trod that path ; and that on purpose to conquer death, by 
taking away the sting and principal cause of terrors, and 
making that a passage to felicity that was a passage to ever- 
lasting misery ; so that ever since Christ hath gone this 
way, there is no such danger in it to his followers. Where 
the Captain of our salvation goeth, his soldiers may boldly 
follow him. " Forasmuch as the children were partakers of 
flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part with 
them, that he might destroy by death him that had the power 
of death, that is the devil ; and might deliver them that 
through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to 
bondage ;" Heb. ii. 14, 15. He hath cleared our way, and 
taken out of it the sorest thorns, and hath prepared us a 
habitation with himself. And shall we fear to go the way 
that Christ hath gone, and purposely gone to clear it 
for us ? 

16. Moreover consider, that the celestial inhabitants 
have purposely made themselves familiar with us in this 
lower world, that they might acquaint us with themselves, 
and lead us up to their blessed habitation, and fit us for it. 
No man of common reason can doubt but that those more 
capacious, glorious parts of the universe, are stored with 
inhabitants answerable to their glory ; when we see every 
corner of the lower world to be replenished with inhabitants. 
And Scripture and some experience tells us, that those 
angels of God are conversant here about us men : they bear 
us up in their hands, that we dash not our foot against a 
stone; they pitch their tents and encamp about us, as an 
appointed guard for our security; it is their very office; 
" for what are they but ministering spirits, sent forth to 
minister for them that shall be heirs of salvation ?" Heb. 
i. 14. They converse with us, though we see them not, and 
are about us night and day ; they are among us in our 
holy assemblies, observing our behaviour before the Lord; 
1 Cor. xi. 10. and they are witnesses of our good and evil; 
Eccles. V. 6. From them, as the servants of God, was the 
law received; Acts vii. 53. Gal. iii. 19. Heb. ii. 2. They 


read our books, and study with us the mysteries of the 
Gospel ; 1 Pet. i. 12. And as near as they are to God, they 
are glad to make the church their book in which to read 
his manifold wisdom, and know it by beholding it in us as 
in a glass ; Ephes. iii. 10. The nations have their angels, 
the churches have their angels, and the particular saints 
also have their angels; Dan. x. 13. 20, 21. Rev. i. 20. 
Acts xii. 15. Matt, xviii. 10. They are not strangers with 
us, but have charge of us to keep us in all our ways ; Psal. 
xci. 10 — 12. They rejoice in our conversion; Luke xv. 10. 
They are part of the heavenly society that we are already 
listed in ; Heb. xii. 22. They ascend and descend as ordinary 
passengers between heaven and earth ; Gen. xxviii. 12. 
They are round about us, and we live as in their camp ; 
Psal. xxxiv. 7. Before them we must be confessed or de- 
nied ; Luke xii. 8, 9. They convoy our departed souls to 
Christ ; Luke xvi. 22. They shall attend Christ at his se- 
cond coming, as they proclaimed his first, and attended him 
on earth ; Matt. xxv. 31. Mark viii. 38. They shall be his 
heralds to call vip the dead to judgment ; Matt. xiii. 39 49. 
and xxiv. 31. And at last we shall be their companions and 
equal to them ; Luke xx. 36. So that you see we have the 
same society invisible, which we shall have in heaven ; yea, 
and sometime when God is pleased, they manifest their pre- 
sence by visible or audible apparitions. And shall we fear 
to remove into the presence of these blessed spirits that 
now attend us and are still about us, and the instruments 
of so much of our good ? 

Yea, the Lord Jesus Christ came down to be familiar 
with us, and to bring us into a state of friendship, and holy 
boldness with God himself : and yet shall we draw back ? 

17. I would put this (question to you for your serious 
answer: Can you be contented, yea, do you desire, to have 
no more of God than here you have ? Is this much of the 
knowledge of him, and his will and works, sufficient for 
you? Would you be no nearer him, and enjoy no more 
of him ? Whatever your flesh say, sure the love of God in 
your hearts will not suffer you considerately to say so. 
Consult with your new nature, with the holy principle that 
is in you : methinks you should not be content to remain 
for ever at such a distance from God as you are. If yon 


can, I blame you not to be afraid of death : if not, why then 
are you loath to go to him ? 

18. And I would ask you also, whether you are content 
with the measure of sanctification which you have, or which 
is to be attained in this life ? Are you content to live for 
ever with no more knowledge or love of God ? No more 
faith or love to Christ ? No more sense of the worth of 
grace? No more righteousness, or peace, or joy in the 
Holy Ghost? No more meekness, humility, or heavenly- 
mindedness ? Are you contented rather to live for ever 
under all the pride, and ignorance, and passion, and selfish- 
ness, and lust, and worldliness, and ail other sins that here 
beset you, rather than to remove to the place of perfection, 
and yield that death shall break the vessel and nest of your 
corruptions ? If you care so little for the grace of God, and 
see so little beauty in his image, and see so little odiousness 
in sin, that you had rather keep it for ever than go to God 
by the passage of death, I blame you not to be afraid to die ; 
but if otherwise, why do you desire perfection and deliver- 
ance, and yet be so loath to come and receive it, when you 
know that it is not to be had on earth ? 

19. Moreover, you are contented to remain for ever as 
unserviceable to God as here you are ? Alas ! how little 
do you for him ! How much do you to displease him ! 
Lay together all the service of your lives, and how small 
and poor a matter is it ! And would you still live at these 
rates ? Will this content you ? Methinks it should not if 
you have grace in your hearts. Why then do you not desire 
to depart, and to be with Christ? There you shall be per- 
fectly fitted for his service, and therefore perfectly perform 
it. What other service God will have for us, we cannot yet 
tell : but love and praise we are sure will be the chief, and the 
rest will be good, and holy, and honourable, whatever it be. 
If you are Christians, methinks the sense of your unprofit- 
ableness, and of your unpleasing frame of heart and life, 
should be your daily grief; and therefore you should desire 
the state where you may be more servicable, and not be so 
unwilling of it. 

20. Lastly, I would ask you, are you contented to attain 
no other end of all your life, and labours, and sufferings, 
than here you do attain ? What is it that you pray for, and 


seek and strive for ? Is it for no more than is to be had on 
earth ? If you have no higher design, intentions, or desires, 
I cannot much blame you to be loath to die ; but if you have, 
methinks no man should be unwilling to attain his end. 
What! have you done and suffered so much for heaven, and 
now would you not go to it? Had you rather all your la- 
bour were lost ? Do you desire to be happy, or do you not ? 
If you do (as certainly you do), would you not go where 
happiness is to be had, when you are sure that it is not to 
be had on earth ? What say you ! is there not plain reason 
in all this that I propound to you? It is a sad case when 
men seek not God and heaven as their felicity, but only as 
a lesser evil than hell, which they would endure, rather than 
enjoy, when they can keep no longer this earthly life, which 
they account their felicity. Where this is the case, it is a 
sad case ; and were not this a common case, there would 
not be so much unwillingness to depart. 

And now Christian reader, I beseech thee weigh these 
foregoing considerations, and judge whether it be not a con- 
tradiction to thy profession, and unseemly for a believer to 
be unwilling to die when God shall call him ; much more to 
cast away everlasting life, for the saving of his temporal 
life but a little longer ! O, learn the needful lesson of self- 
denial, especially in this point of denying your lives ! He 
that can do this can do all, and may be sure that he is mor- 
tified indeed ; and he that can do all the rest, and sticks but 
at this, and could part with any thing for Christ save his 
life, doth indeed do nothing, nor is it esteemed self-denying. 
It is a lesson therefore that is exceeding necessary to be 
learnt, and worthy all your time and diligence, even to 
deny your lives for the love of Christ. 

Perhaps you will say, we live in days of peace and li- 
berty, and therefore are not like to be called to martyrdom : 
what need then have we to learn this lesson ? I answer, 1. 
You are uncertain what changes you may see ; but if you 
never suffer, yet you must be sure that you have a heart that 
would suffer if God did call you to it ; for though you may be 
saved without suffering, where you are not called to it, yet 
you cannot be saved without a heart that would suffer if you 
were put upon it. 2. And if you cannot deny your lives 
for Christ, you will not sincerely deny your pleasures, or 
profits, or honours for him. If you would not suffer death 


for him if he called you to it, you will not sincerely suffer 
losses, and wrongs, and reproaches for him, which almost 
every Christian must expect : so that to try your own sin- 
cerity, you should look after it. 3. And it is certain that 
death will shortly come ; and then if you have not learnt 
this lesson, to deny yourselves even in case of life, you will 
die unwillingly and uncomfortably. 

At least, methinks I might reason thus with any man of 
you, good or bad : either death is indeed terrrible, or not. 
If it be not, why do you so fear it when it comes ? If it be, 
why do you not as well fear it before it comes, even in your 
youth and health ; for you are sure then that you must die, 
as if it were upon you. A wonderful thing it is that man's 
heart should be so unreasonably insensible, and that there 
should be so great a difference in the affections of most in 
regard of death. It is no matter of doubt or controversy 
whether they shall die. He is a block, and not a man, that 
knoweth it not as certainly now as he shall do in his sick- 
ness ; and yet, in health, these wretches will not be awakened 
so much to fear it as may restrain them from sin, and help 
them to prepare for it. It is troublesome, precise talk with 
them, to talk of making ready to die : either they slight it, 
.or love not to hear or think of it. And yet the same men, 
when death is coming, and they see they must away, are 
even amazed with fear and horror ; and I cannot blame 
them, unless they were in a better case. But this I must 
blame them for, as most unreasonable : that they can make 
such a lamentable complaint when death and hell are near 
at hand, and yet make so light of it all their lifetime. 


Ansvjer to their Doubts that fear Death. 

But because this is the hardest part of self-denial, and yet 
most necessary, and the particular subject of my text, I 
shall stay upon it yet so much longer as to resolve a ques- 
tion of some doubting Christians, and to give you some di- 
rections for the furtherance of self-denial herein. 

Object. ' If it be a necessary part of self-denial to deny 
our own lives, I am much afraid that I am no disciple of 


Christ, as having no true self- denial, for I find that for all 
these reasons I cannot be willing to die ; but when you have 
said all that can be said, death is the most terrible thing in 
the world to me.' Amw. I pray you lay together these fol- 
lowing particulars for answer to this great and common 
doubt. 1. Death, as death, is natuially dreadful to all; 
and the best men, as men, are naturally averse to it, and 
abhor it. No man can desire death, as death, nor ought to 
do it. If it had not been an evil to nature, it had not been 
fit to be the matter of God's punishment, and to be threat- 
ened to the world. Threatenings would not do their work, 
if that which is threatened were not naturally evil, or hurt- 
ful and dreadful to the subject. To threaten men with a 
benefit is a contradiction, as much as to promise him a mis- 
chief, and more. 2. It is not therefore a simple displacency, 
or averseness to die, that God requireth you to lay by. Self- 
denial consisteth not in reconciling us to death, as death ; 
for then he might as well persuade us to become angels as 
to deny ourselves, and preachers had as hard a work to do, 
as to persuade men to cease to be men. Death will be an 
enemy as long as it is death. Even the separated soul hath 
so natural an inclination to union with its body, that the 
separation is part of the penalty to it ; and though heaven 
be their joy, and Christ their life and fulness, yet the sepa- 
ration from the body which they have even with Christ, is a 
penalty, and they have not that perfect measure of joy and 
glory, as they shall have when they are joined to the body 
again : so that separation, as such, is penal to the soul 
in blessedness. And even the separated soul of Jesus 
Christ, that was more blessed than ours, was, as separated, 
in a state of penalty, when his body was in the grave (of 
which, see my Appendix to the Reformed Pastor, about the 
descent into hell). 3. That which you have to look after, 
therefore, in your souls, is not a love to death, or willingness 
of death as death, which no man hath or should have ; but 
it is, 1. A submission to it, as a less evil than sin and hell, 
and the displeasure of God, and a choosing rather to die than 
wilfully to sin and forsake the Lord. 2. And a love to that 
glory in the fruition of God which death is the passage to. 
Seeing we cannot obtain the end of our faith and patience 
by any easier passage than death, you must rather be con- 
tent to go this straight and grievous way than miss of the 


state of eternal blessedness. Let death be never so odious 
and dreadful to you, if you had but rather die than forsake 
Christ by sin, or miss of everlasting life with God, you have 
that true self-denial, even of life itself, which is required in 
my text. 4. And yet even a gracious soul may be so much 
unprepared, as to desire to stay yet longer on earth, though 
he be absent from the Lord while he is present in the body, 
that so a better preparation may be made. And also the 
love of God may make a man desire to stay yet longer for 
the service of the church, or to be, with Paul, in a strait 
between two ; Phil. i. 21 — 23. 5. Have you not such plea- 
sant apprehensions of the New Jerusalem, and the coming 
of Christ in glory, and the blessed state of the saints in 
heaven, as that you could most gladly enter into that 
blessed state by any other way than death; and had 
you not rather die than miss of that felicity? At least, 
when you know that die you must, had you not rather die 
sooner, even a violent death by persecution, than miss of 
your eternal life by saving your lives a little longer? 6. 
And for your unwillingness to die, as death is the last ene- 
my to be conquered by Christ at the resurrection, so the 
fears of death, and the power of it, is the last evil that we 
shall be troubled with : and you must not expect to be fully 
freed from these fears in this life, for death will be death, 
and man will be man. But yet let me tell you, that before 
you die God may very much abate your fears, and very or- 
dinarily doth so with his servants : 1. By giving them that 
grace that is suited to a dying state ; and 2. By the help of 
sickness and pain itself; and that is one great reason why 
sickness shall usually go before death, that pain and misery 
may make the flesh even weary of itself, and make the 
soul weary of its companion, and both weary of this mi- 
serable life. 

And now I shall briefly name some few directions, 
which, if you will practise, you will more easily submit 
to death. 



Directions to be willing to Die, 

Direct. 1. By all means endeavour the strengthening of 
your belief of the reality of eternal life, and the truth of the 
promise of Christ concerning it ; for if you believe it not, 
you cannot die for it, nor cheerfully submit to a natural 
death through the hopes of it. This is the sum or principal 
work of the Christian faith, to believe the everlasting life, 
as procured for us by the love of the Father, the obedience, 
death, resurrection, and intercession of the Son, and the 
sanctification of the Holy Ghost. It is the unsoundness, 
or the weakness of this belief, that is the principal cause of 
our unwillingness to die. 

Direct. 2. By all means endeavour to get and maintain 
the assurance of your title to this promise and felicity. Get 
sound evidence, and keep it clear ; expunge all blots with- 
out delay. Take heed of such sin as woundeth conscience, 
and wasteth comfort, and grieveth the Spirit of adoption by 
which you are sealed to the day of redemption, and by which 
you have your peace and comforts. If by such sin your 
souls are clouded and estranged from God, be diligent in 
seeking for healing and reconciliation, and rest not till your 
peace be made with God ; for while you think of him as 
displeased, you will be afraid of coming to him, and this 
will double the fears of death. 

Direct. 3, Deny yourselves first in the carnal and worldly 
comforts of this life, or else you are unlikely to deny your- 
selves in the matter of life itself. Disuse yourselves from 
unnecessary pleasures of the flesh, and learn to endure dis- 
honour, contempt, and reproach from the world, and sick- 
ness and poverty, when it is inflicted on you by the hand of 
God. Till you can deny your ease, and profit, and appe- 
tite, and honour, and all the delight of this present world, 
you are never likely to deny your lives sincerely. To deny 
your lives, doth contain the denying of all these, and more ; 
and therefore you must learn the lesser if you would do 
the greater. These are the parts of life, as it were, and it 
is easier thus to overcome it in its parts, than in the 


whole : when particular soldiers are destroyed, the army is 
the weaker. 

And the use of suffering the afflictions of this life, will 
make you hardy, and make death seem a smaller matter ; 
for when you thus die daily, you will the more easily die 

Besides, death is half disarmed when the pleasures and 
interests of the flesh are first denied ; for the leaving of 
fleshly contents and pleasures is much of the reason of men's 
unwillingness to die : and therefore when these are denied 
beforehand, the reasons of your unwillingness are taken 
away. If you pull down the nest, the birds will be gone. 
Men that are loath to leave their country would willingly be 
gone if their houses were fired, or they were turned out of 
doors and their friends and goods were all sent away. This 
is it that makes men so unwilling to die, because they prac- 
tise not mortification in their health, but contrarily study 
to live as pleasingly as may be to the flesh, and think it 
part of their Christian liberty, thus making Christ a carnal 
Saviour, as the Jews conceive of their expected Messiah ; 
and taking up with a carnal, false salvation, not purchased 
by Christ, but given by satan in the name of Christ, and 
assumed by themselves. They make it their business to 
have buildings, and lands, and meats, and drinks, and ho-r 
nours, and all things as pleasing as may be to the flesh, and 
then they complain that they are unwilling to die, and I 
easily believe them : it is no wondc r. They make it the 
work of their lives to feather their nests, and make provi- 
sion for the flesh, and then complain that they are loath to 
leave those nests that they have been feathering so long, 
and loath to scatter all the heap and treasure which they 
have been gathering. And did you think that gathering it 
was the way to make you willing to leave it ? Men load 
themselves with the lumber and baggage of the world, and 
then complain that they cannot travel on their journey, but 
had rather sit down. They fall a building them habitations 
in their way, when they should have none but inns or tents ; 
and when they have bestowed all their time, and cost, and 
charges on them, they complain of their hearts for being 
loath to leave them. Such mad doings as these are not the 
way to be willing to die : to provide for self and flesh in 
your lifetime, is not the way to deny your lives. Sirs, the 


way is this, if you will learn it, and stick not at the cost and 
trouble : self must be here stript naked of all its carnal com- 
forts, so that it shall have nothing left to fly to, or trust 
upon, nor nothing left that it can take delight in, and then 
it will away. If you would drive out an ill tenant, you will 
cast out all their goods, and leave them nothing but the 
bare walls, and not so much as a bed to lie on, and uncover 
the house over their heads, and then they will be gone. So 
if you cast out all your sensual commodities and delights, 
that when the flesh looks about it shall see nothing but the 
bare walls, and cannot find a resting place, then death will 
be less grievous and less unwelcome ; or rather, indeed, 
even the flesh and self must be mortified, and in the sense 
in \vhich it must be denied, it must have no being or life 
(that is, as it is withdrawn from its subordination to God), 
and then there will be nothing to rise up against your sub- 
mission to death. Though nature, as nature, will keep you 
from loving death as death, yet were but self-denial perfect, 
there would be nothing to keep you from submitting to it, 
and desiring to pass through it to immortality. O, that you 
would but try such a self-denying life, and you would cer- 
tainly die an easy, comfortable death. 

Direct. 4. Suffer not unworthy thoughts of God to abide 
in your soul. Think not of his infinite love and goodness 
with doubtfulness or diminution. You will never be willing 
to come to God while you think of him as cruel, or as a 
despiser of his creatures, or unwilling to do good ; but when 
once you think of him as the surest, greatest good, and your 
fastest friend, and the most lovely object that can be con- 
ceived of, and these thoughts are deep and wrought into the 
very nature of your soul, then you will be ready more cheer- 
fully to die. No man can love the presence of a tyrant, or 
an enemy, or of him that is so far above him that there is no 
communion with him to be had. If you entertain such 
blasphemous thoughts of God, you are unlikely ever to de- 
sire his presence. See you think as honourably and mag- 
nificently of the goodness and love of God, as you do of his 
knowledge or his power ; and as you would abhor any ex- 
tenuating conceptions of the one, so do of the other, and 
then the loveliness and glory of his face will draw out your 
desires, and make you long to be with God. 

Direct. 5. And by such means as this aforesaid, labour 


to bring up your souls to live in the love of God. It is love 
that is the divine and heavenly nature in us ; and therefore 
must incline us heavenwards. The nature of love is to lono- 
after communion with him that we love. The more love, 
the more of God in the soul, and the more desire after God. 
This is the grace that must live for ever, and therefore bend- 
eth towards the place of its perfection. It is want of love 
to God, that maketh most of us so contented to be from 
him. Strengthen and exercise all other graces, as far as in 
you lieth; butabove all, live in the exercise of this enjoy- 
ing, heavenly grace. 

Direct. 6. Consider of all the burdens that are here upon 
you, which should make you long to be with God. One 
would think the feeling of them would force you to consider- 
ation and weariness of them, and make the thoughts of rest 
to be sweet to you. Have you yet not sin enough, and sor- 
row, and fear, and trouble enough ? Or must God lay a 
greater load on you, to make you desire to be disburdened ? 
Every hour you spend, and every creature you have to do 
with, afford you some occasions of renewing your desires to 
depart from these, and be with Christ. 

Direct, 7. Observe and magnify that of God which is 
here revealed to you in his word and works. Study him 
and admire him in Scripture, study and admire him in the 
frame of nature ; and when you look towards sun, or moon, 
or sea, or land, and perceive how little itis that you know, 
and how desirable itis to know them perfectly, think then 
of that estate, where you shall know them all in God him- 
self, who is more than all. Study and admire him in the 
course of providences ; study and admire him in the person of 
Christ; in the frame of his holy life ; in the work of redemp- 
tion ; in the holy frame of his laws and covenants ; study 
and admire him in his saints, and the frame of his holy image 
on their souls. This life of studying and admiring God, 
and dwelling upon him with all our souls, will exceedingly 
dispose us to be willing to come to him, and to submit to 

Direct. 8. Live also in the daily exercise of holy joy and 
praise to God ; which is the heavenly employment. For if 
you use yourselves to this heavenly life, it will much incline 
you to desire to be there. Exercise fear, and godly sorrow, 
and care in their places ; but especially after faith and love. 


be sure to live in holy joy and praise. Be much in the con- 
sideration of all that riches of grace in Christ, communicated 
and to be communicated to you. And be much in thanks 
to God for his mercies ; and cheering and comforting your 
soul, in the Lord your God ; and thus the joy of grace will 
much dispose you to the joys of glory ; and the peace 
which the kingdom of God consisteth in, will incline you 
to the peace of the everlasting kingdom ; and the cheerful 
praising of God on earth, in psalms or other ways of praise, 
will prepare and dispose you to the heavenly praises. And 
therefore Christians exceedingly wrong their souls, and hin- 
der themselves from a willingness to be witli God, in spend- 
ing all their days in drooping, or doubting, or worldly dul- 
ness, and laying by so much the joy of the saints, and the 
praises of God. 

Direct, 9. -Dwell on the believing forethoughts of the 
everlasting glory which you must possess. Think what it 
is that others are enjoying while you are here; and what 
you must be, and possess, and do for ever. Daily think of 
the certainty, perfection, and perpetuity of your blessed- 
ness. What a life it will be, to see the blessed God in his 
glory, and taste of the fulness of his love, and to see the 
glorified Son of God, and with a perfected soul and body to 
be perfectly taken up in the love, and joy, and praises of the 
Lord, among all his holy saints and angels, in the heavenly 
Jerusalem. You must by the exercise of faith and love, in 
holy meditation and prayer, even dwell in the spirit, and 
converse in heaven, while your bodies are on earth, if you 
would entertain the news of death as beseems a Christian. 
But of this at large elsewhere. 

Direct. 10. Lastly, if you would be willing to submit to 
death, resign up your own understandings and wills to the 
wisdom and the will of God ; and know not good and evil 
for your carnal selves ; but wholly trust your lives and souls 
to the wisdom and love of your dearest Lord. Must you be 
carking and caring for yourselves; when you have an 
infinite God engaged to care for you ? O, saith self, I am 
not able to bear the terrors and pangs of death. O, saith 
faith. My Lord is easily able to support me, and it is his 
undertaken work to do it: my work is but to please him; 
and it is his work to take care of me in life and death ; and 
therefore ** though I walk through the valley of the shadow 


of death, yet will I fear no evil." O, saith self, I am ut- 
terly a stranger to another world ! I know not what I shall 
see, nor what I shall be, nor whither I shall go the next mi- 
nute after death : none come from the dead to satisfy us of 
these things ! O, but saith faith. My blessed Father and 
Redeemer is not a stranger to the place that I must go to ! 
He knows it, though I do not! He knows what I shall be 
and do, and whither I shall go ; and all is in his power ; and 
seeing it belongs not to me, but to him to dispose of me, 
and give me the promised reward, it is meet that I rest in 
his understanding ; and it is better for me, that his infinite 
wisdom dispose of my departing soul, than my shallow, in- 
sufficient knowledge. I may much more acquiesce in his 
knowledge than my own. O, but saith self, I fear it may 
prove a scene of darkness and confusion to my soul ! what 
will become of me, I cannot tell. O, but saith faith, I am 
sure I am in the hands of Love ! and such love as is omni- 
potent, and engaged for ray good ! And how can it then 
go ill with me? If I had my own will, I should not fear. 
And how much less should I fear when I am at the will of 
God, even of most Wise, Almighty Love? 

There is no true centre for the soul to rest in but the will 
of God. It is our business to obey and please his will, as 
dutiful children ; and to commit ourselves contentedly to 
his will for the absolute disposal of us. It is not possible 
that the will of a heavenly Father should be against his chil- 
dren, whose desire and sincere endeavour hath beeo to obey 
and please his will. And therefore learn this, as your great 
and necessary lesson, with joyful confidence to commit 
yourselves, and your departing souls to your Father's will, 
as knowing that your death is but the execution of that 
will, which is engaged to cause " all things to work together 
for your good ;" Rom. viii. 28. And say with Paul, I suffer, 
but am not ashamed " for I know whom I have believ- 
ed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I 
have committed to him against that day;" 2 Tim. i. 12. 

" Therefore we labour and suffer because we trust in 

the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of 
those that believe ;" 1 Tim. iv. 10. Say therefore as Job, 
" Though he kill me, yet will I trust in him." Or rather as 
Christ, "Father, into thy hands I commend my Spirit;" 
Luke xxviii. 46. If the hands and will of the Father were 


the rock and comfort of Christ in his suffering and death, 
so also they must be tons. See therefore that in your health 
you kill your own wills, that when death comes, self may 
have no will to strive against the will of God ; but as your 
heaven itself will be your rest in the will of God; so rest in 
it in death, that you may have a taste of heaven in death, 
and sure that will sweeten it, if any thing will. 

11. I have hitherto shewed you wherein self-denial doth 
consist, first, as to the heart and root of it, which is the 
mortification of the selfish inclination or disposition; and 
then, as to the first of the three parts of its objective inter- 
est, which is sensitive pleasure ; I should now proceed to 
the other two parts of its objective interest : and the se- 
cond is, worldly gain or profit, which the apostle John call- 
eth " the lust of the eyes," and puts next to the ** lust of 
the flesh." But I have already written a treatise of this by 
itself, viz. *' Of our Crucifixion of the World;" and therefore 
I may well forbear it here. 


in. Honour and Pride , and I. Climbing high, SfC. 

The third part of the objective interest of self, is* that 
which goes commonly under the name of honour ; and is 
called by the apostle, " pride of life," and put by him in 
the third place. And of this, I intend, if God will give 
me time and strength, to write also a treatise by itself, 
and therefore should say nothing of it here ; but only lest I 
should not have time to do that which I desire, I shall 
briefly name you ten of the particulars under this head of 
honour, which you must deny: that is, ten ways wherein 
men exercise their pride. 

1. One work of Pride is to climb higher into places of 
superiority, and honour and command. Poor men that are 
out of hope, and in no capacity for rising, feel not much of 
this, though the disposition to it be in them as well as 
others, because it is not drawn forth by temptations. But 
where opportunity serveth, there s nothing wherein selfish- 
ness and pride doth more constantly and obstinately shew 



itself than in this. It is the nature of selfishness to aspire 
after the highest exaltation in the world that can be attain- 
ed. We may easily observe in kingdoms and corporations, 
and all societies of men, what Christ observed at their feasts, 
that ** they choose out the chief rooms and sit with the 
highest ;" Luke xiv. 7, 8. What eager desires have they to 
be above other men! If any office or seat of honour be 
void, there are few that apprehend any possibility of attain- 
ing it, that want a will to it; yea, few that will not seek and 
strive for it, and envy those that carry it before them ; and 
hate, or bear a grudge to those that were against their 
rising : yea, few but venture on the most unlawful means to 
accomplish their desires, and yet will scarce believe that 
they are unlawful, because they think them necessary to 
their ends. There are few, if they had the choice of a man 
to any vacant place of honour, that would choose any other 
but themselves ; unless their unfitness were likely more to dis- 
honour them, or some way to make their honours too burden- 
some to them. No man in their eyes is so fit as themselves, 
or so worthy as themselves : or, if it be their children or 
kinsmen that stand for it, or any that self hath special inter- 
est in, they seem the worthiest for the place, because they 
are related to them. Especially if it be any eminent dig- 
nity or command, that seems to them a prey that is worth 
the hunting after. O, the blinding, bewitching, befooling 
power of pride and selfishness ! How commonly doth it 
rule ! How few are those holy, happy men^ that have 
escaped and overcome it! How few societies be there in the 
world, whether corporations, colleges, or the like, but pride 
and selfishness make their governors ! How few nations on 
the earth, where pride and selfishness maketh not their kings 
or sovereigns ! And is it any wonder if they be all ill-go- 
verned then, where the devil doth so much to choose the 
governors ? I know that God overruleth all, and restraineth 
the lusts of men, and crosseth their designs; but yet their 
lusts and the devil may rule to their destruction for all that. 
Object. * But is it not lawful to seek for dignity and su- 
periority V 

Answ, No ; not for self; but for God it is. You have 
warnings enough, and plain enough from Christ, if warn- 
ings would serve turn; he hath bid you " sit not down in 
the highest room ;" he hath sharply rebuked them that 


strive for precedency, and who shall be the greatest. He 
hath told you, he that will be the greatest, must be the ser- 
vant of all; and hath told you of stooping to the feet of the 
meanest, and condescending to men of low degree ; and 
hath set little children before you to be your teachers, and 
assured you that there is no entrance into his kingdom in 
any other posture. He hath told you that God resisteth 
and abhorreth the proud, and that he that humbleth himself 
shall be exalted, and he that exalteth himself shall be 
brought low. 

Object. ' But how shall 1 know whether I seek prefer- 
ment for God or myself? I hope it is God that I seek it for.' 

Answ. 1. How shall a man know his own mind? You 
have dark hearts indeed if you cannot know your own in- 
tentions, if you are but observant, and diligent, and willing 
to know them. 2. He that seeketh not dignities for him- 
self, but for God, will never seek to put. by another that 
is as able and likely to do God service in the place as he ; 
nor will he seek it at all, if he see that God may be served 
as well without his seeking it; but will stay until God call 
him to it, and then he may expect his help and blessing. 
Few do intend God in it, that are exalters of themselves. 
Indeed if you see that an enemy of the Gospel, or some un- 
worthy, ungodly man is like to come into the place if you 
seek it not, by which the church or the commonwealth, is 
like to be much injured, then you may seek it by lawful 
means; 'SO that you can truly say, I would not do it for 
myself; but it is to serve God for his people's good. 3. 
Nay, he that seeketh not the dignity for himself, will seek 
first and more to get in another, if he know another that is 
fitter than himself, and likely to do God more service ; and 
this he will do heartily, and not dissemblingly. If you had 
not rather a worthier and more useful man were preferred 
before you, and seek not more for such than for yourselves, 
you are plain self-seekers, whatever you may pretend. If a 
man should come to almost any of the rulers of nations, 
churches, colleges, or corporations, that have screwed them- 
selves into the place of government, and ask them, did you 
know no man fitter for this place than yourself, and have 
you sought first to get a fitter man? What can they for 
shame say to it? If they say, no ; they proclaim themselves 
notorious self-seekers! For it is very seldom, that ahum- 


bleman is allowed to judge himself the fittest. 4. And he 
that seeketh dignities for God and not for himself, will use 
them for God, and not for himself. For the intention will 
command the use. He will deny himself in his superiority, 
as well as if he were in the lowest place ; and will con- 
trive how he may most serve and honour God ; and this will 
be easily seen in his endeavours, whether it be God or self 
that he serves and liveth to. 

And now I advise all that love their souls, to take heed 
of this aspiring act of selfishness. If you will needs seek 
yourselves, and be your own exalters, you must trust to 
yourselves, and be your own defenders; and then you will 
find that the lowest condition in the hand of God, is more 
safe and comfortable than the highest in your own hand. 
If God should lift you up to the top of the highest moun- 
tains, you may expect either a calm, or his protection in the 
storm, and to be as safe as those below; but if you lift up 
yourselves, and satan carry you to the pinnacle of the tem- 
ple, take heed lest you thence cast down yourselves by his 
temptations that did lift you up. Dignities and honours, 
are not indeed the things that they seem to be to carnal eyes 
that see not the inside, but judge by the outward, glittering 
show. There is most holy duty and work to be done, where 
is the greatest dignity. And certainly the life of greatest 
work and labour is not the life of greatest ease, or carnal 
pleasure ; especially when it is the work of God that you 
must do ; a work which all the world is against, and which 
satan and all his power will resist; and which must meet 
with enmity and abundance of enmity, whenever you set 
about it. Though you are commanders, yet you are sol- 
diers ; and you that are leaders have the hottest standing, 
and must "expect the sharpest conflicts. Do you think of 
your dignities and offices as places of mere superiority and 
honour, and accommodation to your carnal selves? Then 
are you carnal men, and enter upon you know not what, and 
make yourselves traitors and enemies to God, whom he is 
engaged to bring down and be avenged on at last ; you de- 
base the sacred coin which bears the stamp and name of 
God. Magistracy is holy, and the image of God, and you 
basely turn it into the image of the flesh ; and blot out 
God's name from it, and stamp upon it the name of self, and 
traitorously make it your own, which was eminently his. 


Believe it, whoever you are, if you seek for places of rule 
and dignity with carnal, selfish expectations, you must ei- 
ther use them accordingly when you have them, which is 
the readiest way to damnation in the world, or else you 
must find your expectations crossed, and miss of all your car- 
nal ends ; and find that the greatest toil and burden, which 
you expected should have been your chief content. God 
hath annexed the honour and outward greatness, partly to 
encourage you to so hard a work, lest the burden should be 
too heavy, and partly to enable you to perform it, and give 
you some advantages against opposition. But though the 
clothing of authority and rule be splendid, the substance 
thus covered is extraordinary labour, and duty, and suffer- 
ing. It is honourable, but it is an honourable burden, and 
an honourable, painful, difficult work. So that if men un- 
derstood what ofiice and authority is in church or common- 
wealth, and looked after the substance as well as the orna- 
ments ; the work as well as the honour and greatness ; it 
would be an eminent piece of self-denial for a man to submit 
to the call of God, to be a prince, a judge, a justice, or but 
a constable; and men would as hardly be drawn to take the 
office, as they are now to do the work of the office in faith- 
fulness, and with courage and zeal for God ; and that is al- 
most as hard as an offender is drawn to the stocks. Offices 
and high places are not intended to accommodate the flesh ; 
nor are they things to be ambitiously desired and sought 
for, by such as understand the ends and use of them; but 
they are such laborious, hazardous ways of serving God, 
which a wise man knows, must cost him more than the ho- 
nour will repay ; and which a good man will not run away 
from, when God calleth him thereto ; but will so far deny 
himself as to submit to them; but not thrust himself into 
them, as the proud and selfish do. It is a work of patience 
to a godly man to be thus exalted ; but it is a work of pride 
and self-seeking in others. Deny yourselves so far as to 
submit to government and dignity, and bear it patiently if 
it be cast upon you, as being an excellent opportunity of 
serving God ; but wish not for it, because of the honour and 
advantages to the flesh ; much less contend for it, or set 
your hearts on it. He that seeketh an office or honour for 
himself, must have another heart before he will use it for 
God. It is better with Saul to hide ourselves from honour,^ 


than with Absalom to contrive and seek it ; but best of all 
with David to stay till God call us, and then obey. 


The Love and good Word of others Denied. 

2. Another part of selfish interest to be denied, is the 
love, and good will, and word of others. This is a thing 
that may and must be desired to good ends ; but not for 
carnal self. When Paul looked at God's honour and the 
good of souls, he " became all things to all men that he 
might by all means save some ;" and this he did, not for 
self but fur the GospeFs sake, and yet for himself in subor- 
dination to God, that he '* might be partaker of it with them.'' 
He would " give no offence to Jew or Gentile, or the church 
of God ; but pleased all men in all things (that tended to 
their good), not seeking his own profit, but the profit of many 
that they may be saved ;" 1 Cor. x. 32, 33. And he hath 
left it as the duty of the strongest Christians, " not to please 
themselves, but every one to please his neighbour for his 
good to edification." But when Paul looked at himself, 
and his esteem among men, then he saith, ** With me it is a 
very small thing, that I should be judged of you, or of man's 
judgment;" 1 Cor. iv.3. And " Do I seek to please men? 
For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of 
Christ;" Gal. i. 10. Good natures are loath to provoke 
others to displeasure ; and grace moveth us to please men 
for the saving of their souls. But it is pride and self-seek- 
ing to desire to set up ourselves in men's esteem; and 
to endear ourselves for ourselves into their affections. It 
is God's highest honour to be most highly esteemed, and 
most dearly beloved, as being the most perfect and trans- 
cendent good. And proud men in this would aspire to his 
prerogative ; and much affect to be beloved of all ; and fain 
they would sit near men's hearts, and be the darlings of the 
world. This is a fine, but dangerous sin ; and I doubt many 
that are guilty of it, never well considered that it is a sin, 
and so great a sin as indeed it is. Deny yourselves in this. 
It is God that must be loved of all, and not you ; you must 


be content to " be hated of all men for his sake,'* that he 
may be loved. Men's hearts were not made to be yout* 
throne, but God's. Your work is to love, and not ambi- 
tiously to seek for love. So far as your interest in men's 
affections doth conduce to God's honour and service, and 
their good, desire it, and spare not ; but see that these be 
really your ends. But for yourselves, take heed of desiring 
or seeking for men's love. They are apt enough to have in- 
ordinate affections to the creature without your temptations. 
To love God in you, and love you for God, is their duty 
which you may provoke them to in season ; but seek not 
for any nearer interest in them, nor for such a love as ter- 
minateth in yourselves. Nature is exceeding ambitious 
of being beloved ; but steal not God's due. You are to be 
suitors and solicitors for him, to win the hearts of as many to 
him as you can ; and not to speak for yourselves in his stead. 
Thankfully accept of men's ordinate love to you, if you 
have it ; but if they deny it to you, for the sake of 
Christ, and turn it into hatred, do you deny yourselves 
herein, and remember that it is no more than you were fore- 
warned of; and no more than your Lord, and his worthiest 
servants have endured. What a pattern is Paul, that tells 
his converts, he " seeks not theirs but them, as parents lay 
up for their children, and not children for the parents, and 
would gladly spend, and be spent for them, though the more 
he love, the less he were beloved ;" 2 Cor. xii. 14, 15. See 
that you love God and them, and that is your duty ; do 
that and you need not take care for the love of men to you. 
Their love is none of your felicity, and therefore their hatred 
deprivethyou not of your felicity ; for that lieth only in the 
love of God. Here therefore self must be denied. 


The Reputation of Riches to he Denied. 

3. Another part of the honour which self must be denied 
in, is the reputation of your riches ; for wealth is one thing 
that men are proud of. Some desire to be esteemed richer 
than they are, and therefore go in the best apparel they can 


get, that they may not be thought to be persons of the low- 
est, poorest sort. And some that are rich do glory in their 
riches, and think they are much more to be honoured than 
the poor ; but alas, if they had well read and considered 
what Christ hath said of the danger of the rich, particularly 
in Luke xii. xvi. xviii. and viii. 14. Matt. xiii. 22. Mark 
X. 23. and what James saith to them, James v. 1, 2, &c. they 
would see that riches is not a thing to be proud of; ** Not 
many great and noble are called. God hath chosen the 
poor of this world, rich in faith, to be heirs of the kingdom." 
The talents for which we must give an account at the bar 
of Christ, should be rather the matter of our fear and trem- 
bling than of our pride. That which makes our passage to 
heaven to be as the camel's through a needle's eye, I think 
should not much lift us up. All the riches of the world do 
make you never the better thought of with God, or any wise 
man ; nor will they cause you to live a month the longer, 
or quiet your consciences, or save you from death, or the 
wrath of God. The only worth of riches is, that you are 
better furnished than others to do God some kind of service, 
by relieving the poor, and helping the church, and further- 
ing many such good v^^orks ; and for the sake of these good 
ends, you must patiently bear a state of riches, yea, and 
thankfully receive them, if they are given you by God : 
though the care and labour in a faithful distribution of them, 
and the danger of abusing them, and the reckoning to be 
made for them, are so great, as may deter a wise man from 
a greedy seeking them, or glorying in them. 


Comeliness and Beauty to be Denied, 

4. Another part of the honour that self must be denied 
in, is the reputation of your personal comeliness or beauty ; 
for such fools and children sin hath made folks, that many 
much set by the reputation of these : and hence is most 
commonly the abuse of apparel. Every proud person is de- 
sirous of that which will make them seem the most hand- 
some or beautiful persons unto others, and make it their 


care to set forth themselves to the eyes of beholders. VV hat 
they indeed are, we can see as well in the meanest attire ; 
but what they would be thought to be, we may best see in 
this : but of this I spoke before. Yea, some that think they 
are not proud of their comeliness, yet cannot endure to be 
esteemed ill-favoured or uncomely, and so shew that pride 
which they would deny. I confess these are commonly but 
the temptations of women, and procacious youth ; but one 
would think it should be easy for a few sober thoughts to 
cut tjieir combs, and let them see how little cause they have 
to be proud of beauty or comeliness of the flesh. Alas, 
what is that body that you are proud of? Filth and cor- 
ruption, covered with a cleaner skin than some of your 
neighbours. Ah, but the skin is thin : and if that be all 
you have to glory in, it is as frail as contemptible. There 
is many a pretty flower in the common field that is trodden 
down by the feet of beasts, that have a gloss and hue incom- 
parably beyond your beauty. I asked you before, what 
beauty you will have to glory of when you have dwelt but a 
few months in the grave ; or if the small-pox, or leprosy, 
should clothe you with another coloured skin ; or if a can- 
cer should but seize upon your face, and turn it into such 
an ugly shape, as makes men tremble to behold it ; or when 
wrinkled age hath made you as another person ; or when 
death hath deprived you of that soul, which was your beauty, 
and laid you out as a prey and sacrifice to corruption. Ah, 
that ever such a skin full of dirt, such a bag of filth, should 
yet be proud, that is carried about by a living soul, and by 
it kept a little while from falling down as a senseless clod, 
and turning into a stinking corpse ! They are shortsighted, 
and short witted, as well as graceless, that cannot look so 
far before them, or within them, as to see that which may 
take them down from being proud of any comeliness of the 
flesh. One would think this should be so easy a part of 
self-denial, as any graceless one might reach by a little use 
of the reason that is left them. 



Strength and Valour to he Denied. 

5. Another piece of vainglory to be denied, is in the re- 
putation of strength and valour. The witless part of men, 
especially in their procacious humours, do use to be carried 
away with this, as witless women with the former. Hence 
commonly are their matches of running and wrestling, and 
many exercises of activity and strength ; yea, and hence 
commonly are their duels and murders. It seems such a 
dishonourable thing to them to be thought a coward, or un- 
able to defend themselves, and to be crowed over by their 
enemy, that they will venture body and soul upon it rather 
than they will put up such indignities, or lie under the dis- 
honour of being cowards. Yea, and (would one think it) 
some Jesuits are such carnal doctors, that they teach men 
that if they be challenged, and their honour do lie upon it, 
they may meet the challenger there in a defensive posture, 
and fight with him to defend their honour : yea, and in 
many other cases, they may kill another for their honour, 
seeing their honour is more to them than their lives. O, 
miserable teachers, and miserable souls that do obey them ! 
Christ hath taught you another lesson, even " to despise the 
shame," Heb. xii. 2, 3, and to humble yourselves, and in- 
timateth that such cannot be believers which ** receive ho- 
nour of one another, and seek not the honour that cometh 
from God only;" John v. 44. It is more honour to obey 
God in suffering, than to be so valiant as to murder another 
man. The day is near, when he will appear the honourable 
man that was most like to Jesus Christ, that when he ** was 
reviled, reviled not again ; when he suffered, he threatened 
not, but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously ;" 
1 Pet. ii. 23. Blind sinners ! do you think it more honour- 
able to do hurt than to suffer hurt ? Yea, to be like the 
devil, who is a murderer, than to Christ, that was a sufferer, 
and came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them and 
lay down his own. Can any thing be more honourable 
than to be the children of the heavenly Father ? And if 
you be such, you must *' love your enemies, bless them that 


curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them 
that despitefully use you and persecute you ;" Matt. v. 44. 
What a case are those men's understandings in, that think 
it their honour to revenge themselves when God hath so for- 
bidden it? Rom. xii. 19. 


Wisdom and Learning to be Denied. 

6. Another piece of vainglory to be denied, is in the re- 
putation of wisdom and learning. The things themselves are 
very excellent, and to be desired and much sought after, 
but not for our own honour, but the service and honour of 
the Lord ; and the greater is the worth of the thing, the 
greater is the temptation to vainglory in them that have it, 
and the harder it is to deny themselves herein. This part 
of self-denial consisteth not in a contempt of learning or 
wisdom, nor a neglect of it, for this were a sin ; but in a 
neglect of self, that would make an advantage of it for its 
own carnal exaltation, and in a contempt of the honour and 
vainglory which may redound by it to ourselves, further 
than such honour is serviceable to God. O how sinful and 
miserable a life do abundance of learned men live in the 
world ! Their whole life is but one continued vice, and that 
a sin of a most heinous nature, even the exercise of pride 
and self-seeking, when yet they take themselves for saints, 
because they are not such as are accounted scandalous sin- 
ners in the world. They sacrifice their precious time and 
studies to their pride and fancies, and not to God. Too 
many hours and years are spent to gain the reputation of 
being learned men ; too many disputations are managed ; 
yea (odious sacrilege), too many sermons are preached, and 
too many learned books are written, to gain the reputation 
of being learned men. Ah, miserable, low, unworthy stu- 
dies ! Profane sermons ! Ungodly labours, and poor re- 
ward ! O, how it nettleth some proud spirits, if they hear 
that they are taken to be no scholars ; and how many take 
their University degrees to be merely the wings of this part 
of their vainglory. Learning and degrees, and the reputa- 
tion of it, are all good, if they be valued and used but for 


God : but they are so much the worse when they are sacri- 
ficed to self, and made the food and fuel of pride. Learn, 
therefore, this part of self-denial. 


Reputation of Gifts and Spiritual Abilities, &)C. 

7. Another piece of vainglory to be denied, is the repu- 
tation of our gifts and spiritual abilities : I mean such as 
praying, and preaching, and disputing, and good conference, 
to have readiness for words, and liveliness of expression, 
and exactness of method : to be esteemed in all these a very 
able man by others, is a high part of self-interest to be de- 
nied. The duties themselves must be denied by none, for 
they are the service of God, commanded us by his word ; 
but it is the honour that self presumeth to hunt after in 
these holy things. And it is a double sin here to seek our- 
selves, when we are specially commanded to seek God, and 
where the work is instituted for that end ; and when we pre- 
tend to seek God and to deny ourselves. The greater are 
our abilities to do God service, the more resolutely and 
thankfully we should improve them in his service ; but we 
must remember, that they are given us to save others by our 
improvement, and not to destroy ourselves by our pride. 
Get as great abilities as you can, and when you have 
them, thank God for them, and use them for him to the 
uttermost of your power ; but take heed lest pride should 
sacrifice them to yourselves, and pervert them from your 
master's service. 

The persons that have most need of this advice are es- 
pecially these following : 1. Young, inexperienced profes- 
sors, that are but lately turned to a profession of a godly 
life ; that have so much illumination as sheweth them much 
that before they knew not, and raiseth them above the vul- 
gar measure, but yet hath made them but smatterers and 
half-knowing men. These are they that the apostle re- 
quireth should not be made bishops or pastors of the church, 
because of their proneness to this very sin that now we are 
speaking of, '* not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride, 
he fall into the condemnation of the devil,*' (1 Tim. iii. 6.) : 


the Spirit of God here intimateth to us, that novices are the 
most likely to be lifted up with pride, and that this pride 
is the way to the condemnation of the devil. 

2. And men of great abilities, natural or acquired, that 
have withal unsanctified hearts, are ordinarily transported 
with this odious vice. A strong wit and a voluble tongue, 
and learning to furnish it with matter, are notable servants 
to pride of heart, where that spiritual illumination and 
holiness is wanting, that should abase the proud, and turn 
men's parts a better way. To all that are apt to be tainted 
with this odious vice, I would recommend these following 
considerations : 

1. Consider what a dangerous sign it is of a graceless, 
hypocritical heart, where pride of gifts doth much pre- 
vail. It is as inseparable from a child of God to be hum- 
ble and little in his own esteem, as for a new-born child 
to be really lesser than men at age. No more sincerity 
than'^humility in any. 

2. Consider what cause of deep humiliation you carry 
about you in every duty ! Besides all the wants and loath- 
some corruptions of your souls, which follow you wherever 
you go, the very sins of your duties, one would think, should 
humble you. O, to have such low conceptions, such dull 
apprehensions, such heartless, unreverent, poor expressions 
of such a God, such a Christ, such a glory, and such holy 
truth, should make us ashamed to open our lips before the 
Lord, and wonder that he doth not tread us into hell, in- 
stead of regarding us or our services, and that fire doth not 
come forth from his jealousy and consume us ! It should 
make us so far from glorying in our performances, that it 
should drive us to Christ in every duty, to take him with 
us to shelter us from the flames of holy jealousy, so that 
we should not dare to go any further than he goes before 
us, and stands between us and the wrath of God, nor to 
speak a word but in his name, nor to expect any welcome 
but on his account. Shall a wretch be proud of that per- 
formance whose failings deserve everlasting torments? Must 
you be beholden to Christ to save you from the hell that the 
sins of your performances deserve, and yet dare you be 
proud of them? Let a Papist run that desperate path, that 
rails at us for saying that our best duties are mixed with 
sin, and that this sin deserves the wrath of God ; let them 


refuse a physician that think not themselves sick; and let 
them tell Christ they will not be beholden to him for a par- 
don for the sins of their prayers and other duties ; but for 
shame let not us be guilty of this, who profess to be better 
acquainted with our infirmities. 

3. Consider also that you have to do with so holy and 
glorious a God, that to be proud before him, and that in 
and of our very service of him, is a sin whose greatness sur- 
passeth our apprehensions. Had you to do with a man like 
yourselves, you might better lift up yourselves against him. 
There is nothing comparatively in the presence of the great- 
est prince, to humble and abase you ; but to be proud before 
the God of heaven, and that in and of our lamentably weak 
addresses to him ; O, what a horridly impious, unreason- 
able thing is this ! O man! if thy eyes were opened to see 
a little, a very little of the glory of that blessed God thou 
speakest to, how flat wouldst thou fall down! How wouldst 
thou fear and tremble! and cry out as the prophet, " Woe 
is me, for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, 
and dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine 
eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts;" Isaiah vi. 5. 
Or, " Behold I am vile, what shall I answer thee ? I will 
lay my hand upon my mouth ;" Job xl. 4. And " I have 
heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye 
seeth thee : wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and 
ashes;" Jobxlii. 5, 6. One glimpse of God's majesty would 
take down thy self-exalting thoughts, and humble thee with 
a witness. 

4. Consider the examples of the holiest of God's ser- 
vants. The example of Job and Isaiah I have now mention- 
ed. Moses himself did think himself unmeet to speak in 
God's message, "He said unto the Lord, lam not eloquent, 
neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken to thy ser- 
vant: but I am of a slow speech and of a slow tongue;" 
Exod. iv. 10. And " He said, O, my Lord, send I pray thee 
by the hand of him whom thou wilt send;" ver. 13. When 
God sent Jeremiah he said, *' Ah, Lord God, behold I ca mot 
speak ; for I am a child ;" Jer. i. 6. And Paul cries out, " Who 
is sufficient for these things !" 2 Cor. ii. 16. So that it hath 
been the course of the most seraphical prophets, and holy 
apostles to have low thoughts of their own abilities for duty ; 
and yet have you enough to be proud of? 


5. And consider that the nature of the holy employment 
that you are upon, one would think, should be enough to 
humble you. It is a confessing of sin, unworthiness and 
guilt, and will you be proud of this ? It is a confessing that 
you deserve everlasting torment ; and will you be proud of 
such a confession as this? The Lord be merciful to us, and 
save us from this unreasonable vice ; who would think that 
it should be thus with a man in his wits ? To confess that 
he deserveth hell-fire ; and to be proud of that confession! 
your petitions are all humbling, if they be according to the 
word ; you are beggars for your lives, for pardon of many 
and heinous sins, and should come as with a rope about your 
*necks ; you beg for deliverance from eternal misery : and 
should you be proud of such requests? Should beggars be 
proud, yea, such needy, miserable beggars, and be proud of 
their very begging? Nay, your very thanksgiving itself is 
humbling. For what do you give thanks for, but for salva- 
tion from these odious sins, and the damnation which you 
have deserved ? And shall a thief be proud that he is par- 
doned and taken from the gallows? Pride is contrary to 
the very nature and meaning of all those holy duties that 
you are proud of. 

6. Yea, the gifts themselves that you are proud of, should 
humble you. For, 1. They are from God, and not your- 
selves. ** For who maketh thee to differ? And what hast 
thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst re- 
ceive it, why dost thou glory as if thou didst not receive 
it?" 1 Cor. iv. 7. 2. You received them not for yourselves, 
but for God ; and therefore have no reason yourselves to be 
lifted up by them. 3. All gifts are for labour and duty, 
and must be once accounted for ; and therefore should keep 
you in humility and fear. To be proud of God's gifts, is to 
be proud of that which is given you to destroy pride in your- 
selves and others ; for this is the end of them. 

7. And it is a sign that you want exceeding much of 
that which you are proud of. You are proud of knowledge; 
whereas, if it were not for want of knowledge of that which 
should humble you, you would not be so proud. You are 
proud of your worth ; and it is for want of real worth that 
you afe proud. More light, and grace, and parts, would 
shew you that which would make you blush at the things that 
you were proud of. 



8. And consider tliat you take the course to provoke 
God to bereave you of his gifts. He gave them to you for 
another use. If you will turn them against his face by 
pride, when he gave them to keep you humble ; when you 
will exalt your carnal selves by it, which he gave you to 
exalt his Majesty, what can you expect but he should take 
them from you ? And it is an easy matter with him to do 
it ; yea to take away your very understanding, and leave you 
to the heavy plague of madness, seeing you were proud of your 
understandings,whenalas,poorworms,youhad so little cause. 

9. If once you grow proud of your parts and gifts, you 
are in the high way to be given over to some fearful fall ; 
at best to particular scandals, if not to some damnable he- 
resy or apostacy. God may prevent it by your humilia- 
tion, but you are in the common road that leads to it. It is 
much to be feared that God will so far leave you to your- 
selves, as to let you fall into the dirt of some notorious sin, 
that your shame may fly abroad the world, instead of the 
vain-glorious fame which you desired; and that you may 
have somewhat to humble you, that shall be written in your 
foreheads, and cannot he denied or hid. Or if you be hy- 
pocrites, and for damnation, it is most likely that you are 
in the ready way to some desperate heresy, or flat apostacy. 
For we see that these are too frequently the consequents of 
spiritual pride. 

10. Lastly, consider that the gifts you are proud of, are 
in danger of being unsuccessful to the church ; God may, 
I confess, do good to others by them, though they do but 
choke yourselves ; but ordinarily he denieth success to the 
proud, and blesseth weaker endeavours of the humble. Yea, 
often such men and all their parts become a plague and 
trouble to the church. For they use them to foment the 
heresies and divisions which they are given over to ; and 
do more hurt than the ignorant, or the common sort of the 
profane. Learn therefore to deny yourselves of the reputa- 
tion of your performances. If you feel any tickling delight 
when you are applauded, cast water on it suddenly, as on a 
fire kindled in your souls from hell. If you perceive the least 
stirringof discontent or envy, when the preaching or prayers 
of another are preferred, and yours less set by, take heed, 
and quench it; for you are entertaining a dangerous temp- 
tation. But if you should be so far liftt d up, as to set up 


your judgments above their worth, and rise against your^ 
teachers and the church of Christ, and desire to step beyond 
your callings, that your parts may be taken notice of, and 
you may be somebody in the church, and verify the pro- 
phecy of Paul, " Also of your own selves shall men arise, 
speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after 
them ;" Acts xx. 30. I say, when once you come to this, 
it is time to fear lest you be utterly forsaken, and become 
the shame and scorn of men, as you became the scourge 
andtroublers of the church, and lest your self-exalting lay 
you as low as hell. 


Reputation of being Orthodox, how far 

8. Another piece of vainglory to be denied, is the repu- 
tation of being orthodox, or of the right religion. The thing 
itself is in the essentials of absolute necessity to salvation ; 
but the reputation of it, is a thing that we must deny our- 
selves in. For it commonly falls out in most of the world, 
that the thing itself, and the reputation of it, are inconsis- 
tent; and no man can be orthodox, and of the right reli- 
gion, but he must be taken to be heterodox, and of the 
wrong religion ; for the wrong is in most places taken for the 
right. But through the great mercy of God, it is not com- 
monly so in England, nor in the reformed churches abroad, 
in any great and necessary points. Among us truth hath the 
advantage of reputation! and so may it continue while the 
sun endureth ! But yet there is use for this part of self- 
denial, even with us. We converse among many sects and 
parties of various opinions ; and all of them are confident 
that they are in the right, and that we are erroneous, and 
against the truth : so say the Papists, and so say the Liber- 
tines, and many others. And there is no way to gain the 
reputation of being sound and orthodox with any of these 
men, but by turning to them, and forsaking the truth, and 
ceasing to be orthodox indeed. In Spain, or Italy, or with 
English Papists, you must be accounted heretics, or yield 
to heresy ; you must either cease to be true Catholics, or be 



content to be esteemed no Catholics : you have your choice 
whether you really will be schismatics, or be esteemed and 
called schismatics. And so you will be used among most 
sects, who judge of truth and error according to their own 
deluded apprehensions. Yea, and among the orthodox in- 
deed, because they also have their errors, and are not ortho- 
dox in all things, you must look for the same measure in 
those particulars wherein they are mistaken. For thinking 
themselves in the right, they will too often take it for their 
duty to let fly at others, as erroneous or dangerous persons, 
that are not of their mind ; and in this mistake, they think 
they do God service to defame Dissenters, and raise jealou- 
sies and suspicions of them, and bid men take heed of them, 
as of them that hold some dangerous opinions; when it is 
themselves that are deceived, and should turn those jealou- 
sies and cautions homewards. In such cases as these it is 
a hard strait that a servant of Christ is put to ; when he 
must either err or be supposed to err. But the principal 
temptation lieth in those countries, where error hath got the 
major vote, and is patronized both by book and sword, and 
custom hath fixed the name of truth, upon the foulest here- 
sies ; and the name of heresy upon saving truths : here a poor 
Christian is sorely tempted and put to a lamentable strait. 
O, saith he, * If I were reputed but to be base, or beggarly, 
or contemptible, I could bear it ; but heresy and schism are 
such odious things that no man should be patient under the 
imputation of them/ Answ, Are they such odious things? 
Take heed of them then, lest out of your own mouths you 
be judged. If you think the matter so small that you will 
rather be a heretic or schismatic, than be called or accounted 
one, it seems you take it for no odious thing. Is the name 
or the thing more odious to you? Had you rather be erro- 
neous, or be thought to be so? If the thing be most odious 
to you, the name will be the more tolerable. But if the 
name be most odious to you, it is dishonour, and not error 
or schism that you are against. Had you rather part with 
truth and religion, or with the name and reputation of them? 
If you set so much by self, and so little by truth, as to let 
go truth for fear of being thought to let it go ; for shame, 
do not take on you to be lovers of truth, but of yourselves ; 
nor haters of error, but of dishonour. 

And consider further that you may Ipse the reputation 


of being orthodox, and catholic, and of the right religion, 
without losing any of the favour of God ; nay, it may be a 
suffering for his sake that may advance you in his favour, 
and assure you in the reward of martyrs. For saith Christ, 
*' Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute 
you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for 
my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your 
reward in heaven : for so persecuted they the prophets that 
were before you;" Matt. v. 11, 12. So that you see the thing 
that yoQ so abhor, is matter of exceeding joy ; even to be 
falsely counted a heretic or erroneous for the sake of Christ 
and truth ; we are blessed when we are falsely reviled as er- 
roneous, and have all these evil sayings against us. But to 
be such indeed, is to be accursed ; though the name of he- 
resy will stand with the special love of God, yet heresy itself 
he utterly abhors. And whether do you think it is better 
to part with truth, and the favour of God with it ; or with the 
name and reputation of truth, while we keep both truth and 
the favour of God ? Deny yourselves then, even as to the 
reputation of faith and orthodoxness ; for you will certainly 
deny the faith, if you cannot deny the name of it, to pre- 
serve it. 


Tteputation of Godliness and Honesty, how far — ^ 

9. Another piece of honour that self must be denied in, 
is, the reputation of godliness and honesty. Concerning 
both the former and this, I must say, by way of caution, 
that the reputation both of faith and godliness is a great 
mercy, and not to be despised, nor prodigally cast away by 
our own negligence or miscarriages ; nor unthankfully to 
be received : but yet, 1. It is not to be desired for itself, but 
for God, that it may help and advantage us to serve him, or 
as it is a mercy that brings the report of his love. 2. And 
the greater the mercy is, the greater is our temptation, when 
it would deprive us of a far greater mercy than itself : I have 
oft thought it was a very high passage for a heathen to say 
as Seneca did, that * No man doth shew a higher esteem of 



goodness, than he that can let go the name or reputation of 
being a good man, rather than let go his goodness itself.' The 
world is so much unacquainted with goodness, that they 
know it not when they see it ; but call it by those odious 
names that least agree with it. Their judgments follow their 
natures, dispositions and interests ; and therefore they can- 
not take that to be good, which is contrary to these. A fea- 
ther-bed is no better to a swine than a mire-lake ; a banquet 
is not so good to a cow as a green pasture. As the person 
is himself, so do all things seem good or evil to him. The 
toad or snake hath no such odious apprehensions of itself 
as men have. And hence it is that to ungodly men, the best 
men and best actions seem to be the worst. And hence also 
it is, that in all ages godliness hath been matter of reproach ; 
and the best have been laden with calumnies. David had 
enemies that laid to his charge the things that he never 
thought of. And it seems by the strain of Shemei in his 
railing, that they took him to be but a traitor, because king 
Saul was against him ; and to be a bloody man, because he 
had been engaged in the wars, *' Come out, come out, thou 
bloody man, and thou man of belial : the Lord hath re- 
turned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in 
whose stead thou hast reigned ;" 2 Sam. xvi. 7, 8. See what 
a wicked person David was esteemed by such fellows as this! 
and yet he so far denied himself here, as that he would not hear 
of revenge upon the railer, but makes it as a trial sent from 
God. And two special reasons moved him to bear it. One 
was the remembrance of that sin against God and his servant 
Uriah, which he knew God was now chastising him for; and 
therefore being under the rod of the Lord, he durst not think 
of revenge upon the instrument ; and being sensible that he 
had brought all this upon himself, he durst not let fly too 
much at others. The other was that God had raised up 
(by permissive Providence) the son of his bowels against 
him ; and therefore he thought it an unseemly thing to be 
much offended with a stranger for less. And such reasons 
as these have we also to persuade us to patience and self- 
denial in the like case. The Lord Jesus himself, who had no 
sin at all, escaped not these censures of malicious men. He 
was esteemed a friend or companion of publicans and sinners, 
yea, a gluttonous person, and a wine-bibber; yea, a de- 
^seiver ; yea, a conjurer, that did his works by the help of 



the devil; Matt. xi. 16. Luke vii. 34. Matt, xxvii. 63. 
John vii. 12. Matt.xii. 27. What usage the holy apostles 
themselves had, and how they behaved themselves under all, 
you may conjecture by that one passage (to mention no 
more), *' For I think God hath set forth us the apostles last, as 
it were men appointed to death : for we are made a spectacle 
to the world, and to angels, and to men : we are fools for 
Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ ; we are weak, but ye 
are strong ; ye are honourable, but we are despised ; even to 
this present hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, 
and are buffeted, and have no certain dwcllingplace ; and la- 
bour working with our own hands ; being reviled, we bless ; 
being persecuted, we suffer it ; being defamed, we entreat : we 
are made as the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all 
things to this day;" 1 Cor. iv. 9 — 13. The like usage had 
the Christians after the apostles' days. They were slander- 
ed by the Pagans as if they sacrificed, and eat their own 
childi en, and putting out the lights had commonly been un- 
clean together after their holy exercises : and when they 
cast them to the lions to be devoured, and many ways tor- 
mented them, it was as ungodly men, for preaching against 
the heathen gods, and refusing to offer sacrifice to them. 
And therefore the rabble was wont thus to cry for judgment 
against them, ' ToUite impios! Tollite impios !' Away with 
the ungodly Christians ! The wicked multitude that were 
drowned in filthiness and ungodliness, did think themselves 
religious men, and the Christians to be ungodly. So that 
they were fain to live and die under a reputation as contrary 
to the truth, as darkness is contrary to light. 

And this usage hath still been the attendant of true god- 
liness. When the Papists burn God's servants at the stake, 
it is for supposed heresy and impiety ; they put a painted 
cap and coat upon them, made of paper, on which the 
images of devils are pictured, to make the people believe 
they are ungodly persons, the servants of the devil, and pos- 
sessed by him already, and unworthy to live any longer among 
men. When they butchered the poor Waldenses and Albi- 
genses by thousands, it was under the name of ungodly he- 
retics. The ignorant, ungodly rabble among us now, that 
hate and revile those that seek after God more diligently 
than themselves, have yet more devilish wit than to oppose 
them directly under the name of honest, godly men; but they 


first make the world believe that they are hypocrites, and 
proud, and self-conceited, and covetous, and secretly are as 
bad as others, and these are the things, if you will believe 
them, that they hate and speak against them for. But then 
how conies it to pass that it is their praying and preciseness 
that is so much in the scorners' mouths ? Doth that signify 
hypocrisy or pride ? Why do they not commend the good,, 
while they speak against the evil ? and join with them in 
the holy worship and ways of God, while they oppose their 
supposed viciousness? Doth the name (Puritan) signify a 
covetous man, or a vicious person? or rather one that will 
not be content to venture his soul in the common, impure, 
ungodly courses of the world? And how comes it to pass 
that a man may quietly enough follow such vices, if he will 
but forbear the profession of godliness? But (to leave 
these wretches in the dirt where we find them) by this you 
may see tbe common measure that is to be expected from 
the world. If you will be truly godly, you must be taken 
for ungodly, or for hypocrites, that seem to be godly when 
you are not. 

But it is easy to bear this charge when it falls upon a 
whole society, and takes us but in the crowd among the 
rest, and when we have so much honourable company to 
suffer with us; but it goes nearer us when we are singled 
out by name, and noted and talked of all about as hypo- 
crites, or proud, or worse than others. But that ako must 
be borne by those that will be Christians. 

But the greatest trial of all is, when the servants of Go^ 
that should help us in our suffering, have got a hard report 
of us, and by misinformation we have lost our credit even 
with them. Under al] these false and injurious reports,. 
^ direct and stablish your own minds by the help of these 

considerations following. 

1. It may be there is some special cause that you should 
try and judge yourselves ; and so God doth suffer other 
men to judge you, to awaken you to self-judging. How- 
ever, make this use of it, and you are sure to be no losers 
by the reproach. Enter into your hearts, and search them 
throughly as before the Lord, and see if there be any way 
of wickedness in them which hitherto you have not dis- 
covered : Try whether there be hypocrisy and pride or 
not; especially when it is the servants of God that think 


hardly of you ; iind above all, if it be wise, impartial men 
that are acquainted with you, it is then your duty to be 
very jealous of your hearts and ways, and to fear lest you 
are guilty, and to search the more diligently, and not be 
quiet till you either find out your sin, or be sure that you 
are clear. And if you be clear in that point, yet suspect 
and search lest there be some other secret or allowed sin, 
which God would detect to you, or excite you against by 
the injurious consures of those that have reproached you. 

2. When you have searched and cleared your own con- 
sciences, then consider further, that though you are not such 
as you are censured to be, yet sinners you are, and you 
know your sins in other kinds are so many and so great, that 
you should bear the more patiently to be hardly thought of, 
when you know yourselves to be so bad. If indeed you are 
godly, you have seen a sink of uncleanness in yourselves, 
and have condemned yourselves oft, and loathed yourselves 
for your abominations, and bewailed them before the Lord. 
And is it suitable for such a spirit to be eager after the repu- 
tation of sincerity, and to be much troubled that you are 
taken by others to be naught ? 

3. And consider also that your case may be as David's 
was, and God may possibly make this reproach a chastise- 
ment for some former sin, and a means to humble you for 
it more thoroughly, and to reclaim you from it. Perhaps he 
bids (by permissive providence) some Shimei curse you. It 
may be the voice of a slanderer must do that which the voice 
of a preacher could not do. And then it is your work to 
look behind you and within you, more than without you, 
and to hearken more to the voice of God and conscience, 
than of the slanderer : and to take it as the rod of God, and 
a call to a more serious repentance. 

4. And consider that when you are under the false cen- 
sures of the world, you may have the inward peace of a 
good conscience, which is better than all the applause of 
men ; and this being a continual feast, they cannot do much 
against your quietness, as long as they cannot deprive you 
of this. 

5. Yea, moreover, you have the approbation of God him- 
self, and that should satisfy against the censure of all the 
world. Even a proud man, if he have any wit, can bear the 
contempt of the ignorant vulgar, if behave but the applause 


of great, and wise, and learned men; as that orator that va- 
lued the judgment of Socrates above all the rest of his au- 
ditory. But all the wisest men in the world are fools in com- 
parison of God. Having his approbation, you have the 
greatest, the best, and the wisest on your side ; and a judg- 
ment for you that will lay down the judgment of ten thou- 
sand worlds. 

6. And if you value not God's approbation above man's, 
it is a sign that you are hypocrites indeed, and so the cen- 
sure is not unjust ; but if you do, then you will acquiesce in 
it, though man condemn you ; and say as the apostle, *' Who 
shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God 
that justifieth, who is he that condemneth?" Rom. viii. 33, 
34. And " With me it is a very small thing, that I should 

be judged of you, or of man's judgment but he that 

judgeth me is the Lord ;" 1 Cor. iv. 3, 4. 

7. And remember that the great day of judgment is near 
at hand, that will set all straight which the slanderous 
tongues of men made crooked. Stay but a while, and the 
glory of Christ, and the sentence of your Judge, will dispel 
all the unjust reproaches that were on you, and wash off all 
the blots that were falsely laid on your good name ; " and 
he will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your 
judgment as the noon-day;" for " there is nothing hid that 
shall not be then revealed." 

8. In the meantime God will take care of your name ; he 
will make the very tongues that slander you to honour you ; 
in the blindness of their reproaches, crossing themselves. 
As the Papists by the poor Waldenses, saying they were the 
more dangerous heretics, because they held all the articles of 
faith, and lived godly and honestly, and were reputed holy, 
but only that they were against the Church of Rome. As 
you trust God with your health, and wealth, so must you 
with your reputation, even in point of honesty, and be satis- 
fied that he can clear you when he pleases. 

9. And it is not God's ordinary way to leave the reputa- 
tion of his servants wholly uncleared even in this world. If 
one condemn them, another shall justify them; and com- 
monly the wisest and best men justify them; and the most 
foolish and ungodly are they that condemn them. And can- 
not you bear tlie words of fools and children ? The proudest 
man can pass by a contempt or slander from a drunken man. 


an idiot, or a madman, as being no dishonour to him ; and 
cannot you bear the censures of the distracted world? Or 
if they are better men that slander you, it is two to one but it 
is the more foolish or passionate sort of them ; and that the 
judgment of the more wise and sober is against them, and vin- 
dicateth your reputation. Or if at the present they do not, 
it is ten to one but Providence shall work to the clearing of 
your reputation, either in your lifetime, or when you are 
dead. Most of the servants of God that were most hated 
and slandered, while they lived on earth, are cleared and ho- 
noured now they are dead. God is not disregardful of his 
servants' names. 

10. But however it go, you are secured of the main ; that 
which you expected or covenanted for with God, you shall 
be sure of. If you have the thin^, you may easily bear the 
want of the name. Hath the Spirit of God renewed and 
sanctified you? Are you made the living members of Christ, 
and the sons of God, and the heirs of heaven? I hope you 
may well spare then the applause of men, and easily bear it 
if you be reputed to be destitute of what you have. If you 
are in health, it will not much trouble you if it be reported 
that you are sick ; and if you are alive, you can bear it if the 
report go that you are dead : for as long as you have the 
thing, you can spare the name. And if you have Christ, and 
grace, and pardon, and justification, and title to eternal life, 
cannot you endure to have men think that you are without 
them? How basely do you undervalue these inestimable 
things, when the thoughts of a man's mind, or the words of 
a man's mouth, can blast the comforts of them all! As if 
you said to the world, it is not Christ, and grace, and par- 
don, and salvation, that will serve me, without the applause 
of men ! How basely think you of God, and how highly of 
men, if this be your mind! It is more excusable for a Ha- 
man to say of all his honour and wealth that they satisfy him 
not, or do him no good, as long as he wants but Mordecai's 
obeisance, than for a Christian to say of God, of Christ, of 
glory, all this will not serve my turn as long as men take me 
for a hypocrite or ungodly. For there is not a satisfying suf- 
ficiency in honours and wealth, as there is in God and glory. 
As long as you have the precious treasure, methinks you 
may give losers leave to talk. It was. not for the good words 
of men that you became Christians, and covenanted with 


God, but for pardon and salvation; and these you shall 
have ; God will perform his covenant to you, and give you 
both his kingdom, and so much of worldly things as over- 
plus, as is truly good for you ; and what would you have 
more ? You shall have the inheritance and crown of bless- 
edness ; and will not that serve your turn without a few 
good words from silly man ! I hope you would be loath to 
change rewards with the hypocrite ! Why then do you so 
much desire his reward, and so much undervalue your 
own ? Though his be present, and yours be future, I hope 
you think it but a doleful hearing, to have Christ say, 
" Verily they have their reward ;" in comparison of his pro- 
mise to his reproached servants, " Verily great is your re- 
ward in heaven ;" Matt. vi. 2. v. 12. 

And now, I hope, in all these ten particular considera- 
tions, you may see reason enough for self-denial in the very 
reputation of your godliness and honesty ; and why you 
should endure joyfully to be esteemed ungodly and dis- 
honest, rather than be so. 


A Renowned and Perpetuated Name to he Denied. 

10. The last point of honour which self must be denied in, 
is a renowned and perpetuated name. For to that height 
doth pride aspire, that no less will satisfy, where there is 
any apparent hope of this ; though in those that sit so low 
that they see no ground to hope for such a thing, the de- 
sires after it are not so kindled as they be in others, that 
think the prey is within their reach. Fain men would be 
famous and talked of through the world ; they would have 
their real and supposed worth made known as far as may 
be. And when they die, they would fain have their names 
survive, that they may be great in the estimation of poste- 
rity, and magnified by all that mention them. And so 
deeply are men possessed with this dangerous sin, that they 
account this perpetuated fame for their felicity. And there 
was nothing that most of the heathens did prefer before it ; 
but when they seemed to be most virtuous, heroical, and 


patient, it was but to be thus esteemed of after they were 

If you ask me, how far a surviving reputation may be 
regarded ? I answer, 1. So far as the interest of God, or his 
Gospel, church, or cause, or the public good, or the good of 
our posterity is concerned in it, and may be promoted by it 
thus far it is lawful and a duty to value it, desire it, and 
seek it. For if we have thoroughly searched our hearts, and 
can say unfeignedly that it is God, and his cause and ho- 
nour that we principally intend, and desire our own honour 
but as a means to his, and therefore desire it no further 
than it is such a means ; then we may justly desire both the 
extension and surviving of our reputation, if we are ground- 
edly persuaded that it is like to conduce to these happy 
ends. As for example ; A prince that owns the cause of 
God, and makes such laws for the common good as may 
exceedingly promote it, if they be observed by posterity, 
must have a great regard to his present and surviving fame, 
because the honour of his laws will depend much upon the 
honour of his name : and if once the people vilify him, they 
will be likely to vilify and cast off his laws, to the hurt of 
church and commonwealth, and their own undoing. And 
even to the success of their present government, they 
should be very careful of their fame : so also a minister of 
the Gospel must be very careful of his present and future 
reputation. For at present, the saving good of his auditors 
doth much depend upon it. For if they have a base esteem 
of the pastor, they will be unlikely to give diligent atten- 
tion to his doctrine, but disesteem it as they do the speaker 
and it is not likely to go to their hearts ; nor will they seek 
his advice in the great matters of salvation, and the difficult 
cases and dangers that they meet with ; but to the great 
hazard of their souls will slight the necessary assistance of 
him that is appointed to be their guide to heaven, and will 
set light by all the ordinances of God. And therefore the 
pastor's reputation is ten thousand times more beneficial 
and necessary to the people than to himself. For, alas, it 
is but their good thoughts and words that he receiveth ; 
which add little to his happiness : but it is everlasting life 
which they may receive by that word of God and help from 
him, which is furthered by his reputation. And therefore, 
as ministers, should be exceedingly watchful against pride 


that they desire not honour for themselves ; so when they 
are sure that God is their end, they must be exceeding care- 
ful of their own reputation, and avoid all occasions and 
appearances of evil, and purchase it by all just means: for 
though honour be worth little, yet the cause of God and 
the souls of men are worth much ; and we must not be 
prodigal of our Master^s talents, and such as are very use- 
ful to his service : our reputation is God's and the church's 
due, and to be cherished for their use. Especially those 
ministers must be careful of their reputation, that by re- 
formation or public useful writings are capable of profiting 
posterity : and they may desire the surviving of their ho- 
nours, which for itself might not be desired ; because their 
works and writings, and doctrines are like to be much 
blasted by their own defamations, and do little good to any 
that come after ; nay, the precious truths and cause of God 
may be most dangerously wronged and disadvantaged by 
it ; and get such a blot and dishonour by their dishonour, 
that any that shall seek the promoting of it hereafter may 
be greatly hindered and disadvantaged thereby : for it will 
seem enough to cast off such a doctrine for ever, that by 
the dishonour of the maintainers it was once dishonourable, 
and rejected as an error. And doubtless some things have 
been thus made heresies, and so will be long rejected as 
heresies in many parts of the Christian world, because they 
were once called by that name ; and that was because the 
person that did own them had some such dishonour or 
disadvantage as left his doctrine open to this reproach. 
And therefore you may here see what a potent instrument 
reputation is in the devil's hand, to do his work ; and what 
abundance of advantage he gets' by defaming God's servants. 
Principally by this means did he long keep the world from 
the entertainment of the Gospel, the servants of Christ be- 
ing contemptible in their eyes, and the preaching of the 
cross but foolishness to them. By this means did the Pha- 
risees hinder the Jews from believing in Christ : and by 
th^ means is heathenism, infidelity, and Mahometanism 
contilKiued in possession of most of the world to this day. 
By this means it is that popery keeps the common people 
in thraldom : as the voluminous lies of Cochlseus, Bolsecus, 
and many others concerning Luther, Calvin, Zuinglius, and 
other of our reformers and writers, do fully testify. And by 


personal reproaches and dishonours it is that the doctrine 
of the reformed divines is made so odious among the Lu- 
therans ; and the like instances might be given in others. 
If now any weighty Christian verity should be asserted by 
any pastor of the church, in a sounder and clearer manner, 
than is commonly known or owned, if the person that doth 
it, should but fall under any reproach (which he shall be 
sure of, if the devil can procure it), it is two to one but forh is 
sake his doctrine will be stigmatized with the name of 
error, and so lie buried for ever, till Divine Omnipotency 
commands its resurrection. And hence it is that there is 
not one instrument that ever God raiseth up to vindicate 
any truth, or ordinance, or do him any special service, but 
satan raiseth up tongues and pens, if not hands and swords, 
against him ; and an army of reproachers will presently be 
on the back of him. 

Now in all such cases as these, it is a great duty for 
any servant of Christ to be very regardful of his reputation 
even with posterity : for his good name may much promote 
the truth, as we know the name of Austin, Calvin, and 
many another doth at this day. And if it be our great 
duty to extend our service of God as far as we can, to all 
countries, and to all posterity, to do them good ; then it is 
our duty to endeavour that a good reputation should go 
along with our labours to further the success, or remove 
impediments. And thus while we are sincere, and intend 
all for God, we may and must regard our honour ; and yet 
in so doing we deny ourselves, because we do it not for our- 
selves, but for God and his church. 

And if honour be given in to us this way, even as we 
partake of it ourselves, as a means to God's honour, we 
must thankfully accept it, esteem it, and rejoice in it. And 
therefore it is made the matter of many promises, and 
spoken of in Scripture as a blessing : ** A good name is 
rather to be chosen than great riches ;" Prov. xxii. 1. 
" The memory of the just is blessed : but the name of the 
wicked shall rot;" Prov. x. 7. "A good name is better 
than precious ointment;" Eccles. vii. 1., with many the like. 
Thus much 1 have said to prevent a misapplicaljon of 
that which followeth ; and to help you so to understand me 
on this point of honour, as not to run from extreme into 
extreme, and to sin by seeking to avoid sin. 


But alas, this kind of seeking our honour for God and 
his church, and not for ourselves, and as our own, I doubt 
is more rare than the neglect of honour. The sin that I 
dissuade you from, is in these two points. 1. That you do 
not affect and seek after extending or surviving reputation 
for yourselves ; and out of a proud desire to be still some- 
body in the estimation of the world : 2. That if God deny 
you even that honour which in the most lawful manner you 
desire, that you submit to his pleasure, and take it pa- 
tiently ; and in these two respects you must here deny 

Above all others, these sorts of persons following are 
in danger of this odious pride, in desiring for themselves 
an extended and surviving name : 1. Princes and soldiers 
that have the management of the great affairs of the world, 
fain would they be renowned to posterity ; and hence are 
their aspiring ambitious designs. For this are their wars 
and conquests, that they may be famous when they are dead 
as well as while they live ; and thus they make their noble 
conquests to be but murders of the vilest sort, and worse 
than any cut-throats and robbers by the highway, while 
they intend them but for themselves and their own vain- 
glory ; and better might they seek honour by whoredom, 
drunkenness, or theft, which are far smaller sins. Whereas, 
if their wars had been undertaken for God, and managed 
according to his will, they had made them truly honoured 
and renowned. And from this odious pride it is, that Ab- 
salom's pillars must be erected, and monuments must be 
built to perpetuate their names, and tell the world what need 
they have of means to keep alive their memories, and how 
destitute they are of nobler means, when marbles and 
monuments must be the great preservers of their fame. 
Yea, it were well if this pride and selfishness did not cor- 
rupt the noblest of their works, and turn them into deadly 
sins ; if they did not build their hospitals, colleges, or 
churches, and endow them with revenues to perpetuate their 
own names, rather than to do good. Though the works 
themselves are so good and so rare that I would not cast 
any dishonour upon them, seeing all that can be said is too 
little to provoke men to do the like ; yet am I bound in duty 
to tell them, that if self should be the end, instead of God, 
and pride the cause, instead of charity, hell would be the 


reward instead of heaven ; so great a matter is it to have an 
honest heart and right intentions in the most excellent and 
noble works. Insomuch that a poor man that hath a heart 
to build a college or a hospital, if he had but means, shall 
be rewarded by God, as if he had done it, if God were the 
end and charity the principle ; when a rich man that doth 
the work itself, shall have but a poor and temporary reward, 
if self be the end and pride the principle. 

2. Another sort that are specially in danger of this sin, 
are all rich men who would be great in the world, and per- 
petuate their names and memory in their houses, lands, and 
posterity ; and therefore they would purchase towns and 
lordships, that their houses may be famous when they are 
gone : for it seems a kind of life to them if their greatness 
do but live in their posterity; ** their inward thought is that 
their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwellingplaces 
to all generations : they call their lands after their own 
names This, their way, is their folly; yet their pos- 
terity approve their sayings;" Psal. xlix. 11, 12. Hence 
also is that ostentation of escutcheons, and arms, and of 
ancient gentility or nobility, and much more such proud and 
selfish vanity. 

3. Another sort that are in danger of this sin are divines, 
and learned men in all professions, who make their writings 
but a means to perpetuate their own names to posterity. 
Temptations to this sin may be offered to the best, and too 
much entertainment they may have with our natures, be- 
cause of the remnants of selfishness and pride. But yet 
they do not prevail with the sanctified so far as to aim more 
at their own honour than at God's. The labours that in 
themselves are excellent, and a blessing to the church, are 
lost to him that was the author of them, if self be the end, 
and pride the fountain. And exceeding great need have the 
godliest men to watch their hearts in this particular, for 
they are very deceitful, and selfishness will too often inter- 
pose, where nothing but God and public good is discerned. 
And now, because that the sin is very great and dangerous, 
I shall here annex a few considerations, which, by opening 
the evil of it, may help you to abhor it. 

1. These proud desires of a great and surviving name, do 
shew that you lamentably overlook the true eternal honour 
of the saints. Must you have honour ? Choose that which 


iieth in the esteem of God. Must you be great and glori- 
ous ? Why you may be so, and God would have you be so, 
if you will but know where greatness and glory is to be bad, 
even in that blessedness that Christ hath purchased. Must 
you have your greatness and honour perpetuated ? Why 
you may have that which will never have an end ; and when 
God hath set before you such an endless glory, are you look- 
ing after a name among mortal men, to leave behind you on 
the earth? Do you think to be saved indeed or not? If 
you do, what need have you of the smoke of man's applause 
when you are with God ? What unworthy thoughts have 
you of heaven, if you think when you are there you shall 
have need of men's good thoughts or words on earth? But 
it is a dangerous sign that you are indeed unbelievers, and 
lay not up your treasure in heaven, when you are so careful 
to perpetuate your names and shadows here with men. The 
true relish of heavenly honour would put you out of love 
with this. 

2. And do you not plainly see in your own desires the 
vanity of all these earthly things, when you are put at last 
to take up with such a shadow, such a nothing, as is a sur- 
viving name? Is this all that the world can do for you? 
And do you not see here the wondrous deceitfulness of the 
world, and the foolishness of unsanctified men, that they 
will thus stick to the world for very nothing ! When they 
know that they shall have no more from it, they are con- 
triving for a name when they are dead. Wonderful blind- 
ness ! that experience and the approach and thoughts of 
death, should no more open your eyes. Surely, if this be 
all that the world will do for you at the last, you should 
even renounce it, and use it accordingly at the first. 

3. You cannot but know% that when you are dead and 
gone, the honour of the world is none of yours, nor can it do 
you any good any further than it relateth to your eternal 
blessedness, and your honour is serviceable to the honour 
of God. What good will it do you to be magnified by men 
when you neither know nor feel it? What the better is a 
tree or a house, if men commend it? And for your souls, if 
they be with God, they will be far above the praise of men. 

4. Nay, as such a design is a dangerous sign of your 
damnation, so I beseech you think what comfort it will be 
to your soul in hell to be extolled and well spoken of on 



earth? Will you cast away your souls to leave a name of 
renown behind you ? And how unsuitable will ^uch honour 
be to your condition? Surely, if you be there acquainted 
with it, you must needs be more tormented, both to remem- 
ber that you were seeking the fame of the world, instead of 
the eternal glory, and to consider what a miserable wretch 
it is that men are praising and magnifying on earth. Ah, 
then you will think with yourselves, * Little do the poor in- 
habitants of the earth know what I am suffering while they 
are extolling me. Is the applause of mortals suitable to a 
poor tormented soul ? Alas, that at one and the same time, 
men should be extolling me and devils tormenting me ! How 
little ease do all their acclamations afford this poor dis- 
tressed soul!' How honourable are the names of Alexander 
the Great, and Csesar, and Aristotle, here on earth ! But, 
alas, what cause have we to fear that they are lamenting 
their misery, while we are speaking of their glory ! 

5. And the sin is much the greater, because it is not a 
mischosen means, but a mistaken end, that your souls have 
fastened on. For it seems your very hearts are set upon your 
honours, and deeply and desperately set upon them, when 
you dare contrive the continuation of them when you are 
dead. Were it not a matter exceeding dear to you, un- 
doubtedly you durst not lay such a design for it. 

6. And consider whether there be not a love of the 
deadly sin of pride, and a final impenitency implied in 
this ambition of a surviving name : for you lay a design that 
is supposed to be executed after death. And as if you de- 
sired an eternity of wickedness, because your pride itself 
can live no where but with yourself, you would have it leave 
those tokens behind it by which the world may know that 
you are proud, and the effects of it you would have perpet- 
uated on earth ! And had not the world enough of your 
pride while you were alive ? And had not you enough of it? 
Is this your repentance, that you would leave the monu- 
ments of your pride unto posterity, as if you were afraid 
there would be no surviving witness against you to con- 
demn you? This is a certain transcendency of sin ! The 
common wicked ones would fain die the death of the right- 
eous, and wish their last end were like to his. But these 
men would have their pride to live for ever ; and when they 



themselves are in another world, they would have the de- 
monstrations of their iniquity survive them. 

7. And I beseech you consider what a fearful thing it is 
to die in contrived beloved sin ! When men have none but 
a deathbed repentance, we have much cause to fear, lest it 
be but fear that is the life of the repentance ; but when they 
have not this much, but are desirous to leave the monu- 
ments of their vice to all generations, from whence then 
shall we fetch our hopes of their forgiveness? And, O ! 
what a power hath pride in that soul, where the thoughts 
of death itself will give no stop to it, but still they are de- 
sirous that pride may overlive them ! One would think that 
the serious thoughts of a grave, much more of our passage 
into another world, should level all such thoughts of a sur- 
viving honour, even in an unsanctified soul ! But I much 
fear lest it be infidelity itself that is the root of all, and that 
men do not soundly believe an everlasting life with God, 
which makes them desire to have somewhat like an immor- 
tality here on earth. 

8. And consider what a silly immortality you desire. 
The honour can be no greater than the persons are that ho- 
nour you, nor no longer. And it is but poor mortals that 
will magnify your names, and what can they add to you ? 
And it will be but a very little while; for it is not long that 
the world is to continue. 

9. And consider what a wickedness is here commonly 
included. Proud men desire to be thought better than they 
are, and spoken of accordingly : they limit not men's esti- 
mation to the truth of their deserts ; otherwise, if the best 
and greatest of you all were thought no better or greater 
than you are, alas, how far would men be from admiring 
you. What would you be thought but worms and sinners ; 
and such as after all your glory, cannot forbid a crawling 
worm to feed upon your face or heart ? And such as de- 
serve no less than hell ; and have many a secret sin that the 
world was unacquainted with. But it is not a true, but false 
esteem that the proud desire ; they care not how great, or 
how good, or how wise and learned the world and succeed- 
ing ages think them ; and thus they desire to cheat men's 
understandings, and to leave a false history of themselves 
on earth, and to have all men believe and report untruths, 
to magnify men whose souls, it is much to be doubted, are 


in hell, or if they be not, must needs abhor such doings. 
And thus every proud and selfish man would be a false his- 
torian and cheater of the world. 

10. Yea, which is yet the worst of all, they would con- 
tinue sacrilegiously to rob the Lord of his honour, even when 
they are dead. It is an undue honour, which is stolen from 
God, which they so much seek for (for were it but such as 
is a useful means to his honour, he would not be offended 
with them). And when the saints say, ** Not unto us. Lord, 
but unto thy name give the glory," these sinners are not 
content to rob God of his honour as long as they live, but 
they would do it even after death. If we had not certainly 
known the truth of it, we should have thought it an incre- 
dible thing that ever any man should come to that impiety, 
pride, and madness, as to desire to be worshipped as a God 
when he was dead. Much more, that the most of the world 
should be so far distracted as to do it : and yet so it hath 
been, and so it is in too great a measure. And truly the 
wicked or proud disposition that is predominant in the hearts 
of all the unsanctified, doth take up no shorter where it 
hath but hopes of success to actuate it. Not a man of them 
but would be honoured as Gods when they are dead ; 
though I know those of them that feel not this much in 
themselves, will hardly believe it. Consider what an 
heinous injury this is to God, and to the souls of men, that 
you should leave your names as idols to the world,, to entice 
so many thousand men to sin, and to be a standing enemy 
to the honour of God, by encroaching on his right, and 
turning the eye of men's observation and admiration from 
him to you. 

11. Consider also, how that by these desires of earthly 

I honour to yourselves, and making this the end of your 
endeavours, you corrupt abundance of excellent works, 
(materially considered,) and turn them into mortal sins. If 
princes rule and fight for themselves, I have told you al- 
ready what they do; but if this were done for God, it 
would have another form, and another reward, as it had 
another end. What a doleful case is it that such excellent 
works, as almsdeeds, and acts of bounty to church, or 
poor, or commonwealth, in buildings, lands, or any the like 
works, should all be turned into sin and death, by such 
a selfish vainglorious intent ! And that their souls should 


be suffering for those works that others receive much good 
by ! What a sad case is it, that historians, lawyers, physic 
cians, philosophers, linguists, and the professors of all the 
sciences, should undo themselves for ever by those excel- 
lent works that edify the world! Nay, what can be more 
lamentable to think of, than that able and learned divines 
themselves should lose their own souls in the studying, and 
preaching those precious truths, that are saving unto 
others ; and that such excellent writings as remain a stand- 
ing blessing to the church, should be the authors of mortal 
sin ! And yet so it is, if the renown and immortality of a 
name on earth be the end that all this work is done for. 

12. Lastly, Consider that if honour be good for you, it 
is better attained by minding your duty for the honour of 
God, and denying your own honour, than by seeking it ; 
for honour is the shadow that will follow you if you fly from 
it, and fly from you if you follow it. What Christ here 
saith of life, is true of honour: he that seeketh and saveth 
it shall lose it, and he that loseth it for Christ shall find it. 
The greatest honour is to deny ourselves, and our own 
honour, and to do most for the honour of God ; and to be 
contented to be nothing, that God may be all. For you 
have his promise, that them that honour him he will honour, 
but they that dispise him shall be lightly esteemed. 

Though I have endeavoured by a right limitation and 
exposition of the foregoing parts of self-denial, to prevent 
mistakes, and give you those grounds by which objections 
may be answered, yet the stir that is made in the world 
about this point, by Papists and many other mistaking 
sects, doth persuade me to give a more distinct resolution 
of some of the principal doubts that are before us, and 
therein to shew you that self-denial consisteth not in all 
things that by some are pretended to be parts of it; but 
that there is a great deal of sin that goes under the name of 
self-denial among many of these sorts of mistaken persons. 



Whether Self-denial lie in renouncing Propriety 'i 

Quest. 1. 'Whether doth self-denial require us to re- 
nounce propriety, and to know nothing as our own' as the 
monks among the Papists swear to do, as part of their state 
of perfection ; and a book called, ** The Way to the Sabbath 
of Rest," doth teach us ? 

Answ. 1. That there shall be no propriety in goods, or 
estate among men, is contrary to the will of God, who hath 
made men his stewards, and trusted several persons with 
several talents, and forbidden stealing, and commanded men 
to labour that they may have to give to him that needeth ; 
and he that hath this world's goods and seeth his brother 
have need, must not shut up the bowels of his compassion. 
It is a standing duty to give to the poor ; and we shall 
therefore have the poor always with us for this exercise of 
our charity. And he that hath nothing, can give nothing, 
nor use it for God. Why did Paul require them to give to 
the distressed saints, and maintain the ministry, and gather 
for such uses every first day of the week, if he would have 
men have nothing to give? This therefore is a conceit 
which needs nothing but reason, and the reading and belief 
of Scripture to confute it. 

2. But as no man is a proprietary, or hath any thing of 
his own, in the strict and absolute sense, because all is 
God's, and we are but stewards ; so no man may retain his 
human analogical propriety, when God calleth him to give ^ 

it up. No man may retain any thing from God's use and 
service which he hath a propriety in. We have so much 
propriety as that no man must rob us ; and so much as our 
works of charity are rewardable, though it be but giving a 
cup of cold water, which could not be without propriety ; 
for who will reward him that gives that which is none of his 
own? yea, it is made the matter of the last judgment ; " I 
was hungry, and ye fed me ; I was naked, and ye clothed 
me," 8cc. Which they could not have done if they had not 
had food and clothing to bestow. So that the denial of 
propriety would destroy all exercise of charity in such 


kinds, and destroy all societies and orderly converse and 
industry in the world. 

But yet when God calls for any thing from us, we must 
presently obey, and quit all title to it, and resign it freely 
and gladly 'to his will. 

And 3. There must be so much vigour of charity, and 
sense of our neighbour's wants, as that no man must shut 
up the bowels of compassion; but as we must love our 
neighbours as ourselves, so must we relieve them as a 
second self; yea, and before ourselves, if God's service or 
honour should require it. If we must lay down our lives 
for the brethren, much more our estates. So that ' levelling 
community' is abominable ; but ' charitable community' is a 
Christian duty, and the great character of sincere love to 
Christ in his members* And therefore in the primitive 
church there was no forbidding of propriety ; but there was, 
1. A resignation of all to God, to signify that they were 
contented to forsake all for him, and did prefer Christ and 
the kingdom of God before all. And 2. There was so great 
vigour of true charity, as that all men voluntarily supplied 
the wants of the church and poor, and voluntarily made all 
things as common, that is, common by voluntary communi- 
cation for use, though not common in primary title ; and 
so no man took any thing as his own, when God, and his 
churches, and his brethren's wants did call for it. O that 
we had more of that Christian love that should cause a 
'charitable community,' which is the true mean between the 
' monkish community,' and the selfish tenacious propriety ! 
Levelling hath not destroyed one soul for ten thousand 
that an inordinate love of propriety hath destroyed. 


Whether it lie in renouncing Marriage? 

Quest. 2, 'Whethek self-denial consist in the forswear-^ 
ing or renouncing of marriage, or the natural use of it by 
those that are married ?' 

Answ. To forbid marriage simply, is called by the Holy 
Ghost " a doctrine of devils;" 1 Tim. iv. 1. 3. : and was one 


of the heresies that the apostles were called out to encoun- 
ter in their own days. But yet a married state doth ordi- 
narily (not always) call men off from that free attendance 
on the service of God without distraction which is very 
desirable; and therefore those that are capable of doing 
God any notable service, which marriage is like to hinder 
them from, should avoid it, if they can, without a greater 
evil. And therefore the church did think it for many ages, 
so fit for ministers to be single, that they might have the 
less of worldly affairs and cares to call them off from the 
work of God, and their carnal relations might not hinder 
them from more public duties or charitable works. The 
Papists, therefore, mistakingly take the vow of chastity to 
be an entering into a state of perfection, and sinfully con- 
demn the marriage of priests ; when the apostle expressly 
saith, " A bishop must be blameless, the husband of one 

wife having his children in subjection ;" 1 Tim. iii. 24. 

And so of deacons, verse 12. And others run into the 
other extreme. But the true meaning is this : 1. Ordinarily 
marriage is more distracting and hindering to us in the 
service of God, than a single life ; especially to ministers, 
and such as should wholly addict themselves to the public 
service of the church. 2. But yet all men are not alike 
obliged to it or from it. Some may be necessitated to it by 
the temper of their bodies to avoid a greater evil, even sin 
itself; and some may have no such necessity. Some may 
have their worldly estate and affairs in such a plight, that 
they can far better manage them with freedom for God's 
service in a married than a single state ; but with others it 
is not so; and especially with very few ministers. So that 
a single or married life is in itself indifferent ; but as a 
means to God's service, that is a duty to one that is a sin to 
another ; but because that a single life is more commonly 
free and fittest for this great end, therefore the apostle pre- 
ferreth it as better, because more suitable to the state of 
the most (at least in those times), though to some, marriage 
may be a duty. So that every one should impartially in- 
quire, in which state they may do God the greatest service, 
and that they should choose, not on popish ground, as if it 
were commended to that particular person to whom it is 
not commanded, and were an evangelical . counsel of per- 
fection, and to be vowed ; but in a prudent ordering of our 


lives, applying the general rules of Scripture to our several 
estates. And thus according to the command of Christ, 
" He that can receive this saying, let him." 


Or in Solitude and renouncing secular Affairs ? 

Quest, 3. * Whether self-denial consist in solitude, and 
avoiding secular affairs, as trades, merchandise, labour, &c.?' 
Answ. 1. It is the standing rule of the apostle, of all 
that are able, " That if any man will not work, neither 
should he eat;" 2 Thess. iii. 10. : and he calls those ** disor- 
derly walkers, that work not at all;" 2 Thess. iii. 11. : and 
requireth us to have ** no company with such," command- 
ing men, with " quietness to work, and eat their own bread ;^' 
verse 12. 14. But yet there are several sorts of labour: 
some labour with the body, which is usually more private, 
as to the extent (if not to the intent) of the benefit ; and 
some labour with the mind, which is usually more for pub- 
lic good; as princes, judges, magistrates of all sorts, law- 
yers, physicians, ministers, &c. Now men are to consider 
whether by the labour of the mind or of the body they are 
like to be more serviceable to God, and which they are 
fittest for, and called to ; and that they ought to set them- 
selves to, and that in true self-denial, and for God. To be 
idle, is so far from being a part of self-denial, that it is a 
sinful part of fleshpleasing. And so is it to choose any 
calling or employment principally for fleshly ease or accom- 
modation. The apostles were some fishermen, and some of 
other callings, and none of them renounced worldly labour, 
or affairs, save only so far as they hindered them from the 
work of God, to which they (and all ministers) were wholly 
to addict themselves, as appears, 1 Tim. iv. 15. 2 Tim. ii.4. 
To do therefore as many monk& do, to be employed in no 
calling for the public good, under pretence of being reli- 
gious to themselves, is to be burdens to the earth, and 
gross violators of the laws of God. 



Or in renouncing Public Offices and Honours ? 

Quest. ^. 'Whether self-denial require men to renounce 
all public offices, and honours, and not to be magistrates, 
ministers, or the like?' 

Answ. It requireth us not to have such carnal thoughts 
of these offices, as to look on them only as places of honour, 
and power, and ease ; nor yet to desire them for such car- 
nal ends ; nor yet to thrust ourselves upon them without a 
call, as being the judges of our own sufficiency. But self- 
denial is so far from forbidding the offices and employments 
themselves, as that it is a great point of self-denial for a 
man that understandeth them well, to undertake them, if 
he mean to manage them sincerely and faithfully. For 
were it not that the sweetness of God's interest and his ac- 
ceptance, and the benefits of the church, our brethren and 
our souls, did ingratiate these offices and employments to 
an honest mind, they would be so very burdensome, that 
flesh and blood would either make them carnal by abuse, 
or never endure them. And therefore hath God given them 
an addition of honour to encourage them, and to put an 
honour on their work, for the furthering of its success. 
Experience certifieth me that the work of the ministry is 
far more troublesome to the flesh, than the bodily labour of 
a poor artificer or ploughman is ; so that without great self- 
denial no man will be a minister, that doth not carnally 
mistake the function for another thing than indeed it is. 
And I think I may say the like in its degree, by the magis- 
tracy ; especially by them in highest power, who have the 
greatest work. Certain I am, if they faithfully do their 
duties, they will find more burden to the fle^h and mind, 
than poor men that have only a family to provide for. 
Though many ignorant, ungodly poor people, that sit at 
home in peace, and little know the care, and grief, and 
trouble of their rulers, do wickedly murmur at their very 
calling, as if they had nothing but honour, and idleness, 
and excess ; yet if they had tried and tasted their care and 
trouble a few months, they would think a private life the 


easier, and confess that there is need of much self-denial 
for a man to accept of magistracy or ministry, that under- 
standeth them, and resolveth to use them accordingly. 

Moreover, these offices are of necessity to the common 
good, and established to that end by God himself. And 
the fifth commandment requires us to pay our superiors 
their honour and obedience. And therefore to imagine that 
it is any part of self-denial to refuse the office of magistracy 
or ministry, is to make it self-denial to destroy the church 
and commonwealth, and be a cruel enemy to mankind, and 
to our country, and to rebel against the powers that are 
ordained of God, and thereby to receive damnation to our- 
selves ; Rom. xiii* 1 — 3. Heb. xiii. 17. 

But yet this I must say, that if a worthy person stand 
in competition with us, self-denial requireth us to prefer 
them before ourselves, and to refuse honours and dignities, 
when the good of the public doth not call us to deny our- 
selves more in the accepting them. 


Whether it be a denying our Relations ? 

Quest, 5. * Whethek self-denial consist in denying of 
natural or contracted relations, as of father and mother to 
sons and daughters, of brothers and sisters, husband and 
wife, master and servant, prince and people, pastor and 
flock V 

Answ, You might as wisely imagine that self-denial 
lieth in hating or denying any of God's works, even the 
frame of nature ; or in denying food and raiment to our 
bodies, or in denying our own lives, so as to cut our 
throats. For the same law of nature that made me a man, 
and requireth me to preserve my life, did make me a son, 
and require me to love and honour my parents : And it is 
in the decalogue, the ** first commandment with promise," as 
the apostle calleth it, Ephes. vi. 2. It is frequently and 
expressly commanded in Scripture, that children love, ho- 
nour, obey their parents; and terrible curses are pro- 
nounced on the breakers of these commands ; Eph. vi. 1.4. 


V. 22. 25. Colos. iii. 20 — 22. iv. 1. Exod. xxi. 17. 
Levit. XX. 9. Deut. xxi. 18; 19. xxvii. 16. Prov. 
XXX. 17. Matt. XV. 4. xix. 19. And if children were 
not bound to parents, then parents should not be bound 
to educate children, and then they would be exposed to 
misery and perish. One would think that there should 
never such a sect have risen up, that should be worse than 
the very brutes, who by the instinct of nature love their 
young ones, and their dams. But the Spirit foretold us, 
that which is come to pass, that in the last and perilous 
times, there should be men that are ** disobedient to parents, 
without natural affection ;" 2 Tim. iii. 3< 

And for contracted relations, they are the express insti- 
tution of God, so frequently owned by him in Scripture, 
and the duties of them so frequently commanded, that I will 
not trouble you with the recital of the passages. And as 
for the adversaries' objections, they are frivolous. The 
meaning of the apostle's words, " that we know no man af- 
ter the flesh," I have told you before. The words of Christ 
to his mother, " Woman, what have I to do with thee ?" 
(John ii. 4.) which they allege, are nothing for their wicked 
cause ; they being no mor^ but Christ's due reprehension 
of his mother's mistake, who would prescribe him the time 
and manner of doing miracles, and have him do them in a 
way of ostentation ; which things did not belong to her, 
but to the Spirit of God, and the Lord himself. And where ' 
as they allege that text, " that father, mother, brother> 
sisters, &c. are to be hated for Christ ;" Luke xiv. 26. I 
answer, even as our own lives are to be hated, which are 
also numbered with them ; that is, they must be all for- 
saken, rather than Christ should be forsaken ; and there- 
fore loved less than he, and but for his sake. If therefore 
this text require you not at all to cut your own throats, or 
some way kill yourselves, then it doth not require you to 
withdraw your due aflPections from natural or contracted 
relations. I must crave the reader's pardon that I trouble 
him with confuting such unnatural opinions, and desire 
him to believe that it is not before I am urged to it by the 
arguments of some deluded souls that are not unlikely to 
do hurt by them with some. 



Or Relieving Strangers before Kindred ? 

Quest. 6. * Whether self-denial require that we should 
relieve godly strangers, before our natural kindred, especi- 
ally that are ungodly ? Or that we love them better?' 

Answ. 1. Where our natural kindred are as holy and 
needy as others, there is a double obligation on us, both 
natural and spiritual, to love and relieve them. 2. Where 
they are as holy as others, but less needy, there may lie a 
double obligation on us, to love them, and yet not to give 
to them. 3. If they be more needy, or as needy as others, 
though withal they be ungodly, we are not thereby excused 
from natural affections or charitable relief. 4. We must 
distinguish between children, or such kindred as nature 
casteth upon our care for provision, and such kindred as 
are by nature cast upon others. If parents were not obliged 
to relieve and provide for their own children, they would 
be exposed to misery, and man should be more unnatural 
than brutes. So that even when by ungodliness, they are 
less amiable than others, yet God hath bound men to pro- 
vide for them more. 5. Natural love and spiritual are much 
different ; you may have a stronger natural love to an un- 
godly child, than to a godly stranger, but you must have a 
spiritual love to that godly stranger, more than to your 
child; and that spiritual love must be (at least as to the 
rational and estimative part) much greater than the other 
natural love : and yet you niay be bound to give more, 
where you are not bound to love more. For it is not love 
only that is the cause of giving ; but we are God's stewards, 
and must dispose of what we have as he prescribeth us : and 
his standing law of nature for the preservation of mankind,, 
is, that parents take care of their children, as such. 

6. The will and service of God, being it that should 
dispose of all that we have, we must in all such doubts look 
to these two things for our direction : First, to the particu- 
lar precepts of the word ; and there we find the foresaid 
duty of parents expressed, and withal the duty of relieving 
all that are needy, to our power : Secondly, to the general 


precept ; and there we find, that we must honour God with 
our substance, and lay out all our talents to his service. 
And so the duty lieth plain before us. If you have a child 
that is wicked, yet as parents, provide him his daily bread ; 
and leave him enough for daily bread, when you die. But 
more he should not have from me ; but the rest (had I ten 
thousand pounds a year) I would lay out that way my con- 
science told me may be most serviceable to God. For, 1. I 
am not bound to strengthen an enemy of Christ, and enable 
him to do the greater mischief. 2. Nor to cast away the 
mercies of God. 3. If the law required the parents to cause 
such a rebellious son to be put to death, (Deut. xxi. 18.) 
then surely to provide him daily bread, is now as much as a 
parent is obliged to. And if it be an express command, 
" That he that will notlabour, shall not eat," (2 Thess. iii. 10.) 
such useless members forfeiting their very sustenance, then 
surely he that is such or worse, speeds fair if you leave him 
food and raiment. 4. And the great command of " doing 
all to God's glory," and " serving him with our substance," 
will not be obeyed, if you leave your riches and estates in 
the hands of such persons, merely because they are your 
children. No doubt but that is a selfish aiwi unconscion- 
able course, and the thing that sets up the ungodly to dis- 
turb the church, and lord it over the world, while parents 
furnish them with riches to do the devil eminent service 

Object ' But who knows but God may convert them V 
Answ. You cannot guide your actions by things un- 
known. You have no promise of their conversion ; nor 
much probability, when they have frustrated all your coun- 
sels and means of their good education ; and grace is su- 
pernatural : and therefore you must proceed upon grounds 
that are known. 

And for remoter kindred, if they may be as serviceable 
to God with what I give them as others, nature teacheth 
me to prefer them before others ; but otherwise grace 
teacheth me, both to love a godly stranger better than un- 
godly kindred, and to lay out all that I have, as may be 
most serviceable to God. 




How we must love our Neighbours as ourselves. 

Quest. 7. 'How is it that self-denial requireth us to love 
our neighbour as ourselves : is it with the same degree of 

Answ. I answered this on the by, before : Briefly, 1. The 
chief part of the precept is negative : thus q. d. " Set not 
up thyself against the welfare of thy neighbour : draw not 
from him, or covet not that which is his to thyself, and con- 
fine not thy love and care to thyself." 2. And it compre- 
hendeth this positive, and that as to the kind of love, we 
should love both ourselves and neighbours as means to God, 
and for the interest of God ; and in that respect there is an 
equality : we must 'appretiative' or estimatively love abetter 
and more serviceable man that hath more of God's Spirit in 
him, above ourselves ; and an equal person equally with 
ourselves, with this rational love, which intendeth all for 
God. 3. But natural love which is put into man for self- 
preservation will be stronger to self than to another, and 
alloweth us, * casteris paribus,' to prefer, and first preserve 
and provide for ourselves. And in this regard, our neigh- 
bour must be loved but as a second self, or next ourselves. 
4. But this natural love in the exercise of it, at least in im- 
perative acts, is to be subservient to our rational spiritual 
love, and to be over-mastered by it. And therefore it is 
that as reason teacheth an heathen to prefer his country 
before his life, (though the instinct of nature incline us 
more to life,) so faith teacheth a Christian much more, to 
prefer God's honour, and the Gospel, church, common- 
wealth, and his neighbour's good, when it more conduceth 
to these ends, than his own, before himself, his liberty or 


Is Self-revenge and Penance Self-denial ? 

Quest, 8. * Whether self-denial require us after sin, to use 
vindictive penance or punishment of the flesh, by fasting, 
watching, going barefoot, lying hard, wearing hairclotl), 



or to do this ordinarily? as some of the papists, monks, 
and friars do ?' 

Ansiu. The easiness of this case may allow a brief de- 
cision. 1. The body must be so far afflicted, as is needful 
to humble it, and subdue it to the spirit, and tame its re- 
bellion, and fit it for the service of God. 2. The exercise 
of a holy revenge on ourselves may be a lower end, subser- 
vient to this. 3. It must also be so far humbled as is 
necessary to express repentance to the church, when abso- 
lution is expected upon public repentance. 4. As also to 
concur with the soul in secret or open humiliation. 

But, 1. He that shall think that whippings, or sack- 
cloth, or going farefoot, or other self-punishing, are of 
themselves good works, and meritorious with God, or satisfy 
his justice, or are a state of perfection, doth offer God a 
heinous sin, under the name and conceit of a good work. 
2. And he that shall by such self-afflicting unfit his body 
for the service of God, yea that doth not cherish it so far as 
is necessary to fit it for duty, is guilty of self-murder, and 
defrauding God of his service, and abusing his creature, 
and depriving others of the help we owe them; so that in 
one word, the body must be so used as may best fit it for 
God's service. And to think that self-afflicting is a good 
work, merely as it is penalty or suffering to the body, or 
that we may go further herein, is to think, 1. That we 
should use our body worse than our beast; for we will no 
further afflict him than is necessary to tame him, or serve 
ourselves by him, and not to disable him for service. 

2. And it will teach men to kill themselves ; for that is 
a greater penalty to the body than whipping or fasting. 

3. And it is an offering God a sacrifice of cruelty and rob- 
bery, which we commit against himself and man. 

But I must needs add, that though some friars and me- 
lancholy people are apt to go too far in this, and pine their 
bodies, or misuse them with conceits of merit and satisfac- 
tion ; yet almost all the common people run into the con- 
trary extreme, and pamper and please their flesh, to the 
displeasing of God, and the ruin of their souls. And I 
know but few that have need to be restrained from afflicting 
or taking down the flesh too much. 



Is Self-denial to be without Passion? 

Quest, 9. 'Whether self-denial consist in the laying by 
of all passions, and bringing the soul to an impassionate 

A?isw. The Stoics and some of the Behmenists think 
so : but so doth not God, or any well-informed man. For, 
1. God would not have made the affections in vain. It is 
not the passions, but the disorder of them, that is sinful, or 
the fruit of sin. 2. We are commanded to exercise all the 
affections or passions for God, and on other suitable ob- 
jects. We must love God with all the heart, and soul, and 
might, which is not without affection, or passion. We 
must love his servants, his church, his word, his ways. We 
must fear him above them that can kill us. We must hun- 
ger and thirst after his righteousness, and pant after him 
as the hart doth after the water-brooks. We must be angry 
and sin not. A zeal for God is the life of our graces : we 
must " always be zealous in a good matter; fervent in spi- 
rit, serving the Lord." We must "hate evil," and " sorrow 
for it," when we are guilty, and grieve under the sense of 
our miscarriages, and God's displeasure. And all these 
(expressly commanded in the word) are holy affections or 
passions of the soul. 

3. Yea, it is the work of the Holy Ghost to sanctify all 
these passions that they may be used for God ; and they are 
called by the names of the several graces of the Spirit. 
And it is not passion, but disordered passion, that must be 


How far must we deny our own Reason ? 

Quest. 10. ' How far must we deny our own reason V 

Answ. ] . We must not be unreasonable, nor live unrea- 
sonably, nor believe unreasonably, nor love, or choose, or 


let out any affection unreasonably. We are commanded to 
be ready to give a " reason of our hopes." It is our ra- 
tional faculty that proveth us men, and is essential to us ; 
and without it we can neither understand the things of God 
or man : for how should we understand without an under- 

But yet reason must thus far be denied. 1. We must 
not think higher of our reason than it deserves, either in 
itself, or compared to others. 2. We must not satisfy its 
curiosity in prying into unrevealed things. 3. Nor must 
we satisfy or suffer its presumption in judging our brethren, 
or censuring men's hearts or ways uncharitably. 4. Nor 
must we endure it to rise up against the word or ways of 
God, or contradict or quarrel with divine Revelations, 
though we cannot see the particular evidence or reason of 
each truth, nor reconcile them together in our apprehen- 
sions. Though we may not take any thing to be the word 
of God without reason ; yet when we have reason to take it 
to be his word, we must believe and submit to all that is in 
it, without any more reason for our belief. For the formal 
reason of our belief is because God is true, that did reveal 
this word ; and we have the greatest reason in the world to 
believe all that he revealeth. 


Must we be content with Afflictions, permitted Sin, ^x, ? 

Quest, 11. ' If self-denial require us to content our souls in 
the will of God, then whether must we be content with his 
afflictions, or permission of sin, or the church's sufferings ; 
and, 1. How will this stand with our due sense of God's 
displeasure and chastisements. 2. And with our praying 
against them. 3. And our use of means for their removal ?' 
Answ, 1. The will of God is one thing, and the hurt which 
he willeth us is another; and the good end for which he 
willeth it, is a third. The afflicting will of God is good, and 
must be loved as good : and the end and benefit of chastise- 
ment is good, and must be loved : but the hurt as hurt, must 
not be loved. It is not God's will that we must resist, or seek 



to change ; nor yet is it the end or benefit of the chastisement ; 
but only the hurt, which our folly hath made a suitable 
means. And we may not seek to remove this hurt, till the 
effect be procured, or on terms that may consist with the 
end of it. And this is not against the will of God, that 
when the good is attained, the affliction be removed. 

2. And you must distinguish between his pleased, and 
displeased will ; his complacency and acceptance, and his 
displacency and rejecting will. Every act of God's will 
must be approved and loved as good in God : but it is not 
every one that we may rest and rejoice in as good to us, 
and as our felicity. We must be grieved for God*s displea- 
sure, and yet love even that holy will that is displeased 
with us ; and we must be sensible of God's judgments, and 
yet love the will that doth inflict them. But it is only the 
love of God and pleasure of his will to us, that can be the 
rest and felicity of our souls. 

3. Some acts of God's will are about the means, and 
have a tendency to a further end ; and some are about the 
end itself. His commanding will we must love and obey : 
his forbidding will must have the same affections : his 
threatening will we must love and fear ; his rewarding will 
we must love and rejoice in : his full accepting will, that is, 
his love and complacency in us, we must rest and delight 
our souls in for ever. And thus we must comply with the 
will of God. 


May God he finally Loved as our Felicity and Portion ? 

Quest. 12. ' You tell us that we must seek ourselves but as 
means to God : how then may we make our salvation our 
end ; or desire the fruition of God, when fruition is for our- 
selves, of somewhat that may make us happy ? Doth he 
not desire God as a means for himself as the end, that de- 
sireth him as his portion, treasure, refuge, and felicity?' 

Answ, There are such abundance of abstruse philoso- 
phical controversies * de anima et fine,' that stand here in 
the way, that I milst bnly decide this briefly and imper- 
fectly for vulgar capacities. Schoolmen and other philoso- 
phers are not so much as agreed what a final cause is. But 


this much briefly may give some degree of satisfaction to 
the moderate. 1. No fleshly profits, pleasures, or honours 
must be made our end. This we are agreed on. 2. The 
ultimate end of all the saints, is an end that is suitable to 
the nature of love ; and that is, perfectly to love God, and 
please him, and serve him, and to be perfectly beloved of 
him, and behold his glory. So that it is not an end of self- 
love, or love of concupiscence, or for our commodity only ; 
but it is the end of the love of friendship : now all love of 
friendship doth take in both the party loving, and the party 
beloved mto the end ; for the end is a perfect union of 
both, according to their capacities. And it being ' intentio 
amantis,' the end of love, both God and ourselves must be 
comprehended in it, as the parties to be united; and so it 
is both for him, and for ourselves. 

3. But yet though both parties as united be comprised 
in the end, it is not equally, but with great inequality. For, 
1. God being infinite goodness itself, must 'appreciative' in 
estimation and affection, be preferred exceedingly before 
ourselves ; so that in desiring this blessed union, we must 
more desire it to please and praise him, and give him his due, 
for which he created, redeemed, and glorifieth us, than to be 
ourselves happy in him. 2. And God being not a mere 
friend, but our absolute Lord of infinite power and glory, it 
must be more in our intention to bring to him eternally, 
than to receive from him; (though both must be com- 
prised :) For receiving is for ourselves, further than we in- 
tend it for returns ; but returning is for God ; not to add to 
his blessedness ; but to please his will, and give him his 
own ; for he made all things for himself. And so that in 
union with him we may give him his own in fullest love and 
praise, and service, and thus please him, must be the highest 
part of our intention, about our own felicity in enjoying him. 

So that you may see, that self-denial teacheth no man 
to ask, * Whether he could be content to be damned for 
Christ?' For this is contrary to our propounded end, in the 
whole. For a damned man hath no union of love with God, 
and giveth him not his own in love or praises. 

Object. * What say you then by the wishes of Moses and 

Answ. 1. The saying of Moses is very plain, Exod. xxxii. 
32. He doth not desire that his soul might be made a 


ransom for Israel, but that if God would not pardon them, 
but destroy them and cast them off, he would blot out 
Moses' name from his book, that is, from among the num- 
ber of the living ; so that his saying is no other than such 
as Elias or Jonas was, " What good will my life do me, if 
I live to see thy people cast off, and all thy wonders for 
them buried ? Therefore either let them live in thy sight or 
kill me with them." This is the plain meaning of Moses' 

And for Paul's, the difficulty is somewhat greater : 
1. Some think that Paul meaneth (Rom. ix. 3.) that he once 
wished himself to be no Christian in the days of his igno- 
rance, and all through his zeal for the Jewish nation. But 
this is improbable. 2. Some think that he meaneth only, I 
could wish to be given up to death for them, as the ac- 
cursed under the law. 

3. Some think that he meaneth only, I could wish myself 
yet unconverted to Christ, so they were converted. 

4. Some think the meaning is, * I could wish myself 
cast out of the church, and given up to Satan for any bodily 

5 Some say it is only to have his salvation deferred. 

6. And some, that it is damnation for a time. 

But 7. The plain meaning seemeth to be this ; ' so great 
is my love to my countrymen, the Jews, that if it were of- 
fered to my choice whether they, or I without them, should 
enjoy Christ, I would yield to be cast out of his sight for 
ever, rather than they should,' where mark ; 1. That it is not 
a wish that it were so, for he knew that this was no means 
to promote their salvation ; but it is a discovery of his af- 
fection that would wish or choose this if it were a means 
to that end. 2. And it is not the sin of not loving Christ 
that he would choose, but only the misery of being deprived 
of his blessed presence. 3. And the reasons of this, his 
choice, are these two conjunct : 1. Because the souls of so 
many thousands is, in impartial reason, more to be valued 
than the soul of one ; 2. And principally because by the 
conversion and salvation of a whole nation, God may be 
more honoured and served than by one. 

And note farther, 1, That this is not set as a mark for 
every Christian to try the truth of his love by. 2. But yet 
jio doubt but it is a duty and degree of grace that every 



one should aim at. For 1. We see among heathens that 
nature itself teacheth them that a man should lay down his 
iife for his country, because a country is better than a man* 
And proportionably, reason tells us that the salvation of a 
country being a greater good than of any one, it should be 
more preferred ; and self-love goeth against plain reason 
when it contradicteth this. What man's reason doth not 
tell him that it were better he should die than the world 
should be destroyed, or the sun turned into darkness ; yea, 
or that one church or country perish ? And so of salvation. 
2. And it is agreeable to the nature of love to desire 
that most, that most pleaseth him whom we love: and there- 
fore to desire rather that God may have multitudes than 
one, and be served and praised by them. So much about 
the matter of self- denial. 

III. I have finished the two first things which I pro- 
mised to you under the use of exhortation, viz. the trial of 
your self-denial, and the particulars in which it consisteth, 
and must be exercised ; and there I have shewed you, 1. In 
what respect self must be denied. 2. What that selfishness 
is that must be denied, as to the inward disposition; and, 
3. What is that objective self-interest that must be denied, 
which consisteth in so many particulars that I cannot un- 
dertake to enumerate all ; but I have mentioned twenty 
particulars under the general head of pleasure, and ten un- 
der the general head of honour, and have referred you to 
another treatise for that which consisteth in worldly profits. 
And now I come to the third part of my work, which is to 
shew you a little more fully the greatness of the sin of self- 
ishness, and give you thence such moving reasons as may 
conduce to the cure of it, which are these that follow. 


Motives: 1. Selfishness the grand Idolatri/ of the World, 

I. Selfishness is the grand idolatry of the world, and 
self the world's idol, as I have told you before. It usurpeth 
the place of God himself in men's judgments, wills, affec- 
tions, and endeavours. It was the work of the ten disco- 


veries in the beginning of the boo!i to demonstrate this : 
and therefore I shall say but little more. But self-deniaV 
destroyeth the world's great idol, and giveth God his own 
again. The selfish lean most to their own understandings : 
but the self-denying trust the wisdom of God. The selfish 
are careful principally, for themselves, and their own feli- 
city, even a terrene and carnal kind of felicity ; but the 
self-denying are principally careful how they may please 
and honour God, and promote the welfare of his church, 
and in this way attain the spiritual everlasting felicity of 
the saints. The selfish must have their own humours 
pleased, and their own wills accomplished, and their own 
desires granted ; but the self-denying do slay their own car- 
nal wills, desires, and conceits, and lay them dead at the 
feet of Christ, that his will alone may be exalted. The 
selfish would have all men love them, admire them, and 
commend them. But the self-denying would have all men 
to love, admire, and glorify the Lord, above himself and all 
the world. The selfish can bear with God's enemies, but 
not with their own ; and they can suffer men to wrong God, 
and sin against him, more patiently than they can sufi'er 
them to wrong themselves. But it is contrary with the self- 
denying : a wrong to God and his church seemeth far 
greater to them than a wrong against themselves. In a 
word, the selfish intend themselves, and live to themselves, 
and the self-denying intend to God, and live to him, in the 
course of their lives. And therefore when the selfish are 
troubled about many things, the self-denying are minding 
the one thing necessary. And when the selfish are seeking 
to know what is good or evil to their flesh ; the self-deny- 
ing are seeking to please the Lord, and desire to know no- 
thing but him in Christ crucified ; and they could part with 
all the knowledge of the creatures, as useful to themselves, 
if they could but know more of God in Christ. The selfish 
would be in his own hands, at his own dispose and govern- 
ment, and the self-denying would be in the hands of God, 
and at his dispose and government. 

And doubtless, the very state of man's apostacy did lie 
in turning from God to self, and to the creature for self; so 
that he now studieth, and useth, and loveth the creature but 
for himself : and so he would have himself, and all as far 
out of the hands of God in his own, as possibly he can. I 



gave you my thoughts in the beginning, that this was the 
meaning of man's knowing good and evil by the fall. And 
since I wrote that, I met with the same exposition in * Da- 
mascene, de Orthodox, fid. li. 11. c. 11. p. (mihi) 113. part 
of whose words I shall here translate : — .In the midst of Pa- 
radise, God planted the tree of life, and the tree of know- 
ledge : and the tree of knowledge was for the trial, and 
proof, and the exercise of man's obedience and disobe- 
dience. And therefore it is called the tree of knowledge of 
good and evil ; or because it gave man a power to know his 
own nature ; which indeed to the perfect is good, but to 
the infirm is evil ; and to them that are yet prone to concu- 
piscence, as strong meats to the weak and those that need 
milk. For the Lord that created us, would not have us 
careful and troubled about many things, nor to become 
contrivers and providers for our own lives : into which it 
was that Adam fell. For when he had eaten, he knew that 
he was naked, and made himself an apron of fig-leaves to 
cover his nakedness. But before both Adam and Eve were 
naked and not ashamed. And God would have had us in- 
sensible of (or not to suffer by) such things ; for this is but 
an insensibility and impossibility. But we had one work 
only to do without vexation and care, which is the work of 
angels, unweariedly and continually to praise our Creator, 
and to delight in the contemplation of him, and to cast all 
our care on him, as he taught us by the prophet David, say- 
ing, " Cast thy care on the Lord, and he shall nourish 
thee ;" and the Lord taught his own disciples in the Gospel, 
*' Take no care what ye shall eat, nor wherewith you shall 
be clothed ;" and again, " Seek first the kingdom of God 
and his righteousness, and these things shall be added to 
you ;*' and to Martha, *' Martha, thou art careful and trou- 
bled about many things, but one thing is needful : Mary 
hath chosen the best part which shall not be taken from 
her ;" that is, to sit at his feet, and hear his word ; and this 
is the tree of life. — So far Damascene, who you see driveth 
at the same sense, though it be not clearly and fully ex- 
pressed by him. 

And as man, by his fall, desired to know what was good 
and evil for himself, that is, to his own nature, for his daily 
provision and safety, that he might be able to choose for 
himself, and not trust himself wholly on the provision of 


God ; so accordingly God in judgment hath given him over 
to himself, according to his desire, of which more anon. 

And accordingly our restoration from this lapsed state, 
consisteth in retiring from ourselves to God ; and giving up 
to him again those minds, those thoughts, those wills, those 
affections that have been all this while detained from him, 
and misemployed by self; down then with this idol, and set 
up God. Did you make yourselves? or redeem yourselves? 
or do you sustain yourselves, or are you sufficient for your- 
selves ? Let him that doth all this for you be acknowledged 
to have the only title to you ; and consider what an odious 
crime it is for such worms to exalt themselves as gods, and 
so deny the Lord to be their God. 


Enemy to all Marality ; Faith ; Prayer ; Obedience. 

2. Moreover, this self is the enemy, as of God himself, 
so also of all the frame of morality : of every article of your 
belief, and every petition in the Lord's prayer, and of 
every one of the ten commandments, and of the whole 
word of God. 

L For your Belief, it advanceth your own reason against 
it, as to the truth of it; so that you cannot discern these 
things of God, because they are spiritually discerned. It 
shutteth up your understandings against the meaning of it ; 
so that when you know the grammatical sense of the words, 
you know not half the meaning yet for all that. The words 
are written to signify the spiritual apprehensions and af- 
fections which the holy inditers had of the matter signified 
by them : and till you come by the help of those words to 
have the same impress upon your souls, the same apprehen- 
sions and affections which the inditers had, and intended 
to express by them, you have not the perfect understanding 
of the Scriptures ; and therefore while you are wholly with- 
out their spiritual apprehensions and affections, you do not 
«o much as sincerely or truly understand them; however 
you may be able to speak as good grammarians, and true 
-expositors in the explaining of them to others. And also 


selfishness in the will doth make you disrelish the doctrine 
which you should believe, because that being practical* 
either the doctrine, or its consequence, or the practice that 
it puts you on, is against your carnal self and interest. 

2. And for prayer, I might easily shew you, that self 
contradicteth all the parts of it. You should first pray that 
the name of God may be hallowed, making his glory the 
end of your desires; but self must be its own end, and seek 
the honour of its own name, and less regardeth the hallow- 
ing of God's. 

You must pray that the kingdom of God may come j 
but this kingdom treadeth down self as an enemy, and 
therefore no marvel if self be unwilling of it. Would you 
be disposed, and subjected to a spiritual government, and 
do nothing nor have nothing but at the pleasure of Christ? 
The reign of self is contrary to his reign. 

You must pray that the will of God may be done. But 
self hath a will that is contrary to God's will ; and every 
carnal man would be a law-giver to himself, and unto 
others, and had rather have his own will done, than God's. 
Or else whence come all the sins of your lives, which are 
nothing but the doing of your own wills, and the not doing 
the will of God? 

You must pray each day for your daily bread, as chil- 
dren that live not on their own provision, but on their 
Father's love and bounty, and have their address to him for 
all they want, desiring but such supplies as are necessary 
or useful to them for his service. But self desireth more 
than daily bread, and desireth it not so much to strengthen 
you for God's service, as to delight and gratify the flesh ; 
and had rather have its stock in its own possession, than 
daily to fetch it as you use it from God. 

You must pray daily for the forgiveness of your sins, as 
people that are grieved for them, and weary of them, and 
hate them, and are sensible of the want and worth of par- 
don, and of the abundant grace of Christ that purchased it, 
and the preciousness of the Gospel-promises that convey 
it, and af your own unworthiness by reason of this sin. But 
self is not easily so far abased as to be heavy laden, and 
sick of sin ; nor is it easily drawn to value grace, or feel 
how much you are unworthy of it, or need it ; nor easily 
driven to renounce all sufficiency and conceits of a righte- 


ousness of your own, and wholly to go out of yourselves to 
Christ for life : self cannot spare sin ; for it is its darling 
and play-fellow, its food, its recreation, and its life. 

You must daily pray to be saved from temptation, and 
delivered from evil ; even the evil of sin, as well as of 
punishment. But self doth love the sin, and therefore can- 
not long to be delivered from it, and therefore loveth the 
temptation that leadeth to it, and indeed is a continual 
tempter to itself. Would the covetous worldling be de- 
livered from his worldliness ? Would the ambitious proud 
person be delivered from his pride or honours? or the sen- 
sual person from his sensual delights? No, they do not 
love the preacher or people that are against them in these 
ways ; nor the holy self-denial that is contrary to them ; 
nor the Scripture that condemneth them; nor indeed the 
Lord himself that forbids them, and is the author of all 
these laws and holy ways which they abhor. So that you 
see how self is an enemy to every petition in the Lord's 

3. And it is a violation of all the ten commandments. 
The first and second it is most directly against, and is the 
very thing forbidden in them : and all the rest it is against 
consequently, and is the virtual breach of them, as dis- 
posing and drawing the soul thereunto. 

The two tables have two great commandments, which 
are the sum of the whole law, and all the other command- 
ments are consequents or particulars from these. The sum 
of the first table is, " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God 
with all thy heart ;" or above all. This is the first com- 
mandment : *' Thou shalt have none other Gods before me ;" 
which is put first as being the fundamental law, command- 
ing subjection of self to the sovereign power of God, which 
necessarily goes before all actual obedience to particular 
precepts. But self is directly against this, and sets up man 
as a God to himself: and all the unsanctified love them- 
selves better than God, and therefore cannot love him 
above all. 

And therefore neither second, third, or fourth com- 
mand can be sincerely kept by such ; for when self is set 
iup, and God denied, instead of the right worshipping of 
God, they are worshipping themselves, or suiting God's 
worship to the conceit and will of self. Instead of the 


i-everent use of his name, they are setting up their own 
names, and will venture on the grossest abuse of God's 
name, rather than self should suffer or be crossed. And 
instead of hallowing the Lord's Day, they devote both that 
and every day to themselves. 

The sum of the second table is, '* Thou shalt love thy 
neighbour as thyself ;" and this is the meaning of the tenth 
commandment, which forbiddeth us to covet any thing 
from him to ourselves : that is, that we set not up self and 
its interest against our neighbour and his good ; and be not 
like a bruised or inflamed part of the body, that draweth the 
blood or humours to itself, or like a wen or other tumor, 
that is sucking from the body for its own nutrition : so that 
it is but plainly this. " Be not selfish, or drawing, or de- 
siring any thing to thyself, which is not thy due, but be- 
longeth to another ; but let love run by even proportions, 
between thy neighbour and thyself, in order to God and the 
public good." And this commandment brings up the rear, 
that it may summarily comprehend and gather up all other 
particulars that be not instanced in, in the foregoing com- 
mandments. Now selfishness being the very sin that is 
here forbidden, I need to say no more to tell you that self 
is the breaker of this law. 

Next to this summary concluding precept, the greatest 
in the second table (if not one of the first) is the fifth 
commandment ; which requireth the preservation of rela- 
tions and societies, and the duties of those relations, espe- 
cially of inferiors to superiors, for the honour of God and 
the common good. And this is set before the rest, because 
the public good is preferred to the personal good of any ; 
and magistrates and superiors being God's officers, and for 
the public good, are to be preferred before the subjects. 
But what an enemy selfishness is to this commandment, I 
intend anon to shew you distinctly, and therefore now pass 
it by. 

And for the following commandments, who ever mur- 
dered another but out of some inordinate respect to him- 
self, either to remove that other out of the way of his selfish 
ends, or to be revenged on him for depriving self of profit, 
or honour, or something that it would have had, or in some 
way or other to attain your own ends by another's blood ? 
And what is it but the satisfaction of your own filthy 


lusts, that causeth adultery and all uncleanness ? And 
what is it but the furnishing and providing for self that 
provoketh any man to rob another ? And what is it but 
some selfish end that causeth any man to pervert justice, or 
slander, or bear false witness against his neighbour? so 
that nothing is more plain than that selfishness is all sin 
and villany against God and man, comprised in one word* 

And therefore you need not ask me, which command- 
ment it is that doth forbid it ; for it is forbidden in every 
one of the ten commandments. The first condemneth 
self as it is the idol set up, and loved, trusted, and served, 
before God : the second condemneth it as the enemy of his 
worship ; and the third condemneth it as the profaner of 
his name ; and the fourth as the profaner of his hallowed 
time. The second table in the tenth commandment con- 
demneth self as it is the tumour and gulf that is contrary to 
the love of our neighbour, and would draw all to itself. 
The fifth commandment condemneth it as the enemy of 
authority and society : the sixth as the enemy to our 
neighbour's life ; the seventh, eighth, and ninth, condemn 
it as the enemy to our neighbour's chastity, estates, and 
cause or name. 

So that if you see any mischief done in persons, families, 
towns, countries, courts, armies, or any where in the world, 
you need not send out hue and cry to find out and appre- 
hend the actor: it is selfishness that is the author of all. 
If the poor be oppressed by the rich, and their lives made 
almost like the life of a labouring ox or horse, till the cry 
of the oppressed reach to heaven, who is it that doth all 
this but self? The landlords and rich men must rule and be 
served by them. I warrant you they would not do thus by 

If the poor be discontented and murmur at their condi- 
tion, and steal from others, who is it that is the cause of 
this but self? If another were in poverty, they would not 
murmur nor steal for him. 

It is selfishness that blemishes judges, and justices and 
officers with the stains of partiality, avarice, and injustice : 
it is this that disturbeth the peace of nations ; that will not 
let princes rule for God, and consequently overthrows their 
thrones ; that will not let subjects obey them in the Lord, 
but lets in wars and miseries upon them j that sets the na- 


tions together by the ears, and so continueth them ; yea, it 
is self that will not let neighbours live together in peace : 
that provoketh people to disobey their teachers, and teach- 
ers to be man-pleasers, and neglect the people ; that will 
not let masters and servants, parents and children, husband 
and wife, live peaceably and lovingly one with another ; it 
is the common make-bate and troubler of the world. 

Nay, it is self that causeth most of the new opinions and 
practices in religion ; that sets up Popery, and most other 
sects ; and causeth the pastors to contend for superiority 
to the troubling of the church, after all the plain prohibi- 
tions of Christ. 

In a word, selfishness is the grand enemy of God, and 
man ; the disease of depraved lapsed nature : the very heart 
of original sin and the old man ; the root of all iniquity in 
the world : the breach of every commandment of the law ; 
the enemy of every article of faith, and every petition in the 
Lord's prayer ; and by that time we have added the rest of 
its deformity, you will see whether it be not the very image 
of the devil, as the love of God and our neighbour which is 
its contrary, is the image of God. 

But now on the contrary side, self-denial complieth 
with all divine Revelations, and disposeth the soul to all 
holy requests, and to the observation of every command 
of God. 

It humbly stoopeth to the mysteries of faith, which 
others proudly quarrel with in the dark. It makes a man 
say, * O what am I that I should set my wit against the 
Lord, and make my reason the touchstone of his truth, and 
think to comprehend his judgments that are incomprehen- 
sible !' It causeth a man to sit as a little child, at the feet 
of Christ to learn his will, and say, " Speak Lord, for thy 
servant heareth." It silenceth the carpings of an unsatis- 
fied understanding, and limiteth the inquiries of a busy, 
prying, presumptuous wit ; and subdueth the contradictions 
of flesh and blood : it casteth off that pride and self-con- 
ceitedness that hindereth others from believing. 

In prayer it bringeth an empty soul, that is not stopped 
up against the grace and blessings of God ; it layeth us 
low in a receiving posture : it emptieth us of ourselves, that 
we may be filled with God : it hath nothing to say against 
any one of those requests which Christ hath put into our 


mouths, but subscribeth to them all. It is the highest am- 
bition, the greatest desire of a self-denying soul, that God's 
name may be hallowed and honoured ; whatever become of 
his own name or honour ; and that the kingdom of God 
may flourish, in which he desireth to be a subject; and that 
the will of God may be done, and the will of himself and 
all the world conformed and subjected to it; and so of the 
rest of the petitions. Self-denial is half the life of prayer. 

And it is a dutiful observer of all the commandments. 
It giveth up our love to God as his own, and consequently 
worshippeth him in love, and reverenceth his name, and 
observeth his time, and indeed is wholly devoted to him. 
And it giveth our neighbour that part of our love which be- 
longeth to him ; and therefore will not dishonour superiors, 
or encroach upon the possessions of others, or injure them 
for his own ends. 

And indeed what should draw a self-denying man to 
sin, (were he but perfect in self-denial) when the poise is 
taken off, the wheels all stand still. Self-denial doth frus- 
trate temptations, and leave them little to work upon. 
What should move a self-denying man to be proud, or co- 
vetous, or injurious to others ? No man doth evil, but as it 
seemeth good, and for some good that he imagineth it will 
do him : and this seeming good is to carnal self: and there- 
fore a self-denying man hath taken off the bias of sin, and 
turned out the deceiver, and when satan comes, he hath 
little in him to make advantage of. O how easily may you 
take sin out of the hands of the self-denying, and make 
them cast it away with lamentation, when other men will 
hold it as fast as their lives ! O try this speedy way of mor- 
tification. Would you but destroy this original breeding 
sin, you would destroy all. All the sins of your lives are 
the fruits of your selfishness ; kill them at the heart and root, 
if you would go the nearest way to work. What abundance 
of sin doth self-denial kill at once? Indeed it is the sum of 
mortification. And therefore be sure that you deny your- 



Contrary/ to the State of Holiness and Happiness, 

3. Moreover, selfishness is contrary to the state of holi- 
ness and happiness ; contrary to every grace, and contrary 
to the life of glory. For it is the use of all grace to re- 
cover the soul from selfishness to God ; that God may be 
loved, and self-love may be overcome; that God may be 
trusted, and pleased, and his service may be our care and 
business, when before our care was to please ourselves. 

And the very felicity of the soul consisteth in a closing 
and communion with God. The soul that will be happy, 
n^iust be conscious of self-insufficiency, and must go out 
of itself, and seek after life in God ; it must forsake itself, 
and apply itself to him. Men lose their labour till they 
deny themselves, by going to a broken, empty cistern, and 
forsaking the fountain of the living waters. The nearer 
men are to God, and the more fully they are conformed to 
him, and close with him, and know him, and love him, the 
happier they are. Glory itself is but the nearest and fullest 
intuition and fruition of God. And he that hath most of 
him here in his soul, and in the creatures, providences, and 
ordinances, is the happiest man on earth, and likeliest to 
the glorified. And there is no approach to God but by de- 
parting from carnal self. I know self-seeking men do think 
of finding most peace and comfort in that way ; but they 
are always deceived of their hopes : it is self-denial that is 
the way to peace and comfort. While we rest on ourselves, 
or are taken up with anxious caring for ourselves, we are 
but tossed up and down as on a tempestuous sea; and are 
seeking rest but never find it: but when we retire from 
ourselves to God, we are presently at the harbour, and find 
that peace which before we sought in vain. I confess, in 
the too little experience that I have myself of the way of 
peace and quiet to the soul, I must needs say, there is none 
but this. Never can I step out, but self meets with some- 
what that is vexatious and displeasing to it : this business 
goes cross, and that business is troublesome : this person 
is troublesome, and that person is abusive and injurious^ 


one is false and treacherous, or slanderous ; and another is 
imprudent and weak, and burdensome : what between the 
baits of prosperity, and the troubles of affliction, the per- 
verseness of adversaries, and the weakness of friends, and 
the changes that all states and persons are liable to ; the 
multitudes that would be pleased, and the labour and the 
cost that it will stand us in to please them, and the multi- 
tudes that will be displeased when we have done our best ; 
and the murmurings, reproaches, and false accusations that 
we shall be sure of from the displeased ; and which is the 
worst of all, the burdensome weaknesses and corruptions of 
our own souls, and the sins of our lives, and the daily vexa- 
tion that our dark and shattered condition doth occasion to 
ourselves ; I say, between all these disquieting perplexities, 
enough to rack and tear in pieces the heart of man, I have 
no way but to shut up the eyes of sense, and forget all self- 
interest, and withdraw from the creature, as if there were 
no self or creature for it in the world, and to retire into 
God, and satisfy my soul with his goodness and all-suffi- 
ciency, and faithfulness, and immutability. And in him is 
nothing to disquiet or discontent, unless you will call his 
enmity to our own diseases and unhappiness a discontent- 
ing thing. And this is not my own experience alone, but 
all that know what Christian peace and comfort is, do know 
that they lose it, and are torn in pieces while they are car- 
ing and contriving for themselves ; and that retiring into 
God, and casting all their care on him, and satisfying them- 
selves with him alone, though all the creatures should turn 
against them, is the way to their content and quietness of 
mind. The example of David is exceedingly observable ; 
1 Sam. XXX. 6. When besides the distressed estate that he 
was before in, the city where he left his family and the 
families of his followers, was taken and burnt down, and 
their wives and children carried away, and all gone, so that 
David and the people that were with him, " lift up their 
voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep ;" and 
to make up his calamity, the soldiers that were with him 
talked of stoning him because of the loss of their wives and 
children ; in this desolate condition, saith the text, " But 
David encouraged (or comforted) himself in the Lord his 
God." And it is good for us sometime to have nothing in 
this world left us that will afford us comfort, that we may 


be driven to God for it : until the house be as on fire over 
our heads, and we are as it were fired out of every room of 
it, we will hardly be sjone, and partake ourselves to God our 
only rest. Try it, Christians, when you will, and you shall 
find it true, that selfish contents do but tice you to strag- 
gle away from your true comfort ; and when you have done 
all, it is in returning unto God that you must find the com- 
fort which you lost by seeking it abroad. It is only in the 
God of peace that your souls will find peace, and therefore 
away from self and creatures, and retire into God. 


Self-seeking is Self -losing: Self-denying our Safety. 

4. Moreover, consider that self-seeking is self-destroy- 
ing, and self-denial is the only way to our safety. We 
were well when we were in the hands of God, and had no 
need to care for ourselves. But we were lost as soon as we 
left him and turned to ourselves. If God care for you. In- 
finite Wisdom cares for you ; whom no enemy is able to 
overwit or circumvent ; who can foresee all your dangers, 
and is acquainted with all the ways of your enemies, and 
with all that is necessary to your preservation. But if you 
be at your own care, you are at the care of fools, and short- 
witted people, that are not acquainted with the depths of 
satan, the subtleties of men, nor the way of your escape, 
but may easily be over-reached to your undoing. If you 
are in your own hands, you are in the hands of bad men 
that though they have self-love, yet are so blinded by im- 
piety that they will live like self-haters ; and this expe- 
rience fully manifesteth, in that all sinners are self-de- 
stroyers : no enemy could do so much against us as the 
best of us doth against himself: did a man hate himself as 
bad as the devil hateth him he could shew it by no worse a 
way than sin ; nor do himself a greater mischief than by 
neglecting God, and the life to come, and undoing his own 
soul, as the ungodly do. Should you sit down of purpose, 
to study how to do all the hurt to yourselves that you can 

VOL. XI. z 


and to play the part of your deadliest enemies, I know not 
what you could do more than is ordinary with ungodly men 
to do, except to go a little further in the same way. No- 
thing but sin could alienate you from God, or make you 
liable to his heavy wrath; and this no man else could 
make you guilty of, if you did not voluntarily choose to be 
evil. If you could ask any man that is this day in hell, or 
that will ever be there, what brought him thither, and who 
it was long of that he came to such a miserable end, he 
must needs tell you it was himself. If you come to any in 
earthly misery, and ask them, who brought this upon them? 
If they speak truly they must say, it was themselves. And 
this will be a great aggravation of their misery, and the 
fuel that will feed the unquenchable fire, to think that all 
this was their own doing, and that they had not been de- 
prived of the heavenly glory but for their own refusal or 
neglect. It will fill the soul with an everlasting indigna- 
tion against itself, to consider that it hath cast itself wil- 
fully into such misery ! that, when satan could not, and 
men could not, and God would not, if he had not done it 
himself, he should be so witless and graceless as to be the 
chooser of sin, the refuser of holiness, and his own undoer. 
So that the experience of all the world telleth you, how un»- 
safe man is in his own hands ; the experience of those in 
hell may tell us, whither it is that self would lead us, if we 
follow its conduct. Whither did self lead Adam when he 
hearkened to it, but to sin and death ? What work hath it 
made over all the earth ! Do we not see a whole world of 
people, not one excepted, wounded, and slain, and brought 
into so low and sad a state, and all this by themselves ! and 
yet shall we go on in selfishness still ? Of all the enemies 
you have in the world, pray God to save you from your- 
selves ; escape yourselves and you escape all. You will never 
miscarry by any other hands. The devil and wicked men 
will do their worst ; but without you they can do nothing. 
Never will you come to hell if you run not yourselves thi- 
ther : never will you be shut out of heaven if you run not 
from it by your own neglect, and prefer not the prosperity 
of the world before it. And therefore you see that we are 
nowherfe more unsafe than in our own hands. God's will is 
good, and would make a good choice for us ; but our wills 
are bad, and will make a bad choice for themselves* God 



is unchangeable, and the same for ever; but we are giddy 
and uncertain, and if we are in a good mind to day, are in 
danger of being in a bad to-morrow. God is able to secure 
us against all the subtlety, and rage, and power of earth or 
hell; but we are silly, impotent worms, and unable to de- 
fend ourselves, or to accomplish our own desires. So that 
our safety consisteth in forsaking ourselves and cleaving 
to the Lord. The more of your happiness lieth on your 
own hands, the greater is your danger ; and the more 
of it is on the hands of God, the greater is your safety. Fly 
therefore from yourselves to God, as you would fly out of a 
torn or sinking vessel into the strongest ship ; or as you 
would haste away from a tottering house that is ready to 
fall upon your heads: so haste away from self to God. 
Study his love, and fall in love with him ; and that will be 
more gainful to you, than studying and carnally loving 
yourselves. Forget yourselves, and remember him ; and he 
will remember you to your greater advantage than if you 
had remembered yourselves. When any interest of your 
own, riseth up against the interest or will of God, care not 
then for yourselves or for your own ; set as light by it as if 
it were nothing worth ; and say as the three witnesses of 
God in Dan. iii. 16, 17. when they were ready to be cast 
into a flaming furnace, " We are not careful to answer thee 
in this matter : if it be so, the God whom we serve is able 
to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will 
deliver us out of thy hand, O King; but if not, be it known 
unto thee, O King, that we will not serve thy gods, nor wor- 
ship the golden image which thou hast set up." Care you 
for your duty, and God will care for your safety better than 
you can do: you are safer under God's care, in the midst 
of a flaming fire, than under your own care in the greatest 
prosperity, or honour in the world. While Abraham and 
Isaac depended upon God, they were safe, though in the 
midst of dangers : but when they fell upon carnal shifting 
for themselves, to say their wives were their sisters, they 
brought themselves but into a snare and double danger; 
when you have cared, and contrived, and shifted for your- 
selves as long as you can, it is God that must do the deed, 
and defend and deliver you, and provide for you when all is 
done. Is it wise, or safe, or profitable for your child to be 
casting for provision of meat, and drink, and clothes for it- 


self? Cannot you do it better? and is it not your work? 
and had you not rather your child would trust you with it, 
and meddle with his own business, and be careful to please 
you, and then to depend on your care and love ? What 
good will it do a simple patient, to know the ingredients of 
every medicine compounded for him, and given by his 
physician? or to be acquainted with his physic himself, 
that so he may be tampering with his own body, and have 
the doing of the business himself, till by his unskilfulness 
he hath undone himself, when he had a wise and faithful 
physician that he might have trusted to ! O that men knew 
how ready a way it is to their undoing, when they must be 
satisfied of all the reasons of the ways of God ! and when 
they must have their own wills and ways, and must see a 
ground of safety in the creature ! and must take that course 
that self tells them is the best ! when they are resolved to 
look to their estates, and honours, and lives, and dare not 
cast them on the wisdom, and care, and will of God ! O 
that men knew how sure and near a way it is to their feli- 
city, to be contented to be nothing, that God may be all ; 
and then they would be more in God than they could have 
been in themselves : and to be contented to die, that they 
may liye in God ; and to lose their lives, that they may 
find them in him. Let go your reputation with men, and 
you will find it made up a thousandfold in the approbation 
of God. Let men condemn you, so that God may but jus- 
tify you ! Let riches go, and see whether you will not find 
more in God, than you could possibly lose for him. Can 
any man be a loser by God ? or can he make an ill bargain 
that makes sure of heaven? Do you think there is any 
want of riches or honour there ? O sirs, win God and win 
all : win heaven and never fear being losers. It seems a 
great loss to flesh and blood to lay down your estates, and 
honour, and life, for Christ, and the hopes of a life to come ; 
but it is because the flesh is blind, and cannot see so far off" 
as everlasting is. The loss is not so great as to exchange 
your brass, your dirt, for gold and jewels ; or to exchange 
your sickness for health. It is the most profitable usury to 
make God your debtor, by putting all your stock into his 
hand, and venturing all on his service upon the confidence 
of his promise. 

But if you will go about to shift for yourselves, you will 


lose yourselves : and if you will save yourselves, you will 
undo yourselves ; and if you keep your riches or honours, 
you do but cast them away : for all is lost that is saved 
from God ; and that is best saved that is lost for God. 


Selfishness the powerful Enemy of all Ordinances. 

5. Moreover, it is self that is the most powerful resister 
of all the ordinances of God ; and it is self-denial that 
boweth the soul to that holy compliance with them, which 
wonderfully furthereth their success. 

Were it not for this one prevailing enemy, what work 
would the Gospel make in the world ! O with what confi- 
dence should we come into the pulpit, and speak the word 
of God to our hearers, had we any to deal with but this 
carnal self! God can overcome it by his victorious grace ; 
but it is so blind, so wilful, so near men, and so constant 
with them, that it will overcome us, and all that we can say 
or do, till God set in. When I come to convince a sinner of 
his guilt, and shew him the heinous nature of his sin, because 
it is his own, he will not be convinced of it : when I tell 
them of their misery, they will not be convinced of it, be- 
cause it is their own. Were I to speak all this to another, 
and tell another of his sin and misery, I might have these 
men consent, so it reflected not upon themselves. Were I 
to wring the unlawful gains out of the hands of another, I 
might have their consent : or were I to persuade another 
from his pride, or lust, or passion, they would give me free 
leave, because it is not self that is concerned in it, nor self- 
denial that is necessary to it in them. But when we come 
to themselves, there is no dealing with them, till God by 
grace or judgment deal with them. They cannot endure to 
know the worst by themselves ; much less to come out of 
it. If we tell them of their sin and danger, they say, we 
speak against them ! And therefore they say. It is out of 
malice, or humour, or pride. And as well might all dis- 
eased persons say so of their physicians, that when they 
tell them of their disease and danger,, they speak against 
them, and speak out of malice or ill-will. It is natural for 


mentothink well of all them that they love, and ofall that they 
do; and whom do they love better than themselves? Pride 
will not let men think so meanly and hardly of themselves as 
the Scripture speaks of them, and ministers must plainly 
tell them. The prophet wept that foresaw the cruelty of 
Hazael ; but he had so good a conceit of himself that he 
would not believe he should be so cruel : " Is thy servant a 
dog, that he should do thus?" 2 Kings viii. 13. The false 
prophet, Zedekiah, could not forbear, but struck Micaiah, 
when he made it known that he was a lying prophet; 
1 Kings xxii. 24. And Ahab hated him, " because he pro- 
phesied not good of him, but evil." It was all the proud 
men that rose up against Jeremiah, and contradicted his 
prophecy, and rejected his word ; Jer. xliii. 2. The word of 
God is quick and powerful, and a discerner of the thoughts 
and intents of the heart ; and it is the plain word of that 
God, that feareth not the faces of the proudest sinners on 
earth, and will not flatter, nor daub with any of them all, 
but will tell them to their faces what they are, and what will 
become of them if they do not turn, and what they must 
trust to. This is the word that God hath put into our 
mouths, and commanded us to preach to them ; not the 
flattering words of an inferior, nor the tender language of a 
man-pleaser, but the commanding words of the God of hea- 
ven, and the peremptory threatnings of everlasting fire, 
against all unconverted, unsanctified men, denounced from 
him that feareth none of them all, but will make them all 
stoop at last to him, and fear, and tremble before his Ma- 
jesty. And is it any wonder if proud and selfish sinners are 
displeased with such a word as this ? TheJ? stand all the 
while they are hearing a plain and powerful preacher, as 
prisoners arraigned at the bar; and sometimes are ready to 
tremble as Felix did, when he heard Paul dilating of righte- 
ousness, and temperance and the judgment to come; Acts 
xxiv. 25. And can self endure to be thus used and ar- 
raigned for its life ? especially when they think it is but by 
a man? For they have not the understanding to know that 
it is Christ that owneth all that his messengers speak by his 
commission. Hence it is that men hate those ministers 
that they feel thus to judge them in their doctrine, and take 
them for their enemies for telling them the truth ; Gal. iv. 16. 
and think they are but the troublers of the country, as Ahah 


called Elijah the tj^ubler of Israel, which he had troubled 
himself; 1 Kings xviii. 17. : and meet them as he did the 
same prophet. " Hast thou found me, O mine enemy ?" 
1 Kings xxi. 20. They meet not a minister as the messen- 
ger of God that calls them to repentance, but as an enemy 
in the field, to strive against him, and raise up all the rea- 
sonings and passions of their souls against him, because he 
condemneth their unregenerate state, tells them but what 
God hath charged him to tell them ; when the poor sinners 
consider not, that before God hath done with them, as sure 
as they breathe, he will make them either by grace or judg- 
ment, condemn themselves as much as any of his ministers 
condemned them (from the word of God), at whom they 
were most offended. Ah ! little do these proud worms, that 
rage at us now for faithful dealing, and for telling them that 
which they will shortly find true, little do they think that 
they shall shortly say the very same against themselves, 
which they hated us for saying : nay, with a hundred times 
more bitterness and self-revenge will they speak these 
things against themselves, than ever we spoke them. Hence 
it is that faithful plain-dealing ministers are commonly 
hated and persecuted by the ungodly, especially by the 
igreat ones and honourable sinners. For their message is 
against self, and therefore self will rise up against them, 
and so many selfish unmortified persons as there be in the 
congregation, so many enemies usually hath such a minis- 
ter. And therefore the lords of Israel petition the king 
that Jeremy may be put to death ; Jer. xxxviii. 4. And 
Amaziah, the priest, calls Amos a conspirator against the 
king, and tells the king that the land was not able to bear 
his words, and commands him to preach no more at the 
king's chapel or his court; Amos vii. 10 — 13. And what 
was the matter that deserved all this, yea, and the death of 
almost all the prophets and apostles of Christ? Why, it was 
for speaking against self and its carnal interest ; but was it 
not a truth that was spoken? True or false, if it be against 
self, it cannot be borne ! As the bishop of Ments that Lu- 
ther speaks of, meeting with a Bible, and reading an hour in 
it, * I know not,' saith he, * what book this is, but I am sure 
it is against us:* meaning the Popish clergy. So these men 
say by our preaching and by the word of God itself, * Be it 
never so true, we are sure it is against us:' or, rather, we 


will not believe it, because it is against us.' But if these 
men had their wits about them, they would see that this is 
for them, which they think is against them. It is for their 
healing and salvation, had they hearts to entertain it, though 
it be for the troubling of them at the present by humilia- 
tion. O how tender are carnal persons of this self! How 
quickly do they feel, if a minister do but touch them ! How 
impatiently do they smart, if he meddle with the galled 
place, and plainly open their most disgraceful sins, and most 
dangerous courses, as one that had rather be guilty of dis- 
pleasing them, than of silently permitting them to displease 
God, and undo their souls ! They fret and fume at the 
sermon, and go home with passion in their hearts and re- 
proaches in their mouths against the minister : and are of 
the mind of the desperate Sodomites, that said to Lot when 
he exhorted them, " Stand back : this one fellow came in 
to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge : now will we deal 
worse with thee than with them ; Gen. xix. 9. What, say 
they, * can he not preach and let me alone ? hath he none to 
rebuke before the congregation but me y And thus will 
every ungodly person reject the word as they are selfish, 
and self must be let alone in all. But why must you be let 
alone? will you be ever the safer or better for that? will 
God let you alone if we should let you alone ? No, he will 
not be frightened from dealing with you as you are ; what- 
ever his word hath said against you, he will certainly make 
good, though you should never more be told of it by minis- 
ters. You have not silenced your Judge, when you have 
silenced his messengers. He will handle you in another 
manner than ministers do. O how easy is it to hear a 
preacher threatening the everlasting wrath, in comparison of 
hearing the sentence of the Judge aud feeling the execu- 
tion 1 If we should yield to your desires, and let you alone, 
God would neither let you nor us alone ; you would but go 
the more quietly to hell ; and your blood will be required 
also at our hands ; Ezek. xxxiii. 6 — 9. and then what would 
become both of us and you ? 

O were it not for the powerful resistance of this selfish- 
ness, what work would every sermon make that we preach 
to you ! O what abundance would be converted at a ser- 
mon ! for what should hinder it? I should make no doubt 
of persuading you all to close with the Lord upon his rea- 


sonable terms, and to become a holy and heavenly people, 
and presently to forsake your former sin, even this hour. 
Nay, some ordinances there are that selfishness hath almost 
shut out of the church ; as most of the exercise of the 
ancient discipline, in open and personal admonitions, and 
public confessions and lamentation of sin, with rejection of 
the impenitent, and the absolution of the penitent ; besides 
most of that private address to pastors for their advice in 
case of falls, and spiritual decays, or weaknesses, and diffi- 
culties that meet them in doctrine or duty. Self will not 
suffer men to stoop to most of these! What, will they be 
brought to open confessions and lamentations of sin, and to 
follow the guidance and persuasions of a priest? No, all 
the priests in England shall not make such fools of them ; 
so wise are these selfish men for a little while ! But how 
long will this hold ! and how long will madness go for wis- 
dom ! when they are dying, then they will send for the 
minister and confess ; and when some of them come to the 
gallows, they will confess : and every one of them shall con- 
fess at last whether they will or no ; and God will indite 
their confession for them, and open their shame to all the 
world in another manner than ministers required them to 
open it : but then confession will do nothing for remission, 
and the preventing of execution, as now it might have done. 
So also the duty of brotherly reproof and admonition of 
offenders, is almost quite cast out by selfishness ; and 
especially, the patient and thankful receiving of it. And 
those ordinances that are continued, are very much frus- 
trated by the opposition of selfishness. It is a very hard 
task that Scripture and good books, and preachers have to 
do ; when we speak every word to enemies of the doctrine 
which we preach, and we can do them no good but by their 
own consent ; and who will consent to that which he is an 
enemy to? Our work is to subdue their flesh and carnal 
wills to Christ ; and this flesh is so dear to them that it is 
themselves ; so that they take all that doctrine to be against 
them which should save them : and we have as many ene- 
mies as unconverted hearers in our assembly ; no wonder 
therefore, if they carp and quarrel, and strive, when the 
self-denying humbly submit and obey. 

Self-denial openeth the heart to Christ, and giveth the 


ordinances leave to work ; it taketh down all opposition and 
contradiction ; so that though the soul may stay to search 
the Scripture, and see whether the things that are taught be 
so, yet it 'searcheth with a childlike teachableness, and 
willingness to learn, and know and obey. It hath no mind to 
quarrel with God ; how easily will a self-denying man sub- 
mit to those duties which another man abhors? How easily 
will he be persuaded to forgive a wrong, to part with his 
right for a greater good to others, to let go a gainful trade 
that is unlawful, or any sinful way of thriving : how easily 
is he brought to ask forgiveness of those that he hath 
wronged, to make a public confession of his sins, if the 
greatness of them, or his duty to God, or the good of 
others, do require it ; to make restitution of all that he hath 
gotten wrongfully; to bear a plain and sharp reproof; to 
part with his own for the relief of the poor ; to lay out his 
estate to the best advantage of the cause and church of God, 
and the common good ; to let go any unlawful vanity ; any 
excess in meat, or drink, or sport, or sleep, or any vanity 
in apparel, or other work of pride : how easily can he bear 
rebukes, reproaches, and neglects, and undervaluing or in- 
gratitude from others ! But what ado shall we have with 
carnal, unsanctified wretches, to persuade them to all, or 
any of this? From them a preacher hath such a work to 
pull their beloved profitable sins (they seem profitable to 
them till the reckoning comes) as a man hath to pull the 
prey from the jaws of a hungry wolf, or meat from the 
mouth of a greedy dog ; but when we require the self-deny- 
ing to do the same thing, it is but as to bid a child obey his 
Father whom he loveth and honoureth. The doing of these 
duties, and forsaking these sins, is to an ungodly man as 
the parting with a right hand, or a right eye, or the skin 
from his back, or the flesh from his bones ; as we see by 
the rarity, and the unsuccessfulness of the plainest reasons, 
and great authority of God himself, and the few works of 
piety, charity, or self-denial that are done by such at any 
great cost. But to the self-denying, it is but as the cast- 
ing away a handful of earth, or casting off an upper gar- 
ment, for the doing of their work. 



Enemy of all Society, Relations , and common Good. 

6. Moreover, this selfishness is the enemy to all societies, 
and relations, and consequently to the common good. And 
it is not only indirectly and consequentially, but directly 
that it strikes at the very foundation of all. For the mani- 
festing of this> consider in what respects this selfishness is 
at enmity with societies. 

1. The end of societies is essential to them; and this 
end is the common good of the society ; and therefore a 
republic hath its name from hence, because it is constituted 
and to be administered for the commonwealth, or the good 
of all. Now selfishness is contrary to this common good 
which is the end of all societies. Every selfish person is 
his own end ; and cares not to hinder the common good, if 
he do but think it will promote his own. And how is that 
family, church, or commonwealth like to prosper, where 
most (alas, most indeed) have an end of their own, that is 
set up against the end and being of the society? For 
though the real good of particular persons is usually com- 
prehended in the common good, yet that is but in subser- 
viency to the public good, and is not observed usually by 
these persons, who principally look at themselves. And it 
commonly falls out that the public welfare cannot be ob- 
tained but by such self-denial of the members, which these 
men. will not submit to ; though thv^y incur a greater hurt 
by their selfishness. Little do tl hink of the common 
good ; it is their own matters that .-aey regard and mind. 
So it go well with them, let the church and commonwealth 
do what it will; they can bear any one's trouble or losses 
save their own. They are every man as a church, as a com- 
monwealth, as a world to themselves. If they be well, all 
is well with them ; if they prosper, they think it is a good 
world, whatever others undergo. If they be poor, or sick, 
or under any other suffering, it is all one to them as if 
calamity had covered the earth ; and if they see that they 
must die, they take it as if it were the dissolution of the 
world, (unless as they leave either name or posterity be- 


hind them, in which a shadow of them may survive), and 
therefore they use to say, ' When I am gone, all the world 
is gone with me.' 

2. Moreover, selfishness is contrary to that disposition 
and spirit that every member of a society should be pos- 
sessed with. The public good will not be attained without 
a public spirit, to which a private spirit is contrary. Men 
must be disposed to the work that they must be employed in. 
The work of every member of a society, is such as Mordecai 
is approved for : ** Seeking the wealth of his people, and 
speaking peace to all his seed ;" Esth. x. 3. Every true 
member of the church must have such a spirit as Nehemiah, 
that in the midst of his own prosperity and honours is cast 
down in fasting, tears, and prayers, when he heareth of the 
affliction, reproach, and ruins of Jerusalem, and saith, 
" Why should not my countenance be sad, when the city 
the place of my fathers' sepulchres lieth waste ?" Neh. i. 3. 
ii. 3, 4. And as the captivated Jews ; (Psal. cxxxvii.) that 
lay by all their mirth and music, and sit down and weep at 
the remembrance of Zion. A private, selfish disposition is 
quite contrary to this ; and is busy about his own matters, 
and principally looketh to his own ends and interests, what- 
ever come of the church ; and falls under the reproof that 
Baruch had from God : ** Behold that which I have built 
will I break down, and that which I have planted I will 
pluck up, even this whole land ; and seeketh thou great 
things for thyself? seek them not ;" Jer. xlv. 4, 5. This 
private disposition makes men so foolish as to lose them- 
selves, by seeking themselves ; looking to their own goods 
or cabins when the ship is sinking in which they are ; and 
to their own rooms, when the house is all on fire. But a 
public spirit saith, " If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my 
right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, 
let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I prefer 
not Jerusalem above my chief joy ;" Psal. cxxxvii. 5, 6. His 
love is to the church as the spouse of Christ, and as to the 
body of which he is himself a member, and his prayers and 
endeavours are for its prosperity and peace. " Pray for the 
peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love thee : peace 
be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces : for 
my brethren and companions' sake, I will now say, peace 
be within thee : because of the house of the Lord our God, 


I will seek thy good ;" Psal. cxxii. 6—9. The body of 
Christ, is all animated by one spirit, that it might aim at 
one end ; and it is so tempered by God, that there should 
be no schism in it, but that the '* members should have the 
same care one for another, that if one member suffer, all the 
members should suffer with it ; or if one member be ho- 
noured, all should rejoice with it;" 1 Cor. xii. 13, 24 — 27. 
There is no serving public ends with a private selfish spirit. 
3, Moreover, selfishness is an enemy to the laws of socie- 
ties, whether it be the laws of God or man. For it would 
have them all bended to their private interest, and fitted to 
their selfish disposition. And therefore for the immutable 
laws of God, which they cannot change, they corrupt them 
by misinterpretations, expounding them according to the 
dictates of the flesh, and putting such a sense on all, as self 
can bear with. And what they cannot misinterpret, they 
murmur at and disobey. And for the laws of men, where 
selfish persons are the makers of them, you shall perceive 
by the warping of them, who they were made for. Hence 
it is that princes and parliaments have looked at the laws, 
and church, and ministers of Christ, with an eye of jealousy 
as if they had been some enemies that they stood in danger 
of, and all for fear lest the personal, selfish, fleshly interest 
of noblemen, and gentlemen, and others, should be en- 
croached upon by the laws and government of Christ. And 
hence it is that so many endeavours and hopes of a refor- 
mation have been so long frustrated, and even among wise 
and pious law-makers there hath been so much pains to 
keep ministers from doing their duty in governing the 
churches, and laying such restrictions on them, that pastors 
might be no pastors, that is, no guides and overseers of the 
church in the worship of God. And when good laws are 
made, they have as many enemies as selfish men. If the 
law were not hated, the execution of it would not be hated 
so much. 

4. Also selfishness in an enemy to the very being of 
magistracy, and to all public officers, and their works ; for 
the very end of the magistracy is the public benefit, as I said 
before of the end of the commonwealth ; and therefore this 
selfishness is contrary to his end ; and such men will not 
value a magistrate as a public officer, but only as one that 
is able to help them, or to hurt them ; which is but to fear 


him as a potent enemy, and not to love or honour him as a 
ruler. They look at magistrates as tyrants that are too 
strong for them ; and as a cur will crouch to a mastiff dog, 
so they will crouch to them to save themselves ; and this is 
their love, and honour, and obedience ; (even such as Hobbs 
hath taught them in his Leviathan.) But they do not re- 
verence that beam of divinity which God hath communi- 
cated to them in their authority ; nor love their governors 
as the fathers of the church and commonwealth, for the 
common good and the honour of iGrod, which they are ap- 
pointed to promote^ii st/iviiq ibdt oi b 

5. And this selfishness is the deadly enemy of all right ad" 
ministrations of justice, and the due exercise of authority in 
church or commonwealth. If a minister be seliish, he will 
be shifting off the troublesome part of his duty, and will 
overrule his understanding to believe that it is no duty, be- 
cause disbelieving is easier than obeying. He will be for- 
ward in those duties that are necessary to his maintenance 
and applause, and are imposed on him by the laws of men, 
but out of the pulpit it is little that he will do : as if it were 
the pulpit only that were God's vineyard where he is set to 
labour. Flesh and blood shall be consulted, and men shall 
be pleased, and all that the interest of self may be maintained. 
And if the people be selfish, they will rebel against their 
most faithful guides, and kick against their doctrine and re- 
proofs, and fly from discipline, which seems to their distem- 
pered minds to be against them. Let but one most notorious, 
lamentable instance suffice. The greater part of our pa- 
rishioners in most places of the land are lamentably igno- 
rant and careless in the matters of their salvation, and all 
that we can do is too little to bring them to understand the 
matters of absolute necessity : and yet almost all of them 
are so much wiser in their own conceits than the ablest of 
their teachers, that if we do not humour them, and be not 
ruled by them in our doctrine and administrations, about sa- 
craments, prayers, burial, and the rest, yea, if we obey them 
not in gestures and forms, they turn their backs upon officers, 
and ordinances, and the church itself, and pour out their re- 
proach upon their teachers, as if we were ignorant in com- 
parison of them (even of them that know not so much as 
children of seven or eight years old should know). See here 
the wonderful bewitched power of a selfish disposition. 


And in matters of the commonwealth, what is it more 
than this ? nay, what is it besides this, that maketh princes 
become tyrants, and rulers keep under the ordinances and 
interest of Christ, or fearfully neglect them, and look after 
the church in the last place, when they have no business of 
their own to call them off, and to begin to build God's house 
when they have first built their own ? Not imitating Nehe- 
miah's labourers, that had the sword in one hand, and the 
trowel in the other, and builded in their arms. What else 
makes them give God but their leavings, who giveth them 
all ? And what else could make them such enemies to truth, 
as to side with those parties, whatever they be, that side 
most with them, and promote their interest,?o.';;3iq oinj ateJi^ 
And, alas, what work doth selfishness made with inferior 
magistrates ? It is this only that opens the hand to a re- 
ward, and the ear to the solicitations of their friends ; and 
it is this that perverteth the judgment, and this thatoppress- 
eth the poor and innocent, and this that tieth the tongues 
and hands of justices, so that abundance of them do little 
more than possess the room, and stand like an armed statue 
or a sign-post, which hurteth none 5 alehouses do what they 
list for them, and drunkards and swearers are bold at their 
noses, and they are no terror to evil doers, nor revengers to 
execute wrath upon them, nor ministers that use their power 
for much good, but bear .the sword almost in vain, contrary 
to the very nature of their office ; Rom. xiii. 1 — 4. 

And it is selfishness in the people that causeth the trou- 
ble of faithful magistrates : every man would do what he 
lists. The worst offender abhors him that would punish him : 
and those that will commend justice, and cry down vice in 
the general, yet when they fall under justice themselves, they 
take all that they suffer to be injury, and will do all that they 
can against justice, and the officers of it, when it is to de- 
fend themselves, or theirs, from the execution of it : so rare 
a thing is it to meet with a man that is a friend to laws and 
justice, when themselves must suffer by it. 

6. Selfishness also makes men withdraw from all those 
necessary burdens and duties that are for the preservation of 
church or commonwealth. Such wretches had rather the 
Gospel were thrust oat of doors than it should cost them 
much : and had rather have the unworthiest man that would 
be their teacher for a little, than allow the best that mainte- 



nance that the Gospel doth command, or give them what 
the law hath made their own. They would venture the ruin 
of church and state, and let all fall into the hands of the com- 
mon enemies, rather than hazard their persons, or lay out 
their estates for the common preservation. So that if the 
hand of violence did not sometimes squeeze these spunges, 
and force these leeches to disgorge themselves, they would 
but impoverish the commonwealth by their riches, and 
weaken the body, like wens or imposthumes, by drawing to 

7. And then the selfish are such causes of division, that 
if they did no other harm, they would break both church and 
state into pieces, if their humour were predominant, and not 
restrained or purged out. And in this regard selfishness is 
the direct enemy of societies, and is always at work to dis- 
solve them into independent individuals. A society is a po- 
litical body which must have but one head, and one interest, 
and one end ; but when selfishness prevaileth, there are as 
many heads, and ends, and interests as persons. If they be 
in a church, every one is the teacher and ruler ; and every 
one must have his opinion countenanced, and his humour 
satisfied ; every one must have his way and will ; and how 
is this possible, when their minds are so various and con- 
trary to one another ; and their interests so inconsistent, and 
there are as many rulers as persons ? When every man is 
drawing to himself, and there is no centre in which they can 
unite, what work is there like to be in the church ! What 
progress could be made in the building of Babel, when no 
man was ruled by another, but every man ran confusedly 
after his single imagination ? What an army will it be, and 
how are they like to speed in fight, where every soldier is 
instead of a captain and general to himself, and one runs 
this way, and another that way, and one will have one course 
taken, and another another course, and every one fighteth on 
his own head? Such work doth selfishness make in the 
church ; it is this that hath broken it into so many parcels, 
and would crumble it all to dust if it should prevail. 

And it is this also that causeth the divisions of the com- 
monwealth ; faction rising up against faction, and prince and 
people living in jealousies of each other, as having contra- 
dictory interests ; which would not be, if the pleasing of 


God, and the common good were the principal end and in- 
terest of them all, and selfishness did not prevail. 

And this is it that keepeth Christian princes in most un- 
godly wars, to the shedding of Christian blood, and the 
weakening of the common interest, and the strengthening of 
the common enemy, whom they should all join together to 

This also keepeth up so many parties on religious pre- 
tences to seek the undermining and ruin of each other, when 
they should all join together against the common profane- 
ness of the world ; and all their conjunct endeavours would 
be too little. Thus selfishness is the grand enemy that by 
divisions and subdivisions is still at work for the dissolution 
and ruin of church and state, and the confusion of the world, 
and the disturbance and destruction of order and government. 
8. Yea, selfishness makes men false and treacherous, so 
that they are not to be trusted, and are unmeet materials for 
any society. For whatever they promise, pretend, or seem, 
they are all for themselves, and will be no further true and 
faithful to the society, or any member of it, than suiteth with 
their own ends. Never trust a selfish person, if it be your 
own brother, further than you can accommodate and please 
him, and so oblige him to you upon his own account. It is 
the complication of interests, that makes husband and wife 
so much agree and love each other ; because that which one 
hath, the other hath : but if their interests fall out to be any 
whit divided, it is two to onebut selfishness will divide their 
affections. One would think that the bond of nature should 
be so strong to constrain a son to love his father, that no- 
thing could dissolve it ; and yet sad experience telleth us 
that even here, it is an unity of interest that doth more with 
many children than either nature or grace : and that when 
they have no more dependance upon their parents for their 
commodity, their affections and respects are gone ; and if 
they shall gain much by their death, they can bear it without 
much sorrow, if not desire it. So potent is selfishness, that 
it [makes not men unfaithful only to their friends, and 
treacherous to their governors, and false to all they have to 
do with, but also unnatural to their nearest relations. 

And therefore (next to true piety, which leads up all to 
an unity in God, and therefore is the most perfect polity,^ 



the chief point of human polity, for the preservation of com- 
monwealths, and all societies, is, a complication of interest : 
when the constitution makes the governor and the governed 
as husband and wife, that have nothing dividedly as their 
own, but all in common, and take each other for better or 
worse, and know they must stand or fall together, and that 
the good or hurt of one, is the good or hurt of both, and that 
there is no manner of hope that either of them should thrive 
by the ruin of the other. If politicians had the skill and 
will to make such an union of interests between the sovereign 
and the subject, and to make it visible that all might under- 
stand it, their republics would be immortal, till either the 
wrath of a neglected God, or the power of a foreign enemy 
should dissolve them : for nothing else but self could do it; 
and self will not do it when it sees its own interest lie in the 
preservation of the present state. 


Corrupteth and debaseth all that it disposeth of. 

7. Another aggravation of the evil of selfishness is, that 
it corrupteth and debaseth every thing that it disposeth of. 
And on the contrary, it is the excellency of self-denial (as 
joined with the love of God) that it rectifieth and ennobleth 
all your actions. 

Let the work be ever so holy in its nature, yet if you do 
it but for yourselves, you make but a profane employment 
of it; and to you it is not holy. A selfish, carnal person is 
serving himself even in preaching ; and hearing, and pray- 
ing, and sacraments, and other acts of worship and church- 
communion ; much more in the common business of his 
life. Even when he thinks he is serving God, he is but 
serving himself of God, and provoking God by his abuse ; 
when he thinks he is very holy because of his services, he 
is doubly unholy, in that he even profaneth holy things. 
And as it is not God indeed that he serveth, so from God 
he must not expect a reward. And as far as a man's self 
and flesh is below the blessed God, so far, in a sort, is the 
work of selfish men debased, in comparison of those works 
of the saints that are performed purely for God. They 


make but a low, unprofitable drudgery of that which in the 
hands of others is the highest and noblest work on earth. 
For the action can be no better than the end ; and there- 
fore is base as it is base. 

But on the other side, self-denial makes noble the ac- 
tions that in themselves seem base. If you are gone out of 
yourselves, and can truly say, that it is God you serve and 
seek in your employments, you may be sure that God will 
take them for his service, and set them on your account 
among the works that he hath promised to reward (suppos- 
ing that the matter be such as he alloweth of, and that you 
think not by good intentions to turn sin into holiness, and 
make him a service of that which he forbiddeth) : O what 
an honour, what an encouragement, what a comfort is this, 
to every Christian ! The actions of a prince or conqueror 
are base ; if self be their end, and the respect to God do 
not ennoble them. And the work of the poorest person is 
honourable that is done for God. It is a great temptation 
to some poor Christians to grudge at their condition, be- 
cause they are so unserviceable to God. Alas, thinks a 
poor tradesman, or ploughman, or servant. What do I but 
drudge in the world ! I have neither parts nor place to do 
God service with! But such do very much mistake the 
matter. It is not the parts and place, but the hearty per- 
formance of your works for God that makes them such as 
he will take for service. O, thinks a poor woman, or toil- 
ing servant, I can do nothing either for the conversion of 
souls, or the good of church or commonwealth, but am 
made unserviceable. But do you not know that any thing 
is acceptable service which God commandeth, and is 
heartily intended to his honour and his pleasure : it is not 
the metal, but the stamp of the prince, that makes a piece 
to be current money. If the king's stamp were put by his 
appointment on a piece of brass or copper, it would pass 
for coin. Believe it sirs, if your study be to please the 
Lord in your callings, and you can but get above your- 
selves, and do the basest servile works, as commanded you 
by God, that you may be accepted by him, and offer your- 
selves and all your labours purely to him, and to his ho- 
nour, and his will, God will take these for honourable ser- 
vices ; and you are as truly at his work, even in your shops 
and fields, as princes are in ruling, or pastors in teaching 


or guiding the flock ; you that are poor, and cannot set so 
much time apart for reading and other holy duties as some 
others do, see that you neglect no holy opportunity that 
you can take, and then consider, that if God set you to do 
him service even by washing dishes, or sweeping channels, 
or the meanest drudgery, he will accept it ; and the more, 
by how much the more humble submission and self-denial 
is found in it. Take him as the only Lord and Master of 
your souls and lives, and all that you have, and when you 
are called to your daily labour, look but to your hearts that 
God be your end, and that you can truly say, ' I do not this 
principally to provide for myself, but as an obedient child 
in my Father's service, because he bids me do it, and it is 
pleasing to him through Christ ; I do it not principally 
from self-love, but from the love of God, that commandeth 
me my work ; and as a traveller that laboureth in his way 
for the love of his home, so I am here at labour in this 
world, in the place that God hath set me, that I may in his 
appointed way attain the everlasting glory that he hath 
promised.' I say, do but see to it, that thus you dedicate 
your labours to God, and you may take comfort in the daily 
labours of your lives, even the meanest and most contempti- 
ble, as well as princes and preachers may in their more 
honourable works. Nay, all your labours are honoured and 
sanctified by this ; for all is holy that is heartily devoted to 
God, upon his invitation. And thus all things are pure to 
the pure. For it is God's interest in your works, that is the 
holiness and excellency of them. Were servants and la- 
bouring people more holy and self-denying, they might have 
more true comfort in their daily labour, than the best of the 
unsanctitied can have from their prayers or other worship 
of God. Not that worship may be therefore neglected ; but 
that a Christian must do nothing at all but for God ; and 
then he may be sure of God's acceptance. 


Deny Self, or you will deny Christ, 

8. Moreover, the selfish will never suffer as Christians, 
but deny Christ in a day of trial ; when the self-denying 


will go through all ; and be saved. Nothing doth so tho- 
roughly try whether self or God be best beloved, as suffering 
for his cause. In this it is that Christ useth to try men's 
self-denial ; and it is a principal use of persecution. When 
you hear of coming before rulers and judges, and being 
hated of all men for Christ's name sake, then self riseth up 
to plead for its interest, and never maketh more ado than 
when it seeth the flames. The flesh cannot reason, but it 
can strive against reason, and draw it to its side. No rea 
son seemeth sufficient to it, to persuade it to choose a suf- 
fering state. If you persuade a carnal man to let go his 
estate, to be poor and dispised in the world, and to give up 
life itself, if it be called for, and all this for the hope of an 
invisible felicity, you lose your labour (till God set in), 
and all such reasoning seems to him most unreasonable. 
And what a dreadful case such aouls are in, my text and 
many another passage in Scripture may convince you. If. 
you cannot drink of his cup, and be baptized with his bap- 
tism, you cannot be advanced with him to glory. Through 
many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God. 
The pleasing of the flesh is the high way to misery by dis- 
pleasing God ; and the voluntary submission to the suffer- 
ings of the flesh for the cause of Christ, is the high way to 
felicity ; 2 Tim. ii. 11, 12. " It is a faithful saying ; for if 
we be dead with him, we shall also live with him; if we 
suffer, we shall also reign with him ; if we deny him, he also 
will deny us ;" Rom. viii. 17. " Yea, and all that will live 
godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution ;" 2 Tim. iii. 
12. The day of trial is a kind of judgment- day to the selfish, 
unsanctified man ; for it discovereth his hypocrisy, and 
sheweth him to be but dross, and separateth him from the 
suffering servants of Christ. 

But self-denial maketh suffering light, and will make 
you wish that you had any thing worth the resigning unto 
Christ, and any thing by the denial whereof you might 
serve him. For him you would suffer the loss of all things, 
and account them dross and dung that you may win him ; 
Phil. iii. 8. He will count us *' worthy of the kingdom for 
which we suffer ;" 2 Thess. i. 5. As the " Captain of our 
salvation was made perfect by suffering, (Heb. ii. 10.) so 
also must his members, by ** filling up the measure," and 
being " made partakers of his sufferings," and " knowing the 


fellowship of them;" 2 Cor. i. 5— 7. Phil. iii. 10. And the 
** God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal 
glory by Christ Jesus, after we have suffered awhile, will 
make us perfect, stablish, strengthen and settle us ;" 1 Pet. 
V. 10. 

If therefore you would not prove apostates, and deny 
Christ in a day of trial, and be denied by him before his 
Father and the holy angels, see that you now learn this 
needful lesson of self-denial. 


The Selfish deal worse with God than with Satan, 

9. CoNSiDEE also that selfish carnal men deal worse with 
God, than they do with the devil and sin itself. God of- 
fereth them Christ and pardon, and eternal life, if they will 
but deny themselves in a thing of nought, and they will not 
be ruled or persuaded by him : the devil ofFereth them but 
the delights of the flesh, and the pleasures of sin for a sea- 
son, and they will deny ten thousandfold more for this. 
They will deny God their Maker and Redeemer, their Lord 
and Judge, their Preserver and their Hope ; though he have 
the only title to them, and their lives and souls be in his 
hand ; they will for the sake of a filthy lust, or of a short 
and miserable life, deny him that never did them wrong ; 
nay, that hath always shewed them kindness, even all the 
kindness that ever they received ; and that when they know 
that their everlasting state must stand or fall according to 
his judgment. They will deny the Lord Jesus the Redeemer 
of their souls ; they will deny and resist the Holy Spirit of 
God ; they will deny his laws, his Gospel-promises, and all 
his mercies ; they will deny his ministers and all their per- 
suasions and daily labours : they will deny their dearest 
Christian friends, and deny their own consciences and con- 
victions ; and deny themselves the peace and joy which 
they might find in a holy walking with God. Yea, they will 
deny themselves everlasting life, and the favour of God, and 
cast themselves into endless misery ; and all this for a thing 
that is ten thousand times worse than nothing, or for a very 



sensual, brutish pleasure. And yet these men cannot deny 
themselves in life, or liberty, in gain, or honour, no nor in 
the filthiest lusts, for the sake of Christ and their own sal- 
vation ; even when they may know that they most deny 
themselves when they will not deny themselves. They deny 
themselves eternal glory, because they will not deny them- 
selves in temporal vanity. Heaven and earth will witness 
against such sottish and unrighteous dealing as this, if true 
conversion do not prevent it. Hath God, hath Christ, hath 
your own salvation deserved no better at your hands than 
this? O miserable souls ! All things can be easily denied 
save sin and carnal self, and these cannot be denied. God 
can be denied, Christ, and Scripture, and heaven itself can 
be denied, for flesh and sin ; and flesh and sin cannot be 
denied for God, and for eternal glory. Do you think that 
this will look like wise or righteous dealing when you stand 
in judgment? Ask now any stander-by that is impartial, 
whether God or the flesh should be denied? Whether hea- 
ven or earth should be denied, seeing one of them you must 
deny ? And if any impartial man will be now against you, 
what think you will God be, who is not only impartial, but 
wronged by you, and a hater of your unrighteous dealing? 


To be left to Self, is the sorest Plague. 

10. Lastly, remember, that to be given over to ourselves, 
is the heaviest plague on this side hell ; and therefore he 
that delighteth not to be miserable should not desire to be 
selfish. To be given over to the love of yourselves, is to 
turn from the love of the blessed God to the love of a 
filthy sinner, and so to forfeit God's love to you. To be 
given over to care for yourselves, is to forfeit the fatherly 
care of God, and to be at the care of a silly, insufficient, im- 
provident sinner. To be given over to your own conceits 
or wisdom, is to be forsaken of the sun, and left in dark- 
ness, and spend the rest of your days in a dungeon, the be- 
ginning of the endless utter darkness. To be given over to 
your own wills, is to be at the choice and disposal of a fool 
and of an enemy ; and to be in such hands as will certainly 


undo you, and to be cast out of the hands of God. To be 
given over to seek yourselves, is to lose yourselves and 
God, and your salvation. To be given over to live as your 
own, is to forfeit the protection of God, without which you 
cannot be kept an hour out of hell. To be given over to 
the defending of yourselves, and delivering yourselves in 
danger of soul and body, is even to be exposed to certain 
and perpetual perdition. To be given over to be ruled by 
yourselves, is to be relinquished as rebels, and exposed to 
the tyranny of sin and satan. So that in all things it is 
most certain, that you are never well but in the hands of 
God, and never so ill as when you are most in your own 
hands. In Paradise innocent man was wholly at the go- 
vernment of God ; and when by casting off his government 
he had forfeited the benefit of it, the most of the world be- 
came even brutish : and when God had owned the govern- 
ment of Israel above other nations, and kept the choice of 
the sovereign under him in his own hands ; at last the 
foolish people, in imitation of the nations, must needs have 
a king, and extort the nomination out of the hands of 
special extraordinary Providence, that they might have 
more of it in their own ; and this was an increase of their 
misery. Woe to that man that ever he was born, that is 
finally given over to himself; for this is a sign that God 
hath forsaken him, and he stands at the brink of eternal 
death. O think of this, you that are self-conceited, and 
self-willed, and self-lovers, and self-seekers, and know not 
how to deny yourselves. Must self be so regarded and ten- 
derly used? Take heed, you may have enough of self with 
everlasting vengeance, if God once give you over to your- 
selves, and say of you as of them : ** But my people would 
not hearken unto my voice ; and Israel would none of me : 
So I gave them up to their own hearts' lusts, and they 
walked in their own counsels;" Psal. Ixxxi. 11, 12. Sa 
much for the aggravations. 


2^en Directions to get Self-denial. 

IV. I COME now to the last part of my task, which is to tell 
you what course you should take to procure self-denial. For 


though it be the gift of God, yet there are certain means ap- 
pointed us for the attainment of it, and God useth to give it 
men in the use of his means, and by those means must it be 
confirmed and continued. 

Direct, 1. * Set faith a work upon the promises of God 
and upon everlasting life ;' for the flesh will not be taken off 
these lower things, till you have found out better, and such 
as will be sure to save you harmless. The most covetous 
man will let go silver, if he might have gold instead of it. 
Set faith a pleading the case with the flesh ; and urge your 
own hearts with the certainty, the nearness, the glory, the 
eternity of the kingdom which by self-denial you may attain ; 
and if they will not yield to such a change as this, they are 
unreasonable, unbelieving hearts. 

Direct. 2. * Never be deluded to forget the vanity, the 
brevity and, the emptiness and insufiiciency of all these 
earthly things, which self so adhereth to, as to neglect the 
promised life of blessedness. Acquaint your own hearts 
what a nothing it is that they make so much of, and follow 
so greedily, and hold so fast \ shew them in the sanctuary 
the glass of the word of God, which will tell them what will 
be the end of all, and where all their worldly prosperity will 
leave them. Ask your hearts, * Can I keep these things for 
ever, or not? If not, is it not better let them go for some- 
thing, than for nothing ? and to part with them as a child, 
at the command of my heavenly Father, than to part with 
them as a thief doth with his prize, at the gallows ? Is it not 
better let them go to ease me, and to secure my eternal peace, 
than let them go to wound me and torment me? And while 
I keep them, what will they do for me, that I should buy 
them at so dear a rate ? O how dear must I pay for my ease, 
and honour, and gluttony, and drunkenness, and sensual de- 
lights, if I part not with them when God commandeth ! How 
cheap is a holy, blessed life, in comparison of this which I 
must pay so dear for !' 

Direct. 3. To promote your self-denial, * Consider fre- 
quently and seriously, who God is, and to what end he made, 
redeemed, sustaineth, and governeth the world : and then 
bethink you, whether it be meet that this glorious God should 
be neglected, and frustrated of the end of all these works !* 
and whether any thing besides him be fit to be the creature's 
end. You think it meet that every workman should have 


the use of his own work. Doth any man make a house for 
its own sake, or for his use to dwell in ? Is it for the thing's 
sake that any man makes an instrument ^ or for his service 
by it ? Do you think that God made you for yourselves, and 
not for himself and service ? Give therefore to God the 
things that are God's : all souls are his, and therefore all 
should acknowledge him, and submit to his dispose and 
pleasure. Shall the pot quarrel with the potter, or claim title 
to itself, and say, * I am mine own?' It is against the clearest 
reason in the world, that any but the Creator, Redeemer and 
Preserver of the world should be Lord, and the Governor, 
and the End of it ; and that men should prefer themselves 
before him. 

Direct. 4. ' Moreover, it will further your self-denial to 
remember what you will get by selfishness.' God will have 
his ends and honour out of you one way or other, whether 
you will or no : he will have your goods from you, and your 
lives from you ; and the faster you hold them, the more you 
will suffer when he wringeth them out of your hands. The 
most covetous man would part with his money to buy a 
lordship, if he knew it would else be taken from him. A 
worldly treasure is obnoxious to rust, and moths, and thieves ; 
and if you exchange it not for the heavenly treasure in time, 
and remove not your riches to the world that you must for 
ever live in, what will you do when you must remove your- 
selves? And all your self-denial is but such an exchange 
or removal which all should be glad of, that know they must 
be gone themselves. Nay, more, consider still that selfish- 
ness makes you an idol to yourself, and therefore you do 
but set up yourselves as a mark for the jealous God to shoot 
at, and every hour you have reason to expect, that the terri- 
ble hand of Justice should lay hold upon you, and try you 
at the bar of that God whose prerogative you did usurp. 

Direct. 5. * And it may much further your self-denial to 
take a considerate survey of the world, and see but what 
self-seeking hath already done, and is still doing in it.' What 
a doleful sight of wickedness, confusion and misery must 
you see, which way ever you look : and all is most evidently 
the fruit of selfishness. Methinks it should awaken every 
sober man against it, that doth but observe what work it 
hath made ; that seeth families disordered and ruined by it ; 
neighbours set in dissension by it j churches divided by it ; 


religion dishonoured by it ; and multitudes of them that 
seem to be religious, to be so lamentably deceived and en- 
slaved by it. Princes and great men blinded by it ; judges 
and learned men befooled by it ; and the nations of the world 
almost all set together by the ears by it : so that it hath 
turned the vsrorld into the confusion of Babel, that no man 
can understand a word of the language that tendeth to unity, 
peace and building up. Princes understand it not: too 
many preachers understand it not; but the language of scorn, 
and strife, and dissension they understand : so that the world 
is cast all into a hurly-burly, and every man's hand is against 
his brother when he scarce knows why. No church or state 
can stand without disturbance ; no truths without contra- 
diction. Under pretence of coming in to Christ, they are 
busily uncovering his house, when the door is wide open, and 
there are more to invite them than to hinder them. Me- 
thinks as a man that observeth the carriage of madmen or 
drunken men, should never have any mind to be mad or 
drunken ; so he that observeth but what self-seeking hath 
done in the world, should have little mind to be self- con- 
ceited, self-willed or self-seeking, but should love and ho- 
nour self-denial. 

Direct. 6. * If you would promote self-denial, keep with 
you the continual feeling of your own unworthiness and in- 
sufficiency.' No man will trust upon a broken staff if he 
know it ; nor be so foolish as to go about to walk upon the 
water, which he knows will not bear him. One would think 
this should be an easy and an effectual remedy. Should it 
not be easy for such wretched sinners as we, to carry about 
with us a sense of our unworthiness ? For such lepers to 
carry about us a sense of our uncleanness? Methinks so 
many and great diseases should make us feel them. O then 
consider, as creatures, you are utterly insufficient for your- 
selves ; and as sinners, much more. God never made you 
to live upon, or to yourselves ; or without him, or without 
the help of others. There are few beasts when they are first 
brought forth into the world, but are more able to help them- 
selves than man ; when he is newly born he can do nothing 
to help himself. And when he comes to age, he is naturally 
formed to a sociable life ; so that if he should retire from 
the world, and live only by and of himself, he would soon 
find what it is to be selfish : much more if he be left to him- 


self by God, or forsake God, and trust to and depend upon 
himself. But if ever innocent man had been sufficient for 
himself; yet sinful man can have no pretence to such a pri- 
vilege, v\^hile he beareth about him so many convincing evi- 
dences of the contrary every day. Do you not feel sin as a 
heavy burden pressing you dovi^n, and perceive how easily 
it entangleth and besetteth you ? sure you do, if you be not 
past feeling. And do you not know enough of the nature 
and desert of sin, to drive you out of yourselves, and bring 
you to him that calleth the weary and heavy laden to come 
to him for ease and rest ; Matt. xi. 28. Do you not feel a 
continual burden of infirmities ? and doth not experience 
tell you that you are not sufficient to relieve yourselves in 
any pain or sickness that doth befal you? You cannot 
support yourselves a moment ; you are still in the hands of 
that invisible God whom you abuse by your self-seeking. 
You would drop into hell if he withdrew the hand of his pa- 
tience and support, as sure as a stone would fall to the earth 
that were loose in the air ! As truly as the earth beareth 
you, so truly doth he bear the earth and you. It is easier 
for houses, and towns, and mountains to stand in the air 
without the earth, than for you, or any thing, to subsist a 
moment without the Lord. Who keeps your heart and pulse 
still beating, and your blood and spirits in continual motion, 
and warm in your veins? Is it God, or you? Who is it that 
causeth your lungs to breathe, your stomach to turn your 
meat to nourishment ; and that nourishment into blood, and < 
spirits, and strength? Is it God, or you? Who is it that 
causeth the sun to rise upon you in the morning to light you 
to your labours, and to set upon you at night, that the cur- 
tains of darkness may be drawn about you, and you may 
quietly repose yourselves to rest? Who giveth you strength 
to labour in the day, and refresheth you with sleep at night, 
and provideth all the creatures for your assistance ? Is it 
you or God ? O sirs, methinks such silly worms, that can- 
not live a minute of themselves, and cannot fetch a breath of 
themselves, should easily see that they should not live to 
themselves, but to him from whom and by whom they live. 

Direct. 7. * If you would live in self-denial, be sure that 
you keep the mastery of your senses :' and do not let theai 
be ungoverned, but shut them up when reason doth require 
it. It is your appetite and senses that feed this carnal, sel- 


fish vice ; but reason and faith are both against it. When- 
ever you consult with sense, you may know what brutish 
advice you may expect. Ask not therefore what is delight- 
ful, nor what is for your carnal ease and peace ; but what is 
necessary to please the Lord, and for your everlasting peace. 
And if the tempter tell you, * This is the easier and the 
broader way ;* tell him that it is not the honester nor the 
safer way : and the question is not, which is the fairest way? 
but, which is the way to heaven ? It is better go the hardest 
way to glory, than the smoothest to damnation. If you can- 
not keep under your sensitive appetite, and subdue the eager 
desires of the flesh, and learn to want, as well as to abound ; 
to be empty, as well as to be full ; you will never attain to 

Direct. 8. * To promote your self-denial, methinks it 
should be effectual to understand the great advantage that 
you have by the communion and society which you enter 
into when you deny yourselves.' Though a prince or lord 
would he loath to enter into a college, or monastery, where 
there is no propriety, and yet withal, no care or want ; yet a 
poor labouring man, or a beggar would be glad of such a 
life. So you that cannot live of yourselves, methinks should 
be glad of such a community. 

1. Consider that the Lord Jesus is the Head of the so- 
ciety, who hath undertaken to make provision for the whole, 
and is engaged for their security, and to save them harmless: 
and all the riches of his grace and love belong to that so- 
ciety, and will be yours ; which is more than all that you can 
part with of your own, yea more than all the treasures of the 
world. It is therefore the noblest and richest society in 
the world that you shall live in communion with, if you will 
deny yourselves. 

2. And the saints that are the members of that society 
are the brethren of Christ and the heirs of heaven. And all 
these are your brethren ; endeared in special love to you, 
engaged to assist you, by prayers, and counsel, and pains, 
and purse, and every way that they can ; so that well might 
Christ say that he that forsaketh any thing for him, shall 
receive even a hundredfold in this life, and in the world to 
come eternal life. For this one sorry self that you forsake, 

. and its poor accommodations, you have God for your Father, 
and Christ for your Head, and the Holy Ghost for your Sancti- 


fier and Comforter, and the Scripture for your guide, and 
saints for your brethren, companions and assistants, engaged 
to you in truer and dearer love than your unsanctified friends, 
that cast you off for the sake of Christ. And had you ra- 
ther be toiling and caring for yourselves, than let go self, and 
enter into so blessed a community, where you may cast all 
your care away upon God, who hath promised to care for 
you ; and may feed yourselves in the daily delightful fore- 
thoughts of life eternal ? 

Direct. 9. * And methinks it should much promote your 
self-denial, to study well the self-denying example of Christ, 
and his eminent servants that have trod in his steps.' Christ 
had no sinful self to deny, nor any corrupted flesh to mor- 
tify or subdue. And yet he had a self-denial in which we 
must imitate him ; "For even Christ pleased not himself, 
but as it is written. The reproaches of them that reproached 
thee are fallen upon me ;" Rom. xv. 3. We are told there- 
fore by Christ's example, that it is not only the pleasing of 
self as corrupted by sin, but also a pleasing of natural self, 
in things where God may lay a restraint upon it, or put it to 
the trial, that we must avoid, and in which we must deny 
ourselves : even as Adam was to have denied his natural ap- 
petite before sin had corrupted it ; and Christ had an inno- 
cent natural will, of which yet he saith, " Not my will, but 
thine be done." His whole life was a wonderful example of 
self-denial : he lived in a low estate, and denied himself of 
the glory and riches of the world, and " became poor, though 
he were Lord of all, that by his poverty we might be made 
rich ;" 2 Cor. viii. 9. He lived under the reproach of sin- 
ners ; of sinners that he created; of sinners whom he died 
for. He would wear no crown, but a crown of thorns ; he 
would wear no robes, but the robes of their reproach ; he 
yielded his cheeks to be smitten, and his face to be spit upon 
by the vilest sinners, whom he could with a word have turned 
into hell. And at last he gave himself for us on the cross, 
in suffering a reproachful, cursed death ; Heb. vii. 27. Tit. 
ii. 14. Ephes. v.2.25. Gal. i.4. And can you read such 
an example of self-denial, given you by the Lord of glory, 
and not be transformed into the image of it ? I think the 
study of a self-denying Christ, is one of the most excellent 
helps to self-denial. Take it from the apostle himself; "Ful- 
fil ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, 


being of one accord, of one mind ; let nothing be done . 
through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let 
each esteem other better than themselves : look not every 
man on his own things, but every man also on the things of 
others. Let this mind be in you, which was ^Iso in Christ 
Jesus ; who being in the form of God, thought it no robbery 
to be equal with God ; but made himself of no reputation, 
and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in 
the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, he 
humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the 
death of the cross : wherefore God also hath highly exalted 
him ;" Phil. ii. 2 — 8. " Look therefore unto Jesus, the Author 
and Finisher of oar Faith, who for the joy that was set before 
him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down 
at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him that 
endured such contradictions of sinners against himself, lest 
ye be wearied and faint in your minds ;" Heb. xii. 2 — 4. 

Direct, 10. But the greatest help to self-denial, is, * To 
retire from the creature unto God, and live in the love of 
him, and employ the soul continually upon him.' Men will 
not be frightened from self-love. It must be another more 
powerful love that must draw them from it ; and that can be 
none but the love of God. When you have soundly dis- 
cerned a surer friend than self, a wiser, a better, an abler 
governor and defender, and one that much more deserveth 
all your love and care ; then you will turn away from self, 
and never till then. See therefore that you espouse no in- 
terest but God's ; and then you will have nothing to call you 
from him. Let love so close you with him, and unite you 
to him, that you may know no happiness but his love and 
glory, and see with no other light than his ; and know no 
will but the will of God ; nor meddle with any work, which, 
for matter and end, you cannot call the work of God. Then 
you have indeed denied yourselves, when you are nothing, 
have nothing, and do nothing, but as from God, and by him 
and for him. Own not any self but in and for God, and 
then you may love and seek it freely ; for this is to be called 
a loving and seeking of God, and not of self. Own not any 
knowledge, but that which is from the light of God, by his 
word, works. Spirit and ordinances, and which leadeth you 
to God in holiness and peace, and guideth you in his ser- 
vice, and then you need not condemn yourselves of self 


conceitedness, or a selfish^ understanding. Know not any 
will in yourselves, but that which is caused by the will of 
Ood, and directed by it, and intended to fulfil it ; so that 
you may be able to say of every desire of your soul, I desire 
this, because that God would have me desire it, and I am 
resolved to follow his will in the seeking of it, and the end 
of my desire is, that I may please him, and his will may be 
done, and then you may say, you have conquered self-will. 
O see then that you be more with God ; and study his mind 
and will, his excellency, sufficiency, and love, and remember 
that you are a dependent being, that are nothing but in and 
by him, and therefore should know no interest but him and 
his interest, nor possess any thing but for him, nor know 
any will or way but his will and way, and so let his be yours, 
and yours be his, by a holy resignation, conformity and sub- 
serviency unto his ; and this is the true rectitude and holi- 
ness of man, this is a finding ourselves by losing ourselves, 
and the only saving and exalting of ourselves, by denying 
ourselves. Nothing but the light of God will master self- 
conceitedness ; and nothing but the love of God will over- 
come self-love ; and nothing but an union and closure with 
the will of God will overcome self-will ; and nothing but an 
espousing and intending God and his interest will cause a 
true denial of carnal self-interest ; and nothing but a seek- 
ing of God, conversing as with him, and living to him will 
cure the soul of self-seeking, and an ungodly and unprofita- 
ble living to ourselves. 

One other Direction I should add, which is to be always 
jealous and suspicious of self; but this will fall in the Con- 


I HAVE now finished what I had to say to you on this great 
and needful subject; and I have staid the longer on it, that 
I might occasion your own thoughts to be the longer on it ; 
for it is not a few hasty running thoughts that will make 
any great impression on the soul. And now Christian 
friends, whoever you are that hear or read these words, 1 
earnestly entreat you in the name of God, that you will set 
your hearts to the deep consideration of the nature and 
odiousness of this sin of selfishness ; and of the nature and 


necessity of self-denial. You will never effectually hate 
and resist the sin which you think lightly of, and is not in 
any great discredit with you ; nor will you fly from it with 
fear, and care, and vigilancy, till you apprehend the dan- 
gerousness of it. I have not only told you, but proved it 
to you; that this is one of the most odious and dangerous 
sins in the world, even the sum of all iniquity, that con- 
taineth a thousand sins in the bowels of it : this is it that 
generateth all other vices, and fills the world with swarms of 
mischief. It is this selfishness that corrupteth all estates, 
and distracteth all societies, and disturbeth all affairs. 
Never look further for the cause of your calamities : it is 
self that causeth the miscarriages and negligence of the 
princes, governors, and magistrates of the world, while they 
look at their own interest, and little at the things of Jesus 
Christ, or at least prefer themselves before him. It is self 
that causeth the disobedience of subjects, while they judge 
themselves capable of censuring their rulers for matters that 
are beyond their reach ; and grudge at all necessary burdens 
for the common good, because they are a little pinched by 
them. It is self that hath kindled the miserable wars that 
are laying waste so many countries, and that makes such 
woful havock in the world. It is self that hath so lamenta- 
bly abused religion, and introduced so many fantastical 
self-conceits under the name of high scholastical subtleties ; 
and that hath let in so many errors in doctrine and worship, 
and defiled God*s ordinances, and corrupted and almost ex- 
tinguished the discipline of Christ in the church. It is self 
that hath caused the leaders of the assemblies, that should 
be exemplary in unity, and holiness, and industry, to be 
some of them idle and negligent, and some of them carnal 
and vicious, and so many of them in discord and fierce op- 
position of one another : so that every man that is grown 
up to a high degree of wisdom in his own eyes, (and such 
degrees are soon attained) is presently venting his own con- 
ceits, and perhaps publishing them to the world, and seek^ 
ing out an adversary to shew his manhood upon, and 
reviling all that are not of his opinion ; as if there were no 
difficulty in the matter, but he is learned and wise, and 
they are all unlearned and ignorant : he is orthodox, and 
they are heretics, or what his pride and self-conceitedness 



is pleased to call them. It is this selfishness that makes? 
even godly ministers the dividers of the church, the reproach 
of their holy calling, the occasion of the increase of triumph 
of the adversaries, and the causes of no small part of all our 
unreformedness, distractions and calamity ; and the refusers 
and resisters of the remedies that are tendered for healing 
and reformation. I dare boldly say, if this one sin were but 
rooted out of the hearts of the ministers themselves that are 
the preachers of self-denial, it vi^ould make so sudden and 
wonderful a change in the church, as would be the glory of 
our profession, the joy of the godly, and the admiration of 
all ! O happy and honourable magistrates at court and 
country, if self were but thoroughly conquered and denied I 
O happy and reverend ministry, the pillars of religion, the 
honour of the church, if it were not for the shameful preva- 
lency of self! O happy churches, happy cities, corporations, 
societies and countries, were it not for self! But alas ! this 
is it that saddeth our hearts, and makes us look Tor more and 
more sad tidings concerning the affairs of the church, from 
all parts of the world ; or frustrates our hopes, when we look 
for better. For we know on the one side, that without self- 
denial, there will never be true reformation or unity ; neither 
sin nor division will ever be overcome ; and on the other 
side, we see that selfishness is so natural, and common, and 
obstinate, that so many men as are born into the world, so 
many enemies are there to holiness and peace, till grace shall 
change them ; and that all endeavours, persuasions, convic- 
tions, do little prevail against this deadly rooted sin : so that 
men will preach against it, and yet most shamefully live in 
it ; and after all rebukes, chastisements and heavy judgments 
of God, the church is still bleeding, and princes, pastors and 
people are self-conceited, self-willed and self-seekers still. 
Alas for the cause and church of Christ ! Must we give it 
up to the lusts of sense ? Must we sit down and look on 
its miserable torn condition, with lamentation and despair? 
land shall we deliver down this despair to our posterity ? 
Were not our hope only in the omnipotent God, it must be 
so. When we look at[men, at magistrates, or ministers, we 
see no hope. What higher professions can be made by those 
in succeeding ages, than have now been made ? And yet 
what negligence of magistrates, and what contentiousness 
of ministers destroy all hopes ! So that we look at the res- 


toration of the church, as at the resurrection, tliat must be 
done by Omnipotency. God must raise up another genera- 
tion of more self-denying, prudent, zealous magistrates, and 
of more self-studying, peaceable, humble, zealous, indus^ 
trious ministers before the healing work will be done. The 
selfish spirit that prevaileth now in the most, is neither fit to 
be the matter or instrument of the reformed, peaceable state 
which we expect. While the enemies are destroying us by 
secret fraud and open force, we stand at a distance and unite 
not against them ; yea, we are calling each other heretics 
and deceivers, and teaching them how to revile us, and 
putting such words into their mouth against usj as may help 
our people to despise us, and reject us, and warrant them 
from our own mouths or pens to rail at us, and forsake us : 
one part of us being heretics or deceivers by the testimony 
of the other part, and the other part by the testimony of too 
many of them. 

Dear brethren. If selfishness shall not now be left, when 
we are in the sight of the havoc it hath made, and stand in 
the field among those that it hath slain, and see the church 
of God so horribly abused by it : when then shall it be for- 
saken? I here entreat every man thatloveth his present or 
everlasting peace, and the peace of the church or common- 
wealth, that he will resolve upon a deadly enmity with this 
selfishness in himself and others ! And that you will sus- 
pect it, and watch against it in every work you have to do. 
Are you upon any employment spiritual or secular ? Pre - 
sently inquire when you set upon it, * Is there no self-interest 
and selfish disposition lurking here ? How far is my own 
worldly, fleshly ends or prosperity concerned in it V And 
if you discover that self is any way concerned in it, I be- 
seech you suspect it, and follow self with an exceeding 
watchful eye ; and when you have done your best, it is ten 
to one but it will overreach you. O look to it that you be 
not ensnared before you are aware. Take heed of it, espe- 
cially you that are gr«at and honourable, and have so much 
self-interest to tempt you in the Xvorld ! How hardly will you 
-escape ! When all other enemies are conquered, you have yet 
self, the greatest enemy to overcome. Take heed of it, you 
that have any rising, thriving project, little know you on 
what a precipice you stand : take heed of it you that are in 
<ieep and pinching wants, lest self make them seem more 


grievous than they are, and provoke you to venture upon sin 
for your relief. Take heed, all you that have raging appe- 
tites or passions, or lustful inclinations, and remember that 
your enemy is now discovered, and you have him to deal with 
before your face ; and therefore see that you be resolute and 
vigilant. Take heed, all you that have learning, parts, or 
fame and honour, or any thing that self hath to^lory in, and 
to abuse, lest the noblest gifts should by this deadly prin- 
ciple be turned into a plague to the church, and to your 
souls. Suspect self in the choice of your parties and 
opinions ; suspect it in your public labours ; yea, and in your 
private duties, and greatest diligence in religious works ; 
lest when your eyes are opened at last, it should appear, that 
you preached, or prayed, or professed or wrote, or lived for 
self, and not for God. I do but transcribe the counsel to 
you, that God is daily giving in to my own soul : and as I 
feel exceeding great use of it to myself, so I am sure there 
is to others ; and woe to me and you if we take it not, and 
be not found among the self-denying. Doubtless God will 
put you to the trial, and find you frequent use for this grace^ 
Let me take the boldness to tell you from my own (though, 
alas, too small) experience, that as it is mere selfishness, that 
is the perplexer and disquieter of the mind, without which 
nothing that befals us could discompose it ; so it is God 
only that quiets it, and gives it rest : and I bless the Lord, 
I can truly say, that I have found that content in loving and 
closing with the will of God, and endeavouring to know no 
interest but his, to disquiet or quiet me, which I never could 
find in any other way. When God is enough for us, and his 
will is in our eyes, the will of a Father infinitely good, it may 
satisfy the soul in the darkest condition ; when we under- 
stand not the particular meaning of his providence, nor what 
he is doing with us, yet still we may be sure that he is doing 
us good ; and therefore a child may not only submit to the 
will of God, because it cannot be resisted, as enemies must 
be forced to do ; but he may rest in that will as the centre 
of his desires, and the very felicity and heaven of his soul. 

And now, sirs, I must let go this subject, as to you that 
have heard it preached ; for we must not be always on one 
thing : but I am exceedingly afraid lest I have lost my la- 
bour with most of you, and shall leave you as selfish as I 
found you ; because sad experience tells me that it is so na- 


tural and obstinate an enemy that I have discovered, and 
that you have now to set yourselves against. I have done 
my vt^ork ; but self hath not done, but is still at work in you. 
I cannot now go home with every one of you, but self will 
go home with you. I cannot be at hand with every one of 
you, when the next temptation comes, but self will be at 
hand to draw you to entertain it. When you are next 
tempted to error, to pride, to lust, to contention with your 
brethren, by words or real injuries, what will you do then, 
and how will you stand against this enemy? If God be not 
your interest, and the dearest to your souls, and you see not 
with his light, and will not by his will, and self-denial be not 
become as it were your nature ; you will never stand after 
all this that I have said, but self will be your undoing for 
ever! If you have not somewhat within you, as selfishness 
is within you, to be always at hand as it is, and ready, and 
constant, and powerful to overcome it, it will be your ruin 
after all the warnings that have been given you. And this 
preserving principle must be the Spirit of God, by causing 
you to deny yourselves ; believe in Christ, and love God 
above all. I say again that you may think on it, and live 
upon it : the sum of all your religion or saving grace is in 
these three. Faith, Self-denial and the Love of God. De- 
parting from carnal self, returning home to God by love, and 
this by faith in the Redeemer, is the true Christianity, and 
the life that leadeth to everlasting life. 



What ! become nothing ! ne'er persuade me to it. 
God made me something : and I'll not undo it. 


Thy something is not thine, but his that gave it ; 
Resign it to him, if thou mean to save it. 


God gave me life : and shall I choose to die 
Before my time ? or pine in misery ? 



God is thy life : if then thou fearest death ; 
Let him be all thy soul, thy pulse and breath. 


What ! must 1 hate myself? when as my brother 
Must love me ? and I may not hate another? 


Loathe what is loathsome ; love God in the rest : 
He truly loves himself, that loves God best. 


Doth God our ease and pleasure to us grudge ? 
Or doth religion make a man a drudge? 


That is thy poison which thou callest pleasure : 

And that thy drudgery which thou count'st thy treasure. 


Who can endure to be thus mewed up ? 
And under laws for every bit and cup ? 


God's cage is better than the wilderness. 
When winter comes^ liberty brings distress. 


Pleasure's man's happiness : the will's not free 
To choose our misery : this cannot be. 


God is man's end : with him are highest joys : 

Sensual pleasures are but dreams and toys. 

Should sin seem sweet? Is satan turn'd thy friend? 

Will not thy sweet prove bitter in the end ? 

Hast thou found sweeter pleasures than God's love ? 

Is a fool's laughter like the joys above ? 

Beauty surpasseth all deceitful paints : 

What's empty mirth to the delights of saints ? 

God would not have thee have less joy, but more: 

And therefore shews thee the eternal store. 


Who can love baseness, poverty and want ? 
And under pining sickness be content ? 



ile that hath laid his treasure up above, ^ • 
And plac'd his portion only in God's love ; 
That waits for glory when his life is done : 
This man will be content with God alone. 


What good will sorrow do us ? Is not mirth 
Fitter to warm a cold heart here on earth ? 
Troubles will come whether we will or no : 
I'll never banish pleasure and choose woe. 


Then choose not sin : touch not forbidden things : 
Taste not the sweet that endless sorrow brings. 
If thou love pleasure, take in God thy fill : 
Look not for lasting joys in doing ill. 


Affliction's bitter: life will soon be done: 
Pleasure shall be my part ere all be gone. 


Prosperity is barren : all men say. 

The soil is best where there's the deepest way. 

Life is for work, and not to spend in play. 

Now sow thy seed : labour while it is day. 

The Huntsman seeks his game in barren plains. 

Dirty land answers best the ploughman's pains. 

Passengers care not, so the way be fair. 

Husbandmen would have the best ground and air. 

First think what's safe and fruitful : there's no pleasure 

Like the beholding of thy chiefest treasure. 


Nature made me a man, and gave me sense : 
Changing of nature is a vain pretence : 
It taught me to love women, honour, ease. 
And every thing that doth my senses please. 


Nature hath made thee rational ; and reason 
Must rule the sense, in ends, degrees and season. 
Reason's the rider, sense is but the horse : 
Which then is fittest to direct thy course ? 
Give up the reins, and thou becom'st a beast; 
Thy fall at death will sadly end thy feast. 



Religion is a dull and heavy thing. 
Whereas a merry cup will make me sing. 
Love's entertainments warm both heart and brain : 
And wind my fancy to the highest strain. 


Cupid hath stuck a feather in thy cap ; 
And luird thee dead asleep on Venus' lap : 
Thy brains are tippled with some wanton's eyes : 
Thy reason is become lust's sacrifice. 
Playing a game at folly, thou hast lost 
Thy wit, and soul, and winnest to thy cost. 
Thy soul now in a filthy channel lies. 
While fancy seems to soar above the skies. 
Beauty will soon be stinking, loathsome earth : 
Sickness and death mar all the wanton's mirth. 
It is not all the pleasure thou can'st find 
Will countervail the sting that's left behind. 
Blind, brutish souls ! that cannot love their God I 
And yet can dote on a defiled clod! 


Why should I think of what will be to-morrow ? 
An 'ounce of mirth is worth a pound of sorrow. 


But where's that mirth when sorrows overtake thee? 
Will it then hold when life and God forsake thee ? 
Forgetting death or hell will not prevent it: 
Now lose thy day, thou'lt then too late repent it. 


Must I be pain'd and wronged, and not feel ^ 
As if my heart were made of fiint or steel? 


Dost thou delight to feel thy hurt and smart? 
Would not an antidote preserve thy heart ? 
Impatience is but self-tormenting folly : 
Patience is cordial, easy, sweet and holy. 
Is not that better which turns grief to peace. 
Than that which doth thy misery increase ? 


When sport, and wine, and beauty do invite. 
Who is it whom such baits will not incite ? 



He that perceives the hook and sees the end. 

Whither it is that fleshly pleasures tend : 

He that by faith hath seen both heav'n and hell. 

And what sin costeth at the last can tell : 

He that hath tried and tasted better things. 

And felt that love from which all pleasure springs. 

They that still watch, and for Christ's coming wait. 

Can turn away from, or despise the bait. 


Must 1 be made the football of disdain ? 
And caird a precise fool or Puritan? 


Remember him that did despise the shame. 
And for thy sake bore undeserved blame : 
Thy journey's of small moment if thou stay 
Because dogs bark, or stones lie in the way. 
If life lay on it, wouldst thou turn again. 
For the winds blowing, or a little rain ? 
Is this thy greatest love to thy dear Lord, 
That canst not for his sake bear a foul word ? 
Wilt thou not bear for him a scorner's breath. 
That underwent for thee a cursed death ? 
Is not heav'n worth the bearing of a flout? 
Then blame not justice when it shuts thee out. 
Will these deriders stand to what they say. 
And own their words at the great dreadful day ? 
Then they'd be glad, when wrath shall overtake them. 
To eat their words, and say they never spake them. 


How ? Forsake all ! Ne'er mention it more to me, 
I'll be of no religion to undo me. 


Is it not thine more in thy Father's hand. 
Than when it is laid out at sin's command? 
And is that sav'd that's spent upon thy lust ? 
Or which must be a prey to thieves or rust? 
And wouldst thou have thy riches in thy way. 
Where thou art passing on, and canst not stay ? 
And is that lost that's sent to heav'n before ? 
Hadst thou not rather have thy friends and store. 


Where thou mayst dwell for ever in the light '] 

Of that long glorious day that fears no night ? 


But who can willingly submit to death. 
Which will bereave us of our life and breath ; 
That lays our flesh to rot in loathsome graves. 
Where brains and eyes were, leaves but ugly caves? 


So nature breaks and casts away the shell. 
Where the now beauteous singing-bird did dwell. 
The secundine that once the infant cloath'd. 
After the birth, is cast away and loath'd. 
Thus roses drop their sweet leaves under-foot ; 
But the spring shews that life was in the root. 
Souls are the roots of bodies : Christ the head 
Is root of both, and will revive the dead. 
Our sun still shineth when with us it's night : 
When he returns, we shall shine in his light. 
Souls that behold, and praise God with the just,^ 
Mourn not because their bodies are but dust. 
Graves are but beds, where flesh till morning sleeps : 
Or chests where God awhile our garments keeps. 
Our folly thinks he spoils them in the keeping ; 
Which causeth our excessive fears and weeping : 
But God, that doth our rising day foresee. 
Pities not rotting flesh so much as we. 
The birth of nature was deform'd by sin : 
The birth of grace did our repair begin : 
The birth of glory at the resurrection 
Finisheth all, and brings both to perfection. 
Why should not fruit when it is mellow, fall? 
Why should we linger here when God doth call ? 


The things and persons in this world I see ; 
But after death, I know not what will be. 


Know'st thou not that which God himself hath spoken? 
Thou hast his promise which was never broken. 
Reason proclaims that noble heav'n-born souls. 
Are made for higher things than worms and moles. 




God has not made such faculties in vain. 

Nor made his service a deluding pain. 

But faith resolves all doubts, and hears the Lord 

Telling us plainly by his holy word. 

That uncloath'd souls shall with their Saviour dwell. 

Triumphing over sin, and death, and hell. 

And by the power of Almighty love. 

Stars shall arise from graves to shine above. 

There we shall see the glorious face of God : 

His blessed presence shall be our abode : 

The face that banisheth all doubts and fears ; 

Shuts out all sins, and drieth up all tears. 

That face which darkeneth the sun's bright rays. 

Shall shine us into everlasting joys. 

Where saints and angels shall make up one choir. 

To praise the Great Jehovah evermore. 


Reason not with me against sight and sense : 
I doubt all this is but a vain pretence. 
Wodds against nature are not worth a rushi 
One bird in hand is worth two in the bush. 
If God will give me heav'n at last, I'll take it: 
But for my pleasure here, I'll not forsake it. 


And wilt thou keep it ? brutish flesh how long ? 
Wilt thou not shortly sing another song? 
When conscience is awakened, keep thy mirth ! 
When sickness and death comes, hold fast this earth : 
Live if thou canst, when God saith come away : 
Try whether all thy friends can cause thy stay. 
Wilt thou tell death and God, thou wilt not die ? 
And wilt thou the consuming fire defy ? 
Art thou not sure to let go what thou hast ? 
And doth not reason bid thee then forecast. 
And value the least hope of endless joys. 
Before known vanities and dying toys ? 
And can the Lord that is most just and wise,. 
Found all man's duty in deceit and lies? 


Get thee behind me satan ; thou dost favour 
The things of flesh, and not his dearest favour. 
Who is my life, and light, and love, and all. 
And so shall be whatever shall befal. 
It is not thou, but I, that must discern. 
And must resolve : It's I that hold the stern: 
Be silent Flesh ; speak not against my God ; 
Or else he'll teach thee better by the rod. 
I am resolved thou shalt live and die, 
A servant, or a conquered enemy. 

Lord, charge not on me what this rebel says, 

That always was against me and thy ways ! 

Now stop its mouth by grace, that shortly must 

Through just but gainful death, be stopt with dust. 

The thoughts and words of Flesh are none of mine. 

Let Flesh say what it will, I will be thine. 

Whatever this rebellious Flesh shall prate. 

Let me but serve thee. Lord, at any rate. 

Use me on earth as seemeth good to thee. 

So I in heaven thy glorious face may see. 

Take down my pride: let me dwell at thy feet: 

The humble are for earth and heav'n most meet. 

Renouncing Flesh, I vow myself to thee. 

With all the talents thou hast lent to me. 

Let me not stick at honour, wealth or blood : 

Let all my days be spent in doing good. 

Let me not trifle out more precious hours ; 

But serve thee now with all my strength and powers. 

If Flesh would tempt me to deny my hand ; 

Lord, these are the resolves to which I stand. 


October 29, 1659. 







I HERE offer to others the same which I have prepared for 
myself, and find necessary for my daily use. All men most 
savour that which they find most suitable to them. When I 
was young and lay under the sad suspicions of my own heart, 
and the doubts of my sound conversion and justification, I 
was far more pleased with a sermon that opened the nature 
of saving grace, and helped me against such doubts, than 
with a sermon of affliction, and its use ; yea, though I be- 
gan to be afflicted. But now this is the subject of my daily 
necessary thoughts : man's implacable enmity maketh them 
somewhat necessary ; but God's more immediate corrections 
on my body, incomparably more. And while every day al- 
most fills my ears with the sad complaints of weak, melan- 
choly, afflicted, impoverished, sick, pained or otherwise dis- 
tressed persons, and the weekly newsbooks tell us of foreign 
wars, persecutions, ruins, implacable contentions, malignant 
combinations against the church, pursuing conscience and 
obedience to God with diabolical rage, to drive it out of the 
world, and of the successesof blood-thirsty men, and deluge 
of atheism, idolatry, Sadduceeism, infidelity, Mahometanism, 
hypocrisy, sensuality, ambition, worldliness, lying, perjury, 
malignity and gross ignorance which hath even drowned the 
earth, while there is little but doleful tidings, complaints 
and fears from kingdoms, churches, cities, families, and God 
in judgment permitteth mankind to be worse than serpents, 
toads or wolves, if not than devils, to one another ; and while 
wit and learning, reverend error and hypocrisy, are every 
day as hotly at work, as any smith in his flaming forge, to 
blow the coals of bloody malice ; and hating and destroying 
• others, even those whom they pretend to love as themselves, 
seemeth to multitudes the most honourable and necessary 
work, and the killing of love, and of souls and bodies, is 


taken for meritorious of everlasting happiness : I say, while 
all this is so in the world, and while all flesh must look for 
pain, sickness and death, and all men are yet worse to them- 
selves, and greater burdens than all their enemies are, I can- 
not think a Treatise of Patience needless or unseasonable. 




What true Patience is, and is not, towards God and man. How 
we possess our Souls in Patience, What Impatience is worst ? 
Wherein lieth the Sinfulness of Impatience towards God. 

Sect. 1. To what I have said for Patience from the sufferings 
of Christ, in another book for my own use, my condition 
calleth me to add some more, especially on the considera- 
tion of these texts of Scripture : " Though he were a Son, 
yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered ;" 
Heb. V. 8, 9. " In your patience possess ye your souls ;" 
Luke xxi. 19. Heb. xii. 1 — 14, Rom. v. 3, 4. xv. 4, 5. 
*' Ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the 
will of God, ye may inherit the promise;" Heb. x. 36. 
" Let patience have her perfect work ;" James i. 3, 4. v. 7 — 12. 
lPet.ii.l9— 25. iii.9. Matt.v.lO— 12. 1 Pet.iv.l2— 19. 
*' Let them that suffer according to the will of God commit 
the keeping of their souls to him in well-doing, as to a faith- 
ful Creator ;" Heb. vi. 15. 

Sect. 2. What is Patience, 1. Towards God. 2. To- 
wards man. 

1. Patience considered only physically, as mere suffer- 
ing, is no virtue or moral good. Devils, and malefactors, 
and all men must suffer whether they will or not. 2. Stu- 
pidity, or natural dulness is not patience. 3. Nor to bear 
the loss of any mercy because we undervalue it, as bad men 
can easily bear the loss of God's grace, and all the means 
thereto. 4. Nor is it patience, but selfishness, and want of 
love, in those that easily bear the loss or sufferings of 
friends, (yea, and of the church or commonwealth) so they 
be but well themselves, because they care not much for any 
but themselves. 5. Much less is it patience, desperately to 
despise and dare God's judgments, like men that are mad or 
drunk, and take it to be valour to defy the gallows. 6. And 

VOL, XI. c c 


it is not holy patience when men restrain their passions, 
only lest they thereby afflict themselves, and not in obedi- 
ence to God. 7. Nor when it is but the sufficiency of the 
worldly prosperity which yet is left, which maketh them 
bear some diminution. He that hath still enough to gratify 
his flesh, may bear the loss of that which it can spare, yea, 
though it a little pinch him. 8. Yea, if a man be in great- 
est want, or pain and misery, and bear it quietly only be- 
cause he hopeth for deliverance in this world, it is but pru- 
dent forbearance of self-afflicting, and not the obedient pa- 
tience of faith. 9. Yea, a presumptuous, false hope of hea- 
ven itself, and of God's approbation of some bad cause for 
which men suffer, may somewhat alleviate the sufferings of 
ungodly men. Some poor men, and sick men think that 
they shall be saved from sufferings hereafter, merely because 
they have their sufferings in this life ; as if affliction without 
holiness would serve. And many an erroneous person hath 
suffered the more easily for ill-doing, by thinking that it was 
martyrdom for the cause of God. Clement, Ravilliac, Guy 
Faux, Garnet, and many such murderers, Knipperdolling, 
and others at Munster, endured much by such presumption. 
Sect. 3. But true patience is, when both body and mind, 
having a natural and due sense of the suffering, we yet res- 
train inordinate passion, (grief, fear and anger,) and their ill 
effects, especially repining thoughts or words of God, and 
use no sinful means for our deliverance ; but still acknow- 
ledge the sovereignty, justice, wisdom and love of God, and 
obediently do submit our wills to God's, and approve and 
love his holiness and justice, though we love not suffering 
itself, and comfortably hope for a happy issue, even amend- 
ment and increase of holiness here, and heaven hereafter, 
where all our sufferings will end in everlasting joy. This is 

Sect. 4. Patience towards men, is not, 1. To take hurt 
or wrong for none. 

2. Nor to be indifferent towards men's sins, as if they were 
a small and tolerable evil : nor to let them alone in the way 
to hell, and make our pretence of patience and quietness, an 
excuse for unbelief, and unmercifulness to souls ; especially^ 
when they are public or common sins, which are defender 
as well as committed by men pretending to learning am 
piety, endangering the church or land, either by their in- 



crease, or by exposing us to the plagues of God. In this 
case, (though sober wisdom must be used) it is sinful cruelty 
to pretend patience, charity, or reverence to men, for the 
omission of such duty as is needful to reformation and de- 
liverance ; yea, to speak easily of heinous sin, as Eli did to 
his sons, on pretence of gentleness or patience, is but to 
tempt men to impenitence and damnation. 

3. Nor is it patience, but contempt of God, for magis- 
trates, parents, or masters, to forbear necessary justice and 
correction, towards intolerable sin : or for pastors to forbear 
necessary reproof or discipline, to the corrupting or endan- 
gering of the church. 

4. It is not just and moderate passion that is sinful im- 
patience. Fear is necessary for self-preservation : Christ 
was heard in the thing that he feared. Anger is necessary 
to shew our displacency at sin, and to repel evil : Christ 
looked with anger on obstinate sinners ; and God is said to 
be angry every day, and his wrath doth kindle the flames of 
hell. Grief, if moderate, is but the necessary sense of evil, 
by which we difference it from good. God made our pas- 
sions for our good, and the right use of them is our duty. 

5. Lawful and necessary defence of our innocency, our 
reputation, our lives, our liberties, our country, is not sinful 
impatiency, any more than to defend the reputation, estates, 
or lives of others, whom we must love but as ourselves. Sel- 
»fish malefactors, persecutors, destroyers, reproved sinners, 
are wont to call them impatient, who let them not sin, slan- 
der, destroy and domineer without contradiction ; yea, that 
praise not the plagues of the world and their destroyers. 
Christ is so accused for his words, of Herod and the Pharisees. 

Sect. 5. But patience towards men hath all these proper- 
ties. 1. It maketh not suffering, or a waong seem greater 
than indeed it is. Impatience maketh a tolerable pain or 
injury to seem intolerable : a toothach seems as the break- 
ing of the bones : a man seems undone if he lose but his 
.house, or his land, or friend : a threatening of men is a fright- 
ful thing: martyrdom is more feared than hell. To be im- 
iprisoned, or robbed, or persecuted, or falsely accused, to be 
Lccounted wicked, and guilty, where we are innocent, seem 
ill insufferable evils to the impatient ; which a patient man 
iaaaketh not half so great a matter of. To be cast down from 
honour or preferment; yea, to miss of his aspiring hopes, 


and have another set up before him, is a great and vexatious 
thing to the ambitious. To have a man's opinion slighted, 
contradicted and confuted, his understanding vilified, his 
worth and parts disgraced, his will opposed, yea, to be but 
mocked or scorned, seemeth a very troublesome injury to the 
proud, which patient men would easily endure. Much of the 
wickedness and vanities in the world, come from men's im- 
patientj overgreat sensibility of their cross. The thief ven- 
tureth on the gallows and hell, because he cannot bear his 
wants. The fornicator, drunkard, and all the voluptuous, 
venture on everlasting misery, because they cannot bear the 
denying or displeasing of their fleshly appetite and lust. 
The great tyrants of the earth, depopulate countries, raise 
needless waTs, and fill the world with hellish wickedness, 
blood and misery, and their consciences with the most hei- 
nous guilt, because they cannot bear an equal, or a seeming 
slight or wrong, or to see other princes greater than they, or 
to be confined to moderate dominion (though large enough, 
considering their account to Ood). Murders are committed 
by the proud and impatient, because they cannot bear an in- 
jury or affront. Yea, sacred church-tyrants rack and tear 
Christ's church, by their needless impositions, and stick not 
at the most cruel persecutions and ruinings of men better 
than themselves, because they cannot, bear that religion 
which is not subject to their wills, or to see any teach the 
flocks in any points, against their opinions ; or worship God 
but in their words, or in obedience to their pleasure : much 
less to have any that differ from them, to be esteemed and 
preferred before them. As Nebuchadnezzar, by his idol, 
(Dan. iii.) they cannot endure any that bow not to their idol 
Will. A fiery furnace seems not too hot for them, they can 
better bear the most profane and filthy sinner, who hateth 
godliness and God, than the wisest and best that will not] 
honour and obey them. The sight of Mordecai depriveth 
Haman of all the pleasure of his power and wealth. 

2. Patience towards men doth not blind and pervert our 
judgment, to think that things and persons are other than 
indeed they are, or that the cause is worse or better than it 
is. It leaveth the judgment impartial, and quiet, and sedate 
to right considerations and conclusions. Impatience seldom 
useth a true balance. To a passionate man or enemy, all 
that their adversaries say or do, doth seem injurious or bad. 


A Dissenter from the oracle of pride and dominion, seemeth 
a fool, or knave, or a schismatic, if not unworthy to live as a 
man, at liberty on the earth. All the undeniable good that 
appeareth in them goeth but for hypocrisy. Yea, if God say, 
that disobedience is to him as the sin of witchcraft, and re- 
bellion against him as idolatry, a papal spirit dares plead it 
for itself, as if it were as bad as witchcraft to obey God be- 
fore him, and such as he, or as bad as idolatry, not to rebel 
against God's laws, if such command it. Yea, if all others 
will not join with him in the false accusation, and defy Chris- 
tian love as much as he ; but will speak for the innocent, 
and gainsay such unjust aggravations, he is not able to en- 
dure their charity, but accuseth such as defenders of those, 
whom his pride and impatience hath feigned to be criminal 
and intolerable. 

3. Patience stops the injuries of men that they go no 
further than man can reach. If men's scorns and slanders 
come to our ears, patience stops them from coming to the 
heart. If men take away our estates, patience hinders them 
from taking away our peace and comfort. If men lay us in a 
prison or a dungeon, patience disableth them to keep out our 
heavenly light and consolation. If men despise us, slight 
us, cross our opinions or wills, patience doth not suffer this 
to vex us, or cast us into malicious discontent. But impa- 
tience openeth the door of the heart to every cross, or in- 
jury, or displeasure : and when men can but touch our 
outside or accidents, impatience doth more, and wounds the 
soul. It tormenteth a man at the heart, because another 
hurts his flesh, or less than that, his goods, or name, or some 
superfluity, which even the flesh might spare. 

4. Patience keepeth men from revenge, and all desires 
of it : it hath no tendency to do hurt. Yea, it forgiveth in- 
juries, and desireth God (on his just terms) to forgtve them. 
Yea, it is still joined with a true desire of the good of those 
that do us wrong, and with just and prudent endeavours of 
their welfaie. Malchus's ear is healed by Christ, who prayed 
for his enemies, as he taught Stephen and all his followers 
to do. It is true, we cannot forgive the sin, as it is against 
God, nor the future punishment ; but we may pray to God 
to give men repentance and forgiveness. But impatience is 
a hurtful and revengeful disposition ; it thirsteth after it ; 


it delighteth in it, and rejoiceth to hear of an adversary's 

6. Patience will keep a man from seeking his own de- 
fence and right, not only by unjust means,, but by means 
otherwise lawful, when it is like to do more hurt to others, 
than good to him ; if it be like to hurt the soul of an enemy 
by hindering his conversion to a Christian life, it is not our 
defended outward estate that will compensate such a hurt 
and loss. This is the sense of Christ'^s command, of giving 
our garment to him that sueth us at law, and of turning the 
other cheek to him that striketh us ; Matt. v. That is, pa- 
tience must submit to tolerable injuries, rather than by im- 
patience to strive by violence and self-defence, when it will 
but exasperate another, whose soul is precious, and whom 
we must love as ourselves ; yea, we must not fly to the law 
or magistrate to defend a right which we can spare, when pa- 
tience and submission will do more good to him that wrongs 
us, or to others, than the vindication of our right will do to 
us or them. But the meaning is not, that intolerable injury 
may not be opposed, nor the commonwealth have the preser- 
vation of the law, and that thieves or murderers be tolerated ; 
nor that all covetous, malicious,, oppressing men should be 
encouraged to injure others, by knowing that they will never 
seek their right. It is more for order and common good, 
than for ourselves, that wrongs must be resisted. 

Sect, 6. By what hath been said, we may understand what 
it is in " patience to possess our souls." 1 . A man loseth him- 
self or soul, when he lets in the enemy or evil into it, that 
before was but without the doors. His soul must be gari- 
soned with patience, against sufferings, which are more grie- 
vous at the heart, than in the outward accidents or the skin. 
The spirit of a man, if sound, will bear his outward infirmi- 
ties, but a wounded spirit who can bear ? Patience in true 
believers, and waiting hopefully on God, doth keep the ga- 
rison of the heart, when the outworks, our estates, our re- 
putations, our friends, our health, are taken from us. For, 1. 
It keeps the soul against self-afflicting. 2. Against temp- 
tations to sin by any unlawful means. 3. Against back- 
sliding by forsaking duty, and not continuing in the use of 
the appointed means. 4. Against sinful doubts, that God 
forsaketh us, or intends our hurt. It keeps up the peace and 
comfort of the afflicted, which is our strength. 5. And by 


all this it helpeth to secure our salvation. 6. And so far as 
outward deliverance or ease, or safety is good for us, it is the 
likeliest way to have it ; " Blessed are the meek, for they 
shall inherit the earth." Patient enduring and turning the 
other cheek, doth shame afflicters, and sooner make them 
forbear us, than impatient violence and self-defence. He 
that resisteth, stirs up the wrath of his afflicter ; when he 
that blesseth him, and doth him good, and really manifest- 
eth love to him, doth heap coals of fire on his head. He that 
cannot bear one blow, is like to bear two : and he that can- 
not bear a lesser abuse, shall bear a greater. " Be patient, 
brethren, and establish yourhearts, the Judge is at the door, 
and the coming of the Lord draws nigh ;" James iv. 8, 9. 

But this is not a rule for government, nor to whole king- 
doms, as if they must forbear a necessary self-defence against 
destroying enemies ; but for private men whose self-defence 
would hurt the common good. 

Sect, 7. But is all impatience equally sinful? No ; here 
the difference is very great. 

L Impatience towards men is a lesser sin, than against 
God. Man is a worm, and may do wrong, and deserve an- 
ger and accusation ; but against God there is no pretence 
for this. 

2. Impatience towards men that deserve anger, and which 
doth exceed only in degree, is not so bad, as to be angry 
without just cause. Anger is ofttimes a duty, as it is a dis- 
pleasedness at any evil, and a just repelling of it. 

3. Anger, which desireth not another's pain, further than 
just correction is necessary to his or other's good, is not so 
bad as that which tendeth to hurtfulness and revenge. 

4. Anger which is short (though too much) and is laid by 
when it hath done its duty against evil, is not so bad as that 
which continueth, and is turned into malice, and cannot for- 
give. '* Let not the sun go down upon thy wrath." 

5. Impatience, which breaks forth into sinful words, (as 
cursing, swearing, railing, &c.) is far worse than that which 
doth not. 

6. Impatience, which is but such necessitated sense or 
passion, as is the effect of natural bodily infirmity, is no sin 
at all, farther than sin did bring that infirmity ; as some 
children cannot choose but cry ; some women cannot choose 
but be afraid at sudden frightening occasions. One may 


make the stoutest man sometimes to start. Sick people, and 
aged, feeble persons are naturally less patient with matters 
about them, than strong and healthful men. Some consti- 
tutions, especially women, can no more avoid some hurtful 
fear, grief, trouble of mind and anger, than a man in an ague 
can forbear to shake : especially melancholy and hysterical 
persons. And God condemns not persons for being sick or 
weak, infants or aged. The will hath but a political and not 
a despotic power over many passions, as it hath over the 
tongue and hand. 

7. Impatience which infecteth not the j udgment and will, 
but only consists in troublesome passion, is far less sinful 
than that which doth. When it blindeth and perverteth a 
man's judgment, especially in great points, to think ill of 
godliness or duty, or to accuse God, or distrust his promises, 
or when it corrupteth the will, and love, and desire, and 
turneth it from God or any good, this is the damning sort of 
passion. So that passion of lust and pleasure, in sensual 
youths, in drunkards, fornicators, gamesters, turneth their 
hearts to sin from the love of holiness. It becomes deadly 
wickedness when it captivateth the judgment and the will : 
and so when it vitiateth a man's conversation, and carrieth 
him against conscience and reason to iniquity. When hy- 
pocrites cannot suffer for righteousness, nor endure contempt 
and poverty in the world, they will force their judgments to 
believe that such suffering is not necessary, and that it is 
lawful to do that which will deliver them, much more if it 
tend to their wealth, honour and preferment. When sen- 
sual men cannot bear a holy, sober, temperate life, they can 
make themselves believe that it is unnecessary. This is the 
damnable sort of impatience. 

8. Some excess of impatience in the cause of God, is 
more excusable than when it is in our own cause. Zeal is 
a passion, but a great duty. Phinehas seemed to have been 
irregular in his zeal, but his justice was imputed to him for 
righteousness, and on it God staid the plague. Had not 
Jehu's zeal been so much for himself, though it seemed cruel, 
God would have excused it. Christ scourged the merchants 
out of the temple, and the disciples remembered, "the zeal 
of thy house hath eaten me up." God speweth the lukewarm 
Laodiceans out of his mouth. Indeed it is an aggravation 
of the sin, to father on God a censorious, persecuting, en- 


vious, dividing, hurtful zeal ; but when it is but some excess 
of passion or impatience with sin, and maketh a man but too 
eager in doing good, and not to hurt or injure any, the fault 
is small. 

9. There is some passion that may be too much, and yet 
doth but drive a man to God and to his duty. Some excess 
of fear and sorrow may make a man pray harder, and fly from 
temptation and from sin the more, and live more watchfully, 
and value the mercy of God more thankfully ; but there is 
impatience which quite unfitteth men for their duty to God 
and man. When an impatient, froward heart maketh one 
unmeet for prayer, or meditation, or any holy and comfor- 
table thought of God, and unable to rule their sinful thoughts, 
and unfit to converse with their families and relations with 
any kindness, fruitfulness or peace, this is a very sinful pas- 
sion. When an impatient heart doth live in discontent with 
God's provision and disposal, and falleth melancholy by that 
discontent, and giveth satan advantage thereby to delude 
their imaginations, and hurry them into desperate tempta- 
tions, and sometimes to go mad, and sometimes to make away 
themselves, or at least to be unthankful for all God's mercies, 
this is a very bad impatience. 

10. A passion towards men about small matters, which 
is but a sudden displacency (as anger at a provoking word 
or accident, which soon passeth away), is a small matter if 
it should be causeless, in comparison of a profane impatience 
with men's duty. When men cannot bear a plain reproof, 
nor a searching book or sermon, nor holy discourse, nor a 
godly life ; when they think all too much, or prayer, or 
preaching still too long, and can endure many hours more 
easily at a play, or in a tavern, or common and vain talk, or 
worldly business, than one hour in spiritual employment ; 
when they bear more easily with a swearer, a jester, an ig- 
norant, carnal, worldly companion, than with one that se- 
riously discourseth of death and judgment, and the world to 
come, this is a malignant sort of impatience. 

In a word, bad men are incompetent judges of patience 
and impatience. They take that man for a peevish, impa- 
tient person, who is angry with their sin, and giveth them 
necessary reproof, or is not as cold as Eli to sinful children 
or servants, or is of a quick and eager temper, or sheweth 
but half that zeal and fervency in holy things, which the na- 


lure and weight of the matter doth require : and they will 
praise that man as a mild and patient person, who is sense- 
less of the greatest things which should affect him, and will 
quietly let men sin and perish, and suffer them to be as bad 
as they will, and never speak sharply or disgracefully of their 
sin, nor cross and contradict them in the most dangerous 
error, much less correct inferiors for doing evil, but be in- 
different in every cause of God, and live like a man asleep, 
or dead, when sin should be resisted, or duty done. 

11. That impatience is worst which sets men upon un- 
lawful means of deliverance : as lying, stealing, defrauding, 
unlawful ways and trades of getting, pleasing men by sin ; 
yea, miserable witches make compacts with the devil, and 
some go to real or feigned conjurers to obtain their wills, in 
their impatience. But that is a less sin which ventureth on 
no forbidden remedy. 

12. That impatience is the worst, which is justified, and 
not repented of; when men say, as Jonah did, " I do well to 
be angry ;" and that deliberately, when the passion should 
be over. And that is less, (and more pardonable,) which is 
confessed and lamented, and which we sincerely pray and 
watch against, and fain would be delivered from. 

Sect. 8. Quest. Wherein lieth the sinfulness of impatience 
towards God, or under his hand, when men are his instru* 
ments, or permitted by him to afflict us, or in any other trial 
which is of God ? 

If we see not the evil of it, we shall not be diligent to 
avoid it. Too many take it rather for a suffering than a sin. 

Answ. 1. Impatience towards God doth signify answer- 
able unbelief.- Did we believe his promises, that " all shall 
work together for our good," and of all the benefit that we 
may get by patient suffering, it would do much to pacify the 
soul. But we are discontented at his usage, because we 
cannot trust him. 

2. Yea, this sort of impatience implieth some degree of 
atheism or blasphemy : for it implieth some murmuring 
against God's providence, and that implieth some accusation 
of God ; and all accusation of God implieth an answerable 
degree of blasphemy, and consequently denieth God to be 
God. For if he be blameworthy in any thing, he is not ab- 
solutely perfect : and if he be not perfect, he is not God. 

3. Impatience signifieth strong self-willedness ; when 


self-will is men's idol, it usurpeth God's prerogative ; and 
when it should follow his will by obedient submission, it sets 
up itself, and must needs be fulfilled, and cannot endure to 
be crossed ; as if we were gods, that must have the disposal 
of all that shall befal us, and nothing must be otherwise than 
we would have it. Self-will is the great idol of the world. 

4 Impatience signifieth an answerable degree of ovei- 
loving the flesh and world, which also is a kind of idolatry : 
were it predominant, it were mortal ; ** For to be carnally 
minded is death, and if any man (so) love the world, the lore 
of the Father is not in him.'' Follow any impatience up to 
the spring, and you will find that it all cometh from this car- 
nal, worldly-creature, love. If we did not over-love our ease, 
our lives, our reputation, our provision and estates, our chil- 
dren or friends, or any earthly thing, we could patiently bear 
all our losses of them. 

5. Impatience sheweth that we are answerably wanting 
in our esteem of Christ, and grace, and glory, and that we 
live not as we ought on the hopes of heaven. If we did, 
God and our Saviour would be enough for us. Our heavenly 
treasure being safe, would more satisfy us. Great men can 
bear easily the loss of a penny or a pin : the things of the 
flesh are less in comparison of Christ and heaven, than a pin 
is to a lordship. Sense would do less to trouble us, if we 
lived by faith. 

6. Impatience sheweth that we are too unthankful to God 
for all his mercies. A true Christian never loseth the tenth 
part so much as he possesseth. When he loseth health, and 
wealth, and friends, he loseth not his God or Saviour, nor 
his right to everlasting life. Yea, when God taketh away 
one or two of his temporal gifts, he leaveth us more than he 
taketh away. And what unthankfulness is it to forget all 
that we have received, and possess and hope for, because that 
something is taken from us ? Yea, if God take away our 
health or wealth at last, should all the years that we unwor- 
thily possessed them, be unthankfully forgotten? 

7. Impatience sheweth that we are too much unhumbled 
for our sins, and too insensible how ill we deserve of God. 
He that deserveth the gallows and is pardoned, should not 
be impatient of a short imprisonment, and to pay the jailor's 
fees. Can we believe that our sins are so many as we cus- 
tomarily confess them, and that we deserve hell-fire, and yet 


impatiently repine at disgrace or injuries from men, or at the 
loss of goods, or health, or friends ? This betrayeth an un- 
humbled and unmortified soul (in such a degree), how hum- 
ble soever men's words and confessions are. 

8. Impatience sheweth that we do not well understand 
ourselves, or the providence of God. We neither understand 
well our disease, nor the meaning of our physician. Did we 
know what a worldly heart is, or a hard heart, or a heart that 
hath not by repentance got out the core of sin, and how use- 

'ful affliction is to heal all these diseases, we should not be 
impatient of the sharpest cure. 

9. Impatience sheweth that we have not such a love of 
holiness as we ought to have : else we should think no afflic- 
tions too dear a means to procure the increase of it. When 
God telleth us that he chasteneth us to make us partakers 
of holiness, and that it may bring forth the quiet fruit of 
righteousness ; and that it may be good for us that we are 
afflicted, by reducing us by repentance from our wandering 
folly, and worldly vanity and deceit. - A due esteem of so 
great a benefit would make us take affliction for a gain. At 
our true conversion we do in heart, resolution and vow, sell 
all for the precious pearl, forsake all for Christ, and grace, 
and glory. And should we not forsake that which affliction 
takes from us, for the same use, if we be really of the mind 
that we profess ? A little grace is better than all that is taken 
from us. 

10. Impatience, when it is great and tormenting, is a de- 
gree of likeness to hell itself. Hell is a state of sin torment- 
ing the sinner (God justly deserting and afflicting such). 
Their own wickedness continually teareth and vexeth them, 
and depriveth them of all sense of God's love and mercy, 
which might ease them. And what a resemblance of this 
hath the impatient soul ; which continually vexeth itself with, 
its own self-will, and fleshly mind, and worldly desires, which 
are all unsatisfied, and hath no mortification, obedient sub- 
mission, faith, or hope to relieve and ease it, but is night and 
day a self-tormenter ! 

Such use to say, 'We cannot help it : our thoughts and 
passions are not in our power : we cannot choose but be 
continually troubled with discontent, and anger, and grief, 
and fear.' 

1 1. Answ, This sheweth a further evil in your passion. 


viz. That you are over-brutish, and that reason itself is de- 
throned, and hath lost its due government of sense and pas- 
sion. When a man can give you great and undeniable rea- 
sons enough, against all your discontents, and yet they are 
impotent and cannot prevail. God gave you reason to bear 
rule over passion, and he hath furnished you with arguments 
which should easily suffice. If your reason be enslaved, and 
faith turned out of doors, and passion rule, whence came this 
but by your own wilful sin ? You say, * You are not able to 
bear what you complain of.' Why, then you shall bear more, 
God will make you [able to bear more, whether you will or 
not, if you cannot obediently bear his trials. 


Arguments and Helps for Patient and Obedient Sufferings in 
particular Instances, 

Having thus far considered patience and impatience in the 
general, it will be useful to apply some special remedies t» 
many particular cases : And first, I will name the several 
cases, which I mean to speak to : and they are 

I. God's afflicting hand upon our flesh, in pains and 

II. The sentence of death. 

III. Loss of goods and estate, and suffering poverty 
and want. 

IV. The sickness and death of friends. 

V. Unfaithfulness of friends. 

VI. Persecution by wicked men aiid enemies. 

VII. Dishonour and loss of reputation, even to scorn. 

VIII. The unrighteousness of rulers, and the wrath of 
powerful men. 

IX. The treachery and abuse of servants, and hearers, 
and other inferiors. 

X. Great and strong temptations of satan, &c. 

XI. Trouble of conscience, and doubts of pardon and 

XII. To lose the preaching of the Gospel, and other or- 
dinary means of grace. 


XIII. When God seemeth to deny our prayers, and not 
to bless his word and mercies to us. 

XIV. When all our duties .and lawful endeavours seem 
frustrated by God. 

XV. The great weakness of our faith, hope, love, and 
other graces. 

XVI. The misery of the unconverted world, which lieth 
in ignorance and wickedness. 

XVII. The great weakness, scandals, and divisions of 
Christians : the great and manifold troubles of the church. 

XVIII. The triumphs of sin and wickedness. 

XIX. Public and national sins, plagues and miseries, 
especially by war. 

XX. The uncertainty of deliverance here, and the few- 
ness of those that shall be saved at last, and the delay of 
our salvation. Each of these require some special helps 
for patience, besides the common helps. 


In Pain and Sicknesses of Body : Particular Helps, 
Of the first of these 1 have spoken already in the *' Medi- 
jtations on Christ's Sufferings," and oft elsewhere. I shall 
now briefly add, 

1. Sinful souls ! Look back upon the folly, which was 
the cause of all thy pains. As Adam and Eve's sin brought 
sufferings into the world, upon our natures, so my own sin 
is the cause of my own particular suffering. A sinful pleas- 
ing of my appetite with raw apples, pears, and plums, 
when I was young, did lay the foundation of all my incura- 
ble diseases ; and my many offences have since deserved 
God's chastisements! While conscience so justly accuseth 
thyself, dare not to mutter discontents and accusations 
against God. *' I will bear the indignation of the Lord, be- 
cause I have sinned against him." My pain is to me as the 
distress of Joseph's brethren was to them : "We were verily 
guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish 
of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear: 
therefore is this distress come upon us;" Gen. xlii, 21. 
" What shall we say unto my Lord ! What shall we speak, 
or how shall we clear ourselves ! God hath found out the 
iniquity of thy servants." Gen. xliv. 16. So may I say: 
How oft hath God checked my vain and wandering imagina- 


tions, and carnal thoughts, and I did not sufficiently re- 
gard him ; and if God find out my sin, and my sin find out 
me, why should I blame any but myself and sin ? 

2. I can see the necessity of justice towards others ; 
and why should I not see it towards myself ? What is a 
kingdom without it, but a wilderness of wild beasts, or a 
land of Tories ? What is a school without it, but a master- 
less house of rebellious folly? What is a family without it, 
but a pernicious equalling good and bad. If God made no 
laws to rule mankind, he were not their moral governor, but 
only a cause of physical motion : if he made no laws, then 
there are no laws in the world but man's ; and then there is 
no sin against God, and law-makers themselves are lawless, 
and can do nothing for which they need to fear the dis- 
pleasure of God. But if God have made laws, and will not 
by execution correct disobedience, his laws are contempti- 
ble, and no laws, because no rules of judgment. And should 
I alone expect to be free from Fatherly justice, and that my 
sin should have no correction and rebukes? 

3. It is but the same vile flesh that suffers, which must 
shortly rot and turn to earth, and if I can submit to that, 
why should I not submit to present pain ? 

4. As sin made its entrance by the senses into the soul, 
God wisely driveth it out the same way, and maketh the 
same passage the entrance of repentance. It is pleasure 
that tempteth and destroyeth the sinner. It is smart and 
sorrow which contradicteth that deceitful pleasure, and 
powerfully undeceiveth brutish sinners. And when repen- 
tance is necessary to pardon and salvation, and if it be not 
deep, and true, and effectual, it will not serve : why should 
I be impatient with so suitable a remedy and help, as my 
bodily pains and weakness are. Had I been in this pain 
when I was tempted to any youthful folly, how easily should 
I have resisted the temptations which overcame me. 

5. The great benefit that I have found in former afflic- 
tions, assureth me that they came from Fatherly love ; yea, 
have been so merciful a work of Providence, as I can never 
be sufficiently thankful for : What have they done but keep 
me awake, and call me to repentance, and to improve my 
short and precious time, and to bid me work while it is 
day ? What have they done but keep me from covetousness, 
pride, and idleness, and tell me where I must place all mjj^ 


hope, and how little the world, and all its vanities do sig- 
nify ? And shall I think that the same God, who intended 
me good by all the rest of the afflictions of my life, doth 
now intend my hurt at last? Experience condemneth ray 

6. As deliverances have eased many a pain already, and 
turned all into thankfulness to God, so heaven will quickly 
end the rest, and turn all into greater thanks and joy. And 
can I be impatient if I firmly believe so good an end of all? 

7. What! did Christ suffer for my sin, and shall not I 
patiently bear a gentle rod ? 

8. What do the brutes that never sinned, endure by man, 
and for his sins ? They labour, they are beaten, and hurt, 
and killed for us, and eaten by us. What then do sinners 
deserve of God ? 

9. How much sorer punishment in hell hath God for- 
given me, through Christ? and how much sorer must the 
unpardoned endure for ever ? And cannot I bear these re- 
bukes for pardoned sin, when they are intended to prevent 
far worse ? 

10. How do I forsake all, and how could I suffer mar- 
tyrdom for Christ, if I cannot bear his own chastisement ? 
Are these sharper than the flames ? 

11. God hath from my youth been training me up in the 
school of affliction, and calling on me, and teaching me to 
prepare for suffering, and am I yet unprepared? 

12. Impatience is no remedy, but a great addition to my 
suffering ; both by adding to my sin, and by a foolish vexa- 
tion of myself. If God afflict my body, shall I therefore 
foolishly vex my soul? 

Lord ! all these reasons do convince me of my interest 
and duty : I am fully satisfied of thy dominion, wisdom, and 
perfect goodness, and that all that thou doest is well done,, 
and should not be accused. I am fully satisfied, that I 
ought with an obedient will to accept of this chastisement, 
and not to murmur against thy hand. But the grace and 
strength to do this must come all from thee. O strengthen 
thy servant that he faint not, nor lay by his faith and hope, 
or sin against thee. 

Quest, * But is there no means but such reasoning with 
ourselves to be used, to help us to be obedient in our sick- 
nesses and pains V 


Answ. What means but intellectual can be fit to quiet 
souls ? Opiate medicines, that quiet the body, cannot 
cause the submission of the mind. But 1. Preparatorily, it 
is of great advantage not to use the body too tenderly in 
our health : pamper it not, and use it not with too great in- 
dulgence, as to its appetite, ease and pleasure. Be as care- 
ful of its health as you can, but not of its sensual desLrea. 
As they that fondly indulge their children, and let them 
have what they will in health, cannot rule them in sickness; 
&o it is with our bodies; use them to temperance and sea- 
sonable fasting, and daily labour, and a diet and garb 
not over-pleasant: as Paul teacheth Timothy, "Endure 
hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ;" 2 Tim. ii. 3. 
They that live in sensual pleasure, are dead while they live. 
'Riey that must have sport, and meat, and drink, and ease, 
because the flesh desireth it, and must take nothing that 
appetite, or sloth, or fancy is against, do cherish the flesh 
in such a state of self-pleasing, as will hardly be brought to 
patient sufl'ering. 

2. Read the sufferings of Christ with due consideration. 

3. Read oft the histories of the martyrs' sufferings. 

4. Go oft to the hospitals, or sick that lie in pain, that 
you may see what is to be expected. 

5. Look on the graves, and bones, and dust, and you 
will perceive, that it is no wonder if such an end must have 
a painful way. 

6. Get deep repentance for sin, and holy self-displea- 
sure and revenge will make you consent to God's cor- 

7. Get but a sense of the danger of prosperity and 
bodily delights, and ease, and how many millions are 
tempted by it, into the broad way of damnation, and what 
those poor souls must suffer for ever, and you will the easier 
bear your pains ; and choose to be Lazarus, rather than 
Dives, and a Job rather than a N^ro. 

6. But there is no effectual cure till faith and hope, 
have such fast apprehensions of the glory, where all your 
pains will end, as may teach you to take them but as physic 
for your everlasting health. Therefore prayer for grace, 
depending on Christ, obedience to the Spirit, and a fruitful 
heavenly life, are the true preparations for patient sufferings. 

VOL. XI. n D 



Under the Sentence of Death, against inordinate Fears. 

The next case that reqeireth obedient patience is the 
sentence of death. 

Of this I have also spoken so oft, that I shall now use 
but these short remembrances. 

1. He that would not die (when he knoweth that there 
is no other way to Paradise) would have no more than he 
shall possess on earth : which he may easily know is tran- 
sitory vanity, mixed with so much vexation more than most 
of the brutes themselves have, as would make man as un- 
happy a wight as they, if not much more ; and man's na- 
ture, which abhorreth death, doth abhor the ending of its 
being, activity and delights ; and will any man's reason 
then direct him to choose such an end of all ? And to de- 
spair of ever having any life, activity or pleasure after this ? 
Doubtless nothing but hell is more contrary to our interest; 
and our interest, if known, will be our desire and choice. 
Who would willingly die as brutes ? 

2. If it be such brutish unbelief aud desperation which 
maketh death frightful, as if there were no better to be had, 
reason should make such inquiry and search, whether there 
be no hopes ; and if this be but faithfully done, the light of 
nature and the Gospel will confute such desperation, and 
give man the joyful prospect of happy immortality. It is 
the darkness of ignorance, error, and unbelief, that makes 
us fear that, which should be our joyful hope. 

3. .But if it be the fear of hell or future punishment that 
make us afraid of death, (as, alas, to most there is greater 
cause than they will believe,) such fears should drive men 
presently to the remedy. We are not in hell, where there 
is no hope, but on earth where mercy is ready to save us, 
and seeking to us, and beggeth our acceptance. If you 
fear death and hell, fly presently to Christ for grace ; repent 
unfeignedly of all the sin which is your danger: give up 
your souls to be saved by Christ on his own reasonable 
terms, and then you may boldly and joyfully hope that he 
will save them. All your fears, if you will truly repent and 
trust in Christ, may be turned into assurance of salvation, 
and glad desires to be with him ! 

4. Did we not all our lifetime know that we must die ? 


And should a man therefore live in continual terror? If 
not, how little doth the case and reason differ at the last, 
from that which he was all his life in ? 

5. All that have been born into this world since it was 
made, have quickly passed out again. Death is as common 
as birth. And hath God made all mankind to live in con- 
tinual terror, so much more miserable than the brutes, 
that know not that they must die ? Shall I wish alone to 
be exempted from the case of all mankind ? 

6. Yea, all the saints, that ever were on earth (save 
Enoch and Elias) died. All that are in heaven have gone 
this way before me. Faith can see beyond the gulf or 
stream, which they are safely wafted over, and see them 
stand safe and joyful on the shore of glory. And should I 
not long to be with so desirable company ? But of this I 
have spoken elsewhere. 

7. Do we believe in Christ, that he hath done and suf- 
fered all tliat he did, to purchase heaven for us, and his in- 
tercession and grace is to bring us to it, and when all is 
done, would we not come there, and had we rather stay in a 
sinful, malignant, vexatious earth ? 

8. Are we in good earnest when we pray, and labour, 
and suffer for heaven, and make it the end of all our reli- 
gion and obedience, and make that the business of our 
lives, and yet would we not go to that which we spend our 
lives in seeking? 

9. If our fears be unreasonable, necessitated by nature, 
against the convictions of faith, even those fears should 
make us desire death, as that which faith tells us will end 
them all, and be our only full deliverance. 

10. Is it not unnatural, and contrary to the very interest 
and tendency of all our faculties, to fear and flee from that 
which is our felicity and joy? Doth our heavenly state dif- 
fer from the best on earth, more than a kingdom from a 
prison ; and shall we fear it, as if it were evil, and fly from 
the only hope and happiness of souls ? 

Quest. * These reasons to godly men are undeniable ; 
but the fears of death will not yield to reason : Have you 
no other way or remedy against it?* 

Atisw. Souls are wrought upon by soul-operations and 
remedies. But further, 

L When fear cometh from natural averseness to die, and 


strangeness to the state of separated souls, and to some un- 
revealed things of the unseen world, it is wisdom to cast 
those dark and unknown frightful things quite out of our 
thoughts, and quietly to shut our eyes against them. When 
I was young, I was wont to go up the Wrekin-Hill with 
great pleasure (being near my dwelling), and to look down 
on the country below me, and see the villages as little 
things ; but when I was weak with age and sickness, the 
last time I went up, if I did but cast my eye down- 
wards, my spirits failed, and I was ready to fall down in 
sudden death. Were I chained fast to the top of a high 
spire-steeple, I am sure that I could not fall, and yet I am 
confident that one look down would suddenly kill me. 
What then should I do ? As on the hill I fixed my eyes on 
the earth at my feet, till I came down; so I would in 
such a height, either look only upward, or shut my eyes, 
and take heed of looking down to the earth : so do here. 
If faith and reason tell you, that death is not to be so feared, 
and that all your hope and comfort must be beyond it, and 
that you are safe in God's promise, and in the hand of 
Christ ; but yet the thoughts of a grave, and the separation 
from the body, and of all that is unknown to us in the next 
world, is frightful to you, shut your eyes, and think not 
on those things ; wink, and say, they belong not to my 

But then join the other remedies. 2. Look upwards, 
and dwell on the delightful thoughts of all that revealed joy 
and glory, which is ready to receive us, and of the company 
that is there, that hope and desire may conquer fear. 

3. And especially trust Jesus Christ with your depart- 
ing souls, and trust him quietly and boldly, as to all that he 
hath revealed, and you know ; and as to all that is unre- 
vealed and unknown, he is fully able, wise, and willing. 
Trust him, for he commandeth it. Trust him, for he never 
deceived any. He hath saved all departed souls, that ever 
truly and obediently trusted him. Cast away all distrust- 
ing, caring, fearing thoughts, that would take his work out 
of his hand : against all such even wink, and trust him : it 
is his part and not yours to know fully what he will do with 
you, and to receive you into his prepared mansions, and to 
justify you against the accusations of satan, and the guilt 
of pardoned sin ; and to bring you into the Jerusalem 


above, and present you spotless to his Father. Cast there- 
fore all these cares on him, who hath promised to care for 
you. Commit yourselves to him, and trust him with his 
own, which he hath wonderfully purchased: suspect not his 
power, skill, or will : and beg his grace to increase your 
faith, that you may not fear nor faint, through self-caring 
and unbelief. 


Under Poverty and Want, through Losses, or any other Causes. 
Another case that needeth obedient patience is poverty 
and want; either through losses, which come by the 
afflicting providence of God, or by robbery, or by op- 
pression of unjust men, by violence or injurious suits at 
law, or by the failing of our trade or calling, or by multi- 
tudes of children, or by sickness, lameness, and disability 
to work, or by the unhappiness or miscarriages and debts 
of parents, or by rash suretyship, or any other way. 

Poverty hath its temptations, and they may and will be 
felt, but must not be over-felt. It is some trial to want 
food and necessary clothing and habitation ; it is more to 
be put to beg it of others, or to be holden to them, espe- 
cially who give it grudgingly : but yet to a single man 
these are comparatively small. Hard fare and scant, with 
patched or ragged garments, may be consistent with health, 
when fulness causeth mortal diseases to the rich. But it is 
far harder to bear the wants of an impatient wife, and cry- 
ing of children ; to have many to provide for, and to have 
nothing for them : and it is yet harder to be in debt, and 
bear the importunity, frowns, and threatenings of creditors. 
What should the poor do in this distressed case, and how 
should it be patiently endured? 

I will first premise this counsel, for prevention of such 
necessity and distress, and then tell you how to bear it 

1. Let not your own sin bring you into poverty, and 
then if it be by the trying providence of God without your 
guilt, it is the more easily borne. Some run themselves in- 
to want by idleness, refusing diligent labour in their call- 
ing; some come to poverty by base and brutish sensuality, 
by pampering the flesh in meats and drinks ; their appetites 
must be please^ till necessity displease them : some by 


covetous gaming losing their own, while they gaped after 
another's ; some by foolish pride, living above their estates, 
in worldly pomp, in houses, furniture, apparel, and retinue : 
some by rash bargains, and covetous venturousness r some 
by rash, imprudent marriage : some by filthy, beastly lusts : 
and many by unadvised suretyship : wilfulness and guilt 
are the sting and shame of poverty. 

2* If you have little, live accordingly, and suit your 
diet and garb according to your condition, with a contented 
mind : nature is content with little ; but pride and appetite 
are hardly satisfied : coarse diet and usage are as sweet and 
safe to a contented mind, a& daily feasting to the volup- 
tuous and rich. 

3. If your labour will not get you necessaries for life 
and health, beg rather than borrow, when you know you 
are unable and unlike to pay. It is far easier begging be- 
fore you are in debt than after: two such burdens are 
heavier than one. Such borrowing, if you conceal your 
disability to pay, is one of the worst sorts of thievery, and 
a great addition to your misery. 

4. Draw not others by suretyship or partnership, or un- 
faithful trading, into suffering with you. Be not guilty of 
the sufferings of others : it is more innocent,, and more easy 
to suffer alone. 

5. Therefore marry not till you have a rational proba- 
bility that you may maintain a wife and children : the case 
of absolute necessity to the lustful, is commonly excepted ; 
and so it ought when it is but harder living, that a woman 
is by such a man put upon, and she knowingly consenteth to 
the suffering ; but I know not how any such man's necessity 
can warrant him to make wife and children miserable, and 
that by fraud, and without her knowing consent? Nor do 
I think, that any man can be under such necessity, which 
may not be cured by lawful means : it is a shame that any 
should need such a remedy ; but I think Christ intimateth 
a better than such a wrong to others, if no less would serve. 
Matt. xix. 20. xviii. 9. 

II. * But what is to be done for obedient patience when 
poverty (however) is upon us.' 

Arisw. 1. Find out all your sin that caused it, and re- 
pent of that, and see that you are much more grieved for 
that than your poverty: and presently fly to Christ by 


faith, till your conscience have the peace and comfort of 

2. Remember that whatever were the means or second 
causes, God's will and providence is the overruling cause, 
and hath chosen this condition for you, whether it be by 
way of trial (as to Job and the apostles), or by way of 
punishing correction. Therefore consider whose hand you 
are in, and with whom it is you have to do ; and apply 
yourselves first and principally to God, for reconciliation, 
and pardon of the punishment, and for grace to stand in all 
your trials. Behave yourselves in all your wants, as a child 
to a father, as if you heard God say. It is I that do it : it is 
I that corrects thee, or that tries thee, or that chooses thy 
diet and medicine according to thy need, and for thy good. 

3. Think of all those texts of Scripture, from the mouth 
of Christ and his apostles, which speak of the temptation 
and dangerousness of riches, and the difl&culty of the salva- 
tion of the rich, and how few such are found Christians, or 
saved ; and how commonly they prove worldly, sensual 
brutes, and enemies, and persecutors of the faithful ; Matt, 
xix. 23, 24. James iv. v. 

And then think of all those texts that tell you, that 
Christ himself was poor, that he might make many rich, 
and that the apostles were poor, and that Christ tried the 
rich man, whether he was sound, by bidding him " Sell all, 
and give to the poor, and follow him," and trieth all his 
disciples by taking up the cross and forsaking all. He 
sheweth what the spirit of Christianity is, when he caused 
all the first believers to sell all, and to live in common : 
and he blesseth his poor, that are poor in spirit, because, 
that '* their's is the kingdom of heaven ;" Matt. v. 

4. Study well the great advantages of poverty, and the 
particular danger of riches. The damnation of souls cometh 
from the love of this world, and fleshly prosperity and 
pleasures, better than God, and holiness, and heaven. And 
what stronger temptation to this can there be, than to have 
all fulness and pleasure, which the flesh desireth ? Thouo-h 
it was not for being rich that Dives (Luke xvi.) was damned, 
nor for being poor that Lazarus was saved ; yet it was 
riches which furnished Dives with that pomp and pleasure, 
which drew his heart from God and heaven ; and poverty 
kept Lazarus from those temptations. Doth not reason and 


experience tell you. That it is very much harder for a man 
to be weaned from the love of this world, and to seek first 
a better, who liveth in all plenty and delight> than a man 
that is in continual affliction, and hath nothing in the 
iVorld to allure him to over-love it ? O ! what a help is it 
to drive us to look homeward for a better habitation, and 
to save us from the deceitful flatteries of the world, 
and the lusts of brutish flesh, to be still wearied with one 
cross or other, and pinched with wants, that even the flesh 
itself may consent to die, or not be importunate with the 
soul to serve it any longer. A man in miserable poverty is- 
most inexcusable if his heart be not in heaven, 

5. To be overmuch troubled at poverty is a sin of dan- 
gerous signification. Itsheweth that you over-love the flesh 
and the world, and do not sufficiently take God and hea- 
venly felicity for your portion. No man is much troubled 
for the want of any thing but that which he loveth : and to 
over-love the world is a sin, which, if it prevail against the 
greater love of God and glory, it is certainly damning. 
And he that taketh not God's kingdom and righteousness 
as better than the world, and seeketh it not first, cannot ob- 
tain it. If God and heaven seem not enough for you, unless 
you be free from bodily want, you trust not God aright. 

6. Doth it not properly belong to God, to diet his- 
family, and to give every one what he seeth best ? If he had 
made you worms, or dogs, or serpents, you could find no 
fault with him. May he not diversify his creatures as he 
please? Shall every fly and vermin murmur that he is not 
a man ? And may he not as freely diversify the provision 
of his creatures, as their natures ? Must all be masters, and 
yet none be servants ? Must the rich be bound to relieve the 
poor, and must there be no poor to be relieved ? " The poor 
you have always with you," saith Christ. How shall men 
be rewarded at last, as they clothed them, fed them, 
visited them, &c. if there were none that stood in need there- 
of? Is not God wiser than we, to know what is best for 
us? and can he not give us all that we desire if he saw it 
best? And do you think, that he wanteth so much love to 
his children as to feed and clothe them? Were it for want 
of love, he would not give them the far greater gifts, even 
his Son, and Spirit, and life everlasting : if this were the 
trial of his love, you might say that he most loveth the 


worst of men, who more abound in riches than the most 
cruel and persecuting tyrants, the most wicked, sensual, 
profligate monsters ? Were riches any special treasure, God 
would not give them to such flagitious enemies, and deny 
them to humble, faithful persons. It is no small sin to mur- 
mur at God for maintaining and governing his family ac- 
cording to his wisdom and will, and for not being ruled by 
the desires of our flesh. 

7. Do you not see that riches bring more trouble to 
them that have them, than poverty doth to contented per- 
sons? They that have much, have much to do with it, and 
many to deal with, many tenants, servants, and others, that 
will all put them to some degree of trouble : they have more 
law-suits, losses, crosses and frustrations than the poor. 
Their food and rest is not so sweet to them, as to poor 
labouring men : their bodies are usually fuller of diseases : 
thieves rob them, when he is fearless that hath nothing 
which other men desire : he that hath little hath a light 
burden to carry, and little to care for. 

8. And do you think that a man will die ever the more 
willingly or comfortably for being rich ? No ; the more 
they love the world, the more it teareth their hearts to leave 
it ! O what a horror it is for a guilty, miserable soul, to be 
forced to quit for ever all that he flattered his soul in as his 
felicity, and all that for which he neglected and sold his God 
and his salvation ! No man till it come can fully conceive 
the dismal case of a dying worldling. 


Under the Sufferings and Death of Friends. 1. Of Children, 

2. Of Ungodly Kindred. 3. Some dear Friend, who died 

in Pain or Misery. 4. Some Pillars in Church or State. 

Another case which requireth obedient patience is the 

sufferings and death of friends, whether near us, as wife, 

husband, children ^ or more remote, as those that have been 

most kind to us, most faithful to God, or most useful to the 


It is not only lawful, but a duty, to be duly sensible of 
such a loss : to be void of natural affection, and to bear all 
men's sufferings too easily, saving their own, is the odious 
quality of the basely selfish. 

And alas ! many good Christians are yet with greater 


reason grieved, for the death of wicked children ar relatrves> 
lest they be in helpless misery : and some parents moura 
for their dead infants, as doubting of their salvation. 

Somewhat should be said against impatience in every 
one of these several cases. 

As to the last. 

I. Faithful parents have no just cause to be impatient 
at the death of infants. 

1. For my part, I think that God hath promised their 
salvation : I speak not of the infants of heathens or infidels,, 
or of hypocrites, but of sincere Christians, (one at least) or 
such pro-parents as take them for their own. I believe that 
it is not another but the same covenant, which baptism 
sealeth to the child and parent, and that as true faith is the 
condition to the adult, so to be the child of a true Christian 
is all the condition to an infant, to be dedicated to God, 
and accepted by him; and I believe that it is the parent's 
duty to dedicate him, and enter him into covenant with 
Christ ; and that all that so come to Christ are received by 
him, and none cast out. And that this covenant on God's 
part pardoneth their original sin, and puts them into an in- 
fant right to salvation ; and that all such, so dying, are 
saved by promise. And if any thing hinder actual baptiz- 
ing, as long as a believer is justly supposed to devote him- 
self and his child to God, as far as in him lieth, it is not 
the bare want of water, or the outward ceremony, that de- 
priveth such of part in God's covenant. 

All this I have elsewhere opened and confirmed. But 
if this should prove an error, yet all grant that there is more 
probability of God's special mercy to the children of the 
faithful, than to others ; but I think there is more. 

2. And they are taken out of a dangerous and troublesome 
world. What abundance of sad thoughts must they have 
undergone, and what abundance of temptations, and what 
abundance of sufferings of many kinds, if they had lived till 
old age ? Had it been but the fear of dying, to escape it is 
no contemptible mercy. To be at the harbour so easily and 
quickly, while others must be tossed many score years on 
so tempestuous and dangerous a sea, is matter of rejoicing. 
And though confirmed grace be never lost, such as I, who 
incline to think that the grace given to the infants of be- 
lievers as such, is as losable as Adam's, or the angels that 



feff wa», mast with Augustine take it for a mercy, that theiF 
passible apostacy is by death preyented. Foy my own part 
when I see how many children of excellent men prove 
wicked, and scourges to the church, and what a miserable 
world it is that we are in, even sunk into darkness, wicked- 
ness, and self-destruction ; like the s.uburbs of hell, I have 
many times rejoiced, but never grieved, that I never had a 
child. And why then should I mourn if 1 had one, and 
God had quickly taken him away? 

II . I confess the death of ungodly kindred is a humbling 
case : to think where they are, as God*s word tells us of all 
the unconverted and unholy, and to think that they are past 
all help and hope, remediless for ever. But yet we have all 
this to command our patient submission, to God. 

1. God, who is absolute Lord of his creatures, !« wiser 
and more merciful than we, and doeth all well, and to his 
glory. And his will is still fulfilled, which is the end of alL 
And if we knew what he knoweth, we should rest satisfied 
in his works, as better than our will and way would have 

2. When we come to heaven we shall be fully reconciled 
to all the severest providences of God : for our mind and 
will shall be conformed to God's. 

3. We should rejoice with the blessed, as well as be sor- 
rowful with the miserable. And, Oh ! what worlds of glo- 
rious angels and spirits are there for us to rejoice with, which 
in proportion should quite overbalance our sorrow for the 

4. The destruction of the wicked should call us to think 
how unspeakably we are beholden to God for ourselves, and 
so many of our friends, and all the faithful, that he did not 
forsake us, and cut us off in our impenitent state. 

5. What are your kindred, that they should be more la- 
mented than all the rest of the ungodly world ? How incon- 
gruous had it been for you to cry and mourn inordinately for 
the death of some one person, when the plague lately took 
away in the city a hundred thousand ? And when the world 
lieth in heathenism, infidelity, Mahometanism, Popery, igno- 
rance and ungodliness, is it congruous for you to be over- 
troubled for one, because he is akin to you ? 

III. But suppose the case be the death of some dear 
friend of ours? When we think of the great pain in which 


they died, or of the grave where now they lie corrupting, or 
of our former familiarity, our present losses, we are apt to 
over-grieve. But, 

1. We always knew that they must die. Do not as many 
die as are born ? 

2. We had a long time to prepare each other for our 
parting, and doth it now come as an unexpected thing? 
What else did we live together for, but to help each other to 
prepare for death ? 

3. Should we not be thankful to God for the use and 
comfort of them so long? 

4. Is it not matter of greater joy, than our loss should 
cloud, that they have ended all their work and suffering, and 
have safely escaped all their enemies and dangers, and are 
past all fears and sorrows, and are everlastingly delivered 
from all the guilt and power of sin, and have the end of all 
their faith and patience, their work and hope, and are triumph- 
ing with Christ and all the blessed in heavenly endless joy 
and glory ? Do we believe this, and yet do we not rejoice 
with them, but mourn as those that have no such faith or 
hope ? 

]. 5. And as to their late pains, it is none when it is past : 
I would not now wish myself that I had never felt the pain 
that is past : much less do they wish it that are with Christ ! 
And yet we are more apt to keep imprinted on our minds, 
the groans and dying sorrows of our friends, than all the for- 
mer comforts of their lives, or all the joy that they have now 
with Christ, and shall have for ever. 

. 6. Though natural affection be laudable, usually much 
faultiness sheweth itself in our overmuch sorrow: 1. It 
sheweth that we prepared not for it as we ought to do. 2, 
It sheweth that we have too great a love still for this world 
and present life. 3. And that our belief of heaven and the 
blessedness of the spirits of the just with Christ, is very weak, 
and too little effectual. 4. And it sheweth that we expect 
a longer life on earth ourselves, than we have just cause to 
do. If we knew we should die the next day or week, it would 
be folly to mourn for our parting from a friend that died but 
the day before. Would we not have their company ? And 
where can we have it but where we are to be ourselves ? And 
are we so sottish as to forget how quickly we must follow 
l^em and be gone ? If we love their company, we should 


rejoice that we shall quickly meet them, and live with Christ 
and them for ever. I have often thought (and mentioned it) 
how like it was to this our folly, when I have seen a man 
fetch his beasts home out of a pasture, and when one hath 
gone through the gate, another hath looked and mourned 
after him, not knowing that he was presently to follow. Alas ! 
it is want of conversing by faith with the saints above, which 
maketh us over-grieve for the miss of them here below. 

And as to the loathsomeness of the grave and rottenness, 
it is the fruit of sin, and we always knew that flesh was cor- 
ruptible. It is made of that which lately stood on our tables, 
the flesh of sheep, and beasts, and swine, and birds, &c, 
turned into the flesh of man : and before that, it was grass 
growing for the food of cattle in the fields. But the soul 
corrupteth not ; and if it change the rags of flesh, for a build- 
ing in the heavens, why should we repine at this ? The soul 
is the man ; and God will change these vile bodies, and make 
them incorruptible, and spiritual, and immortal, like to the 
glorious body of Christ. Phil. iii. 19, 20. 

IV. But our sorrows seem to be more justifiable, when 
we mourn for the loss of the pillars, or useful servants of the 
church. Their death is the loss of souls, yea, of many, and 
a sign of God's displeasure to a land. But as to this also ; 

1. Magistrates, and ministers, and all, are mortal: they 
have their work and time, and then they must go home. 
They came not to abide on earth, but to do their message 
and be gone. When they have faithfully finished their 
course, they must go to their Master's joy, that he that sow- 
eth, and he that reapeth may rejoice together. 

2. Thank God for the good he hath done by them, and 
pray for a succession of more. God will not serve himself 
here by one generation only : as the same rose or other 
flowers, which you get this year, will not serve you for the 
next ; nor the same fruit or crop of corn, but every year must 
bring forth its own fruit ; so must it be with serviceable men. 
Elisha must have his time and part, as Elias had ; and a Da- 
vid, Solomon, Hezekiah or Josiah, live not here always. 
Every generation must have its proper servants, work and 
honour. If some have till evening borne the burden and 
heat of the day, allow them their rest, and let others work 
the following day. 

3. And God hath the fulness of the Spirit in Christ, to 


send forth our successors : and he is the Lord of the church, 
and knoweth what is best, and what the people are fit to re- 
ceive. Christ lived on earth to no great age, and he tells 
hi« apostles, " That it was expedient for them, that he go 
away, that the Comforter might come," God will choose 
his own servants, and their times, and we must submit to 
his disposal. 

4. Paul was permitted at Rome to dwell two whole years 
in his own hired house, and receive all that came to him ; 
preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things 
which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, 
no man forbidding him* But I have been permitted above 
fifty years to preach the same Go&pel, though long a law, and 
bishops, and justices did forbid me (save that for nine or ten 
years, they confined my vocal preaching to my house). 
James was cut off near the beginning of his apostleship: 
Stephen was sooner cut off than he. Some excellent minis- 
ters hath God taken away young, 

5. Christ is more worthy of their company than we are. 
Heaven is moie worthy of them than earth, than those that 
hate them and abuse them ; ** Of whom the world was not 
worthy ;" Heb. xi. 28. The world knoweth not the worth 
of a saint, or how to use him, or what use to make of him. 

6* We know not from what approaching evil, God in 
mercy taketh them away. We have lately lamented the death 
of many excellent persons, magistrates and ministers ; but 
the storms that are now assaulting us, tell us, that it was a 
seasonable and merciful change to them. Christ saith, " If 
ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I go to the Father ;" 
John xiv. 28. They mourn not for their own removal: 
would you wish them here again from heaven? You do not 
mourn, that Christ, and Abraham, and David, and the apos- 
tles are gone to heaven ; nor that Lazarus changed his beg- 
gary for Abraham's bosom ; nor that the martyrs are gone 
thither. The ancient churches were wont with thankfulness 
to recite tlie names of their departed pastors in their litur- 
gies, and to keep days of thanksgiving (which we call holy- 
days) in memorial of their martyrs. They may say as Clirist, 
** Weep not for me, but for yourselves and your children :" 
for those that must endure the storms that are coming upon 
us, and must be sifted by satan and his ministers, to try 
whether Uieir faith and constancy will fail. Christ purchased 


them for heaven, and he will have them thefe. It is his will 
and prayer, " Father, I will that those whom thou hast given 
me be with me where I am, that they may see the glory 
which thou hast given me ; Johnxvii. 24, (a better sight than 
jve see here, when we are laid among malefactors in gaols, 
or scorned for preaching). *' If our hopes were in this life 
only, we were of all men most miserable :" and do we love 
them so little as to wish them with us is so miserable a life ? 
Is vanity and vexation, and the portion of the wicked, better 
than the Jerusalem above ? Our cows, and sheep, and hens, 
&c. when they have bred up their young ones at great pains 
and love, must part with them for us to kill and eat, yea, and 
with their own lives also : and shall we grudge that our 
friends and we must die to go where God will have us ? If 
God should not take our friends or us, till our wills con- 
sented, I doubt we should stay here too long, unless pain 
constrained us to consent ; but God is fittest to choose the 
time. " Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of all 
his saints ;" Psal. cxvi. " Even the hairs of their head are 
numbered.'* It is not then for want of love to them that they 
are taken away by death. " They rest from their labour and 
their works follow them." Were we not fools and slow of 
heart to believe what the Gospel saith of blessed souls, we 
should know that they ought to suffer with Christ, and then 
to reign with him, as he suffered, and then entered into his 

And, as David said of his child, we shall come to them, 
but they shall not return to us, 


Unkindness and Injury of Friends and Relations. 
Another case that calls for patience is the unkindness of 
friends, and their injurious dealing with us. Husband and 
wife often prove burdens and continual griefs to one another. 
Parents and children prove worse than strangers. Those 
that we have obliged by our benefits are ungrateful, and those 
untrusty whom we have trusted. 

1. It must be so ; man will be man, uncertain and un- 
trusty. David and Paul say that all men are liars ; that is, 
such as will deceive those that too much trust them. They 
are all sinful, ignorant, erroneous, mutable and selfish : if 
interest, change or temptations come, there is no hold of 


them, if God do not hold them up. Did you not know man 
till now? 

2. It is God's just rebuke for your too much trust in man, 
and for your erroneous, overvaluing man : and it is his mer- 
ciful remedy to drive you home from man to God. This de- 
ceit and failing of your friends is part of the curse pro- 
nounced, Jer, xvii. 5, 6. " Cursed be the man that trusteth in 
man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth 
from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert," 
&c. But " blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and 
whose hope the Lord is, for he shall be as a tree planted by 
the waters," See. 

3. The failing of man doth but tell us what we are our- 
selves, even untrusty and mutable as other men. It should 
help to humble us for the badness of our nature, and drive 
us to seek to Christ for his confirming grace, and not to trust 
ourselves too far. 

4. And it should call us to examine whether we never 
wronged and deceived others. Have we not put the best 
side outward, and seemed better to our friends than we are ? 
Have we not been less helpful, friendly and comfortable to 
them, than we promised, or than we should have been, and 
deceived their expectations ? Have we not by our failings 
or provoking harshness been their grief? Or worse, have 
we not pleased them in their sin, and been temptations and 
snares to their souls ? 

5. Is there any friend that is nearer to you than your- 
selves ? And is there any that hath hurt you half so much 
as you have done yourselves ? Alas ! how little suffer we by 
friends or foes, in comparison of what we suffer by ourselves ! 

6. Christ went before us in this kind of suffering, to teach 
us what to expect from men. Peter denied him with curs- 
ing and swearing, and that after warning and contrary pro- 
testations ; and all his disciples forsook him and fled. And 
yet he forsook not them, but died for them, and as soon as 
he was risen, kindly comforteth them, ** Go tell my brethren, 
and tell Peter (saith he), I go to my Father and your Father, 
to my God and your God." 

7. Were your friends so much obliged to you, as you 
were to God and to your Saviour? or did they ever promise 
and vow more to you, than you did in your baptism to 
Christ? And have you faithfully performed all your vows. 


and answered all your obligations? Did you ever oblige 
any by such benefits as God hath bestowed upon you? No, 
not by the thousandth, thousandth part. And have not you 
more unthankfully injured God, than ever any friend did in- 
jure you ? Let this then provoke you to repentance. 

If it be an unkind husband or wife ; first see that you be 
innocent, and give no provocation. If you have deceived 
them by seeming better than you are, or if you be a burden 
to them, no wonder if they deceive you, and be a burden to 
you. And next, remember that you had your choice, and 
that after time of deliberation. If you have by blind love, 
or passion, or covetousness, or causeless haste deceived your- 
selves, repent, and make the best of it for the future that you 
can. Sin will not be without its sting. 

9. If you love God and them, why are you not more 
grieved that they wrong God, and that they hurt themselves, 
than that they wrong you and deal unkindly by you. They 
do a thousandfold more wrong to Christ, and more hurt to 
their own souls, than they can do to you. 

10. I fear most of us too little consider that friends over- 
kind, and so over-loved, are oft more dangerous than the un- 
kind, yea, than enemies. To be crossed by them may many 
ways do us good, but to over- love them, hath more danger 
iind hurt than I will now digress to mention. Corrupted 
love is the most sinful and worst affection. 

11. And why do you not consider the benefit and cdm- 
fort, which you have had by your friends, as well as the in- 
juries ? What if they now deal unkindly by you ? Have 
they not many years been kind and useful to you ? And 
should that be forgotten ? And if you compare them, was 
not the kindness longer and greater than the unkindness ? 
If Job say, " shall we receive good at the hands of God and 
not evil," we may much more say so of men. 

12. Perhaps God permitteth it, that you maybe the less 
grieved to part with them at death. I have noted it in some 
of my nearest acquaintance, that have lived in the greatest 
endearedness; that a little before death some unkindness 
hatii fallen out between them, perhaps else death would have 
torn their hearts more grievously thar^tliat unkindness did. 
When God would separate Paul and Barnabas for his work 
a little dissension became the cause. And when Paul wai? 

VOt. XI. E E 


to be offered up, almost all his old companions forsook him, 
2 Tim. iv. 16. Who would have thought that David should 
ever have dealt so unkindly with Mephibosheth ; but his 
prosperity was less sweet and ensnaring by it. 

13. It is purposely to keep us from heart idolatry, and 
drive us to God our surest friend, that he permitteth friends 
to fail us. It is not them, but God that we live upon, and 
that we must trust to, if we would not be deceived : it is not 
they but Christ that is our treasure. God never dealt un- 
kindly with us : he hath promised that he will never fail us 
nor forsake us ; 2 Tim. iv. 16. When Paul had said, " At 
my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook 
me, (he addeth) yet the Lord stood with me, and strengthened 
me," &c. David's lovers and friends stood aloof from him, 
when God was his hope. " I looked on my right hand and 
beheld, but there was no man that would know me : refuge 
failed me ; no man cared for my soul. I cried unto thee, O 
Lord, I said. Thou art my refuge and my portion," &c. : 
Psal. xxxviii. 11. 15. xiv. 4, 5. 

14. I confess that the case of a bad or unsuitable and un- 
kind husband or wife, is a very sharp trial. They are near 
you, even in your bosK)m, bed and heart : they are still with 
you, and a contentious woman is as a continual dropping, 
saith Solomon. To have a discontented, displeasing, angry, 
provoking person always with one to the death, is a greater 
affliction than any that ordinarily cometh from enemies. But 
yet let such consider, 1. That it is a just chastisement for 
their sins, and may help to a more deep repentance. 2. As 
it is a great and constant trial, so it calleth for great and 
constant patience, and exercise of grace : and what is more 
like to increase grace, than great and constant exercise ? 3. 
It is a great and constant preservative against the flatteries 
of this world, or building a palace or fool's paradise on earth ; 
it is a daily voice to such, saying, * This is not your rest ; 
look and long for better company and friends.' 4. And as 
near as wife or husband is, God is much nearer to us, even 
within us ; atrd should make us rejoicingly forget all other 
joys or sorrows, in comparison of him. 

15. The same I say of wicked children : the affliction is 
grievous ; but, 1. It calleth men to examine how they have 
discharged their duty to them ; have you lovingly, familiarly, 
and unweariedly instructed them, exhorted and admonished 



them ? Have you not thrust them into company, callings, 
or places of temptations, for a little worldly wealth, or learn- 
ing or reputation ? Yea, have you kept them from tempta- 
tions by prudent watchfulness and convincing dissuasions ? 
Have you taught them as is required, Deut.v.ll.? Or have 
you not slubbered over so great a duty ; and looked God 
should save them merely for being yours ? 2. But remem- 
ber, that all the children of God in glory will be dear and 
comfortable to you, as if they had been all your own. 


Injuries from Malicious Enemies. 1. Personal. 2. Persecuting. 
Another trial, which requireth patience, is injuries from 
malicious enemies. Either personal enemies, or such as hate 
and persecute us for our duty. As to the former sort, 

1. We have the greater reason to be patient, when we 
consider what poor and worthless worms we are ; and that 
enmity and injury against such low and little creatures is a 
«maller fault than if it were against nobler or more excellent 
beings. We make no great matter of beating a horse or 
dog. Though this must not diminish their repentance, it must 
diminish our impatience. 

2. And we are so bad that we give occasion of hatred 
and hard thoughts of us to our enemies; and though this 
justify not their mistakes, who take us to be worse than we 
are, yet it commandeth us who tempt them to it, the more 
patiently to bear it. They mistake us mostly by thinking 
that the same sins that are in us are predominant, and in a 
greater measure than they are. They call us erroneous, proud, 
hypocrites, covetous, unpeaceable, &c. And when we know 
there is in us some error, some pride, hypocrisy, and the rest, 
the conscience of this must make us the easier bear with, and 
forgive the false accusers, that charge us with more than we 
are guilty of, 

3. And when we consider we were enemies to God, and 
have far more wronged him by sin than any can wrong us, 
and yet he forgiveth us ; it must teach us to forgive the 
wrongs and enmity of others. Yea, God hath made our for- 
giving others, a condition of- bis full forgiving us ; and we 
cannot pray to him for forgiveness, and consequently not ex- 
pect it, on any lower terms ; yea, we must learn of God to 


love our enemies, and pray for them, and do them good, and 
not seek revenge and satisfaction. 

4. Which of us hath done no wrong to others? Have 
we unjustly censured none, nor spoken evil of them, or been 
angry j or reviled them without just cause ? Have we never 
tempted any to sin, nor encouraged them in it, nor omitted 
any duty which we owed them ? If we have, we may see 
God's justice permitting injuries against us, as an equal cas- 

5. However, conscience tells us that we have deserved a 
thousandfold worse from God : and he useth to make the 
sins of men, the instruments of his punishments on earth. 
God punished David by the permitted sins of Absalom and 
Shimei (though he caused not the sin). And David the more 
patiently endured it, as acknowledging the providence of a 
correcting God. 

6. It is your own fault if all your enemies' wrongs do you 
not much more good than hurt. God hath told you how so 
to improve them ; and if you do, you may well be patient 
with that which is your benefit and advantage ; yea, and 
thankful too, which is more than patient. But if you do not 
so improve them, you have more to be grieved for than your 
injuries, even your own sin and omission, which loseth so 
gainful an advantage. 

7. If they repent, God will forgive them all their greater 
wrong against him ; (O what a deal doth he forgive at once 
to a converted sinner !) and then surely you will easily for- 
give your mite. But if they repent not, instead of impa- 
tience and revenge, pity them, and lament their case ; for 
they will suffer more than you can now desire : would you 
have them suffer more than hell ? 

8. Your happiness and all your great concerns are out of 
the power of all your enemies : it is but matters of little mo- 
ment that they can touch you in. They cannot take away 
your God, your Saviour, your Comforter, your glory ; no, 
nor the least of your graces. They cannot deprive you of 
your knowledge, or of love to God, of faith, or hope, or peace 
of conscience, or joy in the Holy Ghost. They cannot bring 
back the guilt of any pardoned sin, nor cast you into hell. 

9. And if impatience open the door of your heart, which 
your enemies could bring no nearer you than your estate, 
your ears, or your flesh at most, it is not they but yourselves 



that are your chief tormenter. And will you torment your 
selves because another wrongeth you ? 

10. Do you not observe how sin hath set all the world in 
a state of enmity to God, and all that is holy, and to the way 
of their own salvation l And that all the unsanctified world 
is in a war against God and goodness, under the unknown 
conduct of the devil ? And do you make a great matter then 
of some petty injury or enmity to you? This is more fool- 
ishly selfish, than if you should complain of a soldier for 
taking a pin off your sleeve, when an army is plundering all 
the town, and setting all the country on fire, and murdering 
your neighbours before your face. 

So much for patience in case of personal enmity and 

11. But if it be in the case of persecution for your duty 
to God, impatience then is far more culpable. In this case I 
premise this advice. 

- , 1. Search diligently lest some personal crimes of your 
own be in the cause, as well as your religion. Sometimes the 
sinful miscarriages of Christians doth provoke the adversa- 
ries to think the worse of their way of religion for their 
sakes, and so to persecute them for truth and duty, but pro- 
voked to it by former sin. In this case your first duty is to 
repent of the sin which first provoked them, and openly con- 
fess it and lament it : for while you remain impenitent, and 
hide or justify your gross iniquity, you harden them that 
afflict you, and you provoke God to let them loose. Espe- 
cially when you can aggravate all the miscarriages of your 
persecutors, and cannot bear so much as the naming of your 
Qwn sin, but take it for enmity or inj ury to be called to repent. 

If it be any sin of ours that hath made us stink in the 
nostrils of our persecutors, we cannot comfortably suflfer or 
expect deliverance, till we repent. 

2. Let us search with the severest suspicion and impar- 
tiality, that it be indeed truth and duty, and not error and 
sin, for which we suffer. I doubt not but men may be per- 
secutors and injurious, who do but afflict men for sin and 
error, when it is done for such as are but those tolerable in- 
firmities, which all Christians in one kind or other are liable 
to : or when the punishment is greater than the fault deserv- 
eth ; and when it is done in malice against the piety of the 
pers<jns, or tendeth to the hindrance of piety, and injury oi 


the church of God. But yet the guilt of his persecutors is 
no justification of any one that sufFereth for his sin or error, 
nor should abate, but increase his repentance, in that he oc- 
casions by his scandal the sin and misery of his persecutors. 
Peter justly caileth us to make sure, that none of us suffer 
as evil-doers ; much less as impenitent persons that cannot 
endure to hear of it. I am one that have been first in all 
the storms that have befallen the ministry these twenty 
years past, (to look no further back) ; and yet my conscience 
commandeth me to say, as 1 have oft done, that many through 
mistake, I am persuaded, now suffer as evil-doers for a cause 
that is not good and justifiable. For the great difference 
among sufferers, proveth that some must needs be mistaken. 
3. If we be sure that our cause is good, let us also make 
sure that we use it well. A good cause may be abused. Let 
us see, 1. That we mix no error with it. 2. That we do not 
manage it partially and uncharitably : that we make not the 
contrary worse than it is. 3. That we delight not to repre- 
sent our adversaries more odiously than there is cause. 4. 
That we deny no just honour or obedience to our governors. 
5. That we shew not the same spirit of persecution which 
we exclaim against, by differing from them only in the man- 
ner of expression. If they unjustly say, that ' men are so 
bad as to be unworthy of Christian communion,' you agree 
in unjust condemning others, and only wrong them several 
ways. 6. Let us see that while we are restrained from some 
part of our work, we neglect not that which none forbiddeth 
us. Ave we not shamefully guilty in this ? None forbid- 
deth ministers to catechise those that are under sixteen years 
of age, or to teach them by preaching, or to pray with the«a, 
and yet that is commonly neglected. None forbid us to 
confer daily with our ignorant or vicious neighbours, to try 
if we can. convert them : nor to win them by kindness, as 
Christ went to publicans and sinners. None forbid reli- 
gious people to catechise and teach their families, and read 
good books to them, and pray with them, and openly sing 
the praises of God, as Daniel openly prayed in his house, to 
be examples to ungodly families about them. And yet how 
much is this neglected ! And a dumb and negligent father, 
and master of a family will condemn himself by speaking 
against dumb and negligent ministers, and against those that 
restrain him from some public duties. Some think that if 


a law were made (which God prevent) against all catechising 
and teaching men's families, and against praying and sing- 
ing the praises of God, it would by opposition stir up some 
to do it better, that now neglect it, so prone are they to that 
which is forbidden. And since it is come into the heads of 
some clergymen, to preach openly, that it is unlawful to re- 
ceive dissenters to their communion, and they intend to for- 
bid them, and excommunicate them, that they may be inca- 
pable of public trust, or votes ; I hear that some intend to 
communicate, who before condemned it as unlawful, and 
sharply censured those that did it. 

But when you have made sure, that you suffer not as evil- 
doers, upon mistake, but for your duty, and for righteous- 
ness, consider these following reasons for your patience. 

1. If you believe not that anything is done against you 
by man, but what falls under the overruling, disposing will 
and providence of God, you deny his government, and are 
unfit to do or suffer. Though God caused none of the ma- 
lice, and sin of the murderers of Christ, yet as to the effect 
of their free, sinful volitions, there was nothing done but 
what God's counsel fore-determined for the redemption of 
the world : and if you believe this, dare you impatiently 
grudge at the providence of God '/ 

2. Though you are innocent towards your persecutors, 
and you suffer for well-doing, you are not innocent towards 
God, who may use bad men for just chastisement. 

3. It is an unspeakable mercy to have unavoidable, de- 
served sufferings, to be made the sanctified means of your 
salvation, and to be for ever rewarded for bearing that which 
else would have been but the foretaste of hell. Sin brought 
unavoidable pain and death on all mankind. No power, or 
policy, or price can save you from it. If you deny Christ, 
and sell heaven to save your lives, you shall die for all that ; 
and he that so saveth his life shall lose it, and lose his soul 
also by such self-saving. '* It is appointed to all men once 
to die, and after that the judgment." A martyr doth but die, 
and so doth his persecutor ; and death to the ungodly is the 
door of hell. And is it not a marvellous mercy, that suffer- 
ing but the same death, in faith, and hope, and obedience 
for Christ, and for your duty, shall procure you a crown of 
glory ? Even as the same outward blessings, which to the 
wicked are but the fuel of sin and hell, are by believers im- 


proved for grace and glory ; so is it also with the ease of 
suffering. And what a terror is it to conscience, when the 
sentence of death shall be passed upon you, to think, * Now 
that life is at an end, which T sold my soul to save ! O that 
I had rather chosen to die for my duty, than by my sin : this 
death would then have been the entrance into heaven, which 
is now the entrance into misery.' This made many dying 
Christians in Cyprian's charge to be hardly comforted, be- 
cause they had not died martyrs, that death might have been 
a double gain to them. Is it not better have a glorious re- 
ward for dying, than die for nothing? 

4. It is no small benefit to be called out to the exercise 
of that, which every one must resolve on, and be prepared 
for, that will be saved : that we may not be deceived, but 
know by experience, whether we are sincere or not. What- 
ever worldly hypocrites think, Christ was in good earnest 
when he said, " He that forsaketh not all that he hath, even 
life itself, cannot be my (sincere) disciple ;" Luke xiv. 26* 
30. 33. Holiness here and heaven hereafter, is that which 
Christ came to procure for his own, and that which all must 
choose and trust to as their hope and portion, that will be 
his,. Worldlings never make this choice, but being doubt- 
ful of the life to come, prefer the present prosperity of the 
flesh, and will be religious only in subordination thereto, and 
hope for heaven (if there be any life to come) but as a re- 
serve and second good, because they cannot keep the world ; 
which they will not lose for the hope of heaven, as long as 
they can keep it, but will rather venture their souls than bo- 
dies.. This being the true difference between the faithful and 
the worldly hypocrite, all that will be saved must be such as 
would let go life, and all the world, rather than by wilful sin 
to forfeit their salvation, if they were called to it: though 
all be not actually put upon the trial, and seeing it is so easy 
for a prosperous man to profess Christianity with a worldly 
mind, and say that he would rather die than wilfully sin, be- 
ing in hope that he shall never be put to it ; it is a great ad- 
vantage to our assurance of salvation, to find that we can 
suffer in a time of trial, and so that our resolution was not 
false ; for so far as any man loveth the world, the love of the 
Father is not in him. The heat of persecution withereth the 
corn that groweth on the rocks. They are offended and go. 
sorrowing away, because they cannotmake sure both of earth 


and heaven. And as the faithful have the fullest proof of 
their sincerity in the greatest sufferings, no wonder if they 
have the greatest comfort. No reasoning will so fully an- 
swer all their fears and doubts, whether they are sincere, and 
should not forsake Christ in suffering. 

5. Believers should much more pity their persecutors 
than themselves. If a madman in Bedlam should spit in 
your face, would you have your action against him, or would 
you be sorry for him ? They are preparing fuel for them- 
selves in hell, while they make a purgatory for you on earth. 
O think who it is that ruleth them, and how he will reward 
them, and how dear they will pay for this for ever, without 
conversion ; and pray God to have mercy on them in time. 
If the righteous be scarcely saved, and must suffer before 
they reign, where shall the ungodly and sinners appear ? 
** It is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation 
to them that trouble you, and to you that are troubled, rest 
with Christ ;" 2 Thess. i. 6, 7. Do but believe that dread- 
ful reckoning of their day that is coming, when in vain they 
will wish the hills to cover them, and shall receive according 
to their works, and then you will rather weep over their fore- 
seen misery, than make too great a matter of your suflfering 
by them. They know nothing but present things, like beasts ; 
but you foreknow things to come. God beareth with them, 
because he knoweth that their day is coming. 

6. And remember, that if you suffer for Christ and righ- 
teousness, the wrong is much more to him than to you : and 
he will judge them that do but neglect his servants, much 
more that persecute them, as doing it all against himself: 
and the cause and interest being much more his than yours,, 
cast it upon him, and trust him with his own cause. Who 
is to be trusted if he be not ? And when is he to be trusted, 
if not when we suffer for him ? An honest master would 
bear out his servant who suffereth for obeying him, and will 
not Christ? Do you think that Christ will be too slow, or 
deal too gently in his revenge ? Sure you would wish no 
greater punishment to persecutors than he hath threatened. 
It were better a milstone were hanged about their neck, 
and they cast into the sea, who offend but his little ones. 
On whom this stone falls, it will grind him to powder. 

7. The promises made to them that patiently suffer for 
well-doing, are so many and great, I will not recite them. 


supposing you cannot be ignorant of them. And do you not 
believe the word of Christ ? He hath bound himself to save 
you harmless, and to be with you in your sufferings, and 
never to fail you nor forsake you ; and to give you for all 
that you lose for him a hundredfold (in value) in this world, 
and in the.world to come, eternal life. If we trust these pro- 
mises, undoubtedly our patience and choice will shew it. 
He that is offered a lordship in a foreign land, if he will leave 
his native land and friends where he liveth in poverty or pri- 
son, if he trust the promiser, will leave all and go with him ; 
but if he dare not venture, he doth not trust him. 

8. Do you suffer any thing but what Christ foretold you 
of? Did he not tell you, that you must sit down and count 
what it will cost you to be a Christian, before you undertook 
it? Did he not tell you, that you shall be hated of the 
world, because you are not of the world ? yea, hated of all 
(worldly) men for his name's sake ? And did you not pro- 
fess to take him and his salvation on these terms ? and to 
consent to his conditions ? If you thought them too hard, 
you might have refused them. What hypocrites are they 
that silence Christ's ministers for scrupling to engage them 
in covenant to Christ at their baptism, by the symbolical, 
* transient image of a cross, as obliging them to be the soldiers 
of a crucified Christ, and when they have done, abhor all 
that in Christianity which will bring the cross, and will ra- 
ther venture on hell than bear it ! Yea, will lay the cross 
by persecution upon others. It is true, that it was in your 
infancy that this covenant was made by others for you ; but 
did not you own it at age, when you called yourselves Chris- 
tians? Alas! hypocrisy undoes the visible church : men 
mean nothing less than what they vow. They think that re- 
solution for suffering, or martyrdom, is proper to some rare, 
extraordinary saints, and will not believe that none is a true 
Christian nor can be saved without it ; that is, without pre- 
ferring heaven before earth, and the soul before the body. 
Take any of these worldly hypocrites aside, and seriously 
ask him, (in France or Flanders) how dare you persecute 
the servants of Christ? and they will say, ' It is not long of 
us, we cannot help it ; the law and magistrates command 
us : w^ shall suffer ourselves if we do not obey them.' Would 
you tliink that these men did stand to their baptism ? As 
if they plainly said, ' Whatever Christ saith, we will do any 


thing against him and his servants that man's law bids us, 
rather than we will suffer ourselves/ How far are these men 
from being ready for martyrdom, yea, or being Christians, or 
the servants of God, If you are Christians you have bound 
yourselves by covenant to take up the cross and follow 
Christ, though to the death, and to choose rather to suffer 
than wilfully to sin. 

9. And did not you as Christians, list yourselves as sol- 
diers under Christ, against the devil, flesh and world. And 
is he a soldier indeed that expecteth no enemies ? And that 
murmureth because he must come in danger, and see any 
war? Did you not know that there is a war throughout all 
the world, between Christ and satan, between the woman's 
and serpent's seed, and is hurting and killing any wonder in 
a war ? Or that he that is born after the flesh should per- 
secute him that is born after the Spirit ? 

10. What hath a Christian to do in this life, but to pre- 
pare for a safe and happy death ? And if you had done this, 
you had prepared for persecution and martyrdom itself. If 
you are ready to die by sickness, why not by fire or sword, 
by axe or halter, if God will have it so ? Do you not know 
that most sicknesses do by their length put the body to more 
pain than ordinary martyrdom before they kill them? How 
easy a death is hanging, in comparison of dying by the stone 
in the bladder, or by the cholic, or many other sicknesses? 
Yea, the painful death of burning being soon dispatched, is 
little to these. And sure a fine, or prison, or poverty, is yet 
less than any of these. O slothful men ! unfaithful to your- 
selves, that have lived so long unprepared for death, when 
you had nothing else to do in the world. Your flying from 
suffering by sin, doth shew that you have neglected the great 
work of life, or that that which you lived for is yet undone. 
You would have been ready to suffer, if you had been 
ready to die. And doth this seem strange to you, after all 
your warnings and professions? 

11. Have you a due estimate of worldly things? Are you 
crucified to the world, and it to you by the cross of Christ? 
Do you account them as loss and dung for him ? Do you 
use them as if you used them not, and possess them as if you 
possessed them not? Do you judge of them as death will 
teach you to do ? If you do, sure you will not count that 


persecution that taketh them from you an insufferable thing ; 
nor be impatient to be deprived of them. 

12. Had you rather be in the case of the prosperous per- 
secutor, or the persecuted believer ? If the former, you are 
no true Christians : if the latter murmur not when you have 
that which you prefer. Sure a true martyr at the stake, or 
with Daniel in the lion's den, would be loath to change states 
with Nebuchadnezzar or Darius. 

13. Do you think Christ loved Stephen the first martyr, 
or James the first martyred apostle, or Peter and Paul that 
died for the Gospel, less than he loved those that overlived 
them and suffered no such thing ? Is not the crown of mar- 
tyrdom the most glorious ? Why are they said to live before 
the rest a thousand years ? Had you not now rather have 
Stephen's place in heaven, than theirs that suffered nothing 
for Christ ? And if it be best at last, is it not most eligible 
now ? 

14. Are you afraid of men? You have a greater than 
man to fear, and greater hurt than man can do you : " Fear 
not them that can kill the body, and after that have no more 
that they can do, but fear him that can destroy soul and 
body in hell ! Yea, I say unto you, fear him ;" Luke xii. 4. 
Are you afraid of a prison, or death, or fire ? Fear more hell - 
fire and death everlasting. When Bilney burnt his finger in 
the candle, he remembered that hell-fire was more intol- 

15. Wherein hath Christ been more an example to you, 
than in patient or obedient suffering, even unto death, and 
to the most accursed, shameful death ? Do you think that he 
only suffered to keep us from all suffering ? Peter saith, it 
was to leave us an example ; and Paul saith that we must be 
conformed to him, and partakers of his sufferings. Why else 
doth Christ call us to bear the cross? And is it not joyful 
to see the footsteps of Christ in the way we go, and to know 
that we follow him ? 

16. Sure that is not a state of greatest fear and sorrow, 
in which Christ hath commanded us to rejoice with the 
greatest joy : but so he hath done in the case of persecution ; 
** Blessed are they that are persecuted fqv righteousness 
sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Rejoice and be 
exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven ;" Matt. 


V. 10. 12. " Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial, 
but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's suffer- 
ings, that when his glory shall be revealed, you may be glad 
also with exceeding joy ;'' 1 Pet. iv. 12, 13. " They took 
joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing that in heaven 
they had a better and enduring substance ;" Heb. x. 34. 
So Heb. xi. throughout. 

17. God hath promised you that all your sufferings shall 
work together for your good ; (Rom^ viii. 28.) and taught 
you how to make them your exceeding gain. Practise this 
art, and you will be more patient, when you find the benefit 
and feel that you are more than conquerors. Our victory is 
by patient suffering. The worst men may conquer our bo- 
dies by force, but our souls are unconquered, and we are 
conquerors of the temptation and real hurt, while we keep 
obedient patience. When it is said of Job, " In all this Job 
sinned not, nor charged God foolishly ;" satan was conquered, 
and missed his end, while he seemed to prevail upon his flesh. 

By persecution you may learn. 1. What a nature is in 
lapsed men. 2. That there are devils that keep up a war 
against Christ. 3. How great their power is in the world, 
by God's permission over wicked men. 4. How wonderful 
a work of God it is, that the godly can live in so much peace 
and safety as they do, among those that are the very ser- 
vants of the devil ; even as Daniel was kept in the den of 
lions, because God shut their mouths. 5. How great need 
there is of sanctifying grace? 6. How great a mercy is our 
conversion, which cureth such a nature in us. 7. It calleth 
ns to continual Christian watchfulness, to beware of men, 
and especially of their temptations, and to be wise as ser- 
pents, and innocent as doves. 8. It driveth us to constant 
prayer and dependance upon God for help and safety. 9. It 
teacheth us to keep up faith and hope, as having our eye 
continually on God, and on the heavenly inheritance, with 
out which we have nothing to support us. 10. And it as 
sureth us that there is a day of judgment, in which Christ 
will call over again in righteousness, all the false judgments 
and actions of this world. He that maketh all this use of 
persecution, will have gain enough to plead for patience. 

18. To review this last ; if you believe in Christ indeed, 
you do believe that he will come again to judge the world 
in righteousness, and to set all straight that here was made 


crooked by the falsehood and malignity of men. And will 
not the foresight of that resolve you patiently to suffer? 
Faith may foresee how poor blinded persecutors will then 
have their eyes opened, and see him with terror, whom they 
persecuted in his servants, and how he will silence and con- 
demn them, with, ** Depart from me. ye cursed, into ever- 
lasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels ;" Matt. xxv. 
41. 2 Thess. i. 6. 10—12. ii. 12. If the forethoughts of 
that day do not quiet or resolve you, alas ! you have greater 
matter of fear and trouble than persecution, even your own 
unbelief. Pray more for faith, than for deliverance from men. 
19. Consider comparatively what man is, that hurteth 
you ; and what God is, who hath promised to help you and 
reward you. Man is a worm, blinded and mad by the de- 
ceit of satan. They know not what they are doing against 
themselves and God, as well as against you : they are all 
the while going towards the grave, and their souls towards 
the dreadful bar of God : their bones and dust are no whit 
terrible. If God will here have mercy on them, he will make 
them know, who it is they persecute, and how hard a work 
it is barefoot to kick against the pricks, and make them, as 
Paul, themselves undergo such persecutions for Christ, as 
they madly used against others ; they will say, as Paul, ** I 
was mad against them :" And his case tells you, that if the 
very captain of the persecutors were but converted, though 
by a voice and miracle from heaven, the rest, instead of taking- 
it for a conviction, would presently persecute him them- 
selves. But if God let them go on, alas ! where will they 
shortly be I O pray, pray hard for your persecutors, as 
Christ did, before they are past prayers and hope, in hell. 
But are these poor worms to be much feared ? How oft are 
we charged, not to fear them; Luke xii. 4. Matt. x. 28. 
John xxiv. 27. Jer. xlvi. 27, 28. Ezek. iii. 8, 9. The fear- 
ful (that fear men) are numbered with unbelievers, and are 
shut out among the dogs, if fear prevail against their faith ; 
Rev. xxii. 

And then think what that God is, that hath promised owr 
defence. When Infinite Power, Wisdom and Love, is set 
against a few wasps and worms, shall our fear of them be 
greater than our trust in him ? If it were but an angel from 
heaven that appeared for our defence or encouragement, 
against a dog that barked at us, it were a shame to us not to 


trust him. " If God be for us, who shall be against us ?" 
Read Psal. xci. Rom. viii. Matt. vi. See Isa. viii. 13, 14. 
xli. 10. 13, 14. 

20. Can any thing do you greater good, that can out- 
wardly befal you, than that which both assureth you of your 
right to heaven, and puts you presently in possession of it ? 
And this will be the fruit of martyrdom. O what a change 
will that day make ! from torment to our Master's joy ! from 
the raging army of the devil, to the heavenly choir of saints 
and angels ! A strong faith would make us long for such a 
day. As children of God, joint heirs with Christ, if we suffer 
with him, we shall be glorified with him ; and the present 
sufferings are not worthy to be compared to the glory ; Rom. 
viii. 18. 2 Cor. iv. 16. For which cause we faint not; but 
though our outward man perish, our inward man is renewed 
day by day : " for our light affliction which is but for a mo- 
ment, worketh out for us a far more exceeding and eternal 
weight of glory, while we look not at the things which are 
seen, but at the things which are not seen : for the things 
which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not 
seen are eternal. Wherefore let them that suffer according 
to the will of God, commit the keeping of their souls to him 
in well-doing, as to a faithful Creator ;" 1 Pet. iv. 19. 


Oppression and Inpistice hy Men of Wealth and Power. 

Another case that requireth patience, is oppression by 
men of wealth and power in the world, and injustice of un- 
godly governors. Justice is so much due to all mankind, 
and injustice so odious, that we are ready to take it the more 
heinously when we cannot have our right. Oppressing land- 
lords raise their rents to such a height, that poor men with 
the most tiring care and labour, can hardly live. And some 
rich men do think that their wills must be poor men's rule, 
and that they must deny them nothing that they command ; as 
if the poor were slaves, that had no property or benefit of 
the law. And worst of all, when in too many nations on 
earth, rulers are unjust, and haters of just and upright men, 
and either break all bounds of law to ruin them, or else turn 
the law itself against them ; and when they justify the wicked, 
and condemn the innocent, yea, when piety, and honesty, 
and conscience, are made the most intolerable crimes, and 


filtliiness, and sensuality do pass for works of one that may 
be trusted ; thei^e cases call for extraordinary patience, and 
it is the more grievous because that magistracy is a special 
tordinance of God, and the image of his superemiriencie and 
governing power shineth in it : and to have satan get pos- 
session of it, and turn it against God himself who made it, 
and make that the plague and calamity of mankind, which 
was instituted for order, justice and defence, and the up- 
holding of goodness, and suppression of sin, this is a most 
grievous case. The same I say of cruel masters tyrannizing 
over their servants, and wicked parents oppressing virtue in 
their children. Here patience is of great necessity. 

And 1. We must here be very careful to distinguish be- 
tween true power and its abuse, and not to think evil of 
power itself because it is abused. And this must be the 
more carefully studied, because here practically to distin- 
guish is exceeding difficult. For the best things when cor- 
rupted, are the worst. It is hard to love rain and waters in 
a deluge, when it drowneth the country, men and beasts. 
One that had seen the fire of London, or yesterday the burn- 
ing of Wapping, might be tempted to take fire to be more 
terrible than amiable. If physicians killed twenty for one 
they ciired, men would grow into a dread or hatred of their 
profession: and as to rulers, judges, and all sorts of magis- 
trates, the case is the same. They are God's ordinances 
(in general) and good in themselves, and if well used would 
be the great blessing of the world ; God's ordinary means 
to protect the innocent, encourage the godly, and bring un- 
godliness to shame ; to keep rich men from oppressing the 
poor, and the unruly multitude from popular rage against 
their neighbours or superiors; to keep up equity and jus- 
tice, arid to frustrate treachery, perjury and fraud ; in a word, 
to be God's ministers or officers for the common good, and 
to see his laws obeyed by the subjects, being themselves the 
most zealous in obeying them, and to be a terror to blas- 
phemers, fornicators, murderers, thieves, oppressors and 
other evil-doers, and a praise and defence to them that do well. 
There are two cases which are no better than ruin to man- 
kind : that is, to have no government, and to have utter 
tyranny, which designeth the undoing of the subjects, souls 
and bodies, by forcing them to sin against God to theirdam- 
ation (as far as force cnn do it), or commonly to die as mar+ 


tyrs, and which is used to subvert the government of God, 
and to set up wickedness and will, and to destroy the com- 
mon welfare. 

And there are two cases which are such as we must sub- 
mit to. One is the tolerable injustice, and oppression of 
ungodly rulers, who will kill, and ruin, and persecute some 
particular innocent men, but yet are for the common peace 
and welfare, and do more good by their government than hurt 
by their abuse. These must be patiently endured, so far as 
the evil cannot lawfully be remedied. The other sort is the 
defective government of good rulers, who endeavour the 
common good, and promote piety, and suppress sin, but with 
such mixture of failings as follow their personal imperfec- 
tions, and with such blots as David had in the case of Me- 
phibosheth and Uriah, and as Asa had, that oppressed many 
of the people, and as Constantine had in the case of Cris- 
pus and Athanasius, and as Theodosius senior had in the 
case of the Thessalonians, and as Theodosius junior and 
Anastasius had in the case of the Eutychians, and as even 
our King Edward VI, had about the death of the Duke of 
Somerset, and he about his brother's death. Grotius own- 
eth the old saying, that the names of all good kings may be 
^written ' uno annulo,' in one ring : I think that is too hard a 
jensure. But even the best are men : and as a physician's 
Faults, though few, cost the patient dearer than all their neigh- 
bour's faults do ; so a prince's faults, though he be extraor- 
linary good, may cost a kingdom dearer than the faults of 
'thousands else. Yet these honest princes are so great bles- 
sings to the world, and so rare, that it is a happy nation that 
hath no worse, and must be very thankful for them. 

But there is a fifth sort imaginable in Eutopia, and those 
men of so perfect wisdom and goodness, as that all their go- 
vernment is just. Short of heaven, there is little or no hope 
of this, unless there be a golden age to come, or such a reign 
of Christ for a thousand years as some describe, which is but 
the reign of wisdom, justice, piety and love. But when God 
hath some great blessing for a land, he useth to raise up rulers 
better than the rest of the nations have : and when sin pro- 
voketh him, he removeth them quickly from an unworthy 
land, as he did Josiah, and our King Edward VI, and Jovian 
in the Roman empire. Yea, sometimes a wicked people and 



clergy prevail against a godly king, as they did against Lu- 
dovicus Pius in France. 

2. Because bad rulers are a great national judgment, it 
calleth a land to search after, and repent of national sins ; 
for it is for such that this calamity usually cometb. When 
Gildas describeth the horrid wickedness of the British kings, 
he describeth the great wickedness of the clergy and people 
as the deserving cause. And no wonder, when in the days of 
Hezekiah and Josiah, though the kings were excellently good, 
yet the unreformed, obstinate clergy and people so provoked 
God that he would not spare them, but cast them off into 
captivity and ruin. But usually God gratifieth their perni- 
cious desires, and giveth them such bad kings as they would 
have, as he did Saul, Jeroboam, &c., and permits people to 
please themselves to death. 

3. Take heed that selfishness and error cause you not to 
judge worse of governors than they are, and to take just res- 
.traint or punishment, for oppression, and to think all unjust 

that is displeasing to you. This error is common to the sel- 
fish, partial sort of men, that judge men and actions by self- 

4. Take heed lest overmuch love to your estates or liber- 
ties make some injustice and injuries done you, by rich men 

. or rulers, to seem much greater than they are, and it be your 
vice that rendereth them insufferable. 

These things being avoided, bear your oppressions with 
these considerations. 

1. God permitteth it for your sin, or for your trial ; there- 
fore be humbled under it as God's hand, and bear it obediently 
till he deliver you. 

2. If wealth and power be so liable to make men oppres- 
sors, do not you desire them, but thank God for a safer sta- 
tion, and bear that which keeps you from it. 

3. The sin of oppression is afar greater evil than the suf- 
fering of the oppressed ; therefore rather pity them as mise^ 
rable, than yourselves. 

4. Consider how much more many millions have suffered 
by oppressions, than ever you did, or are like to do. How 
many thousands were killed and ruined by Alexander ! How 
many thousands by Julius Csesar ! How many thousands in 
many Roman civil wars, under Anthony, Marius, Scylla, 
Sejanus, &c. How many churches corrupted and persecu- 


ted by Constantius, Valens, Gensericus, Hunnericus, &c. 
What a multitude did Justitian murder in Egypt, in blind 
zeal for Christ I How few ages have escaped the guilt of in- 
nocent blood ! How many thousands did the Pope's cause 
slay in the Palestine wars, and in the Italian frequent wars, 
and the rebellions against the emperors, Fredericks, Hen- 
rys, &c. How many thousand Christians, Albigenses, Wal- 
denses and Bohemians, did they murder ! How many des- 
troyed in Piedmont, Rhetia and Germany ! How many 
thousands murdered at once in France, and oft besides ! 
What dreadful work hath the Inquisition made in Flanders, 
Holland, Spain and Italy ! What a dreadful case was Ireland 
in, when two hundred thousand Protestants were murdered, 
and thousands were stripped and utterly undone ! Queen 
Mary's bonfires were sharper than we have yet felt. While 
satan in all ages fills the world with wars and blood, a little 
tolerable oppression by landlords or inferior rulers, should 
not be over tenderly and impatiently complained of, by te- 
nants, servants or any others. 

5. Innocency is a sound and healthful state, and can 
bear much : Peter bids servants be patient when they suffer 
undeservedly; but it is not thankworthy to be patient 
when they are beaten for their faults. Peace of conscience 
maketh all sound within ; and then a man may bear the 
more easily all that befalleth him from without : when he 
can say, it is not for my sins, he may comfortably commit 
his cause to God. 

6. Whoever oppressieth you, God will never do you 
wrong, and it is his hands that your great concerns are in : 
he will use you with merciful justice, yea, and deliver you 
from all the oppressions of men. 

He sufFereth men of the world to oppress the just, that 
they may be driven to him by prayer and faith, and may be 
saved from damning worldly love, and God may have the 
glory of their deliverance. How great a part of the Psalms 
are written upon the occasion of oppression, plots, and 
cruelties of wicked enemies : and what abundance of pro- 
mises of deliv